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time, one upon my bow, one upon my quarter, and one right ahead, rubbing and drubbing, lying athwart hawse, raking fore and aft, battering and grappling, and lashing and clashing-adds heart, brother-crash went the boltsprit-down came the round-top-up with the dead-lights-I saw nothing but the stars at noon-lost the helm of my seven senses, and down I broached upon my broadside."
out the jurisdiction of the town, whose of my boltsprit. Hearkye, hearkye, brother magistrates therefore could not take cogni-damn'd hard to engage with three at a zance of his conduct; but application was made to the constable of the other parish, while our nostrum-monger proceeded in his speech, the conclusion of which produced such an effect upon his hearers, that his whole cargo was immediately exhausted. He had just stepped down from his stool, when the constable with his staff arrived, and took him under his guidance. Mr Ferret on this occasion attempted to interest the people in his behalf, by exhorting them to vindicate the liberty of the subject against such an act of oppression; but finding them deaf to the tropes and figures of his elocution, he addressed himself to our knight, reminding him of his duty to protect the helpless and the injured, and earnestly soliciting his interposition.
Sir Launcelot, without making the least reply to his entreaties, resolved to see the end of this adventure; and, being joined by his squire, followed the prisoner at a distance, measuring back the ground he had travelled the day before, until he reached another small borough, where Ferret was housed in the common prison.
While he sat a-horseback, deliberating on the next step he should take, he was accosted by the voice of Tom Clarke, who called, in a whimpering tone, through a window grated with iron,-" For the love of God, Sir Launcelot, do, dear sir, be so good as to take the trouble to alight, and come up stairs-I have something to communicate, of consequence to the community in general, and you in particular-Pray do, dear sir knight. I beg a boon in the name of St Michael and St George for England."
As Mr Clarke rightly conceived that his uncle would need an interpreter, he began to explain these hints, by giving a circumstantial detail of his own and the captain's disaster.
He told Sir Launcelot, that, notwithstanding all his persuasion and remonstrances, Captain Crowe insisted upon appearing in the character of a knight-errant; and, with that view, had set out from the public house on the morning that succeeded his vigil in the church: that upon the highway they had met with a coach containing two ladies, one of whom seemed to be under great agitation; for, as they passed, she struggled with the other, thrust out her head at the window, and said something which he could not distinctly hear: that Captain Crowe was struck with admiration of her unequalled beauty, and he (Tom) no sooner informed him who she was, than he resolved to set her at liberty, on the supposition that she was under restraint, and in distress: that he accordingly unsheathed his cutlass, and riding after the coach, commanded the driver to bring to on pain of death: that one of the servants, believing the captain to be a highwayman, presented a blunderbuss, and in all probability Our adventurer, not a little surprised at this would have shot him on the spot, had not he address, dismounted without hesitation, and, (the nephew) rode up, and assured them the being admitted to the common jail, there gentleman was non compos: that notwithfound not only his old friend Tom, but also standing his intimation, all the three attacked the uncle, sitting on a bench, with a woollen him with the butt-ends of their horse-whips, night-cap on his head, and a pair of specta- while the coach drove on, and, although he cles on his nose, reading very earnestly in a laid about him with great fury, at last brought book, which he afterwards understood was him to the ground, by a stroke on the tementitled," The Life and Adventures of Va-ple: that Mr Clarke himself then interposed lentine and Orson." The captain no sooner in defence of his kinsman, and was also saw his great pattern enter, than he rose, severely beaten; that two of the servants, and received him with the salutation of upon application to a justice of the peace, "What cheer, brother?" and, before the residing near the field of battle, had granted knight could answer, added these words.- a warrant against the captain and his ne"You see how the land lies-here have Tom phew, and, without examination, committed and I been fast ashore these four-and-twenty them as idle vagrants, after having seized hours; and this berth we have got by at- their horses and their money, on pretence tempting to tow your galley, brother, from of their being suspected for highwaymen. the enemy's harbour.-Adds bobs! if we had "But as there was no just cause of suspithis here fellow whoreson for a consort, with cion,” added he, “I am of opinion the jus. all our tackle in order, brother, we'd soon tice is guilty of a trespass, and may be sued show 'em the topsail, slip our cable, and for falsum imprisonamentum, and considerdown with their barricadoes. But, howsom-able damages obtained; for you will please ever, it don't signify talking-patience is a to observe, sir, no justice has a right to comgood stream-anchor, and will hold, as the mit any person till after due examination; saying is-but, damn my-as for the matter besides, we were not committed for an as
The knight, in order to meditate on this unexpected adventure, sat down by his old friend, and entered into a reverie, which lasted about a quarter of an hour, and might have continued longer, had it not been interrupted by the voice of Crabshaw, who bawled aloud,-"Look to it my masters-as you brew you must drink-this shall be a dear day's work to some of you; for my part, I say nothing-the braying ass eats little grass-one barber shaves not so close, but another finds a few stubble-you wanted to catch a capon, and you've stole a cat-he that takes up his lodgings in a stable, must be contented to lie upon litter."
