BOOK VIII. CONTAINING ABOUT TWO DAYS.
13. Chapter xiii. In which the foregoing story is farther continued.
In which the foregoing story is farther continued.
"My fellow-collegiate had now entered me in a new scene of life. I
soon became acquainted with the whole fraternity of sharpers, and was
let into their secrets; I mean, into the knowledge of those gross
cheats which are proper to impose upon the raw and unexperienced; for
there are some tricks of a finer kind, which are known only to a few
of the gang, who are at the head of their profession; a degree of
honour beyond my expectation; for drink, to which I was immoderately
addicted, and the natural warmth of my passions, prevented me from
arriving at any great success in an art which requires as much
coolness as the most austere school of philosophy.
"Mr Watson, with whom I now lived in the closest amity, had unluckily
the former failing to a very great excess; so that instead of making a
fortune by his profession, as some others did, he was alternately rich
and poor, and was often obliged to surrender to his cooler friends,
over a bottle which they never tasted, that plunder that he had taken
from culls at the public table.
"However, we both made a shift to pick up an uncomfortable livelihood;
and for two years I continued of the calling; during which time I
tasted all the varieties of fortune, sometimes flourishing in
affluence, and at others being obliged to struggle with almost
incredible difficulties. To-day wallowing in luxury, and to-morrow
reduced to the coarsest and most homely fare. My fine clothes being
often on my back in the evening, and at the pawn-shop the next
"One night, as I was returning pennyless from the gaming-table, I
observed a very great disturbance, and a large mob gathered together
in the street. As I was in no danger from pickpockets, I ventured into
the croud, where upon enquiry I found that a man had been robbed and
very ill used by some ruffians. The wounded man appeared very bloody,
and seemed scarce able to support himself on his legs. As I had not
therefore been deprived of my humanity by my present life and
conversation, though they had left me very little of either honesty or
shame, I immediately offered my assistance to the unhappy person, who
thankfully accepted it, and, putting himself under my conduct, begged
me to convey him to some tavern, where he might send for a surgeon,
being, as he said, faint with loss of blood. He seemed indeed highly
pleased at finding one who appeared in the dress of a gentleman; for
as to all the rest of the company present, their outside was such that
he could not wisely place any confidence in them.