(328) Mr. Cole had informed Walpole that his collections were not to be opened until twenty years after his death. See ant`e, P. 199, letter 146, note 323.
Your ladyship is exceedingly kind and charitable, and the least I can do in return is to do all I can—dictate a letter to you. I have not been out of bed longer than it was necessary to have it made, once a day, since last Thursday. The gout is in both my feet, both my knees, and in my left hand and elbow. Had I a mind to brag, I could boast of a little rheumatism too, but I scorn to set value on such a trifle; nay, I will own that I have felt but little acute pain. My chief propensity to exaggeration would be on the miserable nights I have passed; and yet whatever I should say would not be beyond what I thought I suffered. I have been constantly as broad awake as Mrs. Candour that is always gaping for Scandal,(330) except when I have taken opiates, and then my dreams have been as extravagant as Mrs. Candour adds to what she hears. In short, Madam, not to tire you with more details, though you have ordered them, I am so weak that I am able to see nobody at all, and when I shall be recovered enough to take possession of this new lease, as it is called, the mansion, I believe, will be so shattered that it won’t be worth repairs. Is it not very foolish, then, to be literally buying a new house? Is it not verifying Pope’s line, when I choose a Pretty situation,
“But just to look about us and to die?”
I am sorry Lady Jane’s lot is fallen in Westphalia, where so great a hog is lord of the manor. He is like the dragon of Wantley,
“And houses and churches
To him are geese and turkeys;”
so I don’t wonder that he has gobbled her two cows.
Lady Blandford is delightful in congratulating me upon having the gout in town, and staying in the country herself. Nay, she is very insolent in presuming to be the only person invulnerable. If I could wish her any, harm, it should be that she might feel for one quarter of an hour a taste of the mortifications that I suffered from eleven last night till four this morning, and I am sure she would never dare to have a spark of courage again. I can only wish her in Grosvenor-square, where she would run no risks. Her reputation for obstinacy is so well established, that she might take advice from her true friends for a twelvemonth, before we should believe our own ears. However, as every body has some weak part, I know she will do for others more than for herself; and, therefore, pray Madam, tell her, that I am sure it is bad for Your ladyship to stay in the country at this time of year, and that reason, I am sure will bring you both. I really must rest.
(329) Now first printed. See vol. iii., letter to George Montagu, Esq., Nov. 1, 1767, letter 332.