A Beggar's Wedding





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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