at least twenty thousand wounds, he cried, offence his resentment might have prompted -“) Jesus !" and fell flat on the floor. I him to commit.-"I would willingly,” said stopped the bleeding with a little dry lint, he, “make you my friend; but as it is imand applying a plaster over it, cleansed my- possible for me to divest myself of my passion self from the gore, shifted and dressed, for Narcissa, I am too well convinced of while he lay senseless at my feet; so that your sentiments, to think we shall ever when he recovered, and saw me perfectly agree on that subject. I took the liberty, well, he could scarce believe his own eyes. therefore, of sending for you, in order to own Now that the danger was past, I was very candidly, that I cannot help opposing your well pleased with what had happened, hoping success with that young lady; though, at the that it would soon become known, and con- same time, I promise to regulate my opposisequently dignify my character not a little tion by the dictates of justice and honour: in this place. I was also proud of having this, however, I think proper to advertise you shown myself, in some shape, worthy the love of, that she has no independent fortune, and of Narcissa, who, I was persuaded, would not if you should even succeed in your addresses, think the worse of me for what I had done. you would have the mortification to see her

reduced to indigence, unless you have where

withal to support her—and I am credibly CHAPTER LX.

informed of your incapacity that way-nay,

I will confess, that, urged by this consideraI am visited by Freeman, with whom I ap- tion, I have actually sent notice to her brother

pear in public, and am caressedam sent of the progress I suspect you have made in for by Lord Quiverwit, whose presence I her affection, and desired him to take his quit in a passion-Narcissa is carried precautions accordingly." Alarmed and prooff by her brother-I intend to pursue voked at this information, I told his lordship, him, and am dissuaded by my friend, that I did not see how he could reconcile engage in play, and lose all my money-that piece of conduct with his profession of set out for Londoniry my fortune at the open dealing, and flung away from him in a gaming table without success-receive passion. a letter from Narcissa-bilk my tailor. As I walked homeward, in hope of hearing

from my mistress as usual by means of Miss When I entertained myself with these re. Williams, I was surprised by the waving of flections, the news of the duel being commu- a handkerchief from the window of a coach nicated by some unknown channel, spread and six that passed by me at full speed; and, all over the town. I was visited by Free- upon further observation, I saw a servant on man, who testified his surprise at finding me; horseback riding after it, who, I knew by his for he was told that, Lord Quiverwit being livery, belonged to the squire. Thunderdead of his wounds, I had absconded in order struck with this discovery, the knowledge of to avoid the cognizance of the law. I asked my misfortune rushed all at once upon my if people guessed the occasion of the quarrel : reflection. I guessed immediately that the and understanding it was attributed to his signal was made by the dear hand of Narlordship’s resentment of my reply in the long- cissa, who, being hurried away in conseroom, confirmed that conjecture, glad to find quence of Lord Quiverwit's message to her Narcissa unsuspected. My friend, after I brother, had no other method of relating had assured him that my antagonist was in her distress, and imploring my assistance. no danger, wished me joy of the event, than Frantic with this conjecture, I ran to my which, he said, nothing could happen more lodgings, snatched my pistols, and ordered opportunely to support the idea he had given Strap to get post-horses, with such incoheof my character to his friends, among whom rence of speech and disorder, that the poor he had been very assiduous in my behalf

. valet, terrified with the suspicion of another On the strength of this assurance, I went duel, instead of providing what I desired, with him to the coffee-house, where I was went forthwith to Freeman, who, being insaluted by a great many of those very persons formed of my behaviour, came straight to my who had shunned me the preceding day; and apartment, and conjured me so pathetically I found every body_making merry with the to make him acquainted with the cause of story of Melinda’s French gallant. While I my uneasiness, that I could not refuse telling remained in this place, I received a message him my happiness was fled with Narcissa, from Lord Quiverwit, desiring, if I was not and that I must retrieve her, or perish. He engaged, to see me at his house.