sault and battery, audita querela, nor as | there being reason to think the servants were wandering lunatics by the statute, who, to be enjoined secrecy. sure, may be apprehended by a justice's warrant, and locked up and chained, if necessary, or to be sent to their last legal settlement; but we were committed as vagrants and suspected highwaymen. Now, we do not fall under the description of vagrants; nor did any circumstance appear to support the suspicion of robbery; for, to constitute robbery, there must be something taken; but here nothing was taken but blows, and they were upon compulsion. Even an attempt to rob, without any taking, is not felony, but a misdemeanour. To be sure, there is a taking in deed, and a taking in law; but still the robber must be in possession of a thing stolen ; and we attempted to steal ourselves away. My uncle, indeed, would have released the young lady vi et armis, had his strength been equal to his inclination; and in so doing I would have willingly lent my assistance, both from a desire to serve such a beautiful young creature, and also in re-disgraceful restraint, Crabshaw replied,gard to your honour, for I thought I heard her call upon your name."
The knight, desirous of knowing the cause that prompted Timothy to apothegmatize in this manner, looked through the grate, and perceived the squire fairly set in the stocks, surrounded by a mob of people. When he called to him, and asked the reason of this
"There's no cake, but there's another of the same make-who never climbed, never fell
after clouds comes clear weather. "Tis all long of your honour I've met with this preferment; no deservings of my own, but the interest of my master. Sir knight, if you will flay the justice, hang the constable, release your squire, and burn the town, your name will be famous in story; but, if you are content, I am thankful. Two hours are soon spent in such good company; in the mean time, look to 'un jailor, there's a frog in the stocks."
"Ha! how! what! whose name? say, speak-Heaven and earth!" cried the knight, with marks of the most violent emotion. Clarke, terrified at his looks, replied,—“ I beg your pardon a thousand times; I did not say positively she did speak those words, but I apprehended she did speak them. Words, which may be taken or interpreted by law in a general or common sense, ought not to receive a strained or unusual construction; and ambiguous words-" "Speak or be dumb for ever!" exclaimed Sir Launcelot, in a terrific tone, laying his hand on his sword, "what young lady, ha! what name did she call upon;" Clarke, falling on his knees, answered not without stammering," Miss Aurelia Darnel; to the best of my recollection, she called upon Sir Launcelot Greaves." "Sacred powers!" cried our adventurer," at the suit of the king, in whose name I "which way did the carriage proceed?"
When Tom told him that the coach quitted the post-road, and struck away to the right at full speed, Sir Launcelot was seized with a pensive fit; his head sunk upon his breast, and he mused in silence for several minutes, with the most melancholy expression on his countenance; then recollecting himself, he assumed a more composed and cheerful air, and asked several questions with respect to the arms on the coach, and the liveries worn by the servants. It was in the course of this interrogation that he discovered he had actually conversed with one of the footmen, who had brought back Crabshaw's horse; a circumstance that filled him with anxiety and chagrin, as he had omitted to inquire the name of his master, and the place to which the coach was travelling; though, in all probability, had he made these inquiries, he would have received very little satisfaction,
Sir Launcelot, incensed at this affront offered to his servant, advanced to the prison door, but found it fast locked; and when he called to the turnkey, he was given to understand that he himself was a prisoner. Enraged at this intimation, he demanded at whose suit, and was answered through the wicket,
will hold you fast, with God's assistance."
The knight's looks now began to lighten; he rolled his eyes around, and, snatching up an oaken bench, which three ordinary men could scarce have lifted from the ground, he, in all likelihood, would have shattered the door in pieces, had not he been restrained by the interposition of Mr Clarke, who intreated him to have a little patience, assuring him he would suggest a plan that would avenge himself amply on the justice, without any breach of the peace. "I say the justice," added Tom, "because it must be his doing. He is a little petulant sort of a fellow, ignorant of the law, guilty of numberless irregularities, and, if properly managed, may, for this here act of arbitrary power, be not only cast in a swinging sum, but even turned out of the commission with disgrace."
