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The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

Part 8 out of 10

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elevated by my passion above every other consideration. The mistress
of my soul having retired with her brother, I discovered so much
uneasiness at my situation, that Miss Snapper proposed to go home;
and, while I conducted her to a chair, told me she had too great a
regard for me to keep me any longer in torment. I feigned ignorance
of her meaning, and having seen her safely at her lodgings, took
my leave, and went home in an ecstasy, where I disclosed everything
that had happened to my confidant and humble servant, Strap, who
did not relish the accident so well as I expected; and observed,
that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. "But, however,"
said he, "you know best--you know best." Next day, as, I went to
the Pump Room, in hopes of seeing or hearing some tidings of my
fair enslaver, I was met by a gentlewoman, who, having looked hard
at me, cried, "O Christ, Mr. Random!" Surprised at this exclamation,
I examined the countenance of the person who spoke, and immediately
recognised my old sweetheart and fellow sufferer, Miss Williams.

I was mightily pleased to find this unfortunate woman under such
a decent appearance, professed my joy at seeing her so well, and
desired to know where I should have the pleasure of her conversation.
She was as heartily rejoiced at the apparent easiness of my fortune,
and gave me to know that she, as yet, had no habitation that she
could properly call her own; but would wait on me at any place
I should please to appoint. Understanding that she was unengaged
for the present, I showed her the way to my lodgings, where, after
a very affectionate salutation, she informed me of her being very
happy in the service of a young lady to whom she was recommended by
a former mistress deceased, into whose family she had recommended
herself by the honest deceit she had concerted, while she lived with
me in the garret at London. She then expressed a vehement desire
to be acquainted with the vicissitudes of my life since we parted,
and excused her curiosity on account of the concern she had for my
interest. I forthwith gratified her request, and, when I described
my situation in Sussex, perceived her to attend to my story with
particular eagerness. She interrupted me, when I had finished that
period, with, "Good God! is it possible?" and then begged I would
be so good as to continue my relation; which I did as briefly as I
could, burning with impatience to know the cause of her surprise,
about which I had already formed a very interesting conjecture.

When I had brought my adventures down to the present day, who seemed
very much affected with the different circumstances of my fortune;
and saying, with a smile, she believed my distresses were now at a
period, proceeded to inform me that the lady whom she served was
no other than the charming Narcissa, who had honoured her with
her confidence for some time; in consequence of which trust, she
had often repeated the story of John Brown with great admiration
and regard; that she loved to dwell upon the particulars of his
character, and did not scruple to own a tender approbation of his
flame. I became delirious at this piece of intelligence, strained
Miss Williams in my embrace, called her the angel of my happiness,
and acted such extravagances, that she might have been convinced
of my sincerity, had she not been satisfied of my honour before.
As soon as was in condition to yield attention, she described the
present situation of her mistress, who had no sooner reached her
lodgings the night before, than she closeted her, and in a rapture
of joy gave her to know that she had seen me at the ball, where
I appeared in the character which she always thought my due, with
such advantage of transformation that, unless my image had been
engraven on her heart, it would have been impossible to know me for
the person who had worn her aunt's livery; that by the language of
my eyes, she was assured of the continuance of my passion for her,
and consequently of my being unengaged to any other; and that, though
she did not doubt I would speedily fall upon some method of being
introduced, she was so impatient to hear of me, that she (Miss
Williams) had been sent abroad this very morning, on purpose to
learn the name and character I at present bore. My bosom had been
hitherto a stranger to such a flood of joy as now rushed upon it;
my faculties were overborne by the tide; it was some time before I
could open my mouth, and much longer ere I could utter a coherent
sentence. At length, I fervently requested her to lead me immediately
to the object of my adoration; but she resisted my importunity, and
explained the danger of such premature conduct. "How favourable
soever," said she, "my lady's inclination towards you may be, you
may depend upon it, she will not commit the smallest trespass on
decorum, either in disclosing her own, or in receiving a declaration
of your passion: and, although the great veneration I have for you
has prompted me to reveal what she communicated to me in confidence,
I know so well the severity of her sentiments with respect to the
punctilios of her sex that, if she should learn the least surmise
of it, she would not only dismiss me as a wretch unworthy of
her benevolence, but also for ever shun the efforts of your love."
I assented to the justness of her remonstrance, and desired she
would assist me with her advice and direction: upon which it was
concerted between us, that for the present I should be contented
with her telling Narcissa that, in the course of her inquiries, she
could only learn my name: and that, if, in a day or two, I could
fall upon no other method of being introduced to her mistress,
she would deliver a letter from me, on pretence of consulting her
happiness: and say that I met her in the streets, and bribed her
to this piece of service. Matters being thus adjusted, I kept my
old acquaintance to breakfast, and learned from her conversation,
that my rival Sir Timothy had drunk himself into an apoplexy, of
which he died five months ago; that the savage was still unmarried
and that his aunt had been seized with a whim which he little
expected, and chosen the schoolmaster of the parish for her lord
and husband: but matrimony not agreeing with her constitution she
had been hectic and dropsical a good while, and was now at Bath,
in order to drink the waters for the recovery of her health; that
her niece had accompanied her thither at her request, and attended
her with the same affection as before, notwithstanding the mistake
she had committed: and that the nephew, who had been exasperated at
the loss of her fortune, did not give his attendance out of good
will, but purely to have an eye on his sister, lest she should
likewise throw herself away without his consent or approbation.
Having enjoyed ourselves in this manner, and made an assignation
to meet next day at a certain place, Miss Williams took her leave;
and Strap's looks being very inquisitive about the nature of the
communication subsisting between us, I made him acquainted with
the whole affair, to his great astonishment and satisfaction.


I become acquainted with Narcissa's brother, who invites me to
his House, where I am introduced to that adorable Creature--after
dinner, the Squire retires to take his nap--Freeman, guessing
the Situation of my Thought, withdraws likewise, on pretence of
Business--I declare my passion for Narcissa--am well-received--charmed
with her Conversation--the Squire detains us to Supper--I elude
his design by a Stratagem, and get home sober

In the afternoon, I drank tea at the house of Mr. Freeman, to whom
I had been recommended by Banter; where I had not sat five minutes,
till the foxhunter came in, and by his familiar behaviour appeared
to be intimate with my friend. I was, at first, under some concern,
lest he should recollect my features; but when I found myself
introduced to him as a gentleman from London, without being discovered,
I blessed the opportunity that brought me into his company; hoping
that, in the course of my acquaintance, he would invite me to his
house; nor were my hopes frustrated, for, as we spent the evening
together, he grew extremely fond of my conversation, asked a great
many childish questions about France and foreign parts; and seemed
so highly entertained with my answers, that in his cups he shook
me often by the hand, pronounced me an honest fellow, and in fine
desired our company at dinner next day, at his civil house. My
imagination was so much employed in anticipating the happiness I
was to enjoy next day, that I slept very little that night; but,
rising early in the morning, went to the place appointed, where I
met my she-friend, and imparted to her my success with the squire.
She was very much pleased at the occasion, "which," she said, "could
not fail of being agreeable to Narcissa, who, in spite of her passion
for me, had mentioned some scruples relating to my true situation
and character, which the delicacy of her sentiments suggested, and
which she believed I would find it necessary to remove, though she
did not know how." I was a good deal startled at this insinuation,
because I foresaw the difficulty I should find in barely doing
myself justice: for, although it never was my intention to impose
myself upon any woman, much less on Narcissa, I laid claim to the
character of a gentleman by birth, education, and behaviour; and yet
(so unlucky had the circumstances of my life fallen out) I should
find it a very hard matter to make good my pretensions even to
these, especially to the last, which was the most essential. Miss
Williams was as sensible as I of this my disadvantage, but comforted
me with observing that, when once a woman has bestowed her affections
on a man, she cannot help judging of him in all respects with
a partiality easily influenced in his favour: she remarked that,
although some situations of my life had been low, yet none of them
had been infamous; that my indigence had been the crime not of me,
but of fortune; and that the miseries I had undergone, by improving
the faculties both of mind and body, qualified me the more for any
dignified station; and would of consequence recommend me to the
good graces of any sensible woman: she therefore advised me to be
always open and unreserved to the inquiries of my mistress, without
unnecessarily betraying the meanest occurrences of my fate; and
trust to the strength of her love and reflection for the rest.

The sentiments of this sensible young woman on this, as well as on
almost every other subject, perfectly agreed with mine. I thanked
her for the care she took of my interests, and, promising to behave
myself according to her directions we parted, after she had assured
me that I depend upon her best offices with her mistress, and that
she would from time to time communicate to me such intelligence as
she could procure, relating to my flame. Having dressed myself to
the best advantage, I waited for the time of dinner with the most
fearful impatience; and, as the hour drew near, my heart beat with
such increased velocity, and my spirits contracted such disorder,
that I began to suspect my resolution, and even to wish myself
disengaged. At last Mr. Freeman called at my lodgings in his way,
and I accompanied him to the house where all my happiness was
deposited. We were very kindly received by the squire, who sat
smoking his pipe in a parlour, and asked if we chose to drink any
thing before dinner: though I never had more occasion for a cordial,
I was ashamed to accept his offer, which was also refused, by
my friend. We sat down, however, entered into conversation, which
lasted half-an hour, so that I had time to recollect myself; and
(so capricious were my thoughts) even to hope that Narcissa would
not appear--when, all of a sudden, a servant coming in, gave us
notice that dinner was upon the table, and my perturbation returned
with such violence that I could scarcely conceal it from the company,
as I ascended the staircase. When I entered the dining-room, the
first object that saluted my ravished eyes was the divine Narcissa,
blushing like Aurora, adorned with all the graces that meekness,
innocence, and beauty can diffuse! I was seized with a giddiness,
my knees tottered and I scarce had strength enough to perform the
ceremony of salutation, when her brother, slapping me on the shoulder,
cried, "Measure Randan, that there is my sister." I approached her
with eagerness and fear; but in the moment of our embrace, my soul
was agonized with rapture! It was a lucky circumstance for us
both, that my entertainer was not endued with an uncommon stock
of penetration; for our mutual confusion was so manifest that Mr.
Freeman perceived it, and as we went home together, congratulated
me on my good fortune. But so far was Bruin from entertaining the
least suspicion, that he encouraged me to begin a conversation
with my mistress in a language unknown to him, by telling her, that
he had a gentleman who could jabber with her in French and other
foreign lingoes as fast as she pleased; then, turning to me, said,
"Odds bobs! I wish you would hold discourse with her in your French
or Italian, and tell me if she understands it as well as she would
be thought to do. There's her aunt and she will chatter together
whole days in it, and I can't have a mouthful of English for love
or money." I consulted the look of my amiable mistress and found her
averse to his proposal, which indeed she declined with a sweetness
of denial peculiar to herself, as a piece of disrespect to that part
of the company which did not understand the language in question.
As I had the happiness of sitting opposite to her, I feasted my
eyes much more than my palate which she tempted in vain with the
most delicious bits carved by her fair hand, and recommended by
her persuasive tongue; but all my other appetites were swallowed
up in immensity of my love, which I fed by gazing incessantly on
the delightful object. Dinner was scarcely ended, when the squire
became very drowsy, and after several dreadful yawns, got up,
stretched himself, took two or three turns across the room, begged
we would allow him to take a short nap, and, having laid a strong
injunction on his sister to detain us till his return, went to his
repose without further ceremony. He had not been gone many minutes,
when Freeman, guessing the situation of my heart, and thinking
he could not do me a greater favour than to leave me alone with
Narcissa, pretended to recollect himself all of a sudden, and,
starting up, begged the lady pardon for half-an-hour, for he had
unluckily remembered an engagement of some consequence, that he must
perform at that instant: so saying, he took his leave, promising
to come back time enough for tea, leaving my mistress and me in
great confusion.

