The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay to Jonathan Swift - 10

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MARCH 20, 1727-8.

I AM extremely sorry that your disorder is returned: but as you have a medicine which has twice removed it, I hope by this time you have again found the good effects of it. I have seen Dr. Delany at my lodgings; but, as I have been for a few days with Mr. Pulteney at Cashioberry, I have not yet returned his visit. I went with him to wait upon lord Bathurst and lord Bolingbroke; both of whom desire me to make you their compliments. Lady Bolingbroke was very much out of order; and with my lord is now at Dawley; she expects a letter from you. Mrs. Howard would gladly have the receipt you have found so much benefit by: she is happier than I have seen her ever since you left us, for she is free as to her conjugal affairs, by articles of agreement. The Beggar's Opera has been acted now thirty-six times, and was as full the last night as the first; and as yet, there is not the least probability of a thin audience: though there is a discourse about the town, that the directors of the royal academy of musick design to solicit against its being played on the outlandish opera days, as it is now called. On the benefit day of one of the actresses last week, one of the players falling sick, they were obliged to give out another play, or dismiss the audience. A play was given out, but the audience called out for the Beggar's Opera; and they were forced to play it, or the audience would not have staid.

I have got by all this success, between seven and eight hundred pounds; and Rich (deducting the whole charge of the house) has cleared already near four thousand pounds. In about a month I am going to the Bath with the duchess of Marlborough and Mr. Congreve; for I have no expectations of receiving any favours from the court. The duchess of Queensberry is in Wiltshire, where she has had the smallpox in so favourable a way, that she had not above seven or eight on her face: she is now perfectly recovered. There is a mezzotinto print published to day of Polly, the heroine the Beggar's Opera[1]; who was before unknown, and is now in so high vogue, that I am in doubt, whether her fame does not surpass that of the opera itself. I would not have talked so much upon this subject, or upon any thing that regards myself, but to you: but as I know you interest yourself so sincerely in every thing that concerns me, I believe you would have blamed me if I had said less.

Your singer owes Dr. Arbuthnot some money, I have forgot the sum; I think it is two guineas; the doctor desired me to let you know it. I saw him last night with Mr. Lewis, at sir William Wyndham's, who, if he had not the gout, would have answered your letter you sent him a year and a half ago. He said this to me a week since, but he is now pretty well again, and so may forget to write; for which reason, I ought to do him justice, and tell you, that I think him a sincere well wisher of yours. I have not seen Mr. Pope lately, but have heard that both he and Mrs. Pope[2] are very well. I intend to see him at Twickenham on Sunday next. I have not drunk out the Gutheridge cider yet; but I have not so much as a single pint of port in my cellar. I have bought two pair of sheets against your coming to town, so that we need not send any more to Jervas upon that account. I really miss you, every day; and I would be content, that you should have a whole window to yourself, and half another, to have you again. I am, dear sir, yours most affectionately.

You have a half year's interest due at Ladyday, and now it is March the 20th, 1727-8.

  1. Miss Fenton.
  2. Mr. Pope's mother.