The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 15/Journal to Stella - Part 2
DR. SWIFT'S JOURNAL
London, March 24, 1710-11.
IT was a little cross in Presto not to send to day to the coffeehouse to see whether there was a letter from MD before I sent away mine; but faith I did it on purpose, because I would scorn to answer two letters of yours successively. This way of journal is the worst in the world for writing of news, unless one does it the last day; and so I will observe henceforward, if there be any politicks or stuff worth sending. My shin mends in spite of the scratching last night. I dined to day at Ned Southwell's with the bishop of Ossory and a parcel of Irish gentlemen. Have you yet seen any of the Spectators? Just three weeks to day since I had your last, N. 11. I am afraid I have lost one by the packet that was taken; that will vex me, considering the pains MD take to write, especially poor Stella, and her weak eyes, God bless them and the owner, and send them well, and little me together, I hope ere long. This illness of Mr. Harley puts every thing backward, and he is still down, and like to be so, by that extravasated blood which comes from his breast to the wound: it was by the second blow Guiscard gave him after the penknife was broken. I am shocked at that villany whenever I think of it. Biddy Floyd is past danger, but will lose all her beauty: she had them mighty thick, especially about her nose.
25. Morning. I wish you a merry new year: this is the first day of the year, you know, with us, and 'tis Lady-day. I must rise and go to my lord keeper: it is not shaving day to day, so I shall be early. I am to dine with Mr. secretary St. John. Good morrow, my mistresses both, good morrow. Stella will be peeping out of her room at Mrs. de Caudres' down upon the folks as they come from church; and there comes Mrs. Proby, and that's my lady Southwell, and there's lady Betty Rochfort. I long to hear how you are settled in your new lodgings. I wish I were rid of my old ones, and that Mrs. Brent could contrive to put up my books in boxes, and lodge them in some safe place, and you keep my papers of importance. But I must rise, I tell you. — At night. So I visited and dined as I told you, and what of that? We have let Guiscard be buried at last, after showing him pickled in a trough this fortnight for twopence a piece; and the fellow that showed would point to his body, and, See, gentlemen, this is the wound, that was given him by his grace the duke of Ormond; and this is the wound, &c. and then the show was over, and another set of rabble came in. 'Tis hard that our laws would not suffer us to hang his body in chains, because he was not tried; and in the eye of our law every man is innocent till then. — Mr. Harley is still very weak, and never out of bed.
26. This was a most delicious day; and my shin being past danger, I walked like lightning above two hours in the park. We have generally one fair day, and then a great deal of rain for three or four days together. All things are at a stop in parliament for want of Mr. Harley; they cannot stir an inch without him in their most material affairs: and we fear by the caprice of Radcliffe, who will admit none but his own surgeon, he has not been well looked after. I dined at an alehouse with Mr. Lewis, but had his wine. Don't you begin to see the flowers and blossoms of the field? How busy should I now be at Laracor? No news of your box? I hope you have it, and are this minute drinking the chocolate, and that the smell of the Brazil tobacco has not affected it. I would be glad to know whether you like it, because I would send you more by people that are now every day thinking of going to Ireland; therefore pray tell me, and tell me soon: and I will have the strong box.
27. A rainy wretched scurvy day from morning till night: and my neighbour Vanhomrigh invited me to dine with them: and this evening I passed at Mr. Prior's with Dr. Freind; and 'tis now past twelve, so I must go sleep.
28. Morning. O faith, you're an impudent saucy couple of sluttekins for presuming to write so soon, said I to myself this morning; who knows but there may be a letter from MD at the coffeehouse? Well, you must know, and so, I just now sent Patrick, and he brought me three letters, but not one from MD, no indeed, for I read all the superscriptions: and not one from MD. One I opened, it was from the archbishop; t'other I opened, it was from Staunton; the third I took, and looked at the hand. Whose hand is this? says I: yes, says I, whose hand is this? then there was wax between the folds; then I began to suspect; then I peeped; faith, it was Walls's hand after all: then I opened it in a rage, and then it was little MD's hand, dear, little, pretty, charming MD's sweet hand again. O Lord, en't here a clutter and a stir, and a bustle, never saw the like. Faith I believe yours lay some days at the postoffice, and that it came before my eighteenth went, but that I did not expect it, and I hardly ever go there. Well, and so you think I'll answer this letter now; no faith, and so I won't. I'll make you wait, young women; but I'll inquire immediately about poor Dingley's exchequer trangum. What is that Vedel again a soldier? Was he broke? I'll put it in Ben Tooke's hand. I hope Vedel could not sell it. — At night. Vedel, Vedel, poh, pox, I think it is Vedeau, ay Vedeau, now I have it: let me see, do you name him in yours? Yes, Mr. John Vedeau is the brother; but where does this brother live? I'll inquire. This was a fast day for the publick; so I dined late with sir Matthew Dudley, whom I have not been with a great while. He is one of those that must lose his employment whenever the great shake comes; and I can't contribute to keep him in, though I have dropped words in his favour to the ministry; but he has been too violent a whig, and friend to the lord treasurer, to stay in. 'Tis odd to think how long they let those people keep their places; but the reason is, they have not enough to satisfy all expecters, and so they keep them all in hopes, that they may be good boys in the mean time; and thus the old ones hold in still. The comptroller told me, that there are eight people expect his staff. I walked after dinner to day round the park. What, do I write politicks to little young women? Hold your tongue, and go to your dean's.
29. Morning. If this be a fine day I will walk into the city, and see Charles Bernard's library. What care I for your letter, your saucy N. 12? I will say nothing to it yet: faith, I believe this will be full before its time, and then go it must. I will always write once a fortnight; and if it goes sooner by filling sooner, why then there is so much clear gain. Morrow, morrow, rogues and lasses both, I can't lie scribbling here in bed for your play; I must rise, and so morrow again. — At night. Your friend Montgomery and his sister are here, as I am told by Patrick: I have seen him often, but take no notice of him: he is grown very ugly and pimpled. They tell me he is a gamester, and wins money. — How could I help it, pray? Patrick snuffed the candle too short, and the grease ran down upon the paper. It en't my fault, 'tis Patrick's fault; pray now don't blame Presto. I walked to day into the city and dined at a private house, and went to see the auction of poor Charles Bernard's books; they were in the middle of the physick books; so I bought none; and they are so dear, I believe I shall buy none, and there's an end; and go to Stoyte's, and I'll go sleep.
30. Morning. This is Good Friday, you must know, and I must rise and go to Mr. secretary about some business, and Mrs. Vanhomrigh desires me to breakfast with her, because she is to intercede for Patrick, who is so often drunk and quarrelsome in the house, that I was resolved to send him over, but he knows all the places where I send, and is so used to my ways, that it would be inconvenient to me; but when I come to Ireland, I will discharge him. Sir Thomas Mansel, one of the lords of the treasury, setting me down at my door to day, saw Patrick, and swore he was a Teaguelander. I am so used to his face, I never observed it, but thought him a pretty fellow. Sir Andrew Fountain and I supped this fast day with Mrs. Vanhomrigh. We were afraid Mr. Harley's wound would turn to a fistula; but we think the danger is now past. He rises everyday, and walks about his room, and we hope he'll be out in a fortnight. Prior showed me a handsome paper of verses he has writ on Mr. Harley's accident: they are not out; I will send them to you, if he will give me a copy.
31. Morning. What shall we do to make April fools this year, now it happens on Sunday? Patrick brings word that Mr. Harley still mends, and is up every day. I design to see him in a few days: brings me word too that he has found out Vedeau's brother's shop: I shall call there in a day or two. It seems the wife lodges next door to the brother. I doubt the scoundrel was broke, and got a commission, or perhaps is a volunteer gentleman, and expects to get one by his valour. Morrow, sirrahs, let me rise. — At night. I dined to day with sir Thomas Mansel. We were walking in the park, and Mr. Lewis came to us. Mansel asked where we dined? We said, together. He said, we should dine with him, only his wife desired him to bring nobody, because she had only a leg of mutton. I said, I would dine with him to choose; but he would send a servant to order a plate or two: yet this man has ten thousand pounds a year in land, and is a lord of the treasury, and is not covetous neither, but runs out merely by slattering and negligence. The worst dinner I ever saw at the dean's was better: but so it is with abundance of people here. I called at night at Mr. Harley's, who begins to walk in his room with a stick, but is mighty weak. — See how much I have lost with that ugly grease. 'Tis your fault, pray; and I'll go to bed.
April 1. The duke of Buckingham's house fell down last night with an earthquake, and is half swallowed up; — Won't you go and see it? — An April fool, an April fool, O ho, young women. Well, don't be angry, I'll make you an April fool no more till the next time: we had no sport here, because it is Sunday, and Easter Sunday. I dined with the secretary, who seemed terribly down and melancholy, which Mr. Prior and Lewis observed as well as I: perhaps something is gone wrong; perhaps there is nothing in it. God bless my own dearest MD, and all is well.
2. We have such windy weather, 'tis troublesome walking, yet all the rabble have got into our park these holidays. I am plagued with one Richardson, an Irish parson, and his project of printing Irish Bibles &c. to make you Christians in that country: I befriend him what I can on account of the archbishop and bishop of Clogher. — But what business have I to meddle, &c. Don't you remember that, sirrah Stella? what was that about, when you thought I was meddling with something that was not my business? O faith, you are an impudent slut, I remember your doings, I'll never forget you as long as I live. Lewis and I dined together at his lodgings. But where's the answer to this letter of MD's. O faith. Presto, you must think of that. Time enough, says saucy Presto.
3. I was this morning to see Mrs. Barton; I love her better than any one here, and see her seldomer. Why really now, so it often happens in the world, that where one loves a body best — pshah, pshah, you are so silly with your moral observations. Well, but she told me a very good story. An old gentlewoman died here two months ago, and left in her will, to have eight men and eight maids bearers, who should have two guineas apiece, ten guineas to the parson for a sermon, and two guineas to the clerk. But bearers, parson, and clerk, must be all true virgins; and not to be admitted till they took their oaths of virginity: so the poor woman lies still unburied, and so must do till the general resurrection. — I called at Mr. secretary's, to see what the D— ailed him on Sunday; I made him a very proper speech, told him I observed he was much out of temper; that I did not expect he would tell me the cause, but would be glad to see he was in better; and one thing I warned him of, never to appear cold to me, for I would not be treated like a schoolboy; that I had felt too much of that in my life already (meaning sir William Temple) that I expected every great minister, who honoured me with his acquaintance, if he heard or saw any thing to my disadvantage, would let me know in plain words, and not put me in pain to guess by the change or coldness of his countenance or behaviour; for it was what I would hardly bear from a crowned head, and I thought no subject's favour was worth it; and that I designed to let my lord keeper and Mr. Harley know the same thing, that they might use me accordingly. He took all right; said, I had reason; vowed nothing ailed him but sitting up whole nights at business, and one night at drinking; would have had me dined with him and Mrs. Masham's brother, to make up matters; but I would not. I don't know, but I would not. But indeed I was engaged with my old friend Rollinson, you never heard of him before.
4. I sometimes look a line or two back, and see plaguy mistakes of the pen; how do you get over them? you are puzzled sometimes. Why, I think what I said to Mr. secretary was right. Don't you remember how I used to be in pain when sir William Temple would look cold and out of humour for three or four days, and I used to suspect a hundred reasons. I have plucked up my spirit since then, faith; he spoiled a fine gentleman. I dined with my neighbour Vanhomrigh, and MD, poor MD, at home on a loin of mutton and half a pint of wine, and the mutton was raw, poor Stella could not eat, poor dear rogue, and Dingley was so vexed: but we'll dine at morrow. Mr. Harley promised to see me in a day or two, so I called this evening; but his son and others were abroad, and he asleep, so I came away, and found out Mrs. Vedeau. She drew out a letter from Dingley, and said she would get a friend to receive the money. I told her I would employ Mr. Tooke in it henceforward. Her husband bought a lieutenancy of foot, and is gone to Portugal. He sold his share of the shop to his brother, and put out the money to maintain her, all but what bought the commission. She lodges within two doors of her brother. She told me, it made her very melancholy to change her manner of life thus, but trade was dead, &c. She says, she will write to you soon. I design to engage Ben Tooke, and then receive the parchment from her. — I gave Mr. Dopping a copy of Prior's verses on Mr. Harley, he sent them yesterday to Ireland, so go look for them, for I won't be at the trouble to transcribe them here. They will be printed in a day or two. Give my hearty service to Stoyte and Catherine; upon my word I love them dearly, and desire you will tell them so: pray desire goody Stoyte not to let Mrs. Walls and Mrs. Johnson cheat her of her money at ombre, but assure her from me, that she is a bungler. Dine with her to day, and tell her so, and drink my health, and good voyage, and speedy return, and so you're a rogue.
5. Morning. Now let us proceed to examine a saucy letter from one madam MD. — God Almighty bless poor dear Stella, and send her a great many birthdays, all happy and healthy, and wealthy, and with me ever together, and never asunder again, unless by chance. When I find you are happy or merry there, it makes me so here, and I can hardly imagine you absent when I am reading your letter, or writing to you. No faith, you are just here upon this little paper, and therefore I see and talk with you every evening constantly, and sometimes in the morning, but not always in the morning, because that is not so modest to young ladies. — What, you would fain palm a letter upon me more than you sent; and I, like a fool, must look over all yours, to see whether this was really N. 12, or more. Patrick has this moment brought me letters from the bishop of Clogher and Parvisol; my heart was at my mouth for fear of one from MD; what a disgrace would it be to have two of yours to answer together? but faith this shall go to night, for fear, and then come when it will, I defy it. No, you are not naughty at all, write when you are disposed. And so the dean told you the story of Mr. Harley from the archbishop; I warrant it never spoiled your supper, or broke off your game. Nor yet, have not you the box; I wish Mrs. Edgworth had the —. But you have it now, I suppose: and is the chocolate good, or has the tobacco spoiled it? Leigh stays till Sterne has done his business, no longer; and when that will be, God knows: I befriend him as much as I can, but Mr. Harley's accident stops that as well as all things else. You guess, madam Dingley, that I shall stay a round twelvemonth; as hope saved, I would come over, if I could, this minute; but we will talk of that by and by. — Your affair of Vedeau I have told you of already; now to the next, turn over the leaf. Mrs. Dobbins lies, I have no more provision here or in Ireland than I had. I am pleased that Stella the conjurer approves what I did with Mr. Harley; but your generosity makes me mad; I know you repine inwardly at Presto's absence; you think he has broken his word of coming in three months, and that this is always his trick: and now Stella says, she does not see possibly how I can come away in haste, and that MD is satisfied, &c. An't you a rogue to overpower me thus? I did not expect to find such friends as I have done. They may indeed deceive me too. But there are important reasons [Pox on this grease, this candle tallow!] why they should not. I have been used barbarously by the late ministry; I am a little piqued in honour to let people see I am not to be despised. The assurances they give me, without any scruple or provocation, are such as are usually believed in the world; they may come to nothing, but the first opportunity that offers, and is neglected, I shall depend no more, but come away. I could say a thousand things on this head, if I were with you. I am thinking why Stella should not go to the Bath, if she be told it will do her good; I will make Parvisol get up fifty pounds, and pay it you; and you may be good housewives and live cheap there some months, and return in Autumn, or visit London, as you please: pray think of it. I writ to Bernage, directed to Curry's; I wish he had the letter. I will send the bohea tea, if I can. The bishop of Kilmore, I don't keep such company; an old dying fool whom I was never with in my life. So I am no godfather; all the better. Pray, Stella, explain those two words of yours to me, what you mean by Villian and Dainger and you, madam Dingley, what is Christianing? —— Lay your letters this way, this way, and the devil a bit of difference between this way and t'other way. No; I'll show you, lay them this way, this way, and not that way, that way. —— You shall have your aprons and I'll put all your commissions as they come, in a paper together, and don't think I'll forget MD's orders, because they are friends; I'll be as careful as if they were strangers. I know not what to do about this Clements. Walls will not let me say any thing, as if Mr. Pratt was against him; and now the bishop of Clogher has written to me in his behalf. This thing does not rightly fall in my way, and that people never consider: I always give my good offices where they are proper, and that I am judge of; however, I will do what I can. But if he has the name of a whig, it will be hard, considering my lord Anglesea and Hyde are very much otherwise, and you know they have the employment of deputy treasurer. If the frolick should take you of going to the Bath, I here send you a note on Parvisol; if not, you may tear it, and there's an end. Farewell.
If you have an imagination that the Bath will do you good, I say again, I would have you go; if nor, or it be inconvenient, burn this note. Or, if you would go, and not take so much money, take thirty pounds, and I will return you twenty from hence. Do as you please, sirrahs. I suppose it will not be too late for the first season if it be, I would have you resolve however to go the second season, if the doctors say it will do you good, and you fancy so.
London, April 5, 1711.
I PUT my nineteenth in the postoffice just now myself, as I came out of the city, where I dined. This rain ruins me in coach hire; I walked away sixpennyworth, and came within a shilling length, and then took a coach, and got a lift back for nothing; and am now busy.
6. Mr. secretary desired I would see him this morning, said he had several things to say to me, and said not one: and the duke of Ormond sent to desire I would meet him at Mr. Southwell's by ten this morning too, which I did, thinking it was some particular matter. All the Irish in town were there, to consult upon preventing a bill for laying a duty on Irish yarn; so we talked awhile, and then all went to the lobby of the house of commons, to solicit our friends, and the duke came among the rest; and lord Anglesea solicited admirably, and I did wonders. But after all, the matter was put off till Monday, and then we are to be at it again. I dined with lord Mountjoy, and looked over him at chess, which put me in mind of Stella and Griffyth. I came home, and that dog Patrick was not within, so I fretted, and fretted, and what good did that do me? And so get you gone to your deans, you couple of queans. I can't find rhyme to Walls and Stoyte. — Yes, yes. You expect Mrs. Walls, Be dress'd when she calls, To carry you to Stoyte, or else boni soit. Henley told me that the tories were insupportable people, because they are for bringing in French claret, and will not sup-port. Mr. Harley will hardly get abroad this week or ten days yet. I reckon when I send away this letter he will be just got into the house of commons. My last letter went in twelve days, and so perhaps may this. No it won't, for those letters that go under a fortnight are answerers to one of yours, otherwise you must take the days as they happen, some dry, some wet, some barren, some fruitful, some merry, some insipid; some, &c. — I will write you word exactly the first day I see young gooseberries, and pray observe how much later you are. We have not had five fine days this five weeks, but rain or wind. 'Tis a late spring they say here. — Go to bed, you two dear saucy brats, and don't keep me up all night.
7. Ford has been at Epsom, to avoid Good Friday and Easter Sunday. He forced me to day to dine with him; and tells me, there are letters from Ireland giving an account of a great indiscretion in the archbishop of Dublin, who applied a story out of Tacitus very reflectingly on Mr. Harley, and that twenty people have written of it; I do not believe it yet. I called this evening to see Mr. secretary, who had been very ill with the gravel and pain in his back, by Burgundy and Champagne, added to the sitting up all night at business; I found him drinking tea while the rest were at Champagne, and was very glad of it. I have chid him so severely that I hardly knew whether he would take it well: then I went and sat an hour with Mrs. St. John, who is growing a great favourite of mine; she goes to the Bath on Wednesday, for she is much out of health, and has begged me to take care of the secretary.
8. I dined to day with Mr. secretary St. John; he gave me a letter to read, which was from the publisher of the newspaper called the Post Boy; in it there was a long copy of a letter from Dublin, giving an account of what the whigs said upon Mr. Harley's being stabbed, and how much they abuse him and Mr. secretary St. John; and at the end there was half a dozen lines, telling the story of the archbishop of Dublin, and abusing him horribly; this was to be printed on Tuesday. I told the secretary I would not suffer that about the archbishop to be printed, and so I crossed it out; and afterward to prevent all danger, I made him give me the letter, and, upon farther thought, would let none of it be published: and I sent for the printer and told him so, and ordered him, in the secretary's name, to print nothing reflecting on any body in Ireland till he had showed it me. Thus I have prevented a terrible scandal to the archbishop, by a piece of perfect good fortune. I will let him know it by next post; and pray, if you pick it out, let me know, and whether he is thankful for it; but say nothing.
9. I was to day at the house of commons again about this yarn, at lord Anglesea's desire, but the business is again put off till Monday. I dined with sir John Stanley, by an assignation I had made with Mr. St. John, and George Granville, the secretary at war, but they let in other company, some ladies, and so we were not as easy as I intended. My head is pretty tolerable, but every day I feel some little disorders; I have left off snuff since Sunday, finding myself much worse after taking a good deal at the secretary's. I would not let him drink one drop of Champagne or Burgundy without water, and in compliment I did so myself. He is much better, but when he is well he is like Stella, and will not be governed. So go to your Stoyte's, and I'll go sleep.
10. I have been visiting lady Worsley and Mrs. Barton to day, and dined soberly with my friend Lewis. The dauphin is dead of an apoplexy, I wish he had lived till the finishing of this letter, that it might be news to you. Duncomb, the rich alderman, died to day, and I hear has left the duke of Argyll, who married his niece, two hundred thousand pounds; I hope it is true, for I love that duke mightily. I writ this evening to the archbishop of Dublin, about what I told you; and then went to take leave of poor Mrs. St. John, who gave me strict charge to take care of the secretary in her absence, said she had none to trust but me; and the poor creature's tears came fresh into her eyes. Before we took leave, I was drawn in by the other ladies and sir John Stanley to raffle for a fan, with a pox; it was four guineas, and we put in seven shillings a piece, several raffled for absent people; but I lost, and so missed an opportunity of showing my gallantry to Mrs. St. John, whom I designed to have presented it to, if I had won. Is Dilly gone to the Bath? His face will whiz in the water; I suppose he will write to us from thence, and will take London in his way back. — The rabble will say, There goes a drunken parson, and which is worse, they will say true. O, but you must know, I carried Ford to dine with Mr. St. John last Sunday, that he may brag when he goes back, of dining with a secretary of state. The secretary and I went away early, and left him drinking with the rest, and he told me that two or three of them were drunk. They talk of great promotions to be made; that Mr. Harley is to be lord treasurer, and lord Poulet master of the horse, &c. but they are only conjecture. The speaker is to make Mr. Harley a compliment the first time he comes into the house, which I hope will be in a week. He has had an ill surgeon, by the caprice of that puppy Dr. Radcliffe; which has kept him back so long; and yesterday he got a cold, but is better to day. — What! I think I am stark mad to write so much in one day to little saucy MD; here's a deal of stuff, indeed; can't you bid those little dear rogues good night, and let them go sleep, Mr. Presto? When your tongue runs there's no ho with you, pray.
11. Again at the lobby, like a lobcock, of the house of commons, about your Irish yarn, and again put off till Friday; and I and Patrick went into the city by water, where I dined, and then I went to the auction of Charles Bernard's books, but the good ones were so monstrous dear, I could not reach them, so I laid out one pound seven shillings but very indifferently, and came away, and will go there no more. Henley would fain engage me to go with Steele and Rowe, &c. to an invitation at sir William Read's. Surely you have heard of him. He has been a mountebank, and is the Queen's oculist; he makes admirable punch, and treats you in gold vessels. But I am engaged, and won't go, neither indeed am I fond of the jaunt. So good night, and go sleep.
12. I went about noon to the secretary, who is very ill with a cold, and sometimes of the gravel, with his Champagne, &c. I scolded him like a dog, and he promises faithfully more care for the future. To day my lord Anglesea, and sir Thomas Hanmer, and Prior and I dined, by appointment, with lieutenant general Webb. My lord and I staid till ten o'clock, but we drank soberly, and I always with water. There was with us one Mr. Campain, one of the October club, if you know what that is; a club of country members, who think the ministers are too backward in punishing and turning out the whigs. I found my lord and the rest thought I had more credit with the ministry than I pretend to have, and would have engaged me to put them upon something that would satisfy their desires, and indeed I think they have some reason to complain; however, I will not burn my fingers. I'll remember Stella's chiding; What had you to do with what did not belong to you, &c. However, you will give me leave to tell the ministry my thoughts when they ask them, and other people's thoughts sometimes when they do not ask; so thinks Dingley.
13. I called this morning at Mrs. Vedeau's again, who has employed a friend to get the money; it will be done in a fortnight, and then she will deliver me up the parchment. I went then to see Mr. Harley, who I hope will be out in a few days; he was in excellent good humour, only complained to me of the neglect of Guiscard's cure, how glad he would have been to have had him live. Mr. secretary came in to us, and we were very merry till lord chamberlain (duke of Shrewsbury) came up; then colonel Masham and I went off, after I had been presented to the duke, and that we made two or three silly compliments suitable to the occasion. Then I attended at the house of commons about your yarn, and 'tis again put off. Then Ford drew me to dine at a tavern, it happened to be the day and the house where the October club dine. After we had dined, coming down we called to inquire, whether our yarn business had been over that day, and I sent into the room for sir George Beaumont. But I had like to be drawn into a difficulty; for in two minutes out comes Mr. Finch, lord Guernsey's son, to let me know, that my lord Compton, the steward of this feast, desired, in the name of the club, that I would do them the honour to dine with them. I sent my excuses, adorned with about thirty compliments, and got off as fast as I could. It would have been a most improper thing for me to dine there, considering my friendship for the ministry. The club is about a hundred and fifty, and near eighty of them were then going to dinner at two long tables in a great ground room. At evening I went to the auction of Bernard's books, and laid out three pounds three shillings, but I'll go there no more; and so I said once before, but now I'll keep to it. I forgot to tell that when I dined at Webb's with lord Anglesea, I spoke to him of Clements, as one recommended for a very honest gentleman, and good officer, and hoped he would keep him: he said, he had no thoughts otherwise, and that he should certainly hold his place, while he continued to deserve it: and I could not find there had been any intentions from his lordship against him. But I tell you, hunny, the impropriety of this. A great man will do a favour for me, or for my friend; but why should he do it for my friend's friend? Recommendations should stop before they come to that. Let any friend of mine recommend one of his to me for a thing in my power, I will do it for his sake; but to speak to another for my friend's friend, is against all reason; and I desire you will understand this, and discourage any such troubles given me. — I hope this may do some good to Clements, it can do no hurt; and I find by Mrs. Pratt, that her husband is his friend; and the bishop of Clogher says, Clements's danger is not from Pratt, but from some other enemies, that think him a whig.
14. I was so busy this morning that I did not go out till late. I writ to day to the duke of Argyll, but said nothing of Bernage, who, I believe, will not see him till Spain is conquered, and that is not at all. I was to day at lord Shelburne's, and spoke to Mrs. Pratt again about Clements: her husband himself wants some good offices, and I have done him very good ones lately, and told Mrs. Pratt, I expected her husband would stand by Clements in return. Sir Andrew Fountain and I dined with neighbour Vanhomrigh; he is mighty ill of an asthma, and apprehends himself in much danger; 'tis his own fault, that will rake and drink, when he is but just crawled out of his grave. I will send this letter just now, because I think my half year is out for my lodgings and, if you please, I would be glad it were paid off, and some deal boxes made for my books, and kept in some safe place, I would give something for their keeping; but I doubt that lodging will not serve me when I come back; I would have a larger place for books, and a stable, if possible. So pray be so kind to pay the lodging, and all accounts about it; and get Mrs. Brent to put up my things. I would have no books put in that trunk where my papers are. If you do not think of going to the Bath, I here send you a bill on Parvisol for twenty pounds Irish, out of which you will pay for the lodging, and score the rest to me. Do as you please, and love poor Presto, that loves MD better than his life a thousand millions of times. Farewell, MD, &c. &c.
London, April 14, 1711.
REMEMBER, sirrahs, that there are but nine days between the dates of my two former letters. I sent away my twentieth this moment, and now am writing on like a fish, as if nothing was done. But there was a cause for my hasting away the last, for fear it should not come time enough before a new quarter began. I told you where I dined to day, but forgot to tell you what I believe, that Mr. Harley will be lord treasurer in a short time, and other great removes and promotions made. This is my thought, &c.
15. I was this morning with Mr. secretary, and he is grown pretty well. I dined with him to day, and drank some of that wine which the great duke of Tuscany used to send to sir William Temple: he always sends some to the chief ministers. I liked it mightily, but he does not; and he ordered his butler to send me a chest of it to morrow. Would to God MD had it. The queen is well again, and was at chapel to day, &c.
16. I went with Ford into the city to day, and dined with Stratford, and drank tockay, and then we went to the auction; but I did not lay out above twelve shillings. My head is a little out of order to night, though no formal fit. My lord keeper has sent to invite me to dinner to morrow, and you'll dine better with the dean, and God bless you. I forgot to tell you that yesterday was sent me a narrative printed, with all the circumstances of Mr. Harley's stabbing. I had not time to do it myself, so I sent my hints to the author of the Atalantis, and she has cook'd it into a sixpenny pamphlet, in her own style, only the first page is left as I was beginning it. But I was afraid of disobliging Mr. Harley or Mr. St. John in one critical point about it, and so would not do it myself. It is worth your reading, for the circumstances are all true. My chest of Florence was sent me this morning, and cost me seven and sixpence to two servants. I would give two guineas you had it, &c.
17. I was so out of order with my head this morning, that I was going to send my excuses to my lord keeper; but however I got up at eleven and walked there after two, and staid till eight. There was sir Thomas Mansel, Prior, George Granville, and Mr. Cæsar, and we were very merry. My head is still wrong, but I have had no formal fit, only I totter a little. I have left off snuff altogether. I have a noble roll of tobacco for grating, very good. Shall I send it to MD, if she likes that sort? My lord keeper and our this day's company are to dine on Saturday with George Granville, and to morrow I dine with lord Anglesea.
18. Did you ever see such a blundering goosecap as Presto? I saw the number 21 atop, and so I went on as if it were the day of the month, whereas this is but Wednesday the 18th. How shall I do to blot and alter them? I have made a shift to do it behind, but it is a great botch. I dined with lord Anglesea to day, but did not go to the house of commons about the yarn; my head was not well enough. I know not what's the matter: it has never been thus before: two days together giddy from morning till night, but not with any violence or pain; and I totter a little, but can make shift to walk. I doubt I must fall to my pills again: I think of going into the country a little way. I tell you what you must do henceforward: you must enclose your letter in a fair half sheet of paper, and direct the outside To Erasmus Lewis, esquire, at my lord Dartmouth's office at Whitehall; for I never go to the coffeehouse, and they will grudge to take in my letters. I forgot to tell you that your mother was to see me this morning, and brought me a flask of sweet water for a present, admirable for my heads but I shall not smell to it. She is going to Sheen with lady Giffard: she would fain send your papers over to you, or give them to me. Say what you would have done, and it shall be done; because I love Stella, and she is a good daughter, they say, and so is Dingiey.
19. This morning general Webb was to give me a visit: he goes with a crutch and a stick, yet was forced to make up two pair of stairs. I promised to dine with him, but afterward sent my excuses, and dined privately in my friend Lewis's lodgings at Whitehall, with whom I had much business to talk of, relating to the publick and myself. Little Harrison the Tatler goes to morrow to the secretaryship I got him at the Hague, and Mr. St. John has made him a present of fifty guineas to bear his charges. An't I a good friend? Why are not you a young fellow, that I might prefer you? I had a letter from Bernage from Kinsale: he tells me his commission for captainlieutenant was ready for him at his arrival: so there are two Jackanapeses I have done with. My head is something better this evening, though not well.
20. I was this morning with Mr. secretary, whose packets were just come in, and among them a letter from lord Peterborow to me: he writes so well, I have no mind to answer him, and so kind, that I must answer him. The emperor's death must, I think, cause great alterations in Europe, and, I believe, will hasten a peace. We reckon our king Charles will be chosen emperor, and the duke of Savoy set up for Spain; but I believe he will make nothing of it. Dr. Freind and I dined in the city at a printer's, but it cost me two shillings in coach-hire, and a great deal more this week and month, which has been almost all rain, with now and then sunshine, and is the truest April that I have known these many years. The lime trees in the park are all out in leaves, though not large leaves yet. Wise people are going into the country; but many think the parliament can hardly be up these six weeks. Mr. Harley was with the queen on Tuesday. I believe certainly he will be the lord treasurer: I have not seen him this week.
21. Morning. Lord keeper, and I, and Prior, and sir Thomas Mansel have appointed to dine this day with George Granville. My head, I thank God, is better; but to be giddyish three or four days together mortified me. I take no snuff, and I will be very regular in eating little and the gentlest meats. How does poor Stella just now, with her deans and her Stoytes? Do they give you health for the money you lose at ombre, sirrah? What say you to that? Poor Dingley frets to see Stella lose that four and elevenpence, t'other night. Let us rise. Morrow, sirrahs. I will rise, spite of your little teeth; good morrow. — At night. O, faith, you are little dear sauceboxes. I was just going in the morning to tell you that I began to want a letter from MD, and in four minutes after Mr. Ford sends me one that he had picked up at St. James's coffeehouse; for I go to no coffeehouse at all. And faith, I was glad at heart to see it, and to see Stella so brisk. O Lord, what pretending? Well, but I won't answer it yet; I'll keep it for t'other side. Well, we dined to day according to appointment; lord keeper went away at near eight, I at eight, and I believe the rest will be fairly fuddled; for young Harcourt, lord keeper's son, began to prattle before I came away. It will not do with Prior's lean carcase. I drink little, miss my glass often, put water in my wine, and go away before the rest, which I take to be a good receipt for sobriety. Let us put it into rhyme, and so make a proverb:
Drink little at a time;
Put water with your wine;
Miss your glass when you can;
And go off the first man.
God be thanked; I am much better than I was, though something of a totterer. I ate but little to day, and of the gentlest meat. I refused ham and pigeons, peasesoup, stewed beef, cold salmon, because they were too strong. I take no snuff at all, but some herb snuff prescribed by Dr. Radcliffe.
Go to your deans,
You couple of queans.
I believe I said that already. What care I? what cares Presto?
22. Morning. I must rise and go to the secretary's. Mr. Harley has been out of town this week to refresh himself before he comes into parliament. O, but I must rise, so there is no more to be said; and so morrow, sirrahs both. — Night. I dined to day with the secretary, who has engaged me for every Sunday; and I was an hour with him this morning deep in politicks, where I told him the objections of the October club, and he answered all except one. That no inquiries are made into past mismanagement. But indeed I believe they are not yet able to make any: the late ministry were too cunning in their rogueries, and fenced themselves with an act of general pardon. I believe Mr. Harley must be lord treasurer; yet he makes only one difficulty which is hard to answer: he must be made a lord, and his estate is not large enough, and he is too generous to make it larger: and if the ministry should change soon by any accident, he will be left in the suds. Another difficulty is, that if he be made a peer, they will want him prodigiously in the house of commons, of which he is the great mover, and after him the secretary, and hardly any else of weight. Two shillings more to day for coach and chair. I shall be ruined.
23. So you expect an answer to your letter, do you so? Yes, yes, you shall have an answer, you shall, young women. I made a good pun on Saturday to my lord keeper. After dinner we had coarse Doiley napkins, fringed at each end, upon the table to drink with: my lord keeper spread one of them between him and Mr. Prior; I told him I was glad to see there was such a Fringeship [Friendship] between Mr. Prior and his lordship. Prior swore it was the worst he ever heard: I said I thought so too; but at the same time I thought it was most like one of Stella's that ever I heard. I dined to day with lord Mountjoy, and this evening saw the Venetian ambassador coming from his first publick audience. His coach was the most monstrous, huge, fine, rich, gilt thing that ever I saw. I loitered this evening, and came home late.
24. I was this morning to visit the duchess of Ormond, who has long desired it, or threatened she would not let me visit her daughters. I sat an hour with her, and we were good company, when in came the countess of Bellamont, with a pox. I went out, and we did not know one another; yet hearing me named, she ask'd, What, is that Dr. Swift? said, she and I were very well acquainted, and fell a railing at me without mercy, as a lady told me that was there; yet I never was but once in the company of that drab of a countess. Sir Andrew Fountain and I dined with my neighbour Van. I design in two days, if possible, to go lodge at Chelsea for the air, and put myself under a necessity of walking to and from London every day. I writ this post to the bishop of Clogher a long politick letter to entertain him. I am to buy statues and harnese for them, with a vengeance. I have packed and sealed up MD's twelve letters against I go to Chelsea. I have put the last commissions of MD in my account book; but if there be any former ones, I have forgot them. I have Dingley's pocketbook down, and Stella's green silk apron, and the pound of tea; pray send me word if you have any other, and down they shall go. I will not answer your letter yet, saucy boxes. You are with the dean just now, madam Stella, losing your money. Why don't you name what number you have received? you say you have received my letters, but don't tell the number.
25. I was this day dining in the city with very insignificant, low, and scurvy company. I had a letter from the archbishop of Dublin, with a long denial of the report raised on him, which yet has been since assured to me from those who say they have it from the first hand; but I cannot believe them. I will show it to the secretary to morrow. I will not answer yours till I get to Chelsea.
26. Chelsea. I have sent two boxes of lumber to my friend Darteneuf's house, and my chest of Florence and other things to Mrs. Vanhomrigh, where I dined to day. I was this morning with the secretary, and showed him the archbishop's letter, and convinced him of his grace's innocence, and I will do the same to Mr. Harley. I got here in the stagecoach with Patrick and my portmantua for sixpence, and pay six shillings a week for one silly room with confounded coarse sheets. We have had such a horrible deal of rain, that there is no walking to London, and I must go as I came until it mends; and besides, the whelp has taken my lodging as far from London as this town could afford, at least half a mile farther than he need; but I must be content. The best is, I lodge just over against Dr. Atterbury's house, and yet perhaps I shall not like the place the better for that. Well, I'll stay till to morrow before I answer your letter; and you must suppose me always writing at Chelsea from henceforward, till I alter and say London. This letter goes on Saturday, which will be just a fortnight; so go and cheat goody Stoyte, &c.
27. Do you know that I fear my whole chest of Florence is turned sour, at least the two first flasks were so, and hardly drinkable. How plaguy unfortunate am I! and the secretary's own is the best I ever tasted; and I must not tell him, but be as thankful as if it were the best in Christendom. I went to town in the sixpenny stage to day, and hearing Mr. Harley was not at home, I went to see him, because I knew by the message of his lying porter that he was at home. He was very well, and just going out, but made me promise to dine with him; and between that, and indeed strolling about, I lost four pound seven shillings at play —— with a — — — a — a — bookseller, and got but half a dozen books. I will buy no more books now, that's certain. Well, I dined at Mr. Harley's, came away at six, shifted my gown, cassock, and periwig, and walked hither to Chelsea, as I always design to do when it is fair. I am heartily sorry to find my friend the secretary stand a little ticklish with the rest of the ministry; there have been one or two disobliging things that have happened, too long to tell: and t'other day in parliament, upon a debate of about thirty-five millions that have not been duly accounted for, Mr. secretary in his warmth of speech, and zeal for his friend Mr. Brydges, on whom part of the blame was falling, said, he did not know that either Mr. Brydges or the late ministry were at all to blame in this matter; which was very desperately spoken, and giving up the whole cause: for the chief quarrel against the late ministry was the ill management of the treasure, and was more than all the rest together. I had heard of this matter: but Mr. Foley beginning to discourse to day at table, without naming Mr. St. John, I turned to Mr. Harley, and said, if the late ministry were not to blame in that article he [Mr. Harley] ought to lose his head for putting the queen upon changing them. He made it a jest; but by some words dropped, I easily saw that they take things ill of Mr. St. John, and by some hints given me from another hand that I deal with, I am afraid the secretary will not stand long. This is the fate of courts. I will, if I meet Mr. St. John alone on Sunday, tell him my opinion, and beg him to set himself right, else the consequences may be very bad; for I see not how they can well want him neither, and he would make a troublesome enemy. But enough of politicks.
28. Morning. I forgot to tell you that Mr. Harley asked me yesterday, how he came to disoblige the archbishop of Dublin? upon which (having not his letter about me) I told him what the bishop had written to me on that subject, and desired I might read him the letter some other time. But after all, from what I have heard from other hands, I am afraid the archbishop is a little guilty. Here is one Brent Spencer, a brother of Mr. Proby's, who affirms it, and says he has leave to do so from Charles Deering, who heard the words; and Ingoldsby abused the archbishop, &c. Well, but now for your saucy letter: I have no room to answer it: O yes, enough on t'other side. Are you no sicker? Stella jeers Presto for not coming over by Christmas; but indeed Stella does not jeer but reproach poor poor Presto. And how can I come away, and the first-fruits not finished? I am of opinion the duke of Ormond will do nothing in them before he goes, which will be in a fortnight they say: and then they must fall to me to be done in his absence. No, indeed, I have nothing to print: you know they have printed the miscellanies, already. Are they on your side yet? if you have my snuffbox, I'll have your strong box. Hi, does Stella take snuff again? or is it only because it is a fine box? not the Meddle, but the Medley, you fool. Yes, yes, a wretched thing, because it is against you tories: now I think it very fine, and the Examiner a wretched thing. — Twist your mouth, sirrah. Guiscard, and what you will read in the narrative, I ordered to be written, and nothing else. The Spectator is written by Steele with Addison's help: 'tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I crave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Indian supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the under hints there are mine too; but I never see him or Addison. The queen is well, but I fear will be no long liver; for I am told she has sometimes the gout in her bowels (I hate the word bowels.) My ears have been, these three months past, much better than any time these two years: but now they begin to be a little out of order again. My head is better, though not right; but I trust to air and walking. You have got my letter, but what number? I suppose 18. Well, my shin has been well this month. No, Mrs. Westley came away without her husband's knowledge, while she was in the country: she has written to me for some tea. They lie; Mr. Harley's wound was very terrible: he had convulsions, and very narrowly escaped. The bruise was nine times worse than the wound: he is weak still. Well, Brooks married; I know all that. I am sorry for Mrs. Walls's eye: I hope 'tis better. O yes, you are great walkers: but I have heard them say. Much talkers, Little walkers; and I believe I may apply the old proverb to you: If you talked no more than you walked, Those that think you wits would be baulked. Yes, Stella shall have a large printed Bible: I have put it down among my commissions for MD. I am glad to hear you have taken the fancy of intending to read the Bible. Pox take the box: is not it come yet? this is trusting to your young fellows, young women; 'tis your fault: I thought you had such power with Sterne, that he would fly over mount Atlas to serve you. You say you are not splenetick; but if you be, faith you will break poor Presto's —— I won't say the rest; but I vow to God, if I could decently come over now, I would, and leave all schemes of politicks and ambition for ever. I have not the opportunities here of preserving my health by riding, &c. that I have in Ireland; and the want of health is a great cooler of making one's court. You guess right about my being bit with a direction from Walls, and the letter from MD: I believe I described it in one of my last. This goes to night; and I must now rise and walk to town, and walk back in the evening. God Almighty bless and preserve poor MD. Farewell.
O faith, don't think, saucy noses, that I'll fill this third side: I can't stay a letter above a fortnight: it must go then; and you would rather see a short one like this, than want it a week longer.
My humble service to the dean, and Mrs. Walls, and good kind hearty Mrs. Stoyte, and honest Catherine.
Chelsea, April 28, 1711.
AT night. I say at night, because I finished my twenty-first this morning here, and put it into the postoffice my own self, like a good boy. I think I am a little before you now, young women: I am writing my twenty-second, and have received your thirteenth. I got to town between twelve and one, and put on my new gown and periwig, and dined with lord Abercorn, where I had not been since the marriage of his son lord Peasley, who has got ten thousand pound with a wife. I am now a country gentleman. I walked home as I went, and am a little weary, and am got into bed: I hope in God the air and exercise will do me a little good. I have been inquiring about statues for Mrs. Ashe: I made lady Abercorn go with me; and will send them word next post to Clogher. I hate to buy for her: I'm sure she'll maunder. I am going to study.
