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THE JOURNAL TO STELLA.
DIM light was burning in the back room of a first-floor in Bury Street, St. James's. The apartment it irradiated was not an extensive one; and the furniture, sufficient rather than sumptuous, had that indefinable lack of physiognomy which only lodging-house furniture seems to possess. There was no fireplace; but in the adjoining parlour, partly visible through the open door, the last embers were dying in a grate from which the larger pieces of coal had been carefully lifted out and ranged in order on the hobs. Across the heavy high-backed chairs in the bedroom lay various neatly-folded garments, one of which was the black gown with pudding sleeves commonly worn in public by the eighteenthcentury divine, while at the bottom of the bed hung a clerical-looking periwig. In the bed itself, and leaning toward a tall wax candle at
his side (which, from a faint smell of singed woollen still lingering about the chamber, must recently have come into contact with the now tucked-back bed-curtain), was a gentleman of forty or thereabouts, writing in a very small hand upon a very large sheet of paper, folded, for greater convenience, into one long horizontal slip. He had dark, fierce-looking eyebrows, an aquiline nose, full-lidded and rather prominent clear blue eyes, a firmly-cut, handsome mouth, and a wide, massive forehead, the extent of which was, for the moment, abnormally exaggerated by the fact that, in the energy of composition, the fur-lined cap he had substituted for his wig had been slightly tilted backward. As his task proceeded, his expression altered from time to time; now growing grave and stern, now inexpressibly soft and tender. Occasionally the look almost passed into a kind of grimace, resembling nothing so much as the imitative motion of the lips which one makes in speaking to a pet bird. He continued writing until, in the distance, the step of the watchman-first pausing deliberately, then moving slowly forward for a few paces-was heard in the street below. 'Past twelve o'clock!" came a wheezy cry at the window. Paaaaast twelvvve o'clock !' followed the writer, dragging
out his letters so as to reproduce the speaker's drawl. After this, he rapidly set down a string of words in what looked like some unknown tongue, ending off with a trail of seeming hieroglyphics: Nite, nown deelest sollahs. Nite dee litt MD, Pdfr's MD. Rove Pdfr, poo Pdfr, MD MD MD FW FW FW Lele Lele Lele Lele michar MD.' Then, tucking his paper under his pillow, he popped out the guttering candle, and turning round upon his side with a smile of exceeding sweetness, settled himself to sleep.
The personage thus depicted was Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity, vicar of Laracor by Trim, in the diocese of Meath in the kingdom of Ireland, and Prebendary of Dunlavin in St. Patrick's Cathedral. He had not been long in London, having but recently come over at the suggestion of Dr. William King, Archbishop of Dublin, to endeavour to obtain for the Irish clergy the remission, already conceded to their English brethren, of the First Fruits and Twentieths payable to the Crown; and he was writing off, or up, his daily record of his doings to Mrs. 1 Sollahs Sirrahs; MD,' Stella, or My Dear, but sometimes Stella-cum-Dingley; 'Pdfr,' Swift; 'FW,' Farewell, or Foolish Wenches; 'Lele' is doubtful.