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The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

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The Adventures of Roderick Random

By Tobias Smollett


Of all kinds of satire, there is none so entertaining and universally
improving, as that which is introduced, as it were occasionally,
in the course of an interesting story, which brings every incident
home to life, and by representing familiar scenes in an uncommon and
amusing point of view, invests them with all the graces of novelty,
while nature is appealed to in every particular. The reader
gratifies his curiosity in pursuing the adventures of a person in
whose favour he is prepossessed; he espouses his cause, he sympathises
with him in his distress, his indignation is heated against the
authors of his calamity: the humane passions are inflamed; the
contrast between dejected virtue and insulting vice appears with
greater aggravation, and every impression having a double force
on the imagination, the memory retains the circumstance, and the
heart improves by the example. The attention is not tired with a
bare catalogue of characters, but agreeably diverted with all the
variety of invention; and the vicissitudes of life appear in their
peculiar circumstances, opening an ample field for wit and humour.

Romance, no doubt, owes its origin to ignorance, vanity, and
superstition. In the dark ages of the World, when a man had rendered
himself famous for wisdom or valour, his family and adherents availed
themselves of his superior qualities, magnified his virtues, and
represented his character and person as sacred and supernatural.
The vulgar easily swallowed the bait, implored his protection, and
yielded the tribute of homage and praise, even to adoration; his
exploits were handed down to posterity with a thousand exaggerations;
they were repeated as incitements to virtue; divine honours were
paid, and altars erected to his memory, for the encouragement of
those who attempted to imitate his example; and hence arose the
heathen mythology, which is no other than a collection of extravagant
romances. As learning advanced, and genius received cultivation,
these stories were embellished with the graces of poetry, that they
might the better recommend themselves to the attention; they were
sung in public, at festivals, for the instruction and delight of
the audience; and rehearsed before battle, as incentives to deeds
of glory. Thus tragedy and the epic muse were born, and, in the
progress of taste, arrived at perfection. It is no wonder that the
ancients could not relish a fable in prose, after they had seen
so many remarkable events celebrated in verse by their best poets;
we therefore find no romance among them during the era of their
excellence, unless the Cyropaedia of Xenophon may be so called;
and it was not till arts and sciences began to revive after the
irruption of the barbarians into Europe, that anything of this kind
appeared. But when the minds of men were debauched by the imposition
of priestcraft to the most absurd pitch of credulity, the authors
of romance arose, and losing sight of probability, filled their
performances with the most monstrous hyperboles. If they could not
equal the ancient poets in point of genius. they were resolved to
excel them in fiction, and apply to the wonder, rather than the
judgment, of their readers. Accordingly, they brought necromancy to
their aid, and instead of supporting the character of their heroes
by dignity of sentiment and practice, distinguished them by their
bodily strength, activity, and extravagance of behaviour. Although
nothing could be more ludicrous and unnatural than the figures
they drew, they did not want patrons and admirers; and the world
actually began to be infected with the spirit of knight-errantry,
when Cervantes, by an inimitable piece of ridicule, reformed the
taste of mankind, representing chivalry in the right point of view,
and converting romance to purposes far more useful and entertaining,
by making it assume the sock, and point out the follies of ordinary

The same method has been practised by other Spanish and French
authors, and by none more successfully than by Monsieur Le Sage,
who, in his Adventures of Gil Blas, has described the knavery and
foibles of life, with infinite humour and sagacity. The following
sheets I have modelled on his plan, taking me liberty, however, to
differ from him in the execution, where I thought his particular
situations were uncommon, extravagant, or peculiar to the country
in which the scene is laid. The disgraces of Gil Blas are, for the
most part, such as rather excite mirth than compassion; he himself
laughs at them; and his transitions from distress to happiness, or
at least ease, are so sudden, that neither the reader has time to
pity him, nor himself to be acquainted with affliction. This conduct,
in my opinion, not only deviates from probability, but prevents
that generous indignation, which ought to animate the reader against
the sordid and vicious disposition of the world. I have attempted
to represent modest merit struggling with every difficulty to which
a friendless orphan is exposed, from his own want of experience, as
well as from the selfishness, envy, malice, and base indifference
of mankind. To secure a favourable prepossession, I have allowed
him the advantages of birth and education, which in the series of
his misfortunes will, I hope, engage the ingenuous more warmly in
his behalf; and though I foresee, that some people will be offended
at the mean scenes in which he is involved, I persuade myself that
the judicious will not only perceive the necessity of describing
those situations to which he must of course be confined, in his
low estate, but also find entertainment in viewing those parts of
life, where the humours and passions are undisguised by affectation,
ceremony, or education; and the whimsical peculiarities
of disposition appear as nature has implanted them. But I believe
I need not trouble myself in vindicating a practice authorized by
the best writers in this way, some of whom I have already named.

Every intelligent reader will, at first sight, perceive I have not
deviated from nature in the facts, which are all true in the main,
although the circumstances are altered and disguised, to avoid
personal satire.

It now remains to give my reasons for making the chief personage of
this work a North Briton, which are chiefly these: I could, at a
small expense, bestow on him such education as I thought the dignity
of his birth and character required, which could not possibly be
obtained in England, by such slender means as the nature of my plan
would afford. lit the next place, I could represent simplicity of
manners in a remote part of the kingdom, with more propriety than
in any place near the capital; and lastly, the disposition of the
Scots, addicted to travelling, justifies my conduct in deriving
an adventurer from that country. That the delicate reader may not
be offended at the unmeaning oaths which proceed from the mouths
of some persons in these memoirs, I beg leave to promise, that
I imagined nothing could more effectually expose the absurdity of
such miserable expletives, than a natural and verbal representation
of the discourse in which they occur.


A young painter, indulging a vein of pleasantry, sketched a kind of
conversation piece, representing a bear, an owl, a monkey, and an
ass; and to render it more striking, humorous, and moral, distinguished
every figure by some emblem of human life. Bruin was exhibited in
the garb and attitude of an old, toothless, drunken soldier; the
owl perched upon the handle of a coffee-pot, with spectacle on
nose, seemed to contemplate a newspaper; and the ass, ornamented
with a huge tie-wig (which, however, could not conceal his long
ears), sat for his picture to the monkey, who appeared with the
implements of painting. This whimsical group afforded some mirth,
and met with general approbation, until some mischievous wag hinted
that the whole--was a lampoon upon the friends of the performer; an
insinuation which was no sooner circulated than those very people
who applauded it before began to be alarmed, and even to fancy
themselves signified by the several figures of the piece.

Among others, a worthy personage in years, who had served in the army
with reputation, being incensed at the Supposed outrage, repaired
to the lodging of the painter, and finding him at home, "Hark ye,
Mr. Monkey," said he, "I have a good mind to convince you, that
though the bear has lost his teeth, he retains his paws, and that
he is not so drunk but he can perceive your impertinence." "Sblood!
sir, that toothless jaw is a d--ned scandalous libel--but don't
yon imagine me so chopfallen as not to be able to chew the cud of
resentment." Here he was interrupted by the arrival of a learned
physician, who, advancing to the culprit with fury in his aspect,
exclaimed, "Suppose the augmentation of the ass's ears should prove
the diminution of the baboon's--nay, seek not to prevaricate, for,
by the beard of Aesculapius! there is not one hair in this periwig
that will not stand up in judgment to convict thee of personal
abuse. Do but observe, captain, how this pitiful little fellow has
copied the very curls-the colour, indeed, is different, but then
the form and foretop are quite similar." While he thus remonstrated
in a strain of vociferation, a venerable senator entered, and
waddling up to the delinquent, "Jackanapes!" cried he, "I will now
let thee see I can read something else than a newspaper, and that
without the help of spectacles: here is your own note of hand,
sirrah, for money, which if I had not advanced, you yourself would
have resembled an owl, in not daring to show your face by day, you
ungrateful slanderous knave!"

In vain the astonished painter declared that he had no intention to
give offence, or to characterise particular persons: they affirmed
the resemblance was too palpable to be overlooked; they taxed him
with insolence, malice, and ingratitude; and their clamours being
overheard by the public, the captain was a bear, the doctor an ass,
and the senator an owl, to his dying day.


Christian reader, I beseech thee, in the bowels of the Lord,
remember this example "while thou art employed in the perusal of
the following sheets; and seek not to appropriate to thyself that
which equally belongs to five hundred different people. If thou
shouldst meet with a character that reflects thee in some ungracious
particular, keep thy own counsel; consider that one feature makes
not a face, and that though thou art, perhaps, distinguished by a
bottle nose, twenty of thy neighbours may be in the same predicament."



Of my Birth and Education

I was born in the northern part of this united kingdom, in the
house of my grand. father, a gentleman of considerable fortune and
influence, who had on many occasions signalised himself in behalf
of his country; and was remarkable for his abilities in the law,
which he exercised with great success in the station of a judge,
particularly against beggars, for whom he had a singular aversion.

My father (his youngest son) falling in love with a poor relation,
who lived with the old gentleman in quality of a housekeeper,
espoused her privately; and I was the first fruit of that marriage.
During her pregnancy, a dream discomposed my mother so much that her
husband, tired with her importunity, at last consulted a highland
seer, whose favourable interpretation he would have secured
beforehand by a bribe, but found him incorruptible. She dreamed
she was delivered of a tennis-ball, which the devil (who, to her
great surprise, acted the part of a midwife) struck so forcibly
with a racket that it disappeared in an instant; and she was for
some time inconsolable for the lost of her offspring; when, all on
a sudden, she beheld it return with equal violence, and enter the
earth, beneath her feet, whence immediately sprang up a goodly
tree covered with blossoms, the scent of which operated so strongly
on her nerves that she awoke. The attentive sage, after some
deliberation, assured my parents, that their firstborn would be a
great traveller; that he would undergo many dangers and difficulties,
and at last return to his native land, where he would flourish in
happiness and reputation. How truly this was foretold will appear
in the sequel. It was not long before some officious person informed
my grandfather of certain familiarities that passed between his son
and housekeeper which alarmed him so much that, a few days after,
he told my father it was high time for him to think of settling; and
that he had provided a match for him, to which he could in justice
have no objections. My father, finding it would be impossible to
conceal his situation much longer, frankly owned what he had done;
and excused himself for not having asked the consent of his father,
by saying, he knew it would have. been to no Purpose; and that, had
his inclination been known, my grandfather might have taken such
measures as would have effectually put the gratification of it out
of his power: he added, that no exceptions could be taken to his
wife's virtue, birth, beauty, and good sense, and as for fortune,
it was beneath his care. The old gentleman, who kept all his
passions, except one, in excellent order, heard him to an end with
great temper, and then calmly asked, how he proposed to maintain
himself and spouse? He replied, he could be in no danger of wanting
while his father's tenderness remained, which he and his wife should
always cultivate with the utmost veneration; and he was persuaded
his allowance would be suitable to the dignity and circumstances
of his family, and to the provision already made for his brothers
and sisters, who were happily settled under his protection. "Your
brothers and sisters," said my grandfather, "did not think it beneath
them to consult me in an affair of such importance as matrimony;
neither, I suppose, would you have omitted that piece of duty,
had you not some secret fund in reserve; to the comforts of which
I leave you, with a desire that you will this night seek out another
habitation for yourself and wife, whither, in a short time, I will
send you an account of the ex pens I have been at in your education,
with a view of being reimbursed. Sir, you have made the grand
tour--you are a polite gentleman--a very pretty gentleman--I wish
you a great deal of joy, and am your very humble servant."

