The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Kath. Richardson to Jonathan Swift - 1

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FEBRUARY 23d, 1737-8.

I WAS favoured some time ago with your most obliging letter, wherein you are pleased to say so many civil things to me, that I have been altogether at a loss how to make proper acknowledgments for the honour you have done me. The commendations you are so good as to bestow upon me, would make my vanity insufferable to my neighbours, if I were not conscious that I do not deserve them; and although I shall always account it a great unhappiness to me that I never have been in your company, yet this advantage I have from it, that my faults are unknown to you. If I have any thing commendable about me, I sincerely own myself indebted to you for it, having endeavoured as much as I could to model myself by the useful instructions that are to be gathered from your works; for which my sex in general (although I believe some of them do not think so) is highly obliged to you. The opinion you are pleased to entertain of me, I fancy is owing to my uncle's partiality, who has frequently been so kind as to take pains to make persons unacquainted with me think better of me than afterward they found I deserved. I have great reason to complain of his treatment in this particular; but in all others I have met with so much kindness from him, that I must think it my duty to lay hold of every opportunity that falls in my way to oblige him. Sir, you have it in your power to give me one, by making him a visit at Summer-Seat, where all the skill I have in housekeeping should be employed to have every thing in that manner that would be most pleasing to you, which I know is the most agreeable service I could do for him. You are pleased to wish in your letter that you had hands long enough to beat me. What an honour and happiness would I esteem it, to be thought worthy of your correction? but I fear you would find my faults so numerous, that you would think me one of those ladies that do not deserve to be mended.

Your letter would have given me the greatest pleasure of any thing I have ever met with, had it not been for the complaints you make of your health, which give me a most sensible concern, as they ought to do every body that has any regard for this kingdom. I hope the good weather will set you right, and that the summer will induce you to visit this northern part of the world. I fear I have by this time tired out your patience with female impertinence, and given you too great reason to change the favourable thoughts you did me the honour to entertain of me; I will forbear to be longer troublesome to you, only I beg leave to add my best wishes for your good health, that you may live many years to be a blessing to mankind in general, and this country in particular. I am, with the highest esteem, and greatest respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,