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´╗┐Title: The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great
Author: Fielding, Henry
Language: English
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                         HISTORY OF THE LIFE
                            OF THE LATE
                         MR. JONATHAN WILD
                             THE GREAT

Ph. D.



Jonathan Wild, born about 1682 and executed at Tyburn in 1725, was
one of the most notorious criminals of his age. His resemblance to
the hero in Fielding's satire of the same name is general rather
than particular. The real Jonathan (whose legitimate business was
that of a buckle-maker) like Fielding's, won his fame, not as a
robber himself, but as an informer, and a receiver of stolen
goods. His method was to restore these to the owners on receipt of
a commission, which was generally pretty large, pretending that he
had paid the whole of it to the thieves, whom for disinterested
motives he had traced. He was a great organiser, and he controlled
various bands of robbers whose lives he did not hesitate to
sacrifice, when his own was in danger. Naturally he was so hated
by many of his underlings that it is a wonder he was able to
maintain his authority over them as many years as he did. His
rascality had been notorious a long time before his crimes could
actually be proved. He was executed at last according to the
statute which made receivers of stolen goods equally guilty with
the stealers.

Beyond this general resemblance, the adventures of the real
Jonathan, so far as we know them, are not much like those of the
fictitious. True, the real Jonathan's married life was unhappy,
though his quarrel with his wife did not follow so hard upon his
wedding as the quarrel of Fielding's hero and the chaste Laetitia.
Not until a year from his marriage did the real Jonathan separate
from his spouse, after which time he lived, like Fielding's, not
always mindful of his vows of faithfulness. Like Fielding's, too,
he was called upon to suppress rebellions in his gangs, and once
he came very near being killed in a court of justice by one Blake,
alias Blueskin. Apart from these misadventures, the experiences of
Fielding's Wild seem to be purely imaginary. "My narrative is
rather of such actions which he might have performed," the author
himself says, [Footnote: Introduction to Miscellanies, 1st ed., p.
xvii.] "or would, or should have performed, than what he really
did. ... The Life and Actions of the Late Jonathan Wild, got out
with characteristic commercial energy by Defoe, soon after the
criminal's execution, is very different from Fielding's satirical
narrative, and probably a good deal nearer the truth."

Jonathan Wild was published as the third volume of the
Miscellanies "by Henry Fielding, Esq." which came out in the
spring of 1743. From the reference to Lady Booby's steward, Peter
Pounce, in Book II., it seems to have been, as Mr. Austin Dobson
has observed, and as the date of publication would imply, composed
in part at least subsequently to Joseph Andrews, which appeared
early in 1742. But the same critic goes on to say that whenever
completed, Jonathan Wild was probably "planned and begun before
Joseph Andrews was published, as it is in the highest degree
improbable that Fielding, always carefully watching the public
taste, would have followed up that fortunate adventure in a new
direction by a work so entirely different from it as Jonathan
Wild." [Footnote: Henry Fielding, 1900, p. 145.] Mr. Dobson's
surmise is undoubtedly correct. The "strange, surprising
adventures" of Mrs. Heartfree belong to a different school of
fiction from that with which we commonly associate Fielding. They
are such as we should expect one of Defoe's characters to go
through, rather than a woman whose creator had been gratified only
a year before at the favourable reception accorded to Fanny and
Lady Booby and Mrs. Slipslop.

That Jonathan Wild is for the most part a magnificent example of
sustained irony, one of the best in our literature, critics have
generally agreed. The comparison steadfastly insisted upon between
Jonathan Wild's greatness and the greatness which the world looks
up to, but which without being called criminal is yet devoid of
humanity, is admirable. Admirable, too, is the ironical humour, in
which Fielding so excelled, and which in Jonathan Wild he seldom
drops. It would take too long to mention all the particularly good
ironical passages, but among them are the conversation between
Wild and Count La Ruse, and the description of Miss Tishy Snap in
the first book; the adventures of Wild in the boat at the end of
the second book; and, in the last, the dialogue between the
ordinary of Newgate and the hero, the death of Wild, and the
chapter which sets forth his character and his maxims for
attaining greatness. And yet as a satire Jonathan Wild is not
perfect. Fielding himself hits upon its one fault, when, in the
last book, after the long narrative of Mrs. Heartfree's adventures
by sea and by land, he says, "we have already perhaps detained our
reader too long ... from the consideration of our hero." He has
detained us far too long. A story containing so much irony as
Jonathan Wild should be an undeviating satire like A Tale of a
Tub. The introduction of characters like the Heartfrees, who are
meant to enlist a reader's sympathy, spoils the unity. True, the
way they appear at first is all very well. Heartfree is "a silly
fellow," possessed of several great weaknesses of mind, being
"good-natured, friendly, and generous to a great excess," and
devoted to the "silly woman," his wife. But later Fielding becomes
so much interested in the pair that he drops his ironical tone.
Unfortunately, however, in depicting them, he has not met with his
usual success in depicting amiable characters. The exemplary
couple, together with their children and Friendly, are much less
real than the villain and his fellows. And so the importance of
the Heartfrees in Jonathan Wild seems to me a double blemish. A
satire is not truth, and yet in Mr. and Mrs. Heartfree Fielding
has tried--though not with success--to give us virtuous characters
who are truly human. The consequence is that Jonathan Wild just
fails of being a consistently brilliant satire.

As to its place among Fielding's works, critics have differed
considerably. The opinion of Scott found little in Jonathan Wild
to praise, but then it is evident from what he says, that Scott
missed the point of the satire. [Footnote: Henry Fielding in
Biographical and Critical Notices of Eminent Novelists. "It is not
easy to see what Fielding proposed to himself by a picture of
complete vice, unrelieved by anything of human feeling. ..."].
Some other critics have been neither more friendly than Sir
Walter, nor more discriminating, in speaking of Jonathan Wild and
Smollett's Count Fathom in the same breath, as if they were
similar either in purpose or in merit. Fathom is a romantic
picaresque novel, with a possibly edifying, but most unnatural
reformation of the villainous hero at the last; Jonathan Wild is a
pretty consistent picaresque satire, in which the hero ends where
Fathom by all rights should have ended,--on the gallows. Fathom is
the weakest of all its author's novels; Jonathan Wild is not
properly one of Fielding's novels at all, but a work only a little
below them. For below them I cannot help thinking it, in spite of
the opinion of a critic of taste and judgment so excellent as
Professor Saintsbury's. When this gentleman, in his introduction
to Jonathan Wild, in a recent English edition of Fielding's works,
says that: "Fielding has written no greater book," he seems to me
to give excessive praise to a work of such great merit that only
its deserved praise is ample.

A great satire, I should say, is never the equal of a great novel.
In the introductions which I have already written, in trying to
show what a great novel is, I have said that an essential part of
such a book is the reality of its scenes and characters. Now
scenes and characters will not seem real, unless there is in them
the right blend of pleasure and pain, of good and bad; for life is
not all either one thing or the other, nor has it ever been so.
Such reality is not found in a satire, for a satire, as
distinguished from a novel, both conceals and exaggerates: it
gives half-truths instead of whole truths; it shows not all of
life but only a part; and even this it cannot show quite truly,
for its avowed object is to magnify some vice or foible. In doing
so, a satire finds no means so effective as irony, which makes its
appeal wholly to the intellect. A good novel, on the contrary,
touches the head and the heart both; along with passages which
give keen intellectual enjoyment, it offers passages which move
its reader's tears. Still, a good novelist without appreciation of
irony cannot be imagined, for without the sense of humour which
makes irony appreciated, it is impossible to see the objects of
this world in their right proportions. Irony, then, which is the
main part of a satire, is essential to a good novel, though not
necessarily more than a small part of it. Intellectually there is
nothing in English literature of the eighteenth century greater
than A Tale of a Tub or the larger part of Gullivers Travels;
intellectually there is nothing in Fielding's works greater than
most of Jonathan Wild; but taken all in all, is not a novel like
Tom Jones, with its eternal appeal to the emotions as well as the
intellect, greater than a perfect satire? Even if this be not
admitted, Jonathan Wild, we have already seen, is not a perfect
satire. For a work of its kind, it is too sympathetically human,
and so suffers in exactly the opposite way from Vanity Fair, which
many people think is kept from being the greatest English novel of
the nineteenth century because it is too satirical.

No, I cannot agree with Professor Saintsbury that "Fielding has
written no greater book" than Jonathan Wild. It was unquestionably
the most important part of the Miscellanies of 1743. Its
brilliancy may make it outrank even that delightful Journal of the
Voyage to Lisbon. A higher place should not be claimed for it. Mr.
Dobson, in his Henry Fielding, has assigned the right position to
Jonathan Wild when he says that its place "in Fielding's works is
immediately after his three great novels, and this is more by
reason of its subject than its workmanship," which if not perfect,
is yet for the most part excellent.







As it is necessary that all great and surprising events, the
designs of which are laid, conducted, and brought to perfection by
the utmost force of human invention and art, should be produced by
great and eminent men, so the lives of such may be justly and
properly styled the quintessence of history. In these, when
delivered to us by sensible writers, we are not only most
agreeably entertained, but most usefully instructed; for, besides
the attaining hence a consummate knowledge of human nature in
general; of its secret springs, various windings, and perplexed
mazes; we have here before our eyes lively examples of whatever is
amiable or detestable, worthy of admiration or abhorrence, and are
consequently taught, in a manner infinitely more effectual than by
precept, what we are eagerly to imitate or carefully to avoid.

But besides the two obvious advantages of surveying, as it were in
a picture, the true beauty of virtue and deformity of vice, we may
moreover learn from Plutarch, Nepos, Suetonius, and other
biographers, this useful lesson, not too hastily, nor in the
gross, to bestow either our praise or censure; since we shall
often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character
that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate
inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns, for though
we sometimes meet with an Aristides or a Brutus, a Lysander or a
Nero, yet far the greater number are of the mixt kind, neither
totally good nor bad; their greatest virtues being obscured and
allayed by their vices, and those again softened and coloured over
by their virtues.

Of this kind was the illustrious person whose history we now
undertake; to whom, though nature had given the greatest and most
shining endowments, she had not given them absolutely pure and
without allay. Though he had much of the admirable in his
character, as much perhaps as is usually to be found in a hero, I
will not yet venture to affirm that he was entirely free from all
defects, or that the sharp eyes of censure could not spy out some
little blemishes lurking amongst his many great perfections.

We would not therefore be understood to affect giving the reader a
perfect or consummate pattern of human excellence, but rather, by
faithfully recording some little imperfections which shadowed over
the lustre of those great qualities which we shall here record, to
teach the lesson we have above mentioned, to induce our reader
with us to lament the frailty of human nature, and to convince him
that no mortal, after a thorough scrutiny, can be a proper object
of our adoration.

But before we enter on this great work we must endeavour to remove
some errors of opinion which mankind have, by the disingenuity of
writers, contracted: for these, from their fear of contradicting
the obsolete and absurd doctrines of a set of simple fellows,
called, in derision, sages or philosophers, have endeavoured, as
much as possible, to confound the ideas of greatness and goodness;
whereas no two things can possibly be more distinct from each
other, for greatness consists in bringing all manner of mischief
on mankind, and goodness in removing it from them. It seems
therefore very unlikely that the same person should possess them
both; and yet nothing is more usual with writers, who find many
instances of greatness in their favourite hero, than to make him a
compliment of goodness into the bargain; and this, without
considering that by such means they destroy the great perfection
called uniformity of character. In the histories of Alexander and
Caesar we are frequently, and indeed impertinently, reminded of
their benevolence and generosity, of their clemency and kindness.
When the former had with fire and sword overrun a vast empire, had
destroyed the lives of an immense number of innocent wretches, had
scattered ruin and desolation like a whirlwind, we are told, as an
example of his clemency, that he did not cut the throat of an old
woman, and ravish her daughters, but was content with only undoing
them. And when the mighty Caesar, with wonderful greatness of
mind, had destroyed the liberties of his country, and with all the
means of fraud and force had placed himself at the head of his
equals, had corrupted and enslaved the greatest people whom the
sun ever saw, we are reminded, as an evidence of his generosity,
of his largesses to his followers and tools, by whose means he had
accomplished his purpose, and by whose assistance he was to
establish it.

Now, who doth not see that such sneaking qualities as these are
rather to be bewailed as imperfections than admired as ornaments
in these great men; rather obscuring their glory, and holding them
back in their race to greatness, indeed unworthy the end for which
they seem to have come into the world, viz. of perpetrating vast
and mighty mischief?

We hope our reader will have reason justly to acquit us of any
such confounding ideas in the following pages; in which, as we are
to record the actions of a great man, so we have nowhere mentioned
any spark of goodness which had discovered itself either faintly
in him, or more glaringly in any other person, but as a meanness
and imperfection, disqualifying them for undertakings which lead
to honour and esteem among men.

As our hero had as little as perhaps is to be found of that
meanness, indeed only enough to make him partaker of the
imperfection of humanity, instead of the perfection of diabolism,
we have ventured to call him THE GREAT; nor do we doubt but our
reader, when he hath perused his story, will concur with us in
allowing him that title.



It is the custom of all biographers, at their entrance into their
work, to step a little backwards (as far, indeed, generally as
they are able) and to trace up their hero, as the ancients did the
river Nile, till an incapacity of proceeding higher puts an end to
their search.

What first gave rise to this method is somewhat difficult to
determine. Sometimes I have thought that the hero's ancestors have
been introduced as foils to himself. Again, I have imagined it
might be to obviate a suspicion that such extraordinary personages
were not produced in the ordinary course of nature, and may have
proceeded from the author's fear that, if we were not told who
their fathers were, they might be in danger, like prince
Prettyman, of being supposed to have had none. Lastly, and perhaps
more truly, I have conjectured that the design of the biographer
hath been no more than to shew his great learning and knowledge of
antiquity. A design to which the world hath probably owed many
notable discoveries, and indeed most of the labours of our

But whatever original this custom had, it is now too well
established to be disputed. I shall therefore conform to it in the
strictest manner.

Mr. Jonathan Wild, or Wyld, then (for he himself did not always
agree in one method of spelling his name), was descended from the
great Wolfstan Wild, who came over with Hengist, and distinguished
himself very eminently at that famous festival, where the Britons
were so treacherously murdered by the Saxons; for when the word
was given, i.e. Nemet eour Saxes, take out your swords, this
gentleman, being a little hard of hearing, mistook the sound for
Nemet her sacs, take out their purses; instead therefore of
applying to the throat, he immediately applied to the pocket of
his guest, and contented himself with taking all that he had,
without attempting his life.

The next ancestor of our hero who was remarkably eminent was Wild,
surnamed Langfanger, or Longfinger. He flourished in the reign of
Henry III., and was strictly attached to Hubert de Burgh, whose
friendship he was recommended to by his great excellence in an art
of which Hubert was himself the inventor; he could, without the
knowledge of the proprietor, with great ease and dexterity, draw
forth a man's purse from any part of his garment where it was
deposited, and hence he derived his surname. This gentleman was
the first of his family who had the honour to suffer for the good
of his country: on whom a wit of that time made the following

O shame o' justice! Wild is hang'd, For thatten he a pocket
fang'd, While safe old Hubert, and his gang, Doth pocket o' the
nation fang.

Langfanger left a son named Edward, whom he had carefully
instructed in the art for which he himself was so famous. This
Edward had a grandson, who served as a volunteer under the famous
Sir John Falstaff, and by his gallant demeanour so recommended
himself to his captain, that he would have certainly been promoted
by him, had Harry the fifth kept his word with his old companion.

After the death of Edward the family remained in some obscurity
down to the reign of Charles the first, when James Wild
distinguished himself on both sides the question in the civil
wars, passing from one to t'other, as Heaven seemed to declare
itself in favour of either party. At the end of the war, James not
being rewarded according to his merits, as is usually the case of
such impartial persons, he associated himself with a brave man of
those times, whose name was Hind, and declared open war with both
parties. He was successful in several actions, and spoiled many of
the enemy: till at length, being overpowered and taken, he was,
contrary to the law of arms, put basely and cowardly to death by a
combination between twelve men of the enemy's party, who, after
some consultation, unanimously agreed on the said murder.

This Edward took to wife Rebecca, the daughter of the above-
mentioned John Hind, esq., by whom he had issue John, Edward,
Thomas, and Jonathan, and three daughters, namely, Grace, Charity,
and Honour. John followed the fortunes of his father, and,
suffering with him, left no issue. Edward was so remarkable for
his compassionate temper that he spent his life in soliciting the
causes of the distressed captives in Newgate, and is reported to
have held a strict friendship with an eminent divine who solicited
the spiritual causes of the said captives. He married Editha,
daughter and co-heiress of Geoffry Snap, gent., who long enjoyed
an office under the high sheriff of London and Middlesex, by
which, with great reputation, he acquired a handsome fortune: by
her he had no issue. Thomas went very young abroad to one of our
American colonies, and hath not been since heard of. As for the
daughters, Grace was married to a merchant of Yorkshire who dealt
in horses. Charity took to husband an eminent gentleman, whose
name I cannot learn, but who was famous for so friendly a
disposition that he was bail for above a hundred persons in one
year. He had likewise the remarkable humour of walking in
Westminster-hall with a straw in his shoe. Honour, the youngest,
died unmarried: she lived many years in this town, was a great
frequenter of plays, and used to be remarkable for distributing
oranges to all who would accept of them.

Jonathan married Elizabeth, daughter of Scragg Hollow, of Hockley-
in-the-Hole, esq.; and by her had Jonathan, who is the illustrious
subject of these memoirs.



It is observable that Nature seldom produces any one who is
afterwards to act a notable part on the stage of life, but she
gives some warning of her intention; and, as the dramatic poet
generally prepares the entry of every considerable character with
a solemn narrative, or at least a great flourish of drums and
trumpets, so doth this our Alma Mater by some shrewd hints pre-
admonish us of her intention, giving us warning, as it were, and

     --Venienti occurrite morbo.

Thus Astyages, who was the grandfather of Cyrus, dreamt that his
daughter was brought to bed of a vine, whose branches overspread
all Asia; and Hecuba, while big with Paris, dreamt that she was
delivered of a firebrand that set all Troy in flames; so did the
mother of our great man, while she was with child of him, dream
that she was enjoyed in the night by the gods Mercury and Priapus.
This dream puzzled all the learned astrologers of her time,
seeming to imply in it a contradiction; Mercury being the god of
ingenuity, and Priapus the terror of those who practised it. What
made this dream the more wonderful, and perhaps the true cause of
its being remembered, was a very extraordinary circumstance,
sufficiently denoting something preternatural in it; for though
she had never heard even the name of either of these gods, she
repeated these very words in the morning, with only a small
mistake of the quantity of the latter, which she chose to call
Priapus instead of Priapus; and her husband swore that, though he
might possibly have named Mercury to her (for he had heard of such
an heathen god), he never in his life could anywise have put her
in mind of that other deity, with whom he had no acquaintance.

Another remarkable incident was, that during her whole pregnancy
she constantly longed for everything she saw; nor could be
satisfied with her wish unless she enjoyed it clandestinely; and
as nature, by true and accurate observers, is remarked to give us
no appetites without furnishing us with the means of gratifying
them; so had she at this time a most marvellous glutinous quality
attending her fingers, to which, as to birdlime, everything
closely adhered that she handled.

To omit other stories, some of which may be perhaps the growth of
superstition, we proceed to the birth of our hero, who made his
first appearance on this great theatre the very day when the
plague first broke out in 1665. Some say his mother was delivered
of him in an house of an orbicular or round form in Covent-garden;
but of this we are not certain. He was some years afterwards
baptized by the famous Mr. Titus Oates.

Nothing very remarkable passed in his years of infancy, save that,
as the letters TH are the most difficult of pronunciation, and the
last which a child attains to the utterance of, so they were the
first that came with any readiness from young master Wild. Nor
must we omit the early indications which he gave of the sweetness
of his temper; for though he was by no means to be terrified into
compliance, yet might he, by a sugar-plum, be brought to your
purpose; indeed, to say the truth, he was to be bribed to
anything, which made many say he was certainly born to be a great

He was scarce settled at school before he gave marks of his lofty
and aspiring temper; and was regarded by all his schoolfellows
with that deference which men generally pay to those superior
geniuses who will exact it of them. If an orchard was to be robbed
Wild was consulted, and, though he was himself seldom concerned in
the execution of the design, yet was he always concerter of it,
and treasurer of the booty, some little part of which he would now
and then, with wonderful generosity, bestow on those who took it.
He was generally very secret on these occasions; but if any
offered to plunder of his own head, without acquainting master
Wild, and making a deposit of the booty, he was sure to have an
information against him lodged with the schoolmaster, and to be
severely punished for his pains.

He discovered so little attention to school-learning that his
master, who was a very wise and worthy man, soon gave over all
care and trouble on that account, and, acquainting his parents
that their son proceeded extremely well in his studies, he
permitted his pupil to follow his own inclinations, perceiving
they led him to nobler pursuits than the sciences, which are
generally acknowledged to be a very unprofitable study, and indeed
greatly to hinder the advancement of men in the world: but though
master Wild was not esteemed the readiest at making his exercise,
he was universally allowed to be the most dexterous at stealing it
of all his schoolfellows, being never detected in such furtive
compositions, nor indeed in any other exercitations of his great
talents, which all inclined the same way, but once, when he had
laid violent hands on a book called Gradus ad Parnassum, i. e. A
step towards Parnassus, on which account his master, who was a man
of most wonderful wit and sagacity, is said to have told him he
wished it might not prove in the event Gradus ad Patibulum, i. e.
A step towards the gallows.

But, though he would not give himself the pains requisite to
acquire a competent sufficiency in the learned languages, yet did
he readily listen with attention to others, especially when they
translated the classical authors to him; nor was he in the least
backward, at all such times, to express his approbation. He was
wonderfully pleased with that passage in the eleventh Iliad where
Achilles is said to have bound two sons of Priam upon a mountain,
and afterwards to have released them for a sum of money. This was,
he said, alone sufficient to refute those who affected a contempt
for the wisdom of the ancients, and an undeniable testimony of the
great antiquity of priggism.[Footnote: This word, in the cant
language, signifies thievery.] He was ravished with the account
which Nestor gives in the same book of the rich booty which he
bore off (i.e. stole) from the Eleans. He was desirous of having
this often repeated to him, and at the end of every repetition he
constantly fetched a deep sigh, and said IT WAS A GLORIOUS BOOTY.

When the story of Cacus was read to him out of the eighth Aeneid
he generously pitied the unhappy fate of that great man, to whom
he thought Hercules much too severe: one of his schoolfellows
commending the dexterity of drawing the oxen backward by their
tails into his den, he smiled, and with some disdain said, HE

He was a passionate admirer of heroes, particularly of Alexander
the Great, between whom and the late king of Sweden he would
frequently draw parallels. He was much delighted with the accounts
of the Czar's retreat from the latter, who carried off the
inhabitants of great cities to people his own country. THIS, he

Happy had it been for him if he had confined himself to this
sphere; but his chief, if not only blemish, was, that he would
sometimes, from an humility in his nature too pernicious to true
greatness, condescend to an intimacy with inferior things and
persons. Thus the Spanish Rogue was his favourite book, and the
Cheats of Scapin his favourite play.

The young gentleman being now at the age of seventeen, his father,
from a foolish prejudice to our universities, and out of a false
as well as excessive regard to his morals, brought his son to
town, where he resided with him till he was of an age to travel.
Whilst he was here, all imaginable care was taken of his
instruction, his father endeavouring his utmost to inculcate
principles of honour and gentility into his son.



An accident soon happened after his arrival in town which almost
saved the father his whole labour on this head, and provided
master Wild a better tutor than any after-care or expense could
have furnished him with. The old gentleman, it seems, was a
FOLLOWER of the fortunes of Mr. Snap, son of Mr. Geoffry Snap,
whom we have before mentioned to have enjoyed a reputable office
under the Sheriff of London and Middlesex, the daughter of which
Geoffry had intermarried with the Wilds. Mr. Snap the younger,
being thereto well warranted, had laid violent hands on, or, as
the vulgar express it, arrested one count La Ruse, a man of
considerable figure in those days, and had confined him to his own
house till he could find two seconds who would in a formal manner
give their words that the count should, at a certain day and place
appointed, answer all that one Thomas Thimble, a taylor, had to
say to him; which Thomas Thimble, it seems, alleged that the count
had, according to the law of the realm, made over his body to him
as a security for some suits of cloaths to him delivered by the
said Thomas Thimble. Now as the count, though perfectly a man of
honour, could not immediately find these seconds, he was obliged
for some time to reside at Mr. Snap's house: for it seems the law
of the land is, that whoever owes another 10 pounds, or indeed 2
pounds, may be, on the oath of that person, immediately taken up
and carried away from his own house and family, and kept abroad
till he is made to owe, 50 pounds, whether he will or no; for
which he is perhaps afterwards obliged to lie in gaol; and all
these without any trial had, or any other evidence of the debt
than the above said oath, which if untrue, as it often happens,
you have no remedy against the perjurer; he was, forsooth,

But though Mr. Snap would not (as perhaps by the nice rules of
honour he was obliged) discharge the count on his parole, yet did
he not (as by the strict rules of law he was enabled) confine him
to his chamber. The count had his liberty of the whole house, and
Mr. Snap, using only the precaution of keeping his doors well
locked and barred, took his prisoner's word that he would not go

Mr. Snap had by his second lady two daughters, who were now in the
bloom of their youth and beauty. These young ladies, like damsels
in romance, compassionated the captive count, and endeavoured by
all means to make his confinement less irksome to him; which,
though they were both very beautiful, they could not attain by any
other way so effectually as by engaging with him at cards, in
which contentions, as will appear hereafter, the count was greatly

As whisk and swabbers was the game then in the chief vogue, they
were obliged to look for a fourth person in order to make up their
parties. Mr. Snap himself would sometimes relax his mind from the
violent fatigues of his employment by these recreations; and
sometimes a neighbouring young gentleman or lady came in to their
assistance: but the most frequent guest was young master Wild, who
had been educated from his infancy with the Miss Snaps, and was,
by all the neighbours, allotted for the husband of Miss Tishy, or
Laetitia, the younger of the two; for though, being his cousin-
german, she was perhaps, in the eye of a strict conscience,
somewhat too nearly related to him, yet the old people on both
sides, though sufficiently scrupulous in nice matters, agreed to
overlook this objection.

Men of great genius as easily discover one another as freemasons
can. It was therefore no wonder that the count soon conceived an
inclination to an intimacy with our young hero, whose vast
abilities could not be concealed from one of the count's
discernment; for though this latter was so expert at his cards
that he was proverbially said to PLAY THE WHOLE GAME, he was no
match for master Wild, who, inexperienced as he was,
notwithstanding all the art, the dexterity, and often the fortune
of his adversary, never failed to send him away from the table
with less in his pocket than he brought to it, for indeed
Langfanger himself could not have extracted a purse with more
ingenuity than our young hero.

His hands made frequent visits to the count's pocket before the
latter had entertained any suspicion of him, imputing the several
losses he sustained rather to the innocent and sprightly frolick
of Miss Doshy, or Theodosia, with which, as she indulged him with
little innocent freedoms about her person in return, he thought
himself obliged to be contented; but one night, when Wild imagined
the count asleep, he made so unguarded an attack upon him, that
the other caught him in the fact: however, he did not think proper
to acquaint him with the discovery he had made, but, preventing
him from any booty at that time, he only took care for the future
to button his pockets, and to pack the cards with double industry.

So far was this detection from causing any quarrel between these
two prigs,[Footnote: Thieves] that in reality it recommended them
to each other; for a wise man, that is to say a rogue, considers a
trick in life as a gamester doth a trick at play. It sets him on
his guard, but he admires the dexterity of him who plays it.
These, therefore, and many other such instances of ingenuity,
operated so violently on the count, that, notwithstanding the
disparity which age, title, and above all, dress, had set between
them, he resolved to enter into an acquaintance with Wild. This
soon produced a perfect intimacy, and that a friendship, which had
a longer duration than is common to that passion between persons
who only propose to themselves the common advantages of eating,
drinking, whoring, or borrowing money; which ends, as they soon
fail, so doth the friendship founded upon them. Mutual interest,
the greatest of all purposes, was the cement of this alliance,
which nothing, of consequence, but superior interest, was capable
of dissolving.



One evening, after the Miss Snaps were retired to rest, the count
thus addressed himself to young Wild: "You cannot, I apprehend,
Mr. Wild, be such a stranger to your own great capacity, as to be
surprised when I tell you I have often viewed, with a mixture of
astonishment and concern, your shining qualities confined to a
sphere where they can never reach the eyes of those who would
introduce them properly into the world, and raise you to an
eminence where you may blaze out to the admiration of all men. I
assure you I am pleased with my captivity, when I reflect I am
likely to owe to it an acquaintance, and I hope friendship, with
the greatest genius of my age; and, what is still more, when I
indulge my vanity with a prospect of drawing from obscurity
(pardon the expression) such talents as were, I believe, never
before like to have been buried in it: for I make no question but,
at my discharge from confinement, which will now soon happen, I
shall be able to introduce you into company, where you may reap
the advantage of your superior parts.

"I will bring you acquainted, sir, with those who, as they are
capable of setting a true value on such qualifications, so they
will have it both in their power and inclination to prefer you for
them. Such an introduction is the only advantage you want, without
which your merit might be your misfortune; for those abilities
which would entitle you to honour and profit in a superior station
may render you only obnoxious to danger and disgrace in a lower."

Mr. Wild answered, "Sir, I am not insensible of my obligations to
you, as well for the over-value you have set on my small
abilities, as for the kindness you express in offering to
introduce me among my superiors. I must own my father hath often
persuaded me to push myself into the company of my betters; but,
to say the truth, I have an aukward pride in my nature, which is
better pleased with being at the head of the lowest class than at
the bottom of the highest. Permit me to say, though the idea may
be somewhat coarse, I had rather stand on the summit of a dunghill
than at the bottom of a hill in Paradise. I have always thought it
signifies little into what rank of life I am thrown, provided I
make a great figure therein, and should be as well satisfied with
exerting my talents well at the head of a small party or gang, as
in the command of a mighty army; for I am far from agreeing with
you, that great parts are often lost in a low situation; on the
contrary, I am convinced it is impossible they should be lost. I
have often persuaded myself that there were not fewer than a
thousand in Alexander's troops capable of performing what
Alexander himself did.

"But, because such spirits were not elected or destined to an
imperial command, are we therefore to imagine they came off
without a booty? or that they contented themselves with the share
in common with their comrades? Surely, no. In civil life,
doubtless, the same genius, the same endowments, have often
composed the statesman and the prig, for so we call what the
vulgar name a thief. The same parts, the same actions, often
promote men to the head of superior societies, which raise them to
the head of lower; and where is the essential difference if the
one ends on Tower-hill and the other at Tyburn? Hath the block any
preference to the gallows, or the ax to the halter, but was given
them by the ill-guided judgment of men? You will pardon me,
therefore, if I am not so hastily inflamed with the common outside
of things, nor join the general opinion in preferring one state to
another. A guinea is as valuable in a leathern as in an
embroidered purse; and a cod's head is a cod's head still, whether
in a pewter or a silver dish."

The count replied as follows: "What you have now said doth not
lessen my idea of your capacity, but confirms my opinion of the
ill effect of bad and low company. Can any man doubt whether it is
better to be a great statesman or a common thief? I have often
heard that the devil used to say, where or to whom I know not,
that it was better to reign in Hell than to be a valet-de-chambre
in Heaven, and perhaps he was in the right; but sure, if he had
had the choice of reigning in either, he would have chosen better.
The truth therefore is, that by low conversation we contract a
greater awe for high things than they deserve. We decline great
pursuits not from contempt but despair. The man who prefers the
high road to a more reputable way of making his fortune doth it
because he imagines the one easier than the other; but you
yourself have asserted, and with undoubted truth, that the same
abilities qualify you for undertaking, and the same means will
bring you to your end in both journeys--as in music it is the same
tune, whether you play it in a higher or a lower key. To instance
in some particulars: is it not the same qualification which
enables this man to hire himself as a servant, and to get into the
confidence and secrets of his master in order to rob him, and that
to undertake trusts of the highest nature with a design to break
and betray them? Is it less difficult by false tokens to deceive a
shopkeeper into the delivery of his goods, which you afterwards
run away with, than to impose upon him by outward splendour and
the appearance of fortune into a credit by which you gain and he
loses twenty times as much? Doth it not require more dexterity in
the fingers to draw out a man's purse from his pocket, or to take
a lady's watch from her side, without being perceived of any (an
excellence in which, without flattery, I am persuaded you have no
superior), than to cog a die or to shuffle a pack of cards? Is not
as much art, as many excellent qualities, required to make a
pimping porter at a common bawdy-house as would enable a man to
prostitute his own or his friend's wife or child? Doth it not ask
as good a memory, as nimble an invention, as steady a countenance,
to forswear yourself in Westminster-hall as would furnish out a
complete tool of state, or perhaps a statesman himself? It is
needless to particularize every instance; in all we shall find
that there is a nearer connexion between high and low life than is
generally imagined, and that a highwayman is entitled to more
favour with the great than he usually meets with. If, therefore,
as I think I have proved, the same parts which qualify a man for
eminence in a low sphere, qualify him likewise for eminence in a
higher, sure it can be no doubt in which he would chuse to exert
them. Ambition, without which no one can be a great man, will
immediately instruct him, in your own phrase, to prefer a hill in
Paradise to a dunghill; nay, even fear, a passion the most
repugnant to greatness, will shew him how much more safely he may
indulge himself in the free and full exertion of his mighty
abilities in the higher than in the lower rank; since experience
teaches him that there is a crowd oftener in one year at Tyburn
than on Tower-hill in a century." Mr. Wild with much solemnity
rejoined, "That the same capacity which qualifies a mill-
ken,[Footnote: A housebreaker.] a bridle-cull,[Footnote: A
highwayman.] or a buttock-and-file, [Footnote: A shoplifter. Terms
used in the Cant Dictionary.] to arrive at any degree of eminence
in his profession, would likewise raise a man in what the world
esteem a more honourable calling, I do not deny; nay, in many of
your instances it is evident that more ingenuity, more art, are
necessary to the lower than the higher proficients. If, therefore,
you had only contended that every prig might be a statesman if he
pleased, I had readily agreed to it; but when you conclude that it
is his interest to be so, that ambition would bid him take that
alternative, in a word, that a statesman is greater or happier
than a prig, I must deny my assent. But, in comparing these two
together, we must carefully avoid being misled by the vulgar
erroneous estimation of things, for mankind err in disquisitions
of this nature as physicians do who in considering the operations
of a disease have not a due regard to the age and complexion of
the patient. The same degree of heat which is common in this
constitution may be a fever in that; in the same manner that which
may be riches or honour to me may be poverty or disgrace to
another: for all these things are to be estimated by relation to
the person who possesses them. A booty of L10 looks as great in
the eye of a bridle-cull, and gives as much real happiness to his
fancy, as that of as many thousands to the statesman; and doth not
the former lay out his acquisitions in whores and fiddles with
much greater joy and mirth than the latter in palaces and
pictures? What are the flattery, the false compliments of his gang
to the statesman, when he himself must condemn his own blunders,
and is obliged against his will to give fortune the whole honour
of success? What is the pride resulting from such sham applause,
compared to the secret satisfaction which a prig enjoys in his
mind in reflecting on a well-contrived and well-executed scheme?
Perhaps, indeed, the greater danger is on the prig's side; but
then you must remember that the greater honour is so too. When I
mention honour, I mean that which is paid them by their gang; for
that weak part of the world which is vulgarly called THE WISE see
both in a disadvantageous and disgraceful light; and as the prig
enjoys (and merits too) the greater degree of honour from his
gang, so doth he suffer the less disgrace from the world, who
think his misdeeds, as they call them, sufficiently at last
punished with a halter, which at once puts an end to his pain and
infamy; whereas the other is not only hated in power, but detested
and contemned at the scaffold; and future ages vent their malice
on his fame, while the other sleeps quiet and forgotten. Besides,
let us a little consider the secret quiet of their consciences:
how easy is the reflection of having taken a few shillings or
pounds from a stranger, without any breach of confidence, or
perhaps any great harm to the person who loses it, compared to
that of having betrayed a public trust, and ruined the fortunes of
thousands, perhaps of a great nation! How much braver is an attack
on the highway than at a gaming-table; and how much more innocent
the character of a b--dy-house than a c--t pimp!" He was eagerly
proceeding, when, casting his eyes on the count, he perceived him
to be fast asleep; wherefore, having first picked his pocket of
three shillings, then gently jogged him in order to take his
leave, and promised to return to him the next morning to
breakfast, they separated: the count retired to rest, and master
Wild to a night-cellar.



The count missed his money the next morning, and very well knew
who had it; but, as he knew likewise how fruitless would be any
complaint, he chose to pass it by without mentioning it. Indeed it
may appear strange to some readers that these gentlemen, who knew
each other to be thieves, should never once give the least hint of
this knowledge in all their discourse together, but, on the
contrary, should have the words honesty, honour, and friendship as
often in their mouths as any other men. This, I say, may appear
strange to some; but those who have lived long in cities, courts,
gaols, or such places, will perhaps be able to solve the seeming

When our two friends met the next morning the count (who, though
he did not agree with the whole of his friend's doctrine, was,
however, highly pleased with his argument) began to bewail the
misfortune of his captivity, and the backwardness of friends to
assist each other in their necessities; but what vexed him, he
said, most, was the cruelty of the fair: for he intrusted Wild
with the secret of his having had an intrigue with Miss Theodosia,
the elder of the Miss Snaps, ever since his confinement, though he
could not prevail with her to set him at liberty. Wild answered,
with a smile, "It was no wonder a woman should wish to confine her
lover where she might be sure of having him entirely to herself;"
but added, he believed he could tell him a method of certainly
procuring his escape. The count eagerly besought him to acquaint
him with it. Wild told him bribery was the surest means, and
advised him to apply to the maid. The count thanked him, but
returned, "That he had not a farthing left besides one guinea,
which he had then given her to change." To which Wild said, "He
must make it up with promises, which he supposed he was courtier
enough to know how to put off." The count greatly applauded the
advice, and said he hoped he should be able in time to persuade
him to condescend to be a great man, for which he was so perfectly
well qualified.

This method being concluded on, the two friends sat down to cards,
a circumstance which I should not have mentioned but for the sake
of observing the prodigious force of habit; for though the count
knew if he won ever so much of Mr. Wild he should not receive a
shilling, yet could he not refrain from packing the cards; nor
could Wild keep his hands out of his friend's pockets, though he
knew there was nothing in them.

When the maid came home the count began to put it to her; offered
her all he had, and promised mountains in futuro; but all in vain--
the maid's honesty was impregnable. She said, "She would not
break her trust for the whole world; no, not if she could gain a
hundred pound by it." Upon which Wild stepping up and telling her
"She need not fear losing her place, for it would never be found
out; that they could throw a pair of sheets into the street, by
which it might appear he got out at a window; that he himself
would swear he saw him descending; that the money would be so much
gains in her pocket; that, besides his promises, which she might
depend on being performed, she would receive from him twenty
shillings and ninepence in ready money (for she had only laid out
threepence in plain Spanish); and lastly, that, besides his
honour, the count should leave a pair of gold buttons (which
afterwards turned out to be brass) of great value, in her hands,
as a further pawn."

The maid still remained inflexible, till Wild offered to lend his
friend a guinea more, and to deposit it immediately in her hands.
This reinforcement bore down the poor girl's resolution, and she
faithfully promised to open the door to the count that evening.

