Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

Part 3 out of 10

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

pleaded, our cause so effectually, that she condescended to make
him umpire: he accordingly proposed an arbitration, to which we
gave our assent; and he fined each party in three shillings, to be
laid out in a bowl of punch, wherein we drowned all animosities,
to the inexpressible joy of my two late acquaintances and me, who
had been extremely uneasy ever since Jackson mentioned Bridewell
and Newgate. By the time we had finished our bowl--to which, by
the bye, I had contributed my last shilling--it was morning, and I
proposed to move homeward, when the constable gave me to understand,
he could discharge no prisoners but by order of the justice, before
whom we must appear. This renewed my chagrin, and I cursed the hour
in which I had yielded to Jackson's invitation.

About nine o'clock, we were escorted to the house of a certain
justice not many miles distant from Covent Garden, who no sooner
saw the constable enter with a train of prisoners at his heels, than
he saluted him as follows: "So Mr. Constable. you are a diligent
man. What den of rogues have you been scouring?" Then looking at us,
who appeared very much dejected, he continued: "Ay, ay, thieves.
I see--old offenders; oh, your humble servant, Mrs. Harridan! I
suppose these fellows have been taken robbing your house. Yes, yes,
here's an old acquaintance of mine. You have used expedition," said
he to me, "in returning from transportation; but we shall save you
that trouble for the future--the surgeons will fetch you from your
next transportation, at their expense." I assured his worship he
was mistaken in me, for he had never seen me in his life before.
To this declaration he replied, "How! you impudent rascal, dare
you say so to my face? Do you think I am to be imposed upon by
that northern accent, which you have assumed? But it shan't avail
you--you shall find me too far north for you. Here, clerk, write
this fellow's mittimus. His name is Patrick Gaghagan." Here Mr.
Jackson interposed, and told him I was a Scotchman lately come to
town, descended of a good family, and that my name was Random. The
justice looked upon this assertion as an outrage upon his memory,
on which he valued himself exceedingly; and strutting up to Jackson,
with a fierce countenance, put his hands in his side, and said,
"Who are you, sir? Do you give me the lie? Take notice, gentlemen,
here's a fellow who affronts me upon the bench but I'll lay you
fast, sirrah, I will--for notwithstanding your laced jacket, I
believe you are a notorious felon." My friend was so much abashed
at this menace, which was thundered out with great vociferation,
that he changed colour, and remained speechless. This confusion his
worship took for a symptom of guilt, and, to complete the discovery,
continued his threats, "Now, I am convinced you are a thief--your
face discovers it, you tremble all over, your conscience won't lie
still--you'll be hanged, sirrah," raising his voice, "you'll be
hanged; and happy had it been for the world, as well as for your
own miserable soul, if you had been detected, and cut off in the
beginning of your career. Come hither, clerk, and take this man's
confession." I was in an agony of consternation, when the constable,
going into another room with his worship, acquainted him with the
truth of the story; which having learned, he returned with a smiling
countenance, and, addressing himself to us all, said. it was always
his way to terrify young people when they came before him, that his
threats might make a strong impression on their minds, and deter
them from engaging in scenes of riot and debauchery, which commonly
ended before the judge. Thus, having cloaked his own want of
discernment under the disguise of paternal care, we were dismissed,
and I found myself as much lightened as if a mountain had been
lifted off my breast.


I carry my qualification to the Navy Office--the nature of it--the
behaviour of the Secretary--Strap's concern for my absence--a battle
betwixt him a blacksmith--the troublesome consequences of it--his
harangue to me--his friend the schoolmaster recommends me to a
French Apothecary, who entertains me as a journeyman

I would most willingly have gone home to sleep, but was told by my
companions, that we must deliver our letters of qualification at
the Navy office, before one o'clock. Accordingly, we went thither,
and gave them to the secretary, who opened and read them, and I
was mightily pleased to find myself qualified for second mate of a
third-rate. When he had stuck them all together on a file, one of
our company asked if there were any vacancies; to which interrogation
he answered "No!" Then I ventured to inquire if may ships were to
be put in commission soon. At which question he surveyed me with
a look of ineffable contempt; and, pushing us out of his office,
locked the door without deigning us another word. We went down stairs,
and conferred together on our expectations, when I understood that
each of them had been recommended to one or other of the commissioners,
and each of them promised the first vacancy that should fall;
but that none of them relied solely upon that interest, without a
present to the secretary, with whom some of the commissioners went
snacks. For which reason, each of them had provided a small purse;
and I was asked what I proposed to give This was a vexatious question
to me who (far from being in a capacity to gratify a ravenous
secretary) had not wherewithal to purchase a dinner. I therefore
answered, I had not yet determined what to give; and sneaked off
toward my own lodging, lamenting my fate all the way, and inveighing
with much bitterness against the barbarity of my grandfather, and
the sordid avarice of my relations, who left me a prey to contempt
and indigence.

Full of these disagreeable reflections, I arrived at the house
where I lodged, and relieved my landlord from great anxiety on my
account; for this honest man believed I had met with some dismal
accident, and that he never should see me again. Strap, who had
come to visit me in the morning, understanding I had been abroad all
night, was almost distracted, and after having obtained leave of his
master, had gone in quest of me, though he was even more ignorant
of the town than I. Not being willing to inform the landlord of my
adventure, I told him I had met an acquaintance at Surgeons' Hall,
with whom I spent the evening and night; but being very much infested
with bugs, I had not slept much, and therefore intended to take a
little repose; so saying, I went to bed, and desired to be awakened
if Strap should happen to come wile I should be asleep. I was
accordingly roused by my friend himself, who entered my chamber
about three o'clock in the afternoon, and presented a figure to my
eyes that I could scarce believe real. In short, this affectionate
shaver, setting out towards Surgeons' Hall, had inquired for
me there to no purpose: from whence he found his way to the Navy
Office, where he could hear no tidings of me, because I was unknown
to everybody then present; he afterwards went upon 'Change, in
hopes of seeing me upon the Scotch walk, but without success. At
last, being almost in despair of finding me, he resolved to ask
everybody he met in the street, if perchance anyone could give him
information about me! and actually put his resolution in practice,
in spite of the scoffs, curses, and reproaches with which he was
answered; until a blacksmith's 'prentice seeing him stop a porter
with a burden on his back, and hearing his question, for which he
received a hearty curse, called to him, and asked if the person
he inquired after was not a Scotchman? Strap replied with great
eagerness, "Yes, and had on a brown coat, with long skirts." "The
same!" said the blacksmith. "I saw him pass by an hour ago," "Did
you so?" cried Strap, rubbing his hands, "Odd! I am very glad of
that--which way went he?" "Towards Tyburn in a cart," said he, "if
you make good speed, you may get thither time enough to see him
hanged." This piece of wit incensed my friend to such a degree,
that he called the blacksmith scoundrel, and protested he would
fight him for half-a-farthing. "No, no!" said the other, stripping;
"I'll have none of your money--you Sootchmen seldom carry anything
about you; but I'll fight you for love." Were was a ring immediately
formed by the mob: and Strap, finding he could not get off honourably
without fighting, at the same time burning with resentment against
his adversary, quitted his clothes to the care of the multitude,
and the battle began with great violence on the side of Strap, who
in a few minutes exhausted his breath and spirits on his patient
antagonist, who sustained the assault with great coolness, till
finding the barber quite spent, he returned the blows he had lent
him, with such interest, that Strap, after having received three
falls on the hard stones, gave out, and allowed the blacksmith to
be the better man.

The victory being thus decided, it was proposed to adjourn to a cellar
hard by, and drink friends. But when my friend began to gather up
his clothes, he perceived that some honest person or other had made
free with his shirt, neckcloth, hat, and wig, which were carried
off; and probably his coat and waistcoat would have met with the
same fate, had they been worth stealing. It was in vain for him to
make a noise, which only yielded mirth to the spectators; he was
fain to get off in this manner, which he accomplished with much
difficulty and appeared before me all besmeared with blood and
dirt. Notwithstanding this misfortune, such was his transport at
finding me safe and sound, that he had almost stifled and stunk
me to death with his embraces. After he had cleaned himself, and
put on one of my shirts, and a woollen. nightcap, I recounted to
him the particulars of my night's campaign, which filled him with
admiration, and made him repeat with great energy an observation
which was often in his mouth, namely, 'that surely London is the
devil's drawing-room.' As neither of us had dined, he desired me
to get up, and the milkwoman coming round at that instant, he went
downstairs, and brought up a quart, with a penny loaf, on which we
made a comfortable meal. He then shared his money with me, which
amounted to eighteen-pence, and left me with an intention to borrow
an old wig and hat of his friend the schoolmaster.

He was no sooner gone, than I began to consider my situation with
great uneasiness, and revolved all the schemes my imagination could
suggest, in order to choose and pursue some one that would procure
me bread; for it is impossible to express the pangs I felt, when
I reflected on the miserable dependence in which I lived at the
expense of a poor barber's boy, My pride took the alarm, and having
no hopes of succeeding at the Navy Office, I came to a resolution
of enlisting in the foot-guards next day, be the event what it
would. This extravagant design, by flattering my disposition, gave
great satisfaction; and I was charging the enemy at the head of
my own regiment, when Strap's return interrupted my reverie. The
schoolmaster had made him a present of the tie-wig which he wore,
when I was introduced to him, together with an old hat, whose brims
would have overshadowed a Colossus. Though Strap had ventured to
wear them in the dusk, he did not choose to entertain the mob by
day; therefore went to work immediately, and reduced them both to
a moderate size. While he was employed in this office, he addressed
me thus: "To be sure, Mr. Random, you are born a gentleman, and
have a great deal of learning--and, indeed, look like a gentleman;
for, as to person, you may hold up your head with the best of them.
On the other hand, I am a poor but honest cobbler's son: my mother
was as industrious a woman as ever broke bread, till such time as
she took to drinking, which you very well know; but everybody has
failings--Humanum est errare. Now myself, I am a poor journeyman
barber, tolerably well made and understand some Latin, and have a
smattering of Greek; but what of that? Perhaps I might also say,
that I know a little of the world; but that is to no purpose,--though
you be gentle, and I simple, it does not follow, but that I who
am simple may do a good office to you who are gentle. Now this is
the case: my kinsman, the schoolmaster--perhaps you did not know he
how nearly he is related to me--I'll satisfy you in that presently;
his mother and my grandmother's sister's nephew--no, that's not
it!--my grandfather's brother's daughter--rabbit it! I have forgot
the degree. But this I know, he and I are cousins seven times
removed." My impatience to know the good office he had done me, got
the better of my temper, and I interrupted him at this place with
the exclamation, "If the schoolmaster or you can be of any advantage
to me, why don't you tell me without all this preamble?" When I
pronounced these words with some vehemence, Strap looked at me for
same time with a grave countenance, and then went on: "I'm very
sorry to see such an alteration in your temper of late; you were
always fiery, but now you are grown as crabbed as old Periwinkle
the drunken tinker, on whom you and I (God forgive us!) played so
many unlucky tricks while we were at school--but I will no longer
detain you in suspense, because (doubtless) nothing is more uneasy
than doubt--Dubio procul dubio nil dubius. My friend or relation,
or which you will, or both, the schoolmaster, being informed of
the regard I have for you; for you may be sure I did not fail to
let him know of your good qualities--by the bye, he has undertaken
to teach you the pronunciation of the English tongue, without which,
he says, you will be unfit for business in this country--I say my
relation has spoke in your behalf to a French apothecary who wants a
journeyman; and on his recommendation you may have fifteen pounds
a year, bed and board, whenever you please." I was too much interested
in this piece of news to entertain it with indifference; but,
jumping up, insisted on Strap's immediately accompanying me to the
house of his friend, that I might not lose this opportunity through
the least delay or neglect on my part.

