Though I have so very little to say, it is but my duty, my dear lord, to thank you for your extreme goodness to me and your inquiring after me. I was very bad again last week, but have mended so much since Friday night, that I really now believe the fit is over. I came to town on Sunday, and can creep about my room even without a stick, which is more felicity to me than if I had got a white one. I do not aim yet at such preferment as walking up stairs; but having moulted my stick, I flatter myself I shall come forth again without being lame. The few I have seen tell me there is nobody else in town. That is no grievance to me, when I should be at the mercy of all that should please to bestow their idle time upon me. I know nothing of the war-egg, but that sometimes it is to be hatched and sometimes to be addled.(16) Many folks get into the nest, and sit as hard upon it as they can, concluding it will produce a golden chick. As I shall not be a feather the better for it, I hate that game-breed, and prefer the old hen Peace and her dunghill brood. My compliments to my lady and all her poultry.
(16) The dispute with Spain relative to the possession of the Falkland Islands, had led to a considerable augmentation both of the army and navy; which gave an appearance of authenticity to the rumours of war which were now in circulation.-E.
My lord, I am very glad your lordship resisted your disposition to make me an apology for doing me a great honour; for, if you had not, the Lord knows where I should have found words to have made a proper return. Still you have left me greatly in your debt. It is very kind to remember me, and kinder to honour me with your commands: they shall be zealously obeyed to the utmost of my little credit; for an artist that your lordship patronises will, I imagine, want little recommendation, besides his own talents. It does not look, indeed, like very prompt obedience, when I am yet guessing only at Mr. Jervais’s merit; but though he has lodged himself within a few doors of me, I have not been able to get to him, having been confined near two months with the gout, and still keeping my house. My first visit shall be to gratify my duty and curiosity. I am sorry to say, and beg your lordship’s pardon for the confession, that, however high an opinion I have of your taste in the arts, I do not equally respect your judgment in books. it is in truth a defect that you have in common with the two great men who are the respective models of our present parties—
“The hero William, and the martyr Charles.”
You know what happened to them after patronising Kneller and Bernini—
“One knighted Blackmore, and one pensioned Quarles.”