Now that I enjoyed an opportunity of disclosing the paintings of
my soul, I had not the power to use it. I studied many pathetic
declarations, but, when I attempted to give them utterance, my
tongue denied its office and she sat silent with a downcast look
full of anxious alarm, her bosom heaving with expectation of some
great event. At length I endeavoured to put an end to this solemn
pause, and began with, "It is very surprising, madam, madam"--here
the sound dying away, I made a full stop; while Narcissa, starting,
blushed, and, with a timid accent answered, "Sir?" Confounded at
this note of interrogation, I pronounced with the most sheepish
bashfulness, "Madam!" To which she replied, "I beg pardon--I thought
you had spoken to me." Another pause ensued--I made another effort,
and, though my voice faltered very much at the beginning, made
shift to express myself in this manner: "I say, madam, it is very
surprising that love should act so inconsistently with itself, as
to deprive its votaries of the use of their faculties, when they
have most need of them. Since the happy occasion of being alone
with you presented itself, I have made many unsuccessful attempts
to declare a passion for the loveliest of her sex--a passion which
took possession of my soul, while my cruel fate compelled me to wear
a servile disguise so unsuitable to my birth, sentiments, and let
me add, my deserts; yet favourable in one respect, as it furnished
me with opportunities of seeing and adoring your perfections. Yes,
madam, it was then your dear idea entered my bosom, where it has
lived unimpaired in the midst of numberless cares, and animated me
against a thousand dangers and calamities!"

While I spoke thus, she concealed her face with her fan, and when
I ceased speaking, recovering herself from the most beautiful
confusion, told me she thought herself very much obliged by my
favourable opinion of her, and that she was very sorry to hear I
had been unfortunate. Encouraged by this gentle reply, I proceeded,
owned myself sufficiently recompensed by her kind compassion
for what I had undergone, and declared the future happiness of my
life depended solely upon her. "Sir," said she, "I should be very
ungrateful, if after the signal protection you once afforded me, I
should refuse to contribute towards your happiness in any reasonable
condescension." Transported at this acknowledgment I threw myself
at her feet, and begged she would regard my passion with a favourable
eye. She was alarmed at my behaviour, entreated me to rise lest her
brother should discover me in that posture, and to spare her for
the present upon a subject for which she was altogether unprepared.
In consequence of this remonstrance, I rose, assuring her I would
rather die than disobey her: but in the meantime begged her to
consider how precious the minutes of this opportunity were, and
what restraint I put upon my inclinations, in sacrificing them to
her desire. She smiled with unspeakable sweetness, and said there
would be no want of opportunities, provided I could maintain the
good opinion her brother had conceived of me, and I, enchanted by
her charms, seized her hand, which I well nigh devoured with kisses.
But she checked my boldness with a severity of countenance, and
desired I would not so far forget myself to her, as to endanger the
esteem she had for me; she reminded me of our being almost strangers
to each other, and of the necessity there was for her knowing me
better, before she could take any resolution in my favour; and, in
short, mingled so much good sense and complacency in her reproof,
that I became as much enamoured of her understanding as I had been
before of her beauty, and asked pardon for my presumption with
the utmost reverence of conviction. She forgave my offence with
her usual affability, and sealed my pardon with a look so full of
bewitching tenderness, that, for some minutes, my senses were lost
in ecstacy! I afterwards endeavoured to regulate my behaviour according
to her desire, and turn the conversation upon a more indifferent
subject; but her presence was an insurmountable obstacle to my
design; while I beheld so much excellence, I found it impossible
to call my attention from the contemplation of it! I gazed with
unutterable fondness! I grew mad with admiration! "My condition is
insupportable!" cried I: "I am distracted with passion! Why are
you so exquisitely fair?--why are you so enchantingly good?--why
has nature dignified you with charms so much above the standard of
woman? and, wretch that I am, how dare my unworthiness aspire to
the enjoyment of such perfection!"

She was startled at my ravings, reasoned down my transport, and by
her irresistible eloquence, soothed my soul into a state of tranquil
felicity; but, lest I might suffer a relapse, industriously promoted
other subjects to entertain my imagination. She chid me for having
omitted to inquire about her aunt who (she assured me), in the midst
of all her absence of temper, and detachment from common affairs,
often talked of me with uncommon warmth. I professed my veneration
for the good lady, excused my omission, by imputing it to the
violence of my love, which engrossed my whole soul, and desired to
know the situation of her health. Upon which, the amiable Narcissa
repeated what I had heard before of her marriage, with all the
tenderness for her reputation that the subject would admit of; told
me she lived with her husband hard by, and was so much afflicted
with the dropsy, and wasted by a consumption, that she had small
hopes of her recovery. Having expressed my sorrow for her distemper,
I questioned her about my good friend, Mrs, Sagely, who, I learned
to my great satisfaction, was in good health, and who had by the
encomiums she bestowed upon me after I was gone, confirmed the
favourable impression my behaviour at parting had made on Narcissa's
heart. This circumstance introduced an inquiry into the conduct
of Sir Timothy Thicket, who (she informed me) had found means to
incense her brother so much against me that she found it impossible
to undeceive him: but, on the contrary, suffered very much in her
own character by his scandalous insinuations; that the whole parish
was alarmed, and actually in pursuit of me; so that she had been
in the utmost consternation on my account, well knowing how little
my own innocence and her testimony would have weighed with the
ignorance, prejudice, and brutality of those who must have judged
me, had I been apprehended; that Sir Timothy, having been seized
with a fit of apoplexy, from which with great difficulty he was
recovered, began to be apprehensive of death, and to prepare himself
accordingly for that great event; as a step to which he sent for
her brother, owned with great contrition the brutal design he had
upon her, and in consequence acquitted me of the assault, robbery,
and correspondence with her, which he had laid to my charge; after
which confession he lived about a month in a languishing condition,
and was carried off by a second assault.

Every word that this dear creature spoke, riveted the chains with
which she held me enslaved! My mischievous fancy began to work,
and the tempest of my passion to wake again, when the return of
Freeman destroyed the tempting opportunity, and enabled me to quell
the rising tumult. A little while after, the squire staggered into
the room, rubbing his eyes, and called for his tea, which he drank
out of a small bowl, qualified with brandy; while we took it in the
usual way, Narcissa left us in order to visit her aunt; and when
Freeman and I proposed to take our leave, the foxhunter insisted
on our spending the evening at his house with such obstinacy of
affection, that we were obliged to comply. For my own part, I should
have been glad of the invitation, by which, in all likelihood, I
should be blessed with more of his sisters company, had I not been
afraid of risking her esteem, by entering into a debauch of drinking
with him, which, from the knowledge of his character, I foresaw
would happen: but there was no remedy. I was forced to rely upon the
strength of my constitution, which I hoped would resist intoxication
longer than the squire's, and to trust to the good nature and
discretion of my mistress for the rest.

Our entertainer, resolving to begin by times, ordered the table to
be furnished with liquor and glasses immediately after tea, but we
absolutely refused to set in for drinking so soon; and prevailed
upon him to pass away an hour or two at whist, in which we engaged
as soon as Narcissa returned. The savage and I happened to be
partners at first, and, as my thoughts were wholly employed in a
more interesting game, I played so ill that he lost all patience,
swore bitterly, and threatened to call for wine, if they would not
grant him another associate. This desire was gratified, and Narcissa
and I were of a side; he won for the same reason that made him lose
before; I was satisfied, my lovely partner did not repine, and the
time slipped away very agreeably, until we were told that supper
was served in another room.

The squire was enraged to find the evening so unprofitably spent,
and wreaked his vengeance on the cards, which he tore, and committed
to the flames with many execrations; threatening to make us redeem
our loss with a large glass and quick circulation; and indeed we
had no sooner supped, and my charmer withdrawn, than he began to
put his threat in execution. Three bottles of port (for he drank
no other sort of wine) were placed before us, with as many water
glasses, which were immediately filled to the brim, after his
example, by each out of his respective allowance, and emptied in a
trice to the best in Christendom. Though I swallowed this, and the
next, as fast as the glass could be replenished, without hesitation
or show of reluctance, I perceived that my brain would not be able
to bear many bumpers of this sort, and dreading the perseverance
of a champion who began with such vigour, I determined to make up
for the deficiency of my strength by a stratagem, which I actually
put in practice when the second course of bottles was called for. The
wine being strong and heady, I was already a good deal discomposed
by the dispatch we had made. Freeman's eyes began to reel, and
Bruin himself was elevated into a song, which he uttered with great
vociferation. When I therefore saw the second round brought in, I
assumed a gay air, entertained him with a French catch on the subject
of drinking, which, though he did rot understand it, delighted him
highly; and, telling him your choice spirits at Paris never troubled
themselves with glasses, asked if he had not a bowl or cup in the
house that would contain a whole quart of wine. "Odds niggers!"
cried he, "I have a silver candle cup that holds just the quantity,
for all the world; fetch it hither, Numps." The vessel being produced,
I bade him decant his bottle into it, which he having done, I nodded
in a very deliberate manner, and said, "Pledge you." He stared
at me for some time, and crying, "What! all at one pull, Measter
Randan?" I answered, "At one pull, Sir, you are no milk-sop--we
shall do you justice." "Shall you?" said he, shaking me by the
hand; "odds then, I'll see it out, an't were a mile to the bottom:
here's to our better acquaintance, measter Randan," So saying, he
applied it to his lips, and emptied it in a breath. I knew the effect
of it would be almost instantaneous; therefore taking the cup, began
to discharge my bottle into it, telling him he was now qualified
to drink with the Cham of Tartary. I had no sooner pronounced these
words than he took umbrage at them, and after several attempts to
spit, made shift to stutter, "A f--t for your Chams of T--Tartary!
I am a f--f--freeborn Englishman, worth th--three thousand a-year,
and v--value no man, d--me." Then, dropping his jaw, and fixing
his eyes, he hiccuped aloud, and fell upon the floor as mute as n
flounder. Mr. Freeman, heartily glad at his defeat, assisted me in
carrying him to bed, where we left him to the care of his servants,
and went home to our respective habitations, congratulating each
other on our good fortune.


Miss Williams informs me of Narcissa's Approbation of my Flame--I
appease the Squire--write to my Mistress--am blessed with an
Answer--beg Leave of her Brother to dance with her at a Ball--obtain
his Consent and hers--enjoy a private Conversation with her--am
perplexed with Reflections--have the Honour of appearing her
Partner at a Ball--we are complimented by a certain Nobleman--he
discovers some Symptoms of a Passion for Narcissa--I am stung with
Jealousy--Narcissa, alarmed, retires--I observe Melinda in the
company--the Squire is captivated by her Beauty

I was met next morning at the usual place by Miss Williams, who
gave me joy of the progress I had made in the affection of her
mistress, and blessed me with an account of that dear creature's
conversation with her, after she had retired the night before
from our company. I could scarce believe her information, when
she recounted her expressions in my favour, so much more warm and
passionate were they than my most sanguine hopes had presaged; and
was particularly pleased to hear that she approved of my behaviour
to her brother after she withdrew. Transported at the news of my
happiness, I presented my ring to the messenger as a testimony of
my gratitude and satisfaction; but she was above such mercenary
considerations, and refused my compliment with some resentment, saying,
she was not a little mortified to see my opinion of her so low and
contemptible. I did myself a piece of justice by explaining my
behaviour on this head, and to convince her of my esteem, promised
to be ruled by her directions in the prosecution of the whole affair,
which I had so much at heart, that the repose of my life depended
upon the consequence.

As I fervently wished for another interview, where I might pour
out the effusion of my love without danger of being interrupted,
and perhaps reep some endearing return from the queen of my desires,
I implored her advice and assistance in promoting this event: but
she gave me to understand, that Narcissa would make no precipitate
compliances of this kind, and I would do well to cultivate her
brother's acquaintance, in the course of which I should not want
opportunities of removing that reserve which my mistress thought
herself obliged to maintain during the infancy of our correspondence.
In the meantime she promised to tell her lady that I had endeavoured
by presents and persuasions, to prevail upon her (Miss Williams) to
deliver a letter from me, which she had refused to charge herself
with, until she should know Narcissa's sentiments of the matter;
and said, by these means she did not doubt of being able to
open a literary communication between us, which could not fail of
introducing more intimate connections.

