The Adventures of Roderick Random

The Adventures of Roderick Random

The Text Edited by O M BRACK
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 680
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Adventures of Roderick Random
    Book Description:

    This is the definitive scholarly edition of Tobias Smollett's first novel, widely regarded as one of his two masterpieces, the other being The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Roderick Random was also, in its time, the chief rival to Henry Fielding's comic novel Tom Jones. Surging with verbal, sexual, and martial energy, The Adventures of Roderick Random opens a window on life, love, and war in the eighteenth century. The hero battles his way from poverty and neglect to make his mark as a doctor, writer, fighter, and lover. His adventures take us across the world, from England and France to the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. One of the first truly global novels, it casts light on nearly every aspect of its time-imperialism, gender relations, slavery, urban life, colonial warfare, commerce, politics, the professions, high society, and the Hogarthian underworld. Complete with illustrations and comprehensive annotations, this is the first edition to include Smollett's long-forgotten antiwar pamphlet, An Account of the Expedition against Carthagene in the West Indies, which was drawn from his own war experience and on which key sections of the novel are based. The editors also provide a detailed biographical and historical introduction, based on the most recent scholarship, mapping the novel's enormous impact in its own time and its influence on the history of litera­ture over the centuries since.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4128-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
    J.G.B. and N.A.S.
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
    (pp. xxiii-lx)

    When The Adventures of Roderick Random was published on 21 January 1748, this raucous novel by the Scotsman Tobias Smollett marked a major breakthrough in its author’s career and in the history of fiction. Still only twenty-six years old, the Glasgow-trained surgeon had been trying for more than eight years to succeed as a writer. In 1739 Smollett had come to London, like James Thomson and Samuel Johnson before him, with the manuscript of a tragedy in hand and other projects under way. Yet until Roderick Random he had not succeeded in publishing anything more than two short poems and...

  8. The Adventures of Roderick Random:: VOLUME ONE
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 1-2)
      (pp. 3-6)
      (pp. 7-8)
      (pp. 9-16)
      (pp. 17-19)

      I was born in the northern part of this united kingdom,¹ in the house of my grandfather, a gentleman of considerable fortune and influence, who had on many occasions signalized himself in behalf of his country; and was remarkable for his abilities in the law, which he exercised with great success, in the station of a judge, particularly against beggars, for whom he had a singular aversion.

      My father (his youngest son) falling in love with a poor relation, who lived with the old gentleman in quality of house-keeper, espoused her privately; and I was the first fruit of that...

      (pp. 20-22)

      There were not wanting some, who suspected my uncles of being concerned in my father’s fate, on the supposition that they would all share in the patrimony destined for him: and this conjecture was strengthened by reflecting, that in all his calamities they never discovered the least inclination to serve him; but, on the contrary, by all the artifices in their power, fed his father’s resentment, and supported his resolution of leaving him to misery and want.—But people of judgment treated this insinuation as an idle chimera; because had my relations been so wicked as to consult their interest...

      (pp. 22-26)

      About this time my mother’s only brother, who had been long abroad, lieutenant of a man of war,¹ arrived in his own country; where, being informed of my condition, he came to see me, and out of his slender finances not only supplied me with what necessaries I wanted for the present, but resolved not to leave the country until he had prevailed on my grandfather to settle something handsome for the future. This was a task to which he was by no means equal, being entirely ignorant not only of the judge’s disposition, but also of the ways of...

      (pp. 26-28)

      A few weeks after our first visit, we were informed that the old judge, at the end of a fit of thoughtfulness, which lasted three days, had sent for a notary and made his will; that the distemper’ had mounted from his legs to his stomach, and being conscious of his approaching end, he had desired to see all his descendants without exception.—In obedience to this summons, my uncle set out with me a second time, to receive the last benediction of my grandfather; often repeating by the road, “Ey, ey, we have brought up the old hulk² at...

      (pp. 28-31)

      On our way back to the village, my uncle spoke not a word during the space of a whole hour, but whistled with great vehemence, the tune of, Why should we quarrel for riches, &c¹ his visage being contracted all the while into a most formidable frown. At length his pace increased to such a degree, that I was left behind a considerable way: then he waited for me; and when I was almost up with him, called out, in a surly tone, “Bear a hand,² damme! must I bring to³ every minute for you, you lazy dog.”—Then laying...

