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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Journal to Stella – Letter 11

LETTER XI.


London, Dec. 9, 1710.


SO, young women, I have just sent my tenth to the postoffice, and, as I told you, have received your seventh (faith I am afraid I mistook, and said your sixth, and then we shall be all in confusion this month.) Well, I told you I dined with lord Abercorn to day, and that is enough till by and by; for I must go write idle things; and twittle twattle. What is here to do with your little MDs? and so I put this by for a while. It is now late, and I can only say MD is a dear saucy rogue, and what then Presto loves them the better.

10. This son of a b—— Patrick is out of the way, and I can do nothing; am forced to borrow coals: it is now six o'clock, and I am come home after a pure walk in the Park; delicate weather, begun only to day. A terrible storm last night: we hear one of your packet boats is cast away, and young beau Swift in it, and general Sankey: I know not the truth; you will before me. Raymond talks of leaving the town in a few days, and going in a month to Ireland, for fear his wife should be too far gone, and forced to be brought to bed here. I think he is in the right: but perhaps this packet boat will fright him. He has no relish for London; and I do not wonder at it. He has got some templars from Ireland that show him the town. I do not let him see me above twice a week, and that only while I am dressing in the morning. So now the puppy's come in, and I have got my own ink, but a new pen; and so now you are rogues and sauceboxes till I go to bed; for I must go study, sirrahs. Now I think of it, tell the bishop of Clogher he shall not cheat me of one inch of my bell metal. You know it is nothing but to save the town money; and Enniskilling can afford it better than Laracor: he shall have but one thousand five hundred weight. I have been reading, &c. as usual, and am now going to bed; and I find this day's article is long enough; so get you gone till to morrow and then. I dined with sir Matthew Dudley.

11. I am come again as yesterday, and the puppy had again locked up my ink, notwithstanding all I said to him yesterday; but he came home a little after me, so all is well: they are lighting my fire, and I will go study. The fair weather is gone again and it has rained all day. I do not like this open weather, though some say it is healthy. They say it is a false report about the plague at Newcastle. I have no news to day: I dined with Mrs Vanhomrigh, to desire them to buy me a scarf; and lady Abercorn is to buy me another, to see who does best: mine is all in rags. I saw the duke of Richmond yesterday at court again; but would not speak to him: I believe we are fallen out. I am now in bed; and it has rained all this evening, like wildfire. Have you so much rain in your town? Raymond was in a fright, as I expected, upon the news of this shipwreck; but I persuaded him, and he leaves this town in a week. I got him acquainted with sir Robert Raymond, the solicitor general, who owns him to be of his family; and I believe it may do him a kindness, by being recommended to your new lord Chancellor. I had a letter from Mrs. Long, that has quite turned my stomach against her: no less than two nasty jests in it with dashes to suppose them. She is corrupted in that country town[1] with vile conversation. I will not answer your letter till I have leisure: so let this go on as it will, what care I? what cares saucy Presto?

12. I was to day at the secretary's office with Lewis, and in came lord Rivers, who took Lewis out and whispered him; and then came up to me to desire my acquaintance, &c. so we bowed and complimented a while, and parted; and I dined with Phil. Savage[2], and his Irish club, at their boarding place; and, passing an evening scurvily enough, did not come home till eight. Mr. Addison and I hardly meet once a fortnight: his parliament[3] and my different friendships keep us asunder. Sir Matthew Dudley turned away his butler yesterday morning, and at night the poor fellow died suddenly in the streets: Was not it an odd event? But what care you; but then I knew the butler. Why, it seems your packet boat is not lost: pshah, how silly that is, when I had already gone through the forms, and said it was a sad thing, and that I was sorry for it. But when must I answer this letter of our MD's? Here it is, lies between this paper on the other side the leaf: one of these odd come shortlies I will consider, so good night.

