The Cavalier And His Servant Enjoy The Rewards Of Plunder
From ' Memoirs Of A Cavalier' by Daniel Defoe (1720)

My man brought me a very good horse, with a furniture on him, and one pistol of extraordinary workmanship.

I bade him get upon his back and make the best of the day for himself, which he did, and I saw him no more till three days after, when he found me out at Leipsic, so richly dressed that I hardly knew him; and after making his excuse for his long absence, gave me a very pleasant account where he had been. He told me, that according to my order, being mounted on the horse he had brought me, he first rid into the field among the dead, to get some clothes suitable to the equipage of his horse, and having seized on a laced coat, a helmet, a sword, and an extraordinary good cane, was resolved to see what was become of the enemy, and following the track of the dragoons, which he could easily do by the bodies on the road, he fell in with a small party of twenty-five dragoons, under no command but a corporal, making to a village, where some of the enemy's horse had been quartered. The dragoons, taking him for an officer, by his horse, desired him to command them, told him the enemy was very rich, and they doubted not a good booty. He was a bold brisk fellow, and told them with all his heart; but said he had but one pistol, the other being broke with firing; so they lent him a pair of pistols, and a small piece they had taken, and he led them on. There had been a regiment of horse and some troops of Crabats in the village, but they were fled on the first notice of the pursuit, excepting three troops, and these, on sight of this small party, supposing them to be only the first of a greater number, fled in the greatest confusion imaginable. They took the village and about fifty horses, with all the plunder of the enemy; and with the heat of the service he had spoiled my horse, he said, for which he had brought me two more; for he, passing for the commander of the party, had all the advantage the custom of war gives an officer in like cases.

I was very well pleased with the relation the fellow gave me, and laughing at him, Well, captain, said I, and what plunder have you got? Enough to make me a captain, sir, says he, if you please, and a troop ready raised too; for the party of dragoons are posted in the village by my command, till they have farther orders. In short, he pulled out sixty or seventy pieces of gold, five or six watches, thirteen or fourteen rings, whereof two were diamond rings, one of which was worth fifty dollars; silver as much as his pockets would hold, besides that he had brought three horses, two of which were laden with baggage, and a boor he had hired to stay with them at Leipsic till he had found me out. But I am afraid, captain, says I, you have plundered the village, instead of plundering the enemy. No indeed, not we, says he, but the Craba.ts had done it for us, and we light of them just as they were carrying it off. Well, said I, but what will you do with your men; for when you come to give them orders they will know you well enough? No, no, says he, I took care of that; for just now I gave a soldier five dollars to carry them news that the army was marched to Moersburg, and that they should follow thither to the regiment.

Having secured his money in my lodgings, he asked me if I pleased to see his horses, and to have one for myself? I told him I would go and see them in the afternoon; but the fellow being impatient, goes and fetches them. There were three horses, one whereof was a very good one, and, by the furniture, was an officer's horse of the Crabats; and that my man would have me accept, for the other he had spoiled, as he said. I was but indifferently horsed before, so I accepted of the horse, and went down with him to see the rest of his plunder there. He had got three or four pair of pistols, two or three bundles of officers' linen, and lace, a field bed and a tent, and several other things of value; but at last, coming to a small fardel, And this, says he, I took whole from a Crabat running away with it under his arm; so he brought it up into my chamber. He had not looked into it, he said, but he understood it was some plunder the soldiers had made, and, finding it heavy, took it by consent. We opened it, and found it was a bundle of some linen, thirteen or fourteen pieces of plate, and in a small cup, three rings, a fine necklace of pearl, and the value of one hundred rix-dollars in money. The fellow was amazed at his own good fortune, and hardly knew what to do with himself. I bid him go take care of his other things, and of his horses, and come again; so he went and discharged the boor that waited, and packed up all his plunder, and came up to me in his old clothes again. How now, captain, says I, what, have you altered your equipage already? I am no more ashamed, sir, of your livery, answered he, than of your service, and nevertheless your servant for what I have got by it. Well, says I to him, but what will you do now with all your money? I wish my poor father had some of it, says he; and for the rest, I got it for you, sir, and desire you would take it.

He spoke it with so much honesty and freedom, that I could not but take it very kindly; but however, I told him I would not take a farthing from him, as his master; but I would have him play the good husband with it now he had such good fortune to get it. He told me he would take my directions in everything. Why then, said I, I'll tell you what I would advise you to do; turn it all into ready money, and convey it by return home into England, and follow yourself the first opportunity, and with good management you may put yourself in a good posture of living with it. The fellow, with a sort of dejection in his looks, asked me, if he had disobliged me in anything? Why? says I. That I was willing to turn him out of his service. No, George (that was his name), says I, but you may live on this money without being a servant. I'd throw it all into the Elbe, says he, over Torgau bridge, rather than leave your service; and besides, says he, can't I save my money without going from you? I got it in your service, and I'll never spend it out of your service, unless you put me away. I hope my money won't make me the worse servant; if I thought it would I'd soon have little enough. Nay, George, says I, I shall not oblige you to it for I am not willing to lose you neither. Come then, says I, let us put it all together, and see what it will come to. So he laid it all together on the table; and by our computation he had gotten as much plunder as was worth about one thousand four hundred rix-dollars, besides three horses with their furniture, a tent, a bed, and some wearing linen. Then he takes the necklace of pearl, a very good watch, a diamond ring, and a hundred pieces of gold, and lays them by themselves; and having, according to our best calculation, valued the things, he put up all the rest; and as I was going to ask him what they were left out for, he takes them up in his hand, and coming round the table, told me, that if I did not think him unworthy of my service and favour, he begged I would give him leave to make that present to me; that it was my first thought, his going out; that he had got it all in my service, and he should think I had no kindness for him if I should refuse it. I was resolved in my mind not to take it from him, and yet I could find no means to resist his importunity; at last I told him, I would accept of part of his present, and that I esteemed his respect in that as much as the whole, and that I would not have him importune me farther; so I took the ring and watch, with the horse and furniture as before, and made him turn all the rest into money at Leipsic; and not suffering him to wear his livery, made him put himself into a tolerable equipage, and taking a young Leipsicer into my service, he attended me as a gentleman from that time forward.

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