Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Vol. 3: 1752–1762

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To Sir James and Lady Frances Steuart [5 Oct. 1738]

I am exceedingly delighted, my dear Lady Fanny, to hear of the recovery of your health and spirits; if my prayerspg 181 or endeavors prevail, you will never have any thing to displease you. 'Tis the height of my ambition to serve my friends, and their number is so very small I may hope to succeed without aiming at any great degree of power. My daughter shall be informed of your favorable opinion; she has already all the esteem for your Ladyship that your merit exacts from all that know you. Alas Madam! You talk at your ease of two or three years hence; I hardly extend my views to so many weeks, and cannot flatter myself with the hopes of seeing you again. I have not your satisfaction less at heart, and am persuaded that I shall be succeeded [sic] in my desire to serve you, when I shall no longer be capable of giving thanks for it. I am very sorry for Lord G[arlie]'s1 loss of his brother,2 and heartily wish 7 or 8 more might arise from his ashes.

The magnificent rejoycings for the Pope's elevation are not yet over: there was last night very fine fire-works before the Palace Rezzonico; I suppose the newspapers have given an account of the Regatta etc. You may be sure I have very little share in the night diversions, which generally begin at the hour I undress for bed. Here are few English this Carnival, and those few extremely engaged in partys of pleasure which, ten to one, they will never forget to their dying day.

Permit me, dear Madam, to address myself to Sir James. I can assure you, Sir, I am sincerely grieved at the return of your disorder. You would think me too interested if I recommended a warm climate. I confess selfe love will mix even imperceptibly in all our sentiments, yet I verily believe a northern air cannot be good either for you or Lord Marischall.3 I am very much obliged to him for remembering a useless friend and servant; my good wishes, with a grateful sense of his civilities, always attend him. I expect with impatience the present you have promised me;4 itpg 182 would have been always agreeable but is particularly so now, when I am in a great town almost as solitary as in a desert. All my pleasures are recollections of those past. There are (I think) some refined metaphysicians that assert they are the only realitys. I agree they are highly pleasing with a dash of hope to enliven them; but in my melancholy case, when all my prospects are as bounded as those from a window against a dead wall——I will not go on in this dismal strain. I wish the post would suffer me to entertain you with some ridiculous farces exhibited by my loving countrymen; even that is denied me from prudential considerations. Nothing can hinder my being to my last moment faithfully attached to Lady F[anny] and your selfe.

Text Wh MS 509 (transcript)1

Address [see 1818, p. 21] A Monsieur Monsieur le Chevalier Stuart à Tubingen en Suabe

End. from Venice October 5 [1818] 1758

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 'Garlies, I think' (note by Lady Frances)—meaning John Stewart (1736–1806), son and heir of 6th Earl of Galloway.
Editor’s Note
2 George, Galloway's 2nd surviving son, a lieutenant, was killed in the disastrous battle of Ticonderoga on 8 July 1758.
Editor’s Note
3LM had last seen him in Avignon (see ii. 333); in the service of Frederick of Prussia, he was from 1754 to 1763 Governor of Neuchatel.
Editor’s Note
4 'Part of the Political Oeconomy' (note, 1818 ed.), referring to Sir James's Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, not published until 1767.
Editor’s Note
1 Summary inCB MS, f. 15.
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