I am very sorry for the state of poor Lady Beauchamp. It presages ill. She had a prospect of long happiness. Opium is a very false friend. I will get you Bougainville’s book.(57) I think it is on the Falkland Isles, for it cannot be on those just discovered; but as I set out to-morrow se’nnight, and probably may have no opportunity sooner of sending it, I will bring it myself. Adieu! Yours ever.
(55) It will b recollected, that General Conway travelled with Gray and Walpole in 1739, and separated from them at Geneva.-E.
(56) Gray’s last letter to Walpole was dated March 17, 1771; it contained the following striking passage:—“He must have a very strong stomach that can digest the crambe recocta of Voltaire. Atheism is a vile dish, though all the cooks of France combine to make new sauces to it. As to the soul, perhaps they may have none on the Continent; but I do think we have such things in England; Shakspeare, for example, I believe, had several to his own share. As to the Jews (though they do not eat pork), I like them, because they are better Christians than Voltaire.” Works vol. iv. p. 190.-E.
(57) An English translation of the book appeared in 1773, under the title of “History of a Voyage to the Malonine, or Falkland Islands, made in 1763 and 1764, under the command of M. de Bougainville; and of two Voyages to the Straits of Magellan, with an account of the Patagonians; translated from Don Pernety’s Historical Journal, written in French.” In the same year was published a translation of Bougainville’s “Voyage autour du Monde.” This celebrated circumnavigator retired from the service in 1790. He afterwards was made Count and Senator by Napoleon Buonaparte, became member of the National Institute and of the Royal Society of London, and died at Paris in 1811, at the age of eighty-two.-E.
I am excessively shocked at reading in the papers that Mr. Gray is dead! I wish to God you may be able to tell me it is not true! Yet in this painful uncertainty I must rest some days! None of my acquaintance are in London—I do not know to whom to apply but to you—alas! I fear in vain! Too many circumstances speak it true!—the detail is exact;—a second paper arrived by the same post, and does not contradict it—and, what is worse, I saw him but four or five days before I came hither: he had been to Kensington for the air, complained of the gout flying about him, of sensations of it in his stomach: I, indeed, thought him changed, and that he looked ill—still I had not the least idea of his being in danger—I started up from my chair when I read the paragraph—a cannon-ball would not have surprised me more! The shock but ceased, to give way to my concern; and my hopes are too ill-founded to mitigate it. If nobody has the charity to write to me, my anxiety must continue till the end of the month, for I shall set out on my return on the 26th; and unless you receive this time enough for your answer to leave London on the 20th, in the evening, I cannot meet it till I find it in Arlington-street, whither I beg you to direct it.