So saying, he left my father in a situation easily imagined. However,
be did not long hesitate; for, being perfectly well acquainted
with his father's disposition, he did not doubt that he was glad
of this pretence to get rid of him; and his resolves being as
invariable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, he know it would
be to no purpose to attempt him by prayers and entreaties; so without
any farther application, he betook himself, with his disconsolate
bedfellow to a farm-house, where an old servant of his mother dwelt:
there they remained some time in a situation but ill adapted to
the elegance of their desires and tenderness of their love; which
nevertheless my father chose to endure, rather than supplicate
an unnatural and inflexible parent but my mother, foreseeing the
inconveniences to which she must have been exposed, bad she been
delivered in this place (and her pregnancy was very far advanced),
without communicating her design to her husband, went in disguise
to the house of my grand. father, hoping that her tears and condition
would move him to compassion, and reconcile him to an event which
was now irrecoverably past.

She found means to deceive the servants, and get introduced as
an unfortunate lady, who wanted to complain of some matrimonial
grievances, it being my grandfather's particular province to
decide in all cases of scandal. She was accordingly admitted into
his presence, where, discovering herself, she fell at his feet,
and in the most affecting manner implored his forgiveness; at the
same the same time representing the danger that threatened not
only her life, but that of his own grandchild, which was about to
see the light. He told her he was sorry that the indiscretion of her
and his son had compelled him to make a vow, which put it out of
his power to give them any assistance; that he had already imparted
his thoughts on that subject to her husband, and was surprised that
they should disturb his peace with any farther importunity. This
said, he retired.

The violence of my mother's affliction had such an effect on
her constitution that she was immediately seized with the pains
of childbed; and had not an old maidservant, to whom she was very
dear, afforded her pity and assistance, at the hazard of incurring
my grandfather's displeasure, she and the innocent fruit of her womb
must have fallen miserable victims to his rigour and inhumanity. By
the friendship of this poor woman she was carried up to a garret,
and immediately 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 the embraces of his darling spouse,
and while he loaded his offspring with paternal embraces, could not
forbear shedding a flood of tears on beholding the dear partner of
his heart (for whose ease he would have sacrificed the treasures
of the east) stretched upon a flock bed, in a miserable apartment,
unable to protect her from the inclemencies of the weather. It
is not to be supposed that the old gentleman was ignorant of what
passed, though he affected to know nothing of the matter, and
pretended to be very much surprised, when one of his grandchildren,
by his eldest son deceased, who lived with him as his heir apparent,
acquainted him with the affair; he determined therefore to observe
no medium, but immediately (on the third day after her delivery)
sent her a peremptory order to be gone, and turned off the servant
who had preserved her life. This behaviour so exasperated my father
that he had recourse to the most dreadful imprecations; and on
his bare knees implored that Heaven would renounce him if ever he
should forget or forgive the barbarity of his sire.

The injuries which this unhappy mother received from her removal in
such circumstances, and the want of necessaries where she lodged,
together with her grief and anxiety of mind, soon threw her into
a languishing disorder, which put an end to her life. My father,
who loved her tenderly, was so affected with her death that he
remained six weeks deprived of his senses; during which time, the
people where he lodged carried the infant to the old man who relented
so far, on hearing the melancholy story of his daughter-in-law's
death, and the deplorable condition of his son, as to send the
child to nurse, and he ordered my father to be carried home to his
house, where he soon recovered the use of his reason.

Whether this hardhearted judge felt any remorse for his cruel
treatment of his son and daughter, or (which is more probable)
was afraid his character would suffer in the neighbourhood, he
professed great sorrow for his conduct to my father, whose delirium
was succeeded by a profound melancholy and reserve. At length he
disappeared, and, notwithstanding all imaginable inquiry, could
not be heard of; a circumstance which confirmed most people in the
opinion of his having 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 grow up--am hated by my Relations--sent to School--neglected by
my Grandfather--maltreated by my Master--seasoned to Adversity--I
form Cabals against the Pedant--am debarred Access to my
Grandfather--hunted by his Heir--I demolish the Teeth of his Tutor

There were not wanting some who suspected my uncles of being
concerned in my father's fate, on the supposition that they would
all share in the patrimony destined for him; and this conjecture
was strengthened by reflecting that in all his calamities they
never discovered the least inclination to serve him; but, on the
contrary, by all the artifices in their power, fed his resentment
and supported his resolution of leaving him to misery and want.
But people of judgment treated this insinuation as an idle chimera;
because, had my relations been so wicked as to consult their interest
by committing such an atrocious crime, the fate of my father would
have extended to me too whose life was another obstacle to their
expectation. Meanwhile, I grew apace, and as I strongly resembled
my father, who was the darling of the tenants, I wanted nothing
which their indigent circumstances could afford: but their favour
was a weak resource against the jealous enmity of my cousins; who
the more my infancy promised, conceived the more implacable hatred
against me: and before I was six years of age, had so effectually
blockaded my grandfather that I never saw him but by stealth, when
I sometimes made up to his chair as he sat to view his labourers
in the field: on which occasion he would stroke my head, bid me be
a good boy, and promise to take care of me.

I was soon after sent to school at a village hard by, of which he
had been dictator time out of mind; but as he never paid for my
board, nor supplied me with clothes, books, and other necessaries
I required, 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 instruction. In spite of all these difficulties and disgraces,
I became a good proficient in the Latin tongue; and, as soon as
I could write tolerably, 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 ever I
should be brought to the gallows for forgery, which he had taught
me to commit, my blood would lie on his head.

The pedant, who dreaded nothing more than the displeasure of his
patron, assured his honour that the boy's ability was more owing
to his own genius and application than to any instruction or
encouragement he received; that, although he could not divest him
of the knowledge he had already imbibed, unless he would empower
him to disable his fingers, he should endeavour, with God's help,
to prevent his future improvement. And, indeed, he punctually
performed what he had undertaken; for, on pretence that I had
written impertinent letters to my grandfather, 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 whipcord to my wrist,
in such a manner as effectually debarred me 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, taking
upon him to insult my poverty, I was so incensed at his ungenerous
reproach that with one stroke with my machine I cut him to the
skull, to the great terror of myself and schoolfellows, who left
him bleeding on the ground, and ran to inform the master of what
had happened. I was so severely punished for this trespass that,
were I to live to the age of Methusalem, the impression it made on
me would not be effaced; the more than the antipathy and horror I
conceived for the merciless tyrant who inflicted it. The contempt
which my appearance naturally produced in all who saw me, the continual
wants to which I was exposed, and my own haughty disposition,
impatient of affronts, involved me in a thousand troublesome
adventures, by which I was at length inured in adversity, and
emboldened to undertakings far above my years. I was often inhumanly
scourged for crimes I did not commit, because, having the character of
a vagabond in the village, every piece of mischief, whose author
lay unknown, was charged upon me. I have been found guilty of
robbing orchards I never entered, of killing cats I never hunted,
of stealing gingerbread I never touched, and of abusing old women
I never saw. Nay, a stammering carpenter had eloquence enough to
persuade my master that I fired a pistol loaded with small shot into
his window; though my landlady and the whole family bore witness
that I was abed fast asleep at the time when this outrage was
committed, I was once flogged for having narrowly escaped drowning,
by the sinking of a ferry boat in which I was passenger. Another
time, for having recovered of a bruise occasioned by a horse and
cart running over me. A third time, for being bitten by a baker's
dog. In short, whether I was guilty or unfortunate, the correction
and sympathy of this arbitrary pedagogue were the same.

Far from being subdued by this informal usage, my indignation
triumphed over that slavish awe which had hitherto enforced my
obedience; and the more my years and knowledge increased, the more
I perceived the injustice and barbarity of his behaviour. By the
help of an uncommon genius, and the advice and direction of our
usher, who had served 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 allowed by everybody to be the best
scholar in the school. This qualification, together with the 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 hope of, being able
to bid him defiance in a very short time. Being at the head of a
faction, consisting of thirty boys, most of them of my own age, I
was determined to put their mettle to trial, that I might know how
far they were to be depended upon, before I put my grand scheme in
execution: with this view, we attacked a body of stout apprentices,
who bad taken possession of a part of the ground allotted to us for
the scheme of our diversions, and who were then playing at ninepins
on the spot; but I had the mortification to see my adherents routed
in an instant, and a leg of one of them broke in his flight by the
bowl, which one of our adversaries had detached in pursuit of us.
This discomfiture did not hinder us from engaging them afterwards
in frequent skirmishes, which we maintained by throwing stones
at a distance, wherein I received many wounds, the scars of which
still remain. Our enemies were so harassed and interrupted by these
alarms that they at last abandoned their conquest, and left us to
the peaceable enjoyment of our own territories.

It would be endless to enumerate the exploits we performed in the
course of this confederacy, which became the terror of the whole
village; insomuch that, when different interests divided it, one
of the parties commonly courted the assistance of Roderick Random
(by which name I was known) to cast the balance, and keep the
opposite faction in awe. Meanwhile, I took the advantage of every
play-day to present myself before my grandfather, to whom I seldom
found access, by reason of his being closely besieged by a numerous
family of his female grandchildren, who, though they perpetually
quarrelled among themselves, never failed to join against me, as the
common enemy of all. His heir, who was about the age of eighteen,
minded nothing but fox-hunting, and indeed was qualified for nothing
else, notwithstanding his grandfather's indulgence in entertaining
a tutor for him at home; who at the same time performed the office
of parish clerk. This young Actaeon, who inherited his grandfather's
antipathy to everything in distress, never sat eyes on me without
uncoupling his beagles, and hunting me into some cottage or other,
whither I generally fled for shelter. In this Christian amusement
he was encouraged by his preceptor, who, no doubt, took such
opportunities to ingratiate himself with the rising sun, observing,
that the old gentleman, according to the course of nature, had not
long to live, for he was already on the verge of fourscore.

The behaviour of this rascally sycophant incensed me so much, that
one day, when I was beleaguered by him and his hounds in a farmer's
house, where I had found protection, I took aim at him (being an
excellent marksman) with a large pebble, which struck out four of
his foreteeth, and effectually incapacitated him from doing the
office of a clerk.


