Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1

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Page xxx - It is the fashion to underrate Horace Walpole ; firstly, because he was a nobleman, and secondly, because he was a gentleman ; but to say nothing of the composition of his incomparable letters, and of the Castle of Otranto, he is the " Ultimus Romanorum," the author of the Mysterious Mother, a tragedy of the higher order, and not a puling love-play.
Page 111 - ... thought somebody was getting from under my bed, but soon found it was a strong earthquake, that lasted near half a minute, with a violent vibration and great roaring. I rang my bell, my servant came in, frightened out of his senses : in an instant we heard all the windows in the neighbourhood flung up. I got up and found people running into the streets, but saw no mischief done : there has been some ; two old houses flung down, several chimneys, and much china-ware. The bells rung in several...
Page 121 - Here lies Fred, Who was alive, and is dead. Had it been his father, I had much rather. Had it been his brother, Still better than another. Had it been his sister, No one would have missed her. Had it been the whole generation, Still better for the nation. But since 'tis only Fred, Who was alive, and is dead, There's no more to be said.
Page 47 - Roast Beef* from between the acts at both theatres, with a man with one note in his voice, and a girl without ever an one ; and so they sing, and make brave hallelujahs ; and the good company encore the recitative, if it happens to have any cadence like what they call a tune.
Page 191 - I cannot help giving you the trouble to inquire a little farther about them, and should wish to see a few lines of the original, that I may form some slight idea of the language, the measures, and the rhythm. " Is there anything known of the author or authors, and of what antiquity are they supposed to be ? "Is there any more to be had of equal beauty, or at all approaching to it?
Page 111 - Francisco prefers it to the dreadful one at Leghorn. The wise say, that if we have not rain soon, we shall certainly have more. Several people are going out of town, for it has nowhere reached above ten miles from London. They say they are not frightened, but that it is such fine weather, " Lord! one can't help going into the country.
Page 193 - At present, nothing is talked of, nothing admired, but what I cannot help calling a very insipid and tedious performance: it is a kind of novel, called "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy;" the great humour of which consists in the whole narration always going backwards.
Page 99 - ... had tricked it out for themselves: up two pair of stairs is what they call Mr. Chenevix's library, furnished with three maps, one shelf, a bust of Sir Isaac Newton, and a lame telescope without any glasses. Lord John Sackville -predecessed me here, and instituted certain games called cricketalia, which have been celebrated this very evening in honour of him in a neighbouring meadow.
Page 110 - My text is not literally true ; but as far as earthquakes go towards lowering the price of wonderful commodities, to be sure we are overstocked. We have had a second, much more violent than the first ; and you must 'not be surprised if, by next post, you hear of a burning mountain sprung up in Smithfield. In the night between Wednesday and Thursday last (exactly a month since the first shock), the earth had a shivering fit between one and two ; but so slight that, if no more had followed, I don't...
Page 226 - I AM ashamed to tell you that we are again dipped into an egregious scene of folly. The reigning fashion is a ghost, — a ghost that would not pass muster in the paltriest convent in the Apennine. It only knocks and scratches; does not pretend to appear or to speak. The clergy give it their benediction; and all the world, whether believers or infidels, go to hear it.

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