The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Martha Whiteway to Jonathan Swift - 6

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DUBLIN, DEC. 2, 1735.

I WADED this morning through dirt and rain to the deanery; but I place no more to your account from High street. I found every thing in great order; your bed and window curtains cleaned, and, to my satisfaction, the great chairs covered; the dogs in high spirits, the woman in good humour, and Mr. Kenrick and Mrs. Ridgeway on duty. I am quite ashamed of my entertainment on Sunday. The Drapier's birthday was celebrated by Mr. Laud with a dinner of wild duck, plover, turkey, and pullet; two bowls of punch, and three bottles of claret. At night Mr. Kenrick gave a supper, with an ocean of punch. Their houses were illuminated, and the bells rung. Several other houses followed their example.

I am almost reconciled to your surgeon; the next letter, I hope, will finish our quarrel. When he has set you firmly on your legs, if making Gods were not out of fashion, I would translate him; however, he shall be my saint.

As you have been remarkable for never being severe on the ladies, I am surprised you should say that we forsake the men at forty. I deny the fact; while they sing our praises, we continue to hold them in admiration. For an example of this, I give the author of the Ladies' Dressingroom, and Strephon and Chloe, who, by writing these poems, gained the hearts of the whole sex.

I heartily pity you for want of meat; I wish I could send you a large shoulder of mutton, fresh killed; how pure and sweet it would eat! I have just left part of one in the parlour; the very thoughts of it make me hungry again: I think I will go down, and take the other slice[1]. I know it is not to any purpose to reproach you with avarice, for a poor pint of wine among three of you. Whatever you do at home, I am ashamed to find you show it Cavan; I suppose your excuse will be at the expense of the poor carman; but, if you had any generosity, you would live on the publick, as I do, till your rents came in. Dr. Sheridan says, "You gave private orders, and countermanded the wine, to spunge on him." I own, I think it looks like it, or you would not have let the man come to town without a car.

I see you are proof against storms within and without doors, or you would not think of staying in the country when the doctor leaves it. There is no occasion for you to convince the world that you want but one trial to outdo Socrates in every thing; let not this keep you, for I promise to provide one for three shillings and four pence that shall outshine Solomon's brawler.

Molly and young Harrison are grown so saucy at seeing their names so often in your letters, that I cannot govern them: pray be pleased to take them down a little. All that I can do to vex them, is not to send you their compliments. My son entreats you will finish your Latina Anglia treatise; which he desires you will immediately send him a copy of.

Doctor Sheridan's last letter is so long and full of particulars, that I cannot answer it till I see him. I am so proud of being discarded from being a cousin, that for the future I shall not own either esq. —— or Mr. —— for relations; nor ever dare to think you a favourite. But I hope you will allow me to term you my oracle, and to acknowlege myself, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant,

  1. Here Mrs. Whiteway is merry with the doctor, who could not endure mutton which had not been killed three or four days before: on the contrary, Mrs. Whiteway liked hers so fresh, that Dr. Swift used pleasantly to say of her, "That she liked mutton that was killed to morrow."