My Mother's Brother arrives--relieves me--a Description of him--he
goes along with me to the House of my Grandfather--is encountered
by his Dogs--defeats them, after a bloody Engagement--is admitted
to the old Gentleman--a Dialogue between them

About this time my mother's only brother, who had been long abroad,
lieutenant of a man-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 what necessaries I wanted
for the present, but resolved not to leave the country until he
had prevailed on my grandfather to settle something handsome for
the future. This was a task to which he was by no means equal,
being entirely ignorant, not only of the judge's disposition, but
also of the ways of men in general, to which his education on board
had kept him an utter stranger.

He was a strong built man, somewhat bandy legged, with a neck like
that of a bull, and a face which (you might easily perceive) had
withstood the most obstinate assaults of the weather. His dress
consisted of a soldier's coat altered for him by the ship's tailor,
a striped flannel jacket, a pair of red breeches spanned with pitch,
clean gray worsted stockings, large silver buckles that covered
three-fourths of his shoes, a silver-laced hat, whose crown overlooked
the brims about an inch and a half, black bobwig in buckle, a check
shirt, a silk handkerchief, a hanger, with a brass handle, girded
to his thigh by a furnished lace belt, and a good oak plant under
his arm. Thus equipped, he set out with me (who by his bounty made a
very decent appearance) for my grandfather's house, where we were
saluted by Jowler and Caesar, whom my cousin, young master, had let
loose at our approach. Being well acquainted with the inveteracy
of these curs, I was about to betake myself to my heels, when my
uncle seized me with one hand, brandished his cudgel with the other,
and at one blow laid Caesar sprawling on the ground; but, finding
himself attacked at the same time in the rear by Jowler, and fearing
Caesar might recover, he drew his hanger, wheeled about, and by
a lucky stroke severed Jowler's head from his body. By this time,
the young foxhunter and three servants, armed with pitchforks and
flails, were come to the assistance of the dogs, whom they found
breathless upon the field; and my cousin was so provoked at the
death of his favourites, that he ordered his attendants to advance,
and take vengeance on their executioner, whom he loaded with all
the curses and reproaches his anger could suggest. Upon which my
uncle stepped forwards with an undaunted air, at the sight of whose
bloody weapons his antagonists fell back with precipitation, when
he accosted their leader thus:

"Lookee, brother, your dogs having boarded me without provocation,
what I did was in my own defence. So you had best be civil, and
let us shoot a head, clear of you."

Whether the young squire misinterpreted my uncle's desire of peace,
or was enraged at the fate of his hounds beyond his usual pitch
of resolution, I know not; but he snatched a flail from one of his
followers, and came up with a show of assaulting the lieutenant, who,
putting himself in a posture of defence, proceeded thus: "Lookee,
you lubberly son of a w--e, if you come athwart me, 'ware your
gingerbread work. I'll be foul of your quarter, d--n me."

This declaration, followed by a flourish of his hanger, seemed to
check the progress of the young gentleman's choler, who, looking
behind him, perceived his attendants had slunk into the house, shut
the gate, and left him to decide the contention by himself.

Here a parley ensued, which was introduced by my cousin's asking,
"Who the devil are you? What do you want? Some scoundrel of a seaman,
I suppose, who has deserted and turned thief. But don't think you
shall escape, sirrah--I'll have you hang'd, you dog, I will. Your
blood shall pay for that of my two hounds, you ragamuffin. I would
not have parted with them to save your whole generation from the
gallows, you ruffian, you!" "None of your jaw, you swab--none of
your jaw," replied my uncle, "else I shall trim your laced jacket
for you. I shall rub you down with an oaken towel, my boy, I
shall." So saying, he sheathed his hanger, and grasped his cudgel.
Meanwhile the people of the house being alarmed, one of my female
cousins opened a window, and asked what was the matter. "The
matter!" answered the lieutenant; "no great matter, young woman;
I have business with the old gentleman, and this spark, belike,
won't allow me to come alongside of him," that's all. After a few
minutes pause we were admitted, and conducted to my grandfather's
chamber through a lane of my relations, who honoured me with very
significant looks as I passed along. When we came into the judge's
presence my uncle, after two or three sea-bows, expressed himself
in this manner; "Your servant, your servant. What cheer, father?
what cheer? I suppose you don't know me--mayhap you don't. My name
is Tom Bowling, and this here boy, you look as if you did not know
him neither; 'tis like you mayn't. He's new rigged, i'faith; his
cloth don't shake in the wind so much as it wont to do. "Tis my
nephew, d'y see, Roderick Random--your own flesh and blood, old
gentleman. Don't lay a-stern, you dog," pulling me forward. My
grandfather (who was laid up with the gout) received this relation,
after his long absence, with that coldness of civility which was
peculiar to him; told him he was glad to see him, and desired him
to sit down. "Thank ye, thank ye, sir, I had as lief stand," said
my uncle; "for my own part, I desire nothing of you; but, if you
have any conscience at all, do something for this poor boy, who
has been used at a very unchristian rate. Unchristian do I call
it? I am sure the Moors in Barbary have more humanity than to leave
their little ones to want. I would fain know why my sister's son
is more neglected than that there fair-weather Jack" (pointing to
the young squire, who with the rest of my cousins had followed us
into the room). "Is not he as near akin to you as the other? Is he
not much handsomer and better built than that great chucklehead?
Come, come, consider, old gentleman, you are going in a short time
to give an account of your evil actions. Remember the wrongs you
did his father, and make all the satisfaction in your power before
it be too late. The least thing you can do is to settle his father's
portion on him" The young ladies, who thought themselves too much
concerned to contain themselves any longer, set up their throats
all together against my protector--"Scurvy companion--saucy
tarpaulin--rude, impertinent fellow, did he think to prescribe
to grandpapa? His sister's brat had been too well taken care of.
Grandpapa was too just not make a difference between an unnatural,
rebellious son and his dutiful, loving children, who took his
advice in all things;" and such expressions were vented against him
with great violence; until the judge at length commanded silence.
He calmly rebuked my uncle for his unmannerly behaviour, which he
said he would excuse on account of his education: he told him he
had been very kind to the boy, whom he had kept at school seven or
eight years, although he was informed he made no progress in his
learning but was addicted to all manner of vice, which he rather
believed, because he himself was witness to a barbarous piece of
mischief he had committed on the jaws of his chaplain. But, however,
he would see what the lad was fit for, and bind him apprentice to
some honest tradesman or other, provided he would mend his manners,
and behave for the future as became him." The honest tar (whose
pride and indignation boiled within him) answered my grandfather,
that it was true he had sent him to school, but it had cost him
nothing, for he had never been at one shilling expense to furnish
him with food, raiment, books, or other necessaries; so that it
was not much to be wondered at, if the boy made small progress; and
yet whoever told him so was a lying, lubberly rascal, and deserved
to be keel-haul'd; for thof he (the lieutenant) did not understand
those matters himself, he was well informed as how Rory was the
best scholar of his age in all the country; the truth of which he
would maintain, by laying a wager of his whole half-year's pay
on the boy's head--with these words he pulled out his purse, and
challenged the company: "Neither is he predicted to vice, as you
affirm, but rather, left like a wreck, d'ye see, at the mercy of
the wind and weather, by your neglect, old gentleman. As for what
happened to your chaplain, I am only sorry that he did not knock
out the scoundrel's brains instead of his teeth. By the Lord, if
ever I come up with him, he had better be in Greenland, that's all.
Thank you for your courteous offer of binding the lad apprentice to
a tradesman. I suppose you would make a tailor of him--would you?
I had rather see him hang'd, d'ye see. Come along, Rory, I perceive
how the land lies, my boy--let's tack about, i'faith--while I have
a shilling you shan't want a tester. B'we, old gentleman; you're
bound for the other world, but I believe damnably ill-provided for
the voyage." Thus ended our visit; and we returned to the village,
my uncle muttering curses all the way against the old shark and
the young fry that surrounded him.


My Grandfather makes his Will--our second Visit--he Dies--his Will
is read in Presence of all his living Descendants--the Disappointment
of my female Cousins--my Uncle's Behaviour

