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Part 4 Chapter 9

Containing Incidents Very Surprizing.

The captain declared he would, without delay, proceed to the town before him; in which resolution he was seconded by all the crew; but when I could not be persuaded, nor was I able to travel any farther before I had rested myself, my old friend protested he would not leave me, but would stay behind as my guard; and, when I had refreshed myself with a little repose, he would attend me to the town, which the captain promised he would not leave before he had seen us.

“They were no sooner departed than (having first thanked my protector for his care of me) I resigned myself to sleep, which immediately closed my eyelids, and would probably have detained me very long in his gentle dominions, had I not been awaked with a squeeze by the hand by my guard, which I at first thought intended to alarm me with the danger of some wild beast; but I soon perceived it arose from a softer motive, and that a gentle swain was the only wild beast I had to apprehend. He began now to disclose his passion in the strongest manner imaginable, indeed with a warmth rather beyond that of both my former lovers, but as yet without any attempt of absolute force. On my side remonstrances were made in more bitter exclamations and revilings than I had used to any, that villain Wild excepted. I told him he was the basest and most treacherous wretch alive; that his having cloaked his iniquitous designs under the appearance of virtue and friendship added an ineffable degree of horror to them; that I detested him of all mankind the most, and could I be brought to yield to prostitution, he should be the last to enjoy the ruins of my honour. He suffered himself not to be provoked by this language, but only changed his manner of solicitation from flattery to bribery. He unript the lining of his waistcoat, and pulled forth several jewels; these, he said, he had preserved from infinite danger to the happiest purpose, if I could be won by them. I rejected them often with the utmost indignation, till at last, casting my eye, rather by accident than design, on a diamond necklace, a thought, like lightning, shot through my mind, and, in an instant, I remembered that this was the very necklace you had sold the cursed count, the cause of all our misfortunes. The confusion of ideas into which this surprize hurried me prevented my reflecting on the villain who then stood before me; but the first recollection presently told me it could be no other than the count himself, the wicked tool of Wild’s barbarity. Good heavens! what was then my condition! How shall I describe the tumult of passions which then laboured in my breast? However, as I was happily unknown to him, the least suspicion on his side was altogether impossible. He imputed, therefore, the eagerness with which I gazed on the jewels to a very wrong cause, and endeavoured to put as much additional softness into his countenance as he was able. My fears were a little quieted, and I was resolved to be very liberal of promises, and hoped so thoroughly to persuade him of my venality that he might, without any doubt, be drawn in to wait the captain and crew’s return, who would, I was very certain, not only preserve me from his violence, but secure the restoration of what you had been so cruelly robbed of. But, alas! I was mistaken.” Mrs. Heartfree, again perceiving symptoms of the utmost disquietude in her husband’s countenance, cryed out, “My dear, don’t you apprehend any harm. — But, to deliver you as soon as possible from your anxiety — when he perceived I declined the warmth of his addresses he begged me to consider; he changed at once his voice and features, and, in a very different tone from what he had hitherto affected, he swore I should not deceive him as I had the captain; that fortune had kindly thrown an opportunity in his way which he was resolved not foolishly to lose; and concluded with a violent oath that he was determined to enjoy me that moment, and therefore I knew the consequence of resistance. He then caught me in his arms, and began such rude attempts, that I skreamed out with all the force I could, though I had so little hopes of being rescued, when there suddenly rushed forth from a thicket a creature which, at his first appearance, and in the hurry of spirits I then was, I did not take for a man; but, indeed, had he been the fiercest of wild beasts, I should have rejoiced at his devouring us both. I scarce perceived he had a musket in his hand before he struck my ravisher such a blow with it that he felled him at my feet. He then advanced with a gentle air towards me, and told me in French he was extremely glad he had been luckily present to my assistance. He was naked, except his middle and his feet, if I can call a body so which was covered with hair almost equal to any beast whatever. Indeed, his appearance was so horrid in my eyes, that the friendship he had shewn me, as well as his courteous behaviour, could not entirely remove the dread I had conceived from his figure. I believe he saw this very visibly; for he begged me not to be frightened, since, whatever accident had brought me thither, I should have reason to thank heaven for meeting him, at whose hands I might assure myself of the utmost civility and protection. In the midst of all this consternation, I had spirits enough to take up the casket of jewels which the villain, in falling, had dropped out of his hands, and conveyed it into my pocket. My deliverer, telling me that I seemed extremely weak and faint, desired me to refresh myself at his little hut, which, he said, was hard by. If his demeanour had been less kind and obliging, my desperate situation must have lent me confidence; for sure the alternative could not be doubtful, whether I sh............

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