Though the North of Ireland, which is said to resemble this kingdom very much, afforded a most gloomy picture of miserable cottages, and hungry inhabitants, yet this transcended it in that respect to the highest degree; besides, the sharp biting air from the sea procured a keen appetite, and the place afforded little or nothing to allay it. The Captain with whom I came brought me to the best inn in the town (though the worst in reality I had ever seen.) There happened to be a Mountebank Doctor there at the same time, with whom I dined, and whose ignorance afforded me much entertainment. But I confess he made one remark that was not altogether absurd; for, said he, people may think me a fool, for exposing the person of a gentleman on a public stage to a rabble; but I have this day picked up five pounds among them for medicines, that never stood me in ten shillings: Now, Sir, am I, who receives money, in this manner, more guilty of folly than those who pay it to me? I could not but acknowledge the balance of folly due to the people, which greatly pleased the empiric.
The first sight of persons, places or things, is apt to impress a lasting like or dislike to them on the mind; and so little did I relish North-Britain, from its present appearance of poverty, formality and hypocrisy, that when I retired at night to rest I resolved to go back to Dublin with the first ship; but providence, the sole director of events, ordered it otherwise. I had in my portmanteau, which was under my bed, some tolerable clothes; about a dozen of fine shirts, and several pairs of shoes, stockings and breeches, a little collection of the English classics, and some other books; at the bottom of all which I had deposited my cash; having only in my pocket about one pound fifteen shillings. I went to bed at eleven o'clock at night, and at two in the morning was awaked by a terrible voice, crying, "The house is on fire, make the best of your way." My clothes and breeches lying on a chair beside me, I had presence of mind enough to gather in my arms, and running down stairs, had no occasion for a candle, the flames of the adjacent buildings supplying sufficient light; and though I was almost suffocated with smoke, I made my way into the street, naked as I was, where I beheld a great crowd, amongst whom I mixed, and turning my eyes towards the inn, beheld it all in a flame. I thanked God for the preservation of my life, and put on my clothes, but my shoes and stockings were consumed with the rest of my baggage; nor did I grieve much at the accident, as I found enough in my pocket to keep me from starving in a strange country, till I could hear from Ireland. I got into a miserable ale-house, where I was glad to find admittance into a dirty bed, being almost dead with standing in the cold bare-footed. I could not, however, compose myself to sleep, but lay in the utmost pain and sorrow, eagerly wishing for the morning. When I had lain about an hour in this condition, the house quite still, and no creature near me, I felt something come like a man's hand, as I thought, on my breast, and then alternately over every part of my body. The melancholy frame of my mind made this more terrible than can be imagined: I covered my head, thought over my prayers, but had not power to utter a syllable, of to put out my hand to feel. Sometimes I conjectured it was a robber, other times I thought it a witch; at length I concluded it was the devil, and, continued watching, sweating and praying till daybreak; for the supernatural being laid itself all along behind me on the bed, and so continued till returning light gave me courage to undeceive myself, and behold it was a large greyhound that belonged to the house. As soon as I had purchased a pair of shoes, stockings, and a hat, I went to enquire for my host at the inn, and to pay my reckoning: I found the poor family in the ruins of their house, in the extremest confusion. It seems a servant, who attended the stables, had dropped a candle in the hay-loft, and being afraid to mention it, after doing all he could, to extinguish the fire, made his escape, and in his fright took the key of the stable door with him, by which means some horses were burnt alive. The fellow returned when the fire had spread too far to be put out; and by his candid confession, and assiduity to save what could be preserved, removed any suspicions that might arise of his having done it wilfully. The people of the inn saved most of their valuable effects, and were just going to abandon the house to the flames, when their daughter, a pretty girl about nineteen; recollected of me, and endangered her own life to preserve mine, otherwise I must have perished in the fire.—I thanked my fair deliverer, whose comeliness I had before admired; and to whose resolution and good-nature I stood indebted for life. The family enquired what loss I had sustained, but as mentioning money, they had not seen, might only induce them to think I boasted of more than I possessed, I answered, I had in my portmanteau some clothes and books of no great value. They would accept no payment for my entertainment the preceding day, and made me many tenders of service, which, not knowing how to return, I declined accepting of. The young girl seemed more intent on my welfare than even the father and mother; and as I was obliged to continue in my bunting lodging, came in the afternoon and brought some tea to me, of which I told her I was very fond, and could get none in the town. She begged I would tell her if I had lost my money with my clothes, or had any about me. This led me to own to her, that I really had a trifle in my portmanteau, which as I knew my speaking off would nothing avail, and make me liable to be thought a deceiver, I imagined it most prudent to be silent about; especially as I had, after buying the things I wanted, enough to sustain nature till I heard from my friends. Then, said she, with some emotion, you'll continue in town. I told her I would not; for having had two such terrible disasters, the very first night of my landing in a strange kingdom, I was determined to go to Glasgow, a city about thirty Scots miles from thence, and wait there in some obscure place till I could make an appearance. She took her leave with looks that I was unwilling to understand, and promised to come in the morning with some tea to me. After her departure I sat like a forlorn pilgrim in the chimney, there being no conversable creature near me, nor had I even a book to make company of. I could not drink their ale, which is only bottled small beer, that, when it is uncorked, flies a foot or two out of the bottle, but my landlord, unwilling that I should take up his house for nothing, told me he had