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A Beggar's Wedding

Irish Humour Home




As Swift was fond of scenes in low life, he missed no opportunity of
being present at them when they fell in his way. Once when he was in the
country, he received intelligence that there was to be a beggar's
wedding in the neighborhood. He was resolved not to miss the opportunity
of seeing so curious a ceremony; and that he might enjoy the whole
completely, proposed to Dr. Sheridan that he should go thither disguised
as a blind fiddler, with a bandage over his eyes, and he would attend
him as his man to lead him. Thus accoutred, they reached the scene of
action, where the blind fiddler was received with joyful shouts. They
had plenty of meat and drink, and plied the fiddler and his man with
more than was agreeable to them. Never was a more joyful wedding seen.
They sung, they danced, told their stories, cracked jokes, &c., in a
vein of humor more entertaining to the two guests than they probably
could have found in any other meeting on a like occasion. When they were
about to depart, they pulled out the leather pouches, and rewarded the
fiddler very handsomely.

The next day the Dean and the Doctor walked out in their usual dress,
and found their companions of the preceding evening scattered about in
different parts of the road and the neighboring village, all begging
their charity in doleful strains, and telling dismal stories of their
distress. Among these they found some upon crutches, who had danced very
nimbly at the wedding, others stone-blind, who were perfectly
clear-sighted at the feast. The Doctor distributed among them the money
which he had received as his pay; but the Dean, who mortally hated these
sturdy vagrants, rated them soundly; told them in what manner he had
been present at the wedding, and was let into their roguery; and assured
them, if they did not immediately apply to honest labor, he would have
them taken up and sent to gaol. Whereupon the lame once more recovered
their legs, and the blind their eyes, so as to make a very precipitate
retreat.





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