We were informed, that the schoolmaster was in company at a publichouse
in the neighbourhood, whither we repaired, and found him drinking
with the very individual apothecary in question. When he was called
to the door at our desire, and observed my impatience, he broke out
into his usual term of admiration. "Oh! I suppose, when you heard
of this offer, you did not take leisure enough to come downstairs,
but leaped out of the window: did you overturn no porter nor
oyster-woman in your way? It was a mercy of God you did not knock
your brains out against some post in your career. Oh, my conscience!
I believe, had I been in the inmost recesses of my habitation--the
very penetralia--your eagerness would have surmounted bolts, bars,
decency, and everything. The den of Cacus, or sanctum sanctorum,
could not have hid me from you. But come along the gentleman of
whom I spoke is in the house; I will present you to him forthwith."
When I entered the room, I perceived four or five people smoking,
one of whom the schoolmaster accosted thus: "Mr. Lavement, here's
the young man of whom I spoke to you." The apothecary, who was a
little old withered man, with a forehead about an inch high, a nose
turned up at the end, large cheek-bones that helped to form a pit
for his little gray eyes, a great bag of loose skin hanging down on
each side in wrinkles, like the alforjos of a baboon, and a mouth
so much accustomed to that contraction which produces grinning, that
he could not pronounce a syllable without discovering the remains
of his teeth, which consisted of four yellow fangs, not improperly,
by anatomists, called canine. This person, I say, after having
eyed me some time, said, "Oho, 'tis ver well, Monsieur Concordance;
young man, you are ver welcome, take one coup of bierre--and come
to mine house to-morrow morning; Monsieur Concordance vil show you
de way." Upon this I made my bow, and as I went out of the room
could hear him say, "Ma foi! c'est un beau garcon; c'est un gaillard."

As I had by my own application, while I served Crab, acquired the
French tongue well enough to read authors written in that language
and understand anything that occurred in conversation, I determined
to pretend ignorance to my new master, that he and his family,
whom I supposed to be of the same country, not being on the reserve
before me, I might possibly discover something in discourse,
which would either yield me amusement or advantage. Next morning
Mr. Concordance carried me to the apothecary's house, where the
bargain was made, and orders given to provide an apartment for me
immediately. But before I entered upon business. the schoolmaster
recommended me to his tailor, who gave me credit for a suit of
clothes, to be paid out of the first moiety of my wages, and they
were begun upon that very day; he afterwards accommodated me with
a new hat on the same term: so that in a few days I hoped to make
a very fashionable appearance. In the meantime, Strap conveyed
my baggage to the place allotted for me, which was a back room up
two pair of stairs, furnished with a pallet for me to lie upon, a
chair without a back, a bottle by way of candlestick, and a triangular
piece of glass instead of a mirror; the rest of its ornaments having
been lately removed to one of the garrets, for the convenience of
the servant of an Irish captain, who lodged in the first floor.


The character of Mr. Lavement, his wife and daughter--some anecdotes
of the family--the mother and daughter rivals--I am guilty of a
mistake that gives me present satisfaction, but is attended with
troublesome consequences

Next day. while I was at work in the shop, a bouncing damsel well
dressed came on pretence of finding a vial for some use or other;
and taking an opportunity, when she thought I did not mind her,
of observing me narrowly, went away with a silent look of disdain.
I easily guessed her sentiments, and my pride took the resolution
of entertaining the same indifference and neglect towards her.
At dinner the maids, with whom I dined in the kitchen, gave me to
understand that this was my master's only daughter, who would have
a very handsome fortune, on account of which, and her beauty, a
great many young gentlemen made their addresses to her--that she
had been twice on the brink of marriage, but disappointed by the
stinginess of her father, who refused to part with a shilling to
promote the match; for which reason the young lady did not behave to
her father with all the filial veneration that might be expected.
In particular she harboured the most perfect hatred for his
countrymen; in which disposition she resembled her mother, who was
an English-woman; and, by the hints they dropped, I learned the
gray mare was the better horse--that she was a matron of a high
spirit, which was often manifested at the expense of her dependents;
that she loved diversions, and looked upon miss as her rival in all
parties--which was indeed the true cause of her disappointments;
for had the mother been hearty in her interest, the father would not
have ventured to refuse her demands. Over and above this intelligence,
I, of myself, soon made more discoveries. Mr. Lavement's significant
grins at his wife, while she looked another way, convinced me that
he was not at all content with his lot; and his behaviour in presence
of the captain made me believe his chief torment was jealousy. As
for my own part, I was considered in no other light than that of a
menial servant, and had been already six days in the house without
being honoured with one word from either mother or daughter; the
latter (as I understood from the maids) having at table one day
expressed some surprise that her papa should entertain such an
awkward mean-looking journeyman. I was nettled at this piece of
information, and next Sunday (it being my turn to take my diversion)
dressed myself in my new clothes to the greatest advantage, and,
vanity apart, made no contemptible figure.

After having spent most part of the day in company with Strap and
some of his acquaintance, I came home in the afternoon, and was
let in by miss, who not knowing me, dropped a low curtsey as I
advanced, which I returned with a profound bow, and shut the door.
By the time I had turned about, she had perceived her mistake, and
changed colour, but did not withdraw. The passage being narrow, I
could not get away without jolting her; so I was forced to remain
where I was with my eyes fixed to the ground, and my face glowing
with blushes. At length, her vanity coming to her assistance,
she went away tittering, and I could hear her pronounce the word
'creature!' From this day forward, she came into the shop fifty
times, every day upon various pretences, and put in practice so
many ridiculous airs, that I could easily perceive her opinion of
me was changed, and that she did not think me altogether an unworthy
conquest. But my heart was so steeled against her charms by pride
and resentment, which were two chief ingredients in my disposition,
that I remained insensible to all her arts; and notwithstanding
some advances she made, could not be prevailed upon to yield her
the least attention. This neglect soon banished all the favourable
impressions she felt for me, and the rage of a slighted woman took
place in her heart; this she manifested not only in all the suggestions
her malice could invent to my prejudice with her father, but also
in procuring for me such servile employments as she hoped would
sufficiently humble my spirit. One day in particular, she ordered
me to brush my master's coat; but I refusing, a smart dialogue
ensued, which ended in her bursting into tears of rage; when her
mother interposing, and examining into the merits of the cause,
determined it in my favour: and this good office I owed not to any
esteem or consideration she had for me, but solely to the desire
of mortifying her daughter, who on this occasion observed, that
let people be never so much in the right, there were some folks
who would never do them justice, but, to be sure, they had their
reasons for it, which some people were ignorant of, although they
despised their little arts. This insinuation of some people and
some folks put me upon observing the behaviour of my mistress more
narrowly for the future: and it was not long before I had reason
to believe that she looked upon her daughter as a rival in the
affections of Captain O'Donnell, who lodged in the house.

In the meantime, my industry and knowledge gained me the goodwill
of my master, who would often say in French, "Mardy! c'est un bon
garcon." He had a great deal of business; but he was mostly employed
among his fellow refugees, his profits were small. However, his
expense for medicines was not great; for he was the most expert man
at a succedaneum of any apothecary in London, so that I have been
sometimes amazed to see him, without the least hesitation, make up
a physician's prescription, though he had not in his shop one medicine
mentioned in it. Oyster-shells he could convert into crab's eyes;
common oil into oil of sweet almonds; syrup of sugar into balsamic
syrup; Thames water into aqua cinnamoni; and a hundred more costly
preparations were produced in an instant, from the cheapest and
coarsest drugs of the materia medica: and when any common thing was
ordered for a patient, he always took care to disguise it in colour
or taste, or both, in such a manner that it could not possibly be
known; for which purpose cochineal and oil of cloves were of great
service. Mr. Lavement had attempted more than once to introduce
a vegetable diet into his family, by launching out into the praise
of roots and greens, and decrying the use of flesh, both as a
physician and philosopher; but all his rhetoric could not make one
proselyte to his opinion, and even the wife of his bosom declared
against the proposal.

One afternoon, when her husband was abroad. and his daughter gone
to visit, this lady ordered me to call a hackney-coach, in which
she and the captain drove towards Covent Garden. Miss came home
in the evening, and, supping at her usual hour, went to bed. About
eleven o'clock my master entered, and asked if his wife was gone to
sleep: upon which I told him, my mistress went out in the afternoon,
and was not yet returned. This was like a clap of thunder to the
poor apothecary, who starting back, cried, "Mort de ma vie! vat
you tell a me? My vife not at home!" At that instant a patient's
servant arrived with a prescription for a draught, which my master
taking, went into the shop to make it up with his own hand. While
he rubbed the ingredients in a glass mortar, he inquired of me,
whether or no his wife went out alone; and no sooner heard that
she was in company with the captain, than with one blow he split
the mortar into a thousand pieces, and grinning like the head of a
bass viol, exclaimed, "Ah, traitresse!" It would have been impossible
for me to have preserved my gravity a minute longer, when I was
happily relieved by a rap at the door, which I opened, and perceived
my mistress coming out of the coach. She flounced immediately into
the shop, and addressed her husband thus: "I suppose you thought I
was lost, my dear. Captain O'Donnell has been so good as to treat
me with a play." The reply, it may be supposed, was anything but
courteous but the captain, who had been all the time at the door
discharging the coach, entered, and Mr. Lavement, changing his
tone, saluted him with all the usual politesse of a Frenchman.

Shortly after this event, by the knowledge which I acquired of the
family secrets, my life became much more agreeable; and as I every
day improved in my knowledge of the town I shook off my awkward
air by degrees, and acquired the character of a polite journeyman


I am assaulted and dangerously wounded-suspect O'Donnell, and am
confirmed in my opinion--concert a scheme of revenge, and put it
into execution--O'Donnell robs his own servant and disappears--make
my addresses to a lady, and am miraculously delivered from her

One night, at about twelve o'clock, as I returned from visiting
a patient at Chelsea, I received a blow on my head from an unseen
hand, that stretched me senseless on the ground; and was left for
dead with three stabs of a sword in my body. The groans I uttered
when I recovered the use of my reason alarmed the people of a
solitary alehouse that stood near the spot where I lay: and they
were humane enough to take me in, and send for a surgeon, who
dressed my wounds, and assured me they were not mortal. One of them
penetrated through the skin and muscles of one side of my belly in
such a manner, that doubtless the assassin imagined he had run me
through the entrails. The second slanted along one of my ribs; and
the last, which was intended for the finishing stroke, having been
directed to my heart, the sword snapped upon my breast-bone, and
the point remained sticking in the skin. When I reflected upon this
event, I could not persuade myself that I had been assaulted by a
common footpad, because it is not usual for such people to murder
though they rob, especially when they meet with no resistance;
and I found my money, and everything else about me but my carcase,
safe. I concluded, therefore, that I must either have been mistaken
for another, or obliged to the private resentment of some secret
enemy for what had happened; and as I could remember nobody who had
the least cause of complaint against me, except Captain O'Donnell
and my master's daughter, my suspicion settled upon them, though
I took care to conceal it, that I might the sooner arrive at

With this view, I went home in the chair about ten o'clock in the
morning; and as the chairman supported me into the house, met the
captain in the passage, who no sooner saw me than he started back
and gave evident signs of guilty confusion, which he would have
accounted for from surprise occasioned by the seeing me in such
a condition. My master having heard my story, condoled me with a
good deal of sympathy, and when he understood my wounds were not
dangerous, ordered me to be carried upstairs to bed; though not
without some opposition from his wife, who was of opinion that it
would be better for me to go to an hospital, where I should be more
carefully attended. My meditation was employed in concerting with
myself some method of revenge against Squire O'Donnell and his
inamorata, whom I looked upon as the author of my misfortune; when
miss, who was not at home at my arrival, entered my chamber, and
saying she was sorry for the accident that had befallen me, asked
if I suspected anybody to be the assassin; upon which I fixed my
eyes steadfastly upon her and answered, "Yes." She discovered no
symptom of confusion, but replied hastily, "If that be the case,
why don't you take out a warrant, to have him apprehended? It
will cost but a trifle--if you have no money, I'll lend you." This
frankness not only cured me of my suspicion with respect to her,
but even staggered my belief with regard to the captain, of whose
guilt I resolved to have further proof before I should enterprise
anything in the way of revenge. I thanked her kindly for her
generous offer, which, however, I had no occasion to accept, being
determined to do nothing rashly: for though I could plainly perceive
the person who attacked me to be a soldier, whose face I thought
was familiar to me, I could not swear with a safe conscience to
any particular man; and, granting I could, my prosecution of him
would not much avail.

This uncertainty I pretended, lest the captain, hearing from her
that I knew the person who wounded me, might think proper to withdraw
before I could be in a condition to requite him. In two days I was
up and able to do a little business, so that Mr. Lavement made
shift to carry on his practice without hiring another journeyman
in my room.

