profusion, that, starting up, I asked him what affairs that night, we departed next morning the d- he meant by using me so ? He by dựy-break, armed with a good cudgel eachi begged pardon, telling me his joy at meeting (iny companion being charged with the fur. with a countryman had occasioned some con- niture of us both, crammed into one knapfusion in him; and craved my name. But sack), and our money sewed between the when I declared my name was Random, he lining and waistband of our breeches, except exclaimed, in a rapture,—" How! Rory some loose silver for our immediate expense Random ?" The same, I replied, looking at on the road. We travelled all day at a round him with astonishment. “ Wbat," cried he, pace, but, being ignorant of the proper stages, * don't you know your old school-fellow, were benighted at a good distance from any Hugh Strap?" At that instant, recollecting inn, so that we were compelled to take up his face, I flew into his arms, and, in the our lodging at a small hedge ale-house, that transport of my joy, gave him back one half stood on a by-road, about half a mile from of the suds he had so lavishly bestowed on the high-way: there we found a pedlar of my countenance; so that we made a very our own country, in whose company we ludicrous appearance, and furnished a great regaled ourselves with bacon and eggs, and deal of mirth for his master and shopmates, a glass of good ale, before a comfortable fire, who were witnesses of this scene. When conversing all the while very sociably with our mutual caresses were over, I sat down the landlord and his daughter, a hale buxom again to be shaved; but the poor fellow's lass, who entertained us with great good nerves were so discomposed by this unex- humour, and in whose affection I was vain pected meeting, that his hand could scarcely enough to believe I had made some progress. hold the razor, with which, nevertheless, he About eight o'clock, we were all three, at found means to cut me in three places, in as our own desire, shown into an apartment, many strokes. His master, perceiving his furnished with two beds, in one of which disorder, bade another supply his place, and, Strap and I betook ourselves to rest, and the after the operation was performed, gave pedlar occupied the other, though not before Strap leave to pass the rest of the day with he had prayed a considerable time extempore, ine. We retired immediately to my lodg: searched into every corner of the room, and ings, where, calling for some beer, I desired fastened the door on the inside with a strong to be informed of his adventures, which con- iron screw, which he carried about with him tained nothing more, than that his master for that use. I slept very sound till midnight, dying before his time was out, he had come when I was disturbed by a violent motion of to Newcastle about a year ago, in expectation the bed, which shook under me with a conof journey-work, along with three young tinual tremor. Alarmed at this phenomenon, fellows of his acquaintance who worked in I jogged my companion, whom, to niy no the keels; that he had the good fortune of small astonishment, I found drenched in being employed by a' very civil master, with sweat, and quaking through every limb: he whom he intended to stay tii) the spring, at told me, with a low faultering voice, that we which time he proposed to go to London, were undone, for there was a bloody highwhere he did not doubt of finding encourage- wayman loaded with pistols in the next room; ment. When I communicated to him my then bidding me make as little noise as possisituation and design, he did not approve of ble, he directed me to a small chink in the my taking a passage by sea, by reason of the board partition, through which I could see a danger of a winter voyage, which is very thick-set brawny fellow, with a fierce counhazardous along that coast, as well as the tenance, sitting at a table with our young precariousness of the wind, which might | landlady, having a bottle of ale and a brace possibly detain me a great while, to the no of pistols before him. I listened with great small detriment of my fortune : whereas, if I attention, and heard him say, in a terrible would venture by land, he would bear me tone-D-n that son of a b— Smack the company, carry my baggage all the way, and, coachman !-he has served me a fine trick, if we should be fatigued before we could per- indeed !—but d-n-n seize me, if I don't form all the journey, it would be no hard make him repent it! I'll teach the scoundrel matter for us to find on the road either return to give intelligence to others, while he is ing horses or wagons, of which we might under articles with me.” Our landlady entake the advantage for a very trifling expense. deavoured to appease this exasperated rob I was so ravished at this proposal, that I ber, by saying he might be mistaken in Smack embraced him affectionately, and assured him who perhaps kept no correspondence with he might command my purse to the last farth- the other gentleman that robbed his coach ; ing; but he gave me to understand, he had and that, if an accident had disappointed him saved money sufficient to answer his own to-day, he might soon find opportunity enough occasions; and that he had a friend in Lon to atone for his lost trouble. “I'll tell thee don, who would soon introduce him into what, my dear Bet," replied he, “I never business in that capital, and might possibly had, nor ever shall, while my name is Rifle, have it in his power to serve me also. have such a glorious booty as I missed to-day.

