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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Henry St. John to Jonathan Swift - 15

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 12


LONDON, SEPT. 22, 1726.


A BOOKSELLER[1], who says he is in a few days going to Dublin, calls here, and offers to carry a letter to you. I cannot resist the temptation of writing to you, though I have nothing to say more by this conveyance, than I should have by that of the post; though I have lately clubbed with Pope to make up a most elegant epistle to you in prose and verse; and though I wrote the other day the first paragraph of that Chedder[2] letter which is preparing for you. The only excuse then, which I can plead for writing now, is, that the letter will cost you nothing. Have you heard of the accident which befel poor Pope in going lately from me? A bridge was down, the coach forced to go through the water, the bank steep, a hole on one side, a block of timber on the other, the night as dark as pitch. In short, he overturned, the fall was broke by the water; but the glasses were up, and he might have been drowned, if one of my men had not broke a glass, and pulled him out through the window. His right hand[3] was severely cut; but the surgeon thinks him in no danger of losing the use of his fingers: however, he has lately had very great pains in that arm from the shoulder downward, which might create a suspicion that some of the glass remains still in the flesh. St. André says, there is none. If so, these pains are owing to a cold he took in a fit of gallantry, which carried him across the water to see Mrs. Howard, who has been extremely ill, but is much better. Just as I am writing, I hear, that Dr. Arbuthnot says, that Mr. Pope's pains are rheumatick, and have no relation to his wound. He suffers very much; I will endeavour to see him to morrow. Let me hear from you as often as you can afford to write. I would say something to you of myself, if I had any good to say; but I am much in the same way in which you left me, eternally busy about trifles, disagreeable in themselves, but rendered supportable by their end; which is, to enable me to bury myself from the world (who cannot be more tired of me than I am of it) in an agreeable sepulchre. I hope to bring this about by next spring, and shall be glad to see you at my funeral. Adieu.


  1. George Faulkner.
  2. A Chedder letter, is a letter written by the contribution of several friends, each furnishing a paragraph. The name is borrowed from that of a large and excellent cheese made at Chedder in Somersetshire, where all the dairies contribute to make the cheese, which is thus made of new milk, or fresh cream; of which, one dairy not furnishing a sufficient quantity, the common practice is to make cheese of milk or cream that has been set by, till a proper quantity is procured, and then part of it at least is stale.
  3. Dr. Arbuthnot (p. 201) says he was hurt in the left hand. The doctor probably knew best.