HotFreeBooks.com
The History of John Bull
by John Arbuthnot
Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

There was no man in the world less subject to rancour than John Bull, considering how often his good nature has been abused; yet I don't know but he was too apt to hearken to tattling people that carry tales between him and his sister Peg, on purpose to sow jealousies and set them together by the ears. They say that there were some hardships put upon Peg which had been better let alone; but it was the business of good people to restrain the injuries on one side and moderate the resentments on the other—a good friend acts both parts, the one without the other will not do.

The purchase-money of Peg's farm was ill paid;* then Peg loved a little good liquor, and the servants shut up the wine-cellar; but for that Peg found a trick, for she made a false key.** Peg's servants complained that they were debarred from all manner of business, and never suffered to touch the least thing within the house; if they offered to come into the warehouse, then straight went the yard slap over their noddle; if they ventured into the counting-room a fellow would throw an ink-bottle at their head; if they came into the best apartment to set anything there in order, they were saluted with a broom; if they meddled with anything in the kitchen it was odds but the cook laid them over the pate with a ladle; one that would have got into the stables was met by two rascals, who fell to work with him with a brush and a curry-comb; some climbing up into the coachbox, were told that one of their companions had been there before that could not drive, then slap went the long whip about their ears.

* The equivalent not paid.

** Run wine.

On the other hand, it was complained that Peg's servants were always asking for drink-money; that they had more than their share of the Christmas-box.* To say the truth, Peg's lads bustled pretty hard for that, for when they were endeavouring to lock it up they got in their great fists and pulled out handfuls of halfcrowns, shillings, and sixpences. Others in the scramble picked up guineas and broad-pieces. But there happened a worse thing than all this: it was complained that Peg's servants had great stomachs, and brought so many of their friends and acquaintance to the table that John's family was like to be eaten out of house and home. Instead of regulating this matter as it ought to be, Peg's young men were thrust away from the table; then there was the devil and all to do—spoons, plates, and dishes flew about the room like mad, and Sir Roger, who was now Majordomo, had enough to do to quiet them. Peg said this was contrary to agreement, whereby she was in all things to be treated like a child of the family. Then she called upon those that had made her such fair promises, and undertook for her brother John's good behaviour; but, alas! to her cost she found that they were the first and readiest to do her the injury. John at last agreed to this regulation: that Peg's footmen might sit with his book-keeper, journeymen, and apprentices, and Peg's better sort of servants might sit with his footmen if they pleased.**

* Endeavoured to get their share of places.

** Articles of Union, whereby they could make a Scot's commoner, but not a lord a peer.

Then they began to order plum-porridge and minced pies for Peg's dinner. Peg told them she had an aversion to that sort of food; that upon forcing down a mess of it some years ago it threw her into a fit till she brought it up again. Some alleged it was nothing but humour, that the same mess should be served up again for supper, and breakfast next morning; others would have made use of a horn, but the wiser sort bid let her alone, and she might take to it of her own accord.



CHAPTER VI. The conversation between John Bull and his wife.*

* The history of the Partition Treaty; suspicions at that time that the French King intended to take the whole, and that he revealed the secret to the Court of Spain.

MRS. BULL.—Though our affairs, honey, are in a bad condition, I have a better opinion of them since you seemed to be convinced of the ill course you have been in, and are resolved to submit to proper remedies. But when I consider your immense debts, your foolish bargains, and the general disorder of your business, I have a curiosity to know what fate or chance has brought you into this condition.

JOHN BULL.—I wish you would talk of some other subject, the thoughts of it makes me mad; our family must have their run.

MRS. BULL.—But such a strange thing as this never happened to any of your family before: they have had lawsuits, but, though they spent the income, they never mortgaged the stock. Sure, you must have some of the Norman or the Norfolk blood in you. Prithee, give me some account of these matters.

JOHN BULL.—Who could help it? There lives not such a fellow by bread as that old Lewis Baboon: he is the most cheating, contentious rogue upon the face of the earth. You must know, one day, as Nic. Frog and I were over a bottle making up an old quarrel, the old fellow would needs have us drink a bottle of his champagne, and so one after another, till my friend Nic. and I, not being used to such heady stuff, got very drunk. Lewis all the while, either by the strength of his brain or flinching his glass, kept himself sober as a judge. "My worthy friends," quoth Lewis, "henceforth let us live neighbourly; I am as peaceable and quiet as a lamb of my own temper, but it has been my misfortune to live among quarrelsome neighbours. There is but one thing can make us fall out, and that is the inheritance of Lord Strutt's estate: I am content, for peace' sake, to waive my right, and submit to any expedient to prevent a lawsuit; I think an equal division* will be the fairest way." "Well moved, Old Lewis," quoth Frog, "and I hope my friend John here will not be refractory." At the same time he clapped me on the back, and slabbered me all over from cheek to cheek with his great tongue. "Do as you please, gentlemen," quoth I, "'tis all one to John Bull." We agreed to part that night, and next morning to meet at the corner of Lord Strutt's park wall, with our surveying instruments, which accordingly we did. Old Lewis carried a chain and a semicircle; Nic., paper, rulers, and a lead pencil; and I followed at some distance with a long pole. We began first with surveying the meadow grounds, afterwards we measured the cornfields, close by close; then we proceeded to the woodlands, the copper and tin mines.** All this while Nic. laid down everything exactly upon paper, calculated the acres and roods to a great nicety. When we had finished the land, we were going to break into the house and gardens, to take an inventory of his plate, pictures, and other furniture.

* The Partition Treaty.

** The West Indies.

MRS. BULL.—What said Lord Strutt to all this?

JOHN BULL.—As we had almost finished our concern, we were accosted by some of Lord Strutt's servants. "Heyday! what's here? what a devil's the meaning of all these trangrams and gimcracks, gentlemen? What in the name of wonder, are you going about, jumping over my master's hedges, and running your lines cross his grounds? If you are at any field pastime, you might have asked leave: my master is a civil well-bred person as any is."

MRS. BULL.—What could you answer to this?

JOHN BULL.—Why, truly, my neighbour Frog and I were still hot-headed; we told him his master was an old doting puppy, that minded nothing of his own business; that we were surveying his estate, and settling it for him, since he would not do it himself. Upon this there happened a quarrel, but we being stronger than they, sent them away with a flea in their ear. They went home and told their master. "My lord," say they, "there are three odd sort of fellows going about your grounds with the strangest machines that ever we beheld in our life: I suppose they are going to rob your orchard, fell your trees, or drive away your cattle. They told us strange things of settling your estate—one is a lusty old fellow in a black wig, with a black beard, without teeth; there's another, thick squat fellow, in trunk hose; the third is a little, long-nosed, thin man (I was then lean, being just come out of a fit of sickness)—I suppose it is fit to send after them, lest they carry something away?"

MRS. BULL.—I fancy this put the old fellow in a rare tweague.

JOHN BULL.—Weak as he was, he called for his long Toledo, swore and bounced about the room: "'Sdeath! what am I come to, to be affronted so by my tradesmen? I know the rascals: my barber, clothier, and linen-draper dispose of my estate! Bring hither my blunderbuss; I'll warrant ye you shall see daylight through them. Scoundrels! dogs! the scum of the earth! Frog, that was my father's kitchen-boy, he pretend to meddle with my estate—with my will! Ah, poor Strutt! what are thou come to at last? Thou hast lived too long in the world, to see thy age and infirmity so despised! How will the ghosts of my noble ancestors receive these tidings?—they cannot, they must not sleep quietly in their graves." In short, the old gentleman was carried off in a fainting fit, and after bleeding in both arms hardly recovered.

MRS. BULL.—Really this was a very extraordinary way of proceeding! I long to hear the rest of it.

JOHN BULL.—After we had come back to the tavern, and taken t'other bottle of champagne, we quarrelled a little about the division of the estate. Lewis hauled and pulled the map on one side and Frog and I on t'other, till we had like to have tore the parchment to pieces. At last Lewis pulled out a pair of great tailor's shears and clipt a corner for himself, which he said was a manor that lay convenient for him, and left Frog and me the rest to dispose of as we pleased. We were overjoyed to think Lewis was contented with so little, not smelling what was at the bottom of the plot. There happened, indeed, an incident that gave us some disturbance. A cunning fellow, one of my servants, two days after, peeping through the keyhole, observed that old Lewis had stole away our part of the map, and saw him fiddling and turning the map from one corner to the other, trying to join the two pieces together again. He was muttering something to himself, which he did not well hear, only these words, "'Tis great pity! 'tis great pity!" My servant added that he believed this had some ill meaning. I told him he was a coxcomb, always pretending to be wiser than his companions. Lewis and I are good friends, he's an honest fellow, and I daresay will stand to his bargain. The sequel of the story proved this fellow's suspicion to be too well grounded; for Lewis revealed our whole secret to the deceased Lord Strutt, who in reward for his treachery, and revenge to Frog and me, settled his whole estate upon the present Philip Baboon. Then we understood what he meant by piecing the map together.

MRS. BULL.—And were you surprised at this? Had not Lord Strutt reason to be angry? Would you have been contented to have been so used yourself?

JOHN BULL.—Why, truly, wife, it was not easily reconciled to the common methods; but then it was the fashion to do such things. I have read of your golden age, your silver age, etc.; one might justly call this the age of the lawyers. There was hardly a man of substance in all the country but had a counterfeit that pretended to his estate.* As the philosophers say that there is a duplicate of every terrestrial animal at sea, so it was in this age of the lawyers: there were at least two of everything; nay, o' my conscience, I think there were three Esquire Hackums** at one time. In short, it was usual for a parcel of fellows to meet and dispose of the whole estates in the country. "This lies convenient for me, Tom. Thou wouldst do more good with that, Dick, than the old fellow that has it." So to law they went with the true owners: the lawyers got well by it; everybody else was undone. It was a common thing for an honest man when he came home at night to find another fellow domineering in his family, hectoring his servants, and calling for supper. In every house you might observe two Sosias quarrelling who was master. For my own part, I am still afraid of the same treatment: that I should find somebody behind my counter selling my broad-cloth.