This was a very seasonable hint; in consequence of which the bench was softly re
placed, and Captain Crowe deposited the | himself into the good graces of the widow, poker, with which he had armed himself to who took him for her husband, so that he second the efforts of Sir Launcelot. They became a person of some consideration, and now, for the first time, perceived that Ferret saved money apace; that his pride, increashad disappeared; and, upon inquiry, found ing with his substance, was reinforced by the that he was in fact the occasion of the vanity of his wife, who persuaded him to reknight's detention and the squire's disgrace. tire from business, that they might live genteelly in the country; that his father dying, and leaving a couple of houses in this town, Mr Gobble had come down with his lady to take possession, and liked the place so well, as to make a more considerable purchase in the neighbourhood; that a certain peer being indebted to him in the large way of his busi
Description of a modern magistrate.
the money, had compounded the debt, by inserting his name in the commission; since which period, his own insolence, and his wife's ostentation, had exceeded all bounds; that, in the exccution of his authority, he had committed a thousand acts of cruelty and injustice against the poorer sort of people, who were unable to call him to a proper account; that his wife domineered with a more ridiculous, though less pernicious usurpation among the females of the place; that, in a word, she was the subject of continual mirth, and he the object of universal detestation.
BEFORE the knight would take any resolution for extricating himself from his present em-ness, and either unable or unwilling to pay barrassment, he desired to be better acquainted with the character and circumstances of the justice by whom he had been confined, and likewise to understand the meaning of his own detention. To be informed in this last particular, he renewed his dialogue with the turnkey, who told him through the grate, that Ferret no sooner perceived him in the jail, without his offensive arms, which he had left below, than he desired to be carried before the justice, where he had given information against the knight, as a violater of the public peace, who strolled about the country with unlawful arms, rendering the highways unsafe, encroaching upon the freedom of elections, putting his majesty's liege subjects in fear of their lives, and, in all probability, harbouring more dangerous designs under an affected cloak of lunacy. Ferret, upon this information, had been released, and entertained as an evidence for the king; and Crabshaw was put into the stocks as an idle stroller.
Sir Launcelot, being satisfied in these particulars, addressed himself to his fellow prisoners, and begged they would communicate what they knew respecting the worthy magistrate, who had been so premature in the execution of his office. This request was no sooner signified than a crew of naked wretches crowded around him, and, like a congregation of rooks, opened their throats all at once, in accusation of Justice Gobble. The knight was moved at this scene, which he could not help comparing, in his own mind, to what would appear upon a much more awful occasion, when the cries of the widow and the orphan, the injured and oppressed, would be uttered at the tribunal of an unerring Judge, against the villainous and insolent authors of their calamity.
When he had, with some difficulty, quieted their clamours, and confined his interrogation to one person of a tolerably decent appearance, he learned, that Justice Gobble, whose father was a tailor, had for some time served as a journeyman hosier in London, where he had picked up some law terms, by conversing with hackney writers and attorney's clerks of the lowest order; that, upon the death of his master, he had insinuated |
Our adventurer, though extremely well disposed to believe what was said to the prejudice of Gobble, would not give entire credit to this description, without first inquiring into the particulars of his conduct. He therefore asked the speaker, what was the cause of his particular complaint? For my own part, sir," said he, "I lived in repute, and kept a shop in this here town, well furnished with a great variety of articles. All the people in the place were my customers; but what I and many others chiefly depended upon, was the extraordinary sale at two annual customary fairs, to which all the country people in the neighbourhood resorted to lay out their money. I had employed all my stock, and even engaged my credit, to procure a large assortment of goods for the Lammas market; but having given my vote, in the election of a vestry-clerk, contrary to the interest of Justice Gobble, he resolved to work my ruin. He suppressed the annual fairs, by which a great many people, especially publicans, earned the best of their subsistence. The country people resorted to another town. I was overstocked with a load of perishable commodities, and found myself deprived of the best part of my home customers, by the ill nature and revenge of the justice, who employed all his influence among the common people, making use of threats and promises to make them desert. my shop, and give their custom to another person, whom he settled in the same business under my nose. Being thus disabled from making punctual payments, my commodities spoiling, and my wife breaking her heart, I
grew negligent and careless, took to drink- | lings, was passed to her husband's settlement ing, and my affairs went to wreck. Being in a different part of the country. one day in liquor, and provoked by the fleers A stout squat fellow, rattling with chains, and taunts of the man who had set up against had just taken up the ball of accusation, when me, I struck him at his own door; upon Sir Launcelot was startled with the appearwhich I was carried before the justice, who ance of a woman, whose looks and equipage treated me with such insolence, that I became indicated the most piteous distress. She desperate, and not only abused him in the seemed to be turned of the middle age, was execution of his office, but also made an of a lofty carriage, tall, thin, weather-beaten, attempt to lay violent hands upon his person. and wretchedly attired: her eyes were inYou know, sir, when a man is both drunk flamed with weeping, and her looks displayed and desperate, he cannot be supposed to have that wildness and peculiarity which denote any command of himself. I was sent hither distraction. Advancing to Sir Launcelot, to jail. My creditors immediately seized she fell upon her knees, and, clasping her my effects; and, as they were not sufficient hands together, uttered the following rhapto discharge my debts, a statute of bank-sody in the most vehement tone of affliction: ruptcy was taken out against me; so that here I must lie, until they think proper to sign my certificate, or the parliament shall please to pass an act for the relief of insolvent debtors."
