Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

„ my good friend, since I remember you. I question whether „ any of our bishops could make a better argument against „suicide than you have enlerlained me with; but unless you can find somebody who will lend me a cool hundred, I must either hang, or drown, or starve; and in my opinion the last death is the most terrible of the three."

I answered him very gravely, that I was indeed altered since I had seen him last; that I had found leisure to look into my follies, and to repent of them. I then advised him to pursue the same steps; and at last concluded with an assurance, that I myself would lend him a hundred pounds, if it would be of any service to his affairs, and he would Rot put it into the power of a die to deprive him of it.

Mr. Watson, who seemed almost composed in slumber by the former part of my discourse, was roused by the latter. He seized my hand eagerly, gave me a thousand thanks, and declared I was a friend indeed; adding that he hoped I had a better opinion of him, than to imagine he had profited so little by experience, as to put any confidence in those damned dice, which had so often deceived him. ,,No, no,” cries he, „let me but once handsomely be set up again, and if ever fortune makes a broken merchant of me afterwards, „I will forgive her.”


well understood the language of setting up, and broken mercbant. I therefore said to him with a very grave face: Mr. Watson, you must endeavour to find out some business, or employment, by which you may procure yourself a livelihood: and I promise you, could I see any probability of being repaid hereafter, I would advance a much larger sum than what you have mentioned, to equip you in any fair and honourable calling; but, as to gaming, besides the baseness and wickedness of making it a profession, you are really, to my own knowledge, unfit for it, and it will end in your certain ruin. Why now, that's strange," answered he, jei


you, ,,nor any of my friends, would ever allow me to know any thing of the matfer, and yet, I believe, I am as good a hand si at every game as any of you all; and I heartily wish I was „ to play with you only fur your whole fortune; I should „desire no better sport, and I would let you name your »game into the bargain : but come, my dear boy, have you the hundred in your pocket?”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I answered I had only a bill for so l. which I delivered him, and promised to bring him the rest next morning; and, after giving him a little more advico, took my leave.

I was indeed better than my Word: for I returned to him that very afternoon, When I entered the room, I found him sitting up in his bed at cards with a notorious gamester. This sight, you will imagine, shocked me not a little; to which I may add the mortification of seeing my bill delivered by him to his antagonist, and thirty guineas only given in exchange for it.

The other gamęster presently quitted the room, and then Watson declared he was ashamed to see me: „but,” says he, „I find luck runs so damnably against me, that I will re„solve to leave off play for ever, I have thought of the „ kind proposal you made me ever since, and I promise you , there shall be no fault in me, if I do not put it in execution.”

Though I bad no great faith in his promises, I produced him the remainder of the hundred in consequence of my own; for which he gave me a note, which was all I ever expected to see in return for my money.

We were prevented from any further discourse at present, by the arrival of the apothecary, who, with much joy in his countenance, and without even asking his patient how he did, proclaimed there was great news arrived in a letter to himself, which he said would shortly be public: „, that the Duke of Monmouth *} was landed in the west with a vast army of „Dutch; and that another vast fleet hovered over the coast „of Norfolk, and was to make a descent there, in order to „favour the Duke's enterprize with a diversion on that side."

This apothecary was one of the greatest politicians of his time.

He was more delighted with the most paltry packet, than with the best patient; and the highest joy he was capable of, he received from having a piece of news in his possession an hour or two sooner than any other person in the town. His advices, however, were seldom authentic, for he would swallow almost any thing as a truth, a humour which many made use of to impose upon him.

*) Ein natürlicher Sohn Carls des 21en, der dem Bruder seines Vaters, Jukob dem gien, den Thron sirutig zu machen suchte.

Thus it happened with what he at present communicated; for it was known within a short time afterwards, that the Duke was really landed; but that his army consisted only of a few attendants; and as to the diversion in Norfolk, it was entirely false.

The apothecary staid no longer in the room than while he acquainted us with his news; and then, without saying a syllable to his patient on any other subject, departed to spread his advices all over the town.

Events of this nature in the public are generally apt to eclipse. all private concerns.

Our discourse, therefore, now became entirely political. For my own part, I had been for some time very seriously affected with the danger to which the protestant religion was so visibly exposed; under a popish prince); and thought the apprehension of it alone sufficient to justify that insurrection: for no real security can ever be found against the persecuting spirit of popery, when armed with power, except the depriving it of that power, as woeful experience presently shewed. 'You know how King James hebaved after getting the better of this attempt; how little he valued either his royal word, or coronation - oath or the liberties and rights of his people. But all had not the sense to foresee this at first, and therefore the Duke of Monmouth was weakly supported; yet all could feel when the evil came upon them; and therefore all united, at last, to drive out that king, against whose exclusion a great party among us had 80 warmly contended, during the reign of his brother, and for whom they now fought with such zeal and affection.

