Adventures of Roderick Random
ET GENUS ET VIRTUS, NISI CUM RE,
VILIOR ALGA EST.—Hor.
PRINTED AND SOLD BY T. JOHNSTON.
MY father was the younger son of a gentleman of fortune in the north of Scotland, but having married without his consent, was forced to take refuge in a small farm-house at a little distance, and there wait the result of his inclination; but my mother, being far adyanced in her pregnancy, foreseeing the distress she would be reduced to if she was delivered there, went, unknown to her husband, to the house of my grandfather, fell on her knees at his feet, and implored his forgiveness: neither her tears nor the danger that threatened her had any effect; for, after a slight apology, he left the room, without giving any consolation. My mother’s afflication had such an effect on her constitution, that she was seized with the pains of child-bed; and, but for the assistance of an old maid-servant, she and the innocent fruit of her womb might have fallen victims to his inhumanity. She was carried up to a garret, where she was delivered of a man-child; the story of whose unfortunate birth he himself now relates. My father being informed of what had happened, flew to her, and could not help shedding a flood of tears on beholding the dear partner of his heart laid in a miserable apartment unfit to protect her from the inclemency of the weather. The old gentleman was not ignorant of what had passed, though he affected to be much surprised when he heard it; and gave orders she should immediately be gone. Her want of necessaries where she lodged, and grief and anxiety of mind, soon put an end to her life. My father was so affected with her death, that he remained six weeks deprived of his senses; at which time the infant was carried to the old man who relented so far, on hearing the melancholy story of my mother's death that he sent the child to nurse, and ordered my father home to his house, where he soon recovered the use of his reason, but was so exasperated at the barbarity of his sire, that he soon after disappeared, and, notwithstanding all imaginable enquiry, could never be heard of, which made most people think he had made away with himself in a fit of despair. How I understood the particulars of my birth, will appear in the course of these memoirs.
I was much beloved by the tenants, and wanted nothing their indigent circumstances could afford; but their favours was a weak resource against the jealousy of my cousins, who conceived an implacable hatred against me, and had so effectually blockaded my grandfather, that I scarcely saw him. I was sent to school, in a village hard by, of which he had been dictator; but as he neither paid for my board, nor supplied me with clothes, or other necessaries, my condition was very ragged and contemptible; and the schoolmaster, who, through fear of my grandfather, taught me gratis, gave himself no concern about the progress I made under his instructions. I soon became a good he should endeavour to prevent his future improvement. And indeed he punctually performed what he had undertaken; for he caused a board to be made, with five holes in it, through which he thrust the fingers and thumb of my right hand and fastened it by whip cord to my wrist that I was effectually debarred the use of my pen. But this restraint I was freed from in a few days, by an accident which happened in a quarrel between me and another boy, who insulted me that with one stroke of my machine I cut him to the scull. I was severely punished for this trespass by the merciless tyrant the school-master and was often inhumanly scourged for crimes I did not commmit. I have been found guilty of robbing orchards I never entered, of killing cats I never hurted, of stealing gingerbread I never touched, and of abusing old women I never saw. I was once flogged for having narrowly escaped drowning by the sinking of a ferry-boat, on which I was a passenger; (illegible text) time for recovering from a bruise, occasioned by a horse and cart running over me; a third time for being bit by a baker's dog; in short, whether I was guilty or unfortunate, the vengeance and sympathy of this pedagogue were the same.in the Latin tongue; and as soon as I could write some, pestered my grandfather with letters to such a degree, that he sent for my master, and chid him severely for bestowing such pains on my education, telling him, that if I ever should be brought to the gallows for forgery, which he had taught me to commit, my blood should lie on his head. The pedant assured his honour, that the boy's abilities was more owing to his genius than to any instruction he received; that if he would empower him to disable his fingers,
By the direction of our usher, who had (illegible text) my father in his travels, I made a surprising progress in the classics, writing, and arithmetic; so that before I was twelve years old, I was confessedly the best scholar in the school; this qualification, together with a boldness of temper and strength of make, which had subjected almost all my contemporaries, gave me such influence over them that I began to form cabals against my persecutor: and was in hopes of being able to bid him defiance in a short time. To this end I had gained most of the boys over to me, and determined to put a scheme of revenge in execution against him, in which they all promised to assist me. In the mean time, I took every opportunity to present myself before my grandfather, to whom I seldom found access, by reason of my cousins; his heir, especially, never set eyes on me but he uncoupled his beagles and hunted me into some cottages or other, whither I generally fled for shelter. In this Christian amusement he was encouraged by the parish clerk, his perceptor, which incensed me so much, that one day, when I was attacked by him and his dogs, in a farmer's house, I took aim at him with a large peeble, and struck out four of his fore teeth, which effectually incapacitated him for doing the office of clerk ever after.
About this time, my mother's only brother, who had been long abroad, lieutenant in a ship of war, arrived in his own country; where being informed of my condition, he came to see me, and out of his slender finances, not only supplied me with necessaries I wanted for the present but resolved not to leave the country until he had prevailed on my grandfather to settle something handsome on me for the future. To this end, he set out with me to the house of my grandfather; where, after a few minutes pause, we were admitted, and conducted to his chamber. My grandfather received this relation, after his long absence, with a coldness peculiar to him; told him he was glad to see him, and desired him to sit down: but my uncle refused to sit, telling him his business there, reproached him for his usage towards me; which he denied, telling my uncle he had been very kind to me, and that he would bind my apprentice to some honest tradesman, if I would behave myself as become me for the future. My uncle (whose pride and indignation boiled within him) could not forbear upbraiding him for the cruelty shown me, with great warmth and thanking him for his courteous offer in binding me apprentice, he supposed, to a tailor, took me by the hand and departed, muttering curses against him and we returned to the village.
A few weeks after our first visit, we were informed that my grandfather, being conscious of his approaching end, desired to see all his descendants without exception. In obedience to his summons, my uncle set out with me a second time. When we entered his chamber we advanced to the bed-side, where we found him in the last agonies, supported by two of his grand-daughters: I know not whether he saw my uncle, who approached him, saying, Here’s poor Rory come to see you before you die, and receive your blessing: but the dying man turned his sunk eyes towards us, without being able to make a reply; which my uncle perceiving, thought proper to retire into another room, where we were soon convinced of my grandfather’s decease, by the cries of the young ladies in his apartment; but my uncle, not satisfied, insisted on seeing the Will, and that, till such time, every desk and cabinet in the house should remain close sealed. They made him welcome to be witness of this ceremony, which was immediately performed to his satisfaction. But the reader can scarce conceive the astonishment that appeared, when the day came, and an attorney pronounced the young squire sole heir of his grandfather's estate, personal and real.—My uncle, who had listened with great attention, accompanied the words of the attorney with a stare, broke out in curses against the deceased, and departed. In our way to the village, my uncle desired me not to be cast down, telling me I should go to sea with him. Though this did not suit my inclination, I was afraid of discovering my aversion to it, lest I should disoblige the only friend I had in the world. But thisresolution was soon dropt, at the advice of our usher, who assured Mr. Bowling, it would be a thousand pities to baulk my genius, which would certainly, one day, make my fortune on shore. Upon which, this generous tar determined to give me university education; and accordingly settled my board and other expences, at a town not many miles distant, famous for its colleges, whither we repaired, in a short time. But before the day of our departure, the schoolmaster laid aside all decency and restraint, and abused me in the grossest language, as a wicked, profligate, dull, beggarly, miscreant, whom he had taught through charity. This brutal behaviour made me think it high time to be revenged of this insolent pedagogue. Having consulted my adherents, I found them all staunch in their promises to stand by me; and we formed a scheme, which was as follows: In the afternoon preceding the day of our departure for the university, I was to take the advantage of the usher's going out to make water, and shut the great door, that he might not come to the assistance of his superior. This being done, the assault was to be begun by my spitting in the master’s face; I was to be seconded by two of the strongest boys in the school, and we were to drag him to a bench, over which he was to be laid, and heartily whipt with his own birch. The other boys were ready to join us, or hinder any one from coming to his relief. One of our principal assistants was called Jeremy Gawky, whose life I had once saved, when he was on the point of being drowned; and the name of the other Hugh Strap, whose attachment flowed from a voluntary, disinterested inclination, which was manifested on many occasions in my behalf, having often fathered offences I had committed, and had saved me from drowning at the risk of his own life. These two champions were willing to engage in this enterprise, as they intended to leave the school next day, as well as I; the first being ordered by his father to return into the country, and the other being bound apprentice to a barber, at a market-town not far off.
In the mean time, my uncle being informed of my master's behaviour to me, was enraged beyond all composition, and vowed revenge so heartily, that I could not refrain from telling him the scheme I had concerted: but he, doubting our abilities, consented to assist us. We were very proud of our associate, who prepared a cat-and-nine-tails with great expedition; after, he ordered our baggage to be packed up, and got horses ready to be mounted as soon as the affair should be over.
At length the hour arrived, when our auxiliary seized the opportunity of the usher's absence, bolted and secured the door and immediately laid hold of the pedant by his collar, who bawled out, 'murder. thieves!' with the voice of a . Tho' I trembled all over, I knew there was no time to be lost, and accordingly got up and summoned our associates to my assistance: Strap without any hesitation, obeyed the signal, and seeing me leap upon the master’s back, ran immediately to one of his legs, which pulling with all his force, this dreadful adversary was soon humbled to the ground: upon which Gawky, who had hitherto remained in his place, hastened to the scene of action and insulted the fallen tyrant with a loud huzza, in which the whole school joined. We soon dragged the criminal to a post, to which Bowling tied him with a rope he had provided on purpose; after having fastened his hands behind his back, pulled down his breeches, and tucked up his garments and shirt, as far as they would go, my uncle, having upbraided this arbitrary wretch with his inhumanity to me, told him that he proposed to give him a little discipline for the good of his soul, which he immediately put in practice with great vigour and dexterity. This smart application to the pedant's withered posteriors, gave him such exquisite pain, that he roared like a mad bull, danced, cursed, and blasphemed.
This ceremony was no sooner over, than my uncle proposed they should leave the school, and convoy their old comrade Rory to a public-house, about a mile from the village, where he would treat them all. This offer being joyfully embraced, he dismissed the boys, and locking the door, left the preceptor to console himself, while we moved forwards on our journey, attended by a numerous retinue, whom he treated according to his promise. We parted with many tears, and lay that night at an inn on the road, about ten miles short of the town where I was to reside, at which we arrived next day, and was boarded at he house of an apothenary, who had married a distant relation of my mother. In a few days after, my uncle set out for his ship, after having settled the necessary funds for my maintenance and education.
I now began to consider my precarious situation; that I was utterly abandoned by those whose duty it was to protect me; and that my sole dependance was on the generosity of one man, who was exposed by his profession, to continual dangers, which might one day deprive me of him for ever. I resolved to apply myself with great care to my studies, and enjoy the opportunity in my power: in the space of three years I understood Greek very well, was pretty far advanced in the mathematics, and no stranger to moral and natural philosophy: logic I made no account of but above all things I valued myself on my taste in the Belle Lettres, and a talent for poetry. These qualifications, added to a good face and shape, acquired the esteem and acquaintance of the most considerable people in town. Thus I remained in good reputation for some time; when one day, on going home to dinner, I was informed there was a letter from my uncle, which said that he had killed his captain in a duel for which he was obliged to leave the ship and go over to France; but that he hoped to be restored in a little time. It however affected the apothecary in such a manner, that he gave me to understand that I might provide myself with another lodging. The indignation which this inspired, gave me spirits to support my reverse of fortune, and to tell him I despised his mean selfish disposition so much, that I would rather starve than be beholden to him for one single meal. Upon which, out of my pocket-money, I paid him to the last farthing, and assured him I would not sleep another night under his roof. This said, I sallied out in a transport of rage and sorrow, having not one friend in the world capable of relieving me, and only three shilling in my purse. After giving way, for a few minutes to the dictates of my rage, I went and hired a small bed-room, at the rate of one shilling and sixpence per week, which I was obliged to pay per advance, before the landlord would receive me: hither I removed my luggage; and next morning got up, with a view of craving the advice and assistance of a person who had, on all occasions, loaded me with caresses, and made frequent offers of friendship, while I was under no necessity of accepting them. He received me with his wonted affability, and insisted on my breakfasting with him, which I did not think fit to refuse. But when I communicated the occasion of my visit, he appeared very much disconcerted, and after enquiring the cause of my difference with Mr. Potion, took his part so warmly, that I thought proper to leave him.
On my return, I met my old comrade, 'squire Gawky, whom his father had sent, some time ago to town for his improvement. I made no scruple of informing him of the lowness of my circumstances and asking a small supply of money to answer my present expence; upon which he pulled out a handful of halfpence, with a shilling or two amongst them and swore that was all he had to keep his pocket till next quarter day. Though this might very well be true, I was extremely mortified at his indifference: for he neither discovered any sympathy for my mishap, nor desire of alleviating my distress and accordingly I left him, without uttering one word.
My despair had rendered me almost stupified, when I was one day told, that a gentleman desired to see me at a certain public house, whither immediately I repaired, and was introduced to one Mr. Launcelot Crab, a surgeon in town. Mr. Crab had long entertained an implacable resentment against Potion, who had ingrossed more business than he, and once had the assurance to perform a cure, whereby he disappointed and disgraced the prognostic of the said Crab. The difference between these rivals was in the height of rancour, when I was sent for by Mr. Crab, who inquired into the particulars of my leaving the house of Potion: which, when I had related, he said, “Well my lad. I have heard a good character of you, and I'll do for you.” I answered with a submissive bow, that I was far from rejecting his friendly offer; that I would willingly serve in his shop, by which means I might save him the expence of a journeyman. I was accordingly that very night admitted to his house, and had an apartment assigned to me in the garret, which I was fain to put up with. I was soon convinced of the real motives which induced Crab to receive me in this manner: for, beside the gratification of his revenge in exposing the selfishness of his antagonist in opposition to his own generosity, he had occasion for a young man who understood something of the profession, to fill up the place of his apprentice, lately dead. The knowledge of this did not at all contribute to my enjoying my new situation with ease; however, as I did not perceive how I could bestow myself to better advantage I resolved to study Crab's temper with all the application, and manage it with all the address I was master of. In this manner I lived, without hearing the least tidings of my uncle, for the space of two years, during which time I kept little or no company; for the nabob, my master, allowed me no wages, and the small perquisites of my station scarce supplied me with the common necessaries of life. My present appearance was the least of my care, which was wholly ingrossed in laying up a stock of instruction, that might secure me against the caprice of fortune for the future. When I deemed myself sufficiently master of my business, I began to cast about for an opportunity of launching in the world; but as this could not be effected without a small sum of money to equip me for the field, I was in the utmost perplexity how to raise it, well knowing that Crab, for his own sake, would never put me in a condition to leave him; but a small accident which happened about this time, determined him in my favour. This was no other than the pregnancy of his maid-servant, who declared her situation to me, assuring me, at the same time, that I was the occasion of it. Although I had no reason to question the truth of this imputation, I was not ignorant of the familiarities which had passed between her master and her; of which availing myself. I represented to her the folly of laying the burden at my door, when she might dispose of it to much greater advantage with Mr. Crab. She listened to my advice, and next day acquainted him with the pretended success of their mutual endeavours. He was far from being overjoyed at this proof of his vigour, which he foresaw might have very troublesome consequences, because he knew it would furnish his rival, Potion, with a handle for insulting and undermining his reputation. It was not long before I guessed the result of his deliberation, by his addressing himself to me one day in the following manner: "I am surprised that a young fellow like you discovers no inclination to push his fortune in the world. What's to hinder you from profiting by the war, which will certainly be declared in a short time against Spain? You may easily get on board a king's ship, in quality of a surgeon's mate, where you will certainly see a great deal of practice, and stand a good chance of getting prize-money." I laid hold of this declaration, which I had long wished for, and assured him I would follow his advice with pleasure, if it was in my power. He told me that few necessaries were required; and as for the expence of my journey, he would lend me money. I gave him a thousand thanks for his obliging offer, although I was very well apprized of his motive, which was to make his chambermaid lay the child to me after I was gone; and, accordingly, I set out in a few weeks for London; my whole fortune consisting of one suit of clothes, half-a-dozen ruffled shirts, and as many plain; two pair of worsted stockings and as many thread; a case of pocket instruments, a small edition of Horace, Wiseman's Surgery, and ten guineas in cash; for which Crab took my bond, bearing five per cent interest; at the same time, giving me a letter to the member of Parliament for our town, which he said would do my business. My finances were too weak to support the expences of hiring a horse; so I determined on setting out with the carriers, who transport goods from one place to another on horseback. This I accordingly put in execution, on the 1st. day of November 1739, sitting upon a pack-saddle between two baskets; one of which contained my goods in a knapsack.—But by the time we arrived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I was so fatigued and benumbed with cold, that I resolved to travel the rest of my journey on foot.