13. Morning. I am to go trapesing with lady Kerry and Mrs. Pratt to see sights all this day: they engaged me yesterday morning at tea. You hear the havock making in the army: Meredyth, Macartney, and colonel Honeywood, are obliged to sell their commands at half value, and leave the army, for drinking destruction to the present ministry, and dressing up a hat on a stick, and calling it Harley; then drinking a glass with one hand, and discharging a pistol with the other at the maukin, wishing it were Harley himself; and a hundred other such pretty tricks, as inflaming their soldiers, and foreign ministers, against the late changes at court. Cadogan[4] has had a little paring: his mother told me yesterday he had lost the place of envoy: but I hope they will go no farther with him, for he was not at those mutinous meetings. Well, these saucy jades take up so much of my time, with writing to them in a morning; but faith I am glad to see you whenever I can: a little snap and away; so hold your tongue, for I must rise: not a word for your life. How nowww? so very well; stay till I come home, and then, perhaps, you may hear farther from me. And where will you go to day, for I cannot be with you for these ladies? It is a rainy ugly day. I would have you send for Walls, and go to the dean's; but do not play small games when you lose. You will be ruined by Manilio, Basto, the queen, and two small trumps in red. I confess it is a good hand against the player; but then there are Spadilio, Punto, the king, strong trumps against you, which, with one trump more, are three tricks ten ace: for, suppose you play your Manilio O, silly, how I prate and cannot get away from this MD in a morning. Go, get you gone, dear naughty girls, and let me rise. There, Patrick locked up my ink again the third time last night: the rogue gets the better of me; but I will rise in spite of you, sirrahs. At night. Lady Kerry, Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. Cadogan, and I, in one coach; Lady Kerry's son and his governor, and two gentlemen, in another; maids and misses, and little master (lord Shelburn's children) in a third, all hackneys, set out at ten o'clock this morning from lord Shelburn's house in Piccadilly to the Tower, and saw all the sights, lions, &c. then to Bedlam; then dined at the chophouse behind the Exchange; then to Gresham College (but the keeper was not at home) and concluded the night at the puppetshow, whence we came home safe at night, and I left them. The ladies were all in mobs; how do you call it? undressed; and it was the rainiest day that ever dripped; and I am weary, and it is now past eleven.

