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The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

Part 7 out of 10

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a wit, a critic, and perfectly well acquainted with the town; that
his honour and courage were unquestionable, though some extravagances
he had been guilty of, and his talents for satire had procured him
enemies, and made some people shy of his acquaintance. From these
different sketches, I concluded that Banter was a young fellow of
some parts, who had spent his fortune, but retained his appetites,
and fallen out with the world, because he could not enjoy it to
his wish.

I went to the Bedford Coffee-house in the evening, where I met my
friends, from thence proceeded to the play, and afterwards carried
them home to my lodgings, where we supped in great good humour.


I receive a Challenge--the Consequence of it--the Quarrel being
made up, am put in Arrest by the Care and Affection of Strap--but
immediately released upon explaining my Affair--the Behaviour of
Mr. Oregan and his two Friends--I visit Melinda, whom I divert
with an account of the Duel--propose Marriage--she refers the Matter
to her Mother, of whom I make a solemn Demand of her Daughter--the
old Lady's behaviour--I am discarded---resent their Disdain

When I was ready to go abroad next day, Strap brought me a letter,
To Mr. Random, Esq., these; which, upon opening, I found contained
a challenge conceived in these very extraordinary terms:

"Sir,--Whereas I am informed that you make love to Miss Melinda
Goosetrap, this is to let you know that she is under promise of
marriage to me; and that I am at this present waiting at the back
of Montague House, with a pair of good pistols in my hand; and if
you will keep your appointment, I will make your tongue confess
(after the breath is out of your body) that you do not deserve her
so well as
Yours, etc. Rourk Oregan."

I guessed, from the style and superscription of this billet, that
my rival was a true Milesian, and was not a little uneasy at the
contents; especially that part, in which he asserted his right
to my mistress by promise, a circumstance I did not not know how
to reconcile to her good sense and penetration. However, this was
no time for me to decline the defiance, because the success of my
addresses in a great measure depended upon my behaviour in that
affair. I therefore immediately loaded my pistols, and betook myself
in a hackney coach to the place appointed, where I found a tall
raw-boned man, with a hard-featured countenance and black bushy beard,
walking by himself, wrapped up in a shabby green coat, over which
his own hair descended in leathern queue from his head, that was
covered with a greasy hat trimmed with a tarnished pointe d'Espagne.
He had no sooner perceived me advancing than he pulled a pistol
from his bosom, and, presenting it at me, snapped it without the
least preamble. Alarmed at this rude salutation, I made a stand,
and, before he could adjust his other piece, fired one of mine
at him, without doing any damage, By this time he was ready with
his second, that flashed in the pan without going off; upon which
he called, with a true Tipperary cadence, "Fire away, honey!" and
began to hammer his flint with great deliberation. But I was resolved
to make use of the advantage fortune had given me, and therefore
stepped up without throwing away my fire, desiring him to ask his
life, or prepare for another world; but this stout Hibernian refused
to condescend, and complained bitterly of my having quitted my
ground before he could return my shot: saying I ought to go back to
my station, and let him have an equal chance with me. I endeavoured
to persuade him that I had given him a double chance already: and
it was my business to prevent him from enjoying a third; but now,
since I had an opportunity, I demanded a parley, and desired to
know his condition and reason for calling me to the field, who, to
the best of my remembrance, far from having done him any injury,
had never before seen him. He told me that he was a gentleman of
fortune, who had spent all he had, and, hearing that Melinda had
got ten thousand pounds, he intended to make himself master of that
sum by espousing her, and he was determined, in an honourable way,
to cut the throats of all those who stood between him and his hopes.

I then demanded to know the foundation of his hopes; and now that
I had seen him, being more and more astonished at the circumstance
of the promise, desired that he would explain that mystery. He
gave me to understand, that he trusted entirely to his birth and
personal merit; that he had frequently written to Melinda, setting
forth his claim and pretensions, but she was never kind enough to
send an answer, or even to admit him into her presence; and that
the promise he mentioned in his letter was made by his friend Mr.
Gahagan, who assured him that no woman could resist a man of his
appearance. I could not forbear laughing to excess at the simplicity
of my rival, who did not seem to relish my mirth, but began to be
very serious: upon which I endeavoured to appease him, by giving
him my word and honour that, far from prejudicing his addresses
to the lady, I would represent him to her in the most favourable
light I could with any regard to truth; but he must not be surprised
if she should remain blind to his deserts, for nothing was more
capricious than a woman's mind, and the affection of that sex was
seldom purchased with virtue alone. That my declaration might have
the better effect, I took notice of his deshabille, and, professing
sorrow at seeing a gentleman reduced, slipped two guineas into his
hand, at sight of which he threw away his pistols, and hugging me
in his arms, cried, "Arrah, by Jasus, now, you are the best friend
I have met with these seven long years!" When I had suffered some
minutes in his embrace, he quitted me, and picking up his rusty
arms, wished the devil might burn him if ever he should give me
any further trouble about womankind.

The quarrel being thus amicably composed, I begged leave to look
at his pistols, which I found so crazy and so foul, that I believe
it was happy for him neither of them was discharged, for one of them
would certainly have split in the going off, and he would, in all
probability, have lost his hand in the explosion; but what gave me
a lively idea of the man's character was, to find, upon examination,
that one of them had been loaded without being primed, and the
other primed without a charge.

While we walked home together, I expressed a desire of knowing my
new friend's history; and he informed me of his having served in the
German army as a volunteer against the Turks; that for his behaviour
at the siege of Belgrade, he had been honoured with an ensign's
commission, and afterwards promoted to the rank of lieutenant, in
which station it was his misfortune to affront his captain, who
challenged him to the field, and was killed in the duel, upon which
he was obliged to retreat; that he had been in England some years
soliciting his friends for provision in the British army; but
being hitherto unsuccessful, was desired by Mr. Gahagan to turn
his thoughts to matrimony, and make his fortune by an advantageous
match; in consequence of which advice, he had made up to Melinda:
and, having heard by means of an Irish footman in the family, that
I was her chief favourite, had called me out in hopes of removing
by my death the greatest obstruction to his desires; but now he
was convinced of my honour and generosity, he swore by the blessed
Virgin, he would think of her no more, if there were not another
woman in the world. As a further proof of his veracity, which I
did not at all doubt, he opened an old iron snuff-box, and pulled
out his commission in the Imperial army, and his captain's challenge,
which he preserved as testimonials of his character. I was so well
convinced of this poor man's honesty and courage, that I determined
to speak in his behalf to some of my acquaintance, who might recommend
his case to the consideration of those who could provide for him;
and in the meantime to accommodate him with a few clothes, by which
his appearance would be much mended, and himself enabled to renew
his solicitations in person.

As we walked along conversing socially together, we were met by a
file of musketeers, and Strap at their head, who no sooner approached
than, with a frantic look, he cried, "Seize them! In the name of
God seize them!" We were accordingly surrounded, and I put in arrest
by the corporal, who was commanding officer; but Captain Oregan
disengaged himself, and ran with such speed towards Tottenham Court
Road that he was out of sight in a moment. When my arms were delivered
up, and myself secured, Strap became a little more composed, and
asked pardon for the liberty he had taken, which he hoped I would
excuse, as it proceeded from his affection. He then told me that,
suspecting the letter (which by the by was brought by the author
himself) contained something extraordinary, he had peeped through
the keyhole, and seen me load my pistols; upon which he ran down
to Whitehall, and applied to the officer on guard for a party to
put me in arrest, but before he returned, I was gone in a coach;
that he had inquired which way I went, and, having heard that duels
were commonly fought at the back of Montague House, he conducted
the guard to this place, where he thanked God for having found me
safe and sound. I gave him to understand that I forgave his officious
concern for once, but cautioned him in pretty severe terms for
making me the subject of idle conversation for the future; then
turning to the corporal, thanked him for his care, and gave him a
crown to drink with his men, assuring him that the rencontre was
over long before he came up, and everything compromised, as he
might have observed by our behaviour; as a farther proof of which,
he would find upon examination that one of my pistols had been
discharged: but this civil person, without giving himself or me
any farther trouble, received the bounty with a thousand bows and
acknowledgments, and, returning the pistols, released me immediately.

He was not gone a hundred yards, when my friend Oregan came up in
order to rescue me, with two tatterdemalions, whom he had engaged
for that purpose about the purlieus of St. Giles's. One of them was
armed with a musket that wanted a lock, and another with a rusty
broadsword, but their dress surpassed all description. When he understood
I was already free. he made an apology for his abrupt departure,
and introduced me to his two companions: First, to Counsellor
Fitzclabber, who, he told me, was then employed in compiling a
history of the kings of Minster, from Irish manuscripts; and then
to his friend Mr. Gahagan, who was a profound philosopher and
politician, and had projected many excellent schemes for the good
of his country. But it seems these literati had been very ill
rewarded for their ingenious labours; for, between them both, there
was but one shirt, and half a pair of breeches. I thanked them
very kindly for their readiness to assist me, and, having offered
my service in my turn, bade them good morrow, desiring Oregan to
accompany me to my lodgings, where he was fitted with decent clothes
from my wardrobe, so much to his satisfaction, that he swore eternal
gratitude and friendship to me, and, at my request, recounted all
the adventures of his life.

In the afternoon, I waited on Melinda, who received me with great
kindness and familiarity, and laughed excessively at my adventure
with the Irishman, to whose wishes she was no stranger, having
more than a dozen letters in her possession, which he had written
to her on the subject of love, and which, for my entertainment, she
submitted to my perusal. Having made ourselves merry at the expense
of this poor admirer, I seized the opportunity of her mother's going
out of the room, and introduced my own passion, which I recommended
to her with all the ardour and eloquence I was master of. I flattered,
sighed, swore, entreated, and acted a thousand extravagancies,
in hopes of making some impression on her heart; but she heard
everything I said without discovering the least emotion; and other
company came in before she would vouchsafe one serious reply. After
tea, the cards were brought in according to custom, and it was my
good fortune to have Melinda for my partner; by which means, instead
of losing, I came off with five guineas clear gain.

I soon became acquainted with a good many people of fashion, and
spent my time in the modish diversions of the town, such as plays,
operas, masquerades, drums, assemblies, and muppet-shows; chiefly
in company with Melinda, whom I cultivated with all the eagerness
and address that my prospect could inspire, and my education afford.
I spared neither my person nor my purse to gratify her vanity and
pride; my rivals were intimidated, and indeed outshone; and, after
all, I began to fear that the dear creature had not a heart to

At last, finding myself unable to support the expense of this amour
much longer, I was determined to bring the matter to a crisis; and
one evening, while we were together by ourselves, complained of
her indifference, described the tortures of suspense to a love-sick
mind, and pressed her to disclose her sentiments of matrimony and
me with such earnestness, that she could not, with all her art,
shift the subject, but was obliged to come to an eclaircissement.
She told me, with a careless air, that she had no objection to my
person, and if I could satisfy her mother in other particulars, I
should not find her averse to the match; but she was resolved to do
nothing in such a momentous concern without the advice and consent
of her parent. This was no very agreeable declaration to me, whose
aim had been to win her inclination first, and then secure my
conquest by a private marriage, to which I flattered myself she
would express no reluctance. That I might not, however, desert my
cause before it was desperate, I waited on her mother; and, with
great formality, demanded the daughter in marriage. The good lady,
who was a very notable woman, behaved with great state and civility;
thanked me for the honour I intended her family; and said, she
did not doubt that I was in all respects qualified to make a woman
happy; but it concerned her as a parent anxious about the welfare
of her child, to inquire into the particulars of my fortune, and
know what settlement I proposed to make. To this intimation, which
would have utterly disconcerted me if I had not expected it, I
replied, without hesitation that, though my fortune was very small, I
was a gentleman by birth and education, would maintain her daughter
in the sphere of a gentlewoman, and settle her own dowry on her and
her heirs for ever. This careful matron did not seem to relish my
proposal, but observed, w h a demure countenance, that there was
no necessity for settling that upon her child which was her own
already; however, if I pleased, her lawyer should confer with mine
upon the matter; and, in the meantime, she desired I would favour
her with a perusal of my rent-roll. Notwithstanding the vexation
I was under, I could scarce forbear laughing in her face at the
mention of my rent-roll, which was indeed a severe piece of satire
upon my pretensions. I frankly owned I had no landed estate; and
told her that I could not exactly specify the sum I was master of,
until I had regulated my affairs, which were at present in some
disorder; but that I would take an opportunity of satisfying her
on that head very soon.

It was not long before I took my leave, and returned to my lodgings
in a very melancholy mood, persuaded that I had nothing more
to expect from that quarter. I was confirmed in this opinion next
day, when I went back with a view of explaining myself more fully
to the old gentlewoman; and was told by the footman that his ladies
were not at home, although I had seen Melinda through the blinds
at a parlour window, as I went up to the door. Incensed at this
affront, I quitted the door without saying one word, and as I
repassed the parlour, bowed to Miss, who still remained in the same
situation, securely screened, as she thought, from my view.

This disappointment gave me more uneasiness on Strap's account
than my own, for I was in no danger of dying for love of Melinda;
on the contrary, the remembrance of my charming Narcissa was a
continual check upon my conscience during the whole course of my
addresses; and perhaps contributed to the bad success of my scheme,
by controlling my raptures and condemning my design.

There was a necessity for informing my companion of everything that
happened to me and I performed this piece of duty in an affected
passion, swearing I would be his pack-horse no longer, and desiring
him to take the management of his affairs into his own hands. This
finesse had the desired effect, for, instead of grumbling over my
miscarriage, Strap was frightened at the passion I feigned, and
begged me, for the love of God, to be appeased; observing that,
although we had suffered a great loss, it was not irreparable;
and if Fortune frowned to day, she might perhaps smile to-morrow.
I pretended to acquiesce in his remarks, praise his equanimity, and
promised to improve my misfortune. He, on the other hand, pretended
to be perfectly well satisfied with my conduct, and conjured me
to follow the dictates of my own reflection; but, in spite of all
his affectation, I could perceive his inward affliction, and his
visage sensibly increased in longitude from that day.


I long to be revenged on Melinda--apply to Banter for his Assistance--he
contrives a scheme for that purpose--which is put in Execution with
great Success--I make an Attempt upon the Heart of Miss Gripewell,
but am disappointed--grow melancholy at my Disappointment, and have
recourse to the Bottle--receive a Billet-doux--am ravished with
the Contents--find myself involved in Intrigue, which I imagined
would make my Fortune--am confounded at my mistake, which banishes
all Thoughts of Matrimony

In the meantime, my attention was wholly engrossed in search of
another mistress, and the desire of being revenged on Melinda, in
both which schemes I was very much assisted by Billy Chatter, who
was such a necessary creature among the ladies, that in all private
dances he engaged the men. To him therefore I applied, desiring
he would introduce me to a partner of some figure, at the next
private assembly, for the sake of a frolic, the intention of which
I would afterwards communicate. Billy, who had heard something of
a difference between Melinda and me, immediately smoked part of my
design, and, thinking I only wanted to alarm her jealousy a little,
promised to gratify my desire, by matching me with a partner worth
thirty thousand pounds, whom the ladies of this end of the town had
lately taken under their management and protection. Upon further
inquiry, I found this person's name was Miss Biddy Gripewell; that
her father, who had been a pawnbroker, died intestate, by which
means all his substance descended to his daughter, who was so
little a favourite that, could the old man have prevailed with his
own rapacious disposition to part with as much money as would have
paid the expense of a will, she would not have inherited the sixth
part of his fortune; that during his life, far from being educated
in a way suitable to such great expectations, she was obliged to
live like a servant wench, and do the most menial offices in the
family. But his funeral was no sooner performed, than she assumed
the fine lady, and found so many people of both sexes to flatter,
caress, and instruct her, that, for want of discretion and experience,
she was grown insufferably vain and arrogant, and pretended to no
less than a duke or earl at least for her husband; that she had the
misfortune to be neglected by the English quality, but a certain
poor Scottish lord was then making interest to be introduced to
her acquaintance. In the meantime, she was fallen into the hands
of a notable lady, who had already disposed of her to a lieutenant
of foot, a distant relation of her ladyship's, though Miss as yet
knew nothing of the affair; and lastly that if I proposed to dance
with her, I must give him leave to represent me as a knight, or
foreign count at least. I was ravished at this piece of information,
and consented for one night, to personate a French marquis, that
I might the easier fulfil my revenge.

Having made the appointment with Chatter I went to Banter's lodgings,
as I had by this time conceived a great opinion of his penetration
and knowledge; and, after I had enjoined secrecy, told him every
circumstance of my disgrace with Melinda, and imparted the plan I
had projected to mortify that proud coquette, desiring his advice
in proving, and assistance in executing the scheme. Nothing could
be more agreeable to his misanthropical temper than an account
of her behaviour and my resentment: he applauded my resolution,
and proposed that I should not only provide myself with a proper
partner, but also procure such a one for Miss Goosetrap, as should
infallibly entail upon her the ridicule of all her acquaintance. For
this purpose he mentioned his barber who he said, was an exceeding
coxcomb lately come from Paris, whose absurd affectation and
grimace, would easily pass upon her for the sprightly politesse
of a gentleman improved by travel. I hugged him for this hint; and
he assured me it would be no difficult matter to make him believe,
that Melinda, having seen him by accident, was captivated by his
appearance, and begged for his acquaintance. He actually engaged him
on this pretence, and painted his good fortune in such colours that
the poor shaver was quite beside himself with joy. He was immediately
fitted with a tawdry suit of clothes belonging to Banter, and by
him recommended to Chatter as a very pretty fellow, just returned
from his travels. Master Billy, who acted as a gentleman usher to
a great many of the fair sex in and about town, undertook at once
to bespeak Melinda in his behalf; and everything happened according
to my wish.

At the time appointed I appeared dressed to the best advantage;
and, in the character of a Marquis, bad the honour of opening the
ball with the rich heiress, who attracted the eyes of the whole
company by the prodigious number of jewels with which she was adorned.
Among others I perceived Melinda, who could not more conceal her
envy than astonishment at my success; her curiosity was still more
flagrant and tormenting, for she had never seen Miss Gripewell
before; and Chatter, who alone could give her any satisfaction
on that head, was engaged in conversation at the other end of the
room. I observed her impatience, and exulted in her chagrin; and
after my partner was set, took the opportunity of passing by her
to make a slight bow without stopping, which completed my triumph
and her indignation. She changed colour, bridled up, assumed an
air of disdain, and flirted her fan with such a fury, that it went
to pieces in a moment, to the no small entertainment of those who
sat near and observed her.

At length the metamorphosed barber took her out, and acted his
part with such ridiculous extravagance that the mirth of the whole
company was excited at his expense, and his partner was so much
ashamed that, before the country dances began, she retired in
great confusion, under pretence of being taken suddenly ill, and
was followed by her gallant, who no doubt imagined her indisposition
was nothing but love; and laid hold of the occasion of conducting
her home, to comfort her, with an assurance of his entertaining a
reciprocal passion. They were no sooner gone than an inquisitive
whisper of "Who is he?" ran round the room; and Chatter could give
them no other intelligence about him than that he was a man of
fortune just returned from his travels. I, who alone was acquainted
with his real quality, affected ignorance well knowing that female
curiosity would not rest satisfied with such a general account, and
that the discovery would proceed with a better grace from anybody
than me.

Meanwhile, I was tempted by the richness of the prize to practise
upon Miss Gripewell's heart, but soon found it too well fortified
with pride and indifference to yield to any efforts in my own
character, and I neither would nor could preserve the title I had
borrowed longer than that night.

As I expected, everything came to light next day. The barber, in
pure simplicity of heart, detected himself to Melinda, and discovered
the foundation of his hopes; she sickened at the affront, and
was ashamed to show her face in public for many weeks after this
accident. Poor Chatter found it impossible to justify himself to
her satisfaction; was in utter disgrace with Miss Gripewell, for
having imposed me upon her as a nobleman; and suffered very much
in his character and influence among the ladies in general.

Finding my finances diminished more than one-half, and my project
as little advanced as on the first day of my arrival in town, I
began to despair of my success, and grew melancholy at the prospect
of approaching want. To dispel the horrors of this fiend I had
recourse to the bottle, and kept more company than ever. I became
particularly attached to the playhouse, conversed with the actors
behind the scenes, grew acquainted with a body of templars, and in
a short time commenced a professed wit and critic. Indeed, I may
say, without vanity, that I was much better qualified than any one
of my companions, who were, generally speaking, of all the creatures
I ever conversed with, the most ignorant and assuming. By means of
these avocations I got the better of care, and learned to separate
my ideas in such a manner that, whenever I was attacked by a gloomy
reflection, I could shove it aside, and call in some agreeable
reverie to my assistance. This was not the case with Strap, who
practised a thousand shifts to conceal the sorrow that preyed upon
his carcass, and reduced him to the resemblance of a mere skeleton.

While I thus posted, in a thoughtless manner, towards poverty, I one
day received, by the penny post, a letter written in a woman's hand,
containing a great many high-flown compliments, warm protestations
of love, couched in a very poetical style, an earnest desire of
knowing whether or not my heart was engaged, by leaving an answer
at a certain place, directed to R. B., and the whole subscribed "Your
incognita." I was transported with joy on reading the contents of
this billet-doux, which I admired as a masterpiece of tenderness
and elegance, and was already up to my ears in love with the author,
whom my imagination represented as a lady of fortune, in the bloom
of youth and beauty. Elevated with this conjecture, I went to work,
and exhausted my invention in composing an answer suitable to the
sublimity of her style and the ardour of her sentiments. I expressed
my admiration of her wit in terms the most hyperbolical, and while
I acknowledged myself unworthy of her regard, declared myself enamoured
of her understanding; and in the most pathetic manner implored
the honour of an interview. Having finished this performance, and
communicated it to Strap, who skipped about for joy, I dispatched
him with it to the place appointed, which was the house of a milliner
not far from Bond Street, and desired him to keep watch near the
door for some time, that he might discover the person who should call
for it. In less than an hour he returned with a joyful countenance,
and told me that, soon after he had delivered the letter, a chairman
was called, to whom it was given, with directions to carry it to the
house of a rich gentleman in the neighbourhood, whither he (Strap)
followed him, and saw him put it into the hands of a waiting-woman,
who paid the messenger, and shut the door; that, upon inquiry at an
alehouse hard by, where he called for a pint of beer, he understood
the gentleman to whom the house belonged had an only daughter, very
handsome, who would inherit his whole estate; and who certainly was
the author of the billet I had received. I was of the same opinion,
and, hugging myself in the happy prospect, dressed immediately, and
passed in great state the house that contained my unknown admirer.
Nor was my vanity disappointed; for I perceived a beautiful young
creature standing at one of the windows of the dining-room, who, I
imagined, observed me with more than common curiosity. That I might
indulge her view, and at the same time feast my own, I affected to
stop, and gave orders to Strap, in the street, just opposite to
her station, by which means I had an opportunity of seeing her more
distinctly, and of congratulating myself on having made a conquest
of so much perfection. In a few moments she retired, and I betook
myself to the ordinary in a rapture of hope, which deprived me
of my appetite for that meal, and sent me home in the evening to
indulge my contemplation.

Early next day, I was favoured with another epistle from my unknown
admirer, signifying her unutterable joy at the receipt of mine,
which, while it made a tender of my heart, convinced her of the
value of it. Above all things, she professed her extreme pleasure
in finding me so much attached to her understanding, a circumstance
that not only flattered her in the most sensible part, but at the
same time argued my own sagacity. As for the interview I desired,
she assured me, that I could not be more eager for such an occasion
than she; but she must not only sacrifice little more to decorum,
but be satisfied of my honourable intentions, before she could grant
that request. Meanwhile she gave me to understand that, although
she might owe some deference to the opinion of certain persons, she
was resolved, in an affair that so nearly concerned her happiness,
to consult her own inclination, preferable to the advice of the
whole world; especially as she was urged to such condescension
by no consideration of fortune, what she depended upon being her
own without restriction or control. Struck with admiration at the
philosophy and self-denial of my mistress, who seemed insensible
of the beauty she possessed, and in particular ravished with that
piece of intelligence by which I learned her fortune was independent;
I resumed the pen, launched out into encomiums on the dignity of her
sentiments, affected to undervalue the charms of external beauty,
pretended to ground my passion on the qualities of her mind, complained
of her rigour in sacrificing my repose to an overscrupulous regard
to decorum, and declared the purity of my designs in the most solemn
and pathetic vows. This performance being sealed and directed, was
sent to the place appointed by Strap, who, that we might be still
the more confirmed in our belief, renewed his watch, and in a
little time brought back the same information as before, with this
addition, that Miss Sparkle (the name of my correspondent), looking
out at the window, no sooner saw the messenger arrive. than she
shut the casement in a sort of beautiful confusion, and disappeared,
eager no doubt to hear from the dear object of her love.

