Part 2 out of 3
lawyers: there were at least two of everything; nay, o' my
conscience, I think there were three Esquire Hackums** at one time.
In short, it was usual for a parcel of fellows to meet and dispose
of the whole estates in the country. "This lies convenient for me,
Tom. Thou wouldst do more good with that, Dick, than the old fellow
that has it." So to law they went with the true owners: the
lawyers got well by it; everybody else was undone. It was a common
thing for an honest man when he came home at night to find another
fellow domineering in his family, hectoring his servants, and
calling for supper. In every house you might observe two Sosias
quarrelling who was master. For my own part, I am still afraid of
the same treatment: that I should find somebody behind my counter
selling my broad-cloth.
* Several Pretenders at that time.
** Kings of England.
MRS. BULL.--There is a sort of fellows they call banterers and
bamboozlers that play such tricks, but it seems these fellows were
JOHN BULL.--I begin to think that justice is a better rule than
conveniency, for all some people make so slight on it.
CHAPTER VII. Of the hard shifts Mrs. Bull was put to preserve the
Manor of Bullock's Hatch, with Sir Roger's method to keep off
* Some attempts to destroy the public credit at that time. Manners
of the Earl of Oxford.
As John Bull and his wife were talking together they were surprised
with a sudden knocking at the door. "Those wicked scriveners and
lawyers, no doubt," quoth John; and so it was, some asking for the
money he owed, and others warning to prepare for the approaching
term. "What a cursed life do I lead!" quoth John; "debt is like
deadly sin. For God's sake, Sir Roger, get me rid of the fellows."
"I'll warrant you," quoth Sir Roger; "leave them to me." And,
indeed, it was pleasant enough to observe Sir Roger's method with
these importunate duns. His sincere friendship for John Bull made
him submit to many things for his service which he would have
scorned to have done for himself. Sometimes he would stand at the
door with his long staff to keep off the duns, until John got out at
the back door. When the lawyers and tradesmen brought extravagant
bills Sir Roger used to bargain beforehand for leave to cut off a
quarter of a yard in any part of the bill he pleased; he wore a pair
of scissors in his pocket for this purpose, and would snip it off so
nicely as you cannot imagine. Like a true goldsmith he kept all
your holidays; there was not one wanting in his calendar; when ready
money was scarce, he would set them a-telling a thousand pounds in
sixpences, groats, and threepenny-pieces. It would have done your
heart good to have seen him charge through an army of lawyers,
attorneys, clerks, and tradesmen; sometimes with sword in hand, at
other times nuzzling like an eel in the mud. When a fellow stuck
like a bur, that there was no shaking him off, he used to be mighty
inquisitive about the health of his uncles and aunts in the country;
he could call them all by their names, for he knew everybody, and
could talk to them in their own way. The extremely impertinent he
would send away to see some strange sight, as the Dragon of Hockley
the Hole, or bid him call the 3Oth of next February. Now and then
you would see him in the kitchen, weighing the beef and butter,
paying ready money, that the maids might not run a tick at the
market, and the butchers, by bribing of them, sell damaged and light
meat.* Another time he would slip into the cellar and gauge the
casks. In his leisure minutes he was posting his books and
gathering in his debts. Such frugal methods were necessary where
money was so scarce and duns so numerous. All this while John kept
his credit, could show his head both at 'Change and Westminster
Hall; no man protested his bill nor refused his bond; only the
sharpers and the scriveners, the lawyers and other clerks pelted Sir
Roger as he went along. The squirters were at it with their kennel
water, for they were mad for the loss of their bubble, and that they
could not get him to mortgage the manor of Bullock's Hatch. Sir
Roger shook his ears and nuzzled along, well satisfied within
himself that he was doing a charitable work in rescuing an honest
man from the claws of harpies and bloodsuckers. Mrs. Bull did all
that an affectionate wife, and a good housewife, could do; yet the
boundaries of virtues are indivisible lines. It is impossible to
march up close to the frontiers of frugality without entering the
territories of parsimony. Your good housewives are apt to look into
the minutest things; therefore some blamed Mrs. Bull for new
heel-pieceing of her shoes, grudging a quarter of a pound of soap
and sand to scour the rooms**; but, especially, that she would not
allow her maids and apprentices the benefit of "John Bunyan," the
"London Apprentices," or the "Seven Champions," in the black
* Some regulations as to the purveyance in the Queen's family.
** Too great savings in the House of Commons.
*** Restraining the liberty of the Press by Act of Parliament.
CHAPTER VIII. A continuation of the conversation betwixt John Bull
and his wife.
MRS. BULL.--It is a most sad life we lead, my dear, to be so teazed,
paying interest for old debts, and still contracting new ones.
However, I don't blame you for vindicating your honour and
chastising old Lewis. To curb the insolent, protect the oppressed,
recover one's own, and defend what one has, are good effects of the
law. The only thing I want to know is how you came to make an end
of your money before you finished your suit.
JOHN BULL.--I was told by the learned in the law that my suit stood
upon three firm pillars: more money for more law, more law for more
money, and no composition. More money for more law was plain to a
demonstration, for who can go to law without money? and it was plain
that any man that has money may have law for it. The third was as
evident as the other two; for what composition could be made with a
rogue that never kept a word he said?
MRS. BULL.--I think you are most likely to get out of this labyrinth
by the second door, by want of ready money to purchase this precious
commodity. But you seem not only to have bought too much of it, but
have paid too dear for what you bought, else how was it possible to
run so much in debt when at this very time the yearly income of what
is mortgaged to those usurers would discharge Hocus's bills, and
give you your bellyfull of law for all your life, without running
one sixpence in debt? You have been bred up to business; I suppose
you can cypher; I wonder you never used your pen and ink.
JOHN BULL.--Now you urge me too far; prithee, dear wife, hold thy
tongue. Suppose a young heir, heedless, raw, and inexperienced,
full of spirit and vigour, with a favourite passion, in the hands of
money scriveners. Such fellows are like your wire-drawing mills:
if they get hold of a man's finger they will pull in his whole body
at last, till they squeeze the heart, blood, and guts out of him.
When I wanted money, half a dozen of these fellows were always
waiting in my ante-chamber with their securities ready drawn.* I
was tempted with the ready, some farm or other went to pot. I
received with one hand, and paid it away with the other to lawyers
that, like so many hell hounds, were ready to devour me. Then the
rogues would plead poverty and scarcity of money, which always ended
in receiving ninety for the hundred. After they had got possession
of my best rents they were able to supply me with my own money.
But, what was worse, when I looked into the securities there was no
clause of redemption.
* Methods of preying upon the necessities of the Government.
MRS. BULL.--No clause of redemption, say you? That's hard.
JOHN BULL.--No great matter. For I cannot pay them. They had got a
worse trick than that. The same man bought and sold to himself,
paid the money, and gave the acquittance; the same man was butcher
and grazier, brewer and butler, cook and poulterer. There is
something still worse than all this. There came twenty bills upon
me at once, which I had given money to discharge. I was like to be
pulled to pieces by brewer, butcher, and baker; even my herb-woman
dunned me as I went along the streets. Thanks to my friend Sir
Roger, else I must have gone to jail. When I asked the meaning of
this, I was told the money went to the lawyers. "Counsel won't
tick, sir." Hocus was urging; my book-keeper sat sotting all day,
playing at Put and All-fours. In short, by griping usurers,
devouring lawyers, and negligent servants I am brought to this pass.
MRS. BULL.--This was hard usage. But methinks the least reflection
might have retrieved you.
JOHN BULL.--'Tis true; yet consider my circumstances--my honour was
engaged, and I did not know how to get out. Besides, I was for five
years often drunk, always muddled; they carried me from tavern to
tavern, to ale-houses and brandy-shops, and brought me acquainted
with such strange dogs. "There goes the prettiest fellow in the
world," says one, "for managing a jury: make him yours. There's
another can pick you up witnesses. Serjeant such-a-one has a silver
tongue at the bar."* I believe, in time I should have retained
every single person within the Inns of Court. The night after a
trial I treated the lawyers, their wives, and daughters, with
fiddles, hautboys, drums, and trumpets. I was always hot-headed.
Then they placed me in the middle, the attorneys and their clerks
dancing about me, whooping and holloing, "Long live John Bull, the
glory and support of the law!"
* Hiring still more troops.
MRS. BULL.--Really, husband, you went through a very notable course.
JOHN BULL.--One of the things that first alarmed me was that they
showed a spite against my poor old mother.* "Lord," quoth I, "what
makes you so jealous of a poor, old, innocent gentlewoman, that
minds only her prayers and her Practice of Piety? She never meddles
in any of your concerns." "Fob," say they, "to see a handsome,
brisk, genteel young fellow so much governed by a doting old woman!
Do you consider she keeps you out of a good jointure? She has the
best of your estate settled upon her for a rent-charge. Hang her,
old thief! turn her out of doors, seize her lands, and let her go to
law if she dares." "Soft and fair, gentlemen," quoth I; "my
mother's my mother, our family are not of an unnatural temper.
Though I don't take all her advice, I won't seize her jointure; long
may she enjoy it, good woman; I don't grudge it her. She allows me
now and then a brace of hundreds for my lawsuit; that's pretty
fair." About this time the old gentlewoman fell ill of an odd sort
of a distemper.**
* Railing against the Church.
** Carelessness in forms and discipline.
It began with a coldness and numbness in her limbs, which by degrees
affected the nerves (I think the physicians call them), seized the
brain, and at last ended in a lethargy. It betrayed itself at first
in a sort of indifference and carelessness in all her actions,
coldness to her best friends, and an aversion to stir or go about
the common offices of life. She, that was the cleanliest creature
in the world, never shrank now if you set a close-stool under her
nose. She that would sometimes rattle off her servants pretty
sharply, now if she saw them drink, or heard them talk profanely,
never took any notice of it. Instead of her usual charities to
deserving persons, she threw away her money upon roaring, swearing
bullies and beggars, that went about the streets.* "What is the
matter with the old gentlewoman?" said everybody; "she never used to
do in this manner." At last the distemper grew more violent, and
threw her downright into raving fits, in which she shrieked out so
loud that she disturbed the whole neighbourhood.** In her fits she
called upon one Sir William.*** "Oh! Sir William, thou hast
betrayed me, killed me, stabbed me! See, see! Clum with his bloody
knife! Seize him! seize him! stop him! Behold the fury with her
hissing snakes! Where's my son John? Is he well, is he well? Poor
man! I pity him!" And abundance more of such strange stuff, that
nobody could make anything of.