I approved of her counsel, and, our appointment being renewed for
the next day, left her with an intent of falling upon some method
of being reconciled to the squire, who, I supposed, would be offended
with the trick we had put upon him. With this view I consulted
Freeman, who, from his knowledge of the foxhunter's disposition,
assured me there was no other method of pacifying him, than that
of sacrificing ourselves for one night to an equal match with him
in drinking. This expedient I found myself necessitated to comply
with for the interest of my passion, and therefore determined to
commit the debauch at my own lodgings, that I might run no risk
of being discovered by Narcissa, in a state of brutal degeneracy.
Mr. Freeman, who was to be of the party, went, at my desire, to
the squire, in order to engage him, while I took care to furnish
myself for his reception. My invitation was accepted, my guests
honoured me with their company in the evening, when Bruin gave me
to understand that he had drunk many tons of wine in his life, but
was never served such a trick as I had played upon him the night
before. I promised to atone for my trespass, and, having ordered
to every man his bottle, began the contest with a bumper to the
health of Narcissa. The toasts circulated with great devotion,
the liquor began to operate, our mirth grew noisy, and, as Freeman
said, I had the advantage of drinking small French claret, the
savage was effectually tamed before our senses were in the least
affected, and carried home in an apoplexy of drunkenness.

I was next morning, as usual, favoured with a visit from my kind and
punctual confidante, who, telling me she was permitted to receive
my letters for her mistress, I took up the pen immediately, and,
following the first dictates of my passion, wrote as follows:

"Dear Madam,
Were it possible for the powers of utterance to reveal the
soft emotions of my soul, the fond anxiety, the glowing hopes,
the chilling flame, that rule my breast by turns, I should need
no other witness than this paper, to evince the purity and ardour
of that flame your charms have kindled in my heart, But alas!
expression wrongs my love! I am inspired with conceptions that no
language can convey! Your beauty fills me with wonder, your
understanding with ravishment, and your goodness with adoration!
I am transported with desire, distracted with doubts, and
tortured with impatience. Suffer me then, lovely arbitress of my
fate, to approach you in person, to breathe in soft murmurs my
passion to your ear, to offer the sacrifice of a heart overflowing
with the most genuine and disinterested love, to gaze with ecstacy
on the divine object of my wishes, to hear the music of her
enchanting tongue, and to rejoice in her smiles of approbation,
which will banish the most intolerable suspense from the bosom of
"Your enraptured, R-- R--."

Having finished this effusion, I committed it to the care of my
faithful friend, with an injunction to second my entreaty with all
her eloquence and influence, and in the meantime went to dress, with
an intention of visiting Mrs. Snapper and Miss, whom I had utterly
neglected, and indeed almost forgotten, since my dear Narcissa had
resumed the empire of my soul. The old gentlewoman received me very
kindly, and Miss affected a frankness and gaiety which, however,
I could easily perceive was forced and dissembled: among other
things, she pretended to joke me upon my passion for Narcissa,
which she averred was no secret, and asked if I intended to dance
with her at the next assembly. I was a good deal concerned to
find myself become the town talk on this subject, lest the squire,
having notice of my inclinations, should disapprove of them, and,
by breaking off all correspondence with me, deprive me of the
opportunities I now enjoyed. But I resolved to use the interest
I had with him, while it lasted; and that very night, meeting him
occasionally, asked his permission to solicit her company at the
ball, which he very readily granted, to my inexpressible satisfaction.

Having been kept awake the greatest part of the night by a thousand
delightful reveries that took possession of my fancy, I got up by
times, and, flying to the place of rendezvous, had in a little time
the pleasure of seeing Miss Williams approach with a smile on her
countenance, which I interpreted into a good omen. Neither was
I mistaken in my presage. She presented me with a letter from the
idol of my soul, which, after having kissed it devoutly, I opened
with the utmost eagerness, and was blessed with her approbation in
these terms:

"To say I look upon you with indifference would be a piece of
dissimulation which I think no decorum requires, and no custom
can justify. As my heart never felt an impression that my tongue
was ashamed to declare, I will not scruple to own myself pleased
with your passion; confident of your integrity, and so well
convinced of my own discretion, that I should not hesitate in
granting you the interview you desire, were I not overawed by
the prying curiosity of a malicious world, the censure of which
might be fatally prejudicial to the reputation of
Your Narcissa."

No anchorite in the ecstacy of devotion ever adored a relic with
more fervour than that with which I kissed this inimitable proof
of my charmer's candour, generosity, and affection! I read it over
a hundred times, was ravished with her confession in the beginning;
but the subscription of Your Narcissa yielded me such delight as
I had never felt before! My happiness was still increased by Miss
Williams, who blessed me with a repetition of her lady's tender
expressions in my favour, when she received and read my letter.
In short, I had all the reason in the world to believe that this
gentle creature's bosom was possessed by a passion for me, as warm,
though perhaps not so impetuous as mine for her.

I informed my friend of the squire's consent to my dancing with
Narcissa at the ball and desired her to tell her mistress, that
I would do myself the honour of visiting her in the afternoon,
in consequence of his permission, when I hoped to find her as
indulgent as her brother had been complaisant in that particular.
Miss Williams expressed a good deal of joy at hearing I was so much
in favour with the foxhunter, and ventured to assure me, that my
visit would be very agreeable to my mistress, the rather because
Bruin was engaged to dine abroad. This was a circumstance which, I
scarce need say, pleased me. I went immediately to the Long Room,
where I found him, and, affecting to know nothing of his engagement,
told him, I would do myself the pleasure to wait upon him in the
afternoon, and to present his sister with a ticket for the ball.
He shook me by the band, according to custom, and, giving me to
understand that he was to dine abroad, desired me to go and drink
tea with Narcissa notwithstanding, and promised to prepare her for
my visit in the meantime.

Everything succeeding thus to my wish, I waited with incredible
impatience for the time, which no sooner arrived than I hastened
to the scene, which my fancy had preoccupied long before. I
was introduced accordingly to the dear enchantress, whom I found
accompanied by Miss Williams, who, on pretence of ordering tea,
retired at my approach. This favourable accident, which alarmed
my whole soul, disordered her also. I found myself actuated by an
irresistible impulse; I advanced to her with eagerness and awe;
and, profiting by the confusion that prevailed over her, clasped
the fair angel in my arms, and imprinted a glowing kiss upon her
lips, more soft and fragrant than the dewy rosebud just bursting
from the stem! Her face was in an instant covered with blushes,
her eyes sparkled with resentment; I threw myself at her feet, and
implored her pardon. Her love became advocate in my cause; her look
softened into forgiveness; she raised me up, and chid me with so
much sweetness of displeasure that I could have been tempted to
repeat the offence, had not the coming in of the servant with the
tea-board prevented my presumption. While we were subject to be
interrupted or overheard, we conversed about the approaching ball,
at which she promised to grace me as a partner, but, when the
equipage was removed, and we were left alone, I resumed the more
interesting theme, and expressed myself with such transport and
agitation, that my mistress, fearing I should commit some extravagance,
rang the bell for her maid, whom she detained in the room, as a
check upon my vivacity. I was not sorry for this precaution, because
I could unbosom myself without reserve before Miss Williams, who
was the confidante of us both. I therefore gave a loose to the
inspirations of my passion, which operated so successfully upon the
tender affections of Narcissa, that she laid aside the constraint
she had hitherto worn, and blessed me with the most melting declaration
of her mutual flame! It was impossible for me to forbear taking the
advantage of this endearing condescension. She now gently yielded
to my embraces; while I, encircling all that I held dear within
my arms, tasted in advance the joys of that paradise I hoped in a
little time wholly to possess! We spent the afternoon in all the
ecstacy of hope that the most fervent love exchanged by mutual
vows could inspire; and Miss Williams was so much affected with
our chaste caresses, which recalled the sad remembrance of what
she was, that her eyes were filled with tears.

The evening being pretty far advanced, I forced myself from the
dear object of my flame, who indulged me in a tender embrace at
parting, and, repairing to my lodgings, communicated to my friend
Strap every circumstance of my happiness, which filled him with so
much pleasure, that it ran over at his eyes; and he prayed heartily,
that no envious devil might, as formerly, dash the cup of blessing
from my lip. When I reflected on what had happened, and especially
on the unreserved protestations of Narcissa's love, I could not
help being amazed at her omitting to inquire into the particular
circumstances of life and fortune of one whom she had favoured
with her affection, and I began to be a little anxious about the
situation of her finances; well knowing that I should do an irreparable
injury to the person my soul held most dear, if I should espouse her
without being able to support her in the rank which was certainly
her due. I bad heard, indeed, while I served her aunt, that her
father had left her a considerable sum; and that everybody believed
she would inherit the greatest part of her kinswoman's dowry, but
I did not know how far she might be restricted by the old gentleman's
will in the enjoyment of what he left her: and I was too well
informed of the virtuoso's late conduct, to think my mistress could
have any expectation from that quarter. I confided, however, in
the good sense and policy of my charmer, who, I was sure, would not
consent to unite her fate with mine, before she had fully considered
and provided for the consequence.

The ball night being arrived, I dressed myself in a suit I had
reserved for some grand occasion; and, having drunk tea with Narcissa
and her brother, conducted my angel to the scene, where she, in a
moment, eclipsed all her female competitors for beauty, and attracted
the admiration of the whole assembly. My heart dilated with pride
on this occasion, and my triumph rejected all bounds, when, after
we had danced together, a certain nobleman, remarkable for his
figure, and influence in the beau monde, came up, and in the hearing
of all present, honoured us with a very particular compliment upon
our accomplishments and appearance; but this transport was soon
checked, when I perceived his lordship attach himself with great
assiduity to my mistress, and say some warm things, which, I
thought, savoured too much of passion. It was then I began to feel
the pangs of jealousy; I dreaded the power and address of my rival;
I sickened at his discourse; when she opened her lips to answer,
my heart died within me; when she smiled, I felt the pains of the
damned! I was enraged at his presumption: I cursed her complaisance:
at length he quitted her, and went to the other side of the room.
Narcissa, suspecting nothing of the rage that inflamed me, put some
questions to me as soon as he was gone, to which I made no reply,
but assumed a grim look, which too well denoted the agitation of
my breast, and surprised her not a little. She no sooner observed
my emotion than she changed colour, and asked what ailed me? but
before I could make answer, her brother, pulling me by the sleeve,
bade me take notice of a lady who sat fronting us, whom I immediately,
to my vast astonishment, distinguished to be Melinda, accompanied
by her mother, and an elderly gentleman, whom I did not know.
"Wounds! Mr. Randan," cried the squire, "is she not a delicate
piece of stuff? 'Sdeath! I have a good mind--if I thought she was
a single person."

Notwithstanding the perplexity I was in, I had reflection enough
to foresee that my passion might suffer greatly by the presence
of this lady, who, in all probability, would revenge herself upon
me, for having formerly disgraced her, by spreading reports to
my prejudice. I was therefore alarmed at these symptoms of the
Squire's admiration; and for some time did not know what reply to
make, when he asked my opinion of her beauty; at length I came to
a determination, and told him that her name was Melinda, that she
had a fortune of ten thousand pounds, and was said to be under
promise of marriage to a certain lord, who deferred his nuptials
a few mouths until he should be of age. I thought this piece
of intelligence, which I had myself invented, would have hindered
him effectually from entertaining any further thoughts of her; but
I was egregiously mistaken. The foxhunter had too much self-sufficiency
to despair of success against any competitor on earth. He therefore
made light of her engagement, saying, with a smile of self-approbation,
"Mayhap she will change her mind; what signifies his being a lord?
I think myself as good a man as e'er a lord in Christendom, and
I'll see if a commoner worth three thousand a year won't serve her
turn." This determination startled me not a little; I knew he would
soon discover the contrary of what I advanced; and as I believed he
would find her ear open to his addresses, did not doubt of meeting
with every obstacle in my amour that her malice could invent, and
her influence execute. This reflection increased my chagrin--my
vexation was evident. Narcissa insisted on going home immediately:
and, as I led her to the door, her noble admirer, with a look full
of languishment, directed to her a profound bow, which stung me
to the soul. Before she went into the chair, she asked, with an
appearance of concern, what was the matter with me? and I could
pronounce no more than "By heaven, I am distracted!"


