The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Mary Delany to Jonathan Swift - 7

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PARADISE, NOV. 8, 1735.

I THINK I have been a great while without writing to you, and hope you are of my mind. I would rather be chid by you for my silence, than have you pass it over quietly, for that would have such an air of indifference as would greatly alarm me. Absence is generally thought a great weakener of inclination: I am apt to think it will prove my friend with you. Our acquaintance was so short, I had not time to disgrace myself with you. I was ambitious of gaining your esteem, and put on all my best airs to effect it: I left you at a critical moment; another month's conversation might have ruined all. I still beg you will encourage your indulgent way of thinking of me. What will you gain by discovering my follies? and I shall lose the honour of your friendship; which loss cannot be repaired in England or Ireland. If Mrs. Donnellan is my true friend, she has, by way of excusing me, told you my distress for my sister, which now I hope is over. I refer you to Mrs. Donnellan for her character; and that will justify to you my great care and concern for her.

I cannot help lamenting Dr. Delany's retirement. I expected his benevolent disposition would not have suffered him to rob his friends of the pleasure and advantage of his company: if you have not power to draw him from his solitude, no other person can pretend to do it. I was in hopes the weekly meetings would have been renewed and continued. Mrs. Donnellan is much disappointed, and I fear I am no longer a toast.

I am thoroughly convinced that a reasonable creature may live with more comfort and credit in Dublin than in London; as much convinced of it, as that I should be richer with eight hundred pounds a year than four. But to what purpose is it for me to regret my poverty? My lot is thrown on English ground; I have no pretence to fly my country: furnish me with one, and you have laid temptations enough in my way to make me ready to embrace it.

I have been two months in this place, which has all the advantages of the country; as quietness, cheapness, and wholesome air. I use a good deal of exercise in the morning; in the evening I read a play with an audible voice. I am now reading Beaumont and Fletcher's works: they entertain me extremely. Sometimes I read a little philosophy, Derham's lectures: many things are too abstruse for me in that study; but I fancy myself, in some respects, much wiser than I was before I read them. If you do not approve of my studies, I hope you will recommend what you think will be more to my advantage.

I am sorry to find, by your letter, that Mrs. Donnellan does not see you often: she cannot be pleased with a situation that prevents her having that satisfaction. I depended upon your meeting often; and what is more, upon being sometimes the subject of your conversation. I am glad to hear of her brother's promotion: he very well deserves good fortune; he knows how to enjoy it handsomely, and scorns to court it meanly. I think I have made you a country visit: if I have not quite tired you, I hope you will soon challenge another: I know you pay me a great compliment in writing; and, if I was very well bred, I ought not to insist upon your doing any thing that may give you trouble; but I only consider my own advantage, and cannot give up a correspondence I value so much. I am, sir, your most obliged and humble servant,