The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay and Catherine Hyde to Jonathan Swift - 5

AMESBURY, JULY 24, 1732.

AS the circumstances of our money affairs are altered, I think myself obliged to acquaint you with them as soon as I can; which, if I had not received your letter last post, I should have done now. I left your two South Sea bonds, and four of my own, in Mr. Hoare's hands, when I came out of town, that he might receive the interest for us, when due; or, if you should want your money, that you might receive it upon your order. Since I came out of town, the South Sea company have come to a resolution to pay off 50 per cent of their bonds, with the interest of the 50 per cent to Michaelmas next. So that there is now half of our fortunes in Mr. Hoare's hands at present, without any interest going on. As you seem to be inclined to have your money remitted to Ireland, I will not lay out the sum that is paid into his hands in any other thing, till I have your orders. I cannot tell what to do with my own. I believe I shall see Mr. Hoare in this country very soon; for he has a house not above six miles from us, and I intend to advise with him; though, in the present situation of affairs, I expect to be left to take my own way. The remaining 50 per cent, were it to be sold at present, bears a premium; but the premium on the 50 that was paid is sunk. I do not know whether I write intelligibly upon the subject. I cannot send you the particulars of your account, though I know I am in debt to you for interest, beside your principal; and you will understand so much of what I intend to inform you, that half of your money is now in Mr. Hoare's hands, without any interest. So since I cannot send you the particulars of your account, I will now say no more about it.

I shall finish the work I intended, this summer; but I look upon the success in every respect to be precarious. You judge very right of my present situation, that I cannot propose to succeed by favour; and I do not think, if I could flatter myself that I had any degree of merit, much could be expected from that unfashionable pretension.

I have almost done every thing I proposed in the way of Fables; but have not set the last hand to them. Though they will not amount to half the number, I believe they will make much such another volume as the last. I find it the most difficult task I ever undertook; but have determined to go through with it; and, after this, I believe I shall never have courage enough to think any more in this way. Last post I had a letter from Mr. Pope, who informs me, he has heard from you; and that he is preparing some scattered things of yours and his for the press. I believe I shall not see him till the winter; for, by riding and walking, I am endeavouring to lay in a stock of health, to squander in the town. You see, in this respect, my scheme is very like the country gentlemen in regard to their revenues. As to my eating and drinking, I live as when you knew me; so that in that point we shall agree very well in living, together; and the duchess will answer for me, that I am cured of inattention; for I never forget any thing she says to me[1].

For he never hears what I say, so cannot forget. If I served him the same way, I should not care a farthing ever to be better acquainted with my Tunbridge acquaintance, whom, by my attention to him, I have learned to set my heart upon. I began to give over all hopes, and from thence began my neglect. I think this a very philosophical reason, though there might be another given. When fine ladies are in London, it is very genteel and allowable to forget their best friends; which, if I thought modestly of myself, must needs be you, because you know little of me. Till you do more, pray do not persuade Mr. Gay, that he is discreet enough to live alone; for I do assure you he is not, nor I either. We are of great use to one another; for we never flatter or contradict, but when it is absolutely necessary, and then we do it to some purpose; particularly the first agrees mightily with our constitutions. If ever we quarrel, it will be about a piece of bread and butter; for some body is never sick, except he eats too much of it. He will not quarrel with you for a glass or so; for by that means he hopes to gulp down some of that forty millions of schemes that hindered him from being good company. I would fain see you here, there is so fair a chance that one of us must be pleased; perhaps both, you with an old acquaintance, and I with a new one: it is so well worth taking a journey for, that if the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain. But before either of our journeys are settled, I desire you would resolve me one question — whether a man, who thinks himself well where he is, should look out for his house and servants before it is convenient, before he grows old, or before a person, with whom he lives, pulls him by the sleeve in private (according to oath) and tells him, they have enough of his company? He will not let me write one word more, but that I have a very great regard for you, &c.

The duke is very much yours, and will never leave you to your wine[2]. Many thanks for your drum —— I wish to receive your congratulations for the other boy, you may believe.

  1. The duchess here takes up the rest of the line.
  2. When the dean was with Mr. Pope at Twickenham, he used to desert them soon after supper, with, "Well, gentlemen, I leave you to your wine."