The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.

Letter 204 To Sir David Dalrymple.(402) Dec. 11, 1780. (page 261)

I should have been shamefully ungrateful, Sir, if I could ever forget all the favours I have received from you, and had omitted any mark of respect to you that it was in my power to show.  Indeed, what you are so good as to thank me for was a poor trifle, but it was all I had or shall have of the kind.  It was imperfect too, as some painters Of name have died since it was printed, which was nine years ago.  They will be added with your kind notices, should I live, which is not probable, to see a new edition wanted.  Sixty-three years, and a great deal of illness, are too speaking mementos not to be attended to; and when the public has been more indulgent than one had any right to expect, it is not decent to load it with one’s dotage.

I believe, Sir, that I may have been over-candid to Hogarth, and fail his spirit and youth and talent may have hurried him into more real caricatures than I specified . yet he certainly restrained his bent that way pretty early.  Charteris(403) I have seen; but though Some years older than you, Sir, I cannot say I have at all a perfect idea of him:  nor did I ever hear the curious anecdote you tell me of ’ the banker and my father.  I was much better acquainted with bishop Blackbourne.  He lived within two doors of my father in Downing Street, and took much notice of me when I was near man.  It is not to be ungrateful and asperse him, but to amuse you, if I give you some account of him from what I remember.(404) He was perfectly a fine gentleman to the last, to eighty-four; his favourite author was Waller, whom he frequently quoted.  In point of decorum, he was not quite so exact as you have been told, Sir.  I often dined with him, his mistress, Mrs. Conwys, sat at the head of the table, and Hayter,(405) his natural son by another woman, and very like him, at the bottom, as chaplain:  he was afterwards Bishop of London.  I have heard, but do not affirm it, that Mrs. Blackbourne, before she died, complained of Mrs. Conwys being brought under the same roof.  To his clergy he was, I have heard, very imperious.  One story I recollect, which showed how much he was a man of this world:  and which the Queen herself repeated to my father.  On the King’s last journey to Hanover, before Lady Yarmouth came over, the Archbishop being With her Majesty, said to her, “Madam, I have been with your minister Walpole, and he tells me that you are a wise woman, and do not mind your husband’s having a mistress.”  He was a little hurt at not being raised to Canterbury on Wake’s death, and said to my father, “You did not think on me:  but it is true, I am too old, I am too old.”  Perhaps, Sir, these are gossiping stories, but at least they hurt nobody now.

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