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on 161NAL LETTERs of LADY MARY wortley Montagu, addressed to MRs. (Miss) ANNE J USTICE, upon the PAveMENT, Yost K. Printed from the origiNALs.
I. sure, dear Nanny, you’ll excuse my silence this bout: this last fortnight has been wholly taken up in receiving visits of congratulation upon my brother's wedding. My new sister is to passe the summer in the house with me, so you may be sure I shall have very little time to my selfe. I am perfectly ignorant of the marriage you mean, and so dull I can't guesse the name of the lord whose character you say is so good. If you are not at Scoffton this summer, I must despair of seeing you. I fancy about the latter end of this month we shall be going into Nottinghamshire. I writ to Mrs. B. three or four posts ago, and told her I heard she was going to be married; and gave her good advice, to forget Mr. Vane and take the first lover her relations propos'd to her—pray write me word if she follows it. I allwaies wish her very well. The small-pox rages dreadfully, and has carry'd off several people here: that, and the heat of the weather, makes me wish myselfe in the country. My eyes are something better, for I was not able to write for a good while; but they are still weak, and make me, sooner than I otherwaie would, tell you, that I am, dear Nanny, Your's to serve you.
Ay, ay, as you say, my dear, men are vile inconstant toads. Mr. Vane could never write with the brisk air if he had any sorrow in his heart; however, the letter is realy pritty, and gives me a good opinion of his understanding, tho’ none of his fidelity; I think they seldom go together. You are much in the right not to undeceive Mrs. B. I would not have her know any thing to vex her, as such a piece of news needs must. Poor lady!—but she's happy in being more discreet than I could be. On the other
Monruly Mac, No. 181.
hand, I could beat Mr. Vane, as much a pritty gentleman as I hear he is. . I'll swear, by his letter, he seems to have more mind to rival Mr. Crotchrode than break his heart for Mrs. B. I shall neither see dear Mrs. Justice, nor any of my north country friends, this year. I’m got into the west, over the hills and far away. Here is nothing to be lik’d that I can find; every thing in the same mode and fashion as in the days of king Arthur and the knights of the round table. In the hall, a great shovel board table and antick suits of armour; the parlor furnish'd with right reverend turky work chairs and carpets; and for books, the famous History of Amadis de Gaul, and the Book of Martyrs, with wooden cuts; and for company, not a mortal man but the parson of the parish, some fourscore or thereabouts: you know I was never a violent friend to the cloth, but I must make a virtue of necessity, and talk to him or nobody. This is the present posture of my affairs, which you must own very dismal. Times may mend; there is nothing sure, but that I am your's.
Direct for me at West-Dean, to be left at Mr. Foulks, a coffee-house, at the Three Lions, in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
The paper I mention'd is very long, and I don't know whether you'l think it worth postage; but if you persist in desiring it, I'll send it you. June 14. To Mrs. Anne Justice, York.
Not HING could be more obliging than so quick a return to my letter, and sending what I enquired for. I pity your poor Strephon, and guesse what effect such a letter must make on your heart. I like of all things his manner of writing, and am sorry all your wishes are not successful. Mr. V- has been a great dissembler if it breaks off of his side; but 'tis hard to distinguish false love from true. The poor lady is in a sweet pickle; and I am so good-natured to be sorry for all prople who have misfortunes,especially, of that kind which I think the most touch
ing. I would to God I was with you reading the Atalantis' I know the book, and 'twould be a vast pleasure to me to read some of the storys with you, which are realy very pritty: some part of Eleonora's I likc mightily, and all Diana's, which is the more moving because ’tis all true. If you and I was together now we should be very good company, for I'm in a very pritty garden with a book of charming verses in my hand. I don't know when we shall see Mrs. B. but when we do come into that country, is it quite impossible for you to stay a week or so with us?. I only hint this, for I know people's inclinations must submit to their conveniencys; only tell me how far it may be possible on your side, and then I'll endeavour it on mine; though a thousand things may happen to make it impossible as to my part. You know you should be allwaies welcome to me, and 'tis none of my fault if I don't see you. Remember your promise concerning the letters. To Mrs. Ann Justice, at York.
YES, yes, my dear, here is woods, and shades, and groves, in abundance. You are in the right on't; 'tis not the place,
but the solitude of the place, that is in
tolerable. 'Tis a horrid thing to see nothing but trees in a wood, and to walk by a purling stream to ogle the gudgeons, in it. I'm glad you continue your inclination to reading; 'tis the most improving and most pleasant of all employments, and helps to wear away many melancholy hours. I hear from some Nottinghamshire people, that Mrs. B. is not at all concern’d at the breaking off her match. I wonder at her courage if she is not, and at her prudence in dissembling it if she is. Prudent people are very happy: 'Tis an exceeding fine thing, that's certain; but I was born without it, and shall retain to my day of death the humour of saying what I think; therefore you may believe me, when I protest I am much mortify'd at not seeing the North this year, for a hundred and fifty reasons; amongst the rest, I should have been heartily glad to have seen my Lord Holdernesse. In this hideous country 'tis not the fashion to visit; and the few neighbours there are keep as far from one another as ever they can. The diversion here is walking; which indeed are very pritty all about the house; but then you may walk two mile without meeting a living creature but a few straggling cows. We have been here near this month, and seen but one visitor, and
her I never desire to see again, for I never saw such a monster in my life.
I am very sorry for your sore eyes. By this time I hope all's over, and you can see as well as ever. Adieu, my dear. When you drink tea with Mrs. B. drink my health, and do me the justice to believe I wish my selfe with you.
To Mrs. Anne Justice, York.
IAM very glad you divert yourselfe so well. I endeavour to make my solitude as agreeable as I can. Most things of that kind are in the power of the mind: we may make ourselves easy, if we cannot perfectly happy. The news you tell me very much surprizes me. I wish Mrs. B. extremely well, and hope she designs better for her selfe than a stolen wedding, with a man who (you know) we have reason to believe not the most sincere lover upon earth; and since his estate is in such very bad order, I am elearly of your opinion, his best course would be to the army, for I suppose six or seven thousand pound (if he should get that with his mistrisse) would not set him up again, and there he might possibly establish his fortune, at least better it, and at worst be rid of all his cares. I wonder all the young men in England don't take that method; certainly the most profitable as well the noblest. I confess I cannot believe Mrs. B. so imprudent to keep on any private correspondence with him. I much doubt her perfect happiness if she runs away with him. I fear she will have more reason than ever to say there is no such thing. I have just now received the numbers of the great lottery which is drawing: I find my selfe (as yet) among the unlucky; but, thank God, the great prize is not come out, and there's room for hopes still. Prithee, dear child, pray heartily for me. If I win, I don't question (in spite of all our disputes) to find my selfe perfectly happy. My heart goes very much pit-a-pat about it; but I've a hor: rid ill bodeing mind, that tells me I shan’t win a farthing. I should be very very glad to be mistaken in that case. I hear Mrs. B. has been at the Spaw. I wonder you don't mention it. Adieu, my dear. Pray make no more excuses about long letters, and believe your's never Seem SO to me. August 7.
To Mrs. Anne Justice, York.