29. I had a charming walk to and from town to day: I washed, shaved and all, and changed gown and periwig, by half an hour after nine, and went to the secretary, who told me how he had differed with his friends in parliament: I apprehended this division, and told him a great deal of it. I went to court, and there several mentioned it to me as what they much disliked. I dined with the secretary; and we proposed doing some business of importance in the afternoon, which he broke to me first, and said how he and Mr. Harley were convinced of the necessity of it; yet he suffered one of his under secretaries to come upon us after dinner, who staid till six, and so nothing was done: and what care I? he shall send to me the next time, and ask twice. To morrow I go to the election at Westminster school, where lads are chosen for the university: they say 'tis a sight, and a great trial of wits. Our expedition fleet is but just sailed: I believe it will come to nothing. Mr. secretary frets at their tediousness; but hopes great things from it, though he owns four or five princes are in the secret; and, for that reason, I fear it is no secret to France. There are eight regiments; and the admiral is your Walker's brother the midwife. 30. Morn. I am here in a pretty pickle: it rains hard; and the cunning natives of Chelsea have outwitted me, and taken up all the three stagecoaches. What shall I do? I must go to town: this is your fault. I can't walk: I'll borrow a coat. This is the blindside of my lodging out of town; I must expect such inconveniences as these. Faith I'll walk in the rain. Morrow. — At night. I got a gentleman's chaise by chance, and so went to town for a shilling, and lie this night in town. I was at the election of lads at Westminster to day, and a very silly thing it is; but they say there will be fine doings to morrow. I dined with Dr. Freind, the second master of the school, with a dozen parsons and others: Prior would make me stay. Mr. Harley is to hear the election to morrow; and we are all to dine with tickets, and hear fine speeches. 'Tis terrible rainy weather again: I lie at a friend's in the city.
May 1. I wish you a merry May-day, and a thousand more. I was baulked at Westminster; I came too late: I heard no speeches nor verses. They would not let me in to their dining place for want of a ticket; and I would not send in for one, because Mr. Harley excused his coming, and Atterbury was not there; and I cared not for the rest: and so my friend Lewis and I dined with Kit Musgrave, if you know such a man: and, the weather mending, I walked gravely home this evening; and so I design to walk and walk till I am well: I fancy myself a little better already. How does poor Stella? Dingley is well enough. Go, get you gone, naughty girl, you are well enough. O dear MD, contrive to have some share of the country this spring: go to Finglass, or Donnybrook, or Clogher, or Killala, or Lowth. Have you got your box yet? yes, yes. Don't write to me again till this letter goes: I must make haste, that I may write two for one. Go to the Bath: I hope you are now at the Bath, if you had a mind to go; or go to Wexford: do something for your living. Have you given up my lodging according to order? I have had just now a compliment from dean Atterbury's lady, to command the garden and library, and whatever the house affords. I lodge just over against them; but the dean is in town with his convocation: so I have my dean and prolocutor as well as you, young women, though he has not so good wine, nor so much meat.
2. A fine day, but begins to grow a little warm; and that makes your little fat Presto sweat in the forehead. Pray, are not the line buns sold here in our town; was it not Rrrrrrrrrrare Chelsea buns? I bought one to day in my walk; it cost me a penny; it was stale, and I did not like it, as the man said, &c. Sir Andrew Fountain and I dined at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's; and had a flask of my Florence, which lies in their cellar, and so I came home gravely, and saw nobody of consequence to day. I am very easy here, nobody plaguing me in a morning; and Patrick saves many a score lies. I sent over to Mrs. Atterbury, to know whether I might wait on her? but she is gone a visiting: we have exchanged some compliments, but I have not seen her yet. We have no news in our town.
3. I did not go to town to day, it was so terrible rainy; nor have I stirred out of my room till eight this evening; when I crossed the way to see Mrs. Atterbury, and thank her for her civilities. She would needs send me some veal, and small beer, and ale, to day at dinner; and I have lived a scurvy, dull, splenetick day, for want of MD: I often thought how happy I could have been, had it rained eight thousand times more, if MD had been with a body. My lord Rochester is dead this morning; they say at one o'clock; and I hear he died suddenly. To morrow I shall know more. He is a great loss to us: I cannot think who will succeed him as lord president. I have been writing a long letter to lord Peterborow, and am dull.
4. I dined to day at lord Shelburne's, where lady Kerry made me a present of four India handkerchiefs, which I have a mind to keep for little MD, only that I had rather, &c. I have been a mighty handkerchiefmonger, and have bought abundance of snuff ones since I have left off taking snuff. And I am resolved, when I come over, MD shall be acquainted with lady Kerry: we have struck up a mighty friendship; and she has much better sense than any other lady of your country. We are almost in love with one another: but she is most egregiously ugly; but perfectly well bred, and governable as I please. I am resolved, when I come, to keep no company but MD: you know I kept my resolution last time; and, except Mr. Addison, conversed with none but you and your club of deans and Stoytes. 'Tis three weeks, young women, since I had a letter from you; and yet, methinks, I would not have another for five pound till this is gone; and yet I send every day to the coffeehouse, and I would fain have a letter, and not have a letter: and I don't know what, nor I don't know how, and this goes on very slow; 'tis a week to morrow since I began it. I am a poor country gentleman, and don't know how the world passes. Do you know that every syllable I write I hold my lips just for all the world as if I were talking in our own little language to MD. Faith, I am very silly; but I can't help it for my life. I got home early to night. My solicitors, that used to ply me every morning, knew not where to find me; and I am so happy not to, hear Patrick, Patrick, called a hundred times every morning. But I looked backward, and find I have said this before. What care I? go to the dean, and roast the oranges.
5. I dined to day wich my friend Lewis, and we were deep in politicks how to save the present ministry; for I am afraid of Mr. secretary, as I believe I told you. I went in the evening to see Mr. Harley; and, upon my word, I was in perfect joy. Mr. secretary was just going out of the door; but I made him come back, and there was the old Saturday club, lord keeper, lord Rivers, Mr. secretary, Mr. Harley and I; the first time since his stabbing. Mr. secretary went away; but I staid till nine, and made Mr. Harley show me his breast, and tell all the story: and I showed him the archbishop of Dublin's letter, and defended him effectually. We were all in mighty good humour. Lord keeper and I left them together, and I walked here after nine two miles, and I found a parson drunk fighting with a seaman, and Patrick and I were so wise to part them, but the seaman followed him to Chelsea, cursing at him, and the parson slipped into a house, and I know no more. It mortified me to see a man in my coat so overtaken. A pretty scene for one that just came from sitting with the prime ministers: I had no money in my pocket, and so could not be robbed. However, nothing but Mr. Harley shall make me take such a journey again. We don't yet know who will be president in lord Rochester's room. I measured and found that the penknife would have killed Mr. Harley, if it had gone but half the breadth of my thumb nail lower; so near was he to death. I was so curious to ask him what were his thoughts, while they were carrying him home in the chair. He said, he concluded himself a dead man. He will not allow that Guiscard gave him the second stab, though my lord keeper, who is blind, and I that was not there, are positive in it. He wears a plaster still as broad as half a crown. Smoke how wide the lines are, but faith I don't do it on purpose: but I have changed my side in this new Chelsea bed, and I don't know how, methinks, but it is so unfit, and so awkward, never saw the like.
6. You must remember to enclose your letters in a fair paper, and direct the outside thus; To Erasmus Lewis, esq., at my lord Dartmouth's office at Whitehall; I said so before, but it may miscarry you know, yet I think none of my letters did ever miscarry, faith I think never one; among all the privateers and the storms: O faith, my letters are too good to be lost. MD's letters may tarry, but never miscarry, as the old woman used to say. And indeed, how should they miscarry, when they never come before their time? It was a terrible rainy day; yet I made a shift to steal fair weather over head, enough to go and come in. I was early with the secretary, and dined with him afterward. In the morning I began to chide him, and tell him my fears of his proceedings. But Arthur Moore came up and relieved him. But I forgot, for you never heard of Arthur Moore. But when I get Mr. Harley alone, I will know the bottom. You will have Dr. Raymond over before this letter, and what care you?
7. I hope, and believe my walks every day do me good. I was busy at home, and set out late this morning, and dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, at whose lodgings I always change my gown and periwig. I visited this afternoon, and among others, poor Biddy Floyd, who is very red, but I believe won't be much marked. As I was coming home I met sir George Beaumont in the Pall mall, who would needs walk with me as far as Buckingham house. I was telling him of my head: he said he had been ill of the same disorder, and by all means forbid me bohea tea; which he said always gave it him; and that Dr. Radcliffe said it was very bad. Now I had observed the same thing, and have left it off this monch, having found myself ill after it several times; and I mention it, that Stella may consider it for her poor own iittle head: a pound lies ready packed up and directed for Mrs. Walls, to be sent by the first convenience. Mr. secretary told me yesterday, that Mr. Harley would this week be lord treasurer and a peer, so I expect it every day; yet perhaps it may not be 'till parliament is up, which will be in a fortnight.
8. I was to day with the duke of Ormond, and recommended to him the case of poor Joe Beaumont, who promises me to do him all justice and favour, and give him encouragement: and desired I would give a memorial to Ned Southwell about it, which I will, and so tell Joe when you see him, though he knows it already by a letter I writ to Mr. Warburton. It was bloody hot walking to day. I dined in the city, and went and came by water; and it rained so this evening again, that I thought I should hardly be able to get a dry hour to walk home in. I'll send to morrow to the coffeehouse for a letter from MD; but I would not have one methinks, 'till this is gone, as it shall on Saturday. I visited the duchess of Ormond this morning; she does not go over with the duke. I spoke to her to get a lad touched for the evil, the son of a grocer in Capel street, one Bell, the ladies have bought sugar and plums of him. Mrs. Mary used to go there often. This is Patrick's account; and the poor fellow has been here some months with his boy. But the queen has not been able to touch, and it now grows so warm, I fear she will not at all. Go, go, go to the dean's, and let him carry you to Donnybrook, and cut asparagus. Has Parvisol sent you any this year? I cannot sleep in the beginnings of the nights, the heat or something hinders me, and I am drowsy in the mornings.
9. Dr. Freind came this morning to visit Atterbury's lady and children as physician, and persuaded me to go with him to town in his chariot. He told me he had been an hour before with sir Cholmley Dering, Charles Dering's nephew, and head of that family in Kent, for which he is knight of the shire. He said he left him dying of a pistol-shot quite through the body, by one Mr. Thornhill. They fought at sword and pistol this morning in Tuttle fields, their pistols so near that the muzzles touched. Thornhill discharged first, and Dering having received the shot, discharged his pistol as he was falling, so it went into the air. The story of this quarrel is long. Thornhill had lost seven teeth by a kick in the mouth from Dering, who had first knocked him down: this was above a fortnight ago. Dering was next week to be married to a fine young lady. This makes a noise here, but you won't value it. Well, Mr. Harley, lord keeper, and one or two more are to be made lords immediately; their patents are now passing, and I read the preamble to Mr. Harley's, full of his praises. Lewis and I dined with Ford; I found the wine: two flasks of my Florence, and two bottles of six that Dr. Raymond sent me of French wine; he sent it to me to drink with sir Robert Raymond, and Mr. Harley's brother, whom I had introduced him to; but they never could find time to come: and now I have left the town, and it is too late. Raymond will think it a cheat. What care I, sirrah?
10. Pshaw, pshaw, Patrick brought me four letters to day: from Billy at Bath; Joe; Parvisol; and what was the fourth, who can tell? Stand away, who'll guess? who can it be? You old man with a stick, can you tell who the fourth is from? Iss, an please your honour, it is from one madam MD, Number fourteen. Well; but I can't send this away now, because it was here, and I was in town, but it shall go on Saturday, and this is Thursday night, and it will be time enough for Wexford. Take my method: I write here to Parvisol to lend Stella twenty pounds, and to take her note promissory to pay it in half a year, &c. You shall see, and if you want more, let me know afterward; and be sure my money shall be always paid constantly too. Have you been good or ill housewives pray?
11. Joe has written to me to get him a collector's place, nothing less; he says all the world knows of my great intimacy with Mr. Harley, and that the smallest word to him will do. This is the constant cant of puppies who are at a distance, and strangers to courts and ministers. My answer is this; which pray send: That I am ready to serve Joe, as far as I can; that I have spoken to the duke of Ormond, about his money, as I writ to Warburton; that for the particular he mentions, it is a work of time, which I cannot think of at present. But if accidents and opportunities should happen hereafter, I would not be wanting; that I know best how far my credit goes; that he is at distance and cannot judge, that I would be glad to do him good; and if fortune throws an opportunity in my way, I shall not be wanting. This is my answer; which you may send or read to him. Pray contrive that Parvisol may not run away with my two hundred pounds, but get Burton's note, and let the money be returned me by bill. Don't laugh, for I will be suspicious. Teach Parvisol to enclose, and direct the outside to Mr. Lewis. I will answer your letter in my text, only what I take notice of here excepted. I forgot to tell you, that at the court of requests to day I could not find a dinner I liked, and it grew late, and I dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, &c.
12. Morning. I will finish this letter before I go to town, because I shall be busy, and have neither time nor place there. Farewell, &c. &c.
Chelsea, May 12, 1711.
I SENT you my twenty-second this afternoon in town. I dined with Mr. Harley and the old club, lord Rivers, lord keeper, and Mr. secretary. They rallied me last week, and said I must have Mr. St. John's leave, so I writ to him yesterday, that foreseeing I should never dine again with sir Simon Harcourt, knight, and Robert Harley, esq., I was resolved to do it to day. The jest is, that before Saturday next we expect they will be lords: for Mr. Harley's patent is drawing to be earl of Oxford. Mr. secretary and I came away at seven, and he brought me to our town's end in his coach; so I lost my walk. St. John read my letter to the company, which was all raillery, and passed purely.
13. It rained all last night and this morning as heavy as lead; but I just got fair weather to walk to town before church. The roads are all over in deep puddle. The hay of our town is almost fit to be mowed. I went to court after church (as I always do on Sundays) and then dined with Mr. secretary, who has engaged me for every Sunday: and poor MD dined at home upon a bit of veal, and a pint of wine. Is it not plaguy insipid to tell you every day where I dine; yet now I have got into the way of it, I cannot forbear it neither. Indeed, Mr. Presto, you had better go answer MD's letter, N. 14. I'll answer it when I please, Mr. doctor. What's that you say? The court was very full this morning, expecting Mr. Harley would be declared earl of Oxford, and have the treasurer's staff. Mr. Harley never comes to court at all; somebody there asked me the reason; Why, said I, the lord of Oxford knows. He always goes to the queen by the back stairs. I was told for certain, your jackanapes, lord Sautry, was dead; captain Cammock assured me so; and now he's alive again, they say; but that shan't do: he shall be dead to me as long as he lives. Dick Tighe and I meet and never stir our hats. I am resolved to mistake him for Witherington, the little nasty lawyer that came up to me so sternly at the castle the day I left Ireland. I'll ask the gentleman I saw walking with him, how long Witherington has been in town.
14. I went to town to day by water. The hail quite discouraged me from walking, and there is no shade in the greatest part of the way: I took the first boat, and had a footman my companion; then went again by water, and dined in the city with a printer, to whom I carried a pamphlet in manuscript, that Mr. secretary gave me. The printer sent it to the secretary for his approbation, and he desired me to look it over, which I did, and found it a very scurvy piece. The reason I tell you so, is because it was done by your parson Slap, Scrap, Flap, (what d'ye call him) Trap, your chancellor's chaplain. 'Tis called A Character of the present Set of Whigs, and is going to be printed, and no doubt the author will take care to produce it in Ireland. Dr. Freind was with me, and pulled out a twopenny pamphlet just published, called The State of Wit, giving a character of all the papers that have come out of late. The author seems to be a whig, yet he speaks very highly of a paper called the Examiner, and says the supposed author of it is Dr. Swift. But above all things he praises the Tatlers and Spectators; and I believe Steele and Addison were privy to the printing of it. Thus is one treated by these impudent dogs. And that villain Curl has scraped up some trash, and calls it Dr. Swift's Miscellanies with the name at large: and I can get no satisfaction of him. Nay, Mr. Harley told me he had read it, and only laughed at me before lord keeper, and the rest. Since I came home I have been sitting with the prolocutor, dean Atterbury, who is my neighbour over the way; but generally keeps in town with his convocation. 'Tis late, &c.
15. My walk to town to day was after ten, and prodigiously hot: I dined with lord Shelburne, and have desired Mrs. Pratt, who lodges there, to carry over Mrs. Walls's tea; I hope she will do it, and they talk of going in a fortnight. My way is this: I leave my best gown and periwig at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, then walk up the Pall mall, through the park, out at Buckingham house, and so to Chelsea a little beyond the church: I set out about sunset, and get here in something less than an hour: it is two good miles and just five thousand seven hundred and forty-eight steps; so there is four miiles a day walking, without reckoning what I walk while I stay in town. When I pass the mall in the evening it is prodigious to see the number of ladies walking there, and I always cry shame at the ladies of Ireland, who never walk at all, as if their legs were of no use, but to be laid aside. I have been now almost three weeks here, and I thank God, am much better in my head, if it does but continue. I tell you what, if I was with you, when we went to Stoyte at Donnybrook, we would only take a coach to the hither end of Stephen's green, and from thence go every step on foot, yes faith, every step; it would do: DD goes as well as Presto. Every body tells me I look better already; for faith I looked sadly, that's certain. My breakfast is milk porridge: I don't love it, faith I hate it, but 'tis cheap and wholesome; and I hate to be obliged to either of those qualities for any thing.
16. I wonder why Presto will be so tedious in answering MD's letters; because he would keep the best to the last, I suppose. Well, Presto must be humoured, it must be as he will have it, or there will be an old to do. Dead with heat, are not you very hot? My walks make my forehead sweat rarely; sometimes my morning journey is by water, as it was to day with one parson Richardson, who came to see me, on his going to Ireland; and with him I send Mrs. Walls's tea, and three books I got from the lords of the treasury for the college. I dined with lord Shelburne to day; lady Kerry and Mrs. Pratt are going likewise for Ireland. — Lord I forgot, I dined with Mr. Prior to day, at his house, with dean Atterbury and others; and came home pretty late, and I think I'm in a fuzz, and don't know what I say, never saw the like.
17. Sterne came here by water to see me this morning, and I went back with him to his boat. He tells me, that Mrs. Edgeworth married a fellow in her journey to Chester: so I believe she little thought of any body's box but her own. I desired Sterne to give me directions where to get the box in Chester, which he says he will to morrow, and I will write to Richardson to get it up there as he goes by, and whip it over. It is directed to Mrs. Curry: you must caution her of it, and desire her to send it you when it comes. Sterne says Jemmy Leigh loves London mightily; that makes him stay so long, I believe, and not Sterne's business, which Mr. Harley's accident has put much backward. We expect now every day that he will be earl of Oxford and lord treasurer. His patent is passing; but they say, lord keeper's not yet, at least his son, young Harcourt, told me so t'other day. I dined to day privately with my friend Lewis at his lodgings at Whitehall. T'other day at Whitehall I met a lady of my acquaintance, whom I had not seen before since I came to England: we were mighty glad to see each other, and she has engaged me to visit her, as I design to do. It is one Mrs. Colledge; she has lodgings at Whitehall, having been seamstress to king William, worth three hundred a year. Her father was a fanatick joiner, hanged for treason in Shaftsbury's plot. This noble person and I were brought acquainted, some years ago, by lady Berkeley. I love good creditable acquaintance; I love to be the worst of the company: I am not of those that say, for want of company welcome trumpery. I was this evening with lady Kerry and Mrs. Pratt at Vauxhall, to hear the nightingales; but they are almost past singing.
18. I was hunting the secretary to day in vain about some business, and dined with colonel Crowe, late governor of Barbadoes, and your friend Sterne was the third: he is very kind to Sterne, and helps him in his business, which lies asleep till Mr. Harley is lord treasurer, because nothing of moment is now done in the treasury, the change being expected every day. I sat with dean Atterbury till one o'clock after I came home; so 'tis late, &c.
19. Do you know that about our town we are mowing already and making hay, and it smells so sweet as we walk through the flowery meads; but the haymaking nymphs are perfect drabs, nothing so clean and pretty as farther in the country. There is a mighty increase of dirty wenches in straw hats since I knew London. I staid at home till five o'clock, and dined with dean Atterbury: then went by water to Mr. Harley's, where the Saturday club was met, with the addition of the duke of Shrewsbury. I whispered lord Rivers, that I did not like to see a stranger among us: and the rogue told it aloud: but Mr. secretary said, the duke writ to have leave; so I appeared satisfied, and so we laughed. Mr. secretary told me the duke of Buckingham had been talking to him much about me, and desired my acquaintance. I answered, It could not be: for he had not made sufficient advances. Then the duke of Shrewsbury said, he thought that duke was not used to make advances. I said, I could not help that; for I always expected advances in proportion to men's quality, and more from a duke than other men. The duke replied, that he did not mean any thing of his quality; which was handsomely said enough: for he meant his pride: and I have invented a notion to believe that nobody is proud. At ten all the company went away; and from ten till twelve Mr. Harley and I sat together, where we talked through a great deal of matters I had a mind to settle with him, and then walked, in a fine moonshine night, to Chelsea, where I got by one. Lord Rivers conjured me not to walk so late; but I would, because I had no other way; but I had no money to lose.
20. By what lord keeper told me last night, I find he will not be made a peer so soon: but Mr. Harley's patent for earl of Oxford is now drawing, and will be done in three days. We made him own it, which he did scurvily, and then talked of it like the rest. Mr. secretary had too much company with him to day; so I came away soon after dinner. I give no man liberty to swear or talk b—dy, and I found some of them were in constraint, so I left them to themselves. I wish you a merry Whitsuntide, and pray tell me how you pass away your time: but faith, you are going to Wexford, and I fear this letter is too late; it shall go on Thursday, and sooner it cannot, I have so much business to hinder me answering yours. Where must I direct in your absence? Do you quit your lodgings?
21. Going to town this morning, I met in the Pall mall a clergyman of Ireland, whom I love very well and was glad to see, and with him a little jackanapes of Ireland too, who married Nanny Swift, uncle Adam's daughter, one Perry; perhaps you may have heard of him. His wife has sent him here to get a place from Lownds; because my uncle and Lownds married two sisters, and Lownds is a great man here in the treasury: but by good luck I have no acquaintance with him: however, he expected I should be his friend to Lownds, and one word of mine, &c. the old cant. But I will not go two yards to help him. I dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, where I keep my best gown and periwig to put on when I come to town and be a spark.
22. I dined to day in the city, and coming home this evening, I met sir Thomas Mansel and Mr. Lewis in the park. Lewis whispered me, that Mr. Harley's patent for earl of Oxford was passed in Mr. secretary St. John's office; so to morrow or next day I suppose he will be declared earl of Oxford, and have the staff. This man has grown by persecutions, turnings out, and stabbing. What waiting, and crowding, and bowing, will be at his levee? yet, if human nature be capable of so much constancy, I should believe he will be the same man still, the necessary forms of grandeur he must keep up. 'Tis late sirrahs, and I'll go sleep.
23. Morning. I sat up late last night, and waked late to day; but will now answer your letter in bed before I go to town, and will send it to morrow; for perhaps you mayn't go so soon to Wexford. — No, you are not out in your number: the last was Number 14, and so I told you twice or thrice; will you never be satisfied? What shall we do for poor Stella? Go to Wexford, for God's sake: I wish you were to walk there by three miles a day, with a good lodging at every mile's end. Walking has done me so much good, that I cannot but prescribe it often to poor Stella. Parvisol has sent me a bill for fifty pounds, which I am sorry for, having not written to him for it, only mentioned it two months ago; but I hope he will be able to tell you what I have drawn upon him for: he never sent me any sum before but one bill of twenty pounds, half a year ago. You are welcome as my blood to every farthing I have in the world: and all that grieves me is, I am not richer, for MD's sake, as hope saved. I suppose you give up your lodgings when you go to Wexford; yet that will be inconvenient too: yet I wish again you were under the necessity of rambling the country till Michaelmas, faith. No, let him keep the shelves, with a pox; yet they are exacting people about those four weeks, or Mrs. Brent may have the shelves, if she please. I am obliged to your dean for his kind offer of lending me money. Will that be enough to say? A hundred people would lend me money, or to any man who has not the reputation of a squanderer. O faith, I should be glad to be in the same kingdom with MD, however, although you were at Wexford. But I am kept here by a most capricious fate, which I would break through, if I could do it with decency or honour. — To return without some mark of distinction, would look extremely little;, and I would likewise gladly be somewhat richer than I am. I will say no more, but beg you to be easy, 'till fortune take her course, and to believe that MD's felicity is the great end I aim at in all my pursuits. And so let us talk no more on this subject, which makes me melancholy, and that I would fain divert. Believe me, no man breathing at present has less share of happiness in life than I: I do not say I am unhappy at all, but that every thing here is tasteless to me for want of being where I would be. And so a short sigh, and no more of this. Well, come and let's see what's next, young women. Pox take Mrs. Edgworth and Sterne: I will take some methods about that box. What orders would you have me give about the picture? Can't you do with it as if it were your own? No, I hope Manley will keep his place; for I hear nothing of sir Thomas Frankland's losing his. Send nothing under cover to Mr. Addison, but to Erasmus Lewis, esq., at my lord Dartmouth's office at Whitehall. Direct your outside so. — Poor dear Stella, don't write in the dark, nor in the light neither, but dictate to Dingley; she is a naughty healthy girl, and may drudge for both. Are you good company together? and don't you quarrel too often? Pray, love one another, and kiss one another just now, as Dingley is reading this; for you quarrelled this morning just after Mrs. Marget had poured water on Stella's head: I heard the little bird say so. Well, I have answered every thing in your letter that required it, and yet the second side is not full. I'll come home at night, and say more; and to morrow this goes for certain. Go, get you gone to your own chambers, and let Presto rise like a modest gentleman, and walk to town. I fancy I begin to sweat less in the forehead by constant walking than I used to do; but then I shall be so sunburnt, the ladies won't like me. Come, let me rise, sirrahs, Morrow. — At night. I dined with Ford to day at his lodgings, and I found wine out of my own cellar, some of my own chest of the great duke's wine: it begins to turn. They say wine with you in Ireland is half a crown a bottle. 'Tis as Stella says, nothing that once grows dear in Ireland ever grows cheap again, except corn, with a pox, to ruin the parson. I had a letter to day from the archbishop of Dublin, giving me farther thanks about vindicating him to Mr. Harley and Mr. St. John, and telling me a long story about your mayor's election, wherein I find he has had a finger, and given way to farther talk about him; but we know nothing of it here yet. This walking to and fro, and dressing myself, takes up so much of my time, that I cannot go among company so much as formerly; yet what must a body do? I thank God, I yet continue much better since I left the town; I know not how long it may last. I am sure it has done me some good for the present. I do not totter as I did, but walk firm as a cock, only once or twice for a minute, I don't know how; but it went off, and I never followed it. Does Dingley read my hand as well as ever? Do you, sirrah? Poor Stella must not read Presto's ugly small hand. Preserve your eyes. If you be wise. Your friend Walls's tea will go in a day or two toward Chester by one parson Richardson. My humble service to her, and to good Mrs. Stoyte, and Catherine; and pray walk while you continue in Dublin. I expect your next but one will be from Wexford. God bless dearest MD.
24. Morning. Mr. secretary has sent his groom hither to invite me to dinner to day, &c. God Almighty for ever bless and preserve you both, and give you health, &c. Amen. Farewell, &c.
Don't I often say the same thing two or three times in the same letter, sirrah?
Great wits, they say, have but short memories; that's good vile conversation.
Chelsea, May 24, 1711.
MORNING. Once in my life the number of my letters and of the day of the month is the same; that's lucky, boys; that's a sign that things will meet, and that we shall make a figure together. What, will you still have the impudence to say London, England, because I say Dublin, Ireland? Is there no difference between London and Dublin, saucy boxes? I have sealed up my letter, and am going to town. Morrow, sirrahs. — At night. I dined with the secretary to day; we sat down between five and six. Mr. Harley's patent passed this morning: he is now earl of Oxford, earl Mortimer, and lord Harley of Wigmore castle. My letter was sealed, or I would have told you this yesterday; but the publick news may tell it you. The queen, for all her favour, has kept a rod for him in her closet this week; I suppose he will take it from her though in a day or two. At eight o'clock this evening it rained prodigiously, as it did from five; however I set out, and in half way the rain lessened, and I got home, but tolerably wet; and this is the first wet walk I have had in a month's time that I am here: but however I got to bed, after a short visit to Atterbury.
25. It rained this morning, and I went to town by water; and Ford and I dined with Mr. Lewis by appointment. I ordered Patrick to bring my gown and periwig to Mr. Lewis, because I designed to go to see lord Oxford, and so I told the dog; but he never came, though I staid an hour longer than I appointed: so I went in my old gown, and sat with him two hours, but could not talk over some business I had with him; so he has desired me to dine with him on Sunday, and I must disappoint the secretary. My lord set me down at a coffeehouse, where I waited for the dean of Carlisle's chariot to bring me to Chelsea; for the dean did not come himself, but sent me his chariot, which has cost me two shillings to the coachman; and so I am got home, and Lord knows what is become of Patrick. I think I must send him over to you; for he is an intolerable rascal. If I had come without a gown, he would have served me so, though my life and preferment should have lain upon it: and I am making a livery for him will cost me four pounds; but I will order the tailor to morrow to stop till farther orders. My lord Oxford can't yet abide to be called my lord; and when I called him my lord, he called me Dr. Thomas Swift, which he always does when he has a mind to tease me. By a second hand, he proposed my being his chaplain, which I by a second hand excused; but we had no talk of it to day: but I will be no man's chaplain alive. But I must go and be busy.
26. I never saw Patrick till this morning, and that only once, for I dressed myself without him; and when I went to town, he was out of the way. I immediately sent for the tailor, and ordered him to stop his hand in Patrick's clothes till farther orders. O, if it were in Ireland, I should have turned him off ten times ago; and it is no regard to him, but myself, that has made me keep him so long. Now I am afraid to give the rogue his clothes. What shall I do? I wish MD were here to entreat for him, just here at the bed's side. Lady Ashburnham has been engaging me this long time to dine with her, and I set to day apart for it; and whatever was the mistake, she sent me word, she was at dinner and undressed, but would be glad to see me in the afternoon; so I dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and would not go see her at all, in a huff. My fine Florence is turning sour with a vengeance, and I have not drunk half of it. As I was coming home to night, sir Thomas Mansel and Tom Harley met me in the park, and made me walk with them till nine, like unreasonable whelps; so I got not here till ten: but it was a fine evening, and the footpath clean enough already after this hard rain.
27. Going this morning to town, I saw two old lame fellows walking to a brandy shop, and when they got to the door, stood a long time complimenting who should go in first. Though this be no jest to tell, it was an admirable one to see. I dined to day with my lord Oxford and the ladies, the new countess, and lady Betty, who has been these three days a lady born. My lord left us at seven, and I had no time to speak to him about some affairs; but he promises in a day or two we shall dine alone; which is mighty likely, considering we expect every moment that the queen will give him the staff, and then he will be so crowded, he will be good for nothing: for aught I know he may have it to night at council.
28. I had a petition sent me t'other day from one Stephen Gernon, setting forth that he formerly lived with Harry Tenison, who gave him an employment of gauger; and that he was turned out after Harry's death, and came for England, and is now starving, or, as he expresses it, that the staff of life has been of late a stranger to his appetite. To day the poor fellow called, and I knew him very well, a young slender fellow with freckles in his face; you must remember him; he waited at table as a better sort of servant. I gave him a crown, and promised to do what I could to help him to a service, which I did for Harry Tenison's memory. It was bloody hot walking to day, and I was so lazy I dined where my new gown was, at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, and came back like a fool, and the dean of Carlisle has sat with me till eleven. Lord Oxford has not the staff yet.
29. I was this morning in town by ten, though it was shaving day, and went to the secretary about some affairs, then visited the duke and duchess of Ormond; but the latter was dressing to go out, and I could not see her. My lord Oxford had the staff given him this morning; so now I must call him lord Oxford no more, but lord treasurer: I hope he will stick there: this is twice he has changed his name this week; and I heard to day in the city (where I dined) that he will very soon have the garter. — Prithee, don't you observe how strangely I have changed my company and manner of living? I never go to a coffeehouse; you hear no more of Addison, Steele, Henley, lady Lucy, Mrs. Finch, lord Somers, lord Halifax, &c. I think I have altered for the better. Did I tell you, the archbishop of Dublin has writ me a long letter of a squabble in your town about choosing a mayor, and that he apprehended some censure for the share he had in it. I have not heard any thing of it here; but I shall not be always able to defend him. We hear your bishop Hickman is dead; but nobody here will do any thing for me in Ireland; so they may die as fast or slow as they please. — Well, you are constant to your deans, and your Stoyte, and your Walls. Walls will have her tea soon; parson Richardson is either going or gone to Ireland, and has it with him. I hear Mr. Lewis has two letters for me: I could not call for them to day, but will to morrow; and perhaps one of them may be from our little MD, who knows, man? who can tell? Many more unlikely thing has happened. — Pshaw, I write so plaguy little, I can hardly see it myself. Write bigger, sirrah Presto. No, but I won't. O, you are a saucy rogue, Mr. Presto, you are so impudent. Come, dear rogues, let Presto go to sleep: I have been with the dean, and 'tis near twelve.
30. I am so hot and lazy after my morning's walk, that I loitered at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, where my best gown and periwig was, and out of mere listlessness dine there very often, so I did to day; but I got little MD's letter. N. 15 (you see, sirrahs, I remember to tell the number) from Mr. Lewis, and I read it in a closet they lend me at Mrs. Van's, and I find Stella is a saucy rogue and a great writer, and can write finely still when her hand's in, and her pen good. When I came here to night, I had a mighty mind to go swim after I was cool, for my lodging is just by the river, and I went down with only my nightgown and slippers on at eleven, but came up again; however, one of these nights I will venture.
31. I was so hot this morning with my walk, that I resolve to do so no more during this violent burning weather. It is comical, that now we happen to have such heat to ripen the fruit, there has been the greatest blast that ever was known, and almost all the fruit is despaired of. I dined with lord Shelburne; lady Kerry and Mrs. Pratt are going to Ireland. I went this evening to lord treasurer, and sat about two hours with him in mixed company; he left us, and went to court, and carried two staves with him, so I suppose we shall have a new lord steward, or comptroller to morrow; I smoked that state secret out by that accident. I won't answer your letter yet, sirrahs, no, I won't, madam.
June 1. I wish you a merry month of June. I dined again with the Vans and sir Andrew Fountain. I always give them a flask of my Florence, which now begins to spoil, but 'tis near an end. I went this afternoon to Mrs. Vedeau's and brought away madam Dingley's parchment and letter of attorney. Mrs. Vedeau tells me, she has sent the bill a fortnight ago. I will give the parchment to Ben Tooke, and you shall send him a letter of attorney at your leisure, enclosed to Mr. Presto. Yes, I now think your mackarel is full as good as ours, which I did not think formerly. I was bit about the two staves, for there is no new officer made to day. This letter will find you still in Dublin, I suppose, or at Donnybrook, or losing your money at Walls' (how does she do?)
3. No boats on Sunday, never: so I was forced to walk, and so hot by the time I got to Ford's lodging, that I was quite spent; I think the weather is mad. I could not go to church. I dined with the secretary as usual, and old colonel Graham that lived at [[w:Swinley Forest|]] Bagshot heath, and they said in was colonel Graham's house. Pshaw, I remember it very well, when I used to go for a walk to London from Moor park. What, I warrant you don't remember the Golden Farmer neither, Figgarkick Soley?
4. When must we answer this letter, this N. 15 of our little MD? heat and laziness, and sir Andrew Fountain made me dine to day again at Mrs. Van's; and, in short, this weather is insupportable; how is it with you? lady Betty Butler, and lady Ashburnham sat with me two or three hours this evening in my closet at Mrs. Van's. They are very good girls, and if lady Betty went to Ireland you should let her be acquainted with you. How does Dingley do this hot weather? Stella, I think, never complains of it, she loves hot weather. There has not been a drop of rain since Friday se'nnight. Yes, you do love hot weather, naughty Stella, you do so, and Presto can't abide it. Be a good girl then, and I'll love you: and love one another, and don't be quarrelling girls.
5. I dined in the city to day, and went from hence early to town, and visited the duke of Ormond, and Mr. secretary. They say, my lord treasurer has a dead warrant in his pocket, they mean, a list of those who are to be turned out of employment, and we every day now expect those changes. I passed by the treasury to day, and saw vast crowds waiting to give lord treasurer petitions as he passes by. He is now at the top of power and favour: he keeps no levee yet. I am cruel thirsty this hot weather. — I am just this minute going to swim. I take Patrick down with me to hold my nightgown, shirt, and slippers, and borrow a napkin of my landlady for a cap. — So farewell till I come up; but there's no danger, don't be frighted — I have been swimming this half hour and more; and when I was coming out I dived, to make my head and all through wet, like a cold bath; but as I dived, the napkin fell off and is lost, and I have that to pay for. O faith, the great stones were so sharp, I could hardly set my feet on them as I came out. It was pure and warm. I got to bed, and will now go sleep.
6. Morning. This letter shall go to morrow; so I will answer yours when I come home to night. I feel no hurt from last night's swimming. I lie with nothing but the sheet over me, and my feet quite bare. I must rise and go to town before the tide is against me. Morrow, sirrahs; dear sirrahs. morrow. — At night. I never felt so hot a day as this since I was born. I dined with lady Betty Germain, and there was the young earl of Berkeley and his fine lady. I never saw her before, nor think her near so handsome as she passes for. — After dinner Mr. Bertue would not let me put ice in my wine; but said my lord Dorchester got the bloody flux with it, and that it was the worst thing in the world. Thus are we plagued, thus are we plagued; yet I have done it five or six times this summer, and was but the drier and the hotter for it. Nothing makes me so excessively peevish as hot weather. Lady Berkeley after dinner clapped my hat on another lady's head, and she in roguery put it upon the rails. I minded them not; but in two minuses they called me to the window, and lady Carteret showed me my hat out of her window five doors off, where I was forced to walk to it, and pay her and old lady Weymouth a visit, with some more bell-dames. Then I went and drank coffee, and made one or two puns with lord Pembroke, and designed to go to lord treasurer; but it was too late, and besides I was half broiled, and broiled without butter; for I never sweat after dinner, if I drink any wine. Then I sat an hour with lady Betty Butler at tea, and every thing made me hotter and drier. Then I walked home, and was here by ten, so miserably hot, that I was in as perfect a passion as ever I was in my life at the greatest affront or provocation. Then I sat an hour till I was quite dry and cool enough to go swim; which I did, but with so much vexation, that I think I have given it over: for I was every moment disturbed by boats, rot them; and that puppy Patrick, standing ashore, would let them come within a yard or two, and then call sneakingly to them. The only comfort I proposed here in hot weather is gone; for there is no jesting with those boats after 'tis dark: I had none last night. I dived to dip my head, and held my cap on with both my hands, for fear of losing it. — Pox take the boats! Amen. 'Tis near twelve, and so I'll answer your letter (it strikes twelve now) to morrow morning.
7. Morning. Well, now let us answer MD's letter, N. 15, 15, 15, 15. Now I have told you the number? 15, 15; there, impudence, to call names in the beginning of your letter, before you say. How do you do, Mr. Presto? — There's your breeding. Where's your manners, sirrah, to a gentleman? Get you gone, you couple of jades. — No, I never sit up late now: but this abominable hot weather will force me to eat or drink something that will do me hurt. I do venture to eat a few strawberries. — Why then, do you know in Ireland that Mr. St. John talked so in parliament? your whigs are plaguily bit; for he is entirely for their being all out. — And are you as vicious in snuff as ever? I believe, as you say, it does neither hurt nor good; but I have left it off, and when any body offers me their box, I take about a tenth part of what I used to do, and then just smell to it, and privately fling the rest away. I keep to my tobacco still, as you say; but even much less of that than formerly, only mornings and evenings, and very seldom in the day. — As for Joe, I have recommended his case heartily to my lord lieutenant; and, by his direction, given a memorial of it to Mr. Southwell, to whom I have recommended it likewise. I can do no more, if he were my brother. His business will be to apply himself to Southwell. And you must desire Raymond, if Price of Galway comes to town, to desire him to wait on Mr. Southwell, as recommended by me for one of the duke's chaplains, which was all I could do for him; and he must be presented to the duke, and make his court, and ply about and find out some vacancy, and solicit early for it. The bustle about your mayor I had before, as I told you, from the archbishop of Dublin. Was Raymond not come till May 18? so he says fine things of me? certainly he lies. I'm sure I used him indifferently enough, and we never once dined together, or walked, or were in any third place, only he came sometimes to my lodgings, and even there was oftener denied than admitted. — What an old bill is that you sent of Raymond's? a bill upon one Murry in Chester, which depends entirely not only upon Raymond's honesty, but his discretion; and in money matters he is the last man I would depend on. Why should sir Alexander Cairnes in London pay me a bill, drawn by God knows who, upon Murry in Chester? I was at Cairnes's, and they can do no such thing. I went among some friends, who are merchants, and I find the bill must be sent to Murry, accepted by him, and then returned back, and then Cairnes may accept or refuse it as he pleases. Accordingly I gave sir Thomas Frankland the bill, who has sent it to Chester, and ordered the postmaster there to get it accepted, and then send it back, and in a day or two I shall have an answer; and therefore this letter must stay a day or two longer than I intended, and see what answer I get. Raymond should have written to Murry at the same time, to desire sir Alexander Cairnes to have answered such a bill, if it come. But Cairnes's clerks (himself was not at home) said, that they had received no notice of it, and could do nothing; and advised me to send to Murry. — I have been six weeks to day at Chelsea, and you know it but just now. And so dean —— thinks I write the Medley. Pox of his judgment; 'tis equal to his honesty. Then you han't seen the Miscellany yet. Why, 'tis a four shilling book: has nobody carried it over? — No, I believe Manley will not lose his place: for his friend in England is so far from being out, that he has taken a new patent since the postoffice act; and his brother Jack Manley here takes his part firmly; and I have often spoken to Southwell in his behalf, and he seems very well inclined to him. But the Irish folks here in general are horribly violent against him. Besides, he must consider he could nor send Stella wine if he were put out. And so he is very kind, and sends you a dozen bottles of wine at a time, and you win eight shillings at a time; and how much do you lose? No, no, never one syllable about that, I warrant you. — Why this same Stella is so unmerciful a writer, she has hardly left any room for Dingley. If you have such summer there as here, sure the Wexford waters are good by this time. I forgot what weather we had May 6th; go look in my journal. We had terrible rain the 24th and 25th, and never a drop since. Yes, yes, I remember Berested's bridge; the coach sosses up and down as one goes that way, just as at Hockley in the Hole. I never impute any illness or health I have to good or ill weather, but to want of exercise, or ill air, or something I have eaten, or hard study, or sitting up; and so I fence against those as well as I can: but who a deuce can help the weather? Will. Seymor, the general, was excessively hot with the sun shining full upon him: so he turns to the sun, and says, Hearkee, friend, you had better go and ripen cucumbers than plague me at this rate, &c. Another time fretting at the heat, a gentleman by said, it was such weather as pleased God: Seymor said, perhaps it may; but I'm sure it pleases nobody else. Why, madam Dingley, the first-fruits are done. Southwell told me they went to inquire about them, and lord treasurer said they were done and had been done long ago. And I'll tell you a secret you must not mention, that the duke of Ormond is ordered to take nonce of them in his speech to your parliament: and I desire you will take care to say on occasion, that my lord treasurer Harley did it many months ago, before the duke was lord lieutenant. And yet I cannot possibly come over yet; so get you gone to Wexford, and make Stella well. — Yes, yes, I take care not to walk late; I never did but once, and there are five hundred people on the way as I walk. — Tisdall is a puppy, and I will excuse him the half hour he would talk with me. As for the Examiner, I have heard a whisper, that after that of this day, which tells what this parliament has done, you will hardly find them so good. I prophecy they will be trash for the future; and methinks in this day's Examiner the author talks doubtfully, as if he would write no more. Observe whether the change be discovered in Dublin, only for your own curiosity, that's all. Make a mouth there. Mrs. Vedeau's business I have answered, and I hope the bill is not lost. Morrow. 'Tis stewing hot, but I must rise, and go to town between fire and water. Morrow, sirrahs both, morrow. — At night. I dined to day with colonel Crowe, governor of Jamaica, and your friend Sterne. I presented Sterne to my lord treasurer's brother, and gave him his case, and engaged him in his favour. At dinner there fell the swingingest long shower, and the most grateful to me that ever I saw: it thundered fifty times at least, and the air is so cool, that a body is able to live; and I walked home to night with comfort, and without dirt. I went this evening to lord treasurer, and sat with him two hours, and we were in a very good humour, and he abused me, and called me Dr. Thomas Swift fifty times: I have told you he does that when he has a mind to make me mad. Sir Thomas Frankland gave me to day a letter from Murry, accepting my bill: so all is well: only by a letter from [[The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Erasmus Lewis to Jonathan Swift - 6#Parvisol|]] Parvisol, I find there are some perplexities. — Joe has likewise written to me, to thank me for what I have done for him; and desires I would write to the bishop of Clogher, that Tom Ashe may not hinder his father from being portrief. I have written, and sent to Joe several times, that I will not trouble myself at all about Trim. I wish them their liberty; but they do not deserve it: so tell Joe, and send to him. I am mighty happy with this rain: I was at the end of my patience, but now I live again. This cannot go till Saturday; and perhaps I may go out of town with lord Shelburne and lady Kerry to morrow for two or three days. Lady Kerry has written to desire it; but to morrow I shall know farther. — O this dear rain, I cannot forbear praising it: I never felt myself to be revived so in my life. It lasted from three till five, hard as a horn, and mixed with hail.
