Swift Arbuthnot And Parnell

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

, 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.