What a rate have I gone on at, curvetting and striking it away, two up and two down for three volumes (According to the preceding Editions.) together, without looking once behind, or even on one side of me, to see whom I trod upon!—I'll tread upon no one—quoth I to myself when I mounted—I'll take a good rattling gallop; but I'll not hurt the poorest jack-ass upon the road.—So off I set—up one lane—down another, through this turnpike—over that, as if the arch-jockey of jockeys had got behind me.
Now ride at this rate with what good intention and resolution you may—'tis a million to one you'll do some one a mischief, if not yourself—He's flung—he's off—he's lost his hat—he's down—he'll break his neck—see!—if he has not galloped full among the scaffolding of the undertaking criticks!—he'll knock his brains out against some of their posts—he's bounced out!—look—he's now riding like a mad-cap full tilt through a whole crowd of painters, fiddlers, poets, biographers, physicians, lawyers, logicians, players, school-men, churchmen, statesmen, soldiers, casuists, connoisseurs, prelates, popes, and engineers.—Don't fear, said I—I'll not hurt the poorest jack-ass upon the king's highway.—But your horse throws dirt; see you've splash'd a bishop—I hope in God, 'twas only Ernulphus, said I.—But you have squirted full in the faces of Mess. Le Moyne, De Romigny, and De Marcilly, doctors of the Sorbonne.—That was last year, replied I.—But you have trod this moment upon a king.—Kings have bad times on't, said I, to be trod upon by such people as me.
You have done it, replied my accuser.
I deny it, quoth I, and so have got off, and here am I standing with my bridle in one hand, and with my cap in the other, to tell my story.—And what in it? You shall hear in the next chapter.