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informed my grandfather of certain familiari.
ties that passed between his son and houseOf my birth and parentage. keeper; which alarmed him so much, that, a
few days after, he told my father it was high I was born in the northern part of this united time for him to think of settling; and that kingdom, in the house of my grandfather, a he had provided a match for him, to which gentleman of considerable fortune and in- he could in justice have no objections. My fluence; who had, on many occasions, sig, father, finding it would be impossible for him nalized himself in behalf of his country, and to conceal his situation any longer, frankly was remarkable for his abilities in the law, owned what he had done, and excused himi. which he exercised with great success, in self for not having asked the consent of his the situation of a judge, particularly against father, by saying, he knew it would have beggars, for whom he had a singular aver- been to no purpose; and that, had his incli. sion.
nation been known, my grandfather might My father, his youngest son, falling in love have taken such measures as would have with a poor relation, who lived with the old effectually put the gratification of it out of gentleman in quality of housekeeper, espoused his power: he added, that no exceptions her privately; and I was the first fruit of could be taken to his wife's virtue, birth, that marriage. During her pregnancy, a beauty, and good sense; and as for fortune, dream discomposed my mother so much, that it was beneath his care. The old gentleman, her husband, tired with her importunity, at who kept all his passions (except one) in last consulted a Highland seer, whose favour- excellent order, heard him to an end with able interpretation he would have secured great temper; and then calmly asked, how beforehand by a bribe, but found him incor- he proposed to maintain himself and spouse? ruptible. She dreamed she was delivered of He replied, he could be in no danger of want. a tennis-ball, which the devil (who, to her ing, while his father's tenderness remained, great surprise, acted the part of midwife) which he and his wife should always cultistruck so forcibly with a racket, that it dis- vate with the utmost veneration ; that he appeared in an instant; and she was for was persuaded his allowance would be suitasome time inconsolable for the loss of her ble to the dignity and circumstances of his offspring ; when, all of a sudden, she beheld family, and to the provisions already made it return with equal violence, and enter the for his brothers and sisters, who were happily earth beneath her feet, whence immediately settled under his protection. “Your brosprung up a goodly tree covered with blos- thers and sisters," said my grandfather, “ did soms, the scent of which operated so strongly not think it beneath them to consult me in on her nerves, that she awoke. The atten- an affair of such importance as matrimony; tive sage, after some deliberation, assured neither, I suppose, would you have omitted my parents that their first-born would be a that piece of duty, had you not some secret great traveller ; that he would undergo many fund in reserve; to the comforts of which I dangers and difficulties, and at last return to leave you, with a desire that you will this his native land, where he would flourish in night seek out another habitation for yourself happiness and reputation. How truly this and wife; whither, in a short time, I will was foretold, will appear in the sequel. It send you an account of the expense I have was not long before some officious person I been at in your education, with a view of
being reimbursed. Sir, you have made the while he loaded his offspring with paternal grand tour—you are a polite gentleman—a caresses, could not forbear shedding a flood very pretty gentleman-I wish you a great of tears, on beholding the dear partner of his deal of joy, and am your very humble ser- heart (for whose ease he would have sacri. vant.” So saying, he left my father in a ficed the treasures of the east) stretched upon situation easily imagined. However, he did a flock-bed in a miserable apartment, unable not long hesitate; for being perfectly well to protect her from the inclemencies of the acquainted with his father's disposition, he weather. It is not to be supposed that the did not doubt that he was glad of this pre-old gentleman was ignorant of what passed, tence to get rid of him; and his resolves being though he affected to know nothing of the invariable as the