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Part 3 Chapter 6

The Event of Fireblood’s Adventure; and a Threat of Marriage, which Might have Been Concluded Either at Smithfield or St. James’s.

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

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