Who, if all the Stories about him be true, was a very notable Cheat. Executed in 1689
THIS Thomas Rumbold was descended from honest and creditable parents at Ipswich, in Suffolk. In his youth he was put apprentice to a bricklayer, but evil inclinations having an ascendant over his mind, he went from his master before he had well served two-thirds of his time.
This elopement obliged him to pursue some irregularities to support himself. He absconded from his father's house, and having a desire to see London, he came up to town, where, getting into the company of a notorious gang of robbers, he went on the highway, and frequently took a purse. This course he continued some time, in conjunction with confederates; but having a mind to make prizes by himself, he ventured by himself, committing several depredations on his countrymen, the following whereof have come to our hands.
One time, being informed that the Most Reverend Dr William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of King James II., was to make a journey from Lambeth Palace to the city of Canterbury, he was determined to waylay him; and accordingly, getting sight of him between Rochester and Sittingbourne, in Kent, he gets into a field, and spreading a large tablecloth on the grass, on which he had placed several handfuls of gold, he then takes a box and dice out of his pocket, and falls a-playing at hazard by himself. His Grace riding by that place, and espying a man shaking his elbows by himself, sent one of his footmen to know the meaning of it. The man was no sooner come up to Rumbold, who was still laying very eagerly, swearing and staring like a fury at his losses, but he returns to the reverend prelate, and telling him what he had seen, his Grace stepped out of his coach to him, and seeing none but him, asked him who he was to play with? "Damn it," said Rumbold, "there's five hundred pounds gone. Pray, sir, be silent." His Grace going to speak again: "Aye," said Rumbold, "there's a hundred pounds more lost." "Prithee," said the Archbishop, "who art thou to play with?" Rumbold replied, With -- ---." "And how will you send the money to him?" "By," said Rumbold, "his ambassadors; and therefore, looking upon your Grace to be one of them extraordinary, I shall beg the favour of you to carry it him." Accordingly, giving his Grace about six hundred pounds in gold and silver, he put it into the seat of his coach, and away he rode to Sittingbourne to bait. Rumbold rode thither also to bait in another inn; and riding some short while before his Grace, as soon as he had sight of him again, he planted himself in another field in the same playing posture as he had before; which his Grace seeing, when riding by, went again to see this strange gamester, whom he then took to be really a madman. No sooner was his Grace approaching Rumbold, who then had little or no money upon his cloth, than he cried out: "Six hundred pounds." "What!" said the Archbishop, "lost again?" "No," replied Rumbold; "I won, by gad! I'll play this hand out, and then leave off. So, eight hundred pounds more, sir, won, I'll leave off while I'm well." "And whom have you won off?" said his Grace. "Off the same person," replied Rumbold, "that I left the six hundred pounds with you for before you went to dinner." "And how," said his Grace, "will you get your winnings?" Says Rumbold, "Off his ambassador too." So, riding up with sword and pistol in hand to his Grace's coach, he took fourteen hundred pounds out of the seat thereof above his own money, which he had entrusted in his hands to give to --, and rode off.
One day, at Colebrook, being informed that a couple of travellers lay at a certain inn in the abovesaid town he rose early the next morning to waylay them in their journey to Reading, so went before them to surprise them at Maidenhead Thicket; but the travellers being cunning, they had given out in public the wrong road they were to go, for instead of riding to Reading, they went to Windsor, so that Rumbold, missing his prey, rode back again very melancholy, when meeting with the Earl of Oxford, who was attended only with one groom and a footman, he clapped his hair into his mouth to disguise himself for his intended design, and attacked his lordship with the terrifying words "Stand and deliver," withal swearing that if he made any resistance he was a dead man. The expostulations the Earl used to save what he had were as much in vain as to pretend to wash a blackamoor white; however he swore too that, since he must lose what he had, Rumbold should search his pockets himself, for he would not be at that trouble.
