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buthnot's illness, which is a very sensible affliction to me, who by living so long out of the world have lost that hardness of heart contracted by years and general conversation. I am daily losing friends, and neither seeking nor getting others. O if the world had but a dozen Arbuthnots in it, I would burn my travels! but, however, he is not without fault: there is a passage in Bede highly commending the piety and learning of the Irish in that age, where, after abundance of praises, he overthrows them all, by lamenting that, alas! they kept Easter at a wrong time of the year. So our doctor has every quality and virtue that can make a man amiable or useful; but, alas! he hath a sort of slouch in his walk! I
protect him, for he is an excellent Christian, though not a Catholic.
I hear nothing of our friend Gay, but I find the court keeps him at hard meat. I advised him to come over here with a lordlieutenant. Philips writes little flams (as lord Leicester called those sort of verses) on Miss Carteret. A Dublin blacksmith, a great poet, has imitated his manner in a poem the same miss. Philips is a complainer, and on this occasion I told lord Carteret that complainers never succeed at court, though railers do.
Are you altogether a country gentleman, that I must address to you out of London,
to the hazard of your losing this precious letter, which I will now conclude, although so much paper is left? I have an ill name, and therefore shall not subscribe it, but you will guess it comes from one who esteems and loves you about half as much as you deserve, I mean, as much as he can.
I am in great concern at what I am just told is in some of the newspapers, that lord Bolingbroke is much hurt by a fall in hunting. I am glad he has so much youth and vigour left, (of which he has not been thrifty,) but I wonder he has no more discretion.
TO MR. WORRALL.
[This letter, written during a visit to Pope at Twickenham, shows Swift's anxiety at the news of the mortal illness of Esther Johnson (Stella). Mr. Worrall was the vicar of St. Patrick's, Dublin.]
Twickenham, July 15, 1726. I wish you would send me a common bill in form upon any banker for 1001., and I will wait for it, and in the meantime borrow where I can. 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. I have these two months seen through Mrs. Dingley's disguises. And indeed ever since I left you my heart has been so sunk that I have not been the same man, nor ever shall be again, but drag on a wretched life, till it shall please God to call me away. I must tell you as a friend, that, if you have reason to believe Mrs. Johnson cannot hold out till my return, I would not think of coming to Ireland; and in that case I would expect of you in the beginning of September to renew my license for another half-year, which time I will spend in some retirement far from London, till I can be in a disposition of appearing after an accident that must be so fatal to my quiet. I wish it could be brought about that she might make her will. Her intentions are to leave the interest of all her fortune to her mother and sister during their lives, and afterwards to Dr. Stephen's hospital, to purchase lands for such uses there as she designs. Think how I am disposed while I write this, and forgive the inconsistencies. I would not for the universe be present at such a trial of seeing her depart. She will be among friends that, upon her own account
and great worth, will tend her with all possible care, where I should be a trouble to her, and the greatest torment to myself. In case the matter should be desperate, I would
advise, if they come to town, that they should be lodged in some airy healthy part, and not in the deanery, which besides, you know, cannot but be a very improper thing for that house to breathe her last in. This I leave to your discretion, and I conjure you to burn this letter immediately, without telling the contents of it to any person alive. Pray write to me every week, that I may know what steps to take; for I am determined not to go to Ireland, to find her just dead, or dying. Nothing but extremity could make me so familiar with those terrible words applied to such a dear friend. Let her know I have bought her a repeating gold watch for her ease in winter nights. I designed to have surprised her with it; but now I would have her know it, that she may see how my thoughts are always to make
I am of opinion that there is not a greater folly than to contract too great and intimate a friendship, which must always leave the survivor miserable.
On the back of Burton's note there was written the account of Mrs. Johnson's sickness. Pray, in your next avoid that mistake, and leave the back side blank.
When you have read this letter twice, and retain what I desire, pray burn it; and let all I have said lie only in your breast.
Pray write every week. I have (till I know further) fixed on August the fifteenth to set out for Ireland. I shall continue or alter my measures according to your letters. Adieu. Direct
your letters still to Mrs. Rice, &c. Pray tell Mr. Dodge of the college that I received his letter, but cannot possibly answer it, which I certainly would if I had materials.
As to what you say about promotion, you will find it was given immediately to Maude, as I am told; and I assure you I had no offers, nor would accept them. My behaviour to those in power has been directly contrary since I came here. I would rather have good news from you than Canterbury, though it were given me upon my own terms.
TO MR. POPE.
[Swift's long and unbroken friendship with Pope is evidenced by many letters. This is one of the latest, written shortly before Swift's mind began to give way. His death occurred in October, 1745, in his seventy-eighth year.]
December 2, 1736. I THINK you owe me a letter, but whether you do or not, I have not been in a condi