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 303 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, August 29, 1786. (page 384)

Since I received the honour of your lordship’s last, I have been at Park-place for a few days.  Lord and Lady Frederick Campbell and Mrs. Damer were there.  We went on the Thames to see the new bridge at Henley, and Mrs. Damer’s colossal masks.  There is not a sight in the island more worthy of being visited.  The bridge is as perfect as if bridges were natural productions, and as beautiful as if it had been built"for Wentworth Castle; and the masks, as if the Romans had left them here.  We saw them in a fortunate moment; for the rest of the time was very cold and uncomfortable, and the evenings as chill as many we have had lately.  In short, I am come to think that the beginning of an old ditty, which passes for a collection of blunders, was really an old English pastoral, it is so descriptive of our climate: 

“Three children sliding on the ice
All on a summer’s day——­”

I have been overwhelmed more than ever by visitants to my house.  Yesterday I had Count Oginski,(576) who was a pretender to the crown of Poland at the last election, and has been stripped of most of a vast estate.  He had on a ring of the new King of Prussia, or I should have wished him joy on the death Of One of the plunderers of his country.(577)

It has long been my opinion that the out-pensioners of Bedlam are so numerous, that the shortest and cheapest way would be to confine in Moorfields the few that remain in their senses, who would then be safe; and let the rest go at large.  They are the out-pensioners who are for destroying poor dogs!  The whole canine race never did half so much mischief as Lord George Gordon; nor even worry hares, but when hallooed on by men.  As it is a persecution of animals, I do not love hunting; and what old writers mention as a commendation makes me hate it the more, its being an image of war.  Mercy on us! that destruction of any species should be a sport or a merit!  What cruel unreflecting imps we are!  Every body is unwilling to die; yet sacrifices the lives of others to momentary -pastime, or to the still emptier vapour, fame!  A hero or a sportsman who wishes for longer life is desirous of prolonging devastation.  We shall be crammed, I suppose, with panegyrics and epitaphs on the King of Prussia; I am content that he can now have an epitaph.  But, alas! the Emperor will write one for him probably in blood! and, while he shuts up convents for the sake of population, will be stuffing hospitals .With maimed soldiers, besides making thousands of widows!

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