A few weeks after our first visit, we were informed that the old
judge, at the end of a fit of thoughtfulness, which lasted three
days, had sent for a notary and made his will; that the distemper
had mounted from his legs to his stomach, and, being conscious
of his approaching end, be had desired to see all his descendants
without exception. In obedience to this summons, my uncle set
out with me a second time, to receive the last benediction of my
grandfather: often repeating by the road, "Ey, ey, we have brought
up the old hulk at last. You shall see--you shall see the effect
of my admonition," When we entered his chamber, which was crowded
with his relations, we advanced to the bedside, where we found him
in his last agonies, supported by two of his granddaughters, who
sat on each side of him, sobbing most piteously, and wiping away the
froth and slaver as it gathered on his lips, which they frequently
kissed with a show of great anguish and affection. My uncle
approached him with these words, "What! he's not a-weigh. How fare
ye? how fare ye, old gentleman? Lord have mercy upon your poor
sinful soul!" Upon which, the dying man turned his languid eyes
towards us, and Mr. Bowling went on--"Here's poor Roy come to see
you before you die, and to receive your blessing. What, man! don't
despair, you have been a great sinner, 'tis true,--what then? There's
a righteous judge above, an't there? He minds me no more than a
porpoise. Yes, yes, he's a-going; the land crabs will have him, I
see that! his anchor's a-peak, i'faith." This homely consolation
scandalised the company so much, and especially the parson, who
probably thought his province invaded, that we were obliged to retire
into another room, where, in a few minutes, we were convinced of
my grandfather's decease, by a dismal yell uttered by the young
ladies in his apartment; whither we immediately hastened, and found
his heir, who had retired a little before into a closet, under
pretence of giving vent to his sorrow, asking, with a countenance
beslubbered with tears, if his grandpapa was certainly dead? "Dead!"
(says my uncle, looking, at the body) "ay, ay, I'll warrant him
as dead as a herring. Odd's fish! now my dream is out for all the
world. I thought I stood upon the forecastle, and saw a parcel of
carrion crows foul of a dead shark: that floated alongside, and the
devil perching upon our spritsail yard, in the likeness of a blue
bear--who, d'ye see jumped overboard upon the carcass and carried
it to the bottom in his claws." "Out upon thee, reprobate" cries
the parson "out upon thee, blasphemous wretch! Dost thou think his
honour's soul is in the possession of Satan?" The clamour immediately
arose, and my poor uncle, being, shouldered from one corner of
the room to the other, was obliged to lug out in his own defence,
and swear he would turn out for no man, till such time as he knew
who had the title to send him adrift. "None of your tricks upon
travellers," said he; "mayhap old Bluff has left my kinsman here
his heir: if he has, it will be the better for his miserable soul.
Odds bob! I'd desire no better news. I'd soon make him a clear
shin, I warrant you." To avoid any further disturbance, one of my
grandfather's executors, who was present, assured Mr. Bowling, that
his nephew should have all manner of justice; that a day should
be appointed after the funeral for examining the papers of the
deceased, in presence of all his relations; till which time every
desk and cabinet in the house should remain close sealed; and
that he was very welcome to be witness to this ceremony, which was
immediately performed to his satisfaction. In the meantime, orders
were given to provide mourning for all the relations, in which
number I was included; but my uncle would not suffer me to accept
of it, until I should be assured whether or no I had reason to
honour his memory so far. During this interval, the conjectures of
people, with regard to the old gentleman's will, were various: as
it was well known, he had, besides his landed estate, which was
worth 700 per annum, six or seven thousand pounds at interest,
some imagined that the whole real estate (which he had greatly
improved) would go to the young man whom he always entertained as
his heir; and that the money would be equally divided between my
female cousins (five in number) and me. Others were of opinion,
that, as the rest of the children had been already provided for,
he would only bequeath two or three hundred pounds to each of his
granddaughters, and leave the bulk of the sum to me, to atone for
his unnatural usage of my father. At length the important hour
arrived, and the will was produced in the midst of the expectants,
whose looks and gestures formed a group that would have been very
entertaining to an unconcerned spectator. But, the reader can
scarce conceive the astonishment and mortification that appeared,
when an attorney pronounced aloud, the young squire sole heir of
all his grandfather's estate, personal and real. My uncle, who had
listened with great attention, sucking the head of his cudgel all
the while, accompanied these words of the attorney with a stare,
and whew, that alarmed the whole assembly. The eldest and pertest
of my female competitors, who had been always very officious about
my grandfather's person, inquired, with a faltering accent and
visage as yellow as an orange, "if there were no legacies?" and
was answered, "None at all." Upon which she fainted away. The rest,
whose expectations, perhaps, were not so sanguine, supported their
disappointment with more resolution, though not without giving
evident marks of indignation, and grief at least as genuine as that
which appeared in them at the old gentleman's death. My conductor,
after having kicked with his heel for some time against the wainscot,
began: "So there's no legacy, friend, ha!--here's an old succubus;
but somebody's soul howls for it, d--n me!" The parson of the parish,
who was one of the executors, and had acted as ghostly director to
the old man, no sooner heard this exclamation than he cried out,
"Avaunt, unchristian reviler! avaunt! wilt thou not allow the soul
of his honour to rest in peace?" But this zealous pastor did not
find himself so warmly seconded, as formerly, by the young ladies,
who now joined my uncle against him, and accused him of having
acted the part of a busybody with their grandpapa whose ears he
had certainly abused by false stories to their prejudice, or else
he would not have neglected them in such an unnatural manner.
The young squire was much diverted with this scene, and whispered
to my uncle, that if he had not murdered his dogs, he would have
shown him glorious fun, by hunting a black badger (so he termed
the clergyman). The surly lieutenant, who was not in a humour to
relish this amusement, replied, "You and your dogs may be damn'd.
I suppose you'll find them with your old dad, in the latitude of
hell. Come, Rory,--about ship, my lad, we must steer another course,
I think." And away we went.


The Schoolmaster uses me barbarously--I form a Project of Revenge,
in which I am assisted by my Uncle--I leave the Village--am settled
at a University by his Generosity

On our way back to the village, my uncle spoke not a word during
the space of a whole hour, but whistled with great vehemence the
tune of "Why should we quarrel for riches," etc. his visage being
contracted all the while into a most formidable frown. At length
his pace increased to such a degree that I was left behind a
considerable way: then he waited for me; and when I was almost up
with him, called out in a surly tone, "Bear a hand, damme! must
I bring to every minute for you, you lazy dog." Then, laying hold
of me by the arm, hauled me along, until his good nature (of which
he had a great share) and reflection getting the better of his
he said, "Come, my boy, don't be cast down,--the old rascal is in
hell, that's some satisfaction; you shall go to sea with me, my lad.
A light heart and a thin pair of breeches goes through the world,
brave boys, as the song goes--eh!" Though this proposal did not at
all suit my inclination, I was afraid of discovering my aversion
to it, lest I should disoblige the only friend I had in the world;
and he was so much a seaman that he never dreamt I could have had
any objection to his design; consequently gave himself no trouble
in consulting my approbation. But this resolution was soon dropped,
by the device of our usher, who assured Mr. Bowling, it would be
a thousand pities to balk my genius, which would certainly one day
make my fortune on shore, provided it received due cultivation.
Upon which, this generous tar determined (though he could ill afford
it) to give me university education; and accordingly settled my
board and other expenses, 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, who no longer had the
fear of my grandfather before his eyes, laid aside all decency
and restraint, and not only abused me in the grossest language
his rancour could suggest, as a wicked, proffigate, dull, beggarly
miscreant, whom he had taught out of charity; but also inveighed
in the most bitter manner against the memory of the judge (who by
the by had procured that settlement for him), hinting, in pretty
plain terms, that the old gentleman's soul was damned to all
eternity for his injustice in neglecting to pay for my learning.
This brutal behaviour, added to the sufferings I had formerly
undergone made me think it high time to be revenged on this insolent
pedagogue. Having consulted my adherents, I found them all staunch
in their promises to stand by me; and our scheme was this:--In the
afternoon preceding to the day of our departure for the University,
I resolved to take the advantage of the usher's going out to make
water (which he regularly did at four o'clock), 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 advancing to my
master and spitting in his face. I was to be seconded by two of
the strongest boys in the school, who were devoted to me; their
business was to join me in dragging the tyrant to a bench, over
which he was to be laid, and his bare posteriors heartily flogged,
with his own birch, which we proposed to wrest from him in his
struggle; but if we should find him too many for us all three, we
were to demand the assistance of our competitors, who should be
ready to enforce us, or oppose anything that might be undertaken
for the master's relief. One of my principal assistants was called
Jeremy Gawky, son and heir of a wealthy gentleman in the neighbourhood;
and the name of the other, Hugh Strap, the cadet of a family which
had given shoemakers to the village time out of mind. I had once
saved Gawky's life, by plunging into a river and dragging him
on shore, when he was on the point of being drowned. I had often
rescued him from the clutches of those whom his insufferable
arrogance had provoked to a resentment he was not able to sustain;
and many times saved his reputation and posteriors, by performing
his exercises at school; so that it is not to be wondered at, if
he had a particular regard for me and my interests. The attachment
of Strap flowed from a voluntary, disinterested inclination, which
had manifested itself on many occasions in my behalf, he having once
rendered me the same service that I had rendered Gawky, by saving
my life at the risk of his own; and often fathered offences that I
had committed, for which he suffered severely, rather than I should
feel the weight of the punishment. These two champions were the
more willing to engage in this enterprise, because 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 his barber, at a market town not far off.

In the meantime, my uncle, being informed of my master's behaviour
to me, was enraged at his insolence, and vowed revenge so heartily
that I could not refrain from telling him the scheme I had concerted,
while he heard with great satisfaction, at every sentence squirting
out a mouthful of spittle, tinctured with tobacco, of which he
constantly chewed a large quid. At last, pulling up his breeches,
he cried, "No, no, z--ds! that won't do neither; howsoever, 'tis
a bold undertaking, my lad, that I must say, i'faith; but lookee,
lookee, how do you propose to get clear off--won't the enemy give
chase, my boy?--ay, ay, that he will, I warrant, and alarm the whole
coast; ah! God help thee, more sail than ballast, Rory. Let me alone
for that--leave the whole to me. I'll show him the foretopsail,
I will. If so be your shipmates are jolly boys, and won't flinch,
you shall see, yon shall see; egad, I'll play him such a salt-water
trick I'll bring him to the gangway. and anoint him with a
cat-and-nine-tails; he shall have a round dozen doubled, my lad, he
shall--and be left lashed to his meditations." We were very proud
of our associate, who immediately went to work, and prepared the
instrument of his revenge with great skill and expedition; after
which, he ordered our baggage to be packed up and sent off, a day
before our attempt, and got horses ready to be mounted, as soon as
the affair should be over. At length the hour arrived, when our
auxiliary, seizing the opportunity of the usher's absence, bolted
in, secured the door, and immediately laid hold of the pedant by
his collar who bawled out, "Murder, Thieves." with the voice of
a Stentor. Though I trembled all over like an aspen leaf, I knew
there was no time to be lost, and accordingly got up, and summoned
our associates to our 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 humbled to the ground; upon which Gawky,
who had hitherto remained in his place, under the influence of a
universal trepidation, hastened to the scene of action, and insulted
the fallen tyrant with a loud huzza, in which the whole school
joined. The noise alarmed the usher, who, finding himself shut
out, endeavoured, partly by threats and partly by entreaties, to
procure admission. My uncle bade him have a little patience, and he
would let him in presently; but if he pretended to stir from that
place, it should fare the worse with the son of a bitch his superior,
on whom he intended only to bestow a little wholesome chastisement,
for his barbarous usage of Rory, "to which," said he, "you are
no stranger." By this time we had dragged the criminal to a post,
to which Bowling tied him with a rope he had provided on purpose;
after having secured his hands and stripped his back. In this
ludicrous posture he stood (to the no small entertainment of the
boys, who crowded about him, and shouted with great exultation
at the novelty of the sight), venting bitter imprecations against
the lieutenant, and reproaching his scholars with treachery and
rebellion; when the usher was admitted, whom my uncle accosted in
this manner: "Harkee, Mr. Syntax, I believe you are an honest man,
d'ye see--and I have a respect for you--but for all that, we must,
for our own security, d'ye see, belay you for a short time." With
these words, he pulled out some fathoms of cord, which the honest
man no sooner saw than he protested with great earnestness he would
allow no violence to be offered to him, at the same time accusing
me of perfidy and ingratitude. But Bowling representing that it
was in vain to resist, and that he did not mean to use him with
violence and indecency, but only to hinder him from raising the
hue and cry against us before we should be out of their power,
he allowed himself to be bound to his own desk, where he sat a
spectator of the punishment inflicted on his principal. 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, like a frantic bedlamite.
When the lieutenant thought himself sufficiently revenged, he took
his leave of him in these words: "Now, friend, you'll remember me
the longest day you have to live; I have given you a lesson that
will let you know what flogging is, and teach you to have more
sympathy for the future. Shout, boys, shout!"

