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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Mary Butler to Jonathan Swift - 2


APRIL 24, 1714.

I SHOULD sooner have thanked you for your letter, but that I hoped to have seen you here by this time. You cannot imagine how much I am grieved, when I find people I wish well to, run counter to their own interest, and give their enemies such advantages, by being so hard upon their friends as to conclude, if they are not without fault, they are not to be supported, or scarce conversed with. Fortune is a very pretty gentlewoman; but how soon she may be changed, nobody can tell. Fretting her, with the seeing all she does for people only makes them despise her, may make her so sick as to alter her complexion; but I hope our friends will find her constant, in spite of all they do to shock her; and remember the story of the arrows[2], that were very easily broke singly; but when tied up close together, no strength of man could hurt them. But that you may never feel any ill consequences from whatever may happen, are the sincere wishes of, brother, yours, with all sisterly affection.

  1. The duke of Ormond was one of the sixteen brothers; the duchess therefore, calls Swift brother in her lord's right.
  2. In this letter the duchess alludes to the division then subsisting among the ministers at court; and it is probable, that the hint about the story of the arrows produced the poem called "The Faggot," which the dean wrote about this time. It is said, under the title, to have been written in the year 1713, when the queen's ministers were quarrelling among themselves. See vol. VII, p. 95.