[ 60 ]

   What were the consequences, and
what was Yorick's catastrophe thereupon,
you will read in the next chapter.


THE Mortgager and Mortgageé
differ the one from the other, not
more in length of purse, than the Jester
and Jesteé do, in that of memory. But
in this the comparison between them
runs, as the scholiasts call it, upon all-
four ; which, by the bye, is upon one
or two legs more, than some of the best
of Homer's can pretend to ; -- namely,
That the one raises a sum and the other
a laugh at your expence, and think no
more about it. Interest, however, still
runs on in both cases ; ---- the periodical
or accidental payments of it, just serving

[ 61 ]

to keep the memory of the affair alive ;
till, at length, in some evil hour, -- pop
comes the creditor upon each, and by
demanding principal upon the spot, to-
gether with full interest to the very day,
makes them both feel the full extent of
their obligations.

  As the reader (for I hate your ifs) has
a thorough knowledge of human nature,
I need not say more to satisfy him, that
my Hero could not go on at this rate
without some slight experience of these
incidental mementos. To speak the
truth, he had wantonly involved himself
in a multitude of small book-debts of
this stamp, which, notwithstanding Eu-
's frequent advice, he too much
disregarded ; thinking, that as not one
of them was contracted thro' any malig-
nancy ; -- but, on the contrary, from an

[ 62 ]

honesty of mind, and a mere jocundity
of humour, they would all of them be
cross'd out in course.

  Eugenius would never admit this ; and
would often tell him, that one day or
other he would certainly be reckoned
with ; and he would often add, in an ac-
cent of sorrowful apprehension, -- to the
uttermost mite. To which Yorick, with
his usual carelesness of heart, would as
often answer with a pshaw ! -- and if the
subject was started in the fields, -- with a
hop, skip, and a jump, at the end of it ;
but if close pent up in the social chimney
corner, where the culprit was barrica-
do'd in, with a table and a couple of
arm chairs, and could not so readily fly
off in a tangent, ---- Eugenius would then
go on with his lecture upon discretion, in
             5             words

[ 63 ]

words to this purpose, though somewhat
better put together.

  Trust me, dear Yorick, this unwary
pleasantry of thine will sooner or later
bring thee into scrapes and difficulties,
which no after-wit can extricate thee out
of. ---- In these sallies, too oft, I see, it
happens, that a person laugh'd at, consi-
ders himself in the light of a person in-
jured, with all the rights of such a situa-
tion belonging to him ; and when thou
viewest him in that light too, and rec-
kons up his friends, his family, his kin-
dred, and allies, ---- and musters up with
them the many recruits which will list
under him from a sense of common dan-
ger ; -- 'tis no extravagant arithmetic to
say, that for every ten jokes, -- thou hast
got a hundred enemies ; and till thou
hast gone on, and raised a swarm of wasps

[ 64 ]

about thy ears, and art half stung to
death by them, thou will never be con-
vinced it is so.

  I cannot suspect it in the man whom I
esteem, that there is the least spur from
spleen or malevolence of intent in these
sallies. ---- I believe and know them to
be truly honest and sportive : -- But con-
sider, my dear lad, that fools cannot di-
stinguish this, -- and that knaves will not ;
and thou knowest not what it is, either
to provoke the one, or to make merry
with the other ; -- whenever they associate
for mutual defence, depend upon it, they
will carry on the war in such a manner
against thee, my dear friend, as to make
thee heartily sick of it, and of thy life too.

  REVENGE from some baneful corner
shall level a tale of dishonour at thee,
             4             which

[ 65 ]

which no innocence of heart or integrity
of conduct shall set right. ---- The for-
tunes of thy house shall totter, -- thy cha-
racter, which led the way to them, shall
bleed on every side of it, -- thy faith que-
stioned, -- thy works belied, -- thy wit
forgotten, -- thy learning trampled on.
To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy,
CRUELTY and COWARDICE, twin ruf-
fians, hired and set on by MALICE in the
dark, shall strike together at all thy infir-
mities and mistakes : -- the best of us,
my dear lad, lye open there, -- and trust
me, ---- trust me, Yorick, When to gratify
a private appetite, it is once resolved up-
on, that an innocent and an helpless creature
shall be sacrificed, 'tis an easy matter to pick
up sticks enew from any thicket where it has
strayed, to make a fire to offer it up with.

