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Chapter 10

  • 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,
  • was an incitement too powerful for him to resist.