Page images

Far. Why Sir, directly as his father died, he laid his hands upon all he had left behind him; and before he was well cold in his grave, he set off at such a rate, while every good-for-nothing fellow was after him, far and near. For though his old father, in his wicked way, had mustered up full two thousand pounds, yet in a little more than fourteen months, it was all gone,

Sir Thos. How, in the name of wonder, could he, in his line, squander away such a deal of money in so short a time!

Far. Why Sir, first of all, the extravagant blade gave eighty guineas for a very fine hunter, but this he said would pay him very well, as it would bring a deal of their sort of rakish company to his house : but instead of their being his guests, he would treat them all; and then try if he could not pay himself back again by gaming with them; and then they would make him half drunk, and pick his pocket of hundreds.

Sir Thos. No wonder that he so soon ruined himself, if he got connected with a set of gamblers and sharpers.

Far. Why your Honour, he was after them morning noon, and night; and then he got acquainted with that strange wild blade, 'Squire Madcap, who knows how to take care of himself,

while he can trick others; and because the 'Squire knew he had a little money, he pretended to be very gracious with him ; and he got him to give two hundred guineas for a race-horse, which was to beat all the horses in the country. And away he went with him to Gambleton races, cracking and boasting as how he was worth double the money, as he thought he was to get thousands by him. And there, by his gamings and bettings, he lost five hundred pounds, and came home to his wife half mad, through disappointment and rage.

Sir Thos. No wonder that he brought himself to ruin by such extravagances as these. Those public



horse-races are the destruction of thousands. I never suffer any


my family to go near them. Far. Aye, and when he found that his money was almost all gone, he would be swearing by his Maker, in the most blaspheming way, that either he would go on to ruination, or fetch it all back again; and it was not above fourteen months after his father's death, before what the old man had got in his wicked ways was all spent by this rakish blade, in ways if possible, much wickeder still. Aye, and what is worse than all, he has ruined his poor mother, and unmarried sister into the bargain, by spending what by right, should have come to them; though as to his sister, she is a sad saucy puss as ever lived; and no wonder, when we consider how they bred her up; but I must say nothing on that score : the Lord be praised that I was not permitted to live according to the natural corruptions of my heart, all the days of my life!

Sir Thos. This has proved a very unfortunate match for your daughter.

Før. Ah Sir, though he appeared mighty loving to her at first, yet they had not been married together above a month, before she began to rue the day that ever she saw him. There she would be coming to our house, to tell of all her grievances, when he would be away from her upon his rakish tricks, night after night; and when I heard that he had got linked in with that desperate fellow, Sam Blood, who has been in goal before now, I thought what would become of it; and my poor daughter feels all the more since she knows I could not advise her against the match; but now she hears he is cast for death, and left for execution, she is almost distracted.

War. This is a terrible family calamity, and justice must at times, be stern. I fear it will be very difficult to prevent the fatal stroke, especially as the young man has been known to be so wild and worthless. And his connexion with that horrid fellow Sam Blood will go mnch against both him and young Sparkisli,


though I am told that Sam Blood is by far the most daring and villanous of the three.

Sir Thos. I am not as yet acquainted with the particulars of the offence.

Far. If your honour can but save his life, I shall be glad to tell you all I know. After he had lost all he was worth among these gamblers by his horse-racings, excepting the little maintenance I settled on my daughter, and what he still got by selling liquors, his next project was to see if he could not fetch back his money again, by cock-fighting.

Wor. So that when he could not afford to game in a more extravagant way, he attempted it in another style.

Loveg. These abominably cruel sports are productive of a deal of evil, wherever they are permitted to exist.

Sir Thos. I supprest one of their cock-pits not long ago, that some loose rakes were attempting to promote in our neighbourhood, though it was with some difficulty, through the negligence and connivance of some other magistrates in those parts.

Far. It had been well for Will Frolic, if there had been none of those places within his reach; for there he went off to Gambleton with his fighting-cocks, and we never heard of him for three days, till after he was committed to gaol.