The hostler of the inn at which we put up, understanding I was bound for London, advised me to take my passage in a collier.—I was almost persuaded to take his advice, when happening to go into a barbar's shop to be shaved, the young man, while he lathered my face, accosted me thus: Sir, I presume you are a Scotsman.” To which I answered in the affirmative. “Pray (continued he) from what part of Scotland?” I no sooner told him, than he discovered great emotions and not confining his operations to my chin and upper lip besmeared my whole face with great agitation; at which I was so offended, flaring up, I asked him what he meant by using me so? He begged pardon, telling his joy in meeting with a countryman, had occasioned some confusion in him; and craved my name. But when I declared my name was Random, he exclaimed in a rapture “How, Rory Random?” The same, I replied, looking at him with astonishment “What, cried he, don't you know your old school fellow, Hugh Strap?” At that instant, recollecting his face, I flew into his arms, and in the transport of my joy, gave him back one half of the suds he had so lavishly bestowed on my countenance, so that we made a very ludicrous appearance, and furnished a great deal of mirth to his shop-mates. When our mutual caresses were over, I sat down again to be shaved, but the poor fellow's nerves were so discomposed, that his hand could scarcely hold the razor, with which he found means to cut me in three places. His master perceiving his disorder, bid another supply his place; and after the operation was performed, gave Strap leave to pass the rest of the day with me.—We retired immediately to my lodgings, where, calling for some beer, I communicated to him my situation and design.—He did not approve of my going by sea in winter, but if I would go by land, he would bear me company, carry my baggage, as well as his own, all the way; and if we should find ourselves fatigued, it would be no hard matter for us to find on the road, either return horses or waggons, of which we might take the opportunity for a very trifling expence, that I embraced him affectionately and assured him he might command my purse to the last farthing; but he gave me to understand, he had saved money sufficient to answer his own occasions, and that, he had a friend in London, who would soon introduce him into business, and might serve me likewise. Having concerted our plan we departed next morning by day break, armed with a good cudgel each, my companion being charged with the furniture of us both, crammed into a knapsack, which he carried; and our money sewed between the lining and wasteband of our breeches, except some loose silver for our immediate expence on the road. We travelled all day at a round pace, and having taken up our lodging at an inn, I found myself so , that I began to despair of performing our journey on foot, and desired Strap to inquire if there was any waggon, return-horses, or other cheap carriage in this place, to depart for London tomorrow of next day. He was informed that the waggon from Newcastle to London had halted here two nights ago, and that it would be an easy matter to overtake it. This piece of news gave us some satisfaction; and after making a hearty supper, we were shown to our room, and slept without disturbance till the morning, when we got up went to breakfast, paid our reckoning, and set forward in expectation of overtaking the waggon. As we exerted ourselves more than usual, I found myself quite spent with fatigue, when we entered a small village, in the twilight.—We took up our lodging in a small public house and in the morning pursued our journey. Having walked all day at a great pace without halting for a refreshment, we deferred towards the evening, to our inexpressible joy, the waggon about a quarter of a mile before us; but we were both of us so weary, that I verily believe it would have been impracticable for us to have walked one mile further. We therefore bargained with the driver to give us a cast to the next stage for a shilling; at which place we could meet the master of the waggon, with whom we might agree for the rest of the journey. Next morning, I agreed to give the master of the waggon ten shillings for my passage to London, provided Strap should be allowed to take my place when I should be disposed to walk.
At length we entered the great city, and lodged all night at the inn where the waggon halted. Next morning my companion and I sallied out to enquire for the member of parliament, to whom I had a letter of recommendation from Mr. Crab. After we had discharged our lodging at the inn, Strap took up our baggage on his back, as usual, so that we made a very whimsical appearance. I had dressed myself to the greatest advantage; that is, put on a clean ruffled shirt my best thread stockings, my hair hung down upon my shoulders, as lank and straight as a pound of candles; and the skirts of my coat reached to the middle of my legs: my waistcoat and breeches were of the same piece, and cut in the same taste; my hat very much resembled a barber's bason. Strap was habited in a much less awkward manner than me; but a short crop-eared wig, and the knapsack on his back, added to what is called a queer phiz, occasioned by a long chin hook nose, and high cheek-bones, rendered him, on the whole, a very fit subject for mirth and pleasantry. As we walked along, Strap, at my desire, inquired of a carman, whom we met, whereabouts Mr. Cringer lived; and was answered by a stare, accompanied with the word, “Anan!” Upon which I came up, in order to explain the question, but had the misfortune to be unintelligible likewise; the carman damning us for lousy Scotchmen, whipped up his horses with a “Gee ho!” which nettled me to the quick, and roused the indignation of Strap so far, that after the fellow was gone a good way, he told me he would fight him for a farthing. While we were deliberating what was next to be done, an hackney coachman, driving softly along, and perceiving us standing by the kennel, came up close to us, and calling, “A coach, master!” by a dexterous management of the reins, made his horses stumble in the wet, and bedaub us all over with mud. After which; he drove on, applauding himself with a hearty laugh, in which several people joined, to my great mortification; but one, more compassionate than the rest, seeing us strangers, advised me to go into an ale-house, and dry ourselves. I thanked him for his advice, which I immediately complied with; and going into the house he pointed out, called for a pot of beer, and sat down by the fire, in a public room, where we cleaned ourselves as well as we could. In the mean time, a wag who sat in the box, smoaking his pipe, understanding by our dialect who we were asked me, how long I had been caught? As I did not know the meaning of his question, I made no answer; and he went on, saying, it could not be a great while, for my tail was not yet cut; at the same time taking hold of my hair, and tipping the wink to the rest of the company, who seemed highly entertained with his wit. I was incensed at this usage, but afraid of resenting it, because I happened to be in a strange place, and perceiving the person who spoke to me was a brawny fellow, for whom I was by no means a match. However Strap could not put up with the insults that I suffered, but told him he was an uncivil fellow for making so free with his betters. Whereupon the wit going toward him, asked what he had got in his knapsack? said he, seizing him by the chin. My companion feeling himself assaulted in such an opprobrious manner disengaged himself in a trice, and lent his antagonist such a box on the ear; that made him stagger to the other side of the room; and, in a moment, a ring was formed for the combatants. Seeing Strap beginning to strip and my blood being heated with indignation which banished all other thoughts. I undressed myself to the skin in an instant and declared that as the affront that occasioned the quarrel was offered to me, I would fight it out myself; upon which one or two cried out, “That's a brave Scotch boy; you shall have fair play.” This gave me fresh spirits; and going up to my adversary who by this pale countenance did not see much inclined to the battle, struck him so hard on the stomach, that he reeled over a bench, and fell to the ground. One of the spectators endeavoured to raise him up but in vain; for he protested he would not fight, not being quite recovered of a late illness. I was very well pleased with this excuse, and immediately dressed myself, having acquired the good opinion of the company for my bravery, as did also my comrade Strap, who shook me by the hand, and wished me joy of the victory. After having drunk our pot, and dried our clothes, we inquired of the landlord if he knew Mr. Cringer the member of parliament, and were amazed at his replying in the negative; for we imagined he must be every bit as conspicuous here as in the borough he represented. We betook ourselves to the street, where, seeing a footman standing at a door, we made up to him, and asked if he knew where our patron lived. This member of the party-coloured fraternity, surveying us both very minutely, said, he knew Mr. Cringer very well, and bid us turn down the first street on our left, then turn to the right, and then to the left again, after which we would observe a lane, through which we must pass, and at the other end we should find an alley that leads to another street where we should see the sign of the thistle and three pedlars, and there be lodged. We thanked him for his information, and went forward Strap telling me, that he knew this person to be an honest friendly man by his countenance, before he opened his mouth. We followed his directions punctually in turning to the left, and to the right, and to the left again; but instead of seeing a lane before us, we found ourselves at the side of the river, which perplexed us not a little. By this time we were pretty much fatigued with our walk and went into a small snuff shop hard by, encouraged by the sign of the Highlander, where I found, to my inexpressible satisfaction, the shop keeper my countryman. He was no sooner informed of our peregrination, and the directions we had received from the footman, than he informed us we had been imposed upon, telling us, that Mr. Cringer lived in the other side of the town; and that it would be to no purpose for us to go thither to day, for by that time he was gone to the house. I asked him if he could recommend us to a lodging which he readily did by giving us a line to one of his acquaintance. About dinner-time, our landlord asked us how we proposed to live? To which we answered, that we would be directed by him. I followed his example, and found myself in the middle of a cook's shop, almost suffocated with the steams of boiled beef, and surrounded by a company, consisting chiefly of hackney coachmen, chairmen, draymen, and a few footmen out of place, or on board-wages, who were eating beef, tripe, cow-head, or sausages, at separate boards covered with cloths, which turned my stomach. While I stood amazed, undetermined whether to sit down or walk upwards again, Strap, in his descent, missing one of the steps tumbled headlong into this infernal ordinary and overturned the cook as she was carrying a porringer of soup to one of the guests.—In the afternoon, my companion proposed to call at his friend's house; and we were so lucky as to find him at home. This gentleman having received Strap very courteously, he inquired of him, who I was? And being informed, he took me by the hand, telling me he was at school with my father. When he understood my situation, he assured me, that he would do me all the service in his power. I asked him if he thought I should obtain entrance to-morrow at the house of Mr. Cringer, on whom I chiefly depended for any introduction into business and pulling our Mr. Crab's letter, told him the foundation of my hopes; at which he stared at me. I began to conceive bad omens from his behaviour and begged he would assist me with his advice; which he promised to do very frankly: and, as a specimen, directed us to a periwig-warehouse in the neighbourhood, in order to be accommodated; laying strong injunctions on me, not to appear before Mr. Cringer, till I had parted with my carrotty locks: and as we were going to pursue this advice, he bid me be sure to deliver my letter into Mr. Cringer's own hand. Accordingly, I got a handsome bob for which I pad fifteen shillings; and returned to our lodging, where strap soon rid me of that hair which had given the schoolmaster so much offence.
We got up next day betimes, being informed that Mr. Cringer gave audience by candle-light to all his dependants, he himself being obliged to attend the levee of Lord Terrier at break of day, because his lordship made one at the minister's between eight and nine o'clock. When we came to Mr. Cringer's door. Strap, to give me an instance of his politeness, ran to the knocker, which he employed so loud and so long, that he alarmed the whole street; and a window opening up two pair of stairs in the next house, a chamber-pot was discharged upon him so successfully, that the poor barber was wet to the skin; while I being luckily at some distance, escaped the unsavoury deluge. In the mean time, a footman opening the door, asked, with a stern countenance, if it was I who made such a damn'd nose, and what I wanted? I told him I had business with his master, whom I desired to see. Upon which he clapt the door in my face, telling me, I must learn better manners before I could have access to his master. Vexed at this disappointment, I turned my resentment against Strap, whom I sharply reprimanded for his presumption; but he not in the least regarding what I said, wrung the urine out of his wig, and lifting up a large stone, flung it with such force against the street door of that house from whence he had been bedewed, that the lock gave way, it flew open and he took to his heels, leaving me to follow him as I could: I therefore pursued him with all the speed I could exert, until we found ourselves about the dawn, in a street we did not know. Here, as we wandered along, gaping about, a very decent sort of a man passing by me, stopped of a sudden, and took up something which having examined, he turned and presented it to me, with these words, “Sir, you have dropt half-a-crown.” I told him, it did not belong to me; but he bid me recollect, and see if all my money was safe; upon which I pulled out my purse and reckoning my money, in my hand, I assured him I had lost nothing. “Well then, says he, so much the better this is God's-send; and as you two were present when I picked it up, you are entitled to equal shares with me.” But we absolutely refused any part of the sum.—“Come, gentlemen, said he, you are too modest; but you shall give me leave to treat you with a wet this cold raw morning.”—I would have declined this invitation, but Strap whispered to me, that the gentleman would be affronted, and I complied. We perceived a public-house, which we entered, and found a man sitting with a pint of purl before him. Our new acquaintance asked us if ever we had drank egg-flip? To which we answering in the negative, he assured us of a regale, and ordered a quart to be prepared, calling for pipes and tobacco at the same time. We found this very palatable, and drank heartily: the conversation, which was introduced by the gentlemen, turned upon the snares that young unexperienced people are exposed to in this metropolis. After we had put the cann about for some time, our new friend began to yawn, telling us, he had been up all night with a sick person; and proposed we should have recourse to some diversion, to keep him awake. Although I had no great inclination for gaming, I felt no aversion to pass au hour or two at cards with a friend; and knowing that Strap understood as much of the matter as I, made no scruple of saying, I wish we could find a fourth hand; upon which the person we found at our entrance, offered to join us for a trifle. We accepted his proffer, and it tell to my lot to play against Strap, for threepence a-game. We were so successful, that in a short time I was half-a-crown gainer, when the gentleman proposed changing partners. Inflamed with my good fortune, I consented to give him satisfaction. Now, Strap and I being partners, they doubled the stakes; and we continued so successful, that in a short time we got thirty shillings of their money. At last we lost our gains, and about forty shilling of our own money. This mortified me extremely, and had a visible effect on Strap's face, which lengthened apace; but our antagonist kindly gave us an opportunity to retrieve our loss. This last contest ended in less than an hour, to my inexpressible affliction, who lost every shilling of my own, Strap absolutely refusing to supply me with a sixpence. The reckoning came to eighteen pence, which having discharged, the gentleman shook us both by the hand, and saying, he should be very glad to see us again, departed. In the way to our lodging, after a profound silence on both sides, Strap, with a hideous groan, said, “We have brought our pigs to a fine market; God send us well out of this place: We have not been in London eight-and-forty hours and I believe we have met with eight-and-forty thousand misfortunes.” We soon arrived at our lodging, where, in an agony of despair. I threw myself into bed, resolving to perish for want, rather than apply to Strap or any one for relief; but he came to my bed-side, and putting a leather purse into my hand, burst into tears, crying “I know what you think; but I scorn your thoughts; there's all I have in the world, take it, and I'll perhaps get more for you before that's done; and if not, I'll beg for you, go through the world with you and starve with you.” I was so touched with his generous passion that I could not refrain weeping. Upon examining the purse, I found in it two half-guineas, and half-a-srown which I would have returned, but he refused to take it back.
Our landlord told us, we had not gone the right way to work; he therefore advised me to give the footman a shilling the next time I desired admittance. Accordingly, next morning, when the door was opened, slipt a shilling into his hand, and told him I had a letter for his master; the fellow let me in immediately, and desired me to wait in the passage for an answer. In this place I continued standing three quarters of an hour: At length Mr. Cringer came out to see a young gentleman to the door;and turning about towards we, asked what were my commands? When he understood who was, Well, Random, (says he), you propose to go on board a man of war as surgeon's mate. To which I replied by a low bow. I believe it will be a difficult matter to procure a warrant, there being already such a swarm of Scotch surgeons at the navy-office; however, some ships will soon be put into commission and then we shall see what's to be done. So saying, he left me. At my return, I was surprised with the agreeable news of Strap's being employed, on the recommendation of his friend the schoolmaster, by a periwig-maker in the neighbourhood, who allowed him five shillings per week, besides bed and board.
I continued attending, every other morning, at the levee of Mr. Cringer, during a fortnight. One day, a person was introduced, whom Mr. Cringer no sooner saw then, running towards him, he saluted him with a bow. Mr. Cringer introduced me to this gentleman, as to a person whose advice and assistance I might depend upon, and having given me his direction, followed me to the door, where he told me I need not give myself the trouble to call at his house anymore, for Mr. Staytape would do my business for me. At that instant a fellow dependant coming out after me, overheard the discourse of Mr. Cringer, and making up to me in the street accosted me very (illegible text), which I looked upon as no small honour, considering the figure I made. I perceive (says he) you are but lately come from Scotland; pray, what may your business with Mr. Cringer be? I made no scruple to disclose my situation, which when he had learned, he shook his head, and told me he had been pretty much in the same circumstances about a year ago; that he had relied on Cringer's promises so long that his money as well as credit was quite exhausted. He asked me, if I had passed at Surgeon's hall, but was surprised on my telling him I did not know it was necessary, and promised to instruct me in that matter to which end he carried me to an ale house and while he sat he let me know I must go to the Navy-office, and write to the board, desiring them to order a letter for me to Surgeon's hall, that I might be examined touching my skill in surgery; after which, I must employ my interest to be provided for as soon as possible. That the expence of his qualification for second mate of a third rate amounted to thirteen shillings, exclusive of the warrant, which cost him half a guinea and half a crown, besides a present to the secretary, which consisted of a three pound twelve piece. This calculation was like a thunderbolt to me, whole whole fortune did not amount to twelve shillings. After a good deal more conversation, my new acquaintance and I parted having made an appointment to meet next day. I went immediately to Strap and related every thing which happened.
In the morning I got up, and went to the Navy-office, which I entered, and saw crowds of young fellows walking below. I made up to one whose countenance I like (his name was Thomson) and asked if he could instruct me in the form of a letter which was to be sent to the board to obtain an order for examination. He answered me in broad Scotch that he would shew me the copy of what he had wrote for himself, by the direction of another who knew the form: he pulled it out and told me if I was expeditious. I might send it to the board before dinner, for they did no business in the afternoon. We went to a coffee-house hard by, wrote the letter, and immediately delivered it to the messenger, who told me, I might expect an order tomorrow about the same time. Having transacted this piece of business, my mind was a good deal composed; and as I had met so much civility from this stranger, he agreed to dine with me at the cook's shop which I frequented, where we sat till late in the evening; and as he lived at Wapping I desired him to take share of my bed.
Next day we returned to the Navy-Office where, after being called before the Board, and questioned about my nativity and education they ordered a letter to be made out for me which upon paying half-a-crown to the clerk. I received, and delivered into the hands of the clerk at Surgeons hall together with a Shilling for his trouble in registering my name.—By this time my whole stock as diminished to two Shillings and I ⟨⟩ not the least prospect of relief. In this state of perplexity I consulted Strap. who assured me he would pawn every thing he had in the world even to his ⟨⟩ before I should want, but this I absolutely rejected telling him, I would a thousand times rather ⟨⟩ a soldier. At the word soldier, he grew pale as death, and begged I ⟨⟩ think no more of that ⟨⟩.—To render him easy I promised I would not do any thing without his consent.—By the assistance of this faithful adherent, who gave me almost all the money he earned, I was enabled to raise half-a-guinea against the day of examination. ⟨⟩ I went with a trembling heart to Surgeons hall in order to undergo that ceremony. At length the beadle called my name; and after a strict examination, the chairman ordered me to withdraw. In less than a quarter of an hour I was called in again and received my qualifications sealed up and was ordered to pay five shillings; after which I was obliged to give three shillings and sixpence to the beadles and a shilling to an old woman who swept the hall: this disbursement suck my finances to thirteen pence halfpenny, with which I would willingly have gone home, but was prevented by my companions. who said we must deliver our letters of qualification at the Navy-office, before one o'clock; we went thither, and gave them to the Secretary, who opened and read them, and I was mightily pleased to find myself qualified for second mate of a third rate. When he had stuck them altogether on a file we went down stairs and conferred together on our expectations, where I understood that each of them had been recommended to one or other of the Commissioners; and each of them promised the first vacancy that should fall; but that none of them relied (illegible text) upon that interest without a preresent to the Secretary, and I was asked what I proposed to give? This was a vexatious question to me, who had not (illegible text) to buy me a dinner. I said I had not determined that yet; and sneaked off towards my lodging cursing my (illegible text) all the way inveighing against the barbarity of my grandfather and the avarice of my relations, who left me a prey to contempt and indigence. Full of these disagreeable reflections, I arrived at the house where I lodged and recounted to Strap who had been to see me. the particulars of my success; and as neither of us had dined, he went down stairs and brought up a quart of milk, with a penny brick, on which we made a comfortable meal. He then shared his money (eighteen pence) and left me.