Upon this, our adventurer, commanding his lordship's servants to keep at above a hundred-foot distance upon pain of death, took the pains of searching the Earl, when, finding nothing but boxes and dice in the pockets of his coat and waistcoat, he began to rend the skies with many first-rate oaths, swearing also that he believed he was the groom-porter, or else some gaming sharper going to bite the poor country people at their fairs and markets, till searching his breeches, he found within a good gold watch and six guineas. He changed his angry countenance into smiling features, and giving his lordship eighteen-pence, bade him be of good cheer, go up to his regiment then at London as fast as he could, and do his duty as he ought, and when he next met with him he would give him better encouragement.
Rumbold having a long time observed a goldsmith in Lombard Street to be very intent in counting several bags of money was resolved to have a share out of some of them; but having tried several essays, still came off disappointed. He had several rings about him which he had got by robbing, one of which had a very fine diamond set in it. Money being wanting, and so many disappointments crossing his desires, he went to the goldsmith's to sell him the ring, in
company with a servant he kept. On entering the shop he pulled the ring off his finger and asked him what it was worth. The goldsmith, looking on him, and then on the ring, hoped to make the ring his own for a small matter; and seeing our adventurer (who had disguised himself in a plain country dress), believed that he had little skill in diamonds, and that this came accidentally into his possession, and that he might purchase it very easily. Wherefore being doubtful what to answer as to the price, he told the countryman that the worth of it was uncertain, for he could not directly tell whether it was a right or a counterfeit one. As for that, said our pretended countryman, "I believe it is a right one, and dare warrant it; and indeed I intend to sell it, and therefore would know what you intend to give me for it." "Truly," replied the goldsmith," it may be worth ten pounds." "Yes, and more money," said the countryman.
"Not much more," answered the goldsmith; "for look you here," said he, "here is a ring which I will warrant is much better than yours, and I will also warrant it to be a good diamond, and I will sell it you for twenty pounds." This the goldsmith said, supposing that the countryman, who came to sell, had no skill, inclination or money to buy. But our pretended countryman, believing that the goldsmith only said this thinking to draw him on to part with his own ring the more easily, and by that means cheat him, resolved, if he could, to be too wise for the goldsmith; wherefore, taking both the rings into his hands, through a pretence of comparing them together, he thus said: "I am sure mine is a right diamond." "And so is mine," replied the goldsmith. "And," said the countryman, "shall I have it for twenty pounds? Yes," replied the goldsmith. "But," said he, "I suppose you came to sell and not to buy; and since you shall see I will be a good customer, I will give you fifteen pounds for yours." "Nay," replied the countryman, "since I have the choice to buy or sell, I will never refuse a good pennyworth, as I think this is; therefore Master Goldsmith, I will keep my own, and give you money for yours." "Where is it?" said the goldsmith hastily. And endeavouring then to seize on his ring --" Hold a blow there," said Rumbold; "here's your money, but the ring I will keep." The goldsmith, seeing himself thus caught, fluttered and bounced like a madman, and Rumbold, pulling out a little purse, tolled down twenty pieces of gold, and said: "Here, shopkeeper, here's your money, but I hope you will allow the eighteen-pence apiece in exchange for my gold." "Tell me not of exchange, but give me my ring," said the goldsmith. "It is mine," said the countryman, "for I have bought it, and paid for it, and have witness of my bargain." All this would not serve the goldsmith's turn, but he cursed and swore that Rumbold, the pretended countryman, came to cheat him, and the ring he would have; and at the noise several people came about the shop, but he was so perplexed he could not tell his tale. At length a constable came, and although the goldsmith knew not to what purpose, yet before a justice he would go. Rumbold seemed content, and therefore before a justice they went together. When they came there, the goldsmith, who was the plaintiff, began his tale, and said that the countryman had taken a diamond ring from him worth one hundred pounds, and would give him but twenty pounds for it. "Have a care," replied Rumbold, "for if you charge me with taking a ring from you, I suppose that is stealing, and if you say so, I shall vex you more than I have yet done"; and then he told the justice the whole story as here related, which was then a very plain case, and for the proof of the matter our pretended country gentleman's man was a witness. The goldsmith, hearing this, alleged that he believed the country gentleman and his man were both impostors and cheats. To this our adventurer replied, as before, that he had better have a care he did not make his case worse, and bring an old house over his head by slandering him thus; for it was well known that he was a gentleman of three hundred pounds per annum, and lived at a place not above twenty miles from London, and that he, being desirous to sell a ring, came to his shop for that purpose; and he would have cheated him, but it proved that he only made a rod for his own breech, and what he intended for him had fallen upon himself. Thus did our adventurer make good his case; and the justice, seeing there was no injustice done, dismissed him, and ordered that his neighbour the goldsmith should have the twenty pieces of gold for twenty pounds, though they were worth more in exchange, and this was all the satisfaction he had.
