The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 10
The Highwayman is taken--we are detained as Evidence against him--proceed to the
next village--he escapes--we arrive at another inn, where we go to Bed--in the Night we
are awaked by a dreadful Adventure-next night we lodge at the house of a
Schoolmaster--our Treatment there
Strap and I were about to depart on our journey, when we perceived a crowd on the
road coming towards us, shouting and hallooing all the way. As it approached, we could
discern a man on horseback in the middle, with his hands tied behind him, whom we
soon knew to be Rifle. The highwayman, not being so well mounted as the two servants
who went in pursuit of him, was soon overtaken, and, after having discharged his
pistols, made prisoner without any further opposition. They were carrying him in
triumph, amidst the acclamations of the country people, to a justice of peace in a
neighbouring village, but stopped at our inn to join their companions and take
When Rifle was dismounted and placed in the yard, within a circle of peasants, armed
with pitchforks, I was amazed to see what a pitiful dejected fellow he now appeared,
who had but a few hours before filled me with such terror and confusion. My companion
was so much encouraged by this alteration in his appearance that, going up to the thief,
he presented his clenched fists to his nose, and declared he would either cudgel or box
with the prisoner for a guinea, which he immediately produced, and began to strip, but
was dissuaded from this adventure by me, who represented to him the folly of the
undertaking, as Rifle was now in the hands of justice, which would, no doubt, give us all
satisfaction enough.
But what made me repent of our impertinent curiosity was our being detained by the
captors, as evidence against him, when we were just going to set forward. However,
there was no remedy; we were obliged to comply, and accordingly joined in the
cavalcade, which luckily took the same road that we had proposed to follow. Abort the
twilight we arrived at the place of our destination, but as the justice was gone to visit a
gentleman in the country. with whom (we understood) he would probably stay all night,
the robber was confined in an empty garret, three stories high, from which it seemed
impossible for him to escape; this, nevertheless, was the case; for next morning when
they went up stairs to bring him before the justice, the bird was flown, having got out at
the window upon the roof from whence he continued his route along the tops of the
adjoining houses, and entered another garret where he skulked until the family were
asleep. at which time he ventured down stairs, and let himself out by the street-door,
which was open.
This event was a great disappointment to those that apprehended him, who were
flushed with the hopes of the reward; but gave me great joy, as I was permitted now to
continue my journey, without any further molestation. Resolving to make up for the