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Bullstrode Aug y=e= 3=d= 1740 Dear Madam
   I never knew till now that more of my actions were guided by duty than inclination, but when I consider how many letters I have wrote to others without one to you to whom I had most inclination to write, I see plainly how far the ballance weighs down on the side of obligation against that of choice; indeed I have been much taken up with writing two or three letters home every post, some of the family expect them & some desire them, & the tributes of duty & love must not be deny'd. [\I INTO We\] stay'd much longer in Town than we had proposed when you left us, at last we took leave of an almost desolate Citty to come to the most charming Country; you may easily imagine I am happy in the best company in the finest place, the House is magnificent, & the Gardens & Park are beautifull, the owners of these good things enjoy the commodiousness without the Cares of Greatness, those disturbers of peace vanity & ambition never enter their breasts who are neither proud [\for? INTO of\] what they possess nor covetous of what others enjoy, our tranquility was at first disturbed by the little ones being ill
But thank God they are all well again & to repay the anxiety I felt I saw the best wife the Sincerest [\friend/] & the most dutiful Daughter was the tenderest Mother, she felt too much for them for her quiet, indeed it was very happy it did not last long for the poor Dutchess was quite cast down I did not possess my Soul in quietness you may suppose, since this we have been very happy we read, work, write & walk & talk which you will not doubt as I am of the party, the hard frost has in some measure spoil'd our Consort, it is with great pleasure I listen to your Sister Songster Philomel I think with a very little alteration Miltons address to her might be apply'd to you Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of folly, most Musical, most melancholly, I hope you are not pester'd with impertinence at Spa, a redundancy of Spirits is commonly the effect of health but really at Bath which is the Land of Invalids I did not find there was any failure of impertinence perhaps the Enlivening Spa may quicken Genius's into wit the Bath waters had not that effect, they were not like the Inspiring Helicon. The Goddess dulness Poet Laureate A-n has been in terrible apprehension
Least the oaken cudgel should be about that head which Laurel ought to crown & [\to/] show that tho he was shameless he was not fearless too & that if he [\could INTO couldn't\] be mended he could however be chastized he wrote letters of the greatest submission asking pardon of the Gentleman he had abused & begg'd he would interceed with the other Person concern'd that he might have leave to ask their pardon but they bid the Gentleman tell [\him/] he was as safe in their contempt as he could be in their forgiveness & that they desired not to be troubled with him, but the Valourous Knight not thinking he had done enough made him write a very humble letter which by M=rs= P- was deliver'd. I think the Captain was in the right for he was really abused but for what he said of any else it was a triffle, being a Star which hid its diminish'd head at [\the appearance of/] that Sun of Beauty Molly Cornwall I dare say the Person never thought they [\should INTO shone\] brighter [\in\] the Hemisphere of Beauty than a Star, nor much cared what place they [\IN MARGIN maintaind\]
In M=r= A_ns Zodiack the Captain would fain have made him fight but the Gentleman declined it, not thinking his Carkass worthy a place in the Bed of Honour, I suppose his Adversary challenged him as Caius Marius adresses the Apothecary art thou so poor & full of wretchedness &c & yet afraid to dye? but the good proverb taught him 'twas better to live like a Dog than dye like a Lion. I wonder the Captain should be so formidably valourous for as Prior says Tis Strange one breast should be the Seat
     Of Gentle Love & [\fell\] Debate besides Cupids Arrow is not half so deadly as the Lance of Mars, no wound is mortal that does not bleed I mean really, for Metaphorically Lovers are wounded they bleed Languish & dye but all that dye see
     is but by way of Simile for Death is no more the end of Love than Diachylon plaster is the cure of it, some dye in Metaphor & some in Song tis true but still tis a Living Death & never any of them come to buried I will defy the handsomest Women in England to furnish out a decent Execution of three or four Lovers in their whole lives.
   The Dutchess who is writing to you will give you a better account of the news of the times than I can do, all that I have to tell you is that the Bishops are to meet to scratch out of the Matrimonial Service that vulgar [\reading/] to have & to hold till Death do us part which to a polite & free thinking age is an insupportable condition of an inconvenient Covenant & upon all these separations I will say in spight of Doctor Shaw that those who have Wives are as those that have none, I am sorry the female virtue constancy is worn out for if they do not change their love from one to another they however change it into Hate, I was told by a friend of a great [\Lady/] who was parted from her Lord in the beginning of the Summer by way of making her apology that really the reason was she hated her Husband I was shock'd to hear that alledged as an excuse that once would have been mention'd as a Crime & could not help answering perhaps with more sincerity than prudence that if she did so she did a very wicked thing content with so summing up the matter without mentioning the ties
Of Duty & Gratitude to an indulgent Husband her friends think it a great matter if they clear her from the imputation of loving unlawfully tho' they own she hates undutifully to me whether people don't [\do/] what they ought to do or do what they ought not to do is much the same thing for 'tis only inclination makes the difference, virtue being then out of the question. S=r= john S=t= Aubin has lost his wife & the papers say is going to Spa, I hear he is inconsolable, I am very sorry for him, so fond a Husband must make a disconsolate widower, it is terrible to think how Death will part the fondest friends, but such is the sad state of Wedlock that either the possession or loss may make people miserable but [\in/] the precarious situation of this World many are unhappy & all may be so. I hope you find benefit by Spa you have my heartiest & Sincerest wishes for every thing that concerns your welfare It would have given me a satisfaction I did not deserve to have had an account of your health from yourself I hope now you will favour me with it. I am very sorry for the melancholly accident of M=r= Cottingtons death, I am sure your tenderness suffers
Much to see his Widow in affliction, melancholly is no friend to your Constitution that I fear your body as well as mind has suffer'd, I want much to hear your account of the Place you are in, by what I have hear'd Nature appears there rather in dignity than Beauty, but great objects give prodigious delight to the imagination, which is thereby enlarged & takes in a greater train of Ideas, that our imagination by noble contemplations seems to stretch it self to a Higher degree of thought than [\we/] usually possess, we think we see Omnipotence plainer in the Prodigious Works of Providence than in [\its/] common works, for tho we know by whom every thing was created yet we most Admire the Creator in his marvellous Works. Pip & her Lover have got Sympathetick pains in their head, I thought the pains in the heart were communicative but I did not know those in the head were so, if that be the case my Lovers when good fortune sends me any will complain more of the head ach than the heart ach, Pip & her Deare[{st?{] [\TEAR\] soon lay their heads together, sometime in this month: they are to be married by the Bishop of Gloucester to have the blessing at first hand. I desire the favour of you to make my compliments to Miss Grevile, I have not the pleasure of being acquainted with M=rs= Price by what I have hear'd of her her company must make Spa much more
[\IN MARGIN\] Agreable than it would otherwise be. If Spa does not cure you pray try the Cold Bath I have found infinite service from it, I am so well that I am quite surprized to find I have such an excellent constitution. The direction to this Place is Bullstrode by Gerrards cross bag Bucks. My paper but not my inclination puts an End to my letter, excuse the [\lengteth\] of it, it is impossible to write little to those one loves much, so if you will be loved you must be troubled with your sincere & affectionate but Impertinent friend
   Eliza Robinson [\IN MARGIN\] If you could bring me over grey Lace enough for the facing & robeing a Gown without any inconveniences I should be extreamly glad of it as likewise one of the Spa necklaces but I woud not give you any trouble about them
[\ADDRESS\] For Mrs Donnellan / à Spà / par Liege / Allemagne
[\ANNOTATED\] August 5 1740 B Ballard 20