represented the madness of such an underThither I immediately repaired, and was taking, and endeavoured to divert me from it conducted to an apartment, where I was with great strength of friendship and reason. received by his lordship in bed. When we But all his arguments would have been inefwere left by vurselves, he thanked me, in fectual, had he not put me in mind of the very polite terms, for having used the advan- dependence I ought to have on the love of tage fortune had given me over him with Narcissa, and the attachment of her maid, such moderation; and asked pardon for any who could not fail of tinding opportunities to


advertise me of their situation; and at the certed my plan, and ventured my life in the same time demonstrated the injury my charm- execution, had I not been deterred by reflecer's reputation must suffer from my precipi- tion upon the infamy that attends detection. tate retreat. I was convinced and composed The apartment I formerly lived in being by these considerations : I appeared in public unengaged I took possession of it, and next with an air of tranquillity, was well received day went in quest of Banter, who received by the best company in town, and, my mis- me with open arms, in expectation of having fortune taking air, condoled accordingly; his bond discharged to his liking; but when while I had the satisfaction of seeing Melinda he understood what had happened, his counso universally discountenanced, that she was tenance changed of a sudden; and he told fain to return to London, in order to avoid me, with a dryness of displeasure peculiar to the scoffs and censure of the ladies at Bath. himself, that, if he was in my place, he would But though the hope of hearing from the put it out of fortune's power to play him darling of my soul supported my spirits a such another trick, and be avenged of his little while, I began to be very uneasy, when, own indiscretion at once. When I desired at the end of several weeks, I found that him to explain his meaning, he pointed to expectation disappointed. In short, melan- his neck, raised himself on his tip-toes, and choly and despondence took possession of was going away without any further ceremy soul; and repining at that Providence, mony, when I put him in mind of my indi. which, by acting the stepmother towards me, gence, and demanded the five guineas I kept me from the fruition of my wishes, I formerly lent him. “ Five guineas !” cried determined, in a fit of despair, to risk all I he, “zounds ! had you acted with common had at the gaming-table, with a view of ac- prudence, you might have had twenty thouquiring a fortune sufficient to render me sand in your pocket by this time. I depended independent for life, or of plunging myself upon five hundred from you, as much as if I into such a state of misery as would effectu- had had notes for it in the bank ; and by all ally crush every ambitious hope that now the rules of equity, you are indebted to me tortured my imagination.

for that sum.'

I was neither pleased nor Actuated by this fatal resolution, I engaged convinced by this computation, and insisted in play, and after some turns of fortune, found on my right with such determined obstinacy, myself, at the end of three days, worth a that he was fain to alter his tone, and appease thousand pounds; but it was not my intention my clamour, by assuring me that he was not to stop here, for which cause I kept Strap master of five shillings. Society in distress ignorant of my success, and continued my generally promotes a good understanding career, until I was reduced to five guineas, ainong people; from being a dun, I descended which I would have hazarded also, had I not to be a client, and asked his advice about been ashained to fall from a bet of two hun repairing my losses. He counselled me to dred pounds to such a petty sum.

have recourse again to the gaming-table, Having thus executed my scheme, I went where I succeeded so well before, and put home, amazed to find myself so much at ease, myself in a condition by selling my watch. and informed my friend Strap of my mis- I followed his directions, and having accomchance, with such calmness, that he, ima- modated him with a few pieces, went to the gining I joked, affected to receive the tidings place, where I lost every shilling. with great equanimity. Both he and I found Then I returned to my lodgings full of ourselves mistaken very soon. I had misin- desperate resolution, and having made Strap terpreted my own stupidity into deliberate acquainted with my fate, ordered him to resignation; and he had reason to believe me pawn my sword immediately, that I might in earnest, when he saw me next morning be enabled to make another effort. This agitated with the most violent despair, which affectionate creature no sooner understood he endeavoured to alleviate with all the con- my purpose, than, seized with inexpressible solation in his power.

sorrow at the prospect of my misery, he In one of my lucid intervals, however, I burst into tears, and asked what I proposed charged him to take a place in the stage- to do, after the small sum he could raise on coach for London, and in the mean time paid the sword should be spent? “On my own my debts in Bath, which amounted to thirty account," said he, “ I am quite unconcerned; shillings only. Without taking leave of my for, while God spares my health and these friends, I embarked, Strap having the good ten fingers, I can earn a comfortable subsistfortune to find a return-horse, and arrived in ence anywhere; but what must become of town, without having met with any thing you, who have less humility to stoop, and remarkable on the road. While we crossed more appetites to gratify?" Here I interBagshot-heath, I was seized with a sort of rupted him, by saying, with a gloomy aspect, inclination to retrieve my fortune, by laying I should never want a resource while I had a passengers under contribution in some such loaded pistol in possession. Stupified with place. My thoughts were so circumstanced horror at this dreadful insinuation, he stood at this time, that I should have digested the mute for some time, and then broke out into, crime of robbery, so righteously had I con- _"God of his infinite mercy enable you



to withstand that temptation of the devil! | imagined, that, if I could contrive means of Consider your immortal soul—there is no subsisting until my uncle should arrive, in repentance in the grave. O Lord! that ever case he was not already at home, he would we should come to this are we not enjoined enable me to do something effectual in beto resign ourselves to the will of Heaven ?- half of my love and fortune. I therefore where is your patience? Durum patientia consulted Banter about a present supply, frango-you are but a young man—there who no sooner understood that I had credit may be many good things in store for you, with a tailor, than he advised me to take off Accidit in puncto, quod non speratur in two or three suits of rich clothes, and convert anno-remember your uncle, Mr Bowling; them into cash, by selling them at half price perhaps he is now on his voyage homeward, to a salesman in Monmouth street. I was pleasing himself with the hopes of seeing startled at this proposal, which I thought and relieving you; nay, peradventure he is savoured a little of fraud; but he rendered it already arrived, for the ship was expected palatable, by observing, that in a few months about this time.” A ray of hope shot athwart I might be in a condition to do every body my soul at this suggestion; I thanked my justice; and, in the mean time, I was acfriend for his seasonable recollection, and, quitted by the honesty of my intention. I after having promised to take no resolution suffered myself to be persuaded by his salvo, till his return, dismissed him to Wapping for by which my necessity, rather than my judgintelligence.

ment, was convinced; and when I found In his absence I was visited by Banter, there were no accounts of the ship in which who being informed of my bad luck at play, my uncle embarked, actually put the scheme told me, that fortune would probably be one in practice, and raised by it five and twenty day weary of persecuting me. “In the guineas, paying him for his advice with the mean time," said he, “here is a letter for odd five. you, which I received just now inclosed in one from Freeman." I snatched it with eagerness, and knowing the superscription

CHAPTER LXI. to be of Narcissa's hand-writing, kissed it with transport, and having opened it, read: I am arrestedcarried to the Marshalsea

“It is with great difficulty that I have find my old acquaintance Beau Jackson stolen from the observation of those spies in that jail-he informs me of his advenwho are set over me, this opportunity of tell- tures-Strap arrives, and with difficulty ing you, that I was suddenly carried away is comfortedJackson introduces me to from Bath by my brother, who was informed a poet-I admire his conversation and of our correspondence by Lord Quiverwit, capacity-am deeply affected with my whom, I since understand, you have wounded misfortune-Strap hires himself as a in a duel on my account. As I am fully journeyman barber. convinced of your honour and love, I hope I shall never hear of such desperate proofs of But this expedient was in a few weeks at. either for the future. I am so strictly tended with a consequence I did not foresee; watched, that it will be impossible for you a player having purchased one of the suits to see me, until my brother's suspicions shall which were exposed to sale, appeared in it abate, or heaven contrive some other unfore- on the stage one night, while my tailor unseen event in our behalf. In the mean time fortunately happened to be present. He you may depend on the constancy and affec- knew it immediately, and inquiring minutely tion of your own

into the affair, discovered my whole contriv

“ NARCISSA. ance; upon which he came to my lodgings, “P.S. Miss Williams, who is my fellow- and telling me that he was very much straitprisoner, desires to be remembered to you. ened for want of money, presented his bill, We are both in good health, and only in which amounted to £50. Surprised at this pain for you, especially as it will be imprac. unexpected address, I affected to treat him ticable for you to convey any message or cavalierly, swore some oaths, asked if he letter to the place of our confinement; for doubted my honour, and, telling him I should which reason, pray desist from any attempt, take care whom I dealt with for the future, that, by miscarrying, might prolong our bade him come again in three days. He captivity.

obeyed me punctually, demanded his money,

“N" and finding himself amused with bare proThis kind letter afforded me great conso- mises, arrested me that very day in the street. lation : I communicated it to Banter, and at I was not much shocked at this adventure, the same time showed him her picture: he which, indeed, put an end to a state of hor. approved of her beauty and good sense, and rible expectation; but I refused to go to a could not help owning, that my neglect of spunging-house, where I heard there was Miss Snapper was excusable, when such a nothing but the most flagrant imposition; fine creature engrossed my attention. and a coach being called, was carried to the

I began to be reconciled to my fate, and | Marshalsea, attended by a bailiff and his fol.