8. Morning. I am going to town, and will just finish this there, if I go into the country with lady Kerry and lord Shelburne: so morrow, till an hour or two hence. — In town, I met Cairnes, who, I suppose, will pay me the money; though he says, I must send him the bill first, and I will get it done in absence. Farewell, &c. &c.
Chelsea, June 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
I HAVE been all this time at Wicomb, between Oxford and London, with lord Shelburne, who has the squire's house at the town's end, and an estate there in a delicious country. Lady Kerry and Mrs. Pratt were with us, and we passed our time well enough; and there I wholly disengaged myself from all publick thoughts, and every thing but MD, who had the impudence to send me a letter there; but I'll be revenged: I'll answer it. This day, the 20th, I came from Wicomb with lady Kerry after dinner, lighted at Hyde-Park corner, and walked: it was twenty-seven miles, and we came it in about five hours.
21. I went at noon to see Mr. secretary at his office, and there was lord treasurer: so I killed tvo birds, &c. and we were glad to see one another, and so forth. And the secretary and I dined at sir William Wyndham's, who married lady Catharine Seymour, your acquaintance, I suppose. There were ten of us at dinner. It seems in my absence they had erected a club, and made me one; and we made some laws to day, which I am to digest, and add to, against next meeting. Our meetings are to be every Thursday: we are yet but twelve: lord keeper and lord treasurer were proposed; but I was against them, and so was Mr. secretary, though their sons are of it, and so they are excluded; but we design to admit the duke of Shrewsbury. The end of our club is to advance conversation and friendship, and to reward deserving persons with our interest and recommendation. We take in none but men of wit or men of interest; and if we go on as we begin, no other club in this town will be worth talking of. The solicitor general, sir Robert Raymond, is one of our club; and I ordered him immediately to write to your lord chancellor in favour of Dr. Raymond; so tell Raymond, if you see him; but I believe this will find you at Wexford. This letter will come three weeks after the last; so there is a week lost; but that is owing to my being out of town; yet I think it is right, because it goes enclosed to Mr. Reading: and why should he know how often Presto writes to MD, pray? — I sat this evening with lady Butler and lady Ashburnham, and then came home by eleven, and had a good cool walks for we have had no extreme hot weather this fortnight, but a great deal of rain at times, and a body can live and breathe. I hope it will hold so. We had peaches to day.
22. I went late to day to town, and dined with my friend Lewis. I saw Will. Congreve attending at the treasury, by order, with his brethren, the commissioners of the wine licences. I had often mentioned him with kindness to lord treasurer; and Congreve told me, that after they had answered to what they were sent for, my lord called him privately, and spoke to him with great kindness, promising his protection, &c. The poor man said, he had been used so ill of late years, that he was quite astonished at my lord's goodness, &c. and desired me to tell my lord so; which I did this evening, and recommended him heartily. My lord assured me he esteemed him very much, and would be always kind to him; that what he said was to make Congreve easy, because he knew people talked as if his lordship designed to turn every body out, and particularly Congreve; which indeed was true, for the poor man told me he apprehended it. As I left my lord treasurer, I called on Congreve (knowing where he dined) and told him what had passed between my lord and me: so I have made a worthy man easy, and that is a good day's work. I am proposing to my lord to erect a society or academy for correcting and settling our language, that we may not perpetually be changing as we do. He enters mightily into it, so does the dean of Carlisle; and I design to write a letter to lord treasurer with the proposals of it, and publish it; and so I told my lord, and he approves it. Yesterday's was a sad Examiner, and last week was very indifferent, though some little scraps of the old spirit, as if he had given some hints; but yesterday's is all trash. It is plain the hand is changed.
23. I have not been in London today: for Dr. Gastrel and I dined, by invitation, with the dean of Carlisle, my neighbour; so I know not what they are doing in the world, a mere country gentleman. And are not you ashamed both to go into the country just when I did, and stay ten days, just as I did saucy monkies? But I never rode; I had no horses, and our coach was out of order, and we went and came in a hired one. Do you keep your lodgings when you go to Wexford? I suppose you do; for you will hardly stay above two months. I have been walking about our town to night, and it is a very scurvy place for walking. I am thinking to leave it, and return to town, now the Irish folks are gone. Ford goes in three days. How does Dingley divert herself while Stella is riding? work, or read, or walk? Does Dingley ever read to you? Had you ever a book with you in the country? Is all that left off? confess. Well, I'll go sleep, 'tis past eleven, and I go early to sleep; I write nothing at night but to MD.
24. Stratford and I, and pastoral Philips (just come from Denmark) dined at Ford's to day, who paid his way, and goes for Ireland on Tuesday. The earl of Peterborow is returned from Vienna without one servant: he left them scattered in several towns of Germany. I had a letter from him, four days ago, from Hanover, where he desires I would immediately send him an answer to his house at Parson's green, about five miles off. I wondered what he meant, till I heard he was come. He sent expresses, and got here before them. He is above fifty, and as active as one of five and twenty. I have not seen him yet, nor know when I shall, or where to find him.
25. Poor duke of Shrewsbury has been very ill of a fever: we were all in a fright about him: I thank God, he is better. I dined to day at lord Ashburnham's with his lady, for he was not at home: she is a very good girl, and always a great favourite of mine. Sterne tells me, he has desired a friend to receive your box in Chester, and carry it over. I fear he will miscarry in his business, which was sent to the treasury before he was recommended; for I was positive only to second his recommendations, and all his other friends failed him. However, on your account, I will do what I can for him to morrow with the secretary of the treasury.
26. We had much company to day at dinner at lord treasurer's. Prior never fails: he is a much better courtier than I; and we expect every day that he will be a commissioner of the customs, and that in a short time a great many more will be turned out. They blame lord treasurer for his slowness in turning people out; but I suppose he has his reasons. They still keep my neighbour Atterbury in suspense about the deanery of Christchurch, which has been above six months vacant, and he is heartily angry. I reckon you are now preparing for your Wexford expedition; and poor Dingley is full of carking and caring, and scolding. How long will you stay? Shall I be in Dublin before you return? Don't fall and hurt yourselves, nor overturn the coach. Love one another, and be good girls; and drink Presto's health in water, madam Stella; and in good ale, madam Dingley.
27. The secretary appointed me to dine with him to day, and we were to do a world of business: he came at four, and brought Prior with him, and had forgot the appointment, and no business was done. I left him at eight, and went to change my gown at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's; and there was sir Andrew Fountain at ombre with lady Ashburnham, and lady Frederick Schomberg; and lady Mary Schomberg, and lady Betty Butler, and others talking; and it put me in mind of the dean, and Stoyte, and Walls, and Stella at play, and Dingley and I looking on. I staid with them till ten, like a fool. Lady Ashburnham is something like Stella; so I helped her, and wished her good cards. It is late, &c.
28. Well, but I must answer this letter of our MD's. Saturday approaches, and I han't written down this side. O faith, Presto has been a sort of a lazy fellow: but Presto will remove to town this day se'nnight: the secretary has commanded me to do so; and I believe he and I shall go for some days to Windsor, where he will have leisure to mind some business we have together. To day, our society (it must not be called a club) dined at Mr. secretary's; we were but eight, the rest sent excuses, or were out of town. We sat till eight, and made some laws and settlements; and then I went to take leave of lady Ashburnham, who goes out of town to morrow, as a great many of my acquaintance are already, and left the town very thin. I shall make but short journies this summer, and not be long out of London. The days are grown sensibly shorter already, and all our fruit blasted. Your duke of Ormond is still at Chester; and perhaps this letter will be with you as soon as he. Sterne's business is quite blown up: they stand to it to send him back to the commissioners of the revenue in Ireland for a reference, and all my credit could not alter it, although I almost fell out with the secretary of the treasury, who is my lord treasurer's cousin-german, and my very good friend. It seems every step he has hitherto taken hath been wrong; at least they say so, and that is the same thing. I am heartily sorry for it; and I really think they are in the wrong, and use him hardly; but I can do no more.
29. Steele has had the assurance to write to me, that I would engage my lord treasurer to keep a friend of his in an employment: I believe I told you how he and Addison served me for my good offices in Steele's behalf; and I promised lord treasurer never to speak for either of them again. Sir Andrew Fountain and I dined to day at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's. Dilly Ashe has been in town this fortnight: I saw him twice, he was four days at lord Pembroke's in the country, punning with him, his face is very well. I was this evening two or three hours at lord treasurer's, who called me Dr. Thomas Swift twenty times; that's his way of teasing. I left him at nine, and got home here by ten, like a gentleman; and to morrow morning I'll answer your letter, sirrahs.
30. Morning. I am terrible sleepy always in a morning; I believe it is my walk overnight that disposes me to sleep; faith 'tis now striking eight, and I am but just awake. Patrick comes early, and wakes me five or six times, but I have excuses, though I am three parts asleep. I tell him I sat up late, or slept ill in the night, and often it is a lie. I have now got little MD's letter before me, N. 16, no more, nor no less, no mistake. Dingley says, "This letter won't be above six lines," and I was afraid it was true, though I saw it filled on both sides. The bishop of Clogher writ me word you were in the country, and that he heard you were well; I am glad at heart MD rides, and rides, and rides. Our hot weather ended in May, and all this month has been moderate: it was then so hot, I was not able to endure it; I was miserable every moment, and found myself disposed to be peevish and quarrelsome; I believe a very hot country would make me stark mad. — Yes, my head continues pretty tolerable, and I impute it all to walking. Does Stella eat fruit? I eat a little, but I always repent, and resolve against it. No, in very hot weather I always go to town by water: but I constantly walk back, for then the sun is down. And so Mrs. Proby goes with you to Wexford; she's admirable company: you'll grow plaguy wise with those you frequent. Mrs. Taylor, and Mrs. Proby; take care of infection. I believe my two hundred pounds will be paid; but that sir Alexander Cairnes is a scrupulous puppy: I left the bill with Mr. Stratford, who is to have the money. Now, madam Stella, what say you? you ride every day; I know that already, sirrah; and if you rid everyday for a twelvemonth, you would be still better and better. No, I hope Parvisol will not have the impudence to make you stay an hour for the money; if he does, I'll un-parvisol him; pray let me know. O Lord, how hasty we are, Stella can't stay writing and writing; she must write and go a cockhorse, pray now. Well, but the horses are not come to the door; the fellow can't find the bridle; your stirrup is broken; where did you put the whips, Dingley? Marg'et, where have you laid Mrs. Johnson's riband to tie about her? reach me my mask: sup up this before you go. So, so, a gallop, a gallop: sit fast, sirrah, and don't ride hard upon the stones. Well, now Stella is gone, tell me, Dingley, is she a good girl? and what news is that you are to tell me? — No, I believe the box is not lost: Sterne says, it is not. — No faith, you must go to Wexford without seeing your duke of Ormond, unless you stay on purpose; perhaps you may be so wise. — I tell you this is your sixteenth letter; will you never be satisfied? No, no, I'll walk late no more; I ought less to venture it than other people, and so I was told: but I'll return to lodge in town next Thursday. When you come from Wexford I would have you send a letter of attorney to Mr. Benjamin Tooke, bookseller in London, directed to me; and he shall manage your affair. I have your parchment safely locked up in London. — O madam Stella, welcome home; was it pleasant riding? did your horse stumble? how often did the man light to settle your stirrup? ride nine miles? faith you have galloped indeed. Well, but where's the fine thing you promised me? I have been a good boy, ask Dingley else. I believe you did not meet the fine-thing-man: faith you are a cheat. So you'll see Raymond and his wife in town. Faith that riding to Laracor gives me short sighs, as well as you. All the days I have passed here, have been dirt to those. I have been gaining enemies by the scores, and friends by the couples, which is against the rules of wisdom; because they say, one enemy can do more hurt, than ten friends can do good. But I have had my revenge at least, if I get nothing else. And so let fate govern. —— Now I think your letter is answered; and mine will be shorter than ordinary, because it must go to day. We have had a great deal of scattering rain for some days past, yet it hardly keeps down the dust. —— We have plays acted in our town, and Patrick was at one of them, oh, oh. He was damnably mauled one day when he was drunk; he was at cuffs with a brother footman, who dragged him along the floor upon his face, which looked for a week after as if he had the leprosy: and I was glad enough to see it. I have been ten times sending him over to you; yet now he has new clothes, and a laced hat, which the hatter brought by his orders, and he offered to pay for the lace out of his wages. — I am to dine to day with Dilly at sir Andrew Fountain's, who has bought a new house, and will be weary of it in half a year. I must rise and shave, and walk to town, unless I go with the dean in his chariot at twelve, which is too late: and I have not seen that lord Peterborow yet. The duke of Shrewsbury is almost well again, and will be abroad in a day or two: what care you? There it is now, you don't care for my friends. Farewell, my dearest lives, and delights, I love you better than ever, if possible, as hope saved, I do, and ever will. God Almighty bless you ever, and make us happy together; I pray for this twice every day; and I hope God will hear my poor hearty prayers. — Remember if I am used ill and ungratefully, as I have formerly been, 'tis what I am prepared for, and shall not wonder at it. Yet, I am now envied, and thought in high favour, and have every day numbers of considerable men teasing me to solicit for them. And the ministry all use me perfectly well, and all that know them, say they love me. Yet I can count upon nothing, nor will, but upon MD's love and kindness. — They think me useful; they pretended they were afraid of none but me; and that they resolved to have me; they have often confessed this: yet all makes little impression on me. — Pox of these speculations! they give me the spleen; and that is a disease I was not born to. Let me alone, sirrahs, and be satisfied: I am, as long as MD and Presto are well: Little wealth, And much health, And a life by stealth; that is all we want; and so farewell, dearest MD; Stella, Dingley, Presto all together, now and for ever all together. Farewell again and again.
Chelsea, June 30, 1711.
SEE what large paper I am forced to take to write to MD; Patrick has brought me none clipped; but faith the next shall be smaller. I dined to day as I told you, with Dilly at sir Andrew Fountain's: there were we wretchedly punning, and writing together to lord Pembroke. Dilly is just such a puppy as ever; and it is so uncouth, after so long an intermission. My twenty-fifth is gone this evening to the post. I think I will direct my next (which is this) to Mr. Curry's, and let them send it to Wexford, and then the next enclosed to Reading. Instruct me how I shall do. I long to hear from you from Wexford, and what sort of place it is. The town grows very empty and dull. This evening I have had a letter from Mr. Philips the pastoral poet, to get him a certain employment from lord treasurer. I have now had almost all the whig poets my solicitors; and I have been useful to Congreve, Steele, and Harrison: but I will do nothing for Philips; I find he is more a puppy than ever; so don't solicit for him. Besides, I will not trouble lord treasurer, unless upon some very extraordinary occasion.
July 1. Dilly lies conveniently for me when I come to town from Chelsea of a Sunday, and go to the secretary's; so I called at his lodgings this morning, and sent for my gown, and dressed myself there. He had a letter from the bishop, with an account that you were set out for Wexford the morning he writ, which was June 26, and he had the letter the 30th; that was very quick: the bishop says, you design to stay there two months or more. Dilly had also a letter from Tom Ashe, full of Irish news: that your lady Linden is dead, and I know not what besides, of Dr. Coghil losing his drab, &c. The secretary is gone to Windsor, and I dined with Mrs Vanhomrigh. Lord treasurer is at Windsor too; they will be going and coming all summer, while the queen is there, and the town is empty, and I fear I shall be sometimes forced to stoop beneath my dignity, and send to the alehouse for a dinner. Well, sirrahs, had you a good journey to Wexford? did you drink ale by the way? were you never overturned? how many things did you forget? do you lie on straw in your new town where you are? Cudsho, the next letter to Presto will be dated from Wexford. What fine company have you there? what new acquaintance have you got? you are to write constantly to Mrs. Walls and Mrs. Stoyte: and the dean said, shall we never hear from you? Yes, Mr. dean, we'll make bold to trouble you with a letter. Then at Wexford; when you meet a lady; Did your waters pass well this morning, madam? Will Dingley drink them too? Yes, I warrant; to get her a stomach. I suppose you are all gamesters at Wexford. Don't lose your money, sirrah, far from home. I believe I shall go to Windsor in a few days; at least, the secretary tells me so. He has a small house there, with just room enough for him and me; and I would be satisfied to pass a few days there sometimes. Sirrahs, let me go to sleep, 'tis past twelve in our town.
2. Sterne came to me this morning, and tells me he has yet some hopes of compassing his business: he was with Tom Harley, the secretary of the treasury, and made him doubt a little he was in the wrong; the poor man tells me, it will almost undo him if he fails. I called this morning to see Will. Congreve, who lives much by himself, is forced to read for amusement, and cannot do it without a magnifying-glass. I have set him very well with the ministry, and I hope he is no danger of losing his place. I dined in the city with Dr. Freind, not among my merchants, but with a scrub instrument of mischief of mine, whom I never mentioned to you, nor am like to do. You are two little saucy Wexfordians, you are now drinking waters. You drink waters! you go fiddlestick. Pray God send them to do you good; if not, faith next summer you shall come to the Bath.
3. Lord Peterborow desired to see me this morning at nine; I had not seen him before since he came home. I met Mrs. Manley there, who was soliciting him to get some pension or reward for her service in the cause, by writing her Atalantis, and prosecution, &c. upon it. I seconded her, and hope they will do something for the poor woman. My lord kept me two hours upon politicks: he comes home very sanguine; he has certainly done great things at Savoy and Vienna, by his negotiations: he is violent against a peace, and finds true what I writ to him, that the ministry seems for it. He reasons well; yet I am for a peace. I took leave of lady Kerry, who goes to morrow for Ireland; she picks up lord Shelburne and Mrs. Pratt at lord Shelburne's house. I was this evening with lord treasurer; Tom Harley was there; and whispered me that he began to doubt about Sterne's business; I told him he would find he was in the wrong. I sat two or three hours at lord treasurer's; he rallied me sufficiently upon my refusing to take him into our club; told a judge who was with us, that my name was Thomas Swift. I had a mind to prevent sir H. Bellasis going to Spain, who is a most covetous cur, and I fell a railing against avarice, and turned it so that he smoked me, and named Bellasis. I went on, and said it was a shame to send him, to which he agreed, but desired I would name some who understood business and do not love money, for he could not find them. I said, there was something in a treasurer different from other men; that we ought not to make a man a bishop who does not love divinity, or a general who does not love war; and I wondered why the queen would make a man lord treasurer who does not love money. He was mightily pleased with what I said. He was talking of the first-fruits of England; and I took occasion to tell him, that I would not for a thousand pounds, any body but he had got them to Ireland, who got them for England too. He bid me consider what a thousand pounds was; I said, I would have him to know, I valued a thousand pounds as little as he valued a million. — Is it not silly to write all this? but it gives you an idea what our conversation is with mixed company. I have taken a lodging in Sulfolk street, and go to it on Thursday; and design to walk the park and the town to supply my walking here: yet I will walk here sometimes too, in a visit now and then to the dean. When I was almost at home, Patrick told me he had two letters for me, and gave them to me in the dark, yet I could see one of them was from saucy MD. I went to visit the dean for half an hour; and then came home, and first read the other letter, which was from the bishop of Clogher, who tells me the archbishop of Dublin mentioned in a full assembly of the clergy, the queen's granting the first-fruits; said it was done by the lord treasurer; and talked much of my merit in it: but reading I find nothing of that: perhaps the bishop lies, out of a desire to please me. I dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh. Well, sirrahs, you are gone to Wexford, but I'll follow you.
4. Sterne came to me again this morning to advise about reasons and memorials he is drawing up; and we went to town by water together; and having nothing to do, I stole into the city to an instrument of mine, and then went to see poor Patty Rolt, who has been in town these two months with a cousin of hers. Her life passes with boarding in some country town as cheap as she can, and when she runs out, shifting to some cheaper place, or coming to town for a month. If I were rich I would ease her, which a little thing would do. Some months ago I sent her a guinea, and it patched up twenty circumstances. She is now going to Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire. It has rained and hailed prodigiously to day, with some thunder. This is the last night I lie at Chelsea; and I got home early, and sat two hours with the dean, and eat victuals, having had a very scurvy dinner. I'll answer your letter when I come to live in town. You shall have a fine London answer: but first I'll go sleep, and dream of MD.
London, July 5. This day I left Chelsea for good (that's a genteel phrase) and am got into Suffolk street. I dined to day at our society, and we are adjourned for a month, because most of us go into the country: we dined at lord keeper's with young Harcourt, and lord keeper was forced to sneak off, and dine with lord treasurer, who had invited the secretary and me to dine with him; but we scorned to leave our company, as George Granville did, whom we have threatened to expel: however, in the evening I went to lord treasurer, and, among other company, found a couple of judges with him; one of them, judge Powel, an old fellow with gray hairs, was the merriest old gentleman I ever saw, spoke pleasant things, and laughed and chuckled till he cried again. I staid till eleven, because I was not now to walk to Chelsea.
6. An ugly rainy day; I was to visit Mrs. Barton, then called at Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, where sir Andrew Fountain and the rain kept me to dinner; and there did I loiter all the afternoon, like a fool, out of perfect laziness, and the weather not permitting me to walk; but I'll do so no more. Are your waters at Wexford good in this rain? I long to hear how you are established there, how and whom you visit, what is your lodging, what are your entertainments. You are got far southward; but I think you must eat no fruit while you drink the waters. I eat some Kentish cherries t'other day, and I repent it already; I have felt my head a little disordered. We had not a hot day all June, nor since, which I reckon a mighty happiness. Have you left a direction with Reading for Wexford? I will, as I said, direct this to Curry's, and the next to Reading, or suppose I send this at a venture straight to Wexford? It would vex me to have it miscarry. I had a letter to night from Parvisol, that White has paid me most of my remaining money; and another from Joe, that they have had their election at Trim, but not a word of who is chosen portrieve. Poor Joe is full of complaints, says he has enemies, and fears he will never get his two hundred pounds, and I fear so too, although I have done what I could. — I'll answer your letter when I think fit, when saucy Presto thinks fit, sirrahs. I an't at leisure yet; when I have nothing to do, perhaps I may vouchsafe. — O Lord, the two Wexford ladies; I'll go dream of you both.
7. It was the dismallest rainy day I ever saw; I went to the secretary in the morning, and he was gone to Windsor. Then it began raining, and I struck in to Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, and dined, and staid till night very dull and insipid. I hate this town in summer; I'll leave it for a while if I can have time.
8. I have a fellow of your town, one Tisdall, lodges in the same house with me. Patrick told me, squire Tisdall and his lady lodged here; I pretended I never heard of him, but I knew his ugly face, and saw him at church in the next pew to me, and he often looked for a bow, but it would not do. I think he lives in Capel street, and has an ugly fine wife in a fine coach. Dr. Freind and I dined in the city by invitation, and I drank punch, very good, but it makes me hot. People here are troubled with agues by this continuance of wet cold weather; but I am glad to find the season so temperate. I was this evening to see Will. Congreve, who is a very agreeable companion.
9. I was to day in the city, and dined with Mr. Stratford, who tells me sir Alexander Cairnes makes difficulties about paying my bill, so that I cannot give order yet to Parvisol to deliver up the bond to Dr. Raymond. To morrow I shall have a positive answer: that Cairnes is a shuffling scoundrel; and several merchants have told me so: what can one expect from a Scot and a fanatick? I was at Bateman's the bookseller's, to see a fine old library he has bought; and my fingers itched, as yours would do at a china shop; but I resisted, and found every thing too dear, and I have fooled away too much money that way already. So go and drink your waters, saucy rogue, and make yourself well; and pray walk while you are there: I have a notion there is never a good walk in Ireland. Do you find all places without trees? Pray observe the inhabitants about Wexford; they are old English; see what they have particular in their manners, names, and language: magpies have been always there, and no where else in Ireland, till of late years. They say the cocks and dogs go to sleep at noon, and so do the people. Write your travels, and bring home good eyes, and health.
10. I dined to day with lord treasurer: we did not sit down till four. I dispatched three businesses with him, and forgot a fourth. I think I have got a friend an employment; and besides I made him consent to let me bring Congreve to dine with him. You must understand I have a mind to do a small thing, only turn out all the queen's physicians; for in my conscience they will soon kill her among them. And I must talk over that matter with some people. My lord treasurer told me, the queen and he between them have lost the paper about the first-fruits; but desires I will let the bishops know it shall be done with the first opportunity.
11. I dined to day with neighbour Van, and walked pretty well in the park this evening. Stella, hussy, don't you remember, sirrah, you used to reproach me about meddling in other folks affairs. I have enough of it now: two people came to me to night in the park to engage me to speak to lord treasurer in their behalf; and I believe they make up fifty who have asked me the same favour. I am hardened, and resolved to trouble him, or any other minister, less than ever. And I observe those who have ten times more credit than I, will not speak a word for any body. I met yesterday the poor lad I told you of, who lived with Mr. Tenison, who has been ill of an ague ever since I saw him. He looked wretchedly, and was exceeding thankful for half a crown I gave him. He had a crown from me before.
12. I dined to day with young Manley in the city, who is to get me out a box of books and a hamper of wine from Hamburgh. I inquired of Mr. Stratford, who tells me that Cairnes has not yet paid my two hundred pounds, but shams and delays from day to day. Young Manley's wife is a very indifferent person of a young woman, goggleeyed, and looks like a fool: yet he is a handsome fellow, and married her for love after long courtship, and she refused him until he got his last employment. — I believe I shall not be so good a boy for writing as I was, during your stay at Wexford, unless I may send my letters every second time to Curry's; pray let me know. This, I think, shall go there, or why not to Wexford itself? that's right, and so it shall this next Tuesday, although it costs you tenpence. What care I?
13. This toad of a secretary is come from Windsor, and I can't find him; and he goes back on Sunday, and I can't see him to morrow. I dined scurvily to day with Mr. Lewis and a parson; and then went to see lord treasurer, and met him coming from his house in his coach: he smiled, and I shrugged, and we smoked each other; and so my visit is paid. I now confine myself to see him only twice a week: he has invited me to Windsor, and between two stools, &c. I'll go live at Windsor, if possible, that's poz. I have always the luck to pass my summer in London. I called this evening to see poor sir Matthew Dudley, a commissioner of the customs; I know he is to be out for certain: he is in hopes of continuing: I would not tell him bad news, but advised him to prepare for the worst. Dilly was with me this morning, to invite me to dine at Kensington on Sunday with lord Mountjoy, who goes soon for Ireland. Your late chief justice Broderick is here, and they say violent as a tiger. How is party among you at Wexford? are the majority of ladies for the late or present ministry? write me Wexford news, and love Presto, because he's a good boy.
14. Although it was shaving day I walked to Chelsea, and was there by nine this morning; and the dean of Carlisle and I crossed the water to Battersea, and went in his chariot to Greenwich, where we dined at Dr. Gastrel's, and passed the afternoon at Lewisham, at the dean of Canterbury's; and there I saw Moll Stanhope, who is grown monstrously tall, but not so handsome as formerly. It is the first little rambling journey I have had this Summer about London, and they are the agreeablest pastimes one can have, in a friend's coach, and to good company. Bank stock is fallen three or four per cent by the whispers about the town of the queen's being ill, who is however very well.
15. How many books have you carried with you to Wexford? what, not one single book? oh, but your time will be so taken up; and you can borrow of the parson. I dined to day with sir Andrew Fountain and Dilly at Kensington with lord Mountjoy; and in the afternoon Stratford came there, and told me my two hundred pounds was paid at last; so that business is over, and I am at ease about it: and I wish all your money was in the bank too. I'll have my t'other hundred pounds there, that is in Hawkshaw's hands. Have you had the interest of it paid yet? I ordered Parvisol to do it. What makes Presto write so crooked? I'll answer your letter to morrow, and send it on Tuesday. Here's hot weather come again, yesterday and to day; fine drinking waters now. We had a sad pert dull parson at Kensington to day. I almost repent my coming to town: I want the walks I had.
16. I dined in the city to day with a hedge acquaintance, and the day passed without any consequence. I'll answer your letter to morrow.
17. Morning. I have put your letter before me, and am going to answer it. Hold your tongue: stand by. Your weather and ours were not alike; we had not a bit of hot weather in June, yet you complain of it on the 19th day. What, you used to love hot weather then? I could never endure it: I detest and abominate it. I would not live in a hot country to be king of it. What a splutter you keep about my bonds with Raymond, and all to affront Presto; Presto will be suspicious of every thing but MD, in spite of your little nose. Soft and fair, madam Stella, how you gallop away in your spleen and your rage about repenting my journey and preferment here, and sixpence a dozen, and nasty England, and Laracor all my life. Hey dazy, will you never have done? I had no offers of any living. Lord keeper told me some months ago, he would give me one when I pleased; but I told him, I would not take any from him: and the secretary told me t'other day, he had refused a very good one for me; but it was in a place he did not like; and I know nothing of getting any thing here, and, if they would give me leave, I would come over just now. Addison, I hear, has changed his mind about going over; but I have not seen him these four months. — O ay, that's true, Dingley; that's like herself: millions of businesses to do before she goes. Yes, my head has been pretty well, but threatening within these two or three days, which I impute to some fruit I ate; but I will eat no more: not a bit of any sort. I suppose you had a journey without dust, and that was happy. I long for a Wexford letter; but must not think of it yet: your last was finished but three weeks ago. It is d—d news you tell me of Mrs. F——; it makes me love England less a great deal. I know nothing of the trunk being left or taken; so 'tis odd enough, if the things in it were mine; and I think I was told that there were some things for me, that my mother left particularly to me. I am really sorry for ——; that scoundrel —— will have his estate after his mother's death. Let me know if Mrs. Walls has got her tea: I hope Richardson staid in Dublin till it came. Mrs. Walls needed not have that blemish in her eye; for I am not in love with her at all. No, I don't like any thing in the Examiner after the 45th, except the first part of the 46th; all the rest is trash; and if you like them, especially the 47th, your judgment is spoiled by ill company and want of reading; which I am more sorry for than you think: and I have spent fourteen years in improving you to little purpose. (Mr. Tooke is come here, and I must stop.) — At night. I dined with lord treasurer to day, and he kept me till nine; so I cannot send this to night, as I intended, nor write some other letters. Green, his surgeon, was there, and dressed his breast; that is, put on a plaster, which is still requisite: and I took an opportunity to speak to him of the queen; but he cut me short with this saying, Laissez faire à don Antoine; which is a French proverb, expressing, Leave that to me. I find he is against her taking much physick; and I doubt he cannot persuade her to take Dr. Radcliffe. However, she is very well now, and all the story of her illness, except the first day or two, was a lie. We had some business, that company hindered us from doing, though he is earnest for it, yet would not appoint me a certain day, but bids me come at all times till we can have leisure. This takes up a great deal of my time, and I can do nothing I would do for them. I was with the secretary this morning, and we both think to go next week to Windsor for some days, to dispatch an affair, if we can have leisure. Sterne met me just now in the street by his lodgings, and I went in for an hour to Jemmy Leigh, who loves London dearly: he asked after you with great respect and friendship. — To re-return to your letter. Your bishop Mills hates me mortally: I wonder he should speak well of me, having abused me in all places where he went. So you pay your way. Cudsho: you had a fine supper, I warrant; two pullets, and a bottle of wine, and some currants. — It is just three weeks to day since you set out to Wexford; you were three days going, and I don't expect a letter these ten days yet, or rather this fortnight. I got a grant of the Gazette for Ben Tooke this morning from Mr. secretary: it will be worth to him a hundred pounds a year.
18. To day I took leave of Mrs. Barton, who is going into the country; and I dined with sir John Stanley, where I have not been this great while. There dined with us lord Rochester and his fine daughter, lady Jane, just growing a top toast. I have been endeavouring to save sir Matthew Dudley, but fear I cannot. I walked the mall six times to night for exercise, and would have done more; but as empty as the town is, a fool got hold of me, and so I came home, to tell you this shall go to morrow, without fail, and follow you to Wexford like a dog.
19. Dean Atterbury sent to me to dine with him at Chelsea; I refused his coach, and walked, and am come back by seven, because I would finish this letter, and some others I am writing. Patrick tells me, the maid said one Mr. Walls, a clergyman, a tall man, was here to visit me. Is it your Irish archdeacon? I shall be sorry for it; but I shall make a shift to see him seldom enough, as I do Dilly. What can he do here? or is it somebody else? The duke of Newcastle is dead by the fall he had from his horse. God send poor Stella her health, and keep MD happy. Farewell, and love Presto, who loves MD above all things ten million of times. God bless the dear Wexford girls. Farewell again, &c. &c.
London, July 19, 1711.
I HAVE just sent my 26th, and have nothing to say, because I have other letters to write; (pshaw, I begin too high) but I must lay the beginning like a nestegg; to morrow I'll say more, and fetch up this line to be straight. This is enough at present for two dear saucy naughty girls.
20. Have I told you that Walls has been with me, and leaves the town in three days. He has brought no gown with him. Dilly carried him to a play. He has come upon a foolish errand, and goes back as he comes. I was this day with lord Peterborow, who is going another ramble: I believe I told you so. I dined with lord treasurer, but cannot get him to do his own business with me; he has put me off till to morrow.
21, 22. I dined yesterday with lord treasurer, who would needs take me along with him to Windsor, although I refused him several times, having no linen, &c. I had just time to desire lord Forbes to call at my lodging, and order my man to send my things to day to Windsor, by his servant. I lay last night at the secretary's lodgings at Windsor, and borrowed one of his shirts to go to court in. The queen is very well. I dined with Mr. Masham; and not hearing any thing of my things, I got lord Winchelsea to bring me to town. Here I found that Patrick had broke open the closet to get my linen and nightgown, and sent them to Windsor, and there they are; and he not thinking I would return so soon, is gone upon his rambles: so here I am left destitute, and forced to borrow a nightgown of my landlady, and have not a rag to put on to morrow: faith, it gives me the spleen.
23. Morning. It is a terrible rainy day, and rained prodigiously on Saturday night. Patrick lay out last night, and is not yet returned: faith, poor Presto is a desolate creature; neither servant nor linen, nor any thing — Night. Lord Forbes's man has brought back my portmantua, and Patrick is come; so I am in Christian circumstances: I shall hardly commit such a frolick again. I just crept out to Mrs. Van's, and dined, and staid there the afternoon: it has rained all this day. Windsor is a delicious place: I never saw it before, except for an hour about seventeen years ago. Walls has been here in my absence, I suppose to take his leave; for he designed not to stay above five days in London. He says, he and his wife will come here for some months next year; and, in short, he dares not stay now for fear of her.
24. I dined to day with a hedge friend in the city; and Walls overtook me in the street, and told me he was just getting on horseback for Chester. He has as much curiosity as a cow: he lodged with his horse in Aldersgate street: he has bought his wife a silk gown, and himself a hat. And what are you doing? what is poor MD doing now? how do you pass your time at Wexford? how do the waters agree with you? let Presto know soon; for Presto longs to know, and must know. Is not madam Proby curious company? I am afraid this rainy weather will spoil your waters. We have had a great deal of wet these three days. Tell me all the particulars of Wexford; the place, the company, the diversions, the victuals, the wants, the vexations. Poor Dingley never saw such a place in her life; sent all over the town for a little parsley to a boiled chicken, and it was not to be had: the butter is stark naught, except an old English woman's; and it is such a favour to get a pound from her now and then. I am glad you carried down your sheets with you, else you must have lain in sackcloth. O Lord!
25. I was this afternoon with Mr. secretary at his office, and helped to hinder a man of his pardon, who is condemned for a rape. The under secretary was willing to save him, upon an old notion that a woman cannot be ravished: but I told the secretary, he could not pardon him without a favourable report from the judge; besides he was a fidler, and consequently a rogue, and deserved hanging for something else; and so he shall swing. What: I must stand up for the honour of the fair sex? 'Tis true, the fellow had lain with her a hundred times before; but what care I for that? what! must a woman be ravished because she is a whore? — The secretary and I go on Saturday to Windsor for a week. I dined with lord treasurer, and staid with him till past ten. I was to day at his levee, where I went against my custom, because I had a mind to do a good office for a gentleman: so I talked with him before my lord, that he might see me, and then found occasion to recommend him this afternoon. I was forced to excuse my coming to the levee, that I did it to see the sight; for he was going to chide me away: I had never been there before but once, and that was long before he was treasurer. The rooms were all full, and as many whigs as tories. He whispered me a jest or two, and bid me come to dinner. I left him but just now, and 'tis late.
26. Mr. Addison and I have at last met again. I dined with him and Steele to day at young Jacob Tonson's. The two Jacobs think it is I who have made the secretary take from them the printing of the gazette, which they are going to lose, and Ben Tooke and another are to have it. Jacob came to me t'other day, to make his court; but I told him, it was too late, and that it was not my doing. I reckon they will lose it in a week or two. Mr. Addison and I talked as usual, and as if we had seen one another yesterday; and Steele and I were very easy, though I writ him a biting letter, in answer to one of his, where he desired me to recommend a friend of his to lord treasurer. Go, get you gone to your waters, sirrah. Do they give you a stomach? Do you eat heartily? — We had much rain to day and yesterday.
27. I dined to day in the city, and saw poor Patty Rolt, and gave her a pistole to help her a little forward against she goes to board in the country. She has but eighteen pounds a year to live on, and is forced to seek out for cheap places. Sometimes they raise their price, and sometimes they starve her, and then she is forced to shift. Patrick, the puppy, put too much ink in my standish, and carrying too many things together, I spilled it on my paper and floor. The town is dull, and wet, and empty: Wexford is worth two of it; I hope so at least, and that poor little MD finds it so. I reckon upon going to Windsor to morrow with Mr. secretary, unless he changes his mind, or some other business prevents him. I shall stay there a week, I hope.
28. Morning. Mr. secretary sent me word he will call at my lodgings by two this afternoon, to take me to Windsor, so I must dine no where; and I promised lord treasurer to dine with him to day; but I suppose we shall dine at Windsor at five, for we make but three hours there. I am going abroad, but have left Patrick to put up my things, and to be sure to be at home half an hour before two. —— Windsor, at night. We did not leave London till three, and dined here between six and seven; at nine I left the company, and went to see lord treasurer, who is just come, I chid him for coming so late; he chid me for not dining with him; said, he staid an hour for me. Then I went and sat an hour with Mr. Lewis till just now, and 'tis past eleven. I lie in the same house with the secretary, one of the prebendary's houses. The secretary is not come from his apartment in the castle. Do you think that abominable dog Patrick was out after two to day, and I in a fright every moment for fear the chariot should come; and when he came in he had not put up one rag of my things: I never was in a greater passion, and would certainly have cropt one of his ears, if I had not looked every moment for the secretary, who sent his equipage to my lodging before, and came in a chair from Whitehall to me, and happened to stay half an hour later than he intended. One of lord treasurer's servants gave me a letter from *****, with an offer of fifty pounds to be paid me in what manner I pleased; because, he said, he desired to be well with me. I was in a rage: but my friend Lewis cooled me, and said, it is what the best men sometimes meet with; and I have been not seldom served in the like manner, although not so grossly. In these cases I never demur a moment; nor ever found the least inclination to take any thing. Well, I'll go try to sleep in my new bed, and to dream of poor Wexford MD, and Stella that drinks water, and Dingley that drinks ale.
29. I was at court and church to day, as I was this day se'nnight; I generally am acquainted with about thirty in the drawingroom, and am so proud I make all the lords come up to me; one passes half an hour pleasant enough. We had a dunce to preach before the queen to day, which often happens. Windsor is a delicious situation, but the town is scoundrel. I have this morning got the gazette for Ben Tooke and one Barber a printer; it will be about three hundred pounds a year between them. T'other fellow was printer of the Examiner, which is now laid down. I dined with the secretary, we were a dozen in all, three Scotch lords, and lord Peterborow. Duke Hamilton would needs be witty, and hold up my train as I walked up stairs. It is an ill circumstance, that on Sundays much company meet always at the great tables. Lord treasurer told at court, what I said to Mr. secretary on this occasion. The secretary showed me his bill of fare, to encourage me to dine with him. Poh, said I, show me a bill of company, for I value not your dinner. See how this is all blotted, I can write no more here, but to tell you I love MD dearly, and God bless them.
30. In my conscience I fear I shall have the gout. I sometimes feel pains about my feet and toes; I never drank till within these two years, and I did it to cure my head. I often sit evenings with some of these people, and drink in my turn; but I am now resolved to drink ten times less than before; but they advise me to let what I drink be all wine, and not to put water to it. Tooke and the printer staid to day to finish their affair, and treated me, and two of the under secretaries, upon their getting the gazette. Then I went to see lord treasurer, and chid him for not taking notice of me at Windsor: he said, he kept a place for me yesterday at dinner, and expected me there; but I was glad I did not come, because the duke of Buckingham was there, and that would have made us acquainted; which I have no mind to. However, we appointed to sup at Mr. Masham's, and there staid till past one o'clock; and that is late, sirrahs: and I have much business.
31. I have sent a noble haunch of venison this afternoon to Mrs. Vanhomrigh: I wish you had it sirrahs: I dined gravely with my landlord the secretary. The queen was abroad to day in order to hunt, but finding it disposed to rain she kept in her coach: she hunts in a chaise with one horse, which she drives herself, and drives furiously, like Jehu, and is a mighty hunter, like Nimrod. Dingley has heard of Nimrod, but not Stella, for it is in the Bible. I was to day at Eaton, which is but just cross the bridge, to see my lord Kerry's son, who is at school there. Mr. secretary has given me a warrant for a buck; I can't send it to MD. It is a sad thing faith, considering how Presto loves MD, and how MD would love Presto's venison for Presto's sake. God bless the two dear Wexford girls.
