THE JOURNAL TO STELLA
By Jonathan Swift
With preface, introduction and notes by George A. Aitken.
(Numbers thus (5) refer to the Notes at the end, which are arranged by "Introduction" or by "Letter 'number'".)
The history of the publication of the Journal to Stella is somewhat curious. On Swift's death twenty-five of the letters, forming the closing portion of the series, fell into the hands of Dr. Lyon, a clergyman who had been in charge of Swift for some years. The letters passed to a man named Wilkes, who sold them for publication. They accordingly appeared in 1766 in the tenth volume of Dr. Hawkesworth's quarto edition of Swift's works; but the editor made many changes in the text, including a suppression of most of the "little language." The publishers, however, fortunately for us, were public-spirited enough to give the manuscripts (with one exception) to the British Museum, where, after many years, they were examined by John Forster, who printed in his unfinished "Life of Swift" numerous passages from the originals, showing the manner in which the text had been tampered with by Hawkesworth. Swift himself, too, in his later years, obliterated many words and sentences in the letters, and Forster was able to restore not a few of these omissions. His zeal, however, sometimes led him to make guesses at words which are quite undecipherable. Besides Forster's work, I have had the benefit of the careful collation made by Mr. Ryland for his edition of 1897. Where these authorities differ I have usually found myself in agreement with Mr. Ryland, but I have felt justified in accepting some of Forster's readings which were rejected by him as uncertain; and the examination of the manuscripts has enabled me to make some additions and corrections of my own. Swift's writing is extremely small, and abounds in abbreviations. The difficulty of arriving at the true reading is therefore considerable, apart from the erasures.
The remainder of the Journal, consisting of the first forty letters, was published in 1768 by Deane Swift, Dr. Swift's second cousin. These letters had been given to Mrs. Whiteway in 1788, and by her to her son-in-law, Deane Swift. The originals have been lost, with the exception of the first, which, by some accident, is in the British Museum; but it is evident that Deane Swift took even greater liberties with the text than Hawkesworth. He substituted for "Ppt" the word "Stella," a name which Swift seems not to have used until some years later; he adopted the name "Presto" for Swift, and in other ways tried to give a greater literary finish to the letters. The whole of the correspondence was first brought together, under the title of the "Journal to Stella", in Sheridan's edition of 1784.
Previous editions of the Journal have been but slightly annotated. Swift's letters abound with allusions to people of all classes with whom he came in contact in London, and to others known to Esther Johnson in Ireland; and a large proportion of these persons have been passed over in discreet silence by Sir Walter Scott and others. The task of the annotator has, of course, been made easier of late years by the publication of contemporary journals and letters, and of useful works of reference dealing with Parliament, the Army, the Church, the Civil Service, and the like, besides the invaluable Dictionary of National Biography. I have also been assisted by a collection of MS. notes kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. Thomas Seccombe. I have aimed at brevity and relevance, but it is hoped that the reader will find all the information that is necessary. Here and there a name has baffled research, but I have been able to give definite particulars of a very large number of people—noblemen and ladies in society in London or Dublin, Members of Parliament, doctors, clergymen, Government officials, and others who have hitherto been but names to the reader of the Journal. I have corrected a good many errors in the older notes, but in dealing with so large a number of persons, some of whom it is difficult to identify, I cannot hope that I myself have escaped pitfalls.
G. A. A.
When Swift began to write the letters known as the Journal to Stella, he was forty-two years of age, and Esther Johnson twenty-nine. Perhaps the most useful introduction to the correspondence will be a brief setting forth of what is known of their friendship from Stella's childhood, the more specially as the question has been obscured by many assertions and theories resting on a very slender basis of fact.
Jonathan Swift, born in 1667 after his father's death, was educated by his uncle Godwin, and after a not very successful career at Trinity College, Dublin, went to stay with his mother, Abigail Erick, at Leicester. Mrs. Swift feared that her son would fall in love with a girl named Betty Jones, but, as Swift told a friend, he had had experience enough "not to think of marriage till I settle my fortune in the world, which I am sure will not be in some years; and even then, I am so hard to please that I suppose I shall put it off to the other world." Soon afterwards an opening for Swift presented itself. Sir William Temple, now living in retirement at Moor Park, near Farnham, had been, like his father, Master of the Irish Rolls, and had thus become acquainted with Swift's uncle Godwin. Moreover, Lady Temple was related to Mrs. Swift, as Lord Orrery tells us. Thanks to these facts, the application to Sir William Temple was successful, and Swift went to live at Moor Park before the end of 1689. There he read to Temple, wrote for him, and kept his accounts, and growing into confidence with his employer, "was often trusted with matters of great importance." The story—afterwards improved upon by Lord Macaulay—that Swift received only 20 pounds and his board, and was not allowed to sit at table with his master, is wholly untrustworthy. Within three years of their first intercourse, Temple had introduced his secretary to William the Third, and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments.
When Swift took up his residence at Moor Park he found there a little girl of eight, daughter of a merchant named Edward Johnson, who had died young. Swift says that Esther Johnson was born on March 18, 1681; in the parish register of Richmond,(1) which shows that she was baptized on March 20, 1680-81, her name is given as Hester; but she signed her will "Esther," the name by which she was always known. Swift says, "Her father was a younger brother of a good family in Nottinghamshire, her mother of a lower degree; and indeed she had little to boast in her birth." Mrs. Johnson had two children, Esther and Ann, and lived at Moor Park as companion to Lady Giffard, Temple's widowed sister. Another member of the household, afterwards to be Esther's constant companion, was Rebecca Dingley, a relative of the Temple family.(2) She was a year or two older than Swift.
The lonely young man of twenty-two was both playfellow and teacher of the delicate child of eight. How he taught her to write has been charmingly brought before us in the painting exhibited by Miss Dicksee at the Royal Academy a few years ago; he advised her what books to read, and instructed her, as he says, "in the principles of honour and virtue, from which she never swerved in any one action or moment of her life."
By 1694 Swift had grown tired of his position, and finding that Temple, who valued his services, was slow in finding him preferment, he left Moor Park in order to carry out his resolve to go into the Church. He was ordained, and obtained the prebend of Kilroot, near Belfast, where he carried on a flirtation with a Miss Waring, whom he called Varina. But in May 1696 Temple made proposals which induced Swift to return to Moor Park, where he was employed in preparing Temple's memoirs and correspondence for publication, and in supporting the side taken by Temple in the Letters of Phalaris controversy by writing The Battle of the Books, which was, however, not published until 1704. On his return to Temple's house, Swift found his old playmate grown from a sickly child into a girl of fifteen, in perfect health. She came, he says, to be "looked upon as one of the most beautiful, graceful, and agreeable young women in London, only a little too fat. Her hair was blacker than a raven, and every feature of her face in perfection."
On his death in January 1699, Temple left a will,(3) dated 1694, directing the payment of 20 pounds each, with half a year's wages, to Bridget Johnson "and all my other servants"; and leaving a lease of some land in Monistown, County Wicklow, to Esther Johnson, "servant to my sister Giffard." By a codicil of February 1698, Temple left 100 pounds to "Mr. Jonathan Swift, now living with me." It may be added that by her will of 1722, proved in the following year, Lady Giffard gave 20 pounds to Mrs. Moss—Mrs. Bridget Johnson, who had married Richard Mose or Moss, Lady Giffard's steward. The will proceeds: "To Mrs. Hester (sic) Johnson I give 10 pounds, with the 100 pounds I put into the Exchequer for her life and my own, and declare the 100 pounds to be hers which I am told is there in my name upon the survivorship, and for which she has constantly sent over her certificate and received the interest. I give her besides my two little silver candlesticks."
Temple left in Swift's hands the task of publishing his posthumous works, a duty which afterwards led to a quarrel with Lady Giffard and other members of the family. Many years later Swift told Lord Palmerston that he stopped at Moor Park solely for the benefit of Temple's conversation and advice, and the opportunity of pursuing his studies. At Temple's death he was "as far to seek as ever." In the summer of 1699, however, he was offered and accepted the post of secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices, but when he reached Ireland he found that the secretaryship had been given to another. He soon, however, obtained the living of Laracor, Agher, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. The total value of these preferments was about 230 pounds a year, an income which Miss Waring seems to have thought enough to justify him in marrying. Swift's reply to the lady whom he had "singled out at first from the rest of women" could only have been written with the intention of breaking off the connection, and accordingly we hear no more of poor Varina.
At Laracor, a mile or two from Trim, and twenty miles from Dublin, Swift ministered to a congregation of about fifteen persons, and had abundant leisure for cultivating his garden, making a canal (after the Dutch fashion of Moor Park), planting willows, and rebuilding the vicarage. As chaplain to Lord Berkeley, he spent much of his time in Dublin. He was on intimate terms with Lady Berkeley and her daughters, one of whom is best known by her married name of Lady Betty Germaine; and through them he had access to the fashionable society of Dublin. When Lord Berkeley returned to England in April 1701, Swift, after taking his Doctor's degree at Dublin, went with him, and soon afterwards published, anonymously, a political pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome. When he returned to Ireland in September he was accompanied by Stella—to give Esther Johnson the name by which she is best known—and her friend Mrs. Dingley. Stella's fortune was about 1500 pounds, and the property Temple had left her was in County Wicklow. Swift, very much for his "own satisfaction, who had few friends or acquaintance in Ireland," persuaded Stella—now twenty years old—that living was cheaper there than in England, and that a better return was obtainable on money. The ladies took his advice, and made Ireland their home. At first they felt themselves strangers in Dublin; "the adventure looked so like a frolic," Swift says, "the censure held for some time as if there were a secret history in such a removal: which however soon blew off by her excellent conduct." Swift took every step that was possible to avoid scandal. When he was away, the ladies occupied his rooms; when he returned, they went into their own lodgings. When he was absent, they often stopped at the vicarage at Laracor, but if he were there, they moved to Trim, where they visited the vicar, Dr. Raymond, or lived in lodgings in the town or neighbourhood. Swift was never with Stella except in the presence of a third person, and in 1726 he said that he had not seen her in a morning "these dozen years, except once or twice in a journey."
