The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Jonathan Swift to Martha Whiteway - 15

CAVAN, DEC. 6, 1735.

I HAVE yours of Nov. the 29th. The doctor, who is always sanguine, reckoned upon the wine as sure as if it had been in his cellar under the stairs; but I, who am ever desponding, told him I was sure there would be some disappointment. I matter it not, for we have enough still to hold us a reasonable term, at one bottle a day between us, at least if he would leave off inviting young Mr. Price, parson Richardson, Mr. Nash, Mr. Jacob, surgeon of the troop, squire Fleming of Balhaynockhye, doctor O'Neil, doctor Fludd, parson Charlton of Evackthonyeul, beside the rest of our Cavan gentry and neighbourhood. I will not have the wine sent by any carrier on purpose: it would be a confounded expense: but we will wait until a farther opportunity by Marcus Tully, the genuine orator and carrier of our city. I refused a long time to show the doctor that part of your letter which reflects upon not only his countrymen, but his townsmen, and fifty to one but upon one of his own or madam's cousins; yet there is no danger of kindred, for our town agrees that Tully is an honest carrier. I was in hopes your great entertainment had been for your tenant, with his half year's rent. I am sorry it was on account of some scrub drapier, of whom I never heard. Only I know they are all rogues, and I shall not pay for their extravagance. I forgot to tell you that the barrack-surgeon prescribed the very same medicine that you advised for my shin. My leg is so well, that I have been twice riding, and walk in the town, that is to say in the dirt, every day. We have now a fine frost, and walk safe from dirt; but it is like a life at court, very slippery. I do not like to see my money laid out in cleaning curtains, and covering chairs; but since, as you say, you are pleased to be at that expense, I thankfully submit. The doctor will be with you on Friday next: he goes to see the Grand Monde, and beg subscriptions to build a schoolhouse. He taxes you only at ten guineas. I am to stay with madam and his daughter until his return, which will be about a month hence, when the days grow longer and warmer. Pox take country ladies' dinners. In spite of all I could say, I was kept so late by their formality on Thursday last, that I was forced to ride five miles after night fall, on the worst road in Europe, or county of Cavan. The doctor cannot have time to write a word: he expects a rogue of an agent this evening, who will not come, with two or three hundred pounds arrears, by which means I shall be kept here for want of money, which I was fool enough to expect to get from him, to bear my charges back. My shin cost me three guineas, and I brought but twenty pounds. I desire the room and bed I lie in may be often aired. The doctor will not lie at the deanery, because it is far from his friends, and he is afraid of robbers. I approve your name of Cub; but may your male cub never sit in the club! I will not pay the three shillings and four pence for a wife, as you propose, because I can get one here for two thirteens. Mrs. Donaldson is making the thread with her own fair fingers. I dare not come to town till miss Harrison gives me a general discharge. I desire to know her utmost demands. My chief amusement here is backgammon. Dr. Sheridan is a peevish bungler, and I sometimes win his money. Mr. Price is an expert civil gamester, and I always lose to him. This is the state of my affairs. The doctor is come up, and says he will not write a word, because he is busy, and will see you soon. Entre nous I will not stay when the doctor is gone; but this is a secret: and if my health and the weather will permit, I will be in town two or three days after him. So I close this letter, and remain entièrement à vous, &c.

My humble service to the bearer[1] and his lady. God ever bless you and your fire side.

  1. Mr. Morgan, to whom this letter was enveloped.