Having concerted the plan, and settled our Z-ds! there was 4001. in cash to recruit



men for the king's service, besides the jewels, comrade had undeceived our fellow-lodger, watches, swords, and money belonging to and informed him of his reason for disturbing the passengers. Had it been my fortune to hiin; upon which, getting up softly, he peeped have got clear off with so much treasure, I through the hole, and was so terrified with would have purchased a commission in the what he saw, that, falling down on his bare army, and made you an officer's lady, you knees, he put up a long petition to heaven, jade, I would.” * Well, well,” cries Betty, to deliver him from the hands of that ruffian,

we must trust to Providence for that. But and promised never to defraud a customer did you find nothing worth taking which for the future of the value of a pin's point, escaped the other gentleman of the road ?" provided he might be rescued from the pre“Not much, faith,” said the lover; “I gleaned sent danger. Whether or not his disburthen. a few things, such as a pair of pops, silver ing his conscience afforded him any ease, I mounted (here they are); I took them loaded know not, but he slipped into bed again, and from the captain who had the charge of the lay very quiet, until the robber and his mis. money, together with a gold watch which tress were asleep, and snored in concert; he had concealed in his breeches. I like then, rising softly, he untied a rope that was wise found ten Portugal pieces in the shoes round his pack, which making fast to one of a quaker, whom the spirit moved to revile end of it, he opened the window with as little me with great bitterness and devotion; but noise as possible, and lowered his goods into what I value myself mostly for, is this here the yard with great dexterity : then he moved purchase, a gold snuff box, my girl, with a gently to our bedside, and bade us farewell, picture on the inside of the lid; which I untied telling us, that, as we run no risk, we might out of the tail of a pretty lady's smock." take our rest with great confidence, and in

Here, as the devil would have it, the ped- the morning assure the landlord that we knew lar snored so loud that the highwayman, nothing of his escape; and, lastly, shaking snatching his pistols, started up, crying, us by the hands, and wishing us all manner “ Hell and d-n-n! I am betrayed! Who's of success, he let himself drop from the win. that in the next room?" Mrs Betty told dow without any danger, for the ground was him he need not be uneasy ; there were only not above a yard from his feet as he hung on three poor wearied travellers, who, missing the outside. Although I did not think prothe road, had taken up their lodging in the per to accompany him in his flight, I was not house, and were asleep long ago. « Travel at all free from apprehension, when I reflected lers !" says he, “spies, you b-ch! But no on what might be the effect of the highwaymatter; I'll send them all to hell in an in- man's disappointment, as he certainly in.

