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indeed, I have nothing to print : you know they have printed the Miscellanies already. Are they on your side yet ? if you have my snuff-box, I'll have your strong box. Hi, does Stella take snuff again? or is it only because it is a fine box ?-Not the Meddle, but the Medley, you fool.* Yes, yes, a wretched thing, because it is against you Tories : now I think it very fine, and the Examiner a wretched thing.–Twist your mouth, sirrah. Guiscard, and what you will read in the narrative, I ordered to be written, and nothing else. The Spectator is written by Steele with Addison's help : ’tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I
gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Indian supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. † I believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the under hints there are mine too.; but I never see him or Addison. The queen is well, but I fear will be no long liver; for I am told she has sometimes the gout in her bowels, (I hate the word bowels.) My ears have been, these three months past, much better than any time these two years : but now they begin to be a little out of order again. My head is better, though not right; but I trust to air and walking. You have got my letter, but what number? I suppose 18. Well, my shin has been well this month. No, Mrs Westley came away without her husband's knowledge, while she was in the country : she has written to me for some tea.—They lie ; Mr Harley's wound was very terrible : he had convulsions, and very narrowly escaped. The bruise was nine times worse than the wound: he is weak still. Well, Brooks married ; I know all that I am sorry for Mrs Walls's eye: I hope 'tis better. O yes, you are great .walkers : but I have heard them say, Much talkers, Little walkers ; and I believe I may apply the old proverb to you:
* A violent Whig Journal, which was engaged in answering the Examiner. It was concluded by Arthur Mainwaring and Oldmixon.
+ The idea of writing in the character of a foreigner has since been adopted in the “ Lettres Persannes,” and many imitations of that lively work. There can be no doubt the plan would have highly suited Swift's ironical run of humour. The
in which he complains that Steele has exhausted this noble hint is No. 50 of the Spectator
walked, Those that think you wits would be baulked.
Yes, Stella shall have a large printed Bible : I have put it down among my commissions for MD. I am glad to hear you have taken the fancy of intending to read the Bible. Pox take the box: is not it come yet? this is trusting to your young fellows, young women ; 'tis your fault: I thought you had such power with Sterne, that he would fly over Mount Atlas to serve you. You say you are not splenetic; but if you be, faith you will break poor Presto's — I won't say the rest ; but I vow to God, if I could decently come over now, I would, and leave all schemes of politics and ambition for ever.
I have not the opportunities here of preserving my health by riding, &c. that I have in Ireland and the want of health is a great cooler of making one's court. You guess right about my being bit with a direction from Walls, and the letter from MD: I believe I described it in one of my last. This goes to-night; and I must now rise and walk to town, and walk back
in the evening. God Almighty bless and preserve poor MD. Farewell.
O faith, don't think, saucy noses, that I'll fill this third side : I can't stay a letter above a fortnight : it must
would rather see a short one like this than want it a week longer.
My humble service to the dean, and Mrs Walls, and good kind hearty Mrs Stoyte, and honest Catherine.
Chelsea, April 28, 1711. At night. I say at night, because I finished my twenty-first this morning here, and put it into the postoffice my own self, like a good boy. I think I am a little before you now, young women : I am writing my twenty-second, and have received your thirteenth. I got to town between twelve and one, and put on my new gown and periwig, and dined with Lord Abercorn, where I had not been since the marriage of his son Lord Peasley, who has got ten thousand pound with a wife.* I am now a country gentleman. I walked home as I went, and am a little weary, and am got into bed : I hope in God the air and exercise will do me a little good. I have been inquiring about statues for Mrs Ashe: I made Lady Abercorn go with me ; and will send them word next post to Clogher. I hate to buy for her: I'm sure she'll maunder. I am going to study.
* James Lord Paisley, afterwards seventh Earl of Abercorn, married Anne, daughter of Colonel John Plummer of Blakesware, in the county of Hertford.
29. I had a charming walk to and from town today: I washed, shaved, and all, and changed gown and periwig, by half an hour after nine, and went to the secretary, who told me how he had differed with his friends in parliament: I apprehended this division, and told him a great deal of it. I went to court, and there several mentioned it to me as what they much disliked. I dined with the secretary, and we proposed doing some business of importance in the afternoon, which he broke to me first, and said how he and Mr Harley were convinced of the necessity of it; yet he suffered one of his under secretaries to come upon us after dinner, who staid till six, and so nothing was done : and what care I ? he shall send to me the next time, and ask twice. To-morrow I go to the election at Westminster school, where lads are chosen for the university : they say 'tis a sight, and a great trial of wits. Our expedition fleet is but just sailed: I believe it will come to nothing. Mr Secretary frets at their tediousness; but hopes great things from it, though he owns four or five princes are in the secret; and, for
* He refers to the expedition against Canada, which was destined to expel the French from North America. The land troops, five thousand in number, were placed under the command of Brigadier General Hill, an officer without talents or experience. The transports were escorted by a squadron under the command of Sir Hovenden Walker. This enterprise, from which much was expected, came, as Swift prophesied, to nothing, or rather to a worse than negative conclusion. The fleet was surprised by a storm in the river St Lawrence, and lost among the rocks eight transports, with about eight hundred men. After this disaster, their provisions ran short, and, finding it impossible to victual in New England, the fleet returned home without any attempt against the enemy.
that reason, I fear it is no secret to France. There are eight regiments ; and the admiral is your Walker's* brother the midwife.
30. Morn. I am here in a pretty pickle : it rains hard; and the cunning natives of Chelsea have outwitted me, and taken up all the three stage-coaches. What shall I do? I must go to town : this is your fault. I can't walk : I'll borrow a coat. This is the blindside of my lodging out of town ; I must expect such inconveniences as these. Faith I'll walk in the rain. Morrow.–At night. I got a gentleman's chaise by chance, and so went to town for'a shilling, and lie this night in town. I was at the election of lads at Westminster today, and a very silly thing it is; but they say there will be fine doings to-morrow. I dined with Dr Freind, the second master of the school, † with a dozen parsons and others : Prior would make me stay. Mr Harley is to hear the election to-morrow; and we are all to dine with tickets, and hear fine speeches. 'Tis terrible rainy weather again : I lie at a friend's in the city. May 1. I wish you a merry May-day, and a thousand
I was baulked at Westminster; I came too late : I heard no speeches nor verses. They would not let me in to their dining-place for want of a ticket; and I would not send in for one, because Mr Harley excused his coming, and Atterbury was not there; and I cared not for the rest : and so my friend Lewis and I dined with Kit Musgrave, if you know such a man : and the weather mending, I walked gravely home this evening; and so I design to walk and walk till I am well: I fancy myself a little better already. How does poor Stella ?
* Sir Chamberlain Walker, a famous man midwife. + He succeeded Dr Knipe, the head master, in August 1711.