* Disposing of some preferments to libertine and unprincipled
** The too violent clamour about the danger of the Church.
*** Sir William, a cant name of Sir Humphry's for Lord Treasurer
I knew little of the matter; for when I inquired about her health,
the answer was that she was in a good moderate way. Physicians were
sent for in haste. Sir Roger, with great difficulty, brought
Ratcliff; Garth came upon the first message. There were several
others called in, but, as usual upon such occasions, they differed
strangely at the consultation. At last they divided into two
parties; one sided with Garth, the other with Ratcliff.* Dr. Garth
said, "This case seems to me to be plainly hysterical; the old woman
is whimsical; it is a common thing for your old women to be so; I'll
pawn my life, blisters, with the steel diet, will recover her."
Others suggested strong purging and letting of blood, because she
was plethoric. Some went so far as to say the old woman was mad,
and nothing would be better than a little corporal correction.
Ratcliff said, "Gentlemen, you are mistaken in this case; it is
plainly an acute distemper, and she cannot hold out three days
unless she is supported with strong cordials." I came into the room
with a good deal of concern, and asked them what they thought of my
mother? "In no manner of danger, I vow to God," quoth Garth; "the
old woman is hysterical, fanciful, sir, I vow to God." "I tell you,
sir," says Ratcliff, "she cannot live three days to an end, unless
there is some very effectual course taken with her; she has a
malignant fever." Then "fool," "puppy," and "blockhead," were the
best words they gave. I could hardly restrain them from throwing
the ink-bottles at one another's heads. I forgot to tell you that
one party of the physicians desired I would take my sister Peg into
the house to nurse her, but the old gentlewoman would not hear of
that. At last one physician asked if the lady had ever been used to
take laudanum? Her maid answered, not that she knew; but, indeed,
there was a High German liveryman of hers, one Van Ptschirnsooker,**
that gave her a sort of a quack powder. The physician desired to
see it. "Nay," says he, "there is opium in this, I am sure."
* Garth, the Low Church party. Ratcliff, High Church party.
** Van Ptschirnsooker, a bishop at that time, a great dealer in
politics and physic.
MRS. BULL.--I hope you examined a little into this matter?
JOHN BULL.--I did, indeed, and discovered a great mystery of
iniquity. The witnesses made oath that they had heard some of the
liverymen* frequently railing at their mistress. They said she was
a troublesome fiddle-faddle old woman, and so ceremonious that there
was no bearing of her. They were so plagued with bowing and
cringing as they went in and out of the room that their backs ached.
She used to scold at one for his dirty shoes, at another for his
greasy hair and not combing his head. Then she was so passionate
and fiery in her temper that there was no living with her. She
wanted something to sweeten her blood. That they never had a quiet
night's rest for getting up in the morning to early Sacraments.
They wished they could find some way or another to keep the old
woman quiet in her bed. Such discourses were often overheard among
the liverymen, while the said Van Ptschirnsooker had undertook this
matter. A maid made affidavit "That she had seen the said Van
Ptschirnsooker, one of the liverymen, frequently making up of
medicines and administering them to all the neighbours; that she saw
him one morning make up the powder which her mistress took; that she
had the curiosity to ask him whence he had the ingredients. 'They
come,' says he, 'from several parts of de world. Dis I have from
Geneva, dat from Rome, this white powder from Amsterdam, and the red
from Edinburgh, but the chief ingredient of all comes from Turkey."
It was likewise proved that the said Van Ptschirnsooker had been
frequently seen at the "Rose" with Jack, who was known to bear an
inveterate spite to his mistress. That he brought a certain powder
to his mistress which the examinant believes to be the same, and
spoke the following words:--"Madam, here is grand secret van de
world, my sweetening powder; it does temperate de humour, dispel the
windt, and cure de vapour; it lulleth and quieteth the animal
spirits, procuring rest and pleasant dreams. It is de infallible
receipt for de scurvy, all heats in de bloodt, and breaking out upon
de skin. It is de true bloodstancher, stopping all fluxes of de
blood. If you do take dis, you will never ail anyding; it will cure
you of all diseases." And abundance more to this purpose, which the
examinant does not remember.
* The clergy.
John Bull was interrupted in his story by a porter, that brought him
a letter from Nicholas Frog, which is as follows.
A Copy* of Nic. Frog's Letter to John Bull.
[John Bull reads.]
FRIEND JOHN,--What schellum is it that makes thee jealous of thy old
friend Nicholas? Hast thou forgot how some years ago he took thee
out of the sponging-house?** ['Tis true, my friend Nic. did so, and
I thank him; but he made me pay a swinging reckoning.] Thou
beginnest now to repent thy bargain that thou wast so fond of; and,
if thou durst, would forswear thy own hand and seal. Thou sayest
that thou hast purchased me too great an estate already, when, at
the same time, thou knowest I have only a mortgage. 'Tis true I
have possession, and the tenants own me for master; but has not
Esquire South the equity of redemption? [No doubt, and will redeem
it very speedily; poor Nic. has only possession--eleven points of
the law.] As for the turnpikes*** I have set up, they are for other
people, not for my friend John. I have ordered my servant
constantly to attend, to let thy carriages through without paying
anything; only I hope thou wilt not come too heavy laden to spoil my
ways. Certainly I have just cause of offence against thee, my
friend, for supposing it possible that thou and I should ever
quarrel. What houndsfoot is it that puts these whims in thy head?
Ten thousand last of devils haul me, if I don't love thee as I love
my life. [No question, as the Devil loves holy-water!] Does not
thy own hand and seal oblige thee to purchase for me till I say it
is enough? Are not these words plain? I say it is not enough.
Dost thou think thy friend Nicholas Frog made a child's bargain?
Mark the words of thy contract, tota pecunia (with all thy money).
[Very well! I have purchased with my own money, my children's and my
grandchildren's money--is not that enough? Well, tota pecunia let
it be, for at present I have none at all; he would not have me
purchase with other people's money, sure? Since tota pecunia is the
bargain, I think it is plain--no more money, no more purchase.] And
whatever the world may say, Nicholas Frog is but a poor man in
comparison of the rich, the opulent John Bull, great clothier of the
world. I have had many losses, six of my best sheep were drowned,
and the water has come into my cellar, and spoiled a pipe of my best
brandy. It would be a more friendly act in thee to carry a brief
about the country to repair the losses of thy poor friend. Is it
not evident to all the world that I am still hemmed in by Lewis
Baboon? Is he not just upon my borders? [And so he will be if I
purchase a thousand acres more, unless he gets somebody betwixt
them.] I tell thee, friend John, thou hast flatterers that persuade
thee that thou art a man of business; do not believe them. If thou
wouldst still leave thy affairs in my hands, thou shouldst see how
handsomely I would deal by thee. That ever thou shouldst be dazzled
with the enchanted islands and mountains of gold that old Lewis
promises thee! 'Dswounds! why dost thou not lay out thy money to
purchase a place at court of honest Israel? I tell thee, thou must
not so much as think of a composition. [Not think of a composition;
that's hard indeed; I can't help thinking of it, if I would.] Thou
complainest of want of money--let thy wife and daughters burn the
gold lace of their petticoats; sell thy fat cattle; retrench but a
sirloin of beef and a peck-loaf in a week from thy gormandising.
[Retrench my beef--a dog! Retrench my beef; then it is plain the
rascal has an ill design upon me--he would starve me.] Mortgage thy
manor of Bullock's Hatch, or pawn thy crop for ten years. [A rogue!
part with my country-seat, my patrimony, all that I have left in the
world; I'll see him hanged first.] Why hast thou changed thy
attorney? Can any man manage thy cause better for thee? [Very
pleasant! because a man has a good attorney, he must never make an
end of his law-suit.] Ah, John! John! I wish thou knewest thine own
mind. Thou art as fickle as the wind. I tell thee, thou hadst
better let this composition alone, or leave it to thy
* A letter from the States-General.
** Alluding to the Rebellion.
*** The Dutch prohibition of trade.
CHAPTER X. Of some extraordinary Things* that passed at the
"Salutation" Tavern, in the Conference between Bull, Frog, Esquire
South, and Lewis Baboon.
* The Treaty of Utrecht: the difficulty to get them to meet. When
met, the Dutch would not speak their sentiments, nor the French
deliver in their proposals. The House of Austria talked very high.
Frog had given his word that he would meet the above-mentioned
company at the "Salutation," to talk of this agreement. Though he
durst not directly break his appointment, he made many a shuffling
excuse: one time he pretended to be seized with the gout in his
right knee; then he got a great cold, that had struck him deaf of
one ear; afterwards two of his coach-horses fell sick, and he durst
not go by water, for fear of catching an ague. John would take no
excuse, but hurried him away. "Come, Nic.," says he, "let's go and
hear at least what this old fellow has to propose; I hope there's no
hurt in that." "Be it so," quoth Nic.; "but if I catch any harm,
woe be to you; my wife and children will curse you as long as they
live." When they were come to the "Salutation," John concluded all
was sure then, and that he should be troubled no more with law
affairs. He thought everybody as plain and sincere as he was.
"Well, neighbours," quoth he, "let's now make an end of all matters,
and live peaceably together for the time to come. If everybody is
as well inclined as I, we shall quickly come to the upshot of our
affair." And so, pointing to Frog to say something, to the great
surprise of all the company, Frog was seized with a dead palsy in
the tongue. John began to ask him some plain questions, and whooped
and hallooed in his ear: "Let's come to the point. Nic., who
wouldst thou have to be Lord Strutt? Wouldst thou have Philip
Baboon?" Nic. shook his head, and said nothing. "Wilt thou, then,
have Esquire South to be Lord Strutt?" Nic. shook his head a second
time. "Then who the devil wilt thou have? Say something or
another." Nic. opened his mouth and pointed to his tongue, and
cried, "A, a, a, a!" which was as much as to say he could not speak.
JOHN BULL.--"Shall I serve Philip Baboon with broadcloth, and accept
of the composition that he offers, with the liberty of his parks and
fishponds?" Then Nic. roared like a bull, "O, o, o, o!"
JOHN BULL.--"If thou wilt not let me have them, wilt thou take them
thyself?" Then Nic. grinned, cackled, and laughed, till he was
like to kill himself, and seemed to be so pleased that he fell a
frisking and dancing about the room.
JOHN BULL.--"Shall I leave all this matter to thy management, Nic.,
and go about my business?" Then Nic. got up a glass and drank to
John, shaking him by the hand till he had like to have shook his
shoulder out of joint.
JOHN BULL.--"I understand thee, Nic.; but I shall make thee speak
before I go." Then Nic. put his finger in his cheek and made it cry
"buck!" which was as much as to say, "I care not a farthing for
JOHN BULL.--"I have done, Nic.; if thou wilt not speak, I'll make my
own terms with old Lewis here."
John, perceiving that Frog would not speak, turns to old Lewis:
"Since we cannot make this obstinate fellow speak, Lewis, pray
condescend a little to his humour, and set down thy meaning upon
paper, that he may answer it in another scrap."
