The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.
fails, I lose the most secure part of my income.  I refused from Holland, and last year from Lord North, to accept the place for my own life; and having never done a dirty thing, I will not disgrace myself at fifty-nine.  I should like to live as well as I have done; but what I wish more, is to secure what I have already saved for those I would take care of after me.  These are the true reasons of my dropping all thought of a better house in town, and of living so privately here.  I -will not sacrifice my health to my prudence; but my temper is so violent, that I know the tranquillity I enjoy here in solitude is of much more benefit to my health, than the air of the country is detrimental to it.  You see I can be reasonable when I have time to reflect; but philosophy has a poor chance with me when my warmth is stirred—­and yet I know, that an angry old man out of parliament, and that can do nothing but be angry, is a ridiculous animal.

(261) On the opening of the session.

(262) On the 17th of August 1776, when the English army, under the command of General Howe, defeated the Americans at Flat Bush, in Long Island.-E.

Letter 116 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 2, 1776. (page 162)

Though inclination, and consciousness that a man of my age, who is neither in parliament nor in business, has little to do in the world, keep me a good deal out of it, yet I will not, my dear lord, encourage you in retirement; to which, for the interest of your friends, you have but too much propensity.  The manners of the age cannot be agreeable to those who have lived in something soberer times; nor do I think, except in France, where old people are never out of fashion, that it is reasonable to tire those whose youth and spirits may excuse some dissipation.  Above all things, it is my resolution never to profess retirement, lest, when I have lost all my real teeth, the imaginary one, called a colt’s, should hurry me back and make me ridiculous.  But one never outlives all one’s contemporaries; one may assort with them.  Few Englishmen, too, I have observed, can bear solitude without being hurt by it.  Our climate makes us capricious, and we must rub off our roughness and humours against one another.  We have, too, an always increasing resource, which is, that though we go not to the young, they must come to us:  younger usurpers tread on their heels, as they did on ours, and revenge us that have been deposed.  They may retain their titles, like Queen Christina, Sir M * * * N * * *, and Lord Rivers; but they find they have no subjects.  If we could but live long enough, we should hear Lord Carlisle, Mr. Storer, etc. complain of the airs and abominable hours of the youth of the age.  You see, my dear lord, my easy philosophy can divert itself with any thing, even with visions; which perhaps is the best way of treating the great vision itself, life.  For half one’s time one should laugh with the world, the other half at it—­and then it is hard if we want amusement.

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