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ship. When the Doctor had sufficiently recovered to be able to go abroad, he was apologising to the Dean for the trouble he had given him; saying, “I fear, Mr. Dean, I have been an expensive lodger to you this bout.” Upon which Mrs. Whiteway, a relation of the Dean's, who then chiefly managed his affairs, and who happenel to be present, briskly said, " It is in your power, Doctor, easily to remedy this, by removing to another lodging." Swist was silent. The
poor Doctor was quite thunderstruck. As this lady had always professed great friendship for him, and lay under considerable obligations to him, he quickly saw that this must have been done by Swift's direction; in which he was confirmed by his silence on the occasion. He immediately left the house, in all that anguish of mind, which a heart possessed of the warmest friendship must feel, upon the abrupt breach of one of so long a standing, and so sincere on his part; nor did he ever enter it again*. He lived but a short time after this. His friend and physician, Dr. Helsham, foretold the manner, and almost the very time of his death. He said his disorder was a polypus in the heart, which was so far advanced, that it would probably put an end to his existence in a short time, and so suddenly, as to give him no warning of it ; snd therefore recommended it to him to
The story told by a lying biographer, in a work published under the name of Theophilus Cibber, is utterly false. It is there relateel, that the Doctor being in fear of his creditors, had retired for refuge to the Deanery, and one evening requesting a bottle of wine, the Dean grudgingly answered, “ though he had given him a lodging, he had not promised to furnish him with wine :" for the Doctor, at that tine, did not owe a shilling in the world; having sold a great part of his landed preperty to pay his debis. S.
settle his affairs. The Doctor upon this, retired to a house of one of his scholars, Mr. O‘Callaghan, at Rathfarnham, three miles from Dublin. In a few days he sent for his friend and namesake, counsellor Sheridan, to draw his will; and when that was done, he seemed cheerful and in good spirits. The counsellor, and a brother of Mr. OʻCallaghan's, who had lent him his house, upon being called away to another part of the kingdom, dined with him that day. Soon after dinner, the conversation happened to turn on the weather, and one of them observed, that the wind was easterly. The Doctor upon this, said, “ Let it blow east, west, north, or south, the immortal soul will take its flight to the destined point.” These were the last words he ever spoke, for he immediately sunk back in his chair, and expired without a groan, or the smallest struggle. His friends thought he had fallen asleep, and in that belief retired to the garden, that they might not disturb his repose; but on their return, after an hour's walk, to their great astonishment, they found he was dead. Upon opening the body, doctor Helsham's sagacious prognostick proved to be true, as the polypus in the heart was discovered to be the immediate cause of his death. I know not whether it is worth mentioning, that the surgeon said, he never saw so large a heart in any human body.
It is with reluctance I have dwelt so long on this part of Swift's life; but as many representations of his conduct at that juncture, founded on truth too, had got abroad, much to the disadvantage of his character, I thought it necessary to draw at full length a picture of his state of mind at that time, to show how unreasonable it is to impute faults to the sound
and perfect man, which were the natural consequence of the decay of his faculties, the infirmities of age, and cruel disease; by which so total a change was made in him, that scarce any thing of his foriner self remained. Among the charges against him, none bore more hard than his latter behaviour to Dr. Sheridan, for which I have already accounted. In their whole intercourse, previous to triat period, I have shown how sincere a friend he had always proved himself to be; and afterward, when his understanding was gone, and his memory failed, when some former feelings of the heart only remained, I had a strong instance given me by his servant William, how dtep an impression the Doctor had made there; who told me that when he was in that state, the Dean, every day, for a long time, constantly asked him the same question—" William, did you know doctor Sheridan?" “ Yes, sir, very well;"--and then, with a heavy sigh, “O! I lost my right hand when I lost him!"
SECTION VII. HAVING thus finished the Life of Swift, and related in a regular series all that I thought most worthy to be recorded, I have purposely reserved to a separate part of the work, such anecdotes, memoirs, and detached pieces, as could not have been interwoven in the history, without much interruption This was the method pursued by that great biographer Plutarch, and that is the part of his work, which, in general, is read with most pleasure. There is a wonderful curiosity in mankind to pry into the
secret actions of men, who have made a distinguished figure in publick, as it is from private anecdotes alone that a true estimate can be formed of their real characters, since the other may be assumed only to answer the
purposes of ambition. Even circumstances, in themselves trifling, often lead to this, and on that account are registered with care, and read with avidity. I shall, therefore, without farther preface, relate such anecdotes of Swift, as have come to my knowledge, and have not hitherto been made known to the world, as they rise in the memory; but shall set down none which I have not good reason to believe authentick; as I received most of them from my father; others from his and the Dean's intimate friends; and some came within my own knowledge.
We have already seen that soon after the Dean's acquaintance with doctor Sheridan commenced, being both equally fond of the bagatelle,' they were laying themselves out for various contrivances to create innocent sport. There happened to arrive in town at this time, one Gibbons, who had been a contemporary of the Doctor's in the college, but had been absent in the country for some years. On his arrival he renewed his acquaintance with doctor Sheridan. He had a great simplicity of character, which made it easy to impose on him, and certain oddities and peculiarities, which rendered him a proper subject for a practical joke. A plan was immediately concerted between them, that Swift should personate the character of a distressed clergyman, under the name of Jodrel, applying to doctor Sheridan to be made one of his ushers. A time was appointed for their meeting at the Doctor's an hour before dinner, and several of their set were invited to be present at the
sport. When they were assembled, Swift, as Jodrel, entered the room in an old rusty gown, and lank shabhy periwig, which were provided at the doctor's for the purpose. As he was an excellent mimick, he personated the character of an awkward country parson to the life. Gibbons was requested by the Doctor to examine him, in order to see whether he was fit for the post; and Jodrel gave such answers to the questions asked by Gibbons, as afforded high entertainment to all present. One of his questions was, “ What is Christ's church" To which Jodrel replied, “ A great pile of building near the four courts;" for so that church is called. On which Gibbons exclaimed, “ was there ever such a blockhead? Who the devil put you in orders." The sport occasioned by this was too rich to be suddenly given up. Gibbons, Jodrel, and the other guests met several times at dinner, where Jodrel's behaviour was always awkward and absurd. One time he held out his plate with both his hands, stretching it in the most ridiculous posture quite across the table, which provoked Gibbons to call him fool! dunce! and even to give him a slap on the wrist with the flat of his knife; at the same time, showing him how he ought to hold his plate, or that he should send it by one of the servants. When this sort of amusement was adjudged to have continued long enough, doctor Sheridan delivered a message to Gibbons from the Dean, ir.viting him to dine with him. Gibbons, who had expressed a great ambition to be known to Swift, received the message with transport, but said, “ Sure he won't ask that fool Jodrel." Sheridan told him “ he might set his heart at rest, for that the Dean never had, nor never would ask him as long as he lived." When