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Full text of "Caleb Williams"

Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

Mrs . Andrew Kellogg 



STANDARD 
NOVELS. 

N II. 



CALEB WILLIAMS, 

BY WILLIAM GODWIN, 
courier! ix OM> iot.au*. 



LONDON: 
HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY, 

NEW BURLINGTON STREET; 

BELL AND BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH} 
AND CUMM1NG, DUBLIN. 

1831. 



LONDON : 

Printed by A. & K. Spottiswoode, 
New-Street- Square. 




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WILLIAM GODWIN. 



WILLIAM GODWIN was born at Wisbeach, in Cam- 
bridgeshire, 3d March, 1756. Hie grandfather had 
been a dissenting minister in London. His father was 
also a clergyman. In the year 1760 the father re- 
moved with his family to a village about sixteen miles 
north of Norwich, where he presided over a congre- 
gation. William was one of many children, neither 
the eldest nor the youngest among them. Very early, 
even in childhood, he developed that love of acquire- 
ment and knowledge which stamped his future career. 
In the year 1767 he was placed with a private tutor at 
Norwich, for the purposes of classical education. Mr. 
Godwin has very recently published a work (" Thought* 
on Man, his Nature, Productions, and Discoveries,") 
which contains various interesting particulars respect- 
ing himself. From this we learn that he had in youth 
" a prominent vein of docility/' He adds, " Whatever 
A 2 



IV MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. 

it was proposed to teach me, that was in any degree 
accordant with my constitution and capacity, I was 
willing to learn." He continues : " I was ambitious to 
be a leader, and to be regarded by others with feelings 
of complacency." From these circumstances it is 
evident that Mr. Godwin was not one of those youths, 
who, strenuously active and eager in the pursuit of 
some peculiar knowledge of their own selection, rebel 
against authority, and are tortured by the regular ap- 
plication required to the common-place routine of edu- 
cation. Reason and a love of investigation were the 
characteristics of Godwin, even in boyhood, added to 
what he himself describes as " a sort of constitutional 
equanimity and imperturbableness of temper." 

In the year 1773 Mr. Godwin was placed at a col- 
lege for dissenters at Hoxton, for the purpose of being 
educated for the church. Dr. Kippis and Dr. llees were 
two of the principal professors at this college ; and the 
tenets in vogue there inclined to Unitarianism. Mr. 
Godwin had been bred a Calvinist, and was the farthest 
in the world from that temper of mind which is blown 
about by every new wind of opinion. Opposition made 
him more tenaciously cling to his own turn of think- 
ing, and adhere to the persuasion in which he had 
been brought up. In the year 1778 he became mi- 
nister to a congregation not far from the metropolis. 
He continued in the exercise of the duties of a clergy- 
man for five years; after which he gave it up, in the year 



MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. V 

1783, and came to reside in London ; where he became 
an author, at once subsisting by the fruits of his pen, 
and educating himself by its exercise for those works of 
genius and immortality which he was destined to pro- 
duce. He soon became distinguished among his con- 
temporaries, and frequented the society of many of the 
political leaders of the day, among whom Fox and 
Sheridan held the first rank. Added to this was a 
literary circle formed of men of talent and genius. 
While at college, Mr. Godwin describes himself as 
reading " all sorts of books, on every side of any im- 
portant question, that were thrown in his way;" 
among these he was peculiarly attracted by the Roman 
historians, and in particular by Livy. These works 
made him early in life a republican in theory. The 
French revolution, which broke out in 1789, when he 
was already engaged in his career as an author, 
turned his attention still more definitely to political 
subjects. Discussion on various points discussion, 
animated by the living drama of change enacted in 
France, and warmed by the animated hopes and fears 
of the parties was, far more than now, the order 
of the day in society; and Godwin, intimately con- 
nected with the Whigs of this country, found himself 
more than ever roused to investigate the momentous 
topic of the liberty of nations. The result of his 
meditations and his labours was " Political Justice," 
published early in the year 1793. At once the book and 



VI MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. 

its author rose to a place of eminence in the public eye. . 
The daring nature of his tenets, the energetic yet 
unaffected flow of his eloquence, the heartfelt sincerity 
and love of truth that accompanied his disquisitions, 
seemed, as by magic, to throw down a thousand barriers, 
and to level a thousand fortifications, which had hitherto 
defended and kept secure the inner fortresses of 
public prejudices or opinions. Mild and benevolent of 
aspect, gentle and courteous of manner, the author 
himself presented a singular contrast in appearance, to 
the boldness of his speculations. But beneath this 
apparent quiescence there was a latent fire: his intellect 
was all animation ; he never receded from contest, or 
declined argument ; and he derived extreme pleasure 
from this exercise of the powers of his mind. 

Early in the following year Mr. Godwin again ap- 
peared as an author: " Caleb Williams" was published 
a novel which, in despite of the brilliant works of the 
same species which have since adorned our literature, 
still holds its place, and has been frequently, and we 
are apt to believe irrevocably, pronounced the best 
in -our language. It raised Godwin's reputation to 
the pinnacle. All that might have offended, as hard 
and republican in his larger work, was obliterated by 
the .splendour and noble beauty of the character of 
Falkland. 

Towards the end of this year Mr. Godwin's talents 
were called forth on a still more conspicuous arena. 



MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. i\ 

It was not until 1 797 that he published The Enquirer," 
a work consisting of essays, developing, under various 
aspects, the tenets of his greater work. In one thing, 
from his very first outset as an author, Godwin held 
himself fortunate : this was in his publisher. Robinson 
has often been mentioned as a man of extreme liberality : 
towards Mr. Godwin he always acted in a way at once 
to encourage, facilitate, and recompense his labours. 

Towards the beginning of the year 1797 Godwin 
married Mary Wollstonecrafl. The writings of this 
celebrated woman are monuments of her moral and in- 
tellectual superiority. Her lofty spirit, her eager asser- 
tion of the claims of her sex, animate the "Vindication 
of the Rights of Woman ;" while the sweetness and 
taste displayed in her " Letters from Norway" depict 
the softer qualities of her admirable character. Even 
now, those who have survived her so many years, never 
speak of her but with uncontrollable enthusiasm. 
Her unwearied exertions for the benefit of others, her 
rectitude, her independence, joined to a warm affec- 
tionate heart, and the most refined softness of manners, 
made her the idol of all who knew her. Mr. Godwin 
was not allowed long to enjoy the happiness he reaped 
from this union. Mary Wollstonecraft died the 10th 
September 1797, having given birth to a daughter, the 
present Mrs. Shelley. 

The next work of Mr. Godwin was the romance of 
" St. Leon," published in 1799. The domestic happi- 
ness he had enjoyed, colours and adorns the scenes of 
a 



X MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. 

this book ; and the high idea of the feminine character 
which naturally resulted from his intercourse with the 
ornament of her sex, imparted dignity and grandeur to 
the character of the heroine of this work. In eloquence 
and interest and deep knowledge of human nature, St. 
Leon takes a first place among imaginative productions. 
In 1QOO Mr. Godwin visited Ireland. He resided 
while there principally with Curran, and associated 
intimately with Grattan, and all the other illustrious 
Irish patriots. In 1801 Mr. Godwin again married 
.a widow lady of considerable personal attractions 
.and accomplishments. The sole offspring of this mar- 
riage was a son, born in 1803. In the same year he 
published the "Life of Chaucer;" a work displaying 
accurate research and refined taste, and presenting at 
once a correct and animated picture of the times of 
the poet. This was followed in 1804- by a third 
novel, entitled " Fleetwood," characterised by elegance 
of style and force of passion, less striking perhaps 
.than his former works of imagination, yet not less full 
of beauty and interest. 

After this period Mr. Godwin rested for a consider- 
able interval from his literary labours, being chiefly 
occupied by various exertions and speculations for the 
maintenance of his family. The " Essay on Sepulchres," 
published in 1808, stands a solitary record that the 
fire still burnt, pure and undiminished, though con- 
.cealed. In 1816 he visited Edinburgh, where he 
formed an acquaintance with Walter Scott and other 



MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. XI 

celebrated Scotch writers ; and here also he entered 
into a treaty with Mr. Constable, the bookseller, for the 
composition of a new novel. " Mandeville," published 
in 1817, was the result. We here trace the mellow- 
ness of ripened years ; the reading, the study, the 
careful polish of maturity, adorning, but not diminish- 
ing, the untamed energy and eloquence of his earlier 
works. Solemn and tragic as is the groundwork of 
" Mandeville," it surpasses, we almost venture to say, 
all Mr. Godwin's productions in grace of diction, and 
forcible developement of human feeling. About this 
time Mr. Godwin sustained a great personal loss in the 
death of Mr. Curran. Their friendship was of many 
years' standing ; and since Cumin's retirement from 
public life, and residence in London, they had been 
drawn closer together than ever. 

In 1820 his work in opposition to, and refuting, the 
opinions of Malthus appeared. Fervently attached to all 
that is lofty, independent, and elevating in his specu- 
lations on human society, Godwin strenuously contro- 
verted the degrading, hard, and demoralising tenets of 
the author of the Essay on Population. His book, exact 
in logic, and powerful in eloquence, would probably have 
been considered as a complete answer to his adversary, 
did not Malthus's notions favour so memorably the vices 
of the great, and all that is rotten in our institutions. 
After this, Mr. Godwin was occupied several years in 
writing " The History of the Commonwealth of 
England." The four volumes of which this workjs 
a2 



Xli MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. 

composed were published in the years 1824-, 1826, 
1827, and 1828. It is accurate, which in an historical 
work is a quality that deserves primary consideration. 
It is besides eloquent, philosophical, and, above all, 
abounds in new and valuable research. As a real 
and true detail of events as they occurred, and a 
tracing of events to their primary causes, it far excels 
any other English historical work that we possess. 

In 1830 Mr. Godwin published " Cloudesley," his 
last novel, a book whose charm goes to the heart. 
The spirit of virtue and love is its soul. It breathes 
peace to all men, and a fervid attachment to all that 
bears the human form. Nothing can excite greater 
interest, emanating as it does from one who has spent 
a long life in this centre of civilisation ; and who, 
amidst all the trials, experiences, and attendant disap- 
pointments which must have chequered his inter- 
course with his species, still sees in man all that is 
noble, inspiriting, and worthy to be loved. 

This too is the spirit that animates the work to which 
we have before alluded as of recent publication. Hu- 
manity may cite his " Thoughts on Man," and so 
answer the aspersions of Swift and others of his 
school, proudly founding upon the sentiments of that 
book the tower of their hope. The divine charity of 
the Sermon on the Mount finds an human echo in its 
pages; which breathe such admiration and love for man 
as must elevate the desponding, confound the misan- 
thrope, and add for ever dignity and grace to our species. 



MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM GODWIN. xiii 

Perhaps it may be averred, that, since the days of 
the ancient Greek philosophers, no man has embodied 
so entirely the idea we conceive of those heroes of 
mind as the subject of this memoir. Like them, he has 
forgotten the grandeur of the world in the more ele- 
vating contemplation of the immaterial universe. The 
universe of thought has been that in which he had 
ambition to reign; and many and various are the con- 
quests he has made in that eternal country. He has 
bestowed on us a whole creation of imaginary exist- 
ences, among whom when we name Falkland, we select 
the being of fancy which is at once the most real and 
the most grand that has appeared since Shakespeare 
gave a * local habitation" to the name of Hamlet. As 
a speculative writer, he is the mighty parent of all that 
the reformers of the day advance and uphold. As an 
historian, he is deeply imbued with the dignity of his 
subject, and unwearied in his endeavours to 'ascertain 
the truth. As an essayist (his latest labour of author- 
ship), he is unequalled for novelty of thought, closeness 
of reasoning, and purity, vigour, and elegance of style. 
As a morai character, his reputation is unblemished. 
He stands, in simplicity of wisdom, and consistency of 
principle, the monument of the last generation, extend- 
ing into this the light of a long experience, and 
ornamenting our young and changeful literature with 
the profounder and loftier views of a more contem- 
plative era, 

A 3 



XIV 



CRITICISM 

ON 

THE NOVELS OF GODWIN. 



FEW authors have the faculty of awakening and 
arresting the attention like Mr. Godwin. He never 
fails to excite in us the emotion he wishes, and that 
without resorting to marvellous or overstrained in- 
cidents or language. He has a might almost magical 
over our sympathies. He describes a damp and com- 
fortless morning ; and we are out under the cold drizzly 
dawn. He talks of Switzerland of the lake of Uri ; 
and the mountains and the waters are before us. He 
tells a tale of injustice and oppression; and every 
feeling of indignant resistance 'stirs within us. He 
holds up to our unmitigated hatred and contempt the 
wanton and brutal tyrant; and unlocks the sacred 
fountain of our tears for the helpless and the orphan, 
for the unresisting, the neglected, and the misused. 

Mr. Godwin does not deal much in imagination, and 
is seldom purely descriptive ; though we repeat, that 
when he is so, his power does not desert him, as may 
be seen (to best advantage, we think,) in " Fleetwood." 
The principal object of his study and contemplation is 



CRITICISM ON THE NOVELS OF GODWIN. XV 

man the enemy of man. Do we not remember to 
have seen an edition of " Caleb Williams" with these 
lines for a motto ? 

" Amid the woods the tifer knows hi. kind; 
The panther prey* oat on the panther brood : 
Man only U the common (be of Man. - 

Life seems to have been but the instrument to burn 
this truth into the soul of our author. He reads Fox's 
Book of Martyrs, and the History of the Inquisition ; 
and imagines himself now torturer and now sufferer. 
He gets up, goes abroad into "the throng miscalled 
society," sees only its errors and its vices, its knaves 
and its dupes ; and writes as if little or nothing else was 
in existence. He has visions of misery, from deserted 
childhood starving in strange streets, to the head that 
has become white in the solitude of a dungeon. We 
always thought a great deal of the brutality even of 
Mr. Tyrrel gratuitous, in spite of the morbid irri- 
tability of spirit under which he suffers ; though cer- 
tainly the character is embodied with terrible power, 
and might stand for a real personage. It is an attribute 
indeed of Mr. Godwin, that he tells you his tale like 
one who remembers, not invents. Thus his story be- 
comes not the relation of a looker-on, however acute 
and powerful, but is " compact" of words hot from the 
burnt and branded heart of the miserable sufferer. It 
is this quality which makes Gines, the thief and Dow- 
street runner, a terrific being ; Williams himself, not 
Mr. Godwin, talks to you about him, and, good God ! 
how awful is his omnipresence to the poor fellow! 
Noiseless, swift, invisible, he seems to ride upon the 
clouds, and blast his victim like the blight which falls 
upon vegetation from the air. 



XVI CRITICISM ON 

We have said that Mr. Godwin seldom resorts to. 
" marvellous or overstrained incidents or language :" 
once however, he has imagined and placed a cha- 
racter in " impossible situations." St. Leon becomes 
the possessor of the philosopher's stone, the inheritor 
of exhaustless wealth, and of the power of renewing 
his age. He is, himself, of course, an impossibility ; 
but the want of truth is confined purely to the cha- 
racter, for every thing which befalls him is human, 
natural, and possible. How minute, how pathetic, how 
tragical is the detail of the gradual ruin which falls on 
this weak, devoted man, up to its heart-breaking con- 
summation, in the death of the noble Marguerite de 
Damville f how tremendous and perfect is his deso- 
lation, after voluntarily leaving his daughters, and 
cutting the last thread which binds him to his kind ! 
"I saw my dear children set forward on their journey, 
and I knew not that I should ever behold them more. 
I was determined never to see them again to their in- 
jury ; and I could not take to myself the consolation, 
on such a day, in such a month, or even after such a 
lapse of years, I shall again have the joy to embrace 
them. In a little while they were out of sight, and I 
was alone." How complete is the description of his 
escape from the procession of the Auto da Fe ; of his 
entrance into the Jew's house ; his fears ; his decaying 
strength, just serving to make up the life-restoring 
elixir ; the dying taper ; the insensibility ; the resur- 
rection to new life, and the day-spring of his young 
manhood ! How shall we speak of the old man, the 
bequeather of the fatal legacy to St. Leon, and his 
few fearful words: "Friendless, friendless alone, 
alone." Alas ! how terrible to imagine a being in pos- 



THE NOVELS OF GODWIV. XV11 

session of such endowments, who could bring himself 
to think of death ! able to turn back upon his path 
and meet immortal youth, to see again the morning 
of his day, and find, in renewed life and beauty, a 
disguise impenetrable to his former enemies ; yet, in 
the sadness of his experience, so dreading the mistakes 
and persecution of his fellow-men, as to choose rather 
to lie down with the worm, and seek oblivion in the 
seats of rottenness and corruption. 

One of the most remarkable ways in which the 
faculty of Mr. Godwin is evinced, is the " magnitude 
and wealth " of his detail. No single action or event that 
could possibly, in such circumstances as he imagines, 
heighten the effect, is omitted. In this he resembles 
Hogarth ; but he is always tragical, producing his 
end altogether without ludicrous contrasts, or the in- 
tervention of any thing bordering on the humorous. 
Mere mental imbecility is not to be found in the 
pictures of Mr. Godwin: his characters are people 
who analyse their own minds, and who never act from 
want of understanding, right or wrong. Indeed, they 
are too conscious ; like that young rogue, Charles dc 
St. Leon, for instance, who seems to do every thing 
with a truly French eye to effect. 

If we were asked to name the work of this writer 
which had pleased us the most, we should say " Fleet- 
wood." This will appear strange to the majority of 
readers, no doubt; but, with many beauties, it has 
fewer defects. In " Fleetwood" we have no drawbacks. 
The story of Rttffigny is a sort of epitome of our 
author : it contains all that he can do. And then the 

Murm-i/x ui mourn tor tlu-in ;i> tor <U ar trinuU. 

Mary FUehvood is the best feminine delineation to be 



XX PREFACE. 

comprehend, as far as the progressive nature of a 
single story would allow, a general review of the modes 
of domestic and unrecorded despotism by which man 
becomes the destroyer of man. If the author shall 
have taught a valuable lesson, without subtracting 
from the interest and passion by which a performance 
of this sort ought to be characterised, he will have 
reason to congratulate himself upon the vehicle he has 
chosen. 

May 12. 1794. 



THIS preface was withdrawn in the original edition, 
in compliance with the alarms of booksellers. " Caleb 
Williams" made his first appearance in the world, in the 
same month in which the sanguinary plot broke out 
against the liberties of Englishmen, which was happily 
terminated by the acquittal of its first intended victims, 
in the close of that year. Terror vras the order of the 
day ; and it was feared that even the humble novelist 
might be shown to be constructively a traitor. 

October 29. 1795. 



ADVENTURES 

OF 

CALEB WILLIAMS. 



VOLUME THE FIRST. 



CHAPTER I. 

MY life has for several years been a theatre of cala- 
mity. I have been a mark for the vigilance of tyranny, 
and I could not escape. My fairest prospects have been 
blasted. My enemy has shown himself inaccessible to 
entreaties, and un tired in persecution. My fame, as 
well as my happiness, has become his victim. Every 
one, as far as my story has been known, has refused 
to assist me in my distress, and has execrated my name. 
I have not deserved this treatment. My own con- 
science witnesses in behalf of that innocence, my pre- 
tensions to which are regarded in the world as incredible. 
There is now, however, little hope that I shall escape 
from the toils that universally beset me. I am incited 
to the penning of these memoirs only by a desire to 
divert my mind from the deplorableness of my situation, 
and a faint idea that posterity may by their means be 
induced to render me a justice which my contempo- 
raries refuse. My story will, at least, appear to have 
that consistency which is seldom attendant but upon 
truth. 
I was born of humble parents, in a remote county of 



2 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

England. Their occupations were such as usually fall 
to the lot of peasants, and they had no portion to give 
me, but an education free from the usual sources of 
depravity, and the inheritance, long since lost by their 
unfortunate progeny 1 of an honest fame. I was taught 
the rudiments of no science, except reading, writing, 
and arithmetic. But I had an inquisitive mind, and 
neglected no means of information from conversation 
or books. My improvement was greater than my con- 
dition in life afforded room to expect. 

There are other circumstances deserving to be men- 
tioned as having influenced the history of my future 
life. I was somewhat above the middle stature. With- 
out being particularly athletic in appearance, or large 
in my dimensions, I was uncommonly vigorous and 
active. My joints were supple, and I was formed to 
excel in youthful sports. The habits of my mind, 
however, were to a certain degree at war with the 
dictates of boyish vanity. I had considerable aversion 
to the boisterous gaiety of the village gallants, and 
contrived to satisfy my love of praise with an un- 
frequent apparition at their amusements. My excellence 
in these respects, however, gave a turn to my medi- 
tations. I delighted to read of feats of activity, and 
was particularly interested by tales in which corporeal 
ingenuity or strength are the means resorted to for 
supplying resources and conquering difficulties. I 
inured myself to mechanical pursuits, and devoted 
much of my time to an endeavour after mechanical 
invention. 

The spring of action which, perhaps more than any 
other, characterised the whole train of my life, was 
curiosity. It was this that gave me my mechanical 
turn ; I was desirous of tracing the variety of effects 
which might be produced from given causes. It was 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 3 

i\i\< that made rae a sort of natural philosopher; I 
could not rest till I had acquainted myself with the 
solutions that had been invented for the phenomena 
of the- universe. In fine, this produced hi me an in- 
vincible attachment to books of narrative and romance. 
I panted for the unravelling of an adventure with an 
anxiety, perhaps almost equal to that of the man 
whose future happiness or misery depended on its issue. 
I read, I devoured compositions of this sort. They 
took possession of my soul ; and the effects they pro- 
duced were frequently discernible in my external ap- 
pearance and my health. My curiosity, however, was 
not entirely ignoble : village anecdotes and scandal had 
no charms for me : my imagination must be excited ; 
and when that was not done, my curiosity was dormant 

The residence of my parents was within the manor of 
Ferdinando Falkland, a country squire of considerable 
opulence. At an early age I attracted the favourable 
notice of Mr. Collins, this gentleman's steward, who 
used to call in occasionally at my father's. He observed 
the particulars of my progress with approbation, and 
made a favourable report to his master of my industry 
and genius. 

In the summer of the year , Mr. Falkland visited 

his estate in our county after an absence of several 
months. This was a period of misfortune to me. I 
was then eighteen years of age. My father lay dead 
in our cottage. I had lost my mother some years before. 
In this forlorn situation I was surprised with a message 
from the squire, ordering me to repair to the mansion- 
house the morning after my father's funeral. 

Though I was not a stranger to books, I had no 

practical acquaintance with men. I had never had 

occasion to address a person of this elevated rank, and 

1 telt no small uneasiness and awe on the present 

B 2 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

occasion. I found Mr. Falkland a man of small stature, 
with an extreme delicacy of form and appearance. In 
place of the hard-favoured and inflexible visages I had 
been accustomed to observe, every muscle and petty 
line of his countenance seemed to be in an incon- 
ceivable degree pregnant with meaning. His manner 
was kind, attentive, and humane. His eye was full of 
animation ; but there was a grave and sad solemnity 
in his air, which, for want of experience, I imagined 
was the inheritance of the great, and the instrument 
by which the distance between them and their infe- 
riors was maintained. His look bespoke the unquiet- 
ness of his mind, and frequently wandered with an 
expression of disconsolateness and anxiety. 

My reception was as gracious and encouraging as I 
could possibly desire. Mr. Falkland questioned me re- 
specting my learning, and my conceptions of men and 
things, and listened to my answers with condescension 
and approbation. This kindness soon restored to me a 
considerable part of my self-possession, though I still 
felt restrained by the graceful, but unaltered dignity of 
his carriage. When Mr. Falkland had satisfied his 
curiosity, he proceeded to inform me that he was in 
want of a secretary, that I appeared to him sufficiently 
qualified for that office, and that, if, in my present change 
of situation, occasioned by the death of my father, I 
approved of the employment, he would take me into 
his family. 

I felt highly flattered by the proposal, and was 
warm in the expression of my acknowledgments. I set 
eagerly about the disposal of the little property my 
father had left, in which I was assisted by Mr. Collins. 
I had not now a relation in the world, upon whose 
kindness and interposition I had any direct claim. But, 
far from regarding this deserted situation with terror, J 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 5 

formed golden visions of the station I was about to 
occupy. I little suspected that the gaiety and light- 
ness of heart I had hitherto enjoyed were upon the 
point of leaving me for ever, and that the rest of my 
days were devoted to misery and alarm. 

My employment was easy and agreeable. It con* 
sisted partly in the transcribing and arranging certain 
papers, and partly in writing from my master's dic- 
tation letters of business, as well as sketches of literary 
composition. Many of these latter consisted of an 
analytical survey of the plans of different authors and 
conjectural speculations upon hints they afforded, tend- 
ing either to the detection of their errors, or the 
carrying forward their discoveries. All of them bore 
powerful marks of a profound and elegant mind, well 
stored with literature, and possessed of an uncommon 
share of activity and discrimination. 

My station was in that pan of the house which was 
appropriated for the reception of books, it being my 
duty to perform the functions of librarian as well as 
secretary. Here my hours would have glided in tran- 
quillity and peace, had not my situation included in it 
circumstances totally different from those which at- 
tended me in my father's cottage. In early life my 
mind had been much engrossed by reading and re- 
flection: my intercourse with my fellow mortals was 
occasional and short. But, in my new residence, I was 
excited by every motive of interest and novelty to 
study my master's character ; and I found in it an 
ample field for speculation and conjecture. 

His mode of living was in the utmost degree re- 
cluse and solitary. He had no inclination to scenes 
of revelry and mirth. He avoided the busy haunts of 
men ; nor did he seem desirous to compensate for this 
privation by the confidence of friendship. He ap- 
B 3 



(J CALEB WILLIAMS. 

peared a total stranger to every thing which usually 
bears the appellation of pleasure. His features were 
scarcely ever relaxed into a smile, nor did that air 
which spoke the unhappiness of his mind at any time 
forsake them : yet his manners were by no means 
such as denoted moroseness and misanthropy. He was 
compassionate and considerate for others, though the 
stateliness of his carriage and the reserve of his 
temper were at no time interrupted. His appearance 
and general behaviour might have strongly interested 
all persons in his favour ; but the coldness of his 
address, and the impenetrableness of his sentiments, 
seemed to forbid those demonstrations of kindness to 
which one might otherwise have been prompted. 

Such was the general appearance of Mr. Falkland : 
but his disposition was extremely unequal. The dis- 
temper which afflicted him with incessant gloom had 
its paroxysms. Sometimes he was hasty, peevish, and 
tyrannical; but this proceeded rather from the torment 
of his mind than an unfeeling disposition ; and when 
reflection recurred, he appeared willing that the weight 
of his misfortune should fall wholly upon himself. 
Sometimes he entirely lost his self-possession, and his 
behaviour was changed into frenzy : he would strike 
his forehead, his brows became knit, his features dis- 
torted, and his teeth ground one against the other. 
When he felt the approach of these symptoms, he 
would suddenly rise, and, leaving the occupation, 
whatever it was, in which he was engaged, hasten 
into a solitude upon which no person dared to intrude. 

It must not be supposed that the whole of what I 
am describing was visible to the persons about him ; 
nor, indeed, was I acquainted with it in the extent 
here stated but after a considerable time, and in gra- 
dual succession. With respect to the domestics in 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 7 

.m-iu-ral, they saw but little of their master. None of 
thrm, except myself, from the nature of my functions, 
and Mr. Collins, from the antiquity of his service and 
the respectableness of his character, approached Mr. 
Falkland, but at stated seasons and for a very short 
interval. They knew him only by the benevolence of 
his actions, and the principles of inflexible integrity 
by which he was ordinarily guided ; and though they 
would sometimes indulge their conjectures respecting 
his singularities, they regarded him upon the whole 
with veneration, as a being of a superior order. 

One day, when I had been about three months in 
the service of my patron, I went to a closet, or small 
apartment, which was separated from the library by 
a narrow gallery that was lighted by a small window 
near the roof. I had conceived that there was no person 
in the room, and intended only to put any thing in 
order that I might find out of its place. As I opened 
the door, I heard at the same instant a deep groan, 
expressive of intolerable anguish. The sound of the 
door in opening seemed to alarm the person within ; 
I heard the lid of a trunk hastily shut, and the noise 
as of fastening a lock. I conceived that Mr. Falkland 
was there, and was going instantly to retire ; but at 
that moment a voice, that seemed supernaturally tre- 
mendous, exclaimed, Who is there? The voice was 
Mr. Falkland's. The sound of it thrilled my very 
vitals. I endeavoured to answer, but my speech 
failed, and being incapable of any other reply, I in- 
stinctively advanced within the door into the room. 
Mr. Falkland was just risen from the floor upon which 
he had been sitting or kneeling. His face betrayed 
strong symptoms of confusion. With a violent effort, 
however, these symptoms vanished, and instantane- 
ously gave place to a countenance sparkling with rage. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 



Villain ! " cried he, " what has brought you here ?" I 
hesitated a confused and irresolute answer. "Wretch!" 
interrupted Mr. Falkland, with uncontrollable impa- 
tience, " you want to ruin me. You set yourself as a 
spy upon my actions ; but bitterly shall you repent 
your insolence. Do you think you shall watch my 
privacies with impunity?" I attempted to defend 
myself. " Begone, devil I " rejoined he. " Quit the 
room, or I will trample you into atoms." Saying this, 
he advanced towards me. But I was already suffi~ 
ciently terrified, and vanished in a moment. I heard the 
door shut after me with violence ; and thus ended this 
extraordinary scene. 

I saw him again in the evening, and he was then 
tolerably composed. His behaviour, which was always 
kind, was now doubly attentive and soothing. He 
seemed to have something of which he wished to dis- 
burthen his mind, but to want words in which to 
convey it. I looked at him with anxiety and affection. 
He made two unsuccessful efforts, shook his head, and 
then putting five guineas into my hand, pressed it in 
a manner that I could feel proceeded from a mind 
pregnant with various emotions, though I could not 
interpret them. Having done this, he seemed imme- 
diately to recollect himself, and to take refuge in the 
usual distance and solemnity of his manner. 

I easily understood that secrecy was one of the 
things expected from me ; and, indeed, my mind was 
too much disposed to meditate upon what I had heard 
and seen, to make it a topic of indiscriminate com- 
munication. Mr. Collins, however, and myself hap- 
pened to sup together that evening, which was but 
seldom the case, his avocations obliging him to be 
much abroad. He could not help observing an un- 
common dejection and anxiety in my countenance, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 9 

and affectionately enquired into the reason. I endea- 
voured to evade his questions, but my youth and 
ignorance of the world gave me little advantage for 
that purpose. Beside this, I had been accustomed 
to view Mr. Collins with considerable attachment, and 
I conceived from the nature of his situation that 
there could be small impropriety in making him my 
confident in the present instance. I repeated to htm 
minutely every thing that had passed, and concluded 
with a solemn declaration that, though treated with 
caprice, I was not anxious for myself; no inconve- 
nience or danger should ever lead me to a pusillani- 
mous behaviour ; and I felt only for my patron, who, 
with every advantage for happiness, and being in 
the highest degree worthy of it, seemed destined to 
undergo unmerited distress. 

In answer to my communication, Mr. Collins in- 
formed me that some incidents, of a nature similar to 
that which I related, had fallen under his own know- 
ledge, and that from the whole he could not help 
concluding that our unfortunate patron, was at times 
disordered in his intellects. " Alas !" continued he, " it 
was not always thus ! Fcrdinando Falkland was once 
the gayest of the gay. Not indeed of that frothy 
sort, who excite contempt instead of admiration, and 
whose levity argues thoughtlessness rather than feli- 
city. His gaiety was always accompanied with dig- 
nity. It was the gaiety of the hero and the scholar. 
It was chastened with reflection and sensibility, and 
never lost sight either of good taste or humanity. 
Such as it was however, it denoted a genuine hilarity 
of heart, imparted an inconceivable brilliancy to his 
company and conversation, and rendered him the per- 
petual delight of the diversified circles he then wil- 
lingly frequented. You see nothing of him, my dear 



10 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Williams, but the ruin of that Falkland who was courted 
by sages, and adored by the fair. His youth, distin- 
guished in its outset by the most unusual promise, is 
tarnished. His sensibility is shrunk up and withered 
by events the most disgustful to his feelings. His 
mind was fraught with all the rhapsodies of visionary 
honour ; and, in his sense, nothing but the grosser 
part, the mere shell of Falkland, was capable of sur- 
viving the wound that his pride has sustained. 

These reflections of my friend Collins strongly 
tended to inflame my curiosity, and I requested him 
to enter into a more copious explanation. With this 
request he readily complied ; as conceiving that what- 
ever delicacy it became him to exercise in ordinary 
cases, it would be out of place in my situation ; and 
thinking it not improbable that Mr. Falkland, but for 
the disturbance and inflammation of his mind, would 
be disposed to a similar communication. I shall inter- 
weave with Mr. Collins's story various information 
which I afterwards received from other quarters, that 
I may give all possible perspicuity to the series of 
events. To avoid confusion in my narrative, I shall 
drop the person of Collins, and assume to be myself 
the historian of our patron. To the reader it may 
appear at first sight as if this detail of the preceding 
life of Mr. Falkland were foreign to my history. Alas I 
I know from bitter experience that it is otherwise. 
My heart bleeds at the recollection of his misfortunes, 
as if they were my own. How can it fail to do so ? 
To his story the whole fortune of my life was linked ; 
because he was miserable, my happiness, my name, 
and my existence have been irretrievably blasted. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 11 



CHAPTER H. 

AMONG the favourite authors of his early years were 
the heroic poets of Italy. From them he imbibed the 
love of chivalry and romance. He had too much good 
sense to regret the times of Charlemagne and Arthur. 
But, while his imagination was purged by a certain 
infusion of philosophy, he conceived that there was in 
the manners depicted by these celebrated poets some- 
thing to imitate, as well as something to avoid. He be- 
lieved that nothing was so well calculated to make men 
delicate, gallant, and humane, as a temper perpetually 
alive to the sentiments of birth and honour. The 
opinions he entertained upon these topics were illus- 
trated in his conduct, which was assiduously con- 
formed to the model of heroism that his fancy suggested. 
With these sentiments he set out upon his travels, at 
the age at which the grand tour is usually made; and 
they were rather confirmed than shaken by the ad- 
ventures that befel him. By inclination he was led to 
make his longest stay in Italy ; and here he fell into 
company with several young noblemen whose studies 
and principles were congenial to his own. By them 
he was assiduously courted, and treated with the most 
distinguished applause. They were delighted to meet 
with a foreigner, who had imbibed all the peculiarities 
of the most liberal and honourable among themselves. 
Nor was he less favoured and admired by the softer 
sex. Though his stature was small, his person had an air 
of uncommon dignity. His dignity was then heightened 
by certain additions which were afterwards obliterated, 
an expression of frankness, ingenuity, and unreserve, 
and a spirit of the most ardent enthusiasm. Perhaps 



12 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

no Englishman was ever in an equal degree idolised by 
the inhabitants of Italy. 

It was not possible for him to have drunk so deeply 
of the fountain of chivalry without being engaged 
occasionally in affairs of honour, all of which were 
terminated in a manner that would not have disgraced 
the chevalier Bayard himself. In Italy, the young men 
of rank divide themselves into two classes, those who 
adhere to the pure principles of ancient gallantry, and 
those who, being actuated by the same acute sense 
of injury and insult, accustom themselves to the em- 
ployment of hired bravoes as their instruments of 
vengeance. The whole difference, indeed, consists in 
the precarious application of a generally received dis- 
tinction. The most generous Italian conceives that 
there are certain persons whom it would be contami- 
nation for him to call into the open field. He never- 
theless believes that an indignity cannot be expiated 
but with blood, and is persuaded that the life of a man 
is a trifling consideration, in comparison of the in- 
demnification to be made to his injured honour. There 
is, therefore, scarcely any Italian that would upon 
some occasions scruple assassination. Men of spirit 
among them, notwithstanding the prejudices of their 
education, cannot fail to have a secret conviction of its 
baseness, and will be desirous of extending as far as 
possible the cartel of honour. Real or affected arro- 
gance teaches others to regard almost the whole species 
as their inferiors, and of consequence incites them to 
gratify their vengeance without danger to their persons. 
Mr. Falkland met with some of these. But his un- 
daunted spirit and resolute temper gave him a decisive 
advantage even in such perilous rencounters. One 
instance, among many, of his manner of conducting 
himself among this proud and high-spirited people it 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 13 

may be proper to relate. Mr. Falkland is the principal 
agent in my history ; and Mr. Falkland in the autumn 
and decay of his vigour, such as I found him, cannot 
be completely understood without a knowledge of his 
previous character, as it was in all the gloss of youth, 
yet unassailed by adversity, and unbroken in upon by 
anguish or remorse. 

At Rome he was received with particular distinction 
at the house of marquis Pisani, who had an only 
daughter, the heir of his immense fortune, and the 
admiration of all the young nobility of that metropolis. 
Lady Lucretia Pisani was tall, of a dignified form, 
and uncommonly beautiful. She was not deficient in 
amiable qualities, but her soul was haughty, and her 
carriage not unfrequently contemptuous. Her pride 
was nourished by the consciousness of her charms, 
by her elevated rank, and the universal adoration she 
was accustomed to receive. 

Among her numerous lovers count Malvesi was the 
individual most favoured by her father, nor did his 
addresses seem indifferent to her. The count was a 
man of considerable accomplishments, and of great 
integrity and benevolence of disposition. But he was 
too ardent a lover, to be able always to preserve the 
affability of his temper. The admirers whose addresses 
were a source of gratification to his mistress, were a 
perpetual uneasiness to him. Placing his whole hap- 
piness in the possession of this imperious beauty, the 
most trifling circumstances were capable of alarming 
him for the security of his pretensions. But most of 
all he was jealous of the English cavalier. Marquis 
Pisani, who had spent many years in France, was by 
no means partial to the suspicious precautions of Italian 
fathers, and indulged his daughter in considerable 
freedoms. His house and his daughter, with in certain 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

restraints, were open to the resort of male 
visitants But, above all, Mr. Falkland, as a foreigner, 
and a person little likely to form pretensions to i 
hand of Lucretia, was received upon a footing of great 
familiarity. The lady herself, conscious of innocence, 
SSd no scruple about trifles, and acted with the 
confidence and frankness of one who is superior to 

"Mr Falkland, after a residence of several weeks at 
Rome', proceeded to Naples. Meanwhile certain inci- 
dents occurred that delayed the intended nuptials of the 
heiress of Pisani. When he returned to Rome Count 
Malvesi was absent. Lady Lucretia, who had been 
considerably amused before with the conversation ot 
Mr. Falkland, and who had an active and enquiring 
mind, had conceived, in the interval between his first 
and second residence at Rome, a desire to be ac- 
quainted with the English language, inspired by the 
lively and ardent encomiums of our best authors that 
she had heard from their countryman. She had pro- 
vided herself with the usual materials for that purpose, 
and had made some progress during his absence. But 
upon his return she was forward to make use of the 
opportunity, which, if missed, might never occur 
again with equal advantage, of reading select passages 
of our poets with an Englishman of uncommon taste 
and capacity. 

This proposal necessarily led to a more frequent in- 
tercourse. When Count Malvesi returned, he found 
Mr. Falkland established almost as an inmate of the 
Pisani palace. His mind could not fail to be struck 
with the criticalness of the situation. He was perhaps 
secretly conscious that the qualifications of the English- 
man were superior to his own ; and he trembled for the 
progress that each party might have made in the affec- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 15 

tion of the other, even before they were aware of the 
danger. He believed that the match was in every 
respect such as to flatter the ambition of Mr. Falk- 
land ; and he was stung even to madness by the idea of 
being deprived of the object dearest to his heart by 
this tramontane upstart. 

He had, however, sufficient discretion first to demand 
an explanation of Lady Lucretia. She, in the gak-t y 
of her heart, trifled with his anxiety. His patience 
was already exhausted, and he proceeded in his ex- 
postulation, in language that she was by no means 
prepared to endure with apathy. Lady Lucretia had 
always been accustomed to deference and submission ; 
and, having got over something like terror, that was 
at first inspired by the imperious manner in which she 
was now catechised, her next feeling was that of the 
warmest resentment. She disdained to satisfy so 
insolent a questioner, and even indulged herself in 
certain oblique hints calculated to strengthen his sus- 
picions. For some time she described his folly and 
presumption in terms of the most ludicrous sarcasm, 
and then, suddenly changing her style, bid him never 
let her see him more except upon the footing of the 
most distant acquaintance, as she was determined 
never again to subject herself to so unworthy a treat- 
ment. She was happy that he had at length disclosed 
to her his true character, and would know how to 
profit of her present experience to avoid a repetition 
of the same danger. All this passed in the full career 
of passion on both sides, and Lady Lucretia had no 
time to reflect upon what might be the consequence of 
thus exasperating her lover. 

Count Malvesi left her in all the torments of frenzy. 
He believed that this was a premeditated scene, to 
find a pretence for breaking off an engagement that 



IQ CALEB WILLIAMS. 

was already all but concluded; or, rather, his mind 
was racked with a thousand conjectures: he alter- 
nately thought that the injustice might be hers or his 
own ; and he quarrelled with Lady Lucretia, himself, 
and the whole world. In this temper he hastened to 
the hotel of the English cavalier. The season of ex- 
postulation was now over, and he found himself irre- 
sistibly impelled to justify his precipitation with the 
lady, by taking for granted that the subject of his 
suspicion was beyond the reach of doubt. 

Mr. Falkland was at home. The first words of the 
count were an abrupt accusation of duplicity in the 
affair of Lady Lucretia, and a challenge. The English- 
man had an unaffected esteem for Malvesi, who was in 
reality a man of considerable merit, and who had been 
one of Mr. Falkland's earliest Italian acquaintance, 
they having originally met at Milan. But more than 
this, the possible consequence of a duel in the present 
instance burst upon his mind. He had the warmest 
admiration for Lady Lucretia, though his feelings were 
not those of a lover ; and he knew that, however her 
haughtiness might endeavour to disguise it, she was 
impressed with a tender regard for Count Malvesi. 
He could not bear to think that any misconduct of 
his should interrupt the prospects of so deserving 
a pair. Guided by these sentiments, he endeavoured 
to expostulate with the Italian. But his attempts were 
ineffectual. His antagonist was drunk with choler, 
and would not listen to a word that tended to check 
the impetuosity of his thoughts. He traversed the 
room with perturbed steps, and even foamed with 
anguish and fury. Mr. Falkland, finding that all was to 
no purpose, told the count that, if he would return to- 
morrow at the same hour, he would attend him to any 
scene of action he should think proper to select. 



CALEB \\II.l.l.\MN. 17 

From Count Malvesi Mr. Falkland immediately 
proceeded to the palace of Pisani. Here he found 
considerable difficulty in appeasing the indignation of 
Lady Lucretia. His ideas of honour would by no means 
allow him to win her to his purpose by disclosing the 
cartel he had received ; otherwise that disclosure 
would immediately have operated as the strongest 
motive that could have been offered to this disdainful 
beauty. But, though she dreaded such an event, 
the vague apprehension was not strong enough to 
induce her instantly to surrender all the stateliness of 
her resentment. Mr. Falkland, however, drew so 
interesting a picture of the disturbance of Count Mal- 
vesi's mind, and accounted in so flattering a manner 
for the abruptness of his conduct, that this, together 
with the arguments he adduced, completed the con- 
quest of Lady Lucretia's resentment. Having thus far 
accomplished his purpose, he proceeded to disclose 
to her every thing that had passed. 

The next day Count Malvesi appeared, punctual to 
his appointment, at Mr. Falkland's hotel. Mr. Falkland 
came to the door to receive him, but requested him 
to enter tin- house for a moment, as he had still an 
affair of three minutes to despatch. They proceeded to 
a parlour. Here Mr. Falkland left him, and presently 
returned leading in Lady Lucretia herself, adorned in 
all her charms, and those charms heightened upon 
the present occasion by a consciousness of the spirited 
and generous condescension she was exerting. Mr. 
Falkland led her up to the astonished count ; and she, 
gently laying her hand upon the arm of her lover, ex- 
claimed with the most attractive grace, " Will you 
allow me to retract the precipitate haughtiness into 
which I was betrayed?" The enraptured count, 
scarcely able to believe his senses, threw himself 



J8 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

upon his knees before her, and stammered out his 
reply, signifying that the precipitation had been all 
his own, that he only had any forgiveness to demand, 
and, though they might pardon, he could never 
pardon himself for the sacrilege he had committed 
against her and this god like Englishman. As soon as 
the first tumults of his joy had subsided, Mr. Falk- 
land addressed him thus : 

" Count Malvesi, I feel the utmost pleasure in 
having thus by peaceful means disarmed your re- 
sentment, and effected your happiness. But I must 
confess, you put me to a severe trial. My temper 
is not less impetuous and fiery than your own, and 
it is not at all times that I should have been thus 
able to subdue it. But I considered that in reality the 
original blame was mine. Though your suspicion was 
groundless, it was not absurd. We have been trifling 
too much in the face of danger. I ought not, under 
the present weakness of our nature and forms of 
society, to have been so assiduous in my attendance 
upon this enchanting woman. It would have been 
little wonder, if, having so many opportunities, and 
playing the preceptor with her as I have done, I had 
been entangled before I was aware, and harboured a 
wish which I might not afterwards have had courage to 
subdue. I owed you an atonement for this impru- 
dence. 

" But the laws of honour are in the utmost degree 
rigid; and there was reason to fear that, however 
anxious I were to be your friend, I might be obliged to 
be your murderer. Fortunately, the reputation of my 
courage is sufficiently established, not to expose it to 
any impeachment by my declining your present defiance. 
It was lucky, however, that in our interview of yes- 
terday you found me alone, and that accident by 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 19 

that means threw the management of the affair into 
my disposal. If the transaction should become known, 
tin- conclusion will now become known along with 
the provocation, and I am satisfied. But if the chal- 
lenge had been public, the proofs I had formerly 
given of courage would not have excused my present 
moderation ; and, though desirous to have avoided 
the combat, it would not have been in my power. 
Let us hence each of us learn to avoid haste and 
indiscretion, the consequences of which may be 
inexpiable but with blood; and may Heaven bless 
you in a consort of whom I deem you every way 
worthy!" 

I have already said that this was by no means the 
only instance, in the course of his travels, in which 
Mr. Falkland acquitted himself in the most brilliant 
manner as a man of gallantry and virtue. He con- 
tinued abroad during several years, every one of which 
brought some fresh accession to the estimation in 
which he was held, as well as to his own impatience 
of stain or dishonour. At length he thought proper 
to return to England, with tin- intention of spending 
the rest of his days at the residence of his ancestors. 



CHAPTER III. 

FROM the moment he entered upon the execution of 
this purpose, dictated as it probably was by an un- 
affected principle of duty, his misfortunes took their 
commencement. All I have further to state of his 
history is the uninterrupted persecution of a malignant 
destiny, a series of adventures that seemed to take their 
rise in various accidents, but pointing to one termin- 
c 2 



20 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ation. Him they overwhelmed with an anguish he was 
of all others least qualified to bear ; and these waters 
of bitterness, extending beyond him, poured their 
deadly venom upon others, I being myself the most 
unfortunate of their victims. 

The person in whom these calamities originated was 
Mr. Falkland's nearest neighbour, a man of estate equal 
to his own, by name Barnabas Tyrrel. This man one 
might at first have supposed of all others least qualified 
from instruction, or inclined by the habits of his life, to 
disturb the enjoyments of a mind so richly endowed as 
that of Mr. Falkland. Mr. Tyrrel might have passed 
for a true model of the English squire. He was early 
left under the tuition of his mother, a woman of narrow 
capacity, and who had no other child. The only re- 
maining member of the family it may be necessary to 
notice was Miss Emily Melville, the orphan daughter 
of Mr. Tyrrel's paternal aunt ; who now resided in the 
family mansion, and was wholly dependent on the be- 
nevolence of its proprietors. 

Mrs. Tyrrel appeared to think that there was nothing 
in the world so precious as her hopeful Barnabas. 
Every thing must give way to his accommodation and 
advantage ; every one must yield the most servile obe- 
dience to his commands. He must not be teased or 
restricted by any forms of instruction ; and of conse- 
quence his proficiency, even in the arts of writing and 
reading, was extremely slender. From his birth he 
was muscular and sturdy; and, confined to the ruelle 
of his mother, he made much such a figure as the 
whelp-lion that a barbarian might have given for a lap- 
dog to his mistress. 

But he soon broke loose from these trammels, and 
formed an acquaintance with the groom and the game- 
keeper. Under their instruction he proved as ready 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 21 

a scholar, as he had been indocile and restive to the 
pedant who held the office of his tutor. It was now 
evident that his small proficiency in literature was by 
no means to be ascribed to want of capacity. He dis- 
covered no contemptible sagacity and quick-wittedness 
in the science of horse-flesh, and was eminently exjn rt 
in the arts of shooting, fishing, and hunting. Nor did 
he confine himself to these, but added the theory 
and practice of boxing, cudgel play, and quarter-staff. 
These exercises added tenfold robustness and vigour 
to his former qualifications. 

His stature, when grown, was somewhat more than 
five feet ten inches in height, and his form might have 
been selected by a painter as a model for that hero of 
antiquity, whose prowess consisted in felling an ox with 
his fist, and devouring him at a meal. Conscious of 
his advantage in this respect, he was insupportably 
arrogant, tyrannical to his inferiors, and insolent to 
his equals. The activity of his mind being diverted 
from the genuine field of utility and distinction, showed 
itself in the rude tricks of an overgrown lubber. Here, 
as in all his other qualifications, he rose above his com- 
petitors ; and if it had been possible to overlook the 
callous and unrelenting disposition which they mani- 
fested, one could scarcely have denied his applause to 
the invention these freaks displayed, and the rough, 
sarcastic wit with which they were accompanied. 

Mr. Tyrrel was by no means inclined to permit these 
extraordinary merits to rust in oblivion. There was a 
weekly assembly at the nearest market-town, the resort 
of all the rural gentry. Here he had hitherto figured 
to the greatest advantage as grand master of the coterie, 
no one having an equal share of opulence, and the ma- 
jority, though still pretending to the rank of gentry, 
greatly his inferior in this essential article. The young 
c 3 



22 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

men in this circle looked up to this insolent bashaw 
with timid respect, conscious of the comparative emi- 
nence that unquestionably belonged to the powers of 
his mind ; and he well knew how to maintain his rank 
with an inflexible hand. Frequently indeed he relaxed 
his features, and assumed a temporary appearance of 
affableness and familiarity; but they found by ex- 
perience, that if any one, encouraged by his conde- 
scension, forgot the deference which Mr. Tyrrel 
considered as his due, he was soon taught to repent 
his presumption. It wa& a tiger that thought proper to 
toy with a mouse, the little animal every moment in 
danger of being crushed by the fangs of his ferocious 
associate. As Mr. Tyrrel had considerable copiousness 
of speech, and a rich, but undisciplined imagination, 
he was always sure of an audience. His neighbours 
crowded round, and joined in the ready laugh, partly 
from obsequiousness, and partly from unfeigned ad- 
miration. It frequently happened, however, that, in the 
midst of his good humour, a characteristic refinement 
of tyranny would suggest itself to his mind. When 
his subjects, encouraged by his familiarity, had dis- 
carded their precaution, the wayward fit would seize 
him, a sudden cloud overspread his brow, his voice 
transform from the pleasant to the terrible, and a 
quarrel of a straw immediately ensue with the first 
man whose face he did not like. The pleasure that 
resulted to others from the exuberant sallies of his 
imagination was, therefore, not unalloyed with sudden 
qualms of apprehension and terror. It may be believed 
that this despotism did not gain its final ascendancy 
without being contested in the outset. But all op- 
position was quelled with a high hand by this rural 
Antaeus. By the ascendancy of his fortune, and his 
character among his neighbours, he always reduced 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 23 

his adversary to the necessity of encountering him at 
his own weapons, and did not dismiss him without 
niakinu r liim feel his presumption through every joint 
in his frame. The tyranny of Mr. Tyrrel would not 
have been so patiently endured, had not his colloquial 
accomplishments perpetually come in aid of that au- 
thority which his rank and prowess originally obtained. 

The situation of our squire with the fair was still 
more enviable than that which he maintained among 
persons of his own sex. Every mother taught her 
daughter to consider the hand of Mr. Tyrrel as the 
highest object of her ambition. Every daughter re- 
garded his athletic form and his acknowledged prowess 
with a favourable eye. A form eminently athletic is, 
perhaps, always well proportioned; and one of the quali- 
fications that women are early taught to look for in the 
male sex, is that of a protector. As no man was 
adventurous enough to contest his superiority, so 
scarcely any woman in this provincial circle would 
have scrupled to prefer his addresses to those of any 
other admirer. His boisterous wit had peculiar charms 
for them ; and there was no spectacle more flattering 
to their vanity, than seeing this Hercules exchange his 
club for a distaff. It was pleasing to them to consider, 
that the fangs of this wild beast, the very idea of which 
inspired trepidation into the boldest hearts, might be 
played with by them with the utmost security. 

Such was the rival that Fortune, in her caprice, had 
reserved for the accomplished Falkland. This un- 
tamed, though not undiscerning brute, was found ca- 
pable of destroying the prospects of a man the most 
eminently qualified to enjoy and to communicate hap- 
piness. The feud that sprung up between them was 
nourished by concurring circumstances, till it attained 
a magnitude difficult to be paralleled; and, because 

c 4 



24> CALEB WILLIAMS. 

they regarded each other with a deadly hatred, I have 
become an object of misery and abhorrence. 

The arrival of Mr. Falkland gave an alarming shock 
to the authority of Mr. Tyrrel in the village assembly, 
and in all scenes of indiscriminate resort. His dispo- 
sition by no means inclined him to withhold himself 
from scenes of fashionable amusement ; and he and his 
competitor were like two stars fated never to appear 
at once above the horizon. The advantages Mr. Falk- 
land possessed in the comparison are palpable ; and had 
it been otherwise, the subjects of his rural neighbour 
were sufficiently disposed to revolt against his merci- 
less dominion. They had hitherto submitted from 
fear, and not from love ; and, if they had not rebelled, 
it was only for want of a leader. Even the ladies re- 
garded Mr. Falkland with particular complacence. His 
polished manners were peculiarly in harmony with fe- 
minine delicacy. The sallies of his wit were far beyond 
those of Mr. Tyrrel in variety and vigour ; in addition 
to which they had the advantage of having their spon- 
taneous exuberance guided and restrained by the sa- 
gacity of a cultivated mind. The graces of his person 
were enhanced by the elegance of his deportment ; 
and the benevolence and liberality of his temper were 
upon all occasions conspicuous. It was common in- 
deed to Mr. Tyrrel, together with Mr. Falkland, to be 
little accessible to sentiments of awkwardness and 
confusion. But for this Mr. Tyrrel was indebted to 
a self-satisfied effrontery, and a boisterous and over- 
bearing elocution, by which he was accustomed to dis- 
comfit his assailants ; while Mr. Falkland, with great 
ingenuity and candour of mind, was enabled by his 
extensive knowledge of the world, and acquaintance 
with his own resources, to perceive almost instantane- 
ously the proceeding it most became him to adopt. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Mr. Tvrrel conti-mplati'd the progress of his rival 
with uneasiness and aversion. He often commented 
upon it to his particular confidents as a thing alto- 
gether inconceivable. Mr. Falkland he described as 
an animal that was beneath contempt. Diminutive 
and dwarfish in his form, he wanted to set up a new 
standard of human nature, adapted to his miserable 
condition. He wished to persuade people that the 
human species were made to be nailed to a chair, and 
to pore over books. He would have them exchange 
those robust exercises which make us joyous in the 
performance, and vigorous in the consequences, for the 
wise labour of scratching our heads for a rhyme and 
counting our fingers for a verse. Monkeys were as 
good men as these. A nation of such animals would 
have no chance with a single regiment of the old 
English votaries of beef and pudding. He never 
saw any thing come of learning but to make people 
foppish and impertinent; and a sensible man would 
not wish a worse calamity to the enemies of his nation, 
than to see them run mad after such pernicious ab- 
surdities. It was impossible that people could seri- 
ously feel any liking for such a ridiculous piece of 
goods as this outlandish foreign-made Englishman. 
But he knew very well how it was: it was a miserable 
piece of mummery that was played only in spite of 
him. But God for ever blast his soul, if he were not 
bitterly revenged upon them all ! 

If such were the sentiments of Mr. Tyrrel, his pa- 
tience found ample exercise in the language which was 
held by the rest of his neighbours on the same subject. 
While he saw nothing in Mr. Falkland but matter of 
contempt, they appeared to be never weary of recount- 
ing his praises. Such dignity, such affability, so per- 
petual an attention to the happiness of others, such 



26 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

delicacy of sentiment and expression I Learned with- 
out ostentation, refined without foppery, elegant without 
effeminacy ! Perpetually anxious to prevent his superi- 
ority from being painfully felt, it was so much the more 
certainly felt to be real, and excited congratulation 
instead of envy in the spectator. It is scarcely neces- 
sary to remark, that the revolution of sentiment in this 
rural vicinity belongs to one of the most obvious fea- 
tures of the human mind. The rudest exhibition of 
art is at first admired, till a nobler is presented, and we 
are taught to wonder at the facility with which before 
we had been satisfied. Mr. Tyrrel thought there would 
be no end to the commendation ; and expected when 
their common acquaintance would fall down and adore 
the intruder. The most inadvertent expression of ap- 
plause inflicted upon him the torment of demons. He 
writhed with agony, his features became distorted, and 
his looks inspired terror. Such suffering would pro- 
bably have soured the kindest temper ; what must have 
been its effect upon Mr. Tyrrel's, always fierce, unre- 
lenting, and abrupt ? 

The advantages of Mr. Falkland seemed by no means 
to diminish with their novelty. Every new sufferer 
from Mr. Tyrrel's tyranny immediately went over to 
the standard of his adversary. The ladies, though 
treated by their rustic swain with more gentleness than 
the men, were occasionally exposed to his capricious- 
ness and insolence. They could not help remarking 
the contrast between these two leaders in the fields of 
chivalry, the one of whom paid no attention to any one's 
pleasure but his own, while the other seemed all good- 
humour and benevolence. It was in vain that Mr. 
Tyrrel endeavoured to restrain the ruggedness of his 
character. His motive was impatience, his thoughts 
were gloomy, and his courtship was like the pawings of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 27 

an c-U -pliant. It appeared as if his temper had been 
more human while he indulged in its free bent, than 
now that he sullenly endeavoured to put fetters upon 
its excesses. 

Among the" ladies' of the village-assembly already 
mentioned, there was none that seemed to engage more 
of the kindness of Mr. Tyrrel than Miss Hardingham. 
She was also one of the few that had not yet gone over 
to the enemy, either because she really preferred the 
gentleman who was her oldest acquaintance, or that she 
conceived from calculation this conduct best adapted 
to insure her success in a husband. One day, however, 
she thought proper, probably only by way of experi- 
ment, to show Mr. Tyrrel that she could engage in 
hostilities, if he should at any time give her sufficient 
provocation. She so adjusted her manoeuvres as to be 
engaged by Mr. Falkland as his partner for the dance 
of the evening, though without the smallest intention 
on the part of that gentleman (who was unpardonably 
deficient in the sciences of anecdote and match-making) 
of giving offence to his country neighbour. Though 
the manners of Mr. Falkland were condescending and 
attentive, his hours of retirement were principally occu- 
pied in contemplations too dignified for scandal, and 
too large for the altercations of a vestry, or the politics 
of an election-borough. 

A short time before the dances began, Mr. Tyrrel 
went up to his fair inamorata, and entered into some 
trifling conversation with her to fill up the time, as 
intending in a few minutes to lead her forward to the 
field. He had accustomed himself to neglect the cere- 
mony of soliciting beforehand a promise in Ins favour* 
as not supposing it possible that any one would dare 
dispute his behests ; and, had it been otherwise, he 
would have thought the formality unnecessary in this 



28 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

case, his general preference to Miss Hardingham being 
notorious. 

While he was thus engaged, Mr. Falkland came up. 
Mr. Tyrrel always regarded him with aversion and 
loathing. Mr. Falkland, however, slided in a graceful 
and unaffected manner into the conversation already 
begun ; and the animated ingenuousness of his manner 
was such, as might for the time have disarmed the devil 
of his malice. Mr. Tyrrel probably conceived that his 
accosting Miss Hardingham was an accidental piece of 
general ceremony, and expected every moment when 
he would withdraw to another part of the room. 

The company now began to be in motion for the 
dance, and Mr. Falkland signified as much to Miss 
Hardingham. " Sir," interrupted Mr. Tyrrel abruptly, 
" that lady is my partner." "I believe nbt, sir : that 
lady has been so obliging as to accept my invitation." 
" I tell you, sir, no. Sir, I have an interest in that 
lady's affections ; and I will suffer no man to intrude 
upon my claims." "The lady's affections are not the 
subject of the present question." " Sir, it is to no 
purpose to parley. Make room, sir !" Mr. Falkland 
gently repelled his antagonist. " Mr. Tyrrel !" returned 
he, with some firmness, " let us have no altercation in 
this business: the master of the ceremonies is the 
proper person to decide in a difference of this sort, if we 
cannot adjust it : we can neither of us intend to exhibit 
our valour before the ladies, and shall therefore cheer- 
fully submit to his verdict." " Damn me, sir, if I 
understand" Softly, Mr. Tyrrel ; I intended you no 
offence. But, sir, no man shall prevent my asserting 
that to which I have once acquired a claim !" 

Mr. Falkland uttered these words with the most 
unruffled temper in the world. The tone in -which 
he spoke had acquired elevation, but neither roughness 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 29 

nor impatience. There was a fascination in his manner 
that made the ferociousness of his antagonist subside 
into impotence. Miss Hardingham had begun to repent 
of her experiment, but her alarm was speedily quieted 
by the dignified composure of her new partner. Mr. 
Tynrel walked away without answering a word. He 
muttered curses as he went, which the laws of honour 
did not oblige Mr. Falkland to overhear, and which in- 
deed it would have been no easy task to have overheard 
with accuracy. Mr. Tyrrel would not, perhaps, have 
so easily given up his point, had not his own good 
sense presently taught him, that, however eager he 
might be for revenge, this was not the ground he 
should desire to occupy. But, though he could not 
openly resent this rebellion against his authority, he 
brooded over it in the recesses of a malignant mind ; 
and it was evident enough that he was accumulating 
materials for a bitter account, to which he trusted his 
adversary should one day be brought. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THIS was only one out of innumerable instances, that 
every day seemed to multiply, of petty mortifications 
whieh Mr. Tyrrel was destined to endure on the part 
of Mr. Falkland. In all of them Mr. Falkland con- 
ducted himself with such unaffected propriety, as per- 
petually to add to the stock of his reputation. The 
more Mr. Tyrrel struggled with his misfortune, the 
more conspicuous and inveterate it became. A thou- 
sand times he cursed his stars, which took, as he ap- 
prehended, a malicious pleasure in making Mr. Falkland, 
at every turn, the instrument of his humiliation. Smart- 



30 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ing under a succession of untoward events, he appeare^ 
to feel, in the most exquisite manner, the distinctions 
paid to his adversary, even in those points in which he 
had not the slightest pretensions. An instance of this 
now occurred. . 

Mr. Clare, a poet whose works have done immortal 
honour to the country that produced him, had lately 
retired, after a life spent in the sublimest efforts of 
genius, to enjoy the produce of his economy, and the 
reputation he had acquired, in this very neighbourhood. 
Such an inmate was looked up to by the country gen- 
tlemen with a degree of adoration. They felt a con- 
scious pride in recollecting that the boast of England 
was a native of their vicinity ; and they were by no 
means deficient in gratitude when they saw him, who 
had left them an adventurer, return into the midst of 
them, in the close of his days, crowned with honours 
and opulence. The reader is acquainted with his works : 
he has, probably, dwelt upon them with transport ; and 
I need not remind him of their excellence : but he is, 
perhaps, a stranger to his personal qualifications ; he 
does not know that his productions were scarcely more 
admirable than his conversation. In company he 
seemed to be the only person ignorant of the greatness 
of his fame. To the world his writings will long re- 
main a kind of specimen of what the human mind is 
capable of performing; but no man perceived their 
defects so acutely as he, or saw so distinctly how much 
yet remained to be effected : he alone appeared to 
look upon his works with superiority and indifference. 
One of the features that most eminently distinguished 
him was a perpetual suavity of manners, a compre- 
hensiveness of mind, that regarded the errors of others 
without a particle of resentment, and made it impos- 
sible for any one to be his enemy. He pointed out to 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 31 

men their mistakes with frankness and unreserve : his 
remonstrances produced astonishment and conviction, 
but without uneasiness, in the party to whom they were 
addressed : they felt the instrument that was employed 
to correct their irregularities, but it never mangled 
what it was intended to heal. Such were the moral qua- 
lities that distinguished him among his acquaintance. 
The intellectual accomplishments he exhibited were, 
principally, a tranquil and mild enthusiasm, and a rich- 
ness of conception which dictated spontaneously to his 
tongue, and flowed with so much ease, that it was only 
by retrospect you could be made aware of die amazing 
variety of ideas that had been presented. 

Mr. Clare certainly found few men in this remote 
situation that were capable of participating in his ideas 
and amusements. It has been among the weaknesses 
of great men to fly to solitude, and converse with woods 
and groves, rather than with a circle of strong and 
comprehensive minds like their own. From the mo- 
ment of Mr. Falkland's arrival in the neighbourhood, 
Mr. Clare distinguished him in the most flattering 
manner. To so penetrating a genius there was no 
need of long experience and patient observation to dis- 
cover the merits and defects of any character that pre- 
sented itself. The materials of his judgment had long 
since been accumulated ; and, at the close of so illus- 
trious a life, he might almost be said to sec through 
nature at a glance. What wonder that he took some 
interest in a mind in a certain degree congenial with 
his own ? But to Mr. Tyrrel's diseased imagination, 
every distinction bestowed on his neighbour seemed 
to be expressly intended as an insult to him. On 
the other hand, Mr. Clare, though gentle and bene- 
volent in his remonstrances to a degree that made the 
taking offence impossible, was by no means parsimo- 



32 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

nious of praise, or slow to make use of the deference 
that was paid him, for the purpose of procuring justice 
to merit. 

It happened at one of those public meetings at which 
Mr. Falkland and Mr. Tyrrel were present, that the 
conversation, in one of the most numerous sets into 
which the company was broken, turned upon the 
poetical talents of the former. A lady, who was pre- 
sent, and was distinguished for the acuteness of her 
understanding, said, she had been favoured with a 
sight of a poem he had just written, entitled An Ode 
to the Genius of Chivalry, which appeared to her of 
exquisite merit. The curiosity of the company was 
immediately excited, and the lady added, she had a 
copy in her pocket, which was much at their service, 
provided its being thus produced would not be dis- 
agreeable to the author. The whole circle immedi- 
ately entreated Mr. Falkland to comply with their 
wishes, and Mr. Clare, who was one of the company, 
enforced their petition. Nothing gave this gentleman so 
much pleasure as to have an opportunity of witnessing 
and doing justice to the exhibition of intellectual ex- 
cellence. Mr. Falkland had no false modesty or affect- 
ation, and therefore readily yielded his consent. 

Mr. Tyrrel accidentally sat at the extremity of this 
circle. It cannot be supposed that the turn the con- 
versation had taken was by any means agreeable to 
him. He appeared to wish to withdraw himself, but 
there seemed to be some unknown power that, as it 
were by enchantment, retained him in his place, and 
made him consent to drink to the dregs the bitter 
potion which envy had prepared for him. 

The poem was read to the rest of the company by 
Mr. Clare, whose elocution was scarcely inferior to his^ 
other accomplishments. Simplicity, discrimination, and 



CALEB WII.1 .1 A MS. S3 

energy constantly attended him in the act of reading, 
and it is not easy to conceive a more refined delight 
than tell to the lot of those who had the good fortune 
to be his auditors. The beauties of Mr. Falkland's 
poem were accordingly exhibited with every advantage. 
The successive passions of the author were communi- 
cated to the hearer. What was impetuous, and what 
was solemn, were delivered with a responsive feeling, 
and a flowing and unlaboured tone. The pictures 
conjured up by the creative fancy of the poet were 
placed full to view, at one time overwhelming the soul 
with superstitious awe, and at another transporting it 
with luxuriant beauty. 

The character of the hearers upon this occasion has 
already been described. They were, for the most part, 
plain, unlettered, and of little refinement. Poetry in 
general they read, when read at all, from the mere 
force of imitation, and with few sensations of pleasure ; 
but this poem had a peculiar vein of glowing inspira- 
tion. This very poem would probably have been seen 
by many of them with little effect ; but the accents of 
Mr. Clare carried it home to the heart. He ended : 
and, as the countenances of his auditors had before 
sympathised with the passions of the composition, 
so now they emulated each other in declaring their 
approbation. Their sensations were of a sort to which 
they were little accustomed. One spoke, and another 
followed by a sort of uncontrollable impulse ; and the 
rude and broken manner of their commendations 
rendered them the more singular and remarkable. 
But what was least to be endured was the behaviour 
of Mr. Clare. He returned the manuscript to the 
lady from whom he had received it, and then, ad- 
dressing Mr. Falkland, said with emphasis and anima- 
tion, Ha I this is as it should be. It is of the right 

D 



34, CALEB WILLIAMS, 

stamp. I have seen too many hard essays strained 
from the labour of a pedant, and pastoral ditties dis- 
tressed in lack of a meaning. They are such as you, 
sir, that we want. Do not forget, however, that the 
Muse was not given to add refinements to idleness, 
but for the highest and most invaluable purposes. Act 
up to the magnitude of your destiny." 

A moment after, Mr. Clare quitted his seat, and 
with Mr. Falkland and two or three more withdrew. 
As soon as they were gone, Mr. Tyrrel edged further 
into the circle. He had sat silent so long that he 
seemed ready to burst with gall and indignation. 
" Mighty pretty verses!" said he, half talking to himself, 
and not addressing any particular person : " why, ay, 
the verses are well enough. Damnation ! I should 
like to know what a ship-load of such stuff is good for." 

" Why, surely," said the lady who had introduced 
Mr. Falkland's Ode on the present occasion, "you 
must allow that poetry is an agreeable and elegant 
amusement." 

"Elegant, quotha! Why, look at this Falkland! 
A puny bit of a thing ! In the devil's name, madam, do 
you think he would write poetry if he could do any 
thing better ?" 

The conversation did not stop here. The lady ex- 
postulated. Several other persons, fresh from the 
sensation they had felt, contributed their share. Mr. 
Tyrrel grew more violent in his invectives, and found 
ease in uttering them. The persons who were able in 
any degree to check his vehemence were withdrawn. 
One speaker after another shrunk back into silence, 
. too timid to oppose, or too indolent to contend with, 
the fierceness of his passion. He found the appearance 
of his old ascendancy ; but he felt its deceitfulness and 
uncertainty, and was gloomily dissatisfied. 



CALEB WILLIAMS* 35 

In his return from this assembly he was accompanied 
by a young man, whom similitude of manners had 
rendered one of his principal confidents, and whose 
road home was in part the same as his own. One 
might have thought that Mr. Tyrrel had sufficiently 
vented his spleen in the dialogue he bad just been 
holding. But he was unable to dismiss from his 
recollection the anguish he had endured. Damn 
Falkland !" said he. " What a pitiful scoundrel is here 
to make all this bustle about ! But women and fools 
always will be fools ; there is no help for that ! Those 
that set them on have most to answer for ; and most of 
all, Mr. Clare. He is a man that ought to know some- 
thing of the world, and past being duped by gewgaws 
and tinsel. He seemed, too, to have some notion of 
things : I should not have suspected him of hallooing 
to a cry of mongrels without honesty or reason. But 
the world is all alike. Those that seem better than 
their neighbours, are only more artful. They mean 
the same thing, though they take a different road. 
He deceived me for a while, but it is all out now. 
They are the maker* of the mischief. Fools might 
blunder, but they would not persist, if people that 
ought to set them right did not encourage them to 
go wrong." 

A few days after this adventure Mr. Tyrrel was 
surprised to receive a visit from Mr. Falkland. Mr. 
Falkland proceeded, without ceremony, to explain the 
motive of his coming. 

"Mr. Tyrrel," said he, " I am come to have an 
amicable explanation with you." 

" Explanation I What is my offence ?" 

"None in the world, sir; and for that reason I 
conceive this the fittest time to come to a right under- 
standing." 

D 2 



36 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

You are in a devil of a hurry, sir. Are you clear 
that this haste will not mar, instead of make an under- 
standing ? " 

I think I am, sir. I have great faith in the purity 
of my intentions, and I will not doubt, when you 
perceive the view with which I come, that you will 
willingly co-operate with it." 

"Mayhap, Mr. Falkland, we may not agree about 
that. One man thinks one way, and another man 
thinks another. Mayhap I do not think I have any 
great reason to be pleased with you already." 

" It may be so. I cannot, however, charge myself 
with having given you reason to be displeased." 

" Well, sir, you have no right to put me out of 
humour with myself. If you come to play upon me, 
and try what sort of a fellow you shall have to deal 
with, damn me if you shall have any reason to hug 
yourself upon the experiment." 

" Nothing, sir, is more easy for us than to quarrel. 
If you desire that, there is no fear that you will find 
opportunities." 

" Damn me, sir, if I do not believe you are come to 
bully me." 

Mr. Tyrrel I sir have a care I " 

" Of what, sir I Do you threaten me ? Damn my 
soul ! who are you ? what do you come here for ?" 

The fieriness of Mr. Tyrrel brought Mr. Falkland to 
his recollection. 

" I am wrong," said he. I confess it. I came for 
purposes of peace. With that view I have taken the 
liberty to visit you. Whatever therefore might be my 
feelings upon another occasion, I am bound to suppress 
them now." 

"Ho! Well, sir: and what have you further to 
offer?" 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 37 

*Mr. Tym-1." proceeded Mr. Falkland, "you will 
readily imagine that the caate that brought me was 
not a slight one. I would not have troubled you with a 
visit, but for important reasons. My coming is a pledge 
how deeply I am myself impressed with what I have 
to communicate. 

" We are in a critical situation. We are upon the 
brink of a whirlpool which, if once it get hold of us, 
will render all further deliberation impotent. An 
unfortunate jealousy seems to have insinuated itself 
between us, which I would willingly remove; and I 
come to ask your assistance. We are both of us nice 
of temper ; we are both apt to kindle, and warm of re- 
sentment. Precaution in this stage can be dishonour- 
able to neither; the time may come when we shall 
wish we had employed it, and find it too late. Why 
should we be enemies ? Our tastes are different ; our 
pursuits need not interfere. We both of us amply 
possess the means of happiness ; we may be respected 
by all, and spend a long life of tranquillity and enjoy- 
ment. Will it be wise in us to exchange this prospect 
for the fruits of strife ? A strife between persons with 
our peculiarities and our weaknesses, includes conse- 
quences that I shudder to think of. I fear, sir, that it 
is pregnant with death at least to one of us, and with 
misfortune and remorse to the survivor." 

"Upon my soul, you are a strange man! Why 
trouble me with your prophecies and forebodings ? " 

" Because it is necessary to your happiness ! Be- 
cause it becomes me to tell you of our danger now, 
rather than wait till my character will allow this tran- 
quillity no longer I 

By quarrelling we shall but imitate the great mass 
of mankind, who could easily quarrel in our place. Let 
us do better. Let us show that we have the magna- 

D3 



38 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

nimity to contemn petty misunderstandings. By thus 
judging we shall do ourselves most substantial honour. 
By a contrary conduct we shall merely present a co- 
medy for the amusement of our acquaintance." 

" Do you think so ? there may be something in that. 
Damn me, if I consent to be the jest of any man 
Hving." 

You are right, Mr. Tyrrel. Let us each act in the 
manner best calculated to excite respect. We neither 
of us wish to change roads; let us each sutfer the 
other to pursue his own track unmolested. Be this our 
compact ; and by mutual forbearance let us preserve 
mutual peace." 

Saying this, Mr. Falkland offered his hand to Mr. 
Tyrrel in token of fellowship. But the gesture was 
too significant. The wayward rustic, who seemed to 
have been somewhat impressed by what had pre- 
ceded, taken as he now was by surprise, shrunk back. 
Mr. Falkland was again ready to take fire upon this 
new slight, but he checked himself. 

" All this is very unaccountable," cried Mr. Tyrrel. 
" What the devil can have made you so forward, if you 
had not some sly purpose to answer, by which I am to 
be overreached?" 

" My purpose," replied Mr. Falkland, " is a manly 
and an honest purpose. Why should you refuse a pro- 
position dictated by reason, and an equal regard to the 
interest of each ? " 

Mr. Tyrrel had had an opportunity for pause, and 
fell back into his habitual character. 

"Well, sir, in all this I must own there is some 
frankness. Now I will return you like for like. It is 
no matter how I canre by it, my temper is rough, and 
will not be controlled. Mayhap you may think it is a 
weakness, but I do not desire to see it altered. Till 



(A I. KB WILLIAMS. 39 

you came, I found myself very well : I liked my neigh- 
bours, and my m i^hbours humoured me. But now the 
case is entirely altered ; and, as long as I cannot stir 
abroad without meeting with some mortification in 
which you are directly or remotely concerned, I am 
determined to hate you. Now, sir, if you will only go 
out of the county or the kingdom, to the devil if you 
please, so as I may never hear of you any more, I will 
promise never to quarrel with you as long as I live. 
Your rhymes and your rebusses, your quirks and your 
conundrums, may then be every thing that is grand 
for what I care." 

Mr. Tyrrel, be reasonable I Might not I as well 
desire you to leave the county, as you desire me ? I 
come to you, not as to a master, but an equal. In the 
society of men we must have something to endure, as 
well as to enjoy. No man must think that the world 
was made for him. Let us take things as we find 
them; and accommodate ourselves as we can to un- 
avoidable circumstances** 

" True, sir ; all this is fine talking. But I return to 
my text : we are as God made us. I am neither a 
philosopher nor a poet, to set out upon a wild-goose 
chase of making myself a different man from what you 
find me. As for consequences, what must be must be. 
As we brew we must bake. And so, do you see ? I 
shall not trouble myself about what is to be, but stand 
up to it with a stout heart when it comes. Only this 
I can tell you, that as long as I find you thrust into my 
dish every day I shall hate you as bad as senna and 
valerian. And damn me, if I do not think I hate you the 
more for coming to-day in this pragmatical way, when 
nobody sent for you, on purpose to show how much 
wiser you are than all the world besides." 
. u Mr. Tyrrel, I have done. I foresaw consequences, 
o* 



40 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

and came as a friend. I had hoped that, by mutual 
explanation, we should have come to a better under- 
standing. I am disappointed; but, perhaps, when you 
coolly reflect on what has passed, you will give me credit 
for my intentions, and think that my proposal was not 
an unreasonable one." 

Having said this, Mr. Falkland departed. Through 
the interview he, no doubt, conducted himself in a way 
that did him peculiar credit. Yet the warmth of his 
temper could not be entirely suppressed: and even 
when he was most exemplary, there was an apparent 
loftiness in his manner that was calculated to irritate ; 
and the very grandeur with which he suppressed his 
passions, operated indirectly as a taunt to his opponent. 
The interview was prompted by the noblest sentiments; 
but it unquestionably served to widen the breach it 
was intended to heal. 

For Mr. Tyrrel, he had recourse to his old expedient, 
and unburthened the tumult of his thoughts to his con- 
fidential friend. " This," cried he, " is a new artifice 
of the fellow, to prove his imagined superiority. We 
knew well enough that he had the gift of the gab. To 
be sure, if the world were to be governed by words, 
he would be in the right box. Oh, yes, he had it all 
hollow ! But what signifies prating ? Business must 
be done in another guess way than that. I wonder 
what possessed me that I did not kick him ! But that 
is all to come. This is only a new debt added to the 
score, which he shall one day richly pay. This Falk- 
land haunts me like a demon. I cannot wake but I 
think of him. I cannot sleep but I see him. He 
poisons all my pleasures. I should be glad to see him 
torn with tenter-hooks, and to grind his heart-strings 
with my teeth. I shall know no joy till I see him 
ruined. There may be some things right about him ; 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 41 

but lie is my perpetual torment. The thought of him 
huniis like a dead weight upon my heart, and I have a 
ri-lit to shake it off. Does he think I will feel all that 
I endure for nothing?" 

In spite of the acerbity of Mr. Tyre-el's feelings, it 
is probable, however, he did some justice to his rival. 
He regarded him, indeed, with added dislike ; but he no 
longer regarded him as a despicable foe. He avoided 
his encounter ; he forbore to treat him with random 
hostility ; he seemed to lie in wait for his victim, and 
to collect his venom for a mortal assault. 



CHAPTER V. 

IT was not long after that a malignant distemper broke 
out in the neighbourhood, which proved fatal to many 
of the inhabitants, and was of unexampled rapidity in 
its effects. One of the first persons that was seized 
with it was Mr. Clare. It may be conceived, what 
grief and alarm this incident spread through the vici- 
nity. Mr. Clare was considered by them as something 
more than mortal. The equanimity of his behaviour, 
his unassuming carriage, his exuberant benevolence and 
goodness of heart, joined with his talents, his inoffen- 
sive wit, and the comprehensiveness of his intelligence, 
made him the idol of all that knew him. In the scene 
of his rural retreat, at least, he had no enemy. All 
mourned the danger that now threatened him. He 
appeared to have had the prospect of long life, and of 
going down to his grave full of years and of honour. 
Perhaps these appearances were deceitful. Perhaps 
the intellectual efforts he had made, which were oc- 
casionally more sudden, violent, and unintermitted, than 



42 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

a strict regard to health would have dictated, had laid 
the seed of future disease. But a sanguine observer 
would infallibly have predicted, that his temperate 
habits, activity of mind, and unabated cheerfulness, 
would be able even to keep death at bay for a time, and 
baffle the attacks of distemper, provided their approach 
were not uncommonly rapid and violent. The general 
affliction, therefore, was doubly pungent upon the pre- 
sent occasion. 

But no one was so much affected as Mr. Falkland. 
Perhaps no man so well understood the value of the life 
that was now at stake. He immediately hastened to 
the spot ; but he found some difficulty in gaining ad- 
mission. Mr. Clare, aware of the infectious nature of 
his disease, had given directions that as few persons as 
possible should approach him. Mr. Falkland sent up his 
name. He was told that he was included in the general 
orders. He was not, however, of a temper to be easily 
repulsed ; he persisted with obstinacy, and at length 
carried his point, being only reminded in the first 
instance to employ those precautions which experience 
has proved most effectual for counteracting infection. 

He found Mr. Clare in his bed-chamber, but not in 
bed. He was sitting in his night-gown at a bureau 
near the window. His appearance was composed and 
cheerful, but death was in his countenance. " I had a 
great inclination, Falkland," said he, " not to have suf- 
fered you to come in ; and yet there is not a person in 
the world it could give me more pleasure to see. But, 
upon second thoughts, I believe there are few people 
that could run into a danger of this kind with a better 
prospect of escaping. In your case, at least, the garri- 
son will not, I trust, be taken through the treachery 
of the commander. I cannot tell how it is that I, who 
can preach wisdom to you, have myself been caught. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 43 

But do not be discouraged by my example. I had no 
notice of my danger, or I would have acquitted myself 
better." 

Mr. Falkland having once established himself in the 
apartment of his friend, would upon no terms consent 
to retire. Mr. Clare considered that there was perhaps 
less danger in this choice, than in the frequent change 
from the extremes of a pure to a tainted air, and desisted 
from expostulation. " Falkland," said he, " when you 
came in, I had just finished making my will. I was not 
pleased with what I had formerly drawn up upon that 
subject, and I did not choose in my present situation to 
call in an attorney. In fact, it would be strange if a 
man of sense, with pure and direct intentions, should 
not be able to perform such a function for himself." 

Mr. Clare continued to act in the same easy and dis- 
i-riLM-Tt (1 riKiiiru r :iv m |u rh rt lu.ilth. To jmlur from 
the cheerfulness of his tone and the firmness of his 
manner, the thought would never once have occurred 
that he was dying. He walked, he reasoned, he jested, 
in a way that argued the most perfect self-possession. 
But his appearance changed perceptibly for the worse 
every quarter of an hour. Mr. Falkland kept his eye 
perpetually fixed upon him, with mingled sentiments of 
anxiety and admiration. 

" Falkland," said he, after having appeared for a short 
period absorbed in thought, " I feel that I am dying. 
This is a strange distemper of mine. Yesterday I 
seemed in perfect health, and to-morrow I shall be an 
insensible corpse. How curious is the line that sepa- 
rates life and death to mortal men I To be at one mo- 
ment active, gay, penetrating, with stores of knowledge 
at one's command, capable of delighting, instructing, 
and animating mankind, and the next, lifeless and loath- 
some, an incumbrance upon the face of the earth I 



44 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Such is the history of many men, and such will be 
mine. 

" I feel as if I had yet much to do in the world ; but 
it will not be. I must be contented with what is past. 
It is in vain that I muster all my spirits to my heart. 
The enemy is too mighty and too merciless for me ; he 
will not give me time so much as to breathe. These 
things are not yet at least in our power : they are parts 
of a great series that is perpetually flowing. The ge- 
neral welfare, the great business of the universe, will 
go on, though I bear no further share in promoting it. 
That task is reserved for younger strengths, for you, 
Falkland, and such as you. We should be contemptible 
indeed if the prospect of human improvement did not 
yield us a pure and perfect delight, independently of 
the question of our existing to partake of it. Mankind 
would have little to envy to future ages, if they had 
all enjoyed a serenity as perfect as mine has been for 
the latter half of my existence." 

Mr. Clare sat up through the whole day, indulging 
himself in easy and cheerful exertions, which were 
perhaps better calculated to refresh and invigorate 
the frame, than if he had sought repose in its direct 
form. Now and then he was visited with a sudden 
pang ; but it was no sooner felt, than he seemed to rise 
above it, and smiled at the impotence of these attacks. 
They might destroy him, but they could not disturb. 
Three or four times he was bedewed with profuse 
sweats ; and these again were succeeded by an ex- 
treme dryness and burning heat of the skin. He was 
next covered with small livid spots : symptoms of shi- 
vering followed, but these he drove away with a de- 
termined resolution. He then became tranquil and 
composed, and, after some time, decided to go to bed, 
it being already night. " Falkland," said he, pressing 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 45 

In* hand. - the task of dying is not so difficult as some 
imagine. When one looks back from the brink of it, 
one wonders that so total a subversion can take place 
at so easy a prkv." 

He had now been some time in bed, and, as every 
thing was still, Mr. Falkland hoped that he slept; but 
in that he was mistaken. Presently Mr. Clare threw 
back the curtain, and looked in the countenance of his 
trimd. " I cannot sleep," said he. " No, if I could 
sleep, it would be the same thing as to recover ; and I 
am destined to have the worst in this battle. 

Falkland, I have been thinking about you. I do 
not know any one whose future usefulness I con- 
template with greater hope. Take care of yourself. 
Do not let the world be defrauded of your virtues. I 
am acquainted with your weakness as well as your 
strength. You have an impetuosity, and an impatience 
of imagined dishonour, that, if once set wrong, may 
make you as eminently mischievous as you will other- 
wise be useful. Think seriously of exterminating this 
error! 

But if I cannot, in the brief expostulation my 
present situation will allow, produce this desirable 
change in you, there is at least one tiling I can do. I 
can put you upon your guard against a mischief I 
foresee to be imminent. Beware of Mr. Tyrrel. Do 
not commit the mistake of despising him as an unequal 
opponent. Petty causes may produce great mischiefs. 
Mr. Tyrrel is boisterous, rugged, and unfeeling ; and 
you are too passionate, too acutely sensible of injury. 
It would be truly to be lamented, if a man so inferior, 
so utterly unworthy to be compared with you, should 
be capable of changing your whole history into misery 
and guilt. I have a painful presentiment upon my 
heart, as if something dreadful would reach you from 



46 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

that quarter. Think of this. I exact no promise from 
you. I would not shackle you with the fetters of 
superstition; I would have you governed by justice 
and reason." 

Mr. Falkland was deeply affected with this expost- 
ulation. His sense of the generous attention of Mr. 
Clare, at such a moment, was so great as almost to de- 
prive him of utterance. He spoke in short sentences, 
and with visible effort. " I will behave better," replied 
he. " Never fear me ! Your admonitions shall not be 
thrown away upon me." 

Mr. Clare adverted to another subject. " I have 
made you my executor ; you will not refuse me this 
last office of friendship. It is but a short time that I 
have had the happiness of knowing you ; but in that 
short time I have examined you well, and seen you 
thoroughly. Do not disappoint the sanguine hope I 
have entertained ! 

