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

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In crossing these treacherous Syrtes with a guide, we perceived a drowned horse, which Humphry Clinker, after due inspection, declared to be the very identical beast which Mr Lismahago rode when he parted with us at Feltonbridge in Northumberland. This information, which seemed to intimate that our friend the lieutenant had shared the fate of his horse, affected us all, and above all our aunt Tabitha, who shed salt tears, and obliged Clinker to pull a few hairs out of the dead horse's tail, to be worn in a ring as a remembrance of his master: but her grief and ours was not of long duration; for one of the first persons we saw in Carlisle, was the lieutenant in propria persona, bargaining with a horse-dealer for another steed, in the yard of the inn where we alighted. — Mrs Bramble was the first that perceived him, and screamed as if she had seen a ghost; and, truly, at a proper time and place, he might very well have passed for an inhabitant of another world; for he was more meagre and grim than before. — We received him the more cordially for having supposed he had been drowned; and he was not deficient in expressions of satisfaction at this meeting. He told us, he had enquired for us at Dumfries, and been informed by a travelling merchant from Glasgow, that we had resolved to return by the way of Coldstream. He said, that in passing the sands without a guide, his horse had knocked up, and he himself must have perished, if he had not been providentially relieved by a return post-chaise. — He moreover gave us to understand, that his scheme of settling in his own country having miscarried, he was so far on his way to London, with a view to embark for North-America, where he intended to pass the rest of his days among his old friends the Miamis, and amuse himself in finishing the education of the son he had by his beloved Squinkinacoosta.

This project was by no means agreeable to our good aunt, who expatiated upon the fatigues and dangers that would attend such a long voyage by sea, and afterwards such a tedious journey by land — She enlarged particularly on the risque he would run, with respect to the concerns of his precious soul, among savages who had not yet received the glad tidings of salvation; and she hinted that his abandoning Great-Britain might, perhaps, prove fatal to the inclinations of some deserving person, whom he was qualified to make happy for life. My uncle, who is really a Don Quixote in generosity, understanding that Lismahago's real reason for leaving Scotland was the impossibility of subsisting in it with any decency upon the wretched provision of a subaltern's half-pay, began to be warmly interested on the side of compassion. — He thought it very hard, that a gentleman who had served his country with honour, should be driven by necessity to spend his old age, among the refuse of mankind, in such a remote part of the world. — He discoursed with me upon the subject; observing, that he would willingly offer the lieutenant an asylum at Brambleton-hall, if he did not foresee that his singularities and humour of contradiction would render him an intolerable housemate, though his conversation at some times might be both instructive and entertaining: but, as there seemed to be something particular in his attention to Mrs Tabitha, he and I agreed in opinion, that this intercourse should be encouraged and improved, if possible, into a matrimonial union; in which case there would be a comfortable provision for both; and they might be settled in a house of their own, so that Mr Bramble should have no more of their company than he desired.

In pursuance of this design, Lismahago has been invited to pass the winter at Brambleton-hall, as it will be time enough to execute his American project in the spring. — He has taken time to consider of this proposal; mean while, he will keep us company as far as we travel in the road to Bristol, where he has hopes of getting a passage for America. I make no doubt but that he will postpone his voyage, and prosecute his addresses to a happy consummation; and sure, if it produces any fruit, it must be of a very peculiar flavour. As the weather continues favourable, I believe, we shall take the Peak of Derbyshire and Buxton Wells in our way. — At any rate, from the first place where we make any stay, you shall hear again from

Yours always,
J. MELFORD
CARLISLE, Sep. 12.