* Several Pretenders at that time.

** Kings of England.

MRS. BULL.—There is a sort of fellows they call banterers and bamboozlers that play such tricks, but it seems these fellows were in earnest.

JOHN BULL.—I begin to think that justice is a better rule than conveniency, for all some people make so slight on it.



CHAPTER VII. Of the hard shifts Mrs. Bull was put to preserve the Manor of Bullock's Hatch, with Sir Roger's method to keep off importunate duns.*

* Some attempts to destroy the public credit at that time. Manners of the Earl of Oxford.

As John Bull and his wife were talking together they were surprised with a sudden knocking at the door. "Those wicked scriveners and lawyers, no doubt," quoth John; and so it was, some asking for the money he owed, and others warning to prepare for the approaching term. "What a cursed life do I lead!" quoth John; "debt is like deadly sin. For God's sake, Sir Roger, get me rid of the fellows." "I'll warrant you," quoth Sir Roger; "leave them to me." And, indeed, it was pleasant enough to observe Sir Roger's method with these importunate duns. His sincere friendship for John Bull made him submit to many things for his service which he would have scorned to have done for himself. Sometimes he would stand at the door with his long staff to keep off the duns, until John got out at the back door. When the lawyers and tradesmen brought extravagant bills Sir Roger used to bargain beforehand for leave to cut off a quarter of a yard in any part of the bill he pleased; he wore a pair of scissors in his pocket for this purpose, and would snip it off so nicely as you cannot imagine. Like a true goldsmith he kept all your holidays; there was not one wanting in his calendar; when ready money was scarce, he would set them a-telling a thousand pounds in sixpences, groats, and threepenny-pieces. It would have done your heart good to have seen him charge through an army of lawyers, attorneys, clerks, and tradesmen; sometimes with sword in hand, at other times nuzzling like an eel in the mud. When a fellow stuck like a bur, that there was no shaking him off, he used to be mighty inquisitive about the health of his uncles and aunts in the country; he could call them all by their names, for he knew everybody, and could talk to them in their own way. The extremely impertinent he would send away to see some strange sight, as the Dragon of Hockley the Hole, or bid him call the 30th of next February. Now and then you would see him in the kitchen, weighing the beef and butter, paying ready money, that the maids might not run a tick at the market, and the butchers, by bribing of them, sell damaged and light meat.* Another time he would slip into the cellar and gauge the casks. In his leisure minutes he was posting his books and gathering in his debts. Such frugal methods were necessary where money was so scarce and duns so numerous. All this while John kept his credit, could show his head both at 'Change and Westminster Hall; no man protested his bill nor refused his bond; only the sharpers and the scriveners, the lawyers and other clerks pelted Sir Roger as he went along. The squirters were at it with their kennel water, for they were mad for the loss of their bubble, and that they could not get him to mortgage the manor of Bullock's Hatch. Sir Roger shook his ears and nuzzled along, well satisfied within himself that he was doing a charitable work in rescuing an honest man from the claws of harpies and bloodsuckers. Mrs. Bull did all that an affectionate wife, and a good housewife, could do; yet the boundaries of virtues are indivisible lines. It is impossible to march up close to the frontiers of frugality without entering the territories of parsimony. Your good housewives are apt to look into the minutest things; therefore some blamed Mrs. Bull for new heel-pieceing of her shoes, grudging a quarter of a pound of soap and sand to scour the rooms**; but, especially, that she would not allow her maids and apprentices the benefit of "John Bunyan," the "London Apprentices," or the "Seven Champions," in the black letter.***

* Some regulations as to the purveyance in the Queen's family.

** Too great savings in the House of Commons.

*** Restraining the liberty of the Press by Act of Parliament.



CHAPTER VIII. A continuation of the conversation betwixt John Bull and his wife.

MRS. BULL.—It is a most sad life we lead, my dear, to be so teazed, paying interest for old debts, and still contracting new ones. However, I don't blame you for vindicating your honour and chastising old Lewis. To curb the insolent, protect the oppressed, recover one's own, and defend what one has, are good effects of the law. The only thing I want to know is how you came to make an end of your money before you finished your suit.

JOHN BULL.—I was told by the learned in the law that my suit stood upon three firm pillars: more money for more law, more law for more money, and no composition. More money for more law was plain to a demonstration, for who can go to law without money? and it was plain that any man that has money may have law for it. The third was as evident as the other two; for what composition could be made with a rogue that never kept a word he said?

MRS. BULL.—I think you are most likely to get out of this labyrinth by the second door, by want of ready money to purchase this precious commodity. But you seem not only to have bought too much of it, but have paid too dear for what you bought, else how was it possible to run so much in debt when at this very time the yearly income of what is mortgaged to those usurers would discharge Hocus's bills, and give you your bellyfull of law for all your life, without running one sixpence in debt? You have been bred up to business; I suppose you can cypher; I wonder you never used your pen and ink.

JOHN BULL.—Now you urge me too far; prithee, dear wife, hold thy tongue. Suppose a young heir, heedless, raw, and inexperienced, full of spirit and vigour, with a favourite passion, in the hands of money scriveners. Such fellows are like your wire-drawing mills: if they get hold of a man's finger they will pull in his whole body at last, till they squeeze the heart, blood, and guts out of him. When I wanted money, half a dozen of these fellows were always waiting in my ante-chamber with their securities ready drawn.* I was tempted with the ready, some farm or other went to pot. I received with one hand, and paid it away with the other to lawyers that, like so many hell hounds, were ready to devour me. Then the rogues would plead poverty and scarcity of money, which always ended in receiving ninety for the hundred. After they had got possession of my best rents they were able to supply me with my own money. But, what was worse, when I looked into the securities there was no clause of redemption.

* Methods of preying upon the necessities of the Government.

MRS. BULL.—No clause of redemption, say you? That's hard.

JOHN BULL.—No great matter. For I cannot pay them. They had got a worse trick than that. The same man bought and sold to himself, paid the money, and gave the acquittance; the same man was butcher and grazier, brewer and butler, cook and poulterer. There is something still worse than all this. There came twenty bills upon me at once, which I had given money to discharge. I was like to be pulled to pieces by brewer, butcher, and baker; even my herb-woman dunned me as I went along the streets. Thanks to my friend Sir Roger, else I must have gone to jail. When I asked the meaning of this, I was told the money went to the lawyers. "Counsel won't tick, sir." Hocus was urging; my book-keeper sat sotting all day, playing at Put and All-fours. In short, by griping usurers, devouring lawyers, and negligent servants I am brought to this pass.

MRS. BULL.—This was hard usage. But methinks the least reflection might have retrieved you.

JOHN BULL.—'Tis true; yet consider my circumstances—my honour was engaged, and I did not know how to get out. Besides, I was for five years often drunk, always muddled; they carried me from tavern to tavern, to ale-houses and brandy-shops, and brought me acquainted with such strange dogs. "There goes the prettiest fellow in the world," says one, "for managing a jury: make him yours. There's another can pick you up witnesses. Serjeant such-a-one has a silver tongue at the bar."* I believe, in time I should have retained every single person within the Inns of Court. The night after a trial I treated the lawyers, their wives, and daughters, with fiddles, hautboys, drums, and trumpets. I was always hot-headed. Then they placed me in the middle, the attorneys and their clerks dancing about me, whooping and holloing, "Long live John Bull, the glory and support of the law!"

* Hiring still more troops.

MRS. BULL.—Really, husband, you went through a very notable course.

JOHN BULL.—One of the things that first alarmed me was that they showed a spite against my poor old mother.* "Lord," quoth I, "what makes you so jealous of a poor, old, innocent gentlewoman, that minds only her prayers and her Practice of Piety? She never meddles in any of your concerns." "Fob," say they, "to see a handsome, brisk, genteel young fellow so much governed by a doting old woman! Do you consider she keeps you out of a good jointure? She has the best of your estate settled upon her for a rent-charge. Hang her, old thief! turn her out of doors, seize her lands, and let her go to law if she dares." "Soft and fair, gentlemen," quoth I; "my mother's my mother, our family are not of an unnatural temper. Though I don't take all her advice, I won't seize her jointure; long may she enjoy it, good woman; I don't grudge it her. She allows me now and then a brace of hundreds for my lawsuit; that's pretty fair." About this time the old gentlewoman fell ill of an odd sort of a distemper.**

* Railing against the Church.

** Carelessness in forms and discipline.

It began with a coldness and numbness in her limbs, which by degrees affected the nerves (I think the physicians call them), seized the brain, and at last ended in a lethargy. It betrayed itself at first in a sort of indifference and carelessness in all her actions, coldness to her best friends, and an aversion to stir or go about the common offices of life. She, that was the cleanliest creature in the world, never shrank now if you set a close-stool under her nose. She that would sometimes rattle off her servants pretty sharply, now if she saw them drink, or heard them talk profanely, never took any notice of it. Instead of her usual charities to deserving persons, she threw away her money upon roaring, swearing bullies and beggars, that went about the streets.* "What is the matter with the old gentlewoman?" said everybody; "she never used to do in this manner." At last the distemper grew more violent, and threw her downright into raving fits, in which she shrieked out so loud that she disturbed the whole neighbourhood.** In her fits she called upon one Sir William.*** "Oh! Sir William, thou hast betrayed me, killed me, stabbed me! See, see! Clum with his bloody knife! Seize him! seize him! stop him! Behold the fury with her hissing snakes! Where's my son John? Is he well, is he well? Poor man! I pity him!" And abundance more of such strange stuff, that nobody could make anything of.