"I am infinitely sorry," quoth Lewis, "that it happens so
unfortunately; for, playing a little at cudgels t'other day, a
fellow has given me such a rap over the right arm that I am quite
lame. I have lost the use of my forefinger and my thumb, so that I
cannot hold my pen."
JOHN BULL.--"That's all one; let me write for you."
LEWIS.--"But I have a misfortune that I cannot read anybody's hand
but my own."
JOHN BULL.--"Try what you can do with your left hand."
LEWIS.--"That's impossible; it will make such a scrawl that it will
not be legible."
As they were talking of this matter, in came Esquire South, all
dressed up in feathers and ribbons, stark staring mad, brandishing
his sword, as if he would have cut off their heads, crying "Room,
room, boys, for the grand esquire of the world! the flower of
esquires! What! covered in my presence? I'll crush your souls, and
crack you like lice!" With that he had like to have struck John
Bull's hat into the fire; but John, who was pretty strong-fisted,
gave him such a squeeze as made his eyes water. He went on still in
his mad pranks: "When I am lord of the universe, the sun shall
prostrate and adore me! Thou, Frog, shalt be my bailiff; Lewis my
tailor; and thou, John Bull, shalt be my fool!"
All this while Frog laughed in his sleeve, gave the esquire the
other noggan of brandy, and clapped him on the back, which made him
ten times madder.
Poor John stood in amaze, talking thus to himself: "Well, John,
thou art got into rare company! One has a dumb devil, the other a
mad devil, and the third a spirit of infirmity. An honest man has a
fine time on it amongst such rogues. What art thou asking of them
after all? Some mighty boon one would think! only to sit quietly at
thy own fireside. What have I to do with such fellows? John Bull,
after all his losses and crosses, can live better without them than
they can without him. Would I lived a thousand leagues off them!
but the devil's in it; John Bull is in, and John Bull must get out
as well as he can."
As he was talking to himself, he observed Frog and old Lewis edging
towards one another to whisper,* so that John was forced to sit with
his arms akimbo, to keep them asunder.
* Some attempts of secret negotiation between the French and the
Some people advised John to bleed Frog under the tongue, or take
away his bread-and-butter, which would certainly make him speak; to
give Esquire South hellebore; as for Lewis, some were for emollient
poultices, others for opening his arm with an incision knife.
CHAPTER XI.* The apprehending, examination, and imprisonment of
Jack for suspicion of poisoning.
* The four following chapters contain the history of passing the
Bill against Occasional Conformity, and of the Whigs agreeing to it.
The attentive reader cannot have forgot that the story of Van
Ptschirnsooker's powder was interrupted by a message from Frog. I
have a natural compassion for curiosity, being much troubled with
the distemper myself; therefore to gratify that uneasy itching
sensation in my reader, I have procured the following account of
Van Ptschirnsooker came off (as rogues usually do upon such
occasions) by peaching his partner; and being extremely forward to
bring him to the gallows, Jack* was accused as the contriver of all
the roguery. And, indeed, it happened unfortunately for the poor
fellow, that he was known to bear a most inveterate spite against
the old gentlewoman; and, consequently, that never any ill accident
happened to her but he was suspected to be at the bottom of it. If
she pricked her finger, Jack, to be sure, laid the pin in the way;
if some noise in the street disturbed her rest, who could it be but
Jack in some of his nocturnal rambles? If a servant ran away, Jack
had debauched him. Every idle tittle-tattle that went about, Jack
was always suspected for the author of it. However, all was nothing
to this last affair of the temperating, moderating powder.
* All the misfortunes of the Church charged upon the Puritan party.
The hue and cry went after Jack to apprehend him dead or alive,
wherever he could be found. The constables looked out for him in
all his usual haunts; but to no purpose. Where d'ye think they
found him at last? Even smoking his pipe, very quietly, at his
brother Martin's; from whence he was carried with a vast mob at his
heels, before the worshipful Mr. Justice Overdo. Several of his
neighbours made oath,* that of late, the prisoner had been observed
to lead a very dissolute life, renouncing even his usual hypocrisy
and pretences to sobriety; that he frequented taverns and
eating-houses, and had been often guilty of drunkenness and gluttony
at my Lord Mayor's table; that he had been seen in the company of
lewd women; that he had transferred his usual care of the engrossed
copy of his father's will to bank bills, orders for tallies, and
debentures:** these he now affirmed, with more literal truth, to be
meat, drink, and cloth, the philosopher's stone, and the universal
medicine;*** that he was so far from showing his customary reverence
to the will, that he kept company with those that called his father
a cheating rogue, and his will a forgery; that he not only sat
quietly and heard his father railed at, but often chimed in with the
discourse, and hugged the authors as his bosom friends;**** that
instead of asking for blows at the corners of the streets, he now
bestowed them as plentifully as he begged them before.*** In short,
that he was grown a mere rake; and had nothing left in him of old
Jack except his spite to John Bull's mother.
* The manners of the Dissenters changed from their former
** Dealing much in stock-jobbing.
*** "Tale of a Tub."
**** Herding with deists and atheists.
Another witness made oath, that Jack had been overheard bragging of
a trick* he had found out to manage the "old formal jade," as he
used to call her. "Hang this numb-skull of mine," quoth he, "that I
could not light on it sooner. As long as I go in this ragged
tattered coat, I am so well known, that I am hunted away from the
old woman's door by every barking cur about the house; they bid me
defiance. There's no doing mischief as an open enemy; I must find
some way or other of getting within doors, and then I shall have
better opportunities of playing my pranks, besides the benefit of
* Getting into places and Church preferments by occasional
Two witnesses swore* that several years ago, there came to their
mistress's door a young fellow in a tattered coat, that went by the
name of Timothy Trim, whom they did in their conscience believe to
be the very prisoner, resembling him in shape, stature, and the
features of his countenance. That the said Timothy Trim being taken
into the family, clapped their mistress's livery over his own
tattered coat; that the said Timothy was extremely officious about
their mistress's person, endeavouring by flattery and tale-bearing
to set her against the rest of the servants: nobody was so ready to
fetch anything that was wanted, to reach what was dropped. That he
used to shove and elbow his fellow-servants to get near his
mistress, especially when money was a paying or receiving--then he
was never out of the way; that he was extremely diligent about
everybody's business but his own. That the said Timothy, while he
was in the family, used to be playing roguish tricks; when his
mistress's back was turned, he would loll out his tongue, make
mouths, and laugh at her, walking behind her like Harlequin,
ridiculing her motions and gestures; but if his mistress looked
about, he put on a grave, demure countenance, as if he had been in a
fit of devotion; that he used often to trip up-stairs so smoothly
that you could not hear him tread, and put all things out of order;
that he would pinch the children and servants, when he met them in
the dark, so hard, that he left the print of his forefingers and his
thumb in black and blue, and then slink into a corner, as if nobody
had done it. Out of the same malicious design he used to lay chairs
and joint-stools in their way, that they might break their noses by
falling over them. The more young and inexperienced he used to
teach to talk saucily, and call names. During his stay in the
family there was much plate missing; being caught with a couple of
silver spoons in his pocket, with their handles wrenched off, he
said he was only going to carry them to the goldsmiths to be mended:
that the said Timothy was hated by all the honest servants, for his
ill-conditioned, splenetic tricks, but especially for his slanderous
tongue; traducing them to their mistress as drunkards and thieves:
that the said Timothy, by lying stories, used to set all the family
together by the ears, taking delight to make them fight and quarrel;
**particularly one day sitting at table, he spoke words to this
effect: "I am of opinion," quoth he, "that little short fellows,
such as we are, have better hearts, and could beat the tall fellows;
I wish it came to a fair trial; I believe these long fellows, as
sightly as they are, should find their jackets well thwacked."
* Betraying the interests of the Church when got into preferments.
** The original of the distinction in the names of Low Churchmen and
A parcel of tall fellows, who thought themselves affronted by the
discourse, took up the quarrel, and to it they went, the tall men
and the low men, which continues still a faction in the family, to
the great disorder of our mistress's affairs. The said Timothy
carried this frolic so far, that he proposed to his mistress that
she should entertain no servant that was above four feet seven
inches high, and for that purpose had prepared a gauge, by which
they were to be measured. The good old gentlewoman was not so
simple as to go into his projects--she began to smell a rat. "This
Trim," quoth she, "is an odd sort of a fellow; methinks he makes a
strange figure with that ragged, tattered coat appearing under his
livery; can't he go spruce and clean, like the rest of the servants?
The fellow has a roguish leer with him which I don't like by any
means; besides, he has such a twang in his discourse, and an
ungraceful way of speaking through the nose, that one can hardly
understand him; I wish the fellow be not tainted with some bad
disease." The witnesses further made oath, that the said Timothy
lay out a-nights, and went abroad often at unseasonable hours; and
it was credibly reported he did business in another family: that he
pretended to have a squeamish stomach, and could not eat at table
with the rest of the servants, though this was but a pretence to
provide some nice bit for himself; that he refused to dine upon salt
fish, only to have an opportunity to eat a calf's head (his
favourite dish) in private; that for all his tender stomach, when he
was got by himself, he could devour capons, turkeys, and sirloins of
beef, like a cormorant.
Two other witnesses gave the following evidence: That in his
officious attendance upon his mistress, he had tried to slip a
powder into her drink, and that he was once caught endeavouring to
stifle her with a pillow as she was asleep; that he and
Ptschirnsooker were often in close conference, and that they used to
drink together at the "Rose," where it seems he was well enough
known by his true name of Jack.
The prisoner had little to say in his defence; he endeavoured to
prove himself alibi, so that the trial turned upon this single
question, whether the said Timothy Trim and Jack were the same
person; which was proved by such plain tokens, and particularly by a
mole under the left pap, that there was no withstanding the
evidence; therefore the worshipful Mr. Justice committed him, in
order to his trial.
CHAPTER XII. How Jack's friends came to visit him in prison, and
what advice they gave him.
Jack hitherto had passed in the world for a poor, simple,
well-meaning, half-witted, crack-brained fellow. People were
strangely surprised to find him in such a roguery--that he should
disguise himself under a false name, hire himself out for a servant
to an old gentlewoman, only for an opportunity to poison her. They
said that it was more generous to profess open enmity than under a
profound dissimulation to be guilty of such a scandalous breach of
trust, and of the sacred rights of hospitality; in short, the action
was universally condemned by his best friends. They told him in
plain terms that this was come as a judgment upon him for his loose
life, his gluttony, drunkenness, and avarice; for laying aside his
father's will in an old mouldy trunk, and turning stock-jobber,
newsmonger, and busybody, meddling with other people's affairs,
shaking off his old serious friends, and keeping company with
buffoons and pickpockets, his father's sworn enemies; that he had
best throw himself upon the mercy of the court, repent, and change
his manners. To say truth, Jack heard these discourses with some
compunction; however, he resolved to try what his new acquaintance
would do for him. They sent Habakkuk Slyboots,* who delivered him
the following message, as the peremptory commands of his trusty
* Habakkuk Slyboots, a certain great man who persuaded the
Dissenters to consent to the Bill against Occasional Conformity as
being for their interest.
