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Part 2 Chapter 5

Containing Many Surprising Adventures, which Our Hero, with Great Greatness, Achieved.

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

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