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We saw a place they have made for a famous horse-race to-morrow, where the queen will come. We met the queen coming back, and Miss Forester stood, like us, with her hat off while the queen went by. The doctor and I left the lady where we found her, but under other conductors, and we dined at a little place he has taken, about a mile off.—When I came back, I found Mr Scarborow had sent all about to invite me to the green cloth, and lessened his company on purpose to make me easy. It is very obliging, and will cost me thanks. Much company is come to town this evening, to see tomorrow's race. I was tired with riding a trotting mettlesome horse a dozen miles, having not been on horseback this twelvemonth. And Miss Forester * did not make it easier ; she is a silly true maid of honour, and I did not like her, although she be a toast, and was dressed like a man. +
11. I will send this letter to-day. I expect the se. cretary by noon. I will not go to the race, unless I can get room in some coach. It is now morning. I must rise, and fold up, and seal my letter. Farewell, and God preserve dearest MD.
I believe I shall leave this town on Monday.
* This lady was contracted, and, indeed, actually married, to Sir John Downing, in the year 1701 ; Sir George being then fifteen, and the lady only thirteen. They afterwards applied for a divorce.
+ i. e. in a riding habit, just then becoming fashionable, as appears from several passages in The SPECTATOR.
Windsor, Aug. 11, 1711. I sent away my twenty-seventh this morning in an express to London, and directed to Mr Reading : this shall go to your lodgings, where I reckon you will be returned before it reaches you. I intended to go to the race to-day, but was hindered by a visit, I believe I told you so in my last.
I dined to-day at the green cloth, where every body had been at the race but myself, and we were twenty in all ; and very noisy company : but I made the vice-chamberlain and two friends more sit at a side-table to be a little quiet. At six I went to see the secretary, who is returned; but lord-keeper sent to desire I would sup with him, where I staid till just now; lord-treasurer and secretary were to come to us, but both failed. 'Tis late, &c.
12. I was this morning to visit lord-keeper, who made me reproaches that I had never visited him at Windsor. He had a present sent him of delicious peaches, and he was champing and champing, but I durst not eat one; I wished Dingley had some of them, for poor
Stella can no more eat fruit than Presto. Dilly Ashe is come to Windsor; and after church I carried him up to the drawing-room, and talked to the keeper and treasurer, on purpose to show them to him, and he saw the queen and several great lords, and the Duchess of Montague; he was mighty happy, and resolves to fill a letter to the bishop. My friend Lewis
* Of Clogher.
and I dined soberly with Dr Adams, the only neighbour prebendary. One of the prebendaries here is lately a peer, by the death of his father. He is now Lord Willoughby of Brook, and will sit in the House of Lords with his gown. * I supped to-night at Masham’s with lord-treasurer, Mr Secretary, and Prior. The treasurer made us stay till twelve before he came from the queen, and 'tis now past two.
13. I reckoned upon going to London to-day ; but by an accident the Cabinet Council did not sit last night, and sat to-day, so we go to-morrow at six in the inorning. I missed the race to-day by coming too late, when every body's coach was gone, and ride I would not ; I felt my last riding three days after. We had a dinner to-day at the secretary's lodgings without him: Mr Hare, his under secretary, Mr. Lewis, Brigadier Sutton, and I, dined together, and I made the vicechamberlain take a snap with us, rather than stay till five for his lady, who was gone to the race.
The reason why the Cabinet Council was not held last night was, because Mr Secretary St John would not sit with your Duke of Somerset. So to-day the duke was forced to go to the race while the Cabinet was held. We have music meetings in our town, and I was at the rehearsal t'other day, but I did not value it, nor would go to the meeting. Did I tell you this before ?
London, 14. We came to town this day in two hours and forty minutes : twenty miles are nothing here. I found a letter from the Archbishop of Dublin, sent me the Lord knows how. He says some of the bishops will hardly believe that lord-treasurer got the queen to remit the first-fruits before the Duke of Ormond was declared lord lieutenant ; and that the bishops have written a letter to lord-treasurer to thank him. He has sent-me the address of the convocation, ascribing, in good part, that affair to the duke, who had less share in it than MD; for if it had not been for MD, I should not have been so good a solicitor. I dined to-day in the city, about a little bit of mischief with a printer.-I found Mrs Vanhomrigh all in combustion, squabbling with her rogue of a landlord ; she has left her house, and gone out of our neighbourhood a good way. Her eldest daughter is come of age, and going to Ireland to look after her fortune, and get it in her own hands. *
* This is an incidental circumstance and expression; yet it marks the delight Swift took in every thing that could add dignity to the clerical character.
15. I dined to-day with Mrs Van, who goes to-night to her new lodgings. I went at six to see lord-treasurer, but his company was gone, contrary to custom, and he was busy, and I was forced to stay some time before I could see him. We were together hardly an hour, and he went away, being in haste. He desired me to dine with him on Friday, because there would be a friend of his that I must see: my Lord Harley told me, when he was gone, that it was Mrs Masham t his father meant, who is come to town to lie in, and whom I never saw, though her husband is one of our society. God send her a good time ; her death would be a terrible thing.--Do you know, that I have ventured all my credit with these great ministers, to clear some understandings between them; and, if there be no breach, I ought to have the merit of it? 'Tis a plaguy ticklish piece of work, and a man hazards losing both sides. 'Tis a pity the world does not know my virtue.—I thought the clergy in convocation in Ireland would have given me thanks for being their solicitor, but I hear of no such thing. Pray talk occasionally on that subject, and let me know what you hear. Do you know the greatness of my spirit, that I value their thanks not a rush ? but at my return shall freely let all people know, that it was my lord-treasurer's action, wherein the Duke of Ormond had no more share than a cat.
* This is the first time he bestows two lines of his Journal on Vanessa, who was actually engrossing so much of his time and thoughts.
+ Abigail Hill, a relation, and originally a dependant of Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, whom she succeeded in the queen’s favour and confidence, and became the principal agent in the change of ministry. She was privately married to Mr Masham, groom of the chamber to George Prince of Denmark, in Dr Arbuthnot's
And so they may go whistle, and I'll go sleep.
16. I was this day in the city, and dined at Pontack's with Stratford, and two other merchants.- Pontack told us, although his wine was so good, he sold it cheaper than others, he took but seven shillings a flask. Are not these pretty rates ? The books he sent for from Hamburgh are come, but not yet got out of the Custom-house. My library will be at least double when I come back. I shall go to Windsor again on Saturday, to meet our society, who are to sup at Mr Secretary's; but I believe I shall return on Monday, and then I will answer your letter, that lies safe here underneath :-I
lodgings, in summer 1707, the queen herself honouring their nuptials with her presence.