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Dec 24=th=
[\IN PENCIL 1781\]
My dear Friend
   You are more (\le ton\) at Bath than we are in London. We have not of late given to illustrious examples of a contempt of ye 5=th= & 7=th= commandment. I pity D=r= Woodcock more than M=r= B. Conjugal love may be dissolved in every respect, paternal never.
   M=rs= Chapone & (\Mesdames\) Burrows's dined with me yesterday. L=d= & Lady Dastrey & L=d= Shelburne & I hope M=rs= Fielding (but have not yet had an answer from her to my card) are to dine with me on thursday. It w=d= be most inhuman to ask any one to breakfast with me, but the workmen leave off as soon as daylight retires: they & I shall have holy days next week; The drums of my Ears will find great relief in silence. The Bishop of Durham & Miss Boughton are I believe really going to be married. Montagu, for which I am thankful to God, arrived here safe & well on saturday. I rejoyce doubly in his health, as it gives me assurance he has not polluted his constitution by vicious communications. I think you will read with great pleasure
what M=r= Bryant has written on ye subject of Rowleys poems, his investigations shew wonderful sagacity, but what does him most honour is ye generosity with which he has acted towards Chattertons family on whom he bestows ye whole profit of ye publication. I have not heard lately of or from our dear Vesey. I wrote to her on my arrival in Portman square: I thought my letter w=d= receive some advantage from being dated from a new habitation, for our Sylph has a great taste for ye novel. I am afraid, as her eyes are bad, she will find ye long evenings tedious in solitude: indeed it is difficult to say whether the [\too great/] bustle of a Capital City or ye dead repose of ye Country is worst for her; but in the most populous Place one may manage so as to have hours of quiet retirement of society in the Country when weary of oneself one has not any [\chance/] [\possibility ??? DELETED\]
   I do not hear any publick news. The Town is rather growing more empty than filling, as it is ye fashion to spend Xmass holydays in the Country: the weather is very mild, & my situation here, & [\my/] large windows, & ye clear medium of ye plate glass, give me so much sunshine & pure light, that I fancy we are in ye month of april rather than December
M=rs= Boscawens Son has had a fever but thank God is getting better, I am sure you were rejoyced that Lady Frances Coningesby was so happily released from her sufferings. Her death was sudden & without agony. L=d= Malden inherits about 8000=L= a year from her. M=rs= Walsingham is her Executrix & Residuary Legatee & it is thought will get about 40,000=L=. L=d= Salisbury is embellishing Hatfield in the most noble & elegant manner. He has given out 1000 tickets for a ball there in ye Xmass week. I know you will be glad to hear my health is not impaired by all ye fatigues I have undergone. The Duchess of Portland & M=rs= Delany are come to Town in perfect health; they arrived on friday.
   I desire my comp=ts= to Miss Sharpe, & all ye House of Bowdler. I hope this mild weather will make ye waters highly beneficial to Miss Sharp. I long for yr coming to London. Your conversation w=d= relieve me after ye impertinent business of ye day. Miss Gregory & my Nephew desire their best respects pray give my love to y=r= little Neice.
   I am ever
   most affect=ly=
   E Montagu
[\ADDRESS\] M=rs= Carter / at Miss Sharps / Circus / Bath