The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 11
We descry the Waggon--get into it--arrive at an inn--our Fellow Travellers described--a
Mistake is committed by Strap, which produces strange things
We travelled half-a-mile without exchanging one word; my thoughts being engrossed by
the knavery of the world, to which I must be daily exposed, and the contemplation of my
finances, which began sensibly to diminish. At length, Strap, who could hold no longer,
addressed me thus: "Well, fools and their money are soon parted. If my advice had
been taken, that old skin-flint should have been d--n'd before he had got more than the
third of his demand. 'Tis a sure sign you came easily by your money, when you
squander it away in this manner. Ah! God help you, how many bristly beards must I
have mowed before I earned four shillings and threepence-halfpenny, which is all
thrown to the dogs! How many days have I sat weaving hair till my toes were numbed
by the cold, my fingers cramped, and my nose as blue as the sign of the periwig that
hung over the door! What the devil was you afraid of? I would have engaged to box with
any one of those fellows who came in for a guinea--I'm sure--I have beat stouter men
than either of them." And, indeed, my companion would have fought anybody when his
life was in no danger; but he had a mortal aversion to fire-arms and all instruments of
death. In order to appease him, I assured him no part of this extraordinary expense
should fall upon his shoulders; at which declaration he was affronted, and told me he
would have me to know that, although he was a poor barber's boy, yet he had a soul to
spend big money with the best squire of the land.
Having walked all day at a great pace, without halting for a refreshment, we descried,
toward the evening, to our inexpressible joy, the waggon about a quarter of a mile
before us; and, by that time we reached it, were both of us so weary that I verily believe
it would have been impracticable for us to have walked one mile farther. We, therefore,
bargained with the driver, whose name was Joey, to give us a cast to the next stage for
a shilling; at which place we should meet the master of the waggon, with whom we
might agree for the rest of the journey.
Accordingly the convenience stopped, and Joey having placed the ladder, Strap (being
loaded with our baggage) mounted first; but, just as he was getting in, a tremendous
voice assailed his ears in these words: "God's fury! there shall no passengers come
here." The poor shaver was so disconcerted at this exclamation, which both he and I
imagined proceeded from the mouth of a giant, that he descended with great velocity
and a countenance as white as paper. Joey, perceiving our astonishment, called, with
an arch sneer, "Waunds, coptain, whay woant yau sooffer the poor waggoneer to
meake a penny? Coom, coom, young man, get oop, get oop, never moind the coptain;
I'se not afeard of the coptain."
This was not encouragement sufficient to Strap, who could not be prevailed upon to
venture up again; upon which I attempted, though not without a quaking heart, when I