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Part 3 Chapter 3

Wherein Our Hero Proceeds in the Road to Greatness.

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 r............

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