LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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In Whig Society 1775-1818
Duchess of Devonshire to Lady Melbourne, [24 November 1802]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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“You will already know that we are kept in this melancholy place, (tho not uncomfortable) by the Duke having the gout in both feet & knees. He was not able to be mov’d from his bed for two days but gives me hopes to-day, as he slept better. He was taken ill at Londesboro’ & we were very anxious to get him at once to Chatsworth, where, when he is in his own appartment, everything is on the same floor, & now that stoves are made in the passage to the drawing room he need never be in the cold. But he thought himself able to proceed & had left papers here.

“I do not suppose we shall stay above six weeks, he will be so uneasy at being confind
there again. He is very low & thinks we shall never be able to go to the North again. This I trust is the lowness of a person suffering—but the truth is he does come too late, & his imprudence is inconceivable—with the gout violently on him as it had been at Londesboro1 & Ferrybridge He chose to ride 15 miles from Worksop here, in a cold Novr. Eveg., for he did not get in till half past 6, & I declare to God I was thankful that the gout did not return with such violence for he was so cold I thought he had thrown it from his limbs. He ought to come into Derbyshire about the 10th of July & return to Chiswick in October or Novr. But unfortunately he likes London in Summer & his only field amusement is shooting. I wish to God he had bought Wolmars. The real good thing for him wd. be a place near London & yet more the country than this, but he always says he has too many Houses.

“I ask yr. pardon for this long bore but it is impossible not to be very anxious & also vex’d to see a man throw away such a constitution. If you reflect on the life he leads & recollect how well you saw him at Bath, Brocket & afterward, you will allow that he might be what he would except the gout which also I think he might lessen or alleviate by management.

Caro Pon1 calls this purgatory & Chatsworth Paradise, & we do wander about like uneasy souls.

“I agree with you that Mr. Foxes career has been perfect, & his speech beyond all expectation (not as to goodness but as to his con-

1Caroline Ponsonby, daughter of Lord and Lady Bessborough, married William Lamb in 1805.

descending to explain). I am quite happy at
my Br. having met him—& now dr. Love do you not think that they stand a good chance of coming in—if they will be quiet—but if they were to encorage anything that might be construed into alarming principles & all that nonsense they play Pitts game. I look upon it as quite over with him unless he can persuade his friends the alarmists to be alarmd again, & then they will say they prefer Pitt after all his tricks because they have tried him.

“As to these Ministers, with all their absurdities one must feel too oblig’d to them to abuse them, but I don’t think they can go on long—for after such good fortune as they have had, one may rejoice in but not admire their terms, & they are likely to get into scrapes I think.

“Do not you therefore think we may at least see Mr. Fox in office? It is not only my ardent wish from my opinion of him independent of my love for him, but I have 1,000 reasons for wishing it.

“Bless &c.”