"Thrice potent, generous, and august emperor, here let my knees cleave to the earth, until thou shalt do me justice on that inhuman caitiff, Gobble. Let him disgorge my substance, which he hath devoured; let him restore to my widowed arms my child, my boy, the delight of my eyes, the prop of my life, the staff of my sustenance, whom he hath torn from my embrace, stolen, betrayed, sent into captivity, and murdered!-behold these bleeding wounds upon his lovely breast! see how they mangle his lifeless corse! Horror! give me my child, barbarians! his head shall lie upon his Suky's bosom-she will embalm him with her tears. Ha! plunge him in the deep! shall my boy then float in a watery tomb?-Justice, most mighty emperor! justice upon the villain who hath ruined us all! May heaven's dreadful vengeance overtake him! may the keen storm of adversity strip him of all his leaves and fruit! may peace forsake his mind, and rest be banished from his pillow, so that all his days shall be filled with reproach and sorrow, and all his nights be haunted with horror and remorse! may he be stung by jealousy without cause, and maddened by revenge without the means of execution! may all his offspring be blighted and consumed, like the mildewed ears of corn, except one that shall grow up to curse his old age, and bring his hoary head with sorrow to the grave, as he himself has proved a curse to me and mine!"
The next person who presented himself in the crowd of accusers, was a meagre figure, with a green apron, who told the knight that he had kept a public house in town for a dozen of years, and enjoyed a good trade, which was in a great measure owing to a skittle-ground, in which the best people of the place diverted themselves occasionally: that Justice Gobble, being disobliged at his refusing to part with a gelding which he had bred for his own use, first of all shut up the skittle-ground; but finding the publican still kept his house open, he took care that he should be deprived of his licence, on pretence that the number of ale-houses was too great, and that this man had been bred to another employment. The poor publican, being thus deprived of his bread, was obliged to try the stay-making business, to which he had served an apprenticeship; but being very ill qualified for this profession, he soon fell to decay, and contracted debts, in consequence of which he was now in prison, where he had no other support but what arose from the labour of his wife, who had gone to service. The next prisoner who preferred his complaint against the unrighteous judge, was a poacher, at whose practices Justice Gobble had for some years connived, so as even to screen him from punishment, in consideration of being supplied with game gratis, till at length he was disappointed by accident. His lady had invited guests to an entertainment, and bespoke a hare, which the poacher undertook to furnish. He laid his snares accordingly over night; but they were discovered, and taken away by the gamekeeper of the gentleman to whom the ground be- The shopkeeper, of whom he demanded longed. All the excuses the poacher could this satisfaction, gave him to understand that make proved ineffectual in appeasing the she was born a gentlewoman, and had been resentment of the justice and his wife, at well educated; that she married a curate, being thus disconcerted. Measures were who did not long survive his nuptials, and taken to detect the delinquent in the exercise afterwards became the wife of one Oakley, of his illicit occupation; he was committed a farmer in opulent circumstances; that, to safe custody, and his wife, with five bant-after twenty years cohabitation with her
The rest of the prisoners, perceiving the knight extremely shocked at her misery and horrid imprecation, removed her by force from his presence, and conveyed her to another room; while our adventurer underwent a violent agitation, and could not for some minutes compose himself so well as to inquire into the nature of this wretched creature's calamity.
