The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Martha Whiteway to Jonathan Swift - 3


NOV. 22, 1735.

I RECEIVE as a high favour your just reprimand for not answering your letter by the first post; nay, I will add another fault to it, by endeavouring to excuse myself. It was out of the highest respect I did not write, lest you should think me too forward in giving trouble. But, since I have your license, I will not miss an opportunity of paying my most humble duty, and of acknowledging the greatest obligations I ever lay under to any mortal. I have had the very ill fortune to come late under your care; yet even these disadvantages do not hinder you from acting the most friendly part, of endeavouring to enlarge my mind, and mend my errours: you see how industriously I avoid mentioning the word faults. When you left us, I did not think it would be possible for me to dread getting a letter from you; but the account of your leg, which I find worse and worse, alarms me to that degree, that I tremble for the consequence. I conjure you, dear sir, not to trust any longer to country helps: your appetite, your health, is in the greatest danger, by sitting so much as you must be obliged to do till that is well. I know life is as little regarded by you as any one; but to live in misery, is what I am sure you ought to avoid. The wine was packed up on Tuesday last in a hogshead: I thought that was safer than a hamper: Mr. Kenrick and Laud were by all the time: they and Mr. Shele were here with me that night: they tell me, they got large bottles, of which I gave a great charge. Mr. Shele desires the wine may be kept in the same manner it is now packed, and taken out by half dozens as it is used: the numbers taken out may be chalked on the head of the vessel, to see that justice is done: he thinks it will keep better that way than perhaps in a cellar. I think you came off scandalously cheap, with treating sixteen gentlemen for a moidore. Pray, doctor Sheridan, when the dean next uses you ill, tell him of his pitiful doings.

My son is greatly obliged to you, sir, for your care and advice ; and assures me, your word shall be an oracle to him. He has not had a return of his disorder; yet his stomach is gone, and of consequence his spirits. Mr. and Mrs. Morgan have commanded me to send you their most obedient respects, and are much concerned about your leg. Pray, sir, date your letters. I believe both you and Dr. Sheridan hate writing the word November; for not one of them have been dated. I only hate the day of the month: the truth was, in my last I could not recollect it (for I think I forgot it) and watched for some of the brats to tell me. Lest I should do the same now, be pleased to remember I write this Nov. 22, 1735. I am, sir, your most obedient and most obliged humble servant,

If you are pleased to direct to me under cover to Mr. Morgan, I shall get your letters. Perhaps Mr. Rochfort may go out of town, and then I should be long without them.