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<Q A 1766 TC EV EMONTAGU>
<X ELIZABETH MONTAGU>
[}ELIZABETH MONTAGU TO ELIZABETH VESEY. 1766 SEPT 6. MO 6389?}]
Sept ye 6=th= 1766 Denton near Newcastle upon Tyne
Last night brought me the kind, the friendly favour of my dear M=rs= Veseys letter. I had before said to my self, you would deeply regret S=r= James Macdonald, & would sensibly feel for me. The sad state of health he was in last winter, & the bad accounts I had received just before the fatal event, prepared me for the blow, as much as one can be prepared for such a misfortune. You knew what he was, you could form expectations of what he would be, so I shall say the less of his qualities in general, but there were some beautifull strokes, some fine finishings in his character which no one could see who was not any intimate with him. I had so interested my self for his success in the World, & proposed to my self such a pleasure in seeing him one of the first men in his Country that this event has blown down many Castles in the air. I knew his good heart too well to think
that he would ever forget how sincerely I was his friend. & that even in the persuits of ambition he w=d= disdain to come & pass an evening sometimes with me, when age & infirmities might confine me to my fireside. This incomparable young man was the object of my ambition. I had a maternal pride in him, & sollicitude for him. the difference of our ages made a facility in our intimacy; his talent of accommodating himself to all kinds of persons made him a treasure in my social system, but I am ashamed to dwell in my own misfortune, while Lady Margaret Macdonald has a right to all my pity I wrote to a Servant in Hillstreet to inquire after her, & I hear she is better than she was. What a loss too has y=e= Isle of Skey! where he was introducing arts & industry, & establishing [\manufactures\] & improving agriculture, civilizing manners, & like a benignant Sun, dispelling darkness, & cherishing all that makes life chearfull & happy. When one thinks of these things, one is apt to murmur & to say
why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
and thou no breath at all?
But infinite wisdom knows best, & his will be done. At my first coming into Northumberland I had not good health, & having much business I had delay_d writing to my dear friend, but a thousand times a day I thought of her. About y=e= first of august I set out for Scotland, & staid there a month I intended writing to you at my return, & sh=d= have done it directly, but this sad subject, in which I knew you interested, damp_d my spirits; however I had got a cover franked on purpose. I shall write to you again in a few posts, & give you an account of what I saw in Scotland. I often wishd for you among Mountains & rocks. My spirit carried me into y=e= Highlands, D=r= Gregory, ye author of (^y=e= comparative View of the state & faculties of man with those of the animal World^) , was so good as to accompany me, his book will have inform_d you he is very ingenious, but he is [\tender\] being a man of great learning & genius the most gentle & amiable [\imaginable/] with fine taste & an elegant stile of manners.
We carried Ossian in the Chaise & read stories in the very places where they happend. I talkd to [\the\] [\Doctor/] of you, & I assure you you was toasted at Edinburgh. M=r= Keith, unluckily for me, was gone to London to see (\Mons=r=\) & (\M=dme=\) de Harrock. I saw his daughters who are very agreable. I was much pleased with Scotland. the prospects are beautifull in some parts, sublime in others. The Scotch are vastly obliging to strangers, they are indeed a very well bred people, & I found every where a most polite hospitality. There is not to be found amongst them ignorance or brutality, no Squires property so call_d. At D=r= Gregorys we had D=r= Robertson, or D=r= Blair, or some [\distinguishd] person every evening. They live in ye french way, (\des petits soupers faire\) , & they have ye easy address of y=e= the french. The letterd Sage & rural Gentleman is in Scotland a polite man. I have got two little girls of D=r= Gregorys with me here, they are lovely children y=e= eldest 12 years old. I am endeavouring to mitigate their scotch [\accents\]
in every thing [[\else\] they are what one could wish. I have indeed some verse made by S=r= Gilbert Elliot on the death of L=d= & Lady Sutherland you may shew them to whom you please but do not give a copy. I wish you had seen the Chapel at Holyrood House where they are buried imagine a great Gothick chappel very gloomy originaly. made horrid by onerous decay, & more by the mummies of many of their departed Kings the mountain that hangs over this building & the [\other/] [\circumstances\] make it of the terrible sublime. I saw death triumphing over beauty in the face of Lord Darnely Marys murderd husband. His Catastrophe added horrors to the King of terrors, imagination was more shocked than ye eye for he looks only ye faded image of a handsome man. Why dont you tell me when you shall come to England. Alas what losses has our Cotterie sustain_d! youth in its finest lustre, age in its mildest graces, a few more such strokes & like y=r= Malvina we shall depart weary of conversing with ye souls of little men. I am D=r= Madam
Ever y=rs= EM