In short, I was so engrossed with my tale, which I completed in less
than two months, that one erening, I wrote from flie time I had
drnnk my tea, about six o'dock, till half an hour after one in the
morning, when my hand and fingers were so weary, that I could not
hold the pen to finish the sentence, but left Matilda and Isabella
talking, in the middle of a paragraph.
You will laugh at my
earnestness ; but if I have amiused you, by retracing with any fidelity
the manners of ancient days, I am content, and give you leave to
think me as idle as you please.
You are, as you have long been to me, exceedingly kind, and I
should, with great satisfaction, embrace your offer of visiting the
> In the first edition of this woik, of which but yery few copies were printed, the
title ran thus:— 'The Castle of Otranto, a Stoiy, transited by William MaAhal,
Gent, from the original Italian of Onnphrio Moralto, Canon of the Choreh of St
Nicholas at Otranto. London : printed for Thomas Lownds, in Fleet Street* 1765.'
' The whole length of Lord Depntj Falkland, bought at the Strawberry HUl sale
in 1842, by John ToUemache. Esq., M.P. for 78/. 10s., and now at Peekforton in
Cheshire.— CuvmroH AX.
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17«fi.] TO THE BBV. MR. COLE. 829
solitude of Blechley, thougli my cold is in a manner gone, and my
cough quite^ if I was at liberty : but as I am preparing for my
fresh journey, and have forty businesses upon my hands, and can
only now aad then purloin a day, or half a day, to come hither.
You know I am not cordially disposed to pour French journey,
which is much more serious, as it is to be much more lasting.
Howeyer, though I may suffer by your absence, I would not dis-
suade what may suit your inclination and circumstances. One
thing, however, has struck me, which I must mention, though it
would depend on a circumstance, that would give me the most real
concern. It was suggested to me by that real fondness I have for
your MSS. for your kindness about which I feel the utmost gratitude.
You would not^ I think, leave them behind you : and are you aware
of the danger you would run, if you settled entirely in France P
Do you know that the King of fVance is heir to all strangers who
die in his dominions, by what they call the Droit d'AubaineP
Sometimes by great intearest and favour, persons have obtained
a remission of this right in their lifetime : and yet that, even that,
has not secured their effects from being embezzled. Old Lady
Sandwich' had obtained this remission, and yet, though she left
everything to the present Lord, her grandson, a man for whose
rank one should have thought they would have had regard, the
King's officers forced themselves into her house, after her death, and
plundered. You see, if you go, I shall expect to have your MSS.
deposited with me. Seriously, you must leave them in safe custody
Lord Essex's trial is printed with the State Trials. Li return for
your obliging offer, I can acquaint you with a delightful publication
of this winter, A Collection of Old Ballads and Poetry, in three
volumes, many from Pepys's Collection at Cambridge. There were
three such published between thirty and forty years ago,' but very
carelessly, and wanting many in this set : indeed, there were others,
of a looser sort, which the present editor [Dr. Percy], who is a
clergyman, thought it decent to omit.
> Elinbetli Wilmot, daogfater of the celebrated Wilmot^ Eari of Bochester, wife of
the third Earl of Sandwich (died 1729) and grandmother of the fourth earl, Jemmy
TwitcHar, She died in 1757.— CvmmroHAM.
' ' A CoUectlon of Old Ballads, collected from the beet and most ancient copiei
extant, with Introdnctions, historical, critical, and illustrated with copper-pktes.*
This anonymous collection, first pnblished in 1728, was so well receiTed that it soon
passed to a second edition, and two more rolnmes were added in 1723 and 1725.
The third edition of the first rolume is dated 1727.— CuxnxoHAif .
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S80 HORAC£ WALPOLB'S LBTTEBS. |176&
When you go into Cheshire, and upon your ramble, may I trouble
you with a commission P but about which you must promise me not
to go a step out of your way. Mr. Bateman * has got a doister at
Old Windsor, fiimished witii ancient wooden chairs, most of them
triangular, but all of yarious patterns, and carred and turned in the
most uncouth and whimsical forms. He picked them up one by
one, for two, three, five, or siz shillings a-piece from different farm-
houses in Herefordshire. I hare long envied and coyeted them.
There may be such in poor cottages, in so neighbouring a county aa
Cheshire. I should not grudge any expense for purchase or carriage ;
and should be glad eyen of a couple such for my cloister here.
When you are copying inscriptions in a churchyard in any village,
think of me, and step into the first cottage you see — ^but don't take
farther trouble than that.
