King of the Beggars - Chapter XXXI

Chapter XXXI

He Goes to Scotland to Observe the Rebellion

Mr. Carew remained some time at Bickley, but fresh news arriving every day of the progress of the rebels, that insatiable curiosity which had always actuated his breast, prompted him to go and see the army of the rebels: he therefore, taking his leave of his wife and daughter, though they entreated him with tears not to go to the North, made the best of his way towards Edinburgh.

After some days travel, Mr. Carew arrived at the city of Edinburgh, which lies in a sort of a valley, between two hills, one of which is called Salisbury Crags, the other marks the foundation of the castle. It was strongly walled, and is adorned with public and private buildings. At the extremity of the east end of the city stands the palace of Holyrood house; leaving which, a little to the left, you come through a populous suburb to the entrance, called the Water-port. From hence, turning west, the street goes on in a straight line through the whole city to the castle, which is above a mile in length, and is said by the Scots to be the largest and finest street for buildings and number of inhabitants in Europe. From the palace door, which stands on a level with the lowest of the plain country, this street begins to ascend very gradually, being nowhere steep; but this ascent being continued for so long a way, it is easy to understand that the furthest part must be necessarily very high; for the castle, which stands as it were at the extremity, west, as the palace does east, makes on all sides (that only excepted which joins it to the city) a frightful and inaccessible precipice. The castle is situated on a high rock, and strongly fortified with a great number of towers, so that it is looked upon as impregnable. In the great church they have a set of bells, which are not rung out as in England, (for that way of ringing is not now known in this country,) but are played on by the hand with keys, like a harpsichord, the person playing having great leather covers for his fists, which enables him to strike with the more force; and for the larger bells there are treadles, which he strikes with his feet.

They play all manner of tunes very musically; and the town gives a man a yearly salary for playing upon them, from half-an-hour after eleven till half-an-hour after twelve every day, Sundays and holidays excepted. On the south side of this church is a square of very fine buildings, called the Parliament Close, the west and south side of which are mostly taken up with the Parliament house, the several courts of justice, the council chamber, the exchequer, the public registers, the lawyers' library, the post-office, &c. The great church makes up the north side of the square, and the east, and part of the south side, is built into private dwellings, very stately, lofty, and strong, being seven stories high to the front of the square, and the hill that they stand on having a very deep descent; some of them are no less than fourteen stories high backwards. Holyrood house is a very handsome building, rather convenient than large; it was formerly a royal palace and an abbey, founded by King David I. for the canons regular of St. Austin, who named it Holyrood-house, or the house of the Holy Cross, which was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, but nobly re-edified by King Charles the second, and of which his grace the Duke of Hamilton is hereditary keeper; it is now almost entirely neglected.

The entrance from the great outer court is adorned with pillars of hewn stone, under a cupola, in form of an imperial crown, balustraded on each side at the top. The fore part has two wings, on each side of which are two turrets; that towards the north was built by King James V. whose name it bears in letters of gold; and that towards the south (as well as the rest) by Charles II, whereof Sir William Bruce was the architect. The inner court is very stately, all of free-stone, well hewn, with a colonnade round it, from whence are entries into the several apartments; but above all, the long gallery is very remarkable, being adorned with the pictures of all the Scotch kings, from Fergus the first, done by masterly hands. Here Mr. Carew met the rebels, but having no mind to join them, he pretended to be very sick and lame; however, he accosted them with, God bless you, noble gentlemen! and the rebels moving on to Carlisle, he hopped after them, and from thence to Manchester, and there had a sight of the Pretender's son, and other commanders. He afterwards accompanied them to Derby, where a report was spread, that the Duke of Cumberland was coming to fight them; upon which, their courage failing, though the Pretender's son was for fighting, they retreated back to Carlisle; upon which he thought it time to leave them, and hopped homewards on his crutches, taking care to change his note to "God bless King George, and the brave Duke William!" Coming into Bristol, he met with one Mr. P, an apothecary, who had formerly known him at St. Mary Ottery, in Devon. Mr. P was very glad to see him, and took him to a tavern, where he treated him very handsomely, and then sent for his wife, sister, and other friends, to come and see him. They were all highly pleased to see a man they had heard so much talk of, and, after spending some hours very merrily with him, they would have him to try his fortune in that city, but to take care of the mint. Accordingly he went to a place of rendezvous of the brothers of the mendicant order in Temple-street, equipped himself in a very good suit of clothes, and then went upon the Exchange, as the supercargo of a ship called the Dragon, which had been burnt by lightning off the Lizard point. By this story he raised a very handsome contribution on the merchants and captains of vessels, it being well known that such a ship had been burnt in the manner he described. He then returned to his friend Mr. P, the apothecary, and, knocking at the door, asked if he was at home; upon which Mr. P, came forth, and, not knowing him again in his supercargo's dress, made him a very low bow, and desired him to walk in. Mr. Carew asked him if he had any fine salve, as he had met with an accident, and burnt his elbow; upon which Mr. P ran behind his counter, and reached down a pot of salve, desiring, with a great deal of complaisance, the favour of looking at his elbow; he then discovered himself, which occasioned no little diversion to Mr. P and his family, who made him very welcome.

