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Swift Arbuthnot And Parnell

Irish Humour Home

Swift, Arbuthnot, and Parnell, taking the advantage of a fine frosty
morning, set out together upon a walk to a little place which Lord
Bathurst had, about eleven miles from London. Swift, remarkable for
being an old traveller, and for getting possession of the best rooms and
warmest beds, pretended, when they were about half way, that he did not
like the slowness of their pace; adding, that he would walk on before
them, and acquaint his lordship with their journey. To this proposal
they readily agreed; but as soon as he was out of sight, sent off a
horseman by a private way (suspecting their friend's errand), to inform
his lordship of their apprehensions. The man arrived in time enough to
deliver his message before Swift made his appearance. His lordship then
recollecting that the dean never had the small-pox, thought of the
following stratagem. Seeing him coming up the avenue, he ran out to meet
him, and expressed his happiness at the sight of him. But I am
mortified at one circumstance, continued his lordship, as it must
deprive me of the pleasure of your company; there is a raging small-pox
in the house: I beg, however, that you will accept of such accommodation
as a small house at the bottom of the avenue can afford you. Swift was
forced to comply with this request: and in this solitary situation,
fearful of speaking to any person around him, he was served with dinner.
In the evening, the wits thought proper to release him, by going down to
him in a body, to inform him of the deception, and to tell him that the
first best room and bed in the house were at his service. Swift, though
he might be inwardly chagrined, deemed it prudent to join in the laugh
against himself; they adjourned to the mansion-house, and spent the
evening in a manner easily to be conceived by those who are in the
least acquainted with the brilliancy of their powers.

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