" I have left some legacies. My former connections, 
while I lived amidst the busy haunts of men, as many 
of them as were intimate, are all of them dear to me. 
I have not had time to summon them about me upon 
the present occasion, nor did I desire it. The remem- 
brances of me will, I hope, answer a better purpose 
than such as are usually thought of on similar occa- 
sions." 

Mr. Clare, having thus unburthened his mind, spoke 
no more for several hours. Towards morning Mr. 
Falkland quietly withdrew the curtain, and looked at 
the dying man. His eyes were open, and were now 
gently turned towards his young friend. His coun- 
tenance was sunk, and of a death-like appearance. " I 
hope you are better," said Falkland in a half whisper, 
as if afraid of disturbing him. Mr. Clare drew his 
hand from the bed-clothes, and stretched it forward; 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 47 

Mr. Falkland advanced, and took hold of it. " Much 
better, said Mr. (lare, in a voice inward and hurdlv 
articulate; "the struggle is now over; I have finished 
my part ; farewell ! remember ! " These were his last 
words. He lived still a few hours ; his lips were some- 
tinies seen to move ; he expired without a groan. 

Air. Falkland had witnessed the scene with much 
anxiety. His hopes of a favourable crisis, and his fear 
of disturbing the last moments of his friend, had held 
him dumb. For the last half hour he had stood up, 
with his eyes intently fixed upon Mr. Clare. He wit- 
nessed the last gasp, the last little convulsive motion 
of the frame. He continued to look; he sometimes 
imagined that he saw life renewed. At length he could 
deceive himself no longer, and exclaimed with a dis- 
tracted accent, M And is this all?" He would have 
thrown himself upon the body of his friend ; the at- 
tendants withheld, and would have forced him into 
another apartment. But he struggled from them, and 
hung fondly over the bed. " Is this the end of genius, 
virtue, and excellence? Is the luminary of the world 
thus for ever gone ? Oh, yesterday I yesterday ! Clare, 
why could not I have died in your stead ? Dreadful 
moment ! Irreparable loss ! Lost in the very maturity 
and vigour of his mind ! Cut off from a usefulness ten 
thousand times greater than any he had already ex- 
hibited ! Oh, his was a mind to have instructed sages, 
and guided the moral world ! This is all we have left 
of him ! The eloquence of those lips is gone ! The in- 
cessant activity of that heart is still ! The best and 
wisest of men is gone, and the world is insensible of its 
loss!" 

Mr. Tynrel heard the intelligence of Mr. Clare's 
death with emotion, but of a different kind. He avowed 
that he had not forgiven him his partial attachment to 



48 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Mr. Falkland, and therefore could not recal his re- 
membrance with kindness. But if he could have over- 
looked his past injustice, sufficient care, it seems, was 
taken to keep alive his resentment. " Falkland, forsooth, 
attended him on his death-bed, as if nobody else were 
worthy of his confidential communications." But what 
was worst of all was this executorship. " In every thing 
this pragmatical rascal throws me behind. Contemptible 
wretch, that has nothing of the man about him ! Must 
he perpetually trample upon his betters? Is every 
body incapable of saying what kind of stuff a man is 
made of? caught with mere outside? choosing the 
flimsy before the substantial ? And upon his death-bed 
too ? [Mr. Tyrrel with his uncultivated brutality mixed, 
as usually happens, certain rude notions of religion.] 
Sure the sense of his situation might have shamed him. 
Poor wretch ! his soul has a great deal to answer for. 
He has made my pillow uneasy ; and, whatever may 
be the consequences, it is he we have to thank for 
them." 

The death of Mr. Clare removed the person who 
could most effectually have moderated the animosities 
of the contending parties, and took away the great ope- 
rative check upon the excesses of Mr. Tyrrel. This 
rustic tyrant had been held in involuntary restraint by 
the intellectual ascendancy of his celebrated neighbour ; 
and, notwithstanding the general ferocity of his temper, 
he did not appear till lately to have entertained a hatred 
against him. In the short time that had elapsed from 
the period in which Mr. Clare had fixed his residence 
in the neighbourhood, to that of the arrival of Mr. 
Falkland from the Continent, the conduct of Mr. Tyrrel 
had even shown tokens of improvement. He would 
indeed have been better satisfied not to have had even 
this intruder into a circle where he had been accus- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 49 

tonu (! to ri-iini. But with Mr. Clare he could have no 
rivalship; the venerable character of Mr. Clare dis- 
posed him to submission: this great man seemed to 
have survived all the acrimony of contention, and all 
the jealous subtleties of a mistaken honour. 

The effects of Mr. Clare's suavity however, so far as 
related to Mr. Tyrrel, had been in a certain degree 
suspended by considerations of rivalship between this 
gentleman and Mr. Falkland. And, now that the in- 
fluence of Mr. Clare's presence and virtues was en- 
tirely removed, Mr. Tyrrel's temper broke out into 
more criminal excesses than ever. The added gloom 
which Mr. Falkland's neighbourhood inspired, over- 
flowed upon all his connections ; and the new examples 
of his sullenness and tyranny which every day afforded, 
reflected back upon this accumulated and portentous 
feud. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE consequences of all this speedily manifested 
themselves. The very next incident in the story was 
in some degree decisive of the catastrophe. Hitherto 
I have spoken only of preliminary matters, seemingly 
unconnected with each other, though leading to that 
state of mind in both parties which had such fatal 
effects. But all that remains is rapid and tremendous. 
The death-dealing mischief advances with an accele- 
rated motion, appearing to defy human wisdom and 
strength to obstruct its operation. 

The vices of Mr. Tyrrel, in their present state of 
augmentation, were peculiarly exercised upon his 
domestics and dependents. But the principal sufferer 



50 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

was the young lady mentioned on a former occasion, 
the orphan daughter of his father's sister. Miss Mel- 
ville's mother had married imprudently, or rather un- 
fortunately, against the consent of her relations, all of 
whom had agreed to withdraw their countenance from 
her in consequence of that precipitate step. Her 
husband had turned out to be no better than an ad- 
venturer ; had spent her fortune, which in consequence 
of the irreconcilableness of her family was less than 
he expected, and had broken her heart. Her infant 
daughter was left without any resource. In this situ- 
ation the representations of the people with whom she 
happened to be placed, prevailed upon Mrs. Tyrrel, the 
mother of the squire, to receive her into her family. 
In equity, perhaps, she was entitled to that portion of 
fortune which her mother had forfeited by her impru- 
dence, and which had gone to swell the property of the 
male representative. But this idea had never entered 
into the conceptions of either mother or son. Mrs. 
Tyrrel conceived that she performed an act of the 
most exalted benevolence in admitting Miss Emily 
into a sort of equivocal situation, which was neither 
precisely that of a domestic, nor yet marked with the 
treatment that might seem due to one of the family. 

She had not, however, at first been sensible of all the 
mortifications that might have been expected from her 
condition. Mrs. Tyrrel, though proud and imperious, 
was not ill-natured. The female, who lived in the 
family in the capacity of housekeeper, was a person 
who had seen better days, and whose disposition was 
extremely upright and amiable. She early contracted 
a friendship for the little Emily, who was indeed for 
the most part committed to her care. Emily, on her 
side, fully repaid the affection of her instructress, and 
learned with great docility the few accomplishments 



CALEB WILLIANfS. 51 

Mrs. Jakeman was able to communicate. But most of 
all she imbibed her cheerful and artless temper, that 
tcted the agreeable and encouraging from all events, 
and prompted her to communicate her sentiments, which 
were never of the cynical cast, without modification or 
disguise. Besides the advantages Emily derived from 
Mrs. Jakeman, she was permitted to take lessons from 
the masters who were employed at Tyrrel Place for the 
instruction of her cousin ; and indeed, as the young 
gentleman was most frequently indisposed to attend 
to them, they would commonly have had nothing to 
do, had it not been for the fortunate presence of Miss 
Melville. Mrs. Tyrrel therefore encouraged the studies 
of Emily on that score ; in addition to which she ima- 
gined that this living exhibition of instruction might 
operate as an indirect allurement to her darling Bar- 
nabas, the only species of motive she would suffer to 
be presented. Force she absolutely forbade; and of 
the intrinsic allurements of literature and knowledge 
she had no conception. 

Emily, as she grew up, displayed an uncommon 
degree of sensibility, which under her circumstances 
would have been a source of perpetual dissatisfaction, 
had it not been qualified with an extreme sweetness 
and easiness of temper. She was far from being en- 
titled to the appellation of a beauty. Her person 
WM petite and trivial ; her complexion savoured of the 

}>ni,,,tt, ; and lu r f.uv \\a> ni.nkcil with tin- -n:;ill-|>\, 

sufficiently to destroy its evenness and polish, though 
not enough to destroy its expression. But, though 
her appearance was not beautiful, it did not fail to be 
in a high degree engaging. Her complexion was at 
once healthful and delicate ; her long dark eyebrows 
adapted themselves with facility to the various con- 
ceptions of her mind ; and her looks bore the united 
E 2 



52 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

impression of an active discernment and a good- 
humoured frankness. The instruction she had received, 
as it was entirely of a casual nature, exempted her 
from the evils of untutored ignorance, but not from a 
sort of native wildness, arguing a mind incapable of 
guile itself, or of suspecting it in others. She amused, 
without seeming conscious of the refined sense which 
her observations contained; or rather, having never 
been debauched with applause, she set light by her 
own qualifications, arid talked from the pure gaiety of 
a youthful heart acting upon the stores of a just 
understanding, and not with any expectation of being 
distinguished and admired. 

The death of her aunt made very little change in 
her situation. This prudent lady, who would have 
thought it little less than sacrilege to have considered 
Miss Melville as a branch of the stock of the Tyrrels, 
took no more notice of her in her will than barely 
putting her down for one hundred pounds in a cata- 
logue of legacies to her servants. She had never 
been admitted into the intimacy and confidence of 
Mrs. Tyrrel ; and the young squire, now that she was 
left under his sole protection, seemed inclined to treat 
her with even more liberality than his mother had 
done. He had seen her grow up under his eye, and 
therefore, though there were but six years difference 
in their ages, he felt a kind of paternal interest in her 
welfare. Habit had rendered her in a manner neces- 
sary to him, and, in every recess from the occupations 
of the field and the pleasures of the table, he found 
himself solitary and forlorn without the society of Miss 
Melville. Nearness of kindred, and Emily's want of 
personal beauty, prevented him from ever looking on 
her with the eyes of desire. Her accomplishments 
were chiefly of the customary and superficial kind, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 53 

dancing and music. Her skill in the first led him 
sometimes to indulge her with a vacant corner in his 
carriage, when he went to the neighbouring assembly; 
and, in whatever light he might himself think proper 
to regard her, he would have imagined his chamber* 
maid, introduced by him, entitled to an undoubted 
place in the most splendid circle. Her musical talents 
were frequently employed for his amusement. She had 
the honour occasionally of playing him to sleep after 
the fatigues of the chase ; and, as he had some relish 
for harmonious sounds, she was frequently able to 
soothe him by their means from the perturbations of 
which his gloomy disposition was so eminently a slave. 
Upon the whole, she might be considered as in some 
sort his favourite. She was the mediator to whom his 
tenants and domestics, when they had incurred his 
displeasure, were accustomed to apply ; the privileged 
companion, that could approach this lion'with impunity 
in the midst of his roarings. She spoke to him without 
fear ; her solicitations were always good-natured and 
disinterested ; and when he repulsed her, he disarmed 
himself of half his terrors, and was contented to smile 
at her presumption. 

Such had been for some years the situation of Miss 
Melville. Its precariousness had been beguiled by the 
uncommon forbearance with which she was treated by 
her savage protector. But his disposition, always 
brutal, had acquired a gradual accession of ferocity 
since the settlement of Mr. Falkland in his neighbour-* 
hood. He now frequently forgot the gentleness with 
which he had been accustomed to treat his good- 
natured cousin. Her little playful arts were not always 
successful in softening his rage ; and he would some- 
times turn upon her blandishments with an impatient 
sternness that made her tremble. The careless ease 
E 3 



54 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

of her disposition, however, soon effaced these im- 
pressions, and she fell without variation into her old 
habits. 

A circumstance occurred about this time which 
gave peculiar strength to the acrimony of Mr. Tyrrel, 
and ultimately brought to its close the felicity that 
Miss Melville, in spite of the frowns of fortune, had 
hitherto enjoyed. Emily was exactly seventeen when 
Mr. Falkland returned from the continent. At this age 
she was peculiarly susceptible of the charms of beauty, 
grace, and moral excellence, when united in a person 
of the other sex. She was imprudent, precisely be- 
cause her own heart was incapable of guile. She had 
never yet felt the sting of the poverty to which she 
was condemned, and had not reflected on the insu- 
perable distance that custom has placed between the 
opulent and the poorer classes of the community. She 
beheld Mr. Falkland, whenever he was thrown in her 
way at any of the public meetings, with admiration ; 
and, without having precisely explained to herself 
the sentiments she indulged, her eyes followed him 
through all the changes of the scene, with eagerness 
and impatience. She did not see him, as the rest of 
the assembly did, born to one of the amplest estates 
in the county, and qualified to assert his title to the 
richest heiress. She thought only of Falkland, with 
those advantages which were most intimately his own, 
and of which no persecution of adverse fortune had 
the ability to deprive him. In a word, she was trans- 
ported when he was present; he was the perpetual 
subject of her reveries and her dreams ; but his image 
excited no sentiment in her mind beyond that of the 
immediate pleasure she took in his idea. 

The notice Mr. Falkland bestowed on her in return, 
appeared sufficiently encouraging to a mind so full of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 55 

prepossession as that of Emily. There was a particular 
complacency in his looks when directed towards her. 
He had said in a company, of which one of the persons 
present repeated his remarks to Miss Melville, that she 
appeared to him amiable and interesting ; that he felt 
for her unprovided and destitute situation ; and that he 
should have been glad to be more particular in his 
attention to her, had he not been apprehensive of 
doing her a prejudice in the suspicious mind of Mr. 
Tyrrel. All this she considered as the ravishing con- 
descension of a superior nature ; for, if she did not 
recollect with sufficient assiduity his gifts of fortune, 
she was, on the other hand, filled with reverence for 
his unrivalled accomplishments. But, while she thus 
seemingly disclaimed all comparison between Mr. Falk- 
land and herself, she probably cherished a confused 
feeling as if some event, that was yet in the womb 
of fate, might reconcile things apparently the most 
incompatible. Fraught with these prepossessions, 
the civilities that had once or twice occurred in the 
bustle of a public circle, the restoring her fan which 
she had dropped, or the disembarrassing her of an 
empty tea-cup, made her heart palpitate, and gave 
birth to the wildest chimeras in her deluded imagi- 
nation. 

About this time an event happened, that helped 
to give a precise determination to the fluctuations of 
Miss Melville's mind. One evening, a short time after 
the death of Mr. Clare, Mr. Falkland had been at the 
house of his deceased friend in his quality of executor, 
and, by some accidents of little intrinsic importance, 
had been detained three or four hours later than he 
expected. He did not set out upon his return till two 
o'clock in the morning. At this time, in a situation so 
remote from the metropolis, every thing is as silent as 
4 



56 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

it would be in a region wholly uninhabited. The moon 
shone bright ; and the objects around being marked 
with strong variations of light and shade, gave a kind 
of sacred solemnity to the scene. Mr. Falkland had 
taken Collins with him, the business to be settled at 
Mr. Clare's being in some respects similar to that to 
which this faithful domestic had been accustomed in 
the routine of his ordinary service. They had entered 
into some conversation, for Mr. Falkland was not then 
in the habit of obliging the persons about him by 
formality and reserve to recollect who he was. The 
attractive solemnity of the scene made him break off 
the talk somewhat abruptly, that he might enjoy it 
without interruption. They had not ridden far, before 
a hollow wind seemed to rise at a distance, and 
they could hear the hoarse roarings of the sea. Pre- 
sently the sky on one side assumed the appearance 
of a reddish brown, and a sudden angle in the road 
placed this phenomenon directly before them. As they 
proceeded, it became more distinct, and it was at 
length sufficiently visible that it was occasioned by a 
fire. Mr. Falkland put spurs to his horse ; and, as 
they approached, the object presented every instant a 
more alarming appearance. The flames ascended with 
fierceness ; they embraced a large portion of the hori- 
zon ; and, as they carried up with them numerous 
little fragments of the materials that fed them, im- 
pregnated with fire, and of an extremely bright and 
luminous colour, they presented some feeble image of 
the tremendous eruption of a volcano. 

The flames proceeded from a village directly in their 
road. There were eight or ten houses already on fire, 
and the whole seemed to be threatened with immediate 
destruction. The inhabitants were in the utmost con- 
sternation, having had no previous experience of a 



CALEB WILLIAMS 57- 

similar calamity. They conveyed with haste their 
moreables and furniture into the adjoining fields. 
\Vlu-n any of them had effected this as far as it could 
be attempted with safety, they were unable to conceive 
any further remedy, but stood wringing their hands, 
and contemplating the ravages of the fire in an agony 
of powerless despair. The water that could be pro- 
cured, in any mode practised in that place, was but 
as a drop contending with an clement in arms. The 
wind in the mean time was rising, and the flames 
spread with more and more rapidity. 

Mr. Falkland contemplated this scene for a few 
moments, as if ruminating with himself as to what 
could be done. He then directed some of the country 
people about him to pull down a house, next to one 
that was wholly on fire, but which itself was yet un- 
touched. They seemed astonished at a direction which 
implied a voluntary destruction of property, and 
considered the task as too much in the heart of the 
danger to be undertaken. Observing that they were 
motionless, he dismounted from his horse, and called 
upon them in an authoritative voice to follow him. 
He ascended the house in an instant, and presently 
appeared upon the top of it, as if in the midst of the 
flames. Having,. with the assistance of two or three 
of the persons that followed him most closely, and who 
by this time had supplied themselves with whatever 
tools came next to hand, loosened the support of a 
stack of chimneys, he pushed them headlong into the 
midst of the fire. He passed and repassed along the 
roof; and, having set people to work in all parts, 
descended in order to see what could be done in any 
other quarter. 

At this moment an elderly woman burst from the 
midst of a house in flames : the utmost consternation 



58 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

was painted in her looks ; and, as soon as she could 
recollect herself enough to have a proper idea of her 
situation, the subject of her anxiety seemed, in an 
instant, to be totally changed. " Where is my child?" 
cried she, and cast an anxious and piercing look among 
the surrounding crowd. " Oh, she is lost ! she is 
in the midst of flames ! Save her ! save her ! my 
child I" She filled the air with heart-rending shrieks. 
She turned towards the house. The people that were 
near endeavoured to prevent her, but she shook them 
off in a moment. She entered the passage ; viewed 
the hideous ruin ; and was then going to plunge into 
the blazing staircase. Mr. Falkland saw, pursued, and 
seized her by the arm ; it was Mrs. Jakeman. " Stop ! " 
he cried, with a voice of grand, yet benevolent au- 
thority. " Remain you in the street ! I will seek, and 
will save her ! " Mrs. Jakeman obeyed. He charged 
the persons who were near to detain her ; he enquired 
which was the apartment of Emily. Mrs. Jakeman 
was upon a visit to a sister who lived in the village, 
and had brought Emily along with her. Mr. Falkland 
ascended a neighbouring house, and entered that in 
which Emily was, by a window in the roof. 

He found her already awaked from her sleep ; and, 
becoming sensible of her danger, she had that instant 
wrapped a loose gown round her. Such is the almost 
irresistible result of feminine habits ; but, having done 
this, she examined the surrounding objects with the 
wildness of despair. Mr. Falkland entered the cham- 
ber. She flew into his arms with the rapidity of light- 
ning. She embraced and clung to him, with an impulse 
that did not wait to consult the dictates of her under- 
standing. Her emotions were indescribable. In a few 
short moments she had lived an age in love. In two 
minutes Mr. Falkland was again in the street with his 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 59 

lovely, half-naked burthen in his arms. Having restored 
her to her affectionate protector, snatched from the 
immediate grasp of death, from which, if he had not, 
none would have delivered her, he returned to his 
former task. By his presence of mind, by his inde- 
fatigable humanity and incessant exertions, he saved 
three fourths of the village from destruction. 

The conflagration being at length abated, he sought 
again Mrs. Jakeman and Emily, who by this time had 
obtained a substitute for the garments she had lost in 
the fire. He displayed the tenderest solicitude for the 
young lady's safety, and directed Collins to go with as 
much speed as he could, and send his chariot to attend 
her. .More than an hour elapsed in this interval. Mis 
Melville had never seen so much of Mr. Falkland 
upon any former occasion ; and the spectacle of such 
humanity, delicacy, firmness, and justice in the form of 
man, as he crowded into this small space, was altogether 
new to her, and in the highest degree fascinating. She 
had a confused feeling as if there had been something 
indecorous in her behaviour or appearance, when Mr. 
Falkland had appeared to her relief; and this combined 
with her other emotions to render the whole critical 
and intoxicating. 

Emily no sooner arrived at the family mansion, than 
Mr. Tyrrel ran out to receive her. He had just heard 
of the melancholy accident that had taken place at 
the village, and was terrified for the safety of his good- 
humoured cousin. He displayed those unpremeditated 
emotions which are common to almost every individual 
of the human race. He was greatly shocked at the 
suspicion that Emily might possibly have become the 
victim of a catastrophe which had thus broken out in 
the dead of night His sensations were of the most 
pleasing sort when he folded her in his arms, and fear- 



60 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ful apprehension was instantaneously converted into 
joyous certainty. Emily no sooner entered under the 
well known roof than her spirits were brisk, and her 
tongue incessant in describing her danger and her de- 
liverance. Mr. Tyrrel had formerly been tortured with 
the innocent eulogiums she pronounced of Mr. Falkland. 
But these were tameness itself, compared with the rich 
and various eloquence that now flowed from her lips. 
Love had not the same effect upon her, especially at 
the present moment, which it would have had upon a 
person instructed to feign a blush, and inured to a 
consciousness of wrong. She described his activity 
and resources, the promptitude with which every thing 
was conceived, and the cautious but daring wisdom 
with which it was executed. All was fairy-land and 
enchantment in the tenour of her artless tale ; you saw 
a beneficent genius surveying and controlling the whole, 
but could have no notion of any human means by which 
his purposes were effected. 

Mr. Tyrrel listened for a while to these innocent 
effusions with patience ; he could even bear to hear the 
man applauded, by whom he had just obtained so con- 
siderable a benefit. But the theme by amplification 
became nauseous, and he at length with some rough- 
ness put an end to the tale. Probably, upon recollection, 
it appeared still more insolent and intolerable than 
while it was passing ; the sensation of gratitude wore 
off, but the hyperbolical praise that had been bestowed 
still haunted his memory, and sounded in his ear ; 
Emily had entered into the confederacy that disturbed 
his repose. For herself, she was wholly unconscious of 
offence, and upon every occasion quoted Mr. Falkland 
as the model of elegant manners and true wisdom. She 
was a total stranger to dissimulation ; and she could 
not conceive that any one beheld the subject of her 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 61 

admiration with less partiality than herself. Her art- 
less love became more fervent than ever. She flattered 
herself that nothing less than a reciprocal passion could 
have prompted Mr. Falkland to the desperate attempt 
of saving her from the flames ; and she trusted that this 
passion would speedily declare itself, as well as induce 
the object of her adoration to overlook her comparative 
unworthiness. 

Mr. Tyrrel endeavoured at firstwith some moderation 
to check Miss Melville in her applauses, and to con- 
vince her by various tokens that the subject was dis- 
agre cable to him. He was accustomed to treat her 
with kindness. Emily, on her part, was disposed to yield 
an unreluctant obedience, and therefore it was not diffi- 
cult to restrain her. But upon the very next occasion 
her favourite topic would force its way to her lips. Her 
obedience was the acquiescence of a frank and bene- 
volent heart ; but it was the most difficult thing in the 
world to inspire her with fear. Conscious herself that 
she would not hurt a worm, she could not conceive that 
any one would harbour cruelty and rancour against her. 
Her temper had preserved her from obstinate conten- 
tion with t IK- persons under whose protection she was 
placed ; and, as her compliance was unhesitating, she 
had no experience of a severe and rigorous treatment. 
As Mr. TyrreFs objection to the very name of Falkland 
became more palpable and uniform, Miss Melville 
increased in her precaution. She would stop herself 
in the half-pronounced sentences that were meant to 
his praise. This circumstance had necessarily an 
ungracious effect ; it was a cutting satire upon the im- 
becility of her kinsman. Upon these occasions she 
would sometimes venture upon a good-humoured ex- 
postulation : " Dear sir ! well, I wonder how you can 
be so ill-natured ! I am sure Mr. Falkland would do 



62 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

you any good office in the world:" till she was checked 
by some gesture of impatience and fierceness. 

At length she wholly conquered her heedlessness 
and inattention. But it was too late. Mr. Tyrrel al- 
ready suspected the existence of that passion which 
she had thoughtlessly imbibed. His imagination, in- 
genious in torment, suggested to him all the different 
openings in conversation, in which she would have in- 
troduced the praise of Mr. Falkland, had she not been 
placed under this unnatural restraint. Her present 
reserve upon the subject was even more insufferable 
than her former loquacity. All his kindness for this 
unhappy orphan gradually subsided. Her partiality 
for the man who was the object of his unbounded ab- 
horrence, appeared to him as the last persecution of a 
malicious destiny. He figured himself as about to be 
deserted by every creature in human form ; all men, 
under the influence of a fatal enchantment, approving 
only what was sophisticated and artificial, and holding 
the rude and genuine offspring of nature in mortal 
antipathy. Impressed with these gloomy presages, 
he saw Miss Melville with no sentiments but those of 
rancorous aversion ; and, accustomed as he was to the 
uncontrolled indulgence of his propensities, he deter- 
mined to wreak upon her a signal revenge. 



CHAPTER VII. 

MR. TYRREL consulted his old confident respecting 
the plan he should pursue ; who, sympathising as he 
did in the brutality and insolence of his friend, had no 
idea that an insignificant girl, without either wealth or 
beauty, ought to be allowed for a moment to stand in 



CALEB WILLIAMS. ' 63 

the way of the gratifications of a man of Mr. Tyrrel's 
importance. The first idea of her now unrelenting 
kinsman was to thrust her from his doors, and leave 
her to seek her bread as she could. But he was 
conscious that this proceeding would involve him in 
considerable obloquy ; and he at length fixed upon a 
scheme which, at the same time that he believed it 
would sufficiently shelter his reputation, would much 
more certainly secure her mortification and punishment. 
For this purpose he fixed upon a young man of 
twenty, the son of one Grimes, who occupied a small 
farm, the property of his confident. This fellow he 
resolved to impose as a husband on Miss Melville, who, 
he shrewdly suspected, guided by the tender senti- 
ments she had unfortunately conceived for Mr. Falk- 
land, would listen with reluctance to any matrimonial 
proposal. Grimes he selected as being in all respects 
the diametrical reverse of Mr. Falkland. He was not 
precisely a lad of vicious propensities, but in an incon- 
ceivable degree boorish and uncouth. His complexion 
was scarcely human ; his features were coarse, and 
strangely discordant and disjointed from each other. 
His lips were thick, and the tone of his voice broad 
and unmodulated. His legs were of equal size from 
one end to the other, and his feet misshapen and 
clumsy. He had nothing spiteful or malicious in his 
disposition, but he was a total stranger to tenderness ; 
he could not feel for those refinements in others, of 
which he had no experience in himself. He was an 
expert boxer : his inclination led him to such amuse- 
ments as were most boisterous ; and he delighted in a 
sort of manual sarcasm, which he could not conceive 
to be very injurious, as it led no traces behind it. His 
general manners were noisy and obstreperous; inat- 
tentive to others ; and obstinate and unyielding, not 



g4 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

from any cruelty and ruggedness of temper, but from 
an incapacity to conceive those finer feelings, that 
make so large a part of the history of persons who are 
cast in a gentler mould. 

Such was the uncouth and half-civilised animal, 
which the industrious malice of Mr. Tyrrel fixed upon 
as most happily adapted to his purpose. Emily had 
hitherto been in an unusual degree exempted from 
the oppression of despotism. Her happy insignifi- 
cance had served her as a protection. No one thought 
it worth his while to fetter her with those numerous 
petty restrictions with which the daughters of opu- 
lence are commonly tormented. She had the wildness, 
as well as the delicate frame, of the bird that warbles 
unmolested in its native groves. 

When therefore she heard from her kinsman the 
proposal of Mr. Grimes for a husband, she was for a 
moment silent with astonishment at so unexpected a 
suggestion. But as soon as she recovered her speech, 
she replied, " No, sir, I do not want a husband." 

" You do ! Are not you always hankering after the 
men ? It is high time you should be settled." 

" Mr. Grimes I No, indeed ! when I do have a 
husband, it shall not be such a man as Mr. Grimes 
neither." 

" Be silent I How dare you give yourself such un- 
accountable liberties ?" 

" Lord, I wonder what I should do with him. You 
might as well give me your great rough water-dog, and 
bid me make him a silk cushion to lie in my dressing- 
room. Besides, sir, Grimes is a common labouring 
man, and I am sure I have always heard my aunt say 
that ours is a very great family." 
. " It is a lie ! Our family ! have you the impudence 
to think yourself one of our family?" 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 65 

" Why, sir, was not your grandpapa my grandpapa ? 
How then can we be of a different family?" 

" From the strongest reason in the world. You are 
the daughter of a rascally Scotchman, who spent every 
shilling of my aunt Lucy's fortune, and left you a 
beggar. You have got an hundred pounds, and 
Grimes's father promises to give him as much. How 
dare you look down upon your equals?" 

" Indeed, sir, I am not proud. But, indeed and 
indeed, I can never love Mr. Grimes. I am very 
happy as I am : why should I be married?" 

" Silence your prating! Grimes will be here this 
afternoon. Look that you behave well to him. If you 
do not, he will remember and repay, when you least 
like it," 

" Nay, I am sure, sir you are not in earnest?" 

" Not in earnest ! Damn me, but we will see that. 
I can tell what you would be at. You had rather be 
Mr. Falkland's miss, than the wife of a plain downright 
yeoman. But I shall take care of you. Ay, this 
comes of indulgence. You must be taken down, miss. 
You must be taught the difference between high-flown 
notions and realities. Mayhap you may take it a little 
in dudgeon or so; but never mind that. Pride always 
wants a little smarting. If you should be brought to 
shame, it is I that shall bear the blame of it." 

The tone in which Mr. Tyrrel spoke was so different 
from any thing to which Miss Melville had been accus- 
tomed, that she felt herself wholly unable to determine 
what construction to put upon it. Sometimes she 
thought he had really formed a plan for imposing upon 
her a condition that she could not bear so much as to 
think of. But presently she rejected this idea as ah 
unworthy imputation upon her kinsman, and concluded 
that it was only his way, and that all he meant was to 

F 



66 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

try her. To be resolved however, she determined to 
consult her constant adviser, Mrs. Jakeman, and ac- 
cordingly repeated to her what had passed. Mrs. 
Jakeman saw the whole in a very different light from 
that in which Emily had conceived it, and trembled 
for the future peace of her beloved ward. 

" Lord bless me, my dear mamma !" cried Emily, 
(this was the appellation she delighted to bestow upon 
the good housekeeper,) " you cannot think so? But I 
do not care. I will never marry Grimes, happen what 
will." 

" But how will you help yourself? My master will 
oblige you." 

" Nay, now you think you are talking to a child 
indeed. It is I am to have the man, not Mr. Tyrrel. 
Do you think I will let any body else choose a husband 
for me ? 1 am not such a fool as that neither." 

" Ah, Emily! you little know the disadvantages of 
your situation. Your cousin is a violent man, and 
perhaps will turn you out of doors, if you oppose 
him." 

" Oh, mamma ! it is very wicked of you to say so. I 
am sure Mr. Tyrrel is a very good man, though he be 
a little cross now and then. He knows very well that 
I am right to have a will of my own in such a thing as 
this, and nobody is punished for doing what is right." 

" Nobody ought, my dear child. But there are very 
wicked and tyrannical men in the world." 

" Well, well, I will never believe my cousin is one of 
these." 

" I hope he is not." 

" And if he were, what then ? To be sure I should 
be very sorry to make him angry." 

" What then ! Why then my poor Emily would be 
a beggar. Do you think I could bear to see that?" 



CALEB WILLIAMS, 67 

? No, no. Mr. Tyrrel has just told me that I have a 
hundred pounds. But if I had no fortune, is not that 
the case with a thousand other folks ? Why should I 
grieve, for what they bear and are merry? Do not 
make yourself uneasy, mamma. I am determined that 
I will do any thing rather than marry Grimes ; that is 
what I will." 

Mrs. Jakeman could not bear the uneasy state of 
suspense in which this conversation led her mind, and 
went immediately to the squire to have her doubts 
resolved. The manner in which she proposed the 
question, sufficiently indicated the judgment she had 
formed of the match. 

That is true," said Mr. Tyrrel, " I wanted to speak 
to you about this affair. The girl has got unaccountable 
notions in her head, that will be the ruin of her. You 
perhaps can tell where she had them. But, be that as 
it will, it is high time something should be done. The 
shortest way is the best, and to keep things well while 
they are well. In short, I am determined she shall 
marry this lad : you do not know any harm of him, do 
you ? You have a good deal of influence with her, and 
I desire, do you see, that you will employ it to lead her 
to her good : you had best, I can tell you. She is a 
pert vixen ! By and by she would be a whore, and at 
last no better than a common trull, and rot upon a 
dunghill, if I were not at all these pains to save her 
from destruction. I would make her an honest farmer's 
wife, and my pretty miss cannot bear the thoughts of it !" 

In the afternoon Grimes came according to appoint- 
ment, and was left alone with the young lady. 

"Well, miss, "said he, " it seems the squire has a mind 

to make us man and wife. For my part, I cannot say 

I should have thought of it. But, being as how the 

squire has broke the ice, if so be as you like of the 

F 2 



68 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

match, why I am your man. Speak the word ; a nod 
is as good as a wink to a blind horse." 

Emily was already sufficiently mortified at the unex- 
pected proposal of Mr. Tyrrel. She was confounded 
at the novelty of the situation, and still more at the 
uncultivated rudeness of her lover, which even exceeded 
her expectation. This confusion was interpreted by 
Grimes into diffidence. 

" Come, come, never be cast down. Put a good face 
upon it. What though? My first sweetheart was Bet 
Butterfield, but what of that ? What must be must 
be ; grief will never fill the belly. She was a fine 
strapping wench, that is the truth of it ! five foot ten 
inches, and as stout as a trooper. Oh, she would do a 
power of work! Up early and down late; milked ten 
cows with her own hands; on with her cardinal, rode 
to market between her panniers, fair weather and foul, 
hail, blow, or snow. It would have done your heart 
good to have seen her frost-bitten cheeks, as red as a 
beefen from her own orchard ! Ah ! she was a maid of 
mettle; would romp with the harvestmen, slap one upon 
the back, wrestle with another, and had a rogue's trick 
and a joke for all round. Poor girl! she broke her 
neck down stairs at a christening. To be sure I shall 
never meet with her fellow ! But never you mind 
that; I do not doubt that I shall find more in you upon 
further acquaintance. As coy and bashful as you seem, 
I dare say you are rogue enough at bottom. When 
I have touzled and rumpled you a little, we shall see. 
I am no chicken, miss, whatever you may think. I 
know what is what, and can see as far into a millstone 
as another. Ay, ay; you will come to. The fish will 
snap at the bait, never doubt it. Yes, yes, we shall rub 
on main well together." 

Emily by this time had in some degree mustered up 



CALEB \ClLLIAMS. 69 

her spirits, and began, though with hesitation, to thank 
Mr. Grimes for his good opinion, but to confess that 
she could never be brought to favour his addresses. 
She therefore entreated him to desist from all further 
application. This remonstrance on her part would have 
become more intelligible, had it not been for hi* 
boisterous manners and extravagant cheerfulness, which 
indisposed him to silence, and made him suppose that 
at half a word he had sufficient intimation of another's 
meaning. Mr. Tyrrel, in the mean time, was too im- 
patient not to interrupt the scene before they could 
have time to proceed far in explanation ; and he was 
studious in the sequel to prevent the young folks from 
being too intimately acquainted with each other's 
inclinations. Grimes, of consequence, attributed the 
reluctance of Miss Melville to maiden coyness, and the 
skittish shyness of an unbroken filly. Indeed, had it 
been otherwise, it is not probable that it would have 
made any effectual impression upon him; as he was 
always accustomed to consider women as made for the 
recreation of the men, and to exclaim against the weak- 
ness of people who taught them to imagine they were 
to judge for themselves. 

As the suit proceeded, and Miss Melville saw more 
of her new admirer, her antipathy increased. But, 
though her character was unspoiled by those false 
wants, which frequently make people of family miserable 
while they have every thing that nature requires within 
their reach, yet she had been little used to opposition, 
and was terrified at the growing sternness of her kins- 
man. Sometimes she thought of flying from a house 
which was now become her dungeon ; but the habits of 
her youth, and her ignorance of the world, made her 
shrink from this project, when she contemplated it 
more nearly. Mrs. Jakeman, indeed, could not think 
F 3 



70 CALEB WILLIAMS. _ 

with patience of young Grimes. as a husband for her 
darling Emily; but her prudence determined her to 
resist with all her might the idea on the part of the 
young lady of proceeding to extremities. She could 
not believe that Mr. Tyrrel would persist in such an 
unaccountable persecution, and she exhorted Miss 
Melville to forget for a moment the unaffected inde- 
pendence of her character, and pathetically to deprecate 
her cousin's obstinacy. She had great confidence in 
the ingenuous eloquence of her ward. Mrs. Jakeman 
did not know what was passing in the breast of the 
tyrant. 

Miss Melville complied with the suggestion of her 
mamma. One morning immediately after breakfast, 
she went to her harpsichord, and played one after 
another several of those airs that were most the 
favourites of Mr. Tyrrel. Mrs. Jakeman had retired ; 
the servants were gone to their respective employments. 
Mr. Tyrrel would have gone also; his mind was un- 
tuned, and he did not take the pleasure he had been 
accustomed to take in the musical performances of 
Emily. But her finger was now more tasteful than 
common. Her mind was probably wrought up to a 
firmer and bolder tone, by the recollection of the cause 
she was going to plead ; at the same time that it was 
exempt from those incapacitating tremors which would 
have been felt by one that dared not look poverty in the 
face. Mr. Tyrrel was unable to leave the apartment. 
Sometimes he traversed it with impatient steps ; then 
he hung over the poor innocent whose powers were 
exerted to please him ; at length he threw himself in a 
chair opposite, with his eyes turned towards Emily. 
It was easy to trace the progress of his emotions. The 
furrows into which his countenance was contracted 
were gradually relaxed ; his features were brightened 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 71 

into a smile ; the kindness with which he had upon 
former occasions contemplated Emily seemed to revive 
in his heart. 

Emily watched her opportunity. As soon as she 
hail finished one of the pieces, she rose and went to 
Mr. Tyrrel. 

" Now, have not I done it nicely ? and after this will 
not you give me a reward ? " 

" A reward ! Ay, come here, and I will give you a 



" No, that is not it. And yet you have not kissed 
me this many a day. Formerly you said you loved 
me, and called me you- Emily. I am sure you did not 
love me better than I loved you. You have not forgot 
all the kindness you once had for me?" added she 
anxiously. 

" Forgot ? No, no. How can you ask such a ques- 
tion ? You shall be my dear Emily still ! ' ' 

" Ah, those were happy times ! " she replied, a little 
mournfully. Do you know, cousin, I wish I could 
wake, and find that the last month only about a 
month was a dream?" 

" What do you mean by that?" said Mr. Tyrrel with 
an altered voice. " Have a care ! Do not put me out 
of humour. Do not come with your romantic notions 
now." 

" No, no : I have no romantic notions in my head. 
I speak of something upon which the happiness of my 
life depends." 

" I see what you would be at. Be silent. You know 
it is to no purpose to plague me with your stubborn- 
ness. You will not let me be in good humour with 
you for a moment. What my mind is determined 
upon about Grimes, all the world shall not move me to 
give up." 

r 4 



72 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" Dear, dear cousin ! why, but consider now. Grimes 
is a rough rustic lout, like Orson in the story-book. 
He wants a wife like himself. He would be as uneasy 
and as much at a loss with me, as I with him. Why 
should we both of us be forced to do what neither of 
us is inclined to? I cannot think what could ever 
have put it into your head. But now, for goodness' 
sake, give it up! Marriage is a serious thing. You 
should not think of joining two people for a whim, who 
are neither of them fit for one another in any respect 
in the world. We should feel mortified and disap- 
pointed all our lives. Month would go after month, 
and year after year, and I could never hope to be my 
own, but by the death of ^a person I ought to love. I 
am sure, sir, you cannot mean me all this harm. What 
have I done, that I should deserve to have you for an 
enemy?" 

" I am not your enemy. I tell you that it is neces- 
sary to put you out of harm's way. But, if I were 
your enemy, I could not be a worse torment to you 
than you are to me. Are not you continually singing 
the praises of Falkland? Are not you in love with 
Falkland ? That man is a legion of devils to me ! I 
might as well have been a beggar! I might as well 
have been a dwarf or a monster! Time was when 
I was thought entitled to respect. But now, debauched 
by this Frenchified rascal, they call me rude, surly, a 
tyrant ! It is true that I cannot talk in finical phrases, 
flatter people with hypocritical praise, or suppress the 
real feelings of my mind. The scoundrel knows his pitiful 
advantages, and insults me upon them without ceasing. 
He is my rival and my persecutor ; and, at last, as if 
all this were not enough, he has found means to spread 
the pestilence in my own family. You, whom we took 
up out of charity, the chance-born brat of a stolen 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 73 

marriage! you must turn upon your benefactor, and 
wound me in the point that of all others I could least 
bear. If I were your enemy, should not I have reason ? 
Could I ever inflict upon you such injuries as you have 
made me suffer? And who are you? The lives of 
fifty such cannot atone for an hour of my uneasiness. 
If you were to linger for twenty years upon the rack, 
you would never feel what I have felt. But I am your 
friend. I see which way you are going; and I am de- 
termined to save you from this thief, this hypocritical 
destroyer of us all Every moment that the mischief 
is left to itself, it does but make bad worse ; and I am 
determined to save you out of hand." 

The angry expostulations of Mr. Tyrrel suggested 
new ideas to the tender mind of Miss Melville. He 
had never confessed the emotions of his soul so ex- 
plicitly before ; but the tempest of his thoughts suffer- 
ed him to be no longer master of himself. She saw 
with astonishment that he was the irreconcilable foe 
of Mr. Falkland, whom she had fondly imagined it 
was the same thing to know and admire ; and that he 
harboured a deep and rooted resentment against her- 
self. She recoiled, without well knowing why, before 
the ferocious passions of her kinsman, and was con- 
vinced that she had nothing to hope from his im- 
placable temper. But her alarm was the prelude of 
firmness, and not of cowardice. 

" No, sir," replied she, " indeed I will not be driven 
any way that you happen to like. I have been used 
to obey you, and, in all that is reasonable, I will obey 
you still. But you urge me too far. What do you 
tell me of Mr. Falkland? Have I ever done any thing 
to deserve your unkind suspicions? I am innocent, 
and will continue innocent. Mr. Grimes is well enough, 
and will no doubt find women that like him ; but he is 



74 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

not fit for me, and torture shall not force me to be his 
wife." 

Mr. Tyrrel was not a little astonished at the spirit 
which Emily displayed upon this occasion. He had 
calculated too securely upon the general mildness and 
suavity of her disposition. He now endeavoured to 
qualify the harshness of his former sentiments. 

" God damn my soul ! And so you can scold, can 
you ? You expect every body to turn out of his way, 
and fetch and carry, just as you please? I could find 
in my heart But you know my mind. I insist upon 
it that you let Grimes court you, and that you lay 
aside your sulks, and give him a fair hearing. Will 
you do that ? If then you persist in your wilfulness, 
why there, I suppose, is an end of the matter. Do not 
think that any body is going to marry you, whether 
you will or no. You are no such mighty prize, I assure 
you. If you knew your own interest, you would be 
glad to take the young fellow while he is willing." 

Miss Melville rejoiced in the prospect, which the 
last words of her kinsman afforded her, of a termina- 
tion at no great distance to her present persecutions. 
Mrs. Jakeman, to whom she communicated them, con- 
gratulated Emily on the returning moderation and 
good sense of the squire, and herself on her prudence 
in having urged the young lady to this happy expos- 
tulation. But their mutual felicitations lasted not 
long. Mr. Tyrrel informed Mrs. Jakeman of the neces- 
sity in which he found himself of sending her to a 
distance, upon a business which would not fail to detain 
her several weeks ; and, though the errand by no means 
wore an artificial or ambiguous face, the two friends 
drew a melancholy presage from this ill-timed separa- 
tion. Mrs. Jakeman, in the mean time, exhorted her 
ward to persevere, reminded her of the compunction 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 75 

which had already been manifested by her kinsman, 
and encouraged her to hope every thing from her cou- 
rage and good temper. Emily, on her part, though 
grieved at the absence of her protector and counsellor 
at so interesting a crisis, was unable to suspect Mr. 
Tyrrel of such a degree either of malice or duplicity 
as could afford ground for serious alarm. She congra- 
tulated herself upon her delivery from so alarming a 
persecution, and drew a prognostic of future success 
from this happy termination of the first serious affair of 
her life. She exchanged a state of fortitude and alarm 
for her former pleasing dreams respecting Mr. Falk- 
land. These she bore without impatience. She was 
even taught by the uncertainty of the event to desire 
to prolong, rather than abridge, a situation which might 
be delusive, but which was not without its pleasures. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

NOTHING could be further from Mr.Tyrrel's intention 
than to suffer his project to be thus terminated. No 
sooner was he freed from the fear of his housekeeper's 
interference, than he changed the whole system of his 
conduct. He ordered Miss Melville to be closely con- 
fined to her apartment, and deprived of all means of 
communicating her situation to any one out of his own 
house. He placed over her a female servant, in whose 
discretion he could confide, and who, having formerly 
been honoured with the amorous notices of the squire, 
considered the distinctions that were paid to Emily at 
Tyrrel Place as an usurpation upon her more reason- 
able claims. The squire himself did every thing in his 
power to blast the young lady's reputation, and repre- 



76 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sented to his attendants these precautions as necessary, 
to prevent her from eloping to his neighbour, and 
plunging herself in total ruin. 

As soon as Miss Melville had been twenty-four hours 
in durance, and there was some reason to suppose that 
her spirit might be subdued to the emergency of her 
situation, Mr. Tyrrel thought proper to go to her, to 
explain the grounds of her present treatment, and 
acquaint her with the only means by which she could 
hope for a change. Emily no sooner saw him, than 
she turned towards him with an air of greater firmness 
than perhaps she had ever assumed in her life, and 
accosted him thus : 

" Well, sir, is it you ? I wanted to see you. It seems 
I am shut up here by your orders. What does this 
mean? What right have you to make a prisoner of 
me ? What do I owe you ? Your mother left me a 
hundred pounds : have you ever offered to make any 
addition to my fortune ? But, if you had, I do not 
want it. I do not pretend to be better than the children 
of other poor parents ; I can maintain myself as they 
do. I prefer liberty to wealth. I see you are sur- 
prised at the resolution I exert. But ought I not to 
turn again, when I am trampled upon ? I should have 
left you before now, if Mrs. Jakeman had not over- 
persuaded me, and if I had not thought better of you 
than by your present behaviour I find you deserve. 
But now, sir, I intend to leave your house this moment, 
and insist upon it, that you do not endeavour to pre- 
vent me." 

Thus saying, she rose, and went towards the door, 
while Mr. Tyrrel stood thunderstruck at her mag- 
nanimity. Seeing, however, that she was upon the 
point of being out of the reach of his power, he re- 
covered himself, and pulled her back. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 77 

' What is in the wind now ? Do you think, strumpet, 
that you shall get the better of me by sheer impudence? 
Sit down ! rest you satisfied ! So you want to know 
by what right you are here, do you ? By the right of 
possession. This house is mine, and you are in my 
power. There is no Mrs. Jakeman now to spirit you 
away ; no, nor no Falkland to bully for you. I have 
countermined you, damn me ! and blown up your 
schemes. Do you think I will be contradicted and 
opposed for nothing ? When did you ever know any 
body resist my will without being made to repent ? And 
shall I now be brow-beaten by a chitty-faced girl ? 
I have not given you a fortune ! Damn you ! who 
brought you up? I will make you a bill for clothing 
and lodging. Do not you know that every creditor has 
a right to stop his runaway debtor. You may think as 
you please ; but here you are till you marry Grimes. 
Heaven and earth shall not prevent but I will get the 
better of your obstinacy ! " 

" Ungenerous, unmerciful man ! and so it is enough 
for you that I have nobody to defend me ! But I am 
not so helpless as you may imagine. You may imprison 
my body, but you cannot conquer my mind. Marry 
Mr. Grimes ! And is this the way to bring me to your 
purpose? Every hardship I suffer puts still further 
distant the end for which I am thus unjustly treated. 
You are not used to have your will contradicted ! 
When did I ever contradict it? And, in a concern 
that is so completely my own, shall my will go for 
nothing ? Would you lay down this rule for yourself, 
and suffer no other creature to take the benefit of it ? 
I want nothing of you : how dare you refuse me the 
privilege of a reasonable being, to live unmolested in 
poverty and innocence ? What sort of a man do you 



78 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

show yourself, you that lay claim to the respect ahd 
applause of every one that knows you ?" 

The spirited reproaches of Emily had at first the 
effect to fill Mr. Tyrrel with astonishment, and make 
him feel abashed and overawed in the presence of this 
unprotected innocent. But his confusion was the re- 
sult of surprise. When the first emotion wore off, he 
cursed himself for being moved by her expostulations ; 
and was ten times more exasperated against her, for 
daring to defy his resentment at a time when she had 
every thing to fear. His despotic and unforgiving pro- 
pensities stimulated him to a degree little short of 
madness. At the same time his habits, which were 
pensive and gloomy, led him to meditate a variety of 
schemes to punish her obstinacy. He began to suspect 
that there was little hope of succeeding by open force, 
and therefore determined to have recourse to treachery. 
He found in Grimes an instrument sufficiently adapted 
to his purpose, This fellow, without an atom of inten- 
tional malice, was fitted, by the mere coarseness of his 
perceptions, for the perpetration of the greatest injuries. 
He regarded both injury and advantage merely as they 
related to the gratifications of appetite ; and considered 
it an essential in true wisdom, to treat with insult the 
effeminacy of those who suffer themselves to be tor- 
mented with ideal misfortunes. He believed that no 
happier destiny could befal a young woman than to be 
his wife; and he conceived that that termination would 
amply compensate for any calamities she might sup- 
pose herself to undergo in the interval. He was there- 
fore easily prevailed upon, by certain temptations which 
Mr. Tyrrel knew how to employ, to take part in the 
plot into which Miss Melville was meant to be betrayed. 
Matters being thus prepared, Mr. Tyrrel proceeded, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 79 

through the means of the gaoler (for the experience he 
already had of personal discussion did not incline him 
to repeat his visits), to play upon the fears of his pri- 
soner. This woman, sometimes under the pretence of 
friendship, and sometimes with open malice, informed 
Emily, from time to time, of the preparations that were 
making for her marriage. One day, " the squire had 
rode over to look at a neat little farm which was des- 
tined for the habitation of the new-married couple ; w 
and at another, " a quantity of live stock and house- 
hold furniture was procured, that every thing might be 
ready for their reception." She then told her " of a 
licence that was bought, a parson in readiness, and a 
day fixed for the nuptials." When Emily endeavoured, 
though with increased misgivings, to ridicule these 
proceedings as absolutely nugatory without her consent, 
her artful gouvernante related several stories of forced 
marriages, and assured her that neither protestations, 
nor silence, nor fainting, would be of any avail, either 
to suspend the ceremony, or to set it aside when per- 
formed. 

The situation of Miss Melville was in an eminent 
degree pitiable. She had no intercourse but with her 
persecutors. She had not a human being with whom 
to consult, who might afford her the smallest degree of 
consolation and encouragement. She had fortitude ; 
but it was neither confirmed nor directed by the dic- 
tates of experience. It could not therefore be expected 
to be so inflexible, as with better information it would, 
no doubt, have been found. She had a clear and noble 
spirit; but she had some of her sex's errors. Her 
mind sunk under the uniform terrors with which she 
was assailed, and her health became visibly impaired. 

Her firmness being thus far undermined, Grimes, in 
pursuance of his instructions, took care, in his next 



80 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

interview, to throw out an insinuation that, for his own 
part, he had never cared for the match, and since she 
was so averse to it, would be better pleased that it 
should never take place. Between one and the other 
however, he was got into a scrape, and now he sup- 
posed he must marry, will he, nill he. The two squires 
would infallibly ruin him upon the least appearance of 
backwardness on his part, as they were accustomed to 
do every inferior that resisted their will. Emily was 
rejoiced to find her admirer in so favourable a dispo- 
sition ; and earnestly pressed him to give effect to this 
humane declaration. Her representations were full of 
eloquence and energy; Grimes appeared to be moved 
at the fervency of her manner ; but objected the resent- 
ment of Mr. Tyrrel and his landlord. At length, how- 
ever, he suggested a project, in consequence of which 
he might assist her in her escape, without its ever 
coming to their knowledge, as, indeed, there was no 
likelihood that their suspicions would fix upon him. 
" To be sure," said he, " you have refused me in a dis- 
dainful sort of a way, as a man may say. Mayhap you 
thought I was no better 'an a brute : but I bear you 
no malice, and I will show you that I am more kind- 
hearted 'an you have been willing to think. It is a 
strange sort of a vagary you have taken, to stand in 
your own light, and disoblige all your friends. But if 
you are resolute, do you see ? I scorn to be the hus- 
band of a lass that is not every bit as willing as I ; and 
go I will even help to put you in a condition to follow 
your own inclinations." 

Emily listened to these suggestions at first with 
eagerness and approbation. But her fervency some- 
what abated, when they came to discuss the minute 
parts of the undertaking. It was necessary, as Grimes 
-informed her, that her escape should be effected in the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 81 

dead of the night. He would conceal himself for that 
purpose in the garden, and be provided with false keys, 
by which to deliver lu-r from her prison. These cir- 
cumstances were by no means adapted to calm her 
perturbed imagination. To throw herself into the arms 
of the man whose intercourse she was employing every 
method to avoid, and whom, under the idea of a partner 
for life, she could least of all men endure, was, no 
doubt, an extraordinary proceeding. The attendant 
circumstances of darkness and solitude aggravated the 
picture. The situation of Tyrrel Place was uncom- 
monly lonely ; it was three miles from the nearest 
village, and not less than seven from that in which 
Mrs. Jakeman's sister resided, under whose protection 
Miss Melville was desirous of placing herself. The in- 
genuous character of Emily did not allow her once to 
suspect Grimes of intending to make an ungenerous 
and brutal advantage of these circumstances ; but her 
mind involuntarily revolted against the idea of com- 
mitting herself, alone, to the disposal of a man, whom 
she had lately been accustomed to consider as the instru- 
ment of her treacherous relation. 

After having for some time revolved these consider- 
ations, she thought of the expedient of desiring Grimes 
to engage Mrs. Jakeman's sister to wait for her at the 
outside of the garden. But this Grimes peremptorily 
refused. He even flew into a passion at the proposal. 
It showed very little gratitude, to desire him to disclose 
to other people his concern in this dangerous affair. 
For his part, he was determined, in consideration of his 
own safety, never to appear in it to any living soul. If 
Miss did not believe him, when he made this proposal 
out of pure good-nature, and would not trust him a 
single inch, she might even see to the consequences 
herself. He was resolved to condescend no further to 



32 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the whims of a person who, in her treatment of him, 
had shown herself as proud as Lucifer himself. 

Emily exerted herself to appease his resentment; but 
all the eloquence of her new confederate could not prevail 
upon her instantly to give up her objection. She desired 
till the next day to consider of it. The day after was 
fixed by Mr. Tyrrel for the marriage ceremony. In 
the mean time she was pestered with intimations, in a 
thousand forms, of the fate that so nearly awaited her. 
The preparations were so continued, methodical, and 
regular, as to produce in her the most painful and 
aching anxiety. If her heart attained a moment's inter- 
mission upon the subject, her female attendant was 
sure, by some sly hint or sarcastical remark, to put a 
speedy termination to her tranquillity. She felt herself, 
as she afterwards remarked, alone, uninstructed, just 
broken loose, as it were, from the trammels of infancy, 
without one single creature to concern himself in her 
fate. She, who till then never knew an enemy, had 
now, for three weeks, not seen the glimpse of a human 
countenance, that she had not good reason to consider 
as wholly estranged to her at least, if not unrelentingly 
bent on her destruction. She now, for the first time, 
experienced the anguish of never having known her 
parents, and being cast upon the charity of people with 
whom she had too little equality, to hope to receive 
from them the offices of friendship^ 

The succeeding night was filled with the most anxious 
thoughts. When a momentary oblivion stole upon her 
senses, her distempered imagination conjured up a 
thousand images of violence and falsehood ; she saw 
herself in the hands of her determined enemies, who 
did not hesitate by the most daring treachery to com- 
plete her ruin. Her waking thoughts were not more 
consoling. The struggle was too great for her consti- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 83 

tution. As morning approached, she resolved, at all 
hazards, to put herself into the hands of Grimes. This 
determination was no sooner made, than she felt her 
heart sensibly lightened. She could not conceive any 
evil which could result from this proceeding, that de- 
served to be put in the balance against those which, 
under the roof of her kinsman, appeared unavoidable. 

When she communicated her determination to 
Grimes, it was not possible to say whether he received 
pleasure or pain from the intimation. He smiled in- 
deed; but his smile was accompanied by a certain 
abrupt ruggedness of countenance, so that it might 
equally well be the smile of sarcasm or of congratulation. 
He, however, renewed his assurances of fidelity to his 
engagements and punctuality of execution. Meanwhile 
the day was interspersed with nuptial presents and 
preparations, all indicating the firmness as well as 
security of the directors of the scene. Emily had 
hoped that, as the crisis approached, they might have 
remitted something of their usual diligence. She was 
resolved, in that case, if a fair opportunity had offered, 
to give the slip both to her jailors, and to her new and 
reluctantly chosen confederate. But, though extremely 
vigilant for that purpose, she found the execution of 
the idea impracticable. 

At length the night, so critical to her happiness, 
approached. The mind of Emily could not fail, on this 
occasion, to be extremely agitated. She had first 
exerted all her perspicacity to elude the vigilance of 
her attendant. This insolent and unfeeling tyrant, in- 
stead of any relentings, had only sought to make sport 
of her anxiety. Accordingly, in one instance she hid 
herself, and, suffering Emily to suppose that the coast 
was clear, met her at the end of the gallery, near the 
top of the staircase. " How do you do, my dear?* 
G 2 



84 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

said she, with an insulting tone. " And so the little 
dear thought itself cunning enough to outwit me, did 
it ? Oh, it was a sly little gipsy ! Go, go back, love ; 
troop ! " Emily felt deeply the trick that was played 
upon her. She sighed, but disdained to return any 
answer to this low vulgarity. Being once more in her 
chamber, she sat down in a chair, and remained buried 
in reverie for more than two hours. After this she 
went to her drawers, and turned over, in a hurrying 
confused way, her linen and clothes, having in her 
mind the provision it would be necessary to make for 
her elopement. Her jailor officiously followed her from 
place to place, and observed what she did for the 
present in silence. It was now the hour of rest. " Good 
night, child," said this saucy girl, in the act of retiring. 
<' It is time to lock up. For the few next hours, the time 
is your own. Make the best use of it ! Do'ee think 
ee can creep out at the key-hole, lovey? At eight 
o'clock you see me again. And then, and then," added 
she, clapping her hands, it is all over. The sun is 
not surer to rise, than you and your honest man to be 
made one." 

There was something in the tone with which this 
slut uttered her farewell, that suggested the question 
to Emily, What does she mean ? Is it possible that 
she should know what has been planned for the few 
next hours?" This was the first moment that suspi- 
cion had offered itself, and its continuance was short. 
With an aching heart she folded up the few neces- 
saries she intended to take with her. She instinctively 
listened, with an anxiety that would almost have 
enabled her to hear the stirring of a leaf. From time 
to time she thought her ear was struck with the sound 
of feet ; but the treading, if treading it were, was so 
soft, that she could never ascertain whether it were a 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 85 

real sound, or the mere creature of the fancy. Then 
all was still, as if the universal motion had been at rest. 
By and by she conceived she overheard a noise as of 
buzzing and low-muttered speech. Her heart palpi- 
tated ; for a second time she began to doubt the honesty 
of Grimes. The suggestion was now more anxious 
than before ; but it was too late. Presently she heard 
the sound of a key in her chamber-door, and the rustic 
made his appearance. She started, and cried, " Are 
we discovered? did not I hear you speak ?" Grimes 
advanced on tiptoe with his finger to his lip. " No, 
no," replied he, " all is safe!" He took her by the 
hand, led her in silence out of the house, and then 
across the garden. Emily examined with her eye the 
doors and passages as they proceeded, and looked on all 
sides with fearful suspicion ; but every thing was as 
vacant and still as she herself could have wished. 
Grime* opened a back-door of the garden already 
unlocked, that led into an unfrequented lane. There 
stood two horses ready equipped for the journey, and 
fastened by their bridles to a po.<t not six yards distant 
from the garden. Grimes pushed the door after them. 
" By Gemini,** ?aid he, " my heart was in my mouth. 
As 1 corned along to you, I saw Mun, coachey, pop 
along from the back-door to the stables. He was 
within a hop, step, and jump of me. But he had a 
lanthorn in his hand, and he did not see me, being as I 
was darkling." Saying this, he assisted Miss Melville 
to mount. He troubled her little during the route; 
on the contrary, he was remarkably silent and contem- 
plative, a circumstance by no means disagreeable to 
Emily, to whom his conversation had never been 
acceptable. 

After having proceeded about two miles, they turned 
into a wood, through which the road led to the place 
3 



$6 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

of their destination. The night was extremely dark, 
at the same time that the air was soft and mild, it 
being now the middle of summer. Under pretence of 
exploring the way, Grimes contrived, when they had 
already penetrated into the midst of this gloomy soli- 
tude, to get his horse abreast with that of Miss Melville, 
and then, suddenly reaching out his hand, seized hold 
of her bridle* " I think we may as well stop here a 
bit," said he. 

" Stop ! " exclaimed Emily with surprise ; " why 
should we stop ? Mr. Grimes, what do you mean ? " 

" Come, come," said he, " never trouble yourself to 
wonder. Did you think I were such a goose, to take 
all this trouble merely to gratify your whim ? I' faith, 
nobody shall find me a pack-horse, to go of other folks' 
errands, without, knowing a reason why. I cannot say 
that I much minded to have you at first ; but your ways 
are enough to stir the blood of my grand-dad. Far- 
fetched and dear-bought is always relishing. Your 
consent was so hard to gain, that squire thought it was 
surest asking in the dark. A' said however, a' would 
have no such doings in his house, and so, do ye see, 
we are corned here." 

" For God's sake, Mr. Grimes, think what you are 
about ! You cannot be base enough to ruin a poor 
creature who has put herself under your protection ! 

" Ruin ! No, no, I will make an honest woman of 
you, when all is done. Nay, none of your airs ; no 
tricks upon travellers ! I have you here as safe as a 
horse in a pound; there is not a house nor a shed 
within a mile of us ; and, if I miss the opportunity, 
call me spade. Faith, you are a delicate morsel, and 
there is no time to be lost ! " 

Miss Melville had but an instant in which to collect 
her thoughts. She felt that there was little hope of 



' CALEB WILLIAMS. 87 

softening the obstinate and insensible brute in whose 
power she was placed. But the presence of mind and 
intrepidity annexed to her character did not now desert 
her. Grimes had scarcely finished his harangue, when, 
with a strong and unexpected jerk, she disengaged the 
bridle from his grasp, and at the same time put her horse 
upon full speed. She had scarcely advanced twice 
the length of her horse, when Grimes recovered from 
his surprise, and pursued her, inexpressibly mortified 
at being so easily overreached. The sound of his horse 
behind served but to rouse more completely the mettle 
of that of Emily ; whether by accident or sagacity, the 
animal pursued without a fault the narrow and winding 
way ; and the chase continued the whole length of the 
wood. 

At the extremity of this wood there was a gate. 
The recollection of this softened a. little the cutting 
disappointment of Grimes, as he thought himself secure 
of putting an end, by its assistance, to the career of 
Emily ; nor was it very probable that any body would 
appear to interrupt his designs, in such a place, and 
in the dead and silence of the night. By the most 
extraordinary accident, however, they found a man 
on horseback in wait at this gate. " Help, help ! " 
exclaimed the affrighted Emily; "thieves! murder! 
help?" The man was Mr. Falkland. Grimes knew his 
voice; and therefore, though he attempted a sort of 
sullen resistance, it was feebly made. Two other men, 
whom, by reason of the darkness, he had not at first 
seen, and who were Mr. Falkland's servants, hearing 
the bustle of the rencounter, and alarmed for the safety 
of their master, rode up ; and then Grimes, disappointed 
at the loss of his gratification, and admonished by con- 
scious guilt, shrunk from farther parley, and rode off* in 
silence. 

o 4 



88 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

It may seem strange that Mr. Falkland should thus 
a second time have been the saviour of Miss Melville, 
and that under circumstances the most unexpected 
and singular. But in this instance it is easily to be 
accounted for. He had heard of a man who lurked 
about this wood for robbery or some other bad design, 
and that it was conjectured this man was Hawkins, 
another of the victims of Mr. Tyrrel's rural tyranny, 
whom I shall immediately have occasion to introduce. 
Mr. Falkland's compassion had already been strongly 
excited in favour of Hawkins ; he had in vain en- 
deavoured to find him, and do him good ; and he easily 
conceived that, if the conjecture which had been made 
in this instance proved true, he might have it in his 
power not only to do what he had always intended, 
but further, to save from a perilous offence against the 
laws and society a man who appeared to have strongly 
imbibed the principles of justice and virtue. He took 
with him two servants, because, going with the express 
design of encountering robbers, if robbers should be 
found, he believed he should be inexcusable if he did 
not go provided against possible accidents. But he 
had directed them, at the same time that they kept 
within call, to be out of the reach of being seen ; and 
it was only the eagerness of their zeal that had brought 
them up thus early in the present encounter. 

This new adventure promised something extraordi- 
nary. Mr. Falkland did not immediately recognise 
Miss Melville ; and the person of Grimes was that of 
a total stranger, whom he did not recollect to have 
ever seen. But it was easy to understand the merits 
of the case, and the propriety of interfering. The 
resolute manner of Mr. Falkland, combined with the 
dread which Grimes, oppressed with a sense of wrong, 
entertained of the opposition of so elevated a per- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 89 

sonage, speedily put the ruvisher to flight. Emily was 
ktt alone- with her deliverer. He found her mueh more 
collected and calm, than could reasonably have been 
expected from a person who had been, a moment be- 
fore, in the most alarming situation. She told him of 
the place to which she desired to be conveyed, and 
he immediately undertook to escort her. As they 
went along, she recovered that state of mind which 
inclined her to make a person to whom she had such 
repeated obligations, and who was so eminently the 
object of her admiration, acquainted with the events 
that had recently befallen her. Mr. Falkland listened 
with eagerness and surprise. Though he had already 
known various instances of Mr. Tyrrel's mean jealousy 
and unfeeling tyranny, this surpassed them all ; and he 
could scarcely credit his ears while he heard the tale- 
His brutal neighbour seemed to realise all that has 
been told of the passions of fiends. Miss Melville was 
obliged to repeat, in the course of her tale, her kins- 
man's rude accusation against her, of entertaining a 
passion for Mr. Falkland; and this she did with the 
most bewitching simplicity and charming confusion. 
Though this part of the tale was a source of real pain 
to her deliverer, yet it is not to be supposed but that 
the flattering partiality of this unhappy girl increased 
the interest he felt in her welfare, and the indignation 
he conceived against her infernal kinsman. 

They arrived without accident at the house of the 
good lady under whose protection Emily desired to 
place herself. Here Mr. Falkland willingly left her as 
in a place of security. Such conspiracies as that of 
which she was intended to have been the victim, de- 
pend for their success upon the person against whom 
they are formed being out of the reach of help ; and 
the moment they are detected, they are annihilated. 



90 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Such reasoning will, no doubt, be generally found suffi- 
ciently solid ; and it appeared to Mr. Falkland perfectly 
applicable to the present case. But he was mistaken. 



CHAPTER IX. 

MR. FALKLAND had experienced the nullity of all 
expostulation with Mr, Tyrrel, and was therefore con- 
tent in the present case with confining his attention 
to the intended victim. The indignation with which 
he thought of his neighbour's character was now grown 
to such a height, as to fill him with reluctance to the 
idea of a voluntary interview. There was indeed 
another affair which had been contemporary with this, 
that had once more brought these mortal enemies into 
a state of contest, and had contributed to raise into a 
temper little short of madness, the already inflamed 
and corrosive bitterness of Mr. TyrreL 

There was a tenant of Mr. Tyrrel, one Hawkins ; 
I cannot mention his name without recollecting the 
painful tragedies that are annexed to it ! This Haw- 
kins had originally been taken up by Mr. Tyrrel, with 
a view of protecting him from the arbitrary proceedings 
of a neighbouring squire, though he had now in his 
turn become an object of persecution to Mr. Tyrrel 
himself. The first ground of their connection was this : 
Hawkins, beside a farm which he rented under the 
above-mentioned squire, had a small freehold estate 
that he inherited from his father. This of course en- 
titled him to a vote in the county elections ; and, a 
warmly contested election having occurred, he was 
required by his landlord to vote for the candidate in 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 01 

whose favour he had himself engaged. Hawkins re- 
ftised to obey the mandate, and soon after received 
notice to quit the farm he at that time rented. 

It happened that Mr. Tyrrel had interested himself 
strongly in behalf of the opposite candidate ; and, as 
Mr. Tyrrel's estate bordered upon the seat of Haw- 
kins's present residence, the ejected countryman could 
think of no better expedient than that of riding over 
to this gentleman's mansion, and relating the case to 
him. Mr. Tyrrel heard him through with attention. 
" Well, friend," said he, " it is very true that I wished 
Mr. Jackman to carry his election ; but you know it is 
usual in these cases for tenants to vote just as their 
landlords please. I do not think proper to encourage 
rebellion.** " All that is very right, and please you," 
replied Hawkins, " and I would have voted at my land- 
lord's bidding for any other man in the kingdom but 
Squire Marlow. You must know one day his huntsman 
rode over my fence, and so through my best field of 
standing corn. It was not above a dozen yards about 
if he had kept the cart-road. The fellow had served 
me the same sauce, an it please your honour, three or 
four times before. So I only asked him what he did 
that for, and whether he had not more conscience 
than to spoil people's crops o' that fashion ? Presently 
the squire came up. He is but a poor, weazen-face 
chicken of a gentleman, saving your honour's reverence. 
And so he flew into a woundy passion, and threatened 
to horsewhip me. I will do as much in reason to 
pleasure my landlord as arr a tenant he has ; but I will 
not give my vote to a man that threatens to horsewhip 
me. And so, your honour, I and my wife and three 
children are to be turned out of house and home, and 
what I am to do to maintain them God knows. I have 
been a hard-working man, and have always lived well, 



92 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

and I do think the case is main hard. Squire Under- 
wood turns me out of my farm ; and if your honour do 
not take me in, I know none of the neighbouring gentry 
will, for fear, as they say, of encouraging their own 
tenants to run rusty too." 

This representation was not without its effect upon 
Mr. Tyrrel. " Well, well, man," replied he, " we will 
see what can be done. Order and subordination are 
very good things ; but people should know how much to 
require. As you tell the story, I cannot see that you 
are greatly to blame. Marlow is a coxcombical prig, 
that is the truth on't ; and if a man will expose himself, 
why, he must even take what follows. I do hate a 
Frenchified fop with all my soul ; and I cannot say that 
I am much pleased with my neighbour Underwood for 
taking the part of such a rascal. Hawkins, I think, is 
your name ? You may call on Barnes, my steward, to- 
morrow, and he shall speak to you." 

While Mr. Tyrrel was speaking, he recollected that 
he had a farm vacant, of nearly the same value as that 
which Hawkins at present rented under Mr. Under- 
wood. He immediately consulted his steward, and, 
finding the thing suitable in every respect, Hawkins 
was installed out of hand in the catalogue of Mr. 
Tyrrel's tenants. Mr. Underwood extremely resented 
this proceeding, which indeed, as being contrary to the 
understood conventions of the country gentlemen, few 
people but Mr. Tyrrel would have ventured upon. 
There was an end, said Mr. Underwood, to all regu- 
lation, if tenants were to be encouraged in such dis- 
obedience. It was not a question of this or that can- 
didate, seeing that any gentleman, who was a true 
friend to his country, would rather lose his election 
than do a thing which, if once established into a prac- 
tice, would deprive them for ever of the power of ma- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 93 

naging any election. The labouring people were sturdy 
and resolute enough of their own accord ; it became 
CM ry day more difficult to keep them under any sub- 
ordination ; and, if the gentlemen were so ill advised as 
to neglect the public good, and encourage them in their 
insolence, there was no foreseeing where it would end. 

Mr. Tyrrel was not of a stamp to be influenced by 
these remonstrances. Their general spirit was suf- 
ficiently conformable to the sentiments he himself en- 
tertained ; but he was of too vehement a temper to 
maintain the character of a consistent politician ; and, 
however wrong his conduct might be, he would by no 
means admit of its being set right by the suggestions 
of others. The more his patronage of Hawkins was 
criticised, the more inflexibly he adhered to it; and 
he was at no loss in clubs and other assemblies to 
overbear and silence, if not to confute, his censurers. 
Beside which, Hawkins had certain accomplishments 
which qualified him to be a favourite with Mr. Tyrrel. 
The bluntness of his manner and the ruggedness of 
his temper gave him some resemblance to his lundord ; 
and, as these qualities were likely to be more frequently 
exercised on such persons as had incurred Mr. Tyrrel's 
displeasure, than upon Mr. Tyrrel himself, they were 
not observed without some degree of complacency. In 
a word, he every day received new marks of distinction 
from his patron, and after some time was appointed 
coadjutor to Mr. Barnes under the denomination of 
bailiff. It was about the same period that he obtained 
a lease of the farm of which he was tenant. 

Mr. Tyrrel determined, as occasion offered, to pro- 
mote every part of the family of this favoured de- 
pendent. Hawkins had a son, a lad of seventeen, of an 
agreeable* person, a ruddy complexion, and of quick and 
lively parts. This lad was in an uncommon degree the 



94 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

favourite of his father, who seemed to have nothing so 
much at heart as the future welfare of his son. Mr. 
Tyrrel had noticed him two or three times with appro- 
bation ; and the boy, being fond of the sports of the 
field, had occasionally followed the hounds, anddisplayed 
various instances, both of agility and sagacity, in ,pre* 
sence of the squire. One day in particular he ex- 
hibited himself with uncommon advantage ; and Mr. 
Tyrrel without further delay proposed to his father, 
to take him into his family, and make him whipper-in 
to his hounds, till he could provide him with some 
more lucrative appointment in his service. 

This proposal was received by Hawkins with various 
marks of mortification. He excused himself with hesi- 
tation for not accepting the offered favour; said the 
lad was in many ways useful to him ; and hoped his 
honour would not insist upon depriving him of his as- 
sistance. This apology might perhaps have been suf- 
ficient with any other man than Mr. Tyrrel ; but it 
was frequently observed of this gentleman that, when 
he had once formed a determination, however slight, 
in favour of any measure, he was never afterwards 
known to give it up, and that the only effect of oppo- 
sition was to make him eager and inflexible, in pursuit 
of that to which he had before been nearly indifferent. 
At first he seemed to receive the apology of Hawkins 
with good humour, and to see nothing in it but what 
was reasonable ; but afterwards, every time he saw the 
boy, his desire of retaining him in his service was in- 
creased, and he more than once repeated to his father 
the good disposition in which he felt himself towards 
him. At length he observed that the lad was no 
more to be seen mingling in his favourite sports, and 
he began to suspect that this originated in a determin- 
ation to thwart him in his projects. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 95 

Housed by this suspicion, which, to a man of Mr. 
Tyrrel's character, was not of a nature to brook delay, 
he sent lor Hawkins to confer with him. " Hawkin>. " 
said he, in a tone of displeasure, " I am not satisfied 
with you. I have spoken to you two or three times 
about this lad of yours, whom I am desirous of taking 
into favour. \Vliat is the reason, sir, that yon seem 
unthankful and averse to my kindness? You ought to 
know that I am not to be trifled with. I shall not be con- 
tented, when I offer my favours, to have them rejected 
by such fellows as you. I made you what you are ; 
and, if I please, can make you more helpless and miser- 
able than you were when I found you. Have a care ! " 

" An it please your honour,"* said Hawkins, " you 
have been a very good master to me, and I will tell you 
the whole truth. I hope you will n.a be angry. This 
lad is my favourite, my comfort, and the stay of my 
age/' 

M Well, and what then ? Is that a reason you should 
hinder his preferment ? " 

" Nay, pray your honour, hear me. I may be 
very weak for aught I know in this case, but I cannot 
help it My father was a clergyman. We have all of 
us lived in a creditable way ; and I cannot bear to 
think that this poor lad of mine should go to service. 
For my part, I do not see any good that comes by 
servants. I do not know, your honour, but, I think, I 
should not like my Leonard to be such as they. God 
forgive me, if I wrong them ! But this is a very dear 
case, and I cannot bear to risk my poor boy's welfare, 
when I can so easily, if yon please, keep him out of 
harm's way. At present he is sober and industrious, 
and, without being pert or surly, knows what is due to 
him. I know, your honour, that it is main foolish of 
me to talk to you thus; but your honour lias been, 



96 CALEB WILLIAMS, 

a good master to me, and I cannot bear to tell you a 
lie." 

Mr. Tyrrel had heard the whole of this harangue in 
silence, because he was too much astonished to open 
his mouth. If a thunderbolt had fallen at his feet, he 
could not have testified greater surprise. He had 
thought that Hawkins was so foolishly fond of his son, 
that he could not bear to trust him out of his presence; 
but had never in the slightest degree suspected what 
he now found to be the truth. 

" Oh, ho, you are a gentleman, are you? A pretty 
gentleman truly ! your father was a clergyman ! Your 
family is too good to enter into my service ! Why you 
impudent rascal ! was it for this that I took you up, 
when Mr. Underwood dismissed you for your insolence 
to him ? Have 1 been nursing a viper in my bosom ? 
Pretty master's manners will be contaminated truly ! 
He will not know what is due to him, but will be ac- 
customed to obey orders ! You insufferable villain ! Get 
out of my sight ! Depend upon it, I will have no gentle- 
men on my estate ! I will off with them, root and branch, 
bag and baggage ! So do you hear, sir ? come to me 
to-morrow morning, bring your son, and ask my pardon; 
or, take my word for it, I will make you so miserable, 
you shall wish you had never been born." 

This treatment was too much for Hawkins's patience. 
" There is no need, your honour, that I should come 
to you again about this affair. I have taken up my 
determination, and no time can make any change in it. 
I am main sorry to displease your worship, and I know 
that you can do me a great deal of mischief. But I 
hope you will not be so hardhearted as to ruin a father 
only for being fond of his child, even if so be that his 
fondness should make him do a foolish thing. But I 
cannot help it, your honour : you must do as you 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 97 

please. The poorest neger, as a man may say, has 
some point that he will not part with. I will lose all 
that I have, and go to day-labour, and my son too, if 
needs must ; but I will not make a gentleman's servant 
of him." 

Very well, friend; very well !" replied Mr. Tyrrel, 
foaming with rage. " Depend upon it, I will remember 
you ! Your pride shall have a downfal ! God damn 
it ! is it come to this ? Shall a rascal that farms his 
forty acres, pretend to beard the lord of the manor ? I 
will tread you into paste! Let me advise you, scoundrel, 
to shut up your house and fly, as if the devil was behind 
you ! You may think yourself happy, if I be not too 
quick for you yet, if you escape in a whole skin ! I would 
not suffer such a villain to remain upon my land a day 
longer, if I could gain the Indies by it !" 

" Not so fast, your honour," answered Hawkins, 
sturdily. I hope you will think better of it, and see 
that I have not been to blame. But if you should 
not, there is some harm that you can do me, and some 
harm that you cannot. Though I am a plain, working 
man, your honour, do you see ? yet I am a man still. 
No; I have got a lease of my farm, and I shall not quit it 
o' thaten. I hope there is some law for poor folk, as well 
as for rich." 

Mr. Tyrrel, unused to contradiction, was provoked 
beyond bearing at the courage and independent spirit 
of his retainer. There was not a tenant upon his estate, 
or at least not one of Hawkins's mediocrity of fortune, 
whom the general policy of landowners, and still more 
the arbitrary and uncontrollable temper of Mr. Tyrrel, 
did not effectually restrain from acts of open defiance, 

" Excellent, upon my soul ! God damn my blood ! 
but you are a rare fellow. You have a lease, have 
you ? You will not quit, not you ! a pretty pass things 

H 



98 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

are come to, if a lease can protect such fellows as you 
against the lord of a manor ! But you are for a trial 
of skill ? Oh, very well> friend, very well ! With all my 
soul ! Since it is come to that, we will show you some 
pretty sport before we have done ! But get out of my 
sight, you rascal ! I have not another word to say to 
you ! Never darken my doors again." 

Hawkins (to borrow the language of the world) was 
guilty in this affair of a double imprudence. He talked 
to his landlord in a more peremptory manner than the 
constitution and practices of this country allow a de- 
pendent to assume. But above all, having been thus 
hurried away by his resentment, he ought to have fore- 
seen the consequences. It was mere madness in him 
to think of contesting with a man of Mr. Tyrrel's emi- 
nence and fortune. It was a fawn contending with a 
lion. Nothing could have been more easy to predict, 
than that it was of no avail for him to have right on his 
side, when his adversary had influence and wealth, and 
therefore could so victoriously justify any extravagan- 
cies that he might think proper to commit. This maxim 
was completely illustrated in the sequel. Wealth and 
despotism easily know how to engage those laws as the 
coadjutors of their oppression, which were perhaps at 
first intended [witless and miserable precaution !] for the 
safeguards of the poor* 

From this moment Mr Tyrrel was bent upon Haw- 
kins's destruction ; and he left no means unemployed 
that could either harass or injure the object of his per- 
secution. He deprived him of his appointment of bailiff, 
and directed Barnes and his other dependents to do 
him ill offices upon all occasions. Mr. Tyrrel, by the 
tenure of his manor, was impropriator of the great tithes, 
and this circumstance afforded him frequent opportuni- 
ties of petty altercation. The land of one part of Haw - 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 99 

kins's farm, though covered with corn, was lower than 
the rest; and consequently exposed to occasional inun- 
dations from a ri\rr by \\hich it was bounded. Mr. 
Tyrrel had a dam belonging to this river privately cut, 
about a fortnight before the season of harvest, and laid 
the whole under water. He ordered his servants to pull 
away the fences of the higher ground during the night, 
and to turn in his cattle, to the utter destruction of the 
crop. These expedients, however, applied to only one 
part of the property of this unfortunate man. But Mr. 
Tyrrel did not stop here. A sudden mortality took 
place among Hawkins's live stock, attended with very 
suspicious circumstances. Hawkins's vigilance was 
strongly excited by this event, and he at length suc- 
ceeded in tracing the matter so accurately, that he con- 
ceived he could bring it home to Mr. Tyrrel himself! 

Hawkins had hitherto carefully avoided, notwithstand- 
ing the injuries he had suffered, the attempting to right 
himself by legal process ; being of opinion that law was 
biller adapted for a weapon of tyranny in the hands of 
the rich, than for a shield to protect the humbler part of 
the community against their usurpations. In this last 
instance however he conceived that the offence was so 
atrocious, as to make it impossible that any rank could 
protect the culprit against the severity of justice. In 
the sequel, he saw reason to applaud himself for his for- 
mer inactivity in this respect, and to repent that any 
motive had been strong enough to persuade him into a 
contrary system. 

This was the very point to which Mr. Tyrrel wanted 
to bring him, and he could scarcely credit his good for- 
tune, when he was told that Hawkins had entered an 
action. His congratulation upon this occasion was im- 
moderate, as he now conceived that the ruin of his late 
favourite was irretrievable. He consulted his attorney, 
ii 2 



100 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

and urged him by every motive he could devise, to em- 
ploy the whole series of his subterfuges in the present 
affair. The direct repelling of the charge exhibited 
against him was the least part of his care ; the business 
was, by affidavits, motions, pleas, demurrers, flaws, and 
appeals, to protract the question from term to term, and 
from court to court. It would, as Mr. Tyrrel argued, 
be the disgrace of a civilized country, if a gentleman, 
when insolently attacked in law by the scum of the 
earth, could not convert the cause into a question of the 
longest purse, and stick in the skirts of his adversary 
till he had reduced him to beggary. 

Mr. Tyrrel, however, was by no means so far engrossed 
by his law-suit, as to neglect other methods of proceed- 
ing offensively against his tenant. Among the various 
expedients that suggested "themselves, there was one, 
which, though it tended rather to torment than irrepar- 
ably injure the sufferer, was not rejected. This was 
derived from the particular situation of Hawkins's house, 
barns, stacks, and outhouses. They were placed at the 
extremity of a slip of land connecting them witli the 
rest of the farm, and were surrounded on three sides 
by fields, in the occupation of one of Mr. Tyrrel's te- 
nants most devoted to the pleasures of his landlord. 
The road to the market-town ran at the bottom of the 
largest of these fields, and was directly in view of the 
front of the house. No inconvenience had yet arisen 
from that circumstance, as there had always been abroad 
path, that intersected this field, and led directly from 
Hawkins's house to the road. This path, or private 
road, was now, by concert of Mr. Tyrrel and his obliging 
tenant, shut up, so as to make Hawkins a sort of pri- 
soner in his own domains, and oblige him to go near a 
mile about for the purposes of his traffic. 

Young Hawkins, the lad who had been the original 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 101 

subject of dispute between his father and the squire, had 
much ofhis father's spirit, and felt an uncontrollable in- 
dignation again>t the successive acts of despotism of 
which he was a witness. His resentment was the 
greater, because the sufferings to which his parent was 
exposed, all of them flowed from affection to him, at 
the same time that he could not propose removing the 
ground of dispute, as by so doing he would seem to fly 
in the face of his father's paternal kindness. Upon the 
present occasion, without asking any counsel but of his 
own impatient resentment, he went in the middle of 
tin- night, and removed all the obstructions that 
had been placed in the way of the old path, broke 
the padlocks that had been fixed, and threw open the 
gates. 

In these operations he did not proceed unobserved, 
and the next day a warrant was issued for apprehending 
him. He was accordingly carried before a meeting of 
justices, and by them committed to the county gaol, to 
take his trial for the felony at the next assizes. Mr* 
Tyrrel was determined to prosecute the offence with the 
greatest severity ; and his attorney, having made the 
proper enquiries for that purpose, undertook to bring it 
under that clause of the act 9Geo. 1. commonly called 
the Black Act, which declares that " any person, armed 
with a sword, or other offensive weapon, and having his 
face blackened, or being otherwise disguised, appearing 
in any warren or place where hares or conies have been 
or shall be usually kept, and being thereof duly con* 
victed, shall be adjudged guilty of felony, and shall 
suffer death, as in cases of felony, without benefit of 
clergy." Young Hawkins, it seemed, had buttoned the 
cape of his great coat over his face, as soon as he per- 
ceived himself to be observed, and he was furnished 
with a wrenching-iron for the purpose of breaking the 
ii 3 



102 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

padlocks. The attorney further undertook to prove, by 
sufficient witnesses, that the field in question was a war- 
ren in which hares were regularly fed. Mr. Tyrrel 
seized upon these pretences with inexpressible satisfac- 
tion. He prevailed upon the justices, by the picture 
he drew of the obstinacy and insolence of the Haw- 
kinses, fully to commit the lad upon this miserable charge ; 
and it was by no means so certain as paternal affection 
would have desired, that the same overpowering in- 
fluence would not cause in the sequel the penal clause 
to be executed in all its strictness. 

This was the finishing stroke to Hawkins's miseries : 
as he was not deficient in courage, he had stood up 
against his other persecutions without flinching. He 
was not unaware of the advantages which our laws and 
customs give to the rich over the poor, in contentions 
of this kind. But, being once involved, there was a 
stubbornness in his nature that would not allow him to 
retract, and he suffered himself to hope, rather than 
expect, a favourable issue. But in this last event he 
was wounded in the point that was nearest his heart. 
He had feared to have his son contaminated and debased 
by a servile station, and he now saw him transferred to 
the seminary of a gaol. He was even uncertain as to the 
issue of his imprisonment, and trembled to think what 
the tyranny of wealth might effect to blast his hopes for 
ever. 

