The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to John Barber - 8
I RECEIVED lately a very acceptable present which you were pleased to send me, which was an engraved picture of you, very handsomely framed, with a glass over it. I take your remembrance of me very kindly, and give you my hearty thanks. I have no other way to show my gratitude at present, than by desiring another favour from you, which, however, will be less expensive. Mr. Singleton, the king's prime sergeant here, is one of the first among the worthiest persons in this kingdom; of great honour, justice, truth, good sense, good nature, and knowledge in his faculty: this gentleman, whom I have the honour to know, although his business be too great to allow me the happiness of seeing him as often as I desire, hath commanded me to recommend the bearer, Mr. Richardson, agent to the Derry society, whereof you are a member. From such a recommendation as the prime sergeant's, I will engage that Mr. Richardson is a very deserving man, and that whatever he desires of you will be perfectly just and reasonable.
And now, my good friend, give me leave to inquire after your health, which I hope is much better than mine. Are you often in your coach at Highgate and Hampstead? Do you keep cheerful company? I know you cannot drink: but I hope your stomach for eating is not declined: and how are you treated by the gout? These and many more particulars I desire to know.
The people who read news have struck me to the heart, by the account of my dear friend doctor Arbuthnot's death; although I could expect no less, by a letter I received from him a month or two ago. Do you sometimes see Mr. Pope? We still correspond pretty constantly. He publishes poems oftener and better than ever, which I wonder at the more, because he complains, with too much reason, of his disorders. What a havock has death made among our friends since that of the queen? As to myself, I am grown leaner than you were when we parted last, and am never wholly free from giddiness and weakness, and sickness in my stomach, otherwise I should have been among you two or three years ago, but now I despair of that happiness. I ride a dozen miles as often as I can, and always walk the streets, except in the night, which my head will not suffer me to do. But my fortune is so sunk, that I cannot afford half the necessaries or conveniencies that I can still make a shift to provide myself with here. My chief support is French wine, which, although not equal to yours, I drink a bottle to myself every day. I keep three horses, two men and an old woman in a large empty house, and dine half the week, like a king, by myself. Thus I tell you my whole economy, which I fear will tire you by reading. Pray God keep you in health and happiness; and do me the justice to believe that I am, with true esteem and friendship, dear sir,
You most obedient humble servant,
You see by my many blottings and interlinings, what a condition my head is in.