“Despairing, beside a clear stream
A shepherd forsaken was laid;”—
not very close to the stream, but within doors in sight of it; for in this damp weather a lame old Colin cannot lie and despair with any comfort on a wet bank: but I smile against the grain, and am seriously alarmed at Thursday being come, and no letter! I dread one of you being ill. Mr. Batt(635) and the Abb`e Nicholls(636) dined with me to-day, and I could talk of you en pais de connoissance. They tried to persuade me that I have no cause to be in a fright about you; but I have such perfect faith in the kindness of both of you, as I have in your possessing every other virtue, that I cannot believe but some sinister accident must have prevented my hearing from you. I wish Friday was come! I cannot write about any thing else till I have a letter.
(632) A dog of Miss Berry’s left in Walpole’s care during their absence in Yorkshire.-M.B.
(633) The dog which had been bequeathed to Mr. Walpole by Madame du Deffand at her death, and which was likewise called Tonton. See ant`e, p. 275, letter 217.-M.B.
(634) on the night of the 17th, the Opera-house was entirely consumed by fire.-E.
(635) Thomas Batt, Esq. then one of the commissioners for public accounts.-E.
(636) The Rev. Norton Nicholls, rector of Lound and Bradwell in the county of Suffolk; one of the most elegant scholars and accomplished gentlemen of the day. He died in November 1809, in his sixty-eighth year. " It was his singular good fortune,” says Mr. Dawson Turner, , to have been distinguished in his early life by the friendship of Gray the poet; while the close of his days was cheered and enlivened and dignified by the friendship, and almost constant society, of a Man scarcely inferior to Gray in talent and acquirements Mr. Mathias; who has embalmed his memory in an Italian Ode and a biographical Memoir; which latter is a beautiful specimen of that kind of composition.,, They will both be found in the fifth volume of Nicholls’s Illustrations of Literature.-E.