As I came to town but to dinner, and have not seen a soul, I do not know whether there is any news. I am just going to the Princess,(23) where I shall hear all there is. I went to King Arthur(24) on Saturday, and was tired to death, both of the nonsense of the piece and the execrable performance, the singers being still worse than the actors. The scenes are little better (though Garrick boasts of rivalling the French Opera,) except a pretty bridge, and a Gothic church with windows of painted glass. This scene, which should be a barbarous temple of Woden, is a perfect cathedral, and the devil officiates at a kind of high-mass! I never saw greater absurdities. Adieu!
(21) The first poplar-pine (or, as they have since been called, Lombardy poplar) planted in England was at Park-place, on the bank of the river near the great arch. It was a cutting brought from Turin by Lord Rochford in his carriage, and planted by General Conway’s own hand.
(22) Brother of Mrs. Clive. He had been an actor himself, and, when his sister retired from the stage, lived with her in the house Mr. Walpole had given her at Twickenham.
(23( The Princess Amelia.
(24) Dryden’s dramatic opera of King Arthur, or the British Worthy, altered by Garrick, was this year brought out at Drury Lane, and, by the aid of scenery, was very successful.-E.
The trees came safe: I thank you for them: they are gone to Strawberry, and I am going to plant them. This paragraph would not call for a letter, but I have news for you of importance enough to dignify a despatch. The Duc de Choiseul is fallen! The express from Lord Harcourt arrived yesterday morning; the event happened last Monday night, and the courier set out so immediately, that not many particulars are yet known. The Duke was allowed but three hours to prepare himself, and ordered to retire to his seat at Chanteloup: but some letters say, “il ira plus loin.” The Duc de Praslin is banished, too, and Chatelet is forbidden to visit Choiseul. Chatelet was to have had the marine; and I am Sure is no loss to us. The Chevalier de Muy is made secretary of state pour la guerre;(25) and it is concluded that the Duc d’Aiguillon is prime-minister, but was not named so in the first hurry. There! there is a revolution! there is a new scene opened! Will it advance the war? Will it make peace? These are the questions all mankind is asking. This whale has swallowed up all gudgeon-questions. Lord Harcourt writes, that the d’Aiguillonists had officiously taken opportunities of assuring him, that if they prevailed it would be peace; but in this country we know that opponents turned ministers can change their language It is added, that the morning of Choiseul’s banishment’(26) the King said to him, “Monsieur, je vous ai dit que je ne voulais point la guerre.”