Though I this morning received your Sunday’s full letter, it is three o’clock before I have a moment to begin answering it; and must do it myself: for Kirgate is not at home. First came in Mr. Barrett, and then Cosway, who has been for some days at Mr. Udney’s, with his wife: she is so afflicted for her only little girl, that she shut herself up in her chamber, and would not be seen.(898) The man Cosway does not seem to think that much of the loss belonged to him: he romanced with his usual vivacity. Next arrived Dr. Burney, on his way to Mrs. Boscawen. He asked me about deplorable “Camilla.” Alas! I had not recovered of it enough to be loud in its praise. I am glad, however, to hear that she has realized about two thousand pounds; and the worth, no doubt, of as much in honours at Windsor; where she was detained three days, and where even M. D’Arblay was allowed to dine.
I rejoice at your bathing promising so well. If the beautiful fugitive(899) from Brighthelmstone dips too, the waves will be still more salutary:—
Venus, orta mari, mare prestat eunti.
I like your going to survey castles and houses: it is wholesomer than drawing and writing tomes of letters;—which, you see, I cannot do.
Wednesday, after breakfast.
When I came home from Lady Mendip’s last night, I attempted to finish this myself; but my poor fingers were so tired by all the work of the day, that it will require Sir William Jones’s gift of tongues to interpret my pot-hooks. One would think Arabic characters were catching; for Agnes had shown me a volume of their poems, finely printed at Cambridge, with a version which Mrs. Douglas had lent to her, and said they were very simple, and not in the inflated style of the last. You shall judge: in the first page I opened, I found a storm of lightning that had burst into a laugh. I resume the thread of my letter. You had not examined Arundel Castle enough; for you do not mention the noble monuments, in alabaster, of the Fitz-Alans, one of whom bragged of having married Adeliza, widow of Henry the First. In good sooth, they were somewhat defaced by Cromwell having mounted his cannon on the roof to batter the Castle; of which, when I saw it, he had left little but ruins; and they were choked up by a vile modern brick house, which I know Solomon has pulled down: for he came hither two years ago to consult me about Gothicizing his restoration of the castle. I recommended Mr. Wyat, lest he should copy the temple of Jerusalem.
So you found a picture of your predecessor!(900) She had had a good figure: but I had rather it had been a portrait of her aunt, Mrs. Arabella Fermor, the heroine of the Lock, of whom I never saw a resemblance. You did not, I suppose, see the giant, who, the old Duke told me, used to walk among the ruins, but who, to be sure, Duke Solomon(901) has laid in a Red Sea of claret. There are other splendid seats to be seen within your reach; as Petworth, and Standstead, and Up-Park: but I know why I guess that you may even be of parties, more than once, at the last.