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Sandleford y=e= 26 april
My dear Sylph
   The smiling morn, the breathing Spring,
   Invite the tunefull birds to sing
   and your idle friend to saunter in the Garden, but I will first, according to your kind commands, inform you of my safe arrival here. The history of a good journey, through a turnpike road, w=d= be as dull as the history of an honest discreet Man in common life. Were even the celebrated [\M=r=/] Letexier to read either of them to you they w=d= make you yawn. It is the marvellous adventure, the strange (\rencontre\) , the odd disaster, the unaccountable deviation out of the right road, that give interest to the tale. as neither Melpomene nor Thalia will give a smile, or a tear, on my story, I will only say I got safe to the end of my journey, & am very
happy in the place to which it brought me. I feel a sympathetick joy by seeing every thing around me in its gayest season. The youth of the year, & the youthful age of my Companions inspire heartfelt delight. Tho (^my way of life is fallen into y=e= Sere & yellow^) [\leaf/] I rejoyce to see the gay blossoms of the spring budding in them. It requires all my discretion sometimes not to be childish with my boy, & girlish with my Missy. But it seems to me so [\WORD INTO essential\] , to wear a certain sedateness, & assumed gravity, where it is necessary to have authority, that I hazard less nonsense with young Persons than I would with the gravest Philosophers. I observe that the generality aim at having the Esteem of their Superiors, & the love of their inferiors, this seems to be striving against the current of human inclinations & affections; for we are not naturaly disposed to esteem
What is below us, or love what is above us, so not to impose a hard task on weak powers, I reverse my aim, & endeavour to be respected by those of inferior, & beloved by those of superior talents and understanding, & by this means I have acquired some authority with those I should direct, & [\have/] enjoy'd great indulgence from those who would naturaly have thought me undeserving [\of/] their attention. You will understand by this, that in my present Society, my conversation is (\un peu guindé\) & that I should be glad to (^unbend^) my mind with my Friend M=rs= Carter, or if they were alive, her Master Plato, or her Friend Socrates.
   My little Man had a delightfull airing upon your Horse this morning. Miss Gregory rode her sober Palfrey at ye same time. The weather is charming. The Nightingales
gave a fine Concert in our Woods last night, but as I had some symptoms [\of a cold/] , my little Gregory intreated me not to sit with my windows open to listen, & as I should expect she would not, contrary to my advice, listen to the articulated notes of a love laboured song from the two legged animal without feathers, if any danger might be lurking, I could not do less than obey her prudent warning, so lost the serenade.
   Now my dear Madam do you [\I\] know what I mean by this rural epistle this Pastoral tale of boys & girls & Nightingales? Why truly that you sh=d= send me a Town Eclogue; inform [\me/] what is doing in the great World, & y=e= gay World, & what comprehends both, the Wicked
   My most affect=te= comp=ts= attend M=rs= Hancock Miss Gregory & my Nephew hope you will accept of their best respects. I am my Dear Madam
   Ever yours EMontagu