A SHORT HINT CONCERNING POPULAR INGRATITUDE. MR. WILD'S ARRIVAL IN THE CASTLE, WITH OTHER OCCURRENCES TO BE FOUND IN NO OTHER HISTORY. If we had any leisure we would here digress a little on that ingratitude which so many writers have observed to spring up in the people in all free governments towards their great men; who, while they have been consulting the good of the public, by raising their own greatness, in which the whole body (as the kingdom of France thinks itself in the glory of their grand monarch) was so deeply concerned, have been sometimes sacrificed by those very people for whose glory the said great men were so industriously at work: and this from a foolish zeal for a certain ridiculous imaginary thing called liberty, to which great men are observed to have a great animosity.
This law had been promulgated a very little time when Mr. Wild, having received from some dutiful members of the gang a valuable piece of goods, did, for a consideration somewhat short of its original price, re-convey it to the right owner; for which fact, being ungratefully informed against by the said owner, he was surprized in his own house, and, being overpowered by numbers, was hurried before a magistrate, and by him committed to that castle, which, suitable as it is to greatness, we do not chuse to name too often in our history, and where many great men at this time happened to be assembled.
The governor, or, as the law more honourably calls him, keeper of this castle, was Mr. Wild's old friend and acquaintance. This made the latter greatly satisfied with the place of his confinement, as he promised himself not only a kind reception and handsome accommodation there, but even to obtain his liberty from him if he thought it necessary to desire it: but, alas! he was deceived; his old friend knew him no longer, and refused to see him, and the lieutenant-governor insisted on as high garnish for fetters, and as exorbitant a price for lodging, as if he had had a fine gentleman in custody for murder, or any other genteel crime.
To confess a melancholy truth, it is a circumstance much to be lamented, that there is no absolute dependence on the friendship of great men; an observation which hath been frequently made by those who have lived in courts, or in Newgate, or in any other place set apart for the habitation of such persons.
The second day of his confinement he was greatly surprized at receiving a visit from his wife; and more so, when, instead of a countenance ready to insult him, the only motive to which he could ascribe her presence, he saw the tears trickling down her lovely cheeks. He embraced her with the utmost marks of affection, and declared he could hardly regret his confinement, since it had produced such an instance of the happiness he enjoyed in her, whose fidelity to him on this occasion would, be believed, make him the envy of most husbands, even in Newgate. He then begged her to dry her eyes, and be comforted; for that matters might go better with him than she expected. "No, no," says she, "I am certain you would be found guilty. DEATH. I knew what it would always come to. I told you it was impossible to carry on such a trade long; but you would not be advised, and now you see the consequence-now you repent when it is too late. All the comfort I shall have when you are NUBBED [Footnote: The cant word for hanging.] is, that I gave you a good advice. If you had always gone out by yourself, as I would have had you, you might have robbed on to the end of the chapter; but you was wiser than all the world, or rather lazier, and see what your laziness is come to--to the CHEAT, [Footnote: The gallows.] for thither you will go now, that's infallible. And a just judgment on you for following your headstrong will; I am the only person to be pitied; poor I, who shall be scandalised for your fault. THERE GOES SHE WHOSE HUSBAND WAS HANGED: methinks I hear them crying so already." At which words she burst into tears. He could not then forbear chiding her for this unnecessary concern on his account, and begged her not to trouble him any more. She answered with some spirit, "On your account, and be d--d to you! No, if the old cull of a justice had not sent me hither, I believe it would have been long enough before I should have come hither to see after you; d--n me, I am committed for the FILINGLAY, [Footnote: Picking pockets.] man, and we shall be both nubbed together. 'I faith, my dear, it almost makes me amends for being nubbed myself, to have the pleasure of seeing thee nubbed too." "Indeed, my dear," answered Wild, "it is what I have long wished for thee; but I do not desire to bear thee company, and I have still hopes to have the pleasure of seeing you go without me; at least I will have the pleasure to be rid of you now." And so saying, he seized her by the waist, and with strong arm flung her out of the room; but not before she had with her nails left a bloody memorial on his cheek: and thus this fond couple parted.
Wild had scarce recovered himself from the uneasiness into which this unwelcome visit, proceeding from the disagreeable fondness of his wife, had thrown him, than the faithful Achates appeared. The presence of this youth was indeed a cordial to his spirits. He received him with open arms, and expressed the utmost satisfaction in the fidelity of his friendship, which so far exceeded the fashion of the times, and said many things which we have forgot on the occasion; but we remember they all tended to the praise of Fireblood, whose modesty, at length, put a stop to the torrent of compliments, by asserting he had done no more than his duty, and that he should have detested himself could he have forsaken his friend in his adversity; and, after many protestations that he came the moment he heard of his misfortune, he asked him if he could be of any service. Wild answered, since he had so kindly proposed that question, he must say he should be obliged to him if he could lend him a few guineas; for that he was very seedy. Fireblood replied that he was greatly unhappy in not having it then in his power, adding many hearty oaths that he had not a farthing of money in his pocket, which was, indeed, strictly true; for he had only a bank-note, which he had that evening purloined from a gentleman in the playhouse passage. He then asked for his wife, to whom, to speak truly, the visit was intended, her confinement being the misfortune of which he had just heard; for, as for that of Mr. Wild himself, he had known it from the first minute, without ever intending to trouble him with his company. Being informed therefore of the visit which had lately happened, he reproved Wild for his cruel treatment of that good creature; then, taking as sudden a leave as he civilly could of the gentleman, he hastened to comfort his lady, who received him with great kindness.