« PreviousContinue »
without framing a lie for an excuse, and imputing it to my having changed my breeches that morning. Mr. Watson answered:' „I thought, Jack, you and I had been too old „acquaintance for you to mention such a matter." He then took me by the arm, and was pulling me along; but I gave him very little trouble, for my own inclinations pulled me much stronger than he could do.
We then went into the Friars *), which you know is the scene of all mirth and jollity. Here, when we arrived at the tavern, Mr. Watson applied himself to the drawer only, without taking the least notice of the cook; for he had no suspicion but that I had dined long since. However, as the case was really otherwise, I forged another falsehood, and told my companion, I had been at the further end of the city on business of consequence, and had snapt up a multonchop in haste; so that I was again hungry and wished he would add a beef-steak to his bottle.
I began now to feel myself extremely happy. The meat and wine soon revived my spirits to a high pitch, and I enjoyed much pleasure in the conversation of my old acquain-, tance, the rather as I thought him entirely ignorant of what had happened at the university since his leaving it.
But he did not suffer me to remain long in this agreeable delusion; for taking a bumper in one hand, and holding me by the other: „here, my boy, ". cries he, „here's wishing » you joy of your being honourably acquitted of that affair „, laid to your charge." I was ‘ihunder -struck with contusion at those words, whịch Watson observing, proceeded thus Nay, never be ashamed, mån; thou hast been ac„quitted, and no one now dares call thee guilty; but prithee ,, do tell me, who am thy friend, I hope thou didst really „rob him; for rat me, if it was not a, meritorious action „ to strip such a sneaking pitiful rascal: and instead of the
two hundred guineas, I wish you had taken as many thou„sands. Come, come, my boy, don't be shy of confessing to „me; you are not now brought before one of the pimps.
-n me, if I don't honour you for it; for, as I hope for ,, salvation, I would have made no manner of scruple of doing ,, the same thing."
*) Name eines Wirthshauses unweit des oben eswähnten. Tempelgebäudu.
Thite declaration a Mitle relieved my abashments and as viaé had now somewhat opened my heart, I very, freely acknowledged the robbery, but acquainted him, that he had been misinformed as to the sum taken, which was lilile more than a fifth part of what he had mentioned
„I am sorry for it with all my heart," quoth he, „and „I wish thee better saccess another time. Though, if you to will take my advice, you shall have no occasion to run any souch risk. Here, said be, (taking some dice out of his pocket) „ here's the stuff. Here are the little doctors which ob cure the distempers of the purse. Follow but my counsel, , and I will shew you a way to cmpty the pocket of a queer A cull,") without any danger of the nabbing cheat**)."
We had now each drank our bottle, when Mr. Watson said, the board was sitting, and that he must atteod, earnestly pressing mo, at the same time, to go with him and try my fortune. I answered, he knew that was at present out of my power, as I had informed him of the empliness of my pocket. To say the truth, I doubled not, from his many strong exe pressions of friendship, bui that he would offer to lend me a small sum for that purpose; but he answered: „never mind ,, that, man, e'en boldly run a levant***), but be circumspect
as to the man. I will tip you the proper person, which », may be necessary, as you do not know the towa, nor can by distinguish a rum cullt) from a queer 'one."
The bill was now brought, when Walson paid his shares and was departing. I reminded him, bo without blushing, of my having no money.
He answered: ,, that significs nothing, score it behind the door, or make a bold brush,tt) ,, and take no notice. Or stay, says he, I will go down s, stairs. first, and then do you take up my money, and score the whole reckoning at the bar, and I will wait for you at
*) cull, nach der Erklärung des Dictionary of the vulgar - tongue: a man, honest or otherwise, also unser Kerl. Qucer
erklärt dasselbe durch: base, roguish, worthless. ;**) nubbing cheat, a cant phrase for the gallows, wie es der Erzähler selbst erklärt. ***) run a levant, auch eine cant phrase, sein Glück versuchen, eigentlich, wie es scheint, mit dem Norg.enwind segeln. +) rum cull heisst naeh jenem Dietionary: a rich fool, easily cheated: 7+) to brush erklärt dasselbe durch: to run away.
in the corners i expressed some dislike a and hitrated my expectation that he would have deposited the whole, bus he swore he had not another six-pence in his pocket.
He then went down, and I was prevailed on to take up the money and follow him, which I did close enough 10 hear him tell the drawer the reckoning was apon the table The drawer passed by me up stairs; but I made such hasta into the street, that I heard nothing of his disappointmen, nor did I mention a syllable at the bar, according to my idy structions.
We now went directly to the gaming table, where Mta Watson to my surprize, pulled out a large sum of money, and placed it before him, as did many others; all of theni, no doubt, considering their own heaps as so many decoye birds, which were to intice and draw over the heaps of their neighbours
Here it would be tedious to relate all the freaks which fortune; or rather the dice, played in this her temple Mountains of gold were in a few moments reduced to nothing at one part of the table, and rose as suddenly in another The rich grew in a moment poor, and the poor as suddenly became rich, so that it seemed a philosopher could nowhere have so well instructed his pupils in the contempt of riches, at least he could nowhere have better inculcated the incera tainty of their duration.
For my own part, after having considerably improved my small estate, I at last entirely demolished it. Mr. Watson too, after much variety of luck, rose from the table in some beat, and declared he had lost a cool hundred, and would play no longer. Then coming up to me, he asked me to return with him to the tavern; but I positively refused, saying, I would not bring myself a second time into such dilemma; and especially as he had lost all his money, and was now in my own condition. „ Pooh,” says he, „I have „just borrowed a couple of guineas of a friend, and one of them is at your service.” He immediately put one of them into my hand, and I no longer resisted his inclination.
I was at first a little shocked at reiurning to the same house whence we had departed in so unhandsome 'a manner; but when the drawer, with very civil address, told us, he „ believed we had forgot to pay our reckoning," I became perfectly easy, and very readily gave him a guince, bid him
pay himself, and acquiesced in the unjust charge which had been laid on my memory.
Mr. Watson now bespoke the most extravagant supper he could well think of; and though he had contented himself with simple claret before, nothing now but the most precious Burgundy would serve his purpose.
Our company was soon encreased by the addition of several gentlemen from the gaming-table: most of whom, as I afterwards found, came not to the tavera to drink, but in the way lof business; for the true gamesters pretended to be ill, and refused their glass, while they plied heartily two young fellows, who were to be afterwards pillaged, as indeed they were without mercy. Of this plunder I had the good fortune' to be a sharer, though I was not yet let into the secret.
There was one remarkable incident attended this tavera play; for the money, by degrees, totally disappeared, so that though at the beginning the table was half covered with gold, yet before the play ended, which it did not till the next day, heing Sunday, at noon, there was scarce a single guinea to be seen on the table; and this was the stranger, as every person present, except myself, declared he had lost; and what was become of the money, unless the devil himself carried it away, is difficult to determine.
My fellow collegiale had now 'entered me in a new scene of life. I soon became acquainted with the whole fraternity of sharpers, and was let into their secrets; I mean into the kgowledge of those gross cheats which are proper to impose upon the raw and inexperienced: for, there are some tricks of a finer kind, which are known only to a few of the gang, who are at the head of their profession; a degree of honour beyond my expectation: for drink, to which I was immoderately addicted and the natural warmth of my passions, prevented me from arriving at any great success in an art, which requires as much coolness as the most austere school of philosophy.
Mr. Watson, with whom I now lived in the closest amity, bad unluckily the former failing to a very great excess; so that instead, of making a furtune by his profession, as some others did, he was alternately rich and poor, and was often obliged to surrender to his cooler friends, over a bottle which they never tasted, that plunder which be had taken from culls at the public table.
However, we both made a shift to pick up an uncom; fortable livelihood, and for two years I continued of the calling, during which time I. tasted all the varieties of fortune; sometimes flourishing in affl uence, and at others being obliged to struggle with almost incredible difficulties. Today wallowing in luxury, and to-morrow reduced to the coarsest and most homely fare; my fine clothes being often on my back in the evening, and at the pawa-shop the next morning.
One night, as I was returning pennyless from the gamingtable, I observed a very great disturbance, and a large mob gathered together in the street. As I was in no danger from pick-pockets, I ventured into the croud, where, upon enquiry, I found that a man had been robbed and very ill used by some ruffians.
The wounded man appeared very bloody, and seemed scarce able to support himself on his legs. As I had not therefore been deprived of my humanity by my present life and conversation, though they had left me very little of either honesty or shame, I immediately offered my assistance to the unhappy person, who, thankfully accepted it, and putting himself under my conduct, begged me to convey him to some tavern, where he might send for a surgeon, being, as he said, faint with loss of blood. He seemed indeed highly pleased at finding one who appeared in the dress of a gentleman: for as to all the rest of the company present, their outside was such that he could not wisely place any confidence in them.
I took the poor man by the arm, and led him to the tavern where we kept our rendez-vous, as it happened to be the nearest at hand. А surgeon happening luckily to be in the house, immediately attended, and applied himself to dressing his wounds, which I had the pleasure to hear were not likely to be mortal.
The surgeon having very expeditiously and dextrously, finished his business, began to enquire in what part of the town the wounded man lodged; who answered, that he „was come to town that very morning; that his horse was at an inn in Piccadilly *), and that he had no other lodging, „and very little or no acquaintance in town.”
*) Name einer der volkreichsten und schönsten Strassen- Londons.