(560) “Lord Pembroke said Once to me at Wilton that Dr. Johnson’s sayings would not appear so extraordinary, were it not for his bow-Wow way.” Ibid. vol. iv, p. 8.-E.
As your lordship has given me this opportunity, I cannot resist saying, what I was exceedingly tempted to mention two or three years ago, but had not the confidence. In short, my lord, when the order of St. Patrick was instituted, I had a mind to hint to your lordship that it was exactly the moment for seizing an occasion that has been irretrievably lost to this country. When I was at Paris, I found in the convent of Les Grands Augustins three vast chambers filled with the portraits (and their names and titles beneath) of all the knights of the St. Esprit, from the foundation of the order. Every new knight, with few exceptions, gives his own portrait on his creation. Of the order of St. Patrick, I think but one founder is dead yet; and his picture perhaps may be retrieved. I will not make any apology to so good a patriot as your lordship, for proposing a plan that tends to the honour of his country, which I will presume to call mine too, as it is both by union and my affection for it. I should wish the name of the painter inscribed too, which would excite emulation in your artists. But it is unnecessary to dilate on the subject to your lordship; who, as a patron of the arts, as well as a patriot, will improve on my imperfect thoughts, and, if you approve of them, can give them stability. I have the honour to beg my lord, etc.
(561) Now first collected.
I am extremely obliged to your ladyship for your kind letter; and, though I cannot write myself, I can dictate a few lines. This has not been a regular fit of the gout, but a worse case: one of my fingers opened with a deposit of chalk,(563) and brought on gout, and both together an inflammation and swelling almost up to my shoulder. in short, I was forced to have a surgeon, who has managed me so Judiciously, that both the inflammation and swelling are gone; and nothing remains but the wound in my finger, which will heal as soon as all the chalk is discharged. My surgeon wishes me to take the air; but I am so afraid of a relapse, that I have not yet consented.
My poor old friend is a great loss;(564) but it did not much Surprise me, and the manner comforts me. I had played at cards with her at Mrs. Gostling’s three nights before I came to town, and found her extremely confused, and not knowing what she did: indeed, I perceived something Of the sort before, and had found her much broken this autumn. It seems, that the day after I saw her, she went to General Lister’s burial and got cold, and had been ill