My doubts now vanished, the long-expected port appeared, and I
looked upon myself as perfectly secure of that happiness I had been
in quest of so long. After dinner, I sauntered in company with Dr.
Wagtail, to that part of the town in which my inamorata lived; and,
as he was a mere register, inquired of him into the name, character,
and fortune of everybody who possessed a good house in the streets
through which we passed. When it came to his turn to mention Sir
John Sparkle, he represented him as a man of an immense estate
and narrow disposition, who mewed up his only child, a fine young
lady, from the conversation of mankind, under the strict watch and
inspection of an old governante, who was either so honest, envious,
or insatiable, that nobody had been as yet able to make her a friend,
or get access to her charge, though numbers attempted it every day;
not so much on account of her expectations from her father, who,
being a widower, might marry again and have sons, as for a fortune
of twelve thousand pounds left her by an uncle, of which she could
not be deprived. This piece of news, exactly tallying with the
last part of the letter I had been honoured with in the morning,
had such an effect on me, that any man except Wagtail might have
observed my emotion; but his attention was too much engrossed by
the contemplation of his own importance to suffer him to be affected
with the deportment of any other body, unless it happened to be so
particular that he could not help taking notice of it.

When I had disengaged myself from him, whose conversation grew
insipid to me, I went home, and made Strap acquainted with the
fruit of my researches. This faithful squire was almost choked
with transport, and even wept with joy; but whether on account of
himself or me, I shall not pretend to determine. Next day a third
billet-doux was brought to me, containing many expressions of
tenderness, mingled with some affecting doubts about the artifice
of man, the inconstancy of youth, and the jealousy often attending
the most sincere passion; withal desiring I would excuse her, if she
should try me a little longer, before she declared herself beyond
the power of retracting. These interesting scruples added fuel to
my flame and impatience to my hope; I redoubled my complaints of her
indifference, and pressed her to an assignation with such fervent
entreaties, that in a few days she consented to meet me at the
house of that milliner who had forwarded all my letters. During the
interval between the date of her promise and the hour of appointment,
my pride soared beyond all reason and description; I lost all
remembrance of the gentle Narcissa, and my thoughts were wholly
employed in planning triumphs over the malice and contempt of the

At length the happy hour arrived. I flew to the place of rendezvous,
and was conducted into an apartment, where I had not waited ten
minutes, when I heard the rustling of silk, and the sound of feet
ascending the stairs; my heart took the alarm, and beat quick; my
cheeks glowed, my nerves thrilled, and my knees shook with ecstacy!
I perceived the door opening, saw a gold brocade petticoat advance,
and sprang forward to embrace my charmer. Heaven and earth! how
shall I paint my situation, when I found Miss Sparkle converted into
a wrinkled hag turned of seventy! I was struck dumb with amazement,
and petrified with horror! This ancient Urganda, perceived my
disorder, and, approaching with a languishing air, seized my hand,
asking in a squeaking tone, if I was indisposed. Her monstrous
affectation completed the disgust I had conceived for her at her
first appearance, and it was a long time before I could command
myself so much as to behave with common civility: at length, however,
I recollected myself, and pronounced an apology for my behaviour,
which I said proceeded from a dizziness that seized me all of a
sudden. My hoary Dulcinea, who, no doubt, had been alarmed at my
confusion, no sooner learned the cause to which I now ascribed it,
than she discovered her joy in a thousand amorous coquetries, and
assumed the sprightly airs of a girl of sixteen. One while she
ogled me with her dim eyes, quenched in rheum; then, as if she was
ashamed of that freedom, she affected to look down, blush, and play
with her fan; then toss her head that I might not perceive a palsy
that shook it, ask some childish questions with a lisping accent,
giggle and grin with her mouth shut to conceal the ravage of time
upon her teeth, leer upon me again, sigh piteously, fling herself
about in her chair to show her agility, and act a great many more
absurdities that youth and beauty can alone excuse. Shocked as I
was at my disappointment, my disposition was incapable of affronting
any person who loved me; I therefore endeavoured to put a good face
to the matter for the present, resolved to drop the whole affair
as soon as I should get clear of her company; with this view, I
uttered some civil things, and in particular desired to know the
name and condition of the lady who had honoured me so much. She
told me her name was Withers, that she lived with Sir John Sparkle
in quality of governess to his only daughter, in which situation
she had picked up a comfortable sufficiency to make her easy for
life; that she had the pleasure of seeing me at church, where my
appearance and deportment made such an impression upon her heart,
that she could enjoy no ease until she had inquired into my character,
which she found so amiable in all respects, that she yielded to the
violence of her inclination, and ventured to declare her passion
with too little regard perhaps to the decorum of her sex; but she
hoped I would forgive a trespass of which I myself was in some
measure the cause, and impute her intrusion to the irresistible
dictates of love. No decayed rake ever swallowed a bolus with more
reluctance than I felt in making a reply suitable to this compliment,
when, instead of the jewel, I found the crazy casket only in my
power; and yet my hopes began to revive a little, when I considered,
that, by carrying on the appearance of an intrigue with the duenna,
I might possibly obtain access to her charge. Encouraged by this
suggestion, my temper grew more serene, my reserve wore off, I
talked en cavalier, and even made love to this antiquated coquette,
who seemed extremely happy in her adorer, and spread all her
allurements to make her imagined conquest more secure. The good
woman of the house treated us with tea and sweetmeats, and afterwards
withdrew, like a civil experienced matron as she was.

Left thus to our mutual endearments, Miss Withers (for she was
still a maiden) began to talk of matrimony, and expressed so much
impatience in all her behaviour that, had she been fifty years
younger, I might possibly have gratified her longing without having
recourse to the church; but this step my virtue as well as interest
forbade. When the inclinations of an old maid settle upon a young
fellow. he is persecuted with her addresses; but, should he once
grant her the favour, he will never be able to disentangle himself
from her importunities and reproaches. It was my business to defer
the ceremony as long as possible, under the most specious pretences,
with a view of becoming acquainted with Miss Sparkle in the meantime;
and I did not despair of success, when I considered, that in the
course of our correspondence, I should I all probability be invited
to visit my mistress in her own apartment, and by these means have
an opportunity of conversing with her charming ward. Pleased with
this prospect, my heart dilated with joy; I talked in raptures to
the state governante, and kissed her shrivelled hand with great
devotion, She was so much transported with her good fortune, that
she could not contain her ecstacy, but flew upon me like a tigress,
and pressed her skinny lips to mine; when (as it was no doubt
concerted by her evil genius) a dose of garlic she had swallowed
that morning, to dispel wind, I suppose, began to operate with such
a sudden explosion, that human nature, circumstanced as I was, could
not endure the shock with any degree of temper. I lost all patience
and reflection, flung away from her in an instant, snatched my hat
and cane, and ran downstairs as if the devil had me in pursuit,
and could scarcely retain the convulsion of my bowels, which were
grievously offended by the perfume that assaulted me. Strap, who
waited my return with impatience, seeing me arrive in the utmost
disorder, stood motionless with apprehension, and durst not inquire
into the cause.

After I had washed my mouth, more than once, and recruited my
spirits with a glass of wine, I recounted to him every particular
of what had happened; to which he made no other reply for some
time than lifting up his eyes, clasping his hands, and uttering a
hollow groan. At length he observed, in a melancholy tone, that it
was a thousand pities my organs were so delicate as to be offended
with the smell of garlic. "Ah! God help us," said he, "'tis not
the steams of garlic, no, nor of something else, that would give
me the least uneasiness--see what it is to be a cobler's son!"
I replied hastily, "I wish then you would go and retrieve my
miscarriage." At this suggestion he started, forced a smile, and
left the room, shaking his head. Whether the old gentlewoman resented
my abrupt departure so much that her love changed into disdain,
or was ashamed to see me on account of her infirmity, I know not;
but I was never troubled again with her passion.


I cultivate an Acquaintance with two Noblemen--am introduced to
earl Strutwell--his kind Promise and Invitation--the Behaviour of
his Porter and Lacquey--he receives me with an Appearance of uncommon
Affection--undertakes to speak in my Behalf to the Minister--informs
me of his Success, and wishes me Joy--introduces a Conversation
about Fetronius Arbiter--falls in Love with my Watch, which I press
upon him--I make a present of a Diamond Ring to Lord Straddle--impart
my good Fortune to Strap and Banter, who disabuses me, to my utter

Baffled hitherto in my matrimonial schemes, I began to question my
talents for the science of fortune-hunting, and to bend my thoughts
towards some employment under the government. With the view of
procuring which, I cultivated the acquaintance of Lords Straddle
and Swillpot, whose fathers were men of interest at court. I found
these young noblemen as open to my advances as I could desire; I
accompanied them in their midnight rambles, and often dined with
them at taverns, where I had the honour of paying the reckoning.

I one day took the opportunity, while I was loaded with protestations
of friendship, to disclose my desire of being settled in some
sinecure, and to solicit their influence in my behalf. Swillpot,
squeezing my hand, said, I might depend upon his service by G--.
The other swore that no man would be more proud than he to run my
errands. Encouraged by these declarations, I ventured to express
an inclination to be introduced to their fathers, who were able to
do my business at once. Swillpot frankly owned he had not spoken to
his father these three years; and Straddle assured me, his father,
having lately disobliged the minister by subscribing his name to
a protest in the house of peers, was thereby rendered incapable of
serving his friends at present; but he undertook to make me acquainted
with Earl Strutwell, who was hand and glove with a certain person
who ruled the roast. This offer I embraced with many acknowledgments,
and plied him so closely, in spite of a thousand evasions, that he
found himself under a necessity of keeping his word, and actually
carried me to the levee of this great man, where he left me in a
crowd of fellow-dependents, and was ushered to a particular closet
audience; from whence, in a few minutes, he returned with his
lordship, who took me by the hand, assured me he would do me all
the service he could, and desired to see me often. I was charmed
with my reception, and, although I had heard that a courtier's
promise is not to be depended upon, I thought I discovered so much
sweetness of temper and candour in this earl's countenance, that I
did not doubt of finding my account in his protection. I resolved
therefore to profit by this permission, and waited on him next
audience day, when I was favoured with a particular smile, squeeze
of the hand, and a whisper, signifying that he wanted half-an-hour's
conversation with me in private, when he should be disengaged, and
for that purpose desired me to come and drink a dish of chocolate
with him to-morrow morning.