* Disposing of some preferments to libertine and unprincipled persons.

** The too violent clamour about the danger of the Church.

*** Sir William, a cant name of Sir Humphry's for Lord Treasurer Godolphin.

I knew little of the matter; for when I inquired about her health, the answer was that she was in a good moderate way. Physicians were sent for in haste. Sir Roger, with great difficulty, brought Ratcliff; Garth came upon the first message. There were several others called in, but, as usual upon such occasions, they differed strangely at the consultation. At last they divided into two parties; one sided with Garth, the other with Ratcliff.* Dr. Garth said, "This case seems to me to be plainly hysterical; the old woman is whimsical; it is a common thing for your old women to be so; I'll pawn my life, blisters, with the steel diet, will recover her." Others suggested strong purging and letting of blood, because she was plethoric. Some went so far as to say the old woman was mad, and nothing would be better than a little corporal correction. Ratcliff said, "Gentlemen, you are mistaken in this case; it is plainly an acute distemper, and she cannot hold out three days unless she is supported with strong cordials." I came into the room with a good deal of concern, and asked them what they thought of my mother? "In no manner of danger, I vow to God," quoth Garth; "the old woman is hysterical, fanciful, sir, I vow to God." "I tell you, sir," says Ratcliff, "she cannot live three days to an end, unless there is some very effectual course taken with her; she has a malignant fever." Then "fool," "puppy," and "blockhead," were the best words they gave. I could hardly restrain them from throwing the ink-bottles at one another's heads. I forgot to tell you that one party of the physicians desired I would take my sister Peg into the house to nurse her, but the old gentlewoman would not hear of that. At last one physician asked if the lady had ever been used to take laudanum? Her maid answered, not that she knew; but, indeed, there was a High German liveryman of hers, one Van Ptschirnsooker,** that gave her a sort of a quack powder. The physician desired to see it. "Nay," says he, "there is opium in this, I am sure."

* Garth, the Low Church party. Ratcliff, High Church party.

** Van Ptschirnsooker, a bishop at that time, a great dealer in politics and physic.

MRS. BULL.—I hope you examined a little into this matter?

JOHN BULL.—I did, indeed, and discovered a great mystery of iniquity. The witnesses made oath that they had heard some of the liverymen* frequently railing at their mistress. They said she was a troublesome fiddle-faddle old woman, and so ceremonious that there was no bearing of her. They were so plagued with bowing and cringing as they went in and out of the room that their backs ached. She used to scold at one for his dirty shoes, at another for his greasy hair and not combing his head. Then she was so passionate and fiery in her temper that there was no living with her. She wanted something to sweeten her blood. That they never had a quiet night's rest for getting up in the morning to early Sacraments. They wished they could find some way or another to keep the old woman quiet in her bed. Such discourses were often overheard among the liverymen, while the said Van Ptschirnsooker had undertook this matter. A maid made affidavit "That she had seen the said Van Ptschirnsooker, one of the liverymen, frequently making up of medicines and administering them to all the neighbours; that she saw him one morning make up the powder which her mistress took; that she had the curiosity to ask him whence he had the ingredients. 'They come,' says he, 'from several parts of de world. Dis I have from Geneva, dat from Rome, this white powder from Amsterdam, and the red from Edinburgh, but the chief ingredient of all comes from Turkey." It was likewise proved that the said Van Ptschirnsooker had been frequently seen at the "Rose" with Jack, who was known to bear an inveterate spite to his mistress. That he brought a certain powder to his mistress which the examinant believes to be the same, and spoke the following words:—"Madam, here is grand secret van de world, my sweetening powder; it does temperate de humour, dispel the windt, and cure de vapour; it lulleth and quieteth the animal spirits, procuring rest and pleasant dreams. It is de infallible receipt for de scurvy, all heats in de bloodt, and breaking out upon de skin. It is de true bloodstancher, stopping all fluxes of de blood. If you do take dis, you will never ail anyding; it will cure you of all diseases." And abundance more to this purpose, which the examinant does not remember.

* The clergy.

John Bull was interrupted in his story by a porter, that brought him a letter from Nicholas Frog, which is as follows.



CHAPTER IX.

A Copy* of Nic. Frog's Letter to John Bull.

[John Bull reads.]

FRIEND JOHN,—What schellum is it that makes thee jealous of thy old friend Nicholas? Hast thou forgot how some years ago he took thee out of the sponging-house?** ['Tis true, my friend Nic. did so, and I thank him; but he made me pay a swinging reckoning.] Thou beginnest now to repent thy bargain that thou wast so fond of; and, if thou durst, would forswear thy own hand and seal. Thou sayest that thou hast purchased me too great an estate already, when, at the same time, thou knowest I have only a mortgage. 'Tis true I have possession, and the tenants own me for master; but has not Esquire South the equity of redemption? [No doubt, and will redeem it very speedily; poor Nic. has only possession—eleven points of the law.] As for the turnpikes*** I have set up, they are for other people, not for my friend John. I have ordered my servant constantly to attend, to let thy carriages through without paying anything; only I hope thou wilt not come too heavy laden to spoil my ways. Certainly I have just cause of offence against thee, my friend, for supposing it possible that thou and I should ever quarrel. What houndsfoot is it that puts these whims in thy head? Ten thousand last of devils haul me, if I don't love thee as I love my life. [No question, as the Devil loves holy-water!] Does not thy own hand and seal oblige thee to purchase for me till I say it is enough? Are not these words plain? I say it is not enough. Dost thou think thy friend Nicholas Frog made a child's bargain? Mark the words of thy contract, tota pecunia (with all thy money). [Very well! I have purchased with my own money, my children's and my grandchildren's money—is not that enough? Well, tota pecunia let it be, for at present I have none at all; he would not have me purchase with other people's money, sure? Since tota pecunia is the bargain, I think it is plain—no more money, no more purchase.] And whatever the world may say, Nicholas Frog is but a poor man in comparison of the rich, the opulent John Bull, great clothier of the world. I have had many losses, six of my best sheep were drowned, and the water has come into my cellar, and spoiled a pipe of my best brandy. It would be a more friendly act in thee to carry a brief about the country to repair the losses of thy poor friend. Is it not evident to all the world that I am still hemmed in by Lewis Baboon? Is he not just upon my borders? [And so he will be if I purchase a thousand acres more, unless he gets somebody betwixt them.] I tell thee, friend John, thou hast flatterers that persuade thee that thou art a man of business; do not believe them. If thou wouldst still leave thy affairs in my hands, thou shouldst see how handsomely I would deal by thee. That ever thou shouldst be dazzled with the enchanted islands and mountains of gold that old Lewis promises thee! 'Dswounds! why dost thou not lay out thy money to purchase a place at court of honest Israel? I tell thee, thou must not so much as think of a composition. [Not think of a composition; that's hard indeed; I can't help thinking of it, if I would.] Thou complainest of want of money—let thy wife and daughters burn the gold lace of their petticoats; sell thy fat cattle; retrench but a sirloin of beef and a peck-loaf in a week from thy gormandising. [Retrench my beef—a dog! Retrench my beef; then it is plain the rascal has an ill design upon me—he would starve me.] Mortgage thy manor of Bullock's Hatch, or pawn thy crop for ten years. [A rogue! part with my country-seat, my patrimony, all that I have left in the world; I'll see him hanged first.] Why hast thou changed thy attorney? Can any man manage thy cause better for thee? [Very pleasant! because a man has a good attorney, he must never make an end of his law-suit.] Ah, John! John! I wish thou knewest thine own mind. Thou art as fickle as the wind. I tell thee, thou hadst better let this composition alone, or leave it to thy

Loving friend,

Nic. FROG.

* A letter from the States-General.

** Alluding to the Rebellion.

*** The Dutch prohibition of trade.



CHAPTER X. Of some extraordinary Things* that passed at the "Salutation" Tavern, in the Conference between Bull, Frog, Esquire South, and Lewis Baboon.

* The Treaty of Utrecht: the difficulty to get them to meet. When met, the Dutch would not speak their sentiments, nor the French deliver in their proposals. The House of Austria talked very high.

Frog had given his word that he would meet the above-mentioned company at the "Salutation," to talk of this agreement. Though he durst not directly break his appointment, he made many a shuffling excuse: one time he pretended to be seized with the gout in his right knee; then he got a great cold, that had struck him deaf of one ear; afterwards two of his coach-horses fell sick, and he durst not go by water, for fear of catching an ague. John would take no excuse, but hurried him away. "Come, Nic.," says he, "let's go and hear at least what this old fellow has to propose; I hope there's no hurt in that." "Be it so," quoth Nic.; "but if I catch any harm, woe be to you; my wife and children will curse you as long as they live." When they were come to the "Salutation," John concluded all was sure then, and that he should be troubled no more with law affairs. He thought everybody as plain and sincere as he was. "Well, neighbours," quoth he, "let's now make an end of all matters, and live peaceably together for the time to come. If everybody is as well inclined as I, we shall quickly come to the upshot of our affair." And so, pointing to Frog to say something, to the great surprise of all the company, Frog was seized with a dead palsy in the tongue. John began to ask him some plain questions, and whooped and hallooed in his ear: "Let's come to the point. Nic., who wouldst thou have to be Lord Strutt? Wouldst thou have Philip Baboon?" Nic. shook his head, and said nothing. "Wilt thou, then, have Esquire South to be Lord Strutt?" Nic. shook his head a second time. "Then who the devil wilt thou have? Say something or another." Nic. opened his mouth and pointed to his tongue, and cried, "A, a, a, a!" which was as much as to say he could not speak.

