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la, I think I can read your long concluding word, but you cannot read mine after bidding you good night. And yet, methinks, I mend extremely in my writing ; but when Stella's eyes are well, I hope to write as bad
So now I have answered your letter, and mine is an answer ; for I lay your's before me, and I look and write, and write and look, and look and write again.So good morrow, madams both, and I will go rise, for I must rise; for I take pills at night, and so I must rise early, I do not know why.
25. Morning. I did not tell you how I past my time yesterday, nor bid you good night, and there was good
I went in the morning to Secretary St John about some business; he had got a great Whig with him; a creature of the Duke of Marlborough, who is a go-between to make peace between the duke and the ministry; * so he came out of his closet; and after a few words, desired I would dine with him at three, but Mr Lewis staid till six before he came ; and there we sat talking, and the time slipped so, that at last, when I was positive to go, it was past two o'clock ; so I came home and went straight to bed. He would never let me look at his watch, and I could not imagine it above twelve
* It was strongly asserted, that the Duke of Marlborough, to retain his high command and all its emoluments, would have been contented to act under Queen Anne's new ministry. It cannot be doubted, that this would have been highly acceptable to Harley and St John. But all their success had originated in the jealousy which the
had begun to entertain of the Duchess of Marlborough, and in her favour to Mrs Masham. Though therefore the statesmen and general might have subdued their passions to the tone of their interest, this was not to be expected of the rival favourites, of whom neither party was independent.
when we went away.
So I bid you good night for last night, and now I bid you good morrow, and I am still in bed, though it be near ten, but I must rise.
26, 27, 28, 29, 30. I have been so lazy and negligent these last four days, that I could not write to MD. My head is not in order, and yet it is not absolutely ill, but giddyish, and makes me listless; I walk every day, and take drops of Dr Cockburn, and I have just done a box of pills, and to-day Lady Kerry sent me some of her bitter drink, which I design to take twice a day, and hope I shall grow better.
better. I wish I were with MD; I long for spring and good weather, and then I will come over. My riding in Ireland keeps me well. I am very temperate, and eat of the easiest meats as I am directed, and hope the malignity will go off; but one fit shakes me a long time.. I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy, yesterday at Mr Stone's in the city, on Sunday at Van. homrigh's, Saturday with Ford, and Friday I think at Vanhomrigh's, and that is all the journal I can send MD; for I was so lazy while I was well, that I could not write. I thought to have sent this to-night, but it is ten, and I will go to bed, and write on the other side to Parvisol tomorrow, and send it on Thursday; and so good night my dears, and love Presto, and be healthy, and Presto will be so too, &c.
Cut off these notes handsomely, do you hear, sirrahs, and give Mrs Brent hers, and keep yours till you see Parvisol, and then make up the letter to him, and send it him by the first opportunity, and so God Almighty bless you both, here and ever, and poor Presto.
What, I warrant you thought at first that these lines were another letter.
Dingley, Pray pay Stella six fishes, and place them to
the account of your humble servant, Presto. Stella, Pray pay Dingley six fishes, and place them to
the account of your humble servant, Presto. There's bills of exchange for you.
London, Jan. 31, 1710-11. I am to send you my fourteenth to-morrow, but my head having some little disorder, confounds all my journals. I was early this morning with Mr Secretary St John, about some business, so I could not scribble niy morning lines to MD.
They are here intending to tax all little printed penny papers a halfpenny every
half sheet, which will utterly ruin Grub Street, and I am endeavouring to prevent it. Besides, I was forwarding an impeachment against a certain great person ; * that was two of my businesses with the secretary, were they not worthy ones ? It was Ford's birthday, and I refused the secretary, and dined with Ford. We are here in as smart a frost for the time as I have seen ; delicate walking weather, and the Canal and Rosamond's Pond full of the rabble sliding, and with skates, if you know what those are.
Patrick's bird's water freezes in the gallipot, and my hands in bed.
Feb. 1. I was this morning with poor Lady Kerry, who is much worse in her head than I. She sends me
* Probably the Earl of Wharton.
bottles of her bitter, and we are so fond of one another, because our ailments are the same ; do not you know that, Madam Stell? have not I seen you conning ailments with Joe's wife, * and some others, sirrah? + I walked into the city to dine, because of the walk ; for we must take care of Presto's health, you know, because of
poor little MD. But I walked plaguy carefully, for fear of sliding against my will ; but I am very busy.
2. This morning Mr Ford came to me to walk into the city, where he had business, and then to buy books at Bateman's; and. I laid out one pound five shillings for a Strabo and Aristophanes, and I have now got books enough to make me another shelf, and I will have more, or it shall cost me a fall; and so as we came back, we drank a flask of right French wine at Ben Tooke's chamber; and when I had got home, Mrs Vanhomrigh sent me word her eldest daughter was taken suddenly very ill, and desired I would come and see her ; I went and found it was a silly trick of Mrs Armstrong, Lady Lucy's sister, who, with Moll Stanhope, was visiting there : however, I rattled off the daughter.
3. To-day I went and dined at Lady Lucy's, where you know I have not been this long time; they are plaguy Whigs, especially the sister Armstrong, the most
* Mrs Beaumont.
+ Swift threw this observation into rhyme, in the famous verses 'on his own death: ..
Yet should some neighbour feel a pain,
insupportable of all women pretending to wit, without
She was running down the last Examiner, the prettiest I had read, with a character of the present ministry. I left them at five, and came home. But I forgot to tell you, that this morning, my cousin, Dryden Leach, the printer, came to me with a heavy complaint, that Harrison, the new Tatler, had turned him off, and taken the last Tatler's printers again. He vowed revenge ; I answered gravely, and so he left me, and I have ordered Patrick to deny me to him from henceforth : and at night comes a letter from Harrison, telling me the same thing, and excused his doing it without my notice, because he would bear all the blame ; and in his Tatler of this day he tells you the story, how he has taken his old officers, and there is a most humble letter from Morphew and Lilly, to beg his pardon, &c. And lastly, this morning Ford sent me two letters from the coffeehouse, (where I hardly ever go,) one from the Archbishop of Dublin, and the other from Who do you think the other was from ? I will tell
be. cause you are friends ; why then it was, faith it was from my own dear little MD, N. 10. O, but will not answer it now, no, noooooh, I will keep it between the two sheets; here it is, just under : O, I lifted up
the sheet and saw it there : lie still, you shall not be answered yet, little letter ; for I must go to bed, and take care of my head.
4. I avoid going to church yet, for fear of my head, though it has been much better these last five or six
* At this house Swift seems to have found little quarter : upon a former visit he mentions their railing at the description of a City Shower, which they affected to mistake for Prior's composition.