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Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann-The Earthquake. Story of Marie Mignot.

lieve it would have been noticed. I had been awake, and had scarce dozed again—on a sudden I felt my bolster lift up my head; I thought somebody was getting from under my bed, but soon found it was a strong earthquake, that lasted near half a minute, with a violent vibration and great roaring. I rang my bell; my servant came in, frightened out of his senses. In an instant we heard all the windows in the neighborhood flung up. I got up, and found people running into the streets, but saw no mischief done. There has been some: two old houses flung down, several chimneys, and much china-ware. The bells rung in several houses. Admiral Knowles, who has lived long in Jamaica, and felt seven there, says this was more violent than any of them. Francisco prefers it to the dreadful one at Leghorn. The wise say, that if we have not rain soon, we shall certainly have more. Several people are going out of town, for it has nowhere reached above ten miles from London. They say they are not frightened, but that it is such fine weather, "Lord! one can't help going into the country." The only visible effect it has had was on the Ridotto, at which, being the following night, there were but four hundred people. A parson who came into White's the morning of earthquake the first, and heard bets laid on whether it was an earthquake or the blowing up of powder mills, went away exceedingly scandalized, and said: "I protest, they are such an impious set of people, that I believe if the last trumpet was to sound, they would bet puppetshow against Judgment." If we get any nearer still to the torrid zone, I shall pique myself on sending you a present of cedrati and orange-flower water. I am already planning a terreno for Strawberry Hill.

The Middlesex election is carried against the court. The

Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann-The Earthquake. Story of Marie Mignot.

Prince, in a green frock (and I won't swear but in a Scotch plaid waistcoat), sat under the park wall, in his chair, and hallooed the voters on to Brentford. The Jacobites are so transported, that they are opening subscriptions for all boroughs that shall be vacant. This is wise! They will spend their money to carry a few more seats in a Parliament, where they will never have the majority, and so have none to carry the general elections. The omen, however, is bad for Westminster; the highbailiff went to vote for the opposition.

I now jump to another topic. I find all this letter will be detached scraps; I can't at all contrive to hide the seams; but I don't care. I began my letter merely to tell you of the earthquake, and I don't pique myself upon doing any more than telling you what you would be glad to have told you. I told you, too, how pleased I was with the triumphs of another old beauty, our friend the Princess. Do you know I have found a history that has a great resemblance to hers; that is, that will be very like hers, if hers is but like it. I will tell it you in as few words as I can. Madame la Marechale de l'Hôpital was the daughter of a sempstress; a young gentleman fell in love with her, and was going to be married to her, but the match was broken off. An old fermier-general, who had retired into the province when this happened, hearing the story, had a curiosity to see the victim; he liked her, married her, died, and left her enough not to care for her inconstant. She came to Paris, where the Marechal de l'Hôpital married her for her riches. After the Marechal's death, Casimir, the abdicated King of Poland, who was retired into France, fell in love with the Marechale, and privately married her.* If the event ever happens, I shall cer

* Mary Mignot, whose third husband is supposed to have been Casimir,

Horace Walpole to George Montagu, Esq.-Strawberry Hill a "Paphos."

tainly travel to Nancy, to hear her talk of Ma belle fille la Reine de France. What pains my Lady Pompret would take to prove that an abdicated king's wife did not take the place of an English countess; and how the Princess herself would grow still fonder of the pretender, for the similitude of his fortune with that of le Roi mon Mari! Her daughter, Mirepoise, was frightened the other night with Mrs. Nugent's calling out, Un voleur ! un voleur! The ambassadress had heard so much of robbing, that she did not doubt but dans ce pais cy, they robbed in the middle of an assembly. It turned out to be a thief in the candle! Good night!


Horace Walpole to George Montagu, Esq.

June 2, 1759.