Aug. 1. We had for dinner the fellow of that haunch of venison I sent to London; 'twas mighty fat and good, and eight people at dinner; that was bad. The queen and I were going to take the air this afternoon, but not together; and were both hindered by a sudden rain. Her coaches and chaises all went back, and the guards too: and I secured into the market place for shelter. I intended to have walked up the finest avenue I ever saw, two miles long, with two rows of elms on each side. I walked in the evening a little upon the terrace, and came home at eight: Mr. secretary came soon after, and we were engaging in deep discourse, and I was endeavouring to settle some points of the greatest consequence; and had wormed myself pretty well into him, when his under secretary came in (who lodges in the same house with us) and interrupted all my scheme. I have just left him; 'tis late, &c.
2. I have been now five days at Windsor, and Patrick has been drunk three times that I have seen, and oftener I believe. He has lately had clothes that have cost me five pounds, and the dog thinks he has the whip hand of me; he begins to master me; so now I am resolved to part with him, and will use him without the least pity. The secretary and I have been walking three or four hours to day. The duchess of Shrewsbury asked him, was not that Dr. Dr. and she could not say my name in English, but said Dr. Presto, which is Italian for Swift. Whimsical enough, as Billy Swift says. I go to morrow with the secretary to his house at Buckleberry, twenty-five miles from hence, and return early on Sunday morning. I will leave this letter behind me locked up, and give you an account of my journey when I return. I had a letter yesterday from the bishop of Clogher, who is coming up to Dublin to his parliament. Have you any correspondence with him at Wexford? Methinks I now long for a letter from you, dated Wexford, July 24, &c. O Lord, that would be so pretending; and then says you, Stella can't write much, because it is bad to write when one drinks the waters; and I think, says you, I find myself better already, but I cannot tell yet, whether it be the journey or the waters. Presto is so silly to night; yes he be; but Presto loves MD dearly, as hope saved.
3. Morning. I am to go this day at noon, as I told you, to Buckleberry; we dine at twelve, and expect to be there in four hours; I cannot bid you good night now, because I shall be twenty-five miles from this paper to night, and so my journal must have a break; so good morrow, &c.
4, 5. I dined yesterday at Buckleberry, where we lay two nights, and set out this morning at eight, and were here at twelve, in four hours we went twenty-six miles. Mr. secretary was a perfect country gentleman at Buckleberry; he smoked tobacco with one or two neighbours; he inquired after the wheat in such a field; he went to visit his hounds; and knew all their names; he and his lady saw me to my chamber just in the country fashion. His house is in the midst of near three thousand pounds a year he had by his lady, who is descended from Jack Newbury, of whom books and ballads are written; and there is an old picture of him in the house. She is a great favourite of mine. I lost church to day; but I dressed, and shaved, and went to court, and would not dine with the secretary, but engaged myself to a private dinner with Mr. Lewis, and one friend more. We go to London to morrow; for lord Dartmouth, the other secretary, is come, and they are here their weeks by turns.
6. Lord treasurer comes every Saturday to Windsor, and goes away on Monday or Tuesday. I was with him this morning at his levee, for one cannot see him otherwise here, he is so hurried: we had some talk, and I told him I would stay this week at Windsor by myself, where I can have more leisure to do some business that concerns them. Lord treasurer and the secretary thought to mortify me, for they told me, they had been talking a great deal of me to day to the queen, and she said, she had never heard of me; I told them, That was their fault, and not hers, &c. and so we laughed. I dined with the secretary, and let him go to London at five without me; and here am I all alone in the prebendary's house, which Mr. secretary has taken; only Mr. Lewis is in my neighbourhood, and we shall be good company. The vice chamberlain, and Mr. Masham, and the green cloth, have promised me dinners. I shall want but four till Mr. secretary returns. We have a musick meeting in our town to night. I went to the rehearsal of it, and there was Margarita, and her sister, and another drab, and a parcel of fiddlers; I was weary, and would not go to the meeting, which I am sorry for, because I heard it was a great assembly. Mr. Lewis came from it, and sat with me till just now: and 'tis late.
7. I can do no business, I fear, because Mr. Lewis, who has nothing or little to do here, sticks close to me. I dined to day with the gentlemen ushers, among scurvy company; but the queen was hunting the stag till four this afternoon, and she drove in her chaise above forty miles, and it was five before we went to dinner. Here are fine walks about this town. I sometimes walk up the avenue.
8. There was a drawingroom to day at court; but so few company, that the queen sent for us into her bedchamber, where we made our bows, and stood about twenty of us round the room, while she looked at us round with her fan in her mouth, and once a minute said about three words to some that were nearest her, and then she was told dinner was ready, and went out. I dined at the green cloth, by Mr. Scarborow's invitation, who is in waiting. It is much the best table in England, and costs the queen a thousand pounds a month while she is at Windsor or Hampton court; and is the only mark of magnificence or hospitality I can see in the queen's family: it is designed to entertain foreign ministers, and people of quality, who come to see the queen, and have no place to dine at.
9. Mr. Coke, the vice chamberlain, made me a long visit this morning, and invited me to dinner, but the toast, his lady, was unfortunately engaged to lady Sunderland. Lord treasurer stole here last night, but did not lie in his lodgings in the castle; and after seeing the queen, went back again. I just drank a dish of chocolate with him. I fancy I shall have reason to be angry with him very soon: but what care I? I believe I shall die with ministries in my debt. — This night I received a certain letter from a place called Wexford, from two dear naughty girls of my acquaintance; but faith I won't answer it here, no in troth. I will send this to Mr. Reading, supposing it will find you returned; and I hope better for the waters.
10. Mr. vice chamberlain lent me his horses to ride about and see the country this morning. Dr. Arbuthnot, the queen's physician and favourite, went out with me to show me the places: we went a little after the queen, and overtook miss Forester, a maid of honour, on her palfry taking the air: we made her go along with us. We saw a place they have made for a famous horse race to morrow, where the queen will come. We met the queen coming back, and miss Forester stood, like us, with her hat off while the queen went by. The Dr. and I left the lady where we found her, but under other conductors, and we dined at a little place he has taken, about a mile off. — When I came back, I found Mr. Scarborow had sent all about to invite me to the green cloth, and lessened his company on purpose to make me easy. It is very obliging, and will cost me thanks. Much company is come to town this evening, to see to morrow's race. I was tired with riding a trotting mettlesome horse a dozen miles, having not been on horseback this twelvemonth. And miss Forester did not make it easier; she is a silly true maid of honour, and I did not like her, although she be a toast, and was dressed like a man.
11. I will send this letter to day. I expect the secretary by noon. I will not go to the race, unless I can get room, in some coach. It is now morning. I must rise, and fold up and seal my letter. Farewell;, and God preserve dearest MD.
I believe I shall leave this town on Monday.
Windsor, Aug. 11, 1711.
I SENT away my twenty-seventh this morning in an express to London, and directed to Mr. Reading: this shall go to your lodgings, where I reckon you will be returned before it reaches you. I intended to go to the race to day, but was hindered by a visit, I believe I told you so in my last. I dined to day at the green cloth, where every body had been at the race but myself, and we were twenty in all; and very noisy company: but I made the vice chamberlain and two friends more sit at a sidetable, to be a little quiet. At six I went to see the secretary, who is returned; but lord keeper sent to desire I would sup with him, where I staid till just now; lord treasurer and secretary were to come to us, but both failed. 'Tis late, &c.
12. I was this morning to visit lord keeper, who made me reproaches that I had never visited him at Windsor. He had a present sent him of delicious peaches, and he was champing and champing, but I durst not eat one; I wished Dingley had some of them, for poor Stella can no more eat fruit than Presto. Dilly Ashe is come to Windsor; and after church I carried him up to the drawingroom, and talked to the keeper and treasurer, on purpose to show them to him, and he saw the queen and several great lords, and the duchess of Montague; he was mighty happy, and resolves to fill a letter to the bishop. My friend Lewis and I dined soberly with Dr. Adams, the only neighbour prebendary. One of the prebendaries here is lately a peer, by the death of his father. He is now lord Willoughby of Brook, and will sit in the house of lords with his gown. I supped to night at Masham's with lord treasurer, Mr. secretary, and Prior. The treasurer made us stay till twelve before he came from the queen, and 'tis now past two.
13. I reckoned upon going to London to day; but by an accident the cabinet council did not sit last night, and sat to day, so we go to morrow at six in the morning. I missed the race to day by coming too late, when every body's coach was gone, and ride I would not; I felt my last riding three days after. We had a dinner to day at the secretary's lodgings without him: Mr. Hare, his under secretary, Mr. Lewis, brigadier Sutton and I dined together, and I made the vice chamberlain take a snap with us, rather than stay till five for his lady, who was gone to the race. The reason why the cabinet council was not held last night, was because Mr. secretary St. John would not sit with your duke of Somerset. So to day the duke was forced to go to the race while the cabinet was held. We have musick meetings in our town, and I was at the rehearsal t'other day, but I did not value it, nor would go to the meeting. Did I tell you this before?
London, 14. We came to town this day in two hours and forty minutes: twenty miles are nothing here. I found a letter from the archbishop of Dublin, sent me the Lord knows how. He says some of the bishops will hardly believe that lord treasurer got the queen to remit the first-fruits before the duke of Ormond was declared lord lieutenant and that the bishops have written a letter to lord treasurer to thank him. He has sent me the address of the convocation, ascribing, in good part, that affair to the duke, who had less share in it than MD; for if it had not been for MD, I should not have been so good a solicitor. I dined to day in the city, about a little bit of mischief with a printer. — I found Mrs. Vanhomrigh all in combustion, squabbling with her rogue of a landlord; she has left her house, and gone out of our neighbourhood a good way. Her eldest daughter is come of age, and going to Ireland to look after her fortune, and get it in her own hands.
15. I dined to day with Mrs. Van, who goes to night to her new lodgings. I went at six to see lord treasurer, but his company was gone, contrary to custom, and he was busy, and I was forced to stay some time before I could see him. We were together hardly an hour, and he went away, being in haste. He desired me to dine with him on Friday, because there would be a friend of his that I must see: my lord Harley told me when he was gone, that it was Mrs. Masham his father meant, who is come to town to lie in, and whom I never saw, though her husband is one of our society. God send her a good time; her death would be a terrible thing. — Do you know, that I have ventured all my credit with these great ministers, to clear some understandings between them; and if there be no breach, I ought to have the merit of it? 'Tis a plaguy ticklish piece of work, and a man hazards losing both sides. 'Tis a pity the world does not know my virtue. — I thought the clergy in convocation in Ireland would have given me thanks for being their solicitor, but I hear of no such thing. Pray talk occasionally on that subject, and let me know what you hear. Do you know the greatness of my spirit, that I value their thanks not a rush? but at my return shall freely let all people know, that it was my lord treasurer's action, wherein the duke of Ormond had no more share than a cat. And so they may go whistle, and I'll go sleep.
16. I was this day in the city, and dined at Pontack's with Stratford, and two other merchants. Pontack told us, although his wine was so good, he sold it cheaper than others, he took but seven shillings a flask. Are not these pretty rates? The books he sent for from Hamburgh, are come, but not yet got out of the customhouse. My library will be at least double when I come back. I shall go to Windsor again on Saturday, to meet our society, who are to sup at Mr. secretary's; but I believe I shall return on Monday, and then I will answer your letter, that lies safe here underneath; — I see it; lie still; I'll answer you, when the ducks have eaten up the dirt.
17. I dined to day at lord treasurer's with Mrs. Masham, and she is extremely like one Mrs. Malolly, that was once my landlady in Trim. She was used with mighty kindness and respect, like a favourite. It signifies nothing going to this lord treasurer about business, although it be his own. He was in haste, and desires I will come again, and dine with him to morrow. His famous lying porter is fallen sick, and they think he will die: I wish I had all my halfcrowns again. I believe I have told you, he is an old Scotch fanatick, and the damn'dest liar in his office alive. I have a mind to recommend Patrick to succeed him: I have trained him up pretty well. I reckon for certain, you are now in town. The weather now begins to alter to rain.
Windsor, 18. I dined to day with lord treasurer, and he would make me go with him to Windsor, although I was engaged to the secretary, to whom I made my excuses: we had in the coach besides, his son and son-in-law, lord Dupplin, who are two of our society, and seven of us met by appointment, and supped this night with the secretary. It was past nine before we got here; but a fine moonshiny night. I shall go back, I believe, on Monday. 'Tis very late.
19. The queen did not stir out to day, she is in a little fit of the gout. I dined at Mr. Masham's; we had none but our society members, six in all, and I supped with lord treasurer. The queen has ordered twenty thousand pounds to go on with the building at Blenheim, which has been starved till now, since the change of the ministry. I suppose it is to reward his last action of getting into the French lines. Lord treasurer kept me till past twelve.
London, 20. It rained terribly every step of our journey to day; I returned with the secretary after a dinner of cold meat, and went to Mrs. Van's, where I sat the evening. I grow very idle, because I have a great deal of business. Tell me how you passed your time at Wexford; and an't you glad at heart you have got safe home to your lodgings at St. Mary's, pray? and so your friends come to visit you: and Mrs. Walls is much better of her eye: and the dean is just as he used to be: and what does Walls say of London? 'tis a reasoning coxcomb. And goody Stoyte, and Hannah what d'ye call her; no, her name en't Hannah, Catharine I mean; they were so glad to see the ladies again; and Mrs. Manley wanted a companion at ombre.
21. I writ to day to the archbishop of Dublin, and enclosed a long politick paper by itself. You know the bishops are all angry that (smoke the wax candle drop at the bottom of this paper) I have let the world know the first-fruits were got by lord treasurer before the duke of Ormond was governor. I told lord treasurer all this, and he is very angry; but I pacified him again by telling him they were fools, and knew nothing of what passed here, but thought all was well enough, if they complimented the duke of Ormond. Lord treasurer gave me t'other day a letter of thanks he received from the bishops of Ireland, signed by seventeen, and says he will write them an answer. The dean of Carlisle sat with me to day till three, and I went to dine with lord treasurer, who dined abroad, so did the secretary, and I was left in the suds. 'Twas almost four, and I got to sir Matthew Dudley, who had half dined. Thornhill, who killed sir Cholmley Dering, was murdered by two men on Turnham green last Monday night: as they stabbed him, they bid him remember sir Cholmley Dering. They had quarrelled at Hampton-court, and followed and stabbed him on horseback. We have only a Grub street paper of it, but I believe it is true. I went myself through Turnham green the same night, which was yesterday.
22. We have had terrible rains these two or three days. I intended to dine at lord treasurer's, but went to see lady Abercorn, who is come to town, and my lord; and I dined with them, and visited lord treasurer this evening. His porter is mending. I sat with my lord about three hours, and am come home early to be busy. Passing by White's chocolate-house, my brother Masham called me, and told me his wife was brought to bed of a boy, and both very well. (Our society, you must know, are all brothers.) Dr. Garth told us, that Mr. Henley is dead of an apoplexy. His brother-in-law, earl Poulet, is gone down to the Grange to take care of his funeral. The earl of Danby, the duke of Leeds' eldest grandson, a very hopeful young man of about twenty, is dead at Utrecht of the smallpox. — I long to know whether you begin to have any good effect by your waters. — Methinks this letter goes on slowly; 'twill be a fortnight next Saturday since it was begun, and one side not filled. O fy for shame, Presto. Faith, I'm so tosticated to and from Windsor, that I know not what to say; but faith, I'll go to Windsor again on Saturday, if they ask me, not else. So lose your money again, now you are come home; do, sirrah.
Take your magnifying glass, madam Dingley.
You shan't read this, sirrah Stella; don't read it for your life, for fear of your dearest eyes.
There's enough for this side; these ministers hinder me.
Pretty, dear, little, naughty, saucy MD.
Silly, impudent loggerhead Presto.
23. Dilly and I dined to day with lord Abercorn, and had a fine fat haunch of venison, that smelt rarely on one side: and after dinner Dilly won half a crown of me at backgammon at his lodgings, to his great content. It is a scurvy empty town this melancholy season of the year; but I think our weather begins to mend. The roads are as deep as in winter. The grapes are sad things; but the peaches are pretty good, and there are some figs. I sometimes venture to eat one, but always repent it. You say nothing of the box sent half a year ago. I wish you would pay me for Mrs. Walls's tea. Your mother is in the country, I suppose. Pray send me the account of MD, madam Dingley, as it stands since November, that is to say, for this year (excluding the twenty pounds lent Stella for Wexford) for I cannot look in your letters. I think I ordered that Hawkshaw's interest should be paid to you. When you think proper, I will let Parvisol know you have paid that twenty pounds, or part of it: and so go play with the dean, and I will answer your letter to morrow. Good night, sirrahs, and love Presto, and be good girls.
24. I dined to day with lord treasurer, who chid me for not dining with him yesterday; for it seems I did not understand his invitation: and their club of the ministry dined together, and expected me. Lord Radnor and I were walking the mall this evening; and Mr. secretary met us, and took a turn or two, and then stole away, and we both believe it was to pick up some wench; and to morrow he will be at the cabinet with the queen: so goes the world. Prior has been out of town these two months, nobody knows where, and is lately returned. People confidently affirm he has been in France, and I half believe it. It is said, he was sent by the ministry, and for some overtures toward a peace. The secretary pretends he knows nothing of it. I believe your parliament will be dissolved. I have been talking about the quarrel between your lords and commons with lord treasurer; and did, at the request of some people, desire that the queen's answer to the commons address might express a dislike to some principles, &c. but was answered dubiously. — And so now to your letter, fair ladies. I know drinking is bad; I mean writing is bad in drinking the waters; and was angry to see so much in Stella's hand. But why Dingley drinks them I cannot imagine; but truly she'll drink waters as well as Stella: why not? I hope you now find the benefit of them since you are returned: pray let me know particularly. I am glad you are forced upon exercise, which, I believe, is as good as the waters for the heart of them. 'Tis now past the middle of August; so by your reckoning you are in Dublin. It would vex me to the dogs that letters should miscarry between Dublin and Wexford, after scaping the salt seas. I will write no more to that nasty town in haste again, I warrant you. I have been four Sundays together at Windsor, of which a fortnight together; but I believe I shall not go to morrow; for I will not, unless the secretary asks me. I know all your news about the mayor: it makes no noise here at all, but the quarrel of your parliament does; it is so very extraordinary, and the language of the commons so very pretty. The Examiner has been down this month, and was very silly the five or six last papers; but there is a pamphlet come out, in answer to a letter to the seven lords who examined Gregg. The answer is by the real author of the Examiner, as I believe; for it is very well written. We had Trap's poem on the duke of Ormond printed here, and the printer sold just eleven of them. 'Tis a dull piece, not half so good as Stella's; and she is very modest to compare herself with such a poetaster. I am heartily sorry for poor Mrs. Parnel's death; she seemed to be an excellent good natured young woman, and I believe the poor lad is much afflicted: they appeared to live perfectly well together. Dilly is not tired at all with England, but intends to continue here a good while: he is mighty easy to be at distance from his two sisters-in-law. He finds some sort of scrub acquaintance; goes now and then in disguise to a play; smokes his pipe; reads now and then a little trash, and what else the Lord knows. I see him now and then; for he calls here, and the town being thin, I am less pestered with company than usual. I have got rid of many of my solicitors, by doing nothing for them: I have not above eight or nine left, and I'll be as kind to them. Did I tell you of a knight, who desired me to speak to lord treasurer to give him two thousand pounds, or five hundred pounds a year, until he could get something better? I honestly delivered my message to the treasurer, adding, the knight was a puppy, whom I would not give a groat to save from the gallows. Cole Reading's father-in-law has been two or three times at me to recommend his lights to the ministry; assuring me, that a word of mine would, &c. Did not that dog use to speak ill of me, and profess to hate me? he knows not where I lodge, for I told him I lived in the country; and I have ordered Patrick to deny me constantly to him. — Did the bishop of London die in Wexford? poor gentleman! did he drink the waters? were you at his burial? was it a great funeral? so far from his friends? But he was very old: we shall all follow. And yet it was a pity, if God pleased. He was a good man; not very learned: I believe he died but poor. Did he leave any charity legacies? who held up his pall? was there a great sight of clergy? do they design a tomb for him? are you sure it was the bishop of London? because there is an elderly gentleman here that we give the same title to: or did you fancy all this in your water, as others do strange things in their wine? they say, these waters trouble the head, and make people imagine what never came to pass. Do you make no more of killing a bishop? are these your whiggish tricks? — Yes, yes, I see you are in a fret. O faith, says you, saucy Presto, I'll break your head; what, can't one report what one hears, without being made a jest and a laughingstock? are these your English tricks, with a murrain? and Sacheverell will be the next bishop? he would be glad of an addition of two hundred pounds a year to what he has; and that is more than they will give him, for ought I see. He hates the new ministry mortally, and they hate him, and pretend to despise him too. They will not allow him to have been the occasion of the late change; at least some of them will not; but my lord keeper owned it to me t'other day. No, Mr. Addison does not go to Ireland this year: he pretended he would; but he is gone to Bath with pastoral Philips, for his eyes. — So now I have run over your letter; and I think this shall go to morrow, which will be just a fortnight from the last, and bring things to the old form again after your rambles to Wexford, and mine to Windsor. Are there not many literal faults in my letters? I never read them over, and I fancy there are. What do you do then? do you guess my meaning; or are you acquainted with my manner of mistaking? I lost my handkerchief in the mall to night with lord Radnor: but I made him walk with me to find it, and find it I did not. Tisdall (that lodges with me) and I have had no conversation, nor do we pull off our hats in the streets. There is a cousin of his (I suppose) a young parson, that lodges in the house too; a handsome genteel fellow. Dick Tighe and his wife lodged over against us; and he has been seen, out of our upper windows, beating her two or three times: they are both gone to Ireland, but not together; and he solemnly vows never to live with her. Neighbours do not stick to say she has a tongue: in short, I am told, she is the most urging, provoking devil that ever was born; and he a hot whiffling puppy, very apt to resent. I'll keep this bottom till to morrow: I'm sleepy.
25. I was with the secretary this morning, who was in a mighty hurry, and went to Windsor in a chariot with lord keeper; so I was not invited, and am forced to stay at home; but not at all against my will; for I could have gone, and would not. I dined in the city with one of my printers, for whom I got the Gazette, and am come home early; and have nothing to say to you more, but finish this letter, and not send it by the bellman. Days grow short, and the weather grows bad, and the town is splenetick, and things are so oddly contrived, that I cannot be absent; otherwise I would go for a few days to Oxford, as I promised. — They say, 'tis certain that Prior has been in France; nobody doubts it: I had not time to ask the secretary, he was in such haste. Well, I will take my leave of dearest MD for a while; for I must begin my next letter to night: consider that, young women; and pray be merry, and good girls, and love Presto. There is now but one business the ministry wants me for; and when that is done, I will take my leave of them. I never got a penny from them, nor expect it. In my opinion, some things stand very ticklish; I dare say nothing at this distance. Farewell, dear sirrahs, dearest lives: there is peace and quiet with MD, and nowhere else. They have not leisure here to think of small things, which may ruin them; and I have been forward enough. Farewell again, dearest rogues: I am never happy, but when I write or think of MD. I have enough of courts and ministers; and wish I were at Laracor: and if I could with honour come away this moment, I would. Bernage came to see me to day; he is just landed from Portugal, and come to raise recruits: he looks very well, and seems pleased with his station and manner of life: he never saw London nor England before; he is ravished with Kent, which was his first prospect when he landed. Farewell again, &c. &c.
London, Aug. 25, 1711.
I HAVE got a pretty small gilt sheet of paper to write to MD. I have this moment sent my 28th by Patrick, who tells me has put it in the postoffice: 'tis directed to your lodgings: if it wants more particular direction, you must set me right. It is now a solar month and two days since the date of your last, N. 18, and I reckon you are now quiet at home, and thinking to begin your 19th, which will be full of your quarrel between the two houses, all which I know already. Where shall I dine to morrow? can you tell? Mrs. Vanhomrigh boards now, and cannot invite one; and there I used to dine when I was at a loss; and all my friends are gone out of town, and your town is now at the fullest with your parliament and convocation. But let me alone, sirrahs, for Presto is going to be very busy; not Presto, but t'other I.
26. People have so left the town, that I am at a loss for a dinner, it is a long time since I have been at London upon a Sunday; and the ministers are all at Windsor. It cost me eighteen pence in coach hire before I could find a place to dine in. I went to Frankland's, and he was abroad, and the drab his wife looked out of window, and bowed to me without inviting me up; so I dined with Mr. Coote, my lord Montrath's brother; my lord is with you in Ireland. This morning at five my lord Jersey died of the gout in his stomach, or apoplexy, or both; he was abroad yesterday, and his death was sudden: he was chamberlain to king William, and a great favourite, turned out by the queen as a tory, and stood now fair to be privy seal; and by his death will, I suppose, make that matter easier, which has been a very stubborn business at court, as I have been informed. I never remembered so many people of quality to have died in so short a time.
27. I went to day into the city to thank Stratford for my books, and dine with him, and settle my affairs of my money in the bank, and receive a bill for Mrs. Wesley for some things to buy for her; and the d— a one of all these could I do. The merchants were all out of town, and I was forced to go to a little hedge place for my dinner. May my enemies live here in summer! and yet I am so unlucky that I cannot possibly be out of the way at this juncture. People leave the town so late in summer, and return so late in winter, that they have almost inverted the seasons. It is autumn this good while in St. James's park; the limes have been losing their leaves, and those remaining on the trees are all parched: I hate this season, where every thing grows worse and worse. The only good thing of it is the fruit, and that I dare not eat. Had you any fruit at Wexford? a few cherries, and durst not eat them. I do not hear we have yet got a new privy seal. The whigs whisper, that our new ministry differ among themselves, and they begin to talk out Mr. secretary; they have some reasons for their whispers, although I thought it was a greater secret. I do not much like the posture of things; I always apprehended, that any falling out would ruin them, and so I have told them several times. The whigs are mighty full of hopes at present; and whatever is the matter, all kind of stocks fall. I have not yet talked with the secretary about Prior's journey. I should be apt to think it may foretell a peace; and that is all we have to preserve us. The secretary is not come from Windsor; but I expect him to morrow. Burn all politicks!
28. We begin to have fine weather, and I walked to day to Chelsea, and dined with the dean of Carlisle, who is laid up with the gout. It is now fixed that he is to be dean of Christchurch in Oxford. I was advising him to use his interest to prevent any misunderstanding between our ministers; but he is too wise to meddle, though he fears the thing and consequences as much as I. He will get into his own warm quiet deanery, and leave them to themselves; and he is in the right. — When I came home to night I found a letter from Mr. Lewis, who is now at Windsor; and in it, forsooth, another which looked like Presto's hand; and what should it be but a 19th from MD? O faith, I scaped narrowly, for I sent my 28th but on Saturday; and what should I have done if I had two letters to answer at once? I did not expect another from Wexford, that's certain. Well, I must be contented; but you are dear saucy girls, for all that, to write so soon again, faith; an't you?
29. I dined to day with lord Abercorn, and took my leave of them; they set out to morrow for Chester; and, I believe, will now fix in Ireland. They have made a pretty good journey of it: his eldest son is married to a lady with ten thousand pounds; and his second son has, t'other day, got a prize in the lottery of four thousand pounds, beside two small ones of two hundred pound each: nay, the family was so fortunate, that my lord bestowing one ticket, which is a hundred pounds, to one of his servants, who had been his page, the young fellow got a prize, which has made it another hundred. I went in the evening to lord treasurer, who desires I will dine with him to morrow, when he will show me the answer he designs to return to the letter of thanks from your bishops in Ireland. The archbishop of Dublin desired me to get myself mentioned in the answer which my lord would send; but I sent him word I would not open my lips to my lord upon it. He says, it would convince the bishops of what I have affirmed, that the first fruits were granted before the duke of Ormond was declared governor; and I writ to him, that I would not give a farthing to convince them. My lord treasurer began a health to my lord privy seal; Prior punned, and said it was so privy, he knew not who it was, but I fancy they have fixed it all, and we shall know to morrow. But what care you who is privy seal, saucy sluttikins?
30. When I went out this morning, I was surprised with the news, that the bishop of Bristol is made lord privy seal. You know his name is Robinson, and that he was many years envoy in Sweden. All the friends of the present ministry are extreme glad, and the clergy above the rest. The whigs will fret to death to see a civil employment given to a clergyman. It was a very handsome thing in my lord treasurer, and will bind the church to him for ever. I dined with him to day, but he had not written his letter; but told me, he would not offer to send it without showing it to me; he thought that would not be just, since I was so deeply concerned in the affair. We had much company; lord Rivers, Marr, and Kinnoul, Mr. secretary, George Granville, and Masham; the last has invited me to the christening of his son to morrow se'nnight, and on Saturday I go to Windsor with Mr. secretary.
31. Dilly and I walked to day to Kensington to lady Mountjoy, who invited us to dinner. He returned soon to go to the play, it being the last that will be acted for some time: he dresses himself like a beau, and no doubt makes a fine figure. I went to visit some people at Kensington; Ophy Butler's wife there lies very ill of an ague, which is a very common disease here, and little known in Ireland. — I am apt to think we shall soon have a peace, by the little words I hear thrown out by the ministry. I have just thought of a project to bite the town. I have told you, that it is now known that Mr. Prior has been lately in France. I will make a printer of my own sit by me one day, and I will dictate to him a formal relation of Prior's journey, with several particulars, all pure invention; and I doubt not but it will take.
Sept. 1. Morning. I go to day to Windsor with Mr. secretary; and lord treasurer has promised to bring me back. The weather has been fine for some time, and I believe we shall have a great deal of dust. — At night. Windsor. The secretary and I and brigadier Sutton dined to day at Parson's green, at my lord Peterborow's house, who has left it and his gardens to the secretary during his absence. It is the finest garden I have ever seen about this town, and abundance of hot walls for grapes, where they are in great plenty, and ripening fast. I durst not eat any fruit, but one fig; but I brought a basket full to my friend Lewis here at Windsor. Does Stella never eat any? what, no apricots at Donnybrook? nothing but claret and ombre? I envy people maunching and maunching peaches and grapes, and I not daring to eat a bit. My head is pretty well, only a sudden turn any time makes me giddy for a moment, and sometimes it feels very stuffed; but if it grows no worse, I can bear it very well. I take all opportunities of walking; and we have a delicious park here just joining to the castle, and an avenue in the great park very wide and two miles long, set with a double row of elms on each side. Were you ever at Windsor? I was once a great while ago; but had quite forgotten it.
2. The queen has the gout, and did not come to chapel, nor stir out from her chamber, but received the sacrament there: as she always does the first Sunday in the month. Yet we had a great court, and among others, I saw your Ingoldsby, who seeing me talk very familiarly with the keeper, treasurer, &c. came up and saluted me, and began a very impertinent discourse about the siege of Bouchain. I told him, I could not answer his questions, but I would bring him one that should; so I went and fetched Sutton (who brought over the express about a month ago) and delivered him to the general, and bid him answer his questions; and so I left them together. Sutton after some time came back in rage; finds me with lord Rivers and Masham, and there complains of the trick I had played him, and swore he had been plagued to death with Ingoldsby's talk. But he told me, Ingoldsby asked him what I meant by bringing him; so I suppose, he smoked me a little. So we laughed, &c. My lord Willoughby, who is one of the chaplains, and prebendary of Windsor, read prayers last night to the family; and the bishop of Bristol, who is dean of Windsor, officiated last night at the cathedral. This they do to be popular, and it pleases mightily. I dined with Mr. Masham, because he lets me have a select company. For the court here have got by the end a good thing I said to the secretary some weeks ago. He showed me his bill of fare to tempt me to dine with him; poh, said I, I value not your bill of fare, give me your bill of company. Lord treasurer was mightily pleased, and told it every body, as a notable thing. I reckon upon returning to morrow; they say the bishop will then have the privy seal delivered him at a great council.
3. Windsor still. The council was held so late to day, that I do not go back to town till to morrow. The bishop was sworn privy counsellor, and had the privy seal given him: and now the patents are passed for those who were this long time to be made lords or earls. Lord Raby, who is earl of Strafford, is on Thursday to marry a namesake of Stella's; the daughter of sir H. Johnson in the city; he has threescore thousand pounds with her, ready money; beside the rest at the father's death. I have got my friend Stratford to be one of the directors of the South Sea company, who were named to day. My lord treasurer did it for me a month ago: and one of those whom I got to be printer of the Gazette, I am recommending to be printer to the same company. He treated Mr. Lewis and me to day at dinner. I supped last night and this with lord treasurer, keeper, &c. and took occasion to mention the printer. I said, it was the same printer, whom my lord treasurer has appointed to print for the South Sea company; he denied, and I insisted on it; and I got the laugh on my side.
London, 4. I came as far as Brentford in lord Rivers's chariot, who had business with lord treasurer; then I went into lord treasurer's: we stopped at Kensington, where lord treasurer went to see Mrs. Masham, who is now what they call in the straw. We got to town by three, and I lighted at lord treasurer's; who commanded me not to stir: but I was not well; and when he went up, I begged the young lord to excuse me, and so went into the city by water, where I could be easier, and dined with the printer, and dictated to him some part of Prior's journey to France. I walked from the city, for I take all occasions of exercise. Our journey was horrid dusty.
5. When I went out to day, I found it had rained mightily in the night, and the streets were as dirty as winter; it is very refreshing after ten days dry. — I went into the city and dined with Stratford, thanked him for his books, gave him joy of his being director, of which he had the first notice by a letter from me. I ate sturgeon, and it lies on my stomach. I almost finished Prior's journey at the printer's, and came home pretty late with Patrick at my heels.
7. Morning. But what shall we do about this letter of MD's, N. 19? not a word answered yet, and so much paper spent? I cannot do any thing in it, sweethearts, till night. At night. O Lord, O Lord, the greatest disgrace that ever was has happened to Presto. What do you think; but when I was going out this forenoon a letter came from MD, N. 20, dated at Dublin. O dear, O dear; O sad, O sad. — Now I have two letters together to answer: here they are, lying together. But I will only answer the first; for I came in late. I dined with my friend Lewis at his lodgings, and walked at six to Kensington to Mr. Masham's christening. It was very private; nobody there but my lord treasurer, his son, and son-in-law, that is to say, lord Harley, and lord Dupplin, and lord Rivers and I. The dean of Rochester christened the child, but soon went away. Lord treasurer and lord Rivers were godfathers, and Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Masham's sister, godmother. The child roared like a bull, and I gave Mrs. Masham joy of it; and she charged me to take care of my nephew, because Mr. Masham being a brother of our society, his son you know is consequently a nephew. Mrs. Masham sat up dressed in bed, but not as they do in Ireland with all smooth about her, as if she was cut off in the middle; for you might see the counterpane (what d'ye call it?) rise above her hips and body. There's another name of the counterpane, and you'll laugh now, sirrahs. George Granville came in at supper, and we staid still eleven, and lord treasurer set me down at my lodging in Suffolk street. Did I ever tell you that lord treasurer hears ill with the left ear, just as I do? he always turns the right; and his servants whisper him at that only. I dare not tell him, that I am so too, for fear he should think I counterfeited, to make my court.
6. You must read this before the other; for I mistook, and forgot to write yesterday's journal, it was so insignificant: I dined with Dr. Cockburn, and sat the evening with lord treasurer, till ten o'clock. On Thursdays he has always a large select company, and expects me. So good night for last night, &c.
8. Morning. I go to Windsor with lord treasurer to day, and will leave this behind me to be sent to the post. And now let us hear what says the first letter, N. 19. You are still at Wexford, as you say, madam Dingley. I think no letter from me ever yet miscarried. And so Inish-Corthy, and the river Slainy; fine words those in a lady's mouth. Your hand like Dingley's, you scambling, scattering, sluttikin? Yes mighty like indeed, is not it? Pisshh, don't talk of writing or reading till your eyes are well, and long well; only I would have Dingley read sometimes to you, that you may not quite lose the desire of it. God be thanked that the ugly numbing is gone. Pray use exercise when you go to town. What game is that ombra which Dr. Elwood and you play at? is it the Spanish game ombre? Your card purse! you a card purse? you a fiddlestick. You have luck indeed; and luck in a bag. What a devil is that eight shilling tea-kettle? copper, or tin japanned? It is like your Irish politeness, raffling for tea-kettles. What a splutter you keep to convince me that Walls has no taste? My head continues pretty well. Why do you write, dear sirrah Stella, when you find your eyes so weak that you cannot see? what comfort is there in reading what you write, when one knows that? So Dingley can't write because of the clutter of new company come to Wexford? I suppose the noise of their hundred horses disturbs you; or, do you lie in one gallery, as in an hospital? what; you are afraid of losing in Dublin the acquaintance you have got in Wexford; and chiefly the bishop of Raphoe, an old, doating, perverse coxcomb? Twenty at a time at breakfast. That is like five pounds at a time, when it was never but once. I doubt, madam Dingley, you are apt to lie in your travels, though not so bad as Stella; she tells thumpers, as I shall prove in my next, if I find this receives encouragement. — So Dr. Elwood says. There are a world of pretty things in my works. A pox on his praises! an enemy here would say more. The duke of Buckingham would say as much, though he and I are terribly fallen out; and the great men are perpetually inflaming me against him: they bring me all he says of me, and, I believe, make it worse out of roguery. — No, 'tis not your pen is bewitched, madam Stella, but your old scrawling, splay-foot, pot-hooks, s, s, ay that's it: there the s, s, s, there, there, that's exact. Farewell, &c.
Our fine weather is gone, and I doubt we shall have a rainy journey to day. Faith, 'tis shaving day, and I have much to do.
When Stella says her pen is bewitched, it was only because there was a hair in it. You know the fellow they call God-help-it had the same thoughts of his wife, and for the same reason. I think this is very well observed, and I unfolded the letter to tell you it.
Cut off those two notes above; and see the nine pounds endorsed, and receive the other; and send me word how my accounts stand, that they may be adjusted by Nov. 1. Pray be very particular: but the twenty pounds I lend you is not to be included; so make no blunder. I won't wrong you; nor you shan't wrong me; that's the short. O Lord, how stout Presto is of late! But he loves MD more than his life a thousand times, for all his stoutness; tell him that; and I'll swear it, as hope saved, ten millions of times, &c. &c.
I open my letter once more to tell Stella, that if she does not use exercise after her waters, it will lose all the effects of them: I should not live, if I did not take all opportunities of walking. Pray, pray, do this to oblige poor Presto.
Windsor, Sept. 8, 1711.
I MADE the coachman stop, and put in my twenty-ninth at the postoffice at two o'clock to day, as I was going to lord treasurer, with whom I dined, and came here by a quarter past eight; but the moon shone, and so we were not in much danger of overturning, which however he values not a straw, and only laughs when I chide at him for it. There was nobody but he and I, and we supped together, with Mr. Masham, and Dr. Arbuthnot, the queen's favourite physician, a Scotchman. I could not keep myself awake after supper, but did all I was able to disguise it, and thought I came off clear; but at parting he told me, I had got my nap already. It is now one o'clock; but he loves sitting up late.
9. The queen is still in the gout, but recovering; she saw company in her bedchamber after church; but the crowd was so great, I could not see her. I dined with my brother, sir William Wyndham, and some others of our society, to avoid the great tables on Sunday at Windsor, which I hate. The usual company supped to night at lord treasurer's, which was lord keeper, Mr. secretary, George Granville, Masham, Arbuthnot and I. But showers have hindered me from walking to day, and that I don't love. — Noble fruit, and I dare not eat a bit. I ate one fig to day, and sometimes a few mulberries, because it is said they are wholesome, and you know, a good name does much. I shall return to town to morrow, though I thought to have staid a week, to be at leisure for something I am doing. But I have put it off till next; for I shall come here again on Saturday, when our society are to meet at supper at Mr. secretary's. My life is very regular here: on Sunday morning I constantly visit lord keeper, and sup at lord treasurer's with the same set of company. I was not sleepy to night; I resolved I would not; yet it is past midnight at this present writing.
London, 10. Lord treasurer and Masham and I left Windsor at three this afternoon; we dropped Masham at Kensington with his lady, and got home by six. It was seven before we sat down to dinner, and I staid till past eleven. Patrick came home with the secretary: I am more plagued with Patrick and my portmantua than with myself. I forgot to tell you, that when I went to Windsor on Saturday, I overtook lady Gifford and Mrs. Fenton in a chariot going, I suppose, to Sheen. I was then in a chariot too, of lord treasurer's brother, who had business with the treasurer; and my lord came after, and overtook me at Turnham green, four miles from London, and then the brother went back, and I went in the coach with lord treasurer: so it happened that those people saw me, and not with lord treasurer. Mrs. F. was to see me about a week ago; and desired I would get her son into the Charterhouse.
11. This morning the printer sent me an account of Prior's journey; it makes a twopenny pamphlet; I suppose you will see it, for I dare engage it will run; 'tis a formal grave lie, from the beginning to the end. I writ all but about the last page, that I dictated, and the printer writ. Mr. secretary sent to me to dine where he did; it was at Prior's; when I came in Prior showed me the pamphlet, seemed to be angry, and said, here is our English liberty: I read some of it, and said I liked it mightily, and envied the rogue the thought; for had it come into my head, I should have certainly done it myself. We staid at Prior's till past ten, and then the secretary received a packet with the news of Bouchain being taken, for which the guns will go off to morrow. Prior owned his having been in France, for it was past denying; it seems he was discovered by a rascal at Dover, who had positive orders to let him pass. I believe we shall have a peace.
12. It is terrible rainy weather, and has cost me three shillings in coaches and chairs to day, yet I was dirty into the bargain. I was three hours this morning with the secretary about some business of moment, and then went into the city to dine. The printer tells me he sold yesterday a thousand of Prior's journey, and had printed five hundred more. It will do rarely, I believe, and is a pure bite. And what is MD doing all this while? got again to their cards, their Walls, their deans, their Stoytes, and their claret? pray present my service to Mr. Stoyte and Catherine. Tell goody Stoyte, she owes me a world of dinners, and I will shortly come over and demand them. — Did I tell you of the archbishop of Dublin's last letter? he had been saying in several of his former, that he would shortly write to me something about myself, and it looked to me as if he intended something for me: at last out it comes, and consists of two parts. First, he advises me to strike in for some preferment now I have friends; and secondly, he advises me, since I have parts, and learning, and a happy pen, to think of some new subject in divinity not handled by others, which I should manage better than any body. A rare spark this, with a pox! but I shall answer him as rarely. Methinks he should have invited me over, and given me some hopes or promises. But, hang him! and so good night, &c.
13. It rained most furiously all this morning till about twelve, and sometimes thundered; I trembled for my shillings, but it cleared up, and I made a shift to get a walk in the park, and then went with the secretary to dine with lord treasurer. Upon Thursdays there is always a select company; we had the duke of Shrewsbury, lord Rivers, the two secretaries, Mr. Granville, and Mr. Prior. Half of them went to council at six; but Rivers, Granville, Prior and I staid till eight. Prior was often affecting to be angry at the account of his journey to Paris; and indeed the two last pages, which the printer had got somebody to add, are so romantick, they spoil all the rest. Dilly Ashe pretended to me that he was only going to Oxford and Cambridge for a fortnight, and then would come back. I could not see him, as I appointed t'other day; but some of his friends tell me, he took leave of them as going to Ireland; and so they say at his lodging. I believe the rogue was ashamed to tell me so, because I advised him to stay the winter, and he said he would. I find he had got into a good set of scrub acquaintance, and I thought passed his time very merrily; but I suppose he languished after Balderig, and the claret of Dublin: and, after all, I think he is in the right; for he can eat, drink and converse better there than here. Bernage was with me this morning: he calls now and then; he is in terrible fear of a peace. He said, he never had his health so well as in Portugal. He is a favourite of his colonel.
14. I was mortified enough to day, not knowing where in the world to dine, the town is so empty; I met H. Coote, and thought he would invite me, but he did not: sir John Stanley did not come into my head; so I took up with Mrs. Van, and dined with her and her damned landlady, who, I believe, by her eyebrows, is a bawd. This evening I met Addison and pastoral Philips in the park, and supped with them at Addison's lodgings; we were very good company; and yet know no man half so agreeable to me as he is. I sat with them till twelve, so you may think 'tis late, young women; however, I would have some little conversation with MD before your Presto goes to bed, because it makes me sleep and dream, and so forth. Faith this letter goes on slowly enough, sirrahs, but I can't write much at a time till you are quite settled after your journey you know, and have gone all your visits, and lost your money at ombre. You never play at chess now, Stella. That puts me in mind of Dick Tighe; I fancy I told you he used to beat his wife here; and she deserved it; and he resolves to part with her; and they went to Ireland in different coaches. O Lord, I said all this before, I'm sure. Go to bed, sirrahs.
Windsor, 15. I made the secretary stop at Brentford, because we set out at two this afternoon, and fasting would not agree with me. I only designed to eat a bit of bread and butter, but he would light, and we ate roast beef like dragons. And he made me treat him and two more gentlemen; faith it cost me a guinea; I don't like such jesting, yet I was mightily pleased with it too. To night our society met at the secretary's, there were nine of us; and we have chosen a new member, the earl of Jersey, whose father died lately. 'Tis past one, and I have stolen away.
16. I design to stay here this week by myself, about some business that lies on my hands, and will take up a great deal of time. Dr. Adams, one of the canons, invited me to day to dinner. The tables are so full here on Sunday, that it is hard to dine with a few, and Dr. Adams knows I love to do so, which is very obliging. The queen saw company in her bedchamber; she looks very well, but she sat down. I supped with lord treasurer as usual, and staid till past one as usual, and with our usual company, except lord keeper, who did not come this time to Windsor. I hate these suppers mortally; but I seldom eat any thing.
17. Lord treasurer and Mr. secretary stay here till to morrow, some business keeps them, and I am sorry for it, for they hinder me a day. Mr. Lewis and I were going to dine soberly with a little court friend at one. But lord Harley and lord Dupplin kept me by force, and said we should dine at lord treasurer's, who intended to go at four to London; I staid like a fool, and went with the two young lords to lord treasurer; who very fairly turned us all three out of doors. They both were invited to the duke of Somerset, but he was gone to a horserace, and would not come till five: so we were forced to go to a tavern, and send for wine from lord treasurer's, who at last we were told did not go to town till the morrow, and at lord treasurer's we supped again; and I desired him to let me add four shillings to the bill I gave him. We sat up till two, yet I must write to little MD.
18. They are all gone early this morning; and I am alone to seek my fortune; but Dr. Arbuthnot engages me for my dinners; and he yesterday gave me my choice of place, person, and victuals for to day. So I chose to dine with Mrs. Hill, who is one of the dressers, and Mrs. Masham's sister; no company but us three, and to have a shoulder of mutton, a small one, which was exactly, only there was too much victuals besides; and the Dr's wife was of the company. And to morrow Mrs. Hill and I are to dine with the doctor. I have seen a fellow often about court, whom I thought I knew; I asked who he was, and they told me it was the gentleman porter; then I called him to mind; he was Killy's acquaintance (I won't say yours) I think his name is Lovet, or Lovel, or something like it. I believe he does not know me, and in my present posture I shall not be fond of renewing old acquaintance; I believe I used to see him with the Bradleys; and by the way, I have not seen Mrs. Bradley since I came to England. I left your letter in London, like a fool; and cannot answer it till I go back, which will not be until Monday next: so this will be above a fortnight from my last; but I will fetch it up in my next; so go and walk to the dean's for your health this fine weather.
19. The queen designs to have cards and dancing here next week, which makes us think she will stay here longer than we believed. Mrs. Masham is not well after her lying in: I doubt she got some cold: she is lame in one of her legs with a rheumatick pain. Dr. Arbuthnot and Mrs. Hill go to morrow to Kensington to see her, and return the same night. Mrs. Hill and I dined with the doctor to day. I rode out this morning with the doctor to see Cranburn, a house of lord Ranelagh's, and the duchess of Marlborough's lodge, and the park; the finest places they are for nature, and plantations, that ever I saw; and the finest riding upon artificial roads, made on purpose for the queen. Arbuthnot made me draw up a sham subscription for a book, called a history of the maids of honour since Harry the Eighth, showing they make the best wives, with a list of all the maids of honour since, &c. to pay a crown in hand, and t'other crown upon delivery of the book; and all in the common forms of those things. We got a gentleman to write it fair, because my hand is known, and we sent it to the maids of honour, when they came to supper. If they bite at it, 'twill be a very good court jest; and the queen will certainly have it; we did not tell Mrs. Hill.
20. To day I was invited to the green cloth by colonel Godfrey, who married the duke of Marlborough's sister, mother to the duke of Berwick by king James: I must tell you those things that happened before you were born: but I made my excuses, and young Harcourt (lord keeper's son) and I dined with my next neighbour Dr. Adams. Mrs. Masham is better, and will be here in three or four days. She had need; for the duchess of Somerset is thought to gain ground daily. — We have not yet sent you over all your bills; and I think we have altered your money bill. The duke of Ormond is censured here by those in power for very wrong management in the affair of the mayoralty. He is governed by fools; and has usually much more sense than his advisers, but never proceeds by it. I must know how your health continues after Wexford. Walk and use exercise, sirrahs both; and get somebody to play at shuttlecock with you, madam Stella, and walk to the dean's and Donnybrook.
21. Colonel Godfrey sent to me again to day; so I dined at the green cloth, and we had but eleven at dinner, which is a small number there, the court being always thin of company till Saturday night. — This new ink and pen make a strange figure; I must write larger, yes I must, or Stella won't be able to read this. S. S. S. there's your S s for you, Stella. The maids of honour are bit, and have all contributed their crowns, and are teasing others to subscribe for the book. I will tell lord keeper and lord treasurer to morrow; and I believe the queen will have it. After a little walk this evening, I squandered away the rest of it in sitting at Lewis's lodging, while he and Dr. Arbuthnot played at picquet. I have that foolish pleasure, which I believe nobody has beside me, except old lady Berkeley. But I fretted when I came away; I will loiter so no more, for I have a plaguy deal of business upon my hands, and very little time to do it. The pamphleteers begin to be very busy against the ministry: I have begged Mr. secretary to make examples of one or two of them; and he assures me he will. They are very bold and abusive.
22. This being the day the ministry comes to Windsor, I ate a bit or two at Mr. Lewis's lodgings, because I must sup with lord treasurer; and at half an hour after one, I led Mr. Lewis a walk up the avenue, which is two miles long: we walked in all about five miles; but I was so tired with his slow walking, that I left him here, and walked two miles toward London, hoping to meet lord treasurer, and return with him; but it grew darkish, and I was forced to walk back, so I walked nine miles in all; and lord treasurer did not come till after eight; which is very wrong, for there was no moon, and I often tell him how ill he does to expose himself so; but he only makes a jest of it. I supped with him, and staid till now, when it is half an hour after two. He is as merry, and careless, and disengaged as a young heir at one and twenty. 'Tis late indeed.
23. The secretary did not come last night, but at three this afternoon; I have not seen him yet; but I verily think they are contriving a peace as fast as they can, without which it will be impossible to subsist. The queen was at church to day, but was carried in a chair. I and Mr. Lewis dined privately with Mr. Lowman, clerk of the kitchen. I was to see lord keeper this morning, and told him the jest of the maids of honour, and lord treasurer had it last night. That rogue Arbuthnot puts it all upon me. The court was very full to day; I expected lord treasurer would have invited me to supper; but he only bowed to me, and we had no discourse in the drawingroom. 'Tis now seven at night, and I am at home, and I hope lord treasurer will not send for me to supper; if he does not, I will reproach him, and he will pretend to chide me for not coming. — So farewell till I go to bed, for I am going to be busy. — 'Tis now past ten, and I went down to ask the servants about Mr. secretary; they tell me the queen is yet at council, and that she went to supper, and came out to the council afterward. 'Tis certain they are managing a peace. I will go to bed, and there's an end. — 'Tis now eleven, and a messenger is come from lord treasurer to sup with them; but I have excused myself, and am glad I am in bed; for else I should sit up till two, and drink till I was hot. Now I'll go sleep.
London, 24. I came to town by six with lord treasurer, and have staid till ten. That of the queen's going out to sup, and commg in again, is a lie, as the secretary told me this morning: but I find the ministry are very busy with Mr. Prior, and I believe he will go again to France. I am told so much, that we shall certainly have a peace very soon. I had charming weather all last week at Windsor; but we have had a little rain to day, and yesterday was windy. Prior's Journey sells still; they have sold two thousand, although the town is empty. I found a letter from Mrs. Fenton here, desiring me in lady Gifford's name to come and pass a week at Sheen, while she is at Moor park. I will answer it with a vengeance: and now you talk of answering, there is MD's N. 20 is yet to be answered: I had put it up so safe I could hardly find it; but here it is, faith, and I am afraid I cannot send this till Thursday; for I must see the secretary to morrow morning, and be in some other place in the evening.
25. Stella writes like an emperor, and gives such an account of her journey, never saw the like. Let me see; stand away, let us compute; you staid four days at Inish-Corthy; two nights at Mrs. Proby's mother's; and yet was but six days in journey; for your words are, "We left Wexford this day se'nnight, and came here last night." I have heard them say, that travellers may lie by authority. Make up this, if you can. How far is it from Wexford to Dublin? how many miles did you travel in a day? Let me see — thirty pounds in two months, is nine score pounds a year; a matter of nothing in Stella's purse. I dreamed Billy Swift was alive, and that I told him, you writ me word he was dead, and that you had been at his funeral, and I admired at your impudence, and was in mighty haste to run and let you know what lying rogues you were. Poor lad, he is dead of his mother's former folly and fondness, and yet now I believe as you say, that her grief will soon wear off. — yes, madam Dingley, mightily tired of the company, no doubt of it, at Wexford! and your description of it is excellent; clean sheets, but bare walls; suppose then you lay upon the walls. — Mrs. Walls has got her tea; but who pays me the money? come, I shall never get it; so I make a present of it to stop some gaps, &c. Where's the thanks of the house? so, that's well; why, it cost four and thirty shillings English — You must adjust that with Mrs. Walls; I think that is so many pence more with you. — No, Leigh and Sterne, I suppose, were not at the waterside; I fear Sterne's business will not be done; I have not seen him this good while. I hate him for the management of that box; and I was the greatest fool in nature for trusting to such a young jackanapes; I will speak to him once more about it, when I see him. Mr. Addison and I met once more since, and I supped with him: I believe I told you so somewhere in this letter. The archbishop chose an admiirable messenger in Walls to send to me, yet I think him fitter for a messenger than any thing. — The d— she has! I did not observe her looks. Will she rot out of modesty with lady Gifford? I pity poor Jenny — but her husband is a dunce, and with respect to him she loses little by her deafness. I believe, madam Stella, in your accounts you mistook one liquor for another, and it was a hundred and forty quarts of wine, and thirty-two of water. — This is all written in the morning before I go to the secretary, as I am now doing. I have answered your letter a little shorter than ordinary; but I have a mind it should go to day, and I will give you my journal at night in my next; for I'm so afraid of another letter before this goes: I will never have two together again unanswered. — What care I for Dr. Tisdall and Dr. Raymond, or how many children they have? I wish they had a hundred apiece. Lord treasurer promises me to answer the bishops' letter to morrow, and show it me; and I believe it will confirm all I said, and mortify those that threw the merit on the duke of Ormond. For I have made him jealous of it; and t'other day talking of the matter, he said, I am your witness you got it for them before the duke was lord lieutenant. My humble service to Mrs. Walls, Mrs. Stoyte, and Catherine. Farewell, &c.
What do you do when you see any literal mistakes in my letters? how do you set them right? for I never read them over to correct them. Farewell again.
London, Sept. 25, 1711.
I DINED in the city to day, and at my return I put my 30th into the postoffice; and when I got home I found for me one of the noblest letters I ever read; it was from ——, three sides and a half in folio on a large sheet of paper; the two first pages made up of satire upon London, and crowds and hurry, stolen from some of his own schoolboy's exercises: the side and a half remaining is spent in desiring me to recommend Mrs. South, your commissioner's widow, to my lord treasurer for a pension. He is the prettiest, discreetest fellow that ever my eyes beheld, or that ever dipped pen into ink. I know not what to say to him. A pox on him, I have too many such customers on this side already. I think I will send him word that I never saw my lord treasurer in my life: I am sure I industriously avoided the name of any great person when I saw him, for fear of his reporting it in Ireland. And this recommendation must be a secret too, for fear the duke of Bolton should know it, and think it was too mean. I never read so d—d a letter in my life: a little would make me send it over to you. — I must send you a pattern, the first place I cast my eyes on, I will not pick and choose. [In this place (meaning the Exchange in London) which is the compendium of old Troynovant, as that is of the whole busy world, I got such a surfeit, that I grew sick of mankind, and resolved, for ever after, to bury myself in the shady retreat of ——.] You must know that London has been called by some Troynovant, or New Troy. — Will you have any more? Yes, one little bit for Stella, because she'll be fond of it. [This wondrous theatre (meaning London) was no more to me than a desert, and I should less complain of solitude in a Connaught shipwreck, or even the great bog of Allen.] A little scrap for Mrs. Marget, and then I have done. [Their royal fanum, wherein the idol Pecunia is daily worshipped, seemed to me to be just like a hive of bees working and labouring under huge weights of cares.] Fanum is a temple, but he means the Exchange; and Pecunia is money: so now Mrs. Marget will understand her part. One more paragraph, and I — Well, come, don't be in such a rage, you shall have no' more. Pray, Stella, be satisfied; 'tis very pretty: and that I must be acquainted with such a dog as this! —— Our peace goes on fast. Prior was with the secretary two hours this morning: I was there a little after he went away, and was told it. I believe he will soon be dispatched again to France; and I will put somebody to write an account of his second journey: I hope you have seen the other. This latter has taken up my time with storming at it.
26. Bernage has been with me these two days; yesterday I sent for him to let him know, that Dr. Arbuthnot is putting in strongly to have his brother made a captain over Bernage's head. Arbuthnot's brother is but an ensign; but the doctor has great power with the queen: yet he told me, he would not do any thing hard to a gentleman who is my friend; and I have engaged the secretary and his colonel for him. To day he told me very melancholy, that the other had written from Windsor (where he went to solicit) that he has got the company; and Bernage is full of the spleen. I made the secretary write yesterday a letter to the colonel in Bernage's behalf I hope it will do yet; and I have written to Dr. Arbuthnot to Windsor, not to insist on doing such a hardship. I dined in the city at Pontack's with Stratford; it cost me seven shillings: he would have treated; but I did not let him. I have removed my money from the bank to another fund. I desire Parvisol may speak to Hawkshaw to pay in my money when he can; for I will put it in the funds; and in the mean time borrow so much of Mr. secretary, who offers to lend it me. Go to the dean's, sirrahs.
27. Bernage was with me again to day, and is in great fear, and so was I; but this afternoon at lord treasurer's, where I dined, my brother George Granville, secretary at war, after keeping me a while in suspense, told me, that Dr. Arbuthnot had waved the business, because he would not wrong a friend of mine; that his brother is to be a lieutenant, and Bernage is made a captain. I called at his lodging, and the soldier's coffeehouse, to put him out of pain, but cannot find him; so I have left word, and shall see him to morrow morning, I suppose. Bernage is now easy; he has ten shillings a day, beside lawful cheating. However, he gives a private sum to his colonel; but it is very cheap: his colonel loves him well, but is surprised to see him have so many friends. So he is now quite off my hands. — I left the company early to night at lord treasurer's; but the secretary followed me, to desire I would go with him to W—. Mr. Lewis's man came in before I could finish that word beginning with a W, which ought to be Windsor, and brought me a very handsome rallying letter from Dr. Arbuthnot, to tell me, he had, in compliance to me, given up his brother's pretensions in favour of Bernage this very morning; that the queen had spoken to Mr. Granville to make the company easy in the other's having the captainship. Whether they have done it to oblige me or no, I must own it so. He says, he this very morning begged her majesty to give Mr. Bernage the company. I am mighty well pleased to have succeeded so well; but you will think me tedious, although you like the man as I think.
Windsor, 28. I came here a day sooner than ordinary, at Mr. secretary's desire, and supped with him and Prior, and two private ministers from France, and a French priest. I know not the two ministers names; but they are come about the peace. The names the secretary called them, I suppose were feigned; they were good rational men. We have already settled all things with France, and very much to the honour and advantage of England; and the queen is in mighty good humour. All this news is a mighty secret; the people in general know that a peace is forwarding. The earl of Strafford is to go soon to Holland, and let them know what we have been doing: and then there will be the devil and all to pay; but we'll make them swallow it with a pox. The French ministers staid with us till one, and the secretary and I sat up talking till two; so you will own 'tis late, sirrahs, and time for your little saucy Presto to go to bed and sleep adazy; and God bless poor little MD: I hope they are now fast asleep and dreaming of Presto.
29. Lord treasurer came to night, as usual, at half an hour after eight, as dark as pitch. I am weary of chiding him; so I commended him for observing his friends advice, and coming so early, &c. I was two hours with lady Oglethorp to night, and then supped with lord treasurer, after dining at the green cloth: I staid till two; this is the effect of lord treasurer being here; I must sup with him, and he keeps cursed hours. Lord keeper and the secretary were absent; they cannot sit up with him. This long sitting up makes the periods in my letters so short. I design to stay here all the next week, to be at leisure by myself, to finish something of weight I have upon my hands, and which must soon be done. I shall then think of returning to Ireland, if these people will let me; and I know nothing else they have for me to do. I gave Dr. Arbuthnot my thanks for his kindness to Bernage, whose commission is now signed. Me thinks I long to know something of Stella's health, how it concinues after Wexford waters.
30. The queen was not at chapel to day, and all for the better, for we had a dunce to preach: she has a little of the gout. I dined with my brother Masham and a moderate company, and would not go to lord treasurer's till after supper at eleven o'clock, and pretended I had mistaken the hour; so I ate nothing: and a little after twelve the company broke up, the keeper and secretary refusing to stay; so I saved this night's debauch. Prior went away yesterday with his Frenchmen, and a thousand reports are raised in this town. Some said, they knew one to be the abbe de Polignac: others swore it was the abbe du Bois. The whigs are in a rage, about the peace; but we'll wherret them, I warrant, boys. Go, go, go to the dean's, and don't mind politicks, young women, they are not good after the waters; they are stark naught: they strike up into the head. Go, get two black aces, and fish for a manilio.
Oct. 1. Sir John Walters, an honest drunken fellow, is now in waiting, and invited me to the green cloth to day, that he might not be behind hand with colonel Godfrey, who is a whig. I was engaged to the mayor's feast with Mr. Masham; but waiting to take leave of lord treasurer, I came too late, and so returned sneaking to the green cloth, and did not see my lord treasurer neither; but was resolved not to lose two dinners for him. I took leave to day of my friend and solicitor lord Rivers, who is commanded by the queen to set out for Hanover on Thursday. The secretary does not go to town till to morrow: he and I and two friends more drank a sober bottle of wine here at home, and parted at twelve; he goes by seven to morrow morning, so I shall not see him. I have power over his cellar in his absence, and make little use of it. Lord Dartmouth and my friend Lewis stay here this week; but I can never work out a dinner from Dartmouth. Masham has promised to provide for me: I squired his lady out of her chaise to day, and must visit her in a day or two. So you have had a long fit of the finest weather in the world; but I am every day in pain that it will go off. I have done no business to day: I am very idle.
2. My friend Lewis and I, to avoid over much eating, and great tables, dined with honest Jemmy Eckershall, clerk of the kitchen, now in waiting; and I bespoke my dinner: but the cur had your acquaintance Lovet, the gentleman porter, to be our company: Lovet, toward the end of dinner, after twenty wrigglings, said he had the honour to see me formerly at Moor park, and thought he remembered my face; I said, I thought I remembered him, and was glad to see him, &c. and I escaped for that much, for he was very pert. It has rained all this day, and I doubt our good weather is gone. I have been very idle this afternoon, playing at twelvepenny picquet with Lewis; I won seven shillings, which is the only money I won this year; I have not played above four times, and I think always at Windsor: cards are very dear, there is a duty on them of sixpence a pack, which spoils small gamesters.
3. Mr. Masham sent this morning to desire I would ride out with him, the weather growing again very fine: I was very busy, and sent my excuses; but desired he would provide me a dinner: I dined with him, his lady, and her sister, Mrs. Hill, who invites us to morrow to dine with her, and we are to ride out in the morning. I sat with lady Oglethorp till eight this evening, then was going home to write; looked about for the woman that keeps the key of the house: she told me Patrick had it. I cooled my heels in the cloisters till nine, then went in to the musick meeting, where I had been often desired to go; but was weary in half an hour of their fine stuff, and stole out so privately that every body saw me; and cooled my heels in the cloisters again till after ten: then came in Patrick. I went up, shut the chamber door, and gave him two or three swingeing cuffs on the ear, and I have strained the thumb of my left hand with pulling him, which I did not feel until he was gone. He was plaguily afraid and humbled.
4. It was the finest day in the world, and we got out before eleven, a noble caravan of us. The duchess of Shrewsbury in her own chaise with one horse, and miss Touchet with her; Mrs. Masham and Mrs. Scarborow, one of the dressers, in one of the queen's chaises: miss Forester and miss Scarborow, two maids of honour, and Mrs. Hill on horseback. The duke of Shrewsbury, Mr. Masham, George Fielding, Arbuthnot and I on horseback too, Mrs. Hill's horse was hired for miss Scarborow, but she took it in civility, her own horse was galled and could not be rid, but kicked and winced: the hired horse was not worth eighteen pence. I borrowed coat, boots, and horse, and in short we had all the difficulties, and more than we used to have in making a party from Trim to Longfield's. My coat was light camlet, faced with red velvet, and silver buttons. We rode in the great park and the forest about a dozen miles, and the duchess and I had much conversation; we got home by two, and Mr. Masham, his lady, Arbuthnot and I dined with Mrs. Hill. Arbuthnot made us all melancholy, by some symptoms of bloody ur—e: he expects a cruel fit of the stone in twelve hours; he says he is never mistaken, and he appears like a man that is to be racked to morrow. I cannot but hope it will not be so bad; he is a perfectly honest man, and one I have much obligation to. It rained a little this afternoon, and grew fair again. Lady Oglethorp sent to speak to me, and it was to let me know that lady Rochester desires she and I may be better acquainted. 'Tis a little too late; for I am now now in love with lady Rochester: they shame me out of her, because she is old. Arbuthnot says, he hopes my strained thumb is not the gout; for he has often found people so mistaken. I do not remember the particular thing that gave it me, only I had it just after beating Patrick, and now it is better: so I believe he is mistaken.
5. The duchess of Shrewsbury sent to invite me to dinner; but I was abroad last night when her servant came, and this morning I sent my excuses, because I was engaged, which I was sorry for. Mrs. Forester taxed me yesterday about the History of the Maids of Honour; but I told her fairly it was no jest of mine; for I found they did not relish it altogether well: and I have enough already of a quarrel with that brute sir John Walters, who has been railing at me in all companies ever since I dined with him; that I abused the queen's meat and drink, and said, nothing at the table was good, and all a d——d lie; for after dinner, commending the wine, I said, I thought it was something small. You would wonder how all my friends laugh at this quarrel. It will be such a jest for the keeper, treasurer, and secretary. I dined with honest colonel Godfrey, took a good walk of an hour on the terrace, and then came up to study; but it grows bloody cold, and I have no waistcoat here.
6. I never dined with the chaplains till to day; but my friend Gastrel and the dean of Rochester had often invited me, and I happened to be disengaged: it is the worst provided table at court. We ate on pewter: every chaplain, when he is made a dean, gives a piece of plate, and so they have got a little, some of it very old. One who was made dean of Peterborow (a small deanery) said, he would give no plate; he was only dean of Pewterborow. The news of Mr. Hill's miscarriage in his expedition came to day, and I went to visit Mrs. Masham and Mrs. Hill, his two sisters, to condole with them. I advised them by all means to go to the musick meeting to night, to show they were not cast down, &c. and they thought my advice was right, and went. I doubt Mr. Hill and his admiral made wrong steps; however, we lay it all to a storm, &c. I sat with the secretary at supper; then we both went to lord treasurer's supper, and sat till twelve. The secretary is much mortified about Hill; because this expedition was of his contriving, and he counted much upon it; but lord treasurer was just as merry as usual, and old laughing at sir John Walters and me falling out. I said, nothing grieved me, but that they would take example, and perhaps presume upon it, and get out of my government; but that I thought I was not obliged to govern bears, though I governed men. They promise to be as obedient as ever, and so we laughed; — and so I go to bed; for it is colder still, and you have a fire now, and are at cards at home.
7. Lord Harley and I dined privately to day with Mrs. Masham and Mrs. Hill, and my brother Masham. I saw lord Halifax at court, and we joined and talked, and the duchess of Shrewsbury came up and reproached me for not dining with her: I said, that was not so soon done; for I expected more advances from ladies, especially duchesses: she promised to comply with any demands I pleased; and I agreed to dine with her to morrow, if I did not go to London too soon, as I believe I shall before dinner. Lady Oglethorp brought me and the duchess of Hamilton together to day in the drawingroom, and I have given her some encouragement, but not much. Every body has been teazing Walters. He told lord treasurer that he took his company from him that were to dine with him: my lord said, I will send you Dr. Swift: lord keeper bid him take care what he did; for, said he, Dr. Swift is not only all our favourite, but our governor. The old company supped with lord treasurer, and got away by twelve.
London, 8. I believe I shall go no more to Windsor; for we expect the queen will come in ten days to Hampton court. It was frost last night, and cruel cold to day. I could not dine with the duchess; for I left Windsor half an hour after one with lord treasurer, and we called at Kensington, where Mrs. Masham was got to see her children for two days. I dined, or rather supped with lord treasurer, and staid till after ten. Tisdall and his family are gone from hence, upon some wrangle with the family. Yesterday I had two letters brought me to Mr. Masham's; one from Ford, and t'other from our little MD, N. 21. I would not tell you till to day, because I would not. I won't answer it till the next, because I have slipped two days by being at Windsor, which I must recover here. Well, sirrahs, I must go to sleep. The roads were as dry as at midsummer to day. This letter shall go to morrow.
9. Morning. It rains hard this morning: I suppose our fair weather is now at an end. I think I'll put on my waistcoat to day: shall I? Well, I will then, to please MD. I think of dining at home to day upon a chop and a pot. The town continues yet very thin. Lord Strafford is gone to Holland to tell them what we have done here toward a peace. We shall soon hear what the Dutch say, and how they take it. My humble service to Mrs. Walls, Mrs. Stoyte and Catherine. — Morrow, dearest sirrahs, and farewell; and God Almighty bless MD, poor little, dear MD, for so I mean, and Presto too. I'll write to you again to night, that is, I'll begin my next letter. Farewell, &c.
This little bit belongs to MD, we must always write on the margin: you are saucy rogues.
London, October 9, 1711.
I WAS forced to lie down at twelve to day, and mend my night's sleep: I slept till after two, and then sent for a bit of mutton and pot of ale from the next cook's shop, and had no stomach. I went out at four, and called to see Biddy Floyd, which I had not done these three months: she is something marked, but has recovered her complexion quite, and looks very well. Then I sat the evening with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and drank coffee, and ate an egg. I likewise took a new lodging to day, not liking a groundfloor, nor the ill smell, and other circumstances. I lodge, or shall lodge, by Leicester fields, and pay ten shillings a weeks that hold out long, faith. I shall lie here but one night more. In rained terribly till one o'clock to day. I lie, for I shall lie here two nights, till Thursday, and then remove. Did I tell you that my friend Mrs. Barton has a brother drowned, that went on the expedition with Jack Hill? He was a lieutenant colonel, and a coxcomb; and she keeps her chamber in form, and the servants say, she receives no messages. Answer MD's letter, Presto, d'ye hear? No, says Presto, I won't yet, I'm busy: you're a saucy rogue. Who talks?
10. It cost me two shillings in coach-hire to dine in the city with a printer. I have sent, and caused to be sent, three pamphlets out in a fortnight. I will ply the rogues warm, and whenever any thing of theirs makes a noise, it shall have an answer. I have instructed an under spur-leather to write so, that it is taken for mine. A rogue that writes a newspaper called The Protestant Post Boy, has reflected on me in one of his papers; but the secretary has taken him up, and he shall have a squeeze extraordinary. He says, that an ambitious tantivy, missing of his towering hopes of preferment in Ireland, is come over to vent his spleen on the late ministry, &c. I'll tantivy him with a vengeance. I sat the evening at home, and am very busy, and can hardly find time to write, unless it were to MD. I am in furious haste.
11. I dined to day with lord treasurer. Thursdays are now his days when his choice company comes, but we are too much multiplied. George Granville sent his excuses upon being ill; I hear he apprehends the apoplexy, which would grieve me much. Lord treasurer calls Prior nothing but monsieur Baudrier, which was the feigned name of the Frenchman that writ his journey to Paris. They pretend to suspect me, so I talk freely of it, and put them out of their play. Lord treasurer calls me now Dr. Martin, because martin is a sort of a swallow, and so is a swift. When he and I came last Monday from Windsor, we were reading all the signs on the road. He is a pure trifler; tell the bishop of Clogher so. I made him make two lines in verse for the Bell and Dragon, and they were rare bad ones. I suppose Dilly is with you by this time: what could his reason be of leaving London, and not owning it? 'Twas plaguy silly. I believe his natural inconstancy made him weary; I think he is the king of inconstancy. I staid with lord treasurer till ten; we had five lords and three commoners. Go to ombre, sirrahs.
12. Mrs. Vanhomrigh has changed her lodging as well as I. She found she had got with a bawd, and removed: I dined with her to day; for though she boards, her landlady does not dine with her. I am grown a mighty lover of herrings; but they are much smaller here than with you. In the afternoon I visited an old major general, and eat six oysters; then sat an hour with Mrs. Colledge, the joiner's daughter that was hanged; it was the joiner was hanged, and not his daughters with Thompson's wife, a magistrate. There was the famous Mrs. Floyd of Chester, who, I think, is the handsomest woman (except MD) that ever I saw. She told me, that twenty people had sent her the verses upon Biddy, as meant to her: and indeed, in point of handsomeness, she deserves them much better. I will not go to Windsor to morrow, and so I told the secretary to day. I hate the thoughts of Saturday and Sunday suppers with lord treasurer. Jack Hill is come home from his unfortunate expedition, and is, I think, now at Windsor: I have not yet seen him. He is privately blamed by his own friends for want of conduct. He called a council of war, and therein it was determined to come back. But they say, a general should not do that, because the officers will always give their opinion for returning, since the blame will not lie upon them, but the general: I pity him heartily; Bernage received his commission to day.
13. I dined to day with colonel Crowe, late governor of Barbadoes; he is a great acquaintance of your friend Sterne, to whom I trusted the box. Lord treasurer has refused Sterne's business; and I doubt he is a rake; Jemmy Leigh stays for him, and nobody knows where to find him. I am so busy now, I have hardly time to spare to write to our little MD; but in a fortnight I hope it will be over. I am going now to be busy, &c.
14. I was going to dine with Dr. Cockburn, but sir Andrew Fountain met me, and carried me to Mrs. Van's, where I drank the last bottle of Raymond's wine, admirable good, better than any I get among the ministry. I must pick up time to answer this letter of MD's, I'll do it in a day or two for certain. —— I am glad I am not at Windsor, for it is very cold, and I won't have a fire till November. I am contriving how to stop up my grate with bricks. Patrick was drunk last night; but did not come to me, else I should have given him t'other cuff. I sat this evening with Mrs. Barton, it is the first day of her seeing company; but I made her merry enough, and we were three hours disputing upon whig and tory. She grieved for her brother only for form, and he was a sad dog. Is Stella well enough to go to church, pray? no numbings left? no darkness in your eyes? do you walk and exercise? Your exercise is ombre. —— People are coming up to town: the queen will be at Hampton court in a week. Lady Betty Germain, I hear, is come, and lord Pembroke is coming: his new wife is as big with child as she can tumble.
15. I sat at home till four this afternoon to day writing, and ate a roll and butter; then visited Will. Congreve an hour or two, and supped with lord treasurer, who came from Windsor to day, and brought Prior with him. The queen has thanked Prior for his good service in France, and promised to make him a commissioner of the customs. Several of that commission are to be out; among the rest, my friend sir Matthew Dudley; I can do nothing for him, he is so hated by the ministry. Lord treasurer kept me till twelve, so I need not tell you it is now late.
16. I dined to day with Mr. secretary at Dr. Cotesworth's, where he now lodges till his house be got ready in Golden square. One Boyer, a French dog, has abused me in a pamphlet, and I have got him up in a messenger's hands: the secretary promises me to swinge him. Lord treasurer told me last night, that he had the honour to be abused with me in a pamphlet. I must make that rogue an example for warning to others. I was to see Jack Hill this morning, who made that unfortunate expedition; and there is still more misfortune; for that ship, which was admiral of his fleet, is blown up in the Thames, by an accident and carelessness of some rogue, who was going, as they think, to steal some gunpowder: five hundred men are lost; we don't yet know the particulars. I am got home by seven, and am going to be busy, and you are going to play and supper; you live ten times happier than I: but I should live ten times happier than you if I were with MD. I saw Jemmy Leigh to day in the street, who tells me that Sterne has not lain above once these three weeks in his lodgings, and he doubts he takes ill courses; he stays only till he can find Sterne to go along with him, and he cannot hear of him. I begged him to inquire about the box when he comes to Chester, which he promises.
17. The secretary and I dined to day with brigadier Britton, a great friend of his. The lady of the house is very gallant, about thirty-five; she is said to have a great deal of wit; but I see nothing among any of them that equals MD by a bar's length, as hope saved. My lord treasurer is much out of order; he has a sore throat, and the gravel, and a pain in his breast where the wound was: pray God preserve him. The queen comes to Hampton court on Tuesday next; people are coming fast to town, and I must answer MD's letter, which I can hardly find time to do, though I am at home the greatest part of the day. Lady Betty Germain and I were disputing whig and tory to death this morning. She is grown very fat, and looks mighty well. Biddy Floyd was there, and she is, I think, very much spoiled with the smallpox.
18. Lord treasurer is still out of order, and that breaks our method of dining there to day. He is often subject to a sore throat, and some time or other it will kill him, unless he takes more care than he is apt to do. It was said about the town, that poor lord Peterborow was dead at Frankfort; but he is something better, and the queen is sending him to Italy, where I hope the warm climate will recover him: he has abundance of excellent qualities, and we love one another mightily. I was this afternoon in the city, ate a bit of meat, and settled some things with a printer. I will answer your letter on Saturday, if possible, and then send away this; so to fetch up the odd days I lost at Windsor, and keep constant to my fortnight. Ombre time is now coming on, and we shall have nothing but Manley, and Walls, and Stoytes, and the dean. Have you got no new acquaintance? Poor girls; nobody knows MD's good qualities. —— 'Tis very cold; but I will not have a fire till November, that's pozz. — Well, but coming home to night, I found on my table a letter from MD; faith I was angry, that is with myself; and I was afraid too to see MD's hand so soon, for fear of something, I don't know what: at last I opened it, and it was over well, and a bill for the two hundred guineas. However, 'tis a sad thing that this letter is not gone, nor your twenty-first answered yet.
19. I was invited to day to dine with Mrs. Van, with some company who did not come; but I ate nothing but herrings: you must know I hardly ever eat of above one thing, and that the plainest ordinary meat at table; I love it best, and believe it wholesomest. You love rarities; yes you do; I wish you had all that I ever see where I go. I was coming home early, and met the secretary in his chair, who persuaded me to go with him to Britton's; for he said, he had been all day at business, and had eaten nothing. So I went, and the time past so, that we staid till two, so you may believe 'tis late enough.
20. This day has gone all wrong, by sitting up so late last night. Lord treasurer is not yet well, and can't go to Windsor. I dined with sir Matthew Dudley, and took occasion to hint to him that he would lose his employment, for which I am very sorry. Lord Pembroke and his family are all come to town. I was kept so long at a friend's this evening, that I cannot send this to night. When I knocked at my lodgings, a fellow asked me where lodged Dr. Swift? I told him, I was the person: he gave me a letter he brought from the secretary's office, and I gave him a shilling: when I came up, I saw Dingley's hand: faith I was afraid, I do not know what. At last it was a formal letter from Dingley about her exchequer business. Well, I'll do it on Monday, and settle it with Tooke. And now, boys, for your letter, I mean the first, N. 21. Let's see; come out, little letter. — I never had the letter from the bishop that Raymond mentions; but I have written to Ned Southwell, to desire the duke of Ormond to speak to his reverence that he may leave off his impertinence. What a pox can they think I am doing for the archbishop here? You have a pretty notion of me in Ireland, to make me an agent for the archbishop of Dublin. —— Why; do you think I value your people's ingratitude about my part in serving them? I remit them their first-fruits of ingratitude, as freely as I got the other remitted to them. This lord treasurer defers writing his letter to them, or else they would be plagully confounded by this time. For, he designs to give the merit of it wholly to the queen and me, and to let them know it was done before the duke of Ormond was lord lieutenant. You visit, you dine abroad, you see friends; you pilgarlick; you walk from Finglass, you a cat's foot. O Lord — lady Gore hung her child by the waist; what is that waist, I don't understand the word; he must hang on till you explain or spell it. — I don't believe he was pretty, that's a liiii. — Pish; burn your firstfruits; again at it. Stella has made twenty false spellings in her writing; I'll send them to you all back again on the other side of this letter, to mend them; I won't miss one. Why; I think there were seventeen bishops names to the letter lord Oxford received. — I will send you some pamphlets by Leigh; put me in mind of it on Monday, for I shall go then to the printer; yes, and the Miscellany. I am mightily obliged to Walls, but I don't deserve it by any usage of him here, having seen him but twice, and once en passant. Mrs. Manley forsworn ombre! What; and no blazing star appear? no monsters born? no whale thrown up? Have you not found out some evasion for her? she had no such regard to oaths in her younger days. I got the books for nothing, madam Dingley; but the wine I got not; it was but a promise. — Yes, my head is pretty well in the main, only now and then a little threatening or so. You talk of my reconciling some great folks. I tell you what. The secretary told me last night, that he had found the reason why the queen was cold to him for some months past; that a friend had told it him yesterday; and it was, that they suspected he was at the bottom with the duke of Marlborough. Then he said, he had reflected upon all I had spoken to him long ago; but he thought it had been only my suspicion, and my zeal and kindness for him. I said I had reason to take that very ill, to imagine I knew so little of the world as to talk at a venture to a great minister; that I had gone between him and lord treasurer often, and told each of them what I had said to the other, and that I had informed him so before: he said all that you may imagine to excuse himself, and approve my conduct. I told him, I knew all along, that this proceeding of mine was the surest way to send me back to my willows in Ireland, but that I regarded it not, provided I could do the kingdom service in keeping them well together. I minded him how often I had told lord treasurer, lord keeper, and him together, that all things depended on their union, and that my comfort was to see them love one another; and I had told them all singly, that I had not said this by chance, &c. He was in a rage to be thus suspected; swears he will be upon a better foot, or none at all; and I do not see, how they can well want him in this juncture. I hope to find a way of settling this matter. I act an honest part; that will bring me neither profit nor praise. MD must think the better of me for it: nobody else shall ever know of it. Here's politicks enough for once; but madam D. D. gave me occasion for it. I think I told you I have got into lodgings that don't smell ill — O Lord! the spectacles: well, I'll do that on Monday too; although it goes against me to be employed for folks that neither you nor I care a groat for. Is the eight pounds from Hawkshaw included in the thirty-nine pounds five shillings and twopence? How do I know by this how my account stands? Can't you write five or six lines to cast it up? Mine is forty-four pounds per annum, and eight pounds from Hawkshaw makes fifty-two pounds. Pray set it right, and let me know; you had best. —— And so now I have answered N. 21, and 'tis late, and I will answer N. 22 in my next: this cannot go to night, but shall on Tuesday: and so go to your play, and lose your money, with your two eggs a penny; silly jade; you witty? very pretty.
21. Mrs. Van would have me dine with her again to day, and so I did, though lady Mountjoy has sent two or three times to have me see and dine with her, and she is a little body I love very well. My head has ached a little in the evenings these three or four days, but it is not of the giddy sort, so I do not much value it. I was to see lord Harley to day, but lord treasurer took physick, and I could not see him. He has voided much gravel, and is better, but not well; he talks of going on Tuesday to see the queen; at Hampton court; I wish he may be able. I never saw so fine a summer day as this was: how is it with you pray? and can't you remember, naughty packs. I han't seen lord Pembroke yet. He will be sorry to miss Dilly: I wonder you say nothing of Dilly's being got to Ireland; if he be not there soon, I shall have some certain odd thoughts: guess them if you can.
22. I dined in the city to day with Dr. Freind, at one of my printers: I inquired for Leigh, but could not find him: I have forgot what sort of apron you want. I must rout among your letters, a needle in a bottle of hay. I gave Sterne directions, but where to find him Lord knows. I have bespoken the spectacles; got a set of Examiners, and five pamphlets, which I have either written or contributed to, except the best, which is the Vindication of the Duke of Marlborough; and is entirely of the author of the Atalantis. I have settled Dingley's affair with Tooke, who has undertaken it, and understands it. I have bespoken a Miscellany: what would you have me do more? It cost me a shilling coming home; it rains terribly, and did so in the morning. Lord treasurer has had an ill day, in much pain. He writes and does business in his chamber now he is ill: the man is bewitched: he desires to see me, and I'll maul him, but he will not value it a rush. —— I am half weary of them all. I often burst out into these thoughts, and will certainly steal away as soon as I decently can. I have many friends, and many enemies; and the last are more constant in their nature. I have no shuddering at all to think of retiring to my old circumstances, if you can be easy; but I will always live in Ireland as I did the last time; I will not hunt for dinners there: nor converse with more than a very few.
23. Morning. This goes to day, and shall be sealed by and by. Lord treasurer takes physick again to day; I believe I shall dine with lord Dupplin. Mr. Tooke brought me a letter directed for me at Morphew's the bookseller. I suppose, by the postage, it came from Ireland; it is a woman's hand, and seems false spelt on purpose; it is in such sort of verse as Harris's petition; rallies me for writing merry things, and not upon divinity; and is like the subject of the archbishop's last letter, as I told you. Can you guess whom it came from? it is not ill written; pray find it out; there is a Latin verse at the end of it all rightly spelt; yet the English, as I think, affectedly wrong in many places. — My plaguing time is coming. A young fellow brought me a letter from judge Coote, with recommendation to be lieutenant of a man of war. He is the son of one Echlin, who was minister of Belfast before Tisdall, and I have got some other new customers; but I shall trouble my friends as little as possible. Saucy Stella used to jeer me for meddling with other folk's affairs: but now I am punished for it. —— Patrick has brought the candle, and I have no more room. Farewell, &c, &c.
