« AnteriorContinuar »
thundered fifty times at least, and the air is so cool, that a body is able to live ; and I walked home to-night with comfort, and without dirt. I went this evening to lord-treasurer, and sat with him two hours, and we were in a very good humour, and he abused me, and called me Dr Thomas Swift fifty times : I have told you he does that when he has a mind to make me mad. Sir Thomas Frankland gave me to-day a letter from Murry, accepting my bill : so all is well : only by a letter from Parvisol, I find there are some perplexities. Joe has likewise written to me, to thank me for what I have done for him ; and desires I would write to the Bishop of Clogher, that Tom Ashe may not hinder his father from being portrief. I have written and sent to Joe several times, that I will not trouble myself at all about Trim. I wish them their liberty ; but they do not deserve it : so tell Joe, and send to him. I am mighty happy with this rain : I was at the end of my patience, but now I live again. This cannot go till Saturday ; and perhaps I may go out.of town with Lord Shelburne and Lady Kerry to-morrow for two or three days. Lady Kerry has written to desire it ; but tomorrow I shall know farther.-0 this dear rain, I cannot forbear praising it: I never felt myself to be revived so in my life.
life. It lasted from three till five, hard as a horn, and mixed with hail.
8. Morning. I am going to town, and will just finish this there, if I go into the country with Lady Kerry and Lord Shelburne ; so morrow, till an hour or two hence. In town, I met Cairnes, who, I suppose, will pay me the money; though he says, I must send him the bill first, and I will get it done in absence. Farewell, &c. &c.
Chelsea, June 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,
15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. I have been all this time at Wicomb, between Oxford and London, with Lord Shelburne, who has the squire's house at the town's end, and an estate there in a delicious country. Lady Kerry and Mrs Pratt were with us, and we passed our time well enough; and there I wholly disengaged myself from all public thoughts, and every thing but MD, who had the impudence to send me a letter there ; but I'll be revenged : I'll an
This day the 20th, I came from Wicomb with Lady Kerry after dinner, lighted at Hyde-Park Corner, and walked: it was twenty-seven miles, and we came it in about five hours.
21. I went at noon to see Mr Secretary at his office, and there was lord-treasurer: so I killed two birds, &c. and we were glad to see one another, and so forth. And the secretary and I dined at Sir William Wyndham's, who married Lady Catharine Seymour,* your acquaintance, I suppose. There were ten of us at din
It seems in my absence they had erected a club, and made me one ; and we made some laws to-day, which I am to digest, and add to, against next meeting. Our meetings are to be every Thursday: we are yet but twelve : lord-keeper and lord-treasurer were proposed ;
* A daughter of the Duke of Somerset. From this and various other passages, Stella should seem to have been known to the Somerset family. VOL. II.
but I was against them, and so was Mr Secretary, though their sons are of it, and so they are excluded; but we design to admit the Duke of Shrewsbury. The end of our club is to advance conversation and friendship, and to reward deserving persons with our interest and recommendation. We take in none but men of wit or men of interest; and if we go on as we begin, no other club in this town will be worth talking of. The solicitor-general, Sir Robert Raymond, is one of our club; and I ordered him immediately to write to your lordchancellor in favour of Dr Raymond ; so tell Raymond, if you see him ; but I believe this will find you at Wexford. This letter will come three weeks after the last; so there is a week lost; but that is owing to my being out of town ; yet I think it is right, because it goes enclosed to Mr Reading : and why should he know how often Presto writes to MD, pray ?-I sat this evening with Lady Butler* and Lady Ashburnham, t and then came home by eleven, and had a good cool walk ; for we have had no extreme hot weather this fortnight, but a great deal of rain at times, and a body can live and breathe. I hope it will hold so. We had peaches today.
22. I went late to-day to town, and dined with my friend Lewis. I saw Will. Congreve attending at the treasury, by order, with his brethren, the commissioners of the wine licences. I had often mentioned him with kindness to lord-treasurer ; and Congreve told me, that
* Daughter to James Duke of Ormond. She lived to be above ninety years
and never was married. + Sister to the above lady. See the Journal of October 20th, * It is a well-known anecdote, that when Congreve, who had always been the political friend of Halifax, thought it necessary to employ some intercessor (probably Swift) with Harley to prevent his being displaced from his situation in the customs, the lordtreasurer made the memorable answer :
after they had answered to what they were sent for, my lord called him privately, and spoke to him with great kindness, promising his protection, &c. The poor said, he had been used so ill of late years, he was quite astonished at my lord's goodness, &c. and desired me to tell
my lord so ; which I did this evening, and recommended him heartily. My lord assured me he esteemed him very much, and would be always kind to him j that what he said was to make Congreve easy, because he knew people talked as if his lordship designed to turn every body out, and particularly Congreve ; which indeed was true, for the poor man told me he apprehended it. As I left my lord-treasurer I called on Congreve, (knowing where he dined,) and told him what had passed between my lord and me: so I have made a worthy man easy, and that is a good day's work. * I am proposing to my lord to erect a society or academy for correcting and settling our language, that we may not perpetually be changing as we do. He enters mightily into it, so does the Dean of Carlisle ; * and I design to write a letter to lord-treasurer with the proposals of it, and publish it; and so I told my lord, and he approves of it. Yesterday's was a sad Examiner, and last week was very indifferent, though some little scraps of the old spirit, as if he had given some hints ; but yesterday's is all trash. It is plain the hand is changd.
Non obtusa adeo gestamus pectora Pæni,
Nec tam aversus equos Tyria sol jungit ab urbe. Congreve had obtained, by the patronage of Halifax, the post of a Commissioner for Hackney-coaches, a place in the Pipe-office, and another in the Customs, amounting together to L. 1200 a year. Yet Swift has more than hinted, that this tide of preferment was rather the reward of a staunch politician, than a man of letters.
66 Thus Congreve spent in writing plays,
23. I have not been in London to-day : for Dr Gastrel and I dined, by invitation, with the Dean of Carlisle, my neighbourso I know not what they are doing in the world, a mere country gentleman. And are not you ashamed both to go into the country just when I did, and stay ten days just as I did, saucy monkies ? But I never rode; I had no horses, and our coach was out of order, and we went and came in a hired one. Do
you keep your lodgings when you go to Wexford ? I suppose you do ; for you will hardly stay above two months. I have been walking about our town to-night, and it is a very scurvy place for walking. I am think
Himself, as rich as fifty Jews,
And so might every dunce alive.”