The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 15/Journal to Stella – Letter 48

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Kensington, June 17, 1712.

I HAVE been so tosticated about since my last, that I could not go on in my journal manner, though my shoulder is a great deal better; however, I feel violent pain in it, but I think it diminishes, and I have cut off some slices from my flannel. I have lodged here near a fortnight, partly for the air and exercise, partly to be near the court, where dinners are to be found. I generally get a lift in a coach to town, and in the evening I walk back. On Saturday I dined with the duchess of Ormond at her lodge near Sheen, and thought to get a boat as usual. I walked by the bank to Kew, but no boat; then to Mortlake, but no boat; and it was nine o'clock. At last a little sculler called, full of nasty people. I made him set me down at Hammersmith, so walked two miles to this place, and got here by eleven. Last night I had another such difficulty. I was in the city till past ten at night; it rained hard, but no coach to be had. It gave over a little, and I walked all the way here, and got home by twelve. I love these shabby difficulties when they are over; but I hate them, because they arise from not having a thousand pounds a year. I had your N. 30 about three days ago, which I will now answer. And first, I did not relapse, but I came out before I ought; and so, and so, as I have told you in some of my last. The first coming abroad, the first going abroad made people think I was quite recovered, and I had no more messages afterward. Well, but John Bull is not wrote by the person you imagine. It is too good for another to own. Had it been Grub street, I would have let people think as they please; and I think that's right: is not it now? so flap your hand and make wry mouths yourself, saucy doxy. Now comes DD. Why sirrahs, I did write in a fortnight my 47th; and if it did not come in due time, can I help wind and weather? am I a Laplander? am I a witch? can I work miracles? can I make easterly winds? Now I am against Dr. Smith. I drink little water with my wine, yet I believe he is right. Yet Dr. Cockburn told me a little wine would not hurt me; but it is so hot and dry, and water is so dangerous. The worst thing here is my evenings at lord Masham's, where lord treasurer comes, and we sit till after twelve. But it is convenient I should be among them for a while as much as possible. I need not tell you why. But I hope that will be at an end in a month or two, one way or other, and I am resolved it shall; but I can't go to Tunbridge, or anywhere else out of the way, in this juncture. So Ppt designs for Templeoag (what a name is that!) Whereabouts is that place? I hope not very far from ——. Higgins is here, roaring that all is wrong in Ireland, and would have me get him an audience of lord treasurer to tell him so; but I will have nothing to do in it, no not I, faith. We have had no thunder till last night, and till then we were dead for want of rain; but there fell a great deal: no field looked green. I reckon the queen will go to Windsor in three or four weeks: and if the secretary takes a house there, I shall be sometimes with him. But how affectedly Ppt talks of my being here all the summer; which I do not intend; nor to stay one minute longer in England than becomes the circumstances I am in. I wish you would go soon into the country, and take a good deal of it; and where better than Trim? Joe will be your humble servant, Parvisol your slave, and Raymond at your command, for he piques himself on good manners. I have seen Dilly's wife and I have seen once or twice old Bradley here. He is very well, very old, and very wise; I believe I must go see his wife, when I have leisure. I should be glad to see goody Stoyte and her husband; pray give them my humble service, and to Catherine, and to Mrs Walls. I cannot be the least bit in love with Mrs. Walls. I suppose the cares of the husband increase with the fruitfulness of the wife. I am glad at heart to hear of Ppt's good health: please to let her finish it by drinking waters. I hope DD had her bill, and has her money. Remember to write a due time before the money is wanted, and be good girls, good dallars, I mean, and no crying dallars, I heard somebody coming up stairs, and forgot I was in the country; and I was afraid of a visiter; that is one advantage of being here, that I am not teased with solicitors. Molt the chymist is my acquaintance. My service to Dr. Smith. I sent the question to him about sir Walter Raleigh's cordial, and the answer he returned is in these words; "It is directly after Mr. Boyle's receipt." That commission is performed; if he wants any of it, Molt shall use him fairly. I suppose Smith is one of your physicians. So, now your letter is fully and impartially answered; not as rascals answer me: I believe if I writ an essay upon a straw, I should have a shoal of answerers: but no matter for that: you see I can answer without making any reflections, as becomes men of learning. Well, but now for the peace: why we expect it daily; but the French have the staff in their own hands, and we trust to their honesty. I wish it were otherwise. Things are now in the way of being soon in the extremes of well or ill. I hope and believe the first. Lord Wharton is gone out of town in a rage, and curses himself and friends for ruining themselves in defending lord Marlborough and Godolphin, and taking Nottingham into their favour. He swears he will meddle no more during this reign; a pretty speech at sixty-six, and the queen is near twenty years younger, and now in very good health; for you must know her health is fixed by a certain reason, that she has done with braces (I must use the expression) and nothing ill has happened to her since; so she has a new lease of her life. Read The Letter to a Whig Lord. Do you ever read? Why don't you say so? I mean, does DD read to Ppt? Do you walk? I think Ppt should walk to DD, as DD reads to Ppt, for Ppt you must know is a good walker; but not so good as Pdfr. I intend to dine to day with Mr. Lewis: but it threatens rain; and I shall be too late to get a lift; and I must write to the bishop of Clogher. It is now ten in the morning; and this is all writ at a heat. Farewell, dearest MD, FW, Me, &c.