The first thing I attempted towards a certain discovery of my secret
enemy, was to get into O'Donnell's apartment, while he was abroad
in an undress, and examine his sword, the point of which being
broken off, I applied the fragment that was found sticking in my
body, and found it answered the fractured part exactly. There was
no room left for doubt; and all that remained was to fix upon a
scheme of revenge, which almost solely engrossed my thoughts during
the space of eight nights and days. Sometimes I was tempted to fall
upon him in the same manner as he had practised upon me, and kill
him outright. But this assault my honour opposed as a piece of
barbarous cowardice, in which he was not to be imitated. At other
times I entertained thoughts of demanding satisfaction in an
honourable way; but was diverted from this undertaking by considering
the uncertainty of the event, and the nature of the injury he had
done me, which did not entitle him to such easy terms. At last I
determined to pursue a middle course, and actually put my design in
execution after this manner. Having secured the assistance of Strap
and two of his acquaintance whom he could depend upon, we provided
ourselves with disguises, and I caused the following letter to be
delivered to him by one of our associates in livery, one Sunday

"Sir--If I may be allowed to judge from appearance, it will not
be disagreeable for you to hear that my husband is gone to Bagshot
to visit a patient, and will not return till to-morrow night; so
that, if you have anything to propose to me (as your behaviour on
many occasions has seemed to insinuate), you will do well to embrace
the present opportunity of seeing, Yours, etc." This letter was
signed with the Dame of an apothecary's wife who lived in Chelsea,
of whom I bad heard O'Donnell was an admirer. Everything succeeded
to our wish. The hero hastened towards the place of appointment,
and was encountered by us in the very place where he had assaulted
me. We rushed upon him all at once, secured his sword, stripped
off his clothes even to the skin, which was scourged with nettles
till he was blistered from head to foot, notwithstanding all the
eloquence of his tears and supplications. When I was satisfied with
the stripes I had bestowed, we carried off his clothes, which we
hid in a hedge near the place, and left him stark naked to find
his way home in the best manner he could, while I took care to be
there before him. I afterwards understood that, in his way to the
lodgings of a friend, who lived in the skirts of the town, he was
picked up by the watch, who carried him to the round-house, from
whence he sent for clothes to his lodgings, and next morning arrived
at the door in a chair, wrapt up in a blanket he had borrowed; for
his body was so sore and swelled, that he could not bear to be
confined in his wearing apparel. He was treated with the utmost
tenderness by my mistress and her daughter, who vied with each
other in their care and attendance of him; but Lavement himself
could not forbear expressing his joy, by several malicious grins,
while he ordered me to prepare an unguent for his sores. As to
myself, nobody can doubt my gratification, when I had every day
an opportunity of seeing my revenge protracted on the body of my
adversary, by the ulcers of which I had been the cause; and, indeed,
I not only enjoyed the satisfaction of having flea'd him alive,
but another also which I had not foreseen. The story of his being
attacked and stripped in such a place having been inserted in the
news, gave information to those who found his clothes next day,
whither to bring them; and accordingly he retrieved everything he
had lost except a few letters, among which was that which I had
writ to him in the name of the apothecary's wife. This, and the
others, which were all on the subject of love (for this Hibernian
hero was one of those people who are called fortune-hunters), fell
into the hands of a certain female author, famous for the scandal
she has published; who, after having embellished them with some
ornaments of her own invention, gave them to the to town in print.
I was very much shocked on reflection, that I might possibly be the
occasion of a whole family's unhappiness on account of the letter
I had written; but was eased of that apprehension, when I understood
that the Chelsea apothecary had commenced a lawsuit against the
printer for defamation, and looked upon the whole as a piece of
forgery committed by the author, who had disappeared. But whatever
might he his opinion of the matter, our two ladies seemed to entertain
a different idea of it: for as soon as the pamphlet appeared, I
could perceive their care of their patient considerably diminish,
till at last it ended in a total neglect. It was impossible for
him to be ignorant of this change, any more than of the occasion
of it; but as he was conscious to himself of having deserved worse
than contempt at their hands, he was glad to come off so cheaply,
and contented himself with muttering curses and threats against
the apothecary, who, as he imagined, having got an inkling of the
appointment with his wife, had taken revenge of him in the manner
described. By the time he had got a new scarf skin his character
was become so notorious, that he thought it high time for him to
decamp; and his retreat he performed in one night, without beat
of drum, after having robbed his own servant of everything that
belonged to him except the clothes he had on his back.

A few days after he disappeared, Mr. Lavement, for his own security,
took into his custody a large old trunk which he had left; and as
it was very heavy, made no question that the contents were sufficient
to indemnify him for what O'Donnell owed in lodging. But a month
being elapsed without hearing any tidings of this adventurer, and
my master being impatient to know what the trunk contained, he ordered
me to break it open in his presence, which task I performed with
the pestle of our great mortar, and discovered, to his inexpressible
astonishment and mortification, a heap of stones.

About this time, my friend Strap informed me of an offer he had to
go abroad with a gentleman in quality of valet de chambre and at
the same time assured me that, whatever advantage he might propose
to himself from this prospect, he could not bear the thoughts of
parting from me, so much was he attached to my fortune. In spite of
all the obligations I owed to this poor, honest fellow, ingratitude
is so natural to the heart of man, that I began to be tired of
his acquaintance: and now that I had contracted other friendships
which appeared more creditable, was even ashamed to see a journeyman
barber inquiring after me with the familiarity of a companion.
I therefore, on pretence of consulting his welfare, insisted upon
his accepting the proposal, which he at last determined to embrace,
with great reluctance, and in a few days, took his leave of me,
shedding a flood of tears, which I could not behold without emotion.
I now began to look upon me as of a gentleman in reality; learned
to dance, frequented plays during the holidays; became the oracle
of an ale-house, where every dispute was referred to my decision;
and at length contracted an acquaintance with a young lady, who found
means to make a conquest of my heart, and upon whom I prevailed,
after much attendance and solicitation, to give me a promise of
marriage. As this beautiful creature passed for a rich heiress, I
blessed my good fortune, and was actually on the point of crowning
all my wishes by matrimony, when I made such a discovery as
effectually turned me from my design, and I abandoned all thoughts
of marriage for the future.


Squire Gawky comes to lodge with my master--is involved in a
troublesome affair, out of which he is extricated by me--he marries
my master's daughter--they conspire against me--I am found guilty
of theft, discharged--deserted by my friends, I hire a room in
St. Gile's--where, by accident, I find the lady to whom I paid my
addresses in a miserable condition--I relieve her

When I enjoyed myself at large in this temper of mind, Lavement let
his first floor to my countryman and acquaintance, Squire Gawky, who
by this time had got a lieutenancy in the army, and such a martial
ferocity in his appearance that I was afraid he would remember
what happened between us in Scotland, and atone for his breach of
appointment then by his punctuality now; but whether he had actually
forgot me, or was willing to make me believe so, he betrayed not the
least symptom of recognition at sight of me, and I remained quite
cured of my apprehension; though I had occasion not long after to
be convinced, that howsoever his externals might be altered, he was
at bottom the same individual Gawky, whom I have already described.
For coming home late one night from the house of a patient, I
heard a noise in the street, and as I approached. perceived two
gentlemen in custody, of three watchmen. The prisoners, who were
miserable, disfigured with dirt, complained bitterly of the loss of
their hats and wigs; and one of them, whom by his tongue I know
to be a Scotchman, lamented most piteously, offering a guinea
for his liberty, which the watchman refused, alleging that one of
his companions was wounded grievously, and that he must stand to
the consequence. My prejudice in favour of my native country was
so strong, that I could not bear to see anybody belonging to it
in distress, and therefore, with one blow of my faithful cudgel,
knocked down the watchman who had hold of the person for whom I
was chiefly concerned. He was no sooner disengaged, than he betook
himself to his heels, and left me to maintain the dispute as I should
think proper; and, indeed, I came off but scurvily, for, before I
could avail myself of my speed, I received a blow on the eye, from
one of the other two, that had well nigh deprived me of the use of
that organ. However, I made shift to get home, where I was informed
of Captain Gawky's being robbed and abused by a company of footpads,
and was ordered by my master to prepare an emollient glyster and
paregoric draught, in order to allay and compose the ferment of his
spirits, occasioned by the barbarous treatment he had undergone,
while he took twelve ounces of blood from him immediately.

When I inquired into the particulars of this adventure, and
understood by the servant that he came in just before me, without
hat and wig, I made no scruple of believing him to be the person
I had released, and was confirmed in my belief upon hearing his
voice, to which (before that event) I had long been a stranger.

My eye being considerably swelled and inflamed, I could not reflect
upon my enterprise without cursing my own folly, and even resolving
to declare the truth the truth of the whole story in order to be
revenged on the cowardly wretch for whom I had suffered: accordingly,
next day after he had told, in presence of my master, his wife and
daughter, who came to him, a thousand lies concerning the prowess
he had shown in making his escape, I ventured to explain the mystery,
and, calling in the evidence of my contused eye, upbraided him with
cowardice and ingratitude. Gawky was so astonished at this that
he could not answer one word, and the rest of the company stared
at one another; till at length my mistress reprimanded me for my
insolent behaviour, and threatened to turn me away for my presumption.
Upon which, Gawky (having recollected himself) observed, as the
young man might have mistaken another person for him, he could
forgive his insinuations, more especially as he seemed to have
suffered for his incivility; but advised me to be more certain in
my conjectures for the future, before I ventured to publish them to
the prejudice of any man. Miss applauded the Captain's generosity in
pardoning one who had so villainously aspersed him, and I began to
imagine her praise was not at all disinterested. But the apothecary,
who perhaps had more penetration or less partiality than his wife
and daughter, differed from them in their sentiments of the matter,
and expressed himself to me in the shop in this manner: "Ah mon
pauvre Roderique! you have more of de veracite dan of de prudence--bot
mine vife and dater be diablement sage, and Monsieur le Capitaine
un fanfaron, pardieu!"

This eulogium on his wife and daughter, though spoken ironically
by him, was nevertheless literally just; by espousing the cause of
Gawky, the one obliged a valuable lodger, and the other acquired a
husband at a juncture when one was absolutely necessary. The young
lady insinuated herself so artfully into the affection of this
new lodger, that in less than a fortnight, on pretence of going to
the play, they drove away together to the Fleet, where they were
married; and in the morning came home, where they asked her father's
and mother's blessing. The prudent parents, notwithstanding the
precipitation with which the match was carried on, did not think fit
to refuse their approbation; for the apothecary was not ill pleased
to find his daughter married to a young man of a good prospect,
who had not mentioned one syllable on the article of her dowry; and
his wife was rejoiced at being rid of a rival and a spy upon her.
Whatever face Gawky put on the matter, my discovery of the adventure
before related, and the reproaches I vented against him, had stung
him to the soul, and cherished the seeds of enmity so strongly in
his breast, that he imparted his indignation to his wife, who being
as desirous as himself to accomplish the ruin of one that not only
slighted her caresses, but was able on any occasion to discover
particulars not at all advantageous to her character, readily
joined in a conspiracy against me, which (had it taken effect as
they expected) would infallibly have brought me to an ignominious