gid brondy, if my honour would have some; in compliance with my condition I called for half a pint, which cost but two-pence half-penny, and which was indeed genuine. Having treated the family with the best part of it, I mixed the remainder with some water and sugar, which I found a most comfortable cordial to my afflictions; and was enjoying myself with it by the fireside; when two brawny Highland-men entered, and called plentifully for ale and brandy. They seated themselves next me, and talked Erse or Irish, which I no more understood than Arabic; nor indeed was I less at a loss when they attempted to speak English, their language abounding with so many quaint expressions, that it requires some time to comprehend it. As I sat with my drink beside me, more to entitle me to house-room than from any fondness to it, I happened, unguardedly, to spurt a little through my teeth into the floor. The fellow who sat next me, conceiving I had done it in derision to him and his friend, cried, damn your Erish saul, die blaw in my lugg. My not understanding him, and knowing I meant no offence, made me burst into laughter. Upon which, seeing him put his hand in his pocket, and draw out a large clasp knife, I ran to the other side of the house; and well I did, or I had been dead that instant, for he threw it after me with such violence, that had it met with my body instead of a settle bed, wherein it quivered for some time, I had been the innocent victim of a proud ignorant fool. His friend, and all the people of the house, now got between me and him, and, I suppose, pleaded for me in his own damned jargon. When he was so far pacified as to hearken to reason, the man of the house told me he was a great Laird, and that blowing in a man's ear was, amongst the highland-men, the greatest affront could be offered; that when I spit out, his Lairdship imagined I had blown in his ear; and therefore would certainly have put me to death, but that they assured him I was a stranger, and an unfortunate young gentleman, who had lost his baggage in the late fire. This I was obliged to confirm myself in the mot submissive and respectful manner, calling him my Lord at every word, though all his apparel was not worth a crown. He would then fain have had me drink with him, and told me, as I was a gentleman, he would permit me to keep him company, but I had too much terror on my spirits to relish the great honour he offered me, and therefore pleading incapacity to drink, and long want of rest, I begged leave to retire to bed; but lest I should again tormented with a supposed apparition, I besought my landlord to let his son sleep with me, which he obligingly did; and, to complete my adversities, I got the Scot's fiddle (i.e. the itch) which I continued to play most harmoniously, while I remained in that kingdom.
My fair friend failed not in her appointment the succeeding morning; she brought with her a quantity of fine tea and sugar, which the insisted on my accepting of, and stayed to breakfast with me. In the meantime I told her the narrow escape I had from the Highland-man's vengeance. She seemed much affected at it, and said, "I would I were a mon for his sake." Then madam, said I, I should lose the pleasure of your being a woman. At this a modest blush spread itself over her cheek. Alas! Sir, said she, I fear that can be no pleasure to you. Do you fear it, Madam? then may I hope you wish it were? She answered me with tears that deeply touched me, and made, me apprehensive she would think me serious, whereas what I spoke was merely words of course; but as I could neither think of marrying, her, or taking any ungenerous advantage of a passion that I had unwillingly inspired, I told her I was determined the next day to leave town. At this she renewed her tears, which so effectually unmanned me, that though I knew not why, I could not avoid mingling mine with hers; and, for the first time, I tenderly embraced her, desiring to know the occasion of hers? You go away to-morrow, said she, and I shall never see you more; I wish I never had seen you. It became now no longer a mystery, that my departure was repugnant to her wishes; and willing at once to cure her of all her regard, I told her the unhappy circumstances I was in, the uncertainty I had of receiving supplies from Ireland, and the certain ruin that must attend my staying here; all which afforded her but a more ample scope to show her disinterested regard. She said she was her parents' only child, that they were able to give her a handsome fortune, that they had each of them taken a liking to me, and as they had now removed into another house, I might have all accommodations there till I was better provided for. In the meantime; said she, whether you do or do not stay, I insist on your receiving a small token of my good-wishes for you; so saying, she pulled out a wrought purse with some money, and presented it to me. I absolutely refused to accept of it, as I assured her I should never have it in my power to repay what it might contain; that perhaps it might be her father's property; and to consider that I was a stranger, and a vagabond for anything she could know to the contrary. She assured me, that she was convinced I was what my looks and behaviour spoke me, and therefore made no doubt I would return the trifle she then lent me, when it was convenient; that it was really her own, which she had been saving for some years, and was happy in an opportunity of disposing of it to such advantage. Upon this I accepted it, and found it contained two guineas and some silver, which I promised to repay, but told her I must go to Glasgow the next day. To this she very reluctantly consented, conjuring me to write to her as often as possible, and recommending it to me to take leave of her parents, which I did that day. They procured me a very bad horse to pursue my journey, and directed me where to set up when I came to Glasgow. I set out early the next morning by the road I was directed to, and was told I might easily arrive that night where I purposed going. It was a most terrible day for wind, sleet and snow, and having neither whip or spur, it would be as easy to find the perpetual motion, as to give any motion to my Galloway; and indeed the road was so intolerably bad and dirty, that it was almost impossible for him to mend his pace: in short, when he had sauntered with me for five or six miles, wherein I neither saw house, tree; or any living creature, but beheld a prospect as dreary as imagination can form, he made a full stop, and would by no means proceed an inch farther. Had I no horse I could have made some shift to walk, but I was under a necessity of lodging this lazy creature somewhere, or becoming answerable