[ocr errors]


lower, who were very much disappointed and before I was arrested for a debt of her's, chagrined at my resolution.

amounting to £20, and brought to this place, The turnkey, guessing from my appearance where I have been fixed by another action that I had money in my pocket, received me since that time. However, you know my with the repetition of the Latin word depone, disposition; I defy care and anxiety; and and gave me to understand that I must pay being on the half-pay list, make shift to live before-hand for the apartment I should here tolerably easy." I congratulated him choose to dwell in. I desired to see his on his philosophy, and remembering that I conveniences, and hired a small paltry bed- was in his debt, repaid the money he forchamber for a crown a week, which, in any merly lent me, which, I believe, was far other place, would have let for half the from being unseasonable. I then inquired money. Having taken possession of this about the economy of the place, which he dismal habitation, I sent for Strap, and my explained to my satisfaction: and after we thoughts were busied in collecting matter of had agreed to mess together, he was just consolation to that faithful squire, when going to give orders for dinner, when Strap somebody knocked at my door, which I no arrived. sooner opened, than a young fellow entered, I never in my life saw sorrow so extrava. in very shabby clothes, and marvellous foul gantly expressed in any countenance as in linen. After a low bow, he called me by my that of my honest friend, which indeed, name, and asked if I had forgot him. His particularly adapted by nature for such imvoice assisted me in recollecting his person, pressions. When we were left by ourselves, whom I soon recognized to be my old ac- I communicated to him my disaster, and enquaintance Jackson, of whom mention is deavoured to console him with the same made in the first part of my memoirs. I arguments he had formerly used to me, withal saluted him cordially, expressed my satisfac- representing the fair chance I had of being tion at finding him alive, and condoled him relieved in a short time by Mr Bowling. But on his present situation, which, however, did his grief was unutterable; he seemed to give not seem to affect him much, for he laughed attention without listening, and wrung his very heartily at the occasion of our meeting hands in silence; so that I was in a fair way so unexpectedly in this place. Our mutual of being infected by his behaviour, when compliments being past, I inquired about his Jackson returned, and perceiving the deferamour with the lady of fortune, which seemed ence I paid to Strap, although in a footman's to be so near a happy conclusion when I habit, distributed his crumbs of comfort with had the pleasure of seeing him last; and, such mirth, jollity, and unconcern, that the after an immoderate fit of laughter, he gave features of the distressed squire relaxed by me to understand, that he had been most degrees; he recovered the use of speech, and egregiously bit in that affair. “ You must began to be a little more reconciled to this know," said he, “that a few days after our lamentable event. We dined together on adventure with the bawd and her bches, I boiled beef and greens, brought from a cook's found means to be married to that same fine shop in the neighbourhood ; and although

; lady you speak of, and passed the night with this meal was served up in a manner little her at her lodgings, so much to her satisfac- corresponding with the sphere of life in tion, that early in the morning, after a good which I had lately lived, I made a virtue of deal of snivelling and sobbing, she owned, necessity, ate with good appetite, and treated that far from being an heiress of great for my friends with a bottle of wine, which had tune, she was no other than a common the desired effect, of increasing the good woman of the town, who had decoyed me humour of my fellow-prisoner, and exhilaratinto matrimony, in order to enjoy the privi- ing the spirits of Strap, who now talked cavalege of a femme couverte; and that unless I lierly of my misfortune. made my escape immediately, I should be After dinner, Jackson left us to our priarrested for a debt of her contracting, by vate affairs ; when I desired my friend to bailiffs employed and instructed for that pack up all our things and carry them to some purpose. Startled at this intimation, I rose cheap lodging he should choose for himself in a twinkling, and taking leave of my spouse in the neighbourhood of the Marshalsea, after with several hearty damns, got safe into the he had discharged my lodging, for which verge of the court, where I kept snug until purpose I gave him money. i likewise reI was appointed surgeon's mate of a man of commended to him the keeping my misfor. war at Portsmouth; for which place I set tune secret, and saying to my landlord, or out on Sunday, went on board of my ship, any other who should inquire for me, that I in which I sailed to the Straits, where I had was gone into the country for a few weeks ; the good fortune to be made surgeon of a at the same time I laid strong injunctions sloop that came home a few months after, upon him to call every second day upon Banand was put out of commission; whereupon ter, in case he should receive any letter for I came to London, imagining myself forgot me from Narcissa, by the channel of Freeten, and freed from my wife and her credi- man; and by all means to leave a direction tors; but had not been in town a week I for himself, at my uncle's lodgings in Wap



