October 28, 1761


I inclose you, my dear Mrs. Montagu, a letter from Mrs. Talbot [not a relation of the

Bluestocking Catherine Talbot], by which you will see how happy she is at the prospect you
were so good to give her. Whenever you would have her attend you, if you will favor me with
your commands, I will take care to convey them to her.
    I have some enquiries to trouble you with on a point of dress, and I wish I may not be too wooden-headed to render myself intelligible. It is concerning a widow’s first gown,
in what fashion it is to be made, and whether there are to be any plaits in the back. I know
I asked you some questions of this kind once before for one of my friends, but I have most
ingeniously forgot all that you told me about it. I wished for you extremely this morning, when
I was walking, and enjoying the gradual illumination of objects by the opening day. To make
me amends for your losing this fine sight, I hoped you were reposing in quiet sleep; and were
entertained by pleasing dreams. You mention nothing of your going to Bath, have you altered
that part of your scheme? If not, remember Mr. Collins.

            I need not tell you, my dear friend, how happy I am, in your approbation of the Ode.
Shall I prefix your name to it or not? I am a little afraid the second stanza may give some
offence to the good people upon the pantiles, who may not find out its meaning without
this signification: though most people, I think, who know us, can be in little doubt to whom it
is addrest. I shall put no names to any of the rest, except my Lord Bath's. So tell me what you
would have me do, and I will proceed accordingly. I begin to wonder that I hear nothing from
Mr. Rivington; I hoped to have received a proof before this time, and I begin to be very
impatient to have it all over.

            I grieved to find your scheme of tea drinking and quiet so disconcerted by the genius
of Mr. Gibbs. To let in a wit upon an aching head was an excellent stroke of his cleverness.
Why did not you tell me explicitly that this head-ach was quite gone in your letter last night?
Be so good as to mention it particularly in your next.

            I greatly rejoice to hear that my Lord Lyttelton is better; the bark, it is to be hoped,
will quite subdue his ague. I dont [sic] like my Lord Bath's attack any better than you do;
and his calling it vapours, gives one no more satisfaction than if he called it a drum or a
trumpet. Your apprehensions about it, alas, have a meaning; and I hope you will prevail on
him to consult a physician. A little bleeding surely could do no hurt, and might prevent a
fatal consequence. But I do not mean to prescribe, but do pray prevail on him, for you can,
to apply to somebody who can prescribe with judgment.

            I took poor Sukey out with me yesterday to shew her the ships and the very fine lands-
scapes within view of this place, and she seemed much delighted. I delivered your message to
her, and it did me good, to see how happy she looked. She desired me when I writ, to send you
her duty. Mrs. Primrose has given her leave to walk in her garden, which is just opposite to
Mrs. Green's, where she will get some air. The poor girl cannot be prevailed on to go, when
Mrs. Primrose is at home, but I went the other day and told her she was out, and she went im-
mediately. Indeed she behaves very prettily, and seems to be of such a disposition, that any
little notice that is taken of her will do her good, and help to confirm her in a future right
conduct. I feel great compassion for the sad state into which she has been betrayed, by an
artless weak nature: but am as much provoked as you can be, by what you justly call the
servile nonsense of a much higher understanding. Alas, my dear friend, how wretchedly
contemptible are the finest parts, when unconducted by principle, and thus infamously
prostituted to the world. How vexatious it is to see a mind, capable of such noble
improvements, so sunk and debased by this vile idolatry. It grieves one particularly to find how
much she has been hurt by the succes in which we so warmly rejoiced; for in how different a
character did this very person appear, when her spirits were sobered, and her heart softened by
affliction. How much this calm interval has been improved into a foundation of reasonable
happiness for the remainder of her life! But every prospect of tranquillity now seems to be
vanished, and all is tumult, and agitation, and folly.

            My sister and I are both extremely obliged by your kind enquiries. She is, thank God, a
great deal better; Mrs. Underdown is very happy inyour message to her, she is indeed very
industrious to turn me out of Deal, as fast as she can, and insists upon it you are my best
remedy; nothing I hope will prevent my coming to town early in January.
Will my Lord Lyttelton permit me the honor to print his name with the versesDo if you
can procure this for me. I think they should not be introduced without some little preface. Do
you approve of what I inclose? It is really true,for I have much greater pride in any approbation
from my Lord Lyttelton's character, than in the highest encomium from his genius, though I am
very sensible of its excellence. I am might indifferent about printing or not printing my name, so
decide as you like best.

        Pray take care of your eyes, and do not read till the inflammation is perfectly gone. My
head is not good, but better than it was. I beg you will write me only a line or two till your eyes
are quite well. --Adieu.



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