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23 Aug [\IN PENCIL 1747\]
   I had a letter from one of my Brothers at Westminster, in which he mentioned that Lord Titchfield had been indisposed but was entirely recoverd, & was gone with your Grace to Welbeck, I hoped his Lordship had only had a severe cold, but on my Brothers coming here & my asking him many questions I found the Marquiss had been worse than I imagined, had I known of his illness before I was also informed of his recovery it would have given me the utmost anxiety: nor can I without much pain reflect on what the good & generous heart of my Dear friend has sufferd. however, not to dwell any longer on a painfull subject I will give your Grace according to my promise an account of Lady Fanes [\Grotto LATER CHANGED FROM Grott?\], to begin with the situation, [\it/] is like most Grottos placed where a Grotto would not be look'd for; it joins to the House; now having told its only defect I will go on to the rest. the first Room is fitted up entirely with shells. the sides & Cieling in beautifull mosaick a Rich Cornice of Flowers in baskets & Cornucopias & the
Little yellow sea snail is so disposed in shades as to resemble knots of Ribbon which seem to tye up some of the bunches of flowers. there is a Bed for the Hermit [\with INTO which BY MM?\] is composed of fine shells, & so shaded that the Curtain seems folded & flowing, there are many fine shells & I think that this Room is the prettiest piece of shell work that I have seen, but the Room adjoining to it is in the truer & proper stile of a Grotto, it is composed of Rough Rock work in a very bold taste, that it appears rather done by the hardy & happy hand of nature than of finical art, the water falls down it into a Cold Bath: this Grotto is about 50 yards from the Thames to which the descent is very precipitate: [\WORD INTO it\] wants shade, [\From INTO from\] the Shell Room you have no advantage of the Thames, from the other Room you have a view of it. the House which this Grotto is join'd to is a small habitation where Lady Fane used to pass a good deal of time Lord Fanes Seat is about a mile from it. which indeed has not the View of the Thames but is finely situated in a Bower
of Beech wood, & before it a pretty prospect; from the Grotto we went to a Wood by the Thames where we sat & eat our Cold dinner very [\comfortable INTO comfortably BY MM?\] . in the afternoon we walked up a Hill which commands a fine prospect, the Thames winds about in the manner it does at [\NAME INTO Clifden?\], but as there you have green meadows fill'd with cattle you have here a Country of Tillage, which I think is not so refreshing to the Eye, as natures universal Livery the pleasant Green; there is also a want of Wood & I think the Country rather too flat, but the prospect is very extensive you see Oxford & Reading one on y=r= right the other on your left hand. but now having told you our pleasures & amusements I think your Grace should lend a patient ear to our disasters, in our Road thither one of the Wheels took fire, & burnt thro' the axletree: with much ado we reach'd the Grotto, Amphitrite was not at home, or [\sure INTO surely BY MM\] she w=d= have put us in a large shell & have harnessd her Dolphins & carried us down the River,
To Newbury or at least have borrowd Sea Horses of Neptune for such as could ride: but having none of this Divine Machinery [\with BY MM?/] which Poets accomodate Heroes & Heroines, or the Managers of the Opera introduce a new singer, we were compell'd to implore the assistance of meer mortals; a Wheelwright was apply'd to, but he had been carousing at a Christening & was not [\in/] that degree of sober sense requisite to make Even an axle tree; a justice of Peace whom the King in his Graciousness had knighted lived hard by, to him we apply'd to lend us a Coach to carry us home, as it was a part of his office to send Vagrants to the Place of their Abode he w=d= not have been so out of character as to have refused the Conveyance if he Could have accomodated us, but alass his Coach which contrary to other things used to rest on the Week days & work only on the Sabbath, had not been licensed to the great inconvenience of his Lady, & the Grief of Carter John; who one day in the week was a Coachman, the Horses indeed Brutes insensible of
Honour & dignity rather rejoyced in the day of rest. What was to be done the sun was declining we were 20 miles from home, the Hermits bed was rather Beautifull than soft, the Hill that gave us a prospect of fields offer'd us none of a Lodging, a good Inn with the sign of the Blue Boar, Green Dragon, or Red Lion w=d= have pleased us better than all we had seen; but alass! the only Village within reach offerd us a Homely Lodging under Thatch'd Roofs, we were a Party of Seven, & might have storm'd the Village with more ease than the french can Bergen op zoom, but the plunder w=d= not have given us a Supper nor the place afforded us a lodging: but on finding the uncoach'd justice was married to S=ir= Robt: Suttons Neice an [\relation DELETED\] [\acquaintance/] of M=rs= Donnellans she sent her comp=ts= told our distress & we were kindly received that night, the Wheelwright slept himself sober the next day made us an axletree & we came
Home laughing at our Adventures which we arrogant[{ly{] [\IN MARGIN\] compared to those of the Valourous Quixote, or Marvellous Robinson Crusoe, & hope if D=r= Pocock (who was of our Party) should add them to his Travels your Grace will buy the new Eddition for the sake [\of/] so important, interesting, & entertaing an addition. [\DELETED BY MM Since I wrote this I had y=r= Graces which by a mistake was sent to Marlbro, the Post Master lays the blame on the General post office for my part I know I am very angry at them all for delaying my pleasure of hearing from you. I am very sorry Lord Tichefield has relapsed & not a little uneasy at his travelling this hot weather pray let me have a single line only to say if he gets well to Nottinghamshire: I shall be very uneasy till I hear he is safe there. the Post is going out else I have much to say but must only indulge myself in assuring your Grace that
   I am with the greatest gratitude
   & regard y=r= most obed=t= &c
   E Montagu M=rs= Donnellan went on thursday to M=rs= Southwell D=r= Courayer & M=r= Montagu beg their comp=ts=\]
[\WRITTEN BY MM: I am, your Graces / &c. &c / E. Montagu\]