This ceremony was no sooner over than my uncle proposed they
should quit the school, and convey their old comrade Rory to the
public-house, about a mile from the village, where he would treat
them all. His offer being joyfully embraced, he addressed himself
to Mr. Syntax, and begged him to accompany us; but this invitation
he refused with great disdain, telling my benefactor he was not the
man he took him to be. "Well, well, old surly," replied my uncle,
shaking his hand, "thou art an honest fellow notwithstanding; and
if ever I have the command of a ship, thou shalt be our schoolmaster,
i'faith." So saying he dismissed the boys, and locking the door,
left the two preceptors to console one another; 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 remain, at
which we arrived next day, and I found I had no cause to complain
of the accommodations provided for me, in being boarded at the
house of an apothecary, who had married a distant relation of my
mother. In a few days after, my uncle set out for his ship, having
settled the necessary funds for my maintenance and education.


I make great progress in my Studies--am caressed by Everybody--my
female Cousins take notice of me-I reject their Invitation-they are
incensed, and conspire against me-am left destitute by a Misfortune
that befalls my Uncle-Gawky's Treachery-my Revenge

As I was now capable of reflection, I began to consider my precarious
situation; that I was utterly abandoned by those whose duty it was
to protect me: and that my sole dependence was on the generosity
of one man, who was not only exposed by his profession to continual
dangers, which might one day deprive me of him for ever; but also
(no doubt) subject to those vicissitudes of disposition which a
change of fortune usually creates, or which a better acquaintance
with the world might produce; for I always ascribed his benevolence
to the dictates of a heart as yet undebauched by a commerce with
mankind. Alarmed at these considerations, I resolved to apply
myself with great care to my studies, and enjoy the opportunity in
my power: this I did with such success that, 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 belles lettres, and a talent for poetry, which
had already produced some pieces that had met with a favourable
reception. These qualifications, added to a good face and shape,
acquired the esteem and acquaintance of the most considerable people
in town, and I had the satisfaction to find myself in some degree
of favour with the ladies; an intoxicating piece of good fortune
to one of my amorous complexion! which I obtained, or at least
preserved, by gratifying their propensity to scandal, in lampooning
their rivals.

Two of my female cousins lived in this place, with their mother,
since the death of their father, who left his whole fortune equally
divided between them; so that, if they were not the most beautiful,
they were at least the richest toasts in town; and received daily
the addresses of all the beaux and cavaliers of the country. Although
I had hitherto been looked upon by them with the most supercilious
contempt, my character now attracted their notice so much that I
was given to understand I might be honoured with their acquaintance,
if I pleased.

The reader will easily perceive that this condescension either
flowed from the hope of making my poetical capacity subservient
to their malice, or at least of screening themselves from the lash
of my resentment, which they had effectually provoked. I enjoyed
this triumph with great satisfaction, and not only rejected their
offer with disdain, but in all my performances, whether satire or
panegyric, industriously avoided mentioning their names, even while
I celebrated those of their intimates: this neglect mortified their
pride exceedingly and incensed them to such a degree that they were
resolved to make me repent of my indifference. The first stroke of
their revenge consisted in their hiring a poor collegian to write
verses against me, the subject of which was my own poverty, and
the catastrophe of my unhappy parents; but, besides the badness of
the composition (of which they themselves were ashamed), they did
not find their account in endeavouring to reproach me with those
misfortunes which they and their relations had brought upon me;
and which consequently reflected much more dishonour on themselves
than on me, who was the innocent victim of their barbarity and

Finding this plan miscarry, they found means to irritate a young
gentleman against me, by telling him I had lampooned his mistress;
and so effectually succeeded in the quality of incendiaries that
this enraged lover determined to seize me next night as I returned
to my lodgings from a friend's house that I frequented: with this
view, he waited in the street, attended by two of his companions,
to whom he had imparted his design of carrying me down to the river,
in which proposed to have me heartily ducked, notwithstanding the
severity of the weather, it being then about the middle of December.
But this stratagem did not succeed; for, being apprised of their
ambush, I got home another way, and by the help of my landlord's
apprentice, discharged a volley from the garret window, which did
great execution upon them, and next day occasioned so much mirth
at their expense that they found themselves under a necessity of
leaving the town, until the adventure should be entirely forgotten.

My cousins (though twice baffled in their expectation) did not,
however, desist from persecuting me, who had now enraged them beyond
a possibility of forgiveness by detecting their malice and preventing
its effects: neither should I have found them more humane, had I
patiently submitted to their rancour, and borne without murmuring
the rigour of their unreasonable hate; for I have found by experience,
that though small favours may be acknowledged and slight injuries
atoned, there is no wretch so ungrateful as he whom you have most
generously obliged, and no enemy so implacable as those who have done
you the greatest wrong. These good-natured creatures, therefore,
had recourse to a scheme which conspired with a piece of bad news
I soon after received, to give them all the satisfaction they desired:
this plan was to debauch the faith of my companion and confidant,
who betrayed the trust I reposed in him, by imparting to them the
particulars of my small amours, which they published with such
exaggerations that I suffered very much in the opinion of everybody,
and was utterly discarded by the dear creatures whose names had
been called in question.

While I was busy in tracing out the author of this treachery, that
I might not only be revenged on him, but also vindicate my character
to my friends, I one day perceived the looks of my landlady much
altered, when I went home to my dinner, and inquiring into the
cause, she screwed up her mouth, and fixed her eyes on the ground,
told me her husband had received a letter from Mr. Bowling, with
one inclosed for me. She was very sorry for what had happened, both
for my sake and his own--people should be more cautious of their
conduct--she was always afraid his brutal behaviour would bring
him into some misfortune or other. As for her part, she should be
very ready to befriend me; but she had a small family of her own
to maintain. The world would do nothing for her if she should come
to want--charity begins at home: she wished I had been bound to
some substantial handicraft, such as a weaver or a shoemaker, rather
than loiter away my time in learning foolish nonsense, that would
never bring me in a penny but some folks are wise, and some are

I was listening to this mysterious discourse with great amazement,
when her husband entered, and, without speaking a syllable, put
both the letters into my hand. I received them trembling, and read
what follows:

'To Mr. Roger Potion
'This is to let you know that I have quitted the Thunder
man of war, being obliged to sheer off for killing my
captain, which I did fairly on the beach, at Cape
Tiberoon, in the Island of Hispaniola; having received
his fire and returned it, which went through his body:
and I would serve the best man so that ever stepped
between stem and stern, if so be that he struck me, as
Captain Oakum did. I am (thank God) safe among the
French, who are very civil, thof I don't understand
their lingo; and I hope to be restored in a little time,
for all the great friends and parliamentary interest of
the captain, for I have sent over to my landlord in Deal
an account of the whole affair, with our bearings and
distances while we were engaged, whereby I have desired
him to lay it before his majesty, who (God bless him)
will not suffer an honest tar to be wronged. My love to
your spouse, and am your loving friend and servant to
command, while
'Thomas Bowling,'

'To Roderick Random

'Dear Rory,
'Don't be grieved at my misfortune, but mind your book,
my lad. I have got no money to send you, but what of
that? Mr. Potion will take care of you for the love he
bears to me, and let you want for nothing; and it shall
go hard but I will see him one day repaid. No more at
present, but rests
'Your dutiful uncle
'and servant, till death,
'Thomas Bowling.'

This letter (which, with the other, was dated from Port Lonis, in
Hispaniola) I had no sooner read than the apothecary, shaking his
head, began: "I have a very great regard for Mr. Bowling that's
certain; and could be well content--but times are very hard. There's
no such thing as money to be got; I believe 'tis all vanished under
ground, for my part. Besides, I have been out of pocket already,
having entertained you since the beginning of this month, without
receiving a sixpence, and God knows if ever I shall; for I believe
it will go hard with your uncle. And more than that, I was thinking
of giving you warning, for I want your apartment for a new prentice,
whom I expect from the country every hour. So I desire you will
this week provide yourself with another lodging."

The indignation which this harangue 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 of what I owed, and assured
him, I would not sleep another night under his roof.

This said, I sallied out in a transport of rage and sorrow,
without knowing whither to fly for shelter, having not one friend
in the world capable of relieving me, and only three shillings in
my purse. After giving way for a few minutes to the dictates of my
rage, I went and hired a small bedroom, at the rate of one shilling
and sixpence per week, which I was obliged to pay per advance,
before the landlord would receive me: thither 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, a favour
which I did not think fit to refuse. But when I communicated the
occasion of my visit, he appeared so disconcerted that I concluded
him wonderfully affected with the misery of my condition and looked
upon him as a man of the most extensive sympathy and benevolence.
He did not leave me long under this mistake; for, recovering himself
from his confusion, he told me he was grieved at my misfortune, and
desired to know what had passed between my landlord, Mr. Potion,
and me. Whereupon I recounted the conversation; and, when I repeated
the answer I made to his ungenerous remonstrance with regard to
my leaving his house, this pretended friend affected a stare, and
exclaimed, "Is it possible you could behave so ill to the man who
had treated you so kindly all along?"

My surprise at hearing this was not at all affected, whatever his
might be; and I gave to understand with some warmth, that I did not
imagine he would so unreasonably espouse the cause of a scoundrel
who ought to be expelled from every social community. This heat
of mine gave him all the advantage he desired over me, and our
discourse, after much altercation, concluded in his desiring never
to see me again in that place; to which desire I yielded my consent,
assuring him, that, had I been as well acquainted with his principles
formerly as I was now, he never should have had an opportunity of
making that request. And thus we parted.

On my return, I met my comrade, Squire Gawky, whom his father
had sent, some time ago, to town, for his improvement in writing,
dancing, fencing, and other modish qualifications. As I had lived
with him since his arrival on the footing of our old intimacy, I
made no scruple of informing him of the lowness of my circumstances,
and asking a small supply of money, to answer my present expense;
upon which he pulled out a handful of halfpence with a shilling or
two among them, and swore that was all he had to keep his pocket
till next quarter-day he having lost the greatest part of his
allowance the night before at billiards. Though this assertion might
very well be true, I was extremely mortified at his indifference:
for he neither expressed any sympathy for my mishap nor desire of
alleviating my distress; and accordingly I left him without uttering
one word: but, when I afterwards understood that he was the person
who had formerly betrayed me to the malice of my cousins, to whom
likewise he had carried the tidings of my forlorn situation, which
afforded them great matter of triumph and exultation, I determined
with myself to call him to a severe account for which purpose I
borrowed a sword, and wrote a challenge, desiring him to meet me
at a certain time and place, that I might have an opportunity of
punishing his perfidy, at the expense of his blood. He accepted the
invitation, and I betook myself to the field, though not without
feeling considerable repugnance to the combat, which frequently
attacked me in cold sweats by the way; but the desire of revenge,
the shame of retracting, and hope of conquest, conspired to repel
these unmanly symptoms of fear; and I appeared on the plain with a
good grace: there I waited an hour beyond the time appointed, and
was not ill pleased to find he had no mind to meet me, because I
should have an opportunity of exposing his cowardice, displaying
my own courage, and of beating him soundly wheresoever I should
find, without any dread of the consequence.