This invitation, which did not a little flatter my vanity and
expectation, I took care to observe, and went to his lordship's
house at the time appointed. Having rapped at the gate, the porter
unbolted and kept it half open, placing himself in the gap, like
soldiers in the broach, to dispute my passage. I asked if his lord
was stirring? He answered with a surly aspect, " No." "At what
hour does he commonly rise?" said I. "Sometimes sooner, sometimes
later," said he, closing the door upon me by degrees. I then told
him I was come by his lordship's own appointment, to which intimation
this Cerberus replied, "I have received no orders about the matter,"
and was upon the point of shutting me out, when I recollected myself
all of a sudden, and slipping a crown into his hand, begged as a
favour that he would inquire, and let me know whether or not the
earl was up. The grim janitor relented at the touch of my money,
which he took with all the indifference of a taxgatherer, and showed
me into a parlour, where, he said, I might amuse myself till such
time as his lord should be awake. I had not sat ten minutes in this
place, when a footman entered, and, without speaking, started at
me; I interpreted this piece of his behaviour into, "Pray, sir,
what is your business?" and asked the same question I had put to
the porter, when I accosted him first. The lacquey made the same
reply, and disappeared before I could get any further intelligence.
In a little time he returned, on pretence of poking the fire, and
looked at me again with great earnestness; upon which I began to
perceive his meaning, and, tipping him with half-a-crown, desired
he would be so good as to fall upon some method of letting the
earl know that I was in the house. He made a low bow, said, "Yes,
sir," and vanished. This bounty was not thrown away, for in an instant
he came back, and conducted me to a chamber, where I was received
with great kindness and familiarity by his lordship, whom I found
just risen, in his morning-gown, and slippers. After breakfast, he
entered into a particular conversation with me about my travels,
the remarks I had made abroad, and examined me to the full extent
of my understanding. My answers seemed to please him very much,
he frequently squeezed my hand, and, looking at me with a singular
complacency in his countenance, bade me depend upon his good offices
with the ministry in my behalf. "Young men of your qualifications,"
said he, "ought to be cherished by every administration. For my
own part, I see so little merit in the world, that I have laid it
down as a maxim, to encourage the least appearance of genius and
virtue to the utmost of my power: you have a great deal of both;
and will not fail of making a figure one day, if I am not mistaken;
but you must lay your account with mounting by gradual steps to
the summit of your fortune. Rome was not built in a day. As you
understand the languages perfectly well, how would you like to
cross the sea as secretary to an embassy?" I assured his lordship,
with great eagerness, that nothing could be more agreeable to my
inclination: upon which he bade me make myself easy, my business
was done, for he had a place of that kind in his view. This piece
of generosity affected me so much, that I was unable for some time
to express my gratitude, which at length broke out in acknowledgments
of my own unworthiness, and encomiums on his benevolence. I could
not even help shedding tears at the goodness of this noble lord,
who no sooner perceived them than he caught me in his arms, and
hugged and kissed me with a seemingly paternal affection. Confounded
at this uncommon instance of fondness for a stranger, I remained a
few moments silent and ashamed; then rose and took my leave, after
he had assured me that he would speak to the minister in my favour
that very day; and desired that I would not for the future give
myself the trouble of attending at his levee, but come at the same
hour every day, when he should be at leisure, that is, three times
a week.

Though my hopes were now very sanguine, I determined to conceal my
prospect from everybody, even from Strap, until I should be more
certain of success: and in the meantime give my patron no respite
from my solicitations. When I renewed my visit, I found the
street-door opened to me as if by enchantment; but in my passage
towards the presence-room, I was met by the valet-de-chambre, who
cast some furious looks at me the meaning of which I could not
comprehend. The earl saluted me at entrance with a tender embrace,
and wished me joy of his success with the Premier, who, he said,
had preferred his recommendation to that of two other noblemen
very urgent in behalf of their respective friends, and absolutely
promised that I should go to a certain foreign court in quality of
secretary to an ambassador and plenipotentiary who was to set out
in a few weeks an affair of vast importance to the nation. I was
thunderstruck with my good fortune, and could make no other reply
than kneel and attempt to kiss my benefactor's hand, which submission
he would not permit; but, raising me up, pressed me to his breast
with surprising emotion, and told me he had now taken upon himself
the care of making my fortune. What enhanced the value of the benefit
still the more, was his making light of the favour, and shifting
the conversation to another subject.

Among other topics of discourse, that of the Belles Lettres was
introduced, upon which his lordship held forth with great taste
and erudition and discovered an intimate knowledge of the authors
of antiquity, "Here's a book," said he, taking one from his bosom,
"written with great elegance and spirit; and, though the subject may
give offence to some narrow-minded people, the author will always
be held in esteem by every person of wit and learning." So saying,
he put into my hand Petronius Arbiter, and asked my opinion of
his wit and manner. I told him, that, in my opinion, he wrote with
great ease and vivacity, but was withal so lewd and indecent that
he ought to find no quarter or protection among people of morals
and taste. "I own," replied the earl, "that his taste in love is
generally decried, and indeed condemned by our laws; but perhaps
that may be more owing to prejudice and misapprehension than to
true reason and deliberation. The best man among the ancients is
said to have entertained that passion; one of the wisest of their
legislators has permitted the indulgence of it in his commonwealth;
the most celebrated poets have not scrupled to avow it. At this day
it prevails not only over all the East, but in most parts of Europe;
in our own country, it gains ground apace, and in all probability
will become in a short time a more, fashionable vice than simple
fornication. Indeed there is something to be said in vindication of
it; for, notwithstanding the severity of the law against offenders
in this way, it must be confessed that the practice of this passion is
unattended with that curse and burthen upon society which proceeds
from a race of miserable and deserted bastards, who are either murdered
by their parents, deserted to the utmost want and wretchedness,
or bred up to prey upon the commonwealth: and it likewise prevents
the debauchery of many a young maiden, and the prostitution of
honest men's wives; not to mention the consideration of health,
which is much less liable to be impaired in the gratification of
this appetite, than in the exercise of common venery, which, by
ruining the constitutions of our young men, has produced a puny
progeny that degenerates from generation to generation. Nay, I
have been told, that there is another motive perhaps more powerful
than all these, that induces people to cultivate this inclination;
namely, the exquisite pleasure attending its success."

From this discourse I began to be apprehensive that his lordship,
finding I had travelled, was afraid I might have been infected
with this spurious and sordid desire abroad, and took this method
of sounding my sentiments on the subject. Fired at this supposed
suspicion, I argued against it with great warmth, as an appetite
unnatural, absurd, and of pernicious consequence; and declared
my utter detestation and abhorrence of it in these lines of the

Eternal infamy the wretch confound
Who planted first that vice on British ground!
A vice! That spite of nature and sense reigns,
And poisons genial love, and manhood stains.

The earl smiled at my indignation, and told me he was glad to find
my opinion of the matter so conformable to his own, and that what
he had advanced was only to provoke me to an answer, with which
he professed himself perfectly well pleased. After I had enjoyed
a long audience, I happened to look at my watch, in order to
regulate my motions by it; and his lordship, observing the chased
case, desired to see the device, and examine the exception, which
he approved with some expressions of admiration. Considering the
obligations I lay under to his lordship, I thought there could
not be a fitter opportunity than the present to manifest, in some
shape, my gratitude; I therefore begged he would do me the honour
to accept of the watch as a small testimony of the sense I had
of his lordship's generosity; but, he refused it in a peremptory
manner, and said he was sorry I should entertain such a mercenary
opinion of him; observing at the same time, that it was the most
beautiful piece of workmanship he had ever seen, and desiring to
know where he could have such another. I begged a thousand pardons
for the freedom I had taken, which I hoped he would impute to
nothing else than the highest veneration for his person--told him,
that, as it came to my hand by accident in France, I could give
him no information about the maker, for there was no name on the
inside; and once more humbly entreated that he would indulge me so
far as to use it for my sake. He was still positive in refusing
it; but was pleased to thank me for my generous offer, saying, it
was a present that no nobleman need be ashamed of receiving: though
he was resolved to show his disinterestedness with regard to me,
for whom he had conceived a particular friendship; and insisted
(if I were willing to part with the watch) upon knowing what it had
cost, that he might at least indemnify me, by refunding the money.
On the other hand, I assured his lordship that I should look upon
it as an uncommon mark of distinction, if he would take it without
further question; and, rather than disoblige me, he was at last
persuaded to put it in his pocket, to my no small satisfaction, who
took my leave immediately, after having received a kind squeeze,
and an injunction to depend upon his promise.

Buoyed up with this reception, my heart opened; I gave away a
guinea, among the lacqueys, who escorted me to the door, flew to
the lodgings of Lord Straddle, upon whom I forced my diamond ring
as an acknowledgment for the great service he had done me, and from
thence hied me home, with an intent of sharing my happiness with
honest Strap. I determined, however, to heighten his pleasure, by
depressing his spirits at first, and then bringing in good news
with double relish. For this purpose, I affected the appearance of
disappointment and chagrin, and told him in an abrupt manner that
I had lost the watch and diamond. Poor Hugh, who had been already
harassed into a consumption by intelligence of this sort, no sooner
heard these words, than, unable to contain himself, he cried, with
distraction in his looks, "God in heaven forbid!" I could carry on
the farce no longer; but, laughing in his face, told him everything
that had passed, as above recited. His features were immediately
unbended, and the transition was so affecting, that he wept with
joy, calling my Lord Strutwell by the appellations of Jewel, Phoenix,
Rara avis; and praising God, that there was still some virtue left
among our nobility. Our mutual congratulations being over, we gave
way to our imagination, and anticipated our happiness by prosecuting
our success through the different steps of promotion, till I arrived
at the rank of a prime minister, and he to that of my first secretary.

Intoxicated with these ideas, I went to the ordinary, where, meeting
with Banter, I communicated the whole affair in confidence to him,
concluding with an assurance that I would do him all the service in
my power. He heard me to an end with great patience, then regarding
me a good while with a look of disdain, pronounced, "So your business
is done, you think?" "As good as done. I believe," said I. "I'll
tell you," replied he, "what will do it still more effectually--a
halter! 'Sdeath! if I had been such a gull to two such scoundrels
as Strutwell and Straddle, I would, without any more ado, tuck
myself up." Shocked at this exclamation, I desired him with some
confusion to explain himself; upon which he gave me to understand
that Straddle was a poor contemptible wretch, who lived by borrowing
and pimping for his fellow-peers; that in consequence of this last
capacity, he had doubtless introduced me to Strutwell, who was
so notorious for a passion for his own sex that he was amazed his
character had never reached my ears; and that, far from being able
to obtain for me the post he had promised, his interest at court
was so low, that he could scarce provide for a superannuated footman
once a year in the customs or excise; that it was a common thing
for him to amuse strangers, whom his jackals ran down, with such
assurances and caresses as he had bestowed on me, until he had
stripped them of their cash, and everything valuable about them,
very often of their chastity, and then leave them a prey to want
and infamy: that he allowed his servants no other wages than that
part of the spoil which they could glean by their industry; and
the whole of his conduct towards me was so glaring, that nobody
who knew anything of mankind could have been imposed upon by his

I leave the reader to judge how I relished this piece of information,
which precipitated me from the most exalted pinnacle of hope to the
lowest abyss of despondence, and well nigh determined me to take
Banter's advice and finish my chagrin with a halter. I had no room
to suspect the veracity of my friend, because, upon recollection,
I found every circumstance of Strutwell's behaviour exactly tallying
with the character he had described; his hugs, embraces, squeezes,
and eager looks, were now no longer a mystery; no more than his
defence of Petronius, and the jealous frown of his valet-de-chambre,
who, it seems, had been the favourite pathic of his lord.


I attempt to recover my Watch and Jewel, but to no Purpose--resolve
to revenge myself on Strutwell by my Importunity--am reduced to my
last Guinea--obliged to inform Strap of my Necessity, who is almost
distracted with the News, but nevertheless obliged to pawn my best
Sword for present Subsistence--that small Supply being exhausted,
I am almost stupified with my Misfortunes--go to the Gaming Table
by the Advice of Banter, and come off with unexpected Success--Strap's
Ecstacy--Mrs. Gawky waits upon me, professes Remorse for her Perfidy,
and implores my Assistance--I do myself a Piece of Justice by her
Means, and afterwards reconcile her to her Father

I was so confounded that I could make no reply to Banter, who
reproached me with great indignation for having thrown away upon
rascals that which, had it been converted into ready money, would
have supported the rank of a gentleman for some months, and enabled
me, at the same time, to oblige my friends. Stupified as I was,
I could easily divine the source of his concern, but sneaked away
in a solitary manner, without yielding the least answer to his
expostulations; and began to deliberate within myself in what manner
I should attempt to retrieve the movables I had so foolishly lost.
I should have thought it no robbery to take them again by force,
could I have done it without any danger of being detected; but, as
I could have no such opportunity, I resolved to work by finesse, and
go immediately to the lodgings of Straddle, where I was so fortunate
as to find him. "My Lord," said I, "I have just now recollected,
that the diamond I had the honour of presenting to you is loosened
a little in the socket, and there is a young fellow just arrived
from Paris, who is reckoned the best jeweller in Europe; I knew him
in France; and, if your lordship will give me leave, will carry the
ring to him to be set to rights." His lordship was not to be caught
in this snare; he thanked me for my offer, and told me, that, having
himself observed the defect, he had sent it to his own jeweller
to be mended; and, indeed, by this time I believe it was in the
jeweller's hands, though not in order to be mended, for it stood
in need of no alteration.