Rumbold had a mighty itching after the goldsmiths' money in Lombard Street; he could not pass through that street and hear those tradesmen telling their sums but his hands longed to be feeling them. He had a boy who constantly attended him, who, every time his master had a mind to make some advantage to himself, went into a gold- smith's shop, took up a handful of money, and then, letting it all fall down on the counter, ran out. One time the boy performed this trick the servants in the shop ran after him and taxed him with stealing some of the money. Rumbold, who always vindicated his youngster, bade them take care what they said, and positively affirmed that his boy had not taken a farthing, and must be so plain with them as to tell them that the goldsmith should pay for it. Hereupon they fell to hot words, and the goldsmith, calling our adventurer a shirking fellow, said he would have both him and the boy sent to Newgate for robbing him, and that in conclusion he must and should pay for it. At first our adventurer desired to know with what sum they pretended to charge the boy; they said they knew not, but that he had taken money from a heap they were telling, and which was a hundred pounds. Rumbold, hearing them say thus, told them that he would stay the telling of it, and then they might judge who had the abuse. They were content with it, and accordingly went to telling. Half-an-hour had dispatched that matter, and then they found all their money was right to a farthing. The goldsmith, seeing this, asked our adventurer's pardon for the affront they had done him, saying it was a mistake. Rumbold answered to this that he must pay for his prating; and that being a person of quality, he would not put up with the affront, and that he must expect to hear further from him. The goldsmith, seeing our adventurer hot, was as choleric as he, and so they parted for that time. Rumbold the next day got the goldsmith to be arrested in an action of defamation, and the serjeant who arrested him, being well fed by our adventurer, told the goldsmith that he had better by far compound the matter, for the gentleman he had injured was a person of quality, and would not put it up, but make him pay soundly for it if he proceeded any further. The goldsmith, being desirous of quiet, hearkened to his counsel, and agreed to give ten pounds; but that would not be taken, so twenty pounds was given to our adventurer, and the business was made up for the present.
Rumbold having got some of the goldsmith's money was determined to have more, or venture hard for it; wherefore having again given instructions to his boy what to do, he made several journeys to the goldsmith's, walking by his door to watch an opportunity. At length he found one; for seeing the servants tell a considerable quantity of gold, he gave the sign to his boy, who presently went in and, clapping his hand on the heap, took up and brought away a full handful, and coming to his master gave it him. Neither did the boy make so much haste out of the shop but that he could hear a stranger, who was in the shop receiving of money, say to the apprentice: "Why, do not you stop the boy?" "No," said the apprentice, "I do not mean to; I know him well enough. My master paid sauce lately for stopping of him." And so they continued telling of their money.