He accordingly ran towards our tended to make free with the pedlar's ware. door; when his sweetheart interposing, Neither was my companion at more ease in assured him there was only a couple of poor his mind; but, on the contrary, so possessed young Scotchmen, who were too raw and with the dreadful idea of Rifle, that he soliignorant to give him the least cause of sus cited me strongly to follow our countryman's picion ; and the third was a presbyterian ped- example, and so elude the fatal resentment lar of the same nation, who had often lodged of that terrible adventurer, who would cer. in the house before. This declaration satis- tainly wreak his vengeance on us, as accom. fied the thief, who swore he was glad there plices of the pedlar's elopement. But 1 was a pedlar, for he wanted some linen. represented to him the danger of giving Rifle Then, in a jovial manner, he put about the cause to think we knew his profession, and glass, mingling his discourse to Betty with suggested, that, if ever he should meet us caresses and familiarities, that spoke him again on the road, he would look upon us as very happy in his amours. During that part dangerous acquaintance, and find it his interof the conversation which regarded us, Strap est to put us out of the way. I told him had crept under the bed, where he lay in the withal my confidence in Betty's good nature, agonies of fear; so that it was with great in which he acquiesced; and, during the difficulty. I persuaded him our danger was remaining part of the night, we concerted a over, and prevailed on him to awake the ped. proper method of behaviour, to render us lar, and inform him of what he had seen and unsuspected in the morning. heard. This itinerant merchant no sooner It was no sooner day, than Betty, entering felt somebody shaking him by the shoulder, our chamber, and perceiving our window than he started up, called, as loud as he could, open, cried out,-—- Ods bobs ! sure you “ Thieves, thieves !-Lord have mercy upon Scotchmen must have hot constitutions, to us !” And Rifle, alarmed at this exclama- lie all night with the window open, in such tion, jumped up, cocked one of his pistols, cold weather.” I feigned to start out of and turned towards the door, to kill the first sleep, and, withdrawing the curtain, called, man that should enter; for he verily believed “What's the matter?" When she showed himself beset; when his dulcinea, after an me, I affected surprise, and said,—“ Bless immoderate fit of laughter, persuaded him me! the window was shut when we went to that the poor pedlar, dreaming of thieves, had bed." “ I'll be hanged,” said she, “if Sawonly cried out in his sleep. Meanwhile, my ney Waddle the pedlar has not got up in a


[ocr errors]

dream and done it, for I heard him very of him-Strap is put to bed at an inn-
obstropulous in his sleep. Sure I put a adventures at that inn.
chamber-pot under his bed.” With these
words she advanced to the bed in which he AFTER having paid our score, and taken leave
lay, and, finding the sheets cold, exclaimed,- of our hostess, who embraced me tenderly
“Good lack a daisy! the rogue is fled !” at parting, we proceeded on our journey,
• Fled!” cried I, with feigned amazement, blessing ourselves that we had come off so
“God forbid !-Sure be has not robbed us." well. We had not walked above five miles,
Then springing up, I laid hold of my breeches, when we observed a man on horseback gal-
and emptied all my loose money into my loping after us, whom we in a short time
hand; which having reckoned, I said,- recognised to be no other than the formida-
“ Heaven be praised, our money is all safe :- ble hero who had already given us so much
Strap, look to the knapsack. He did so, vexation. He stopped hard by me, and asked
and found all was right. Upon which we if I knew who he was? My astonishment had
asked, with seeming concern, if he had stole disconcerted me so much, that I did not hear
nothing belonging to the house ?" No, no," his question, which he repeated with a volley
replied she," he has stolen nothing but his of oaths and threats; but I remained as mute
reckoning;” which, it seems, this pious ped. as before. Strap, seeing my discomposure,
lar had forgot to discharge, in the midst of fell upon his knees in the mud, uttering, with
his devotion. Betty, after a moment's pause, a lamentable voice, these words :-“ For
withdrew; and immediately we could hear C—st's sake, have mercy upon us, Mr Rifle,
her waken Rifle, who no sooner heard of —we know you very well.” “Oho!" cried
Waddle's flight, than he jumped out of bed the thief, “ you do!-but you never shall be
and dressed, venting a thousand execrations, evidence against me in this world, you dog!"
and vowing to murder the pedlar, if ever he So saying, he drew a pistol, and fired it at
should set eyes on him again :-“for," said the unfortunate shaver, who fell flat upon the
he, “the scoundrel has by this time raised ground, without speaking one word. My
the hue and cry against me.” Having dressed comrade's fate, and my own situation, rivet.
himself in a hurry, he mounted his horse, ted me to the place where I stood, deprived
and for that time rid us of his company, and of all sense and reflection; so that I did not
a thousand fears that were the consequence make the least attempt either to run away,
of it. While we were at breakfast, Betty or deprecate the wrath of this barbarian, who
endeavoured, by all the cunning she was snapped a second pistol at me; but before he
mistress of, to learn whether or not we sus. had time to prime again, perceiving a com..
pected our fellow-lodger, whom we saw take pany of horsemen coming up, he rode off, and
horse ; but as we were on our guard, we an- left me standing motionless as a statue, in
swered her sly questions with a simplicity which posture I was found by those whose
she could not distrust; when, all of a sudden, appearance had saved my life. This com.
we heard the trampling of a horse's feet at pany consisted of three men in livery, well
the door. This noise alarmed Strap so much, armed, with an officer, who (as I afterwards
whose imagination was wholly engrossed by learned) was the person from whom Rifle
the image of Rifle, that, with a countenance had taken the pocket pistols the day before ;
as pale as milk, he cried," O Lord ! there's and who, making known his misfortune to a
the highwayman returned !” Our landlady, nobleman he met on the road, and assuring
staring at these words, said,-“What high- him his non-resistance was altogether owing
wayman, young man ?-do you think any to his consideration for the ladies in the coach,
highwaymen harbour here?". Though I was procured the assistance of his lordship’s ser-
very much disconcerted at this piece of indis- vants to go in quest of the plunderer. This
cretion in Strap, I had presence of mind holiday captain scampered up to me with
enough to tell her we had met a horseman great address, and asked who fired the pistol
the day before, whom Strap had foolishly which he had heard. As I had not yet recov.
supposed to be a highwayman, because he ered my reason, he, before I could answer,
rode with pistols; and that he had been ter- observed a body lying on the ground; at which
rified at the sound of a horse's feet ever sight his colour changed, and he pronounced,
since. She forced a smile at the orance with a faultering ngue,-"Gentlemen,
and timidity of my comrade; but I could per- here's murder committed ! let us alight.”
ceive (not without great concern) that this “ No, no,” said one of his followers, “ let us
account was not at all satisfactory to her. rather pursue the murderer. Which way