HABAKKUK.--Dear Jack, I am sorry for thy misfortune: matters have
not been carried on with due secrecy; however, we must make the best
of a bad bargain. Thou art in the utmost jeopardy, that's certain;
hang, draw, and quarter, are the gentlest things they talk of.
However, thy faithful friends, ever watchful for thy security, bid
me tell thee that they have one infallible expedient left to save
thy life. Thou must know we have got into some understanding with
the enemy by the means of Don Diego;* he assures us there is no
mercy for thee, and that there is only one way left to escape. It
is, indeed, somewhat out of the common road; however, be assured it
is the result of most mature deliberation.
* A noble Tory lord.
JACK.--Prithee tell me quickly, for my heart is sunk down in the
very bottom of my belly.
HAB.--It is the unanimous opinion of your friends that you make as
if you hanged yourself;* they will give it out that you are quite
dead, and convey your body out of prison in a bier; and John Bull,
being busied with his lawsuit, will not inquire further into the
* Consent to the Bill against Occasional Conformity.
JACK.--How d'ye mean, make as if I hanged myself?
HAB.--Nay, you must really hang yourself up in a true genuine rope,
that there may appear no trick in it, and leave the rest to your
JACK.--Truly this is a matter of some concern, and my friends, I
hope, won't take it ill if I inquire a little into the means by
which they intend to deliver me. A rope and a noose are no jesting
HAB.--Why so mistrustful? hast thou ever found us false to thee? I
tell thee there is one ready to cut thee down.
JACK.--May I presume to ask who it is that is entrusted with so
important an office?
HAB.--Is there no end of thy hows and thy whys? That's a secret.
JACK.--A secret, perhaps, that I may be safely trusted with, for I
am not like to tell it again. I tell you plainly it is no strange
thing for a man before he hangs himself up to inquire who is to cut
HAB.--Thou suspicious creature! if thou must needs know it, I tell
thee it is Sir Roger;* he has been in tears ever since thy
misfortune. Don Diego and we have laid it so that he is to be in
the next room, and before the rope is well about thy neck, rest
satisfied he will break in and cut thee down. Fear not, old boy;
we'll do it, I'll warrant thee.
* It was given out that the Earl of Oxford would oppose the
occasional Bill, and so lose his credit with the Tories; and the
Dissenters did believe he would not suffer it to pass.
JACK.--So I must hang myself up upon hopes that Sir Roger will cut
me down, and all this upon the credit of Don Diego. A fine
stratagem, indeed, to save my life, that depends upon hanging, Don
Diego, and Sir Roger!
HAB.--I tell thee there is a mystery in all this, my friend, a piece
of profound policy; if thou knew what good this will do to the
common cause, thy heart would leap for joy. I am sure thou wouldst
not delay the experiment one moment.
JACK.--This is to the tune of "All for the better." What's your
cause to me when I am hanged?
HAB.--Refractory mortal! if thou wilt not trust thy friends, take
what follows. Know assuredly, before next full moon, that thou wilt
be hung up in chains, or thy quarters perching upon the most
conspicuous places of the kingdom. Nay, I don't believe they will
he contented with hanging; they talk of impaling, or breaking on the
wheel, and thou choosest that before a gentle suspending of thyself
for one minute. Hanging is not so painful a thing as thou
imaginest. I have spoken with several that have undergone it; they
all agree it is no manner of uneasiness. Be sure thou take good
notice of the symptoms; the relation will be curious. It is but a
kick or two with thy heels, and a wry mouth or so: Sir Roger will
be with thee in the twinkling of an eye.
JACK.--But what if Sir Roger should not come; will my friends be
there to succour me?
HAB.--Doubt it not; I will provide everything against to-morrow
morning: do thou keep thy own secret--say nothing. I tell thee it
is absolutely necessary for the common good that thou shouldst go
through this operation.
CHAPTER XIII. How Jack hanged himself up by the persuasion of his
friends, who broke their words, and left his neck in the noose.
Jack was a professed enemy to implicit faith, and yet I dare say it
was never more strongly exerted nor more basely abused than upon
this occasion. He was now, with his old friends, in the state of a
poor disbanded officer after a peace, or rather a wounded soldier
after a battle; like an old favourite of a cunning Minister after
the job is over, or a decayed beauty to a cloyed lover in quest of
new game, or like a hundred such things that one sees every day.
There were new intrigues, new views, new projects, on foot. Jack's
life was the purchase of Diego's friendship; much good may it do
them. The interest of Hocus and Sir William Crawley which was now
more at heart, made this operation upon poor Jack absolutely
necessary. You may easily guess that his rest that night was but
small, and much disturbed; however, the remaining part of his time
he did not employ (as his custom was formerly) in prayer,
meditation, or singing a double verse of a Psalm, but amused himself
with disposing of his bank stock. Many a doubt, many a qualm,
overspread his clouded imagination: "Must I then," quoth he, "hang
up my own personal, natural, individual self with these two hands!
Durus Sermo! What if I should be cut down, as my friends tell me?
There is something infamous in the very attempt; the world will
conclude I had a guilty conscience. Is it possible that good man,
Sir Roger, can have so much pity upon an unfortunate scoundrel that
has persecuted him so many years? No, it cannot be; I don't love
favours that pass through Don Diego's hands. On the other side, my
blood chills about my heart at the thought of these rogues with
their bloody hands pulling out my very entrails. Hang it, for once
I'll trust my friends." So Jack resolved; but he had done more
wisely to have put himself upon the trial of his country, and made
his defence in form; many things happen between the cup and the lip-
-witnesses might have been bribed, juries managed, or prosecution
stopped. But so it was, Jack for this time had a sufficient stock
of implicit faith, which led him to his ruin, as the sequel of the
And now the fatal day was come in which he was to try this hanging
experiment. His friends did not fail him at the appointed hour to
see it put in practice. Habakkuk brought him a smooth, strong,
tough rope, made of many a ply of wholesome Scandinavian hemp,
compactly twisted together, with a noose that slipped as glib as a
birdcatcher's gin. Jack shrank and grew pale at first sight of it;
he handled it, he measured it, stretched it, fixed it against the
iron bar of the window to try its strength, but no familiarity could
reconcile him to it. He found fault with the length, the thickness,
and the twist; nay, the very colour did not please him. "Will
nothing less than hanging serve?" quoth Jack. "Won't my enemies
take bail for my good behaviour? Will they accept of a fine, or be
satisfied with the pillory and imprisonment, a good round whipping,
or burning in the cheek?"
HAB.--Nothing but your blood will appease their rage; make haste,
else we shall be discovered. There's nothing like surprising the
rogues. How they will be disappointed when they hear that thou hast
prevented their revenge and hanged thine own self.
JACK.--That's true; but what if I should do it in effigies? Is
there never an old pope or pretender to hang up in my stead? We are
not so unlike but it may pass.
HAB.--That can never be put upon Sir Roger.
JACK.--Are you sure he is in the next room? Have you provided a
very sharp knife, in case of the worst?
HAB.--Dost take me for a common liar? Be satisfied, no damage can
happen to your person; your friends will take care of that.
JACK.--Mayn't I quilt my rope? It galls my neck strangely:
besides, I don't like this running knot. It holds too tight; I may
be stifled all of a sudden.
HAB.--Thou hast so many ifs and ands! prithee despatch; it might
have been over before this time.
JACK.--But now I think on't, I would fain settle some affairs, for
fear of the worst: have a little patience.
HAB.--There's no having patience, thou art such a faintling, silly
JACK.--O thou most detestable, abominable Passive Obedience! did I
ever imagine I should become thy votary, in so pregnant an instance?
How will my brother Martin laugh at this story, to see himself
outdone in his own calling! He has taken the doctrine, and left me
No sooner had he uttered these words, but, like a man of true
courage, he tied the fatal cord to the beam, fitted the noose, and
mounted upon the bottom of a tub, the inside of which he had often
graced in his prosperous days. This footstool Habakkuk kicked away,
and left poor Jack swinging like the pendulum of Paul's clock. The
fatal noose performed its office, and with most strict ligature
squeezed the blood into his face till it assumed a purple dye.
While the poor man heaved from the very bottom of his belly for
breath, Habakkuk walked with great deliberation into both the upper
and lower room, to acquaint his friends, who received the news with
great temper, and with jeers and scoffs instead of pity. "Jack has
hanged himself!" quoth they; "let us go and see how the poor rogue
swings." Then they called Sir Roger. "Sir Roger," quoth Habakkuk,
"Jack has hanged himself; make haste and cut him down." Sir Roger
turned first one ear and then the other, not understanding what he
HAB.--I tell you Jack has hanged himself up.
SIR ROGER.--Who's hanged?
SIR ROGER.--I thought this had not been hanging day.
HAB.--But the poor fellow has hanged himself.
SIR ROGER.--Then let him hang. I don't wonder at it; the fellow has
been mad these twenty years.
With this he slunk away.
Then Jack's friends began to hunch and push one another: "Why don't
you go and cut the poor fellow down?" "Why don't you?" "And why
don't you?" "Not I," quoth one. "Not I," quoth another. "Not I,"
quoth a third; "he may hang till doomsday before I relieve him!"
Nay, it is credibly reported that they were so far from succouring
their poor friend in this his dismal circumstance, that
Ptschirnsooker and several of his companions went in and pulled him
by the legs, and thumped him on the breast. Then they began to rail
at him for the very thing which they had advised and justified
before, viz., his getting into the old gentlewoman's family, and
putting on her livery. The keeper who performed the last office
coming up, found Jack swinging, with no life in him. He took down
the body gently and laid it on a bulk, and brought out the rope to
the company. "This, gentlemen, is the rope that hanged Jack; what
must be done with it?" Upon which they ordered it to be laid among
the curiosities of Gresham College; and it is called Jack's rope to
this very day. However, Jack, after all, had some small tokens of
life in him, but lies, at this time, past hopes of a total recovery,
with his head hanging on one shoulder, without speech or motion.
The coroner's inquest, supposing him to be dead, brought him in non
CHAPTER XIV. The Conference between Don Diego and John Bull.
During the time of the foregoing transactions, Don Diego was
entertaining John Bull.
