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Part 2 Chapter 1

Characters of Silly People, with the Proper Uses for which Such are Designed.

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, w............

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