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your news about the mayor: it makes no noise here at all, but the quarrel of your parliament does; it is so very extraordinary, and the language of the commons so very pretty. The Examiner has been down this month, and was very silly the five or six last papers ; but there is a pamphlet come out, in answer to a Letter to the Seven Lords who examined Gregg. * The answer is by the real author of the Examiner, as I believe, for it is very well written. † We had Trap's poem on the Duke of Ormond printed here, and the printer sold just eleven of them. 'Tis a dull piece, not half so good as Stella's; and she is very modest to compare herself with such a poetaster. I am heartily sorry for poor
Mrs Parnel's death; she seemed to be an excellent good-natured young woman, and I believe the poor lad is much afflicted; they appeared to live perfectly well together. # Dilly is not tired at all with England, but intends to continue here a
Gregg was a clerk in Harley's office, convicted of treasonable correspondence. The lords who examined him, being of the Whig faction, endeavoured to throw suspicion on Harley, whom Gregg, with his dying voice, formally acquitted.
+ Dr Swift himself.
# This was the wife of Parnell the poet. Her maiden name was Anne Minchin. Parnell could not recover her loss, which had the most fatal effects upon his habits and constitution. Goldsmith says, that, “ during the two or three last years of his life, he was more fond of company than ever, and could scarce bear to be alone. The death of his wife was a loss to him, that he was unable to support or recover. From that time he could never venture to court the muse in solitude, where he was sure to find the image of her who first inspired his attempts. He began, therefore, to throw himself into every company, and to seek from wine, if not relief, at least insensibility. Those helps, that sorrow first called in for assistance, habit soon rendered necessary, and he died before his fortieth
year, in some measure a martyr to conjugal fidelity.”
good while ; he is mighty easy to be at distance from his two sisters-in-law. He finds some sort of scrub acquaintance: goes now and then in disguise to a play; smokes his pipe; reads now and then a little trash, and what else the Lord knows. I see him now and then; for he calls here, and the town being thin, I am less pestered with company, than usual. I have got rid of
I have got rid of many of my solicitors, by doing nothing for them : I have not above eight or nine left, and I'll be as kind to them. Did I tell you of a knight, who desired me to speak to lord-treasurer to give him two thousand pounds, or five hundred pounds a-year, until he could get something better ? I honestly delivered my message to the treasurer, adding, the knight was a puppy, whom I would not give a groat to save from the gallows. Cole Reading's father-in-law has been two or three times at me to recommend his lights to the ministry ; assuring me, that a word of mine would, &c. Did not that dog use to speak ill of me, and profess to hate me? He knows not where I lodge, for I told him I lived in the country; and I have ordered Patrick to deny me constantly to him.—Did the Bishop of London die in Wexford ? poor gentleman ! did he drink the waters ? were you at his burial ? was it a great funeral ? so far from his friends! But he was very old : we shall all follow. And yet it was a pity, if God pleased. He was a good man; not very learned ; I believe he died but poor. Did he leave any charity legacies ? who held up bis pall ? was there a great sight of clergy ? do they design a tomb for him ? are you sure it was the Bishop of London ? because there is an elderly gentleman here that we give the same title to: or did you fancy all this in your water, as others do strange things in their wine ? They say these waters trouble the head, and make people imagine what never
you make no more of killing a bishop? are these your Whiggish tricks 2-Yes, yes, I see you are in a fret. O faith, says you, saucy Presto, I'll break your head ; what, can't one report what one hears, without being made a jest and a laughing-stock ? are these your English tricks, with a murrain ?-and Sacheverell will be the next bishop?_he would be glad of an addition of two hundred pounds a-year to what he has ; and that is more than they will give him, for ought I see. He hates the new ministry mortally, and they hate him, and pretend to despise him too. They will not allow him to have been the occasion of the late change ; at least some of them will not; but my lord-keeper owned it to me t'other day. No, Mr Addison does not go to Ireland this year : he pretended he would ; but he is gone to Bath with Pastoral Philips for his eyes.-So now I have run over your letter ; and I think this shall go to-morrow, which will be just a fortnight from the last, and bring things to the old form again after your rambles to Wexford, and mine to Windsor. Are there not many literal faults in my letters ? I never read them over, and I fancy there are. What do you do then? do you guess my meaning; or are you acquainted with my manner of mistaking ? I lost my handkerchief in the Mall to-night with Lord Radnor ; but I made him walk with me to find it, and find it I did not. Tisdall (that lodges with me) and I have had no conversation, nor do we pull off our hats in the streets.—There is a cousin of his, (I suppose,) a young parson, that lodges in the house too ; a handsome genteel fellow. Dick Tighe* and his wife
came to pass.
* Afterwards a privy counsellor in Ireland, and the frequent subject of Swift's satire.
lodged over against us ; and he has been seen, out of our upper windows, beating her two or three times ; they are both gone to Ireland, but not together ; and he solemnly vows never to live with ber. Neighbours do not stick to say she has a tongue: in short, I am told, she is the most urging, provoking devil that ever was born ; and he a hot whiffling puppy, very apt to resent. I'll keep this bottom till to-morrow : I'm sleepy.
25. I was with the secretary this morning, who was in a mighty hurry, and went to Windsor in a chariot with lord-keeper; so I was not invited, and am forced to stay at home; but not at all against my will; for I could have gone, and would not.
I dined in the city with one of my printers, for whom I got the Gazette, and am come home early; and have nothing to say to you more, but finish this letter, and not send it by the bellman. Days grow short, and the weather grows bad, and the town is splenetic, and things are so oddly contrived, that I cannot be absent ; otherwise I would go for a few days to Oxford, as I promised. They say, 'tis certain that Prior has been in France ; nobody doubts it: I had not time to ask the secretary, he was in such haste. Well, I will take my leave of dearest MD for a while ; for I must begin my next letter to-night: consider that, young women ; and pray be merry, and good girls, and love Presto. There is now but one business the ministry wants me for ; and when that is done, I will take my leave of them. I never got a penny from them, nor expect it. In my opinion, some things stand very ticklish; I dare say nothing at this distance. Farewell, dear sirrahs, dearest lives : there is peace and quiet with MD, and nowhere else. They have not leisure here to think of small things, which may ruin them; and I have been forward enough. Farewell again, dearest rogues : I am never happy, but when I write or think of MD. I have enough of courts and ministers; and wish I were at Laracor ; and if I could with honour come away this moment, I would. Bernage came to see me to-day; he is just landed from Portugal, and come to raise recruits ; he looks very well, and seems pleased with his station and manner of life: he never saw London nor England before; he is ravished with Kent, which was his first prospect when he landed. Farewell again, &c. &c.
London, Aug. 25, 1711. I have got a pretty small gilt sheet of paper to write to MD. I have this moment sent my 28th by Patrick, who tells me he has put it in the post-office. 'Tis directed to your lodgings: if it wants more particular direction, you must set me right. It is now a solar month and two days since the date of your last, N. 18, and I reckon you are now quiet at home, and thinking to begin your 19th, which will be full of your quarrel between the two houses : all which I know already. Where shall I dine to-morrow ? can you tell ? Mrs Vanhomrigh boards now, and cannot invite one; and there I used to dine when I was at a loss; and all my friends are gone out of town, and your town is now at the fullest with your par