Balked in this piece of politics, I cursed my simplicity; but
resolved to play a surer game with the earl, which I thus devised.
I did not doubt of being admitted into familiar conversation with
him, as before, and hoped by some means to get the watch into my
hand; then, on pretence of winding or playing with it, drop it on
the floor, when, in all probability, the fall would disorder the
work so as to stop its motion; this event would furnish me with
an opportunity of insisting upon carrying it away in order to be
repaired, and then I should be in no hurry to bring it back. What
pity it was I could not find an occasion of putting this fine scheme
in execution! When I went to renew my visit to his lordship, my
access to the parlour was as free as ever; but after I had waited
for some time, the valet-de-chambre came in with his lord's compliments,
and a desire to see me to-morrow at his levee, he being at present
so much indisposed that he could not see company. I interpreted this
message into a bad omen, and came away muttering curses against his
lordship's politeness, and ready to go to loggerheads with myself
for being so egregiously duped. But, that I might have some
satisfaction for the loss I had sustained, I besieged him so closely
at his levee, and persecuted him with my solicitations; not without
faint hopes, indeed, of reaping something more from my industry
than the bare pleasure of making him uneasy; though I could never
obtain another private hearing the whole course of my attendance;
neither had I resolution enough to undeceive Strap, whose looks in
a little time were so whetted with impatience, that whenever I came
home, his eyes devoured me, as it were, with eagerness of attention.

At length, however, finding myself reduced to my last guinea,
I was compelled to disclose my necessity, though I endeavoured to
sweeten the discovery by rehearsing to him the daily assurances I
received from my patron. But these promises were not of efficacy
sufficient to support the spirits of my friend, who no sooner
understood the lowness of my finances, than, uttering a dreadful
groan, he exclaimed, "In the name of God, what shall we do?" In
order to comfort him, I said, that many of my acquaintances, who
were in a worse condition than we, supported, notwithstanding, the
character of gentlemen; and advising him to thank God that as yet
we had incurred no debt, proposed he should pawn my sword of steel,
inlaid with gold, and trust to my discretion for the rest. This
expedient was wormwood and gall to poor Strap, who, in spite of
his invincible affection for me, still retained notions of economy
and expense suitable to the narrowness of his education; nevertheless
he complied with my request, and raised seven pieces on the sword
in a twinkling. This supply, inconsiderable as it was, made me as
happy for the present, as if I had kept five hundred pounds in bank;
for by this time I was so well skilled in procrastinating every
troublesome reflection, that the prospect of want seldom affected
me very much, let it be ever so near. And now indeed it was nearer
than I imagined. My landlord, having occasion for money, put me
in mind of my being indebted to him five guineas in lodging; and,
telling me he had a sum to make up, begged I would excuse his
importunity, and discharge the debt. Though I could ill spare so
much cash, my pride took the resolution of disbursing it. This I
did in a cavalier manner, after he had written a discharge, telling
him with an air of scorn and resentment, I saw he was resolved
that I should not be long in his books; while Strap, who stood by,
and knew my circumstances, wrung his hands in secret, gnawed his
nether lip, and turned yellow with despair. Whatever appearance of
indifference my vanity enabled me to put on, I was thunderstruck
with this demand, which I had no sooner satisfied, than I hastened
into company, with a view of beguiling my cares with conversation,
or drowning them with wine.

After dinner, a party was accordingly made in the coffee-house,
from whence we adjourned to the tavern, where, instead of sharing
the mirth of the company, I was as much chagrined at their good
humour as a damned soul in hell would be at a glimpse of heaven.
In vain did I swallow bumper after bumper! the wine had lost its
effect upon me, and, far from raising my dejected spirits, could not
even lay me asleep. Banter, who was the only intimate I had (Strap
excepted), perceived my anxiety, and, when we broke up, reproached
me with pusillanimity, for being cast down at my disappointment
that such a rascal as Strutwell could be the occasion of. I told
him I did not at all see how Strutwell's being a rascal alleviated
my misfortune; and gave him to understand that my present grief
did not so much proceed from that disappointment, as from the low
ebb of my fortune, which was sunk to something less than two guineas.
At this declaration he cried, "Psha! is that all?" and assured me
there were a thousand ways of living in town without a fortune, he
himself having subsisted many years entirely by his wit. I expressed
an eager desire of being acquainted with some of these methods, and
he, without farther expostulation, bade me follow him. He conducted
me to a house under the piazzas in Covert Garden, which we entered,
and having delivered our swords to a grim fellow who demanded them
at the foot of the staircase, ascended to the second story, where
I saw multitudes of people standing round two gaming-tables, loaded,
in a manner, with gold and silver. My conductor told me this was
the house of a worthy Scotch lord, who, using the privilege of
his peerage, had set up public gaming tables, from the profits of
which he drew a comfortable livelihood. He then explained difference
the between the sitters and the bettors; characterised the first
as old rooks, and the last as bubbles; and advised me to try my
fortune at the silver table, by betting a crown at a time. Before
I would venture anything, I considered the company more particularly,
and there appeared such a group of villanous faces, that I was
struck with horror and astonishment at the sight! I signified my
surprise to Banter, who whispered in my ear, that the bulk of those
present were sharpers, highwaymen, and apprentices, who, having
embezzled their master's cash, made a desperate push in this place
to make up their deficiencies. This account did not encourage me to
hazard any part of my small pittance: but, at length, being teased
by the importunities of my friend, who assured me there was no
danger of being ill-used, because people were hired by the owner
to see justice done to everybody, I began by risking one shilling,
and, in less than an hour, my winning amounted to thirty. Convinced
by this time of the fairness of the game, and animated with success,
there was no need of further persuasion to continue the play: I
lent Banter (who seldom had any money in his pocket) a guinea, which
he carried to the gold table, and lost in a moment. He would have
borrowed another, but finding me deaf to his arguments, went away
in a pet. Meanwhile my gain advanced to six pieces, and my desire
of more increased in proportion: so that I moved to the higher
table, where I laid half-a-guinea on every throw, and fortune still
favouring me, I became a sitter, in which capacity I remained until
it was broad day; when I found myself, after many vicissitudes,
one hundred and fifty guineas in pocket.

Thinking it now high time to retire with my booty, I asked if anybody
would take my place, and made a notion to rise; upon which an old
Gascon, who sat opposite to me, and of whom I had won a little
money, started up with fury in his looks, crying, "Restez, foutre,
restez! il faut donner moi mon ravanchio!" At the same time, a Jew,
who sat near the other, insinuated that I was more beholden to art
than fortune for what I had got; that he had observed me wipe the
table very often, and that some of the divisions appeared to be
greasy. This intimation produced a great deal of clamour against
me, especially among the losers, who threatened with many oaths
and imprecations, to take me up by a warrant as a sharper, unless
I would compromise the affair by refunding the greatest part of my
winning. Though I was far from being easy under his accusation, I
relied upon my innocence, threatened in my turn to prosecute the
Jew, for defamation, and boldly offered to submit my cause to the
examination of any justice in Westminster; but they knew themselves
too well to put their characters on that issue, and finding that I
was not to be intimidated into any concession, dropped their plea,
and made way for me to withdraw. I would not, however, stir from
the table until the Israelite had retracted what he had said to my
disadvantage, and asked pardon before the whole assembly.

As I marched out with my prize, I happened to tread on the toes
of a tall raw-boned fellow, with a hooked nose, fierce eyes, black
thick eyebrows, a pigtail wig of the same colour, and a formidable
hat pulled over his forehead, who stood gnawing his fingers in the
crowd, and he sooner felt the application of my shoe heel, than
he roared out in a tremendous voice, "Blood and wounds! you son
of a whore, what's that for?" I asked pardon with a great deal
of submission, and protested I had no intention of hurting him;
but the more I humbled myself the more he stormed, and insisted
on gentlemanly satisfaction, at the same time provoking me with
scandalous names that I could not put up with; so that I gave loose
to my passion, returned his Billingsgate, and challenged him down
to the piazzas. His indignation cooling as mine warmed, he refused
my invitation, saying he would choose his own time, and returned
towards the table muttering threats, which I neither dreaded nor
distinctly beard; but, descending with great deliberation, received
my sword from the door-keeper, whom I gratified with a guinea,
according to the custom of the place, and went home in a rapture
of joy.

My faithful valet, who had set up all night in the utmost uneasiness
on my account, let me in with his face beslubbered with tears, and
followed me to my chamber, where he stood silent like a condemned
criminal, in expectation of hearing that every shilling was spent,
I guessed the situation of his thoughts, and, assuming a sullen
look, bade him fetch me some water to wash. He replied, without
lifting his eyes from the ground, "In my simple conjecture, you
have more occasion for rest, not having (I suppose) slept these
four-and-twenty hours." "Bring me some water!" said I, in a peremptory
tone; upon which he sneaked away shrugging his shoulders. Before
he returned, I had spread my whole stock on the table in the most
ostentatious manner; so that, when it first saluted his view, he
stood like one entranced; and, having rubbed his eyes more than
once, to assure himself of his being awake, broke out into, "Lord
have mercy upon us, what a vast treasure is here!" "'Tis all our
own, Strap," said I; "take what is necessary, and redeem the sword
immediately." He advanced towards the table, stopped short by the
way, looked at the money and me by turns, and with a wildness in
his countenance, produced from joy checked by distrust, cried, "I
dare say it is honestly come by." To remove his scruples, I made
him acquainted with the whole story of my success, which, when
he heard, he danced about the room in an ecstacy, crying, "God be
praised!--a white stone!--God be praised!--a white stone!" So that
I was afraid the change of fortune bad disordered his intellects,
and that he was run mad with joy. Extremely concerned at this event,
I attempted to reason him out of his frenzy, but to no purpose; for
without regarding what I said, he continued to frisk up and down,
and repeat his rhapsody, of "God be praised!--a white stone!" At
last, I rose in the utmost consternation, and, laying violent hands
upon him, put a stop to his extravagance by fixing him down to a
settee that was in the room. This constraint banished his delirium;
he started as if just awoke, and terrified at my behaviour, cried,
"What is the matter!" When he learned the cause of my apprehension,
he was ashamed of his transports, and told me, that in mentioning
the white stone, he alluded to the Dies fast of the Romans, alibi
lapped knotty.

Having no inclination to sleep, I secured my cash, dressed, and was
just going abroad, when the servant of the house told me, there was
a gentlewoman at the door who wanted to speak with me. Surprised
at this information, I made Strap show her up, and in less than a
minute, saw a young woman of a shabby decayed appearance enter my
room. After half-a-dozen curtsies, she began to sob, and told me
her name was Gawky; upon which information I immediately recollected
the features of Miss Levement, who had been the first occasion of
my misfortunes. Though I had all the reason in the world to resent
her treacherous behaviour to me, I was moved at her distress, and
professing my sorrow at seeing her so reduced desired her to sit,
and inquired into the particulars of her situation. She fell upon
her knees and implored my forgiveness for the injuries she had
done me, protesting before God, that she was forced, against her
inclination, into that hellish conspiracy which had almost deprived
me of my life, by the entreaties of her husband, who, having been
afterwards renounced by his father on account of his marriage with
her, and unable to support a family on his pay, left his wife at
her father's house, and went with the regiment to Germany, where
he was broke for misbehaviour at the battle of Dettingen; since
which time she had heard no tidings of him. She then gave me
to understand, with many symptoms of penitence, that it was her
misfortune to bear a child four months after marriage, by which
event her parents were so incensed, that she was turned out of doors
with the infant, that died soon after: and had hitherto subsisted
in a miserable indigent manner, on the extorted charity of a few
friends, who were now quite tired of giving; that, not knowing
where or how to support herself one day longer, she had fled for
succour even to me, who, of all mankind, had the least cause to
assist her, relying upon the generosity of my disposition, which,
she hoped, would be pleased with this opportunity of avenging itself
in the noblest manner on the wretch who had wronged me. I was very
much affected with her discourse and, having no cause to suspect
the sincerity of her repentance, raised her up, freely pardoned
all she had done against me, and promised to befriend her as much
as lay in my power.

