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In New York, who gives a damn if you've got water on you

source:zoptime:2023-12-05 01:16:24

Though he could on occasion show a clean pair of heels, Hind was never lacking in valiance; and, another day, meeting a traveller with a hundred pounds in his pocket, he challenged him to fight there and then, staked his own horse against the money, and declared that he should win who drew first blood. `If I am the conqueror,' said the magnanimous Captain, `I will give you ten pounds for your journey. If you are favoured of fortune, you shall give me your servant's horse.' The terms were instantly accepted, and in two minutes Hind had run his adversary through the sword-arm. But finding that his victim was but a poor squire going to London to pay his composition, he not only returned his money, but sought him out a surgeon, and gave him the best dinner the countryside could afford.

In New York, who gives a damn if you've got water on you

Thus it was his pleasure to act as a providence, many a time robbing Peter to pay Paul, and stripping the niggard that he might indulge his fervent love of generosity. Of all usurers and bailiffs he had a wholesome horror, and merry was the prank which he played upon the extortionate money-lender of Warwick. Riding on an easy rein through the town, Hind heard a tumult at a street corner, and inquiring the cause, was told that an innkeeper was arrested by a thievish usurer for a paltry twenty pounds. Dismounting, this providence in jack-boots discharged the debt, cancelled the bond, and took the innkeeper's goods for his own security. And thereupon overtaking the usurer, `My friend!' he exclaimed, `I lent you late a sum of twenty pounds. Repay it at once, or I take your miserable life.' The usurer was obliged to return the money, with another twenty for interest, and when he would take the law of the innkeeper, was shown the bond duly cancelled, and was flogged wellnigh to death for his pains.

In New York, who gives a damn if you've got water on you

So Hind rode the world up and down, redressing grievances like an Eastern monarch, and rejoicing in the abasement of the evildoer. Nor was the spirit of his adventure bounded by the ocean. More than once he crossed the seas; the Hague knew him, and Amsterdam, though these somnolent cities gave small occasion for the display of his talents. It was from Scilly that he crossed to the Isle of Man, where, being recommended to Lord Derby, he gained high favour, and received in exchange for his jests a comfortable stipend. Hitherto, said the Chronicles, thieving was unknown in the island. A man might walk whither he would, a bag of gold in one hand, a switch in the other, and fear no danger. But no sooner had Hind appeared at Douglas than honest citizens were pilfered at every turn. In dismay they sought the protection of the Governor, who instantly suspected Hind, and gallantly disclosed his suspicions to the Captain. `My lord!' exclaimed Hind, a blush upon his cheek, `I protest my innocence; but willingly will I suffer the heaviest penalty of your law if I am recognised for the thief.' The victims, confronted with their robber, knew him not, picturing to the Governor a monster with long hair and unkempt beard. Hind, acquitted with apologies, fetched from his lodging the disguise of periwig and beard. `They laugh who win!' he murmured, and thus forced forgiveness and a chuckle even from his judges.

In New York, who gives a damn if you've got water on you

As became a gentleman-adventurer, Captain Hind was staunch in his loyalty to his murdered King. To strip the wealthy was always reputable, but to rob a Regicide was a masterpiece of well-doing.

A fervent zeal to lighten Cromwell's pocket had brought the illustrious Allen to the gallows. But Hind was not one whit abashed, and he would never forego the chance of an encounter with his country's enemies. His treatment of Hugh Peters in Enfield Chace is among his triumphs. At the first encounter the Presbyterian plucked up courage enough to oppose his adversary with texts. To Hind's command of `Stand and deliver!' duly enforced with a loaded pistol, the ineffable Peters replied with ox-eye sanctimoniously upturned: `Thou shalt not steal; let him that stole, steal no more,' adding thereto other variations of the eighth commandment. Hind immediately countered with exhortations against the awful sin of murder, and rebuked the blasphemy of the Regicides, who, to defend their own infamy, would wrest Scripture from its meaning. `Did you not, O monster of impiety,' mimicked Hind in the preacher's own voice, `pervert for your own advantage the words of the Psalmist, who said, ``Bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron''? Moreover, was it not Solomon who wrote: ``Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry''? And is not my soul hungry for gold and the Regicides' discomfiture?' Peters was still fumbling after texts when the final argument: `Deliver thy money, or I will send thee out of the world!' frightened him into submission, and thirty broad pieces were Hind's reward.

Not long afterwards he confronted Bradshaw near Sherborne, and, having taken from him a purse fat with Jacobuses, he bade the Sergeant stand uncovered while he delivered a discourse upon gold, thus shaped by tradition: `Ay, marry, sir, this is the metal that wins my heart for ever! O precious gold, I admire and adore thee as much as Bradshaw, Prynne, or any villain of the same stamp. This is that incomparable medicament, which the republican physicians call the wonder-working plaster. It is truly catholic in operation, and somewhat akin to the Jesuit's powder, but more effectual. The virtues of it are strange and various; it makes justice deaf as well as blind, and takes out spots of the deepest treason more cleverly than castle-soap does common stains; it alters a man's constitution in two or three days, more than the virtuoso's transfusion of blood can do in seven years. `Tis a great alexiopharmick, and helps poisonous principles of rebellion, and those that use them. It miraculously exalts and purifies the eyesight, and makes traitors behold nothing but innocence in the blackest malefactors. `Tis a mighty cordial for a declining cause; it stifles faction or schism, as certainly as the itch is destroyed by butter and brimstone. In a word, it makes wise men fools, and fools wise men, and both knaves. The very colour of this precious balm is bright and dazzling. If it be properly applied to the fist, that is in a decent manner, and a competent dose, it infallibly performs all the cures which the evils of humanity crave.' Thus having spoken, he killed the six horses of Bradshaw's coach, and went contemptuously on his way.

But he was not a Cavalier merely in sympathy, nor was he content to prove his loyalty by robbing Roundheads. He, too, would strike a blow for his King, and he showed, first with the royal army in Scotland, and afterwards at Worcester, what he dared in a righteous cause. Indeed, it was his part in the unhappy battle that cost him his life, and there is a strange irony in the reflection that, on the self-same day whereon Sir Thomas Urquhart lost his precious manuscripts in Worcester's kennels, the neck of James Hind was made ripe for the halter. His capture was due to treachery. Towards the end of 1651 he was lodged with one Denzys, a barber, over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street. Maybe he had chosen his hiding-place for its neighbourhood to Moll Cutpurse's own sanctuary. But a pack of traitors discovered him, and haling him before the Speaker of the House of Commons, got him committed forthwith to Newgate.

At first he was charged with theft and murder, and was actually condemned for killing George Sympson at Knole in Berkshire. But the day after his sentence, an Act of Oblivion was passed, and Hind was put upon trial for treason. During his examination he behaved with the utmost gaiety, boastfully enlarging upon his services to the King's cause. `These are filthy jingling spurs,' said he as he left the bar, pointing to the irons about his legs, `but I hope to exchange them ere long.' His good-humour remained with him to the end. He jested in prison as he jested on the road, and it was with a light heart that he mounted the scaffold built for him at Worcester. His was the fate reserved for traitors: he was hanged, drawn, and quartered, and though his head was privily stolen and buried on the day of execution, his quarters were displayed upon the town walls, until time and the birds destoyed{ sic} them utterly.