Your brother has sent me a card for a ball on Monday, but I have excused myself. I have not yet compassed the whole circuit of my own garden, and I have had an inflammation in one of my eyes, and don’t think I look as well as my house and my verdure; and had rather see my haycocks, than the Duchess of Polignac and Madame Lubomirski. “The Way to Keep Him” had the way to get me, and I could crawl to it because I had an inclination; but I have a great command of myself when I have no mind to do any thing. Lady Constant was worth an hundred ars and irskis. Let me hear of you when you have nothing else to do; though I suppose you have as little to tell as you see I had.
St. Swithun is no friend to correspondence, my dear lord. There is not only a great sameness in his own proceedings, but he makes every body else dull-I mean in the country, where one frets at its raining every day and all day. In town he is no more minded than the proclamation against vice and immorality. Still, though he has all the honours of the quarantine, I believe it often rained for forty days long before St. Swithun was born, if ever born he was; and the proverb was coined and put under his patronage, because people observed that it frequently does rain for forty days together at this season. I remember Lady Suffolk telling me, that Lord Dysart’s great meadow had never been mowed but once in forty years without rain. I said, “All that that proved was, that rain was good for hay,” as I am persuaded the climate of a country and its productions are suited to each other. Nay, rain is good for haymakers too, who get more employment the oftener the hay is made over again. I do not know who is the saint that presides over thunder; but he has made an unusual quantity in this chill summer, and done a great deal of serious mischief, though not a fiftieth part of what Lord George Gordon did seven years ago, and happily he is fled.
Our little part of the world has been quiet as usual. The Duke of Queensberry has given a sumptuous dinner to the Princess de Lamballe(599)—et voil`a tout. I never saw her, not even in France. I have no particular penchant for sterling princes and princesses, much less for those of French plate.
The only entertaining thing I can tell your lordship from our district is, that old Madam French, who lives close by the bridge at Hampton-court, where, between her and the Thames, she had nothing but one grass-plot of the width of her house, has paved that whole plot with black and white marble in diamonds, exactly like the floor of a church; and this curious metamorphosis of a garden into a pavement has cost her three hundred and forty pounds:-a tarpaulin she might have had for some shillings, which would have looked as well, and might easily have been removed. To be sure, this exploit, and Lord Dudley’s obelisk below a hedge, with his canal at right angles with the Thames, and a sham bridge no broader than that of a violin, and parallel to the river, are not preferable to the monsters in clipt yews of our ancestors;