The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 2
I grow up--am hated by my Relations--sent to School--neglected by my Grandfather--
maltreated by my Master--seasoned to Adversity--I form Cabals against the Pedant--am
debarred Access to my Grandfather--hunted by his Heir--I demolish the Teeth of his
There were not wanting some who suspected my uncles of being concerned in my
father's fate, on the supposition that they would all share in the patrimony destined for
him; and this conjecture was strengthened by reflecting that in all his calamities they
never discovered the least inclination to serve him; but, on the contrary, by all the
artifices in their power, fed his resentment and supported his resolution of leaving him to
misery and want. But people of judgment treated this insinuation as an idle chimera;
because, had my relations been so wicked as to consult their interest by committing
such an atrocious crime, the fate of my father would have extended to me too whose life
was another obstacle to their expectation. Meanwhile, I grew apace, and as I strongly
resembled my father, who was the darling of the tenants, I wanted nothing which their
indigent circumstances could afford: but their favour was a weak resource against the
jealous enmity of my cousins; who the more my infancy promised, conceived the more
implacable hatred against me: and before I was six years of age, had so effectually
blockaded my grandfather that I never saw him but by stealth, when I sometimes made
up to his chair as he sat to view his labourers in the field: on which occasion he would
stroke my head, bid me be a good boy, and promise to take care of me.
I was soon after sent to school at a village hard by, of which he had been dictator time
out of mind; but as he never paid for my board, nor supplied me with clothes, books,
and other necessaries I required, my condition was very ragged and contemptible, and
the schoolmaster, who, through fear of my grandfather, taught me gratis, gave himself
no concern about the progress I made under his instruction. In spite of all these
difficulties and disgraces, I became a good proficient in the Latin tongue; and, as soon
as I could write tolerably, pestered my grandfather with letters to such a degree that he
sent for my master, and chid him severely for bestowing such pains on my education,
telling him that, if ever I should be brought to the gallows for forgery, which he had
taught me to commit, my blood would lie on his head.
The pedant, who dreaded nothing more than the displeasure of his patron, assured his
honour that the boy's ability was more owing to his own genius and application than to
any instruction or encouragement he received; that, although he could not divest him of
the knowledge he had already imbibed, unless he would empower him to disable his
fingers, he should endeavour, with God's help, to prevent his future improvement. And,
indeed, he punctually performed what he had undertaken; for, on pretence that I had
written impertinent letters to my grandfather, he caused a board to be made with five
holes in it, through which he thrust the fingers and thumb of my right hand, and fastened
it by whipcord to my wrist, in such a manner as effectually debarred me the use of my