Strawberry Hill is grown a perfect paphos ;* it is the land of beauties. On Wednesday the Duchesses of Hamilton and Richmond, and Lady Ailesbury dined there; the two latter stayed all night. There never was so pretty a sight as to see them all three sitting in the shell; a thousand years hence, when I begin to grow old, if that can ever be, I shall talk of that event, and

the ex-king of Poland, who had retired after his abdication to the Monastery of St. Germain des Pres.

* Strawberry Hill and its curiosities became objects of such attraction as to render it a very uncomfortable home. Thus Walpole writes in one of his letters: My house is full of people, and has been so from the instant I breakfasted, and more are coming; in short, I keep an inn; the sign, 'The Gothic Castle.' Since my gallery was finished, I have not been in it a quarter of an hour together; my whole time is passed in giving tickets for seeing it, and hiding myself while it is seen. Take my advice, never build a charming house for yourself between London and Hampton Court; everybody will live in it but you."—H.

Horace Walpole to George Montagu, Esq.-Strawberry Hill a "Paphos."

tell young people how much handsomer the women of my time were than they will be then; I shall say, "Women alter now; I remember Lady Ailesbury looking handsomer than her daughter, the pretty Duchess of Richmond, as they were sitting in the shell on my terrace with the Duchess of Hamilton, one of the famous Gunnings." Yesterday t'ther more famous Gunning dined there. She has made a friendship with my charming niece to disguise her jealousy of the new countess' beauty. There were they two, their lords, Lord Buckingham, and Charlotte. You will think that I did not choose men for my parties so well as women. I don't include Lord Waldegrave in this bad election. Loo is mounted to its zenith; the parties last till one and two in the morning. We played at Lady Hertford's last week, the last night of her lying-in, till deep into Sunday morning, after she and her lord were retired. It is now adjourned to Mrs. Fitzroy's, whose child the town called Pam-ela. I proposed that instead of receiving cards for assemblies, one should send in a morning to Dr. Hunter's, the man-midwife, to know where there is loo that evening. I find poor Charles Montagu is dead; is it true, as the papers say, that his son comes into Parliament? The invasion is not half so much in fashion as loo, and the King demanding the assistance of the militia, does not add much dignity to it. The great Pam of Parliament, who made the motion, entered into a wonderful definition of the several sorts of fear, from fear that comes from pusillanimity up to fear from magnanimity. It put me in mind of that wise Pythian, my Lady Londonderry, who, when her sister, Lady Donegal, was dying, pronounced that if it were a fever from a fever she would live, but if it were a fever from death she would die. Mr. Mason has published another drama called Caractacus ;

Horace Walpole to G. Montagu-Duke of York's visit to Strawberry Hill.

there are some incantations poetical enough, and odes so Greek as to have very little meaning; but the whole is labored, uninteresting, and no more resembling the manners of Britons than Japanese. It is introduced by a piping elegy; for Mason, in imitation of Gray, "will cry and roar all night," without the least provocation.

Adieu! I shall be glad to hear that your Strawberry tide is



Horace Walpole to G. Montagu.

STRAWBERRY HILL, Oct. 14, 1760.

If you should see in the newspapers that I have offered to raise a regiment at Twickenham, am going with the expedition, and have actually kissed hands, don't believe it, though I own the two first would not be more surprising than the last. I will tell you how the calamity befell me, though you will laugh instead of pitying me. Last Friday morning I was very tranquilly writing my anecdotes of painting; I heard the bell at the gate ring; I called out as usual, "Not at home;" but Harry, who thought it would be treason to tell a lie when he saw red liveries, owned I was, and came running up: 66 Sir, the Prince of Wales is at the door, and says he has come on purpose to make you a visit." There was I, in the utmost confusion, undressed, in my slippers, and my hair about my ears; there was no help, insanum vatem aspiciet, and down I went to receive him. Here was the Duke of York. Behold my breeding of the old court: at the foot of the stairs I kneeled down and kissed his hand. I beg your uncle Algernon Sydney's pardon, but I could not let the second prince

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