Chapter XXXII
He Feigns Madness, to his Great Profit

Going back to his quarters, he laid aside his finery, and dressed himself more meanly, like to a labouring mechanic; he then went into the street, and acted like a madman, talking in a raving manner about Messrs. Whitfield and Wesley, as though he was disordered in his mind by their preaching; calling in a furious manner at every step upon the Virgin Mary, Pontius Pilate, and Mary Magdalen, and acting the part of a man religiously mad. Sometimes he walked with his eyes fixed upon the ground, and then, of a sudden, he would break out into some passionate expressions about religion. This behaviour greatly excited the curiosity and compassion of the people, some of whom talked to him, but he answered everything they said in a wild and incoherent manner; and, as compassion is generally the forerunner of charity, he was relieved by the most of them.

The next morning he appeared in a morning-gown, still acting the madman, and carried it so far now, as to address himself to all the posts in the streets, as if they were saints, lifting up his hands and eyes in a fervent though distracted manner to heaven, and making use of so many extravagant gestures, that he astonished the whole city. Going through Castle-street, he met the Rev. Mr. Bo, a minister of that place, whom he accosted with his arms thrown round him; and insisted, in a raving manner, he should tell him who was the father of the morning star; which frightened the parson so much, that he took to his heels and ran for it, he running after him, till he took shelter in a house.

Having well recruited his pockets by this stratagem, he left the city next day, and travelled towards Bath, acting the madman all the way till he came to Bath. As soon as he came there, he inquired for Dr. Cooney's, and being directed to his house, found two brother mendicants at the door; after they had waited some time, the servant brought each of them a halfpenny, for which his brother mendicants were very thankful; but Mr. Carew gave his halfpenny to one of them; then knocking at the door, and the maid coming out again, Tell your master, said he, I am not a halfpenny man, but that my name is Bampfylde-Moore Carew, king of the mendicants, which being told, the Dr. came out with one of his daughters, and gave him sixpence and a mug of drink, for which he returned thanks.

The next day he went to Mr. Allen's seat, near Bath, and sent in a petition as from a poor lunatic, by which he got half-a-crown. From thence he made the best of his way to Shepton Mallet, when, calling at Mr. Hooper's, and telling the servant who he was, the mistress ordered him in, and inquired if he was really the famous Bampfylde Carew; she then gave him five shillings, and ordered him to be well entertained. At Shepton Mallet our hero had the pleasure of meeting with his beloved wife, to their mutual joy and satisfaction; and finding several brethren of the order there, they passed some days together with much mirth and harmony.

Going near Rye, in Sussex, (where, upon account of their extraordinary merit, the two brothers Ld are perpetually mayors,) he met two of his mendicant subjects, who acquainted him there was no entering the town, but with extreme hazard to his person, upon account of the severity which the mayor exercised towards all of their community. Mr. Carew's wife hearing this, entreated him in the most tender manner not to venture into the town; but as his great heart always swelled when anything hazardous presented, and as he was willing to show his subjects, by example, that nothing was too difficult for industry and ingenuity to overcome, he was resolved to enter Rye; which he did with a very slow, feeble, and tottering pace, stopping every minute by the most violent fits of coughing, whilst every limb shook with an universal palsy, his countenance appearing rather to be the property of some one among the dead than to belong to any living body: in this manner he crept along to the mayor's house, and in a most lamentable moan begged some relief. The mayor, seeing so deplorable a figure, said he was indeed a real object of pity; and therefore gave him a shilling, and liberty to go through the town; which he did with no little profit, and with great applause from the mendicants, when they heard of his success.

