The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay and Charles Douglas to Jonathan Swift - 1

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FOR about this month or six weeks past, I have been rambling from home, or have been at what I may not improperly call other homes, at Dawley, and at Twickenham; and I really think, at every one of my homes you have as good a pretension as myself; for I find them all exceedingly disappointed by the lawsuit that has kept you this summer from us. Mr. Pope told me that affair was now over, that you have the estate which was your security; I wish you had your own money; for I wish you free from every engagement that keeps us from one another. I think you deciphered the last letter we sent you very judiciously. You may make your own conditions at Amesbury, where I am at present; you may do the same at Dawley; and Twickenham, you know, is your own. But, if you rather choose to live with me (that is to say, if you will give up your right and title) I will purchase the house you and I used to dispute about over against Ham walks, on purpose to entertain you. Name your day, and it shall be done. I have lived with you; and I wish to do so again in any place, and upon any terms. The duchess does not know of my writing; but I promised to acquaint the duke the next time I wrote to you, and for aught I know he may tell the duchess, and she may tell sir William Wyndham, who is now here; and for fear they should all have something to say to you, I leave the rest of the paper till I see the duke.


Mr. Gay tells me, you seem to doubt what authority my wife and he have to invite a person hither, who, by agreement, is to have the government of the place during his stay; when at the same time it does not appear, that the present master of these demesnes has been consulted in it. The truth of the matter is this: I did not know whether you might not have suspected me for a sort of a pert coxcomb, had I put in my word in the late correspondence between you and my wife. Ladies (by the courtesy of the world) enjoy privileges not allowed to men; and in many cases the same thing is called a favour from a lady, which might perhaps be looked upon as impertinence from a man. Upon this reflection, I have hitherto refrained from writing to you, having never had the pleasure of conversing with you otherwise; and as that is a thing I most sincerely wish, I would not venture to meddle in a negotiation that seemed to be in so fair a way of producing that desirable end. But our friend John has not done me justice, if he has never mentioned to you how much I wish for the pleasure of seeing you here; and though I have not till now avowedly taken any steps toward bringing it about, what has passed conducive to it has been all along with my privity and consent, and I do now formally ratify all the preliminary articles and conditions agreed to on the part of my wife, and will undertake for the due observance of them. I depend upon my friend John to answer for my sincerity. I was not long at court, and have been a country gentleman for some time.

Poll manus sub linus darque dds.
Sive hig fig gnipite gnaros[2].

  1. Endorsed, "No date, received Nov. 8, 1731."
  2. This is in another hand; possibly sir W. Wyndham's.