The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford Volume 4.

Letter 413 To Miss Berry.  Thursday evening, April 16, 1794. (page 556)

I am delighted that you have such good weather for your villeggiatura.  The sun has not appeared here to-day; yet it has been so warm, that he may not be gone out of town, and only keeps in because it is unfashionable to be seen in London at Easter.  All my evening customers are gone, except Mrs. Damer, and she is at home to-night with the Greatheds and Mrs. Siddons, and a few more; and she had a mind I should go to her, I had a mind too; but think myself still too weak:  after confinement for fourteen weeks, it seems formidable to sally forth.  I have heard no novelty since you ’went, but of more progress in Martinico; on which it is said there is to be a Gazette, and which, I suppose, gave a small fillip to the stocks this morning:  though my Jew, whom I saw again this morning, ascribed the rise to expectation in the City of news of a counter-revolution at Paris;-but a revolution to be, generally proves an addled egg.

The Gazette arrives, and little of Martinico remained unconquered.  The account from Sir Charles Gray is one continued panegyric on the conduct of our officers soldiers, and sailors; who do not want to be driven on `a la Dumaurier, by cannon behind them and on both sides.  A good quantity of artillery and stores is taken too, and only two officers and about seventy men killed.  There is a codicil to the Gazette, with another post taken—­the map, I suppose, knows where I do not—­but you, who are a geographess, will, or easily find it out.

At my levee before dinner, I had Mrs. Buller, Lady Lucan, Sir Charles Blagden, Mr. Coxe, and Mr. Gough.  This was a good day; I have not always so welcome a circle.  I have run through both volumes of Mrs. Piozzi.  Here and there she does not want parts, has some good translations, and stories that are new; particularly an admirable bon-mot of Lord Chesterfield, which I never heard before, but dashed with her cruel vulgarisms:  see vol. ii. p. 291.  The story, I dare to say, never happened, but was invented by the Earl himself; to introduce his reply.  The sun never was the emblem of Louis Quinze, but of Louis Quatorze; In whose time his lordship was not ambassador, nor the Czarina Empress:  nor, foolish as some ambassadors are, could two of them propose devices for toasts; as if, like children, they were playing at pictures and mottoes:  and what the Signora styles a public toust, the Earl, I conclude, called a great dinner then.  I have picked out a motto for her work in her own words, and written it on the title-page:  “Simplicity cannot please without eloquence!” Now I think on’t, let me ask if you have been as much diverted as you was at first? and have not two such volumes sometimes set you a’yawning?  It is comic, that in a treatise on synonymous words, she does not know which are and which are not so.  In the chapter on worth, she says, “The worth -even of money fluctuates in our state;” instead of saying in this country.  Her very title is wrong; as she does not even mention synonymous Scottish words:  it ought to be called not British, but English Synonymy.

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