The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Mary Butler to Jonathan Swift - 4


SEPTEMBER 14, 1716.

I HAD the ill fortune to miss of that letter you upbraid me with. I had deserved any reproaches you could make me, if it had come to my hands, and I not made due acknowledgments for your inquiries after me. I will make you wish you had not been so angry with me; for I will scrawl out myself, what you would rather Betty or my maid had, for they would have made shorter work of it; but I will answer every part of yours, that you obliged me with by Mr. Ford.

First, as to the lady you mention, the reason I had not seen her in a great while was, my being in the country. To tell you the truth, I believe her husband has been a better courtier, than either she, or any of her sex could be; because men have it in their power to serve, and I believe hers has effectually done what lay in him.

You kindly ask how my affairs go. There is yet no end of them, and God only knows when there will be. For when every thing was thought done, a sudden blast has blown all hopes away, and then they give me fresh expectations. In the mean time I am forced to live upon the borrow; my goods all taken away; that I shall not so much as have a bed to lie upon, but what I must buy; and no money of my own to do that with; so that you may imagine me in a cheerful way. I pray God support me.

The gentleman you inquired after is very well now. The illness you heard he had, he has been subject to a good while. What you desire, I wish were in the power of either his brother or me; but all will go from both of us of every kind. Only they say, that the clothes upon my back I may perhaps call my own, and that's all. I was obliged to leave the country. I was so ill there, that if I had not come to the physicians, I cannot tell what might have happened. My daughter is your most humble servant, and is pretty well in health.

Am not I one of my word, and troubled you twice as long as you would have wished? But you will find by this, that a woman's pen should no more be set at work than her tongue; for she never knows when to let either of them rest. But my paper puts me in mind, that I have but just room to tell you, I wish much to see you here, if it could be with your satisfaction; and that I am, with great sincerity, sir, your faithful humble servant,