My master having several times missed large quantities of medicines,
of which I could give no account, at last lost all patience, and
in plain terms taxed me with having embezzled them for my own use.
As I could only oppose my single asseveration to his suspicion,
he told me one day, "Your vord not be give me de satisfaction--me
find necessaire to chercher for my medicine; pardonnez moi--il faut
chercber--me demand le clef of your coffre a cette heure." Then
raising his voice to conceal the fright he was in lest I should
make any opposition, he went on, "Oui! I charge you rendez le clef
of your cofrre--moi--si, moi qui vous parle." I was fired with so
much resentment and disdain at this accusation, that I burst into
tears, which he took for a sign of guilt; and pulling out my key,
told him he might satisfy himself immediately, though he would
not find it so easy to satisfy me for the injury my reputation had
suffered from his unjust suspicion. He took the key and mounted
up to my chamber, attended by the whole family, saying, "Eh bien,
nous verrons--nous verrons." But what was my horror and amazement,
when, opening my chest, he pulled out a handful of the very things
that were missing, and pronounced, "Ah, ha, vous etes bienvenu--mardy,
Mons. Roderique, you be fort innocent!" I had not power to utter
one word in my own vindication, but stood motionless and silent,
while everybody present made their respective remarks on what appeared
against me. The servants said they were sorry for my misfortune,
and went away repeating, "Who would have thought it?" My mistress
took occasion from this detection to rail against the practice of
employing strangers in general; and Mrs. Gawky, after having observed
that she never had a good opinion of my fidelity, proposed to have
me carried before the justice and committed to Newgate immediately.
Her husband was actually upon the stairs in his way for a constable,
when Mr. Lavement knowing the cost ant trouble of a prosecution
to which he must bind himself, and at the same time dreading lest
some particulars of my confession might affect his practice, called
out. "Restez, mon fils! restez, it be veritablement one grand crime
which dis pauvre diable have committed--bot peut-etre de good God
give him de penitence, and me vill not have upon mine head de blood
of one sinner." The captain and his lady used all the Christian
arguments their zeal could suggest to prevail upon the apothecary
to pursue me to destruction, and represented the injustice he did
to the community of which he was a member, in letting a villain
escape, who would not fail of doing more mischief in the world
when he should reflect on his coming off so easily now; but their
eloquence made no impression on my master, who turning to me said,
"Go, miserable, go from mine house quick, quick!--and make reparation
for your mauvaise actions." By this time my indignation had roused
me from the stupefaction in which I had hitherto remained and I
began in this manner:--"Sir, appearances I own condemn me; but you
are imposed upon as much as I am abused: I have fallen a sacrifice
to the rancour of that scoundrel" (pointing to Gawky) "who has found
means to convey your goods hither, that the detection of them might
blast my reputation, and accomplish my destruction. His hatred
to me is owing to a consciousness of his having wronged me in
my own country--for which injury he in a cowardly manner, refused
me the satisfaction of a gentleman; he knows, moreover, that I am
no stranger to his dastardly behaviour in this town, which I have
recounted before, and he is unwilling that such a testimony of his
ingratitude and pusillanimity should live upon the earth; for this
reason he is guilty of the most infernal malice to bring about my
ruin. And I am afraid, madam (turning to Mrs. Gawky) you have too
easily entered into the sentiments of your husband. I have often
found you my enemy, and am well acquainted with the occasion of
your being so, which I don't at present think proper to declare;
but I would advise you, for your own sake, not to drive me to
extremity." This address enraged her so much that with a face as
red us scarlet and the eyes of a fury, she strutted up to me and
putting her hands in her side, spat in my face, saying, I was a
scandalous villain, but she defied my malice; and that unless her
papa would not prosecute me like a thief as I was, she would not
stay another night under his roof. At the same time, Gawky assuming
a big look, told me, he scorned what lies I could invent against
him; but that, if I pretended to asperse his wife, he would put
me to death, To this threat I answered, "I wish I could meet with
thee in a desert, that I might have an opportunity of punishing
thee for thy perfidy towards me, and rid the world of such a rascal.
What hinders me this moment," said I, seizing an old bottle that
stood by, "from doing myself that justice?" I had no sooner armed
myself in this manner, than Gawky and his father-in-law retired in
such a hurry, that the one overturned the other, and they rolled
together down stairs, while my mistress swooned away with fear,
and her daughter asked if I intended to murder her. I gave her
to understand, that nothing was farther from my intention, that I
would leave her to the stings of her own conscience; but was firmly
resolved to slit her husband's nose, whenever fortune should offer
a convenient opportunity. Then going down stairs, I met Lavement
coming up trembling with the pestle in his hand, and Gawky behind
armed with his sword, pushing him forward. I demanded a parley:
and having assured him of my pacific disposition, Gawky exclaimed,
"Ah, villain! you have killed my dear wife." And the apothecary
cried, "Ah, coquin! vere is my shild?" "The lady," said I, "is
above stairs, unhurt by me, and will, a few months hence, I believe
reward your concern." Hero she called to them, and desired they
would let the wretch go, and trouble themselves no further about
him. To which request her father consented, observing, nevertheless,
that my conversation was 'very mysterious.'

Finding it impossible to vindicate my innocence, I left the house
immediately, and went to the schoolmaster, with an intention
of clearing myself to him, and asking his advice with regard to
my future conduct; but, to my inexpressible vexation, he was gone
to the country, where he would stay two or three days. I returned
with a design of consulting some acquaintance I had acquired in the
neighbourhood; but my story had taken air through the officiousness
of the servants, and not one of my friends would vouchsafe me a
hearing. Thus I found myself, by the iniquity of mankind, in a much
more deplorable condition than ever: for though I had been formerly
as poor, my reputation was without blemish, and my health unimpaired
till now; but at present my good name was lost, my money gone, my
friends were alienated, my body was infected by an odious distemper;
and my faithful Strap, who alone could yield me pity and assistance,
absent I knew not where.

The first resolution I could take in this melancholy conjuncture,
was to remove my clothes to the house of the person with whom I
had formerly lodged, where I remained two days in hopes of getting
another place by the interest of Mr. Concordance, to whom I made
no doubt of being able to vindicate my character; but in this
supposition I reckoned without my best, for Lavement took care to
be beforehand with me; and when I attempted to explain the whole
affair to the schoolmaster, I found him so prepossessed against
me, that he would scarce hear me to an end; but when I had finished
my justification, shook his head, and beginning with his usual
exclamation said, "That won't go down with me. I am very sorry I
should have the misfortune of being concerned in the affair, but,
however, shall be more cautious for the future. I will trust no man
from henceforward--no, not my father who begat me, nor the brother
who lay with me in my mother's womb: should Daniel rise from the
dead, I would think him an impostor; and were the genius of truth
to appear, would question its veracity!" I told him, that one day
it was possible he might be convinced of the injury I had suffered,
and repent of his premature determination. To which remark he
answered, the proof of my innocence would make his bowels vibrate
with joy; "but till that shall happen," continued he, "I mast beg
to have no manner of connection with you--my reputation is at stake.
I shall be looked upon as your accomplice and abettor--people will
say Jonathan Wild was but a type of me-boys will hoot at me as I
pass along; and the cinder-wenches belch forth reproaches wafted
in a gale impregnated with gin: I shall be notorious--the very butt
of slander, and sink of infamy!" I was not in a humour to relish
the climax of expressions upon which this gentleman valued himself
in all his discourses; but, without any ceremony, took my leave,
cursed with every sentiment of horror which my situation could
suggest. I considered, however, in the intervals of my despondence,
that I must, in some shape suit my expense to my calamitous
circumstances, and with that view hired an apartment in a garret
near St. Giles's, at the rate of nine-pence per week.

I one day, when I sat in this solitary retreat musing upon the
unhappiness of my fate, was alarmed by a groan that issued from s
chamber contiguous to mine, into which I immediately ran, and found
a woman stretched on a miserable truckle bed, without any visible
signs of life. Having applied a smelling bottle to her nose, the
blood began to revisit her cheeks, and she opened her eyes; but,
good heaven! what were the emotions of my soul, when I discovered
her to be the same individual lady who had triumphed over my
heart, and to whose fate I had almost been inseparably joined! Her
deplorable situation filled my breast with compassion. She knew me
immediately; and, straining me gently in her arms, shed a torrent
of tears, which I could not help increasing. At length, casting a
languishing look at me, she pronounced with a feeble voice, "Dear
Mr. Random, I do not deserve this concern at your hands: I am a
vile creature, who had a base design upon your person--suffer me,
to expiate that, and all my other crimes, by a miserable death,
which will not fail to overtake me in a few hour." I encouraged
her as much as I could, told her I forgave all her intentions with
regard to me; and that, although my circumstances were extremely low,
I would share my last farthing with her. I begged in the meantime
to know the immediate cause of that fit from which she had just
recovered, and said, I would endeavour by my skill to prevent any more
such attacks. She seemed very much affected with this expression,
took my hand, and pressed it to her lips, saying, "You are too
generous! I wish I could live to express my gratitude--but alas! I
perish for want." Then shutting her eyes, she relapsed into another
swoon. Such extremity of distress must have waked the most obdurate
heart to sympathy and compassion; what effect then must it have
had on mine, that was naturally prone to every tender passion? I
ran downstairs, and sent my landlady to a chemist's shop for some
cinnamon water, while I, returning to this unfortunate creature's
chamber, used all the means in my power to bring her to herself;
this aim with much difficulty I accomplished, and made her drink
a glass of the cordial to recruit her spirits: then I prepared a
little mulled red vine and a toast, which having taken, she found
herself thoroughly revived, and informed me, that she had not tasted
food for eight and forty hours before. As I was impatient to know
the occasion and nature of her calamity, she gave me to understand,
that she was a woman of the town by profession; that in the course
of her adventures she found herself dangerously infected with
a distemper, to which all of her class are particularly subject;
that her malady gaining ground every day, she became loathsome to
herself and offensive to others: when she resolved to retire to
some obscure corner where she might be cured with as little noise
and expense as possible; that she had accordingly chosen this
place of retreat, and put herself into the hands of an advertising
doctor, who having fleeced her of all the money she had, or could
procure, left her three days ago in a worse condition than that in
which he found her; that except the clothes on her back, she had
pawned or sold everything that belonged to her to satisfy that
rapacious quack, and quiet the clamour of her landlady, who still
persisted in her threats to turn her out into the street. After
having moralised upon these particulars, I proposed that she should
lodge in the same room with me, an expedient that would save some
money: and assured her, I would undertake to cure her as well as my
own, during which she should partake of all the conveniences that
I could afford to myself. She embraced my offer with unfeigned
acknowledgment, and I began to put it in practice immediately.
I found her not only an agreeable companion, whose conversation
greatly alleviated my chagrin, but also a careful nurse, who
served me with the utmost fidelity and affection. One day, while I
testified my surprise that a woman of her beauty, good sense, and
education (for she had a large portion of each), could be reduced
to such an infamous and miserable way of life, she answered with
a sigh, "These very advantages were the cause of my undoing." This
remarkable reply inflamed my curiosity to such a degree, that I
begged she would favour me with the particulars of her story, and
she complied in these words.


The History of Miss Williams

'My father was an eminent merchant in the city who having, in the
course of trade, suffered very considerable losses, retired in
his old age with his wife to a small estate in the country, which
he had purchased with the remains of his fortune. At that time, I
being but eight years of age, was left in town for the convenience
of education, boarded with an aunt, who was a rigid presbyterian,
and confined me so closely to what she called the duties of religion,
that in time I grew weary of her doctrines, and by degrees received
an aversion for the good books, she daily recommended to my perusal.
As I increased in age, and appeared with a person not disagreeable,
I contracted a good deal of acquaintance among my own sex; one
of whom, after having lamented the restraint I was under from the
narrowness of my aunt's sentiments, told me I must now throw off
the prejudices of opinion imbibed under her influence and example,
and learn to think for myself; for which purpose she advised me
to read Shaftsbury, Tindal, Hobbes, and all the authors that are
remarkable for their deviation from the old way of thinking, and
by comparing one with the other, I should soon be able to form a
system of my own. I followed her advice; and whether it was owing
to my prepossession against what I had formerly read, or the
clearness of argument in these my new instructors, I know not; but
I studied them with pleasure, and in a short time became a professed
freethinker. Proud of my improvement, I argued in all companies,
and that with such success, that I soon acquired the reputation
of a philosopher, and few people durst undertake me in a dispute.
I grew vain upon my good fortune, and at length pretended to make
my aunt a proselyte to my opinion; but she no sooner perceived my
drift than, taking the alarm, she wrote to my father an account of
my heresy, and conjured him, as he tendered the good of my soul,
to remove me immediately from the dangerous place where I had
contracted such sinful principles. Accordingly, my father ordered
me into the country, where I arrived in the fifteenth year of
my age, and, by his command gave him a detail of all the articles
of my faith, which he did not find so unreasonable as they had
been represented. Finding myself suddenly deprived of the company
and pleasures of the town, I grew melancholy and it was some time
before I could relish my situation. But solitude became every day
more and more familiar to me and I consoled myself in my retreat
with the enjoyment of a good library, at such times as were not
employed in the management of the family (for my mother had been dead
three years), in visiting, or some other party of rural diversion.
Having more imagination than judgment, I addicted myself too much
to poetry and romance; and, in short, was looked upon as a very
extraordinary person by everybody in the country where I resided.