From this moment his heart died within him. He 
had trusted to persevering industry and skill, to save the 
wreck of his little property from the vulgar spite of his 
landlord. But he had now no longer any spirit to exert 
those efforts which his situation more than ever re- 
quired. Mr. Tyrrel proceeded without remission in his 
machinations ; Hawkins's affairs every day grew more 
desperate, and the squire, watching the occasion, took 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 103 

the earliest opportunity of seizing upon his remaining 
property in the mode of a distress for rent. 

It ^ily in this stage of the affair, that Mr. 

Falkland and Mr. Tyrrel accidentally met, in a private 
road near the habitation of the latter. They were on 
horseback, and Mr. Falkland was going to the house of 
the unfortunate tenant, who seemed upon the point of 
perishing under his landlord's malice. He had been just 
made acquainted with the tale of this persecution. It 
had indeed been an additional aggravation of Hawkins's 
calamity, that Mr. Falkland, whose interference might 
otherwise have saved him, had been absent from the 
neighbourhood for a considerable time. He had been 
three months in London, and from thence had gone to 
visit his estates in another part of the island. The 
proud and self-confident spirit of this poor fellow always 
disposed him to depend, as long as possible, upon his 
own exertions. He had avoided applying to Mr. 
Falkland, or indeed indulging himself in any manner in 
communicating and bewailing his hard hap, in the be- 
ginning of the contention; and, when the extremity 
grew more urgent, and he would have been willing to 
recede in some degree from the stubbornness of his 
measures, he found it no longer in his power. After 
an absence of considerable duration, Mr. Falkland at 
length returned somewhat unexpectedly ; and having 
learned, among the first articles of country intelli- 
gence, the distresses of this unfortunate yeoman, he 
resolved to ride over to his house the next morning, 
and surprise him with all the relief it was in his power 
to bestow. 

At sight of Mr. Tyrrel in this unexpected rencounter, 

his face reddened with indignation. His first feeling) 

as he afterwards said, was to avoid him ; but finding 

that he must pass him, he conceived that it would be 

H 4 



104, CALEB WILLIAMS. 

want of spirit not to acquaint him with his feelings on 
the present occasion. 

Mr. Tyrrel," said he, somewhat abruptly, " I am 
sorry for a piece of news which I have just heard." 

And pray, sir, what is your sorrow to me ? " 

" A great deal, sir : it is caused by the distresses of 
a poor tenant of yours, Hawkins. If your steward 
have proceeded without your authority, I think it right 
to inform you what he has done ; and, if he have had 
your authority, I would gladly persuade you to think 
better of it." 

" Mr. Falkland, it would be quite as well if you 
would mind your own business, and leave me to mind 
mine. I want no monitor, and I will have none." 

" You mistake, Mr. Tyrrel ; I am minding my own 
business. If I see you fall into a pit, it is my business 
to draw you out and save your life. If I see you pur- 
suing a wrong mode of conduct, it is my business to set 
you right and save your honour." 

" Zounds, sir, do not think to put your conundrums 
upon me! Is not the man my tenant? Is not my 
estate my own ? What signifies calling it mine, if I am 
not to have the direction of it? Sir, 1 pay for what I 
have : I owe no man a penny ; and I will not put my 
estate to nurse to you, nor the best he that wears a head." 

" It is very true," said Mr. Falkland, avoiding any 
direct notice of the last words of Mr. Tyrrel, " that there 
is a distinction of ranks. I believe that distinction is a 
good thing, and necessary to the peace of mankind. 
But, however necessary it may be, we must acknow- 
ledge that it puts some hardship upon the lower orders 
of society. It makes one's heart ache to think, that one 
man is born to the inheritance of every superfluity, 
while the whole share of another, without any demerit 
of his, is drudgery and starving ; and that all this is 



C\I.I.B WII.I.l 105 

inli<;i usable. We that are rich, Mr. Tyrrel, must do 
I-M iy thing in our power to lighten the yoke of these 
ui i fortunate people. We must not use the advantage 
that accident has given us with an unmerciful hand. 
Poor wretches ! they are pressed almost beyond bearing 
a- it is; and, if we unfeelingly give another turn to the 
machine, they will be crushed into atoms." 

This picture was not without its effect, even upon the 
obdurate mind of Mr. Tyrrel. " Well, sir, I am no 
tyrant. I know very well that tyranny is a bad thing. 
But you do not iufer from thence that these people are 
to do as they please, and never meet with their deserts?" 

* Mr. Tyrrel, I see that you are shaken in your 
animosity. Suffer me to hail the new-born benevo- 
leooe of your nature. Go with me to Hawkins. Do 
not let us talk of his deserts ! Poor fellow ! he has 
suffered almost all that human nature can endure. 
Let your forgiveness upon this occasion be the earnest 
of good neighbourhood and friendship between you 
and me." 

" No, sir, I will not go. I own there is something, 
in what you say. I always knew you had the wit to 
make good your own story, and tell a plausible tale. 
But I will not be come over thus. It has been my 
character, when I had once conceived a scheme of 
vengeance, never to forego it ; and I will not change 
that character. I took up Hawkins when every body 
forsook him, and made a man of him ; and the un- 
grateful rascal has only insulted me for my pains. 
Curse me, if I ever forgive him ! It would be a good 
jest indeed, if I were to forgive the insolence of my 
own creature at the desire of a man like you that has 
been my perpetual plague." 

" For God's sake, Mr. Tyrrel, have some reason in 
your resentment ! Let us suppose that Hawkins has 



106 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

behaved unjustifiably, and insulted you : is that an 
offence that never can be expiated ? Must the father be 
ruined, and the son hanged, to glut your resentment ? " 

" Damn me, sir, but you may talk your heart out ; 
you shall get nothing of me. I shall never forgive 
myself for having listened to you for a moment. I 
will suffer nobody to stop the stream of my resent- 
ment; if I ever were to forgive him, it should be at 
nobody's entreaty but my own. But. sir, I never will. 
If he and all his family were at my feet, I would order 
them all to be hanged the next minute, if my power 
were as good as my will." 

" And this is your decision, is it ? Mr. Tyrrel, I am 
ashamed of you ! Almighty G od ! to hear you talk 
gives one a loathing for the institutions and regulations 
of society, and would induce one to fly the very face 
of man ! But, no ! society casts you out ; man abomi- 
nates you. No wealth, no rank, can buy out your stain. 
You will live deserted in the midst of your species ; 
you will go into crowded societies, and no one will 
deign so much as to salute you. They will fly from 
your glance as they would from the gaze of a basilisk. 
Where do you expect to find the hearts of flint that 
shall sympathise with yours ? You have the stamp of 
misery, incessant, undivided, unpitied misery ! " 

Thus saying, Mr. Falkland gave spurs to his horse, 
rudely pushed beside Mr. Tyrrel, and was presently 
out of sight. Flaming indignation annihilated even his 
favourite sense of honour, and he regarded his neigh- 
bour as a wretch, with whom it was impossible even to 
enter into contention. For the latter, he remained for 
the present motionless and petrified. The glowing 
enthusiasm of Mr. Falkland was such as might well 
have unnerved the stoutest foe. Mr. Tyrrel, in spite 
of himself, was blasted with the compunctions of guilt, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 107 

and unable to string himself for the contest. The pic- 
ture Mr. Falkland had drawn was prophetic. It de- 
scribed what Mr. Tyrrel chiefly feared ; and^what in its 
commencements he thought he already felt. It was 
responsive to the whispering of his own meditations ; 
it simply gave body and voice to the spectre that 
haunted him, and to the terrors of which he was an 
hourly prey. 

By and by, however, he recovered. The more he 
had been temporarily confounded, the fiercer was his 
resentment when he came to himself. Such hatred 
never existed in a human bosom without marking its 
progress with violence and death. Mr. Tyrrel, how- 
ever, felt no inclination to have recourse to personal 
defiance. He was the furthest in the world from a 
coward ; but his genius sunk before the genius of 
Falkland. He left his vengeance to the disposal of 
circumstances. He was secure that his animosity would 
never be forgotten nor diminished by the interposition 
of any time or events. Vengeance was his nightly 
dream, and the uppermost of his waking thoughts. 

Mr. Falkland had departed from this conference 
with a confirmed disapprobation of the conduct of his 
neighbour, and an unalterable resolution to do every 
thing in his power to relieve the distresses of Hawkins. 
But he was too late. When he arrived, he found the 
house already evacuated by its master. The family 
was removed nobody knew whither ; Hawkins had ab- 
sconded, and, what was still more extraordinary, the 
boy Hawkins had escaped on the very same day from 
the county gaol. The enquiries Mr. Falkland set on 
foot after them were fruitless ; no traces could be 
found of the catastrophe of these unhappy people. 
That catastrophe I shall shortly have occasion to 
relate, and it will be found pregnant with horror, be- 



108 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

yond what the blackest misanthropy could readily have 
suggested. 

I go on with my tale. I go on to relate those in- 
cidents in which my own fate was so mysteriously 
involved. I lift the curtain, and bring forward the last 
act of the tragedy. 



CHAPTER X. 

IT may easily be supposed, that the ill temper che- 
rished by Mr. Tyrrel in his contention with Haw- 
kins, and the increasing animosity between him and 
Mr. Falkland, added to the impatience with which 
he thought of the escape of Emily. 

Mr. Tyrrel heard with astonishment of the miscarriage 
of an expedient, of the success of which he had not pre- 
viously entertained the slightest suspicion. He became 
frantic with vexation. Grimes had not dared to signify 
the event of his expedition in person, and the footman 
whom he desired to announce to his master that Miss 
Melville was lost, the moment after fled from his pre- 
sence with the most dreadful apprehensions. Presently 
he bellowed for Grimes, and the young man at last 
appeared before him, more dead than alive. Grimes 
he compelled to repeat the particulars of the tale ; 
which he had no sooner done, than he once again 
slunk away, shocked at the execrations with which Mr. 
Tyrrel overwhelmed him. Grimes was no coward ; 
but he reverenced the inborn divinity that attends upon 
rank, as Indians worship the devil. Nor was this all. 
The rage of Mr. Tyrrel was so ungovernable and fierce, 
that few hearts could have been found so stout, as not 



: CALEB WILLIAMS. 109 

to have trembled before it with a sort of unconquerable 
inferiority. 

He no sooner obtained a moment's pause than he 
began to recall to his tempestuous mind the various 
circumstances of the case. His complaints were bitter; 
and, in a tranquil observer, might have produced the 
united feeling of pity for his sufferings, and horror at 
his depravity. He recollected all the precautions he 
had used ; he could scarcely find a flaw in the process; 
and he cursed that blind and malicious power which 
delighted to cross his most deep-laid schemes. " Of 
this malice he was beyond all other human beings the 
object. He was mocked with the shadow of power; 
and when he lifted his hand to smite, it was struck 
with sudden palsy. [In the bitterness of his anguish, 
he forgot his recent triumph over Hawkins, or perhaps 
he regarded it less as a triumph, than an overthrow, 
because it had failed of coming up to the extent of 
his malice.] To what purpose had Heaven given him 
a feeling of injury, and an instinct to resent, while he 
could in no case make his resentment felt ! It was only 
necessary for him to be the enemy of any person, to 
insure that person's being safe against the reach of 
misfortune. What insults, the most shocking and re- 
peated, had he received from this paltry girl ! And by 
whom was she now torn from his indignation? By that 
devil that haunted him at every moment, that crossed 
him at every step, that fixed at pleasure his arrows in his 
heart, and made mows and mockery at his insufferable 
tortures." 

There was one other reflection that increased his 
anguish, and made him careless and desperate as to his 
future conduct. It wa in vain to conceal from himself 
that his reputation would be cruelly wounded by this 
event. He had imagined that, while Emily was forced 



110 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

into this odious marriage, she would be obliged by de- 
corum, as soon as the event was decided, to draw a 
veil over the compulsion she had suffered. But this 
security was now lost, and Mr. Falkland would take a 
pride in publishing his dishonour. Though the pro- 
vocations he had received from Miss Melville would, in 
his own opinion, have justified him in any treatment 
he should have thought proper to inflict, he was sensi- 
ble the world would see the matter in a different light. 
This reflection augmented the violence of his resolu- 
tions, and determined him to refuse no means by which 
he could transfer the anguish that now preyed upon 
his own mind to that of another. 

Meanwhile, the composure and magnanimity of Emily 
had considerably subsided, the moment she believed 
herself in a place of safety. While danger and injustice 
assailed her with their menaces, she found in herself a 
courage that disdained to yield. The succeeding ap- 
pearance of calm was more fatal to her. There was 
nothing now, powerfully to foster her courage or excite 
her energy. She looked back at the trials she had passed, 
and her soul sicknened at the recollection of that, 
which, while it was in act, she had had the fortitude 
to endure. Till the period at which Mr. Tyrrel had 
been inspired with this cruel antipathy, she had been 
in all instances a stranger to anxiety and fear. Uninured 
to misfortune, she had suddenly and without prepar- 
ation been made the subject of the most infernal malig- 
nity. When a man of robust and vigorous constitution 
has a fit of sickness, it produces a more powerful effect, 
than the same indisposition upon a delicate valetudi- 
narian. Such was the case with Miss Melville. She 
passed the succeeding night sleepless and uneasy, and 
was found in the morning with a high fever. Her dis- 
temper resisted for the present all attempts to assuage 



CALEB WILLIAMS. Ill 

it, though there was reason to hope that the goodness 
of her constitution, assisted by tranquillity and the 
kindness of those about her, would ultimately surmount 
it. On the second day she was delirious. On the night 
of that day she was arrested at the suit of Mr. Tyrrel, 
for a debt contracted for board and necessaries for the 
last fourteen years. 

The idea of this arrest, as the reader will perhaps 
recollect, first occurred, in the conversation between 
Mr. Tyrrel and Miss Melville, soon after he had thought 
proper to confine her to her chamber. But at that time 
he had probably no serious conception of ever being 
induced to carry it into execution. It had merely been 
mentioned by way of threat, and as the suggestion of 
a mind, whose habits had long been accustomed to 
contemplate every possible instrument of tyranny and 
revenge. But now, that the unlooked-for rescue and 
Hpo of his poor kinswoman had wrought up his 
thoughts to a degree of insanity, and that he revolved 
in the gloomy recesses of his mind, how he might best 
shake off the load of disappointment which oppressed 
him, the idea recurred with double force. He was not 
long in forming his resolution ; and, calling for Barnes 
his steward, immediately gave him directions in what 
manner to proceed. 

Barnes had been for several years the instrument of 
Mr. Tyrrel's injustice. His mind was hardened by use, 
and he could, without remorse, officiate as the spectator, 
or even as the author and director, of a scene of vulgar 
distress. But even he was somewhat startled upon the 
present occasion. The character and conduct of Emily 
in Mr. Tyrrel's family had been without a blot She 
had not a single enemy ; and it was impossible to con- 
template her youth, her vivacity, and her guileless 



112 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

innocence, without emotions of sympathy and compas- 
sion. 

" Your worship ? I do not understand you ! Ar- 
rest Miss Miss Emily ! " 

Yes, I tell you ! What is the matter with you ? 
Go instantly to Swineard, the lawyer, and bid him 
finish the business out of hand ! " 

" Lord love your honour ! Arrest her ! Why she does 
not owe you a brass farthing : she always lived upon 
your charity ! " 

" Ass ! Scoundrel ! I tell you she does owe me, 
owes me eleven hundred pounds. The law justifies 
it. What do you think laws were made for ? I do 
nothing but right, and right I will have." 

" Your honour, I never questioned your orders in my 
life ; but I must now. I cannot see you ruin Miss Emily, 
poor girl ! nay, and yourself too, for the matter of that, 
and not say which way you are going. I hope you will 
bear with me. Why, if she owed you ever so much, she 
cannot be arrested. She is not of age." 

" Will you have done ? Do not tell me of It 
cannot, and It can. It has been done before, and it 
shall be done again. Let him dispute it that dares ! I 
will do it now and stand to it afterwards. Tell Swineard, 
if he make the least boggling, it is as much as his life 
is worth ; he shall starve by inches." 

" Pray, your honour, think better of it. Upon my 
life, the whole country will cry shame of it." 

" Barnes ! What do you mean ? I am not used 

to be talked to, and I cannot bear it ! You have been 

a good fellow to me upon many occasions But, if I 

find you out for making one with them that dispute my 
authority, damn my soul, if I do not make you sick of 
your life ! " 

" I have done, your honour. I will not say another 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 113 

word except this, I have heard as how that Miss Emily 
is sick a-bed. You are determined, you say. to put her 
in jail. You do not mean to kill her, I take it." 

" Let her die ! I will not spare her for an hour I 

will not always be insulted. She had no consideration 
for me, and I have no mercy for her. I am in for it ! 
They have provoked me past bearing, and they sliall 
feel me ! Tell Swiueard, in bed or up, day or night, I 
will not hear of an instant's delay." 

Such were the directions of Mr. Tyrrel, and in strict 
conformity to his directions were the proceedings of 
that respectable limb of the Jaw he employed upon the 
present occasion. Miss Melville had been delirious, 
through a considerable part of the day on the evening of 
which the bailiff and his follower arrived. By the direc- 
tion of the physician whom Mr. Falkland had ordered to 
attend her, a composing draught was Administered ; and, 
exhausted as she was by the wild and distracted images 
that for several hours had haunted her fancy, she was 
now sunk into a refreshing slumber. Mrs. Hammond, 
the sister of Mr-. .lakeman, was sitting by her bed-side, 
full of compassion for the lovely sufferer, and rejoicing 
in the calm tranquillity that had just taken possession 
of her, when a little girl, the only child of Mrs. Ham- 
mond, opened the street-door to the rap of the bailiff. 
He said he wanted to speak with Miss Melville, and the 
child answered that she would go tell her mother. So 
saying, she advanced to the door of the back-room upon 
the ground-floor, in which Emily lay ; but the moment 
it was opened, instead of waiting for the appearance of 
the mother, the bailiff entered along with the girl. 

Mrs. Hammond looked up. u Who are you?" said 
she. ' Why do you come in here? Hush ! be quiet! ' 

" I must speak with Miss Melville." 

" Indeed, but you must not. Tell me your business. 
i 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

The poor child has been light-headed all day. She 
has just fallen asleep, and must not be disturbed." 

" That is no business of mine. I must obey orders." 

" Orders? Whose orders? What is it you mean?" 

At this moment Emily opened her eyes. "What 
noise is that ? Pray let me be quiet." 

" Miss, I want to speak with you. I have got a writ 
against you for eleven hundred pounds at the suit of 
squire Tyrrel." 

At these words both Mrs. Hammond and Emily 
were dumb. The latter was scarcely able to annex 
any meaning to the intelligence; and, though Mrs. 
Hammond was somewhat better acquainted with the 
sort of language that was employed, yet in this strange 
and unexpected connection it was almost as mysterious 
to her as to poor Emily herself. 

" A writ? How can she be in Mr. Tyrrel's debt? 
A writ against a child ! " 

" It is no signification putting your questions to us. 
We only do as we are directed. There is our authority. 
Look at it." 

" Lord Almighty ! " exclaimed Mrs. Hammond, 
" what does this mean ? It is impossible Mr. Tyrrel 
should have sent you." 

" Good woman, none of your jabber to us ! Cannot 
you read ? " 

" This is all a trick ! The paper is forged ! It is a 
vile contrivance to get the poor orphan out of the hands 
of those with whom only she can be safe. Proceed 
upon it at your peril ! " 

" Rest you content ; that is exactly what we mean 
to do. Take my word, we know very well what we are 
about." 

" Why, you would not tear her from her bed ? I tell 
you, she is in a high fever ; she is light-headed ; it would 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 115 

be death to remove her ! You are bailiffs, are not you ? 
You are not murderers?" 

" The law says nothing about that We have orders 
to take her sick or well. We will do her no harm ; 
lAcvpt so far as we must perform our office, be it how 
it will." 

" Where would you take her ? What is it you mean 
to do?" 

" To the county jail. Bullock, go, order a post-chaise 
from the griffin ! " 

" Stay, I say ! Give no such orders ! Wait only 
three hours ; I will send off a messenger express to 
squire Falkland, and I am sure he will satisfy you as 
to any harm that can come to you, without its being 
necessary to take the poor child to jail." 

" We have particular directions against that. We 
are not at liberty to lose a minute. Why are not you 
gone? Order the horses to be put to immediately ! " 

Emily had listened to the course of this conversation, 
which had sufficiently explained to her whatever was 
enigmatical in the first appearance of the bailiffs. The 
painful and incredible reality that was thus presented 
effectually dissipated the illusions bf frenzy to which 
she had just been a prey. " My dear Madam," said 
she to Mrs. Hammond, " do not harass yourself with 
useless efforts. I am very sorry for all the trouble I 
have given you. But my misfortune is inevitable. Sir, 
if you will step into the next room, I will dress myself, 
and attend you immediately." 

Mrs. Hammond began to be equally aware that her 
struggles were to no purpose; but she could not be 
equally patient. At one moment she raved upon the 
brutality of Mr. Tyrrel, whom she affirmed to be a devil 
incarnate, and not a man. At another she expostulated, 
with bitter invective, against the hardheartedness of 
i 2 



11$ CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the bailiff, and exhorted him to mix some humanity 
and moderation with the discharge of his function ; but 
he was impenetrable to all she could urge. In the mean 
while Emily yielded with the sweetest resignation to 
an inevitable evil. Mrs. Hammond insisted that, at 
least, they should permit her to attend her young lady 
in the chaise ; and the bailiff, though the orders he had 
received were so peremptory that he dared not exercise 
his discretion as to the execution of the writ, began to 
have some apprehensions of danger, and wasAvilling to 
admit of any precaution that was not in direct hostility 
to his functions. For the rest he understood, that it 
was in all cases dangerous to allow sickness, or apparent 
unfitness for removal, as a sufficient cause to interrupt 
a direct process ; and that, accordingly, in all doubtful 
questions and presumptive murders, the practice of the 
law inclined, with a laudable partiality, to the vindication 
of its own officers. In addition to these general rules, 
he was influenced by the positive injunctions and as- 
surances of Swineard, and the terror which, through a 
circle of many miles, was annexed to the name of 
Tyrrel. Before they departed, Mrs. Hammond des- 
patched a messenger with a letter of three lines to 
Mr. Falkland, informing him of this extraordinary 
event. Mr. Falkland was from home when the mes- 
senger arrived, and not expected to return till the 
second day ; accident seemed in this instance to 
favour the vengeance of Mr. Tyrrel, for he had him- 
self been too much under the dominion of an uncon- 
trollable fury, to take a circumstance of this sort into 
his estimate. 

The forlorn state of these poor women, who were 
conducted, the one by compulsion, the other a volun- 
teer, to a scene so little adapted to their accommo- 
dation as that of a common jail, may easily be imagined. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 



117 



Mr-. Hammond, however, was endowed with a mascu- 
line courage and impetuosity of spirit, eminently ne- 
cessary in the difficulties they had to encounter. She 
was in some degree fitted by a sanguine temper, and 
an impassioned sense of injustice, for the discharge of 
those very offices which sobriety and calm reflection 
might have prescribed. The health of Miss Melville 
was materially affected by the surprise and removal she 
had undergone at the very time that repose was most 
necessary for her preservation. Her fever became more 
violent; her delirium was stronger; and the tortures 
of her imagination were proportioned to the unfavour- 
ableness of the state in which the removal had been 
effected. It was highly improbable that she could 
recover. 

In the moments of suspended reason she was perpetually 
calling on the name of Falkland. Mr. Falkland, she said, 
was her first and only love, and he should be her husband. 
A moment after she exclaimed upon him in a -discon- 
solate, yet reproachful tone, for his unworthy deference 
to the prejudices of the world. It was very cruel of 
him to show himself so proud, and tell her that he 
would never consent to marry a beggar. But, if he 
were proud, she was determined to be proud too. He 
should see that she would not conduct herself like a 
slighted maiden, and that, though he could reject 
her, it was not in his power to break her heart. At 
another time she imagined she saw Mr. Tyrrel and 
his engine Grimes, their hands and garments dropping 
with blood ; and the pathetic reproaches she vented 
against them might have affected a heart of stone. Then 
the figure of Falkland presented itself to her distracted 
fancy, deformed with wounds, and of a deadly palenesa, 
and she shrieked with agony, while she exclaimed that 
such was the general hardheartedncss, that no one 
I 3 



118 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

would make the smallest exertion for his rescue. In 
such vicissitudes of pain, perpetually imagining to her- 
self unkindness, insult, conspiracy, and murder, she 
passed a considerable part of two days. 

On the evening of the second Mr. Falkland arrived, 
accompanied by Doctor Wilson, the physician by whom 
she had previously been attended. The scene he was 
called upon to witness was such as to be most exqui- 
sitely agonising to a man of his acute sensibility. The 
news of the arrest had given him an inexpressible shock ; 
he was transported out of himself at the unexampled 
malignity of its author. But, when he saw the figure 
of Miss Melville, haggard, and a warrant of death writ- 
ten in her countenance, a victim to the diabolfcal pas- 
sions of her kinsman, it seemed too much to be endured. 
When he entered, she was in the midst of one of her 
fits of delirium, and immediately mistook her visitors 
for two assassins. She asked, where they had hid her 
Falkland, her lord, her life, her husband ! and demanded 
that they should restore to her his mangled corpse, that 
she might embrace him with her dying arms, breathe 
her last upon his lips, and be buried in the same grave. 
She reproached them with the sordidness of their con- 
duct in becoming the tools of her vile cousin, who had 
deprived her of her reason, and would never be con- 
tented till he had murdered her. Mr. Falkland tore 
himself away from this painful scene, and, leaving Doctor 
Wilson with his patient, desired him, when he had 
given the necessary directions, to follow him to his 
inn. 

The perpetual hurry of spirits in which Miss Melville 
had been kept for several days, by the nature of her in- 
disposition, was extremely exhausting to her ; and, in 
about an hour from the visit of Mr. Falkland, her 
delirium subsided, and left her in so low a state as to 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 119 

render it difficult to perceive any signs of life. Doctor 
Wilson, who had withdrawn, to soothe, if possible, the 
disturbed and impatient thoughts of Mr. Falkland, was 
summoned afresh upon this change of symptoms, 
and sat by the bed-side during the remainder of the 
night. The situation of his patient was such, as to 
keep him in momentary apprehension of her decease. 
While Miss Melville lay in this feeble and exhausted 
condition, Mrs. Hammond betrayed every token of the 
tenderest anxiety. Her sensibility was habitually of 
the acutest sort, and the qualities of Emily were such 
as powerfully to fix her affection. She loved her like a 
mother. Upon the present occasion, every sound, 
every motion, made her tremble. Doctor Wilson had 
introduced another nurse, in consideration of the in- 
cessant fatigue Mrs. Hammond had undergone; and 
he endeavoured, by representations, and even by autho- 
rity, to compel her to quit the apartment of the patient. 
But she was uncontrollable ; and he at length found 
that he should probably do her more injury, by the 
violence that would be necessary to separate her from 
the suffering innocent, than by allowing her to follow 
her inclination. Her eye was a thousand times turned, 
with the most eager curiosity, upon the countenance of 
Doctor Wilson, without her daring to breathe a question 
respecting his opinion, lest he should answer her by a 
communication of the most fatal tidings. In the mean 
time she listened with the deepest attention to every 
thing that dropped either from the physician or the 
nurse, hoping to collect as it were from some oblique 
hint, the intelligence which she had not courage ex- 
pressly to require. 

Towards morning the state of the patient seemed to 
take a favourable turn. She dozed for near two hours, 
and, when she awoke, appeared perfectly calm and 
I 4 



120 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sensible. Understanding that Mr. Falkland had brought 
the physician to attend her, and was himself in her 
neighbourhood, she requested to see him. Mr. Falk- 
land had gone in the mean time, with one of his tenants, 
to bail the debt, and now entered the prison to enquire 
whether the young lady might be safely removed, from 
her present miserable residence, to a more airy and 
commodious apartment. When he appeared, the sight 
of him revived in the mind of Miss Melville an imper- 
fect recollection of the wanderings of her delirium. She 
covered her face with her fingers, and betrayed the 
most expressive confusion, while she thanked him, with 
her usual unaffected simplicity, for the trouble he had 
taken. She hoped she should not give him much more ; 
she thought she should get better. It was a shame, 
she said, if a young and lively girl, as she was, could 
not contrive to outlive the trifling misfortunes to which 
she had been subjected. But, while she said this, she 
was still extremely weak. She tried to assume a cheerful 
countenance ; but it was a faint effort, which the feeble 
state of her frame did not seem sufficient to support. 
Mr. Falkland and the doctor joined to request her to 
keep herself quiet, and avoid for the present all occa- 
sions of exertion. 

Encouraged by these appearances, Mrs. Hammond 
ventured to follow the two gentlemen out of the room, in 
order to learn from the physician what hopes he enter- 
tained. Doctor Wilson acknowledged, that he found his 
patient at first in a very unfavourable situation, that the 
symptoms were changed for the .better, and that he was 
not without some expectation of her recovery. He 
added, however, that he could answer for nothing, that 
the next twelve hours would be exceedingly critical, 
but that if she did not grow worse before morning, he 
would then undertake fq? her life. Mrs. Hammond, who 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 121 

had hitherto seen nothing butdespair, now became frantic 
with joy. She burst into tears of transport, blessed the 
phy.-irian in the most emphatic and impassioned terms, 
and uttered a thousand extravagancies. Doctor Wilson 
seized this opportunity to press her to give herself a 
little repose, to which she consented, a bed being first 
procured for her in the room next to Miss Melville's, 
she having charged the nurse to give her notice of any 
alteration in the state of the patient. 

Mrs. Hammond enjoyed an uninterrupted sleep of se- 
veral hours. It was already night, when she was awaked 
by an unusual bustle in the next room. She listened for 
a few moments, and then determined to go and discover 
the occasion of it. As she opened her door for that 
purpose, she met the nurse coming to her. The coun- 
tenance of the messenger told her what it was she had 
to communicate, without the use of words. She hurried 
to the bed-side, and found Miss Melville expiring. The 
appearances tliat had at first been so encouraging were 
of short duration. The calm of the morning proved to 
be only a sort of lightening before death. In a few 
hours the patient grew worse. The bloom of her coun- 
tenance faded ; she drew her breath with difficulty ; and 
her eyes became fixed. Doctor Wilson came in at this 
period, and immediately perceived that all was over. 
She was for some time in convulsions ; but, these sub- 
siding, she addressed the physician with a composed, 
though feeble voice. She thanked him for his attention ; 
and expressed the most lively sense of her obligations to 
Mr. Falkland. She sincerely forgave her cousin, and 
hoped he might never be visited by too acute a re- 
collection of his barbarity to her. She would have 
been contented to live. Few persons had a sincerer 
relish of the pleasures of life ; but she was well pleased 
to die, rather than have become the wife of Grimes. 



122 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

As Mrs. Hammond entered, she turned her countenance 
towards her, and with an affectionate expression re- 
peated her name. This was her last word ; in less than 
two hours from that time she breathed her last in the 
arms of this faithful friend. 



CHAPTER XI. 

SUCH was the fate of Miss Emily Melville. Perhaps 
tyranny never exhibited a more painful memorial of 
the detestation in which it deserves to be held. The 
idea irresistibly excited in every spectator of the scene, 
was that of regarding Mr. Tyrrel as the most diabolical 
wretch that had ever dishonoured the human form. The 
very attendants upon this house of oppression, for the 
scene was acted upon too public a stage not to be gene- 
rally understood, expressed their astonishment and dis- 
gust at his unparalleled cruelty. 

If such were the feelings of men bred to the commis- 
sion of injustice, it is difficult to say what must have been 
those of Mr. Falkland. He raved, he swore, he beat his 
head, he rent up his hair. He was unable to continue 
in one posture, and to remain in one place. He burst 
away from the spot with vehemence, as if he sought to 
leave behind him his recollection and his existence. 
He seemed to tear up the ground with fierceness and 
rage. He returned soon again. He approached the 
sad remains of what had been Emily, and gazed on them 
with such intentness, that his eyes appeared ready to 
burst from their sockets. Acute and exquisite as were 
his notions of virtue and honour, he could not prevent 
himself from reproaching the system of nature, for 
having given birth to such a monster as Tyrrel. He 
was ashamed of himself for wearing the same form. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 123 

He could not think of the human species with pa- 
tience. He foamed with indignation against the laws 
of the universe, that did not permit him to crush 
such reptiles at a blow, as we would crush so many 
noxious insects. It was necessary to guard him like 
a madman. 

The whole office of judging what was proper to be 
done under the present circumstances devolved upon 
Doctor Wilson. The doctor was a man of cool and 
methodical habits of acting. One of the first ideas 
that suggested itself to him was, that Miss Mellvile 
was a branch of the family of Tyrrel. He did not 
doubt of the willingness of Mr. Falkland to discharge 
every expense that might be further incident to the 
melancholy remains of this unfortunate victim ; but 
he conceived that the laws of fashion and decorum 
required some notification of the event to be made 
to the head of the family. Perhaps, too, he had an 
eye to his interest in his profession, and was reluctant 
to expose himself to the resentment of a person of 
Mr. Tyrrel's consideration in the neighbourhood. But, 
with this weakness, he had nevertheless some feelings 
in common with the rest of the world, and must have 
suffered considerable violence, before he could have 
persuaded himself to be the messenger ; beside which, 
he did not think it right in the present situation to leave 
Mr. Falkland. 

Doctor Wilson no sooner mentioned these ideas, than 
they seemed to make a sudden impression on Mrs. Ham- 
mond, and she earnestly requested that she might be 
permitted to carry the intelligence. The proposal was 
unexpected ; but the doctor did not very obstinately re- 
fuse his assent. She was determined, she said, to see 
what sort of impression the catastrophe would make 
upon the author of it ; and she promised to comport 



124* CALEB WILLIAMS. 

herself with moderation and civility. The journey was 
soon performed. 

" I am come, sir," said she to Mr. Tyrrel, " to inform 
you that your cousin, Miss Melville, died this afternoon." 

"Died?" 

" Yes, sir. I saw her die. She died in these arms." 

" Died ? Who killed her ? What do you mean ? " 

" W T ho ? Is it for you to ask that question ? Your 
cruelty and malice killed her !" 

" Me ? my ? Poh ! she is not dead it cannot 
be it is not a week since she left this house." 

" Do not you believe me ? I say she is dead ! " 

" Have a care, woman ! this is no matter for jesting. 
No : though she used me ill, I would not believe her dead 
for all the world ! " 

Mrs. Hammond shook her head in a manner expres- 
sive at once of grief and indignation. 

" No, no, no, no ! I will never believe that ! No, 
never ! " 

" Will you come with me, and convince your eyes ? 
It is a sight worthy of you ; and will be a feast to such 
a heart as yours ! " Saying this, Mrs. Hammond of- 
fered her hand, as if to conduct him to the spot. 

Mr. Tyrrel shrunk back. 

" If she be dead, what is that to me ? Am I to an- 
swer for every thing that goes wrong in the world ? 
What do you come here for ? Why bring your messages 
to me ? " 

" To whom should I bring them but to her kinsman, 
and her murderer." 

" Murderer ? Did I employ knives or pistols ? 
Did I give her poison ? I did nothing but what the law 
allows. If she be dead, nobody can say that I am to 
blame ! " 

" To blame ? All the world will abhor and curse 



CALEB WILLIAM?. 125 

you. Were you such a fool as to think, because men 
pay respect to wealth and rank, this would extend to 
such a deed ? They will laugh at so barefaced a cheat. 
Tlu- meanest beggar will spurn and spit at you. Ay, 
you may well stand confounded at what you have 
done. I will proclaim you to the whole world, and 
you will be obliged to fly the very face of a human 
creature ! " 

" Good woman," said Mr. Tyrrel, extremely hum- 
bled, talk no more in this strain ! Emmy is not 
dead ! I am sure I hope she is not dead ! 
Tell me that you have only been deceiving me, and 
I will forgive you every thing I will forgive her I 
will take her into favour I will do any thing you 
please ! I never meant her any harm ! " 

" I tell you she is dead ! You have murdered the 
sweetest innocent that lived ! Can you bring her back 
to life, as you have driven her out of it? If you could, 
I would kneel to you twenty times a day ! What is it 
you have done? Miserable wretch! did you think 
you could do and undo, and change things this way and 
that, as you pleased ? " 

The reproaches of Mrs. Hammond were the first in- 
stance in which Mr. Tynrel was made to drink the full 
cup of retribution. This was, however, only a specimen 
of a long series of contempt, abhorrence, and insult, that 
was reserved for him. The words of Mrs. Hammond 
were prophetic. It evidently appeared, that though 
wealth and hereditary elevation operate as an apology 
for many delinquencies, there are some which so irre- 
sistibly address themselves to the indignation of man- 
kind, that, like death, they level all distinctions, and 
reduce their perpetrator to an equality with the most 
indigent and squalid of his species. Against Mr. Tyr- 
rel, as the tyrannical and unmanly murderer of Emily, 



126 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

those who dared not venture the unreserved avowal of 
their sentiments muttered curses, deep, not loud ; 
while the rest joined in an universal cry of abhorrence 
and execration. He stood astonished at the novelty of 
his situation. Accustomed as he had been to the obe- 
dience and trembling homage of mankind, he had 
imagined they would be perpetual, and that no excess 
on his part would ever be potent enough to break the 
enchantment. Now he looked round, and saw sullen 
detestation in every face, which with difficulty restrained 
itself, and upon the slightest provocation broke forth 
with an impetuous tide, and swept away the mounds of 
subordination and fear. His large estate could not 
purchase civility from the gentry, the peasantry, scarcely 
from his own servants. In the indignation of all around 
him he found a ghost that haunted him with every 
change of place, and a remorse that stung his con- 
science, and exterminated his peace. The neighbourhood 
appeared more and more every day to be growing too 
hot for him to endure, and it became evident that he 
would ultimately be obliged to quit the country. Urged 
by the flagitiousness of this last example, people learned 
to recollect every other instance of his excesses, and it 
was, no doubt, a fearful catalogue that rose up in 
judgment against him. It seemed as if the sense of 
public resentment had long been gathering strength 
unperceived, and now burst forth into insuppressible 
violence. 

There was scarcely a human being upon whom this 
sort of retribution could have sat more painfully than 
upon Mr. Tyrrel. Though he had not a consciousness 
of innocence prompting him continually to recoil from 
the detestation of mankind as a thing totally unallied 
to his character, yet the imperiousness of his temper 
and the constant experience he had had of the pliabi- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 127 

lity of other men, prepared him to feel the general and 
undisguised condemnation into which he was sunk with 
uncommon emotions of anger and impatience. That 
he, at the beam of whose eye every countenance fell, 
and to whom in the fierceness of his wrath no one was 
daring enough to reply, should now be regarded with 
avowed dislike, and treated with unceremonious censure, 
was a thing he could not endure to recollect or believe. 
Symptoms of the universal disgust smote him at every 
instant, and at every blow he writhed with intolerable 
anguish. His rage was unbounded and raving. He re- 
pelled every attack with the fiercest indignation ; while 
the more he struggled, the more desperate his situation 
appeared to become. At length he determined to col- 
lect his strength for a decisive effort, and to meet the 
whole tide of public opinion in a single scene. 

In pursuance of these thoughts he resolved to repair, 
without delay, to the rural assembly which I have 
already mentioned in the course of my story. Miss 
Melville had now been dead one month. Mr. Falkland 
had been absent the last week in a distant part of the 
country, and was not expected to return for a week 
longer. Mr. Tyrrel willingly embraced the opportunity, 
trusting, if he could now effect his re-establishment, that 
he should easily preserve the ground he had gained, 
even in the face of his formidable rival. Mr. Tyrrel 
was not deficient in courage; but he conceived the 
present to be too important an epoch in his life to 
allow him to make any unnecessary risk in his chance 
for future ease and importance. 

There was a sort of bustle that took place at his en- 
trance into the assembly, it having been agreed by the 
gentlemen of the assembly, that Mr. Tyrrel was to be 
refused admittance, as a person with whom they did 
not choose to associate. This vote had already been 



128 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

notified to him by letter by the master of the cere- 
monies, but the intelligence was rather calculated, with 
a man of Mr. Tyrrel's disposition, to excite defiance 
than to overawe. At the door of the assembly he was 
personally met by the master of the ceremonies, who had 
perceived the arrival of an equipage, and who now en- 
deavoured to repeat his prohibition : but he was thrust 
aside by Mr. Tyrrel with an air of native authority and 
ineffable contempt. As he entered, every eye was turned 
upon him. Presently all the gentlemen in the room 
assembled round him. Some endeavoured to hustle 
him, and others began to expostulate. But he found 
the secret effectually to silence the one set, and to 
shake off the other. His muscular form, the well-known 
eminence of his intellectual powers, the long habits to 
which every man was formed of acknowledging his 
ascendancy, were all in his favour. He considered 
himself as playing a desperate stake, and had roused all 
the energies he possessed, to enable him to do justice 
to so interesting a transaction. Disengaged from the 
insects that at first pestered him, he paced up and down 
the room with a magisterial stride, and flashed an angry 
glance on every side. He then broke silence. " If any 
one had any thing to say to him, he should know where 
and how to answer him. He would advise any such 
person, however, to consider well what he was about- 
If any man imagined he had any thing personally to 
complain of, it was very well. But he did expect that 
nobody there would be ignorant and raw enough to 
meddle with what was no business of theirs, and intrude 
into the concerns of any man's private family." 

This being a sort of defiance, one and another gentle- 
man advanced to answer it. He that was first began to 
speak ; but Mr. Tyrrel, by the expression of his coun- 
tenance and a peremptory tone, by well-timed interrup- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 129 

tions and pertinent insinuations, caused him first to 
hesitate, and then to be silent. He seemed to be fast 
advancing to the triumph he had promised himself. 
Tin- whole company were astonished. They felt the 
same abhorrence and condemnation of his character ; 
but they could not help admiring the courage and re- 
sources he displayed upon the present occasion. They 
could without difficulty have concentred afresh their 
indignant feelings, but they seemed to want a leader. 

At this critical moment Mr. Falkland entered the 
room. Mere accident had enabled him to return sooner 
than he expected. 

Both he and Mr. TV ml reddened at sight of each 
other. He advanced towards Mr. Tyrrel without a 
moment's pause, and in a peremptory voice asked him 
what he did there ? 

" Here ? What do you mean by that ? This place is 
as free to me as you, and you are the last person to 
whom I shall deign to give an account of myself." 

Sir, the place is not free to you. Do not you 
know, you have been voted out ? Whatever were your 
rights, your infamous conduct has forfeited them." 

" Mr. what do you call yourself, if you have any 
thing to say to me, choose a proper time and place. 
Do not think to put on your bullying airs under shelter 
of this company ! I will not endure it." 

" You are mistaken, sir. This public scene is the 
only place where I can have any thing to say to you* 
If you would not hear the universal indignation of 
mankind, you must not come into the society of men* 
Miss Melville! Shame upon you, inhuman, unre- 
lenting tyrant ! Can you hear her name, and not sink 
into the earth? Can you retire into solitude, and not 
see her pale and patient ghost rising to reproach you ? 
Can you recollect her virtues, her innocence, her spot- 



ISO CALEB WILLIAMS. 

less manners, her unresentful temper, and not run dis- 
tracted with remorse ? Have you not killed her in the 
first bloom of her youth ? Can you bear to think that 
she now lies mouldering in the grave through your 
cursed contrivance, that deserved a crown, ten thousand 
times more than you deserve to live ? And do you exr 
pect that mankind will ever forget, or forgive such 
a deed? Go, miserable wretch ; think yourself too 
happy that you are permitted to fly the face of man ! 
Why, what a pitiful figure do you make at this moment ! 
Do you think that any thing could bring so hardened a 
wretch as you are to shrink from reproach, if your 
conscience were not in confederacy with them that re- 
proached you ? And were you fool enough to believe 
that any obstinacy, however determined, could enable 
you to despise the keen rebuke of justice? Go, shrink 
into your miserable self! Begone, and let me never be 
blasted with your sight again ! " 

And here, incredible as it may appear, Mr. Tyrrel began 
to obey his imperious censurer. His looks were full of 
wildness and horror; his limbs trembled; and his tongue 
refused its office. He felt no power of resisting the 
impetuous torrent of reproach that was poured upon 
him. He hesitated; he was ashamed of his own defeat; 
he seemed to wish to deny it. But his struggles were 
ineffectual ; every attempt perished in the moment it 
was made. The general voice was eager to abash him. 
As his confusion became more visible, the outcry in- 
creased. It swelled gradually to hootings, tumult, and a 
deafening noise of indignation. At length he willingly 
retired from the public scene, unable any longer to en- 
dure the sensations it inflicted. 

In about an hour and a half he returned. No pre- 
caution had been taken against this incident, for nothing 
could be more unexpected. In the interval he had 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 131 

intoxicated himself with large draughts of brandy. In 
a moment he was in a part of the room where Mr. 
Falkland was standing, and with one blow of his mus- 
cular arm levelled him with the earth. The blow how- 
ever was not stunning, and Mr. Falkland rose again 
immediately. It is obvious to perceive how unequal he 
must have been in this tp^rict of contest. He wa) 
scarcely risen, before Mr. Tyrrel repeated his blow. 
Mr. Falkland was now upon his guard, and did not fall. 
But the blows of his adversary were redoubled with a 
rapidity difficult to conceive, and Mr. Falkland was once 
again brought to the earth. In this situation Mr. Tyrrel 
kicked his prostrate enemy, and stooped apparently with 
the intention of dragging him along the floor. All this 
passed in a moment, and the gentlemen present had not 
time to recover their surprise. They now interfered, 
and Mr. Tyrrel once more quitted the apartment. 

It is difficult to conceive any event more terrible to 
the individual upon whom it fell, than the treatment 
which Mr. Falkland in this instance experienced. Every 
passion of his life was calculated to make him feel it 
more acutely. He had repeatedly exerted an uncom- 
mon energy and prudence, to prevent the misunder- 
standing between Mr. Tyrrel and himself from proceed- 
ing to extremities ; but in vain ! It was closed with a 
catastrophe, exceeding all that he had feared, or that 
the most penetrating foresight could have suggested. 
To Mr. Falkland disgrace was worse than death. The 
slightest breath of dishonour would have stung him to 
the very soul. What must it have been with this com- 
plication of ignominy, base, humiliating, and public ? 
Could Mr. Tyrrel have understood the evil he inflicted, 
even he, under all his circumstances of provocation, 
could scarcely have perpetrated it. Mr. Falkland's 
mind was full of uproar like the war of contending 
K 2 



132 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

elements, and of such suffering as casts contempt on the 
refinements of inventive cruelty. He wished for anni- 
hilation, to lie down in eternal oblivion, in an insensi- 
bility, which, compared with what he experienced, was 
scarcely less enviable than beatitude itself. Horror, 
detestation, revenge, inexpressible longings to shake off 
the evil, and a persuasion that in this case all effort was 
powerless, filled his soul even to bursting. 

One other event closed the transactions of this me- 
. v morable evening. Mr. Falkland was baffled of the 
vengeance that yet remained to him. Mr. Tyrrel was 
found by some of the company dead in the street, having 
been murdered at the distance of a few yards from the 
assembly house. 



CHAPTER XII. 

I SHALL endeavour to state the remainder of this nar- 
rative in the words of Mr. Collins. The reader has 
already had occasion to perceive that Mr. Collins was 
a man of no vulgar order ; and his reflections on the 
subject were uncommonly judicious. 

" This day was the crisis of Mr. Falkland's history. 
From hence took its beginning that gloomy and un- 
sociable melancholy, of which he has since been the 
victim. No two characters can be in certain respects 
more strongly contrasted, than the Mr. Falkland of a 
date prior and subsequent to these events. Hitherto 
he had been attended by a fortune perpetually pros- 
perous. His mind was sanguine ; full of that undoubt- 
ing confidence in its own powers which prosperity is 
qualified to produce. Though the habits of his life 
were those of a serious and sublime visionary, they 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 133 

were nevertheless full of cheerfulness and tranquillity. 
But from this moment, his pride, and the lofty adven- 
turousness of his spirit, were effectually subdued. From 
an object of envy he was changed into an object of 
compassion. Life, which hitherto no one had more 
exquisitely enjoyed, became a burden to him. No 
more self-complacency, no more rapture, no more self- 
approving and heart-transporting benevolence ! He 
who had lived beyond any man upon the grand and 
animating reveries of the imagination, seemed now to 
have no visions but of anguish and despair. His case 
was peculiarly worthy of sympathy, since, no doubt, 
if rectitude and purity of disposition could give a title 
to happiness, few men could exhibit a more consistent 
and powerful claim than Mr. Falkland. 

" He was too deeply pervaded with the idle and 
groundless romances of chivalry, ever to forget the 
situation, humiliating and dishonourable according to 
his ideas, in which he had been placed upon this oc- 
casion. There is a mysterious sort of divinity annexed 
to the person of a true knight, that makes any species 
of brute violence committed upon it indelible and im- 
mortal. To be knocked down, cuffed, kicked, dragged 
along the floor ! Sacred heaven, the memory of such 
a treatment was not to be endured ! No future lus- 
tration could ever remove the stain: and, what was 
perhaps still worse in the present case, the offender 
having ceased to exist, the lustration which the laws 
of knight-errantry prescribe was rendered impossible. 

" In some future period of human improvement, it 
is probable, that that calamity will be in a manner un- 
intelligible, which in the present instance contributed 
to tarnish and wither the excellence of one of the most 
elevated and amiable of human minds. If Mr. Falkland 
bad reflected with perfect accuracy upon the case, he 
K 3 



134- CALEB WILLIAMS. 

would probably have been able to look down with in- 
difference upon a wound, which, as it was, pierced to 
his very vitals. How much more dignity, than in the 
modern duellist, do we find in Themistocles, the most 
gallant of the Greeks ; who, when Eurybiades, his com- 
mander in chief, in answer to some of his remonstrances? 
lifted his cane over him with a menacing air, accosted 
him in that noble apostrophe, ' Strike, but hear ! ' 

" How would a man of true discernment in such a 
case reply to his brutal assailant ? * I make it my boast 
that I can endure calamity and pain : shall I not be 
able to endure the trifling inconvenience that your folly 
can inflict upon me? Perhaps a human being would 
be more accomplished, if he understood the science of 
personal defence ; but how few would be the occasions 
upon which he would be called to exert it? How few 
persons would he encounter so unjust and injurious as 
you, if his own conduct were directed by the principles 
of reason and benevolence ? Beside, how narrow would 
be the use of this science when acquired? It will 
scarcely put the man of delicate make and petty stature 
upon a level with the athletic pugilist ; and, if it did in 
some measure secure me against the malice of a single 
adversary, still my person and my life, so far as mere 
force is concerned, would always be at the mercy of 
two. Further than immediate defence against actual 
violence, it could never be of use to me. The man 
who can deliberately meet his adversary for the pur- 
pose of exposing the person of one or both of them to 
injury, tramples upon every principle of reason and 
equity. Duelling is the vilest of all egotism, treating 
the public, who has a claim to all my powers and ex- 
ertions, as if it were nothing, and myself, or rather an 
unintelligible chimera I annex to myself, as if it were 
entitled to my exclusive attention. I am unable to 






CALEB WILLIAMS. 135 

ope with you : what then ? Can that circumstance 
dishonour me? No; I can only be dishonoured by 
perpetrating an unjust action. My honour is in my 
own keeping, beyond the reach of all mankind. Strike ! 
1 am passive. No injury that you can inflict, shall pro- 
/oke me to expose you or myself to unnecessary evil. 
I refuse that; but I am not therefore pusillanimous: 
when I refuse any danger or suffering by which the gene- 
ral good may be promoted, then brand me for a coward ! ' 

These reasonings, however simple and irresistible 
they must be found by a dispassionate enquirer, are 
lit tit ntkiUtl on by the world at large, and were most 
of all uncongenial to the prejudices of Mr. Falkland. 

" But the public disgrace and chastisement that had 
been imposed upon him, intolerable as they were to be 
recollected, were not the whole of the mischief that 
redounded to our unfortunate patron from the trans- 
actions of that day. It was presently whispered that 
he was no other than the murderer of his antagonist. 
This rumour was of too much importance to the very 
continuance of his life, to justify its being concealed 
from him. He heard it with inexpressible astonishment 
and horror ; it formed a dreadful addition to the load 
of intellectual anguish that already oppressed him. No 
man had ever held his reputation more dear than Mr- 
Falkland ; and now, in one day, he was fallen under 
the most exquisite calamities, a complicated personal 
insult, and the imputation of the foulest of crimes. He 
might have fled; for no one was forward to proceed 
against a man so adored as Mr. Falkland, or in revenge 
of one so universally execrated as Mr. Tyrrel. But 
flight he disdained. In the mean time the affair was 
of the most serious magnitude, and the rumour un- 
checked seemed daily to increase in strength. Mr. 
Falkland appeared sometimes inclined to adopt such 
K 4 



1S6 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

steps as might have been best calculated to bring the 
imputation to a speedy trial. But he probably feared 
by too direct an appeal to judicature, to render more 
precise an imputation, the memory of which he depre- 
cated ; at the same time that he was sufficiently willing 
to meet the severest scrutiny, and, if he could not 
hope to have it forgotten that he had ever been ac- 
cused, to prove in the most satisfactory manner that 
the accusation was unjust. 

" The neighbouring magistrates at length conceived 
it necessary to take some steps upon the subject. 
Without causing Mr. Falkland to be apprehended, they 
sent to desire he would appear before them at one of 
their meetings. The proceeding being thus opened, 
Mr. Falkland expressed his hope that, if the business 
were likely to stop there, their investigation might at 
least be rendered as solemn as possible. The meeting 
was numerous ; every person of a respectable class in 
society was admitted to be an auditor ; the whole 
town, one of the most considerable in the county, was 
apprised of the nature of the business. Few trials, 
invested with all the forms of judgment, have excited 
so general an interest. A trial, under the present cir- 
cumstances, was scarcely attainable ; and it seemed to 
be the wish both of principal and umpires, to give to 
this transaction all the momentary notoriety and de- 
cisiveness of a trial. 

" The magistrates investigated the particulars of the 
story. Mr. Falkland, it appeared, had left the rooms 
immediately after his assailant ; and though he had 
been attended by one or two of the gentlemen to his inn, 
it was proved that he had left them upon some slight 
occasion, as soon as he arrived at it, and that, when 
they enquired for him of the waiters, he had already 
mounted his horse and ridden home* 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 137 

" By the nature of the case, no particular facts could 
be stated in balance against these. As soon as they 
had been sufficiently detailed, Mr. Falkland therefore 
proceeded to his defence. Several copies of his defence 
were made, and Mr. Falkland seemed, for a short time, 
to have had the idea of sending it to the press, though, 
for some reason or other, he afterwards suppressed it . 
I have one of the copies in my possession, and I will 
read it to you." 

Saying this, Mr. Collins rose, and took it from a 
private drawer in his escritoire. During this action he 
appeared to recollect himself. He did not, in the strict 
sense of the word, hesitate ; but he was prompted to 
make some apology for what he was doing. 

" You seem never to have heard of this memor- 
able transaction ; and, indeed, that is little to be 
wondered at, since the good nature of the world is 
interested in suppressing it, and it is deemed a dis- 
grace to a man to have defended himself from a crimi- 
nal imputation, though with circumstances the most 
satisfactory and honourable. It may be supposed that 
this suppression is particularly acceptable to Mr. Falk- 
land ; and I should not have acted in contradiction to 
his modes of thinking in communicating the story to 
you, had there not been circumstances of peculiar 
urgency, that seemed to render the communication de- 
sirable." Saying this, he proceeded to read from the 
paper in his hand. 
" Gentlemen, 

" I stand here accused of a crime, the most black 
that any human creature is capable of perpetrating. I 
am innocent. I have no fear that I shall fail to make 
every person in this company acknowledge my innocence. 
In the mean time, what must be my feelings? Con- 
scious as I am of deserving approbation and not censure, 



138 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

of having passed my life in acts of justice and philan- 
thropy, can any thing be more deplorable than for me 
to answer to a charge of murder ? So wretched is my 
situation, that I cannot accept your gratuitous acquittal, 
if you should be disposed to bestow it. I must answer 
to an imputation, the very thought of which is ten 
thousand times worse to me than death. I must exert 
the whole energy of my mind, to prevent my being 
ranked with the vilest of men. 

" Gentlemen, this is a situation in which a man may 
be allowed to boast. Accursed situation ! No man 
need envy me the vile and polluted triumph I am now 
to gain ! I have called no witnesses to my character. 
Great God ! what sort of character is that which must 
be supported by witnesses ? But, if I must speak, look 
round the company, ask of every one present, enquire 
of your own hearts ! Not one word of reproach was 
ever whispered against me. I do not hesitate to call 
upon those who have known me most, to afford me the 
most honourable testimony. 

" My life has been spent in the keenest and most 
unintermitted sensibility to reputation. I am almost 
indifferent as to what shall be the event of this day. 
I would not open my mouth upon the occasion, if my 
life were the only thing that was at stake. It is not in 
the power of your decision to restore to me my unble- 
mished reputation, to obliterate the disgrace I have 
suffered, or to prevent it from being remembered that 
I have been brought to examination upon a charge of 
murder. Your decision can never have the efficacy to 
prevent the miserable remains of my existence from 
being the most intolerable of all burthens. 

" I am accused of having committed murder upon 
the body of Barnabas Tyrrel. I would most joyfully 
have given every farthing I possess, and devoted myself 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 139 

to perpetual beggary, to have preserved his life. His 
life was precious to me, beyond that of all mankind. 
In my opinion, the greatest injustice committed by his 
unknown assassin was that of defrauding me of my 
just revenge. I confess that I would have called him 
out to the field, and that our encounter should not 
have been terminated but by the death of one or both 
of us. This would have been a pitiful and inadequate 
compensation for his unparalleled insult, but it was all 
that remained. 

" I ask for no pity, but I must openly declare that 
never was any misfortune so horrible as mine. I would 
willingly have taken refuge from the recollection of 
that night in a voluntary death. Life was now stripped 
of all those recommendations, for the sake of which it 
was dear to me. But even this consolation is denied 
me. I am compelled to drag for ever the intolerable 
load of existence, upon penalty, if at any period, how- 
ever remote, I shake it off, of having that impatience 
regarded as confirming a charge of murder. Gentle* 
men, if by your decision you could take away my life, 
without that act being connected with my disgrace, I 
would bless the cord that stopped the breath of my 
existence for ever. 

" You all know how easily I might have fled from 
this purgation. If I had been guilty, should I not 
have embraced the opportunity? But, as it was, I 
could not. Reputation has been the idol, the jewel of 
my life. I could never have borne to think that a 
human creature, in the remotest part of the globe, 
should believe that I was a criminal. Alas ! what a 
deity it is that I have chosen for my worship ! I have 
entailed upon myself everlasting agony and despair ! 

" I have but one word to add. Gentlemen, I charge 
you to do me the imperfect justice that is in your 



140 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

power ! My life is a worthless thing. But my honour, 
the empty remains of honour I have now to boast, is 
in your judgment, and you will each of you, from this 
day, have imposed upon yourselves the task of its vin- 
dicators. It is little that you can do for me ; but it is 
not less your duty to do that little. May that God who 
is the fountain of honour and good prosper and protect 
you ! The man who now stands before you is devoted 
to perpetual barrenness and blast ! He has nothing to 
hope for beyond the feeble consolation of this day ! " 

" You will easily imagine that Mr. Falkland was dis- 
charged with every circumstance of credit. Nothing 
is more to be deplored in human institutions, than Uiat 
the ideas of mankind should have annexed a sentiment 
of disgrace to a purgation thus satisfactory and decisive. 
No one entertained the shadow of a doubt upon the 
subject, and yet a mere concurrence of circumstances 
made it necessary that the best of men should be pub- 
licly put on hie defence, as if really under suspicion 
of an atrocious crime. It may be granted indeed that 
Mr. Falkland had his faults, but those very faults placed 
him at a still further distance from the criminality in 
question. He was the fool of honour and fame : a 
man whom, in the pursuit of reputation, nothing could 
divert ; who would have purchased the character of a 
true, gallant, and undaunted hero, at the expense of 
worlds, and who thought every calamity nominal but 
a stain upon his honour. How atrociously absurd to 
suppose any motive capable of inducing such a man to 
play the part of a lurking assassin ? How unfeeling to 
oblige him to defend himself from such an imputation ? 
Did any man, and, least of all, a man of the purest 
honour, erer pass in a moment, from a life unstained 
by a single act of injury, to the consummation of 
human depravity? 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 141 

" When the decision of the magistrates was declared, 
a general murmur of applause and involuntary transport 
burst forth from every one present. It was at first low, 
and gradually became louder. As it was the expression 
of rapturous delight, and an emotion disinterested and 
divine, so there was an indescribable something in the 
very sound, that carried it home to the heart, and con- 
vinced every spectator that there was no merely per- 
sonal pleasure which ever existed, that would not be 
foolish and feeble in the comparison. Every one strove 
who should most express his esteem of the amiable ac- 
cused. Mr. Falkland was no sooner withdrawn than the 
gentlemen present determined to give a still further 
sanction to the business, by their congratulations. 
They immediately named a deputation to wait upon 
him for that purpose. Every one concurred to assist 
the general sentiment. It was a sort of sympathetic 
feeling that took hold upon all ranks and degrees. The 
multitude received him with huzzas, they took his 
horses from his carriage, dragged him along in triumph, 
and attended him many miles on his return to his own 
habitation. It seemed as if a public examination upon 
a criminal charge, which had hitherto been considered 
in every event as a brand of disgrace, was converted, in 
the present instance, into an occasion of enthusiastic 
adoration and unexampled honour. 

" Nothing could reach the heart of Mr. Falkland. 
He was not insensible to the general kindness and ex- 
ertions ; but it was too evident that the melancholy that 
had taken hold of his mind was invincible. 

" It was only a few weeks after this memorable scene 
that the real murderer was discovered. Every part of 
this story was extraordinary. The real murderer waf 
Hawkins. He was found with his son, under a feigned 
name, at a village about thirty miles distant, in want of 



142 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

all the necessaries of life. He had lived there, from the 
period of his flight, in so private a manner, that all the 
enquiries that had been set on foot, by the benevolence 
of Mr. Falkland, or the insatiable malice of Mr. Tyrrel, 
had been insufficient to discover him. The first thing 
that had led to the detection was a parcel of clothes 
covered with blood, that were found in a ditch, and 
that, when drawn out, were known by the people of 
the village to belong to this man. The murder of Mr. 
Tyrrel was not a circumstance that could be unknown, 
and suspicion was immediately roused. A diligent search 
being made, the rusty handle, with part of the blade 
of a knife, was found thrown in a corner of his lodging, 
which, being applied to a piece of the point of a knife 
that had been broken in the wound, appeared exactly 
to correspond. Upon further enquiry two rustics, who 
had been accidentally on the spot, remembered to have 
seen Hawkins and his son in the town that very evening, 
and to have called after them, and received no answer, 
though they were sure of their persons. Upon this ac- 
cumulated evidence both Hawkins and his son were tried, 
condemned, and afterwards executed. In the interval 
between the sentence and execution Hawkins confessed 
his guilt with many marks of compunction ; though 
there are persons by whom this is denied ; but I have 
taken some pains to enquire into the fact, and am per- 
suaded that their disbelief is precipitate and ground- 
less. 

" The cruel injustice that this man had suffered from 
his village-tyrant was not forgotten upon the present 
occasion. It was by a strange fatality that the barba- 
rous proceedings of Mr. Tyrrel seemed never to fall 
short of their completion ; and even his death served 
eventually to consummate the ruin of a man he hated ; 
a circumstance which, if it could have come to his 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 143 

knowledge, would perhaps have in some measure con- 
soled him for his untimely end. This poor Hawkins 
was surely entitled to some pity, since his being finally 
urged to desperation, and brought, together with his 
son, to an ignominious fate, was originally owing to 
the sturdiness of his virtue and independence. But 
the compassion of the public was in a great measure 
shut against him, as they thought it a piece of barbarous 
and unpardonable selfishness, that he had not rather 
come boldly forward to meet the consequences of his 
own conduct, than suffer a man of so much public 
worth as Mr. Falkland, and who had been so desirous 
of doing him good, to be exposed to the risk of being 
tried for a murder that he had committed. 

" From this time to the present Mr. Falkland has 
been nearly such as you at present see him. Though it 
be several years } since these transactions, the impres- 
sion they made is for ever fresh in the mind of our un- 
fortunate patron. From thenceforward his habiu 
became totally different. He had before been fond of 
public scenes, and acting a part in the midst of the 
people among whom he immediately resided. He now 
made himself a rigid recluse. He had no associates, no 
friends. Inconsolable himself, he yet wished to treat 
others with kindness. There was a solemn sadness in 
his manner, attended with the most perfect gentleness 
and humanity. Everybody respects him, for his bene- 
volence is unalterable ; but there is a stately coldness 
and reserve in his behaviour, which makes it difficult 
for those about him to regard him with the familiarity 
of affection. These symptoms are uninterrupted, except 
at certain times when his sufferings become intolerable, 
and he displays the marks of a furious insanity. At 
those times his language is fearful and mysterious, and 
he seems to figure to himself by turns every sort of per- 



144 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

secution and alarm, which may be supposed to attend 
upon an accusation of murder. But, sensible of his own 
weakness, lie is anxious at such times to withdraw into 
solitude : and his domestics in general know nothing 
of him, but the uncommunicative and haughty, but 
mild, dejection that accompanies every thing he djes." 



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 1 1 ' 



VOLUME THE SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 

I HAVE stated the narrative of Mr. Collins, inter- 
spersed with such other information as I was able to 
collect, with all the exactness that my memory, assist- 
ed by certain memorandums I made at the time, will 
afford. I do not pretend to warrant the authenticity 
of any part of these memoirs, except so much as fell 
under my own knowledge, and that part shall be given 
with the same simplicity and accuracy, that I would 
observe towards a court which was to decide in the last 
resort upon every thing dear to me. The same scru- 
pulous fidelity restrains me from altering the manner 
of Mr. Collins's narrative to adapt it to the precepts 
of my own taste; and it will soon be perceived how 
essential that narrative is to the elucidation of my 
history. 

The intention of my friend in this communication 
was to give me ease; but he in reality added to my 
embarrassment. Hitherto I had had no intercourse 
with the world and its passions ; and, though I was not 
totally unacquainted with them as they appear in books, 
this proved of little service to me when I came to wit- 
ness them myself. The case seemed entirely altered, 
when the subject of those passions was continually be- 
fore my eyes, and the events had happened but the 
other day as it were, in the very neighbourhood where 
I lived. There was a connection and progress in. this 

L 



146 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

narrative, which made it altogether unlike the little vil- 
lage incidents I had hitherto known. My feelings 
were successively interested for the different persons 
that were brought upon the scene. My veneration 
was excited for Mr. Clare, and my applause for the in- 
trepidity of Mrs. Hammond. I was astonished that 
any human creature should be so shockingly perverted 
as Mr. Tyrrel. I paid the tribute of my tears to the 
memory of the artless Miss Melville. I found a thou- 
sand fresh reasons to admire and love Mr. Falkland. 

At present I was satisfied with thus considering 
every incident in its obvious sense. But the story I 
had heard was for ever in my thoughts, and I was pe- 
culiarly interested to comprehend its full import. I 
turned it a thousand ways, and examined it in every 
point of view. In the original communication it ap- 
peared sufficiently distinct and satisfactory; but as I 
brooded over it, it gradually became mysterious. There 
was something strange in the character of Hawkins. 
So firm, so sturdily honest and just, as he appeared at 
first ; all at once to become a murderer ! His first be- 
haviour under the prosecution, how accurately was it 
calculated to prepossess one in his favour ! To be 
sure, if he were guilty, it was unpardonable in him to 
permit a man of so much dignity and worth as Mr. 
Falkland, to suffer under the imputation of his crime I 
And yet I could not help bitterly compassionating the 
honest fellow, brought to the gallows, as he was, strictly 
speaking, by the machinations of that devil incarnate, 
Mr, Tyrrel. His son, too, that son for whom he volun- 
tarily sacrificed his all, to die with him at the same 
tree ; surely never was a story more affecting ! 

Was it possible, after all, that Mr. Falkland should 
be the murderer ? The reader will scarcely believe, 
that tfce Ude4 suggested itself to my mind that I would 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 147 

ask him. It was but a passing thought ; but it serves 
to mark the simplicity of my character. Then I recol- 
lected the virtues of my master, almost too sublime for 
human nature; I thought of his sufferings so unexam- 
pled, so unmerited; and chid myself for the suspicion. 
The dying confession of Hawkins recurred to my mind ; 
and I felt that there was no longer a possibility of 
doubting. And yet what was the meaning of all Mr. 
Falkland's agonies and terrors ? In fine, the idea having 
once occurred to my mind, it was fixed there for ever. 
My thoughts fluctuated from conjecture to conjecture, 
but this was the centre about which they revolved. I 
determined to place myself as a watch upon my patron. 
The instant I had chosen this employment for my- 
self, I found a strange sort of pleasure in it. To do 
what is forbidden always has its charms, because we 
have an indistinct apprehension of something arbitrary 
and tyrannical in the prohibition. To be a spy upon 
Mr. Falkland ! That there was danger in the employ- 
ment, served to give an alluring pungency to the 
choice. I remembered the stern reprimand I had re- 
ceived, and his terrible looks; and the recollection 
gave a kind of tingling sensation, not altogether unal- 
lied to enjoyment. The further I advanced, the more 
the sensation was irresistible. I seemed to myself per- 
petually upon the brink of being countermined, and 
perpetually roused to guard my designs. The more 
impenetrable Mr. Falkland was determined to be, the 
more uncontrollable was my curiosity. Through the 
whole, my alarm and apprehension of personal danger 
had a large mixture of frankness and simplicity, con- 
scious of meaning no ill, that made me continually 
ready to say every thing that was upon my mind, and 
would not suffer me to believe that, when things were 
L 2 



14-8 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

brought to the test, any one could be seriously angry 
with me. 

These reflections led gradually to a new state of my 
mind. When I had first removed into Mr. Falkland's 
family, the novelty of the scene rendered me cautious 
and reserved. The distant and solemn manners of my 
master seemed to have annihilated my constitutional 
gaiety. But the novelty by degrees wore off, and my 
constraint in the same degree diminished. The story 
I had now heard, and the curiosity it excited, restored 
to me activity, eagerness, and courage. I had always 
had a propensity to communicate my thoughts; my 
age was, of course, inclined to talkativeness; and I 
ventured occasionally in a sort of hesitating way, as if 
questioning whether such a conduct might be allowed, 
to express my sentiments as they arose, in the pre- 
sence of Mr. Falkland. 

The first time I did so, he looked at me with an air 
of surprise, made me no answer, and presently took oc- 
casion to leave me. The experiment was soon after 
repeated. My master seemed half inclined to encou- 
rage me, and yet doubtful whether he might venture. 
He had long been a stranger to pleasure of every sort, 
and my artless and untaught remarks appeared to pro- 
mise him some amusement. Could an amusement of 
this sort be dangerous ? 

In this uncertainty he could not probably find it in 
his heart to treat with severity my innocent effusions. 
I needed but little encouragement ; for the perturbation 
of my mind stood in want of this relief. My simplicity, 
arising from my being a total stranger to the intercourse 
of the world, was accompanied with a mind in some 
degree cultivated with reading, and perhaps not alto- 
gether destitute of observation and talent. My re- 
marks were therefore perpetually unexpected, at one 



CALKB WILLIAMS. 



149 



time implying extreme ignorance, and at another some 
portion of acuteness, but at all times having an air of 
innocence, frankness, and courage. There was still an 
apparent want of design in the manner, even after I 
wag excited accurately to compare my observations, 
and study the inferences to which they led ; for the 
effect of old Kabit was more visible than that of a re- 
cently conceived purpose which was yet scarcely 
mature. 

Mr. Falkland's situation was like that of a fish that 
plays with the bait employed to entrap him. By my 
manner he was in a certain degree encouraged to lay 
aside his usual reserve, and relax his stateliness; till 
some abrupt observation or interrogatory stung him 
into recollection, and brought back his alarm. Still 
it was evident that he bore about him a secret wound. 
Whenever the cause of his sorrows was touched, though 
in a manner the most indirect and remote, his counte 
nance altered, his distemper returned, and it was with 
difficulty that he could suppress his emotions, some- 
times conquering himself with painful effort, and some- 
times bursting into a sort of paroxysm of insanity, and 
hastening to bury himself in solitude. 

These appearances I too frequently interpreted into 
grounds of suspicion, though I might with equal proba- 
bility and more liberality have ascribed them to the 
cruel mortifications he had encountered in the objects 
of his darling ambition. Mr. Collins had strongly 
urged me to secrecy ; and Mr. Falkland, whenever my 
gesture or his consciousness impressed him with the 
idea of ray knowing more than I expressed, looked at 
me with wistful earnestness, as questioning what was 
the degree of information I possessed, and how it was 
obtained. But again at our next interview the simple 
vivacity of my manner restored his tranquillity, obliter- 
L 3 



150 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ated the emotion of which I had been the cause, and 
placed things afresh in their former situation. 

The longer this humble familiarity on my part had 
continued, the more effort it would require to suppress 
it ; and Mr. Falkland was neither willing to mortify me 
by a severe prohibition of speech, nor even perhaps to 
make me of so much consequence, as that prohibition 
might seem to imply. Though I was curious, it must 
not be supposed that I had the object of my enquiry 
for ever in my mind, or that my questions and innuen- 
does were perpetually regulated with the cunning of a 
grey-headed inquisitor. The secret wound of Mr. 
Falkland's mind was much more uniformly present to 
his recollection than to mine ; and a thousand times he 
applied the remarks that occurred in conversation ; 
when I had not the remotest idea of such an applica- 
tion, till some singularity in his manner brought it back 
to my thoughts. The consciousness of this nrorbid 
sensibility, and the imagination that its influence might 
perhaps constitute the whole of the case, served probably 
to spur Mr. Falkland again to the charge, and connect 
a sentiment of shame, with every project that suggested 
itself for interrupting the freedom of our intercourse. 

I will give a specimen of the conversations to which 
I allude; and, as it shall be selected from those which 
began upon topics the most general and remote, the 
reader will easily imagine the disturbance that was 
almost daily endured by a mind so tremblingly alive as 
that of my patron. 

" Pray, sir," said I, one day as I was assisting Mr. 
Falkland in arranging some papers, previously to their 
being transcribed into his collection, " how came Alex- 
ander of Macedon to be surnamed the Great ? " 

" How came it ? Did you never read his history?" 
. Yes, sir," 



CALEB \VI1.I. I VMS. 151 

" Well, Williams, and could you find no reasons 
then 

" Why, I do not know, sir. I could find reasons why 
he should be so famous ; but every man that is talked 
of is not admired. Judges differ about the merits of 
Alexander. Doctor Prideaux says in his Connections 
that he deserves only to be called the Great Cut- 
throat ; and the author of Tom Jones has written a 
volume, to prove that he and all other conquerors 
ought to be classed with Jonathan Wild." 

Mr. Falkland reddened at these citations. 

" Accursed blasphemy ! Did these authors think that, 
by the coarseness of their ribaldry, they could destroy 
his well-earned fame? Are learning, sensibility, and 
taste, no securities to exempt their possessor from this 
vulgar abuse ? Did you ever read, Williams, of a man 
more gallant, generous, and free ? Was ever mortal so 
completely the reverse of every thing engrossing and 
selfish ? He formed to himself a sublime image of ex- 
cellence, and his only ambition was to realise it in his 
own story. Remember his giving away every thing 
when he set out upon his grand expedition, professedly 
reserving for himself nothing but hope. Recollect his 
heroic confidence in Philip the physician, and his entire 
and unalterable friendship for Ephestion. He treated 
the captive family of Darius with the most cordial ur- 
banity, and the venerable Sysigambis with all the ten- 
derness and attention of a son to his mother. Never 
take the judgment, Williams, upon such a subject of a 
clerical pedant, or a Westminster justice. Examine 
for yourself, and you will find in Alexander a model of 
honour, generosity, and disinterestedness, a man who, 
for the cultivated liberality of his.mind, and the unpa- 
ralleled grandeur of his projects, must stand alone the 
spectacle and admiration of all ages of the world." 



152 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" Ah, sir ! it is a fine thing for us to sit here and com- 
pose his panegyric. But shall I forget what a vast ex- 
pense was bestowed in erecting the monument of his 
fame ? Was not he the common disturber of mankind ? 
Did not he over-run nations that would never have 
heard of him but for his devastations ? How many 
hundred thousands of lives did he sacrifice in his 
career ? What must I think of his cruelties ; a whole 
tribe massacred for a crime committed by their ancestors 
one hundred and fifty years before; fifty thousand 
sold into slavery ; two thousand crucified for their gal- 
lant defence of their country ? Man is surely a strange 
sort of creature, who never praises any one more 
heartily than him who has spread destruction and ruin 
over the face of nations !" 

" The way of thinking you express, Williams, is na- 
tural enough, and I cannot blame you for it. But let 
me hope that you will become more liberal. The death 
of a hundred thousand men is at first sight very shock- 
ing ; but what in reality are a hundred thousand such 
men, more than a hundred thousand sheep? It is 
mind, Williams, the generation of knowledge and virtue, 
that we ought to love. This was the project of Alex- 
ander; he set out in a great undertaking to civilise 
mankind ; he delivered the vast continent of Asia from 
the stupidity and degradation of the Persian monarchy ; 
and, though he was cut off in the midst of his career, 
we may easily perceive the vast effects of his project. 
Grecian literature and cultivation, the Seleucidae, the 
Antiochuses, and the Ptolemies followed, in nations 
which before had been sunk to the condition of brutes. 
Alexander was the builder, as notoriously as the 
destroyer, of cities." 

" And yet, sir, I am afraid that the pike and the battle- 
axe, are not the right instruments for making men wise. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 153 

Suppose it were admitted that the lives of men were to 
be >;u-ritiri-d without ivmorx.' it' a paramount irooil \\ ere 
to result, it seems to me as if murder and massacre 
were but a very left-handed way of producing civilisa- 
tion and love. But pray, do not you think this great 
hero was a sort of a madman ? What now will you 
say to his firing the palace of Persepolis, his weeping 
for other worlds to conquer, and his marching his 
whole army over the burning sands of Libya, merely to 
visit a temple, and persuade mankind that he was the 
son of Jupiter Ammon? " 

" Alexander, my boy, lias. been much misunderstood. 
Mankind have revenged themselves upon him by mis- 
representation, for having so far eclipsed the rest of his 
species. It was necessary to the realising his project, 
that he should pass for a god. It was the only way by 
which he could get a firm hold upon the veneration of 
the stupid and bigoted Persians. It was this, and not 
a mad vanity, that was the source of his proceeding. 
And how much had he to struggle with in this respect, 
in the unapprehending obstinacy of some of his Mace- 
donians ?'* 

Why then, sir, at last Alexander did but employ 
means that all politicians profess to use, as well as he. 
He dragooned men into wisdom, and cheated them into 
the pursuit of their own happiness. But what is worse, 
sir, this Alexander, in the paroxysm of his headlong 
rage, spared neither friend nor foe. You will not pre- 
tend to justify the excesses of his ungovernable passion. 
It is impossible, sure, that a word can be said for a 
man whom a momentary provocation can hurry into 
the commission of murders " 

The instant I had uttered these words, I felt what it 
was that I had done. There was a magnetical sympathy 
between me and my patron, so that their effect was not 



154 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sooner produced upon him, than my own mind re- 
proached me with the inhumanity of the allusion. Our 
confusion was mutual. The blood forsook at once the 
transparent complexion of Mr. Falkland, and then 
rushed back again with rapidity and fierceness. I dared 
not utter a word, lest I should commit a new error, 
worse than that into which I had just fallen. After a 
short, but severe, struggle to continue the conversation, 
Mr. Falkland began with trepidation, but afterwards 
became calmer : 

" You are not candid Alexander You must learn 
more clemency Alexander, I say, does not deserve 
this rigour. Do you remember his tears, his remorse, 
his determined abstinence from food, which he could 
scarcely be persuaded to relinquish? Did not that 
prove acute feeling and a rooted principle of equity ? 
Well, well, Alexander was a true and judicious lover of 
mankind, and his real merits have been little compre- 
hended." 

I know not how to make the state of my mind at 
that moment accurately understood. When one idea 
has got possession of the soul, it is scarcely possible to 
keep it from finding its way to the lips. Error, once 
committed, has a fascinating power, like that ascribed 
to the eyes of the rattlesnake, to draw us into a second 
error. It deprives us of that proud confidence in our 
own strength, to which we are indebted for so much 
of our virtue. Curiosity is a restless propensity, and 
often does but hurry us forward the more irresistibly, 
the greater is the danger that attends its indulgence. 

" Clitus," said I, " was a man of very coarse and pro- 
voking manners, was he not ? " 

Mr. Falkland felt the full force of this appeal. He 
gave me a penetrating look, as if he would see my very 
soul. His eyes were then in an instant withdrawn. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 155 

I could pinvivt' him st-i/ed with a convulsive shud- 
dering which, though strongly counteracted, and there- 
fore scarcely visible, had I know not what of terrible 
in it. He left his employment, strode about the room 
in anger, his visage gradually assumed an expression as 
of supernatural barbarity, he quitted the apartment 
abruptly, and flung the door with a violence that seemed 
to shake the house. 

Is this," said I, the fruit of conscious guilt, or of the 
disgust that a man of honour conceives at guilt unde- 
servedly imputed ? " 



CHAPTER II. 

THE reader will feel how rapidly I. was advancing to 
the brink of the precipice. I had a confused appre- 
hension of what I was doing, but I could not stop my- 
self. " Is it possible," said I, " that Mr. Falkland, who is 
thus overwhelmed with a sense of the unmerited dis- 
honour that has been fastened upon him in the face of 
the world, will long endure the presence of a raw and 
unfriended youth, who is perpetually bringing back that 
dishonour to his recollection, and who seems himself 
the most forward to entertain the accusation ? " 

I felt indeed that Mr. Falkland would not hastily in- 
cline to dismiss me, for the same reason that restrained 
him from many other actions, which might seem to 
savour of a too tender and ambiguous sensibility. But 
this reflection was little adapted to comfort me. That 
he should cherish in his heart a growing hatred against 
me, and that he should think himself obliged to retain 
me a continual thorn in his side, was an idea by no means 
of favourable augury to my future peace. 



156 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

It was some time after this that, in clearing out a case 
of drawers, I found a paper that, by some accident, had 
slipped behind one of the drawers, and been overlooked. 
At another time perhaps my curiosity might have given 
way to the laws of decorum, and I should have restored 
it unopened to my master, its owner. But my eagerness 
for information had been too much stimulated by the 
preceding incidents, to allow me at present to neglect 
any occasion of obtaining it. The paper proved to be a 
letter written by the elder Hawkins, and from its con- 
tents seemed to have been penned, when he had first 
been upon the point of absconding from the persecu- 
tions of Mr. Tyrrel. It was as follows : 

" Honourable Sir, 

" I have waited some time in daily hope of your 
honour's return into these parts. Old Warnes and his 
dame, who are left to take care of your house, tell me 
they cannot say when that will be, nor justly in what 
part of England you are at present. For my share, 
misfortune comes so thick upon me, that I must deter- 
mine upon something (that is for certain), and out of 
hand. Our squire, who I must own at first used me 
kindly enough, though I am afraid that was partly out 
of spite to squire Underwood, has since determined to 
be the ruin of me. Sir, I have been no craven ; I fought 
it up stoutly ; for after all, you know, God bless your 
honour ! it is but a man to a man ; but he has been too 
much for me. 

" Perhaps if I were to ride over to the market-town 
and enquire of Munsle, your lawyer, he could tell me 
how to direct to you. But having hoped and waited 
o' this fashion, and all in vain, has put me upon other 
thoughts. I was in no hurry, sir, to apply to you ; for 
I do not love to be a trouble to any body. I kept 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 157 

that for my last stake. Well, sir, and now tliat has 
failed me like, I am ashamed, as it were, to have 
thought of it. Have not I, thinks I, arms and legs 
as well as other people ? I am driven out of house 
and home. Well, and what then ? Sure I ara't a cab- 
bage, that if you pull it out of the ground it must 
die. I am pennyless. True ; and how many hundreds 
are there that live from hand to mouth all the days 
of their life ? (Begging your honour's pardon) thinks I, 
if we little folks had but the wit to do for ourselves, the 
great folks would not be such maggotty changelings as 
they are. They would begin to look about them. 

But there is another thing that has swayed with me 
more" than all the rest. I do not know how to tell you, sir, 
My poor boy, my Leonard, the pride of my life, has 
been three weeks in the county jail. It is true indeed, 
sir. Squire Tyrrel put him there. Now, sir, every time 
that I lay my head upon my pillow under my own little 
roof, my heart smites me with the situation of my 
Leonard. I do not mean so much for the hardship ; I 
do not so much matter that. I do not expect him to 
go through the world upon velvet ! I am not such a 
fool. But who can tell what may hap in a jail ! I have 
been three times to see him ; and there is one man in 
the same quarter of the prison that looks so wicked ! I 
do not much fancy the looks of the rest. To be sure, 
Leonard is as good a lad as ever lived. I think he will 
not give his mind to such. But come what will, I am 
determined he shall not stay among them twelve hours 
longer. I am an obstinate old fool perhaps ; but I have 
taken it into my head, and I will do it. Do not ask me 
what. But, if I were to write to your honour, and wait 
for your answer, it might take a week or ten days more. 
I must not think of it ! 

11 Squire Tyrrel is very headstrong, and you, your 



158 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

honour, might be a little hottish, or so. No, I would 
not have any body quarrel for me. There has been 
mischief enough done already; and I will get myself 
out of the way. So I write this, your honour, merely 
to unload my mind. I feel myself equally as much 
bound to respect and love you, as if you had done every 
thing for me, that I believe you would have done if 
things had chanced differently. It is most likely you 
will never hear of me any more. If it should be so, set 
your worthy heart at rest. I know myself too well, ever 
to be tempted to do any thing that is really bad. I 
have now my fortune to seek in the world. I have been 
used ill enough, God knows. But I bear no malice ; 
my heart is at peace with all mankind ; and I forgive 
every body. It is like enough that poor Leonard and 
I may have hardship enough to undergo, among strangers, 
and being obliged to hide ourselves like housebreakers 
or highwaymen. But I defy all the malice of fortune 
to make us do an ill thing. That consolation we will 
always keep against all the crosses of a heart-breaking 
world. 

'5 God bless you ! 

" So prays, 

" Your honour's humble servant to command, 
" BENJAMIN HAWKINS." 

I read this letter with considerable attention, and it 
occasioned me many reflections. To my way of think- 
ing it contained a very interesting picture of a blunt, 
downright, honest mind. " It is a melancholy consider- 
ation," said I to myself; " but such is man ! To have 
judged from appearances one would have said, this is a 
fellow to have taken fortune's buffets and rewards with 
an incorruptible mind. And yet see where it all ends ! 
This man was capable of afterwards becoming a mur- 



CALEB WILLIANfS. 159 

derer, and finished his life at tin- gallon^. O poverty ! 
thou art indeed omnipotent ! Thou grindest us into 
desperation ; thou contbundest all our boasted and most 
(kip-rooted principles ; thou fillest us to the very brim 
with malice and revenge, and renderest us capable of 
acts of unknown horror ! May I never be visited by thee 
in the fulness of thy power ! " 

Having satisfied my curiosity with respect to this 
paper, I took care to dispose of it in such a manner 
as that it shoulo! be found by Mr. Falkland ; at the same 
time that, in obedience to the principle which at present 
governed me with absolute dominion, I was willing that 
the way in which it offered itself to his attention should 
suggest to him the idea that it had possibly passed 
through ray hands. The next morning I saw him, and 
I exerted myself to lead the conversation, which by this 
time I well knew how to introduce, by insensible degrees 
to the point I desired. After several previous questions, 
remarks, and rejoinders, I continued : 

" Well, sir, after all, I cannot help feeling very un- 
comfortably as to my ideas of human nature, when I find 
that there is no dependence to be placed upon its perse- 
verance, and that, at least among the illiterate, the most 
promising appearances may end in the foulest disgrace." 

" You think, then, that literature and a cultivated 
mind are the only assurance from the constancy of 
our principles ! " 

" Humph ! why do you suppose, sir, that learning 
and ingenuity do not often serve people rather to hide 
their crimes than to restrain them from committing 
them ? History tellsnis strange things in that respect." 

" Williams," said Mr. Falkland, a little disturbed, 
u you are extremely given to censure and severity." 

