The Adventures of Roderick Random (Oxford World's Classics)
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Roderick Random (1748), Smollett's first novel, is full of the dazzling vitality characteristics of all his work, as well as of his own life. Roderick is the boisterous and unprincipled hero who answers life's many misfortunes with a sledgehammer. Left penniless, he leaves his native Scotland for London and on the way meets Strap, and old schoolfellow. Together they undergo many adventures at the hands of scoundrels and rogues. Roderick qualifies as a surgeon's mate and is pressed as a common soldier on board the man-of-war Thunder. In a tale of romance as well as adventure, Roderick also finds time to fall in love... Smollett drew on his own experiences as a surgeon's mate in the navy for the memorable scenes on board ship, and the novel combines documentary realism with great humor and panache.
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joy.—Extremely concerned at this event, I attempted to reason him out of his frenzy, but to no purpose; for, without regarding what I said, he continued to frisk up and down, and repeat his rhapsody of ‘God be praised! a white stone!’ At last, I rose in the utmost consternation, and laying violent hands upon him put a stop to his extravagance, by fixing him down to a settee that was in the room.—This constraint banished his delirium; he started as if just awoke, and terrified at my behaviour,
393—and lieutenants were accommodated in the pinnace. Page 142. (1) According to nautical regulations, the captain placed the letter ‘R’ (for ‘run’) next to the name of any man or officer who was reputed to have deserted. See Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty’s Service at Sea (1734, 2nd edn.), p. 28. See also note (1) to p. 235 infra. (2) A naval anchorage, taking its name from a sandbank lying off the entrance to the River Medway. It was the scene in 1797 of a great naval
road, assuring him, his non-resistance was altogether owing to his consideration for the ladies in the coach, procured the assistance of his Lordship’s servants to go in quest of the plunderer.—This holiday captain scampered up to me with great address, and asked who fired the pistol which he had heard.—As I had not yet recovered my reason, he, before I could answer, observed a body lying on the ground: at which sight, his colour vanished, and he pronounced with a faultering tongue, ‘Gentlemen,
reason the young lady did not behave to her father with all the filial veneration that might be expected: In particular, she harbour’d the most perfect hatred for his countrymen, in which disposition her mother join’d, who was an English woman; and by the hints they dropp’d, I learn’d the grey mare was the better horse1—that she was a matron of a high spirit, which was often manifested at the expence of her dependants: That she lov’d diversions; and look’d upon miss as her rival in all parties;
pause) I shall never live to such extremity of distress! my own hand shall open a way for my deliverance, before I arrive at that forlorn period!’——Her condition filled me with sympathy and compassion; I revered her qualifications, looked upon her as unfortunate, not criminal; and attended her with such care and success, that in less than two months, her health, as well as my own, was perfectly reestablished.——As we often conferred upon our mutual affairs, and interchanged advice; a thousand