'I had one evening strayed, with a book in my hand, into a wood that
bordered on the high road, at a little distance from my father's
house, when a certain drunken squire, riding by, perceived me, and
crying, "Holloa, there's a charming creature!" alighted in a moment,
caught me in his arms, and treated me so rudely that I shrieked
as loud as I could, and in the meantime opposed his violence with
all the strength that rage and resentment could inspire. During this
struggle, another horseman came up, who, seeing a lady so unworthily
used, dismounted, and flew to my assistance. The squire, mad
with disappointment, or provoked with the reproaches of the other
gentleman, quitted me, and running to his horse, drew a pistol from
the saddle, and fired it at my protector, who happily receiving
no damage, went up, and, with the butt-end of his whip laid him
prostrate on the ground before he could use the other, which his
antagonist immediately seized, and, clapping to the squire's breast,
threatened to put him to death for his cowardice and treachery. In
this dilemma I interposed and begged his life, which was granted
to my request, after he had asked pardon, and swore his intention
was only to obtain a kiss. However, my defender thought proper to
unload the other pistol, and throw away the flints, before he gave
him his liberty. This courteous stranger conducted me home, where
my father having learned the signal service he had done me, loaded
him with caresses, and insisted on his lodging that night at our
house. If the obligation he had conferred upon me justly inspired
me with sentiments of gratitude, his appearance and conversation
seemed to entitle him to somewhat more, He was about the
age of two-and-twenty, among the tallest of the middle size; had
chestnut-coloured hair, which he wore tied up in a ribbon; a high
polished forehead, a nose inclining to the aquiline, lively blue
eyes, red pouting lips, teeth as white as snow, and a certain openness
of countenance--but why need I describe any more particulars of
his person? I hope you will do me the justice to believe I do not
flatter, when I say he was the exact resemblance of you; and if I
had not been well acquainted with his family and degree, I should
have made no scruple of concluding that you was his brother. He
spoke and seemed to have no reserve: for what he said was ingenuous,
sensible, and uncommon. In short," said she, bursting into tears,
"he was formed for the ruin of our sex. His behaviour was modest
and respectful, but his looks were so significant, that I could
easily observe he secretly blessed the occasion that introduced
him to my acquaintance. We learned from his discourse that he was
the eldest son of a wealthy gentleman in the neighbourhood, to whose
name we were no strangers--that he had been to visit an acquaintance
in the country, from whose house he was returning home, when my
shrieks brought him to my rescue.

'All night long my imagination formed a thousand ridiculous expectations:
there was so much of knight-errantry in this gentleman's coming to
the relief of a damsel in distress, with whom he immediately became
enamoured, that all I had read of love and chivalry recurred to
my fancy; and I looked upon myself as a princess in some region of
romance, who being delivered from the power of some brutal giant
or satyr, by a generous Oroondates, was bound in gratitude, as well
as led by inclination, to yield up my affections to him without
reserve. In vain did I endeavour to chastise these foolish conceits
by reflections more reasonable and severe: the amusing images
took full possession of my mind, and my dreams represented my hero
sighing at my feet, in the language of a despairing lover. Next
morning after breakfast he took his leave, when my father begged
the favour of further acquaintance with him; to which request he
replied by a compliment to him, and a look to me so full of eloquence
and tenderness, that my whole soul received the soft impression. In
a short time he repeated his visit; and as a recital of the particular
steps he pursued to ruin me would be tedious and impertinent, let
it suffice to say, he made it his business to insinuate himself
into my esteem, by convincing me of his own good sense, and at the
same time flattering my understanding. This task he performed in
the most artful manner, by seeming to contradict me often through
misapprehension, that I might have an opportunity of clearing myself
the more to my own honour. Having thus secured my good opinion, he
began to give me some tokens of a particular passion, founded on
a veneration of the qualities of my mind, and, as an accidental
ornament, admired the beauties of my person; till at being fully
persuaded of his conquest, he chose a proper season for the theme,
and disclosed his love in terms so ardent and sincere, that it was
impossible for me to disguise the sentiments of my heart, and he
received my approbation with the most lively transport. After this
mutual declaration, we contrived to meet more frequently in private
interviews, where we enjoyed the conversation of one another, in
all the elevation of fancy and impatience of hope that reciprocal
adoration can inspire. He professed his honourable intentions, of
which I made no question; lamented the avaricious disposition of
his father, who had destined him for the arms of another, and vowed
eternal fidelity with such an appearance of candour and devotion--that
I became a dupe to his deceit. Cursed be the day on which I gave
away my innocence and peace! Cursed be my beauty that first attracted
the attention of the seducer! Cursed be my education, that, by
refining my sentiments, made my heart the more susceptible! Cursed
be my good sense, that fixed me to one object, and taught me the
preference I enjoyed was but my due! Had I been ugly, nobody would
have tempted me; had I been ignorant, the charms of my person would
not have atoned for the coarseness of my conversation; had I been
giddy, my vanity would have divided my inclinations, and my ideas
would have been so diffused, that I should never have listened to
the enchantments of one alone.

But to return to my unfortunate story. After some months, the visits
of my lover became less frequent, and his behaviour less warm: I
perceived his coldness, my heart took the alarm, my tears reproached
him, and I insisted upon the performance of his promise to espouse
me, that, whatever should happen, my reputation might be safe.
He seemed to acquiesce in my proposal, and left me on pretence of
finding a proper clergyman to unite us in the bands of wedlock. But
alas! the inconstant had no intention to return. I waited a whole
week with the utmost impatience; sometimes doubting his honour, at
other times inventing excuses for him, and condemning myself for
harbouring suspicions of his faith. At length I understood from
a gentleman who dined at our house, that this perfidious wretch
was on the point of setting out for London with his bride, to buy
clothes for their approaching nuptials. This information distracted
me! Rage took possession of my soul; I denounced a thousand
imprecations, and formed as many schemes of revenge against the
traitor who had undone me. Then my resentment would subside to
silent sorrow. I recalled the tranquillity I lost, I wept over my
infatuation, and sometimes a ray of hope would intervene, and for
a moment cheer my drooping heart; I would revolve all the favourable
circumstances of his character, repeat the vows he made, ascribe
his absence to the vigilance of a suspicious father who compelled
him to a match his soul abhorred, and comfort myself with the
expectation of seeing him before the thing should be brought to any
terms of agreement. But how vain was my imagination! That villain
left me without remorse, and in a few days the news of his marriage
were spread all over the country. My horror was then inconceivable;
and had not the desire of revenge diverted the resolution, I should
infallibly have put an end to my miserable life. My father observed
the symptoms of my despair: and though I have good reason to believe
he guessed the cause, was at a great deal of pains to seem ignorant
of my affliction, while he endeavoured with parental fondness
to alleviate my distress. I saw his concern, which increased my
anguish, and raised my fury against the author of my calamity to
an implacable degree.

"Having furnished myself with a little money, I made an elopement
from this unhappy parent in the night-time, and about break of
day arrived at a small town, from whence a stage coach set out for
London, in which I embarked, and next day alighted in town; the
spirit of revenge having supported me all the way against every
other reflection, My first care was to hire a lodging, in which I
kept myself very retired, assumed a feigned name, that my character
and situation might be better concealed. It was not long before
I found out the house of my lover, whither I immediately repaired
in a transport of rage, determined to act some desperate deed for
the satisfaction of my despair, though the hurry of my spirits
would not permit me to concert or resolve upon a particular plan.
When I demanded admission to Lothario (so let me call him), I was
desired to send up my name and business; but this I refused, telling
the porter I had business for his master's private ear; upon which
I was conducted into a parlour until he should be informed of my
request. There I remained about a quarter of an hour, when a servant
entered and told me his master was engaged with company, and begged
to be excused at that time. My temper could hold out no longer. I
pulled out a poniard from my bosom, where I had concealed it, and
rushing out flew up stairs like a fury, exclaiming, "Where's this
perfidious villain? could I plunge this dagger into his false
heart, I should then die satisfied!" The noise I made alarmed not
only the servants, but the company also, who hearing my threats
came forward to the staircase to see was the matter. I was seized,
disarmed, and withheld by two footmen; and in this situation felt
the most exquisite torture in beholding my undoer approach with
his young wife. I could not endure the sight, was deprived of my
senses, and fell into a severe fit, during which I know not how
I was treated; but when I recovered the use of reflection, found
myself on a bed in a paltry apartment, where I was attended by
an old woman, who asked a thousand impertinent questions relating
to my condition, and informed me that my behaviour had thrown the
whole family into confusion; that Lothario affirmed I was mad, and
proposed to have me sent to Bedlam; but my lady persuaded herself
there was more in my conduct than he cared should be known, and
had taken to her bed on bare suspicion, having first ordered that
I should be narrowly looked to. I heard all she said without making
any other reply than desiring she would do me the favour to call a
chair; but this she told me could not be done without her master's
consent, which, however, was easily procured, and I was conveyed
to my lodgings in a state of mind that baffles all description.
The agitation of my thoughts produced a fever, which brought on a
miscarriage; and I believe it is well for my conscience that heaven
thus disposed of my burden; for let me own to you with penitence and
horror, if I had brought a living child into the world, my frenzy
would have prompted me to sacrifice the little innocent to my
resentment of the father's infidelity.

"After this event my rage abated, and my hate became more deliberate
and calm: when one day my landlady informed me that there was
a gentleman below who desired to see me, he having something of
consequence to impart, which he was sure would contribute to my
peace of mind. I was exceedingly alarmed at this declaration, which
I attempted to interpret a thousand ways; and before I came to any
determination he entered my room, with an apology for intruding
without my knowledge or consent. I surveyed him some time, and
not being able to recollect his face, demanded, with a faltering
accent, what his business was with me? Upon which he desired I would
give him a particular audience, and he did not doubt of communicating
something that would conduce to my satisfaction and repose. As I
thought myself sufficiently guarded against any violence, I granted
his request, and bade the woman withdraw. The stranger, then
advancing, gave me to understand that he was well acquainted with
the particulars of my story, having been informed of them from
Lothario's own mouth--that from the time he knew my misfortunes he
had entertained a detestation for the author of them, which had of
late been increased and inflamed to a desire of revenge, by a piece
of dishonourable conduct towards him--that hearing of my melancholy
situation, he had come with an intention of offering his assistance
and comfort, and was ready to espouse my quarrel, and forthwith
take vengeance on my seducer, provided I would grant him one
consideration, which, he hoped, I should see no reason to refuse.
Had all the artifice of hell been employed in composing a persuasive,
it could not have had a more instantaneous or favourable effect than
this discourse had upon me. I was transported with a delirium of
gloomy joy. The contract was made; he devoted himself to my revenge,
undertook to murder Lothario that very night, and to bring me an
account of his death before morning. Accordingly, about two of the
clock, he was introduced to my chamber, and assured me that my
perfidious lover was no more: that although he was not entitled
to such an honourable proceeding, he had fairly challenged him to
the field, where he upbraided him with his treachery towards me,
for whom, he told me, his sword was drawn, and after a few passes
left him weltering in his blood. I was so savaged by my wrongs,
that I delighted in the recital of this adventure, made him repeat
the particulars. and feasted my eyes on the blood that remained
on his clothes and sword. My imagination was so engrossed by these
ideas, that in my sleep I dreamed Lothario appeared before me pale,
mangled, and bloody, blamed my rashness, protested his innocence,
and pleaded his cause so pathetically, that I was convinced of
his fidelity, and waked in a fit of horror and remorse. I dropped
asleep again, and the same apparition recurred to my fancy. In short,
I passed the night in great misery, and looked upon my avenger with
such abhorrence, that in the morning, perceiving my aversion, he
insinuated there was still a possibility of Lothario's recovery:
it was quite true he left him wounded on the ground, but not quite
dead, and perhaps his hurts might not be mortal. At these words
I started up, bade him fly for intelligence, and if he could not
bring me tidings of Lothario's safety, at least consult his own, and
never return; for I was resolved to surrender myself to justice, and
declare all I knew of the affair, that, if possible I might expiate
my own guilt, by incurring the rigours of a sincere repentance and
ignominious death. He very coolly represented the unreasonableness
of my prejudice against him, who had done nothing but what his love
of me inspired, and honour justified: that now he had, at the risk
of his life, been subservient to my revenge, I was about to discard
him as an infamous agent, occasionally necessary; and that, even
if he should be so lucky as to bring news of Lothario's safety, it
was probable my former resentment might revive, and I would upbraid
him with having failed in his undertaking. I assured him, that on
the contrary, he should be dearer to me than ever, as I then should
be convinced he acted more on the principles of a man of honour
than on those of a mercenary assassin, and scorned to take away
the life of an adversary, how inveterate soever, which fortune had
put in his power. "Well, then madam," said he, whatever may have
happened, I shall find it no difficult matter to acquit myself in
point of honour;" and took his leave in order to inquire into the
consequences of his duel. I was now more sensible than ever of
the degrees of guilt and misery; all the affliction I had suffered
hitherto was owing to my own credulity and weakness, and my conscience
could only accuse me of venial crimes; but now that I looked upon
myself as a murderer, it is impossible to express the terrors of
my imagination, which was incessantly haunted by the image of the
deceased, and my bosom stung with the most exquisite agonies, of
which I saw no end. At length, Horatio (for so I shall call my new
friend) returned, and telling me I had nothing to fear, delivered
into my hands a billet containing these words.