He was no sooner gone, than I began to consider my situation with great uneasiness and revolved all the enemies my imagination could suggest, and not to live at the expence of a barber's boy. My pride took the alarm and having no hope of succeeding at the Navy-office I came to the resolution of enlisting in the Foot-guards next day. This extravagant design by flattering myself gave great satisfaction and I was charging the enemy at the head of my own regiment, when Strap's return interrupted my reverie. He informed me that his (illegible text) had spoke in my behalf to a French apothecary who wanted a journeyman and that on his recommendation I might have fifteen pounds a year, bed and board, whenever I pleased. Jumping up I insisted on Strap's accompanying me immediately to the house of his friend that I might not lose the opportunity through the least delay. We were informed his friend and the apothecary were in company at a public-house hard by. The apothecary, having eyed me some time, said Oho, very well Mons. Concordance; young man you, are welcome, take one cup of bierre, and come to mine house tomorrow morning. Upon this I made my bow and went out of the room. As I had by my application, while I served Crab, acquired the French tongue well enough to read authors written in that language, and understand anything that occured in conversation. I determined to pretend ignorance to my new master that he and his family whom I supposed to be of the same country not being on the reserve before me might possibly discover something in discourse, which (illegible text) either yield me amusement or advantage.
Next morning I went to the apothecary's house, when the bargain was made; and orders were given to provide an apartment for me immediately. Before I entered on business, the Schoolmaster recommended me to his tailor, who gave me credit for a suit of clothes, to be paid out of the first money of my wages; he afterwards accommodated me with a hat on the same terms; so that in a few days I hoped to make a fashionable appearance. In the meantime Strap conveyed my baggage to the place alloted to me which was a brick room up two pair of stairs, furnished with a pallet for me to lie upon, a chair without a back an earthen chamber-pot with (illegible text) a (illegible text) a bottle by way of a candlestick, and a triangular piece of glass instead of a mirror.
Next day while I was at work in the shop, a bouncing damsel, well dressed, came in on pretence of finding a vial for some use or other; and taking an opportunity of observing me very narrowly, went away with a silent look of disdain. At dinner, the maids, with whom I dined, informed me, that this was my master's only daughter; that he had been twice on the brink of marriage but disappointed by the stinginess of her father; for which reason the young (illegible text) did not behave to her father with all the final veneration that might be expected, the harbouring a perfect hatred for her countryman in which disposition her mother (illegible text), who was an Englishwoman and was a matron of high spirit, which she often manifested at the expense of her dependents; that she loved diversions and looked upon miss as her rival in all parties; which indeed was the cause of her disappointments.—Over and above this intelligence, I of myself soon made more discoveries.
Mr Lavement's behaviour in preference of an Irish captain who lodged in the house; made me believe his chief torment was jealousy. As for my own part I had been six days in the house without being honoured with one word either from master or daughter. The latter at the table, having one day expressed some surprise that her papa should entertain such a mean looking journeyman I was nettled at this piece of information, and next Sunday being my turn to go abroad I offered myself in my new clothes to the best advantage. After spending best part of the day with Strap and some of his acquaintances, I came home in the afternoon, and was let in by Miss, who not knowing me, dropt a low curtesy as I advanced, which I returned with a profound bow, and shut the door. By the time I had turned about, she had perceived her mistake, changed colour, and went away tittering and I heard her pronounce the word creature. From this day forward she came into the shop fifty times every day on various pretences and put in practice so many ridiculous airs, that I could easily perceive her opinion of me was changed, but my heart was so steeled against her charms, by pride and resentment, that notwithstanding some advances she made, I could not be prevailed upon to yield her the least attention. This neglect soon banished all the favourable impressions she left for me, and rage took place in her heart; which she manifested by all her malice could invent to prejudice me with her father and procured me such servile offices as she hoped would humble my spirit. In the mean time, my industry and knowledge gained me the good will of my master, who had a great deal of business. I soon saw I had reason to believe I had inspired on of the maids with tender sentiments for me; and one night, when I thought every person in the house asleep, I took an opportunity to avail myself of my conquest accordingly I got up, and explored my way in the dark to the garret where she lay.—I was ravished to find the door open, and moved softly to her bed-side, transported with the hope of completing my wishes.—But what horrors of jealousy and disappointment did I feel when I found her asleep, fast locked in the arms of a man whom I easily guessed to be no other than the captain's servant, who lodged in the same house. I was upon the point of doing some rash thing when the noise of a rat scratching behind the wainscot put me to flight and I was fain to get back in safety. Whether this alarm had disordered my mind, or that I was led astray by the power of destiny, I know not: but instead of turning to the left, I pursued the contrary course, and mistook the young lady's chamber for my own. I did not perceive my mistake before I had run against the bed-posts, and then it was not in my power to retreat undiscovered; for the nymph being awake, bid me make less noise, lest the Scotch booby in the next room should overhear us. This hint was sufficient to inform me of the nature of the assignation; therefore, without any more ceremony, I slipt into bed to this charmer, who gave me as favourable a reception as I could desire. Our conversation was very sparing on my part, but she upbraided the person whom I represented with this jealousy of me, whom she handled so roughly, that my resentment had well (illegible text) occasioned a discovery more than once: but I was consoled for this, by understanding from her own mouth, that it was now high time to save her reputation by matrimony; for she had reason to fear she could no longer conceal the effects of their mutual intercourse. While I was meditating, I heard a noise in my room, like something heavy falling down upon the floor; upon which I started up and observed by moon-light the shadow of a man groping his way out. I retired to one side to let him pass, and saw him go down stairs as expeditiously as he could.—It was an easy matter to divine that this was the captain, who having over-slept himself, had at last got up to (illegible text) his assignation; and finding my door upon, had entered into my apartment instead of that of his mistress. But finding his mistake by falling over the chair was afraid the noise might alarm the family, and for that reason made off. At this time I was satisfied, and instead returning to the place from whence I came, retreated to my own castle, and soon fell asleep: but the truth of this adventure could not be long concealed. She was conscious of not only having betrayed in me the secrets of her commerce with him, but also of having incensed me by the freedoms she had taken with my name, beyond a hope of reconciliation. That such was the situation of her thoughts, will appear in the sequel: for that very day she came into the shop, where I was alone, and fixing her eyes, swimming in tears, upon me, sighed most piteously; but I was proof against her distress, by recollecting the epithets with which she had honoured me the night before: and believing that the good reception I enjoyed was destined for another, I therefore took no notice of her affliction. However, she thought proper to use me with more complaisance than usual, knowing that it was in my power at any time to publish her shame; by these means my life became much more agreeable, and as I every day improved in my knowledge of the town, I shook off my awkward air by degrees, and acquired the character of a polite journeyman apothecary.
One night about twelve o'clock, as I returned from visiting a patient at Chelsea, I received a blow on my head, from an unseen hand, that stretched me senseless on the ground, and was left for dead, with three stabs or a sword in my body. The groans I uttered alarmed the people of a solitary ale-house, and they were humans enough to take me in and send for a Surgeon to dress my wounds, who assured me they were not mortal. One of them directed to my heart, the sword snapt upon my breastbone, and the point remained sticking in the skin. When I reflected on this event, I could remember nobody who had the least complaint against me, if it was not Captain O'Donnell and my master's daughter. My suspicion settled upon them, though I took care to conceal it that I might the sooner arrive at confirmation. With this view: I went home in a chair about ten o'clock in the morning; and as the chairmen supported me into the house, met the Captain in the passage who no sooner saw me than he started back, and gave evident signs of guilty confusion. My master ordered me to be carried up stairs to bed, where I was carefully attended. My meditation was employed in concerting with myself some method of revenge, when Miss entered my chamber, and, saying she was sorry for the accident that had befallen me asked me if I suspected any body to be the assassin? Upon which, I fixed my eyes stedfastly upon her, and answered, Yes. She replied hastily, If that be the case, why don't you take out a warrant to have him apprehended? It will cost but a trifle; if you have no money, I'll lend you. I thanked her kindly for her generous offer, which I had no occasion to accept, being determined to do nothing rashly, as I could not swear, with a safe conscience, to any particular man. This I pretended, lest the Captain, hearing from her that I knew the person who wounded me, might think proper to withdraw before I could be in a condition to requite him. In two days I was up, and able to do a little business. I soon found, by examining the Captain's sword, that he was the man; and now (illegible text) that remained, was to fix upon a scheme of revenge, which almost engrossed my thoughts during the space of eight nights and days. At last I determined, and actually put my design in execution, after this manner: Having secured the assistance of Strap and two of his acquaintances, we provided ourselves with disguises, and caused a letter to be delivered to him ‘by one of our associates in livery.—This letter was signed with the name of an apothecary's wife in Chelsea, of whom I had heard O'Donnell was an admirer. Every thing succeeded to our wish. He hastened to the place of assignation; and was encountered by us in the very spot where he had assaulted me. We rushed upon him at once, secured his sword, stript off his clothes even to the skin, which we scourged with nettles till he was blistered from head to foot. We carried off his clothes which we hid in a hedge near the place, and left him stark-naked, to find his way home in the bet manner he could, while I took care to be there before him. Next morning he arrived at the door in a chair, wrap up in a blanket he had borrowed; for his body was so sore and swelled that he could not bear to be confined in wearing apparel.—He was treated with the utmost tenderness by my mistress and her daughter; but Lavement himself could not forbear expressing his joy by several malicious grins—As to myself, nobody can doubt my gratification, which I had every day an opportunity of seeing my revenge protracted on the body of my adversary, by the sores and ulcers I had been the cause of. By the time he had got a new scarf skin, he thought it high time to decamp, which he performed one night without beat of drum, after having robbed his own servant of every thing that belonged to him, except the clothes on his back.
About this time, my friend Strap informed me of an offer he had to go abroad with a gentleman, in quality of Valet de Chambre. I insisted upon his accepting the proposal, which he at last determined to embrace, with great reluctance, and in a few days took his leave of me, shedding a flood of tears, which I could not behold without emotion.
I soon began to look upon myself as a gentleman in reality; learned to dance of a Frenchman whom I cured of a fashionable distemper; frequented plays during the holidays; became an oracle of an alehouse where every dispute was referred to my decision; and at length, contracted an intimacy with a young lady, who made a conquest of my heart, and prevailed on her to give me a promise of marriage: but one morning calling on her, and taking the privilege of a bridegroom to enter her chamber, I found to my utter confusion, a man in bed with her! Heaven gave me patience and presence of mind to withdraw; and I thanked my stars for the happy discovery, by which I resolved to profit.
While thus I enjoyed myself, Mr. Lavement let his first floor to my countryman and acquaintance, 'Squire Gawky, who by this time had got a lieutenancy in the army; but whether he had actually forgot me, or was willing to make me believe so, I know not; but coming home late one night from the house of a patient, I perceived two gentlemen in custody of three watchmen.—The prisoners complained bitterly of the loss of their hats and wigs; and one of them, whom by his tongue I knew to be a Scotchman, lamented piteously, offering a guinea for his liberty. My prejudice in favour of my native country was so strong, that with one blow of my cudgel, I knocked down the watchman who had hold of the person chiefly concerned. As soon as he found himself disengaged he betook himself to his heels; but I came off scurvily, for before I could avail myself of my speed, I received a blow on the eye. that had well nigh depraved me of the use of that organ: however, I made a shift to get home where I was informed of Gawky's being robbed and abused by a company of foot pads. When I inquired into the particulars of this adventure. I believed him to be the person I had released and was confirmed in that upon hearing his voice. My eye being considerably swelled and inflamed, I could not reflect upon my enterprize without cursing my own folly, and resolving to declare the truth of the whole story, in order to be revenged on the cowardly wretch for whom I had suffered.—Accordingly, next day after he had told, in the presence of the family, a thou and lies, I ventured to explain the mystery. Gawky could not answer one word; and the rest of the company started at one another; (illegible text) at length my mistress reprimanded me for my insolent behaviour and threatened to turn me away for my presumption, upon which Gawky observed, I might have mistaken another person for him. Miss applauded the captain's generosity; and I began to imagine their praise was not at all disinterested; for by their espousing the cause of Gawky, the one obliged valuable lodger, and the other acquired a husband, and a juncture when one was absolutely necessary: for the young lady finding the effects of her correspondence with O'Donnell becoming plainer and plainer, insinuated herself so artfully into the affection of this new lodger, that in less than a fortnight they drove away together to the Fleet, where they were coupled; and the apothecary was not ill-pleased to find his daughter married to a young man of a good prospect. But I little dreamed what a storm of mischief was brewing against me, whilst I thus indulged myself. Whatever face Gawky put on the matter, my discovery of the adventure before related, and the reproaches I vented against him, had so stung him to the soul, that he imparted his indignation to his wife, who being as desirous as he to compass the ruin of me, which, had it taken effect, would have infallibly brought me to an ignominious death.
My master having several times missed large quantities of medicines, of which I could give no account, at last lost all patience, and in plain terms taxed me with having embezzled them for my own use. I was fired with resentment and disdain at this accusation, and pulling out the key of my chest, told him he might satisfy himself immediately. He took the key, and went to my chamber, attended by the whole family; but what was my horror and amazement, when opening my chest, I saw them pull out an handful of the very things that were missing? I had not power to utter one word in my own vindication but stood motionless and silent, when each present made their respective remarks on what appeared against me.—My mistress took occasion to rail against the practice of employing strangers; and Mrs. Gawky, after having observed that she never had a good opinion of me, proposed to have me carried before the Justice.—Her husband was going for a Constable, but was stopt by Mr Lavement on the stairs, who considered the cost and trouble of a prosecution. The Captain and his lady used all the arguments they could, to prevail on the apothecary to pursue me to destruction. But their eloquence made no impression on my master, who turning to me said, “Go, miserable from my house, quick.—“and make reparation for your actions.” By this time my indignation had roused me from the stupefaction in which I had hitherto remained and I began in this manner:—“Sir. appearances, I own, condemn me; but you are imposed upon as much as I am abused. I have fallen a sacrifice to the rancour of that scoundrel (pointing to Gawky) who has found means to convey your goods hither; and I am afraid, madam (turning to Mrs. Gawky) you have too easily entered into the sentiments of your husband—I have often found you my enemy: and am well acquainted with the occasion of your being so, which I don't at present think proper to declare; but I would not advice you, for your own sake, to drive me to extremity.” Gawky, assuming a big look, told me, If I presumed to asperse his wife, he would put me to death. To this I answered, “I wish to God, I could meet with thee in a desart, that I might have an opportunity of revenging thy perfidy towards me, and rid the world of such a rascal.—What hinders me this moment (said I seizing an old bottle) from doing myself justice?” I had no sooner armed myself in this manner, than Gawky and his father-in-law retired in such a hurry, that the one overturned the other, and rolled together down stairs, while my mistress swooned away for fear, and her daughter asked if I intended to murder her. Finding it impossible to vindicate my innocence. I left the house immediately. and and sought for advice in the neighbourhood: but my story had taken air, and not one of my friends would vouchsafe me a hearing.—The first resolution I took, was to remove my clothes to the house of the person with whom I had formerly lodged; there I remained two days, in hopes of getting another place, by the interest of Mr. Concordance; but in this I reckoned before my host, for Lavement took care to be before hand with me; and when I attempted to explain the whole affair to the schoolmaster, I found him so prepossessed against me, that he would scarce hear me to an end. I took my leave, cursed with every sentiment of horror which my situation could suggest.—I hired an apartment in a garret near St. Giles, at the rate of nine pence per week.
One day, while I sat musing in this solitary retreat, I was alarmed by a groan from the next apartment. I immediately ran, and found a woman stretched on a miserable bed, to all appearance dead: but what was my emotions, on her recovering, (on finding the individual lady who had triumphed over my heart? She knew me immediately, and casting a languishing look at me, said, with a feeble voice, “Dear Mr. Random, I do not deserve this concern from you; I am a vile creature, and death will overtake me in a few hours.” I encouraged her all I could; told her that I forgave her, and that I would share my last farthing with her. “You are too generous—but. alas! I perish for want.” and relapsed into another swoon. I called assistance, and she soon recovered, and informed me she had not tasted food for eight-and-forty hours. I was impatient to know her history. She told me, her father was a merchant in the city, and retired, at an advanced age, to the country. She was left at school and at the age of fifteen followed him. She had not been long in the country, till a gentleman paid his addresses to her; lamented the avaricious temper of his father, who had destined him for another; urged a private marriage, to which, in an evil hour, she agreed and became a dupe to his deceit. At length he left her to be married to another; and she. finding herself with child, eloped and went to London. where she hired lodgings under a reigned name and soon, through necessity, was forced into keeping. She soon became more and more familiarized to this (illegible text) of life and took lodgings at Charing-Cross, and engaged porters of taverns to find her employment, until she became so reduced by disease and want, that she was driven to the retreat where I found her. So much candour and good sense made me believe every syllable she uttered. I asked her if she would change her way of life if an opportunity offered? She said she gladly would. but who would venture to take her, in her present situation? At length an expedient occured to her, which was to procure the homely garb of a country wench, go to a distance from the town, and come up again in the waggon, as a fresh country girl. I applauded her resolution, and she was in a few days after hired as a bar-maid at a tavern. Thither my fellow lodger repaired, after taking leave of me with a torrent of tears.
