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malice, that I fled out of her company as hastily as I could.

"The very next morning I took my passage in the stage-coach for my native town in the north of England, heartily out of humour with my trip to Corsica; but even here I could not shake off old habits, so far as to resist the temptation of getting into a postchaise for the last stage, by which manœuvre I took the credit of having travelled like a gentleman, and became entitled to rail against the post-tax and the expenses of the road.

"I was now voted into a club of the chief inhabitants of the place, and as I had no reason to believe the story of my late discomfiture had reached them, I soon recovered my spirits, and with them the amplifying powers of my invention. My stories, for a considerable time, were swallowed so glibly, and seemed to sit so easy on the stomachs of these natural, unsophisticated people, that I was encouraged to increase the dose to such a degree as seemed at length to produce something like a nausea with those I administered it to; especially with a certain precise personage of the sect of Quakers, one Simon Stiff, a wealthy trader, and much respected for his probity and fair dealing. Simon had a way of asking me at the end of a story But is it true? - which sometimes disconcerted me, and considerably lessened the applauses that the rest of the club had been accustomed to bestow upon my narratives.

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"One evening, when I had been describing an enormous shark, by which I had been attacked in one of my West India voyages, Simon Stiff, lifting up both his hands in an attitude of astonishment, cried out: Verily, friend Cracker, thou drawest a long bow.' With an angry look I demanded the meaning of that expression. 'I mean,' replied Si

mon, 'thou speakest the thing which is not.' 'That is as much as to say I tell a lie.' 'Even so, friend, thou hast hit it,' said Simon, without altering his voice, or regarding the tone of rage I had thrown mine into; the steady serenity of his countenance put me down, and I suffered him to proceed without interruption. 'Thou hast told us many things, friend Cracker, that are perfectly incredible; were I to attempt imposing upon my customers in the way of traffic, as thou dost upon thy company in the way of talk, the world would justly set me down for a dishonest man. Believe me, thou mayest be a very good companion without swerving from the truth; nay, thou canst no otherwise be a good one than by adhering to it; for if thou art in the practice of uttering falsehoods, we shall be in the practice of disbelieving thee, even when thou speakest the truth, and so there will be an end of all confidence in society, and thy word will pass for nothing. I have observed it is thy vanity that betrays thee into falsehood; I should have hoped thou wouldst not have forgotten how thy falsehood betrayed thee into shame, and how we received and welcomed thee into our society, when thy friends in the metropolis had hooted thee out of theirs. Think not thou canst establish a credit with us by the fictions of imagination; plain truths suit men of plain understandings. Had thy shark been as big again as thou wouldst have us believe it was, what wouldst thou have gained by it? Nothing but the merit of having seen a monster; and what is that compared to the risk of being thought a monster-maker? If thou wast

snatched from the jaws of the animal by the hand of God, give God the praise; if thine own courage and address contributed to save thee, give him still the praise, who inspired thee with those means of

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furthering his providence in thy rescue; where is the ground for boasting in all this? Sometimes thou wouldst persuade us thou art a man of consequence, in the favour of princes, and in the secrets of ministers. If we are to believe all this, thou dost but libel those ministers for letting such a babbler into their councils, and if thou thinkest to gain a consequence with us thereby, thou art grievously deceived, friend Cracker, for we do not want to know what thou oughtest not to tell, and we despise the servant who betrayeth his master's trust. As for wonders, what signifieth telling us of them? The time is full of wonders; the revolution of empires, the fall of despotism, and the emancipation of mankind, are objects whose superior magnitude makes thy shark shrink into an atom. Had the monster gorged thee at a mouthful, how many thousands, nay, tens of thousands have the voracious jaws of death devoured in a succession of campaigns, which have made creation melt? Didst thou escape the monster? what then ; how can we have leisure to reflect upon thy single deliverance, when we call to mind the numbers of despairing captives, who have been liberated from the dungeons of tyranny? In a word, friend Cracker, if it is through a love for the marvellous thou makest so free with the sacred name of truth, thou dost but abuse our patience and thine own time in hunting after sharks and monsters of the deep; and if thou hast any other motive for fiction than the above, it must be a motive less innocent than what I have supposed, and in that case we hold thee dangerous to society, and a disgrace to human na


"Here, he concluded, and though the length and deliberate solemnity of his harangue had given me time enough, yet I had not so availed myself of it as

to collect my thoughts, and prepare myself for any kind of defence; how to deal with this formal old fellow I knew not. To cudgel him was a service of more danger than I saw fit to engage in, for he was of athletic limbs and stature; to challenge him to a gentleman's satisfaction, being a Quaker, would have subjected me to universal ridicule. I rose from my chair, took my hat from the peg, and abruptly quitted the room. Next morning I sent to cut my name out of the club, but behold! they had saved me that ceremony over night, and I had once more a new set of acquaintance to go in search of.

"In this solitary interim I strove to lighten the burden of time by starting a correspondence with one of our public prints, and so long as I supplied it with anecdotes from the country, I may say, without vanity, there was neither fire nor flood, murder, rape, nor robbery, wanting to embellish it. I broke two or three necks at a horserace without any detriment to the community, and, for the amusement of my readers, drove over blind beggars, drowned drunken farmers, and tossed women with child by mad bullocks, without adding one item to the bills of mortality. I made matches without number, which the register never recorded. I was at the same time a correspondent at Brussels, a resident in Spain, and a traveller at Constantinople, who gave secret information of all proceedings in those several places, and by the mysterious style in which I enveloped my dispatches, nobody could fix a falsehood on my intelligence, till I imprudently fought a battle on the banks of the Danube after the armies were gone into winter quarters, which did the Turk no mischief, and effectually blasted me with the compiler, and him with the public.

"I am now out of business, and if you want any

thing in my way to enliven your Observers, which, give me leave to remark, are sometimes rather of the dullest, I shall be proud to serve you, being "Your very humble servant,

66 at command,


N. B. I do not want any thing in Kit Cracker's way; but though I decline the offer of his assistance, I willingly avail myself of the moral of his example.


Λυποῦντα τὸν πλησίον, οὐ ῥάδιον αὑτὸν ἄλυπον εἶναι.


He, who another's peace annoys,
By the same act his own destroys.


"As I have lived long enough to repent of a fatal propensity, that has led me to commit many offences, not the less irksome to my present feelings for the secrecy with which I contrived to execute them, and as these can now be no otherwise atoned for than by a frank confession, I have resolved upon this mode of addressing myself to you. Few people choose to display their own characters to the world in such colours as I shall give to mine, but as I have mangled so many reputations in my time without mercy, I should be the meanest of mankind if I spared my

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