I long to know what your bundle of manuscripts from Cheshire
My bower is determined, but not at all what it is to be. Though
I write romances, I cannot tell how to build all that belongs to
them. Madame Banois, in the Fairy Tales, used to tapestry them
with Jonquils; but as that furniture will not last above a fortnight
in the year, I shall prefer something more huckaback. I have
decided that the outside shall be of treillage, which, however, I shall
not commence, till I have again seen some of old Louis's old-
fiishioned Oalanteries at Versailles. Rosamond's bower, you, and I,,
and Tom Heame know, was a labyrinth : but as my territory will
admit of a very short clew, I lay aside all thoughts of a mazy habi-
tation : though a bower is very different from an arbour, and must
have more chambers than one. In short, I both know, and don't
know, what it should be. I am almost afraid I must go and
read Spenser, and wade through Ids allegories, and drawling stanzas,,
to get at a picture. But, good night ! you see how one gossips,
when one is alone, and at quiet on one's own dunghill ! — ^Well I it
may be trifling; yet it is such trifling as Ambition never is happy
enough to know ! Ambition orders palaces, but it is Content that
chats for a page or two over a bower.
^ Sm voL iiL p. 429, and roL ir. p. 24, and p. 875.— Ouvvivgham.
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1765.3 TO MB. WABTOK. 881
970. TO DB. JOSEPH WABTON.>
Sib, Arlington Street, March 16, 1765.
You haye shown so muoh of what I fear I must call partiality to
me, that I could not in conscience send you the trifle' tiiat accom-
panies this till the unbiassed public, who knew not the author, told
me that it was not quite unworthy of being offered to you. StiU I
am not quite sure whether its ambition of copying the manners of
an age which you love, may not make you too favourable to it, or
whether its awkward imitation of them may not subject it to your
censure. In hxA, it is but partially an imitation of ancient romances ;
being rather intended for an attempt to blend the marvellous of old
story with the natural of modem novels. This was in great mea*
sure the plan of a work, which, to say the truth, was b^un without
any plan at all. But I will not trouble you. Sir, at present with
enlarging on my design, which I have fully explained in a preface
prepared for a second edition, which the sale of the former makes
me in an hurry to send out. I do not doubt. Sir, but you have with
pleasure looked over more genuine remains of ancient days, the
three volumes of old Poems and Ballads : most of them are curious,
and some charming. The dissertations too I think are sensible,
concise, and imaffected. Let me recommend to you also the perusal
of the life of Petrarch, of which two large volumes in quarto are
already published by the Abb6 de Sade, with the promise of a third.
Three quartos on Petrarch will not terrify a man of your curiosity,
though without omitting the memoirs and anecdotes of Petrarch's
age, the ;most valuable part of the work, they might have been com-
prised in much less compass : many of the sonnets might have been
sunk, and almost all his translations of them. Though Petrarch
appears to have been far from a genius, singly excepting the har«
monious beauty of his words, yet one forgives the partiality of a
biographer, though Monsieur de Sade seems so much enchanted with
Petirarch as the age was in which he lived, whilst their ignorance
of good authors excuses their bigotry to the restorer of taste. You
wiU not, I believe, be so thoroughly convinced as the biographer
seems to be, of the authentic discovery of Laura's body, and the
sonnet placed on her bosom. When a lady dies of the plague in
^ Now first ooUeetod. — OuinmroHAX.
< The ' Cattle of Oiranio.'— CmrvnroHAM .
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833 HOEACB WALPOLFS LETTEBS. [1765w
the height of its ravages, it is not very probable that her hjmty
thought of interring poetry with her, or indeed of anything but
burying her body as quickly as they could ; nor is it more likely
that a pestilential vault was opened afterwards for that purpose. I
have no doubt but that the sonnet was prepared and dipped into
the tomb when they were determined to find her corpse. When you
read the notes to the second volume, you will grow very impatient
for Mons. de St. Palaye's promised history of the Troubadours.
Have we any manuscript that could throw light on that subject?
I cannot conclude, Sir, without reminding you of a hope you once
gave me of seeing you in town or at Strawberry Hill. I go to Paris
the end of May or beginning of June, for a few months, where I
should be happy if I could execute any literary commission for you.*
971. TO MONSIBUB ELIE DE BEAUMONT.'
8i& : Strawberry HiU, March 18, 1765.