JOHN BULL.—"Shall I serve Philip Baboon with broadcloth, and accept of the composition that he offers, with the liberty of his parks and fishponds?" Then Nic. roared like a bull, "O, o, o, o!"

JOHN BULL.—"If thou wilt not let me have them, wilt thou take them thyself?" Then Nic. grinned, cackled, and laughed, till he was like to kill himself, and seemed to be so pleased that he fell a frisking and dancing about the room.

JOHN BULL.—"Shall I leave all this matter to thy management, Nic., and go about my business?" Then Nic. got up a glass and drank to John, shaking him by the hand till he had like to have shook his shoulder out of joint.

JOHN BULL.—"I understand thee, Nic.; but I shall make thee speak before I go." Then Nic. put his finger in his cheek and made it cry "buck!" which was as much as to say, "I care not a farthing for thee."

JOHN BULL.—"I have done, Nic.; if thou wilt not speak, I'll make my own terms with old Lewis here."

John, perceiving that Frog would not speak, turns to old Lewis: "Since we cannot make this obstinate fellow speak, Lewis, pray condescend a little to his humour, and set down thy meaning upon paper, that he may answer it in another scrap."

"I am infinitely sorry," quoth Lewis, "that it happens so unfortunately; for, playing a little at cudgels t'other day, a fellow has given me such a rap over the right arm that I am quite lame. I have lost the use of my forefinger and my thumb, so that I cannot hold my pen."

JOHN BULL.—"That's all one; let me write for you."

LEWIS.—"But I have a misfortune that I cannot read anybody's hand but my own."

JOHN BULL.—"Try what you can do with your left hand."

LEWIS.—"That's impossible; it will make such a scrawl that it will not be legible."

As they were talking of this matter, in came Esquire South, all dressed up in feathers and ribbons, stark staring mad, brandishing his sword, as if he would have cut off their heads, crying "Room, room, boys, for the grand esquire of the world! the flower of esquires! What! covered in my presence? I'll crush your souls, and crack you like lice!" With that he had like to have struck John Bull's hat into the fire; but John, who was pretty strong-fisted, gave him such a squeeze as made his eyes water. He went on still in his mad pranks: "When I am lord of the universe, the sun shall prostrate and adore me! Thou, Frog, shalt be my bailiff; Lewis my tailor; and thou, John Bull, shalt be my fool!"

All this while Frog laughed in his sleeve, gave the esquire the other noggan of brandy, and clapped him on the back, which made him ten times madder.

Poor John stood in amaze, talking thus to himself: "Well, John, thou art got into rare company! One has a dumb devil, the other a mad devil, and the third a spirit of infirmity. An honest man has a fine time on it amongst such rogues. What art thou asking of them after all? Some mighty boon one would think! only to sit quietly at thy own fireside. What have I to do with such fellows? John Bull, after all his losses and crosses, can live better without them than they can without him. Would I lived a thousand leagues off them! but the devil's in it; John Bull is in, and John Bull must get out as well as he can."

As he was talking to himself, he observed Frog and old Lewis edging towards one another to whisper,* so that John was forced to sit with his arms akimbo, to keep them asunder.

* Some attempts of secret negotiation between the French and the Dutch.

Some people advised John to bleed Frog under the tongue, or take away his bread-and-butter, which would certainly make him speak; to give Esquire South hellebore; as for Lewis, some were for emollient poultices, others for opening his arm with an incision knife.



CHAPTER XI.* The apprehending, examination, and imprisonment of Jack for suspicion of poisoning.

* The four following chapters contain the history of passing the Bill against Occasional Conformity, and of the Whigs agreeing to it.

The attentive reader cannot have forgot that the story of Van Ptschirnsooker's powder was interrupted by a message from Frog. I have a natural compassion for curiosity, being much troubled with the distemper myself; therefore to gratify that uneasy itching sensation in my reader, I have procured the following account of that matter.

Van Ptschirnsooker came off (as rogues usually do upon such occasions) by peaching his partner; and being extremely forward to bring him to the gallows, Jack* was accused as the contriver of all the roguery. And, indeed, it happened unfortunately for the poor fellow, that he was known to bear a most inveterate spite against the old gentlewoman; and, consequently, that never any ill accident happened to her but he was suspected to be at the bottom of it. If she pricked her finger, Jack, to be sure, laid the pin in the way; if some noise in the street disturbed her rest, who could it be but Jack in some of his nocturnal rambles? If a servant ran away, Jack had debauched him. Every idle tittle-tattle that went about, Jack was always suspected for the author of it. However, all was nothing to this last affair of the temperating, moderating powder.

* All the misfortunes of the Church charged upon the Puritan party.

The hue and cry went after Jack to apprehend him dead or alive, wherever he could be found. The constables looked out for him in all his usual haunts; but to no purpose. Where d'ye think they found him at last? Even smoking his pipe, very quietly, at his brother Martin's; from whence he was carried with a vast mob at his heels, before the worshipful Mr. Justice Overdo. Several of his neighbours made oath,* that of late, the prisoner had been observed to lead a very dissolute life, renouncing even his usual hypocrisy and pretences to sobriety; that he frequented taverns and eating-houses, and had been often guilty of drunkenness and gluttony at my Lord Mayor's table; that he had been seen in the company of lewd women; that he had transferred his usual care of the engrossed copy of his father's will to bank bills, orders for tallies, and debentures:** these he now affirmed, with more literal truth, to be meat, drink, and cloth, the philosopher's stone, and the universal medicine;*** that he was so far from showing his customary reverence to the will, that he kept company with those that called his father a cheating rogue, and his will a forgery; that he not only sat quietly and heard his father railed at, but often chimed in with the discourse, and hugged the authors as his bosom friends;**** that instead of asking for blows at the corners of the streets, he now bestowed them as plentifully as he begged them before.*** In short, that he was grown a mere rake; and had nothing left in him of old Jack except his spite to John Bull's mother.

* The manners of the Dissenters changed from their former strictness.

** Dealing much in stock-jobbing.

*** "Tale of a Tub."

**** Herding with deists and atheists.

Another witness made oath, that Jack had been overheard bragging of a trick* he had found out to manage the "old formal jade," as he used to call her. "Hang this numb-skull of mine," quoth he, "that I could not light on it sooner. As long as I go in this ragged tattered coat, I am so well known, that I am hunted away from the old woman's door by every barking cur about the house; they bid me defiance. There's no doing mischief as an open enemy; I must find some way or other of getting within doors, and then I shall have better opportunities of playing my pranks, besides the benefit of good keeping."

* Getting into places and Church preferments by occasional conformity.

Two witnesses swore* that several years ago, there came to their mistress's door a young fellow in a tattered coat, that went by the name of Timothy Trim, whom they did in their conscience believe to be the very prisoner, resembling him in shape, stature, and the features of his countenance. That the said Timothy Trim being taken into the family, clapped their mistress's livery over his own tattered coat; that the said Timothy was extremely officious about their mistress's person, endeavouring by flattery and tale-bearing to set her against the rest of the servants: nobody was so ready to fetch anything that was wanted, to reach what was dropped. That he used to shove and elbow his fellow-servants to get near his mistress, especially when money was a paying or receiving—then he was never out of the way; that he was extremely diligent about everybody's business but his own. That the said Timothy, while he was in the family, used to be playing roguish tricks; when his mistress's back was turned, he would loll out his tongue, make mouths, and laugh at her, walking behind her like Harlequin, ridiculing her motions and gestures; but if his mistress looked about, he put on a grave, demure countenance, as if he had been in a fit of devotion; that he used often to trip up-stairs so smoothly that you could not hear him tread, and put all things out of order; that he would pinch the children and servants, when he met them in the dark, so hard, that he left the print of his forefingers and his thumb in black and blue, and then slink into a corner, as if nobody had done it. Out of the same malicious design he used to lay chairs and joint-stools in their way, that they might break their noses by falling over them. The more young and inexperienced he used to teach to talk saucily, and call names. During his stay in the family there was much plate missing; being caught with a couple of silver spoons in his pocket, with their handles wrenched off, he said he was only going to carry them to the goldsmiths to be mended: that the said Timothy was hated by all the honest servants, for his ill-conditioned, splenetic tricks, but especially for his slanderous tongue; traducing them to their mistress as drunkards and thieves: that the said Timothy, by lying stories, used to set all the family together by the ears, taking delight to make them fight and quarrel; **particularly one day sitting at table, he spoke words to this effect: "I am of opinion," quoth he, "that little short fellows, such as we are, have better hearts, and could beat the tall fellows; I wish it came to a fair trial; I believe these long fellows, as sightly as they are, should find their jackets well thwacked."

* Betraying the interests of the Church when got into preferments.

** The original of the distinction in the names of Low Churchmen and High Churchmen.

A parcel of tall fellows, who thought themselves affronted by the discourse, took up the quarrel, and to it they went, the tall men and the low men, which continues still a faction in the family, to the great disorder of our mistress's affairs. The said Timothy carried this frolic so far, that he proposed to his mistress that she should entertain no servant that was above four feet seven inches high, and for that purpose had prepared a gauge, by which they were to be measured. The good old gentlewoman was not so simple as to go into his projects—she began to smell a rat. "This Trim," quoth she, "is an odd sort of a fellow; methinks he makes a strange figure with that ragged, tattered coat appearing under his livery; can't he go spruce and clean, like the rest of the servants? The fellow has a roguish leer with him which I don't like by any means; besides, he has such a twang in his discourse, and an ungraceful way of speaking through the nose, that one can hardly understand him; I wish the fellow be not tainted with some bad disease." The witnesses further made oath, that the said Timothy lay out a-nights, and went abroad often at unseasonable hours; and it was credibly reported he did business in another family: that he pretended to have a squeamish stomach, and could not eat at table with the rest of the servants, though this was but a pretence to provide some nice bit for himself; that he refused to dine upon salt fish, only to have an opportunity to eat a calf's head (his favourite dish) in private; that for all his tender stomach, when he was got by himself, he could devour capons, turkeys, and sirloins of beef, like a cormorant.

