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as giddy and as volatile as ever; just the reverse of Mr Pope, who hath always loved a domeftic life from his youth. I was going to wifh you had fome little place that you could call your own; but I profess I do not know you well enough to contrive any one system of life that would please you. You pretend to preach up riding and walking to the Duchefs; yet, from my knowledge of you after twenty years, you always joined a violent defire of perpetually shifting places and company, with a rooted laziness, and an utter impatience of fatigue. A coach and fix horfes is the utmost exercise you can bear, and this only when you can fill it with fuch company as is beft fuited to your tafte; and how glad would you be, if it could waft you in the air to avoid jolting? while I, who am so much later in life, can, or at least could, ride 500 miles on a trotting horfe. You mor tally hate writing, only because it is the thing you chiefly ought to do; as well to keep up the vogue you have in the world, as to make you eafy in your fortune. You are merciful to every thing but money, your best friend, whom you treat with inhumanity. Be affured, I will hire people to watch all your motions, and to return me a faithful account. Tell me, have you cured your abfence of mind? Can you attend to trifles? Can you at Aimsbury write domeftic libels to divert the family, and neighbouring 'fquires for five miles round? or venture fo far on horfeback, without apprehending a stumble at every step? Can you fet the footmen a-laughing as they wait at dinner? and do the Duchefs's women admire your wit? In what esteem are you with the vicar of the parish? Can you play with him at backgammon? Have the farmers found out, that you cannot distinguish rye from barley, or an oak from a crab tree? You are fenfible, that I know the full extent of your country. fkill is in fishing for roaches, or gudgeons at the highest. I love to do you good offices with your friends; therefore defire you will fhow this letter to the Duchefs, to improve her Grace's good opinion of your qualificat tions, and convince her how ufeful you are like to be in the family. Her Grace fhall have the honour of my correspondence again when she goes to Aimsbury. Hear a piece of Irish news. I buried the famous General Me
redyth's father last night in my cathedral; he was ninety-fix years old fo that Mrs Pope may live leven years longer. You faw Mr Pope in health; pray is he generally more healthy than when I was amongst you ? I would know how your own health is, and how much wine you drink in a day. My ftint in company is a pint at noon, and half as much at night; but I often dine at home like a hermit, and then I drink little or none at all. Yet I differ from you; for I would have fociety, if I could get what I like, people of middle understanding, and middle rank. Adieu.
Dublin, July 10. 1732. Had your letter by Mr Ryves a long time after the date, for I fuppofe he ftaid long in the way. I am you determine upon fomething. There is no writing I esteem more than fables, nor any thing fo difficult to fucceed in; which however you have done excellently well; and I have often admired your happiness in fuch a kind of performance, which I have frequently endeavoured at in vain. I remember I acted as you seem to hint. I found a moral first, and studied for a fable; but could do nothing that pleased me, and fo left off that fcheme for ever. I remember one, which was, to reprefent what scoundrels rife in armies by a long war; wherein I fuppofed the lion was engaged, and having loft all his animals of worth, at laft Serjeant Hog came to be a Brigadier, and Corporal Ass a Colonel, &c. I agree with you likewife about getting fomething by the ftage; which, when it fucceeds, is the best crop for poetry in England. But pray take fome new scheme, quite different from any thing you have already touched. The prefent humour of the players, who hardly (as I was told in London) regard any new play, and your prefent fituation at the court, are the difficulties to be overcome; but thofe circumstances may have altered (at leaft the former) fince I left you. My fcheme was, to pas a month at Aimfbury, and then go to Twickenham, and live a winter between that and Dawley, and foinetimes
fometimes at Rifkins; without going to London, where I now can have no occafional lodgings. But I am not yet in any condition for fuch removals. I would fain have you get enough against you grow old, to have two or three fervants about you, and a convenient house. It is hard to want thofe fubfidia fenectuti, when a man grows hard to please, and few people care whether he be pleafed or no. I have a large houfe; yet I fhould hardly prevail to find one vifitor, if I were not able to hire him with a bottle of wine: fo that when I am not abroad on horfeback, I generally dine alone, and am thankful if a friend will pafs the evening with me. I am now with the remainder of my pint before me, and fo here's your health, and the second and chief is to my Tunbridge acquaintance, my Lady Duchefs. And I tell you, that I fear my Lord Bolingbroke, and Mr Pope, a couple of philofophers, would ftarve me; for even of Port wine I fhould require half a pint a day, and as much at night and you were growing as bad, unless your Duke and Duchefs have mended you. Your colic is owing to intemperance of the philofophical kind: you eat without care; and if you drink less than I, you drink too little. But your inattention I cannot pardon, because I imagined the cause was removed; for I thought it lay in your forty millions of fchemes, by court-hopes and court-fears. Yet Mr Pope has the fame defect, and it is of all others the most mortal to converfation; neither is my Lord Bolingbroke untinged with it; all for want of my rule, Vive la Bagatelle ! But the Doctor is the king of inattention. What a vexatious life should I lead among you? If the Duchess be a reveufe, I will never come to Aimsbury or if I do, I will run away from you both, to one of her women, and the steward and chaplain.
