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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Year of Fashion in Walpole’s Day
By Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford (1717–1797)
 
From Letter to the Earl of Hertford

YOU are sensible, my dear lord, that any amusement from my letters must depend upon times and seasons. We are a very absurd nation (though the French are so good at present as to think us a very wise one, only because they themselves are now a very weak one); but then that absurdity depends upon the almanac. Posterity, who will know nothing of our intervals, will conclude that this age was a succession of events. I could tell them that we know as well when an event, as when Easter, will happen. Do but recollect these last ten years. The beginning of October, one is certain that everybody will be at Newmarket, and the Duke of Cumberland will lose, and Shafto win, two or three thousand pounds. After that, while people are preparing to come to town for the winter, the ministry is suddenly changed, and all the world comes to learn how it happened, a fortnight sooner than they intended; and fully persuaded that the new arrangement cannot last a month. The Parliament opens: everybody is bribed; and the new establishment is perceived to be composed of adamant. November passes with two or three self-murders, and a new play. Christmas arrives: everybody goes out of town; and a riot happens in one of the theatres. The Parliament meets again, taxes are warmly opposed; and some citizen makes his fortune by a subscription. The Opposition languishes; balls and assemblies begin; some master and miss begin to get together, are talked of, and give occasion to forty more matches being invented; an unexpected debate starts up at the end of the session, that makes more noise than anything that was designed to make a noise, and subsides again in a new peerage or two. Ranelagh opens, and Vauxhall: one produces scandal, and t’other a drunken quarrel. People separate, some to Tunbridge, and some to all the horse-races in England; and so the year comes again to October.  1
 
 
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