      (pp. 32-36)

      As I was now capable of reflection, I began to consider my precarious situation; that I was utterly abandoned by those whose duty it was to protect me; and that my sole dependance was on the generosity of one man, who was not only exposed by his profession to continual dangers, which might one day deprive me of him for ever; but also (no doubt) subject to those vicissitudes of disposition, which a change of fortune usually creates; or, which a better acquaintance with the world might produce: for I always ascribed his benevolence to the dictates of a heart...

      (pp. 36-40)

      The fumes of my resentment being dissipated, as well as the vanity of my success, I found myself deserted to all the horrors of extreme want, and avoided by mankind as a creature of a different species, or rather as a solitary being, no ways comprehended within the scheme or protection of providence. My despair had rendered me almost quite stupified, when I was one day told, that a gentleman desired to see me, at a certain public house, whither immediately I repaired; and was introduced to one Mr. Launcelot Crab,¹ a surgeon in town, who was engaged with two...

      (pp. 40-44)

      There is no such convenience as a waggon¹ in this country, and my finances were too weak to support the expence of hiring a horse; I determined therefore to set out with the carriers, who transport goods from one place to another on horse-back; and this scheme I accordingly put in execution, on the first day of November 1739,² sitting upon a pack-saddle between two baskets; one of which contained my goods in a knapsack. But by the time we arrived at Newcastle upon Tyne,³ I was so fatigued with the tediousness of the carriage, and benumbed with the coldness...

      (pp. 45-48)

      After having paid our score, and taking leave of our hostess, who embraced me tenderly at parting, we proceeded on our journey, blessing ourselves that we had come off so well. We had not walked above five miles, when we observed a man on horseback galloping after us, whom we in a short time recognized to be no other than this formidable hero who had already given us so much vexation.—He stopped hard by me, and asked if I knew who he was?—My astonishment had disconcerted me so much, that I did not hear his question, which he...

      (pp. 48-52)

      Strap and I were about to depart on our journey, when we perceived a croud on the road, coming towards us shouting and hallooing all the way. As it approached, we could discern a man on horse-back in the middle, with his hands tied behind him, whom we soon knew to be Rifle.—This highwayman not being so well mounted as the two servants who went in pursuit of him, was soon overtaken, and after having discharged his pistols, made prisoner without any further opposition. They were carrying him in triumph, amidst the acclamations of the country people, to a...

      (pp. 52-58)

      We travelled half a mile without exchanging one word; my thoughts being engrossed by the knavery of the world, to which I must be daily exposed; and the contemplation of my finances, which began sensibly to diminish.—At length Strap, who could hold no longer, addressed me thus:—“Well, fools and their money are soon parted.¹—If my advice had been taken, that old skin-flint should have been damn’d before he had got more than the third of his demand.—’Tis a sure sign you came easily by your money, when you squander it away in this manner.—Ah! God...

      (pp. 58-64)

      Next morning, I agreed to give the master of the waggon ten shillings for my passage to London, provided Strap should be allowed to take my place when I should be disposed to walk.—At the same time I desired him to appease the incensed captain, who had entered the kitchen, with a drawn sword in his hand, and threatned with many oaths, to sacrifice the villain, who attempted to violate his bed; but it was to no purpose for the master to explain the mistake, and assure him of the poor lad’s innocence, who stood trembling behind me all...

      (pp. 64-71)

      We arrived at our inn, supped and went to bed; but Strap’s distemper continuing, he was obliged to rise in the middle of the night, and taking the candle in his hand, which he had left burning for the purpose, he went down to the house of office,¹ whence in a short time he returned in a great hurry, with his hair standing on end, and a look betokening horror and astonishment. Without speaking a word, he set down the light and jumped into bed behind me, where he lay and trembled with great violence. When I asked him what...

      (pp. 72-75)

      In the afternoon, my companion proposed to call at his friend’s house, which, we were informed, was in the neighbourhood, whither we accordingly went, and were so lucky as to find him at home. This gentleman, who had come from Scotland three or four years before, kept a school in town, where he taught the Latin, French and Italian languages; but what he chiefly professed was the pronunciation of the English tongue,¹ after a method more speedy and uncommon than any practised heretofore; and indeed if his scholars spoke like their master, the latter part of his undertaking was certainly...

      (pp. 76-79)

      In our way to our lodging, after a profound silence on both sides, Strap with a hideous groan observed, that we had brought our pigs to a fine market.¹ To this observation I made no reply, and he went on: “God send us well out of this place, we have not been in London eight and forty hours, and I believe we have met with eight and forty thousand misfortunes.—We have been jeered, reproached, buffeted, pissed upon, and at last stript of our money: and I suppose by and by we shall be stript of our skins.—Indeed as...

