The Journal to Stella, by Jonathan Swift

Letter 34.

London, Nov. 3, 1711.

My thirty-third lies now before me just finished, and I am going to seal and send it, so let me know whether you would have me add anything: I gave you my journal of this day; and it is now nine at night, and I am going to be busy for an hour or two.

4. I left a friend’s house to-day where I was invited, just when dinner was setting on, and pretended I was engaged, because I saw some fellows I did not know; and went to Sir Matthew Dudley’s, where I had the same inconvenience, but he would not let me go; otherwise I would have gone home, and sent for a slice of mutton and a pot of ale, rather than dine with persons unknown, as bad, for aught I know, as your deans, parsons, and curates. Bad slabby weather to-day. — Now methinks I write at ease, when I have no letter of MD’s to answer. But I mistook, and have got the large paper. The Queen is laid up with the gout at Hampton Court: she is now seldom without it any long time together; I fear it will wear her out in a very few years. I plainly find I have less twitchings about my toes since these Ministers are sick and out of town, and that I don’t dine with them. I would compound for a light easy gout to be perfectly well in my head. — Pray walk when the frost comes, young ladies go a frost-biting. It comes into my head, that, from the very time you first went to Ireland, I have been always plying you to walk and read. The young fellows here have begun a kind of fashion to walk, and many of them have got swingeing strong shoes on purpose; it has got as far as several young lords; if it hold, it would be a very good thing. Lady Lucy1 and I are fallen out; she rails at me, and I have left visiting her.

5. MD was very troublesome to me last night in my sleep; I was a dreamed, methought, that Stella was here. I asked her after Dingley, and she said she had left her in Ireland, because she designed her stay to be short, and such stuff. — Monsieur Pontchartain, the Secretary of State in France, and Monsieur Fontenelle, the Secretary of the Royal Academy there (who writ the Dialogues des Morts, etc.), have sent letters to Lord Pembroke that the Academy have, with the King’s consent, chosen him one of their members in the room of one who is lately dead. But the cautious gentleman has given me the letters to show my Lord Dartmouth and Mr. St. John, our two Secretaries, and let them see there is no treason in them; which I will do on Wednesday, when they come from Hampton Court. The letters are very handsome, and it is a very great mark of honour and distinction to Lord Pembroke. I hear the two French Ministers are come over again about the peace; but I have seen nobody of consequence to know the truth. I dined to-day with a lady of my acquaintance, who was sick, in her bed-chamber, upon three herrings and a chicken: the dinner was my bespeaking. We begin now to have chestnuts and Seville oranges; have you the latter yet? ’Twas a terrible windy day, and we had processions in carts of the Pope and the Devil, and the butchers rang their cleavers. You know this is the Fifth of November, Popery and gunpowder.

6. Since I am used to this way of writing, I fancy I could hardly make out a long letter to MD without it. I think I ought to allow for every line taken up by telling you where I dined; but that will not be above seven lines in all, half a line to a dinner. Your Ingoldsby2 is going over, and they say here he is to be made a lord. — Here was I staying in my room till two this afternoon for that puppy Sir Andrew Fountaine, who was to go with me into the City, and never came; and if I had not shot a dinner flying, with one Mr. Murray, I might have fasted, or gone to an alehouse. — You never said one word of Goody Stoyte in your letter; but I suppose these winter nights we shall hear more of her. Does the Provost3 laugh as much as he used to do? We reckon him here a good-for-nothing fellow. — I design to write to your Dean one of these days, but I can never find time, nor what to say. — I will think of something: but if DD4 were not in Ireland I believe seriously I should not think of the place twice a year. Nothing there ever makes the subject of talk in any company where I am.

