The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Mary Delany to Jonathan Swift - 6


MAY 16, 1735.

YOU have never yet put it in my power to accuse you of want of civility; for since my acquaintance with you, you have always paid me more than I expected: but I may sometimes tax you with want of kindness; which, to tell you the truth, I did for a month at least. At last I was informed your not writing to me was occasioned by your ill state of health; that changed my discontent, but did not lessen it; and I have not yet quite determined it in my mind, whether I would have you sick or negligent of me: they are both great evils, and hard to choose out of: I heartily wish neither may happen. You call yourself by a great many ugly names, which I take ill; for I never could bear to hear a person I value abused. I, for that reason, must desire you to be more upon your guard when you speak of yourself again: I much easier forgive your calling me knave and fool. I am infinitely obliged to you for the concern you express for the weakness of my eyes: they are now very well. I have had a much greater affliction on my spirits, which prevented my writing sooner to you. My sister (the only one I have, and an extraordinary darling) has been extremely indisposed this whole winter. I have had all the anxiety imaginable on her account; but she is now in a better way, and I hope past all danger. I would rather tell you somewhat that is pleasant; but how can I? I am just going to lose Mrs. Donnellan, and that is enough to damp the liveliest imagination: it is not easy to express what one feels on such an occasion: the loss of an agreeable, sensible, useful companion, gives a pain at the heart not to be described. You happy Hibernians that are to reap the benefit of my distress, will hardly think of any thing but your own joy, and not afford me one grain of pity. Thus things are carried in this world, the rich forget the poor. I am sorry the sociable Thursdays, that used to bring together so many agreeable friends at Dr. Delany's, are broke up: though Delville has its beauties, it is more out of the way than Stafford street. I believe you have had a quiet winter in Dublin; not so has it been with us in London. Hurry, wrangling, extravagance, and matrimony, have reigned with great impetuosity. The newspapers I suppose have mentioned the number of great fortunes that are going to be married. Our operas have given much cause of dissension. Men and women have been deeply engaged; and no debate in the house of commons has been urged with more warmth: the dispute of the merits of the composers and singers is carried to so great a height, that it is much feared, by all true lovers of musick, that operas will be quite overturned. I own, I think, we make a very silly figure about it. I am obliged to you for the two Latin lines in your last letter: it gave me a fair pretence of showing the letter to have them explained; and I have gained no small honour by that. I hope, sir, though you threaten me with not writing, that you will change your mind: the season of the year will give you spirits, and I shall be glad to share the good effects of them. I am, sir, your most obliged humble servant,

When you see Mrs. Donnellan, she will entertain you with a second edition of Fauset, too tedious for a letter. I have made a thousand blunders, which I am ashamed of.