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<Q A 1768 FN MA EMONTAGU> <X ELIZABETH MONTAGU> [}ELIZABETH MONTAGU TO MARY ROBINSON. DEC 4 1768. BL ADD. 40663. f. 9}] <P1> Denton Dec: ye 4=th= 1768 My dear Sister I cannot help wishing you & my Brother joy, on a circumstance which gives me a great deal. I am sorry this happy event must be purchased by some hours of pain, but hope they will be few, before you forget them in the joy, (^that a man child is born into the World^) , however if it should be a female infant, we will most joyfully receive it, for it will lay a broader foundation of happiness for you & of pleasure to us, than the dependance on one little Damsel, & it will give her a better chance to have her admirable understanding cultivated, & her temper regulated, than her Papas fondness would perhaps allow while she was an only child. You will see by the date of my letter, I am still in the Northern Regions, but I hope in a fortnight to return to London. We have had a mild season, & this House is remarkably warm, so that I have not suffer'd from cold. Business has taken up much <P2> of my time, & as we had farms to lett against next May day, & I was willing to see the [\new/] Colliery begin to trade to London before I left the Country, I had the prudence to get the better of my taste for society. I had this day the pleasure of a letter from Billingsgate (a polite part of the World for a Lady to correspond with) that the first ships which were then arrived, were much approved; at Lynn they have also succeeded, & these are the two great Coal markets. So now as [\soon as/] I can get all the ends & bottoms of our business wound up, I shall set out for Hillstreet. I spent a Month in Scotland this Summer, & made a further progress than M=r= Gray did. An old friend of M=r= Montagu's & mine, D=r= Gregory, came to us here, & brought his daughter y=e= end of july, & summond me to keep a promise I had made him of letting [\him/] be my Knight errant & escorte me round Scotland. The first of august we set forward. I call'd on the Duke & Duchess of Northumberland at Alnewick Castle in my way; it is the most noble Gothick building imaginable, its antique form is preserved <P3> on the outside, within the apartments are also Gothick in the structure & ornaments, but convenient & noble, so that modern elegance arranges & conducts antique strength & grandeur, leaves its sublimity of character, but softens what was rude & unpolish'd. My next days journey carried me to Edinburgh, where I staid about ten days, I pass'd my time there very agreably, receiving every polite attention from all the people of distinction in the Town. I never saw any thing equal to the hospitality of the Scotch. Every one seemd to make it their business to attend me to all the fine places in the Neighbourhood, to invite me to dinner, to supper &c. as I had declared an intention to go to Glasgow, the Lord Provost of Glasgow insisted on my coming to his Villa near the Town, instead of going to a noisy Inn. I stay'd three days there to se the Seals in the Environs, & the great Cathedral, & the College & Academy for painting, & then I set out for Inverary. I should first tell you Glasgow <P4> is the most beautifull Town in Great Brittain. The Houses according to the Scotch fashion are large & high, & built of free stone, the streets very broad, & built at right angles. All dirty kinds of business are carried on in seperate districts, so that nothing appears but a noble & elegant simplicity. My road from Glasgow to Inverary lay by the side of the famous Lake call'd Lough lomon. Never did I see the sublime & beautifull so united. The Lake is in some places eight miles broad, in others less, adorn'd with many Islands of which some rise in a [\Conreal OR Conrent\] figure & are cover'd with firr trees up to the summit. Other Islands are flatter, & Deer are feeding in their green meadows; in the Lontananza rise the Mountains on whose barren breast, the labouring clouds do seem to rest. The Lake is bright as crystal, & the shore [\seems\] of alabaster pebbles. Thus I travell'd near twenty miles, till I came to the Village of Luss <P5> where I lay at an Inn there being no Gentlemans house near it. The next morning I began to ascend the Highland Mountains. I got out of my chaise to climb to the top of one to take my leave of the beautifull Lake, the Sun had not been long up, its beams danced on the Lake, & we saw this Lovely Water meandering for 25 miles. Immediately after I returnd to my chaise, I began to be inclosed in a deep Valley between Vast mountains, down whose furrowd cheeks torrents rush'd impetuosly, & united in a river in the Vale below. Winter rains had so wash'd away the Soil from some of the steep Mountains, there appeard little but the Rocks, which like the skeleton of a Giant appeard more terrible than the perfect form. Other Mountains were coverd with a dark brown Moss, the shaggy goats were browsing on their sides, here & there appear'd a storm struck tree or blasted shrub, from whence no Lark ever saluted the morn with joyous hymn, or Philomel soothd the dull ear of night, but from <P6> [\thence/] the Eagle gave the first lessons of flight to her young, & taught them to make