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(April, 1761.) MY DEAR SIR, A STRAIN which I got in my wrist by a terrible fall prevented my acknowledging the favour of your obliging letter. I went yesterday morning to breakfast with Mr. V., who is a kind of right-hand man to the secretary, on purpose to enquire about the propriety, or feasibility, of doing what you wish me — and he has told me an anecdote, which, had you been here, would, I think, have made it wiser to have deferred speaking about the affair a month hence than now; it is this
You must know that the numbers of officers who have left their regiments in Germany, for the pleasures of the town, have been long a topic for merriment; as you see them in St. James's Coffeehouse and the Park, every hour, enquiring, open mouth, how things go on in Germany, and what news when they should have been there to have furnished news themselves; but the worst part has been that many of them have left their brother-officers on their duty, and in all the fatigues of it, and have come with no end but to make friends, to be put unfairly over the heads of those who were left risking their lives. In this attempt there have been some but too successful, which has justly raised ill-blood and complaints from the officers who staid behind the upshot has been that they have every soul been ordered off, and woe be to bim ('tis said) who shall be found listening! Now just to mention our friend's case whilst this cry is on foot, I think would be doing more hurt than good: but, if you think otherwise, I will go with all
my heart, and mention it to Mr. Townshend, for to do more I am too inconsiderable a person to pretend to.
You made me and my friends here very merry with the accounts current at York, of my being forbid the Court but they do not consider what a considerable person they make of me, when they suppose either my going or my not going there, is a point that ever enters the King's head and for those about him, I have the honour either to stand so personally well known to them, or to be so well represented by those of the first rank, as to fear no accident of that kind.
I thank God (B-s excepted) I have never yet made a friend or connection I have forfeited, or done aught to forfeit but on the contrary, my true character is better understood, and where I had one friend last year, who did me honour, I have three now. enemies knew that by this rage of abuse and ill-will they were effectually serving the interests both of my self and works, they would be more quiet but it has been the fate of my betters, who have found that the way to fame is like the way to heaven, through much tribulation and till I shall have the honour to be as much maltreated as Rabelais and Swift were, I must continue humble: for I have not filled up the measure of half their persecutions.
The Court is turning topsy-turvy. Lord Bute, le premier* Lord Talbot, to be groom of the chambers ** in the room of the D. of R-d Lord Halifax to Ireland *** Sir F. Dashwood in Talbot's
* Lord Bute was appointed Secretary-of-state on the 26th of March, ** Lord Talbot was appointed Steward of the Household on the same day.
*** Lord Halifax was appointed Lord-lieutenant of Ireland on the 20th of March, 1761,
place Pitt seems unmoved
a peace inevitable Stocks rise – the peers this moment kissing hands &c. &c. (this week may be christened the kisshands week) for a hundred changes will happen in consequence of these. Pray present my compliments to Mrs. C. and all friends, and believe, me, with the greatest fidelity,
Your ever obliged
P. S. Is it not strange that Lord Talbot should have power to remove the Duke of R-d?
Pray when you have read this, send the news to Mrs. Sterne.
Coxwould, July 28, 1761. DEAR HM, I SYMPATHISED for, or with, you, on the detail you give me of your late agitations, and would willingly have taken my horse, and trotted to the oracle to have enquired into the etymology of all your sufferings, had I not been assured that all evacuation of bilious matter, with all that abdominal motion attending it (both which are equal to a month's purgation and exercise) will have left you better than it found you.
Need one go to D— to be told that all kind of mild (mark I am going to talk more foolishly than your apothecary), opening, saponacious, dirty-shirt, sud-washing liquors are proper for you, and consequently all styptical potations, death and destruction if you had not shut up your gall-ducts by these, the glauber-salts could not
have hurt as it was, 'twas like a match to the gunpowder, by raising a fresh combustion, as all physic does at first, so that you have been let off nitre, brimstone, and charcoal (which is blackness itself), all at one blast
'twas well the piece did not burst, for I think it underwent great violence, and as it is proof, will, I hope, do much service in this militating world. - Panty* is mistaken, I quarrel with no one. — There was that coxcomb of in the house, who lost temper with me for no reason upon earth but that I could not fall down and worship a brazen image of learning and eloquence, which he set up, to the persecution of all true believers I sat down upon his altar, and whistled in the time of his divine service and broke down his carved work, and kicked his incense-pot to the D, so he retreated, sed non sine felle in corde suo.
I have wrote a clerum; whether I shall take my doctor's degrees or no I am much in doubt, but I trow not. I go on with Tristram
I have bought seven hundred books at a purchase, dog cheap and many good
and I have been a week getting them set up in my best room here
why do not you transport yours to town? but I talk like a fool. This will just catch you at your spaw - I wish you incolumem apud Londinum
do you go there for good and all or ill? --- I am, dear cousin,
• The Reverend Mr.
TO THE SAME.
Coxwould [about August), 1761.
I REJOICE you are in London rest you there in peace: - here 'tis the devil. You was a good prophet.
I wish myself back again, as you told me I should - but not because a thin, death-doing, pestiferous, north-east wind blows in a line directly from Crazycastle turret full upon me in this cuckoldy retreat (för I value the north-east wind and all its powers not a straw), but the transition from rapid motion to absolute rest was too violent. I should have walked about the streets of York ten days, as a proper
medium to have passed through, before I entered upon my rest. I staid but a moment, and I have been here but a few, to satisfy me I have not managed my miseries like a wise man
and if God, for solation under them, had not poured forth the spirit of Shandeism into me, which will not suffer me to think two moments upon any grave subject, I would else, just now
lie down and die die and yet, in half an hour's time, I'll lay a guinea, I shall be as merry as a monkey and as mischievous too, and forget it all
so that this is but a copy of the present train running cross my brain. And so you think this cursed stupid but that, my dear H~, depends much upon the quotâ horâ of your shabby clock, if the pointer of it is in any quarter between ten in the morning or four in the afternoon
I give it up or if the day is obscured by dark engendering clouds of either wet or dry weather, I am still lost
but who knows but may be five, and the day as fine a