      (pp. 80-85)

      In the morning I rose and went to the place of rendezvous, where I waited two hours in vain; and was so exasperated against him for breaking his appointment, that I set out for the city by myself, in hope of finding the villain, and being revenged on him for his breach of promise.—At length I found myself at the Navy-Office, which I entered, and saw crowds of young fellows walking below; many of whom made no better appearance than myself—I consulted the physiognomy of each, and at last made up to one whose countenance I lik’d; and...

      (pp. 85-91)

      With the assistance of this faithful adherent, who gave me almost all the money he earned, I preserved my half guinea entire, till the day of examination, when I went with a quaking heart to Surgeon’s-hall, in order to undergo that ceremony.—Among a croud of young fellows who walked in the outward hall, I perceived Mr. Jackson, to whom I immediately went up, and enquiring into the state of his amour, understood it was still undetermined, by reason of his friend’s absence, and the delay of the recal at Chatham, which put it out of his power to bring...

      (pp. 92-95)

      I would willingly have gone home to sleep, but was told by my companions, that we must deliver our letters of qualification at the Navy-office before one a-clock; accordingly we went thither, and gave them to the S——t——y, who opened and read them, and I was mightily pleased to find myself qualified for second mate of a third rate.¹ When he had stuck them altogether on a file, one of our company asked if there were any vacancies? To which interrogation he answered, No. Then I ventured to enquire if any ships were to be put in commission...

      (pp. 96-100)

      Next day while I was at work in the shop, a bouncing damsel well-dressed came in, on pretence of finding a vial for some use or other; and taking an opportunity when she thought I did not mind her, of observing me narrowly, went away with a silent look of disdain.—I easily guessed her sentiments, and my pride took the resolution of entertaining the same indifference and neglect towards her.—At dinner, the maids with whom I dined in the kitchen, gave me to understand that this was my master’s only daughter, who would have a very handsome fortune,...

      (pp. 100-103)

      One night about twelve o’ clock, as I return’d from visiting a patient at Chelsea,¹ I received a blow on my head from an unseen hand, that stretch’d me senseless on the ground; and was left for dead with three stabs of a sword in my body. The groans I utter’d when I recover’d the use of my reason, alarm’d the people of a solitary ale-house, that stood near the spot where I lay, and they were humane enough to take me in, and send for a surgeon, who dressed my wounds, and assured me they were not mortal. One...

      (pp. 104-111)

      While I enjoyed myself at large in this temper of mind, Mr. Lavement let his first floor to my countryman and acquaintance Squire Gawky, who by this time had got a lieutenancy in the army, and such a martial ferocity in his appearance, that I was afraid he would remember what had happened between us in Scotland, and attone for his breach of appointment then, by his punctuality now; but whether he had actually forgot me, or was willing to make me believe so, he betrayed not the least symptom of recognition at sight of me, and I remained quite...

      (pp. 112-119)

      My father was an eminent merchant in the city, who having, in the course of trade, suffered very considerable losses, retired in his old age with his wife to a small estate in the country, which he had purchased with the remains of his fortune.—At that time I being but eight years of age, was left in town for the convenience of education, boarded with an aunt, who was a rigid presbyterian,² and who confined me so closely to what she called the duties of religion, that in time I grew weary of her doctrines, and by degrees conceived...

      (pp. 119-126)

      Her story was here interrupted by a rap at the door, which I no sooner opened, than three or four terrible fellows rushed in, one of whom accosted my fellow-lodger thus:—“Madam, your servant—you must do me the favour to come along with me—I have got a writ against you.”—While the bailiff (for so he was) spoke thus, his followers surrounded the prisoner, and began to handle her very roughly.—This treatment incensed me so much, that I snatched up the poker, and would certainly have used it in defence of the lady, without any regard to...

      (pp. 127-132)

      I applauded the resolution of Miss Williams, who a few days after, was hired in quality of bar-keeper, by one of the ladies who had witnessed in her behalf at the Marshalsea; and who since that time had got credit with a wine merchant, whose favourite she was, to set up a convenient house of her own.—Thither my fellow-lodger repaired, after having taken leave of me, with a torrent of tears, and a thousand protestations of eternal gratitude; assuring me, she would remain in this situation no longer than she could pick up money sufficient to put her other...

