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Wherefore, I was in care how to speak with some friend about it; and that friendly baker, whose wife was a Friend, living on the other side of the street, at a little distance; I went out at a back door, intending to step over the way to their house, and return immediately.
It so fell out, that some of the lieutenants of whom esquire Clark, who committed me was one, were standing in a balcony at a great inn or tavern, just over the place were I was to go by, and he espying me, called out to the soldiers, who stood thick below in the street, to stop me. They being generally gentlemen's servants, and many of them knowing me, did civilly forbear to lay hold on me, but calling modestly after me, said, Stay, sir, stay ; pray come back. I heard, but was not willing to hear; therefore rather mended my pace, that I might have got within the door. But he calling earnestly after me, and charging them to stop me, some of them were fain to run ; and laying hold on me, before I could open the door, brought me back to my place again.
Being thus disappointed, I took a pen and ink, and wrote a few lines; which I sealed up and gave to the apprentice in the shop, who had carried himself handsomely to me, and desired him to deliver it to that Friend, who was their neighbour, which he promised to do.
By the time I had done this, came the 1. dier that was appointed to conduct me out of
I knew the man, for he lived within a
mile of me, being, through poverty, reduced to keep an ale-house ; but he had lived in bet. ter fashion, having kept an inn at Thame; and by that means knew how to behave himself civilly, and did so to me.
He told me he was ordered to wait on me to Whately; and to tarry there at such an inn, till esquire Clark came thither, who would then take me home with him in his coach. Accordingly to Whately we walked, which is from Oxford some four or five miles; and long we had not been there, before Clark and a great company of rude men came in.
He alighted, and stayed awhile to eat and drink, though he came but from Oxford, and invited me to eat with him ; but I, though I had need enough, refused it; for indeed their conversation was a burthen to my life, and made me often think of and pity good Lot,
He seemed at that time to be in a sort of mixed temper, between pleasantness and sour
He would sometimes joke, which was natural to him, and cast out a jesting flirt at me ; but he would rail maliciously against the Quakers. If, said he to me, the king would authorize me to do it, I would not leave a Quaker alive in England, except you. I would make no more, added he, to set my pistol to their ears, and shoot them through the head, than I would to kill a dog. I told him, I was sorry he had so ill an opinion of the Quakers, but I was glad he had no cause
for it; and I hoped he would be of a better mind.
I had in my hand a little walking-stick, with a head on it; which he commended, and took out of my hand to look on it, but I saw his intention was to search it, whether it had a tuck in it; for he tried to have drawn the head; but when he found it was fast, he returned it to me.
He told me I should ride with him to his house in his coach; which was nothing pleasant to me, for I had rather have gone on foot, as bad as the ways were, that I might have been out of his company. Wherefore, I took no notice of any kindness in the offer, but only answered, I was at his disposal, not mine own.
But when we were ready to go, the marshal came to me and told me, if I pleased I should ride his horse, and he would go in the coach with Mr. Clark. I was glad of the offer, and only told him he should take out his pistols then, for I would not ride with them. He took them out, and laid them in the coach by him, and away we went.
It was a very fine beast that I was set on; by much the best in the company. But though she was very tall, yet the ways being very foul, I found it needful as soon as I was out of town, to alight and take up the stirrups. Meanwhile, they driving hard on, I was so far behind, that being at length missed by the
company, a soldier was sent back to look af. ter me.
As soon as I had fitted my stirrups, and was remounted, I gave the rein to my mare, which being courageous and nimble, and impatient of delay, made great speed to recover the company:
And in a narrow passage, the soldier, (who was my barber that had fetched me from home) and I met upon so brisk a gallop, that we had enough to do on either side, to take up our horses and avoid a brush.
When we were come to Weston, where esquire Clark lived, he took the marshal, and some others with him into the parlour; but I was left in the hall, to be exposed a second time for the family to gaze on.
At length himself came out to me, leading in his hand a beloved daughter of his, a young woman of about eighteen years of age ; who wanted nothing to have made her comely, but gravity. An airy piece she was, and very merry she made herself at me.
This was all by candle light. And when they had made themselves as much sport with me as they would, the marshal took his leave of them; and mounting me on a horse of Clark's, had me home to my father's that night.
Next morning, before the marshal went away, my father and he consulted together how to entangle me.
I felt there were snares laid, but I did not know in what manner, or
to what end, till the marshal was ready to go; and then, .coming where I was to take his leave of me, he desired me to take notice, that although he had brought me home to my fa. ther's house again, yet I was not discharged from my imprisonment, but was his prisoner still; and that he had committed me to the care of my father, to see me forth-coming whenever I should be called for. And therefore he expected I should in all things observe my father's orders; and not go at any time from the house without his leave:
Now I plainly saw the snare, and to what. end it was laid. And I asked him if this device was not contrived to keep me from going to meetings. He said, I must not go to meet. ings. Whereupon I desired him to take notice, that I would not own myself a prisoner to any man while I continued here. That if he had power to detain me prisoner, he might take me back again with him if he would, and I should not refuse to go with him. But I bid him assure himself, that while I was at home, I would take my liberty both to go to meetings and to visit Friends. He siniled and said, if I would be resolute he could not help it; and so took his leave of me.
By this I perceived that the plot was of my father's laying, to have brought me under such an engagement, as should have tied me from going to meetings; and thereupon I expected I should have a new exercise from my father.