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mory in the palace; a fine piece of artificial water in the gardens, which are laid out partly in the English, partly in the French style, and in the best taste of both; a dairy floored and lined with marble, and in which all the utensils are of marble or fine porcelain ; a menagerie; an orangerie, all the plants of which (some hundreds) being set out and in full blossom, diffused the richest perfume I ever was regaled with. L'isle d'Amour is one of the prettiest parts of the garden, abounding with alleys and walks, some close, others gay
and airy, formed by light lattice-work covered with privet and adorned with the greatest profusion of honeysuckles and roses. In the centre of the island is a statue of a Cupid without wings or quiver, holding a heart with these lines :
“ N'offrant qu'un cœur à la beauté,
Aussi nud que la vérité,
Tel fut l'Amour au siècle d'or;
The temple of Venus is a large saloon, in which are fountains continually throwing up water, which falls again into agate vases; leaning over which are Cupids of marble. The whole room is painted, and breathes a coolness and gaiety quite enchanting. As we were walking in these gardens we had the pleasure of seeing a balloon fly over our
heads : it was in full sail for England with M. Tetu, who had set off from Paris that morning. However, with our humbler mode of travelling we got to Dover first: for the lightning caught the car; and though the aërial traveller received no damage from it, he was obliged to lie by to refit his balloon, which descended not far from Boulogne. From Boulogne we took our passage. We had intended to have gone on to Calais, but it was four posts more; and besides, we were told that the passage from Boulogne, though longer, was generally performed in less time, and was now preferred; which we found to be true: we were obliged indeed to wait a day for a vessel, but we got over in less than four hours. And not without a pleasing emotion did we view again the green swelling hills covered with large sheep, and the winding road bordered with the hawthorn hedge, and the English vine twisted round the tall poles, and the broad Medway covered with vessels, and at last the gentle yet majestic Thames. Nor did we find these home scenes had lost of their power to strike or charm us by all we had seen abroad.
LETTERS TO MISS E. BELSHAM,
London, Feb. 1771. BELIEVE me, my dear Betsy, my heart has some time reproached me for being in your debt ..... I am much obliged to you for
kind invitation to Bedford : certainly few things would give me more pleasure than conversing with my Betsy; but it will not be in my power to reach Bedford this time. I have already been so long from home, that they begin to be impatient for my return, and I would not trespass too far upon their goodness who, I am sensible, in some mea-, sure deny themselves in being without me.
Patty and I are now with Mrs. K. She and I are great walkers, and in fine weather often stroll about almost all the morning; but we have very little to do with visiting any public places except the playhouses, where we have been three or four times. Last night we saw the West Indian, a very pretty play, as we thought on reading it; but the characters are so ill cast, that we had not
half the pleasure in seeing it. One part, indeed, the Irishman, was excellently done, but that was the only one; I think they seem to want actors very much for easy, genteel characters, which are more difficult to support than mimicry or strongmarked passions. The chaste and delicate sensibilities of a young unpractised heart, or the decorums of a virtuous character, must be
difficult to assume; and indeed there are so many qualifications requisite to make a perfect actor, it is almost pity one possessed of them should follow the profession, nor is it surprising there should be but one upon the stage at once......... I admire Mrs. K. beyond most women I know, that engaged as she is by matrimonial connexions she is not engrossed by them, but has a heart as open to every other endearing relation and friendly sentiment as ever. It is not true, what Dr. Fordyce insinuates, that women's friendships are not sincere; I am sure it is not : I remember when I read it I had a good mind to have burnt the book for that unkind passage. I hope the Doctor will give us our revenge, as he has begun his sermons to young men : they were advertised in the papers,—was it not a piece of parade unbecoming a preacher? It would be difficult to determine whether the age is growing better or worse; for I think our plays are growing like sermons, and our sermons like plays.
Warrington, Jan 1772. I HEARD not long ago a piece of news which pleases me beyond measure: can you guess what it is? Mrs. Lewin tells me that my dear Betsy intends coming to Lancashire soon. I hope these her good intentions will speedily be put in execution; if we had you here, Patty and I should be as happy as the day is long. We have a knot of lasses just after your own heart--as merry, blithe and gay as you would wish them, and very smart and clever,—two of them are the Miss Rigbys. We have a West Indian family, too, that I think you would like; a young couple who seem intended by nature for nothing but mirth, frolic and gaiety. I say nothing of our young men, as I would not flatter you with the hopes of any conquest, for the foresaid damsels have left no hearts to conquer.
You who love so dearly to puzzle other people, I have a puzzle for you. Can you find a number of words that will take in all the letters of the alphabet and no more? We have all been trying at it, with Mr. Enfield's assistance, a long time; if you can accomplish it we kiss the hem of your garment.
Warrington, Jan. 1, 1773. Not in charity with me forsooth! So you would pretend you never received a letter from me a