Tortured with Jealousy, I go Home, and abuse Strap--receive a Message
from Narcissa, in Consequence of which I hasten to her Apartment,
where her endearing Assurances banish all my Doubts and Apprehensions--in
my Retreat discover Somebody in the Dark, whom, suspecting to be
a Spy, I resolve to kill, but, to my great Surprise, am convinced
of his being no other than Strap--Melinda slanders me--I become
acquainted with Lord Quiverwit, who endeavours to sound me with
regard to Narcissa--the Squire is introduced to his Lordship, and
grows cold towards me--I learn from my Confidante, that this Nobleman
professes honourable Love to my Mistress, who continues faithful
to me, notwithstanding the scandalous Reports she had heard to my
Prejudice--I am mortified with an Assurance that her whole Fortune
depends upon the Pleasure of her Brother-Mr. Freeman condoles me
on the Decline of my Character, which I vindicate so much to his
satisfaction, that he undertakes to combat Fame on my behalf

Having uttered this exclamation, at which she sighed, I went home
in the condition of a frantic Bedlamite: and, finding the fire in
my apartment almost extinguished, vented my fury upon poor Strap,
whose ear I pinched with such violence, that he roared hideously
with pain; and, when I quitted my hold, looked so foolishly aghast,
that no unconcerned spectator could have seen him without being
seized with an immoderate fit of laughter. It is true, I was soon
sensible of the injury I had done, and asked pardon for the outrage
I had committed; upon which my faithful valet, shaking his head,
said, "I forgive you, and may God forgive you!" But he could
not help shedding some tears at my unkindness. I felt unspeakable
remorse for what I had done, cursed my own ingratitude, and considered
his tears as a reproach that my soul, in its present disturbance,
could not bear. It set all my passions into a ferment: I swore horrible
oaths without meaning or application. I foamed at the mouth, kicked
the chairs about the room, and played abundance of mad pranks
that frightened my friend almost out of his senses. At length my
transport subsided, I became melancholy, and wept insensibly.

During this state of dejection, I was surprised with the appearance
of Miss Williams, whom Strap, blubbering all the while, had conducted
into the chamber without giving me previous notice of her approach.
She was extremely affected with my condition, which she had learned
from him, begged me to moderate my passion, suspend my conjectures,
and follow her to Narcissa, who desired to see me forthwith.
That dear name operated upon me like a charm! I started up, and,
without opening my lips, was conducted into her apartment through
the garden, which we entered by a private door. I found the adorable
creature in tears; I was melted at the sight--we continued silent
for some time--my heart was too full to speak--her snowy bosom
heaved with fond resentment; at last she sobbing cried, "What have
I done to disoblige you?" My heart was pierced with the tender
question. I drew near with the utmost reverence of affection. I
fell upon my knees before her, and, kissing her hand, exclaimed,
"Oh! thou art all goodness and perfection! I am undone by want
of merit; I am unworthy to possess thy charms, which heaven bath
destined for the arms of some more favourite being." She guessed
the cause of my disquiet, upbraided me gently for my suspicion, and
gave me such flattering assurances of her eternal fidelity, that
all my doubts and fears forsook me, and peace and satisfaction
reigned within my breast.

At midnight I left the fair nymph to her repose, and, being let
out by Miss Williams at the garden gate by which I entered, began
to explore my way homeward in the dark, when I heard at my back
a noise like that of a baboon when he mews and chatters. I turned
instantly, and, perceiving something black, concluded I was discovered
by some spy, employed to watch for that purpose; aroused at this
conjecture, by which the reputation of the virtuous Narcissa appeared
in jeopardy, I drew my sword, and would have sacrificed him to her
fame, had not the voice of Strap restrained my arm, it was with
great difficulty he could pronounce, "D--d--d-do! mum--um--um--murder
me if you please." Such an effect had the cold upon his jaws, that
his teeth rattled like a pair of castanets. Pleased to be thus
undeceived, I laughed at his consternation, and asked what brought
him thither? Upon which he gave me to understand, that his concern
for me had induced him to follow me to that place, where the same
reason had detained him till now, and he frankly owned, that, in
spite of the esteem he had for Miss Williams. he began to be very
uneasy about me, considering the disposition in which I went abroad;
and, if I had stayed much longer, would certainly have alarmed the
neighbourhood in my behalf. The knowledge of this his intention
confounded me. I represented to him the mischievous consequences
that would have attended such a rash action, and, cautioning
him severely against any such design for the future, concluded my
admonition with an assurance, that, in case he should ever act so
madly, I would, without hesitation, put him to death. "Have a little
patience!" cried he, in a lamentable tone; "your displeasure will
do the business, without your committing murder." I was touched
with this reproach; and, as soon as we got home, made it my business
to appease him, by explaining the cause of that transport during
which I had used him so unworthily.

Next day when I went into the Long Room, I observed several whispers
circulate all of a sudden, and did not doubt that Melinda had been
busy with my character; but I consoled myself with the love of
Narcissa, upon which I rested with the most perfect confidence; and
going up to the rowly-powly table, won a few pieces from my suspected
rival, who, with an easy politeness, entered into conversation with
me, and, desiring my company to the coffee-house, treated me with
tea and chocolate. I remembered Strutwell, and guarded against
his insinuating behaviour; nor was my suspicion wrong placed; he
artfully turned the discourse upon Narcissa, and endeavoured by
hinting at an intrigue he pretended to be engaged in elsewhere, to
learn what connection there was between her and me. But all his
finesse was ineffectual, I was convinced of his dissimulation, and
gave such general answers to his inquiries, that he was forced to
drop the subject, and talk of something else.

While we conversed in this manner, the savage came in with another
gentleman, who introduced him to his lordship, and he was received
with such peculiar marks of distinction, that I was persuaded
the courtier intended to use him in some shape or other; and from
thence I drew an unlucky omen. But I had more cause to be dismayed
the following day, when I saw the squire in company with Melinda
and her mother, who honoured me with several disdainful glances; and
when I afterwards threw myself in his way, instead of the cordial
shake of the hand, he returned my salute with a cold repetition
of "Servant, servant!" which he pronounced with such indifference
or rather contempt, that if he had not been Narcissa's brother, I
should have affronted him in public.

These occurrences disturbed me not a little; I foresaw the brooding
storm, and armed myself with resolution for the occasion; but
Narcissa, being at stake, I was far from being resigned. I could
have renounced every other comfort of life with some degree of
fortitude, but the prospect of losing her disabled all my philosophy,
and tortured my soul into madness.

Miss Williams found me, next morning, full of anxious tumult,
which did not abate when she told me that my Lord Quiverwit, having
professed honourable intentions, had been introduced to my lovely
mistress by her brother, who had, at the same time, from the
information of Melinda, spoken of me as an Irish fortune-hunter,
without either birth or estate; who supported myself in the appearance
of a gentleman by sharping and other infamous practices; and who
was of such an obscure origin, that I did not even know my own
extraction. Though I expected all this malice, I could not hear it
with temper, especially as truth was so blended with falsehood in
the assertion, that it would be almost impossible to separate the
one from the other in my vindication. But I said nothing on this
head, being impatient to know how Narcissa had been affected with
the discovery. That generous creature, far from believing these
imprecations, was no sooner withdrawn with her confidante, than she
inveighed with great warmth against the malevolence of the world,
to which only she ascribed the whole of what had been said to my
disadvantage, and, calling every circumstance of my behaviour to
her into review before her, found everything so polite, honourable,
and disinterested, that she could not harbour the least doubt of my
being the gentleman I assumed. "I have indeed," said she, "purposely
forborne to ask the particulars of his life, lest the recapitulation
of some misfortunes, which he has undergone, should give him pain;
and, as to the article of his fortune, I own myself equally afraid
of inquiring into it, and of discovering the state of my own, lest
we should find ourselves both unhappy in the explanation; for, alas!
my provision is conditional, and depends entirely on my marrying
with my brother's consent."

I was thunderstruck with this intelligence, the light forsook my
eyes, the colour vanished from my cheeks, and I remained in a state
of universal trepidation! My female friend, perceiving my disorder,
encouraged me with assurances of Narcissa's constancy, and the
hope of some accident favourable to our love; and, as a further
consolation, gave me to understand, that she had acquainted my
mistress with the outlines of my life: and that, although she was
no stranger to the present low state of my finances, her love and
esteem were rather increased than diminished by the knowledge of
my circumstances. I was greatly comforted by this assurance, which
saved me a world of confusion and anxiety; for I must have imparted
my situation one day to Narcissa, and this task I could not have
performed without shame and disorder.

As I did not doubt that by this time the scandalous aspersions of
Melinda were diffused all over the town, I resolved to collect my
whole strength of assurance, to browbeat the efforts of her malice,
and to publish her adventure with the frenchified barber by way of
reprisal. In the meantime, having promised to be at the garden-gate
about midnight, Miss Williams took her leave, bidding me repose
myself entirely on the affection of my dear Narcissa, which was
as perfect as inviolable. Before I went abroad, I was visited by
Freeman, who came on purpose to inform me of the infamous stories
that were raised at my expense. I heard them with great temper, and
in my turn disclosed everything that had happened between Melinda
and me; and among other circumstances entertained him with the
story of the barber, letting him know what share his friend Banter
had in that affair. He was convinced of the injury my reputation
had suffered; and, no longer doubting the fountain from whence
this deluge of slander had flowed upon me, undertook to undeceive
the town in my behalf, and roll the stream back upon its source;
but in the meantime, cautioned me from appearing in public, while
the prepossession was so strong against me, lest I should meet with
some affront that might have bad consequences.


I receive an extraordinary Message at the Door of the Long Room,
which, however, enter, and affront the Squire, who threatens to
take the Law of me--Rebuke Melinda for her Malice--she weeps with
Vexation--Lord Quiverwit is severe upon me--I retort his Sarcasm--am
received with the utmost Tenderness by Narcissa, who desires to
hear the Story of my Life--we vow eternal Constancy to other--I
retire--am waked by a Messenger, who brings a Challenge from
Quiverwit, whom I meet, engage, and vanquish

I thanked him for his advice, which, however, my pride and resentment
would not permit me to follow; for he no sooner left me, in order
to do justice to my character among his friends and acquaintance,
than I sallied out, and went directly to the Long Room. I was met
at the door by a servant, who presented a billet to me without
a subscription, importing that my presence was disagreeable to
the company, and desiring I would take the hint without further
disturbance, and bestow myself elsewhere for the future. This
peremptory message filled me with indignation. I followed the fellow
who delivered it, and, seizing him by the collar in presence of
all the company, threatened to put him instantly to death, if he
did not discover the scoundrel who had charged him with such an
impudent commission, that I might punish him as he deserved. The
messenger, affrighted at my menaces and furious looks, fell upon his
knees, and told me, that the gentleman who ordered him to deliver
the letter was no other than Narcissa's brother, who, at that time,
stood at the other end of the room, talking to Melinda. I went up
to him immediately, and in the hearing of his inamorata, accosted
him in these words; "Lookee, squire, were it not for one consideration
that protects you from my resentment, I would cane you where you
stand, for having had the presumption to send me this scurrilous
intimation;" which I tore to pieces and threw in his face: at the
same time darting an angry regard at his mistress, I told her,
I was sorry she had put it out of my power to compliment her upon
her invention, but at the expense of her good nature and veracity.
Her admirer, whose courage never rose, but in proportion to the
wine he had swallowed, instead of resenting my address in what
is called an honourable way, threatened to prosecute me for an
assault, and took witnesses accordingly: while she, piqued at his
pusillanimous behaviour, and enraged at the sarcasm I had uttered
against her, endeavoured to make her quarrel a public cause, and
wept aloud with spite and vexation.