went he, young man ?" By this time I had

recollected myself so far as to tell them, that CHAPTER IX.

he could not be a quarter of a mile before;

and to beg of one of them to assist me in conWe proceed on our journeyare overtaken veying the corpse of my friend to the next

by a highwayman, who fires at Strap-house, in order to its being interred. The is prevented from shooting me by a com- captain, foreseeing that, in case he should pany of horsemen, who ride in pursuit | pursue, he must soon come to action, began

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to curb his horse, and give him the spur at present went to dancing in the yard. While the same time, which treatment making the we were agreeably amused in this manner, creature rear up and snort, he called out his our musician, spying a horseman riding tohorse was frightened, and would not proceed; wards the inn, stopped all of a sudden, crying at the same time wheeling him round and out,—-"Gad so! gentlemen, I beg your parround, stroking his neck, whistling and wheed- don; there's our dog of a doctor coming into ling him with—" sirrah, sirrah, gently, gen- the inn.” He immediately concealed his tly,” &c. “Zounds !" cried one of the ser- instrument, and ran towards the gate, where vants, “sure my lord's sorrel is not resty!” he took hold of the vicar's bridle, and helped With these words he bestowed a lash on his him off, inquiring very cordially into the state buttocks, and sorrel, disdaining the rein, of his health. This rosy son of the church sprung forward with the captain at a pace (who might be about the age of fifty) having that would have soon brought him up with alighted, and entrusted the curate with his the robber, had not the girth (happily for him) horse, stalked with great solemnity into the given way, by which means he landed in the kitchen, where, sitting down by the fire, he dirt ! and two of his attendants continued called for a bottle of ale and a pipe, scarce their pursuit, without minding his situation. deigning an answer to the submissive ques. Meanwhile, one of the three, who remained tions of those who inquired about the welfare at my desire, turning the body of Strap, in of his family. While he indulged himself in order to see the wound which had killed him, this state, amidst a profound silence, the found him still warm, and breathing; upon curate approaching him with great reverence, which I immediately let him blood, and saw asked if he would not be pleased to honour him, with inexpressible joy, recover; he hav- us with his company at dinner? To which ing received no other wound than what his interrogation he answered in the negative, fear had inflicted. Having raised him upon saying, he had been to visit Squire Bumpkin, his legs, we walked together to an inn, about who had drank himself into a high fever at half a mile from the place, where Strap, who the last assizes; and that he had, on leaving was not quite recovered, went to bed; and, his own house, told Betty he should dine at in a little time, the third servant returned home. Accordingly, when he had made an with the captain's horse and furniture, leav- end of his bottle and pipe, he rose and moved ing him to crawl after as well as he could. with prelatical dignity to the door, where This gentleman of the sword, upon his ar- his journeyman siood ready with his nag. rival, complained grievously of the bruise He had no sooner mounted, than the face. occasioned by his fall : and, on the recom- tious curate coming into the kitchen, held mendation of the servant, who warranted forth in this manner; “There the old ras. my ability, I was employed to bleed him, cal goes, and the d- go with him. Yon for which service he rewarded me with half see how the world wags, gentlemen. By a crown.

