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Mrs G.'s ungoverned resentment. So much the more bitter must have been the anguish of the latter, standing by the coffin, when, like Miss Howe, with wild impatience, she pushed aside the face-cloth.
Yesterday morning, Miss Nott came to desire I would pass that evening with her. At a quarter past six, the night being fair, star-light, and frosty, I set out to walk to my appointed visit. My way was by Mr C. B.'s house. I observed the chamber of the deceased, where both the shutters were open, to be extremely light, and the shadows of several people, walking about the room, were visible on the ceiling. As I stood contemplating the awful' scene, I heard the knocking of hammers, that were sodering up the coffin. The lines from Shakespeare's description of the martial field, the night before the battle of Agincourt, rushed upon my recollection :
“ While, from the tents,
The loud and dismal funeral-bell tolled this morning at break of dawn, and finished the mournful scene.
Lichfield, March 5, 1787. PERFORMING my promise to you, I have attentively read over the first volume of Sully's Memoirs. Sometimes it interested me very much ; but I waded through a great deal of it fatigued, and without interest. The little pleasure which reading history generally gives me; the slight and fading impression which its events are apt to leave upon my mind, probably results from my total want of taste for splendour, precedence, and power to influence the destiny of others. To me it seems a species of insanity, when a man, whom destiny has made a king, or a minister, sacrifices the lives of his fellow creatures, and produces all the numerous collateral miseries, parental, filial, paternal, and connubial, consequent upon every single deprivation; for what appears to me so little worth the hazard as an extension of empire, and the
gewgaws of rank, even up to that troublesome bauble, the imperial sceptre. How much rather would I possess the inevitable future fame
of Hayley, of Cowper, and that of the philanthrophic hero, the illustrious Howard, than the military and regal reputation of your favourite Henry of France. Often, while reading history, do I exclaim, in the words of the philosophic poet,
“ Ah! what avails it me to trace the springs
I admire the disinterested firmness of Sully's attachment to his intrepid Henry, and the inflexible honesty respecting pecuniary circumstances with which his ministry commences; but I want him to have felt and expressed more regret for the devastations and calamities consequent upon the struggles for the crown of France.
You remember the tower which was blown up at Dreux, by Sully's advice. I can scarce forgive the ruthless composure with which he describes himself as standing bye to wait the event; and with which he beholds it fall, dragging with it a multitude of men, women, and children, that were buried in the ruins. I know that these are the unavoidable evils of war, but do not take delight in their being circumstantially brought to my senses. I cannot love the heroes who cause
them, in despite of dear Toby Shandy's beautiful apology for the military profession, when he says, “ It is one thing for a soldier to gather laurels, and another to scatter cypress.” I expect to be more agreeably interested in the progress of this work, when Henry is settled on his throne. I hope he will then no longer think that to shed rivers of human blood, will cover him with increasing glory; yet I, even I, almost catch his military enthusiasm, when, in an hazardous battle, he bids his armies fix their attention upon his plume of white feathers, and to follow where it leads, assuring them, that they will always see it, in the road to honour and to victory.
Since I finished the last sentence, I am advanced half way in the second volume, and am more than ever dissatisfied with Monsieur le Roi. There is a continued ungrateful inattention to the interests of his faithful friend, and able minister, Sully, for which I hate him. As to his caresses, I think nothing of them, and wonder they could impose upon so wise a man, so often were they bestowed upon those whom Sully knew he despised. Witness, amongst many similar instances, the apparent affection with which he received the Duke de Main, embracing him, and holding his hand as they walked, with the insidious whisper of contempt for him, to Sully, over
his left shoulder, on the instant. It is only when he finds this great minister's abilities and integrity necessary to him, that he reluctantly calls him to the great offices of state. How basely slow do we find this thankless monarch to reward such a matchless series of faithful services ! to admit this experienced friend and able statesman into the superintendence of the public finances !
Henry's long and tender attachment to Gabrielle is more to the credit of his heart than any thing I have hitherto seen recorded. From ambition or policy, all else seems derived which dazzles the reader.
But what is our astonishment to read, that of the greatest monarchs in the world, for great, as a warrior and politician, we must allow him, seated on the throne of France, was often dirty and ragged, through absolute poverty, and had been more than once in want of a dinner. It lessens the ridiculousness of an old story of my mother's, about a bragging farmer of Rugely, returning from London, who- pretended to have been introduced to Queen Caroline; and upon being asked how she was dressed, and what she said to him, replied that her majesty had on a dirty blue apron, but said she was mighty glad to see him ; observing, that, if it had not been wash