14. Stay, I will answer some of your letter this morning in bed: let me see; come and appear, little letter. Here I am, says he, and what say you to Mrs. MD this morning fresh and fasting? who dares think MD negligent? I allow them a fortnight, and they give it me. I could fill a letter in a week; but it is longer every day, and so I keep it a fortnight, and then it is cheaper by one half. I have never been giddy, dear Stella, since that morning: I have taken a whole box of pills, and kecked at them every night, and drank a pint of brandy at mornings. O then, you kept Presto's little birthday: would to God I had been with you. I forgot it, as I told you before. Rediculous, madam; I suppose you mean ridiculous: let me have no more of that; it is the author of the Atlantis's spelling. I have mended it in your letter. And can Stella read this writing without hurting her dear eyes? O, faith, I am afraid not. Have a care of those eyes, pray, pray, pretty Stella. It is well enough what you observe. That if I writ better, perhaps you would not read so well, being used to this manner; it is an alphabet you are used to: you know such a pothook makes a letter; and you know what letter, and so and so. I will swear he told me so, and that they were long letters too; but I told him it was a gasconade of yours, &c. I am talking of the bishop of Clogher, how he forgot. Turn over[5]. I had not room on the other side to say that, so I did it on this: I fancy that is a good Irish blunder. Ah, why do not you go down to Clogher nautinautinautidear girls; I dare not say nauti without dear: O, faith, you govern me. But, seriously, I am sorry you do not go, as far as I can judge at this distance. No, we would get you another horse; I will make Parvisol get you one. I always doubted that horse of yours: prithee sell him, and let it be a present to me. My heart aches when I think you ride him. Order Parvisol to sell him, and that you are to return me the money: I shall never be easy until he is out of your hands. Faith, I have dreamed five or six times of horses stumbling since I had your letter. If he cannot sell him, let him run this winter. Faith, if I was near you, I would whip your to some tune, for your grave saucy answer about the dean and Jonsonibus; I would, young women. And did the dean preach for me? very well. Why, would they have me stand here and preach to them? No, the Tatler of the Shilling was not mine, more than the hint, and two or three general heads for it. I have much more important business on my hands: and, besides, the ministry hate to think that I should help him, and have made reproaches on it; and I frankly told them, I would do it no more. This is a secret though, madam Stella. You win eight shillings; you win eight fiddlesticks. Faith, you say nothing of what you lose, young women. I hope Manley is in no great danger; for Ned Southwell is his friend, and so is sir Thomas Frankland; and his brother John Manley stands up heartily for him. On the other side, all the gentlemen of Ireland here are furiously against him. Now, mistress Dingley, are not you an impudent slut to expect a letter next packet from Presto, when you confess yourself, that you had so lately two letters in four days? unreasonable baggage! no, little Dingley, I am always in bed by twelve; I mean my candle's out by twelve, and I take great care of myself. Pray let every body know, upon occasion, that Mr. Harley got the first-fruits from the queen for the clergy of Ireland, and that nothing remains but the forms, &c. So you say the dean and you dined at Stoyte's, and Mrs. Stoyte was in raptures that I remembered her. I must do it but seldom, or it will take off her rapture. But, what now, you saucy sluts, all this written in a morning, and I must rise and go abroad. Pray stay till night: do not think I will squander mornings upon you, pray good madam. Faith, if I go on longer in this trick of writing in the mornings I shall be afraid of leaving it off, and think you expect it, and be in awe. Good morrow, sirrahs, I will rise. At night. I went to day to the court of requests (I will not answer the rest of your letter yet, that by the way) in hopes to dine with Mr. Harley: but lord Dupplin, his son-in-law, told me he did not dine at home; so I was at a loss, until I met with Mr. secretary St. John, and went home and dined with him, where he told me of a good bite. Lord Rivers told me two days ago, that he was resolved to come Sunday fortnight next to hear me preach before the queen. I assured him the day was not yet fixed, and I knew nothing of it. To day the secretary told me, that his father, (sir Harry St. John,) and lord Rivers, were to be at St. James's church, to hear me preach there; and were assured I was to preach: so there will be another bite; for I know nothing of the matter, but that Mr. Harley and St. John are resolved I must preach before the queen, and the secretary of state has told me he will give me three weeks warning; but I desired to be excused, which he will not. St. John, "you shall not be excused:" however, I hope they will forget it; for if it should happen, all the puppies hereabouts will throng to hear me, and expect something wonderful, and be plaguily balked; for I shall preach plain honest stuff[6]. I staid with St. John till eight, and then came home, and Patrick desired leave to go abroad, and by and by comes up the girl to tell me, a gentleman was below in a coach who had a bill to pay me; so I let him come up, and who should it be but Mr. Addison and Sam Dopping, to haul me out to supper, where I have staid till twelve. If Patrick had been at home I should have escaped this; for I have taught him to deny me almost as well as Mr. Harley's porter. Where did I leave off in MD's letter: let me see. So, now I have it. You are pleased to say, madam Dingley, that those that go for England, can never tell when to come back. Do you mean this as a reflection upon Presto, madam? sauceboxes, I will come back as soon as I can, this is his common phrase and I hope with some advantage, unless all ministries be alike, as perhaps they may. I hope Hawkshaw is in Dublin before now, and that you have your things, and like your spectacles: if you do not, you shall have better. I hope Dingley's tobacco did not spoil Stella's chocolate, and that all is safe: pray let me know. Mr. Addison and I are different as black and white, and I believe our friendship will go off, by this damned business of party: he cannot bear seeing me fall in so with this ministry; but I love him still as well as ever, though we seldom meet. Hussy, Stella, you jest about poor Congreve's eyes; you do so, hussy; but I will bang your bones, faith. Yes, Steele was a little while in prison, or at least in a spunginghouse, some time before I came, but not since. Pox on your convocation, and your Lamberts[7]; they write with a vengeance! I suppose you think it a piece of affectation in me to wish your Irish folks would not like my Shower; but you are mistaken. I should be glad to have the general applause there as I have here (though I say it) but I have only that of one or two, and therefore I would have none at all, but let you all be in the wrong. I do not know, that is not what I would say; but I am so tosticated with supper and stuff that I cannot express myself What you say of Sid Hamet is well enough; that an enemy should like it, and a friend not; and that telling the author would make both change their opinions. Why did not you tell Griffyth that you fancied there was something in it of my manner; but first spur up his commendation to the height, as we served my poor uncle about the sconce that I mended. Well, I desired you to give what I intended for an answer to Mrs. Fenton, to save her postage, and myself trouble; and I hope I have done it if you have not.