Here is a full and true Account of Stella's new Spelling.
|A bout.||- -||About.|
Tell me truly, sirrah, how many of these are mistakes of the pen, and how many are you to answer for as real ill spelling? There are but fourteen, I said twenty by guess. You must not be angry, for I will have you spell right, let the world go how it will. Though after all, there is but a mistake of one letter in any of these words. I allow you henceforth but six false spellings in every letter you send me.
London, Oct. 23, 1711.
I DINED with lord Dupplin, as I told you I would, and put my thirty-second into the postoffice my own self; and I believe there has not been one moment since we parted, wherein a letter was not upon the road going or coming to or from P MD. If the queen knew it, she would give us a pension; for it is we bring good luck to their postboys and their packets: else they would break their necks and sink. But, an old saying and a true one; Be it snow or storm or hail, PMD's letters never fail: Cross winds may sometimes make them tarry; But PMD's letters can't miscarry. —— Terrible rain to day, but it cleared up at night enough to save my twelvepence coming home. Lord treasurer is much better this evening. I hate to have him ill, he is so confoundedly careless. I won't answer your letter yet, so be satisfied.
24. I called at lord treasurer's to day at noon; he was eating some broth in his bedchamber, undressed, with a thousand papers about him. He has a little fever upon him, and his eye terribly bloodshot; yet he dressed himself and went out to the treasury. He told me, he had a letter from a lady with a complaint asainst me; it was from Mrs. Cutts, a sister of lord Cutts, who writ to him, that I had abused her brother: you remember the Salamander, it is printed in the Miscellany. I told my lord, that I would never regard complaints, and that I expected whenever he received any against me, he would immediately put them into the fire, and forget them, else I should have no quiet. —— I had a little turn in my head this morning; which, though it did not last above a moment, yet being of the true sort, has made me as weak as a dog all this day. 'Tis the first I have had this half year. I shall take my pills if I hear of it again. I dined at lady Mountjoy's with Harry Coote, and went to see lord Pembroke upon his coming to town. — The whig party are furious against a peace, and every day some ballad comes out reflecting on the ministry on that account. The secretary St. John has seized on a dozen booksellers and publishers, into his messengers hands. Some of the foreign ministers have published the preliminaries agreed on here between France and England; and people rail at them as insufficient to treat a peace upon; but the secret is, that the French have agreed to articles much more important, which our ministers have not communicated, and the people, who think they know all, are discontented that there is no more. This was an inconvenience I foretold to the secretary; but we could contrive no way to fence against it. So there's politicks for you.
25. The queen is at Hampton court; she went on Tuesday in that terrible rain. I dined with Lewis at his lodgings, to dispatch some business we had. I sent this morning and evening to lord treasurer, and he is much worse by going out; I am in pain about evening. He has sent for Dr. Radcliffe; pray God preserve him. The chancellor of the exchequer showed me to day a ballad in manuscript against lord treasurer and his South Sea project; it is very sharply written: if it be not printed, I will send it you. If it be, it shall go in your packet of pamphlets. — I found out your letter about directions for the apron, and have ordered to be bought a cheap, green silk work apron; I have it by heart. I sat this evening with Mrs. Barton, who is my near neighbour. It was a delicious day, and I got my walk, and was thinking whether MD was walking too just at that time that Presto was. —— This paper does not cost me a farthing, I have it from the secretary's office. I long till to morrow to know how my lord treasurer sleeps this night, and to hear he mends: we are all undone without him; so pray for him, sirrahs, and don't stay too late at the dean's.
26. I dined with Mrs. Van; for the weather is so bad, and I am so busy, that I can't dine with great folks: and besides I dare eat but little, to keep my head in order, which is better. Lord treasurer is very ill, but I hope in no danger. We have no quiet with the whigs, they are so violent against a peace; but I'll cool them, with a vengeance, very soon. I have not heard from the bishop of Clogher, whether he has got his statues. I writ to him six weeks ago; he's so busy with his parliament. I won't answer your letter yet, say what you will, saucy girls.
27. I forgot to go about some business this morning, which cost me double the time; and I was forced to be at the secretary's office till four, and lose my dinner; so I went to Mrs. Van's, and made them get me three herrings, which I am very fond of, and they are a light victuals: besides, I was to have supped at lady Ashburnham's; but the drab did not call for us in her coach, as she promised, but sent for us, and so I sent my excuses. It has been a terrible rainy day, but so flattering in the morning, that I would needs go out in my new hat. I met Leigh and Sterne as I was going into the park. Leigh says he will go to Ireland in ten days, if he can get Sterne to go with him; so I will send him the things for MD, and I have desired him to inquire about the box. I hate that Sterne for his carelessness about it; but it was my fault.
29. I was all this terrible rainy day with my friend Lewis upon business of importance; and I dined with him, and came home about seven, and thought I would amuse myself a little after the pains I had taken. I saw a volume of Congreve's plays in my room, that Patrick had taken to read; and I looked into it, and in mere loitering read in it till twelve, like an owl and a fool: if ever I do so again; never saw the like. Count Gallas, the emperor's envoy, you will hear is in disgrace with us: the queen has ordered her ministers to have no more commerce with him; the reason is, the fool writ a rude letter to lord Dartmouth, secretary of state, complaining of our proceedings about a peace; and he is always in close confidence with lord Wharton, and Sunderland, and others of the late ministry. I believe you begin to think there will be no peace; the whigs here are sure it cannot be, and stocks are fallen again. But I am confident there will, unless France plays us tricks; and you may venture a wager with any of your whig acquaintance, that we shall not have another campaign. You will get more by it than by ombre, sirrah. — I let slip telling you yesterday's journal, which I thought to have done this morning, but blundered. I dined yesterday at Harry Coote's with lord Hatton, Mr. Finch, a son of lord Nottingham, and sir Andrew Fountaine. I left them soon; but hear they staid till two in the morning, and were all drunk; and so good night for last night, and good night for to night. You blundering goosecap, an't you ashamed to blunder to young ladies? I shall have a fire in three or four days now, oh ho.
30. I was to day in the city concerting some things with a printer, and am to be to morrow all day busy with Mr. secretary about the same. I won't tell you now; but the ministers reckon it will do abundance of good, and open the eyes of the nation, who are half bewitched against a peace. Few of this generation can remember any thing but war and taxes, and they think it is as it should be; whereas 'tis certain we are the most undone people in Europe, as I am afraid I shall make appear beyond all contradiction. But I forgot; I won't tell you what I will do, nor what I will not do: so let me alone, and go to Stoyte, and give goody Stoyte and Catherine my humble service; I love goody Stoyte better than goody Walls. Who'll pay me for this green apron? I will have the money; it cost ten shillings and sixpence. I think it plaguy dear for a cheap thing; but they said, that English silk would cockle, and I know not what. You have the making into the bargain. 'Tis right Italian: I have sent it and the pamphlets to Leigh, and will send the Miscellanies and spectacles in a day or two. I would send more; but faith I'm plaguy poor at present.
31. The devil's in this secretary; when I went this morning he had people with him; but says he, we are to dine with Prior to day, and then will do all our business in the afternoon: at two Prior sends word, he is otherwise engaged; then the secretary and I go and dine with brigadier Britton, sit till eight, grow merry, no business done; he is in haste to see lady Jersey, we part, and appoint no time to meet again. This is the fault of all the present ministers, teasing me to death for my assistance, laying the whole weight of their affairs upon it, yet slipping opportunities. Lord treasurer mends every day, though slowly: I hope he will take care of himself. Pray, will you send to Parvisol to send me a bill of twenty pounds as soon as he can, for I want money. I must have money; I will have money, sirrahs.
Nov. 1. I went to day into the city to settle some business with Stratford, and to dine with him; but he was engaged, and I was so angry I would not dine with any other merchant, but went to my printer, and ate a bit, and did business of mischief with him, and I shall have the spectacles and Miscellany to morrow, and leave them with Leigh. A fine day always makes me go into the city, if I can spare time, because it is exercise; and that does me more good than any thing. I have heard nothing since of my head, but a little, I don't know how, sometimes: but I am very temperate, especially now the treasurer is ill, and the ministers often at Hampton court, and the secretary not yet fixed in his house, and I hate dining with many of my old acquaintance. Here has been a fellow discovered going out of the East India house with sixteen thousand pounds in money and bills; he would have escaped, if he had not been so uneasy with thirst, that he stole out before his time, and was caught. But what is that to MD? I wish we had the money, provided the East India company was never the worse; you know we must not covet, &c. Our weather, for this fortnight past, is chequered, a fair and a rainy day; this was very fine, and I have walked four miles, wish MD would do so, lazy sluttikins.
2. It has rained all day with a continuendo, and I went in a chair to dine with Mrs. Van; always there in a very rainy day. But I made a shift to come back afoot. I live a very retired life, pay very few visits, and keep but very little company; I read no newspapers. I am sorry I sent you the Examiner; for the printer is going to print them in a small volume: it seems the author is too proud to have them printed by subscription, though his friends offered, they say, to make it worth five hundred pounds to him. The Spectators are likewise printing in a larger and smaller volume: so I believe they are going to leave them off, and indeed people grow weary of them, though they are often prettily written. We have had no news for me to send you now toward the end of my letter. The queen has the gout a little; I hoped the lord treasurer would have had it too; but Radcliffe told me yesterday it was the rheumatism in his knee and foot; however he mends, and I hope will be abroad in a short time. I am told they design giving away several employments before the parliament sits, which will be the thirteenth instant. I either do not like, or not understand this policy; and if lord treasurer does not mend soon, they must give them just before the sessions. But he is the greatest procrastinator in the world.
3. A fine day this, and I walked a pretty deal; I stuffed the secretary's pockets with papers, which he must read and settle at Hampton court, where he went to day, and stays some time. They have no lodgings for me there, so I can't go; for the town is small, chargeable and inconvenient. Lord treasurer had a very ill night last night, with much pain in his knee and foot, but is easier to day. — And so I went to visit Prior about some business, and so he was not within, and so sir Andrew Fountaine made me dine to day again with Mrs. Van, and I came home soon, remembering this must go to night, and that I had a letter of MD's to answer. O Lord, where is it? let me see; so, so, here it is. You grudge writing so soon. Pox on that bill; the woman would have me manage that money for her. I do not know what to do with it now I have it; I am like the unprofitable steward in the Gospel: I laid it up in a napkin; there thou hast what is thine own, &c. Well, well, I know of your new mayor. (I'll tell you a pun; a fishmonger owed a man two crowns; so he sent him a piece of bad ling and a tench, and then said he was paid: how is that now? find it out; for I won't tell it you: which of you finds it out?) well, but as I was saying, what care I for your mayor? I fancy Ford may tell Forbes right about my returning to Ireland before Christmas, or soon after. I'm sorry you did not go on with your story about pray God you be John; I never heard it in my life, and wonder what it can be. — Ah, Stella, faith you leaned upon your Bible to think what to say when you writ that. Yes, that story of the secretary's making me an example is true; "never heard it before;" why how could you hear it? is it possible to tell you the hundredth part of what passes in our companies here? the secretary is as easy with me as Mr. Addison was. I have often thought what a splutter sir William Temple makes about being secretary of state; I think Mr. St. John the greatest young man I ever knew; wit, capacity, beauty, quickness of apprehension, good learning, and an excellent taste; the best orator in the house of commons, admirable conversation, good nature, and good manners; generous, and a despiser of money. His only fault is talking to his friends in way of complaint of too great a load of business, which looks a little like affectation: and he endeavours too much to mix the fine gentleman, and man of pleasure, with the man of business. What truth and sincerity he may have I know not: he is now but thirty-two, and has been secretary above a year. Is not all this extraordinary? how he stands with the queen and lord treasurer I have told you before. This is his character; and I believe you will be diverted by knowing it. I writ to the archbishop of Dublin, bishop of Cloyne, and of Clogher together, five weeks ago from Windsor: I hope they had my letters; pray know if Clogher had his. — Fig for your physician and his advice, madam Dingley; if I grow worse, I will; otherwise I will trust to temperance and exercise: your fall of the leaf; what care I when the leaves fall? I am sorry to see them fall with all my heart; but why should I take physick because leaves fall off from trees? that won't hinder them from falling. If a man falls from a horse, must I take physick for that? — This arguing makes you mad; but it is true right reason, not to be disproved. — I am glad at heart to hear poor Stella is better; use exercise and walk, spend pattens and spare potions, wear out clogs and waste claret. Have you found out my pun of the fishmonger? don't read a word more till you have got it. And Stella is handsome again, you say? and is she fat? I have sent to Leigh the set of Examiners; the first thirteen were written by several hands, some good, some bad; the next three and thirty were all by one hand, that makes forty six: then that author, whoever he was, laid it down on purpose to confound guessers; and the last six were written by a woman. Then there is an account of Guiscard by the same woman, but the facts sent by Presto. Then an answer to the letter to the lords about Greg by Presto; Prior's Journey by Presto; Vindication of the duke of Marlborough entirely by the same woman; Comment on Hare's Sermon by the same woman, only hints sent to the printer from Presto to give her. Then there's the Miscellany, an apron for Stella, a pound of chocolate without sugar for Stella, a fine snuff-rasp of ivory, given me by Mrs. St. John for Dingley, and a large roll of tobacco, which she must hide or cut shorter out of modesty, and four pair of spectacles for the Lord knows who. There's the cargo, I hope it will come safe. O, Mrs. Masham and I are very well; we write to one another, but it is upon business; I believe I told you so before: pray pardon my forgetfulness in these cases; poor Presto can't help it. MD shall have the money as soon as Tooke gets it. And so I think I have answered all, and the paper is out, and now I have fetched up my week, and will send you another this day fortnight. — Why, you rogues, two crowns make tench-ill-ling: you are so dull you could never have found it out. Farewell, &c. &c.
London, Nov. 3, 1711.
MY thirty-third lies now before me just finished, and I am going to seal and send it, so let me know whether you would have me add any thing: I gave you my journal of this day; and it is now nine at night, and I am going to be busy for an hour or two.
4. I left a friend's house to day where I was invited, just when dinner was setting on, and pretended I was engaged, because I saw some fellows I did not know: and went to sir Matthew Dudley's, where I had the same inconvenience, but he would not let me go; otherwise I would have gone home, and sent for a slice of mutton and a pot of ale, rather than dine with persons unknown, as bad for aught I know, as your deans, parsons, and curates. Bad slabby weather to day. — Now methinks I write at ease, when I have no letter of MD's to answer. But I mistook, and have got the large paper. The queen is laid up with the gout at Hampton court; she is now seldom without it any long time together; I fear it will wear her out in a very few years. I plainly find I have less twitchings about my toes since these ministers are sick and out of town, and that I don't dine with them. I would compound for a light easy gout to be perfectly well in my head. — Pray walk when the frost comes, young ladies, go a frost-biting. It comes into my head, that from the very time you first went to Ireland I have been always plying you to walk and read. The young fellows here have begun a kind of fashion, to walk, and many of them have got swingeing strong shoes on purpose; it has got as far as several young lords; if it hold, it would be a very good thing. Lady Lucy and I are fallen out: she rails at me, and I have left visiting her.
5. MD was very troublesome to me last night in my sleep; I was a dreamed, methought, that Stella was here: I asked her after Dingley, and she said, she had left her in Ireland, because she designed her stay to be short, and such stuff. — Monsieur Pontchartrain, the secretary of state in France, and monsieur Fontenelle, the secretary of the Royal Academy there (who writ the Dialogues des Morts, &c.) have sent letters to lord Pembroke, that the academy have, with the king's consent, chosen him one of their members, in the room of one who is lately dead. But the cautious gentleman has given me the letters to show my lord Dartmouth and Mr. St. John, our two secretaries, and let them see there is no treason in them; which I will do on Wednesday, when they come from Hampton court. The letters are very handsome, and it is a very great mark of honour and distinction to lord Pembroke. I hear the two French ministers are come over again about the peace; but I have seen nobody of consequence to know the truth. I dined to day with a lady of my acquaintance, who was sick, in her bedchamber, upon three herrings and a chicken; the dinner was my bespeaking. We begin now to have chesnuts and Seville oranges; have you the latter yet? 'Twas a terrible windy day, and we had processions in carts of the pope and the devil, and the butchers rang their cleavers; you know this is the fifth of November, popery and gunpowder.
6. Since I am used to this way of writing, I fancy I could hardly make out a long letter to MD without it. I think I ought to allow for every line taken up by telling you where I dined; but that will not be above seven lines in all, half a line to a dinner. Your Ingoldsby is going over, and they say here, he is to be made a lord. — Here was I staying in my room till two this afternoon for that puppy sir Andrew Fountaine, who was to go with me into the city, and never came; and if I had not shot a dinner flying, with one Mr. Murray, I might have fasted, or gone to an alehouse. — You never said one word of goody Stoyte in your letter; but I supoose these winter nights we shall hear more of her. — Does the provost laugh as much as he used to do? we reckon him here a good-for-nothing fellow. — I design to write to your dean one of these days, but I can never find time, nor what to say. I will think of something: but if DD were not in Ireland, I believe seriously I should not think of the place twice a year. Nothing there ever makes the subject of talk in any company where I am.
7. I went to day to the city on business; but stopped at a printer's and staid there; it was a most delicious day. I hear the parliament is to be prorogued for a fortnight longer; I suppose, either because the queen has the gout, or that lord treasurer is not well, or that they would do something more toward a peace. I called at lord treasurer's at noon, and sat a while with lord Harley, but his father was asleep. A bookseller has reprinted or new-titled a sermon of Tom Swift's printed last year, and publishes an advertisement calling it Dr. Swift's Sermon. Some friend of lord Galway has, by his directions, published a four shilling book about his conduct in Spain, to defend him; I have but just seen it. But what care you for books, except Presto's Miscellanies? Leigh promised to call and see me, but has not yet; I hope he will take care of his cargo, and get your Chester box. A murrain take that box; every thing is spoiled that is in it. How does the strong box do? you say nothing of Raymond: is his wife brought to bed again; or how? has he finished his house; paid his debts; and put out the rest of the money to use? I am glad to hear poor Joe is like to get his two hundred pounds. I suppose Trim is now reduced to slavery again. I am glad of it; the people were as great rascals as the gentlemen. But I must go to bed, sirrahs; the secretary is still at Hampton court with my papers, or is come only to night. They plague me with attending them.
8. I was with the secretary this morning, and we dined with Prior, and did business this afternoon till about eight, and I must alter and undo, and a clutter; I am glad the parliament is prorogued. I staid with Prior till eleven; the secretary left us at eight. Prior I believe, will be one of those employed to make the peace, when a congress is opened. Lord Ashburnham told to day at the coffeehouse, that lord Harley was yesterday morning married to the duke of Newcastle's daughter, the great heiress, and it got about all the town. But I saw lord Harley yesterday at noon in his nightgown, and he dined in the city with Prior and others; so it is not true: but I hope it will be so; for I know, it has been privately managing this long time: the lady will not have half her father's estate; for the duke left lord Pelham's son his heir; the widow duchess will not stand to the will, and she is now at law with Pelham. However, at worst, the girl will have about ten thousand pounds a year, to support the honour: for lord treasurer will never save a groat for himself. Lord Harley is a very valuable young gentleman; and they say the girl is handsome, and has good sense, but red hair.
9. I designed a jaunt into the city to day to be merry, but was disappointed; so one always is in this life; and I could not see lord Dartmouth to day, with whom I had some business. Business and pleasure both disappointed. You can go to your dean, and for want of him, goody Stoyte, or Walls, or Manley, and meet every where with cards and claret. I dined privately with a friend on a herring and chicken, and half a flask of bad Florence. I begin to have fires now, when the mornings are cold: I have got some loose bricks at the back of my grate for good husbandry. Fine weather. Patrick tells me, my caps are wearing out, I know not how to get others. I want a necessary woman strangely; I am as helpless as an elephant. — I had three packets from the archbishop of Dublin, cost me four shillings, all about Higgins, printed stuff, and two long letters. His people forgot to enclose them to Lewis; and they were only directed to doctor Swift, without naming London or any thing else: I wonder how they reached me, unless the postmaster directed them. I have read all the trash, and am weary.
10. Why; if you must have it out, something is to be published of great moment, and three or four great people are to see there are no mistakes in point of fact: and 'tis so troublesome to send it among them, and get their corrections, that I am weary as a dog. I dined to day with the printer, and was there all the afternoon: and it plagues me, and there's an end, and what would you have? Lady Dupplin, lord treasurer's daughter, is brought to bed of a son. Lord treasurer has had an ugly return of his gravel. 'Tis good for us to live in gravel pits, but not for gravel pits to live in us: a man in this case should leave no stone unturned. Lord treasurer's sickness, the queen's gout, the forwarding the peace, occasion putting off the parliament a fortnight longer. My head has had no ill returns. I had good walking to day in the city, and take all opportunities of it on purpose for my health; but I can't walk in the park, because that is only for walking sake, and loses time, so I mix it with business: I wish MD walked half as much as Presto. If I was with you, I'd make you walk; I would walk behind or before you, and you should have masks on, and be tucked up like any thing, and Stella is naturally a stout walker, and carries herself firm, methinks I see her strut, and step clever over a kennel; and Dingley would do well enough if her petticoats were pinned up; but she is so embroiled, and so fearful, and then Stella scolds, and Dingley stumbles, and is so daggled. Have you got the whalebone petticoats among you yet? I hate them; a woman here may hide a moderate gallant under them. Pshaw, what's all this I'm saying? methinks I am talking to MD face to face.
11. Did I tell you that old Frowde, the old fool, is selling his estate at Pepperhara, and is sculking about the town nobody knows where? and who do you think manages all this for him, but that rogue Child, the double squire of Farnham? I have put Mrs. Masham, the queen's favourite, upon buying it; but that is yet a great secret, and I have employed lady Oglethorp to inquire about it. I was with lady Oglethorp to day, who is come to town for a week or two, and to morrow I will see to hunt out the old fool; he is utterly ruined, and at this present in some blind alley with some dirty wench. He has two sons that must starve, and he never gives them a farthing. If Mrs. Masham buys the land, I will desire her to get the queen to give some pension to the old fool, to keep him from absolutely starving. What do you meddle with other people's affairs for? says Stella. O, but Mr. Masham and his wife are very urgent with me, since I first put them in the head of it. I dined with sir Matthew Dudley, who, I doubt, will soon lose his employment.
12. Morning. I am going to hunt out old Frowde, and to do some business in the city. I have not yet called to Patrick to know whether it be fair. It has been past dropping these two days. Rainy weather hurts my pate and my purse. He tells me 'tis very windy, and begins to look dark; woe be to my shillings: an old saying and a true; Few fillings, many shillings. If the day be dark, my purse will be light. To my enemies be this curse; A dark day and a light purse. And so I'll rise, and go to my fire, for Patrick tells me I have a fire; yet it is not shaving day, nor is the weather cold; this is too extravagant. What is become of Dilly? I suppose you have him with you. Stella is just now showing a white leg, and putting it into the slipper. — Present my service to her, and tell her I am engaged to the dean: and desire she will come too: or, Dingley, can't you write a note? This is Stella's morning dialogue, no, morning speech I mean. — Morrow, sirrahs, and let me rise as well as you; but I promise you Walls can't dine with the dean to day, for she is to be at Mrs. Proby's just after dinner, and to go with Gracy Spencer to the shops to buy a yard of muslin, and a silver lace for an under petticoat. Morrow again, sirrahs. — At night. I dined with Stratford in the city, but could not finish my affairs with him; but now I have resolved to buy five hundred pounds South Sea stock, which will cost me three hundred and eighty ready money; and I will make use of the bill of a hundred pounds you sent me, and transfer Mrs. Walls over to Hawkshaw; or, if she dislikes it, I will borrow a hundred pounds of the secretary, and repay her. Three shillings coach-hire to day. I have spoken to Frowde's brother, to get me the lowest price of the estate, to tell Mrs. Masham.
13. I dined privately with a friend to day in the neighbourhood. Last Saturday night I came home, and the drab had just washed my room, and my bedchamber was all wet, and I was forced to go to bed in my own defence, and no fire: I was sick on Sunday, and now have got a swingeing cold. I scolded like a dog at Patrick, although he was out with me; I detest washing of rooms: can't they wash them in a morning, and make a fire, and leave open the windows? I slept not a wink last night for hawking and spitting: and now every body has colds. Here's a clatter: I'll go to bed and sleep if I can.
14. Lady Mountjoy sent to me two days ago, so I dined with her to day, and in the evening went to see lord treasurer. I found Patrick had been just there with a how d'ye, and my lord had returned answer, that he desired to see me. Mrs. Masham was with him when I came; and they are never disturbed: 'tis well she is not very handsome: they sit alone together settling the nation. I sat with lady Oxford, and stopped Mrs. Masham as she came out, and told her what progress I had made, &c. and then went to lord treasurer: he is very well, only uneasy at rising or sitting, with some rheumatick pains in his thigh, and a foot weak. He showed me a small paper, sent by an unknown hand to one Mr. Cook, who sent it to my lord: it was written in plain large letters, thus;
Though G——d's knife did not succeed;
A F——n's yet may do the deed.
And a little below; Burn this you dog. My lord has frequently such letters as these: once he showed me one, which was a vision describing a certain man, his dress, his sword, and his countenance, who was to murder my lord. And he told me, he saw a fellow in the chapel at Windsor with a dress very like it. They often send him letters signed Your humble servant, The Devil, and such stuff. I sat with him till after ten, and have business to do.
15. The secretary came yesterday to town from Hampton court, so I went to him early this morning; but he went back last night again: and coming home to night I found a letter from him to tell me, that he was just come from Hampton court, and just returning, and will not be here till Saturday night. A pox take him; he stops all my business. I'll beg leave to come back when I have got over this; and hope to see MD in Ireland soon after Christmas. — I'm weary of courts, and want my journies to Laracor; they did me more good than all the ministries these twenty years. I dined to day in the city, but did no business as I designed. Lady Mountjoy tells me, that Dilly is got to Ireland, and that the archbishop of Dublin was the cause of his returning so soon. The parliament was prorogued two days ago for a fortnight, which, with the queen's absence, makes the town very dull and empty. They tell me the duke of Ormond brings all the world away with him from Ireland. London has nothing so bad in it in winter, as your knots of Irish folks; but I go to no coffeehouse, and so I seldom see them. This letter shall go on Saturday; and then I am even with the world again. I have lent money, and cannot get it, and am forced to borrow for myself.
16. My man made a blunder this morning, and let up a visiter, when I had ordered to see nobody; so I was forced to hurry a hang dog instrument of mine into my bedchamber, and keep him cooling his heels there above an hour. —— I am going on fairly in the common forms of a great cold; I believe it will last me about ten days in all. —— I should have told you that in those two verses sent to lord treasurer, the G——d stands for Guiscard; that is easy; but we differed about F——n; I thought it was for Frenchman, because he hates them, and they him: and so it would be. That although Guiscard's knife missed its design, the knife of a Frenchman might yet do it. My lord thinks it stands for Felton, the name of him that stabbed the first duke of Buckingham. — Sir Andrew Fountaine and I dined with the Vans to day, and my cold made me loiter all the evening. Stay, young women, don't you begin to owe me a letter? just a month to day since I had your N. 22. I'll stay a week longer, and then I'll expect like agog; till then you may play at ombre, and so forth, as you please. The whigs are still crying down our peace, but we will have it, I hope, in spite of them: the emperor comes now with his two eggs a penny, and promises wonders to continue the war; but it is too late; only I hope the fear of it will serve to spur on the French to be easy and sincere. Night, sirrahs; I'll go early to bed.
17. Morning. This goes to night; I will put it myself in the postoffice. I had just now a long letter from the archbishop of Dublin, giving me an account of the ending your sessions, how it ended a storm; which storm, by the time it arrives here, will be only half nature. I can't help it, I won't hide. I often advised the dissolution of that parliament, although I did not think the scoundrels had so much courage; but they have it only in the wrong, like a bully that will fight for a whore, and run away in an army. I believe, by several things the archbishop says, he is not very well either with the government or clergy. — See how luckily my paper ends with a fortnight. — God Almighty bless and preserve dearest little MD. — I suppose your lord lieutenant is now setting out for England. I wonder the bishop of Clogher does not write to me; or let me know of his statues, and how he likes them: I will write to him again, as soon as I have leisure. Farewell, dearest MD, and love Presto, who loves MD infinitely above all earthly things, and who will. — My service to Mrs. Stoyte, and Catherine. I'm sitting in my bed; but will rise to seal this. Morrow, dear rogues. Farewell again, dearest MD, &c.
London, Nov. 17, 1711.
I PUT my last this evening in the postoffice. I dined with Dr. Cockburn. This being queen Elizabeth's birthday, we have the d— and all to do among us. I just heard of the stir as my letter was sealed this morning; and was so cross I would not open it to tell you. I have been visiting lady Oglethorp and lady Worsley; the latter is lately come to town for the winter, and with child, and what care you? This is queen Elizabeth's birthday, usually kept in this town by apprentices, &c. but the whigs designed a mighty procession by midnight, and had laid out a thousand pounds to dress up the pope, devil, cardinals, Sacheverell, &c. and carry them with torches about, and burn them. They did it by contribution. Garth gave five guineas, Dr. Garth I mean, if ever you heard of him. But they were seized last night, by order from the secretary: you will have an account of it, for they bawl it about the streets already. They had some very foolish and mischievous designs; and it was thought they would have put the rabble upon assaulting my lord treasurer's house, and the secretary's; and other violences. The militia was raised to prevent it, and now, I suppose all will be quiet. The figures are now at the secretary's office at Whitehall. I design to see them if I can.
18. I was this morning with Mr. secretary, who just came from Hampton court. He was telling me more particulars about this business of burning the pope. It cost a great deal of money, and had it gone on, would have cost three times as much: but the town is full of it, and half a dozen Grub street papers already. The secretary and I dined at brigadier Britton's, but I left them at six, upon an appointment with some sober company of men and ladies, to drink punch at sir Andrew Fountaine's. We were not very merry; and I don't love rack punch, I love it better with brandy; are you of my opinion? Why then, twelvepenny weather; sirrahs, why don't you play at shuttlecock? I have thought of it a hundred times; faith Presto will come over after Christmas, and will play with Stella before the cold weather is gone. Do you read the Spectators? I never do; they never come in my way; I go to no coffeehouses. They say abundance of them are very pretty: they are going to be printed in small volumes; I'll bring them over with me. I shall be out of my hurry in a week, and if Leigh be not gone over, I will send you by him what I am now finishing. I don't know where Leigh is; I have not seen him this good while, though he promised to call: I shall send to him. The queen comes to town on Thursday for good and all.
19. I was this morning at lord Dartmouth's office, and sent out for him from the committee of council, about some business. I was asking him more concerning this bustle about the figures in wax work of the pope, and devil, &c. He was not at leisure, or he would have seen them. I hear the owners are so impudent, that they design to replevin them by law. I am assured that the figure of the devil is made as like lord treasurer as they could. Why; I dined with a friend in St. James's street. Lord treasurer I am told, was abroad to day; I will know to morrow how he does after it. The duke of Marlborough is come, and was yesterday at Hampton court with the queen; no, it was t'other day; no, it was yesterday; for to day I remember Mr. secretary was going to see him, when I was there, not at the duke of Marlborough's, but at the secretary's; the duke is not so fond of me. What care I? I won seven shillings to night at picquet: I play twice a year or so.
20. I have been so teased with whiggish discourse by Mrs. Barton and lady Betty Germain, never saw the like. They turn all this affair of the pope burning into ridicule; and indeed they have made too great a clutter about it, if they had no real reason to apprehend some tumults. I dined with lady Betty. I hear Prior's commission is passed to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for the peace; my lord privy seal, who you know is bishop of Bristol, is the other; and lord Strafford, already ambassador at the Hague, the third: I am forced to tell you ignorant sluts who is who. I was punning scurvily with sir Andrew Fountaine and lord Pembroke this evening; do you ever pun now? Sometimes the dean, or Tom Leigh. Prior puns very well. Odso, I must go see his excellency, 'tis a noble advancement: but they could do no less, after sending him to France. Lord Strafford is as proud as Hell, and how he will bear one of Prior's mean birth on an equal character with him, I know not. And so I go to my business, and bid you good night.
21. I was this morning busy with my printer; I gave him the fifth sheet, and then I went and dined with him in the city, to correct something, and alter, &c. and I walked home in the dusk, and the rain overtook me: and I found a letter here from Mr. Lewis; well, and so I opened it; and he says, the peace is past danger, &c. Well; and so there was another letter enclosed in his; well; and so I looked on the outside of this t'other letter. Well; and so who do you think this t'other letter was from? Well; and so I'll tell you, it was from little MD, N. 23, 23, 23, 23. I tell you it is no more, I have told you so before: but I just looked again to satisfy you. Hie, Stella, you write like an emperor, a great deal together; a very good hand, and but four false spellings in all. Shall I send them to you? I am glad you did not take my correction ill. Well; but I won't answer your letter now, sirrah saucy boxes, no, no; not yet; just a month and three days from the last, which is just five weeks: you see it comes just when I begin to grumble.
22. Morning. Tooke has just brought me Dingley's money. I will give you a note for it at the end of this letter. There was half a crown for entering the letter of attorney: but I swore to stop that. I'll spend your money bravely here. Morrow, dear sirrahs. —— At night. I dined to day with sir Thomas Hanmer; his wife, the duchess of Grafton, dined with us: she wears a great high headdress, such as was in fashion fifteen years ago, and looks like a mad woman in it; yet she has great remains of beauty. I was this evening to see lord Harley, and thought to have sat with lord treasurer; but he was taken up with the Dutch envoy and such folks; and I would not stay. One particular in life here different from what I have in Dublin, is, that whenever I come home I expect to find some letter for me, and seldom miss; and never any worth a farthing, but often to vex me. The queen does not come to town till Saturday. Prior is not yet declared; but these ministers being at Hampton court I know nothing; and if I write news from common hands, it is always lies. You will think it affectation; but nothing has vexed me more for some months past, than people I never saw, pretending to be acquainted with me, and yet speak ill of me too; at least some of them. An old crooked Scotch countess, whom I never heard of in my life, told the duchess of Hamilton t'other day, that I often visited her. People of worth never do that; so that a man only gets the scandal of having scurvy acquaintance. Three ladies were railing against me some time ago, and said they were very well acquainted with me; two of which I had never heard of; and the third I had only seen twice where I happened to visit. A man who has once seen me in a coffeehouse will ask me how I do, when he sees me talking at court with a minister of state; who is sure to ask me, how I came acquainted with that scoundrel. But come, sirrahs, this is all stuff to you, so I'll say no more on this side the paper, but turn over.
23. My printer invited Mr. Lewis and me to dine at a tavern to day, which I have not done five times since I came to England; I never will call it Britain, pray don't call it Britain. My week is not out, and one side of this paper is out, and I have a letter to answer of MD's into the bargain: must I write on the third side? faith that will give you an ill habit. I saw Leigh last night: he gives a terrible account of Sterne; he reckons he is seduced by some wench; he is over head and ears in debt, and has pawned several things. Leigh says he goes on Monday next for Ireland, but believes Sterne will not go with him; Sterne has kept him these three months. Leigh has got the apron and things, and promises to call for the box at Chester; but I despair of it. Good night, sirrahs; I have been late abroad.
24. I have finished my pamphlet to day, which has cost me so much time and trouble; it will be published in three or four days, when the parliament begins sitting. I suppose the queen is come to town, but know nothing, having been in the city finishing and correcting with the printer. When I came home I found letters on my table as usual, and one from your mother, to tell me, that you desire your writings and a picture should be sent to me, to be sent over to you. I have just answered her letter, and promised to take care of them if they be sent to me. She is at Farnham: it is too late to send them by Leigh; besides, I will wait your orders, madam Stella. I am going to finish a letter to lord treasurer about reforming our language; but first I must put an end to a ballad; and go you to your cards, sirrahs, this is card season.
25. I was early with the secretary to day, but he was gone to his devotions, and to receive the sacrament; several rakes did the same; it was not for piety, but employments; according to act of parliament. I dined with lady Mary Dudley; and past my time since insipidly, only I was at court at noon, and saw fifty acquaintance I had not met this long time: that is the advantage of a court, and I fancy I am better known than any man that goes there. Sir John Walters' quarrel with me has entertained the town ever since; and yet we never had a word, only he railed at me behind my back. The parliament is again to be prorogued for eight or nine days; for the whigs are too strong in the house of lords: other reasons are pretended, but that is the truth. The prorogation is not yet known, but will be to morrow.
26. Mr. Lewis and I dined with a friend of his, and unexpectedly there dined with us an Irish knight, one sir John St. Leger, who follows the law here, but at a great distance: he was so pert, I was forced to take him down more than once. I saw to day the pope, and devil, and the other figures of cardinals, &c. fifteen in all, which have made such a noise. I have put an understrapper upon writing a twopenny pamphlet to give an account of the whole design. My large pamphlet will be published to morrow, copies are sent to the great men this night. Domville is come home from his travels; I am vexed at it: I have not seen him yet; I design to present him to all the great men.
27. Domville came to me this morning, and we dined at Pontack's, and were all day together, till six this evening; he is perfectly as fine a gentleman as I know; he set me down at lord treasurer's, with whom I staid about an hour, till monsieur Buys, the Dutch envoy, came to him about business. My lord treasurer is pretty well; but stiff in the hips with the remains of the rheumatism. I am to bring Domville to my lord Harley in a day or two. It was the dirtiest rainy day that ever I saw. The pamphlet is published; lord treasurer had it by him on the table, and was asking me about the mottoes in the title page; he gave me one of them himself. I must send you the pamphlet if I can.
28. Mrs. Van sent to me to dine with her to day, because some ladies of my acquaintance were to be there; and there I dined. I was this morning to return Domville his visit, and went to visit Mrs. Masham, who was not within. I am turned out of my lodging by my landlady: it seems her husband and her son are coming home; but I have taken another lodging hard by, in Leicester fields. I presented Mr. Domville to Mr. Lewis and Mr. Prior this morning. Prior and I are called the two Sosias in a whig newspaper. Sosias, can you read it? The pamphlet begins to make a noise: I was asked by several whether I had seen it, and they advised me to read it, for it was something very extraordinary. I shall be suspected; and it will have several paltry answers. It must take its fate, as Savage said of his sermon that he preached at Farnham on sir William Temple's death. Domville saw Savage in Italy, and says he is a coxcomb, and half mad: he goes in red, and with yellow waistcoats, and was at ceremony kneeling to the pope on a Palm Sunday, which is much more than kissing his toe; and I believe it will ruin him here when 'tis told. I'll answer your letter in my new lodgings: I have hardly room; I must borrow from the other side.
29. New lodgings. My printer came this morning to tell me he must immediately print a second edition, and lord treasurer made one or two small additions: they must work day and night to have it out on Saturday; they sold a thousand in two days. Our society met to day, nine of us were present, we dined at our brother Bathurst's: we made several regulations, and have chosen three new members, lord Orrery, Jack Hill, who is Mrs. Masham's brother, he that lately miscarried in the expedition to Quebec, and one colonel Disney. We have taken a room in a house near St. James's to meet in. I left them early about correcting the pamphlet, &c. and am now got home, &c.
30. This morning I carried Domville to see my lord Harley, and I did some business with lord treasurer, and have been all this afternoon with the printer, adding something to the second edition. I dined with the printer; the pamphlet makes a world of noise, and will do a great deal of good: it tells abundance of most important facts which were not at all known. I'll answer your letter to morrow morning; or suppose I answer it just now, though it is pretty late. Come then — You say you are busy with parliaments, &c. that's more than ever I will be when I come back; but you will have none these two years. Lord Santry, &c. yes, I have had enough on't. I am glad Dilly is mended; does he not thank me for showing him the court and the great people's faces? He had his glass out at the queen and the rest. 'Tis right what Dilly says; I depend upon nothing from my friends; but to go back as I came. Never fear Laracor, 'twill mend with a peace; or surely they'll give me the Dublin parish. Stella is in the right; the bishop of Ossory is the silliest, best natured wretch breathing, of as little consequence as an egg shell. — Well, the spelling I have mentioned before; only the next time say at least, and not at lest. Pox on your Newbury: what can I do for him? I'll give his case (I am glad it is not a woman's) to what members I know; that's all I can do. Lord treasurer's lameness goes off daily. Pray God preserve poor good Mrs. Stoyte, she would be a great loss to us all; pray give her my service, and tell her she has my heartiest prayers. I pity poor Mrs. Manley; but I think the child is happy to die, considering how little provision it would have had. Poh, every pamphlet abuses me, and for things that I never writ. Joe should have written me thanks for his two hundred pounds: I reckon he got it by my means; and I must thank the duke of Ormond, who I dare swear will say he did it on my account. Are they golden pippins, those seven apples? We have had much rain every day as well as you: 7l. 17s. 8d. old blunderer, not 18s. I have reckoned it 18 times. Hawkshaw's eight pounds is not reckoned: and if it be secure, it may lie where it is, unless they desire to pay it: so Parvisol may let it drop till farther orders; for I have put Mrs. Wesley's money into the bank, and will pay her with Hawkshaw's. —— I mean that Hawkshaw's money goes for an addition to MD, you know; but be good housewives. Bernage never comes now to see me; he has no more to ask: but I hear he has been ill. — A pox on Mrs. South's affair; I can do nothing in it, but by way of assisting any body else that solicits it, by dropping a favourable word, if it comes in my way. Tell Walls I do no more for any body with my lord treasurer, especially a thing of this kind. Tell him I have spent all my discretion, and have no more to use. —— And so I have answered your letter fully and plainly — And so I have got to the third side of my paper, which is more than belongs to you, young women. It goes to morrow, To nobody's sorrow. You are silly, not I; I'm a poet, If I had but, &c. —— Who's silly now? rogues and lasses, tinderboxes and buzzards. O Lord, I am in a high vein of silliness; methought I was speaking to dearest little MD face to face. There; so lads, enough for to night; to cards with the blackguards. Good night, my delight, &c.
Dec. 1. Pish, sirrahs, put a date always at the bottom of your letter as well as the top, that I may know when you send it; your last is of Nov. 3d, yet I had others at the same time written a fortnight after. Whenever you would have any money, send me word three weeks before, and in that time you will certainly have an answer, with a bill on Parvisol: pray do this; for my head is full, and it will ease my memory. Why, I think I quoted to you some of ——'s letter, so you may imagine how witty the rest was; for it was all of a bunch, as goodman Peesley says. Pray let us have no more bussiness, but busyness: the deuse take me if I know how to spell it, your wrong spelling, madam Stella, has put me out: it does not look right; let me see, bussiness, busyness, business, bisyness, bisness, bysness; faith, I know not which is right, I think the second; I believe I never writ the word in my life before; yes, sure I must though; business, busyness, bisyness. —— I have perplexed myself, and can't do it. Prithee ask Walls. Business, I fancy that's right. Yes it is; I looked in my own pamphlet, and found it twice in ten lines, to convince you that I never writ it before. O, now I see it as plain as can be, so yours is only an s too much. The parliament will certainly meet on Friday next; the whigs will have a great majority in the house of lords; no care is taken to prevent it; there is too much neglect; they are warned of it, and that signifies nothing: it was feared there would be some peevish address from the lords against a peace. 'Tis said about the town, that several of the allies begin now to be content that a peace should be treated. This is all the news I have. The queen is pretty well; and so now I bid poor dearest MD farewell till to night, then I will talk with them again.
The fifteen images that I saw were not worth forty pounds, so I stretched a little when I said a thousand. The Grub street account of that tumult is published. The devil is not like lord treasurer: they were all in your odd antick masks, bought in common shops. I fear Prior will not be one of the plenipotentiaries.