laws of the Medes and Per- matter, and pretended to be very much sur. sians, he knew it would be to no purpose to prised, when one of his grandchildren, by attempt him by prayers and entreaties; so, his eldest son, deceased, who lived with him without any further application, he betook as his heir apparent, acquainted him with the himself, with his disconsolate bedfellow, to affair: he determined, therefore, to observe a farm-house, where an old servant of his no medium, but immediately on the third mother dwelt: there they remained some time day after her delivery) sent her a peremptory in a situation but ill adapted to the elegance order to be gone, and turned off the servant of their desires and tenderness of their love; who had preserved her life. This behaviour which, nevertheless, my father chose to so exasperated my father, that he had reendure, rather than to supplicate an unna- course to the most dreadful imprecations; tural and inflexible parent: but my mother, and, on his bare knees, implored that Heaven foreseeing the inconveniences to which she would renounce him, if ever he should forget must have been exposed, had she been de. or forgive the barbarity of his sire. The livered in this place and her pregnancy was injuries which this unhappy mother received very far advanced), without communicating from her removal in such circumstances, and her design to her husband, went in disguise the want of necessaries where she lodged, to the house of my grandfather; hoping that together with her grief and anxiety of mind, her tears and condition would move him to soon threw her into a languishing disorder, compassion, and reconcile him to an event which put an end to her life. My father, which was now irrevocably past. She found who loved her tenderly, was so affected with means to deceive the servants, and was in her death, that he remained six weeks de. troduced as an unfortunate lady, who wanted prived of his senses; during which time the to complain of some matrimonial grievances; people where he lodged carried the infant to it being my grandfather's particular province the old man, who relented so far, on hearing to decide in all cases of scandal. She was the melancholy story of his daughter-in-law's accordingly admitted into his presence; death, and the deplorable condition of his where, discovering herself, she fell at his son, as to send the child to nurse; and he feet, and, in the most affecting manner, ordered my father to be carried home to his implored his forgiveness; at the same time house, where he soon recovered the use of representing the danger that threatened not his reason. Whether this hard-hearted judge only her life, but that of his own grandchild, felt any remorse for his cruel treatment of which was about to see the light. He told his son and daughter, or (which is more proher he was sorry that the indiscretion of her bable) was afraid his character would suffer and his son had compelled him to make a in the neighbourhood, he professed great vow, which put it out of his power to give sorrow for his conduct to my father, whose them any assistance: that he had already delirium was succeeded by a profound melanimparted his thoughts on that subject to her choly and reserve. At length he disappeared, husband, and was surprised that they should and, notwithstanding all imaginable inquiry, disturb his peace with any further importu- could not be heard of; a circumstance which nity. This said, he retired. The violence confirmed most people in the opinion of his of my mother's affliction had such an effect having made away with himself in a fit of on her constitution, that she was immediately despair. How I understood the particulars seized with the pains of childbed; and had of my birth, will appear in the course of these not an old maid-servant, to whom she was memoirs. very dear, afforded her pity and assistance, at the hazard of incurring my grandfather's displeasure, she and the innocent fruit of her
CHAPTER II. womb must have fallen miserable victims of his rigour and inhumanity. By the friend. I grow up-am hated by my relations, ship of this poor woman, she was carried up sent toʻschool-neglected by my grandto a garret, and immediately delivered of a father-maltreated by my master-seaman-child, the story of whose unfortunate soned to adversity-I form cabals against birth he himself now relates. My father the pedant-am debarred access to my being informed of what had happened, flew grandfather-hunted by his heir-I de. to the embraces of his darling spouse; and molish the teeth of his tutor.
