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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Mary the Cook Maid's Letter to Dr. Sheridan

MARY THE COOK MAID'S LETTER TO DR. SHERIDAN. 1723.


WELL, if ever I saw such another man since my mother bound my head!
You a gentleman! marry come up! I wonder where you were bred.
I'm sure such words do not become a man of your cloth;
I would not give such language to a dog, faith and troth.
Yes, you call'd my master a knave: fie, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis a shame
For a parson, who should know better things, to come out with such a name.
Knave in your teeth, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis both a shame and a sin;
And the dean my master is an honester man than you and all your kin:
He has more goodness in his little finger than you have in your whole body:
My master is a parsonable man, and not a spindle-shank'd hoddy doddy.
And now, whereby I find you would fain make an excuse.
Because my master one day, in anger, call'd you goose:
Which, and I am sure I have been his servant four years since October,
And he never call'd me worse than sweetheart, drunk or sober:
Not that I know his reverence was ever concern'd to my knowledge,
Though you and your come-rogues keep him out so late in your college.
You say you will eat grass on his grave: a christian eat grass!
Whereby you now confess yourself to be a goose or an ass:
But that's as much as to say, that my master should die before ye;
Well, well, that's as God pleases; and I don't believe that's a true story:
And so say I told you so, and you may go tell my master; what care I?
And I don't care who knows it; 'tis all one to Mary.
Every body knows that I love to tell truth, and shame the devil;
I am but a poor servant; but I think gentlefolks should be civil.
Besides, you found fault with our victuals one day that you was here;
I remember it was on Tuesday of all days in the year.
And Saunders the man says you are always jesting and mocking:
Mary, said he, (one day as I was mending my master's stocking;)
My master is so fond of that minister that keeps the school —
I thought my master a wise man, but that man makes him a fool.
Saunders, said I, I would rather than a quart of ale
He would come into our kitchen, and I would pin a dishclout to his tail.
And now I must go, and get Saunders to direct this letter;
For I write but a bad scrawl; but my sister Marget, she writes better.
Well, but I must run and make the bed, before my master comes from prayers.
And see now, it strikes ten, and I hear him coming up stairs;
Whereof I could say more to your verses, if I could write written hand:
And so I remain, in a civil way, your servant to command,

MARY.