Since my last arrival in London, I had made no advances to the
apothecary, imagining it would be impossible for me to make my
innocence appear, so unhappily was my accusation circumstanced:
Strap indeed had laboured to justify me to the schoolmaster; but,
far from succeeding in his attempt, Mr. Concordance dropped all
correspondence with him, because he refused to quit his connection
with me. Things being in this situation, I thought a fairer
opportunity of vindicating my character could not offer than that
which now presented itself; I therefore stipulated with Mrs. Gawky,
that before I would yield her the least assistance, she should do
me the justice to clear my reputation by explaining upon oath before
a magistrate the whole of the conspiracy, as it had been executed
against me. When she had given me this satisfaction, I presented
her with five guineas, a sum so much above her expectation, that
she could scarce believe the evidence of her senses, and was ready
to worship me for my benevolence. The declaration, signed with her
own hand, I sent to her father, who, upon recollecting and comparing
the circumstances of my charge, was convinced of my integrity, and
waited on me next day, in company with his friend the schoolmaster,
to whom he had communicated my vindication. After mutual salutation,
Monsieur Lavement began a long apology for the unjust treatment I
had received; but I saved him a good deal of breath by interrupting his
harangue, and assuring him that, far from entertaining a resentment
against him, I thought myself obliged to his lenity, which allowed
me to escape, after such strong assumptions of guilt appeared against
me. Mr. Concordance, thinking it now his turn to speak, observed
that Mr. Random had too much candour and sagacity to be disobliged
at their conduct, which, all things considered, could not have been
otherwise with any honesty of intention. "Indeed," said he, "if the
plot had been unravelled to us by any supernatural intelligence;
if it had been whispered by a genius, communicated by dream, or
revealed by an angel from on high, we should have been to blame in
crediting ocular demonstration; but as we were left in the midst of
mortality, it cannot be expected we should be incapable of imposition.
I must assure you, Mr. Random, no man on earth is more pleased than
I am at this triumph of your character: and, as the news of your
misfortune panged me to the very entrails, this manifestation of
your innocence makes my midriff quiver with joy." I thanked him for
this concern, desired them to undeceive those of their acquaintance
who judged harshly of me, and, having treated them with a glass
of wine, represented to Lavement the deplorable condition of his
daughter, and pleaded her cause so effectually, that he consented
to settle a small annuity on her for life: but could not be persuaded
to take her home, because her mother was so much incensed, that
she would never see her.


I purchase new Clothes--reprimand Strutwell and Straddle--Banter
proposes another matrimonial Scheme--I accept of his Terms--set out
to Bath in the Stage-coach with the young Lady and her Mother--the
Behaviour of an Officer and Lawyer--our fellow Travellers described--a
smart dialogue between my Mistress and the Captain

Having finished this affair to my satisfaction, I found myself
perfectly at ease; and, looking upon the gaming-table as a certain
resource for a gentleman in want, became more gay than ever.
Although my clothes were almost as good as new, I grew ashamed of
wearing them, because I thought everybody by this time had got an
inventory of my wardrobe. For which reason I disposed of a good part
of my apparel to a salesman in Monmouth Street for half the value,
and bought two new suits with the money. I likewise purchased a plain
gold watch, despairing of recovering that which I had so foolishly
given to Strutwell, whom, notwithstanding, I still continued to visit
at his levee, until the ambassador he had mentioned set out with
a secretary of his own choosing. I thought myself then at liberty
to expostulate with his lordship, whom I treated with great freedom
in a letter, for amusing me with vain hopes, when he neither had
the power nor inclination to provide for me. Nor was I less reserved
with Straddle, whom I in person reproached for misrepresenting to
me the character of Strutwell, which I did not scruple to aver was
infamous in every respect. He seemed very much enraged at my freedom,
talked a great deal about his quality and honour, and began to
make some comparisons which I thought so injurious to mine, that I
demanded an explanation with great warmth, and he was mean enough
to equivocate, and condescend in such a manner that I left him with
a hearty contempt of his behaviour.

About this time, Banter, who had observed a surprising and sudden
alteration in my appearance and disposition, began to inquire very
minutely into the cause, and, as I did not think fit to let him
know the true state of the affair, lest he might make free with my
purse, on the strength of having proposed the scheme that filled
it, I told him that I had received a small supply from a relation
in the country, who at the same time had proffered to use all his
interest (which was not small) in soliciting some post for me that
should make me easy for life. "If that be the case," said Banter,
"perhaps you won't care to mortify yourself a little in making your
fortune another way. I have a relation who is to set out for Bath
next week, with an only daughter, who being sickly and decrepit,
intends to drink the waters for the recovery of her health. Her
father, who was a rich Turkey merchant, died about a year ago, and
left her with a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, under the sole
management of her mother, who is my kinswoman. I would have put
in for the plate myself, but there is a breach at present between
the old woman and me. You must know, that some time ago I borrowed
a small sum of her and promised, it seems, to pay it before a certain
time; but being disappointed in my expectation of money from the
country, the day elapsed without my being able to take up my note;
upon which she wrote a peremptory letter, threatening to arrest
me, if I did not pay the debt immediately. Nettled at this precise
behaviour, I sent a d--d severe answer, which enraged her so much
that she actually took out a writ against me. Whereupon, finding
the thing grow serious, I got a friend to advance the money for
me, discharged the debt, went to her house, and abused her for her
unfriendly dealing. She was provoked by my reproaches, and scolded
in her turn. The little deformed urchin joined her mother with
such virulence and volubility of tongue, that I was fain to make
a retreat, after having been honoured with a great many scandalous
epithets, which gave me plainly to understand that I had nothing
to hope from the esteem of the one, or the affection of the other.
As they are both utter strangers to life, it is a thousand to
one that the girl will be picked up by some scoundrel or other at
Bath, if I don't provide for her otherwise. You are a well-looking
fellow, Random, and can behave as demurely as a quaker. If you
will give me an obligation of five hundred pounds, to be paid six
months after your marriage, I will put you in a method of carrying
her in spite of all opposition."

This proposal was too advantageous for me to be refused. The
writing was immediately drawn up and executed; and Banter, giving
me notice of the time when, and the stage coach in which they were
to set out, I bespoke a place in the same convenience; and, having
hired a horse for Strap, who was chagrined with the prospect, set
forward accordingly.

As we embarked before day, I had not the pleasure for some time of
seeing Miss Snapper (that was the name of my mistress), nor even
of perceiving the number and sex of my fellow travellers, although
I guessed that the coach was full, by the difficulty I found in
seating myself. The first five minutes passed in a general silence,
when, all of a sudden, the coach heeling to one side, a boisterous
voice pronounced, "To the right and left, cover your flanks,
d--me! whiz!" I easily discovered by the tone and matter of this
exclamation that it was uttered by a son of Mars; neither was it
hard to conceive the profession of another person who sat opposite
to me, and observed that we ought to have been well satisfied of
our security before we entered upon the premises. These two sallies
had not the desired effect. We continued a good while as mute as
before, till at length the gentleman of the sword, impatient of
longer silence, made a second effort, by swearing he had got into
a meeting of quakers. "I believe so too," said a shrill female
voice at my left hand, "for the spirit of folly begins to move."
"Out with it then, madam!" replied the soldier. "You seem to have
no occasion for a midwife," cried the lady. "D--mn my blood!" exclaimed
the other, "a man can't talk to a woman, but she immediately thinks
of a midwife." "True sir," said she, "I long to be delivered." "What
of--a mouse, madam?" said lie. "No, Sir," said she, "of a fool."
"Are you far gone with a fool?" said he. "Little more than two
miles," said she. "By Gad, you're a wit, madam," cried the officer,
"I wish I could with any justice return the compliment," said the
lady. "Zounds, I have done," said he. "Your bolt is soon shot,
according to the old proverb," said she. The warrior's powder was
quite spent; the lawyer advised him to drop the prosecution, and a
grave matron, who sat on the left hand of the victorious wit, told
her she must not let her tongue run so fast among strangers. This
reprimand, softened with the appellation of child, convinced me that
the satirical lady was no other than Miss Snapper, and I resolved
to regulate my conduct accordingly. The champion, finding himself
so smartly handled, changed his battery, and began to expatiate
on his own exploits. "You talk of shot, madam," said he; "d--me!
I have both given and received some shot in my time--I was wounded
in the shoulder by a pistol ball at Dettingen, where--I say nothing--but
by G--d! if it had not been for me--all's one for that--I despise
boasting, d-me! whiz!" So saying, he whistled one part and hummed
another, of the Black Joke; then, addressing himself to the lawyer,
went on thus; "Wouldn't you think it d--d hard, after having, at
the risk of your life, recovered the standard of a regiment that
had been lost, to receive no preferment for your pains? I don't
choose to name no names, sink me! but, howsomever, this I will
refer, by G--d! and that is this--a musketeer of the French guards,
having a standard from a certain cornet of a certain regiment,
d--e! was retreating with his prize as fast as his horse's heels
could carry him, sink me! Upon which, I snatched up firelock that
belonged to a dead man, d--me! Whiz! and shot his horse under him,
d--n my blood! The fellow got upon his feet, and began to repose
me, upon which I charged my bayonet breast high, and ran him through
the body by G--! One of his comrades, coming to his assistance,
shot me in the shoulder, as I told you before; and another gave
me a contusion on the head with the butt-end of his carbine; but,
d--me, that did not signify. I killed one, put the other to flight,
and taking up the standard, carried it off very deliberately. But
the best joke of all was the son of a b--ch of a cornet, who had
surrendered it in a cowardly manner, seeing it in my possession,
demanded it from me in the front of the line. "D--n my blood!" says
he, "where did you find my standard?" says he. "D--n my blood!"
said I, "where," said I, "did you lose it?" said I. "That's nothing
to you," says he, "'tis my standard," says he" and by G--d I'll
have it," says he. "D--nation seize me," says I, "if you shall,"
says I, "till I have first delivered it to the general," says I;
and accordingly I went to the headquarters after the battle, and
delivered it to my Lord Stair, who promised to do for me. But I am
no more than a poor lieutenant still, d--n my blood."

Having vented this repetition of expletives, the lawyer owned he
had not been requited according to his deserts; observed that the
labourer is always worthy of his hire, and asked if the promise was
made before witnesses, because in that case the law would compel
the general to perform it; but understanding that the promise was
made over a bottle, without being restricted to time or terms,
he pronounced it not valid in law, proceeded to inquire into the
particulars of the battle, and affirmed that, although the English
had drawn themselves into premunire at first, the French managed
their cause so lamely in the course of the dispute, that they
would have been utterly nonsuited, had they not obtained a nolli
prosequi. In spite of these enlivening touches, the conversation
was like to suffer another long interruption, when the lieutenant,
unwilling to conceal any of his accomplishments that could be
displayed in his present situation, offered to regale the company
with a song; and, interpreting our silence into a desire of hearing,
began to warble a fashionable air the first stanza of which he
pronounced thus:

"Would you task the moon-tide hair,
To yon flagrant beau repair.
Where waving with the poplin vow,
The bantling fine will shelter you," etc.

