The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Anne Donnellan to Jonathan Swift - 3

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MAY 10, 1735.

I SHOULD before this have returned you thanks for the favour of your letter, but that I feared too quick a correspondence might be troublesome to you. When I receive a very great honour and favour, I think it ungenerous immediately to sue for another, though I have the highest sense of the obligation.

You say you want me to assert your right over our sex; and your letter is so powerful a bribe, that I fear I shall give them up to you, though I am a great asserter of their rights and privileges. As to the employments you assign me, I readily undertake them all, though I know myself very unfit for some of them; but I have such high examples on my side, that I am not at all ashamed of pretending to more than I can do. I think I can be a very good nurse; you shall teach me to be your companion; and, for a housekeeper, I will assure you I know to a farthing the lowest price of every thing, though I am ever so ignorant of the matter.

Mrs. Pendarves has, as you say, forsaken us: by my lord Lansdown's death, her brother Mr. Granville is become possessed of eight hundred pound a year, and twenty thousand pound in money; which was so settled that my lord Lansdown could not touch it. Mr. Granville is a man of great worth, and a very kind brother, and has it now in his power to provide for their sister miss Granville, whom Mrs. Pendarves is extremely fond of: this you may imagine has been a cordial to her for lord Lansdown's death, though she had a great regard for him. I tell her when she has married and settled her brother and sister if she does not settle herself, she must think of her friends in Ireland; and she promises me she will.

It is so much my interest, sir, to believe you sincere, that I will not doubt it: I will rather think you want judgment (which is very hard for me to do) or why should not I (which is still more pleasing) believe I have really those good qualities you ascribe to me? It will only make me vain; and who can be humble when praised by you?

I think your indignation against our absenters very just, though some of my family suffer by it; but we are resolved to be no longer of the number, and propose leaving London this month. Poor Mrs. Barber has been confined with the gout these three months; and I fear we shall leave her so: her poems are generally greatly liked: there are, indeed, a few severe criticks (who think that judgment is only shown in finding faults) that say they are not poetick; and a few fine ladies, who are not commended in them, that complain they are dull.

I am very sorry Dr. Delany has given up his house in Dublin; for one cannot, as often as one may wish it, command time and a coach to visit him at Delville. I hope though to be admitted into the new apartment, and to have the happiness of meeting you there.

My brother is highly honoured in the character you give him, which, though he is my brother, I must say I think a very just one: he will deliver you this letter, and with it my best thanks for all your favours; being, sir, with the highest gratitude, your most obliged, obedient servant,

My best respects attend Dr. Delany, and Dr. Helsham.