The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to Mrs. Hill - 1


JULY, 1712.

I WAS commanded some days ago to do what I had long a mind to, but avoided because I would not offend your prudence, or strain your eyes. But my lord Masham assures me there is no danger of either; and that you have courage enough to read a letter, though it comes from a man, provided it be one of no consequence, which his lordship would insinuate to be my case; but, I hope, you will not affront me so highly as to understand it so. There is not a grain of news in this town, or five miles about it, worth sending you; and what we receive from Windsor is full as insignificant, except the accounts of the queen's health, and your housekeeping. We are assured that you keep a constant table, and that your guests leave you with full stomachs and full pockets; that Dr. Arbuthnot sometimes leaves his beloved green cloth, to come and receive your chidings, and pick up your money. We intend shortly to represent your case to my lord treasurer, as what deserves commiseration: but we hope the matter is already settled between his lordship and you, and that you are instructed to be thus magnificent, in order to carry on the cause. We reckon his lordship's life is now secure, since a combination of bandboxes and inkhorns, the engines of late times, were employed in vain to destroy him. He will do me the justice to tell you, that I never fail of toasting you under the name of the governess of Dunkirk, and that you have the honour to be very particularly in my good graces. My lady Masham still continues in a doubtful state of neither up nor down; and one of her servants told mine, "that they did not expect she would cry out this fortnight." I saw yesterday our brother Hill[1], who promises to be more thrifty of his health, and seems to have a pretty good stock of it. I hope you receive no visits from the headach and the spleen: and one who knows your constitution very well, advises you, by all means, against sitting in the dusk at your window, or on the ground, leaning on your band, or at seesaw in your chair.

I am,

Madam, &c.

  1. An elder brother of the general. He was placed in the customhouse by the duke of Marlborough, and got promotion there.