The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to Henrietta Howard - 10

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TWICKENHAM, AUG. 19, 1727.

ABOUT two hours before you were born I got my giddiness, by eating a hundred golden pippins at a time at Richmond; and when you were four years and a quarter old, bating two days, having made a fine seat about twenty miles farther in Surrey, where I used to read and ——, there I got my deafness; and these two friends have visited me, one or other, every year since, and being old acquaintance, have now thought fit to come together. So much for the calamities wherein I have the honour to resemble you; and you see your sufferings are but children in comparison of mine; and yet, to show my philosophy, I have been as cheerful as Scarron. You boast, that your disorders never made you peevish. Where is the virtue, when all the world was peevish on your account, and so took the office out of your hands? Whereas I bore the whole load myself, no body caring three pence what I suffered, or whether I were hanged or at ease. I tell you my philosophy is twelve times better than yours; for I can call witnesses that I bear half your pains, beside all my own, which are in themselves ten times greater. Thus have I most fully answered your queries. I wish the poison were in my stomach (which may be very probable, considering the many drugs I take), if I remember to have mentioned that word in my letter. But ladies who have poison in their eyes, may be apt to mistake in reading[1]. O! I have found it out; the word person I suppose was written like poison. Ask all the friends I write to, and they will attest this mistake to be but a trifle in my way of writing, and could easily prove it if they had any of my letters to show. I make nothing of mistaking Untoward for Howard; wellpull, for Walpole; knights of a share, for knights of a shire; monster, for minister; in writing speaker, I put an n for a p; and a hundred such blunders, which cannot be helped, while I have a hundred oceans rolling in my ears, into which no sense has been poured this fortnight; and therefore if I write nonsense, I can assure you it is genius, and not borrowed.

Thus I write by your commands, and beside, I am bound in duty to be the last writer. But, deaf or giddy, hearing or steady, I shall be ever, with the truest regard, madam, your most obedient and most humble servant,