Thus did our young hero not only lend his rhetoric, which few
people care to do without a fee, but his money too (a sum which
many a good man would have made fifty excuses before he would have
parted with), to his friend, and procured him his liberty.

But it would be highly derogatory from the GREAT character of
Wild, should the reader imagine he lent such a sum to a friend
without the least view of serving himself. As, therefore, the
reader may easily account for it in a manner more advantageous to
our hero's reputation, by concluding that he had some interested
view in the count's enlargement, we hope he will judge with
charity, especially as the sequel makes it not only reasonable but
necessary to suppose he had some such view.

A long intimacy and friendship subsisted between the count and Mr.
Wild, who, being by the advice of the count dressed in good
cloaths, was by him introduced into the best company. They
constantly frequented the assemblies, auctions, gaming-tables, and
play-houses; at which last they saw two acts every night, and then
retired without paying--this being, it seems, an immemorial
privilege which the beaus of the town prescribe for themselves.
This, however, did not suit Wild's temper, who called it a cheat,
and objected against it as requiring no dexterity, but what every
blockhead might put in execution. He said it was a custom very
much savouring of the sneaking-budge, [Footnote: Shoplifting] but
neither so honourable nor so ingenious.

Wild now made a considerable figure, and passed for a gentleman of
great fortune in the funds. Women of quality treated him with
great familiarity, young ladies began to spread their charms for
him, when an accident happened that put a stop to his continuance
in a way of life too insipid and inactive to afford employment for
those great talents which were designed to make a much more
considerable figure in the world than attends the character of a
beau or a pretty gentleman.



We are sorry we cannot indulge our reader's curiosity with a full
and perfect account of this accident; but as there are such
various accounts, one of which only can be true, and possibly and
indeed probably none; instead of following the general method of
historians, who in such cases set down the various reports, and
leave to your own conjecture which you will chuse, we shall pass
them all over.

Certain it is that, whatever this accident was, it determined our
hero's father to send his son immediately abroad for seven years;
and, which may seem somewhat remarkable, to his majesty's
plantations in America--that part of the world being, as he said,
freer from vices than the courts and cities of Europe, and
consequently less dangerous to corrupt a young man's morals. And
as for the advantages, the old gentleman thought they were equal
there with those attained in the politer climates; for travelling,
he said, was travelling in one part of the world as well as
another; it consisted in being such a time from home, and in
traversing so many leagues; and [he] appealed to experience
whether most of our travellers in France and Italy did not prove
at their return that they might have been sent as profitably to
Norway and Greenland.

According to these resolutions of his father, the young gentleman
went aboard a ship, and with a great deal of good company set out
for the American hemisphere. The exact time of his stay is
somewhat uncertain; most probably longer than was intended. But
howsoever long his abode there was, it must be a blank in this
history, as the whole story contains not one adventure worthy the
reader's notice; being indeed a continued scene of whoring,
drinking, and removing from one place to another.

To confess a truth, we are so ashamed of the shortness of this
chapter, that we would have done a violence to our history, and
have inserted an adventure or two of some other traveller; to
which purpose we borrowed the journals of several young gentlemen
who have lately made the tour of Europe; but to our great sorrow,
could not extract a single incident strong enough to justify the
theft to our conscience.

When we consider the ridiculous figure this chapter must make,
being the history of no less than eight years, our only comfort
is, that the histories of some men's lives, and perhaps of some
men who have made a noise in the world, are in reality as absolute
blanks as the travels of our hero. As, therefore, we shall make
sufficient amends in the sequel for this inanity, we shall hasten
on to matters of true importance and immense greatness. At present
we content ourselves with setting down our hero where we took him
up, after acquainting our reader that he went abroad, staid seven
years, and then came home again.



The count was one night very successful at the hazard-table, where
Wild, who was just returned from his travels, was then present; as
was likewise a young gentleman whose name was Bob Bagshot, an
acquaintance of Mr. Wild's, and of whom he entertained a great
opinion; taking, therefore, Mr. Bagshot aside, he advised him to
provide himself (if he had them not about him) with a case of
pistols, and to attack the count in his way home, promising to
plant himself near with the same arms, as a corps de reserve, and
to come up on occasion. This was accordingly executed, and the
count obliged to surrender to savage force what he had in so
genteel and civil a manner taken at play.

And as it is a wise and philosophical observation, that one
misfortune never comes alone, the count had hardly passed the
examination of Mr. Bagshot when he fell into the hands of Mr.
Snap, who, in company with Mr. Wild the elder and one or two more
gentlemen, being, it seems, thereto well warranted, laid hold of
the unfortunate count, and conveyed him back to the same house
from which, by the assistance of his good friend, he had formerly

Mr. Wild and Mr. Bagshot went together to the tavern, where Mr.
Bagshot (generously, as he thought) offered to share the booty,
and, having divided the money into two unequal heaps, and added a
golden snuff-box to the lesser heap, he desired Mr. Wild to take
his choice.

Mr. Wild immediately conveyed the larger share of the ready into
his pocket, according to an excellent maxim of his, "First secure
what share you can before you wrangle for the rest;" and then,
turning to his companion, he asked with a stern countenance
whether he intended to keep all that sum to himself? Mr. Bagshot
answered, with some surprize, that he thought Mr. Wild had no
reason to complain; for it was surely fair, at least on his part,
to content himself with an equal share of the booty, who had taken
the whole. "I grant you took it," replied Wild; "but, pray, who
proposed or counselled the taking it? Can you say that you have
done more than executed my scheme? and might not I, if I had
pleased, have employed another, since you well know there was not
a gentleman in the room but would have taken the money if he had
known how, conveniently and safely, to do it?" "That is very
true," returned Bagshot, "but did not I execute the scheme, did
not I run the whole risque? Should not I have suffered the whole
punishment if I had been taken, and is not the labourer worthy of
his hire?" "Doubtless," says Jonathan, "he is so, and your hire I
shall not refuse you, which is all that the labourer is entitled
to or ever enjoys. I remember when I was at school to have heard
some verses which for the excellence of their doctrine made an
impression on me, purporting that the birds of the air and the
beasts of the field work not for themselves. It is true, the
farmer allows fodder to his oxen and pasture to his sheep; but it
is for his own service, not theirs, In the same manner the
ploughman, the shepherd, the weaver, the builder, and the soldier,
work not for themselves but others; they are contented with a poor
pittance (the labourer's hire), and permit us, the GREAT, to enjoy
the fruits of their labours. Aristotle, as my master told us, hath
plainly proved, in the first book of his politics, that the low,
mean, useful part of mankind, are born slaves to the wills of
their superiors, and are indeed as much their property as the
cattle. It is well said of us, the higher order of mortals, that
we are born only to devour the fruits of the earth; and it may be
as well said of the lower class, that they are born only to
produce them for us. Is not the battle gained by the sweat and
danger of the common soldier? Are not the honour and fruits of the
victory the general's who laid the scheme? Is not the house built
by the labour of the carpenter and the bricklayer? Is it not built
for the profit only of the architect and for the use of the
inhabitant, who could not easily have placed one brick upon
another? Is not the cloth or the silk wrought into its form and
variegated with all the beauty of colours by those who are forced
to content themselves with the coarsest and vilest part of their
work, while the profit and enjoyment of their labours fall to the
share of others? Cast your eye abroad, and see who is it lives in
the most magnificent buildings, feasts his palate with the most
luxurious dainties, his eyes with the most beautiful sculptures
and delicate paintings, and clothes himself in the finest and
richest apparel; and tell me if all these do not fall to his lot
who had not any the least share in producing all these
conveniences, nor the least ability so to do? Why then should the
state of a prig[Footnote: A thief.] differ from all others? Or why
should you, who are the labourer only, the executor of my scheme,
expect a share in the profit? Be advised, therefore; deliver the
whole booty to me, and trust to my bounty for your reward." Mr.
Bagshot was some time silent, and looked like a man thunderstruck,
but at last, recovering himself from his surprize, he thus began:
"If you think, Mr. Wild, by the force of your arguments, to get
the money out of my pocket, you are greatly mistaken. What is all
this stuff to me? D--n me, I am a man of honour, and, though I
can't talk as well as you, by G--you shall not make a fool of me;
and if you take me for one, I must tell you you are a rascal." At
which words he laid his hand to his pistol. Wild, perceiving the
little success the great strength of his arguments had met with,
and the hasty temper of his friend, gave over his design for the
present, and told Bagshot he was only in jest. But this coolness
with which he treated the other's flame had rather the effect of
oil than of water. Bagshot replied in a rage, "D--n me, I don't
like such jests; I see you are a pitiful rascal and a scoundrel."
Wild, with a philosophy worthy of great admiration, returned, "As
for your abuse, I have no regard to it; but, to convince you I am
not afraid of you, let us lay the whole booty on the table, and
let the conqueror take it all." And having so said, he drew out
his shining hanger, whose glittering so dazzled the eyes of
Bagshot, that, in tone entirely altered, he said, "No! he was
contented with what he had already; that it was mighty ridiculous
in them to quarrel among themselves; that they had common enemies
enough abroad, against whom they should unite their common force;
that if he had mistaken Wild he was sorry for it; and as for a
jest, he could take a jest as well as another." Wild, who had a
wonderful knack of discovering and applying to the passions of
men, beginning now to have a little insight into his friend, and
to conceive what arguments would make the quickest impression on
him, cried out in a loud voice, "That he had bullied him into
drawing his hanger, and, since it was out, he would not put it up
without satisfaction." "What satisfaction would you have?"
answered the other. "Your money or your blood," said Wild. "Why,
look ye, Mr. Wild," said Bagshot, "if you want to borrow a little
of my part, since I know you to be a man of honour, I don't care
if I lend you; for, though I am not afraid of any man living, yet
rather than break with a friend, and as it may be necessary for
your occasions--" Wild, who often declared that he looked upon
borrowing to be as good a way of taking as any, and, as he called
it, the genteelest kind of sneaking-budge, putting up his hanger,
and shaking his friend by the hand, told him he had hit the nail
on the head; it was really his present necessity only that
prevailed with him against his will, for that his honour was
concerned to pay a considerable sum the next morning. Upon which,
contenting himself with one half of Bagshot's share, so that he
had three parts in four of the whole, he took leave of his
companion and retired to rest.



The next morning when our hero waked he began to think of paying a
visit to Miss Tishy Snap, a woman of great merit and of as great
generosity; yet Mr. Wild found a present was ever most welcome to
her, as being a token of respect in her lover. He therefore went
directly to a toy-shop, and there purchased a genteel snuff-box,
with which he waited upon his mistress, whom he found in the most
beautiful undress. Her lovely hair hung wantonly over her
forehead, being neither white with, nor yet free from, powder; a
neat double clout, which seemed to have been worn a few weeks
only, was pinned under her chin; some remains of that art with
which ladies improve nature shone on her cheeks; her body was
loosely attired, without stays or jumps, so that her breasts had
uncontrolled liberty to display their beauteous orbs, which they
did as low as her girdle; a thin covering of a rumpled muslin
handkerchief almost hid them from the eyes, save in a few parts,
where a good-natured hole gave opportunity to the naked breast to
appear. Her gown was a satin of a whitish colour, with about a
dozen little silver spots upon it, so artificially interwoven at
great distance, that they looked as if they had fallen there by
chance. This, flying open, discovered a fine yellow petticoat,
beautifully edged round the bottom with a narrow piece of half
gold lace which was now almost become fringe: beneath this
appeared another petticoat stiffened with whalebone, vulgarly
called a hoop, which hung six inches at least below the other; and
under this again appeared an under-garment of that colour which
Ovid intends when he says,

----Qui color albus erat nunc est contrarius albo.

She likewise displayed two pretty feet covered with silk and
adorned with lace, and tied, the right with a handsome piece of
blue ribbon; the left, as more unworthy, with a piece of yellow
stuff, which seemed to have been a strip of her upper petticoat.
Such was the lovely creature whom Mr. Wild attended. She received
him at first with some of that coldness which women of strict
virtue, by a commendable though sometimes painful restraint,
enjoin themselves to their lovers. The snuff-box, being produced,
was at first civilly, and indeed gently, refused; but on a second
application accepted. The tea-table was soon called for, at which
a discourse passed between these young lovers, which, could we set
it down with any accuracy, would be very edifying as well as
entertaining to our reader; let it suffice then that the wit,
together with, the beauty, of this young creature, so inflamed the
passion of Wild, which, though an honourable sort of a passion,
was at the same time so extremely violent, that it transported him
to freedoms too offensive to the nice chastity of Laetitia, who
was, to confess the truth, more indebted to her own strength for
the preservation of her virtue than to the awful respect or
backwardness of her lover; he was indeed so very urgent in his
addresses, that, had he not with many oaths promised her marriage,
we could scarce have been strictly justified in calling his
passion honourable; but he was so remarkably attached to decency,
that he never offered any violence to a young lady without the
most earnest promises of that kind, these being, he said, a
ceremonial due to female modesty, which cost so little, and were
so easily pronounced, that the omission could arise from nothing
but the mere wantonness of brutality. The lovely Laetitia, either
out of prudence, or perhaps religion, of which she was a liberal
professor, was deaf to all his promises, and luckily invincible by
his force; for, though she had not yet learnt the art of well
clenching her fist, nature had not however left her defenceless,
for at the ends of her fingers she wore arms, which she used with
such admirable dexterity, that the hot blood of Mr. Wild soon
began to appear in several little spots on his face, and his full-
blown cheeks to resemble that part which modesty forbids a boy to
turn up anywhere but in a public school, after some pedagogue,
strong of arm, hath exercised his talents thereon. Wild now
retreated from the conflict, and the victorious Laetitia, with
becoming triumph and noble spirit, cried out, "D--n your eyes, if
this be your way of shewing your love, I'll warrant I gives you
enough on't." She then proceeded to talk of her virtue, which Wild
bid her carry to the devil with her, and thus our lovers parted.



Mr. Wild was no sooner departed than the fair conqueress, opening
the door of a closet, called forth a young gentleman whom she had
there enclosed at the approach of the other. The name of this
gallant was Tom Smirk. He was clerk to an attorney, and was indeed
the greatest beau and the greatest favourite of the ladies at the
end of the town where he lived. As we take dress to be the
characteristic or efficient quality of a beau, we shall, instead
of giving any character of this young gentleman, content ourselves
with describing his dress only to our readers. He wore, then, a
pair of white stockings on his legs, and pumps on his feet: his
buckles were a large piece of pinchbeck plate, which almost
covered his whole foot. His breeches were of red plush, which
hardly reached his knees; his waistcoat was a white dimity, richly
embroidered with yellow silk, over which he wore a blue plush coat
with metal buttons, a smart sleeve, and a cape reaching half way
down his back. His wig was of a brown colour, covering almost half
his pate, on which was hung on one side a little laced hat, but
cocked with great smartness. Such was the accomplished Smirk, who,
at his issuing forth from the closet, was received with open arms
by the amiable Laetitia. She addressed him by the tender name of
dear Tommy, and told him she had dismissed the odious creature
whom her father intended for her husband, and had now nothing to
interrupt her happiness with him.

Here, reader, thou must pardon us if we stop a while to lament the
capriciousness of Nature in forming this charming part of the
creation designed to complete the happiness of man; with their
soft innocence to allay his ferocity, with their sprightliness to
soothe his cares, and with their constant friendship to relieve
all the troubles and disappointments which can happen to him.
Seeing then that these are the blessings chiefly sought after and
generally found in every wife, how must we lament that disposition
in these lovely creatures which leads them to prefer in their
favour those individuals of the other sex who do not seem intended
by nature as so great a masterpiece! For surely, however useful
they may be in the creation, as we are taught that nothing, not
even a louse, is made in vain, yet these beaus, even that most
splendid and honoured part which in this our island nature loves
to distinguish in red, are not, as some think, the noblest work of
the Creator. For my own part, let any man chuse to himself two
beaus, let them be captains or colonels, as well-dressed men as
ever lived, I would venture to oppose a single Sir Isaac Newton, a
Shakespear, a Milton, or perhaps some few others, to both these
beaus; nay, and I very much doubt whether it had not been better
for the world in general that neither of these beaus had ever been
born than that it should have wanted the benefit arising to it
from the labour of any one of those persons.

If this be true, how melancholy must be the consideration that any
single beau, especially if he have but half a yard of ribbon in
his hat, shall weigh heavier in the scale of female affection than
twenty Sir Isaac Newtons! How must our reader, who perhaps had
wisely accounted for the resistance which the chaste Laetitia had
made to the violent addresses of the ravished (or rather
ravishing) Wild from that lady's impregnable virtue--how must he
blush, I say, to perceive her quit the strictness of her carriage,
and abandon herself to those loose freedoms which she indulged to
Smirk! But alas! when we discover all, as to preserve the fidelity
of our history we must, when we relate that every familiarity had
past between them, and that the FAIR Laetitia (for we must, in
this single instance, imitate Virgil when he drops the pius and
the pater, and drop our favourite epithet of chaste), the FAIR
Laetitia had, I say, made Smirk as happy as Wild desired to be,
what must then be our reader's confusion! We will, therefore, draw
a curtain over this scene, from that philogyny which is in us, and
proceed to matters which, instead of dishonouring the human
species, will greatly raise and ennoble it.



Wild no sooner parted from the chaste Laetitia than, recollecting
that his friend the count was returned to his lodgings in the same
house, he resolved to visit him; for he was none of those half-
bred fellows who are ashamed to see their friends when they have
plundered and betrayed them; from which base and pitiful temper
many monstrous cruelties have been transacted by men, who have
sometimes carried their modesty so far as to the murder or utter
ruin of those against whom their consciences have suggested to
them that they have committed some small trespass, either by the
debauching a friend's wife or daughter, belying or betraying the
friend himself, or some other such trifling instance. In our hero
there was nothing not truly great: he could, without the least
abashment, drink a bottle with the man who knew he had the moment
before picked his pocket; and, when he had stripped him of
everything he had, never desired to do him any further mischief;
for he carried good-nature to that wonderful and uncommon height
that he never did a single injury to man or woman by which he
himself did not expect to reap some advantage. He would often
indeed say that by the contrary party men often made a bad bargain
with the devil, and did his work for nothing.

Our hero found the captive count, not basely lamenting his fate
nor abandoning himself to despair, but, with due resignation,
employing himself in preparing several packs of cards for future
exploits. The count, little suspecting that Wild had been the sole
contriver of the misfortune which had befallen him, rose up and
eagerly embraced him, and Wild returned his embrace with equal
warmth. They were no sooner seated than Wild took an occasion,
from seeing the cards lying on the table, to inveigh against
gaming, and, with an usual and highly commendable freedom, after
first exaggerating the distressed circumstances in which the count
was then involved, imputed all his misfortunes to that cursed itch
of play which, he said, he concluded had brought his present
confinement upon him, and must unavoidably end in his destruction.
The other, with great alacrity, defended his favourite amusement
(or rather employment), and, having told his friend the great
success he had after his unluckily quitting the room, acquainted
him with the accident which followed, and which the reader, as
well as Mr. Wild, hath had some intimation of before; adding,
however, one circumstance not hitherto mentioned, viz. that he had
defended his money with the utmost bravery, and had dangerously
wounded at least two of the three men that had attacked him. This
behaviour Wild, who not only knew the extreme readiness with which
the booty had been delivered, but also the constant frigidity of
the count's courage, highly applauded, and wished he had been
present to assist him. The count then proceeded to animadvert on
the carelessness of the watch, and the scandal it was to the laws
that honest people could not walk the streets in safety; and,
after expatiating some time on that subject, he asked Mr. Wild if
he ever saw so prodigious a run of luck (for so he chose to call
his winning, though he knew Wild was well acquainted with his
having loaded dice in his pocket). The other answered it was
indeed prodigious, and almost sufficient to justify any person who
did not know him better in suspecting his fair play. "No man, I
believe, dares call that in question," replied he. "No, surely,"
says Wild; "you are well known to be a man of more honour; but
pray, sir," continued he, "did the rascals rob you of all?" "Every
shilling," cries the other, with an oath: "they did not leave me a
single stake."

While they were thus discoursing, Mr. Snap, with a gentleman who
followed him, introduced Mr. Bagshot into the company. It seems
Mr. Bagshot, immediately after his separation from Mr. Wild,
returned to the gaming-table, where having trusted to fortune that
treasure which he had procured by his industry, the faithless
goddess committed a breach of trust, and sent Mr. Bagshot away
with as empty pockets as are to be found in any laced coat in the
kingdom. Now, as that gentleman was walking to a certain reputable
house or shed in Convent-garden market he fortuned to meet with
Mr. Snap, who had just returned from conveying the count to his
lodgings, and was then walking to and fro before the gaming-house
door; for you are to know, my good reader, if you have never been
a man of wit and pleasure about town, that, as the voracious pike
lieth snug under some weed before the mouth of any of those little
streams which discharge themselves into a large river, waiting for
the small fry which issue thereout, so hourly, before the door or
mouth of these gaming-houses, doth Mr. Snap, or some other
gentleman of his occupation, attend the issuing forth of the small
fry of young gentlemen, to whom they deliver little slips of
parchment, containing invitations of the said gentlemen to their
houses, together with one Mr. John Doe,[Footnote: This is a
fictitious name which is put into every writ; for what purpose the
lawyers best know.] a person whose company is in great request.
Mr. Snap, among many others of these billets, happened to have one
directed to Mr. Bagshot, being at the suit or solicitation of one
Mrs. Anne Sample, spinster, at whose house the said Bagshot had
lodged several months, and whence he had inadvertently departed
without taking a formal leave, on which account Mrs. Anne had
taken this method of SPEAKING WITH him.

Mr. Snap's house being now very full of good company, he was
obliged to introduce Mr. Bagshot into the count's apartment, it
being, as he said, the only chamber he had to LOCK UP in. Mr. Wild
no sooner saw his friend than he ran eagerly to embrace him, and
immediately presented him to the count, who received him with
great civility.



Mr. Snap had turned the key a very few minutes before a servant of
the family called Mr. Bagshot out of the room, telling him there
was a person below who desired to speak with him; and this was no
other than Miss Laetitia Snap, whose admirer Mr. Bagshot had long
been, and in whose tender breast his passion had raised a more
ardent flame than that which any of his rivals had been able to
raise. Indeed, she was so extremely fond of this youth, that she
often confessed to her female confidents, if she could ever have
listened to the thought of living with any one man, Mr. Bagshot
was he. Nor was she singular in this inclination, many other young
ladies being her rivals in this matter, who had all the great and
noble qualifications necessary to form a true gallant, and which
nature is seldom so extremely bountiful as to indulge to any one
person. We will endeavour, however, to describe them all with as
much exactness as possible. He was then six feet high, had large
calves, broad shoulders, a ruddy complexion, with brown curled
hair, a modest assurance, and clean linen. He had indeed, it must
be confessed, some small deficiencies to counterbalance these
heroic qualities; for he was the silliest fellow in the world,
could neither write nor read, nor had he a single grain or spark
of honour, honesty, or good-nature, in his whole composition.

As soon as Mr. Bagshot had quitted the room the count, taking Wild
by the hand, told him he had something to communicate to him of
very great importance. "I am very well convinced," said he, "that
Bagshot is the person who robbed me." Wild started with great
amazement at this discovery, and answered, with a most serious
countenance, "I advise you to take care how you cast any such
reflections on a man of Mr. Bagshot's nice honour, for I am
certain he will not bear it." "D--n his honour!" quoth the enraged
count; "nor can I bear being robbed; I will apply to a justice of
peace." Wild replied, with great indignation, "Since you dare
entertain such a suspicion against my friend, I will henceforth
disclaim all acquaintance with you. Mr. Bagshot is a man of
honour, and my friend, and consequently it is impossible he should
be guilty of a bad action." He added much more to the same
purpose, which had not the expected weight with the count; for the
latter seemed still certain as to the person, and resolute in
applying for justice, which, he said, he thought he owed to the
public as well as to himself. Wild then changed his countenance
into a kind of derision, and spoke as follows: "Suppose it should
be possible that Mr. Bagshot had, in a frolic (for I will call it
no other), taken this method of borrowing your money, what will
you get by prosecuting him? Not your money again, for you hear he
was stripped at the gaming-table (of which Bagshot had during
their short confabulation informed them); you will get then an
opportunity of being still more out of pocket by the prosecution.
Another advantage you may promise yourself is the being blown up
at every gaming-house in town, for that I will assure you of; and
then much good may it do you to sit down with the satisfaction of
having discharged what it seems you owe the public. I am ashamed
of my own discernment when I mistook you for a great man. Would it
not be better for you to receive part (perhaps all) of your money
again by a wise concealment: for, however seedy [Footnote: Poor.]
Mr. Bagshot may be now, if he hath really played this frolic with
you, you may believe he will play it with others, and when he is
in cash you may depend on a restoration; the law will be always in
your power, and that is the last remedy which a brave or a wise
man would resort to. Leave the affair therefore to me; I will
examine Bagshot, and, if I find he hath played you this trick, I
will engage my own honour you shall in the end be no loser." The
count answered, "If I was sure to be no loser, Mr. Wild, I
apprehend you have a better opinion of my understanding than to
imagine I would prosecute a gentleman for the sake of the public.
These are foolish words of course, which we learn a ridiculous
habit of speaking, and will often break from us without any design
or meaning. I assure you, all I desire is a reimbursement; and if
I can by your means obtain that, the public may--;" concluding
with a phrase too coarse to be inserted in a history of this kind.

They were now informed that dinner was ready, and the company
assembled below stairs, whither the reader may, if he please,
attend these gentlemen.

There sat down at the table Mr. Snap, and the two Miss Snaps his
daughters, Mr. Wild the elder, Mr. Wild the younger, the count,
Mr. Bagshot, and a grave gentleman who had formerly had the honour
of carrying arms in a regiment of foot, and who was now engaged in
the office (perhaps a more profitable one) of assisting or
following Mr. Snap in the execution of the laws of his country.

Nothing very remarkable passed at dinner. The conversation (as is
usual in polite company) rolled chiefly on what they were then
eating and what they had lately eaten. In this the military
gentleman, who had served in Ireland, gave them a very particular
account of a new manner of roasting potatoes, and others gave an
account of other dishes. In short, an indifferent by-stander would
have concluded from their discourse that they had all come into
this world for no other purpose than to fill their bellies; and
indeed, if this was not the chief, it is probable it was the most
innocent design Nature had in their formation.

As soon as THE DISH was removed, and the ladies retired, the count
proposed a game at hazard, which was immediately assented to by
the whole company, and, the dice being immediately brought in, the
count took up the box and demanded who would set him: to which no
one made any answer, imagining perhaps the count's pockets to be
more empty than they were; for, in reality, that gentleman
(notwithstanding what he had heartily swore to Mr. Wild) had,
since his arrival at Mr. Snap's, conveyed a piece of plate to
pawn, by which means he had furnished himself with ten guineas.
The count, therefore, perceiving this backwardness in his friends,
and probably somewhat guessing at the cause of it, took the said
guineas out of his pocket, and threw them on the table; when lo,
(such is the force of example) all the rest began to produce their
funds, and immediately, a considerable sum glittering in their
eyes, the game began.



My reader, I believe, even if he be a gamester, would not thank me
for an exact relation of every man's success; let it suffice then
that they played till the whole money vanished from the table.
Whether the devil himself carried it away, as some suspected, I
will not determine; but very surprising it was that every person
protested he had lost, nor could any one guess who, unless THE
DEVIL, had won.

But though very probable it is that this arch fiend had some share
in the booty, it is likely he had not all; Mr. Bagshot being
imagined to be a considerable winner, notwithstanding his
assertions to the contrary; for he was seen by several to convey
money often into his pocket; and what is still a little stronger
presumption is, that the grave gentleman whom we have mentioned to
have served his country in two honourable capacities, not being
willing to trust alone to the evidence of his eyes, had frequently
dived into the said Bagshot's pocket, whence (as he tells us in
the apology for his life afterwards published [Footnote: Not in a
book by itself, in imitation of some other such persons, but in
the ordinary's account, &c., where all the apologies for the lives
of rogues and whores which have been published within these twenty
years should have been inserted.]), though he might extract a few
pieces, he was very sensible he had left many behind. The
gentleman had long indulged his curiosity in this way before Mr.
Bagshot, in the heat of gaming, had perceived him; but, as Bagshot
was now leaving off play, he discovered this ingenious feat of
dexterity; upon which, leaping up from his chair in violent
passion, he cried out, "I thought I had been among gentlemen and
men of honour, but, d--n me, I find we have a pickpocket in
company." The scandalous sound of this word extremely alarmed the
whole board, nor did they all shew less surprise than the CONV--N
(whose not sitting of late is much lamented) would express at
hearing there was an atheist in the room; but it more particularly
affected the gentleman at whom it was levelled, though it was not
addressed to him. He likewise started from his chair, and, with a
fierce countenance and accent, said, "Do you mean me? D--n your
eyes, you are a rascal and a scoundrel!" Those words would have
been immediately succeeded by blows had not the company
interposed, and with strong arm withheld the two antagonists from
each other. It was, however, a long time before they could be
prevailed on to sit down; which being at last happily brought
about, Mr. Wild the elder, who was a well-disposed old man,
advised them to shake hands and be friends; but the gentleman who
had received the first affront absolutely refused it, and swore HE
WOULD HAVE THE VILLAIN'S BLOOD. Mr. Snap highly applauded the
resolution, and affirmed that the affront was by no means to be
put up by any who bore the name of a gentleman, and that unless
his friend resented it properly he would never execute another
warrant in his company; that he had always looked upon him as a
man of honour, and doubted not but he would prove himself so; and
that, if it was his own case, nothing should persuade him to put
up such an affront without proper satisfaction. The count likewise
spoke on the same side, and the parties themselves muttered
several short sentences purporting their intentions. At last Mr.
Wild, our hero, rising slowly from his seat, and having fixed the
attention of all present, began as follows: "I have heard with
infinite pleasure everything which the two gentlemen who spoke
last have said with relation to honour, nor can any man possibly
entertain a higher and nobler sense of that word, nor a greater
esteem of its inestimable value, than myself. If we have no name
to express it by in our Cant Dictionary, it were well to be wished
we had. It is indeed the essential quality of a gentleman, and
which no man who ever was great in the field or on the road (as
others express it) can possibly be without. But alas! gentlemen,
what pity is it that a word of such sovereign use and virtue
should have so uncertain and various an application that scarce
two people mean the same thing by it? Do not some by honour mean
good-nature and humanity, which weak minds call virtues? How then!
Must we deny it to the great, the brave, the noble; to the sackers
of towns, the plunderers of provinces, and the conquerors of
kingdoms! Were not these men of honour? and yet they scorn those
pitiful qualities I have mentioned. Again, some few (or I am
mistaken) include the idea of honesty in their honour. And shall
we then say that no man who withholds from another what law, or
justice perhaps, calls his own, or who greatly and boldly deprives
him of such property, is a man of honour? Heaven forbid I should
say so in this, or, indeed, in any other good company! Is honour
truth? No; it is not in the lie's going from us, but in its coming
to us, our honour is injured. Doth it then consist in what the
vulgar call cardinal virtues? It would be an affront to your
understandings to suppose it, since we see every day so many men
of honour without any. In what then doth the word honour consist?
Why, in itself alone. A man of honour is he that is called a man
of honour; and while he is so called he so remains, and no longer.
Think not anything a man commits can forfeit his honour. Look
abroad into the world; the PRIG, while he flourishes, is a man of
honour; when in gaol, at the bar, or the tree, he is so no longer.
And why is this distinction? Not from his actions; for those are
often as well known in his flourishing estate as they are
afterwards; but because men, I mean those of his own party or
gang, call him a man of honour in the former, and cease to call
him so in the latter condition. Let us see then; how hath Mr.
Bagshot injured the gentleman's honour? Why, he hath called him a
pick-pocket; and that, probably, by a severe construction and a
long roundabout way of reasoning, may seem a little to derogate
from his honour, if considered in a very nice sense. Admitting it,
therefore, for argument's sake, to be some small imputation on his
honour, let Mr. Bagshot give him satisfaction; let him doubly and
triply repair this oblique injury by directly asserting that he
believes he is a man of honour." The gentleman answered he was
content to refer it to Mr. Wild, and whatever satisfaction he
thought sufficient he would accept. "Let him give me my money
again first," said Bagshot, "and then I will call him a man of
honour with all my heart." The gentleman then protested he had not
any, which Snap seconded, declaring he had his eyes on him all the
while; but Bagshot remained still unsatisfied, till Wild, rapping
out a hearty oath, swore he had not taken a single farthing,
adding that whoever asserted the contrary gave him the lie, and he
would resent it. And now, such was the ascendancy of this great
man, that Bagshot immediately acquiesced, and performed the
ceremonies required: and thus, by the exquisite address of our
hero, this quarrel, which had so fatal an aspect, and which
between two persons so extremely jealous of their honour would
most certainly have produced very dreadful consequences, was
happily concluded.

Mr. Wild was indeed a little interested in this affair, as he
himself had set the gentleman to work, and had received the
greatest part of the booty: and as to Mr. Snap's deposition in his
favour, it was the usual height to which the ardour of that worthy
person's friendship too frequently hurried him. It was his
constant maxim that he was a pitiful fellow who would stick at a
little rapping [Footnote: Rapping is a cant word for perjury.] for
his friend.



Matters being thus reconciled, and the gaming over, from reasons
before hinted, the company proceeded to drink about with the
utmost chearfulness and friendship; drinking healths, shaking
hands, and professing the most perfect affection for each other.
All which were not in the least interrupted by some designs which
they then agitated in their minds, and which they intended to
execute as soon as the liquor had prevailed over some of their
understandings. Bagshot and the gentleman intending to rob each
other; Mr. Snap and Mr. Wild the elder meditating what other
creditors they could find out to charge the gentleman then in
custody with; the count hoping to renew the play, and Wild, our
hero, laying a design to put Bagshot out of the way, or, as the
vulgar express it, to hang him with the first opportunity. But
none of these great designs could at present be put in execution,
for, Mr. Snap being soon after summoned abroad on business of
great moment, which required likewise the assistance of Mr. Wild
the elder and his other friend, and as he did not care to trust to
the nimbleness of the count's heels, of which he had already had
some experience, he declared he must LOCK UP for that evening.
Here, reader, if them pleasest, as we are in no great haste, we
will stop and make a simile. As when their lap is finished, the
cautious huntsman to their kennel gathers the nimble-footed
hounds, they with lank ears and tails slouch sullenly on, whilst
he, with his whippers-in, follows close at their heels, regardless
of their dogged humour, till, having seen them safe within the
door, he turns the key, and then retires to whatever business or
pleasure calls him thence; so with lowring countenance and
reluctant steps mounted the count and Bagshot to their chamber, or
rather kennel, whither they were attended by Snap and those who
followed him, and where Snap, having seen them deposited, very
contentedly locked the door and departed. And now, reader, we
will, in imitation of the truly laudable custom of the world,
leave these our good friends to deliver themselves as they can,
and pursue the thriving fortunes of Wild, our hero, who, with that
great aversion to satisfaction and content which is inseparably
incident to great minds, began to enlarge his views with his
prosperity: for this restless, amiable disposition, this noble
avidity which increases with feeding, is the first principle or
constituent quality of these our great men; to whom, in their
passage on to greatness, it happens as to a traveller over the
Alps, or, if this be a too far-fetched simile, to one who travels
westward over the hills near Bath, where the simile was indeed
made. He sees not the end of his journey at once; but, passing on
from scheme to scheme, and from hill to hill, with noble
constancy, resolving still to attain the summit on which he hath
fixed his eve, however dirty the roads may be through which he
struggles, he at length arrives----at some vile inn, where he
finds no kind of entertainment nor conveniency for repose. I
fancy, reader, if thou hast ever travelled in these roads, one
part of my simile is sufficiently apparent (and, indeed, in all
these illustrations, one side is generally much more apparent than
the other); but, believe me, if the other doth not so evidently
appear to thy satisfaction, it is from no other reason than
because thou art unacquainted with these great men, and hast not
had sufficient instruction, leisure, or opportunity, to consider
what happens to those who pursue what is generally understood by
GREATNESS: for surely, if thou hadst animadverted, not only on the
many perils to which great men are daily liable while they are in
their progress, but hadst discerned, as it were through a
microscope (for it is invisible to the naked eye), that diminutive
speck of happiness which they attain even in the consummation of
their wishes, thou wouldst lament with me the unhappy fate of
these great men, on whom nature hath set so superior a mark, that
the rest of mankind are born for their use and emolument only, and
be apt to cry out, "It is pity that THOSE for whose pleasure and
profit mankind are to labour and sweat, to be hacked and hewed, to
be pillaged, plundered, and every war destroyed, should reap so
LITTLE advantage from all the miseries they occasion to others."
For my part, I own myself of that humble kind of mortals who
consider themselves born for the behoof of some great man or
other, and could I behold his happiness carved out of the labour
and ruin of a thousand such reptiles as myself I might with
satisfaction exclaim, Sic, sic juvat: but when I behold one GREAT
MAN starving with hunger and freezing with cold, in the midst of
fifty thousand who are suffering the same evils for his diversion;
when I see another, whose own mind is a more abject slave to his
own greatness, and is more tortured and racked by it, than those
of all his vassals; lastly, when I consider whole nations rooted
out only to bring tears into the eyes of a GREAT MAN, not indeed
because he hath extirpated so many, but because he had no more
nations to extirpate, then truly I am almost inclined to wish that
Nature had spared us this her MASTERPIECE, and that no GREAT MAN
had ever been born into the world.

But to proceed with our history, which will, we hope, produce much
better lessons, and more instructive, than any we can preach: Wild
was no sooner retired to a night-cellar than he began to reflect
on the sweets he had that day enjoyed from the labours of others,
viz., first, from Mr. Bagshot, who had for his use robbed the
count; and, secondly, from the gentleman, who, for the same good
purpose, had picked the pocket of Bagshot. He then proceeded to
reason thus with himself: "The art of policy is the art of
multiplication, the degrees of greatness being constituted by
those two little words MORE or LESS. Mankind are first properly to
be considered under two grand divisions, those that use their own
hands, and those who employ the hands of others. The former are
the base and rabble; the latter, the genteel part of the creation.
The mercantile part of the world, therefore, wisely use of the
term EMPLOYING HANDS, and justly prefer each other as they employ
more or fewer; for thus one merchant says he is greater than
another because he employs more hands. And now indeed the merchant
should seem to challenge some character of greatness, did we not
necessarily come to a second division, viz., of those who employ
hands for the use of the community in which they live, and of
those who employ hands merely for their own use, without any
regard to the benefit of society. Of the former sort are the
yeoman, the manufacturer, the merchant, and perhaps the gentleman.
The first of these being to manure and cultivate his native soil,
and to employ hands to produce the fruits of the earth. The second
being to improve them by employing hands likewise, and to produce
from them those useful commodities which serve as well for the
conveniences as necessaries of life. The third is to employ hands
for the exportation of the redundance of our own commodities, and
to exchange them with the redundances of foreign nations, that
thus every soil and every climate may enjoy the fruits of the
whole earth. The gentleman is, by employing hands, likewise to
embellish his country with the improvement of art and sciences,
with the making and executing good and wholesome laws for the
preservation of property and the distribution of justice, and in
several other manners to be useful to society. Now we come to the
second part of this division, viz., of those who employ hands for
their own use only; and this is that noble and great part who are
generally distinguished into conquerors, absolute princes,
statesmen, and prigs [Footnote: Thieves.]. Now all these differ
from each other in greatness only--they employ MORE or FEWER
hands. And Alexander the Great was only GREATER than a captain of
one of the Tartarian or Arabian hordes, as he was at the head of a
larger number. In what then is a single prig inferior to any other
great man, but because he employs his own hands only; for he is
not on that account to be levelled with the base and vulgar,
because he employs his hands for his own use only. Now, suppose a
prig had as many tools as any prime minister ever had, would he
not be as great as any prime minister whatsoever? Undoubtedly he
would. What then have I to do in the pursuit of greatness but to
procure a gang, and to make the use of this gang centre in myself?
This gang shall rob for me only, receiving very moderate rewards
for their actions; out of this gang I will prefer to my favour the
boldest and most iniquitous (as the vulgar express it); the rest I
will, from time to time, as I see occasion, transport and hang at
my pleasure; and thus (which I take to be the highest excellence
of a prig) convert those laws which are made for the benefit and
protection of society to my single use."

