BOOK XII. CONTAINING THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH THE FORMER.
11. Chapter xi. The disasters which befel Jones...
The disasters which befel Jones on his departure for Coventry; with
the sage remarks of Partridge.
No road can be plainer than that from the place where they now were to
Coventry; and though neither Jones, nor Partridge, nor the guide, had
ever travelled it before, it would have been almost impossible to have
missed their way, had it not been for the two reasons mentioned in the
conclusion of the last chapter.
These two circumstances, however, happening both unfortunately to
intervene, our travellers deviated into a much less frequented track;
and after riding full six miles, instead of arriving at the stately
spires of Coventry, they found themselves still in a very dirty lane,
where they saw no symptoms of approaching the suburbs of a large city.
Jones now declared that they must certainly have lost their way; but
this the guide insisted upon was impossible; a word which, in common
conversation, is often used to signify not only improbable, but often
what is really very likely, and, sometimes, what hath certainly
happened; an hyperbolical violence like that which is so frequently
offered to the words infinite and eternal; by the former of which it
is usual to express a distance of half a yard, and by the latter, a
duration of five minutes. And thus it is as usual to assert the
impossibility of losing what is already actually lost. This was, in
fact, the case at present; for, notwithstanding all the confident
assertions of the lad to the contrary, it is certain they were no more
in the right road to Coventry, than the fraudulent, griping, cruel,
canting miser is in the right road to heaven.
It is not, perhaps, easy for a reader, who hath never been in those
circumstances, to imagine the horror with which darkness, rain, and
wind, fill persons who have lost their way in the night; and who,
consequently, have not the pleasant prospect of warm fires, dry
cloaths, and other refreshments, to support their minds in struggling
with the inclemencies of the weather. A very imperfect idea of this
horror will, however, serve sufficiently to account for the conceits
which now filled the head of Partridge, and which we shall presently
be obliged to open.