During a visit to England in the winter of 1703-4 we find Swift in correspondence with the Rev. William Tisdall, a Dublin incumbent whom he had formerly known at Belfast. Tisdall was on friendly terms with Stella and Mrs. Dingley, and Swift sent messages to them through him. "Pray put them upon reading," he wrote, "and be always teaching something to Mrs. Johnson, because she is good at comprehending, remembering and retaining." But the correspondence soon took a different turn. Tisdall paid his addresses to Stella, and charged Swift with opposing his suit. Tisdall's letters are missing, but Swift's reply of April 20, 1704, puts things sufficiently clearly. "My conjecture is," he says, "that you think I obstructed your inclinations to please my own, and that my intentions were the same with yours. In answer to all which I will, upon my conscience and honour, tell you the naked truth. First, I think I have said to you before that, if my fortunes and humour served me to think of that state, I should certainly, among all persons upon earth, make your choice; because I never saw that person whose conversation I entirely valued but hers; this was the utmost I ever gave way to. And secondly, I must assure you sincerely that this regard of mine never once entered into my head to be an impediment to you." He had thought Tisdall not rich enough to marry; "but the objection of your fortune being removed, I declare I have no other; nor shall any consideration of my own misfortune, in losing so good a friend and companion as her, prevail on me, against her interest and settlement in the world, since it is held so necessary and convenient a thing for ladies to marry, and that time takes off from the lustre of virgins in all other eyes but mine. I appeal to my letters to herself whether I was your friend or not in the whole concern, though the part I designed to act in it was purely passive." He had even thought "it could not be decently broken," without disadvantage to the lady's credit, since he supposed it was known to the town; and he had always spoken of her in a manner far from discouraging. Though he knew many ladies of rank, he had "nowhere met with an humour, a wit, or conversation so agreeable, a better portion of good sense, or a truer judgment of men or things." He envied Tisdall his prudence and temper, and love of peace and settlement, "the reverse of which has been the great uneasiness of my life, and is likely to continue so."
This letter has been quoted at some length because of its great importance. It is obviously capable of various interpretations, and some, like Dr. Johnson, have concluded that Swift was resolved to keep Stella in his power, and therefore prevented an advantageous match by making unreasonable demands. I cannot see any ground for this interpretation, though it is probable that Tisdall's appearance as a suitor was sufficiently annoying. There is no evidence that Stella viewed Tisdall's proposal with any favour, unless it can be held to be furnished by Swift's belief that the town thought—rightly or wrongly—that there was an engagement. In any case, there could be no mistake in future with regard to Swift's attitude towards Stella. She was dearer to him than anyone else, and his feeling for her would not change, but for marriage he had neither fortune nor humour. Tisdall consoled himself by marrying another lady two years afterwards; and though for a long time Swift entertained for him feelings of dislike, in later life their relations improved, and Tisdall was one of the witnesses to Swift's will.
The Tale of a Tub was published in 1704, and Swift was soon in constant intercourse with Addison and the other wits. While he was in England in 1705, Stella and Mrs. Dingley made a short visit to London. This and a similar visit in 1708 are the only occasions on which Stella is known to have left Ireland after taking up her residence in that country. Swift's influence over women was always very striking. Most of the toasts of the day were his friends, and he insisted that any lady of wit and quality who desired his acquaintance should make the first advances. This, he says—writing in 1730—had been an established rule for over twenty years. In 1708 a dispute on this question with one toast, Mrs. Long, was referred for settlement to Ginckel Vanhomrigh, the son of the house where it was proposed that the meeting should take place; and by the decision—which was in Swift's favour—"Mrs. Vanhomrigh and her fair daughter Hessy" were forbidden to aid Mrs. Long in her disobedience for the future. This is the first that we hear of Hester or Esther Vanhomrigh, who was afterwards to play so marked a part in the story of Swift's life. Born on February 14, 1690, she was now eighteen. Her father, Bartholomew Vanhomrigh, a Dublin merchant of Dutch origin, had died in 1703, leaving his wife a fortune of some sixteen thousand pounds. On the income from this money Mrs. Vanhomrigh, with her two daughters, Hester and Mary, were able to mix in fashionable society in London. Swift was introduced to them by Sir Andrew Fountaine early in 1708, but evidently Stella did not make their acquaintance, nor indeed hear much, if anything, of them until the time of the Journal.
Swift's visit to London in 1707-9 had for its object the obtaining for the Irish Church of the surrender by the Crown of the First-Fruits and Twentieths, which brought in about 2500 pounds a year. Nothing came of Swift's interviews with the Whig statesmen, and after many disappointments he returned to Laracor (June 1709), and conversed with none but Stella and her card-playing friends, and Addison, now secretary to Lord Wharton.(4) Next year came the fall of the Whigs, and a request to Swift from the Irish bishops that he would renew the application for the First-Fruits, in the hope that there would be greater success with the Tories. Swift reached London in September 1710, and began the series of letters, giving details of the events of each day, which now form the Journal to Stella. "I will write something every day to MD," he says, "and make it a sort of journal; and when it is full I will send it, whether MD writes or no; and so that will be pretty; and I shall always be in conversation with MD, and MD with Presto." It is interesting to note that by way of caution these letters were usually addressed to Mrs. Dingley, and not to Stella.
The story of Swift's growing intimacy with the Tory leaders, of the success of his mission, of the increasing coolness towards older acquaintances, and of his services to the Government, can best be read in the Journal itself. In the meantime the intimacy with the Vanhomrighs grew rapidly. They were near neighbours of Swift's, and in a few weeks after his arrival in town we find frequent allusions to the dinners at their house (where he kept his best gown and periwig), sometimes with the explanation that he went there "out of mere listlessness," or because it was wet, or because another engagement had broken down. Only thrice does he mention the "eldest daughter": once on her birthday; once on the occasion of a trick played him, when he received a message that she was suddenly very ill ("I rattled off the daughter"); and once to state that she was come of age, and was going to Ireland to look after her fortune. There is evidence that "Miss Essy," or Vanessa, to give her the name by which she will always be known, was in correspondence with Swift in July 1710—while he was still in Ireland—and in the spring of 1711;(5) and early in 1711 Stella seems to have expressed surprise at Swift's intimacy with the family, for in February he replied, "You say they are of no consequence; why, they keep as good female company as I do male; I see all the drabs of quality at this end of the town with them." In the autumn Swift seems to have thought that Vanessa was keeping company with a certain Hatton, but Mrs. Long—possibly meaning to give him a warning hint—remarked that if this were so "she is not the girl I took her for; but to me she seems melancholy."
In 1712 occasional letters took the place of the daily journal to "MD," but there is no change in the affectionate style in which Swift wrote. In the spring he had a long illness, which affected him, indeed, throughout the year. Other reasons which he gives for the falling off in his correspondence are his numerous business engagements, and the hope of being able to send some good news of an appointment for himself. There is only one letter to Stella between July 19 and September 15, and Dr. Birkbeck Hill argues that the poem "Cadenus and Vanessa" was composed at that time.(6) If this be so, it must have been altered next year, because it was not until 1713 that Swift was made a Dean. Writing on April 19, 1726, Swift said that the poem "was written at Windsor near fourteen years ago, and dated: it was a task performed on a frolic among some ladies, and she it was addressed to died some time ago in Dublin, and on her death the copy shewn by her executor." Several copies were in circulation, and he was indifferent what was done with it; it was "only a cavalier business," and if those who would not give allowances were malicious, it was only what he had long expected.
From this letter it would appear that this remarkable poem was written in the summer of 1712; whereas the title-page of the pamphlet says it was "written at Windsor, 1713." Swift visited Windsor in both years, but he had more leisure in 1712, and we know that Vanessa was also at Windsor in that year. In that year, too, he was forty-four, the age mentioned in the poem. Neither Swift nor Vanessa forgot this intercourse: years afterwards Swift wrote to her, "Go over the scenes of Windsor.... Cad thinks often of these"; and again, "Remember the indisposition at Windsor." We know that this poem was revised in 1719, when in all probability Swift added the lines to which most exception can be taken. Cadenus was to be Vanessa's instructor:—
"His conduct might have made him styled A father, and the nymph his child."
He had "grown old in politics and wit," and "in every scene had kept his heart," so that he now "understood not what was love." But he had written much, and Vanessa admired his wit. Cadenus found that her thoughts wandered—
"Though she seemed to listen more To all he spoke than e'er before."
When she confessed her love, he was filled with "shame, disappointment, guilt, surprise." He had aimed only at cultivating the mind, and had hardly known whether she was young or old. But he was flattered, and though he could not give her love, he offered her friendship, "with gratitude, respect, esteem." Vanessa took him at his word, and said she would now be tutor, though he was not apt to learn:—
"But what success Vanessa met Is to the world a secret yet. Whether the nymph to please her swain Talks in a high romantic strain; Or whether he at last descends To act with less seraphic ends; Or, to compound the business, whether They temper love and books together, Must never to mankind be told, Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold."
Such is the poem as we now have it, written, it must be remembered, for Vanessa's private perusal. It is to be regretted, for her own sake, that she did not destroy it.
Swift received the reward of his services to the Government—the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin—in April 1713. Disappointed at what he regarded as exile, he left London in June. Vanessa immediately began to send him letters which brought home to him the extent of her passion; and she hinted at jealousy in the words, "If you are very happy, it is ill-natured of you not to tell me so, except 'tis what is inconsistent with my own." In his reply Swift dwelt upon the dreariness of his surroundings at Laracor, and reminded her that he had said he would endeavour to forget everything in England, and would write as seldom as he could.