7. I went to-day to the City on business; but stopped at a printer’s, and stayed there: it was a most delicious day. I hear the Parliament is to be prorogued for a fortnight longer; I suppose, either because the Queen has the gout, or that Lord Treasurer is not well, or that they would do something more towards a peace. I called at Lord Treasurer’s at noon, and sat a while with Lord Harley, but his father was asleep. A bookseller has reprinted or new-titled a sermon of Tom Swift’s,5 printed last year, and publishes an advertisement calling it Dr. Swift’s Sermon. Some friend of Lord Galway6 has, by his directions, published a four-shilling book about his conduct in Spain, to defend him; I have but just seen it. But what care you for books, except Presto’s Miscellanies? Leigh promised to call and see me, but has not yet; I hope he will take care of his cargo, and get your Chester box. A murrain take that box! everything is spoiled that is in it. How does the strong box do? You say nothing of Raymond: is his wife brought to bed again; or how? has he finished his house; paid his debts; and put out the rest of the money to use? I am glad to hear poor Joe is like to get his two hundred pounds. I suppose Trim is now reduced to slavery again. I am glad of it; the people were as great rascals as the gentlemen. But I must go to bed, sirrahs: the Secretary is still at Hampton Court with my papers, or is come only to-night. They plague me with attending them.

8. I was with the Secretary this morning, and we dined with Prior, and did business this afternoon till about eight; and I must alter and undo, and a clutter. I am glad the Parliament is prorogued. I stayed with Prior till eleven; the Secretary left us at eight. Prior, I believe, will be one of those employed to make the peace, when a Congress is opened. Lord Ashburnham told to-day at the Coffee-house that Lord Harley7 was yesterday morning married to the Duke of Newcastle’s daughter, the great heiress, and it got about all the town. But I saw Lord Harley yesterday at noon in his nightgown, and he dined in the City with Prior and others; so it is not true; but I hope it will be so; for I know it has been privately managing this long time:8 the lady will not have half her father’s estate; for the Duke left Lord Pelham’s son his heir.9 The widow Duchess will not stand to the will, and she is now at law with Pelham. However, at worst, the girl will have about ten thousand pounds a year to support the honour; for Lord Treasurer will never save a groat for himself. Lord Harley is a very valuable young gentleman; and they say the girl is handsome, and has good sense, but red hair.

9. I designed a jaunt into the City to-day to be merry, but was disappointed; so one always is in this life; and I could not see Lord Dartmouth to-day, with whom I had some business. Business and pleasure both disappointed. You can go to your Dean, and for want of him, Goody Stoyte, or Walls, or Manley, and meet everywhere with cards and claret. I dined privately with a friend on a herring and chicken, and half a flask of bad Florence. I begin to have fires now, when the mornings are cold. I have got some loose bricks at the back of my grate for good husbandry. Fine weather. Patrick tells me my caps are wearing out. I know not how to get others. I want a necessary woman strangely. I am as helpless as an elephant. — I had three packets from the Archbishop of Dublin, cost me four shillings, all about Higgins,10 printed stuff, and two long letters. His people forgot to enclose them to Lewis; and they were only directed to Doctor Swift, without naming London or anything else. I wonder how they reached me, unless the postmaster directed them. I have read all the trash, and am weary.

10. Why, if you must have it out, something is to be published of great moment,11 and three or four great people are to see there are no mistakes in point of fact: and ’tis so troublesome to send it among them, and get their corrections, that I am weary as a dog. I dined to-day with the printer, and was there all the afternoon; and it plagues me, and there’s an end, and what would you have? Lady Dupplin, Lord Treasurer’s daughter,12 is brought to bed of a son. Lord Treasurer has had an ugly return of his gravel. ’Tis good for us to live in gravel pits,13 but not for gravel pits to live in us; a man in this case should leave no stone unturned. Lord Treasurer’s sickness, the Queen’s gout, the forwarding the peace, occasion putting off the Parliament a fortnight longer. My head has had no ill returns. I had good walking to-day in the City, and take all opportunities of it on purpose for my health; but I can’t walk in the Park, because that is only for walking’s sake, and loses time, so I mix it with business. I wish MD walked half as much as Presto. If I was with you, I’d make you walk; I would walk behind or before you, and you should have masks on, and be tucked up like anything; and Stella is naturally a stout walker, and carries herself firm; methinks I see her strut, and step clever over a kennel; and Dingley would do well enough if her petticoats were pinned up; but she is so embroiled, and so fearful, and then Stella scolds, and Dingley stumbles, and is so daggled.14 Have you got the whalebone petticoats among you yet? I hate them; a woman here may hide a moderate gallant under them. Pshaw, what’s all this I’m saying? Methinks I am talking to MD face to face.

