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.

(82) Upon indian affairs.

(83) See ante, p. 59, letter 34.

Letter 51 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 8, 1773. (page 75)

In return to your very kind inquiries, dear Sir, I can let you know, that I am quite free from pain, and walk a little about my room, even without a stick:  nay, have been four times to take the air in the park.  Indeed, after fourteen weeks this is not saying much; but it is a worse reflection, that when one is subject to the gout, and far from young, one’s worst account will probably be better than that after the next fit.  I neither flatter myself on one hand, nor am impatient on the other—­for will either do one any good? one must bear one’s lot whatever it be.

I rejoice Mr. * * * * has justice,(84) though he had no bowels.  How Gertrude More escape’ him I do not guess.  It will be wrong to rob you of her, after she has come to you through so many hazards—­nor would I hear of it either, if you have a mind to keep her, or have not given up all thoughts of a collection since you have been visited by a Visigoth.

I am much more impatient to see Mr. Gray’s print, than Mr. What-d’ye-call-him’s answer to my Historic Doubts.(85) He may have made himself very angry; but I doubt whether he will make me at all so.  I love antiquities; but I scarce ever knew an antiquary who knew how to write upon them.  Their understandings seem as much in ruins as the things they describe.  For the Antiquarian Society, I shall leave them in peace with Whittington and his Cat.  As my contempt for them has not, however, made me disgusted with what they do not understand, antiquities, I have published two numbers of Miscellanies, and they are very welcome to mumble them with their toothless gums.  I want to send you these—­not their gums, but my pieces, and a Grammont,(86) of which I have printed only a hundred copies, and which will be extremely scarce, as twenty-five copies are gone to France.  Tell me how I shall convey them safely.

Another thing you must tell me, if you can, is, if you know any thing ancient of the Freemasons Governor Pownall,(87) a Whittingtonian, has a mind they should have been a corporation erected by the popes.  As you see what a good creature I am, and return good for evil, I am engaged to pick up what I can for him, to support this system, in which I believe no more than in the pope:  and the work is to appear in a volume of the Society’s pieces.  I am very willing to oblige him, and turn my cheek, that they may smite that, also.  Lord help them!  I am sorry that they are such numsculls, that they almost make me think myself something! but there are great authors enough to bring me to my senses again.  Posterity, I fear, will class me with the writers of this age, or forget me with them, not rank me with any names that deserve remembrance.  If I cannot survive the Milles’s, the What-d’ye-call-him’s, and the compilers of catalogues of topography, it would comfort me very little to confute them.  I should be as little proud of success as if I had carried a contest for churchwarden.

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