Two other witnesses gave the following evidence: That in his officious attendance upon his mistress, he had tried to slip a powder into her drink, and that he was once caught endeavouring to stifle her with a pillow as she was asleep; that he and Ptschirnsooker were often in close conference, and that they used to drink together at the "Rose," where it seems he was well enough known by his true name of Jack.

The prisoner had little to say in his defence; he endeavoured to prove himself alibi, so that the trial turned upon this single question, whether the said Timothy Trim and Jack were the same person; which was proved by such plain tokens, and particularly by a mole under the left pap, that there was no withstanding the evidence; therefore the worshipful Mr. Justice committed him, in order to his trial.



CHAPTER XII. How Jack's friends came to visit him in prison, and what advice they gave him.

Jack hitherto had passed in the world for a poor, simple, well-meaning, half-witted, crack-brained fellow. People were strangely surprised to find him in such a roguery—that he should disguise himself under a false name, hire himself out for a servant to an old gentlewoman, only for an opportunity to poison her. They said that it was more generous to profess open enmity than under a profound dissimulation to be guilty of such a scandalous breach of trust, and of the sacred rights of hospitality; in short, the action was universally condemned by his best friends. They told him in plain terms that this was come as a judgment upon him for his loose life, his gluttony, drunkenness, and avarice; for laying aside his father's will in an old mouldy trunk, and turning stock-jobber, newsmonger, and busybody, meddling with other people's affairs, shaking off his old serious friends, and keeping company with buffoons and pickpockets, his father's sworn enemies; that he had best throw himself upon the mercy of the court, repent, and change his manners. To say truth, Jack heard these discourses with some compunction; however, he resolved to try what his new acquaintance would do for him. They sent Habakkuk Slyboots,* who delivered him the following message, as the peremptory commands of his trusty companions:—

* Habakkuk Slyboots, a certain great man who persuaded the Dissenters to consent to the Bill against Occasional Conformity as being for their interest.

HABAKKUK.—Dear Jack, I am sorry for thy misfortune: matters have not been carried on with due secrecy; however, we must make the best of a bad bargain. Thou art in the utmost jeopardy, that's certain; hang, draw, and quarter, are the gentlest things they talk of. However, thy faithful friends, ever watchful for thy security, bid me tell thee that they have one infallible expedient left to save thy life. Thou must know we have got into some understanding with the enemy by the means of Don Diego;* he assures us there is no mercy for thee, and that there is only one way left to escape. It is, indeed, somewhat out of the common road; however, be assured it is the result of most mature deliberation.

* A noble Tory lord.

JACK.—Prithee tell me quickly, for my heart is sunk down in the very bottom of my belly.

HAB.—It is the unanimous opinion of your friends that you make as if you hanged yourself;* they will give it out that you are quite dead, and convey your body out of prison in a bier; and John Bull, being busied with his lawsuit, will not inquire further into the matter.

* Consent to the Bill against Occasional Conformity.

JACK.—How d'ye mean, make as if I hanged myself?

HAB.—Nay, you must really hang yourself up in a true genuine rope, that there may appear no trick in it, and leave the rest to your friends.

JACK.—Truly this is a matter of some concern, and my friends, I hope, won't take it ill if I inquire a little into the means by which they intend to deliver me. A rope and a noose are no jesting matters!

HAB.—Why so mistrustful? hast thou ever found us false to thee? I tell thee there is one ready to cut thee down.

JACK.—May I presume to ask who it is that is entrusted with so important an office?

HAB.—Is there no end of thy hows and thy whys? That's a secret.

JACK.—A secret, perhaps, that I may be safely trusted with, for I am not like to tell it again. I tell you plainly it is no strange thing for a man before he hangs himself up to inquire who is to cut him down.

HAB.—Thou suspicious creature! if thou must needs know it, I tell thee it is Sir Roger;* he has been in tears ever since thy misfortune. Don Diego and we have laid it so that he is to be in the next room, and before the rope is well about thy neck, rest satisfied he will break in and cut thee down. Fear not, old boy; we'll do it, I'll warrant thee.

* It was given out that the Earl of Oxford would oppose the occasional Bill, and so lose his credit with the Tories; and the Dissenters did believe he would not suffer it to pass.

JACK.—So I must hang myself up upon hopes that Sir Roger will cut me down, and all this upon the credit of Don Diego. A fine stratagem, indeed, to save my life, that depends upon hanging, Don Diego, and Sir Roger!

HAB.—I tell thee there is a mystery in all this, my friend, a piece of profound policy; if thou knew what good this will do to the common cause, thy heart would leap for joy. I am sure thou wouldst not delay the experiment one moment.

JACK.—This is to the tune of "All for the better." What's your cause to me when I am hanged?

HAB.—Refractory mortal! if thou wilt not trust thy friends, take what follows. Know assuredly, before next full moon, that thou wilt be hung up in chains, or thy quarters perching upon the most conspicuous places of the kingdom. Nay, I don't believe they will be contented with hanging; they talk of impaling, or breaking on the wheel, and thou choosest that before a gentle suspending of thyself for one minute. Hanging is not so painful a thing as thou imaginest. I have spoken with several that have undergone it; they all agree it is no manner of uneasiness. Be sure thou take good notice of the symptoms; the relation will be curious. It is but a kick or two with thy heels, and a wry mouth or so: Sir Roger will be with thee in the twinkling of an eye.

JACK.—But what if Sir Roger should not come; will my friends be there to succour me?

HAB.—Doubt it not; I will provide everything against to-morrow morning: do thou keep thy own secret—say nothing. I tell thee it is absolutely necessary for the common good that thou shouldst go through this operation.



CHAPTER XIII. How Jack hanged himself up by the persuasion of his friends, who broke their words, and left his neck in the noose.

Jack was a professed enemy to implicit faith, and yet I dare say it was never more strongly exerted nor more basely abused than upon this occasion. He was now, with his old friends, in the state of a poor disbanded officer after a peace, or rather a wounded soldier after a battle; like an old favourite of a cunning Minister after the job is over, or a decayed beauty to a cloyed lover in quest of new game, or like a hundred such things that one sees every day. There were new intrigues, new views, new projects, on foot. Jack's life was the purchase of Diego's friendship; much good may it do them. The interest of Hocus and Sir William Crawley which was now more at heart, made this operation upon poor Jack absolutely necessary. You may easily guess that his rest that night was but small, and much disturbed; however, the remaining part of his time he did not employ (as his custom was formerly) in prayer, meditation, or singing a double verse of a Psalm, but amused himself with disposing of his bank stock. Many a doubt, many a qualm, overspread his clouded imagination: "Must I then," quoth he, "hang up my own personal, natural, individual self with these two hands! Durus Sermo! What if I should be cut down, as my friends tell me? There is something infamous in the very attempt; the world will conclude I had a guilty conscience. Is it possible that good man, Sir Roger, can have so much pity upon an unfortunate scoundrel that has persecuted him so many years? No, it cannot be; I don't love favours that pass through Don Diego's hands. On the other side, my blood chills about my heart at the thought of these rogues with their bloody hands pulling out my very entrails. Hang it, for once I'll trust my friends." So Jack resolved; but he had done more wisely to have put himself upon the trial of his country, and made his defence in form; many things happen between the cup and the lip—witnesses might have been bribed, juries managed, or prosecution stopped. But so it was, Jack for this time had a sufficient stock of implicit faith, which led him to his ruin, as the sequel of the story shows.

And now the fatal day was come in which he was to try this hanging experiment. His friends did not fail him at the appointed hour to see it put in practice. Habakkuk brought him a smooth, strong, tough rope, made of many a ply of wholesome Scandinavian hemp, compactly twisted together, with a noose that slipped as glib as a birdcatcher's gin. Jack shrank and grew pale at first sight of it; he handled it, he measured it, stretched it, fixed it against the iron bar of the window to try its strength, but no familiarity could reconcile him to it. He found fault with the length, the thickness, and the twist; nay, the very colour did not please him. "Will nothing less than hanging serve?" quoth Jack. "Won't my enemies take bail for my good behaviour? Will they accept of a fine, or be satisfied with the pillory and imprisonment, a good round whipping, or burning in the cheek?"

HAB.—Nothing but your blood will appease their rage; make haste, else we shall be discovered. There's nothing like surprising the rogues. How they will be disappointed when they hear that thou hast prevented their revenge and hanged thine own self.

JACK.—That's true; but what if I should do it in effigies? Is there never an old pope or pretender to hang up in my stead? We are not so unlike but it may pass.

HAB.—That can never be put upon Sir Roger.

JACK.—Are you sure he is in the next room? Have you provided a very sharp knife, in case of the worst?

HAB.—Dost take me for a common liar? Be satisfied, no damage can happen to your person; your friends will take care of that.

JACK.—Mayn't I quilt my rope? It galls my neck strangely: besides, I don't like this running knot. It holds too tight; I may be stifled all of a sudden.

HAB.—Thou hast so many ifs and ands! prithee despatch; it might have been over before this time.

JACK.—But now I think on't, I would fain settle some affairs, for fear of the worst: have a little patience.

HAB.—There's no having patience, thou art such a faintling, silly creature.

