I told you in my last that Tonton was arrived. I brought him this morning to take possession of his new villa, but his installation has not been at all pacific. As he has already found out that he may be as despotic as at Saint Joseph’s, he began with exiling my beautiful little cat; upon which, however, we shall not quite agree. He then flew at one of my dogs,(426) who returned it by biting his foot till it bled, but was severely beaten for it. I immediately rung for Margaret,(427) to dress his foot: but in the midst of my tribulation could not keep my countenance; for she cried, “Poor little thing, he does not understand my language!” I hope she will not recollect too that he is a Papist!
Berkeley Square, Tuesday, May 8.
I came before dinner, and found your long letter of the 3d. You have mistaken Tonton’s sex, who is a cavalier, and a little of the mousquetaire still; but if I do not correct his vivacities, at least I shall not encourage them like my dear old friend.
You say nothing of your health; therefore, I trust it is quite re-established: my own is most flourishing for me. They say the Parliament will rise by the birthday; not that it seems to be any grievance or confinement to any body. I hope you will soon come and enjoy a quiet summer under the laurels of your own conscience. They are at least as spreading as any body’s else; and the soil will preserve their verdure for ever. Methinks we western powers might as well make peace. since we make war so clumsily. Yet I doubt the awkwardness of our enemies will not have brought down our stomach. Well, I wish for the sake of mankind there was an end of their sufferings! Even spectators are not amused—the whole war has passed like the riotous murmurs of the upper gallery before the play begins—they have pelted the candle-snuffers, the stage has been swept, the music has played, people have taken their places—but the deuce a bit of any performance!—And when folks go home, they will have seen nothing but a farce, that has cost fifty times more than the best tragedy!
(426) This does not quite accord with the favourable character given of Tonton by Madame du Deffand’s secretary, Wyrt, in a letter to Walpole:—“Je garderai,” he says, “Tonton jusqu’au d`epart de M. Thomas Walpole; j’en ai le plus grand soin. Il est tr`es doux; il ne mord personne; il n’`etait m`echant qu’aupr`es de sa maitresse."-E.
(427) Mr. Walpole’s housekeeper.