Wor Will you tell Sir Thomas how this unhappy event took place?

Far. Why your Honour knows how Sam Blood and Ned Sparkish, and my Son-in-law, all went to that wicked Town, were Lord Rakish and 'Squire Wild were to have first a bull-baiting, next a boxing-match, then a cudgel-playing, and afterwards a cock-fighting in the evening. I don't think there are two such

gentleman blackguards to be found any where like them ; for all the other common blackguards, are sure to be after them, far and wide.

Loveg. You must excuse the strong language of my good old friend, Sir Thomas. And no wonder, since

he has felt such mischievous consequences from their bad example.

Sir Thos. Oh no, Mr. Littleworth is quite right.-If I thought I had two such blackguards as helpers in my stables, I should surely turn them off, lest they should corrupt the rest; neither estate nor titles can make the real gentleman after all ; [to Farmer Littleworth,] But Sir, will you continue your story?

Far. Why Sir, after they had been at it all day, betting and gaming with the swindlers and sharpers, who came together from all parts of the country, they were in hopes that they should get it back again by their cock-fightings in the evening: and there they quite did it all up, and got themselves in debt into the bargain; and then as they say, by the persuation of Sam Blood, they agreed to get up at two o'clock in the morning, and rob the public-house were they were; and after they had broken open different cupboards and places, to get all the money and plate, by throwing down a large tea-board, they awakened the landlord, and his family, and just as they were opening the door to run off with their prey, such an alarm was made by the firing of a pistol, that they were all directly stopped in the street.

Wor. I fear it will be a difficult task to save thier lives, for it seems they had all loaded pistols; and though Sam Blood first snapt his pistol at the landlord's son, without effect, yet he took a second aim at the young man, while he was attempting to escape for his life, and gave him a very dangerous wound upon his shoulder.

Far. Now William Frolic says, he can declare on the word of a dying man, that he had no pistol of his own, but that Sam Blood, while all in a hurry, that they might make their escape, lent him one of his, though he never attempted to fire it; and as for that poor simple fellow Ned Sparkish, no matter if he was to be whipt at the cart's tail, from one end of the Parish to the other, yet he had no pistol at all, only he made a flourish with an old rusty sword which he

found in the house, that he might make his escape; and they say he was a very orderly lad, till Sam Blood got hold of him and led him astray.

Sir Thos. If these circumstances might be made known to the Judge, perhaps life might be granted to your son-in-law and the other youth.

Wor. As to Sam Blood, I should suppose that no interference for him can be attended with success. Justice, at times, demands a sacrifice which must not be dispensed with ; and where an attempt to commit murder is added to thievery, the crime be comes very heinous indeed.

Far. But as neither my Son-in-law, nor Ned Sparkish had any thoughts of that sort, perhaps my Lord Judge might yet send them a pardon, if he knew the rights of it. Oh if your Honour could but get the Judge to spare his life, how thankful should I be!

Wor. Why there is one favourable event. Mr. Lovely, in consequence of his possessing his old Uncle's property, has been appointed Sheriff for the County : perhaps he may obtain mercy for two of them, when it is fully understood that no intentional murder was designed, though under such a supposition, no wonder that they were all left for death.

Far. O Sir! if you two worthy gentlemen would but write out a petition, I know that dear Gentleman Squire Lovely would be mighty glad to present it to his Lordship. As to my daughter, poor girl, she has miscarried once; and she begins again to draw near her time, and she sits crying and sobbing all the day long : it breaks our very hearts to hear her,--and as to my wife and I, especially as the infirmities of old age begin to creep fast upon us, these troubles are enough to bring down our grey hairs, with sorrow to the

grave. Mrs. Wor. But as the assizes are now over, the Judge must have left the county, and Mr. Lovely must have returned ; and I am told, Mrs. Lovely expects to be confined the latter end of this month, or perhaps sooner; and as this is rather an unex

« PreviousContinue »