"As I understand it is of consequence to your peace, I take
this liberty to inform you, that the wounds I received from
Horatio are not mortal. This satisfaction my humanity could not
deny, even to a person who has endeavoured to disturb the
repose as well as the life of

'Being well acquainted with this hand, I had no reason to suspect
an imposition in this letter, which I read over and over with
a transport of joy, and caressed Horatio so much that he appeared
the happiest man alive. Thus was I won from despair by the menaces
of a greater misfortune than that which depressed me. Griefs are like
usurpers,--the most powerful deposes all the rest. But my raptures
were not lasting: that very letter which in a manner re-established
my tranquillity, in a little time banished my peace. His unjust
reproaches, while they waked my resentment, recalled my former
happiness, and filled my soul with rage and sorrow. Horatio,
perceiving the situation of my mind, endeavoured to divert my
chagrin, by treating me with all the amusements and entertainments
of the town. I was gratified with every indulgence I could desire;
introduced into the company of women in my own situation, by whom
an uncommon deference was paid to me; and I began to lose all
remembrance of my former condition, when an accident brought it
back to my view with all its interesting circumstances. Diverting
myself one day with some newspapers, which I had not before perused,
the following advertisement attracted my attention:

'"Whereas a young gentlewoman disappeared from her father's house
in the county of --, about the end of September, on account (as
is supposed) of some uneasiness of mind, and has not been as yet
heard of. Whoever will give any information about her to Mr. -- of
Gray's Inn, shall be handsomely rewarded; or if she will return to
the arms of her disconsolate parent, she will be received with the
utmost tenderness, whatever reason she may have to think otherwise,
and may be the means of prolonging the life of a father already
weighed down almost to the grave with age and sorrow."

'This pathetic remonstrance had such an effect on me, that I was
fully resolved to return, like the prodigal son, and implore the
forgiveness of him who gave me life; but, alas! Upon inquiry, I
found he had paid his debt to nature a month before, lamenting my
absence to his last hour, having left his fortune to a stranger,
as a mark of his resentment of my unkind and undutiful behaviour.
Penetrated with remorse on this occasion, I sank into the most
profound melancholy, and considered myself as the immediate cause
of his death. I lost all relish for company; and, indeed, most of
my acquaintances no sooner perceived my change of temper, than they
abandoned me. Horatio, disgusted at my insensibility, or from some
other cause, became colder and colder every day, till at last he
left me altogether, without making any apology for his conduct,
or securing me against the miseries of want, as a man of honour
ought to have done, considering the share he had in my ruin; for I
afterwards learned, that the quarrel between Lothario and him was
a story trumped up to rid the one of my importunities, and give
the other a recommendation to me, which, it seems, he desired, upon
seeing me at the house of my seducer. Reduced to this extremity, I
cursed my own simplicity, uttered horrid imprecations against the
treachery of Horatio; and. as I became every day more and more
familiarised to the loss of innocence, resolved to be revenged on
the sex in general, by practising their own arts upon themselves.
Nor was an opportunity long wanting: an old gentlewoman, under
pretence of sympathising, visited me, and after having condoled me
on my misfortunes, and professed a disinterested friendship, began
to display the art of her occupation, in encomiums on my beauty,
and invectives against the wretch who had forsaken me; insinuating
withal, that it would be my own fault if I did not still make
my fortune by the extraordinary qualifications with which nature
had endowed me. I soon understood her drift, and gave her such
encouragement to explain herself, that we came to an agreement
immediately to divide whatever profits might accrue from such
gallants as she should introduce to my acquaintance. The first
stroke of my dissimulation was practised upon a certain judge, to
whom I was recommended by this matron as an innocent creature just
arrived from the country.'


Miss Williams interrupted by a bailiff, who carries her to the
Marshalsea--I accompany her--prove she is not the person named
in the writ--the bailiff is fain to discharge her--we shift our
lodging--her story, and my reflections thereupon-progress of a
common woman of the town--resolves to quit that way of life

Her story was here interrupted by a rap at the door, which I no
sooner opened, than three or four terrible fellows rushed in, one
of whom accosted my fellow-lodger thus: "Madam, your servant--you
must do me the favour to come along with me, I have a writ against
you." While the bailiff (for so he was) spoke thus, his followers
surrounded the prisoner, and began to handle her very roughly.
This treatment incensed me so much, that I snatched up the poker
and would certainly have used it in defence of the lady, without
any regard to the strength and number of her adversaries, had she
not begged me, with a composure of countenance for which I could
not account, to use no violence on her behalf, which could be of
no service to her, but might be very detrimental to myself. Then
turning to the leader of this formidable troop, she desired to see
the writ, and having perused it, said with a faltering voice, "I
am not the person whose name is here mentioned, arrest me at your
peril." "Ay, ay, madam," replied the catchpole. "We shall prove
your identity. In the meantime, whither will you be pleased to be
carried, to my house, or to jail?" "If I must be confined," said
she, "I would rather be in your house than in a common jail." "Well,
well," answered he, "if you have money enough in your pocket, you
shall be entertained like a princess." But when she acquainted him
with her poverty, he swore he never gave credit, and ordered one
of his myrmidons to call a coach, to carry her to the Marshalsea
at once. While they waited for the convenience, she took me aside,
and bade me be under no concern on her account, for she knew how
to extricate herself from this difficulty very soon, and perhaps
gain something by the occasion. Although her discourse was a mystery
to me, I was very well pleased with her assurance; and when the
coach came to the door, I offered to accompany her to prison, to
which proposal, after much entreaty, she consented.

When we arrived at the gate of the Marshalsea, our conductor
alighted, and having demanded entrance, presented the writ to the
turnkey, who no sooner perceived the name of Elizabeth Cary than
he cried, "Ah, ah: my old acquaintance Bet! I'm glad to see thee
with all my heart." So saying, he opened the coach door, and helped
her to dismount; but when he observed her face, he started back,
saying, "Who have we got here?" The bailiff, alarmed at this
interrogation, cried with some emotion, "Who should it be but the
prisoner, Elizabeth Cary?" The turnkey replied, "That Elizabeth Cary!
I'll be hanged if that's Elizabeth Cary more than my grandmother."
Here the lady thought fit to interpose, and tell the catchpole, if
he had taken her word for it at first, he might have saved himself
and her a great deal of trouble. "It may be so," answered he, "but
I'll have further evidence that you are not the person, before you
and I part." "Yes, yes," said she, "you shall have further evidence,
to your cost." Then we adjourned into the lodge, and called for a
bottle of wine, where my companion wrote a direction to two of her
acquaintance, and begged the favour of me to go to their lodgings,
and request them to come to her immediately. I found them together at
a house in Brydges Street, Drury Lane, and as they were luckily
unengaged, they set out with me in a hackney-coach without
hesitation, after I had related the circumstances of the affair,
which flattered then with hopes of seeing a bailiff trounced; for
there is an antipathy as natural between women of that class and
bailiffs, as that subsisting between mice and cats. Accordingly,
when they entered the lodge, they embraced the prisoner very
affectionately by the name of Nancy Williams, and asked how long
she had been nabbed, and for what? On hearing the particulars of
her adventure repeated, they offered to swear before a justice of
peace that she was not the person mentioned in the writ, whom, it
seems, they all knew; but the bailiff, who was by the time convinced
of his mistake, told them he would not put them to that trouble.
"Ladies," said he, "there's no harm done--you shall give me leave
to treat you with another bottle, and then we'll part friends."
This proposal was not at all relished by the sisterhood: and Miss
Williams told him, sure he did not imagine her such a fool as to
be satisfied with a paltry glass of sour wine? Here the turnkey
interrupted her by affirming with an oath, that the wine was as
good as ever was tipped over tongue. "Well," continued she, "that
maybe; but were it the best of champagne, it is no recompense for
the damage I have suffered both in character and health, by being
wrongfully dragged to jail; at this rate, no innocent person is
safe, since an officer of justice, out of malice, private pique,
or mistake, may injure and oppress the subject with impunity; but,
thank heaven, I live under the protection of laws that will not
suffer such insults to pass unpunished, and I know very well how
to procure redress." Mr. Vulture, for that was the bailiff's name,
finding he had to deal with one who would not be imposed upon,
began to look very sullen and perplexed, and, leaning his forehead
on his hand, entered into a deliberation with himself, which lasted
a few minutes, and then broke out in a volley of dreadful curses
against the old jade our landlady, as he called her, for having
misinformed him. After much wrangling and swearing, the matter was
referred to the decision of the turnkey, who calling for the other
bottle, mulcted the bailiff in all the liquor that had been drunk,
coach hire, and a couple of guineas for the use of the plaintiff.
The money was immediately deposited; Miss Williams gratified the
two evidences with one half, and putting the other in her pocket
drove borne with me, leaving the catchpole grumbling over his
loss, yet pleased in the main, for having so cheaply got clear
of a business that might have cost him ten times the sum, and his
place to boot. This guinea was a very seasonable relief to us, who
were reduced to great necessity, six of my shirts, and almost all
my clothes, except those on my back, having been either pawned or
sold for our maintenance before this happened. As we resented the
behaviour of our landlady, our first care was to provide ourselves
with another lodging, whither we removed next day, with an intention
to keep ourselves as retired as possible, until our cure should
be completed. When we were fixed in our new habitation, I entreated
her to finish the story of her life, which she pursued in this

'The success of our experiment on the judge encouraged us to
practice the same deceit on others; but this harvest lasted not
long, my character taking air, and my directress deserting me for
some new game. Then I took lodgings near Charing-Cross, at two
guineas a week, and began to entertain company in a public manner;
but my income being too small to defray my expenses, I was obliged
to retrench, and enter into articles with the porters of certain
taverns, who undertook to find employment enough for me, provided I
would share my profits with them. Accordingly, I was almost every
night engaged with company, among whom I was exposed to every
mortification, danger, and abuse, that flow from drunkenness and
brutality. As my spirit was not sufficiently humbled to the will,
nor my temper calculated for the conversation of my gallants, it was
impossible for me to overcome an aversion I felt for my profession,
which manifested itself in a settled gloom on my countenance, and
disgusted those sons of mirth and riot so much, that I was frequently
used in a shocking manner, and kicked down stairs with disgrace.
The messengers, seeing me disagreeable to their benefactors and
employers, seldom troubled me with a call, and I began to find
myself almost totally neglected.

'To contribute towards my support I was fain to sell my watch, rings,
trinkets, with the best part of my clothes; and I was one evening
musing by myself on misery before me when I received a message from
a tavern, whither I repaired in a chair, and was introduced to a
gentleman dressed like an officer, with whom I supped in a sumptuous
manner. In the morning, when I awoke, I found my gallant had got
up, and, drawing aside the curtain, could not perceive him in the
room. I waited a full hour for his return, and then in the greatest
perplexity, rose up and rang the bell. When the waiter came to the
door, he found it locked, and desired admittance, which I granted,
after observing, with great surprise, that the key remained on
the inside, as when we went to bed. I no sooner inquired for the
captain, than the fellow, staring with a distracted look, cried,
"How, madam, is he not abed?" And when he was satisfied as to that
particular, ran into a closet adjoining to the chamber, the window
of which he found open. Through this the adventurer had got upon
a wall, front whence he dropped down into a court and escaped,
leaving me to be answerable not only for the reckoning, but also
for a large silver tankard and posset-bowl, which he had carried
off with him.

