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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Frances Worsley - 1

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

APRIL 19, 1730.

MY lady Carteret (if you know such a lady) commands me to pursue my own inclination; which is, to honour myself with writing you a letter; and thereby endeavouring to preserve myself in your memory, in spite of an acquaintance of more years than, in regard to my own reputation as a young gentleman, I care to recollect. I forget whether I had not some reasons to be angry with your ladyship, when I was last in England. I hope to see you very soon the youngest great grandmother in Europe: and fifteen years hence (which I shall have nothing to do with) you will be at the amusement of "Rise up, daughter, &c." You are to answer this letter; and to inform me of your health and humour; and whether you like your daughter better or worse, after having so long conversed with the Irish world, and so little with me. Tell me what are your amusements at present; cards, court, books, visiting, or fondling (I humbly beg your ladyship's pardon, but it is between ourselves) your grandchildren? My lady Carteret has been the best queen we have known in Ireland these many years; yet is she mortally hated by all the young girls, because (and it is your fault) she is handsomer than all of them together. Pray, do not insult poor Ireland on this occasion; for it would have been exactly the same thing in London. And therefore I shall advise the king, when I go next to England, to send no more of her sort (if such another can be found) for fear of turning all his loyal female subjects here against him.

How is our old friend Mrs. Barton[2]? (I forget her new name.) I saw her three years ago, at court, almost dwindled to an echo, and hardly knew her; while your eyes dazzled me as much as when I first met them: which, considering myself, is a greater compliment than you are aware of. I wish you may have grace to find it.

My lady Carteret has made me a present, which I take to be malicious, with a design to stand in your place. Therefore I would have you to provide against it by another, and something of your own work, as hers is. For you know I always expect advances and presents from ladies. Neither was I ever deceived in this last article by any of your sex but the queen, whom I taxed three years ago with a present of ten pounds value. Upon taking my leave, she said, "She intended a medal for me, "but it was not finished." I afterward sent her, on her own commands, about five and thirty pounds worth of silk, for herself and the princesses; but never received the medal to this day. Therefore, I will trust your sex no more. You are to present my most humble service to my old friend sir Robert Worsley. I hope my friend Harry is well, and fattening in the sun, and continuing a bachelor, to enrich the poor Worsley family.

I command you to believe me to be, with the greatest truth and respect, &c.

  1. Frances, lady Worsley, only daughter of Thomas, lord viscount Weymouth, was the lady of sir Robert Worsley, bart., and mother to Frances, lady Carteret. She is frequently mentioned with great respect by Dr. Swift.
  2. This lady, the widow of colonel Barton, and niece to sir Isaac Newton, was a distinguished beauty, and is celebrated in three different poems in the 5th volume of Dryden's Miscellanies. In her widowhood, she was entertained by lord Halifax, who was very liberal to her at his death. She afterward married Mr. Conduitt, who succeeded to sir Isaac Newton's office in the mint; and by this latter match had a daughter, who was married to lord Lempster. The dean's friendship with this lady appears throughout the Journal to Stella; and is acknowledged by Mrs. Conduitt, in a letter printed in vol. XIII, dated Nov. 29, 1733.