Rumbold being intimately acquainted with a jeweller in Foster Lane, whom he had often helped to the sale of rings and jewels, which made his credit good with him, went one time into his workroom, and chancing to spy a very rich jewel he told him that he could help him to the sale thereof, my lady such-an-one having spoken to him about such a thing. The jeweller, glad of the opportunity, delivered it to our adventurer at such a price to sell for him. But Rumbold only carried it to another workman to have another made like it with counterfeit stones. Before he went, he asked if the lady disliked it whether he might leave it with his wife or servant. "Aye, aye," says he, "either will be sufficient." Rumbold was forced to watch a whole day to see when he went out, and being gone, presently went to the shop and inquired of his wife for her husband. She answered him that he was but just gone. "Well, madam," said he, "you can do my business as well as he; it is only to deliver these stones into your custody"; and so he went his way. Not long after, Rumbold met the jeweller in the street with displeasing looks. "Sir," said he, "I thought a friend would not have served me so." But our adventurer denied it stiffly; whereupon he was very angry, and told him he would prosecute him. Rumbold seemed not to value his threats, and so left him. Rumbold was not gone many paces before he met with a
friend who complained to him that he had lost a very valuable locket of his wife's, it being stolen from her. Rumbold was glad to hear of such a circumstance that had fallen out so favourably to his present purpose; he asked him to give him a description of it, which he did punctually. "Now," said Rumbold, "what will you give me if I tell you where it is?" "Anything in reason." "Then go to such a shop in Foster Lane" (the same shop where he had cheated the man of his ring) "and there ask peremptorily for it, for I was there at such a time and saw it -- nay, he would have had me help him to a customer for it; meantime I'll stay at the Star Tavern for you" Away he went and demanded his locket. The jeweller denied he had any such thing (as well he might). Upon this, Rumbold advised him to have a warrant for him, and to fetch him before a Justice of the Peace; and that he and the person who was with him would swear it. The goldsmith was instantly seized on by a constable, and as soon as he saw who they were that would swear against him, desired the gentleman to drink a glass of wine, and then ordered him satisfaction. But Rumbold had so ordered the business that it would not be taken unless he would give all three general releases. The goldsmith, knowing the danger that might ensue to life and estate if he persisted, consented to the proposal.
Rumbold walking one time in the fields with an attendant or two, who should be constantly bare before him if in company with any person of quality, but otherwise kind- fellow-well-met, he was got as far as Hackney before he knew he was, for his thoughts were busied in forming designs, and his wit was contriving how to put them into execution. Casting his eye on one side of him, he saw the prettiest- built and well-situated house that ever his eyes beheld. He had immediately a covetous desire to be master thereof. He was then, as fortune would have it, in a very handsome dress. He walked but a little way farther before he found out a plot to accomplish his desires. And thus it was. He returned and knocked at the gate, and demanded of the servant whether his master was within. He understood he was, and thereupon desired to speak with him. The gentleman came out to him himself, and desired him to walk in.
After Rumbold had made a general apology, he told him his business, which was only to request the favour of him that he might have the privilege to bring a workman to survey his house and to take his dimensions thereof, because he was so well pleased with the building that he earnestly desired to have another built exactly after that pattern. The gentleman could do no less than grant him so much civility. Coming home, he went to a carpenter, telling him he was about to buy a house at Hackney, and that he would have him go along with him, to give him (in private) the estimate. Accordingly they went, and found the gentleman at home, who entertained our adventurer kindly as a stranger. In the meantime the carpenter took an exact account of the buts and bounds of the house on paper, which was as much as he desired at that time. Paying the carpenter well, he dismissed him, and by that paper had a lease drawn with a very great fine (mentioned to have been paid) at a small rent. Witnesses he did not want to his deed, and shortly after he demanded possession. The gentleman, thinking our adventurer out of his wits, only laughed at him. Rumbold commenced a suit of law against him, and produced his creatures to swear to his sealing and delivery of the lease, and the carpenter's evidence, with many other probable circumstances to corroborate his cause; whereupon he had a verdict. The gentleman, by this time understanding who our adventurer was, thought it safer to compound with him and lose something rather than all.
