I will not delay thanking you, dear Sir, for a second letter, which you wrote out of kindness, though I have time but to say a word, having my house full of company. I think I have somewhere or other mentioned the “Robertus Comentarius,” (probably on some former information from you, which you never forget to give me,) at least the name sounds familiar to me; but just now I cannot consult my papers or books from the impediment of my guests. As I am actually preparing a new edition of my Anecdotes, I shall very soon have occasion to search. I am sorry to hear you complain of the gout, but trust It will be a short parenthesis. Yours most gratefully.
Your lordship’s too friendly partiality sees talents in me which I am sure I do not possess. With all my desire of amusing you, and with all my sense of gratitude for your long and unalterable goodness, it is quite impossible to send you an entertaining letter from hence. The insipidity of my life, that is passed with a few old people that are wearing out like myself, after surviving so many of my acquaintance, can furnish no matter of correspondence. What few novelties I hear, come stale, and not till they have been hashed in the newspapers and though we are engaged in such big and wide wars, they produce no striking events, nor furnish any thing but regrets for the lives and millions we fling away to no purpose! One cannot divert when one can only compute, nor extract entertainment from prophecies that there is no reason to colour favourably. We have, indeed, foretold success for seven years together, but debts and taxes have been the sole completion.
If one turns to private life, what is there to furnish pleasing topics? Dissipation, without object, pleasure, or genius, is the only colour of the times. One hears every day of somebody undone. but can we or they tell how, except when it is by the most expeditious of all means, gaming? And now, even the loss of an hundred thousand pounds is not rare enough to be surprising. One may stare or growl, but cannot relate any thing that is worth hearing. I do not love to censure a younger age; but in good truth, they neither amuse me nor enable me to amuse others.
The pleasantest event I know happened to myself last Sunday morning when General Conway very unexpectedly walked in as I was at breakfast, in his way to Park-place. He looks as well in health and spirits as ever I saw him; and though he stayed but half an hour, I was perfectly content, as he is at home.
I am glad your lordship likes the fourth book of The Garden,(444) which is admirably coloured. The version of Fresnoy I think the finest translation I ever saw. It is a most beautiful poem, extracted from as dry and prosaic a parcel of verses as could be put together: Mr. Mason has gilded lead, and burnished it highly. Lord and Lady Harcourt I should think would make him a visit, and I hope, for their sakes, will visit Wentworth Castle. As they both have taste, I should be sorry they did not see the perfectest specimen of architecture I know.