Dear madam, I not only send you “La Cit`e des Dames,” but Christina’s Life of Charles the Fifth, which will entertain you more; and which, when I wrote my brief history of her, I did not know she had actually composed. Mr. Dutens told me of it very lately, and actually borrowed it for me; and but yesterday my French bookseller sent me three-and-twenty other volumes of those M`emoires Historiques,(583) which I had ordered him to get for me, and which will keep my eyes to the oar for some time, whenever I have leisure to sail through such an ocean; and yet I shall embark with pleasure, late as it is for me to undertake such a hugeous voyage: but a crew of old gossips are no improper company, and we shall sit in a warm cabin, and hear and tell old stories of past times.
Pray keep the volume as long as you please, and borrow as many more as you please, for each volume is a detached piece. Yet I do not suppose your friends will allow you much time for reading; and I hope I shall often be the better for their hindering you.(584) Yours most sincerely.
(583) “Collection des meilleurs Ouvrages Francais compos`es par des Femmes.” by Mademoiselle Keralio.
(584) Miss More, in a letter written a few days after, says—“Mr. Walpole is remarkably well: yesterday he sent me a very agreeable letter, with some very thick volumes of curious French M`emoires, desiring me, if I like them, to send for the other twenty-three volumes; a pretty light undertaking, in this mad town and this sort of life.” memoirs, vol. ii. p. 49.-E.
It is very true, Sir, as Lord Strafford told you, that I have taken care that letters of living persons to me shall be restored to the writers when I die. I have burnt a great many, and, as you desire it, would do so by yours; but, having received a like intimation some time ago, I put yours into a separate paper, with a particular direction that they should be delivered to you: and, therefore, I imagine it will be more satisfaction to you, as it will be to me too, that you should receive them yourself; and therefore if you please to let me know how I shall convey them, I will bring them from Strawberry Hill, where they are, the first time I go thither. I hope you enjoy your health, and I have the honour to be, Sir, etc.
(585) Now first printed.
In your note, on going out of town, you desired me to remember you; but as I do not like the mere servile merit of obedience, I took time, my dear Madam, to try to forget you; and, having failed as to my wish, I have the free-born pleasure of thinking of you in spite of my teeth, and without any regard to your injunction. No queen upon earth, as fond as royal persons are of their prerogative, but would prefer being loved for herself rather than for her power; and I hope you have not more majesty