The sense of the rest he perverted as he went on with such surprising
facility that I could not help thinking he had been at some pains
to burlesque the performance. Miss Snapper ascribed it to the true
cause, namely ignorance; and, when he asked her how she relished
his music, answered that, in her opinion, the music and the words
were much of a piece. "Oh, d--n my blood!" said he "I take that
as a high compliment; for everybody allows the words are d--able
fine." "They may be so," replied the lady, "for aught I know,
but they are above my comprehension." "I an't obliged to find you
comprehension, madam, curse me!" cried he. "No, nor to speak sense
neither," said she. "D--n my heart," said he, "I'll speak what I
please." Here the lawyer interposed, by telling him, there were some
things he must not speak; and upon being defied to give an instance,
mentioned treason and defamation. "As for the king," cried the
soldier, "God bless him--I eat his bread, and have lost blood in
his cause, therefore I have nothing to say to him--but, by G--d,
I dare say anything to any other man." "No," said the lawyer,
"you dare not call me rogue." "D--me, for what?" said the other.
"Because," replied the counsellor, "I should have it good action
against you, and recover." "Well, well," cried the officer, "if I
dare not call you rogue, I dare think you one, d--me!" This stroke
of wit he accompanied with a loud laugh of self-approbation, which
unluckily did not affect the audience, but effectually silenced his
antagonist, who did not open his mouth for the space of an hour,
except to clear his pipe with three hems, which however, produced


Day breaking, I have the Pleasure of viewing the Person of Miss
Snapper, whom I had not seen before--the Soldier is witty upon
me--is offended--talks much of his Valour--is reprimanded by a grave
Gentlewoman--we are alarmed by the cry of Highwaymen--I get out
of the Coach, and stand in my own defence--they ride off without
having attacked us--I pursue them--one of them is thrown from
his Horse and taken--I return to the Coach--am complimented by
Miss Snapper--the Captain's Behaviour on this Occasion--the Prude
reproaches me in a Soliloquy--I upbraid her in the same Manner--the
Behaviour of Miss Snapper, at Breakfast, disobliges me--the Lawyer
is witty upon the Officer, who threatens him

In the meantime, the day breaking in upon us, discovered to one
another the faces of their fellow travellers: and I had the good
fortune to find my mistress not quite so deformed nor disagreeable
as she had been represented to me. Her head, indeed, bore some
resemblance to a hatchet, the edge being represented by her face;
but she had a certain delicacy in her complexion, and a great deal
of vivacity in her eyes, which were very large and black; and, though
the protuberance of her breast, when considered alone, seemed to
drag her forwards, it was easy to perceive an equivalent on her back
which balanced the other, and kept her body in equilibrio. On the
whole, I thought I should have great reason to congratulate myself
if it should be my fate to possess twenty thousand pounds encumbered
with such a wife. I began therefore to deliberate about the most
probable means of acquiring the conquest, and was so much engrossed
by this idea, that I scarce took any notice of the rest of the
people in the coach, but revolved my project in silence; while the
conversation was maintained as before by the object of my hopes,
the son of Mars, and the barrister, who by this time recollected
himself, and talked in terms as much as ever. At length a dispute
happened, which ended in a wager, to be determined by me, who was
so much absorbed in contemplation, that I neither heard the reference
nor the question which was put to me by each in his turn. Affronted
at my supposed contempt, the soldier with great vociferation swore
I was either dumb or deaf if not both, and that I looked as if I
could not say Bo to a goose. Aroused at this observation, I fixed
my eyes upon him, and pronounced with emphasis the interjection Bo!
Upon which he cocked his hat in a fierce manner, and cried, "D--me
sir" what d'ye mean by that." Had I intended to answer him, which
by the by was not my design, I should have been anticipated by
Miss, who told him, my meaning was to show, that I could cry Bo
to a goose; and laughed very heartily at my laconic reproof. Her
explanation and mirth did not help to appease his wrath, which broke
out in several martial insinuations, such as--I do not understand
such freedoms, d--me! D--n my blood! I'm a gentleman, and bear
the king's commission. 'Sblood! some people deserve to have their
noses pulled for their impertinence." I thought to have checked
these ejaculations by a frown; because he had talked so much of his
valour that I had long ago rated him as an ass in a lion's skin;
but this expedient did not answer my expectation, he took umbrage
at the contraction of my brow, swore he did not value my sulky
looks a fig's end, and protested he feared no man breathing. Miss
Snapper said, she was very glad to find herself in company with
a man of so much courage, who, she did not doubt, would protect
her from all the attempts of highwaymen during our journey. "Make
yourself perfectly easy on that head, madam," replied the officer.
"I have got a pair of pistols (here they are), which I took from a
horse officer at the battle of Dettingen; they are double loaded,
and if any highwayman in England robs you of the value of a pin
while I have the honour of being in your company, d--n my heart."
When he had expressed himself in this manner, a prim gentlewoman, who
had sat silent hitherto, opened her mouth, and said, she wondered
how any man could be so rude as to pull out such weapons before
ladies. "D--me, madam," cried the champion, "if you are so much
afraid at the sight of a pistol, how d'ye propose to stand fire if
there should be occasion?" She then told him that, if she thought
he could be so unmannerly as to use fire-arms in her presence,
whatever might be the occasion, she would get out of the coach
immediately, and walk to the next village, where she might procure
a convenience to herself. Before he could make any answer, my
Dulcinea interposed, and observed that, far from being offended
at a gentleman's using his arms in his own defence, she thought
herself very lucky in being along with one by whose valour she
stood a good chance of saving herself from being rifled. The prude
cast a disdainful look at Miss, and said that people, who have but
little to lose, are sometimes the most solicitous about preserving
it. The old lady was affronted at this inuendo, and took notice,
that people ought to be very well informed before they speak
slightingly of other people's fortune, lest they discover their own
envy, and make themselves ridiculous. The daughter declared, that
she did not pretend to vie with anybody in point of riches; and
if the lady, who insisted upon non-resistance, would promise to
indemnify us all for the loss we should sustain, she would be one
of the first to persuade the captain to submission, in case we should
be attacked. To this proposal, reasonable as it was, the reserved
lady made no other reply than a scornful glance and a toss of her
head. I was very well pleased with the spirit of my young mistress,
and even wished for an opportunity of distinguishing my courage
under her eye, which I believed could not fail of prepossessing
her in my favour, when all of a sudden Strap rode up to the coach
door, and told us in a great fright, that two men on horseback were
crossing the heath (for by this time we had passed Hounslow), and
made directly towards us.

This piece of information was no sooner delivered, than Mrs. Snapper
began to scream, her daughter grew pale, the old lady pulled out
her purse to be in readiness, the lawyer's teeth chattered, while
he pronounced, "'Tis no matter--we'll sue the county and recover."
The captain gave evident signs of confusion: and I, after having
commanded the coachman to stop, opened the door, jumped out, and
invited the warrior to follow me. But, finding him backward and
astonished, I took his pistols, and, giving them to Strap, who had
by this time alighted and trembled very much, I mounted on horseback;
and, taking my own (which I could better depend upon) from the
holsters, cocked them both, and faced the robbers, who were now very
near us. Seeing me ready to oppose them on horseback, and another
man armed a-foot, they made a halt at some distance to reconnoitre
us: and after having rode round us twice, myself still facing about
as they rode, went off the same way they came, at a hand gallop.
A gentleman's servant coming up with a horse at the same time,
I offered him a crown to assist me in pursuing them, which he no
sooner accepted, than I armed him with the officer's pistols, and
we galloped after the thieves, who, trusting to the swiftness of
their horses, stopped till we came within shot of them and then,
firing at us, put their nags to the full speed. We followed them as
fast as our beasts could carry us; but, not being so well mounted
as they, our efforts would have been to little purpose, had not
the horse of one of them stumbled, and thrown his rider with such
violence over his head, that he lay senseless when we came up, and
was taken without the least opposition; while his comrade consulted
his own safety in flight, without regarding the distress of his
friend. We scarce had time to make ourselves masters of his arms,
and tie his hands together, before he recovered his senses, when,
learning his situation he affected surprise, demanded to know
by what authority we used a gentleman in that manner, and had the
impudence to threaten us with a prosecution for robbery. In the
meantime, we perceived Strap coming up with a crowd of people, armed
up with different kinds of weapons; and among the rest a farmer, who
no sooner perceived the thief, whom we had secured, than he cried
with great emotion, "There's the fellow who robbed me an hour ago
of twenty pounds, in a canvas bag." He was immediately searched,
and the money found exactly as it had been described; upon which
we committed him to the charge of the countryman, who carried him
to the town of Hounslow, which, it seems, the farmer had alarmed;
and I, having satisfied the footman for his trouble, according to
promise, returned with Strap to the coach, where I found the captain
and lawyer busy in administering smelling bottles and cordials to
the grave lady, who had gone into a fit at the noise of firing.

When I had taken my seat, Miss Snapper, who from the coach had seen
everything that happened; made me a compliment on my behaviour,
and said she was glad to see me returned without having received
any injury; her mother too owned herself obliged to my resolution:
the lawyer told me, that I was entitled by act of parliament to a
reward of forty pounds, for having apprehended a highwayman. The
soldier observed, with a countenance in which impudence and shame
struggling, produced some disorder, that if I had not been in such
a d--d hurry to get out of the coach, he would have secured the
rogues effectually, without all this bustle and loss of time, by a
scheme, which my heat and precipitation ruined. "For my own part,"
continued he, "I am always extremely cool on these occasions. "So
it appeared, by your trembling," said the young lady. "Death and
d--ion!" cried he, your sex protects you, madam; if any man on
earth durst tell me so much, I'd send him to hell, d--n my heart!
in an instant." So saying, he fixed his eyes upon me, and asked
if I had seen him tremble? I answered without hesitation, "Yes."
"D--me, sir!" said he, "d'ye doubt my courage?" I replied, "Very
much." This declaration quite disconcerted him. He looked blank,
and pronounced with a faltering voice, "Oh! it's very well: d--n
my blood! I shall find a time." I signified my contempt of him, by
thrusting my tongue in my cheek, which humbled him so much, that
he scarce swore another oath aloud during the whole journey.

The precise lady, having recruited her spirits by the help of some
strong waters, began a soliloquy, in which she wondered that any
man, who pretended to maintain the character of a gentleman, could,
for the sake of a little paltry coin, throw persons of honour into
such quandaries as might endanger their lives; and professed her
surprise that women were not ashamed to commend such brutality. At
the same time vowing that for the future she would never set foot
in a stage coach, if a private convenience could be had for love
or money.

Nettled at her remarks, I took the same method of conveying
my sentiments, and wondered in my turn, that any woman of common
sense should be so unreasonable as to expect that people, who had
neither acquaintance nor connection with her, would tamely allow
themselves to be robbed and maltreated, merely to indulge her
capricious humour. I likewise confessed my astonishment at her
insolence and ingratitude in taxing a person with brutality, who
deserved her approbation and acknowledgment; and vowed that, if
ever she should be assaulted again, I would leave her to the mercy
of the spoiler, that she might know the value of my protection.

This person of honour did not think fit to carry on the altercation
any further, but seemed to chew the cud of her resentment with the
crestfallen captain, while I entered into discourse with my charmer,
who was the more pleased with my conversation, as she had conceived
a very indifferent opinion of my intellects from my former silence.
I should have had cause to be equally satisfied with the sprightliness
of her genius, could she have curbed her imagination with judgment;
but she laboured under such a profusion of talk, that I dreaded her
unruly tongue, and felt by anticipation the horrors of an eternal
clack! However, when I considered, on the other hand, the joys
attending the possession of twenty thousand pounds, I forgot her
imperfections, seized occasion by the forelock, and tried to insinuate
myself into her affection. The careful mother kept a strict watch
over her and though she could not help behaving civilly to me,
took frequent opportunities of discouraging our communication, by
reprimanding her for being so free with strangers, and telling her
she must learn to speak less and think more. Abridged of the use
of speech, we conversed with our eyes, and I found the young lady
very eloquent in this kind of discourse. In short, I had reason
to believe that she was sick of the old gentlewoman's tuition, and
that I should find it no difficult matter to supersede her authority.

When we arrived at the place where we were to breakfast, I alighted,
and helped my mistress out of the coach, as well as her mother who
called for a private room to which they withdrew in order to eat
by themselves. As they retired together, I perceived that Miss had
got more twists from nature than I had before observed for she was
bent sideways into the figure of an S, so that her progression very
much resembled that of a crab. The prude also chose the captain
for her messmate, and ordered breakfast for two only, to be brought
into another separate room: while the lawyer and I, deserted by the
rest of the company, were fain to put up with each other. I was a
good deal chagrined at the stately reserve of Mrs. Snapper, who, I
thought, did not use me with all the complaisance I deserved; and
my companion declared that he had been a traveller for twenty years,
and never knew the stage coach rules so much infringed before. As
for the honourable gentlewoman I could not conceive the meaning of
her attachment to the lieutenant; and asked the lawyer if he knew
for which of the soldier's virtues she admired him? The counsellor
facetiously replied, "I suppose the lady knows him to be an able
conveyancer, and wants him to make a settlement in tail." I could
not help laughing at the archness of the barrister, who entertained
me during breakfast with a great deal of wit of the same kind, at
the expense of our fellow travellers; and among other things said,
he was sorry to find the young lady saddled with such incumbrances.