As for myself, I saw no resource but the army or navy, between which I hesitated so long, that I found myself reduced to a starving condition. Going down to Wapping, to (illegible text) for an old school fellow of mine, who I was informed, had got the command of a small coasting vessel then in the river, as I crossed Tower wharf, I was suddenly attacked by ten or a dozen sailors, and after an obstinate resistance, in which I received a large wound on the head and cheek, I was disarmed taken prisoner, and carried on boat a tenday; where, after being pinioned like a thief, I was thusrt down into the hold among a parcel of miserable wretches. As the commanding officer had not humanity enough to order my wounds to be dressed, and I could not use my hands, I desired a fellow captive to take a handkerchief out of my pocket, and tie it round my head to stop the bleeding. He pulled it out, but instead of applying it to the use designed, went to the grating of the hatchway, and with astonishing composure, sold it before my face for a quart of gin, and treated his companions therewith.—I complained of the robbery to the midshipman on deck. who squirting a mouthful of dissolved tobacco upon me through the gratings, told me I was a mutinous dog, and I might be d——d. In the mean time, loss of blood, and want of food, threw me into a swoon out of which I was recovered by a tweak of the nose, administered by the tar who stood centinel over us, who at the same time regaled me with a draught of flip, and comforted me with the hopes of being put on board of the Thunder next day. I no sooner heard him name the Thunder, than I asked, if he knew Lieutenant Bowling? telling him I was his kinsman; at which he expressed an inclination to save me: and when he was relieved, brought some cold beef in a platter and biscuit, to which we supped plentifully, and afterwards drank another can of flip together. He told me, Captain Oakhum was recovered of his wound, and at that time commanded the ship.
Next day I was, with the other pressed men, put on board the Thunder, lying at the Nore. After we had been all entered upon the books, I inquired of one of my ship mates where the Surgeon was, that I might have my wounds dressed? In my way to the cockpit, I was met by the midshipman who had used me so barbarously in the tender: He seeing me free from my chains, asked, with an insolent air, who had released me? To this I answered, whoever did it, I am persuaded did not consult you in the affair. I had no sooner uttered these words, than he cried d——n you, you son of a b——h, I'll teach you to talk so to your officer: so saying he bestowed on me several severe stripes and going to the commanding officer, made such a report of me, that I was immediately put in irons by the master-at-arms, and a centinel placed over me. Honest Rattlin (my former benefactor) as soon as he heard of my condition came to me and then went to the Surgeon in my behalf, who sent one of his mates to dress my wounds. This mate was no other than my old friend Thomson, with whom I became acquainted at the Navy office as before mentioned.—Unknown as I was to him, he handled my sores with great tenderness. When he was about to leave me, I asked him if my misfortunes had disguised me so much that he could not recall at my face. To keep him no longer in suspence, I told him my name; which when he heard, he embraced me with affection. I made him acquainted with my story; and when he heard how inhumanly I had been used in the tender. he left me abruptly assured me I should see him again soon. I had scarce time to wonder at his sudden departure, when the master-at-arms came to the place of my confinement, and bid me follow him to the quarter deck, where I was strictly examined by the first Lieutenant, the treatment I had received in the tender from the midshipman, who was present to confront me, I recounted the particulars of his behaviour to me, not only in the tender, but since my being on board the ship; part of which being proved by the evidence of Jack Rattlin and others, I was discharged from confinement to make way for him, to make his turn in the bilbose; ⟨⟩ this was not the only satisfaction I enjoyed for I was at the request of the Surgeon exempted from all other duty than that ⟨⟩ assisting his mates in making and ⟨⟩ medicines to the sick. This good office I owed to the friendship of Mr. Thomson, who had represented me in such a favourable light to the Surgeon that he demanded me of the Lieutenant to supply the place of his third mate, who was lately dead. When I had obtained this favour, my ⟨⟩ Thomson carried me down to the ⟨⟩ steward, and desired I might be entered ⟨⟩ his mess.
After dinner, Thoson led me round ⟨⟩ ship, showed me the different parts, described their uses, and as far as he could made ⟨⟩ acquainted with the particulars of the discipline and economy practiced on board.—⟨⟩ the demanded of the boatswain an ⟨⟩ for me, which was slung in a very neat manner by my friend Jack Rattlin; and as I ⟨⟩ no bed-clothes procured credit for ⟨⟩ with the purser for a mattress and two blankets. Being now assured of my safety, I ⟨⟩ myself to rest, and slept till eight o'clock, when getting up, and breakfasting with ⟨⟩ comrades on biscuit and brandy, the sick ⟨⟩ visited and assisted as before.
One day, while I was busied with friend, the doctor chanced to pass by the place ⟨⟩ we were, and stopping to observe me. appeared very well satisfied with (illegible text) method of application; and afterwards sent for me to his cabin, where having examined me touching my skill in surgery and the particulars of my fortune interested himself so far in any behalf as to promise his assistance in proving a warrant for me, seeing I had been already found qualified at Surgeons hall; and this he the more cordially engaged in when he understood I was nephew to Lieutenant Bowling, for whom he expressed a particular regard. About six weeks after my arrival on board, the surgeon bidding me follow him into the cabin, presented a warrant to me by which I was appointed surgeon's third mate on board the Thunder as also another for himself by virtue of which he was removed into a second rate. I acknowledged his kindness in the strongest terms and professed my sorrow at the prospect of losing such a valuable friend; but his generosity rested not here, for he made a present of a chest and some clothes, that enabled me to support the rank to which he had raised me.
About this time, Captain Oakhum having received sailing orders, came on board and brought along with him a surgeon of his own country who soon made us sensible of the loss of Dr. Atkins. We weighed anchor and sailed to the Downs, where we took the benefit of the first easterly wind to go round to Spithead; and having received on board provisions for six months we sailed from St. Helens, in the grand fleet bound for the West Indies, on the ever-memorable expedition of Carthagena.
We got out of the Channel with a prosperous breeze, which died away leaving us becalmed about fifty leagues to the westward of the Lizard; but this enaction did not last long; for next night our main-top sail was split with the wind which in the morning increased to a hurricane. I got out of bed and went above. The sea was swelled into the billows mountain high on the top of which our ship sometimes hung, as if it was about to be precipitated into the abyss below. Sometimes we sunk between two waves, that rose on each side higher than our main-top mast-head in a moment! Of all our fleet, consisting of an hundred and fifty sail, scarce twelve appeared, and these driving under their bare poled at the mercy of the tempest. At length the storm subsided, and the admiral discovering four-sail of ships to leeward, made signal for our ship and four more to chace: It was almost dark when we came up with the sternmost which we hailed, and enquired who they were? They said they were French men of war: upon which our captain bid them send their boat on board: they refused saying if he had any business with them to come on board their ship. On this both sides engaged, which lasted till broad day, when Captain Oakhum, finding he was like to gain neither honour nor advantage by the affair, pretended to be undeceived by seeing their colours.
Our fleet having joined another that waited for us, we lay at anchor about a month in the harbour of Port Royal in Jamaica, from thence we sailed as far as the Isle of Vache, from there to the windward of Carthagena, where we came to an anchor, and lay at our ease ten days longer. We weighed and anchored again somewhat nearer the harbour's mouth, where we made shift to land our marines, who encamped on the beach in despite of the enemy's shot, which knocked a good many of them on the head.
Our forces being landed and stationed we set about erecting a battery to cannon the enemy, and in something more than three weeks it was ready to open. It was determined in a council of war that five of our largest ships should attack the fort on one side, while the battery plyed it on the other.
Our ship, with the others destined for this service, immediately weighed, and in less than half an hour, came to an anchor before the castle of Bocca Chica, with a spring upon our cable. The cannonading (which indeed was terrible) began. The surgeon fell flat on the deck; the chaplain and purser, who were stationed with us in quality of assistants followed his example while the mate and I sat upon a chest, looking at one another with great discomposure. We had not been many minutes engaged, when one of the sailors whom I immediately knew to be my honest friend Jack Rattling, coming towards me, told me with great deliberation, he came to be docked at last, and discovered the remains of one hand. which had been shattered to pieces by grape shot. While I was employed in dressing the stump I asked Jack's opinion of the battle, who shaking his head, frankly told me, he believed we would do no good. By this time our patients had begun to increase; a shot happened to take us between wind and water, and its course being through the purser's-store-room, made a terrible havock. My old enemy Crampley came down to bring me up to the quarter deck to dress a slight wound the Captain had received by a splinter. His reasoning honouring me with this service being, that if I should be killed my death would be of less consequence to the ship's company than the doctor's or his mate. At another time; perhaps, I might have disputed this order but as I thought my reputation depended upon my compliance I was no more afraid than he. With this view I provided myself with dressings, and followed him immediately to the quarter-deck, through a most infernal scene of slaughter, fire, smoke. and uproar! Captain Oakhum no sooner saw me approach then he signified his displeasure by a frown; and asked, why the doctor himself did not come? I told him Crampley had singled me out, as if by his express command, at which he seemed surprised, and threatened to punish the midshipman for his presumption on after the engagement. I got safe back and delivered my commission to the doctor who flately refused to quit the post assigned to him by his instruction. The Captain finding the surgeon obstinate suffered himself to be dressed and swore he would confine him soon as the service should be over.
Having cannonaded the fort during the space of four hours, we were ordered to slip our cables, and sheer off; but the next day the engagement was renewed, and continued from the morning till the afternoon when the enemy's fire from Bocca Chica slackened, and towards evening was quite silenced. A breach being made on the other side, by our land-battery, our soldiers took possession of the ramparts without resistance. The same good luck attended a body of sailors, who made themselves masters of St. Joseph, the fascine batteries, and the Spanish man-of-war; the other three beingor sunk by the foe.
After having garrisoned the forts, and reimbarked our soldiers and artillery, we ventured up to the mouth of the inner harbour, which was blocked up by several old galleons that the enemy had sunk in the channel. We made shift, however, to open a passage for some ships of war, that favoured a second landing of our troops at a place called La Quinta; and a resolution was taken in a council of war, to attack the place with musquetry only, which was put in execution next day, but the enemy giving them such a warm reception, that the greatest part of the detachment took up their everlasting residence on the spot; so that eight thousand able men landed on the beach near Bocca Chica, were now reduced to fifteen hundred for service. The sick and wounded were squeezed into hospital ships, and their wounds and stumps being neglected contracted filth and putrefaction, and millions of inaggots were hatched amid the corruption of their sores; and rather than be at the trouble of interring the dead, the commanders ordered their men to throw the bodies overboard. many without ballast or winding sheet; so that numbers of human carcases floated in the harbour, until they were devoured by sharks and carrion-crows, which afforded no agreeable sign to those who survived: at the same time the wet season began, with thunder and lightning, in such continual flashing, that one might have seen to read by the illumination! The change (illegible text) the atmosphere conspired, with the stench that surrounded us, the heat of the climate, our own constitutions much impoverished by bad provisions, and our despair, to introduce the bilious fever, which raged with such violence, that three fourths of them died in a deplorable manner.
Our conductors finding things in this situation, perceived it was high time to relinquish our conquests; which we did, after having rendered their artillery useless, and blown up their walls. Just as we sailed from Bocca Chica, in our return to Jamaica, I found myself threatened with the symptoms of this terrible distemper; and knowing very well that I stood no chance for my life, if I should be obliged to lie in the cockpit, I prevailed upon the soldiers (whose good-will I had acquired) to admit my hammock among them; and actually congratulated myself, upon my comfortable situation. I was immediately conducted to the place; notwithstanding my malady gained ground, and at length my life was despaired of. I began to see strange chimeras, and concluded myself on the point of becoming delirious: but before that happened, I was in great danger of suffocation, upon which I started up in a kind of frantic fit, and would have plunged myself into the sea, had I not perceived a moisture upon my thighs, as I endeavoured to get out of my hammock. This appearance revived my hopes. I took the advantage of the favourable symptom, and removing my shirt and sheets from the bed, wrapped myself in a thick blanket, which, in a quarter of an hour, flung me into a profuse sweat; and in less than two hours I was relieved from all my complaints, except that of weakness, and left me as hungry as a kite.—Meanwhile our ship was ordered to be heaved down victualled and watered for her return to England. and our captain not caring to go home, exchanged with a gentleman desirous of the opportunity.
Our new commander came on board, and in a few weeks our ship was under sailing orders. and I was in hopes of revisiting my native country in a very short time, when the admiral's surgeon came on board, and sending for the mate and me to the quarter-deck, told us there was a great scarcity of surgeons in the West Indies. that he was commanded to detain one mate out of every ship that was bound for England; and desired us to agree among ourselves by to-morrow. We were surprised at this proposal. Morgan flatly refused to quit the ship the commissioners of the navy had appointed him.—When I recollected the miseries I had undergone in England I could not help thinking but my success would be much more certain by staying where I was. I therefore resolved voluntarily to submit to the admiral's pleasure. I was accordingly appointed surgeon's mate of the Lizard sloop of war, which put me on a footing with every first mate in the service.
My ticket being made out, I put my chest and bedding on board a canoe that was alongside, and having shook hands with honest Jack Rattlin, I took my leave. Having presented my new warrant to the captain of the Lizard, I inquired for the doctor, whom I no sooner saw, than I recollected him to one of those young fellows with whom I had been commited to the round-house. He recommended me to an exceeding good mess composed of the gunner and the master's mate. I got leave to go ashore next day with the gunner. who recommended me to a Jew that bought my ticket, at the rate of 40 per cent discount, and having furnished myself with what accessories I wanted, returned on board in the evening.
In less than a week we sailed on a cruize, and having got round the east end of the island, had the good fortune to take a Spanish Barcolongo with her prize, which was an English ship bound to Bristol; and as there was nothing to do on board, I went ashore; and having purchased a laced waistcoat, with some other clothes, at venture, made a swaggering figure for some days among the taverns, where I ventured to play a little at hazard, and brought off 20 pistoles in my pocket. Meanwhile our captain was promoted to a ship of twenty guns and the command of the Lizard given to a man of fourscore, who had been a lieutenant since the reign of King William.
Soon after these alteration, the admiral pitched upon our ship to carry home dispatches dispatches for the ministry; accordingly we set sail for England.
Now that I could return to my native country in a creditable way, I felt excessive pleasure in finding myself out of sight of that fatal island which had been the grave of so many Europeans.
At this time, the captain being seized with a violent fit of the gout and gravel, applied to a cask of Holland gin, which was his sovereign prescription against all distempers: but whether he was at that time too sparing or took an over-dose of his cordial certain it is, he departed in the night and was found stiff next morning, to the no small satisfaction of Crampley, who succeeded to the command of the vessel.
We had been seven weeks at sea, when the gunner told the captain, that by his reckoning we must be in soundings and desired he would order the lead to be heaved. Crampley swore he did not know how to keep the ship's way. But at three o'clock next morning the ship struck and remained fast on the land bank. The masts were cut away in order to lighten her; this was performed without success. The sailors seeing things in a desperate situation, broke up the chests belonging to the officers, dressed themselves in their clothes, and drank their liquors without ceremony. During this I clothed myself in my best apparel, girded on my hanger, stuck my pistols loaded in my belt, disposed of all my valuable moveables about me, and came upon the deck. Crampley finding his efforts to get the ship off ineffectual, took the boat, and the ship's company followed so fast, she would have sunk by the ship's side, had not one cut the rope and put off: I pulled out one of my pistols from my belt, and swore I'd shoot the first who would oppose my entrance. So saying, I leapt on board the boat. In my descent, I chanced to overturn Crampley, who got up, and struck several times at me with his cutlas and ordered the men to throw me overboard. Though the boat was very deeply laded and the sea terrible high, we made shift to get upon dry land in less than an hour. My indignation then broke out against Crampley, whom I immediately challenged to singe combat, offering him his choice of my pistols: He took one without hesitation and before I could cock the other, fired in my face, throwing the pistol after the shot. I felt myself stunned and imagining the bullet had entered my brain, discharged mine as soon as possible, that I might not die unrevenged, and flying upon my antagonist, knocked out several of his fore-teeth with the butt-end of the pistol, which made him stagger some paces back (illegible text) I followed close, and with a stroke out the tended on the back of his hand so that he cutlas dropt, and he remained defenceless. I know not what my rage might have inspired, if I had not at that instant been felled to the ground by a blow on the back of the head which deprived me of all sensation. When I received the use of my understanding I found myself alone stript of my clothes, and every thing but my shoes, stockings, breeches, and shirt.—I cursed the hour of my birth. the sea that did not swallow me up, the villainy of those who left me in that miserable condition, and in the ecstacy of despair, resolved to lie still where I was and perish. However, my passion insensibly abating, I with some difficulty got up, and found I had only two wounds, one on the fore, and another on the hinder part of my head. I directed my course to a small cottage, and on the road, picked up a seaman's old jacket, which I supposed the thief who dressed himself in my clothes had thrown away. I put it on, being much exhausted; and seeing a barn near me, I made a shift to stagger thither where the door being open I went and threw myself on a truss of straw, hoping some person would come to my relief I had not lain many minutes, when a countryman came in with a pitchfork in his hand and was going to thrust it into the straw that concealed me had I not uttered a terrible groan This alarmed the clown who stared back with the pitchfork before him; then an old man arrived, who seeing the other in such a posture. cried, "Mercy upon (illegible text) the lead's bewitch'd! Why, Dick, best thou (illegible text) thyself?" Replied Dick "O vather! vather! here be either the devil (illegible text) a dead mon; but his groans woundily" (illegible text) behold me then he addressed me thus: (illegible text) name of the Vather, (illegible text), and (illegible text) Ghost, I charge you and you (illegible text) Satan (illegible text) to the Red (illegible text); but (illegible text) if you be a (illegible text) man, speak that you (illegible text) have a (illegible text) burial. (illegible text) I endeavoured to raise one hand as a signal of distress; (illegible text) making (illegible text) among the (illegible text) to frighten the young (illegible text) that he (illegible text) door, (illegible text) his father in (illegible text) flight—The old man, to save the time of getting up, crawled backwards, like a crab with great speed, till he got over the threshold, mumbling exorcisms all the way. At length an old woman entered the barn followed by the two fugitives, and advanced to where I lay, saying, If it be the devil, I fearen not; and as for a dead man, he can do us no harm. When she saw my condition she cried, Here be no devil, but in youren fool's head. Here be a poor miserable wretch bleeding to death; and if he dies, we must be at the charge of burying him, therefore go vetch the old wheelbarrow and poten in and carry him to Goodman Hodge's back-door, he is more able than we to lay out money upon poor . Her advice was taken and I was rolled to the other farmer's door, where I was tumbled out like a heap of dung, when my groans disturbed the family, some of whom came out to view my situation. But Hodge, resembling the Jew more than the good Samaritan ordered me to be carried to the house of the parson. When I was set down at the vicar's gate he fell into a great passion and threatened to excommunicate him who sent as well as those who brought me, unless they moved me to another place. Thus I was bandied from door to door, through the village, until an old woman received me into her house, dressed my wounds, and recovered my spirits with cordials of her own preparing. The whole behaviour of this venerable perion was so humane, that I contracted a filial respect for her. and begged her advice with regard to my future conduct as soon as I should be in a condition to act for myself. She promised to recommend me as a servant to a single lady of her acquaintance. but advised me to conceal history I had related of myself to her, for she said it was a maxim amongst most persons of condition. that no gentleman in distress sought to be admitted into a family as a domestic. I was sain to embrace this humble proposal, and in a few days was hired by this lady, to serve in quality of a footman.
