The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to John Barber - 10



SEPTEMBER 3, 1735.

THE bearer, Mr. Faulkner, tells me, he has honour to be known to you, and that I have credit enough to prevail on you to do him all the good offices that lie in your way. I presume he goes about some affairs that relate to his own calling, which would be of little value to him here, if he were not the printer most in vogue, and a great undertaker, perhaps too great a one; wherein you are able to be the best adviser, provided he be not too sanguine, by representing things better than he probably may find them in this wretched, beggarly, enslaved country. To my great grief, my disorder is of such a nature, and so constantly threatening, that I dare not ride so far as to be a night from ——: and yet when the weather is fair, I seldom fail to ride ten or a dozen miles. Mr. Faulkner will be able to give you a true journal of my life; that I generally dine at home and alone, and have not two houses in this great kingdom, where I can get a bit of meat twice a year. That I very seldom go to church for fear of being seized with a fit of giddiness in the midst of the service. I hear you have likewise some ailments to struggle with, yet I am a great deal leaner than you: but I have one advantage, that wine is good for me, and I drink a bottle to my own share every day, to bring some heat into my stomach. Dear Mr. alderman, what a number of dear and great friends have we buried, or seen driven to exile since we came acquainted? I did not know, till six months after, that my best friend, my lady Masham, was gone. I would be glad to know whether her son be good for any thing, because I much doubted when I saw him last. Tell me, do you make constant use of exercise? It is all I have to trust to, though not in regard to life but to health: I know nothing wherein years make so great a change, as in the difference of matter in conversation and writing. My thoughts are wholly taken up in considering the best manner I ought to die in, and how to dispose of my poor fortune for the best publick charity. But in conversation I trifle more and more every day, and I would not give three pence for all I read, or write, or think, in the compass of a year.

Well, God bless you, and preserve your life as long as you can reasonably desire. I take my age with less mortification, because, if I were younger, I should probably outlive the liberty of England, which, without some unexpected assistance from Heaven, many thousands now alive will see governed by an absolute monarch. Farewell, dear sir, and believe me to be, with true esteem,

Your most obedient humble servant,