The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 5
The Schoolmaster uses me barbarously--I form a Project of Revenge, in which I am
assisted by my Uncle--I leave the Village--am settled at a University by his Generosity
On our way back to the village, my uncle spoke not a word during the space of a whole
hour, but whistled with great vehemence the tune of "Why should we quarrel for riches,"
etc. his visage being contracted all the while into a most formidable frown. At length his
pace increased to such a degree that I was left behind a considerable way: then he
waited for me; and when I was almost up with him, called out in a surly tone, "Bear a
hand, damme! must I bring to every minute for you, you lazy dog." Then, laying hold of
me by the arm, hauled me along, until his good nature (of which he had a great share)
and reflection getting the better of his he said, "Come, my boy, don't be cast down,--the
old rascal is in hell, that's some satisfaction; you shall go to sea with me, my lad. A light
heart and a thin pair of breeches goes through the world, brave boys, as the song goes-
-eh!" Though this proposal did not at all suit my inclination, I was afraid of discovering
my aversion to it, lest I should disoblige the only friend I had in the world; and he was so
much a seaman that he never dreamt I could have had any objection to his design;
consequently gave himself no trouble in consulting my approbation. But this resolution
was soon dropped, by the device of our usher, who assured Mr. Bowling, it would be a
thousand pities to balk my genius, which would certainly one day make my fortune on
shore, provided it received due cultivation. Upon which, this generous tar determined
(though he could ill afford it) to give me university education; and accordingly settled my
board and other expenses, at a town not many miles distant, famous for its colleges,
whither we repaired in a short time. But, before the day of our departure, the
schoolmaster, who no longer had the fear of my grandfather before his eyes, laid aside
all decency and restraint, and not only abused me in the grossest language his rancour
could suggest, as a wicked, proffigate, dull, beggarly miscreant, whom he had taught
out of charity; but also inveighed in the most bitter manner against the memory of the
judge (who by the by had procured that settlement for him), hinting, in pretty plain terms,
that the old gentleman's soul was damned to all eternity for his injustice in neglecting to
pay for my learning. This brutal behaviour, added to the sufferings I had formerly
undergone made me think it high time to be revenged on this insolent pedagogue.
Having consulted my adherents, I found them all staunch in their promises to stand by
me; and our scheme was this:--In the afternoon preceding to the day of our departure
for the University, I resolved to take the advantage of the usher's going out to make
water (which he regularly did at four o'clock), and shut the great door, that he might not
come to the assistance of his superior. This being done, the assault was to be begun by
my advancing to my master and spitting in his face. I was to be seconded by two of the
strongest boys in the school, who were devoted to me; their business was to join me in
dragging the tyrant to a bench, over which he was to be laid, and his bare posteriors
heartily flogged, with his own birch, which we proposed to wrest from him in his
struggle; but if we should find him too many for us all three, we were to demand the
assistance of our competitors, who should be ready to enforce us, or oppose anything