Before I took possession of my new place, she gave me a sketch of my mistress's character, that I might know better how to regulate my conduct. Your lady said she, is a maiden of forty; this, with her contempt of the male part of the creation, gives her nephew hopes of keeping her fortune, which is considerable in the family. She seldom eats or converts with any of the family but her niece, who is a very lovely creature. she never sleeps or eats as other people do and is frequently so absent as to commit very strange mistakes and extravagancies.
Fraught with these useful instructions, I repaired to her house. She sat in her study, with one foot on the ground, and the other upon a high stool; her sandy locks hung down in disorder, her forehead was high and wrinkled, her eyes large, her nose long, her mouth capacious, her visage, and her chin peaked like a shoemaker's paring knife; her upper lip contained a quantity of plain Spanish, which, by continual falling, had embroidered her neck, and her gown, that flowed loose about her; around her lay heaps of books, globes, quadrants, telescopes, and other learned apparatus. She being in a reverie when we entered, the maid did not think proper to disturb her; so we waited some minutes unobserved; she at length turned towards the door Here's the young man replied my conductress, whom Mrs. Sagely recommended as a footman to your ladyship. On this information she stared in my face for a considerable time, and then asked my name, which I thought proper to call John Brown. She bid the maid order a suit of new livery for me, and instruct me in the articles of my duty.
I had not been long equipped, when me lady's bell rang; upon which I ran up stairs, and found her stalking about the room in her shirt and under-pettitcoat. I would have retired as became me, but she bid me come in and air a clean shift for her; which having done with some backwardness, she put it on before me with no ceremony, and I verily believe was ignorant of my sex all the time, being quite absorbed in contemplation.
At four I was ordered to lay the cloth, and place two covers, then my mistress approached accompanied by a young lady, whose name at present shall be Narcissa. Her age seemed to be seventeen and every (illegible text) engaging; when she spoke I listened with pleasure, but when she spoke to me, my sould was thrilled with an ecstacy of ⟨⟩ joy. I was even so happy as to be the subject of the conversation; for Narcissa, having observed (illegible text), said to her aunt, I see your new footman (illegible text) come. Then addressing herself (illegible text) me, asked (illegible text) ⟨⟩ (illegible text), if I (illegible text) the person who had been (illegible text) (illegible text) used by (illegible text)? When (illegible text) had satisfied her in (illegible text) she expressed a (illegible text) of knowing (illegible text) ⟨⟩ of my (illegible text), (illegible text) before and since my being shipwrecked. Hereupon as Mrs. Sagely had counselled me, I told her I had been ship wrecked, I and four more, who chanced to be on the deck, made shift to swim to the shore, where my companions, after having overpowered me, stript me to the shirt, and left me as (illegible text) imagined, dead of the wounds. Then I related the circumstances of my being found in a barn, with the inhuman treatment I met with from the country people and parson, which I perceived drew tears from the charming creature's eyes.
When their dinner was over, I and my fellow servants (illegible text) down to ours in the kitchen, where I understood that Sir Timothy Thicket was (illegible text) for Narcissa by her brother. This information begat in me a mortal aversions to Sir Timothy, whom I looked upon as my rival and even conceived hopes of one day enjoying this amiable young creature, whose affability encouraged me.
I had already been eight months in the station of a footman when an accident happened, that put an end to my servitude and, for the present, banished all hopes of succeeding in my love. Narcissa went one day to visit Miss Thicket who lived within a mile of our house and was persuaded to walk home in the cool of the evening, accompanied by Sir Timothy, who having a good deal of the brute in him, was instigated to use some unbecoming familiarities with her. The lovely creature was incensed at his rude behaviour, but he lost all regard for decency, and actually offered violence, when I accidentally passed near the place. What were the emotions of my soul, when I beheld Narcissa almost sunk beneath the brutal force of this satyr—I flew to her rescue—He drew his hanger to chastise my presumptions. My indignation was too high to admit one thought of fear, so rushing upon him. I struck his weapon out of his hand and used my cudgel so successfully that he fell to the ground—I then returned to Narcissa who had swooned, and sitting down by her gently raised her head, and supported it on my bosom. My soul was so thrilled with tumultuous joy, that I could not forbear ravishing a kiss. On recovering, she said, with a look of tender acknowledgment, Dear John, I am eternally obliged to you. So saying, she made an effort to rise, in which I assisted her, and she proceeded to the house, leaning upon me all the way. I was a thousand times tempted by this opportunity to declare my passion, but the dread of disobliging her restrained my tongue. Sir Timothy I saw get up and move homewards. I was filled with a just apprehension of his resentment, especially when I considered his intimacy with our Squire. When we arrived at the house, Narcissa assured me she would exert all her influence in protecting me form the revenge of Thicket, and likewise engage her aunt in my favour. My first care was to go and consult Mrs. Sagely, who, when she understood my situation, the good woman condoled my unhappy fate. but approved my resolution to leave the country. While she was warning my of my danger, we heard a knocking at the door, which flung us both into great consternation! This generous old lady, putting two guineas into my hand, bid me get out at the back-door and consult my safety as Providence should direct me.
I followed her advice and escaped to the sea side, where I was suddenly surrounded by armed men who, having bound my hands and feet, bid me make no noise on pain of being shot, and carried me on board of a vessel, which I soon perceived to be a smuggling cutter. They proceeded for the coast of France; and when we came within sight of shore, one of the crew told me I must pay for my passage. But I had concealed six guineas in my stockings. A little while after we all went ashore together. I inquired for a public-house, with an intention of taking some refreshment. In the kitchen five Dutch sailors sat at breakfast. At some distance from them, I perceived another person in the same garb, sitting in a pensive solitary manner, entertaining himself with a whiff of tobacco, from the stump of a pipe as black as jet. I approached this forlorn tar, with a view to offer him my assistance, when I discovered he had was my long-lost uncle and benefactor Lieutenant Bowling.——Good Heaven! what were the agitations of my soul, between the joy of finding again such a valuable friend and the sorrow of seeing him in such a low condition! I stood motionless some time; at length, recovering the use speech. I exclaimed, Gracious God!——Mr. Bowling!——My uncle no sooner hears his name mentioned, than he started up, crying with some surprise, Did you call me, brother? I told him, I had something extraordinary to communicate; and desired him to give me a few minutes hearing in another room; but he would not consent. I could no longer refrain from telling him I was his own nephew, Roderick Random. He soon recalling my features, came and shook me by the hand, and said, My lad, I am sorry to see you under such colours, as it is not in my power to change them for the better. With these words, I could perceive a tear trickle down his furrowed cheeks, which affected me so much, that I wept bitterly.—I then gave him a detail of all my adventures, which affected him much, and told him that Captain Oakham was still alive, and that he might return to England without danger or molestation. He was pleased with this information of which he could not avail himself, for want of money to pay his passage to London. This objection I soon removed, by putting five guineas into his hands but could not prevail on him to accept of more than two. He then proposed that we should have a mess of something. for it has been, said he, banian-day with me a great while; nor have I broke bread these two days.—I was shocked at the extremity of his distress, and ordered some bread. cheese, and wine, to be brought immediately, to allay his hunger, until a fricassee of chickens could be prepared. When our repast was ended we walked down to the harbour. where we found a cutter that was to sail for Deal in the evening, and Mr. Bowling agrees for his passage; and being sensible of my forlorn condition, pressed me to accompany him. However, I refused, and determined to stay in France. I was confirmed in this resolution by a reverend priest who overhearing us speak English as he passed by accosted us in the same language, telling us he was our countryman and wished it might be in his power to do us any service. We thanked this grave person for his courteous offer, and invited him to drink a glass of wine, which he accepted. In the course of our conversation, I disclosed my condition without reserve and displayed my talents to such advantage, that the old father assured me, that if I staid in France I could not fail to make my fortune, to which he would contribute all in his power.
My uncle began to be jealous of the priest's insinuation, and very abruptly declared that if ever I should renounce my religion he would break off all connection and correspondence with me. I told him I was determined against any alteration in point of religion. The priest shook his head, and sighed, saying. Ah! son, son, what a glorious prospect is here spoiled by your stubborn prejudice! However I am acquainted with some people of rank at Versailles, to whom I can give you letters of recommendation, so that you may be entertained by some of them. I embraced his offer and he appointed me to come in the afternoon when he would not only give me the letters, but introduce me to a capuchin of his acquaintance, who intended to set out next morning to Paris, in whose company I might travel, without being at the expence of one livre during the whole journey. He performed his promise, by making me acquainted with the capuchin, with whom I departed next morning by break of day.
It was not long before I discovered my fellow traveller to be a merry facetious fellow, who loved good eating and drinking better than his rosary. His name was Frere Balthazer: and as he was perfectly well known on the road, we fared sumptuously without any cost. We took up our lodging the first night at a peasant's house, not far from Abbe Ville, where we were entertained with an excellent ragout cooked by our landlord's daughters. After having eat heartily, and drank a sufficient quantity of wine, we were conducted to a barn, where we found a couple of carpets spread upon clean straw for our reception.
The third night, on our journey, we passed at a house near Amiens where Balthazer being unknown, we supped upon indifferent fare, with sour wine, and were fain to lie in a garret. I fell fast asleep being much fatigued with our day's march, and did not wake till nine next morning, when finding myself alone, I started up in a fright, and examining my pocket, found my companion had made free with my cash, and left me to seek my way to Paris by myself. I ran down stairs immediately, and inquired for the mendicant; when they said, he had set out four hours before, after having told them I was a little indisposed, and desired I might not be disturbed, but to inform me, when I should awake, that he had taken the road for Noyons, where he would wait for my coming——I quitted the inn in despair, and betook myself to the fields, where I wandered like one distracted till my spirits were quite exhausted, and I was obliged to throw myself down at the root of a tree, to rest my wearied limbs. Here my rage forsook me, I began to feel the importunate cravings of nature, and relapsed into silent sorrow and melancholy reflection; a thousand times I wished myself a bear, that I might retreat to woods and desarts, far from the inhospitable haunts of man, where I could live by my own talents. As I lay in this manner, groaning over my hapless fate, I heard the sound of a violin. and raising my head perceived a company of men and women dancing on the grass at some distance from me. I soon discovered them to be a party of soldiers, with their wives and children, diverting themselves after the fatigue of a march. I had never before seen such a parcel of scare-crows together. I saluted them, however, and was received with great politeness; after which they formed a ring and danced around me. This jollity had a wonderful effect upon my spirits, I was infected with their gaiety, and in spite of my dismal situation, forgot my cares, and joined in their extravagance. When we had recreated ourselves a good while at this diversion, the ladies spread their manteaus on the ground, upon which they emptied their knapsacks of some onions, coarse bread, and a few flasks of poor wine. I sat down with the rest, and in the whole course of my life never made a more comfortable meal.——When our repast was ended, we got up again to dance. And now that I found myself refreshed. I behaved to the admiration of everybody. The serjeant in particular expressed so much regard for me, and described the (illegible text) business of a soldier's life with so much art that I began to listen to his proposal of entering me in his service; and having maturely weighed the circumstances pro and con I signified my consent and was admitted into the regiment of Picardy. The company to which this command belonged, was quartered at a village not far off, wither we marched next day and I was presented to my captain who gave me a crown to drink, and ordered me to be accommodated with clothes, arms and accoutrements. I sold my livery suit, purchased linen, and, in a very short time, became a complete soldier.
It was not long before we received orders to march into Germany in order to reinforce Mareschal Duc de Noailles who was then encamped with his army on the side of the river Maine to watch the motions of the English, Austrians and Hessians under the command of the Earl of Stair. We began our march accordingly, but it is impossible to describe the hunger and thirst I sustained, and the fatigue I underwent, in a march of so many hundred miles, so that in a very short time the inside of my thighs and legs were deprived of skin and I proceeded in the utmost torture. This misfortune I owed to the plumpness of the constitution. The continual pain I felt made me fretful, and my peevishness was increased by the mortification of my pride, in seeing these miserable wretches whom a hard gale of wind would have scattered through the air like chaff bear those toils with alacrity under which I was ready to sink.
One day, while we enjoyed a halt, and the soldiers with their wives had gone out to (illegible text) kings, were notorious all over the world. To which I replied in the same strain.my comrade staid at home with me, on pretence of friendship, and comforted me with pity and consolation. He told me, I would soon be seasoned to the service; and he did not doubt but I should have the honour to contribute to the honour of the king. Have courage therefore my child, said he, and pray to God that you may be as happy as I am who have had the honour of serving Lewis the Great, and helping to establish his glory. When I looked upon the contemptible object. I was amazed at the infatuation that possessed him; and could not help expressing my astonishment at the absurdity of a rational being, who thinks himself highly honoured in being permitted to encounter poverty, famine, diseases, and mutilation, merely to gratify the vicious ambition of a prince, by whom his sufferings were disregarded, and his name utterly unknown. The solider was very much affronted at the liberty I took with his king, and advised me to correct the rebellious principles I had imbibed among the English, who for their insolence to
The Frenchman, provoked at the little deference I (illegible text) to the king lost all patience and reproached me in such a manner, that my temper forsook me, and I clinched my fist, with an intention to give him a hearty box on the ear; but he perceiving my design started back, demanding a parley; adding, that if I was not weary of my life, I would do well to spare him that mortification, and do him the honour of measuring his sword with mine, like a gentleman. I followed my antagonist into a field, who was a poor, little, shrivling creature, decript with age, and blind of one eye. But I soon found the folly of judging from appearances, being at the second pass wounded in the sword hand, and immediately disarmed with a jerk.—I was no less confounded than enraged at this event; for he insisted upon my asking pardon, for my presumption in affronting his king and him. This I would by no means comply with, but told him I would in my turn claim satisfaction with my musket, (illegible text) which weapon we should be (illegible text) upon a par than with the sword. To this he made no reply, but repaired to the dancers, among whom he recounted his victory with many exaggerations, while I taking up my sword went to my quarters and examined my wound, which I found was of no consequence.
The same day an Irish drummer, having heard of my misfortune visited me, told me that he was master of the sword, and would in a very short time instruct me, so then I should be able (illegible text) chastise the old Gascon for his insolent (illegible text) at my expence. This friendly office he offered on pretense of the regard he had for my countrymen; but I afterwards learned the true motive was no other than a jealousy he entertained of a correspondence between (illegible text) Frenchman and his wife which he did not think proper to (illegible text) in person. I accepted his offer, and soon believed myself a match for my conqueror. In the mean time we continued our march, and arrived at the camp of the night before the battle of Dottingen. Notwithstanding the fatigue we had undergone, our regiment was one of those that were ordered next day to cross the river under the command of the Duc de Gramont, to take possession of a narrow defile through which the allies must of necessity have passed at a great disadvantage, or remain where they were, if they would not condescend to surrender at discretion. How they suffered themselves to be pent up in this manner it is not my province to relate. But it seems, at this time, the British general was overruled, and only acted in an inferior character. Our miscarriage opened a passage for the foe to Hanau, whither they immediately marched leaving their sick and wounded to the care of the French who next day took possession of the field of battle. This was a great consolation to us, who thence took occasion to claim the victory. Every man by his own account performed feats that would have shamed all the heroes of antiquity. One compared himself to a lion retiring at leisure from his cowardly pursuers. Another to a bear that retreats with his face to the enemy, who dare not assail him. There was not a private soldier engaged, who had not by the powers of his single arm, demolished a whole platoon; and, among others, the meagre Gascon extolled his exploits.—And still retained my resentment towards him, I magnified the valour of the English with all the hyperboles I could imagine, and decried the pusillanimity of the French in the same stile, comparing them to hares flying before grey-hounds, or mice pursued by cats; and passed an ironical compliment on the speed her exerted in his flight which considering his age and infirmities I said was surprising. He was ⟨⟩ to the quick by this sarcasm and, with an air of threatening disdain, bid me ⟨⟩ myself better, and remember the ⟨⟩ I had already received from ⟨⟩. To this inuendo I made no reply ⟨⟩ by a kick on the breach, which ⟨⟩ him in an instant. He started up with wonderful agility, and drawing his ⟨⟩, attacked me with great fury.—⟨⟩ sustained his onset with little damage, ⟨⟩ only received a small scratch on ⟨⟩ right shoulder. assaulted him in my ⟨⟩, closed with him, and wrested his ⟨⟩ out of his hand. Having this ⟨⟩ the victory. I desired him to beg ⟨⟩ life; to which he made no answer, ⟨⟩ shrugged up his shoulders. However, ⟨⟩ mortify his vanity, I thrust his sword ⟨⟩ to the hilt in something that lay ⟨⟩ on the plain, and joined the rest of the ⟨⟩ with an air of indifferece.
The campaign being ended. the English ⟨⟩ back to the Netherlands. Part ⟨⟩ our army was detached to French ⟨⟩, and our regiment ordered to winter ⟨⟩ Champaigne. The grenadier company, to which I now belonged, lay at Rheims, where I found myself in the utmost want of every thing. My pay, which amounted to five sols a-day, was scarcely sufficient to keep soul and body together; so that I was, by hunger and hard duty, brought down to the meagre condition of my fellow soldiers, and my linen reduced from three tolerable shirts, to two pair of sleeves and necks, the bodies having been long ago converted into spatterdashes.
One day, while I stood centinel at the gate of a general officer, a certain nobleman came to the door followed by a gentleman in mourning, to whom, at parting. I heard him say, You may depend upon my good offices. This assurance was answered by a bow from the person in black, who turning to go away, discovered to me the individual conntenance of my old friend and adherent Strap. I was so much astonished at the sign; that I lost the power of utterance, and before I could recollect myself, he was gone. Though I was perfectly well acquainted with the features of his face, I could not be positively certain as to the rest of his person, which was very much altered for the better. I asked the porter, if he knew the gentleman to whom the marquis spoke. The Swiss told me his name was Monsieur D'Estrapes; that he had been valet de chambre to an English gentleman lately deceased, and that he was very much regarded by the marquis for his fidelity to his master.—As soon, therefore as I was relieved, I went to his lodging, and desired the servant of the house to tell Monsieur D'Estrapes that I begged the honour of half an hour's conversation with him. He was confounded at this message, when he understood it was sent by a soldier, and it was not before I waited a considerable time that he bid the servant (illegible text) me up stairs. The valet being withdrawn, I ⟨⟩, in the French language if his name ⟨⟩ D'Estrapes? To which he answered, the same, at your service. Are you a ⟨⟩? said I. I have not the ⟨⟩, replied he; but I have an infinite ⟨⟩ for the country. Then, struck ⟨⟩ my appearance he started back, and ⟨⟩ in English O Jesus! sure it can't! ⟨⟩. tis impossible! I smiled at his ⟨⟩ saying I suppose you are too ⟨⟩ of a gentleman to own your friend ⟨⟩ adversity. When he heard me ⟨⟩ these words in our own language, ⟨⟩ leaped upon my neck, and kissed me ⟨⟩ ear to ear; then observing my dress, he set up his throat cry'd O L——d! O L——d! that ever I should live to see my dearest friend reduced to a foot-soldier! O L——d! O L——d! is it come to this? You shall dine with me, and I shall tell you something, that perhaps will not be displeasing to you. It makes my heart bleed to see you in that garb! I thanked him for his invitation; but I had another request to make and that was the loan of a shirt; for although my back had been many weeks a stranger to it, my skin was not yet quite familiarized to the want of it. He stared in my face at this declaration, which he would scarce believe, until I explained it by unbuttoning my coat, and disclosing my naked body which shocked the tender-hearted Strap, who with tears in his eyes run to a chest of drawers and taking but some linen, presented to me a very fine ruffled holland shirt, and cainbrick neckcloth, assuring me he had three dozen of the same kind at my service. I was ravished at this piece of good news, and hugged my benefactor for his generous offer.—He bespoke dinner, and in the interim entertained me with biscuit and burgundy; after which he entreated me to gratify his longing desire of knowing every circumstance of my fortune since his departure from London.—This I complied with, beginning at the adventure of Gawky, and relating every particular event in which I had been concerned from that day to the present hour. ⟨⟩ dinner, I desired, in my turn, to know the particulars of his peregrination, and he satisfied me in a few words, by giving me to understand, that he had lived a year at Paris with his master, who had acquired the language to perfection, made a tour of France and Holland during which excursion, he was so unfortunate as to meet with three of his own countrymen on their travels, in whose company he committed such excesses, that his constitution failed, and he fell into a consumption; that, by the advice of physicians, he went to Montpellier, and recovered so well in six weeks, that he returned to , where he had not continued about a month, when he was seized with a looseness, that carried him off in ten days, to the unspeakable sorrow of Strap, who had been very happy in his service, and given such satisfaction, that his master on his death-bed recommended him to several persons of distinction, for his diligence, sobriety, and affection. and left him by will all the moveables he had in France, to the value of three hundred pounds, which I now, said he, in the sight of God and ⟨⟩, surrender to your absolute disposal; ⟨⟩ are my keys, take them I beseech you, and God give you joy of the possession.—⟨⟩ positively refused this extravagant offer of ⟨⟩ friend and put him in mind of my being ⟨⟩ soldier; at which he stared crying. Odso! ⟨⟩ true, we must procure your discharge; I have some interest with a nobleman who is able to do me that favour. After breakfast next morning, Monsieur D'Estrapes went to pay his devoirs to the marquis, and was so successful in his application. that I obtained my discharge in a few days, upon which we set out for Paris. During the month I spent there, I went several times to court, the Italian opera and play-house, danced at a masquerade, and, in short, saw everything remarkable in and about the capital. After which, we set out for England by the way of Flanders passed through Brussels, Ghent, and Bruges, and took shipping at Ostend, from whence in fourteen hours we arrived at Deal, hired a post-chaise, and in twelve hours more for safe to London; having disposed of our heavy baggage in the waggon.
As soon as we alighted at the inn, I dispatched Strap to inquire about my uncle, at the Sampson and Lion in Wapping; and he returned in a little time with an account of Mr. Bowling's having gone to sea, mate of a merchant ship, after a long and unsuccessful application and attendance at the admirality; where, it seems the interest he depended upon was not sufficient to reinstate him, or recover the pay that was due to him when he quitted the Thunder. Next day I hired very handsome lodgings. not far from Charing-Cross. My next care was to introduce myself into a set of good acquaintance; for which purpose, I frequented a certain coffee-house; the whole company was in the French interest myself excepted, and a tasty old gentleman. who contradicted every thing with a surliness truly English. This trusty patriot, who had never been out of his own country and drew all his maxims and notions from prejudice and hearsay: was very unequal to his antagonists who were very superior to him in learning and experience. and often took the liberty of travelers in asserting things which were not strictly true because they thought themselves in no danger of being detected. The claim of the queen of Spain to her Austrian dominions in Italy, was fully explained and vindicated by a person who is at opposite to me, and by the solemnity of his manner and the richness of his apparel, seemed to be a foreign ambassador. The discource was afterwards shifted by an old gentleman of a very martial appearance, to the last campaign; then the battle of Dettingen was fought over again with so many circumstances to the honour of the French, that I began to entertain some doubts of my having been there in person; and took the liberty to mention some objections to what he advanced. This introduced a dispute, which was left to the determination of a grave person, whom they stiled doctor. and who under show of great (illegible text) decided against me, with so little regard to truth, that I taxed him with partiality, in pretty severe terms to the no small entertainment of the true English politician, who I joined at my defence of the cause he had so often espoused without success. My morose associate could not put up with the indignity that was offered to Old England, and therefore, with a satirical grin. addressed himself to the general in these words, “Sir, I have often heard it said she's a villanous bird that befouls her own nest. As for what those people who are foreigners say. I don't mind it, but you who were bred and born and have got your bread under the English government, should have more regard to gratitude as well as truth in censuring your native country.—If the ministry have thought fit to lay you aside, I suppose they have their own reasons for so doing. and you ought to remember that you still live on the bounty of this nation. As for these gentlemen (meaning the prince and ambassador) I think they might show a little more respect for these benefactors, who, I must own are to blame in harbouring such ungrateful vagrants as they are! At these words the chevalier in green started up in a great passion, and laying his hand on the hilt of his hanger. exclaimed, “Ha! foutrel!” The Englishman on the other hand grasping his cane cried. Don't foutrel me, sirrah, or by G—d I'll knock you down.”—The company interposed, the Frenchman sat down again. and his antagonist proceeded; “Look(illegible text), Monsieur, you know very well, that had you dared to speak so freely of the administration of your own country in Paris, as you have of ours in London, you would have been sent to the . Now Sir, if I hear another syllable out of your mouth, in contempt or prejudice of this kingdom I will give you a convincing proof of what I advance and have you laid by the heels for your presumption.” This declaration had an effect upon the company as sudden as surprising! The young prince became as supple as a spaniel, the ambassador trembled, the general sat silent and abashed, and the doctor grew pale as death, and assured us all, that he had no intention to affront any person or people. “Your principles (illegible text)" resumed the old gentleman, "are no secret: I have something to say upon that head; but are very much surprised that a man who despises us so much should notwithstanding live amongst us when he has no visible (illegible text) for so doing. Why don't you take up your habitation in your beloved France where you (illegible text) rail at England without censure.”
Next morning before I got up Strap came into my chamber, and finding me awake, let me know he had some thoughts of altering his condition. What (cried I. astonished) a (illegible text) (illegible text): O (illegible text) Strap! thou hast got the heels of my at last. No less than a fine jolly dame. as plump as a partridge. She has a well furnished house a brisk trade, and a good deal of the ready. I may have her for the asking. She told a friend of mine, a brother footman, that she would take me out of a stinking clout; but refused to give my final answer till I knew your opinion in the matter. I congratulated Mr. D'Estrapes upon his conquest and approved of the scheme. At breakfast, he introduced his inamorato to my acquaintance. She was a short thick woman, about the age of thirty-six and had a particular prominency of belly, which I perceived at first sight, not without some suspicion of foul play. I made no mystery of my apprehension to Strap; at which he was not surprised. he having observed the same symptom. In less than a fortnight my prediction was verified; her being delivered of a child, to the unspeakable amazement of Strap. His false friend disappeared, and in a few days after, an execution was issued against her goods and household furniture, which were seized by the creditors.
Meanwhile I met with my old acquaintance Banter and in the evening went to the opera with him and Mr. Chatter who pointed out Melinda in one of the boxes, and offered to introduce me to her, observing at the same time, that she was a reigning toast worth ten thousand pounds, and assured me I should dance with her at the next assembly. Banter, in a whisper, gave me to understand that she was an incorrigible coquette, who would grant the same favour to any young fellow in England, of a tolerable appearance merely to engage him among the herd of her admirers. I repaired to Hampstead, in company with Billy Chalter, and my Lord Hubble. Here I saw a very brilliant assembly, before whom I had the honour to walk a minuet with Melinda. Before the country-dances began, I received a message by a person I did not know from Bragwell who was present importing that nobody who knew him presumed to dance with Melinda, while he was there in person. This extraordinary intimation, which was delivered in the lady's hearing, did not at all discompose me, who, by this time, was pretty well acquainted with the character of my (illegible text). I therefore without (illegible text) (illegible text) symptom of concern, bid the gentleman tell Mr. Bragwell that while I was so happy as to obtain the lady's consent, I should not be solicitous about his. While we danced, I observed this formidable rival at one end of the room, encircled with a a cluster of beaux. As soon as I had handed my partner to her seat, I strutted up to the place where he stood, and cocking my hat in his face, demanded aloud if he had any thing to say to me. He answered with a sullen tone, Nothing at present Sir; turning on his heel. Well. said I. you know where I am to be found at any time. When the ball broke up. I led her to her coach.
Next day. in the afternoon I waited on her at her lodgings. by permission in company with Chatter, and was very civily received by her mother with whom she lived. There was a good many fashionable people present and immediately after tea, a couple of card-tables were set. I was well enough content to lose a little money with a good grace that I might have an opportunity to say soft things in the mean time. She received my addresses with great gaiety. and pretended to laugh them off; yet I was persuaded I had made a conquest of her heart, and concluded myself the happiest man alive. Encouraged by these flattering ideas, I sat down again to cards, after super, and with great cheerfulness suffered myself to be cleared out of ten guineas more. It was late before I took my leave after being favoured with a general invitation: and when I got into bed the adventures of the day kept me from sleeping.
While my meditation was busied in planning out my future conduct, Mr. Banter favoured me with a visit: and after breakfast, when I was ready to go abroad, Strap brought me a letter directed to Mr. Random, Esq. which I found contained a challenge, couched in these very extraordinary terms:
Whereas I am informed that you make love to Miss Melinda Goosetrap. This is to let you know, that she is under promise of marriage to me; and that I am at this present waiting, at the back of Montague-house, with a pair of good pistols in my hand; and if you will keep your appointment, I will make your tongue confess (after the breath is out of your body) that you do not deserve her as well as
Yours, &c. Rourk O'Reagan.
I guessed, from the stile and subscription of this letter. that my rival was a true Milesian; I therefore immediately loaded my pistols, and betook myself in a hackney-coach to the place appointed. where I found a tall raw-boned man with a hard-featured countenance, and a black bushy beard, walking by himself, wrapped up in a shabby great coat. He no sooner perceived me advancing, than. without any preamble. he pulled out a pistol from his bosom, and presenting it at me, snapt it. Alarmed at this rude salutation, I made a stand, and before he could adjust his other piece, I fired one of mine at him, without doing any damage. By this time he was ready with his second, that flashed in the pan without going off. Upon which he called, with a true Tipperary cadence, "Fire away; honey;" and began to hammer his flint with great deliberation.—But I was resolved to make use of the advantage fortune had given me and therefore stept up, without throwing away my fire, and desired him to ask his life, or prepare for another world. But this stout Hibernian refused to condescend. and complained bitterly of my having quitted my ground. I endeavoured to persuade him that I had given him a double chance already. He told me that he was a gentleman of fortune, who had spent all he had an hearing that Melinda had got ten thousand pounds he intended to make himself master of that sum by espouting her and was determined in an honourable way to cut the throats of all those who stood between him and his hopes. I then demanded to know the foundation of his hopes. He gave me to understand, that (illegible text) trusted entirely to his birth and personal merit; that he had frequently (illegible text) Melinda, setting forth his claim and pretentions but she was never kind enough to send an answer, or even to admit him into her presence, and that the promise was made in his friend Mr. Gahagan, who assured him that no woman could resist a man of his appearance. I could not forbear laughing at the simplicity of my rival; on which I endeavoured to appease him by giving him my word of honour, that so far from prejudicing his addresses to the lady, I would represent him to her in the most favourable light I could, with any regard to truth; and professing sorrow at seeing a gentleman reduced slipt two guineas into his hand; at the sight of which he threw away his pistols, and hugging me in his arms cried, “Arrhh, by J—s—s, now you are the best friend I have met with these seven long years.” and wished the devil might burn him if ever he should give me any further trouble about woman kind. The quarrel being this amicably composed. I begged leave to look at his pistols which I found so rusty and so foul, that I believe it was happy for him neither of them was discharged; but what gave me a lively idea of the man's character was to find upon examination. one of them being loaded without being primed, and the other being primed without a charge.
I expressed a desire of knowing my new friend's history; and he informed me of his having served in the German army as a volunteer against the Turks, that for his behaviour at the siege of Belgrade he had been honoured with an ensign's commission in which station. it was his misfortune to affront his captain, who challenged him to the field and was killed in the duel, upon which he was obliged to retreat; that he had been in England some years soliciting his friends for provision in the British army but being hitherto unsuccessful. he was desired by Mr. Gahagan to turn his thoughts to matrimony; in consequence of which advice, he made up to Melinda; and having heard by means of an Irish footman in the family, that I was her chief favourite, had called me out; but now he was convinced of my honour, and swore by the blessed Virgin he would think of her no more. As a further proof of his veracity, he opened an old (illegible text) snuff box and pulled out his commission in the imperial army, and his captain's challenge, which he had preserved.
As we walked along, conversing socially together, we were met by a file of musqueteers, and Strap at their head, who no sooner approached than with a frantic look, he cried, “Seize them! in the name of God seize them!” We were accordingly surrounded. and I put in arrest by the corporal, who was commanding officer; but Captain O'Regan disengaged himself and run with such speed towards Tottenham court-road, that he was out of sight in a moment. When my arms were delivered up and myself secured. I thanked the corporal for his care, and gave him a crown to drink with his men, assuring him that the encounter was over, long before he came up, and every thing compromised.
He was not gone an hundred wards when my friend O'Regan came up, in order to rescue me, with two tatterdemalions whom he had engaged for that purpose about the (illegible text) of St. Gile's: One of them was armed with a musquet that wanted a lock, and another with a rusty broad sword; but their dress surpassed all description. When he understood I was already free. he made an apology for his abrupt departure and introduced me to his two companions: First, to counsellor Fitzelabber, who, he told me, was them employed in compiling a history of the kings of Manster, from Irish manuscripts; and then to his friend Mr. Gahagan who was a profound philosopher and politician. I thanked them very kindly for their readiness to assist me; and having offered my service in my turn, wished them a good-morrow, desiring O'Regan to accompany me to my lodging, where he was fitted with decent clothes from my wardrobe so much to his satisfaction, hat he swore eternal gratitude and friendship to me. In the afternoon I waited on Melinda, who laughed excessively at my adventure with the Irishman, having more than a dozen letters from him in her possession. Having made ourselves merry at the expence of this poor admirer, I seized the opportunity of her mother's going out, and introduced my own passion, with all the ardour and eloquence I was master of. After tea, the cards were brought; and having Melinda for my partner I came off with 5 guineas clear gain.
I soon became acquainted with a good many people of fashion. At last, finding myself unable to support the expence of this amour much longer. I was determined to bring the matter to a crisis; and one evening, I complained of her indifference, described the tortures of suspence, and pressed her to disclose her sentiments with such earnestness, that she could not with all her art shift the subject. She let me know with a careless air, that she had no objection to my person, and if I could satisfy her mother in other particulars, I should not find her averse to the match. This was not a very agreeable declaration to me, whose aim had been to win her inclination first, and then secure my conquest by a private marriage. I waited on the mother, and with great formality demanded the daughter in marriage: The good lady behaved with great civility, and said, she did not doubt that I was in all respects qualified to make a woman happy; but it concerned her as a parent, anxious about the welfare of her child, to inquire into the particulars of my fortune, and what settlement I proposed to make. I replied without hesitation, that though my fortune was very small, I was a gentleman by birth and education, would maintain her daughter in the sphere of a gentlewoman, and settle her own dowry on her and her heirs for ever. This careful matron did not seem to relish my proposal, but observed, that there was no necessity for settling that upon her child which was her own already; however, if I pleased, her lawyer should confer with mine upon the matter; and in the mean time, she desired I would favour her with the perusal of my rent-roll. I went again with a view of explaining myself more fully to the old gentlewoman, and was told by the footman that his ladies were not at home; although I had seen Melinda through the blinds at the parlour window as I went up to the door.
Soon after, my attention was wholly engrossed in search of another mistress, and therefore of being revenged on Melinda; in both which scheme I was very much assisted by Billy Chatter. To him therefore I applied desiring he would introduce me to a partner of some figure at the next private assembly. He promised to gratify my desire by matching me with a partner worth thirty thousand pounds. Upon inquiry I found this person's name was Miss Biddy Gripewell; that her father, who had been a pawn broker, died intestate, by which means all his substance descended to his daughter; that during his life so far from being educated in a way suitable to such a great expectations, she was obliged to live like a servant-wench and do the most menial offices in the family. I was ratified at this piece of information, and consented, for one night, to personate a French marquis. that I might the easier fulfil my revenge. He proposed also, to procure such an one for Mr. Goosetrap. as would infallibly intail upon her the ridicule of all her acquaintance: for this purpose he mentioned his barber. who, he said, was an exceedingly great coxcomb, lately come from Paris.
At the time appointed, Idressed to the best advantage; and in the character of marquis had the honour of opening the bill with the rich heiress — Among other I perceived Melinda, who could no more conceal her envy than astonishment at my success. Her curiosity was still more flagrant and tormenting, for she had never seen Miss. Gripewell before. I observed her impatience, aside exalted in her chagrin. She changed colour bridled up. assumed an air of disdain, and flirted her fan with such fury, that it went to pieces in a moment, to the no small entertainment of those who sat near and observed her.
At length the metamorphosed barber took her but, and acted his part with such ridiculous extravagance, that the mirth of the whole company was excited at this expence, and she retired in great confusion, under pretence of being taken suddenly ill, and was followed by her gallant. They were no sooner gone, than an inquisitive whisper of “Who is he?” run round the room; and Chatter could give no other intelligence about him than that he was a man of fortune, just returned from his travels.
Meanwhile, I was tempted by the richness of the prize, to practise upon Miss Grapwell's heart, but soon found it too well fortified with pride and indifference to yield.
As I expected, every thing came to light next day: The barber, in pure simplicity of heart, detected himself to Melinda, and discovered the foundation of his hopes; she sickened at the affront, and was ashamed to shew her face in the public for many weeks after this accident. Chatter found it impossible to justify himself to her satisfaction was was in utter disgrace with Miss Gripewell, for having imposed me upon her as a nobleman.
One day I received. by the penny-post a letter written by woman's hand desiring to know whether or not my heart was engaged. by leaving an answer at a certain place, directed to R. B.; and the whole subscribed, Your's Incognita. I was transported with joy on finding the contents of this billet doux. After dinner. I saunered in company with Dr. Wagtail to that end of the town where my inamorato lived; and as he was a more register inquited of him into the name character and fortune, of every body who possessed a house in the streets through which we passed. When he mentioned the name of Sir John Sparkle he represented him as a man of an immense estate who mewed up his only child, a fine young lady from the conversation of mankind under the strict watch and inspection of an old governante, who was either so honest envious, or insatiable, that nobody had been as yet able to make her a friend or get access to her charge, and she had a fortune of twelve thousand pounds left her by an uncle, of which she could not be deprived. This piece of news exactly tallied with the last part of the letter I had been honoured with.
I disengaged myself from Wagtail, whose conversation grew insipid and went home. Next day another billet-doux was brought to me containing many expressions of tenderness, mingled with some affecting doubts about the tenderness of man, the inconstancy of youth, and the jealousy often attending the most sincere passion. I complained of her fortunes, and pressed her to an assignation, and in a few days she consented to meet me at the house of that milliner who had forwarded all my letters. At length the happy hour arrived. I flew to the place of rendezvous, and was conducted into an apartment where I had not waited ten minutes when I heard the sound of feet ascending the stairs. My heart took the alarm, and beat quick, my cheek's glowed, my nerves thrilled, and my knees shook with extacy! I perceived the door opening, saw a gold brocade petticoat advance. and sprung forward to embrace my charmer.—Heaven and earth how shall I paint my situation when I found Miss Sparkle converted into a wrinkled hag turned of 70! I was struck with amazement, and petrified with horror! This ancient (illegible text) perceived my disorder and approaching with a languishing air settled my had asking in a squeaking voice, if I was indisposed. Her monstrous affection completed the disgust I had conceived for her. At length however, I recollected myself and pronounced an apology for my behavior. She told me her name was Withers; that she lived with Sir John Sparkle, in quality of governess to his only daughter; in which situation, she had picked up a comfortable sufficiency to make her easy for life, that she had the pleasure of seeing me at church, where my appearance, and deportment made such an impression upon her heart, that she could enjoy no ease until she had inquired into my character, which she found so amiable in all respects, that she yielding to the violence of her inclination had ventured to declare her passion, with too little regard, perhaps, to the decorum of her sex, but she hoped I would forgive the trespass. I lost all patience and reflection, flung away from her in an instant, snatched my hat and cane and ran down the stairs as if the devil had been pursuing me.
At length, however, being now reduced to three guineas, I disclosed my necessity to Strap, Banter perceiving it, conducted me to a house in Convent-garden, which we entered. Before I would venture any thing, I considered the company particularly, and there appeared such a group of villanous faces, that I was struck with horror and astonishment at the sight. I signified my surprise to Banter, who whispered in my ear, that the bulk of those present were sharpers, highwaymen, and apprentices, who, having embezzled their masters cash, made a desperate push in this place to make up their deficiencies. I lent Banter a guinea, which he carried to the gold table, and lost it in a moment. He would have borrowed another but finding my deaf to his arguments, when away in a pet. Meanwhile, my gain advanced to six pieces, and my desire of more increased in proportion, so that I moved to the higher table, where I laid half-a-guinea at every throw: and fortune still favouring me, I became a sitter in which capacity I remained until it was bread day, when I found myself, after many vicissitudes, one hundred and fifty guineas in pocket.
Happening to inform Banter, that I had received a small supply from a relation in the country, who at the same time had promised to use all his interest in soliciting some post for me. that would make my easy for life: If that be the case, said he, I have a relation who is set out for Bath next week, with an only daughter, who being sickly, intends to drink the waters for the recovery of her health. Her father, who was a rich Turkey merchant, died about a year ago, and left her with a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, under the sole management of her mother, who is my kinswoman. Banter giving me notice of the time when, and the stage-coach in which they were to set out, I bespoke a place in the same conveyance; and having hired a horse for Strap, we set out accordingly some time before day-break.
The approach of (illegible text) discovered to one-another the faces of their fellow travellers; and I had the good fortune to find my mistress not quite so disagreeable as she had been represented. Her head, indeed, bore some resemblance of a hatchet, the edge being represented by her face; but she had a certain delicacy in her complexion, and a great deal of vivacity in her eyes, which were very large and black; and though the portuberance of her breast, when considered alone, seemed to drag her forwards; it was easy to perceive an equivalent on her back, which balanced the other, and kept her body in equilibro.—I thought I should have great reason to congratulate myself, to possess twenty thousand pounds, encumbered, with such a wife.
When we arrived at the place where we were to breakfast, I alighted, and helped my mistress out of the coach, as well as her mother, who called for a private room, to which they withdrew, in order to eat by themselves. As they retired together, I perceived that Miss had got more twists from nature, than I had before observed, being bent side-ways, into the figure of an S, so that her progression very much resembled that of a crab. When we had made an end of our repast, and paid our reckoning, we went into the coach, took our places, and bribed the driver with sixpence to revenge us on the rest, by hurrying them away in the midst of their meal.
When we arrived at our dinning-place, we found all the eatables in the inn bespoke by a certain nobleman. who had got the start of us, but I exerted myself in their behalf, and bribed the landlord with a glass of wine, to curtail his lordship's entertainment of a couple of fowls and some bacon, which I sent with my compliments to the ladies, they accepted my treat with a great many thanks, and desired I would favour them with my company at dinner. Having satisfied our appetites, and made ourselves very (illegible text), we reimbarked at the first warning.
Nothing remarkable happened during the remaining part of our journey, which was ended about twelve o'clock, when I waited on the ladies to the house of a relation, where they intended to lodge, passed the night at the inn, and took lodgings next morning for myself.
The forenoon was spent in visiting every thing worth seeing in the place, and in the afternoon I waited on the ladies, and found Miss a good deal indisposed with the fatigue of the journey. I was received with great cordiality, and had the mother's permission to conduct them next day to the long room, which was no sooner entered, than the eyes of every body present were turned upon us. The celebrated Mr. Nash asked her, if she could inform him of the name of Tobit's (illegible text). I was so much incensed at his insolence, that I should certainly have kicked him, had not the young lady prevented the (illegible text) of my indignation, by replying with the utmost vivacity, “His name was Nash, and an inpudent dog he was.” This repartee raised such an universal laugh at the aggressor, that all his assurance was insufficient to support him while my dulcmea was applauded to the skies for the brilliancy of her wit, and her acquaintance immediately courted by the best people of both sexes in the room.—At night I could perceive her a little intoxicated with the incense she had received; and though she still behaved with a particular civility to me, I foresaw, that as soon as her fortune should be known, she would be surrounded with a swarm of admirers, some of whom might supplant me in her esteem.—I resolved therefore to pay homage to her with, and professed myself enamoured of her person. She blushed at my declaration, desiring I would not be the means of interrupting our acquaintance by any such unreasonable strokes of gallantry. My ardour was effectively checked by her mother, who, introducing her kinswoman, proposed a game of whist.
While we amused ourselves at this diversion, I understood there was to be an assembly next night, at which I begged the honour of dancing with Miss. She thanked me for the favour I intended her, assured me she never did dance, but signified a desire of seeing the company; upon which I offered my service, which was accepted. Having supped, and continued the game till a late hour, I took my leave, and went home. Next day I put on my gayest apparel, and went to drink tea at Mrs Snapper's, according to appointment, when I found she was indisposed, and that Miss was to be intrusted to my care. We set out for the ball-room pretty early in the evening, and took possession of a commodious place, where we had not sat long, when a gentleman, dressed in a green frock, came in leading a young lady, whom I immediately discovered to be the adorable Narcissa. Good heaven! what were the thrillings of my soul at that instant! I panted for want of breath; and, in short, was for some moments entranced! This first, tumult subsiding, a crowd of flattering ideas rushed upon my imagination: every thing that was soft, sensible and engaging in the character of that dear creature, recurred to my remembrance, and every favourable circumstance of my qualifications, appeared in all the aggravation of self-conceit, to heighten my expectation. Neither was this transport of long duration; the dread of her being already disposed of intervened, and overcast my enchanting revery! My presaging apprehension represented her encircled in the arms of some happy rival, and of consequence for ever lost to me. I was stung with this suggestion, and believing the person who conducted her to be the husband of this amiable young lady, I already devoted him to my fury, and stood up to mark him for my vengeance, when I recollected, to my unspeakable joy, her brother, the fox hunter, in the person of her gallant. Undeceived so much to my satisfaction in this particular, I gazed with delight on the irresistable charms of his sister, who no sooner distinguished me in the crowd, than her evident, confusion afforded a happy omen to my flame. At sight of me she startled, the rose instantly vanished from her polished cheeks, and returned in a moment with a double glow that overspread her lovely neck, while her enchanting bosom heaved with strong emotion. I hailed these as favourable symptoms. It may be easily imagined how ill I entertained Miss Snapper, on whom I could not now turn my eyes, without making comparisons very little to her advantage. It was not even in my power to return distinct answers to the questions she asked from time to time, so that she could not help observing my absence of behaviour; and having a turn for observation, watched my glances, and tracing them to the divine object, discovered the cause of my disorder. That she might, however, be convinced of the truth of her conjecture, she began to interrogate me with regard to Narcissa; and notwithstanding all my endeavours to disguise my sentiments; perceived my attachment by my confusion. Upon which she assumed a stateliness of behaviour, and sat very silent during the remaining part of the entertainment. At any other time I should have been prodigiously alarmed at her suspicion, but at that instant, I was elevated by my passion above every other consideration. The mistress of my soul having retired with her brother, I discovered so much uneasiness at my situation, that Miss Snappet proposed to go home.
Next day as I went to the bath, in hopes of seeing or hearing some tidings of my fair enslaver, I was met by a gentlewoman, who having looked hard at me, cried, O C—! Mr. Random! Surprised at this exclamation I examined the countenance of the person who spoke, and immediately recognised my old sweetheart and fellow sufferer (formerly mentioned) Miss Williams, I was mightily pleased to find this unfortunate woman under such a decent appearance, professed my joy at seeing her so well, and desired to know where I should have the pleasure of her conversation. She was as heartily pleased at the apparent easiness of my fortune, and gave me to know, that she as yet, had no habitation that she could properly call her own: but would wait on me at any place I would please to appoint. Understanding that she was disengaged for the present, I shewed her the way to my own lodgings, where, after a very affectionate salutation, she informed me of her being very happy in the service of a young lady, to whom she was recommended by a former mistress deceased, into whose family she had introduced herself by the honest deceit she had concerted while she lived with me in the garret in London. She then expressed a vehement desire to be acquainted with the vicissitudes of my life since we parted. I forthwith gratified her request: and having brought my adventures down to the present day, she seemed very much affected with the different circumstances of my fortune: and saying, with a smile she believed my distresses were now at a period, proceeded to inform me that the lady whom she served was no other than the charming Narcissa, who had honoured her with her confidence for some time; that she had often repeated the story of John Brown, with great admiration and regard: that she loved to dwell upon the particulars of his character, and did not scruple to own a tender approbation of his fame.—I became delirious with this piece of intelligence.—As soon as I was in a condition to yield attention, she described the present situation of her mistress, who had no sooner come home the night before, than she embraces her in a rapture of joy, gave her to know that she had seen me at the ball, where I appeared the character she always thought my due, with such advantage of transformation, that unless my image had been engraven on her heart, it would have been impossible to know me for the person who had worn her aunt's livery; that be the language of my eyes, was was assured of the continuance of my passion for her, and consequently of my being unengaged to any other; and that though she did not doubt I would speedily fall upon some method of being introduced, she was so impatient to hear of me, that she (Miss Williams) had been sent abroad that very morning, on purpose to learn the name of character I at present bore. My bosom had been hitherto a stranger to such a flood of joy as now rushed upon it. I requested her to lead me immediately to the object of my adoration; but she resisted my importunity, and explained the danger of such premature conduct.—I assented to the justness of her remonstrance, and desired she would assist me with her advice and direction; upon which it was concerted between us, that for the present, I should be contented with her telling Narcissa, that in the course of her inquiries she could only learn my name; and that if in a day or two I could fall upon no other method of being made acquainted, she would deliver a letter from me, on pretence of consulting her happiness, and say that I met her in the street and bribed her to that piece of service. Matters being thus adjusted I kept my old acquaintance to breakfast, and learned from her conversation, that my rival Sir Timothy had drank himself into an apoplexy, of which he died five months ago; that the savage was still unmarried, and that his aunt had been seized with a whim which he little expected, and had chosen the schoolmaster of the parish for her husband; but matrimony not agreeing with her constitution, she had been hectic and dropsical a good while, and was now in Bath, in order to drink the waters for her (illegible text); that her niece had accompanied her tither at her request, and attended her with the same affection as before; that her nephew who had been exasperated at the loss of her fortune, did not give his attendance out of good will, but purely to have an eye on his sister, lest she should likewise throw herself away, without his consent or approbation. Having enjoyed ourselves in this manner, and made an assignation to meet next day at a certain place, Miss Williams took her leave.
In the afternoon I drank tea at the house of Mr. Freeman, to whom I had been recommended by Banter where I had not sat five minutes till the fox-hunter cam in, and by his familiar behaviour, appeared to be intimate with my friend. I was at first under some concern, lest she should recollect my features; but when I found myself introduced to him as a gentleman from London, without being discovered, I blessed the opportunity (illegible text) brought me into his company, hoping, that in the course of our acquaintance, he would invite me to his house. Nor were my hopes frustrated for as we spent the evening together, he desired our company at dinner next day in his own house. My imagination was so much employed in anticipating the happiness I was to enjoy the next day, that I slept very little that night; but getting up early in the morning, went to the place appointed, where I met my female friend, and imparted to her my success with the Squire. She was very much pleased on the occasion, which, she said, could not fail of being agreeable to Narcissa, who in spite of her passion for me, had mentioned some scruples relating to my true situation and character, which the delicacy of her sentiments suggested, and which she believed I would find it necessary to remove, though she did not know how.—I was a good deal started at this insinuation; for although it never was my intention to impose myself upon any woman much less on Narcissa. as a man of fortune, I had claim to the character of a gentleman by birth and education; and yet, so unluckily had the circumstances of my life fallen out, I should find it a very hard matter to make good my pretensions. Miss Williams was as sensible as I of this disadvantage; but comforted my with observing that when once a woman has bestowed her affections on a man, she cannot help judging of him in all respects with partiality. Having dressed myself to the best advantage, I waited for the time of dinner with the utmost impatience. At last Mr. Freeman called at my lodgings in his way, and I accompanied him to the house where all my happiness was deposited.—We were kindly received by the Squire, who sat smoking his pipe in the parlour, and asked if we chose to drink any thing before dinner. Though I never had more occasion for a cordial, I was ashamed to accept his offer. t last, a servant gave notice that dinner was upon the table. When I entered the dining-room, the first object that saluted my ravished eyes was the divine Narcissa, blushing like Aurora, adorned with all the graces that meekness, innocence, and beauty can diffuse! I was seized with a giddiness, my knees tottered, and I scarce had strength enough to perform the ceremony of salutation, when her brother slapping me on the shoulder cried, Measter Random, that there is my sister. I approached her with eagerness and fear; but in the moment of our embrace, my soul was agonized with rapture. As I had the happiness of sitting opposite to her, I feasted my eyes much more than my palate, which she tempted in vain with the most delicate bits carved by her fair hand, and recommended by her persuasive tongue. Dinner was scarce ended, when the Squire became very drowsy, and after several dreadful yawns, got up, stretched himself, took two or three turns across the room, begged we would allow him to take a short nap; and having laid a strong injunction on his sister to detain us till his return, went to his repose without any further ceremony. He had not been gone many minutes, when Freeman, guessing the situation of my heart, and thinking he could not do me a greater favour than to leave me alone with Narcissa, pretended to recollect himself all of a sudden and starting up, begged the lady's pardon for half an hour, having luckily remembered an engagement of some consequence that he must perform at this instant; so saying, he went away promising to be back time enough for tea; leaving my mistress and me in great confusion. Now that I enjoyed an opportunity of disclosing the pantings of my soul, I had not power to use it. At length I endeavoured to put an end to this solemn pause, by assuring her, that since the happy occasion of being along with her present itself, I had made many unsuccessful attemptes to declare a passion for the loveliest of her sex. While I spoke thus, she concealed her face with her fan; and when I ceased, recovering herself from the most beautiful confusion, told me, that she thought herself very much obliged by my favourable opinion of her; and that she was very sorry to hear I had been unfortunate. Encouraged by this gentle reply, I proceeded, owned myself sufficiently recompensed by her kind compassion for what I had undergone; and declared, that the future happiness of my life depended solely upon her. Sir, said she, I should be very ungrateful, if, after the signal protection you once afforded me, I could refuse to contribute towards your happiness in any reasonable way. Upon this I arose, assuring her, I would rather die than disobey her; and whatever restraint I put upon my inclinations, it was sacrificing them to her desire. She smiled with unspeakable sweetness, but reminded me of our being almost strangers to one another, and of the necessity there was for her knowing me better, before she could take any resolution in my favour. I gazed with unutterable fondness! I grew man with admiration! My condition is insupportable! cried I; I am distracted with passion! Why are you so exquisitely fair? Why are you so enchantingly good? Why has nature dignified you with charms so much above the standard of women? And wretch that I am how ares my unworthiness aspire to the enjoyment of such perfection! She was startled at my ravings, reasoned down my transport, and by her irresistible eloquence, soothed my soul into a state of tranquil felicity. She chid me for having omitted to inquire about her aunt. I professed my veneration for the good lady, and excused my omission, by imputing it to the violence of my love. She told me she was married and lived with her husband hard by, and was so much afflicted with a dropsy, and wasted by a consumption, that she had small (illegible text) of her recovery. Having expressed my sorrow, I questioned her about my friend Mrs. Sagely who I learned was still (illegible text) good health. This circumstance introduced (illegible text) inquiry into (illegible text) conduct of Sir. Timothy Thicket; who (illegible text) informed me had found (illegible text) to (illegible text) her brother so much against (illegible text) that (illegible text) found it impossible to undeceive him; but (illegible text) Sir Timothy being seized with a fit of the apoplexy began to be apprehensive of death and to prepare for the great event, had sent for her brother, owned the brutal design he had upon her, and acquitted me of the assault, robbery, and correspondence with her which he had laid to me charge; after which confession, he lived about a month in a languishing condition, and was carried off by a second assult. Soon after, Freeman returned from his pretended appointment.
