The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, by Tobias Smollett

Chapter XXXIII.

Peregrine takes leave of his Aunt and Sister — Sets out from the Garrison-Parts with his Uncle and Hatchway on the Road, and with his Governor arrives in safety at Dover.

This, however, was the last effort of invention which they practised upon him; and everything being now prepared for the departure of his godson, that hopeful youth in two days took leave of all his friends in the neighbourhood. He was closeted two whole hours with his aunt, who enriched him with many pious advices, recapitulated all the benefits which, through her means, had been conferred upon him since his infancy, cautioned him against the temptations of lewd women, who bring many a man to a morsel of bread, laid strict injunctions upon him to live in the fear of the Lord and the true Protestant faith, to eschew quarrels and contention, to treat Mr. Jolter with reverence and regard, and above all things to abstain from the beastly sin of drunkenness, which exposes a man to the scorn and contempt of his fellow-creatures, and, by divesting him of reason and reflection, renders him fit for all manner of vice and debauchery. She recommended to him economy, and the care of his health, bade him remember the honour of his family, and in all the circumstances of his behaviour, assured him that he might always depend upon the friendship and generosity of the commodore. Finally, presenting him with her own picture set in gold, and a hundred guineas from her privy purse, she embraced him affectionately, and wished him all manner of happiness and prosperity.

Being thus kindly dismissed by Mrs. Trunnion, he locked himself up with his sister Julia, whom he admonished to cultivate her aunt with the most complaisant and respectful attention, without stooping to any circumstance of submission that she should judge unworthy of her practice: he protested that his chief study should be to make her amends for the privilege she had forfeited by her affection for him; entreated her to enter into no engagement without his knowledge and approbation; put into her hand the purse, which he had received from his aunt, to defray her pocket expenses in his absence; and parted from her, not without tears, after she had for some minutes hung about his neck, kissing him, and weeping in the most pathetic silence.

Having performed these duties of affection and consanguinity over-night, he went to bed, and was, by his own direction. called at four o’clock in the morning, when he found the post-chaise, coach, and riding-horses ready at the gate, his friends Gauntlet and Hatchway on foot, the commodore himself almost dressed, and every servant in the garrison assembled in he yard to wish him a good journey. Our hero shook each of these humble friends by the hand, tipping them at the same time with marks of his bounty; and was very much surprised when he could not perceive his old attendant Pipes among the number. When he expressed his wonder at this disrespectful omission of Tom, some of those present ran to his chamber, in order to give him a call; but his hammock and room were both deserted, and they soon returned with an account of his having eloped. Peregrine was disturbed at this information, believing that the fellow had taken some desperate course, in consequence of his being dismissed from his service, and began to wish that he had indulged his inclination, by retaining him still about his person. However, as there was now no other remedy, he recommended him strenuously to the particular favour and distinction of his uncle and Hatchway, in case he should appear again; and as he went out of the gate, was saluted with three cheers by all the domestics in the family.

The commodore, Gauntlet, lieutenant, Peregrine, and Jolter went into the coach together, that they might enjoy each other’s conversation as much as possible, resolving to breakfast at an inn upon the road, where Trunnion and Hatchway intended to bid our adventurer farewell; the Valet-de-chambre got into the post-chaise; the French lacquey rode one horse, and led another; one of the valets of the garrison mounted at the back of the coach; and thus the cavalcade set out on the road to Dover.

As the commodore could not bear the fatigue of jolting, they travelled at an easy pace during the fist stage; so that the old gentleman had an opportunity of communicating his exhortations to his godson, with regard to his conduct abroad: he advised him, now that he was going into foreign parts, to be upon his guard against the fair weather of the French politesse, which was no more to be trusted than a whirlpool at sea. He observed that many young men had gone to Paris with good cargoes of sense, and returned with a great deal of canvas, and no ballast at all, whereby they became crank all the days of their lives, and sometimes carried their keels above water. He desired Mr. Jolter to keep his pupil out of the clutches of those sharking priests who lie in wait to make converts of all young strangers, and in a particular manner cautioned the youth against carnal conversation with the Parisian dames, who, he understood, were no better than gaudy fire-ships ready primed with death and destruction.

Peregrine listened with great respect, thanking him for his kind admonitions, which he faithfully promised to observe. The halted and breakfasted at the end of the stage, where Jolter provided himself with a horse, and the commodore settled the method of corresponding with his nephew. The minute of parting being arrived, the old commander wrung his godson by the hand, saying, “I wish thee a prosperous voyage and good cheer, my lad: my timbers are now a little crazy, d’ye see; and God knows if I shall keep afloat till such time as I see thee again; but howsomever, hap what will, thou wilt find thyself in a condition to keep in the line with the rest of thy fellows.” He then reminded Gauntlet of his promise to call at the garrison in his return from Dover, and imparted something in a whisper to the governor, while Jack Hatchway, unable to speak, pulled his hat over his eyes, and, squeezing Peregrine by the hand, gave him a pistol of curious workmanship, as a memorial of his friendship. Our youth, who was not unmoved on this occasion, received the pledge, which he acknowledged with the present of a tobacco-box bought for this purpose; and the two lads of the castle getting into the coach, were driven homewards, in a state of silent dejection.

Godfrey and Peregrine seated themselves in the post-chaise; and Jolter, the valet-de-chambre, and lacquey, bestriding their beasts, they proceeded for the place of their destination, at which they arrived in safety that same night, and bespoke a passage in the packet-boat which was to sail next day.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30