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Hillstreet Nov ye 19=th=
     I had the pleasure of my dear M=rs= Veseys letter at Sandleford just when I was in the bustle of preparing to leave it. Every moment the housekeeper was breaking in upon me with a face of care, to consult my superior wisdom, what what was to travel by broad wheel waggon, stately & slow, what was to (^fly^) by y=e= rapid machine. I came to Town only in my road to M=rs= Boscawen. in Surry, so delay'd writing till I return'd to the busy World in order to inform you what we were doing, or seeming to do, & particularly till I could give you an account of Lady Primrose; of whom I had not heard any thing of almost three months before I had your letter. I had the pleasure of hearing the Night before last of M=r= Bateman, that day arrived from Windsor, that she is extreamly well. She had been a little indisposed, but was then perfectly recoverd, Now
my dear Madam there is no man whose opinion I would take of old Women, & old china, sooner than M=r= Batemans. The toasts of the year, & the last manufactory at Dresden, Vincennes, & Chelsea, may be better understood by some of your young Gentlemen lately return'd from their travels, but you must allow M=r= Bateman has attentively surveyd every curious cabinet of old china, & civily visited the Ruelle of every old Lady of note for these twenty years last past so that [\he is/] a perfect Connoisseur in these two subjects.
     Now you will expect I should tell you some political news, & what is to fill up the prodigious chasm made in the administration by the death of the D: of C-. But alas! those who are much wiser than I cannot satisfy your curiosity, all I can advise is that you carefully consult Merlins prophesies for tho in former times
     old experience did attain,
     To something like prophetic strain,
     there is now such a new invented manner of doing
every thing, [\BLOT\] that a person must be a down right Conjurer [\or wizzard/] to guess what will happen. In ordinary life one knows that if a dancing master removes from S=t= James's street to Pallmall, he will not write over his door, (^Cudgell playing & back sword taught here^), but in the publick, a man need only move from S=t= james Square to the Exchequer, or [\to/] the admiralty to be at once a most competent high Commissioner of Treasury or Admiralty. Merlin who has propheced of Rivers turning to dry Land, & (\terra firma\) becoming Ocean, has no doubt foretold, that in this age, all men are fit for all things. & how they shall possess & enjoy what mere human capacity would deem them unfit for. All I can tell you [\is/] that there never were times in which the fortunate had more fears, or the unhappy more hopes, the Dame of the rolling wheel driving with greater rapidity than she did in former days. If I were a Pagan I would erect a Temple to Chance, queen of the Century. There have been times when Minerva was a better patroness. Lord Lyttelton
has been in Town above a fortnight, he is in very good health & spirits, & sadly regrets that he cannot have the pleasure of raking till two or three in the morning with M=r= & M=rs= Vesey. You know I suppose that your neighbour Lord Bute has sold his House to Lord Shelburne. I was at Badminton this summer with the Duchess [\of Newport/] & went from there to dine with [\Lady/] Shelburne. I assure [\you/] she seems to have made a very good choice, & I imagine she will be as happy as the nature of this life will allow. I am extreamly pleased with Lord Shelburne, who seems to have very good parts, &c a spirit & activity which will make him considerable in publick life. M=r= Adam & M=r= Brown are adorning Beanwood, & in time will make it a fine place. You have heard, I presume, that Lady Charlotte Finch is obliged to seperate in form from M=r= Finch. He is grown by age something between mad & foolish, & hermit is said, been guilty of the most cruel outrages to Lady Charlotte &
his daughters even to put them in fear of their
     The Duchess of Portland is confined at Bullstrode by the rheumatism. I saw M=r= Burke a few days since, he is very well, & I hope will dine with me on friday with some others who will join in regretting your absence. M=rs= Ann Pitt is grown plump, & is in great health, she has been fitting up a little place at Knightsbridge as a Country Seat, she cannot bear to retire to those desolate places.
     (^Where the gilt chariot never markd the way^), she loves the track of Ministerial Wheels. Lady Betty Germain is in good health, but has lost her memory, she is now I presume preserved by the prayers of those who live on her County. Lord Boley is in a deplorable way. I am told he is the picture of caducity & almost blind.
     M=r= Pitt is at his [\new INTO newly\] acquired Seat in Sommersetshire he has taken a house at Bath, where he will pass part of the winter unless L=d= Temple shou'd be prevail'd on to assist him in supporting the
ministerial offices. Miss Stanley is determined to follow her sisters example in the scheme of wedlock. She is soon to be married to a M=r= D'oyly, a man of a very amiable character. I have not heard from S=r= James Macdonald, but I heard of him the other day by Lord Mount Stewart, who says he [\is DELETED\] [\was/] at Geneva about a month ago. By the by Lord Mount Stewart is return'd to us the handsomest & best behaved young man I have seen in long time amongst our nobility. I believe you have in L=d= Beauchamp a young man of fine parts. But I do not know him personally. I have endeavoured to give you all the news of the Town, for I know that contrary to other subjects it magnifies by distance, & grows important by the great Oceans dividing it [\UNCLEAR/] . The moment I got to Calais I began to respect the Whitehall evening post & Westminster journal. If you have any commands at the booksellers, the Mercers, or the Milleners, [\UNCLEAR\] any thing for the use of the outward in the inward Woman send me your commands. Lady
Betty Eyeston is dead. Lady Hillsborough I hear is
     I am charm'd with the winter peice you painted to me, but imagine by this time you are get into a very different scene at Dublin. You are extreamly like the nightingale, no voice so sweet in [\evening/] solitude, & yet you can sing amidst the blaze of lights & company, as Philomela did at Vauxhall.
     I had a letter last saturday from M=rs= Carter who was well. I rejoyce that the time for her coming to Town approaches. I do remember formerly a paper call_d the farthing post, which dealt out all ye small news of the World, this writer I have imitated in order to give you all intelligence of the present state of this Town. I hear Lady Primrose will spend her winter at Bath. The Dauphin of France is supposed to be dying, a great misfortune to the bigots. It was D'alemberts destruction des jesuites which I recommended to you. The Kings [Brother] is a little better, he was relieved by [\being/] tapped.
M=r= Walpole is laid up with the gout at Paris, & is in an ill state of health. Whether this finds you in sequester'd bower in all the sublimity of poetick melancholly, or in the hurry of the gay City of Dublin, may it find you well & happy, I recommend frequent changes from society to solitude, & from solitude to society. To be always in the livery of gayety & pleasure, or for ever (^O'er laid with black staid wisdoms^) here would wear one set of ideas thread bare, "Motley is the only wear", it fits the human mind but the proud & the vain say what they will, the only thing in which I never vary is being my dear M=rs= Veseys most affectionate
     most Obliged & faithfull
     Humble Serv=t=
     E Montagu
     I have this instant received a charming letter from M=rs= Carter who wishes for january & the motley. Pray make my best comp=ts= to M=r= Vesey & M=rs= Handcock. I w=d= not repeat all Lord Lyttelton said ye other day of M=r= Vesey, you w=d= think it took [\WORD\] [\way/] so make love to him & truly I have done it as much [\WORD\] as befits a [\WORD\] matron.