Samuel Peeps (Epistle the Third)

by Paulus the Woodgnome

A FURTHER EPISTLE FROM YOUNG MASTER SAMUEL, shewing the Manner in which, despite the Best Intentions of our Unwise Hero, a Little Misfortune multiplies with Injurious Alackrity to his Chagrin, and his Greater Discomforts.

Master Harrington his House
at Belching Lane
Citie of London

this 17th June
in the Year of Our Lord 1644

My Dear Brother

I am late come into a Sea of Troubles, as the Playwright hath it, yet I do fear, if mine Anguish is not to be made the greater at the Hand of my well-beloved Guardian (also his hazel Rod of which I have writ you Aforetime) that it behoves me to tell All, though I fear it can but earn me greater Chastisement when next we meet (knowing always, dear Brother, that you are zealous in my Correcktion not from any worldly Pleasure, but the better to fit me for an honest Life).

You know, Brother, that I am much taken up with one Thomas Wale, the Potboy that watches the Still at Master Barr his Establishment, wherein Master Harrington himself prenticed me to become a Pothecary. Indeed Tom is a very jolly, charming Fellow withal, who hath much knowledge of the Ways of this great Citie, being born here among its Smoakes & Stinks. Alas I fear good Master Harrington hath not such high Opinion of good Thos as have I, yet tho' his Breeding & Manner be something at a Lack, stouter truer Heart never was in England I am sure, & I am ever hopeful that my dear Guardian will come to see his Worth. Also he is a fine looking Fellow, & we are much admired when we walk together.

That we might better cut the Dash, I advanced him some few Guineas out of my Store to buy a fine silk Frock coat in the Paris fashion, & the which he earnestly assures me he will Recompense, so soon as certain Undertakings owed him by Others do come good. So generous a Heart he has, Brother, that nothing would do him but that I should have a Coat the very same, that we might seem a very David & Jonathan.

Now I do plead my own Follie, dear Brother, that I had no Wish for such Attire, nor yet Sufficiency of Funds to purchase it, yet meseemed I could not gainsay my dear Friend's pleasure. So I did think me of that small Store of Gold wherewith I was first supplied by You when I did come to London Town to seek my Fortune, & the which Master Harrington doth keep for me, as you instruckted, locked for Safety in his Sea-chest against the Day of my Need.

And I do swear most Urgently, dearest Josh, that had I not been Something in Drink, never should I have thought it proper to take a Mallet to Master Harrington his Locks & Devices (he being some days Quit of the Town, on Matters of Business), the better to force my Way into that Chest & come by the Gold. Yet as Thos did observe, whose Pelf was't, i truth ? I did but seek my own Propertie. Yet alas, I must confess that I did do some littel Harm to that great Chest in which Master Harrington was wont to store his things of Value.

Purest Ill-Fortune was it, or the Acktion of some malevolent Star, that Master Harrington should chance to return at the very Moment I did raid his Strongbox. Beeing, as you will know & I have good Reason to recall, something cholerick in his Disposition, my dear Guardian flew instanter into a great Rage.

"What means this Piracy, Samuel ?!" he Exclaimed. "Begod, Boy, surely your Hide shall have the sorest Whipping it ever knew ere this day's Sun do set." Poor Thomas was so set Aback at Master Harrington his Wrath, that he did think to Flee, only to be caught by the Scruff & shaken as a Terrier shakes a Rat. "Aye, nor shall you scape, Master Wale," roared my good Guardian. "That fine chest had great Worth to me, & now you two naughty Ruffians have done it grave Injurie, the which I shall extract full Payment for."

Then he did pull down our Breeches & cast us Both, side by side, upon our Bellies, over the curved lid of the great Chest; whereby our Hinder Parts were most readily & shamefully exposed for his Chastisement, & dared us, upon Pain of Punishment more condign, to move from that unseemly Position. & taking his great Belt of Leather from around his Waist (at which dire Sound a chill did seem to Freeze my Marrow) he set to with a Will to wreak his Vengeance.

Like Jove's very Lightnings that stout Leather did strike upon my writhing Bum, brother, like those very Chastisements of Fire suffered by doomed Souls (of which the Preacher speaks so lovingly of a Sunday). Scarcely the half Dozen had I borne ere I must cry out in my Distress, & Thos even sooner (having less Cause to know the Weight of Master Harrington his Hand), yet one-two, one-two, we must needs suffer on by Turns, & plead in Vain for Mercy. Yet at last his gentler Nature did stay his Hand, and that fiery torrent the which so stung our flesh was ceased, leaving us to weep like Babes in our Contrition.

As we were blubbing thus, Master Harrington did Question us closely as to our Motives for such Brigandage, & I thought him not best Pleased to learn of my Frivolity, for he did forbid me "the Affecktations of a vain Peacock", as he did deem them (the which I thought something Insulting to poor Tom), while Thomas was bid repay my Loan ere the Month was out, at which he did seem disposed to Disagreement, save that Master Harrington quelled him with a fierce Eye & a Recommendation that he return his fine Coat whence it came & seek such Portion as he might get for it.

"Now get you gone, the Both of you, from my Sight," he said. "But young Samuel: do not dream that we have spoken the Last of this, for I perceive that You are straying again from the Path of Wisdom, & must needs receive my closer Attention to your Welfare." Then dearest Brother I bethought me that surely I should not sit in Comfort for many a Day, for Master Harrington hath been in every Way like a Father to me, and hath a most zealous Admiration for that portion of Holy Writ in which is found: He that spareth his Rod hateth his Son.

So clutching up our Breeches we did flee that Chamber and go into mine own Rooms, which are goodly appointed with a Bed and a Desk, also a chair and a small Chest of mine own. I own my throbbing Backside distrackted me, yet I was taken all Unawares when Thos did knock me upon my own Cot with a Blow.

"What means this !" I cried in Anger, but his own Countenance was also dark with Wrath.

"What means it ? It means that thou hast cost me a fine Coat, & a sore Arse besides, Master Samuel, all that you might be dressed the Popinjay."

"I ? I ?" Words failed me Brother (the which you will know to be an Event not often to be Noted).

"Thou, thou," he mocked, with a fierce Grin. "Aye, Samuel, I think thou hast Used me grievous Ill, & I am the more minded to seek my Retribution."

Then he did spring upon me like a young Lion, & bear me down by knavish Tricks, until I found myself with my Legs trapped between his, & my hinder Parts bent across his Knee.

"Nay, thou base Villain, let me up," I cried, but my false Friend did but laugh & begin to spank my poor sore Nates with his rough Hand. Being but lately Delivered of the leather's Kiss, it did not take much to return those poor Orbs to their fieriest, nor to make of my angry Outcries pleas for Mercy.

"Thou wilt do all that I say and in every Wise obey me ?" he asked.

"Aye," I agreed. "I give my Word. Oh please, Thomas, no more I beg of thee."

"Very well then." Yet he did not proceed to let me up at once, rather his hand did gently rub and soothe my scalding Flesh, & from there proceed to such private and shameful Intimacies as Modesty forbids me to name, and straightway my privy Parts lept to Bigness. Nor were such things as unknown to me as once they were, for Master Joyce the Ostler had instruckted me in the Way of them, but I remembered that late you had told me such Pleasures were the Downfall of the Cities of the Plain, and I resolved that I should enjoy them no further after this Time, but only submit to them in a Spirit of Christian Friendship, and that I might not break my given Word to Thomas Wale. Also when I did fondle in my Turn the welted Cheeks of Master Thomas, and take at his Command his Member into my Hand, I did so not for Pleasure but to soothe the Heat and Swelling that did result from our Chastisement. Was I not right to do so, dear Brother ?

Yet since that time he hath found out every Chance to spank me; and Master Harrington also hath Punished me each day with Hand and Rod, after which I must read the elevating Sermons of Master Griffiths, a Preacher and a Welchman, entitled "The Rod of Divine Mercy or Reflecktions upon the Punishment of Youths, with divers Notes, Woodcuts, &c upon the Proper Means of Fustigation". Whereby I am brought to Understand the Necessity of my Travails & the Kindness that Master Harrington bestows upon me in so concerning himself with my Formation. Yet I cannot bring myself to think me properly Instruckted by Thomas Wale, who is no Gentleman, for all I gave him my Word.

Thus doth a man's Oath betray him, alas.

I remain, your loving but sore Bro.


Copyright © 2001

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