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<Q A 1738? TC MB EMONTAGU>
<X ELIZABETH MONTAGU>
[}ELIZABETH ROBINSON TO THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND. 1738? MAY? HORTON. MO 271. PAGE BREAKS AND LINE BREAKS NOT INDICATED}]
I think I cannot possibly show a greater regard to your Grace's commands than by obeying them in the stricktest sense, therefore as you order'd me to write to you soon, I have wrote the soonest that was possible, if you think I need not have wrote this week or fortnight, all I desire is that you would put the letter in your pocket without reading for a few days so I will not date it, but leave that to your pleasure.
I arrived at Mount Morris rather more fond of society than Solitude; I thought it no very agreable change of Scene from Handel, & Gafferelli, to Woodlarks, & nightingales, it seems to me to be something like the different Seasons of Youth & Age, first noise & publick show, & then after being convinced That is Vanity, retire to Shades & Solitude, which we soon find to be Vexation of Spirit; I think Solomon was in the wrong when he said all was vanity & Vexation of Spirit, he ought to have said all was vanity or vexation of Spirit, for the one succeeds the other as darkness does light, & especially in the Women, the young Maid is all Vanity, & the Old one all vexation; the same cheek which when blooming was the Woman's vanity, when wrinkled becomes her vexation; but every thing has its use, were it not for wrinkles what prudent maxim should we lose which now instruct us! What scandal which diverts us! for Old Maids have nothing to do but to show their own prudence and other Peoples follies. You see how sententious I am grown only by a fortnights retirement from the world; when the world has left me to be sure I shall speak only in Proverbs. for if these things are done in a Green tree what shall be done in a dry! My Correspondents in Town tell me it is very hot & disagreable, but I know your Grace to be a Person of that great patience, as to be able to endure a Midsummer Sun in London, so I won't send you any Compliments of Condolence upon your being still there, tho to be sure tis a most terrible thing to be obliged to walk in the Park in an Evening when 'tis so full of company one can scarce stir. Sir Francis Dashwood's Sister is going to be married to Sir Robert Austin a Baronet of our Country, if the size of his Estate bore any proportion to the bulk of his Carcass he would be one of the greatest Matches in England, but unhappily for her the first is as remarkably small as the other is large, so all she is to get for Six thousand is a fat Man, a lean Estate, & a trumpery title, indeed a Lady may make her Lover languish till he is the size she most likes, if she should waste him an ell in circumference he would be almost as slim a Man as Sir John Cotton, at present you would take him for a Descendent of Gog, or Magog, as it is not now the fashion for Men to dye for love, the only thing a Woman can do to give herself a reputation is to bring a Man into a Consumption, what triumph then must attend the lady who reduces Sir Robert Austin to Asses Milk! Queen Omphale made Hercules spin, but greater glory waits the Lady who makes Sir Robert Austin lean. as for Miss Dashwood I think she has nothing destructive in her look, I believe she must bring him only to a moderate size while he is a Lover, & reduce the rest when she is married, for I have known some Women who could make a Mans heart as much after marriage as before.
I hope your Grace will favour me with a letter, for to write to you from here would be extreamly like Swifts Country Post of news from the henroost &c unless I had now & then something from you to enable me to fill my paper.
I told my Pappa how much he laid under your Graces displeasure for hurrying out of Town, but what is a fine Ladies Anger or the Loss of London to five and forty! They are more afraid of an Easterly wind than a frown when they are at that age. My Mamma & Sister desire their complimts I hope the Marquiss of Tichefield is well. I desire my H=ble= Service to my Lord Duke & I am Madam
Your Most Hble Servt