   VOL. I.        E           Yorick

[ 66 ]

   Yorick scarce ever heard this sad va-
ticination of his destiny read over to him,
but with a tear stealing from his eye, and
a promissory look attending it, that he
was resolved, for the time to come, to
ride his tit with more sobriety. -- But,
alas, too late ! -- a grand confederacy,
with * * * * * and * * * * * at the head of
it, was form'd before the first prediction
of it. ---- The whole plan of the attack,
just as Eugenius had foreboded, was put
in execution all at once, ---- with so little
mercy on the side of the allies, -- and so
little suspicion in Yorick, of what was
carrying on against him, -- that when he
thought, good easy man ! full surely pre-
ferment was o' ripening, -- they had smote
his root, and then he fell, as many a
worthy man had fallen before him.

[ 67 ]

   Yorick, however, fought it out with all
imaginable gallantry for some time ; till,
over-power'd by numbers, and worn
out at length by the calamities of the
war, ---- but more so, by the ungenerous
manner in which it was carried on, -- he
threw down the sword ; and though he
kept up his spirits in appearance to the
last, ---- he died, nevertheless, as was gene-
rally thought, quite broken hearted.

  What inclined Eugenius to the same
opinion, was as follows :

  A few hours before Yorick breath'd
his last, Eugenius stept in with an intent
to take his last sight and last farewell of
him : Upon his drawing Yorick's cur-
tain, and asking how he felt himself,
Yorick, looking up in his face, took hold
of his hand, ---- and, after thanking him
             E 2              for

[ 68 ]

for the many tokens of his friendship to
him, for which, he said, if it was their
fate to meet hereafter, -- he would thank
him again and again. -- He told him, he
was within a few hours of giving his
enemies the slip for ever. ---- I hope not,
answered Eugenius, with tears trickling
down his cheeks, and with the tenderest
tone that ever man spoke, -- I hope not,
Yorick,said he. -- Yorick replied, with a
look up, and a gentle squeeze of Eu-
's hand, and that was all, -- but it
cut Eugenius to his heart. -- Come, --
come,Yorick,quoth Eugenius, wiping
his eyes, and summoning up the man
within him, ---- my dear lad, be comfort-
ed, -- let not all thy spirits and fortitude
forsake thee at this crisis when thou most
wants them ; ---- who knows what re-
sourses are in store, and what the power
of God may yet do for thee ? ---- Yorick

[ 69 ]

laid his hand upon his heart, and gently
shook his head ; -- for my part, continu-
ed Eugenius, crying bitterly as he uttered
the words,-- I declare I know not, Yo-
, how to part with thee, ---- and
would gladly flatter my hopes, added
Eugenius, chearing up his voice, that
there is still enough left of thee to make
a bishop, -- and that I may live to see
it. ---- I beseech thee, Eugenius, quoth
Yorick, taking off his night-cap as well
as he could with his left hand, ---- his
right being still grasped close in that of
Eugenius, ---- I beseech thee to take a
view of my head. ---- I see nothing that
ails it, replied Eugenius. Then, alas !
my friend, said Yorick, let me tell you,
that 'tis so bruised and mis- shapen'd with
the blows which * * * * * and * * * * *,
and some others have so unhandsomely
given me in the dark, that I might say
             E 3              with

[ 70 ]

with Sancho Pança, that should I reco-
ver, and ``Mitres thereupon be suffer'd
``to rain down from heaven as thick as
``hail, not one of'em would fit it.'' ----
Yorick's last breath was hanging upon
his trembling lips ready to depart as he
uttered this ; -- yet still it was utter'd
with something of a cervantick tone; --
and as he spoke it, Eugenius could per-
ceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up
for a moment in his eyes; ---- faint picture
of those flashes of his spirit, which (as
Shakespear said of his ancestor) were wont
to set the table in a roar !

