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To the Duchefs.
I was the most unwary creature in the world, when, against my old maxims, I writ first to you, upon your return to Tunbridge. I beg that this condefcenfion of mine may go no farther, and that you will not pretend to make a precedent of it. I never knew any man cured of any Inattention, although the pretended causes were removed. When I was with Mr. Gay laft in London, talking with him on fome poetical fubjects, he would anfwer; "Well, I am "determined not to accept the employment of "Gentleman-ufher:" and of the fame difpofition were all my poetical friends, and if you cannot cure him, I utterly defpair.-As to yourself, I will fay to you, (though comparisons be odious) what I faid to the that your quality should be never any motive of esteem to me: My compliment was then loft, but it will not be fo to you. For I know you more by any one of your letters than I could by fix months converfing. Your pen is always more natural and fincere and unaffected than your tongue; in writing you are too lazy to give yourself the trouble of acting a part, and have indeed acted fo indifcreetly that I have you at mercy; and although you should arrive to fuch a height of immorality
immorality as to deny your hand, yet, whenever I produce it, the world will unite in fwearing this must come from you only.
I will answer your question. Mr. Gay is not discreet enough to live alone, but he is too dif creet to live alone; and yet (unless you mend him) he will live alone even in your Grace's company. Your quarrelling with each other upon the subject of bread and butter, is the most usual thing in the world; Parliaments, Courts, Cities, and Kingdoms quarrel for no other caufe; from hence, and from hence only arife all the quarrels between Whig and Tory; between those who are in the Ministry, and those who are out; between all pretenders to employment in the Church, the Law, and the Army even the common proverb teaches you this, when we say, It is none of my bread and butter, meaning it is no bufinefs of mine. Therefore I defpair of any reconcilement between you till the affair of bread and butter, be adjusted, wherein I would gladly be a mediator. If Mahomet fhould come to the mountain, how happy would an excellent Lady be who lives a few miles from this town? As I was telling of Mr. Gay's way of living at Aimsbury, the offer'd fifty guineas to have you both at her house for one hour over a bottle of Burgundy, which we were then drinking. To P 3 your
your question I answer, that your Grace fhould pull me by the fleeve till you tore it off, and when you faid you were weary of me, I would pretend to be deaf, and think (according to another proverb) that you tore my cloaths to keep me from going. I never will believe one word you fay of my Lord Duke, unless I fee three or four lines in his own hand at the bottom of yours. I have a concern in the whole family, and Mr. Gay must give me a particular account of every branch, for I am not afhamed of you tho' you be Duke and Duchefs, tho' I have been of others who are, &c. and I do not doubt but even your own fervants love you, even down to your poftilions; and when I come to Aimsbury, before I fee your Grace I will have an hour's converfation with the Vicar, who will tell me how familiarly you talk to Goody Dobfon and all the neighbours, as if you were their equal, and that you were god-mother to her fon Jacky.
I am, and shall be ever, with the greatest refpect, your Grace's moft obedient, &c.
Dublin, Oct. 3, 1731.
I Ufually write to friends after a paufe of a
few weeks, that I may not interrupt them in better company, better thoughts, and better diverfions. I believe I have told you of a great man, who said to me, that he never once in his life receiv'd a good letter from Ireland: for which there are reasons enough without affronting our understandings. For there is not one perfon out of this country, who regards any events that pass here, unless he hath an estate or employment. I cannot tell that you or I ever gave the least provocation to the present Ministry, much less to the Court; and yet I am ten times more out of favour than you. For my own part, I do not see the politic of opening common letters, directed to persons generally known; for a man's understanding would be very weak to convey fecrets by the poft, if he knew any, which I declare I do not: and befides I think the world is already fo well informed by plain events, that I queftion whether the Minifters have any fecrets at all. Neither would I be under any apprehenfion if a letter should be fent me full of treafon; becaufe I cannot hinder people from writing what they please, P 4
nor fending it to me; and although it should be discovered to have been opened before it came to my hand, I would only burn it and think no further. I approve of the scheme you have to grow fomewhat richer, though, I agree, you will meet with difcouragements; and it is reasonable you fhould, confidering what kind of pens are at this time only employed and encouraged. For you must allow that the bad painter was in the right, who, having painted a cock, drove away all the cocks and hens, and even the chickens, for fear those who paffed by his fhop might make a comparifon with his work. And I will say one thing in fpite of the Poft-officers, that fince Wit and Learning began to be made use of in our kingdoms, they were never profeffedly thrown afide, contemned, and punished, till within your own memory; nor Dulnefs and Ignorance ever fo openly encouraged and promoted. In answer to what you fay of my living among you, if I could do it to my eafe; perhaps you have heard of a scheme for an exchange in Berkshire proposed by two of our friends; but, besides the difficulty of adjusting certain circumstances, it would not anfwer. I am at a time of life that feeks ease and independence; you'll hear my reasons when you fee thofe friends, and I concluded them with faying; That I would rather be