The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 15
Strap moralises--presents his purse to me--we inform our landlord of our misfortune--he
unravels the mystery--I present myself to Cringer--he recommends and turns me over to
Mr. Staytape--I become acquainted with a fellow dependent, who explains the character
of Cringer and Staytape--and informs me of the method to be pursued at the Navy
Office and Surgeons' Hall--Strap is employed
In our way to our lodging, after a profound silence on both sides, Strap, with a hideous
groan, observed that we had brought our pigs to a fine market. To this observation I
made no reply, and he went on: "God send us well out of this place; we have not been
in London eight and forty hours, and I believe we have met with eight and forty
thousand misfortunes. We have been jeered, reproached, buffeted, and at last stript of
our money; and I suppose by and bye we shall be stript of our skins. Indeed as to the
money part of it, that was owing to our own folly.--Solomon says, 'Bray a fool in a
mortar, and he will never be wise.' Ah! God help us, an ounce of prudence is worth a
pound of gold." This was no time for him to tamper with my disposition, already mad
with my loss, and inflamed with resentment against him for having refused me a little
money to attempt to retrieve it. I therefore turned towards him with a stern countenance,
and asked, who he called fool? Being altogether unaccustomed to such looks from me,
he stood still, and stared in my face for some time; then, with some confusion, uttered,
"Fool! I called nobody fool but myself; I am sure I am the greatest fool of the two, for
being so much concerned at other people's misfortunes; but 'Nemo omnibus horis
sapit'--that's all, that's all." Upon which a silence ensued, which brought us to our
lodging, where I threw myself upon the bed in an agony of despair, resolved to perish
rather than apply to my companion, or any other body, for relief; but Strap, who knew
my temper, and whose heart bled within him for my distress, after some pause came to
the bedside, and, putting a leathern purse into my hand, burst into tears, crying, "I know
what you think, but I scorn your thought. There's all I have in the world, take it, and I'll
perhaps get more for you before that be done. If not, I'll beg for you, steal for you, go
through the wide world with you, and stay with you; for though I be a poor cobbler's son,
I am no scout." I was so much touched with the generous passion of this poor creature,
that I could not refrain from weeping also, and we mingled our tears together for some
time. Upon examining the purse, I found in it two half-guineas and half-a-crown, which I
would have returned to him, saying, he knew better than I how to manage it, but he,
absolutely refused my proposal and told me it was more reasonable and decent that he
should depend upon me, who was a gentleman, than that I should be controlled by him.
After this friendly contest was over, and our minds more at ease, we informed our
landlord of what had happened to us, taking care to conceal the extremity to which we
were reduced. He no sooner heard the story, than he assured us we had been
grievously imposed upon by a couple of sharpers, who were associates; and that this
polite, honest, friendly, humane person, who had treated us so civilly, was no other than
a rascally money-dropper, we made it his business to decoy strangers in that manner to