THERE were not wanting some who sus-, hand, and fastened it with whip-cord to my pected my uncles of being concerned in my wrist, in such a manner as effectually debarred father's fate, on the supposition that they me the use of my pen. But this restraint I would all share in the patrimony destined for was freed from in a few days, by an accident him; and this conjecture was strengthened which happened in a quarrel between me and by reflecting, that, in all his calamities, they another boy; who, taking upon him to insult never discovered the least inclination to serve my poverty, I was so incensed at his ungenhim; but, on the contrary, by all the artifices erous reproach, that, with one stroke of my in their power, fed his father's resentment, machine, I cut him to the scull, to the great and supported his rolution of leaving him terror of myself and school-fellows, who left to misery and want But people of judgment him bleeding on the ground, and ran to inform treated this insinuation as an idle chimera; the master of what had happened. I was so because, had my relations been so wicked as severely punished for this trespass, that, to consult their interest by committing such were I to live to the age of Methuselah, the an atrocious crime, the fate of my father impression it made on me would not be would have extended to me too, whose life effaced; no more than the antipathy and was another obstacle to their expectation. horror I conceived for the merciless tyrant Meanwhile, I grew apace; and as I strongly who inflicted it. The contempt which my resembled my father, who was the darling of appearance naturally produced in all who saw the tenants, I wanted nothing which their me, the continual wants to which I was exindigent circumstances could afford: but posed, and my own haughty disposition, their favour was a weak resource against the impatient of affronts, involved me in a thoujealous enmity of my cousins, who, the more sand troublesome adventures, by which I was my infancy promised, conceived the more at length inured to adversity, and emboldened implacable hatred against me; and before I to undertakings far above my years. I was was six years of age, had so effectually often inhumanly scourged for crimes I did blockaded my grandfather, that I never saw not commit; because, having the character him but by stealth, when I sometimes made of a vagabond in the village, every piece of up to his chair, as he sat to view his labourers mischief, whose author lay unknown, was in the field; on which occasions he would charged upon me. I have been found guilty stroke my head, bid me be a good boy, and of robbing orchards I never entered; of killing promise to take care of me. I was soon cats I never hurt; of stealing gingerbread after sent to school at a village hard by, of I never touched ; and of abusing old women which he had been dictator time out of mind : I never saw. Nay, a stammering carpenter but as he neither paid for my board, nor sup- had eloquence enough to persuade my master plied me with clothes, books, or other necess. that I fired a pistol, loaded with small shot, aries I required, my condition was very into his window; though my landlady and ragged and contemptible; and the school. the whole family bore witness that I was master, who, through fear of my grandfather, a-bed fast asleep at the time when this out. taught me gratis, gave himself no concern rage was committed. I was once flogged about the progress I made under his instruc- for having narrowly escaped drowning, by tion. In spite of all these difficulties and the sinking of a ferry-boat in which I was a disgraces, I became a good proficient in the passenger; another time for having recovered Latin tongue; and as soon as I could write of a bruise occasioned by a horse and cart tolerably, pestered my grandfather with let- running over me; a third time for being bit ters to such a degree, that he sent for my by a baker's dog. In short, whether I was master, and chid him severely for bestowing guilty or unfortunate, the correction and such pains on my education, telling him, that sympathy of this arbitrary pedagogue were if ever I should be brought to the gallows for the same. Far from being subdued by this forgery, which he had taught me to commit, infernal usage, my indignation triumphed over my blood would lie on his head. The pedant, that slavish awe which had hitherto enforced who dreaded nothing more than the displea- my obedience; and the more my years and sure of his patron, assured his honour, that knowledge increased, the more I perceived the boy's ability was more owing to his own the injustice and barbarity of his behaviour. genius and application, than to any instruc- By the help of an uncommon genius, and the tion or encouragement he received; that, advice and direction of our usher, who had although he could not divest him of the knows served my father in his travels, I made a sur. ledge he had already imbibed, unless he would prising progress in the classics, writing, and empower him to disable his fingers, he should arithmetic, so that, before I was twelve endeavour, with God's help, to prevent his years old, I was allowed by every body to future improvement. And, indeed, he punc- be the best scholar in the school. This tually performed what he had undertaken; qualification, together with a boldness of for, on pretence that I had writ impertinent temper, and strength of make, which had letters to my grandfather, he caused a board subjected almost all my contemporaries, gave to be made with five holes in it, through which me such influence over them, that I began to he thrust the fingers and thumb of my right form cabals against my persecutor, and was
