A short chapter, containing all the wit, and all the spirit, and all the pleasure of modern young gentlemen.
AS he was here abandoning himself to lamentation and despair, some other watchmen brought in two fresh prisoners to bear him company in his confinement, who I am sorry to say it, were two young lords. They were extremely disordered, both in their dress, and their understanding; for champagne was not the only enemy they had encountered that evening. One of them had lost his coat and waist-coat; the other his bag and peruke, all but a little circular lock of hair, which grew to his forehead, and now hanging over his eyes, added not a little to the drollery of his figure.
The generous god of the grape had cast such a mist over their understandings, that they were insensible at first of the place they were promoted to; but at length, one of them a little recovering his wits, cried out, 'what the devil place is this? a bawdy-house, or a Presbyterian meeting-house?' 'Neither, sir,' answered a watchman, 'but the round-house.' 'O p—x,' said his lordship, 'I thought you had been a dissenting parson, old grey-beard, and was going to preach against wh—ring, for you must know, old fellow, I am confoundedly in for it—But what privilege have you, sir, to carry a man of honour to the round-house?' 'Ay,' said the other, 'what right has such an old fornicator as thou art, to interrupt the pleasures of men of quality? may not a nobleman get drunk, without being disturbed by a pack of rascals in the streets?' 'Gentlemen,' answered the watch, 'we are no rascals, but servants of his majesty King George, and His Majesty requires us to take up all people that commit disorderly riots in His Majesty's streets.' 'You lie, you scoundrels,' said one of their lordships, ''tis the prerogative of men of fashion to do what they please, and I'll prosecute you for a breach of privilege—D—mn you, my lord, I'll hold you fifty pound, that old prig there, in the great coat, is a cuckold, and he shall be judge himself.—How many eyes has your wife got, old fellow? one or two?' 'Well, well,' said the watchman, 'your honours may abuse us as much as you please; but we know we are doing our duty, and we will perform it in the king's name.' 'Your duty, you rascal,' cried one of these men of honour, 'is immediately to fetch us a girl, and a dozen of champagne; if you'll perform that, I'll say you are as honest an old son of a whore, as ever lay with an oyster- woman. My dear Fanny! if I had but you here, and a dozen of Ryan's claret, I should esteem this round-house a palace—Curse me, if I don't love to sleep in a round-house sometimes; it gives a variety to life, and relieves one from the insipidness of a soft bed.' 'Well-said, my hero,' answered his companion, 'and these old scoundrels shall carry us before my Lord-Mayor to-morrow, for the humour of the thing. Pox take him, I buy all my tallow-candles of his Lordship, and therefore I am sure he'll use me like a man of honour.'
In such kind of gay modish conversation did these illustrious persons consume their night, and principally in laying wagers, which at present is the highest article of modern pleasure; every particular of human life is reduced by the great calculators of chances to the condition of a bet. But nothing is esteemed a more laudable topic of wagering, than the lives of eminent men; which, in the elegant language of Newmarket, is called running lives; that is to say, a bishop against an alderman, a judge against a keeper of a tavern, a member of parliament against a famous boxer; and in this manner all people's lives are wagered out, with proper allowances for their ages, infirmities, and distempers. Happy the nation that can produce such ingenious, accomplished spirits!
These two honourable peers had been spending their evening at a tavern, with many others, and when the rational particle was thoroughly drowned in claret, one of the company leaping from his chair, cried out, 'who will do anything?' upon which, a resolution was immediately taken, to make a sally into the streets, and drink champagne upon the horse at Charing-Cross. This was no sooner projected than executed, and they performed a great number of heroical exploits, too long to be mentioned in this work, but we hope some future historian will arise to immortalize them for the sake of posterity. After this was over, they resolved to scour the streets, and perceiving a light in a cellar under ground, our two heroes magnanimously descended into that subterranean cave, in quest of adventures. There they found some hackney-coachmen enjoying themselves with porter and tobacco, whom they immediately attacked, and offered to box the two sturdiest champions of the company. The challenge was accepted in a moment, and whilst our heroes were engaged, the rest of the coachmen chose to make off with their clothes, which they thought no inconsiderable booty. In short, these gentlemen of pleasure and high-life were heartily drubbed, and obliged to retreat with shame from the cellar of battle, leaving their clothes behind them, as spoils, at the mercy of the enemy. Soon afterwards, they were taken by the watch, being too feeble to make resistance, and conducted to the round-house; where they spent their night in the manner already described. The next morning, they returned home in chairs, new-dressed themselves, and then took their seats in parliament, to enact laws for the good of their country.