" 1 hope not. I am sure I am most fond of looking 
on the other side of the picture, and considering how 



160 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

many men have been aspersed, and even at some time 
or other almost torn to pieces by their fellow-creatures, 
whom, when properly understood, we find worthy of 
our reverence and love." 

" Indeed," replied Mr. Falkland, with a sigh, " when 
I consider these things I do not wonder at the dying 
exclamation of Brutus, ' O Virtue, I sought thee as a 
substance, but I find thee an empty name !' I am too 
much inclined to be of his opinion." 

" Why, to be sure, sir, innocence and guilt are too 
much confounded in human life. I remember an af- 
fecting story of a poor man in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth, who would have infallibly been hanged for 
murder upon the strength of circumstantial evidence, if 
the person really concerned had not been himself upon 
the jury and prevented it." 

In saying this I touched the spring that wakened 
madness in his mind. He came up to me with a fero- 
cious countenance, as if determined to force me into a 
confession of my thoughts. A sudden pang however 
seemed to change his design ! he drew back with tre- 
pidation, and exclaimed, " Detested be the universe, 
and the laws that govern it ! Honour, justice, virtue, 
are all the juggle of knaves ! If it were in my power I 
would instantly crush the whole system into nothing ! " 

1 replied ; " Oh, sir ! things are not so bad as you 
imagine. The world was made for men of sense to do 
what they will with. Its affairs cannot be better than 
in the direction of the genuine heroes ; and as in the 
end they will be found the truest friends of the whole, 
so the multitude have nothing to do but to look on, be 
fashioned, and admire." 

Mr. Falkland made a powerful effort to recover his 
tranquillity. " Williams," said he, " you instruct me 
well. You have a right notion of things, and I have 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 161 

great hopes of you. I will be more of a man ; I will 
forget the past, and do better for the time to come. 
The future, the future is always our own." 

" I am sorry, sir, that I have given you pain. I am 
afraid to say all that I think. But it is my opinion that 
mistakes will ultimately be cleared up, justice done, 
and the true state of things come to light, in spite of 
the false colours that may for a time obscure it." 

The idea I suggested did not give Mr. Falkland the 
proper degree of delight. He suffered a temporary 
relapse. " Justice ! " he muttered. " I do not know 
what is justice. My case is not within the reach of 
common remedies ; perhaps of none. I only know that 
I am miserable. I began life with the best intentions 
and the most fervid philanthropy; and here I am 
miserable miserable beyond expression or endurance.'* 

Having said this, he seemed suddenly to recollect 
himself, and re-assumed his acccustomed dignity and 
command. " How came this conversation ?" cried he. 
M Who gave you a right to be my confidant? Base, 
artful wretch that you are ! learn to be more respect- 
ful ! Are my passions to be wound and unwound by an 
insolent domestic ? Do you think I will be an instru- 
ment to be played on at your pleasure, till you have 
extorted all the treasures of my soul ? Begone, and 
fear lest you be made to pay for the temerity you have 
already committed 1 " 

There was an energy and determination in the ges- 
tures with which these words were accompanied, 
that did not admit of their being disputed. My mouth 
was closed ; I felt as if deprived of all share of activity, 
and was only able silently and passively to quit the 
apartment. 

M 



162 CALEB WILLIAMS. 



CHAPTER III. 

Two days subsequent to this conversation, Mr. Falk- 
land ordered me to be called to him. [I shall continue 
to speak in my narrative of the silent, as well as the 
articulate part of the intercourse between us. His 
countenance was habitually animated and expressive, 
much beyond that of any other man I have seen. The 
curiosity which, as I have said, constituted my ruling 
passion, stimulated me to make it my perpetual study. 
It will also most probably happen, while I am thus 
employed in collecting the scattered incidents of my 
history, that I shall upon some occasions annex to ap- 
pearances an explanation which I was far from possess- 
ing at the time, and was only suggested to me through 
the medium of subsequent events.] 

When I entered the apartment, I remarked in Mr. 
Falkland's countenance an unwonted composure. This 
composure however did not seem to result from in- 
ternal ease, but from an effort which, while he prepared 
himself for an interesting scene, was exerted to prevent 
his presence of mind, and power of voluntary action, 
from suffering any diminution. 

" Williams," said he, " I am determined, whatever it 
may cost me, to have an explanation with you. You are 
a rash and inconsiderate boy, and have given me much 
disturbance. You ought to have known that, though 
I allow you to talk with me upon indifferent subjects, 
it is very improper in you to lead the conversation to 
any thing that relates to my personal concerns. You 
have said many things lately in a very mysterious way, 
and appear to know something more than I am aware 
of. I am equally at a loss to guess how you came by 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 16S 

your knowledge, as of what it consists. But I think I 
perceive too much inclination on your part to trifle with 
my peace of mind. That ought not to be, nor have I 
deserved any such treatment from you. But, be that 
as it will, the guesses in which you oblige me to employ 
myself are too painful. It is a sort of sporting with 
my feelings, which, as a man of resolution, I am de- 
termined to bring to an end. I expect you therefore 
to lay aside all mystery and equivocation, and inform 
me explicitly what it is upon which your allusions are 
built What is it you know ? What is it you want ? 
I have been too much exposed already to unparalleled 
mortification and hardship, and my wounds will not 
bear this perpetual tampering." 

" I feel, sir," answered I, " how wrong I have been, 
and am ashamed that such a one as I should have 
given you all this trouble and displeasure. I felt it at 
the time ;but I have been hurried along, I do not know 
how. I have always tried to stop myself, but the demon 
that possessed me was too strong for me. I know no- 
thing, sir, but what Mr. Collins told me. He told me 
the story of Mr. Tyrrel and Miss Melville and Hawkins. 
I am sure, sir, he said nothing but what was to your 
honour, and proved you to be more an angel than a 



" Well, sir : I found a letter written by that Hawkins 
the other day ; did not that letter fall into your hands ? 
Did not you read it?" 

" For God's sake, sir, turn me out of your house. 
Punish me in some way or other, that I may forgive 
myself. I am a foolish, wicked, despicable wretch. I 
confess, sir, I did read the letter." 

" And how dared you read it ? It was indeed very 
wrong of you. But we will talk of that by and by. 
M 2 



164- CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Well, and what did you say to the letter ? You know, 
it seems, that Hawkins was hanged." 

" I say, sir ? why it went to my heart to read it. I 
say, as I said the day before yesterday, that when I 
see a man of so much principle afterwards deliberately 
proceeding to the very worst of crimes, I can scarcely 
bear to think of it." 

" That is what you say ? It seems too you know 
accursed remembrance ! that I was accused of this 
crime ? " 

I was silent. 

" Well, sir. You know too, perhaps, that from the 
hour the crime was committed yes, sir, that was the 
date [and as he said this, there was somewhat frightful, 
I had almost said diabolical, in his countenance] I 
have not had an hour's peace ; I became changed from 
the happiest to the most miserable thing that lives; 
sleep has fled from my eyes ; joy has been a stranger to 
my thoughts ; and annihilation I should prefer a thou- 
sand times to the being that I am. As soon as I was 
capable of a choice, I chose honour and the esteem of 
mankind as a good I preferred to all others. You 
know, it seems, in how many ways my ambition has 
been disappointed, I do not thank Collins for having 
been the historian of my disgrace, would to God 
that night could be blotted from the memory of man ! 
But the scene of that night, instead of perishing, 
has been a source of ever new calamity to me, which 
must flow for ever ! Am I then, thus miserable and 
ruined, a proper subject upon which for you to exercise 
your ingenuity, and improve your power of torment- 
ing? Was it not enough that I was publicly disho- 
noured? that I was deprived, by the pestilential in- 
fluence of some demon, of the opportunity of avenging 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 165 

my dishonour ? No : in addition to this, I have been 
charged with having in this critical moment inter- 
cepted my own vengeance by the foulest of crimes. 
That trial is past. Misery itself has nothing worse in 
store for me, except what you have inflicted : the 
seeming to doubt of my innocence, which, after the fullest 
and most solemn examination, has been completely 
established. You have forced me to this explanation. 
You have extorted from me a confidence which I had 
no inclination to make. But it is a part of the misery 
of my situation, that I am at the mercy of every crea- 
ture, however little, who feels himself inclined to sport 
with my distress. Be content. You have brought me 
low enough." 

* Oh, sir, I am not content ; I cannot be content ! I 
cannot bear to think what I have done. I shall never 
again be able to look in the face of the best of masters 
and the best of men. I beg of you, sir, to turn me out 
of your service. Let me go and hide myself where I 
may never see you more." 

Mr. Falkland's countenance had indicated great 
severity through the whole of this conversation ; but 
now it became more harsh and tempestuous than ever. 
" How now, rascal !" cried he. " You want to leave 
me, do you? Who told you that I wished to part 
with you ? But you cannot bear to live with such a 
miserable wretch as I am ! You are not disposed to 
put up with the caprices of a man so dissatisfied and 
unjust !" 

w Oh, sir ! do not talk to me thus ! Do with me. 
any thing you will. Kill me if you please." 

Kill you !" [Volumes could not describe the emo* 
tions with which this echo of my words was given and 
received.] 

" Sir, I could die to serve you ! I love you more 
M 3 



166 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

than I can express. I worship you as a being of a 
superior nature. I am foolish, raw, inexperienced, 
worse than any of these ; but never did a thought of 
disloyalty to your service enter into my heart." 

Here our conversation ended ; and the impression it 
made upon my youthful mind it is impossible to de- 
scribe. I thought with astonishment, even with rapture, 
of the attention and kindness towards me I discovered 
in Mr. Falkland, through all the roughness of his 
manner. I could never enough wonder at finding myself, 
humble as I was by my birth, obscure as I had hitherto 
been, thus suddenly become of so much importance to 
the happiness of one of the most enlightened and ac- 
complished men in England. But this consciousness 
attached me to my patron more eagerly than ever, and 
made me swear a thousand times, as I meditated upon 
my situation, that I would never prove unworthy of so 
generous a protector. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Is it not unaccountable that, in the midst of all my in- 
creased veneration for my patron, the first tumult of 
my emotion was scarcely subsided, before the old ques- 
tion that had excited my conjectures recurred to my 
mind, Was he the murderer ? It was a kind of fatal 
impulse, that seemed destined to hurry me to my de- 
struction. I did not wonder at the disturbance that 
was given to Mr. Falkland by any allusion, however 
distant, to this fatal affair. That was as completely 
accounted for from the consideration of his excessive 
sensibility in matters of honour, as it would have been 
upon the supposition of the most atrocious guilt. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 167 

Knowing, as he did, that such a charge had once been 
connected with his name, he would of course be per- 
petually uneasy, and suspect some latent insinuation 
at every possible opportunity. He would doubt and 
fear, lest every man with whom he conversed har- 
boured the foulest suspicion against him. In my case 
he found that I was in possession of some information, 
more than he was aware of, without its being possible 
for him to decide to what it amounted, whether I had 
heard a just or unjust, a candid or calumniatory tale. 
He had also reason to suppose that I gave entertain- 
ment to thoughts derogatory to his honour, and that I 
did not form that favourable judgment, which the ex- 
quisite refinement of his ruling passion made indis- 
pensable to his peace. All these considerations would 
of course maintain in him a state of perpetual uneasi- 
ness. But, though I could find nothing that I could 
consider as justifying me in persisting in the shadow of 
a doubt, yet, as I have said, the uncertainty and rest- 
lessness of my contemplations would by no means de- 
part from me. 

The fluctuating state of my mind produced a con- 
tention of opposite principles, that by turns usurped 
dominion over my conduct. Sometimes I was influ- 
enced by the most complete veneration for my master > 
I placed an unreserved confidence in his integrity and 
his virtue, and implicitly surrendered my understanding 
for him to set it to what point he pleased. At other 
times the confidence, which had before flowed with 
the most plenteous tide, began to ebb ; I was, as I had 
already been, watchful, inquisitive, suspicious, full of a 
thousand conjectures as to the meaning of the most 
indifferent actions. Mr. Falkland, who was most pain- 
fully alive to every thing that related to his honour, 
saw these variations, and betrayed his consciousness of 
M 4 



168 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

them now in one manner, and now in another, fre- 
quently before I was myself aware, sometimes almost 
before they existed. The situation of both was dis- 
tressing ; we were each of us a plague to the other ; 
and I often wondered, that the forbearance and benig- 
nity of my master was not at length exhausted, and 
that he did not determine to thrust from him for ever 
so incessant an observer. There was indeed one emi- 
nent difference between his share in the transaction 
and mine. I had some consolation in the midst of my 
restlessness. Curiosity is a principle that carries its 
pleasures, as well as its pains, along with it. The mind 
is urged by a perpetual stimulus ; it seems as if it were.* 
continually approaching to the end of its race ; and as 
the insatiable desire of satisfaction is its principle of 
conduct, so it promises itself in that satisfaction an 
unknown gratification, which seems as if it were ca- 
pable of fully compensating any injuries that may be 
suffered in the career. But to Mr. Falkland there was 
no consolation. What he endured in the intercourse 
between us appeared to be gratuitous evil. He had 
only to wish that there was no such person as myself 
in the world, and to curse the hour when his humanity 
led him to rescue me from my obscurity, and place me 
in his service. 

A consequence produced upon me by the extraor- 
dinary nature of my situation it is necessary to mention. 
The constant state of vigilance and suspicion in which 
my mind was retained, worked a very rapid change hi 
my character. It seemed to have all the effect that 
might have been expected from years of observation 
and experience. The strictness with which I endea- 
voured to remark what passed in the mind of one man, 
and the variety of conjectures into which I was led, 
appeared, as it were, to render me a competent adept 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 169 

in the different modes in which the human intellect 
displays its secret workings. I no longer said to my- 
self, as I had done in the beginning, " I will ask Mr. 
Falkland whether he were the murderer." On the 
contrary, after having carefully examined the different 
kinds of evidence of which the subject was susceptible, 
and recollecting all that had already passed upon the 
subject, it was not without considerable pain, that I 
felt myself unable to discover any way in which I could 
be perfectly and unalterably satisfied of my patron's 
innocence* As to his guilt, I could scarcely bring 
myself to doubt that in some way or other, sooner or 
later, I should arrive at the knowledge of that, if it 
really existed. But I could not endure to think, almost 
for a moment, of that side of the alternative as true ; 
and with all my ungovernable suspicion arising from 
the mysteriousness of the circumstances, and all the 
delight which a young and unfledged mind receives 
from ideas that give scope to all that imagination can 
picture of terrible or sublime, I could not yet bring 
myself to consider Mr. Falkland's guilt as a supposition 
attended with the remotest probability. 

I hope the reader will forgive me for dwelling thus 
long on preliminary circumstances. I shall come soon 
enough to the story of my own misery. I have already 
said, that one of the motives which induced me to the 
penning of this narrative, was to console myself in my 
insupportable distress. I derive a melancholy pleasure 
from dwelling upon the circumstances which imper- 
ceptibly paved the way to my ruin. While I recollect 
or describe past scenes, which occurred in a more 
favourable period of my life, my attention is called off 
for a short interval, from the hopeless misfortune in 
which I am at present involved. The man must indeed 



170 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

possess an uncommon portion of hardness of heart, who 
can envy me so slight a relief. To proceed. 

For some time after the explanation which had thus 
taken place between me and Mr. Falkland, his melan- 
choly, instead of being in the slightest degree dimi- 
nished by the lenient hand of time, went on perpe- 
tually to increase. His fits of insanity for such I 
must denominate them for want of a distinct ap- 
pellation, though it is possible they might not fall 
under the definition that either the faculty or the court 
of chancery appropriate to the term became stronger 
and more durable than ever. It was no longer prac- 
ticable wholly to conceal them from the family, and 
even from the neighbourhood. He would sometimes, 
without any previous notice, absent himself from his 
house for two or three days, unaccompanied by servant 
or attendant. This was the more extraordinary, as it was 
well known that he paid no visits, nor kept up any sort 
of intercourse with the gentlemen of the vicinity. But 
it was impossible that a man of Mr. Falkland's dis- 
tinction and fortune should long continue in such a 
practice, without its being discovered what was become 
of him ; though a considerable part of our county was 
among the wildest and most desolate districts that are 
to be found in South Britain. Mr. Falkland was some- 
times seen climbing among the rocks, reclining motion- 
less for hours together upon the edge of a precipice, or 
lulled into a kind of nameless lethargy of despair by 
the dashing of the torrents. He would remain for 
whole nights together under the naked cope of heaven, 
inattentive to the consideration either of place or time ; 
insensible to the variations of the weather, or rather 
seeming to be delighted with that uproar of the ele- 
ments, which partially called off his attention from the 
discord and dejection that occupied his own mind. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 171 

At first, when we received intelligence at any time 
of the place to which Mr. Falkland had withdrawn 
himself, some person of his household, Mr. Collins or 
myself, but most generally myself, as I was always at 
home, and always, in the received sense of the word, 
at leisure, went to him to persuade him to return. But, 
after a few experiments, we thought it advisable to 
desist, and leave him to prolong his absence, or to ter- 
minate it, as might happen to suit his own inclination. 
Mr. Collins, whose grey hairs and long services seemed 
to give him a sort of right to be importunate, some- 
times succeeded ; though even in that case there was 
nothing that could sit more uneasily upon Mr. Falk- 
land than this insinuation as if he wanted a guardian 
to take care of him, or as if he were in, or in danger 
of falling into, a state in which he would be incapable 
of deliberately controlling his own words and actions. 
At one time he would suddenly yield to his humble, 
venerable friend, murmuring grievously at the con- 
straint that was put upon him, but without spirit 
enough even to complain of it with energy. At another 
time, even though complying, he would suddenly 
burst out in a paroxysm of resentment. Upon these 
occasions there was something inconceivably, savagely 
terrible in his anger, that gave to the person against 
whom it was directed the most humiliating and insup- 
portable sensations. Me he always treated, at these 
times, with fierceness, and drove me from him with a 
vehemence lofty, emphatical, and sustained, beyond 
any thing of which I should have thought human 
nature to be capable. These sallies seemed always to 
constitute a sort of crisis in his indisposition; and, 
whenever he was induced to such a premature return, 
he would fall immediately after into a state of the most 
melancholy inactivity, in which he usually continued 



172 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

for two or three days. It was by an obstinate fatality 
that, whenever I saw Mr. Falkland in these deplorable 
situations, and particularly when I lighted upon him 
after having sought him among the rocks and preci- 
pices, pale, emaciated, solitary, and haggard, the sug- 
gestion would continually recur to me, in spite of in- 
clination, in spite of persuasion, and in spite of evidence, 
Surely this man is a murderer I 



m CHAPTER V. 

IT was in one of the lucid intervals, as I may term, 
them, that occurred during this period, that a peasant 
was brought before him, in his character of a justice of 
peace, upon an accusation of having murdered his 
fellow. As Mr. Falkland had by this time acquired 
the repute of a melancholy valetudinarian, it is pro- 
bable he would not have been called upon to act in his 
official character upon the present occasion, had it not 
been that two or three of the neighbouring justices were 
all of them from home at once, so that he was the only 
one to be found in a circuit of many miles. The reader 
however must not imagine, though I have employed the 
word insanity in describing Mr. Falkland's symptoms, 
that he was by any means reckoned for a ma<lman by 
Jie generality of those who had occasion to observe him. 
It is true that his behaviour, at certain times, was sin- 
gular and unaccountable ; but then, at other times,, 
there was in it so much dignity, regularity, and eco- 
nomy ; he knew so well how to command and make 
himself respected ; his actions and carriage were so 
condescending, considerate, and benevolent, that, far 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 17S 

from having forfeited the esteem of the unfortunate or 
the many, they were loud and earnest in his praises. 

I was present at the examination of this peasant. 
The moment I heard of the errand which had brought 
this rabble of visitors, a sudden thought struck me. I 
conceived the possibility of rendering the incident 
subordinate to the great enquiry which drank up all 
the currents of my soul. I said, this man is arraigned 
of murder, and murder is the master-key that wakes 
distemper in the mind of Mr. Falkland. I will watch 
him without remission. I will trace all the mazes of 
his thought. Surely at such a time his secret anguish 
must betray itself. Surely, if it be not my own fault, 
I shall now be able to discover the state of his plea 
before the tribunal of unerring justice. 

I took my station in a manner most favourable to 
the object upon which my mind was intent. I could 
perceive in Mr. Falkland's features, as he entered, a 
strong reluctance to the business in which he was en* 
gaged; but there was no possibility of retreating. 
His countenance was embarrassed and anxious; he 
scarcely saw any body. The examination had not 
proceeded far, before he chanced to turn his eye to 
the part of the room where I was. It happened in 
this as in some preceding instances -we exchanged a 
silent look, by which we told volumes to each other. 
Mr. Falkland's complexion turned from red to pale, 
and from pale to red. I perfectly understood his 
feelings, and would willingly have withdrawn myself. 
But it was impossible ; my passions were too deeply 
engaged ; I was rooted to the spot ; though my own 
life, that of my master, or almost of a whole nation 
had been at stake, I had no power to change my 
position. 

The first surprise however having subsided, Mr. 



174? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Falkland assumed a look of determined constancy, and 
even seemed to increase in self-possession .much 
beyond what could have been expected from his first 
entrance. This he could probably have maintained, 
had it not been that the scene, instead of being per- 
manent, was in some sort perpetually changing. The 
man who was brought before him was vehemently 
accused by the brother of the deceased as having 
acted from the most rooted malice. He swore that 
there had been an old grudge between the parties, 
and related several instances of it. He affirmed that 
the murderer had sought the earliest opportunity of 
wreaking his revenge ; had struck the first blow ; and, 
though the contest was in appearance only a common 
boxing match, had watched the occasion of giving a 
fatal stroke, which was followed by the instant death 
of his antagonist. 

* While the accuser was giving in his evidence, the 
accused discovered every token of the most poignant 
sensibility. At one time his features were convulsed 
with anguish ; tears unbidden trickled down his manly 
cheeks; and at another he started with apparent asto- 
nishment at the unfavourable turn that was given 
to the narrative, though without betraying any impa- 
tience to interrupt. I never saw a man less ferocious in 
his appearance. He was tall, well made, and comely. 
His countenance was ingenuous and benevolent, with- 
out folly. By his side stood a young woman, his 
sweetheart, extremely agreeable in her person, and 
her looks testifying how deeply she interested herself 
in the fate of her lover. The accidental spectators 
were divided, between indignation against the enor- 
mity of the supposed criminal, and compassion for the 
poor girl that accompanied him. They seemed to take 
little notice of the favourable appearances visible in 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 175 

the person of the accused, till, in the sequel, those 
appearances were more forcibly suggested to their 
attention. For Mr. Falkland, he was at one moment 
engrossed by curiosity and earnestness to investigate 
the tale, while at another he betrayed a son of revul- 
sion of sentiment, which made the investigation too 
painful for him to support. 

When the accused was called upon for his defence, 
he readily owned the misunderstanding that had ex- 
isted, and that the deceased was the worst enemy he 
had in the world. Indeed he was his only enemy, and 
he could not tell the reason that had made him so. 
He had employed every effort to overcome his ani- 
mosity, but in vain. The deceased had upon all oc- 
casions sought to mortify him, and do him an ill turn ; 
but he had resolved never to be engaged in a broil 
with him, and till this day he had succeeded. If he 
had met with a misfortune with any other man, people 
at least might have thought it accident ; but now it 
would always be believed that he had acted from 
secret malice and a bad heart. 

; The fact was, that he and his sweetheart had gone 
to a neighbouring fair, where this man had met them. 
The man had < >i u u tried to affront him ; and his pas- 
siveness, interpreted into cowardice, had perhaps en- 
couraged the other to additional rudeness. Finding 
that he had endured trivial insults to himself with an 
even temper, the deceased now thought proper to turn 
his brutality upon the young woman that accompanied 
him. He pursued them ; he endeavoured in various 
manners to harass and vex them ; they had sought in 
vain to shake him off. The young woman was consi- 
derably terrified. The accused expostulated with 
their persecutor, and asked him how he could be so 
barbarous as to persist in frightening a woman ? He 



176 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

replied with an insulting tone, Then the woman 
should find some one able to protect her ; people that 
encouraged and trusted to such a thief as that, de- 
served no better I" The accused tried every expedient 
he could invent; at length he could enduer it no 
longer; he became exasperated, and challenged the 
assailant. The challenge was accepted ; a ring was 
formed ; he confided the care of his sweetheart to a 
bystander; and unfortunately the first blow he struck 
proved fatal. 

The accused added, that he did not care what be- 
came of him. He had been anxious to go through the 
world in an inoffensive manner, and now he had the 
guilt of blood upon him. He did not know but it 
would be kindness in them to hang him out of the 
way ; for his conscience would reproach him as long 
as he lived, and the figure of the deceased, as he had 
lain senseless and without motion at his feet, would 
perpetually haunt him. The thought of this man, 
at one moment full of life and vigour, and the next 
lifted a helpless corpse from the ground, and all owing 
to him, was a thought too dreadful to be endured. 
He had loved the poor maiden, who had been the in* 
nocent occasion of this, with all his heart ; but from 
this time he should never support the sight of her. 
The sight would bring a tribe of fiends in its rear. 
One unlucky minute had poisoned all his hopes, and 
made life a burden to him. Saying this, his counte- 
nance fell, the muscles^of his face trembled with agony, 
and he looked the statue of despair. 

This was the story of which Mr. Falkland was called 
upon to be the auditor. Though the incidents were, 
for the most part, wide of those which belonged to the 
adventures of the preceding volume, and there had 
been much less policy and skill displayed on either 



i 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 177 

part in this rustic encounter, yet there were many 
points which, to a man who bore the former strongly 
in his recollection, suggested a sufficient resemblance. 
In each case it was a human brute persisting in a 
course of hostility to a man of benevolent character, 
and suddenly and terribly cut off in the midst of his 
career. These points perpetually smote upon the 
heart of Mr. Falkland. He at one time started with 
astonishment, and at another shifted his posture, like a 
man who is unable longer to endure the sensations 
that press upon him. Then he new strung his nerves 
to stubborn patience. I could see, while his muscles 
preserved an inflexible steadiness, tears of anguish 
roll down his cheeks. He dared not trust his eyes to 
glance towards the side of the room where I stood ; 
and this gave an air of embarrassment to his whole 
figure. But when the accused came to speak of his 
feelings, to describe the depth of his compunction for 
an involuntary fault, he could endure it no longer. He 
suddenly rose, and with every mark of horror and de- 
spair rushed out of the room. 

This circumstance made no material difference in 
the affair of the accused. The parties were detained 
about half an hour. Mr. Falkland had already heard 
the material parts of the evidence in person. At the 
expiration of that interval, he sent for Mr. Collins out 
of the room. The story of the culprit was confirmed 
by many witnesses who had seen the transaction. 
Word was brought that my master was indisposed ; 
and, at the same time, the accused was ordered to be 
discharged. The vengeance of the brother however, 
as I afterwards found, did not rest here, and he met 
with a magistrate, more scrupulous or more despotic, 
by whom the culprit was committed for trial. 

This affair was no sooner concluded, than I hast- 

N 



178 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ened into the garden, and plunged into the deepest of 
its thickets. My mind was full, almost to bursting. 
I no sooner conceived myself sufficiently removed from 
all observation, than my thoughts forced their way 
spontaneously to my tongue, and I exclaimed, in a fit 
of uncontrollable enthusiasm, " This is the murderer; 
the Hawkinses were innocent ! I am sure of it ! I 
will pledge my life for it ! It is out I It is discovered ! 
Guilty, upon my soul ! " 

While I thus proceeded with hasty steps along the 
most secret paths of the garden, and from time to time 
gave vent to the tumult of my thoughts in involuntary 
exclamations, I felt as if my animal system had under- 
gone a total revolution. My blood boiled within me. 
I was conscious to a kind of rapture for which I could 
not account. I was solemn, yet full of rapid emotion, 
burning with indignation and energy. In the very 
tempest and hurricane of the passions, I seemed to 
enjoy the most soul-ravishing calm. I cannot better 
express the then state of my mind than by saying, I 
was never so perfectly alive as at that moment. 

This state of mental elevation continued for several 
hours, but at length subsided, and gave place to more 
deliberate reflection. One of the first questions that 
then occurred was, what shall I do with the knowledge 
I have been so eager to acquire? I had no inclination 
to turn informer. I felt what I had had no previous 
conception of, that it was possible to love a murderer, 
and, as I then understood it, the worst of murderers. 
I conceived it to be in the highest degree absurd and 
iniquitous, to cut off a man qualified for the most 
essential and extensive utility, merely out of retrospect 
to an act which, whatever were its merits, could not 
be retrieved. 

This thought led me to another, which had at first 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 179 

passed unnoticed. If I hud been disposed to turn in- 
former, what had occurred amounted to no evidence 
that was admissible in a court of justice. Well then, 
added I, if it be such as would not be admitted at a 
criminal tribunal, am I sure it is such as I ought to 
admit? There were twenty persons besides myself 
present at the scene from which I pretend to derive 
such entire conviction. Not one of them saw it in the 
light that I did. It either appeared to them a casual 
and unimportant circumstance, or they thought it suf- 
ficiently accounted for by Mr. Falkland's infirmity and 
misfortunes. Did it really contain such an extent of 
arguments and application, that nobody but I was dis- 
cerning enough to see? 

But all this reasoning produced no alteration in my 
way of thinking. For this time I could not get it out 
of my mind for a moment : Mr. Falkland is the mur- 
derer ! He is guilty ! I see it I I feel it ! I am sure of 
it!" Thus was I hurried along by an uncontrollable 
destiny. The state of my passions in their progressive 
career, the inquisitiveness and impatience of my 
thoughts, appeared to make this determination un- 
avoidable. 

An incident occurred while I was in the garden, that 
seemed to make no impression upon me at the time, 
but which I recollected when my thoughts were got 
into somewhat of a slower motion. In the midst of 
one of my paroxysms of exclamation, and when I 
thought myself most alone, the shadow of a man as 
avoiding me passed transiently by me at a small dis- 
tance. Though I had scarcely caught a faint glimpse 
of his person, there was something in the occurrence 
that persuaded me it was Mr. Falkland. I shuddered 
at the possibility of his having overheard the words of 
my soliloquy. But this idea, alarming as it was, had 
N 2 



180 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

not power immediately to suspend the career of my re-? 
flections. Subsequent circumstances however brought 
back the apprehension to my mind. I had scarcely a 
doubt of its reality, when dinner-time came, and Mr. 
Falkland was not to be found. Supper and bed-time 
passed in the same manner. The only conclusion made 
by his servants upon this circumstance was, that he was 
gone upon one of his accustomed melancholy rambles. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE period at which my story is now arrived seemed 
as if it were the very crisis of the fortune of Mr. Falk- 
land. Incident followed upon incident, in a kind of 
breathless succession. About nine o'clock the next 
morning an alarm was given, that one of the chimneys 
of the house was on fire. No accident could be appa- 
rently more trivial ; but presently it blazed with such 
fury, as to make it clear that some beam of the house, 
which in the first building had been improperly placed, 
had been reached by the flames. Some danger was 
apprehended for the whole edifice. The confusion 
was the greater, in consequence of the absence of the 
master, as well as of Mr. Collins, the steward. While 
some of the domestics were employed in endeavouring 
to extinguish the flames, it was thought proper that 
others should busy themselves in removing the most 
valuable moveables to a lawn in the garden. I took 
some command in the affair, to which indeed my station 
in the family seemed to entitle me, and for which I 
was judged qualified by my understanding and mental 
resources. 

Having given some general directions, I conceived, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 



181 



that it was not enough to stand by and superintend, 
but that 1 should contribute my personal labour in the 
public concern. I set out for that purpose ; and my 
steps, by some mysterious fatality, were directed to the 
private apartment at the end of the library. Here, as 
I looked round, my eye was suddenly caught by the 
trunk mentioned in the first pages of my narrative. 

My mind was already raised to its utmost pitch. In 
a window-seat of the room lay a number of chisels and 
other carpenter's tools. I know not what infatuation 
instantaneously seized me. The idea was too powerful 
to be resisted. I forgot the business upon which I 
came, the employment of the servants, and the urgency 
of general danger. I should have done the same if the 
flames that seemed to extend as they proceeded, and 
already surmounted the house, had reached this very 
apartment. I snatched a tool suitable for the purpose, 
threw myself upon the ground, and applied with eager- 
ness to a magazine which inclosed all for which ray 
heart panted. After two or three efforts, in which the 
energy of uncontrollable passion was added to my bodily 
strength, the fastenings gave way, the trunk opened, 
and all that I sought was at once within my reach. 

I was in the act of lifting up the lid, when Mr. 
Falkland entered, wild, breathless, distracted in his 
looks ! He had been brought home from a considerable 
distance by the sight of the flames. At the moment of 
his appearance the lid dropped down from my hand. 
He no sooner saw me than his eyes emitted sparks of 
rage. He ran with eagerness to a brace of loaded 
pistols which hung in the room, and, seizing one, pre- 
sented it to my head I saw his design, and sprang to 
avoid it ; but, witn tne same rapidity with which he had 
formed his resolution, he changed it, and instantly went 
to the window, and flung the pistol into the court below. 

N3 



182 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

He bade me begone with his usual irresistible energy ; 
and, overcome as I was already by the horror of the 
detection, I eagerly complied. 

A moment after, a considerable part of the chimney 
tumbled with noise into the court below, and a voice 
exclaimed that the fire was more violent than ever. 
These circumstances seemed to produce a mechanical 
effect upon my patron, who, having first locked the 
closet, appeared on the outside of the house, ascended 
the roof, and was in a moment in every place where his 
presence was required. The flames were at length 
extinguished. 

The reader can with difficulty form a conception of 
the state to which I was now reduced. My act was 
in some sort an act of insanity; but how undescribable 
are the feelings with which I looked back upon it ! It 
was an instantaneous impulse, a short-lived and passing 
alienation of mind ; but what must Mr. Falkland th ink 
of that alienation? To any man a person who had 
once shown himself capable of so wild a flight of the 
mind, must appear dangerous : how must he appear to 
a man under Mr. Falkland's circumstances ? I had just 
had a pistol held to my head, by a man resolved to put 
a period to my existence. That indeed was past ; but 
what was it that fate had yet in reserve for me ! The 
insatiable vengeance of a Falkland, of a man whose 
hands were, to my apprehension, red with blood, and 
his thoughts familiar with cruelty and murder. Hew 
great were the resources of his mind, resources hence- 
forth to be confederated for my destruction I This was 
the termination of an ungoverned curiosity, an impulse 
that I had represented to myself as so innocent or so 
venial. 

In the high tide of boiling passion I had overlooked 
all consequences. It now appeared to me like a dream. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 183 

Is it in man to leap from the high-raised precipice, or 
rush unconcerned into the midst of flames ? Was it 
possible I could have forgotten for a moment the awe- 
creating manners of Falkland, and the inexorable fury 
I should awake in his soul ? No thought of future 
security had reached my mind. I had acted upon no 
plan. I had conceived no means of concealing my 
deed, after it had once been effected. But it was over 
now. One short minute had effected a reverse in my 
situation, the suddenness of which the history of man, 
perhaps is unable to surpass. 

I have always been at a loss to account for my having 
plunged thus headlong into an act so monstrous. There 
is something in it of unexplained and involuntary sym- 
pathy. One sentiment flows, by necessity of nature, 
into another sentiment of the same general character. 
This was the first instance in which I had witnessed a 
danger by fire. All was confusion around me, and all 
changed into hurricane within. The general situation, 
to my unpractised apprehension, appeared desperate, 
and I by contagion became alike desperate. At first I 
had been in some degree calm and collected, but that 
too was a desperate effort ; and when it gave way, a 
kind of instant insanity became its successor. 

I had now every thing to fear. And yet what was 
my fault? It proceeded from none of those errors 
which are justly held up to the aversion of mankind ; 
my object had been neither wealth, nor the means of 
indulgence, nor the usurpation of power. No spark of 
malignity had harboured in my soul. I had always 
reverenced the sublime mind of Mr. Falkland ; I reve- 
renced it still. My offence had merely been a mistaken 
thirst of knowledge. Such however it was, as to admit 
neither of forgiveness nor remission. This epoch was 
the crisis of my fate, dividing what may be called the 
N 4 



184? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

offensive part from the defensive, which has been the 
sole business of my remaining years. Alas ! my offence 
was short, not aggravated by any sinister intention : 
but the reprisals I was to suffer are long, and can ter- 
minate only with my life ! 

In the state in which I found myself, when the 
recollection of what I had done flowed back upon my 
mind, I was incapable of any resolution. All was chaos 
and uncertainty within me. My thoughts were too 
full of horror to be susceptible of activity. I felt de- 
serted of my intellectual powers, palsied in mind, and 
compelled to sit in speechless expectation of the misery 
to which I was destined. To my own conception I 
was like a man, who, though blasted with lightning, and 
deprived for ever of the power of motion, should yet 
retain the consciousness of his situation. Death- 
dealing despair was the only idea of which I was 
sensible. 

I was still in this situation of mind when Mr. Falk- 
land sent for me. His message roused me from my 
trance. In recovering, I felt those sickening and loath- 
some sensations, which a man may be supposed at first 
to endure who should return from the sleep of death. 
Gradually I recovered the power of arranging my 
ideas and directing my steps. I understood, that the 
minute the affair of the fire was over Mr. Falkland had 
retired to his own room. It was evening before he 
ordered me to be called. 

I found in him every token of extreme distress, ex- 
cept that there was an air of solemn and sad composure 
that crowned the whole. For the present, all appear- 
ance of gloom, stateliness, and austerity was gone. As 
I entered he looked up, and, seeing who it was, ordered 
me to bolt the door. I obeyed. He went round the 
room, and examined its other avenues. He then re- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 185 

turned to where I stood. I trembled in every joint of 
my frame. I exclaimed within myself, " What scene 
of death has Roscius now to act ? " 

" Williams 1 " said he, in a tone which had more in 
it of sorrow than resentment, " I have attempted your 
life I I am a wretch devoted to the scorn and exe- 
cration of mankind !" There he stopped. 

If there be one being on the whole earth that 
feels the scorn and execration due to such a wretch 
more strongly than another, it is myself. I have been 
kept in a state of perpetual torture and madness. But 
I can put an end to it and its consequences ; and, so 
far at least as relates to you, I am determined to do it. 
I know the price, and I will make the purchase. 

" You must swear," said he. " You must attest 
every sacrament, divine and human, never to disclose 
what I am now to tell you." He dictated the oath, 
and I repeated it with an aching heart. I had no power 
to offer a word of remark. 

" This confidence," said he, " is of your seeking, 
not of mine. It is odious to me, and is dangerous to 
you." 

Having thus prefaced the disclosure he had to make, 
he paused. He seemed to collect himself as for an 
effort of magnitude. He wiped his face with his hand- 
kerchief. Tin- moisture that incommoded him appeared 
not to be tears, but sweat. 

" Look at me. Observe me. Is it not strange that 
such a one as I should retain lineaments of a human 
creature ? I am the blackest of villains. I am the 
murderer of Tyrrel. I am the assassin of the Hawk- 
inses." 

I started with terror, and was silent. 

" What a story is mine I Insulted, disgraced, pol- 
luted in the face of hundreds, I was capable of any 



186 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 



act of desperation. I watched my opportunity, fol- 
lowed Mr. Tyrrel from the rooms, seized a sharp- 
pointed knife that fell in my way, came behind him, 
and stabbed him to the heart. My gigantic oppressor 
rolled at my feet. 

" All are but links of one chain. A blow I A mur- 
der ! My next business was to defend myself, to tell 
so well-digested a lie as that all mankind should be- 
lieve it true. Never was a task so harrowing and 
intolerable ! 

" Well, thus far fortune favoured me ; she favoured 
me beyond my desire. The guilt was removed from 
me, and cast upon another; but this I was to endure. 
Whence came the circumstantial evidence against him, 
the broken knife and the blood, I am unable to tell. I 
suppose, by some miraculous accident, Hawkins was 
passing by, and endeavoured to assist his oppressor in 
the agonies of death. You have heard his story ; you 
have read one of his letters. But you do not know 
the thousandth part of the proofs of his simple and un- 
alterable rectitude that I have known. His son suffered 
with him ; that son, for the sake of whose happiness 
and virtue he ruined himself, and would have died a 
hundred times. I have had feelings, but I cannot de- 
scribe them. 

" This it is to be a gentleman ! a man of honour ! 
1 was the fool of fame. My virtue, my honesty, my 
everlasting peace of mind, were cheap sacrifices to be 
made at the shrine of this divinity. But, what is worse, 
there is nothing that has happened that has in any 
degree contributed to my cure. I am as much the fool 
of fame as ever. I cling to it to my last breath. 
Though I be the blackest of villains, I will leave 
behind me a spotless and illustrious name. There is 
no crime so malignant, no scene of blood so horrible, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 18? 

in which that object cannot engage me. It is no 
matter that I regard these things at a distance with 

aversion; 1 am sure of it ; bring me to the test, and 

I shall yield. I despise myself, but thus I am ; things 
are gone too far to be recalled. 

\Vhy is it that I am compelled to this confidence? 
From the love of fame. I should tremble at the sight 
of every pistol or instrument of death that offered itself 
to my hands ; and perhaps my next murder may not 
be so fortunate as those I have already committed. 
I had no alternative but to make you my confidant or 
my victim. It was better to trust you with the whole 
truth under every seal of secrecy, than to live in per- 
petual fear of your penetration or your rashness. 

" Do you know what it is you have done? To gratify 
a foolishly inquisitive humour, you have sold yourself. 
You shall continue in my service, but can never share 
my affection. I will benefit you in respect of fortune, 
but I shall always hate you. If ever an unguarded word 
escape from your lips, if ever you excite my jealousy 
or suspicion, expect to pay for it by your death or 
worse. It is a dear bargain you have made. But it 
is too late to look back. I charge and adjure you by 
every thing that is sacred, and that is tremendous, 
preserve your faith ! 

" My tongue has now for the first time for several 
years spoken the language of my heart ; and the in- 
tercourse from this hour shall be shut for ever. I want 
no pity. I desire no consolation. Surrounded as I am 
with horrors, I will at least preserve my fortitude to 
the last If I had been reserved to a different destiny 
I have qualities in that respect worthy of a better 
cause. I can be mad, miserable, and frantic ; but even 
in frenzy I can preserve my presence of mind and 
discretion." 



188 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Such was the story I had been so desirous to know. 
Though my mind had brooded upon the subject for 
months, there was not a syllable of it that did not come 
to my ear with the most perfect sense of novelty. 
" Mr. Falkland is a murderer ! " said I, as I retired 
from the conference. This dreadful appellative, " a 
murderer," made my very blood run cold within me. 
" He killed Mr. Tyrrel, for he could not control his 
resentment and anger : he sacrificed Hawkins the elder 
and Hawkins the younger, because he could upon no 
terms endure the public loss of honour : how can I 
expect that a man thus passionate and unrelenting will 
not sooner or later make me his victim ? " 

But, notwithstanding this terrible application of the 
story, an application to which perhaps in some form 
or other, mankind are indebted for nine tenths of their 
abhorrence against vice, I could not help occasionally 
recurring to reflections of an opposite nature. " Mr. 
Falkland is a murderer ! " resumed I. " He might yet 
be a most excellent man, if he did but think so." It is 
the thinking ourselves vicious then, that principally 
contributes to make us vicious. 

Amidst the shock I received from finding, what I 
had never suffered myself constantly to believe, that my 
suspicions were true, I still discovered new cause 01 
admiration for my master. His menaces indeed were 
terrible. But, when I recollected the offence I -had 
given, so contrary to every received principle of civi- 
'ised society, so insolent and rude, so intolerable to a 
nan of Mr. Falkland's elevation, and in Mr. Falkland's 
peculiarity of circumstances, I was astonished at his 
.forbearance. There were indeed sufficiently obvious 
reasons why he might not choose to proceed to ex- 
tremities with me. But how different from the fearful 
expectations I had conceived were the calmness of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 189 

his behaviour, and the regulated mildness of his 
language I In this respect, I for a short time imagined 
that I was emancipated from the mischiefs which had 
appalled me ; and that, in having to do with a man of 
Mr. Falkland's liberality, I had nothing rigorous to 
apprehend. 

" It is a miserable prospect," said I, " that he holds 
up to me. He imagines that I am restrained by no 
principles, and deaf to the claims of personal excel- 
lence. But he shall find himself mistaken. I will 
never become an informer. I will never injure my 
patron; and therefore he will not be my enemy. 
With all his misfortunes and all his errors, I feel that my 
goul yearns for his welfare. If he have been criminal, 
that is owing to circumstances ; the same qualities 
under other circumstances would have been, or rather 
were, sublimely beneficent." 

My reasonings were, no doubt, infinitely more 
favourable to Mr. Falkland, than those which human 
beings are accustomed to make in the case of such as 
they style great criminals. This will not be wondered 
at, when it is considered that I had myself just been 
trampling on the established boundaries of obligation, 
and therefore might well have a fellow-feeling for 
other offenders. Add to which, I had known Mr. 
Falkland from the first as a beneficent divinity. I had 
observed at leisure, and with a minuteness which could 
not deceive me, the excellent qualities of his heart ; 
and I found him possessed of a mind beyond com- 
parison the most fertile and accomplished I had ever 
known. 

But though the terrors which had impressed me 
were considerably alleviated, my situation was not- 
withstanding sufficiently miserable. The ease and 
light-heartedness of my youth were for ever gone. 



190 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

The voice of an irresistible necessity had commanded 
me to " sleep no more." I was tormented with a secret, 
of which I must never disburthen myself; and this 
consciousness was, at my age, a source of perpetual 
melancholy. I had made myself a prisoner, in the 
most intolerable sense of that term, for years perhaps 
for the rest of my life. Though my prudence and dis- 
cretion should be invariable, I must remember that I 
should have an overseer, vigilant from conscious guilt, 
full of resentment at the unjustifiable means by which 
I had extorted from him a confession, and whose 
lightest caprice might at any time decide upon every 
thing that was dear to me. The vigilance even 
of a public and systematical despotism is poor, com- 
pared with a vigilance which is thus goaded by the 
most anxious passions of the soul. Against this species 
of persecution I knew not how to invent a refuge. I 
dared neither fly from the observation of Mr. Falkland, 
nor continue exposed to its operation. I was at first 
indeed lulled in a certain degree to security upon the 
verge of the precipice. But it was not long before I 
found a thousand circumstances perpetually reminding 
me of my true situation. Those I am now to relate 
are among the most memorable. 



CHAPTER VII. 

IN no long time after the disclosure Mr. Falkland had 
made, Mr. Forester, his elder brother by the mother's 
side, came to reside for a short period in our family. 
This was a circumstance peculiarly adverse to my 
patron's habits and inclinations. He had broken off, as 
I have already said, all intercourse of visiting with his 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 191 

neighbours. He debarred himself every kind of amuse- 
ment and relaxation. He shrunk from the society of 
his fellows, and thought he could never be sufficiently 
buried in obscurity and solitude. This principle was, 
in most cases, of no difficult execution to a man of 
firmness. But Mr. Falkland knew not how to avoid 
the visit of Mr. Forester. This gentleman was just 
returned from a residence of several years upon the 
continent ; and his demand of an apartment in the house 
of his half-brother, till his own house at the distance 
of thirty miles should be prepared for his reception, 
was made with an air of confidence that scarcely ad- 
mitted of a refusal. Mr. Falkland could only allege, 
that the state of his health and spirits was such, that 
he feared a residence at his house would be little agree- 
able to his kinsman ; and Mr. Forester conceived that 
this was a disqualification which would always augment 
in proportion as it was tolerated, and hoped that his 
society, by inducing Mr. Falkland to suspend his habits 
of seclusion, would be the means of essential benefit. 
Mr. Falkland opposed him no further. He would have 
been sorry to be thought unkind to a kinsman for 
whom he had a particular esteem ; and the conscious- 
ness of not daring to assign the true reason, made him 
cautious of adhering to his objection. 

The character of Mr. Forester was, in many respects, 
the reverse of that of my master. His very appear- 
ance indicated the singularity of his disposition. His 
figure was short and angular. His eyes were sunk far 
into his head, and were overhung with eye-brows, 
black, thick, and bushy. His complexion was swarthy, 
and his lineaments hard. He had seen much of the 
world ; but, to judge of him from his appearance and 
manners, one would have thought that he had never 
moved from his fire-side. 



192 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

His temper was acid, petulant, and harsh. He was 
easily offended by trifles, respecting which, previously 
to the offence, the persons with whom he had inter- 
course could have no suspicion of such a result. When 
offended, his customary behaviour was exceedingly 
rugged. He thought only of setting the delinquent 
right, and humbling him for his error; and, in his 
eagerness to do this, overlooked the sensibility of the 
sufferer, and the pains he inflicted. Remonstrance in 
such a case he regarded as the offspring of cowardice, 
which was to be extirpated with a steady and unshrink- 
ing hand, and not soothed with misjudging kindness 
and indulgence. As is usual in human character, he 
had formed a system of thinking to suit the current of 
his feelings. He held that the kindness we entertain 
for a man should be veiled and concealed, exerted in 
substantial benefits, but not disclosed, lest an undue 
advantage should be taken of it by its object. 

With this rugged outside, Mr. Forester had a warm 
and generous heart. At first sight all men were deterred 
by his manner, and excited to give him an ill character. 
But the longer any one knew him, the more they 
approved him. His harshness was then only considered 
as habit ; and strong sense and active benevolence 
were uppermost in the recollection of his familiar 
acquaintance. His conversation, when he condescended 
to lay aside his snappish, rude, and abrupt half-sentences, 
became flowing in diction, and uncommonly amusing 
with regard to its substance. He combined, with 
weightiness of expression, a dryness of characteristic 
humour, that demonstrated at once the vividness of his 
observation, and the force of his understanding. 

The peculiarities of this gentleman's character were 
not undisplayed in the scene to which he was now 
introduced. Having much kindness in his disposition, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 193 

he soon became deeply interested in the unhappiness 
of his relation. He did every thing in his power to 
remove it ; but his attempts were rude and unskilful. 
With a mind so accomplished and a spirit so suscep- 
tible as that of Mr. Falkland, Mr. Forester did not 
venture to let loose his usual violence of manner ; but, 
it' lie carefully abstained from harshness, he was how- 
ever wholly incapable of that sweet and liquid eloquence 
of the soul, which would perhaps have stood the fairest 
chance of seducing Mr. Falkland for a moment to forget 
his anguish. He exhorted his host to rouse up his 
spirit, and defy the foul fiend ; but the tone of his 
exhortations found no sympathetic chord in the mind 
of my patron. He had not the skill to carry conviction 
to an understanding so well fortified in error. In a 
word, after a thousand efforts of kindness to his enter- 
tainer, he drew off his forces, growling and dissatisfied 
with his own impotence, rather than angry at the 
obstinacy of Mr. Falkland. He felt no diminution of 
his affection for him, and was sincerely grieved to find 
that he was so little capable of serving him. Both 
parties in this case did justice to the merits of the 
other; at the same time that the disparity of their 
humours was such, as to prevent the stranger from 
being in any degree a dangerous companion to the 
master of the house. They had scarcely one point of 
contact in their characters. Mr. Forester was incapable 
of giving Mr. Falkland that degree either of pain or 
pleasure, which can raise the soul into a tumult, and 
deprive it for a while of tranquillity and self-command. 
Our visitor was a man, notwithstanding appearances, 
of a peculiarly sociable disposition, and, where he was 
neither interrupted nor contradicted, considerably lo- 
quacious. He began to feel himself painfully out of 
his element upon the present occasion. Mr. Falkland 
o 



194- CALEB WILLIAMS. 

was devoted to contemplation and solitude. He put 
upon himself some degree of restraint upon the arrival 
of his kinsman, though even then his darling habits 
would break out. But when they had seen each other 
a certain number of times, and it was sufficiently 
evident that the society of either would be a burthen 
rather than a pleasure to the other, they consented, by 
a sort of silent compact, that each should be at liberty 
to follow his own inclination. Mr. Falkland was, in a 
sense,' the greatest gainer by this. He returned to the 
habits of his choice, and acted, as nearly as possible, 
just as he would have done if Mr. Forester had not 
been in existence. But the latter was wholly at a loss. 
He had all the disadvantages of retirement, without 
being able, as he might have done at his house, to bring 
his own associates or his own amusements about him. 

In this situation he cast his eyes upon me. It was 
his principle to do every thing that his thoughts sug- 
gested, without caring for the forms of the world. He 
saw no reason why a peasant, with certain advantages 
of education and opportunity, might not be as eligible 
a companion as a lord ; at the same time that he was 
deeply impressed with the venerableness of old insti- 
tutions. Reduced as he was to a kind of last resort, 
he found me better qualified for his purpose than any 
other of Mr. Falkland's household. 

The manner in which he began this sort of corre- 
spondence was sufficiently characteristical. It was abrupt; 
but it was strongly stamped with essential benevolence. 
It was blunt and humorous ; but there was attractive- 
ness, especially in a case of unequal intercourse, in that 
very rusticity by which he levelled himself with the 
mass of his species. He had to reconcile himself as 
well as to invite me ; not to reconcile himself to the 
postponing an aristocratical vanity, for of that he had a 






CALEB WILLIAMS. 195 

very slender portion, but to the trouble of invitation, 
for he loved his ease. All this produced some irregu- 
larity and indecision in his own mind, and gave a 
whimsical impression to his behaviour. 

On my part, I was by no means ungrateful for the 
distinction that was paid me. My mind had been 
relaxed into temporary dejection, but my reserve had 
no alloy of moroseness or insensibility. It did not long 
hold out against the condescending attentions of Mr. 
Forester. I became gradually heedful, encouraged, 
confiding. I had a most eager thirst for the know- 
ledge of mankind ; and though no person perhaps ever 
purchased so dearly the instructions he received in 
that school, the inclination was in no degree diminished. 
Mr. Forester was the second man I had seen uncom- 
monly worthy of my analysis, and who seemed to my 
thoughts, arrived as I was at the end of my first essay, 
almost as much deserving to be studied as Mr. Falk- 
land himself. I was glad to escape from the uneasiness 
of my reflections ; and, while engaged with this new 
friend, I forgot the criticalness of the evils with which 
I was hourly menaced. 

Stimulated by these feelings, I was what Mr. 
Forester wanted, a diligent and zealous hearer. I was 
strongly susceptible of impression ; and the alternate 
impressions my mind received, visibly displayed them- 
selves in my countenance and gestures. The observ- 
ations Mr. Forester had made in his travels, the set 
of opinions he had formed, all amused and interested 
me. His manner of telling a story, or explaining his 
thoughts, was forcible, perspicuous, and original : his 
style in conversation had an uncommon zest Every 
thing he had to relate delighted me ; while, in return, 
my sympathy, my eager curiosity, and my unsophisti- 
cated passions, rendered me to Mr. Forester a most 
o 2 



196 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

desirable hearer. It is not to be wondered at there- 
fore, that every day rendered our intercourse more 
intimate and cordial. 

Mr. Falkland was destined to be for ever unhappy; 
and it seemed as if no new incident could occur, from 
which he was not able to extract food for this impe- 
rious propensity. He was wearied with a perpetual 
repetition of similar impressions; and entertained an 
invincible disgust against all that was new. The visit 
of Mr. Forester he regarded with antipathy. He was 
scarcely able to look at him without shuddering; an 
emotion which his guest perceived, and pitied as the 
result of habit and disease, rather than of judgment. 
None of his actions passed unremarked ; the most in- 
different excited uneasiness and apprehension. The 
first overtures of intimacy between me and Mr. Forester 
probably gave birth to sentiments of jealousy in the 
mind of my master. The irregular, variable character 
of his visitor tended to heighten them, by producing 
an appearance of inexplicableness and mystery. Atthis 
time he intimated to me that it was not agreeable to 
him, that there should be much intercourse between 
me and this gentleman. 

What could I do? Young as I was, could it be 
expected that I should play the philosopher, and put 
a perpetual curb upon my inclinations? Imprudent 
though I had been, could I voluntarily subject myself 
to an eternal penance, and estrangement from human 
society ? Could I discourage a frankness so perfectly 
in consonance with my wishes, and receive in an 
ung acious way a kindness that stole away my heart? 

Besides this, I was but ill prepared for the servile 
submission Mr. Falkland demanded. In early life I had 
been accustomed to be much my own master. When I 
first entered into Mr. Falkland's service, my personal 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 197 

habits were checked by the novelty of my situation, 
and my affections were gained by the high accomplish* 
ments of my patron. To novelty and its influence, 
curiosity had succeeded: curiosity, so long as it lasted, 
was a principle stronger in my bosom than even the 
love of independence. To that I would have sacrificed 
my liberty or my life; to gratify it, I would have sub- 
mitted to the condition of a West Indian negro, or to 
the tortures inflicted by North American savages. But 
the turbulence of curiosity had now subsided. 

As long as the threats of Mr. Falkland had been 
confined to generals, I endured it. I was conscious of 
the unbecoming action I had committed, and this ren- 
dered me humble. But, when he went further, and 
undertook to prescribe to every article of my conduct, 
my patience was at an end. My mind, before suf- 
ficiently sensible to the unfortunate situation to which 
my imprudence had reduced me, now took a nearer 
and a more alarming view of the circumstances of the 
case. Mr. Falkland was not an old man ; he had in 
him the principles of vigour, however they might seem 
to be shaken ; he might live as long as I should. I 
was his prisoner ; and what a prisoner ! All my actions 
observed; all my gestures marked. I could move 
neither to the right nor the left, but the eye of my 
keeper was upon me. He watched me ; and his vigi- 
lance was a sickness to my heart. For me there was 
no more freedom, no more of hilarity, of thoughtless- 
ness, or of youth. Was this the life upon which I 
had entered with such warm and sanguine expectation ? 
Were my days to be wasted in this cheerless gloom ; a 
galley-slave in the hands of the system of nature, whom 
death only, the death of myself or ray inexorable supe- 
rior, could free ? 

I had been adventurous in the gratification of an 
o 3 



198 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

infantine and unreasonable curiosity; and I resolved 
not to be less adventurous, if need were, in the defence 
of every thing that can make life a blessing. I was 
prepared for an amicable adjustment of interests : I 
would undertake that Mr. Falkland should never 
sustain injury through my means; but I expected in 
return that I should suffer no encroachment, but be 
left to the direction of my own understanding. 

I went on, then, to seek Mr. Forester's society with 
eagerness; and it is the nature of an intimacy that 
does not decline, progressively to increase. Mr. Falk- 
land observed these symptoms'with visible perturbation. 
Whenever I was conscious of their being perceived 
by him, I betrayed tokens of confusion : this did not 
tend to allay his uneasiness. One day he spoke to 
me alone ; and, with a look of mysterious but terrible 
import, expressed himself thus : 

" Young man, take warning ! Perhaps this is the 
last time you shall have an opportunity to take it ! 
I will not always be the butt of your simplicity and 
inexperience, nor suffer your weakness to triumph 
over my strength ! Why do you trifle with me ? You 
little suspect the extent of my power. At this moment 
you are enclosed with the snares of my vengeance 
unseen by you, and, at the instant that you flatter your- 
self you are already beyond their reach, they will close 
upon you. You might as well think of escaping from 
the power of the omnipresent God, as from mine ! If 
you could touch so much as my finger, you should 
expiate it in hours and months and years of a torment, 
of which as yet you have not the remotest idea. Re- 
member ! I am not talking at random ! I do not utter 
a word, that, if you provoke me, shall not be executed 
to the severest letter ! " 
It may be supposed that these menaces were not 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 199 

without their effect. I withdrew in silence. My whole 
soul revolted against the treatment I endured, and 
yet I could not utter a word. Why could not I speak 
the expostulations of my heart, or propose the com- 
promise I meditated? It was inexperience, and not 
want of strength, that awed me. Every act of Mr. 
Falkland contained -unit -tliim: new, and 1 was unpre- 
pared to meet it. Perhaps it will be found that the 
greatest hero owes the propriety of his conduct to the 
habit of encountering difficulties, and calling out with 
promptness the energies of his mind. 

I contemplated the proceedings of my patron with 
the deepest astonishment. Humanity and general 
kindness were fundamental parts of his character ; but 
in relation to me they were sterile and inactive. His 
own interest required that he should purchase my kind- 
ness ; but he preferred to govern me by terror, and 
watch me with unceasing anxiety. I ruminated with 
Uie most mournful sensations upon the nature of my 
calamity. I believed that no human being was ever 
placed in a situation so pitiable as mine. Every atom 
of my frame seemed to have a several existence, and 
to crawl within me. I had but too much reason to 
believe that Mr. Falkland's threats were not empty 
words. I knew his ability ; I felt his ascendancy. If 
I encountered him, what chance had I of victory ? If 
I were defeated, what was the penalty I had to suffer ? 
Well then, the rest of my life must be devoted to slavish 
subjection. Miserable sentence ! And, if it were, what 
security had I against the injustice of a man, vigilant, 
capricious, and criminal? 1 envied the condemned 
wretch upon the scaffold; I envied the victim of the 
inquisition in the midst of his torture. They know 
what they have to suffer. I had only to imagine everj 



200 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

thing terrible, and then say, " The fate reserved for me 
is worse than this ! " 

It was well for me that these sensations were tran- 
sient : human nature could not long support itself under 
what I then felt. By degrees my mind shook off its 
burthen. Indignation succeeded to emotions of terror. 
The hostility of Mr. Falkland excited hostility in me. 
I determined I would never calumniate him in matters 
of the most trivial import, much less betray the grand 
secret upon which every thing dear to him depended. 
But, totally abjuring the offensive, I resolved to stand 
firmly upon the defensive. The liberty of acting as I 
pleased I would preserve, whatever might be the risk. 
If I were worsted in the contest, I would at least have 
the consolation of reflecting that I had exerted myself 
with energy. In proportion as I thus determined, I 
drew off my forces from petty incursions, and felt the 
propriety of acting with premeditation and system. I 
ruminatetl incessantly upon plans of deliverance, but I 
was anxious that my choice should not be precipitately 
made. 

It was during this period of my deliberation and 
uncertainty that Mr. Forester terminated his visit. He 
observed a strange distance in my behaviour, and, in 
his good-natured, rough way, reproached me for it. I 
could only answer with a gloomy look of mysterious 
import, and a mournful and expressive silence. He 
sought me for an explanation, but I was now as inge- 
nious in avoiding as I had before been ardent to seek 
him ; and he quitted our house, as he afterwards told 
me, with an impression, that there was some ill destiny 
that hung over it, which seemed fated to make all its 
inhabitants miserable, without its being possible for a 
by-stander to penetrate the reason. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 201 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MR. FORESTER had left us about three weeks, when 
Mr. Falkland sent me upon some business to an estate 
he possessed in a neighbouring county, about fifty 
miles from his principal residence. The road led in a 
direction wholly wide of the habitation of our late 
visitor. I was upon my return from the place to which 
I had been sent, when I began in fancy to take a survey 
of the various circumstances of my condition, and by 
degrees lost, in the profoundness of my contemplation, 
all attention to the surrounding objects. The first 
determination of my mind was to escape from the 
lynx-eyed jealousy and despotism of Mr. Falkland ; the 
second to provide, by every effort of prudence and 
deliberation I could devise, against the danger with 
which I well knew my attempt must be accompanied. 

Occupied with these meditations, I rode many miles 
before I perceived that I had totally deviated from the 
right path. At length I roused myself, and surveyed 
the horizon round me; but I could observe nothing with 
which my organ was previously acquainted. On three 
sides, the heath stretched as far as the eye could reach ; 
on the fourth, I discovered at some distance a wood of 
no ordinary dimensions. Before me, scarcely a single 
track could be found, to mark that any human being 
had ever visited the spot As the best expedient I 
could devise, I bent my course towards the wood I have 
mentioned, and then pursued, as well as I was able, the 
windings of the inclosure. This led me, after some 
time, to the end of the heath ; but I was still as much 
at a loss as ever respecting the road I should pursue. 
The un was hid from me by a grey and cloudy at mo- 



202 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sphere ; I was induced to continue along the skirts of 
the wood, and surmounted with some difficulty the 
hedges and other obstacles that from time to time 
presented themselves. My thoughts were gloomy and 
disconsolate ; the dreariness of the day, and the soli- 
tude which surrounded me, seemed to communicate a 
sadness to my soul. I had proceeded a considerable 
way, and was overcome with hunger and fatigue, when 
I discovered a road and a little inn at no great distance. 
I made up to them, and upon enquiry found that, instead 
of pursuing the proper direction, I had taken one that 
led to Mr. Forester's rather than to my own habitation. 
I alighted, and was entering the house, when the 
appearance of that gentleman struck my eyes. 

Mr. Forester accosted me with kindness, invited me 
into the room where he had been sitting, and enquired 
what accident had brought me to that place. 

While he was speaking, I could not help recollecting 
the extraordinary manner in which we were thus once 
more brought together, and a train of ideas was by this 
means suggested to my mind. Some refreshment was, 
by Mr. Forester's order, prepared for me ; I sat down, 
and partook of it. Still this thought dwelt upon my 
recollection: "Mr. Falkland will never be made 
acquainted with our meeting; I have an opportunity 
thrown in my way, which if I do not improve, I shall 
deserve all the consequences that may result. I can 
now converse with a friend, and a powerful friend, 
without fear of being watched and overlooked." What 
wonder that I was tempted to disclose, not Mr. Falk- 
land's secret, but my own situation, and receive the 
advice of a man of worth and experience, which might 
perhaps be adequately done without entering into any 
detail injurious to my patron? 

Mr. Forester, on his part, expressed a desire to learn 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 203 

why it was I thought myself unhappy, and why I had 
avoided him during the latter part of his residence 
under the same roof, as evidently as I had before taken 
pleasure in his communications. I replied, that I could 
give him but an imperfect satisfaction upon these points; 
but what I i-oulil. I would willingly explain. The fact, 
I proceeded, was, that there were reasons which ren- 
dered it impossible for me to have a tranquil moment 
under the roof of Mr. Falkland. I had revolved the 
matter again and again in my mind, and was finally 
convinced that I owed it to myself to withdraw from his 
service. I added, that I was sensible, by this half- 
confidence, I might rather seem to merit the disappro- 
bation of Mr. Forester than his countenance ; but I 
declared my persuasion that, if he could be acquainted 
with the whole affair, however strange my behaviour 
might at present appear, he would applaud my reserve. 
He appeared to muse for a moment upon what I had 
said, and then asked what reason I could have to com- 
plain of Mr. Falkland ? I replied, that I entertained 
the deepest reverence for my patron; I admired his 
abilities, and considered him as formed for the benefit 
of his species. I should in my own opinion be the 
vilest of miscreants, if I uttered a whisper to his disad- 
vantage. But this did not avail: I was not fit for 
him ; perhaps I was not good enough for him ; at all 
events, I must be perpetually miserable so long as I 
continued to live with him. 

I observed Mr. Forester gaze upon me eagerly with 
curiosity and surprise ; but this circumstance I did not 
think proper to notice. Having recovered himself, he 
enquired, why then, that being the case, I did not quit 
his service ? I answered, what he now touched upon 
was that which most of all contributed to my misfortune* 
Mr. Falkland was not ignorant of my dislike to my 



204< CALEB WILLIAMS. 

present situation ; perhaps he thought it unreasonable, 
unjust; but I knew that he would never be brought to 
consent to my giving way to it. 

Here Mr. Forester interrupted me, and, smiling, said, 
I magnified obstacles, and overrated my own import- 
ance; adding, that he would undertake to remove that 
difficulty, as well as to provide me with a more agreeable 
appointment. This suggestion produced in me a serious 
alarm. I replied, that I must entreat him upon no 
account to think of applying to Mr. Falkland upon the 
subject. I added, that perhaps I was only betraying 
my imbecility; but in reality, unacquainted as I was 
with experience and the world, I was afraid, though 
disgusted with my present residence, to expose myself, 
upon a mere project of my own, to the resentment of 
so considerable a man as Mr. Falkland. If he would 
favour me with his advice upon the subject, or if he 
would only give me leave to hope for his protection in 
case of any unforeseen accident, this was all I presumed 
to reque t; and, thus encouraged. I would venture to 
obey the dictates of my inclination, and fly in pursuit 
of my lost tranquillity. 

Having thus opened myself to this generous friend, 
as far as I could do it with propriety and safety, he sat 
for some time silent, with an air of deep reflection. At 
length, with a countenance of unusual severity, and a 
characteristic fierceness of manner and voice, he thus 
addressed me : " Young man, perhaps you are ignorant 
of the nature of the conduct you at present hold. May 
be, you do not know that where there is mystery, there 
is always something at bottom that will not bear the 
telling. Is this the way to obtain the favour of a man 
of consequence and respectability? To pretend to 
make a confidence, and then tell him a disjointed story 
that has not common sense in it ! " 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 205 

I answered, that, whatever were the amount of 
that prejudice, I must submit. I placed my hope of a 
candid construction, in the present instance, in the 
rectitude of his nature. 

He went on : You do so ; do you ? I tell you, 
sir, the rectitude of my nature is an enemy to disguise. 
Come, boy, you must know that I understand these 
things better than you. Tell all, or expect nothing 
from me but censure and contempt." 

" Sir," replied I, " I have spoken from deliberation; 
I have told you my choice, and, whatever be the result, 
I must abide by it. If in this misfortune you refuse 
me your assistance, here I must end. having gained 
by the Communication only your ill opinion and dis- 
pleasure." 

He looked hard at me, as if he would see me through. 
At length he relaxed his features, and softened his 
manner. " You are a foolish, headstrong boy," said 
he, and I shall have an eye upon you. I shall never 
place in you the confidence I have done. But I will 
not desert you. At present, the balance between 
approbation and dislike is in your favour. How long 
it will last, I cannot tell ; I engage for nothing. But it 
is my rule to act as I feel. I will for this time do as 
you require; and, pray God, it may answer. I will 
receive you, either now or hereafter, under my roof, 
trusting that I shall have no reason to repent, and 
that appearances will terminate as favourably as I wish, 
though I scarcely know how to hope it." 

We were engaged in the earnest discussion of sub- 
jects thus interesting to my peace, when we were 
interrupted by an event the most earnestly to have 
been deprecated. Without the smallest notice, and as 
if he had dropped upon us from the clouds, Mr. Falk- 
land burst into the room. I found afterwards that Mr. 



206 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Forester had come thus far upon an appointment to 
meet Mr. Falkland, and that the place of their intended 
rendezvous was at the next stage. Mr. Forester was 
detained at the inn where we now were by our acci- 
dental rencounter, and in reality had for the moment 
forgotten his appointment; while Mr. Falkland, not 
finding him where he expected, proceeded thus far 
towards the house of his kinsman. To me the meeting 
was most unaccountable in the world. 

I instantly foresaw the dreadful complication of mis- 
fortune that was included in this event. To Mr. Falk- 
land, the meeting between me and his relation must 
appear not accidental, but, on my part at least, the 
result of design. I was totally out of the road I had 
been travelling by his direction ; I was in a road that 
led directly to the house of Mr. Forester. What must 
he think of this? How must he suppose I came to 
that place? The truth, if told, that I came there 
without design, and purely in consequence of having 
lost my way, must appear to be the most palpable lie 
that ever was devised. 

Here then I stood detected in the fact of that inter- 
course which had been so severely forbidden. But in 
this instance it was infinitely worse thaff in those 
which had already given so much disturbance to Mr. 
Falkland. It was then frank and unconcealed; and 
therefore the presumption was, that it was for purposes 
that required no concealment. But the present inter- 
view, if concerted, was in the most emphatical degree 
clandestine. Nor was it less perilous than it was clan- 
destine : it had been forbidden with the most dreadful 
menaces ; and Mr. Falkland was not ignorant how 
deep an impression those menaces had made upon my 
imagination. Such a meeting therefore could not have 
been concerted under such circumstances, for a trivial 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 207 

purpose, or for any purpose that his heart did not ache 
to think of. Such was the amount of my crime, such 
was the agony my appearance was calculated to in- 
spire ; and it was reasonable to suppose that the penalty 
I had to expect would be proportionable. The threats 
of Mr. Falkland still sounded in my ears, and I was in 
a transport of terror. 

The conduct of the same man in different circum- 
stances, is often so various as to render it very difficult 
to be accounted for. Mr. Falkland, in this to him 
terrible crisis, did not seem to be in any degree hur- 
ried away by passion. For a moment he was dumb, 
his eyes glared with astonishment ; and the next mo- 
ment, as it were, he had the most perfect calmness 
and self-command. Had it been otherwise, I have no 
doubt that I should instantly have entered into an 
explanation of the manner in which I came there, the 
ingenuousness and consistency of which could not but 
have been in some degree attended with a favourable 
event. But, as it was, I suffered myself to be over- 
come ; I yielded, as in a former instance, to the dis- 
comfiting influence of surprise. I dared scarcely 
breathe; I observed the appearances with equal anxiety 
and surprise. Mr. Falkland quietly ordered me to 
return home, and take along with me the groom he 
had brought with him. I obeyed in silence. 

I afterwards understood, that he enquired minutely 
of Mr. Forester the circumstances of our meeting; 
and that that gentleman, perceiving that the meeting 
itself was discovered, and guided by habits of frank- 
ness, which, when once rooted in a character, it is 
difficult to counteract, told Mr. Falkland every thing 
that had passed, together with the remarks it had 
suggested to his own mind. Mr. Falkland received 
the communication with an ambiguous and studied 



208 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

silence, which by no means operated to my advantage 
in the already poisoned mind of Mr. Forester. His 
silence was partly the direct consequence of a mind 
watchful, inquisitive, and doubting; and partly per- 
haps was adopted for the sake of the effect it was 
calculated to produce, Mr. Falkland not being unwilling 
to encourage prejudices against a character which 
might one day come in competition with his own. 

As to me, I went home indeed, for this was not a 
moment to resist. Mr. Falkland, with a premeditation 
to which he had given the appearance of accident, had 
taken care to send with me a guard to attend upon his 
prisoner. I seemed as if conducting to one of those 
fortresses, famed in the history of despotism, from which 
the wretched victim is never known to come forth alive ; 
and when I entered my chamber, I felt as if I were 
entering a dungeon. I reflected that I was at the mercy 
of a man, exasperated at my disobedience, and who 
was already formed to cruelty by successive murders. 
My prospects were now closed ; I was cut off for ever 
from pursuits that I had meditated with ineffable de- 
light ; my death might be the event of a few hours. I 
was a victim at the shrine of conscious guilt, that knew 
neither rest nor satiety; I should be blotted from the 
catalogue of the living, and my fate remain eternally a 
secret ; the man who added my murder to his former 
crimes, would show himself the next morning, and be 
hailed with the admiration and applause of his species. 

In the midst of these terrible imaginations, one idea 
presented itself that alleviated my feelings. This was 
the recollection of the strange and unaccountable tran- 
quillity which Mr. Falkland had manifested, when he 
discovered me in company with Mr. Forester. I was not 
deceived by this. I knew that the calm was temporary, 
and would be succeeded by a tumult and whirlwind of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 209 

the most dreadful sort. But a man under the power 
of such terrors as now occupied me catches at every 
reed. I said to myself, " This tranquillity is a period 
it is incumbent upon me to improve ; the shorter its 
duration may be found, the more speedy am I obliged 
to be in the use of it," In a word, I took the resolution, 
because I already stood in fear of the vengeance of 
Mr. Falkland, to risk the possibility of provoking it in a 
degree still more inexpiable, and terminate at once my 
present state of uncertainty. I had now opened my 
case to Mr. Forester, and he had given me positive 
assurances of his protection. I determined immedi- 
ately to address the following letter to Mr. Falkland. 
The consideration that, if he meditated any tiling tra- 
gical, such a letter would only tend to confirm him, did 
not enter into the present feelings of my mind. 

"Sir, 

" I have conceived the intention of quitting your 
service. This is a measure we ought both of us to 
desire. I shall then be, what it is my duty to be, 
master of my own actions. You will be delivered 
from the presence of a person, whom you cannot 
prevail upon yourself to behold without unpleasing 
emotions. 

Why should you subject me to an eternal penance ? 
Why should you consign my youthful hopes to suffering 
and despair? Consult the principles of humanity that 
have marked the general course of your proceedings, 
and do not let me, I entreat you, be made the subject 
of a useless severity. My heart is impressed with gra- 
titude for yonr favours. I sincerely ask your forgive- 
ness for the many errors of my conduct. I consider 
the treatment I have received under your roof, as one 
almost uninterrupted scene of kindness and generosity. 



210 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I shall never forget my obligations to you, and will never 
betray them. 

" I remain, Sir, 

" Your most grateful, respectful, 
" and dutiful servant, 

" CALEB WILLIAMS." 

Such was my employment of the evening of a day 
which will be ever memorable in the history of my life. 
Mr. Falkland not being yet returned, though expected 
every hour, I was induced to make use of the pretence 
of fatigue to avoid an interview. I went to bed. It 
may be imagined that my slumbers were neither deep 
nor refreshing. 

The next morning I was informed that my patron 
did not come home till late; that he had enquired for 
me, and, being told that I was in bed, had said nothing 
further upon the subject Satisfied in this respect, I 
went to the breakfasting parlour, and, though full of 
anxiety and trepidation, endeavoured to busy myself 
in arranging the books, and a few other little occu- 
pations, till Mr. Falkland should come down. After a 
short time I heard his step, which I perfectly well knew 
how to distinguish, in the passage. Presently he stopped, 
and, speaking to some one in a sort of deliberate, but 
smothered voice, I overheard him repeat my name as 
enquiring for me. In conformity to the plan I had per- 
suaded myself to adopt, I now laid the letter I had 
written upon the table at which he usually sat, and 
made my exit at one door as Mr. Falkland entered at 
the other. This done, I withdrew, with flutterings and 
palpitation, to a private apartment, a sort of light closet 
at the end of the library, where I was accustomed not 
xinfrequently to sit. 

I had not been here three minutes, when I heard the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 211 

voice of Mr. Falkland calling me. I went to him in 
the library. His manner was that of a man labouring 
with some dreadful thought, and endeavouring to give 
an air of carelessness and insensibility to his behaviour. 
Perhaps no carriage of any other sort could have pro- 
duced a sensation of such inexplicable horror, or have 
excited, in the person who was its object, such anxious 
uncertainty about the event " That is your letter," 
said he, throwing it . 

My lad," continued he, " I believe now you have 
played all your tricks, and the farce is nearly at an 
end! With your apishness and absurdity however 
you have taught me one thing ; and, whereas before 
I have winced at them with torture, I am now as 
tough as an elephant. I shall crush you in the end 
with the same indifference, that I would any other little 
insect that disturbed my serenity. 

"I am unable to tell what brought about your meeting 
with Mr. Forester yesterday. It might be design ; it 
might be accident. But, I shall not forget it. You 
write me here, that you are desirous to quit my service. 
To that I have a short answer : You never shall quit it 
with life. If you attempt it, you shall never cease to 
rue your folly as long as you exist. That is my will ; 
and I will not have it resisted. The very next time 
you disobey me in that or any other article, there is 
an end of your vagaries for ever. Perhaps your situ- 
ation may be a pitiable one ; it is for you to look to 
that. I only know that it is in your power to prevent 
its growing worse ; no time nor chance shall ever make 
it better. 

" Do not imagine I am afraid of you ! I wear an 

armour, against which all your weapons are impotent. 

I have dug a pit for you ; and, whichever way you 

move, backward or forward, to the right or the left, it 

p 2 



212 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

is ready to swallow you. Be still I If once you fall, 
call as loud as you will, no man on earth shall hear 
your cries ; prepare a tale however plausible, or how- 
ever true, the whole world shall execrate you for an 
impostor. Your innocence shall be of no service to 
you ; I laugh at so feeble a defence. It is I that say 

it ; you may believe what I tell you Do you not 

know, miserable wretch I " added he, suddenly altering 
his tone, and stamping upon the ground with fury, 
" that I have sworn to preserve my reputation, what- 
ever be the expense ; that I love it more than tfre 
whole world and its inhabitants taken together ? And 
do you think that you shall wound it ? Begone, mis- 
creant! reptile! and cease to contend with insur- 
mountable power ! " 

The part of my history which I am now relating is 
that which I reflect upon with the least complacency. 
Why was it, that I was once more totally overcome by 
the imperious carriage of Mr. Falkland, and unable to 
utter a word? The reader will be presented with 
many occasions in the sequel, in which I wanted neither 
facility in the invention of expedients, nor fortitude in 
entering upon my justification. Persecution at length 
gave firmness to my character, and taught me the better 
part of manhood. But in the present instance I was 
irresolute, overawed, and abashed. 

The speech I had heard was the dictate of frenzy, 
and it created in me a similar frenzy. It determined 
me to do the very thing against which I was thus 
solemnly warned, and fly from my patron's house. I 
could not enter into parley with him ; I could no 
Ipnger endure the vile subjugation he imposed on me. 
It was in vain that my reason warned me of the 
rashness of a measure, to be taken without concert 
or preparation. I seemed to be in a state in which 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 213 

reason had no power. I felt as if I could coolly survey 
the several arguments of the case, perceive that they 
had prudence, truth, and common sense on their side ; 
and then answer, I am under the guidance of a di- 
rector more energetic than you. 

I was not long in executing what I had thus rapidly 
determined. I fixed on the evening of that very day 
as the period of my evasion. Even in this short in- 
terval I had perhaps sufficient time for deliberation. 
But all opportunity was useless to me ; my mind was 
fixed, and each succeeding moment only increased 
the unspeakable eagerness with which I meditated 
my escape. The hours usually observed by our family 
in this country residence were regular ; and one in the 
morning was the time I selected for my undertaking. 

In searching the apartment where I slept, I had 
formerly discovered a concealed door, which led to a 
small apartment of the most secret nature, not un- 
common in houses so old as that of Mr. Falkland, and 
which had perhaps served as a refuge from persecu- 
tion, or a security from the inveterate hostilities of a 
barbarous age. I believed no person was acquainted 
with this hiding-place but myself. I felt unaccount- 
ably impelled to remove into it the different articles 
of my personal property. I could not at present take 
them away with me. If I were never to recover them, 
I felt that it would be a gratification to my sentiment, 
that no trace of my existence should be found after 
my departure. Having completed their removal, and 
waited till the hour I had previously chosen, I stole 
down quietly from my chamber with a lamp in my 
hand. I went along a passage that led to a small door 
opening into the garden, and then crossed the garden, 
to a gate that intersected an elm-walk and a private 
borse-path on the outside. 

p 3 



214 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I could scarcely believe my good fortune in having 
thus far executed my design without interruption. 
The terrible images Mr. Falkland's menaces had sug- 
gested to my mind, made me expect impediment and 
detection at every step ; though the impassioned state 
of my mind impelled me to advance with desperate 
resolution. He probably however counted too securely 
upon the ascendancy of his sentiments, when impe- 
riously pronounced, to think it necessary to take pre- 
cautions against a sinister event. For myself, I drew 
a favourable omen as to the final result of my project, 
from the smoothness of success that attended it in the 
outset. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE first plan that had suggested itself to me was, 
to go to the nearest public road, and take the earliest 
stage for London. There I believed I should be most 
safe from discovery, if the vengeance of Mr. Falkland 
should prompt him to pursue me ; and I did not doubt, 
among the multiplied resources of the metropolis, to 
find something which should suggest to me an eligible 
mode of disposing of my person and industry. I reserved 
Mr. Forester in my arrangement, as a last resource, not 
to be called forth unless for immediate protection from 
the hand of persecution and power. I was destitute 
of that experience of the world, which can alone 
render us fertile in resources, or enable us to institute 
a just comparison between the resources that offer 
themselves. I was like the fascinated animal, that is 
seized with the most terrible apprehensions, at the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 215 

same time that he is incapable of adequately considering 
for his own safety. 

The mode of my proceeding being digested, I traced, 
with a cheerful heart, the unfrequented path it was 
now necessary for me to pursue. The night was 
'gloomy, and it drizzled with rain. But these were 
circumstances I had scarcely the power to perceive ; 
all was sunshine and joy within me. I hardly felt the 
ground ; I repeated to myself a thousand times, " I am 
free. What concern have I with danger and alarm ? 
I feel that I am free ; I feel that I will continue so. 
What power is able to hold in chains a mind ardent 
and determined ? What power can cause that man to 
die, whose whole soul commands him to continue to 
live ?" I looked back with abhorrence to the subjection 
in which I had been held. I did not hate the author 
of my misfortunes truth and justice acquit me of 
that ; I rather pitied the hard destiny to which he 
seemed condemned. Hut I thought with unspeakable 
loathing of those errors, in consequence of which every 
man is fated to be, more or less, the tyrant or the 
slave. I was astonished at the folly of my species, 
that they did not rise up as one man, and shake off 
chains so ignominious, and misery so insupportable. 
So far as related to myself, I resolved and this reso- 
lution has never been entirely forgotten by me to 
hold myself disengaged from this odious scene, and 
never fill the part either of the oppressor or the sufferer. 

My mind continued in this enthusiastical state, full 
of confidence, and accessible only to such a portion of 
fear as served rather to keep up a state of pleasurable 
emotion than to generate anguish and distress, during 
the whole of this nocturnal expedition. After a walk 
of three hours, I arrived, without accident, at the 
village from which I hoped to have taken my passage 

p 4 



216 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

for the metropolis. At this early hour every thing was 
quiet ; no sound of any thing human saluted my ear. 
It was with difficulty that I gained admittance into the 
yard of the inn, where I found a single ostler taking 
care of some horses. From him I received the un- 
welcome tidings, that the coach was not expected till 
six o'clock in the morning of the day after to-morrow, 
its route through that town recurring only three times 
a week. 

This intelligence gave the first check to the raptu- 
rous inebriation by which my mind had been possessed 
from the moment I quitted the habitation of Mr. Falk- 
land. The whole of my fortune in ready cash consisted 
of about eleven guineas. I had about fifty more, that 
had fallen to me from the disposal of my property at 
the death of my father ; but that was so vested as to 
preclude it from immediate use, and I even doubted 
whether it would not be found better ultimately to 
resign it, than, by claiming it, to risk the furnishing a 
clew to what I most of all dreaded, the persecution of 
Mr. Falkland. There was nothing I so ardently desired 
as the annihilation of all future intercourse between 
us, that he should not know there was such a person 
on the earth as myself, and that I should never more 
hear the repetition of a name which had been so fatal 
to my peace. 

Thus circumstanced, I conceived frugality to be an 
object by no means unworthy of my attention, unable 
as I was to prognosticate what discouragements and 
delays might present themselves to the accomplish- 
ment of my wishes, after my arrival in London. For 
this and other reasons, I determined to adhere to my 
design of travelling by the stage ; it only remaining for 
me to consider in what manner I should prevent the 
eventful delay of twenty -four hours from becoming, by 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 217 

any untoward event, a source of new calamity. It was 
by no means advisable to remain in the village where 
I now was during this interval ; nor did I even think 
proper to employ it, in proceeding on foot along the 
great road. I therefore decided upon making a circuit, 
the direction of which should seem at first extremely 
wide of my intended route, and then, suddenly taking 
a different inclination, should enable me to arrive by 
the close of day at a market-town twelve miles nearer 
to the metropolis. 

Having fixed the economy of the day, and persuaded 
myself that it was the best which, under the circum- 
stances, could be adopted, I dismissed, for the most 
part, ah* further anxieties from my mind, and eagerly 
yielded myself up to the different amusements that 
arose. I rested and went forward at the impulse of 
the moment. At one time I reclined upon a bank 
immersed in contemplation, and at another exerted 
myself to analyse the prospects which succeeded each 
other. The haziness of the morning was followed by 
a spirit-stirring and beautiful day. With the ductility 
so characteristic of a youthful mind, I forgot the anguish 
which had lately been my continual guest, and oc- 
cupied myself entirely in dreams of future novelty and 
felicity. I scarcely ever, in the whole course of my 
existence, spent a day of more various or exquisite 
gratification. It furnished a strong, and perhaps not 
an unsalutary contrast, to the terrors whidi had pre- 
ceded, and the dreadful scenes that awaited me. 

In the evening I arrived at the place of my destin- 
ation, and. enquired for the inn at which the coach was 
accustomed to call. A circumstance however had 
previously excited my attention, and reproduced in me 
a state of alarm. 

Though it was already dark before I reached the 



218 CALEB WILLIAMS. 



town, my observation had been attracted by a man 
who passed me on horseback in the opposite direction,' 
about half a mile on the other side of the town. There 
was an inquisitiveness in his gesture that I did not like- 
and, as far as I could discern his figure, I pronounced 
him an ill-looking man. He had not passed me 
more than two minutes before I heard the sound of a 
horse advancing slowly behind me. These circum- 
stances impressed some degree of uneasy sensation 
upon my mind. I first mended my pace ; and, this 
not appearing to answer the purpose, I afterwards 
Altered, that the horseman might pass me. He did 
so ; and, as I glanced at him, I thought I saw that 
it was the same man. He now put his horse into a 
trot, and entered the town. I followed ; and it was 
not long before I perceived him at the door of an 
alehouse, drinking a mug of beer. This however 
the darkness prevented me from discovering, till I was 
m a manner upon him. I pushed forward, and saw 
him no more, till, as I entered the yard of the inn 
where I intended to sleep, the same man suddenly 
rode up to me, and asked if my name were Williams. 

