Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Inspiring Novel > The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle > Chapter 72
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Chapter 72

He cultivates an Acquaintance with the Misanthrope, who favours him with a short Sketch of his own History.

Peregrine was extremely well pleased with this occasional rebuke, which occurred so seasonably, that he could scarce believe it accidental. He looked upon Cadwallader as the greatest curiosity he had ever known, and cultivated the old man’s acquaintance with such insinuating address, that in less than a fortnight he obtained his confidence. As they one day walked into the fields together, the man-hater disclosed himself in these words:—“Though the term of our communication has been but short, you must have perceived, that I treat you with uncommon marks of regard; which, I assure you, is not owing to your personal accomplishments, nor the pains you take to oblige me; for the first I overlook, and the last I see through. But there is something in your disposition which indicates a rooted contempt for the world, and I understand you have made some successful efforts in exposing one part of it to the ridicule of the other. It is upon this assurance that I offer you my advice and assistance, in prosecuting other schemes of the same nature; and to convince you that such an alliance is not to be rejected, I will now give you a short sketch of my history, which will be published after my death, in forty-seven volumes of my own compiling.

“I was born about forty miles from this place, of parents who, having a very old family name to support, bestowed their whole fortune on my elder brother; so that I inherited of my father little else than a large share of choler, to which I am indebted for a great many adventures that did not always end to my satisfaction. At the age of eighteen I was sent up to town, with a recommendation to a certain peer, who found means to amuse me with the promise of a commission for seven whole years; and ’tis odds but I should have made my fortune by my perseverance, had not I been arrested, and thrown into the Marshalsea by my landlord, on whose credit I had subsisted three years, after my father had renounced me as an idle vagabond. There I remained six months, among those prisoners who have no other support than chance charity; and contracted a very valuable acquaintance, which was of great service to me in the future emergencies of my life.

“I was no sooner discharged, in consequence of an act of parliament for the relief of insolvent debtors, than I went to the house of my creditor, whom I cudgelled without mercy; and, that I might leave nothing undone of those things which I ought to have done, my next stage was to Westminster Hall, where I waited until my patron came forth from the house, and saluted him with a blow that laid him senseless on the pavement. But my retreat was not so fortunate as I could have wished. The chairman and lacqueys in waiting having surrounded and disarmed me in a trice, I was committed to Newgate, and loaded with chains; and a very sagacious gentleman, who was afterwards hanged, having sat in judgment upon my case, pronounced me guilty of a capital crime, and foretold my condemnation at the Old Bailey. His prognostic, however, was disappointed; for nobody appearing to prosecute me at the next session, I was discharged by order of the court. It would be impossible for me to recount, in the compass of one day’s conversation, all the particular exploits of which I bore considerable share. Suffice it to say, I have been, at different times, prisoner in all the jails within the bills of mortality. I have broken from every round-house on this side Temple-bar. No bailiff, in the days of my youth and desperation, durst execute a writ upon me without a dozen of followers; and the justices themselves trembled when I was brought before them.

“I was once maimed by a carman, with whom I quarrelled, because he ridiculed my leek on St. David’s day; my skull was fractured by a butcher’s cleaver on the like occasion. I have been run through the body five times, and lost the tip of my left ear by a pistol bullet. In a rencontre of this kind, having left my antagonist for dead, I was wise enough to make my retreat into France; and a few days after my arrival at Paris, entering into conversation with some officers on the subject of politics, a dispute arose, in which I lost my temper, and spoke so irreverently of the Grand Monarque, that next morning I was sent to the Bastille, by virtue of a lettre de cachet. There I remained for some months, deprived of all intercourse with rational creatures; a circumstance for which I was not sorry, as I had the more time to project schemes of revenge against the tyrant who confined me, and the wretch who had betrayed my private conversation. But tired, at length, with these fruitless suggestions, I was fain to unbend the severity of my thoughts by a correspondence with some industrious spiders, who had hung my dungeon with their ingenious labours.

“I considered their work with such attention that I soon became an adept in the mystery of weaving, and furnished myself with as many useful observations and reflections on that art, as will compose a very curious treatise, which I intend to bequeath to the Royal Society, for the benefit of our woollen manufacture; and this with a view to perpetuate my own name, rather than befriend my country; for, thank Heaven! I am weaned from all attachments of that kind, and look upon myself as one very little obliged to any society whatsoever. Although I presided with absolute power over this long-legged community, and distributed punishments and rewards to each, according to his deserts, I grew impatient of my situation; and my natural disposition one day prevailing, like a fire which had long been smothered, I wreaked the fury of my indignation upon my innocent subjects, and in a twinkling destroyed the whole race. While I was employed in this general massacre, the turnkey, who brought me food, opened the door, and perceiving my transport, shrugged up his shoulders, and leaving my allowance, went out, pronouncing, Le pauvre diable! la tete lui tourne. My passion no sooner subsided than I resolved to profit by this opinion of the jailor, and from that day counterfeited lunacy with such success, that in less than three months I was delivered from the Bastille, and sent to the galleys, in which they thought my bodily vigour might be of service, although the faculties of my mind were decayed. Before I was chained to the oar, I received three hundred stripes by way of welcome, that I might thereby be rendered more tractable, notwithstanding I used all the arguments in my power to persuade them I was only mad north-north-west, and, when the wind was southerly, knew a hawk from a handsaw.

“In our second cruise we had the good fortune to be overtaken by a tempest, during whic............

Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved