Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 62

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I can assure you, my uncle, who saw and heard every thing that passed, was as much moved as any one of the parties concerned in this pathetic recognition — He sobbed, and wept, and clapped his hands, and hollowed, and finally ran down into the street. By this time, the captain had retired with his parents, and all the inhabitants of the place were assembled at the door. — Mr Bramble, nevertheless, pressed thro' the crowd, and entering the house, 'Captain (said he), I beg the favour of your acquaintance. I would have travelled a hundred miles to see this affecting scene; and I shall think myself happy if you and your parents will dine with me at the public house.' The captain thanked him for his kind invitation, which, he said, he would accept with pleasure; but in the mean time, he could not think of eating or drinking, while his poor brother was in trouble. He forthwith deposited a sum equal to the debt in the hands of the magistrate, who ventured to set his brother at liberty without farther process; and then the whole family repaired to the inn with my uncle, attended by the crowd, the individuals of which shook their townsman by the hand, while he returned their caresses without the least sign of pride or affectation.

This honest favourite of fortune, whose name was Brown, told my uncle, that he had been bred a weaver, and, about eighteen years ago, had, from a spirit of idleness and dissipation, enlisted as a soldier in the service of the East-India company; that, in the course of duty, he had the good fortune to attract the notice and approbation of Lord Clive, who preferred him from one step to another, till he attained the rank of captain and pay-master to the regiment, in which capacities he had honestly amassed above twelve thousand pounds, and, at the peace, resigned his commission. — He had sent several remittances to his father, who received the first only, consisting of one hundred pounds; the second had fallen into the hands of a bankrupt; and the third had been consigned to a gentleman of Scotland, who died before it arrived; so that it still remained to be accounted for by his executors. He now presented the old man with fifty pounds for his present occasions, over and above bank notes for one hundred, which he had deposited for his brother's release. — He brought along with him a deed ready executed, by which he settled a perpetuity of four-score pounds upon his parents, to be inherited by their other two sons after their decease. — He promised to purchase a commission for his youngest brother; to take the other as his own partner in a manufacture which he intended to set up, to give employment and bread to the industrious; and to give five hundred pounds, by way of dower, to his sister, who had married a farmer in low circumstances. Finally, he gave fifty pounds to the poor of the town where he was born, and feasted all the inhabitants without exception.

My uncle was so charmed with the character of captain Brown, that he drank his health three times successively at dinner — He said, he was proud of his acquaintance; that he was an honour to his country, and had in some measure redeemed human nature from the reproach of pride, selfishness, and ingratitude. — For my part, I was as much pleased with the modesty as with the filial virtue of this honest soldier, who assumed no merit from his success, and said very little of his own transactions, though the answers he made to our inquiries were equally sensible and laconic, Mrs Tabitha behaved very graciously to him until she understood that he was going to make a tender of his hand to a person of low estate, who had been his sweet-heart while he worked as a journeyman weaver. — Our aunt was no sooner made acquainted with this design, than she starched up her behaviour with a double proportion of reserve; and when the company broke up, she observed with a toss of her nose, that Brown was a civil fellow enough, considering the lowness of his original; but that Fortune, though she had mended his circumstances, was incapable to raise his ideas, which were still humble and plebeian.

On the day that succeeded this adventure, we went some miles out of our road to see Drumlanrig, a seat belonging to the duke of Queensberry, which appears like a magnificent palace erected by magic, in the midst of a wilderness. — It is indeed a princely mansion, with suitable parks and plantations, rendered still more striking by the nakedness of the surrounding country, which is one of the wildest tracts in all Scotland. — This wildness, however, is different from that of the Highlands; for here the mountains, instead of heath, are covered with a fine green swarth, affording pasture to innumerable flocks of sheep. But the fleeces of this country, called Nithsdale, are not comparable to the wool of Galloway, which is said to equal that of Salisbury plain. Having passed the night at the castle of Drumlanrig, by invitation from the duke himself, who is one of the best men that ever breathed, we prosecuted our journey to Dumfries, a very elegant trading town near the borders of England, where we found plenty of good provision and excellent wine, at very reasonable prices, and the accommodation as good in all respects as in any part of South-Britain. If I was confined to Scotland for life, I would chuse Dumfries as the place of my residence. Here we made enquiries about captain Lismahago, of whom hearing no tidings, we proceeded by the Solway Frith, to Carlisle. You must know, that the Solway sands, upon which travellers pass at low water, are exceedingly dangerous, because, as the tide makes, they become quick in different places, and the flood rushes in so impetuously, that the passengers are often overtaken by the sea and perish.