I procured a new lodging. By some bias of the mind, it may be, gratifyin_tself with images of peril, I inclined to believe that Mrs. Marney's alar_ad not been without foundation. I was however unable to conjecture throug_hat means danger had approached me; and had therefore only the unsatisfactor_emedy of redoubling my watch upon all my actions. Still I had the join_onsiderations pressing upon me of security and subsistence. I had some smal_emains of the produce of my former industry; but this was but small, for m_mployer was in arrear with me, and I did not choose in any method to apply t_im for payment. The anxieties of my mind, in spite of all my struggles,
preyed upon my health. I did not consider myself as in safety for an instant.
My appearance was wasted to a shadow; and I started at every sound that wa_nexpected. Sometimes I was half tempted to resign myself into the hands o_he law, and brave its worst; but resentment and indignation at those time_peedily flowed back upon my mind, and re-animated my perseverance.
I knew no better resource with respect to subsistence than that I had employe_n the former instance, of seeking some third person to stand between me an_he disposal of my industry. I might find an individual ready to undertak_his 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 fro_he watchmakers, and had an apartment upon our second floor. I examined hi_wo 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 kindl_nvited me into his apartment.
Being seated, he condoled with me upon my seeming bad health, and the solitar_ode of my living, and wished to know whether he could be of any service t_e. "From the first moment he saw me, he had conceived an affection for me."
In my present disguise I appeared twisted and deformed, and in other respect_y no means an object of attraction. But it seemed Mr. Spurrel had lost a_nly son about six months before, and I was "the very picture of him." If _ad put off my counterfeited ugliness, I should probably have lost all hol_pon his affections. "He was now an old man," as he observed, "just droppin_nto the grave, and his son had been his only consolation. The poor lad wa_lways ailing, but he had been a nurse to him; and the more tending h_equired while he was alive, the more he missed him now he was dead. Now h_ad not a friend, nor any body that cared for him, in the whole world. If _leased, I should be instead of that son to him, and he would treat me in al_espects with the same attention and kindness."
I expressed my sense of these benevolent offers, but told him that I should b_orry to be in any way burthensome to him. "My ideas at present led me to _rivate and solitary life, and my chief difficulty was to reconcile this wit_ome mode of earning necessary subsistence. If he would condescend to lend m_is assistance in smoothing this difficulty, it would be the greatest benefi_e could confer on me." I added, that "my mind had always had a mechanical an_ndustrious turn, and that I did not doubt of soon mastering any craft t_hich 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 a_e pleased for a bare subsistence. I knew that I was asking of him a_xtraordinary kindness; but I was urged on the one hand by the most extrem_ecessity, and encouraged on the other by the persuasiveness of his friendl_rofessions."
The old man dropped some tears over my apparent distress, and readil_onsented to every thing I proposed. Our agreement was soon made, and _ntered upon my functions accordingly. My new friend was a man of a singula_urn of mind. Love of money, and a charitable officiousness of demeanour, wer_is leading characteristics. He lived in the most penurious manner, and denie_imself every indulgence. I entitled myself almost immediately, as he frankl_cknowledged, to some remuneration for my labours, and accordingly he insiste_pon my being paid. He did not however, as some persons would have done unde_he circumstance, pay me the whole amount of my earnings, but professed t_ubtract from them twenty per cent, as an equitable consideration fo_nstruction, and commission-money in procuring me a channel for my industry.
Yet he frequently shed tears over me, was uneasy in every moment of ou_ndispensable separation, and exhibited perpetual tokens of attachment an_ondness. I found him a man of excellent mechanical contrivance, and receive_onsiderable pleasure from his communications. My own sources of informatio_ere various; and he frequently expressed his wonder and delight in th_ontemplation of my powers, as well of amusement as exertion.
Thus I appeared to have attained a situation not less eligible than in m_onnection with Mrs. Marney. I was however still more unhappy. My fits o_espondence were deeper, and of more frequent recurrence. My health every da_rew worse; and Mr. Spurrel was not without apprehensions that he should los_e, as he before lost his only son.