      (pp. 132-135)

      While he was thus discoursing to me, we heard a voice on the cockpit-ladder, pronounce with great vehemence, in a strange dialect,¹ “The devil and his dam blow me from the top of Mounchdenny,² if I go to him before there is something in my pelly;—let his nose be as yellow as saffron, or as blue as a pell (look you) or green as a leek,³ ’tis all one.”—To this declaration somebody answered, “So it seems my poor mess-mate must part his cable⁴ for want of a little assistance.—His fore-top-sail is loose⁵ already; and besides, the doctor...

      (pp. 135-138)

      I could not comprehend how it was possible for the attendants to come near those who hung on the inside towards the sides of the ship, in order to assist them, as they seemed barricadoed by those who lay on the outside, and entirely out of the reach of all visitation—Much less could I conceive how my friend Thomson would be able to administer clysters, that were ordered for some in that situation; when I saw him thrust his wig in his pocket, and strip himself to his waistcoat in a moment, then creep on all four, under the...

      (pp. 138-143)

      While I was busied with my friend in this practice, the doctor chanced to pass by the place where we were, and stopping to observe me, appeared very well satisfied with my method of application; and afterwards sent for me to his cabbin, where, having examined me touching my skill in surgery, and the particulars of my fortune, he interested himself so far in my behalf, as to promise his assistance in procuring a warrant for me, seeing I had been already found qualified at Surgeon’s-Hall, for the station I filled on board; and in this good office he the...

      (pp. 144-147)

      The captain was carried into his cabbin, so enraged with the treatment he had received, that he ordered the fellow to be brought before him, that he might have the pleasure of pistoling him with his own hand; and would certainly have satisfied his revenge in this manner, had not the first lieutenant remonstrated against it, by observing that, in all appearance, the fellow was not mad, but desperate; that he had been hired by some enemy of the captain to assassinate him, and therefore ought to be kept in irons till he could be brought to a court-martial, which,...

      (pp. 147-150)

      In the mean time, the storm subsided into a brisk gale, that carried us into the warm latitudes, where the weather became intolerable, and the crew very sickly.—The doctor left nothing unattempted towards the completion of his vengeance against the Welchman and me. He went among the sick under pretence of enquiring into their grievances, with a view of picking up complaints to our prejudice; but finding himself frustrated in that expectation by the good will we had procured from the patients by our diligence and humanity, he took the resolution of listening to our conversation, by hiding himself...

      (pp. 150-155)

      The news of this event affected my fellow-prisoner and me extremely, as our unfortunate companion had justly acquired, by his amiable disposition, the love and esteem of us both; and the more we regretted his untimely fate, the greater horror we conceived for the villain who was undoubtedly the occasion of it.—This abandoned miscreant did not discover the least symptom of concern for Thomson’s death, although he must have been conscious to himself, of having driven him by ill usage to that fatal resolution; but desired the captain to set Morgan at liberty again to look after the patients....

      (pp. 155-157)

      Mean while, a quarrel happening between the two modern Greeks,¹ the one to be revenged of the other, came and discovered to us the mystery of Mackshane’s dialogue, as I have explained it above. This detection coming to the ears of the doctor, who was sensible that (now we were in sight of Jamaica) we should have an opportunity of clearing ourselves before a court-martial, and at the same time, of making his malice and ignorance conspicuous, he interceded for us with the captain so effectually, that in a few hours we were set at liberty, and ordered to return...

      (pp. 158-161)

      Our forces being landed and stationed as I have already mentioned, set about erecting a fascine battery¹ to cannonade the principal fort of the enemy, and in something more than three weeks, it was ready to open. That we might do the Spaniards as much honour as possible, it was determined in a council of war, that five of our largest ships should attack the fort on one side, while the battery, strengthened by two mortars and twenty-four cohorns,² should ply it on the other.

      Accordingly, the signal for our ship to engage, among others, was hoisted, we being advertised...

      (pp. 161-164)

      Having cannonaded the fort, during the space of four hours, we were all ordered to slip our cables, and sheer off;¹ but next day the engagement was renewed, and continued from the morning till the afternoon, when the enemy’s fire from Boca Chica slackened, and towards evening was quite silenced.—A breach being made on the other side, by our land-battery, large enough to admit a middle-sized baboon, provided he could find means to climb up to it; our general proposed to give the assault that very night, and actually ordered a detachment on that duty: Providence stood our friend...