I was looking over this letter, and find I make many mistakes of leaving out words; so 'tis impossible to find any meaning, unless you be conjurers. I will take more care for the future, and read over every day just what I have written that day; which will take up no time to speak of.
London, December 1, 1711.
MY last was put in this evening. I intended to dine with Mr. Masham to day, and called at White's chocolatehouse to see if he was there. Lord Wharton saw me at the door, and I saw him, but took no notice, and was going away; but he came through the crowd, called after me, and asked me how I did, &c. This was pretty; and I believe he wished every word he spoke was a halter to hang me. Masham did not dine at home, so I ate with a friend in the neighbourhood. The printer has not sent me the second edition; I know not the reason, for it certainly came out to day; perhaps they are glutted with it already. I found a letter from lord Harley on my table, to tell me that his father desires I would make two small alterations. I am going to be busy, &c.
2. Morning. See the blunder; I was making it the 37th day of the month from the number above. Well, but I am staying here for old Frowde, who appointed to call this morning: I am ready dressed to go to church: I suppose he dare not stir out but on Sundays. The printer called early this morning, told me the second edition went off yesterday in five hours, and he must have a third ready to morrow, for they might have sold half another: his men are all at work with it though it be Sunday. This old fool will not come, and I shall miss church. — Morrow sirrahs. — At night. I was at court to day; the queen is well, and walked through part of the rooms. I dined with the , and dispatched some business. He tells me, the Dutch envoy designs to complain of that pamphlet. The noise it makes is extraordinary. It is fit it should answer the pains I have been at about it. I suppose it will be printed in Ireland. Some lay it to Prior, others to Mr. secretary St. John, but I am always the first they lay every thing to. I'll go sleep, &c.
3. I have ordered Patrick not to let any odd fellow come up to me; and a fellow would needs speak with me from sir George Prettyman. I had never heard of him, and would not see the messenger; but at last it proved that this sir George has sold his estate, and is a beggar. Smithers, the Farnham carrier, brought me this morning a letter from your mother, with three papers enclosed of lady Gifford's writing; one owning some exchequer business of 100l. to be Stella's; another for 100l. that she has of yours, which I made over to you for Mariston; and a third for 300l.; the last is on stamped paper. I think they had better lie in England in some good hand till lady Gifford dies; and I will think of some such hand before I come over. I was asking Smithers about all the people of Farnham. Mrs. White has left off dressing, is troubled with lameness and swelled legs, and seldom stirs out; but her old hang dog husband as hearty as ever. I was this morning with lord treasurer about something he would have altered in the pamphlet; but it can't be till the fourth edition, which I believe will be soon; for I dined with the printer, and he tells me they have sold off half the third. Mrs. Percival and her daughter have been in town these three weeks, which I never heard till to day; and Mrs. Wesley is come to town too, to consult Dr. Radcliffe. The whigs are resolved to bring that pamphlet into the house of lords to have it condemned, so I hear. But the printer will stand to it, and not own the author; he must say, he had it from the penny post. Some people talk as if the house of lords would do some peevish thing; for the whigs are now a great majority in it; our ministers are too negligent of such things: I have never slipped giving them warning; some of them are sensible of it; but lord treasurer stands too much upon his own legs. I fancy his good fortune will bear him out in every thing; but in reason I should think this ministry to stand very unsteady: if they can carry a peace, they may hold; I believe not else.
4. Mr. secretary sent to me to day to dine with him alone; but we had two more with us, which hindered me doing some business. I was this morning with young Harcourt, secretary to our society, to take a room for our weekly meetings; and the fellow asked us five guineas a week only to have leave to dine once a week: was not that pretty? so we broke off with him, and are to dine next Thursday at Harcourt's (he is lord keeper's son.) They have sold off above half the third edition, and answers are coming out: the Dutch envoy refused dining with Dr. Davenant, because he was suspected to write it: I have made some alterations in every edition, and it has cost me more trouble, for the time, since the printing than before. 'Tis sent over to Ireland, and I suppose you will have it reprinted.
5. They are now printing the fourth edition, which is reckoned very extraordinary, considering 'tis a dear twelvepenny book, and not bought up in numbers by the party to give away, as the whigs do, but purely upon its own strength. I have got an under spur-leather to write an Examiner again, and the secretary and I will now and then send hints; but we would have it a little upon the Grub street, to be a match for their writers. I dined with lord treasurer to day at five: he dined by himself after his family, and drinks no claret yet, for fear of his rheumatism, of which he is almost well. He was very pleasant, as he is always; yet I fancied he was a little touched with the present posture of affairs. The elector of Hanover's minister here has given in a violent memorial against the peace, and caused it to be printed. The whig lords are doing their utmost for a majority against Friday, and design, if they can, to address the queen against the peace. Lord Nottingham, a famous tory and speechmaker, is gone over to the whig side: they toast him daily, and lord Wharton says; It is Dismal (so they call him from his looks) will save England at last. Lord treasurer was hinting as if he wished a ballad was made on him, and I will get up one against to morrow. He gave me a scurrilous printed paper of bad verses on himself, under the name of the English Catiline, and made me read them to the company. It was his birthday, which he would not tell us, but lord Harley whispered it to me.
6. I was this morning making the ballad, two degrees above Grub street; at noon I paid a visit to Mrs. Masham, and then went to dine with our society. Poor lord keeper dined below stairs, I suppose on a bit of mutton. We chose two members; we were eleven met, the greatest meeting we ever had: I am next week to introduce lord Orrery. The printer came before we parted, and brought the ballad, which made them laugh very heartily a dozen times. He is going to print the pamphlet in small, a fifth edition, to be taken off by friends and sent into the country. A sixpenny answer is come out, good for nothing, but guessing me among others for the author. To morrow is the fatal day for the parliament meeting, and we are full of hopes and fears. We reckon we have a majority of ten on our side in the house of lords; yet I observed Mrs. Masham a little uneasy; she assures me the queen is stout. The duke of Marlborough has not seen the queen for some days past; Mrs. Masham is glad of it, because she says, he tells a hundred lies to his friends of what she says to him: he is one day humble, and the next day on the high ropes. The duke of Ormond, they say, will be in town to night by twelve.
7. This being the day the parliament was to meet, and the great question to be determined, I went with Dr. Freind to dine in the city, on purpose to be out of the way, and we sent our printer to see what was our fate; but he gave us a most melancholy account of things. The earl of Nottingham began, and spoke against a peace, and desired that in their address they might put in a clause to advise the queen not to make a peace without Spain; which was debated, and carried by the whigs by about six voices: and this has happened entirely by my lord treasurer's neglect, who did not take timely care to make up all his strength, although every one of us gave him caution enough. Nottingham has certainly been bribed. The question is yet only carried in the committee of the whole house, and we hope when it is reported to the house to morrow, we shall have a majority by some Scotch lords coming to town. However, it is a mighty blow and loss of reputation to lord treasurer, and may end in his ruin. I hear the thing only as the printer brought it, who was at the debate; but how the ministry take it, or what their hopes and fears are, I cannot tell until I see them. I shall be early with the secretary to morrow, and then I will tell you more, and shall write a full account to the bishop of Clogher to morrow, and to the archbishop of Dublin, if I have time. I am horribly down at present. I long to know how lord treasurer bears this, and what remedy he has. The duke of Ormond came this day to town, and was there.
8. I was early this morning with the secretary, and talked over this matter. He hoped, that when it was reported this day in the house of lords, they would disagree with their committee, and so the matter would go off, only with a little loss of reputation to lord treasurer. I dined with Dr. Cockburn, and after a Scotch member came in, and told us that the clause was carried against the court in the house of lords almost two to one. I went immediately to Mrs. Masham, and meeting Dr. Arbuthnot (the queen's favourite physician) we went together. She was just come from waiting at the queen's dinner, and going to her own. She had heard nothing of the thing being gone against us. It seems lord treasurer had been so negligent, that he was with the queen while the question was put in the house: I immediately told Mrs. Masham, that either she and lord treasurer had joined with the queen to betray us, or that they two were betrayed by the queen: she protested solemnly it was not the former, and I believed her; but she gave me some lights to suspect the queen is changed. For, yesterday when the queen was going from the house, where she sat to hear the debate, the duke of Shrewsbury lord chamberlain asked her, whether he or the great chamberlain Lindsay ought to lead her out; she answered short. Neither of you, and gave her hand to the duke of Somerset, who was louder than any in the house for the clause against peace. She gave me one or two more instances of this sort, which convince me that the queen is false, or at least very much wavering. Mr. Masham begged us to stay, because lord treasurer would call, and we were resolved to fall on him about his negligence in securing a majority. He came, and appeared in good humour as usual, but I thought his countenance was much cast down. I rallied him, and desired him to give me his staff, which he did; I told him, If he would secure it me a week, I would set all right: he asked. How? I said, I would immediately turn lord Marlborough, his two daughters, the duke and duchess of Somerset, and lord Cholmondeley out of all their employments; and I believe he had not a friend but was of my opinion. Arbutnot asked, How he came not to secure a majority? He could answer nothing, but that he could not help it, if people would lie and forswear. A poor answer for a great minister. There fell from him a scripture expression, that the hearts of kings are unsearchable. I told him. It was what I feared, and was from him the worst news he could tell me. I begged him to know what he had to trust to: he stuck a little; but at last bid me not fear, for all would be well yet. We would fain have had him eat a bit where he was, but he would go home, it was past six: he made me go home with him. There we found his brother and Mr. secretary. He made his son take a list of all the house of commons who had places, and yet voted against the court, in such a manner as if they should lose their places: I doubt he is not able to compass it. Lord keeper came in an hour, and they were going upon business. So I left him, and returned to Mrs. Masham; but she had company with her, and I would not stay. — This is a long journal, and of a day that may produce great alterations, and hazard the ruin of England. The whigs are all in triumph; they foretold how all this would be, but we thought it boasting. Nay, they said the parliament should be dissolved before Christmas, and perhaps it may: this is all your d——d duchess of Somerset's doings, I warned them of it nine months ago, and a hundred times since: the secretary always dreaded it. I told lord treasurer, I should have the advantage of him; for he would lose his head, and I should only be hanged, and so carry my body entire to the grave.
9. I was this morning with Mr. secretary, we are both of opinion that the queen is false. I told him what I heard, and he confirmed it by other circumstances. I then went to my friend Lewis, who had sent to see me. He talks of nothing but retiring to his estate in Wales. He gave me reasons to believe the whole matter is settled between the queen and the whigs; he hears that lord Somers is to be treasurer, and believes, that sooner than turn out the duchess of Somerset, she will dissolve the parliament, and get a whiggish one, which may be done by managing elections. Things are now in the crisis, and a day or two will determine. I have desired him to engage lord treasurer, that as soon as he finds the change is resolved on, he will send me abroad as queen's secretary somewhere or other, where I may remain till the new ministers recall me; and then I will be sick for five or six months till the storm has spent itself. I hope he will grant me this for I should hardly trust myself to the mercy of my enemies while their anger is fresh. I dined to day with the secretary, who affects mirth, and seems to hope all will yet be well. I took him aside after dinner, told him how I had served them, and had asked no reward, but thought I might ask security; and then desired the same thing of him, to send me abroad before a change. He embraced me, and swore he would take the same care of me as himself, &c. but bid me have courage, for that in two days my lord treasurer's wisdom would appear greater than ever; that he suffered all that had happened on purpose, and had taken measures to turn it to advantage. I said, God send it; but I do not believe a syllable; and as far as I can judge, the game is lost. I shall know more soon, and my letters will at least be a good history to show you the steps of this change.
10. I was this morning with Lewis, who thinks they will let the parliament sit till they have given the money, and then dissolve them in spring, and break the ministry. He spoke to lord treasurer about what I desired him. My lord desired him with great earnestness to assure me, that all would be well, and that I should fear nothing. I dined in the city with a friend. This day the commons went to the queen with their address, and all the lords who were for the peace went with them, to show their zeal. I have now some farther conviction that the queen is false, and it begins to be known.
11. I went between two and three to see Mrs. Masham; while I was there she went to her bedchamber to try a petticoat. Lord treasurer came in to see her, and seeing me in the outer room fell a rallying me: says he, You had better keep company with me, than with such a fellow as Lewis, who has not the soul of a chicken, nor the heart of a mite. Then he went in to Mrs. Masham, and as he came back desired her leave to let me go home with him to dinner. He asked, whether I was not afraid to be seen with him? I said, I never valued my lord treasurer in my life, and therefore should have always the same esteem for Mr. Harley and lord Oxford. He seemed to talk confidently, as if he reckoned that all this would turn to advantage, I could not forbear hinting, that he was not sure of the queen; and that those scoundrel, starving lords would never have dared to vote against the court, if Somerset had not assured them, that it would please the queen. He said, That was true, and Somerset did so. I staid till six; then de Buys, the Dutch envoy, came to him, and I left him. Prior was with us a while after dinner. I see him and all of them cast down; though they make the best of it.
12. Ford is come to town; I saw him last night; he is in no fear, but sanguine, although I have told him the state of things. This change so resembles the last, that I wonder they do not observe it. The secretary sent for me yesterday to dine with him, but I was abroad; I hope he had something to say to me. This is morning, and I write in bed. I am going to the duke of Ormond, whom I have not yet seen. Morrow, sirrahs. —— At night. I was to see the duke of Ormond this morning: he asked me two or three questions after his civil way, and they related to Ireland: at last I told him, that from the time I had seen him, I never once thought of Irish affairs. He whispered me, that he hoped I had done some good things here: I said, If every body else had done half as much, we should not be as we are: then we went aside, and talked over affairs. I told him how all things stood, and advised him what was to be done. I then went and sat an hour with the duchess; then as long with lady Oglethorp, who is so cunning a devil, that I believe she could yet find a remedy, if they would take her advice. I dined with a friend at court.
13. I was this morning with the secretary; he will needs pretend to talk as if things would be well; Will you believe it, said he, if you see these people turned out? I said, Yes, if I saw the duke and duchess of Somerset out: he swore, if they were not, he would give up his place. Our society dined to day at sir William Wyndham's; we were thirteen present. Lord Orrery, and two other members were introduced; I left them at seven. I forgot to tell you, that the printer told me yesterday, that Morphew, the publisher, was sent for by that lord chief justice, who was a manager against Sacheverell; he showed him two or three papers and pamphlets; among the rest mine of the Conduct of the Allies, threatened him, asked who was the author, and has bound him over to appear next term. He would not have the impudence to do this, if he did not foresee what was coming at court.
14. Lord Shelburne was with me this morning, to be informed of the state of affairs, and desired I would answer all his objections against a peace, which was soon done, for he would not give me room to put in a word. He is a man of good sense enough; but argues so violently, that he will some day or other put himself into a consumption. He desires that he may not be denied when he comes to see me, which I promised, but will not perform. Leigh and Sterne set out for Ireland on Monday se'nnight: I suppose they will be with you long before this. —— I was to night drinking very good wine in scurvy company, at least some of them; I was drawn in, but will be more cautious for the future; 'tis late, &c.
15. Morning. They say the Occasional Bill is brought to day into the house of lords; but I know not. I will now put an end to my letter, and give it into the posthouse myself. This will be a memorable letter, and I shall sigh to see it some years hence. Here are the first steps toward the ruin of an excellent ministry; for I look upon them as certainly ruined; and God knows what may be the consequences. —— I now bid my dearest MD farewell for company is coming, and I must be at lord Dartmouth's office by noon. Farewell, dearest MD; I wish you a merry Christmas; I believe you will have this about that time. Love Presto, who loves MD above all things a thousand times. Farewell again, dearest MD, &c.
London, Dec. 15. 1711.
I PUT in my letter this evening myself. I was to day inquiring at the secretary's office of Mr. Lewis, how things went: I there met Prior, who told me, he gave all for gone, &c. and was of opinion the whole ministry would give up their places next week; Lewis thinks they will not till spring, when the session is over; both of them entirely despair. I went to see Mrs. Masham, who invited me to dinner; but I was engaged to Lewis. At four I went to Masham's. He came and whispered me, that he had it from a very good hand, that all would be well, and I found them both very cheerful. The company was going to the opera, but desired I would come and sup with them. I did so at ten, and lord treasurer was there, and sat with us till past twelve, and was more cheerful than I have seen him these ten days. Mrs. Masham told me, he was mightily cast down some days ago, and he could not indeed hide it from me. Arbuthnot is in good hopes, that the queen has not betraved us; but only has been frightened, and flattered, &c. But I cannot yet be of his opinion, whether my reasons are better, or that my fears are greater. I do resolve, if they give up, or are turned out soon, to retire for some months, and I have pitched upon the place already: but I will take methods for hearing from MD, and writing to them. But I would be out of the way upon the first of the ferment; for they lay all things on me, even some I have never read.
16. I took courage to day, and went to court with a very cheerful countenance. It was mightily crowded; both parties coming to observe each other's faces. I have avoided lord Halifax's bow till he forced it on me; but we did not talk together. I could not make less than fourscore bows, of which about twenty might be to whigs. The duke of Somerset is gone to Petworth, and, I hear the duchess too, of which I shall be very glad. Prince Eugene, who was expected here some days ago, we are now told, will not come at all. The whigs designed to have met him with forty thousand horse. Lord treasurer told me some days ago of his discourse with the emperor's resident, that puppy Hoffman, about prince Eugene's coming; by which I found my lord would hinder it, if he could; and we shall be all glad if he does not come, and think it a good point gained. Sir Andrew Fountaine, Ford and I dined to day with Mrs. Van, by invitation.
17. I have mistaken the day of the month, and been forced to mend it thrice. I dined to day with Mr. Masham and his lady, by invitation. Lord treasurer was to be there, but came not. It was to entertain Buys, the Dutch envoy, who speaks English well enough: he was plaguily politick, telling a thousand lies, of which none passed upon any of us. We are still in the condidon of suspense, and I think have little hopes. The duchess of Somerset is not gone to Petworth; only the duke and that is a poor sacrifice. I believe the queen certainly designs to change the ministry; but perhaps may put it off till the session is over: and I think they had better give up now, if she will not deal openly; and then they need not answer for the consequences of a peace, when it is in other hands, and may yet be broken. They say, my lord privy seal sets out for Holland this week: so the peace goes on.
18. It has rained hard from morning till night, and cost me three shillings in coach-hire. We have had abundance of wet weather. I dined in the city, and was with the printer, who has now a fifth edition of the Conduct, &c. it is in small, and sold for sixpence; they have printed as many as three editions, because they are to be sent in numbers into the country by great men, &c. who subscribe for hundreds. It has been sent a fortnight ago to Ireland: I suppose you will print it there. The tory lords and :House of Commons of the United Kingdom|commons]] in parliament argue all from it: and all agree, that never any thing of that kind was of so great consequence, or made so many converts. By the time I have sent this letter, I expect to hear from little MD: it will be a month two days hence since I had your last, and I will allow ten days for accidents. I cannot get rid of the leavings of a cold I got a month ago; or else it is a new one. I have been wridng letters all this evening till I am weary, and I am sending out another little thing, which I hope to finish this week, and design to send to the printer in an unknown hand. There was printed a Grub street speech of lord Nottingham; and he was such an owl to complain of it in the house of lords, who have taken up the printer for it. I heard at court, that Walpole (a great whig member) said, that I and my whimsical club writ it at one of our meetings, and that I should pay for it. He will find he lies; and I shall let him know by a third hand my thoughts of him. He is to be secretary of state, if the ministry changes; but he has lately had a bribe proved against him in parliament, while he was secretary at war. He is one of the whigs chief speakers.
19. Sad dismal weather. I went to the secretary's office, and Lewis made me dine with him. I intended to have dined with lord treasurer. I have not seen the secretary this week. Things do not mend at all. Lord Dartmouth despairs, and is for giving up; Lewis is of the same mind; but lord treasurer only says, Poh, poh, all will be well. I am come home early to finish something I am doing; but I find I want heart and humour; and would read any idle book that came in my way. I have just sent away a penny paper to make a little mischief. Patrick is gone to the burial of an Irish footman, who was Dr. King's servant; he died of a consumption, a fit death for a poor starving wit's footman. The Irish servants always club to bury a countryman.
20. I was with the secretary this morning, and for aught I can see we shall have a languishing death: I can know nothing, nor themselves neither. I dined, you know, with our society, and that odious secretary would make me president next week, so I must entertain them this day se'nnight at the Thatched house tavern, where we dined to day; it will cost me five or six pounds; yet the secretary says he will give me wine. I found a letter when I came home from the bishop of Clogher.
21. This is the first time I ever got a new cold before the old one was going; it came yesterday, and appeared in all due forms, eyes and nose running, &c. and is now very bad, and I cannot tell how I got it. Sir Andrew Fountaine and I were invited to dine with Mrs. Van. — I was this morning with the duke of Ormond; and neither he nor I can think of any thing to comfort us in present affairs. We must certainly fall, if the duchess of Somerset be not turned out; and nobody believes the queen will ever part with her. The duke and I were settling when Mr. secretary and I should dine with him, and he fixed upon Tuesday; and when I came away I remembered it was Christmas day. I was to see lady ——, who is just up after lying in; and the ugliest sight I have seen, pale, dead, old and yellow, for wane of her paint. She has turned my stomach. But she will soon be painted, and a beauty again.
22. I find myself disordered with a pain all round the small of my back, which I imputed to champagne I had drunk; but find it to have been only my new cold. It was a fine frosty day, and I resolved to walk into the city. I called at lord treasurer's at eleven, and staid some time with him. He showed me a letter from a great presbyterian parson to him, complaining how their friends had betrayed them by passing this Conformity Bill; and he showed me the answer he had written: which his friends would not let him send; but was a very good one. He is very cheerful; but gives one no hopes, nor has any to give. I went into the city, and there I dined.
23. Morning. As I was dressing to go to church a friend that was to see me, advised me not to stir out; so I shall keep at home to day, and only eat some broth, if I can get it. It is a terrible cold frost, and snow fell yesterday, which still remains; look there, you may see it from the penthouses. The lords made yesterday two or three votes about peace, and Hanover; of a very angry kind to vex the ministry, and they will meet sooner by a fortnight than the commons; and they say, are preparing some knocking addresses. Morrow, sirrahs. I'll sit at home, and when I go to bed, I will tell you how I am. — I have sat at home all day, and eaten only a mess of broth and a roll. I have written a Prophecy, which I design to print; I did it to day, and some other verses.
24. I went into the city to day in a coach, and dined there. My cold is going. It is now bitter hard frost, and has been so these three or four days. My Prophecy is printed, and will be published after Christmas day; I like it mightily; I don't know how it will pass. You will never understand it at your distance, without help. I believe every body will guess it to be mine because it is somewhat in the same manner with that of Merlin in the Miscellanies. My lord privy seal set out this day for Holland: he'll have a cold journey. I gave Patrick half a crown for his Christmas box, on condition he would be good, and he came home drunk at midnight. I have taken a memorandum of it; because I never design to give him a groat more. 'Tis cruel cold.
25. I wish MD a merry Christmas, and many a one; but mine is melancholy: I durst not go to church to day, finding myself a little out of order, and it snowing prodigiously, and freezing. At noon I went to Mrs. Van, who had this week engaged me to dine there to day: and there I received the news, that poor Mrs. Long died at Lynn in Norfolk on Saturday last, at four in the morning; she was sick but four hours. We suppose it was the asthma, which she was subject to as well as the dropsy, as she sent me word in her last letter, written about five weeks ago; but then said she was recovered. I never was more afflicted at any death. The poor creature had retired to Lynn two years ago, to live cheap, and pay her debts. In her last letter she told me she hoped to be easy by Christmas; and she kept her word, although she meant it otherwise. She had all sorts of amiable qualities, and no ill ones, but the indiscretion of too much neglecting her own affairs. She had two thousand pounds left her by an old grandmother, with which she intended to pay her debts, and live on an annuity she had of one hundred pounds a year, and Newburg house, which would be about sixty pounds more. That odious grandmother living so long, forced her to retire; for the two thousand pounds was settled on her after the old woman's death, yet her brute of a brother, sir James Long would not advance it for her; else she might have paid her debts, and continued here, and lived still: I believe melancholy helped her on to her grave, I have ordered a paragraph to be put in the Post Boy, giving an account of her death, and making honourable mention of her; which is all I can do to serve her memory: but one reason was spite; for, her brother would fain have her death a secret, to save the charge of bringing her up here to bury her, or going into mourning. Pardon all this, for the sake of a poor creature I had so much friendship for.
26. I went to Mr. secretary this morning, and he would have me dine with him. I called at noon at Mrs. Masham's, who desired me not to let the Prophecy be published, for fear of angering the queen about the duchess of Somerset; so I writ to the printer to stop them. They have been printed and given about, but not sold. I saw lord treasurer there, who had been two hours with the queen; and Mrs. Masham is in hopes things will do well again. I went at night again, and supped at Mr. Masham's, and lord treasurer sat with us till one o'clock. So 'tis late, &c.
27. I entertained our society at the Thatched house tavern to day at dinner; but brother Bathurst sent for wine, the house affording none. The printer had not received my letter, and so he brought up dozens a piece of the Prophecy; but I ordered him to part with no more. 'Tis an admirable good one, and people are mad for it. The frost still continues violently cold. Mrs. Masham invited me to come to night and play at cards; but our society did not part till nine. But I supped with Mrs. Hill, her sister, and there was Mrs. Masham and lord treasurer, and we staid till twelve. He is endeavouring to get a majority against next Wednesday, when the house of lords is to meet, and the whigs intend to make some violent addresses against a peace, if not prevented. God knows what will become of us. —— It is still prodigiously cold; but so I told you already. We have eggs on the spit, I wish they may not be addle. When I came home to night I found, forsooth, a letter from MD, N. 24, 24, 24, 24; there, do you know the numbers now? and at the same time one from Joe, full of thanks: let him know I have received it, and am glad of his success, but won't put him to the charge of a letter. I had a letter some time ago from Mr. Warburton, and I beg one of you will copy out what I shall tell you, and send it by some opportunity to Warburton. 'Tis as follows: The doctor has received Mr. Warburton's letter, and desires he will let the doctor know, where that accident he mentions is like soon to happen, and he will do what he can in it. —— And pray, madam, let them know, that I do this to save myself the trouble, and them the expense, of a letter. — And I think this is enough for one that comes home at twelve from a lord treasurer and Mrs. Masham. O, I could tell you ten thousand things of our mad politicks, upon what small circumstances great affairs have turned. But I will go rest my busy head.
28. I was this morning with brother Bathurst to see the duke of Ormond. We have given his grace some hopes to be one of our society. The secretary and I and Bathurst are to dine with him on Sunday next. The duke is not in much hopes, but has been very busy in endeavouring to bring over some lords against next Wednesday. The duchess caught me as I was going out; she is sadly in fear about things, and blames me for not mending them by my credit with lord treasurer; and I blame her. She met me in the street at noon, and engaged me to dine with her, which I did; and we talked an hour after dinner in her closet. If we miscarry on Wednesday, I believe it will be by some strange sort of neglect. They talk of making eight new lords, by calling up some peers eldest sons; but they delay strangely. I saw judge Coote to day at the duke of Ormond's: he desires to come and see me, to justify his principles.
29. Morning. This goes to day. I will not answer yours, your 24th, till next, which shall begin tonight, as, usual. Lord Shelburne has sent to invite me to dinner, but I am engaged with Lewis at Ned Southwell's. Lord Northampton and lord Aylesbury's sons are both made peers; but we shall want more. I write this post to your dean. I owe the archbishop a letter this long time. All people that come from Ireland complain of him, and scold me for protecting him. Pray, madam Dingley, let me know what Presto has received for this year, or whether any thing is due to him for last: I cannot look over your former letters now. As for Dingley's own account of her exchequer money, I will give it on t'other side. Farewell, my own dearest MD, and love Presto; and God ever bless dearest MD, &c. &c. I wish you many happy Christmasses and New Years.
I have owned to the dean a letter I just had from you; but that I had not one this great while before.
|Received of Mr. Tooke||6||17||6|
|Deducted for entering the letter of attorney||0||2||6|
|For the three half crowns it used to cost you, I don't know why nor wherefore||0||7||6|
|For exchange to Ireland||0||10||0|
|In all, just||8||0||0|
So there's your money, and we are both even: for I'll pay you no more than that eight pounds Irish, and pray be satisfied.
Churchwarden's accounts, boys.
Saturday night. I have broke open my letter, and tore it into the bargain; to let you know, that we are all safe; the queen has made no less than twelve lords to have a majority; nine new ones, the other three peers sons; and has turned out the duke of Somerset. She is awaked at last, and so is lord treasurer: I want nothing now but to see the duchess out. But we shall do without her. We are all extremely happy. Give me joy, sirrahs. This is written in a coffeehouse. Three of the new lords are of our society.
London, December 29, 1711.
I PUT my letter in this evening, after coming from dinner at Ned Southwell's, where I drank very good Irish wine, and we were in great joy at this happy turn of affairs. The queen has been at last persuaded to her own interest and security, and I freely think she must have made both herself and kingdom very unhappy, if she had done otherwise. It is still a mighty secret that Masham is to be one of the new lords; they say he does not yet know it himself; but the queen is to surprise him with it. Mr. secretary will be a lord at the end of the session; but they want him still in parliament. After all, it is a strange unhappy necessity of making so many peers together; but the queen has drawn it upon herself, by her confounded trimming and moderation. Three, as I told you, are of our society.
30. I writ the dean and you a lie yesterday; for the duke of Somerset is not yet turned out. I was to day at court, and resolved to be very civil to the whigs; but saw few there. When I was in the bedchamber talking to lord Rochester, he went up to lady Burlington, who asked him, who I was; and lady Sunderland and she whispered about me: I desired lord Rochester to tell lady Sunderland, I doubted she was not as much in love with me as I was with her; but he would not deliver my message. The duchess of Shrewsbury came running up to me, and clapped her fan up to hide us from the company, and we gave one another joy of this change; but sighed, when we reflected on the Somerset family not being out. The secretary and I, and brother Bathurst, and lord Windsor, dined with the duke of Ormond. Bathurst and Windsor are to be two of the new lords. I desired my lord Radnor's brother, at court to day, to let my lord know I would call on him at six, which I did, and was arguing with him three hours to bring him over to us, and I spoke so closely, that I believe he will be tractable; but he is a scoundrel, and though I said I only talked for my love to him, I told a lie; for I did not care if he were hanged: but every one gained over is of consequence. The duke of Marlborough was at court to day, and nobody hardly took notice of him. Masham's being a lord begins to take wind: nothing at court can be kept a secret. Wednesday will be a great day: you shall know more.
31. Our frost is broken since yesterday, and it is very slabbery; yet I walked to the city and dined, and ordered some things with the printer. I have settled Dr. King in the Gazette, it will be worth two hundred pounds a year to him. Our new lords patents are passed: I don't like the expedient, if we could have found any other. I see I have said this before. I hear the duke of Marlborough is turned out of all his employments: I shall know to morrow, when I am to carry Dr. King to dine with the secretary. — These are strong remedies; pray God the patient is able to bear them. The last ministry people are utterly desperate.
Jan. 1. Now I wish my dearest little MD many happy new years; yes, both Dingley and Stella, ay and Presto too, many happy new years. I dined with the secretary, and it is true that the duke of Marlborough is turned out of all. The duke of Ormond has got his regiment of foot-guards, I know not who has the rest. If the ministry be not sure of a peace, I shall wonder at this step, and do not approve it at best. The queen and lord treasurer mortally hate the duke of Marlborough, and to that he owes his fall, more than to his other faults: unless he has been tampering too far with his party, of which I have not heard any particulars; however it be, the world abroad will blame us. I confess my belief, that he has not one good quality in the world beside that of a general, and even that I have heard denied by several great soldiers. But we have had constant success in arms while he commanded. Opinion is a mighty matter in war, and I doubt the French think it impossible to conquer an army that he leads, and our soldiers think the same; and how far even this step may encourage the French to play tricks with us, no man knows. I do not love to see personal resentment mix with publick affairs.
2. This being the day the lords meet, and the new peers to be introduced, I went to Westminster to see the sight; but the crowd was too great in the house. So I only went into the robing room, to give my four brothers joy, and sir Thomas Mansel, and lord Windsor; the other six I am not acquainted with. It was apprehended the whigs would have raised some difficulties, but nothing happened. I went to see lady Masham at noon, and wish her joy of her new honour, and a happy new year. I found her very well pleased; for peerage will be some sort of protection to her upon any turn of affairs. She engaged me to come at night, and sup with her and lord treasurer; I went at nine, and she was not at home, so I would not stay. — No, no, I won't answer your letter yet, young women. I dined with a friend in the neighbourhood. I see nothing here like Christmas, except brawn or mincepies in places where I dine, and giving away my half crowns like farthings to great men's porters and butlers. Yesterday I paid seven good guineas to the fellow at the tavern, where I treated the society. I have a great mind to send you the bill. I think I told you some articles. I have not heard whether any thing was done in the house of lords after introducing the new ones. Ford has been sitting with me till peeast tweeleve a clock.
3. This was our society day, lord Dupplin was president; we choose every week; the last president treats and chooses his successor. I believe our dinner cost fifteen pounds beside wine. The secretary grew brisk, and would not let me go, nor lord Lansdown, who would fain have gone home to his lady, being newly married to lady Mary Thynne. It was near one when we parted; so you must think I can't write much to night. The adjourning of the house of lords yesterday, as the queen desired, was just carried by the twelve new lords, and one more. Lord Radnor was not there; I hope I have cured him. Did I tell you, that I have brought Dr. King in to be Gazetteer? it will be worth above two hundred pounds a year to him: I believe I told you so before, but I am forgetful. Go, get you gone to ombre, and claret, and toasted oranges. I'll go sleep.
4. I cannot get rid of the leavings of my cold. I was in the city to day, and dined with my printer, and gave him a ballad made by several hands, I know not whom. I believe lord treasurer had a finger in it; I added three stanzas; I suppose Dr. Arbuthnot had the greatest share. I have been overseeing some other little prints, and a pamphlet made by one of my understrappers. Somerset is not out yet. I doubt not but you will have the Prophecy in Ireland, although it is not published here, only printed copies given to friends. Tell me, do you understand it? No, faith, not without help. Tell me what you stick at, and I'll explain. We turned out a member of our society yesterday for gross neglect and nonattendance. I writ to him by order to give him notice of it. It is Tom Harley, secretary to the treasurer, and cousin-german to lord treasurer. He is going to Hanover from the queen. I am to give the duke of Ormond notice of his election as soon as I can see him.
5. I went this morning with a parishioner of mine, one Nuttal, who came over here for a legacy of one hundred pounds, and a roguish lawyer had refused to pay him, and would not believe he was the man. I writ to the lawyer a sharp letter, that I had taken Nuttal into my protection, and was resolved to stand by him; and the next news was, that the lawyer desired I would meet him, and attest he was the man, which I did, and his money was paid upon the spot. I then visited lord treasurer, who is now right again, and all well, only that the Somerset family is not out yet. I hate that; I don't like it, as the man said by, &c. Then I went and visited poor Will. Congreve, who had a French fellow tampering with one of his eyes; he is almost blind of both. I dined with some merchants in the city, but could not see Stratford, with whom I had business. Presto, leave off your impertinence, and answer our letter, saith MD. Yes, yes; one of these days, when I have nothing else to do. O, faith, this letter is a week written, and not one side done yet. — These ugly spots are not tobacco, but this is the last gilt sheet I have of large paper, therefore hold your tongue. Nuttal was surprised, when they gave him bits of paper instead of money; but I made Ben Tooke put him in his geers: he could not reckon ten pounds, but was puzzled with the Irish way. Ben Tooke and my printer have desired me to make them stationers to the ordnance, of which lord Rivers is master instead of the duke of Marlborough. It will be a hundred pounds a year a piece to them, if I can get it. I will try to morrow.
6. I went this morning to earl Rivers, gave him joy of his new employment, and desired him to prefer my printer and bookseller to be stationers to his office. He immediately granted it me; but, like an old courtier, told me it was wholly on my account, but that he heard I had intended to engage Mr. secretary to speak to him, and desired I would engage him to do so; but that however he did it only for my sake. This is a court trick, to oblige as many as you can at once. I read prayers to poor Mrs. Wesley (who is very much out of order) instead of going to church; and then I went to court, which I found very full, in expectation of seeing prince Eugene, who landed last night, and lies at Leicester house; he was not to see the queen till six this evening. I hope and believe he comes too late to do the whigs any good. I refused dining with the secretary, and was like to lose my dinner, which was at a private acquaintance's. I went at six to see the prince at court; but he was gone in to the queen: and when he came out, Mr. secretary who introduced him, walked so near him, that he quite screened me from him with his great periwig. I'll tell you a good passage: as prince Eugene was going with Mr. secretary to court, he told the secretary, that Hoffman, the emperor's resident, said to his highness, that it was not proper to go to court without a long wig, and his was a tied up one; now, says the prince, I knew not what to do: for I never had a long periwig in my life; and I have sent to all my valets and footmen to see whether any of them have one, that I might borrow it; but none of them has any. — Was not this spoken very greatly with some sort of contempt? But the secretary said; it was a thing of no consequence, and only observed by gentlemen ushers. I supped with lord Masham, where lord treasurer and Mr. secretary supped with us; the first left us at twelve, but the rest did not part till two: yet I have written all this, because it is fresh: and now I'll go sleep, if I can; that is, I believe I shall, because I have drank a little.
7. I was this morning to give the duke of Ormond notice of the honour done him to make him one of our society, and to invite him on Thursday next to the Thatched house: he has accepted it with the gratitude and humility such a preferment deserves; but cannot come till the next meeting, because prince Eugene is to dine with him that day; which I allowed for a good excuse, and will report accordingly. I dined with lord Masham, and sat there till eight this evening; and came home, because I was not very well, but a little griped: but now I am well again, I will not go, at least but very seldom, to lord Masham's suppers. Lord treasurer is generally there, and that tempts me; but late sitting up does not agree with me: there's the short and the long, and I won't do it: so take your answer, dear little young women; and I have no more to say to you to night, because of the archbishop; for I am going to write a long letter to him; but not so politickly as formerly: I won't trust him.
8. Well then, come, let us see this letter; if I must answer it, I must. What's here now? yes faith, I lamented my birthday two days after, and that's all: and you rhyme, madam Stella, were those verses made upon my birthday? faith, when I read them, I had them running in my head all the day, and said them over a thousand times; they drank your health in all their glasses, and wished, &c. I could not get them out of my head. What; no, I believe it was not; what do I say upon the eighth of December? Compare, and see whether I say so. I am glad of Mrs. Stoyte's recovery, heartily glad: your Dolly Manley's and bishop of Cloyne's child I have no concern about: I am sorry in a civil way, that's all. Yes, yes, sir George St. George dead. Go, cry, madam Dingley; I have written to the dean. Raymond will be rich, for he has the building itch. I wish all he has got may put him out of debt. Poh, I have fires like light'ning; they cost me twelvepence a week, beside small coal. I have got four new caps, madam, very fine and convenient, with striped cambrick, instead of muslin; so Patrick need not mend them, but take the old ones. Stella snatched Dingley's word out of her pen; Presto a cold; why all the world here is dead with them: I never had any thing like it in my life; 'tis not gone in five weeks. I hope Leigh is with you before this, and has brought your box: how do you like the ivory rasp? Stella is angry; but I'll have a finer thing for her. Is not the apron as good? I am sure I shall never be paid it; so all's well again. What the quarrel with sir John Walters? why we had not one word of quarrel; only he railed at me when I was gone. And lord keeper and treasurer teased me for a week: it was nuts to them: a serious thing with a vengeance. The whigs may sell their estates then, or hang themselves, as they are disposed; for a peace there will be. Lord treasurer told me, that Conolly was going to Hanover. Your provost is a coxcomb. Stella is a good girl for not being angry when I tell her of spelling; I see none wrong in this. God Almighty be praised that your disorders lessen, it increases my hopes mightily that they will go off. And have you been plagued with the fear of the plague? never mind those reports; I have heard them five hundred times. Replevi? Replevin, simpleton, 'tis Dingley I mean;, but it is a hard word, and so I'll excuse it. I stated Dingley's accounts in my last. I forgot Catherine's sevenpenny dinner. I hope it was the beef-steaks; I'll call and eat them in spring: but goody Stoyte must give me coffee, or green tea, for I drink no bohea. Well, ay, the pamphlet; but there are some additions to the fourth edition: the fifth edition was of four thousand, in a smaller print, sold for sixpence. Yes, I had the twenty pound bill from Parvisol: and what then? Pray now eat the Laracor apples; I beg you not to keep them, but tell me what they are. You have had Tooke's bill in my last. And so there now, your whole letter is answered. I tell you what I do; I lay your letter before me, and take it in order, and answer what is necessary; and so and so. Well; when I expected we were all undone, I designed to retire for six months, and then steal over to Laracor; and I had in my mouth a thousand times two lines of Shakspeare, where cardinal Wolsey says;
"A weak old man battered with storms of state,
"Is come to lay his weary bones among you."
I beg your pardon, I have cheated you all this margin: I did not perceive it; and I went on wider and wider like Stella; awkward sluts, she writes so so, there: that's as like as two eggs a penny. — A weak old man, now I am saying it, and shall till to morrow. — The duke of Marlborough says, there is nothing he now desires so much as to contrive some way how to soften Dr. Swift. He is mistaken; for those things that have been hardest against him were not written by me. Mr. secretary told me this from a friend of the duke's; and I'm sure now he is down, I shall not trample on him; although I love him not, I dislike his being out. — Bernage was to see me this morning, and gave some very indifferent excuses for not calling here so long. I care not twopence. Prince Eugene did not dine with the duke of Marlborough on Sunday, but was last night at lady Betty Germain's assemblee, and a vast number of ladies to see him. Mr. Lewis and I dined with a private friend. I was this morning to see the duke of Ormond, who appointed me to meet him at the cockpit at one, but never came. I sat too some time with the duchess. We don't like things very well yet. I am come home early, and going to be busy. I'll go write.
9. I could not go sleep last night till past two, and was waked before three by a noise of people endeavouring to break open my window; for a while I would not stir, thinking it might be my imagination; but hearing the noise continued, I rose and went to the window, and then it ceased: I went to bed again, and heard it repeated more violently; then I rose and called up the house, and got a candle: the rogues had lifted up the sash a yard; there are great sheds before my windows, although my lodgings be a story high; and if they get upon the sheds they are almost even with my window. We observed their track, and panes of glass fresh broken. The watchmen told us to day, they saw them, but could not catch them: they attacked others in the neighbourhood, about the same time, and actually robbed a house in Suffolk street, which is the next street but one to us. It is said they are seamen discharged from service. I went up to call my man, and found his bed empty; it seems he often lies abroad. I challenged him this morning as one of the robbers. He is a sad dog; and the minute I come to Ireland I will discard him. I have this day got double iron bars to every window in my diningroom and bedchamber; and I hide my purse in my thread stocking between the bed's head and the wainscot. Lewis and I dined with an old Scotch friend, who brought the duke of Douglas, and three or four more Scots upon us.
10. This was our society day you know: but the duke of Ormond could not be with us, because he dined with prince Eugene. It cost me a guinea contribution to a poet, who had made a copy of verses upon monkies, applying the story to the duke of Marlborough; the rest gave two guineas, except the two physicians, who followed my example. I don't like this custom: the next time I will give nothing. I sat this evening at lord Masham's with lord treasurer: I don't like his countenance, nor I don't like the posture of things well. We cannot be stout, Till Somerset's out: as the old saying is.
