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Swift's Loves








The first of these ladies, whom Swift romantically christened Varina,
was a Miss Jane Waryng, to whom he wrote passionate letters, and whom,
when he had succeeded in gaining her affections, he deserted, after a
sort of seven years' courtship. The next flame of the Dean's was the
well-known Miss Esther Johnson, whom he fancifully called Stella.
Somehow, he had the address to gain her decided attachment to him,
though considerably younger, beautiful in person, accomplished, and
estimable. He dangled upon her, fed her hopes of an union, and at length
persuaded her to leave London and reside near him in Ireland. His
conduct then was of a piece with the rest of his life: he never saw
her alone, never slept under the same roof with her, but allowed her
character and reputation to be suspected, in consequence of their
intimacy; nor did he attempt to remove such by marriage until a late
period of his life, when, to save her from dissolution, he consented to
the ceremony, upon condition that it should never be divulged; that she
should live as before; retain her own name, &c.; and this wedding, upon
the above being assented to, was performed in a garden! But Swift never
acknowledged her till the day of his death. During all this treatment of
his Stella, Swift had ingratiated himself with a young lady of fortune
and fashion in London, whose name was Vanhomrig, and whom he called
Vanessa. It is much to be regretted that the heartless tormentor should
have been so ardently and passionately beloved, as was the case with the
latter lady. Selfish, hardhearted as was Swift, he seemed but to live in
disappointing others. Such was his coldness and brutality to Vanessa,
that he may be said to have caused her death.

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