Monday, June 9, 2008

Dean Swift's Dinner


A characteristic story is told of Dean Swift, who, after a series of expensive entertainments in London, invited six of his hosts to dinner. They arrived, expecting the usual costly surfeit of good things. They found the table laid with a piece of bread, a bottle of wine, a plate at each cover and a waiter behind each chair. They took their places.

"Mr. Dean," said the lord chancellor, "we fail to see the joke."

Swift lifted his plate. Underneath was the bill of fare of a neighboring cafe and a half crown. he turned to the waiter at his side and gave him the money. "Here," he said, "bring me the worth of that in goose and potatoes."

The guests each sent the money under his plate for whatever dish he chose, and the dinner was eaten and enjoyed.

Swift then laid upon the table £100, and deducting the three crowns which had been spent, said: "The remainder — the crumbs and fragments — are to go to the poor. We all have had enough money to satisfy hunger. You shall advise me how the rest is to be spent." — Youth's Companion.

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