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

JULY 20, 1739.

A FORTNIGHT ago I went out of town with the new married couple, my son and daughter; and the day before I had the honour to receive your letter. With great truth I do assure you, I am much more concerned at the trouble and disappointment you met with in Mr. Dunkin's affair than for him, having but a short acquaintance and knowledge, otherwise than knowing him to be a man of sense, virtue, and religion, who would be an ornament to the church, and a credit to those who appeared for him. These were my reasons to wish him well.

One part of your letter, sir, I can only take notice of with amazement; and do entreat you will indulge me so far as to believe this will be all the answer I can, or ever will, make to it: and yet I am not insensible you have been pleased in some measure to honour me with your esteem. I will not therefore fear the loss of your friendship, because it shall be my study to merit your good opinion: and, unprovoked, I know you to have too much good nature to withdraw it. I never saw a more beautiful silk than was bought for my daughter. If you did not choose it, at least you showed your judgment in the person that was employed. She desires me to say this, that you have forced her to do what she never did in her life, wear any thing that was not paid for; and if hereafter she should run her husband in debt, she will lay all the fault at your door. Mr. Swift presents you his most obedient respects, and will oblige you to know him by his assiduity in courting the honour of your acquaintance. I have asked you so many favours, that no one but myself would presume perpetually to dun you thus; and yet I will never leave off until you grant this my request, to command miss Richardson to town immediately. I now attack you on the foot of charity; an argument you never can resist. Consider my daughter has quitted me; that I am all alone; and her agreeable company will make Molly and her husband spend all their time with me. In shorty sir, if you hesitate one moment longer, I will lay you open to the world, and let them see how much they were mistaken in Mr. Richardson, who once in his life broke his word. I have now before me, under your hand, that all my commands should be obeyed. I insist on your promise; and miss Richardson is my demand, and that immediately. You see how careful and sparing you gentlemen ought to be in compliments to women, who always keep you to your promise while it makes to their interest; and as well know how to evade their own when it is contrary to their inclination. I had the favour of a letter from alderman Barber in answer to one I wrote him. He does not perhaps know the inconveniency he has brought on himself, which is another from me; and yet you may tell him, when I have once more paid my respects to him, I am not so unreasonable as to impose or expect any farther notice of Irish impertinence.

I left this paragraph to finish at the deanery, that from his own mouth I might assure you of his love and esteem. He sends his most affectionate service to his dear old friend alderman Barber. Mr. Dunkin likewise presents you his most obedient respects, and hopes you received his letter that he sent some days ago. There is no person a more obedient humble servant to you than my daughter, excepting, dear sir, your most obedient and most obliged faithful humble servant,

The chief circumstance that you would choose to know I had like to have forgot; which is, that the dean is in good health, and ever will remember the pains you and the alderman have been at, on his account, for Mr. Dunkin.