Ihis adventure, while it had been passing, expelled 
the gaiety of my mind, and filled me with anxiety. 
Ihe apprehension however that I felt, appeared to me 
groundless : if I were pursued, I took it for granted it 
would be by some of Mr. Falkland's people, and not by 
a stranger. The darkness took from me some of the 
simplest expedients of precaution. I determined at 
least to proceed to the inn, and make the necessary 
enquiries. 

I no sooner heard the sound of the horse as I en- 
tered the yard, and the question proposed to me by 
the rider, than the dreadful certainty of what I feared 
instantly took possession of my mind. Every incident 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 219 

connected with my late abhorred situation was calcu- 
lated to impress me with the deepest alarm. My first 
thought was, to betake myself to the fields, and trust 
to the swiftness of my flight for safety. But this was 
sr;irc-t-ly practicable : I remarked that my enemy was 
alone ; and I believed that, man to man, I might rea- 
sonably hope to get the better of him, either by the 
firmness of my determination, or the subtlety of my 
invention. 

Thus resolved, I replied in an impetuous and per- 
emptory tone, that I was the man he took me for ; 
adding, " I guess your errand ; but it is to no purpose. 
You come to conduct me back to Falkland House ; but 
no force shall ever drag me to that place alive. I have 
not taken my resolution without strong reasons ; and 
all the world shall not persuade me to alter it. I am 
an Englishman, and it is the privilege of an Englishman 
to be sole judge and master of his own actions." 

"You are in the devil of a hurry," replied the man, 
to guess my intentions, and tell your own. But your 
guess is right; and mayhap you may have reason to be 
thankful that my errand is not something worse. Sure 
enough the squire expects you; but I have a letter, 
and when you have read that, I suppose you will come 
off a little of your stoutness. If that does not answer, 
it will then be time to think what is to be done next." 

Thus saying, he gave me his letter, which was from 
Mr. Forester, whom, as he told me, he had left at Mr. 
Falkland's house, I went into a room of the inn for 
the purpose of reading it, and was followed by the 
bearer. The letter was as follows ; 

" WILLIAMS, 

"My brother Falkland has sent the bearer in pursuit 
of you. He expects that, if found, you will return 



220 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

with him : I expect it too. It is of the utmost conse- 
quence to your future honour and character. After 
reading these lines, if you are a villain and a rascal, 
you will perhaps endeavour to fly ; if your conscience 
tells you, you are innocent, you will, out of all doubt, 
come back. Show me then whether I have been your 
dupe ; and, while I was won over by your seeming in- 
genuousness, have suffered myself to be made the tool 
of a designing knave. If you come, I pledge myself 
that, if you clear your reputation, you shall not only be 
free to go wherever you please, but shall receive every 
assistance in my power to give. Remember, I engage 
for nothing further than that. 

" VALENTINE FORESTER.'* 

What a letter was this I To a mind like mine, glowing 
with the love of virtue, such an address was strong 
enough to draw the person to whom it was addressed 
from one end of the earth to the other. My mind was 
full of confidence and energy. I felt my own innocence, 
and was determined to assert it. I was willing to be 
driven out a fugitive ; I even rejoiced in my escape, 
and cheerfully went out into the world destitute of 
every provision, and depending for my future prospects 
upon my own ingenuity. 

Thus much, said I, Falkland ! you may do. Dis- 
pose of me as you please with respect to the goods 
of fortune ; but you shall neither make prize of my 
liberty, nor sully the whiteness of my name. I re- 
passed in my thoughts every memorable incident that 
had happened to me under his roof. I could recollect 
nothing, except the affair of the mysterious trunk, out 
of which the shadow of a criminal accusation could 
be extorted. In that instance my conduct had been 
highly reprehensible, and I had never looked back 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 221 

upon it without remorse and self-condemnation. But 
I did not believe that it was of the nature of those 
actions which can be brought under legal censure. I 
could still less persuade myself that Mr. Falkland, who 
shuddered at the very possibility of detection, and who 
considered himself as completely in my power, would 
dare to bring forward a subject so closely connected 
with the internal agony of his soul. In a word, the 
more I reflected on the phrases of Mr. Forester's 
billet, the less could I imagine the nature of those 
scenes to which they were to serve as a prelude. 

The inscrutableness however of the mystery they 
contained, did not suffice to overwhelm my courage. 
My mind seemed to undergo an entire revolution. 
Timid and embarrassed as I had felt myself, when I 
regarded Mr. Falkland as my clandestine and domestic 
foe, I now conceived that the case was entirely altered. 
" Meet me," said I, "as an open accuser: if we must 
contend, let us contend in the face of day ; and then, 
unparalleled as your resources may be, I will not fear 
you. Innocence and guilt were, in my apprehension, 
the things in the whole world the most opposite to 
each other. I would not suffer myself to believe, 
that the former could be confounded with the latter, 
unless the innocent man first allowed himself to be 
subdued in mind, before he was defrauded of the good 
opinion of mankind. Virtue rising superior to every 
calamity, defeating by a plain unvarnished tale all the 
stratagems of vice, and throwing back upon her ad- 
versary the confusion with which he had hoped to 
overwhelm her, was one of the favourite subjects of 
my youthful reveries. I determined never to prove 
an instrument of destruction to Mr. Falkland ; but I 
was not less resolute to obtain justice to myself. 



222 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

The issue of all these confident hopes I shall im- 
mediately have occasion to relate. It was thus, with 
the most generous and undoubting spirit, that I rushed 
upon irretrievable ruin. 

" Friend," said I to the bearer, after a considerable 
interval of silence, " you are right. This is, indeed, 
an extraordinary letter you have brought me ; but it 
answers its purpose. I will certainly go with you now, 
whatever be the consequence. No person shall ever 
impute blame to me, so long as I have it in my power 
to clear myself." 

I felt, in the circumstances in which I was placed 
by Mr. Forester's letter, not merely a willingness, 
but an alacrity and impatience, to return. We pro- 
cured a second horse. We proceeded on our jour- 
ney in silence. My mind was occupied again in 
endeavouring to account for Mr. Forester's letter. I 
knew the inflexibility and sternness of Mr. Falkland's 
mind in accomplishing the purposes he had at heart ; 
but I also knew that every virtuous and magnanimous 
principle was congenial to his character. 

When we arrived, midnight was already past, and 
we were obliged to waken one of the servants to give 
us admittance. I found that Mr. Forester had left a 
message for me, in consideration of the possibility of 
my arrival during the night, directing me immediately 
to go to bed, and to take care that I did not come 
weary and exhausted to the business of the following 
day. I endeavoured to take his advice ; but my slum- 
bers were unrefreshing and disturbed. I suffered how- 
ever no reduction of courage: the singularity of my 
situation, my conjectures with respect to the present, 
my eagerness for the future, did not allow me to sink 
into a languid and inactive state. 

Next morning the first person I saw was Mr. Forester. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 223 

He told me that he did not yet know what Mr. Falkland 
had to allege against me, for that he had refused to 
know. He had arrived at the house of his brother by 
appointment on the preceding day to settle some in- 
dispensable business, his intention having been to 
depart the moment the business was finished, as he 
knew that conduct on his part would 'be most agree- 
able to Mr. Falkland. But he was no sooner come, 
than he found the whole house in confusion, the alarm 
of my elopement having been given a few hours before. 
Mr. Falkland had despatched servants in all directions 
in pursuit of me ; and the servant from the market- 
town arrived at the same moment with Mr. Forester, 
with intelligence that a person answering the descrip- 
tion he gave, had been there very early in the morning 
enquiring respecting the stage to London. 

Mr. Falkland seemed extremely disturbed at tin's 
information, and exclaimed on me with acrimony, as 
an unthankful and unnatural villain. 

Mr. Forester replied, " Have more command of your- 
self, sir ! Villain is a serious appellation, and must not 
be trifled with. Englishmen are free ; and no man is 
to be charged with villainy, because he changes one 
source of subsistence for another." 

Mr. Falkland shook his head, and with a smile, ex- 
pressive of acute sensibility, said, " Brother, brother, 
you are the dupe of his art. I always considered him 
with an eye of suspicion, and was aware of his de- 
pravity. But I have just discovered " 

" Stop, sir!" interrupted Mr. Forester. " I own I 
thought that, in a moment of acrimony, you might be 
employing harsh epithets in a sort of random style. But 
if you have a serious accusation to state, we must not be 
told of that, till it is known whether the lad is within 



224 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

reach of a hearing. I am indifferent myself about the 
good opinion of others. It is what the world bestows and 
retracts with so little thought, that I can make no ac- 
count of its decision. But that does not authorise me 
lightly to entertain an ill opinion of another. The 
slenderest allowance I think I can make to such as I 
consign to be the example and terror of their species, 
is that of being heard in their own defence. It is a 
wise principle that requires the judge to come into 
court uninformed of the merits of the cause he is to 
try; and to that principle I am determined to conform 
as an individual. I shall always think it right to be 
severe and inflexible in my treatment of offenders; 
but the severity I exercise in the sequel, must be ac- 
companied with impartiality and caution in what is 
preliminary." 

While Mr. Forester related to me these particulars, 
he observed me ready to break out into some of the 
expressions which the narrative suggested; but he 
would not suffer me to speak. " No," said he ; "I 
would not hear Mr. Falkland against you ; and I can- 
not hear you in your defence. I come to you at pre- 
sent to speak, and not to hear. I thought it right to 
warn you of your danger, but I have nothing more to 
do now. Reserve what you have to say to the proper 
time. Make the best story you can for yourself true, 
if truth, as I hope, will serve your purpose ; but, if 
not, the most plausible and ingenious you can invent. 
That is what self-defence requires from every man, 
where, as it always happens to a man upon his trial, he 
has the whole world against him, and has his own 
battle to fight against the world. Farewell ; and God 
send you a good deliverance ! If Mr. Falkland's accus- 
ation, whatever it be, shall appear premature, depend 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 225 

upon having me more zealously your friend than ever. 
If not, this is the last act of friendship you will ever 
receive from nu- '." 

It may be believed that this address, so singular, so 
solemn, so big with conditional menace, did not greatly 
ti'iid to encourage me. I was totally ignorant of the 
charge to be advanced against me ; and not a little 
astonished, when it was in my power to be in the most 
formidable degree the accuser of Mr. Falkland, to find 
the principles of equity so completely reversed, as for 
the innocent but instructed individual to be the 
party accused and suffering, instead of having, as was 
natural, the real criminal at his mercy. I was still 
more astonished at the superhuman power Mr. Falk- 
land seemed to possess, of bringing the object of his 
persecution within the sphere of his authority ; a re- 
flection attended with some check to that eagerness 
and boldness of spirit, which now constituted the 
ruling passion of my mind. 

But this was no time for meditation. To the suf- 
ferer the course of events is taken out of his direction, 
and he is hurried along with an irresistible force, 
without finding it within the compass of his efforts to 
check their rapidity. I was allowed only a short time 
to recollect myself, when my trial commenced. I was 
conducted to the library, where I had passed so many 
happy and so many contemplative hours, and found 
there Mr. Forester and three or four of the servants 
already assembled, in expectation of me and my ac- 
cuser. Every thing was calculated to suggest to me 
that I must trust only in the justice of the parties 
concerned, and had nothing to hope from their indulg- 
ence. Mr. Falkland entered at one door, almost as 
soon as I entered at the other. 



226 CALEB WILLIAMS. 



CHAPTER X. 

HE began : " It has been the principle of my life, 
never to inflict a wilful injury upon any thing that 
lives ; I need not express my regret, when I find my- 
self obliged to be the promulgator of a criminal charge. 
How gladly would I pass unnoticed the evil I have 
sustained; but I owe it to society to detect an of- 
fender, and prevent other men from being imposed 
upon, as I have been, by an appearance of integrity." 

" It would be better," interrupted Mr. Forester, " to 
speak directly to the point. We ought not, though 
unwarily, by apologising for ourselves, to create at 
such a time a prejudice against an individual, against 
whom a criminal accusation will always be prejudice 
enough." 

" I strongly suspect," continued Mr. Falkland, " this 
young man, who has been peculiarly the object of 
my kindness, of having robbed me to a considerable 
amount." 

" What," replied Mr. Forester, are the grounds 
of your suspicion ? " 

" The first of them is the actual loss I have sus- 
tained, in notes, jewels, and plate. I have missed bank- 
notes to the amount of nine hundred pounds, three 
gold repeaters of considerable value, a complete set of 
diamonds, the property of my late mother, and several 
other articles." 

" And why,*' continued my arbitrator, astonishment, 
grief, and a desire to retain his self-possession, strongly 
contending in his countenance and voice, " do you 
fix on this young man as the instrument of the 
depredation ? " 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 22? 

" I found him, on my coming home, upon the day 
when every thing was in disorder from the alarm ot 
fire, in the very act of quitting the private apartment 
where these articles were deposited. He was con- 
founded at seeing me, and hastened to withdraw as 
soon as he possibly could." 

Did you say nothing to him take no notice of the 
confusion your sudden appearance produced?" 

I asked what was his errand in that place. He 
was at first so terrified and overcome, that he could 
not answer me. Afterwards, with a good deal of 
faltering, he said that, when all the servants were en- 
gaged in endeavouring to save the most valuable part 
of my property, he had come hither with the same 
view ; but that he had as yet removed nothing." 

" Did you immediately examine to see that every 
thing was safe ? n 

" No. I was accustomed to confide in his honesty ; 
and I was suddenly called away, in the present in- 
stance, to attend to the increasing progress of the 
flames. I therefore only took out the key from the 
door of the apartment, having first locked it, and, 
putting it in my pocket, hastened to go where my 
presence seemed indispensably necessary.'* 

" How long was it before you missed your property?" 

" The same evening. The hurry of the scene had 
driven the circumstance entirely out of my mind, till, 
going by accident near the apartment, the whole 
affair, together with the singular and equivocal be- 
haviour of Williams, rushed at once upon my recol- 
lection. I immediately entered, examined the trunk 
in which these things were contained, and, to my as- 
tonishment, found the locks broken, and the property 
gone." 

" What steps did you take upon this discovery ?** 
Q 2 



228 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" I sent for Williams, and talked to him very seriously 
upon the subject. But he had now perfectly recovered 
his self-command, and calmly and stoutly denied all 
knowledge of the matter. I urged him with the 
enormousness of the offence, but I made no impression. 
He did not discover either the surprise and indig- 
nation one would have expected from a person entirely 
innocent, or the uneasiness that generally attends upon 
guilt. He was rather silent and reserved. I then 
informed him, that I should proceed in a manner dif- 
ferent from what he might perhaps expect. I would 
not, as is too frequent in such cases, make a general 
search; for I had rather lose my property for ever 
without redress, than expose a multitude of innocent 
persons to anxiety and injustice. My suspicion, for 
the present, unavoidably fixed upon him. But, in a 
matter of so great consequence, I was determined not 
to act upon suspicion. I would neither incur the pos- 
sibility of ruining him, being innocent, nor be the 
instrument of exposing others to his depredations, if 
guilty. I should therefore merely insist upon his 
continuing in my service. He might depend upon it 
he should be well watched, and I trusted the whole 
truth would eventually appear. Since he avoided con- 
fession now, I advised him to consider how far it was 
likely he would come off with impunity at last. This 
I determined on, that the moment he attempted an 
escape, I would consider that as an indication of guilt, 
and proceed accordingly." 

" What circumstances have occurred from that time 
to the present ? " 

" None upon which I can infer a certainty of guilt; 
several that agree to favour a suspicion. From that 
time Williams was perpetually uneasy in his situation, 
always desirous, as it now appears, to escape, but 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 229 

afraid to adopt such a measure without certain pre- 
cautions. It was not long after, that you, Mr. Forester, 
became my visitor. I observed, with dissatisfaction, 
the growing intercourse between you, reflecting on the 
equivocalness of his character, and the attempt he 
would probably make to render you the dupe of his 
hypocrisy. I accordingly threatened him severely ; and 
I believe you observed the change that presently after 
occurred in his behaviour with relation to you." 

I did, and it appeared at that time mysterious and 
extraordinary." 

" Some time after, as you well know, a rencounter 
took place between you, whether accidental or intui- 
tional on his part I am not able to say, when he con- 
fessed to you the uneasiness of his mind, without 
discovering the cause, and openly proposed to you to 
assist him in his flight, and stand, in case of necessity, 
between him and my resentment. You offered, it 
seems, to take him into your service ; but nothing, as 
he acknowledged, would answer his purpose, that did 
not place his retreat wholly out of my power to dis- 
cover." 

" Did it not appear extraordinary to you, that he 
should hope for any effectual protection from me, while 
it remained perpetually in your power to satisfy me of 
his un worthiness?" 

" Perhaps he had hopes that I should not proceed to 
that step, at least so long as the place of his retreat 
should be unknown to me, and of consequence the 
event of my proceeding dubious. Perhaps he confided 
in his own powers, which are far from contemptible, to 
construct a plausible tale, especially as he had taken 
care to have the first impression in his favpur. After 
all, this protection, on your part, was merely reserved 
in case all other expedients failed. He does not appear 
Q 3 



230 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

to have had any other sentiment upon the subject, than 
that, if he were defeated in his projects for placing 
himself beyond the reach of justice, it was better to 
have bespoken a place in your patronage than to be 
destitute of every resource." 

Mr. Falkland having thus finished his evidence, called 
upon Robert, the valet, to confirm the part of it which 
related to the day of the fire. 

Robert stated, that he happened to be coming through 
the library that day, a few minutes after Mr. Falkland's 
being brought home by the sight of the fire ; that he 
had found me standing there with every mark of per- 
turbation and fright; that he could not help stopping to 
notice it; that he had spoken to me two or three times 
before he could obtain an answer ; and that all he could 
get from me at last was, that I was the most miserable 
creature alive. 

He further said, that in the evening of the same day 
Mr. Falkland called him into the private apartment 
adjoining to the library, and bid him bring a hammer 
and some nails. He then showed him a trunk stand- 
ing in the apartment with its locks and fastenings 
broken, and ordered him to observe and remember what 
he saw, but not to mention it to any one. Robert did 
not at that time know what Mr. Falkland intended by 
these directions, which were given in a manner un- 
commonly solemn and significant ; but he entertained 
no doubt, that the fastenings were broken and wrenched 
by the application of a chisel or such-like instrument, 
with the intention of forcibly opening the trunk. 

Mr. Forester observed upon this evidence, that as 
much of it as related to the day of the fire seemed 
indeed to afford powerful reasons for suspicion; and that 
the circumstances that had occurred since strangely 
concurred to fortify that suspicion. Meantime, that 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 231 

nothing proper to be done might be omitted, he asked 
whether in my flight I had removed my boxes, to see 
whether by that means any trace could be discovered 
to confirm the imputation. Mr. Falkland treated this 
suggestion slightly, saying, that if I were the thief, I 
had no doubt taken the precaution to obviate so pal- 
pable a means of detection. To this Mr. Forester 
only replied, that conjecture, however skilfully formed, 
was not always realised in the actions and behaviour of 
mankind; and ordered that my boxes and trunks, if 
found, should be brought into the library. I listened 
to this suggestion with pleasure ; and, uneasy and con- 
founded as I was at the appearances combined against 
me, I trusted in this appeal to give a new face to my 
cause. I was eager, to declare the place where my 
property was deposited ; and the servants, guided by 
my direction, presently produced what was enquired for. 

The two boxes that were first opened, contained 
nothing to confirm the accusation against me ; in the 
third were found a watch and several jewels, that were 
immediately known to be the property of Mr. Falkland. 
The production of this seemingly decisive evidence 
excited emotions of astonishment and concern ; but no 
person's astonishment appeared to be greater than that 
of Mr. Falkland. That 1 should have left the stolen 
goods behind me, would of itself have appeared incre- 
dible ; but when it was considered what a secure place 
of concealment I had found for them, the wonder 
diminished; and Mr. Forester observed, that it was by 
no means impossible I might conceive it easier to obtain 
possession of them afterwards, than to remove them at 
the period of my precipitate flight. 

Here however I thought it necessary to interfere. 
I fervently urged my right to a fair and impartial con- 
struction. I asked Mr. Forester, whether it were pro- 
Q 4 



232 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

bable, if I had stolen these things, that I should not 
have contrived, at least to remove them along with 
me ? And again, whether, if I had been conscious they 
would be found among my property, I should myself 
have indicated the place where I had concealed it ? 

The insinuation I conveyed against Mr. Forester's 
impartiality overspread his whole countenance, for an 
instant, with the flush of anger. 

" Impartiality, young man ! Yes, be sure, from me 
you shall experience an impartial treatment ! God send 
that may answer your purpose ! Presently you shall be 
heard at full in your own defence. 

" You expect us to believe you innocent, because 
you did not remove these things along with you. The 
money is removed. Where, sir, is that ? We cannot 
answer for the inconsistences and oversights of any 
human mind, and, least of all, if that mind should 
appear to be disturbed with the consciousness of guilt. 
" You observe that it was by your own direction these 
boxes and trunks have been found : that is indeed 
extraordinary. It appears little less than infatuation. 
But to what purpose appeal to probabilities and con- 
jecture, in the face of incontestable facts ? There, sir, 
are the boxes : you alone knew where they were to be 
found ; you alone had the keys : tell us then how this 
watch and these jewels came to be contained in them?" 
I was silent. 

To the rest of the persons present I seemed to be 
merely the subject of detection; but in reality I was, 
of all the spectators, that individual who was most at a 
loss to conceive, through every stage of the scene, what 
would come next, and who listened to every word that 
was uttered with the most uncontrollable amazement. 
Amazement however alternately yielded to indig- 
nation and horror. At first I could not refrain from 



CALEB WILLIAMS, 233 

repeatedly attempting to interrupt ; but I was checked 
in these attempts by Mr. Forester ; and I presently 
felt how necessary it was to my future peace, that I 
should collect the whole energy of my mind to repel 
the charge, and assert my innocence. 

Every thing being now produced that could be pro- 
duced against me, Mr. Forester turned to me with a 
look of concern and pity, and told me that now was the 
time, if I chose to allege any thing in my defence. In 
reply to this invitation, I spoke nearly as follows : 

" I am innocent. It is in vain that circumstance! are 
accumulated against me ; there is not a person upon 
earth less capable than I of the things of which I 
am accused. I appeal to my heart I appeal to my 
looks I appeal to every sentiment my tongue ever 
uttered." 

I could perceive that the fervour with which I spoke 
made some impression upon every one that heard me. 
But in a moment their eyes were turned upon the pro- 
perty that lay before them, and their countenances 
changed. I proceeded : 

" One thing more I must aver; Mr. Falkland is not 
deceived ; he perfectly knows that I am innocent." 

I had no sooner uttered these words, than an invo- 
luntary cry of indignation burst from every person in 
the room. Mr. Forester turned to me with a look of 
extreme severity, and said 

" Young man, consider well what you are doing ! It 
is the privilege of the party accused to say whatever 
he thinks proper ; and I will take care that you shall 
enjoy that privilege in its utmost extent. But do you 
think it will conduce in any respect to your benefit, 
to throw out such insolent and intolerable insinu- 
ations?" 

" I thank you most sincerely," replied I, " for your 



234- CALEB WILLIAMS. 

caution ; but I well know what it is I am doing. I 
make this declaration, not merely because it is solemnly 
true, but because it is inseparably connected with my 
vindication. I am the party accused, and I shall be told 
that I am not to be believed in my own defence. I can 
produce no other witnesses of my innocence; I therefore 
call upon Mr. Falkland to be my evidence. I ask him 

" Did you never boast to me in private of your power 
to ruin me ? Did you never say that, if once I brought 
on myself the weight of your displeasure, my fall should 
be irreparable ? Did you not tell me that, though I 
should prepare in that case a tale however plausible 
or however true, you would take care that the whole 
world should execrate me as an impostor ? Were not 
those your very words ? Did you not add, that my in- 
nocence should be of no service to me, and that you 
laughed at so feeble a defence? I ask you further, 
Did you not receive a letter from me the morning of 
the day on which I departed, requesting your consent 
to my departure? Should I have done that if my 
flight had been that of a thief? I challenge any man 
to reconcile the expressions of that letter with this ac- 
cusation. Should I have begun with stating that I 
had conceived a desire to quit your service, if my 
desire and the reasons for it, had been of the nature 
that is now alleged ? Should I have dared to ask for 
what reason I was thus subjected to an eternal pe- 
nance ? " 

Saying this, I took out a copy of my letter, and laid 
it open upon the table. 

Mr. Falkland returned no immediate answer to my 
interrogations. Mr. Forester turned to him, and said, 
" Well, sir, what is your reply to this challenge of 
your servant ? " 

Mr. Falkland answered, " Such a mode of defence 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 235 

scarcely calls for a reply. But I answer, I held no such 
conversation ; I never used such words ; I received no 
such letter. Surely it is no sufficient refutation of a 
criminal charge, that the criminal repels what is alleged 
against him with volubility of speech, and intrepidity 
of manner." 

Mr. Forester then turned to me : " If," said he, " you 
trust your vindication to the plausibility of your tale, 
you must take care to render it consistent and com- 
plete. You have not told us what was the cause of the 
confusion and anxiety in which Robert professes to 
have found you, why you were so impatient to quit 
the service of Mr. Falkland, or how you account for 
certain articles of his property being found in your 
possession." 

" All that, sir," answered I, " is true. There are 
certain parts of my story that I have not told. If 
they were told, they would not conduce to my disad- 
vantage, and they would make the present accusation 
appear still more astonishing. But I cannot, as yet at 
least, prevail upon myself to tell them. Is it necessary 
to give any particular and precise reasons why I should 
wish to change the place of my residence ? You all of 
you know the unfortunate state of Mr. Falkland's mind. 
You know the sternness, reservedness, and distance of 
his manners. If I had no other reasons, surely it would 
afford small presumption of criminality that I should 
wish to change his service for another. 

" The question of how these articles of Mr. Falkland's 
property came to be found in my possession, is more 
material. It is a question I am wholly unable to answer. 
Their being found there, was at least as unexpected 
to me as to any one of the persons now present. I 
only know that, as I have the most perfect assurance 
of Mr. Falkland's being conscious of my innocence 



236 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

for, observe ! I do not shrink from that assertion ; I 
reiterate it with new confidence I therefore firmly 
and from my soul believe, that their being there is of 
Mr. Falkland's contrivance." 

I no sooner said this, than I was again interrupted 
by an involuntary exclamation from every one present. 
They looked at me with furious glances, as if they 
could have torn me to pieces. I proceeded : 

" I have now answered every thing that is alleged 
against me. 

" Mr. Forester, you are a lover of justice ; I con- 
jure you not to violate it in my person. You are a man 
of penetration ; look at me ! do you see any of the 
marks of guilt ? Recollect all that has ever passed 
under your observation ; is it compatible with a mind 
capable of what is now alleged against me ? Could a 
real criminal have shown himself so unabashed, com- 
posed, and firm as I have now done ? 

" Fellow-servants ! Mr. Falkland is a man of rank 
and fortune ; he is your master. I am a poor country 
lad, without a friend in the world. That is a ground of 
real difference to a certain extent ; but it is not a suf- 
ficient ground for the subversion of justice. Remember, 
that I am in a situation that is not to be trifled with ; 
that a decision given against me now, in a case in 
which I solemnly assure you I am innocent, will for 
ever deprive me of reputation and peace of mind, 
combine the whole world in a league against me, and 
determine perhaps upon my liberty and my life. If 
you believe if you see if you know, that I am inno- 
cent, speak for me. Do not suffer a pusillanimous 
timidity to prevent you from saving a fellow-creature 
from destruction, who does not deserve to have a 
human being for his enemy. Why have we the power 
of speech, but to communicate our thoughts ? I will 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 237 

never believe that a man, conscious of innocence, 
cannot make other men perceive that he has that 
thought. Do not you feel that my whole heart tells 
me, I am not guilty of what is imputed to me ? 

" To you, Mr. Falkland, I have nothing to say : I 
know you, and know that you are impenetrable. At 
the very moment that you are urging such odious 
charges against me, you admire my resolution and for- 
bearance. But I have nothing to hope from you. You 
can look upon my ruin without pity or remorse. I am 
most unfortunate indeed in having to do with such 
an adversary. You oblige me to say ill things of you ; 
but I appeal to your own heart, whether my language 
is that of exaggeration or revenge." 

Every thing that could be alleged on either side 
being now concluded, Mr. Forester undertook to make 
some remarks upon the whole. 

"Williams," said he," the charge against you is heavy; 
the direct evidence strong ; the corroborating circum- 
stances numerous and striking. I grant that you have 
shown considerable dexterity in your answers ; but you 
will learn, young man, to your cost, that dexterity, how- 
ever powerful it maybe in certain cases, will avail little 
against the stubbornness of truth. It is fortunate for 
mankind that the empire of talents has its limitations, 
and that it is not in the power of ingenuity to subvert 
the distinctions of right and wrong. Take my word for 
it, that the true merits of the case against you will be 
too strong for sophistry to overturn ; that justice will 
prevail, and impotent malice be defeated. 

" To you, Mr. Falkland, society is obliged for having 
placed this black affair in its true light. Do not suffer 
the malignant aspersions of the criminal to give you 
uneasiness. Depend upon it that they will be found of 
no weight. I have no doubt that your character, in the 



238 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

judgment of every person that has heard them, stands 
higher than ever. We feel for your misfortune, in 
being obliged to hear such calumnies from a person 
who has injured you so grossly. But you must be con- 
sidered in that respect as a martyr in the public cause. 
The purity of your motives and dispositions is beyond 
the reach of malice ; and truth and equity will not fail 
to award, to your calumniator infamy, and to you the 
love and approbation of mankind. 

" I have now told you, Williams, what I think of your 
case. But I have no right to assume to be your ulti- 
mate judge. Desperate as it appears to me, I will 
give you one piece of advice, as if I were retained as 
a counsel to assist you. Leave out of it whatever 
tends to the disadvantage of Mr. Falkland. Defend 
yourself as well as you can, but do not attack your 
master. It is your business to create in those who 
hear you a prepossession in your favour. But the re- 
crimination you have been now practising, will always 
create indignation. Dishonesty will admit of some 
palliation. The deliberate malice you have now been 
showing is a thousand times more atrocious. It proves 
you to have the mind of a demon, rather than of a 
felon. Wherever you shall repeat it, those who hear 
you will pronounce you guilty upon that, even if the 
proper evidence against you were glaringly defective. 
If therefore you would consult your interest, which 
seems to be your only consideration, it is incumbent 
upon you by all means immediately to retract that. If 
you desire to be believed honest, you must in the first 
place show that you have a due sense of merit in others. 
You cannot better serve your cause than by begging 
pardon of your master, and doing homage to rectitude 
and worth, even when they are employed in vengeance 
against you." 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 239 

It is easy to conceive that my mind sustained an 
extreme shock from the decision of Mr. Forester ; but 
his call upon me to retract and humble myself before 
my accuser penetrated my whole soul with indig- 
nation. I answered : 

" I have already told you I am innocent. I believe 
that I could not endure the effort of inventing a plau- 
sible defence, if it were otherwise. You have just 
affirmed that it is not in the power of ingenuity to 
subvert the distinctions of right and wrong, and in that 
very instant I find them subverted. This is indeed to 
me a very awful moment. New to the world, I know 
nothing, of its affairs but what has reached me by 
rumour, or is recorded in books. I have come into it 
with all the ardour and confidence inseparable from 
ray years. In every fellow-being I expected to find a 
friend. I am unpractised in its wiles, and have even 
no acquaintance with its injustice. I have done nothing 
to deserve the animosity of mankind; but, if I may 
judge from the present scene, I am henceforth to be 
deprived of the benefits of integrity and honour. I am 
to forfeit the friendship of every one I have hitherto 
known, and to be precluded from the power of ac- 
quiring that of others. I must therefore be reduced 
to derive my satisfaction from myself. Depend upon 
it, I will not begin that career by dishonourable con- 
cessions. If I am to despair of the good-will of other 
men, I will at least maintain the independence of my 
own mind. Mr. Falkland is my implacable enemy. 
Whatever may be his merits in other respects, he is 
acting towards me without humanity, without remorse, 
and without principle. Do you think I will ever make 
submissions to a man by whom I am thus treated, that 
I will fall down at the feet of one who is to me a devil, 
or kiss the hand that is red with my blood?" 



240 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" In that respect," answered Mr. Forester, " do as 
you shall think proper. I must confess that your 
firmness and consistency astonish me. They add 
something to what I had conceived of human powers. 
Perhaps you have chosen the part which, all things 
considered, may serve your purpose best ; though I 
think more moderation would be more conciliating. 
The exterior of innocence will, I grant, stagger the 
persons who may have the direction of your fate, but 
it will never be able to prevail against plain and in- 
controvertible facts. But I have done with you. I 
see in you a new instance of that abuse which is so 
generally made of talents, the admiration of an un- 
discerning public. I regard you with horror. All that 
remains is, that I should discharge my duty, in con- 
signing you, as a monster of depravity, to the justice 
of your country." 

" No," rejoined Mr. Falkland, " to that I can never 
consent. I have put a restraint upon myself thus far, 
because it was right that evidence and enquiry should 
take their course. I have suppressed all my habits 
and sentiments, because it seemed due to the public 
that hypocrisy should be unmasked. But I can suffer 
this violence no longer. I have through my whole 
life interfered to protect, not overbear, the sufferer ; 
and I must do so now. I feel not the smallest resent- 
ment of his impotent attacks upon my character ; I 
smile at their malice ; and they make no diminution in 
my benevolence to their author. Let him say what he 
pleases; he cannot hurt me. It was proper that he 
should be brought to public shame, that other people 
might not be deceived by him as we have been. But 
there is no necessity for proceeding further; and I 
must insist upon it that he be permitted to depart 
wherever he pleases. I am sorry that public interest 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 241 

affords so gloomy a prospect for his future happi- 

IH ML ' 

" Mr. Falkland," answered Mr. Forester, " these sen- 
timents do honour to your humanity; but I must not 
give way to them. They only serve to set in a stronger 
tight the venom of this serpent, this monster of in- 
gratitude, who first robs his benefactor, and then re- 
viles him. Wretch that you are, will nothing move 
you ? Are you inaccessible to remorse ? Are you not 
struck to the heart with the unmerited goodness of 
your master ? Vile calumniator I you are the abhor- 
rence of nature, the opprobrium of the human species, 
and the earth can only be freed from an insupportable 
burthen by your being exterminated! Recollect, sir, 
that this monster, at the very moment that you are ex- 
ercising such unexampled forbearance in his behalf, 
has the presumption to charge you with prosecuting a 
crime of which you know him to be innocent, nay, with 
having conveyed the pretended stolen goods among 
his property, for the express purpose of ruining him. 
By this unexampled villainy, he makes it your duty to 
free the world from such a pest, and your interest to 
admit no relaxing in your pursuit of him, lest the world 
should be persuaded by your clemency to credit his 
vile insinuations." 

** I care not for the consequences," replied Mr. Falk- 
land ; " I will obey the dictates of my own mind. I 
will never lend my assistance to the reforming mankind 
by axes and gibbets. I am sure things will never be as 
they ought, till honour, and not law, be the dictator of 
mankind, till vice be taught to shrink before the re- 
sistless might of inborn dignity, and not before the cold 
formality of statutes. If my calumniator were worthy 
of my resentment, I would chastise him with my own 
sword, and not that of the magistrate ; but in the pre- 
R 



242 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sent case I smile at his malice, and resolve to spare 
him, as the generous lord of the forest spares the insect 
that would disturb his repose." 

" The language you now hold," said Mr. Forester, 
" is that of romance, and not of reason. Yet I cannot 
but be struck with the contrast exhibited before me, 
of the magnanimity of virtue, and the obstinate im- 
penetrable injustice of guilt. While your mind over- 
flows with goodness, nothing can touch the heart of 
this thrice-refined villain. I shall never forgive myself 
for having once been entrapped by his detestable arts. 
This is no time for us to settle the question between 
chivalry and law. I shall therefore simply insist as a 
magistrate, having taken the evidence in this felony, 
upon my right and duty of following the course of 
justice, and committing the accused to the county jail." 

After some further contest Mr. Falkland, finding 
Mr. Forester obstinate and impracticable, withdrew his 
opposition. Accordingly a proper officer was sum- 
moned from the neighbouring village, a mittimus made 
out, and one of Mr. Falkland's carriages prepared to 
conduct me to the place of custody. It will easily be 
imagined that this sudden reverse was very painfully 
felt by me. I looked round on the servants who had 
been the spectators of my examination, but not one of 
them, either by word or gesture, expressed compassion 
for my calamity. The robbery of which I was accused 
appeared to them atrocious from its magnitude ; and 
whatever sparks of compassion might otherwise have 
sprung up in their ingenuous and undisciplined minds, 
were totally obliterated by indignation at my supposed 
profligacy in recriminating upon their worthy and ex- 
cellent master. My fate being already determined, 
and one of the servants despatched for the officer, 
Mr. Forester and Mr. Falkland withdrew, and left me 
in the custody of two others. 



CALEB WILLIANfS. 243 

One of these was the son of a farmer at no great 
distance, who had been in habits of long established 
intimacy with my late father. I was willing accurately 
to discover the state of mind of those who had been 
witnesses of this scene, and who had had some previous 
opportunity of observing my character and manners. 
I. therefore, endeavoured to open a conversation with 
him. " Well, my good Thomas," said I, in a que- 
rulous tone, and with a hesitating manner, am I not 
a most miserable creature ? * ' 

" Do not speak to me, Master Williams ! You have 
given me a shock that I shall not get the better of tor 
one while. You were hatched by a hen, as the saying 
is, but you came of the spawn of a cockatrice. I am 
glad to my heart that honest farmer Williams is dead ; 
your villainy would else have made him curse the day 
that ever he was born." 

" Thomas, I am innocent ! I swear by the great 
God that shall judge me another day, I am in- 
nocent ! " 

" Pray, do not swear ! for goodness* sake, do not 
swear ! your poor soul is damned enough without that. 
For your sake, lad, I will never take any body's word, 
nor trust to appearances, thof it should be an angel. 
Lord bless us ! how smoothly you palavered it over, 
for all the world, as if you had been as fair as a new- 
born babe ! But it will not do ; you will never be able 
to persuade people that black is white. For my own 
part, I have done with you. I loved you yesterday, all 
one as if you had been my own brother. To-day I love 
you so well, that I would go ten miles with all the- 
pleasure in life to see you hanged." 

" Good God, Thomas ! have you the heart? What 
a change ! I call God to witness, I have done nothing to, 
deserve it ! What a world do we live in ! " 
H 2 



244 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" Hold your tongue, boy ! It makes my very heart 
sick to hear you ! I would not lie a night under the 
same roof with you for all the world ! I should expect 
the house to fall and crush such wickedness ! I admire 
that the earth does not open and swallow you alive ! It 
is poison so much as to look at you ! If you go on at 
this hardened rate, I believe from my soul that the peo- 
ple you talk to will tear you to pieces, and you will never 
live to come to the gallows. Oh, yes, you do well to pity 
yourself; poor tender thing ! that spit venom all round 
you like a toad, and leave the very ground upon which 
you crawl infected with your slime." 

Finding the person with whom I talked thus impene- 
trable to all I could say, and considering that the advan- 
tage to be gained was small, even if I could overcome 
his prepossession, I took his advice, and was silent. It 
was not much longer before every thing was prepared 
for my departure, and I was conducted to the same 
prison which had so lately enclosed the wretched and 
innocent Hawkinses. They too had been the victims 
of Mr. Falkland. He exhibited, upon a contracted 
scale indeed, but in which the truth of delineation was 
faithfully sustained, a copy of what monarchs are, who 
reckon among the instruments of their power prisons of 
state. 



CHAPTER XI. 

FOR my own part, I had never seen a prison, and, like 
the majority of my brethren, had given myself little con- 
cern to enquire what was the condition of those who 
committed offence against, or became obnoxious to suspi- 
cion from, the community. Oh, how enviable is the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 245 

most tottering shed under which the labourer retires to 
rest, compared with the residence of these walls ! 

To me every thing was new, the massy doors, the 
resounding locks, the gloomy passages, the grated 
windows, and the characteristic looks of the keepers, 
accustomed to reject every petition, and to steel their 
hearts against feeling and pity. Curiosity, and a sense 
of my situation, induced me to fix my eyes on the faces 
of these men ; but in a few minutes I drew them away 
with unconquerable loathing. It is impossible to de- 
scribe the sort of squalidness and filth with which these 
mansions are distinguished. I have seen dirty faces in 
dirty apartments, which have nevertheless borne the 
impression of health, and spoke carelessness and levity 
rather than distress. But the dirt of a prison speaks 
sadness to the heart, and appears to be already in a 
state of putridity and infection. 

I was detained for more than an hour in the apart- 
ment of the keeper, one turnkey after another coming 
in, that they might make themselves familiar with my 
person. As I was already considered an guilty of fe- 
lony to a considerable amount, I underwent a rigorous 
search, and they took from me a penknife, a pair of scis- 
sors, and that part of my money which was in gold. 
It was debated whether or not these should be sealed 
up, to be returned to me, as they said, as soon as I 
should be acquitted ; and had I not displayed an unex- 
pected firmness of manner and vigour of expostulation, 
such was probably the conduct that would have been 
pursued. Having undergone these ceremonies, I was 
thrust into a day-room, in which all the persons then 
under confinement for felony were assembled, to the 
number of eleven. Each of them was too much en- 
gaged in his own reflections, to take notice of me. Of 
these, two were imprisoned for horse-stealing, and three 
R 3 



24-6 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

for having stolen a sheep, one for shop-lifting, one 
for coining, two for highway-robbery, and two for 
burglary. 

The horse-stealers were engaged in a game at cards, 
which was presently interrupted by a difference of opi- 
nion, attended with great vociferation, they calling 
upon one and another to decide it, to no purpose ; one 
paying no attention to their summons, and another 
leaving them in the midst of their story, being no 
longer able to endure his own internal anguish, in the 
midst of their mummery. 

' It is a custom among thieves to constitute a sort of 
mock tribunal of their own body, from whose decision 
every one is informed whether he shall be acquitted, 
respited, or pardoned, as well as respecting the supposed 
most skilful way of conducting his defence. One of the 
house-breakers, who had already passed this ordeal, and 
was stalking up and down the room with a forced bra- 
very, exclaimed to his companion, that he was as rich 
as the Duke of Bedford himself. He had five guineas 
and a half, which was as much as he could possibly 
spend in the course of the ensuing month ; and what 
happened after that, it wa$ Jack Ketch's business to see" 
to, not his. As he uttered these words, he threw 
himself abruptly upon a bench that was near him, and 
seemed to be asleep in a moment. But his sleep was 
uneasy and disturbed, his breathing was hard, and, at 
intervals, had rather the nature of a groan. A young 
fellow from the other side of the room came softly to 
the place where he lay, with a large knife in his hand ; 
and pressed the back of it with such violence upon his 
neck, the head hanging over the side of the bench, that 
it was not till after several efforts that he was able to rise. 
" Oh, Jack ! " cried this manual jester, " I had almost 
done your business for you ! " The other expressed no 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 24? 

marks of resentment, but sullenly answered, " Damn 
you, why did not you take- the edge? It would have 
been the best thing you have done this many a day ! " * 
The case of one of the persons committed for 
highway-robbery was not a little extraordinary. He 
was a common soldier of a most engaging physiognomy, 
and two-and-twenty years of age. The prosecutor, 
who had been robbed one evening, as he returned late 
from the alehouse, of the sum of three shillings, swore 
positively to his person. The character of the prisoner 
was such as has seldom been equalled. He had been 
ardent in the pursuit of intellectual cultivation, and was 
accustomed to draw his favourite amusement from the 
works of Virgil and Horace. The humbleness of his 
situation, combined with his ardour for literature, only 
served to give an inexpressible heightening to the in- 
terestingness of his character. He was plain and 
unaffected; he assumed nothing; he was capable, 
when occasion demanded, of firmness, but, in his ordi- 
nary deportment, he seemed unarmed and unresisting, 
unsuspicious of guile in others, as he was totally free 
from guile in himself. His integrity was proverbially 
great. In one instance he liad been intrusted by a 
lady to convey a sum of a thousand pounds to a person 
at some miles distance ; in another, he was employed 
by a gentleman, during his absence, in the care of his 
house and furniture, to the value of at least five times 
that sum. His habits of thinking were strictly his own, 
full of justice, simplicity, and wisdom. He from time 
to time earned money of his officers, by his peculiar 
excellence in furbishing arms; but he declined offers 

* An incident exactly similar to this was witnessed by a friend 
of the author, a few years since, in a visit to the prison of 
, Newgate. 



c 24fS CALEB WILLIAMS. 

that had been made him to become a Serjeant or a 
corporal, saying that he did not want money, and that 
in a new situation he should have less leisure for study. 
He was equally constant in refusing presents that were 
offered him by persons who had been struck with his 
merit ; not that he was under the influence of false 
delicacy and pride, but that he had no inclination to 
accept that, the want of which he did not feel to be an 
evil. This man died while I was in prison. I received 
his last breath.* 

The whole day I was obliged to spend in the com- 
pany of these men, some of them having really com- 
mitted the actions laid to their charge, others whom 
their ill fortune had rendered the victims of suspicion. 
The whole was a scene of misery, such as nothing 
short of actual observation can suggest to the mind. 
Some were noisy and obstreperous, endeavouring by a 
false bravery to keep at bay the remembrance of their 
condition ; while others, incapable even of this effort, 
had the torment of their thoughts aggravated by the 
perpetual noise and confusion that prevailed around 
them. In the faces of those who assumed the most 
courage, you might trace the furrows of anxious care ; 
and in the midst of their laboured hilarity dreadful 
ideas would ever and anon intrude, convulsing their 
features, and working every line into an expression of 
the keenest agony. To these men the sun brought no 
return of joy. Day after day rolled on, but their state 
was immutable. Existence was to them a scene of 
invariable melancholy ; every moment was a moment 
of anguish ; yet did they wish to prolong that moment, 
fearful that the coming period would bring a severer 
fate. They thought of the past with insupportable 

* A story extremely similar to this is to be found in the 
Newgate Calendar, vol. i. p. 382. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 249 

repentance, each man contented to give his right hand 
to have again the choice of that peace and liberty, 
which he had unthinkingly bartered away. We talk of 
instruments of torture ; Englishmen take credit to 
themselves for having banished the use of them from 
their happy shore ! Alas ! he that has observed the 
secrets of a prison, well knows that there is more torture 
in the lingering existence of a criminal, in the silent 
intolerable minutes that he spends, than in the tangible 
misery of whips and racks ! 

Such were our days. At sunset our jailors appeared, 
and ordered each man to come away, and be locked 
into his dungeon. It was a bitter aggravation of our 
fate, to be under the arbitrary control of these fellows. 
They felt no man's sorrow ; they were of all men least 
capable of any sort of feeling. They had a barbarous 
and sullen pleasure in issuing their detested mandates, 
and observing the mournful reluctance with which they 
were obeyed. Whatever they directed, it was in vain 
to expostulate ; fetters, and bread and water, were the 
sure consequences of resistance. Their tyranny had 
no other limit than their own caprice. To whom shall 
the unfortunate felon appeal ? To what purpose com- 
plain, when his complaints are sure to be received with 
incredulity ? A tale of mutiny and necessary precaution 
is the unfailing refuge of the keeper, and this tale is an 
everlasting bar against redress. 

Our dungeons were cells, 7$ feet by 6.J, below the 
surface of the ground, damp, without window, light, or 
air, except from a few holes worked for that purpose in 
the door. In some of these miserable receptacles three 
persons were put to sleep together.* I was fortunate 
enough to have one to myself. It was now the approach 

* Sec Howard on Prisons. 



250 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

of winter. We were not allowed to have candles, and, 
as I have already said, were thrust in here at sunset, 
and not liberated till the returning day. This was our 
situation for fourteen or fifteen hours out of the four- 
and-twenty. I had never been accustomed to sleep 
more than six or seven hours, and my inclination to 
sleep was now less than ever. Thus was I reduced to 
spend half my day in this dreary abode, and in com- 
plete darkness. This was no trifling aggravation of 
my lot. 

Among my melancholy reflections I tasked my me- 
mory, and counted over the doors, the locks, the bolts, 
the chains, the massy walls, and grated windows, that 
were between me and liberty. " These," said I, " are 
the engines that tyranny sits down in cold and serious 
meditation to invent. This is the empire that man 
exercises over man. Thus is a being, formed to ex- 
patiate, to act, to smile, and enjoy, restricted and 
benumbed. How great must be his depravity or heed- 
lessness, who vindicates this scheme for changing health 
and gaiety and serenity, into the wanness of a dungeon, 
and the deep furrows of agony and despair !" 

" Thank God," exclaims the Englishman, " we have 
no Bastile ' Thank God, with us no man can be punished 
without a crime ! " Unthinking wretch ! Is that a country 
of liberty, where thousands languish in dungeons and 
fetters ? Go, go, ignorant fool ! and visit the scenes of 
our prisons ! witness their unwholesomeness, their filth, 
the tyranny of their governors, the misery of their 
inmates! After that, show me the man shameless enough 
to triumph, and say, England has no Bastile ! Is there 
any charge so frivolous, upon which men are not con- 
signed to those detested abodes ? Is there any villainy 
that is not practised by justices and prosecutors? But 
against all this perhaps you have been told there is 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 251 

redress. Yes ; a redress, that it is the consummation of 
insult so much as to name ! Where shall the poor wretch 
reduced to the last despair, and to whom acquittal 
perhaps conies just time enough to save him from 
perishing, where shall this man find leisure, and much 
less money, to fee counsel and officers, and purchase 
the tedious dear-bought remedy of the law ? No ; he 
is too happy to leave his dungeon, and the memory 
of his dungeon, behind him; and the same tyranny 
and wanton oppression become the inheritance of his 
successor. 

For myself, I looked round upon my walls, and for- 
ward upon the premature death I had too much reason 
to expect : I consulted my own heart, that whispered 
nothing but innocence ; and I said, " This is society. 
This is the object, the distribution of justice, which is the 
end of human reason. For this sages have toiled, and 
midnight oil has been wasted. This !" 

The reader will forgive this digression from the im- 
mediate subject of my story. If it should be said these 
are general remarks, let it be remembered that they are 
the dear-bought result of experience. It is from the 
fulness of a bursting heart that reproach thus flows 
to my pen. These are not the declamations of a man 
desirous to be eloquent. I have felt the iron of slavery 
grating upon my soul. 

I believed that misery, more pure than that which I 
now endured, had never fallen to the lot of a human 
being. I recollected with astonishment my puerile 
eagerness to be brought to the test, and have my 
innocence examined. I execrated it, as the vilest and 
most insufferable pedantry. I exclaimed, in the hitter- 
ness of my heart, " Of what value is a fair fame ? It is 
the jewel of men formed to be amused with baubles. 
Without it, I might have had serenity of heart and 



252 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

cheerfulness of occupation, peace, and liberty; why 
should I consign my happiness to other men's arbitra- 
tion ? But, if a fair fame were of the most inexpressible 
value, is this the method which common sense would 
prescribe to retrieve it? The language which these 
institutions hold out to the unfortunate is, ' Come, and 
be shut out from the light of day ; be the associate of 
those whom society has marked out for her abhorrence, 
be the slave of jailers, be loaded with fetters; thus 
shall you be cleared from every unworthy aspersion, 
and restored to reputation and honour !' This is the 
consolation she affords to those whom malignity or 
folly, private pique or unfounded positiveness, have, 
without the smallest foundation, loaded with calumny." 
For myself, I felt my own innocence ; and I soon found, 
upon enquiry, that three fourths of those who are regu- 
larly subjected to a similar treatment, are persons whom, 
even with all the superciliousness and precipitation of 
our courts of justice, no evidence can be found sufficient 
to convict. How slender then must be that man's 
portion of information and discernment, who is willing 
to commit his character and welfare to such guardi- 
anship ! 

But my case was even worse than this. I intimately 
felt that a trial, such as our institutions have hitherto 
been able to make it, is only the worthy sequel of such 
a beginning. What chance was there after the purgation 
I was now suffering, that I should come out acquitted 
at last ? What probability was there that the trial I had 
endured in the house of Mr. Falkland was not just as 
fair as any that might be expected to follow ? No ; I 
anticipated my own condemnation. 

Thus was I cut off, for ever, from all that existence 
has to bestow from all the high hopes I had so often 
conceived from all the future excellence my soul so 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 253 

much delighted to imagine, to spend a few weeks in a 
miserable prison, and then to perish by the hand of the 
public executioner. No language can do justice to the 
indignant and soul-sickening loathing that these ideas 
ixdted. My resentment was not restricted to my pro- 
secutor, but extended itself to the whole machine of 
society. I could never believe that all this was the fair 
result of institutions inseparable from the general good. 
I regarded the whole human species as so many hang- 
men and torturers ; I considered them as confederated 
to tear me to pieces ; and this wide scene of inexorable 
persecution inflicted upon me inexpressible agony. I 
looked on this side and on that : I was innocent ; I had 
a right to expect assistance ; but every heart was steeled 
against me ; every hand was ready to lend its force to 
make my ruin secure. No man that has not felt, in his 
own most momentous concerns, justice, eternal truth, 
unalterable equity engaged in his behalf, and on the 
other side brute force, impenetrable obstinacy, and un- 
feeling insolence, can imagine the sensations that then 
passed through my mind. I saw treachery triumphant 
and enthroned ; I saw the sinews of innocence crum- 
bled into dust by the gripe of almighty guilt. 

What relief had I from these sensations? Was it 
relief, that I spent the day in the midst of profligacy 
and execrations that I saw reflected from every coun- 
tenance agonies only inferior to my own ? He that 
would form a lively idea of the regions of the damned, 
need only to witness, for six hours, a scene to which 
I was confined for many months. Not for one hour 
could I withdraw myself from this complexity of horrors, 
or take refuge in the calmness of meditation. Air, ex- 
ercise, series, contrast, those grand enliveners of the 
human frame, I was for ever debarred from, by the in- 



254 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

exorable tyranny under which I was fallen. Nor did I 
find the solitude of my nightly dungeon less insupport- 
able. Its only furniture was the straw that served me 
for my repose. It was narrow, damp, and unwholesome* 
The slumbers of a mind, wearied, like mine, with the 
most detestable uniformity, to whom neither amusement 
nor occupation ever offered themselves to beguile the 
painful hours, were short, disturbed, and unrefreshing. 
My sleeping, still more than my waking thoughts, were 
full of perplexity, deformity, and disorder. To these 
slumbers succeeded the hours which, by the regulations 
of our prison, I was obliged, though awake, to spend in 
solitary and cheerless darkness. Here I had neither 
books nor pens, nor any thing upon which to engage 
my attention ; all was a sightless blank. How was a 
mind, active and indefatigable like mine, to endure this 
misery ? I could not sink it in lethargy ; I could not 
forget my woes : they haunted me with uninterrupted 
and demoniac malice. Cruel, inexorable policy of hu- 
man affairs, that condemns a man to torture like this; 
that sanctions it, and knows not what is done under its 
sanction ; that is too supine and unfeeling to enquire 
into these petty details ; that calls this the ordeal of 
innocence, and the protector of freedom ! A thousand 
times I could have dashed my brains against the walls of 
my dungeon ; a thousand times I longed for death, and 
wished, with inexpressible ardour, for an end to what I 
suffered ; a thousand times I meditated suicide, and ru- 
minated, in the bitterness of my soul, upon the different 
means of escaping from the load of existence. What 
had I to do with life ? I had seen enough to make me 
regard it with detestation. Why should I wait the 
lingering process, of legal despotism, and not dare so 
much as to die, but when and how its instruments de- 



CALEB WILLIAM-. 255 

creed? Still some inexplicable suggestion withheld 
my hand. I clung with desperate fondness to this 
shadow of existence, its mysterious attractions, and its 
hopeless prospects. 



CHAPTER XII. 

SUCH were the reflections that haunted the first days 
of my imprisonment, in consequence of which they 
were spent in perpetual anguish. But, after a time, 
nature, wearied with distress, would no longer stoop to 
the burthen; thought, which is incessantly varying, 
introduced a series of reflections totally different. 

My fortitude revived. I had always been accustomed 
to cheerfulness, good humour, and serenity ; and this 
habit now returned to visit me at the bottom of my 
dungeon. No sooner did my contemplations take this 
turn, than I saw the reasonableness and possibility of 
tranquillity and peace ; and my mind whispered to me 
the propriety of showing, in this forlorn condition, that 
I was superior to all my persecutors. Blessed state of 
innocence and self-approbation ! The sunshine of con- 
scious integrity pierced through all the barriers of my 
cell, and spoke ten thousand times more joy to my 
heart, than the accumulated splendours of nature and 
art can communicate to the slaves of vice. 

I found out the secret of employing my mind. I said, 
" I am shut up for half the day in total darkness, without 
any external source of amusement ; the other half I 
spend in the midst of noise, turbulence, and confusion. 
What then ? Can I not draw amusement from the 
stores of my own mind ? Is it not freighted with vari- 
ous knowledge ? Have I not been employed from my 



256 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

infancy in gratifying an insatiable curiosity? When 
should I derive benefit from these superior advantages, 
if not at present ? " Accordingly I tasked the stores of 
my memory, and my powers of invention. I amused 
myself with recollecting the history of my life. By 
degrees I called to mind a number of minute circum- 
stances, which, but for this exercise, would have been 
for ever forgotten. I repassed in my thoughts whole 
conversations, I recollected their subjects, their arrange- 
ment, their incidents, frequently their very words. I 
mused upon these ideas, till I was totally absorbed 
in thought. I repeated them, till my mind glowed with 
enthusiasm. I had my different employments, fitted 
for the solitude of the night, in which I could give full 
scope to the impulses of my mind ; and for the uproar 
of the day, in which my chief object was, to be insen- 
sible to the disorder with which I was surrounded. 

By degrees I quitted my own story, and employed my- 
self in imaginary adventures. I figured to myself every 
situation in which I could be placed, and conceived the 
conduct to be observed in each. Thus scenes of insult 
and danger, of tenderness and oppression, became fa- 
miliar to me. In fancy I often passed the awful hour 
of dissolving nature. In some of my reveries I boiled 
with impetuous indignation, and in others patiently 
collected the whole force of my mind for some fearful 
encounter. I cultivated the powers of oratory suited 
to these different states, and improved more in elo- 
quence in the solitude of my dungeon, than perhaps I 
should have done in the busiest and most crowded 
scenes. 

At length I proceeded to as regular a disposition of 
my time, as the man in his study, who passes from 
mathematics to poetry, and from poetry to the law 
of nations, in the different parts of each single day; 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 257 

and I as seldom infringed upon my plan. Nor were 
my subjects of disquisition less numerous than his. 
I went over, by the assistance of memory only, a 
coiiMcliiMble part of Euclid during my confinement, 
and revived, day after day, the series of facts and 
incidents in some of the most celebrated historians. I 
became myself a poet ; and, while I described the sen- 
timents cherished by the view of natural objects, re- 
corded the characters and passions of men, and partook 
with a burning zeal in the generosity of their deter- 
minations, I eluded the squalid solitude of my dungeon, 
and wandered in idea through all the varieties of human 
society. I easily found expedients, such as the mind 
seems always to require, and which books and pens 
supply to the man at large, to record from time to time 
the progress that had been made. 

While I was thus employed, I reflected with exult- 
ation upon the degree in which man is independent of the 
smiles and frowns of fortune I was beyond her reach, 
for I could fall no lower. To an ordinary eye I might 
seem destitute and miserable, but in reality I wanted for 
nothing. My fare was coarse; but I was in health. 
My dungeon was noisome ; but I felt no inconvenience. 
I was shut up from the usual means of exercise and 
air ; but I found the method of exercising myself even 
to perspiration in my dungeon. I had no power of 
withdrawing my person from a disgustful society, in 
the most cheerful and valuable part of the day; but I 
soon brought to perfection the art of withdrawing my 
thoughts, and saw and heard the people about me, for 
just as short a time, and as seldom, as I pleased. 

Such is man in himself considered ; so simple his na- 
ture ; so few his wants. How different from the man of 
artificial society ! Palaces are built for his reception, a 
thousand vehicles provided for his exercise, provinces are 



258 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ransacked for the gratification of his appetite, and the 
whole world traversed to supply him with apparel and 
furniture. Thus vast is his expenditure, and the pur- 
chase slavery. He is dependent on a thousand accidents 
for tranquillity and health, and his body and soul are 
at the devotion of whoever will satisfy his imperious 
cravings. 

In addition to the disadvantages of my present 
situation, I was reserved for an ignominious death. 
What then ? Every man must die. No man knows how 
soon. It surely is not worse to encounter the king of 
terrors, in health, and with every advantage for the 
collection of fortitude, than to encounter him, already 
half subdued by sickness and suffering. I was resolved 
at least fully to possess the days I had to live ; and this 
is peculiarly in the power of the man who preserves 
his health to the last moment of his existence. Why 
should I suffer my mind to be invaded by unavailing 
regrets ? Every sentiment of vanity, or rather of in- 
dependence and justice within me, instigated me to say 
to my persecutor, " You may cut off my existence, but 
you cannot disturb my serenity." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

IN the midst of these reflections, another thought, which 
had not before struck me, occurred to my mind. " I 
exult," said I, " and reasonably, over the impotence of 
my persecutor. Is not that impotence greater than I 
have yet imagined ? I say, he may cut off my existence, 
but cannot disturb my serenity. It is true : my mind, 
the clearness of my spirit, the firmness of my temper, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 259 

are beyond his reach ; is not my life equally so, if I 
please? What are the material obstacles, that man 
never subdued ? What is the undertaking so arduous, 
that by some has not been accomplished? And if by 
others, why not by me ? Had they stronger motives 
than I? Was existence more variously endeared to 
them ? or had they more numerous methods by which 
to animate and adorn it ? Many of those who have ex- 
erted most perseverance and intrepidity, were obviously 
my inferiors in that respect. Why should not I be as 
daring as they ? Adamant and steel have a ductility 
like water, to a mind sufficiently bold and contem- 
plative. The mind is master of itself ; and is endowed 
with powers that might enable it to laugh at the tyrant's 
vigilance." I passed and repassed these ideas in my 
mind ; and, heated with the contemplation, I said, 
No, I will not die ! " 

My reading, in early youth, had been extremely 
miscellaneous. I had read of housebreakers, to whom 
locks and bolts were a jest, and who, vain of their art, 
exhibited the experiment of entering a house the most 
strongly barricaded, with as little noise, and almost as 
little trouble, as other men would lift up a latch. There 
is nothing so interesting to the juvenile mind, as the 
wonderful ; there is no power that it so eagerly covets, 
as that of astonishing spectators by its miraculous exer- 
'tions. Mind appeared, to my untutored reflections, 
vague, airy, and unfettered, the susceptible perceiver 
of reasons, but never intended by nature to be the 
slave of force. Why should it be in the power of 
man to overtake and hold me by violence ? Why, when 
I choose to withdraw myself, should I not be capable 
of eluding the most vigilant search ? These limbs, and 
this trunk, are a cumbrous and unfortunate load for the 
power of thinking to drag along with it ; but why should 
s 2 



260 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

not the power of thinking be able to lighten the load, 
till it shall be no longer felt ? These early modes of 
reflection were by no means indifferent to my present 
enquiries. 

Our next-door neighbour at my father's house had 
been a carpenter. Fresh from the sort of reading I 
have mentioned, I was eager to examine his tools, their 
powers and their uses. This carpenter was a man of 
strong and vigorous mind ; and, his faculties having 
been chiefly confined to the range of his profession, he 
was fertile in experiments, and ingenious in reasoning 
upon these particular topics. I therefore obtained from 
him considerable satisfaction ; and, my mind being set 
in action, I sometimes even improved upon the hints 
he furnished. His conversation was particularly agree- 
able to me ; I at first worked with him sometimes for 
my amusement, and afterwards occasionally for a short 
time as his journeyman. I was constitutionally vigor- 
ous ; and, by the experience thus attained, I added to 
the abstract possession of power, the skill of applying 
it, when I pleased, in such a manner as that no part 
should be inefficient. 

It is a strange, but no uncommon feature in the 
human mind, that the very resource of which we stand 
in greatest need in a critical situation, though already 
accumulated, it may be, by preceding industry, fails to 
present itself at the time when it should be called into 
action. Thus my mind had passed through two very 
different stages since my imprisonment, before this 
means of liberation suggested itself. My faculties were 
overwhelmed in the first instance, and raised to a pitch 
of enthusiasm in the second ; while in both I took it for 
granted in a manner, that I must passively submit to 
the good pleasure of my persecutors. 

During the period in which my mind had been thus 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 261 

undecided, and when I had been little more than a 
month in durance, the assizes, which were held twice 
a year in the town in which I was a prisoner, came on. 
Upon this occasion my case was not brought forward, 
but was suffered to stand over six months longer. It 
would have been just the same, if I had had as strong 
reason to expect acquittal as I had conviction. If I 
had been apprehended upon the most frivolous reasons 
upon which any justice of the peace ever thought 
proper to commit a naked beggar for trial, I must still 
have waited about two hundred and seventeen days 
before my innocence could be cleared. So imperfect 
are the effects of the boasted laws of a country, whose 
legislators hold their assembly from four to six months 
in every year ! I could never discover with certainty, 
whether this delay were owing to any interference on 
the part of my prosecutor, or whether it fell out in the 
regular administration of justice, which is too solemn 
and dignified to accommodate itself to the rights or 
benefit of an insignificant individual. 

But this was not the only incident that occurred to 
me during my confinement, for which I could find no 
satisfactory solution. It was nearly at the same time, 
that the keeper began to alter his behaviour to me. 
He sent for me one morning into the part of the build- 
ing which was appropriated for his own use, and, after 
some hesitation, told me he was sorry rny accommo- 
dations had been so indifferent, and asked whether I 
should like to have a chamber in his family? I was 
struck with the unexpectedness of this question, and 
desired to know whether any body had employed him 
to ask it. No, he replied ; but, now the assizes were 
over, he had fewer felons on his hands, and more time 
to look about him. He believed I was a good kind -of 
a young man, and he had taken a sort of a liking to 
s 3 



262 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

me. I fixed my eye upon his countenance as he said 
this. I could discover none of the usual symptoms of 
kindness ; he appeared to me to be acting a part, un- 
natural, and that sat with awkwardness upon him. He 
went on however to offer me the liberty of eating at 
his table ; which, if I chose it, he said, would make no 
difference to him, and he should not think of charging 
me any thing for it. He had always indeed as much 
upon his hands as one person could see to ; but his 
wife and his daughter Peggy would be woundily pleased 
to hear a person of learning talk, as he understood I 
was ; and perhaps I might not feel myself unpleasantly 
circumstanced in their company. 

I reflected on this proposal, and had little doubt, 
notwithstanding what the keeper had affirmed to the 
contrary, that it did not proceed from any spontaneous 
humanity in him, but that he had, to speak the lan- 
guage of persons of his cast, good reasons for what he 
did. I busied myself in conjectures as to who could 
be the author of this sort of indulgence and attention. 
The two most likely persons were Mr. Falkland and 
Mr. Forester. The latter I knew to be a man austere 
and inexorable towards those whom he deemed vicious. 
He piqued himself upon being insensible to those 
softer emotions, which, he believed, answered no other 
purpose than to seduce us from our duty. Mr. Falk- 
land, on the contrary, was a man of the acutest sensi- 
bility : hence arose his pleasures and his pains, his 
virtues and his vices. Though he were the bitterest 
enemy to whom I could possibly be exposed, and 
though no sentiments of humanity could divert or con- 
trol the bent of his mind, I yet persuaded myself, that 
he was more likely than his kinsman, to visit in idea the 
scene of my dungeon, and to feel impelled to alleviate 
my sufferings. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 263 

This conjecture was by no means calculated to serve 
as balm to my mind. My thoughts were full of irrita- 
tion against my persecutor. How could I think kindly 
of a man, in competition with the gratification of whose 
ruling passion my good name or my life was deemed of 
no consideration? I saw him crushing the one, and 
bringing the other into jeopardy, with a quietness and 
composure on his part that I could not recollect with- 
out horror. I knew not what were his plans respecting 
me. I knew not whether he troubled himself so much 
as to form a barren wish for the preservation of one 
whose future prospects he had so iniquitously tarnished. 
I had hitherto been silent as to my principal topic of 
recrimination. But I was by no means certain, that I 
should consent to go out of the world in silence, the 
victim of this man's obduracy and art. In every view 
I felt my heart ulcerated with a sense of his injustice; 
and my very soul spurned these pitiful indulgences, at a 
time that he was grinding me into dust with the inex- 
orableness of his vengeance. 

I was influenced by these sentiments in my reply to 
the jailor ; and I found a secret pleasure in pronouncing 
them in all their bitterness. I viewed him with a sar- 
castic smile, and said, I was glad to find him of a sud- 
den become so humane : I was not however without 
some penetration as to the humanity of a jailor, and 
could guess at the circumstances by which it was pro. 
duced. But he might tell his employer, that his cares 
were fruitless : I would accept no favours from a man 
that held a halter about my neck ; and had courage 
enough to endure the worst both in time to come and 
now. The jailor looked at me with astonishment, and 
turning upon his heel, exclaimed, " Well done, my 
cock ! You have not had your learning for nothing, I 
see. You are set upon not dying dunghill. But that U 
8 4 



264? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

to come, lad ; you had better by half keep your courage 
till you shall find it wanted." 

The assizes, which passed over without influence to 
me, produced a great revolution among my fellow-pri- 
soners. I lived long enough in the jail to witness a 
general mutation of its inhabitants. One of the house- 
breakers (the rival of the Duke of Bedford), and the 
coiner, were hanged. Two more were cast for trans- 
portation, and the rest acquitted. The transports re- 
mained with us ; and, though the prison was thus light- 
ened of nine of its inhabitants, there were, at the next 
half-yearly period of assizes, as many persons on the 
felons' side, within three, as I had found on my first 
arrival. 

The soldier, whose story I have already recorded, 
died on the evening of the very day on which the 
judges arrived, of a disease the consequence of his 
confinement. Such was the justice, that resulted from 
the laws of his country to an individual who would 
have been the ornament of any age ; one who, of all the 
men I ever knew, was perhaps the kindest, of the most 
feeling heart, of the most engaging and unaffected 
manners, and the most unblemished life. The name 
of this man was Brightwel. Were it possible for my pen 
to consecrate him to never-dying fame, I could undertake 
no task more grateful to my heart. His judgment was 
penetrating and manly, totally unmixed with imbecility 
and confusion, while at the same time there was such 
an uncontending frankness in his countenance, that a 
superficial observer would have supposed he must have 
been the prey of the first plausible knavery that was 
practised against him. Great reason have I to remem- 
ber him with affection ! He was the most ardent, I 
had almost said the last, of my friends. Nor did I re- 
main in this respect in his debt. There was indeed a 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 265 

great congeniality, if I may presume to say so, in our 
characters, except that I cannot pretend to rival the 
originality and self-created vigour of his mind, or to 
compare with, what the world has scarcely surpassed, 
the correctness and untainted purity of his conduct. He 
heard my story, as far as I thought proper to disclose 
it, with interest ; he examined it with sincere impar- 
tiality ; and if, at first, any doubt remained upon his 
mind, a frequent observation of me in my most un- 
guarded moments taught him in no long time to place 
an unreserved confidence in my innocence. 

He talked of the injustice of which we were mutual 
victims, without bitterness ; and delighted to believe 
that the time would come, when the possibility of such 
intolerable oppression would be extirpated. But this, 
he said, was a happiness reserved for posterity ; it was 
too late for us to reap the benefit of it. It was some 
consolation to him, that he could not tell the period in 
his past life, which the best judgment of which he was 
capable would teach him to spend better. He could 
say, with as much reason as most men, he had dis- 
charged his duty. But he foresaw that he should not 
survive his present calamity. This was his prediction, 
while yet in health. He might be said, in a certain 
sense, to have a broken heart. But, if that phrase 
were in any way applicable to him, sure never was 
despair more calm, more full of resignation and serenity. 

At no time in the whole course of my adventures 
was I exposed to a shock more severe, than I received 
from this man's death. The circumstances of his fate 
presented themselves to my mind in their full compli- 
cation of iniquity. From him, and the execrations 
with which I loaded the government that could be the 
instrument of his tragedy, I turned to myself. I be- 
held the catastrophe of Brightwel with envy. A thou- 



266 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

sand times I longed that my corse had lain in death, 
instead of his. I was only reserved, as I persuaded 
myself, for unutterable woe. In a few days he would 
have been acquitted; his liberty, his reputation restored; 
mankind perhaps, struck with the injustice he had 
suffered, would have shown themselves eager to balance 
his misfortunes, and obliterate his disgrace. But this 
man died ; and I remained alive ! I, who, though not 
less wrongfully treated than he, had no hope of repa- 
ration, must be marked as long as I lived for a villain, 
and in my death probably held up to the scorn and 
detestation of my species ! 

Such were some of the immediate reflections which 
the fate of this unfortunate martyr produced in my 
mind. Yet my intercourse with Brightwel was not, in 
the review, without its portion of comfort. I said, 
" This man has seen through the veil of calumny that 
overshades me : he has understood, and has loved me. 
Why should I despair ? May I not meet hereafter with 
men ingenuous like him, who shall do me justice, and 
sympathise with my calamity ? With that consolation I 
will be satisfied. I will rest in the arms of friendship, and 
forget the malignity of the world. Henceforth I will be 
contented with tranquil obscurity, with the cultivation 
of sentiment and wisdom, and the exercise of benevo- 
lence within a narrow circle. It was thus that my mind 
became excited to the project I was about to undertake. 

I had no sooner meditated the idea of an escape, 
than I determined upon the following method of facili- 
tating the preparations for it. I undertook to ingra- 
tiate myself with my keeper. In the world I have 
generally found such persons as had been acquainted 
with the outline of my story, regarding me with a sort 
of loathing and abhorrence, which made them avoid 
me with as much care as if I had been spotted with the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 267 

plague. The idea of my having first robbed my patron, 
and then endeavouring to clear myself by charging him 
with subornation against me, placed me in a class 
distinct from, and infinitely more guilty than that of 
common felons. But this man was too good a master 
of his profession, to entertain aversion against a fellow- 
creature upon that score. He considered the persons 
committed to his custody, merely as so many human 
bodies, for whom he was responsible that they should 
be forthcoming in time and place ; and the difference 
of innocence and guilt he looked down upon as an 
affair beneath his attention. I had not therefore the 
prejudices to encounter in recommending myself to 
him, that I have found so peculiarly obstinate in other 
cases. Add to which, the same motive, whatever it 
was, that had made him so profuse in his offers a little 
before, had probably its influence on the present 
OOOMion. 

I informed him of my skill in the profession of a 
joiner, and offered to make him half a dozen handsome 
chairs, if he would facilitate my obtaining the tools 
necessary for carrying on my profession in my present 
confinement; for, without his consent previously ob- 
tained, it would have been in vain for me to expect 
that I could quietly exert an industry of this kind, 
even if my existence had depended upon it. He looked 
at me first, as asking himself what he was to understand 
by this novel proposal ; and then, his countenance most 
graciously relaxing, said, he was glad I was come off a 
little of my high notions and my buckram, and he would 
see what he could do. Two days after, he signified his 
compliance. He said that, as to the matter of the pre- 
sent I had offered him, he thought nothing of that ; I 
might do as I pleased in it ; but I might depend upon 
every civility from him that he could show with safety 



268 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

to himself, if so be as, when he was civil, I did not 
offer a second time for to snap and take him up short. 

Having thus gained my preliminary, I gradually 
accumulated tools of various sorts gimlets, piercers, 
chisels, et cetera. I immediately set myself to work. 
The nights were long, and the sordid eagerness of my 
keeper, notwithstanding his ostentatious generosity, 
was great ; I therefore petitioned for, and was indulged 
with, a bit of candle, that I might amuse myself for an 
hour or two with my work after I was locked up in my 
dungeon. I did not however by any means apply 
constantly to the work I had undertaken, and my jailor 
betrayed various tokens of impatience. Perhaps he was 
afraid I should not have finished it, before I was hanged. 
I however insisted upon working at my leisure as I 
pleased; and this he did not venture expressly to dispute. 
In addition to the advantages thus obtained, I procured 
secretly from Miss Peggy, who now and then came into 
the jail to make her observations of the prisoners, and 
who seemed to have conceived some partiality for my 
person, the implement of an iron crow. 

In these proceedings it is easy to trace the vice and 
duplicity that must be expected to grow out of injustice. 
I know not whether my readers will pardon the sinister 
advantage I extracted from the mysterious concessions 
of my keeper. But I must acknowledge my weakness 
in that respect ; I am writing my adventures, and not 
my apology ; and I was not prepared to maintain the 
unvaried sincerity of my manners, at the expense of a 
speedy close of my existence. 

My plan was now digested. I believed that, by 
means of the crow, I could easily, and without much 
noise, force the door of my dungeon from its hinges, 
or if not, that I could, in case of necessity, cut away 
the lock. This door led into a narrow passage, bounded 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 269 

on one side by the range of dungeons, and on the other 
by the jailor's and turnkeys' apartments, through which 
was the usual entrance from the street. This outlet I 
dared not attempt, for fear of disturbing the persona 
close to whose very door I should in that case have 
found it necessary to pass. I determined therefore 
upon another door at the further end of the passage, 
which was well barricaded, and which led to a sort of 
garden in the occupation of the keeper. This garden 
I had never entered, but I had had an opportunity of 
observing it from the window of the felons' day-room, 
which looked that way, the room itself being imme- 
diately over the range of dungeons. I perceived that 
it was bounded by a wall of considerable height, which 
I was told by my fellow-prisoners was the extremity 
of the jail on that side, and beyond which was a back- 
lane of some length, that terminated in the skirts of the 
town. Upon an accurate observation, and much re- 
flection upon the subject, I found I should be able, if 
once I got into the garden, with my gimlets and piercers 
inserted at proper distances to make a sort of ladder, 
by means of which I could clear the wall, and once 
more take possession of the sweets of liberty. I pre- 
ferred this wall to that which immediately skirted my 
dungeon, on the other side of which was a populous 
street. 

I suffered about two days to elapse from the period 
at which I had thoroughly digested my project, and 
then in the very middle of the night began to set about 
its execution. The first door was attended with con- 
siderable difficulty ; but at length this obstacle was 
happily removed. The second door was fastened on 
the inside. I was therefore able with perfect ease to 
push back the bolts. But the lock, which of course 
was depended upon for the principal security, and was 



270 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

therefore strong, was double-shot, and the key taken 
away. I endeavoured with my chisel to force back 
the bolt of the lock, but to no purpose. I then un- 
screwed the box of the lock; and, that being taken 
away, the door was no longer opposed to my wishes. 

Thus far I had proceeded with the happiest success ; 
but close on the other side of the door there was a 
kennel with a large mastiff dog, of which I had not the 
smallest previous knowledge. Though I stepped along 
in the most careful manner, this animal was disturbed, 
and began to bark. I was extremely disconcerted, but 
immediately applied myself to soothe the animal, in 
which I presently succeeded. I then returned along 
the passage to listen whether any body had been dis- 
turbed by the noise of the dog; resolved, if that had been 
the case, that I would return to my dungeon, and en- 
deavour to replace every thing in its former state. But 
the whole appeared perfectly quiet, and I was en- 
couraged to proceed in my operation. 

I now got to the wall, and had nearly gained half 
the ascent, when I heard a voice at the garden- door, 
crying, " Holloa! who is there? who opened the door?" 
The man received no answer, and the night was too 
dark for him to distinguish objects at any distance. 
He therefore returned, as I judged, into the house for 
a light. Meantime the dog, understanding the key in 
which these interrogations- were uttered, began barking 
again more violently than ever. I had now no pos- 
sibility of retreat, and I was not without hopes that I 
might yet accomplish my object, and clear the wall. 
Meanwhile a second man came out, while the other 
was getting his lantern, and by the time I had got to 
the top of the wall was able to perceive me. He im- 
mediately set up a shout, and threw a large stone, 
which grazed me in its flight. Alarmed at my situ- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 271 

ation, I was obliged to descend on the other side 
without taking the necessary precautions, and in my 
fall nearly dislocated my ankle. 

There was a door in the wall, of which I was not 
previously apprised; and, this being opened, the two 
men with the lantern were on the other side in an 
instant. They had then nothing to do but to run along 
the lane to the place from which I had descended. I 
endeavoured to rise after my fall ; but the pain was so 
intense, that I was scarcely able to stand, and, after 
having limped a few paces, I twisted my foot under 
me, and fell down again. I had now no remedy, and 
quietly suffered myself to be retaken. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

I WAS conducted to the keeper's room for that night, 
and the two men sat up with me. I was accosted with 
many interrogatories, to which I gave little answer, but 
complained of the hurt in my leg. To this I could 
obtain no reply, except " Curse you, my lad ! if that 
be all, we will give you some ointment for that; we 
will anoint it with a little cold iron." They were indeed 
excessively sulky with me, for having broken their 
night's rest, and given them all this trouble. In the 
morning they were as good as their word, fixing a pair 
of fetters upon both my legs, regardless of the ankle 
which was now swelled to a considerable size, and then 
fastening me, with a padlock, to a staple in the floor of 
my dungeon. I expostulated with warmth upon this 
treatment, and told them, that I was a man upon whom 
the law as yet had passed no censure, and who there- 
fore, in the eye of the law, was innocent. But they 



272 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

bid me keep such fudge for people who knew no 
better ; they knew what they did, and would answer 
it to any court in England. 

The pain of the fetter was intolerable. I endea- 
voured in various ways to relieve it, and even privily 
to free my leg; but the more it was swelled, the more 
was this rendered impossible. I then resolved to bear 
it with patience : still, the longer it continued, the 
worse it grew. After two days and two nights, I en- 
treated the turnkey to go and ask the surgeon, who 
usually attended the prison, to look at it, for, if it 
continued longer as it was, I was convinced it would 
mortify. But he glared surlily at me, and said, 
" Damn my blood ! I should like to see that day. To 
die of a mortification is too good an end for such a 
rascal!" At the time that he thus addressed me, 
the whole mass of my blood was already fevered by 
the anguish I had undergone, my patience was wholly 
exhausted, and I was silly enough to be irritated be- 
yond bearing, by his impertinence and vulgarity : 
" Look, you, Mr, Turnkey," said I, " there is one 
thing that such fellows as you are set over us for, and 
another thing that you are not. You are to take care 
we do not escape ; but it is no part of your office to 
call us names and abuse us. If I were not chained to 
the floor, you dare as well eat your fingers as use such 
language ; and, take my word for it, you shall yet 
live to repent of your insolence." 

While I thus spoke, the man stared at me with 
astonishment. He was so little accustomed to such 
retorts, that, at first, he could scarcely believe his 
ears ; and such was the firmness of my manner, that 
he seemed to forget for a moment that I was not at 
large. But, as soon as he had time to recollect him- 
self, he did not deign to be angry. His face relaxed 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 273 

into a smile of contempt ; he snapped his fingers at me, 
and, turning upon his heel, exclaimed, " Well said, 
my cock ! crow 'away I Have a care you do not 
burst 1 " and, as he shut the door upon me, mimicked 
the voice of the animal he mentioned. 

This rejoinder brought me to myself in a moment, 
and showed me the impotence of the resentment I 
was expressing. But, though he thus put an end to 
the violence of my speech, the torture of my body 
continued as great as ever. I was determined to 
change my mode of attack. The same turnkey re- 
turned in a few minutes ; and, as he approached me, 
to put down some food he had brought, I slipped a 
shilling into his hand, saying at the same time, My 
good fellow, for God's sake, go to the surgeon ; I am 
sure you do not wish me to perish for want of assist- 
ance." The fellow put the shilling into his pocket, 
looked hard at me, and then with one nod of his head, 
and without uttering a single word, went away. The 
surgeon presently after made his appearance; and, 
finding the part in a high state of inflammation, or- 
dered certain applications, and gave peremptory direc- 
tions that the fetter should not be replaced upon that 
leg, till a cure had been effected. It was a full month 
before the leg was perfectly healed, and made equally 
strong and flexible with the other. 

The condition in which I was now placed, was 
totally different from that which had preceded this 
attempt. I was chained all day in my dungeon, with 
no other mitigation, except that the door was regu- 
larly opened for a few hours in an afternoon, at which 
time some of the prisoners occasionally came and 
spoke to me, particularly one, who, though he could 
ill replace my benevolent Brightwel, was not deficient 
in excellent qualities. This was no other than the 
T 



274- CALEB WILLIAMS. 

individual whom Mr. Falkland had, some months be- 
fore, dismissed upon an accusation of murder. His 
courage was gone, his garb was squalid, and the come- 
liness and clearness of his countenance was utterly 
obliterated. He also was innocent, worthy, brave, and 
benevolent. He was, I believe, afterwards acquitted, 
and turned loose, to wander a desolate and perturbed 
spectre through the world. My manual labours were 
now at an end ; my dungeon was searched every 
night, and every kind of tool carefully kept from me. 
The straw, which had been hitherto allowed me, was 
removed, under pretence that it was adapted for con- 
cealment ; and the only conveniences with which I was 
indulged, were a chair and a blanket. 

A prospect of some alleviation in no long time 
opened upon me ; but this my usual ill fortune ren- 
dered abortive. The keeper once more made his ap- 
pearance, and with his former constitutional and am- 
biguous humanity. He pretended to be surprised at 
my want of every accommodation. He reprehended 
in strong terms my attempt to escape, and observed, 
that there must be an end of civility from people in his 
situation, if gentlemen, after all, would not know when 
they were well. It was necessary, in cases the like of 
this, to let the law take its course ; and it would be 
ridiculous in me to complain, if, after a regular trial, 
things should go hard with me. He was desirous of 
being in every respect my friend, if I would let him. 
In the midst of this circumlocution and preamble, he 
was called away from me, for something relating to 
the business of his office. In the mean time I rumi- 
nated upon his overtures ; and, detesting as I did, the 
source from which I conceived them to flow, I could 
not help reflecting how far it would be possible to ex- 
tract from them the means of escape. But my medi- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 275 

tations in this case were vain. The keeper returned no 
more during the remainder of that day, and, on the next, 
an incident occurred which put an end to all expect- 
ations from his kindness. 

An active mind, which has once been forced into 
any particular train, can scarcely be persuaded to 
desert it as hopeless. I had studied my chains, during 
the extreme anguish that I endured from the pressure 
of the fetter upon the ankle which had been sprained ; 
and though, from the swelling and acute sensibility of 
the part, I had found all attempts at relief, in that in- 
stance, impracticable, I obtained, from the coolness of 
my investigation, another and apparently superior ad- 
vantage. During the night, my dungeon was in a 
complete state of darkness ; but, when the door was 
open, the case was somewhat different. The passage 
indeed into which it opened, was so narrow, and the 
opposite dead wall so near, that it was but a glim- 
mering and melancholy light that entered my apart- 
ment, even at full noon, and when the door was at its 
widest extent. But my eyes, after a practice of two 
or three weeks, accommodated themselves to this cir- 
cumstance, and I learned to distinguish the minutest 
object. One day, as I was alternately meditating and 
examining the objects around me, I chanced to observe 
a nail trodden into the mud-floor at no great distance 
from me. I immediately conceived the desire of pos- 
sessing myself of this implement; but, for fear of 
surprise, people passing perpetually to and fro, I con- 
tented myself, for the present, with remarking its situ- 
ation so accurately, that I might easily find it again in the 
dark. Accordingly, as soon as my door was shut, I 
seized upon this new treasure, and, having contrived to 
fashion it to my purpose, found that I could unlock 
with it the padlock that fastened me to the staple in 
T 2 



276 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the floor. This I regarded as no inconsiderable ad- 
vantage, separately from the use I might derive from 
it in relation to my principal object. My chain per- 
mitted me to move only about eighteen inches to the 
right or left ; and, having borne this confinement for 
several weeks, my very heart leaped at the pitiful con- 
solation of being able to range, without constraint, the 
miserable coop in which I was immured. This, incident 
had occurred several days previously to the last visit 
of my keeper. 

