Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 47

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As for this lawyer, he waited below till the hurly burly was over, and then stole softly to his own chamber, from whence he did not venture to make a second sally till eleven in the forenoon, when he was led into the Public Room, by his own servant and another assistant, groaning most woefully, with a bloody napkin round his head. But things were greatly altered — The selfish brutality of his behaviour on the stairs had steeled their hearts against all his arts and address — Not a soul offered to accommodate him with a chair, cushion, or footstool; so that he was obliged to sit down on a hard bench — In that position, he looked around with a rueful aspect, and, bowing very low, said in a whining tone, 'Your most humble servant, ladies — Fire is a dreadful calamity' — 'Fire purifies gold, and it ties friendship,' cried Mrs Tabitha, bridling. 'Yea, madam (replied Micklewhimmen); and it trieth discretion also' — 'If discretion consists in forsaking a friend in adversity, you are eminently possessed of that virtue' (resumed our aunt). — 'Na, madam (rejoined the advocate), well I wot, I cannot claim any merit from the mode of my retreat — Ye'll please to observe, ladies, there are twa independent principles that actuate our nature — One is instinct, which we have in common with the brute creation, and the other is reason — Noo, in certain great emergencies, when the faculty of reason is suspended, instinct taks the lead, and when this predominates, having no affinity with reason, it pays no sort of regard to its connections; it only operates for the preservation of the individual, and that by the most expeditious and effectual means; therefore, begging your pardon, ladies, I'm no accountable in foro conscientioe for what I did, while under the influence of this irresistible pooer.'

Here my uncle interposing, 'I should be glad to know (said he), whether it was instinct that prompted you to retreat with bag and baggage; for, I think, you had a portmanteau on your shoulder' The lawyer answered, without hesitation, 'Gif I might tell my mind freely, withoot incuring the suspicion of presumption, I should think it was something superior to either reason or instinct which suggested that measure, and this on a twafold accoont: in the first place, the portmanteau contained the writings of a worthy nobleman's estate; and their being burnt would have occasioned a loss that could not be repaired; secondly, my good angel seems to have laid the portmanteau on my shoulders, by way of defence, to sustain the violence of a most inhuman blow, from the crutch of a reverend clergyman, which, even in spite of that medium, hath wounded me sorely, even unto the pericranium.' 'By your own doctrine (cried the parson, who chanced to be present), I am not accountable for the blow, which was the effect of instinct.' 'I crave your pardon, reverend sir (said the other), instinct never acts but for the preservation of the individual; but your preservation was out of the case — you had already received the damage, and therefore the blow must be imputed to revenge, which is a sinful passion, that ill becomes any Christian, especially a protestant divine; and let me tell you, most reverend doctor, gin I had a mind to plea, the law would hauld my libel relevant.' 'Why, the damage is pretty equal on both sides (cried the parson); your head is broke, and my crutch is snapt in the middle. Now, if you will repair the one, I will be at the expence of curing the other.'