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The Adventures of Roderick Random

Chapter 4
My Grandfather makes his Will--our second Visit--he Dies--his Will is read in Presence
of all his living Descendants--the Disappointment of my female Cousins--my Uncle's
A few weeks after our first visit, we were informed that the old judge, at the end of a fit
of thoughtfulness, which lasted three days, had sent for a notary and made his will; that
the distemper had mounted from his legs to his stomach, and, being conscious of his
approaching end, be had desired to see all his descendants without exception. In
obedience to this summons, my uncle set out with me a second time, to receive the last
benediction of my grandfather: often repeating by the road, "Ey, ey, we have brought up
the old hulk at last. You shall see--you shall see the effect of my admonition," When we
entered his chamber, which was crowded with his relations, we advanced to the
bedside, where we found him in his last agonies, supported by two of his
granddaughters, who sat on each side of him, sobbing most piteously, and wiping away
the froth and slaver as it gathered on his lips, which they frequently kissed with a show
of great anguish and affection. My uncle approached him with these words, "What! he's
not a-weigh. How fare ye? how fare ye, old gentleman? Lord have mercy upon your
poor sinful soul!" Upon which, the dying man turned his languid eyes towards us, and
Mr. Bowling went on--"Here's poor Roy come to see you before you die, and to receive
your blessing. What, man! don't despair, you have been a great sinner, 'tis true,--what
then? There's a righteous judge above, an't there? He minds me no more than a
porpoise. Yes, yes, he's a-going; the land crabs will have him, I see that! his anchor's a-
peak, i'faith." This homely consolation scandalised the company so much, and
especially the parson, who probably thought his province invaded, that we were obliged
to retire into another room, where, in a few minutes, we were convinced of my
grandfather's decease, by a dismal yell uttered by the young ladies in his apartment;
whither we immediately hastened, and found his heir, who had retired a little before into
a closet, under pretence of giving vent to his sorrow, asking, with a countenance
beslubbered with tears, if his grandpapa was certainly dead? "Dead!" (says my uncle,
looking, at the body) "ay, ay, I'll warrant him as dead as a herring. Odd's fish! now my
dream is out for all the world. I thought I stood upon the forecastle, and saw a parcel of
carrion crows foul of a dead shark: that floated alongside, and the devil perching upon
our spritsail yard, in the likeness of a blue bear--who, d'ye see jumped overboard upon
the carcass and carried it to the bottom in his claws." "Out upon thee, reprobate" cries
the parson "out upon thee, blasphemous wretch! Dost thou think his honour's soul is in
the possession of Satan?" The clamour immediately arose, and my poor uncle, being,
shouldered from one corner of the room to the other, was obliged to lug out in his own
defence, and swear he would turn out for no man, till such time as he knew who had the
title to send him adrift. "None of your tricks upon travellers," said he; "mayhap old Bluff
has left my kinsman here his heir: if he has, it will be the better for his miserable soul.
Odds bob! I'd desire no better news. I'd soon make him a clear shin, I warrant you." To
avoid any further disturbance, one of my grandfather's executors, who was present,