As mankind in those days was not yet arrived to that pitch of madness, which I find they are capable of now, and which, to be sure, I have only escaped by living alone, and at a distance from the contagion, there was a considerable rising in favour of Monmouth; and, my principles strongly inclining me to take the same part, I determined to join

and Mr. Watson, from different motives concurring in the same resolution, '(for the spirit of a gamester will carry a man as far upon such an occasion as the spirit of patriotism) we soon provided ourselves with all necessaries, and went to the Duke at Bridgewater**).

[ocr errors]


*) Jakob dem 2ten. **). Ein Burgflecken mit einem guten Hafen am Flusse Parred in Somersetshire.

The unfortunate event of this enterprize you are, I conclude, as well acquainted with as myself. I escaped, together with Mr. Watson, from the battle at Sedgmore*), in which action I received a slight wound. We rode near forty miles together on the Exeter road **), and, then abandoning our horses, scrambled as well as we could through the fields and bye-roads, till we arrived at a little wild hut on a common, where a poor old woman took all the care of us she could, and dressed my wound with salve, which quickly healed it.

Here Mr. Watson left me the next morning, in order, as he pretended, to get us some provision from the town of Cullumpton ***); but can I relate it? or can you believe it? This Mr. Watson, this friend, this base, barbarous, treacherous villain, betrayed me to a party of horse belonging to King James, and, at his return, delivered me into their hands.

The soldiers, being six in number, had now seized me, and were conductiug me to Taunton gaol: but neither my present situation, nor the apprehensions of what might happen to me, were half so irksome to my mind, as the company of my false friend, who, having surrendered himself, was likewise considered as a prisoner, though he was better treated, as being to make his peace at my expence. He at first endeavoured to excuse his treachery; but when he received nothing but scorn and upbraiding from me, be soon changed his note, abused me as the most atrocious and malicious rebel, and laid all his own guilt to my charge, who, as he declared, had solicited, and even threatened him, to make him take up arms against bis gracious, , as well as lawful sovereign.

This false evidence, (for in reality, he had been much the forwarder of the two), stung me to the quick, and raised an indignation scarce conceivable by those who have not selt it. However, fortune at length took pity on me: for as we were got a little beyond Wellingtont), in a narrow lane, my guards received a false alarm, that near fifty of the enemy

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*) In Somersetshire, nördlich vom Parret. Hier wurden die Truppen des Herzogs von Monmouth geschlagen, **) Eine Heer. strasse, die nach Exeter, ciner Stadt in Devonshire, führt. ***) Flekken in Devonshire.' +) Gleichfalls ein Flecken in Devonshire.

were at hand, upon which they shifted for themselves, and left me and my betrayer to do the same. That villain immediately ran from me, and I am glad he did, or I should have certainly endeavoured, though I had no arms, to have executed vengeance on his baseness.

I was now once more at liberty, and immediately withdrawing from the highway into the fields, I travelled on, scarce knowing which way I went, and making it my chief care to avoid all public roads, and all towns, nay, even the most homely houses; for I imagined every human creature whom I saw, desirous of betraying me...

At last, after rambling several days about the country, during which the fields afforded me the same bed, and the same food, which nature bestows on our savage brothers of the creation, I at length arrived at this place, where the solitude and wildness of the country invited me to fix my abode. The first person with whom I took up my habitation, was the mother of this old woman, with whom I remained concealed, till the news of the glorious Revolution *) put an end to all my apprehensions of danger, and gave me an opportunity of once more visiting my own home, and of enquiring a little into my affairs, which I soon settled as agreeably to my brother as to myself; having resigned every thing to him, for which he paid me the sum of a thousand pounds, and settled on me an annuity for life.

His behaviour in this last instance, as in all others, was selfish and ungenerous.

I could not look on him as my friend, nor indeed did he desire that I should; 80 I presently took my leave of him, as well as of my other acquaintance; and from that day to this, my bistory is little better than a blank.

*) Worin Wilhelm III. den Thron seines Schwiegervaters, Jakobs des 2ten, zur Freude der Englischen Nation, bestieg.

« AnteriorContinuar »