|Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916.|
Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
|A Farewell Letter|
|By John Arbuthnot (16671735)|
A Letter to Swift
HAMPSTEAD, 4th October 1734. MY DEAR AND WORTHY FRIEND,You have no reason to put me among the rest of your forgetful friends; for I wrote two long letters to you, to which I never received one word of answer. The first was about your health; the last I sent a great while ago by Mr. De la Mar. I can assure you with great truth that none of your friends or acquaintance has a more warm heart toward you than myself. I am going out of this troublesome world and you among the rest of my friends shall have my last prayers and good wishes.
| The young man whom you recommended came to this place, and I promised to do him what service my ill state of health would permit. I came out to this place so reduced by a dropsy and an asthma that I could neither sleep, breathe, eat nor move. I most earnestly desired and begged of God that he would take me. Contrary to my expectation, upon venturing to ride (which I had forborne for some years), I recovered my strength to a pretty considerable degree, slept, and had my stomach again; but I expect the return of my symptoms upon my return to London and the return of the winter. I am not in circumstances to live an idle country life; and no man at my age ever recovered of such a disease further than by an abatement of the symptoms. What I did, I can assure you, was not for life but ease. For I am at present in the case of a man that was almost in harbour, and then blown back to sea; who has a reasonable hope of going to a good place, and an absolute certainty of leaving a very bad one. Not that I have any particular disgust at the world; for I have as great comfort, in my own family, and from the kindness of my friends, as any man; but the world, in the main, displeases me; and I have too true a presentiment of calamities that are likely to befall my country. However, if I should have the happiness to see you before I die, you will find that I enjoy the comforts of life with my usual cheerfulness. I cannot imagine why you are frighted from a journey to England. The reasons you assign are not sufficient; the journey I am sure would do you good. In general I recommend riding, of which I have always had a good opinion, and can now confirm it from my own experience.|| 2|
| My family give you their love and service. The great loss I sustained in one of them gave me my first shock: and the trouble I have with the rest to bring them to a right temper, to bear the loss of a father, who loves them, and whom they love, is really a most sensible affliction for me. I am afraid, my dear friend, we shall never see one another more in this world. I shall, to the last moment, preserve my love and esteem for you, being well assured you will never leave the paths of virtue and honour; for all that is in this world is not worth the least deviation from that way. It will be great pleasure to me to hear from you sometimes; for none can be with more sincerity than I am, my dear friend, your most faithful friend and humble servant.|