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your nasty jest about Mrs Barton. Unlucky sluttikin, what a word is there ? Faith, I was thinking yesterday, when I was with her, whether she could break them or no, and it quite spoiled my imagination. * Mrs Wall, does Stella win as she pretends ? No indeed, doctor; she loses always, and will play so ventursomely, how can she win? See here now; are not you an impudent lying slut ? Do, open Domvile's letter ; what does it sig. nify, if you have a mind ? Yes, faith, you write smartly with your eyes shut; all was well but the w. See how I can do it ; Madam Stella, your humble servant. O, but one may look whether one goes crooked or no, and so write on. I will tell you what you may do ; you may write with your eyes half shut, just as when one is going to sleep : I have done so for two or three lines now; it is but just seeing enough to go straight.-Now, Madam Dingley, I think I bid you tell Mr Walls, that in case there be occasion, I will serve his friend as far as I can ; but I hope there will be none. Yet I believe you will have a new parliament; but I care not whether you have or no a better. You are mistaken in all your conjectures about the Tatlers. I have given him one or two hints, and you have heard me talk about the Shil. ling. † Faith, these answering letters are very long ones : you have taken up almost the room of a week in jour
* That of the reader (if addicted to combination of rhymes) may supply some idea of the dirty jest upon Mrs Barton's name, which a former editor laments as lost for want of MD's letter.
+ Tatler, No. 249. The paper has not much of Swift's peculiar vein of humour ; but the mode of adopting such an ideal and fanciful narrative for conveying instruction or satire was exactly in his manner, and may readily have led Stella into supposing the number was of his composition.
nals; and I will tell you what, I saw fellows wearing crosses to-day, * and I wondered what was the matter; but just this minute I recollect it is little Presto's birthday; and I was resolved these three days to remember it when it came, but could not. Pray, drink my health to-day at dinner; do, you rogues. Do you like Sid Hamet's Rod? Do you understand it all ? Well, now at last I have done with your letter, and so I will lay me down to sleep, and about fair maids; and I hope merry maids all.
Dec. 1. Morning. I wish Smyth were hanged. I was dreaming the most melancholy things in the world of poor Stella, and was grieving and crying all night.Pshah, it is foolish : I will rise and divert myself; so good-morrow, and God of his infinite mercy keep and protect you. The Bishop of Clogher's letter is dated Nov. 21. He says, you thought of going with him to Clogher. I am heartily glad of it, and wish you would ride there, and Dingley go in a coach.
I have had no fit since my first, although sometimes my head is not quite in good order.-At night. I was this morning to visit Mr Pratt, who is come over with poor sick Lord Shelburn; they made me dine with them, and there I staid like a booby, till eight, looking over them at ombre, and then came home. Lord Shelburn's giddiness is turned into a colic, and he looks miserably.
2. Steele, the rogue, has done the impudentest thing in the world : he said something in a Tatler, that we ought to use the word Great Britain, and not England, in common conversation, as, the finest lady in Great Britain, &c. Upon this Rowe, Prior, and I, sent him
* St Andrew's day.
a letter, turning this into ridicule. He has to-day printed the letter, and signed it J. S. M. P. and N. R. the first letters of our names. * Congreve told me to-day, he smoked it immediately. Congreve and I and Sir Charles Wager dined to-day at Delaval’s, the Portugal envoy; and I staid there till eight, and came home, and am now writing to you before I do business, because that dog Patrick is not at home, and the fire is not made, and I am not in my gear. Pox take him ! I was looking by chance at the top of this side, and find I make plaguy mistakes in words ; so that you must fence against that as well as bad writing. Faith, I cannot nor will not read what I have written. (Pox of this puppy !) Well, I will leave you till I am got to bed, and then I will say a word or two.-Well, it is now almost twelve, and I have been busy ever since, by a fire too, (I have my coals by half a bushel at a time, I will assure you,) and now I am got to bed. Well, and what have you to say to Presto now he is abed ? let us hear your speeches. No, it is a lie, I am not sleepy yet. Let us sit up a little longer, and talk. Well, where have you been to-day, that you are but just this minute come home in a coach ? What have
lost? Pay the coachman, Stella. No, faith, not I, he will grumble.- What new acquaintance have you got? come, let us hear. I have made Delaval promise to send me some Brazil tobacco from Portugal for you, Madam Dingley. I hope you will have your chocolate and spectacles before this comes to you.
3. Pshaw, I must be writing to those dear saucy brats
* See this Tatler among Swift's other contributions to that work.
every night, whether I will or no, let me have what business I will, or come home ever so late, or be ever so sleepy ; but an old saying and a true one,
Be you lords, or be you earls,
I was to-day at court, and saw Raymond among the beef-eaters, staying to see the queen; so I put him in a better station, made two or three dozen of bows, and went to church, and then to court again to pick up a dinner, as I did with Sir John Stanley, * and then we went to visit Lord Mountjoy, and just now left him, and it is near eleven at night, young women, and methinks this letter comes pretty near to the bottom, and it is but eight days since the date, and do not think I will write on the other side, I thank you for nothing. Faith, if I would use you to letters on sheets as broad as this room, you would always expect them from me. O, faith, I know you well enough ; but an old saying, &c.
Two sides in a sheet,
And one in a street. I think that is but a silly old saying, and so I will go to sleep, and do you so to.
4. I dined to-day with Mrs Vanhomrigh, and then came home, and studied till evening. No adventure at all to-day.
5. So I went to the Court of Requests (we have had the devil and all of rain by the by) to pick up a dinner, and Henley made me go dine with him and one Colonel Brag at a tavern, cost me money, faith. Congreve was to be there, but came not. I came with Henley to the
* A commissioner of the customs.
coffeehouse, where Lord Salisbury * seemed mighty desirous to talk with me; and while he was wriggling himself into my favour, that dog Henley asked me aloud, whether I would go to see Lord Somers, as I had promised, (which was a lie,) and all to vex poor Lord Sa. lisbury, who is a high Tory. He played two or three other such tricks, and I was forced to leave my Lord, and I came home at seven, and have been writing ever since, and I will now go to bed. The other day I saw Jack Temple t in the Court of Requests; it was the first time of seeing him ; so we talked two or three careless words, and parted. Is it true that your recorder and mayor, and fanatic aldermen, a month or two ago, at a solemn feast, drank Mr Harley's, Lord Rochester's, and other Tory healths? Let me know ; it was confidently said here. The scoundrels! It shall not do, Tom.
6. When is this letter to go, I wonder: hearkee, young women, tell me that ? Saturday next for certain, and not before : then it will be just a fortnight; time enough for naughty girls, and long enough for two letters, faith. Congreve and Delaval have at last prevailed on Sir Godfrey Kneller to entreat me to let him draw my picture for nothing ; but I know not yet when I shall sit. It is such monstrous rainy weather, that there is no doing with it. Secretary St John sent to me this morning, that my dining with him to-day was put off till to-morrow; so I peaceably sat with my neighbour Ford, dined with him, and came home at six, and am now in bed as usual ; and now it is time to have
* James, fifth Earl of Salisbury. + Nephew of Sir William Temple.