I mentioned fomething to Mr Gay of a Tunbridge acquaintance, whom we forget of courfe when we return to town; and yet I am affured, that if they meet again next fummer, they have a better title to refume their commerce. Thus I look on my right of corre fponding with your Grace, to be better established upon
your return to Aimsbury; and I fhall at this time defcend to forget, or at least fufpend my refentments of your neglect all the time you were in London. I still keep in my heart, that Mr Gay had no fooner turned his back, than you left the place in his letter void which he had commanded you to fill; though your guilt confounded you fo far, that you wanted prefence of mind to blot out the laft line, where that command stared you in the face. But it is my misfortune, to quarrel with all my acquaintance, and always come by the worst and Fortune is ever against me; but never fo much as by pursuing me out of mere partiality to your Grace, for which you are to answer. By your connivance, she hath pleased, by one stumble on the stairs, to give me a lameness that fix months have not been able perfectly to cure: and thus I am prevented from revenging myself, by continuing a month at Aimfbury, and breeding confufion in your Grace's family. No difappointment through my whole life hath been fo vexatious by many degrees; and God knows whether I shall ever live to fee the invisible lady to whom I was obliged for fo many favours, and whom I never beheld fince the was a brat in hanging fleeves. I am, and shall be ever, with the greatest respect and gratitude, Madam, your Grace's moft obedient and most humble, &c.
Dublin, Aug. 12. 1732.
Know not what to fay to the account of your ftewardship; and it is monstrous to me, that the Southfea fhould half their debts at one clap. But I will fend for the money when you put me into the way; for I fhall want it here, my affairs being in a bad condition, by the miferies of the kingdom, and my own pri vate fortune being wholly imbroiled, and worse than ever; so that I fhall foon petition the Duchefs, as an object of charity, to lend me three or four thousand pounds to keep up my dignity. My one hundred pound will buy me fix hogfheads of wine, which will fupport me a year; provisæ frugis in annum copia, Horace de
fired no more; for I will conftrue frugis to be wine. You are young enough to get fome lucky hint, which must come by chance, and it shall be a thing of importance, quod et bunc in annum vivat et in plures; and you fhall not finish it in hafte, and it fhall be diverting, and ufefully fatirical, and the Duchefs fhall be your critic; and, betwixt you and me, I do not find fhe will grow weary of you till this time feven years. I had lately an offer to change for an English living, which is just too fhort by 300l. a-year; and that must be made up out of the Duchefs's pin-money, before I can confent. I want to be minifter of Aimsbury, Dawley, Twicken. ham, Rifkins, and prebendary of Westminster; else I will not stir a step, but content myself with making the Duchefs miferable three months next fummer. But I keep ill company: I mean the Duchefs and you, who are both out of favour; and fo I find am I, by a few verfes wherein Pope and you have your parts. You hear Dr Dy has got a wife with 1600 1. a year; I, who am his governor, cannot take one under two thousand. I wish you would inquire of fuch a one in your neigh. bourhood. See what it is to write godly books! I profels I envy you above all men in England. You want nothing but three thousand pounds more to keep you in plenty, when your friends grow weary of you. To prevent which laft evil at Aimsbury, you must learn to domineer and be peevish, to find fault with their victuals and drink, to chide and direct the fervants, with fome other leffons which I fhall teach you, and always practifed myself with fuccefs. I believe I formerly defired to know, whether the vicar of Aimsbury can play at backgammon. Pray ask him the queftion, and give him my fervice.
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 cu