Singular Event

When Swift was a year old, an event happened to him that seems very

unusual; for his nurse, who was a woman of Whitehaven, being under the

absolute necessity of seeing one of her relations, who was then

extremely sick, and from whom she expected a legacy; and being extremely

fond of the infant, she stole him on shipboard unknown to his mother and

uncle, and carried him with her to Whitehaven, where he continued for

almost three years. For, when the matter was discovered, his mother sent

orders by all means not to hazard a second voyage till he could be

better able to bear it. The nurse was so careful of him that before he

returned he had learned to spell; and by the time that he was five years

old, he could read any chapter in the Bible.

After his return to Ireland he was sent at six years old to the school

of Kilkenny, from whence at fourteen he was admitted into the Dublin