Gad, this rogue of a vicar does not deserve The time between this event and dinner, I to live; and yet he has two livings worth passed in observing a game at cards between £400 per annum, while poor I am fain to do two farmers, an exciseman, and a young fel. all his drudgery, and ride twenty miles every low in a rusty gown and cassock, who, as I Sunday to preach, for what? why, truly, for afterwards understood, was curate of a neigh- £20 a-year. I scorn to boast of my own bouring parish. It was easy to perceive that qualifications : but-comparisons are odious. the match was not equal, and that the two I should be glad to know how this swagfarmers, who were partners, had to do with bellied doctor deserves to be more at ease a couple of sharpers, who stript them of all than me. He can loll in his elbow chair at their cash in a very short time. But what home, indulge himself in the best of victuals surprised me very much was, to hear this and wine, and enjoy the conversation of Betty, clergyman reply to one of the countrymen, his housekeeper. You understand me, gen. who seemed to suspect foul play, in these tlemen. Beity is the doctor's poor kinswords ;-—"D-n me, friend, d'ye question woman, and a pretty girl she is ; but no matter my honour?”—I did not at all wonder to find for that :-ay, and a dutiful girl to her parents, a cheat in canonicals, this being a character whom she visits regularly every year: though, frequent in my own country ; but I was scan- I must own, I could never learn in what dalized at the indecency of his behaviour, country they live—my service t'ye, gentle. which appeared in the oaths he swore, and men. By this time dinner being ready, I the bawdy songs which he sung. At last, to waked my companion, and we ate all together make amends, in some sort, for the damage with great cheerfulness. When our meal he had done to the unwary boors, he pulled was ended, and every man's share of the out a fiddle from the lining of his gown, and, reckoning adjusted, the curate went out on promising to treat them at dinner, began to pretence of some necessary occasion, and play most melodiously, singing in concert all mounting his horse, left the two farmers to the while. This good humour of the parson satisfy the host in the best manner they could. inspired the company with so much glee, that we were no sooner informed of this piece the farmers soon forgot their losses, and all of finesse, than the exciseman, who had been



