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The money, as you truly say, hath been three years due, but upon my soul I am at present incapable of paying a farthing; but as I doubt not, very shortly, not only to content that small bill, but likewise to lay out very considerable further sums at your house, hope you will meet with no inconvenience by this short delay in, dear sir, Your most sincere humble servant,
- CHA. COURTLY.
LETTER III. MR. HEARTFREE, I BEG you would not acquaint my husband of the trifling debt between us: for as I know you to be a very good-natured man, I will trust you with a secret; he gave me the money long since to discharge it, which I had the ill luck to lose at play. You may be assured I will satisfy you the first opportunity, and am, sir, Your very humble servant, ić CATH. R.U.B.B.E.R.S. Please to present my compliments to Mrs. Heartfree. LETTER IV. MR. THOMAS HEARTFREE, SIR, yours received; but as to the sum mentioned therein, doth not suit at present. Your humble servant, PETER POUNCE,
LETTER. W. sIR,
I AM sincerely sorry it is not at present possible for me to comply with your request, especially after so ma-. ny obligations received on my side, of which I shali always entertain the most grateful memory. I am very greatly concerned at your misfortunes, and would have waited upon you in person, but am not at present very well, and, besides, am obliged to go this evening to Vauxhall. I am, sir, Your most obliged humble servant, CHAS. EASY. P. S. I-hope good Mrs. Heartfree and the dear little ones are well.
vol. XII. - E
There were more letters to much the same purpose; but we proposed giving our reader a taste only. Of all these, the last was infinitely the most grating to poor Heartfree, as it came from one to whom, when in distress, he had himself lent a considerable sum, and of whose present flourishing circumstances he was well assured.
CHAPTER VIII. In which our hero carries GREATNEss to an immoderate height.
LET us remove therefore, as fast as we can, this detestable picture of ingratitude, and present the much more agreeable portrait of that assurance to which the French very properly annex the epithet of good. Heartfree had scarce done reading his letters, when our hero appeared before his eyes; not with that aspect with which a pitiful parson meets his patron, after having opposed him at an election, or which a doctor wears, when sneaking away from a door where he is informed of his patient's death; not with that downcast countenance which betrays the man who, after a strong conflict between virtue and vice, hath surrendered his mind to the latter, and is discovered in his first treachery; but with that noble, bold, great confidence with which a prime minister assures his dependant, that the place he promised him was disposed of before. And such concern and uneasiness as he expresses in his iooks on those occasions, did Wild testify on the first meeting of his friend. And as the said prime minister chides you for neglect of your interest, in not having asked in time, so did our hero attack Heartfree for his giving of to the Count; and, without suffering him to make any answer, proceeded in a torrent of words to overwhelm him with abuse; which, however friendly its intention might be, was scarce to be outdone by an enemy. By these means Heartfree, who might perhaps otherwise have vented some little concern for that recommendation which Wild had given him to the Count, was totally prevented from any such endeavour; and, like an invading prince, when attacked in his own dominions, forced to recall his whole strength to defend himself at home. This indeed he did so well, by insisting on the figure and outward appearance of the Count and his equipage, that Wild at length grew a little more gentle, and with a sigh, said, “I confess I have the least reason of all mankind to censure another for an imprudence of this nature, as I am myself the most easy to be imposed upon, and indeed have been so by this Count, who, if he be insolvent, hath cheated me of five hundred pounds. But, for my own part,’ said he, ‘I will not yet despair, nor would I have you. Many men have found it convenient to retire, or abscond for a while, and afterwards have paid their debts, or at least handsomely compounded them. This I am certain of, should a composition take place, which is the worst I think that can be apprehended, I shall be the only loser; for I shall think myself obliged in honour to repair your loss, even though you must confess it was principally owing to your own folly. Z–ds ! had I imagined it necessary, I would have cautioned you; but I thought the part of the town where he lived sufficient caution not to trust him. And such a sum ! The devil must have been in you certainly ”
This was a degree of impudence beyond poor Mrs. Heartfree’s imagination. Though she had before vented the most violent execrations on Wild, she was now thoroughly satisfied of his innocence, and begged him not to insist any longer on what he perceived so deeply af. fected her husband. She said, trade could not be carried on without credit, and surely he was sufficiently justised in giving it to such a person as the Count appeared to be.
Besides, she said, reflections on what was past and irre trievable would be of little service; that their present business was to consider how to prevent the evil consequences which threatened, and first to endeavour to procure her husband his liberty. “Why doth he not procure bail?” said Wild. ‘Alas! sir,” said she, “we have applied to many of our acquaintance in vain; we have met with excuses even where we could least expect them.”—“Not bail s” answered Wild, in a passion, he shall have bail, if there is any in the world. It is now very late, but trust me to procure him bail to-morrow morning.’ Mrs. Heartfree received these professions with tears, and told Wild he was a friend indeed. She then proposed to stay that evening with her husband; but he would not permit her on account of his little family, whom he would not agree to trust to the care of servants in this time of confusion. - - A hackney coach was then sent for, but without success; for these, like hackney friends, always offer themselves in the sunshine, but are never to be found when you want them. And as for a chair, Mr. Snap lived in a part of the town which chairmen very little frequent. This good woman was therefore obliged to walk home, whither the gallant Wild offered to attend her as a protector. This favour was thankfully accepted, and the husband and wife having taken a tender leave of each other, the former was locked in, and the latter locked out by the hands of Mr. Snap himself. As this visit of Mr Wild's to Heartfree may seem one of those passages in history, which writers, draw-cansirlike, introduce only because they dare; indeed as it may seem somewhat contradictory to the greatness of our hero, and may tend to blemish his character with an imputation of that kind of friendship, which savours too much of weakness and imprudence; it may be necessary to account for this visit, especially to our more sagacious readers, whose satisfaction we shall always consult in the most especial manner. They are to know then, that at the first nterview with Mrs. Heartfree, Mr. Wild had conceived
that passion, or affection, or friendship, or desire for that handsome creature, which the gentlemen of this our age agree to call LovE ; and which is indeed no other than that kind of affection which, after the exercise of the dominical day is over, a lusty divine is apt to conceive for the well-drest surloin or handsome buttock, which the well edified squire, in gratitude sets before him, and which, so violent is his love, he devours in imagination the moment he sees it. Not less ardent was the hungry passion of our hero, who from the moment he had cast his eyes on that charming dish, had cast about in his mind by what method he might come at it. This, as he perceived, might most easily be effected after the ruin of eartfree, which, for other considerations he had intended. So he postponed all endeavours for this purpose, till he had first effected what, by order of time, was regularly to precede this latter design; with such regularity did this our hero conduct all his schemes, and so truly superior was he to all the efforts of passion, which so often disconcert and disappoint the noblest views of others. —— CHAPTER IX.
More GREATNEss in Wild. A low scene between Mrs. Heartfree and her children, and a scheme of our hero,
worthy the highest admiration, and even astonishment. WHEN first Wild conducted his flame (or rather his dish, to continue our metaphor) from the proprietor, he had projected a design of conveying her to one of those eatinghouses in Covent-Garden, where female flesh is deliciously drest, and served up to the greedy appetites of young gentlemen; but fearing lest she should not come readily enough into his wishes, and that, by too eager and hasty a pursuit, he should frustrate his future expectations, and luckily at the same time, a noble hint suggesting itself to him, by which he might almost inevitably secure his pleasure, together with his profit, he contented himself with waiting on Mrs. Heartfree home, and, after many protestations of friendship and service to her husband, took his