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<Q A 1768 FN MR EMONTAGU>
<X ELIZABETH MONTAGU>
[}ELIZABETH MONTAGU TO MATTHEW ROBINSON. JULY 19 1768. SANDLEFORD. MO 4765}]
Sandleford july y=e= 19=th=
A thousand thanks for your excellent Venison, & ten thousand for your more excellent letter. As I take hearty laughing to contribute still more to embonpoint than hearty eating, I expect greater benefit even to our Corporeal part than I should from many Venison feasts with Mayors & Aldermen. Your pen has better painted our Divine than the comick pencil of Hogarth could have done. When I read your letter to M=r= Montagu, he laugh'd very heartily, & said, it set M=r= Williams figure & attitude very plainly before [\him/] . We agreed that we should not have expected a weeping Philosopher from you, & could no way account for your having so dolorous a Son, but that my Mother had been frighten'd, by the lamentable tones of some blind beggar in an alley. He would be a disgrace to the worshipfull company
of the company of the Taylors. Forcible Feeble the Womans Taylor, in Falstaffes Regiment, was a magnanimous person compared to him, I would advise his Wife, from this time, to seize upon a certain part of his dress, which may fit her, but can never befitt him; let her give him a warm flannel petticoat in lieu thereof. I am anxious to hear the success of the cause, & hope to be inform'd of it by wen'sdays post. I am sorry to say, that William, even if he sh=d= be a rich man, will still be a poor Creature.
I wish I could give you a better account of M=r= Montagu's health, tho he is rather stronger, & looks less infirm than when he left London, there is not any great amendment in respect to his cough. His spirits are good, & his faculties so strong, that he applies a great deal to his mathematical studies as he sits up in his bed in the morning; he rises but a little while before dinner, in the evening we take an airing in [\a INTO y=e=\] post chaise & four , going a round trott for about 3 hours. In this situation I owe much of my pleasures to the education you kindly
bestow'd upon me, a habit of reading, so early commenced that the love of it is become a passion, makes me never at a loss how to fill my time. In bad weather M=r= Montagu goes to bed at six or seven, & I never feel the want of company, tho my choice would not be continual retirement. As Men are designed for active & publick life, I think [\a INTO y=e=\] love of reading is hardly so necessary for them as for Women, to whom retirement is always safe, & sometimes necessary. As they are not to chuse where or how they will live, it is happy to have a taste that may be gratified in any situation or any circumstances. I am sorry to hear you intend to take a new road to Bath, as it will deprive us of a visit which we expected with impatience. Perhaps I may have the pleasure of seeing you in a very few days, for M=r= Archdeacon wants a paper relative to a Colliery in the County of Durham of which we are going to grant a new Lease; this paper being in Town, if it is necessary, I must go thither. I shall lye at Hitcham in my way. I propose to stay
only a day or two in London, & then return directly to Sandleford. I expect every post to hear from M=r= Archdeacon, that he wants this paper, & ye copy of the old Lease, as he tells he has not a copy of either. I wish if M=r= William has any spare tears, after he has got his cause, that he would bestow some of them upon the confusion the riotous Coal heavers have made in the coal trade. I would not ask any for my Hay, which now lies a piteous object in the Fields soaking [\in/] rain, for it has already had too much of water. The way I take on such occasions, if I find myself disposed to complain, is this, I ask myself pray to whom should I complain? To those who have Land & coal mines? no, for they are in the same circumstances! To those who have neither? less still, for they are in worse. Least of all should I complain to M=r= Montagu, for the first duty of persons who [\have/] agreed to make the journey of life together, is, not to make that journey tedious & troublesome. I have travell'd in a coach with people of different dispositions, some of my fellow travellers by chearful
and good humour, in spite of rough roads & bad weather, [\have/] render'd the journey agreable; others, by gloominess & peevishness, have robbed the smiles of april of delight, & by squalling & pinching made every little jolt intolerable. I remember some years ago, a certain Northern Lady, saying to me with a sorrowfull face, oh M=rs= Montagu! I have lost this year three thousand pound by giving gift coal, to which I replied, Oh! Lady - it is a very happy thing to have =L=3000 a year to give away and especialy as I suppose y=r= Ladyship will sell that [\quantity of/] coal next year. Half the murmurings one hears in the World are because people do not enjoy on perfect good conditions, what they do not deserve to have on the worst. I admire the Philosopher, who thank_d the Gods first, that he was a man, & then that he was an Athenian. To be a rational creature, & to have had the advantages of a liberal education, to be raised above the misery of want, & the evils of dependance or slavery, are great felicities. Whoever
have had these advantages are unworthy of them, if they have [\not/] derived thence that degree of magnanomity that is requisite for bearing ordinary disappointments. We give too much consequence to martial courage & too little to civil. We teach our boys, that is is infamous to behave cowardly in battle, that there [\they/] must not lose their intrepidity or presence of mind under pain of being infamous; yet, except a mans Country is invaded, he may do all his duties without going to battle; but a man can neither be a good Husband, Father, [\or/] Friend, who cannot bear up against common calamities. I am realy hurt at Williams ingratitude to his Wife, who certainly has gone through a great deal, between his absurdity, & the [\peculiar/] circumstances of the tryal at Law, for the sake of her family. I beg of you to insist on his preaching (the sunday after he has carried his Cause) on this text, (^I am a worm & no man^) . If he will let me make the sermon, I will prove him [\to ye satisfaction of y=e= whole parish/] not only a worm, but a muck worm.
M=r= Montagu is very thankfull for your kind attention in sending the venison, which is a thing he much loves, & there are few Parks in this Country, he desires his best comp=ts=. Little Matt sends his duty, his Brother wrote him a very pretty letter in a very fine hand, of which he was very proud, but cannot answer it in writing, for my little friend is no great Clerk. I believe he w=d= have been a great scholar in Ægypt, the Hieroglyphicks w=d= have engaged him, for he is very attentive to forms, but letters do not hit him. He is a charming boy, & pray tell his Papa & Mama that he is in perfect health. I am glad my little nephew Morris is so well, & I desire my love to him, & that I hope his Brother will endeavour to follow his example in being a good scholar. If M=rs= W: Robinson is with you, please, with my comp=ts=, to assure her of my earnest wishes of success, but however that may be, her Children will be ever obliged to her for trying the cause. The venison came perfectly fresh, it arrived yesterday morning We are to eat it today. Cap=t= Derby
and M=rs= Derby are to partake of our Venison. We sent an invitation to S=r= William S=t= Quintin but he did not return to Newtown from his Daughter Griffiths as was expected. If M=r= William should lose his cause, we will desire him to draw out an account between his (^Havings^) & his (^Deservings^) , & see whether the balance is not still on fortunes side. We shall set [\out/] with a very good [\ (\Imprimis\) \] An excellent Wife with ten thousand pounds, then [\follow Items\] Burford & Denton Livings, and his money from the Captain, on the other side there will be his Learning & his diligence &c.
I think I have trespass'd much on your leisure in this long letter, but I believe London is at present very empty, so you may have time on your hands.
I am Dear Sir with the greatest respect
Your most Dutifull
and most affection=te= Daughter