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Part 4 Chapter 5

Containing Various Matters.

The day was now come when poor Heartfree was to suffer an ignominious death. Friendly had in the strongest manner confirmed his assurance of fulfilling his promise of becoming a father to one of his children and a husband to the other. This gave him inexpressible comfort, and he had, the evening before, taken his last leave of the little wretches with a tenderness which drew a tear from one of the keepers, joined to a magnanimity which would have pleased a stoic. When he was informed that the coach which Friendly had provided for him was ready, and that the rest of the prisoners were gone, he embraced that faithful friend with great passion, and begged that he would leave him here; but the other desired leave to accompany him to his end, which at last he was forced to comply with. And now he was proceeding towards the coach when he found his difficulties were not yet over; for now a friend arrived of whom he was to take a harder and more tender leave than he had yet gone through. This friend, reader, was no other than Mrs. Heartfree herself, who ran to him with a look all wild, staring, and frantic, and having reached his arms, fainted away in them without uttering a single syllable. Heartfree was, with great difficulty, able to preserve his own senses in such a surprize at such a season. And indeed our good-natured reader will be rather inclined to wish this miserable couple had, by dying in each other’s arms, put a final period to their woes, than have survived to taste those bitter moments which were to be their portion, and which the unhappy wife, soon recovering from the short intermission of being, now began to suffer. When she became first mistress of her voice she burst forth into the following accents:— “O my husband! Is this the condition in which I find you after our cruel separation? Who hath done this? Cruel Heaven! What is the occasion? I know thou canst deserve no ill. Tell me, somebody who can speak, while I have my senses left to understand, what is the matter?” At which words several laughed, and one answered, “The matter! Why no great matter. The gentleman is not the first, nor won’t be the last: the worst of the matter is, that if we are to stay all the morning here I shall lose my dinner.” Heartfree, pausing a moment and recollecting himself, cryed out, “I will bear all with patience.” And then, addressing himself to the commanding officer, begged he might only have a few minutes by himself with his wife, whom he had not seen before since his misfortunes. The great man answered, “He had compassion on him, and would do more than he could answer; but he supposed he was too much a gentleman not to know that something was due for such civility.” On this hint, Friendly, who was himself half dead, pulled five guineas out of his pocket, which the great man took, and said he would be so generous to give him ten minutes; on which one observed that many a gentleman had bought ten minutes with a woman dearer, and many other facetious remarks were made, unnecessary to be here related. Heartfree was now suffered to retire into a room with his wife, the commander informing him at h............

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