We cannot do her honour by her Christian name.1 All we have to call her by more tenderly is the mere D, the D that ties her to Stella, with whom she made the two-in-one whom Swift loved "better a thousand times than life, as hope saved." MD, without full stops, Swift writes it eight times in a line for the pleasure of writing it. "MD sometimes means Stella alone," says one of many editors. "The letters were written nominally to Stella and Mrs. Dingley," says another, "but it does not require to be said that it was really for Stella's sake alone that they were penned." Not so. "MD" never stands for Stella alone. And the editor does not yet live who shall persuade one honest reader, against the word of Swift, that Swift loved Stella only, with an ordinary love, and not, by a most delicate exception, Stella and Dingley, so joined that they make the "she" and "her" of the letters. And this shall be a paper of reparation to Mrs. Dingley.
No one else in literary history has been so defrauded of her honours. In love "to divide is not to take away," as Shelley says; and Dingley's half of the tender things said to MD is equal to any whole, and takes nothing from the whole of Stella's half. But the sentimentalist has fought against Mrs. Dingley from the outset. He has disliked her, shirked her, misconceived____________________