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God bless you.
I forgot to tell you that yesterday was sent me a narrative printed, with all the circumstances of Mr Harley's stabbing. I had not time to do it myself, so I sent my hints to the author of the Atalantis, * and she has cooked it into a sixpenny pamphlet, in her own style, only the first page is left as I was beginning it. But I was afraid of disobliging Mr Harley or Mr St John in one critical point about it, † and so would not do it myself. It is worth your reading, for the circumstances are all true. My chest of Florence was sent me this morning, and cost me seven and sixpence to two servants. I would give two guineas you had it, &c.
17. I was so out of order with my head this morning, that I was going to send my excuses to my lord-keeper ; but however I got up at eleven, and walked there after two, and staid till eight. There was Sir Thomas Mansel, Prior, George Granville, and Mr Cæsar, and we were very merry. My head is still wrong, but I have had no formal fit, only I totter a little. I have left off snuff altogether. I have a noble roll of tobacco for grating, very good. Shall I send it to MD, if she likes that sort ? My lord-keeper and our this day's company
* Mrs Manley, author of a scandalous private history called the Atalantis. She was now an author by profession, wrote several papers of the Examiner after it was given up by Swift, and did other literary drudgery for administration. See the pamphlet alluded to in the Appendix to Swift's political pieces.
+ This critical point was to whom the compliment should be given of the main object of France's dread, and consequently of Guiscard's attempt. For although Harley was the person stabbed, yet the secretary, who had been an old acquaintance of Guiscard, and companion of his debaucheries, was the main object of his resentment,
are to dine on Saturday with George Granville, and tomorrow I dine with Lord Anglesea.
18. Did you ever see such a blundering goosecap as Presto ? I saw the number 21 atop, and so I went on as if it were the day of the month, whereas this is but Wednesday the 18th. How shall I do to blot and alter them? I have made a shift to do it behind, but it is a great botch. I dined with Lord Anglesea to-day, but did not go to the House of Commons about the yarn ; my head was not well enough. I know not what's the matter; it has never been thus before : two days together giddy from morning till night, but not with any violence or pain ; and I totter a little, but can make shift to walk. I doubt I must fall to my pills again : I think of going into the country a little way. I tell you what you must do henceforward : you must enclose your letter in a fair half sheet of paper, and direct the outside to Erasmus Lewis, Esquire, at my Lord Dartmouth's office at Whitehall ; for I never go to the coffeehouse, and they will grudge to take in my letters. I forgot to tell you that your mother was to see me this morning, and brought me a flask of sweet water for a present, admirable for my head ; but I shall not smell to it. She is going to Sheen with Lady Giffard : she would fain send
your papers over to you, or give them to me. Say what you would have done, and it shall be done ; because I love Stella, and she is a good daughter, they say, and so is Dingley.
19. This morning General Webb was to give me a visit ; he
with a crutch and a stick, yet was forced to make up two pair of stairs. I promised to dine with him, but afterward sent my excuses, and dined privately in my friend Lewis's lodgings at Whitehall, with whom I had much business to talk of relating to the public and myself. Little Harrison the Tatler goes to-morrow to the secretaryship. I got him at the Hague, and Mr St John has made him a present of fifty guineas to bear his charges. An't I a good friend? Why, are not you a young fellow, that I might prefer you ? I had a letter from Bernage from Kinsale : he tells me his commission for captain-lieutenant was ready for him at his arri. val : so there are two Jackanapeses I have done with. My head is something better this evening, though not well.
20. I was this morning with Mr Secretary, whose packets were just come in, and among them a letter from Lord Peterborow to me : * he writes so well, I have no mind to answer him, and so kind, that I must answer him.
The emperor's death must, I think, causé great alterations in Europe, and, I believe, will hasten a peace.
We reckon our King Charles will be chosen emperor, and the Duke of Savoy set up for Spain; but I believe he will make nothing of it. Dr Freind † and I dined in the city at a printer's, but it cost me two shillings in coach hire, and a great deal more this week and month, which has been almost all rain, with now and then sunshine, and is the truest April that I have known these many years. The lime trees in the Park are all out in leaves, though not large leaves yet. Wise people are going into the country ; but many think the parliament can hardly be up these six weeks. Mr Harley was with the queen on Tuesday. I believe certainly he will be the lord-treasurer : I have not seen him this week.
* The letter is dated April 8, 1711.
Swift's compliment on the style of it is beautifully turned.
+ Dr Freind, already mentioned, wielded the pen of a ready writer; and being a keen Tory, was deeply engaged in political disputes on behalf of the ministry.
21. Morning. Lord-keeper, and I, and Prior, and Sir Thomas Mansel, have appointed to dine this day with George Granville. My head, I thank God, is better ; but to be giddyish three or four days together mortified me. I take no snuff, and I will be very regular in eating little, and the gentlest meats. How does poor Stella just now, with her deans and her Stoytes ? Do they give you health for the money you lose at ombre, sirrah ? What say you to that? Poor Dingley frets to see Stella lose that four and elevenpence, t'other night. Let us rise. Morrow, sirrahs. I will rise, spite of your little teeth ; good morrow.–At night. O, faith, you are little dear sauceboxes. I was just going in the morning to tell you that I began to want a letter from MD, and in four minutes after, Mr Ford sends me one that he had picked up at St James's Coffeehouse ; for I go to no coffeehouse at all. And faith, I was glad at heart to see it, and to see Stella: so brisk. O Lord, what pretending ? Well, but I won't answer it yet ; I'll keep it for t’other side. Well, we dined to-day according to appointment; lord-keeper went away at near eight, I at 'eight, and I believe the rest will be fairly fuddled; for young Harcourt, lord-keeper's son, began to prattle before I came away. It will not do with Prior's lean carcase. I drink little, miss my glass often, . put water in my wine, and go away before the rest, which I take to be a good receipt for sobriety. Let us put it into rhyme, and so make a proverb:
Drink little at a time;
Miss your glass when you can;
off the first man.
God be thanked, I am much better than I was, though something of a totterer. I ate but little to-day, and of the gentlest meat. I refused ham and pigeons, peasesoup, stewed beef, cold salmon, because they were too strong. I take no snuff at all, but some herb snuff
prescribed by Dr Radcliffe.
Go to your deans,
I believe I said that already. What care I ? what cares Presto ?
22. Morning. I must rise and go to the secretary's. Mr Harley has been out of town this week to refresh himself before he comes into parliament. O, but I must rise, so there is no more to be said ; and so morrow, sirrabs both.-Night. I dined to-day with the secretary, who has engaged me for every Sunday; and I was an hour with him this morning deep in politics, where I told him the objections of the October Club, and he answered all except one,- That no inquiries are made into past mismanagement. But, indeed, I believe they are not yet able to make any; the late ministry were too cunning in their rogueries, and fenced themselves with an act of general pardon. I believe Mr Harley must be lord-treasurer, yet he makes only one difficulty which is hard to answer; he must be made a lord, and his estate is not large enough, and he is too generous to make it larger ; and if the ministry should change soon by any accident, he will be left in the suds. Another difficulty is, that if he be made a peer, they will want him prodigiously in the House of Commons, of which