Imágenes de páginas

after my landing, while the dinner was smoking on the table, your knowledge of the animal must have taught you to expect a proportionable degree of relaxation ; and you will be satisfied to hear that, for many Wednesdays and Saturdays, I have consumed more time than would have sufficed for the epistle, in devising reasons for procrastinating it to the next post. At this very moment I begin so very late, as I am just going to dress, and dine in the country, that I can take only the benefit of the date, October the first, and must be content to seal and send my letter next Saturday.

October 4th. SATURDAY is now arrived, and I much doubt whe. ther I shall have time to finish. I rose, as usual, about seven; but as I knew I should have so much time, you know it would have been ridiculous to begin anything before breakfast. When I returned from my breakfast-room to the library, unluckily I found on the table some new and interesting books, which instantly caught my attention; and without. injuring my correspondent, I could safely bestow a single hour to gratify my curiosity. Some things which I found in them insensibly led me to other books and other inquiries, the morning has stolen away, and I shall be soon summoned to dress and dine with the two Severys, father and son, who are returned from the country on a disagreeable errand, an illness of madame, from which she is however recovering. Such is the faithful picture of my mind and manners; and from a single day disce omines. After having been so long chained to the oar, in a splendid galley indeed, I freely and fairly enjoy my liberty, as I promised in my preface; range without control over the wide expanse of my library; converse, as my fancy prompts me, with poets and historians, philosophers and orators, of every age and language ; and often indulge my meditations in the

invention and arrangement of mighty works, which I shall probably never find time or application to execute. My garden, berceau, and pavilion, often varied the scene of my studies; the beautiful weather which we have enjoyed exhilirated my spirits ; and I again tasted the wisdom and happiness of my retirement, till that happiness was interrupted by a very serious calamity, which took from me for above a fortnight all thoughts of study, of amusement, and even of correspondence. I mentioned in my first letter the uneasiness I felt at poor Deyverdun's declining health, how much the pleasure of my life was embittered by the sight of a suffering and languid friend. The joy of our meeting appeared at first to revive him; and, though not satisfied, I began to think, at least to hope, that he was every day gaining ground; when, alas ! one morning I was suddenly recalled from my berceau to the house, with the dreadful intelligence of an apoplectic stroke. I found him senseless: the best assistance was in. stantly collected, and he had the aid of the genius and experience of Mr Tissot, and of the assiduous care of another physician, who for soine time scarcely quitted his bedside either night or day. While I was in momentary dread of a relapse, with a confession from his physicians that such a relapse must be fatal, you will feel that I was much more to be pitied than my friend. At length art or nature triumphed over the enemy of life. I was soon assured that all immediate danger was past ; and now for many days I have had the satisfaction of seeing him recover, though by slow degrees, his health and strength, his sleep and appetite. He now walks about the garden, and receives his particular friends, but has not yet gone abroad.

His future health will depend very much upon his own prudence: but, at all events, this has been a very serious warning; and the slightest indisposition will hereafter assume a very formidable aspect. But let us turn from this melancholy subject.


The Man of the People escaped from the tumult, the bloody tumult, of the Westminster election, to the lakes and mountains of Switzerland, and I was informed that he was arrived at the Lyon d’Or. I sent a compliment; he answered it in person, and settled at my house for the remainder of the day. I have eat and drank, and conversed, and sat up all night, with Fox in England; but it never has happened, perhaps it never can happen again, that I should enjoy him as I did that day, alone, from ten in the morning till ten at night. Poor Deyverdun, before his accident, wanted spirits to appear, and has regretted it since. Our conversation never flagged a moment; and he seemed thoroughly pleased with the place and with his company. We had little politics, though he gave me, in a few words, such a character of Pitt as one great man should give of another, his rival: much of books, from my own, on which he flattered me very pleasantly, to Homer and the Arabian Nights : much about the country, my garden, (which he understands far better than I do ;) and, upon the whole, I think he envies me, and would do so, were he a minister. The next morning I gave him a guide to walk him about the town and country, and invited some company to meet him at dinner. The following day he continued his journey to Berne and Zurich, and I have heard of him by various

The people gaze on him as a prodigy, but he shews little inclination to converse with them.

Our friend Douglas* has been curious, attentive, agreeable; and in every place where he has resided some days, he has left acquaintance who esteem and regret him: I never knew so clear and general an impression.

After this long letter, I have yet many things to say, though none of any pressing consequence. I hope you are not idle in the deliverance of Beriton,





# Lord Glenbervie.

Ever yours.

though the late events and edicts in France begin to reconcile me to the possession of dirty acres. What think you of Necker and the states-general ? Are not the public expectations too sanguine? Adieu. I will write soon to my lady separately, though I have not any particular subject for her ear,

Lausanne, Nov. 29, 1788. As I have no correspondents but yourself, I should have been reduced to the stale and stupid communi. cations of the newspapers, if you had not dispatched me an excellent sketch of the extraordinary state of things. In so 'new a case the salus populi must be the first law; and any extraordinary acts of the two remaining branches of the legislature must be excused by necessity, and ratified by general consent. Till things are settled I expect a regular journal. From kingdoms I descend to farms



[ocr errors]

Lausanne, Dec. 13, 1788. Of public affairs I can only hear with curiosity and wonder; careless as you may think me, I feel myself deeply interested. You must now write often; make miss Firth copy any curious fragments; and stir up any of my well-informed acquaintance, Batt, Douglas, Adam, perhaps lord Loughborough, to correspond with me; I will answer them.

We are now cold and gay at Lausanne. The Severys came to town yesterday. I saw a good deal of lords Malmsbury and Beauchamp, and their ladies ; Ellis, of the Rolliad, was with them; I like him much : I gave them a dinner. Adieu for the present. Deyverdun is not worse.

Lausanne, April 25, 1789. Before your letter, which I received yesterday, I was in the anxious situation of a king who hourly expects a courier from his general, with the news of


a decisive engagement. I had abstained from writing, for fear of dropping a word, or betraying a feeling, which might render you too cautious or too bold. On the famous 8th of April, between twelve and two, I reflected that the business was determined; and each succeeding day I computed the speedy approach of your messenger with favourable or melancholy tidings. When I broke the seal, I expected to read, “ What a damned unlucky fellow you are! Nothing tolerable was offered, and I indignantly withdrew the estate.I did remember the fate of poor Lenborough, and I was afraid of your magnanimity, &c. It is whimsical enough, but it is human nature, that I now begin to think of the deep-rooted foundations of land, and the airy fabric of the funds. I not only consent, but even wish, to have eight or ten thousand pounds on a good mortgage. The pipe of wine you sent to me was seized, and would have been confiscated, if the government of Berne had not treated me with the most flattering and distinguished civility: they not only released the wine, but they paid out of their own pocket the shares to which the bailiff and the informer were entitled by law. I should not forget that the hailiff refused to accept of his part. Poor Deyverdun's constitution is quite broken; he has had two or three attacks, not so violent as the first : every time the door is hastily opened, I expect to hear of some fatal accident: the best or worst hopes of the physicians are only that he may linger some time longer ; but if he lives till the summer, they propose sending him to some mineral waters at Aix in Savoy. You will be glad to hear that I am now assured of possessing, during my life, this delightful house and garden. The act has been lately executed in the best form and the handsomest manner. I know not what to say of your miracles at home; we rejoice in the king's recovery and its ministerial consequences; and I cannot be insensible to the hope, at least the chance, of seeing in this country a first

« AnteriorContinuar »