From this time it had been my constant practice 
to liberate myself every night, and not to replace 
things in their former situation till I awoke in the 
morning, and expected shortly to perceive the entrance 
of the turnkey. Security breeds negligence. On the 
morning succeeding my conference with the jailor, it 
so happened, whether I overslept myself, or the turnkey 
went his round earlier than usual, that I was roused 
from my sleep by the noise he made in opening the cell 
next to my own ; and though I exerted the utmost 
diligence, yet having to grope for my materials in the 
dark, I was unable to fasten the chain to the staple, 
before he entered, as usual, with his lantern. He was 
extremely surprised to find me disengaged, and imme- 
diately summoned the principal keeper. I was ques- 
tioned respecting my method of proceeding ; and, as I 
believed concealment could lead to nothing but a se- 
verer search, and a more accurate watch, I readily ac- 
quainted them with the exact truth. The illustrious 
personage, whose functions it was to control the inha- 
bitants of these walls, was, by this last instance, com- 
pletely exasperated against me. Artifice and fair 
speaking were at an end. His eyes sparkled with fury ; 
he exclaimed, that he was now convinced of the folly 
of showing kindness to rascals, the scum of the earth, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 277 

such as I was ; and, damn him, if any body should 
catch him at that again towards any one. I had cured 
him effectually ! He was astonished that the laws had 
not provided some terrible retaliation for thieves that 
attempted to deceive their jailors. Hanging was a 
thousand times too good for me ! 

Having vented his indignation, he proceeded to give 
such orders as the united instigations of anger and 
alarm suggested to his mind. My apartment was 
changed. I was conducted to a room called the strong 
room, the door of which opened into the middle cell of 
the range of dungeons. It was under-ground, as they 
were, and had also the day-room for felons, already 
described, immediately over it. It was spacious and 
dreary. The door had not been opened for years ; the 
air was putrid ; and the walls hung round with damps 
and mildew. The fetters, the padlock, and the staple, 
were employed, as in the former case, in addition to 
which they put on me a pair of handcuffs. For my 
first provision, the keeper sent me nothing but a bit of 
bread, mouldy and black, and some dirty and stinking 
water. I know not indeed whether this is to be 
regarded as gratuitous tyranny on the part of the jailor; 
the law having providently directed, in certain cases, 
that the water to be administered to the prisoners shall 
be taken from " the next sink or puddle nearest to the 
jail." * It was further ordered, that one of the turn- 
keys should sleep in the cell that formed a son of anti- 
chamber to my apartment. Though every convenience 
was provided, to render this chamber fit for the reception 
of a personage of a dignity so superior to the felon he 
was appointed to guard, he expressed much dissatis- 
faction at the mandate : but there was no alternative. 

In the caw of the peme forte et dure. See State Trials, 
VoL I. anno 1615. 

T 3 



278 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

The situation to which I was thus removed was, 
apparently, the most undesirable that could be imagined; 
but I was not discouraged ; I had for some time learned 
not to judge by appearances. The apartment was 
dark and unwholesome ; but I had acquired the secret 
of counteracting these influences. My door was kept 
continually shut, and the other prisoners were debarred 
access to me ; but if the intercourse of our fellow-men 
has its pleasure, solitude, on the other hand, is not 
without its advantages. In solitude we can pursue our 
own thoughts undisturbed ; and I was able to call up at 
will the most pleasing avocations. Besides which, to 
one who meditated such designs as now filled my mind, 
solitude had peculiar recommendations. I was scarcely 
left to myself, before I tried an experiment, the idea 
of which I conceived, while they were fixing my hand- 
cuffs ; and, with my teeth only, disengaged myself from 
this restraint. The hours at which I was visited by 
the keepers were regular, and I took care to be pro- 
vided for them. Add to which, I had a narrow grated 
window near the ceiling, about nine inches in perpen- 
dicular, and a foot and a half horizontally, which, though 
small, admitted a much stronger light than that to 
which I had been accustomed for several weeks. Thus 
circumstanced, I scarcely ever found myself in total 
darkness, and was better provided against surprises 
than I had been in my preceding situation. Such were 
the sentiments which this change of abode immediately 
suggested. 

I had been a very little time removed, when I received 
an unexpected visit from Thomas, Mr. Falkland's foot- 
man, whom I have already mentioned in the course of 
my narrative. A servant of Mr. Forester happened to 
come to the town where I was imprisoned, a few weeks 
before, while I was confined with the hurt in my ankle, 






CALEB WILLIAMS. 279 

and had called in to see me. The account he gave of 
what he observed had been the source of many an 
uneasy sensation to Thomas. The former visit was a 
matter of mere curiosity ; but Thomas was of the better 
order of servants. He was considerably struck at the 
sight of me. Though my mind was now serene, and 
my health sufficiently good, yet the floridness of my 
complexion was gone, and there was a rudeness in my 
physiognomy, the consequence of hardship and forti- 
tude, extremely unlike the sleekness of my better days. 
Thomas looked alternately in my face, at my hands, and 
my feet ; and then fetched a deep sigh. After a pause, 

" Lord bless us ! " said he, in a voice in which com- 
miseration was sufficiently perceptible, " is this you?" 

Why not, Thomas? You knew I was sent to 
prison, did not you?" 

" Prison ! and must people in prison be sliackled 
and bound of that fashion? and where do you lay of 
nights?" 

"Here." 

Here ? Why there is no bed ! " 

" No, Thomas, I am not allowed a bed. I had straw 
formerly, but that is taken away." 

And do they take off them there things of nights ?" 

" No ; I am expected to sleep just as you see." 

" Sleep ! Why I thought this was a Christian 
country ; but this usage is too bad for a dog." 

" You must not say so, Thomas ; it is what the wisdom 
of government has thought fit to provide." 

" Zounds, how I have been deceived ! They told 
me what a fine thing it was to be an Englishman, and 
about liberty and property, and all that there ; and I 
find it is all a flam. Lord, what fools we be ! Things 
are done under our very noses, and we know nothing of 
the matter ; and a parcel of fellows with grave face* 
T 4 



280 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

swear to us, that such things never happen but in 
France, andother countries the like of that. Why, you 
ha'n't been tried, ha' you?" 

No." 

" And what signifies being tried, when they do worse 
than hang a man, and all beforehand? Well, master 
Williams, you have been very wicked to be sure, and 
I thought it would have done me good to see you 
hanged. But, I do not know how it is, one's heart 
melts, and pity comes over one, if we take time to cool. 
I know that ought not to be; but, damn it, when I 
talked of your being hanged, I did not think of your 
suffering all this into the bargain." 

Soon after this conversation Thomas left me. The 
idea of the long connection of our families rushed upon 
his memory, and he felt more for my sufferings, at the 
moment, than I did for myself. In the afternoon I was 
surprised to see him again. He said that he could not 
get the thought of me out of his mind, and therefore 
he hoped I would not be displeased at his coming once 
more to take leave of me. I could perceive that he had 
something upon his mind, which he did not know how 
to discharge. One of the turnkeys had each time come 
into the room with him, and continued as long as he 
staid. Upon some avocation however a noise, I be- 
lieve, in the passage the turnkey went as far as the 
door to satisfy his curiosity ; and Thomas, watching the 
opportunity, slipped into my hand a chisel, a file, and 
a saw, exclaiming at the same time with a sorrowful 
tone, " I know I am doing wrong ; but, if they hang 
me too, I cannot help it ; I cannot do no other. For 
Christ's sake, get out of this place ; I cannot bear the 
thoughts of it ! " I received the implements with great 
joy, and thrust them into my bosom ; and, as soon as 
he was gone, concealed them in the rushes of my chair. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 281 

For himself he had accomplished the object for which 
he came, and presently after bade me farewell. 

The next day, the keepers, I know not for what 
reason, were more than usually industrious in their 
search, saying, though without assigning any ground 
for their suspicion, that they were sure I had some tool 
in my possession that I ought not ; but the depository 
I had chosen escaped them. 

I waited from this time the greater part of a week, 
that I might have the benefit of a bright moonlight. 
It was necessary that I should work in the night; 
it was necessary that my operations should be per- 
formed between the last visit of the keepers at night 
and their first in the morning, that is, between nine 
in the evening and seven. In my dungeon, as I have 
already said, I passed fourteen or sixteen hours of the 
four-and-twenty undisturbed ; but since I had acquired 
a character for mechanical ingenuity, a particular ex- 
ception with respect to me was made from the general 
rules of the prison. 

It was ten o'clock when I entered on my undertaking. 
The room in which I was confined was secured with a 
double door. This was totally superfluous for the pur- 
pose of my detention, since there was a sentinel planted 
on the outside. But it was very fortunate for my plan ; 
because these doors prevented the easy communication 
of sound, and afforded me tolerable satisfaction that, 
with a little care in my mode of proceeding, I might 
be secure against the danger of being overheard. I 
first took off my hand-cuffs. I then filed through my 
fetters ; and next performed the same service to three 
of the iron bars that secured my window, to which I 
climbed, partly by the assistance of my chair, and partly 
by means of certain irregularities in the wall. All this 
was the work of more than two hours. When the bars 



282 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

were filed through, I easily forced them a little from 
the perpendicular, and then drew them, one by one, 
out of the wall, into which they were sunk about three 
inches perfectly straight, and without any precaution 
to prevent their being removed. But the space thus 
obtained was by no means wide enough to admit 
the passing of my body. I therefore applied myself, 
partly with my chisel, and partly with one of the iron 
bars, to the loosening the brick-work ; and when I had 
thus disengaged four or five bricks, I got down and 
piled them upon the floor. This operation. I repeated 
three or four times. The space was now sufficient for 
my purpose ; and, having crept through the opening, I 
stepped upon a shed on the outside. 

I was now in a kind of rude area between two dead 
walls, that south of the felons' day-room (the windows 
of which were at the east end) and the wall of the 
prison. But I had not, as formerly, any instruments 
to assist me in scaling the wall, which was of consider- 
able height. There was, of consequence, no resource 
for me but that of effecting a practicable breach in the 
lower part of the wall, which was of no contemptible 
strength, being of stone on the outside, with a facing 
of brick within. The rooms for the debtors were at 
right angles with the building from which I had just 
escaped ; and, as the night was extremely bright, I was 
in momentary danger, particularly in case of the least 
noise, of being discovered by them, several of their 
windows commanding this area. Thus circumstanced, 
I determined to make the shed answer the purpose of 
concealment. It was locked; but, with the broken 
link of my fetters, which I had had the precaution to 
bring with me, I found no great difficulty in opening 
the lock. I had now got a sufficient means of hiding 
my person while I proceeded in my work, attended 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 283 

with no other disadvantage than that of being obliged 
to leave the door, through which I had thus broken, a 
little open for the sake of light. After some time, I 
had removed a considerable part of the brick-work of 
the outer wall ; but, when I came to the stone, I found 
the undertaking infinitely more difficult. The mortar 
which bound together the building was, by length of 
time, nearly petrified, and appeared to my first efforts 
one solid rock of the hardest adamant. I had now 
been six hours incessantly engaged in incredible labour: 
my chisel broke in the first attempt upon this new ob- 
stacle ; and between fatigue already endured, and the 
seemingly invincible difficulty before me, I concluded 
that I must remain where I was, and gave up the idea 
of further effort as useless. At the same time the moon, 
whose light had till now been of the greatest use to 
me, set, and I was left in total darkness. 

After a respite of ten minutes however, I returned 
to the attack with new vigour. It could not be less 
than two hours before the first stone was loosened from 
the edifice. In one hour more, the space was sufficient 
to admit of my escape. The pile of bricks I had left 
in the strong room was considerable. But it was a 
mole-hill compared with the ruins I had forced from 
the outer wall. I am fully assured that the work I had 
thus performed would have been to a common labourer, 
with every advantage of tools, the business of two or 
three days. 

But my difficulties, instead of being ended, seemed 
to be only begun. The day broke, before I had com- 
pleted the opening, and in ten minutes more the 
keepers would probably enter my apartment, and per- 
ceive the devastation I had left. The lane, which 
connected the side of the prison through which I had 
escaped with the adjacent country, was formed chiefly 



284? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

by two dead walls, with here and there a stable, a few 
warehouses, and some mean habitations, tenanted by 
the lower order of people. My best security lay in 
clearing the town as soon as possible, and depending 
upon the open country for protection. My arms were 
intolerably swelled and bruised with my labour, and my 
strength seemed wholly exhausted with fatigue. Speed 
I was nearly unable to exert for any continuance ; and, 
if I could, with the enemy so close at my heels, speed 
would too probably have been useless. It appeared 
as if I were now in almost the same situation as that 
in which I had been placed five or six weeks before, in 
which, after having completed my escape, I was obliged 
to yield myself up, without resistance, to my pursuers. 
I was not however disabled as then ; I was capable of 
exertion, to what precise extent I could not ascertain ; 
and I was well aware, that every instance in which I 
should fail of my purpose would contribute to enhance 
the difficulty of any future attempt. Such were the 
considerations that presented themselves in relation to 
my escape ; and, even if that were effected, I had to 
reckon among my difficulties, that, at the time I quitted 
my prison, I was destitute of every resource, and had 
not a shilling remaining in the world. 



END OF THE SECOND VOLUME. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 285 



VOLUME THE THIRD. 



CHAPTER I. 

I PASSED along the lane I have described, without 
perceiving or being observed by a human being. The 
doors were shut, the window-shutters closed, and all 
was still as night. I reached the extremity of the 
lane unmolested. My pursuers, if they immediately 
followed, would know that the likelihood was small, of 
my having in the interval found shelter in this place ; 
and would proceed without hesitation, as I on my part 
was obliged to do, from the end nearest to the prison 
to its furthest termination. 

The face of the country, in the spot to which I had 
thus opened myself a passage, was rude and uncul- 
tivated. It was overgrown with brushwood and furze ; 
the soil was for the most part of a loose sand ; and the 
surface extremely irregular. I climbed a small emi- 
nence, and could perceive, not very remote in the 
distance, a few cottages thinly scattered. This prospect 
did not altogether please me; I conceived that my 
safety would, for the present, be extremely assisted, by 
keeping myself from the view of any human being. 

I therefore came down again into the valley, and 
upon a careful examination perceived that it was in- 
terspersed with cavities, some deeper than others, but 
all of them so shallow, as neither to be capable of 
hiding a man, nor of exciting suspicion as places of 
possible concealment. Meanwhile the day had but 
just begun to dawn ; the morning was lowring and 



286 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

drizzly ; and, though the depth of these caverns was 
of course well known to the neighbouring inhabitants, 
the shadows they cast were so black and impenetrable, 
as might well have produced wider expectations in the 
mind of a stranger. Poor therefore as was the pro- 
tection they were able to afford, I thought it right to 
have recourse to it for the moment, as the best the 
emergency would supply. It was for my life ; and, the 
greater was the jeopardy to which it was exposed, the 
more dear did that life seem to become to my affections. 
The recess I chose, as most secure, was within little 
more than a hundred yards of the end of the lane, and 
the extreme buildings of the town. 

I had not stood up in this manner two minutes, 
before I heard the sound of feet, and presently saw the 
ordinary turnkey and another pass the place of my 
retreat. They were so close to me that, if I had 
stretched out my hand, I believe I could have caught 
hold of their clothes, without so much as changing my 
posture. As no part of the overhanging earth in- 
tervened between me and them, I could see them 
entire, though the deepness of the shade rendered me 
almost completely invisible. I heard them say to each 
other, in tones of vehement asperity, "Curse the rascal I 
which way can he be gone ?" The reply was, " Damn 
him I I wish we had him but safe once again !" " Never 
fear !" rejoined the first; "he cannot have above half a 
mile the start of us." They were presently out of 
hearing ; for, as to sight, I dared not advance my body, 
so much as an inch, to look after them, lest I should be 
discovered by my pursuers in some other direction. 
From the very short time that elapsed, between my 
escape and the appearance of these men, I concluded 
that they had made their way through the same outlet 
as I had done, it being impossible that they could have 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 287 

had time to come, from the gate of the prison, and so 
round a considerable part of the town, as they must 
otherwise have done. 

I was so alarmed at this instance of diligence on the 
part of the enemy, that, for some time, I scarcely 
ventured to proceed an inch from my place of conceal- 
ment, or almost to change my posture. The morning, 
which had been bleak and drizzly, was succeeded by a 
day of heavy and incessant rain ; and the gloomy state 
of the air and surrounding objects, together with the 
extreme nearness of my prison, and a total want of 
food, caused me to pass the hours in no very agreeable 
sensations. This inclemency of the weather however, 
which generated a feeling of stillness and solitude, 
encouraged me by degrees to change my retreat, for 
another of the same nature, but of somewhat greater 
security. I hovered with little variation about a single 
spot, as long as the sun continued above the horizon. 

Towards evening, the clouds began to disperse, and 
the moon shone, as on the preceding night, in full 
brightness. I had perceived no human creature during 
the whole day, except in the instance already men- 
tioned. This had perhaps been owing to the nature 
of the day ; at all events I considered it as too hazardous 
an experiment, to venture from my hiding-place in so 
clear and fine a night. I was therefore obliged to 
wait for the setting of this luminary, which was not till 
near five o'clock in the morning. My only relief during 
this interval was to allow myself to sink to the bottom 
of my cavern, it being scarcely possible for me to 
continue any longer on my feet. Here I fell into an 
interrupted and unrefreshing doze, the consequence of 
a laborious night, and a tedious, melancholy day ; 
though I rather sought to avoid sleep, which, co- 



288 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

operating with the coldness of the season, would tend 
more to injury than advantage. 

The period of darkness, which I had determined to 
use for the purpose of removing to a greater distance 
from my prison, was, in its whole duration, something 
less than three hours. When I rose from my seat, I 
was weak with hunger and fatigue, and, which was 
worse, I seemed, between the dampness of the pre- 
ceding day and the sharp, clear frost of the night, to 
have lost the command of my limbs. I stood up and 
shook myself; I leaned against the side of the hill, 
impelling in different directions the muscles of the 
extremities ; and at length recovered in some degree 
the sense of feeling. This operation was attended with 
an incredible aching pain, and required no common 
share of resolution to encounter and prosecute it. 
Having quitted my retreat, I at first advanced with weak 
and tottering steps ; but, as I proceeded, increased my 
pace. The barren heath, which reached to the edge of 
the town, was, at least on this side, without a path ; but 
the stars shone, and, guiding myself by them, I deter- 
mined to steer as far as possible from the hateful scene 
where I had been so long confined. The line I pursued 
was of irregular surface, sometimes obliging me to 
climb a steep ascent, and at others to go down into a 
dark and impenetrable dell. I was often compelled, by 
the dangerousness of the way, to deviate considerably 
from the direction I wished to pursue. In the mean 
time I advanced with as much rapidity as these and 
similar obstacles would permit me to do. The swiftness 
of the motion, and the thinness of the air, restored to 
me my alacrity. I forgot the inconveniences under 
which I laboured, and my mind became lively, spirited, 
and enthusiastic. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 289 

I had now reached the border of the heath, and 
entered upon what is usually termed the forest. Strange 
as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that, in this 
conjuncture, exhausted with hunger, destitute of all 
provision for the future, and surrounded with the 
most alarming dangers, my mind suddenly became 
glowing, animated, and cheerful. I thought that, by 
this time, the most formidable difficulties of my un- 
dertaking were surmounted ; and I could not believe 
that, after having effected so much, I should find any 
thing invincible in what remained to be done. I re- 
collected the confinement I had undergone, and the 
fate that had impended over me, with horror. Never 
did man feel more vividly, than I felt at that moment, 
the sweets of liberty. Never did man more stren- 
uously prefer poverty with independence, to the 
artificial allurements of a life of slavery. ^ I stretched 
forth my arms with rapture; I clapped my hands 
one upon the other, and exclaimed, Ah, this is 
indeed to be a man ! These wrists were lately galled 
with fetters ; all my motions, whether I rose up or sat 
down, were echoed to with the clanking of chains ; I 
was tied down like a wild beast, and could not move 
but in a circle of a few feet in circumference. Now I 
can run fleet as a greyhound, and leap like a young 
roe upon the mountains. Oh, God I (if God there be 
that condescends to record the lonely beatings of an 
anxious heart) thou only canst tell with what delight a 
prisoner, just broke forth from his dungeon, hugs the 
blessings of new-found liberty ! Sacred and indescribable 
moment, when man regains his rights ! But lately I 
held my life in jeopardy, because one man was un- 
principled enough to assert what he knew to be false ; 
I was destined to suffer an early and inexorable death 
from the hands of others, because none of them 
u 



290 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

had penetration enough to distinguish from falsehood, 
what I uttered with the entire conviction of a full- 
fraught heart! Strange, that men, from age to age, 
should consent to hold their lives at the breath of 
another, merely that each in his turn may have a power 
of acting the tyrant according to law ! Oh, God ! give 
me poverty ! shower upon me all the imaginary hard- 
ships of human life ! I will receive them all with thank- 
fulness. Turn me a prey to the wild beasts of the 
desert, so I be never again the victim of man, dressed 
in the gore-dripping robes of authority I Suffer me at 
least to call life, and the pursuits of life, my own ! Let 
me hold it at the mercy of the elements, of the hunger 
of beasts, or the revenge of barbarians, but not of the 
cold-blooded prudence of monopolists and kings!" 
How enviable was the enthusiasm which could thus 
furnish me with energy, in the midst of hunger, 
poverty, and universal desertion ! 

I had now walked at least six miles. At first I care- 
fully avoided the habitations that lay in my way, and 
feared to be seen by any of the persons to whom they 
belonged, lest it should in any degree furnish a clue to 
the researches of my pursuers. As I went forward, I 
conceived it might be proper to relax a part of my 
precaution. At this time I perceived several persons 
coming out of a thicket close to me. I immediately 
considered this circumstance as rather favourable than 
the contrary. It was necessary for me to avoid enter- 
ing any of the towns and villages in the vicinity. It 
was however full time that I should procure for myself 
some species of refreshment, and by no means im- 
probable that these men might be in some way assist- 
ing to me in that respect. In my situation it appeared 
to me indifferent what might be their employment or 
profession. I had little to apprehend from thieves, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 291 

and I believed that they, as well as honest men, could 
not fail to have some compassion for a person under 
my fircum-nuicTs. J thuvfore rather threw myself in 
their way than avoided them. 

They were thieves. One of the company cried out, 
" Who goes there ? stand ! " I accosted them ; "Gentle- 
men," said I, " I am a poor traveller, almost " 

While I spoke, they came round me; and he that 
had first hailed me, said, " Damn me, tip us none of 
your palaver; we have heard that story of a poor 
traveller any time these five years. Come, down 
with your dust ! let us see what you have got ! " - 
u Sir," I replied, " I have not a shilling in the world, 
and am more than half starved beside." " Not a 
shilling ! " answered my assailant, " what, I suppose 
you are as poor as a thief? But, if you have not 
money, you have clothes, and those you must resign.'* 

44 My clothes I" rejoined I with indignation, " you 
cannot desire such a thing. Is it not enough that I 
am pennyless ? I have been all night upon the open 
heath. It is now the second day that I have not eaten 
a morsel of bread. Would you strip me naked to the 
weather in the midst of this depopulated forest ? No, 
no, you are men I The same hatred of oppression, 
that arms you against the insolence of wealth, will 
teach you to relieve those who are perishing like me. 
For God's sake, give me food I do not strip me of the 
comforts I still possess I " 

While I uttered this apostrophe, the unpremeditated 
eloquence of sentiment, I could perceive by their ges- 
tures, though the day had not yet begun to dawn, that 
the feelings of one or two of the company appeared 
to take my part. The man, who had already under- 
taken to be their spokesman, perceived the same thing ; 
and, excited either by the brutality of his temper or the 
u 2 



292 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

love of command, hastened to anticipate the disgrace 
of a defeat. He brushed suddenly up to me, and by 
main force pushed me several feet from the place 
where I stood. The shock I received drove me 
upon a second of the gang, not one of those who 
had listened to my expostulation ; and he repeated 
the brutality. My indignation was strongly excited 
by this treatment ; and, after being thrust backward 
and forward two or three times in this manner, I broke 
through my assailants, and turned round to defend 
myself. The first that advanced within my reach, 
was my original enemy. In the present moment I 
listened to nothing but the dictates of passion, and I 
iaid him at his length on the earth. I was imme- 
diately assailed with sticks and bludgeons on all sides, 
and presently received a blow that almost deprived me 
of my senses. The man I had knocked down was 
now upon his feet again, and aimed a stroke at me 
with a cutlass as I fell, which took place in a deep 
wound upon my neck and shoulder. He was going 
to repeat his blow. The two who had seemed to 
waver at first in their animosity, afterwards appeared 
to me to join in the attack, urged either by animal 
sympathy or the spirit of imitation. One of them 
however, as I afterwards, understood, seized the arm 
of the man who was going to strike me a second 
time with his cutlass, and who would otherwise pro- 
bably have put an end to my existence. I could 
hear the words, " Damn it, enough, enough ! that 
is too bad, Gines ! " " How so ? " replied a second 
voice ; " he will but pine here upon the forest, and 
die by inches : it will be an act of charity to put 
him out of his pain." It will be imagined that I was 
not uninterested in this sort of debate. I made an 
effort to speak ; my voice failed me. I stretched out 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 293 

one hand with a gesture of entreaty. " You shall 
not strike, by God ! " said one of the voices ; " why 
should we be murderers ? '* The side of forbearance 
at length prevailed. They therefore contented them- 
selves with stripping me of my coat and waistcoat, 
and rolling me into a dry ditch. They then left me 
totally regardless of my distressed condition, and the 
plentiful effusion of blood, which streamed from my 
wound. 



CHAPTER II. 

IN this woeful situation, though extremely weak, I was 
not deprived of sense. I tore my shirt from my naked 
body, and endeavoured, with some success, to make of 
it a bandage to staunch the flowing of the blood. I 
then exerted myself to crawl up the side of the ditch. 
I had scarcely effected the latter, when, with equal 
surprise and joy, I perceived a man advancing at no 
great distance. I called for help as well as I could. 
The man came towards me with evident signs of com- 
passion, and the appearance I exhibited was indeed 
sufficiently calculated to excite it. I had no hat. My 
hair was dishevelled, and the ends of the locks clotted 
with blood. My shirt was wrapped about my neck and 
shoulders, and was plentifully stained with red. My 
body, which was naked to my middle, was variegated 
with streams of blood ; nor had my lower garments, 
which were white, by any means escaped. 

" For God's sake, my good fellow ! " said he, with a 
tone of the greatest imaginable kindness, " how came 
you thus ? " and, saying this, he lifted me up, and set 
me on my feet. Can you stand ? " added he, doubt- 

u 3 



CALEB WILLIAMS, 

fully. Oh, yes, very well," I replied. Having re- 
ceived this answer, he quitted me, and began to take 
off his own coat, that he might cover me from the 
cold. I had however over-rated my strength, and 
was no sooner left to myself than I reeled, and fell 
almost at my length upon the ground. But I broke 
my fall by stretching out my sound arm, and again 
raised myself upon my knees. My benefactor now 
covered me, raised me, and, bidding me lean upon him, 
told me he would presently conduct me to a place 
where I should be taken care of. Courage is a capri- 
cious property; and, though while I had no one to 
depend upon but myself, I possessed a mine of seem- 
ingly inexhaustible fortitude, yet no sooner did I find 
this unexpected sympathy on the part of another, than 
my resolution appeared to give way, and I felt ready 
to faint. My charitable conductor perceived this, and 
every now and then encouraged me, in a manner so 
cheerful, so good humoured and benevolent, equally 
free from the torture of droning expostulation, and the 
weakness of indulgence, that I thought myself under 
the conduct of an angel rather than a man. I could 
perceive that his behaviour had in it nothing of boor- 
ishness, and that he was thoroughly imbued with the 
principles of affectionate civility. 

We walked about three quarters of a mile, and that 
not towards the open, but the most uncouth and un- 
frequented part of the forest. We crossed a place 
which had once been a moat, but which was now in 
some parts dry, and in others contained a little muddy 
and stagnated water. Within the enclosure of this 
moat, I could only discover a pile of ruins, and several 
walls, the upper part of which seemed to overhang 
their foundations, and to totter to their ruin. After 
having entered however with my conductor through 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 295 

an archway, and passed along a winding passage that 
\\a> perfectly dark, we came to a stand. 

At the upper end of this passage was a door, which 
I was unable to perceive. My conductor knocked at 
the door, and was answered by a voice from within, 
which, for body and force, might have been the voice 
of a man, but with a sort of female sharpness and 
acidity, enquiring, " Who is there ? " Satisfaction was 
DO sooner given on this point, than I heard two bolts 
pushed back, and the door unlocked. The apartment 
opened, and we entered. The interior of this habit- 
ation by no means corresponded with the appearance 
of my protector, but, on the contrary, wore the face of 
discomfort, carelessness, and dirt. The only person I 
saw within was a woman, rather advanced in life, and 
whose person had I know not what of extraordinary 
and loathsome. Her eyes were red and blood-shot; 
her hair was pendent in matted and shaggy tresses 
about her shoulders ; her complexion swarthy, and of 
the consistency of parchment ; her form spare, and her 
whole body, her arms in particular, uncommonly ri- 
gorous and muscular. Not the milk of human kind* 
ness, but the feverous blood of savage ferocity, seemed 
to flow from her heart ; and her whole figure suggested 
an idea of unmitigable energy, and an appetite gorged 
in malevolence. This infernal Thalestris had no sooner 
cast her eyes upon us as we entered, than she ex- 
claimed in a discordant and discontented voice, " What 
have we got here ? this is not one of our people !" My 
conductor, without answering this apostrophe, bade her 
push an easy chair which stood in one corner, and set 
it directly before the fire. This she did with apparent 
reluctance, murmuring, " Ah ! you are at your old 
tricks ; I wonder what such folks as we have to do with 
charity ! It will be the ruin of us at last, I can see 
u 4 



296 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

that ! " " Hold your tongue, beldam ! " said he, with a 
stern significance of manner, and fetch one of my best 
shirts, a waistcoat, and some dressings." Saying this, 
he at the same time put into her hand a small bunch 
of keys. In a word, he treated me with as much kind- 
ness as if he had been my father. He examined my 
wound, washed and dressed it ; at the same time that 
the old woman, by his express order, prepared for me 
such nourishment as he thought most suitable to my 
weak and languid condition. 

These operations were no sooner completed than 
my benefactor recommended to me to retire to rest, 
and preparations were making for that purpose, when 
suddenly a trampling of feet was heard, succeeded by 
a knock at the door. The old woman opened the door 
with the same precautions as had been employed upon 
our arrival, and immediately six or seven persons tu- 
multuously entered the apartment. Their appearance 
was different, some having the air of mere rustics, and 
others that of a tarnished sort of gentry. All had a 
feature of boldness, inquietude, and disorder, extremely 
unlike any thing I had before observed in such a group. 
But my astonishment was still increased, when upon a 
second glance I perceived something in the general 
air of several of them, and of one in particular, that 
persuaded me they were the gang from which I had 
just escaped, and this one the antagonist by whose 
animosity I was so near having been finally destroyed. 
I imagined they had entered the hovel with a hostile 
intention, that my benefactor was upon the point of 
being robbed, and I probably murdered. 

This suspicion however was soon removed. They 
addressed my conductor with respect, under the ap- 
pellation of captain. They were boisterous and noisy 
in their remarks and exclamations, but their turbulence 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 297 

was tempered by a certain deference to his opinion 
and authority. I could observe in the person who had 
been my active opponent some awkwardness and irre- 
solution as he first perceived me, which he dismissed 
with a sort of effort, exclaiming, " Who the devil is 
here ?" There was something in the tone of this apos- 
trophe that roused the attention of my protector. He 
looked at the speaker with a fixed and penetrating 
glance, and then said, " Nay, Gines, do you know ? Did 
you ever see the person before?" " Curse it, Gines!'* 
interrupted a third, " you are damnably out of luck. 
They say dead men walk, and you see there is some 
truth in it." " Truce with your impertinence, Jeckols 1" 
replied my protector : " this is no proper occasion for 
a joke. Answer me, Gines, were you the cause of this 
young man being left naked and wounded this bitter 
morning upon the forest ? " 

" Mayhap I was. What then ? " 

What provocation could induce you to so cruel a 
treatment?" 

" Provocation enough. He had no money." 

" What, did you use him thus, without so much as 
being irritated by any resistance on his part ? " 

Yes, he did resist. I only hustled him, and he had 
the impudence to strike me." 

" Gines ! you are an incorrigible fellow." 

" Pooh, what signifies what I am ? You, with your 
compassion, and your fine feelings, will bring us all to 
the gallows." 

" I have nothing to say to you ; I have no hopes of 
you ! Comrades, it is for you to decide upon the con- 
duct of this man as you think proper. You know how 
repeated his offences have been; you know what pains. 
I have taken to mend him. Our profession is the pro- 
fession of justice." [It is thus that the prejudices of 



298 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

men universally teach them to colour the most des- 
perate cause to which they have determined to adhere.] 
" We, who are thieves without a licence, are at open war 
with another set of men who are thieves according to 
law. With such a cause then to bear us out, shall we 
stain it with cruelty, malice, and revenge ? A thief is, 
of course, a man living among his equals ; I do not 
pretend therefore to assume any authority among 
you ; act as you think proper ; but, so far as relates to 
myself, I vote that Gines be expelled from among us 
as a disgrace to our society." 

This proposition seemed to meet the general sense. 
It was easy to perceive that the opinion of the rest 
coincided with that of their leader; notwithstanding 
which a few of them hesitated as to the conduct to be 
pursued. In the mean time Gines muttered some- 
thing in a surly and irresolute way, about taking care 
how they provoked him. This insinuation instantly 
roused the courage of my protector, and his eyes flashed 
with contempt. 

" Rascal ! " said he, " do you menace us ? Do you 
think we will be your slaves ? No, no, do your worst ! 
Go to the next justice of the peace, and impeach us ; I 
can easily believe you are capable of it. Sir, when we 
entered into this gang, we were not such fools as not 
to know that we entered upon a service of danger. One 
of its dangers consists in the treachery of fellows like 
you. But we did not enter at first to flinch now. Did 
you believe that we would live in hourly fear of you, 
tremble at your threats, and compromise, whenever 
you should so please, with your insolence ? That would 
be a blessed life indeed ! I would rather see my flesh 
torn piecemeal from my bones ! Go, sir ! I defy you t 
You dare not do it ! You dare not sacrifice these 
gallant fellows to your rage, and publish yourself to all 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 299 

the world a traitor and a scoundrel ! If you do, you 
will punish yourself, not us ! Begone I " 

The intrepidity of the leader communicated itself to 
the rest of the company. Gines easily saw that there 
was no hope of bringing them over to a contrary senti- 
ment. After a short pause, he answered, " I did not 
mean No, damn it I I will not snivel neither. I was 
always true to my principles, and a friend to you all. 
But since you are resolved to turn me out, why 
good bye to you I " 

The expulsion of this man produced a remarkable 
improvement in the whole gang. Those who were 
before inclined to humanity, assumed new energy in 
proportion as they saw such sentiments likely to prevail. 
They had before suffered themselves to be overborne 
by the boisterous insolence of their antagonist ; but 
now they adopted, and with success, a different con- 
duct. Those who envied the ascendancy of their 
comrade, and therefore imitated his conduct, began 
to hesitate iji their career. Stories were brought for- 
ward of the cruelty and brutality of Gines both to men 
and animals, which had never before reached the ear 
of the leader. The stories I shall not repeat. They 
could excite only emotions of abhorrence and disgust; 
and some of them argued a mind of such a stretch of 
depravity, as to many readers would appear utterly in- 
credible ; and yet this man had his virtues. He was 
enterprising, persevering, and faithful 

His removal was a considerable benefit to me. It 
would have been no small hardship to have been turned 
adrift immediately under iny unfavourable circum- 
stances, with the additional disadvantage of the wound 
I had received; and yet I could scarcely have ven- 
tured to remain under the same roof with a man, to 
whom my appearance was as a guilty conscience, per- 



300 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

petually reminding him of his own offence, and the 
displeasure of his leader. His profession accustomed 
him to a certain degree of indifference to consequences, 
and indulgence to the sallies of passion ; and he might 
easily have found his opportunity to insult or injure 
me, when I should have had nothing but my own de- 
bilitated exertions to protect me. 

Freed from this danger, I found my situation suffi- 
ciently fortunate for a man under my circumstances. 
It was attended with all the advantages for conceal- 
ment my fondest imagination could have hoped ; and 
it was by no means destitute of the benefits which 
arise from kindness and humanity. Nothing could be 

more unlike than the thieves I had seen in jail, 

and the thieves of my new residence. The latter were 
generally full of cheerfulness and merriment. They 
could expatiate freely wherever they thought proper. 
They could form plans and execute them. They con- 
sulted their inclinations. They did not impose upon 
themselves the task, as is too often the case in human 
society, of seeming tacitly to approve that from which 
they suffered most ; or, which is worst, of persuading 
themselves that all the wrongs they suffered were right; 
but were at open war with their oppressors. On the 
contrary, the imprisoned felons I had lately seen were 
shut up like wild beasts in a cage, deprived of activity, 
and palsied with indolence. The occasional demon- 
strations that still remained of their former enter- 
prising life were the starts and convulsions of disease, 
not the meditated and consistent exertions of a mind 
in health. They had no more of hope, of project, of 
golden and animated dreams, but were reserved to the 
most dismal prospects, and forbidden to think upon any 
other topic. It is true, that these two scenes were 
parts of one whole, the one the consummation, the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 301 

hourly to be expected successor of the other. But the 
men I now saw were wholly inattentive to this, and in 
that respect appeared to hold no commerce with re- 
flection or reason. 

I might in one view, as I have said, congratulate 
myself upon my present residence ; it answered com- 
plrti'ly the purposes of concealment. It was the seat 
of merriment and hilarity ; but the hilarity that cha- 
racterised it produced no correspondent feelings in my 
bosom. The persons who composed this society had 
each of them cast off all control from established prin- 
ciple ; their trade was terror, and their constant object 
to elude the vigilance of the community. The influence 
of these circumstances was visible in their character. 
I found among them benevolence and kindness : they 
were strongly susceptible of emotions of generosity. 
But, as their situation was precarious, their dispositions 
were proportionably fluctuating. Inured to the ani- 
mosity of their species, they were irritable and pas- 
sionate. Accustomed to exercise harshness towards 
the subject of their depredations, they did not always 
confine their brutality within that scope. They were 
habituated to consider wounds and bludgeons and 
stabbing as the obvious mode of surmounting every 
difficulty. Uninvolved in the debilitating routine of 
human affairs, they frequently displayed an energy 
which, from every impartial observer, would have ex- 
torted veneration. Energy is perhaps of all qualities 
the most valuable ; and a just political system would 
possess the means of extracting from it, thus circum- 
stanced, its beneficial qualities, instead of consigning 
it, as now, to indiscriminate destruction. We act like 
the chemist, who should reject the finest ore, and em- 
ploy none but what was sufficiently debased to fit it 
immediately for the vilest uses. But the energy of 



302 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

these men, such as I beheld it, was in the highest degree 
misapplied, unassisted by liberal and enlightened views, 
and directed only to the most narrow and contemptible 
purposes. 

The residence I have been describing might to many 
persons have appeared attended with intolerable incon- 
veniences. But, exclusively of its advantages as a field 
for speculation, it was Elysium, compared with that 
from which I had just escaped. Displeasing company, 
incommodious apartments, filthiness, and riot, lost the 
circumstance by which they could most effectually dis- 
gust, when I was not compelled to remain with them. 
All hardships I could patiently endure, in comparison 
with the menace of a violent and untimely death. There 
was no suffering that I could not persuade myself to 
consider as trivial, except that which flowed from the 
tyranny, the frigid precaution, or the inhuman revenge 
of my own species. 

My recovery advanced in the most favourable man- 
ner. The attention and kindness of my protector were 
incessant, and the rest caught the spirit from his ex- 
ample. The old woman who superintended the house- 
hold still retained her animosity. She considered me as 
the cause of the expulsion of Gines from the fraternity. 
Gines had been the object of her particular partiality ; 
and, zealous as she was for the public concern, she 
thought an old and experienced sinner for a raw pro- 
bationer but an ill exchange. Add to which, that her 
habits inclined her to moroseness and discontent, and 
that persons of her complexion seem unable to exist 
without some object upon which to pour out the super- 
fluity of their gall. She lost no opportunity, upon the 
most trifling occasion, of displaying her animosity; and 
ever and anon eyed me with a furious glance of canine 
hunger for my destruction. Nothing was more evi- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

dently mortifying to her, than the procrastination of her 
malice ; nor could she bear to think that a fierceness so 
gigantic and uncontrollable should show itself in nothing 
more terrific than the pigmy spite of a chambermaid! 
For myself, I had been accustomed to the warfare of 
formidable adversaries, and the encounter of alarming 
dangers ; and what I saw of her spleen had not power 
sufficient to disturb my tranquillity. 

As I recovered, I told my story, except so far as 
related to the detection of Mr. Falkland's eventful 
secret, to my protector. That particular I could not, 
as yet, prevail upon myself to disclose, even in a situ- 
ation like this, which seemed to preclude the possibility 
of its being made use of to the disadvantage of my per- 
secutor. My present auditor however, whose habits 
of thinking were extremely opposite to those of Mr. 
Forester, did not, from the obscurity which flowed from 
this reserve, deduce any unfavourable conclusion. His 
penetration was such, as to afford little room for an im- 
postor to hope to mislead him by a fictitious statement, 
and he confided in that penetration. So confiding, the 
simplicity and integrity of my manner carried convic- 
tion to his mind, and insured his good opinion and 
friendship. 

He listened to my story with eagerness, and com- 
mented on the several parts as I related them. He 
said, that this was only one fresh instance of the 
tyranny and perfidiousness exercised by the powerful 
members of the community, against those who were 
less privileged than themselves. Nothing could be 
more clear, than their readiness to sacrifice the human 
species at large to their meanest interest or wildest 
caprice. Who that saw the situation in its true light 
would wait till their oppressors thought fit to decree 
their destruction, and not take arms in their defence 



304? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

while it was yet in their power ? Which was most 
meritorious, the unresisting and dastardly submission 
of a slave, or the enterprise and gallantry of the man 
who dared to assert his claims ? Since, by the partial 
administration of our laws, innocence, when power was 
armed against it, had nothing better to hope for than 
guilt, what man of true courage would fail to set these 
laws at defiance, and, if he must suffer by their in- 
justice, at least take care that he had first shown his 
contempt of their yoke? For himself, he should certainly 
never have embraced his present calling, had he not 
been stimulated to it by these cogent and irresistible 
reasons ; and he hoped, as experience had so forcibly 
brought a conviction of this sort to my mind, that he 
should for the future have the happiness to associate 
me to his pursuits. It will presently be seen with 
what event these hopes were attended. 

Numerous were the precautions exercised by the 
gang of thieves with whom I now resided, to elude the 
vigilance of the satellites of justice. It was one of 
their rules to commit no depredations but at a con- 
siderable distance from the place of their residence ; 
and Gines had transgressed this regulation in the 
attack to which I was indebted for my present asylum. 
After having possessed themselves of any booty, they 
took care, in the sight of the persons whom they had 
robbed, to pursue a route as nearly as possible opposite 
to that which led to their true haunts. The appearance 
of their place of residence, together with its environs, 
was peculiarly desolate and forlorn, and it had the 
reputation of being haunted. The old woman I have 
described had long been its inhabitant, and was com- 
monly supposed to be its only inhabitant ; and her 
person well accorded with the rural ideas of a witch. 
Her lodgers never went out or came in but with the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 305 

utmost circumspection, and generally by night. The 
lights which were occasionally seen from various parts 
of her habitation, were, by the country people, regarded 
with horror as supernatural ; and if the noise of revelry 
at any time saluted their ears, it was imagined to 
proceed from a carnival of devils. With all these 
advantages, the thieves did not venture to reside here 
but by intervals : they frequently absented themselves 
for months, and removed to a different part of the 
country. The old woman sometimes attended them in 
these transportations, and sometimes remained ; but in 
all cases her decampment took place either sooner or 
later than theirs, so that the nicest observer could 
scarcely have traced any connection between her re- 
appearance, and the alarms of depredation that were 
frequently given ; and the festival of demons seemed, 
to the terrified rustics, indifferently to take place 
whether she were present or absent. 



CHAPTER III. 

ONE day, while I continued in this situation, a cir- 
cumstance occurred which involuntarily attracted my 
attention. Two of our people had been sent to a town 
at some distance, for the purpose of procuring us the 
things of which we were in want. After having de- 
livered these to our landlady, they retired to one corner 
of the room ; and, one of them pulling a printed paper 
from his pocket, they mutually occupied themselves in 
examining its contents. I was sitting in an easy chair 
by the fire, being considerably better than I had been, 
though still in a weak and languid state. Having read 
for a considerable time, they looked at me, and then at 



306 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the paper, and then at me again. They then went out 
of the room together, as if to consult without in- 
terruption upon something which that paper suggested 
to them. Some time after they returned ; and my 
protector, who had been absent upon the former oc- 
casion, entered the room at the same instant. 

" Captain !" said one of them with an air of pleasure, 
" look here ! we have found a prize ! I believe it is as 
good as. a bank-note of a hundred guineas." 

Mr. Raymond (that was his name) took the paper, 
and read. He paused for a moment. He then crushed 
the paper in his hand ; and, turning to the person from 
whom he had received it, said, with the tone of a man 
confident in the success of his reasons, 

" What use have you for these hundred guineas ? 
Are you in want ? Are you in distress ? Can you be 
contented to purchase them at the price of treachery 
of violating the laws of hospitality ? " 

" Faith, captain, I do not very well know. After 
having violated other laws, I do not see why we should 
be frightened at an old saw. We pretend to judge for 
ourselves, and ought to be above shrinking from a 
bugbear of a proverb. Beside, this is a good deed, and 
I should think no more harm of being the ruin of such 
a thief than of getting my dinner." 

" A thief! You talk of thieves I" 

" Not so fast, captain. God defend that I should 
say a word against thieving as a general occupation ! 
But one man steals in one way, and another in another. 
For my part, I go upon the highway, and take from 
any stranger I meet what, it is a hundred to one, he can 
very well spare. I see nothing to be found fault with 
in that. But I have as much conscience as another 
man. Because I laugh at assizes, and great wigs, and 
the gallows, and because I will not be frightened from 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 307 

an innocent action when the lawyers say me nay, 
does it follow that I am to have a fellow-feeling for 
pilferers, and rascally servants, and people that have 
neither justice nor principle ? No ; I have too much 
respect for the trade not to be a foe to interlopers, 
and people that so much the more deserve my hatred, 
because the world calls them by my name." 

" You are wrong, Larkins ! You certainly ought not 
to employ against people that you hate, supposing your 
hatred to be reasonable, the instrumentality of that 
law which in your practice you defy. Be consistent. 
Either be the friend of the law, or its adversary. 
Depend upon it that, wherever there are laws at all, 
there will be laws against such people as you and me. 
Either therefore we all of us deserve the vengeance of 
the law, or law is not the proper instrument for correct- 
ing the misdeeds of mankind. I tell you this, because I 
would fain have you aware, that an informer or a king's 
evidence, a man who takes advantage of the confidence 
of another in order to betray him, who sells the life of 
his neighbour for money, or, coward-like, upon any 
pretence calls in the law to do that for him which he 
cannot or dares not do for himself, is the vilest of 
rascals. But in the present case, if your reasons were 
the best in the world, they do not apply/ 1 

While Mr. Raymond was speaking, the rest of the 
gang came into the room. He immediately turned to 
them, and said, 

" My friends, here is a piece of intelligence that 
Larkins has just brought in which, with his leave, I 
will lay before you." 

Then unfolding the paper he had received, he con- 
tinued : "This is the description of a felon, with the 
offer of a hundred guineas for his apprehension. Larkins 

picked it up at . By the time and other circum- 

x 2 



308 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

stances, but particularly by the minute description of 
his person, there can be no doubt but the object of it 
is our young friend, whose life I was a while ago the 
instrument of saving. He is charged here with having 
taken advantage of the confidence of his patron and 
benefactor to rob him of property to a large amount. 
Upon this charge he was committed to the county jail, 
from whence he made his escape about a fortnight ago, 
without venturing to stand his trial ; a circumstance 
which is stated by the advertiser as tantamount to a 
confession of his guilt. 

" My friends, I was acquainted with the particulars 
of this story some time before. This lad let me into 
his history, at a time that he could not possibly foresee 
that he should stand in need of that precaution as an 
antidote against danger. He is not guilty of what is 
laid to his charge. Which of you is so ignorant as to 
suppose, that his escape is any confirmation of his 
guilt ? Who ever thinks, when he is apprehended for 
trial, of his innocence or guilt as being at all material 
to the issue ? Who ever was fool enough to volunteer 
a trial, where those who are to decide think more of 
the horror of the thing of which he is accused, than 
whether he were the person that did it ; and where the 
nature of our motives is to be collected from a set of 
ignorant witnesses, that no wise man would trust for a 
fair representation of the most indifferent action of 
his life ? 

" The poor lad's story is a long one, and I will not 
trouble you with it now. But from that story it is as 
clear as the day, that, because he wished to leave the 
service of his master, because he had been perhaps 
a little too inquisitive in his master's concerns, and 
because, as I suspect, he had been trusted with some 
important secrets, his master conceived an antipathy 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 309 

against him. The antipathy gradually proceeded to 
such a length, as to induce the master to forge this vile 
accusation. He seemed willing to hang the lad out of 
the way, rather than suffer him to go where he pleased, 
or get beyond the reach of his power. Williams has 
told me the story with such ingenuousness, that I am 
as sure that he is guiltless of what they lay to his 
charge, as that I am so myself. Nevertheless the man's 
servants who were called in to hear the accusation, and 
his relation, who as justice of the peace made out the 
mittimus, and who had die folly to think he could be 
impartial, gave it on his side with one voice, and thug 
afforded Williams a sample of what he had to expect 
in the sequel. 

* Larking, who when he received this paper had no 
previous knowledge of particulars, was for taking ad- 
vantage of it for the purpose of earning the hundred 
guineas. Are you of that mind now you have heard 
them ? Will you for so paltry a consideration deliver 
up the lamb into the jaws of the wolf? Will you abet 
the purposes of this sanguinary rascal, who, not con* 
tented with driving his late dependent from house and 
home, depriving him of character and all the' ordinary 
means of subsistence, and leaving him almost without 
a refuge, still thirsts for his blood ? If no other person 
have the courage to set limits to the tyranny of courts 
of justice, shall not we? Shall we, who earn our 
livelihood by generous daring, be indebted for a penny 
to the vile artifices of the informer ? Shall we, against 
whom the whole species is in arms, refuse our pro- 
tection to an individual, more exposed to, but still less 
deserving of, their persecution than ourselves ? " 

The representation of the captain produced an 
instant effect upon the whole company. They all ex- 
claimed, " Betray him ! No, not for worlds ! He is 
x 3 



310 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

safe. We will protect him at the hazard of our lives. 
If fidelity and honour be banished from thieves, where 
shall they find refuge upon the face of the earth ?"* 
Larkins in particular thanked the captain for his in- 
terference, and swore that he would rather part with 
his right hand than injure so worthy a lad or assist 
such an unheard-of villainy. Saying this, he took me 
by the hand and bade me fear nothing. Under their 
roof no harm should ever befal me ; and, even if the 
understrappers of the law should discover my retreat, 
they would to a man die in my defence, sooner than a 
hair of my head should be hurt. I thanked him most 
sincerely for his good-will ; but I was principally struck 
with the fervent benevolence of my benefactor. I told 
them, I found that my enemies were inexorable, and 
would never be appeased but with my blood ; and I 
assured them with the most solemn and earnest vera- 
city, that I had done nothing to deserve the persecution 
which was exercised against me. 

The spirit and energy of Mr. Raymond had been 
such as to leave no part for me to perform in repelling 
this unlooked-for danger. Nevertheless, it left a very 
serious impression upon my mind. I had always placed 
some confidence in the returning equity of Mr. Falkland. 
Though he persecuted me with bitterness, I could not 
help believing that he did it unwillingly, and I was 
persuaded it would not be for ever. A man, whose 
original principles had been so full of rectitude and 
honour, could not fail at some time to recollect the in- 
justice of his conduct, and to remit his asperity. This 
idea had been always present to me, and had in no small 
degree conspired to instigate my exertions. I said, " I 

* This seems to be the parody of a celebrated saying of John 
King of France, who was taken prisoner by the Black Prince at 
the battle of Poitiers. 



'CALEB WILLIAMS. 311 

will convince my persecutor that I am of more value 
than that I should be sacrificed purely by way of pre- 
caution." These expectations on my part had been 
encouraged by Mr. Falkland's behaviour upon the 
question of my imprisonment, and by various par- 
ticulars which had occurred since. 

But this new incident gave the subject a totally 
different appearance. I saw him, not contented with 
blasting my reputation, confining me for a period in 
jail, and reducing me to the situation of a houseless 
vagabond, still continuing his pursuit under these 
forlorn circumstances with unmitigable cruelty. In- 
dignation and resentment seemed now for the first 
time to penetrate my mind. I knew his misery so 
well, I was so fully acquainted with its cause, and 
strongly impressed with the idea of its being unmerited, 
that, while I suffered deeply, I still continued to pity, 
rather than hate my persecutor. But this incident 
introduced some change into my feelings. I said, 
" Surely he might now believe that he had sufficiently 
disarmed me, and might at length suffer me to be at 
peace. At least, ought he not to be contented to 
leave me to my fate, the perilous and uncertain con- 
dition of an escaped felon, instead of thus whetting 
the animosity and vigilance of my countrymen against 
me ? Were his interference on my behalf in opposition 
to the stern severity of Mr. Forester, and his various 
acts of kindness since, a mere part that he played in 
order to lull me into patience? Was he perpetually 
haunted with the fear of an ample retaliation, and for 
that purpose did he personate remorse, at the very 
moment that he was secretly keeping every engine at 
play that could secure my destruction?" The very 
suspicion of such a fact filled me with inexpressible 
x 4 



312 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

horror, and struck a sudden chill through every fibre 
of my frame. 

My wound was by this time completely healed, and 
it became absolutely necessary that I should form 
some determination respecting the future. My habits 
of thinking were such as gave me an uncontrollable 
repugnance to the vocation of my hosts. I did not 
indeed feel that aversion and abhorrence to the men 
which are commonly entertained. I saw and respected 
their good qualities and their virtues. I was by no 
means inclined to believe them worse men, or more 
hostile in their dispositions to the welfare of their 
species, than the generality of those that look down 
upon them with most censure. But, though I did not 
cease to' love them as individuals, my eyes were per- 
fectly open to their mistakes. If I should otherwise 
have been in danger of being misled, it was my fortune 
to have studied felons in a jail before I studied them 
in their state of comparative prosperity ; and this was 
an infallible antidote to the poison. I saw that in this 
profession were exerted uncommon energy, ingenuity, 
and fortitude, and I could not help recollecting how 
admirably beneficial such qualities might be made in 
the great theatre of human affairs; while, in their 
present direction, they were thrown away upon pur- 
poses diametrically at war with the first interests of 
human society. Nor were their proceedings less in- 
jurious to their own interest than incompatible with 
the general welfare. The man who risks or sacrifices 
his life for the public cause, is rewarded with the 
testimony of an approving conscience; but persons 
who wantonly defy the necessary, though atrociously 
exaggerated precautions of government in the matter 
of property, at the same time that they commit an 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 313 

alarming hostility against the whole, are, as to their 
own concerns, scarcely less absurd and self-neglectful 
than the man who should set himself up as a mark for 
a file of musqueteers to shoot at. 

Viewing the subject in this light, I not only deter- 
mined that I would have no share in their occupation 
myself, but thought I could not do less, in return for 
the benefits I had received from them, than endeavour 
to dissuade them from an employment in which they 
must themselves be the greatest sufferers. My ex- 
postulation met with a various reception. All the 
persons to whom it was addressed had been tolerably 
successful in persuading themselves of the innocence 
of their calling ; and what remained of doubt in their 
mind was* smothered, and, so to speak, laboriously 
forgotten. Some of them laughed at my arguments, 
as a ridiculous piece of missionary quixotism. Others, 
and particularly our captain, repelled them with 
the boldness of a man that knows he has got the 
strongest side. But this sentiment of ease and self- 
satisfaction did not long remain. They had been used 
to arguments derived from religion and the sacredness 
of law. They had long ago shaken these from them 
as so many prejudices. But my view of the subject 
appealed to principles which they could not contest, 
and had by no means the air of that customary reproof 
which is for ever dinned in our ears without finding 
one responsive chord in our hearts. Urged, as they 
now were, with objections unexpected and cogent, 
some of those to whom I addressed them began to 
grow peevish and impatient of the intrusive remon- 
strance. But this was by no means the case with Mr. 
Raymond. He was possessed of a candour that I have 
seldom seen equalled. He was surprised to hear ob- 
jections so powerful to that which, as a matter of 



314 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

speculation, he believed he had examined on all sides. 
He revolved them with impartiality and care. He 
admitted them slowly, but he at length fully admitted 
them. He had now but one rejoinder in reserve. 

" Alas ! Williams," said he, " it would have been 
fortunate for me if these views had been presented to 
me, previously to my embracing my present profession. 
It is now too late. Those very laws which, by a per- 
ception of their iniquity, drove me to what I am, pre- 
clude my return. God, we are told, judges of men 
by what they are at the period of arraignment, and 
whatever be their crimes, if they have seen and abjured 
the folly of those crimes, receives them to favour. 
But the institutions of countries that profess to worship 
this God admit no such distinctions. They leave no 
room for amendment, and seem to have a brutal delight 
in confounding the demerits of offenders. It signifies 
not what is the character of the individual at the hour 
of trial. How changed, how spotless, and how useful, 
avails him nothing. If they discover at the distance of 
fourteen* or of forty years f an action for which the 
law ordains that his life shall be the forfeit, though the 
interval should have been spent with the purity of a 
saint and the devotedness of a patriot, they disdain to 
enquire into it. What then can I do? Am I not 
compelled to go on in folly, having once begun ?" 



CHAPTER IV. 

I WAS extremely affected by this plea. I could only 
answer, that Mr. Raymond must himself be the best 

* Eugene Aram. See Annual Register for 1759. 
f William Andrew Home. Ibid. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 315 

judge of the course it became him to hold ; I trusted 
the case was not so desperate as he imagined. 

This subject was pursued no further, and was in 
some degree driven from my thoughts by an incident 
of a very extraordinary nature. 

I have already mentioned the animosity that was 
entertained against me by the infernal portress of this 
solitary mansion. Gines, the expelled member of the 
gang, had been her particular favourite. She submitted 
to his exile indeed, because her genius felt subdued by 
the energy and inherent superiority of Mr. Raymond ; 
but she submitted with murmuring and discontent: ' 
Not daring to resent the conduct of the principal in 
this affair, she collected all the bitterness of her spirit 
against roe. 

To the unpardonable offence I had thus committed 
in the first instance, were added the reasonings I had 
lately offered against the profession of robbery. Robbery 
was a fundamental article in the creed of this hoary 
veteran, and she listened to my objections with the 
same unaffected astonishment and horror that an old 
woman of other habits would listen to one who ob- 
jected to the agonies and dissolution of the Creator of 
the world, or to the garment of imputed righteousness 
prepared to envelope the souls of the elect. Like the 
religious bigot, she was sufficiently disposed to avenge 
a hostility against her opinions with the weapons of 
sublunary warfare. 

Meanwhile I had smiled at the impotence of her 
malice, as an object of contempt rather than alarm. 
She perceived, as I imagine, the slight estimation in 
which I held her, and this did not a little increase the 
perturbation of her thoughts. 

One day I was left alone, with no other person in 
the house than this swarthy sybil. The thieves had 



316 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

set out upon an expedition about two hours after 
sunset on the preceding evening, and had not returned, 
as they were accustomed to do, before day-break the 
next morning. This was a circumstance that some- 
times occurred, and therefore did not produce any 
extraordinary alarm. At one time the scent of prey 
would lead them beyond the bounds they had pre- 
scribed themselves, and at another the fear of pursuit : 
the life of a thief is always uncertain. The old woman 
had been preparing during the night for the meal to 
which they would expect to sit down as soon as might 
be after their return. 

For myself, I had learned from their habits to be 
indifferent to the regular return of the different parts 
of the day, and in some degree to turn day into night, 
and night into day. I had been now several weeks in 
this residence, and the season was considerably ad- 
vanced. I had passed some hours during the night 
in ruminating on my situation. The character and 
manners of the men among whom I lived were dis- 
gusting to me. Their brutal ignorance, their ferocious 
habits, and their coarse behaviour, instead of becoming 
more tolerable by custom, hourly added force to my 
original aversion. The uncommon vigour of their minds, 
and acuteness of their invention in the business they 
pursued, compared with the odiousness of that business 
and their habitual depravity, awakened in me sensations 
too painful to be endured. Moral disapprobation, at 
least in a mind unsubdued by philosophy, I found to 
be one of the most fertile sources of disquiet and un- 
easiness. From this pain the society of Mr. Raymond 
by no means relieved me. He was indeed eminently 
superior to the vices of the rest ; but I did not less 
exquisitely feel how much he was out of his place, how 
disproportionably associated, or how contemptibly em- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 317 

ployed. I had attempted to counteract the errors under 
which he and his companions laboured ; but I had found 
the obstacles that presented themselves greater than I 
had imagined. 

What was I to do ? Was I to wait the issue of this 
my missionary undertaking, or was I to withdraw myself 
immediately ? When I withdrew, ought that to be 
done privately, or with an open avowal of my design, 
and an endeavour to supply by the force of example 
what was deficient in my arguments ? It was certainly 
improper, as I declined all participation in the pursuits 
of these men, did not pay my contribution of hazard to 
the means by which they subsisted, and had no con- 
geniality with their habits, that I should continue to 
reside with them longer than was absolutely necessary. 
There was one circumstance that rendered this deliber- 
ation particularly pressing. They intended in a few 
days removing from their present habitation, to a haunt 
to which they were accustomed, in a distant county. 
If I did not propose to continue with them, it would 
perhaps be wrong to accompany them in this removal. 
The state of calamity to which my inexorable prose- 
cutor had reduced me, had made the encounter even 
of a den of robbers a fortunate adventure. But the 
time that had since elapsed, had probably been sufficient 
to relax the keenness of the quest that was made after 
me. I sighed for that solitude and obscurity, that 
retreat from the vexations of the world and the voice 
even of common fame, which I had proposed to myself 
when I broke my prison. 

Such were the meditations which now occupied my 
mind. At length I grew fatigued with continual con- 
templation, and to relieve myself pulled out a pocket 
Horace, the legacy of ray beloved Brightwel ! I read 
with avidity the epistle in which he so beautifully de- 



318 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

scribes to Fuscus, the grammarian, the pleasures of 
rural tranquillity and independence. By this time the 
sun rose from behind the eastern hills, and I opened 
my casement to contemplate it. The day commenced 
with peculiar brilliancy, and was accompanied with all 
those charms which the poets of nature, as they have 
been styled, have so much delighted to describe. There 
was something in this scene, particularly as succeeding 
to the active exertions of intellect, that soothed the 
mind to composure. Insensibly a confused reverie 
invaded my faculties ; I withdrew from the window, 
threw myself upon the bed, and fell asleep. 

I do not recollect the precise images which in this 
situation passed through my thoughts, but I know that 
they concluded with the idea of some person, the agent 
of Mr. Falkland, approaching to assassinate me. This 
thought had probably been suggested by the project I 
meditated of entering once again into the world, and 
throwing myself within the sphere of his possible 
vengeance. I imagined that the design of the murderer 
was to come upon me by surprise, that I was aware of 
his design, and yet, by some fascination, had no thought 
of evading it. I heard the steps of the murderer as he 
cautiously approached. I seemed to listen to his con- 
strained yet audible breathings. He came up to the 
corner where I was placed, and then stopped. 

The idea became too terrible ; I started, opened my 
eyes, and beheld the execrable hag before mentioned 
standing over me with a butcher's cleaver. I shifted 
my situation with a speed that seemed too swift for 
volition, and the blow already aimed at my skull sunk 
impotent upon the bed. Before she could wholly re- 
cover her posture, I sprung upon her, seized hold of 
the weapon, and had nearly wrested it from her. But 
in a moment she resumed her strength and her desperate 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 319 

purpose, and we had a furious struggle she impelled 
by inveterate malice, and I resisting for my life. Her 
vigour was truly Amazonian, and at no time had I ever 
occasion to contend with a more formidable opponent. 
Her glance was rapid and exact, and the shock with 
which from time to time she impelled her whole 
frame inconceivably vehement At length I was victo- 
rious, took from her the instrument of death, and threw 
her upon the ground. Till now the earnestness of her 
exertions had curbed her rage ; but now she gnashed 
with her teeth, her eyes seemed as if starting from 
their sockets, and her body heaved with uncontrollable 
insanity. 

" Rascal! devil I" she exclaimed, " what do you 
mean to do to me ? " 

Till now the scene had passed uninterrupted by a 
single word. 

" Nothing," I replied: " begone, infernal witch ! and 
leave me to myself." 

" Leave you ! No : I will thrust my fingers through 
your ribs, and drink your blood I You conquer me ? 
Ha, ha! Yes, yes; you shall! I will sit upon 
you, and press you to hell I I will roast you with brim- 
stone, and dash your entrails into your eyes ! Ha, 
ha! ha!" 

Saying this, she sprung up, and prepared to attack 
me with redoubled fury. I seized her hands, and 
compelled her to sit upon the bed. Thug restrained, 
she continued to express the tumult of her thoughts 
by grinning, by certain furious motions of her head, 
and by occasional vehement efforts to disengage her- 
self from my grasp. These contortions and starts 
were of the nature of those fits in which the patienU 
are commonly supposed to need three or four persons 
to hold them. But I found by experience that, under 



320 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the circumstances in which I was placed, my single 
strength was sufficient. The spectacle of her emo- 
tions was inconceivably frightful. Her violence at 
length however began to abate, and she became con- 
vinced of the hopelessness of the contest. 

" Let me go ! " said she. " Why do you hold me ? 
I will not be held." 

" 1 wanted you gone from the first," replied I. 
" Are you contented to go now ? " 

" Yes, I tell you, misbegotten villain ! Yes, rascal ! " 

I immediately loosed my hold. She flew to the 
door, and, holding it in her hand, said, " I will be the 
death of you yet : you shall not be your own man 
twenty-four hours longer! " With these words she shut 
the door, and locked it upon me. An action so totally 
unexpected startled me. Whither was she gone ? 
What was it she intended ? To perish by the ma- 
chinations of such a hag as this was a thought not to 
be endured. Death in any form brought upon us by 
surprise, and for which the mind has had no time to 
prepare, is inexpressibly terrible. My thoughts wan- 
dered in breathless horror and confusion, and all within 
was uproar. I endeavoured to break the door, but in 
vain. I went round the room in search of some tool 
to assist me. At length I rushed against it with a 
desperate effort, to which it yielded, and had nearly 
thrown me from the top of the stairs to the bottom. 

I descended with all possible caution and vigilance. 
I entered the room which served us for a kitchen, but 
it was deserted. I searched every other apartment in 
vain. I went out among the ruins ; still I discovered 
nothing of my late assailant. It was extraordinary : 
what could be become of her ? what was I to conclude 
from her disappearance ! I reflected on her parting 
menace, "I should not be my own man twenty-four 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 321 

hours longer.** It was mysterious ! it did not seem to 
be the menace of assassination. 

Suddenly the recollection of the hand-bill brought 
to us by Lark ins rushed upon my memory. Was it 
possible that she alluded to that in her parting words? 
Would she set out upon such an expedition by her- 
self? Was it not dangerous to the whole fraternity, 
if, without the smallest precaution, she should bring 
the officers of justice in the midst of them ? It was 
perhaps improbable she would engage in an under- 
taking thus desperate. It was not however easy to 
answer for the conduct of a person in her state of 
mind. Should I wait, and risk the preservation of my 
liberty upon the issue ? 

To this question I returned an immediate negative. 
I had resolved in a short time to quit my present situ- 
ation, and the difference of a little sooner or a little 
later could not be very material. It promised to be 
neither agreeable nor prudent for me to remain under 
the same roof with a person who had manifested such 
a fierce and inexpiable hostility. But the consider- 
ation which had inexpressibly the most weight with 
me, belonged to the ideas of imprisonment, trial, and 
death. The longer they had formed the subject of 
my contemplation, the more forcibly was I impelled to 
avoid them. I had entered upon a system of action 
for that purpose ; I had already made many sacrifices ; 
and I believed that I would never miscarry in this 
project through any neglect of mine. The thought of 
what was reserved for me by my persecutors sick- 
ened my very soul ; and the more intimately I was 
acquainted with oppression and injustice, the more 
deeply was I penetrated with the abhorrence to which 
they arc entitled. 

Such were the reasons that determined me in- 



322 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

stantly, abruptly, without leave-taking, or acknowledg- 
ment for the peculiar and repeated favours I had 
received, to quit a habitation to which, for six weeks, 
I had apparently been indebted for protection from 
trial, conviction, and an ignominious death. I had 
come hither pennyless ; I quitted my abode with the 
sum of a few guineas in my possession, Mr. Raymond 
having insisted upon my taking a share at the time 
that each man received his dividend from the common 
stock. Though I had reason to suppose that the heat 
of the pursuit against me would be somewhat remitted 
by the time that had elapsed, the magnitude of the 
mischief that, in an unfavourable event, might fall on 
me, determined me to neglect no imaginable pre- 
caution. I recollected the hand-bill which was the 
source of my present alarm, and conceived that one of 
the principal dangers which threatened me was the 
recognition of my person, either by such as had pre- 
viously known me, or even by strangers. It seemed 
prudent therefore to disguise it as effectually as I 
could. For this purpose I had recourse to a parcel of 
tattered garments, that lay in a neglected corner of 
our habitation. The disguise I chose was that of a 
beggar. Upon this plan, I threw off my shirt; I tied a 
handkerchief about my head, with which I took care 
to cover one of my eyes ; over this I drew a piece of 
an old woollen nightcap. I selected the worst ap- 
parel I could find; and this I reduced to a still more 
deplorable condition, by rents that I purposely made 
in various places. Thus equipped, I surveyed myself 
in a looking-glass. I had rendered my appearance 
complete ; nor would any one have suspected that I 
was not one of the fraternity to which I assumed to 
belong. I said, " This is the form in which tyranny 
and injustice oblige me to seek for refuge: but better, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 323 

a thousand times better is it, thus to incur contempt 
with the dregs of mankind, than trust to the tender 
mercies of our superiors ! " 



CHAPTER V. 

THE only rule that I laid down to myself in tra- 
versing the forest, was to take a direction as opposite 
as possible to that which led to the scene of my 
late imprisonment. After about two hours walking 
I arrived at the termination of this ruder scene, and 
reached that pan of the country which is inclosed and 
cultivated. Here I sat down by the side of a brook, 
and, pulling out a crust of bread which I had brought 
away with me, rested and refreshed myself. While I 
continued in this place, I began to ruminate upon the 
plan 1 should lay down for my future proceedings ; and 
my propensity now led me, as it had done in a former 
instance, to fix upon the capital, which I believed, 
besides its other recommendations, would prove the 
safest place for concealment. During these thoughts 
I saw a couple of peasants passing at a small distance, 
and enquired of them respecting the London road. 
By their description I understood that the most im- 
mediate way would be to repass a part of the forest, 
and that it would be necessary to approach consider- 
ably nearer to the county-town than I was at the spot 
which 1 had at present reached. I did not imagine 
that this could be a circumstance of considerable im- 
portance. My disguise appeared to be a sufficient 
security against momentary danger ; and I therefore 
took a path, though not the most direct one, which led 
towards the point they suggested. 
y 2 



324" CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Some of the occurrences of the day are deserving 
to be mentioned. As I passed along a road which lay 
in my way for a few miles, I saw a carriage advancing 
in the opposite direction. I debated with myself for 
a moment, whether I should pass it without notice, or 
should take this occasion, by voice or gesture, of 
making an essay of my trade. This idle disquisition 
was however speedily driven from my mind when I 
perceived that the carriage was Mr. Falkland's. The 
suddenness of the encounter struck me with terror, 
though perhaps it would have been difficult for calm 
reflection to have discovered any considerable danger. 
I withdrew from the road, and skulked behind a hedge 
till it should have completely gone by. I was too much 
occupied with my own feelings, to venture to examine 
whether or no the terrible adversary of my peace were 
in the carriage. I persuaded myself that he was. 
I looked after the equipage, and exclaimed, " There 
you may see the luxurious accommodations and ap- 
pendages of guilt, and here the forlornness that awaits 
upon innocence ! " I was to blame to imagine that 
my case was singular in that respect. I only mention 
it to show how the most trivial circumstance con- 
tributes to embitter the cup to the man of adversity. 
The thought however was a transient one. I had 
learned this lesson from my sufferings, not to indulge 
in the luxury of discontent. As my mind recovered 
its tranquillity, I began to enquire whether the phe- 
nomenon I had just seen could have any relation to 
myself. But though my mind was extremely inquisi- 
tive and versatile in this respect, I could discover no 
sufficient ground upon which to build a judgment. 

At night I entered a little public-house at the ex- 
tremity of a village, and, seating myself in a corner 
of the kitchen, asked for some bread and cheese. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. .'i'_V> 

While I was sitting at my repast, three or four la- 
bourers came in for a little refreshment after their 
work. Ideas respecting the inequality of rank per- 
vade every order in society ; and, as my appearance 
was meaner and more contemptible than theirs, I 
found it expedient to give way to these gentry of a 
village alehouse, and remove to an obscurer station. 
I was surprised, and not a little startled, to find them 
fall almost immediately into conversation about my his- 
tory, whom, with a slight variation of circumstances, 
they styled the notorious housebreaker, Kit Williams. 

" Damn the fellow," said one of them, " one never 
hears of any thing else. O* my life, I think he makes 
talk for the whole country." 

" That is very true," replied another. " I was at 
the market-town to-day to sell some oats for my 
master, and there was a hue and cry, some of them 
thought they had got him, but it was a false alarm." 

That hundred guineas is a fine thing," rejoined 
the first. " I should be glad if so be as how it fell in 
my way." 

" For the matter of that," said his companion, " I 
should like a hundred guineas as well as another. But 
I cannot be of your mind for all that. I should never 
think money would do me any good that had been the 
means of bringing a Christian creature to the gallows." 

Poh, that is all my granny ! Some folks must be 
hanged, to keep the wheels of our state-folks a-going. 
Besides, I could forgive the fellow all his other rob- 
beries, but that he should have been so hardened as 
to break the house of his own master at last, that is 
too bad." 

" Lord ! lord !" replied the other, " I see you know 
nothing of the matter ! I will tell you how it was, as 
I learned it at the town. I question whether he ever 
Y 3 



326 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

robbed his master at all. But, hark you ! you must 
know as how that squire Falkland was once tried for 
murder " 

" Yes, yes, we know that." 

" Well, he was as innocent as the child unborn. 
But I supposes as how he is a little soft or so. And 
so Kit Williams Kit is a devilish cunning fellow, you 
may judge that from his breaking prison no less than 

five times, so, I say, he threatened to bring his 

master to trial at 'size all over again, and so frightened 
him, and got money from him at divers times. Till at 
last one squire Forester, a relation of t' other, found it 
all out. And he made the hell of a rumpus, and sent 
away Kit to prison in a twinky ; and I believe he would 
have been hanged: for when two squires lay their 
heads together, they do not much matter law, you 
know ; or else they twist the law to their own ends, I 
cannot exactly say which ; but it is much at one when 
the poor fellow's breath is out of his body." 

Though this story was very circumstantially told, and 
with a sufficient detail of particulars, it did not pass 
unquestioned. Each man maintained the justness of 
his own statement, and the dispute was long and obsti- 
nately pursued. Historians and commentators at length 
withdrew together. The terrors with which I was 
seized when this conversation began, were extreme. I 
stole a sidelong glance to one quarter and another, to 
observe if any man's attention was turned upon me. I 
trembled as if in an ague-fit ; and, at first, felt continual 
impulses to quit the house, and take to my heels. 
I drew closer to my corner, held aside my head, and 
seemed from time to time to undergo a total revolution 
of the animal economy. 

At length the tide of ideas turned. Perceiving they 
paid no attention to me, the recollection of the full 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 327 

security my disguise afforded recurred strongly to my 
thoughts ; and I began inwardly to exult, though I did 
not venture to obtrude myself to examination. By 
degrees I began to be amused at the absurdity of their 
tales, and the variety of the falsehoods I heard asserted 
around me. My soul seemed to expand ; I felt a pride 
in the self-possession and lightness of heart with which 
I could listen to the scene ; and I determined to pro- 
long and heighten the enjoyment. Accordingly, when 
they were withdrawn, I addressed myself to our hostess, 
a buxom, bluff, good-humoured widow, and asked what 
sort of a man this Kit Williams might be ? She replied 
that, as she was informed, he was as handsome, likely 
a lad, as any in four counties round ; and that she loved 
him for his cleverness, by which he outwitted all the 
keepers they could set over him, and made his way 
through stone walls as if they were so many cobwebs. 
I observed, that the country was so thoroughly alarmed, 
that I did not think it possible he should escape the 
pursuit that was set up after him. This idea excited her 
immediate indignation : she said, she hoped he was far 
enough away by this time; but if not, she wished the 
curse of God might light on them that betrayed so noble 
a fellow to an ignominious end! Though she little 
thought that the person of whom she spoke was so near 
her, yet the sincere and generous warmth with which 
she interested herself in my behalf gave me consider- 
able pleasure. With this sensation to sweeten the 
fatigues of the day and the calamities of my situation, I 
retired from the kitchen to a neighbouring barn, laid my- 
self down upon some straw, and fell into a profound sleep. 
The next day about noon, as I was pursuing my jour- 
ney, I was overtaken by two men on horseback, who 
stopped me, to enquire respecting a person that they 
supposed might have passed along that road. As they 



328 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

proceeded in their description, Iperceived, with astonish- 
ment and terror, that I was myself the person to whom 
their questions related. They entered into a tolerably 
accurate detail of the various .characteristics by which 
my person might best be distinguished. They said, 
they had good reason to believe that I had been seen 
at a place in that county the very day before. While 
they were speaking a third person, who had fallen be- 
hind, came up; and my alarm was greatly increased 
upon seeing that this person was the servant of Mr. 
Forester, who had visited me in prison about a fortnight 
before my escape. My best resource in this crisis was 
composure and apparent indifference. It was fortunate 
for me that my disguise was so complete, that the eye 
of Mr. Falkland itself could scarcely have penetrated 
it. I had been aware for some time before that this 
was a refuge which events might make necessary, and 
had endeavoured to arrange and methodise my ideas 
upon the subject. From my youth I had possessed a 
considerable facility in the art of imitation ; and when 
I quitted my retreat in the habitation of Mr. Raymond, 
I adopted, along with my beggar's attire, a peculiar 
slouching and clownish gait, to be used whenever there 
should appear the least chance of my being observed, 
together with an Irish brogue which I had had an oppor- 
tunity of studying in my prison. Such are the miserable 
expedients, and so great the studied artifice, which man, 
who never deserves the name of manhood but in pro- 
portion as he is erect and independent, may find it 
necessary to employ, for the purpose of eluding the 
inexorable animosity and unfeeling tyranny of his fel- 
low man ! I had made use of this brogue, though I 
have not thought it necessary to write it down in my 
narrative, in the conversation of the village alehouse. 
Mr. Forester's servant, as he came up, observed that his 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

companions were engaged in conversation with me; 
and, guessing at the subject, asked whether they had 
gained any intelligence. He added to the information 
at which they had already hinted, that a resolution was 
taken to spare neither diligence nor expense for my dis- 
covery and apprehension, and that they were satisfied, 
if I were above ground and in the kingdom, it would 
be impossible for me to escape them. 

Every new incident that had occurred to me tended 
to impress upon my mind the extreme danger to which 
I was exposed. I could almost have imagined that I 
was the sole subject of general attention, and that the 
whole world was in arms to exterminate me. The very 
idea tingled through every fibre of my frame. But, 
terrible as it appeared to my imagination, it did but 
give new energy to my purpose; and I determined 
that I would not voluntarily resign the field, that is, 
literally speaking, my neck to the cord of the execu- 
tioner, notwithstanding the greatest superiority in my 
assailants. But the incidents which had befallen me, 
though they did not change my purpose, induced me 
to examine over again the means by which it might be 
effected. The consequence of this revisal was, to de- 
termine me to bend my course to the nearest sea-port 
on the west side of the island, and transport myself to 
Ireland. I cannot now tell what it was that inclined me 
to prefer this scheme to that which I had originally 
formed. Perhaps the latter, which had been for some 
time present to my imagination, for that reason ap- 
peared the more obvious of the two ; and I found an 
appearance of complexity, which the mind did not stay 
to explain, in substituting the other in its stead. 

I arrived without further impediment at the place 
from which I intended to sail, enquired for a vessel, 
which I found ready to put to sea in a few hours, 



330 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

agreed with the captain for my passage. Ireland had 
to me the disadvantage of being a dependency of the 
British government, and therefore a place of less se- 
curity than most other countries which are divided 
from it by the ocean. To judge from the diligence 
with which I seemed to be pursued in England, it was 
not improbable that the zeal of my persecutors might 
follow me to the other side of the channel. It was 
however sufficiently agreeable to my mind, that I was 
upon the point of being removed one step further from 
the danger which was so grievous to my imagination. 
Could there be any peril in the short interval that 
was to elapse, before the vessel was to weigh anchor 
and quit the English shore? Probably not. A very 
short time had intervened between my determination 
for the sea and my arrival at this place ; and if any 
new alarm had been given to my prosecutors, it pro- 
ceeded from the old woman a very few days before. 
I hoped I had anticipated their diligence. Mean- 
while, that I might neglect no reasonable precaution, 
I went instantly on board, resolved that I would not 
unnecessarily, by walking the streets of the town, ex- 
pose myself to any untoward accident. This was the 
first time I had, upon any occasion, taken leave of my 
native country. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE time was now nearly elapsed that was prescribed 
for our stay, and orders for weighing anchor were every 
moment expected, when we were hailed by a boat from 
the shore, with two other men in it besides those that 
rowed. They entered our vessel in an instant. They 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 331 

were officers of justice. The passengers, five persons 
besides myself, were ordered upon deck for examination. 
I was inexpressibly disturbed at the occurrence of such 
a circumstance in so unseasonable a moment I took 
it for granted that it was of me they were in search. 
Was it possible that, by any unaccountable accident, 
they should have got an intimation of my disguise ? It 
was infinitely more distressing to encounter them upon 
this narrow stage, and under these pointed circum- 
stances, than, as I had before encountered my pur- 
suers, under the appearance of an indifferent person. 
My recollection however did not forsake me. I con- 
fided in my conscious disguise and my Irish brogue, as 
a rock of dependence against all accidents. 

No sooner did we appear upon deck than, to my 
great consternation, I could observe the attention of 
our guests principally turned upon me. They asked a 
few frivolous questions of such of my fellow passengers 
as happened to be nearest to them ; and then, turning 
to me, enquired my name, who I was, whence I came, 
and what had brought me there? I had scarcely 
opened my mouth to reply, when, with one consent, 
they laid hold of me, said I was their prisoner, and 
declared that my accent, together with the correspond- 
ence of my person, would be sufficient to convict me 
before any court in England. I was hurried out of 
the vessel into the boat in which they came, and seated 
between them, as if by way of precaution, lest I should 
spring overboard, and by any means escape them. 

I now took it for granted that I was once more in 
the power of Mr. Falkland ; and the idea was insup- 
rtortably mortifying and oppressive to my imagination. 
Escape from his pursuit, freedom from his tyranny, 
were objects upon which my whole soul was bent. 
Could no human ingenuity and exertion effect them ? 



332 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Did his power reach through all space, and his eye 
penetrate every concealment ? Was he like that mys- 
terious being, to protect us from whose fierce revenge 
mountains and hills, we are told, might fall on us in 
vain ? No idea is more heart-sickening and tremendous 
than this. But, in my case, it was not a subject of 
reasoning or of faith ; I could derive no comfort, either 
directly from the unbelief which, upon religious sub- 
jects, some men avow to their own minds ; or secretly 
from the remoteness and incomprehensibility of the 
conception : it was an affair of sense ; I felt the fangs 
of the tiger striking deep into my heart. 

But though this impression was at first exceedingly 
strong, and accompanied with its usual attendants of 
dejection and pusillanimity, my mind soon began, as it 
were mechanically, to turn upon the consideration of 
the distance between this sea-port and my county 
prison, and the various opportunities of escape that 
might offer themselves in the interval. My first duty 
was to avoid betraying myself, more than it might 
afterwards appear I was betrayed already. It was 
possible that, though apprehended, my apprehension 
might have been determined on upon some slight 
score, and that, by my dexterity, I might render my 
dismission as sudden as my arrest had been. It was 
even possible that I had been seized through a mistake, 
and that the present measure might have no con- 
nection with Mr. Falkland's affair. Upon every sup- 
position, it was my business to gain information. ' In 
my passage from the ship to the town I did not utter 
a word. My conductors commented on my sulkiness ; 
but remarked that it would avail me nothing I should 
infallibly swing, as it was never known that any body 
got off who was tried for robbing his majesty's mail. 
It is difficult to conceive the lightness of heart which 



CALEB WILLIAMS. S33 

was communicated to me by these words : I persisted 
however in the silence I had meditated. From the 
rest of their conversation, which was sufficiently volu- 
ble, I learned that the mail from Edinburgh to London 
had been robbed about ten days before by two Irish- 
men, that one of them was already secured, and that I 
was taken up upon suspicion of being the other. They 
had a description of his person, which, though, as I 
afterwards found, it disagreed from mine in several 
material articles, appeared to them to tally to the 
minutest tittle. The intelligence that the whole pro- 
ceeding against me was founded in a mistake, took an 
oppressive load from my mind. I believed that I should 
immediately be able to establish my innocence, to the 
satisfaction of any magistrate in the kingdom ; and 
though crossed in my plans, and thwarted in my 
design of quitting the island, even after I was already 
at sea, this was but a trifling inconvenience compared 
with what I had had but too much reason to fear. 

As soon as we came ashore, I was conducted to the 
house of a justice of peace, a man who had formerly 
been the captain of a collier, but who, having been 
successful in the world, had quitted this wandering 
life, and for some years had had the honour to repre- 
sent his majesty's person. We were detained for 
some time in a sort of anti-room, waiting his reve- 
rence's leisure. The persons by whom I had been 
taken up were experienced in their trade, and insisted 
upon employing this interval in searching me, in pre- 
sence of two of his worship's servants. They found 
upon me fifteen guineas and some silver. They re- 
quired me to strip myself perfectly naked, that they 
might examine whether I had bank-notes concealed 
any where about my person. They took up the de- 



334 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

tached parcels of my miserable attire as I threw it 
from me, and felt them one by one, to discover whether 
the articles of which they were in search might by 
any device be sewn up in them. To all this I sub- 
mitted without murmuring. It might probably come 
to the same thing at last ; and summary justice was 
sufficiently coincident with my views, my principal 
object being to get as soon as possible out of the 
clutches of the respectable persons who now had me 
in custody. 

This operation was scarcely completed, before we 
were directed to be ushered into his worship's apart- 
ment. My accusers opened the charge, and told him 
they had been ordered to this town, upon an inti- 
mation that one of the persons who robbed the Edin- 
burgh mail was to be found here ; and that they had 
taken me on board a vessel which was by this time 
under sail for Ireland. " Well," says his worship, 
" that is your story ; now let us hear what account the 
gentleman gives of himself. What is your name ha, 
sirrah? and from what part of Tipperary are you 
pleased to come ?" I had already taken my deter- 
mination upon this article; and the moment I learned 
the particulars of the charge against me, resolved, for 
the present at least, to lay aside my Irish accent, and 
speak my native tongue. This I had done in the very 
few words I had spoken to my conductors in the anti- 
room : they started at the metamorphosis ; but they 
had gone too far for it to be possible they should re- 
tract, in consistence with their honour. I now told the 
justice that I was no Irishman, nor had ever been in 
that country : I was a native of England. This occa- 
sioned a consulting of the deposition in which my 
person was supposed to be described, and which my> 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 335 

conductors had brought with them for their direction-. 
To be sure, that required that the offender should be 
an Irishman. 

Observing his worship hesitate, I thought this was 
the time to push the matter a little further. I referred 
to the paper, and showed that the description neither 
tallied as to height nor complexion. But then it did 
as to years and the colour of the hair ; and it was not 
this gentleman's habit, as he informed me, to squabble 
about trifles, or to let a man's neck out of the halter 
for a pretended flaw of a few inches in his stature. " If 
a man were too short," he said, " there was no remedy 
like a little stretching." The miscalculation in my case 
happened to be the opposite way, but his reverence did 
not think proper to lose his jest. Upon the whole, he 
was somewhat at a loss how to proceed. 