'It is impossible to describe the consternation I was under, when
I saw myself detained as a thief's accomplice; for I was looked
upon in that light, and carried before a justice, who mistaking my
confusion for a sign of guilt committed me, after a short examination,
to Bridewell, having admonished me, as the only means to save my
life, to turn evidence, and impeach my confederate. I now concluded
the vengeance of Heaven had overtaken me, and that I must soon
finish my career by an ignominious death. This reflection sank so
deep into my soul, that I was for some days deprived of my reason,
and actually believed myself in hell, tormented by fiends. Indeed,
there needs not a very extravagant imagination to form that
idea: for of all the scenes on earth that of Bridewell approaches
nearest the notion I had always entertained of the regions. Here
I saw nothing but rage, anguish and impiety, and heard nothing but
groans, curses, and blasphemy. In the midst of this hellish crew,
I was subjected to the tyranny of a barbarian, who imposed upon
me tasks that I could not possibly perform, and then punished
my incapacity with the utmost rigour and inhumanity. I was often
whipped into a swoon, and lashed out of it (during which miserable
interval, I was robbed by my fellow-prisoners of everything about
me, even to my cap, shoes, and stockings): I was not only destitute
of necessaries, but even of food, so that my wretchedness was extreme.
Not one of my acquaintance to whom I imparted my situation, would
grant me the least succour or regard, on pretence of my being
committed for theft, and my landlord refused to part with some of
my own clothes which I sent for, because I was indebted to him for
a week's lodging.

'Overwhelmed with calamity, I grew desperate, and resolved to put
an end to my grievances and life together: for this purpose I got
up in the middle of the night, when I thought everybody around me
asleep, and fixing one end of a large hook in the ceiling, that
supported the scales on which the hemp is weighed, I stood upon
a chair, and making a noose on the other end, put my neck into ii
with an intention to hang myself; but before I could adjust the
knot I was surprised and prevented by two women, who had been awake
all the while and suspected my design. In the morning, my attempt
was published among the prisoners and punished with thirty stripes,
the pain of which, co-operating with my disappointment and disgrace,
bereft me of my senses, and threw me into an ecstacy of madness,
during which I tore the flesh from my bones with my teeth, and
dashed my head against the pavement; so that they were obliged to
set a watch over me, to restrain me from doing further mischief to
myself and others. This fit of frenzy continued three days, at the
end of which I grew calm and sullen: but as the desire of making away
with myself still remained, I came to a determination of starving
myself to death, and with that view refused all sustenance.

'Whether it was owing to the want of opposition, or to the weakness
of nature, I know not; but on the second day of my fast, I found
my resolution considerably impaired, and the calls of hunger almost
insupportable. At this critical conjuncture a lady was brought
into the prison, with whom I had contracted an acquaintance while
I lived with Horatio; she was then on the same footing as I was,
but afterwards quarrelling with her gallant, and not finding another
to her mind, altered her scheme of life, and set up a coffee-house
among the hundreds in Drury, where she entertained gentlemen with
claret, arrack, and the choice of half-a-dozen damsels who lived
in her house. This serviceable matron having neglected to gratify
a certain justice for the connivance she enjoyed, was indicted at the
quarter sessions, in consequence of which her bevy was dispersed,
and herself committed to Bridewell. She had not been long there before
she learned my disaster, and coming up to me, after a compliment
of condolence, inquired into the particulars of my fate. While we
were engaged in discourse together, the master came and told me,
that the fellow on whose account I had suffered was taken, that
he had confessed the theft, and cleared me of any concern in the
affair; for which reason he, the master, had orders to discharge
me, and that I was from that moment free.

'This piece of news soon banished all thoughts of death, and had
such an instantaneous effect on my countenance, that Mrs. Coupler
(the lady then present), hoping to find her account in me, very
generously offered to furnish me with what necessaries I wanted,
and take me into her own house as soon as she could compromise
matters with the justices. The conditions of her offer were, that
I should pay three guineas weekly for my board, and a reasonable
consideration besides, for the use of such clothes and ornaments
as she should supply me with, to be deducted from the first profits
of my occupation. These were hard terms, but not to be rejected
by one who was turned out helpless and naked into the wide world,
without a friend to pity or assist her. I therefore embraced her
proposal, and she being bailed in a few hours, took me home with
her in a coach. As I was by this time conscious of having formerly
disgusted my admirers by my reserved loud haughty behaviour, I
now endeavoured to conquer that disposition, and the sudden change
of my fortune giving me a flow of spirits, I appeared in the most
winning and gay manner I could assume. Having the advantage of
a good voice and education, I exerted my talents to the uttermost,
and soon became the favourite with all company. This success
alarmed the pride and jealousy of Mrs. Coupler, who could not bear
the thoughts of being eclipsed: she therefore made a merit of her
envy, and whispered among the customers that I was unsound. There
needed no more to ruin my reputation and blast my prosperity;
everybody shunned me with marks of aversion and disdain, and in
a very short time I was as solitary as ever. Want of gallants was
attended with want of money to satisfy my malicious landlady, who
having purposely given me credit to the amount of eleven pounds,
took out a writ against me and I was arrested in her own house.
Though the room was crowded with people when the bailiff entered,
not one of them had compassion enough to mollify my prosecutrix,
far less to pay the debt; they even laughed at my tears, and one
of them bade me be of good cheer, for I should not want admirers
in Newgate.

'At this instant a sea-lieutenant came in, and seeing my plight,
began to inquire into the circumstances of my misfortune. "Harkee,
my girl," he inquired "how far have you overrun the constable?"
I told him that the debt amounted to eleven pounds, besides the
expenses of the writ. "An that be all," said he, "you shan't go to
the bilboes this bout." And taking out his purse, he paid the money,
discharged the bailiff, and telling me I had got into the wrong
port, advised me to seek out a more convenient harbour, where I
could be safely hove down; for which purpose he made me a present
of five guineas more. I was so touched with this singular piece
of generosity, that for some time I had not power to thank him.
However, as soon as I recollected myself, I begged the favour of
him to go with me to the next tavern, where I explained the nature
of my disaster, and convinced him of the falsehood of what was
reported to my prejudice so effectually, that he from that moment
attached himself to me, and we lived in great harmony together,
until he was obliged to go to sea, where he perished in a storm.

'Having lost my benefactor, and almost consumed the remains of his
bounty, I saw myself in danger of relapsing into my former necessity,
and began to be very uneasy at the prospect of bailiffs and jails!
when one of the sisterhood advised me to take lodgings in a part
of the town where I was unknown, and pass for an heiress, by which
artifice I might entrap somebody to be my husband, who would possibly
be able to allow me a handsome maintenance, or at worst screen me
from the dread and danger of a prison, by becoming liable for whatever
debts I should contract. I approved of this scheme, towards the
execution of which my companion clubbed her wardrobe, and undertook
to live with me in quality of my maid, with the proviso that she
should be reimbursed and handsomely considered out of the profits
of my success. She was immediately detached to look out for a
convenient place, and that very day hired a genteel apartment in
Park Street, whither I moved in a couch loaded with her baggage, and
my own. I made my first appearance in a blue riding habit trimmed
with silver; and my maid acted her part so artfully, that in a day
or two my fame spread all over the neighbourhood, and I was said
to be a rich heiress just arrived from the country. This report
brought a swarm of gay young fellows about me; but I soon found
them to be all indigent adventurers like myself, who crowded to me
like crows to a carrion, with a view of preying upon my fortune. I
maintained, however, the appearance of wealth as long as possible,
in hopes of gaining some admirer more for my purpose, and at length
attracted the regard of one who would have satisfied my wishes,
and managed matters so well, that a day was actually fixed for our
nuptials. In the interim, he begged leave to introduce an intimate
friend to me, which request, as I could not refuse, I had the extreme
mortification and surprise to see, next night, in that friend, my
old keeper Horatio, who no sooner beheld me than he changed colour,
but had presence of mind to advance and salute me, bidding me (with
a low voice) be under no apprehension, for he would not expose me.
In spite of his assurance, I could not recover myself so far as to
entertain them, but withdrew to my chamber on pretence of a severe
headache, to the no small concern of my adorer, who took his leave
in the tenderest manner, and went off with his friend.

'Having imparted my situation to my companion, she found it high
time for us to decamp, and that without any noise, because we were
not only indebted to our landlady, but also to several tradesmen in
the neighbourhood. Our retreat, therefore, was concerted and executed
in this manner: Having packed up all our clothes and moveables in
small parcels, she (on pretence of fetching cordials for me) carried
them at several times to the house of an acquaintance, where she
likewise procured a lodging, to which we retired in the middle of
the night, when every other body in the house was asleep. I was
now obliged to aim at lower game, and accordingly spread my nets
among tradespeople, but found them all too phlegmatic or cautious
for my art and attractions, till at last I became acquainted with
you, on whom I practised all my dexterity; not that I believed you
had any fortune, or expectation of me, but that I might transfer
the burden of such debts as I had incurred, or should contract,
from myself to another, and at the same time avenge myself of your
sex, by rendering miserable one who bore such resemblance to the
wretch who ruined me; but Heaven preserved you from my snares by the
discovery you made, which was owing to the negligence of my maid
in leaving the chamber-door unlocked when she went to buy sugar
for breakfast. When I found myself detected and forsaken by you,
I was fain to move my lodging, and dwell two pair of stairs higher
than before. My companion, being disappointed in her expectations,
left me, and I had no other resource than to venture forth, like
the owls in the dark, to pick up a precarious and uncomfortable
subsistence. I have often sauntered between Ludgate Hill and Charing
Cross a whole winter night, exposed not only to the inclemency of
the weather, but likewise to the rage of hunger and thirst, without
being so happy as to meet with one dupe, then creep up to my garret,
in a deplorable draggled condition, sneak to bed, and try to bury
my appetite and sorrows in sleep. When I lighted on some rake or
tradesman reeling home drunk, I frequently suffered the most brutal
treatment, in spite of which I was obliged to affect gaiety and
good humour, though my soul was stung with resentment and disdain,
and my heart loaded with grief and affliction. In the course of
these nocturnal adventures, I was infected with the disease, that
in a short time rendered me the object of my own abhorrence, and
drove me to the retreat where your benevolence rescued me from the
jaws of death.'

So much candour and good sense appeared in this lady's narration,
that I made no scruple of believing every syllable of what she said,
and expressed my astonishment at the variety of miseries she had
undergone in so little time, for all her misfortunes had happened
within the compass of two years; I compared her situation with my
own, and found it a thousand times more wretched. I had endured
hardships, 'tis true--my whole life had been a series of such; and
when I looked forward, the prospect was not much bettered, but then
they were become habitual to me, and consequently I could bear them
with less difficulty. If one scheme of life should not succeed, I
could have recourse to another, and so to a third, veering about
to a thousand different shifts, according to the emergencies of
my fate, without forfeiting the dignity of my character beyond a
power of retrieving it, or subjecting myself wholly to the caprice
and barbarity of the world. On the other hand, she had known and
relished the sweets of prosperity, she had been brought up under
the wings of an indulgent parent, in all the delicacies to which
her sex and rank entitled her; and without any extravagance of
hope, entertained herself with the view of uninterrupted happiness
through the whole scene of life. How fatal then, how tormenting,
how intolerable, must her reverse of fortune be!--a reverse, that
not only robs her of these external comforts, and plunges her into
all the miseries of want, but also murders her peace of mind, and
entails upon her the curse of eternal infamy! Of all professions
I pronounced that of a courtesan the most deplorable, and her of
all courtesans the most unhappy. She allowed my observation to be
just in the main, but at the same time affirmed that notwithstanding
the disgraces which had fallen to her share, she had not been so
unlucky in the condition of a prostitute as many others of the same
community. "I have often seen," said she, "while I strolled about
the streets at midnight, a number of naked wretches reduced to rags
and filth, huddled together like swine, in the corner of a dark
alley, some of whom, but eighteen months before, I had known the
favourites of the town, rolling in affluence, and glittering in
all the pomp of equipage and dress. Miserable wretch that I am!
perhaps the same horrors are decreed for me!" "No!" cried she, after
some pause, "I shall never live to such extremity of distress; my
own hand shall open a way for my deliverance, before I arrive at
that forlorn period!" Her condition filled me with sympathy and
compassion: I revered her qualifications, looked upon her as unfortunate,
not criminal, and attended her with such care and success, that in
less than two months her health, as well as my own, was perfectly
re-established. As we often conferred upon our mutual affairs,
and interchanged advice, a thousand different projects were formed,
which, upon further canvassing, appeared impracticable. We would
have gladly gone to service, but who would take us in without
recommendation? At length an expedient occurred to her, of which
she intended to lay hold; and this was, to procure with the first
money she should earn, the homely garb of a country wench, go to
some village at a good distance from town, and come up in a waggon,
as a fresh girl for service: by which means she might be provided
for, in a manner much more suitable to her inclination than her
present way of life.


