I know nothing upon earth but my own disasters. Another is, that all yesterday I thought all my gold-fish stolen. I am not sure that they are not; but they tell me they keep at the bottom of the water from the hot weather. It is all to be laded out to-morrow morning, and then I shall know whether they are gone or boiled.
Whenever the weather cools to an English consistence, I will see you at Park-place or in town: but I think not at the former before the end of next month, unless I recover more courage than I have at present; for if I was to get a real fit, and be confined to my bed in such sultry days, I should not have strength to go through it. I have just fixed three new benches round my bowling-green, that I may make four journeys of the tour. Adieu!
As I was rising this morning, I received an express from your daughter, that she will bring Madame de Cambis and Lady Melbourne to dinner here to-morrow. I shall be vastly pleased with the party, but it puts Philip and Margaret to their wit’s end to get them a dinner: nothing is to be had here; we must send to Richmond, and Kingston, and Brentford; I must borrow Mr. Ellis’s cook, and somebody’s confectioner, and beg somebody’s fruit, for I have none of these of my own, nor know any thing of the matter: but that is Philip and Margaret’s affair, and not mine; and the worse the dinner is, the more Gothic Madame de Cambis will think it.
I have been emptying my pond, which was more in my head than the honour of my kitchen; and in the mud of the troubled water I have found all my gold, as Dunning and Barr`e(503) did last year. I have taken out fifteen young fish of a year and a half old for Lady Ailesbury, and reserved them as an offering worthy of Amphitrite in the vase, in the cat’s vase,(504) amidst the azure flowers that blow. They are too portly to be carried in a smelling-bottle in your pocket. I wish you could plan some way of a waterman’s calling for them, and transporting them to Henley. They have not changed their colour, but will next year. How lucky it would be, should you meet your daughter about Turnham Green, and turn back with them!
(502) Now first printed.
503) In the preceding year, through the influence of Lord Shelburne, a considerable pension had been granted to Colonel Barr`e, and a peerage and pension to Mr. Dunning.-E.
(504) The china vase in which Walpole’s favourite cat Selima was drowned. See Gray’s Works, vol. i. p. 6.-E.