      (pp. 165-171)

      The change of the atmosphere, occasioned by this phænomenon, conspired with the stench that surrounded us, the heat of the climate, our own constitutions impoverished by bad provision, and our despair, to introduce the bilious fever¹ among us, which raged with such violence that three fourths of those whom it invaded, died in a deplorable manner; the colour of their skin being, by the extreme putrefaction of the juices, changed into that of soot.

      Our conductors finding things in this situation, perceived it was high time to relinquish our conquests; and this we did, after having rendered their artillery useless,...

      (pp. 171-174)

      He was going on with an elogium upon the captain, when I received a message to clean myself and go up to the great cabbin: And with this command I instantly complied, sweetning myself with rose-water from the medicine chest. When I entered the room, I was ordered to stand by the door, until captain Whiffle had reconnoitered me at a distance, with a spy-glass. He having consulted one sense in this manner, bade me advance gradually, that his nose might have intelligence, before it could be much offended: I therefore approached with great caution and success, and he was...

      (pp. 175-178)

      When my patients were all in a fair way, my companion and commander, whose name was Brayl,¹ carried me up the country to the house of a rich planter, with whom he was acquainted; where we were sumptuously entertained, and in the evening set out on our return to the ship. When we had walked about a mile by moonlight, we perceived a horseman behind us, who coming up, wished us good even, and asked which way we went: His voice, which was quite familiar to me, no sooner struck my ear, than, in spite of all my resolution and...

  9. The Adventures of Roderick Random:: VOLUME TWO
    • Middle Matter
      (pp. 179-182)
      (pp. 183-190)
      (pp. 191-194)

      Now that I could return to my native country in a creditable way, I felt excessive pleasure in finding myself out of sight of that fatal island, which has been the grave of so many Europeans;¹ and as I was accommodated with every thing to render the passage agreeable, I resolved to enjoy myself as much as the insolence of Crampley would permit.—This insidious slanderer had found means already to cause a misunderstanding between the surgeon and captain, who by his age and infirmities was rendered intolerably peevish, his disposition having also been sowered by a long course of...

      (pp. 194-199)

      But as I lay ruminating, my passion insensibly abated; I considered my situation in quite another light than that in which it appeared to me at first, and the result of my deliberation was to rise if I could, and crawl to the next inhabited place for assistance—With some difficulty I got upon my legs, and having examined my body, found I had received no other injury than two large contused wounds, one on the fore and another on the hinder part of my head; which seemed to be occasioned by the same weapon; namely, the butt-end of a...

      (pp. 200-203)

      Fraught with these useful instructions, I repaired to the place of her habitation, and was introduced by the waiting-woman to the presence of my lady, who had not before seen me.—She sat in her study, with one foot on the ground, and the other upon a high stool at some distance from her seat; her sandy locks hung down in a disorder I cannot call beautiful, from her head, which was deprived of its coif,¹ for the benefit of scratching with one hand, while she held the stump of a pen in the other.—Her forehead was high and...

      (pp. 204-208)

      During this season of love and tranquillity, my muse, which had lain dormant so long, awoke, and produced several small performances¹ on the subject of my flame: But as it concerned me nearly to remain undiscovered in my real character and sentiments, I was under a necessity of mortifying my desire of praise, by confining my works to my own perusal and applause.——In the mean time I strove to insinuate myself into the good opinion of both ladies; and succeeded so well, by my diligence and dutiful behaviour, that in a little time, I was at least a favourite...

      (pp. 208-214)

      At certain intervals, my ambition would revive; I would despise myself for my tame resignation to my sordid fate, and revolve an hundred schemes for assuming the character of a gentleman, to which I thought myself intitled by birth and education.—In these fruitless suggestions time stole away unperceived, and I had already remained eight months in the station of a footman, when an accident happened, that put an end to my servitude, and for the present, banished all hopes of succeeding in my love.

      Narcissa went one day to visit Miss Thicket, who lived with her brother within less...

      (pp. 214-218)

      When our repast was ended, we walked down to the harbour, where we found a cutter that was to sail for Deal in the evening, and Mr. Bowling agreed for his passage: In the mean time, we sauntred about the town to satisfy our curiosity, our conversation turning on the subject of my designs, which were not as yet fixed: Neither can it be supposed, that my mind was at ease, when I found myself reduced almost to extreme poverty, in the midst of foreigners, among whom I had not one acquaintance to advise or befriend me.—My uncle was...