for him. I had not even a switch or goad, to drive him, and therefore in this tempestuous weather I had no remedy but to alight, and by throwing stones at his posteriors, keep him still before me: in the meantime every step I took I was up to my ankles, and if I went from the highway to seek a cleaner passage, my gentleman would stand stock still till I came back through the dirt to renew the battery of his bum. At length, being extremely enraged, I came quite near his hinder parts to have one sound blow at him for revenge; but he was even with me, for before I discharged my shot he lifted up his hind foot, and gave me a violent blow in my stomach, that quite stunned me for some moments. When I recovered myself, I found him like the wooden horse in Don Quixote, in the same spot and without motion. Being no longer able to tramp after him I got on his back, and taking a buckle from my shoe, pricked him with the tongue of it. This made him a little more alert, and finding I had means to punish him, he began to trot on, but stumbled so frequently, that, being a bad rider, I was satisfied to let him pick his steps, lest he should break my neck. In this miserable condition I passed the whole day, and the approach of night became still more dreadful; but it advanced, and before I saw any remedy I was enveloped in darkness; so throwing the reins loose, I committed myself to the economy of my carrier, who I imagined, for his own sake, would find out a resting place. At length I discovered a light at a great distance, and directed my nag towards it; but he now stumbled worse than ever, being every moment on his knees, and he making one uncommon plunge, I found myself up to my waist in water: I disengaged myself from him as well as possible, and by God's providence got on land, and left him there to shift for himself. As I still kept the light in my eye, I pursued it, not without a thousand falls by the way; and at last, to my great joy, discovered an inn close to the seaside. As soon as I obtained admittance here, I observed a large fire in the kitchen, and a good supper dressing, circumstances that added not a little to my felicity. I told my host, in a few words, the tragic adventures of the day, and the catastrophe of my horse, whom I concluded was drowned. He immediately sent two men in quell of him, and, as I was all wet and dirty, brought me some dry clothing: this and the fire, with a large glass of brandy, soon brought me to myself. The men returned with the Galloway safe and sound, and the landlord assured me, that he was an old stager there, and knew every step of the road as well as a horse could do, but that he always played those pranks when he got a stranger or a bad rider upon him; for it seems he went into the lough only to get rid of me, and the men met him very seriously walking towards the inn.
The landlord told me there were some gentlemen in the parlour, and that if I chose to sup with them he would introduce me, which he accordingly did: they had a number of written papers before them, and seemed to be on some debate. When we entered, these, however, were soon set aside, and a large bowl of punch, pipes and tobacco introduced: after two or three glasses passed about supper was served in, and either it was the best I had ever partaken of, or the apprehensions of starving I had all day entertained, made me imagine it such; so that it may be concluded I eat very heartily. I made the gentlemen extremely merry at the ill treatment I had received from my horse, and they in return related many humorous adventures. By this time the bowl was again placed on the table, and one of the company proposed for a toast, the King. Having let my glass stand some time, I was called on to drink it, and the toast; having never in my life known a professed Jacobite, I very innocently drank King George. After I had finished my glass they insisted I had not drank the toast, and must drink again. I told them I hoped I had understood the intention of the toast, though I had not repeated the express words; for, said I, it is not to be supposed we drink the King of France or Spain, with whom we are now at war. No Sir, said one of the gentlemen, very gravely, when we drink the King, we drink the true and lawful sovereign of Great-Britain. Well, Sir, said I, I am right still, I drank King George. You mean the Elector of Hanover, Sir, said he, we acknowledge no such monarch in this part of the world: we never saw him, Sir, never even smoked a pipe with him; and therefore, Sir, ewe mean, by drinking the King James, running on with the pretender's titles, if you'll drink our toast so explained, we shall look on you as a sensible young fellow, and a worthy member of society: if not, Sir, you are only to drink three bumpers in a breath, by way of forfeit. I told them, I'd sooner drink the whole bowl than such a toast. Upon my soul, said one of them, he's a loyal subject, and ought to be encouraged: I dare say the Elector will bountifully provide for him, when he hears what great fatigues he would undergo for his sake. Here, said he, is a pretty smock-faced boy, heartbroken all day with a bad road and a worse horse, and yet still, to show his zeal for the illustrious house of Hanover, he would drink a bowl of excellent rum punch, sooner than a single glass to the most high, most mighty, and most puissant Prince James, by the Grace of God, &c. The humorous manner in which all this was spoken, left me in some doubt whether the gentlemen jested; but, by the course of their conversation, it was evident they were serious. I told them, if they even harboured such shameful principles, I wondered they would so freely divulge them, when they knew they exposed themselves to information and punishment. They laughed heartily at this, and asked who in Scotland would take such an information? I answered, any magistrate. No, no, child, said one of them, the whole nation is of the same mind, and if you live but two years, you'll see that man, whose health you refused to drink, on the throne of England. I told him it was a lie, and I hoped to see him hanged first. By G——d, said he, I'll be hanged if it is not so: but young man, said he, don't be so apt to make use of those two bad words, you lie, they have cost many a better man than yourself his life. You don't know, perhaps, who you speak to, or if you did, a man could only punish you with a birch rod. This put me in a violent passion, which only served to raise a laugh against me; my smock face bespoke me no champion, and they had too much discretion either to retort ill language or use me cruelly, which was entirely in their power. Their dialect did not speak them Scotsmen, nor indeed their behaviour in this respect.