Another time, Rumbold, coming early one morning to an inn in the country, called for a flagon of beer, and desired a private room -- "For," said he, "I have company coming to me, and we have business together." The tapster accordingly showed him a room, and brought him a flagon of beer, and with it a silver cup worth three pounds. Rumbold drank off his beer and called for another flagon, and at the same time desired the landlord to bear him company. The landlord, seeing him alone, sat and talked with him about State affairs till they were both weary and the landlord was ready to leave him. "Well," said our adventurer," I see my company will not come, and therefore I will not stay any longer." Neither did he; but having drank up his beer, he called to pay. "Fourpence," said the tapster. "There it is," answered our adventurer, laying it down, and so he went out of the room. The tapster stayed behind to bring away the flagon and silver cup, yet though he found the flagon, the cup was not to be found; wherefore, running hastily out of the room, he cried: "Stop the man!" Rumbold was not in such haste but that he quickly stopped of himself; he was not quite gone out of the doors, and therefore soon returned to the bar; where, when he was come --" Well," said he, what is the matter? What would you have?" "The cup," answered the tapster, "that I brought to you." "I left it in the room," replied Rumbold. "I cannot find it," answered the tapster; and at this noise the landlord appeared, who, hearing what was the matter, said: "I am sure the cup was there but just now, for I drank out of it." "Aye, and it is there for me," replied our adventurer. "Look then further," said the landlord. The tapster did so, but neither high nor low could he find the cup. "Well, then," said the landlord, "if it be gone you must pay for it, countryman, for you must either have it or know of its going, and therefore you must pay for it." "Not I, indeed," replied our adventurer; "you see I have none of it. I have not been out of your house, nor nobody has been with me, how then can I have it? You may search me." The landord immediately caused him to be searched, but there was no cup to be found. However, the landlord was resolved not to lose his cup so, and therefore he sent for a constable, and charged him with our adventurer, and threatened him with the justice. All this would not do, and Rumbold told him that threatened folks live long, and if he would go before a justice, he was ready to bear him company to him. The landlord was more and more perplexed at this, and seeing he could not have his cup, nor nothing confessed, before the justice they went. When they came, the landlord told the story as truly as it was, and our pretended countryman made the same answer there as he had done before to the landlord. The justice was perplexed, not knowing how to do justice. Here was a cup lost, and Rumbold did not deny but he had it; but gone it was, and although Rumbold was pursued, yet he did not fly; he had nobody with him, and therefore it could not be conveyed away by confederacy; and for his own part he had been and was again searched, but no such thing found about him, and he in all respects pleaded innocence. This though considered, and weighed in the balance of justice, he could not think that our adventurer had it, and therefore to commit him would be injustice. He considered all he could, and was inclined to favour the countryman, who was altogether a stranger, and he believed innocent, especially when he considered what kind of person the landlord was, of whose life and conversation he had both heard and known enough to cause him to believe that it might be possible that all this might be a trick of the landlord's to cheat our adventurer; and therefore he gave his judgment that he did not believe by the evidence that was given that the countryman had the cup, and that he would not commit him unless the landlord would lay and swear point- blank felony to his charge, and of that he desired the landlord to beware. The landlord, seeing how the affair was likely to go, said no more, but he left it to Mr Justice, who, being of the opinion above-mentioned, discharged Rumbold, and advised the landlord to let him hear no more of such matters, and if he could not secure his plate, and know what company he had delivered it to, then to keep it up. The landlord thanked the justice for his advice, and so departed, our pretended countryman going about his business, and he returning home, being heartily vexed at his loss and the carriage of the whole affair, which was neither for his profit nor credit; but he was forced to sit down with the loss, being extremely uneasy at thinking which way he had lost the cup. He threw away some money upon a cunning man to know what was become of it, but all he could tell him was that he would hear of it again; and so he did shortly after, though it was to his further cost, and to little purpose.
He had some occasion to go to the market-town during the time of the assizes, and there seeing the prisoners brought to their trials, among others he espied Rumbold, whom he had charged with the silver cup. He inquired what was his crime, and was told it was for picking of a pocket. "Nay, then," said the landlord, "probably I may hear of my cup again." And therefore, when the trial was over and the prisoners carried back to the jail, he went and inquired for our adventurer, to whose presence he was soon brought. "O Lord, master! how do you do? Who thought to have seen you here? I believe you have not met with so good friends in this country as you did at our town of our justice; but let that pass. Come, let us drink together." Hereupon a jug of ale was called for and some tobacco which they very lovingly drank off, and smoked together; which done, said the landlord to our adventurer: "I would gladly be resolved in one point, which