(82) Upon indian affairs.
(83) See ante, p. 59, letter 34.
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.