Steering from thence to Dungeness, he found a vessel ready to sail for Boulogne, on board of which he embarked, and landed safe there; and found it so thronged with English soldiers, (it being soon after the reducing of the army,) that had he not known the contrary, he should have thought himself in some town in England. Some of the soldiers knowing him, cried out, Here's Bampfylde-Moore Carew! upon which they took him along with them to their quarters, and they passed the day very merrily: the soldiers expressed great discontent at their being discharged, swearing they would never come over to England any more, saying, if they had not come over then, they should have been either starved or hanged. He then inquired how they lived in France? They replied, never better in their lives. From Boulogne he set off for Calais; where he likewise found a great multitude of English soldiers, and more were daily coming in. Whilst he was here, the Duke of Richmond arrived, in his way to Paris; who, seeing many English soldiers, asked some of them why they came there? to which they replied, they should have been either starved or hanged if they had stayed in England. Mr. Carew intended to have paid his respects to his grace, but had not an opportunity; and soon after, being taken very ill, was obliged to desist from his intended design of making a tour through France, Germany, &c.

He therefore took a passage in the packet-boat from Calais, and landed at Dover; from hence he went to Folkstone, where he got a pass and relief from the mayor, under the name of John Moore, a native of St. Ives, in Cornwall, who had been cast away on the coast of France, in a vessel coming from Ireland. Having borne this character as long as suited his inclination, he metamorphosed himself again, and appeared in quite a different shape. He now wore a full handsome tie-wig, but a little changed by age; a good beaver hat, somewhat duffy; a fine broad-cloth coat, but not of the newest fashion, and not a little faded in its colour. He was now a gentleman of an ancient family and good estate, but reduced by a train of uncommon misfortunes. His venerable looks, his dejected countenance, the visible struggles between the shame of asking and the necessity which forced him to it, all operated to move the pity of those he applied to, which was generally shown by handsome contributions, for few could think of offering mites to a gentleman of so ancient a family, and who had formerly lived so well; and indeed how much soever we may envy the great in their prosperity, we are as ready to relieve them in their misfortunes.

Mr. Carew happening to be in the city of Wells, in Somersetshire, on a Sunday, was told that the bishop was to preach that morning: upon which he slips on a black waistcoat and morning-gown, and went out to meet the bishop as he was walking in procession, and addressed himself to his lordship as a poor unhappy man, whose misfortunes had turned his brain; which the bishop hearing, gave him five shillings. From Wells he steered to Bridgewater, but did not appear in the day-time, and went only in the evenings upon his crutches, as a poor lame man, not being known by anyone till he discovered himself.

Having heard that young Lord Clifford, his first cousin, (who had just returned from his travels abroad,) was at his seat at Callington, about four miles from Bridgewater, he resolved to pay him a visit. In his way thither resided Parson C, who being one whom nature had made up in a hurry without a heart, Mr. Carew had never been able to obtain anything of him, even under the most moving appearance of distress, but a cup of small drink. Stopping now in his way, he found the parson was gone to Lord Clifford's, but being saluted at the door by a fine black spaniel, with almost as much crustiness as he would have been, had his master been at home, he thought himself under no stronger obligation of observing the strict laws of honour, than the parson did of hospitality; and therefore soon charmed the crossness of the spaniel, and made him follow him to Bridgewater; for it is very remarkable "that the art has been found of taming the most savage and ill-natured brutes, which is generally attended with success; but it requires a much higher skill, and is but seldom successful, to soften the ill-nature and inhumanity of man: whether it is that the brutes are more capable of receiving instruction, or whether the ill-nature of man exceeds that of the brutes, we cannot well determine."

Having secured the spaniel, and passed the night merrily in Bridgewater, he set out the next morning for Lord Clifford's, and in his way called upon the parson again, who very crustily told him he had lost his dog, and supposed some of his gang had stolen him: to which Mr. Carew very calmly replied, What was he to his dog, or what was his dog to him? if he would make him drink it was well, for he was very dry: at last, with the use of much rhetoric, he got a cup of small drink; then, taking leave of him, he went to the Red Lion, in the same parish, where he stayed some time. In the meantime down ran the parson to my Lord Clifford's, to acquaint him that Mr. Carew was in the parish, and to advise him to take care of his dogs; so that Mr. Carew, coming down immediately after, found a servant with one dog in his arms, and another with another: here one stood whistling and another calling, and both my lord and his brother were running about to seek after their favourites.

Mr. Carew asked my lord what was the meaning of this hurry, and if his dogs were cripples, because he saw several carried in the servants' arms: adding, he hoped his lordship did not imagine he was come to steal any of them. Upon which his lordship told him, that parson C had advised him to be careful, as he had lost his spaniel but the day before. It may be so, replied he: the parson knows but little of me, or the laws of our community, if he is ignorant that with us ingratitude is unknown, and the property of our friends always sacred. His lordship, hearing this, entertained him very handsomely, and both himself and his brother made him a present.

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