11. Did I tell you that old Frowde,15 the old fool, is selling his estate at Pepperhara, and is skulking about the town nobody knows where? and who do you think manages all this for him, but that rogue Child,16 the double squire of Farnham? I have put Mrs. Masham, the Queen’s favourite, upon buying it, but that is yet a great secret; and I have employed Lady Oglethorpe to inquire about it. I was with Lady Oglethorpe to-day, who is come to town for a week or two, and to-morrow I will see to hunt out the old fool: he is utterly ruined, and at this present in some blind alley with some dirty wench. He has two sons that must starve, and he never gives them a farthing. If Mrs. Masham buys the land, I will desire her to get the Queen to give some pension to the old fool, to keep him from absolutely starving. What do you meddle with other people’s affairs for? says Stella. Oh, but Mr. Masham and his wife are very urgent with me, since I first put them in the head of it. I dined with Sir Matthew Dudley, who, I doubt, will soon lose his employment.

12. Morning. I am going to hunt out old Frowde, and to do some business in the City. I have not yet called to Patrick to know whether it be fair. — It has been past dropping these two days. Rainy weather hurts my pate and my purse. He tells me ’tis very windy, and begins to look dark; woe be to my shillings! an old saying and a true,

Few fillings,
Many shillings.

If the day be dark, my purse will be light.

To my enemies be this curse,
A dark day and a light purse.

And so I’ll rise, and go to my fire, for Patrick tells me I have a fire; yet it is not shaving-day, nor is the weather cold; this is too extravagant. What is become of Dilly? I suppose you have him with you. Stella is just now showing a white leg, and putting it into the slipper. Present my service to her, and tell her I am engaged to the Dean, and desire she will come too: or, Dingley, can’t you write a note? This is Stella’s morning dialogue, no, morning speech I mean. — Morrow, sirrahs, and let me rise as well as you; but I promise you Walls can’t dine with the Dean to-day, for she is to be at Mrs. Proby’s just after dinner, and to go with Gracy Spencer17 to the shops to buy a yard of muslin, and a silver lace for an under petticoat. Morrow again, sirrahs. — At night. I dined with Stratford in the City, but could not finish my affairs with him; but now I am resolved to buy five hundred pounds South Sea Stock, which will cost me three hundred and eighty ready money; and I will make use of the bill of a hundred pounds you sent me, and transfer Mrs. Walls over to Hawkshaw; or if she dislikes it, I will borrow a hundred pounds of the Secretary, and repay her. Three shillings coach-hire to-day. I have spoken to Frowde’s brother to get me the lowest price of the estate, to tell Mrs. Masham.

13. I dined privately with a friend to-day in the neighbourhood. Last Saturday night I came home, and the drab had just washed my room, and my bed-chamber was all wet, and I was forced to go to bed in my own defence, and no fire: I was sick on Sunday, and now have got a swingeing cold. I scolded like a dog at Patrick, although he was out with me: I detest washing of rooms; can’t they wash them in a morning, and make a fire, and leave open the windows? I slept not a wink last night for hawking18 and spitting: and now everybody has colds. Here’s a clutter: I’ll go to bed and sleep if I can.