I had not been long however in this new situation, before an incident occurre_hich filled me with greater alarm and apprehension than ever. I was walkin_ut one evening, after a long visitation of languor, for an hour's exercis_nd air, when my ears were struck with two or three casual sounds from th_outh of a hawker who was bawling his wares. I stood still to inform mysel_ore exactly, when, to my utter astonishment and confusion, I heard hi_eliver himself nearly in these words: "Here you have the MOST WONDERFUL AN_URPRISING HISTORY AND MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES OF CALEB WILLIAMS: _you ar_nformed how he first robbed, and then brought false accusations against hi_aster; as also of his attempting divers times to break out of prison, till a_ast he effected his escape in the most wonderful and uncredible manner; a_lso of his travelling the kingdom in various disguises, and the robberies h_ommitted with a most desperate and daring gang of thieves; and of his comin_p to London, where it is supposed he now lies concealed; with a true an_aithful copy of the hue and cry printed and published by one of his Majesty'_ost principal secretaries of state, offering a reward of one hundred guinea_or apprehending him. All for the price of one halfpenny_."
Petrified as I was at these amazing and dreadful sounds, I had the temerity t_o up to the man and purchase one of his papers. I was desperately resolved t_now the exact state of the fact, and what I had to depend upon. I carried i_ith me a little way, till, no longer able to endure the tumult of m_mpatience, I contrived to make out the chief part of its contents, by th_elp of a lamp, at the upper end of a narrow passage. I found it contain _reater number of circumstances than could have been expected in this specie_f publication, I was equalled to the most notorious housebreaker in the ar_f penetrating through walls and doors, and to the most accomplished swindle_n plausibleness, duplicity, and disguise. The hand-bill which Larkins ha_irst 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 upo_heir watch against a person of an uncouth and extraordinary appearance, an_ho lived in a recluse and solitary manner. I also learned from this pape_hat 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 o_elony.—This last circumstance affected me deeply. In the midst of my ow_ufferings my sympathies flowed undiminished. It was a most cruel an_ntolerable idea, if I were not only myself to be an object of unrelentin_ersecution, but my very touch were to be infectious, and every one tha_uccoured me was to be involved in the common ruin. My instant feeling wa_hat of a willingness to undergo the utmost malice of my enemies, could I b_hat means have saved this excellent woman from alarm and peril.—I afterward_earned that Mrs. Marney was delivered from confinement, by the interpositio_f her noble relation.
My sympathy for Mrs. Marney however was at this moment a transient one. A mor_mperious and irresistible consideration demanded to be heard.
With what sensations did I ruminate upon this paper? Every word of it carrie_espair to my heart. The actual apprehension that I dreaded would perhaps hav_een less horrible. It would have put an end to that lingering terror to whic_ was a prey. Disguise was no longer of use. A numerous class of individuals,
through every department, almost every house of the metropolis, would b_nduced to look with a suspicious eye upon every stranger, especially ever_olitary stranger, that fell under their observation. The prize of one hundre_uineas was held out to excite their avarice and sharpen their penetration. I_as no longer Bow-street, it was a million of men in arms against me. Neithe_ad I the refuge, which few men have been so miserable as to want, of on_ingle individual with whom to repose my alarms, and who might shelter me fro_he gaze of indiscriminate curiosity.
What could exceed the horrors of this situation? My heart knocked against m_ibs, 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 n_ermination! Termination! No; the lapse of time, that cures all other things,
makes my case more desperate! Why then," exclaimed I, a new train of though_uddenly rushing into my mind, "why should I sustain the contest any longer? _an at least elude my persecutors in death. I can bury myself and the trace_f my existence together in friendly oblivion; and thus bequeath eterna_oubt, 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 m_leasure; and I hastened to the Thames to put it in instant execution. Suc_as the paroxysm of my mind that my powers of vision became partiall_uspended. I was no longer conscious to the feebleness of disease, but rushe_long with fervent impetuosity. I passed from street to street withou_bserving what direction I pursued. After wandering I know not how long, _rrived at London Bridge. I hastened to the stairs, and saw the river covere_ith 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 sinc_y first desperate purpose. My understanding began to return. The sight of th_essels suggested to me the idea of once more attempting to leave my nativ_ountry.
I enquired, and speedily found that the cheapest passage I could procure wa_n a vessel moored near the Tower, and which was to sail in a few days fo_iddleburgh in Holland. I would have gone instantly on board, and hav_ndeavoured 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 pai_he captain half his demand, and promised to return with the rest. I knew no_n what manner it was to be procured, but I believed that I should not fail i_t. I had some idea of applying to Mr. Spurrel. Surely he would not refuse me?
He appeared to love me with parental affection, and I thought I might trus_yself for a moment in his hands.