Having thus preconceived his scheme, he saw nothing wanting to put
it in immediate execution but that which is indeed the beginning
as well as the end of all human devices: I mean money. Of which
commodity he was possessed of no more than sixty-five guineas,
being all that remained from the double benefits he had made of
Bagshot, and which did not seem sufficient to furnish his house,
and every other convenience necessary for so grand an undertaking.
He resolved, therefore, to go immediately to the gaming-house,
which was then sitting, not so much with an intention of trusting
to fortune as to play the surer card of attacking the winner in
his way home. On his arrival, however, he thought he might as well
try his success at the dice, and reserve the other resource as his
last expedient. He accordingly sat down to play; and as Fortune,
no more than others of her sex, is observed to distribute her
favours with strict regard to great mental endowments, so our hero
lost every farthing in his pocket. This loss however he bore with
great constancy of mind, and with as great composure of aspect. To
say truth, he considered the money as only lent for a short time,
or rather indeed as deposited with a banker. He then resolved to
have immediate recourse to his surer stratagem; and, casting his
eyes round the room, he soon perceived a gentleman sitting in a
disconsolate posture, who seemed a proper instrument or tool for
his purpose. In short (to be as concise as possible in these least
shining parts of our history), Wild accosted this man, sounded
him, found him fit to execute, proposed the matter, received a
ready assent, and, having fixed on the person who seemed that
evening the greatest favourite of Fortune, they posted themselves
in the most proper place to surprise the enemy as he was retiring
to his quarters, where he was soon attacked, subdued, and
plundered; but indeed of no considerable booty; for it seems this
gentleman played on a common stock, and had deposited his winnings
at the scene of action, nor had he any more than two shillings in
his pocket when he was attacked.

This was so cruel a disappointment to Wild, and so sensibly
affects us, as no doubt it will the reader, that, as it must
disqualify us both from proceeding any farther at present, we will
now take a little breath, and therefore we shall here close this




One reason why we chose to end our first book, as we did, with the
last chapter, was, that we are now obliged to produce two
characters of a stamp entirely different from what we have
hitherto dealt in. These persons are of that pitiful order of
mortals who are in contempt called good-natured; being indeed sent
into the world by nature with the same design with which men put
little fish into a pike-pond, in order to be devoured by that
voracious water-hero.

But to proceed with our history: Wild, having shared the booty in
much the same manner as before, i.e. taken three-fourths of it,
amounting to eighteen-pence, was now retiring to rest, in no very
happy mood, when by accident he met with a young fellow who had
formerly been his companion, and indeed intimate friend, at
school. It hath been thought that friendship is usually nursed by
similitude of manners, but the contrary had been the case between
these lads; for whereas Wild was rapacious and intrepid, the other
had always more regard far his skin than his money; Wild therefore
had very generously compassionated this defect in his school-
fellow, and had brought him off from many scrapes, into most of
which he had first drawn him, by taking the fault and whipping to
himself. He had always indeed been well paid on such occasions;
there are a sort of people who, together with the best of the
bargain, will be sure to have the obligation too on their side; so
it had happened here: for this poor lad had considered himself in
the highest degree obliged to Mr. Wild, and had contracted a very
great esteem and friendship for him; the traces of which an
absence of many years had not in the least effaced in his mind. He
no sooner knew Wild, therefore, than he accosted him in the most
friendly manner, and invited him home with him to breakfast (it
being now near nine in the morning), which invitation our hero
with no great difficulty consented to. This young man, who was
about Wild's age, had some time before set up in the trade of a
jeweller, in the materials or stock for which he had laid out the
greatest part of a little fortune, and had married a very
agreeable woman for love, by whom he then had two children. As our
reader is to be more acquainted with this person, it may not be
improper to open somewhat of his character, especially as it will
serve as a kind of foil to the noble and great disposition of our
hero, and as the one seems sent into this world as a proper object
on which the talents of the other were to be displayed with a
proper and just success.

Mr. Thomas Heartfree then (for that was his name) was of an honest
and open disposition. He was of that sort of men whom experience
only, and not their own natures, must inform that there are such
things as deceit and hypocrisy in the world, and who,
consequently, are not at five-and-twenty so difficult to be
imposed upon as the oldest and most subtle. He was possessed of
several great weaknesses of mind, being good-natured, friendly,
and generous to a great excess. He had, indeed, too little regard
to common justice, for he had forgiven some debts to his
acquaintance only because they could not pay him, and had
entrusted a bankrupt, on his setting up a second time, from having
been convinced that he had dealt in his bankruptcy with a fair and
honest heart, and that he had broke through misfortune only, and
not from neglect or imposture. He was withal so silly a fellow
that he never took the least advantage of the ignorance of his
customers, and contented himself with very moderate gains on his
goods; which he was the better enabled to do, notwithstanding his
generosity, because his life was extremely temperate, his expenses
being solely confined to the chearful entertainment of his friends
at home, and now and then a moderate glass of wine, in which he
indulged himself in the company of his wife, who, with an
agreeable person, was a mean-spirited, poor, domestic, low-bred
animal, who confined herself mostly to the care of her family,
placed her happiness in her husband and her children, followed no
expensive fashions or diversions, and indeed rarely went abroad,
unless to return the visits of a few plain neighbours, and twice
a-year afforded herself, in company with her husband, the
diversion of a play, where she never sat in a higher place than
the pit.

To this silly woman did this silly fellow introduce the GREAT
WILD, informing her at the same time of their school acquaintance
and the many obligations he had received from him. This simple
woman no sooner heard her husband had been obliged to her guest
than her eyes sparkled on him with a benevolance which is an
emanation from the heart, and of which great and noble minds,
whose hearts never dwell but with an injury, can have no very
adequate idea; it is therefore no wonder that our hero should
misconstrue, as he did, the poor, innocent, and ample affection of
Mrs. Heartfree towards her husband's friend, for that great and
generous passion, which fires the eyes of a modern heroine, when
the colonel is so kind as to indulge his city creditor with
partaking of his table to-day, and of his bed tomorrow. Wild,
therefore, instantly returned the compliment as he understood it,
with his eyes, and presently after bestowed many encomiums on her
beauty, with which, perhaps, she, who was a woman, though a good
one, and misapprehended the design, was not displeased any more
than the husband.

When breakfast was ended, and the wife retired to her household
affairs, Wild, who had a quick discernment into the weaknesses of
men, and who, besides the knowledge of his good (or foolish)
disposition when a boy, had now discovered several sparks of
goodness, friendship, and generosity in his friend, began to
discourse over the accidents which had happened in their
childhood, and took frequent occasions of reminding him of those
favours which we have before mentioned his having conferred on
him; he then proceeded to the most vehement professions of
friendship, and to the most ardent expressions of joy in this
renewal of their acquaintance. He at last told him, with great
seeming pleasure, that he believed he had an opportunity of
serving him by the recommendation of a gentleman to his custom,
who was then on the brink of marriage. "And, if he be not already
engaged, I will," says he, "endeavour to prevail on him to furnish
his lady with jewels at your shop."

Heartfree was not backward in thanks to our hero, and, after many
earnest solicitations to dinner, which were refused, they parted
for the first time.

But here, as it occurs to our memory that our readers may be
surprised (an accident which sometimes happens in histories of
this kind) how Mr. Wild, the elder, in his present capacity,
should have been able to maintain his son at a reputable school,
as this appears to have been, it may be necessary to inform him
that Mr. Wild himself was then a tradesman in good business, but,
by misfortunes in the world, to wit, extravagance and gaming, he
had reduced himself to that honourable occupation which we have
formerly mentioned.

Having cleared up this doubt, we will now pursue our hero, who
forthwith repaired to the count, and, having first settled
preliminary articles concerning distributions, he acquainted him
with the scheme which he had formed against Heartfree; and after
consulting proper methods to put it in execution, they began to
concert measures for the enlargement of the count; on which the
first, and indeed only point to be considered, was to raise money,
not to pay his debts, for that would have required an immense sum,
and was contrary to his inclination or intention, but to procure
him bail; for as to his escape, Mr. Snap had taken such
precautions that it appeared absolutely impossible.



Wild undertook therefore to extract some money from Bagshot, who,
notwithstanding the depredations made on him, had carried off a
pretty considerable booty from their engagement at dice the
preceding day. He found Mr. Bagshot in expectation of his bail,
and, with a countenance full of concern, which he could at any
time, with wonderful art, put on, told him that all was
discovered; that the count knew him, and intended to prosecute him
for the robbery, "had not I exerted (said he) my utmost interest,
and with great difficulty prevailed on him in case you refund the
money--" "Refund the money!" cryed Bagshot, "that is in your
power: for you know what an inconsiderable part of it fell to my
share." "How!" replied Wild, "is this your gratitude to me for
saving your life? For your own conscience must convince you of
your guilt, and with how much certainty the gentleman can give
evidence against you." "Marry come up!" quoth Bagshot; "I believe
my life alone will not be in danger. I know those who are as
guilty as myself. Do you tell me of conscience?" "Yes, sirrah!"
answered our hero, taking him by the collar; "and since you dare
threaten me I will shew you the difference between committing a
robbery and conniving at it, which is all I can charge myself
with. I own indeed I suspected, when you shewed me a sum of money,
that you had not come honestly by it." "How!" says Bagshot,
frightened out of one half of his wits, and amazed out of the
other, "can you deny?" "Yes, you rascal," answered Wild, "I do
deny everything; and do you find a witness to prove it: and, to
shew you how little apprehension I have of your power to hurt me,
I will have you apprehended this moment."--At which words he
offered to break from him; but Bagshot laid hold of his skirts,
and, with an altered tone and manner, begged him not to be so
impatient. "Refund then, sirrah," cries Wild, "and perhaps I may
take pity on you." "What must I refund?" answered Bagshot. "Every
farthing in your pocket," replied Wild; "then I may have some
compassion on you, and not only save your life, but, out of an
excess of generosity, may return you something." At which words
Bagshot seeming to hesitate, Wild pretended to make to the door,
and rapt out an oath of vengeance with so violent an emphasis,
that his friend no longer presumed to balance, but suffered Wild
to search his pockets and draw forth all he found, to the amount
of twenty-one guineas and a half, which last piece our generous
hero returned him again, telling him he might now sleep secure.
but advised him for the future never to threaten his friends.

Thus did our hero execute the greatest exploits with the utmost
ease imaginable, by means of those transcendent qualities which
nature had indulged him with, viz., a bold heart, a thundering
voice, and a steady countenance.

Wild now returned to the count, and informed him that he had got
ten guineas of Bagshot; for, with great and commendable prudence,
he sunk the other eleven into his own pocket, and told him with
that money he would procure him bail, which he after prevailed on
his father, and another gentleman of the same occupation, to
become, for two guineas each, so that he made lawful prize of six
more, making Bagshot debtor for the whole ten; for such were his
great abilities, and so vast the compass of his understanding,
that he never made any bargain without overreaching (or, in the
vulgar phrase, cheating) the person with whom he dealt.

The count being, by these means, enlarged, the first thing they
did, in order to procure credit from tradesmen, was the taking a
handsome house ready furnished in one of the new streets; in which
as soon as the count was settled, they proceeded to furnish him
with servants and equipage, and all the insignia of a large estate
proper to impose on poor Heartfree. These being all obtained, Wild
made a second visit to his friend, and with much joy in his
countenance acquainted him that he had succeeded in his
endeavours, and that the gentleman had promised to deal with him
for the jewels which he intended to present his bride, and which
were designed to be very splendid and costly; he therefore
appointed him to go to the count the next morning, and carry with
him a set of the richest and most beautiful jewels he had, giving
him at the same time some hints of the count's ignorance of that
commodity, and that he might extort what price of him he pleased;
but Heartfree told him, not without some disdain, that he scorned
to take any such advantage; and, after expressing much gratitude
to his friend for his recommendation, he promised to carry the
jewels at the hour and to the place appointed.

I am sensible that the reader, if he hath but the least notion of
greatness, must have such a contempt for the extreme folly of this
fellow, that he will be very little concerned at any misfortunes
which may befal him in the sequel; for to have no suspicion that
an old schoolfellow, with whom he had, in his tenderest years,
contracted a friendship, and who, on the accidental renewing of
their acquaintance, had professed the most passionate regard for
him, should be very ready to impose on him; in short, to conceive
that a friend should, of his own accord, without any view to his
own interest, endeavour to do him a service, must argue such
weakness of mind, such ignorance of the world, and such an
artless, simple, undesigning heart, as must render the person
possessed of it the lowest creature and the properest object of
contempt imaginable, in the eyes of every man of understanding and

Wild remembered that his friend Heartfree's faults were rather in
his heart than in his head; that, though he was so mean a fellow
that he was never capable of laying a design to injure any human
creature, yet was he by no means a fool, nor liable to any gross
imposition, unless where his heart betrayed him. He therefore
instructed the count to take only one of his jewels at the first
interview, and reject the rest as not fine enough, and order him
to provide some richer. He said this management would prevent
Heartfree from expecting ready money for the jewel he brought with
him, which the count was presently to dispose of, and by means of
that money, and his great abilities at cards and dice, to get
together as large a sum as possible, which he was to pay down to
Heartfree at the delivery of the set of jewels, who would be thus
void of all manner of suspicion and would not fail to give him
credit for the residue.

By this contrivance, it will appear in the sequel that Wild did
not only propose to make the imposition on Heartfree, who was
(hitherto) void of all suspicion, more certain; but to rob the
count himself of this sum. This double method of cheating the very
tools who are our instruments to cheat others is the superlative
degree of greatness, and is probably, as far as any spirit crusted
over with clay can carry it, falling very little short of
diabolism itself.

This method was immediately put in execution, and the count the
first day took only a single brilliant, worth about three hundred
pounds, and ordered a necklace, earrings, and solitaire, of the of
three thousand more, to be prepared by that day sevennight.

The interval was employed by Wild in prosecuting his scheme of
raising a gang, in which he met with such success, that within a
few days he had levied several bold and resolute fellows, fit for
any enterprize, how dangerous or great soever.

We have before remarked that the truest mark of greatness is
insatiability. Wild had covenanted with the count to receive
three-fourths of the booty, and had, at the same time, covenanted
with himself to secure the other fourth part likewise, for which
he had formed a very great and noble design; but he now saw with
concern that sum which was to be received in hand by Heartfree in
danger of being absolutely lost. In order therefore to possess
himself of that likewise, he contrived that the jewels should be
brought in the afternoon, and that Heartfree should be detained
before the count could see him; so that the night should overtake
him in his return, when two of his gang were ordered to attack and
plunder him.



The count had disposed of his jewel for its full value, and this
he had by dexterity raised to a thousand pounds; this sum
therefore he paid down to Heartfree, promising him the rest within
a month. His house, his equipage, his appearance, but, above all,
a certain plausibility in his voice and behaviour would have
deceived any, but one whose great and wise heart had dictated to
him something within, which would have secured him from any danger
of imposition from without. Heartfree therefore did not in the
least scruple giving him credit; but, as he had in reality
procured those jewels of another, his own little stock not being
able to furnish anything so valuable, he begged the count would be
so kind to give his note for the money, payable at the time he
mentioned; which that gentleman did not in the least scruple; so
he paid him the thousand pound in specie, and gave his note for
two thousand eight hundred pounds more to Heartfree, who burnt
with gratitude to Wild for the noble customer he had recommended
to him.

As soon as Heartfree was departed, Wild, who waited in another
room, came in and received the casket from the count, it having
been agreed between them that this should be deposited in his
hands, as he was the original contriver of the scheme, and was to
have the largest share. Wild, having received the casket, offered
to meet the count late that evening to come to a division, but
such was the latter's confidence in the honour of our hero, that
he said, if it was any inconvenience to him, the next morning
would do altogether as well. This was more agreeable to Wild, and
accordingly, an appointment being made for that purpose, he set
out in haste to pursue Heartfree to the place where the two
gentlemen were ordered to meet and attack him. Those gentlemen
with noble resolution executed their purpose; they attacked and
spoiled the enemy of the whole sum he had received from the count.

As soon as the engagement was over, and Heartfree left sprawling
on the ground, our hero, who wisely declined trusting the booty in
his friends' hands, though he had good experience of their honour,
made off after the conquerors: at length, they being all at a
place of safety, Wild, according to a previous agreement, received
nine-tenths of the booty: the subordinate heroes did indeed
profess some little unwillingness (perhaps more than was strictly
consistent with honour) to perform their contract; but Wild,
partly by argument, but more by oaths and threatenings, prevailed
with them to fulfil their promise.

Our hero having thus, with wonderful address, brought this great
and glorious action to a happy conclusion, resolved to relax his
mind after his fatigue, in the conversation of the fair. He
therefore set forwards to his lovely Laetitia; but in his way
accidentally met with a young lady of his acquaintance, Miss Molly
Straddle, who was taking the air in Bridges-street. Miss Molly,
seeing Mr. Wild, stopped him, and with a familiarity peculiar to a
genteel town education, tapped, or rather slapped him on the back,
and asked him to treat her with a pint of wine at a neighbouring
tavern. The hero, though he loved the chaste Laetitia with
excessive tenderness, was not of that low sniveling breed of
mortals who, as it is generally expressed, TYE THEMSELVES TO A
WOMANS APRON-STRINGS; in a word, who are tainted with that mean,
base, low vice, or virtue as it is called, of constancy; therefore
he immediately consented, and attended her to a tavern famous for
excellent wine, known by the name of the Rummer and Horseshoe,
where they retired to a room by themselves. Wild was very vehement
in his addresses, but to no purpose; the young lady declared she
would grant no favour till he had made her a present; this was
immediately complied with, and the lover made as happy as he could

The immoderate fondness which Wild entertained for his dear
Laetitia would not suffer him to waste any considerable time with
Miss Straddle. Notwithstanding, therefore, all the endearments and
caresses of that young lady, he soon made an excuse to go down
stairs, and thence immediately set forward to Laetitia without
taking any formal leave of Miss Straddle, or indeed of the drawer,
with whom the lady was afterwards obliged to come to an account
for the reckoning.

Mr. Wild, on his arrival at Mr. Snap's, found only Miss Doshy at
home, that young lady being employed alone, in imitation of
Penelope, with her thread or worsted, only with this difference,
that whereas Penelope unravelled by night what she had knit or
wove or spun by day, so what our young heroine unravelled by day
she knit again by night. In short, she was mending a pair of blue
stockings with red clocks; a circumstance which perhaps we might
have omitted, had it not served to show that there are still some
ladies of this age who imitate the simplicity of the ancients.

Wild immediately asked for his beloved, and was informed that she
was not at home. He then enquired where she was to be found, and
declared he would not depart till he had seen her, nay not till he
had married her; for, indeed, his passion for her was truly
honourable; in other words, he had so ungovernable a desire for
her person, that he would go any length to satisfy it. He then
pulled out the casket, which he swore was full of the finest
jewels, and that he would give them all to her, with other
promises, which so prevailed on Miss Doshy, who had not the common
failure of sisters in envying, and often endeavouring to
disappoint, each other's happiness, that she desired Mr. Wild to
sit down a few minutes, whilst she endeavoured to find her sister
and to bring her to him. The lover thanked her, and promised to
stay till her return; and Miss Doshy, leaving Mr. Wild to his
meditations, fastened him in the kitchen by barring the door (for
most of the doors in this mansion were made to be bolted on the
outside), and then, slapping to the door of the house with great
violence, without going out at it, she stole softly up stairs
where Miss Laetitia was engaged in close conference with Mr.
Bagshot. Miss Letty, being informed by her sister in a whisper of
what Mr. Wild had said, and what he had produced, told Mr. Bagshot
that a young lady was below to visit her whom she would despatch
with all imaginable haste and return to him. She desired him
therefore to stay with patience for her in the mean time, and that
she would leave the door unlocked, though her papa would never
forgive her if he should discover it. Bagshot promised on his
honour not to step without his chamber; and the two young ladies
went softly down stairs, when, pretending first to make their
entry into the house, they repaired to the kitchen, where not even
the presence of the chaste Laetitia could restore that harmony to
the countenance of her lover which Miss Theodosia had left him
possessed of; for, during her absence, he had discovered the
absence of a purse containing bank-notes for 900 pounds, which had
been taken from Mr. Heartfree, and which, indeed, Miss Straddle
had, in the warmth of his amorous caresses, unperceived drawn from
him. However, as he had that perfect mastery of his temper, or
rather of his muscles, which is as necessary to the forming a
great character as to the personating it on the stage, he soon
conveyed a smile into his countenance, and, sealing as well his
misfortune as his chagrin at it, began to pay honourable addresses
to Miss Letty. This young lady, among many other good ingredients
had three very predominant passions; to wit, vanity, wantonness,
and avarice. To satisfy the first of these she employed Mr. Smirk
and company; to the second, Mr. Bagshot and company; and our hero
had the honour and happiness of solely engrossing the third. Now,
these three sorts of lovers she had very different ways of
entertaining. With the first she was all gay and coquette; with
the second all fond and rampant; and with the last all cold and
reserved. She therefore told Mr. Wild, with a most composed
aspect, that she was glad he had repented of his manner of
treating her at their last interview, where his behaviour was so
monstrous that she had resolved never to see him any more; that
she was afraid her own sex would hardly pardon her the weakness
she was guilty of in receding from that resolution, which she was
persuaded she never should have brought herself to, had not her
sister, who was there to confirm what she said (as she did with
many oaths), betrayed her into his company, by pretending it was
another person to visit her: but, however, as he now thought
proper to give her more convincing proofs of his affections (for
he had now the casket in his hand), and since she perceived his
designs were no longer against her virtue, but were such as a
woman of honour might listen to, she must own--and then she
feigned an hesitation, when Theodosia began: "Nay, sister, I am
resolved you shall counterfeit no longer. I assure you, Mr. Wild,
she hath the most violent passion for you in the world; and
indeed, dear Tishy, if you offer to go back, since I plainly see
Mr. Wild's designs are honourable, I will betray all you have ever
said." "How, sister!" answered Laetitia; "I protest you will drive
me out of the room: I did not expect this usage from you." Wild
then fell on his knees, and, taking hold of her hand, repeated a
speech, which, as the reader may easily suggest it to himself, I
shall not here set down. He then offered her the casket, but she
gently rejected it; and on a second offer, with a modest
countenance and voice, desired to know what it contained. Wild
then opened it, and took forth (with sorrow I write it, and with
sorrow will it be read) one of those beautiful necklaces with
which, at the fair of Bartholomew, they deck the well-bewhitened
neck of Thalestris queen of Amazons, Anna Bullen, queen Elizabeth,
or some other high princess in Drollic story. It was indeed
composed of that paste which Derdaeus Magnus, an ingenious toy-
man, doth at a very moderate price dispense of to the second-rate
beaus of the metropolis. For, to open a truth, which we ask our
reader's pardon for having concealed from him so long, the
sagacious count, wisely fearing lest some accident might prevent
Mr. Wild's return at the appointed time, had carefully conveyed
the jewels which Mr. Heartfree had brought with him into his own
pocket, and in their stead had placed in the casket these
artificial stones, which, though of equal value to a philosopher,
and perhaps of a much greater to a true admirer of the
compositions of art, had not however the same charms in the eyes
of Miss Letty, who had indeed some knowledge of jewels; for Mr.
Snap, with great reason, considering how valuable a part of a
lady's education it would be to be well instructed in these
things, in an age when young ladies learn little more than how to
dress themselves, had in her youth placed Miss Letty as the
handmaid (or housemaid as the vulgar call it) of an eminent
pawnbroker. The lightning, therefore, which should have flashed
from the jewels, flashed from her eyes, and thunder immediately
followed from her voice. She be-knaved, be-rascalled, be-rogued
the unhappy hero, who stood silent, confounded with astonishment,
but more with shame and indignation, at being thus outwitted and
overreached. At length he recovered his spirits, and, throwing
down the casket in a rage, he snatched the key from the table,
and, without making any answer to the ladies, who both very
plentifully opened upon him, and without taking any leave of them,
he flew out at the door, and repaired with the utmost expedition
to the count's habitation.



Not the highest-fed footman of the highest-bred woman of quality
knocks with more impetuosity than Wild did at the count's door,
which was immediately opened by a well-drest liveryman, who
answered that his master was not at home. Wild, not satisfied with
this, searched the house, but to no purpose; he then ransacked all
the gaming-houses in town, but found no count: indeed, that
gentleman had taken leave of his house the same instant Mr. Wild
had turned his back, and, equipping himself with boots and a post-
horse, without taking with him either servant, clothes, or any
necessaries for the journey of a great man, made such mighty
expedition that he was now upwards of twenty miles on his way to

Wild, finding his search ineffectual, resolved to give it over for
that night; he then retired to his seat of contemplation, a night-
cellar, where, without a single farthing in his pocket, he called
for a sneaker of punch, and, placing himself on a bench by
himself, he softly vented the following soliloquy:--

"How vain is human GREATNESS! What avail superior abilities, and a
noble defiance of those narrow rules and bounds which confine the
vulgar, when his best-concerted schemes are liable to be defeated!
How unhappy is the state of PRIGGISM! How impossible for human
prudence to foresee and guard against every circumvention! It is
even as a game of chess, where, while the rook, or knight, or
bishop, is busied forecasting some great enterprize, a worthless
pawn exposes and disconcerts his scheme. Better had it been for me
to have observed the simple laws of friendship and morality than
thus to ruin my friend for the benefit of others. I might have
commanded his purse to any degree of moderation: I have now
disabled him from the power of serving me. Well! but that was not
my design. If I cannot arraign my own conduct, why should I, like
a woman or a child, sit down and lament the disappointment of
chance? But can I acquit myself of all neglect? Did I not
misbehave in putting it into the power of others to outwit me? But
that is impossible to be avoided. In this a prig is more unhappy
than any other: a cautious man may, in a crowd, preserve his own
pockets by keeping his hands in them; but while the prig employs
his hands in another's pocket, how shall he be able to defend his
own? Indeed, in this light, what can be imagined more miserable
than a prig? How dangerous are his acquisitions! how unsafe, how
unquiet his possessions! Why then should any man wish to be a
prig, or where is his greatness? I answer, in his mind: 'tis the
inward glory, the secret consciousness of doing great and
wonderful actions, which can alone support the truly GREAT man,
whether he be a CONQUEROR, a TYRANT, a STATESMAN, or a PRIG. These
must bear him up against the private curse and public imprecation,
and, while he is hated and detested by all mankind, must make him
inwardly satisfied with himself. For what but some such inward
satisfaction as this could inspire men possessed of power, wealth,
of every human blessing which pride, avarice, or luxury could
desire, to forsake their homes, abandon ease and repose, and at
the expense of riches and pleasures, at the price of labour and
hardship, and at the hazard of all that fortune hath liberally
given them, could send them at the head of a multitude of prigs,
called an army, to molest their neighbours; to introduce rape,
rapine, bloodshed, and every kind of misery among their own
species? What but some such glorious appetite of mind could
inflame princes, endowed with the greatest honours, and enriched
with the most plentiful revenues, to desire maliciously to rob
those subjects of their liberties who are content to sweat for the
luxury, and to bow down their knees to the pride, of those very
princes? What but this can inspire them to destroy one half of
their subjects, in order to reduce the rest to an absolute
dependence on their own wills, and on those of their brutal
successors? What other motive could seduce a subject, possessed of
great property in his community, to betray the interest of his
fellow-subjects, of his brethren, and his posterity, to the wanton
disposition of such princes? Lastly, what less inducement could
persuade the prig to forsake the methods of acquiring a safe, an
honest, and a plentiful livelihood, and, at the hazard of even
life itself, and what is mistaken called dishonour, to break
openly and bravely through the laws of his country, for uncertain,
unsteady, and unsafe gain? Let me then hold myself contented with
this reflection, that I have been wise though unsuccessful, and am
a CHEAT though an unhappy man."

His soliloquy and his punch concluded together; for he had at
every pause comforted himself with a sip. And now it came first
into his head that it would be more difficult to pay for it than
it was to swallow it; when, to his great pleasure, he beheld at
another corner of the room one of the gentlemen whom he had
employed in the attack on Heartfree, and who, he doubted not,
would readily lend him a guinea or two; but he had the
mortification, on applying to him, to hear that the gaming-table
had stript him of all the booty which his own generosity had left
in his possession. He was therefore obliged to pursue his usual
method on such occasions: so, cocking his hat fiercely, he marched
out of the room without making any excuse, or any one daring to
make the least demand.



We will now leave our hero to take a short repose, and return to
Mr. Snaps' where, at Wild's departure, the fair Theodosia had
again betaken herself to her stocking, and Miss Letty had retired
up stairs to Mr. Bagshot; but that gentleman had broken his
parole, and, having conveyed himself below stairs behind a door,
he took the opportunity of Wild's sally to make his escape. We
shall only observe that Miss Letty's surprize was the greater, as
she had, notwithstanding her promise to the contrary, taken the
precaution to turn the key; but, in her hurry, she did it
ineffectually. How wretched must have been the situation of this
young creature, who had not only lost a lover on whom her tender
heart perfectly doated, but was exposed to the rage of an injured
father, tenderly jealous of his honour, which was deeply engaged
to the sheriff of London and Middlesex for the safe custody of the
said Bagshot, and for which two very good responsible friends had
given not only their words but their bonds.

But let us remove our eyes from this melancholy object and survey
our hero, who, after a successless search for Miss Straddle, with
wonderful greatness of mind and steadiness of countenance went
early in the morning to visit his friend Heartfree, at a time when
the common herd of friends would have forsaken and avoided him. He
entered the room with a chearful air, which he presently changed
into surprize on seeing his friend in a night-gown, with his
wounded head bound about with linen, and looking extremely pale
from a great effusion of blood. When Wild was informed by
Heartfree what had happened he first expressed great sorrow, and
afterwards suffered as violent agonies of rage against the robbers
to burst from him. Heartfree, in compassion to the deep impression
his misfortunes seemed to make on his friend, endeavoured to
lessen it as much as possible, at the same time exaggerating the
obligation he owed to Wild, in which his wife likewise seconded
him, and they breakfasted with more comfort than was reasonably to
be expected after such an accident; Heartfree expressing great
satisfaction that he had put the count's note in another pocket-
book; adding, that such a loss would have been fatal to him; "for,
to confess the truth to you, my dear friend," said he, "I have had
some losses lately which have greatly perplexed my affairs; and
though I have many debts due to me from people of great fashion, I
assure you I know not where to be certain of getting a shilling."
Wild greatly felicitated him on the lucky accident of preserving
his note, and then proceeded, with much acrimony, to inveigh
against the barbarity of people of fashion, who kept tradesmen out
of their money.

While they amused themselves with discourses of this kind, Wild
meditating within himself whether he should borrow or steal from
his friend, or indeed whether he could not effect both, the
apprentice brought a bank-note of L500 in to Heartfree, which he
said a gentlewoman in the shop, who had been looking at some
jewels, desired him to exchange. Heartfree, looking at the number,
immediately recollected it to be one of those he had been robbed
of. With this discovery he acquainted Wild, who, with the notable
presence of mind and unchanged complexion so essential to a great
character, advised him to proceed cautiously; and offered (as Mr.
Heartfree himself was, he said, too much flustered to examine the
woman with sufficient art) to take her into a room in his house
alone. He would, he said, personate the master of the shop, would
pretend to shew her some jewels, and would undertake to get
sufficient information out of her to secure the rogues, and most
probably all their booty. This proposal was readily and thankfully
accepted by Heartfree. Wild went immediately up stairs into the
room appointed, whither the apprentice, according to appointment,
conducted the lady.

The apprentice was ordered down stairs the moment the lady entered
the room; and Wild, having shut the door, approached her with
great ferocity in his looks, and began to expatiate on the
complicated baseness of the crime she had been guilty of; but
though he uttered many good lessons of morality, as we doubt
whether from a particular reason they may work any very good
effect on our reader, we shall omit his speech, and only mention
his conclusion, which was by asking her what mercy she could now
expect from him? Miss Straddle, for that was the young lady, who
had had a good education, and had been more than once present at
the Old Bailey, very confidently denied the whole charge, and said
she had received the note from a friend. Wild then, raising his
voice, told her she should be immediately committed, and she might
depend on being convicted; "but," added he, changing his tone, "as
I have a violent affection for thee, my dear Straddle, if you will
follow my advice, I promise you, on my honour, to forgive you, nor
shall you be ever called in question on this account." "Why, what
would you have me to do, Mr. Wild?" replied the young lady, with a
pleasanter aspect. "You must know then," said Wild, "the money you
picked out of my pocket (nay, by G--d you did, and if you offer to
flinch you shall be convicted of it) I won at play of a fellow who
it seems robbed my friend of it; you must, therefore, give an
information on oath against one Thomas Fierce, and say that you
received the note from him, and leave the rest to me. I am
certain, Molly, you must be sensible of your obligations to me,
who return good for evil to you in this manner." The lady readily
consented, and advanced to embrace Mr. Wild, who stepped a little
back and cryed, "Hold, Molly; there are two other notes of L200
each to be accounted for--where are they?" The lady protested with
the most solemn asseverations that she knew of no more; with
which, when Wild was not satisfied, she cried, "I will stand
search." "That you shall," answered Wild, "and stand strip too."
He then proceeded to tumble and search her, but to no purpose,
till at last she burst into tears, and declared she would tell the
truth (as indeed she did); she then confessed that she had
disposed of the one to Jack Swagger, a great favourite of the
ladies, being an Irish gentleman, who had been bred clerk to an
attorney, afterwards whipt out of a regiment of dragoons, and was
then a Newgate solicitor, and a bawdy house bully; and, as for the
other, she had laid it all out that very morning in brocaded silks
and Flanders lace. With this account Wild, who indeed knew it to
be a very probable one, was forced to be contented: and now,
abandoning all further thoughts of what he saw was irretrievably
lost, he gave the lady some further instructions, and then,
desiring her to stay a few minutes behind him, he returned to his
friend, and acquainted him that he had discovered the whole
roguery; that the woman had confessed from whom she had received
the note, and promised to give an information before a justice of
peace; adding, he was concerned he could not attend him thither,
being obliged to go to the other end of the town to receive thirty
pounds, which he was to pay that evening. Heartfree said that
should not prevent him of his company, for he could easily lend
him such a trifle. This was accordingly done and accepted, and
Wild, Heartfree, and the lady went to the justice together.

The warrant being granted, and the constable being acquainted by
the lady, who received her information from Wild, of Mr. Fierce's
haunts, he was easily apprehended, and, being confronted by Miss
Straddle, who swore positively to him, though she had never seen
him before, he was committed to Newgate, where he immediately
conveyed an information to Wild of what had happened, and in the
evening received a visit from him.

Wild affected great concern for his friend's misfortune, and as
great surprize at the means by which it was brought about.
However, he told Fierce that he must certainly be mistaken in that
point of his having had no acquaintance with Miss Straddle: but
added, that he would find her out, and endeavour to take off her
evidence, which, he observed, did not come home enough to endanger
him; besides, be would secure him witnesses of an alibi, and five
or six to his character; so that he need be under no apprehension,
for his confinement till the sessions would be his only

Fierce, who was greatly comforted by these assurances of his
friend, returned him many thanks, and, both shaking each other
very earnestly by the hand, with a very hearty embrace they

The hero considered with himself that the single evidence of Miss
Straddle would not be sufficient to convince Fierce, whom he
resolved to hang, as he was the person who had principally refused
to deliver him the stipulated share of the booty; he therefore
went in quest of Mr. James Sly, the gentleman who had assisted in
the exploit, and found and acquainted him with the apprehending of
Fierce. Wild then, intimating his fear least Fierce should impeach
Sly, advised him to be beforehand, to surrender himself to a
justice of peace and offer himself as an evidence. Sly approved
Mr. Wild's opinion, went directly to a magistrate, and was by him
committed to the Gatehouse, with a promise of being admitted
evidence against his companion.

Fierce was in a few days brought to his trial at the Old Bailey,
where, to his great confusion, his old friend Sly appeared against
him, as did Miss Straddle. His only hopes were now in the
assistances which our hero had promised him. These unhappily
failed him: so that, the evidence being plain against him, and he
making no defence, the jury convicted him, the court condemned
him, and Mr. Ketch executed him.

With such infinite address did this truly great man know how to
play with the passions of men, to set them at variance with each
other, and to work his own purposes out of those jealousies and
apprehensions which he was wonderfully ready at creating by means
of those great arts which the vulgar call treachery, dissembling,
promising, lying, falsehood, &c., but which are by great men
summed up in the collective name of policy, or politics, or rather
pollitrics; an art of which, as it is the highest excellence of
human nature, perhaps our great man was the most eminent master.



Wild had now got together a very considerable gang, composed of
undone gamesters, ruined bailiffs, broken tradesmen, idle
apprentices, attorneys' clerks, and loose and disorderly youth,
who, being born to no fortune, nor bred to any trade or
profession, were willing to live luxuriously without labour. As
these persons wore different PRINCIPLES, i.e. HATS, frequent
dissensions grew among them. There were particularly two parties,
viz., those who wore hats FIERCELY cocked, and those who preferred
the NAB or trencher hat, with the brim flapping over their eyes.
The former were called CAVALIERS and TORY RORY RANTER BOYS, &c.;
the latter went by the several names of WAGS, roundheads,
shakebags, old-nolls, and several others. Between these, continual
jars arose, insomuch that they grew in time to think there was
something essential in their differences, and that their interests
were incompatible with each other, whereas, in truth, the
difference lay only in the fashion of their hats. Wild, therefore,
having assembled them all at an alehouse on the night after
Fierce's execution, and, perceiving evident marks of their
misunderstanding, from their behaviour to each other, addressed
them in the following gentle, but forcible manner: [Footnote:
There is something very mysterious in this speech, which probably
that chapter written by Aristotle on this subject, which is
mentioned by a French author, might have given some light into;
but that is unhappily among the lost works of that philosopher. It
is remarkable that galerus, which is Latin for a hat, signifies
likewise a dog-fish, as the Greek word kuneae doth the skin of
that animal; of which I suppose the hats or helmets of the
ancients were composed, as ours at present are of the beaver or
rabbit. Sophocles, in the latter end of his Ajax, alludes to a
method of cheating in hats, and the scholiast on the place tells
us of one Crephontes, who was a master of the art. It is
observable likewise that Achilles, in the first Iliad of Homer,
tells Agamemnon, in anger, that he had dog's eyes. Now, as the
eyes of a dog are handsomer than those of almost any other animal,
this could be no term of reproach. He must therefore mean that he
had a hat on, which, perhaps, from the creature it was made of, or
from some other reason, might have been a mark of infamy. This
superstitious opinion may account for that custom, which hath
descended through all nations, of shewing respect by pulling off
this covering, and that no man is esteemed fit to converse with
his superiors with it on. I shall conclude this learned note with
remarking that the term old hat is at present used by the vulgar
in no very honourable sense.]--"Gentlemen, I am ashamed to see men
embarked in so great and glorious an undertaking, as that of
robbing the public, so foolishly and weakly dissenting among
themselves. Do you think the first inventors of hats, or at least
of the distinctions between them, really conceived that one form
of hats should inspire a man with divinity, another with law,
another with learning, or another with bravery? No, they meant no
more by these outward signs than to impose on the vulgar, and,
instead of putting great men to the trouble of acquiring or
maintaining the substance, to make it sufficient that they
condescend to wear the type or shadow of it. You do wisely,
therefore, when in a crowd, to amuse the mob by quarrels on such
accounts, that while they are listening to your jargon you may
with the greater ease and safety pick their pockets: but surely to
be in earnest, and privately to keep up such a ridiculous
contention among yourselves, must argue the highest folly and
absurdity. When you know you are all PRIGS, what difference can a
broad or a narrow brim create? Is a prig less a prig in one hat
than in another? If the public should be weak enough to interest
themselves in your quarrels, and to prefer one pack to the other,
while both are aiming at their purses, it is your business to
laugh at, not imitate their folly. What can be more ridiculous
than for gentlemen to quarrel about hats, when there is not one
among you whose hat is worth a farthing? What is the use of a hat
farther than to keep the head warm, or to hide a bald crown from
the public? It is the mark of a gentleman to move his hat on every
occasion; and in courts and noble assemblies no man ever wears
one. Let me hear no more therefore of this childish disagreement,
but all toss up your hats together with one accord, and consider
that hat as the best, which will contain the largest booty." He
thus ended his speech, which was followed by a murmuring applause,
and immediately all present tossed their hats together as he had
commanded them.



Let us now return to Heartfree, to whom the count's note, which he
had paid away, was returned, with an account that the drawer was
not to be found, and that, on enquiring after him, they had heard
he had run away, and consequently the money was now demanded of
the endorser. The apprehension of such a loss would have affected
any man of business, but much more one whose unavoidable ruin it
must prove. He expressed so much concern and confusion on this
occasion, that the proprietor of the note was frightened, and
resolved to lose no time in securing what he could. So that in the
afternoon of the same day Mr. Snap was commissioned to pay
Heartfree a visit, which he did with his usual formality, and
conveyed him to his own house.

Mrs. Heartfree was no sooner informed of what had happened to her
husband than she raved like one distracted; but after she had
vented the first agonies of her passion in tears and lamentations
she applied herself to all possible means to procure her husband's
liberty. She hastened to beg her neighbours to secure bail for
him. But, as the news had arrived at their houses before her, she
found none of them at home, except an honest Quaker, whose
servants durst not tell a lie. However, she succeeded no better
with him, for unluckily he had made an affirmation the day before
that he would never be bail for any man. After many fruitless
efforts of this kind she repaired to her husband, to comfort him
at least with her presence. She found him sealing the last of
several letters, which he was despatching to his friends and
creditors. The moment he saw her a sudden joy sparkled in his
eyes, which, however, had a very short duration; for despair soon
closed them again; nor could he help bursting into some passionate
expressions of concern for her and his little family, which she,
on her part, did her utmost to lessen, by endeavouring to mitigate
the loss, and to raise in him hopes from the count, who might, she
said, be possibly only gone into the country. She comforted him
likewise with the expectation of favour from his acquaintance,
especially from those whom he had in a particular manner obliged
and served. Lastly, she conjured him, by all the value and esteem
he professed for her, not to endanger his health, on which alone
depended her happiness, by too great an indulgence of grief;
assuring him that no state of life could appear unhappy to her
with him, unless his own sorrow or discontent made it so.

In this manner did this weak poor-spirited woman attempt to
relieve her husband's pains, which it would have rather become her
to aggravate, by not only painting out his misery in the liveliest
colours imaginable, but by upbraiding him with that folly and
confidence which had occasioned it, and by lamenting her own hard
fate in being obliged to share his sufferings.

Heartfree returned this goodness (as it is called) of his wife
with the warmest gratitude, and they passed an hour in a scene of
tenderness too low and contemptible to be recounted to our great
readers. We shall therefore omit all such relations, as they tend
only to make human nature low and ridiculous.

Those messengers who had obtained any answers to his letters now
returned. We shall here copy a few of them, as they may serve for
precedents to others who have an occasion, which happens commonly
enough in genteel life, to answer the impertinence of a dun.

    LETTER I.---

MR. HEARTFREE,--My lord commands me to tell you he is very much
surprized at your assurance in asking for money which you know
hath been so little while due; however, as he intends to deal no
longer at your shop, he hath ordered me to pay you as soon as I
shall have cash in hand, which, considering many disbursements for
bills long due, &c., can't possibly promise any time, &c., at
present. And am your humble servant,



DEAR SIR,--The money, as you truly say, hath been three years due,
but upon my soul I am at present incapable of paying a farthing;
but as I doubt not, very shortly not only to content that small
bill, but likewise to lay out very considerable further sums at
your house, hope you will meet with no inconvenience by this short
delay in, dear sir, your most sincere humble servant,

          CHA. COURTLY.


MR. HEARTFREE,--I beg you would not acquaint my husband of the
trifling debt between us; for, as I know you to be a very good-
natured man, I will trust you with a secret; he gave me the money
long since to discharge it, which I had the ill luck to lose at
play. You may be assured I will satisfy you the first opportunity,
and am, sir, your very humble servant,

        CATH. RUBBERS.

  Please to present my compliments to Mrs. Heartfree.


MR. THOMAS HEARTFREE, SIR,--Yours received: but as to sum
mentioned therein, doth not suit at present. Your humble servant,


SIR,--I am sincerely sorry it is not at present possible for me to
comply with your request, especially after so many obligations
received on my side, of which I shall always entertain the most
greateful memory. I am very greatly concerned at your misfortunes,
and would have waited upon you in person, but am not at present
very well, and besides, am obliged to go this evening to Vauxhall.
I am, sir, your most obliged humble servant,

          CHA. EASY.

P.S.--I hope good Mrs. Heartfree and the dear little ones are

There were more letters to much the same purpose; but we proposed
giving our readers a taste only. Of all these, the last was
infinitely the most grating to poor Heartfree, as it came from one
to whom, when in distress, he had himself lent a considerable sum,
and of whose present flourishing circumstances he was well



Let us remove, therefore, as fast as we can, this detestable
picture of ingratitude, and present the much more agreeable
portrait of that assurance to which the French very properly annex
the epithet of good. Heartfree had scarce done reading his letters
when our hero appeared before his eyes; not with that aspect with
which a pitiful parson meets his patron after having opposed him
at an election, or which a doctor wears when sneaking away from a
door when he is informed of his patient's death; not with that
downcast countenance which betrays the man who, after a strong
conflict between virtue and vice, hath surrendered his mind to the
latter, and is discovered in his first treachery; but with that
noble, bold, great confidence with which a prime minister assures
his dependent that the place he promised him was disposed of
before. And such concern and uneasiness as he expresses in his
looks on those occasions did Wild testify on the first meeting of
his friend. And as the said prime minister chides you for neglect
of your interest in not having asked in time, so did our hero
attack Heartfree for his giving credit to the count; and, without
suffering him to make any answer, proceeded in a torrent of words
to overwhelm him with abuse, which, however friendly its intention
might be, was scarce to be outdone by an enemy. By these means
Heartfree, who might perhaps otherwise have vented some little
concern for that recommendation which Wild had given him to the
count, was totally prevented from any such endeavour; and, like an
invading prince, when attacked in his own dominions, forced to
recal his whole strength to defend himself at home. This indeed he
did so well, by insisting on the figure and outward appearance of
the count and his equipage, that Wild at length grew a little more
gentle, and with a sigh said, "I confess I have the least reason
of all mankind to censure another for an imprudence of this
nature, as I am myself the most easy to be imposed upon, and
indeed have been so by this count, who, if he be insolvent, hath
cheated me of five hundred pounds. But, for my own part," said he,
"I will not yet despair, nor would I have you. Many men have found
it convenient to retire or abscond for a while, and afterwards
have paid their debts, or at least handsomely compounded them.
This I am certain of, should a composition take place, which is
the worst I think that can be apprehended, I shall be the only
loser; for I shall think myself obliged in honour to repair your
loss, even though you must confess it was principally owing to
your own folly. Z--ds! had I imagined it necessary, I would have
cautioned you, but I thought the part of the town where he lived
sufficient caution not to trust him. And such a sum!---The devil
must have been in you certainly!"

This was a degree of impudence beyond poor Mrs. Heartfree's
imagination. Though she had before vented the most violent
execrations on Wild, she was now thoroughly satisfied of his
innocence, and begged him not to insist any longer on what he
perceived so deeply affected her husband. She said trade could not
be carried on without credit, and surely he was sufficiently
justified in giving it to such a person as the count appeared to
be. Besides, she said, reflections on what was past and
irretrievable would be of little service; that their present
business was to consider how to prevent the evil consequences
which threatened, and first to endeavour to procure her husband
his liberty. "Why doth he not procure bail?" said Wild. "Alas!
sir," said she, "we have applied to many of our acquaintance in
vain; we have met with excuses even where we could least expect
them." "Not bail!" answered Wild, in a passion; "he shall have
bail, if there is any in the world. It is now very late, but trust
me to procure him bail to-morrow morning."

Mrs. Heartfree received these professions with tears, and told
Wild he was a friend indeed. She then proposed to stay that
evening with her husband, but he would not permit her on account
of his little family, whom he would not agree to trust to the care
of servants in this time of confusion.

A hackney-coach was then sent for, but without success; for these,
like hackney-friends, always offer themselves in the sunshine, but
are never to be found when you want them. And as for a chair, Mr.
Snap lived in a part of the town which chairmen very little
frequent. The good woman was therefore obliged to walk home,
whither the gallant Wild offered to attend her as a protector.
This favour was thankfully accepted, and, the husband and wife
having taken a tender leave of each other, the former was locked
in and the latter locked out by the hands of Mr. Snap himself.

As this visit of Mr. Wild's to Heartfree may seem one of those
passages in history which writers, Drawcansir-like, introduce only
BECAUSE THEY DARE; indeed, as it may seem somewhat contradictory
to the greatness of our hero, and may tend to blemish his
character with an imputation of that kind of friendship which
savours too much of weakness and imprudence, it may be necessary
to account for this visit, especially to our more sagacious
readers, whose satisfaction we shall always consult in the most
especial manner. They are to know then that at the first interview
with Mrs. Heartfree Mr. Wild had conceived that passion, or
affection, or friendship, or desire, for that handsome creature,
which the gentlemen of this our age agreed to call LOVE, and which
is indeed no other than that kind of affection which, after the
exercise of the dominical day is over, a lusty divine is apt to
conceive for the well-drest sirloin or handsome buttock which the
well-edified squire in gratitude sets before him, and which, so
violent is his love, he devours in imagination the moment he sees
it. Not less ardent was the hungry passion of our hero, who, from
the moment he had cast his eyes on that charming dish, had cast
about in his mind by what method he might come at it. This, as he
perceived, might most easily be effected after the ruin of
Heartfree, which, for other considerations, he had intended. So he
postponed all endeavours for this purpose till he had first
effected that, by order of time, was regularly to precede this
latter design; with such regularity did this our hero conduct all
his schemes, and so truly superior was he to all the efforts of
passion, which so often disconcert and disappoint the noblest
views of others.



When first Wild conducted his flame (or rather his dish, to
continue our metaphor) from the proprietor, he had projected a
design of conveying her to one of those eating-houses in Covent-
garden, where female flesh is deliciously drest and served up to
the greedy appetites of young gentlemen; but, fearing lest she
should not come readily enough into his wishes, and that, by too
eager and hasty a pursuit, he should frustrate his future
expectations, and luckily at the same time a noble hint suggesting
itself to him, by which he might almost inevitably secure his
pleasure, together with his profit, he contented himself with
waiting on Mrs. Heartfree home, and, after many protestations of
friendship and service to her husband, took his leave, and
promised to visit her early in the morning, and to conduct her
back to Mr. Snap's.

Wild now retired to a night-cellar, where he found several of his
acquaintance, with whom he spent the remaining part of the night
in revelling; nor did the least compassion for Heartfree's
misfortunes disturb the pleasure of his cups. So truly great was
his soul that it was absolutely composed, save that an
apprehension of Miss Tishy's making some discovery (as she was
then in no good temper towards him) a little ruffled and
disquieted the perfect serenity he would otherwise have enjoyed.
As he had, therefore, no opportunity of seeing her that evening,
he wrote her a letter full of ten thousand protestations of
honourable love, and (which he more depended on) containing as
many promises, in order to bring the young lady into good humour,
without acquainting her in the least with his suspicion, or giving
her any caution; for it was his constant maxim never to put it
into any one's head to do you a mischief by acquainting him that
it is in his power.

We must now return to Mrs. Heartfree, who past a sleepless night
in as great agonies and horror for the absence of her husband as a
fine well-bred woman would feel at the return of hers from a long
voyage or journey. In the morning the children being brought to
her, the eldest asked where dear papa was? At which she could not
refrain from bursting into tears. The child, perceiving it, said,

"Don't cry, mamma; I am sure papa would not stay abroad if he
could help it." At these words she caught the child in her arms,
and, throwing herself into the chair in an agony of passion, cried

"No, my child; nor shall all the malice of hell keep us long

These are circumstances which we should not, for the amusement of
six or seven readers only, have inserted, had they not served to
shew that there are weaknesses in vulgar life to which great minds
are so entirely strangers that they have not even an idea of them;
and, secondly, by exposing the folly of this low creature, to set
off and elevate that greatness of which we endeavour to draw a
true portrait in this history.

Wild, entering the room, found the mother with one child in her
arms, and the other at her knee. After paying her his compliments,
he desired her to dismiss the children and servant, for that he
had something of the greatest moment to impart to her.

She immediately complied with his request, and, the door being
shut, asked him with great eagerness if he had succeeded in his
intentions of procuring the bail. He answered he had not
endeavoured at it yet, for a scheme had entered into his head by
which she might certainly preserve her husband, herself, and her
family. In order to which he advised her instantly to remove with
the most valuable jewels she had to Holland, before any statute of
bankruptcy issued to prevent her; that he would himself attend her
thither and place her in safety, and then return to deliver her
husband, who would be thus easily able to satisfy his creditors.
He added that he was that instant come from Snap's, where he had
communicated the scheme to Heartfree, who had greatly approved of
it, and desired her to put it in execution without delay,
concluding that a moment was not to be lost.

The mention of her husband's approbation left no doubt in this
poor woman's breast; she only desired a moment's time to pay him a
visit in order to take her leave. But Wild peremptorily refused;
he said by every moment's delay she risqued the ruin of her
family; that she would be absent only a few days from him, for
that the moment he had lodged her safe in Holland, he would
return, procure her husband his liberty, and bring him to her. I
have been the unfortunate, the innocent cause of all my dear Tom's
calamity, madam, said he, and I will perish with him or see him
out of it. Mrs. Heartfree overflowed with acknowledgments of his
goodness, but still begged for the shortest interview with her
husband. Wild declared that a minute's delay might be fatal; and
added, though with the voice of sorrow rather than of anger, that
if she had not resolution enough to execute the commands he
brought her from her husband, his ruin would lie at her door; and,
for his own part, he must give up any farther meddling in his

She then proposed to take her children with her; but Wild would
not permit it, saying they would only retard their flight, and
that it would be properer for her husband to bring them. He at
length absolutely prevailed on this poor woman, who immediately
packed up the most valuable effects she could find, and, after
taking a tender leave of her infants, earnestly recommended them
to the care of a very faithful servant. Then they called a
hackney-coach, which conveyed them to an inn, where they were
furnished with a chariot and six, in which they set forward for

Wild rode with an exulting heart, secure, as he now thought
himself, of the possession of that lovely woman, together with a
rich cargo. In short, be enjoyed in his mind all the happiness
which unbridled lust and rapacious avarice, could promise him. As
to the poor creature who was to satisfy these passions, her whole
soul was employed in reflecting on the condition of her husband
and children. A single word scarce escaped her lips, though many a
tear gushed from her brilliant eyes, which, if I may use a coarse
expression, served only as delicious sauce to heighten the
appetite of Wild.



When they arrived at Harwich they found a vessel, which had put in
there, just ready to depart for Rotterdam. So they went
immediately on board, and sailed with a fair wind; but they had
hardly proceeded out of sight of land when a sudden and violent
storm arose and drove them to the southwest; insomuch that the
captain apprehended it impossible to avoid the Goodwin Sands, and
he and all his crew gave themselves up for lost. Mrs. Heartfree,
who had no other apprehensions from death but those of leaving her
dear husband and children, fell on her knees to beseech the
Almighty's favour, when Wild, with a contempt of danger truly
great, took a resolution as worthy to be admired perhaps as any
recorded of the bravest hero, ancient or modern; a resolution
which plainly proved him to have these two qualifications so
necessary to a hero, to be superior to all the energies of fear or
pity. He saw the tyrant death ready to rescue from him his
intended prey, which he had yet devoured only in imagination. He
therefore swore he would prevent him, and immediately attacked the
poor wretch, who was in the utmost agonies of despair, first with
solicitation, and afterwards with force.

Mrs. Heartfree, the moment she understood his meaning, which, in
her present temper of mind, and in the opinion she held of him,
she did not immediately, rejected him with all the repulses which
indignation and horror could animate: but when he attempted
violence she filled the cabin with her shrieks, which were so
vehement that they reached the ears of the captain, the storm at
this time luckily abating. This man, who was a brute rather from
his education and the element he inhabited than from nature, ran
hastily down to her assistance, and, finding her struggling on the
ground with our hero, he presently rescued her from her intended
ravisher, who was soon obliged to quit the woman, in order to
engage with her lusty champion, who spared neither pains nor blows
in the assistance of his fair passenger.

When the short battle was over, in which our hero, had he not been
overpowered with numbers, who came down on their captain's side,
would have been victorious, the captain rapped out a hearty oath,
and asked Wild, if he had no more Christianity in him than to
ravish a woman in a storm? To which the other greatly and sullenly
answered, "It was very well; but d--n him if he had not
satisfaction the moment they came on shore." The captain with
great scorn replied, "Kiss,---" &c., and then, forcing Wild out
of the cabbin, he, at Mrs. Heartfree's request, locked her into
it, and returned to the care of his ship.

The storm was now entirely ceased, and nothing remained but the
usual ruffling of the sea after it, when one of the sailors spied
a sail at a distance, which the captain wisely apprehended might
be a privateer (for we were then engaged in a war with France),
and immediately ordered all the sail possible to be crowded; but
his caution was in vain, for the little wind which then blew was
directly adverse, so that the ship bore down upon them, and soon
appeared to be what the captain had feared, a French privateer. He
was in no condition of resistance, and immediately struck on her
firing the first gun. The captain of the Frenchman, with several
of his hands, came on board the English vessel, which they rifled
of everything valuable, and, amongst the rest, of poor Mrs.
Heartfree's whole cargo; and then taking the crew, together with
the two passengers, aboard his own ship, he determined, as the
other would be only a burthen to him, to sink her, she being very
old and leaky, and not worth going back with to Dunkirk. He
preserved, therefore, nothing but the boat, as his own was none of
the best, and then, pouring a broadside into her, he sent her to
the bottom.

The French captain, who was a very young fellow, and a man of
gallantry, was presently enamoured to no small degree with his
beautiful captive; and imagining Wild, from some words he dropt,
to be her husband, notwithstanding the ill affection towards him
which appeared in her looks, he asked her if she understood
French. She answered in the affirmative, for indeed she did
perfectly well. He then asked her how long she and that gentleman
(pointing to Wild) had been married. She answered, with a deep
sigh and many tears, that she was married indeed, but not to that
villain, who was the sole cause of all her misfortunes. That
appellation raised a curiosity in the captain, and he importuned
her in so pressing but gentle a manner to acquaint him with the
injuries she complained of, that she was at last prevailed on to
recount to him the whole history of her afflictions. This so moved
the captain, who had too little notions of greatness, and so
incensed him against our hero, that he resolved to punish him;
and, without regard to the laws of war, he immediately ordered out
his shattered boat, and, making Wild a present of half-a-dozen
biscuits to prolong his misery, he put him therein, and then,
committing him to the mercy of the sea, proceeded on his cruize.



It is probable that a desire of ingratiating himself with his
charming captive, or rather conqueror, had no little share in
promoting this extraordinary act of illegal justice; for the
Frenchman had conceived the same sort of passion or hunger which
Wild himself had felt, and was almost as much resolved, by some
means or other, to satisfy it. We will leave him however at
present in the pursuit of his wishes, and attend our hero in his
boat, since it is in circumstances of distress that true greatness
appears most wonderful. For that a prince in the midst of his
courtiers, all ready to compliment him with his favourite
character or title, and indeed with everything else, or that a
conqueror, at the head of a hundred thousand men, all prepared to
execute his will, how ambitious, wanton, or cruel soever, should,
in the giddiness of their pride, elevate themselves many degrees
above those their tools, seems not difficult to be imagined, or
indeed accounted for. But that a man in chains, in prison, nay, in
the vilest dungeon, should, with persevering pride and obstinate
dignity, discover that vast superiority in his own nature over the
rest of mankind, who to a vulgar eye seem much happier than
himself; nay, that he should discover heaven and providence (whose
peculiar care, it seems, he is) at that very time at work for him;
this is among the arcana of greatness, to be perfectly understood
only by an adept in that science.

What could be imagined more miserable than the situation of our
hero at this season, floating in a little boat on the open seas,
without oar, without sail, and at the mercy of the first wave to
overwhelm him? nay, this was indeed the fair side of his fortune,
as it was a much more eligible fate than that alternative which
threatened him with almost unavoidable certainty, viz., starving
with hunger, the sure consequence of a continuance of the calm.

Our hero, finding himself in this condition, began to ejaculate a
round of blasphemies, which the reader, without being over-pious,
might be offended at seeing repeated. He then accused the whole
female sex, and the passion of love (as he called it),
particularly that which he bore to Mrs. Heartfree, as the unhappy
occasion of his present sufferings. At length, finding himself
descending too much into the language of meanness and complaint,
he stopped short, and after broke forth as follows: "D--n it, a
man can die but once! what signifies it? Every man must die, and
when it is over it is over. I never was afraid of anything yet,
nor I won't begin now; no, d--n me, won't I. What signifies fear?
I shall die whether I am afraid or no: who's afraid then, d---n
me?" At which words he looked extremely fierce, but, recollecting
that no one was present to see him, he relaxed a little the terror
of his countenance, and, pausing a while, repeated the word, d--n!
"Suppose I should be d--ned at last," cries he, "when I never
thought a syllable of the matter? I have often laughed and made a
jest about it, and yet it may be so, for anything which I know to
the contrary. If there should be another world it will go hard
with me, that is certain. I shall never escape for what I have
done to Heartfree. The devil must have me for that undoubtedly.
The devil! Pshaw! I am not such a fool to be frightened at him
neither. No, no; when a man's dead there's an end of him. I wish I
was certainly satisfied of it though: for there are some men of
learning, as I have heard, of a different opinion. It is but a bad
chance, methinks, I stand. If there be no other world, why I shall
be in no worse condition than a block or a stone: but if there
should----d--n me I will think no longer about it.--Let a pack of
cowardly rascals be afraid of death, I dare look him in the face.
But shall I stay and be starved?--No, I will eat up the biscuits
the French son of a whore bestowed on me, and then leap into the
sea for drink, since the unconscionable dog hath not allowed me a
single dram." Having thus said, he proceeded immediately to put
his purpose in execution, and, as his resolution never failed him,
he had no sooner despatched the small quantity of provision which
his enemy had with no vast liberality presented him, than he cast
himself headlong into the sea.



Our hero, having with wonderful resolution thrown himself into the
sea, as we mentioned at the end of the last chapter, was
miraculously within two minutes after replaced in his boat; and
this without the assistance of a dolphin or a seahorse, or any
other fish or animal, who are always as ready at hand when a poet
or historian pleases to call for them to carry a hero through the
sea, as any chairman at a coffee-house door near St. James's to
convey a beau over a street, and preserve his white stockings. The
truth is, we do not chuse to have any recourse to miracles, from
the strict observance we pay to that rule of Horace,

  Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus.

The meaning of which is, do not bring in a supernatural agent when
you can do without him; and indeed we are much deeper read in
natural than supernatural causes. We will therefore endeavour to
account for this extraordinary event from the former of these; and
in doing this it will be necessary to disclose some profound
secrets to our reader, extremely well worth his knowing, and which
may serve him to account for many occurrences of the phenomenous
kind which have formerly appeared in this our hemisphere.

Be it known then that the great Alma Mater, Nature, is of all
other females the most obstinate, and tenacious of her purpose. So
true is that observation,

  Naturam expellas furca licet, usque recurret.

Which I need not render in English, it being to be found in a book
which most fine gentlemen are forced to read. Whatever Nature,
therefore, purposes to herself, she never suffers any reason,
design, or accident to frustrate. Now, though it may seem to a
shallow observer that some persons were designed by Nature for no
use or purpose whatever, yet certain it is that no man is born
into the world without his particular allotment; viz., some to be
kings, some statesmen, some ambassadors, some bishops, some
generals, and so on. Of these there be two kinds; those to whom
Nature is so generous to give some endowment qualifying them for
the parts she intends them afterwards to act on this stage, and
those whom she uses as instances of her unlimited power, and for
whose preferment to such and such stations Solomon himself could
have invented no other reason than that Nature designed them so.
These latter some great philosophers have, to shew them to be the
favourites of Nature, distinguished by the honourable appellation
of NATURALS. Indeed, the true reason of the general ignorance of
mankind on this head seems to be this; that, as Nature chuses to
execute these her purposes by certain second causes, and as many
of these second causes seem so totally foreign to her design, the
wit of man, which, like his eye, sees best directly forward, and
very little and imperfectly what is oblique, is not able to
discern the end by the means. Thus, how a handsome wife or
daughter should contribute to execute her original designation of
a general, or how flattery or half a dozen houses in a borough-
town should denote a judge, or a bishop, he is not capable of
comprehending. And, indeed, we ourselves, wise as we are, are
forced to reason ab effectu; and if we had been asked what Nature
had intended such men for, before she herself had by the event
demonstrated her purpose, it is possible we might sometimes have
been puzzled to declare; for it must be confessed that at first
sight, and to a mind uninspired, a man of vast natural capacity
and much acquired knowledge may seem by Nature designed for power
and honour, rather than one remarkable only for the want of these,
and indeed all other qualifications; whereas daily experience
convinces us of the contrary, and drives us as it were into the
opinion I have here disclosed.

Now, Nature having originally intended our great man for that
final exaltation which, as it is the most proper and becoming end
of all great men, it were heartily to be wished they might all
arrive at, would by no means be diverted from her purpose. She
therefore no sooner spied him in the water than she softly
whispered in his ear to attempt the recovery of his boat, which
call he immediately obeyed, and, being a good swimmer, and it
being a perfect calm, with great facility accomplished it.

Thus we think this passage in our history, at first so greatly
surprising, is very naturally accounted for, and our relation
rescued from the Prodigious, which, though it often occurs in
biography, is not to be encouraged nor much commended on any
occasion, unless when absolutely necessary to prevent the
history's being at an end. Secondly, we hope our hero is justified
from that imputation of want of resolution which must have been
fatal to the greatness of his character.



Our hero passed the remainder of the evening, the night, and the
next day, in a condition not much to be envied by any passion of
the human mind, unless by ambition; which, provided it can only
entertain itself with the most distant music of fame's trumpet,
can disdain all the pleasures of the sensualist, and those more
solemn, though quieter comforts, which a good conscience suggests
to a Christian philosopher.

He spent his time in contemplation, that is to say, in
blaspheming, cursing, and sometimes singing and whistling. At
last, when cold and hunger had almost subdued his native
fierceness, it being a good deal past midnight and extremely dark,
he thought he beheld a light at a distance, which the cloudiness
of the sky prevented his mistaking for a star: this light,
however, did not seem to approach him, at least it approached by
such imperceptible degrees that it gave him very little comfort,
and at length totally forsook him. He then renewed his
contemplation as before, in which he continued till the day began
to break, when, to his inexpressible delight, he beheld a sail at
a very little distance, and which luckily seemed to be making
towards him. He was likewise soon espied by those in the vessel,
who wanted no signals to inform them of his distress, and, as it
was almost a calm, and their course lay within five hundred yards
of him, they hoisted out their boat and fetched him aboard.

The captain of this ship was a Frenchman; she was laden with deal
from Norway, and had been extremely shattered in the late storm.
This captain was of that kind of men who are actuated by general
humanity, and whose compassion can be raised by the distress of a
fellow-creature, though of a nation whose king hath quarrelled
with the monarch of their own. He therefore, commiserating the
circumstances of Wild, who had dressed up a story proper to impose
upon such a silly fellow, told him that, as himself well knew, he
must be a prisoner on his arrival in France, but that he would
endeavour to procure his redemption; for which our hero greatly
thanked him. But, as they were making very slow sail (for they had
lost their main-mast in the storm), Wild saw a little vessel at a
distance, they being within a few leagues of the English shore,
which, on enquiry, he was informed was probably an English
fishing-boat. And, it being then perfectly calm, he proposed that,
if they would accommodate him with a pair of scullers, he could
get within reach of the boat, at least near enough to make signals
to her; and he preferred any risque to the certain fate of being a
prisoner. As his courage was somewhat restored by the provisions
(especially brandy) with which the Frenchmen had supplied him, he
was so earnest in his entreaties, that the captain, after many
persuasions, at length complied, and he was furnished with
scullers, and with some bread, pork, and a bottle of brandy. Then,
taking leave of his preservers, he again betook himself to his
boat, and rowed so heartily that he soon came within the sight of
the fisherman, who immediately made towards him and took him

No sooner was Wild got safe on board the fisherman than he begged
him to make the utmost speed into Deal, for that the vessel which
was still in sight was a distressed Frenchman, bound for Havre de
Grace, and might easily be made a prize if there was any ship
ready to go in pursuit of her. So nobly and greatly did our hero
neglect all obligations conferred on him by the enemies of his
country, that he would have contributed all he could to the taking
his benefactor, to whom he owed both his life and his liberty.

The fisherman took his advice, and soon arrived at Deal, where the
reader will, I doubt not, be as much concerned as Wild was, that
there was not a single ship prepared to go on the expedition.

Our hero now saw himself once more safe on terra firma, but
unluckily at some distance from that city where men of ingenuity
can most easily supply their wants without the assistance of
money, or rather can most easily procure money for the supply of
their wants. However, as his talents were superior to every
difficulty, he framed so dextrous an account of his being a
merchant, having been taken and plundered by the enemy, and of his
great effects in London, that he was not only heartily regaled by
the fisherman at his house, but made so handsome a booty by way of
borrowing, a method of taking which we have before mentioned to
have his approbation, that he was enabled to provide himself with
a place in the stage-coach; which (as God permitted it to perform
the journey) brought him at the appointed time to an inn in the

And now, reader, as thou canst be in no suspense far the fate of
our great man, since we have returned him safe to the principal
scene of his glory, we will a little look back on the fortunes of
Mr. Heartfree, whom we left in no very pleasant situation; but of
this we shall treat in the next book.




His misfortunes did not entirely prevent Heartfree from closing
his eyes. On the contrary, he slept several hours the first night
of his confinement. However, he perhaps paid too severely dear
both for his repose and for a sweet dream which accompanied it,
and represented his little family in one of those tender scenes
which had frequently passed in the days of his happiness and
prosperity, when the provision they were making for the future
fortunes of their children used to be one of the most agreeable
topics of discourse with which he and his wife entertained
themselves. The pleasantness of this vision, therefore, served
only, on his awaking, to set forth his present misery with
additional horror, and to heighten the dreadful ideas which now
crowded on his mind.

He had spent a considerable time after his first rising from the
bed on which he had, without undressing, thrown himself, and now
began to wonder at Mrs. Heartfree's long absence; but as the mind
is desirous (and perhaps wisely too) to comfort itself with
drawing the most flattering conclusions from all events, so he
hoped the longer her stay was the more certain was his
deliverance. At length his impatience prevailed, and he was just
going to despatch a messenger to his own house when his apprentice
came to pay him a visit, and on his enquiry informed him that his
wife had departed in company with Mr. Wild many hours before, and
had carried all his most valuable effects with her; adding at the
same time that she had herself positively acquainted him she had
her husband's express orders for so doing, and that she was gone
to Holland.

It is the observation of many wise men, who have studied the
anatomy of the human soul with more attention than our young
physicians generally bestow on that of the body, that great and
violent surprize hath a different effect from that which is
wrought in a good housewife by perceiving any disorders in her
kitchen; who, on such occasions, commonly spreads the disorder,
not only over her whole family, but over the whole neighbourhood.
--Now, these great calamities, especially when sudden, tend to
stifle and deaden all the faculties, instead of rousing them; and
accordingly Herodotus tells us a story of Croesus king of Lydia,
who, on beholding his servants and courtiers led captive, wept
bitterly, but, when he saw his wife and children in that
condition, stood stupid and motionless; so stood poor Heartfree on
this relation of his apprentice, nothing moving but his colour,
which entirely forsook his countenance.

The apprentice, who had not in the least doubted the veracity of
his mistress, perceiving the surprize which too visibly appeared
in his master, became speechless likewise, and both remained
silent some minutes, gazing with astonishment and horror at each
other. At last Heartfree cryed out in an agony, "My wife deserted
me in my misfortunes!" "Heaven forbid, sir!" answered the other.
"And what is become of my poor children?" replied Heartfree. "They
are at home, sir," said the apprentice. "Heaven be praised! She
hath forsaken them too!" cries Heartfree: "fetch them hither this
instant. Go, my dear Jack, bring hither my little all which
remains now: fly, child, if thou dost not intend likewise to
forsake me in my afflictions." The youth answered he would die
sooner than entertain such a thought, and, begging his master to
be comforted, instantly obeyed his orders.

Heartfree, the moment the young man was departed, threw himself on
his bed in an agony of despair; but, recollecting himself after he
had vented the first sallies of his passion, he began to question
the infidelity of his wife as a matter impossible. He ran over in
his thoughts the uninterrupted tenderness which she had always
shewn him, and, for a minute, blamed the rashness of his belief
against her; till the many circumstances of her having left him so
long, and neither writ nor sent to him since her departure with
all his effects and with Wild, of whom he was not before without
suspicion, and, lastly and chiefly, her false pretence to his
commands, entirely turned the scale, and convinced him of her

While he was in these agitations of mind the good apprentice, who
had used the utmost expedition, brought his children to him. He
embraced them with the most passionate fondness, and imprinted
numberless kisses on their little lips. The little girl flew to
him with almost as much eagerness as he himself exprest at her
sight, and cryed out, "O papa, why did you not come home to poor
mamma all this while? I thought you would not have left your
little Nancy so long." After which he asked her for her mother,
and was told she had kissed them both in the morning, and cried
very much for his absence. All which brought a flood of tears into
the eyes of this weak, silly man, who had not greatness sufficient
to conquer these low efforts of tenderness and humanity.

He then proceeded to enquire of the maid-servant, who acquainted
him that she knew no more than that her mistress had taken leave
of her children in the morning with many tears and kisses, and had
recommended them in the most earnest manner to her care; she said
she had promised faithfully to take care of them, and would, while
they were entrusted to her, fulfil her promise. For which
profession Heartfree expressed much gratitude to her, and, after
indulging himself with some little fondnesses which we shall not
relate, he delivered his children into the good woman's hands, and
dismissed her.



Being now alone, he sat some short time silent, and then burst
forth into the following soliloquy:--

"What shall I do? Shall I abandon myself to a dispirited despair,
or fly in the face of the Almighty? Surely both are unworthy of a
wise man; for what can be more vain than weakly to lament my
fortune if irretrievable, or, if hope remains, to offend that
Being who can most strongly support it? but are my passions then
voluntary? Am I so absolutely their master that I can resolve with
myself, so far only will I grieve? Certainly no. Reason, however
we flatter ourselves, hath not such despotic empire in our minds,
that it can, with imperial voice, hush all our sorrow in a moment.
Where then is its use? For either it is an empty sound, and we are
deceived in thinking we have reason, or it is given us to some
end, and hath a part assigned it by the all-wise Creator. Why,
what can its office be other than justly to weigh the worth of all
things, and to direct us to that perfection of human wisdom which
proportions our esteem of every object by its real merit, and
prevents us from over or undervaluing whatever we hope for, we
enjoy, or we lose. It doth not foolishly say to us, Be not glad,
or, Be not sorry, which would be as vain and idle as to bid the
purling river cease to run, or the raging wind to blow. It
prevents us only from exulting, like children, when we receive a
toy, or from lamenting when we are deprived of it. Suppose then I
have lost the enjoyments of this world, and my expectation of
future pleasure and profit is for ever disappointed, what relief
can my reason afford? What, unless it can shew me I had fixed my
affections on a toy; that what I desired was not, by a wise man,
eagerly to be affected, nor its loss violently deplored? for there
are toys adapted to all ages, from the rattle to the throne; and
perhaps the value of all is equal to their several possessors; for
if the rattle pleases the ear of the infant, what can the flattery
of sycophants give more to the prince? The latter is as far from
examining into the reality and source of his pleasure as the
former; for if both did, they must both equally despise it. And
surely, if we consider them seriously, and compare them together,
we shall be forced to conclude all those pomps and pleasures of
which men are so fond, and which, through so much danger and
difficulty, with such violence and villany, they pursue, to be as
worthless trifles as any exposed to sale in a toy-shop. I have
often noted my little girl viewing, with eager eyes, a jointed
baby; I have marked the pains and solicitations she hath used till
I have been prevailed on to indulge her with it. At her first
obtaining it, what joy hath sparkled in her countenance! with what
raptures hath she taken possession! but how little satisfaction
hath she found in it! What pains to work out her amusement from
it! Its dress must be varied; the tinsel ornaments which first
caught her eyes produce no longer pleasure; she endeavours to make
it stand and walk in vain, and is constrained herself to supply it
with conversation. In a day's time it is thrown by and neglected,
and some less costly toy preferred to it. How like the situation
of this child is that of every man! What difficulties in the
pursuit of his desires! what inanity in the possession of most,
and satiety in those which seem more real and substantial! The
delights of most men are as childish and as superficial as that of
my little girl; a feather or a fiddle are their pursuits and their
pleasures through life, even to their ripest years, if such men
may be said to attain any ripeness at all. But let us survey those
whose understandings are of a more elevated and refined temper;
how empty do they soon find the world of enjoyments worth their
desire or attaining! How soon do they retreat to solitude and
contemplation, to gardening and planting, and such rural
amusements, where their trees and they enjoy the air and the sun
in common, and both vegetate with very little difference between
them. But suppose (which neither truth nor wisdom will allow) we
could admit something more valuable and substantial in these
blessings, would not the uncertainty of their possession be alone
sufficient to lower their price? How mean a tenure is that at the
will of fortune, which chance, fraud, and rapine are every day so
likely to deprive us of, and often the more likely by how much the
greater worth our possessions are of! Is it not to place our
affections on a bubble in the water, or on a picture in the
clouds? What madman would build a fine house or frame a beautiful
garden on land in which he held so uncertain an interest? But
again, was all this less undeniable, did Fortune, the lady of our
manor, lease to us for our lives, of how little consideration must
even this term appear! For, admitting that these pleasures were
not liable to be torn from us, how certainly must we be torn from
them! Perhaps to-morrow--nay, or even sooner; for as the excellent
poet says--

    Where is to-morrow?--In the other world.
    To thousands this is true, and the reverse
    Is sure to none.

