The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 16
My new acquaintance breaks an appointment--I proceed, by myself, to the Navy Office--
address me to a person there, who assists me with advice--write to the Board, they
grant me a letter to the Surgeons at the Hall--am informed of the beau's name and
character--find him--he makes me his confidant in an amour--desires me to pawn my
linen for his occasions--recover what I lent him--some curious observations on Strap on
that occasion--his vanity.
In the morning I rose and went to the place of rendezvous, where I waited two hours in
vain, and was so exasperated against him for breaking his appointment, that I set out
for the city by myself, in hope of finding the villain, and being revenged on him for his
breach of promise. At length I found myself at the Navy Office, which I entered, and saw
crowds of young fellows walking below, many of whom made no better appearance than
myself. I consulted the physiognomy of each, and at last made up to one whose
countenance I liked, and asked, if he could instruct me in the form of the letter which
was to be sent to the Board to obtain an order for examination? He answered me in
broad Scotch, that he would show me the copy of what he had writ for himself, by
direction of another who know the form, and accordingly pulled it out of his pocket for
my perusal; and told me that, if I was expeditious, I might send it into the Board before
dinner, for they did no business in the afternoon. He then went with me to coffee-house
hard by, where I wrote the letter, which was immediately delivered to the messenger,
who told me I might expect an order to-morrow about the same time.
Having transacted this piece of business, my mind was a good deal composed; and as I
had met with so much civility from the stranger, I desired further acquaintance with him,
fully resolved, however, not to be deceived by him so much to my prejudice as I had
been by the beau. He agreed to dine with me at the cook's shop which I frequented; and
on our way thither carried me to 'Change, where I was in hopes of finding Mr. Jackson
(for that was the name of the person who had broke his appointment), I sought him
there to no purpose, and on our way towards the other end of the town imparted to my
companion his behaviour towards me; upon which he gave me to understand, that he
was no stranger to the name of Bean Jackson (so he was called at the Navy Office),
although he did not know him personally; that he had the character of a good-natured
careless fellow, who made no scruple of borrowing from any that would lend; that most
people who knew him believed he had a good principle at bottom, but his extravagance
was such, he would probably never have it in his power to manifest the honesty of his
intention. This made me sweat for my five shillings, which I nevertheless did not
altogether despair of recovering, provided I could find out the debtor.
This young man likewise added another circumstance of Squire Jackson's history,
which was, that being destitute of all means to equip himself for sea, when he received
his last warrant, he had been recommended to a person who lent him a little money,
after he had signed a will entitling that person to lift his wages when they should