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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Elizabeth Germain to Jonathan Swift - 9


LONDON, MAY 13, 1732.


I AM sorry my writing should inconvenience your eyes; but I fear, it is rather my style, than my ink, that is so hard to be read: however, if I do not forget myself, I will enlarge my hand to give you the less trouble. Their graces are at last arrived in perfect health, in spite of all their perils and dangers; though I must own, they were so long in their voyage, that they gave me an exceeding heart ach; and if that would be any hinderance, they shall never have my consent to go back to Ireland, but remain here, and be only king of Knowle[1] and Drayton; and I do not think it would be the worse for him, either in person or pocket. I dare say, he would not need a remembrancer's office for any thing you have spoke to him about; but however, I will not fail in the part you have set me.

I find you want a strict account of me, how I pass my time. But first, I thank you for the nine hours out of the twenty-four you bestowed on sleeping; one or two of them, I do willingly present you back again. As to quadrille, though I am, generally speaking, a constant attendant to it every day, yet I will most thankfully submit to your allowance of time; for, when complaisance draws me no farther, it is with great yawnings, and a vast expense of my breath, in asking, Who plays? Who's called? And What's trumps? and if you can recollect any thing of my former way of life, such as it was, so it is. I never loved to have my hands idle; they were either full of work, or had a book; but as neither sort was the best, or most useful, so you will find forty years and a wee bit have done no more good to my head, than it has to my face. Your old friend Biddy is much your humble servant, and could she get rid of her cough, her spleen would do her and her friend no harm; for she loves a sly sedate joke, as well as ever you knew her do.

The duke and duchess are just come in, who both present their service to you, and will take it as a favour, if you will bestow any of your time that you can spare upon lord George[2].

Adieu, for the duchess, the countess of Suffolk, Mr. Chardin, and I, are going to quadrille.


  1. Knowle, a fine old seat of the duke of Dorset's, near Seven Oaks, in Kent.
  2. Lord George Sackville was at this time a student in the university of Dublin.