The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Mary Delany to Jonathan Swift - 10

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SEPT. 2, 1736.

I NEVER will accept of the writ of ease you threaten me with; do not flatter yourself with any such hopes: I receive too many advantages from your letters to drop a correspondence of such consequence to me. I am really grieved that you are so much persecuted with a giddiness in your head: the Bath and travelling would certainly be of use to you. Your want of spirits is a new complaint, and what will not only afflict your particular friends, but every one that has the happiness of your acquaintance. I am uneasy to know how you do, and have no other means for that satisfaction, but from your own hand; most of my Dublin correspondents being removed to Cork, to Wicklow mountains, and the Lord knows where. I should have made this inquiry sooner, but that I have this summer undertaken a work that has given me full employment, which is making a grotto in sir John Stanley's garden at North End: it is chiefly composed of shells I had from Ireland. My life, for two months past, has been very like a hermit's; I have had all the comforts of life but society, and have found living quite alone a pleasanter thing than I imagined. The hours I could spend in reading have been entertained by Rollin's History of the Ancients, in French. I am very well pleased with it; and think your Annibals, Scipios, and Cyruses, prettier fellows than are to be met with nowadays. Painting and musick have had their share in my amusements. I rose between five and six, and went to bed at eleven. I would not tell you so much about myself, if I had any thing to tell you of other people. I came to town the night before last; and if it does not, a few days hence, appear better to me than at present, I shall return to my solitary cell. Sir John Stanley has been all the summer at Tunbridge.

I suppose you may have heard of Mr. Pope's accident; which had like to have proved a very fatal one; he was leading a young lady into a boat, from his own stairs, her foot missed the side of the boat, she fell into the water, and pulled Mr. Pope after her; the boat slipped away, and they were immediately out of their depth, and it was with some difficulty they were saved. The young lady's name is Talbot: she is as remarkable for being a handsome woman, as Mr. Pope is for wit. I think I cannot give you a higher notion of her beauty, unless I had named you, instead of him. I shall be impatient till I hear from you again; being, with great sincerity, sir, your most faithful humble servant,

P. S. I forgot to answer, on the other side, that part of your letter that concerns my sister. I do not know whether you would like her person as well as mine, because sickness has faded her complexion; but it is greatly my interest not to bring you acquainted with her mind, for that would prove a potent rival; and nothing but your partiality to me as an older acquaintance could make you give me the preference.
I beg my particular compliments to Dr. Delany[1]. Sir John Stanley says, if you have not forgot him, he desires to be remembered as your humble servant.

  1. This lady was some time afterward married to Dr. Delany.