11. Mr. Lewis and I dined with the chancellor of the exchequer, who eats the most elegantly of any man I know in town: I walked lustily in the park by moonshine till eight, to shake off my dinner and wine; and then went to sup at Mr. Domville's with Ford, and staid till twelve. It is told me to day as a great secret, that the duke of Somerset will be out soon; that the thing is fixed; but what shall we do with the duchess? they say the duke will make her leave the queen out of spite, if he be out. It has stuck upon that fear a good while already. Well, but Lewis gave me a letter from MD, N. 25. O Lord, I did not expect one this fortnight, faith. You are mighty good, that's certain: but I won't answer it, because this goes to morrow, only what you say of the printer being taken up; I value it not; all's safe there; nor do I fear any thing, unless the ministry be changed; I hope that danger is over. However, I shall be in Ireland before such a change; which could not be, I think, till the end of the session, if the whigs designs had gone on. Have not you an apron by Leigh, madam Stella? have you all I mentioned in a former letter?
12. Morning. This goes to day as usual. I think of going into the city; but of that at night. 'Tis fine moderate weather these two or three days last. Farewell, &c. &c.
London, Jan. 12, 1711-12.
WHEN I sealed up my letter this morning, I looked upon myself to be not worth a groat in the world. Last night, after Mr. Ford and I left Domville, Ford desired me go with him for a minute upon earnest business, and then told me that both he and I were ruined: for he had trusted Stratford with five hundred pounds for tickets for the lottery, and he had been with Stratford, who confessed he had lost fifteen thousand pounds by sir Stephen Evans, who broke last week; that he concluded Stratford must break too; that he could not get his tickets, but Stratford made him several excuses, which seemed very blind ones, &c. And Stratford had near four hundred pounds of mine, to buy me five hundred pounds in the South Sea company. I came home reflecting a little; nothing concerned me but MD. I called all my philosophy and religion up; and, I thank God, it did not keep me awake beyond my usual time above a quarter of an hour. This morning I sent for Tooke, whom I had employed to buy the stock of Stratford, and settle things with him. He told me, I was secure; for Stratford had transferred it to me in form in the South Sea house, and he had accepted it for me, and all was done on stamped parchment, However, he would be farther informed; and, at night, sent me a note to confirm me. However, I am not yet secure; and, besides, am in pain for Ford, whom I first brought acquainted with Stratford. I dined in the city.
13. Domville and I dined with Ford to day by appointment: the lord Mansel told me at court to day, that I was engaged to him: but Stratford had promised Ford to meet him and me to night at Ford's lodgings. He did so; said he had hopes to save himself in his affair with Evans. Ford asked him for his tickets: he said he would send them to morrow; but looking in his pocket book, said he believed he had some of them about him, and gave him as many as came to two hundred pounds, which rejoiced us much; besides, he talked so frankly, that we might think there is no danger. I asked him, Was there any more to be settled between us in my affair? He said. No; and answering my questions just as Tooke had got them from others; so I hope I am safe. This has been a scurvy affair. I believe Stella would have half laughed at me, to see a suspicious fellow, like me, overreached. I saw prince Eugene to day at court: I don't think him an ugly faced fellow, but well enough, and a good shape.
14. The parliament was to sit to day; and met; but were adjourned by the queen's directions till Thursday. She designs to make some important speech then. She pretended illness; but I believe they were not ready, and they expect some opposition: and the Scotch lords are angry, and must be pacified. I was this morning to invite the duke of Ormond to our society on Thursday, where he is then to be introduced. He has appointed me at twelve to morrow about some business: I would fain have his help to impeach a certain lord: but I doubt we shall make nothing of it. I intended to have dined with lord treasurer, but I was told he would be busy: so I dined with Mrs. Van; and at night I sat with lord Masham till one. Lord treasurer was there, and chid me for not dining with him: he was in very good humour: I brought home two flasks of burgundy in my chair: I wish MD had them. You see it is very late; so I'll go to bed, and bid MD good night.
15. This morning I presented my printer and bookseller to lord Rivers; to be stationers to the ordnance; stationers, that's the word; I did not write it plain at first. I believe it will be worth three hundred pounds a year between them. This is the third employment I have got for them. Rivers told them, the doctor commanded him, and he durst not refuse it. I would have dined with lord treasurer to day again, but lord Mansel would not let me, and forced me home with him. I was very deep with the duke of Ormond to day at the cockpit, where we met to be private; but I doubt I cannot do the mischief I intended. My friend Penn came there, Will. Penn the quaker, at the head of his brethren, to thank the duke for his kindness to their people in Ireland. To see a dozen scoundrels with their hats on, and the duke complimenting with his off, was a good sight enough. I sat this evening with sir William Robinson, who has mighty often invited me to a bottle of wine: and it is past twelve.
16. This being fast day, Dr. Freind and I went into the city to dine late, like good fasters. My printer and bookseller want me to hook in another employment for them in the Tower, because it was enjoyed before by a stationer, although it be to serve the ordnance with oil, tallow, &c. and is worth four hundred pounds per annum more: I will try what I can do. They are resolved to ask several other employments of the same nature to other offices; and I will then grease fat sows, and see whether it be possible to satisfy them. Why am not I a stationer? The parliament sits to morrow, and Walpole, late secretary at war, is to be swinged for bribery, and the queen is to communicate something of great importance to the two houses, at least they say so. But I must think of answering your letter in a day or two.
17. I went this morning to the duke of Ormond about some business; and he told me he could not dine with us to day, being to dine with prince Eugene. Those of our society of the house of commons could not be with us, the house sitting late on Walpole. I left them at nine, and they were not come. We kept some dinner for them. I hope Walpole will be sent to the Tower, and expelled the house: but, this afternoon the members I spoke with in the court of requests talked dubiously of it. It will be a leading card to maul the duke of Marlborough for the same crime, or at least to censure him. The queen's message was only to give them notice of the peace she is treating, and to desire they will make some law to prevent libels against the government; so farewell to Grub street.
18. I heard to day, that the commoners of our society did not leave the parliament till eleven at night, then went to those I left, and staid till three in the morning. Walpole is expelled, and sent to the Tower. I was this morning again with lord Rivers, and have made him give the other employment to my printer and bookseller; 'tis worth a great deal. I dined with my friend Lewis privately, to talk over affairs. We want to have this duke of Somerset out, and he apprehends it will not be; but I hope better. They are going now at last to change the commissioners of the customs: my friend sir Matthew Dudley will be out, and three more, and Prior will be in. I have made Ford copy out a small pamphlet, and send it to the press, that I might not be known for author; 'tis A Letter to the October Club, if ever you heard of such a thing. —— Methinks this letter goes on but slowly for almost a week; I want some little conversation with MD, and to know what they are doing just now. I am sick of politicks. I have not dined with lord treasurer these three weeks: he chides me, but I don't care: I don't.
19. I dined to day with lord treasurer; this is his day of choice company; where they sometimes admit me, but pretend to grumble. And to day they met on some extraordinary business; the keeper, steward, both secretaries, lord Rivers, and lord Anglesey: I left them at seven, aand came away, and have been writing to the bishop of Clogher. I forgot to know where to direct to him since sir George St. George's death; but I have directed to the same house: you must tell me better; for the letter is sent by the bellman. Don't write to me again till this is gone, I charge you; for I won't answer two letters together. The duke of Somerset is out, and was with his yellow liveries at parliament to day. You know he had the same with the queen, when he was master of the horse: we hope the duchess will follow, or that he will take her away in spite. Lord treasurer, I hope, has now saved his head. Has the dean received my letter? ask him at cards to night.
20. There was a world of people to day at court to see prince Eugene, but all bit, for he did not come. I saw the duchess of Somerset talking with the duke of Buckingham; she looked a little down, but was extremely courteous. The queen has the gout, but is not in much pain. Must I fill this line too? well then, so let it be. The duke of Beaufort has a mighty mind to come into our society; shall we let him? I spoke to the duke of Ormond about it, and he doubts a little whether to let him in or no. They say the duke of Somerset is advised by his friends to let his wife stay with the queen; I am sorry for it. I dined with the secretary to day, with mixed company; I don't love it. Our society does not meet till Friday, because Thursday will be a busy day in the house of commons; for then the duke of Marlborough's bribery is to be examined into about the pension paid him by those that furnished bread to the army.
21. I have been five times with the duke of Ormond about a perfect trifle, and he forgets it: I used him like a dog this morning for it. I was asked to day by several in the court of requests, whether it was true that the author of the Examiner was taken up in an action of twenty thousand pounds by the duke of Marlborough? I dined in the city, where my printer showed me a pamphlet called Advice to the October Club, which he said was sent him by an unknown hand, I commended it mightily; he never suspected me; 'tis a twopenny pamphlet. I came home and got timely to bed; but about eleven one of the secretary's servants came to me, to let me know that lord treasurer would immediately speak to me at lord Masham's upon earnest business; and that if I was a bed, I should rise and come. I did so; lord treasurer was above with the queen: and when he came down he laughed, and said it was not he that sent for me: the business was of no great importance, only to give me a paper, which might have been done to morrow. I staid with them till past one, and then got to bed again. Pize take their frolicks. I thought to have answered your letter.
22. Doctor Gastrel was to see me this morning; he is an eminent divine, one of the canons of Christchurch, and one I love very well: he said, he was glad to find I was not with James Broad. I asked what he meant; Why, says he, have you not seen the Grub street paper, that says Dr. Swift was taken up as author of the Examiner on an action of twenty thousand pounds, and was now at James Broad's? (who, I suppose, is some bailiff.) I knew nothing of this; but at the court of requests twenty people told me they heard I had been taken up. Lord Lansdown observed to the secretary and me, that the whigs spread three lies yesterday; that about me; and another, that Macartney, who was turned out last summer, is again restored to his places in the army; and the third, that Jack Hill's commission for lieutenant of the tower is stopped, and that Cadogan is to continue. Lansdown thinks they have some design by these reports; I cannot guess It. Did I tell you that Sacheverell has desired mightily to come and see me; but I have put it off: he has heard that I have spoken to the secretary in behalf of a brother whom he maintains, and who desires an employment. T'other day at the court of requests Dr. Yalden saluted me by name: Sacheverell, who was just by, came up to me, and made me many acknowledgments and compliments. Last night I desired lord treasurer to do something for that brother of Sacheverell's: he said he never knew he had a brother; but thanked me for telling him, and immediately put his name in his tablebook. I will let Sacheverell know this, that he may take his measures accordingly; but he shall be none of my acquaintance. I dined to day privately with the secretary, left him at six, paid a visit or two, and came home.
23. I dined again to day with the secretary; but could not dispatch some business I had with him, he has so much besides upon his hands at this juncture; and preparing against the great business to morrow, which we are top full of. The minister's design is, that the duke of Marlborough shall be censured as gently as possible, provided his friends will not make head to defend him; but if they do, it may end in some severer votes. A gentleman who was just now with him, tells me he is much cast down, and fallen away; but he is positive, if he has but ten friends in the house, that they shall defend him to the utmost, and endeavour to prevent the least censure upon him; which I think cannot be, since the bribery is manifest: sir Solomon Medina paid him six thousand pounds a year to have the employment of providing bread for the army, and the duke owns it in his letter to the commissioners of accounts. I was to night at lord Masham's; lord Dupplin took out my new little pamphlet, and the secretary read a great deal of it to lord treasurer; they all commended it to the skies, and so did I, and they began a health to the author. But I doubt lord treasurer suspected; for he said, This is Dr. Davenant's style; which is his cant when he suspects me. But I carried the matter very well. Lord treasurer put the pamphlet in his pocket to read at home. I'll answer your letter to morrow.
24. The secretary made me promise to dine with him to day after the parliament was up; I said I would come; but I dined at my usual time; knowing the house would sit late on this great affair. I dined at a tavern with Mr. Domville and another gentleman; I have not done so before these many months. At ten this evening I went to the secretary, but he was not come home; I sat with his lady till twelve, then came away; and he just came as I was gone, and he sent to my lodgings, but I would not go back; and so I know not how things have passed; but hope all is well; and I will tell you to morrow day. It is late, &c.
25. The secretary sent to me this morning to know whether we should dine together; I went to him, and there I learned, that the question went against the duke of Marlborough by a majority of a hundred; so the ministry is mighty well satisfied, and the duke will now be able to do no hurt. The secretary and I and lord Masham, &c. dined with lieutenant general Withers, who is just going to look after the army in Flanders: the secretary and I left them a little after seven, and I am come home, and will now answer your letter, because this goes to morrow: let me see. —— The box at Chester; O, burn that box, and hang that Sterne; I have desired one to inquire for it who went toward Ireland last Monday, but I am in utter despair of it. — No, I was not splenetick; you see what plunges the court has been at to set all right again. And that duchess is not out yet, and may one day cause more mischief. Somerset shows all about a letter from the queen, desiring him to let his wife continue with her. Is not that rare! I find Dingley smelled a rat; because the whigs are upish; but if ever I hear that word again, I'll uppish you. I am glad you got your rasp safe and sound; does Stella like her apron? Your criticks about guarantees of succession are puppies; that's an answer to the objection. The answerers here made the same objection, but it is wholly wrong. I am of your opinion, that lord Marlborough is used too hardly: I have often scratched out passages from papers and pamphlets sent me before they were printed; because I thought them too severe. But, he is certainly a vile man, and has no sort of merit beside the military. The Examiners are good for little: I would fain have hindered the severity of the two or three last, but could not. I will either bring your papers over, or leave them with Tooke, for whose honesty I will engage. And I think it is best not to venture them with me at sea. Stella is a prophet, by foretelling so very positively that all would be well. Duke of Ormond speak against peace? No, simpleton: he is one of the stanchest we have for the ministry. Neither trouble yourself about the printer: he appeared the first day of term, and is to appear when summoned again; but nothing else will come of it. Lord chief justice is cooled since this new settlement. No; I will not split my journals in half; I will write but once a fortnight: but you may do as you will; which is, read only half at once, and t'other half next week. So now your letter is answered. (Pox on these blots!) What must I say more? I will set out in March, if there be a fit of fine weather; unless the ministry desire me to stay till the end of the session, which may be a month longer; but I believe they will not: for I suppose the peace will be made, and they will have no farther service for me. I must make my canal fine this summer, as fine as I can. I am afraid I shall see great neglects among my quicksets. I hope the cherry trees on the river walk are fine things now. But no more of this.
26. I forgot to finish this letter this morning, and am come home so late I must give it to the bellman; but I would have it go to night, lest you should think there is any thing in the story of my being arrested in an action of twenty thousand pounds by lord Marlborough, which I hear is in Dyer's letter, and consequently, I suppose, gone to Ireland. Farewell, dearest MD, &c. &c.
London, Jan. 26, 1711-12.
I HAVE no gilt paper left of this size, so you must be content with plain. Our society dined together to day, for it was put off, as I told you, upon lord Marlborough's business on Thursday. The duke of Ormond dined with us to day, the first time; we were thirteen at table; and lord Lansdown came in after dinner, so that we wanted but three. The secretary proposed the duke of Beaufort, who desires to be one of our society; but I stopped it, because the duke of Ormond doubts a little about it; and he was gone before it was proposed. I left them at seven, and sat this evening with poor Mrs. Wesley, who has been mightily ill to day with a fainting fit: she has often convulsions too; she takes a mixture with asafœtida, which I have now in my nose; and every thing smells of it. I never smelt it before; 'tis abominable. We have eight packets, they say, due from Ireland.
27. I could not see prince Eugene at court to day, the crowd was so great. The whigs contrive to have a crowd always about him, and employ the rabble to give the word, when he sets out from any place. When the duchess of Hamilton came from the queen after church, she whispered me that she was going to pay me a visit: I went to lady Oglethorp's, the place appointed; for ladies always visit me in third places, and she kept me till near four: she talks too much, is a plaguy detractor, and I believe I shall not much like her. I was engaged to dine with lord Masham; they staid as long as they could, yet had almost dined, and were going in anger to pull down the brass peg for my hat, but lady Masham saved it. At eight I went again to lord Masham's; lord treasurer is generally there at night: we sat up till almost two. Lord treasurer has engaged me to contrive some way to keep the archbishop of York from being seduced by lord Nottingham. I will do what I can in it to morrow. 'Tis very late, so I must go sleep.
28. Poor Mrs. Manley the author is very ill of a dropsy and sore leg; the printer tells me he is afraid she cannot live long. I am heartily sorry for her; she has very generous principles for one of her sort; and a great deal of good sense and invention: she is about forty, very homely and very fat. Mrs. Van made me dine with her to day. I was this morning with the duke of Ormond, and the prolocutor, about what lord treasurer spoke to me yesterday; I know not what will be the issue. There is but a slender majority in the house of lords; and we want more. We are sadly mortified at the news of the French taking the town in Brasil from the Portuguese. The sixth edition of three thousand of the Conduct of the Allies is sold, and the printer talks of a seventh; eleven thousand of them have been sold; which is a prodigious run. The little twopenny Letter of Advice to the October Club does not sell; I know not the reason; for it is finely written, I assure you; and, like a true author, I grow fond of it, because it does not sell: you know that is usual to writers, to condemn the judgment of the world: if I had hinted it to be mine, every body would have bought it, but it is a great secret.
29. I borrowed one or two idle books of Contes des Fées, and have been reading them these two days, although I have much business upon my hands. I loitered till one at home; then went to Mr. Lewis at his office; and the vice chamberlain told me, that lady Ryalton had yesterday resigned her employment of lady of the bedchamber, and that lady Jane Hyde, lord Rochester's daughter, a mighty pretty girl, is to succeed; he said too, that lady Sunderland would resign in a day or two. I dined with Lewis, and then went to see Mrs. Wesley, who is better to day. But you must know, that Mr. Lewis gave me two letters, one from the bishop of Cloyne, with an enclosed from lord Inchequin to lord treasurer; which he desires I would deliver and recommend. I am told, that lord was much in with lord Wharton, and I remember he was to have been one of the lords justices by his recommendation; yet the bishop recommends him as a great friend to the church, &c. I'll do what I think proper. T'other letter was from little saucy MD, N. 26. O Lord, never saw the like, under a cover too, and by way of journal; we shall never have done. Sirrahs, how durst you write so soon, sirrahs? I won't answer it yet.
30. I was this morning with the secretary, who was sick, and out of humour; he would needs drink champaign some days ago, on purpose to spite me, because I advised him against it, and now he pays for it; Stella used to do such tricks formerly; he put me in mind of her. Lady Sunderland has resigned her place too. It is lady Catherine Hyde that succeeds lady Ryalton; and not lady Jane. Lady Catherine is the late earl of Rochester's daughter. I dined with the secretary, then visited his lady; and sat this evening with lady Masham; the secretary came to us; but lord treasurer did not; he dined with the master of the rolls, and staid late with him. Our society does not meet till to morrow se'nnight, because we think the parliament will be very busy to morrow upon the state of the war; and the secretary, who is to treat as president, must be in the house. I fancy my talking of persons and things here, must be very tedious to you, because you know nothing of them; and I talk as if you did. You know Kevin's street, and Werburgh street, and (what do you call the street where Mrs. Walls lives?) and Ingoldsby, and Higgins, and lord Santry; but what care you for lady Catherine Hyde? why do you say nothing of your health, sirrah? I hope it is well.
31. Trimnel, bishop of Norwich, who was with this lord Sunderland at Moor park in their travels, preached yesterday before the house of lords; and to day the question was put to thank him, and print his sermon; but passed against him; for it was a terrible whig sermon. The bill to repeal the act for naturalizing protestant foreigners, passed the house of lords to day by a majority of twenty, though the Scotch lords went out, and would vote neither way, in discontent about duke Hamilton's patent, if you know any thing of it. A poem is come out to day inscribed to me, by way of a flirt; for it is a whiggish poem, and good for nothing. They plagued me with it in the court of requests. I dined with lord treasurer at five alone, only with one Dutchman. Prior is now a commissioner of the customs. I told you so before, I suppose. When I came home to night, I found a letter from Dr. Sacheverell, thanking me for recommending his brother to lord treasurer and Mr. secretary for a place. Lord treasurer sent to him about it: so good a solicitor was I, although I once hardly thought I should be a solicitor for Sacheverell.
Feb. 1. Has not your dean of St. Patrick received my letter? you say nothing of it, although I writ above a month ago. My printer has got the gout, and I was forced to go to him to day, and there I dined. It was a most delicious day; why don't you observe whether the same days be fine with you? to night at six Dr. Atterbury and Prior, and I, and Dr. Freind, met at Dr. Robert Freind's house at Westminster, who is master of the school: there we sat till one, and were good enough company. I here take leave to tell politick Dingley, that the passage in the Conduct of the Allies is so far from being blamable, that the secretary designs to insist upon it in the house of commons, when the Treaty of Barrier is debated there, as it now shortly will, for they have ordered it to be laid before them. The pamphlet of Advice to the October Club begins now to sell: but I believe its fame will hardly reach Ireland: 'tis finely written, I assure you. I long to answer your letter; but won't yet; you know 'tis late, &c.
2. This ends Christmas; and what care I? 1 have neither seen, nor felt, nor heard any Christmas this year. I passed a lazy dull day: I was this morning with lord treasurer, to get some papers from him, which he will remember as much as a cat, although it be his own business. It threatened rain, but did not much; and Prior and I walked an hour in the park, which quite put me out of my measures. I dined with a friend hard by; and in the evening sat with lord Masham till twelve. Lord treasurer did not come; this is an idle dining day usually with him. We want to hear from Holland how our peace goes on; for we are afraid of those scoundrels the Dutch, lest they should play us tricks. Lord Marr, a Scotch earl, was with us at lord Masham's; I was arguing with him about the stubbornness and folly of his countrymen: they are so angry about the affair of duke Hamilton, whom the queen has made a duke of England, and the house of lords will not admit him: he swears he would vote for us, but dare not; because all Scotland would detest him if he did; he should never be chosen again, nor be able to live there.
3. I was at court to day to look for a dinner; but did not like any that were offered me; and I dined with lord Mountjoy. The queen has the gout in her knee, and was not at chapel. I hear we have a Dutch mail, but I know not what news, although I was with the secretary this morning. He showed me a letter from the Hanover envoy, Mr. Bothmar, complaining that the Barrier Treaty is laid before the house of commons; and desiring that no infringement may be made in the guarantee of the succession; but the secretary has written him a peppering answer. I fancy you understand all this, and are able states-girls, since you have read the Conduct of the Allies. We are all preparing against the birthday, I think it is Wednesday next. If the queen's gout increases, it will spoil sport. Prince Eugene has two fine suits made against it; and the queen is to give him a sword worth four thousand pounds, the diamonds set transparent.
4. I was this morning soliciting at the house of commons' door for Mr. Vesey, a son of the archbishop of Tuam, who has petitioned for a bill to relieve him in some difficulty about his estate; I secured him above fifty members. I dined with lady Masham. We have no packet from Holland, as I was told yesterday: and this wind will hinder many people from appearing at the birthday, who expected clothes from Holland. I appointed to meet a gentleman at the secretary's to night, and they both failed. The house of commons have this day made many severe votes about our being abused by our allies. Those who spoke, drew all their arguments from my book, and their votes confirm all I writ; the court had a majority of a hundred and fifty: all agree, that it was my book that spirited them to these resolutions; I long to see them in print. My head has not been as well as I could wish it for some days past, but I have not had any giddy fit, and I hope it will go over.
5. The secretary turned me out of his room this morning, and showed me fifty guineas rolled up, which he was going to give some French spy. I dined with four Irishmen at a tavern to day; I thought I had resolved against it before, but I broke it. I played at cards this evening at lady Masham's, but I only played for her while she was waiting; and I won her a pool; and supped there. Lord treasurer was with us, but went away before twelve. The ladies and lords have all their clothes ready against to morrow: I saw several mighty fine, and I hope there will be a great appearance, in spite of that spiteful French fashion of the whiggish ladies not to come, which they have all resolved to a woman; and I hope it will more spirit the queen against them for ever.
6. I went to dine at lord Masham's at three, and met all the company just coming out of court; a mighty crowd: they staid long for their coaches: I had an opportunity of seeing several lords and ladies of my acquaintance in their fineries. Lady Asburnham looked the best in my eyes. They say the court was never fuller nor finer. Lord treasurer, his lady, and two daughters, and Mrs. Hill dined with lord and lady Masham; the five ladies were monstrous fine. The queen gave prince Eugene the diamond sword to day; but nobody was by when she gave it, except my lord chamberlain. There was an entertainment of opera songs at night, and the queen was at all the entertainment, and is very well after it. I saw lady Wharton, as ugly as the devil, coming out in the crowd all in an undress; she had been with the Marlborough daughters and lady Bridgwater in St. James's, looking out of the window all undressed to see the sight. I do not hear that one whig lady was there, except those of the bedchamber. Nothing has made so great a noise as one Kelson's chariot, that cost nine hundred and thirty pounds, the finest was ever seen. The rabble huzzaed him as much as they did prince Eugene. This is birthday chat.
7. Our society met to day, the duke of Ormond was not with us; we have lessened our dinners, which were grown so extravagant, that lord treasurer and every body else cried shame. I left them at seven, visited for an hour, and then came home, like a good boy. The queen is much better after yesterday's exercise: her friends wish she would use a little more. I opposed lord Jersey's election into our society, and he is refused: I likewise opposed the duke of Beaufort; but I believe he will be chosen in spite of me: I don't much care: I shall not be with them above two months; for I resolve to set out for Ireland the beginning of April next (before I treat them again) and see my willows.
8. I dined to day in the city; this morning a scoundrel dog, one of the queen's musick, a German, whom I had never seen, got access to me in my chamber by Patrick's folly, and gravely desired me to get an employment in the customs for a friend of his, who would be very grateful; and likewise to forward a project of his own, for raising ten thousand pounds a year upon operas: I used him civiller than he deserved; but it vexed me to the pluck. He was told, I had a mighty interest with lord treasurer, and one word of mine, &c. —— Well; I got home early on purpose to answer MD's letter, N. 26; for this goes to morrow. — Well; I never saw such a letter in all my life; so saucy, so journalish, so sanguine, so pretending, so every thing. I satisfied all your fears in my last; all is gone well, as you say; yet you are an impudent slut to be so positive; you will swagger so upon your sagacity that we shall never have done. Pray don't mislay your reply; I would certainly print it, if I had it here: how long is it? I suppose half a sheet: was the answer written in Ireland? yes, yes, you shall have a letter when you come from Baligall. I need not tell you again who's out and who's in: we can never get out the duchess of Somerset. — So, they say Presto writ the Conduct, &c. do they like it? I don't care whether they do or no; but the Resolutions printed t'other day in the Votes, are almost quotations from it, and would never have passed, if that book had not been written. I will not meddle with the Spectator, let him fair-sex it to the world's end. My disorder is over, but blood was not from the p—les. —— Well, madam Dingley, the frost; why we had a great frost, but I forget how long ago; it lasted above a week or ten days: I believe about six weeks ago; but it did not break so soon with us I think as December 29; yet I think it was about that time, on second thoughts. MD can have no letter from Presto, says you, and yet four days before you own you had my thirty-seventh, unreasonable sluts! The bishop of Gloucester is not dead, and I am as likely to succeed the duke of Marlborough as him if he were; there's enough for that now. It is not unlikely that the duke of Shrewsbury will be your governor; at least I believe the duke of Ormond will not return. — Well, Stella again: why really three editions of the Conduct, &c. is very much for Ireland; it is a sign you have some honest among you. — Well; I will do Mr. Manley all the service I can: but he will ruin himself. What business had he to engage at all about the city? can't he wish his cause well, and be quiet, when he finds that stirring will do it no good, and himself a great deal of hurt; I cannot imagine who should open my letter; it must be done at your side. — If I hear of any thoughts of turning out Mr. Manley, I will endeavour to prevent it. I have already had all the gentlemen of Ireland here upon my back often, for defending him. So now I have answered your saucy letter. My humble service to goody Stoyte and Catherine; I will come soon for my dinner.
9. Morning. My cold goes off at last; but I think I have got a small new one. I have no news since last. They say we hear by the way of Calais, that peace is very near concluding, I hope it may be true. I'll go and seal up my letter, and give it myself to night into the postoffice; and so I bid my dearest MD farewell till to night. I heartily wish myself with them, as hope saved. My willows and quicksets, and trees will be finely improved, I hope, this year. It has been fine hard frosty weather yesterday and to day. Farewell, &c. &c. &c.
London, Feb. 9, 1711-12.
WHEN my letter is gone, and I have none of yours to answer, my conscience is so clear, and my shoulder so light, and I go on with such courage to prate upon nothing to dear charming MD you would wonder. I dined to day with sir Matthew Dudley, who is newly turned out of the commission of the customs. He affects a good heart, and talks in the extremity of whiggery, which was always his principle, though he was gentle a little, while he kept in employment. We can get no packets from Holland. I have not been with any of the ministry these two or three days. I keep out of their way on purpose, for a certain reason, for some time, though I must dine with the secretary to morrow, the choosing of the company being left to me. I have engaged lord Anglesey and lord Carteret, and have promised to get three more; but I have a mind that none else should be admitted. However, if I like any body at court to morrow, I may perhaps invite them. I have got another cold, but not very bad.******
10. I saw prince Eugene at court to day very plain. He is plaguy yellow, and literally ugly besides. The court was very full, and people had their birthday clothes. I was to have invited five; but I only invited two, lord Anglesey and lord Carteret. Pshaw, I told you but yesterday. We have no packets from Holland yet. Here are a parcel of drunken whiggish lords, like your lord Santry, who come into chocolatehouses, and rail aloud at the tories, and have challenges sent them, and the next morning come and beg pardon. General Ross was like to swinge the marquis of Winchester for this trick, the other day; and we have nothing else now to talk of till the parliament has had another bout with the state of the war, as they intend in a few days. They have ordered the Barrier Treaty to be laid before them; and it was talked some time ago, as if there was a design to impeach lord Townshend, who made it. I have no more politicks now. Night, dear MD.
11. I dined with lord Anglesey to day, who had seven Irishmen to be my companions, of which two only were coxcombs. One I did not know, and the other was young Bligh, who is a puppy of figure here, with a fine chariot. He asked me one day at court, when I had just been talking with some lords, who stood near me, doctor, when shall we see you in the county of Meath? I whispered him to take care what he said, for the people would think he was some barbarian. He never would speak to me since, till we met to day. I went to lady Masham's to night, and sat with lord treasurer and the secretary there till past two o'clock; and when I came home, found some letters from Ireland, which I read, but can say nothing of them till to morrow, it is so very late; but I must always be, late or early, MD's, &c.
12. One letter was from the bishop of Clogher last night, and the other from Walls, about Mrs. South's salary, and his own pension of eighteen pounds for his tithes of the park. I will do nothing in either. The first I cannot serve in, and the other is a trifle; only you may tell him I had his letter,, and will speak to Ned Southwell about what he desires me. You say nothing of your dean's receiving my letter.
I find, Clements, whom I recommended to lord Anglesey last year, at Walls' desire, or rather the bishop of Clogher's, is mightily in lord Anglesey's favour. You may tell the bishop and Walls so. I said to lord Anglesey, that I was glad I had the good luck to recommend him, &c.
I dined in the city with my printer, to consult with him about some papers lord treasurer gave me last night, as he always does, too late. However, I will do something with them. My third cold is a little better, I never had any thing like it before, three colds successively; I hope I shall have the fourth. ****Three messengers come from Holland to day, and they brought over the six packets that were due. I know not the particulars yet for when I was with the secretary at noon, they were just opening. But one thing I find, the Dutch are playing us tricks, and tampering with the French; they are dogs; I shall know more. *****
13. I dined to day privately with my friend Lewis, at his lodgings, to consult about some observations on the Barrier Treaty. Our news from Holland is not good. The French raise difficulties, and make such offers to the allies as cannot be accepted: and the Dutch are uneasy that we are likely to get any thing for ourselves; and the whigs are glad at all this. I came home early, and have been very busy three or four hours. I had a letter from Dr. Pratt to day by a private hand, recommending the bearer to me, for something I shall not trouble myself about. Wesley writ to recommend the same fellow to me. His expression is, that hearing I am acquainted with my lord treasurer, he desires I would do so and so. A matter of nothing. What puppies are mankind! I hope I shall be wiser when I have once done with courts. I think you have not troubled me much with your recommendations. I would do you all the service I could. Pray have you got your apron, Mrs. Ppt? I paid for it but yesterday; that puts me in mind of it. I writ an inventory of what things I sent by Leigh in one of my letters. Did you compare it with what you got? I hear nothing of your cards now: do you never play; yes, at Baligall. Go to bed. ***** Night, dearest MD.
14. Our society dined to day at Mr. secretary's house. I went there at four; but hearing the house of commons would sit late upon the Barrier Treaty, I went for an hour to Kensington, to see lord Masham's children. My young nephew, his son of six months old, has got a swelling in his neck. I fear it is the evil. We did not go to dinner till eight at night, and I left them at ten. The commons have been very severe on the Barrier Treaty, as you will find by their votes. A whig member took out the Conduct of the Allies, and read that passage about the succession with great resentment; but none seconded him. The church party carried every vote by a great majority. The archbishop of Dublin is so railed at by all who come from Ireland, that I can defend him no longer. Lord Anglesey assured me, that the story of applying Piso out of Tacitus to lord treasurer being wounded is true. I believe the duke of Beaufort will be admitted to our society next meeting. To day I published the Fable of Midas, a poem, printed in a loose half sheet of paper. I know not how it will take; but it passed wonderfully at our society to night; and Mr. secretary read it before me the other night, to lord treasurer, at lord Masham's, where they equally approved of it. Tell me how it passes with you? I think this paper is larger than ordinary; for here is a six day's journal, and no nearer the bottom. I fear these journals are very dull. Note my dullest lines.
15. Mr. Lewis and I dined by invitation with a Scotch acquaintance, after I had been very busy in my chamber, till two in the afternoon. My third cold is now very troublesome on my breast, especially in the morning. This is a great revolution in my health; colds never used to return so soon with me, or last so long. It is very surprising this news to day of the dauphin and dauphiness, both dying within six days. They say the old king is almost heartbroke: he has had prodigious mortifications in his family. The dauphin has left two little sons, of four and two years old; the eldest is sick. There is a foolish story got about the town, that lord Strafford, one of our plenipotentiaries, is in the interest of France: and it has been a good while said, that lord privy seal and he do not agree very well; they are both long practised in business, but neither of them of much parts. Strafford has some life and spirit; but is infinitely proud, and wholly illiterate.**** Night MD.
16. I dined to day in the city with my printer, to finish something I am doing about the Barrier Treaty but it is not quite done. I went this evening to lord Masham's, where lord treasurer sat with us till past twelve. The lords have voted an address to the queen, to tell her they are not satisfied with the king of France's offers. The whigs brought it in of a sudden; and the court could not prevent it, and therefore did not oppose it. The house of lords is too strong in whigs, notwithstanding the new creations: for they are very diligent, and the tories as lazy: the side that is down has always most industry. The whigs intended to have made a vote, that would reflect on lord treasurer; but their project was not ripe. I hit my face such a rap by calling the coach to stop to night, that it is plaguy sore, the bone beneath the eye. Night, dearest MD.
17. The court was mighty full to day, and has been these many Sundays; but the queen was not at chapel. She has got a little fit of the gout in her foot. The good of going to court is, that one sees all one's acquaintance, whom otherwise I should hardly meet twice a year. Prince Eugene dines with the secretary to day, with about seven or eight general officers, or foreign ministers. They will be all drunk, 1 am sure. I never was in company with this prince. I have proposed to some lords, that we should have a sober meal with him; but I cannot compass it. It is come over in the Dutch new prints, that I was arrested on an action of 20000l. by the duke of Marlborough. I did not like my court invitations to day; so sir Andrew Fountaine and I went and dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh. I came home at six, and have been very busy till this minute, and it is past twelve, so I got into bed to write to MD. We reckon the dauphin's death will set forward the peace a good deal. Pray, is Dr. Griffith reconciled to me yet? Have I done enough to soften him? ****
18. Lewis had Guiscard's picture; he bought it, and offered it to lord treasurer, who promised to send for it, but never did; so I made Lewis give it me, and I have it in my room; and now lord treasurer says, he will take it from me. Is that fair? he designs to have it in length in the clothes he wore when he did the action, and a penknife in his hand; and Kneller is to copy it from this that I have. I intended to dine with lord treasurer to day, but he has put me off till to morrow; so I dined with lord Dupplin. You know lord Dupplin very well; he is a brother of the society. Well, but I have received a letter from the bishop of Clogher, to solicit an affair for him with lord treasurer, and with the parliament, which I will do as soon as fly. I am not near so keen about other people's affairs as Ppt used to reproach me about. It was a judgment on me. Hearkee, idle dearees both, methinks I begin to want a letter from MD: faith, and so I do. I doubt you have been in pain about the report of my being arrested. The pamphleteers have let me alone this month, which is a great wonder: only the third part of the answer to the Conduct, which is lately come out. (Did I tell you of it already?) The house of commons goes on in mauling the late ministry and their proceedings.
19. I dined with lord treasurer to day, and sat with him till ten in spite of my teeth, though my printer waited for me to correct a sheet. I told him of four lines I writ extempore with my pencil, on a bit of paper in his house, while he lay wounded. Some of the servants, I suppose, made waste paper of them, and he never heard of them. They were inscribed to Mr. Harley's physician thus:
On Britain Europe's safety lies;
Britain is lost, if Harley dies:
Harley depends upon your skill:
Think what you save, or what you kill.
I proposed that some company should dine with him on the eighth of March, which was the day he was wounded; but he says he designs that the lords of the cabinet, who then sate with him, should dine that day with him: however, he has invited me to dine. I am not yet rid of my cold; it plagues me in the morning chiefly. Night, MD.
20. After waiting to catch the secretary coming out from sir Thomas Hanmer, for two hours in vain, about some business, I went into the city to my printer, to correct some sheets of the Barrier Treaty, and Remarks, which must be finished to morrow. I have been terribly busy for some days past, with this and some other things; and I wanted some very necessary papers, which the secretary was to give me, and the pamphlet must not be published without them; but they are all busy too. Sir Thomas Hanmer is chairman of the committee, for drawing up a representation of the state of the nation to the queen, where all the wrong steps of the allies and late ministry about the war, will be mentioned. The secretary, I suppose, was helping him about it to day; I believe it will be a pepperer. Night, dear MD.
21. I have been six hours to day morning writing nineteen pages of a letter to lord treasurer, about forming a society or academy, to correct and fix the English language. (Is English a speech, or a language?) It will not be above five or six more. I will send it him to morrow, and will print it, if he desires me. I dined, you know, with our society to day; Thursday is our day. We had a new member admitted; it was the duke of Beaufort. We were thirteen met; brother Ormond was not there, but sent his excuse, that prince Eugene dined with him. I left them at seven, being engaged to go to sir Thomas Hanmer, who desired I would see him at that hour. His business was, that I would hoenlbp ihainm itaoi dsroanws ubpl tohne sroeqporaensiepnotlastoiqobn, which I consented to do; but do not know whether I shall succeed, because it is a little out of my way: however, I have taken my share. Night, MD.
22. I finished the rest of my letter to lord treasurer to day, and sent it to him about one o'clock; and then dined privately with my friend Mr. Lewis, to talk over some affairs of moment. I have gotten the 13th volume of Rymer's Collection of the Records of the Tower, for the university of Dublin. I have two volumes now. I will write to the provost, to know how I shall send them to him; no, I won't, for I will bring them myself among my own books. I was with Hanmer this morning, and there was the secretary and chancellor of the exchequer very busy with him, laying their heads together about the representation. I went to lord Masham's to night, and lady Masham made me read her a pretty twopenny pamphlet, called the St. Alban's Ghost. I thought I had writ it myself; so did they; but I did not. Lord treasurer came down to us from the queen, and we staid till two o'clock. That is the best night place I have. The usual company are lord and lady Masham, lord treasurer, Dr. Arbuthnot, and I; sometimes the secretary, and sometimes Mrs. Hill of the bedchamber, lady Masham's sister. I assure you, it is very late now; but this goes to morrow: and I must have time to converse with our little MD. Night, dear MD.
23. I have no news to tell you this last day, nor do I know where I shall dine. I hear the secretary is a little out of order. Perhaps I may dine there, perhaps not. I sent Hanmer what he wanted from me. I know not how he will approve of it. I was to do more of the same sort. I am going out, and must carry this in my pocket to give it at some general posthouse. I will talk farther with you at night. I suppose in my next I shall answer a letter from MD that will be sent me on Tuesday. On Tuesday it will be four weeks since I had your last. No. 26. This day se'nnight I expect one, for that will be something more than a full month. Farewell, MD.
London, Feb. 23, 1711-12.
AFTER having disposed my last letter in the postoffice, I am now to begin this, with telling MD that I dined with the secretary to day, who is much out of order with a cold, and feverish; yet he went to the cabinet council to night at six, against my will. The secretary is much the greatest commoner in England, and turns the whole parliament, who can do nothing without him; and if he lives, and has his health, will, I believe, be one day at the head of affairs. I have told him sometimes, that if I were a dozen years younger, I would cultivate his favour, and trust my fortune with his. But what care you for all this? I am sorry when I came first acquainted with this ministry, that I did not send you their names and characters, and then you would have relished what I would have writ, especially if I had let you into the particulars of affairs: but enough of this. Night, dearest rogues.
24. I went early this morning to the secretary, who is not yet well. Sir Thomas Hanmer and the chancellor of the exchequer came while I was there, and he would not let me stir; so I did not go to church, but was busy with them till noon, about the affair I told you in my last. The other two went away; and I dined with the secretary, and found my head very much out of order, but no absolute fit; and I have not been well all this day. It has shook me a little. I sometimes sit up very late at lord Masham's, and have writ much for several days past; but I will amend both; for I have now very little business, and hope I shall have no more. I am resolved to be a great rider this summer in Ireland. I was to see Mrs. Wesley this evening, who has been somewhat better for this month past, and talks of returning to the Bath in a few weeks. Our peace goes on but slowly; the Dutch are playing tricks, and we do not push it as strongly as we ought. The fault of our court is delay, of which the queen has a great deal; and lord treasurer is not without his share. But pray let us know a little of your life and conversation. Do you play at ombre, or visit the dean, and goody Walls and Stoytes, and Manleys as usual? I must have a letter from you, to fill the other side of this sheet. Let me know what you do? Is my aunt alive yet? O, pray, now I think of it, be so kind to step to my aunt, and take notice of my great grandfather's picture; you know he has a ring on his finger, with a seal of an anchor and dolphin about it; but I think there is besides, at the bottom of the picture, the same coat of arms quartered with another, which I suppose was my great grandmother's. If this be so, it is a stronger argument than the seal. And pray see whether you think that coat of arms was drawn at the same time with the picture, or whether it be of a later hand; and ask my aunt what she knows about it. But perhaps there is no such coat of arms on the picture, and I only dreamed it. My reason is, because I would ask some herald here, whether I should choose that coat, or one in Guillim's large folio of heraldry, where my uncle Godwin is named with another coat of arms of three stags. This is sad stuff to write; so night, MD.
25. I was this morning again with the secretary, and we were two hours busy; and then went together to the park, Hyde park, I mean, and he walked to cure his cold, and we were looking at two Arabian horses sent some time ago to lord treasurer. The duke of Marlborough's coach overtook us, with his grace and lord Godolphin in it; but they did not see us to our great satisfaction; for neither of us desired that either of those two lords should see us together. There was half a dozen ladies riding like cavallers to take the air. My head is better to day. I dined with the secretary; but we did no business after dinner, and at six I walked into the fields; the days are grown pure and long; then I went to visit Percival and his family, whom I had seen but once since they came to town. They are going to Bath next month. Countess Doll of Meath is such an owl, that where-ever I visit, people are asking me, whether I know such an Irish lady, and her figure and her foppery? I came home early, and have been amusing myself with looking into one of the volumes of Rymer's Records of the