Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

which began to have many convulsive motions, should be directly taken up, and carried into a warm bed. This was accordingly performed, the apothecary and myself attending. “As we were going towards an inn, for we knew not the man's lodgings, luckily a woman met us, who, after some violent screaming, told us that the gentleman lodged at her house. “When I had seen the man safely deposited there, I left him to the care of the apothecary; who, I suppose, used all the right methods with him, for the next morning I heard he had perfectly recovered his senses. “I then went to visit him, intending to search out, as well as I could, the cause of his having attempted so desperate an act, and to prevent, as far as I was able, his pursuing such wicked intentions for the future. I was no sooner admitted into his chamber, than we both instantly knew each other; for who should this person be, but my good friend Mr. Watson | Here I will not trouble you with what passed at our first interview : for I would avoid prolixity as much as possible.”—‘Pray let us hear all, cries Par“tridge; ‘I want mightily to know what brought . him to Bath.’ 4. “You shall hear every thing material,” answered the stranger; and then proceeded to relate what we shall proceed to write, after we have given a short breathing time to both ourselves and the reader.

- (

CHAP. XIV. In which the Man of the Hill concludes his history.

&s. MR. Watson,” continued the stranger, “ very freely acquainted me, that the unhappy situation of his circumstances, occasioned by a tide of ill luck, had in a manner forced him to a resolution of destroying himself.

“I now began to argue very seriously with him, in opposition to this heathenish, or indeed diabolical, principle of the lawfulness of self-murder; and said every thing which occurred to me on the subject; but, to my great concern, it seemed to have very little effect on him. He seemed not at all to repent of what he had done, and gave me reason to fear he would soon make a second attempt of the like horrible kind. “When I had finished my discourse, instead of endeavouring to answer my arguments, he looked me stedfastly in the face, and with a smile said, ‘You are strangely altered, my good friend, since “I remember you. I question whether any of our ‘ bishops could make a better argument against sui“cide than you have entertained me with ; but un* less 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 indecd 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 pound, if it would be of any service to his affairs, and he would not 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.’

“I very well understood the language of setting up, and broken merchant. 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; “neither “you, nor any of my friends, would ever allow me “to know any thing of the matter, and yet I believe * I am as good a hand at every game as any of you all; ‘and I heartily wish I was to play with you only for “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?’ “I answered I had only a bill for 50l., which I delivered him, and promised to bring him the rest next morning; and after giving him a little more advice, 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 gamester 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 resolve 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 had 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 “enterprise 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. “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 woful experience presently showed. You know how king James behaved 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 so warmly contended during the reign of his brother, and for whom they now fought with such zeal and affection.” ‘What you say, interrupted Jones, ‘is very true; ‘ and it has often struck me, as the most wonderful “thing I ever read of in history, that so soon after “this convincing experience which brought our ‘whole nation to join so unanimously in expelling “king James, for the preservation of our religion ‘ and liberties, there should be a party among us * mad enough to desire the placing his family again ‘ on the throne.”—“You are not in earnest l” answered the old man; “there can be no such party. As bad an opinion as I have of mankind, I cannot believe them infatuated to such a degree. There may be some hot-headed papists led by their priests to engage in this desperate cause, and think it a holy war; but that protestants, that are members of the church of England, should be such apostates, such felos de se, I cannot believe it; no, no, young man, unacquainted as I am with what has past in

« AnteriorContinuar »