I have another satisfaction in the sale of your book-; it will occasion a second edition. What if, as you do not approve of confuting misquoters, you simply printed a list of their false quotations, referring to the identical sentences, at the end of your second edition? That will be preserving their infamy, which else would perish where it was born; and perhaps would deter others from similar forgeries. If any rational opponent staggers you on any opinion of yours, I would retract it; and that would be a second triumph. I am, perhaps, too impertinent and forward with advice: it is at best a proof of zeal; and you are under no obligation to follow my counsel. it is the weakness of old age to be apt to give advice; but I will fairly arm you against myself, by confessing that, when I was young, I was not apt to take any.
(556) Now first collected.
I wondered I did not hear from you, as I concluded you returned. You have made me good amends by the entertaining story of your travels. If I were not too disjointed for long journeys, I should like to see much of what you have seen; but if I had the agility of Vestris, I would not purchase all that pleasure for my eyes at the expense of my unsociability, which could not have borne the hospitality you experienced. It was always death to me, when I did travel England, to have lords and ladies receive me and show me their castles, instead of turning me over to their housekeeper: it hindered my seeing any thing, and I was the whole time meditating my escape; but Lady Ailesbury and you are not such sensitive plants, nor shrink and close up if a stranger holds out a hand. I don’t wonder you was disappointed with Jarvis’s windows at New College; I had foretold their miscarriage. The old and the new are as"mismatched as an orange and a lemon, and destroy each other; nor is there room enough to retire back and see half of the new; and Sir Joshua’s washy Virtues make the Nativity a dark spot from the darkness of the Shepherds, which happened, as I knew it would, from most of Jarvis’s colours not being transparent.
I have not seen the improvements at Blenheim. I used to think it one of the ugliest places in England; a giant’s castle, who had laid waste all the country round him. Every body now allows the merit of Brown’s achievements there.(557)
Of all your survey I wish most to see Beau Desert. Warwick Castle and Stowe I know by heart. The first I had rather possess than any seat upon earth: not that I think it the most beautiful of all., though charming, but because I am so intimate with all its proprietors for the last thousand years.
I have often and often studied the new plan of Stowe: it is pompous; but though the Wings are altered, they are not lengthened. Though three parts of the edifices in the garden are bad, they enrich that insipid country, and the vastness pleases me more than I can defend.