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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.
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:
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
he is the great mover, and after him the secretary, and hardly any else of weight. * Two shillings more to-day for coach and chair. I shall be ruined.
23. So you expect an answer to your letter, do you so? Yes, yes, you shall have an answer, you shall, young women. I made a good pun on Saturday to my lordkeeper. After dinner we had coarse Doiley napkins, fringed at each end, upon the table to drink with my lordkeeper spread one of them between him and Mr Prior; I told him I was glad to see there was such a Fringeship [Friendship] between Mr Prior and his lordship. Prior swore it was the worst he had ever heard: I said I thought so to; but at the same time I thought it was most like one of Stella's that ever I heard. I dined today with Lord Mountjoy, and this evening saw the Venetian ambassador coming from his first public audience. His coach was the most monstrous, huge, fine, rich, gilt thing that ever I saw. I loitered this evening, and came home late.
24. I was this morning to visit the Duchess of Ormond, who has long desired it, or threatened she would not let me visit her daughters. I sat an hour with her, and we were good company, when in came the Countess of Bellamont, with a pox. I went out, and we did not know one another, yet hearing me named, she asked, What, is that Dr Swift? said, she and I were very well acquainted, and fell a railing at me without mercy, as a lady told me that was there; yet I never was but once in the company of that drab of a countess. Sir Andrew Fountaine and I dined with my neighbour Van. I design, in two days, if possible, to go lodge at Chelsea for the air, and put myself under a necessity of walking to
* That is, among the ministry.
and from London every day. I writ this post to the Bishop of Clogher a long politic letter to entertain him. I am to buy statues and harnese* for them, with a vengeance. I have packed and sealed up MD's twelve letters against I go to Chelsea. I have put the last commissions of MD in my account book; but if there be any former ones, I have forgot them. I have Dingley's pocket-book down, and Stella's green silk apron, and the pound of tea; pray send me word if you have any other, and down they shall go. I will not answer your letter yet, saucy boxes. You are with the dean just now, Madam Stella, losing your money. Why don't you name what number you have received? you say you have received my letters, but don't tell the number.
25. I was this day dining in the city with very insignificant, low, and scurvy company. I had a letter from the Archbishop of Dublin, with a long denial of the report raised on him, which yet has been since assured to me from those who say they have it from the first hand; but I cannot believe them. I will show it to the secretary to-morrow. I will not answer yours till I get to
26. Chelsea. I have sent two boxes of lumber to my friend Darteneuf's house, and my chest of Florence and other things to Mrs Vanhomrigh, where I dined to-day. I was this morning with the secretary, and showed him the archbishop's letter, and convinced him of his grace's innocence, and I will do the same to Mr Harley. I got here in the stage-coach with Patrick and my portmantua for sixpence, and pay six shillings a week for
one silly room with confounded coarse sheets. We have had such a horrible deal of rain, that there is no walking to London, and I must go as I came until it mends; and besides, the whelp has taken my lodging as far from London as this town could afford, at least half a mile farther than he need; but I must be content. The best is, I lodge just over against Dr Atterbury's house, and yet perhaps I shall not like the place the better for that. Well, I'll stay till to-morrow before I answer your letter; and you must suppose me always writing at Chelsea from henceforward, till I alter, and say London. This letter goes on Saturday, which will be just a fortnight; so go and cheat Goody Stoyte, &c.
27. Do you know that I fear my whole chest of Florence is turned sour, at least the two first flasks were so, and hardly drinkable. How plaguy unfortunate am I! and the secretary's own is the best I ever tasted; and I must not tell him, but be as thankful as if it were the best in Christendom. I went to town in the sixpenny stage to-day, and hearing Mr Harley was not at home, I went to see him, because I knew by the message of his lying porter that he was at home. He was very well, and just going out, but made me promise to dine with him; and between that, and indeed strolling about, I lost four pound seven shillings at play with a a― a bookseller, and got but half a dozen books. * I will buy no more books now, that's certain. Well,
Thus, in an ad
* Raffles for books were common at the time. vertisement subjoined to the Tatler, we have " An Address to the learned, or a lottery of unbound books, where each adventurer for a guinea is sure of a prize of nine shillings value; 'tis but four to one he gets one of 3, 6, 8, 12, or L.50. Undertakers, Thomas Leigh, and Daniel Winter, booksellers."