15. Lord, what a long day's writing was yesterday's answer to your letter, sirrahs? I dined to day with Lewis and Ford, whom I have brought acquainted. Lewis told me a pure thing. I had been hankering with Mr. Harley to save Steele his other employment, and have a little mercy on him, and I had been saying the same thing to Lewis, who is Mr. Harley's chief favourite. Lewis tells Mr. Harley how kindly I should take it, if he would be reconciled to Steele, &c. Mr. Harley, on my account, falls in with it, and appoints Steele a time to let him attend him;, which Steele accepts with great submission, but never comes, nor sends any excuse. Whether it was blundering, sullenness, insolence, or rancour of party, I cannot tell; but I shall trouble myself no more about him. I believe Addison hindered him out of mere spite, being grated to the soul to think he should ever want my help to save his friend; yet now he is soliciting me to make another of his friends queen's secretary at Geneva; and I will do it if I can, it is poor Pastoral Philips.

16. O, why did you leave my picture behind you at the other lodgings; forgot it? well; but pray remember it now, and do not roll it up, do you hear, but hang it carefully in some part of your room, where chairs and candles, and mopsticks will not spoil it, sirrahs. No truly, I will not be godfather to goody Walls this bout, and I hope she will have no more. There will be no quiet, nor cards, for this child. I hope it will die the day after the christening. Mr. Harley gave me a paper, with an account of the sentence you speak of against the lads that defaced the statue[8], and that Ingoldsby reprieved that part of it standing before the statue. I hope it was never executed. We have got your Broderick out; Doyne is to succeed him, and Cox Doyne. And so there is an end of your letter; it is all answered, and now I must go on upon my own stock; go on, did I say? why I have written enough; but this is too soon to send it yet, young women; faith I dare not use you to it, you will always expect it; what remains shall be only short journals of a day, and so I will rise; for this morning. At night. I dined with my opposite neighbour, Darteneuf, and I was soliciting this day, to present the bishop of Clogher[9] vice chancellor[10]; but it will not do; they are all set against him, and the duke of Ormond, they say, has resolved to dispose of it somewhere else. Well; little saucy rogues, do not stay out too late to night, because it is Saturday night, and young women should come home soon then.

17. I went to court to seek a dinner, but the queen was not at church, she has got a touch of the gout; so the court was thin, and I went to the coffeehouse; and sir Thomas Frankland, and his eldest son and I went and dined with his son William. I talked a great deal to sir Thomas about Manley, and find he is his good friend, and so has Ned Southwell been, and I hope he will be safe though all the Irish folks here are his mortal enemies. There was a devilish bite to day. They had it, I know not how, that I was to preach this morning at St. James's church, and abundance went, among the rest lord Radnor, who never is abroad till three in the afternoon. I walked all the way home from Hatton Garden at six, by moonlight, a delicate night. Raymond called at nine, but I was denied, and now I am in bed between eleven and twelve, just going to sleep, and dream of my own dear roguish impudent pretty MD.

18. You will now have short days works, just a few lines to tell you where I am, and what I am doing; only I will keep room for the last day to tell you news, if there be any worth sending. I have been sometimes like to do it at the top of my letter, until I remark it would be old before it reached you. I was hunting to dine with Mr. Harley to day, but could not find him; and so I dined with honest Dr. Cockburn, and came home at six, and was taken out to next door by Dopping and Ford, to drink bad claret and oranges, and we let Raymond come to us, who talks of leaving the town to morrow, but I believe will stay a day or two longer. It is now late, and I will say no more, but end this line with bidding my own dear saucy MD good night, &c.

