The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay and Catherine Hyde to Jonathan Swift - 3

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APRIL 11, 1731.

THE fortune of the person you interest yourself in amounts to at present (all debts paid) about three thousand four hundred pounds; so that, whatever other people think, I look upon him, as to fortune, to be happy; that is to say, an independent creature. I have been in expectation, post after post, to have received your directions about the disposal of your money, which lord Bathurst paid into my hands some time ago. I left that sum, with 200l. of my own, in Mr. Hoare's hands, at my coming out of town. If I hear nothing from you, I shall do with it, as I do with my own. I made you a proposal about purchasing lottery tickets, in partnership with myself; that is to say, four tickets between us. This can be done with the overplus, with the interest money I have received; but in this I will do nothing till I hear from you.

I am now got to my residence at Amesbury, getting health, and saving money. Since I have got over the impediment to a writer, of water drinking, if I can persuade myself that I have any wit, and find I have inclination, I intend to write; though, as yet, I have another impediment: for I have not provided myself with a scheme. Ten to one but I shall have a propensity to write against vice, and who can tell how far that may offend? But, an author should consult his genius, rather than his interest, if he cannot reconcile them. Just before I left London, I made a visit to Mrs. Barber. I wish I could any wise have contributed to her subscription. I have always found myself of no consequence, and am now of less than ever; but I have found out a way, in one respect, of making myself of more consequence, which is by considering other people of less. Those who have given me up, I have given up; and in short, I seek after no friendships, but am content with what I have in the house. And they have subscribed, and I proposed it before Jo. Taylor; who, upon hearing she was a friend of yours, offered his subscription, and desired his compliments to you. I believe she has given you an account that she has some prospect of success from other recommendations to those I know; and I have not been wanting upon all occasions to put in my good word, which I fear avails but little. Two days ago I received a letter from Dr. Arbuthnot, which gave me but a bad account of Mr. Pope's health. I have writ to him; but have not heard from him since I came into the country. If you knew the pleasure you gave me, you would keep your contract of writing more punctually; and especially you would have answered my last letter, as it was about a money affair, and you have to do with a man of business.

Your letter was more to the duchess than to me; so I now leave off, to offer her the paper.


IT was Mr. Gay's fault that I did not write sooner; which if I had, I should hope you would have been here by this time; for I have to tell you, all your articles are agreed to; and that I only love my own way, when I meet not with others whose ways I like better. I am in great hopes that I shall approve of yours; for, to tell you the truth, I am at present a little tired of my own. I have not a clear or distinct voice, except when I am angry; but I am a very good nurse, when people do not fancy themselves sick. Mr. Gay knows this; and he knows too how to play at backgammon. Whether the parson of the parish can, I know not; but if he cannot hold his tongue, I can. Pray set out the first fair wind, and stay with us as long as ever you please. I cannot name my fixed time that I shall like to maintain you and your equipage; but, if I do not happen to like you, I know I can so far govern my temper, as to endure you for about five days. So come away directly; at all hazards, you will be allowed a good breathing time. I shall make no sort of respectful conclusions; for till I know you, I cannot tell what I am to you.


The direction is to the duke of Queensberry's, in Burlington gardens, Piccadilly. Now I have told you this, you have no excuse from writing but one, which is coming; get over your lawsuit, and receive your money.

The duchess adds, "He shall not write a word more from Amesbury, in Wiltshire. Your groom was mistaken; for the house is big enough, but the park is too little."