I question not but you can do." "I suppose you mean," said Rumbold, "about the old business of the silver cup you lost?" "Yes," said the landlord;" and the losing of it does not so much vex me as the manner how it was lost, and therefore," continued he, "if you would do me the kindness to give me the satisfaction how you came by it, I do protest I will acquit you although you are directly guilty." "No, that will not do," replied Rumbold; "there is somewhat else in the case." "Well, then," said the landlord, "if you will tell me, I will give you ten shillings to drink." "Ready money does very well in a prison," said our adventurer, "and will prevail much; but how shall I be assured that you will not prosecute me if I should chance to be concerned?" "For that ," replied the landlord, "I can give you no other warrant than my oath, which I will inviolably keep." "Well, then," said Rumbold, "down with the merry grigs; let me handle the money, and I'll be very true to you, and as for your charging me with it I fear you not." The landlord, being big with expectation to know how this clean conveyance was wrought, soon laid down the ten shillings, and then our countryman thus proceeded: "I must confess that I know which way your cup went, but when you charged me with it I had it not, neither was it out of the room, and I must tell you this, that if you had sought narrowly you might have found it, but it was not there long after. We who live by our wits must act by policy more than downright strength, and this cannot be done without confederates, and I had such in the management of this affair, for I left the cup fastened with soft wax under the middle of the board of the table where I drank; which place of the table, by reason it was covered with a cloth, as you may remember it was, it could not well be seen, and therefore you and your servants missed it. You know that very willingly I went with you to the justice; and whilst we were gone, those friends and confederates of mine, whom I had appointed, and who knew the room and everything else, went into the house, and into the same room, where they found the silver cup, and without the least suspicion went fairly off with it; and at a place appointed we met, and there acquainted one another with our adventures; and what purchases we had made we equally shared them between us." The landlord, at hearing this discourse, was extremely surprised, although fully satisfied. "But yet," said he, "I would be resolved one question, which is this: How if we had found it where you had put it whilst you were there?" "Why, truly," said Rumbold, "then you would have charged me with nothing, and I would have put it off with a jest; and if that would not have done, the most you could have done would have been only to have kicked and beaten me, and those things we of our quality must venture. You know the old proverbs, ' Nothing venture, nothing have '; and 'Faint heart never won fair lady.' And we have this other proverb to help us: 'Fortune favours the bold,' as it commonly does those of our quality, and she did me, I thank her, in that attempt." Rumbold thus descanted upon his actions, and the landlord, finding no likelihood of getting his cup, or anything else, from our adventurer, returned home.
We shall give our readers now the last adventure of Rumbold which he performed upon this mortal stage. It is this: Our adventurer, in company with two or three more cheats going together, saw a countryman who had a purse of money in his hand; they had observed him draw it to pay for some gingerbread he had bought on the road, wherefore they closed with him and endeavoured to nip his bung -- pick his pocket -- but could not, for he, knowing he was in a dangerous place, and among as dangerous company, put his purse of money into his breeches, which being close at the knees secured it from falling out, and besides he was very sly in having anybody come too near him. Our practitioners in the art of thieving, seeing this would not do, set their wits to working further, and having all their tools ready about them, and taking a convenient time and place, one of them goes before and drops a letter. Another of our adventurers, who had joined himself to the countryman, seeing it lie fairly for the purpose, says to him: "Look you, what is here!" But although the countryman did stoop to take it up, yet our adventurer was too nimble for him in that, and having it in hand, said: "Here is somewhat else besides a letter." "I cry half," said the countryman. "Well," said Rumbold, "you stooped indeed as well as I, but I have it; however I'll be fair with you. Let us see what it is, and whether it is worth the dividing." And thereupon he breaks open the letter and there sees a fair chain or necklace of gold. "Good fortune," says Rumbold, "if this be right gold." "How shall we know that?" replied the countryman. "Let us see what the letter says." Which being short, and to the purpose, spoke thus:
BROTHER JOHN,-I have here sent you back this necklace of gold you have sent me, not for any dislike I have to it, but my wife is covetous and would have a bigger; this comes not to above seven pounds, and she would have one of ten pounds; therefore pray get it changed for one of that price, and send it by the bearer to your loving brother, JACOB THORNTON.
"Nay, then, we have good luck," said the cheating dog, our adventurer; "but I hope," continued he to the countryman, "you will not expect a full share, for you know I found it, and besides, if we should divide it, I know not how to break it in pieces, but I doubt it would spoil it, therefore I had rather have my share in money." "Well," said the countryman, "I'll give you your share in money, provided I may have a full share."
"That you shall," said Rumbold, "and therefore I must have of you three pounds ten shillings, the price in all being as you see seven pounds."