When I had the honour of seeing you here, I believe I told you
that I had written a novel, in which I was flattered to find that I
had touched an e£Pdsion of the heart in a manner similar to a passage
in the charming letters of the Marquis de Boselle.* I have since
that time published my little story, but was so difiident of its merit,
that I gave it as a translation from the Italian. Still I should not
have ventured to offer it to so great a mistress of the passions as
Madame de Beaumont, if the approbation of London, that is, of a
country to which she and you. Sir, are so good as to be partial, had
not encouraged me to send it to you. After I have talked of the
passions, and the natural efi^ons of the heart, how will you be
1 Hony Wftlpole has now pottponed hisjonmey tUl May. He procrastinates as muck
on this side of the water as March [Qneensberry] on the other. To tell yon the truth,
as I helieve he has no great oordiality for his ezoellency [Hertford], he is not very
impatient to see liim. How do yon think he has employed that leisnre whidi his
political frenzy has allowed ot In writing a novel, entitled the ' Oastle of Otranto,'
and such a norel that no boarding-school miss of thirteen conld get through without
yawning. It consists of ghosts and enchantments ; pictures walk out of their frames,
and are good company for half-an-hour together ; helmets drop from the moon, and
coyer half a fomily. He says it was a dream, and I &ncy one when he had some
feverish disposition in him. — QiUy WiMiamt to Seltvyn, March 19th, 1765.—
* M. Elie de Beanmont was admitted an advocate at the French bar in 1762.
He was bom in 17S2, and died in 1786.— W&ioht.
* A French epistolary novel written by Madame EUe de Beanmont She was bora
at Caen in 1729, and died in 1783.— Wbioht.
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1766.] TO MONSUUB DB BBATJHOirT. 88S
surprised to find a narratiye of the most improbable and absurd
adventures ! How will you be amazed to hear that a country of
whose good sense you haye an opinion should have applauded so
wild a tale I But you must remember. Sir, that whatever good sense
we have, we are not yet in any light bhained down to precepts and
inviolable laws. All that Aristotle or his superior commentators,
your authors, have taught us, has not yet subdued us to regularity :
we still prefer the extravagant beauties of Shakspeare and Milton
to the cold and well-disoiplined merit of Addison, and even to the
sober and correct march of Pope. Nay, it was but t'other day that
we were transported to hear Churchill rave in numbers less chastised
than Dryden's, but still in numbers like Dryden's. You will not,
I hope, think I apply these mighty names to my own case with any
vanity, when it is only their enormities that I quote, and that in
defence, not of myself, but of my countrymen, who have had good-
humour enough to approve the visionary scenes and actors in the
* Castle of Otxanto/
To tell you the truth, it was not so much my intention to recall
the exploded marvels of ancient romance, as to blend the wonderfdl
of old stories with the natural of modem novels. The world is apt
to wear out any plan whatever ; and if the Marquis de Boselle had
not appeared, I should have been inclined to say, that that species
had been exhausted. Madame de Beaumont must forgive me if I
add, that Richardson' had, to me at least, made that kind of writing
insupportable. I thought the fwdua was become dignm vmdioe, and
that a god, at least a ghost, was absolutely necessary to frighten us
out of too much senses. When I had so wicked a design, no wonder
if the execution was answerable. If I make you laugh, for I cannot
flatter myself that I shall make you cry, I shall be content ; at least
I shall be satisfied, till I have the pleasure of seeing you, with
putting you in mind o^ Sir, your, Ac
P.8. The passage I alluded to in the beginning of my letter is
where Matilda owns her passion to Hippolita. I mention it, as I
fear so unequal a similitude would not sbike Madame de Beaumont
' " High M Bichardfon't reputation stood in his own countiy, it was OTon more
exalted in those of Frtnoe and German j, whose imaginations are more easilj ezdted,
and their passions more easilj mo?ed,bj tales of Ikctitions distress, than are the
oold-blooded English. Foreigners of distinction hare been known to risit Hampstead,
and to inqoire for the Flask Walk, distingoished as a scene in Clarissa's history, Jnst
as trarellers Tisit the rocks of Meillerie to view the localities of Bonssean's tale of
passion. D\derot Tied with Bonssean in heaping inoense npoa the shrine of the
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$84 HORACB WALPOLB'S LBTTBBS. [17e&
972. TO THE BABL OP HBRTPOBD.
AHingUm Street, March 26, 1765.
