The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 4

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JUNE 25, 1725.

I HAVE a packet of letters, which I intended to send by Molly, who has been stopped three days by the bad weather; but now I will send them by the post to morrow to Kells, and enclosed to Mr. Tickell there is one to you, and one to James Stopford.

I can do no work this terrible weather; which has put us all seventy times out of patience. — I have been deaf nine days, and am now pretty well recovered again.

Pray desire Mr. Stanton and Worral to continue giving themselves some trouble with Mr. Pratt; but let it succeed or not, I hope I shall be easy.

Mrs. Johnson swears it will rain till Michaelmas. She is so pleased with her pickaxe, that she wears it fastened to her girdle on her left side, in balance with her watch. The lake is strangely overflown[1], and we are desperate about turf, being forced to buy it three miles off: and Mrs. Johnson (God help her) gives you many a curse. Your mason is come, but cannot yet work upon your garden. Neither can I agree with him about the great wall. For the rest, vide the letter you will have on Monday, if Mr, Tickell uses you well.

The news of this country is, that the maid you sent down, John Farelly's sister, is married; but the portion and settlement are yet a secret. The cows here never give milk on Midsummer eve.

You would wonder, what carking and caring there is among us for small beer and lean mutton, and starved lamb, and stopping gaps, and driving cattle from the corn. In that we are all-to-be-Dingleyed.

The ladies room smokes; the rain drops from the skies into the kitchen; our servants eat and drink like the devil, and pray for rain, which entertains them at cards and sleep; which are much lighter than spades, sledges and crows. Their maxim is,

Eat like a Turk,
Sleep like a dormouse;
Be last at work,
At victuals foremost.

Which is all at present, hoping you and your good family are well, as we are all at this present writing, &c.

Robin has just carried out a load of bread and cold meat for breakfast; this is their way; but now a cloud hangs over them, for fear it should hold up, and the clouds blow off.

I write on till Molly comes in for the letter. O, what a draggletail will she be before she gets to Dublin! I wish she may not happen to fall upon her back by the way.

I affirm against Aristotle, that cold and rain congregate homogenes, for they gather together you and your crew, at whist, punch, and claret. Happy weather for Mrs. Maul, Betty, and Stopford, and all true lovers of cards and laziness.

The Blessings of a Country Life.

Far from our debtors,
No Dublin letters,
Not seen by our betters.

The Plagues of a Country Life.

A companion with news,
A great want of shoes;
Eat lean meat, or choose;
A church without pews.
Our horses astray,
No straw, oats or hay;
December in May,
Our boys run away,
All servants at play.

Molly sends for the letter.

  1. This should be ' overflowed,' as overflown is the participle of the verb to overfly.