King of the Beggars - Chapter XXVIII

Chapter XXVIII

He Returns to England and is Reunited with his Family

            Coming into the city, Mr. Carew was surprised at the grandeur of it; and seeing a green hill at the end of the great street, much like Glastonbury Tower, he went up to it, and had a most beautiful prospect of the city from the top of it, where was placed the mast of a ship, with pulleys to draw up a lighted barrel of tar to alarm the country in case of an invasion. Going down the hill again he met two drummers, a sergeant, and several soldiers and marines, who were, by the beat of drum, proclaiming, that the taverns and shopkeepers might safely credit the soldiers and marines to a certain value. Some of the soldiers presently knew him, and, accosting him, persuaded him to go along them to one Mother Passmore's, a house of rendezvous, where they were very merry together. While they were drinking, in came Captain Sharp, who commanded them, and who was an old acquaintance of our hero's. What, Mr. Carew! cried the captain in a surprise, who could think of seeing you here? When did you see my brother? I saw him, replied he, about six months ago, but his lady is dead. Is she so? said the captain, I have heard nothing of it. The captain having asked him several other questions, treated him very handsomely, and kept him some time at his own charge: but his heart glowing to see his native country, he once more resolved to ship himself for old England. He accordingly agreed to take the run with Captain Ball, of the Mary, for fifteen pounds, fifteen gallons of rum, ten pounds of sugar and tobacco, and ten pipes. They were two months on their voyage before they made Lundy, nothing material happening on their passage worthy of being recorded in this true history. The captain would not stop at Lundy for a pilot, but made for Combe, and there took one in, who brought the ship safe to King Road, and the next tide up to the quay at Bristol; and having moored the vessel, the crew spent the night on shore with their jolly landladies.

            The next morning early they all got on board, and soon after the captain came with some Bristol merchants. The captain gave Mr. Carew a bill on his brother who lived at Topsham, and having received payment thereof, he soon turned his back on Bristol.

            Mr. Carew, having left Bristol, made the best of his way to Bridgewater, and from thence unto Taunton, and so to Exeter, supporting his travelling expenses by his ingenuity as a mendicant. As soon as he arrived at Exeter, he made the best of his way to the house of an old acquaintance, where he expected to hear some news of his beloved wife; but going through East-gate, he was met by two gentlemen, who immediately cried out, Here's our old friend Carew! They then laid hold of him, and took him back to the Oxford Inn, where they inquired where he had been this long time. He acquainted them in what manner he had been seized, on Topsham quay, and carried to Maryland; he likewise informed of Captain Simmonds's death, (which they were sorry to hear of,) and that the vessel had been carried into port by Harrison, the mate, who was afterwards drowned, in company with some planters, in Talbot river.

            Fame having soon sounded the arrival of our hero through every street in Exeter, several gentlemen flocked to the Oxford Inn to visit him, and amongst the rest merchant Davy. What! have you found your way home again? said the merchant. Yes, yes, replied he; as you sent me over for your pleasure, I am come back for my own; which made the gentlemen laugh very heartily. The merchant then asked him several questions about Captain Simmonds and Harrison, where he left the vessel, and if he had been sold. No, no, replied he, I took care to be out of the way before they had struck a bargain for me; and, as to the vessel, I left her in Miles river. The gentlemen could not help being surprised at his ingenuity and expedition, in thus getting home twice before the vessel which carried him out. Merchant Davy then proposed making a collection for him, and began it himself with half-a-crown; having therefore received a handsome contribution, he returned the gentlemen thanks, and took his leave, being impatient to hear some news about his wife. He went directly to his usual quarters, at Kitty Finnimore's, Castle-lane, where he occasioned no little terror to his landlady, she believing it to be his ghost, as she heard he was certainly dead; however, our hero soon convinced her he was real flesh and blood. He then inquired when she heard from his wife, who informed him, to his great joy, that both his wife and daughter were there a few days before, and were going towards Newton-Bushel; but they had given over all thoughts of seeing him any more, as they thought him dead.

            He now set forward immediately for Newton-Bushel. Calling at Lord Clifford's in his way, he was told by Mrs. Ratcliffe, the housekeeper, and Mr. Kilshaw, the steward, (who were quite surprised to see him,) that his wife had been there just before, supposing him to be dead; and that he would find her at Newton-Bushel. Though it was then night, our hero, impatient of seeing his wife and daughter, set forward for Newton-Bushel, where he arrived late in the night. Going directly to his usual quarters, he found them all in bed, and calling out to the woman of the house, his wife, hearing his voice, immediately leaped out of bed, crying, it was her poor Bampfylde. A light was then struck with as much expedition as possible, and his wife, daughter, and landlady, all came down to open the door to him.

            Here, how shall I find words to express the transports of our hero, the tender embraces of his wife, the endearing words of his daughter, and hearty congratulations of the landlady! Unable for the task, most gentle reader, I must imitate that celebrated painter who painted Agamemnon with a covering over his face, at the sacrifice of his daughter, and draw a veil over this scene of tenderness; let it suffice to say, that their joy was too full to be contained, and, not finding any other passage, gushed out in tears.

            The next morning, accompanied by his wife and daughter, he went and paid his respects to Sir Thomas Carew, at Hackum, where they were received with great kindness; and Sir Thomas told him, if he would forsake the mendicant order, he would take care to provide for him and his family. He returned Sir Thomas a great many thanks, but declared, that, as he had entered himself into the mendicant order, he was resolved to continue therein as long as he lived; but hoped if any accident happened to him, he would extend his goodness to his dear wife and daughter.

Prev   Next