      (pp. 219-223)

      The third night of our pilgrimage we passed at a house near Amiens,¹ where Balthazar being unknown, we supped upon indifferent fare, and sour wine, and were fain to lie in a garret upon an old mattrass, which, I believe had been in the possession of ten thousand myriads² of fleas, time out of mind.—We did not invade their territory with impunity; in less than a minute we were attacked by stings innumerable, in spite of which, however, I fell fast asleep, being excessively fatigued with our day’s march, and did not wake till nine next morning, when seeing...

      (pp. 224-230)

      He was disconcerted at this declaration, to which he made no reply, but repaired to the dancers, among whom he recounted his victory with many exaggerations and gasconades;² while I, taking up my sword, went to my quarters, and examined my wound, which I found was of no consequence.—The same day, an Irish drummer, having heard of my misfortune, visited me, and after having condoled me on the chance of war, gave me to understand, that he was master of his sword, and would in a very short time instruct me so thoroughly in that noble science, that I...

      (pp. 231-239)

      As soon as we alighted at the inn, I dispatched Strap to enquire for my uncle, at the Union Flag¹ in Wapping; and he returned in a little time, with an account of Mr. Bowling’s having gone to sea, mate of a merchant-ship, after a long and unsuccessful application and attendance at the admiralty; where, it seems, the interest he depended upon was not sufficient to reinstate him, or recover the pay that was due to him when he quitted the Thunder.

      Next day I hired very handsome lodgings not far from Charing-cross; and in the evening, dressed myself in...

      (pp. 240-246)

      I accepted his offer with pleasure, and we went thither in a hackney-coach,¹ where I saw a great number of gay figures fluttering about, most of whom spoke to the doctor with great familiarity. Among the rest stood a groupe of them around the fire, whom I immediately knew to be the very persons who had the night before, by their laughing, alarmed my suspicion of the lady who had put herself under my protection.—They no sooner perceived me enter with Dr. Wagtail² (for that was my companion’s name) than they tittered and whispered one to another; and I...

      (pp. 246-251)

      In the morning before I got up, Strap came into my chamber, and finding me awake, hemmed several times, scratched his head, cast his eyes upon the ground, and with a very foolish kind of simper upon his face, gave me to understand he had something to communicate.—“By your countenance,” said I, “I expect to hear good tidings.”—“Indifferent (replied he, tittering) that is thereafter as it shall be.—You must know, I have some thoughts of altering my condition.”—“What! (cried I, astonished) a matrimonial scheme? O rare Strap!¹ thou hast got the heels of me² at last.”—...

      (pp. 252-254)

      Being as willing to drop the theme as he to propose it, I accompanied him thither, where we found Mr. Medlar and doctor Wagtail, disputing upon the word custard, which the physician affirmed should be spelled with a G, because it was derived from the Latin verb gustare, “to taste.”——But Medlar pleaded custom in behalf of C, observing, that by the doctor’s rule, we ought to change pudding into budding, because it is derived from the French word Boudin;¹ and in that case why not retain the original orthography and pronunciation of all the foreign words we have adopted;...

      (pp. 255-259)

      When I was ready to go abroad next day, Strap brought me a letter, To Mr. Random, Esq; Those.¹——Which, upon opening, I found contained a challenge contained in these very extraordinary terms:


      Whereas, I am informed that you make love to Miss Melinda Goosetrap, this is to let you know, that she is under promise of marriage to me; and that I am at this present writing at the back of Montague-house,² with a pair of good pistols in my hand; and if you will keep your appointment, I will make your tongue confess (after the breath is...

      (pp. 260-267)

      In the mean time, my attention was wholly engrossed in search of another mistress, and the desire of being revenged on Melinda, in both which schemes I was very much assisted by Billy Chatter, who was such a necessary creature among the ladies, that in all private dances he engaged the men.—To him therefore I applied, desiring he would introduce me to a partner of some figure, at the next private assembly, for the sake of a frolic, the intention of which I would afterwards communicate. Billy, who had heard something of a difference between Melinda and me, immediately...

      (pp. 268-273)

      Baffled hitherto in my matrimonial schemes, I began to question my talents for the science of fortune-hunting, and to bend my thoughts towards some employment under the government: With the view of procuring which, I cultivated the acquaintance of Lords Straddle and Swillpot, whose fathers were men of interest at court.—I found these young noblemen as open to my advances as I could desire: I accompanied them in their midnight rambles, and often dined with them at taverns, where I had the honour of paying the reckoning.

      I one day took the opportunity, while I was loaded with protestations...

