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"I trust you will not leave Paris later that the 12th, for it is desirable that you should be in London by the 17th, to take your seat. Yours faithfully, "ROSSLYN."
LETTERS OF SIR WILLIAM GELL TO DR. FREDERICK FOSTER QUIN.
"Rome, January 1st, 1823. "CARMO MIO CUGINO E DOTTORE,-I arrived here, notwithstanding my malady, and all the prophecies that I should not set out, somewhat better in health than when you saw me, though I was carried in and out of the carriage, and have not till lately been out without my arms round the necks of two servants. However, I now stumble over my garden with two canes as supporters, for without them, and particularly without high heels, I walk in the shape of the figure 7, in spite of the German doctor and his remedies.
"Mawbles is in great glory, and is going to give two smole bolls to open the Cawnival. I believe she is very useful to society in all points of view.
"When you see Lady Mary Deerhurst, tell her I hope she is coming soon, and that there are a great many families here, besides her aunt, Lady Caroline, and that the world is very gay indeed. Lady W— I saw on the stairs yesterday, and she was dressed in a shroud of white satin, with a great deal of blonde lace, having bled herself with leeches till her face was all of the same color. We have at present a sort of melting snow here, but not so melting but that all my walks are white, all my lemons frozen to death, and all my geraniums retired into the next world. I fear much my lemon-trees will follow the fruit, and I have positively got out my skates this morning, that if the ice bears, as it will if it freezes again in the Villa Borghese, I may lend them to somebody who will show the Romans what skating is. Pray give my love to Miss. Douglass, and Sir William and Lady Drummond. Most truly yours, my dear doctor,
From Sir W. Gell:
"Rome, March 19th, 1823.
"MY DEAR DOCTOR QUINIBUS,—My cruel stars, and the tyranny of the two Miss Berrys, who will not be at all grateful for my exertions, force me to return to Naples in the beginning of April, sore against my will, as April and May are the only months when it is worth while to assist at Rome. I made them a promise so long ago to accompany them to Naples, that I was in hopes, indeed almost certain, that they would either have forgotten it, or hired a more active cavaliere servante to assist them in their projects; but it seems I am detected, and that I have very little hope left of being able to divert them from their undertaking. Have, therefore, your mind's eye upon the houses of your neighbors.
* Gell thus designated an English duchess, on account of her peculiar pronunciation of the word marbles, and the letter R in general, to which she gave the sound of W.-R. R. M
"My medicine is come to an end, and that brute of a Doctor Necker will not send any more, so that I am at present reduced to his Ledum Palustre ; and, I suppose, in consequence, have the gout in both of my elbows, a knife in my knees, and a nail in my instep, besides a cold back, and a sort of general weakness, if I become at all cold from the external air. Nevertheless, I am not prevented yet from going about; and when you hear that I climbed on my own crazy legs to the top of St. Peter's, to take some angles with a sextant, and besides that, I have been out in a storm, between rain and snow, with an icy wind, in a gig, for five hours together, you will be inclined to think I deserve what may follow.
"Our weather still continues to be bad, and the peaches are only now just coming into blossom, whereas on the 24th of March I have seen the oak-trees even on the Hill of Albano in leaf. Even the grass shows no symptom of growing yet, and the country looks as wintry as ever.
"Mawbles is well, though dried to a stick by a cold, so as to have been in great danger of calling upon you to set her up again. Dr. Cseems to be going on with great success, though he has lost a patient or two of consequence, and I observe on his green chaise a bend in the arms, crossing the wrong way, which ought to be a sign of illegitimacy. But I rather think Esculapius himself was in that predicament.
This place seems filling for the Holy Week, when the dullities become an object to the sheep who follow others to the waters of Babylon.
"I hope the Rocca conducts himself, with his ugly face, according to your wishes, and that the old cat sometimes pays you a visit, and jumps on your breakfast table.
"I hope you have all the success you deserve with your patients, and, as you are not too old to learn, I send you a recipe of your friend, Dr. Pomposity, to Lord Newburgh: 'Eat a little at breakfast, and a little at luncheon, and, in short, do every thing you can to spoil your dinner.'