The tears of a lady could not fail of attracting the notice and
concern of the spectators to whom she complained of my rudeness
with great bitterness, saying, if she were a man, I durst not use
her so. The greatest part of the gentlemen, already prejudiced
against me, were offended at the liberty I had taken, as appeared
from their looks; though none of them signified their disgust
any other way except my Lord Quiverwit, who ventured to say, with
a sneer, that I was in the right to establish my own character,
of which he had now no longer any doubt. Nettled at this severe
equivocation, which raised a laugh at my expense, I replied with
some warmth, "I am proud of having in that particular got the start
of your lordship." He made no answer to my repartee, but with a
contemptuous smile walked off, leaving me in a very disagreeable
situation. In vain did I make up to several people of my acquaintance,
whose conversation, I hoped, would banish my confusion; everybody
shunned me like a person infected, and I should not have been able
to bear my disgrace, had not the idea of the ever faithful and fond
Narcissa come to my relief. I quitted the scene of my mortification,
and, sauntering about the town, happened to wake from my contemplation,
when I found myself just opposite to a toy-shop, which I entered,
and purchased a ring set with a ruby in the form of a heart, surrounded
by diamond sparks, for which I paid ten guineas, intending it for
a present to the charmer of my soul.

I was introduced, at the hour appointed, to this divine creature,
who, notwithstanding what she had heard to my disadvantage, received
me with the utmost confidence and tenderness; and, having been
informed of the general sketches of my life by Miss Williams,
expressed a desire, of knowing the particular circumstances, which
I related with great candour, omitting, however, some things which
I concluded altogether improper for her ear, and which the reader's
reflection will easily suggest. As my story was little else than a
recital of misfortunes, the tear of sympathy ceased not to trickle
from her enchanting eyes during the whole of the narration, which,
when I had finished, she recompensed me for my trouble with the
most endearing protestations of eternal love. She bewailed her
restricted condition, as it was the means of retarding my happiness;
told me that Lord Quiverwit, by her brother's permission, had been
to drink tea with her that very afternoon, and actually proposed
marriage; and, seeing me extremely affected with this piece of
information, offered to give me a convincing proof of her affection,
by espousing me in private, and leaving the rest to fate. I was
penetrated with this instance of her regard, but, that I might
not be outdone in generosity, resisted the bewitching temptation
in consideration of her honour and interest; at the same time I
presented my ring as a pledge of my inviolable attachment, and, on
my knees, implored Heaven to shower its curses on my head, if ever
my heart should entertain one thought unworthy of the passion I
then avowed. She received my token, gave me in return her picture
in miniature, exquisitely drawn and set in gold; and, in the same
posture, called Heaven to witness and to judge her flame. Our vows
being thus reciprocally breathed, a confidence of hope ensued, and
our mutual fondness becoming as intimate as innocence would allow, I
grew insensible of the progress of time, and it was morning before
I could tear myself from this darling of my soul! My good angel
foresaw what would happen, and permitted me to indulge myself on
this occasion, in consideration of the fatal absence I was doomed
to suffer.

I went to bed immediately on my return to my lodging, and, having
slept about two hours, was waked by Strap, who in great confusion
told me there was a footman below with a letter, which he would
deliver to nobody but myself. Alarmed at this piece of news,
I desired my friend to show him into my chamber, and received the
following letter, which, he said, required an immediate answer:

When any man injures my honour, let the difference of rank
between us be ever so great, I am contented to wave the privilege
of my quality, and to seek reparation from him on equal terms.
The insolence of your reply to me yesterday, in the Long Room, I
might have overlooked, had not your presumptive emulation in a much
more interesting affair, and which I made this morning, concurred
in persuading me to chastise your audacity with my sword. If you
therefore have spirit enough to support the character you
assume, you will not fail to follow the bearer immediately to a
convenient place, where you shall be met by

Whether I was enervated by the love and favour of Narcissa, or awed
by the superior station of my antagonist, I know not, but I never
had less inclination to fight than at this time. However, finding
there was a necessity for vindicating the reputation of my mistress,
as well as for asserting my own honour, I forthwith rose, and,
dressing in a hurry, put on my sword, bade Strap attend me, and
set out with my conductor, cursing my bad fortune all the way, for
having been observed in my return from my angel; for so I interpreted
his lordship's discovery. When I came within sight of my rival,
his lacquey told me he had orders to stop; upon which I commanded
Strap to halt also, while I walked forward; resolving, if possible,
to come to an explanation with my challenger, before we should
come to battle. Nor was an opportunity wanting; for I no sooner
approached than be asked, with a stern countenance, what business
I had in Mr. Topehall's garden so early in the morning? "I don't
know, my lord," said I, "how to answer a question put to me with such
magisterial haughtiness. If your lordship will please to expostulate
calmly, you will have no cause to repent of your condescension;
otherwise I am not to be intimated into any confession." "There is
no room for denial," answered he; "I saw you come out with my own
eyes." "Did any other see me?" said I. "I neither know nor care,"
said he; "I want no other evidence than that of my own senses."
Pleased to hear that the suspicion was confined to him alone,
I endeavoured to appease his jealousy, by owning an intrigue with
the waiting maid: but he had too much discernment to be so easily
imposed upon, and told me there was only one way to convince him
of the truth of what I alleged, which was no other than renouncing
all claim to Narcissa upon oath, and promising, upon honour, never
to speak to her for the future. Exasperated at this proposal, I
unsheathed my sword, saying, "Heavens! what title have you, or any
man on earth, to impose such terms on me?" He did the same, and
making towards me with a contracted brow, said I was a villain,
and had dishonoured Narcissa. "He's a villain," I replied, in
a transport of fury, "who brands me with that imputation! She is
a thousand times more chaste than the mother that bore you; and I
will assert her honour with my heart's blood!" So saying, I rushed
upon him with more eagerness than address, and, endeavouring to get
within his point, received a wound in my neck, which redoubled my
rage. He excelled me in temper as well as in skill, by which means
he parried my thrusts with great calmness, until I had almost
exhausted my spirits; and, when he perceived me beginning to flag,
attacked me fiercely in his turn. Finding himself, however, better
opposed than he expected, he resolved to follow his lounge, and close
with me; accordingly, his sword entered my waistcoat, on the side
of the breast bone, and, running up between my shirt and skin,
appeared over my left shoulder. I imagined that his weapon had
perforated my lungs, and of consequence that the wound was mortal;
therefore, determined not to die unrevenged, I seized his shell,
which was close to my breast, before he could disentangle his point,
and, keeping it fast with my left hand, shortened my own sword with
my right, intending to run him through the heart; but he received
the thrust in the left arm, which penetrated up to the shoulder
blade. Disappointed at this expectation, and afraid still that
death would frustrate my revenge, I grappled with him, and, being
much the stronger, threw him upon the ground, where I wrested his
sword out of his hand, and, so great was my confusion, that instead
of turning the point upon him, struck out three of his foreteeth
with the hilt. In the meantime, our servants, seeing us fall, ran
up to separate and assist us; but before their approach I was upon
my feet, and had discovered that my supposed mortal wound was only a
slight scratch. The knowledge of my own safety disarmed me of a
good deal of my resentment, and I began to inquire with soma concern
into the situation of my antagonist, who remained on the ground
bleeding plentifully at his mouth and arm. I helped his footman
to raise him, and, having bound up his wound with my handkerchief,
assured it was not dangerous; I likewise restored his sword, and
offered to support him to his house. He thanked me with an air of
sullen dignity: and whispering that I should hear from him soon,
went away, leaning on his servant's shoulder.

I was surprised at this promise, which I construed into a threat,
and resolved, if ever he should call me out again, to use whatever
advantage fortune might give me over him in another manner. In the
meantime I had leisure to take notice of Strap, who seemed quite
stupified with horror: I comforted him with an assurance, that
I had received no damage, and explained the nature of this affair
as we walked homeward. By the time I had got into my apartment,
I found the wound in my neck stiff and uneasy, and a good deal of
clotted blood ran down upon my shirt; upon which I pulled off my
coat and waistcoat, and unbuttoned my collar, that I might dress it
with more ease. My friend no sooner perceived my shirt quite dyed
with blood, than, imagining I had got at least twenty thousand
wounds, he cried, "O Jesus!" and fell flat on the floor. I stopped
the bleeding with a little dry lint, and, applying a plaster over
it, cleaned myself from the gore, shifted, and dressed, while he
lay senseless at my feet, so that when he recovered, and saw me
perfectly well, he could scarce believe his own eyes. Now that the
danger was passed, I was very well pleased with what had happened,
hoping that it would soon become known, and consequently dignify
my character not a little in this place. I was also proud of having
shown myself, in some shape, worthy of the love of Narcissa. who,
I was persuaded, would. not think the worse of me for what I had


I am visited by Freeman, with whom I appear in Public, and
am caressed-am sent for by Lord Quiverwit, whose Presence I quit
flung--Narcissa is carried off by her Brother--I intend to pursue
him, and am dissuaded by my Friend--engage in Play, and lose all
my Money--set out for London--try my Fortune at the Gaming Table
without success--receive a letter from Narcissa--bilk my Tailor

While I entertained myself with these reflections, the news of the
duel, being communicated by some unknown channel, spread all over
the town. I was visited by Freeman, who testified his surprise at
finding me; for it was told, that Lord Quiverwit being dead of his
wounds, I had absconded, in order to avoid the cognizance of the
law. I asked, if people guessed the occasion of the quarrel; and,
understanding it was attributed to his lordship's resentment of
my reply in the Long Room, confirmed that conjecture, glad to find
Narcissa unsuspected. My friend, after I had assured him that my
antagonist was in no danger, wished me joy of the event, than which,
he said, nothing could happen more opportunely to support the idea
he had given of my character to his friends, among whom he had been
very assiduous in my behalf.

On the strength of this assurance, I went with him to the coffee-house,
where I was saluted by a great many of those very persons who had
shunned me the preceding day; and I found everybody making merry
with the story of Melinda's French gallant. While I remained in
this place, I received a message from Lord Quiverwit, desiring, if
I were not engaged, to see me at his house.

Thither I immediately repaired, and was conducted to an apartment
where I was received by his lordship in bed. When we were left by
ourselves, he thanked me in very polite terms for having used the
advantage fortune had given me over him with such moderation, and
asked pardon for any offence his resentment might have prompted
him to commit. "I would willingly," said he, "make you my friend;
but, as it is impossible for me to divest myself of my passion for
Narcissa, I am too well convinced of your sentiments, to think we
shall ever agree on that subject. I took the liberty, therefore,
of sending for you, in order to own candidly, that I cannot help
opposing your success with that young lady; though, at the same
time I promise to regulate my opposition by the dictates of justice
and honour. This, however, I think proper to advertise you of, that
she has no independent fortune; and, if you should even succeed in
your addresses, you will have the mortification to see her reduced
to indigence, unless you have wherewithal to support her--and I am
credibly informed of your incapacity that way--nay, I will confess,
that, urged by this consideration, I have actually sent notice to
her brother of the progress I suspect you have made in her affection,
and desired him to take his precautions accordingly." Alarmed and
provoked at this information, I told his lordship, that I did not
see how he could reconcile that piece of conduct with his profession
of open dealing, and flung away from him in a passion.