in hope of being able to bid him defiance in a very short time. Being at the head of a fac
CHAPTER III. tion consisting of thirty boys, most of them of my own age, I was determined to put their My mother's brother arrives-relieves memetal to trial, that I might know how far they a description of him—he goes along with were to be depended upon, before I put my me to the house of my grandfather-is engrand scheme in execution : with this view countered by his dogs—defeats them after we attacked a body of stout apprentices, who a bloody engagement-is admitted to the had taken possession of a part of the ground old gentleman—a dialogue between them. allotted to us for the scene of our diversions, and who were then playing at nine-pins on About this time, my ther's only brother, the spot : but I had the mortification to see who had been long aw.bad, lieutenant of a my adherents routed in an instant, and a leg man of war, arrived in his own country; of one of them broken in his flight, by the where, being informed of my condition, he bowl, which one of our adversaries had de- came to see me, and, out of his slender tached in pursuit of us. This discomfiture finances, not only supplied me with what did not hinder us from engaging them after- necessaries I wanted for the present, but wards in frequent skirmishes, which we main resolved not to leave the country until he had tained by throwing stones at a distance, prevailed on my grandfather to settle somewherein I received many wounds, the scars thing handsome on me for the future. This of which still remain. Our enemies were so was a task to which he was by no means harassed and interrupted by these alarms, equal, being entirely ignorant not only of the that they at last abandoned their conquest, judge's disposition, but also unacquainted and left us to the peaceable enjoyment of our with the ways of men in general, to which own territories. It would be endless to enu- his education on-board had kept him an utter merate the exploits we performed in the stranger. He was a strong built man, soinecourse of this confederacy, which became what bandy-legged, with a neck like that of the terror of the whole village; insomuch, a bull, and a face which (you might easily that when different interests divided it, one perceive) had withstood the most obstinate of the parties commonly courted the assist- assaults of the weather. His dress consisted ance of Roderick Random (by which name of a soldier's coat altered for him by the I was known) to cast the balance, and keep ship's tailor, a striped flannel jacket, a pair the opposite faction in awe. Meanwhile, I of red breeches, japanned with pitch, clean took the advantage of every play-day to pre- grey worsted stockings, large silver buckles sent myself before my grandfather, to whom that covered three-fourths of his shoes, a I seldom found access, by reason of his being silver laced hat, whose crown overlooked the closely besieged by a numerous family of his brim about an inch and a half, a black bobfernale grandchildren, who, though they per- wig in buckle, a check shirt, a silk handkerpetually quarrelled among themselves, never chief, a hanger with a brass handle, girded failed to join against me, as the common to his thigh by a tarnished laced belt, and a enemy of all. His heir, who was about the good oak plant under his arm. Thus equipped, age of eighteen, minded nothing but fox- he set out with me (who, by his bounty, made hunting, and, indeed, was qualified for nothing a very decent appearance) for my grandelse, notwithstanding his grandfather's indul- father's house; where we were saluted by gence in entertaining a tutor for him at home, Jowler and Cæsar, whom my cousin, young who at the same time performed the office master, had let loose at our approach. Being of parish-clerk. This young Actæon, who well acquainted with the inveteracy of these inherited his grandfather's antipathy to every curs, I was about to betake myself to my thing in distress, never set eyes on' me with heels, when my uncle seized me with one out uncoupling his beagles, and hunting me hand, brandished his cudgel with the other, into some cottage or other, whither I gene- and at one blow laid Cæsar sprawling on the rally fled for shelter. In this Christian ground; but finding himself attacked at the amusement he was encouraged by his pre- same time in the rear by Jowler, and fearing ceptor, who, no doubt, took such opportunities Cæsar might recover, he drew his hanger, to ingratiate himself with the rising sun, ob- wheeled about, and, by a lucky stroke, severed serving that the old gentleman, according to Jowler's head from his body. By this time the course of nature, had not long to live, for the young fox-hunter and three servants, he was already on the verge of fourscore. armed with pitch-forks and flails, were come The behaviour of this rascally sycophant to the assistance of the dogs, whom they incensed me so much, that one day, when I found breathless upon the field; and my was beleaguered by him and his hounds in a cousin was so provoked at the death of his farmer's house, where I had found protection, favourites, that he ordered his attendants to I took aim at him (being an excellent marks- advance, and take vengeance on their execuman) with a large pebble, which struck out tioner, whom he loaded with all the curses four of his fore-teeth, and effectually inca- and reproaches his anger could suggest. pacitated him for doing the office of a clerk. Upon which my uncle stepped forward with