"Under these awful sentiments I take leave, being most truly, my dear doctor, your sincerely affectionate WILLIAM GELL."
From the same:
"28th March, 1823.
"MY DEAR DOCTOR QUINIE,-I fear neither your prayers nor my sins will keep me from Naples. I shall have to set out the first Sunday in April, and shall lose all the beauty of the spring in April and May at Naples, where there is none, as summer and winter, dust and rain, join on without spring in your country. Nobody regrets it more than I do, not even yourself; but so cruel Fate wills, and you go out and I come in with mutual disgust. Should you decamp much before my arrival, which we will call on the 9th, pray recommend to the fatherly protection of the beauteous Rocca the conservation of my goods and chattels! I conclude, having been your chamberlain, he will soon rebel, and not last above a week after my return. The people here do
nothing but take Misereres, not Mindererus, in large doses; they dine at the cawdinal's, and thence to the church, to be illuminated by about two hundred tin lamps in the shape of a cross; there they walk about and chatter till they are turned out, and then go to parties at night.
"Mawbles is in all her glory, and heads the Misereres, the fire-works, and the illuminations; but the best authorities state the very diminished effects of her chawms in the cawdinal's hawt. The Princess G-— is arrived, and as Miss D says she has bought up all the tea on a speculation, let us hope she will be able to dispose of a bargain to her. The Duchesse of Chablais has found in her excavations two Bacchuses, two Nymphs, and an anomalous small deity, about three feet long, sitting up like a dog, with little wings. It strikes me as rather outre for a lady's collection, but I dare say 'tis the fashion. The Bacchus is so fine that the people dispute as to its being a first-rate work or not, but I dare say it will fall in price quickly. I find I have nothing to add but that I am most truly yours, my dear Doctor Q
From the same :
"Naples, Tuesday, July, 1823. "DEAREST OF DOCTORS,-Your kind note I received yesterday, and, being free from pain, I thought myself already arrived at Castelamare, and of the difficulty I should have in getting a stable. But, though the spirit is willing, the body is so confoundedly crazy that I find nothing is to be done with it, and I am now fretting myself almost ill again, having promised to dine with the Douglasses to-day, without a foot to stand upon, and how I am to do it the Lord only knows. I am very much flattered by the kind remembrance of Prince and Princess Razamousky, which pray tell them, and how hard I take it of Fate to have made me ill prior to the time of their play.
You know, I suppose, that the ancient and respectable tumble-down Basilica of San Paolo fuori della mura is burned down at Rome, for which I should grieve but little, if, with the timbers of the roof, they had not contrived to calcine all, or nearly all, the beautiful columns, which, if decently arranged, would have been quite invaluable. Pray let us know how the Esculapian tour with Lord Byron goes on in Greece, and what the Duchess of Devonshire says about your going. So no more at present from yours to command, "WILLIAM GELL."
The mention in the preceding letter of an Esculapian tour in Greece is in relation to an application made by some friends of Lord Byron to Dr. Quin, to accompany his lordship to Greece in the capacity of his traveling physician. The subject is referred to in a letter of the Duchess of Devonshire to Dr. Quin, in a letter from Rome, dated July 17th, 1823:
"You must feel, I am sure, it is quite impossible that I could give you the advice you ask for. It is one of those cases in which the opinion of men of worldly experience is of much more value, and it appears evidently that Sir
W. Drummond and Sir W. Gell are against your accepting what appears an uncertain and hazardous engagement.
"The cardinal* is wonderfully recovered, and the Pope is going on as well as possible. It is quite miraculous; but yesterday there was a cruel event for Rome. San Paolo took fire, and exists no longer; it is impossible to give any idea of the destruction and devastation. I went with the Duc de la Val yesterday, and the cardinal, whom we met there, conducted us to all the parts where, amid burning beams and falling pillars, it was still possible to go. The roof, in falling, broke down the columns, and, on the opposite side, the violence of the fire calcined those beautiful fluted columns which had stood for fifteen centuries-all, all destroyed in five hours."