Thrbb weeks are a great while, my dear lord, for me to have
been without writing to you ; but besides that I have passed many
days at Strawberry, to cure my cold (which it has done), there has
nothing happened worth sending across the sea. Politics have
dozed, and common events been fisust asleep. Of Giierchy^ft aflGEur,*
you probably know more than I do ; it is now forgotten. I told
him I had absolute proof of his innocence, for I was sure, that if
he had offered money for assassination, the men who swear against
him would have taken ii
The King has been yery seriously iU, and in great danger. I
would not alarm you, as there were hopes when he was at the worst
I doubt he is not free yet from his complaint, as the humour fallen
on his breast still oppresses him. They talk of his having a levee
next week, but he has not appeared in public, and the bills are
passed by commission ; but he rides out. The Boyal Family have
suffered like us mortals ; the Duke of Gloucester has had a fever»
but I believe his chief complaint is of a youthful kind. Prince
Frederick is thought to be in a deep consumption; and for the Duke
of Cumberland, next post wiU probably certify you of his death, as
he is relapsed, and there are no hopes of him. He fell into his
lethargy again, and when they waked him, he said he did not know
whether he could call himself obliged to them.
I dined two days ago at Monsieur de Gnerch/s, with the Count
de Caraman,' who brought me your letter. He seems a very agree-
able man, and you may be sure, for your sake, and Madame de
Mirepoix's, no civilities in my power shall be wanting. I have not
yet seen Schouvaloff,' about whom one has more curiosity — ^it is an
Biigliih ftathor. The former comptree him to Homer, and predicto for hit memory
the same honours which are rendered to the fitther of epic poetry ; and the last^
besides his well-known bcuit of eloquent pan^jric, records his opinion in a letter to
IXAlembert^: — ' On n'a jamais £ut encore, en qaelqne langae qae ce soit, de romaa
(gal i Clarisse, ni m6me approchant'"— ^r WaUer ScoU: Prose Works, toL ilL
p. 49.— WWOHT.
^ This alludes, it is presumed, to a biU of indictment which was found in the
begiiming of March, at the sessions at Hicks's Hall, against the Count de Guerehy,
lor the absurd charge of a conspiracy to murder D'fion. - -CBOKUL
' Probably Francois Joseph, Count de Carmman, who married a Princess de Chimay,
heiress of the house of Heoin, niece of Madame de Mirepoix. — Csoksb.
* He had been favourite to the Smprees Catherine ; and, as Mr. Walpole elsewfaert
says, ** a fayourite without an enemy." — Cbokdu
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1766.] TO THE BABL OF HERTFOBD • 335
Opportunity of gratifymg that passion which one oan so seldom do
in personages of his historic nature, especially remote foreigners.
I wish M. de Caraman had hrought the * Siege of Calais/ ' which
he tells me is printed, though your account has a little abated my
impatience. They tell us the French comedians are to act at
Calais this summer — ^is it possible they can be so absurd, or think
us so absurd as to go thither, if we would not go further ? I
remember, at Bheims, they beUeved that English ladies went to
Calais to drink champagne — ^is this the suite of that belief? I was
mightily pleased with the Due de Choiseul's answer to the Clairon ;*
but when I hear of the French admiration of Garrick, it takes off
something of my wonder at the prodigious adoration of him at
home. I never could conceiye the marvellous merit of repeating
the works of others in one's own language with propriety, however
well delivered. Shakespeare is not more admired for writing his
plays, than Gbrrick for acting them. I think him a very good and
very various player — ^but several have pleased me more, though I
allow not in so many parts. Quin in Falstaf^ was as excellent as
Garrick in Lear. Old Johnson* far more natural in everything he
> A tngedj by M. da Belloj, which, with Uitle other merit than its anti-AngUeiam,
(whieh, in all timeiiy haa pasted in France for patriotiam,) *'/aiscUt fureur** at thia
time. — CaoKSB.
' Mademoiselle Clairon was at this moment in snoh Togne on the French stagey
that her admirers stmok a medal in honour of her, and wore it aa a kind of order.
A critic of the name of Frfoon, however, did not partake these sentiments, and drew,
in hii jonmal, an iigarions character of MademolMlle Clairon. This insolt so out-
raged the tragedy-queen, that she and her admirers mored heaTen and earth to have
Frdron sent to the Bastile, and, fidling in her solicitation to the inferior depart-
ments, she at last had recourse to the prime-minister, the Duke of Choiseul, himself.
His answer, which Lord Hertford, no doubt, had communicated to Mr. Walpole, was
admired for its poUte penifiage of her theatric Mi^esty. " I am," said the Duke, " like
yourself, Mademoiselle, a public performer, with this difference in your fityour, that you
choose what parts you please, and are sure to be crowned with the applause of the public
(for I reckon ss nothing the bad taste of one or two wretched indiyiduals who have
the misfortune of not adoring you). I, on the other hand, am obliged to act the
parts imposed on me by necessity. I am sure to please nobody ; I am satirised,
criticised, libeUed, hissed, — and yet I continue to do my best Let us both, then,
sacrifice our little resentments and enmities to the public seryice, and serre o«r
country eadi in our own station. Besides," he added, ** the Qween has condescended
to forgive Fr^ron, and you may, therefore, without compromiting ycwr dignity,
imitate her Mijesty's demency."— ifi$nK>»res de Baehamnwnl, t. L p. 61.— Cbokib.