I should have observed, that the landlord, who seemed to know these gentlemen, came in frequently and drank a glass with us. He was likewise present when I gave the lie so freely, and, upon that, suddenly left the room. In about half an hour after I heard a confused number of voices, in a riotous manner, crying, Charley, Charley, Charley; huzza from Charley; damn them that won't drink Charley. I began to be in a panic, and looking earnestly, at the gentleman I had offended, asked what that noise meant? No harm to you, said he, upon my soul; 'tis some drunken fellows, I suppose, but be it what it will you shall not be hurt, upon my honour. This gave me a kind of certainty, that mob meant me mischief; and I was too soon confirmed of it, for suddenly about five or six of the most bloody-looking villains forced open the parlour door, and demanded the life of that traitor who had spoken against his prince. My adversary in the contest now became an advocate for my life; for, immediately placing himself between me and the ruffians, he swore they should kill him before they hurt the hair of my head; and, to prove he was sincere, pulled out a pistol from his side pocket, which he presented to the breast of one of the assassins. Now, gentlemen; said he, you are all embarked in a glorious cause, a cause that will do honour to our posterity; do we draw our swords in justification of our Prince, and sheath them in children and school-boys? This poor child here has had a wrong education, and imbibed principles of which he is not qualified to judge; must he, therefore, be murdered? No, let us persuade youth to our cause by virtue and clemency, and not by slaughter and oppression. These are the instruments of tyranny, and not of justice; the boy has spoke rashly, yet honestly as to what he believes. What one of you would hear your lawful Prince spoken little of? He looks on the Elector of Hanover as his King, and while he thinks him so, is honourable in defending his cause; therefore, gentlemen, if you have the smallest respect for me, or the commission I carry, depart from whence you came. I know you meant this well to me, but had I not been here, it might have proved a fatal night to our cause; eat and drink what you please, be merry amongst. yourselves, and never attempt the life of an innocent man, who is not in arms against you.
After respectfully attending to this harangue they made their obedience, and departed one by one, with looks that spoke the pain it was to them to depart without making me a sacrifice.—When they were gone he told me, that though he had thus parleyed with them, my sleeping in the house would not be safe. He, therefore, desired one of the gentlemen to go and amuse them with liquor in the kitchen, while the other brought his two horses to the parlour window: out of this we both went, and taking upon himself, to see my reckoning paid, and my horse sent home, we set out about two o'clock in the morning for Glasgow; and as we galloped every step of the way, and had excellent cattle, we arrived there by daybreak. When he had put me within the walls of the city, he said, young man, you are now safe, and for God's sake keep yourself so, by having a watchful guard over your tongue, and never meddling with matters foreign to your understanding, and inconsistent with your interest. Saying this, he turned his horses' heads about, and taking one by the bridle, rode off as fast as possible.
This adventure will seem the less mysterious to my readers, when I observe, that it happened about a year or two before the late rebellion; and that this company, whom I fell amongst, were some of the agents of that affair, who were collecting men and sowing sedition all over North Britain. I must confess they were not the worst sort of them, and am amazed a gentleman, who was capable to behave in so noble a manner to me, could be led into so detestable a scheme.
Though my loyalty had nearly cost me my life, yet it happily saved my money, which was some consolation to me; and as a man who possesses that needs little or no recommendation in a strange city, I made up to the first good inn I found open; and being unfit for anything but sleep, immediately went to bed, and never once stirred till about twelve o'clock at noon, when I was awaked by the sound of bells playing a new song, called, "If 'tis joy to wound a lover." I imagined either that I had got a ringing in my head by cold, or else was still asleep. I sat up in bed and listened more attentively, and then heard a song out of Comus played, which to me sounded something like the Captain's glass music before mentioned. To remove all doubts I dressed myself as quick as possible, and went into the street, hearing it still louder; As I advanced near the prison, I saw a door open at the bottom of it, and after ascending a number of stone steps came into a little apartment, where a man set striking with his fist pieces of wood, ranged like the keys of a harpsichord, which occasioned the music from bells that were hung at the top of the house; each bell had a hammer at the out-side, from whence there was a communication to the keys below by a wire; and the person who played this instrument wore gauntlets of leather on the ball of each hand, to prevent being hurt by the violent blows he was obliged to strike.
