“I’ll hold thee a guinea of that,” said the wit, throwing the money on the table. “And I’ll go your halves,” cries the other. “Done,” answered Adams; but upon applying to his pocket he was forced to retract, and own he had no money about him which set them all a-laughing, and confirmed the triumph of his adversary, which was not moderate, any more than the approbation he met with from the whole company, who told Adams he must go a little longer to school before he attempted to attack that gentleman in Latin.

The clerk, having finished the depositions, as well of the fellow himself, as of those who apprehended the prisoners, delivered them to the justice; who, having sworn the several witnesses without reading a syllable, ordered his clerk to make the mittimus.

Adams then said, “He hoped he should not be condemned unheard.” “No, no,” cries the justice, “you will be asked what you have to say for yourself when you come on your trial: we are not trying you now; I shall only commit you to gaol: if you can prove your innocence at ’size, you will be found ignoramus, and so no harm done.” “Is it no punishment, sir, for an innocent man to lie several months in gaol?” cries Adams: “I beg you would at least hear me before you sign the mittimus.” “What signifies all you can say?” says the justice: “is it not here in black and white against you? I must tell you you are a very impertinent fellow to take up so much of my time. So make haste with his mittimus.”

The clerk now acquainted the justice that among other suspicious things, as a penknife, &c., found in Adams’s pocket, they had discovered a book written, as he apprehended, in cyphers; for no one could read a word in it. “Ay,” says the justice, “the fellow may be more than a common robber, he may be in a plot against the Government. Produce the book.” Upon which the poor manuscript of Æschylus, which Adams had transcribed with his own hand, was brought forth; and the justice, looking at it, shook his head, and, turning to the prisoner, asked the meaning of those cyphers. “Cyphers?” answered Adams, “it is a manuscript of Æschylus.” “Who? who?” said the justice. Adams repeated, “Æschylus.” “That is an outlandish name,” cried the clerk. “A fictitious name rather, I believe,” said the justice. One of the company declared it looked very much like Greek. “Greek?” said the justice; “why, ’tis all writing.” “No,” says the other, “I don’t positively say it is so; for it is a very long time since I have seen any Greek.” “There’s one,” says he, turning to the parson of the parish, who was present, “will tell us immediately.” The parson, taking up the book, and putting on his spectacles and gravity together, muttered some words to himself, and then pronounced aloud—“Ay, indeed, it is a Greek manuscript; a very fine piece of antiquity. I make no doubt but it was stolen from the same clergyman from whom the rogue took the cassock.” “What did the rascal mean by his Æschylus?” says the justice. “Pooh!” answered the doctor, with a contemptuous grin, “do you think that fellow knows anything of this book? Æschylus! ho! ho! I see now what it is—a manuscript of one of the fathers. I know a nobleman who would give a great deal of money for such a piece of antiquity. Ay, ay, question and answer. The beginning is the catechism in Greek. Ay, ay, Pollaki toi: What’s your name?”—“Ay, what’s your name?” says the justice to Adams; who answered, “It is Æschylus, and I will maintain it.”—“Oh! it is,” says the justice: “make Mr. Æschylus his mittimus. I will teach you to banter me with a false name.”

One of the company, having looked steadfastly at Adams, asked him, “If he did not know Lady Booby?” Upon which Adams, presently calling him to mind, answered in a rapture, “O squire! are you there? I believe you will inform his worship I am innocent.”—“I can indeed say,” replied the squire, “that I am very much surprised to see you in this situation”: and then, addressing himself to the justice, he said, “Sir, I assure you Mr. Adams is a clergyman, as he appears, and a gentleman of a very good character. I wish you would enquire a little farther into this affair; for I am convinced of his innocence.”—‘ Nay,” says the justice, “if he is a gentleman, and you are sure he is innocent, I don’t desire to commit him, not I: I will commit the woman by herself, and take your bail for the gentleman: look into the book, clerk, and see how it is to take bail—come—and make the mittimus for the woman as fast as you can.”—“Sir,” cries Adams, “I assure you she is as innocent as myself.”— “Perhaps,” said the squire, “there may be some mistake! pray let us hear Mr. Adams’s relation.”—“With all my heart,” answered the justice; “and give the gentleman a glass to wet his whistle before he begins. I know how to behave myself to gentlemen as well as another. Nobody can say I have committed a gentleman since I have been in the commission.” Adams then began the narrative, in which, though he was very prolix, he was uninterrupted, unless by

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.