Your herb-snuff and the four glasses are lying in my warehouse, but I can hear of no ship going to Paris. You are now at FOntainbleau, but not thinking of Francis 1. the Queen of Sweden, and Monaldelschi. It is terrible that one cannot go to courts that are gone! You have supped with the Chevalier de Boufflers: did he act every thing in the world, and sing every thing in the world, and laugh at every thing in the world? Has Madame de Cambis sung to you “Sans d`epit, sans l`egert`e?"(145) Has Lord Cholmondeley delivered my pacquet? I hear I have hopes of Madame d’Olonne.(146) Gout or no gout, I shall be little in town till after Christmas. My elbow makes me bless myself that I am not at Paris. Old age is no such uncomfortable thing, if one gives oneself up to it with a good grace, and don’t drag it about
“To midnight dances and the public show.”
If one stays quietly in one’s own house in the country, and cares for nothing but oneself, scolds one’s servants, condemns every thing that is new, and recollects how charming a thousand things were formerly that were very disagreeable, one gets over the winters very well, and the summers get over themselves.
(144) This was a cant name given to Lady Powis, who was very fond of loo, and had lost much money at the game.
(145) The first words of a favourite French air.
(146) The Portrait in enamel of Madame d’Olonne by Petitot, which Walpole afterwards purchased.-E.
I am sorry there is still time, my dear lord, to write to you again; and that though there is, I have so little to amuse you with. One is not much nearer news for being within ten miles of London than if in Yorkshire; and besides, whatever reaches us, Lady Greenwich catches at the rebound before me, and Sends you before I can. Our own circle furnishes very little. Dowagers are good for propagating news when planted, but have done with sending forth suckers. Lady Blandford’s coffee-house is removed to town, and the Duchess of Newcastle’s is little frequented, but by your sister Anne, Lady Browne, and me. This morning, indeed, I was at a very fine concert at old Franks’s at Isleworth, and heard Leoni,(147) who pleased me more than any thing I have heard these hundred years. There is a full melancholy melody in his voice, though a falsetto, that nothing but a natural voice ever compasses. Then he sung songs of Handel in the genuine simple style, and did not put one in pain like rope-dancers. Of the Opera I hear a dismal account; for I did not go to it to sit in our box like an old King dowager by myself. Garrick is treating the town, as it deserves and likes to be treated, with scenes, fireworks, and his own writing. A good new play I never expect to see more, nor have seen since The Provoked Husband, which came out when I was at school.