The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.

Letter 287 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Sunday Night, Nov. 28, 1784. (page 362)

I have received the parcel of papers you sent me, which I conclude come from Lord Strafford, and will apply them as well as I possibly can, you may be sure, but with little hope of doing any good:  humanity is no match for cruelty.  There are now and then such angelic beings as Mr. Hanway and Mr. Howard; but our race in general is pestilently bad and malevolent.  I have been these two years wishing to promote my excellent friend Mr. Porter’s plan for alleviating the woes of chimney-sweepers, but never could make impression on three people; on the contrary, have generally caused a smile.

George Conway’s intelligence of hostilities commenced between the Dutch and Imperialists makes me suppose that France will support the former—­or could they resist?  Yet I had heard that France would not.  Some have thought, as I have done, that a combination of partition would happen between Austria, France, and Prussia, the modern law of nations for avoiding wars.  I know nothing:  so my conjectures may all be erroneous; especially as one argues reason; a very inadequate judge, as it leaves passions, caprices, and accidents, out of its calculation.  It does not seem the interest of France, that the Emperor’s power should increase in their neighbourhood and extend to the sea.  Consequently it is France’s interest to protect Holland in concert with Prussia.  This last is a transient power, and may determine on the death of the present King; but the Imperial is a permanent force, and must be the enemy of France, however present connexions may incline the scale.

In any case, I hope we shall no way be hooked into the quarrel not only from the impotence of our circumstances, but as I think it would decide the loss of Ireland, which seems tranquillizing:  but should we have any bickering with France, she would renew the manoeuvres she practised so fatally in America.  These are my politics; I do not know with whose they coincide or disagree, nor does it signify a straw.  Nothing will depend on my opinion; nor have I any opinion about them, but when I have nothing at all to do that amuses me more, or nothing else to fill a letter.

I can give you a sample of my idleness, what may divert Lady Ailesbury and your academy of arts and sciences for a minute in the evening.  It came into my head yesterday to send a card to Lady Lyttelton, to ask when she would be in town; here it is in an heroic epistle:- From a castle as vast as the castles on signs,—­

>From a hill that all Africa’s molehills outshines,
This epistle is sent to a cottage so small,
That the door cannot ope if you stand in the hall,
To a lady who would be fifteen, if her knight
And old swain were as young as Methusalem quite;
It comes to inquire, not whether her eyes
Are as radiant as ever, but how many sighs
He must vent to the rocks and the echoes around,
(Though nor echo nor rock in the parish is found,)
Before she, obdurate, his passion will meet—­
His passion to see her in Portugal-street?

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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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