I approached my 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 ou_ith fatigue, disappointment, and the ill state of my health, I sunk upon _hair. Speedily however I recollected myself. I had work of Mr. Spurrel's i_y trunk, which had been delivered out to me that very morning, to five time_he amount I wanted. I canvassed for a moment whether I should make use o_his property as if it were my own; but I rejected the idea with disdain. _ad never in the smallest degree merited the reproaches that were east upo_e; and I determined I never would merit them. I sat gasping, anxious, full o_he blackest forebodings. My terrors appeared, even to my own mind, greate_nd more importunate than the circumstances authorised.
It was extraordinary that Mr. Spurrel should be abroad at this hour; I ha_ever known it happen before. His bed-time was between nine and ten. Te_'clock came, eleven o'clock, but not Mr. Spurrel. At midnight I heard hi_nock at the door. Every soul in the house was in bed. Mr. Spurrel, on accoun_f 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 dow_tairs, and opened the door.
I could perceive, by the little taper in my hand, something extraordinary i_is countenance. I had not time to speak, before I saw two other men follo_im. At the first glance I was sufficiently assured what sort of persons the_ere. At the second, I perceived that one of them was no other than Gine_imself. I had understood formerly that he had been of this profession, and _as not surprised to find him in it again. Though I had for three hour_ndeavoured, as it were, to prepare myself for the unavoidable necessity o_alling once again into the hands of the officers of law, the sensation I fel_t their entrance was indescribably agonising. I was besides not a littl_stonished at the time and manner of their entrance; and I felt anxious t_now 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 th_oor, than he exclaimed, with convulsive eagerness, "There, there, that i_our man! thank God! thank God!" Gines looked eagerly in my face, with _ountenance expressive alternately of hope and doubt, and answered, "By God,
and I do not know whether it be or no! I am afraid we are in the wrong box!"
Then recollecting himself, "We will go into the house, and examine furthe_owever." We all went up stairs into Mr. Spurrel's room; I set down the candl_pon the table. I had hitherto been silent; but I determined not to deser_yself, 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 th_haracteristics of which was lisping, I asked, "Pray, gentlemen, what may b_our pleasure with me?"—"Why," said Gines, "our errand is with one Cale_illiams, 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 pleas_o pull off your face; or, if you cannot do that, at least you can pull of_our clothes, and let us see what your hump is made of."
I remonstrated, but in vain. I stood detected in part of my artifice; an_ines, though still uncertain, was every moment more and more confirmed in hi_uspicions. Mr. Spurrel perfectly gloated, with eyes that seemed ready t_evour every thing that passed. As my imposture gradually appeared mor_alpable, he repeated his exclamation, "Thank God! thank God!" At last, tire_ith this scene of mummery, and disgusted beyond measure with the base an_ypocritical figure I seemed to exhibit, I exclaimed, "Well, I am Cale_illiams; conduct me wherever you please! And now, Mr. Spurrel!"—He gave _iolent start. The instant I declared myself his transport had been at th_ighest, and was, to any power he was able to exert, absolutel_ncontrollable. But tile unexpectedness of my address, and the tone in which _poke, electrified him.—"Is it possible," continued I, "that you should hav_een the wretch to betray me? What have I done to deserve this treatment? I_his the kindness you professed? the affection that was perpetually in you_outh? to be the death of me!"
"My poor boy! my dear creature!" cried Spurrel, whimpering, and in a tone o_he humblest expostulation, "indeed I could not help it! I would have helpe_t, if I could! I hope they will not hurt my darling! I am sure I shall die i_hey do!"
"Miserable driveller!" interrupted I, with a stern voice, "do you betray m_nto the remorseless fangs of the law, and then talk of my not being hurt? _now my sentence, and am prepared to meet it! You have fixed the halter upo_y neck, and at the same price would have done so to your only son! Go, coun_our accursed guineas I My life would have been safer in the hands of one _ad never seen than in yours, whose mouth and whose eyes for ever ran ove_ith crocodile affection!"
I have always believed that my sickness, and, as he apprehended, approachin_eath, contributed its part to the treachery of Mr. Spurrel. He predicted t_is own mind the time when I should no longer be able to work. He recollecte_ith agony the expense that attended his son's illness and death. H_etermined to afford me no assistance of a similar kind. He feared however th_eproach 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 no_ave deserted me. He was driven by a sort of implicit impulse, for the sake o_voiding one ungenerous action, to take refuge in another, the basest and mos_iabolical. This motive, conjoining with the prospect of the proffered reward,