When he left off playing he looked at his watch, and obligingly asked me if I was a stranger? I told him I was, and mere admiration had brought me here, Then Sir, said he, have you a mind for any particular tune? I told him if he could play, "Was ever nymph like Rosomond," he would give me great pleasure. He struck it up directly, and though it is difficult even to sing, performed it in a masterly manner. When his time for this employment was expired we had some musical chat; by which he discovered that I was an admirer. of that science, and therefore gave me an invitation to dinner. As I was pleased to make an acquaintance, I embraced the offer; and went to his house, but was so extremely dirty, that I was quite ashamed of myself when I saw all his family genteelly dressed: to apologize for my appearance, needed no more than a recital of the accidents I had met with; and as truth carries conviction with it, my relation was readily credited. I told Mr. R——, that having lost my linen, I was at a loss where to buy any, or how to get them made up. His wife told me she would serve me in both respects, for which purpose I gave her a guinea; and as their son was exactly of my size, and a student in the college, they for the present kindly supplied my wants from his wardrobe. Being thus in a capacity to go abroad, the gentleman, after dinner, brought me to see the city, and show me all the most curious edifices in it; the principal of which is a fine old church, formerly a cathedral, but now converted into a kirk, where, as Swift says:
The seats their usual custom keep
Of lodging folks disposed to sleep.
And I seriously assure my readers, that I have attended many sermons in this kingdom, but cannot take upon me to say that there were ever four of the congregation five minutes awake, after the text was given out. That part, indeed, I observed the people in general took a memorandum of; and as if that part been the only purport of their coming hither, they laid their heads back directly to repose; so that I can compare a kirk to nothing but the description given by Mr. Thomson of the castle of indolence.
It is to be observed that I lodged hitherto at an inn, where the civilities I received from Mr. R—— and his family naturally led me to invite them; and as he introduced me to many of his acquaintances, who were lovers of music, we sometimes had a little concert there, on all which occasions the expense fell upon me. The man of the house finding me ready to pay his first and second bills, made no objection to giving me credit for whatever I called. My never having been in debt, and an absolute stranger to the nature and consequences of it, made me too liberal in respect to answering reckonings. The man, however, finding I brought company to his house, was as obliging as possible, and gave me all imaginable encouragement, saying, "He loved to see a young gentleman generous and free-hearted, and observing, that all persons from Ireland were naturally so." Thus sung the Siren, while I, with less fortitude than a Ulysses, placidly attended to the delusive strain. He persevered in the most assiduous application of the mysteries of his callings, to lull me into a good opinion of himself and his family; told me how many extraordinary things he had done to assist his friends, and what satisfaction it gave him when any of them had occasion for his purse or his interest; closing the whole with telling me, he had a brother that died abroad, who resembled me so strongly, that he never saw me without transport, and looked on me with the same regard and affection he did on him.
Would not a person of riper judgment than myself believe all this? I saw no motive the man could have for these professions, except sincerity; but a little time furnished me with another explanation of them: He took no small pains to find out my dependence and connections and as he learned my father was a beneficed clergyman, and my family in general reputable, he doubled his industry to get me roundly in his books. For this purpose, when I came home of an afternoon, if there was no company, he took care to have tea and coffee, of which his wife and himself partook; and likewise an elegant supper and punch, made so sweet and so enticing, that at length I began to grow fond of it. Here I first experienced the Lethean qualities of drinking; I found it raised my spirits for the time, and obliterated the remembrance of all my vexations, though I generally paid for it by a terrible headache in the morning. One evening he told me there had been an Irish clergyman at his house, who knew my family extremely well, and had been a tenant to my grand-uncle; that he was to be there: the same night, and would be glad to drink a bottle of wine with me. I was overjoyed at the news, and waited with the utmost impatience for the interview. At length my landlord told me the gentleman was in his parlour, and desired the favour of my company. I went, and was not a little surprised to see a mean-looking old fat man, dressed in black, with the breast of his coat embroidered with snuff: I say surprised, because a clergyman and a polite gentleman were ideas united in my mind; neither did I ever know a clergyman. educated in Ireland who was not such. When I entered the room, father Luttrel, for by that name he passed, got up, and suddenly catching me in his arms, embraced me very eagerly, at the same time kissing me, by which I was near poisoned with the effluvia of brandy and tobacco. My dear child, said he; the divil burn myshelf, but I am glad to shee you. When I disengaged myself from him, I turned to my landlord, and asked him where the clergyman was? He answered, this was the doctor, and a worthy gentleman as ever left the kingdom of Ireland: Oh! My dear, said the doctor (with a confounded twang of the foreigner, and the brogue upon his face, as Mr. Farquhar has happily expressed it,) I am no minishter as you think, I am an honest friar, and not ashamed to own it; and, upon the word of a clergyman, I love your father's child, though I never saw your father to be sure; but your worthy grand uncle, brigadier Meade, I have drank many a bottle of wine with, and for his sake, the divil burn me, but I'd go to Ithaly to serve you——come, landlord, said he, let's have a bottle of the best in the house; you have got a worthy gentleman for your lodger, let me tell you; he is the lawful heir to four thousand a year, and if he could eat gold he might have it. This harangue he had delivered before he left me time to express my astonishment. Sir, said I fancy you must be mistaken in the person, because I am not heir to a shilling a year that know of. Pshaw, my dear, hold your tongue, replied the doctor, the divel burn me but I know you better than you do yourself. Landlord, make haste with the wine, and my dear child want for nothing, I'll be the best friend you ever met with: if you want money let me know, and I'll supply you, though I'm only a poor priest, subsisting here upon charity.—I did not know what to make of all this, but presently the landlord returned with the wine, and some punch for me. As I was telling you, says he to mine host, you have a man of consequence in your house, and I hope you'll treat him as such. The devil burn me, but I'll tell you a good story about the brigadier: come, drink. When the brigadier was near seventy, and a fine lusty portly man he was, he complained of a black swelling in one of his legs; the doctors and surgeons said it was a mortification, and nothing, would save his life but cutting it off. How long will it be, said the general, before it will kill me. If I do not submit to the operation? They told him in that case he could not survive beyond twelve o'clock the next day. Very well, said he, I'm satisfied; I have been in many battles and never lost a limb, please God I'll go whole to my grave: I shall have time enough to settle my affairs, and take leave of my friends, that's sufficient for a man of my years. Upon this he signed his will, and made all his estate over to his young wife; who afterwards married Blundel of Kilkenny; invited all his acquaintances to a splendid entertainment, the mirth of which he never interrupted, by telling them his condition, but drank his bottle and cracked his joke as freely as the best of them: The next morning he sent for a clergyman, and settled his spiritual matters; after which he called his wife, and taking her tenderly by the hand, said, my dear, I hope have been a kind father to you, husband I was too old to be; I am upon the point of leaving you, and would die quite contented if I could see you well married before I go. My dear, said she, why do you talk thus? you have no ailment. But I have, said he, I now feel it, and so expired.—-I must digress:
Thus a heart unconscious of premeditated guilt, freely resigns itself to the hands of a being whose essence is mercy.—Happy the mortal who can obey the summons of his creator, however dreadfully announced, on this side immortality.
Though we have many rare examples of heroic virtue in the annals of Britain, none has afforded a more ample scope for admiration, than the life and death of Major General Wolfe; and I hope the little tribute I have offered to his memory in the following lines, will atone for the freedom I have taken of running away from my subject.
Tried, proved and lost, immortal Wolfe, thy doom,
"Gives meditation, even to madness room;"
Just when we learnt thy virtues to adore,
Alas! we learnt those virtues were no more.
Had Gallic thousands to thy manes bled,
'Twould ill compensate such a Briton dead;
Who, when Herculean labours he had past,
Resigned existence cheerfully at last;
Midst deadly pangs with fortitude admired,
Anxious the fate of British arms enquired
Was told the Gauls precipitately flew,
Content, he cried—and bade the world adieu.
Well, says the critic, where's the connection? What has all this to do with the matter in hand? I'll tell you, Sir, if you won't say I'm impertinent for the parallel, that I think the general, who died in his bed in the manner before described, showed almost as much magnanimity in meeting his fate, as he who so nobly embraced it in the field of honour. Now, good Sir, if you'll proceed to the next paragraph, you'll find the adventure of the friar laboriously prosecuted. When he had finished his story, and about five bottles of wine, he took his leave of his dear country-man, and allowed me the felicity of standing good in my landlord's book for that, and a supper, as I learned when I looked over the general account: he likewise every day favoured me with his good company, every day renewed his liberal protestations (particularly that he would go to Ithaly to serve me) and every day enormously increased my debt; the last article indeed without my privity, as I naturally concluded he paid at least for himself at the bar.
One morning at breakfast I discovered a kind of gloom overspread the countenances of my host and his spouse: I enquired the occasion of it, and received for answer, that a considerable bill had been drawn on them, and that they had no place to apply for money but where it was due; that to be sure everyone wanted their own, and therefore they would be glad if I settled with them. As I had not three-pence in my pocket, the truth of which they were not strangers to, I told them, that as to settling I was willing to do it, but as to paying it was not in my power.
Pshaw! Pshaw! says the man, a gentleman of your dependencies can't want money or friends; you may draw a bill upon your father by any Merchant in the city, and have an immediate return; or if you can get any one to pass their word for you, you shall have credit as long as you think proper.—These words, were scarcely uttered, when Father Luttrel entered, with his usual salute, the devil burn me but I'm glad to see you my dear child, I'd go to Ithaly to serve you: do you want anything I can do? This I thought extremely fortunate at such an exigence, and as the man and his wife politely left the room, told him the whole story.—And how much do you owe him, my dear child, said he? I really don't know, but will enquire. Well, well, make yourshelf easy about it (here he called for a bottle of wine and waived the discourse) When it was finished, he directed me to have my bill drawn out against night, and he would come, and make matters easy. Highly enraptured at his behaviour, I, communicated our conference to mine host. Look you there, Sir, said he, I told you the doctor was a worthy gentleman, and one whose word I'd accept for a hundred pounds
Not to dwell too long upon trifles, he came at night sure enough; but when the question was put home to him, in relation to becoming security for me, he said, the devil burn him if he would; because he had made a vow against ever doing it for mankind.—When the landlord upbraided him with encouraging me in extravagance, and flattering him with great expectations of his money, he said, To be sure, if he is the man he pretends to be, he may pay you, for aught I know; but I am not clear in that point by any means. You know he is no friend of mine, or I'd answer for him upon the word of a clergyman; but the devil burn me if I can say any more now, than to advise you to get your money the best way you can. I would not have you put him in prison, though that's certainly the surest way, but God forbid you should take so harsh a measure; yet if you did, his friends, if he has any, would not let him lie for any trifling demand like yours. After much discourse to the same purpose, he heartily wished us a good night. Nothing but an absolute insensibility of the impending danger could now have supported my spirits. My landlord. however, did not seem to despair, but only entreated me to write as soon as possible to my friends, as fourteen pounds was a great sum to be out of pocket.—I promised I would, though heaven knows I knew not where to apply; yet I had reason to hope Mr. O'Neill would upon such an occasion, show one last proof of his regard; and therefore, I determined to address myself to him the next post. The succeeding morning very early I went to the coffee-house, and there met the musician formerly mentioned, who, insisted on my taking a dinner with him, as he was to have some agreeable company. I'm going to market, said he, and if you'll step to my house and divert yourself with the harpsichord till I come I shall take it kind, as my wife is quite alone:—pleased to avoid the importunities I expected at home, I embraced his offer.
Having fiddled away a few hours, he entered with a look of anxiety and importance, and demanded in a peremptory manner how much I owed at the inn? I told him I had not seen the account, but I heard the man mention fourteen pounds. Can you pay him, said he? I answered in the negative. When do you think you can? I don't know till I hear from Ireland. Well, said he, you may think my abruptness impertinent, but you'll excuse it when I tell you I am an Englishman, and your friend; the scoundrel, your landlord, has taken a writ against you, which I learned by mere accident from a namesake of his, who is a lawyer; and therefore, I hope I shall have the good fortune to protect you from falling into his hands. The influence I have with the lawyer will prevent your being suddenly surprised, except you go into his house, which I hope you'll have prudence sufficient to avoid after this advertisement. Confounded at the melancholy prospect of a yet unexperienced stroke of adversity, I advised with my friend what was to be done. Nothing, said he; but to keep out of the way till you can settle with your landlord; for he is one of the most artful and obdurate villains this day upon earth. But where can I stay, said I, without pence for my pocket? Leave that to me; and in the meantime pluck up your spirits, and think no more about it.—I endeavoured to take his council, but the dreadful apprehensions I entertained were visible in my countenance.
I gave Mr. R—— a particular detail of the treachery of my worthy acquaintance the friar, for which he promised to afford me ample satisfaction; assuring me, that by the laws of Scotland he was liable to transportation.
Both his wife and himself exerted their good-nature in A peculiar manner; to make my condition sit easy on me. Mr. R—— at night lent me half a guinea, and took a lodging for me at a friend's house of his near the water-side, where he begged I would live with as much frugality and privacy as possible. Before he left me he called for a pint of wine, which lay before me at the fire-side, in a spacious cleanly kitchen.—N.B. It was an English house. My friend had left me Allan Ramsays's Works, which I was entirely taken up with, when someone said, "My service to you, Sir." Looking up, I saw a well-dressed jolly man, with a punch-bowl in his hand. Certain that I beheld the aspect of a catchpole, I fell into a tremble, having a sympathetic aversion to the presence of an Isgram; but my confusion was completed, when he sat down opposite to me, and said, "Pray, young spark, may I crave your name?" I had not power to reply, Pray, said he again, is not your name Pilkington? Sir, said I. don't expose me further, I'll go where you please. Hoity, toity, said he, are you out of your senses? I only ask you a civil question. I tell you, Sir, replied I, my name is Pilkington, I know your business, and only request you'll send for my friend, Mr. R——, who brought me here, before you put me in prison. Upon this he called for a private room and candles, and having desired me to follow him, immediately shut the door. Pray, Sir, said he, whose son are you? I told him. Is your father living? I answered, he is. What brought you here? I replied as well as horror and despair would admit me to do. And pray, Sir, what did you mean by my taking you to prison? I suppose, said I, you know that too well to need an explanation. Why, child, said he, have you robbed any person? No, Sir. Have you killed anyone? No, Sir. Then what do you take me for? A constable, Sir, said I. No, my poor boy, said he, I am commander of a ship, and a near relation of Matt. Pilkington's. Do you know nothing of your cousin Dick Pilkington? As I had a retentive memory of past occurrences, I recollected, that when I was very young, such a relation had taken leave of my brother and self, and made us some handsome present, with a promise to bring us a black and a monkey at his return from the East-Indies, the expectation of which made me more particularly carry him in my mind for so many years.