My conductors observed this, and began to tremble 
for the reward, which, two hours ago, they thought as 
good as in their own pocket. To retain me in custody 
they judged to be a safe speculation ; if it turned out 
a mistake at last, they felt little apprehension of a suit 
for false imprisonment from a poor man, accoutred as 
I was, in rags. They therefore urged his worship to 
comply with their views. They told him that to be 
sure the evidence against me did not prove so strong 
at for their part they heartily wished it had, but that 
there were a number of suspicious circumstances re- 
specting me. When I was brought up to them upon 
the deck of the vessel, I spoke as fine an Irish brogue 
as one shall hear in a summer's day ; and now, all at 
once, there was not the least particle of it left. In 
searching me they had found upon me fifteen guineas, 
how should a poor beggar lad, such as I appeared, come 
honestly by fifteen guineas ? Besides, when they had 
stripped me naked, though my dress was so shabby; 



336 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

my skin had all the sleekness of a gentleman. In fine, 
for what purpose could a poor beggar, who had never 
been in Ireland in his life, want to transport himself to 
that country ? It was as clear as the sun that I was no 
better than I should be. This reasoning, together with 
some significant winks and gestures between the justice 
and the plaintiffs, brought him over to their way of 
thinking. He said, I must go to Warwick, where it 
seems the other robber was at present in custody, and 
be confronted with him ; and if then every thing ap- 
peared fair and satisfactory, I should be discharged. 

No intelligence could be more terrible than that 
which was contained in these words. That I, who had 
found the whole country in arms against me, who was 
exposed to a pursuit so peculiarly vigilant and pene- 
trating, should now be dragged to the very centre of 
the kingdom, without power of accommodating myself 
to circumstances, and under the immediate custody of 
the officers of justice, seemed to my ears almost the 
same thing as if he had pronounced upon me a sentence 
of death ! I strenuously urged the injustice of this 
proceeding. I observed to the magistrate, that it was 
impossible I should be the person at whom the de- 
scription pointed. It required an Irishman ; I was no 
Irishman. It described a person shorter than I ; a cir- 
cumstance of all others the least capable of being 
counterfeited. There was not the slightest reason for 
detaining me in custody. I had been already disap- 
pointed of my voyage, and lost the money I had paid 
down, through the officiousness of these gentlemen in 
apprehending me. I assured his worship, that every 
delay, under my circumstances, was of the utmost im- 
portance to me. It was impossible to devise a greater 
injury to be inflicted on me, than the proposal that, 
instead of being permitted to proceed upon my voyage, 



CALEB WILLIAMS. S:>7 

I should be sent, under arrest, into the heart of the 
kingdom. 

My remonstrances were vain. The justice was by 
no means inclined to digest the being expostulated 
with in this manner by a person in the habiliments of 
a beggar. In the midst of my address he would have 
silenced me for my impertinence, but that I spoke with 
an earnestness with which he was wholly unable to 
contend. When I had finished, he told me it was all 
to no purpose, and that it might have been better for 
me, if I had shown myself less insolent It was clear 
that I was a vagabond and a suspicious person. The 
more earnest 1 showed myself to get off, the more 
reason there was he should keep me fast. Perhaps, 
after all, I should turn out to be the felon in question. 
But, if I was not that, he had no doubt I was worse ; 
a poacher, or, for what he knew, a murderer. He had 
a kind of a notion that he had seen my face before 
about some such affair; out of all doubt I was an old 
offender. He had it in his choice to send me to hard 
labour as a vagrant, upon the strength of my appear- 
ance and the contradictions in my story, or to order me 
to Warwick ; and, out of the spontaneous goodness of 
his disposition, he chose the milder side of the alter- 
native. He could assure me I should not slip through 
his fingers. It was of more benefit to his majesty's go- 
vernment to hang one such fellow as he suspected me 
to be, than, out of mistaken tenderness, to concern 
one's self for the good of all the beggars in the nation. 

Finding it was impossible to work, in the way I de- 
sired, on a man so fully impressed with his own dignity 
and importance and my utter insignificance, I claimed 
that, at least, the money taken from my person should 
be restored to me. This was granted. His worship 
perhaps suspected that he had stretched a point in 



338 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

what he had already done, and was therefore the less 
unwilling to relax in this incidental circumstance. My 
conductors did not oppose themselves to this indulg- 
ence, for a reason that will appear in the sequel. The 
justice however enlarged upon his clemency in this 
proceeding. He did not know whether he was not 
exceeding the spirit of his commission in complying 
with my demand. So much money in my possession 
could not be honestly come by. But it was his temper 
to soften, as far as could be done with propriety, the 
strict letter of the law. 

There were cogent reasons why the gentlemen who 
had originally taken me into custody, chose that I 
should continue in their custody when my examination 
was over. Every man is, in his different mode, sus- 
ceptible to a sense of honour ; and they did not choose 
to encounter the disgrace that would accrue to them, 
if justice had been done. Every man is in some 
degree influenced by the love of power ; and they 
were willing I should owe any benefit I received, to 
their sovereign grace and benignity? and not to the 
mere reason of the case. It was not however an un- 
substantial honour and barren power that formed the 
objects of their pursuit : no, their views were deeper 
than that. In a word, though they chose that I should 
retire from the seat of justice, as I had come before 
it, a prisoner, yet the tenor of my examination had 
obliged them, in spite of themselves, to suspect that I 
was innocent of the charge alleged against me. Appre- 
hensive therefore that the hundred guineas which had 
been offered as a reward for taking the robber was 
completely out of the question in the present busi- 
ness, they were contented to strike at smaller game. 
Having conducted me to an inn, and given directions 
respecting a vehicle for the journey, they took me 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 339 

aside, while one of them addressed me in the following 
manner : 

" You see, my lad, how the case stands : hey for 
Warwick is the word ! and when we are got there, 
what may happen then I will not pretend for to say. 
Whether you are innocent or no is no business of 
mine ; but you are not such a chicken as to suppose, if 
so be as you are innocent, that that will make your 
game altogether sure. You say your business calls 
you another way, and as how you are in haste : I scorns 
to cross any man in his concerns, if I can help it. If 
therefore you will give us them there fifteen shiners, 
why snug is the word. They are of no use to you ; a 
beggar, you know, is always at home. For the matter 
of that, we could have had them in the way of business, 
as you saw, at the justice's. But I am a man of prin- 
ciple ; I loves to do things above board, and scorns to 
extort a shilling from any man." 

He who is tinctured with principles of moral discri- 
mination is apt upon occasion to be run away with by 
his feelings in that respect, and to forget the immediate 
interest of the moment I confess, that the first 
sentiment excited in my mind by this overture was 
that of indignation. I was irresistibly impelled to give 
utterance to this feeling, and postpone for a moment 
the consideration of the future. I replied with the 
severity which so base a proceeding appeared to de- 
serve. My bear-leaders were considerably surprised 
with my firmness, but seemed to think it beneath them 
to contest with me the principles I delivered. He 
who had made the overture contented himself with 
replying, " Well, well, my lad, do as you will ; you are 
not the first man that has been hanged rather than 
part with a few guineas." His words did not pass un- 
heeded by me. They were strikingly applicable to my 
z 2 



34?0 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

situation, and I was determined not to suffer the oc- 
casion to escape me unimproved. 

The pride of these gentlemen however was too 
great to admit of further parley for the present. 
They left me abruptly ; having h'rst ordered an old 
man, the father of the landlady, to stay in the room 
w ith me while they were absent. The old man they 
ordered, for security, to lock the door, and put the key 
in his pocket ; at the same time mentioning below 
stairs the station in which they had left me, that the 
people of the house might have an eye upon what 
went forward, and not suffer me to escape. What was 
the intention of this manoeuvre I am unable certainly 
to pronounce. Probably it was a sort of compromise 
between their pride and their avarice ; being desirous, 
for some reason or other, to drop me as soon as 
convenient, and therefore determining to wait the 
result of my private meditations on the proposal they 
had made. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THEY were no sooner withdrawn than I cast my eye 
upon the old man, and found something extremely 
venerable and interesting in his appearance. His form 
was above the middle size. It indicated that his 
strength had been once considerable ; nor was it at 
this time by any means annihilated. His hair was in 
considerable quantity, and was as white as the drifted 
snow. His complexion was healthful and ruddy, at 
the same time that his face was furrowed with wrinkles. 
In his eye there was remarkable vivacity, and his whole 
countenance was strongly expressive of good-nature. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 341 

The boorishness of his rank in society was lost in the 
cultivation his mind had derived from habits of sensi- 
bility and benevolence. 

The view of his figure immediately introduced a 
train of ideas into my mind, respecting the advantage 
to be drawn from the presence of such a person. The 
attempt to take any step without his consent was hope- 
less ; for, though I should succeed with regard to him, 
he could easily give the alarm to other persons, who 
would, no doubt, be within call. Add to which, I 
could scarcely have prevailed on myself to offer any 
offence to a person whose first appearance so strongly 
engaged my affection and esteem. In reality my thoughts 
were turned into a different channel. I was impressed 
with an ardent wish to be able to call this man my 
benefactor. Pursued by a train of ill fortune, I could 
no longer consider myself as a member of society. I 
was a solitary being, cut off from the expectation of 
sympathy, kindness, and the good-will of mankind. I 
was strongly impelled, by the situation in which the 
present moment placed me, to indulge in a luxury 
which my destiny seemed to have denied. I could not 
conceive the smallest comparison between the idea of 
deriving my liberty from the spontaneous kindness of 
a worthy and excellent mind, and that of being in- 
debted for it to the selfishness and baseness of the 
worst members of society. It was thus that I allowed 
myself in the wantonness of refinement, even in the 
midst of destruction. 

Guided by these sentiments, I requested his attention 
to the circumstances by which I had been brought into 
my present situation. He immediately signified his 
assent, and said he would cheerfully listen to any thing 
I thought proper to communicate. I told him, the 
persons who had just left me in charge with him had 
z 3 



342 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

come to this town for the purpose of apprehending 
some person who had been guilty of robbing the mail ; 
that they had chosen to take me up under this 
warrant, and had conducted me before a justice of 
the peace ; that they had soon detected their mistake, 
the person in question being an Irishman, and differ- 
ing from me both in country and stature ; but that, by 
collusion between them and the justice, they were 
permitted to retain me in custody, and pretended to 
undertake to conduct me to Warwick to confront me 
with my accomplice ; that, in searching me at the 
justice's, they had found a sum of money in my pos- 
session which excited their cupidity, and that they had 
just been proposing to me to give me my liberty upon 
condition of my surrendering this sum into their hands. 
Under these circumstances, I requested him to con- 
sider, whether he would wish to render himself the 
instrument of their extortion. I put myself into his 
hands, and solemnly averred the truth of the facts I 
had just stated. If he would assist me in my escape, 
it could have no other effect than to disappoint the 
base passions of my conductors. I would upon no 
account expose him to any real inconvenience ; but I 
was well assured that the same generosity that should 
prompt him to a good deed, would enable him effectu- 
ally to vindicate it when done ; and that those who 
detained me, when they had lost sight of their prey, 
would feel covered with confusion, and not dare to 
take another step in the affair. 

The old man listened to what I related with curi- 
osity and interest. He said that he had always felt an 
abhorrence to the sort of people who had me in their 
hands ; that he had an aversion to the task they had just 
imposed upon him, but that he could not refuse some 
little disagreeable offices to oblige his daughter and 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 343 

son-in-law. He had no doubt, from my countenance and 
manner, of the truth of what I had asserted to him. It 
was an extraordinary request I had made, and he did 
not know what had induced me to think him the sort of 
person to whom, with any prospect of success, it might 
be made. In reality however his habits of thinking 
were uncommon, and he felt more than half inclined to 
act as I desired. One thing at least he would ask of 
me in return, which was to be faithfully informed in 
some degree respecting the person he was desired to 
oblige. What was my name ? 

The question came upon me unprepared. But, what- 
ever might be the consequence, I could not bear to 
deceive the person by whom it was put, and in the cir- 
cumstances under which it was put. The practice of 
perpetual falsehood is too painful a task. I replied, that 
my name was Williams. 

He paused. His eye was fixed upon me. I saw his 
complexion alter at the repetition of that word. He 
proceeded with visible anxiety. 

My Christian name ? 

Caleb. 

Good God ! it could not be ? He conjured me 

by every thing that was sacred to answer him faith- 
fully to one question more. I was not no, it was 
impossible the person who had formerly lived servant 
with Mr. Falkland, of ? 

I told him that, whatever might be the meaning of 
his question, I would answer him truly. I was the 
individual he mentioned. 

As I uttered these words the old man rose from his 
seat. He was sorry that fortune had been so un- 
propitious to him, as for him ever to have set eyes 
upon me ! I was a monster with whom the very earth 
groaned ! 



344 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I entreated that he would suffer me to explain this 
new misapprehension, as he had done in the former 
instance. I had no doubt that I should do it equally 
to his satisfaction. 

No ! no ! no ! he would upon no consideration admit, 
that his ears should suffer such contamination. This 
case and the other were very different. There was no 
criminal upon the face of the earth, no murderer, half 
so detestable as the person who could prevail upon 
himself to utter the charges I had done, by way of 
recrimination, against so generous a master. The old 
man was in a perfect agony with the recollection. 

At length he calmed himself enough to say, he should 
never cease to grieve that he had held a moment's 
parley with me. He did not know what was the con- 
duct severe justice required of him ; but, since he had 
come into the knowledge of who I was only by my 
own confession, it was irreconcilably repugnant to his 
feelings to make use of that knowledge to my injury. 
Here therefore all relation between us ceased ; as 
indeed it would be an abuse of words to consider me 
in the light of a human creature. He would do me no 
mischief; but, on the other hand, he would not, for the 
world, be in any way assisting and abetting me. 

I was inexpressibly affected at the abhorrence this 
good and benevolent creature expressed against me. I 
could not be silent ; I endeavoured once and again to 
prevail upon him to hear me. But his determination 
was unalterable. Our contest lasted for some time, 
and he at length terminated it by ringing the bell, and 
calling up the waiter. A very little while after, my 
conductors entered, and the other persons withdrew. 

It was a part of the singularity of my fate that it 
hurried me from one species of anxiety and distress to 
another, too rapidly to suffer any one of them to sink 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 34-5 

deeply into my mind. I am apt to believe, in the retro- 
spect, that half the calamities I was destined to endure 
would infallibly have overwhelmed and destroyed me. 
But, as it was, I had no leisure to chew the cud upon mis- 
fortunes as they befel me, but was under the necessity 
of forgetting them, to guard against peril that the next 
moment seemed ready to crush me. 

The behaviour of this incomparable and amiable old 
man cut me to the heart. It was a dreadful prognostic 
for all my future life. But, as I have just observed, 
my conductors entered, and another subject called im- 
periously upon my attention. I could have been con- 
tent, mortified as I was at this instant, to have been 
shut up in some impenetrable solitude, and to have 
wrapped myself in inconsolable misery. But the grief 
I endured had not such power over me as that I could 
be content to risk the being led to the gallows. The 
love of life, and still more a hatred against oppression, 
steeled my heart against that species of inertness. In 
the scene that had just passed I had indulged, as I have 
said, in a wantonness and luxury of refinement. It was 
time that indulgence should be brought to a period. 
It was dangerous to trifle any more upon the brink of 
fate; and, penetrated as I was with sadness by the 
result of my last attempt, I was little disposed to un- 
necessary circumambulation. 

I was exactly in the temper in which the gentlemen 
who had me in their power would have desired to find 
me. Accordingly we entered immediately upon busi- 
ness ; and, after some chaffering, they agreed to accept 
eleven guineas as the price of my freedom. To pre- 
serve however the chariness of their reputation, they 
insisted upon conducting me with them for a few miles 
on the outside of a stage-coach. They then pretended 
that the road they had to travel lay in a cross country 



346 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

direction ; and, having quitted the vehicle, they suffered 
me, almost as soon as it was out of sight, to shake off 
this troublesome association, and follow my own inclin- 
ations. It may be worth remarking by the way, that 
these fellows outwitted themselves at their own trade. 
They had laid hold of me at first under the idea of a 
prize of a hundred guineas ; they had since been glad 
to accept a composition of eleven : but if they had 
retained me a little longer in their possession, they 
would have found the possibility of acquiring the sum 
that had originally excited their pursuit, upon a diffe- 
rent score. 

The mischances that had befallen me, in my late 
attempt to escape from my pursuers by sea, deterred 
me from the thought of repeating that experiment. I 
therefore once more returned to the suggestion of hiding 
myself, at least for the present, amongst the crowds of 
the metropolis. Meanwhile, I by no means thought 
proper to venture by the direct route, and the less so, 
as that was the course which would be steered by my 
late conductors ; but took my road along the borders of 
Wales. The only incident worth relating in this place 
occurred in an attempt to cross the Severn in a parti- 
cular point. The mode was by a ferry ; but, by some 
strange inadvertence, I lost my way so completely as 
to be wholly unable that night to reach the ferry, and 
arrive at the town which I had destined for my repose. 

This may seem a petty disappointment, in the midst 
of the overwhelming considerations that might have 
been expected to engross every thought of my mind. 
Yet it was borne by me with singular impatience. I 
was that day uncommonly fatigued. Previously to the 
time that I mistook, or at least was aware of the mis- 
take of the road, the sky had become black and lowr- 
ing, and soon after the clouds burst down in sheets of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 347 

rain. I was in the midst of a heath, without a tree or 
covering of any sort to shelter me. I was thoroughly 
drenched in a moment. I pushed on with a sort of 
sullen determination. By and by the rain gave place 
to a storm of hail. The hail-stones were large and 
frequent. I was ill defended by the miserable cover- 
ing I wore, and they seemed to cut me in a thousand 
directions. The hail-storm subsided, and was again 
succeeded by a heavy rain. By this time it was that 
I had perceived I was wholly out of my road. I could 
discover neither man nor beast, nor habitation of any 
kind. I walked on, measuring at every turn the path 
it would be proper to pursue, but in no instance finding 
a sufficient reason to reject one or prefer another. 
My mind was bursting with depression and anguish. 
I muttered imprecations and murmuring as I passed 
along. I was lull of loathing and abhorrence of life, 
and all that life carries in its train. After wandering 
without any certain direction for two hours, I was over- 
taken by the night. The scene was nearly pathless, 
and it was vain to think of proceeding any farther. 

Here I was, without comfort, without shelter, and 
without food. There was not a particle of my cover- 
ing that was not as wet as if it had been fished from 
the bottom of the ocean. My teeth chattered. I 
trembled in every limb. My heart burned with uni- 
versal fury. At one moment I stumbled and fell over 
some unseen obstacle ; at another I was turned back 
by an impediment I could not overcome. 

There was no strict connection between these casual 
inconveniences and the persecution under which I 
laboured. But my distempered thoughts confounded 
them together. I cursed the whole system of human 
existence. I said, " Here I am, an outcast, destined 
to perish with hunger and cold. All men desert me. 



348 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

All men hate me. I am driven with mortal threats 
from the sources of comfort and existence. Accursed 
world ! that hates without a cause, that overwhelms 
innocence with calamities which ought to be spared 
even to guilt ! Accursed world ! dead to every manly 
sympathy; with eyes of horn, and hearts of steel ! 
Why do I consent to live any longer ? Why do I seek 
to drag on an existence, which, if protracted, must be 
protracted amidst the lairs of these human tigers?" 

This paroxysm at length exhausted itself. Pre- 
sently after, I discovered a solitary shed, which I was 
contented to resort to for shelter. In a corner of the 
shed I found some clean straw. I threw off my rags, 
placed them in a situation where they would best be 
dried, and buried myself amidst this friendly warmth. 
Here I forgot by degrees the anguish that had racked 
me. A wholesome shed and fresh straw may seem but 
scanty benefits ; but they offered themselves when 
least expected, and my whole heart was lightened by 
the encounter. Through fatigue of mind and body, it 
happened in this instance, though in general my repose 
was remarkably short, that I slept till almost noon of 
the next day. When I rose, I found that I was at no 
great distance from the ferry, which I crossed, and 
entered the town where I intended to have rested the 
preceding night. 

It was market-day. As I passed near the cross, 
I observed two people look at me with great earnest- 
ness : after which one of them exclaimed, " I will be 
damned if I do not think that this is the very fellow 
those men were enquiring for who set off an hour ago 

by the coach for . I was extremely alarmed 

at this information ; and, quickening my pace, turned 
sharp down a narrow lane. The moment I was out of 
sight I ran with all the speed I could exert, and did 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 349 

not think myself safe till I was several miles distant 
from the place where this information had reached my 
ears. I have always believed that the men to whom 
it related were the very persons who had apprehended 
me on board the ship in which I had embarked for 
Ireland; that, by some accident, they had met with 
the description of my person as published on the part 
of Mr. Falkland ; and that, from putting together the 
circumstances, they had been led to believe that this 
was the very individual who had lately been in their 
custody. Indeed it was a piece of infatuation in me, 
for which I am now unable to account, that, after the 
various indications which had occurred in that affair, 
proving to them that I was a man in critical and pe- 
culiar circumstances, I should have persisted in wear- 
ing the same disguise without the smallest alteration. 
My escape in the present case was eminently fortunate. 
If I had not lost my way in consequence of the hail- 
storm on the preceding night, or if I had not so greatly 
overslept myself this very morning, I must almost in- 
fallibly have fallen into the hands of these infernal 
blood-hunters. 

The town they had chosen for their next stage, the 
name of which I had thus caught in the market-place, 
was the town to which, but for this intimation, I should 
have immediately proceeded. As it was, I determined 
to take a road as wide of it as possible. In the first 
place to which I came, in which it was practicable to 
do so, I bought a great coat, which I drew over my 
beggar's weeds, and a better hat. The hat I slouched 
over my face, and covered one of my eyes with a green- 
silk shade. The handkerchief, which I had hitherto 
worn about my head, I now tied about the lower part 
of my visage, so as to cover my mouth. By degrees 
I discarded every part of my former dress, and wore 



350 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

for my upper garment a kind of carman's frock, which, 
being of the better sort, made me look like the son of 
a reputable farmer of the lower class. Thus equipped, 
I proceeded on my journey, and, after a thousand 
alarms, precautions, and circuitous deviations from the 
direct path, arrived safely in London. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HERE then was the termination of an immense series 
of labours, upon which no man could have looked back 
without astonishment, or forward without a sentiment 
bordering on despair. It was at a price which defies 
estimation that I had purchased this resting-place ; 
whether we consider the efforts it had cost me to escape 
from the walls of my prison, or the dangers and anxie- 
ties to which I had been a prey, from that hour to the 
present. 

But why do I call the point at which I was now 
arrived at a resting-place ? Alas, it was diametrically 
the reverse! It was my first and immediate business 
to review all the projects of disguise I had hitherto 
conceived, to derive every improvement I could invent 
from the practice to which I had been subjected, and 
to manufacture a veil of concealment more impene- 
trable than ever. This was an effort to which I could 
see no end. In ordinary cases the hue and cry after 
a supposed offender is a matter of temporary operation ; 
but ordinary cases formed no standard for the colossal 
intelligence of Mr. Falkland. For the same reason, 
London, which appears an inexhaustible reservoir of 
concealment to the majority of mankind, brought no 
such consolatory sentiment to my mind. Whether life 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 351 

were worth accepting on such terms I cannot pro- 
nounce. I only know that I persisted in this exertion 
of ray faculties, through a sort of parental love that 
men are accustomed to entertain for their intellectual 
offspring ; the more thought I had expended in rearing 
it to its present perfection, the less did I find myself 
disposed to abandon it. Another motive, not less stre- 
nuously exciting me to perseverance, was the ever- 
growing repugnance I felt to injustice and arbitrary 
power. 

The first evening of my arrival in town I slept at 
an obscure inn in the borough of Southwark, choosing 
that side of the metropolis, on account of its lying en- 
tirely wide of the part of England from which I came. 
I entered the inn in the evening in my countryman's 
frock ; and, having paid for my lodging before I went 
to bed, equipped myself next morning as differently 
as my wardrobe would allow, and left the house before 
day. The frock I made up into a small packet, and, 
having carried it to a distance as great as I thought 
necessary, I dropped it in the corner of an alley 
through which I passed. My next care was to furnish 
myself with another suit of apparel, totally different 
from any to which I had hitherto had recourse. The 
exterior which I was now induced to assume was that 

of a Jew. One of the gang of thieves upon 

forest, had been of that race ; and by the talent of 
mimicry, which I have already stated myself to pos- 
sess, I could copy their pronunciation of the English 
language, sufficiently to answer such occasions as were 
likely to present themselves. One of the prelimi- 
naries I adopted, was to repair to a quarter of the town 
in which great numbers of this people reside, and 
study their complexion and countenance. Having 
made such provision as my prudence suggested to 



352 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

me, I retired for that night to an inn in the midway 
between Mile-end and Wapping. Here I accoutred 
myself in my new habiliments ; and, having employed 
the same precautions as before, retired from my 
lodging at a time least exposed to observation. It is 
unnecessary to describe the particulars of my new 
equipage ; suffice it to say, that one of my cares was 
to discolour my complexion, and give it the dun and 
sallow hue which is in most instances characteristic of 
the tribe to which I assumed to belong ; and that 
when my metamorphosis was finished, I could not, 
upon the strictest examination, conceive that any one 
could have traced out the person of Caleb Williams in 
this new disguise. 

Thus far advanced in the execution of my project, 
I deemed it advisable to procure a lodging, and change 
my late wandering life for a stationary one. In this 
lodging I constantly secluded myself from the rising 
to the setting of the sun ; the periods I allowed for 
exercise and air were few, and those few by night. I 
was even cautious of so much as approaching the win- 
dow of my apartment, though upon the attic story ; a 
principle I laid down to myself was, not wantonly and 
unnecessarily to expose myself to risk, however slight 
that risk might appear. 

Here let me pause for a moment, to bring before 
the reader, in the way in which it was impressed 
upon my mind, the nature of my situation. I was 
born free : I was born healthy, vigorous, and active, 
complete in all the lineaments and members of a 
human body. I was not born indeed to the posses- 
sion of hereditary wealth ; but I had a better inherit- 
ance, an enterprising mind, an inquisitive spirit, a 
liberal ambition. In a word, I accepted my lot with 
willingness and content ; I did not fear but I should 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 353 

make ray cause good in the lists of existence. I was 
satisfied to aim at small things; I was pleased 
to play at first for a slender stake ; I was more 
willing to grow than to descend in my individual 
significance. 

The free spirit and the firm heart with which I 
commenced, one circumstance was sufficient to blast. 
I was ignorant of the power which the institutions of 
society give to one man over others ; I had fallen un- 
warily into the hands of a person who held it as his 
fondest wish to oppress and destroy me. 

I found myself subjected, undeservedly on my part, 
to all the disadvantages which mankind, if they re- 
flected upon them, would hesitate to impose on ac- 
knowledged guilt. In every human countenance I 
feared to find the countenance of an enemy. I shrunk 
from the vigilance of every human eye. I dared not 
open my heart to the best affections of our nature. I 
was shut up, a deserted, solitary wretch, in the midst 
of my species. I dared not look for the consolations of 
friendship ; but, instead of seeking to identify myself 
with the joys and sorrows of others, and exchanging 
the delicious gifts of confidence and sympathy, was 
compelled to centre my thoughts and my vigilance in 
myself. My life was all a lie. I had a counterfeit 
character to support. I had counterfeit manners to 
assume. My gait, my gestures, my accents, were all 
of them to be studied. I was not free to indulge, no 
not one, honest sally of the soul. Attended with these 
disadvantages, I was to procure myself a subsistence, 
a subsistence to be acquired with infinite precautions, 
and to be consumed without the hope of enjoyment. 

This, even this, I was determined to endure ; to put 
my shoulder to the burthen, and support it with un- 
shrinking firmness. Let it not however be supposed 

A A 



354? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

that I endured it without repining and abhorrence. My 
time was divided between the terrors of an animal 
that skulks from its pursuers, the obstinacy of un- 
shrinking firmness, and that elastic revulsion that from 
time to time seems to shrivel the very hearts of the 
miserable. If at some moments I fiercely defied all the 
rigours of my fate, at others, and those of frequent 
recurrence, I sunk into helpless despondence. I looked 
forward without hope through the series of my ex- 
istence, tears of anguish rushed from my eyes, my 
courage became extinct, and I cursed the conscious 
life that was reproduced with every returning day. 

" Why," upon such occasions I was accustomed to 
exclaim, "why am I overwhelmed with the load of ex- 
istence ? Why are all these engines at work to torment 
me ? I am no murderer ; yet, if I were, what worse 
could I be fated to suffer ? How vile, squalid, and dis- 
graceful is the state to which I am condemned I This 
is not my place in the roll of existence, the place for 
which either my temper or my understanding has 
prepared me ! To what purpose serve the restless 
aspirations of my soul, but to make me, like a frighted 
bird, beat myself in vain against the enclosure of my 
cage? Nature, barbarous nature! to me thou hast 
proved indeed the worst of step-mothers; endowed 
me with wishes insatiate, and sunk me in never-ending 
degradation ! " 

I might have thought myself more secure if I had 
been in possession of money upon which to subsist. 
The necessity of earmng for myself the means of exist- 
ence, evidently tended to thwart the plan of secrecy to 
which I was condemned. Whatever labour I adopted, or 
deemed myself qualified to discharge, it was first to be 
considered how I was to be provided with employment, 
and where I was to find an employer or purchaser for 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 355 

my commodities. In the mean time I had no alter- 
native. The little money with which I had escaped 
from the blood- hunters was almost expended. 

After the minutest consideration I was able to bestow 
upon this question, I determined that literature should 
be the field of my first experiment. I had read of 
money being acquired in this way, and of prices given 
by the speculators in this sort of ware to its proper 
manufacturers. My qualifications I esteemed at a 
slender valuation. I was not without a conviction that 
experience and practice must pave the way to excel- 
lent production. But, though of these I was utterly 
destitute, my propensities had always led me in this 
direction ; and my early thirst of knowledge had con- 
ducted me to a more intimate acquaintance with books, 
than could perhaps have been expected under my cir- 
cumstances. If my literary pretensions were slight, 
the demand I intended to make upon them was not 
great. All I asked was a subsistence ; and I was per- 
suaded few persons could subsist upon slenderer means 
than myself. I also considered this as a temporary 
expedient, and hoped that accident or time might 
hereafter place me in a less precarious situation. The 
reasons that principally determined my choice were, 
that this employment called upon me for the least pre- 
paration, and could, as I thought, be exercised with 
least observation. 

There was a solitary woman, of middle age, who 
tenanted a chamber in this house, upon the same floor 
with my own. I had no sooner determined upon the 
destination of my industry than I cast my eye upon her 
as the possible instrument for disposing of my pro- 
ductions. Excluded as I was from all intercourse with 
my species in general, I found pleasure in the occa- 
sional exchange of a few words with this inoffensive 
A A2 



356 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

and good-humoured creature, who was already of an 
age to preclude scandal. She lived upon a very small 
annuity, allowed her by a distant relation, a woman of 
quality, who, possessed of thousands herself, had no 
other anxiety with respect to this person than that she 
should not contaminate her alliance by the exertion of 
honest industry. This humble creature was of a uni- 
formly cheerful and active disposition, unacquainted 
alike with the cares of wealth and the pressure of 
misfortune. Though her pretensions were small, and 
her information slender, she was by no means deficient 
in penetration. She remarked the faults and follies of 
mankind with no contemptible discernment ; but her 
temper was of so mild and forgiving a cast, as would 
have induced most persons to believe that she per- 
ceived nothing of the matter. Her heart overflowed 
with the milk of kindness. She was sincere and ardent 
in her attachments, and never did she omit a service 
which she perceived herself able to render to a human 
being. 

Had it not been for these qualifications of temper, I 
should probably have found that my appearance, that 
of a deserted, solitary lad, of Jewish extraction, effec- 
tually precluded my demands upon her kindness. But 
I speedily perceived, from her manner of receiving 
and returning civilities of an indifferent sort, that her 
heart was too noble to have its effusions checked by 
any base and unworthy considerations. Encouraged by 
these preliminaries, I determined to select her as my 
agent. I found her willing and alert in the business I 
proposed to her. That I might anticipate occasions of 
suspicion, I frankly told her that, for reasons which I 
wished to be excused from relating, but which, if re- 
lated, I was sure would not deprive me of her good 
opinion, I found it necessary, for the present, to keep 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 357 

myself private. With this statement she readily ac- 
quiesced, and told me that she had no desire for 
any further information than I found it expedient to 
give. 

My first productions were of the poetical kind. 
After having finished two or three, I directed this 
generous creature to take them to the office of a news- 
paper ; but they were rejected with contempt by the 
Aristarchus of that place, who, having bestowed on 
them a superficial glance, told her that such matters 
were not in his way. I cannot help mentioning in this 
place, that the countenance of Mrs. Marney (this was 
the name of my ambassadress) was in all cases a 
perfect indication of her success, and rendered ex- 
planation by words wholly unnecessary. She interested 
herself so unreservedly in what she undertook, that 
she felt either miscarriage or good fortune much 
more exquisitely than I did. I had an unhesitating 
confidence in my own resources, and, occupied as I 
was in meditations more interesting and more painful, 
I regarded these matters as altogether trivial. 

I quietly took the pieces back, and laid them upon 
my table. Upon revisal, I altered and transcribed ono 
of them, and, joining it with two others, despatched 
them together to the editor of a magazine. He desired 
they might be left with him till the 'day after to- 
morrow. When that day came he told my friend 
they should be inserted ; but, Mrs. Marney asking re- 
specting the price, he replied, it was their constant rule 
to give nothing for poetical compositions, the letter- 
box being always full of writings of that sort ; but if 
the gentleman would try his hand in prose, a short 
essay or a tale, he would see what he could do for him. 
With the requisition of my literary dictator I imme- 
diately complied. I attempted a paper in the style of 

A A 3 



358 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Addison's Spectators, which was accepted. In a short 
time I was upon an established footing in this quarter. 
I however distrusted my resources in the way of moral 
disquisition, and soon turned my thoughts to his other 
suggestion, a tale. His demands upon me were now 
frequent, and, to facilitate my labours, I bethought 
myself of the resource of translation. I had scarcely 
any convenience with respect to the procuring of books ; 
but, as my memory was retentive, I frequently trans- 
lated or modelled my narrative upon a reading of some 
years before. By a fatality, for which I did not exactly 
know how to account, my thoughts frequently led me 
to the histories of celebrated robbers ; and I related, 
from time to time, incidents and anecdotes of Car- 
touche, Gusman d'Alfarache, and other memorable 
worthies, whose career was terminated upon the gallows 
or the scaffold. 

In the mean time a retrospect to my own situation 
rendered a perseverance even in this industry difficult 
to be maintained. I often threw down my pen in an 
ecstasy of despair. Sometimes for whole days together 
I was incapable of action, and sunk into a sort of partial 
stupor, too wretched to be described. Youth and health 
however enabled me, from time to time, to get the 
better of my dejection, and to rouse myself to some- 
thing like a gaiety, which, if it had been permanent, 
might have made this interval of my story tolerable to 
my reflections. 



CHAPTER IX. 



WHILE I was thus endeavouring to occupy and pro- 
vide for the intermediate period, till the violence of the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 359 

pursuit after me might be abated, a new source of 
danger opened upon me of which I had no previous 
suspicion. 

Ginee, the thief who had been expelled from Captain 
Raymond's gang, had fluctuated, during the last years of 
his life, between the two professions of a violator of 
the laws and a -retainer to their administration. He 
had originally devoted himself to the first ; and pro- 
bably his initiation in the mysteries of thieving qua- 
lified him to be peculiarly expert in the profession of a 
thief-taker a profession he had adopted, not from 
choice, but necessity. In this employmept his re- 
putation was great, though perhaps not equal to his 
merits ; for it happens here as in other departments of 
human society, that, however the subalterns may fur- 
nish wisdom and skill, the principals exclusively pos- 
ae the eclat. He was exercising this art in a very 
prosperous manner, when it happened, by some acci- 
dent, that one or two of his achievements previous to 
his having shaken off the dregs of unlicensed depre- 
dation were in danger of becoming subjects of public 
attention. Having had repeated intimations of this, he 
thought it prudent to decamp; and it was during this 

period of his retreat that he entered into the 

gang. 

Such was the history of this man antecedently to 
his being placed in the situation in which I had first 
encountered him. At the time of that encounter he 
was a veteran of Captain Raymond's gang ; for thieves 
being a short-lived race, the character of veteran costs 
the less time in acquiring. Upon his expulsion from 
this community he returned once more to his lawful 
profession, and by his old comrades was received with 
congratulation as a lost sheep. In the vulgar classes 
of society no length of time is sufficient to expiate a 

A A 4 



360 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

crime ; but among the honourable fraternity of thief- 
takers it is a rule never to bring one of their own 
brethren to a reckoning when it can with any de- 
cency be avoided. They are probably reluctant to 
fix an unnecessary stain upon the ermine of their pro- 
fession. Another rule observed by those who have 
passed through the same gradation as Gines had done, 
and which was adopted by Gines himself, is always to 
reserve such as have been the accomplices of their de- 
predations to the last, and on no account to assail them 
without great necessity or powerful temptation. For 
this reason, according to Gines's system of tactics, Cap- 
tain Raymond and his confederates were, as he would 
have termed it, safe from his retaliation. 

But, though Gines was, in this sense of the term, a 
man of strict honour, my case unfortunately did not 
fall within the laws of honour he acknowledged. Mis- 
fortune had overtaken me, and I was on all sides without 
protection or shelter. The persecution to which I was 
exposed was founded upon the supposition of my 
having committed felony to an immense amount. But 
in this Gines had had no participation ; he was careless 
whether the supposition were true or false, and hated 
me as much as if my innocence had been established 
beyond the reach of suspicion. 

The blood-hunters who had taken me into custody 

at , related, as usual among their fraternity, a 

part of their adventure, and told of the reason which 
inclined them to suppose, that the individual who had 
passed through their custody, was the very Caleb 
Williams for whose apprehension a reward had been 
offered of a hundred guineas. Gines, whose acuteness 
was eminent in the way of his profession, by comparing 
facts and dates, was induced to suspect in his own 
mind, that Caleb Williams was the person he had 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 361 

hustled and wounded upon forest. Against that 

person he entertained the bitterest aversion. I had 
been the innocent occasion of his being expelled with 
disgrace from Captain Raymond's gang ; and Gines, as 
I afterwards understood, was intimately persuaded that 
there was no comparison between the liberal and manly 
profession of a robber from which I had driven him, 
and the sordid and mechanical occupation of a blood- 
hunter, to which he was obliged to return. He no 
sooner received the information I have mentioned 
than he vowed revenge. He determined to leave all 
other objects, and consecrate every faculty of his 
mind to the unkennelling me from my hiding-place. 
The offered reward, which his vanity made him con- 
sider as assuredly his own, appeared as the complete 
indemnification of his labour and expense. Thus I 
had to encounter the sagacity he possessed in the way 
of his profession, whetted and stimulated by a senti- 
ment of vengeance, in a mind that knew no restraint 
from conscience or humanity. 

When I drew to myself a picture of my situation 
goon after having fixed on my present abode, I fool- 
ishly thought, as the unhappy are accustomed to do, 
that my calamity would admit of no aggravation. The 
aggravation which, unknown to me, at this time oc- 
curred was the most fearful that any imagination could 
have devised. Nothing could have happened more 
critically hostile to my future peace, than my fatal en- 
counter with Gines upon forest. By this means, 

as it now appears, I had fastened upon myself a second 
enemy, of that singular and dreadful sort that is de- 
termined never to dismiss its animosity as long as life 
shall endure. While Falkland was the hungry lion 
whose roarings astonished and appalled me, Gines was 
a noxious insect, scarcely less formidable and tre- 



362 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

mendous, that hovered about my goings, and perpe- 
tually menaced me with the poison of his sting. 

The first step pursued by him in execution of his 
project, was to set out for the sea-port town where I 
had formerly been apprehended. From thence he 
traced me to the banks of the Severn, and from the 
banks of the Severn to London. It is scarcely ne- 
cessary to observe that this is always practicable, 
provided the pursuer have motives strong enough to 
excite him to perseverance, unless the precautions of 
the fugitive be, in the highest degree, both judicious in 
the conception, and fortunate in the execution. Gines 
indeed, in the course of his pursuit, was often obliged 
to double his steps ; and, like the harrier, whenever he 
was at a fault, return to the place where he had last 
perceived the scent of the animal whose death he had 
decreed. He spared neither pains nor time in the 
gratification of the passion, which choice had made his 
ruling one. 

Upon my arrival in town he for a moment lost all 
trace of me, London being a place in which, on account 
of the magnitude of its dimensions, it might well be 
supposed that an individual could remain^ hidden and 
unknown. But no difficulty could discourage this new 
adversary. He went from inn to inn (reasonably sup- 
posing that there was no private house to which I 
could immediately repair), till he found, by the de- 
scription he gave, and the recollections he excited, that 
I had slept for one night in the borough of Southwark. 
But he could get no further information. The people 
of the inn had no knowledge what had become of me 
the next morning. 

This however did but render him more eager in the 
pursuit. The describing me was now more difficult, on 
account of the partial change of dress I had made the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 363 

second day of my being in town. But Gines at length 
overcame the obstacle from that quarter. 

Having traced me to my second inn, he was here 
furnished with a more copious information. I had been 
a subject of speculation for the leisure hours of some of 
the persons belonging to this inn. An old woman, of 
a most curious and loquacious disposrtion, who lived 
opposite to it, and who that morning rose early to her 
washing, had espied me from her window, by the light 
of a large lamp which hung over the inn, as I issued 
from the gate. She had but a very imperfect view of 
me, but she thought there was something Jewish in 
my appearance. She was accustomed to hold a con- 
ference every morning with the landlady of the inn, 
some'of the waiters and chambermaids occasionally as- 
sisting at it. In the course of the dialogue of this 
morning, she asked some questions about the Jew who 
had slept there the night before. No Jew had slept 
there. The curiosity of the landlady was excited in 
her turn. By the time of the morning it could be no 
other but me. It was very strange ! They compared 
notes respecting my appearance and dress. No two 
things could J>e more dissimilar. The Jew Christian, 
upon any dearth of subjects of intelligence, repeatedly 
furnished matter for their discourse. 

The information thus afforded to Gines appeared 
exceedingly material. But the performance did not 
for some time keep pace with the promise. He could 
not enter every private house into which lodgers were 
ever admitted, in the same manner that he had treated 
the inns. He walked the streets, and examined with 
a curious and inquisitive eye the countenance of every 
Jew about my stature ; but in vain. He repaired to 
Duke's Place and the synagogues. It was not here 
that in reality he could calculate upon finding me ; but 



364 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

he resorted to those means in despair, and as a last 
hope. He was more than once upon the point of giving 
up the pursuit ; but he was recalled to it by an insa- 
tiable and restless appetite for revenge. 

It was during this perturbed and fluctuating state of 
his mind, that he chanced to pay a visit to a brother of 
his, who was the head-workman of a printing-office. 
There was little intercourse between these two per- 
sons, their dispositions and habits of life being ex- 
tremely dissimilar. The printer was industrious, sober, 
inclined to methodism, and of a propensity to accumu- 
lation. He was extremely dissatisfied with the cha- 
racter and pursuits of his brother, and had made some 
ineffectual attempts to reclaim him. But, though they 
by no means agreed in their habits of thinking, they 
sometimes saw each other. Gines loved to boast of as 
many of his achievements as he dared venture to men- 
tion ; and his brother was one more hearer, in addition 
to the set of his usual associates. The printer was 
amused with the blunt sagacity of remark and novelty 
of incident that characterised Gines's conversation. 
He was secretly pleased, in spite of all his sober and 
church-going prejudices, that he was brother to a man 
of so much ingenuity and fortitude. 

After having listened for some time upon this occa- 
sion to the wonderful stories which Gines, in his rugged 
way, condescended to tell, the printer felt an ambition 
to entertain his brother in his turn. He began to 
retail some of my stories of Cartouche and Gusman 
d' Alfarache. The attention of Gines was excited. His 
first emotion was wonder; his second was envy and 
aversion. Where did the printer get these stories? 
This question was answered. "I will tell you what," said 
the printer, " we none of us know what to make of the 
writer of these articles. He writes poetry, and mo- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 365 

rality, and history : I am a printer, and corrector of the 
press, and may pretend without vanity to be a tolerably 
good judge of these matters: he writes them all to my 
mind extremely fine; and yet he is no more than a Jew." 
[To my honest printer this seemed as strange, as if 
they had been written by a Cherokee chieftain at the 
(alls of the Mississippi.] 

" A Jew ! How do you know ? Did you ever see 
him?" 

** No ; the matter is always brought to us by a 
woman. But my master hates mysteries ; he likes to 
gee his authors himself. So he plagues* and plagues 
the old woman ; but he can never get any thing out 
of her, except that one day she happened to drop that 
the young gentleman was a Jew." 

A Jew! a young gentleman! a person who did 
every thing by proxy, and made a secret of all his 
motions ! Here was abundant matter for the specu- 
lations and suspicions of Gines. He was confirmed in 
them, without adverting to the process of his own 
mind, by the subject of my lucubrations, men who 
died by the hand of the executioner. He said little 
more to his brother, except asking, as if casually, what 
sort of an old woman this was ? of what age she might 
be? and whether she often brought him materials o" 
this kind ? and soon after took occasion to leave him. 

It was with vast pleasure that Gines had listened to 
this unhoped-for information. Having collected from 
his brother sufficient hints relative to the person and 
appearance of Mrs. Marney, and understanding that 
he expected to receive something from me the next 
day, Gines took his stand in the street early, that he 
might not risk miscarriage by negligence. He waited 
several hours, but not without success. Mrs. Marney 
came; he watched her into the house; and, after 



366 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

about twenty minutes delay, saw her return. He 
dogged her from street to street ; observed her finally 
enter the door of a private house ; and congratulated 
himself upon having at length arrived at the consum- 
mation of his labours. 

The house she entered was not her own habitation. 
By a sort of miraculous accident she had observed 
Gines following her in the street. As she went home 
she saw a woman who had fallen down in a fainting 
fit. Moved by the compassion that was ever alive in 
her, she approached her, in order to render her assist- 
ance. Presently a crowd collected round them. Mrs. 
Marney, having done what she was able, once more 
proceeded homewards. Observing the crowd round 
her, the idea of pickpockets occurred to her mind ; 
she put her hands to her sides, and at the same time 
looked round upon the populace. She had left the 
circle somewhat abruptly ; and Gines, who had been 
obliged to come nearer, lest he should lose her in the 
confusion, was at that moment standing exactly oppo- 
site to her. His visage was of the most extraordinary 
kind ; habit had written the characters of malignant 
cunning and dauntless effrontery in every line of his 
face ; and Mrs. Marney, who was neither philosopher 
nor physiognomist, was nevertheless struck. This good 
woman, like most persons of her notable character, 
had a peculiar way of going home, not through the open 
streets, but by narrow lanes and alleys, with intricate 
insertions and sudden turnings. In one of these, by 
some accident, she once again caught a glance of her 
pursuer. This circumstance, together with the singu- 
larity of his appearance, awakened her conjectures. 
Could he be following her ? It was the middle of the 
day, and she could have no fears for herself. But 
could this circumstance have any reference to me? 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 367 

She recollected the precautions and secrecy I prac- 
tised, and had no doubt that I had reasons for what I 
did. She recollected that she had always been upon 
her guard respecting me ; but had she been sufficiently 
so? She thought that, if she should be the means of 
any mischief to me, she should be miserable for ever. 
She determined therefore, by way of precaution in case 
of the worst, to call at a friend's house, and send me 
word of what had occurred. Having instructed her 
friend, she went out immediately upon a visit to a 
person in the exactly opposite direction, and desired 
her friend to proceed upon the errand to me, five 
minutes after she left the house. By this prudence 
she completely extricated me from the present danger. 
Meantime the intelligence that was brought me by 
no means ascertained the greatness of the peril. For 
any thing I could discover in it the circumstance 
might be perfectly innocent, and the fear solely pro- 
ceed from the over-caution and kindness of this bene- 
volent and excellent woman. Yet, such was the misery 
of my situation, I had no choice. For this menace or 
no menace, I was obliged to desert my habitation at a 
minute's warning, taking with me nothing but what I 
could carry in my hand ; to see my generous bene- 
factress no more; to quit my little arrangements and 
provision; and to seek once again, in some forlorn 
retreat, new projects, and, if of that I could h"ave any 
rational hope, a new friend. I descended into the 
street with a heavy, not an irresolute heart. It was 
broad day. I said, persons are at this moment sup- 
posed to be roaming the street in search of me : I must 
not trust to the chance of their pursuing one direction, 
and I another. I traversed half a dozen streets, and 
then dropped into an obscure house of entertainment 
for persons of small expense. In this house I took 



368 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

some refreshment, passed several hours of active but 
melancholy thinking, and at last procured a bed. As 
soon however as it was dark I went out (for this was 
indispensable) to purchase the materials of a new dis- 
guise. Having adjusted it as well as I could during 
the night, I left this asylum, with the same precautions 
that I had employed in former instances. 



CHAPTER X. 

I PROCURED a new lodging. By some bias of the 
mind, it may be, gratifying itself with images of peril, 
I inclined to believe that Mrs. Marney's alarm had not 
been without foundation. I was however unable to 
conjecture through what means danger had approached 
me ; and had therefore only the unsatisfactory remedy 
of redoubling my watch upon all my actions. Still I 
had the joint considerations pressing upon me of se- 
curity and subsistence. I had some small remains of 
the produce of my former industry ; but this was but 
small, for my employer was in arrear with me, and I 
did not choose in any method to apply to him for 
payment. The anxieties of my mind, in spite of all 
my struggles, preyed upon my health. I did not con- 
sider myself as in safety for an instant. My appear- 
ance was wasted to a shadow ; and I started at every 
sound that was unexpected. Sometimes I was half 
tempted to resign myself into the hands of the law, and 
brave its worst ; but resentment and indignation at 
those times speedily flowed back upon my mind, and 
re-animated my perseverance. 

I knew no better resource with respect to subsistence 
than that I had employed in the former instance, of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 369 

seeking some third person to stand between me and 
the disposal of my industry. I might find an individual 
iv.uly to undertake this office in my behalf; but where 
should I find the benevolent soul of Mrs. Marney? 
The person I fixed upon was a Mr. Spurrel, a man who 
took in work from the watchmakers, and had an apart- 
ment upon our second floor. I examined .him two or 
three times with irresolute glances, as we passed upon 
the stairs, before I would venture to accost him. He 
observed this, and at length kindly invited me into his 
apartment. 

Being seated, he condoled with me upon my seeming 
bad health, and the solitary mode of my living, and 
wished to know whether he could be of any service to 
me. " From the first moment he saw me, he had 
conceived an affection for me." In my present dis- 
guise I appeared twisted and deformed, and in other 
respects by no means an object of attraction. But it 
seemed Mr. Spurrel had lost an only son about six 
months before, and I was " the very picture of him." 
If I had put off my counterfeited ugliness, I should 
probably have lost all hold upon his affections. " He 
was now an old man," as he observed, " just dropping 
into the grave, and his son had been his only consola- 
tion. The poor lad was always ailing, but he had been 
a nurse to him ; and the more tending he required 
while he was alive, the more he missed him now he 
was dead. Now he had not a friend, nor any body 
that cared for him, in the whole world. If I pleased, I 
should be instead of that son to him, and he would 
treat me in all respects with the same attention and 
kindness/' 

I expressed my sense of these benevolent offers, 
but told him that I should be sorry to be in any way 
burthensome to him. " My ideas at present led me to 
B B 



370 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

a private and solitary life, and my chief difficulty was 
to reconcile this with some mode of earning necessary 
subsistence. If he would condescend to lend me his. 
assistance in smoothing this difficulty, it would be the 
greatest benefit he could confer on me." I added, that 
"my mind had always had a mechanical and industrious 
turn, and that I did not doubt of soon mastering any 
craft to which I seriously applied myself. I had not 
been brought up to any trade ; but, if he would favour 
me with his instructions, I would work with him as long 
as he pleased for a bare subsistence. I knew that I 
was asking of him an extraordinary kindness; but I was 
urged on the one hand by the most extreme necessity, 
and encouraged on the other by the persuasiveness of 
his friendly professions." 

The old man dropped some tears over my apparent 
distress, and readily consented to every thing I pro- 
posed. Our agreement was soon made, and I entered 
upon my functions accordingly. My new friend wa 
a man of a singular turn of mind. Love of money, 
and a charitable officiousness of demeanour, were his 
leading characteristics. He lived in the most penurious 
manner, and denied himself every indulgence. I en- 
titled myself almost immediately, as he frankly ac- 
knowledged, to some remuneration for my labours, 
and accordingly he insisted upon my being paid. He 
did not however, as some persons would have done 
under the circumstance, pay me the whole amount of 
my earnings, but professed to subtract from them 
twenty per cent, as an equitable consideration for in- 
struction, and commission-money in procuring me a 
channel for my industry. Yet he frequently shed 
tears over me, was uneasy in every moment of our in- 
dispensable separation, and exhibited perpetual tokens 
of attachment and fondness. I found him a man of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 371 

excellent mechanical contrivance, and received Con- 
siderable pleasure from his communications. My own 
sources of information were various ; and he frequently 
expressed his wonder and delight in the contemplation 
of my powers, as well of amusement as exertion. 

Thus I appeared to have attained a situation not 
less eligible than in my connection with Mrs. Marney. 
I wag however still more unhappy. My fits of de- 
spondence were deeper, and of more frequent recur- 
rence. My health every day grew worse ; and Mr. 
Spurrel was not without apprehensions that he should 
lose me, as he before lost his only son. 

I had not been long however in this new situation, 
before an incident occurred which filled me with 
greater alarm and apprehension than ever. I was 
walking out one evening, after a long visitation of 
languor, for an hour's exercise and air, when my 
ears were struck with two or three casual sounds from 
the mouth of'a hawker who was bawling his wares. 
I stood still to inform myself more exactly, when, to 
my utter astonishment and confusion, I heard him 
deliver himself nearly in these words : " Here you, 
have the MOST WONDERFUL AND SURPRISING HIS- 
TORY AND MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES OF CALEB 

WILLIAMS : you are informed how he first robbed, 
and then brought false accusations against his master ; 
a* also of his attempting divers times to break out of 
prison, till at last he effected his escape in the most 
loonderful and uncredible manner ; as also of his tra- 
velling the kingdom in various disguises, and the rob- 
beries he committed until a most desperate and daring 
gang of thieves ; and of his coming up to London, 
where it is supposed he nmo lies concealed ; with a, true 
OH* faithful copy of the hue and cry printed and pub- 
Jgjjfcgf by one of his Majesty s most principal secretaries 

B B 2 



372 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

of stale, offering a reward of one hundred guineas for 
apprehending him. All for the price of one half penny T 
Petrified as I was at these amazing and dreadful 
sounds, I had the temerity to go up to the man and 
purchase one of his papers. I was desperately re- 
solved to know the exact state of the fact, and what I 
had to depend upon. I carried it with me a little way, 
till, no longer able to endure the tumult of my im- 
patience, I contrived to make out the chief part of its 
contents, by the help of a lamp, at the upper end of a 
narrow passage. I found it contain a greater number of 
circumstances than could have been expected in this 
species of publication. I was equalled to the most 
notorious housebreaker in the art of penetrating 
through walls and doors, and to the most accom- 
plished swindler in plausibleness, duplicity, and dis- 
guise. The hand-bill which Larkins had first brought 
to us upon the forest was printed at length. All my 
disguises, previously to the last alarm that had been 
given me by the providence of Mrs. Marney, were 
faithfully enumerated ; and the public were warned to 
be upon their watch against a person of an uncouth 
and extraordinary appearance, and who lived in a 
recluse and solitary manner. I also learned from this 
paper that my former lodgings had been searched on 
the very evening of my escape, and that Mrs. Marney 
had been sent to Newgate, upon a charge of misprision 
of felony. This last circumstance affected me deeply. 
In the midst of my own sufferings my sympathies 
flowed undiminished. It was a most cruel and into- 
lerable idea, if I were not only myself to be an object 
of unrelenting persecution, but my very touch were 
to be infectious, and every one that succoured me was 
to be involved in the common ruin. My instant feeling 
was that of a willingness to undergo the utmost malice 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 373 

of my enemies, could I by that means have saved this 

excellent woman from alarm and peril I afterwards 

learned that Mrs. Marney was delivered from confine- 
ment, by the interposition of her noble relation. 

My sympathy for Mrs. Marney however was at this 
moment a transient one. A more imperious and irre- 
sistible consideration demanded to be heard. 

With what sensations did I ruminate upon this 
paper? Every word of it carried despair to my 
heart. The actual apprehension that I dreaded 
would perhaps have been less horrible. It would 
have put an end to that lingering terror to which I 
was a prey. Disguise was no longer of use. A 
numerous class of individuals, through every depart- 
ment, almost every house of the metropolis, would 
be induced to look with a suspicious eye upon every 
stranger, especially every solitary stranger, that fell 
under their observation. The prize of one hundred 
guineas was held out to excite their avarice and 
sharpen their penetration. It was no longer Bow- 
street, it was a million of men in arms against me. 
Neither had I the refuge, which few men have been 
so miserable as to want, of one single individual with 
whom to repose my alarms, and who might shelter me 
from the gaze of indiscriminate curiosity. 

What could exceed the horrors of this situation? 
My heart knocked against my ribs, my bosom heaved, 
I gasped and panted for breath. " There is no end 
then," said I, " to my persecutors ! My unwearied and 
long-continued labours lead to no termination I Ter- 
mination ! No ; the lapse of time, that cures all other 
things, makes my case more desperate ! Why then," 
exclaimed I, a new train of thought suddenly rushing 
into my mind, " why should I sustain the contest any 
longer ? I can at least elude my persecutors in death. 

BBS 



374 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I can bury myself and the traces of my existence 
together in friendly oblivion ; and thus bequeath 
eternal doubt, and ever new alarm, to those who have 
no peace but in pursuing me ! " 

In the midst of the horrors with which I was now 
impressed, this idea gave me pleasure ; and I hastened 
to the Thames to put it in instant execution. Such 
was the paroxysm of my mind that my powers of 
vision became partially suspended. I was no longer 
conscious to the feebleness of disease, but rushed along 
with fervent impetuosity. I passed from street to 
street without observing what direction I pursued. 
After wandering I know not how long, I arrived at 
London Bridge. I hastened to the stairs, and saw the 
river covered with vessels. 

"No human being must see me," said I, " at the instant 
that I vanish for ever." This thought required some 
consideration. A portion of time had elapsed since 
my first desperate purpose. My understanding began 
to return. The sight of the vessels suggested to me 
the idea of once more attempting to leave my native 
country. 

I enquired, and speedily found that the cheapest 
passage I could procure was in a vessel moored near 
the Tower, and which was to sail in a few days for 
Middleburgh in Holland. I would have gone instantly 
on board, and have endeavoured to prevail with the 
captain to let me remain there till he sailed; but 
unfortunately I had not money enough in my pocket 
to defray my passage. 

It was worse than this. I had not money enough in 
the world. I however paid the captain half his de- 
mand, and promised to return with the rest. I knew 
not in what manner it was to be procured, but I be- 
lieved that I should not fail in it. I had some idea 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 375 

of applying to Mr. Spurrel. Surely he would not 
refuse me ? He appeared to love me with parental 
affection, and I thought I might trust myself for a 
moment in his hands. 

I approached ray place of residence with a heavy 
and foreboding heart. Mr. Spurrel was not at home ; 
and I was obliged to wait for his return. Worn out 
with fatigue, disappointment, and the ill state of my 
health, I sunk upon a chair. Speedily however I 
recollected myself. I had work of Mr. Spurrel's in my 
trunk, which had been delivered out to me that very 
morning, to five times the amount I wanted. I can- 
vassed for a moment whether I should make use of 
this property as if it were my own ; but I rejected the 
idea with disdain. I had never in the smallest de- 
gree merited the reproaches that were cast upon me ; 
and I determined I never would merit them. I sat 
gasping, anxious, full of the blackest forebodings. My 
terrors appeared, even to my own mind, greater and 
more importunate than the circumstances authorised. 

It was extraordinary that Mr. Spurrel should be 
abroad at this hour ; I had never known it happen be- 
fore. His bed-time was between nine and ten. Ten 
o'clock came, eleven o'clock, but not Mr. Spurrel. At 
midnight I heard his knock at the door. Every soul 
in the house was in bed. Mr. Spurrel, on account of 
his regular hours, was unprovided with a key to open 
for himself. A gleam, a sickly gleam, of the social 
spirit came over my heart. I flew nimbly down stairs, 
and opened the door. 

I could perceive, by the little taper in my hand, 
something extraordinary in his countenance. I had 
not time to speak, before I saw two other men follow 
him. At the first glance I was sufficiently assured 
what sort of persons they were. At the second, I 
BB 4 



376 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

perceived that one of them was no other than Gines 
himself. I had understood formerly that he had 
been of this profession, and I was not surprised to 
find him in it again. Though I had for three hours 
endeavoured, as it were, to prepare myself for the 
unavoidable necessity of falling once again into the 
hands of the officers of law, the sensation I felt at 
their entrance was indescribably agonising. I was 
besides not a little astonished at the time and manner 
of their entrance; and I felt anxious to know whether 
Mr. Spurrel could be base enough to have been their 
introducer. 

I was not long held in perplexity. He no sooner 
saw his followers within the door, than he exclaimed, 
with convulsive eagerness, " There, there, that is your 
man ! thank God ! thank God I " Gines looked eagerly 
in my face, with a countenance expressive alternately 
of hope and doubt, and answered, " By God, and I do 
not know whether it be or no I I am afraid we are in 
the wrong box I " Then recollecting himself, " We will 
go into the house, and examine further however." We 
all went up stairs into Mr. Spurrel's room ; I set down 
the candle upon the table. I had hitherto been silent ; 
but I determined not to desert myself, and was a little 
encouraged to exertion by the scepticism of Gines. 
With a calm and deliberate manner therefore, in my 
feigned voice, one of the characteristics of which was 
lisping, I asked, " Pray, gentlemen, what may be your 
pleasure with me ? " " Why," said Gines, " our errand 
is with one Caleb Williams, and a precious rascal he 
is ! I ought to know the chap well enough ; but they 
say he has as many faces as there are days in the 
year. So you please to pull off your face ; or, if you 
cannot do that, at least you can pull off your clothes^ 
and let us see what your hump is made of%" 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 377 

I remonstrated, but in vain. I stood detected in 
part of my artifice ; and Gines, though still uncertain, 
was every moment more and more confirmed in his 
suspicions. Mr. Spurrel perfectly gloated, with eyes 
that seemed ready to devour every thing that passed. 
As my imposture gradually appeared more palpable, 
he repeated his exclamation, " Thank God ! thank 
God!" At last, tired with this scene of mummery, 
and disgusted beyond measure with the base and 
hypocritical figure I seemed to exhibit, I exclaimed, 
" Well, I am Caleb Williams ; conduct me wherever 

you please! And now, Mr. Spurrel !" He gave 

a violent start. The instant I declared myself his 
transport had been at the highest, and was, to any 
power he was able to exert, absolutely uncontrollable. 
But the unexpectedness of my address, and the tone 
in which I spoke, electrified him. " Is it possi- 
ble," continued I, " that you should have been the 
wretch to betray me ? What have I done to deserve 
this treatment ? Is this the kindness you professed ? 
the affection that was perpetually in your mouth ? to 
be the death of me!" 

" My poor boy ! my dear creature ! " cried Spurrel, 
whimpering, and in a tone of the humblest expostula- 
tion, " indeed I could not help it ! I would have helped 
it, if I could ! I hope they will not hurt my darling ! 
I am sure I shall die if they do!" 

" Miserable driveller!" interrupted I, with a stern 
voice, " do you betray me into the remorseless fangs of 
the law, and then talk of my not being hurt ? I know 
my sentence, and am prepared to meet it ! You have 
fixed the halter upon my neck, and at the same price 
would have done so to your only son! Go, count 
your accursed guineas! My life would have been 
gafer in the hands of one I had never seen than in 



378 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

yours, whose mouth and whose eyes for ever ran over 
with crocodile affection ! " 

I have always believed that my sickness, and, as he 
apprehended, approaching death, contributed its part 
to the treachery of Mr. Spurrel. He predicted to his 
own mind the time when I should no longer be able 
to work. He recollected with agony the expense 
that attended his son's illness and death. He deter- 
mined to afford me no assistance of a similar kind. He 
feared however the reproach of deserting me. He 
feared the tenderness of his nature. He felt that I 
was growing upon his affections, and that in a short 
time he could not have deserted me. He was driven 
by a sort of implicit impulse, for the sake of avoiding 
one ungenerous action, to take refuge in another, the 
basest and most diabolical. This motive, conjoining 
with the prospect of the proffered reward, was an 
incitement too powerful for him to resist. 



CHAPTER XI. 

HAVING given vent to my resentment, I left Mr. 
Spurrel motionless, and unable to utter a word. Gines 
and his companion attended me. It is unnecessary to 
repeat all the insolence of this man. He alternately 
triumphed in the completion of his revenge, and 
regretted the loss of the reward to the shrivelled old 
curmudgeon we had just quitted, whom however he 
swore he would cheat of it by one means or another. 
He claimed to himself the ingenuity of having devised 
the halfpenny legend, the thought of which was all his 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 379 

o\vn. and was an expedient that was impossible to fail. 
Tli ere was neither law nor justice, he said, to be had, 
it' Hunks who had done nothing were permitted to 
pocket the cash, and his merit were left undistinguished 
and pennyless. 

I paid but little attention to his story. It struck upon 
my sense, and I was able to recollect it at my nearest 
leisure, though I thought not of it at the time. For 
the present I was busily employed, reflecting on my 
ne. v situation, and the conduct to be observed in it. 
The thought of suicide had twice, in moments of 
uncommon despair, suggested itself to my mind ; but it 
was far from my habitual meditations. At present, and 
in all cases where death was immediately threatened 
me from the injustice of others, I felt myself disposed 
to contend to die last. 

My prospects were indeed sufficiently gloomy and 
discouraging. How much labour had I exerted, first 
to extricate myself from prison, and next to evade the 
diligence of my pursuers ; and the result of all, to be 
brought back to the point from which I began ! I had 
gained fame indeed, the miserable fame to have my 
story bawled forth by hawkers and ballad-mongers, to 
have ray praises as an active and enterprising villain 
celebrated among footmen and chambermaids ; but I 
was neither an Erostratus nor an Alexander, to die con- 
tented with that species of eulogium. With respect to 
all that was solid, what chance could I find in new 
exertions of a similar nature? Never was a human 
creature pursued by enemies more inventive or enve- 
nomed. I could have small hope that they would ever 
cease their persecution, or that my future attempts 
would be crowned with a more desirable issue. 

They were considerations like these that dictated my 
resolution. My mind had been gradually weaning from 



380 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

Mr. Falkland, till its feeling rose to something like abhor- 
rence. I had long cherished a reverence for him, which 
not even animosity and subornation on his part could 
utterly destroy. But I now ascribed a character so 
inhumanly sanguinary to his mind ; I saw something so 
fiend-like in the thus hunting me round the world, and 
determining to be satisfied with nothing less than my 
blood, while at the same time he knew my innocence, 
my indisposition to mischief, nay, I might add, my 
virtues ; that henceforth I trampled reverence and the 
recollection of former esteem under my feet. I lost all 
regard to his intellectual greatness, and all pity for the 
agonies of his soul. I also would abjure forbearance. 
I would show myself bitter and inflexible as he had 
done. Was it wise in him to drive me into extremity 
and madness ? Had he no fears for his own secret and 
atrocious offences ? 

I had been obliged to spend the remainder of the 
night upon which I had been apprehended, in prison. 
During the interval I had thrown off every vestige of 
disguise, and appeared the next morning in my own 
person. I was of course easily identified; and, this 
being the whole with which the magistrates before 
whom I now stood thought themselves concerned, they 
were proceeding to make out an order for my being 
conducted back to my own county. I suspended the 
despatch of this measure by observing that I had some- 
thing to disclose. This is an overture to which men 
appointed for the administration of criminal justice 
never fail to attend. 

I went before the magistrates, to whose office Gines 
and his comrade conducted me, fully determined to 
publish those astonishing secrets of which I had 
hitherto been the faithful depository ; and, once for 
all, to turn the tables upon my accuser. It was time 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 381 

that the real criminal should be the sufferer, and not 
that innocence should for ever labour under the op- 
pression of guilt. 

I said that " I had always protested my innocence, 
and must now repeat the protest." 

"In that case," retorted the senior magistrate ab- 
ruptly, " what can you have to disclose ? If you are in- 
nocent, that is no business of ours I We act officially." 
" I always declared," continued I, " that I was the 
perpetrator of no guilt, but that the guilt wholly be- 
longed to my accuser. He privately conveyed these 
effects among my property, and then charged, me with 
the robbery. I now declare more than that, that this 
man is a murderer, that I detected his criminality, and 
that, for that reason, he is determined to deprive me 
of life. I presume, gentlemen, that you do consider it 
as your business to take this declaration. I am per- 
suaded you will be by no means disposed, actively or 
passively, to contribute to the atrocious injustice under 
which I suffer, to the imprisonment and condemnation 
of an innocent man, in order that a murderer may go 
free. I suppressed this story as long as I could. I 
was extremely averse to be the author of the unhappi- 
ness or the death of a human being. But all patience 
and submission have their limits." 

" Give me leave, sir," rejoined the magistrate, with 
an air of affected moderation, " to ask you two questions. 
Were you any way aiding, abetting, or contributing to 
this murder ? " 
No." 

" And pray, sir, who is this Mr. Falkland? and what 
may have been the nature of your connection with 

him?" 

" Mr. Falkland is a gentleman of six thousand per 
annum. ~~1 lived with him as his secretary." 



382 CALEB WILLIA]\rSV 

" In other words, you were his servant ? " 

" As you please." 

" Very well, sir ; that is quite enough for me. First, 
I have to tell you, as a magistrate, that I can have 
nothing to do with your declaration. If you had been 
concerned in the murder you talk of, that would alter 
the case. But it is out of all reasonable rule for a 
magistrate to take an information from a felon, except 
against his accomplices. Next, I think it right to 
observe to you, in my own proper person, that you 
appear to me to be the most impudent rascal I ever 
saw. Why, are you such an ass as to suppose, that the 
sort of story you have been telling, can be of any 
service to you, either here or at the assizes, or any 
where else ? A fine time of it indeed it would be, if, 
when gentlemen of six thousand a year take up their 
servants for robbing them, those servants could trump 
up such accusations as these, and could get any ma- 
gistrate or court of justice to listen to them ! Whether 
or no the felony with which you stand charged would 
have brought you to the gallows, I will not pretend 
to say : but I am sure this story will. There would 
be a speedy end to all order and good government, if 
fellows that trample upon ranks and distinctions in this 
atrocious sort were upon any consideration suffered to 
get off." 

" And do you refuse, sir, to attend to the particulars 
of the charge I allege ? " 

" Yes, sir, I do. But, if I did not, pray what wit- 
nesses have you of the murder ? " 

This question staggered me. 

" None. But I believe I can make out a circum- 
stantial proof, of a nature to force attention from the 
most indifferent hearer." 

" So I thought. Officers, take him from the bar !" 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 383 

Such was the success of this ultimate resort on 
my part, upon which I had built with such undoubt- 
ing confidence. Till now, I had conceived that the 
unfavourable situation in which I was placed was 
prolonged by my own forbearance ; and I had de- 
termined to endure all that human nature could 
support, rather than have recourse to this extreme 
recrimination. That idea secretly consoled me under 
all my calamities : it was a voluntary sacrifice, and was 
cheerfully made. I thought myself allied to the army 
of martyrs and confessors ; I applauded my fortitude 
and self-denial ; and I pleased myself with the idea, 
that I had the power, though I hoped never to employ 
it. by an unrelenting display of my resources, to put 
an end at once to my sufferings and persecutions. 

And this at last was the justice of mankind ! A man, 
under certain circumstances, shall not be heard in the 
detection of a crime, because he has not been a par- 
ticipator of it I The story of a flagitious murder shall 
be listened to with indifference, while an innocent man 
is hunted, like a wild beast, to the furthest corners of 
the earth ! Six thousand a year shall protect a man 
from accusation ; and the validity of an impeachment 
shall be superseded, because the author of it is a 
servant ! 

I was conducted back to the very prison from which 
a few months before I had made my escape. With a 
bursting heart I entered those walls, compelled to feel 
that all my more than Herculean labours served for my 
own torture, and for no other end. Since my escape 
from prison I had acquired some knowledge of the 
world; I had learned by bitter experience, by how 
many links society had a hold upon me, and how closely 
the snares of despotism beset me. I no longer beheld 



384 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

the world, as my youthful fancy had once induced me 
to do, as a scene in which to hide or to, appear, and to 
exhibit the freaks of a wanton vivacity. I saw my 
whole species as ready, in one mode or other, to be 
made the instruments of the tyrant. Hope died away 
in the bottom of my heart. Shut up for the first night 
in my dungeon, I was seized at intervals with tempo- 
rary frenzy. From time to time, I rent the universal 
silence with the roarings of unsupportable despair. But 
this was a transient distraction. I soon returned to 
the sober recollection of myself and my miseries. 

My prospects were more gloomy, and my situation 
apparently more irremediable, than ever. I was ex- 
posed again, if that were of any account, to the inso- 
lence and tyranny that are uniformly exercised within 
those walls. Why should I repeat the loathsome 
tale of all that was endured by me, and is endured by 
every man who is unhappy enough to fall under the 
government of these consecrated ministers of national 
jurisprudence? The sufferings I had already expe- 
rienced, my anxieties, my flight, the perpetual expect- 
ation of being discovered, worse than the discovery 
itself, would perhaps have been enough to satisfy the 
most insensible individual, in the court of his own con- 
science, if I had even been the felon I was pretended 
to be. But the law has neither eyes, nor ears, nor 
bowels of humanity ; and it turns into marble the hearts 
of all those that are nursed in its principles. 

I however once more recovered my spirit of deter- 
mination. I resolved that, while I had life, I would 
never be deserted by this spirit. Oppressed, annihi- 
lated I might be ; but, if I died, I would die resisting. 
What use, what advantage, what pleasurable sentiment, 
could arise from a tame surrender ? There is no man 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 385 

that is ignorant, that to humble yourself at the feet of 
the law is a bootless task; in her courts there is no 
room for amendment and reformation. 

My fortitude may to some persons appear above the 
standard of human nature. But if I draw back the 
veil from my heart they will readily confess their mis- 
take. My heart bled at every pore. My resolution 
was not the calm sentiment of philosophy and reason. 
It was a gloomy and desperate purpose ; the creature, 
not of hope, but of a mind austerely held to its design, 
that felt, as it were, satisfied with the naked effort, and 
prepared to give success or miscarriage to the winds. 
It was to this miserable condition, which might awaken 
sympathy in the most hardened bosom, that Mr. Falk- 
land had reduced me. 

In the mean time, strange as it may seem, here, in 
prison, subject to innumerable hardships, and in the 
assured expectation of a sentence of death, I recovered 
my health* I ascribe this to the state of my mind, 
which was now changed, from perpetual anxiety, terror, 
and alarm, the too frequent inmates of a prison, but 
which I upon this occasion did not seem to bring 
along with me, to a desperate firmness. 

I anticipated the event of my trial. I determined 
once more to escape from my prison ; nor did I doubt of 
my ability to effect at least this first step towards my 
future preservation. The assizes however were near, 
and there were certain considerations, unnecessary to 
be detailed, that persuaded me there might be benefit 
in waiting till my trial should actually be terminated, 
before I made my attempt. 

It stood upon the list as one of the latest to be 

brought forward. I was therefore extremely surprised 

to find it called out of its order, early on the morning of 

the second day. But, if this were unexpected, how 

c c 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

much greater was my astonishment, when my prose- 
cutor was called, to find neither Mr. Falkland, nor Mr. 
Forester, nor a single individual of any description, ap- 
pear against me ! The recognizances into which my 
prosecutors had entered were declared to be forfeited ; 
and I was dismissed without further impediment from 
the bar. 

The effect which this incredible reverse produced 
upon my mind it is impossible to express. I, who had 
come to that bar with the sentence of death already in 
idea ringing in my ears, to be told that I was free to 
transport myself whithersoever I pleased ! Was it for 
this that I had broken through so many locks and 
bolts, and the adamantine walls of my prison ; that I 
had passed so many anxious days, and sleepless, spectre- 
haunted nights; that I had racked my invention for 
expedients of evasion and concealment ; that my mind 
had been roused to an energy of which I could scarcely 
have believed it capable ; that my existence had been 
enthralled to an ever-living torment, such as I could 
scarcely have supposed it in man to endure ? Great 
God ! what is man ? Is he thus blind to the future, 
thus totally unsuspecting of what is to occur in the 
next moment of his existence? I have somewhere 
read, that heaven in mercy hides from us the future 
incidents of our life. My own experience does not 
well accord with this assertion. In this instance at 
least I should have been saved from insupportable 
labour and undescribable anguish, could I have foreseen 
the catastrophe of this most interesting transaction. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 387 



CHAPTER XII. 

IT was not long before I took my everlasting leave of 
this detested and miserable scene. My heart was for 
the present too full of astonishment and exultation in 
my unexpected deliverance, to admit of anxiety about 
the future. I withdrew from the town ; I rambled with 
a slow and thoughtful pace, now bursting with exclam- 
ation, and now buried in profound and undefinable 
reverie. Accident led me towards the very heath 
which had first sheltered me, when, upon a former 
occasion, I broke out of my prison. I wandered among 
its cavities and its valleys. It was a forlorn and deso- 
late solitude. I continued here I know not how long. 
Night at length overtook me unperceived, and I pre- 
pared to return for the present to the town I had 
quitted* 

It was now perfectly dark, when two men, whom I 
had not previously observed, sprung upon me from 
behind. They seized me by the arms, and threw me 
upon the ground. I had no time for resistance or 
recollection. I could however perceive that one of 
them was the diabolical Gines. They blindfolded, 
gagged me, and hurried me I knew not whither. As 
we passed along in silence, I endeavoured to con- 
jecture what could be the meaning of this extraordi- 
nary violence. I was strongly impressed with the idea, 
that, after the event of this morning, the most severe 
and painful part of my history was past; and, strange 
as it may seem, I could not persuade myself to regard 
with alarm this unexpected attack. It might how- 
ever be some new project, suggested by the brutal 
temper and unrelenting animosity of Gines. 
cc 2 



388 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I presently found that we were returned into the 
town I had just quitted. They led me into a house, 
arid, as soon as they had taken possession of a room, 
freed me from the restraints they had before imposed 
Here Gines informed me with a malicious grin that 
no harm was intended me, and therefore I should show 
most sense in keeping myself quiet. I perceived that 
we were in an inn ; I overheard company in a room at 
no great distance from us, and therefore was now as 
thoroughly aware as he could be, that there was at 
present little reason to stand in fear of any species of 
violence, and that it would be time enough to resist, 
when they attempted to conduct me from the inn in the 
same manner that they had brought me into 1 it. I was 
not without some curiosity to see the conclusion that 
was to follow upon so extraordinary a commencement. 

The preliminaries I have described were scarcely 
completed, before Mr. Falkland entered the room. I 
remember Collins, when he first communicated to me 
the particulars of our patron's history, observed that he 
was totally unlike the man he had once been. I had 
no means of ascertaining the truth of that observation. 
But it was strikingly applicable to the spectacle which 
now presented itself to my eyes, though, when I last 
beheld this unhappy man, he had been a victim to the 
same passions, a prey to the same undying remorse, as 
now. Misery was at that time inscribed in legible 
characters upon his countenance. But now he appeared 
like nothing that had ever been visible in human shape. 
His visage was haggard, emaciated, and fleshless. His 
complexion was a dun and tarnished red, the colour 
uniform through every region of the face, and suggested 
the idea of its being burnt and parched by the eternal 
fire that burned within him. His eyes were red, quick, 
wandering, full of suspicion and rage. His hair was 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 389 

neglected, ragged, and floating. His whole figure was 
thin, to a degree that suggested the idea rather of a 
skeleton than a person actually alive. Life seemed 
hardly to be the capable inhabitant of so woe-begone 
and ghost-like a figure. The taper of wholesome life 
was expired ; but passion, and fierceness, and frenzy, 
were able for the present to supply its place. 

I was to the utmost degree astonished and shocked 
at the sight of him He sternly commanded my con- 
ductors to leave the room. 

" Well, sir, I have this day successfully exerted my- 
self to save your life from the gallows. A fortnight 
ago you did what you were able to bring my life to that 
ignominious close. 

" Were you so stupid and undistinguishing as not to 
know that the preservation of your life was the uniform 
object of my exertions ? Did not I maintain you in 
prison ? Did not I endeavour to prevent your being 
sent thither? Could you mistake the bigoted and 
obstinate conduct of Forester, in offering a hundred 
guineas for your apprehension, for mine ? 

" I had my eye upon you in all your wanderings. 
You have taken no material step through their whole 
course with which I have not been acquainted. I me- 
ditated to do you good. I have spilt no blood but that 
of Tyrrel : that was in the moment of passion ; and it 
has been the subject of my uninterrupted and hourly 
remorse. I have connived at no man's fate but that 
of the Hawkinses : they could no otherwise have been 
saved, than by my acknowledging myself a murderer. 
The rest of my life has been spent in acts of bene- 
volence. 

" I meditated to do you good. For that reason I was 
willing to prove you. You pretended to act towards 
me with consideration and forbearance. If you had 
c c 3 



390 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

persisted in that to the end, I would yet have found a 
way to reward you. I left you to your own discretion. 
You might show the impotent malignity of your own 
heart ; but, in the circumstances in which you were 
then placed, I knew you could not hurt me. Your 
forbearance has proved, as I all along suspected, empty 
and treacherous. You have attempted to blast my 
reputation. You have sought to disclose the select 
and eternal secret of my soul. Because you have done 
that, I will never forgive you. I will remember it to 
my latest breath. The memory shall survive me, when 
my existence is no more. Do you think you are out 
of the reach of my power, because a court of justice 
has acquitted you ? " 

While Mr. Falkland was speaking a sudden dis- 
temper came over his countenance, his whole frame 
was shaken by an instantaneous convulsion, and he 
staggered to a chair. In about three minutes he re- 
covered. 

" Yes," said he, " I am still alive. I shall live for 
days, and months, and years ; the power that made 
me, of whatever kind it be, can only determine how 
long. I live the guardian of my reputation. That, 
and to endure a misery such as man never endured, 
are the only ends to which I live. But, when I am 
no more, my fame shall still survive. My character 
shall be revered as spotless and unimpeachable by all 
posterity, as long as the name of Falkland shall be 
repeated in the most distant regions of the many- 
peopled globe." 

Having said this, he returned to the discourse which 
more immediately related to my future condition and 
happiness. 

" There is one condition," said he, " upon which you 
may obtain some mitigation of your future calamity. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 391 

At is ror that purpose that I have sent for you. Listen 
to my proposal with deliberation and sobriety. Re- 
member, that the insanity is not less to trifle with the 
resolved determination of my soul, than it would be to 
pull a mountain upon your head that hung trembling 
upon the edge of the mighty Apennine ! 

" I insist then upon your signing a paper, declar- 
ing, in the most solemn manner, that I am innocent 
of murder, and that the charge you alleged at the 
office in Bow-street is false, malicious, and groundless. 
Perhaps you may scruple out of a regard to truth. Is 
truth then entitled to adoration for its own sake, and 
not for the sake of the happiness it is calculated to 
produce ? Will a reasonable man sacrifice to barren 
truth, when benevolence, humanity, and every con- 
sideration that is dear to the human heart, require 
that it should be superseded ? It is probable that I 
may never make use of this paper, but I require it, as 
the only practicable reparation to the honour you have 
assailed. This is what I had to propose. I expect 
your answer/* 

" Sir," answered I, " I have heard you to an end, 
and I stand in need of no deliberation to enable me to 
answer you in the negative. You took me up a raw 
and inexperienced boy, capable of being moulded to 
any form you pleased. But you have communicated 
to me volumes of experience in a very short period. 
I am no longer irresolute and pliable. What is the 
power you retain over my fate I am unable to discover. 
You may destroy me; but you cannot make me 
tremble. I am not concerned to enquire, whether 
what I have suffered flowed from you by design or 
otherwise; whether you were the author of my miseries, 
or only connived at them. This I know, that I have 
suffered too exquisitely on your account, for me to 
c c 4 



392 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

feel the least remaining claim on your part to my 
making any voluntary sacrifice. 

"You say that benevolence and humanity require this 
sacrifice of me. No ; it would only be a sacrifice to 
your mad and misguided love of fame, to that passion 
which has been the source of all your miseries, of the 
most tragical calamities to others, and of every mis- 
fortune that has happened to me. I have no forbear- 
ance to exercise towards that passion. If you be not 
yet cured of this tremendous and sanguinary folly, at 
least I will do nothing to cherish it. I know not 
whether from my youth I was destined for a hero ; but 
I may thank you for having taught me a lesson of in- 
surmountable fortitude. 

" What is it that you require of me ? that I should 
sign away my own reputation for the better maintain- 
ing of yours. Where is the equality of that ? What is 
it that casts me at such an immense distance below 
you, as to make every thing that relates to me wholly 
unworthy of consideration ? You have been educated 
in the prejudice of birth. I abhor that prejudice. 
You have made me desperate, and I utter what that 
desperation suggests. 

" You will tell me perhaps that I have no reputa- 
tion to lose ; that, while you are esteemed faultless 
and unblemished, I am universally reputed a thief, a 
suborner, and a calumniator. Be it so. I will never 
do any thing to countenance those imputations. The 
more I am destitute of the esteem of mankind, the 
more careful I will be to preserve my own. I will 
never from fear, or any other mistaken motive, do any 
thing of which I ought to be ashamed. 

" You are determined to be for ever my enemy. I 
have in no degree deserved this eternal abhorrence. 
I have always esteemed and pitied you. For a con- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 393 

siderable time I rather chose to expose myself to every 
kind of misfortune, than disclose the secret that was 
so dear to you. I was not deterred by your menaces 
(what could you make me suffer more than I actually 
suffered ?) but by die humanity of my own heart ; in 
which, and not in means of violence, you ought to 
have reposed your confidence. What is the mysterious 
vengeance that you can yet execute against me ? You 
menaced me before ; you can menace no worse now. 
You are wearing out the springs of terror. Do with 
me as you please ; you teach me to hear you with an 
unshrinking and desperate firmness. Recollect your- 
self! I did not proceed to the step with which you 
reproach me, till I was apparently urged to the very 
last extremity. I had suffered as much as human 
nature can suffer ; I had lived in the midst of eternal 
alarm and unintermitted watchfulness ; I had twice 
been driven to purposes of suicide. I am now sorry 
however, that the step of which you complain was 
ever adopted. But, urged to exasperation by an unin- 
tcrmitted rigour, I had no time to cool or to deliberate* 
Even at present I cherish no vengeance against you. 
All that is reasonable, all that can really contribute to 
your security, I will readily concede ; but I will not 
be driven to an act repugnant to all reason, integrity, 
and justice/' 

Mr. Falkland listened to me with astonishment and 
impatience. He had entertained no previous con- 
ception of the firmness I displayed. Several times 
he was convulsed with the fury that laboured in his 
breast. Once and again he betrayed an intention to 
interrupt ; but he was restrained by the collectedness 
of my manner, and perhaps by a desire to be acquainted 
with the entire state of my mind. Finding that I had 
concluded, he paused for a moment; his passion 



394? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

seemed gradually to enlarge, till it was no longer 
capable of control. 

" It is well ! " said he, gnashing his teeth, and 
stamping upon the ground. " You refuse the com- 
position I offer ! I have no power to persuade you 
to compliance ! You defy me ! At least I have a 
power respecting you, and that power I will exercise ; 
a power that shall grind you into atoms. I con- 
descend to no more expostulation. I know what I am, 
and what I can be. I know what you are, and what 
fate is reserved for you ! " 

Saying this he quitted the room. 

Such were the particulars of this memorable scene. 
The impression it has left upon my understanding is 
indelible. The figure and appearance of Mr. Falk- 
land, his death-like weakness and decay, his more 
than mortal energy and rage, the words that he 
spoke, the motives that animated him, produced one 
compounded effect upon my mind that nothing of the 
same nature could ever parallel. The idea of his 
misery thrilled through my frame. How weak in 
comparison of it is the imaginary hell, which the 
great enemy of mankind is represented as carrying 
every where about with him ! 

From this consideration, my mind presently turned 
to the menaces he had vented against myself. They 
were all mysterious and undefined. He had talked of 
power, but had given no hint from which I could 
collect in what he imagined it to consist. He had 
talked of misery, but had not dropped a syllable 
respecting the nature of the misery to be inflicted. 

