The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Mary Delany to Jonathan Swift - 9


LONDON, APRIL 22, 1736.

I AM sorry you make use of so many good arguments for not coming to Bath. I was in hopes, you might be prevailed with. And though one of my strongest reasons for wishing you there, was the desire I had of seeing you, I assure you the consideration of your health took place of it. I have heard since I received the favour of your last letter, that you have been much out of order. I believe we sympathised, for I was very ill with a feverish disorder and cough for a month, which obliged me to defer answering your letter till I came to town. I left the Bath last Sunday sennight, very full and gay. I think Bath a more comfortable place to live in than London; all the entertainments of the place lie in a small compass, and you are at your liberty to partake of them, or let them alone, just as it suits your humour. This town is grown to such an enormous size, that above half the day must be spent in the streets, going from one place to another. I like it every year less and less. I was grieved at parting with Mrs. Barber. I left her pretty well. I had more pleasure in her conversation than from any thing I met with at the Bath. My sister has found the good effect of your kind wishes. She is very much recovered, and in town with me at present; but leaves me in a fortnight to go to my mother.

When I went out of town last autumn, the reigning madness was Farinelli[1]: I find it now turned on Pasquin, a dramatic satire on the times[2]. It has had almost as long a run as the Beggar's Opera; but, in my opinion, not with equal merit, though it has humour. Monstrous preparations are making for the royal wedding[3]. Pearl, gold and silver, embroidered on gold and silver tissues. I am too poor and too dull to make one among the fine multitude. The newspapers say, my lord Carteret's youngest daughter is to have the duke of Bedford[4]. I hear nothing of it from the family; but think it not unlikely. The duke of Marlborough and his grandmother are upon bad terms. The duke of Bedford, who has also been ill treated by her, has offered the duke of Marlborough to supply him with ten thousand pounds a year, if he will go to law and torment the old dowager. The duke of Chandos's marriage has made a great noise; and the poor duchess is often reproached with her being bred up in Burr street, Wapping[5].

Mrs. Donnellan, I am afraid, is so well treated in Ireland, that I must despair of seeing her here: and how or when I shall be able to come to her, I cannot yet determine. She is so good to me in her letters, as always to mention you.

I hope I shall hear from you soon: you owe me that pleasure, for the concern I was under when I heard you were ill. I am, sir, your faithful, and obliged humble servant,

I beg my compliments to all friends that remember me, but particularly to Dr. Delany.

  1. A celebrated Italian singer.
  2. This was written by Henry Fielding, esq., and was a rehearsal of a comedy and a tragedy; the comedy was called "The Election," and the tragedy, "The Life and Death of Queen Common Sense." This and some other dramatick satires, by the same author, levelled against the administration of the late lord Orford, produced an act of parliament for licensing the stage, and limiting the number of playhouses, which was passed in 1737.
  3. Of Frederick, prince of Wales.
  4. His grace married miss Gower, daughter of the lord Gower by his first wife, on the 1st of April, 1737.
  5. She was lady Daval, widow of sir Thomas Daval, and had a fortune of 40,000l.