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Vienna, Jan, 1, 0. S. 1717. I HAVE just received here at Vienna, your lady. ship's compliments on my return to England, sent me from Hanover. You see, madam, all things that are asserted with confidence are not absolutely true; and that you have no sort of reason to complain of me for making my designed return a mystery to you, when you say all the world are informed of it. Yon may tell all the world in my name, that they are never so well informed of my affairs as I am myself, that I am very positive I am at this time at Vienna, where the carnival is begun, and all sorts of diversions are carried to the greatest height, except that of masquing, which is never permitted during a war with the Turks, The balls are in public places, where the men pay a gold ducat at entrance, but the ladies nothing. I am told that these houses get sometimes a thonsand ducats in a night. They are very magnificently furnished, and the music good, if they had not that detestable custom of mixing hunting horns with it, that almost deafen the company.
But that noise is so agreeable here, they never make a concert without them. The ball always concludes with English country dances, to the number of thirty or forty couple, and so ill danced, that there is very little pleasure in them. They know hut half a dozen, and they have danced them over and over these fifty years, I would fain have
taught them some new ones, but I found it would be some months labour to make them comprehend them. Last night there was an Italian comedy acted at court. The scenes were pretty, but the comedy itself such intolerable low farce, without either wit or humour, that I was surprised how all the court could sit there attentively for four hours together. No women are suffered to act on the stage, and the men dressed like them were such awkward figures, they very much added to the ridicule of the spectacle. What completed the diversion was the excessive cold, wbich was so great I thonght I should have died there. It is now the very extremity of the winter here; the Danube is entirely frozen, apd the weather not to be supported without stoves and furs ; but, however, the air so clear, almost every body is well, and colds not half so common as in England. I am persuaded there cannot be a parer air, nor more wholesome, than that of Vienna. The plenty and excellence of all sorts of provisions are greater here than in any place I ever was before, and it is not very expensive to keep a splendid table. It is really a pleasure to pass through the markets, and see the abundance of wbat we should think rarities, of fowls and venison, that are daily brought in from Hungary and Bohemia. They want nothing but shell-fish, and are so fond of oysters, that they have them sent from Venice, and eat them very greedily, stink or not stink. Thus I obey your commands, madam, in giving you an account of Vienna, though I know you will not be satisfied with it. You chide me for my laziness ip not telling you a thousand agreeable and surprising things, that you say you are sure I have seen and heard. Upon my word, madam, it is my regard to truth, and not laziness, that I do not entertain you with as many prodigies as other travellers use to divert their readers with. I might easily pick up wonders in every town I pass through, or tell you a long series of Popish miracles, but I cannot fancy that there is any thing new io letting you know, that priests will lie, and the mob believe, all the world over. Then as for news, that you are so inqnisitive about, how can it be entertaining to you (that do not know the people), that the prince of
has forsaken the countess of -?or that the princess snch-a-one has an intrigue with count such-a-one? Would you have me write novels like the countess of D'- -? and is it not better to tell you a plain truth, that I am, &c.
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO MR. POPE.
Vienna, Jan. 16, 0. 8. 1717. I Have not time to answer your letter, being in all the horny of preparing for my journey; but I think I ought to bid adieu to my friends with the same solemnity as if I was going to mount a breach, at least, if I am to believe the information of the people bere, who denounce all sort of terrors to me; and, indeed, the weather is at present such, as very few ever set out in. I am threatened, at the same time, with being frozen to death, buried
in the snow, and taken by the Tartars, who ravage that part of Hungary I am to pass. It is true, we shall have a considerable escorte, so that possibly I may be diverted with a new scene, by finding myself in the midst of a battle. How my adventures will conclude, I leave entirely to Providence ; if comically, you shall hear of them.—Pray be so good as to tell Mr.
I have received his letter. Make him my adieus ; if I live, I will answer it.
The same compliment to my lady R
LADY M. W. MONTAGUE TO THE COUNTESS OF MAR,
Twickenham, 1720. I HAVE had no answer, dear sister, to a long letter that I writ to you a month ago; however, I shall continue letting you know (de temps en temps ) what passes in this corner of the world, till you tell me 'tis disagreeable. I shall say little of the death of our great minister, because the papers say so much. I suppose that the same faithful historians give you regular accounts of the growth and spreading of the inoculation for the small-pax, which is become almost a general practice, attended with great success. I spend my time in a small snug set of dear intimates, and go very little into the grande monde, which has always had my hearty contempt. I see sometimes Mr. Congreve, and very seldom Mr. Pope, who continues to embellishi his house at Twickenham. He has made a sub
terranean grotto, which he has furnished with looking-glasses, and they tell me it has a very good effect. I here send you some verses addressed to Mr. Gay, who wrote him a congratulatory letter on the finishing his house. I stifled them here, and I beg they may die the same death at Paris; and never go further than your closet:
“ Ah friend, 'tis true—this truth you lovers kpow-
Bleeds drop by drop, and pants his life away." My paper is done, and I beg you to send my lutestriug of what colour you please.
> FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME,
Twickenham, 1721. I have already writ you so many letters, dear sister, that if I thought you had silently received them all, I don't know whether I should trouble you with any more; but I flatter myself, that they have most of them miscarried : I bad rather have