The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 8
I arrive at Newcastle--meet with my old Schoolfellow Strap--we determine to walk
together to London--set out on our Journey--put up at a solitary Alehouse--are disturbed
by a strange Adventure in the Night
There is no such convenience as a waggon in this country, and my finances were too
weak to support the expense of hiring a horse: I determined therefore to set out with the
carriers, who transport goods from one place to another on horseback; and this scheme
I accordingly put in execution on the 1st day of September, 1739, sitting upon a pack-
saddle between two baskets, one of which contained my goods in a knapsack. But by
the time we arrived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne I was so fatigued with the tediousness of
the carriage, and benumbed with the coldness of the weather, that I resolved to travel
the rest of my journey on foot, rather than proceed in such a disagreeable manner.
The ostler of the inn at which we put up, understanding I was bound for London,
advised me to take my passage in a collier which would be both cheap and expeditious
and withal much easier than to walk upwards of three hundred miles through deep
roads in the winter time, a journey which he believed I had not strength enough to
perform. I was almost persuaded to take his advice, when one day, stepping into a
barber's shop to be shaved, the young man, while he lathered my face, accosted me
thus: "Sir, I presume you are a Scotchman." I answered in the affirmative. "Pray,"
continued he, "from what part of Scotland?" I no sooner told him, than he discovered
great emotion, and not confining his operation to my chin and upper lip, besmeared my
whole face with great agitation. I was so offended at this profusion that starting up, I
asked him what the d--l he meant by using me so? He begged pardon, telling me his joy
at meeting with a countryman had occasioned some confusion in him, and craved my
name. But, when I declared my name was Random, he exclaimed in rapture, "How!
Rory Random?" "The same," I replied, looking at him with astonishment. "What!" cried
he, "don't you know your old schoolfellow, Hugh Strap?"
At that instant recollecting his face, I flew into his arms, and in the transport of my joy,
gave him back one-half of the suds he had so lavishly bestowed on my countenance; so
that we made a very ludicrous appearance, and furnished a great deal of mirth for his
master and shopmates, who were witnesses of this scene. When our mutual caresses
were over I sat down again to be shaved, but the poor fellow's nerves were so
discomposed by this unexpected meeting that his hand could scarcely hold the razor,
with which, nevertheless, he found means to cut me in three places in as many strokes.
His master, perceiving his disorder, bade another supply his place, and after the
operation was performed, gave Strap leave to pass the rest of the day with me.
We retired immediately to my lodgings, where, calling for some beer, I desired to be
informed of his adventures, which contained nothing more than that his master dying
before his time was out, he had come to Newcastle about a year ago, in expectation of