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Hannah More to her Sister-Evening with the Turkish Ambassador.
a good, solemn-looking Turk, was very communicative; his son
I believe I have not mentioned Lord Monboddo this winter.
Hannah More to her Sister-A London Thé.
made me appear unjust by seeming to undervalue it; but when he said that Shakespeare had no conception of drawing a king or a hero—that there was not so interesting a discovery in the whole of his works as that of Lady Randolph and her son, and that the passions were always vulgarly delineated-it was impossible to be temperate, and difficult to be just. I suppose when, on a former occasion, he declared that no modern could turn a period finely, he meant to make an exception in favor of Scotch authors.
We have had a numerous party to dinner; among others, Mr. and Mrs. Swinburne, the travellers, with whom I am lately become much acquainted; they are people who have been a good deal distinguished in different courts. The lady is the more agreeable of the two, though she has not, like her husband, written three quarto volumes about Spain and Calabria. They live chiefly abroad, and are great bigots to popery. She is the great friend of the Queen of Naples, and not less a favorite of the Queen of France-a singular pair of friendships for an Englishwoman of no rank.
XXXI.-A LONDON THÉ.
Hannah More to her Sister.
LONDON, May 22d, 1788.
I have been pleasantly engaged for a week past, during this fine weather, in going almost every day to some pleasant villa of different friends. Tuesday I dined at Strawberry Hill-a pleasant day, and a good little party. The next day we went to a sweet place which Mr. Montagu has bought on Shorter's Hill. Another day I went to Richmond with Mrs. Boscawen, and came
Hannah More to her Sizter-A London Thé.
home in the evening to a thé at Mrs. Montagu's. Perhaps you do not know what a thé is among the stupid new follies of the winter. You are to invite fifty or a hundred people to come at eight o'clock; there is to be a long table, or little parties at small ones; the cloth is to be laid as at breakfast; every one has a napkin; tea and coffee are made by the company, as at a public breakfast; the table is covered with rolls, wafers, bread, and butter; and, what constitutes the very essence of a thé, an immense load of hot buttered rolls, muffins, all admirably contrived to create a nausea in persons fresh from the dinner table. Now, of all nations under the sun, as I take it, the English are the greatest fools: because the Duke of Dorset, in Paris, where people dine at two, thought this would be a pretty fashion to introduce, we, who dine at six, must adopt this French translation of an English fashion, and fall into it as if it were an original invention; taking up our own custom at third-hand. This will be a short folly.
Poor Lady Mulgrave, married not a year, a little more than eighteen, good, great, beautiful, and happy, died yesterday in childbirth. It is hard to say whether her poor lord, her father and mother, or the Smelts are in the greatest affliction. I thought she would have proved a pattern to the young women of fashion-so domestic and so discreet ! Among my country excursions I must not omit dining with Mrs. Trimmer and her twelve children at Brentford-a scene, too, of instruction and delight. The other day I was at Mr. Langton's; our subject was Abolition; we fell to it with great eagerness, and paid no attention to the wits who were round us, though there were two who were new to me-Mr. Malone, the critic of Shakespeare, and Dr. Gillies, author of the new History of Greece. I go to Mrs
Hannah More to her Sister-Meeting Madame Chevaliere d'Æcn at Dinner.
Bouverie's at Teston for a fortnight, and then to Fulham Palace for another fortnight, and then to my own dear cottage.
XXXII.-MEETING MADAME LA CHEVALIERE D'EON AT DINNER. Hannah More to her Sister.
LONDON, May, 1789.
Mr. Wilberforce and his myrmidons are still shut up at Mr. Bouverie's, at Teston, to write; I tell them I hope Teston will be the Runnymede of the negroes, and that the great charter of African liberty will be there completed. It is well that Fulham is so near, so that the bishop will be within reach to forward the work. The fate of Africa now trembles in the balance. On Friday I gratified the curiosity of many years by meeting at dinner, Madame Chevaliere D'Eon; she is extremely entertaining, has universal information, wit, vivacity, and gayety. Something too much of the latter (I have heard) when she has taken a bottle or two of Burgundy; but this being a very sober party, she was kept entirely within the limits of decorum. General Johnson was of the party, and it was ridiculous to hear her military conversation; sometimes it was, Quand j'étois colonel d'un tel regiment; then again, Non c'étois quand c'étois serétaire d'ambassade du Duc de Nivernois, or quand je negociois la paix de Paris. She is, to be sure, a phenomenon in history, and as such, a great curiosity. But one D'Eon is enough, and one slice of her quite sufficient.*
I am expected at Rosedale, at Teston, and at the Bishop of
* These reflections are amusing, when we remember that this celebrated personage, whose beardless face and feminine tact and manners enabled him to pass for many years as a woman in the most distinguished society, in fact belonged to the other sex.-H.
William Cowper to Rev. John Newton--Electioneering at Olney.
London's, but have given no definite answer, because I do not think I can contrive to see them all. I fear there will be great opposition to the abolition in the Lords. I dined with a party of peers at Lord Ossory's, and there was not one friend to that humane bill. I sat two hours in the evening with Mr. Walpole, who had a pleasant little party—among others, Frederick North, a very agreeable and accomplished young man; so learned, so so pleasant, and with so fine a taste! To-night I go to a little supper at Mrs. Damer's, and to-morrow I take my leave of the pomps and vanities of this town, and go to Fulham Palace. I shall stay a week with the Bishop, from thence I shall go, if possible, for a few days to Mrs. Boscawen, and from thence to Teston.
XXXIII.-ELECTIONEERING AT OLNEY.
William Cowper to Rev. John Newton.
March 29th, 1784. It being his Majesty's pleasure that I should yet have another opportunity to write before he dissolves the Parliament, I avail myself of it with all possible alacrity. I thank you for your last, which was not the less welcome for coming, like an extraordinary gazette, at a time when it was not expected.
As when the sea is uncommonly agitated the water finds its way into creeks and holes of rocks, which in its calmer state it never reaches, in like manner the effect of these turbulent times is felt even at Orchard-side, where in general we live as undisturbed by the political element as shrimps or cockles that have been accidentally deposited in some hollow beyond the water-mark, by the usual dashing of the waves. We were sitting yesterday after dinner, the two ladies and myself, very composedly, and