Page images

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


of the blood kiss my hand first. He was, as he always is, extremely good-humored, and I, as I am not always, extremely respectful. He stayed two hours, nobody with him but Morrison; I showed him all my castle; the pictures of the Pretender's sons, and that type of the Reformation, Henry the Eighth's -moulded into a weight to the clock he gave Anne Boleyn. But observe my luck, he would have the sanctum sanctorum in the library opened; about a month ago I removed the MSS. in another place. All this is very well, but now for the consequences; what was I to do next? I have not been in a court these ten years, consequently have never kissed hands in the next reign. Could I let a Duke of York visit me, and never go to thank him? I know, if I was a great poet, I might be so brutal, and tell the world in rhyme that rudeness is virtue; or if I was a patriot, I might, after laughing at Kings and Princes for twenty years, catch at the first opening of favor, and beg a place. In truth I can do neither, yet I could not be shocking; I determined to go to Leicester House, and comforted myself that it was not much less meritorious to go there for nothing than to stay quite away; yet I believe I must make a pilgrimage to Saint Liberty of Geneva, before I am perfectly purified, especially as I am dipped even at St. James. Lord Hertford, at my request, begged my Lady Yarmouth to get an order for my Lady Henry to go through the Park, and the countess said so many civil things about me and my suit, and granted it so expeditiously, that I shall be forced to visit, even before she lives here next door to my Lady Suffolk. My servants are transported; Harry expects to see me first minister, like my father, and reckons upon a place in the Custom House. Louis, who drinks like a German, thinks himself qualified for a page of the back stairs.

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

But these are not all my troubles. As I never dress in summer, I had nothing upon earth but a frock, unless I went in black like a poet, and pretended that a cousin was dead (one of the muses). Then I was in panics lest I should call my Lord Bute Your Royal Highness. I was not, indeed, in much pain at the conjectures the Duke of Newcastle would make on such an apparition, even if he should suspect that a new opposition was on foot, and that I was to write some letters to the Whigs.

Well, but after all do you know that my calamity has not befallen me yet? I could not determine to bounce over head and ears into the drawing room at once, without one soul knowing why I came thither. I went to London on Saturday night, and Lord Hertford was to carry me the next morning; in the mean time I wrote to Morrison, explaining my gratitude to one brother and my unacquaintance with t'other, and how afraid I was it would be thought officious and forward if I was presented now, and begging he would advise me what to do; and all this upon my bended knee, as if Schultz had stood over me and dictated every syllable. The answer was by order from the Duke of York that he smiled at my distress, wished to put me to no inconvenience, but desired that as the acquaintance had begun without restraint, it might continue without ceremony. Now I was in more perplexity than ever! I could not go directly, and yet it was not fit it should be said I thought it an inconvenience to wait on the Prince of Wales. At present it is decided by a jury of court matrons, that is courtiers, that I must write to my Lord Bute, and explain the whole, and why I desire to come now; don't fear, I will take care they shall understand how little I come for. In the mean time, you see, it is my fault if I am not a favorite; but alas! I am not heavy enough to be

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

tossed in a blanket like Doddington; I should never come down again; I cannot be driven in a royal curricle to wells and waters; I can't make love now to my contemporary Charlotte Dives; I cannot quit Mufti and my parroquet for Sir William Irby and the prattle of a drawing-room, nor Mrs. Clive for Ælia Lælia Chudleigh; in short, I could give up nothing but an earldom of Eglinton. And yet I foresee that this phantom of a reversion will make me plagued; I shall have Lord Egmont whisper me again, and every tall man and strong woman that comes to town will make interest with me to get the Duke of York to come and see them. Oh! dreadful, dreadful! It is plain I never was a patriot, for I don't find my virtue a bit staggered by this first glimpse of court sunshine.

Mr. Conway has pressed to command the new Quixotism on foot, and been refused. I sing a very comfortable Te Deum for it. Kingsley, Crawford, and Keppel are the generals, and Commodore Keppel the admiral. The mob are sure of being pleased, they will get a conquest or a court-martial. A very unpleasant thing has happened to the Keppels; the youngest brother, who had run in debt at Gibraltar and was fetched away to be sent to Germany, gave them the slip at the first port they touched at in Spain, surrendered himself to the Spanish governor, has changed his religion, and sent for a that had been taken from him at Gibraltar, naturam expellas furca. There's the true blood of Charles II., sacrificing every thing for Popery and a bunter. Lord Bolingbroke, on hearing the name of Lady Coventry at New Market, affected to burst into tears, and left the room, not to hide his crying, but his not crying.

Draper has handsomely offered to go on the expedition, and goes. Ned Finch t'other day, on the conquest of Montreal,

Horace Walpole to George Montagu-Funeral of George the Second.

wished the King joy of having lost no subjects but those that perished in the rabbits. Fitzroy asked him if he thought they crossed the great American in such little boats as one goes to Vauxhall? He replied, "Yes, Mr. Pitt said the rabbits "—it was in the falls, the rapids.

I like Lord John almost as well as Fred. Montagu, and I like your letter better than Lord John's. The application of Miss Falkener was charming. Good night.

P. S.-If I had been told in June that I should have the gout, and kiss hands before November, I don't think I should have given much credit to the prophet.


Horace Walpole to George Montagu.


ARLINGTON STREET, Nov. 13, 1760.

Even the honeymoon of a new reign don't produce events every day. There is nothing but the common saying of addresses and kissing hands. The chief difficulty is settled; Lord Gower yields the mastership of the horse to Lord Huntingdon, and removes to the great wardrobe, from whence Sir Thomas Robinson was to have gone into Ellis's place, but he is saved. The city, however, have a mind to be out of humor; a paper has been fixed on the Royal Exchange, with these words, "No petticoat government, no Scotch minister, no Lord George Sackville; two hints totally unfounded, and the other scarce true. No petticoat ever governed less; it is left at Leicester House; Lord George's breeches are as little concerned; and, except Lady

Horace Walpole to George Montagu-Funeral of George the Second.


Susan Stuart and Sir Harry Erskine, nothing has yet been done for any Scots. Scots. For the King himself, he seems all good nature, and wishing to satisfy everybody: all his speeches are obliging. I saw him again yesterday, and was surprised to find the leveeroom had lost so entirely the air of the lion's den. This sovereign don't stand in one spot, with his eyes fixed royally on the ground, and dropping bits of German news; he walks about, and speaks to everybody. I saw him afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with dignity, and reads his answers to addresses well; it was the Cambridge address, carried by the Duke of Newcastle in his doctor's gown, and looking like the medecin malgrè lui. He had been vehemently solicitous for attendance, for fear my Lord Westmoreland, who vouchsafes himself to bring the address from Oxford, should outnumber him. Lord Litchfield and several other Jacobites have kissed hands; George Selwyn says, "They go to St. James's, because now there are so many Stuarts there."

Do you know I had the curiosity to go to the burying t'other night. I had never seen a royal funeral; nay, I walked as a rag of quality, which I found would be, and so it was, the easiest way of seeing it. It is absolutely a noble sight. The Prince's chamber, hung with purple, and a quantity of silver lamps, the coffin under a canopy of purple velvet, and six vast chandeliers of silver, on high stands, had a very good effect. The ambassador from Tripoli and his son were carried to see that chamber. The procession, through a line of foot-guards, every seventh man bearing a torch, the horse-guards lining the outside, their officers, with drawn sabres and crape sashes, on horseback, the drums muffled, the fifes, bells tolling, and minute guns; all this was very solemn. But the charm was the entrance of the abbey,

« PreviousContinue »