Elevated with these suggestions, which entirely banished all thoughts
of my deplorable condition, I went directly to Gawky's lodgings,
where I was informed of his precipitate retreat, he having set
out for the country in less than an hour after he had received my
billet; and I was vain enough to have the whole story inserted in
the news, although I was fain to sell a gold laced hat to my landlord
for less than half-price, to defray the expenses and contribute to
my subsistence.


I am entertained by Mr. Crab--a description of him--I acquire
the Art of Surgery--consult Crab's Disposition--become necessary
to him--an Accident happens--he advises me to launch out into the
world--assists me with Money-I set out for London

The fumes of my resentment being dissipated, as well as the vanity
of my success, I found myself deserted to all the horrors of extreme
want, and avoided by mankind as a creature of a different species,
or rather as a solitary being, noways comprehended within the scheme
or protection of Providence. My despair had rendered me almost
quite 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,
who was engaged with two more in drinking a liquor called pop-in,
composed by mixing a quartern of brandy with a quart of small beer.
Before I relate the occasion of this message, I believe it will
not be disagreeable to the reader, if I describe the gentleman who
sent for me, and mention some circumstances of his character and
conduct which may illustrate what follows, and account for his
behaviour to me.

This member of the faculty was aged fifty, about five feet high,
and ten round the belly; his face was as capacious as a full moon,
and much of the complexion of a mulberry: his nose, resembling a
powder-horn, was swelled to an enormous size, and studded all over
with carbuncles; and his little gray eyes reflected the rays in
such an oblique manner that, while he looked a person full in the
face, one would have imagined he was admiring the buckle of his
shoe. He had long entertained an implacable resentment against
Potion, who, though a younger practitioner, was better employed
than he, and once had the assurance to perform a cure, whereby he
disappointed and disgraced the prognostic of the said Crab. This
quarrel which was at one time upon the point of being made up, by
the interposition and mediation of friends, had been lately inflamed
beyond a possibility of reconciliation by the respective wives of
the opponents, who, chancing to meet at a christening, disagreed
about precedence, proceeded from invectives to blows, and were
with great difficulty, by the gossips, prevented from converting
the occasion of joy into a scene of lamentation.

The difference between these rivals was in the height of rancour,
when I received the message of Crab, who received me as civilly
as I could have expected from one of his disposition; and, after
desiring me to sit, inquired into the particulars of my leaving the
house of Potion; which when I had related, he said, with a malicious
grin, "There's a sneaking dog! I always thought him a fellow without
a soul, d--n me, a canting scoundrel, who has crept into business
by his hypocrisy, and kissing the a--e of every body."--"Ay, ay,"
says another, "one might see with half an eye that the rascal has
no honesty in him, by his going so regularly to church."

This sentence was confirmed by a third, who assured his companions
that Potion was never known to be disguised in liquor but once, at
a meeting of the godly, where he had distinguished himself by an
extempore prayer an hour long. After this preamble, Crab addressed
himself to me in these words: "Well, my lad, I have heard a good
character of you, and I'll do for you. You may send your things to
my house when you please. I have given orders for your reception.
Zounds! What does the booby stare at? If you have no mind to embrace
my courteous offer, you may let it alone, and be d--d." I answered
with a submissive bow, that I was far from rejecting his friendly
offer, which I would immediately accept, as soon as he should
inform me on what footing I was to be entertained. "What footing!
D--n my blood," cried he, "d'ye expect to have a footman and a couple
of horses kept for you?" "No, sir," I replied, "my expectations
are not quite so sanguine. That I may be as little burthensome as
possible, I would willingly serve in your shop, by which means I
may save you the expense of a journeyman, or porter at least, for
I understand a little pharmacy, having employed some of my leisure
hours in the practice of that art, while I lived with Mr. Potion;
neither am I altogether ignorant of surgery, which I have studied
with great pleasure and application."--"Oho! you did," says Crab.
"Gentlemen, here is a complete artist! Studied surgery! What? in
books, I suppose. I shall have you disputing with me one of these
days on points of my profession. You can already account for
muscular motion, I warrant, and explain the mystery of the brain
and nerves--ha! You are too learned for me, d--n me. But let's have
no more of this stuff. Can you blood and give a clyster, spread a
plaster, and prepare a potion?" Upon my answering in the affirmative,
he shock his head, telling me, he believed he should have little
good of me, for all my promises; but, however, he would take me in
for the sake of charity. 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, notwithstanding the mortification
my pride suffered in this change of circumstances.

I was soon convinced of the real motives which induced Crab to
receive me in this manner; for, besides the gratification of his
revenge, by exposing the selfishness of his antagonist, in opposition
to his own generosity, which was all affectation, he had occasion
for a young man who understood something of the profession, to fill
up the place of his eldest apprentice, lately dead, not without
violent suspicion of foul play from his master's brutality. The
knowledge of this circumstance, together with his daily behaviour
to his wife and the young apprentice, 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 in my power. And it was not long before I found
out a strange peculiarity of humour which governed his behaviour
towards all his dependents. I observed, when he was pleased, he was
such a niggard of his satisfaction that, if his wife or servants
betrayed the least symptom of participation, he was offended to
an insupportable degree of choler and fury, the effects of which
they seldom failed to feel. And when his indignation was roused,
submission and soothing always exasperated it beyond the bounds of
reason and humanity. I therefore pursued a contrary plan; and one
day, when he honoured me with the names of ignorant whelp and lazy
ragamuffin, I boldly replied, I was neither ignorant nor lazy,
since I both understood and performed my business as well as he
could do for his soul; neither was it just to call me ragamuffin,
for I had a whole coat on my back, and was descended from a better
family than any he could boast an alliance with.

He gave tokens of great amazement at this assurance of mine,
and shook his cane over my head, regarding me all the time with a
countenance truly diabolical. Although I was terribly startled at
his menacing looks and posture, I yet had reflection enough left
to convince me I had gone too far to retract, and that this was
the critical minute which must decide my future lot in his service;
I therefore snatched up the pestle of a mortar, and swore, if
he offered to strike me without a cause, I should see whether his
skull or my weapon was hardest.

He continued silent for some time, and at last broke forth into
these ejaculations: "This is fine usage from a servant to his
master--very fine! damnation! but no matter, you shall pay for
this, you dog, you shall; I'II do your business--yes, yes, I'll
teach you to lift your hand against me." So saying, he retired,
and left me under dreadful apprehensions, which vanished entirely
at our next meeting, when he behaved with unusual complacency, and
treated me with a glass of punch after dinner.

By this conduct I got the ascendancy over him in a short time, and
became so necessary to him, in managing his business while he was
engaged at the bottle, that fortune began to wear a kinder aspect;
and I consoled myself for the disregard of my former acquaintance,
with the knowledge I daily imbibed by a close application to the duties
of my employment, in which I succeeded beyond my own expectation.
I was on very good terms with my master's wife, whose esteem I
acquired and cultivated, by representing Mrs. Potion in the most
ridiculous lights my satirical talents could invent, as well as by
rendering her some Christian offices, when she had been too familiar
with the dram bottle, to which she had oftentimes recourse for
consolation, under the affliction she suffered from a barbarous

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, being neither in a humour to relish nor in a capacity
to maintain much acquaintance; for the Nabal my master allowed me
no wages, and the small perquisites of my station scarcely supplied
me with the common necessaries of life. I was no longer a pert
unthinking coxcomb, giddy with popular applause, and elevated with
the extravagance of hope: my misfortunes had taught me how little
the caresses of the world, during a man's prosperity, are to be
valued by him; and how seriously and expeditiously he ought to set
about making himself independent of them. My present appearance,
therefore, was the least of my care, which was wholly engrossed in
laying up a stock of instruction that might secure me against the
caprice of fortune for the future. I became such a sloven, and
contracted such an air of austerity, that everybody pronounced me
crestfallen; and Gawky returned to town without running any risk
from my resentment, which was by this time pretty much cooled, and
restrained by prudential reasons so effectually that I never so
much as thought of obtaining satisfaction for the injuries be had
done me.

When I deemed myself sufficiently master of my business I began to
cast about for an opportunity of launching into the world, in hope
of finding some provision that might make amends for the difficulties I
had undergone; 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, when his interest was
so much concerned in my stay. But a small accident, which happened
about this time, determined him in my favour. This was no other
than the pregnancy of his maidservant, 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, taking the advantage of which I represented
to her the folly of laying the burden at my door, when she might
dispose of it to much better purpose 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; not that he dreaded any domestic grumblings and
reproaches from his wife, whom he kept in perfect subjection; but
because he knew it would furnish his rival Potion with a handle for
insulting and undermining his reputation, there being no scandal
equal to that of uncleanness, in the opinion of those who inhabit
the part of the island where he lived. He therefore took a resolution
worthy of himself, which was, to persuade the girl that she was
not with child, but only afflicted with a disorder incidental to
young women, which he could easily remove: with this view (as he
pretended) he prescribed for her such medicines as he thought would
infallibly procure abortion; but in this scheme he was disappointed,
for the maid, being advertised by me of his design, and at the same
time well acquainted with her own condition, absolutely refused to
follow his directions; and threatened to publish her situation to
the world if he would not immediately take some method of providing
for the important occasion, which she expected in a few months. It
was not long before I guessed the result of his deliberation, by
his addressing himself to me one day in this manner: "I am surprised
that a young fellow like you discovers no inclination to push his
fortune in the world. Before I was of your age I was broiling on
the coast of Guinea. D--e! 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 of a king's ship in quality
of 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 were in
my power; but that it was impossible for me to embrace an opportunity
of that kind, as I had no friend to advance a little money to supply
me with what necessaries I should want, and defray the expenses of my
journey to London. He told me that few necessaries were required;
and, as for the expense of my journey, he would lend me money, sufficient
not only for that purpose, but also to maintain me comfortably in
London until I should procure a warrant for my provision on board
of some ship.

I gave him a thousand thanks for his obliging offer (although I was
very well apprised of his motive, which was no other than a design
to lay the bastard to my charge after my departure), and accordingly
set out in a few weeks for London; my whole fortune consisting of
one suit of clothes, half a dozen ruffled shirts, as many plain,
two pair of worsted and a like number of threaded stockings; 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 a member of parliament for our town, which he said would do my
business effectually.


I arrive at Newcastle--meet with my old Schoolfellow Strap--we
determine to walk together to London--set out on our Journey--put
up at a solitary Alehouse--are disturbed by a strange Adventure in
the Night

There is no such convenience as a waggon in this country, and my
finances were too weak to support the expense of hiring a horse:
I determined therefore to set out with the carriers, who transport
goods from one place to another on horseback; and this scheme
I accordingly put in execution on the 1st day of September, 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 with the tediousness of
the carriage, and benumbed with the coldness of the weather, that
I resolved to travel the rest of my journey on foot, rather than
proceed in such a disagreeable manner.