MademoiseUe Clairon was bom in 1728, and made her first appearance at Paris in
1748, in the character of Ph^dre. She died at Paris in 1808. Seyeral of her letters
to the British Bosdus wiU be found in the Garrick Correspondence. — Wbioht.
' Ben Johnson, who died in 1742, aged 77. Johnson, that admirable old comedian,
the most natural and of the least gesticulation I ever knew, so fiunous for playing the
Orave<Kgger In ' Hamlet,' Moroae, NoU Bhiff, Bishop Qardiner, and a few othar
parts. WalpMs Anecdotes (by DalUway) lii. 108 ; and It. 54. The fine full length
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936 HOEAOE WALPOLE'S IiETTEB& [17«6
attempted. Mrs. Porter and your Dmnesnil surpassed him in pas-
sionate tragedy ; Gibber and O'Brien were what Qarrick could never
reach, coxcombs, and men of fashion. Mrs. CKve is at least as
perfect in low comedy — and yet to me, Ranger was the part that
suited Gbrrick the best of aU he ever performed. He was a poor
Lothario, a ridiculous Othello, inferior to Quin in Sir John Brute
and Macbeth, and to Gibber in Bayes, and a woful Lord Hastings
and Lord Townley. Lideed, his Bayes was original, but not the
true part : Gibber was the burlesque of a great poet, as the part was
designed, but Garrick made it a Garretteer. Tlie town did not like
him in Hotspur, and yet I don't know whether he did not succeed
in it beyond all the rest. Sir Gharles Williams and Lord Holland
thought so too, and they were no bad judges. I am impatient to
see the Glairon, and certainly will, as I have promised, though I
have not fixed my day. But do you know you alarm me 1 There
was a time when I was a match for Madame de Mirepoix at
pharaoh, to any hour of the night, and I believe did play with her
five nights in a week till three and four in the morning — but till
eleven o'clock to-morrow morning — Oh ! that is a little too much, even
at loo. Besides, I shall not go to Paris for pharaoh — ^if I play all
night, how shall I see everything all day ?
Lady Sophia Thomas has received the Baume de vie, for whidi
she gives you a thousand thanks, and I ten thousand.
We are extremely amused with the wonderful histories of your
hyen^ ' in the G^vaudan ; but our fox-hunters despise you : it is
exactly the enchanted monster of old romances. If I had known
its history a few months ago, I believe it would have appeared in
the ' Gastle of Otranto,' — ^the success of which has, at last, brought
me to own it, though the wildness of it made me terribly afraid ;
but it was comfortable to have it please so much, before any mortal
suspected the author : indeed, it met with too much honour feur, for
at first it was universally believed to be Mr. Gray's. As all Ihe
first impression is sold, I am hurrying out another, with a new
pre£EU)e, which I will send you.
There is not so much delicacy of wit as in M. de Ghoiseul's speech
to the Clairon, but I think the story I am going to tell you in
of him with Oriffin, so finely engnyed bj Yan Bleek, is now at the Gtni^ Clab,
that hospital for old portraits of celebrated plajers. — CunrxvoHAK.
A wolf of enormoos sixe, and, in some respects, iiregnlar conformation, which far
a long time ravaged the GeTandaa ; it was, soon after the date of this letter, killed,
and Ml. Walpole saw it in Paris [See note, p. 8381.— CaouB.
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1765.] TO SIB HORACE MANN 887
return, will divert you as much: there was a vast assembly at
Marlborough House, and a throng in the doorway. My Lady Talbot
said, "Bless me! I think this is like the Straits of Thermopylae!"
my Lady Northumberland replied, ''I don't know what Street that
is, but I wish I could get my through." I hope you admire
the contrast. Adieu ! my dear lord ! Yours ever.
978. TO SIR HORACE MANN.
Arlington Street, March 26, 1765.
I don't remember the day when I was reduced to complain, in
winter and Parliament-tide, of having nothing to say. Yet it is
this kind of nothing that has occasioned my long silence. There
has not been an event, irom a debate to a wedding, capable of
making a paragraph. Such calms often forerun storms : the worst
fits of the gout befall those who are not subject to little fevers.
Our eyes have been lately turned to very serious danger; the
King has been extremely ill, with a fever, violent cough, and a
humour fallen on his breast. He was blooded four times, recovered