19. I am come down proud stomach in one instance, for I went to day to see the duke of Buckingham; but came too late; then I visited Mrs. Barton, and thought to have dined with some of the ministry; but it rained, and Mrs. Vanhomrigh was nigh, and I took the opportunity of paying her for a scarf she bought me, and dined there; at four I went to congratulate with lord Shelburn, for the death of poor lady Shelburn dowager; he was at his country house; and returned while I was there, and had not heard of it, and he took it very well. I am now come home before six, and find a packet from the bishop of Clogher, with one enclosed to the duke of Ormond, which is ten days earlier dated than another I had from Parvisol; however, it is no matter, for the duke has already disposed of the vice chancellorship to the archbishop of Tuam[11], and I could not help it, for it is a thing wholly you know in the duke's power; and I find the bishop has enemies about the duke. I writ this while Patrick is folding up my scarf, and doing up the fire (for I keep a fire, it costs me twelve pence a week) and so be quiet till I am gone to bed, and then sit down by me a little, and we will talk a few words more. Well; now MD is at my bedside; and now what shall we say? How does Mrs. Stoyte? What had the dean for supper? How much did Mrs. Walls win? poor lady Shelburn: well, go get you to bed, sirrahs.

20. Morning. I was up this morning early, and shaved by candlelight, and write this by the fireside. Poor Raymond just came in and took his leave of me; he is summoned by high order from his wife, but pretends he has had enough of London. I was a little melancholy to part with him; he goes to Bristol, where they are to be with his merchant brother, and now thinks of staying till May; so she must be brought to bed in England. He was so easy and manageable, that I almost repent I suffered him to see me so seldom. But he is gone, and will save Patrick some lies in a week: Patrick is grown admirable at it, and will make his fortune. How now, sirrah, must I write in a morning to your impudence?

Stay till night,
And then I'll write
In black and white,
By candlelight
Of wax so bright,
It helps the sight,
A bite a bite!
Marry come up, Mrs. Boldface.

At night. Dr. Raymond came back, and goes to morrow. I did not come home till eleven, and found him here to take leave of me. I went to the Court of Requests, thinking to find Mr. Harley and dine with him, and refuse Henley, and every body, and at last knew not where to go, and met Jemmy Leigh by chance, and was just in the same way, so I dined at his lodging on a beefsteak, and drank your health, then left him and went to the tavern with Ben Tooke and Portlack, the duke of Ormond's secretary, drinking nasty white wine till eleven. I am sick and ashamed of it, &c.

21. I met that beast Ferris, lord Berkeley's steward formerly; I walked with him a turn in the Park, and that scoundrel dog is as happy as an emperor, has married a wife with a considerable estate in land and houses about this town, and lives at his ease at Hammersmith. See your confounded sect. Well; I had the same luck to day with Mr. Harley; it was a lovely day, and went by water into the city, and dined with Stratford at a merchant's house, and walked home with as great a dunce as Ferris, I mean colonel Caufield, and came home by eight, and now am in bed, and going to sleep for a wager, and will send this letter on Saturday, and so; but first; I will wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and pray God we may never keep them asunder again.

22. Morning. I am going now to Mr. Harley's levee on purpose to vex him; I will say I had no other way of seeing him, &c. Patrick says, it is a dark morning, and that the duke of Argyle is to be knighted to day, the booby means installed at Windsor. But I must rise, for this is a shaving day, and Patrick says, there is a good fire; I wish MD were by it, or I by MD's. At night. I forgot to tell you, madam Dingley, that I paid nine shillings for your glass and spectacles, of which three were for the bishop's case; I am sorry I did not buy you such another case, but if you like it, I will bring one over with me, pray tell me: the glass to read was four shillings, the spectacles two. And have you had your chocolate? Leigh says, he sent the petticoat by one Mr. Spencer. Pray have you no farther commissions for me? I paid the glassman but last night, and he would have made me a present of the microscope worth thirty shillings, and would have sent it home with me; I thought the deuce was in the man: he said I could do him more service than that was worth, &c. I refused his present, but promised him all service I could do him; and so now I am obliged in honour to recommend him to every body. At night. I went to Mr. Harley's levee; he came and asked me, what had I to do there, and bid me come and dine with him on a family dinner; which I did, and it was the first time I ever saw his lady and daughter; at five my lord keeper came in: I told Mr. Harley, he had formerly presented me to sir Simon Harcourt, but now must to my lord keeper, so he laughed, &c.

