The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Catherine Hyde to Jonathan Swift - 4


AMESBURY, NOV. 3, 1733.

I WAS mightily pleased to receive a letter from you last post; yet I am so ungrateful, I will not thank you for it, and it may be you do not deserve. The cruellest revenge that one can possibly inflict (without hurting one's self) is, that of being doubly diligent to those who neglect one, in order to shock them into better behaviour. As I have tried this trick myself, and that strong appearances are against me, I must defend myself, and then you will own I do not quite deserve chastisement.

The post before I left this place, I received a letter from you, which I designed to have answered before I left London and England; but was hindered from both, for some time, by an express, which hurried us down to Winchester school, to take care of our little boy there, who was violently ill of a fever. From that time, till I came to Spa, we were never at home; and as soon as I began the waters, writing could not be done with my bad head. Since I left that place, and grew well, I have been still upon the ramble. After all, these are not very substantial good reasons; but, upon my word, I did design it; in order to which, two days ago I washed the mould out of my inkhorn, put fresh ink into it, and promised myself to write to you this very post; pleasing myself with the fancy, that this would reach you, and convince you, that I had you still in great regard, before you could or would think it worth your while to put me in mind of you. I could not fail to gain credit, if you could conceive the great satisfaction your letters give me. I have seldom met with any half so conversable. I do not only pity, but grieve at, those complaints you mention; they are a cruel incumbrance to you. Why cannot you transfer them to a thousand inanimate creatures, who have nothing in their heads? I was, and am really sorry, that you could not go with us to the Spa. I am confident it must have done you good. I cannot describe the vast difference I felt after drinking the waters a week, and am still much better than I ever expected; though not quite free of the complaints in my head, they are greatly lessened.

I have three or four letters to write this very night, so have not time to think of answering your letters. This is only a volunteer, after which, I may with greater assurance desire you to believe, that I am, with constancy, regard, and respect, yours, &c.