The Adventures of Roderick Random HTML version

Chapter 20
I am assaulted and dangerously wounded-suspect O'Donnell, and am confirmed in my
opinion--concert a scheme of revenge, and put it into execution--O'Donnell robs his own
servant and disappears--make my addresses to a lady, and am miraculously delivered
from her snare
One night, at about twelve o'clock, as I returned from visiting a patient at Chelsea, I
received a blow on my head from an unseen hand, that stretched me senseless on the
ground; and was left for dead with three stabs of a sword in my body. The groans I
uttered when I recovered the use of my reason alarmed the people of a solitary
alehouse that stood near the spot where I lay: and they were humane enough to take
me in, and send for a surgeon, who dressed my wounds, and assured me they were not
mortal. One of them penetrated through the skin and muscles of one side of my belly in
such a manner, that doubtless the assassin imagined he had run me through the
entrails. The second slanted along one of my ribs; and the last, which was intended for
the finishing stroke, having been directed to my heart, the sword snapped upon my
breast-bone, and the point remained sticking in the skin. When I reflected upon this
event, I could not persuade myself that I had been assaulted by a common footpad,
because it is not usual for such people to murder though they rob, especially when they
meet with no resistance; and I found my money, and everything else about me but my
carcase, safe. I concluded, therefore, that I must either have been mistaken for another,
or obliged to the private resentment of some secret enemy for what had happened; and
as I could remember nobody who had the least cause of complaint against me, except
Captain O'Donnell and my master's daughter, my suspicion settled upon them, though I
took care to conceal it, that I might the sooner arrive at confirmation.
With this view, I went home in the chair about ten o'clock in the morning; and as the
chairman supported me into the house, met the captain in the passage, who no sooner
saw me than he started back and gave evident signs of guilty confusion, which he would
have accounted for from surprise occasioned by the seeing me in such a condition. My
master having heard my story, condoled me with a good deal of sympathy, and when he
understood my wounds were not dangerous, ordered me to be carried upstairs to bed;
though not without some opposition from his wife, who was of opinion that it would be
better for me to go to an hospital, where I should be more carefully attended. My
meditation was employed in concerting with myself some method of revenge against
Squire O'Donnell and his inamorata, whom I looked upon as the author of my
misfortune; when miss, who was not at home at my arrival, entered my chamber, and
saying she was sorry for the accident that had befallen me, asked if I suspected
anybody to be the assassin; upon which I fixed my eyes steadfastly upon her and
answered, "Yes." She discovered no symptom of confusion, but replied hastily, "If that
be the case, why don't you take out a warrant, to have him apprehended? It will cost but
a trifle--if you have no money, I'll lend you." This frankness not only cured me of my
suspicion with respect to her, but even staggered my belief with regard to the captain, of