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That you may not be surprized at our courage
for daring to write after such great names, I will transcribe one of the old ones, which I think as good as
any of them
Who set the trees, shall he remember,
“ There has been only one as yet added by our company which is tolerably numerous at present. I scarcely know whether it is worth reading or
By Bathurst planted, first these shades arose,
« There is one walk that I am extremely partial to, and which is rightly called the Abbey-walk, since it is composed of prodigiously high Beechtrees that form an arch through the whole length, extremely resembling a minster. At the end is a statue, and about the middle, a tolerably large circle with Windsor chairs round it, and I think for a person of contemplative disposition, one would scarcely find a more venerable shade in any poetical description."
In another letter, about the same time, Lady Hertford gives some more particulars regarding this place, so interesting from the associations
attached to it, and the additional charms belonging to those scenes, which have been consecrated by the presence of genius, and become, as it were, one of the favourite dwellings of the muse. designed at first only to have rented this place, but as it was more convenient to Lord Bathurst to sell it, and as we were extremely pleased both with its distance from London, and the quality of the land about it, we took the resolution to make it entirely our own. It stands in a little paddock of about a mile and a half round, which is laid out in the manner of a French park, interspersed with woods and lawns. There is a canal in it 555 yards long and proportionably broad, which has a stream continually running through it, and it is deep enough to carry a pleasure-boat. It is well stocked with carp and tench, and at its upper end there is a greenhouse, containing a good collection of orange, myrtle, geranium, and oleander trees. This is a very agreeable room, either to
, drink tea, play at cards, or sit with a book on a summer's evening. In one of the woods, through all which there are winding paths, there is a cave, which though little more than a rude mass of stones, is not without charms for me. A spring
A gushes out at the back of it, which falling into a basin, (whose brim it overflows) passes along a channel in the pavement, where it loses itself. The entrance to this recess is overhung with
periwinkles, and its top is shaded with beeches, large elms, and birch. There are several covered benches, and little arbours interwoven with lilacs, woodbines, seringas, and laurels, and seats under shady trees dispersed all over the park.
“ One great addition to the pleasure of living here, is the gravelly soil, which after a day of rain (if it holds up only for two or three hours) one may walk over, without being wet through ones shoes, and there is one gravel walk that encompasses the whole.
We propose to make an improvement by adding to the present ground a little pasture farm, which is just without the pale, because there is a very pretty brook of clear water which runs through the meadows to supply our canal, and whose course winds in such a manner that it is almost a serpentine river. I am afraid I have tired you with the description of what appear
to me some beauties in our little possession; yet I cannot help adding one convenience that attends it; that is the cheap manner in which we keep it, since it only requires a flock of sheep, who graze the lawns fine, and whilst they are feeding, the shepherd cleans away any weed that springs up in the gravel, and removes any leaves or broken branches that would litter the walks, &c.”
The last notice of this place occurs in the following year; and I will give the entire communi
cation, as it is not without interest in the account it gives of an adjoining domain.
“ In our rambling among the neighbouring fields, I passed a farm house which struck me by its venerable appearance, having a large moat round it, and a rookery of high trees close to it, in the middle of some delightful meadows. As I not fond of making acquaintance (even in that rank of life), I contented myself with surveying only the outside of it, and came home without further information; but my son and Mr. Ramsden went two nights ago to see if they could discover whether it had been ever any other than a farm-house. The people told them it was formerly called Parlem Park, and that there was a tradition that Queen Elizabeth was nursed there. They cannot tell, however, who it belonged to, before it came into the family of my Lord Uxbridge, who is the present landlord. They shewed them an old glass window, in which was painted a coat of arms with eight quarterings. The first of these is the Stanley family, and round it is a yellow ribbon, with a Latin motto, the English of which my son tells me is,
Edward Stanley, Knight-Lord reward me not, according to my works.' The people conducted them next into what they make their cellar. This is an arched place, down three or four steps, with several large iron rings fastened to the top of it. They also shewed them where a statue stood close
by, but could not tell whether it belonged to a convent or mansion house.
My time is a good deal taken up with several alterations. My Lord has made one this winter which I think very pretty, by turning a gravel pit into a kind of dry basin, where he purposes to place his orange trees next summer. The banks that rise from it are planted thick with flowering shrubs, and some evergreens. There are terrace walks on two sides of it, one a short gravel one, the other a pretty long grass one, fenced from the lane by a very fine hawthorn hedge, which has long been growing in that place, and which is now in flower. Just across this little gravelly lane, which leads to the next village, is a thorny wood, the largest on this side the country. This also belongs to my Lord Uxbridge, but I enjoy its music; for as I walk in the evening, it affords me a complete concert, for besides blackbirds, thrushes and nightingales (of which there is an astonishing number) there are some wood-pigeons, which building there, serve as a kind of natural thorough-bass. Within doors we amuse ourselves, at the hours we are together, in gilding picture-frames, and other small things. This is so much in fashion with us at present, that I believe, if our patience and pockets would hold out, we should gild all the cornices, tables, chairs and stools about the house."
In 1741, Lady Hertford encloses to her corres