      (pp. 273-278)

      I was so confounded that I could make no reply to Banter; who reproached me with great indignation for having thrown away upon rascals, that which, had it been converted into ready money, would have supported the rank of a gentleman for some months, and enabled me at the same time, to oblige my friends.——Stupified as I was, I could easily divine the source of his concern, but sneaked away in a solitary manner, without yielding the least answer to his expostulations; and began to deliberate with myself in what manner I should attempt to retrieve the moveables I...

      (pp. 279-282)

      Having finished this affair to my satisfaction, I found myself perfectly at ease, and looking upon the gaming-table as a certain resource for a gentleman in want, became more gay than ever.—Although my cloaths were almost as good as new, I grew ashamed of wearing them, because I thought every body, by this time, had got an inventory of my wardrobe.—For which reason, I disposed of a good part of my apparel to a salesman in Monmouth-street,¹ for half the value, and bought two new suits with the money. I likewise purchased a plain gold watch, despairing of...

      (pp. 283-287)

      In the mean time, day breaking in upon us, discovered to one another, the faces of their fellow-travellers; and I had the good fortune to find my mistress not quite so deformed nor disagreeable as she had been represented to me.—Her head, indeed, bore some resemblance to a hatchet, the edge being represented by her face; but she had a certain delicacy in her complexion, and a great deal of vivacity in her eyes, which were very large and black; and though the protuberance of her breast, when considered alone, seemed to drag her forwards, it was easy to...

      (pp. 288-293)

      During this unsocial interval, my pride and interest maintained a severe conflict, on the subject of Miss Snapper, whom the one represented as unworthy of notice, and the other proposed as the object of my whole attention: The advantages and disadvantages attending such a match were opposed to one another by my imagination; and at length, my judgment gave it so much in favour of the first, that I resolved to prosecute my scheme with all the address in my power.—I thought I perceived some concern in her countenance, occasioned by my silence, which she no doubt imputed to...

      (pp. 294-299)

      In the afternoon, I drank tea at the house of Mr. Freeman, to whom I had been recommended by Banter; where I had not sat five minutes, ’till the fox-hunter came in, and by his familiar behaviour appeared to be intimate with my friend—I was, at first, under some concern, lest he should recollect my features; but when I found myself introduced to him as a gentleman from London, without being discovered, I blessed the opportunity that brought me into his company; hoping that, in the course of our acquaintance, he would invite me to his house—nor were...

      (pp. 300-305)

      I was met next morning, at the usual place, by Miss Williams, who gave me joy of the progress I had made in the affection of her mistress, and blessed me with an account of that dear creature’s conversation with her, after she had retired the night before, from our company.——I could scarce believe her information, when she recounted her expressions in my favour, so much more warm and passionate were they than my most sanguine hopes had presaged; and was particularly pleased to hear that she approved of my behaviour to her brother, after she withdrew.——Transported at...

      (pp. 305-308)

      Having uttered this exclamation, at which she sighed, I went home in the condition of a frantic Bedlamite; and finding the fire in my apartment almost extinguished, vented my fury upon poor Strap, whose ear I pinched with such violence, that he roared hideously with pain, and when I quitted my hold looked so foolishly aghast, that no unconcerned spectator could have seen him, without being seized with an immoderate fit of laughter.—It is true, I was soon sensible of the injury I had done, and asked pardon for the outrage I had committed; upon which my faithful valet,...

      (pp. 309-312)

      I thanked him for his advice, which, however, my pride and resentment would not permit me to follow; for he no sooner left me, in order to do justice to my character among his friends and acquaintance, than I sallied out, and went directly to the long-room.—I was met at the door by a servant, who presented to me a billet¹ without a subscription, importing that my presence was disagreeable to the company, and desiring I would take the hint without further disturbance, and bestow myself elsewhere for the future.—This peremptory message filled me with indignation.—I followed...

      (pp. 313-317)

      While I entertained myself with these reflexions, the news of the duel being communicated by some unknown channel, spread all over the town.—I was visited by Freeman, who testified his surprize at finding me; for, he was told, that Lord Quiverwit being dead of his wounds, I had absconded, in order to avoid the cognizance of the law. I asked if people guessed the occasion of the quarrel; and understanding it was attributed to his lordship’s resentment of my reply in the long-room, confirmed that conjecture, glad to find Narcissa unsuspected.—My friend, after I had assured him that...

      (pp. 317-322)

      But this expedient was in a few weeks attended with a consequence I did not foresee: a player having purchased one of the suits which were exposed to sale, appeared in it on the stage one night, while my taylor unfortunately happened to be present.—He knew it immediately, and enquiring minutely into the affair, discovered my whole contrivance: upon which he came to my lodgings, and telling me that he was very much straitened for want of money, presented his bill, which amounted to 50 l.—Surprized at this unexpected address, I affected to treat him cavalierly, swore some...

      (pp. 322-328)

      While we ate our breakfast together, I made him acquainted with the character and condition of the poet, who came in with his play at that instant, and imagining we were engaged about business, could not be prevailed upon to sit; but leaving his performance, went away.—My friend’s tender heart was melted at the sight of a gentleman and christian (for he had a great veneration for both these epithets) in such misery; and assented with great chearfulness to a proposal I made of cloathing him with our superfluities; a task with which he charged himself, and departed immediately...

      (pp. 328-336)

      “I made shift, notwithstanding, to maintain myself till the beginning of next winter, when I renewed my addresses to my friend Mr. Supple, and was most graciously received.——‘I have been thinking of your affair, Mr. Melopoyn (said he) and am determined to shew how far I have your interest at heart, by introducing you to a young nobleman of my acquaintance, who is remarkable for his fine taste in dramatic writings, and is, besides, a man of such influence, that if once he should approve of your play, his patronage will support it against all the efforts of envy...

      (pp. 337-342)

      I shall not make any reflections on this story, in the course of which the reader must perceive how egregiously the simplicity and milky disposition of this worthy man, had been duped and abused by a set of scoundrels, who were so habituated to falshood and equivocation, that I verily believe, they would have found the utmost difficulty in uttering one syllable of truth, though their lives had depended upon their sincerity.—Notwithstanding all I had suffered from the knavery and selfishness of mankind, I was amazed and incensed at the base indifference which suffered such uncommon merit as he...

      (pp. 342-348)

      It was now I put in execution the scheme I had projected at London; and asking leave of the captain, for Strap and me to stay on shore till the wind should become favourable, my request was granted, because he had orders to remain in the Downs until he should receive some dispatches from London, which he did not expect in less than a week.—Having imparted my resolution to my trusty valet, who (tho’ he endeavour’d to dissuade me from such a rash undertaking) would not quit me in the enterprize, I hired horses, and set out immediately for...

      (pp. 349-354)

      Our ship being freed from the disagreeable lading of Negroes, to whom indeed I had been a miserable slave,¹ since our leaving the coast of Guinea, I began to enjoy myself, and breathe with pleasure the pure air of Paraguay, this part of which is reckoned the Montpelier of South America,² and has obtained, on account of its climate, the name of Buenos Ayres.³—It was in this delicious place, that I gave myself entirely up to the thoughts of my dear Narcissa, whose image still kept possession of my breast, and whose charms enhanced by absence, appeared to my...

      (pp. 354-360)

      I enquired, as soon as I got ashore, about my generous companion Mr. Thomson; and hearing that he lived in a flourishing condition, upon the estate left to him by his wife’s father, who had been dead some years, I took horse immediately, with the consent of Don Rodrigo, who had heard me mention him with great regard, and in a few hours reached the place of his habitation.

      I should much wrong the delicacy of Mr. Thomson’s sentiments, to say barely he was glad to see me: He felt all that the most sensible and disinterested friendship could feel...

      (pp. 361-365)

      After having spent the evening to the satisfaction of all present, my father addressed himself thus to Narcissa, “Madam, give me leave to consider you hereafter as my daughter, in which capacity I insist upon your accepting this first instance of my paternal duty and affection.” With these words he put into her hand a bank-note of 500 l. which she no sooner examined, than with a low curtesy she replied, “Dear Sir, tho’ I have not the least occasion for this supply, I have too great a veneration for you, to refuse this proof of your generosity and esteem,...

      (pp. 366-368)

      My father intending to revisit his native country, and pay the tribute of a few tears at my mother’s grave, Narcissa and I resolved to accompany him in the execution of this pious office, and accordingly prepared for the journey; in which, however, my uncle would not engage, being resolved to try his fortune once more at sea. In the mean time, he renewed his will in favour of my wife and me, and deposited it in the hands of his brother-in-law: while I (that I might not be wanting to my own interest) summoned the squire to produce his...

    (pp. 369-388)
    (pp. 389-506)
    (pp. 507-518)
    (pp. 519-522)
    (pp. 523-524)
    (pp. 525-598)
    (pp. 599-606)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 607-620)