"Aye," said the countryman (thinking to be too cunning for our adventurer)," it may be worth seven pounds in money in all, fashion and all, but we must not value that, but only the gold; therefore I think three pounds in money is better than half the chain, and so much I'll give you if you'll let me have it ."
"Well, I'm contented," said Rumbold, "but then you shall give me a pint of wine over and above."
To this the countryman also agreed, and to a tavern they went, where Rumbold received the three pounds, and the countryman the chain, who believed he had met with good fortune. They drank off their wine and were going away, but Rumbold, having not yet done with him, intending to get the rest of the money from him, offered him his pint of wine, which the countryman accepted of; but before they had drank it off, in comes another of the same tribe, who asked whether such a man, naming one, were there.
"No," said the bar- keeper. Rumbold -- the countryman sitting near the other cheat all the while -- asked of the inquirer: "Did not you inquire for such a man?" "Yes," said the inquirer.
"Why," said Rumbold, "I can tell you this news of him, that it will not be long before he comes hither, for I met him as I came in, and he appointed me to come in here and stay with him."
"Well then, it is best for me to stay," said the inquirer; "but," continued he, "it would be more proper for us to take a larger room, for we cannot stir ourselves in this."
"Agreed," said Rumbold. So the reckoning was paid, and they agreed to take a larger room, leaving word at the bar that if any inquiry should be made for them, there they should find them. Accordingly they went into another room, and the countryman, having done his business, gave signs of going away. "No," said Rumbold, "I beg you would stay and keep us company; it shall not cost you anything."
"Well then," said the countryman, "I am content to stay a little." Being now in the room they called for a quart of wine, and drank it off. "What shall we do to spend time?" said the last cheat, "for I am weary of staying for this man. Are you sure you are not mistaken?" "No," said the other. One of them upon this pretended to walk a turn round the room and, coming to the window, behind a cushion finds a pack of cards, which indeed he himself had laid there. "Look you here," said he to the countryman and the other, "I have found some tools; now we may go to work and spend our time, if you will play."
"Not I," said the countryman, "I'll not play."
"Then I will," said Rumbold; "but not for money." "
Why then," said the other, "for sixpence to be spent, and the game shall be putt." They being agreed, and the countryman being made overseer of the game, fell to playing, and the countryman's first acquaintance had the better of it, winning twelve games to the other's four. "Come," said he, "what shall we do with all this drink? We will play twopence wet and fourpence dry."
To this the other agreed, and so they played; and at this low gaming Rumbold had, in short, won off his confederate ten shillings in money. The loser seemed to be angry, and therefore proposed to play for all money, hoping to make himself whole again.
"Nay," said the other, "I shall not refuse your proposition, because I have won your money." And therefore to it they went, and Rumbold had still the same luck, and won ten shillings more. Then the other would play for twelve-pence a game.
"No," said Rumbold, "I am not willing to exceed sixpence a game; I will not alter what I have begun, lest I change my fortune, unless this honest countryman will go my halves."
"I have no mind to gaming," replied the countryman.
"You need not play," said the other; "I'll do that, and you see my fortune is good. Venture a crown with me; you know we have both had fortune, which I hope will continue propitious to us still."
"Well content," said the countryman, and so they proceeded. Still Rumbold had good fortune, and he and the countryman won ten shillings apiece more off the other, which made them merry, and the other was extremely enraged; he therefore told them he would either win the horse or lose the saddle, and venture all now; and drawing out about thirty shillings, "Come, take it all, win it and wear it," and so they played.
But they had now drawn the countryman in sufficiently, and he was flush, but it lasted not long thus before he was taken down a buttonhole lower, for the fortune changed, and what he had won was lost, and forty shillings more. He was now angry, but to no purpose, for he did not discover their foul play; and he, in hopes of his good fortune, ventured and lost the other forty shillings. And then he said he would go halves no longer, for he thought he would be merry and wise, and if he could not make a winning, he would be sure to make a secure bargain; which he reckoned he should do, because although he had lost four pounds in money, and given Rumbold three pounds for his share of the chain, that yet he should make seven pounds off the chain, and so be no loser.
