The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay and Catherine Hyde to Jonathan Swift - 1


AMESBURY, NOV. 8, 1730.

SO you are determined never to write to me again; but, for all that, you shall not make me hold my tongue. You shall hear from me (the postoffice willing) whether you will or not. I see none of the folks you correspond with, so that I am forced to pick up intelligence concerning you as I can; which has been so very little, that I am resolved to make my complaints to you as a friend, who I know loves to relieve the distressed: and in the circumstances I am in, where should I apply, but to my best friend? Mr. Pope indeed, upon my frequent inquiries, has told me, that the letters which are directed to him concern me as much as himself: but what you say of yourself, or of me, or to me, I know nothing at all. Lord Carteret was here yesterday, in his return from the Isle of Wight, where he had been a shooting, and left seven pheasants with us. He went this morning to the Bath, to lady Carteret, who is perfectly recovered. He talked of you three hours last night, and told me that you talk of me: I mean, that you are prodigiously in his favour, as he says; and I believe that I am in yours; for I know you to be a just and equitable person, and it is but my due. He seemed to take to me, which may proceed from your recommendation; though, indeed, there is another reason for it, for he is now out of employment, and my friends have been generally of that sort: for, I take to them, as being naturally inclined to those who can do no mischief. Pray, do you come to England this year? He thinks you do. I wish you would; and so does the duchess of Queensberry. What would you have more to induce you? Your money cries, come spend me; and your friends cry, come see me. I have been treated barbarously by you. If you knew how often I talk of you, how often I think of you, you would now and then direct a letter to me, and I would allow Mr. Pope to have his share in it. In short, I do not care to keep any man's money, that serves me so. Love or money I must have; and if you will not let me have the comfort of the one, I think I must endeavour to get a little comfort by spending some of the other. I must beg that you will call at Amesbury, in your way to London; for I have many things to say to you; and I can assure you, you will be welcome to a three pronged fork. I remember your prescription, and I do ride upon the downs; and at present I have no asthma. I have killed five brace of partridges, and four brace and a half of quails: and I do not envy either sir Robert or Stephen Duck, who is the favourite poet of the court[1]. I hear sometimes from Pope, and from scarce any body else. Were I to live ever so long, I believe I should never think of London; but I cannot help thinking of you. Were you here, I could talk to you, but I would not; for you shall have all your share of talk[2], which was never allowed you at Twickenham. You know this was a grievance you often complained of; and so, in revenge, you make me write all, and answer nothing. I beg my compliments to Dr. Delany. I am, dear sir, yours most affectionately.

I ended the letter as above, to go to the duchess, and she told me, I might go down, and come a quarter of an hour hence. I had a design to have asked her to sign the invitation, that I have made you. As I do not know how much she may have to say to you, I think it will be prudent to leave off, that she may not be stinted for want of room. So much I will say, that whether she signs it, or not, both the duke and duchess would be very glad you would come to Amesbury; and you must be persuaded, that I say this without the least private view. For, what is it to me whether you come or not? For I can write to you, you know.


I would fain have you come. I cannot say you will be welcome; for I do not know you, and perhaps I shall not like you; but if I do not, (unless you are a very vain person) you shall know my thoughts as soon as I do myself.

  1. Stephen Duck was a poor thresher, who having written some verses, they were shown to the late queen, who made him her library-keeper at Richmond. He afterward took orders, and was preferred to a living, but growing melancholy, he at last drowned himself.
  2. Mr. Gay was reserved in his conversation.