The ostler of the inn at which we put up, understanding I was bound
for London, advised me to take my passage in a collier which would
be both cheap and expeditious and withal much easier than to walk
upwards of three hundred miles through deep roads in the winter time,
a journey which he believed I had not strength enough to perform.
I was almost persuaded to take his advice, when one day, stepping
into a barber's shop to be shaved, the young man, while he lathered
my face, accosted me thus: "Sir, I presume you are a Scotchman."
I answered in the affirmative. "Pray," continued he, "from what
part of Scotland?" I no sooner told him, than he discovered great
emotion, and not confining his operation to my chin and upper lip,
besmeared my whole face with great agitation. I was so offended at
this profusion that starting up, I asked him what the d--l he meant
by using me so? He begged pardon, telling me his joy at 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 rapture, "How! Rory Random?" "The same," I replied, looking at
him with astonishment. "What!" cried he, "don't you know your old
schoolfellow, 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 for his
master and shopmates, who were witnesses of this scene. When our
mutual caresses were over I sat down again to be shaved, but the poor
fellow's nerves were so discomposed by this unexpected meeting that
his hand could scarcely hold the razor, with which, nevertheless,
he found means to cut me in three places in as many strokes. His
master, perceiving his disorder, bade 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 desired to be informed of his adventures, which contained
nothing more than that his master dying before his time was
out, he had come to Newcastle about a year ago, in expectation of
journeywork, along with three young fellows of his acquaintance who
worked in the keels; that he had the good fortune of being employed
by a very civil master, with whom he intended to stay till the
spring, at which time he proposed to go to London, where he did
not doubt of finding encouragement. When I communicated to him my
situation and design, he did not approve of my taking a passage
by sea, by reason of the danger of a winter voyage, which is
very hazardous along that coast, as well as the precariousness of
the wind, which might possibly detain me a great while, to the no
small detriment of my fortune; whereas, if I would venture by land,
he would bear me company, carry my baggage all the way, and if we
should be fatigued before we could perform the journey it would be
no hard matter for us to find on the road either return horses or
waggons, of which we might take the advantage for a very trifling

I was so ravished at this proposal 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 in that capital, and possibly have it
in his power to serve me also.

Having concerted the plan and settled our affairs that night, we
departed next morning by daybreak, armed with a good cudgel each
(my companion being charged with the furniture of us both crammed
into one knapsack), and our money sewed between the linings
and waistbands of our breeches, except some loose silver for our
immediate expenses on the road, We travelled all day at a round
pace, but, being ignorant of the proper stages, were benighted at
a good distance from any inn, so that we were compelled to take
up our lodging at a small hedge alehouse, that stood on a byroad,
about half-a-mile from the highway: there we found a pedlar of our
own country, in whose company we regaled ourselves with bacon and
eggs, and a glass of good ale, before a comfortable fire, conversing
all the while very sociably with the landlord and his daughter,
a hale buxom lass, who entertained us with great good humour, and
in whose affection I was vain enough to believe I had made some
progress. About eight o'clock we were all three, at our own desire,
shown into an apartment furnished with two beds, in one of which
Strap and I betook ourselves to rest, and the pedlar occupied the
other, though not before he had prayed a considerable time extempore,
searched into every corner of the room, and fastened the door on
the inside with a strong iron screw, which he carried about with
him for that use.

I slept very sound till midnight when I was disturbed by a violent
motion of the bed, which shook under me with a continual tremor.
Alarmed at this phenomenon, I jogged my companion, whom, to my no
small amazement, I found drenched in sweat, and quaking through
every limb; he told me, with a low faltering voice, that we were
undone; for there was a bloody highwayman, loaded with pistols, in
the next room; then, bidding me make as little noise as possible,
he directed me to a small chink in the board partition through which
I could see a thick-set brawny fellow, with a fierce countenance,
sitting at a table with our young landlady, having a bottle of ale
and a brace of pistols before him.

I listened with great attention, and heard him say, in a terrible
tone, "D--n that son of a b--h, Smack. the coachman; he has served
me a fine trick, indeed! but d--ion seize me, if I don't make him
repent it! I'll teach the scoundrel to give intelligence to others
while he is under articles with me."

Our landlady endeavoured to appease this exasperated robber, by saying
he might be mistaken in Smack, who perhaps kept no correspondence
with the other gentleman that robbed his coach; and that, if an
accident had disappointed him to-day, he might soon find opportunities
enough to atone for his lost trouble. "I'll tell thee what, my clear
Bet," replied he, "I never had, nor ever shall, while my name is
Rifle, have such a glorious booty as I missed to-day. Z--s! there
was 400 in cash to recruit men for the king's service, besides
the jewels, watches, swords, and money belonging to the passengers.
Had it been my fortune to have got clear off with so much treasure,
I would have purchased a commission in the army, and made you an
officer's lady, you jade, I would." "Well, well," cries Betty, "we
must trust to Providence for that. But did you find nothing worth
taking which escaped the other gentlemen of the road?" "Not much,
faith," said the lover; "I gleaned a few things, such as a pair
of pops, silver mounted (here they are): I took them loaded from
the captain who had the charge of the money, together with a gold
watch which he had concealed in his breeches. I likewise found
ten Portugal pieces in the shoes of a quaker, whom the spirit moved
to revile me with great bitterness and devotion; but what I value
myself mostly for is, this here purchase, a gold snuffbox, my girl,
with a picture on the inside of the lid; which I untied out of the
tail of a pretty lady's smock."

Here, as the devil would have it, the pedlar snored so loud, that
the highwayman, snatching his pistols, started up, crying, "Hell and
d-n-n! I am betrayed! Who's that in the next room?" Mrs. Betty told
him he need not be uneasy: there were only three poor travellers,
who, missing the road, had taken up their lodgings in the house,
and were asleep long ago. "Travellers," says he, "spies, you b--ch!
But no matter; I'll send them all to hell in an instant!" He
accordingly ran towards our door; when his sweetheart interposing,
assured him, there was only a couple of poor young Scotchmen, who
were too raw and ignorant to give him the least cause of suspicion;
and the third was a presbyterian pedlar of the same nation, who
had often lodged in the house before.

This declaration satisfied the thief, who swore he was glad there
was a pedlar, for he wanted some linen. Then, in a jovial manner,
he put about the glass, mingling his discourse to Betty with caresses
and familiarities, that spoke him very happy in his amours. During
that part of the conversation which regarded this, Strap had crept
under the bed, where he lay in the agonies of fear; so that it
was with great difficulty I persuaded him our danger was over, and
prevailed on him to awake the pedlar, and inform him of what he
had seen and heard.

The itinerant merchant no sooner felt somebody shaking him by the
shoulder, than he started up, called, as loud as he could, "Thieves,
thieves! Lord have mercy upon us!" And Rifle, alarmed at this
exclamation, jumped up, cocked one of his pistols, and turned
towards the door to kill the first man that should enter; for he
verily believed himself beset: when his Dulcinea, after an immoderate
fit of laughter, persuaded him that the poor pedlar, dreaming of
thieves, had only cried out in his sleep.

Meanwhile, my comrade had undeceived our fellow-lodger, and informed
him of his reason for disturbing him; upon which, getting up softly,
he peeped through the hole, and was so terrified with what he saw,
that, falling down on his bare knees, he put up a long petition to
Heaven to deliver him from the hands of that ruffian, and promised
never to defraud a customer for the future of the value of a pin's
point, provided he might be rescued from the present danger. Whether
or not his disburthening his conscience afforded him any ease I
knew not, but he slipped into bed again, and lay very quiet until
the robber and his mistress were asleep, and snored in concert;
then, rising softly, he untied a rope that was round his pack, which
making fast to one end of it, he opened the window with as little
noise as possible, and lowered his goods into the yard with great
dexterity: then he moved gently to our bedside and bade us farewell,
telling us that, as we ran no risk we might take our rest with
great confidence, and in the morning assure the landlord that we
knew nothing of his escape, and, lastly, shaking us by the hands,
and wishing us all manner of success, he let himself drop from the
window without any danger, for the ground was not above a yard from
his feet as he hung on the outside.

Although I did not think proper to accompany him in his flight,
I was not at all free from apprehension when I reflected on what
might be the effect of the highwayman's disappointment; as he
certainly intended to make free with the pedlar's ware. Neither
was my companion at more ease in his mind. but on the contrary, so
possessed with the dreadful idea of Rifle, that he solicited me
strongly to follow our countryman's example, and so elude the fatal
resentment of that terrible adventurer, who would certainly wreak
his vengeance on us as accomplices of the pedlar's elopement. But
I represented to him the danger of giving Rifle cause to think we
know his profession, and suggested that, if ever he should meet us
again on the road, he would look upon us as dangerous acquaintance,
and find it his interest to put us out of the way. I told him, withal,
my confidence in Betty's good nature, in which he acquiesced; and
during the remaining part of the night we concerted a proper method
of behaviour, to render us unsuspected in the morning.

It was no sooner day than Betty, entering our chamber, and perceiving
our window open, cried out, "Odds-bobs! sure you Scotchmen must
have hot constitutions to lie all night with the window open in such
cold weather." I feigned to start out of sleep, and, withdrawing
the curtain, called, "What's the matter?" When she showed me, I
affected surprise, and said, "Bless me! the window was shut when
we went to bed." "I'll be hanged, said she, "if Sawney Waddle, the
pedlar, has not got up in a dream and done it, for I heard him very
obstropulous in his sleep, Sure I put a chamberpot under his bed!

With these words she advanced to the bed, in which he lay, and,
finding the sheets cold, exclaimed, "Good lackadaisy! The rogue
is fled." "Fled," cried I, with feigned amazement, "God forbid!
Sure he has not robbed us!" Then, springing up, I laid hold of my
breeches, and emptied all my loose money into my hand; which having
reckoned, I said, "Heaven be praised, our money is all safe! Strap,
look to the knapsack." He did so, and found all was right. Upon
which we asked, with seeming concern, if he had stolen nothing
belonging to the house. "No, no," replied she, "he has stole nothing
but his reckoning;" which, it seems, this pious pedlar had forgot
to discharge in the midst of his devotion.

Betty, after a moment's pause withdrew, and immediately we could
hear her waken Rifle, who no sooner heard of Waddle's flight than
he jumped out of bed and dressed, venting a thousand execrations,
and vowing to murder the pedlar if ever he should set eyes on him
again: "For," said he "the scoundrel has by this time raised the
hue and cry against me."

Having dressed himself in a hurry, he mounted his horse, and for
that time rid us of his company and a thousand fears that were the
consequence of it.