  Eugenius was convinced from this,
that the heart of his friend was broke ;
he squeez'd his hand, ---- and then
walk'd softly out of the room, weeping
as he walk'd. Yorick followed Eugenius
with his eyes to the door, ---- he then

[ 71 ]

closed them, -- and never opened them

  He lies buried in a corner of his
church-yard, in the parish of ------,
under a plain marble slabb, which his
friend Eugenius, by leave of his executors,
laid upon his grave, with no more than
these three words of inscription serving
both for his epitaph and elegy.

Alas, poor Y O R I C K !

  Ten times in a day has Yorick's ghost
the consolation to hear his monumental
inscription read over with such a variety
of plaintive tones, as denote a general
             E 4              pity

[ 72 ]

pity and esteem for him ; ---- a foot-
way crossing the church-yard close by
the side of his grave, -- not a passenger
goes by without stopping to cast a look
upon it, ---- and sighing as he walks

     Alas, poor Y O R I C K !

                        C H A P.

[ 73 ]

The Black Page

[ 74 ]

The Black Page

[ 75 ]


IT is so long since the reader of this
rhapsodical work has been parted
from the midwife, that it is high time to
mention her again to him, merely to put
him in mind that there is such a body
still in the world, and whom, upon the
best judgment I can form upon my own
plan at present, -- I am going to intro-
duce to him for good and all : But as
fresh matter may be started, and much
unexpected business fall out betwixt the
reader and myself, which may require
immediate dispatch ; ---- 'twas right to
take care that the poor woman should
not be lost in the mean time ; -- because
when she is wanted we can no way do
without her.
             5              I

[ 76 ]

   I think I told you that this good wo-
man was a person of no small note and
consequence throughout our whole vil-
lage and township ; -- that her fame had
spread itself to the very out-edge and cir-
cumference of that circle of importance,
of which kind every soul living, whether
he has a shirt to his back or no, ---- has
one surrounding him ; -- which said circle,
by the way, whenever 'tis said that such
a one is of great weight and importance
in the world, ---- I desire may be enlar-
ged or contracted in your worship's fan-
cy, in a compound-ratio of the station,
profession, knowledge, abilities, height
and depth (measuring both ways) of the
personage brought before you.

  In the present case, if I remember, I
fixed it at about four or five miles, which
not only comprehended the whole pa-

[ 77 ]

rish, but extended itself to two or three
of the adjacent hamlets in the skirts of
the next parish ; which made a consider-
able thing of it. I must add, That she
was, moreover, very well looked on at
one large grange-house and some other
odd houses and farms within two or
three miles, as I said, from the smoke of
her own chimney : ---- But I must here,
once for all, inform you, that all this will
be more exactly delineated and explain'd
in a map, now in the hands of the en-
graver, which, with many other pieces
and developments to this work, will be
added to the end of the twentieth vo-
lume, -- not to swell the work, -- I detest
the thought of such a thing ; ---- but by
way of commentary, scholium, illustra-
tion, and key to such passages, incidents,
or inuendos as shall be thought to be ei-
ther of private interpretation, or of dark

[ 78 ]

or doubtful meaning after my life and
my opinions shall have been read over,
(now don't forget the meaning of the
word) by all the world ; -- which, betwixt
you and me, and in spight of all the
gentlemen reviewers in Great-Britain,
and of all that their worships shall under-
take to write or say to the contrary, ----
I am determined shall be the case. ---- I
need not tell your worship, that all this
is spoke in confidence.


UPON looking into my mother's
marriage settlement, in order to
satisfy myself and reader in a point ne-
cessary to be clear'd up, before we could
proceed any further in this history ; -- I
had the good fortune to pop upon the

[ 79 ]

very thing I wanted before I had read a
day and a half straightforwards, -- it
might have taken me up a month ; -- which
shews plainly, that when a man sits down
to write a history, -- tho' it be but the hi-
story of Jack Hickathrift or Tom Thumb,
he knows no more than his heels what
lets and confounded hinderances he is to
meet with in his way, -- or what a dance
he may be led, by one excursion or an-
other, before all is over. Could a histo-
riographer drive on his history, as a
muleteer drives on his mule, -- straight
forward ; ---- for instance, from Rome all
the way to Loretto, without ever once
turning his head aside either to the right
hand or to the left, -- he might venture
to foretell you to an hour when he should
get to his journey's end ; ---- but the
thing is, morally speaking, impossible :
For, if he is a man of the least spirit, he