As I walked homeward, in hope of hearing from my mistress as usual
by means of Miss Williams, I was surprised with the waving of
a handkerchief from the window of a coach-and-six that passed by
me at full speed: and upon further observation, I saw a servant
on horseback riding after it, who, I knew by his livery, belonged
to the squire. Thunderstruck with this discovery, the knowledge
of my misfortune rushed all at once upon my reflection! I guessed
immediately that the signal was made by the dear hand of Narcissa,
who, being hurried away in consequence of Lord Quiverwit's message
to her brother, had no other method of relating her distress, and
imploring my assistance. Frantic with this conjecture, I ran to my
lodgings, snatched my pistols, and ordered Strap to get post-horses,
with such incoherence of speech and disorder, that the poor valet,
terrified with the suspicion of another duel, instead of providing
what I desired, went forthwith to Freeman, who, being informed of
my behaviour, came straight to my apartment, and conjured me so
pathetically to make him acquainted with the cause of my uneasiness,
that I could not refuse telling him my happiness was fled with
Narcissa, and that I must retrieve her or perish. He represented
the madness of such an undertaking, and endeavoured to divert me
from it with great strength of friendship and reason. But all his
arguments would have been ineffectual, had he not put me in mind
of the dependence I ought to have on the love of Narcissa, and the
attachment of her maid, who could not fail of finding opportunities
to advertise me of their situation; and at the same time demonstrated
the injury my charmer's reputation must suffer from my precipitate
retreat. I was convinced and composed by these considerations: I
appeared in public with an air of tranquillity, was well received
by the best company in town, and, my misfortune taking air, condoled
accordingly: while I had the satisfaction of seeing Melinda so
universally discountenanced that she was fain to return to London,
in order to avoid the scoffs and censure of the ladies at Bath. But,
though the hope of hearing from the darling of my soul supported
my spirits a little while, I began to be very uneasy, when, at
the end of several weeks I found that expectation disappointed. In
short, melancholy and despondence took possession of my soul; and,
repining at that providence which, by acting the stepmother towards
me, kept me from the fruition of my wishes, I determined, in a fit
of despair, to risk all I had at the gaming table, with a view of
acquiring a fortune sufficient to render me independent for life;
or of plunging myself into such a state of misery, as would effectually
crush every ambitious hope that now tortured my imagination.

Actuated by this fatal resolution, I engaged in play, and, after
some turns of fortune found myself, at the end of three days, worth
a thousand pounds; but it was not my intention to stop there, for
which cause I kept Strap ignorant of my success, and continued
my career until I was reduced to five guineas, which I would have
hazarded also, had I not been ashamed to fall from a bet of two
hundred pounds to such a petty sum.

Having thus executed my scheme, I went home, amazed to find myself
so much at ease, and informed my friend Strap of my mischance with
such calmness, that he, imagining I joked, affected to receive the
tidings with great equanimity. But both he and I found ourselves
mistaken very soon. I had misinterpreted my own stupidity into
deliberate resignation, and he had reason to believe me in earnest
when he saw me next morning agitated with the most violent despair,
which he endeavoured to alleviate with all the consolation in his

In one of my lucid intervals, however, I charged him to take a place
in the stage coach for London; and, in the meantime, paid my debts
in Bath, which amounted to thirty shillings only. Without taking
leave of my friends, I embarked, Strap having the good fortune to
find a return horse, and arrived in town, without having net with
anything remarkable on the road. While we crossed Bagshot Heath,
I was seized with a sort of inclination to retrieve my fortune, by
laying passengers under contribution in some such place. My thoughts
were so circumstanced at this time, that I should have digested
the crime of robbery, so righteously had I concerted my plan,
and ventured my life in the execution, had I not been deterred by
reflecting upon the infamy that attends detection.

The apartment I formerly lived in being unengaged, I took possession
of it, and next day went in quest of Banter, who received me with
open arms, in expectation of having his bond discharged to his
liking: but when he understood what had happened, his countenance
changed of a sudden, and he told me, with a dryness of displeasure
peculiar to himself, that, if he were in my place, he would put it
out of fortune's power to play him such another trick, and be avenged
of his own indiscretion at once. When I desired him to explain his
meaning, he pointed to his neck, raised himself on his tiptoes,
and was going away without any further ceremony, when I put him in
mind of my indigence, and demanded the five guineas I had formerly
lent him. "Five guineas?" cried he; "zounds! had you acted with
common prudence, you might have had twenty thousand in your pocket
by this time. I depended upon five hundred from you, as much as if I
had had notes for it in the bank; and by all the rules of equity,
you are indebted to me for that sum." I was neither pleased
nor convinced by this computation, and insisted on my right with
such determined obstinacy, that he was fain to alter his ton, and
appease my clamour by assuring me, that he was not master of five
shillings. Society in distress generally promotes good understanding
among people; from being a dun I descended to be a client, and asked
his advice about repairing my losses. He counselled me to have
recourse again to the gaming table, where I succeeded so well before,
and put myself in a condition by selling my watch. I followed his
directions, and, having accommodated him with a few pieces, went
to the place, where I lost every shilling.

Then I returned to my lodgings full of desperate resolution, and
having made Strap acquainted with my fate, ordered him to pawn my
sword immediately, that I might be enabled to make another effort.
This affectionate creature no sooner understood my purpose, than,
seized with insupportable sorrow at the prospect of my misery, he
burst into tears, and asked what I proposed to do after the small
sum he could raise on the sword should be spent. "On my own account"
said he, "I am quite unconcerned; for, while God spares me health
and these ten fingers, I can earn a comfortable subsistence anywhere;
but what must become of you, who have less humility to stoop, and
more appetites to gratify?" Here I interrupted him, by saying,
with a gloomy aspect, I should never want a resource while I had a
loaded pistol in possession. Stupified with horror at this dreadful
insinuation, he stood mute for some time and then broke out into
"God of his infinite mercy enable you to withstand that temptation
of the devil! Consider your immortal soul--there's no repentance
in the grave! O Lord! that we ever should have come to this! Are
we not enjoined to resign ourselves to the will of Heaven?--where
is your patience?--Durum patientia frango--you are but a young
man--there may be many good things in store for you--accidit in
puncto quo non speratur in anno--remember your uncle, Mr. Bowling;
perhaps he is now on his voyage homeward, pleasing himself with
the hopes of seeing and relieving you; nay, peradventure, he has
already arrived, for the ship was expected about this time." A
ray of hope shot athwart my soul at this suggestion; I thanked my
friend for this seasonable recollection, and, after having promised
to take no resolution till his return, dismissed him to Wapping
for intelligence.

In his absence I was visited by Banter, who, being informed of my
bad luck at play, told me that fortune would probably be one day
weary of persecuting me. "In the meantime," said he, "here's a letter
for you, which I received just now inclosed in one from Freeman."
I snatched it with eagerness, and knowing the superscription to be
of Narcissa's handwriting, kissed it with transport, and, having
opened it, read,

"It is with great difficulty that I have stolen, from the
observation of those spies who are set over me, this opportunity
of telling you, that I was suddenly carried away from Bath
by my brother, who was informed of our correspondence by Lord
Quiverwit whom, I since understand, you have wounded in a duel
on my account. As I am fully convinced of your honour and love,
I hope I shall never hear of such desperate proofs of either for
the future. I am so strictly watched that it will be impossible
for you to see me, until my brother's suspicion shall abate, or
Heaven contrive some other unforeseen event in our behalf. In
the meantime, you may depend on the constancy and affection of
"Your own Narcissa.

"P. S. Miss Williams, who is my fellow prisoner, desires to be
remembered to you. We are both in good health, and only in pain
for you, especially as it will be impracticable for you to
convey any message or letter to the place of our confinement; for
which reason. pray desist from the attempt, that, by miscarrying,
might prolong our captivity.

This kind letter afforded me great consolation: I communicated it to
Banter, and, at the same time, showed him her picture: he approved
of her beauty and good sense, and could not help owning that my
neglect of Miss Snapper was excusable, when such a fine creature
engrossed my attention.

I began to be reconciled to my fate, and imagined, that, if I could
contrive means of subsisting until my uncle should arrive, in case
he were not already at home, he would enable me to do something
effectual in behalf of my love and fortune; I therefore consulted
Banter about a present supply, who no sooner understood that I had
credit, with a tailor, than he advised me to take off two or three
suits of rich clothes, and convert them into cash, by selling them
at half-price to a salesman in Monmouth Street. I was startled
at this proposal, which I thought savoured a little of fraud; he
rendered it palatable, by observing that, in a few months, I might
be in a condition to do everybody justice; and, in the meantime,
I was acquitted by the honesty of my intention. I suffered myself
to be persuaded by his salvo, by which my necessity, rather than my
judgment, was convinced; and, when I found there were no accounts
of the ship in which my uncle embarked, actually put the scheme
in practice, and raised by it five-and-twenty guineas, paying him
for his advice with the old five.


I am arrested--carried to the Marshalsea--find my old Acquaintance
beau Jackson in that Jail--he informs me of his Adventures--Strap
arrives, and with difficulty is comforted--Jackson introduces me to
a Poet--I admire his Conversation and Capacity--am deeply affected
with my Misfortune--Strap hires himself as a Journeyman Barber

But this expedient was in a few weeks followed with a consequence
I did not foresee. A player, having purchased one of the suits
that were exposed to sale, appeared in it on the stage one night,
while my tailor unfortunately happened to be present. He knew it
immediately, and, inquiring minutely into the affair, discovered
my whole contrivance: upon which he came into my lodgings, and
telling me that he was very much straightened for want of money,
presented his bill, which amounted to fifty pounds. Surprised at
which unexpected address, I affected to treat him cavalierly, swore
some oaths, asked if he doubted my honour, and telling him I should
take care whom I dealt with for the future, bade him come again
in three days. He obeyed me punctually, demanded his money, and
finding himself amused with bare promises, arrested me that very day
in the street. I was not much shocked at this adventure, which,
indeed, put an end to a state of horrible expectation: but I refused
to go to a sponging-house, where I heard there was nothing but the
most flagrant imposition: and, a coach being called, was carried
to the Marshalsea, attended by a bailiff and his follower, who were
very much disappointed and chagrined at my resolution.

The turnkey, guessing from my appearance that I had money in my
pocket, received me with the repetition of the Latin word depone,
and gave me to understand, that I must pay beforehand for the apartment
I should choose to dwell in. I desired to see his conveniences, and
hired a small paltry bed-chamber for a crown a week, which, in any
other place, would not have let for half the money. Having taken
possession of this dismal habitation, I sent for Strap, and my
thoughts were busied in collecting matter of consolation to that
faithful squire, when somebody knocked at my door, which I no
sooner opened, than a young fellow entered in very shabby clothes
and marvellous foul linen. After a low bow, he called me by name,
and asked if I had forgotten him. His voice assisted me in recollecting
his person, whom I soon recognised to be my old acquaintance,
Jackson, of whom mention is made in the first part of my memoirs.
I saluted him cordially, expressed my satisfaction at finding him
alive, and condoled him on his present situation, which, however,
did not seem to affect him much, for he laughed very heartily at the
occasion of our meeting so unexpectedly in this place. Our mutual
compliments being past, I inquired about his amour with the lady
of fortune, which seemed to be so near a happy conclusion when I
had the pleasure of seeing him last: and, after an immoderate fit
of laughter, he gave me to understand that he had been egregiously
bit in that affair. "You must know," said he, "that a few days
after our adventure with the bawd, and her b--ches, I found means
to be married to that same blue lady you speak of, and passed the
night with her at her lodgings, so much to her satisfaction, that
early in the morning, after a good deal of snivelling and sobbing,
she owned, that, far from being an heiress of great fortune, she
was no other than a common woman of the town, who had decoyed me
into matrimony, in order to enjoy the privilege of a femme couverte;
and that, unless I made my escape immediately, I should be arrested
for a debt of her contracting, by bailigs employed and instructed for
that purpose. Startled at this intimation, I rose in a twinkling,
and taking leave of my spouse with several hearty damns, got
safe into the verge of the court, where I kept snug, until I was
appointed surgeon's mate of a man-of-war at Portsmouth; for which
place I set out on Sunday, went on board of my ship, in which
I sailed to the Straits, where I had the good fortune to be made
surgeon of a sloop that came home a few months after, and was put
out of commission: whereupon, I came to London, imagining myself
forgotten, and freed from my wife and her creditors, but had not
been in town a week, before I was arrested for a debt of hers,
amounting to twenty pounds, and brought to this place, where I have
been fixed by another action since that time. However, you know
my disposition, I defy care and anxiety; and being on the half-pay
list, make shift to live here tolerably easy." I congratulated him
on his philosophy, and, remembering that I was in his debt, repaid
the money he formerly lent me, which, I believe, was far from being
unseasonable. I then inquired about the economy of the place, which
he explained to my satisfaction; and, after we had agreed to mess
together, he was just now going to give orders for dinner when
Strap arrived.

