The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 7
I am entertained by Mr. Crab--a description of him--I acquire the Art of Surgery--consult
Crab's Disposition--become necessary to him--an Accident happens--he advises me to
launch out into the world--assists me with Money-I set out for London
The fumes of my resentment being dissipated, as well as the vanity of my success, I
found myself deserted to all the horrors of extreme want, and avoided by mankind as a
creature of a different species, or rather as a solitary being, noways comprehended
within the scheme or protection of Providence. My despair had rendered me almost
quite stupified, when I was one day told, that a gentleman desired to see me at a certain
public-house, whither immediately I repaired; and was introduced to one Mr. Launcelot
Crab, a surgeon in town, who was engaged with two more in drinking a liquor called
pop-in, composed by mixing a quartern of brandy with a quart of small beer. Before I
relate the occasion of this message, I believe it will not be disagreeable to the reader, if
I describe the gentleman who sent for me, and mention some circumstances of his
character and conduct which may illustrate what follows, and account for his behaviour
to me.
This member of the faculty was aged fifty, about five feet high, and ten round the belly;
his face was as capacious as a full moon, and much of the complexion of a mulberry:
his nose, resembling a powder-horn, was swelled to an enormous size, and studded all
over with carbuncles; and his little gray eyes reflected the rays in such an oblique
manner that, while he looked a person full in the face, one would have imagined he was
admiring the buckle of his shoe. He had long entertained an implacable resentment
against Potion, who, though a younger practitioner, was better employed than he, and
once had the assurance to perform a cure, whereby he disappointed and disgraced the
prognostic of the said Crab. This quarrel which was at one time upon the point of being
made up, by the interposition and mediation of friends, had been lately inflamed beyond
a possibility of reconciliation by the respective wives of the opponents, who, chancing to
meet at a christening, disagreed about precedence, proceeded from invectives to blows,
and were with great difficulty, by the gossips, prevented from converting the occasion of
joy into a scene of lamentation.
The difference between these rivals was in the height of rancour, when I received the
message of Crab, who received me as civilly as I could have expected from one of his
disposition; and, after desiring me to sit, inquired into the particulars of my leaving the
house of Potion; which when I had related, he said, with a malicious grin, "There's a
sneaking dog! I always thought him a fellow without a soul, d--n me, a canting
scoundrel, who has crept into business by his hypocrisy, and kissing the a--e of every
body."--"Ay, ay," says another, "one might see with half an eye that the rascal has no
honesty in him, by his going so regularly to church."