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six volumes of what has past comically in this great scene, since these last fourteen days but more of this hereafter. - We are all going into mourning; neither you, nor Mrs. Garrick, would know me if you met me in my remise. Bless
both! Service to Mrs. Denis. Adieu, adieu;
London, * Feb, 1, 1762.
* Your Ladyship's kind enquiries after my health are indeed kind, and of a piece with the rest of your character. Indeed I am very ill, having broke a vessel in my lungs - hard writing in the summer, together with preaching, which I have not strength for, is ever fatal to me
but I cannot avoid the latter yet, and the former is too pleasurable to be given up - I believe I shall try if the south of France will not be of service to me his G. of Y. has most humanely given me the permission for a year or two -- I shall set off with great hopes of its efficacy, and shall write to my wife and daughter to come and join me at Paris, else my stay could not be so long. “Le Fevre's story has beguiled your ladyship of your tears,” and the thought of the accusing spirit flying up to heaven's chancery with the oath, you are kind enough to say is sublime
my friend, Mr. Garrick, thinks so too, and I am most vain of his approbation – your Ladyship’s opi- . nion adds not a little to my vanity.
I wish I had time to take a little excursion to Bath, were it only to thank you for all the obliging things
* This Letter, though dated from London, was evidently written at Puris.
you say in your letter — but 'tis impossible accept at least my warmest thanks.
If I could tempt my friend Mr. H. to come to France, I should be truly happy. – If I can be of any service to you at Paris, command him who is, and ever will be,
Your Ladyship's faithful
XXII. TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ.
Paris, March 19, 1762. DEAR GARRICK, This will be put into your hands by Dr. Shippen, a physician, who has been here some time with Miss Poyntz, and is this moment setting off for your metropolis; so I snatch the opportunity of writing to you and my kind friend Mrs. Garrick. — I see nothing like her here, and yet I have been introduced to one half of their best Goddesses, and in a month more shall be admitted to the shrines of the other half but I neither worship – nor fall (much) upon my knees before them; but, on the contrary, have converted many unto Shandeism -- for be it known, I Shandy it away fifty times more than I was ever wont, talk more nonsense than ever you heard me talk in your days and to all sorts of people. Qui le diable est cet homme la – said Choiseul, t'other day ce Chevalier Shandy
You'll think me as vain as a devil, was I to tell you the rest of the dialogue whether the bearer knows it or no, I know not "Twill serve up after supper, in Southampton-street, amongst other small dishes, after the fatigues of Richard the Third. O God! they have nothing here which gives the nerves.
It is a
so smart a blow as those great characters in the hands of Garrick! but I forgot I am writing to the man himself – The devil take as he will) these transports of enthusiasm! Apropos - the whole city of Paris is bewitch'd with the comic opera, and if it was not for the affair of the Jesuits, which takes up one half of our talk, the comic opera would have it all tragical nuisance in all companies as it is, and was it not for some sudden starts and dashes of Shandeism, which now and then either break the thread, or entangle it so that the devil himself would be puzzled in winding it off
I should die a martyr the way I never will.
I send you over some of these comic operas by the bearer, with the Sallon, a satire - The French comedy,
I seldom visit it they act scarce any thing but tragedies and the Clairon is great, and Mademoiselle Dumesnil, in some places, still greater than her yet I cannot bear preaching -- I fancy I got a surfeit of it in my younger days. -- There is a tragedy o be damn'd to night peace be with it, and the gentle brain which made it! I have ten thousand things to tell you; I cannot write I do a thousand things which cut no figure, but in the doing and as in London, I have the honour of having done and said a thousand things I never did or dream'd of and yet I dream abundantly. If the devil stood behind me in the shape of a courier, I could not write faster than I do, having five letters more to dispatch by the same Gentleman; he is going into another section of the globe, and when he has seen you, he will depart in peace.
The Duke of Orleans has suffered my portrait to be added to the number of some odd men in his col
lection; and a gentleman who lives with him has taken it most expressively, at full length I purpose to obtain an etching of it, and to send it you - your prayer for me of rosy health, is heard - If I stay here for three or four months, I shall return more than reinstated. My love to Mrs. Garrick.
I am, my dear Garrick,
Paris, April 10, 1762. MY DEAR GARRICK, I SNATCH the occasion of Mr. Wilcox (the late Bishop of Rochester's son) leaving this place for England, to write to you, and I inclose it to Hall, who will put it into your hand, possibly behind the scenes.
I hear no news of you, or your empire, I would have said kingdom — but here every thing is hyperbolized — and if a woman is but simply pleased 'tis Je suis charmé - and if she is charmed, 'tis nothing less than she is ravi-sh'd -- and when ravi-sh'd (which may happen)
there is nothing left for her but to fly to the other world for a metaphor, and swear, qu'elle etoit tout extasiée which mode of speaking is, by the bye, here creeping into use, and there is scarce a woman who understands the bon ton but is seven times in a day in down right extasy that is, the devil's in her by a small mistake of one world for the other Now, where am I got?
I have been these two days reading a tragedy, given me by a lady of talents to read, and conjecture if it would do for you - 'Tis from the plan of Diderot,
and possibly half a translation of it. The Natural Son, or the Triumph of Virtue, in five acts - It has too much sentiment in it (at least for me), the speeches too long, and savour too much of preaching this may be a second reason it is not to my taste 'Tis all love, love, love, throughout, without much separation in the character; so I fear it would not do for your stage, and perhaps for the very reasons which recommend it to a French one.
After a vile suspension of three weeks we are beginning with our comedies and operas again
yours I hear never fourished more
- here the comic actors were never so low the tragedians hold up their heads
in all senses. I have known one little man support the theatrical world, like a David Atlas, upon his shoulders, but Preville can't do half as much here, though Mademoiselle Clairon stands by him, and sets her back to his great, however, and highly improved since you saw her — she also supports her dignity at table, and has her public day every Thursday, when she gives to eat (as they say here) to all that are hungry and dry.
You are much talked of here, and much expected as soon as the peace will let you these two last days you have happened to engross the whole conversation at two great houses where I was at dinner 'Tis the greatest problem in nature, in this meridian, that one and the same man should possess such tragic and comic powers, and in such an equilibrio, as to divide the world for which of the two Nature intended him.
Crebillon has made a convention with me, which, if he is not too lazy, will be no bad persiflage soon as I get to Toulouse, he has agreed to write me
she is very