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should pass on directly to Brussels, and so on to Rotterdam, for the sake of seeing Holland, and embark from thence to London; but I must stay a little with those I love and have so many reasons to regard you cannot place too much of this to your own score. I have had an offer of going to Italy a fortnight ago, but I must like my subject as well as the terms, neither of which were to my mind. Pray what English have you at Paris? where is my young friend Mr. F-? We hear of three or four English families coming to us here. If I can be serviceable to any you would serve, you have but to write.
Mr. H. has sent my friend W—'s picture, you have seen the original, or I would have sent it you; I believe I shall beg leave to get a copy of my own from yours, when I come in propria persona, till when, God bless you, my dear friend, and believe me Most faithfully yours,
Montpellier, Jan. 5, 1764. MY DEAR FRIEND, You see I cannot pass over the fifth of the month without thinking of you, and writing to you. The last is a periodical habit the first is from my heart, and I do it oftener than I remember — however, from both motives together, I maintain I have a right to the pleasure of a single line - be it only to tell me how your watch goes You know how much happier it would make me to know that all things belonging to you went on well. You are going to have them all to yourself (I hear), and that Mr. S— is true to his first intention of leaving business. I hope this will enable you to accomplish yours in a shorter time, that you may get to your long-wished-for retreat of tranquillity and silence. When you have got to your fire-side, and into your arm-chair (and, by the bye, have another to spare for a friend), and are so much a sovereign as to sit in your furred cap, if you like it, though I should not (for a man's ideas are at least the cleaner for being dressed decently), why then it will be a miracle if I do not glide in like a ghost upon you, and in a very unghost-like fashion help you off with a bottle of your best wine.
January 15. - It does not happen every day that a letter begun in the most perfect health should be concluded in the greatest weakness. I wish the vulgar high and low do not say it was a judgment upon me, for taking all this liberty with ghosts. - Be it as it may I took a ride, when the first part of this was wrote, towards Perenas and returned home in a shivering fit, though I ought to have been in a fever, for I had tired my beast; and he was as immoveable as Don Quixote's wooden horse, and my arm was half dislocated in whipping him. — This, quoth I, is inhuman. No, says a peasant on foot behind me, I'll drive him home, so he laid on his posteriors, but 'twas needless as his face was turned towards Montpellier, he began to trot But to return; this fever has confined me ten days in my
bed I have suffered in this scuffle with death terribly but, unless the spirit of prophecy deceive me I shall not die but live in the mean time, dear F., let us live as merrily, but as innocently, as we can. It has ever been as good, if
not better than a bishopric to me, and I desire no other. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me, yours,
Please to give the inclosed to Mr. T- -, and tell him I thank him cordially from my heart for his great good-will.
Montpellier, Jan. 20, (1764). MY DEAR FRIEND, HEARING by Lord Rochford (who in passing through here in his way to Madrid has given me a call), that my worthy friend Mr. Fox was now at Paris, I have inclosed a letter to him, which you will present in course, or direct to him. I suppose you are full of English; but, in short, we are here as if in another world, where, unless some stray'd soul arrives, we know nothing of what is going on in yours. Lord G-r, I suppose, is gone from Paris, or I had wrote also to him. I know you are as busy as a bee, and have few moments to yourself nevertheless bestow one of them upon an old friend, and write me a line - and if Mr. F. is too idle, and has aught to say to me, pray write a second line for him. We had a letter from Miss P-- this week, who it seems has decamp'd for ever from Paris All is for the best which is my general reflection upon many things in this world.
Well! I shall shortly come and shake you by the hand in St. Sauveur if still you are there. My wife returns to Toulouse, and purposes to spend the summer at Bagnieres I, on the contrary, go and
visit my wife, the church in Yorkshire. We all live the longer, at least the happier, for having things our own way. This is my conjugal maxim I own 'tis not the best of maxims but I maintain 'tis not the worst. Adieu, dear F-, and believe me,
Yours, with truth,
Montpellier, Feb. 1, 1764. I Am preparing, my dear Mrs. F., to leave France, for I am heartily tired of it – That insipidity there is in French characters has disgusted your friend Yorick. I have been dangerously ill, and cannot think that the sharp air of Montpellier has been of service to me and so my physicians told me when they had me under their hands for above a month If you stay any longer here, Sir, it will be fatal to you. — And why, good people, were you not kind enough to tell me this sooner? — After having discharged them, I told Mrs. Sterne that I should set out for England very soon; but as she chooses to remain in France for two or three years, I have no objection, except that I wish my girl in England. - The states of Languedoc are met – 'tis a fine raree-show, with the usual accompaniments of fiddles, bears, and puppet-shows. - I believe I shall step into my post-chaise with more alacrity to fly from these sights than a Frenchman would to fly to them
and except a tear at parting with my little slut, I shall be in high spirits, and every step I take that brings me nearer England will, I think, help to set this poor frame to rights. Now pray write to me,
directed to Mr. F. at Paris, and tell me what I am to bring you over. - How do I long to greet all iny friends! few do I value more than yourself.
My wife chooses to go to Montauban, rather than stay here, in which I am truly passive. If this should not find you at Bath, I hope it will be forwarded to you, as I wish
I to fulfil
your commissions and so adieu. Accept every warm wish for your health, and believe me ever yours,
P. S. My physicians have almost poisoned ine with what they call bouillons refraichissants 'tis a cock flayed alive and boiled with poppy-seeds, then pounded in a mortar, afterwards passed thro' a sieve — There is to be one craw-fish in it, and I was gravely told it must be a male one a female would do me more hurt than good.
Paris, May 15, MY DEAR LYDIA, By this time I suppose your mother and self are fixed at Montauban, and I therefore direct to your banker, to be delivered to you -I acquiesced in your staying in France likewise it was your mother's wish but I must tell you both (that unless your health had not been a plea made use of) I should have wished
- I have sent you the Spectators, and other books, particularly Metastasio; but I beg my girl to read the former, and only make the latter her amusement. I hope you have not forgot my last request, to make no friendships with
you both to return with me.