I never in my life saw sorrow so extravagantly expressed in any
countenance as in that of my honest friend, which was, indeed,
particularly adapted by nature for such impressions. When we were
left by ourselves, I communicated to him my disaster, and endeavoured
to console him with the same arguments he had formerly used to me,
withal representing the fair chance I had of being relieved in a
short time by Mr. Bowling. But his grief was unutterable: he seemed
to give attention without listening, and wrung his hands in silence;
so that I was in a fair way of being infected by his behaviour, when
Jackson returned, and, perceiving the deference I paid to Strap,
although in a footman's habit, distributed his crumbs of comfort
with such mirth, jollity and unconcern, that the features of
the distressed squire relaxed by degrees; he recovered the use of
speech, and began to be a little more reconciled to this lamentable
event. We dined together on boiled beef and greens, brought from
a cook's shop in the neighbourhood, and, although this meal was
served up in a manner little corresponding with the sphere of life
in which I had lately lived, I made a virtue of necessity, ate
with good appetite, and treated my friends with a bottle of wine,
which had the desired effect of increasing the good humour of my
fellow prisoner, and exhilarating the spirits of Strap, who now
talked cavalierly of my misfortune.

After dinner Jackson left us to our private affairs; when I desired
my friend to pack up all our things, and carry them to some cheap
lodgings he should choose for himself in the neighbourhood of the
Marshalsea, after he had discharged my lodgings, for which purpose
I gave him money. I likewise recommended to him the keeping
my misfortune secret, and saying to my landlord, or any other who
should inquire for me, that I was gone into the country for a few
weeks: at the same time I laid strong injunctions upon him to call
every second day upon Banter, in case he should receive any letter
for me from Narcissa, by the channel of Freeman; and by all means
to leave a direction for himself at my uncle's lodgings in Wapping,
by which I might be found when my kinsman should arrive.

When he departed to execute these orders (which by the bye were
punctually performed that very night), I found myself so little
seasoned to my situation, that I dreaded reflection, and sought
shelter from it in the company of the beau, who, promising to
regale me with a lecture upon taste, conducted me to the common
side, where I saw a number of naked miserable wretches assembled
together. We had not been here many minutes, when a figure appeared,
wrapped in a dirty rug, tied about his loins with two pieces of
list, of different colours, knotted together; having a black bushy
beard, and his head covered with a huge mass of brown periwig,
which seems to have been ravished from the crown of some scarecrow.
This apparition, stalking in with great solemnity, made a profound
bow to the audience, who signified their approbation by a general
response of "How d'ye do, doctor!" He then turned towards us,
and honoured Jackson with a particular salutation, upon which my
friend, in a formal manner, introduced him to me by the name of Mr.
Melopoyn. This ceremony being over, he advanced into the middle
of the congregation, which crowded around him, and hemming three
times, to my utter astonishment, pronounced with great significance
of voice and gesture, a very elegant and ingenious discourse upon
the difference between genius and taste, illustrating his assertions
with apt quotations from the best authors, ancient as well as modern.
When he had finished his harangue, which lasted a full hour, he
bowed again to the spectators; not one of whom (I was informed)
understood so much as a sentence of what he had uttered. They
manifested, however, their admiration and esteem by voluntary
contributions, which Jackson told me, one week with another, amounted
to eighteen pence. This moderate stipend, together with some small
presents that he received for making up differences and deciding
causes amongst the prisoners, just enabled him to breathe and walk
about in the grotesque figure I have described. I understood also,
that he was an excellent poet, and had composed a tragedy, which was
allowed by everybody who had seen it to be a performance of great
merit: that his learning was infinite, his morals unexceptionable,
and his modesty invincible. Such a character could not fail of
attracting my regard; I longed impatiently to be acquainted with
him, and desired Jackson would engage him to spend the evening
in my apartment. My request was granted; he favoured us with his
company, and, in the course of our conversation perceiving that I
had a strong passion for the Belles Lettres, acquitted himself so
well on that subject, that I expressed a fervent desire of seeing
his productions. In this point too he gratified my inclination;
he promised to bring his tragedy to my room next day, and in the
meantime, entertained me with some detached pieces, which gave me a
very advantageous idea of his poetical talent. Among other things
I was particularly pleased with some elegies, in imitation of
Tibullus; one of which I beg leave to submit to the reader as a
specimen of his complexion and capacity:--

Where now are all my flattering dreams of joy?
Monimia, give my soul her wonted rest;--
Since first thy beauty fixed my roving eye,
heart-gnawing cares corrode my pensive breast!

Let happy lovers fly where pleasures call,
With festive songs beguile the fleeting hour,
Lead beauty through the mazes of the ball,
Or press her wanton in love's roseate bower:

For me, no more I'll range the empurpled mead,
Where shepherd's pipe and virgins dance around,
Nor wander through the woodbine's fragrant shade,
To hear the music of the grove resound.

I'll seek some lonely church, or dreary hall,
Where fancy paints the glimmering taper blue,
Where damps hang mouldering on the ivy'd wall,
And sheeted ghosts drink up the midnight dew,

There, leagued with hopeless anguish and despair,
A while in silence o'er my fate repair:
Then, with a long farewell to love and care,
To kindred dust my weary limbs consign.

Wilt thou, Monimia, shed a gracious tear
On the cold grave where all my sorrows rest?
Strew vernal flowers, applaud my love sincere,
And bid the turf lie easy on my breast?

I was wonderfully affected with this pathetic complaint, which
seemed so well calculated for my own disappointment in love, that
I could not help attaching the idea of Narcissa to the name of
Monimia, and of forming such melancholy presages of my passion, that
I could not recover my tranquillity: and was fain to have recourse
to the bottle, which prepared me for a profound sleep that I could
not otherwise have enjoyed. Whether these impressions invited and
introduced a train of other melancholy reflections, or my fortitude
was all exhausted in the effort I made against despondence, during
the first day of my imprisonment, I cannot determine; but I awoke
in the horrors, and found my imagination haunted with such dismal
apparitions, that I was ready to despair: and I believe the render
will own, I had no great cause to congratulate myself, when I
considered my situation. I was interrupted in the midst of these
gloomy apprehensions by the arrival of Strap, who contributed not
a little to the re-establishment of my peace, by letting me know
that he had hired himself as a journeyman barber; by which means
he would be able not only to save me a considerable expense, but
even make shift to lay up something for my subsistence, after my
money should be spent, in case I should. not be relieved before.


I read Melopoyn's Tragedy, and conceive a vast Opinion of his
Genius--he recounts his Adventures

While we ate our breakfast together, I made him acquainted with
the character and condition of the poet, who came in with his play
at that instant, and, imagining we were engaged about business,
could not be prevailed upon to sit; but, leaving his performance,
went away. My friend's tender heart was melted at the sight of
a gentleman and Christian (for he had a great veneration for both
these epithets) in such misery; and assented with great cheerfulness
to a proposal I made of clothing him with the our superfluities;
a task with which he charged himself, and departed immediately to
perform it.

He was to sooner gone than I locked my door, and sat down to the
tragedy; which I read to the end with vast pleasure, not a little
amazed at conduct of the managers who had rejected it. The fable,
in my opinion, was well chosen and naturally conducted, the incidents
interesting, the characters beautifully contrasted, strongly marked,
and well supported; the diction poetical, spirited and correct; the
unities of the drama maintained with the most scrupulous exactness;
the opening gradual and engaging, the peripeteia surprising, and
the catastrophe affecting, In short, I judged it by the laws of
Aristotle and Horace, and could find nothing in it exceptionable but
a little too much embellishment in some few places, which objection
he removed to my satisfaction, by a quotation of Aristotle's poetics,
importing, that the least interesting parts of a poem ought to be
raised and dignified by the charms and energy of diction.

I revered his genius, and was seized with an eager curiosity to
know the particular events of a fortune so unworthy of his merit.
At that instant Strap returned with a bundle of clothes, which I
sent with my compliments to Mr. Melopoyn, as s small token of my
regard, and desired the favour of his company to dinner. He accepted
my present and invitation, and in less than half-an-hour made his
appearance in a decent dress, which altered his figure very much to
his advantage. I perceived by his countenance that his heart was
big with gratitude, and endeavoured to prevent his acknowledgments,
by asking pardon for the liberty I had taken; he made no reply,
but, with an aspect full of admiration and esteem, bowed to the
ground, while the tears gushed from his eyes. Affected with these
symptoms of an ingenuous mind, I shifted the conversation, and
complimented him on his performance, which I assured him afforded
me infinite pleasure. My approbation made him happy. Dinner being
served, and Jackson arrived, I begged their permission for Strap
to sit at table with us, after having informed them that he was
a person to whom I was extremely obliged; they were kind enough
to grant that favour, and we ate together with great harmony and

Our meal being ended, I expressed my wonder at the little regard
Mr. Melopoyn had met with from the world: and signified a desire of
hearing how he had been treated by the managers of the playhouses,
to whom I understood from Jackson, he had offered his tragedy
without success. "There is so little entertaining in the incidents
of my life," said he, "that I am sure the recital will not recompense
your attention; but, since you discover an inclination to know them
I understand my duty too well to disappoint your desire.

"My father, who was a curate in the country, being by the narrowness
of his circumstances hindered from maintaining me at the university,
took the charge of my education upon himself, and laboured with
such industry and concern in the undertaking, that I had little
cause to regret the want of public masters. Being at great pains to
consult my natural bias, He discovered in me betimes an inclination
for poetry; upon which he recommended to me an intimate acquaintance
with the classics, in the cultivation of which he assisted me
with a paternal zeal and uncommon erudition. When he thought me
sufficiently acquainted with the ancients, he directed my studies
to the best modern authors, French and Italian as well as English,
and laid, and laid a particular injunction upon me make myself
master of my mother tongue.

"About the age of eighteen, I grew ambitious of undertaking a work
of some consequence; and, with my father's approbation, actually
planned the tragedy you have read; but, before I had finished four
acts, that indulgent parent died, and left my mother and me in
very indigent circumstances. A near relation, compassionating our
distress, took us into his family, where I brought my fable to
a conclusion; and, soon after that period my mother quitted this
life. When my sorrow for this melancholy event had subsided, I
told my kinsman, who was a farmer, that, having paid my last duty
to my parent, I had now no attachment to detain me in the country,
and therefore was resolved to set out for London, and offer my play
to the stage, where I did not doubt of acquiring a large share of
fame as well as fortune; in which case I should not be unmindful
of my friends and benefactors. My cousin was ravished with the
prospect of my felicity, and willingly contributed towards the
expense of fitting me out for my expedition.