They seeing he would not play, left off, and he that had won the money was content to give a collation, which was called for; but Rumbold, pretending much anger at his loss, was resolved to venture more, and to playing again he went, and in a short time he recovered a great deal of his losses. This vexed the countryman that he had not joined with him, and in the end, seeing his good fortune continue, and that he won, he again went halves, but it was not long that they thrived. The countryman was obliged to draw his purse, and in the end lost all his money, which was near twenty pounds.
He did not think his condition to be so bad as it was, because he believed he had a chain worth seven pounds in his pocket, and therefore he reckoned he had not lost all. By this time several other confederates (having been abroad, employed on the same account, cozening and cheating of others) came into the tavern, which was the place appointed for their rendezvous then they acquainted one another of their several gains and prizes, and afterwards fell to drinking, which they did very plentifully, and the countryman for anger called up the landlord to make one of the company.
He soon understood what kind of guests he had in his house, and how they had cheated the poor countryman, and therefore he was resolved to serve them in the same sort. Accordingly he put forward the affair of drinking; and some, being hungered, called for victuals.
He told them he would get them what they pleased, and they being determined to take up their quarters there for that night, a supper was bespoke for all the company, such as the master of the house in his discretion should think fit. He told them they should have it, and accordingly went down to provide supper. He soon returned and helped them off with their liquor till supper-time: by this time they were all perfectly drunk.
He then commanded up supper, and they fell to with a shoulder of mutton and two capons. After supper, and having consumed more liquor, they went to bed, and it was time, for it was past midnight. They all slept better than the countryman, who could hardly sleep a wink for thinking on his misfortunes, and having such good fortune in the morning it should prove so bad before night.
But morning being come, he and they all arose, and the countryman's money being all spent he knew it was to no purpose for him to stay there; wherefore he resolved to go to a goldsmith in the city and sell or pawn his chain, that he might have some money to carry him home. Being come to the goldsmith's he produced the chain, which though at first sight he took to be gold, yet upon trial he found it otherwise, and that it was but brass gilt.
He told the countryman the same, who at this heavy news was like to break his heart. The goldsmith, seeing the countryman in such a melancholy taking, inquired of him how he came by it. He soon acquainted him with the manner, and every circumstance.
The goldsmith, as soon as he understood the cheat, advised him to go to a justice and get a warrant for him that had thus cheated him; and the countryman telling him he had no money nor friend, being a stranger, he himself went with him to the justice, who soon understood the matter, and granted his warrant. The goldsmith procured a constable to go with him to the tavern, or night-house, where Rumbold was apprehended; but he found means some way or other to make his escape out of the house, as did the rest by main force.
Rumbold was not, as men of his profession generally are, very lavish with his money, for he had got above six hundred pounds, which he put into a friend's hands, with a resolution to improve it to the best advantage, without venturing his neck any more by robbing; but his banker (which makes good the old proverb, "To deceive the deceiver is no deceit ") running off with his cash, he was forced to take to the old trade of padding again, till he was like to have been taken at a lodging in Golden Lane, at the end of Red Cross Street, by Barbican, but by a very narrow escape getting free of his pursuers, he still followed his wicked course of life, till he was at last apprehended and sent to Newgate.
Being afterwards brought to his trial at the sessions-house in the Old Bailey, he was condemned, and whilst under sentence of death was particularly visited by one Mr Downs, formerly a factor at Virginia and Maryland in America. Whilst Rumbold was in the condemned hold he began to have serious meditations of his former ill-spent life; and through the great pains Mr Downs took with him in his melancholy moments he entertained good thoughts about preparing himself for his latter end, earnestly requiring him that he would vouchsafe the favour of seeing him ride up Holborn to make his last exit at Tyburn. Accordingly Mr Downs granted his request, by not only standing in an ale-house to see him go by, but also charitably calling out to him, saying, "Dear friend Rumbold, I wish you a good journey," which he took so kindly at his hands that he went with a great deal of joy to the gallows, saying that now he plainly saw, to his great consolation, that his old acquaintance would not forget him to the last. So he ended his wicked life, aged about forty-six years, in 1689.