DON DIEGO.--I hope, sir, this day's proceeding will convince you of
the sincerity of your old friend Diego, and the treachery of Sir
JOHN BULL.--What's the matter now?
DON DIEGO.--You have been endeavouring, for several years, to have
justice done upon that rogue Jack, but, what through the remissness
of constables, justices, and packed juries, he has always found the
means to escape.
JOHN BULL.--What then?
DON DIEGO.--Consider, then, who is your best friend: he that would
have brought him to condign punishment, or he that has saved him?
By my persuasion Jack had hanged himself, if Sir Roger had not cut
JOHN BULL.--Who told you that Sir Roger has done so?
DON DIEGO.--You seem to receive me coldly: methinks my services
deserve a better return.
JOHN BULL.--Since you value yourself upon hanging this poor
scoundrel, I tell you, when I have any more hanging work, I'll send
for thee: I have some better employment for Sir Roger. In the
meantime, I desire the poor fellow may be looked after. When he
first came out of the north country into my family, under the
pretended name of Timothy Trim, the fellow seemed to mind his loom
and his spinning-wheel, till somebody turned his head; then he grew
so pragmatical, that he took upon him the government of my whole
family: I could never order anything, within or without doors, but
he must be always giving his counsel, forsooth: nevertheless, tell
him I will forgive what is past; and if he would mind his business
for the future, and not meddle out of his own sphere, he will find
that John Bull is not of a cruel disposition.
DON DIEGO.--Yet all your skilful physicians say that nothing can
recover your mother but a piece of Jack's liver boiled in her soup.
JOHN BULL.--Those are quacks. My mother abhors such cannibals'
food. She is in perfect health at present. I would have given many
a good pound to have had her so well some time ago.* There are
indeed two or three troublesome old nurses that, because they
believe I am tender-hearted, will never let me have a quiet night's
rest with knocking me up: "Oh, sir, your mother is taken extremely
ill; she is fallen into a fainting fit; she has a great emptiness,
wants sustenance." This is only to recommend themselves for their
great care. John Bull, as simple as he is, understands a little of
* New clamours about the danger of the Church.
CHAPTER XV. The sequel of the meeting at the "Salutation."*
* At the Congress of Utrecht.
Where I think I left John Bull, sitting between Nic. Frog and Lewis
Baboon, with his arms akimbo, in great concern to keep Lewis and
Nic. asunder. As watchful as he was, Nic. found the means now and
then to steal a whisper, and by a cleanly conveyance under the table
to slip a short note into Lewis's hand, which Lewis as slyly put
into John's pocket, with a pinch or a jog to warn him what he was
about. John had the curiosity to retire into a corner to peruse
those billets doux* of Nic.'s, wherein he found that Nic. had used
great freedoms both with his interest and reputation. One contained
these words: "Dear Lewis, thou seest clearly that this blockhead
can never bring his matters to bear. Let thee and me talk to-night
by ourselves at the 'Rose,' and I'll give thee satisfaction."
Another was thus expressed: "Friend Lewis, has thy sense quite
forsaken thee to make Bull such offers? Hold fast, part with
nothing, and I will give thee a better bargain, I'll warrant thee!'
* Some offers of the Dutch at that time, in order to get the
negotiation into their hands.
In some of his billets he told Lewis "That John Bull was under his
guardianship; that the best part of his servants were at his
command; that he could have John gagged and bound whenever he
pleased by the people of his own family." In all these epistles,
blockhead, dunce, ass, coxcomb, were the best epithets he gave poor
John. In others he threatened,* "That he, Esquire South, and the
rest of the tradesmen, would lay Lewis down upon his back and beat
out his teeth if he did not retire immediately and break up the
* Threatening that the allies would carry on the war without the
help of the English.
I fancy I need not tell my reader that John often changed colour as
he read, and that his fingers itched to give Nic. a good slap on the
chops, but he wisely moderated his choleric temper. *"I saved this
fellow," quoth he, "from the gallows when he ran away from his last
master, because I thought he was harshly treated; but the rogue was
no sooner safe under my protection than he began to lie, pilfer, and
steal like the devil. When I first set him up in a warm house he
had hardly put up his sign when he began to debauch my best
customers from me. *Then it was his constant practice to rob my
fish-ponds, not only to feed his family, but to trade with the
fishmongers. I connived at the fellow till he began to tell me that
they were his as much as mine. In my manor of *Eastcheap, because
it lay at some distance from my constant inspection, he broke down
my fences, robbed my orchards, and beat my servants.
* Complaints against the Dutch for encroachment in trade, fishery,
East Indies, etc. The war with the Dutch on these accounts.
"When I used to reprimand him for his tricks he would talk saucily,
lie, and brazen it out as if he had done nothing amiss. 'Will
nothing cure thee of thy pranks, Nic.?' quoth I; 'I shall be forced
some time or other to chastise thee.' The rogue got up his cane and
threatened me, and was well thwacked for his pains. But I think his
behaviour at this time worst of all; after I have almost drowned
myself to keep his head above water, he would leave me sticking in
the mud, trusting to his goodness to help me out. After I have
beggared myself with his troublesome lawsuit, with a plague to him!
he takes it in mighty dudgeon because I have brought him here to end
matters amicably, and because I won't let him make me over by deed
and indenture as his lawful cully, which to my certain knowledge he
has attempted several times. But, after all, canst thou gather
grapes from thorns? Nic. does not pretend to be a gentleman; he is
a tradesman, a self-seeking wretch. But how camest thou to hear all
this, John? The reason is plain; thou conferrest the benefits and
he receives them; the first produces love, and the last ingratitude.
Ah Nic., Nic., thou art a damned dog, that's certain; thou knowest
too well that I will take care of thee, else thou wouldst not use me
thus. I won't give thee up, it is true; but as true as it is, thou
shalt not sell me, according to thy laudable custom." While John
was deep in this soliloquy Nic. broke out into the following
"Gentlemen,--I believe everybody here present will allow me to be a
very just and disinterested person. My friend John Bull here is
very angry with me, forsooth, because I won't agree to his foolish
bargains. Now I declare to all mankind I should be ready to
sacrifice my own concerns to his quiet, but the care of his
interest, and that of the honest tradesmen* that are embarked with
us, keeps me from entering into this composition. What shall become
of those poor creatures? The thoughts of their impending ruin
disturb my night's rest; therefore I desire they may speak for
themselves. If they are willing to give up this affair, I sha'n't
make two words of it."
* The Allies.
John Bull begged him to lay aside that immoderate concern for him,
and withal put him in mind that the interest of those tradesmen had
not sat quite so heavy upon him some years ago on a like occasion.
Nic. answered little to that, but immediately pulled out a
boatswain's whistle. Upon the first whiff the tradesmen came
jumping into the room, and began to surround Lewis like so many
yelping curs about a great boar; or, to use a modester simile, like
duns at a great lord's levee the morning he goes into the country.
One pulled him by his sleeve, another by the skirt, a third hallooed
in the ear. They began to ask him for all that had been taken from
their forefathers by stealth, fraud, force, or lawful purchase.
Some asked for manors, others for acres that lay convenient for
them; that he would pull down his fences, level his ditches. All
agreed in one common demand that he should be purged, sweated,
vomited, and starved, till he came to a sizeable bulk like that of
his neighbours. One modestly asked him leave to call him brother.
Nic. Frog demanded two things--to be his porter and his fishmonger,
to keep the keys of his gates and furnish the kitchen. John's
sister Peg only desired that he would let his servants sing psalms
a-Sundays. Some descended even to the asking of old clothes, shoes
and boots, broken bottles, tobacco-pipes, and ends of candles.
"Monsieur Bull," quoth Lewis, "you seem to be a man of some
breeding; for God's sake use your interest with these Messieurs,
that they would speak but one at once; for if one had a hundred pair
of hands, and as many tongues, he cannot satisfy them all at this
rate." John begged they might proceed with some method; then they
stopped all of a sudden and would not say a word. "If this be your
play," quoth John, "that we may not be like a Quaker's dumb meeting,
let us begin some diversion; what d'ye think of rouly-pouly or a
country dance? What if we should have a match at football? I am
sure we shall never end matters at this rate."
CHAPTER XVI. How John Bull and Nic. Frog settled their Accounts.
JOHN BULL.--During this general cessation of talk, what if you and
I, Nic., should inquire how money matters stand between us?
NIC. FROG.--With all my heart; I love exact dealing. And let Hocus
audit; he knows how the money was disbursed.
JOHN BULL.--I am not much for that at present; we'll settle it
between ourselves. Fair and square, Nic., keeps friends together.
There have been laid out in this lawsuit, at one time, 36,OOO pounds
and 4O,OOO crowns. In some cases I, in others you, bear the
NIC FROG.--Right; I pay three-fifths of the greatest number, and you
pay two-thirds of the lesser number. I think this is fair and
square, as you call it.
JOHN BULL.--Well, go on.
NIC FROG.--Two-thirds of 36,OOO pounds are 24,OOO pounds for your
share, and there remains 12,OOO for mine. Again, of the 4O,OOO
crowns I pay 24,OOO, which is three-fifths, and you pay only 16,OOO,
which is two-fifths; 24,OOO crowns make 6,OOO pounds, and 16,OOO
crowns make 4,OOO pounds; 12,OOO and 16,OOO make 18,OOO, 24,OOO and
4,OOO make 28,OOO. So there are 18,OOO pounds to my share of the
expenses, and 28,OOO to yours.
After Nic. had bamboozled John awhile about the 18,OOO and the
28,OOO, John called for counters; but what with sleight of hand, and
taking from his own score and adding to John's, Nic. brought the
balance always on his own side.
JOHN BULL.--Nay, good friend Nic., though I am not quite so nimble
in the fingers, I understand ciphering as well as you. I will
produce you my accounts one by one, fairly writ out of my own books;
and here I begin with the first. You must excuse me if I don't
pronounce the law terms right.
For the expenses ordinary of the suits, fees to judges, puisne
judges, lawyers innumerable of all sorts:--
Of extraordinaries, as follows per account . .
To Esquire South's account for post terminums . .
To ditto for non est factums . .
To ditto for noli prosequis, discontinuance, and retraxit . .
For writs of error . .
Suits of conditions unperformed . .
To Hocus for dedimus protestatem . .
To ditto for a capias ad computandum . .
To Frog's new tenants per account to Hocus, for audita querelas . .
On the said account for writs of ejectment and distringas . .
To Esquire South's quota for a return of a non est invent
and nulla habet bona . .
To --- for a pardon in forma pauperis . .
To Jack for a melius inquirendum upon a felo-de-se . .
To coach-hire . .
For treats to juries and witnesses . .
John having read over his articles, with the respective sums,
brought in Frog debtor to him upon the balance, 3,382 pounds 12
Then Nic. Frog pulled his bill out of his pocket, and began to read.
