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dined at his lodging on a beefsteak, and drank your health, then left him and went to the tavern with Ben Tooke and Portlack, the duke of Ormond's secretary, drinking nasty white wine till eleven. I am sick and ashamed of it, &c.
21. I met that beast Ferris, lord Berkeley's steward formerly; I walked with him a turn in the Park, and that scoundrel dog is as happy as an emperor, has married a wife with a considerable estate in land and houses about this town, and lives at his ease at Hammersmith. See your confounded sect.-Well ; I had the same luck to day with Mr. Harley; it was a lovely day, and went by water into the city, and dined with Stratford at a merchant's house, and walked home with as great a dunce as Ferris, I mean colonel Caufield, and came home by eight, and now am in bed, and going to sleep for a wager, and will send this letter on Saturday, and so; but first I will wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new
pray God we may never keep them asunder again.
22. Morning. I am going now to Mr. Harley's levee on purpose to vex him; I will say I had no other way of seeing him, &c. Patrick says, it is a dark morning, and that the duke of Argyle is to be knighted to day, the booby means installed at Windsor. But I must rise, for this is a shaving day, and Patrick says, there is a good fire ; I wish MD were by it, or I by MD's. At night. I forgot to tell
you, madam Dingley, that I paid nine shillings for your glass and spectacles, of which three were for the bishop's case ; I am sorry I did not buy you such another case, but if you like it, I will bring one over with me, pray tell me : the glass to read
was four shillings, the spectacles two. And have you had your chocolate ? Leigh says, he sent the petticoat by one Mr. Spencer. Pray have you no farther commissions for me? I paid the glassman but last night, and he would have made me a present of the microscope worth thirty shillings, and would have sent it home with me; I thought the deuce was in the man: he said I could do him more service than that was worth, &c. I refused his present, but promised him all service I could do him; and so now I am obliged in honour to recommend him to every body.--At night. I went to Mr. Harley's levee ; he came and asked me, what had I to do there, and bid me come and dine with him on a family dinner ; which I did, and it was the first time I ever saw his lady and daughter ; at five my lord keeper came in : I told Mr. Harley, he had formerly presented me to sir Simon Harcourt, but now must to my lord keeper, so he laughed, &c.
23. Morning. This letter goes to night without fail ; I hope there is none from you yet at the coffeehouse; I will send and see by and by ; and let you know, and so, and so. Patrick goes to see for a letter : what will you lay, is there one from MD or no; No, I say ; done for sixpence. Why has the dean never once written to me? I won sixpence ; I won sixpence ; there is not one letter to Presto. Good morrow, dear sirrahs : Stratford and I dine to day with lord Mountjoy. God Almighty preserve and bless you ; farewell, &c.
I have been dining at lord Mountjoy's; and am come to study : our news from Spain this post takes off some of our fears. The parliament is prorogued to day, or adjourned rather till after the holidays.
Bank stock is 105, so I may get 121. for my bargain already. Patrick the puppy is abroad, and how shall I send this letter! Good night little dears both, and be happy, and remember your poor Presto, that wants you sadly, as hope saved. Let me go study, naughty girls, and do not keep me at the bottom of the paper. O faith, if you knew what lies on my hands constantly, you would wonder to see how I could write such long letters ; but we will talk of that some other time*. Good night again, and God bless dear MD with his best blessing, yes, yes, and Dingley and Stella and me too, &c.
Ask the bishop of Clogher about the pun I sent him of lord Stawell's brother ; it will be a pure
bite. This letter has 199 lines in it, beside all postscripts; I had a curiosity to reckon.
There is a long letter for you.
I had another letter from Mrs. Fenton, who says you were with her. I hope you did not go on purpose.
I will answer her letter soon; it is about some money in lady Giffard's hands.
They say you have had eight packets due to you; so pray, madams, do not blame Presto, but the wind.
My humble service to Mrs. Walls and Mrs. Stoyte ; I missed the former a good while.
* Writing the Examiner.
London, Dec. 23, 1710.
I HAVE sent my 11th to night as usual, and begin the dozenth, and told you I dined with Stratford at lord Mountjóy's, and I will tell you no more at present, guess for why; because I am going to mind things, and mighty affairs, not your nasty first-fruits : I let them alone till Mr. Harley gets the queen's letter, but other things of greater moment, that you shall know one day, when the ducks have eaten up all the dirt. So sit still a while just by me while I am studying, and do not say a word, I charge you, and when I am going to bed, I will take you along, and talk with you a little while, so there, sit there.—Come then, let us see what we have to say to these saucy brats, that will not let us go sleep at past eleven. Why, I am a little impatient to know how you do ; but that I take it for a standing maxim, that when you are silent, all is pretty well, because that is the way I will deal with you; and if there was any thing you ought to know now, I would write by the first post, although I had written but the day before. Remember this, young women, and God Almighty preserve you both, and make us happy together ; and tell me how accounts stand between us, that you may be paid long before it is due, not to want. I will return no more money while I stay, so that you need not be in pain to be paid; but let me know at least a month before
you you can want.
Observe this, do you hear, little dear sirrahs, and love Presto as Presto loves MD, &c.
24. You will have a merrier Christmas Eve than we here. I went up to court before church, and in one of the rooms, there being but little company, a fellow in a red coat without a sword came up to me, and after words of course asked me how the ladies did. I asked, what ladies? He said Mrs. Dingley and Mrs. Johnson: very well, said I, when I heard from them last: and pray when came you from thence, sir? He said, I never was in Ireland ; and just at that word lord Winchelsea comes up to me, and the man went off: as I went out I saw him again, and recollected him, it was Vedeau with a pox: I then went and made my apologies that my head was full of something I had to say to lord Winchelsea, &c. and I asked after his wife, and so all was well, and he inquired after my lodging, because he had some favour to desire of me in Ireland, to recommend somebody to somebody, I know not what it is. When I came from church I went up to court again, where sir Edmund Bacon told me the bad news from Spain, which you will hear before this reaches you; as we have it now, we are undone there, and it was odd to see the whole countenances of the court changed so in two hours. Lady Mountjoy carried me home to dinner, where I staid not long after, and came home early, and now am got into bed, for you must always write to your MDs in bed, that is a maxim. Mr. White and Mr. Red, write to MD when abed; Mr. Black and Mr. Brown, write to MD when you are down; Mr. Oak and Mr. Willow, write to MD on your pillow. What is this: faith I smell fire; what can it be; this house has