husband, he sustained such losses by the dis- | temper among the cattle, as he could not repair; and that this reverse of fortune was supposed to have hastened his death; that the widow, being a woman of spirit, determined to keep up and manage the farm, with the assistance of an only son, a very promising youth, who was already contracted in marriage with the daughter of another wealthy fariner. Thus the mother had a prospect of retrieving the affairs of her family, when all her hopes were dashed and destroyed by a ridiculous pique which Mrs Gobble conceived against the young farmer's sweetheart, Mrs Susan Sedgemoor. This young woman chancing to be at a country assembly, where the grave-digger of the parish acted as master of the ceremonies, was called out to dance before Miss Gobble, who happened to be there present also with her mother. The circumstance was construed into an unpardonable affront by the justice's lady, who abused the director in the most opprobrious terms for his insolence and ill-manners; and, retiring in a storm of passion, vowed revenge against the saucy minx who had presumed to vie in gentility with Miss Gobble. The justice entered into her resentment. The gravedigger lost his place; and Suky's lover, young Oakley, was pressed for a soldier. Before his mother could take any steps for his discharge, he was hurried away to the East Indies, by the industry and contrivance of the justice. Poor Suky wept and pined until she fell into a consumption. The forlorn widow, being thus deprived of her son, was overwhelmed with grief to such a degree, that she could no longer manage her concerns. Every thing went backwards; she ran in arrears with her landlord; and the prospect of bankruptcy aggravated her affliction, while it added to her incapacity. In the midst of these disastrous circumstances, news arrived that her son Greaves had lost his life in a sea engagement with the enemy; and these tidings almost instantly deprived her of reason. Then the landlord seized for his rent, and she was arrested at the suit of Justice Gobble, who had bought up one of her debts in order to distress her, and now pretended that her madness was feigned.
When the name of Greaves was mentioned, our adventurer started and changed colour; and, now the story was ended, asked, with marks of eager emotion, if the name of the woman's first husband was not Wilford. When the prisoner answered in the affirmative, he rose up, and striking his breast, "Good heaven?" cried he, "the very woman who watched over my infancy, and even nourished me with her milk!-She was my mother's humble friend. Alas! poor Dorothy! how would your old mistress grieve to see her favourite in this miserable condition." While he pronounced these words, to the astonishment of the hearers, a tear stole
softly down each cheek. Then he desired to know if the poor lunatic had any intervals of reason; and was given to understand, that she was always quiet, and generally supposed to have the use of her senses, except when she was disturbed by some extraordinary noise, or when any person touched upon her misfortune, or mentioned the name of her oppressor, in all which cases she started out into extravagance and frenzy. They likewise imputed great part of the disorder to the want of quiet, proper food, and necessaries, with which she was but poorly supplied by the cold hand of chance charity. Our adventurer was exceedingly affected by the distress of this woman, whom he resolved to relieve; and in proportion as his commiseration was excited, his resentment rose against the miscreant, who seemed to have insinuated himself into the commission of the peace on purpose to harass and oppress his fellow-creatures.
Thus animated, he entered into consultation with Mr Thomas Clarke concerning the steps he should take, first for their deliverance, and then for prosecuting and punishing the justice. In result of this conference, the knight called aloud for the jailor, and demanded to see a copy of his commitment, that he might know the cause of his imprisonment, and offer bail; or, in case that he should be refused, move for a writ of habeas corpus. The jailor told him the copy of the writ should be forthcoming; but, after he had waited some time, and repeated the demand before witnesses, it was not yet produced. Mr Clarke then, in a solemn tone, gave the jailor to understand, that an officer refusing to deliver a true copy of the commitment warrant, was liable to the forfeiture of one hundred pounds for the first offence, and for the second to a forfeiture of twice that sum, besides being disabled from executing his office.
Indeed it was no easy matter to comply with Sir Launcelot's demand; for no warrant had been granted, nor was it now in the power of the justice to remedy this defect, as Mr Ferret had taken himself away privately, without having communicated the name and designation of the prisoner; a circumstance the more mortifying to the jailor, as he perceived the extraordinary respect which Mr Clarke and the captain paid to the knight, and was now fully convinced that he would be dealt with according to law. Disordered with these reflections, he imparted them to the justice, who had in vain caused search to be made for Ferret, and was now extremely well inclined to set the knight and his friends at liberty, though he did not at all suspect the quality and importance of our adventurer. He could not, however, resist the temptation of displaying the authority of his office, and therefore ordered the prisoners to be brought before