Every word that this dear creature spoke, rivetted the chains with which she held me enslaved. A little while after, the Squire staggered into the room, rubbing his eyes, and called for his tea, which he drank out of a small bowl, qualified with brandy. We sipped some in the ordinary way. Narcissa (illegible text), in order to visit her aunt, and when Freeman and I proposed to take our leave, the fox hunter insisted on our spending the evening with such obstinacy, that we were obliged to comply.
Our entertainer resolving to being by times ordered the table to be furnished with liquor and glasses immediately after tea, but we absolutely refused to set in for drinking so soon, and prevailed upon him to pass an hour or two at whist, in which we engaged as soon as Narcissa returned. The savage and I happened to be partners at first, but I played so ill, that he lost all patience, swore bitterly, and threatened to call for wine, if they would not grant him another associate. This desire was gratified, and Narcissa and I were of a side; he won for the same reason that made him lose before; I was satisfied; the time slipping away very agreeably, until we were told that supper was served in another room.
The Squire was enraged to find the evening so unprofitably spent, and wreaked his vengeance on the cards, which he tore, threatening to make us redeem our loss with a large glass and a quick circulation. The wine being strong and heady, I was soon discomposed by the dispatch we had made: Freeman's eyes began to reel, and Bruin himself was elevated into a song, which he uttered with great vociferation. When the second round cam in, I assumed and air of gaiety, telling him the choice spirits at Paris never troubled themselves with glasses, and asked him if he had not a bowl or cup in the house that would contain a quart of wine. Odds niggers! cried he, I have a silver caudle cup, that holds just the quantity for all the world; fetch it hither Numps. The cup was brought, and he decanted his bottle into it, saying, Here's to our better acquaintance, Measter Random; and emptied it in a breath. I began to discharge my bottle into it; but observing he made several attempts to spit, I forbore to drink and he made shift to stutter out, I am a f—ffree horn Englishman, worth the three thousand a year; and v—value no man, dam me! Then dropping his jaw, and fixing his eyes, he hickupped aloud, and fell upon the floor as mute as a flounder. Freeman heartily rejoiced at his defeat, assisted me in carrying him to bed, where we left him to the care of his servants, and went home to our respective habitations, congratulating one another on our good fortune.
Next morning, I met Miss Williams, who gave me joy of the progress I had made in the affections of her mistress. Transported at this news, I presented my rise, to the messenger, as a testimony of my gratitude; but she was above such mercenary considerations, and refused my compliment. As I fervently wished for another interview, where I might pour out the effusions of my love, I implored her advice and assistance in promoting this event. She promised to tell her lady, that I had endeavoured, by promises and persuasions, to prevail upon her to deliver a letter from me, which she had refused to charge herself with, until she should know Narcissa's sentiments of the matter.
I approved of her counsel, and our appointment being renewed for next day, left her with an intent of falling noon some method of being reconciled to the Squire, who I supposed was offended at the trick we had put upon him. With this view I consulted Freeman, who assured me there was no other method of pacifying him, than that of sacrificing ourselves for one night to an equal match of drinking with him. This I complied with; and determined to commit the debauch at my own lodgings. Mr. Freeman, who was to be of the party, went to the Squire to engage him, while I took care to furnish myself for his reception. My guests honoured me with their company in the evening, when Bruin declared to me, that he had drank many tuns of wine in his life, but was never served such a trick as I had played upon him the night before. I promised to atone for my trespass; and having ordered every man his bottle, began with a bumper to the health of Narcissa. The toasts circulated with great devotion, the liquor began to operate, our mirth grew noisy and as Freeman and I had the advantage of drinking small French claret, the savage was effectually tamed before our senses were in the least affected and carried home drunk.
I was next morning favoured with a visit from my kind confident. who telling me she was permitted to receive my letters for my mistress. I took up the pen immediately. and following the first dictates of my passion, wrote as follows:
Were it possible for the power of utterance to reveal the soft emotions of myself, I should need go other witness thus this paper. But, alas! expression wrongs my love! Your beauty fills me with wonder your understanding with ravishment! and your goodness with adoration! Suffer me then lovely arbitress of my fate to approach your person, to gaze on the living object of my wishes, to rejoice in her smiles of approbation, and banish the most intolerable suspence from the bosom of
Having finished this epistle, I committed it to the care of my faithful friend, and in the mean time went to dress with an intention of visiting Mrs. Snapper and Miss, whom I had utterly neglected, ever since my dear Narcissa had resumed the empire of my soul. The old gentlewoman received me very kindly, and Miss affected a frankness and gaiety, which I perceived was dissembled. Among other things, she pretended to joke my upon my passion for Narcissa, which she averted was not secret; and asked if I intended to dance with her at the next assembly. I was a good deal concerned to find myself become the town-talk on this subject, lest the Squire, having notice of my inclinations, should disapprove of them, and by breaking off all correspondence with me, deprive me of the opportunities I now enjoyed. But I resolved to use the interest I had with him while it lasted; and that very night, meeting him occasionally, asking his permission to solicit her company at the ball which he readily granted to my inexpressible satisfaction.
Having been kept awake the greatest part of the night, by a thousand delightful reveries, I got up betimes. and flying to the place of rendezvous, had the pleasure of seeing Miss Williams approach with a smile on her countenance. She presented me with a letter from the idol of my soul, which I opened with the utmost eagerness, and was blessed with her approbation, in these terms:Sir,
To say I look upon you with indifference, would be a piece of dissimulation, which, I think. no decorum requires, and no custom can justify. As my heart never felt any impression that my tongue was ashamed to declare. I will not scruple to own myself pleased with your passion, confident of your integrity, and so well convinced of my own discretion that I should not hesitate in granting you the interview you desire. were I not overawed by the prying curiosity of a malicious world the censure of which might by fatally prejudicial to the reputation of
I kissed this inimitable proof of my charmer's candour, generosity, and affection!—I read it over an hundred times; was ravished with her confession in the beginning; but the superscription of Your Narcissa, almost overpowered my senses with joy. In short, I had all the reason in the world to believe that this gentle creature's bosom was possessed by a passion for me, as warm. though perhaps not so impetuous, as mine for her.
I informed my friend of the Squire's consent to my dancing with Narcissa at the ball, Miss Williams expressed a good deal of joy, at hearing I was so much in favour with the fox hunter. I went immediately to the long-room, where I found him, and told him I would do myself the pleasure to wait upon him in the afternoon, and to present his sister with a ticket for the ball. He shook me by the hand, and giving me to understand that he was to dine abroad, desired me to go and drink tea with Narcissa notwithstanding, and promised to prepare her for my visit in the meantime.
Every thing succeded to my wish, I waited for the time, which no sooner arrived, than I hastened to the scene, which my fancy had preoccupied long before. I was introduced to the (illegible text) enchantress, whom I found accompanied by Miss Williams, who, on pretence of ordering tea, retired at my approach. This favourable accident disorded her—I advanced to her with eagerness; and profiting by the confusion that prevailed over her, clasped the fair angel in my arms, and imprinted a glowing kiss upon her lips; her face was in an instant covered with blushes, her eyes sparkled with resentment; I threw myself at her feet, and implored her pardon. Her love became advocation in my cause, and she raised me up. We spend the afternoon in all the extacy of hope, that the most fervent love, exchanged by mutual vows, could inspire. The evening being far advanced I forced myself from the dear object of my flame, who indulged me in a tender embrace at parting, and then repaired to my lodgings.
The ball-night being arrived, I dressed myself in a suit I had reserved for the grand occasion; and conducted my angel to the scene where she in a moment eclipsed all her female competitors for beauty, and attracted the admiration of the whole assembly. After we had danced together. a nobleman remarkable in the beau-monde. came up, and in the hearing of all present, honoured us with a very particular compliment upon our accomplishments and appearance: but this transport was soon checked when I perceived his lordship attach himself with great assiduity to my mistress. and say some warm things, which I thought favoured too much of passion. It was then I began to feel the pangs of jealousy. I was enraged at his presumption; I cursed him complaisance: at length he quitted her, and went to the other side of the room. Narcissa no sooner observed my emotion, than she changed colour, and asked what ailed me? But before I could made answer her brother, pulling me by the sleeve, bid me take notice of a young lady who sat fronting us, whom I immediately distinguished to be Melinda, accompanied by her mother and an elderly gentleman I did not know. Wounds! Random, cried the 'Squire, is she not a delicate piece of stuff? 'Sdeath! I have a good mind if I tho't she was a single person. Alarmed at these symptoms of the Squire's admiration, I for some time did not know what reply to make. At length I told him her name was Melinda; that she had a fortune of ten thousand pounds and was under promise of marriage to a certain lord, when he would be of age. He made light of her engagement, saying, Mayhaps she will change her mind, what signifies his being a lord? I think myself as good a man as e'er a lord in christendom. This reflection incresed my chagrin. My vexation was evident. Narcissa insisted on going home immediately; and as I led her to the door, her noble admirer, with a look of full languishment, directed to her a profound bow, which stung me to the soul.—Before she went into the chair, she asked, with an appearance of concern what was the matter with me? By heaven I'm distructed replied I. Having uttered this exclamation, at which she sighed. I went home in the condition of a frantic bedlamite! During this state of dejection, I was surprised with the appearance of Miss Williams, who told me Narcissa desire to see me forthwith. I found the adorable creature in tears! I was melted at the sight; we continued silent for some time; my head was too dull to speak; her snowy bosom heaved with fond emotions; at last she cried sobbing, What have I done to displease you? My heart was pierced with the tender question. I fell upon my knees, and kissing her hand, exclaimed. I am unworthy to possess the charms which heaven hath destined for the arms of some more being? She upbraided me gently for my suspicion, and gave me such assurances of her constant fidelity, that all my doubts and fears forsook me! At midnight I left the nymph to her repose, and explored my way home in the dark.
Next day, when I went to the long-room, I observed several whispers circulate all of a sudden, and did not doubt but Melinda had been busy with my character. The following day, I saw the Squire in company with Melinda and her mother, who honoured me with several, disdainful glances; and when I threw myself in his way. instead of the cordial shake of the hand, returned my salute with the cold reception of, Your Servant.— These occurrences disturbed me not a little.
Miss Williams found me next morning full of anxious tumult, which did not abate when she told me, that my Lord Quiverwit, having professed honourable intentions had been introduced to my lovely mistress by her brother, who had at the same time, by the information of Melinda, spoke of me as an Irish fortune-hunter, without either birth or estate to recommend me, who supported myself in the appearance of a gentleman, by sharping, and other infamous practices.—Narcissa, far from believing these imputations, was no sooner withdrawn with her confident, than she inveighed with great warmth against the malevolence of the world; and calling every circumstance of my behaviour to her review, found every thing so polite, honourable, and disinterested, that she could not harbour the least doubt of my being the gentleman I appeared to be. I have indeed, laid she, purposely forbore to ask the particulars of his life, left the recapitulation of some misfortunes which he had undergone should give him pain: and as to the article of his fortune, I own myself afraid of inquiring into it, and of discovering the situation of my own, left we should find ourselves both unhappy in the explanation; for, alas! my provision is conditional, and depends entirely on my brother's consent. Thunderstruck with this intelligence. the light forsook my eyes, the colour vanished from my cheeks, and I remained in a state of universal trepidation. As I did not doubt that by this time the scandalous aspersions of Melinda were diffused all over the town I resolved to publish her adventure with the Frenchfy'd barber, by way of reprisal. I sallied out, and went directly to the long room. I was met at the door by a servant, who presented to me a billet without a subscription, importing that my presence was disagreeable to the company and desiring I would take the hint without further disturbance and bestow myself elsewhere for the future. This peremptory message filled me with indignation, I followed the fellow, seized him by the collar, in presence of all the company, and threatened to put him instantly to death, if he did not discover the scroundrel who had charged him with such an impudent commission, that I might punish him as he deserved. The messenger, affrighted at my menaces, fell upon his knees and told me that the gentleman who ordered him to deliver the letter, was no other than Narcissa's brother, who stood at the other end of the room talking to Melinda. I went up to him. and in the hearing of his inamorata, said, Lookee, 'Squire, was it not for one consideration that protects you from my resentment, I would cane you where you stand, for having had the presumption to send me this scurrilous intimation; which I tore and threw in his face, telling his mistress, I was sorry she had put it out of my power to compliment her upon her invention, but at the expence of the good nature and veracity. Her admirer, instead of resenting my adoress in what is called the honourable way, threatened to prosecute me for an assault. I quitted the scene of my mortification and sauntering about the town, happened to wake from my contemplation, when I (illegible text) myself opposite to a toy-shop, which I entered, and purchased a (illegible text) set (illegible text) a ruby in the form of a heart, surrounded by diamond sparks, for which I paid ten guineas, intending in for a present to the charmer of my soul; Narcissa having by Miss Williams signified a wish to see me that evening. I went at the hour appointed, when, nothwithstanding what she had heard to my disadvantage she received me with the utmosts tenderness; and having been informed of the general sketches of my life by Miss Williams, expressed a desire of knowing the particular circumstances—which I (illegible text) with great candour. She bewailed her restriced condition, and told me that Lord Quiverwit, by her brother's permission had been to drink tea with her that very afternoon and actually proposed marriage; but seeing me extremely affected offered to give me a convincing proof of her affection, by espousing me in private; and leaving the rest to fate. I was penetrated with this instance of her regard, but resisted the (illegible text) temptation in consideration of her honour and interest; at the same time presenting myself at a pledge of my invoilable attachment, and on my keens implored Heaven to shower its curses on my head if (illegible text) my (illegible text) should (illegible text) one thought (illegible text) of the (illegible text) I then avowed. She received my token gave me in return her picture in miniature, exquisitely drawn and set in gold, and in the same posture called Heaven to witness, and to judge her flame. Our vows thus reciprocally breathed, I grew insensible of the progress of time and it was morning before I could tear myself from the darling of my soul.
In a few days after, my uncle arrived from a foreign voyage, in which he had made his fortune; to whom I made known the whole history of my courtship, and intended marriage with Narcissa, of which he highly approved.
Every thing being prepared for our nuptials Don Roderigeuz and my uncle went to fetch the bride and Miss Williams leaving me with a parson, Banter, and Strap neither of whom had as yet seen my charming mistress. When the coach returned, my uncle, at his own request, acted the part of a father to my Narcissa, and led her into the room; and as soon as she was mine by the laws of heaven and earth, I printed a burning kiss upon her lips. My uncle hugged her with affection, and I presented her to Banter who saluted her; Miss Williams hung round her neck and wept; while Strap begged to kiss her hand. After supper, Narcissa withdrew with her maid, her face overspread with blushes, that set all my blood in fermentation, and in a little time I broke from the company, burst into her chamber. pushed out her confident, at the same time locking the door.—O heaven and earth! a feast, a thousand times more delicious than my most sanguine hopes ever presaged!
The news of our marriage being spread, a certain set of persons, fond of scandal, began to inquire into the particulars of my fortune, which they no sooner understood to be independent than the tables were turned, and our acquaintance was courted as much as it was despised before.
Every thing being settled, we set out for Edinburgh, where Don Roderiguez, having intelligence that his nephew the fox-hunter's estate was to be sold, bought the whole of his father's lands. In a few days after, we left Edinburgh, and halted one night in the town where I was educated. Upon inquiry I found that Mr. Crab, my old master, was dead; whereupon I sent for his executor, paid the sum I owed, with interest and took up my bond. Early in the morning, we proceeded to our estate, about a dozen miles from this place. And now if there be such a thing as happiness on earth, I enjoy it.