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A Set of Rogues   By: (1848-)

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A SET OF ROGUES

NAMELY

CHRISTOPHER SUTTON, JOHN DAWSON, THE SEÑOR DON SANCHEZ DEL CASTILLO DE CASTELAÑA AND MOLL DAWSON

Their Wicked Conspiracy, and a True Account of their Travels and Adventures

THE MARRIAGE OF MOLL DAWSON BY SINFUL MEANS TO A WORTHY GENTLEMAN OF MERIT; HER FALL, REMORSE AND GREAT SORROW; HER SECOND EXPEDITION WITH HER FORMER ROGUISH COMPANIONS INTO STRANGE PLACES

HER ATONEMENT TO MR. RICHARD GODWIN (WHEREBY SHE RENDERS UP ALL SHE EVER HAD OF HIM AND MORE) AND SELLING OF HERSELF TO ALGERINE PIRATES AND GOING INTO BARBARY A SLAVE; TOGETHER WITH THE TRIBULATIONS OF THOSE WHO LED HER TO WRONG DOING, AND MANY OTHER SURPRISING THINGS NOW DISCLOSED FOR THE FIRST TIME AS THE FAITHFUL CONFESSION OF CHRISTOPHER SUTTON

BY

FRANK BARRETT

1895

[Illustration: "'GIVE ME THY HAND, CHILD,' SAYS HE."]

CHAPTER I.

Of my companions and our adversities, and in particular from our getting into the stocks at Tottenham Cross to our being robbed at Edmonton.

There being no plays to be acted at the "Red Bull," because of the Plague, and the players all cast adrift for want of employment, certain of us, to wit, Jack Dawson and his daughter Moll, Ned Herring, and myself, clubbed our monies together to buy a store of dresses, painted cloths, and the like, with a cart and horse to carry them, and thus provided set forth to travel the country and turn an honest penny, in those parts where the terror of pestilence had not yet turned men's stomachs against the pleasures of life. And here, at our setting out, let me show what kind of company we were. First, then, for our master, Jack Dawson, who on no occasion was to be given a second place; he was a hale, jolly fellow, who would eat a pound of beef for his breakfast (when he could get it), and make nothing of half a gallon of ale therewith, a very masterful man, but kindly withal, and pleasant to look at when not contraried, with never a line of care in his face, though turned of fifty. He played our humorous parts, but he had a sweet voice for singing of ditties, and could fetch a tear as readily as a laugh, and he was also exceeding nimble at a dance, which was the strangest thing in the world, considering his great girth. Wife he had none, but Moll Dawson was his daughter, who was a most sprightly, merry little wench, but no miracle for beauty, being neither child nor woman at this time; surprisingly thin, as if her frame had grown out of proportion with her flesh, so that her body looked all arms and legs, and her head all mouth and eyes, with a great towzled mass of chestnut hair, which (off the stage) was as often as not half tumbled over her shoulder. But a quicker little baggage at mimicry (she would play any part, from an urchin of ten to a crone of fourscore), or a livelier at dancing of Brantles or the single Coranto never was, I do think, and as merry as a grig. Of Ned Herring I need only here say that he was the most tearing villain imaginable on the stage, and off it the most civil spoken, honest seeming young gentleman. Nor need I trouble to give a very lengthy description of myself; what my character was will appear hereafter, and as for my looks, the less I say about them, the better. Being something of a scholar and a poet, I had nearly died of starvation, when Jack Dawson gave me a footing on the stage, where I would play the part of a hero in one act, a lacquey in the second, and a merry Andrew in the third, scraping a tune on my fiddle to fill up the intermedios.

We had designed to return to London as soon as the Plague abated, unless we were favoured with extraordinary good fortune, and so, when we heard that the sickness was certainly past, and the citizens recovering of their panic, we (being by this time heartily sick of our venture, which at the best gave us but beggarly recompense) set about to retrace our steps with cheerful expectations of better times. But coming to Oxford, we there learned that a prodigious fire had burnt all London down, from the Tower to Ludgate, so that if we were there, we should find no house to play in... Continue reading book >>




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