silent hitherto, began to open with a malicious next village-he escapeswe arrive at
grin:-“Ay, ay, this is an old trick of Shuffle: another inn, where we go to bed in the
I could not help smiling when he talked of night we are awaked by a dreadful ad-
treating. You must know this is a very venture-next night we lodge at the
curious fellow. He picked up some scraps house of a schoolmaster-our treatment
of learning while he served young Lord there.
Trifle at the university. But what he most
excels in is pimping: No man knows his STRAP and I were about to depart on our
talents better than I; for I was valet-de-journey, when we perceived a crowd on the
chambre to Squire Tattle, an intimate com- road, coming towards us, shouting and hal-
panion of Shuffle's lord. He got himself looing all the way. As it approached, we
into a scrape, by pawning some of his lord could discern a man on horseback in the
ship's clothes, on which account he was middle, with his hands tied behind him, whom
turned away; but, as he was acquainted with we soon knew to be Rifle. This highway-
some particular circumstances of my lord's man not being so well mounted as the two
conduct, he did not care to exasperate him servants who went in pursuit of bim, was
too much, and so made interest for his re- soon overtaken, and, after baving discharged
ceiving orders, and afterwards recommended his pistols, made prisoner without any further
him to the curacy which he now enjoys. opposition. They were carrying him in tri.
However, the fellow cannot be too much umph, amidst the acclamations of the coun-
admired for his dexterity in making a com- try people, to a justice of peace in a neigh-
fortable livelihood, in spite of such a small bouring village, but stopped at our inn to
allowance. You hear he plays a good stick, join their companion, and take refreshment.
and is really diverting in company. These When Rifle was dismounted, and placed in
qualifications make him agreeable wherever the yard, within a circle of peasants armed
he goes; and, as for playing at cards, there with pitchforks, I was amazed to see what a
is not a man within three counties a match pitiful dejected fellow he now appeared, who
for him : the truth is, he is a d-ble cheat, had but a few hours before filled me with
and can shift a card with such address, that such terror and confusion. My companion
it is impossible to discover him.” Here he was so much encouraged by this alteration
was interrupted by one of the farmers, who in his appearance, that, going up to the thief,
asked why he had not justice enough to ac- he presented his clenched fists to his nose,
quaint them with these particulars before and declared he would either cudgel or box
they engaged in play? The exciseman re- with him for a guinea, which he immediately
plied, without any hesitation, that it was none produced, and began to strip, but was dis-
of his business to intermeddle between man suaded from this adventure by me, who re-
and man; besides, he did not know they presented to him the folly of the undertaking,
were ignorant of Shuffle's character, which as Rifle was now in the hands of justice,
was notorious to the whole country. This which would, no doubt, give us all satisfac-

did not satisfy the other, who taxed him with tion enough. But what made me repent of · abetting and assisting the curate's knavery, our impertinent curiosity, was our being

and insisted on having his share of the win- detained by the captors as evidence against nings returned: this demand the exciseman him, when we were just going to set forward. as positively refused, affirming, that whatso- However, there was no remedy; we were ever slights Shuffle might practice on other obliged to comply; and, accordingly, joined occasions, he was very certain that he had in the cavalcade, whịch luckily took the same played on the square with them, and would road that we had proposed to follow. About answer it before any bench in Christendom; the twilight we arrived at the place of our so saying, he got up, and having paid his destination; but as the justice was gone to reckoning, sneaked off. The landlord thrust- visit a gentleman in the country, with whom ing his neck into the passage to see if he (we understood) he would probably stay all was gone, shook his head, saying,—“Ah! night, the robber was confined in an empty Lord help us, if every sinner was to have his garret, three stories high, from which it deserts." Well, we victuallers must not dis- seemed impossible for him to escape. This, oblige the excisemen. But I know what:- nevertheless, was the case ; for next morning, if parson Shuffle and he were weighed to when they went up stairs to bring him before gether, a straw thrown into either scale, the justice, the bird was flown, having got would make the balance kick the beam. But, out at the window upon the roof, from whence masters, this is under the rose," continued he continued his route along the tops of the Boniface, with a whisper.

adjoining houses, and entered another garret window, where he skulked until the family

were asleep, at which time he ventured down CHAPTER X.

stairs, and let himself out by the street door,

which was found open. This event was a The highwayman is takenwe are detained great disappointment to those that appre. as evidence against him-proceed to the l hended him, who were flushed with hopes of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »