Short summary - The History of John Bull - John Arbuthnot

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The History of John Bull
John Arbuthnot

Lord Stratt, a wealthy aristocrat whose family has long owned enormous wealth, the parish priest and the clever solicitor convince his cousin, Philip Babun, to bequeath his entire estate. To the cruel disappointment of another cousin, Esquire South, the title and estate after the death of Lord Stratt pass to the young Philip Baboon.

To the young lord are the regular suppliers of the late Stratt, the cloth merchant John Bull and the linen merchant Nicolas Frog. Despite the many debts of the late Lord Stratt, it is extremely disadvantageous for them to miss such a rich client as Philip Baboon, and they hope that they will receive orders from him for their goods. The young lord promises them not to resort to the services of other merchants. However, Buhl and Frog suspect that the young lord’s grandfather, a dodger and a swindler Louis Babun, who also deals in trade and does not disdain any fraud in order to obtain profitable orders, will take over all the affairs of his grandson. Fearing ruin due to the machinations of the malicious Louis Babun, the dishonest fraudster and brawler, Boule and Frog write a letter to Philip Baboon informing him that if he intends to receive the goods from his grandfather, they, Boule and Frog,

Young Baboon is frightened by such a turn of events. Since he does not have cash to pay the debt, he vowingly promises Bul and Frog to buy goods only from them. However, merchants no longer doubt that the old rogue Louis Baboon will certainly cheat on his grandson. Be and Frog go to court with a lawsuit. Solicitor Humphrey Hocus draws up a lawsuit defending the interests of Buhl and Frog and challenging the right of Louis Baboon to trade, since the latter «is not a merchant at all, but a brawler and a skier skier wandering around village fairs, where he incites honest people to fight on fists or clubs for the sake of prize. "

Ten years pass, and the matter is still dragging on. Young Lord Stratt fails to get a single decision in his favor. However, Bul also won nothing, on the contrary, all his cash gradually settled in the pockets of judicial officials. John Bull is an honest and good-natured fellow, a hospice and a merry fellow, but his passionate and stubborn nature prompts him to continue the lawsuit, which threatens to finally ruin him. Seeing how litigation gradually eats up all his capital, he unexpectedly for all decides to become a lawyer himself, since this is such a profitable business. He abandons all business, instructs Frog to conduct his trading operations, and zealously studies jurisprudence.

Nicolae Frog is the exact opposite of Boul. The cunning and prudent Frog closely follows the course of the lawsuit, but by no means to the detriment of the interests of his trade.

Bull, who had gone headlong into the study of the intricacies of judicial science, suddenly learns about the connection of the solicitor Hockus, who pumps huge amounts of money from Bull, with his wife. Buhl is indignant at the behavior of his wife, who openly cheats on him, but she declares that she considers herself free from any obligations to her husband and will continue to behave as she sees fit. A quarrel erupts between them, turning into a brawl: the wife receives a serious injury, from which she dies after six months.

In the papers of the deceased wife, Boule discovers a treatise on the issues of «protecting the wife’s full duty duty to instruct the husband’s husband in the event of tyranny, infidelity or incapacity.» In this treatise, she sharply condemns female chastity and justifies adultery, referring to the laws of nature and to the example of «the wisest wives of all ages and nations,» which, using the indicated means, saved her husband’s family from death and oblivion due to the lack of offspring. »It turns out that this destructive teaching has already spread among women, despite the unconditional condemnation of their husbands.The women create two parties whose views on issues of chastity and marital fidelity are diametrically opposed, but in reality the behavior of both tlichaetsya.

Buhl will marry a serious and sedate country woman, and she prudently advises him to take up his mind and check accounts, instead of doing legal studies that undermine his health and threaten to let his family go around the world. He follows her advice and discovers that the solicitor Hocus appropriates his money without a twinge of conscience, and Frog takes part in their total expenses only in words, while in fact all the costs of the litigation are borne by Buhl. The outraged Bull refuses the services of Hawkes and hires another solicitor.

Frog sends Bule a letter in which he assures him of his honesty and devotion to the common cause. He complains that he is being harassed by the impudent Louis Baboon, and complains that he has lost much more money than Boul. Frog asks Buhl to continue to trust him, Frog, his trading affairs and promises fantastic profits.

Bull meets in the tavern with Frog, Esq. South and Louis Baboon. Buhl suspects that Louis Baboon and Frog may conspire among themselves and deceive him. Boole demands from Frog a full account of how he spent the money that Boole entrusted to him. Frog tries to cheat on Buhl, but he catches him.

Frog begins to intrigue against his former companion and friend: he convinces Buhl's servants and households that their master went insane and sold his wife and children to Louis Baboon, which is unsafe to argue with him, since Boule always has poison and a dagger with him. However, Buhl guesses who spreads these ridiculous rumors.


Louis Baboon, who is in constant financial difficulty due to the fact that all the merchants he has ever cheated, united against him, is visiting Buly. Louis Baboon reproaches the greedy Frog, whom he was trying to deal with, and asks Buhl to take him, Baboon, under his protection and to have him and his capitals as he pleases. Boule agrees to help old Louis, but only on condition of complete trust in him. Boule demands from the old fraudster, firm guarantees and insists that he transfer the castle of Ecclesdown to his full ownership along with the nearby lands. Louis Baboon agrees.

Frog, who himself does not mind taking possession of the castle, engages in secret conspiracy with Esquire South. He persuades the Esquire to bribe judicial officials and deprive Buhl of all rights to the estate. However, Boulle, who manages to eavesdrop on their conversation, exposes Frog’s criminal designs and, contrary to all, becomes the sovereign master of the castle of Ecclesdown.