JACK.—O thou most detestable, abominable Passive Obedience! did I ever imagine I should become thy votary, in so pregnant an instance? How will my brother Martin laugh at this story, to see himself outdone in his own calling! He has taken the doctrine, and left me the practice.

No sooner had he uttered these words, but, like a man of true courage, he tied the fatal cord to the beam, fitted the noose, and mounted upon the bottom of a tub, the inside of which he had often graced in his prosperous days. This footstool Habakkuk kicked away, and left poor Jack swinging like the pendulum of Paul's clock. The fatal noose performed its office, and with most strict ligature squeezed the blood into his face till it assumed a purple dye. While the poor man heaved from the very bottom of his belly for breath, Habakkuk walked with great deliberation into both the upper and lower room, to acquaint his friends, who received the news with great temper, and with jeers and scoffs instead of pity. "Jack has hanged himself!" quoth they; "let us go and see how the poor rogue swings." Then they called Sir Roger. "Sir Roger," quoth Habakkuk, "Jack has hanged himself; make haste and cut him down." Sir Roger turned first one ear and then the other, not understanding what he said.

HAB.—I tell you Jack has hanged himself up.

SIR ROGER.—Who's hanged?

HAB.—Jack.

SIR ROGER.—I thought this had not been hanging day.

HAB.—But the poor fellow has hanged himself.

SIR ROGER.—Then let him hang. I don't wonder at it; the fellow has been mad these twenty years.

With this he slunk away.

Then Jack's friends began to hunch and push one another: "Why don't you go and cut the poor fellow down?" "Why don't you?" "And why don't you?" "Not I," quoth one. "Not I," quoth another. "Not I," quoth a third; "he may hang till doomsday before I relieve him!" Nay, it is credibly reported that they were so far from succouring their poor friend in this his dismal circumstance, that Ptschirnsooker and several of his companions went in and pulled him by the legs, and thumped him on the breast. Then they began to rail at him for the very thing which they had advised and justified before, viz., his getting into the old gentlewoman's family, and putting on her livery. The keeper who performed the last office coming up, found Jack swinging, with no life in him. He took down the body gently and laid it on a bulk, and brought out the rope to the company. "This, gentlemen, is the rope that hanged Jack; what must be done with it?" Upon which they ordered it to be laid among the curiosities of Gresham College; and it is called Jack's rope to this very day. However, Jack, after all, had some small tokens of life in him, but lies, at this time, past hopes of a total recovery, with his head hanging on one shoulder, without speech or motion. The coroner's inquest, supposing him to be dead, brought him in non compos.



CHAPTER XIV. The Conference between Don Diego and John Bull.

During the time of the foregoing transactions, Don Diego was entertaining John Bull.

DON DIEGO.—I hope, sir, this day's proceeding will convince you of the sincerity of your old friend Diego, and the treachery of Sir Roger.

JOHN BULL.—What's the matter now?

DON DIEGO.—You have been endeavouring, for several years, to have justice done upon that rogue Jack, but, what through the remissness of constables, justices, and packed juries, he has always found the means to escape.

JOHN BULL.—What then?

DON DIEGO.—Consider, then, who is your best friend: he that would have brought him to condign punishment, or he that has saved him? By my persuasion Jack had hanged himself, if Sir Roger had not cut him down.

JOHN BULL.—Who told you that Sir Roger has done so?

DON DIEGO.—You seem to receive me coldly: methinks my services deserve a better return.

JOHN BULL.—Since you value yourself upon hanging this poor scoundrel, I tell you, when I have any more hanging work, I'll send for thee: I have some better employment for Sir Roger. In the meantime, I desire the poor fellow may be looked after. When he first came out of the north country into my family, under the pretended name of Timothy Trim, the fellow seemed to mind his loom and his spinning-wheel, till somebody turned his head; then he grew so pragmatical, that he took upon him the government of my whole family: I could never order anything, within or without doors, but he must be always giving his counsel, forsooth: nevertheless, tell him I will forgive what is past; and if he would mind his business for the future, and not meddle out of his own sphere, he will find that John Bull is not of a cruel disposition.

DON DIEGO.—Yet all your skilful physicians say that nothing can recover your mother but a piece of Jack's liver boiled in her soup.

JOHN BULL.—Those are quacks. My mother abhors such cannibals' food. She is in perfect health at present. I would have given many a good pound to have had her so well some time ago.* There are indeed two or three troublesome old nurses that, because they believe I am tender-hearted, will never let me have a quiet night's rest with knocking me up: "Oh, sir, your mother is taken extremely ill; she is fallen into a fainting fit; she has a great emptiness, wants sustenance." This is only to recommend themselves for their great care. John Bull, as simple as he is, understands a little of a pulse.

* New clamours about the danger of the Church.



CHAPTER XV. The sequel of the meeting at the "Salutation."*

* At the Congress of Utrecht.

Where I think I left John Bull, sitting between Nic. Frog and Lewis Baboon, with his arms akimbo, in great concern to keep Lewis and Nic. asunder. As watchful as he was, Nic. found the means now and then to steal a whisper, and by a cleanly conveyance under the table to slip a short note into Lewis's hand, which Lewis as slyly put into John's pocket, with a pinch or a jog to warn him what he was about. John had the curiosity to retire into a corner to peruse those billets doux* of Nic.'s, wherein he found that Nic. had used great freedoms both with his interest and reputation. One contained these words: "Dear Lewis, thou seest clearly that this blockhead can never bring his matters to bear. Let thee and me talk to-night by ourselves at the 'Rose,' and I'll give thee satisfaction." Another was thus expressed: "Friend Lewis, has thy sense quite forsaken thee to make Bull such offers? Hold fast, part with nothing, and I will give thee a better bargain, I'll warrant thee!"

* Some offers of the Dutch at that time, in order to get the negotiation into their hands.

In some of his billets he told Lewis "That John Bull was under his guardianship; that the best part of his servants were at his command; that he could have John gagged and bound whenever he pleased by the people of his own family." In all these epistles, blockhead, dunce, ass, coxcomb, were the best epithets he gave poor John. In others he threatened,* "That he, Esquire South, and the rest of the tradesmen, would lay Lewis down upon his back and beat out his teeth if he did not retire immediately and break up the Meeting."

* Threatening that the allies would carry on the war without the help of the English.

I fancy I need not tell my reader that John often changed colour as he read, and that his fingers itched to give Nic. a good slap on the chops, but he wisely moderated his choleric temper. *"I saved this fellow," quoth he, "from the gallows when he ran away from his last master, because I thought he was harshly treated; but the rogue was no sooner safe under my protection than he began to lie, pilfer, and steal like the devil. When I first set him up in a warm house he had hardly put up his sign when he began to debauch my best customers from me. *Then it was his constant practice to rob my fish-ponds, not only to feed his family, but to trade with the fishmongers. I connived at the fellow till he began to tell me that they were his as much as mine. In my manor of *Eastcheap, because it lay at some distance from my constant inspection, he broke down my fences, robbed my orchards, and beat my servants."

* Complaints against the Dutch for encroachment in trade, fishery, East Indies, etc. The war with the Dutch on these accounts.

"When I used to reprimand him for his tricks he would talk saucily, lie, and brazen it out as if he had done nothing amiss. 'Will nothing cure thee of thy pranks, Nic.?' quoth I; 'I shall be forced some time or other to chastise thee.' The rogue got up his cane and threatened me, and was well thwacked for his pains. But I think his behaviour at this time worst of all; after I have almost drowned myself to keep his head above water, he would leave me sticking in the mud, trusting to his goodness to help me out. After I have beggared myself with his troublesome lawsuit, with a plague to him! he takes it in mighty dudgeon because I have brought him here to end matters amicably, and because I won't let him make me over by deed and indenture as his lawful cully, which to my certain knowledge he has attempted several times. But, after all, canst thou gather grapes from thorns? Nic. does not pretend to be a gentleman; he is a tradesman, a self-seeking wretch. But how camest thou to hear all this, John? The reason is plain; thou conferrest the benefits and he receives them; the first produces love, and the last ingratitude. Ah Nic., Nic., thou art a damned dog, that's certain; thou knowest too well that I will take care of thee, else thou wouldst not use me thus. I won't give thee up, it is true; but as true as it is, thou shalt not sell me, according to thy laudable custom." While John was deep in this soliloquy Nic. broke out into the following protestation:—

"Gentlemen,—I believe everybody here present will allow me to be a very just and disinterested person. My friend John Bull here is very angry with me, forsooth, because I won't agree to his foolish bargains. Now I declare to all mankind I should be ready to sacrifice my own concerns to his quiet, but the care of his interest, and that of the honest tradesmen* that are embarked with us, keeps me from entering into this composition. What shall become of those poor creatures? The thoughts of their impending ruin disturb my night's rest; therefore I desire they may speak for themselves. If they are willing to give up this affair, I sha'n't make two words of it."

* The Allies.

John Bull begged him to lay aside that immoderate concern for him, and withal put him in mind that the interest of those tradesmen had not sat quite so heavy upon him some years ago on a like occasion. Nic. answered little to that, but immediately pulled out a boatswain's whistle. Upon the first whiff the tradesmen came jumping into the room, and began to surround Lewis like so many yelping curs about a great boar; or, to use a modester simile, like duns at a great lord's levee the morning he goes into the country. One pulled him by his sleeve, another by the skirt, a third hallooed in the ear. They began to ask him for all that had been taken from their forefathers by stealth, fraud, force, or lawful purchase. Some asked for manors, others for acres that lay convenient for them; that he would pull down his fences, level his ditches. All agreed in one common demand that he should be purged, sweated, vomited, and starved, till he came to a sizeable bulk like that of his neighbours. One modestly asked him leave to call him brother. Nic. Frog demanded two things—to be his porter and his fishmonger, to keep the keys of his gates and furnish the kitchen. John's sister Peg only desired that he would let his servants sing psalms a-Sundays. Some descended even to the asking of old clothes, shoes and boots, broken bottles, tobacco-pipes, and ends of candles.