14. Lady Mountjoy sent to me two days ago, so I dined with her to-day, and in the evening went to see Lord Treasurer. I found Patrick had been just there with a how d’ye,19 and my lord had returned answer that he desired to see me. Mrs. Masham was with him when I came, and they are never disturbed: ’tis well she is not very handsome; they sit alone together settling the nation. I sat with Lady Oxford, and stopped Mrs. Masham as she came out, and told her what progress I had made, etc., and then went to Lord Treasurer: he is very well, only uneasy at rising or sitting, with some rheumatic pain in his thigh, and a foot weak. He showed me a small paper, sent by an unknown hand to one Mr. Cook, who sent it to my lord: it was written in plain large letters thus

“Though G—-d’s knife did not succeed,
A F—-n’s yet may do the deed.”

And a little below: “BURN THIS, YOU DOG.” My lord has frequently such letters as these: once he showed me one, which was a vision describing a certain man, his dress, his sword, and his countenance, who was to murder my lord. And he told me he saw a fellow in the chapel at Windsor with a dress very like it. They often send him letters signed, “Your humble servant, The Devil,” and such stuff. I sat with him till after ten, and have business to do.

15. The Secretary came yesterday to town from Hampton Court, so I went to him early this morning; but he went back last night again: and coming home to-night I found a letter from him to tell me that he was just come from Hampton Court, and just returning, and will not be here till Saturday night. A pox take him! he stops all my business. I’ll beg leave to come back when I have got over this, and hope to see MD in Ireland soon after Christmas. — I’m weary of Courts, and want my journeys to Laracor; they did me more good than all the Ministries these twenty years. I dined to-day in the City, but did no business as I designed. Lady Mountjoy tells me that Dilly is got to Ireland, and that the Archbishop of Dublin was the cause of his returning so soon. The Parliament was prorogued two days ago for a fortnight, which, with the Queen’s absence, makes the town very dull and empty. They tell me the Duke of Ormond brings all the world away with him from Ireland. London has nothing so bad in it in winter as your knots of Irish folks; but I go to no coffee-house, and so I seldom see them. This letter shall go on Saturday; and then I am even with the world again. I have lent money, and cannot get it, and am forced to borrow for myself.

16. My man made a blunder this morning, and let up a visitor, when I had ordered to see nobody; so I was forced to hurry a hang-dog instrument of mine into my bed-chamber, and keep him cooling his heels there above an hour. — I am going on fairly in the common forms of a great cold; I believe it will last me about ten days in all. — I should have told you, that in those two verses sent to Lord Treasurer, G—-d stands for Guiscard; that is easy; but we differed about F—-n; I thought it was for Frenchman, because he hates them, and they him: and so it would be, That although Guiscard’s knife missed its design, the knife of a Frenchman might yet do it. My lord thinks it stands for Felton, the name of him that stabbed the first Duke of Buckingham. Sir Andrew Fountaine and I dined with the Vans to-day, and my cold made me loiter all the evening. Stay, young women, don’t you begin to owe me a letter? just a month to-day since I had your N.22. I’ll stay a week longer, and then, I’ll expect like agog; till then you may play at ombre, and so forth, as you please. The Whigs are still crying down our peace, but we will have it, I hope, in spite of them: the Emperor comes now with his two eggs a penny, and promises wonders to continue the war; but it is too late; only I hope the fear of it will serve to spur on the French to be easy and sincere: Night, sirrahs; I’ll go early to bed.

17. Morning. This goes to-night; I will put it myself in the post-office. I had just now a long letter from the Archbishop of Dublin, giving me an account of the ending your session, how it ended in a storm; which storm, by the time it arrives here, will be only half nature. I can’t help it, I won’t hide. I often advised the dissolution of that Parliament, although I did not think the scoundrels had so much courage; but they have it only in the wrong, like a bully that will fight for a whore, and run away in an army. I believe, by several things the Archbishop says, he is not very well either with the Government or clergy. — See how luckily my paper ends with a fortnight. — God Almighty bless and preserve dearest little MD. — I suppose your Lord Lieutenant is now setting out for England. I wonder the Bishop of Clogher does not write to me, or let me know of his statues, and how he likes them: I will write to him again, as soon as I have leisure. Farewell, dearest MD, and love Presto, who loves MD infinitely above all earthly things, and who will. — My service to Mrs. Stoyte and Catherine. I’m sitting in my bed, but will rise to seal this. Morrow, dear rogues: Farewell again, dearest MD, etc.

