I do lament your not going to Mr. Conway’s play: both the author and actors deserved such an auditor as you, and you deserved to hear them. However, I do not pity good people who out of virtue lose or miss any pleasures. Those pastimes fleet as fast as those of the wicked; but when gone, you saints can sit down and feast on your self-denial, and drink bumpers of satisfaction to the health of your own merit. So truly I don’t pity you.
You say you hear no news, yet you quote Mr. Topham;(615) therefore why should I tell you that the King is going to Cheltenham? Or that the Baccelli lately danced at the opera at Paris with a blue bandeau on her forehead, inscribed, “Honi soit qui mal y pense.” Now who can doubt but she is as pure as the Countess of Salisbury! Was not it ingenious? and was not the ambassador so to allow it? No doubt he took it for a compliment to his own knee.
Well! would we committed nothing but follies! What do we not commit when the abolition of slavery hitches! Adieu!
Though Cato died, though Tully spoke,
Though Brutus dealt the godlike stroke,
Yet perish’d fated Rome.
You have written; and I fear that even if Mr. Sheridan speaks, trade, the modern religion, will predominate. Adieu!
(614) Miss More, in her last letter, had said—“Mail-coaches, which come to others, come not to me: letters and newspapers, now that they travel In coaches, like gentlemen and ladies, come not within ten miles of my hermitage: and while other fortunate provincials are studying the world and its ways, and are feasting upon elopement, divorces, and suicides, tricked out in all the elegancies of Mr. Topham’s phraseology, I am obliged to be contented with village vices, petty iniquities, and vulgar sins,” Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 77.-E.
(615) Major Topham was the proprietor of the fashionable morning paper entitled The World. “In this paper,” says Mr. Gifford, in his preface to the Baviad, “were given the earliest specimens of those unqualified and audacious attacks on all private character, and which the town first smiled at for their quaintness then tolerated for their absurdity; now—that other papers equally wicked and more intelligible, have ventured to imitate it—will have to lament to the last hour of British liberty.” In 1791, Major Topham published the Life of John Elwes the miser; which Walpole considered one of the most amusing anecdotical books in the English language.-E.
(616) While the Duke of Dorset, who kept her was ambassador at Paris. The Countess of Salisbury, to the fall of whose garter has been attributed the foundation of the order of the Garter.