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attacked, nor could Jones bear some passage or other in the foregoing speech. And now looking
. upon his companion with a contemptuous and disdainful air (a thing not usual with him) he cried, · Partridge, I see thou art a conceited old fool,
and I wish thou art not likewise an old rogue. 'Indeed, if I was as well convinced of the latter 'as I am of the former, thou should'st travel no · farther in my company.'
The sage Pedagogue was contented with the vent which he had already given to his indignation; and, as the vulgar phrase is, immediately drew in his horns. He said, he was sorry he had uttered any thing which might give offence, for that he had never intended it; but Nemo omnibus horis sapit.
As Jones had the vices of a warm disposition, he was entirely free from those of a cold one; and if his friends must have confest his temper to have been a little too easily ruffled, his enemies must at the same time have confessed, that it as soon subsided; nor did it at all resemble the sea, whose swelling is more violent and dangerous after a storm is over, than wliile the storm itself subsists. He instantly accepted the submission of Partridge, shook him by the hand, and with the most benign aspect imaginable, said twenty kind things, and at the same time very severely condemned himself, though not half so severely as he will most probably be condemned by many of our good readers.
Partridge was now highly comforted, as his fears of having offended were at once abolished, and his pride completely satisfied by Jones having owned himself in the wrong, which submission he instantly applied to what had principally nettled him, and repeated, in a muttering voice, “To be sure, Sir, your knowledge may be superior to mine in some
, things, but as to the grammar, I think I may challenge any man living. I think, at least, I ' have that at my finger's end.'
If any thing could add to the satisfaction which the
poor man now enjoyed, he received this addition by the arrival of an excellent shoulder of mutton, that at this instant came smoking to the table. On which, having both plentifully feasted, they again mounted their horses, and set forward for London.
CHAP. XIV. What happened to Mr. Jones in his Journey from
St. Alban's. THEY
were got about two miles beyond Barnet, and it was now the dusk of the evening, when a genteel looking man, but upon a very shabby horse, rode up to Jones, and asked him whether he was going to London? To which Jones answered in the affirmative. The gentleman replied, * I should be obliged to you, Sir, if you will accept of my company; for it is very late, and I am a stranger to the road.' Jones readily complied with the request; and on they travelled together, holding that sort of discourse which is usual on such occasions.
Of this, indeed, robbery was the principal topic: upon which subject the stranger expressed great apprehensions; but Jones declared he had very little to lose, and consequently as little to fear. Here Partridge could not forbear putting in his word. “Your honour,' said he, may think it a
little, but I am sure, if I had a hundred pound * Bank note in my pocket, as you have, I should 'be very sorry to lose it; but, for my part, I never ‘was less afraid in my life; for we are four of us, ‘and if we all stand by one another, the best man ' in England can't rob us. Suppose he should have
a pistol, he can kill but one of us, and a man 'can die but once--That's my comfort, a man can die but once.'
Besides the reliance on superior numbers, a kind of valour which hath raised a certain nation among the moderns to a high pitch of glory, there was another reason for the extraordinary courage which Partridge now discovered; for he had at present as much of that quality as was in the power of liquor to bestow.
Our company were now arrived within a mile of Highgate, when the stranger turned short Jones, and, pulling out a pistol, demanded that little Bank note which Partridge had mentioned.
Jones was at first somewhat shocked at this unexpected demand; however, he presently recollected himself, and told the highwayman, all the money he had in his pocket was entirely at his service; and so saying, he pulled out upwards of three guineas, and offered to deliver it; but the other answered with an oath, That would not do. Jones aswered coolly, he was very sorry for it, and returned the money into his pocket.
The highwayman then threatened, if he did not deliver the Bank note that moment, he must shoot him ; holding his pistol at the same time very near to his breast. Jones instantly caught hold of the fellow's hand, which trembled so that he could scarce hold the pistol in it, and turned the muzzle from him. A struggle then ensued, in which the former wrested the pistol from the hand of his antagonist, and both came from their horses on the ground together, the highwayman upon his back, and the victorious Jones upon him.
The poor fellow now began to implore mercy of the conqueror; for, to say the truth, he was in strength by no means a match for Jones. Indeed,
Sir,' says he, 'I could have had no intention to “shoot you; for you will find the pistol was not ' loaded. This is the first robbery I ever attempted, ‘and I have been driven by distress to this.'
At this instant, at about a hundred and fifty yards distance, lay another person on the ground,
roaring for mercy in a much louder voice than the highwayman. This was no other than Partridge himself, who, endeavouring to make his escape from the engagement, had been thrown from his horse, and lay flat on his face, not daring to look
up, and expecting every minute to be shot. In this posture he lay, till the guide, who was no otherwise concerned than for his horses, having secured the stumbling beast, came up to him and told him, bis master had got the better of the highwayman.
Partridge leapt up at this news, and ran back to the place, where Jones stood with his sword drawn in his hand to guard the poor fellow; which Partridge no sooner saw, than he cried out, Kill the 'villain, Sir, run him through the body, kill him this instant!'
Luckily however for the poor wretch he had fallen into more merciful hands; for Jones having examined the pistol, and found it to be really unloaded, began to believe all the man had told him before Partridge came up; namely, that he was a novice in the trade, and that he had been driven to it by the distress he mentioned, the greatest indeed imaginable, that of five hungry children, and a wife lying in of a sixth, in the utmost want and misery. The truth of all which the highwayman most vehemently asserted, and offered to convince Mr. Jones of it, if he would take the trouble to go to his house, which was not above two miles off; saying, “That he desired no favour, but upon • condition of proving all he had alleged.'
Jones at first pretended that he would take the fellow at his word, and go with him, declaring that his fate should depend entirely on the truth of his story. Upon this the poor follow immediately expressed so much alacrity, that Jones was perfectly satisfied with his veracity, and began now to entertain sentiments of compassion for him. He returned the fellow his empty pistol, advised him to
think of honester means of relieving his distress, and gave him a couple of guineas for the immediate support of his wife and his family; adding, · he wished he had more for his sake, for the hun‘dred pound that had been mentioned was not his own.'
Our readers will probably be divided in their opinions concerning this action; some may applaud it perhaps as an act of extraordinary humanity, while those of a more saturnine temper will consider it as a want of regard to that justice which every man owes his country. Partridge certainly saw it in that light; for he.testified much dissatisfaction on the occasion, quoted an old proverb, and said, He should not wonder if the rogue attacked them again before they reached London.
The highwayman was full of expressions of thankfulness and gratitude. The actually dropt tears, or pretended so to do. He vowed he would immediately return home, and would never afterwards commit such a transgression; whether he kept his word or no, perhaps may appear hereafter.
Our travellers having remounted their horses, arrived in town without encountering any new mishap. On the road much pleasant discourse passed between Jones and Partridge, on the subject of their last adventure. In which Jones expressed a great compassion for those highwaymen who are, by unavoidable distress, driven, as it were, to such illegal courses, as generally bring them to a shameful death. I mean,' said he, ' those only whose highest guilt extends no far“ther than to robbery, and who are never guilty of cruelty nor insult to any person, which is a circumstance that, I must say to the honour of our 'country, distinguishes the robbers of England • from those of all other nations; for murder is, 'amongst those, almost inseparably incident to robbery.' * No doubt,' answered Partridge, it is better to