Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

times I paid four pounds for the supper and claret ; and nine guineas I gave the agent for good offices. I then obtained the money, paying ten per cent. adyance; and at the tenth meeting gave another supper, and disbursed fifteen pounds for the writings.

Others, who stiled themselves brokers, would only trust their money upon goods ; that I might, therefore, try every art of expensive folly, I took a house and furnished it. I amused myself with despoiling my moveables of their glossy appearance, for fear of alarming the lender with suspicions; and in this I succeeded so well, that he favoured me with one hundred and fixty pounds upon that which was rated at seven hundred. I then found that I was to maintain a guardian about me, to prevent the goods from being broken or removed. This was, indeed, an unexpected tax; but it was too late to recede; and I comforted myself, that I might prevent a creditor, of whom I had some apprehensions, from seizing, by having a prior execution always in the house.

By such means I had so embarrassed myfelf, that my whole attention was engaged in contriving excuses, and raising small sums to quiet such as words would no longer mollify. It cost me eighty pounds in presents to Mr. Leech the attorney, for his forbearance of one hundred, which he solicited me to take when I had no need. I was perpetually harassed with importunate demands, and insulted by · wretches, who a few months before would not have dared to raise their eyes from the dust before me. I lived in continual terror, frighted by every noise at the door, and terrified at the approach of every Itep quicker than common, I never retired to rest, with

our

out feeling the justness of the Spanish proverb, “ Let him who neeps too much, borrow the pillow “ of a debtor;" my solicitude and vexation kept me long waking; and when I had closed my eyes, I was pursued or insulted by visionary bailiffs.

When I reflected upon the meanness of the shifts I had reduced myself co, I could not but curse the folly and extravagance that had overwhelmed me in a fea of troubles, from which it was highly improbable that I should ever emerge. I had some time lived in hopes of an estate, at the death of my uncle; but he disappointed me by marrying his housekeeper; and, catching an opportunity foon aster of quarrelling with me, for settling twenty pounds a year upon a girl whom I had seduced, cold me that he would take care to prevent his fortune from being squandered upon prostitutes.

Nothing now remained, but the chance of extricaring myielf by marriage; a scheme which, I hattered myself, nothing but my present distress would have made me think on with patience, I determined, therefore, to look out for a tender novice, with a large fortune at her own difpofal; and accordingly fixed my eyes upon Miss Biddy Simper. I had now paid her six or seven visits; and so fully convinced her of my being a gentleman and a rake, that I made no doubt that both her person and fortune would be soon mine.

At this critical time, Miss Gripe called upon me, in a chariot bought with my money, and loaded with trinkets that I had in my days of affluence lavished on her. Those days were now over; and there was little hope that they would ever return. She was not

able

OV

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

No 41. THE ADVENTURER. 13 able to withstand the temptation of ten pounds that Talon the bailiff offered her, but brought him into my apartment disguised in a livery; and taking my sword to the window, under pretence of admiring the workmanship, beckoned him to seize me.

Delay would have been expensive without use, as the debt was too considerable for payment or bail : I, therefore, suffered myself to be immediately conducted to jail.

Vestibulum ante ipsum primisque in faucibus orci,
Luctus & ultrices posuere cubilia cura :
Pallentesque habitant morbi, tristisque senectus,
Et metus, et malesuada fames, et turpis egestas. VIRG.
Just in the gate and in the jaws of hell,
Revengeful cares, and sullen sorrows dwell ;
And pale diseases, and repining age;

Want, fear, and famine's unresisted rage. DRYDEN. Confinement of any kind is dreadful ; a prison is sometimes able to shock those, who' endure it in a good cause : let your imagination, therefore, acquaint you, with what I have not words to express, and conceive, if possible, the horrors of imprison. ment attended with reproach and ignominy, of involuntary association with the refuse of mankind, with wretches who were before too abandoned for society, but being now freed from shame or fear, are hourly improving their vices by conforting with each, other.

There are, however, a few, whom like myself in. prisonment has rather mortified than hardened: with these only I converse; and of these you may perhaps hereafter receive some account from

Your humble servant, MISARGYRUS,

NUMB. 45. TUESDAY, April 10, 1753.

Nulla fides regni fociis, omnifque poteftas
Iirpatiens confertis erit.

LUCANI

No faith of partnership dominion owns;
Still difccrd hovers o’er divided thrones.

IT is well known, that many things appear plausi

I ble in speculation, which can never be reduced to practice; and that of the numberless projects that have fattered mankind with theoretical fpeciousness, few have served any other purpose than to sew the ingenuity of their contrivers. A voyage to the. moon, however romantic and absurd the scheme may now appear, since the properties of air have been better understood, seemed highly probable to many of the aspiring wits in the laft century, who began to doat upon their glolly plumes, and fluttered with imparience for the hour of their departure :

- Pereant vestigia mille
Arite fugam, absentem.que ferit gravis ungula campum.
Hills, vales, and foods appear already croft;
And, ere he starts, a thousand steps are loft. Popi.

Among the fallacies which only experience can detect, there are some, of which scarcely experience itself can destroy the influence ; fome which, by a captivating shew of indubitable certainty, are perpetually gaining upon the human mind; and which,

though

though every trial ends in disappointment, obtain new credit as the sense of miscarriage wears gradually away, perfuade us to try again what we have tried already, and expose us by the same failure to double vexation.

Of this tempting, this delusive kind, is the expectation of great performances by confederated strength. The speculatist, when he has carefully observed how much may be performed by a single band, calculates by a very easy operation the force of thousands, and goes on accumulating power till resistance vanishes before it; then rejoices in the success of his new scheme, and wonders at the folly or idleness of former ages, who have lived in want of what might so readily be procured, and suffered themselves to be debarred from happiness by obstacles which one united effort would have so easily furmounted.

But this gigantic phantom of collective power vanishes at once into air and emptiness, at the first attempt to put it into action. The different apprehensions, the discordant passions, the jarring interests of men, will scarcely permit that many should unite in one undertaking. .

Of a great and complicated design, fome will never be brought to discern the end ; and of the feveral means by which it may be accomplished, the choice will be a perpetual subject of debate, as every man is swayed in his determination by his own knowledge or convenience. In a long series of action, some will languish with fatigue, and some be drawn off by present gratifications; some will loiter because others labour, and some will cease to-labour

because

« AnteriorContinuar »