1 See Letter 3, note 17.

2 See Letter 11, note 44.

3 Pratt (see Letter 2, note 14).

4 Stella and Dingley.

5 “Noah’s Dove, an Exhortation to Peace, set forth in a Sermon preached on the Seventh of November, 1710, a Thanksgiving Day, by Thomas Swift, A.M., formerly Chaplain to Sir William Temple, now Rector of Puttenham in Surrey.” Thomas Swift was Swift’s “little parson cousin” (see Letter 24, note 2).

6 See Letter 6, note 11. The book referred to is, apparently, An Impartial Enquiry into the Management of the War in Spain, post-dated 1712.

7 Lord Harley (afterwards second Earl of Oxford) (see Letter 5, note 35) married, on Oct. 31, 1713, Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles, only daughter of John Holles, last Duke of Newcastle of that family (see Letter 26, note 26).

8 Bolingbroke afterwards said that the great aim (at length accomplished) of Harley’s administration was to marry his son to this young lady. Swift wrote a poetical address to Lord Harley on his marriage.

9 Thomas Pelham, first Baron Pelham, married, as his second wife, Lady Grace Holles, daughter of the Earl of Clare and sister of the Duke of Newcastle. Their eldest son, Thomas, who succeeded to the barony in 1712, was afterwards created Earl of Clare and Duke of Newcastle,

10 Francis Higgins, Rector of Baldruddery, called “the Sacheverell of Ireland,” was an extreme High Churchman, who had been charged with sedition on account of sermons preached in London in 1707. In 1711 he was again prosecuted as “a disloyal subject and disturber of the public peace.” At that time he was Prebendary of Christ Church, Dublin; in 1725 he was made Archdeacon of Cashel.

11 Swift’s pamphlet, The Conduct of the Allies.

12 Lord Oxford’s daughter Abigail married, in 1709, Viscount Dupplin, afterwards seventh Earl of Kinnoull (see Letter 5, note 34). She died in 1750, and her husband in 1758, when the eldest son, Thomas, became Earl. The second son, Robert, was made Archbishop of York in 1761.

13 Kensington Gravel Pits was then a famous health resort.

14 Draggled. Pope has, “A puppy, daggled through the town.”

15 Writing of Peperharrow, Manning and Bray state (Surrey, ii. 32, 47) that Oxenford Grange was conveyed to Philip Froud (died 1736) in 1700, and was sold by him in 1713 to Alan Broderick, afterwards Viscount Midleton. This Froud (Swift’s “old Frowde”) had been Deputy Postmaster-General; he was son of Sir Philip Frowde, who was knighted in 1665 (Le Neve’s Knights, Harleian Society, p. 190), and his son Philip was Addison’s friend (see Letter 8, note 13).

16 Probably the Charles Child, Esq., of Farnham, whose death is recorded in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1754.

17 Grace Spencer was probably Mrs. Proby’s sister (see Letter 19, note 3).

18 Cf. Shakespeare, As You Like It, v. 3: “Shall we clap into ‘t roundly, without hawking or spitting, which are the only prologues to a bad voice?”

19 In the “Verses on his own Death,” 1731, Swift says

“When daily howd’y’s come of course,
And servants answer, ‘Worse and worse!’”

Cf. Steele (Tatler, No. 109),

“After so many howdies, you proceed to visit or not, as you like the run of each other’s reputation or fortune,”

and (Spectator, No. 143),

“the howd’ye servants of our women.”

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/swift/jonathan/s97s/letter34.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 23:20