The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Martha Whiteway to Jonathan Swift - 4


NOV. 25, 1735.

I HAVE not known for some years, the pleasure of a postday, till within these three weeks. I read your letters twenty times over. I tell you this to induce you to continue me your favour; for I know it is your study to make the wretched happy. The wine is ready for the carman, and all the caution taken that you commanded. If I durst, I would repine, that you could think I should require your orders three times repeated to take care of what you told me your health depended on. I rejoice to find your stomach is better, but grieve to hear your leg continues so long bad. I shall despise your surgeon and apothecary, if they do not cure it immediately. Apollo has always waited on you, when it was not half so material. Where the vengeance is he now? After all, he justly quits you, since you have left off invoking him. Idleness is your crime; to punish you, he confines you to a chair; and the penance he enjoins, is to employ your pen once more: if not, there are vultures to prey on legs as well as livers: I wish you were safe out of their hands. I was at the deanery on Saturday, though I forgot to mention it in my last letter. My son was there yesterday; and I would have been there to day, if a swelled face had not prevented me. I have sent for Mr. Kenrick, or Mr. Laud, to let them know your commands. I must beg the favour of you to deliver the enclosed to Dr. Sheridan, and to pardon my sealing it. You are sensible there are secrets that the nearest friends must not see. As you have nothing to do, be pleased to write me the heads of the two hundred pages in manuscript, and I will give my opinion about it. I must now entreat you to think of coming to town: I trust in God your shin will not require it; but consider how it is possible for me to spend the winter evenings, who have been so delightfully entertained all summer at the deanery. I have staid till the last moment before I sealed this, in expectation of seeing somebody from your house, but am disappointed. I promise to take care to see the wine leave this place safe, and to send the paper by the carman. My son and daughter are your most obedient servants. I am, sir, with the highest respect, your most obliged and most obedient humble servant,