Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

brother had been denied necessaries, for his sake, to perfect his education forsooth, for which he was to pay us such interest: I thought what the interest would come to;" with much more of the same kind; but I have, I believe, satisfied you with this taste.

My father, therefore, began now to return remonstrances, instead of money, to my demands, which brought my affairs perhaps a little sooner to a crisis; but had he remitted me his whole income, you will imagine it could have sufficed a very short time to support one who kept pace with the expences of Sir George Gresham.

It is more than possible, that the distress I was now in for

money, and the impracticability of going on in this manner, might have restored me at once to my senses and to my studies, had I opened my eyes, before I became involved in debts, from which I saw no hopes of ever extricating myself. This was indeed the great art of Sir George, and by which he accomplished the ruin of many, whom he afterwards laughed at as fools and coxcombs, for vying, as he called it, with a man of his fortune. To bring this about, he would now and then advance a little money himself, in order to support the credit of the unfortunate youth with other people; till, by means of that very credit, he was irretrievably undone.

My mind being, by these means, grown as desperate as my fortune, there was scarce a wickedness which I did not meditate , in order for my relief. Self-murder itself became the subject of my serious deliberation; and I had certainly resolved on it, had not a more shameful, though perhaps less sinful thought expelled it from ny head. I protest, so many years have not washed away the shame of this fact, and I shall blush while I relate it. I had a chum, a very prudent, frugal young lad, who, though he had no very large allowance, had by his parsimony heaped up upwards of forty guineas *), which I knew he kept in hi escritore. I took

[ocr errors]

*) In Ansehung der Englisohen Münzen bemerken wir hier im Allgemeinen folgendes: es giebt in England vier Hauptarten von Silbermiin zen: die Krone, welche 5 Schillingc enthält, die halbe Krone, den Sohilling und den halben Schilling. Der Schilling beträgt etwa acht Groschen Sächsisch. Zwanzig Schillinge machen ein Pfund (pound), welches eine Englische

therefore an opportunity of purloining his key from his breeches pocket while he was asleep, and thus made myself master of all his riches. After which I again conveyed his key into his pocket, and counterfeiting sleep, though I never once closed my eyes, lay in bed lill after he arose and went to prayers, an exercise to which I had long been unaccustomed.

Timorous thieves, by extreme caution, often subject them. selves to discoveries, which those of a bolder kind escape. Thus it happened to me; for had I boldly broke open his escritore, I had, perhaps, escaped even his suspicion, but as it was plain that the person who robbed him bad possessed himself of his key, he had so doubt, when he first missed his

money, but that his chum was certainly the thief. Now as he was of a fearful disposition, and much my inferior in strength, and I believe, in courage, he did not dare to confront me' with my guilt, for fear of worse bodily consequen

which might happen to him. He repaired therefore immediately to the vice-chancellor, and, upon swearing to the robbery *), and to the circumstances of it, very easily obtained a warrant against one who had now so bad a character through the whole university.

Luckily for me, I lay out of the college the next evening; for that day I attended a young lady in a chaise to Whitney **), where we staid all night; and in our return the next morning to Oxford, I met one of my cronies, who acquainted me with sufficient news concerning myself to make turn my burse another way.

Having now abandoned all thoughts of returning to Oxford, the next thing which offered itself was a journey to London. I imparted this intention to my female companion, who at first remonstrated against it; but upon producing my wealth, she immediately consented. We then struck across the country into the great Cirencester road ***), and made

ces,

Rechnungsmiinze ist; ein und zwanzig Schillinge machen eine Guinee, eine wirkliche Goldmtinze. An Kupfermünzen hat man den penny (etwa 8 Pfennige nach unscrm Gelde), halfpenny (4 Pfennige), und den farthing (2 Pfennige). *) Der Kläger ist nach den Englischen Gesetzen genöthigt, den Klagepunkt zu beschwören, che seine Anklage angenommen wird. ***) Ein Flecken, nicht weit von Oxford. ***) Eine grosse Landstrasse, die nach dem Flecken Cirencester, in Gloucestershire führt.

mach hasta, that we pent the next evening (oare ope) ta London.

I was now reduced to a much higher degree of distress than before; the necessaries of life began to be numbered among my wants; and what made my case still the more grievous, was, that my paramour, of whom I was now grown immoderately food, shared the same distresses with myself. To see a woman you love in distress; to be unable to reliete her, and, at the same time, to reflect that you

have brought her into this situation, is, perhaps, a curse of which no imagination can represent the horrors to those who have Qot felt it.

This circumstanco so severely aggravated the horrors of my present situation, that they became absolutely intolerable. I could with less pain endure the raging of my own natural ansatisfied appetites, even hunger or thirst, than I could rubmit to leave ungratified the most whimsical desires of a woman, on whom I so extravagantly doated, that, though I knew she had been the mistress of half my acquaintance, I firmly intended to marry her. But the good creature was unwilling to consent to an action which the world might think so much to my disadvantage. And, as possibly, she compassionated the daily anxieties which she must have perGeived me suffer on her account, she resolved to put an end to my distress. She soon indeed found means to relieve me from my troublesome and perplexed situation, for while I yas distracted with various inventions to supply her with pleasures, she very kindly betrayed me to one of her former lovers at Oxford, by whose care and diligence I was iminediately apprehended and committed to gaol.

