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Part 3 Chapter 10

Mr. Wild with Unprecedented Generosity Visits His Friend Heartfree, and the Ungrateful Reception he Met with.

It hath been said then that Mr. Wild, not being able on the strictest examination to find in a certain spot of human nature called his own heart the least grain of that pitiful low quality called honesty, had resolved, perhaps a little too generally, that there was no such thing. He therefore imputed the resolution with which Mr. Heartfree had so positively refused to concern himself in murder, either to a fear of bloodying his hands or the apprehension of a ghost, or lest he should make an additional example in that excellent book called God’s Revenge against Murder; and doubted not but he would (at least in his present necessity) agree without scruple to a simple robbery, especially where any considerable booty should be proposed, and the safety of the attack plausibly made appear; which if he could prevail on him to undertake, he would immediately afterwards get him impeached, convicted, and hanged. He no sooner therefore had discharged his duties to Hymen, and heard that Heartfree had procured himself the liberties of the Fleet, than he resolved to visit him, and to propose a robbery with all the allurements of profit, ease, and safety.

This proposal was no sooner made than it was answered by Heartfree in the following manner:—

“I might have hoped the answer which I gave to your former advice would have prevented me from the danger of receiving a second affront of this kind. An affront I call it, and surely, if it be so to call a man a villain, it can be no less to shew him you suppose him one. Indeed, it may be wondered how any man can arrive at the boldness, I may say impudence, of first making such an overture to another; surely it is seldom done, unless to those who have previously betrayed some symptoms of their own baseness. If I have therefore shewn you any such, these insults are more pardonable; but I assure you, if such appear, they discharge all their malignance outwardly, and reflect not even a shadow within; for to me baseness seems inconsistent with this rule, OF DOING NO OTHER PERSON AN INJURY FROM ANY MOTIVE OR ON ANY CONSIDERATION WHATEVER. This, sir, is the rule by which I am determined to walk, nor can that man justify disbelieving me who will not own he walks not by it himself. But, whether it be allowed to me or no, or whether I feel the good effects of its being practised by others, I am resolved to maintain it; for surely no man can reap a benefit from my pursuing it equal to the comfort I myself enjoy: for what a ravishing thought, how replete with extasy, must the consideration be, that Almighty Goodness is by its own nature engaged to reward me! How indifferent must such a persuasion make a man to all the occurrences of this life! What trifles must he represent to himself both the enjoyments and the afflictions of this world! How easily must he acquiesce under missing the former, and how patiently will he submit to the latter, who is convinced that his failing of a transitory imperfect reward here is a most certain argument of his obtaining one permanent and complete hereafter! Dost thou think then, thou little, paltry, mean animal (with such language did he treat our truly great man), that I will forego such comfortable expectations for any pitiful reward which thou canst suggest or promise to me; for that sordid lucre for which all pains and labour are un............

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