23. Morning. This letter goes to night without fail; I hope there is none from you yet at the coffeehouse; I will send and see by and by; and let you know, and so, and so. Patrick goes to see for a letter: what will you lay, is there one from MD or no; No, I say; done for sixpence. Why has the dean never once written to me? I won sixpence; I won sixpence; there is not one letter to Presto. Good morrow, dear sirrahs: Stratford and I dine to day with lord Mountjoy. God Almighty preserve and bless you; farewell, &c.

I have been dining at lord Mountjoy's; and am come to study; our news from Spain this post takes off some of our fears. The parliament is prorogued to day, or adjourned rather till after the holidays. Bank stock is 105, so I may get 12l. for my bargain already. Patrick the puppy is abroad, and how shall I send this letter? Good night little dears both, and be happy, and remember your poor Presto, that wants you sadly, as hope saved. Let me go study, naughty girls, and do not keep me at the bottom of the paper. O faith, if you knew what lies on my hands constantly, you would wonder to see how I could write such long letters; but we will talk of that some other time[12]. Good night again, and God bless dear MD with his best blessing, yes, yes, and Dingley and Stella and me too, &c.

Ask the bishop of Clogher about the pun I sent him of lord Stawell's brother; it will be a pure bite. This letter has 199 lines in it, beside all postscripts; I had a curiosity to reckon.

There is a long letter for you.

It is longer than a sermon, faith.

I had another letter from Mrs. Fenton, who says you were with her. I hope you did not go on purpose. I will answer her letter soon; it is about some money in lady Giffard's hands.

They say you have had eight packets due to you; so pray, madams, do not blame Presto, but the wind.

My humble service to Mrs. Walls and Mrs. Stoyte; I missed the former a good while.


  1. Lynn Regis.
  2. Chancellor of the exchequer in Ireland.
  3. i. e. His attendance in parliament.
  4. William Cadogan, esq., was quarter master general in 1701; colonel of a regiment of horse in 1703; brigadier general in 1704; plenipotentiary to the Spanish Netherlands and major general in 1706; lieutenant general in 1709; on the accession of king George master of the robes, and colonel of the second regiment of horseguards; knight of the Thistle in 1715; governor of the isle of Wight, and plenipotentiary to Holland in 1716; created lord Cadogan, June 21, that year; baron Oakley, viscount Caversham, and earl Cadogan, April 17, 1718. On the death of the duke of Marlborough in 1722, he was master general of the ordnance, and colonel of the first regiment of foot guards. He died July 17, 1726. No officer was ever so much relied on by the duke of Marlborough as general Cadogan. He had the care of marking out almost every camp during the war in the Netherlands and Germany; which he executed so skilfully, that, it was observed, the duke was never surprised or attacked in his camp during the whole war.
  5. He seems to have written these words in a whim, for the sake of what follows.
  6. The ministry never could prevail upon the doctor to preach before the queen.
  7. Dr. Lambert was chaplain to lord Wharton. He was censured in the lower house of convocation of Ireland as author of a libelling letter.
  8. An equestrian statue of king William III, in College Green, Dublin. It was common in the days of party, for wild young students of the university of Dublin to play several tricks with this statue. Sometimes in their frolicks they would set a mawkin behind the effigies of the king; sometimes dress up the horse and rider with bows and sheaves of straw; but their infernal sin was that of whipping the truncheon out of the rider's hand, and thereby leaving the poor statue defenceless. For these and the like freaks, many young gentlemen were in former days expelled the university. But, in aftertimes, there was ample amends made to the statue for these affronts; if wheeling round its pedestal with all gravity and solemnity, then alighting from coaches, falling down upon the knees, and drinking to the glorious and immortal memory of the dead, with eyes lifted up to the statue, could express the gratitude and devotion of its adorers. It is said, that what originally gave the students offence, was the site of the statue; the front of it being directed to the city, and the back diametrically opposite to the great and beautiful entrance of the college.
  9. Dr. St. George Ashe.
  10. Of the university of Dublin.
  11. Dr. John Vesey, bishop of Limerick, June 11, 1672; translated to Tuam, March 18, 1678. He died in 1716.
  12. Writing the Examiner.