28th.—A second volume of Sir George Rodney’s exploits arrived to-day. I do not know the authentic circumstances, for I have not been abroad yet, but they say he has taken four more Spanish ships of the line and five frigates; of the former, one of ninety guns. Spain was sick of the war before—how fortunate if she would renounce it!
I have just got a new History of Leicester, in six small volumes. It seems to be superficial; but the author is young, and talks modestly which, if it Will not serve instead of merit, makes one at least hope he will improve, and not grow insolent on age and more knowledge. I have also received from Paris a copy of an illumination from La Cit`e des Dames of Christina of Pisa, in the French King’s library. There is her own portrait with three allegoric figures. I have learnt much more about her, and of her amour with an English peer;(380) but I have not time to say more at present.
(379) Admiral Sir George Rodney, who had been despatched
to the relief of Gibraltar, the garrison of which
was much distressed for provisions, after taking a
convoy of Spanish ships bound to the Caraccas, fell
in, on the 16th of February off Cape St. Vincent,
with the Spanish fleet, commanded
by Don Juan Langara, which he defeated, and captured
four sail of the line.-E.
(380) John Montacute, Earl of Salisbury; who arriving in Paris, as ambassador from Richard ii. to demand in marriage the Princess Isabel, daughter of Charles V., soon after the death of Castel, the husband of Christine, was so struck with her beauty and accomplishments as to offer her his hand. This Christine respectfully declined; upon which the Earl bade adieu to love, renounced marriage, and, with her consent, brought her eldest son with him to England, to educate and protect.-E.
Berkeley Square, March 6, 1780. (Page 245)
I have this moment received your portrait in glass, dear Sir, and am impatient to thank you for it, and tell you how much I value it. It is better executed than I own I expected, and yet I am not quite satisfied with it. The drawing is a little incorrect, the eyes too small in proportion, and the mouth exaggerated. In short, it is a strong likeness of your features, but not of your countenance, which is better, and more serene. However, I am enough content to place it at Strawberry amongst all my favourite, brittle, transitory relics, which will soon vanish with their founder—and with his no great unwillingness for himself.
I take it ill, that you should think I should suspect you of asking indirectly for my Noble Authors-and much more if you would not be so free as to ask for them directly-a most trifling present surely—and from you who have made me a thousand! I know I have some copies in my old house in Arlington-street, I hope of both volumes, I am sure of the second. I will soon go thither and look for them.