(353) On the 7th of April, Miss Reay, who had been the mistress of Lord Sandwich for twenty years, by whom she was the mother of many children, was shot, on her leaving Covent-Garden theatre, by the Rev. James Hackman, who had the living of Wiverton, in Norfolk, a young man not half her age, who had imbibed a violent passion for her, whom he first met at Lord Sandwich’s seat at Hinchinbroke, where he had been frequently invited to dine while commanding a recruiting party at Huntingdon; he being, previously to his entering the church, a lieutenant in the 68th regiment of foot. Having shot Miss Reay, he fired a pistol at himself; but, being only wounded by it, he was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and executed.-E.
Dear Sir, I have received the plates very safely, but hope You nor the Alderman,(354) will take it ill that I return them. They are extremely pretty, and uncommonly well preserved; but I am sure they are not by Rubens, nor I believe after his designs, for I am persuaded they are older than his time. In truth, I have a great many Of the same sort, and do not wish for more. I shall send them back on Thursday by the Fly, and will beg you to inquire after them; and I trust they will arrive as safely as they did to Yours ever.
(354) Alderman John Boydell, an English engraver; distinguished as an encourager of the fine arts. In 1790 he held the office of Lord Mayor of London, and died in 1804.-E.
I ought not to trouble you so often when you are not well; but that is the very cause of my writing now. You left off abruptly from disorder, and therefore I wish to know it is gone. The plates I hope got home safe. They are pretty, especially the reverses; but the drawing in general is bad.
Pray tell me what you mean by a priced catalogue of the pictures at Houghton. Is it a printed one? if it is, where is it to be had?—odd questions from me, and which I should not wish to have mentioned as coming from me. I have been told to-day that they are actually sold to the Czarina—sic transit! mortifying enough, were not every thing transitory! we must recollect that our griefs and pains are so, as well as our joys and glories; and, by balancing the account, a grain of comfort is to be extracted! Adieu! I shall be heartily glad to receive a better account of you.