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Part 3 Chapter 12

New Instances of Friendly’s Folly, Etc.

To return to my history, which, having rested itself a little, is now ready to proceed on its journey: Fireblood was the person chosen by Wild for this service. He had, on a late occasion, experienced the talents of this youth for a good round perjury. He immediately, therefore, found him out, and proposed it to him; when, receiving his instant assent, they consulted together, and soon framed an evidence, which, being communicated to one of the most bitter and severe creditors of Heartfree, by him laid before a magistrate, and attested by the oath of Fireblood, the justice granted his warrant: and Heartfree was accordingly apprehended and brought before him.

When the officers came for this poor wretch they found him meanly diverting himself with his little children, the younger of whom sat on his knees, and the elder was playing at a little distance from him with Friendly. One of the officers, who was a very good sort of a man, but one very laudably severe in his office, after acquainting Heartfree with his errand, bad him come along and be d — d, and leave those little bastards, for so, he said, he supposed they were, for a legacy to the parish. Heartfree was much surprized at hearing there was a warrant for felony against him; but he shewed less concern than Friendly did in his countenance. The elder daughter, when she saw the officer lay hold on her father, immediately quitted her play, and, running to him and bursting into tears, cried out, “You shall not hurt poor papa.” One of the other ruffians offered to take the little one rudely from his knees; but Heartfree started up, and, catching the fellow by the collar, dashed his head so violently against the wall, that, had he had any brains, he might possibly have lost them by the blow.

The officer, like most of those heroic spirits who insult men in adversity, had some prudence mixt with his zeal for justice. Seeing, therefore, this rough treatment of his companion, he began to pursue more gentle methods, and very civilly desired Mr. Heartfree to go with him, seeing he was an officer, and obliged to execute his warrant; that he was sorry for his misfortune, and hoped he would be acquitted. The other answered, “He should patiently submit to the laws of his country, and would attend him whither he was ordered to conduct him;” then, taking leave of his children with a tender kiss, he recommended them to the care of Friendly, who promised to see them safe home, and then to attend him at the justice’s, whose name and abode he had learned of the constable.

Friendly arrived at the magistrate’s house just as that gentleman had signed the mittimus against his friend; for the evidence of Fireblood was so clear and strong, and the justice was so incensed against Heartfree, and so convinced of his guilt, that he ............

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