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James's Coffeehouse : but I hope to hear, as soon as I see Mr Harley, that the main difficulties are over, and that the rest will be but form.- Take two or three nutgalls, take two or three-galls, stop your receipt in yourI have no need on't. Here is a clutter! Well, so much for your letter, which I will now put up in my letter-partition in my cabinet, as I always do every letter as soon as I answer it. Method is good in all things. Order governs the world.
the world. The Devil is the author of confusion. A general of an army, a minister of state ; to descend lower, a gardener, a weaver, &c. That may make a fine observation, if you think it worth finishing; but I have not time. Is not this a terrible long piece for one evening? I dined to-day with Patty Rolt at my cousin Leach's, * with a pox, in the city: he is a printer, and prints the Postman, † oh oh, and is my cousin, God knows how, and he married Mrs Baby Aires of Leicester ; and my cousin Thompson was with us : and my cousin Leach offers to bring me acquainted with the author of the Postman, and says, he does not doubt but the gentleman will be glad of my acquaintance, and that he is a very ingenious man, and a great scholar, and has been beyond sea. But I was modest, and said, may be the gentleman was shy, and not fond of new acquaintance; and so put it off: and I wish you could hear me repeating all I have said of this in its proper tone, just as I am writing it. It is all with the same cadence with oh hoo, or as when little girls say, I have got an apple, miss, and I won't give you some. It is plaguy twelvepenny weather this last week, and has cost me ten shillings in coach and chair hire. If the fellow that has your money will pay it, let me beg you to buy Bank Stock with it, which is fallen near thirty per cent,
* Dryden Leach. Swift afterwards recommended him to Harrison, to print the Tatler, when given up by Steele. But he was discarded by Harrison, the continuator of the work.
+ A violent Tory paper.
and pays eight pounds per cent., and you have the principal when you please : it will certainly soon rise. I would to God Lady Giffard would put in the four hundred pounds she owes you, * and take the five per cent. common interest, and give you the remainder. I will speak to your mother about it when I see her. I am resolved to buy three hundred pounds of it for myself, and take up what I have in Ireland; I have a contrivance for it, that I hope will do, by making a friend of mine buy it as for himself, and I will pay him when I get in my money. I hope Stratford will do me that kindness. I will ask him to-morrow or next day.
27. Mr Rowe the poet desired me to dine with him to-day. I went to his office, (he is under secretary in Mr Addison's place that he had in England,) and there was Mr Prior; and they both fell commending my Shower beyond any thing that has been written of the kind : there never was such a Shower since Danae's, &c. You must tell me how it is liked among you. I dined with Rowe; Prior could not come: and after dinner we went to a blind tavern, where Congreve, Sir Richard Temple, Eastcourt, and Charles Main, were over a bowl of bad punch. The knight sent for six flasks of his own wine for me, and we staid till twelve. But now my head continues pretty well, I have left off my drinking, and only take a spoonful mixed with water, for fear of
* Part of a legacy left to Stella by Sir William Temple.
the gout, or some ugly distemper; and now, because it is late, I will, &c.
28. Garth and Addison and I dined to-day at a hedge tavern ; then I went to Mr Harley, but he was denied, or not at home ; so I fear I shall not hear my business is done before this goes. Then I visited Lord Pembroke, * who is just come to town, and we were very merry talking of old things, and I hit him with
Then I went to the ladies Butler, and the son of a whore of a porter denied them; so I sent them a threatening message by another lady, for not excepting me always to the porter. I was weary of the coffeehouse, and Ford desired me to sit with him at next door, which I did, like a fool, chattering till twelve, and now am got into bed. I am afraid the new ministry is at a terrible loss about money: the Whigs talk so it would give one the spleen : and I am afraid of meeting Mr Harley out of humour. They think he will never carry through this undertaking. God knows what will come of it. I should be terribly vexed to see things come round again ; it will ruin the church and clergy for ever ; but I hope for better. + I will send this on Tuesday, whether I hear any farther news of my affair or not.
29. Mr Addison and I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy ; which is all the adventures of this day.-I
* Thomas Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, a nobleman of taste and learning. He was Lieutenant of Ireland in 1707, when he probably became acquainted with Swift. They were both very fond of punning
+ This is one passage among many, tending to show that Swift's political opinions turned chiefly upon zeal for the interests of his order.
chatted a while to-night in the coffeehouse, this being a full night; and now am come home to write some busi
30. I dined to-day at Mrs Vanhomrigh's, and sent a letter to poor Mrs Long, who writes to us, but is God knows where, and will not tell any body the place of her residence. I came home early, and must go write.
31. The month ends with a fine day; and I have been walking, and visiting Lewis, and concerting where to see Mr Harley. I have no news to send you. Aire, they say, is taken, though the Whitehall letters this morning say quite the contrary: it is good if it be true. I dined with Mr Addison and Dick Stuart, Lord Mountjoy's brother; a treat of Addison's. They were half fuddled, but not I; for I mixed water with my wine, and left them together between nine and ten; and I must send this by the bellman, which vexes me, but I will put it off no longer. Pray God it does not miscarry. I seldom do so; but I can put off little MD no longer. Pray give the under note to Mrs Brent.
I am a pretty gentleman; and you money at cards, sirrah Stella. I found you out; I did
lose all your
I am staying before I can fold up this letter, till that ugly D is dry in the last line but one.
Do not you see it ? O Lord, I am loth to leave you, faith—but it must be so, till next time. Pox take that D; I will blot it to dry it.
London, October 31, 1710. So, now I have sent my seventh to your fourth, young women ; and now I will tell you what I would not in my last, that this morning, sitting in my bed, I had a fit of giddiness : * the room turned round for about a minute, and then it went off, leaving me sickish, but not very: and so I passed the day as I told you; but I would not end a letter with telling you this, because it might vex you: and I hope in God I shall have no more of it. I saw Dr Cockburn to-day, and he promises to send me the pills that did me good last year, and likewise has promised me an oil for my ear, that he has been making for that ailment for somebody else. Nov. 1. I wish MD a merry new year.
You know this is the first day of it with us. I had no giddiness to-day, but I drank brandy, and have bought a pint for two shillings. I sat up the night before my giddiness pretty late, and writ very much; so I will impute it to that. But I never eat fruit, nor drink ale, but drink better wine than you do, as I did to-day with Mr Addison at Lord Mountjoy's: then went at five to see Mr Harley, who could not see me for much company ; but sent me his excuse, and desired I would dine with him on
* This giddiness, which haunted our author through life, he always imputed to a surfeit of fruit, and consequent indigestion in his younger days. Hence his repeated resolutions to be cautious in eating fruit.