"Monsieur Bull," quoth Lewis, "you seem to be a man of some breeding; for God's sake use your interest with these Messieurs, that they would speak but one at once; for if one had a hundred pair of hands, and as many tongues, he cannot satisfy them all at this rate." John begged they might proceed with some method; then they stopped all of a sudden and would not say a word. "If this be your play," quoth John, "that we may not be like a Quaker's dumb meeting, let us begin some diversion; what d'ye think of rouly-pouly or a country dance? What if we should have a match at football? I am sure we shall never end matters at this rate."



CHAPTER XVI. How John Bull and Nic. Frog settled their Accounts.

JOHN BULL.—During this general cessation of talk, what if you and I, Nic., should inquire how money matters stand between us?

NIC. FROG.—With all my heart; I love exact dealing. And let Hocus audit; he knows how the money was disbursed.

JOHN BULL.—I am not much for that at present; we'll settle it between ourselves. Fair and square, Nic., keeps friends together. There have been laid out in this lawsuit, at one time, 36,000 pounds and 40,000 crowns. In some cases I, in others you, bear the greatest proportion.

NIC FROG.—Right; I pay three-fifths of the greatest number, and you pay two-thirds of the lesser number. I think this is fair and square, as you call it.

JOHN BULL.—Well, go on.

NIC FROG.—Two-thirds of 36,000 pounds are 24,000 pounds for your share, and there remains 12,000 for mine. Again, of the 40,000 crowns I pay 24,000, which is three-fifths, and you pay only 16,000, which is two-fifths; 24,000 crowns make 6,000 pounds, and 16,000 crowns make 4,000 pounds; 12,000 and 16,000 make 18,000, 24,000 and 4,000 make 28,000. So there are 18,000 pounds to my share of the expenses, and 28,000 to yours.

After Nic. had bamboozled John awhile about the 18,000 and the 28,000, John called for counters; but what with sleight of hand, and taking from his own score and adding to John's, Nic. brought the balance always on his own side.

JOHN BULL.—Nay, good friend Nic., though I am not quite so nimble in the fingers, I understand ciphering as well as you. I will produce you my accounts one by one, fairly writ out of my own books; and here I begin with the first. You must excuse me if I don't pronounce the law terms right.

[John reads.]

For the expenses ordinary of the suits, fees to judges, puisne judges, lawyers innumerable of all sorts:—

Of extraordinaries, as follows per account.. To Esquire South's account for post terminums.. To ditto for non est factums.. To ditto for noli prosequis, discontinuance, and retraxit.. For writs of error.. Suits of conditions unperformed.. To Hocus for dedimus protestatem.. To ditto for a capias ad computandum.. To Frog's new tenants per account to Hocus, for audita querelas.. On the said account for writs of ejectment and distringas.. To Esquire South's quota for a return of a non est invent and nulla habet bona.. To —— for a pardon in forma pauperis.. To Jack for a melius inquirendum upon a felo-de-se.. To coach-hire.. For treats to juries and witnesses..

John having read over his articles, with the respective sums, brought in Frog debtor to him upon the balance, 3,382 pounds 12 shillings.

Then Nic. Frog pulled his bill out of his pocket, and began to read.

Nicholas Frog's Account.

Remains to be deducted out of the former Account.

Paid by Nic. Frog for his share of the ordinary expenses of the suit .. To Hocus for entries of a rege inconsulto.. To John Bull's nephew for a venire facias, the money not yet all laid out.. The coach-hire for my wife and family, and the carriage of my goods during the time of this lawsuit.. For the extraordinary expenses of feeding my family during this lawsuit.. To Major Ab... To Major Will...

And summing all up, found due upon the balance by John Bull to Nic. Frog, 9 pounds 4 shillings and 6 pence.

JOHN BULL.—As for your venire facias, I have paid you for one already; in the other I believe you will be nonsuited. I'll take care of my nephew myself. Your coach-hire and family charges are most unreasonable deductions; at that rate, I can bring in any man in the world my debtor. But who the devil are those two majors that consume all my money? I find they always run away with the balance in all accounts.

NIC. FROG.—Two very honest gentlemen, I assure you, that have done me some service. To tell you plainly, Major Ab. denotes thy greater ability, and Major Will. thy greater willingness to carry on this lawsuit. It was but reasonable thou shouldst pay both for thy power and thy positiveness.

JOHN BULL.—I believe I shall have those two honest majors' discount on my side in a little time.

NIC. FROG.—Why all this higgling with thy friend about such a paltry sum? Does this become the generosity of the noble and rich John Bull? I wonder thou art not ashamed. Oh, Hocus! Hocus! where art thou? It used to go another-guess manner in thy time. When a poor man has almost undone himself for thy sake, thou art for fleecing him, and fleecing him. Is that thy conscience, John?

JOHN BULL.—Very pleasant, indeed! It is well known thou retainest thy lawyers by the year, so a fresh lawsuit adds but little to thy expenses; they are thy customers;* I hardly ever sell them a farthing's-worth of anything. Nay, thou hast set up an eating-house, where the whole tribe of them spend all they can rap or run. If it were well reckoned, I believe thou gettest more of my money than thou spendest of thy own. However, if thou wilt needs plead poverty, own at least that thy accounts are false.

* The money spent in Holland and Flanders.

NIC. FROG.—No, marry won't I; I refer myself to these honest gentlemen—let them judge between us. Let Esquire South speak his mind, whether my accounts are not right, and whether we ought not to go on with our lawsuit.

JOHN BULL.—Consult the butchers about keeping of Lent. Dost think that John Bull will be tried by piepowders? I tell you, once for all, John Bull knows where his shoe pinches. None of your esquires shall give him the law as long as he wears this trusty weapon by his side, or has an inch of broadcloth in his shop.

NIC. FROG.—Why, there it is: you will be both judge and party. I am sorry thou discoverest so much of thy headstrong humour before these strange gentlemen; I have often told thee it would prove thy ruin some time or other. Let it never be said that the famous John Bull has departed in despite of Court.

JOHN BULL.—And will it not reflect as much on thy character, Nic., to turn barretter in thy old days—a stirrer-up of quarrels amongst thy neighbours? I tell thee, Nic., some time or other thou wilt repent this.

But John saw clearly he should have nothing but wrangling, and that he should have as little success in settling his accounts as ending the composition. "Since they will needs overload my shoulders," quoth John, "I shall throw down the burden with a squash amongst them, take it up who dares. A man has a fine time of it amongst a combination of sharpers that vouch for one another's honesty. John, look to thyself; old Lewis makes reasonable offers. When thou hast spent the small pittance that is left, thou wilt make a glorious figure when thou art brought to live upon Nic. Frog and Esquire South's generosity and gratitude. If they use thee thus when they want thee, what will they do when thou wantest them? I say again, John, look to thyself."

John wisely stifled his resentments, and told the company that in a little time he should give them law, or something better.

ALL.—*Law! law! sir, by all means. What is twenty-two poor years towards the finishing a lawsuit? For the love of God, more law, sir!

* Clamours for continuing the war.

JOHN BULL.—Prepare your demands how many years more of law you want, that I may order my affairs accordingly. In the meanwhile, farewell.



CHAPTER XVII. How John Bull found all his Family in an Uproar at Home.*

Nic. Frog, who thought of nothing but carrying John to the market, and there disposing of him as his own proper goods, was mad to find that John thought himself now of age to look after his own affairs. He resolved to traverse this new project, and to make him uneasy in his own family. He had corrupted or deluded most of his servants into the most extravagant conceits in the world: that their master was run mad, and wore a dagger in one pocket and poison in the other; that he had sold his wife and children to Lewis, disinherited his heir, and was going to settle his estate upon a parish-boy; that if they did not look after their master, he would do some very mischievous thing. When John came home, he found a more surprising scene than any he had yet met with, and that you will say was somewhat extraordinary.

* Clamours about the danger of the succession.

He called his cook-maid Betty to bespeak his dinner. Betty told him "That she begged his pardon, she could not dress dinner till she knew what he intended to do with his will." "Why, Betty," quoth John, "thou art not run mad, art thou? My will at present is to have dinner." "That may be," quoth Betty, "but my conscience won't allow me to dress it till I know whether you intend to do righteous things by your heir." "I am sorry for that, Betty," quoth John; "I must find somebody else, then." Then he called John the barber. "Before I begin," quoth John, "I hope your honour won't be offended if I ask you whether you intend to alter your will? If you won't give me a positive answer your beard may grow down to your middle for me." "'Igad, so it shall," quoth Bull, "for I will never trust my throat in such a mad fellow's hands. Where's Dick the butler?" "Look ye," quoth Dick, "I am very willing to serve you in my calling, d'you see, but there are strange reports, and plain-dealing is best, d'ye see. I must be satisfied if you intend to leave all to your nephew and if Nic. Frog is still your executor, d'ye see. If you will not satisfy me as to these points you may drink with the ducks." "And so I will," quoth John, "rather than keep a butler that loves my heir better than myself." Hob the shoemaker, and Pricket the tailor, told him they would most willingly serve him in their several stations if he would promise them never to talk with Lewis Baboon, and let Nicholas Frog, linen-draper, manage his concerns; that they could neither make shoes nor clothes to any that were not in good correspondence with their worthy friend Nicholas.

JOHN BULL.—Call Andrew, my journeyman. How goes affairs, Andrew? I hope the devil has not taken possession of thy body too.