While we were at breakfast, Betty endeavoured, by all the
cunning she was mistress of, to learn whether or no we suspected
our fellow-lodger, whom we saw take horse; but, as we were on our
guard, we answered her sly questions with a simplicity she could
not distrust; when, all of a sudden, we heard the trampling of a
horse's feet at the door. This noise alarmed Strap so much, whose
imagination was wholly engrossed by the image of Rifle, that, with
a countenance as pale as milk, he cried, "O Lord! there is the
highwayman returned!"

Our landlady, staring at these words, said, "What highwayman, young
man? Do you think any highwaymen harbour here?"

Though I was very much disconcerted at this piece of indiscretion
in Strap, I had presence of mind enough to tell her we had met a
horseman the day before, whom Strap had foolishly supposed to be
a highwayman, because he rode with pistols; and that he had been
terrified at the sound of a horse's feet ever since.

She forced a smile at the ignorance and timidity of my comrade;
but I could perceive, not without great concern, that this account
was not at all satisfactory to her.


We proceed on our Journey--are overtaken by a Highwayman who fires
at Strap--is prevented from shooting me by a Company of Horsemen,
who ride in pursuit of him--Strap is put to Bed at an Inn--Adventures
at that Inn

After having paid our score and taken leave of our hostess,
who embraced me tenderly at parting, we proceeded on our journey,
blessing ourselves that we had come off so well. We bad not walked
above five miles, when we observed a man on horseback galloping
after us, whom we in a short time recognised to be no other than
this formidable hero who had already given us so much vexation. He
stopped hard by me, and asked if I knew who he was? My astonishment
had disconcerted me so much that I did not hear his question, which
he repeated with a volley of oaths and threats; but I remained as
mute as before.

Strap, seeing my discomposure, fell upon his knees in the mud,
uttering, with a lamentable voice, these words: "For Christ's sake,
have mercy upon us, Mr. Rifle! we know you very well." "Oho!" cried
the thief, "you do! But you never shall be evidence against me in
this world, you dog!" So saying, he drew a pistol, and fired it
at the unfortunate shaver, who fell flat upon the ground without
speaking one word.

My comrade's fate and my own situation riveted me to the place where
I stood, deprived of all sense and reflection; so that I did not
make the least attempt either to run away or deprecate the wrath
of this barbarian, who snapped a second pistol at me; but, before
he had time to prime again, perceiving a company of horsemen coming
up, he rode off, and left me standing motionless as a statue, in
which posture I was found by those whose appearance had saved my
life. This company consisted of three men in livery, well armed,
with an officer, who (as I afterwards learned,) was the person from
whom Rifle had taken the pocket pistols the day before; and who,
making known his misfortune to a nobleman he met on the road,
and assuring him his non-resistance was altogether owing to his
consideration for the ladies in the coach, procured the assistance
of his lordship's servants to go in quest of the plunderer. This
holiday captain scampered up to me with great address, and asked
who fired the pistol which he had heard.

As I had not yet recovered my reason, he, before I could answer,
observed a body lying on the ground, at which sight his colour
changed, and he pronounced, with a faltering tongue, "Gentlemen,
here's murder committed! Let us alight." "No, no," said one of his
followers, "let us rather pursue the murderer. Which way went he,
young man?"

By this time I had recollected myself so far as to tell them that
he could not be a quarter of a mile before; and to beg one of them
to assist me in conveying the corpse of my friend to the next house,
in order to it being interred. The captain, foreseeing that, in
case he should pursue, he must soon come to action, began to curb
his horse, and gave him the spur at the same time, which treatment
making the creature rear up and snort, he called out, his horse
was frightened, and would not proceed; at the same time wheeling
him round and round, stroking his neck, whistling and wheedling him
with "Sirrah, sirrah--gently, gently." etc. "Z--ds!", cried one of
the servants, "sure my lord's Sorrel is not resty!"

With these words he bestowed a lash on his buttocks, and Sorrel,
disdaining the rein sprang forward with the captain at a pace that
would have soon brought him up with the robber, had not the girtle
(happily for him) given way, by which means he landed in the dirt;
and two of his attendants continued their pursuit, without minding
his situation. Meanwhile one of the three who remained at my
desire, turning the body of Strap, in order to see the wound which
had killed him, found him still warm and breathing: upon which,
I immediately let him blood, and saw him, with inexpressible joy,
recover; he having received no other wound than what his fear had
inflicted. Having raised him upon his legs, we walked together
to an inn, about half a mile from the place, where Strap, who was
not quite recovered, went to bed; and in a little time the third
servant returned with the captain's horse and furniture, leaving
him to crawl after as well as he could.

This gentleman of the sword, upon his arrival, complained grievously
of the bruise occasioned by his fall; and, on the recommendation
of the servant, who warranted my ability, I was employed to bleed
him, for which service he rewarded me with half-a-crown.

The time between this event and dinner I passed in observing a
game at cards between two farmers, an exciseman, and a young fellow
in a rusty gown and cassock, who, as I afterwards understood, was
curate of a neighbouring parish. It was easy to perceive that the
match was not equal; and that the two farmers, who were partners,
had to do with a couple of sharpers, who stripped them of all their
cash in a very short time. But what surprised me very mach, was to
hear this clergyman reply to one of the countrymen, who seemed to
suspect foul play, in these words: "D--n me, friend, d'ye question
my honour?"

I did not at all wonder to find a cheat in canonicals, this being
a character frequent in my own country; but I was scandalised at the
indecency of his behaviour, which appeared in the oaths he swore,
and the bawdy songs which he sung. At last, to make amends in some
sort, for the damage he had done to the unwary boors, he pulled
out a fiddle from the lining of his gown, and, promising to treat
them at dinner, began to play most melodiously, singing in concert
all the while. This good humour of this parson inspired the company
with so much glee that the farmers soon forgot their losses, and
all present went to dancing in the yard.

While we were agreeably amused in this manner, our musician, spying
a horseman a riding towards the inn, stopped all of a sudden, crying
out, "Gad so! gentlemen, I beg your pardon, there's our dog of a
doctor coming into the inn." He immediately commended his instrument,
and ran towards the gate, where he took hold of the vicar's bridle,
and helped him off, inquiring very cordially into the state of his

This rosy son of the church, who might be about the age of fifty.
having alighted and entrusted the curate with his horse, stalked
with great solemnity, into the kitchen, where sitting down by the
fire, he called for a bottle of ale and a pipe; scarce deigning
an answer to the submissive questions of those who inquired about
the welfare of his family. While he indulged himself in this state,
amidst a profound silence, the curate, approaching him with great
reverence, asked him if he would not be pleased to honour him with
his company at dinner? To which interrogation he answered in the
negative, saying, he had been to visit Squire Bumpkin, who had
drank himself into a high fever at the last assizes; and that he
had, on leaving his own house, told Betty he should dine at home.
Accordingly where be had made an end of his bottle and pipe,
he rose, and moved with prelatical dignity to the door, where his
journeyman stood ready with his nag. He had no sooner mounted than
the facetious curate, coming into the kitchen, held forth in this
manner: "There the old rascal goes, and the d--l go with him. You
see how the world wags, gentlemen. By gad, this rogue of a vicar does
not deserve to live; and yet he has two livings worth four hundred
pounds per annum, while poor I am fain to do all his drudgery, and
ride twenty miles every Sunday to preach--for what? why, truly,
for twenty pounds a year. I scorn to boast of my own qualifications
but--comparisons are odious. I should be glad to know how this
wag-bellied doctor deserves to be more at ease than me. He can loll
in his elbow chair at home, indulge himself in the best of victuals
and wine and enjoy the conversation of Betty, his housekeeper. You
understand me, gentlemen. Betty is the doctor's poor kinswoman,
and a pretty girl she is; but no matter for that; ay, and dutiful
girl to her parents, whom she visits regularly every year, though
I must own I could never learn in what county they live, My service
t'ye, gentlemen."

By this time dinner being ready, I waked my companion, and we ate
altogether with great cheerfulness. When our meal was ended, and
every man's share of the reckoning adjusted, the curate went out
on pretence of some necessary occasion, and, mounting his house,
left the two farmers to satisfy the host in the best manner they
could. We were no sooner informed of this piece of finesse, than
the exciseman, who had been silent hitherto, began to open with a
malicious grin: "Ay, ay this is an old trick of Shuffle; I could
not help smiling when he talked of treating. Yon must know this is
a very curious fellow. He picked up some scraps of learning while
he served young Lord Trifte at the university. But what he most
excels in is pimping. No one knows his talents better than I, for
I was valet-de-chambre to Squire Tattle an intimate companion of
Shuffle's lord. He got him self into a scrape by pawning some of
his lordship's clothes on which account he was turned away; but, as
he was acquainted with some particular circumstances of my lord's
conduct, he did not care to exasperate him too much, and so made
interest for his receiving orders, and afterwards recommended him
to the curacy which he now enjoys. However, the fellow cannot be too
much admired for his dexterity in making a comfortable livelihood, in
spite of such a small allowance. You hear he plays a good stick,
and is really diverting company; these qualifications make him
agreeable wherever he goes; and, as for playing at cards there
is not a man within three counties for him. The truth is, he is a
d--able cheat, and can shift a card with such address that it is
impossible to discover him."

Here he was interrupted by one of the farmers, who asked, why he had
not justice enough to acquaint them with these particulars before
they engaged in play. The exciseman replied, without any hesitation,
that it was none of his business to intermeddle between man and man;
besides, he did not know they were ignorant of Shuffle's character,
which was notorious to the whole country. This did not satisfy
the other, who taxed him with abetting and assisting the curate's
knavery, and insisted on having his share of the winnings returned;
this demand the exciseman as positively refused affirming that,
whatever sleights Shuffle might practise on other occasions, he
was very certain that he had played on the square with them, and
would answer it before any bench in Christendom; so saying, he got
up and, having paid his reckoning, sneaked off.

The Landlord, thrusting his neck into the passage to see if he was
gone, shook his head, saying, "Ah! Lord help us! if every sinner
was to have his deserts. Well, we victuallers must not disoblige the
excisemen. But I know what; if parson Shuffle and he were weighed
together, a straw thrown into either scale would make the balance
kick the beam. But, masters, this is under the rose," continued
Boniface with a whisper.


The Highwayman is taken--we are detained as Evidence against
him--proceed to the next village--he escapes--we arrive at another
inn, where we go to Bed--in the Night we are awaked by a dreadful
Adventure-next night we lodge at the house of a Schoolmaster--our
Treatment there

Strap and I were about to depart on our journey, when we perceived
a crowd on the road coming towards us, shouting and hallooing all
the way. As it approached, we could discern a man on horseback
in the middle, with his hands tied behind him, whom we soon knew
to be Rifle. The highwayman, not being so well mounted as the two
servants who went in pursuit of him, was soon overtaken, and, after
having discharged his pistols, made prisoner without any further

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