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Part 2 Chapter 2

Great Examples of Greatness in Wild, Shewn as Well by His Behaviour to Bagshot as in a Scheme Laid, First, to Impose on Heartfree by Means of the Count, and then to Cheat the Count of the Booty.

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 ............

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