Here I first began seriously to reflect on the miscarriages of my former life, on the errors I had been guilty, of; on the misfortunes which I had brought on myself; and on the gricef which I must have occasioned to one of the best of fathers. When I added to all these the perfidy of my mistress, such was the horror of my mind, that life, instead of being longer desirable, grew the object of my abhorrence; and I could have gladly embraced death, as my dearest friend, if it band offered itself to my choice unattended by shame.

The time of the assizes *) soon came, and I was re

Sauf dem plation Lande in England werden jährlich mormal

[ocr errors]

moved by Mabeas Corpus *) to Oxford, where I expected certain conviction and condemnation; but, to my great sur priso, none appeared against mo, and I was, at the end of the sessions, discharged for want of prosecution. In short, my chum had left Oxford, and whether from indolence, or from what other' motive, I am ignorant, bad declined coughan cerning himself any farther in the affair.

I had now regained my liberty, but I had lost my repu; tation, for there is a vide difference between the case of a man who is barely acquitted of a crime in a court of justice, and of him who is acquitted in his owa board, and in ihe qpinion of the people. I was conscious of my guilt, and ubamed to look any one in the face, so resulved to leavo Oxford the next morning, before the daylight discovered mo to the eyes

of
aby

beholders. When I had got clear of the city, it first entered into my head to return home to my father, and endeavour to obtain his forgiveness; but' as I had no reason to doubt his knowledge of all which had past, and as I was well assured of his great arersion to all acts of dishonesty, I could entertain no hopes of being received by him, especially since I was too certain of all the good offices in the power of my mother: nay, had my farther's pardon been as sure, as

I ceived his resentment to be, I yet question whether I could

COD

des Jahre im Sommer ind wåkrend der Fastenzeit in jeder Grafo schaft Kriminal - Gerichte gehalten. Die 12 königl. Richter reisen in den Distrikten, die sie unter sich vertheilt haben, zur Haltung derselben herum, dlan nennt sie lent: und summer-assizes.

*) Habeas corpus Akte, oder das Recht, das jeder Engländer hat, die Ursache seiner Gefangennehmung zu wissen, innerhalb 24 Stunden ein vorläufiges Verkör, und nach demselben, wenn es kein Kupitalverbrechen ist, augenblickliche Loslassung gegen Stellung eines Bürgen, dass er seine Sache nach den Gesctzen ausmachen will, su verlangen. Diese Akte ist von sehr grossem Worth, und setzt die Person und das Eigenthum eines Engländers in die grösste Sichero heit. Zur Zeit einer Rebellion, oder wenn der Staat in äusserster Gefahr ist, wird dem Könige durch Aufhebung dieser Akte auf eine gewisse Zeit, die Macht vom Parliament gegeben, verdächtige Perso sonen, ohne weitere Umstände, festsetzen zu lassen; allein dies gas schieht nur im aussersten Nothfall, und immor pur'auf eine kurze, oom Parliament bestimmte Zeit: Wendcborn's Zustand des Staaie etc. in Grossbritannien, gegen Ende des 18 ton Juk r k uidents, The il l. S. 4

[ocr errors]

very public

have had the assurance to behold him, or whether I could, upon any terms, have submitted to live and converse with those, who, I was convinced, knew me to have been guilty of so base an action.

I hastened therefore back to London, the best retirement of either grief or shame, unless for persons of character; for here you have the advantage of solitude without its disadvantage, since you may be alone and in company at the same time; and while you walk or sit unobserved, noise, hurry, and a constant succession of objects, entertain the mind, and prevent the spirits from preying on themselves, or rather on grief or shame, which are the most unwholesome diet in the world; and on which (though there are many who' never taste either but in public) there are some who can feed very plentifully, and very fatally, when alone.

But as there is scarce any human good without its concomitant evil, so there are people who find an inconvenience in this unobserving temper of mankind; I mean persons who have no money; for as you are not put out of countenance, 80 neither are you clothed or fed by those who do not know you. And a man may be as easily starved in Leadenhallmarket, as in the deserts of Arabia.

It was at present my fortune to be destitute of that great evil, as it is apprehended to be by several writers, who, I suppose, were over- hurthened with it, nar evening, as I was passing through the Inner Temple*) very hungry, and very miserable, I heard a voice on a sudden hailing me with great familiarity by my christian name; and upon my turning about, I presently recollected the person who so saluted me, to have been my fellow-collegiate; one who had left the university above a year, and long before any of my misfortunes had befallen me.

This gentleman, whose name was Watson," shook me heartily by the hand, and expressing great joy at meeting me, proposed our immudiately drinking a bottle together. I first declined the proposal, and pretended business; but as he was very earnest and pressing, hunger at last overcame my pride, and I fairly confessed to him I had no money in my pocket; yet not

[ocr errors]

money. One

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

*) So heissen gewisse Gebäude in London, die ehemals die Tempelherrn inne' hatten, jetzt aber von jungen Leuten bewohnt werden, die sioh der Rechtswissenschaft widmen.

« PreviousContinue »