The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Jonathan Swift to Martha Whiteway - 13
TO MRS. WHITEWAY.
WE were undone for want of your answer, and thought that Mr. Rochfort was at his country seat, to whom I directed mine, as he was a franker. Never any thing of so small a kind was so vexatious to me as this broken shin. If I had apprehended the consequences, I would not have stirred from Dublin until it was cured. It has prevented my walking and riding. An apothecary, the only doctor here, has it in care, and I cannot say I am better. But the surgeon of the barrack here, a friend to the doctor, has been with me this morning, saw the sore, and says it is in a good way; and that he will consult with the apothecary, and soon make me well. It smarts more to day than ever; but the surgeon said it was because some powder called precipitate (an like you) was put on this morning, to eat off the black skin in the middle of the sore. It digests every day, but I cannot digest it. I shall lose my health by sitting still, and my leg in a chair, like a Grattan in the gout. I wish I had staid at home, and you had been my surgeon. To say truth, this town and country are so disagreeable by nature and art, that I have no other temptation to ride or walk except that of health; our house, and shoes, and streets, are so perpetually and abominably dirty. Eight of the inhabitants came out to meet me a mile or two from town. The rest would have come but for some unexpected impediment. In some days after, I invited the principal men in town to sup with me at the best inn here. There were sixteen of them, and I came off rarely for about thirty shillings. They were all very modest and obliging. Wild fowl is cheap, and all very good, except the ducks, which, though far from sea, have a rank taste from the lakes. It is nothing to have a present of a dozen snipes, teal, woodcock, widgeon, duck, and mallard, &c. You would admire to see me at my endeavours to supply deanery conveniencies. The cursed turf is two hours kindling, and two minutes decaying. You are a little too jocose upon Mr. Harrison's countenance. I hope he has no return of illness, nor is more lean than I left him. He must borrow an hour more from his studies, and bestow it on exercise and mirth; otherwise he may be like the miser, who, by not affording himself victuals, died a dozen years the sooner, by which he lost many thousand pounds more than if he had fed upon pheasants, and drank burgundy every day. I must now repeat the commission I mentioned. The old woman, Kenrick, and Laud, must find out Shele the wine merchant: a carrier will go next week to the deanery, be taught to find out Shele with Kenrick. Shele must, as he promised, pack up 12 dozen of his claret which has been bottled three months already. This must be given to the carrier by Shele, and ready put up in some hampers as he will contrive. I hope Mr. Rochfort will be in town to send you this letter. I am ever yours, and my love to the girl and boys.