Have you read the Life of Benvenuto Cellini,(38) my lord? I am angry with him for being more distracted and wrong-headed than my Lord Herbert. Till the revival of these two, I thought the present age had borne the palm of absurdity from all its predecessors. But I find our contemporaries are quiet good folks, that only game till they hang themselves, and do not kill every body they meet in the street. Who would have thought we were so reasonable?
Ranelagh, they tell me, is full of foreign dukes. There is a Duc de la Tr`emouille, a Duc d’Aremberg, and other grandees. I know the former, and am not sorry to be out of his way.
It is not pleasant to leave groves and lawns and rivers for a dirty town with a dirtier ditch, calling itself the Seine; but I dare not encounter the sea and bad inns in cold weather. This consideration will bring me back by the end of August. I should be happy to execute any commission for your lordship. You know how earnestly I wish always to show myself your lordship’s most faithful humble servant.
(36) near Kensington. The villa of Lady Mary Coke.
(37) In the February of this-year Madame du Deffand had made her will, and bequeathed Walpole all her manuscripts-. In her letter of the 17th, informing him that she had so done, she says, “Je fis usage de votre ‘j’y consens.’ J’ai une vraie satisfaction que cette affaire soit termin`ee, et jamais vous ne m’avez fait un plus v`eritable plaisir qu’en pronon`cant ces deux mots."-E.
(38) The celebrated Florentine sculptor, “one of the most extraordinary men in an extraordinary age,” so designated by Walpole. His Life, written by himself, was first published in English in 1771, from a translation by Dr. T. Nugent; of which a new edition, corrected and enlarged, with the notes and observations of G. P. Carpani, translated by Thomas Roscoe, appeared in 1822.-E.
I just write you a line, dear Sir, to acknowledge the receipt of the box of papers, which is come very safe, and to give you a thousand thanks for the trouble you have taken. As you promise me another letter I will wait to answer it.
At present I will only beg another favour, and with less shame, as it is of a kind you will like to grant. I have lately been at Lord Ossory’s at Ampthill. You know Catherine of Arragon lived some time there.(39) Nothing remains of the castle, nor any marks of residence, but a very small bit of her garden. I proposed to Lord Ossory to erect a cross to her memory on the spot, and he will. I wish, therefore, you could, from your collections of books, or memory, pick out an authentic form of a cross, of a better appearance than the common run. It must be raised on two or three steps; and if they were octagon, would it not be handsomer? Her arms must be hung like an order upon it. Here is something of my idea.(40) The shield appendant to a collar. We will have some inscriptions to mark the cause of erection. Adieu! Your most obliged.