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go to Sir Thomas Hanmer, who desired I would see him at that hour. His business was, that I would hoenlbp ihainm itaoi dsroanws ubpl tohne sroeqporaensiepnotlastoiqobn,* which I consented to do ; but do not know whether I shall succeed, because it is a little out of my way : however, I have taken my share. Night, MD.
22. I finished the rest of my letter to lord-treasurer to-day, and sent it to him about one o'clock ; and then dined privately with my friend Mr Lewis, to talk over some affairs of moment. I have gotten the 13th volume of Rymer's Collection of the Records of the Tower, for the University of Dublin. I have two volumes now. I will write to the provost, to know how I shall send them to him ; no, I won't, for I will bring them myself among my own books. I was with Hanmer this morning, and there was the secretary and chancellor of the exchequer – very busy with him, laying their heads together about the representation. I went to Lord Masham's to-night, and Lady Masham made me read her a pretty twopenny pamphlet, called the St Alban's Ghost. I I thought I had writ it myself; so did they ; but I did not. Lord-treasurer came down to us from the queen, and we staid till two o'clock. That is the best night place I have. The usual company are Lord and Lady Masham, lord-treasurer, Dr Arbuthnot, and I; sometimes the secretary, § and sometimes Mrs Hill of the bed-chamber, Lady Masham's sister. I assure you, it is
* Thus deciphered, “ help him to draw up the representation.” + Robert Benson, Esq. afterwards created Lord Bingley.
# The title is, “ The Story of St Alban's Ghost; or the Apparition of Mother Haggy, collated from the best manuscripts."
§ Mr St John.
very late now ; but this goes to-morrow : and I must have time to converse with our little MD. Night, dear MD.
23. I have no news to tell you this last day, nor do I know where I shall dine. I hear the secretary is a little out of order. Perhaps I may dine there, perhaps not. I sent Hanmer what he wanted from me. I know not how he will approve of it. I was to do more of the same sort. I am going out, and must carry this in my pocket to give it at some general post-house. I will talk farther with you at night. I suppose in my next I shall answer a letter from MD that will be sent me on Tuesday. On Tuesday it will be four weeks since I had your last, No. 26. This day se’ennight I expect one, for that will be something more than a full month. Farewell, MD, ****
London, Feb. 23, 1711-12. AFTER having disposed my last letter in the postoffice, I am now to begin this with telling MD that I dined with the secretary to-day, who is much out of order with a cold, and feverish ; yet he went to the cabinet council to-night at six, against my will. The secretary is much the greatest commoner in England, and turns the whole parliament, who can do nothing without him ; and if he lives and has his health, will, I believe, be one day at the head of affairs. I have told him sometimes, that, if I were a dozen years younger, I would cultivate his favour, and trust my fortune with his. But what care you for all this? I am sorry when I came first acquainted with this ministry, that I did not send you their names and characters, and then you would have relished what I would have writ, especially if I had let you into the particulars of affairs : but enough of this. Night, dearest rogues.
24. I went early this morning to the secretary, who is not yet well. Sir Thomas Hanmer and the chancellor of the exchequer came while I was there, and he would not let me stir; so I did not go to church, but was busy with them till noon, about the affair I told
you in my last. The other two went away; and I dined with the secretary, and found my head very much out of order, but no absolute fit; and I have not been well all this day. It has shook me a little. I sometimes sit up very late at Lord Masham's, and have writ much for several days past : but I will amend both; for I have now very little business, and hope I shall have no more, I am resolved to be a great rider this summer in Ireland. I was to see Mrs Wesley this evening, who has been somewhat better for this month past, and talks of returning to the Bath in a few weeks. Our peace goes on but slowly; the Dutch are playing tricks, and we do not push it as strongly as we ought. The fault of our court is delay, of which the queen has a great deal ; and lordtreasurer is not without his share. But pray let us know a little of your life and conversation.
. Do you play at ombre, or visit the dean, and Goody Walls and Stoytes and Manleys, as usual ? I must have a letter from you, to fill the other side of this sheet. Let me know what you do? Is my aunt alive yet? O, pray, now I think of it, be so kind to step to my aunt, and take notice of my great-grandfather's picture ; you know he has a ring on his finger, with a seal of an anchor and dolphin about it; but I think there is besides, at the bottom of the picture, the same coat of arms quartered with another, which I suppose was my great-grandmother's. If this be so, it is a stronger argument than the seal.
And pray see whether you think that coat of arms was drawn at the same time with the picture, or whether it be of a later hand ; and ask my aunt what she knows about it. But perhaps there is no such coat of arms on the picture, and I only dreamed it. My reason is, because I would ask some herald here, whether I should choose that coat, or one in Guillim's large folio of heraldry, where my uncle Godwin is named with another coat of arms of three stags. This is sad stuff to write ; so night, MD.
25. I was this morning again with the secretary, and we were two hours busy ; and then went together to the Park, Hyde Park, I mean ; and he walked to cure his cold, and we were looking at two Arabian horses sent some time ago to lord-treasurer. The Duke of Marlborough's coach overtook us, with his grace and Lord Godolphin in it ; but they did not see us, to our great satisfaction ; for neither of us desired that either of those two lords should see us together. There was half a dozen ladies riding like cavaliers to take the air. My head is better to-day. I dined with the secretary ; but we did no business after dinner, and at six I walked into the fields; the days are grown pure and long; then I went to visit Percival and his family, whom I had seen but once since they came to town. They are going to Bath
next month. Countess Doll of Meath * is such an owl, that wherever I visit, people are asking me, whether I know such an Irish lady, and her figure and her foppery? I came home early, and have been amusing myself with looking into one of the volumes of Rymer's Records of the Tower, and am mighty easy to think I have no urgent business upon my hands.
hands. My third cold is not yet off ; I sometimes cough, and am not right with it in the morning. Did I tell you, that I believe it is Lady Masham's hot rooms that give it me? I never knew such a stove ; and in my conscience, I believe both my lord and she, my lord-treasurer, Mr Secretary, and myself, have all suffered by it. We have all had colds together, but I walk home on foot. Night, dear MD.
26. I was again busy with the secretary. **** We read over some papers, and did a good deal of business. I dined with him, and we were to do more business after dinner ; but after dinner is after dinner--an old saying and a true, “ much drinking, little thinking.” We had company with us, and nothing could be done, and I am to go there again to-morrow. I have now nothing to do; and the parliament, by the queen's recommendation, is to take some method for preventing libels, &c. which will include pamphlets, I suppose. I do not know
* Dorothea, younger daughter and coheiress to James Stopford of Tarahill, in the county of Meath, Esq. She had been married to Edward Brabazon, fourth Earl of Meath, who died in 1707. The countess afterwards married Lieutenant-General Richard Gorges of Kilbrew. She died on the 10th of April 1728, and her husband only survived her two days. Swift made their death the subject of a satirical epitaph upon Dick and Doll. The lady seems to have been no favourite of his. She was in 1711 a widow, with a large independent fortune.