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some baked flesb., a little resembling that of venison. He then brought forth a bottle of brandy, which, he said, had remained with him ever since his settling there, now about thirty years; during all which time he had never opened it, his only liquor being water; that he had reserved this bottle as a cordial in sickness; but, he thanked heaven, he had never yet had occasion for it. He then acquainted me, that he was a hermit, that he had been formerly cast away on that coast, with his wife, whom he dearly loved, but could not preserve from perishing; on which account he had resolved never to return to France, which was his native country, but to devote himself to prayer, and a holy life, placing all his hopes in the blessed expectation of meeting that dear woman again in heaven, where, he was convinced, she was now a saint, and an interceder for him. He said he had exchanged a watch with the king of that country, whom he described to be a very just and good man, for a gun, some powder, shot, and ball; with which he sometimes provided himself food, but more generally used it in defending himself against wild beasts; so that his diet was chiefly of the vegetable kind. He told me many more circumstances, which I may relate to you hereafter: but, to be as concise as possible at present, he at length greatly comforted me by promising to conduct me to a sea-port, where I might have an opportunity to meet with some vessels trafficking for slaves: and whence I might once more commit myself to that element, which, though I had already suffered so much on it, I must again trust to put me in possession of all I loved.
'The character he gave of the inhabitants of the town we saw below us, and of their king, made me desirous of being conducted thither; especially as I very much wished to see the captain and sailors, who had behaved 'very kindly to me, and with whom, notwithstanding all 'the civil behaviour of the hermit, I was rather easier in 'my mind than alone with this single man; but he dis'suaded me greatly from attempting such a walk till I 'had recruited my spirits with rest, desiring me to repose 'myself on his couch or bank, saying that he himself 'would retire without the cave, where he would remain 'as my guard. I accepted this kind proposal; but it 'was long before I could procure any slumber: however, 'at length, weariness prevailed over my fears, and I en'joyed several hours' sleep. When I awaked I found my 'faithful centinel on his post, and ready at my summons. 'This behaviour infused some confidence into me, and I 'now repeated my request that he would go with me to 'the town below; but he answered, It would be better 'advised to take some repast before I undertook the 'journey, which I should find much longer than it ap'peared. I consented, and he set forth a greater variety 'of fruits than before, of which I eat very plentifully: 'my collation being ended, I renewed the mention of my 'walk; but he still persisted in dissuading me, telling me 'that I was not yet strong enough; that I could repose 'myself no where with greater safety than in his cave; 'and that, for his part, he could have no greater happi'ness than that of attending me, adding, with a sigh, it 'was a happiness he should envy any other more than all 'the gifts of fortune. You may imagine I began now to 'entertain suspicions; but he presently removed all doubt 'by throwing himself at my feet and expressing the 'warmest passion for me. I should have now sunk with 'despair, had he not accompanied these professions with 'the most vehement protestations that he would never 'offer me any other force but that of entreaty, and that 'he would rather die the most cruel death by my cold'ness than gain the highest bliss by becoming the oc
'casion of a tear of sorrow to these bright eyes, which. * he said, were stars, under whose benign influence alone, 'he could enjoy, or indeed suffer life.' She was repeating many more compliments he made her, when a horrid uproar which alarmed the whole gate, put a stop to her narration at present. It is impossible for me to give the reader a better idea of the noise which now arose than bv desiring him to imagine I had a hundred tongues the poet once wished for, and was vociferating from them all at once, by hollowing, scolding, crying, swearing, bellowing, and, in short, by every different articulation which is within the scope of the human organ.
A horrible uproar in the gate.
But, however great an idea the reader may hence conceive of this uproar, he will think the occasion more than adequate to it, when he is informed that our hero (I blush to name it,) had discovered an injury done to his honour, and that in the tenderest point—In a word, reader (for thou must know it, though it give thee the greatest horror imaginable,) he had caught Fireblood in the arms of his lovely Laetitia.
As the generous bull who, having long depastured among a number of cows, and thence contracted an opinion that these cows are all his own property, if he beholds another bull bestride a cow within his walks, he roars aloud, and threatens instant vengeance with his horns, till the whole parish are alarmed with his bellowing: not with less noise, nor less dreadful menaces, did the fury of Wild burst forth and terrify the whole gate.
Long time did rage render his voice inarticulate to the hearer; as, when, at a visiting day, fifteen or sixteen or perhaps twice as many females, of delicate but shrill pipes, ejaculate all at once on different subjects, all is sound only, the harmony entirely melodious indeed, but conveys no idea to our ears; but at length, when reason began to get the better of his passion, which latter, being deserted by his breath, began a little to retreat, the following accents leapt over the hedge of his teeth, or rather the ditch of his gums, whence those hedgestakes had long since by a patten been displaced in battle with an amazon of Drury.
° ' —Man of honour! doth this become a friend? 'Could I have expected such a breach of all the laws of 'honour from thee, whom I had taught to walk in its 'paths? Hadst thou chosen any other way to injure my 'confidence I could have forgiven it; but this is a stab 'in the tenderest part, a wound never to be healed, an 'injury never to be repaired: for it is not only the loss 'of an agreeable companion, of the affection of a wife, 'dearer to my soul than life itself, it is not this loss alone 'I lament: this loss is accompanied with disgrace, and 'with dishonour. The blood of the Wilds, which hath 'run with such uninterrupted purity through so many 'generations, this blood is fouled, is contaminated; hence 'flow my tears, hence arises my grief. This is the injury 'never to be redressed, nor ever to be with honour for
'given.' 'M in a bandbox,' answered Fireblood,
'here is a noise about your honour; if the mischief done 'to your blood be all you complain of, I am sure you 'complain of nothing; for my blood is as good as yours.' 'You have no conception,' replied Wild, 'of the tender'ness of honour; you know not how nice and delicate it is in both sexes; so delicate, that the least breath of air which rudely blows on it destroys it.' 'I will prove from your own words,' says Fireblood, 'I have not wronged your honour. Have you not often told me, that the honour of a man consisted in receiving no affront from his own sex, and that of woman in receiving no kindness from ours. Now, Sir, if I have given you no affront, how have I injured your honour?' 'But doth not every thing,' cried Wild, 'of the wife belong to the husband? A married man, therefore, hath his wife's honour as well as his own, and by injuring hers, you injure his. How cruelly you have hurt me in this tender part I need not repeat; the whole gate knows it, and the world shall. I will apply to Doctors' Commons for my redress against her, I will shake off as much of my dishonour as I can by parting with her; and as for you, expect to hear of me in Westminster-hall; the modern method of repairing these breaches, and of resenting this affront.' 'D—n your eyes,' cries Fireblood, 'I fear you not, nor do I believe a word you say.' 'Nay, if you affront me personally,' says Wild, 'another sort of resentment is prescribed.' At which word, advancing to Fireblood, he presented him with a box on the ear, which the youth immediately returned, and now our hero and his friend fell to boxing, though with some difficulty, both being encumbered with the chains which they wore between their legs: a few blows passed on both sides, before the gentlemen, who stood by, stepped in and parted the combatants: and now both parties having whispered each other, that, if they outlived the ensuing sessions, and escaped the tree, the one should give, and the other should receive satisfaction in single combat, they separated, and the gate soon recovered its former tranquillity.
* The beginning of this speech is lost.