Swift was back again in the political strife in London in September, taking Oxford's part in the quarrel between that statesman and Bolingbroke. On the fall of the Tories at the death of Queen Anne, he saw that all was over, and retired to Ireland, not to return again for twelve years. In the meantime the intimacy with Vanessa had been renewed. Her mother had died, leaving debts, and she pressed Swift for advice in the management of her affairs. When she suggested coming to Ireland, where she had property, he told her that if she took this step he would "see her very seldom." However, she took up her abode at Celbridge, only a few miles from Dublin. Swift gave her many cautions, out of "the perfect esteem and friendship" he felt for her, but he often visited her. She was dissatisfied, however, begging him to speak kindly, and at least to counterfeit his former indulgent friendship. "What can be wrong," she wrote, "in seeing and advising an unhappy young woman? You cannot but know that your frowns make my life unsupportable." Sometimes he treated the matter lightly; sometimes he showed annoyance; sometimes he assured her of his esteem and love, but urged her not to make herself or him "unhappy by imaginations." He was uniformly unsuccessful in stopping Vanessa's importunity. He endeavoured, she said, by severities to force her from him; she knew she was the cause of uneasy reflections to him; but nothing would lessen her "inexpressible passion."
Unfortunately he failed—partly no doubt from mistaken considerations of kindness, partly because he shrank from losing her affection—to take effective steps to put an end to Vanessa's hopes. It would have been better if he had unhesitatingly made it clear to her that he could not return her passion, and that if she could not be satisfied with friendship the intimacy must cease. To quote Sir Henry Craik, "The friendship had begun in literary guidance: it was strengthened by flattery: it lived on a cold and almost stern repression, fed by confidences as to literary schemes, and by occasional literary compliments: but it never came to have a real hold over Swift's heart."
With 1716 we come to the alleged marriage with Stella. In 1752, seven years after Swift's death, Lord Orrery, in his Remarks on Swift, said that Stella was "the concealed, but undoubted, wife of Dr. Swift.... If my informations are right, she was married to Dr. Swift in the year 1716, by Dr. Ashe, then Bishop of Clogher." Ten years earlier, in 1742, in a letter to Deane Swift which I have not seen quoted before, Orrery spoke of the advantage of a wife to a man in his declining years; "nor had the Dean felt a blow, or wanted a companion, had he been married, or, in other words, had Stella lived." What this means is not at all clear. In 1754, Dr. Delany, an old friend of Swift's, wrote, in comment upon Orrery's Remarks, "Your account of his marriage is, I am satisfied, true." In 1789, George Monck Berkeley, in his Literary Relics, said that Swift and Stella were married by Dr. Ashe, "who himself related the circumstances to Bishop Berkeley, by whose relict the story was communicated to me." Dr. Ashe cannot have told Bishop Berkeley by word of mouth, because Ashe died in 1717, the year after the supposed marriage, and Berkeley was then still abroad. But Berkeley was at the time tutor to Ashe's son, and may therefore have been informed by letter, though it is difficult to believe that Ashe would write about such a secret so soon after the event. Thomas Sheridan, on information received from his father, Dr. Sheridan, Swift's friend, accepted the story of the marriage in his book (1784), adding particulars which are of very doubtful authenticity; and Johnson, in his Lives of the Poets, says that Dr. Madden told him that Stella had related her "melancholy story" to Dr. Sheridan before her death. On the other hand, Dr. Lyon, Swift's attendant in his later years, disbelieved the story of the marriage, which was, he said, "founded only on hearsay"; and Mrs. Dingley "laughed at it as an idle tale," founded on suspicion.
Sir Henry Craik is satisfied with the evidence for the marriage. Mr. Leslie Stephen is of opinion that it is inconclusive, and Forster could find no evidence that is at all reasonably sufficient; while Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole, Mr. Churton Collins, and others are strongly of opinion that no such marriage ever took place. A full discussion of the evidence would involve the consideration of the reliability of the witnesses, and the probability of their having authentic information, and would be out of place here. My own opinion is that the evidence for the marriage is very far from convincing, and this view seems to be confirmed by all that we know from his own letters of Swift's relations with Stella. It has been suggested that she was pained by reports of Swift's intercourse with Vanessa, and felt that his feelings towards herself were growing colder; but this is surmise, and no satisfactory explanation has been given to account for a form of marriage being gone through after so many years of the closest friendship. There is no reason to suppose that there was at the time any gossip in circulation about Stella, and if her reputation was in question, a marriage of which the secret was carefully kept would obviously be of no benefit to her. Moreover, we are told that there was no change in their mode of life; if they were married, what reason could there be for keeping it a secret, or for denying themselves the closer relationship of marriage? The only possible benefit to Stella was that Swift would be prevented marrying anyone else. It is impossible, of course, to disprove a marriage which we are told was secretly performed, without banns or licence or witnesses; but we may reasonably require strong evidence for so startling a step. If we reject the tale, the story of Swift's connection with Stella is at least intelligible; while the acceptance of this marriage introduces many puzzling circumstances, and makes it necessary to believe that during the remainder of Stella's life Swift repeatedly spoke of his wife as a friend, and of himself as one who had never married.(7) What right have we to put aside Swift's plain and repeated statements? Moreover, his attitude towards Vanessa for the remaining years of her life becomes much more culpable if we are to believe that he had given Stella the claim of a wife upon him.(8)
From 1719 onwards we have a series of poems to Stella, written chiefly in celebration of her birthday. She was now thirty-eight (Swift says, "Thirty-four—we shan't dispute a year or more"), and the verses abound in laughing allusions to her advancing years and wasting form. Hers was "an angel's face a little cracked," but all men would crowd to her door when she was fourscore. His verses to her had always been
"Without one word of Cupid's darts, Of killing eyes, or bleeding hearts; With friendship and esteem possessed, I ne'er admitted Love a guest."
Her only fault was that she could not bear the lightest touch of blame. Her wit and sense, her loving care in illness—to which he owed that fact that he was alive to say it—made her the "best pattern of true friends." She replied, in lines written on Swift's birthday in 1721, that she was his pupil and humble friend. He had trained her judgment and refined her fancy and taste:—
"You taught how I might youth prolong By knowing what was right and wrong; How from my heart to bring supplies Of lustre to my fading eyes; How soon a beauteous mind repairs The loss of changed or falling hairs; How wit and virtue from within Send out a smoothness o'er the skin Your lectures could my fancy fix, And I can please at thirty-six."
In 1723 Vanessa is said to have written to Stella or to Swift—there are discrepancies in the versions given by Sheridan and Lord Orrery, both of whom are unreliable—asking whether the report that they were married was true. Swift, we are told, rode to Celbridge, threw down Vanessa's letter in a great rage, and left without speaking a word.(9) Vanessa, whose health had been failing for some time, died shortly afterwards, having cancelled a will in Swift's favour. She left "Cadenus and Vanessa" for publication, and when someone said that she must have been a remarkable woman to inspire such a poem, Stella replied that it was well known that the Dean could write finely upon a broomstick.
Soon after this tragedy Swift became engrossed in the Irish agitation which led to the publication of the Drapier's Letters, and in 1726 he paid a long-deferred visit to London, taking with him the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels. While in England he was harassed by bad news of Stella, who had been in continued ill-health for some years. His letters to friends in Dublin show how greatly he suffered. To the Rev. John Worrall he wrote, in a letter which he begged him to burn, "What you tell me of Mrs. Johnson I have long expected with great oppression and heaviness of heart. We have been perfect friends these thirty-five years. Upon my advice they both came to Ireland, and have been ever since my constant companions; and the remainder of my life will be a very melancholy scene, when one of them is gone, whom I most esteemed, upon the score of every good quality that can possibly recommend a human creature." He would not for the world be present at her death: "I should be a trouble to her, and a torment to myself." If Stella came to Dublin, he begged that she might be lodged in some airy, healthy part, and not in the Deanery, where too it would be improper for her to die. "There is not a greater folly," he thinks, "than to contract too great and intimate a friendship, which must always leave the survivor miserable." To Dr. Stopford he wrote in similar terms of the "younger of the two" "oldest and dearest friends I have in the world." "This was a person of my own rearing and instructing from childhood, who excelled in every good quality that can possibly accomplish a human creature.... I know not what I am saying; but believe me that violent friendship is much more lasting and as much engaging as violent love." To Dr. Sheridan he said, "I look upon this to be the greatest event that can ever happen to me; but all my preparation will not suffice to make me bear it like a philosopher nor altogether like a Christian. There hath been the most intimate friendship between us from our childhood, and the greatest merit on her side that ever was in one human creature towards another."(10) Pope alludes in a letter to Sheridan to the illness of Swift's "particular friend," but with the exception of another reference by Pope, and of a curiously flippant remark by Bolingbroke, the subject is nowhere mentioned in Swift's correspondence with his literary and fashionable friends in London.
Swift crossed to Ireland in August, fearing the worst; but Stella rallied, and in the spring of 1727 he returned to London. In August, however, there came alarming news, when Swift was himself suffering from giddiness and deafness. To Dr. Sheridan he wrote that the last act of life was always a tragedy at best: "it is a bitter aggravation to have one's best friend go before one." Life was indifferent to him; if he recovered from his disorder it would only be to feel the loss of "that person for whose sake only life was worth preserving. I brought both those friends over that we might be happy together as long as God should please; the knot is broken, and the remaining person you know has ill answered the end; and the other, who is now to be lost, is all that was valuable." To Worrall he again wrote (in Latin) that Stella ought not to be lodged at the Deanery; he had enemies who would place a bad interpretation upon it if she died there.
Swift left London for Dublin in September; he was detained some days at Holyhead by stress of weather, and in the private journal which he kept during that time he speaks of the suspense he was in about his "dearest friend."(11) In December Stella made a will—signed "Esther Johnson, spinster"—disposing of her property in the manner Swift had suggested. Her allusions to Swift are incompatible with any such feeling of resentment as is suggested by Sheridan. She died on January 28, 1728. Swift could not bear to be present, but on the night of her death he began to write his very interesting Character of Mrs. Johnson, from which passages have already been quoted. He there calls her "the truest, most virtuous and valuable friend that I, or perhaps any other person, was ever blessed with." Combined with excellent gifts of the mind, "she had a gracefulness, somewhat more than human, in every motion, word, and action. Never was so happy a conjunction of civility, freedom, easiness, and sincerity." Everyone treated her with marked respect, yet everyone was at ease in her society. She preserved her wit, judgment, and vivacity to the last, but often complained of her memory. She chose men rather than women for her companions, "the usual topic of ladies' discourse being such as she had little knowledge of and less relish." "Honour, truth, liberality, good nature, and modesty were the virtues she chiefly possessed, and most valued in her acquaintance." In some Prayers used by Swift during her last sickness, he begged for pity for "the mournful friends of Thy distressed servant, who sink under the weight of her present condition, and the fear of losing the most valuable of our friends." He was too ill to be present at the funeral at St. Patrick's. Afterwards, we are told, a lock of her hair was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, "Only a woman's hair."
Swift continued to produce pamphlets manifesting growing misanthropy, though he showed many kindnesses to people who stood in need of help. He seems to have given Mrs. Dingley fifty guineas a year, pretending that it came from a fund for which he was trustee. The mental decay which he had always feared—"I shall be like that tree," he once said, "I shall die at the top"—became marked about 1738. Paralysis was followed by aphasia, and after acute pain, followed by a long period of apathy, death relieved him in October 1745. He was buried by Stella's side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune was left to found a hospital for idiots and lunatics.
There has been much rather fruitless discussion respecting the reason or reasons why Swift did not marry Stella; for if there was any marriage, it was nothing more than a form. Some have supposed that Swift resolved to remain unmarried because the insanity of an uncle and the fits and giddiness to which he was always subject led him to fear insanity in his own case. Others, looking rather to physical causes, have dwelt upon his coldness of temperament and indisposition to love; upon the repugnance he often showed towards marriage, and the tone of some of the verses on the subject written in his later years. Others, again, have found a cause in his parsimonious habits, in his dread of poverty, the effects of which he had himself felt, and in the smallness of his income, at least until he was middle-aged.(12) It may well be that one or all of these things influenced Swift's action. We cannot say more. He himself, as we have seen, said, as early as 1704, that if his humour and means had permitted him to think of marriage, his choice would have been Stella. Perhaps, however, there is not much mystery in the matter. Swift seems to have been wanting in passion; probably he was satisfied with the affection which Stella gave him, and did not wish for more. Such an attachment as his usually results in marriage, but not necessarily. It is not sufficiently remembered that the affection began in Stella's childhood. They were "perfect friends" for nearly forty years, and her advancing years in no way lessened his love, which was independent of beauty. Whether Stella was satisfied, who shall say? Mrs. Oliphant thought that few women would be disposed to pity Stella, or think her life one of blight or injury. Mr. Leslie Stephen says, "She might and probably did regard his friendship as a full equivalent for the sacrifice.... Is it better to be the most intimate friend of a man of genius or the wife of a commonplace Tisdall?" Whatever we may surmise, there is nothing to prove that she was disappointed. She was the one star which brightened Swift's storm-tossed course; it is well that she was spared seeing the wreck at the end.
The Journal to Stella is interesting from many points of view: for its bearing upon Swift's relations with Stella and upon his own character; for the light which it throws upon the history of the time and upon prominent men of the day; and for the illustrations it contains of the social life of people of various classes in London and elsewhere. The fact that it was written without any thought of publication is one of its greatest attractions. Swift jotted down his opinions, his hopes, his disappointments, without thought of their being seen by anybody but his correspondents. The letters are transparently natural. It has been said more than once that the Journal, by the nature of the case, contains no full-length portraits, and hardly any sketches. Swift mentions the people he met, but rarely stops to draw a picture of them. But though this is true, the casual remarks which he makes often give a vivid impression of what he thought of the person of whom he is speaking, and in many cases those few words form a chief part of our general estimate of the man. There are but few people of note at the time who are not mentioned in these pages. We see Queen Anne holding a Drawing-room in her bedroom: "she looked at us round with her fan in her mouth, and once a minute said about three words to some that were nearest her." We see Harley, afterwards the Earl of Oxford, "a pure trifler," who was always putting off important business; Bolingbroke, "a thorough rake"; the prudent Lord Dartmouth, the other Secretary of State, from whom Swift could never "work out a dinner." There is Marlborough, "covetous as Hell, and ambitious as the prince of it," yet a great general and unduly pressed by the Tories; and the volatile Earl of Peterborough, "above fifty, and as active as one of five-and-twenty"—"the ramblingest lying rogue on earth." We meet poor Congreve, nearly blind, and in fear of losing his commissionership; the kindly Arbuthnot, the Queen's physician; Addison, whom Swift met more and more rarely, busy with the preparation and production of Cato; Steele, careless as ever, neglecting important appointments, and "governed by his wife most abominably"; Prior, poet and diplomatist, with a "lean carcass"; and young Berkeley of Trinity College, Dublin, "a very ingenious man and great philosopher," whom Swift determined to favour as much as he could. Mrs. Masham, the Duchess of Somerset, the Duchess of Shrewsbury, the Duchess of Hamilton, Lady Betty Germaine, and many other ladies appear with more or less distinctness; besides a host of people of less note, of whom we often know little but what Swift tells us.
Swift throws much light, too, on the daily life of his time. The bellman on his nightly rounds, calling "Paaast twelvvve o'clock"; the dinner at three, or at the latest, four; the meetings at coffee-houses; the book-sales; the visit to the London sights—the lions at the Tower, Bedlam, the tombs in Westminster Abbey, and the puppet-show; the terrible Mohocks, of whom Swift stood in so much fear; the polite "howdees" sent to friends by footmen; these and more are all described in the Journal. We read of curious habits and practices of fashionable ladies; of the snuff used by Mrs. Dingley and others; of the jokes—"bites," puns, and the like—indulged in by polite persons. When Swift lodged at Chelsea, he reached London either by boat, or by coach,—which was sometimes full when he wanted it,—or by walking across the "Five Fields," not without fear of robbers at night. The going to or from Ireland was a serious matter; after the long journey by road came the voyage (weather permitting) of some fifteen hours, with the risk of being seized or pursued by French privateers; and when Ireland was reached the roads were of the worst. We have glimpses of fashionable society in Dublin, of the quiet life at Laracor and Trim, and of the drinking of the waters at Wexford, where visitors had to put up with primitive arrangements: "Mrs. Dingley never saw such a place in her life."
Swift's own characteristics come out in the clearest manner in the Journal, which gives all his hopes and fears during three busy years. He was pleased to find on his arrival in London how great a value was set on his friendship by both political parties: "The Whigs were ravished to see me, and would lay hold on me as a twig while they are drowning;" but Godolphin's coldness enraged him, so that he was "almost vowing vengeance." Next day he talked treason heartily against the Whigs, their baseness and ingratitude, and went home full of schemes of revenge. "The Tories drily tell me I may make my fortune, if I please; but I do not understand them, or rather, I DO understand them." He realised that the Tories might not be more grateful than others, but he thought they were pursuing the true interests of the public, and was glad to contribute what was in his power. His vanity was gratified by Harley inviting him to the private dinners with St. John and Harcourt which were given on Saturdays, and by their calling him Jonathan; but he did not hope too much from their friendship: "I said I believed they would leave me Jonathan, as they found me... but I care not."
Of Swift's frugal habits there is abundant evidence in the Journal. When he came to town he took rooms on a first floor, "a dining-room and bed-chamber, at eight shillings a week; plaguy dear, but I spend nothing for eating, never go to a tavern, and very seldom in a coach; yet after all it will be expensive." In November he mentions that he had a fire: "I am spending my second half-bushel of coals." In another place he says, "People have so left the town, that I am at a loss for a dinner.... It cost me eighteenpence in coach-hire before I could find a place to dine in." Elsewhere we find: "This paper does not cost me a farthing: I have it from the Secretary's office." He often complains of having to take a coach owing to the dirty condition of the streets: "This rain ruins me in coach-hire; I walked away sixpennyworth, and came within a shilling length, and then took a coach, and got a lift back for nothing."(13)
Swift's arrogance—the arrogance, sometimes, of a man who is morbidly suspicious that he may be patronised—is shown in the manner in which he speaks of the grand ladies with whom he came in contact. He calls the Duke of Ormond's daughters "insolent drabs," and talks of his "mistress, Ophy Butler's wife, who is grown a little charmless." When the Duchess of Shrewsbury reproached him for not dining with her, Swift said that was not so soon done; he expected more advances from ladies, especially duchesses. On another occasion he was to have supped at Lady Ashburnham's, "but the drab did not call for us in her coach, as she promised, but sent for us, and so I sent my excuses." The arrogance was, however, often only on the surface. It is evident that Swift was very kind in many cases. He felt deeply for Mrs. Long in her misfortunes, living and dying in an obscure country town. On the last illness of the poet Harrison he says, "I am very much afflicted for him, as he is my own creature.... I was afraid to knock at the door; my mind misgave me." He was "heartily sorry for poor Mrs. Parnell's death; she seemed to be an excellent good-natured young woman, and I believe the poor lad is much afflicted; they appeared to live perfectly well together." Afterwards he helped Parnell by introducing him to Bolingbroke and Oxford. He found kind words for Mrs. Manley in her illness, and Lady Ashburnham's death was "extremely moving.... She was my greatest favourite, and I am in excessive concern for her loss." Lastly, he was extraordinarily patient towards his servant Patrick, who drank, stopped out at night, and in many ways tried Swift's temper. There were good points about Patrick, but no doubt the great consideration which Swift showed him was due in part to the fact that he was a favourite of the ladies in Dublin, and had Mrs. Vanhomrigh to intercede for him.
But for the best example of the kindly side of Swift's nature, we must turn to what he tells us in the Journal about Stella herself. The "little language" which Swift used when writing to her was the language he employed when playing with Stella as a little child at Moor Park. Thackeray, who was not much in sympathy with Swift, said that he knew of "nothing more manly, more tender, more exquisitely touching, than some of these notes." Swift says that when he wrote plainly, he felt as if they were no longer alone, but "a bad scrawl is so snug it looks like a PMD." In writing his fond and playful prattle, he made up his mouth "just as if he were speaking it."(14)
Though Mrs. Dingley is constantly associated with Stella in the affectionate greetings in the Journal, she seems to have been included merely as a cloak to enable him to express the more freely his affection for her companion. Such phrases as "saucy girls," "sirrahs," "sauceboxes," and the like, are often applied to both; and sometimes Swift certainly writes as if the one were as dear to him as the other; thus we find, "Farewell, my dearest lives and delights, I love you better than ever, if possible, as hope saved, I do, and ever will.... I can count upon nothing, nor will, but upon MD's love and kindness.... And so farewell, dearest MD, Stella, Dingley, Presto, all together, now and for ever, all together." But as a rule, notwithstanding Swift's caution, the greetings intended for Stella alone are easily distinguishable in tone. He often refers to her weak eyes and delicate health. Thus he writes, "The chocolate is a present, madam, for Stella. Don't read this, you little rogue, with your little eyes; but give it to Dingley, pray now; and I will write as plain as the skies." And again, "God Almighty bless poor Stella, and her eyes and head: what shall we do to cure them, poor dear life?" Or, "Now to Stella's little postscript; and I am almost crazed that you vex yourself for not writing. Can't you dictate to Dingley, and not strain your dear little eyes? I am sure 'tis the grief of my soul to think you are out of order." They had been keeping his birthday; Swift wished he had been with them, rather than in London, where he had no manner of pleasure: "I say Amen with all my heart and vitals, that we may never be asunder again ten days together while poor Presto lives." A few days later he says, "I wish I were at Laracor, with dear charming MD," and again, "Farewell, dearest beloved MD, and love poor poor Presto, who has not had one happy day since he left you." "I will say no more, but beg you to be easy till Fortune takes his course, and to believe MD's felicity is the great goal I aim at in all my pursuits." "How does Stella look, Madam Dingley?" he asks; "pretty well, a handsome young woman still? Will she pass in a crowd? Will she make a figure in a country church?" Elsewhere he writes, on receipt of a letter, "God Almighty bless poor dear Stella, and send her a great many birthdays, all happy and healthy and wealthy, and with me ever together, and never asunder again, unless by chance.... I can hardly imagine you absent when I am reading your letter or writing to you. No, faith, you are just here upon this little paper, and therefore I see and talk with you every evening constantly, and sometimes in the morning." The letters lay under Swift's pillow, and he fondled them as if he were caressing Stella's hand.
Of Stella herself we naturally have no direct account in the Journal, but we hear a good deal of her life in Ireland, and can picture what she was. Among her friends in and about Trim and Laracor were Dr. Raymond, the vicar of Trim, and his wife, the Garret Wesleys, the Percevals, and Mr. Warburton, Swift's curate. At Dublin there were Archdeacon Walls and his family; Alderman Stoyte, his wife and sister-in-law; Dean Sterne and the Irish Postmaster-General, Isaac Manley. For years these friends formed a club which met in Dublin at each other's houses, to sup and play cards ("ombre and claret, and toasted oranges"), and we have frequent allusions to Stella's indifferent play, and the money which she lost, much to Mrs. Dingley's chagrin: "Poor Dingley fretted to see Stella lose that four and elevenpence t'other night." Mrs. Dingley herself could hardly play well enough to hold the cards while Stella went into the next room. If at dinner the mutton was underdone, and "poor Stella cannot eat, poor dear rogue," then "Dingley is so vexed." Swift was for ever urging Stella to walk and ride; she was "naturally a stout walker," and "Dingley would do well enough if her petticoats were pinned up." And we see Stella setting out on and returning from her ride, with her riband and mask: "Ah, that riding to Laracor gives me short sighs as well as you," he says; "all the days I have passed here have been dirt to those."
If the Journal shows us some of Swift's less attractive qualities, it shows still more how great a store of humour, tenderness, and affection there was in him. In these letters we see his very soul; in his literary work we are seldom moved to anything but admiration of his wit and genius. Such daily outpourings could never have been written for publication, they were meant only for one who understood him perfectly; and everything that we know of Stella—her kindliness, her wit, her vivacity, her loyalty—shows that she was worthy of the confidence.
JOURNAL TO STELLA
CHESTER, Sept. 2, 1710.
Joe(2) will give you an account of me till I got into the boat; after which the rogues made a new bargain, and forced me to give them two crowns, and talked as if we should not be able to overtake any ship: but in half an hour we got to the yacht; for the ships lay by (to) wait for my Lord Lieutenant's steward. We made our voyage in fifteen hours just. Last night I came to this town, and shall leave it, I believe, on Monday. The first man I met in Chester was Dr. Raymond.(3) He and Mrs. Raymond were here about levying a fine, in order to have power to sell their estate. They have found everything answer very well. They both desire to present their humble services to you: they do not think of Ireland till next year. I got a fall off my horse, riding here from Parkgate,(4) but no hurt; the horse understanding falls very well, and lying quietly till I get up. My duty to the Bishop of Clogher.(5) I saw him returning from Dunleary; but he saw not me. I take it ill he was not at Convocation, and that I have not his name to my powers.(6) I beg you will hold your resolution of going to Trim, and riding there as much as you can. Let the Bishop of Clogher remind the Bishop of Killala(7) to send me a letter, with one enclosed to the Bishop of Lichfield.(8) Let all who write to me, enclose to Richard Steele, Esq., at his office at the Cockpit, near Whitehall.(9) But not MD; I will pay for their letters at St. James's Coffee-house,(10) that I may have them the sooner. My Lord Mountjoy(11) is now in the humour that we should begin our journey this afternoon; so that I have stole here again to finish this letter, which must be short or long accordingly. I write this post to Mrs. Wesley,(12) and will tell her, that I have taken care she may have her bill of one hundred and fifteen pounds whenever she pleases to send for it; and in that case I desire you will send it her enclosed and sealed, and have it ready so, in case she should send for it: otherwise keep it. I will say no more till I hear whether I go to-day or no: if I do, the letter is almost at an end. My cozen Abigail is grown prodigiously old. God Almighty bless poo dee richar MD; and, for God's sake, be merry, and get oo health. I am perfectly resolved to return as soon as I have done my commission, whether it succeeds or no. I never went to England with so little desire in my life. If Mrs. Curry(13) makes any difficulty about the lodgings, I will quit them and pay her from July 9 last, and Mrs. Brent(14) must write to Parvisol(15) with orders accordingly. The post is come from London, and just going out; so I have only time to pray God to bless poor richr MD FW FW MD MD ME ME ME.
LONDON, Sept. 9, 1710.
Got here last Thursday,(1) after five days' travelling, weary the first, almost dead the second, tolerable the third, and well enough the rest; and am now glad of the fatigue, which has served for exercise; and I am at present well enough. The Whigs were ravished to see me, and would lay hold on me as a twig while they are drowning,(2) and the great men making me their clumsy apologies, etc. But my Lord Treasurer(3) received me with a great deal of coldness, which has enraged me so, I am almost vowing revenge. I have not yet gone half my circle; but I find all my acquaintance just as I left them. I hear my Lady Giffard(4) is much at Court, and Lady Wharton(5) was ridiculing it t'other day; so I have lost a friend there. I have not yet seen her, nor intend it; but I will contrive to see Stella's mother(6) some other way. I writ to the Bishop of Clogher from Chester; and I now write to the Archbishop of Dublin.(7) Everything is turning upside down; every Whig in great office will, to a man, be infallibly put out; and we shall have such a winter as hath not been seen in England. Everybody asks me, how I came to be so long in Ireland, as naturally as if here were my being; but no soul offers to make it so: and I protest I shall return to Dublin, and the Canal at Laracor,(8) with more satisfaction than ever I did in my life. The Tatler(9) expects every day to be turned out of his employment; and the Duke of Ormond,(10) they say, will be Lieutenant of Ireland. I hope you are now peaceably in Presto's(11) lodgings; but I resolve to turn you out by Christmas; in which time I shall either do my business, or find it not to be done. Pray be at Trim by the time this letter comes to you; and ride little Johnson, who must needs be now in good case. I have begun this letter unusually, on the post-night, and have already written to the Archbishop; and cannot lengthen this. Henceforth I will write something every day to MD, and make it a sort of journal; and when it is full, I will send it, whether MD writes or no; and so that will be pretty: and I shall always be in conversation with MD, and MD with Presto. Pray make Parvisol pay you the ten pounds immediately; so I ordered him. They tell me I am grown fatter, and look better; and, on Monday, Jervas(12) is to retouch my picture. I thought I saw Jack Temple(13) and his wife pass by me to-day in their coach; but I took no notice of them. I am glad I have wholly shaken off that family. Tell the Provost,(14) I have obeyed his commands to the Duke of Ormond; or let it alone, if you please. I saw Jemmy Leigh(15) just now at the Coffee-house, who asked after you with great kindness: he talks of going in a fortnight to Ireland. My service to the Dean,(16) and Mrs. Walls, and her Archdeacon.(17) Will Frankland's(18) wife is near bringing to-bed, and I have promised to christen the child. I fancy you had my Chester letter the Tuesday after I writ. I presented Dr. Raymond to Lord Wharton(19) at Chester. Pray let me know when Joe gets his money.(20) It is near ten, and I hate to send by the bellman.(21) MD shall have a longer letter in a week, but I send this only to tell I am safe in London; and so farewell, etc.
LONDON, Sept. 9, 1710.
After seeing the Duke of Ormond, dining with Dr. Cockburn,(1) passing some part of the afternoon with Sir Matthew Dudley(2) and Will Frankland, the rest at St. James's Coffee-house, I came home, and writ to the Archbishop of Dublin and MD, and am going to bed. I forgot to tell you, that I begged Will Frankland to stand Manley's(3) friend with his father in this shaking season for places. He told me, his father was in danger to be out; that several were now soliciting for Manley's place; that he was accused of opening letters; that Sir Thomas Frankland(4) would sacrifice everything to save himself; and in that, I fear, Manley is undone, etc.
10. To-day I dined with Lord Mountjoy at Kensington; saw my mistress, Ophy Butler's(5) wife, who is grown a little charmless. I sat till ten in the evening with Addison and Steele: Steele will certainly lose his Gazetteer's place, all the world detesting his engaging in parties.(6) At ten I went to the Coffee-house, hoping to find Lord Radnor,(7) whom I had not seen. He was there; and for an hour and a half we talked treason heartily against the Whigs, their baseness and ingratitude. And I am come home, rolling resentments in my mind, and framing schemes of revenge: full of which (having written down some hints) I go to bed. I am afraid MD dined at home, because it is Sunday; and there was the little half-pint of wine: for God's sake, be good girls, and all will be well. Ben Tooke(8) was with me this morning.
11. Seven, morning. I am rising to go to Jervas to finish my picture, and 'tis shaving-day, so good-morrow MD; but don't keep me now, for I can't stay; and pray dine with the Dean, but don't lose your money. I long to hear from you, etc.—Ten at night. I sat four hours this morning to Jervas, who has given my picture quite another turn, and now approves it entirely; but we must have the approbation of the town. If I were rich enough, I would get a copy of it, and bring it over. Mr. Addison and I dined together at his lodgings, and I sat with him part of this evening; and I am now come home to write an hour. Patrick(9) observes, that the rabble here are much more inquisitive in politics than in Ireland. Every day we expect changes, and the Parliament to be dissolved. Lord Wharton expects every day to be out: he is working like a horse for elections; and, in short, I never saw so great a ferment among all sorts of people. I had a miserable letter from Joe last Saturday, telling me Mr. Pratt(10) refuses payment of his money. I have told it Mr. Addison, and will to Lord Wharton; but I fear with no success. However, I will do all I can.
12. To-day I presented Mr. Ford(11) to the Duke of Ormond; and paid my first visit to Lord President,(12) with whom I had much discourse; but put him always off when he began to talk of Lord Wharton in relation to me, till he urged it: then I said, he knew I never expected anything from Lord Wharton, and that Lord Wharton knew that I understood it so. He said that he had written twice to Lord Wharton about me, who both times said nothing at all to that part of his letter. I am advised not to meddle in the affair of the First-Fruits, till this hurry is a little over, which still depends, and we are all in the dark. Lord President told me he expects every day to be out, and has done so these two months. I protest, upon my life, I am heartily weary of this town, and wish I had never stirred.
13. I went this morning to the city, to see Mr. Stratford the Hamburg merchant, my old schoolfellow;(13) but calling at Bull's(14) on Ludgate Hill, he forced me to his house at Hampstead to dinner among a great deal of ill company; among the rest Mr. Hoadley,(15) the Whig clergyman, so famous for acting the contrary part to Sacheverell:(16) but tomorrow I design again to see Stratford. I was glad, however, to be at Hampstead, where I saw Lady Lucy(17) and Moll Stanhope. I hear very unfortunate news of Mrs. Long;(18) she and her comrade(19) have broke up house, and she is broke for good and all, and is gone to the country: I should be extremely sorry if this be true.
14. To-day, I saw Patty Rolt,(20) who heard I was in town; and I dined with Stratford at a merchant's in the city, where I drank the first Tokay wine I ever saw; and it is admirable, yet not to the degree I expected. Stratford is worth a plum,(21) and is now lending the Government forty thousand pounds; yet we were educated together at the same school and university.(22) We hear the Chancellor(23) is to be suddenly out, and Sir Simon Harcourt(24) to succeed him: I am come early home, not caring for the Coffee-house.
15. To-day Mr. Addison, Colonel Freind,(25) and I, went to see the million lottery(26) drawn at Guildhall. The jackanapes of bluecoat boys gave themselves such airs in pulling out the tickets, and showed white hands open to the company, to let us see there was no cheat. We dined at a country-house near Chelsea, where Mr. Addison often retires; and to-night, at the Coffee-house, we hear Sir Simon Harcourt is made Lord Keeper; so that now we expect every moment the Parliament will be dissolved; but I forgot that this letter will not go in three or four days, and that my news will be stale, which I should therefore put in the last paragraph. Shall I send this letter before I hear from MD, or shall I keep it to lengthen? I have not yet seen Stella's mother, because I will not see Lady Giffard; but I will contrive to go there when Lady Giffard is abroad. I forgot to mark my two former letters; but I remember this is Number 3, and I have not yet had Number 1 from MD; but I shall by Monday, which I reckon will be just a fortnight after you had my first. I am resolved to bring over a great deal of china. I loved it mightily to-day.(27) What shall I bring?
16. Morning. Sir John Holland,(28) Comptroller of the Household, has sent to desire my acquaintance: I have a mind to refuse him, because he is a Whig, and will, I suppose, be out among the rest; but he is a man of worth and learning. Tell me, do you like this journal way of writing? Is it not tedious and dull?
Night. I dined to-day with a cousin, a printer,(29) where Patty Rolt lodges, and then came home, after a visit or two; and it has been a very insipid day. Mrs. Long's misfortune is confirmed to me; bailiffs were in her house; she retired to private lodgings; thence to the country, nobody knows where: her friends leave letters at some inn, and they are carried to her; and she writes answers without dating them from any place. I swear, it grieves me to the soul.
17. To-day I dined six miles out of town, with Will Pate,(30) the learned woollen-draper; Mr. Stratford went with me; six miles here is nothing: we left Pate after sunset, and were here before it was dark. This letter shall go on Tuesday, whether I hear from MD or no. My health continues pretty well; pray God Stella may give me a good account of hers! and I hope you are now at Trim, or soon designing it. I was disappointed to-night: the fellow gave me a letter, and I hoped to see little MD's hand; and it was only to invite me to a venison pasty to-day: so I lost my pasty into the bargain. Pox on these declining courtiers! Here is Mr. Brydges,(31) the Paymaster-General, desiring my acquaintance; but I hear the Queen sent Lord Shrewsbury(32) to assure him he may keep his place; and he promises me great assistance in the affair of the First-Fruits. Well, I must turn over this leaf to-night, though the side would hold another line; but pray consider this is a whole sheet; it holds a plaguy deal, and you must be content to be weary; but I'll do so no more. Sir Simon Harcourt is made Attorney-General, and not Lord Keeper.
18. To-day I dined with Mr. Stratford at Mr. Addison's retirement near Chelsea; then came to town; got home early, and began a letter to the Tatler,(33) about the corruptions of style and writing, etc., and, having not heard from you, am resolved this letter shall go to-night. Lord Wharton was sent for to town in mighty haste, by the Duke of Devonshire:(34) they have some project in hand; but it will not do, for every hour we expect a thorough revolution, and that the Parliament will be dissolved. When you see Joe, tell him Lord Wharton is too busy to mind any of his affairs; but I will get what good offices I can from Mr. Addison, and will write to-day to Mr. Pratt; and bid Joe not to be discouraged, for I am confident he will get the money under any Government; but he must have patience.
19. I have been scribbling this morning, and I believe shall hardly fill this side to-day, but send it as it is; and it is good enough for naughty girls that won't write to a body, and to a good boy like Presto. I thought to have sent this to-night, but was kept by company, and could not; and, to say the truth, I had a little mind to expect one post more for a letter from MD. Yesterday at noon died the Earl of Anglesea,(35) the great support of the Tories; so that employment of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland is again vacant. We were to have been great friends, and I could hardly have a loss that could grieve me more. The Bishop of Durham(36) died the same day. The Duke of Ormond's daughter(37) was to visit me to-day at a third place by way of advance,(38) and I am to return it to-morrow. I have had a letter from Lady Berkeley, begging me for charity to come to Berkeley Castle, for company to my lord,(39) who has been ill of a dropsy; but I cannot go, and must send my excuse to-morrow. I am told that in a few hours there will be more removals.
20. To-day I returned my visits to the Duke's daughters;(40) the insolent drabs came up to my very mouth to salute me. Then I heard the report confirmed of removals; my Lord President Somers; the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Steward; and Mr. Boyle,(41) Secretary of State, are all turned out to-day. I never remember such bold steps taken by a Court: I am almost shocked at it, though I did not care if they were all hanged. We are astonished why the Parliament is not yet dissolved, and why they keep a matter of that importance to the last. We shall have a strange winter here, between the struggles of a cunning provoked discarded party, and the triumphs of one in power; of both which I shall be an indifferent spectator, and return very peaceably to Ireland, when I have done my part in the affair I am entrusted with, whether it succeeds or no. To-morrow I change my lodgings in Pall Mall for one in Bury Street,(42) where I suppose I shall continue while I stay in London. If anything happens tomorrow, I will add it.—Robin's Coffee-house.(43) We have great news just now from Spain; Madrid taken, and Pampeluna. I am here ever interrupted.
21. I have just received your letter, which I will not answer now; God be thanked all things are so well. I find you have not yet had my second: I had a letter from Parvisol, who tells me he gave Mrs. Walls a bill of twenty pounds for me, to be given to you; but you have not sent it. This night the Parliament is dissolved: great news from Spain; King Charles and Stanhope are at Madrid, and Count Staremberg has taken Pampeluna. Farewell. This is from St. James's Coffee-house. I will begin my answer to your letter to-night, but not send it this week. Pray tell me whether you like this journal way of writing.—I don't like your reasons for not going to Trim. Parvisol tells me he can sell your horse. Sell it, with a pox? Pray let him know that he shall sell his soul as soon. What? sell anything that Stella loves, and may sometimes ride? It is hers, and let her do as she pleases: pray let him know this by the first that you know goes to Trim. Let him sell my grey, and be hanged.
LONDON, Sept. 21, 1710.
Here must I begin another letter, on a whole sheet, for fear saucy little MD should be angry, and think MUCH that the paper is too LITTLE. I had your letter this night, as told you just and no more in my last; for this must be taken up in answering yours, saucebox. I believe I told you where I dined to-day; and to-morrow I go out of town for two days to dine with the same company on Sunday; Molesworth(1) the Florence Envoy, Stratford, and some others. I heard to-day that a gentlewoman from Lady Giffard's house had been at the Coffee-house to inquire for me. It was Stella's mother, I suppose. I shall send her a penny-post letter(2) to-morrow, and contrive to see her without hazarding seeing Lady Giffard, which I will not do until she begs my pardon.
22. I dined to-day at Hampstead with Lady Lucy, etc., and when I got home found a letter from Joe, with one enclosed to Lord Wharton, which I will send to his Excellency, and second it as well as I can; but to talk of getting the Queen's order is a jest. Things are in such a combustion here, that I am advised not to meddle yet in the affair I am upon, which concerns the clergy of a whole kingdom; and does he think anybody will trouble the Queen about Joe? We shall, I hope, get a recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant to the trustees for the linen business, and I hope that will do; and so I will write to him in a few days, and he must have patience. This is an answer to part of your letter as well as his. I lied; it is to-morrow I go to the country, and I won't answer a bit more of your letter yet.
23. Here is such a stir and bustle with this little MD of ours; I must be writing every night; I can't go to bed without a word to them; I can't put out my candle till I have bid them good-night: O Lord, O Lord! Well, I dined the first time to-day, with Will Frankland and his fortune: she is not very handsome. Did I not say I would go out of town to-day? I hate lying abroad and clutter; I go tomorrow in Frankland's chariot, and come back at night. Lady Berkeley has invited me to Berkeley Castle, and Lady Betty Germaine(3) to Drayton in Northamptonshire; and I'll go to neither. Let me alone, I must finish my pamphlet. I have sent a long letter to Bickerstaff:(4) let the Bishop of Clogher smoke(5) it if he can. Well, I'll write to the Bishop of Killala; but you might have told him how sudden and unexpected my journey was though. Deuce take Lady S—-; and if I know D—-y, he is a rawboned-faced fellow, not handsome, nor visibly so young as you say: she sacrifices two thousand pounds a year, and keeps only six hundred. Well, you have had all my land journey in my second letter, and so much for that. So, you have got into Presto's lodgings; very fine, truly! We have had a fortnight of the most glorious weather on earth, and still continues: I hope you have made the best of it. Ballygall(6) will be a pure(7) good place for air, if Mrs. Ashe makes good her promise. Stella writes like an emperor: I am afraid it hurts your eyes; take care of that pray, pray, Mrs. Stella. Can't you do what you will with your own horse? Pray don't let that puppy Parvisol sell him. Patrick is drunk about three times a week, and I bear it, and he has got the better of me; but one of these days I will positively turn him off to the wide world, when none of you are by to intercede for him.—Stuff—how can I get her husband into the Charter-house? get a —— into the Charter-house.—Write constantly! Why, sirrah, don't I write every day, and sometimes twice a day to MD? Now I have answered all your letter, and the rest must be as it can be: send me my bill. Tell Mrs. Brent what I say of the Charter-house. I think this enough for one night; and so farewell till this time to-morrow.
24. To-day I dined six miles out of town at Will Pate's, with Stratford, Frankland, and the Molesworths,(8) and came home at night, and was weary and lazy. I can say no more now, but good-night.
25. I was so lazy to-day that I dined at next door,(9) and have sat at home since six, writing to the Bishop of Clogher, Dean Sterne, and Mr. Manley: the last, because I am in fear for him about his place, and have sent him my opinion, what I and his other friends here think he ought to do. I hope he will take it well. My advice was, to keep as much in favour as possible with Sir Thomas Frankland, his master here.
26. Smoke how I widen the margin by lying in bed when I write. My bed lies on the wrong side for me, so that I am forced often to write when I am up. Manley, you must know, has had people putting in for his place already; and has been complained of for opening letters. Remember that last Sunday, September 24, 1710, was as hot as midsummer. This was written in the morning; it is now night, and Presto in bed. Here's a clutter, I have gotten MD's second letter, and I must answer it here. I gave the bill to Tooke, and so—Well, I dined to-day with Sir John Holland the Comptroller, and sat with him till eight; then came home, and sent my letters, and writ part of a lampoon,(10) which goes on very slow: and now I am writing to saucy MD; no wonder, indeed, good boys must write to naughty girls. I have not seen your mother yet; my penny-post letter, I suppose, miscarried: I will write another. Mr. S—— came to see me; and said M—— was going to the country next morning with her husband (who I find is a surly brute); so I could only desire my service to her.
27. To-day all our company dined at Will Frankland's, with Steele and Addison too. This is the first rainy day since I came to town; I cannot afford to answer your letter yet. Morgan,(11) the puppy, writ me a long letter, to desire I would recommend him for purse-bearer or secretary to the next Lord Chancellor that would come with the next Governor. I will not answer him; but beg you will say these words to his father Raymond,(12) or anybody that will tell him: That Dr. Swift has received his letter; and would be very ready to serve him, but cannot do it in what he desires, because he has no sort of interest in the persons to be applied to. These words you may write, and let Joe, or Mr. Warburton,(13) give them to him: a pox on him! However, it is by these sort of ways that fools get preferment. I must not end yet, because I cannot say good-night without losing a line, and then MD would scold; but now, good-night.
28. I have the finest piece of Brazil tobacco for Dingley that ever was born.(14) You talk of Leigh; why, he won't be in Dublin these two months: he goes to the country, then returns to London, to see how the world goes here in Parliament. Good-night, sirrahs; no, no, not night; I writ this in the morning, and looking carelessly I thought it had been of last night. I dined to-day with Mrs. Barton(15) alone at her lodgings; where she told me for certain, that Lady S—— was with child when she was last in England, and pretended a tympany, and saw everybody; then disappeared for three weeks, her tympany was gone, and she looked like a ghost, etc. No wonder she married when she was so ill at containing. Connolly(16) is out; and Mr. Roberts in his place, who loses a better here, but was formerly a Commissioner in Ireland. That employment cost Connolly three thousand pounds to Lord Wharton; so he has made one ill bargain in his life.
29. I wish MD a merry Michaelmas. I dined with Mr. Addison, and Jervas the painter, at Addison's country place; and then came home, and writ more to my lampoon. I made a Tatler since I came: guess which it is, and whether the Bishop of Clogher smokes it. I saw Mr. Sterne(17) to-day: he will do as you order, and I will give him chocolate for Stella's health. He goes not these three weeks. I wish I could send it some other way. So now to your letter, brave boys. I don't like your way of saving shillings: nothing vexes me but that it does not make Stella a coward in a coach.(18) I don't think any lady's advice about my ear signifies twopence: however I will, in compliance to you, ask Dr. Cockburn. Radcliffe(19) I know not, and Barnard(20) I never see. Walls will certainly be stingier for seven years, upon pretence of his robbery. So Stella puns again; why, 'tis well enough; but I'll not second it, though I could make a dozen: I never thought of a pun since I left Ireland.—Bishop of Clogher's bill? Why, he paid it to me; do you think I was such a fool to go without it? As for the four shillings, I will give you a bill on Parvisol for it on t'other side of this paper; and pray tear off the two letters I shall write to him and Joe, or let Dingley transcribe and send them; though that to Parvisol, I believe, he must have my hand for. No, no, I'll eat no grapes; I ate about six the other day at Sir John Holland's; but would not give sixpence for a thousand, they are so bad this year. Yes, faith, I hope in God Presto and MD will be together this time twelvemonth. What then? Last year I suppose I was at Laracor; but next I hope to eat my Michaelmas goose at my two little gooses' lodgings. I drink no aile (I suppose you mean ale); but yet good wine every day, of five and six shillings a bottle. O Lord, how much Stella writes! pray don't carry that too far, young women, but be temperate, to hold out. To-morrow I go to Mr. Harley.(21) Why, small hopes from the Duke of Ormond: he loves me very well, I believe, and would, in my turn, give me something to make me easy; and I have good interest among his best friends. But I don't think of anything further than the business I am upon. You see I writ to Manley before I had your letter, and I fear he will be out. Yes, Mrs. Owl, Bligh's corpse(22) came to Chester when I was there; and I told you so in my letter, or forgot it. I lodge in Bury Street, where I removed a week ago. I have the first floor, a dining-room, and bed-chamber, at eight shillings a week; plaguy deep, but I spend nothing for eating, never go to a tavern, and very seldom in a coach; yet after all it will be expensive. Why do you trouble yourself, Mistress Stella, about my instrument? I have the same the Archbishop gave me; and it is as good now the bishops are away. The Dean friendly! the Dean be poxed: a great piece of friendship indeed, what you heard him tell the Bishop of Clogher; I wonder he had the face to talk so: but he lent me money, and that's enough. Faith, I would not send this these four days, only for writing to Joe and Parvisol. Tell the Dean that when the bishops send me any packets, they must not write to me at Mr. Steele's; but direct for Mr. Steele, at his office at the Cockpit, and let the enclosed be directed for me: that mistake cost me eighteenpence the other day.
30. I dined with Stratford to-day, but am not to see Mr. Harley till Wednesday: it is late, and I send this before there is occasion for the bell; because I would have Joe have his letter, and Parvisol too; which you must so contrive as not to cost them double postage. I can say no more, but that I am, etc.
LONDON, Sept. 30, 1710.
Han't I brought myself into a fine praemunire,(1) to begin writing letters in whole sheets? and now I dare not leave it off. I cannot tell whether you like these journal letters: I believe they would be dull to me to read them over; but, perhaps, little MD is pleased to know how Presto passes his time in her absence. I always begin my last the same day I ended my former. I told you where I dined to-day at a tavern with Stratford: Lewis,(2) who is a great favourite of Harley's, was to have been with us; but he was hurried to Hampton Court, and sent his excuse; and that next Wednesday he would introduce me to Harley. 'Tis good to see what a lamentable confession the Whigs all make me of my ill usage: but I mind them not. I am already represented to Harley as a discontented person, that was used ill for not being Whig enough; and I hope for good usage from him. The Tories drily tell me, I may make my fortune, if I please; but I do not understand them—or rather, I do understand them.
Oct. 1. To-day I dined at Molesworth's, the Florence Envoy; and sat this evening with my friend Darteneuf,(3) whom you have heard me talk of; the greatest punner of this town next myself. Have you smoked the Tatler that I writ?(4) It is much liked here, and I think it a pure(5) one. To-morrow I go with Delaval,(6) the Portugal Envoy, to dine with Lord Halifax near Hampton Court.(7) Your Manley's brother, a Parliament-man here, has gotten an employment;(8) and I am informed uses much interest to preserve his brother: and, to-day, I spoke to the elder Frankland to engage his father (Postmaster here); and I hope he will be safe, although he is cruelly hated by all the Tories of Ireland. I have almost finished my lampoon, and will print it for revenge on a certain great person.(9) It has cost me but three shillings in meat and drink since I came here, as thin as the town is. I laugh to see myself so disengaged in these revolutions. Well, I must leave off, and go write to Sir John Stanley,(10) to desire him to engage Lady Hyde as my mistress to engage Lord Hyde(11) in favour of Mr. Pratt.(12)
2. Lord Halifax was at Hampton Court at his lodgings, and I dined with him there with Methuen,(13) and Delaval, and the late Attorney-General.(14) I went to the Drawing-room before dinner (for the Queen was at Hampton Court), and expected to see nobody; but I met acquaintance enough. I walked in the gardens, saw the cartoons of Raphael, and other things; and with great difficulty got from Lord Halifax, who would have kept me to-morrow to show me his house and park, and improvements. We left Hampton Court at sunset, and got here in a chariot and two horses time enough by starlight. That's something charms me mightily about London; that you go dine a dozen miles off in October, stay all day, and return so quickly: you cannot do anything like this in Dublin.(15) I writ a second penny post letter to your mother, and hear nothing of her. Did I tell you that Earl Berkeley died last Sunday was se'nnight, at Berkeley Castle, of a dropsy? Lord Halifax began a health to me to-day; it was the Resurrection of the Whigs, which I refused unless he would add their Reformation too and I told him he was the only Whig in England I loved, or had any good opinion of.
3. This morning Stella's sister(16) came to me with a letter from her mother, who is at Sheen; but will soon be in town, and will call to see me: she gave me a bottle of palsy water,(17) a small one, and desired I would send it you by the first convenience, as I will; and she promises a quart bottle of the same: your sister looked very well, and seems a good modest sort of girl. I went then to Mr. Lewis, first secretary to Lord Dartmouth,(18) and favourite to Mr. Harley, who is to introduce me to-morrow morning. Lewis had with him one Mr. Dyot,(19) a Justice of Peace, worth twenty thousand pounds, a Commissioner of the Stamp Office, and married to a sister of Sir Philip Meadows,(20) Envoy to the Emperor. I tell you this, because it is odds but this Mr. Dyot will be hanged; for he is discovered to have counterfeited stamped paper, in which he was a Commissioner; and, with his accomplices, has cheated the Queen of a hundred thousand pounds. You will hear of it before this come to you, but may be not so particularly; and it is a very odd accident in such a man. Smoke Presto writing news to MD. I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy at Kensington, and walked from thence this evening to town like an emperor. Remember that yesterday, October 2, was a cruel hard frost, with ice; and six days ago I was dying with heat. As thin as the town is, I have more dinners than ever; and am asked this month by some people, without being able to come for pre-engagements. Well, but I should write plainer, when I consider Stella cannot read,(21) and Dingley is not so skilful at my ugly hand. I had tonight a letter from Mr. Pratt, who tells me Joe will have his money when there are trustees appointed by the Lord Lieutenant for receiving and disposing the linen fund; and whenever those trustees are appointed, I will solicit whoever is Lord Lieutenant, and am in no fear of succeeding. So pray tell or write him word, and bid him not be cast down; for Ned Southwell(22) and Mr. Addison both think Pratt in the right. Don't lose your money at Manley's to-night, sirrahs.
4. After I had put out my candle last night, my landlady came into my room, with a servant of Lord Halifax, to desire I would go dine with him at his house near Hampton Court; but I sent him word, I had business of great importance that hindered me, etc. And to-day I was brought privately to Mr. Harley, who received me with the greatest respect and kindness imaginable: he has appointed me an hour on Saturday at four, afternoon, when I will open my business to him; which expression I would not use if I were a woman. I know you smoked it; but I did not till I writ it. I dined to-day at Mr. Delaval's, the Envoy for Portugal, with Nic Rowe(23) the poet, and other friends; and I gave my lampoon to be printed. I have more mischief in my heart; and I think it shall go round with them all, as this hits, and I can find hints. I am certain I answered your 2d letter, and yet I do not find it here. I suppose it was in my 4th: and why N. 2d, 3d; is it not enough to say, as I do, 1, 2, 3? etc. I am going to work at another Tatler:(24) I'll be far enough but I say the same thing over two or three times, just as I do when I am talking to little MD; but what care I? they can read it as easily as I can write it: I think I have brought these lines pretty straight again. I fear it will be long before I finish two sides at this rate. Pray, dear MD, when I occasionally give you any little commission mixed with my letters, don't forget it, as that to Morgan and Joe, etc., for I write just as I can remember, otherwise I would put them all together. I was to visit Mr. Sterne to-day, and give him your commission about handkerchiefs: that of chocolate I will do myself, and send it him when he goes, and you'll pay me when the GIVER'S BREAD,(25) etc. To-night I will read a pamphlet, to amuse myself. God preserve your dear healths!
5. This morning Delaval came to see me, and we went together to Kneller's,(26) who was not in town. In the way we met the electors for Parliament-men:(27) and the rabble came about our coach, crying, "A Colt, a Stanhope," etc. We were afraid of a dead cat, or our glasses broken, and so were always of their side. I dined again at Delaval's; and in the evening, at the Coffee-house, heard Sir Andrew Fountaine(28) was come to town. This has been but an insipid sort of day, and I have nothing to remark upon it worth threepence: I hope MD had a better, with the Dean, the Bishop, or Mrs. Walls.(29) Why, the reason you lost four and eightpence last night but one at Manley's was, because you played bad games: I took notice of six that you had ten to one against you: Would any but a mad lady go out twice upon Manilio; Basto, and two small diamonds?(30) Then in that game of spades, you blundered when you had ten-ace; I never saw the like of you: and now you are in a huff because I tell you this. Well, here's two and eightpence halfpenny towards your loss.
6. Sir Andrew Fountaine came this morning, and caught me writing in bed. I went into the city with him; and we dined at the Chop-house with Will Pate,(31) the learned woollen-draper: then we sauntered at China-shops(32) and booksellers; went to the tavern, drank two pints of white wine, and never parted till ten: and now I am come home, and must copy out some papers I intend for Mr. Harley, whom I am to see, as I told you, to-morrow afternoon; so that this night I shall say little to MD, but that I heartily wish myself with them, and will come as soon as I either fail, or compass my business. We now hear daily of elections; and, in a list I saw yesterday of about twenty, there are seven or eight more Tories than in the last Parliament; so that I believe they need not fear a majority, with the help of those who will vote as the Court pleases. But I have been told that Mr. Harley himself would not let the Tories be too numerous, for fear they should be insolent, and kick against him; and for that reason they have kept several Whigs in employments, who expected to be turned out every day; as Sir John Holland the Comptroller, and many others. And so get you gone to your cards, and your claret and orange, at the Dean's; and I'll go write.
7. I wonder when this letter will be finished: it must go by Tuesday, that's certain; and if I have one from MD before, I will not answer it, that's as certain too. 'Tis now morning, and I did not finish my papers for Mr. Harley last night; for you must understand Presto was sleepy, and made blunders and blots. Very pretty that I must be writing to young women in a morning fresh and fasting, faith. Well, good-morrow to you; and so I go to business, and lay aside this paper till night, sirrahs.—At night. Jack How(33) told Harley that if there were a lower place in hell than another, it was reserved for his porter, who tells lies so gravely, and with so civil a manner. This porter I have had to deal with, going this evening at four to visit Mr. Harley, by his own appointment. But the fellow told me no lie, though I suspected every word he said. He told me his master was just gone to dinner, with much company, and desired I would come an hour hence: which I did, expecting to hear Mr. Harley was gone out; but they had just done dinner. Mr. Harley came out to me, brought me in, and presented to me his son-in-law Lord Doblane(34) (or some such name) and his own son,(35) and, among others, Will Penn(36) the Quaker: we sat two hours drinking as good wine as you do; and two hours more he and I alone; where he heard me tell my business; entered into it with all kindness; asked for my powers, and read them; and read likewise a memorial(37) I had drawn up, and put it in his pocket to show the Queen; told me the measures he would take; and, in short, said everything I could wish: told me, he must bring Mr. St. John(38) (Secretary of State) and me acquainted; and spoke so many things of personal kindness and esteem for me, that I am inclined half to believe what some friends have told me, that he would do everything to bring me over. He has desired to dine with me (what a comical mistake was that!). I mean he has desired me to dine with him on Tuesday; and after four hours being with him, set me down at St. James's Coffee-house in a hackney-coach. All this is odd and comical, if you consider him and me. He knew my Christian name very well. I could not forbear saying thus much upon this matter, although you will think it tedious. But I'll tell you; you must know, 'tis fatal(39) to me to be a scoundrel and a prince the same day: for, being to see him at four, I could not engage myself to dine at any friend's; so I went to Tooke,(40) to give him a ballad, and dine with him; but he was not at home: so I was forced to go to a blind(41) chop-house, and dine for tenpence upon gill-ale,(42) bad broth, and three chops of mutton; and then go reeking from thence to the First Minister of State. And now I am going in charity to send Steele a Tatler, who is very low of late. I think I am civiller than I used to be; and have not used the expression of "you in Ireland" and "we in England" as I did when I was here before, to your great indignation.—They may talk of the you know what;(43) but, gad, if it had not been for that, I should never have been able to get the access I have had; and if that helps me to succeed, then that same thing will be serviceable to the Church. But how far we must depend upon new friends, I have learnt by long practice, though I think among great Ministers, they are just as good as old ones. And so I think this important day has made a great hole in this side of the paper; and the fiddle-faddles of tomorrow and Monday will make up the rest; and, besides, I shall see Harley on Tuesday before this letter goes.