When we had made an end of our repast, and paid our reckoning,
we went into the coach, took our places, and bribed the driver
with sixpence to revenge us on the rest of his fare, by hurrying
them away in the midst of their meal. This task he performed to
our satisfaction, after he had disturbed their enjoyment with his
importunate clamour. The mother and daughter obeyed the summons
first, and, coming to the coach door, were obliged to desire
the coachman's assistance to get in, because the lawyer and I had
agreed to show our resentment by our neglect. They were no sooner
seated, than the captain appeared, as much heated as if he had been
pursued a dozen miles by an enemy; and immediately after him came
the lady, not without some marks of disorder. Having helped her
up, he entered himself, growling a few oaths against the coachman
for his impertinent interruption; and the lawyer comforted him by
saying, that if he had suffered a nisi prius through the obstinacy
of the defendant, he might have an opportunity to join issue
at the next stage. This last expression gave offence to the grave
gentlewoman, who told him, if she was a man, she would make him
repent of such obscenity, and thanked God, he had never been in
such company before. At this insinuation the captain thought himself
under a necessity of espousing the lady's cause; and accordingly
threatened to cut off the lawyer's ears, if he should give his
tongue any such liberties for the future. The poor counsellor begged
pardon, and universal silence ensued.


I resolve to ingratiate myself with the Mother, and am favoured by
accident--the Precise Lady finds her husband, and quit the Coach--the
Captain is disappointed of his dinner--we arrive at Bath--I accompany
Miss Snapper to the Long-room, where she is attacked by beau Nash,
and, turns the Laugh against him--I make love to her, and receive
a check--Squire her to an Assembly, where I am blessed with a Sight of
my dear Narcissa, which discomposes me so much, that Miss Snapper,
observing my disorder, is at pains to discover the Cause--is
piqued at the Occasion, and, in our way home, pays me a sarcastic
Compliment--I am met by Miss Williams, who is the maid and Confidante
of Narcissa--she acquaints me with her Lady's regard for me while
under the disguise of a Servant, and describes the Transports
of Narcissa on seeing me at the Assembly, in the Character of a
Gentleman--I am surprised with an Account of her Aunt's Marriage,
and make an Appointment to meet Miss Williams the next day

During this unsocial interval, my pride and interest maintained
a severe conflict on the subject of Miss Snapper, whom the one
represented as unworthy of notice, and the other proposed as the
object of my whole attention: the advantages and disadvantages of
such a match were opposed to one another by my imagination; and,
at length, my judgment gave it so much in favour of the first, that
I resolved to prosecute my scheme with all the address in my power.
I thought I perceived some concern in her countenance, occasioned
by my silence, which she, no doubt, imputed to my disgust at her
mother's behaviour; and, as I believed the old woman could not
fail of ascribing my muteness to the same motive, I determined to
continue that sullen conduct towards her, and fall upon some other
method of manifesting my esteem for the daughter, nor was it difficult
for me to make her acquainted with my sentiments by the expression
of my looks, which I modelled into the character of humanity and
love; and which were answered by her with all the sympathy and
approbation I could desire. But when I began to consider, that,
without further opportunities of improving my success, all the
progress I had hitherto made would not much avail, and that such
opportunities could not be enjoyed without the mother's permission,
I concluded it would be requisite to vanquish her coldness and
suspicion by my assiduities and respectful behaviour on the road;
and she would, in all likelihood, invite me to visit her at Bath,
where I did not fear of being able to cultivate her acquaintance
as much as would be necessary to the accomplishment of my purpose.
And indeed accident furnished me with an opportunity of obliging
her so much that she could not, with any appearance of good manners,
forbear to gratify my inclination.

When we arrived at our dining-place, we found all the eatables at
the inn bespoke by a certain nobleman, who bad got the start of us
and, in all likelihood, my mistress and her mother must have dined
with Duke Humphrey, had I not exerted myself in their behalf, and
bribed the landlord with a glass of wine to curtail his lordship's
entertainment of a couple of fowls and some bacon, which I sent
with my compliments to the ladies. They accepted my treat with a
great many thanks, and desired I would favour them with my company
at dinner, where I amused the old gentlewoman so successfully,
by maintaining a seemingly disinterested ease in the midst of my
civility, that she signified a desire of being better acquainted,
and hoped I would be so kind as to see her sometimes at Bath. While
I enjoyed myself in this manner, the precise lady had the good
fortune to meet with her husband, who was no other than gentleman,
or, in other words, valet-de-chambre, to the very nobleman whose
coach stood at the door. Proud of the interest she had in the house,
she affected to show her power by introducing the captain to her
spouse as a person who had treated her with great civility upon
which he was invited to a share of their dinner; while the poor
lawyer, finding himself utterly abandoned, made application to me,
and was through my intercession admitted into our company. Having
satisfied our appetites, and made ourselves merry at the expense of
the person of honour, the civil captain, and complaisant husband,
I did myself the pleasure of discharging the bill by stealth, for
which I received a great many apologies and acknowledgments from
my guests, and we re-embarked at the first warning. The officer was
obliged, at last, to appease his hunger with a luncheon of bread
and cheese, and a pint bottle of brandy, which he dispatched in
the coach, cursing the inappetence of his lordship, who had ordered
dinner to be put back a whole hour.

Nothing remarkable happened during the remaining part of our
journey, which was finished next day, when I waited on the ladies
to the house of a relation, in which they intended to lodge, and,
passing that night at the inn, took lodgings in the morning for

The forenoon was spent in visiting everything that was worth seeing
in the place, in company with a gentleman to whom Banter had given
me a letter of introduction; and in the afternoon I waited on the
ladies, and found Miss a good deal indisposed with the fatigue of
their journey. As they foresaw they should have occasion for a male
acquaintance to squire them at all public places, I was received
with great cordiality, and had the mother's permission to conduct
them next day to the Long Room, which we no sooner entered, than
the eyes of everybody present were turned upon us, and, when we had
suffered the martyrdom of their looks for some time, a whisper
circulated at our expense, which was accompanied with many
contemptuous smiles and tittering observations, to my utter shame
and confusion. I did not so much conduct as follow my charge to
a place where she seated her mother and herself with astonishing
composure notwithstanding the unmannerly behaviour of the whole
company, which seemed to be assumed merely to put her out of
countenance. The celebrated Mr. Nash, who commonly attends in this
place, as master of the ceremonies, perceiving the disposition
of the assembly, took upon himself the task of gratifying their
ill-nature further, by exposing my mistress to the edge of his wit.
With this view he approached us, with many bows and grimaces, and,
after having welcomed Miss Snapper to the place, asked her in the
hearing of all present, if she could inform him of the name of
Tobit's dog. Miss was so much incensed at his insolence, that I
should certainly have kicked him where he stood without ceremony,
had not the young lady prevented the effects of my indignation,
by replying with the utmost vivacity, "His name was Nash, and an
impudent dog he was." This repartee so unexpected and just, raised
such a universal laugh at the aggressor, that all his assurance was
insufficient to support him under their derision; so that, after
he had endeavoured to compose himself by taking snuff and forcing
a smile, he was obliged to sneak off in a ludicrous attitude, while
my Dulcinea was applauded to the skies for the brilliancy of her
wit, and her acquaintance immediately courted by the best people
of both sexes in the room.

This event, with which I was indefinitely pleased at first, did not
fail of alarming me, upon further reflection, when I considered,
that the more she was caressed by persons of distinction, the more
her pride would be inflamed, and consequently, the obstacles to
my success multiplied and enlarged. Nor were my presaging fears
untrue. That very night I perceived her a little intoxicated with
the incense she had received, and, though, she still behaved with
a particular civility to me, I foresaw, that, as soon as her fortune
should be known, she would be surrounded with a swarm of admirers,
some of whom might possibly, by excelling me on point of wealth,
or in the arts of flattery and scandal, supplant me in her esteem,
and find means to make the mother of his party. I resolved therefore
to lose no time, and, being invited to spend the evening with them,
found an opportunity, in spite of the old gentlewoman's vigilance, to
explain the meaning of my glances in the coach, by paying homage
to her wit, and professing myself enamoured of her person. She
blushed at my declaration and in a favourable manner disapproved of
the liberty I had taken, putting me in mind of our being strangers
to each other, and desiring I would not be the means of interrupting
our acquaintance, by any such unseasonable strokes of gallantry for
the future. My ardour was effectually checked by this reprimand,
which was, however, delivered in a gentle manner, that I had no
cause to be disobliged; and the arrival of her mother relieved me
from a dilemma in which I should not have known how to demean myself
a minute longer. Neither could I resume the easiness of carriage
with which I came in; my mistress acted on the reserve, and the
conversation beginning to flag, the old lady introduced her kinswoman
of the house, and proposed a hand at whist.

While we amused ourselves at this diversion, I understood from the
gentlewoman, that there was to be an assembly next night at which
I begged to have the honour of dancing with Miss. She thanked
me for the favour I intended her, assured me she never did dance,
but signified a desire of seeing the company, when I offered my
service, which was accepted, not a little proud of being exempted
from appearing with her in a situation, that, notwithstanding my
profession to the contrary, was not at all agreeable to my inclination.

Having supped, and continued the game, till such time as the
successive yawns of the mother warned me to be gone, I took my
leave, and went home, where I made Strap very happy with an account
of my progress. Next day I put on my gayest apparel, and went to
drink tea at Mrs. Snapper's, according to appointment, when I found,
to my inexpressible satisfaction, that she was laid up with the
toothache, and that Miss was to be intrusted to my care. Accordingly,
we set out for the ball-room pretty early in the evening, and took
possession of a commodious place, where we had not sat longer than
a quarter of an hour, when a gentleman, dressed in a green frock,
came in, leading a young lady, whom I immediately discovered to be
the adorable Narcissa! Good heaven! what were the thrillings of my
soul at that instant! my reflection was overwhelmed with a torrent
of agitation! my heart throbbed with surprising violence! a sudden
mist overspread my eyes, my ears were invaded with a dreadful sound!
I panted for want of breath, and, in short, was for some moments
entranced! This first tumult subsiding, a crowd of flattering ideas
rushed upon my imagination. Everything, that was soft, sensible,
and engaging, in the character of that dear creature recurred
to my remembrance, and every favourable circumstance of my own
qualifications appeared in all the aggravation of self-conceit,
to heighten my expectation! Neither was this transport of long
duration. The dread of her being already disposed of intervened,
and overcast my enchanting reverie! My presaging apprehension
represented her encircled in the arms of some happy rival, and in
consequence for ever lost to me. I was stung with this suggestion,
and, believing the person who conducted her to be the husband of this
amiable young lady, already devoted him to my fury, and stood up
to mark him for my vengeance, when I recollected, to my unspeakable
joy, her brother the fox-hunter, in the person of her gallant.

Undeceived so much to my satisfaction in this particular, I gazed
in a frenzy of delight on the irresistible charms of his sister,
who no sooner distinguished me in the crowd, than her evident
confusion afforded a happy omen to my flame. At sight of me she
started, the roses instantly vanished from her polished cheeks,
and returned in a moment with a double glow, that overspread her
lovely neck, while her enchanting bosom heaved with strong emotion.
I hailed these favourable symptoms, and, lying in wait for her looks,
did homage with my eyes. She seemed to approve my declaration, by
the complacency of her aspect; and I was so transported with the
discovery, that more than once I was on the point of making up to
her, to disclose the throbbings of my heart in person, had not that
profound veneration, which her presence always inspired, restrained
the unseasonable impulse. All my powers being engrossed in this
manner, it may easily be imagined how ill I entertained Miss Snapper
on whom I could not now turn my eyes, without making comparisons
very little to her advantage. It was not even in my power to return
distinct answers to the questions she asked from time to time, so
that she could not help observing my absence of mind; and having
a turn for observation, watched my glances, and, tracing them to
the divine object, discovered the cause of my disorder. That she
might, however, be convinced of the truth of her conjecture, she
began to interrogate me with regard to Narcissa, and, notwithstanding
all my endeavours to disguise my sentiments, perceived my attachment
by my confusion: upon which, she assumed a stateliness of behaviour,
and sat silent during the remaining part of the entertainment. At
any other time, her suspicion would have alarmed me: but now I was

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