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may be dropped with decency, and that contumely may not give an edge to our disgrace. As your lordship has been pleased to go from me to Mr. from Mr. to me, and to Mr. again, I might hope another successful wind would blow you back again. My lord, if I cannot, like a courtier, have the credit of resigning my place, I will be still greater, and hereby promise not to accept it again. And, to keep up the character of an old fallen minister, I will make bold to lay before you what I have suffered, and what I have done, in your lordship's service; and then we will draw to the tables, and balance the obligations, which your lordship has greatly lessened by upbraiding me with them, at a very unbecoming juncture, as will hereafter appear. The liberty I take you will impute to that period of life to which I am arrived, the grand climacteric; which, as it levels all honours, so it mitigates all disgraces. You must not wonder if I take courage the nearer I approach my home; even that home which is a refuge against all complaints, and where the brambled turf over my grave shall preach as effectually as the lettered marble over your lordship's. With this contemplation I take my leave for the present; and am, my lord, your lordship's most obedient humble servant,
NICHOLS' LITERARY ANECDOTES, Vol. ii.
ORIGINAL LETTER FROM THE LATE SIR JOHN
DALRYMPLE, BART. AUTHOR OF THE MEMOIRS OF GREAT BRITAIN," &c. &c. &c. To THE LATE ADMIRAL DALRYMPLE.
Cranston, Jan. 1, 1772.
MY DEAR SIR,-Your shirts are safe. I have made many attempts upon them; but Bess, who has in honesty what she wants in temper, keeps them in safety for you.
You ask me, what I have been doing? To the best of my memory, what has passed since I came home is as follows:
Finding the roof bad, I sent slaters, at the peril of their necks, to repair it. They mended three holes, and made thirty themselves.
I pulled down as many walls round the house as would have fortified a town. This was in summer: But now that winter is come, I would give all the money to put them up again that it cost me to take them down.
I thought it would give a magnificent air to the hall to throw the passage into it. After it was done, I went out of town to see how it looked. It was night when I went into it; the wind blew out the candle from the over-size of the room; upon which, I ordered the partition to be built up again, that I might not die of cold in the midst of summer.
I ordered the old timber to be thinned; to which, perhaps, the love of lucre a little contributed. The workmen, for every tree they cut, destroyed three, by letting them fall on each other. I received a momentary satisfaction from hearing that the carpenter I employed had cut off his thumb in felling But this pleasure was soon allayed, when, upon examining his measure, I found that he had measured false, and cheated me of twenty per cent.
Instead of saddle-horses I bought mares, and had them sent to an Arabian. When I went, some months after, to mount them, the groom told me I should kill the foals; and now I walk on foot, with the stable full of horses, unless when, with much humility, I ask to be admitted into the chaise, which is generally refused me.
Remembering, with a pleasing complacency, the Watcombe pigs, I paid thirty shillings for a sow with pig. My wife starved them. They ran over to a madman, called Lord Adam Gordon, who distrained them for damage; and the mother, with ten helpless infants, died of bad usage.
Loving butter much, and cream more, I bought two Dutch cows, and had plenty of both. I made my wife a present of two more; she learned the way to market for their produce; and I have never got a bowl of cream since.
I made a fine hay-stack; but quarrelled with my wife as to the manner of drying the hay, and building the stack. The hay-stack took fire; by which
I had the double mortification of losing my hay, and finding my wife had more sense than myself.
I kept no plough; for which I thank my Maker; because then I must have wrote this letter from a gaol.
I paid twenty pounds for a dung-hill, because I was told it was a good thing; and now I would give any body twenty shillings to tell me what to do with it.
I built and stocked a pigeon-house; but the cats watched below, the hawks hovered above; and pigeon-soup, roasted pigeon, or cold pigeon-pie, have I never seen since.
I fell to drain a piece of low ground behind the house; but hit upon the tail of the rock, and drained the well of the house; by which I can get no water for my victuals.
I entered into a great project for selling lime, upon a promise from one of my own farmers to give land off his farm. But when I went to take off the ground, he laughed, said he had choused the lawyer, and exposed me to a dozen law-suits for breach of bargains, which I could not perform.
I fattened black cattle and sheep; but could not agree with the butchers about the price. From mere economy, we eat them ourselves, and almost killed all the family with surfeits.
I bought two score of six-year old wethers for my own table; but a butcher, who rented one of the
fields, put my mark upon his own carrion sheep; by which I have been living upon carrion all the
I brewed much beer; but the small turned sour, and the servants drank all the strong.
I found a ghost in the house, whose name was M'Alister, a pedlar, that had been killed in one of the rooms at the top of the house two centuries ago. No servant would go on an errand after the sun was set for fear of M'Alister, which obliged me to set off one set of my servants. Soon after the housekeeper, your old friend Mrs. Brown, died, aged 90; and then the belief ran, that another ghost was in the house, upon which many of the new set of servants begged leave to quit the house, and got it.
In one thing only I have succeeded. I have quarrelled with all my neighbours; so that, with a dozen gentlemen's seats in my view, I stalk alone like a lion in a desart.
I thought I should have been happy with my tenants, because I could be insolent to them without their being insolent to me. But they paid me no rent; and in a few days I shall have above one-half of the very few friends I have in the country in a prison.
Such being the pleasures of a country life, I intend to quit them all in about a month, to submit to the mortification of spending the spring in London, where, I am happy to hear, we are to meet. But I