The Man of Feeling


After he had been some time with the company he had appointed to meet, and the last bottle was called for, he first recollected that he would be again at a loss how to discharge his share of the reckoning. He applied, therefore, to one of them, with whom he was most intimate, acknowledging that he had not a farthing of money about him; and, upon being jocularly asked the reason, acquainted them with the two adventures we have just now related. One of the company asked him if the old man in Hyde Park did not wear a brownish coat, with a narrow gold edging, and his companion an old green frock, with a buff-coloured waistcoat. Upon Harley’s recollecting that they did, “Then,” said he, “you may be thankful you have come off so well; they are two as noted sharpers, in their way, as any in town, and but t’other night took me in for a much larger sum. I had some thoughts of applying to a justice, but one does not like to be seen in those matters.”

Harley answered, “That he could not but fancy the gentleman was mistaken, as he never saw a face promise more honesty than that of the old man he had met with.” - “His face!” said a grave-looking man, when sat opposite to him, squirting the juice of his tobacco obliquely into the grate. There was something very emphatical in the action, for it was followed by a burst of laughter round the table. “Gentlemen,” said Harley, “you are disposed to be merry; it may be as you imagine, for I confess myself ignorant of the town; but there is one thing which makes me hear the loss of my money with temper: the young fellow who won it must have been miserably poor; I observed him borrow money for the stake from his friend: he had distress and hunger in his countenance: be his character what it may, his necessities at least plead for him.” At this there was a louder laugh than before. “Gentlemen,” said the lawyer, one of whose conversations with Harley we have already recorded, “here’s a pretty fellow for you! to have heard him talk some nights ago, as I did, you might have sworn he was a saint; yet now he games with sharpers, and loses his money, and is bubbled by a fine tale of the Dead Sea, and pawns his watch; here are sanctified doings with a witness!”

“Young gentleman,” said his friend on the other side of the table, “let me advise you to be a little more cautious for the future; and as for faces - you may look into them to know whether a man’s nose be a long or a short one.”