In another letter, dated July 22d, 1823, the duchess refers to the same subject:
"I shall be anxious to hear what your decision has been about Lord Byron's offer, and what Sir W. Drummond and Sir W. Gell advised you. I came from Rome the day before the Pope died. The change was sudden, for we had great hopes of preserving him, and I believe he might have been so, had the proper medicines been given in time. The excellent cardinal is in a state of great affliction for the loss of his tried friend. Living twenty-two years in the service of his sovereign, he never left him hardly, and sat up the last three nights at the bedside till quite exhausted--he nearly fainted. I am delighted that Lord Byron is going to Greece; his noble and inspiring genius, when it may be wanted, will reanimate the exertions of the Greeks. Heroic efforts they have already made, and they will, I hope, be rewarded by freedom and independence.
"The acrimonies here are fierce and awful. this day week; it is to be held at the Quirinal. from the confinement there than elsewhere. sincerely,
The conclave begins, I believe, They will, I hope, suffer less Adieu, my dear sir, yours very E. D."
On the same subject, Sir William Drummond wrote to Dr. Quin, at Naples, July 18th, 1823:
“I am very inadequate to give you any advice on the proposal which has been made to you. The salary which you require, in consequence of giving up your practice here, does not appear to me too much. You must expect to meet with some difficulties, and to endure some privations, if you go to Greece. Still, there is something very attractive in such a voyage, and something even more attractive in making it with a man of such extraordinary talents and genius as Lord Byron. But I really do not feel that I ought to offer any opinion on the subject. You have other friends here, who are better able to advise you. Have you consulted the Duchess of Devonshire, and what does her grace advise? Believe me, ever yours, W. DRUMMOND."
* The Cardinal Gonzalvi.-R. R. M.
From Sir W. Gell:
"Rome, June 6th, 1824. "GREAT QUINSBURG,-I still continue uncertain whether I shall have the good fortune to meet you at Lady Mary Deerhurst's at dinner. If not, a good voyage to you, and many pleasant hours. Look in drawer A. (a sketch of a table, with drawers numbered, is given), and try to find a book of pedigrees, which is green leather on the outside, and red velvet within, and has arms and genealogies in it. This please to send me by a safe hand, that I may see what I can do for my relation's imaginary peerage of D. Excuse the infernal trouble I give you. I can not help it. Believe me ever your affectionate aunt, W. GELL."
From the same :
"Rome (no date).
"The great Dr. Quin is requested to give the inclosed letter to the illustrious Watson, who will perhaps do me the favor to set down in French or Italian for Dr. Necker my brother's numerous answers to questions already
"The Quinibus flestrin is moreover requested to deliver these books to Mr. Craven, with permission to take out of my library for his use a small book in blue paper boards of heraldry for Craven's use, which will answer all the questions said Craven put to me. Thirdly and lastly, the great doctoribus will arrange, according to his skill and exquisite taste, certain terra cottas of Pæstum in the library. WILLIAM GELL."
From the same:
"Rome, June 15th, 1820. "GRANDISSIMO QUINIESTRO,-Don't you want a remarkably nice, active, clean, young, and attentive servant, who can drive and take care of horses well, and lived as postillion with the Duchess of Chablais? He has served several people here this year, and has from all the very best recommendations possible. He can cook for one or two, on occasion, and would be really a very good servant for you, being just out of place. Besides all these things, he is a very respectable youth in appearance, and is very honest, so that you, being a careless man about your money, might make him your secretary, without fear of his becoming Rocca over you. You had better provide yourself an abode on the 1st of July, when I propose (the thieves willing) to return about eight in the morning to you and my dusty house at Naples, and languish out the summer, as Egypt is, I fear, and you may fear also, gone upside down for the present, if the Pasha is deposed. Believe me, most affectionateWILLIAM GELL.
"We took possession on Sunday, and I wish you had seen the monsignors with purple gowns on horseback fall off."