I sat still for some time, ruminating on these thoughts. 
Neither Mr. Falkland nor any other person appeared 
to disturb my meditations. I rose, went out of the 
room, and from the inn into the street. No one offered 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 395 

to molest me. It was strange ! What was the nature 
of this power, from which I was to apprehend so 
much, yet which seemed to leave me at perfect 
liberty? I began to imagine that all I had heard 
from this dreadful adversary was mere madness and 
extravagance, and that he was at length deprived 
of the use of reason, which had long served him only 
as a medium of torment. Yet was it likely in that 
case that he should be able to employ Gines and 
his associate, who had just been his instruments of 
violence upon my person ? 

I proceeded along the streets with considerable 
caution. I looked before me and behind me, as well as 
the darkness would allow me to do, that I might not 
again be hunted in sight by some men of stratagem and 
violence without my perceiving it. I went not, as be- 
fore, beyond the limits of the town, but considered the 
streets, the houses, and the inhabitants, as affording 
some degree of security. I was still walking with my 
mind thus full of suspicion and forecast, when I dis- 
covered Thomas, that servant of Mr. Falkland whom I 
have already more than once had occasion to mention. 
He advanced towards me with an air so blunt and di- 
rect, as instantly to remove from me the idea of any 
thing insidious in his purpose; besides that I had always 
felt the character of Thomas, rustic and uncultivated 
as it was, to be entitled to a more than common portion 
of esteem. 

" Thomas," said I, as he advanced, " I hope you are 
willing to give me joy, that I am at length delivered 
from the dreadful danger which for many months 
haunted me so unmercifully." 

No," rejoined Thomas, roughly ; " I be not at all 
willing. I do not know what to make of myself in this 
affair. While you were in prison in that miserable 



396 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

fashion, I felt all at one almost as if I loved you : and 
now that that is over, and you are turned out loose in 
the world to do your worst, my blood rises at the very 
sight of you. To look at you, you are almost that very 
lad Williams for whom I could with pleasure, as it were, 
have laid down my life ; and yet, behind that smiling 
face there lie robbery, and lying, and every thing that 
is ungrateful and murderous. Your last action was 
worse than all the rest. How could you find in your 
heart to revive that cruel story about Mr. Tyrrel, which 
every body had agreed, out of regard to the squire, 
never to mention again, and of which I know, and you 
know, he is as innocent as the child unborn ? There 
are causes and reasons, or else I could have wished 
from the bottom of my soul never to have set eyes on 
you again." 

" And you still persist in your hard thoughts of me? " 

" Worse ! I think worse of you than ever ! Before, 
I thought you as bad as man could be. I wonder 
from my soul what you are to do next. But you 
make good the old saying, < Needs must go, that the 
devil drives.' " 

" And so there is never to be an end of my mis- 
fortunes ! What can Mr. Falkland contrive for me 
worse than the ill opinion and enmity of all man- 
kind?" 

" Mr. Falkland contrive ! He is the best friend 
you have in the world, though you are the basest 
traitor to him. Poor man ! it makes one's heart ache 
to look at him ; he is the very image of grief. And 
it is not clear to me that it is not all owing to you. 
At least you have given the finishing lift to the mis- 
fortune that was already destroying him. There have 
been the devil and all to pay between him and squire 
Forester. The squire is right raving mad with my 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 397 

master, for having outwitted him in the matter of the 
trial, and saved your life. He swears that you shall 
be taken up and tried all over again at the next assizes; 
but my master is resolute, and I believe will carry it 
his own way. He says indeed that the law will not 
allow squire Forester to have his will in this. To see 
him ordering every thing for your benefit, and taking 
all your maliciousness as mild and innocent as a lamb, 
and to think of your vile proceedings against him, is a 
sight one shall not see again, go all the world over. 
For God's sake, repent of your reprobate doings, and 
make what little reparation is in your power ! Think 
of your poor soul, before you awake, as to be sure one 
of these days you will, in fire and brimstone everlast- 
ing!" 

Saying this, he held out his hand and took hold of 
mine. The action seemed strange; but I at first 
thought it the unpremeditated result of his solemn 
and well-intended adjuration. I felt however that he 
put something into my hand. The next moment he 
quitted his hold, and hastened from me with the swift- 
ness of an arrow. What he had thus given me was a 
bank-note of twenty pounds. I had no doubt that he 
had been charged to deliver it to me from Mr. Falk- 
land. 

What was I to infer ? what light did it throw upon 
the intentions of my inexorable persecutor ? his ani- 
mosity against me was as great as ever ; that I had 
just had confirmed to me from his own mouth. Yet 
his animosity appeared to be still tempered with the 
remains of humanity. He prescribed to it a line, wide 
enough to embrace the gratification of his views, and 
within the boundaries of that line it stopped. But 
this discovery carried no consolation to my mind. I 
knew not what portion of calamity I was fated to 



898 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

endure, before his jealousy of dishonour, and inor- 
dinate thirst of fame would deem themselves satisfied. 

Another question offered itself. Was I to receive 
the money which had just been put into my hands ? 
the money of a man who had inflicted upon me injuries, 
less than those which he had entailed upon himself, 
but the greatest that one man can inflict upon another? 
who had blasted my youth, who had destroyed my 
peace, who had held me up to the abhorrence of man- 
kind, and rendered me an outcast upon the face of the 
earth ? who had forged the basest and most atrocious 
falsehoods, and urged them with a seriousness and 
perseverance which produced universal belief? who, 
an hour before, had vowed against me inexorable 
enmity, and sworn to entail upon me misery without 
end ? Would not this conduct on my part betray a 
base and abject spirit, that crouched under tyranny, 
and kissed the hands that were imbrued in my blood ? 

If these reasons appeared strong, neither was the 
other side without reasons in reply. I wanted the 
money : not for any purpose of vice or superfluity, but 
for those purposes without which life cannot subsist. 
Man ought to be able, wherever placed, to find for 
himself the means of existence ; but I was to open a 
new scene of life, to remove to some distant spot, to 
be prepared against all the ill-will of mankind, and the 
unexplored projects of hostility of a most accomplished 
foe. The actual means of existence are the property 
of all. What should hinder me from taking that of 
which I was really in want, when, in taking it, I risked 
no vengeance, and perpetrated no violence? The 
property in question will be beneficial to me, and the 
voluntary surrender of it is accompanied with no 
injury to its late proprietor ; what other condition can 
be necessary to render the use of it on my part a duty? 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 399 

He that lately possessed it has injured me ; does that 
alter its value as a medium of exchange ? He will 
boast perhaps of the imaginary obligation he has con- 
ferred on me : surely to shrink from a thing in itself 
right from any such apprehension, can be the result 
only of pusillanimity and cowardice ! 



CHAPTER XIII. 

INFLUENCED by these reasonings, I determined to re- 
tain what had thus been put into my hands. My next 
care was in regard to the scene I should choose, as the 
retreat of that life which I had just saved from the 
grasp of the executioner. The danger to which I was 
exposed of forcible interruption in my pursuits, was 
probably, in some respects, less now than it had been 
previously to this crisis. Besides, that I was consider- 
ably influenced in this deliberation by the strong 
loathing I conceived for the situations in which I had 
lately been engaged. I knew not in what mode Mr. 
Falkland intended to exercise his vengeance against 
me; but I was seized with so unconquerable an aversion 
to disguise, and the idea of spending my life in person- 
ating a fictitious character, that I could not, for the 
present at least, reconcile my mind to any thing of 
that nature. The same kind of disgust I had conceived 
for the metropolis, where I had spent so many hours 
of artifice, sadness, and terror. I therefore decided in 
favour of the project which had formerly proved 
amusing to my imagination, of withdrawing to some 
distant, rural scene, a scene of calmness and obscurity, 
where for a few years at least, perhaps during the life 
of Mr. Falkland, I might be hidden from the world, 



400 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

recover the wounds my mind had received in this fatal 
connection, methodise and improve the experience 
which had been accumulated, cultivate the faculties I 
in any degree possessed, and employ the intervals of 
these occupations in simple industry, and the inter- 
course of guileless, uneducated, kind-intentioned minds. 
The menaces of my persecutor seemed to forebode the 
inevitable interruption of this system. But I deemed 
it wise to put these menaces out of my consideration. 
I compared them to death, which must infallibly over- 
take us we know not when ; but the possibility of 
whose arrival next year, next week, to-morrow, must 
be left out of the calculation of him who would enter 
upon any important or well-concerted undertaking. 

Such were the ideas that determined my choice. 
Thus did my youthful mind delineate the system of 
distant years, even when the threats of instant calamity 
still sounded in my ears. I was inured to the appre- 
hension of mischief, till at last the hoarse roarings of 
the beginning tempest had lost their power of annihi- 
lating my peace. I however thought it necessary, wh : le 
I was most palpably within the sphere of the enemy, 
to exert every practicable degree of vigilance. I was 
careful not to incur the hazards of darkness and soli- 
tude. When I left the town it was with the stage- 
coach, an obvious source of protection against glaring 
and enormous violence. Meanwhile I found myself no 
more exposed to molestation in my progress, than the 
man in the world who should have had the least reason 
for apprehensions of this nature. As the distance in- 
creased, I relaxed something in my precaution, though 
still awake to a sense of danger, and constantly pursued 
with the image of my foe. I fixed upon an obscure 
market-town in Wales as the chosen seat of my ope- 
rations. This place recommended itself to my observ- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 401 

ation as I was wandering in quest of an abode. It was 
clean, cheerful, and of great simplicity of appearance. 
It was at a distance from any public and frequented 
road, and had nothing which could deserve the name 
of trade. The face of nature around it was agreeably 
diversified, being partly wild and romantic, and partly 
rich and abundant in production. 

Here I solicited employment in two professions ; the 
first, that of a watchmaker, in which though the in- 
structions I had received were few, they were eked 
out and assisted by a mind fruitful in mechanical in- 
vention; the other, that of an instructor in mathe- 
matics and its practical application, geography, astro- 
nomy, land-surveying, and navigation. Neither of these 
was a very copious source of emolument in the obscure 
retreat I had chosen for myself; but, if my receipts 
were slender, my disbursements were still fewer. In 
this little town I became acquainted with the vicar, the 
apothecary, the lawyer, and the rest of the persons 
who, time out of mind, had been tegarded as the top 
gentry of the place. Each of these centred in himself 
a variety of occupations. There was little in the 
appearance of the vicar that reminded you of his pro- 
fession, except on the recurring Sunday. At other 
times he condescended, with his evangelical hand to 
guide the plough, or to drive the cows from the field 
to the farm-yard for the milking. The apothecary 
occasionally officiated as a barber, and the lawyer was 
the village schoolmaster. 

By all these persons I was received with kindness 
and hospitality. Among people thus remote from the 
bustle of human life there is an open spirit of con- 
fidence, by means of which a stranger easily finds 
access to their benevolence and good-will. My man- 
ners had never been greatly debauched from the sim- 
D D 



402 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

plicity of rural life by the scenes through which I had 
passed ; and the hardships I had endured had given 
additional mildness to my character. In the theatre 
upon which I was now placed I had no rival. My 
mechanical occupation had hitherto been a non-re- 
sident ; and the schoolmaster, who did not aspire to the 
sublime heights of science I professed to communicate, 
was willing to admit me as a partner in the task of 
civilising the unpolished manners of the inhabitants. 
For the parson, civilisation was no part of his trade ; 
his business was with the things of a better life, not 
with the carnal concerns of this material scene; -in truth, 
his thoughts were principally occupied with his oatmeal 
and his cows. 

These however were not the only companions which 
this remote retirement afforded me. There was a 
family of a very different description, of which I gra- 
dually became the chosen intimate. The father was a 
shrewd, sensible, rational man, but who had turned his 
principal attention to subjects of agriculture. His wife 
was a truly admirable and extraordinary woman. She 
was the daughter of a Neapolitan nobleman, who, after 
having visited, and made a considerable figure, in every 
country in Europe, had at length received the blow of 
fate in this village. He had been banished his country 
upon suspicion of religious and political heresy, and 
his estates confiscated. With this only child, like 
Prospero in the Tempest, he had withdrawn himself to 
one of the most obscure and uncultivated regions of the 
world. Very soon however after his arrival in Wales 
he had been seized with a malignant fever, which car- 
ried him off in three days. He died possessed of no 
other property than a few jewels, and a bill of credit, 
to no considerable amount, upon an English banker. 

Here then was the infant Laura, left in a foreign 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 403 

country, and without a single friend. The father of 
her present husband was led by motives of pure hu- 
manity to seek to mitigate the misfortunes of the dying 
Italian. Though a plain uninstructed man, with no 
extraordinary refinement of intellect, there was some- 
thing in his countenance that determined the stranger 
in his present forlorn and melancholy situation, to make 
him his executor, and the guardian of his daughter 
The Neapolitan understood enough of English to ex- 
plain his wishes to this friendly attendant of his death- 
bed. As his circumstances were narrow, the servants 
of the stranger, two Italians, a male and a female, were 
sent back to their own country soon after the death of 
their master. 

Laura was at this time eight years of age. At these 
tender years she had been susceptible of little direct 
instruction ; and, as she grew up, even the memory of 
her father became, from year to year, more vague and 
indistinct in her mind. But there was something she 
derived from her father, whether along with the life 
he bestowed, or as the consequence of his instruction 
and manners, which no time could efface. Every added 
year of her life contributed to develop the fund of her 
accomplishments. She read, she observed, she re- 
flected. Without instructors, she taught herself to 
draw, to sing, and to understand the more polite Eu- 
ropean languages. As she had no society in this remote 
situation but that of peasants, she had no idea of 
honour or superiority to be derived from her acquisi- 
tions ; but pursued them from a secret taste, and as the 
sources of personal enjoyment. 

A mutual attachment gradually arose between her 

and the only son of her guardian. His father led him, 

from early youth, to the labours and the sports of the 

field, and there was little congeniality between his pur- 

D D 2 



404 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

suits and those of Laura. But this was a defect that 
she was slow to discover. She had never been accus- 
tomed to society in her chosen amusements, and habit 
at that time even made her conceive, that they were 
indebted to solitude for an additional relish. The 
youthful rustic had great integrity, great kindness of 
heart, and was a lad of excellent sense. He was florid, 
well-proportioned, and the goodness of his disposition 
made his manners amiable. Accomplishments greater 
than these she had never seen in human form, since 
the death of her father. In fact, she is scarcely to be 
considered as a sufferer in this instance ; since, in her 
forlorn and destitute condition, it is little probable, 
when we consider the habits and notions that now pre- 
vail, that her accomplishments, unassisted by fortune, 
would have procured her an equal alliance in marriage. 

When she became a mother her heart opened to a 
new affection. The idea now presented itself, which 
had never occurred before, that in her children at least 
she might find the partners and companions of her 
favourite employments. She was, at the time of my 
arrival, mother of four, the eldest of which was a son. 
To all of them she had been a most assiduous instructor. 
It was well for her perhaps that she obtained this 
sphere for the exercise of her mind. It came just at 
the period when the charm which human life derives 
from novelty is beginning to wear off. It gave her 
new activity and animation. It is perhaps impossible 
that the refinements of which human nature is capable 
should not, after a time, subside into sluggishness, if 
they be not aided by the influence of society and 
affection. 

The son of the Welch farmer by this admirable 
woman was about seventeen years of age at the time 
of my settlement in their neighbourhood. His eldest 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 4-05 

sister was one year younger than himself. The whole 
family composed a group, with which a lover of tran- 
quillity and virtue would have delighted to associate in 
any situation. It is easy therefore to conceive how 
much I rejoiced in their friendship, in this distant re- 
tirement, and suffering, as I felt myself, from the 
maltreatment and desertion of my species. The amiable 
Laura had a wonderful quickness of eye, and rapidity 
of apprehension ; but this feature in her countenance 
was subdued by a sweetness of disposition, such as I 
never in any other instance saw expressed in the 
looks of a human being. She soon distinguished me 
by her kindness and friendship ; for, living as she had 
done, though familiar with the written productions of a 
cultivated intellect, she had never seen the thing itself 
realised in a living being, except in the person of her 
father. She delighted to converse with me upon sub- 
jects of literature and taste, and she eagerly invited my 
assistance in the education of her children. The son, 
though young, had been so happily improved and in- 
structed by his mother, that I found in him nearly all 
the most essential qualities we require in a friend. 
Engagement and inclination equally led me to pass a 
considerable part of every day in this agreeable society. 
Laura treated me as if I had been one of the family ; 
and I sometimes flattered myself that I might one day 
become such in reality. What an enviable resting- 
place for me, who had known nothing but calamity, and 
had scarcely dared to look for sympathy and kindness 
in the countenance of a human being ! 

The sentiments of friendship which early disclosed 
themselves between me and the members of this amiable 
family daily became stronger. At every interview, 
the confidence reposed in me by the mother increased. 
While our familiarity gained in duration, it equally 

D D 3 



406 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

gained in that subtlety of communication by which it 
seemed to shoot forth its roots in every direction. There 
are a thousand little evanescent touches in the develop- 
ment of a growing friendship, that are neither thought 
of, nor would be understood, between common acquaint- 
ances. I honoured and esteemed the respectable Laura 
like a mother ; for, though the difference of our ages 
was by no means sufficient to authorise the sentiment, 
it was irresistibly suggested to me by the fact of her 
always being presented to my observation under the 
maternal character. Her son was a lad of great under- 
standing, generosity, and feeling, and of no contemptible 
acquirements ; while his tender years, and the uncom- 
mon excellence of his mother, subtracted something 
from the independence of his judgment, and impressed 
him with a sort of religious deference for her will. In 
the eldest daughter I beheld the image of Laura ; for 
that I felt attached to her for the present ; and I some- 
times conceived it probable that hereafter I might learn 
to love her for her own sake. Alas, it was thus that 
I amused myself with the visions of distant years, while 
I stood in reality on the brink of the precipice ! 

It will perhaps be thought strange that I never once 
communicated the particulars of my story to this amiable 
matron, or to my young friend, for such I may also 
venture to call him, her son. But in truth I abhorred 
the memory of this story; I placed all my hopes of 
happiness in the prospect of its being consigned to 
oblivion. I fondly flattered myself that such would be 
the event : in the midst of my unlooked-for happiness, 
I scarcely recollected, or, recollecting, was disposed to 
yield but a small degree of credit to, the menaces of 
Mr. Falkland. 

One day, that I was sitting alone with the accom- 
plished Laura, she repeated his all-dreadful name. I 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 407 

started with astonishment, amazed that a woman like 
this, who knew nobody, who lived as it were alone in a 
corner of the universe, who had never in a single 
instance entered into any fashionable circle, this ad- 
mirable and fascinating hermit, should, by some unac- 
countable accident, have become acquainted with this 
fatal and tremendous name. Astonishment however 
was not my only sensation. I became pale with terror ; 
I rose from my seat ; I attempted to sit down again ; I 
reeled out of the room, and hastened to bury myself in 
solitude. The unexpectedness of the incident took 
from me all precaution, and overwhelmed my faculties. 
The penetrating Laura observed my behaviour ; but 
nothing further occurred to excite her attention to it at 
that time ; and, concluding from my manner that enquiry 
would be painful to me, she humanely suppressed her 
curiosity. 

I afterwards found that Mr. Falkland had been 
known to the father of Laura ; that he had been ac- 
quainted with the story of Count Malvesi, and with a 
number of other transactions redounding in the highest 
degree to the credit of the gallant Englishman. The 
Neapolitan had left letters in which these transactions 
were recorded, and which spoke of Mr. Falkland in the 
highest terms of panegyric. Laura had been used to 
regard every little relic of her father with a sort of 
religious veneration ; and, by this accident, the name 
of Mr. Falkland was connected in her mind with the 
sentiments of unbounded esteem. 

The scene by which I was surrounded was perhaps 
more grateful to me, than it would have been to most 
other persons with my degree of intellectual cultiva- 
tion.. Sore with persecution and distress, and bleeding 
at almost every vein, there was nothing I so much 
coveted as rest and tranquillity. It seemed as if my 
D D 4? 



408 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

faculties were, at least for the time, exhausted by the 
late preternatural intensity of their exertions, and that 
they stood indispensably in need of a period of compa- 
rative suspension. 

This was however but a temporary feeling. My 
mind had always been active, and I was probably in- 
debted to the sufferings I had endured, and the exqui- 
site and increased susceptibility they produced, for 
new energies. I soon felt the desire of some additional 
and vigorous pursuit. In this state of mind, I met by 
accident, in a neglected corner of the house of one of 
my neighbours, with a general dictionary of four of 
the northern languages. This incident gave a direction 
to my thoughts. In my youth I had not been inatten- 
tive to languages. I determined to attempt, at least 
for my own use, an etymological analysis of the English 
language. I easily perceived, that this pursuit had one 
advantage to a person in my situation, and that a small 
number of books, consulted with this view, would afford 
employment for a considerable time. I procured other 
dictionaries. In my incidental reading, I noted the 
manner in which words were used, and applied these 
remarks to the illustration of my general enquiry. I 
was unintermitted in my assiduity, and my collections 
promised to accumulate. Thus I was provided with 
sources both of industry and recreation, the more com- 
pletely to divert my thoughts from the recollection of 
my past misfortunes. 

In this state, so grateful to my feelings, week after 
week glided away without interruption and alarm. 
The situation in which I was now placed had some 
resemblance to that in which I had spent my earlier 
years, with the advantage of a more attractive society, 
and a riper judgment. I began to look back upon the 
intervening period as upon a distempered and tor- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 4O9 

mcnting dream ; or rather perhaps my feelings were 
like those of a man recovered from an interval of 
raging delirium, from ideas of horror, confusion, flight, 
persecution, agony, and despair I When I recollected 
what I had undergone, it was not without satisfaction, 
as the recollection of a thing that was past ; every day 
augmented my hope that it was never to return. Surely 
the dark and terrific menaces of Mr. Falkland were 
rather the perturbed suggestions of his angry mind, 
than the final result of a deliberate and digested 
system I How happy should I feel, beyond the ordi- 
nary lot of man, if, after the terrors I had undergone, 
I should now find myself unexpectedly restored to the 
immunities of a human being ! 

While I was thus soothing my mind with fond ima- 
ginations, it happened that a few bricklayers and their 
labourers came over from a distance "of five or six 
miles, to work upon some additions to one of the better 
sort of houses in the town, which had changed its 
tenant. No incident could be more trivial than this, 
had it not been for a strange coincidence of time be- 
tween this circumstance, and a change which intro- 
duced itself into my situation. This first manifested 
itself in a sort of shyness with which I was treated, 
first by one person, and then another, of my new-formed 
acquaintance. They were backward to enter into 
conversation with me, and answered my enquiries with 
an awkward and embarrassed air. W'hen they met 
me in the street or the field, their countenances con- 
tracted a cloud, and they endeavoured to shun me. 
My scholars quitted me one after another ; and I had 
no longer any employment in my mechanical profes- 
sion. It is impossible to describe the sensations, which 
the gradual but uninterrupted progress of this revo- 
lution produced in my mind. It seemed as if I had 



410 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

some contagious disease, from which every man shrunk 
with alarm, and left me to perish unassisted and alone. 
I asked one man and another to explain to me the 
meaning of these appearances ; but every one avoided 
the task, and answered in an evasive and ambiguous 
manner. I sometimes supposed that it was all a de- 
lusion of the imagination ; till the repetition of the 
sensation brought the reality too painfully home to my 
apprehension. There are few things that give a greater 
shock to the mind, than a phenomenon in the conduct 
of our fellow men, of great importance to our concerns, 
and for which we are unable to assign any plausible 
reason. At times I was half inclined to believe that 
the change was not in other men, but that some alien- 
ation of my own understanding generated the horrid 
vision. I endeavoured to awaken from my dream, and 
return to my fifrmer state of enjoyment and happiness ; 
but in vain. To the same consideration it may be 
ascribed, that, unacquainted with the source of the 
evil, observing its perpetual increase, and finding it, so 
far as I could perceive, entirely arbitrary in its nature, 
I was unable to ascertain its limits, or the degree in 
which it would finally overwhelm me. . 

In the midst however of the wonderful and seemingly 
inexplicable nature of this scene, there was one idea 
that instantly obtruded itself, and that I could never 
after banish from my mind. It is Falkland ! In vain 
I struggled against the seeming improbability of the 
supposition. In vain I said, " Mr. Falkland, wise as 
he is, and pregnant in resources, acts by human, not by 
supernatural means. He may overtake me by sur- 
prise, and in a manner of which I had no previous 
expectation ; but he cannot produce a great and no- 
torious effect without some visible agency, however 
difficult it may be to trace that agency to its absolute 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 

author. He cannot, like those invisible personages who 
are supposed from time to time to interfere in human 
affairs, ride in the whirlwind, shroud himself in clouds 
and impenetrable darkness, and scatter destruction 
upon the earth from his secret habitation." Thus it 
was that I bribed my imagination, and endeavoured to 
persuade myself that my present unhappiness origin- 
ated in a different source from my former. All evils ap- 
peared trivial to me, in comparison with the recollection 
and perpetuation of my parent misfortune. I felt like 
a man distracted, by the incoherence of my ideas to 
my present situation, excluding from it the machina- 
tions of Mr. Falkland, on the one hand ; and on the 
other, by the horror I conceived at the bare possibility 
of again encountering his animosity, after a suspension 
of many weeks, a suspension as I had hoped for ever. 
An interval like this was an age to a person in the 
calamitous situation I had so long experienced. But, 
in spite of my efforts, I could not banish from my mind 
the dreadful idea. My original conceptions of the 
genius and perseverance of Mr. Falkland had been 
such, that I could with difficulty think any thing im- 
possible to him. I knew not how to set up my own 
opinions of material causes and the powers of the human 
mind, as the limits of existence. Mr. Falkland had 
always been to my imagination an object of wonder, 
and that which excites our wonder we scarcely suppose 
ourselves competent to analyse. 

It may well be conceived, that one of the first persons 
to whom I thought of applying for an explanation of 
this dreadful mystery was the accomplished Laura. 
My disappointment here cut me to the heart. I was 
not prepared for it. I recollected the ingenuousness of 
her nature, the frankness of her manners, the partiality 
with which she had honoured me. If I were mortified 



412 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

with the coldness, the ruggedness, and the cruel mis- 
take of principles with which the village inhabitants 
repelled my enquiries, the mortification I suffered, only 
drove me more impetuously to seek the cure of my 
griefs from this object of my admiration. " In Laura," 
said I, " I am secure from these vulgar prejudices. I 
confide in her justice. I am sure she will not cast me 
off unheard, nor without strictly examining a question 
on all sides, in which every thing that is valuable to a 
person she once esteemed, may be involved." 

Thus encouraging myself, I turned my steps to the 
place of her residence. As I passed along I called up 
all my recollection, I summoned my faculties. " I may 
be made miserable," said I, " but it shall not be for want 
of any exertion of mine, that promises to lead to happi- 
ness. I will be clear, collected, simple in narrative, 
ingenuous in communication. I will leave nothing un- 
said that the case may require. I will not volunteer 
any thing that relates to my former transactions with 
Mr. Falkland ; but, if I find that my present calamity 
is connected with those transactions, I will not fear but 
that by an honest explanation I shall remove it." 

I knocked at the door. A servant appeared, and told 
me that her mistress hoped I would excuse her ; she 
must really beg to dispense with my visit. 

I was thunderstruck. I was rooted to the spot. I 
had been carefully preparing my mind for every thing 
that I supposed likely to happen, but this event had not 
entered into my calculations. I roused myself in a 
partial degree, and % walked away without uttering a 
word. 

I had not gone far before I perceived one of the 
workmen following me, who put into my hands a billet. 
The contents were these: 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 4-13 

" MR. WILLIAMS, 

" Let me see you no more. I have a right at least 
to expect your compliance with this requisition ; and, 
upon that condition, I pardon the enormous impropri- 
ety and guilt with which you have conducted yourself 
to me and my family. 

" LAURA DENISON." 

The sensations with which I read these few lines 
are indescribable. I found in them a dreadful con- 
firmation of the calamity that on all sides invaded me. 
But what I felt most was the unmoved coldness with 
which they appeared to be written. This coldness 
from Laura, my comforter, my friend, my mother 1 To 
dismiss, to cast me off for ever, without one thought of 
compunction ! 

I determined however, in spite of her requisition, 
and in spite of her coldness, to have an explanation 
with her. I did not despair of conquering the antipa- 
thy she harboured. I did not fear that I would rouse 
her from the vulgar and unworthy conception, of con- 
demning a man, in points the most material to his hap- 
piness, without stating the accusations that are urged 
against him, and without hearing him in reply. 

Though I had no doubt, by means of resolution, of 
gaining access to her in her house, yet I preferred 
taking her unprepared, and not warmed against me by 
any previous contention. Accordingly, the next morn- 
ing, at the time she usually devoted to half an hour's 
air and exercise, I hastened to her garden, leaped the 
paling, and concealed myself in an" arbour. Presently 
I saw, from my retreat, the younger part of the family 
strolling through the garden, and from thence into the 
fields ; but it was not my business to be seen by them. 
I looked after them however with earnestness, unob- 



414? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

served ; and I could not help asking myself, with a deep 
and heartfelt sigh, whether it were possible that I saw 
them now for the last time ? 

They had not advanced far into the fields, before 
their mother made her appearance. I observed in her 
her usual serenity and sweetness of countenance. I 
could feel my heart knocking against my ribs. My 
whole frame was in a tumult. I stole out of the 
arbour ; and, as I advanced nearer, my pace became 
quickened. 

" For God's sake, madam," exclaimed I, " give me a 
hearing ! Do not avoid me I " 

She stood still. " No, sir," she replied, " I shall not 
avoid you. I wished you to dispense with this meeting; 
but since I cannot obtain that I am conscious of no 
wrong ; and therefore, though the meeting gives me 
pain, it inspires me with no fear." 

" Oh, madam," answered I, " my friend ! the object 
of all my reverence ! whom I once ventured to call my 
mother I can you wish not to hear me ? Can you have 
no anxiety for my justification, whatever may be the 
unfavourable impression you may have received against 
me?" 

" Not an atom. I have neither wish nor inclination 
to hear you. That tale which, in its plain and un- 
adorned state, is destructive of the character of him 
to whom it relates, no colouring can make an honest 
one." 

" Good God ! Can you think of condemning a man 
when you have heard only one side of his story?" 

" Indeed I can," replied she with dignity. " The 
maxim of hearing both sides may be very well in 
some cases ; but it would be ridiculous to suppose that 
there are not cases, that, at the first mention, are too 
clear to admit the shadow of a doubt. By a well-con* 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 415 

certed defence you may give me new reasons to admire 
your abilities; but I am acquainted with them already. 
I can admire your abilities, without tolerating your 
character." 

" Madam! Amiable, exemplary Laura ! whom, in the 
midst of all your harshness and inflexibility, I honour ! 
I conjure you, by every thing that is sacred, to tell me 
what it is that has filled you with this sudden aversion 
to me." 

** No, sir ; that you shall never obtain from me. I 
have nothing to say to you. I stand still and hear you ; 
because virtue disdains to appear abashed and con- 
founded in the presence of vice. Your conduct even at 
this moment, in my opinion, condemns you. True virtue 
refuses the drudgery of explanation and apology. True 
virtue shines by its own light, and needs no art to set 
it off. You have the first principles of morality as yet 
to learn." 

" And can you imagine, that the most upright con- 
duct is always superior to the danger of ambiguity?" 

" Exactly so. Virtue, sir, consists in actions, and 
not in words. The good man and the bad are cha- 
racters precisely opposite, not characters distinguished 
from each other by imperceptible shades. The Provi- 
dence that rules us all, has not permitted us to be left 
without a clew in the most important of all questions. 
Eloquence may seek to confound it ; but it shall be my 
care to avoid its deceptive influence. I do not wish to 
have my understanding perverted, and all the differ- 
ences of things concealed from my apprehension." 

Madam, madam ! it would be impossible for you 
to hold this language, if you had not always lived in 
this obscure retreat, if you had ever been conversant 
with the passions and institutions of men." 

It may be so. And, if that be the case, I have 



416 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

great reason to be thankful to my God, who has thus 
enabled me to preserve the innocence of my heart, 
and the integrity of my understanding." 

" Can you believe then that ignorance is the only, 
or the safest, preservative of integrity?" 

" Sir, I told you at first, and I repeat to you again, 
that all your declamation is in vain. I wish you would 
have saved me and yourself that pain which is the only 
thing that can possibly result from it. But let us sup- 
pose that virtue could ever be the equivocal thing you 
would have me believe. Is it possible, if you had 
been honest, that you would not have acquainted 
me with your story ? Is it possible, that you would 
have left me to have been informed of it by a mere 
accident, and with all the shocking aggravations you 
well knew that accident would give it ? Is it possible 
you should have violated the most sacred of all trusts, 
and have led me unknowingly to admit to the inter- 
course of my children a character, which if, as you 
pretend, it is substantially honest, you cannot deny to 
be blasted and branded in the face of the whole world? 
Go, sir ; I despise you. You are a monster -md not a 
man. I cannot tell whether my personal situation 
misleads me; but, to my thinking, this last action of 
yours is worse than all the rest. Nature has constituted 
me the protector of my children. I shall always re- 
member and resent the indelible injury you have done 
them. You have wounded me to the very heart, and 
have taught me to what a pitch the villainy of man can 
extend." 

" Madam, I can be silent no longer. I see that you 
have by some means come to a hearing of the story of 
Mr. Falkland." 

" I have. I am astonished you have the effrontery 
to pronounce his name. That name has been a deno- 






CALEB WILLIAMS. 417 

miii;it ion. as far back as my memory can reach, for the 
most exalted of mortals, the wisest and most generous 
of men." 

Madam, I owe it to myself to set you right on this 
subject. Mr. Falkland " 

" Mr. Williams, I see my children returning from 
the fields, and coming this way. The basest action 
you ever did was the obtruding yourself upon them as 
an instructor. I insist that you see them no more. I 
command you to be silent. I command you to with- 
draw. If you persist in your absurd resolution of ex- 
postulating with me, you must take some other time." 

I could continue no longer. I was in a manner 
heart-broken through the whole of this dialogue. I 
could not think of protracting the pain of this ad- 
mirable woman, upon whom, though I was innocent of 
the crimes she imputed to me, I had inflicted so much 
pain already. I yielded to the imperiousness of her 
commands, and withdrew. 

I hastened, without knowing why, from the presence 
of Laura to my own habitation. Upon entering the 
house, an apartment of which I occupied, I found it 
totally deserted of its usual inhabitants. The woman 
and her children were gone to enjoy the freshness of 
the breeze. The husband was engaged in his usual 
out-door occupations. The doors of persons of the 
lower order in this part of the country are secured, in 
the day-time, only with a latch. I entered, and went 
into the kitchen of the family. Here, as I looked 
round, my eyes accidentally glanced upon a paper 
Jying in one corner, which, by some association I was 
unable to explain, roused in me a strong sensation of 
suspicion and curiosity. I eagerly went towards it, 
caught it up, and found it to be the very paper of the 

WONDERFUL AND SURPRISING HISTORY OF CALEB 

E E 



418 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

WILLIAMS, the discovery of which, towards the close 
of my residence in London, had produced in me such 
inexpressible anguish. 

This encounter at once cleared up all the mystery 
that hung upon my late transactions. Abhorred and 
intolerable certainty succeeded to the doubts which had 
haunted my mind. It struck me with the rapidity of 
lightning. I felt a sudden torpor and sickness that 
pervaded every fibre of my frame. 

Was there no hope that remained for me ? Was 
acquittal useless ? Was there no period, past or in 
prospect, that could give relief to my sufferings ? Was 
the odious and atrocious falsehood that had been in- 
vented against me, to follow me wherever I went, to 
strip me of character, to deprive me of the sympathy 
and good-will of mankind, to wrest from me the very 
bread by which life must be sustained ? 

For the space perhaps of half an hour the agony I 
felt from this termination to my tranquillity, and the 
expectation it excited of the enmity which would 
follow me through every retreat, was such as to be- 
reave me of all consistent thinking, much more of the 
power of coming to any resolution. As soon as this 
giddiness and horror of the mind subsided, and the 
deadly calm that invaded my faculties was no more, 
one stiff and master gale gained the ascendancy, and 
drove me to an instant desertion of this late cherished 
retreat. I had no patience to enter into further re- 
monstrance and explanation with the inhabitants of my 
present residence. I believed that it was in vain to 
hope to recover the favourable prepossession and tran- 
quillity I had lately enjoyed. In encountering the 
prejudices that were thus armed against me, I should 
have to deal with a variety of dispositions, and, though 
I might succeed with some, I could not expect to sue- 






CALEB WILLIAMS. 419 

ceed with all. I had seen too much of the reign of 
triumphant falsehood, to have that sanguine confidence 
in the effects of my innocence, which would have sug- 
gested itself to the mind of any other person of my 
propensities and my age. The recent instance which 
had occurred in my conversation with Laura might 
well contribute to discourage me. I could not endure 
the thought of opposing the venom that was thus 
scattered against me, in detail and through its minuter 
particles. If ever it should be necessary to encounter 
it. if I were pursued like a wild beast, till I could no 
longer avoid turning upon my hunters, I would then 
turn upon the true author of this unprincipled attack ; 
I would encounter the calumny in its strong hold ; I 
would rouse myself to an exertion hitherto unessayed ; 
and, by the firmness, intrepidity, and unalterable con- 
stancy I should display, would yet compel mankind to 
believe Mr. Falkland a suborner and a murderer ! 



CHAPTER XIV. 

I HASTEN to the conclusion of my melancholy story. I 
began to write soon after the period to which I have 
now conducted it. This was another resource that my 
mind, ever eager in inventing means to escape from 
my misery, suggested. In my haste to withdraw my- 
self from the retreat in Wales, where first the certainty 
of Mr. Falkland's menaces was confirmed to me, I left 
behind me the apparatus of my etymological enquiries, 
and the papers I had written upon the subject. I have 
never been able to persuade myself to resume this pur- 
suit. It is always discouraging, to begin over again a 
1*2 



420 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

laborious task, and exert one's self to recover a position 
we had already occupied. I knew not how soon or 
how abruptly I might be driven from any new situation ; 
the appendages of the study in which I had engaged 
were too cumbrous for this state of dependence and 
uncertainty; they only served to give new sharpness 
to the enmity of my foe, and new poignancy to my 
hourly-renewing distress. 

But what was of greatest importance, and made the 
deepest impression upon my mind, was my separation 
from the family of Laura. Fool that I was, to imagine 
that there was any room for me in the abodes of friend- 
ship and tranquillity ! It was now first, that I felt, with 
the most intolerable acuteness, how completely I was 
cut off from the whole human species. Other con- 
nections I had gained, comparatively without interest ; 
and I saw them dissolved without the consummation of 
agony. I had never experienced the purest refine- 
ments of friendship, but in two instances, that of 
Collins, and this of the family of Laura. Solitude, 
separation, banishment! These are words often in the 
mouths of human beings ; but few men except myself 
have felt the full latitude of their meaning. The pride of 
philosophy has taught us to treat man as an individual. 
He is no such thing. He holds necessarily, indis- 
pensably, to his species. He is like those twin-births, 
that have two heads indeed, and four hands ; but, if you 
attempt to detach them from each other, they are 
inevitably subjected to miserable and lingering de- 
struction. 

It was this circumstance, more than all the rest, 
that gradually gorged my heart with abhorrence of Mr. 
Falkland. I could not think of his name but with a 
sickness and a loathing, that seemed more than human. 
It was by his means that I suffered the loss of one 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 421 

consolation after another, of every thing that was hap- 
piness, or that had the resemblance of happiness. 

The writing of these memoirs served me as a source 
of avocation for several years. For some time I had a 
melancholy satisfaction in it. I was better pleased to 
retrace the particulars of calamities that had formerly 
afflicted me, than to look forward, as at other times I 
was too apt to do, to those by which I might hereafter 
be overtaken. I conceived that my story, faithfully 
digested, would carry in it an impression of truth that 
few men would be able to resist ; or, at worst, that, by 
leaving it behind me when I should no longer continue 
to exist, posterity might be induced to do me justice, 
and, seeing in my example what sort of evils are entailed 
upon mankind by society as it is at present constituted, 
might be inclined to turn their attention upon the 
fountain from which such bitter waters have been 
accustomed to flow. But these motives have diminished 
in their influence. I have contracted a disgust for life 
and all its appendages. Writing, which was at first a 
pleasure, is changed into a burthen. I shall compress 
into a small compass what remains to be told. 

I discovered, not long after the period of which I am 
speaking, the precise cause of the reverse I had ex- 
perienced in my residence in Wales, and, included in 
that cause, what it was I had to look for in my future 
adventures. Mr. Falkland had taken the infernal Gines 
into his pay, a man critically qualified for the service 
in which he was now engaged, by the unfeeling brutal- 
ity of his temper, by his habits of mind at once auda- 
cious and artful, and by the peculiar animosity and" 
vengeance he had conceived against me. The employ- 
ment to which this man was hired, was that of follow- 
ing me from place to place, blasting my reputation, 
and preventing me from the chance, by continuing long 
3 



422 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

in one residence, of acquiring a character for integrity, 
that should give new weight to any accusation I might 
at a future time be induced to prefer. He had come 
to the seat of my residence with the bricklayers and 
labourers I have mentioned ; and, while he took care 
to keep out of sight so far as related to me, was indus- 
trious in disseminating that which, in the eye of the 
world, seemed to amount to a demonstration of the pro- 
fligacy and detestableness of my character. It was no 
doubt from him that the detested scroll had been pro- 
cured, which I had found in my habitation immediately 
prior to my quitting it. In all this Mr. Falkland, 
reasoning upon his principles, was only employing a 
necessary precaution. There was something in the 
temper of his mind, that impressed him with aversion 
to the idea of violently putting an end to my existence ; 
at the same time that unfortunately he could never 
deem himself sufficiently secured against my recrimi- 
nation, so long as I remained alive. As to the fact of 
Gines being retained by him for this tremendous pur- 
pose, he by no means desired that it should become 
generally known; but neither did he look upon the 
possibility of its being known with terror. It was 
already too notorious for his wishes, that I had ad- 
vanced the most odious charges against him. If he 
regarded me with abhorrence as the adversary of his 
fame, those persons who had had occasion to be in any 
degree acquainted with our history, did not entertain 
less abhorrence against me for my own sake. If they 
should at any time know the pains he exerted in causing 
my evil reputation to follow me, they would consider 
it as an act of impartial justice, perhaps as a generous 
anxiety to prevent other men from being imposed upon 
and injured, as he had been. 

What expedient was I to employ for the purpose of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 423 

counteracting the meditated and barbarous prudence, 
>v Inch was thus destined, in all changes of scene, to 
deprive me of the benefits and consolations of human 
society ? There was one expedient against which I was 
absolutely determined disguise. I had experienced 
so many mortifications, and such intolerable restraint, 
when I formerly had recourse to it ; it was associated in 
my memory with sensations of such acute anguish, 
that my mind was thus far entirely convinced : life was 
not worth purchasing at so high a price ! But, though 
in this respect I was wholly resolved, there was another 
point that did not appear so material, and in which 
therefore I was willing to accommodate myself to cir- 
cumstances. I was contented, if that would insure my 
peace, to submit to the otherwise unmanly expedient 
of passing by a different name. 

But the change of my name, the abruptness with 
which I removed from place to place, the remoteness 
and the obscurity which I proposed to myself in the 
choice of my abode, were all insufficient to elude the 
sagacity of Gines, or the unrelenting constancy with 
which Mr. Falkland incited my tormentor to pursue 
me. Whithersoever I removed myself, it was not long 
before I had occasion to perceive this detested adversary 
in my rear. No words can enable me to do justice to 
the sensations which this circumstance produced in me. 
It waa like what has been described of the eye of Om- 
niscience, pursuing the guilty sinner, and darting a ray 
that awakens him to new sensibility, at the very 
moment that, otherwise, exhausted nature would lull 
him into a temporary oblivion of the reproaches of his 
conscience. Sleep fled from my eyes. No walls could 
hide me from the discernment of this hated foe. Every 
where his industry was unwearied to create for me new 
distress. Rest I had none ; relief I had none : never 

EE 4* 



424? CALEB WILLIAMS. 

could I count upon an instant's security ; never could I 
wrap myself in the shroud of oblivion. The minutes in 
which I did not actually perceive him, were con- 
taminated and blasted with the certain expectation of 
his speedy interference. In my first retreat I had 
passed a few weeks of delusive tranquillity, but never 
after was I happy enough to attain to so much as that 
shadowy gratification. I spent some years in this dread- 
ful vicissitude of pain. My sensations at certain periods 
amounted to insanity. 

I pursued in every succeeding instance the conduct 
I had adopted at first. I determined never to enter 
into a contest of accusation and defence with the exe- 
crable Gines. If I could have submitted to it in other 
respects, what purpose would it answer? I should 
have but an imperfect and mutilated story to tell. This 
story had succeeded with persons already prepossessed 
in my favour by personal intercourse ; but could it 
succeed with strangers ? It had succeeded so long as 
I was able to hide myself from my pursuers ; but could 
it succeed now, that this appeared impracticable, and 
that they proceeded by arming against me a whole 
vicinity at once ? 

It is inconceivable the mischiefs that this kind of 
existence included. Why should I insist upon such 
aggravations as hunger, beggary, and external wretch- 
edness? These were an inevitable consequence. It 
was by the desertion of mankind that, in each successive 
instance, I was made acquainted with my fate. Delay 
in such a moment served but to increase the evil ; and 
when I fled, meagreness and penury were the ordinary 
attendants of my course. But this was a small con- 
sideration. Indignation at one time, and unconquerable 
perseverance at another, sustained me, where humanity, 
left to itself, would probably have sunk. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 4-25 

It has already appeared that I was not of a temper 
to endure calamity, without endeavouring, by every 
means I could devise, to elude and disarm it. Recol- 
lecting at I was habituated to do, the various projects 
by which my situation could be meliorated, the question 
occurred to me, " Why should I be harassed by the 
pursuits of this Gines ? Why, man to man, may I not, 
by the powers of my mind, attain the ascendancy over 
him ? At present he appears to be the persecutor, and 
I the persecuted: is not this difference the mere 
creature of the imagination ? May I not employ my 
ingenuity to vex him with difficulties, and laugh at the 
endless labour to which he will be condemned?" 

Alas, this is a speculation for a mind at ease ! It is 
not the persecution, but the catastrophe which is 
annexed to it, that makes the difference between the 
tyrant and the sufferer ! In mere corporal exertion 
the hunter perhaps is upon a level with the miserable 
animal he pursues ! But could it be forgotten by either 
of us, that at every stage Gines was to gratify his 
malignant passions, by disseminating charges of the 
most infamous nature, and exciting against me the 
abhorrence of every honest bosom, while I was to sus- 
tain the still-repeated annihilation of my peace, my 
character, and my bread? Could I, by any refinement 
of reason, convert this dreadful series into sport ? I had 
no philosophy that qualified me for so extraordinary an 
effort. If, under other circumstances, I could even 
have entertained so strange an imagination, I was re- 
strained in the present instance by the necessity of 
providing for myself the means of subsistence, and the 
fetters which, through that necessity, the forms of 
human society imposed upon my exertions. 

In one of those changes of residence, to which my 
miserable fate repeatedly compelled me, I met, upon a 



426 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

road which I was obliged to traverse, the friend of my 
youth, my earliest and best beloved friend, the vene- 
rable Collins. It was one of those misfortunes which 
served to accumulate my distress, that this man had 
quitted the island of Great Britain only a very few 
weeks before that fatal reverse of fortune which had 
ever since pursued me with unrelenting eagerness. Mr. 
Falkland, in addition to the large estate he possessed in 
England, had a very valuable plantation in the West 
Indies. This property had been greatly mismanaged 
by the person who had the direction of it on the spot ; 
and, after various promises and evasions on his part, 
which, however they might serve to beguile the patience 
of Mr. Falkland, had been attended with no salutary 
fruits, it was resolved that Mr. Collins should go over 
in person, to rectify the abuses which had so long pre- 
vailed. There had even been some idea of his residing 
several years, if not settling finally, upon the plantation. 
From that hour to the present I had never received the 
smallest intelligence respecting him. 

I had always considered the circumstance of his cri- 
tical absence as one of my severest misfortunes. Mr. 
Collins had been one of the first persons, even in the 
period of my infancy, to conceive hopes of me, as of 
something above the common standard ; and had con- 
tributed more than any other to encourage and assist 
my juvenile studies. He had been the executor of the 
little property of my father, who had fixed upon him 
for that purpose in consideration of the mutual affection 
that existed between us ; and I seemed, on every ac- 
count, to have more claim upon his protection than 
upon that of any other human being. I had always 
believed that, had he been present in the crisis of my 
fortune, he would have felt a conviction of my innocence ; 
and, convinced himself, would, by means of the vener- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 427 

ableness and energy of his character, have interposed 
so effectually, as to have saved me the greater part of 
my subsequent misfortunes. 

There was yet another idea in my mind relative to 
this subject, which had more weight with me, than 
even the substantial exertions of friendship I should 
have expected from him. The greatest aggravation of 
my present lot was, that I was cut off from the friend- 
ship of mankind. I can safely affirm, that poverty and 
hunger, that endless wanderings, that a blasted cha- 
racter and the curses that clung to my name, were all 
of them slight misfortunes compared to this. I en- 
deavoured to sustain myself by the sense of my in- 
tegrity, but the voice of no man upon earth echoed to 
the voice of my conscience. " I called aloud ; but there 
was none to answer; there was none that regarded." 
To me the whole world was unhearing as the tempest, 
and as cold as the torpedo. Sympathy, the magnetic 
virtue, the hidden essence of our life, was extinct. Nor 
was this the sum of my misery. This food, so essential 
to an intelligent existence, seemed perpetually renew- 
ing before me in its fairest colours, only tin- more 
effectually to elude my grasp, and to mock my hunger. 
From time to time I was prompted to unfold the affec- 
tions of my soul, only to be repelled with the greater 
anguish, and to be baffled in a way the most intolerably 
mortifying. 

No sight therefore could give me a purer delight 
than that which now presented itself to my eyes. It 
was some time however, before either of us recognised 
the person of the other. Ten years had elapsed since 
our last interview. Mr. Collins looked much older than 
he had done at that period ; in addition to which, he 
was, in his present appearance, pale, sickly, and thin. 
These unfavourable effects had been produced by the 



428 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

change of climate, particularly trying to persons in an 
advanced period of life. Add to which, I supposed him 
to be at that moment in the West Indies. I was pro- 
bably as much altered in the period that had elapsed 
as he had been. I was the first to recollect him. He 
was on horseback ; I on foot. I had suffered him to 
pass me. In a moment the full idea of who he was 
rushed upon my mind ; I ran ; I called with an im- 
petuous voice ; I was unable to restrain the vehemence 
of my emotions. 

The ardour of my feelings disguised my usual tone 
of speaking, which otherwise Mr. Collins would in- 
fallibly have recognised. His sight was already dim ; 
he pulled up his horse till I should overtake him ; and 
then said, " Who are you ? I do not know you." 

" My father ! " exclaimed I, embracing one of his 
knees with fervour and delight, " I am your son ; once 
your little Caleb, whom you a thousand times loaded 
with your kindness I " 

The unexpected repetition of my name gave a kind 
of shuddering emotion to my friend, which was how- 
ever checked by his age, and the calm and benevolent 
philosophy that formed one of his most conspicuous 
habits. 

" I did not expect to see you 1 " replied he : " I did 
not wish it ! " 

" My best, my oldest friend ! " answered I, respect 
blending itself with my impatience, " do not say so ! 
I have not a friend any where in the whole world but 
you! In you at least let me find sympathy and re- 
ciprocal affection ! If you knew how anxiously I have 
thought of you during the whole period of your ab- 
sence, you would not thus grievously disappoint me in 
your return ! " 

" How is it," said Mr. Collins, gravely, " that you 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 429 

have been reduced to this forlorn condition ? Was it 
not the inevitable consequence of your own actions?" 

The 'actions of others, not mine ! Does not your 
heart tell you that I am innocent?" 

" No. My observation of your early character taught 
me that you would be extraordinary ; but, unhappily, 
all extraordinary men are not good men : that seems 
to be a lottery, dependent on circumstances apparently 
the most trivial." 

" Will you hear my justification ? I am as sure as I 
am of my existence, that I can convince you of my 
purity." 

" Certainly, if you require it, I will hear you. But 
that must not be just now. I could have been glad to 
decline it wholly. At my age I am not fit for the 
storm ; and I am not so sanguine as you in my ex- 
pectation of the result. Of what would you convince 
me? That Mr. Falkland is a suborner and mur- 
derer?" 

I made no answer. My silence was an affirmative to 
the question. 

" And what benefit will result from this conviction ? 
I have known you a promising boy, whose character 
might turn to one side or the other as events should 
decide. I have known Mr. Falkland in his maturer 
years, and have always admired him, as the living 
model of liberality and goodness. If you could change 
all my ideas, and show me that there was no criterion 
by which vice might be prevented from being mistaken 
for virtue, what benefit would arise from that? I 
must part with all my interior consolation, and all my 
external connections. And for what ? What is it you 
propose ? The death of Mr. Falkland by the hands of 
the hangman." 

" No ; I will not hurt a hair of his head, unless com- 



430 CALEB WILLIAMS, 

pelled to it by a principle of defence. But surely you 
owe me justice?" 

" What justice ? The justice of proclaiming your 
innocence ? You know what consequences are annexed 
to that. But I do not believe I shall find you innocent. 
If you even succeed in perplexing my understanding, 
you will not succeed in enlightening it. Such is the 
state of mankind, that innocence, when involved in 
circumstances of suspicion, can scarcely ever make 
out a demonstration of its purity ; and guilt can often 
make us feel an insurmountable reluctance to the pro- 
nouncing it guilt. Meanwhile, for the purchase of this 
uncertainty, I must sacrifice all the remaining comforts 
of my life. I believe Mr. Falkland to be virtuous ; but 
I know him to be prejudiced. He would never forgive 
me even this accidental parley, if by any means he 
should come to be acquainted with it." 

" Oh, argue not the consequences that are possible 
to result I " answered I, impatiently. " I have a right to 
your kindness ; I have a right to your assistance I " 

" You have them. You have them to a certain de- 
gree; and it is not likely that, by any process of 
examination, you can have them entire. You know 
my habits of thinking. I regard you as vicious ; but I 
do not consider the vicious as proper objects of indig- 
nation and scorn. I consider you as a machine ; you 
are not constituted, I am afraid, to be greatly useful to 
your fellow men : but you did not make yourself; you 
are just what circumstances irresistibly compelled you 
to be. I am sorry for your ill properties ; but I enter- 
tain no enmity against you, nothing but benevolence. 
Considering you in the light in which I at present con- 
sider you, I am ready to contribute every thing in my 
power to your real advantage, and would gladly assist 
you, if I knew how, in detecting and extirpating the 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 431 

errors that have misled you. You have disappointed 
me, but I have no reproaches to utter: it is more 
iK-ressary for me to feel compassion for you, than that 
I should accumulate your misfortune by my censures." 

What could I say to such a man as this ? Amiable, 
incomparable man I Never was my mind more pain- 
fully divided than at that moment. The more he ex- 
cited my admiration, the more imperiously did my heart 
command me, whatever were the price it should cost, 
to extort his friendship. I was persuaded that severe 
duty required of him, that he should reject all personal 
considerations, that he should proceed resolutely to the 
investigation of the truth, and that, if he found the 
result terminating in my favour, he should resign all 
his advantages, and, deserted as I was by the world, 
make a common cause, and endeavour to compensate 
the general injustice. But was it for me to force this 
conduct upon him, if, now in his declining years, his 
own fortitude shrank from it ? Alas, neither he nor I 
foresaw the dreadful catastrophe that was so closely 
impending I Otherwise, I am well assured that no 
tenderness for his remaining tranquillity would have 
withheld him from a compliance with my wishes ! On 
the other hand, could I pretend to know what evils 
might result to him from his declaring himself my ad- 
vocate ? Might not his integrity be browbeaten and de- 
feated, as mine had been? Did the imbecility of his grey 
hairs'afford no advantage to my terrible adversary in the 
contest ? Might not Mr. Falkland reduce him to a con- 
dition as wretched and low as mine ? After all, was it 
not vice in me to desire to involve another man in my 
sufferings? If I regarded them as intolerable, this was 
still an additional reason why I should bear them alone. 

Influenced by these considerations, I assented to his 
views. I assented to be thought hardly of by the man 



432 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

in the world whose esteem I most ardently desired, 
rather than involve him in possible calamity. I assented 
to the resigning what appeared to me at that moment 
as the last practicable comfort of my life ; a comfort, 
upon the thought of which, while I surrendered it, my 
mind dwelt with undescribable longings. Mr. Collins 
was deeply affected with the apparent ingenuousness 
with which I expressed my feelings. The secret 
struggle of his mind was, " Can this be hypocrisy? The 
individual with whom I am conferring, if virtuous, is 
one of the most disinterestedly virtuous persons in the 
world." We tore ourselves from each other. Mr. Collins 
promised, as far as he was able, to have an eye upon 
my vicissitudes, and to assist me, in every respect that 
was consistent with a just recollection of consequences. 
Thus I parted as it were with the last expiring hope of 
my mind ; and voluntarily consented, thus maimed and 
forlorn, to encounter all the evils that were yet in store 
for me. 

This is the latest event which at present I think it 
necessary to record. I shall doubtless hereafter have 
further occasion to take up the pen. Great and un- 
precedented as my sufferings have been, I feel inti- 
mately persuaded that there are worse sufferings that 
await me. What mysterious cause is it that enables 
me to write this, and not to perish under the horrible 
apprehension ! 



CHAPTER XV. 

IT is as I foreboded. The presage with which I was 
visited was prophetic. I am now to record a new and 
terrible revolution of my fortune and my mind. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 433 

Having made experiment of various situations with 
one uniform result, I at length determined to remove 
myself, if possible, from the reach of my persecutor, 
by going into voluntary banishment from my native 
soil. This was my last resource for tranquillity, for 
honest fame, for those privileges to which human life is 
indebted for the whole of its value. " In some distant 
climate," said I, " surely I may find that security which 
is necessary to persevering pursuit; surely I may lift 
my head erect, associate with men upon the footing of 
a man, acquire connections, and preserve them ! " It is 
inconceivable with what ardent Teachings of the soul 
I aspired to this termination. 

This last consolation was denied me by the inexorable 
Falkland. 

At the time the project was formed I was at no 
great distance from the east coast of the island, and I 
resolved to take ship at Harwich, and pass immediately 
into Holland. I accordingly repaired to that place, and 
went, almost as soon as I arrived, to the port. But 
there was no vessel perfectly ready to sail. I left the 
port, and withdrew to an inn, where, after some time, 
I retired to a chamber. I was scarcely there before 
the door of the room was opened, and the man whose 
countenance was the most hateful to my eyes, Gines, 
entered the apartment* He shut the door as soon as 
he entered. 

" Youngster," said he, " I have a little private intel- 
ligence to communicate to you. I come as a friend, 
and that I may save you a labour-in-vain trouble. If 
you consider what I have to say in that light, it will be 
the better for you. It is my business now, do you see, 
for want of a better, to see that you do not break out 
of bounds. Not that I much matter having one man 
for my employer, or dancing attendance after another's 

F F 



434 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

heels ; but I have special kindness for you, for some 
good turns that you wot of, and therefore I do not stand 
upon ceremonies ! You have led me a very pretty round 
already ; and, out of the love I bear you, you shall lead 
me as much further, if you will. But beware the salt 
seas I They are out of my orders. You are a prisoner 
at present, and I believe all your life will remain so. 
Thanks to the milk-and-water softness of your former 
master I If I had the ordering of these things, it 
should go with you in another fashion. As long as you 
think proper, you are a prisoner within the rules ; and 
the rules with which the soft-hearted squire indulges 
you, are all England, Scotland, and Wales. But you 
are not to go out of these climates. The squire is de- 
termined you shall never pass the reach of his disposal. 
He has therefore given orders that, whenever you 
attempt so to do, you shall be converted from a pri- 
soner at large to a prisoner in good earnest. A friend 
of mine followed you just now to the harbour ; I was 
within call ; and, if there had been any appearance of 
your setting your foot from land, we should have been 
with you in a trice, and laid you fast by the heels. I 
would advise you, for the future, to keep at a proper 
distance from the sea, for fear of the worst. You see 
I tell you all this for your good. For my part, I should 
be better satisfied if you were in limbo, with a rope 
about your neck, and a comfortable bird's eye prospect 
to the gallows : but I do as I am directed ; and so good 
uight to you I" 

The intelligence thus conveyed to me occasioned an 
instantaneous revolution in both my intellectual and 
animal system. I disdained to answer, or take the 
smallest notice of the fiend by whom it was delivered. 
It is now three days since I received it, and from that 
moment to the present my blood has been in a per- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 4,33 

petual ferment. My thoughts wander from one idea 
of horror to another, with incredible rapidity. I have 
had no sleep. I have scarcely remained in one pos- 
ture for a minute together. It has been with the 
utmost difficulty that I have been able to command 
myself far enough to add a few pages to my story. 
But, uncertain as I am of the events of each succeed- 
ing hour, I determined to force myself to the per- 
formance of this task. AH is not right within me. 
How it will terminate, God knows. I sometimes fear 
that I shall be wholly deserted of my reason. 

What dark, mysterious, unfeeling, unrelenting 
tyrant ! is it come to this ? When Nero and Caligula 
swayed the Roman sceptre, it was a fearful thing to 
offend these bloody rulers. The empire had already 
gpread itself from climate to climate, and from sea to 
sea. If their unhappy victim fled to the rising of the 
sun, where the luminary of day seems to us first to 
ascend from the waves of the ocean, the power of the 
tyrant was still behind him. If he withdrew to the 
west, to Hesperian darkness, and the shores of bar- 
barian Thule, still he was not safe from his gore- 
drenched foe Falkland I art thou the offspring, in 

whom the lineaments of these tyrants are faithfully 
preserved ? Was the world, with all its climates, made 
in vain for thy helpless unoffending victim ? 

Tremble I 

Tyrants have trembled, surrounded with whole armies 
of their Janissaries! What should make thee inac- 
cessible to my fury ? No, I will use no daggers ! I 
will unfold a tale ! I will show thee to the world 
for what thou art ; and all the men that live, shall con- 
fess my truth ! Didst thou imagine that I was alto- 
gether passive, a mere worm, organised to feel sens- 

PF2 



436 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ations of pain, but no emotion of resentment ? Didst 
thou imagine that there was no danger in inflicting on 
me pains however great, miseries however dreadful? 
Didst thou believe me impotent, imbecile, and idiot- 
like, with no understanding to contrive thy ruin, and 
no energy to perpetrate it? 

I will tell a tale ! The justice of the country 
shall hear me ! The elements of nature in universal 
uproar shall not interrupt me I I will speak with a 
voice more fearful than thunder ! Why should I be 
supposed to speak from any dishonourable motive? I 
am under no prosecution now ! I shall not now appear 
to be endeavouring to remove a criminal indictment 
from myself, by throwing it back on its author I 
Shall I regret the ruin that will overwhelm thee? 
Too long have I been tender-hearted and forbearing ! 
What benefit has ever resulted from my mistaken 
clemency? There is no evil thou hast scrupled to 
accumulate upon me ! Neither will I be more scrupu- 
lous 1 Thou hast shown no mercy ; and thou shalt 
receive none ! I must be calm ! bold as a lion, yet 
collected ! 

This is a moment pregnant with fate. I know I 
think I know that I will be triumphant, and crush 
my seemingly omnipotent foe. But, should it be other- 
wise, at least he shall not be every way successful. 
His fame shall not be immortal as he thinks. These 
papers shall preserve the truth ; they shall one day be 
published, and then the world shall do justice on us 
both. Recollecting that, I shall not die wholly without 
consolation. It is not to be endured that falsehood 
and tyranny should reign for ever. 

How impotent are the precautions of man against 
the eternally existing laws of the intellectual world ! 
This Falkland has invented against me every species 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 437 

of foul accusation. He has hunted me from city to 
city. He has drawn his lines of circumvallation round 
me that I may not escape. He has kept his scenters 
of human prey for ever at my heels. He may hunt 
me out of the world. In vain I With this engine, 
this little pen, I defeat all his machinations; I stab 
him in the very point he was most solicitous to de- 
fend! 

Collins ! I now address myself to you. I have con- 
sented that you should yield me no assistance in my 
present terrible situation. I am content to die rather 
than do any thing injurious to your tranquillity. But 
remember, you are my father still! I conjure you, 
by all the love you ever bore me, by the benefits you 
have conferred on me, by the forbearance and kindness 
towards you that now penetrates my soul, by my inno- 
cence for, if these be the last words I shall ever 
write, I die protesting my innocence ! by all these, 
or whatever tie more sacred has influence on your soul, 
I conjure you, listen to my last request! Preserve 
these papers from destruction, and preserve them from 
Falkland ! It is all I ask ! I have taken care to pro- 
vide a safe mode of conveying them into your posses- 
sion : and I have a firm confidence, which I will not 
suffer to depart from me, that they will one day find 
their way to the public ! 

The pen lingers in my trembling fingers ! Is there 
any thing I have left unsaid ? The contents of the 
fatal trunk, from which all my misfortunes originated, 
I have never been able to ascertain. I once thought 
it contained some murderous instrument or relic con- 
nected with the fate of the unhappy Tyrrel. I am 
now persuaded that the secret it encloses, is a faithful 
narrative of that and its concomitant transactions, 
written by Mr. Falkland, and reserved in case of the 
F F 3 



438 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

worst, that, if by any unforeseen event his guilt should 
come to be fully disclosed, it might contribute to re- 
deem the wreck of his reputation. But the truth or 
the falsehood of this conjecture is of little moment. 
If Falkland shall never be detected to the satisfaction 
of the world, such a narrative will probably never see 
the light. In that case this story of mine may amply, 
severely perhaps, supply its place. 

I know not what it is that renders me thus solemn. 
I have a secret foreboding, as if I should never again 
be master of myself. If I succeed in what I now me- 
ditate respecting Falkland, my precaution in the dis- 
posal of these papers will have been unnecessary ; I 
shall no longer be reduced to artifice and evasion. If 
I fail, the precaution will appear to have been wisely 
chosen. 



POSTSCRIPT. 

ALL is over. I have carried into execution my medi- 
tated attempt. My situation is totally changed ; I now 
sit down to give an account of it. For several weeks 
after the completion of this dreadful business, my mind 
was in too tumultuous a state to permit me to write. 
I think I shall now be able to arrange my thoughts 
sufficiently for that purpose. Great God ! how won- 
drous, how terrible are the events that have intervened 
since I was last employed in a similar manner 1 It is 
no wonder that my thoughts were solemn, and my 
mind filled with horrible forebodings ! 

Having formed my resolution, I set out from Har- 
wich, for the metropolitan town of the county in which 
Mr. Falkland resided. Gines, I well knew, was in my 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 439 

rear. That was of no consequence to me. He might 
wonder at the direction I pursued, but he could not tell 
with what purpose I pursued it. My design was a 
secret, carefully locked up in my own breast. It was 
not without a sentiment of terror that I entered a town 
which had been the scene of my long imprisonment. 
I proceeded to the house of the chief magistrate the 
instant I arrived, that I might give no time to my ad- 
rersary to counterwork my proceeding. 

I told him who I was, and that I was come from a 
distant part of the kingdom, for the purpose of render- 
ing him the medium of a charge of murder against my 
former patron. My name was already familiar to him. 
He answered, that he could not take cognizance of my 
deposition ; that I was an object of universal execration 
in that part of the world; and he was determined upon 
no account to be the vehicle of my depravity. 

I warned him to consider well what he was doing. 
I called upon him for no favour ; I only applied to him 
in the regular exercise of his function. Would he take 
upon him to say that he had a right, at his pleasure to 
suppress a charge of this complicated nature? I had 
to accuse Mr. Falkland of repeated murders. The 
perpetrator knew that I was in possession o"f the truth 
upon the subject ; and, knowing that, I went perpe- 
tually in danger of my life from his malice and revenge. 
I was resolved to go through with the business, if 
justice were to be obtained from any court in England. 
Upon what pretence did he refuse my deposition ? I 
was in every respect a competent witness. I was of 
age to understand the nature of an oath ; I was in my 
perfect senses; I was untarnished by the verdict of 
any jury, or the sentence of any judge. His private 
opinion of my character could not alter the law of the 
land. I demanded to be confronted with Mr. Falkland* 
F F 4 



440 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

and I was well assured I should substantiate the charge 
to the satisfaction of the whole world. If he did not 
think proper to apprehend him upon my single testi- 
mony, I should be satisfied if he only sent him notice 
of the charge, and summoned him to appear. 

The magistrate, finding me thus resolute, thought 
proper a little to lower his tone. He no longer abso- 
lutely refused to comply with my requisition, but con- 
descended to expostulate with me. He represented to 
me Mr. Falkland's health, which had for some years 
been exceedingly indifferent; his having been once 
already brought to the most solemn examination upon 
this charge ; the diabolical malice in which alone my 
proceeding must have originated ; and the ten-fold ruin 
it would bring down upon my head. To all these 
representations my answer was short. " I was deter- 
mined to go on, and would abide the consequences." 
A summons was at length granted, and notice sent to 
Mr. Falkland of the charge preferred against him. 

Three days elapsed before any further step could be 
taken in this business. This interval in no degree con- 
tributed to tranquillise my mind. The thought of pre- 
ferring a capital accusation against, and hastening the 
death of, such a man as Mr. Falkland, was by no means 
an opiate to reflection. At one time I commended the 
action, either as just revenge (for the benevolence of 
my nature was in a great degree turned to gall), or as 
necessary self-defence, or as that which, in an impartial 
and philanthropical estimate, included the smallest evil. 
At another time I was haunted with doubts. But, in 
spite of these variations of sentiment, I uniformly deter- 
mined to persist! I felt as if impelled by a tide of 
unconquerable impulse. The consequences were such 
as might well appal the stoutest heart. Either the 
ignominious execution of a man whom I had once so 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 441 

deeply venerated, and whom now I sometimes sus- 
pected not to be without his claims to veneration ; or a 
confirmation, perhaps an increase, of the calamities I 
had so long endured. Yet these I preferred to a state 
of uncertainty. I desired to know the worst ; to put 
an end to the hope, however faint, which had been so 
long my torment ; and, above all, to exhaust and finish 
the catalogue of expedients that were at my disposition. 
My mind was worked up to a state little short of frenzy. 
My body was in a burning fever with the agitation of 
my thoughts. When I laid my hand upon my bosom 
or my head, it seemed to scorch them with the fer- 
vency of its heat. I could not sit still for a moment. 
I panted with incessant desire that the dreadful crisis 
I had so eagerly invoked, were come, and were over. 

After an interval of three days, I met Mr. Falkland 
in the presence of the magistrate to whom I had ap- 
plied upon the subject. I had only two hours' notice 
to prepare myself; Mr. Falkland seeming as eager as I 
to have the question brought to a crisis, and laid at rest 
for ever. I had an opportunity, before the examination, 
to learn that Mr. Forester was drawn by some business 
on an excursion on the continent ; and that Collins, 
whose health when I saw him was in a very precarious 
state, was at this time confined with an alarming illness. 
His constitution had been wholly broken by his West 
Indian expedition. The audience I met at the house 
of the magistrate consisted of several gentlemen and 
others selected for the purpose ; the plan being, in some 
respects, as in the former instance, to find a medium 
between the suspicious air of a private examination, 
and the indelicacy, as it was styled, of an examination 
exposed to the remark of every casual spectator. 

I can conceive of no shock greater than that I re- 
ceived from the sight of Mr. Falkland. His appear- 



442 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

ance on the last occasion on which we met had been 
haggard, ghost-like, and wild, energy in his gestures, 
and frenzy in his aspect. It was now the appearance 
of a corpse. He was brought in in a chair, unable to 
stand, fatigued and almost destroyed by the journey he 
had just taken. His visage was colourless ; his limbs 
destitute of motion, almost of life. His head reclined 
upon his bosom, except that now and then he lifted it 
up, and opened his eyes with a languid glance ; imme- 
diately after which he sunk back into his former appa- 
rent insensibility. He seemed not to have three hours 
to live. He had kept his chamber for several weeks ; 
but the summons of the magistrate had been delivered 
to him at his bed-side, his orders respecting letters and 
written papers being so peremptory that no one dared 
to disobey them. Upon reading the paper he was 
seized with a very dangerous fit; but, as soon as he 
recovered, he insisted upon being conveyed, with all 
practicable expedition, to the place of appointment. 
Falkland, in the most helpless state, was still Falkland, 
firm in command, and capable to extort obedience from 
every one that approached him. 

What a sight was this to me ! Till the moment 
that Falkland was presented to my view, my breast 
was steeled to pity. I thought that I had coolly entered 
into the reason of the case (passion, in a state of 
solemn and omnipotent vehemence, always appears to 
be coolness to him in whom it domineers), and that I 
had determined impartially and justly. I believed 
that, if Mr. Falkland were permitted to persist in his 
schemes, we must both of us be completely wretched' 
I believed that it was in my power, by the resolution I 
had formed, to throw my share of this wretchedness 
from me, and that his could scarcely be increased. It 
appeared therefore to my mind, to be a mere piece of 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 443 

equity and justice, such as an impartial spectator would 
desire, that one person should be miserable in pre- 
ference to two; that one person rather than two should 
be incapacitated from acting his part, and contributing 
his share to the general welfare. I thought that in 
this business I had risen superior to personal con- 
siderations, and judged with a total neglect of the 
suggestions of self-regard. It is true, Mr. Falkland was 
mortal ; but, notwithstanding his apparent decay, he 
might live long. Ought I to submit to waste the best 
years of my life in my present wretched situation? 
He had declared that his reputation should be for ever 
inviolate ; this was his ruling passion, the thought that 
worked his soul to madness. He would probably there- 
fore leave a legacy of persecution to be received by 
me from the hands of Gines, or some other villain 
equally atrocious, when he should himself be no more. 
Now or never was the time for me to redeem my 
future life from endless woe. 

But all these fine-spun reasonings vanished before 
the object that was now presented to me. " Shall I 
trample upon a man thus dreadfully reduced? Shall I 
point my animosity against one, whom the system of 
nature has brought down to the grave ? Shall I poison, 
with sounds the most intolerable to his ears, the last 
moments of a man like Falkland ? It is impossible. 
There must have been some dreadful mistake in the 
train of argument that persuaded me to be the author 
of this hateful scene. There must have been a better 
and more magnanimous remedy to the evils under 
which I groaned." 

It was too late : the mistake I had committed was 
now gone past all power of recall. Here was Falkland, 
solemnly brought before a magistrate to answer to a 
charge of murder. Here I stood, having already de- 



444> CALEB WILLIAMS. 

clared myself the author of the charge, gravely and 
sacredly pledged to support it. This was my situation ; 
and, thus situated, I was called upon immediately to 
act. My whole frame shook. I would eagerly have 
consented that that moment should have been the last 
of my existence. I however believed, that the conduct 
now most indispensably incumbent on me was to lay 
the emotions of my soul naked before my hearers. I 
looked first at Mr. Falkland, and then at the magistrate 
and attendants, and then at Mr. Falkland again. My 
voice was suffocated with agony. I began : 

" Why cannot I recall the last four days of my life? 
How was it possible for me to be so eager, so obstinate, 
in a purpose so diabolical ? Oh, that I had listened to 
the expostulations of the magistrate that hears me, or 
submitted to the well-meant despotism of his authority I 
Hitherto I have been only miserable ; henceforth I 
shall account myself base ! Hitherto, though hardly 
treated by mankind, I stood acquitted at the bar of my 
own conscience. I had not filled up the measure of 
my wretchedness I 

" Would to God it were possible for me to retire 
from this scene without uttering another word ! I 
would brave the consequences I would submit to any 
imputation of cowardice, falsehood, and profligacy, 
rather than add to the weight of misfortune with which 
Mr. Falkland is overwhelmed. But the situation, and 
the demands of Mr. Falkland himself, forbid me. He, 
in compassion for whose fallen state I would willingly 
forget every interest of my own, would compel me to 
accuse, that he might enter upon his justification. I 
will confess every sentiment of my heart. 

" No penitence, no anguish, can expiate the folly 
and the cruelty of this last act I have perpetrated. 
But Mr. Falkland well knows I affirm it in his pre- 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 445 

sence how unwillingly I have proceeded to this ex- 
tremity. I have reverenced him; he was worthy of 
reverence : I have loved him ; he was endowed with 
qualities that partook of divine. 

" From the first moment I saw him, I conceived the 
most ardent admiration. He condescended to en- 
courage me ; I attached myself to him with the fulness 
of my affection. He was unhappy ; I exerted myself 
with youthful curiosity to discover the secret of his 
woe. This was the beginning of misfortune. 

"What shall I say? He was indeed the murderer of 
Tyrrel ; he suffered the Hawkinses to be executed, 
knowing that they were innocent, and that he alone 
was guilty. After successive surmises, after various 
indiscretions on my part, and indications on his, he at 
length confided to me at full the fatal tale I 

" Mr. Falkland ! I most solemnly conjure you to re- 
collect yourself! Did I ever prove myself unworthy 
of your confidence ? The secret was a most painful 
burthen to me ; it was the extremest folly that led me 
unthinkingly to gain possession of it ; but I would have 
died a thousand deaths rather than betray it. It was 
the jealousy of your own thoughts, and the weight that 
hung upon your mind, that led you to watch my mo- 
tions, and to conceive alarm from every particle of my 
conduct. 

"You began in confidence; why did you not continue 
in confidence? The evil that resulted from my 
original imprudence would then have been compar- 
atively little. You threatened me : did I then betray 
you ? A word from my lips at that time would have 
freed me from your threats for ever. I bore them for 
a considerable period, and at Mast quitted your service, 
and threw myself a fugitive upon the world, in silence. 
Why did you not suffer me to depart? You brought 



4-4-6 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

me back by stratagem and violence, and wantonly 
accused me of an enormous felony ! Did I then mention 
a syllable of the murder, the secret of which was in my 
possession ? 

" Where is the man that has suffered more from the 
injustice of society than I have done ? I was accused 
of a villainy that my heart abhorred. I was sent to 
jail. I will not enumerate the horrors of my prison, 
the lightest of which would make the heart of humanity 
shudder. I looked forward to the gallows ! Young, 
ambitious, fond of life, innocent as the child unborn, I 
looked forward to the gallows ! I believed that one 
word of resolute accusation against my patron would 
deliver me ; yet I was silent, I armed myself with 
patience, uncertain whether it were better to accuse or 
to die. Did this show me a man unworthy to be 
trusted ? 

" I determined to break out of prison. With infinite 
difficulty, and repeated miscarriages, I at length effected 
my purpose. Instantly a proclamation, with a hundred 
guineas reward, was issued for apprehending me. I 
was obliged to take shelter among the refuse of man- 
kind, in the midst of a gang of thieves. I encountered 
the most imminent peril of my life when I entered 
this retreat, and when I quitted it. Immediately after, 
I travelled almost the whole length of the kingdom, in 
poverty and distress, in hourly danger of being re-taken 
and manacled like a felon. I would have fled my 
country ; I was prevented. I had recourse to various 
disguises ; I was innocent, and yet was compelled to as 
many arts and subterfuges as could have been entailed 
on the worst of villains. In London I was as much 
harassed and as repeatedly alarmed as I had been in 
my flight through the country. Did all these perse- 
cutions persuade me to put an end to my silence? 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 44-7 

No : I suffered them with patience and submission ; I 
did not make one attempt to retort them upon their 
author. 

I fell at last into the hands of the miscreants that are 
nourished with human blood. In this terrible situation 
I, for the first time, attempted, by turning informer, to 
throw the weight from myself. Happily for me, the 
London magistrate listened to my tale with insolent 
contempt. 

" I soon, and long, repented of my rashness, and re- 
joiced in my miscarriage. 

" I acknowledge that, in various ways, Mr. Falkland 
showed humanity towards me during this period. He 
would have prevented my going to prison at first ; he 
contributed towards my subsistence during my de- 
tention ; he had no share in the pursuit that had been 
set on foot against me ; he at length procured my dis- 
charge, when brought forward for trial. But a great 
part of his forbearance was unknown to me ; I sup- 
posed him to be my unrelenting pursuer. I could not 
forget that, whoever heaped calamities on me in the 
sequel, they all originated in his forged accusation. 

"The prosecution against me for felony was now at 
an end. Why were not my sufferings permitted to 
terminate then, and I allowed to hide my weary head 
in some obscure yet tranquil retreat ? Had I not suf- 
ficiently proved my constancy and fidelity ? Would not 
a compromise in this situation have been most wise 
and most secure? But the restless and jealous anxiety 
of Mr. Falkland would not permit him to repose the 
least atom of confidence. The only compromise that 
he proposed was that, with my own hand, I should 
sijm myself a villain. I refused this proposal, and have 
ever since been driven from place to place, deprived of 
peace, of honest fame, even of bread. For a long time 



448 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

I persisted in the resolution that no emergency should 
convert me into the assailant. In an evil hour I at 
last listened to my resentment and impatience, and the 
hateful mistake into which I fell has produced the 
present scene. 

" I now see that mistake in all its enormity. I am 
sure that if I had .opened my heart to Mr. Falkland, 
if I had told to him privately the tale that I have now 
been telling, he could not have resisted my reasonable 
demand. After all his precautions, lie must ultimately 
have depended upon my forbearance. Could he be 
sure that, if I were at last worked up to disclose every 
thing I knew, and to enforce it with] all the energy I 
could exert, I should obtain no credit ? If he must in 
every case be at my mercy, in which mode ought he to 
have sought his safety, in conciliation, or in inexorable 
cruelty ? 

" Mr. Falkland is of a noble nature. Yes ; in spite of 
the catastrophe of Tyrrel, of the miserable end of the 
Hawkinses, and of all that I have myself suffered, I 
affirm that he has qualities of the most admirable kind. 
It is therefore impossible that he could have resisted 
a frank and fervent expostulation, the frankness and 
the fervour in which the whole soul is poured out. 
I despaired, while it was yet time to have made the 
just experiment ; but my despair was criminal, was 
treason against the sovereignty of truth. 

" I have told a plain and unadulterated tale. I came 
hither to curse, but I remain to bless. I came to ac- 
cuse, but am compelled to applaud. I proclaim to all 
the world, that Mr. Falkland is a man worthy of af- 
fection and kindness, and that I am myself the basest 
and most odious of mankind ! Never will I forgive my- 
self the iniquity of this day. The memory will always 
haunt me, and embitter every hour of my existence. 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 44-9 

In thus acting I have been a murderer a cool, de- 
liberate, unfeeling murderer. I have said what my 
accursed precipitation has obliged me to say. Do with 
me as you please ! I ask no favour. Death would be a 
kindness, compared to what I feel J" 

Such were the accents dictated by my remorse. I 
poured them out with uncontrollable impetuosity ; for 
my heart was pierced, and I was compelled to give 
vent to its anguish. Every one that heard me, was 
petrified with astonishment. Every one that heard me, 
Wit melted into tears. They could not resist the ardour 
with which I praised the great qualities of Falkland ; 
they manifested their sympathy in the tokens of my 
penitence. 

How xhall I describe the feelings of this unfortunate 
man ? Before I began, he seemed sunk and debilitated, 
incapable of any strenuous impression. When I men- 
tioned the murder, I could perceive in him an involun- 
tary shuddering, though it was counteracted partly by 
the feebleness of his frame, and partly by the energy 
of his mind. This was an allegation he expected, and 
he had endeavoured to prepare himself for it. But 
there was much of what I said, of which he had had no 
previous conception. When I expressed the anguish 
of my mind, he seemed at first startled and alarmed, 
lest this should be a new expedient to gain credit to 
my tale. His indignation against me was great for 
having retained all my resentment towards him, thus, 
as it might be, to the last hour of his existence. It was 
increased when he discovered me, as he supposed, 
using a pretence of liberality and sentiment to give 
new edge to my hostility. But as I went on he could 
no longer resist. He saw my sincerity ; he was pene- 
trated with my grief and compunction. He rose from 
his seat, supported by the attendants, and to my in- 
finite astonishment threw himself into my arms ! 
G G 



4-50 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

" Williams," said he, " you have conquered ! I see 
too late the greatness and elevation of your mind. I 
confess that it is to my fault and not yours, that it is 
to the excess of jealousy that was ever burning in my 
bosom, that I owe my ruin. I could have resisted any 
plan of malicious accusation you might have brought 
against me. But I see that the artless and manly 
story you have told, has carried conviction to every 
hearer. All my prospects are concluded. All that I 
most ardently desired, is for ever frustrated. I have 
spent a life of the basest cruelty, to cover one act of 
momentary vice, and to protect myself against the 
prejudices of my species. I stand now completely de- 
tected. My name will be consecrated to infamy, while 
your heroism, your patience, and your virtues will be 
for ever admired. You have inflicted on me the most 
fatal of all mischiefs ; but I bless the hand that wounds 
me. And now," turning to the magistrate "and 
now, do with me as you please. I am prepared to suffer 
all the vengeance of the law. You cannot inflict on me 
more than I deserve. You cannot hate me, more than 
I hate myself. I am the most execrable of all villains. 
I have for many years (I know not how long) dragged 
on a miserable existence in insupportable pain. I am 
at last, in recompense for all my labours and my crimes, 
dismissed from it with the disappointment of my only 
remaining hope, the destruction of that for the sake of 
which alone I consented to exist. It was worthy of 
such a life, that it should continue just long enough to 
witness this final overthrow. If however you wish to 
punish me, you must be speedy in your justice ; for, as 
reputation was the blood that warmed my heart, so I 
feel that death and infamy must seize me together." 

I record the praises bestowed on me by Falkland, 
not because I deserved them, but because they serve 
to aggravate the baseness of my cruelty. He survived 



CALEB WILLIAMS. 451 

this dreadful scene but three days. I have been his 
murderer. It was fit that he should praise my patience, 
who has fallen a victim, life and fame, to my precipi- 
tation ! It would have been merciful in comparison, if 
I had planted a dagger in his heart. He would have 
thanked me for my kindness. But, atrocious, execrable 
wretch that I have been I I wantonly inflicted on him 
an anguish a thousand times worse than death. Mean- 
while I endure the penalty of my crime. His figure is 
ever in imagination before me. Waking or sleeping, I 
still behold him. He seems mildly to expostulate with 
me for my unfeeling behaviour. I live the devoted 
victim of conscious reproach. Alas ! I am the same 
Caleb Williams that, so short a time ago, boasted that, 
however great were the calamities I endured, I was still 
innocent. 

Such has been the result of a project I formed, for 
delivering myself from the evil that had so long at- 
tended me. I thought that, if Falkland were dead, I 
should return once again to all that makes life worth 
possessing. I thought that, if the guilt of Falkland 
were established, fortune and the world would smile 
upon my efforts. Both these events are accomplished ; 
and it is now only that I am truly miserable. 

Why should my reflections perpetually centre upon 
myself? self, an overweening regard to which has 
been the source of my errors ! Falkland, I will think 
only of thee, and from that thought will draw ever- 
fresh nourishment for my sorrows! One generous, 
one disinterested tear I will consecrate to thy ashes ! 
A nobler spirit lived not among the sons of men. Thy 
intellectual powers were truly sublime, and thy bosom 
burned with a godlike ambition. But of what use are 
talents and sentiments in the corrupt wilderness of 
human society? It is a rank and rotten soil, from 
which every finer shrub draws poison as it grows. All 



452 CALEB WILLIAMS. 

that, in a happier field and a purer air, would expand 
into virtue and germinate into usefulness, is thus con- 
verted into henbane and deadly nightshade. 

Falkland ! thou enteredst upon thy career with the 
purest and most laudable intentions. But thou im- 
bibedst the poison of chivalry with thy earliest youth ; 
and the base and low-minded envy that met thee on 
thy return to thy native seats, operated with this poison 
to hurry thee into madness. Soon, too soon, by this 
fatal coincidence, were the blooming hopes of thy 
youth blasted for ever. From that moment thou only 
continuedst to live to the phantom of departed honour. 
From that moment thy benevolence was, in a great 
part, turned into rankling jealousy and inexorable pre- 
caution. Year after year didst thou spend in this mi- 
serable project of imposture ; and only at last con- 
tinuedst to live, long enough to see, by my misjudging 
and abhorred intervention, thy closing hope disap- 
pointed, and thy death accompanied with the foulest 
disgrace ! 

I began these memoirs with the idea of vindicating 
my character. I have now no character that I wish to 
vindicate : but I will finish them that thy story may 
be fully understood ; and that, if those errors of thy 
life be known which thou so ardently desiredst to 
conceal, the world may at least not hear and repeat a 
half-told and mangled tale. 



THE END. 



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New-Street- Square. 



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