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Part 3 Chapter 7

Matters Preliminary to the Marriage Between Mr. Jonathan Wild and the Chaste Laetitia.

But to proceed with our history; Fireblood, having received this letter, and promised on his honour, with many voluntary asseverations, to discharge his embassy faithfully, went to visit the fair Laetitia. The lady, having opened the letter and read it, put on an air of disdain, and told Mr. Fireblood she could not conceive what Mr. Wild meant by troubling her with his impertinence; she begged him to carry the letter back again, saying, had she known from whom it came, she would have been d — d before she had opened it. “But with you, young gentleman,” says she, “I am not in the least angry. I am rather sorry that so pretty a young man should be employed in such an errand.” She accompanied these words with so tender an accent and so wanton a leer, that Fireblood, who was no backward youth, began to take her by the hand, and proceeded so warmly, that, to imitate his actions with the rapidity of our narration, he in a few minutes ravished this fair creature, or at least would have ravished her, if she had not, by a timely compliance, prevented him.

Fireblood, after he had ravished as much as he could, returned to Wild, and acquainted him as far as any wise man would, with what had passed; concluding with many praises of the young lady’s beauty, with whom, he said, if his honour would have permitted him, he should himself have fallen in love; but, d — n him if he would not sooner be torn to pieces by wild horses than even think of injuring his friend. He asserted indeed, and swore so heartily, that, had not Wild been so thoroughly convinced of the impregnable chastity of the lady, he might have suspected his success; however, he was, by these means, entirely satisfied of his friend’s inclination towards his mistress.

Thus constituted were the love affairs of our hero, when his father brought him Mr. Snap’s proposal. The reader must know very little of love, or indeed of anything else, if he requires any information concerning the reception which this proposal met with. Not guilty never sounded sweeter in the ears of a prisoner at the bar, nor the sound of a reprieve to one at the gallows, than did every word of the old gentleman in the ears of our hero. He gave his father full power to treat in his name, and desired nothing more than expedition.

The old people now met, and Snap, who had information from his daughter of the violent passion of her lover, endeavoured to improve it to the best advantage, and would have not only declined giving her any fortune himself, but have attempted to cheat her of what she owed to the liberality of her relations, particularly of a pint silver caudle-cup, the gift of her grandmother. However, in this the young lady herself afterwards took care to prevent him. As to the old Mr. Wild, he did not sufficient............

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