ANDREW.—No, sir; I only desire to know what you would do if you were dead?

JOHN BULL.—Just as other dead folks do, Andrew. [Aside.] This is amazing!

ANDREW.—I mean if your nephew shall inherit your estate.

JOHN BULL.—That depends upon himself. I shall do nothing to hinder him.

ANDREW.—But will you make it sure?

JOHN BULL.—Thou meanest that I should put him in possession, for I can make it no surer without that. He has all the law can give him.

ANDREW.—Indeed, possession, as you say, would make it much surer. They say it is eleven points of the law.

John began now to think that they were all enchanted. He inquired about the age of the moon, if Nic. had not given them some intoxicating potion, or if old Mother Jenisa was still alive? "No, o' my faith," quoth Harry, "I believe there is no potion in the case but a little aurum potabile. You will have more of this by-and-by." He had scarce spoken the word when another friend of John's accosted him after the following manner:—

"Since those worthy persons, who are as much concerned for your safety as I am, have employed me as their orator, I desire to know whether you will have it by way of syllogism, enthymem, dilemma, or sorites?"

John now began to be diverted with their extravagance.

JOHN BULL.—Let's have a sorites by all means, though they are all new to me.

FRIEND.—It is evident to all that are versed in history that there were two sisters that played false two thousand years ago. Therefore it plainly follows that it is not lawful for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse with Lewis Baboon. If it is not lawful for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse (correspondence, if you will, that is much the same thing) then, a fortiori, it is much more unlawful for the said John to make over his wife and children to the said Lewis. If his wife and children are not to be made over, he is not to wear a dagger and ratsbane in his pockets. If he wears a dagger and ratsbane, it must be to do mischief to himself or somebody else. If he intends to do mischief, he ought to be under guardians, and there is none so fit as myself and some other worthy persons who have a commission for that purpose from Nic. Frog, the executor of his will and testament.

JOHN BULL.—And this is your sorites, you say?

With that he snatched a good tough oaken cudgel, and began to brandish it. Then happy was the man that was first at the door. Crowding to get out, they tumbled down-stairs. And it is credibly reported some of them dropped very valuable things in the hurry, which were picked up by others of the family.

"That any of these rogues," quoth John, "should imagine I am not as much concerned as they about having my affairs in a settled condition, or that I would wrong my heir for I know not what! Well, Nic., I really cannot but applaud thy diligence. I must own this is really a pretty sort of a trick, but it sha'n't do thy business, for all that."



CHAPTER XVIII. How Lewis Baboon came to visit John Bull, and what passed between them. *

* Private negotiations about Dunkirk.

I think it is but ingenuous to acquaint the reader that this chapter was not wrote by Sir Humphrey himself, but by another very able pen of the university of Grub Street.

John had, by some good instructions given him by Sir Roger, got the better of his choleric temper, and wrought himself up to a great steadiness of mind to pursue his own interest through all impediments that were thrown in the way. He began to leave off some of his old acquaintance, his roaring and bullying about the streets. He put on a serious air, knit his brows, and, for the time, had made a very considerable progress in politics, considering that he had been kept a stranger to his own affairs. However, he could not help discovering some remains of his nature when he happened to meet with a football or a match at cricket, for which Sir Roger was sure to take him to task. John was walking about his room with folded arms and a most thoughtful countenance. His servant brought him word that one Lewis Baboon below wanted to speak with him. John had got an impression that Lewis was so deadly cunning a man that he was afraid to venture himself alone with him. At last he took heart of grace. "Let him come up," quoth he; "it is but sticking to my point, and he can never over-reach me."

LEWIS BABOON.—Monsieur Bull, I will frankly acknowledge that my behaviour to my neighbours has been somewhat uncivil, and I believe you will readily grant me that I have met with usage accordingly. I was fond of back-sword and cudgel-play from my youth, and I now bear in my body many a black and blue gash and scar, God knows. I had as good a warehouse and as fair possessions as any of my neighbours, though I say it. But a contentious temper, flattering servants, and unfortunate stars have brought me into circumstances that are not unknown to you. These my misfortunes are heightened by domestic calamities. That I need not relate. I am a poor old battered fellow, and I would willingly end my days in peace. But, alas! I see but small hopes of that, for every new circumstance affords an argument to my enemies to pursue their revenge. Formerly I was to be banged because I was too strong, and now because I am too weak to resist; I am to be brought down when too rich, and oppressed when too poor. Nic. Frog has used me like a scoundrel. You are a gentleman, and I freely put myself in your hands to dispose of me as you think fit.

JOHN BULL.—Look you, Master Baboon, as to your usage of your neighbours, you had best not dwell too much upon that chapter. Let it suffice at present that you have been met with. You have been rolling a great stone up-hill all your life, and at last it has come tumbling down till it is like to crush you to pieces. Plain-dealing is best. If you have any particular mark, Mr. Baboon, whereby one may know when you fib and when you speak truth, you had best tell it me, that one may proceed accordingly. But since at present I know of none such, it is better that you should trust me than that I should trust you.

LEWIS BABOON.—I know of no particular mark of veracity amongst us tradesmen but interest; and it is manifestly mine not to deceive you at this time. You may safely trust me, I can assure you.

JOHN BULL.—The trust I give is, in short, this: I must have something in hand before I make the bargain, and the rest before it is concluded.

LEWIS BABOON.—To show you I deal fairly, name your something.

JOHN BULL.—I need not tell thee, old boy; thou canst guess.

LEWIS BABOON.—Ecclesdown Castle,* I'll warrant you, because it has been formerly in your family. Say no more; you shall have it.

* Dunkirk.

JOHN BULL.—I shall have it to my own self?

LEWIS BABOON.—To thine own self.

JOHN BULL.—Every wall, gate, room, and inch of Ecclesdown Castle, you say?

LEWIS BABOON.—Just so.

JOHN BULL.—Every single stone of Ecclesdown Castle, to my own self, speedily?

LEWIS BABOON.—When you please; what needs more words?

JOHN BULL.—But tell me, old boy, hast thou laid aside all thy equivocals and mentals in this case?

LEWIS BABOON.—There's nothing like matter of fact; seeing is believing.

JOHN BULL.—Now thou talkest to the purpose; let us shake hands, old boy. Let me ask thee one question more; what hast thou to do to meddle with the affairs of my family? to dispose of my estate, old boy?

LEWIS BABOON.—Just as much as you have to do with the affairs of Lord Strutt.

JOHN BULL.—Ay, but my trade, my very being was concerned in that.

LEWIS BABOON.—And my interest was concerned in the other. But let us drop both our pretences; for I believe it is a moot point, whether I am more likely to make a Master Bull, or you a Lord Strutt.

JOHN BULL.—Agreed, old boy; but then I must have security that I shall carry my broadcloth to market, old boy.

LEWIS BABOON.—That you shall: Ecclesdown Castle! Ecclesdown! Remember that. Why wouldst thou not take it when it was offered thee some years ago?

JOHN BULL.—I would not take it, because they told me thou wouldst not give it me.

LEWIS BABOON.—How could Monsieur Bull be so grossly abused by downright nonsense? they that advised you to refuse, must have believed I intended to give, else why would they not make the experiment? But I can tell you more of that matter than perhaps you know at present.

JOHN BULL.—But what say'st thou as to the Esquire, Nic. Frog, and the rest of the tradesmen? I must take care of them.

LEWIS BABOON.—Thou hast but small obligations to Nic. to my certain knowledge: he has not used me like a gentleman.

JOHN BULL.—Nic. indeed is not very nice in your punctilios of ceremony; he is clownish, as a man may say: belching and calling of names have been allowed him time out of mind, by prescription: but, however, we are engaged in one common cause, and I must look after him.

LEWIS BABOON.—All matters that relate to him, and the rest of the plaintiff's in this lawsuit, I will refer to your justice.



CHAPTER XIX. Nic. Frog's letter to John Bull: wherein he endeavours to vindicate all his conduct, with relation to John Bull and the lawsuit.

Nic. perceived now that his Cully had eloped, that John intended henceforth to deal without a broker; but he was resolved to leave no stone unturned to cover his bubble. Amongst other artifices he wrote a most obliging letter, which he sent him printed in a fair character.

"DEAR FRIEND,—When I consider the late ill-usage I have met with from you, I was reflecting what it was that could provoke you to it, but upon a narrow inspection into my conduct, I can find nothing to reproach myself with but too partial a concern for your interest. You no sooner set this composition afoot but I was ready to comply, and prevented your very wishes; and the affair might have been ended before now, had it not been for the greater concerns of Esquire South and the other poor creatures embarked in the same common cause, whose safety touches me to the quick. You seemed a little jealous that I had dealt unfairly with you in money-matters, till it appeared by your own accounts that there was something due to me upon the balance. Having nothing to answer to so plain a demonstration, you began to complain as if I had been familiar with your reputation; when it is well known not only I, but the meanest servants in my family, talk of you with the utmost respect. I have always, as far as in me lies, exhorted your servants and tenants to be dutiful; not that I any way meddle in your domestic affairs, which were very unbecoming for me to do. If some of your servants express their great concern for you in a manner that is not so very polite, you ought to impute it to their extraordinary zeal, which deserves a reward rather than a reproof. You cannot reproach me for want of success at the 'Salutation,' since I am not master of the passions and interests of other folks. I have beggared myself with this lawsuit, undertaken merely in complaisance to you; and if you would have had but a little patience, I had still greater things in reserve, that I intended to have done for you. I hope what I have said will prevail with you to lay aside your unreasonable jealousies, and that we may have no more meetings at the 'Salutation,' spending our time and money to no purpose. My concern for your welfare and prosperity almost makes me mad. You may be assured I will continue to be

Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse