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Ned Revel's face was at once laid flat, and that ef fected in an inftant, which its moft mortal foe had for years affayed in vain. I fhall pafs over the accidents that attend attempts to fcale windows, and endeavours to diflodge figns from their hooks: there are many "hair-breadth 'fcapes," besides thofe in the "imminent deadly breach;" but the rake's life, though it be equally hazardous with that of the foldier, is neither accompanied with prefent honour nor with pleafing retrofpect: fuch is, and fuch ought to be the difference, between the enemy and the preferver of his country.
Amidit fuch giddy and thoughtlefs extravagance, it will not feem strange, that I was often the dupe of coarfe flattery. When Monf. L'allonge affured me, that I thruft quart over arm better than any man in England, what could I lefs than prefent him with a fword that coft 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 kingdoms except myself. But I often parted with money against my inclination, either because I wanted the refolution to refufe, or dreaded the appellation of a niggardly fellow; and I may be truly faid to have fquandered my eftate, without honour, without friends, and without pleafure. The laft may, perhaps, appear ftrange to men unacquainted with the maiquerade of life: I deceived others, and I endeavoured to deceive myself; and have worn the face of pleafantry and gaiety, while my heart fuffered the most exquifite torture.
By the inftigation and encouragement of my friends, I became at length ambitious of a feat in
parliament; and accordingly fet out for the town of Wallop in the weft, where my arrival was welcomed by a thousand throats, and I was in three days fure of a majority: but after drinking out one hundred and fifty hogfheads of wine, and bribing two-thirds of the corporation twice over, I had the mortification to find, that the borough had been before fold to Mr. Courtly.
In a life of this kind, my fortune, though confiderable, was presently diffipated; and as the attraction grows more ftrong the nearer any body approaches the earth, when once a man begins to fink into poverty, he falls with velocity always increafing; every fupply is purchased at a higher and higher price, and every office of kindness obtained with greater and greater difficulty. Having now acquainted you with my state of elevation, I shall, if you encourage the continuance of my correfpondence, fhew you by what steps I defcended from a first floor in Pall-Mall to my present habitation. I am, SIR,
Your humble fervant,
NUMB. 41. TUESDAY, March 27, 1753
Si mutabile pectus
Et tibi, confiliis, non curribus, utere noftris,
To the ADVENTURER.
Fleet, March 24.
NOW fend you the fequel of my ftory; which had not been fo long delayed, if I could have brought myself to imagine, that any real impatience was felt for the fate of Mifargyrus; who has travelted no unbeaten track to mifery, and confequently can prefent the reader only with fuch incidents as occur in daily life.
You have feen me, Sir, in the zenith of my glory; not difpenfing the kindly warmth of an all-cheering an, but, like another Phaeton, fcorching and blasting every thing round me. I fhall proceed, therefore, to finish my career, and pass as rapidly as poffible through the remaining viciffitudes of my life.
When I firft began to be in want of money, I made no doubt of an immediate fupply. The news
papers were perpetually offering directions to men, who seemed to have no other business than to gather heaps of gold for those who place their fupreme felicity in scattering it. I pofted away, therefore, to one of these advertisers, who by his proposals feemed to deal in thousands; and was not a little chagrined to find, that this general benefactor would have nothing to do with any larger fum 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 folicit furety for thirty pounds: yet partly from the greediness that extravagance always produces, and partly from a defire of seeing the humour of a petty ufurer, a character of which I had hitherto lived in ignorance, I condefcended to listen to his terms. He proceeded to inform me of my great felicity in not falling into the hands of an extortioner; and affured me, that I fhould find him extremely moderate in his demands: he was not, indeed, certain, that he could furnish me with the whole fum, for people were at this particular time extremely preffing 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 ufurious oppreffion; but cannot omit my tranfaction with Squeeze on Tower-bill, who finding me a young man of confiderable expectations, employed an agent to perfuade 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 came prepared to inforce his propofal with all his art; but finding that I caught his offer with the eagernefs of neceffity, he grew cold and languid: "he had mentioned it "out of kindnefs; he would try to ferve me: Mr,
Squeeze was an honeft man, but extremely cau"tious." In three days he came to tell me, that his endeavours had been ineffectual, 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. Squeeze, and poured out before her the flatteries which ufually gain accefs to rank and beauty: I did not then know, that there are places in which the only compliment is a bribe. Having yet credit with a jeweller, I afterwards procured a ring of thirty guineas, which I humbly prefented, and was foon admitted to a treaty with Mr. Squeeze. He appeared peevish and backward, and my old friend whifpered me, that he would never make a dry bargain: I, therefore, invited him to a tavern. Nine times we met on the affair; nine