The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Mary Delany to Jonathan Swift - 5



GLOUCESTER, NOV. 20, 1734.

I AM truly concerned at your having been so much out of order: I most heartily wish you constant health and happiness, though that is of little use to you, and only serves to do honour to myself, by showing I know how to prize what is valuable.

I should have returned you thanks much sooner for the favour of your last letter; but when I received it I was preparing for my journey hither, and have ever since had so great a disorder in one of my eyes, that till this moment I have not been able to make my acknowledgments to you. I wonder you should be at a loss for a reason for my writing to you; we all love honour and pleasure: were your letters dull, do you imagine my vanity would not be fond of corresponding with the dean of St. Patrick's? But the last reason you give I like best, and will stick by, which is, that I am a more constant nymph than all your goddesses of much longer acquaintance; and farthermore I venture to promise you are in no danger of receiving a boutade, if that depends on my will. As for those fastingdays you talk of[1], they are, I confess, alluring baits, and I should certainly have been with you in three packets according to your commands, could I either fly or swim: but I am a heavy lump, destined for a few years to this earthly element, and cannot move about, without the concurrent assistance of several animals that are very expensive.

Now for business: As soon as I received your letter, I went to your brother Lansdown, and spoke to him about the duke of Chandos. He desired me to make his compliments to you, and to tell you he was very sorry he could be of no service to you in that affair; but he has had no manner of correspondence or even acquaintance with the duke these fifteen years. I have put it however into hands that will pursue it diligently, and I hope obtain for you what you desire; if they do not succeed, you must not call me negligent; for whatever lies in my power to serve you, is of too much consequence for me to neglect.

I have left my good friend, and your humble servant, Mrs. Donnellan, behind me in London, where she meets with little entertainment suitable to her understanding; and she is a much fitter companion for the Dublin Thursday Society, than for the trifling company she is now engaged in; and I wish you had her with you (since I cannot have her) because I know she would be happier than where she is, and my wish I think no bad one for you. Neither my eyes nor paper will hold out any longer. I am, sir, your most faithful humble servant,

I beg my compliments to all your friends.

  1. That is, dining upon two or three dishes at the deanery; which, in comparison of magnificent tables, the doctor used to call fasting.