Chapter 10: Back South as far as Bristol
I now considered what I should do - whether I should Ramble on in Scotland, or go back to England. To go further on in Scotland seemed to be Useless as regards getting a Ship, for I had no Knowledge of Glasgow or I should have gone there. So I reluctantly faced again for England. My first stage from Dalkeith was to Waller on the Tweed, where I broke down for the first Time I had been on the Road. I lay down on the side of a Hill. My reflections were on this wise:-
"Well! So you have to turn back, and then perhaps get no Ship after all; and then back to the Workhouse."
And then I reflected on my present condition:-
"You have got the Itch. You are Lousy. You have a lame foot, and a Boil as sore on a tender part of your Body. You are forsaken by God and Man."
Then came back to me a time when I had laid my Head in my Mother's lap, her fondling my Curls with her fingers.
Then I remembered the time of my Father's death, when the Lord said to me "I will be your Father Now." Then I lifted up my Voice and Wept: the inner Springs poured forth Copiously.
Then my heart was no more sad. I sat up and looked round upon the Beautiful Landscape surrounding me.
"All these are my Father's. What can I want? He is only trying me. I shall yet praise him". I remembered one of Luther's Hymns I had learned at school in Germany:- "Wer nur den Lieben Gott laßt walten und hoffet auf ihn alle Zeit, den wird er wunderbar erhalten in aller Not und Traurigkeit..."* The English of it is this: "He that trusts in God, God will keep, in all Danger and Sorrow". Now I got up on my Feet. My lame foot did not trouble me. Itch and Lice were forgotten, and I marched on as lively as a Bird, I may say. I don't remember being cast down much after that on my journey; but hoped that all things with respect to me would come Right at last.
I went through Morpeth and on to Newcastle Darlington and Durham. One Saturday Night I got to Yarm in Yorkshire. There I applied to the Parish Overseer for Relief, who was very Sturdy and Bumptious. I suspect that I was saucy to him on that Account. He beckoned me to come along with him; I supposed it was for the purpose to give me some relief in the Shape of Food, for I was very hungry. He pointed to a door for me to go in at. As soon as I was in he slammed to the Door and Bolted it. How I was chagrined when I found that it was a Lock-up and there I must abide for the Night. I remember what Anger seized hold of me for that mean trick. Oh, how I despised the Man; but there was no use in me biting my Chain. Through Weariness I soon fell asleep. Next morning the Man made his Appearance with his little Daughter, both Dressed as for going to Church. He brought me a can of Porridge and Milk, which I thought partly atoned for his Rough Usage of me the night before. When I had Eaten the Porridge he beckoned me to follow him. So he led me out of the Town and left me, no doubt thinking he had got rid of one more Scamp.
I passed through Halifax, Bradford, Macclesfield on my Way to Manchester. At Warrington, I went again to the Vagrant Shed and broke Stones for my Breakfast. On my way from there an Old Sailor joined me. He asked me where I was going. I told him "To Bristol". He told me he was going there also and, if I had no objection, he would keep me Company. I did not like the idea, chiefly on account of my getting Forage enough; for I perceived that he was Nothing of a Beggar, and that I should have to do the greatest part in that Line. Yet the Old Man could tell such interesting Stories. He had been at the Battle of Navarin. He showed me that he had lost three Fingers while Boarding a Turkish Man of War. He had had his hand on the Rail while Boarding the Vessel. One of the Opposing Party had cut them off with a Cutlass.
We agreed to go on together till we got to Bristol. From Warrington we went on to Chester, Wrexham, Ellesmere, Shrewsbury, Wellington under the Wrekin, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Worcester, Gloucester, Bath, Bristol. There I parted company with the Old Sailor. As usual, my Expectation of getting a Ship at Bristol was Nought.
*'Luther' Hymn above:
"Wer nur den lieben Gott laßt walten
und hoffet auf ihn alle Zeit,
den wird er wunderbar erhalten
in aller Not und Traurigkeit."
"Wer Gott dem Allerhöchsten traut,
der hat auf keinen Sand getaut."
Georg Neumark 1621-1681
Music: J S Bach
from the cantata 197: 'Gott ist unsre Zuversicht'