After calling for a bottle of wine, and ordering some supper, he demanded a succinct account of all my past proceedings, which as Othello says, I delivered
From my childish days,
To the very moment wherein he bade me tell it.
After having listened to me with a paternal attention and expressed his sorrow and astonishment at the separation of my father and mother, he inveighed bitterly against the inhumanity of the former, and said, Now, my dear boy, I am transported to meet with you, as it has pleased God to enable me, without diminishing my own circumstances, to make you happy. The debt you are so uneasy about, I'll give you money to pay to-morrow, as I shall be obliged to attend business the whole day, or I fancy I have cash enough about me; so saying, he pulled out a massy purse, and throwing the gold all upon the table, desired me to take as much as I wanted. This I declined: Come, come, boy, said he, you are as welcome as my heart, take it freely. I still refused. Nay then, said he, I must needs give it, there take it all, and ten times more is at your service. Sir, said I, I should not know what to do with so much money, and perhaps I may be robbed. Why, that's true boy, said he, well, 'tis all your own, take twenty guineas, and I'll be your agent for the future.
As my cousin was well known in the house; he made the man and his family come to supper with us; and, in short, a universal joy took place, as they were social agreeable people, and seemed really to participate in our satisfaction. The Captain sat up pretty late, and enjoyed himself and company with unfeigned rapture. Before we went to bed, he brought me into his chamber, and opening a large sea chest, which contained things of immense value, desired me to look over it, and take what I pleased; but as he could not prevail on me to comply with his generous request, he took a handsome chased gold watch, and a cluster brilliant diamond ring, and insisted on my accepting of them, as an earnest of what he would hereafter do.—These my vanity tempted me to receive, and my reader may conclude, I slept as little this night as I did the night of the apparition, or on that of the imaginary gift before-mentioned.
At breakfast the next morning the Captain told me, that while I was reading the night before he was contemplating my face, where the lineaments of my father were so strongly marked out, that he who knew him a schoolboy would almost have sworn it as himself, if he had not seen him since his maturity; but as he remembered his having two boys, he was, confident I must have been tone of them. As his occasions called him out till three o'clock, I had that interval of time to settle my affair, and went with a light heart to my friend. He was greatly surprised to see me, and said, with emotion, good God! Sir, why do you come abroad? I told him the danger was over. What, then you have paid the man, said he? No, Sir, but I have got money to do it. Oh! then you have heard from Ireland. Not a word, said I. But, not to keep him in suspense, I told him the lucky accident that had befallen me, and returned him thanks, as the occasion of it. He could scarcely credit my relation, but the watch and ring were authentic witnesses in its behalf. I returned him his half-guinea, and entreated he would go and settle the affair for me, giving him money for that purpose. When he returned he told me he never knew so monstrous an imposition, and that he would by no means pay for the parts of the account which properly belonged to the friar. He therefore insisted on their being subtracted from the other charges, which were likewise exorbitant; yet admitting them, his real demand on me was only nine pounds. I represented to him, said he, that if he persisted in claiming more from you, I would have the whole matter scrutinized in a public court; from whence he might be assured of the total loss of his reputation, and consequently his chief custom. Upon this I tendered him the money, which, after some prevarication he has accepted, and has given me a receipt in full. He is now gone out to take a writ for the worthy gentleman that would go to Italy to serve you.
Having thus quieted my mind, by discharging a debt of necessity, I became impatient to dismiss a debt of honour that hung over me, namely, the money so obligingly lent me in my distress, by the kind lass at the inn before-mentioned; and as I could not think of returning the money without some instance of my esteem, I asked my friend's wife, what present she thought would be most acceptable to a young girl, the story of whose good-nature I related to her. She demanded what price I would go to? I answered, three or four guineas. Then, said she, I am acquainted with a jeweller, who shall bring you a box of trinkets, and you may take your choice. She accordingly did, and I singled out a ring with two hearts; the one a ruby, and the other a diamond, which cost me four guineas. This, with the cash I was indebted before, I sealed up in a box, and sent them the same day by a trusty messenger, who was going to that place express oh other business. At the same time I purchased, for my friend's wife, a handsome gilt silver snuff box, which, with great difficulty, I prevailed on her to take.