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Ned Revel's face was at once laid flat, and that effected in an instant, which its most mortal foe had for years assayed in vain. I fall pass over the accidents that attend attempts to scale windows, and endeavours to dislodge signs from their hooks : there are many
“ hair-breadth 'scapes,” besides those in the “ imminent deadly breach ;” but the rake's life, though it be equally hazardous with that of the foldier, is neither accompanied with present honour nor with pleasing retrospect: Such is, and such ought to be the difference, between the enemy and the preferver of his country.
Amidit such giddy and thoughtless extravagance, It will not seem strange, that I was often the dupe of coarte slattcry. When Mons. L'allongè assured me, that I thrust quart over arm beiter than any man in Lig?coil, what could I less than present him with a sword that cost me thirty pieces? I was bound for a hundred pounds for Tom Trippet, because he had declared that he would dance a minuet with any man in the three kingdons except myself. But I often parted with noney against my inclination, either beCause I wanted the resolution to refuse, or dreadled the appellation of a niggardly fellow; and I may be truly said to have fquandered my estate, without honour, without friends, and without pleasure. The last may, perhaps, appear ftrange to men unacquainted with the masquerade of life: I deceived others, and I endeavoured to deceive myself; and have worn the face of pleatantry and gaiety, while my heart suffered the most exquisite torture.
By the instigation and encouragement of my friends, I became at length ambitious of a feat in
parliament; and accordingly set out for the town of Wallop in the west, where my arrival was welcomed by a thousand throats, and I was in three days sure of a majority: but after drinking out one hundred and fifty hogsheads of wine, and bribing two-thirds of the corporation twice over, I had the mortification to find, that the borough had been before sold to Mr. Courtly.
In a life of this kind, my fortune, though considerable, was presently dissipated; and as the attraction grows more strong the nearer any body approaches the earth, when once a man begins to sink into poverty, he falls with velocity always increafing; every supply is purchased at a higher and higher price, and every office of kindness obtained with greater and greater difficulty. Having now acquainted you
state of elevation, I shall, if you encourage the continuance of my correspondence, shew you by what steps I descended from a first floor in Pall-Mall to my present habitation.
I am, SIR,
Your humble servant,
Numb. 41. TUESDAY, March 27, 1753
Si mutabile peatus
Th' attempt forfake,
lo ibe ADVENTURER.
Fleet, March 24. NOW send you the sequel of my story; which
had not been so long delayed, if I could have brought myself to imagine, that any real impatience w.is felt for the fate of Mifargyrus; who has travelled no unbeaten track to mitery, and consequently can present the reader only with such incidents as occur in daily life.
You have feen me, Sir, in the zenith of my glory; noc dispensing the kindly warmth of an all-cheering ft.nl, but, like another Phaeton, scorching and blasting every thing round me. I shall proceed, thereture, to finish my career, and pass as rapidly as posfille through the remaining vicissitudes of my life.
When I first began to be in want of money, I inade no doubt of an immediate supply. The newspapers were perpetually offering directions to men, who seemed to have no other business than to gather heaps of gold for those who place their supreme felicity in scattering it. I posted away, therefore, to one of these advertisers, who by his proposals seemed to deal in thousands; and was not a little chagrined to find, that this general benefactor would have nothing to do with any larger sum than thirty pounds, nor would venture that without a joint note from myself and a reputable housekeeper, or for a longer time than three months.
It was not yet so bad with me, as that I needed to solicit surety for thirty pounds : yet partly from the greediness that extravagance always produces, and partly from a desire of seeing the humour of a petty usurer, a character of which I had hitherto lived in ignorance, I condescended to listen to his terms. He proceeded to inform me of my great felicity in not falling into the hands of an extortioner; and afsured me, that I should find him extremely moderate in his demands: he was not, indeed, certain, that he could furnish me with the whole sum, for people were at this particular time extremely pressing and importunate for money; yet as I had the appearance of a gentleman, he would try what he could do, and give me his answer in three days.
At the expiration of the time, I called upon him again; and was again informed of the great demand for money, and that “
money was money now: he then advised me to be punctual in my payment, as that might induce him to befriend me hereafter; and delivered me the money, deducting at the rate of five and thirty per cent, with another panegyric upon his own moderation.
I will not tire you with the various practices of usurious oppression; but cannot omit my transaction with Squeeze on Tower-hill, who finding me a young man of considerable expectations, employed an agent to persuade me to borrow five hundred pounds, to be refunded by an annual payment of twenty per cent. during the joint lives of his daughter Nancy Squeeze and myself. The negociator caine prepared to inforce his proposal with all his art ; but finding that I caught his offer with the eagerness of necessity, he grew cold and languid: “ he had mentioned it “ out of kindness; he would try to serve me: Mr,
Squeeze was an honest man, but extremely cau« tious.” In three days he came to tell me, that his endeavours had been ineffetual, Mr. Squeeze having no good opinion of my life: but that there was one expedient remaining; Mrs. Squeeze could influence her husband, and her good-will might be gained by a compliment. I waited that afternoon on Mrs. Smiecze, and poured out before her the Batteries which usually gain access to rank and beauty : I did not then know, that there are places in which the only compliment is a bribe. Having vet credit with a jeweller, I afterwards procured a ring of thirty guineas, which I humbly prefented, and was soon admitted to a treaty with Mr. Squrceze. He appeared peevish and backward, and my old friend whispered me, that he would never make a dry bargain: I, therefore, invited him to a Nine cimes we met on the affair; nine