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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
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 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
* That is, among the ministry.
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 tomorrow, I will not answer yours till I get to Chelsea.
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,
* Raffles for books were common at the time. Thus, in an advertisement 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.”
I dined at Mr Harley's, came away at six, shifted my gown, cassock, and periwig, and walked hither to Chelsea, as I always design to do when it is fair. I am heartily sorry to find my friend the secretary stand a little ticklish with the rest of the ministry : * there have been one or two disobliging things that have happened, too long to tell : and t'other day in parliament, upon a debate of about thirty-five millions that have not been duly accounted for, † Mr Secretary, in his warmth of speech, and zeal for his friend Mr Brydges, on whom part of the blame was falling, said, he did not know that either Mr Brydges or the late ministry were at all to blame in this matter; which was very desperately spoken, and giving up the whole cause ; for the chief quarrel against the late ministry was the ill management of the treasure, and was more than all the rest together. I had heard of this matter, but Mr Foley beginning to discourse to-day at table, without naming Mr St John, I turned to Mr Harley, and said, if the late ministry were not to blame in that article, he [Mr Harley] ought to lose his head for putting the queen upon changing them. He made it a jest ; but by some words dropped, I easily saw that they take things ill of Mr St John, and by some hints given me from another hand that I deal with, I am afraid the secretary will not stand long. This is the fate of courts. I will, if I meet Mr St John alone on Sunday, tell him my opinion, and beg him to set himself right, else the consequences may be very bad, for I see not how they can well want him neither, and he would make a troublesome enemy. But enough of politics.
* Here seems to open that scene of discord which ruined Queen Anne's Tory ministry.
+ The House of Commons, on the report of a committee appointed to inquire into public accounts, past a vote, “ that of the moneys granted by Parliament, and issued for the public service to Christmas 1710, there remains unaccounted for the sum of thirty-five millions.” More than half of this large sum was attached to the accounts of the honourable James Brydges, Paymaster-General under Godolphin's administration, on whose part it was urged, that his accounts were regularly presented ; but that the mode of scrutinizing and passing them was tedious in itself, and rendered more so by the scrupulous caution of the Duke of Newcastle, who allowed none of them to be passed in his office without hearing counsel on both sides.
28. Morning. I forgot to tell you, that Mr Harley asked me yesterday, how he came to disoblige the Archbishop of Dublin ? upon which (having not his letter about me) I told him what the bishop had written to me on that subject, and desired I might read him the letter some other time. But after all, from what I have heard from other hands, I am afraid the archbishop is a little guilty. Here is one Brent Spencer, a brother of Mr Proby's, who affirms it, and says he has leave to do so from Charles Deering, who heard the words ; and Ingoldsby * abused the archbishop, &c. Well, but now for your saucy letter; I have no room to answer it: 0 yes ; enough on t'other side. Are you no sicker ? Stella jeers Presto for not coming over by Christmas ; but indeed Stella does not jeer but reproach poor poor Presto. And how can I come away, and the first-fruits not finished ? I am of opinion the Duke of Ormond will do nothing in them before he goes,
which will be in a fortnight they say: and then they must fall to me to be done in his absence. No,
* One of the lords justices.