Nicholas Frog's Account.
Remains to be deducted out of the former Account.
Paid by Nic. Frog for his share of the ordinary expenses of the suit
To Hocus for entries of a rege inconsulto . .
To John Bull's nephew for a venire facias, the money not yet all
laid out . .
The coach-hire for my wife and family, and the carriage of my goods
time of this lawsuit . .
For the extraordinary expenses of feeding my family during this
lawsuit . .
To Major Ab. . .
To Major Will. . .
And summing all up, found due upon the balance by John Bull to Nic.
Frog, 9 pounds 4 shillings and 6 pence.
JOHN BULL.--As for your venire facias, I have paid you for one
already; in the other I believe you will be nonsuited. I'll take
care of my nephew myself. Your coach-hire and family charges are
most unreasonable deductions; at that rate, I can bring in any man
in the world my debtor. But who the devil are those two majors that
consume all my money? I find they always run away with the balance
in all accounts.
NIC. FROG.--Two very honest gentlemen, I assure you, that have done
me some service. To tell you plainly, Major Ab. denotes thy greater
ability, and Major Will. thy greater willingness to carry on this
lawsuit. It was but reasonable thou shouldst pay both for thy power
and thy positiveness.
JOHN BULL.--I believe I shall have those two honest majors' discount
on my side in a little time.
NIC. FROG.--Why all this higgling with thy friend about such a
paltry sum? Does this become the generosity of the noble and rich
John Bull? I wonder thou art not ashamed. Oh, Hocus! Hocus! where
art thou? It used to go another-guess manner in thy time. When a
poor man has almost undone himself for thy sake, thou art for
fleecing him, and fleecing him. Is that thy conscience, John?
JOHN BULL.--Very pleasant, indeed! It is well known thou retainest
thy lawyers by the year, so a fresh lawsuit adds but little to thy
expenses; they are thy customers;* I hardly ever sell them a
farthing's-worth of anything. Nay, thou hast set up an
eating-house, where the whole tribe of them spend all they can rap
or run. If it were well reckoned, I believe thou gettest more of my
money than thou spendest of thy own. However, if thou wilt needs
plead poverty, own at least that thy accounts are false.
* The money spent in Holland and Flanders.
NIC. FROG.--No, marry won't I; I refer myself to these honest
gentlemen--let them judge between us. Let Esquire South speak his
mind, whether my accounts are not right, and whether we ought not to
go on with our lawsuit.
JOHN BULL.--Consult the butchers about keeping of Lent. Dost think
that John Bull will be tried by piepowders? I tell you, once for
all, John Bull knows where his shoe pinches. None of your esquires
shall give him the law as long as he wears this trusty weapon by his
side, or has an inch of broadcloth in his shop.
NIC. FROG.--Why, there it is: you will be both judge and party. I
am sorry thou discoverest so much of thy headstrong humour before
these strange gentlemen; I have often told thee it would prove thy
ruin some time or other. Let it never be said that the famous John
Bull has departed in despite of Court.
JOHN BULL.--And will it not reflect as much on thy character, Nic.,
to turn barretter in thy old days--a stirrer-up of quarrels amongst
thy neighbours? I tell thee, Nic., some time or other thou wilt
But John saw clearly he should have nothing but wrangling, and that
he should have as little success in settling his accounts as ending
the composition. "Since they will needs overload my shoulders,"
quoth John, "I shall throw down the burden with a squash amongst
them, take it up who dares. A man has a fine time of it amongst a
combination of sharpers that vouch for one another's honesty. John,
look to thyself; old Lewis makes reasonable offers. When thou hast
spent the small pittance that is left, thou wilt make a glorious
figure when thou art brought to live upon Nic. Frog and Esquire
South's generosity and gratitude. If they use thee thus when they
want thee, what will they do when thou wantest them? I say again,
John, look to thyself."
John wisely stifled his resentments, and told the company that in a
little time he should give them law, or something better.
ALL.--*Law! law! sir, by all means. What is twenty-two poor years
towards the finishing a lawsuit? For the love of God, more law,
* Clamours for continuing the war.
JOHN BULL.--Prepare your demands how many years more of law you
want, that I may order my affairs accordingly. In the meanwhile,
CHAPTER XVII. How John Bull found all his Family in an Uproar at
Nic. Frog, who thought of nothing but carrying John to the market,
and there disposing of him as his own proper goods, was mad to find
that John thought himself now of age to look after his own affairs.
He resolved to traverse this new project, and to make him uneasy in
his own family. He had corrupted or deluded most of his servants
into the most extravagant conceits in the world: that their master
was run mad, and wore a dagger in one pocket and poison in the
other; that he had sold his wife and children to Lewis, disinherited
his heir, and was going to settle his estate upon a parish-boy; that
if they did not look after their master, he would do some very
mischievous thing. When John came home, he found a more surprising
scene than any he had yet met with, and that you will say was
* Clamours about the danger of the succession.
He called his cook-maid Betty to bespeak his dinner. Betty told him
"That she begged his pardon, she could not dress dinner till she
knew what he intended to do with his will." "Why, Betty," quoth
John, "thou art not run mad, art thou? My will at present is to
have dinner." "That may be," quoth Betty, "but my conscience won't
allow me to dress it till I know whether you intend to do righteous
things by your heir." "I am sorry for that, Betty," quoth John; "I
must find somebody else, then." Then he called John the barber.
"Before I begin," quoth John, "I hope your honour won't be offended
if I ask you whether you intend to alter your will? If you won't
give me a positive answer your beard may grow down to your middle
for me." "'Igad, so it shall," quoth Bull, "for I will never trust
my throat in such a mad fellow's hands. Where's Dick the butler?"
"Look ye," quoth Dick, "I am very willing to serve you in my
calling, d'you see, but there are strange reports, and plain-dealing
is best, d'ye see. I must be satisfied if you intend to leave all
to your nephew and if Nic. Frog is still your executor, d'ye see.
If you will not satisfy me as to these points you may drink with the
ducks." "And so I will," quoth John, "rather than keep a butler
that loves my heir better than myself." Hob the shoemaker, and
Pricket the tailor, told him they would most willingly serve him in
their several stations if he would promise them never to talk with
Lewis Baboon, and let Nicholas Frog, linen-draper, manage his
concerns; that they could neither make shoes nor clothes to any that
were not in good correspondence with their worthy friend Nicholas.
JOHN BULL.--Call Andrew, my journeyman. How goes affairs, Andrew?
I hope the devil has not taken possession of thy body too.
ANDREW.--No, sir; I only desire to know what you would do if you
JOHN BULL.--Just as other dead folks do, Andrew. [Aside.] This is
ANDREW.--I mean if your nephew shall inherit your estate.
JOHN BULL.--That depends upon himself. I shall do nothing to hinder
ANDREW.--But will you make it sure?
JOHN BULL.--Thou meanest that I should put him in possession, for I
can make it no surer without that. He has all the law can give him.
ANDREW.--Indeed, possession, as you say, would make it much surer.
They say it is eleven points of the law.
John began now to think that they were all enchanted. He inquired
about the age of the moon, if Nic. had not given them some
intoxicating potion, or if old Mother Jenisa was still alive? "No,
o' my faith," quoth Harry, "I believe there is no potion in the case
but a little aurum potabile. You will have more of this by-and-by."
He had scarce spoken the word when another friend of John's accosted
him after the following manner:--
"Since those worthy persons, who are as much concerned for your
safety as I am, have employed me as their orator, I desire to know
whether you will have it by way of syllogism, enthymem, dilemma, or
John now began to be diverted with their extravagance.
JOHN BULL.--Let's have a sorites by all means, though they are all
new to me.
FRIEND.--It is evident to all that are versed in history that there
were two sisters that played false two thousand years ago.
Therefore it plainly follows that it is not lawful for John Bull to
have any manner of intercourse with Lewis Baboon. If it is not
lawful for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse
(correspondence, if you will, that is much the same thing) then, a
fortiori, it is much more unlawful for the said John to make over
his wife and children to the said Lewis. If his wife and children
are not to be made over, he is not to wear a dagger and ratsbane in
his pockets. If he wears a dagger and ratsbane, it must be to do
mischief to himself or somebody else. If he intends to do mischief,
he ought to be under guardians, and there is none so fit as myself
and some other worthy persons who have a commission for that purpose
from Nic. Frog, the executor of his will and testament.
JOHN BULL.--And this is your sorites, you say?
With that he snatched a good tough oaken cudgel, and began to
brandish it. Then happy was the man that was first at the door.
Crowding to get out, they tumbled down-stairs. And it is credibly
reported some of them dropped very valuable things in the hurry,
which were picked up by others of the family.
"That any of these rogues," quoth John, "should imagine I am not as
much concerned as they about having my affairs in a settled
condition, or that I would wrong my heir for I know not what! Well,
Nic., I really cannot but applaud thy diligence. I must own this is
really a pretty sort of a trick, but it sha'n't do thy business, for
CHAPTER XVIII. How Lewis Baboon came to visit John Bull, and what
passed between them. *
* Private negotiations about Dunkirk.
I think it is but ingenuous to acquaint the reader that this chapter
was not wrote by Sir Humphrey himself, but by another very able pen
of the university of Grub Street.
John had, by some good instructions given him by Sir Roger, got the
better of his choleric temper, and wrought himself up to a great
steadiness of mind to pursue his own interest through all
impediments that were thrown in the way. He began to leave off some
of his old acquaintance, his roaring and bullying about the streets.
He put on a serious air, knit his brows, and, for the time, had made
a very considerable progress in politics, considering that he had
been kept a stranger to his own affairs. However, he could not help
discovering some remains of his nature when he happened to meet with
a football or a match at cricket, for which Sir Roger was sure to
take him to task. John was walking about his room with folded arms
and a most thoughtful countenance. His servant brought him word
that one Lewis Baboon below wanted to speak with him. John had got
an impression that Lewis was so deadly cunning a man that he was
afraid to venture himself alone with him. At last he took heart of
grace. "Let him come up," quoth he; "it is but sticking to my
point, and he can never over-reach me."
LEWIS BABOON.--Monsieur Bull, I will frankly acknowledge that my
behaviour to my neighbours has been somewhat uncivil, and I believe
you will readily grant me that I have met with usage accordingly. I
was fond of back-sword and cudgel-play from my youth, and I now bear
in my body many a black and blue gash and scar, God knows. I had as
good a warehouse and as fair possessions as any of my neighbours,
though I say it. But a contentious temper, flattering servants, and
unfortunate stars have brought me into circumstances that are not
unknown to you. These my misfortunes are heightened by domestic
calamities. That I need not relate. I am a poor old battered
fellow, and I would willingly end my days in peace. But, alas! I
see but small hopes of that, for every new circumstance affords an
argument to my enemies to pursue their revenge. Formerly I was to
be banged because I was too strong, and now because I am too weak to
resist; I am to be brought down when too rich, and oppressed when
too poor. Nic. Frog has used me like a scoundrel. You are a
gentleman, and I freely put myself in your hands to dispose of me as
you think fit.
JOHN BULL.--Look you, Master Baboon, as to your usage of your
neighbours, you had best not dwell too much upon that chapter. Let
it suffice at present that you have been met with. You have been
rolling a great stone up-hill all your life, and at last it has come
tumbling down till it is like to crush you to pieces. Plain-dealing
is best. If you have any particular mark, Mr. Baboon, whereby one
may know when you fib and when you speak truth, you had best tell it
me, that one may proceed accordingly. But since at present I know
of none such, it is better that you should trust me than that I
should trust you.
LEWIS BABOON.--I know of no particular mark of veracity amongst us
tradesmen but interest; and it is manifestly mine not to deceive you
at this time. You may safely trust me, I can assure you.
JOHN BULL.--The trust I give is, in short, this: I must have
something in hand before I make the bargain, and the rest before it
LEWIS BABOON.--To show you I deal fairly, name your something.
JOHN BULL.--I need not tell thee, old boy; thou canst guess.
LEWIS BABOON.--Ecclesdown Castle,* I'll warrant you, because it has
been formerly in your family. Say no more; you shall have it.
JOHN BULL.--I shall have it to my own self?
LEWIS BABOON.--To thine own self.
JOHN BULL.--Every wall, gate, room, and inch of Ecclesdown Castle,
LEWIS BABOON.--Just so.
JOHN BULL.--Every single stone of Ecclesdown Castle, to my own self,
LEWIS BABOON.--When you please; what needs more words?
JOHN BULL.--But tell me, old boy, hast thou laid aside all thy
equivocals and mentals in this case?
LEWIS BABOON.--There's nothing like matter of fact; seeing is
JOHN BULL.--Now thou talkest to the purpose; let us shake hands, old
boy. Let me ask thee one question more; what hast thou to do to
meddle with the affairs of my family? to dispose of my estate, old
LEWIS BABOON.--Just as much as you have to do with the affairs of
JOHN BULL.--Ay, but my trade, my very being was concerned in that.
LEWIS BABOON.--And my interest was concerned in the other. But let
us drop both our pretences; for I believe it is a moot point,
whether I am more likely to make a Master Bull, or you a Lord
JOHN BULL.--Agreed, old boy; but then I must have security that I
shall carry my broadcloth to market, old boy.
LEWIS BABOON.--That you shall: Ecclesdown Castle! Ecclesdown!
Remember that. Why wouldst thou not take it when it was offered
thee some years ago?
JOHN BULL.--I would not take it, because they told me thou wouldst
not give it me.
LEWIS BABOON.--How could Monsieur Bull be so grossly abused by
downright nonsense? they that advised you to refuse, must have
believed I intended to give, else why would they not make the
experiment? But I can tell you more of that matter than perhaps you
know at present.
JOHN BULL.--But what say'st thou as to the Esquire, Nic. Frog, and
the rest of the tradesmen? I must take care of them.
LEWIS BABOON.--Thou hast but small obligations to Nic. to my certain
knowledge: he has not used me like a gentleman.
JOHN BULL.--Nic. indeed is not very nice in your punctilios of
ceremony; he is clownish, as a man may say: belching and calling of
names have been allowed him time out of mind, by prescription: but,
however, we are engaged in one common cause, and I must look after
LEWIS BABOON.--All matters that relate to him, and the rest of the
plaintiff's in this lawsuit, I will refer to your justice.
CHAPTER XIX. Nic. Frog's letter to John Bull: wherein he
endeavours to vindicate all his conduct, with relation to John Bull
and the lawsuit.
Nic. perceived now that his Cully had eloped, that John intended
henceforth to deal without a broker; but he was resolved to leave no
stone unturned to cover his bubble. Amongst other artifices he
wrote a most obliging letter, which he sent him printed in a fair
"DEAR FRIEND,--When I consider the late ill-usage I have met with
from you, I was reflecting what it was that could provoke you to it,
but upon a narrow inspection into my conduct, I can find nothing to
reproach myself with but too partial a concern for your interest.
You no sooner set this composition afoot but I was ready to comply,
and prevented your very wishes; and the affair might have been ended
before now, had it not been for the greater concerns of Esquire
South and the other poor creatures embarked in the same common
cause, whose safety touches me to the quick. You seemed a little
jealous that I had dealt unfairly with you in money-matters, till it
appeared by your own accounts that there was something due to me
upon the balance. Having nothing to answer to so plain a
demonstration, you began to complain as if I had been familiar with
your reputation; when it is well known not only I, but the meanest
servants in my family, talk of you with the utmost respect. I have
always, as far as in me lies, exhorted your servants and tenants to
be dutiful; not that I any way meddle in your domestic affairs,
which were very unbecoming for me to do. If some of your servants
express their great concern for you in a manner that is not so very
polite, you ought to impute it to their extraordinary zeal, which
deserves a reward rather than a reproof. You cannot reproach me for
want of success at the 'Salutation,' since I am not master of the
passions and interests of other folks. I have beggared myself with
this lawsuit, undertaken merely in complaisance to you; and if you
would have had but a little patience, I had still greater things in
reserve, that I intended to have done for you. I hope what I have
said will prevail with you to lay aside your unreasonable
jealousies, and that we may have no more meetings at the
'Salutation,' spending our time and money to no purpose. My concern
for your welfare and prosperity almost makes me mad. You may be
assured I will continue to be
"Friend and Servant,
* Substance of the States letter.
John received this with a good deal of sang-froid; "Transeat," quoth
John, "cum caeteris erroribus." He was now at his ease; he saw he
could now make a very good bargain for himself, and a very safe one
for other folks. "My shirt," quoth he, "is near me, but my skin is
nearer. Whilst I take care of the welfare of other folks, nobody
can blame me to apply a little balsam to my own sores. It's a
pretty thing, after all, for a man to do his own business; a man has
such a tender concern for himself, there's nothing like it. This is
somewhat better, I trow, than for John Bull to be standing in the
market, like a great dray-horse, with Frog's paws upon his head.
What will you give me for this beast? Serviteur Nic. Frog, though
John Bull has not read your Aristotles, Platos, and Machiavels, he
can see as far into a mill-stone as another." With that John began
to chuckle and laugh till he was like to have burst his sides.
CHAPTER XX. The discourse that passed between Nic. Frog and Esquire
South, which John Bull overheard.*
* Negotiations between the Emperor and the Dutch for continuing the
war, and getting the property of Flanders.
John thought every minute a year till he got into Ecclesdown Castle;
he repairs to the "Salutation" with a design to break the matter
gently to his partners. Before he entered he overheard Nic. and the
Esquire in a very pleasant conference.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--Oh, the ingratitude and injustice of mankind! That
John Bull, whom I have honoured with my friendship and protection so
long, should flinch at last, and pretend that he can disburse no
more money for me! that the family of the Souths, by his sneaking
temper, should be kept out of their own!
NIC. FROG.--An't like your worship, I am in amaze at it; I think the
rogue should be compelled to his duty.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--That he should prefer his scandalous pelf, the dust
and dregs of the earth, to the prosperity and grandeur of my family!
NIC. FROG.--Nay, he is mistaken there, too; for he would quickly
lick himself whole again by his vails. It's strange he should
prefer Philip Baboon's custom to Esquire South's.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--As you say, that my clothier, that is to get so much
by the purchase, should refuse to put me in possession; did you ever
know any man's tradesman serve him so before?
NIC. FROG.--No, indeed, an't please your worship, it is a very
unusual proceeding; and I would not have been guilty of it for the
world. If your honour had not a great stock of moderation and
patience, you would not bear it so well as you do.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--It is most intolerable, that's certain, Nic., and I
will be revenged.
NIC. FROG.--Methinks it is strange that Philip Baboon's tenants do
not all take your honour's part, considering how good and gentle a
master you are.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--True, Nic., but few are sensible of merit in this
world. It is a great comfort to have so faithful a friend as
thyself in so critical a juncture.
NIC. FROG.--If all the world should forsake you, be assured Nic.
Frog never will; let us stick to our point, and we'll manage Bull,
I'll warrant ye.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--Let me kiss thee, dear Nic.; I have found one honest
man among a thousand at last.
NIC. FROG.--If it were possible, your honour has it in your power to
wed me still closer to your interest.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--Tell me quickly, dear Nic.
NIC. FROG.--You know I am your tenant; the difference between my
lease and an inheritance is such a trifle as I am sure you will not
grudge your poor friend. That will be an encouragement to go on;
besides, it will make Bull as mad as the devil: you and I shall be
able to manage him then to some purpose.
ESQUIRE SOUTH.--Say no more; it shall be done, Nic., to thy heart's
John all this while was listening to this comical dialogue, and
laughed heartily in his sleeve at the pride and simplicity of the
Esquire, and the sly roguery of his friend Nic. Then of a sudden
bolting into the room, he began to tell them that he believed he had
brought Lewis to reasonable terms, if they would please to hear
Then they all bawled out aloud, "No composition: long live Esquire
South and the Law!" As John was going to proceed, some roared, some
stamped with their feet, others stopped their ears with their
"Nay, gentlemen," quoth John, "if you will but stop proceeding for a
while, you shall judge yourselves whether Lewis's proposals* are
* Proposals for cessation of arms and delivery of Dunkirk.
ALL.--Very fine, indeed; stop proceeding, and so lose a term.
JOHN BULL.--Not so neither; we have something by way of advance: he
will put us in possession of his Manor and Castle of Ecclesdown.
NIC. FROG.--What dost talk of us? thou meanest thyself.
JOHN BULL.--When Frog took possession of anything, it was always
said to be for us, and why may not John Bull be us as well as Nic.
Frog was us? I hope John Bull is no more confined to singularity
than Nic. Frog; or, take it so, the constant doctrine that thou hast
preached up for many years was that thou and I are one; and why must
we be supposed two in this case, that were always one before? It's
impossible that thou and I can fall out, Nic.; we must trust one
another. I have trusted thee with a great many things--prithee
trust me with this one trifle.
NIC. FROG.--That principle is true in the main, but there is some
speciality in this case that makes it highly inconvenient for us
JOHN BULL.--Those are your jealousies, that the common enemies sow
between us: how often hast thou warned me of those rogues, Nic.,
that would make us mistrustful of one another!
NIC. FROG.--This Ecclesdown Castle is only a bone of contention.
JOHN BULL.--It depends upon you to make it so; for my part, I am as
peaceable as a lamb.
NIC. FROG.--But do you consider the unwholesomeness of the air and
soil, the expenses of reparations and servants? I would scorn to
accept of such a quagmire.
JOHN BULL.--You are a great man, Nic., but in my circumstances I
must be e'en content to take it as it is.
NIC. FROG.--And you are really so silly as to believe the old
cheating rogue will give it you?
JOHN BULL.--I believe nothing but matter of fact; I stand and fall
by that. I am resolved to put him to it.
NIC. FROG.--And so relinquish the hopefullest cause in the world: a
claim that will certainly in the end make thy fortune for ever.
JOHN BULL.--Wilt thou purchase it, Nic.? thou shalt have a lumping
pennyworth; nay, rather than we should differ, I'll give thee
something to take it off my hands.
NIC. FROG.--If thou wouldst but moderate that hasty, impatient
temper of thine, thou shouldst quickly see a better thing than all
that. What shouldst thou think to find old Lewis turned out of his
paternal estates and mansion-house of Claypool?* Would not that do
thy heart good, to see thy old friend, Nic. Frog, Lord of Claypool?
Then thou and thy wife and children should walk in my gardens, buy
toys, drink lemonade, and now and then we should have a country
* Claypool, Paris--Lutetia.
JOHN BULL.--I love to be plain: I'd as lief see myself in
Ecclesdown Castle as thee in Claypool. I tell you again, Lewis
gives this as a pledge of his sincerity; if you won't stop
proceeding to hear him, I will.
CHAPTER XXI. The rest of Nic.'s fetches to keep John out of
* Attempts to hinder the cessation, and taking possession of
When Nic. could not dissuade John by argument, he tried to move his
pity; he pretended to be sick and like to die; that he should leave
his wife and children in a starving condition, if John did abandon
him; that he was hardly able to crawl about the room, far less
capable to look after such a troublesome business as this lawsuit,
and therefore begged that his good friend would not leave him. When
he saw that John was still inexorable, he pulled out a case-knife,
with which he used to snicker-snee, and threatened to cut his own
throat. Thrice he aimed the knife to his windpipe with a most
determined threatening air. "What signifies life," quoth he, "in
this languishing condition? It will be some pleasure that my
friends will revenge my death upon this barbarous man that has been
the cause of it." All this while John looked sedate and calm,
neither offering in the least to snatch the knife, nor stop his
blow, trusting to the tenderness Nic. had for his own person. When
he perceived that John was immovable in his purpose, he applied
himself to Lewis.
"Art thou," quoth he, "turned bubble in thy old age, from being a
sharper in thy youth? What occasion hast thou to give up Ecclesdown
Castle to John Bull? His friendship is not worth a rush. Give it
me, and I'll make it worth thy while. If thou dislikest that
proposition, keep it thyself; I'd rather thou shouldst have it than
he. If thou hearkenest not to my advice, take what follows; Esquire
South and I will go on with our lawsuit in spite of John Bull's
LEWIS BABOON.--Monsieur Bull has used me like a gentleman, and I am
resolved to make good my promise, and trust him for the
NIC. FROG.--Then I tell thee thou art an old doating fool.--With
that Nic. bounced up with a spring equal to that of one of your
nimblest tumblers or rope-dancers, and fell foul upon John Bull, to
snatch the cudgel* he had in his hand, that he might thwack Lewis
with it: John held it fast so that there was no wrenching it from
him. At last Squire South buckled to, to assist his friend Nic.:
John hauled on one side, and they two on the other. Sometimes they
were like to pull John over, then it went all of a sudden again on
John's side, so they went see-sawing up and down, from one end of
the room to the other. Down tumbled the tables, bottles, glasses,
and tobacco-pipes; the wine and the tobacco were all spilt about the
room, and the little fellows were almost trod under foot, till more
of the tradesmen joining with Nic. and the Squire, John was hardly
able to pull against then all, yet would he never quit hold of his
trusty cudgel: which by the contrary force of two so great powers
broke short in his hands.** Nic. seized the longer end, and with it
began to bastinado old Lewis, who had slunk into a corner, waiting
the event of this squabble. Nic. came up to him with an insolent
menacing air, so that the old fellow was forced to scuttle out of
the room, and retire behind a dung-cart. He called to Nic., "Thou
insolent jackanapes, time was when thou durst not have used me so;
thou now takest me unprovided; but, old and infirm as I am, I shall
find a weapon by-and-by to chastise thy impudence."
* The army.
** The separation of the army.
When John Bull had recovered his breath, he began to parley with
Nic.: "Friend Nic., I am glad to find thee so strong after thy
great complaints; really thy motions, Nic., are pretty vigorous for
a consumptive man. As for thy worldly affairs, Nic., if it can do
thee any service, I freely make over to thee this profitable
lawsuit, and I desire all these gentlemen to bear witness to this my
act and deed. Yours be all the gain, as mine has been the charges.
I have brought it to bear finely: however, all I have laid out upon
it goes for nothing--thou shalt have it with all its appurtenances;
I ask nothing but leave to go home."
NIC. FROG.--The counsel are fee'd, and all things prepared for a
trial; thou shalt be forced to stand the issue; it shall be pleaded
in thy name as well as mine. Go home if thou canst; the gates are
shut, the turnpikes locked, and the roads barricaded.*
* Difficulty of the march of part of the army to Dunkirk.
JOHN BULL.--Even these very ways, Nic., that thou toldest me were as
open to me as thyself, if I can't pass with my own equipage, what
can I expect for my goods and wagons? I am denied passage through
those very grounds that I have purchased with my own money.
However, I am glad I have made the experiment; it may serve me in
John Bull was so overjoyed that he was going to take possession of
Ecclesdown, that nothing could vex him. "Nic.," quoth he, "I am
just a-going to leave thee; cast a kind look upon me at parting."
Nic. looked sour and glum, and would not open his mouth.
JOHN BULL.--I wish thee all the success that thy heart can desire,
and that these honest gentlemen of the long robe may have their
belly full of law.
Nic. could stand it no longer, but flung out of the room with
disdain, and beckoned the lawyers to follow him.
JOHN BULL.--B'ye, b'ye, Nic,; not one poor smile at parting? won't
you shake your day-day, Nic? b'ye, Nic.--With that John marched out
of the common road, across the country, to take possession of
CHAPTER XXII. Of the great joy that John expressed when he got
possession of Ecclesdown.*
When John had got into his castle he seemed like Ulysses upon his
plank after he had been well soused in salt water, who, as Homer
says, was as glad as a judge going to sit down to dinner after
hearing a long cause upon the bench. I daresay John Bull's joy was
equal to that of either of the two; he skipped from room to room,
ran up-stairs and down-stairs, from the kitchen to the garrets, and
from the garrets to the kitchen; he peeped into every cranny;
sometimes he admired the beauty of the architecture and the vast
solidity of the mason's work; at other times he commended the
symmetry and proportion of the rooms. He walked about the gardens;
he bathed himself in the canal, swimming, diving, and beating the
liquid element like a milk-white swan. The hall resounded with the
sprightly violin and the martial hautbois. The family tripped it
about, and capered like hailstones bounding from a marble floor.
Wine, ale, and October flew about as plentifully as kennel-water.
Then a frolic took John in the head to call up some of Nic. Frog's
pensioners that had been so mutinous in his family.
JOHN BULL.--Are you glad to see your master in Ecclesdown Castle?
ALL.--Yes, indeed, sir.
JOHN BULL.--Extremely glad?
ALL.--Extremely glad, sir.
JOHN BULL.--Swear to me that you are so.
Then they began to sink their souls to the lowest pit if any person
in the world rejoiced more than they did.
JOHN BULL.--Now hang me if I don't believe you are a parcel of
perjured rascals; however, take this bumper of October to your
Then John got upon the battlements, and looking over he called to
"How d'ye do, Nic.? D'ye see where I am, Nic.? I hope the cause
goes on swimmingly, Nic. When dost thou intend to go to Claypool,
Nic.? Wilt thou buy there some high heads of the newest cut for my
daughters? How comest thou to go with thy arm tied up? Has old
Lewis given thee a rap over thy fingers' ends? Thy weapon was a
good one when I wielded it, but the butt-end remains in my hands. I
am so busy in packing up my goods that I have no time to talk with
thee any longer. It would do thy heart good to see what wagon-loads
I am preparing for market. If thou wantest any good office of mine,
for all that has happened I will use thee well, Nic. B'ye, Nic."
It has been disputed amongst the literati of Grub Street whether Sir
Humphry proceeded any farther into the history of John Bull. By
diligent inquiry we have found the titles of some chapters, which
appear to be a continuation of it, and are as follow:--
CHAP. I.--How John was made angry with the Articles of Agreement.
How he kicked the Parchment through the House, up-stairs and
down-stairs, and put himself in a great Heat thereby.
CHAP. II.--How in his Passion he was going to cut off Sir Roger's
head with a Cleaver. Of the strange manner of Sir Roger's escaping
the blow, by laying his Head upon the Dresser.
CHAP. III.--How some of John's Servants attempted to scale his House
with Rope Ladders, and how many unfortunately dangled in the same.
CHAP. IV.--Of the Methods by which John endeavoured to preserve the
Peace amongst his Neighbours. How he kept a pair of Stillyards to
weigh them, and by Diet, Purging, Vomiting, and Bleeding, tried to
bring them to equal Bulk and Strength.
CHAP. V.--Of False Accounts of the Weights given in by some of the
Journeymen, and of the Newmarket Tricks that were practised at the
CHAP. VI.--How John's New Journeymen brought him other guess
Accounts of the Stillyards.
CHAP. VII.--How Sir Swain Northy* was, by Bleeding, Purging, and a
Steel Diet, brought into a Consumption, and how John was forced
afterwards to give him the Gold Cordial.
* King of Sweden.
CHAP. VIII.--How Peter Bear* was overfed, and afterwards refused to
submit to the course of Physic.
* Czar of Muscovy.
CHAP. IX.--How John pampered Esquire South with Tit-bits, till he
grew wanton; how he got drunk with Calabrian Wine, and longed for
Sicilian Beef, and how John carried him thither in his barge.
CHAP. X.--How the Esquire, from a foul-feeder, grew dainty: how he
longed for Mangoes, Spices, and Indian Birds' Nests, etc., and could
not sleep but in a Chintz Bed.
CHAP. XI.--The Esquire turned Tradesman; how he set up a China Shop*
over against Nic. Frog.
* The Ostend Company.
CHAP. XII.--How he procured Spanish Flies to blister his Neighbours,
and as a Provocative to himself. As likewise how he carried off
Nic. Frog's favourite Daughter.
CHAP. XIII.--How Nic. Frog, hearing the Girl squeak, went to call