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safer conveyance, I will carry him in my pocket ; who am My Padrons most obedient Servant,
John Dryden.' For Samuel Pepys, Esq.
Att his house in York-street, These. ..
MADAM, Saturday, Aug. 5th, 1699. This is only a word, to threaten you with a troublesome guest, next week : I have taken places for my self and my sonn, in the Oundle coach, which sets out on Thursday next the tenth of this
. 9 To this Letter Mr. Pepys wrote the following An. swer: “SIR,
Friday, July 14, 1699. . “ You truly have obliged mee ; and possibly in saying so, I am more in earnest then you can readily think; as verily hopeing from this your copy of one GOOD PARSON, to fancy some amends made mee for the hourly offence I beare with from the sight of soe many lewd originalls.
“ I shall with great pleasure attend you on this occa. sion, when ere you'l permit it; unless you would have the kindness to double it to mee, by suffering my coach to wayte on you (and who you can gayne mee ye same favour from) hither, to a cold chicken and a sallade, any noone after Sunday, as being just stepping into the 'ayre for 2 days. “I am most respectfully “ Your honord and obedne Servant,
present August; and hope to wait on a fair lady at Cotterstock on Friday the eleventh. If you please to let your coach come to Oundle, I shall save my cousin Creed the trouble of hers. All heer are your most humble servants, and particularly an old Cripple, who calls him self
Your most obliged Kinsman . . and Admirer,
John Dryden. For Mrs. Stewart, Att
Cotterstock near Oundle,
in Northamptonsh. These. To be left with the Postmaster of Oundle.
TO MRS. STEWARD.
. Sept. 28th, 1699. Your goodness to me will make you sollicitous of my welfare since I left Cotterstock. My journey has in general been as happy as it cou'd be, without the satisfaction and honour of your company. 'Tis true the Master of the stage-coach has not been over civill to me : for he turn'd us out of the road at the first step, and made us go to Pilton; there we took in a fair young lady of eighteen, and her brother, a young gentleman ; they are related to the Treshams, but not of that name: thence we drove to Higham, where we had an old serving-woman, and a young fine mayd : we 'din'd at Bletso, and 'lay at Silso, six miles beyond Bedford. There we put out the old woman, and took in Councellour Jennings his daughter; her father goeing along in the Kittering coach or rideing by it, with other company. We all din'd at Hatfield together, and came to town safe at seaven in the evening, We had a young Doctour, who rode by our coach, and seem'd to have a smickering' to our young lady of Pilton, and ever rode before to get dinner in a readiness. My sonn, Charles, knew him formerly a Jacobite ; and now going over to Antigoo, with Colonel Codrington, haveing been formerly in the West Indies. Which of our two young ladies was the handsomer, I know not. My sonn lik'd the Councellour's daughter best : I thought they were both equall. But not goeing to Tichmarsh Grove, and afterwards by Catworth, I miss'd my two couple of rabbets, which my Cousin, your father, had given me to carry with me, and cou'd not see my sister by the way: I was likewise disappointed of Mr. Cole's Ribadavia winé :3 but I am almost resolv’d to sue the Stage Coach, for putting me six
* To smicker, though omitted by Dr. Johnson, is found in Kersey's Dictionary, 1708 ; where it is interpreted “ To look amorously or wantonly.”
2 Christopher Codrington, the noble benefactor of AllSouls College, who was appointed Governor of the Ca. ribbee Islands, not long before ; May 20, 1699.
3. In the neighbourhood of the town of Ribadavia, in Spain, the best Spanish wine is supposed to be produced.
or seaven miles out of the way, which he cannot justify.
Be pleas’d to accept my acknowledgment of all your favours, and my Cousin Stuart's ; and by employing my sonn and me in any thing you desire to have done, give us occasion to take our revenge* on our kind relations both at Oundle and Cotterstock. Be pleas'd, your father, your mother, your twò fair sisters, and your brother, may find my sonn's service and mine made acceptable to them by your delivery; and believe me to be with all manner of gratitude, give me leave to add, all manner of adoration,
* Our author has, I think, elsewhere used this expres. sion. It is a mere Gallicism, but perhaps may be excused; for I know not that our language affords any precise equivalent to it.
4 Colonel John Creed, whose gallantry at the battle of Blenheim has been already mentioned. See vol. i. part i. p. 340, n. He died at Oundle, Nov. 21, 1751, aged 73, and was buried in the church of Tichmarsh.
LETTER XXXVI. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES MONTAGUE.S
[Octob. 1699.] THÉse verses had waited on you with the former, but that they wanted that correction which I have given them, that they may the better endure the sight of so great a judge and poet. I am now in feare that I have purg'd them out of their spirit; as our Master Busby us’d to whip a boy so long, till he made him a confirm'd blockhead. My Cousin Driden saw them in the country; and the greatest exception he made to them
s The superscription of this letter is wanting; but that it was addressed to Mr. Montague, is ascertained by the words—“ From Mr. Dryden,” being indorsed on it, in that gentleman's handwriting. . Charles Montague, (afterwards Earl of Halifax,) was at this time First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer; the latter of which offices he had held from the year 1694.-The date is supplied by the subsequent letter.
Pope, in his character of Montague, in the Epistle to Arbuthnot, has asserted, that our author alone, of all the poetical tribe, “ escaped his judging eye :" but we here find that he was mistaken.
6 The Verses addressed to his kinsman, John Driden, of Chesterton, Esq.—The former poem which had been submitted to Mr. Montague, was that addressed to Mary, Duchess of Ormond. It may be found at the end of vol. iii. They were both inserted in the volume of FABLES, which was then printing. See the next letter.