war on the [\kids\]. In the Vale of [\Glencross\] we stopp'd to dine by the stream of Cona, so celebrated by Ossian. I chose to dine amidst the rude magnificence of nature, rather [\than/] in the meanest of ye works of art, so did not enter ye Cottage which call'd itself an Inn; from thence my Servants brought me fresh herrings & trout & my Lord Provost Wife had fill'd my [\UNCLEAR\] chaise with good things, so very luxuriously we feasted. I wishd Ossian w=d= have come to us & have told (^a tale of other times^) , however imagination & memory assisted, & we recollected many passages in the very places that inspired them. I staid 3 hours listening to the roaring stream, & hoped some ghost w=d= come on the blast of the Mountain, & shew us where three gray stones [\were DELETED\] erected to his memory. after dinner we went on about 14 miles still in the Valley, Mountain rising above mountain till we ascended to Inverary, there at once we entered <P7> the Vale where lies the vast lake [\calld Lough Fine/] of whose dignity I cannot give you a better notion, than by telling [\you/] the great Leviathan had taken his pastime therein the night before I was there Tho it is 40 miles from the Sea, Whales come up there often in the herring Season. At Inverary I was lodged at a Gentlemans house invited, to anothers in ye neighbourhood, & attended [\UNCLEAR\] the Duke of Argylles policy (such is call'd the grounds dedicated to beauty & ornament). I went also to see the Castle built by the late Duke, it appears small by the vast objects near it, this great Lake before, a Vast Mountain coverd with firr & Beech behind it, so that relatively the Castle is little. I was obliged to return back to Glasgow the same way, not having time to make the tour of the Highlands. L=d= Provost had an excellent dinner & good company ready for us. The next day I went to L=d= Kames near Stirling, where I had promised to stay a day. I passd a day very agreably there, but c=d= not comply with their <P8> obliging entreaties to stay a longer time, but was obliged to return to Edinburgh. L=d= Kames attended me to Stirling Castle, which is in the road, & from thence to the Iron works at Carun[\... COVERED\] Here again I was on Classick ground. We dined at M=r= Dundass's, at night I got back to Edinburgh, where I rested my self 3 days, & then in my road lay at S=r Gilbert Elliots, spent a day with him & Lady Elliot. They facilitated my journey by lending me [\relais\] , which ye route did not always furnish, so I sent my own horses a stage forward. I crossd the Tweed again, dined & lay at the Bishop of Carlisles at Rose Castle, & then came home much pleased with the expedition, & gratefull for the infinite civilities I had received. My evenings at Edinburgh passd very agreably with D=r= Robertson, D=r= Blair, L=d= Kames, & diverse [\ingenious COVERED\] & agreable persons. My friend D=r= Gregory, who was my fellow traveller tho he is a Mathematician has a fine imagination, an elegant taste <P9> and every quality to make an agreable companion; he came back to Denton with me, but soon left us. I detain'd his two daughters Who are still with me, they are most amiable children, they will return to their Papa a few days before I leave this place. I was told M=r= Gray was rather reserved when he was in Scotland, tho they were disposed to pay him great respect. I agree perfectly with him, that to endeavour to shine in conversation, & to lay out for admiration, is very paltry, the witt of the company next to the Butt of the company is the meanest person in it; but at the same time, when a man of celebrated talents disdains to mix in common conversation, or refuses to talk on ordinary subjects [\it/] betrays a latent pride. There is a much higher character than that of a Witt, or a Poet, or a Savant, which is, that of a rational & socible being, willing to carry on the commerce of life with all the sweetness & condescension decency & virtue will permit. The great duty of conversation is to <P10> follow suit, as you do at Whist; if the eldest hand plays ye deuce of diamonds, let not his next neighbour cast down the King of hearts because his hand is full of honours. I do not love to see a man of witt win all the tricks in conversation nor yet to see him sullenly pass. I speak not this of M=r= Gray in particular, but it is the common failing of men of genius to exert a proud superiority, or maintain a prouder indolence. I shall be very glad to see M=r= Gray whenever he will please to do me the favour. I think he is the first Poet of the age, but if he comes to my fireside, I will teach him not only [\to/] (^speak prose^) but to talk nonsense if occasion be. I w=d not have a Poet always sit on the proud summit of the forked hill. I have a great respect for M=r= Gray as well as a high admiration. I am much grieved at the bad news from Canterbury, the Dean is a great loss to his family. I beg my most affectionate comp=ts= to my Brother & love to my dear little neice. I am sure Miss Arnold was very happy with you she is a most amiable prudent good girl & her manners are very pleasing. I hope you design to come to London soon. I am my Dear Mad=m= y=r= most affect Sister EM <P11> M=r= Montagu begs his comp=ts.