The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 8/Blunders, Deficiencies, Distresses, and Misfortunes of Quilca




BUT one lock and a half in the whole house.

The key of the garden door lost.

The empty bottles all uncleanable.

The vessels for drink few and leaky.

The new house all going to ruin before it is finished.

One hinge of the street door broke off, and the people forced to go out and come in at the back door.

The door of the dean's bedchamber full of large chinks.

The beaufet letting in so much wind that it almost blows out the candles.

The dean's bed threatening every night to fall under him.

The little table loose and broke in the joints.

The passages open over head, by which the cats pass continually into the cellar and eat the victuals, for which one was tried, condemned, and executed by the sword.

The large table in a very tottering condition.

But one chair in the house fit for sitting on, and that in a very ill state of health.

The kitchen perpetually crowded with savages.

Not a bit of mutton to be had in the country.

Want of beds, and a mutiny thereupon among the servants, till supplied from Kells.

An egregious want of all the most common necessary utensils.

Not a bit of turf this cold weather; and Mrs. Johnson and the dean in person, with all their servants, forced to assist at the bog in gathering up the wet bottoms of old clamps.

The grate in the ladies bedchamber broke, and forced to be removed, by which they were compelled to be without fire, the chimney smoking intolerably; and the dean's great coat was employed, to stop the wind from coming down the chimney, without which expedient they must have been starved to death.

A messenger sent a mile to borrow an old broken, tun-dish.

Bottles stopped with bits of wood and tow, instead of corks.

Not one utensil for a fire, except an old pair of tongs, which travels through the house, and is likewise employed to take the meat out of the pot, for want of a flesh fork.

Every servant an arrant thief as to victuals and drink, and every comer and goer as errant a thief of every thing he or she can lay their hands on.

The spit blunted with poking into bogs for timber, and tears the meat to pieces.

Bellum atque fœminam: or a kitchen war between nurse and a nasty crew of both sexes; she to preserve order and cleanliness, they to destroy both; and thty generally are conquerors.

April 28. This morning the great foredoor quite open, dancing backward and forward with all its weight upon the lower hinge, which must have been broken if the dean had not accidentally come and relieved it.

A great hole in the floor of the ladies' chamber, every hour hazarding a broken leg.

Two damnable iron spikes erect on the dean's bedstead, by which he is in danger of a broken shin at rising and going to bed.

The ladies' and dean's servants growing fast into the manners and thieveries of the natives; the ladies themselves very much corrupted; the dean perpetually storming, and in danger of either losing all his flesh, or sinking into barbarity for the sake of peace.

Mrs. Dingley full of cares for herself, and blunders and negligence for her friends. Mrs. Johnson sick and helpless. The dean deaf and fretting; the lady's maid awkward and clumsy; Robert lazy and forgetful; William a pragmatical, ignorant, and conceited puppy; Robin and nurse the two great and only supports of the family.

Bellum lactæum: or the milky battle, fought between the dean and the crew of Quilca; the latter insisting on their privilege of not milking till eleven in the forenoon; whereas Mrs. Johnson wanted milk at eight for her health. In this battle the dean got the victory; but the crew of Quilca begin to rebel again; for it is this day almost ten o'clock, and Mrs. Johnson has not got her milk.

A proverb on the laziness and lodgings of the servants: The worse their stythe longer they lie.

Two great holes in the wall of the ladies' bedchamber, just at the back of the bed, and one of them directly behind Mrs. Johnson's pillow, either of which would blow out a candle in the calmest day.