Download as TXT Download as XML

Sept y=e= 30=th= [\ADDED 82\] My dear Friend
   I am very sorry to find that your constitution cannot reconcile itself to bad weather, for I despair of any Good weather before next summer. We have had more rain in this last fortnight than in ye same period during the course of this weeping Summer. The Wheat in North=d=, & ye barley here will be, I fear, utterly spoilt. there is indeed more hope of ye barley as it is not so easily damaged. While the Farmer is sighing over his Corn in ye field, the poor labourers in still more immediate distress are deploring [\at home/] the want of that employment from whence they expect their subsistence. Is it not strange that these calamities do not make the Princes of y=e= Earth desirous to procure for their subjects y=e= blessings of peace? I w=d= fain believe that if we relieve Gibraltar the Spaniards will grow sick of the War.
   Have you heard any thing lately of y=e= Burrows family? My Sister said she heard a report of the seconds sons being dangerously ill about a month [\ago/] . I hope the fever did not
prove fatal, & I know not of whom to enquire London being now
   Pray my dear friend have you met with ye strangest book that ever appeard (\les confessions de Jean Jaques\) ? I think a pure Virgin, like you, will read it with less disgust & horror than ye Matrons can do. I imagine you will not understand some of Jean Jaques strange relations, they cannot corrupt yr mind, so may be safely read, but not without disgust had I expected such stuff I sh=d= not have meddled with y=e= book, but as it gives ye strangest specimens of ye human mind that ever was shewn [\I am glad I was not prevented reading it/] the virtuous Jean Jaques is a great Lyar; the delicate jean Jaques (who c=d= not accept in a present what was offerd to him) was a thief. With all his talents he had such imbecilities he had great difficulty to earn his livelihood. He changed his religion when very young on motives of interest. He [\lives INTO lived\] in a criminal commerce with a Madame de Warens, tho he knew that she carry_d on one at ye same time with her gardener. He says the happiest
moments of his life were, when he, ye said Gardener, & said Lady, in fits of tenderness, embraced each other. (\Quel trio d'amitie\) ! the Gardener died & Jean jacques went away for a while, when he returnd, he found y=e= Lady had an intrigue with a (\Friseur\) , whom she had taken into her family; however, being, as he often tells you, the most chaste, virtuous, pious, tender hearted, & religious Woman in ye World, she was incapable of any cruelty to an old friend, & offerd ye same favours as during ye intrigue with ye Gardener; but there Jean Jacques shew'd some delicacy, for he declined ye offer, telling her, it w=d= degrade her; on this she grew rather cool, for as she was (^chastity^) itself, did not grant her favours from any solicitations of constitution, nor had any gratification in her intercourse with ye Men, therefore she thought it a mere caprice in Jean Jacques to alter his manner of living with her, [\for such a bagatelle/] in short after a while he left her, but ye [\remembrance of ye/] extream happiness he enjoy_d in ye years he lived with her & ye Gardener, remains in his mind superior to every thing he has found in this
World, & ascribes all his virtue & piety to ye conversation & example of this Mad=me= de Warens, He concludes his confessions very early, what were ye sins of his more mature age he does not inform us. he declares he sent his children (\aux enfans trouvés\) & yet, puts in a claim to ye merit of a good father, for he says he sh=d= have been a very tender Parent, (^if^) he had kept his children at home. I know it will be a comfort to you to know that he appears to have been mad almost from his infancy, after all ye bad things he confesses, one is glad to think he is not rational. He supposes all ye present Generation to be combined against him, & that he has always spies at his heels. I suppose that from Adam to ye infant born to day, there has not been such a disposition for all that is strange & different from others characters in him is not ye effect of extraordinary incidents & situations, but arises entirely from himself. I believe indeed his early reading romance gave him an affectation of great sentiments. Many a Girl by reading y=e= loves of Mandane for ye great Cyrus, or some Princess for Alexander ye Great, has been so infected with ye passion, as to marry a paltry scoundrel, thinking she was acting like ye enamourd
princess, so our Jean Jaques fancies he is acting according to ye dictates of romantick magnanimity, which he is telling a paltry lye or committing petty larceny. His imagination is all that is delicate & high about him, & he derives his satisfaction in himself from his sentiments not from his actions.
   My poor Sister cannot get ye better of her grief for ye loss of her worthy friend M=rs= Cutts: these separations are ye most grievous things in human life. A journey would appear melancholly, tho it lay through ye finest Country if one lost the fellow travellers with whom one set out, but such is the condition of our pilgrimage, it w=d= [\not DELETED\] be insupportable were it not for the hope of meeting them again in a better World. M=r= & M=rs= Hingham could not come with M=rs= Scott here because they are engaged just now in changing their habitation.
   M=r= William Gregory is to come to Sandleford to day, this day sennight my dear Gregory is to set out with him for Scotland, to make a visit of 2 or 3 months to her Friends. I think it right & proper, & indeed her duty to do so,
but I shall miss her terribly. She is the most amiable, worthy sensible, young Creature, I ever knew: ever chearful, never too gay; always guided by principles; very affectionate; very complacent on her manners, & disposition & in short is just what a Friend & a Parent could wish. I am a little uneasy about her taking a journey now the waters must be every where swell'd into floods but as her Brothers new married wife seems to be in a dying way, it is very right that she should be at hand to comfort him.
   My best respects attend y=r= family, & M=rs= Underdown. M=rs= Scott & Miss Gregory hope you will accept of theirs I am with most tender & faithfull attachment
   Your most affect=te=& sincere friend
   & obliged H=ble= Servant
   Eliz Montagu