"Accordingly I took a place in the waggon, and arrived in town,
where I hired an apartment in a garret, willing to live as frugally
as possible, until I should know what I had to expect from the
manager, to whom I intended to offer my play. For, though I looked
upon myself as perfectly secure of a good reception, imagining
that a patentee would be as eager to receive as I to present my
production, I did not know whether or not he might be pre-engaged
in favour of another author, a circumstance that would certainly
retard my success. On this consideration, too, I determined to be
speedy in my application, and even to wait upon one of the managers
the very next day. For this purpose, I inquired my landlord if he
knew where either or both of them lived: and he, being curious to
know my business, and at the same time appearing to be a very honest
friendly man (a tallow chandler), I made him acquainted with my
design, upon which he told me that I went the wrong way to work;
that I would not find such easy access to a manager as I imagined;
and that if I delivered my performance without proper recommendation, it
would be as one to a thousand if ever it would be minded. "Take my
advice," said he, "and your business is done. One of the patentees
is a good catholic, as I am, and uses the same father who confesses
me. I will make you acquainted with this good priest, who is
an excellent scholar, and if he should approve of your play, his
recommendation will go a great way in determining Mr. Supple to
bring it on the stage." I applauded his expedient, and was introduced
to the friar, who, having perused the tragedy, was pleased to
signify his approbation, and commended me in particular for having
avoided all reflections upon religion. He promised to use all his
influence with his son Supple in my behalf, and to inform himself
that very day at what time it was proper for me to wait upon him
with the piece. He was punctual in performing his engagement, and
next morning gave me to understand that he had mentioned my affair
to the manager, and that I had nothing more to do than to go to
his house any time in the forenoon, and make use of his name, upon
which I should find immediate admittance. I took his advice, put
my performance in my bosom, and, having received directions, went
immediately to the house of Mr. Supple, and knocked at the door,
which had a wicket in the middle, faced with a net-work of iron.
Through this a servant having viewed me for some time, demanded
to know my business. I told him my business was with Mr. Supple,
and that I came from Mr. O'Varnish. He examined my appearance once
more, then went away, returned in a few minutes, and said his master
was busy, and could not be seen. Although I was a little mortified
at my disappointment, I was persuaded that my reception was owing
to Mr. Supple's ignorance of my errand: and, that I might meet with
no more obstructions of the same kind, I desired Mr. O'Varnish to
be my introductor the next time. He complied with my request, and
obtained immediate admittance to the manager, who received me with
the utmost civility, and promised to read my play with the first
convenience. By his own appointment I called again in a fortnight,
but he was gone out: I returned in a week after, and the poor
gentleman was extremely ill: I renewed my visit in a fortnight
after that, and he assured me he had been so much fatigued with
business, that he had not been able as yet to read it to an end,
but he would take the first opportunity: and, in the meantime,
observed that what he had yet seen of it was very entertaining. I
comforted myself with this declaration a few weeks longer, at the
end of which I appeared again before his wicket, was let in, and
found him laid up with the gout. I no sooner entered his chamber
than, looking at me with a languishing eye, he said, "Mr. Melopoyn,
I'm heartily sorry for an accident that has happened during my
illness. You must know that my eldest boy, finding your manuscript
upon the table in the dining-room, where I used to read it, carried
it into the kitchen, and leaving it there, a negligent wench of a
cook-maid, mistaking it for waste paper, has expended it but a few
leaves in singing fowls upon the spit. But I hope the misfortune
is not irreparable, since, no doubt, you have several copies."

"I protest to you, my good friend, Mr. Random, I was extremely
shocked at this information; but the good-natured gentleman seemed
to be so much affected with my misfortune, that I suppressed my
concern, and told him that, although I had not another copy, I should
be able to retrieve the loss by writing another from my memory, which
was very tenacious. You cannot imagine how well pleased Mr. Supple
was at this assurance; he begged I would set about it immediately,
and carefully revolve and recollect every circumstance before I
pretended to commit it to paper, that it might be the same individual
play that he had perused. Encouraged by this injunction, which
plainly demonstrated how much he interested himself in the affair,
I tasked my remembrance and industry, and in three weeks produced
the exact image of the former, which was conveyed to him by my
good friend Father O'Varnish, who told me next day, that Mr. Supple
would revise it superficially, in order to judge of its sameness
with the other, and then give his final answer. For this examination
I allotted a week: and, in full confidence of seeing it acted in a
little while, demanded an audience of the manager, when that term
was expired. But, alas! the season had slipped away insensibly. He
convinced me, that if my play had been put into rehearsal at the
time, it could not have been ready for performing until the end
of March, when the benefit nights came on; consequently, it would
have interfered with the interest of the players, whom it was not
my business to disoblige.

"I was fain to acquiesce in these reasons, which, to be sure, were
extremely just; and to reserve my performance for the next season,
when he hoped I would not be so unlucky. Although it was a grievous
disappointment to me, who, by this time, began to want both money
and necessaries; having on the strength of my expectation from the
theatre, launched out into some extravagances, by which the sum I
brought to town was already almost consumed. Indeed, I ought to be
ashamed at this circumstance of my conduct; for my finances were
sufficient, with good economy, to have maintained me comfortably
a whole year. You will perhaps be amazed when I tell you that, in
six months, I expended not a farthing less than ten guineas: but,
when one considers the temptations to which a young man is exposed
in this great city, especially if he be addicted to pleasure, as
I am, the wonder will vanish, or at least abate. Nor was the cause
of my concern limited to my own situation entirely: I had written
an account of my good reception to my kinsman the farmer, and desired
him to depend upon me for the money he had kindly accommodated me
with about the end of February, which promise I now found myself
unable to perform. However, there was no remedy but patience: I
applied to my landlord, who was a very good-natured man, candidly
owned my distress, and begged his advice in laying down some plan
for my subsistence; he readily promised to consult his confessor
on this subject, and, in the meantime, told me, I was welcome to
lodge and board with him until fortune should put it in my power
to make restitution.

"Mr. O'Varnish, being informed of my necessity, offered to introduce
me to the author of a weekly paper, who, he did not doubt, would
employ me in that way, provided he should find me duly qualified;
but, upon inquiry, I understood that this journal was calculated
to foment divisions in the commonwealth, and therefore I desired
to be excused from engaging in it. He then proposed that I should
write something in the poetical way, which I might dispose of to a
bookseller for a pretty sum of ready money, and, perhaps, establish
my own character into the bargain. This event would infallibly
procure friends, and my tragedy would appear next season to the
best advantage, by being supported both by interest and reputation.
I was charmed with this prospect, and having heard what friends Mr.
Pope acquired by his pastorals, set about a work of that kind, and
in less than six weeks composed as many eclogues, which I forthwith
offered to an eminent bookseller, who desired me to leave them for
his perusal, and he would give an answer in two days. At the end
of that time, I went to him, when he returned the poems, telling
me, they would not answer his purpose, and sweetened his refusal
by saying there were some good clever lines in them. Not a little
dejected at this rebuff, which, I learned from Mr. O'Varnish, was
owing to the opinion of another author whom this bookseller always
consulted on these occasions, I applied to another person of the
same profession, who told me the town was cloyed with pastorals,
and advised me, if I intended to profit by my talents, to write
something satirical or luscious, such as the Button Hole, Shockey
and Towner, The Leaky Vessel, etc, and yet this was a man in
years, who wore a reverend periwig, looked like a senator, and went
regularly to church. Be that as it will, I scorned to prostitute
my pen in the manner proposed, and carried my papers to a third,
who assured me that poetry was entirely out of his way; and asked
me if I had got never a piece of secret history, thrown into a series
of letters, or a volume of adventures, such as those of Robinson
Crusoe, and Colonel Jack, or a collection of Conundrums, wherewith
to entertain the plantations. Being quite unfurnished for this
dealer, I had recourse to another with as little success; and I
verily believe, was rejected by the whole trade.

"I was afterwards persuaded to offer myself as a translator, and
accordingly repaired to a person who was said to entertain numbers
of that class in his pay; he assured me, he had already a great
deal of that work on his hands, which he did not know what to do
with; observed that translations were a mere drug, that branch of
literature being overstocked with an inundation of authors from
North Britain; and asked what I would expect per sheet for rendering
the Latin classics into English. That I might not make myself too
cheap, I determined to set a high price upon my qualifications, and
demanded half-a-guinea for every translated sheet. "Half-a-guinea!"
cried he, staring at me; then paused a little, and said, he had no
occasion for my service at present. I found my error, and, resolving
to make amends, fell one-half in my demand; upon which he stared
at me and told me his hands were full. I attempted others without
finding employment, and was actually reduced to a very uncomfortable
prospect, when I bethought myself of offering my talents to the
printers of half-penny ballads and other such occasional essays,
as are hawked about the streets. With this in view I applied to
one of the most noted and vociferous of this tribe, who directed
me to a person whom I found entertaining a whole crowd of them with
gin, bread, and cheese; he carried me into a little back parlour,
very neatly furnished, where I signified my desire of being
enrolled among his writers; and was asked what kind of composition
I professed. Understanding that my inclination leaned towards
poetry, he expressed his satisfaction, telling me one of his poets
had lost his senses, and was confined in Bedlam, and the other was
become dozed with drinking drams; so that he had not done anything
tolerable these many weeks. When I proposed that we should enter
into terms of agreement, he gave me to understand that his bargains
were always conditional, and his authors paid in proportion to the
sale of their works.

"Having therefore settled these conditions, which (I do assure
you) were not very advantageous to me, he assigned me a subject for
ballad, which was to be finished in two hours; and I retired to my
garret in order to perform his injunction. As the theme happened
to suit my fancy, I completed a pretty sort of an ode within the
time prescribed, and brought it to him, big with hope of profit and
applause. He read it in a twinkling, and, to my utter astonishment,
told me it would not do; though indeed he owned I wrote a good hand,
an spelled very well, but my language was too high flown, and of
consequence not at all adapted to the capacity and taste of his
customers. I promised to rectify that mistake and in half an hour
humbled my style to the comprehension of vulgar readers; he approved
of the alteration, and gave me some hopes of succeeding in time,
though he observed that my performance was very deficient in the
quaintness of expression that pleases the multitude: however, to
encourage me, he ventured the expense of printing and paper, and,
if I remember aright, my share of the sale amounted to fourpence

"From that day I studied the Grub Street manner with great
diligence, and at length became such a proficient that my works were
in great request among the most polite of the chairmen, draymen,
hackney-coachmen, footmen, and servant maids: nay, I have enjoyed
the pleasure of seeing my productions adorned with cuts, pasted upon
the walls as ornaments in beer cellars and cobblers' stalls; and
have actually heard them sung in clubs of substantial tradesmen--but
empty praise (you know, my dear friend) will not supply the cravings
nature. I found myself in danger of starving in the midst of all my
fame; for of ten songs I composed, it was well if two had the good
fortune to please. For this reason I turned my thoughts to prose,
and, during a tract of gloomy weather, published an apparition, on
the substance of which I subsisted very comfortably a whole month;
I have made many a good meal upon a monster; a rape has often
afforded me great satisfaction; but a murder, well timed, was
my never-failing resource. What then? I was almost a slave to my
employers, who expected to be furnished at a minute's warning with
prose and verse, just as they thought the circumstances of the times
required, whether the inclination was absent or present. Upon my
sincerity, Mr. Random, I have been so much pestered and besieged
by those children of clamour, that life became a burden to me."


The Continuation and Conclusion of Mr. Melopoyn's Story

'I made shift, notwithstanding, to maintain myself till the
beginning of next winter, when I renewed my addresses to my friend
Mr. Supple, and was most graciously received. "I have been thinking
of your affair, Mr. Melopoyn," said he, "and am determined to
show how far I have your interest at heart, by introducing you to
a young nobleman of my acquaintance, who is remarkable for his fine
taste in dramatic writings, and is besides a man of such influence
that, if once he should approve of your play, his patronage will
support it against all the efforts of envy and ignorance; for,
I do assure you, that merit alone will not bring success. I have
already spoken of your performance to Lord Rattle, and if you
will call at my house in a day or two, you shall have a letter of
introduction to his lordship." I was sensibly touched with this mark
of Mr. Supple's friendship; and looking upon my affair as already
done, went home and imparted my good fortune to my landlord, who,
to render my appearance more acceptable to my patron, procured a
suit of new clothes for me on his own credit.

"Not to trouble you with idle particulars, I carried my tragedy
to his lordship's lodgings, and sent it up along with Mr. Supple's
letter by one of his servants, who desired me, by his lord's order,
to return in a week. I did so, and was admitted to his lordship,
who received me very courteously, told me he had perused my play,
which he thought, on the whole, was the best coup d'essai he had
ever seen; but that he had marked some places in the margin, which
he imagined might be altered for the better. I was transported
with this reception, and promised (with many acknowledgments of
his lordship's generosity) to be governed solely by his advice and

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