I am reduced to a great misery--assaulted on Tower Hill by a press-gang,
who put me on board a tender--my usage there--my arrival on board
at a man-of-war, where I am put in irons, and released by the good
offices of Mr. Thompson, who recommends me as assistant to the
surgeon---he relates his own story--characters of the captain,
surgeon, and first mate

I applauded the resolution of Miss Williams, who a few days after,
was hired in quality of bar-keeper, by one of the ladies who
had witnessed in her behalf at the Marshalsea, and who since that
time had got credit with a wine merchant, whose favourite she was,
to set up a convenient house of her own. Thither my fellow-lodger
repaired, after having taken leave of me with a torrent of tears,
and a thousand protestations of eternal gratitude; assuring me she
would remain in this situation no longer than she could pick up
money sufficient to put her other design in execution.

As for my own part, I saw no resource but the army or navy, between
which I hesitated so long that I found myself reduced to a starving
condition. My spirit began to accommodate itself to my beggarly
fate, and I became so mean as to go down towards Wapping, with an
intention to inquire for an old schoolfellow, who, I understood,
had got the command of a small coasting vessel then in the river,
and implore his assistance. But my destiny prevented this abject
piece of behaviour; for as I crossed Tower Wharf, a squat tawny
fellow with a hanger by his side, and a cudgel in his hand came up
to me, calling, "Yo ho! brother, you must come along with me." As
I did not like his appearance, instead of answering his salutation,
I quickened my pace, in hope of ridding myself of his company; upon
which he whistled aloud, and immediately another sailor appeared
before me, who laid hold of me by the collar, and began to drag me
along. Not being in a humour to relish such treatment, I disengaged
myself of the assailant, and, with one blow of my cudgel, laid
him motionless on the ground; and perceiving myself surrounded in
a trice by ten or a dozen more, exerted myself with such dexterity
and success, that some of my opponents were fain to attack me
with drawn cutlasses; and after an obstinate engagement, in which
I received a large wound on my head, and another on my left cheek,
I was disarmed, taken prisoner, and carried on board a pressing
tender, where, after being pinioned like a malefactor, I was thrust
down into the hold among a parcel of miserable wretches, the sight
of whom well nigh distracted me. As the commanding officer had
not humanity enough to order my wounds to be dressed, and I could
not use my own hands, I desired one of my fellow captives who was
unfettered, to take a handkerchief out of my pocket, and tie it
round my head, to stop the bleeding. He pulled out my handkerchief,
'tis true, but instead of applying it to the use for which I designed
it, went to the grating of the hatchway, and, with astonishing
composure, sold it before my face to a bumboat woman [1] then on
board, for a quart of gin, with which he treated his companions,
regardless of my circumstances and entreaties.

[1] A Bumboat woman is one who sells bread, cheese, greens, liquor,
and fresh potatoes to the sailors, in a small boat that lies
alongside the ship

I complained bitterly of this robbery to the midshipman on deck,
telling him at the same time, that unless my hurts were dressed,
I should bleed to death. But compassion was a weakness of which no
man could justly accuse this person, who, squirting a mouthful of
dissolved tobacco upon me through the gratings, told me "I was a
mutinous dog, and that I might die for anything he cared!" Finding
there was no other remedy, I appealed to patience, and laid up this
usage in my memory, to be called at a more fitting opportunity. In
the meantime, loss of blood, vexation, and want of food, contributed,
with the noisome stench of the place, to throw me into a swoon,
out of which I was recovered by a tweak of the nose, administered
by the tar who stood sentinel over us, who at the same time regaled
me with a draught of flip, and comforted me with the hopes of being
put on board of the Thunder next day, where I should be freed of
my handcuffs, and cured of my wounds by the doctor. I no sooner
beard him name the Thunder, than I asked if he had belonged to
that ship long; and be giving me to understand he had belonged to
her five years, I inquired if he knew Lieutenant Bowling? "Know
Lieutenant Bowling!" said he, "Odds my life! and that I do; and
a good seaman he is as ever stepped upon forecastle, and a brave
fellow as ever cracked biscuit--none of your Guinea pigs, nor your
fresh water, wish-washy, fair-weather fowls. Many a taugt gale of
wind have honest Tom Bowling and I weathered together. Here's his
health, with all my heart: wherever he is, a-loft, or a-low, the
lieutenant needs not be ashamed to show himself." I was so much
affected with this eulogium, that I could not refrain from telling
him that I was Lieutenant Bowling's kinsman; in consequence of which
connection, he expressed his inclination to serve me, and when he
was relieved, brought some cold boiled beef in a platter, and biscuit,
on which we supped plentifully, and afterwards drank another can
of flip together. While we were thus engaged, he recounted a great
many exploits of my uncle, who, I found, was very much beloved by
the ship's company, and pitied for the misfortune that had happened
to him in Hispaniola, which I was very glad to be informed was
not so great as I imagined; for Captain Oakum had recovered of
his wounds, and actually at that time commanded the ship. Having
by accident, in my pocket, my uncle's letter, written from Port
Louis, I gave it my benefactor (whose name was Jack Rattlin) for
his perusal; but honest Jack told me frankly he could not read,
and desired to know the contents, which I immediately communicated.
When he heard that part of it in which he says he had written to
his landlord in Deal, he cried, "Body o' me! that was old Ben Block;
he was dead before the letter came to hand. Ey, ey, had Ben been
alive, Lieutenant Bowling would have had no occasion to skulk so
long. Honest Ben was the first man that taught him to hand, reef,
and steer. Well, well, we must all die, that's certain--we must all
come to port sooner or later, at sea or on shore--we must be fast
moored one day: death's like the best bower anchor, as the saying
is--it will bring us all up." I could not but signify my approbation
of the justness of Jack's reflections, and inquired into the
occasion of the quarrel between Captain Oakum and my uncle, which
he explained in this manner: "Captain Oakum, to be sure, is a good
man enough--besides, he's my commander; but what's that to me? I do
my duty, and value no man's anger of a rope's end. Now the report
goes, as how he's a lord, or baron knight's brother, whereby
(d'ye see me,) he carries a straight arm, and keeps aloof from his
officers, thof mayhap they may be as good men in the main as he.
Now we lying at anchor in Tuberon Bay, Lieutenant Bowling had the
middle watch, and as he always kept a good look out, he made (d'ye
see) three lights in the offing, whereby he ran down to the great
cabin for orders, and found the captain asleep; whereupon he waked
him, which put him in a main high passion, and he swore woundily
at the lieutenant, and called him lousy Scotch son of a whore (for,
I being then sentinel in the steerage, heard all), and swab, and
lubber, whereby the lieutenant returned the salute, and they jawed
together fore and aft a good spell, till at last the captain turned
out, and, laying hold of a rattan, came athwart Mr. Bowling's quarter:
whereby he told the captain that, if he was not his commander, he
would heave him overboard, and demanded satisfaction ashore; whereby
in the morning watch, the captain went ashore in the pinnace, and
afterwards the lieutenant carried the cutter ashore, and so they,
leaving the boats' crews on their oars, went away together; and
so (d'ye see) in less than a quarter of an hour we heard firing,
whereby we made for the place, and found the captain lying wounded
on the beach, and so brought him on board to the doctor, who cured
him in less than six weeks. But the lieutenant clapped on all the
sail he could bear, and had got far enough ahead before we knew
anything of the matter; so that we could never after get sight of
him, for which we were not sorry, because the captain was mainly
wrath, and would certainly have done him a mischief; for he afterwards
caused him to be run on the ship's books, whereby he lost all his
pay, and, if he should be taken, would be tried as a deserter."

This account of the captain's behaviour gave me no advantageous
idea of his character; and I could not help lamenting my own fate,
that had subjected me to such a commander. However, making a virtue
of necessity, I put a good face on the matter, and next day, was,
with the other pressed men, put on board of the "Thunder," lying at
the Nore. When we came alongside, the mate, who guarded us thither,
ordered my handcuffs to be taken off, that I might get on board the
easier; this circumstance being perceived by some of the company
who stood upon the gangboard to see us enter, one of them called
to Jack Rattlin, who was busied in doing this friendly office for
me, "Hey, Jack, what Newgate galley have you boarded in the river
as you came along? Have we not thieves enow among us already?"
Another, observing my wounds, which remained exposed to the air,
told me, my seams were uncaulked, and that I must be new payed. A
third, seeing my hair clotted together with blood, as it were into
distinct cords, took notice, that my bows were mended with the red
ropes, instead of my side. A fourth asked me, if I could not keep
my yards square without iron braces? And, in short, a thousand
witticisms of the same nature were passed upon me before I could
get up the ship's side.

After we had been all entered upon the ship's books, I inquired
of one of my shipmates where the surgeon was, that I might have
my wounds dressed, and had actually got as far as the middle deck
(for our ship carried eighty guns), in my way to the cockpit, when
I was met by the same midshipman who had used me so barbarously
in the tender: he, seeing me free from my chains, asked, with an
insolent air, who had released me? To this question, I foolishly
answered, with a countenance that too plainly declared the state
of my thoughts, "Whoever did it, I am persuaded did not consult
you in the affair." I had no sooner uttered these words, than he
cried, "Damn you, you saucy son of a hitch, I'll teach you to talk
so to your officer." So saying, he bestowed on me several severe
stripes with a supple jack he had in his hand: and, going to the
commanding officer, made such a report of me, that I was immediately
put in irons by the master-at-arms, and a sentinel placed over me.
Honest Rattlin, as soon as he heard of my condition, came to me,
and administered all the consolation he could, and then went to
the surgeon in my behalf, who sent one of his mates to dress my
wounds. This mate was no other than my old friend Thompson, with
whom I became acquainted at the Navy Office, as before mentioned.
If I knew him at first sight, it was not easy for him to recognise
me, disfigured with blood and dirt, and altered by the misery I
had undergone. Unknown as I was to him, he surveyed me with looks
of compassion, and handled my sores with great tenderness. When
he had applied what he thought proper, and was about to leave me,
I asked him if my misfortunes had disguised me so much that he
could not recollect my face? Upon this address he observed me with
great earnestness for some time, and at length protested he could
not recollect one feature of my countenance. To keep him no longer
in suspense, I told him my name, which when he heard, he embraced
me with affection, and professed his sorrow at seeing me in such a
disagreeable situation. I made him acquainted with my story, and,
when he heard how inhumanly I had been used in the tender, he left
me abruptly, assuring me I should see him again soon. I had scarce
time to wonder at his sudden departure, when the master-at-arms
came to the place of my confinement, and bade me follow him to the
quarter-deck, where I was examined by the first lieutenant, who
commanded the ship in the absence of the captain, touching the
treatment I had received in the tender from my friend the midshipman,
who was present to confront me.

I recounted the particulars of his behaviour to me, not only in the
tender, but since my being on board the ship, part of which being
proved by the evidence of Jack Rattlin and others, who had no great
devotion for my oppressor, I was discharged from confinement, to
make way for him, who was delivered to the master-at-arms to take
his turn in the bilboes. And this was not the only satisfaction I
enjoyed, for I was, at the request of the surgeon, exempted from
all other duty than that of assisting his mates, in making and
administering medicines to the sick. This good office I owed to
the friendship of Mr. Thompson, who had represented me in such a
favourable light to the surgeon, that be demanded me of the lieutenant
to supply the place of his third mate, who was lately dead. When
I had obtained this favour, my friend Thompson carried me down to
the cockpit, which is the place allotted for the habitation of the
surgeon's mates; and when he had shown me their berth (as he called
it), I was filled with astonishment and horror, We descended by
divers ladders to a space as dark as a dungeon, which, I understood,

Book of the day: