The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 13
Strap and I are terrified by an Apparition--Strap's Conjecture--the Mystery explained by
Joey--we arrive in London-our Dress and Appearance described--we are insulted in the
Street--an Adventure in an Alehouse--we are imposed upon by a waggish Footman--set
to rights by a Tobacconist--take Lodgings--dive for a Dinner--an Accident at our
We arrived at our inn, supped, and went to bed; but Strap's distemper continuing, he
was obliged to rise in the middle of the night, and taking the candle in his hand, which
he had left burning for the purpose, he went down to the house of office, whence in a
short time he returned in a great hurry, with his hair standing on end, and a look
betokening horror and astonishment. Without speaking a word, he set down the light
and jumped into bed behind me, where he lay and trembled with great violence. When I
asked him what was the matter, he replied, with a broken accent, "God have mercy on
us! I have seen the devil!" Though my prejudice was not quite so strong as his, I was
not a little alarmed at this exclamation, and much more so when I heard the sound of
bells approaching our chamber, and felt my bedfellow cling close to me, uttering these
words, "Christ have mercy upon us; there he comes!" At that instance a monstrous
overgrown raven entered our chamber, with bells at his feet, and made directly towards
our bed. As this creature is reckoned in our country a common vehicle for the devil and
witches to play their pranks in, I verily believed we were haunted; and, in a violent fright,
shrank under the bedclothes. This terrible apparition leaped upon the bed, and after
giving us several severe dabs with its beak. through the blankets, hopped away, and
vanished. Strap and I recommended ourselves to the protection of heaven with great
devotion, and, when we no longer heard the noise, ventured to peep up and take
breath. But we had not been long freed from this phantom, when another appeared, that
had well nigh deprived us both of our senses. We perceived an old man enter the room,
with a long white beard that reached to his middle; there was a certain wild peculiarity in
his eyes and countenance that did not savour of this world; and his dress consisted of a
brown stuff coat, buttoned behind and at the wrists, with an odd-fashioned cap of the
same stuff upon his head. I was so amazed that I had not power to move my eyes from
such a ghastly object, but lay motionless. and saw him come straight up to me: when he
reached the bed, he wrung his hands, and cried, with a voice that did not seem to
belong to a human creature, "Where is Ralph?" I made no reply: upon which he
repeated, in an accent still more preternatural, "Where is Ralpho?" He had no sooner
pronounced these words than I heard the sound of the bells at a distance; which the
apparition, having listened to, tripped away, and left me almost petrified with fear. It was
a good while before I could recover myself so far as to speak; and, when at length I
turned to Strap, I found him in a fit, which, however, did not last long. When he came to
himself, I asked his opinion of what had happened; and he assured me that the first
must certainly be the soul of some person damned, which appeared by the chain about
his legs (for his fears had magnified the creature to the bigness of a horse, and the
sound of small morice-bells to the clanking of massy chains). As for the old man, he