But if I have no further hope in this world, can I have none
beyond it? Surely those laborious writers, who have taken such
infinite pains to destroy or weaken all the proofs of futurity,
have not so far succeeded as to exclude us from hope. That active
principle in man which with such boldness pushes us on through
every labour and difficulty, to attain the most distant and most
improbable event in this world, will not surely deny us a little
flattering prospect of those beautiful mansions which, if they
could be thought chimerical, must be allowed the loveliest which
can entertain the eye of man; and to which the road, if we
understand it rightly, appears to have so few thorns and briars in
it, and to require so little labour and fatigue from those who
shall pass through it, that its ways are truly said to be ways of
pleasantness, and all its paths to be those of peace. If the
proofs of Christianity be as strong as I imagine them, surely
enough may be deduced from that ground only, to comfort and
support the most miserable man in his afflictions. And this I
think my reason tells me, that, if the professors and propagators
of infidelity are in the right, the losses which death brings to
the virtuous are not worth their lamenting; but if these are, as
certainly they seem, in the wrong, the blessings it procures them
are not sufficiently to be coveted and rejoiced at.

"On my own account, then, I have no cause for sorrow, but on my
children's!--Why, the same Being to whose goodness and power I
intrust my own happiness is likewise as able and as willing to
procure theirs. Nor matters it what state of life is allotted for
them, whether it be their fate to procure bread with their labour,
or to eat it at the sweat of others. Perhaps, if we consider the
case with proper attention, or resolve it with due sincerity, the
former is much the sweeter. The hind may be more happy than the
lord, for his desires are fewer, and those such as are attended
with more hope and less fear. I will do my utmost to lay the
foundations of my children's happiness, I will carefully avoid
educating them in a station superior to their fortune, and for the
event trust to that being in whom whoever rightly confides, must
be superior to all worldly sorrows."

In this low manner did this poor wretch proceed to argue, till he
had worked himself up into an enthusiasm which by degrees soon
became invulnerable to every human attack; so that when Mr. Snap
acquainted him with the return of the writ, and that he must carry
him to Newgate, he received the message as Socrates did the news
of the ship's arrival, and that he was to prepare for death.



But we must not detain our reader too long with these low
characters. He is doubtless as impatient as the audience at the
theatre till the principal figure returns on the stage; we will
therefore indulge his inclination, and pursue the actions of the
Great Wild.

There happened to be in the stage-coach in which Mr. Wild
travelled from Dover a certain young gentleman who had sold an
estate in Kent, and was going to London to receive the money.
There was likewise a handsome young woman who had left her parents
at Canterbury, and was proceeding to the same city, in order (as
she informed her fellow-travellers) to make her fortune. With this
girl the young spark was so much enamoured that he publickly
acquainted her with the purpose of his journey, and offered her a
considerable sum in hand and a settlement if she would consent to
return with him into the country, where she would be at a safe
distance from her relations. Whether she accepted this proposal or
no we are not able with any tolerable certainty to deliver: but
Wild, the moment he heard of his money, began to cast about in his
mind by what means he might become master of it. He entered into a
long harangue about the methods of carrying money safely on the
road, and said, "He had at that time two bank-bills of a hundred
pounds each sewed in his coat; which," added he, "is so safe a
way, that it is almost impossible I should be in any danger of
being robbed by the most cunning highwayman."

The young gentleman, who was no descendant of Solomon, or, if he
was, did not, any more than some other descendants of wise men,
inherit the wisdom of his ancestor, greatly approved Wild's
ingenuity, and, thanking him for his information, declared he
would follow his example when he returned into the country; by
which means he proposed to save the premium commonly taken for the
remittance. Wild had then no more to do but to inform himself
rightly of the time of the gentleman's journey, which he did with
great certainty before they separated.

At his arrival in town he fixed on two whom he regarded as the
most resolute of his gang for this enterprise; and, accordingly,
having summoned the principal, or most desperate, as he imagined
him, of these two (for he never chose to communicate in the
presence of more than one), he proposed to him the robbing and
murdering this gentleman.

Mr. Marybone (for that was the gentleman's name, to whom he
applied) readily agreed to the robbery, but he hesitated at the
murder. He said, as to robbery, he had, on much weighing and
considering the matter, very well reconciled his conscience to it;
for, though that noble kind of robbery which was executed on the
highway was, from the cowardice of mankind, less frequent, yet the
baser and meaner species, sometimes called cheating, but more
commonly known by the name of robbery within the law, was in a
manner universal. He did not therefore pretend to the reputation
of being so much honester than other people; but could by no means
satisfy himself in the commission of murder, which was a sin of
the most heinous nature, and so immediately prosecuted by God's
judgment that it never passed undiscovered or unpunished.

Wild, with the utmost disdain in his countenance, answered as
follows: "Art thou he whom I have selected out of my whole gang
for this glorious undertaking, and dost thou cant of God's revenge
against murder? You have, it seems, reconciled your conscience (a
pretty word) to robbery, from its being so common. Is it then the
novelty of murder which deters you? Do you imagine that guns, and
pistols, and swords, and knives, are the only instruments of
death? Look into the world and see the numbers whom broken
fortunes and broken hearts bring untimely to the grave. To omit
those glorious heroes who, to their immortal honour, have
massacred nations, what think you of private persecution,
treachery, and slander, by which the very souls of men are in a
manner torn from their bodies? Is it not more generous, nay, more
good-natured, to send a man to his rest, than, after having
plundered him of all he hath, or from malice or malevolence
deprived him of his character, to punish him with a languishing
death, or, what is worse, a languishing life? Murder, therefore,
is not so uncommon as you weakly conceive it, though, as you said
of robbery, that more noble kind which lies within the paw of the
law may be so. But this is the most innocent in him who doth it,
and the most eligible to him who is to suffer it. Believe me, lad,
the tongue of a viper is less hurtful than that of a slanderer,
and the gilded scales of a rattle-snake less dreadful than the
purse of the oppressor. Let me therefore hear no more of your
scruples; but consent to my proposal without further hesitation,
unless, like a woman, you are afraid of blooding your cloaths, or,
like a fool, are terrified with the apprehensions of being hanged
in chains. Take my word for it, you had better be an honest man
than half a rogue. Do not think of continuing in my gang without
abandoning yourself absolutely to my pleasure; for no man shall
ever receive a favour at my hands who sticks at anything, or is
guided by any other law than that of my will."

Wild then ended his speech, which had not the desired effect on
Marybone: he agreed to the robbery, but would not undertake the
murder, as Wild (who feared that, by Marybone's demanding to
search the gentleman's coat, he might hazard suspicion himself)
insisted. Marybone was immediately entered by Wild in his black-
book, and was presently after impeached and executed as a fellow
on whom his leader could not place sufficient dependance; thus
falling, as many rogues do, a sacrifice, not to his roguery, but
to his conscience.



Our hero next applied himself to another of his gang, who
instantly received his orders, and, instead of hesitating at a
single murder, asked if he should blow out the brains of all the
passengers, coachman and all. But Wild, whose moderation we have
before noted, would not permit him; and therefore, having given
him an exact description of the devoted person, with his other
necessary instructions, he dismissed him, with the strictest
orders to avoid, if possible, doing hurt to any other person.

The name of this youth, who will hereafter make some figure in
this history, being the Achates of our AEneas, or rather the
Hephaestion of our Alexander, was Fireblood. He had every
qualification to make second-rate GREAT MAN; or, in other words,
he was completely equipped for the tool of a real or first-rate
GREAT MAN. We shall therefore (which is the properest way of
dealing with this kind of GREATNESS) describe him negatively, and
content ourselves with telling our reader what qualities he had
not; in which number were humanity, modesty, and fear, not one
grain of any of which was mingled in his whole composition.

We will now leave this youth, who was esteemed the most promising
of the whole gang, and whom Wild often declared to be one of the
prettiest lads he had ever seen, of which opinion, indeed, were
most other people of his acquaintance; we will however leave him
at his entrance on this enterprize, and keep our attention fixed
on our hero, whom we shall observe taking large strides towards
the summit of human glory.

Wild, immediately at his return to town, went to pay a visit to
Miss Laetitia Snap; for he had that weakness of suffering himself
to be enslaved by women, so naturally incident to men of heroic
disposition; to say the truth, it might more properly be called a
slavery to his own appetite; for, could he have satisfied that, he
had not cared three farthings what had become of the little tyrant
for whom he professed so violent a regard. Here he was informed
that Mr. Heartfree had been conveyed to Newgate the day before,
the writ being then returnable. He was somewhat concerned at this
news; not from any compassion for the misfortunes of Heartfree,
whom he hated with such inveteracy that one would have imagined he
had suffered the same injuries from him which he had done towards
him. His concern therefore had another motive; in fact, he was
uneasy at the place of Mr. Heartfree's confinement, as it was to
be the scene of his future glory, and where consequently he should
be frequently obliged to see a face which hatred, and not shame,
made him detest the sight of.

To prevent this, therefore, several methods suggested themselves
to him. At first he thought of removing him out of the way by the
ordinary method of murder, which he doubted not but Fireblood
would be very ready to execute; for that youth had, at their last
interview, sworn, D--n his eyes, he thought there was no better
pastime than blowing a man's brains out. But, besides the danger
of this method, it did not look horrible nor barbarous enough for
the last mischief which he should do to Heartfree. Considering,
therefore, a little farther with himself, he at length came to a
resolution to hang him, if possible, the very next session.

Now, though the observation--how apt men are to hate those they
injure, or how unforgiving they are of the injuries they do
themselves, be common enough, yet I do not remember to have ever
seen the reason of this strange phaenomenon as at first it
appears. Know therefore, reader, that with much and severe
scrutiny we have discovered this hatred to be founded on the
passion of fear, and to arise from an apprehension that the person
whom we have ourselves greatly injured will use all possible
endeavours to revenge and retaliate the injuries we have done him.
An opinion so firmly established in bad and great minds (and those
who confer injuries on others have seldom very good or mean ones)
that no benevolence, nor even beneficence, on the injured side,
can eradicate it. On the contrary, they refer all these acts of
kindness to imposture and design of lulling their suspicion, till
an opportunity offers of striking a surer and severer blow; and
thus, while the good man who hath received it hath truly forgotten
the injury, the evil mind which did it hath it in lively and fresh

As we scorn to keep any discoveries secret from our readers, whose
instruction, as well as diversion, we have greatly considered in
this history, we have here digressed somewhat to communicate the
following short lesson to those who are simple and well inclined:
though as a Christian thou art obliged, and we advise thee, to



In order to accomplish this great and noble scheme, which the vast
genius of Wild had contrived, the first necessary step was to
regain the confidence of Heartfree. But, however necessary this
was, it seemed to be attended with such insurmountable
difficulties, that even our hero for some time despaired of
success. He was greatly superior to all mankind in the steadiness
of his countenance, but this undertaking seemed to require more of
that noble quality than had ever been the portion of a mortal.
However, at last he resolved to attempt it, and from his success I
think we may fairly assert that what was said by the Latin poet of
labour, that it conquers all things, is much more true when
applied to impudence.

When he had formed his plan he went to Newgate, and burst
resolutely into the presence of Heartfree, whom he eagerly
embraced and kissed; and then, first arraigning his own rashness,
and afterwards lamenting his unfortunate want of success, he
acquainted him with the particulars of what had happened;
concealing only that single incident of his attack on the other's
wife, and his motive to the undertaking, which, he assured
Heartfree, was a desire to preserve his effects from a statute of

The frank openness of this declaration, with the composure of
countenance with which it was delivered; his seeming only ruffled
by the concern for his friend's misfortune; the probability of
truth attending it, joined to the boldness and disinterested
appearance of this visit, together with his many professions of
immediate service at a time when he could not have the least
visible motive from self-love; and above all, his offering him
money, the last and surest token of friendship, rushed with such
united force on the well-disposed heart, as it is vulgarly called,
of this simple man, that they instantly staggered and soon
subverted all the determination he had before made in prejudice of
Wild, who, perceiving the balance to be turning in his favour,
presently threw in a hundred imprecations on his own folly and
ill-advised forwardness to serve his friend, which had thus
unhappily produced his ruin; he added as many curses on the count,
whom he vowed to pursue with revenge all over Europe; lastly, he
cast in some grains of comfort, assuring Heartfree that his wife
was fallen into the gentlest hands, that she would be carried no
farther than Dunkirk, whence she might very easily be redeemed.

Heartfree, to whom the lightest presumption of his wife's fidelity
would have been more delicious than the absolute restoration of
all his jewels, and who, indeed, had with the utmost difficulty
been brought to entertain the slightest suspicion of her
inconstancy, immediately abandoned all distrust of both her and
his friend, whose sincerity (luckily for Wild's purpose) seemed to
him to depend on the same evidence. He then embraced our hero, who
had in his countenance all the symptoms of the deepest concern,
and begged him to be comforted; saying that the intentions, rather
than the actions of men, conferred obligations; that as to the
event of human affairs, it was governed either by chance or some
superior agent; that friendship was concerned only in the
direction of our designs; and suppose these failed of success, or
produced an event never so contrary to their aim, the merit of a
good intention was not in the least lessened, but was rather
entitled to compassion.

Heartfree however was soon curious enough to inquire how Wild had
escaped the captivity which his wife then suffered. Here likewise
he recounted the whole truth, omitting only the motive to the
French captain's cruelty, for which he assigned a very different
reason, namely, his attempt to secure Heartfree's jewels. Wild
indeed always kept as much truth as was possible in everything;
and this he said was turning the cannon of the enemy upon

Wild, having thus with admirable and truly laudable conduct
achieved the first step, began to discourse on the badness of the
world, and particularly to blame the severity of creditors, who
seldom or never attended to any unfortunate circumstances, but
without mercy inflicted confinement on the debtor, whose body the
law, with very unjustifiable rigour, delivered into their power.
He added, that for his part, he looked on this restraint to be as
heavy a punishment as any appointed by law for the greatest
offenders. That the loss of liberty was, in his opinion, equal to,
if not worse, than the loss of life; that he had always
determined, if by any accident or misfortune he had been subjected
to the former, he would run the greatest risque of the latter to
rescue himself from it; which he said, if men did not want
resolution, was always enough; for that it was ridiculous to
conceive that two or three men could confine two or three hundred,
unless the prisoners were either fools or cowards, especially when
they were neither chained nor fettered. He went on in this manner
till, perceiving the utmost attention in Heartfree, he ventured to
propose to him an endeavour to make his escape, which he said
might easily be executed; that he would himself raise a party in
the prison, and that, if a murder or two should happen in the
attempt, he (Heartfree) might keep free from any share either in
the guilt or in the danger.

There is one misfortune which attends all great men and their
schemes, viz.--that, in order to carry them into execution, they
are obliged, in proposing their purpose to their tools, to
discover themselves to be of that disposition in which certain
little writers have advised mankind to place no confidence; an
advice which hath been sometimes taken. Indeed, many
inconveniences arise to the said great men from these scribblers
publishing without restraint their hints or alarms to society; and
many great and glorious schemes have been thus frustrated;
wherefore it were to be wished that in all well-regulated
governments such liberties should be by some wholesome laws
restrained, and all writers inhibited from venting any other
instructions to the people than what should be first approved and
licensed by the said great men, or their proper instruments or
tools; by which means nothing would ever be published but what
made for the advancing their most noble projects.

Heartfree, whose suspicions were again raised by this advice,
viewing Wild with inconceivable disdain, spoke as follows: "There
is one thing the loss of which I should deplore infinitely beyond
that of liberty and of life also; I mean that of a good
conscience; a blessing which he who possesses can never be
thoroughly unhappy; for the bitterest potion of life is by this so
sweetened, that it soon becomes palatable; whereas, without it,
the most delicate enjoyments quickly lose all their relish, and
life itself grows insipid, or rather nauseous, to us. Would you
then lessen my misfortunes by robbing me of what hath been my only
comfort under them, and on which I place my dependence of being
relieved from them? I have read that Socrates refused to save his
life by breaking the laws of his country, and departing from his
prison when it was open. Perhaps my virtue would not go so far;
but heaven forbid liberty should have such charms to tempt me to
the perpetration of so horrid a crime as murder! As to the poor
evasion of committing it by other hands, it might be useful indeed
to those who seek only the escape from temporal punishment, but
can be of no service to excuse me to that Being whom I chiefly
fear offending; nay, it would greatly aggravate my guilt by so
impudent an endeavour to impose upon Him, and by so wickedly
involving others in my crime. Give me, therefore, no more advice
of this kind; for this is my great comfort in all my afflictions,
that it is in the power of no enemy to rob me of my conscience,
nor will I ever be so much my own enemy as to injure it."

Though our hero heard all this with proper contempt, he made no
direct answer, but endeavoured to evade his proposal as much as
possible, which he did with admirable dexterity: this method of
getting tolerably well off, when you are repulsed in your attack
on a man's conscience, may be stiled the art of retreating, in
which the politician, as well as the general, hath sometimes a
wonderful opportunity of displaying his great abilities in his

Wild, having made this admirable retreat, and argued away all
design of involving his friend in the guilt of murder, concluded,
however, that he thought him rather too scrupulous in not
attempting his escape and then, promising to use all such means as
the other would permit in his service, took his leave for the
present. Heartfree, having indulged himself an hour with his
children, repaired to rest, which he enjoyed quiet and
undisturbed; whilst Wild, disdaining repose, sat up all night,
consulting how he might bring about the final destruction of his
friend, without being beholden to any assistance from himself,
which he now despaired of procuring. With the result of these
consultations we shall acquaint our reader in good time, but at
present we have matters of much more consequence to relate to him.



Fireblood returned from his enterprise unsuccessful. The gentleman
happened to go home another way than he had intended; so that the
whole design miscarried. Fireblood had indeed robbed the coach,
and had wantonly discharged a pistol into it, which lightly
wounded one of the passengers in the arm. The booty he met with
was not very considerable, though much greater than that with
which he acquainted Wild; for of eleven pounds in money, two
silver watches, and a wedding-ring, he produced no more than two
guineas and the ring, which he protested with numberless oaths was
his whole booty. However, when an advertisement of the robbery was
published, with a reward promised for the ring and the watches,
Fireblood was obliged to confess the whole, and to acquaint our
hero where he pawned the watches; which Wild, taking the full
value of them for his pains, restored to the right owner.

He did not fail catchising his young friend on this occasion. He
said he was sorry to see any of his gang guilty of a breach of
honour; that without honour PRIGGERY was at an end; that if a prig
had but honour he would overlook every vice in the world. "But,
nevertheless," said he, "I will forgive you this time, as you are
a hopeful lad, and I hope never afterwards to find you delinquent
in this great point."

Wild had now brought his gang to great regularity: he was obeyed
and feared by them all. He had likewise established an office,
where all men who were robbed, paying the value only (or a little
more) of their goods, might have them again. This was of notable
use to several persons who had lost pieces of plate they had
received from their grand-mothers; to others who had a particular
value for certain rings, watches, heads of canes, snuff-boxes,
&c., for which they would not have taken twenty times as much as
they were worth, either because they had them a little while or a
long time, or that somebody else had had them before, or from some
other such excellent reason, which often stamps a greater value on
a toy than the great Bubble-boy himself would have the impudence
to set upon it.

By these means he seemed in so promising a way of procuring a
fortune, and was regarded in so thriving a light by all the
gentlemen of his acquaintance, as by the keeper and turnkeys of
Newgate, by Mr. Snap, and others of his occupation, that Mr. Snap
one day, taking Mr. Wild the elder aside, very seriously proposed
what they had often lightly talked over, a strict union between
their families, by marrying his daughter Tishy to our hero. This
proposal was very readily accepted by the old gentleman, who
promised to acquaint his son with it.

On the morrow on which this message was delivered, our hero,
little dreaming of the happiness which, of its own accord, was
advancing so near towards him, had called Fireblood to him; and,
after informing that youth of the violence of his passion for the
young lady, and assuring him what confidence he reposed in him and
his honour, he despatched him to Miss Tishy with the following
letter; which we here insert, not only as we take it to be
extremely curious, but to be a much better pattern for that
epistolary kind of writing which is generally called love-letters
than any to be found in the academy of compliments, and which we
challenge all the beaus of our time to excel either in matter or

"MOST DIVINE and ADWHORABLE CREETURE,--I doubt not but those IIs,
briter than the son, which have kindled such a flam in my hart,
have likewise the faculty of seeing it. It would be the hiest
preassumption to imagin you eggnorant of my loav. No, madam, I
sollemly purtest, that of all the butys in the unaversal glob,
there is none kapable of hateracting my IIs like you. Corts and
pallaces would be to me deserts without your kumpany, and with it
a wilderness would have more charms than haven itself. For I hop
you will beleve me when I sware every place in the univarse is a
haven with you. I am konvinced you must be sinsibel of my violent
passion for you, which, if I endevored to hid it, would be as
impossible as for you, or the son, to hid your buty's. I assure
you I have not slept a wink since I had the hapness of seeing you
last; therefore hop you will, out of Kumpassion, let me have the
honour of seeing you this afternune; for I am, with the greatest

"Most deivine creeture, Iour most passionate amirer, Adwhorer, and

If the spelling of this letter be not so strictly orthographical,
the reader will be pleased to remember that such a defect might be
worthy of censure in a low and scholastic character, but can be no
blemish in that sublime greatness of which we endeavour to raise a
complete idea in this history. In which kind of composition
spelling, or indeed any kind of human literature, hath never been
thought a necessary ingredient; for if these sort of great
personages can but complot and contrive their noble schemes, and
hack and hew mankind sufficiently, there will never be wanting fit
and able persons who can spell to record their praises. Again, if
it should be observed that the stile of this letter doth not
exactly correspond with that of our hero's speeches, which we have
here recorded, we answer, it is sufficient if in these the
historian adheres faithfully to the matter, though he embellishes
the diction with some flourishes of his own eloquence, without
which the excellent speeches recorded in antient historians
(particularly in Sallust) would have scarce been found in their
writings. Nay, even amongst the moderns, famous as they are for
elocution, it may be doubted whether those inimitable harangues
published in the monthly magazines came literally from the mouths
of the HURGOS, &c., as they are there inserted, or whether we may
not rather suppose one historian of great eloquence hath borrowed
the matter only, and adorned it with those rhetorical showers for
which many of the said HURGOS are not so extremely eminent.



But to proceed with our history; Fireblood, having received this
letter, and promised on his honour, with many voluntary
asseverations, to discharge his embassy faithfully, went to visit
the fair Laetitia. The lady, having opened the letter and read it,
put on an air of disdain, and told Mr. Fireblood she could not
conceive what Mr. Wild meant by troubling her with his
impertinence; she begged him to carry the letter back again,
saying, had she known from whom it came, she would have been d--d
before she had opened it. "But with you, young gentleman," says
she, "I am not in the least angry. I am rather sorry that so
pretty a young man should be employed in such an errand." She
accompanied these words with so tender an accent and so wanton a
leer, that Fireblood, who was no backward youth, began to take her
by the hand, and proceeded so warmly, that, to imitate his actions
with the rapidity of our narration, he in a few minutes ravished
this fair creature, or at least would have ravished her, if she
had not, by a timely compliance, prevented him.

Fireblood, after he had ravished as much as he could, returned to
Wild, and acquainted him as far as any wise man would, with what
had passed; concluding with many praises of the young lady's
beauty, with whom, he said, if his honour would have permitted
him, he should himself have fallen in love; but, d--n him if he
would not sooner be torn to pieces by wild horses than even think
of injuring his friend. He asserted indeed, and swore so heartily,
that, had not Wild been so thoroughly convinced of the impregnable
chastity of the lady, he might have suspected his success;
however, he was, by these means, entirely satisfied of his
friend's inclination towards his mistress.

Thus constituted were the love affairs of our hero, when his
father brought him Mr. Snap's proposal. The reader must know very
little of love, or indeed of anything else, if he requires any
information concerning the reception which this proposal met with.
Not guilty never sounded sweeter in the ears of a prisoner at the
bar, nor the sound of a reprieve to one at the gallows, than did
every word of the old gentleman in the ears of our hero. He gave
his father full power to treat in his name, and desired nothing
more than expedition.

The old people now met, and Snap, who had information from his
daughter of the violent passion of her lover, endeavoured to
improve it to the best advantage, and would have not only declined
giving her any fortune himself, but have attempted to cheat her of
what she owed to the liberality of her relations, particularly of
a pint silver caudle-cup, the gift of her grandmother. However, in
this the young lady herself afterwards took care to prevent him.
As to the old Mr. Wild, he did not sufficiently attend to all the
designs of Snap, as his faculties were busily employed in designs
of his own, to overreach (or, as others express it, to cheat) the
said Mr. Snap, by pretending to give his son a whole number for a
chair, when in reality he was intitled to a third only.

While matters were thus settling between the old folks the young
lady agreed to admit Mr. Wild's visits, and, by degrees, began to
entertain him with all the shew of affection which the great
natural reserve of her temper, and the greater artificial reserve
of her education, would permit. At length, everything being agreed
between their parents, settlements made, and the lady's fortune
(to wit, seventeen pounds and nine shillings in money and goods)
paid down, the day for their nuptials was fixed, and they were
celebrated accordingly.

Most private histories, as well as comedies, end at this period;
the historian and the poet both concluding they have done enough
for their hero when they have married him; or intimating rather
that the rest of his life must be a dull calm of happiness, very
delightful indeed to pass through, but somewhat insipid to relate;
and matrimony in general must, I believe, without any dispute, be
allowed to be this state of tranquil felicity, including so little
variety, that, like Salisbury Plain, it affords only one prospect,
a very pleasant one it must be confessed, but the same.

Now there was all the probability imaginable that this contract
would have proved of such happy note, both from the great
accomplishments of the young lady, who was thought to be possessed
of every qualification necessary to make the marriage state happy,
and from the truly ardent passion of Mr. Wild; but, whether it was
that nature and fortune had great designs for him to execute, and
would not suffer his vast abilities to be lost and sunk in the
arms of a wife, or whether neither nature nor fortune had any hand
in the matter, is a point I will mot determine. Certain it is that
this match did not produce that serene state we have mentioned
above, but resembled the most turbulent and ruffled, rather than
the most calm sea.

I cannot here omit a conjecture, ingenious enough, of a friend of
mine, who had a long intimacy in the Wild family. He hath often
told me he fancied one reason of the dissatisfactions which
afterwards fell out between Wild and his lady, arose from the
number of gallants to whom she had, before marriage, granted
favours; for, says he, and indeed very probable it is too, the
lady might expect from her husband what she had before received
from several, and, being angry not to find one man as good as ten,
she had, from that indignation, taken those steps which we cannot
perfectly justify.

From this person I received the following dialogue, which he
assured me he had overheard and taken down verbatim. It passed on
the day fortnight after they were married.



Jonathan. My dear, I wish you would lie a little longer in bed
this morning.

Laetitia. Indeed I cannot; I am engaged to breakfast with Jack

Jonathan. I don't know what Jack Strongbow doth so often at my
house. I assure you I am uneasy at it; for, though I have no
suspicion of your virtue, yet it may injure your reputation in the
opinion of my neighbours.

Laetitia. I don't trouble my head about my neighbours; and they
shall no more tell me what company I am to keep than my husband

Jonathan. A good wife would keep no company which made her husband

Laetitia. You might have found one of those good wives, sir, if
you had pleased; I had no objection to it.

Jonathan. I thought I had found one in you.

Laetitia. You did! I am very much obliged to you for thinking me
so poor-spirited a creature; but I hope to convince you to the
contrary. What, I suppose you took me for a raw senseless girl,
who knew nothing what other married women do!

Jonathan. No matter what I took you for: I have taken you for
better and worse.

Laetitia. And at your own desire too; for I am sure you never had
mine. I should not have broken my heart if Mr. Wild had thought
proper to bestow himself on any other more happy woman. Ha, ha!

Jonathan. I hope, madam, you don't imagine that was not in my
power, or that I married you out of any kind of necessity.

Laetitia. O no, sir; I am convinced there are silly women enough.
And far be it from me to accuse you of any necessity for a wife. I
believe you could have been very well contented with the state of
a bachelor; I have no reason to complain of your necessities; but
that, you know, a woman cannot tell beforehand.

Jonathan. I can't guess what you would insinuate, for I believe no
woman had ever less reason to complain of her husband's want of

Laetitia. Then some, I am certain, have great reason to complain
of the price they give for them. But I know better things. (These
words were spoken with a very great air, and toss of the head.)

Jonathan. Well, my sweeting, I will make it impossible for you to
wish me more fond.

Laetitia. Pray, Mr. Wild, none of this nauseous behaviour, nor
those odious words. I wish you were fond! I assure you, I don't
know what you would pretend to insinuate of me. I have no wishes
which misbecome a virtuous woman. No, nor should not, if I had
married for love. And especially now, when nobody, I am sure, can
suspect me of any such thing.

Jonathan. If you did not marry for love why did you marry?

Laetitia. Because it was convenient, and my parents forced me.

Jonathan. I hope, madam, at least, you will not tell me to my face
you have made your convenience of me.

Laetitia. I have made nothing of you; nor do I desire the honour
of making anything of you.

Jonathan. Yes, you have made a husband of me.

Laetitia. No, you made yourself so; for I repeat once more it was
not my desire, but your own.

Jonathan. You should think yourself obliged to me for that desire.

Laetitia. La, sir! you was not so singular in it. I was not in
despair. I have had other offers, and better too.

Jonathan. I wish you had accepted them with all my heart.

Laetitia. I must tell you, Mr. Wild, this is a very brutish manner
in treating a woman to whom you have such obligations; but I know
how to despise it, and to despise you too for shewing it me.
Indeed I am well enough paid for the foolish preference I gave to
you. I flattered myself that I should at least have been used with
good manners. I thought I had married a gentleman; but I find you
every way contemptible and below my concern.

Jonathan. D--n you, madam, have I not more reason to complain when
you tell me you married for your convenience only?

Laetitia. Very fine truly. Is it behaviour worthy a man to swear
at a woman? Yet why should I mention what comes from a wretch whom
I despise.

Jonathan. Don't repeat that word so often. I despise you as
heartily as you can me. And, to tell you a truth, I married you
for my convenience likewise, to satisfy a passion which I have now
satisfied, and you may be d--d for anything I care.

Laetitia. The world shall know how barbarously I am treated by
such a villain.

Jonathan. I need take very little pains to acquaint the world what
a b--ch you are, your actions will demonstrate it.

Laetitia. Monster! I would advise you not to depend too much on my
sex, and provoke me too far; for I can do you a mischief, and
will, if you dare use me so, you villain!

Jonathan. Begin whenever you please, madam; but assure yourself,
the moment you lay aside the woman, I will treat you as such no
longer; and if the first blow is yours, I promise you the last
shall be mine.

Laetitia. Use me as you will; but d--n me if ever you shall use me
as a woman again; for may I be cursed if ever I enter into your
bed more.

Jonathan. May I be cursed if that abstinence be not the greatest
obligation you can lay upon me; for I assure you faithfully your
person was all I had ever any regard for; and that I now loathe
and detest as much as ever I liked it.

Laetitia. It is impossible for two people to agree better; for I
always detested your person; and as for any other regard, you must
be convinced I never could have any for you.

Jonathan. Why, then, since we are come to a right understanding,
as we are to live together, suppose we agreed, instead of
quarrelling and abusing, to be civil to each other.

Laetitia. With all my heart.

Jonathan. Let us shake hands then, and henceforwards never live
like man and wife; that is, never be loving nor ever quarrel.

Laetitia. Agreed. But pray, Mr. Wild, why b--ch? Why did you
suffer such a word to escape you?

Jonathan. It is not worth your remembrance.

Laetitia. You agree I shall converse with whomsoever I please?

Jonathan. Without controul. And I have the same liberty?

Laetitia. When I interfere may every curse you can wish attend me!

Jonathan. Let us now take a farewell kiss, and may I be hanged if
it is not the sweetest you ever gave me.

Laetitia. But why b--ch? Methinks I should be glad to know why b--ch?

At which words he sprang from the bed, d--ing her temper heartily.
She returned it again with equal abuse, which was continued on
both sides while he was dressing. However, they agreed to continue
steadfast in this new resolution; and the joy arising on that
occasion at length dismissed them pretty chearfully from each
other, though Laetitia could not help concluding with the words,
why b--ch?



Thus did this dialogue (which, though we have termed it
matrimonial, had indeed very little savour of the sweets of
matrimony in it) produce at last a resolution more wise than
strictly pious, and which, if they could have rigidly adhered to
it, might have prevented some unpleasant moments as well to our
hero as to his serene consort; but their hatred was so very great
and unaccountable that they never could bear to see the least
composure in one another's countenance without attempting to
ruffle it. This set them on so many contrivances to plague and vex
one another, that, as their proximity afforded them such frequent
opportunities of executing their malicious purposes, they seldom
passed one easy or quiet day together.

And this, reader, and no other, is the cause of those many
inquietudes which thou must have observed to disturb the repose of
some married couples who mistake implacable hatred for
indifference; for why should Corvinus, who lives in a round of
intrigue, and seldom doth, and never willingly would, dally with
his wife, endeavour to prevent her from the satisfaction of an
intrigue in her turn? Why doth Camilla refuse a more agreeable
invitation abroad, only to expose her husband at his own table at
home? In short, to mention no more instances, whence can all the
quarrels, and jealousies, and jars proceed in people who have no
love for each other, unless from that noble passion above
mentioned, that desire, according to my lady Betty Modish, of

We thought proper to give our reader a short taste of the domestic
state of our hero, the rather to shew him that great men are
subject to the same frailties and inconveniences in ordinary life
with little men, and that heroes are really of the same species
with other human creatures, notwithstanding all the pains they
themselves or their flatterers take to assert the contrary; and
that they differ chiefly in the immensity of their greatness, or,
as the vulgar erroneously call it, villany. Now, therefore, that
we may not dwell too long on low scenes in a history of the
sublime kind, we shall return to actions of a higher note and more
suitable to our purpose.

When the boy Hymen had, with his lighted torch, driven the boy
Cupid out of doors, that is to say, in common phrase, when the
violence of Mr. Wild's passion (or rather appetite) for the chaste
Laetitia began to abate, he returned to visit his friend
Heartfree, who was now in the liberties of the Fleet, and appeared
to the commission of bankruptcy against him. Here he met with a
more cold reception than he himself had apprehended. Heartfree had
long entertained suspicions of Wild, but these suspicions had from
time to time been confounded with circumstances, and principally
smothered with that amazing confidence which was indeed the most
striking virtue in our hero. Heartfree was unwilling to condemn
his friend without certain evidence, and laid hold on every
probable semblance to acquit him; but the proposal made at his
last visit had so totally blackened his character in this poor
man's opinion, that it entirely fixed the wavering scale, and he
no longer doubted but that our hero was one of the greatest
villains in the world.

Circumstances of great improbability often escape men who devour a
story with greedy ears; the reader, therefore, cannot wonder that
Heartfree, whose passions were so variously concerned, first for
the fidelity, and secondly for the safety of his wife; and,
lastly, who was so distracted with doubt concerning the conduct of
his friend, should at this relation pass unobserved the incident
of his being committed to the boat by the captain of the
privateer, which he had at the time of his telling so lamely
accounted for; but now, when Heartfree came to reflect on the
whole, and with a high prepossession against Wild, the absurdity
of this fact glared in his eyes and struck him in the most
sensible manner. At length a thought of great horror suggested
itself to his imagination, and this was, whether the whole was not
a fiction, and Wild, who was, as he had learned from his own
mouth, equal to any undertaking how black soever, had not spirited
away, robbed, and murdered his wife.

Intolerable as this apprehension was, he not only turned it round
and examined it carefully in his own mind, but acquainted young
Friendly with it at their next interview. Friendly, who detested
Wild (from that envy probably with which these GREAT CHARACTERS
naturally inspire low fellows), encouraged these suspicions so
much, that Heartfree resolved to attach our hero and carry him
before a magistrate.

This resolution had been some time taken, and Friendly, with a
warrant and a constable, had with the utmost diligence searched
several days for our hero; but, whether it was that in compliance
with modern custom he had retired to spend the honey-moon with his
bride, the only moon indeed in which it is fashionable or
customary for the married parties to have any correspondence with
each other; or perhaps his habitation might for particular reasons
be usually kept a secret, like those of some few great men whom
unfortunately the law hath left out of that reasonable as well as
honourable provision which it hath made for the security of the
persons of other great men.

But Wild resolved to perform works of supererogation in the way of
honour, and, though no hero is obliged to answer the challenge of
my lord chief justice, or indeed of any other magistrate, but may
with unblemished reputation slide away from it, yet such was the
bravery, such the greatness, the magnanimity of Wild, that he
appeared in person to it.

Indeed envy may say one thing, which may lessen the glory of this
action, namely, that the said Mr. Wild knew nothing of the said
warrant or challenge; and as thou mayest be assured, reader, that
the malicious fury will omit nothing which can anyways sully so
great a character, so she hath endeavoured to account for this
second visit of our hero to his friend Heartfree from a very
different motive than that of asserting his own innocence.



It hath been said then that Mr. Wild, not being able on the
strictest examination to find in a certain spot of human nature
called his own heart the least grain of that pitiful low quality
called honesty, had resolved, perhaps a little too generally, that
there was no such thing. He therefore imputed the resolution with
which Mr. Heartfree had so positively refused to concern himself
in murder, either to a fear of bloodying his hands or the
apprehension of a ghost, or lest he should make an additional
example in that excellent book called God's Revenge against
Murder; and doubted not but he would (at least in his present
necessity) agree without scruple to a simple robbery, especially
where any considerable booty should be proposed, and the safety of
the attack plausibly made appear; which if he could prevail on him
to undertake, he would immediately afterwards get him impeached,
convicted, and hanged. He no sooner therefore had discharged his
duties to Hymen, and heard that Heartfree had procured himself the
liberties of the Fleet, than he resolved to visit him, and to
propose a robbery with all the allurements of profit, ease, and

This proposal was no sooner made than it was answered by Heartfree
in the following manner:--

"I might have hoped the answer which I gave to your former advice
would have prevented me from the danger of receiving a second
affront of this kind. An affront I call it, and surely, if it be
so to call a man a villain, it can be no less to shew him you
suppose him one. Indeed, it may be wondered how any man can arrive
at the boldness, I may say impudence, of first making such an
overture to another; surely it is seldom done, unless to those who
have previously betrayed some symptoms of their own baseness. If I
have therefore shewn you any such, these insults are more
pardonable; but I assure you, if such appear, they discharge all
their malignance outwardly, and reflect not even a shadow within;
for to me baseness seems inconsistent with this rule, OF DOING NO
WHATEVER. This, sir, is the rule by which I am determined to walk,
nor can that man justify disbelieving me who will not own he walks
not by it himself. But, whether it be allowed to me or no, or
whether I feel the good effects of its being practised by others,
I am resolved to maintain it; for surely no man can reap a benefit
from my pursuing it equal to the comfort I myself enjoy: for what
a ravishing thought, how replete with extasy, must the
consideration be, that Almighty Goodness is by its own nature
engaged to reward me! How indifferent must such a persuasion make
a man to all the occurrences of this life! What trifles must he
represent to himself both the enjoyments and the afflictions of
this world! How easily must he acquiesce under missing the former,
and how patiently will he submit to the latter, who is convinced
that his failing of a transitory imperfect reward here is a most
certain argument of his obtaining one permanent and complete
hereafter! Dost thou think then, thou little, paltry, mean animal
(with such language did he treat our truly great man), that I will
forego such comfortable expectations for any pitiful reward which
thou canst suggest or promise to me; for that sordid lucre for
which all pains and labour are undertaken by the industrious, and
all barbarities and iniquities committed by the vile; for a
worthless acquisition, which such as thou art can possess, can
give, or can take away?" The former part of this speech occasioned
much yawning in our hero, but the latter roused his anger; and he
was collecting his rage to answer, when Friendly and the
constable, who had been summoned by Heartfree on Wild's first
appearance, entered the room, and seized the great man just as his
wrath was bursting from his lips.

The dialogue which now ensued is not worth relating: Wild was soon
acquainted with the reason of this rough treatment, and presently
conveyed before a magistrate.

Notwithstanding the doubts raised by Mr. Wild's lawyer on his
examination, he insisting that the proceeding was improper, for
that a writ de homine replegiando should issue, and on the return
of that a capias in withernam, the justice inclined to commitment,
so that Wild was driven to other methods for his defence. He
therefore acquainted the justice that there was a young man
likewise with him in the boat, and begged that he might be sent
for, which request was accordingly granted, and the faithful
Achates (Mr. Fireblood) was soon produced to bear testimony for
his friend, which he did with so much becoming zeal, and went
through his examination with such coherence (though he was forced
to collect his evidence from the hints given him by Wild in the
presence of the justice and the accusers), that, as here was
direct evidence against mere presumption, our hero was most
honourably acquitted, and poor Heartfree was charged by the
justice, the audience, and all others who afterwards heard the
story, with the blackest ingratitude, in attempting to take away
the life of a man to whom he had such eminent obligations.

Lest so vast an effort of friendship as this of Fireblood's should
too violently surprize the reader in this degenerate age, it may
be proper to inform him that, beside the ties of engagement in the
same employ, another nearer and stronger alliance subsisted
between our hero and this youth, which latter was just departed
from the arms of the lovely Laetitia when he received her
husband's message; an instance which may also serve to justify
those strict intercourses of love and acquaintance which so
commonly subsist in modern history between the husband and
gallant, displaying the vast force of friendship contracted by
this more honourable than legal alliance, which is thought to be
at present one of the strongest bonds of amity between great men,
and the most reputable as well as easy way to their favour.

Four months had now passed since Heartfree's first confinement,
and his affairs had begun to wear a more benign aspect; but they
were a good deal injured by this attempt on Wild (so dangerous is
any attack on a GREAT MAN), several of his neighbours, and
particularly one or two of his own trade, industriously
endeavouring, from their bitter animosity against such kind of
iniquity, to spread and exaggerate his ingratitude as much as
possible; not in the least scrupling, in the violent ardour of
their indignation, to add some small circumstances of their own
knowledge of the many obligations conferred on Heartfree by Wild.
To all these scandals he quietly submitted, comforting himself in
the consciousness of his own innocence, and confiding in time, the
sure friend of justice, to acquit him.



Wild having now, to the hatred he bore Heartfree on account of
those injuries he had done him, an additional spur from this
injury received (for so it appeared to him, who, no more than the
most ignorant, considered how truly he deserved it), applied his
utmost industry to accomplish the ruin of one whose very name
sounded odious in his ears; when luckily a scheme arose in his
imagination which not only promised to effect it securely, but
(which pleased him most) by means of the mischief he had already
done him; and which would at once load him with the imputation of
having committed what he himself had done to him, and would bring
on him the severest punishment for a fact of which he was not only
innocent, but had already so greatly suffered by. And this was no
other than to charge him with having conveyed away his wife, with
his most valuable effects, in order to defraud his creditors.

He no sooner started this thought than he immediately resolved on
putting it in execution. What remained to consider was only the
quomodo, and the person or tool to be employed; for the stage of
the world differs from that in Drury-lane principally in this--
that whereas, on the latter, the hero or chief figure is almost
continually before your eyes, whilst the under-actors are not seen
above once in an evening; now, on the former, the hero or great
man is always behind the curtain, and seldom or never appears or
doth anything in his own person. He doth indeed, in this GRAND
DRAMA, rather perform the part of the prompter, and doth instruct
the well-drest figures, who are strutting in public on the stage,
what to say and do. To say the truth, a puppet-show will
illustrate our meaning better, where it is the master of the show
(the great man) who dances and moves everything, whether it be the
king of Muscovy or whatever other potentate alias puppet which we
behold on the stage; but he himself keeps wisely out of sight:
for, should he once appear, the whole motion would be at an end.
Not that any one is ignorant of his being there, or supposes that
the puppets are not mere sticks of wood, and he himself the sole
mover; but as this (though every one knows it) doth not appear
visibly, i.e., to their eyes, no one is ashamed of consenting to
be imposed upon; of helping on the drama, by calling the several
sticks or puppets by the names which the master hath allotted to
them, and by assigning to each the character which the great man
is pleased they shall move in, or rather in which he himself is
pleased to move them.

It would be to suppose thee, gentle reader, one of very little
knowledge in this world, to imagine them hast never seen some of
these puppet-shows which are so frequently acted on the great
stage; but though thou shouldst have resided all thy days in those
remote parts of this island which great men seldom visit, yet, if
thou hast any penetration, thou must have had some occasions to
admire both the solemnity of countenance in the actor and the
gravity in the spectator, while some of those farces are carried
on which are acted almost daily in every village in the kingdom.
He must have a very despicable opinion of mankind indeed who can
conceive them to be imposed on as often as they appear to be so.
The truth is, they are in the same situation with the readers of
romances; who, though they know the whole to be one entire
fiction, nevertheless agree to be deceived; and, as these find
amusement, so do the others find ease and convenience in this
concurrence. But, this being a subdigression, I return to my

A GREAT MAN ought to do his business by others; to employ hands,
as we have before said, to his purposes, and keep himself as much
behind the curtain as possible; and though it must be acknowledged
that two very great men, whose names will be both recorded in
history, did in these latter times come forth themselves on the
stage, and did hack and hew and lay each other most cruelly open
to the diversion of the spectators, yet this must be mentioned
rather as an example of avoidance than imitation, and is to be
ascribed to the number of those instances which serve to evince
the truth of these maxims: Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit. Ira
furor brevis est, &c.



To return to my history, which, having rested itself a little, is
now ready to proceed on its journey: Fireblood was the person
chosen by Wild for this service. He had, on a late occasion,
experienced the talents of this youth for a good round perjury. He
immediately, therefore, found him out, and proposed it to him;
when, receiving his instant assent, they consulted together, and
soon framed an evidence, which, being communicated to one of the
most bitter and severe creditors of Heartfree, by him laid before
a magistrate, and attested by the oath of Fireblood, the justice
granted his warrant: and Heartfree was accordingly apprehended and
brought before him.

When the officers came for this poor wretch they found him meanly
diverting himself with his little children, the younger of whom
sat on his knees, and the elder was playing at a little distance
from him with Friendly. One of the officers, who was a very good
sort of a man, but one very laudably severe in his office, after
acquainting Heartfree with his errand, bad him come along and be
d--d, and leave those little bastards, for so, he said, he
supposed they were, for a legacy to the parish. Heartfree was much
surprized at hearing there was a warrant for felony against him;
but he shewed less concern than Friendly did in his countenance.
The elder daughter, when she saw the officer lay hold on her
father, immediately quitted her play, and, running to him and
bursting into tears, cried out, "You shall not hurt poor papa."
One of the other ruffians offered to take the little one rudely
from his knees; but Heartfree started up, and, catching the fellow
by the collar, dashed his head so violently against the wall,
that, had he had any brains, he might possibly have lost them by
the blow.

The officer, like most of those heroic spirits who insult men in
adversity, had some prudence mixt with his zeal for justice.
Seeing, therefore, this rough treatment of his companion, he began
to pursue more gentle methods, and very civilly desired Mr.
Heartfree to go with him, seeing he was an officer, and obliged to
execute his warrant; that he was sorry for his misfortune, and
hoped he would be acquitted. The other answered, "He should
patiently submit to the laws of his country, and would attend him
whither he was ordered to conduct him;" then, taking leave of his
children with a tender kiss, he recommended them to the care of
Friendly, who promised to see them safe home, and then to attend
him at the justice's, whose name and abode he had learned of the

Friendly arrived at the magistrate's house just as that gentleman
had signed the mittimus against his friend; for the evidence of
Fireblood was so clear and strong, and the justice was so incensed
against Heartfree, and so convinced of his guilt, that he would
hardly hear him speak in his own defence, which the reader
perhaps, when he hears the evidence against him, will be less
inclined to censure: for this witness deposed, "That he had been,
by Heartfree himself, employed to carry the orders of embezzling
to Wild, in order to be delivered to his wife: that he had been
afterwards present with Wild and her at the inn when they took
coach for Harwich, where she shewed him the casket of jewels, and
desired him to tell her husband that she had fully executed his
command;" and this he swore to have been done after Heartfree had
notice of the commission, and, in order to bring it within that
time, Fireblood, as well as Wild, swore that Mrs. Heartfree lay
several days concealed at Wild's house before her departure for

When Friendly found the justice obdurate, and that all he could
say had no effect, nor was it any way possible for Heartfree to
escape being committed to Newgate, he resolved to accompany him
thither; where, when they arrived, the turnkey would have confined
Heartfree (he having no money) amongst the common felons; but
Friendly would not permit it, and advanced every shilling he had
in his pocket, to procure a room in the press-yard for his friend,
which indeed, through the humanity of the keeper, he did at a
cheap rate.

They spent that day together, and in the evening the prisoner
dismissed his friend, desiring him, after many thanks for his
fidelity, to be comforted on his account. "I know not," says he,
"how far the malice of my enemy may prevail; but whatever my
sufferings are, I am convinced my innocence will somewhere be
rewarded. If, therefore, any fatal accident should happen to me
(for he who is in the hands of perjury may apprehend the worst),
my dear Friendly, be a father to my poor children;" at which words
the tears gushed from his eyes. The other begged him not to admit
any such apprehensions, for that he would employ his utmost
diligence in his service, and doubted not but to subvert any
villanous design laid for his destruction, and to make his
innocence appear to the world as white as it was in his own

We cannot help mentioning a circumstance here, though we doubt it
will appear very unnatural and incredible to our reader; which is,
that, notwithstanding the former character and behaviour of
Heartfree, this story of his embezzling was so far from surprizing
his neighbours, that many of them declared they expected no better
from him. Some were assured he could pay forty shillings in the
pound if he would. Others had overheard hints formerly pass
between him and Mrs. Heartfree which had given them suspicions.
And what is most astonishing of all is, that many of those who had
before censured him for an extravagant heedless fool, now no less
confidently abused him for a cunning, tricking, avaricious knave.



However, notwithstanding all these censures abroad, and in
despight of all his misfortunes at home, Heartfree in Newgate
enjoyed a quiet, undisturbed repose; while our hero, nobly
disdaining rest, lay sleepless all night, partly from the
apprehensions of Mrs. Heartfree's return before he had executed
his scheme, and partly from a suspicion lest Fireblood should
betray him; of whose infidelity he had, nevertheless, no other
cause to maintain any fear, but from his knowing him to be an
accomplished rascal, as the vulgar term it, a complete GREAT MAN
in our language. And indeed, to confess the truth, these doubts
were not without some foundation; for the very same thought
unluckily entered the head of that noble youth, who considered
whether he might not possibly sell himself for some advantage to
the other side, as he had yet no promise from Wild; but this was,
by the sagacity of the latter, prevented in the morning with a
profusion of promises, which shewed him to be of the most generous
temper in the world, with which Fireblood was extremely well
satisfied, and made use of so many protestations of his
faithfulness that he convinced Wild of the justice of his

At this time an accident happened, which, though it did not
immediately affect our hero, we cannot avoid relating, as it
occasioned great confusion in his family, as well as in the family
of Snap. It is indeed a calamity highly to be lamented, when it
stains untainted blood, and happens to an honourable house--an
injury never to be repaired--a blot never to be wiped out--a sore
never to be healed. To detain my reader no longer, Miss Theodosia
Snap was now safely delivered of a male infant, the product of an
amour which that beautiful (O that I could say virtuous!) creature
had with the count.

Mr. Wild and his lady were at breakfast when Mr. Snap, with all
the agonies of despair both in his voice and countenance, brought
them this melancholy news. Our hero, who had (as we have said)
wonderful good-nature when his greatness or interest was not
concerned, instead of reviling his sister-in-law, asked with a
smile, "Who was the father?" But the chaste Laetitia, we repeat
the chaste, for well did she now deserve that epithet, received it
in another manner. She fell into the utmost fury at the relation,
reviled her sister in the bitterest terms, and vowed she would
never see nor speak to her more; then burst into tears and
lamented over her father that such dishonour should ever happen to
him and herself. At length she fell severely on her husband for
the light treatment which he gave this fatal accident. She told
him he was unworthy of the honour he enjoyed of marrying into a
chaste family. That she looked on it as an affront to her virtue.
That if he had married one of the naughty hussies of the town he
could have behaved to her in no other manner. She concluded with
desiring her father to make an example of the slut, and to turn
her out of doors; for that she would not otherwise enter his
house, being resolved never to set her foot within the same
threshold with the trollop, whom she detested so much the more
because (which was perhaps true) she was her own sister.

So violent, and indeed so outrageous, was this chaste lady's love
of virtue, that she could not forgive a single slip (indeed the
only one Theodosia had ever made) in her own sister, in a sister
who loved her, and to whom she owed a thousand obligations.

Perhaps the severity of Mr. Snap, who greatly felt the injury done
to the honour of his family, would have relented, had not the
parish-officers been extremely pressing on this occasion, and for
want of security, conveyed the unhappy young lady to a place, the
name of which, for the honour of the Snaps, to whom our hero was
so nearly allied, we bury in eternal oblivion; where she suffered
so much correction for her crime, that the good-natured reader of
the male kind may be inclined to compassionate her, at least to
imagine she was sufficiently punished for a fault which, with
submission to the chaste Laetitia and all other strictly virtuous
ladies, it should be either less criminal in a woman to commit, or
more so in a man to solicit her to it.

But to return to our hero, who was a living and strong instance
that human greatness and happiness are not always inseparable. He
was under a continual alarm of frights, and fears, and jealousies.
He thought every man he beheld wore a knife for his throat, and a
pair of scissars for his purse. As for his own gang particularly,
he was thoroughly convinced there was not a single man amongst
them who would not, for the value of five shillings, bring him to
the gallows. These apprehensions so constantly broke his rest, and
kept him so assiduously on his guard to frustrate and circumvent
any designs which might be formed against him, that his condition,
to any other than the glorious eye of ambition, might seem rather
deplorable than the object of envy or desire.



There was in the gang a man named Blueskin, one of those merchants
who trade in dead oxen, sheep, &c., in short, what the vulgar call
a butcher. This gentleman had two qualities of a great man, viz.,
undaunted courage, and an absolute contempt of those ridiculous
distinctions of meum and tuum, which would cause endless disputes
did not the law happily decide them by converting both into suum.
The common form of exchanging property by trade seemed to him too
tedious; he therefore resolved to quit the mercantile profession,
and, falling acquainted with some of Mr. Wild's people, he
provided himself with arms, and enlisted of the gang; in which he
behaved for some time with great decency and order, and submitted
to accept such share of the booty with the rest as our hero
allotted him.

But this subserviency agreed ill with his temper; for we should
have before remembered a third heroic quality, namely, ambition,
which was no inconsiderable part of his composition. One day,
therefore, having robbed a gentleman at Windsor of a gold watch,
which, on its being advertised in the newspapers, with a
considerable reward, was demanded of him by Wild, he peremptorily
refused to deliver it.

"How, Mr. Blueskin!" says Wild; "you will not deliver the watch?"
"No, Mr. Wild," answered he; "I have taken it, and will keep it;
or, if I dispose of it, I will dispose of it myself, and keep the
money for which I sell it." "Sure," replied Wild, "you have not
the assurance to pretend you have any property or right in this
watch?" "I am certain," returned Blueskin, "whether I have any
right in it or no, you can prove none." "I will undertake," cries
the other, "to shew I have an absolute right to it, and that by
the laws of our gang, of which I am providentially at the head."
"I know not who put you at the head of it," cries Blueskin; "but
those who did certainly did it for their own good, that you might
conduct them the better in their robberies, inform them of the
richest booties, prevent surprizes, pack juries, bribe evidence,
and so contribute to their benefit and safety; and not to convert
all their labour and hazard to your own benefit and advantage."
"You are greatly mistaken, sir," answered Wild; "you are talking
of a legal society, where the chief magistrate is always chosen
for the public good, which, as we see in all the legal societies
of the world, he constantly consults, daily contributing, by his
superior skill, to their prosperity, and not sacrificing their
good to his own wealth, or pleasure, or humour: but in an illegal
society or gang, as this of ours, it is otherwise; for who would
be at the head of a gang, unless for his own interest? And without
a head, you know, you cannot subsist. Nothing but a head, and
obedience to that head, can preserve a gang a moment from
destruction. It is absolutely better for you to content yourselves
with a moderate reward, and enjoy that in safety at the disposal
of your chief, than to engross the whole with the hazard to which
you will be liable without his protection. And surely there is
none in the whole gang who hath less reason to complain than you;
you have tasted of my favours: witness that piece of ribbon you
wear in your hat, with which I dubbed you captain. Therefore pray,
captain, deliver the watch." "D--n your cajoling," says Blueskin:
"do you think I value myself on this bit of ribbon, which I could
have bought myself for sixpence, and have worn without your leave?
Do you imagine I think myself a captain because you, whom I know
not empowered to make one, call me so? The name of captain is but
a shadow: the men and the salary are the substance; and I am not
to be bubbled with a shadow. I will be called captain no longer,
and he who flatters me by that name I shall think affronts me, and
I will knock him down, I assure you." "Did ever man talk so
unreasonably?" cries Wild. "Are you not respected as a captain by
the whole gang since my dubbing you so? But it is the shadow only,
it seems; and you will knock a man down for affronting you who
calls you captain! Might not a man as reasonably tell a minister
of state, Sir, you have given me the shadow only? The ribbon or
the bauble that you gave me implies that I have either signalised
myself, by some great action, for the benefit and glory of my
country, or at least that I am descended from those who have done
so. I know myself to be a scoundrel, and so have been those few
ancestors I can remember, or have ever heard of. Therefore, I am
resolved to knock the first man down who calls me sir or right
honourable. But all great and wise men think themselves
sufficiently repaid by what procures them honour and precedence in
the gang, without enquiring into substance; nay, if a title or a
feather be equal to this purpose, they are substance, and not mere
shadows. But I have not time to argue with you at present, so give
me the watch without any more deliberation." "I am no more a
friend to deliberation than yourself," answered Blueskin, "and so
I tell you, once for all, by G--I never will give you the watch,
no, nor will I ever hereafter surrender any part of my booty. I
won it, and I will wear it. Take your pistols yourself, and go out
on the highway, and don't lazily think to fatten yourself with the
dangers and pains of other people." At which words he departed in
a fierce mood, and repaired to the tavern used by the gang, where
he had appointed to meet some of his acquaintance, whom he
informed of what had passed between him and Wild, and advised them
all to follow his example; which they all readily agreed to, and
Mr. Wild's d--tion was the universal toast; in drinking bumpers to
which they had finished a large bowl of punch, when a constable,
with a numerous attendance, and Wild at their head, entered the
room and seized on Blueskin, whom his companions, when they saw
our hero, did not dare attempt to rescue. The watch was found upon
him, which, together with Wild's information, was more than
sufficient to commit him to Newgate.

In the evening Wild and the rest of those who had been drinking
with Blueskin met at the tavern, where nothing was to be seen but
the profoundest submission to their leader. They vilified and
abused Blueskin, as much as they had before abused our hero, and
now repeated the same toast, only changing the name of Wild into
that of Blueskin; all agreeing with Wild that the watch found in
his pocket, and which must be a fatal evidence against him, was a
just judgment on his disobedience and revolt.

Thus did this great man by a resolute and timely example (for he
went directly to the justice when Blueskin left him) quell one of
the most dangerous conspiracies which could possibly arise in a
gang, and which, had it been permitted one day's growth, would
inevitably have ended in his destruction; so much doth it behove
all great men to be eternally on their guard, and expeditious in
the execution of their purposes; while none but the weak and
honest can indulge themselves in remissness or repose.

The Achates, Fireblood, had been present at both these meetings;
but, though he had a little too hastily concurred in cursing his
friend, and in vowing his perdition, yet now he saw all that
scheme dissolved he returned to his integrity, of which he gave an
incontestable proof, by informing Wild of the measures which had
been concerted against him, in which he said he had pretended to
acquiesce, in order the better to betray them; but this, as he
afterwards confessed on his deathbed at Tyburn, was only a copy of
his countenance; for that he was, at that time, as sincere and
hearty in his opposition to Wild as any of his companions.

Our hero received Fireblood's information with a very placid
countenance. He said, as the gang had seen their errors, and
repented, nothing was more noble than forgiveness. But, though he
was pleased modestly to ascribe this to his lenity, it really
arose from much more noble and political principles. He considered
that it would be dangerous to attempt the punishment of so many;
besides, he flattered himself that fear would keep them in order:
and indeed Fireblood had told him nothing more than he knew
before, viz., that they were all complete prigs, whom he was to
govern by their fears, and in whom he was to place no more
confidence than was necessary, and to watch them with the utmost
caution and circumspection: for a rogue, he wisely said, like
gunpowder, must be used with caution; since both are altogether as
liable to blow up the party himself who uses them as to execute
his mischievous purpose against some other person or animal.

We will now repair to Newgate, it being the place where most of
the great men of this history are hastening as fast as possible;
and, to confess the truth, it is a castle very far from being an
improper or misbecoming habitation for any great man whatever. And
as this scene will continue during the residue of our history, we
shall open it with a new book, and shall therefore take this
opportunity of closing our third.




Heartfree had not been long in Newgate before his frequent
conversation with his children, and other instances of a good
heart, which betrayed themselves in his actions and conversation,
created an opinion in all about him that he was one of the
silliest fellows in the universe. The ordinary himself, a very
sagacious as well as very worthy person, declared that he was a
cursed rogue, but no conjuror.

What indeed might induce the former, i.e. the roguish part of this
opinion in the ordinary, was a wicked sentiment which Heartfree
one day disclosed in conversation, and which we, who are truly
orthodox, will not pretend to justify, that he believed a sincere
Turk would be saved. To this the good man, with becoming zeal and
indignation, answered, I know not what may become of a sincere
Turk; but, if this be your persuasion, I pronounce it impossible
you should be saved. No, sir; so far from a sincere Turk's being
within the pale of salvation, neither will any sincere
Presbyterian, Anabaptist, nor Quaker whatever, be saved.

But neither did the one nor the other part of this character
prevail on Friendly to abandon his old master. He spent his whole
time with him, except only those hours when he was absent for his
sake, in procuring evidence for him against his trial, which was
now shortly to come on. Indeed this young man was the only
comfort, besides a clear conscience and the hopes beyond the
grave, which this poor wretch had; for the sight of his children
was like one of those alluring pleasures which men in some
diseases indulge themselves often fatally in, which at once
flatter and heighten their malady.

Friendly being one day present while Heartfree was, with tears in
his eyes, embracing his eldest daughter, and lamenting the hard
fate to which he feared he should be obliged to leave her, spoke
to him thus: "I have long observed with admiration the magnanimity
with which you go through your own misfortunes, and the steady
countenance with which you look on death. I have observed that all
your agonies arise from the thoughts of parting with your
children, and of leaving them in a distrest condition; now, though
I hope all your fears will prove ill grounded, yet, that I may
relieve you as much as possible from them, be assured that, as
nothing can give me more real misery than to observe so tender and
loving a concern in a master, to whose goodness I owe so many
obligations, and whom I so sincerely love, so nothing can afford
me equal pleasure with my contributing to lessen or to remove it.
Be convinced, therefore, if you can place any confidence in my
promise, that I will employ my little fortune, which you know to
be not entirely inconsiderable, in the support of this your little
family. Should any misfortune, which I pray Heaven avert, happen
to you before you have better provided for these little ones, I
will be myself their father, nor shall either of them ever know
distress if it be any way in my power to prevent it. Your younger
daughter I will provide for, and as for my little prattler, your
elder, as I never yet thought of any woman for a wife, I will
receive her as such at your hands; nor will I ever relinquish her
for another." Heartfree flew to his friend, and embraced him with
raptures of acknowledgment. He vowed to him that he had eased
every anxious thought of his mind but one, and that he must carry
with him out of the world. "O Friendly!" cried he, "it is my
concern for that best of women, whom I hate myself for having ever
censured in my opinion. O Friendly! thou didst know her goodness;
yet, sure, her perfect character none but myself was ever
acquainted with. She had every perfection, both of mind and body,
which Heaven hath indulged to her whole sex, and possessed all in
a higher excellence than nature ever indulged to another in any
single virtue. Can I bear the loss of such a woman? Can I bear the
apprehensions of what mischiefs that villain may have done to her,
of which death is perhaps the lightest?" Friendly gently
interrupted him as soon as he saw any opportunity, endeavouring to
comfort him on this head likewise, by magnifying every
circumstance which could possibly afford any hopes of his seeing
her again.

By this kind of behaviour, in which the young man exemplified so
uncommon an height of friendship, he had soon obtained in the
castle the character of as odd and silly a fellow as his master.
Indeed they were both the byword, laughing-stock, and contempt of
the whole place.

The sessions now came on at the Old Bailey. The grand jury at
Hicks's-hall had found the bill of indictment against Heartfree,
and on the second day of the session he was brought to his trial;
where, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of Friendly and the
honest old female servant, the circumstances of the fact
corroborating the evidence of Fireblood, as well as that of Wild,
who counterfeited the most artful reluctance at appearing against
his old friend Heartfree, the jury found the prisoner guilty.

Wild had now accomplished his scheme; for as to remained, it was
certainly unavoidable, seeing Heartfree was entirely void of
interest with the and was besides convicted on a statute the
infringers of which could hope no pardon.

The catastrophe to which our hero had reduced this wretch was so
wonderful an effort of greatness, that it probably made Fortune
envious of her own darling; but whether it was from this envy, or
only from that known inconstancy and weakness so often and
judiciously remarked in that lady's temper, who frequently lifts
men to the summit of human greatness, only

  ut lapsu graviore ruant;

certain it is, she now began to meditate mischief against Wild,
who seems to have come to that period at which all heroes have
arrived, and which she was resolved they never should transcend.
In short, there seems to be a certain measure of mischief and
iniquity which every great man is to fill up, and then Fortune
looks on him of no more use than a silkworm whose bottom is spun,
and deserts him. Mr. Blueskin was convicted the same day of
robbery, by our hero, an unkindness which, though he had drawn on
himself, and necessitated him to, he took greatly amiss: as Wild,
therefore, was standing near him, with that disregard and
indifference which great men are too carelessly inclined to have
for those whom they have ruined, Blueskin, privily drawing a
knife, thrust the same into the body of our hero with such
violence, that all who saw it concluded he had done his business.
And, indeed, had not fortune, not so much out of love to our hero
as from a fixed resolution to accomplish a certain purpose, of
which we have formerly given a hint, carefully placed his guts out
of the way, he must have fallen a sacrifice to the wrath of his
enemy, which, as he afterwards said, he did not deserve; for, had
he been contented to have robbed and only submitted to give him
the booty, he might have still continued safe and unimpeached in
the gang; but, so it was, that the knife, missing noble parts (the
noblest of many) the guts, perforated only the hollow of his
belly, and caused no other harm than an immoderate effusion of
blood, of which, though it at present weakened him, he soon after

This accident, however, was in the end attended with worse
consequences: for, as very few people (those greatest of all men,
absolute princes excepted) attempt to cut the thread of human
life, like the fetal sisters, merely out of wantonness and for
their diversion, but rather by so doing propose to themselves the
acquisition of some future good, or the avenging some past evil;
and as the former of these motives did not appear probable, it put
inquisitive persons on examining into the latter. Now, as the vast
schemes of Wild, when they were discovered, however great in their
nature, seemed to some persons, like the projects of most other
such persons, rather to be calculated for the glory of the great
man himself than to redound to the general good of society,
designs began to be laid by several of those who thought it
principally their duty to put a stop to the future progress of our
hero; and a learned judge particularly, a great enemy to this kind
of greatness, procured a clause in an Act of Parliament a trap for
Wild, which he soon after fell into. By this law it was made
capital in a prig to steal with the hands of other people. A law
so plainly calculated for the destruction of all priggish
greatness, that it was indeed impossible for our hero to avoid it.



If we had any leisure we would here digress a little on that
ingratitude which so many writers have observed to spring up in
the people in all free governments towards their great men; who,
while they have been consulting the good of the public, by raising
their own greatness, in which the whole body (as the kingdom of
France thinks itself in the glory of their grand monarch) was so
deeply concerned, have been sometimes sacrificed by those very
people for whose glory the said great men were so industriously at
work: and this from a foolish zeal for a certain ridiculous
imaginary thing called liberty, to which great men are observed to
have a great animosity.

This law had been promulgated a very little time when Mr. Wild,
having received from some dutiful members of the gang a valuable
piece of goods, did, for a consideration somewhat short of its
original price, re-convey it to the right owner; for which fact,
being ungratefully informed against by the said owner, he was
surprized in his own house, and, being overpowered by numbers, was
hurried before a magistrate, and by him committed to that castle,
which, suitable as it is to greatness, we do not chuse to name too
often in our history, and where many great men at this time
happened to be assembled.

The governor, or, as the law more honourably calls him, keeper of
this castle, was Mr. Wild's old friend and acquaintance. This made
the latter greatly satisfied with the place of his confinement, as
he promised himself not only a kind reception and handsome
accommodation there, but even to obtain his liberty from him if he
thought it necessary to desire it: but, alas! he was deceived; his
old friend knew him no longer, and refused to see him, and the
lieutenant-governor insisted on as high garnish for fetters, and
as exorbitant a price for lodging, as if he had had a fine
gentleman in custody for murder, or any other genteel crime.

To confess a melancholy truth, it is a circumstance much to be
lamented, that there is no absolute dependence on the friendship
of great men; an observation which hath been frequently made by
those who have lived in courts, or in Newgate, or in any other
place set apart for the habitation of such persons.

The second day of his confinement he was greatly surprized at
receiving a visit from his wife; and more so, when, instead of a
countenance ready to insult him, the only motive to which he could
ascribe her presence, he saw the tears trickling down her lovely
cheeks. He embraced her with the utmost marks of affection, and
declared he could hardly regret his confinement, since it had
produced such an instance of the happiness he enjoyed in her,
whose fidelity to him on this occasion would, be believed, make
him the envy of most husbands, even in Newgate. He then begged her
to dry her eyes, and be comforted; for that matters might go
better with him than she expected. "No, no," says she, "I am
certain you would be found guilty. DEATH. I knew what it would
always come to. I told you it was impossible to carry on such a
trade long; but you would not be advised, and now you see the
consequence-now you repent when it is too late. All the comfort I
shall have when you are NUBBED [Footnote: The cant word for
hanging.] is, that I gave you a good advice. If you had always
gone out by yourself, as I would have had you, you might have
robbed on to the end of the chapter; but you was wiser than all
the world, or rather lazier, and see what your laziness is come
to--to the CHEAT, [Footnote: The gallows.] for thither you will go
now, that's infallible. And a just judgment on you for following
your headstrong will; I am the only person to be pitied; poor I,
who shall be scandalised for your fault. THERE GOES SHE WHOSE
HUSBAND WAS HANGED: methinks I hear them crying so already." At
which words she burst into tears. He could not then forbear
chiding her for this unnecessary concern on his account, and
begged her not to trouble him any more. She answered with some
spirit, "On your account, and be d--d to you! No, if the old cull
of a justice had not sent me hither, I believe it would have been
long enough before I should have come hither to see after you; d--
n me, I am committed for the FILINGLAY, [Footnote: Picking
pockets.] man, and we shall be both nubbed together. 'I faith, my
dear, it almost makes me amends for being nubbed myself, to have
the pleasure of seeing thee nubbed too." "Indeed, my dear,"
answered Wild, "it is what I have long wished for thee; but I do
not desire to bear thee company, and I have still hopes to have
the pleasure of seeing you go without me; at least I will have the
pleasure to be rid of you now." And so saying, he seized her by
the waist, and with strong arm flung her out of the room; but not
before she had with her nails left a bloody memorial on his cheek:
and thus this fond couple parted.

Wild had scarce recovered himself from the uneasiness into which
this unwelcome visit, proceeding from the disagreeable fondness of
his wife, had thrown him, than the faithful Achates appeared. The
presence of this youth was indeed a cordial to his spirits. He
received him with open arms, and expressed the utmost satisfaction
in the fidelity of his friendship, which so far exceeded the
fashion of the times, and said many things which we have forgot on
the occasion; but we remember they all tended to the praise of
Fireblood, whose modesty, at length, put a stop to the torrent of
compliments, by asserting he had done no more than his duty, and
that he should have detested himself could he have forsaken his
friend in his adversity; and, after many protestations that he
came the moment he heard of his misfortune, he asked him if he
could be of any service. Wild answered, since he had so kindly
proposed that question, he must say he should be obliged to him if
he could lend him a few guineas; for that he was very seedy.
Fireblood replied that he was greatly unhappy in not having it
then in his power, adding many hearty oaths that he had not a
farthing of money in his pocket, which was, indeed, strictly true;
for he had only a bank-note, which he had that evening purloined
from a gentleman in the playhouse passage. He then asked for his
wife, to whom, to speak truly, the visit was intended, her
confinement being the misfortune of which he had just heard; for,
as for that of Mr. Wild himself, he had known it from the first
minute, without ever intending to trouble him with his company.
Being informed therefore of the visit which had lately happened,
he reproved Wild for his cruel treatment of that good creature;
then, taking as sudden a leave as he civilly could of the
gentleman, he hastened to comfort his lady, who received him with
great kindness.



There resided in the castle at the same time with Mr. Wild one
Roger Johnson, a very GREAT MAN, who had long been at the head of
all the prigs in Newgate, and had raised contributions on them. He
examined into the nature of their defence, procured and instructed
their evidence, and made himself, at least in their opinion, so
necessary to them, that the whole fate of Newgate seemed entirely
to depend upon him.

Wild had not been long in confinement before he began to oppose
this man. He represented him to the prigs as a fellow who, under
the plausible pretence of assisting their causes, was in reality
undermining THE LIBERTIES OF NEWGATE. He at first threw out
certain sly hints and insinuations; but, having by degrees formed
a party against Roger, he one day assembled them together, and
spoke to them in the following florid manner:

"Friends and fellow-citizens,--The cause which I am to mention to
you this day is of such mighty importance, that when I consider my
own small abilities, I tremble with an apprehension lest your
safety may be rendered precarious by the weakness of him who hath
undertaken to represent to you your danger. Gentlemen, the liberty
of Newgate is at stake; your privileges have been long undermined,
and are now openly violated by one man; by one who hath engrossed
to himself the whole conduct of your trials, under colour of which
he exacts what contributions on you he pleases; but are those sums
appropriated to the uses for which they are raised? Your frequent
convictions at the Old Bailey, those depredations of justice, must
too sensibly and sorely demonstrate the contrary. What evidence
doth he ever produce for the prisoner which the prisoner himself
could not have provided, and often better instructed? How many
noble youths have there been lost when a single alibi would have
saved them! Should I be silent, nay, could your own injuries want
a tongue to remonstrate, the very breath which by his neglect hath
been stopped at the cheat would cry out loudly against him. Nor is
the exorbitancy of his plunders visible only in the dreadful
consequences it hath produced to the prigs, nor glares it only in
the miseries brought on them: it blazes forth in the more
desirable effects it hath wrought for himself, in the rich
perquisites acquired by it: witness that silk nightgown, that robe
of shame, which, to his eternal dishonour, he publicly wears; that
gown which I will not scruple to call the winding-sheet of the
liberties of Newgate. Is there a prig who hath the interest and
honour of Newgate so little at heart that he can refrain from
blushing when he beholds that trophy, purchased with the breath of
so many prigs? Nor is this all. His waistcoat embroidered with
silk, and his velvet cap, bought with the same price, are ensigns
of the same disgrace. Some would think the rags which covered his
nakedness when first he was committed hither well exchanged for
these gaudy trappings; but in my eye no exchange can be profitable
when dishonour is the condition. If, therefore, Newgate--" Here the
only copy which we could procure of this speech breaks off
abruptly; however, we can assure the reader, from very authentic
information, that he concluded with advising the prigs to put
their affairs into other hands. After which, one of his party, as
had been before concerted, in a very long speech recommended him
(Wild himself) to their choice.

Newgate was divided into parties on this occasion, the prigs on
each side representing their chief or great man to be the only
person by whom the affairs of Newgate could be managed with safety
and advantage. The prigs had indeed very incompatible interests;
for, whereas the supporters of Johnson, who was in possession of
the plunder of Newgate, were admitted to some share under their
leader, so the abettors of Wild had, on his promotion, the same
views of dividing some part of the spoil among themselves. It is
no wonder, therefore, they were both so warm on each side. What
may seem more remarkable was, that the debtors, who were entirely
unconcerned in the dispute, and who were the destined plunder of
both parties, should interest themselves with the utmost violence,
some on behalf of Wild, and others in favour of Johnson. So that
all Newgate resounded with WILD for ever, JOHNSON for ever. And
the poor debtors re-echoed THE LIBERTIES OF NEWGATE, which, in the
cant language, signifies plunder, as loudly as the thieves
themselves. In short, such quarrels and animosities happened
between them, that they seemed rather the people of two countries
long at war with each other than the inhabitants of the same

Wild's party at length prevailed, and he succeeded to the place
and power of Johnson, whom he presently stripped of all his
finery; but, when it was proposed that he should sell it and
divide the money for the good of the whole, he waved that motion,
saying it was not yet time, that he should find a better
opportunity, that the cloathes wanted cleaning, with many other
pretences, and within two days, to the surprize of many, he
appeared in them himself; for which he vouchsafed no other apology
than that they fitted him much better than they did Johnson, and
that they became him in a much more elegant manner.

This behaviour of Wild greatly incensed the debtors, particularly
those by whose means he had been promoted. They grumbled
extremely, and vented great indignation against Wild; when one day
a very grave man, and one of much authority among them, bespake
them as follows:

"Nothing sure can be more justly ridiculous than the conduct of
those who should lay the lamb in the wolfs way, and then should
lament his being devoured. What a wolf is in a sheep-fold, a great
man is in society. Now, when one wolf is in possession of a sheep-
fold, how little would it avail the simple flock to expel him and
place another in his stead! Of the same benefit to us is the
overthrowing one prig in favour of another. And for what other
advantage was your struggle? Did you not all know that Wild and
his followers were prigs, as well as Johnson and his? What then
could the contention be among such but that which you have now
discovered it to have been? Perhaps some would say, Is it then our
duty tamely to submit to the rapine of the prig who now plunders
us for fear of an exchange? Surely no: but I answer, It is better
to shake the plunder off than to exchange the plunderer. And by
what means can we effect this but by a total change in our
manners? Every prig is a slave. His own priggish desires, which
enslave him, themselves betray him to the tyranny of others. To
preserve, therefore, the liberty of Newgate is to change the
manners of Newgate. Let us, therefore, who are confined here for
debt only, separate ourselves entirely from the prigs; neither
drink with them nor converse with them. Let us at the same time
separate ourselves farther from priggism itself. Instead of being
ready, on every opportunity, to pillage each other, let us be
content with our honest share of the common bounty, and with the
acquisition of our own industry. When we separate from the prigs,
let us enter into a closer alliance with one another. Let us
consider ourselves all as members of one community, to the public
good of which we are to sacrifice our private views; not to give
up the interest of the whole for every little pleasure or profit
which shall accrue to ourselves. Liberty is consistent with no
degree of honesty inferior to this, and the community where this
abounds no prig will have the impudence or audaciousness to
endeavour to enslave; or if he should, his own destruction would
be the only consequence of his attempt. But while one man pursues
his ambition, another his interest, another his safety; while one
hath a roguery (a priggism they here call it) to commit, and
another a roguery to defend; they must naturally fly to the favour
and protection of those who have power to give them what they
desire, and to defend them from what they fear; nay, in this view
it becomes their interest to promote this power in their patrons.
Now, gentlemen, when we are no longer prigs, we shall no longer
have these fears or these desires. What remains, therefore, for us
but to resolve bravely to lay aside our priggism, our roguery, in
plainer words, and preserve our liberty, or to give up the latter
in the preservation and preference of the former?"

This speech was received with much applause; however, Wild
continued as before to levy contributions among the prisoners, to
apply the garnish to his own use, and to strut openly in the
ornaments which he had stripped from Johnson. To speak sincerely,
there was more bravado than real use or advantage in these
trappings. As for the nightgown, its outside indeed made a
glittering tinsel appearance, but it kept him not warm, nor could
the finery of it do him much honour, since every one knew it did
not properly belong to him; as to the waistcoat, it fitted him
very ill, being infinitely too big for him; and the cap was so
heavy that it made his head ache. Thus these cloathes, which
perhaps (as they presented the idea of their misery more sensibly
to the people's eyes) brought him more envy, hatred, and
detraction, than all his deeper impositions and more real
advantages, afforded very little use or honour to the wearer; nay,
could scarce serve to amuse his own vanity when this was cool
enough to reflect with the least seriousness. And, should I speak
in the language of a man who estimated human happiness without
regard to that greatness, which we have so laboriously endeavoured
to paint in this history, it is probable he never took (i.e.
robbed the prisoners of) a shilling, which he himself did not pay
too dear for.



The dead-warrant, as it is called, now came down to Newgate for
the execution of Heartfree among the rest of the prisoners. And
here the reader must excuse us, who profess to draw natural, not
perfect characters, and to record the truths of history, not the
extravagances of romance, while we relate a weakness in Wild of
which we are ourselves ashamed, and which we would willingly have
concealed, could we have preserved at the same time that strict
attachment to truth and impartiality, which we have professed in
recording the annals of this great man. Know then, reader, that
this dead-warrant did not affect Heartfree, who was to suffer a
shameful death by it, with half the concern it gave Wild, who had
been the occasion of it. He had been a little struck the day
before on seeing the children carried away in tears from their
father. This sight brought the remembrance of some slight injuries
he had done the father to his mind, which he endeavoured as much
as possible to obliterate; but, when one of the keepers (I should
say lieutenants of the castle) repeated Heartfree's name among
those of the malefactors who were to suffer within a few days, the
blood forsook his countenance, and in a cold still stream moved
heavily to his heart, which had scarce strength enough left to
return it through his veins. In short, his body so visibly
demonstrated the pangs of his mind, that to escape observation he
retired to his room, where he sullenly gave vent to such bitter
agonies, that even the injured Heartfree, had not the apprehension
of what his wife had suffered shut every avenue of compassion,
would have pitied him.

When his mind was thoroughly fatigued, and worn out with the
horrors which the approaching fate of the poor wretch, who lay
under a sentence which he had iniquitously brought upon him, had
suggested, sleep promised him relief; but this promise was, alas!
delusive. This certain friend to the tired body is often the
severest enemy to the oppressed mind. So at least it proved to
Wild, adding visionary to real horrors, and tormenting his
imagination with phantoms too dreadful to be described. At length,
starting from these visions, he no sooner recovered his waking
senses, than he cryed out--"I may yet prevent this catastrophe. It
is not too late to discover the whole." He then paused a moment;
but greatness, instantly returning to his assistance, checked the
base thought, as it first offered itself to his mind. He then
reasoned thus coolly with himself:--"Shall I, like a child, or a
woman, or one of those mean wretches whom I have always despised,
be frightened by dreams and visionary phantoms to sully that
honour which I have so difficultly acquired and so gloriously
maintained? Shall I, to redeem the worthless life of this silly
fellow, suffer my reputation to contract a stain which the blood
of millions cannot wipe away? Was it only that the few, the simple
part of mankind, should call me a rogue, perhaps I could submit;
but to be for ever contemptible to the prigs, as a wretch who
wanted spirit to execute my undertaking, can never be digested.
What is the life of a single man? Have not whole armies and
nations been sacrificed to the honour of ONE GREAT MAN? Nay, to
omit that first class of greatness, the conquerors of mankind, how
often have numbers fallen by a fictitious plot only to satisfy the
spleen, or perhaps exercise the ingenuity, of a member of that
second order of greatness the ministerial! What have I done then?
Why, I have ruined a family, and brought an innocent man to the
gallows. I ought rather to weep with Alexander that I have ruined
no more, than to regret the little I have done." He at length,
therefore, bravely resolved to consign over Heartfree to his fate,
though it cost him more struggling than may easily be believed,
utterly to conquer his reluctance, and to banish away every degree
of humanity from his mind, these little sparks of which composed
one of those weaknesses which we lamented in the opening of our

But, in vindication of our hero, we must beg leave to observe that
Nature is seldom so kind as those writers who draw characters
absolutely perfect. She seldom creates any man so completely
great, or completely low, but that some sparks of humanity will
glimmer in the former, and some sparks of what the vulgar call
evil will dart forth in the latter: utterly to extinguish which
will give some pain, and uneasiness to both; for I apprehend no
mind was ever yet formed entirely free from blemish, unless
peradventure that of a sanctified hypocrite, whose praises some
well-fed flatterer hath gratefully thought proper to sing forth.



The day was now come when poor Heartfree was to suffer an
ignominious death. Friendly had in the strongest manner confirmed
his assurance of fulfilling his promise of becoming a father to
one of his children and a husband to the other. This gave him
inexpressible comfort, and he had, the evening before, taken his
last leave of the little wretches with a tenderness which drew a
tear from one of the keepers, joined to a magnanimity which would
have pleased a stoic. When he was informed that the coach which
Friendly had provided for him was ready, and that the rest of the
prisoners were gone, he embraced that faithful friend with great
passion, and begged that he would leave him here; but the other
desired leave to accompany him to his end, which at last he was
forced to comply with. And now he was proceeding towards the coach
when he found his difficulties were not yet over; for now a friend
arrived of whom he was to take a harder and more tender leave than
he had yet gone through. This friend, reader, was no other than
Mrs. Heartfree herself, who ran to him with a look all wild,
staring, and frantic, and having reached his arms, fainted away in
them without uttering a single syllable. Heartfree was, with great
difficulty, able to preserve his own senses in such a surprize at
such a season. And indeed our good-natured reader will be rather
inclined to wish this miserable couple had, by dying in each
other's arms, put a final period to their woes, than have survived
to taste those bitter moments which were to be their portion, and
which the unhappy wife, soon recovering from the short
intermission of being, now began to suffer. When she became first
mistress of her voice she burst forth into the following accents:--
"O my husband! Is this the condition in which I find you after
our cruel separation? Who hath done this? Cruel Heaven! What is
the occasion? I know thou canst deserve no ill. Tell me, somebody
who can speak, while I have my senses left to understand, what is
the matter?" At which words several laughed, and one answered,
"The matter! Why no great matter. The gentleman is not the first,
nor won't be the last: the worst of the matter is, that if we are
to stay all the morning here I shall lose my dinner." Heartfree,
pausing a moment and recollecting himself, cryed out, "I will bear
all with patience." And then, addressing himself to the commanding
officer, begged he might only have a few minutes by himself with
his wife, whom he had not seen before since his misfortunes. The
great man answered, "He had compassion on him, and would do more
than he could answer; but he supposed he was too much a gentleman
not to know that something was due for such civility." On this
hint, Friendly, who was himself half dead, pulled five guineas out
of his pocket, which the great man took, and said he would be so
generous to give him ten minutes; on which one observed that many
a gentleman had bought ten minutes with a woman dearer, and many
other facetious remarks were made, unnecessary to be here related.
Heartfree was now suffered to retire into a room with his wife,
the commander informing him at his entrance that he must be
expeditious, for that the rest of the good company would be at the
tree before him, and he supposed he was a gentleman of too much
breeding to make them wait.

This tender wretched couple were now retired for these few
minutes, which the commander without carefully measured with his
watch; and Heartfree was mustering all his resolution to part with
what his soul so ardently doated on, and to conjure her to support
his loss for the sake of her poor infants, and to comfort her with
the promise of Friendly on their account; but all his design was
frustrated. Mrs. Heartfree could not support the shock, but again
fainted away, and so entirely lost every symptom of life that
Heartfree called vehemently for assistance. Friendly rushed first
into the room, and was soon followed by many others, and, what was
remarkable, one who had unmoved beheld the tender scene between
these parting lovers was touched to the quick by the pale looks of
the woman, and ran up and down for water, drops, &c., with the
utmost hurry and confusion. The ten minutes were expired, which
the commander now hinted; and seeing nothing offered for the
renewal of the term (for indeed Friendly had unhappily emptied his
pockets), he began to grow very importunate, and at last told
Heartfree he should be ashamed not to act more like a man.
Heartfree begged his pardon, and said he would make him wait no
longer. Then, with the deepest sigh, cryed, "Oh, my angel!" and,
embracing his wife with the utmost eagerness, kissed her pale lips
with more fervency than ever bridegroom did the blushing cheeks of
his bride. He then cryed, "The Almighty bless thee! and, if it be
his pleasure, restore thee to life; if not, I beseech him we may
presently meet again in a better world than this." He was breaking
from her, when, perceiving her sense returning, he could not
forbear renewing his embrace, and again pressing her lips, which
now recovered life and warmth so fast that he begged one ten
minutes more to tell her what her swooning had prevented her
hearing. The worthy commander, being perhaps a little touched at
this tender scene, took Friendly aside, and asked him what he
would give if he would suffer his friend to remain half-an-hour?
Friendly answered, anything; that he had no more money in his
pocket, but he would certainly pay him that afternoon. "Well,
then, I'll be moderate," said he; "twenty guineas." Friendly
answered, "It is a bargain." The commander, having exacted a firm
promise, cryed, "Then I don't care if they stay a whole hour
together; for what signifies hiding good news? the gentleman is
reprieved;" of which he had just before received notice in a
whisper. It would be very impertinent to offer at a description of
the joy this occasioned to the two friends, or to Mrs. Heartfree,
who was now again recovered. A surgeon, who was happily present,
was employed to bleed them all. After which the commander, who had
his promise of the money again confirmed to him, wished Heartfree
joy, and, shaking him very friendly by the hands, cleared the room
of all the company, and left the three friends together.



But here, though I am convinced my good-natured reader may almost
want the surgeon's assistance also, and that there is no passage
in this whole story which can afford him equal delight, yet, lest
our reprieve should seem to resemble that in the Beggars' Opera, I
shall endeavour to shew him that this incident, which is
undoubtedly true, is at least as natural as delightful; for we
assure him we would rather have suffered half mankind to be
hanged, than have saved one contrary to the strictest rules of
writing and probability.

Be it known, then (a circumstance which I think highly credible),
that the great Fireblood had been, a few days before, taken in the
fact of a robbery, and carried before the same justice of peace
who had, on his evidence, committed Heartfree to prison. This
magistrate, who did indeed no small honour to the commission he
bore, duly considered the weighty charge committed to him, by
which he was entrusted with decisions affecting the lives,
liberties, and properties of his countrymen. He therefore examined
always with the utmost diligence and caution into every minute
circumstance. And, as he had a good deal balanced, even when he
committed Heartfree, on the excellent character given him by
Friendly and the maid; and as he was much staggered on finding
that, of the two persons on whose evidence alone Heartfree had
been committed, and had been since convicted, one was in Newgate
for a felony, and the other was now brought before him for a
robbery, he thought proper to put the matter very home to
Fireblood at this time. The young Achates was taken, as we have
said, in the fact; so that denial he saw was in vain. He therefore
honestly confessed what he knew must be proved; and desired, on
the merit of the discoveries he made, to be admitted as an
evidence against his accomplices. This afforded the happiest
opportunity to the justice to satisfy his conscience in relation
to Heartfree. He told Fireblood that, if he expected the favour he
solicited, it must be on condition that he revealed the whole
truth to him concerning the evidence which he had lately given
against a bankrupt, and which some circumstances had induced a
suspicion of; that he might depend on it the truth would be
discovered by other means, and gave some oblique hints (a deceit
entirely justifiable) that Wild himself had offered such a
discovery. The very mention of Wild's name immediately alarmed
Fireblood, who did not in the least doubt the readiness of that
GREAT MAN to hang any of the gang when his own interest seemed to
require it. He therefore hesitated not a moment; but, having
obtained a promise from the justice that he should be accepted as
an evidence, he discovered the whole falsehood, and declared that
he had been seduced by Wild to depose as he had done.

The justice, having thus luckily and timely discovered this scene
of villany, alias greatness, lost not a moment in using his utmost
endeavours to get the case of the unhappy convict represented to
the sovereign, who immediately granted him that gracious reprieve
which caused such happiness to the persons concerned; and which we
hope we have now accounted for to the satisfaction of the reader.

The good magistrate, having obtained this reprieve for Heartfree,
thought it incumbent on him to visit him in the prison, and to
sound, if possible, the depth of this affair, that, if he should
appear as innocent as he now began to conceive him, he might use
all imaginable methods to obtain his pardon and enlargement.

The next day therefore after that when the miserable scene above
described had passed, he went to Newgate, where he found those
three persons, namely, Heartfree, his wife, and Friendly, sitting
together. The justice informed the prisoner of the confession of
Fireblood, with the steps which he had taken upon it. The reader
will easily conceive the many outward thanks, as well as inward
gratitude, which he received from all three; but those were of
very little consequence to him compared with the secret
satisfaction he felt in his mind from reflecting on the
preservation of innocence, as he soon after very clearly perceived
was the case.

When he entered the room Mrs. Heartfree was speaking with some
earnestness: as he perceived, therefore, he had interrupted her,
he begged she would continue her discourse, which, if he prevented
by his presence, he desired to depart; but Heartfree would not
suffer it. He said she had been relating some adventures which
perhaps, might entertain him to hear, and which she the rather
desired he would hear, as they might serve to illustrate the
foundation on which this falsehood had been built, which had
brought on her husband all his misfortunes.

The justice very gladly consented, and Mrs. Heartfree, at her
husband's desire, began the relation from the first renewal of
Wild's acquaintance with him; but, though this recapitulation was
necessary for the information of our good magistrate, as it would
be useless, and perhaps tedious, to the reader, we shall only
repeat that part of her story to which he is only a stranger,
beginning with what happened to her after Wild had been turned
adrift in the boat by the captain of the French privateer.



Mrs. Heartfree proceeded thus: "The vengeance which the French
captain exacted on that villain (our hero) persuaded me that I was
fallen into the hands of a man of honour and justice; nor indeed
was it possible for any person to be treated with more respect and
civility than I now was; but if this could not mitigate my sorrows
when I reflected on the condition in which I had been betrayed to
leave all that was dear to me, much less could it produce such an
effect when I discovered, as I soon did, that I owed it chiefly to
a passion which threatened me with great uneasiness, as it quickly
appeared to be very violent, and as I was absolutely in the power
of the person who possessed it, or was rather possessed by it. I
must however do him the justice to say my fears carried my
suspicions farther than I afterwards found I had any reason to
carry them: he did indeed very soon acquaint me with his passion,
and used all those gentle methods which frequently succeed with
our sex to prevail with me to gratify it; but never once
threatened, nor had the least recourse to force. He did not even
once insinuate to me that I was totally in his power, which I
myself sufficiently saw, and whence I drew the most dreadful
apprehensions, well knowing that, as there are some dispositions
so brutal that cruelty adds a zest and savour to their pleasures,
so there are others whose gentler inclinations are better
gratified when they win us by softer methods to comply with their
desires; yet that even these may be often compelled by an unruly
passion to have recourse at last to the means of violence, when
they despair of success from persuasion; but I was happily the
captive of a better man. My conqueror was one of those over whom
vice hath a limited jurisdiction; and, though he was too easily
prevailed on to sin, he was proof against any temptation to

"We had been two days almost totally becalmed, when, a brisk gale
rising as we were in sight in Dunkirk, we saw a vessel making full
sail towards us. The captain of the privateer was so strong that
he apprehended no danger but from a man-of-war, which the sailors
discerned this not to be. He therefore struck his colours, and
furled his sails as much as possible, in order to lie by and
expect her, hoping she might be a prize." (Here Heartfree smiling,
his wife stopped and inquired the cause. He told her it was from
her using the sea-terms so aptly: she laughed, and answered he
would wonder less at this when he heard the long time she had been
on board; and then proceeded.) "This vessel now came alongside of
us, and hailed us, having perceived that on which we were aboard
to be of her own country; they begged us not to put into Dunkirk,
but to accompany them in their pursuit of a large English
merchantman, whom we should easily overtake, and both together as
easily conquer. Our captain immediately consented to this
proposition, and ordered all his sail to be crowded. This was most
unwelcome news to me; however, he comforted me all he could by
assuring me I had nothing to fear, that he would be so far from
offering the least rudeness to me himself, that he would, at the
hazard of his life, protect me from it. This assurance gave me all
the consolation which my present circumstances and the dreadful
apprehensions I had on your dear account would admit." (At which
words the tenderest glances passed on both sides between the
husband and wife.)

"We sailed near twelve hours, when we came in sight of the ship we
were in pursuit of, and which we should probably have soon come up
with had not a very thick mist ravished her from our eyes. This
mist continued several hours, and when it cleared up we discovered
our companion at a great distance from us; but what gave us (I
mean the captain and his crew) the greatest uneasiness was the
sight of a very large ship within a mile of us, which presently
saluted us with a gun, and now appeared to be a third-rate English
man-of-war. Our captain declared the impossibility of either
fighting or escaping, and accordingly struck without waiting for
the broadside which was preparing for us, and which perhaps would
have prevented me from the happiness I now enjoy." This occasioned
Heartfree to change colour; his wife therefore passed hastily to
circumstances of a more smiling complexion.

"I greatly rejoiced at this event, as I thought it would not only
restore me to the safe possession of my jewels, but to what I
value beyond all the treasure in the universe. My expectation,
however, of both these was somewhat crost for the present: as to
the former, I was told they should be carefully preserved; but
that I must prove my right to them before I could expect their
restoration, which, if I mistake not, the captain did not very
eagerly desire I should be able to accomplish: and as to the
latter, I was acquainted that I should be put on board the first
ship which they met on her way to England, but that they were
proceeding to the West Indies.

"I had not been long on board the man-of-war before I discovered
just reason rather to lament than rejoice at the exchange of my
captivity; for such I concluded my present situation to be. I had
now another lover in the captain of this Englishman, and much
rougher and less gallant than the Frenchman had been. He used me
with scarce common civility, as indeed he shewed very little to
any other person, treating his officers little better than a man
of no great good-breeding would exert to his meanest servant, and
that too on some very irritating provocation. As for me, he
addressed me with the insolence of a basha to a Circassian slave;
he talked to me with the loose licence in which the most
profligate libertines converse with harlots, and which women
abandoned only in a moderate degree detest and abhor. He often
kissed me with very rude familiarity, and one day attempted
further brutality; when a gentleman on board, and who was in my
situation, that is, had been taken by a privateer and was retaken,
rescued me from his hands, for which the captain confined him,
though he was not under his command, two days in irons: when he
was released (for I was not suffered to visit him in his
confinement) I went to him and thanked him with the utmost
acknowledgment for what he had done and suffered on my account.
The gentleman behaved to me in the handsomest manner on this
occasion; told me he was ashamed of the high sense I seemed to
entertain of so small an obligation of an action to which his duty
as a Christian and his honour as a man obliged him. From this time
I lived in great familiarity with this man, whom I regarded as my
protector, which he professed himself ready to be on all
occasions, expressing the utmost abhorrence of the captain's
brutality, especially that shewn towards me, and the tenderness of
a parent for the preservation of my virtue, for which I was not
myself more solicitous than he appeared. He was, indeed, the only
man I had hitherto met since my unhappy departure who did not
endeavour by all his looks, words, and actions, to assure me he
had a liking to my unfortunate person; the rest seeming desirous
of sacrificing the little beauty they complimented to their
desires, without the least consideration of the ruin which I
earnestly represented to them they were attempting to bring on me
and on my future repose.

"I now passed several days pretty free from the captain's
molestation, till one fatal night." Here, perceiving Heartfree
grew pale, she comforted him by an assurance that Heaven had
preserved her chastity, and again had restored her unsullied to
his arms. She continued thus: "Perhaps I give it a wrong epithet
in the word fatal; but a wretched night I am sure I may call it,
for no woman who came off victorious was, I believe, ever in
greater danger. One night I say, having drank his spirits high
with punch, in company with the purser, who was the only man in
the ship he admitted to his table, the captain sent for me into
his cabin; whither, though unwilling, I was obliged to go. We were
no sooner alone together than he seized me by the hand, and, after
affronting my ears with discourse which I am unable to repeat, he
swore a great oath that his passion was to be dallied with no
longer; that I must not expect to treat him in the manner to which
a set of blockhead land-men submitted. 'None of your coquette
airs, therefore, with me, madam,' said he, 'for I am resolved to
have you this night. No struggling nor squalling, for both will be
impertinent. The first man who offers to come in here, I will have
his skin flea'd off at the gangway.' He then attempted to pull me
violently towards his bed. I threw myself on my knees, and with
tears and entreaties besought his compassion; but this was, I
found, to no purpose: I then had recourse to threats, and
endeavoured to frighten him with the consequence; but neither had
this, though it seemed to stagger him more than the other method,
sufficient force to deliver me. At last a stratagem came into my
head, of which my perceiving him reel gave me the first hint. I
entreated a moment's reprieve only, when, collecting all the
spirits I could muster, I put on a constrained air of gayety, and
told him, with an affected laugh, he was the roughest lover I had
ever met with, and that I believed I was the first woman he had
ever paid his addresses to. Addresses, said he; d--n your dresses!
I want to undress you. I then begged him to let us drink some
punch together; for that I loved a can as well as himself, and
never would grant the favour to any man till I had drank a hearty
glass with him. O! said he, if that be all you shall have punch
enough to drown yourself in. At which words he rung the bell, and
ordered in a gallon of that liquor. I was in the meantime obliged
to suffer his nauseous kisses, and some rudenesses which I had
great difficulty to restrain within moderate bounds. When the
punch came in he took up the bowl and drank my health
ostentatiously, in such a quantity that it considerably advanced
my scheme. I followed him with bumpers as fast as possible, and
was myself obliged to drink so much that at another time it would
have staggered my own reason, but at present it did not affect me.
At length, perceiving him very far gone, I watched an opportunity,
and ran out of the cabin, resolving to seek protection of the sea
if I could find no other; but Heaven was now graciously pleased to
relieve me; for in his attempt to pursue me he reeled backwards,
and, falling down the cabbin stairs, he dislocated his shoulder
and so bruised himself that I was not only preserved that night
from any danger of my intended ravisher, but the accident threw
him into a fever which endangered his life, and whether he ever
recovered or no I am not certain; for during his delirious fits
the eldest lieutenant commanded the ship. This was a virtuous and
a brave fellow, who had been twenty-five years in that post
without being able to obtain a ship, and had seen several boys,
the bastards of noblemen, put over his head. One day while the
ship remained under his command an English vessel bound to Cork
passed by; myself and my friend, who had formerly lain two days in
irons on my account, went on board this ship with the leave of the
good lieutenant, who made us such presents as he was able of
provisions, and, congratulating me on my delivery from a danger to
which none of the ship's crew had been strangers, he kindly wished
us both a safe voyage."



The first evening after we were aboard this vessel, which was a
brigantine, we being then at no very great distance from the
Madeiras, the most violent storm arose from the northwest, in
which we presently lost both our masts; and indeed death now
presented itself as inevitable to us: I need not tell my Tommy
what were then my thoughts. Our danger was so great that the
captain of the ship, a professed atheist, betook himself to
prayers, and the whole crew, abandoning themselves for lost, fell
with the utmost eagerness to the emptying a cask of brandy, not
one drop of which they swore should be polluted with salt water. I
observed here my old friend displayed less courage than I expected
from him. He seemed entirely swallowed up in despair. But Heaven
be praised! we were all at last preserved. The storm, after above
eleven hours' continuance, began to abate, and by degrees entirely
ceased, but left us still rolling at the mercy of the waves, which
carried us at their own pleasure to the south-east a vast number
of leagues. Our crew were all dead drunk with the brandy which
they had taken such care to preserve from the sea; but, indeed,
had they been awake, their labour would have been of very little
service, as we had lost all our rigging, our brigantine being
reduced to a naked hulk only. In this condition we floated above
thirty hours, till in the midst of a very dark night we spied a
light, which seeming to approach us, grew so large that our
sailors concluded it to be the lantern of a man of war; but when
we were cheering ourselves with the hopes of our deliverance from
this wretched situation, on a sudden, to our great concern, the
light entirely disappeared, and left us in despair encreased by
the remembrance of those pleasing imaginations with which we had
entertained our minds during its appearance. The rest of the night
we passed in melancholy conjectures on the light which had
deserted us, which the major part of the sailors concluded to be a
meteor. In this distress we had one comfort, which was a plentiful
store of provisions; this so supported the spirits of the sailors,
that they declared had they but a sufficient quantity of brandy
they cared not whether they saw land for a month to come; but
indeed we were much nearer it than we imagined, as we perceived at
break of day. One of the most knowing of the crew declared we were
near the continent of Africa; but when we were within three
leagues of it a second violent storm arose from the north, so that
we again gave over all hopes of safety. This storm was not quite
so outrageous as the former, but of much longer continuance, for
it lasted near three days, and drove us an immense number of
leagues to the south. We were within a league of the shore,
expecting every moment our ship to be dashed in pieces, when the
tempest ceased all on a sudden; but the waves still continued to
roll like mountains, and before the sea recovered its calm motion,
our ship was thrown so near the land, that the captain ordered out
his boat, declaring he had scarce any hopes of saving her; and
indeed we had not quitted her many minutes before we saw the
justice of his apprehensions, for she struck against a rock and
immediately sunk. The behaviour of the sailors on this occasion
very much affected me; they beheld their ship perish with the
tenderness of a lover or a parent; they spoke of her as the
fondest husband would of his wife; and many of them, who seemed to
have no tears in their composition, shed them plentifully at her
sinking. The captain himself cried out, 'Go thy way, charming
Molly, the sea never devoured a lovelier morsel. If I have fifty
vessels I shall never love another like thee. Poor slut! I shall
remember thee to my dying day.' Well, the boat now conveyed us all
safe to shore, where we landed with very little difficulty. It was
now about noon, and the rays of the sun, which descended almost
perpendicular on our heads, were extremely hot and troublesome.
However, we travelled through this extreme heat about five miles
over a plain. This brought us to a vast wood, which extended
itself as far as we could see, both to the right and left, and
seemed to me to put an entire end to our progress. Here we decreed
to rest and dine on the provision which we had brought from the
ship, of which we had sufficient for very few meals; our boat
being so overloaded with people that we had very little room for
luggage of any kind. Our repast was salt pork broiled, which the
keenness of hunger made so delicious to my companions that they
fed very heartily upon it. As for myself, the fatigue of my body
and the vexation of my mind had so thoroughly weakened me, that I
was almost entirely deprived of appetite; and the utmost dexterity
of the most accomplished French cook would have been ineffectual
had he endeavoured to tempt me with delicacies. I thought myself
very little a gainer by my late escape from the tempest, by which
I seemed only to have exchanged the element in which I was
presently to die. When our company had sufficiently, and indeed
very plentifully feasted themselves, they resolved to enter the
wood and endeavour to pass it, in expectation of finding some
inhabitants, at least some provision. We proceeded therefore in
the following order: one man in the front with a hatchet, to clear
our way, and two others followed him with guns, to protect the
rest from wild beasts; then walked the rest of our company, and
last of all the captain himself, being armed likewise with a gun,
to defend us from any attack behind--in the rear, I think you call
it. And thus our whole company, being fourteen in number,
travelled on till night overtook us, without seeing anything
unless a few birds and some very insignificant animals. We rested
all night under the covert of some trees, and indeed we very
little wanted shelter at that season, the heat in the day being
the only inclemency we had to combat with in this climate. I
cannot help telling you my old friend lay still nearest me on the
ground, and declared he would be my protector should any of the
sailors offer rudeness; but I can acquit them of any such attempt;
nor was I ever affronted by any one, more than with a coarse
expression, proceeding rather from the roughness and ignorance of
their education than from any abandoned principle, or want of

"We had now proceeded very little way on our next day's march when
one of the sailors, having skipt nimbly up a hill, with the
assistance of a speaking trumpet informed us that he saw a town a
very little way off. This news so comforted me, and gave me such
strength, as well as spirits, that, with the help of my old friend
and another, who suffered me to lean on them, I, with much
difficulty, attained the summit; but was so absolutely overcome in
climbing it, that I had no longer sufficient strength to support
my tottering limbs, and was obliged to lay myself again on the
ground; nor could they prevail on me to undertake descending
through a very thick wood into a plain, at the end of which indeed
appeared some houses, or rather huts, but at a much greater
distance than the sailor assured us; the little way, as he had
called it, seeming to me full twenty miles, nor was it, I believe,
much less."



The captain declared he would, without delay, proceed to the town
before him; in which resolution he was seconded by all the crew;
but when I could not be persuaded, nor was I able to travel any
farther before I had rested myself, my old friend protested he
would not leave me, but would stay behind as my guard; and, when I
had refreshed myself with a little repose, he would attend me to
the town, which the captain promised he would not leave before he
had seen us.

"They were no sooner departed than (having first thanked my
protector for his care of me) I resigned myself to sleep, which
immediately closed my eyelids, and would probably have detained me
very long in his gentle dominions, had I not been awaked with a
squeeze by the hand by my guard, which I at first thought intended
to alarm me with the danger of some wild beast; but I soon
perceived it arose from a softer motive, and that a gentle swain
was the only wild beast I had to apprehend. He began now to
disclose his passion in the strongest manner imaginable, indeed
with a warmth rather beyond that of both my former lovers, but as
yet without any attempt of absolute force. On my side
remonstrances were made in more bitter exclamations and revilings
than I had used to any, that villain Wild excepted. I told him he
was the basest and most treacherous wretch alive; that his having
cloaked his iniquitous designs under the appearance of virtue and
friendship added an ineffable degree of horror to them; that I
detested him of all mankind the most, and could I be brought to
yield to prostitution, he should be the last to enjoy the ruins of
my honour. He suffered himself not to be provoked by this
language, but only changed his manner of solicitation from
flattery to bribery. He unript the lining of his waistcoat, and
pulled forth several jewels; these, he said, he had preserved from
infinite danger to the happiest purpose, if I could be won by
them. I rejected them often with the utmost indignation, till at
last, casting my eye, rather by accident than design, on a diamond
necklace, a thought, like lightning, shot through my mind, and, in
an instant, I remembered that this was the very necklace you had
sold the cursed count, the cause of all our misfortunes. The
confusion of ideas into which this surprize hurried me prevented
my reflecting on the villain who then stood before me; but the
first recollection presently told me it could be no other than the
count himself, the wicked tool of Wild's barbarity. Good heavens!
what was then my condition! How shall I describe the tumult of
passions which then laboured in my breast? However, as I was
happily unknown to him, the least suspicion on his side was
altogether impossible. He imputed, therefore, the eagerness with
which I gazed on the jewels to a very wrong cause, and endeavoured
to put as much additional softness into his countenance as he was
able. My fears were a little quieted, and I was resolved to be
very liberal of promises, and hoped so thoroughly to persuade him
of my venality that he might, without any doubt, be drawn in to
wait the captain and crew's return, who would, I was very certain,
not only preserve me from his violence, but secure the restoration
of what you had been so cruelly robbed of. But, alas! I was
mistaken." Mrs. Heartfree, again perceiving symptoms of the utmost
disquietude in her husband's countenance, cryed out, "My dear,
don't you apprehend any harm.--But, to deliver you as soon as
possible from your anxiety--when he perceived I declined the
warmth of his addresses he begged me to consider; he changed at
once his voice and features, and, in a very different tone from
what he had hitherto affected, he swore I should not deceive him
as I had the captain; that fortune had kindly thrown an
opportunity in his way which he was resolved not foolishly to
lose; and concluded with a violent oath that he was determined to
enjoy me that moment, and therefore I knew the consequence of
resistance. He then caught me in his arms, and began such rude
attempts, that I skreamed out with all the force I could, though I
had so little hopes of being rescued, when there suddenly rushed
forth from a thicket a creature which, at his first appearance,
and in the hurry of spirits I then was, I did not take for a man;
but, indeed, had he been the fiercest of wild beasts, I should
have rejoiced at his devouring us both. I scarce perceived he had
a musket in his hand before he struck my ravisher such a blow with
it that he felled him at my feet. He then advanced with a gentle
air towards me, and told me in French he was extremely glad he had
been luckily present to my assistance. He was naked, except his
middle and his feet, if I can call a body so which was covered
with hair almost equal to any beast whatever. Indeed, his
appearance was so horrid in my eyes, that the friendship he had
shewn me, as well as his courteous behaviour, could not entirely
remove the dread I had conceived from his figure. I believe he saw
this very visibly; for he begged me not to be frightened, since,
whatever accident had brought me thither, I should have reason to
thank heaven for meeting him, at whose hands I might assure myself
of the utmost civility and protection. In the midst of all this
consternation, I had spirits enough to take up the casket of
jewels which the villain, in falling, had dropped out of his
hands, and conveyed it into my pocket. My deliverer, telling me
that I seemed extremely weak and faint, desired me to refresh
myself at his little hut, which, he said, was hard by. If his
demeanour had been less kind and obliging, my desperate situation
must have lent me confidence; for sure the alternative could not
be doubtful, whether I should rather trust this man, who,
notwithstanding his savage outside, expressed so much devotion to
serve me, which at least I was not certain of the falsehood of, or
should abide with one whom I so perfectly well knew to be an
accomplished villain. I therefore committed myself to his
guidance, though with tears in my eyes, and begged him to have
compassion on my innocence, which was absolutely in his power. He
said, the treatment he had been witness of, which he supposed was
from one who had broken his trust towards me, sufficiently
justified my suspicion; but begged me to dry my eyes, and he would
soon convince me that I was with a man of different sentiments.
The kind accents which accompanied these words gave me some
comfort, which was assisted by the repossession of our jewels by
an accident so strongly savouring of the disposition of Providence
in my favour.

"We left the villain weltering in his blood, though beginning to
recover a little motion, and walked together to his hut, or rather
cave, for it was under ground, on the side of a hill; the
situation was very pleasant, and from its mouth we overlooked a
large plain and the town I had before seen. As soon as I entered
it, he desired me to sit down on a bench of earth, which served
him for chairs, and then laid before me some fruits, the wild
product of that country, one or two of which had an excellent
flavour. He likewise produced some baked flesh, a little
resembling that of venison. He then brought forth a bottle of
brandy, which he said had remained with him ever since his
settling there, now above thirty years, during all which time he
had never opened it, his only liquor being water; that he had
reserved this bottle as a cordial in sickness; but, he thanked
heaven, he had never yet had occasion for it. He then acquainted
me that he was a hermit, that he had been formerly cast away on
that coast, with his wife, whom he dearly loved, but could not
preserve from perishing; on which account he had resolved never to
return to France, which was his native country, but to devote
himself to prayer and a holy life, placing all his hopes in the
blessed expectation of meeting that dear woman again in heaven,
where, he was convinced, she was now a saint and an interceder for
him. He said he had exchanged a watch with the king of that
country, whom he described to be a very just and good man, for a
gun, some powder, shot, and ball, with which he sometimes provided
himself food, but more generally used it in defending himself
against wild beasts; so that his diet was chiefly of the vegetable
kind. He told me many more circumstances, which I may relate to
you hereafter: but, to be as concise as possible at present, he at
length greatly comforted me by promising to conduct me to a
seaport, where I might have an opportunity to meet with some
vessels trafficking for slaves; and whence I might once more
commit myself to that element which, though I had already suffered
so much on it, I must again trust to put me in possession of all I

"The character he gave me of the inhabitants of the town we saw
below us, and of their king, made me desirous of being conducted
thither; especially as I very much wished to see the captain and
sailors, who had behaved very kindly to me, and with whom,
notwithstanding all the civil behaviour of the hermit, I was
rather easier in my mind than alone with this single man; but he
dissuaded me greatly from attempting such a walk till I had
recruited my spirits with rest, desiring me to repose myself on
his couch or bank, saying that he himself would retire without the
cave, where he would remain as my guard. I accepted this kind
proposal, but it was long before I could procure any slumber;
however, at length, weariness prevailed over my fears, and I
enjoyed several hours' sleep. When I awaked I found my faithful
centinel on his post and ready at my summons. This behaviour
infused some confidence into me, and I now repeated my request
that he would go with me to the town below; but he answered, it
would be better advised to take some repast before I undertook the
journey, which I should find much longer than it appeared. I
consented, and he set forth a greater variety of fruits than
before, of which I ate very plentifully. My collation being ended,
I renewed the mention of my walk, but he still persisted in
dissuading me, telling me that I was not yet strong enough; that I
could repose myself nowhere with greater safety than in his cave;
and that, for his part, he could have no greater happiness than
that of attending me, adding, with a sigh, it was a happiness he
should envy any other more than all the gifts of fortune. You may
imagine I began now to entertain suspicions; but he presently
removed all doubt by throwing himself at my feet and expressing
the warmest passion for me. I should have now sunk with despair
had he not accompanied these professions with the most vehement
protestations that he would never offer me any other force but
that of entreaty, and that he would rather die the most cruel
death by my coldness than gain the highest bliss by becoming the
occasion of a tear of sorrow to these bright eyes, which he said
were stars, under whose benign influence alone he could enjoy, or
indeed suffer life." She was repeating many more compliments he
made her, when a horrid uproar, which alarmed the whole gate, put
a stop to her narration at present. It is impossible for me to
give the reader a better idea of the noise which now arose than by
desiring him to imagine I had the hundred tongues the poet once
wished for, and was vociferating from them all at once, by
hollowing, scolding, crying, swearing, bellowing, and, in short,
by every different articulation which is within the scope of the
human organ.



But however great an idea the reader may hence conceive of this
uproar, he will think the occasion more than adequate to it when
he is informed that our hero (I blush to name it) had discovered
an injury done to his honour, and that in the tenderest point. In
a word, reader (for thou must know it, though it give thee the
greatest horror imaginable), he had caught Fireblood in the arms
of his lovely Laetitia.

As the generous bull who, having long depastured among a number of
cows, and thence contracted an opinion that these cows are all his
own property, if he beholds another bull bestride a cow within his
walks, he roars aloud, and threatens instant vengeance with his
horns, till the whole parish are alarmed with his bellowing; not
with less noise nor less dreadful menaces did the fury of Wild
burst forth and terrify the whole gate. Long time did rage render
his voice inarticulate to the hearer; as when, at a visiting day,
fifteen or sixteen or perhaps twice as many females, of delicate
but shrill pipes, ejaculate all at once on different subjects, all
is sound only, the harmony entirely melodious indeed, but conveys
no idea to our ears; but at length, when reason began to get the
better of his passion, which latter, being deserted by his breath,
began a little to retreat, the following accents, leapt over the
hedge of his teeth, or rather the ditch of his gums, whence those
hedgestakes had long since by a batten been displaced in battle
with an amazon of Drury.

[Footnote: The beginning of this speech is lost.]--"Man of honour!
doth this become a friend? Could I have expected such a breach of
all the laws of honour from thee, whom I had taught to walk in its
paths? Hadst thou chosen any other way to injure my confidence I
could have forgiven it; but this is a stab in the tenderest part,
a wound never to be healed, an injury never to be repaired; for it
is not only the loss of an agreeable companion, of the affection
of a wife dearer to my soul than life itself, it is not this loss
alone I lament; this loss is accompanied with disgrace and with
dishonour. The blood of the Wilds, which hath run with such
uninterrupted purity through so many generations, this blood is
fouled, is contaminated: hence flow my tears, hence arises my
grief. This is the injury never to be redressed, nor even to be
with honour forgiven." "M---in a bandbox!" answered Fireblood;
"here is a noise about your honour! If the mischief done to your
blood be all you complain of, I am sure you complain of nothing;
for my blood is as good as yours." "You have no conception,"
replied Wild, "of the tenderness of honour; you know not how nice
and delicate it is in both sexes; so delicate that the least
breath of air which rudely blows on it destroys it." "I will prove
from your own words," says Fireblood, "I have not wronged your
honour. Have you not often told me that the honour of a man
consisted in receiving no affront from his own sex, and that of
woman in receiving no kindness from ours? Now, sir, if I have
given you no affront, how have I injured your honour?" "But doth
not everything," cried Wild, "of the wife belong to the husband? A
married man, therefore, hath his wife's honour as well as his own,
and by injuring hers you injure his. How cruelly you have hurt me
in this tender part I need not repeat; the whole gate knows it,
and the world shall. I will apply to Doctors' Commons for my
redress against her; I will shake off as much of my dishonour as I
can by parting with her; and as for you, expect to hear of me in
Westminster-hall; the modern method of repairing these breaches
and of resenting this affront." "D--n your eyes!" cries Fireblood;
"I fear you not, nor do I believe a word you say." "Nay, if you
affront me personally," says Wild, "another sort of resentment is
prescribed." At which word, advancing to Fireblood, he presented
him with a box on the ear, which the youth immediately returned;
and now our hero and his friend fell to boxing, though with some
difficulty, both being encumbered with the chains which they wore
between their legs: a few blows passed on both sides before the
gentlemen who stood by stept in and parted the combatants; and now
both parties having whispered each other, that, if they outlived
the ensuing sessions and escaped the tree, one should give and the
other should receive satisfaction in single combat, they separated
and the gate soon recovered its former tranquillity.

Mrs. Heartfree was then desired by the justice and her husband
both, to conclude her story, which she did in the words of the
next chapter.



"If I mistake not, I was interrupted just as I was beginning to
repeat some of the compliments made me by the hermit." "Just as
you had finished them, I believe, madam," said the justice. "Very
well, sir," said she; "I am sure I have no pleasure in the
repetition. He concluded then with telling me, though I was in his
eyes the most charming woman in the world, and might tempt a saint
to abandon the ways of holiness, yet my beauty inspired him with a
much tenderer affection towards me than to purchase any
satisfaction of his own desires with my misery; if therefore I
could be so cruel to him to reject his honest and sincere address,
nor could submit to a solitary life with one who would endeavour
by all possible means to make me happy, I had no force to dread;
for that I was as much at my liberty as if I was in France, or
England, or any other free country. I repulsed him with the same
civility with which he advanced; and told him that, as he
professed great regard to religion, I was convinced he would cease
from all farther solicitation when I informed him that, if I had
no other objection, my own innocence would not admit of my hearing
him on this subject, for that I was married. He started a little
at that word, and was for some time silent; but, at length
recovering himself, he began to urge the uncertainty of my
husband's being alive, and the probability of the contrary. He
then spoke of marriage as of a civil policy only, on which head he
urged many arguments not worth repeating, and was growing so very
eager and importunate that I know not whither his passion might
have hurried him had not three of the sailors, well armed,
appeared at that instant in sight of the cave. I no sooner saw
them than, exulting with the utmost inward joy, I told him my
companions were come for me, and that I must now take my leave of
him; assuring him that I would always remember, with the most
grateful acknowledgment, the favours I had received at his hands.
He fetched a very heavy sigh, and, squeezing me tenderly by the
hand, he saluted my lips with a little more eagerness than the
European salutations admit of, and told me he should likewise
remember my arrival at his cave to the last day of his life,
adding, O that he could there spend the whole in the company of
one whose bright eyes had kindled--but I know you will think, sir,
that we women love to repeat the compliments made us, I will
therefore omit them. In a word, the sailors being now arrived, I
quitted him with some compassion for the reluctance with which he
parted from me, and went forward with my companions.

"We had proceeded but a very few paces before one of the sailors
said to his comrades, 'D--n me, Jack, who knows whether yon fellow
hath not some good flip in his cave?' I innocently answered, The
poor wretch hath only one bottle of brandy. 'Hath he so?' cries
the sailor; ''fore George, we will taste it;' and so saying they
immediately returned back, and myself with them. We found the poor
man prostrate on the ground, expressing all the symptoms of misery
and lamentation. I told him in French (for the sailors could not
speak that language) what they wanted. He pointed to the place
where the bottle was deposited, saying they were welcome to that
and whatever else he had, and added he cared not if they took his
life also. The sailors searched the whole cave, where finding
nothing more which they deemed worth their taking, they walked off
with the bottle, and, immediately emptying it without offering me
a drop, they proceeded with me towards the town.

"In our way I observed one whisper another, while he kept his eye
stedfastly fixed on me. This gave me some uneasiness; but the
other answered, 'No, d--n me, the captain will never forgive us:
besides, we have enough of it among the black women, and, in my
mind, one colour is as good as another.' This was enough to give
me violent apprehensions; but I heard no more of that kind till we
came to the town, where, in about six hours, I arrived in safety.

"As soon as I came to the captain he enquired what was become of
my friend, meaning the villanous count. When he was informed by me
of what had happened, he wished me heartily joy of my delivery,
and, expressing the utmost abhorrence of such baseness, swore if
ever he met him he would cut his throat; but, indeed, we both
concluded that he had died of the blow which the hermit had given

"I was now introduced to the chief magistrate of this country, who
was desirous of seeing me. I will give you a short description of
him. He was chosen (as is the custom there) for his superior
bravery and wisdom. His power is entirely absolute during his
continuance; but, on the first deviation from equity and justice,
he is liable to be deposed and punished by the people, the elders
of whom, once a year assemble to examine into his conduct. Besides
the danger which these examinations, which are very strict, expose
him to, his office is of such care and trouble that nothing but
that restless love of power so predominant in the mind of man
could make it the object of desire, for he is indeed the only
slave of all the natives of this country. He is obliged, in time
of peace, to hear the complaint of every person in his dominions
and to render him justice; for which purpose every one may demand
an audience of him, unless during the hour which he is allowed for
dinner, when he sits alone at the table, and is attended in the
most public manner with more than European ceremony. This is done
to create an awe and respect towards him in the eye of the vulgar;
but lest it should elevate him too much in his own opinion, in
order to his humiliation he receives every evening in private,
from a kind of beadle, a gentle kick on his posteriors; besides
which he wears a ring in his nose, somewhat resembling that we
ring our pigs with, and a chain round his neck not unlike that
worn by our aldermen; both which I suppose to be emblematical, but
heard not the reasons of either assigned. There are many more
particularities among these people which, when I have an
opportunity, I may relate to you. The second day after my return
from court one of his officers, whom they call SCHACH PIMPACH,
waited upon me, and, by a French interpreter who lives here,
informed me that the chief magistrate liked my person, and offered
me an immense present if I would suffer him to enjoy it (this is,
it seems, their common form of making love). I rejected the
present, and never heard any further solicitations; for, as it is
no shame for women here to consent at the first proposal, so they
never receive a second.

"I had resided in this town a week when the captain informed me
that a number of slaves, who had been taken captives in war, were
to be guarded to the sea-side, where they were to be sold to the
merchants who traded in them to America; that if I would embrace
this opportunity I might assure myself of finding a passage to
America, and thence to England; acquainting me at the same time
that he himself intended to go with them. I readily agreed to
accompany him. The chief, being advertised of our designs, sent
for us both to court, and, without mentioning a word of love to
me, having presented me with a very rich jewel, of less value, he
said, than my chastity, took a very civil leave, recommending me
to the care of heaven, and ordering us a large supply of
provisions for our journey.

"We were provided with mules for ourselves and what we carried
with us, and in nine days reached the sea-shore, where we found an
English vessel ready to receive both us and the slaves. We went
aboard it, and sailed the next day with a fair wind for New
England, where I hoped to get an immediate passage to the Old: but
Providence was kinder than my expectation; for the third day after
we were at sea we met an English man-of-war homeward bound; the
captain of it was a very good-natured man, and agreed to take me
on board. I accordingly took my leave of my old friend, the master
of the shipwrecked vessel, who went on to New England, whence he
intended to pass to Jamaica, where his owners lived. I was now
treated with great civility, had a little cabin assigned me, and
dined every day at the captain's table, who was indeed a very
gallant man, and at first, made me a tender of his affections;
but, when he found me resolutely bent to preserve myself pure and
entire for the best of husbands, he grew cooler in his addresses,
and soon behaved in a manner very pleasing to me, regarding my sex
only so far as to pay me a deference, which is very agreeable to
us all.

"To conclude my story; I met with no adventure in this passage at
all worth relating, till my landing at Gravesend, whence the
captain brought me in his own boat to the Tower. In a short hour
after my arrival we had that meeting which, however dreadful at
first, will, I now hope, by the good offices of the best of men,
whom Heaven for ever bless, end in our perfect happiness, and be a
strong instance of what I am persuaded is the surest truth, THAT

Mrs. Heartfree thus ended her speech, having before delivered to
her husband the jewels which the count had robbed him of, and that
presented her by the African chief, which last was of immense
value. The good magistrate was sensibly touched at her narrative,
as well on the consideration of the sufferings she had herself
undergone as for those of her husband, which he had himself been
innocently the instrument of bringing upon him. That worthy man,
however, much rejoiced in what he had already done for his
preservation, and promised to labour with his utmost interest and
industry to procure the absolute pardon, rather of his sentence
than of his guilt, which he now plainly discovered was a barbarous
and false imputation.



But we have already, perhaps, detained our reader too long in this
relation from the consideration of our hero, who daily gave the
most exalted proofs of greatness in cajoling the prigs, and in
exactions on the debtors; which latter now grew so great, i. e.,
corrupted in their morals, that they spoke with the utmost
contempt of what the vulgar call honesty. The greatest character
among them was that of a pickpocket, or, in truer language, a
file; and the only censure was want of dexterity. As to virtue,
goodness, and such like, they were the objects of mirth and
derision, and all Newgate was a complete collection of prigs,
every man being desirous to pick his neighbour's pocket, and every
one was as sensible that his neighbour was as ready to pick his;
so that (which is almost incredible) as great roguery was daily
committed within the walls of Newgate as without.

The glory resulting from these actions of Wild probably animated
the envy of his enemies against him. The day of his trial now
approached; for which, as Socrates did, he prepared himself; but
not weakly and foolishly, like that philosopher, with patience and
resignation, but with a good number of false witnesses. However,
as success is not always proportioned to the wisdom of him who
endeavours to attain it, so are we more sorry than ashamed to
relate that our hero was, notwithstanding his utmost caution and
prudence, convicted, and sentenced to a death which, when we
consider not only the great men who have suffered it, but the much
larger number of those whose highest honour it hath been to merit
it, we cannot call otherwise than honourable. Indeed, those who
have unluckily missed it seem all their days to have laboured in
vain to attain an end which Fortune, for reasons only known to
herself, hath thought proper to deny them. Without any farther
preface then, our hero was sentenced to be hanged by the neck:
but, whatever was to be now his fate, he might console himself
that he had perpetrated what

  ---------Nec Judicis ira, nec ignis.
   Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolera vetustas.

For my own part, I confess, I look on this death of hanging to be
as proper for a hero as any other; and I solemnly declare that had
Alexander the Great been hanged it would not in the least have
diminished my respect to his memory. Provided a hero in his life
doth but execute a sufficient quantity of mischief; provided he be
but well and heartily cursed by the widow, the orphan, the poor,
and the oppressed (the sole rewards, as many authors have bitterly
lamented both in prose and verse, of greatness, i. e., priggism),
I think it avails little of what nature his death be, whether it
be by the axe, the halter, or the sword. Such names will be always
sure of living to posterity, and of enjoying that fame which they
so gloriously and eagerly coveted; for, according to a GREAT
dramatic poet--


   Not more survives from good than evil deeds.
   Th' aspiring youth that fired th' Ephesian dome
   Outlives in fame the pious fool who rais'd it

Our hero now suspected that the malice of his enemies would
overpower him. He therefore betook himself to that true support of
greatness in affliction, a bottle; by means of which he was
enabled to curse, swear, and bully, and brave his fate. Other
comfort indeed he had not much, for not a single friend ever came
near him. His wife, whose trial was deferred to the next sessions,
visited him but once, when she plagued, tormented, and upbraided
him so cruelly, that he forbad the keeper ever to admit her again.
The ordinary of Newgate had frequent conferences with him, and
greatly would it embellish our history could we record all which
that good man delivered on these occasions; but unhappily we could
procure only the substance of a single conference, which was taken
down in shorthand by one who overheard it. We shall transcribe it
therefore exactly in the same form and words we received it; nor
can we help regarding it as one of the most curious pieces which
either ancient or modern history hath recorded.



ORDINARY. Good morrow to you, sir; I hope you rested well last

JONATHAN. D--n'd ill, sir. I dreamt so confoundedly of hanging,
that it disturbed my sleep.

ORDINARY. Fie upon it! You should be more resigned. I wish you
would make a little better use of those instructions which I have
endeavoured to inculcate into you, and particularly last Sunday,
and from these words: "Those who do evil shall go into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." I undertook to shew
you, first, what is meant by EVERLASTING FIRE; and, secondly, who
were THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS. I then proceeded to draw some
inferences from the whole; [Footnote: He pronounced this word
HULL, and perhaps would have spelt it so.] in which I am mightily
deceived if I did not convince you that you yourself was one of
those ANGELS, and, consequently, must expect EVERLASTING FIRE to
be your portion in the other world.

JONATHAN. Faith, doctor, I remember very little of your
inferences; for I fell asleep soon after your naming your text.
But did you preach this doctrine then, or do you repeat it now in
order to comfort me?

ORDINARY. I do it in order to bring you to a true sense of your
manifold sins, and, by that means, to induce you to repentance.
Indeed, had I the eloquence of Cicero, or of Tully, it would not
be sufficient to describe the pains of hell or the joys of heaven.
The utmost that we are taught is, THAT EAR HATH NOT HEARD, NOR CAN
HEART CONCEIVE. Who then would, for the pitiful consideration of
the riches and pleasures of this world, forfeit such inestimable
happiness! such joys! such pleasures! such delights? Or who would
run the venture of such misery, which, but to think on, shocks the
human understanding? Who, in his senses, then, would prefer the
latter to the former?

JONATHAN. Ay, who indeed? I assure you, doctor, I had much rather
be happy than miserable. But [Footnote: This part was so blotted
that it was illegible.]

       .       .       .       .       .       .       .

ORDINARY. Nothing can be plainer. St. . . .

       .       .       .       .       .       .       .

Jonathan. . . . . If once convinced . . . . no man . . lives of .
. . . . whereas sure the clergy . . opportunity . better informed
. . . . . all manner of vice

ORDINARY. . are. atheist. . . deist ari.. cinian. hanged.. burnt..
oiled. oasted. . . . dev . . his an . ... ell fire . . ternal
da... tion.

JONATHAN. You ... to frighten me out of my wits. But the good ...
is, I doubt not, more merciful than his wicked.. If I should
believe all you say, I am sure I should die in inexpressible

ORDINARY. Despair is sinful. You should place your hopes in
repentance and grace; and though it is most true that you are in
danger of the judgment, yet there is still room for mercy; and no
man, unless excommunicated, is absolutely without hopes of a

JONATHAN. I am not without hopes of a reprieve from the cheat yet.
I have pretty good interest; but if I cannot obtain it, you shall
not frighten me out of my courage. I will not die like a pimp. D--
n me, what is death? It is nothing but to be with Platos and with
Caesars, as the poet says, and all the other great heroes of
antiquity. ...

ORDINARY. Ay, all this is very true; but life is sweet for all
that; and I had rather live to eternity than go into the company
of any such heathens, who are, I doubt not, in hell with the devil
and his angels; and, as little as you seem to apprehend it, you
may find yourself there before you expect it. Where, then, will be
your tauntings and your vauntings, your boastings and your
braggings? You will then be ready to give more for a drop of water
than you ever gave for a bottle of wine.

JONATHAN. Faith, doctor! well minded. What say you to a bottle of

ORDINARY. I will drink no wine with an atheist. I should expect
the devil to make a third in such company, for, since he knows you
are his, he may be impatient to have his due.

JONATHAN. It is your business to drink with the wicked, in order
to amend them.

ORDINARY. I despair of it; and so I consign you over to the devil,
who is ready to receive you.

JONATHAN. You are more unmerciful to me than the judge, doctor. He
recommended my soul to heaven; and it is your office to shew me
the way thither.

ORDINARY. No: the gates are barred against all revilers of the

JONATHAN. I revile only the wicked ones, if any such are, which
cannot affect you, who, if men were preferred in the church by
merit only, would have long since been a bishop. Indeed, it might
raise any good man's indignation to observe one of your vast
learning and abilities obliged to exert them in so low a sphere,
when so many of your inferiors wallow in wealth and preferment.

ORDINARY. Why, it must be confessed that there are bad men in all
orders; but you should not censure too generally. I must own I
might have expected higher promotion; but I have learnt patience
and resignation; and I would advise you to the same temper of
mind; which if you can attain, I know you will find mercy. Nay, I
do now promise you you will. It is true you are a sinner; but your
crimes are not of the blackest dye: you are no murderer, nor
guilty of sacrilege. And, if you are guilty of theft, you make
some atonement by suffering for it, which many others do not.
Happy is it indeed for those few who are detected in their sins,
and brought to exemplary punishment for them in this world. So
far, therefore, from repining at your fate when you come to the
tree, you should exult and rejoice in it; and, to say the truth, I
question whether, to a wise man, the catastrophe of many of those
who die by a halter is not more to be envied than pitied. Nothing
is so sinful as sin, and murder is the greatest of all sins. It
follows, that whoever commits murder is happy in suffering for it.
If, therefore, a man who commits murder is so happy in dying for
it, how much better must it be for you, who have committed a less

JONATHAN. All this is very true; but let us take a bottle of wine
to cheer our spirits.

ORDINARY. Why wine? Let me tell you, Mr. Wild, there is nothing so
deceitful as the spirits given us by wine. If you must drink, let
us have a bowl of punch--a liquor I the rather prefer, as it is
nowhere spoken against in Scripture, and as it is more wholesome
for the gravel, a distemper with which I am grievously afflicted.

JONATHAN (having called for a bowl). I ask your pardon, doctor; I
should have remembered that punch was your favourite liquor. I
think you never taste wine while there is any punch remaining on
the table.

ORDINARY. I confess I look on punch to be the more eligible
liquor, as well for the reasons I before mentioned as likewise for
one other cause, viz., it is the properest for a DRAUGHT. I own I
took it a little unkind of you to mention wine, thinking you knew
my palate.

JONATHAN. You are in the right; and I will take a swinging cup to
your being made a bishop.

ORDINARY. And I will wish you a reprieve in as large a draught.
Come, don't despair; it is yet time enough to think of dying; you
have good friends, who very probably may prevail for you. I have
known many a man reprieved who had less reason to expect it.

JONATHAN. But if I should flatter myself with such hopes, and be
deceived--what then would become of my soul?

ORDINARY. Pugh! Never mind your soul--leave that to me; I will
render a good account of it, I warrant you. I have a sermon in my
pocket which may be of some use to you to hear. I do not value
myself on the talent of preaching, since no man ought to value
himself for any gift in this world. But perhaps there are not many
such sermons. But to proceed, since we have nothing else to do
till the punch comes. My text is the latter part of a verse only:

---To the Greeks FOOLISHNESS.

The occasion of these words was principally that philosophy of the
Greeks which at that time had overrun great part of the heathen
world, had poisoned, and, as it were, puffed up their minds with
pride, so that they disregarded all kinds of doctrine in
comparison of their own; and, however safe and however sound the
learning of the others might be, yet, if it anywise contradicted
their own laws, customs, and received opinions, AWAY WITH IT--IT
IS NOT FOR US. It was to the Greeks FOOLISHNESS.

In the former part, therefore, of my discourse on these words, I
shall principally confine myself to the laying open and
demonstrating the great emptiness and vanity of this philosophy,
with which these idle and absurd sophists were so proudly blown up
and elevated.

And here I shall do two things: First, I shall expose the matter;
and, secondly, the manner of this absurd philosophy.

And first, for the first of these, namely, the matter. Now here we
may retort the unmannerly word which our adversaries have
audaciously thrown in our faces; for what was all this mighty
matter of philosophy, this heap of knowledge, which was to bring
such large harvests of honour to those who sowed it, and so
greatly and nobly to enrich the ground on which it fell; what was
it but FOOLISHNESS? An inconsistent heap of nonsense, of
absurdities and contradictions, bringing no ornament to the mind
in its theory, nor exhibiting any usefulness to the body in its
practice. What were all the sermons and the savings, the fables
and the morals of all these wise men, but, to use the word
mentioned in my text once more, FOOLISHNESS? What was their great
master Plato, or their other great light Aristotle? Both fools,
mere quibblers and sophists, idly and vainly attached to certain
ridiculous notions of their own, founded neither on truth nor on
reason. Their whole works are a strange medley of the greatest
falsehoods, scarce covered over with the colour of truth: their
precepts are neither borrowed from nature nor guided by reason;
mere fictions, serving only to evince the dreadful height of human
pride; in one word, FOOLISHNESS. It may be perhaps expected of me
that I should give some instances from their works to prove this
charge; but, as to transcribe every passage to my purpose would be
to transcribe their whole works, and as in such a plentiful crop
it is difficult to chuse; instead of trespassing on your patience,
I shall conclude this first head with asserting what I have so
fully proved, and what may indeed be inferred from the text, that
the philosophy of the Greeks was FOOLISHNESS.

Proceed we now, in the second place, to consider the manner in
which this inane and simple doctrine was propagated. And here--But
here the punch by entring waked Mr. Wild, who was fast asleep, and
put an end to the sermon; nor could we obtain any further account
of the conversation which passed at this interview.



The day now drew nigh when our great man was to exemplify the last
and noblest act of greatness by which any hero can signalise
himself. This was the day of execution, or consummation, or
apotheosis (for it is called by different names), which was to
give our hero an opportunity of facing death and damnation,
without any fear in his heart, or, at least, without betraying any
symptoms of it in his countenance. A completion of greatness which
is heartily to be wished to every great man; nothing being more
worthy of lamentation than when Fortune, like a lazy poet, winds
up her catastrophe aukwardly, and, bestowing too little care on
her fifth act, dismisses the hero with a sneaking and private
exit, who had in the former part of the drama performed such
notable exploits as must promise to every good judge among the
spectators a noble, public, and exalted end.

But she was resolved to commit no such error in this instance. Our
hero was too much and too deservedly her favourite to be neglected
by her in his last moments; accordingly all efforts for a reprieve
were vain, and the name of Wild stood at the head of those who
were ordered for execution.

From the time he gave over all hopes of life, his conduct was
truly great and admirable. Instead of shewing any marks of
dejection or contrition, he rather infused more confidence and
assurance into his looks. He spent most of his hours in drinking
with his friends and with the good man above commemorated. In one
of these compotations, being asked whether he was afraid to die,
he answered, "D--n me, it is only a dance without music." Another
time, when one expressed some sorrow for his misfortune, as he
termed it, he said with great fierceness--"A man can die but
once." Again, when one of his intimate acquaintance hinted his
hopes, that he would die like a man, he cocked his hat in
defiance, and cried out greatly--"Zounds! who's afraid?"

Happy would it have been for posterity, could we have retrieved
any entire conversation which passed at this season, especially
between our hero and his learned comforter; but we have searched
many pasteboard records in vain.

On the eve of his apotheosis, Wild's lady desired to see him, to
which he consented. This meeting was at first very tender on both
sides; but it could not continue so, for unluckily, some hints of
former miscarriages intervening, as particularly when she asked
him how he could have used her so barbarously once as calling her
b--, and whether such language became a man, much less a
gentleman, Wild flew into a violent passion, and swore she was the
vilest of b--s to upbraid him at such a season with an unguarded
word spoke long ago. She replied, with many tears, she was well
enough served for her folly in visiting such a brute; but she had
one comfort, however, that it would be the last time he could ever
treat her so; that indeed she had some obligation to him, for that
his cruelty to her would reconcile her to the fate he was to-
morrow to suffer; and, indeed, nothing but such brutality could
have made the consideration of his shameful death (so this weak
woman called hanging), which was now inevitable, to be borne even
without madness. She then proceeded to a recapitulation of his
faults in an exacter order, and with more perfect memory, than one
would have imagined her capable of; and it is probable would have
rehearsed a complete catalogue had not our hero's patience failed
him, so that with the utmost fury and violence he caught her by
the hair and kicked her, as heartily as his chains would suffer
him, out of the room.

At length the morning came which Fortune at his birth had
resolutely ordained for the consummation of our hero's GREATNESS:
he had himself indeed modestly declined the public honour she
intended him, and had taken a quantity of laudanum, in order to
retire quietly off the stage; but we have already observed, in the
course of our wonderful history, that to struggle against this
lady's decrees is vain and impotent; and whether she hath
determined you shall be hanged or be a prime minister, it is in
either case lost labour to resist. Laudanum, therefore, being
unable to stop the breath of our hero, which the fruit of hemp-
seed, and not the spirit of poppy-seed, was to overcome, he was at
the usual hour attended by the proper gentleman appointed for that
purpose, and acquainted that the cart was ready. On this occasion
he exerted that greatness of courage which hath been so much
celebrated in other heroes; and, knowing it was impossible to
resist, he gravely declared he would attend them. He then
descended to that room where the fetters of great men are knocked
off in a most solemn and ceremonious manner. Then shaking hands
with his friends (to wit, those who were conducting him to the
tree), and drinking their healths in a bumper of brandy, he
ascended the cart, where he was no sooner seated than he received
the acclamations of the multitude, who were highly ravished with

The cart now moved slowly on, being preceded by a troop of horse-
guards bearing javelins in their hands, through streets lined with
crowds all admiring the great behaviour of our hero, who rode on,
sometimes sighing, sometimes swearing, sometimes singing or
whistling, as his humour varied.

When he came to the tree of glory, he was welcomed with an
universal shout of the people, who were there assembled in
prodigious numbers to behold a sight much more rare in populous
cities than one would reasonably imagine it should be, viz., the
proper catastrophe of a great man.

But though envy was, through fear, obliged to join the general
voice in applause on this occasion, there were not wanting some
who maligned this completion of glory, which was now about to be
fulfilled to our hero, and endeavoured to prevent it by knocking
him on the head as he stood under the tree, while the ordinary was
performing his last office. They therefore began to batter the
cart with stones, brick-bats, dirt, and all manner of mischievous
weapons, some of which, erroneously playing on the robes of the
ecclesiastic, made him so expeditious in his repetition, that with
wonderful alacrity he had ended almost in an instant, and conveyed
himself into a place of safety in a hackney-coach, where he waited
the compulsion with a temper of mind described in these verses:

    Suave mari magno, turbantibus aequora ventis,
     E terra alterius magnum spectare laborem.

We must not, however, omit one circumstance, as it serves to shew
the most admirable conservation of character in our hero to his
last moment, which was, that, whilst the ordinary was busy in his
ejaculations, Wild, in the midst of the shower of stones, &c.,
which played upon him, applied his hands to the parson's pocket,
and emptied it of his bottle-screw, which he carried out of the
world in his hand.

The ordinary being now descended from the cart, Wild had just
opportunity to cast his eyes around the crowd, and to give them a
hearty curse, when immediately the horses moved on, and with
universal applause our hero swung out of this world.

Thus fell Jonathan Wild the GREAT, by a death as glorious as his
life had been, and which was so truly agreeable to it, that the
latter must have been deprobably maimed and imperfect without the
former; a death which hath been alone wanting to complete the
characters of several ancient and modern heroes, whose histories
would then have been read with much greater pleasure by the wisest
in all ages. Indeed we could almost wish that whenever Fortune
seems wantonly to deviate from her purpose, and leaves her work
imperfect in this particular, the historian would indulge himself
in the license of poetry and romance, and even do a violence to
truth, to oblige his reader with a page which must be the most
delightful in all his history, and which could never fail of
producing an instructive moral.

Narrow minds may possibly have some reason to be ashamed of going
this way out of the world, if their consciences can fly in their
faces and assure them they have not merited such an honour; but he
must be a fool who is ashamed of being hanged, who is not weak
enough to be ashamed of having deserved it.



We will now endeavour to draw the character of this great man;
and, by bringing together those several features as it were of his
mind which lie scattered up and down in this history, to present
our readers with a perfect picture of greatness.

Jonathan Wild had every qualification necessary to form a great
man. As his most powerful and predominant passion was ambition, so
nature had, with consummate propriety, adapted all his faculties
to the attaining those glorious ends to which this passion
directed him. He was extremely ingenious in inventing designs,
artful in contriving the means to accomplish his purposes, and
resolute in executing them: for as the most exquisite cunning and
most undaunted boldness qualified him for any undertaking, so was
he not restrained by any of those weaknesses which disappoint the
views of mean and vulgar souls, and which are comprehended in one
general term of honesty, which is a corruption of HONOSTY, a word
derived from what the Greeks call an ass. He was entirely free
from those low vices of modesty and good-nature, which, as he
said, implied a total negation of human greatness, and were the
only qualities which absolutely rendered a man incapable of making
a considerable figure in the world. His lust was inferior only to
his ambition; but, as for what simple people call love, he knew
not what it was. His avarice was immense, but it was of the
rapacious, not of the tenacious kind; his rapaciousness was indeed
so violent, that nothing ever contented him but the whole; for,
however considerable the share was which his coadjutors allowed
him of a booty, he was restless in inventing means to make himself
master of the smallest pittance reserved by them. He said laws
were made for the use of prigs only, and to secure their property;
they were never therefore more perverted than when their edge was
turned against these; but that this generally happened through
their want of sufficient dexterity. The character which he most
valued himself upon, and which he principally honoured in others,
was that of hypocrisy. His opinion was, that no one could carry
priggism very far without it; for which reason, he said, there was
little greatness to be expected in a man who acknowledged his
vices, but always much to be hoped from him who professed great
virtues: wherefore, though he would always shun the person whom he
discovered guilty of a good action, yet he was never deterred by a
good character, which was more commonly the effect of profession
than of action: for which reason, he himself was always very
liberal of honest professions, and had as much virtue and goodness
in his mouth as a saint; never in the least scrupling to swear by
his honour, even to those who knew him the best; nay, though he
held good-nature and modesty in the highest contempt, he
constantly practised the affectation of both, and recommended this
to others, whose welfare, on his own account, he wished well to.
He laid down several maxims as the certain methods of attaining
greatness, to which, in his own pursuit of it, he constantly
adhered. As--

1. Never to do more mischief to another than was necessary to the
effecting his purpose; for that mischief was too precious a thing
to be thrown away.

2. To know no distinction of men from affection; but to sacrifice
all with equal readiness to his interest.

3. Never to communicate more of an affair than was necessary to
the person who was to execute it.

4. Not to trust him who hath deceived you, nor who knows he hath
been deceived by you.

5. To forgive no enemy; but to be cautious and often dilatory in

6. To shun poverty and distress, and to ally himself as close as
possible to power and riches.

7. To maintain a constant gravity in his countenance and
behaviour, and to affect wisdom on all occasions.

8. To foment eternal jealousies in his gang, one of another.

9. Never to reward any one equal to his merit; but always to
insinuate that the reward was above it.

10. That all men were knaves or fools, and much the greater number
a composition of both.

11. That a good name, like money, must be parted with, or at least
greatly risqued, in order to bring the owner any advantage.

12. That virtues, like precious stones, were easily counterfeited;
that the counterfeits in both cases adorned the wearer equally,
and that very few had knowledge or discernment sufficient to
distinguish the counterfeit jewel from the real.

13. That many men were undone by not going deep enough in roguery;
as in gaming any man may be a loser who doth not play the whole

14. That men proclaim their own virtues, as shopkeepers expose
their goods, in order to profit by them.

15. That the heart was the proper seat of hatred, and the
countenance of affection and friendship.

He had many more of the same kind, all equally good with these,
and which were after his decease found in his study, as the twelve
excellent and celebrated rules were in that of king Charles the
first; for he never promulgated them in his lifetime, not having
them constantly in his mouth, as some grave persons have the rules
of virtue and morality, without paying the least regard to them in
their actions: whereas our hero, by a constant and steady
adherence to his rules in conforming everything he did to them,
acquired at length a settled habit of walking by them, till at
last he was in no danger of inadvertently going out of the way;
and by these means he arrived at that degree of greatness, which
few have equalled; none, we may say, have exceeded: for, though it
must be allowed that there have been some few heroes, who have
done greater mischiefs to mankind, such as those who have betrayed
the liberty of their country to others, or have undermined and
overpowered it themselves; or conquerors who have impoverished,
pillaged, sacked, burnt, and destroyed the countries and cities of
their fellow-creatures, from no other provocation than that of
glory, i. e., as the tragic poet calls it,

           a privilege to kill,
   A strong temptation to do bravely ill;

yet, if we consider it in the light wherein actions are placed in
this line,

  Laetius est, quoties magno tibi constat honestum;

when we see our hero, without the least assistance or pretence,
setting himself at the head of a gang, which he had not any shadow
of right to govern; if we view him maintaining absolute power, and
exercising tyranny over a lawless crew, contrary to all law but
that of his own will; if we consider him setting up an open trade
publickly, in defiance not only of the laws of his country but of
the common sense of his countrymen; if we see him first contriving
the robbery of others, and again the defrauding the very robbers
of that booty, which they had ventured their necks to acquire, and
which without any hazard, they might have retained; here sure he
must appear admirable, and we may challenge not only the truth of
history, but almost the latitude of fiction, to equal his glory.

Nor had he any of those flaws in his character which, though they
have been commended by weak writers, have (as I hinted in the
beginning of this history) by the judicious reader been censured
and despised. Such was the clemency of Alexander and Caesar, which
nature had so grossly erred in giving them, as a painter would who
should dress a peasant in robes of state or give the nose or any
other feature of a Venus to a satyr. What had the destroyers of
mankind, that glorious pair, one of whom came into the world to
usurp the dominion and abolish the constitution of his own
country; the other to conquer, enslave, and rule over the whole
world, at least as much as was well known to him, and the
shortness of his life would give him leave to visit; what had, I
say, such as these to do with clemency? Who cannot see the
absurdity and contradiction of mixing such an ingredient with
those noble and great qualities I have before mentioned? Now, in
Wild everything was truly great, almost without alloy, as his
imperfections (for surely some small ones he had) were only such
as served to denominate him a human creature, of which kind none
ever arrived at consummate excellence. But surely his whole
behaviour to his friend Heartfree is a convincing proof that the
true iron or steel greatness of his heart was not debased by any
softer metal. Indeed, while greatness consists in power, pride,
insolence, and doing mischief to mankind--to speak out--while a
great man and a great rogue are synonymous terms, so long shall
Wild stand unrivalled on the pinnacle of GREATNESS. Nor must we
omit here, as the finishing of his character, what indeed ought to
be remembered on his tomb or his statue, the conformity above
mentioned of his death to his life; and that Jonathan Wild the
Great, after all his mighty exploits, was, what so few GREAT men
can accomplish--hanged by the neck till he was dead.

Having thus brought our hero to his conclusion, it may be
satisfactory to some readers (for many, I doubt not, carry their
concern no farther than his fate) to know what became of
Heartfree. We shall acquaint them, therefore, that his sufferings
were now at an end; that the good magistrate easily prevailed for
his pardon, nor was contented till he had made him all the
reparation he could for his troubles, though the share he had in
bringing these upon him was not only innocent but from its motive
laudable. He procured the restoration of the jewels from the man-
of-war at her return to England, and, above all, omitted no labour
to restore Heartfree to his reputation, and to persuade his
neighbours, acquaintance, and customers, of his innocence. When
the commission of bankruptcy was satisfied, Heartfree had a
considerable sum remaining; for the diamond presented to his wife
was of prodigious value, and infinitely recompensed the loss of
those jewels which Miss Straddle had disposed of. He now set up
again in his trade: compassion for his unmerited misfortunes
brought him many customers among those who had any regard to
humanity; and he hath, by industry joined with parsimony, amassed
a considerable fortune. His wife and he are now grown old in the
purest love and friendship, but never had another child. Friendly
married his elder daughter at the age of nineteen, and became his
partner in trade. As to the younger, she never would listen to the
addresses of any lover, not even of a young nobleman, who offered
to take her with two thousand pounds, which her father would have
willingly produced, and indeed did his utmost to persuade her to
the match; but she refused absolutely, nor would give any other
reason, when Heartfree pressed her, than that she had dedicated
her days to his service, and was resolved no other duty should
interfere with that which she owed the best of fathers, nor
prevent her from being the nurse of his old age.

Thus Heartfree, his wife, his two daughters, his son-in-law, and
his grandchildren, of which he hath several, live all together in
one house; and that with such amity and affection towards each
other, that they are in the neighbourhood called the family of

As to all the other persons mentioned in this history in the light
of greatness, they had all the fate adapted to it, being every one
hanged by the neck, save two, viz., Miss Theodosia Snap, who was
transported to America, where she was pretty well married,
reformed, and made a good wife; and the count, who recovered of
the wound he had received from the hermit and made his escape into
France, where he committed a robbery, was taken, and broke on the

Indeed, whoever considers the common fate of great men must allow
they well deserve and hardly earn that applause which is given
them by the world; for, when we reflect on the labours and pains,
the cares, disquietudes, and dangers which attend their road to
greatness, we may say with the divine that a man may go to heaven
with half the pains which it costs him to purchase hell. To say
the truth, the world have this reason at least to honour such
characters as that of Wild: that, while it is in the power of
every man to be perfectly honest, not one in a thousand is capable
of being a complete rogue; and few indeed there are who, if they
were inspired with the vanity of imitating our hero, would not
after much fruitless pains be obliged to own themselves inferior


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