[ocr errors]



This ap



ping, by which I might be found when my my inclination : he promised to bring his kinsman should arrive.

tragedy to my room next day, and, in the When he departed to execute these orders mean time, entertained me with some de(which, by the by, were punctually performed tached pieces, which gave me a very advan. that very night), I found myself so little tageous idea of his poetical talent. Among seasoned to my situation, that I dreaded re other things, I was particularly pleased with flection, and sought shelter from it in the some elegies in imitation of Tibullus ; one of company of the beau, who, promising to which I beg leave to submit to the reader, as regale me with a lecture upon taste, con- a specimen of his complexion and capacity. ducted me to the common side, where I saw a number of naked miserable wretches assembled together. We had not been here

Where now are all my flattering dreams of joy? many, minutes, when a figure appeared, Monimia, give my soul her wonted rest; wrapt in a dirty rug, tied about his loins with

Since first thy beauty fixed my roving eye, two pieces of list, of different colours, knotted Heart-gnawing cares corrode my pensive breast! together, having a black bushy beard, and his head covered with a huge mass of brown Let happy lovers fly where pleasures call, periwig, which seemed to have been ravished With festive songs beguile the fleeting hour; from the head of some scarecrow.

Lead beauty through the mazes of the ball, parition stalking in with great solemnity, Or press her wanton in love's roseate bower. made a profound bow to the audience, who signified their approbation by a general response of—“how d’ye do, doctor ?"

For me, no more I'll range the empurpled

He then turned towards us, and honoured Jack- Where shepherds pipe, and virgins dance around;

mead, son with a particular salutation : upon which

Nor wander through the woodbine’s fragrant my friend, in a formal manner, introduced shade, him to me by the name of Mr Melopoyn. To hear the music of the grove resound. This ceremony being over, he advanced into the middle of the congregation, which crowded around him, and hemming three times, to

I'll seek some lonely church, or dreary hall, my utter astonishment pronounced, with Where fancy paints the glimmering taper blue, great significance of voice and gesture, a

Where damps hang mouldering on the ivy'd very elegant and ingenious discourse upon And sheeted ghosts drink up the midnight dew.

wall, the difference between genius and taste, illustrating his assertions with apt quotations from the best authors, ancient as well as There, leagued with hopeless anguish and demodern. When he had finished his harangue, spair, which lasted a full hour, he bowed again to A while in silence o'er my fate repine; the spectators, not one of whom (I was in- Then, with a long farewell to love and care, formed) understood so much as a sentence To kindred dust my weary limbs consign. of what he had uttered. They manifested, however, their admiration and esteem, by a

Wilt thou, Monimia, shed a gracious tear voluntary contribution, which, Jackson told On the cold grave where all my sorrows rest? me, one week with another, amounted to

Strew vernal flowers, applaud my love sincere, eighteen pence.

This moderate stipend, to. And bid the turf lie easy on my breast? gether with some small presents that he received for making up differences, and deciding

I was wonderfully affected with this pacauses among the prisoners, just enabled him thetic complaint, which seemed so well calto breathe and walk about in the grotesque culated for my own disappointment in love, figure I have described. I understood also that I could not help attaching the idea of that he was an excellent poet, and had com- Narcissa to the name of Monimia, and of posed a tragedy, which was allowed by every forming such melancholy presages of my body who had seen it to be a performance of passion, that I could not recover my trangreat merit; that his learning was infinite, quillity, and was fain to have recourse to his morals unexceptionable, and his modesty the bottle, which prepared me for a profound invincible. Such a character could not fail sleep, that I could not otherwise have en. of attracting my regard; I longed impatiently joyed. Whether these impressions invited to be acquainted with him, and desired Jack- and introduced a train of other melancholy son would engage him to spend the evening reflections, or my fortitude was all exhausted in my apartment. My request was granted; in the effort I made against despondence he favoured us with his company; and in the during the first day of my imprisonment, I course of our conversation, perceiving that I cannot determine ; but I awoke in the hor. had a strong passion for the belles lettres, rors, and found my imagination haunted acquitted himself so well on that subject, with such dismal apparitions, that I was that I expressed a fervent desire of seeing his ready to despair ;-and I believe the reader productions. In this point too he gratified | will own I had no great cause to congratu.



« VorigeDoorgaan »