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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Journal to Stella – Letter 2

LETTER II.


London, Sept, 9, Saturday 1710.


I GOT here last Thursday, after five days travelling, weary the first, almost dead the second, tolerable the third, and well enough the rest; and am now glad of the fatigue, which has served for exercise; and I am at present well enough. The whigs were ravished to see me, and would lay hold on me as a twig while they are drowning, and the great men making me their clumsy apologies, &c. But my lord treasurer[1] received me with a great deal of coldness, which has enraged me so, I am almost vowing revenge. I have not yet gone half my circle; but I find all my acquaintance just as I left them. I hear my lady Giffard[2] is much at court, and lady Wharton was ridiculing it the other day; so I have lost a friend there. I have not yet seen her, nor intend it; but I will contrive to see Stella's mother[3] some other way. I writ to the bishop of Clogher from Chester; and I now write to the archbishop of Dublin. Every thing is turning upside down; every whig in great office will, to a man, be infallibly put out; and we shall have such a winter as has not been seen in England. Every body asks me, how I came to be so long in Ireland, as naturally as if here were my being; but no soul offers to make it so: and I protest I shall return to Dublin, and the canal at Laracor[4], with more satisfaction than I ever did in my life. The Tatler[5] expects every day to be turned out of his employment; and the duke of Ormond, they say, will be lieutenant of Ireland. I hope you are now peaceably in Presto's[6] lodgings: but I resolve to turn you out by Christmas: in which time I shall either do my business, or find it not to be done. Pray be at Trim by the time this letter comes to you, and ride little Johnson, who must needs be now in good case. I have begun this letter unusually on the postnight, and have already written to the archbishop; and cannot lengthen this. Henceforth I will write something every day to MD, and make it a sort of journal: and when it is full, I will send it whether MD writes or not: and so that will be pretty: and I shall always be in conversation with MD, and MD with Presto. Pray make Parvisol[7] pay you the ten pounds immediately; so I ordered him. They tell me I am grown fatter, and look better; and, on Monday, Jervas is to retouch my picture. I thought I saw Jack Temple[8] and his wife pass by me to day in their coach; but I took no notice of them. I am glad I have wholly shaken off that family[9]. Tell the provost[10] I have obeyed his commands to the duke of Ormond; or let it alone, if you please. I saw Jemmy Leigh[11] just now at the coffeehouse, who asked after you with great kindness: he talks of going in a fortnight to Ireland. My service to the dean[12], and Mrs. Walls and her archdeacon. Will Frankland's wife is near bringing to bed, and I have promised to christen the child. I fancy you had my Chester letter the Tuesday after I writ. I presented Dr. Raymond to lord Wharton at Chester. Pray let me know when Joe gets his money[13]. It is near ten, and I hate to send by the bellman. MD shall have a longer letter in a week, but I send this only to tell I am safe in London; and so farewell, &c.


  1. The earl of Godolphin.
  2. Lady Giffard was sister to sir William Temple.
  3. She was at that time in lady Giffard's family.
  4. The Doctor's benefice in the diocese of Meath.
  5. Richard Steele, esq.
  6. In these letters Pdfr, tands for Dr. Swift; Ppt, for Stella; D. for Dingley; D.D. generally for Dingley, but sometimes for both Stella and Dingley; and MD generally stands for both these ladies; yet sometimes only for Stella. But, to avoid perplexing the reader, it was thought more advisable to use the word Presto for Swift, which is borrowed from the duchess of Shrewsbury, who, whimsically called him Dr. Presto, which is the Italian for Swift.
  7. The doctor's agent at Laracor.
  8. Nephew to sir William.
  9. This coldness between the Temple family and Dr. Swift has been variously accounted for, but never satisfactorily cleared up.
  10. Dr. Pratt, afterward dean of Downe.
  11. A gentleman of fortune in the county of Westmeath, in Ireland, whose name often occurs in these letters. He was well acquainted with Stella, and seems to have had a great esteem for her merit and accomplishments.
  12. Dr. Sterne, dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin.
  13. This money was a premium of a hundred pounds the government had promised him for his mathematical sleaing tables, calculated for the improvement of the linen manufactory, which were afterward printed, and are still highly regarded.