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being obliged to any body; but that is a secret, till I see my dearest MD; and so hold your tongue, and do not talk, sirrahs, for I am now about it.
18. My head has no fits, but a little disordered before dinner; yet I walk stoutly, and take pills, and hope to mend. Secretary St John would needs have me dine with him to-day, and there I found three persons I never saw, two I had no acquaintance with, and one I did not care for: so I left them early, and came home, it being no day to walk, but scurvy rain and wind.
The secretary tells me he has put a cheat on me; for Lord Peterborow sent him twelve dozen flasks of Burgundy, on condition that I should have my share ; but he never was quiet till they were all gone; so I reckon he owes me thirty-six pounds. Lord Peterborow is now got to Vienna, and I must write to him to-morrow. I begin now to be toward looking for a letter from some certain ladies of Presto's acquaintance, that live at St Mary's, and are called, in a certain language, our little MD. No, stay, I do not expect one these six days, that will be just three weeks ; an't I a reasonable creature ? We are plagued here with an October Club; that is, a set of above a hundred parliamentmen of the country, who drink October beer at home, and meet every evening at a tavern near the parliament, to consult affairs, and drive things on to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account, and get off five or six heads.* The ministry seem not to regard them, yet one of them in confidence told me, that there must be something thought on to settle things better. I will tell you one great state secret; the queen, sensible how much she was governed by the late ministry, runs a little into the other extreme, and is jealous in that point, even of those who got her out of the other's hands. * The ministry is for gentler measures, and the other Tories for more violent. Lord Rivers, talking to me the other day, cursed the paper
* This club of country gentlemen, swayed by their prepossessions, and totally unable to discover, through the mist of prejudice, either the true road to their party's interest, or to their country's, nearly ruined, by their embarrassing violence, the administration which, as Tories, it was most their business to support.
called The Examiner, for speaking civilly of the Duke of Marlborough : this I happened to talk of to the secretary, who blamed the warmth of that lord, and some others, and swore, that, if their advice were followed, they would be blown
in twenty-four hours. And I have reason to think, that they will endeavour to prevail on the queen to put her affairs more into the hands of a ministry than she does at present ; and there are, I believe, two men thought on, one of them you have often met the name of in my letters. But so much for politics.
19. This proved a terrible rainy day, which prevented my walk into the city, and I was only able to run and dine with my neighbour Vanhomrigh, where Sir Andrew Fountaine dined too, who has just began to sally out, and has shipped his mother and sister, who were his nurses, back to the country. This evening was fair, and I walked a little in the Park, till Prior made me go with him to the Smyrna Coffeehouse, where
* When Queen Anne dismissed Godolphin, the Duke of Beaufort told her he could now call her in reality Queen. She was naturally in no hurry to surrender the power, which she was taught to consider that she had but just reclaimed.
1 sat a while, and saw four or five Irish persons, who are very handsome genteel fellows, but I knew not their
I came away at seven, and got home. Two days ago I writ to Bernage, and told him what I had done, and directed the letter to Mr Curry's to be left with Dingley. Brigadiers Hill and Masham, brother and husband to Mrs Masham, the queen’s favourite, Colonel Disney, and I, have recommended Bernage to the Duke of Argyle ; and Secretary St John has given the duke my memorial ; and, besides, Hill tells me, that Bernage's colonel, Fielding, designs to make him his captain-lieutenant : but I believe I said this to you before, and in this letter, but I will not look.
20. Morning. It snows terribly again, and it is mistaken, for I now want a little good weather : I bid you good morrow, and, if it clear up, get you gone to poor Mrs Walls, who has had a hard time of it, but is now pretty well again. I am sorry it is a girl ; the poor archdeacon too, see how simply he looked when they told him : what did it cost Stella to be gossip? I will rise, so, do you hear, let me see you at night, and do not stay late out, and catch cold, sirrahs.--At night. It grew good weather, and I got a good walk, and dined with Ford upon his opera day : but now all his wine is gone,
I shall dine with him no more. I hope to send this letter before I hear from MD: methinks there is-something great in doing so, only I cannot express where it lies; and faith this shall go by Saturday, as sure as you are a rogue. Mrs Edgworth was to set out but last Monday, so you will not have your box so soon perhaps as this letter ; but Sterne told me since, that it is safe at Chester, and that she will take care of it. I would give a guinea you had it.
21. Morning. Faith I hope it will be fair for me to walk into the city, for I take all occasions of walking.I should be plaguy busy at Laracor if I were there now, cutting down willows, planting others, scouring my canal, and every kind of thing. If Raymond goes over this summer, you must submit, and make them a visit, that we may have another eel and trout fishing ; and that Stella may ride by and see Presto in his morninggown in the garden, and so go up with Joe to the Hill of Bree, and round by Scurlock's Town. O Lord, how I remember names ! faith it gives me short sighs: therefore no more of that if
Good morrow, I will
go rise like a gentleman, my pills say I must.–At night. Lady Kerry sent to desire me to engage some lords about an affair she has in their house here : I called to see her, but found she had already engaged every lord I knew, and that there was no great difficulty in the matter, and it rained like a dog ; so I took coach, for want of better exercise, and dined privately with a hang-dog in the city, and walked back in the evening. The days are now long enough to walk in the Park after dinner; and so I do whenever it is fair. This walking is a strange remedy ; Mr Prior walks to make himself fat, * and I to bring myself down ; he has generally a cough, which he only calls a cold; we often walk round the Park together. So I will go sleep.
22. It snowed all this morning prodigiously, and was some inches thick in three or four hours. I dined with Mr Lewis of the secretary's office at his lodgings : the chairmen that carried me squeezed a great fellow against a wall, who wisely turned his back, and broke one of the side glasses in a thousand pieces. I fell a scolding, pretended I was like to be cut to pieces, and made them set down the chair in the Park, while they picked out the bits of glasses : and when I paid them, I quarrelled still, so they dared not grumble, and I came off for my fare : but I was plaguy afraid they would have said, God bless your honour, will not you give us something for our glass ? Lewis and I were forming a project how I might get three or four hundred pounds, which I suppose may come to nothing. I hope Smyth has brought you your palsy drops ; how does Stella do? I begin more and more to desire to know. The three weeks since I had your last is over within two days, and I will allow three for accidents.
* Prior, as Swift elsewhere mentions, was a slight thin figure.
23. The snow is gone every bit, except the remainder of some great balls made by the boys. Mr Sterne was with me this morning about an affair he has before the treasury. That drab Mrs Edgworth is not yet set out, but will infallibly next Monday, and this is the third infallible Monday, and pox take her! So you will have this letter first ; and this shall go to-morrow; and if I have one from MD in that time, I will not answer it till my next; only I will say, Madam, I received your letter, and so, and so. I dined to-day with my Mrs Butler, who grows very disagreeable.
1 24. Morning. This letter certainly goes this evening, sure as you are alive, young women, and then
you will be so ashamed that I have had none from you; and if I was to reckon like you, I would say, I were six letters before you, for this is N. 16, and I have had your N. 10. But I reckon you have received but fourteen and have sent eleven. I think to go to-day a minister of state hunting in the Court of Requests ; for I have