The Journal to Stella, by Jonathan Swift

Letter 45.1

London, April 24, 1712.

I had your twenty-eighth two or three days ago. I can hardly answer it now. Since my last I have been extremely ill. ’Tis this day just a month since I felt a small pain on the tip of my left shoulder, which grew worse, and spread for six days; then broke all out by my collar and left side of my neck in monstrous red spots inflamed, and these grew to small pimples. For four days I had no rest, nor nights, for a pain in my neck; then I grew a little better; afterward, where my pains were, a cruel itching seized me, beyond whatever I could imagine, and kept me awake several nights. I rubbed it vehemently, but did not scratch it: then it grew into three or four great sores like blisters, and run; at last I advised the doctor to use it like a blister, so I did with melilot2 plasters, which still run: and am now in pain enough, but am daily mending. I kept my chamber a fortnight, then went out a day or two, but then confined myself again. Two days ago I went to a neighbour to dine, but yesterday again kept at home. To-day I will venture abroad a little, and hope to be well in a week or ten days. I never suffered so much in my life. I have taken my breeches in above two inches, so I am leaner, which answers one question in your letter. The weather is mighty fine. I write in the morning, because I am better then. I will go and try to walk a little. I will give DD’s certificate to Tooke to-morrow. Farewell, MD MD MD, ME ME, FW FW ME ME.

1 Addressed to “Mrs. Johnson,” etc. Endorsed “May 1st.”

2 A kind of clover, used for soothing purposes.

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