dine with us at Hatfield. This invitation might not have been agreeable to the ladies, had they known the real profession of our guest, but this was a secret to all, except my uncle and myself. Mrs. Tabitha, however, would by no means consent to proceed with a case of loaded pistols in the coach, and they were forthwith discharged in complaisance to her and the rest of the women.

Being gratified in this particular, she became remarkably good-humoured, and at dinner behaved in the most affable manner to Mr. Martin, with whose polite address and agreeable conversation she seemed to be much taken. After dinner, the landlord accosting me in the yard, asked, with a significant look, if the gentleman that rode the sorrel belonged to our company? I understood his meaning, but answered, no; that he had come up with us on the common, and helped us to drive away two fellows, that looked like highwaymen. He nodded three times distinctly, as much as to say, he knows his cue. Then he inquired if one of those men was mounted on a bay mare, and the other on a chesnut gelding, with a white streak down his forehead? and being answered in the affirmative, he assured me they had robbed three post- chaises this very morning. I inquired in my turn, if Mr. Martin was of his acquaintance; and, nodding thrice again, he answered, that he had seen the gentleman.

Before we left Hatfield, my uncle, fixing his eyes on Martin with such expression as is more easily conceived than described, asked, if he often travelled that road? and he replied with a look which denoted his understanding the question, that he very seldom did business in that part of the country. In a word, this adventurer favoured us with his company to the neighbourhood of Stevenage, where he took his leave of the coach and me, in very polite terms, and turned off upon a cross-road, that led to a village on the left. At supper, Mrs. Tabby was very full in the praise of Mr. Martin’s good-sense and good- breeding, and seemed to regret that she had not a further opportunity to make some experiment upon his affection. In the morning, my uncle was not a little surprised to receive, from the waiter, a billet couched in these words:


‘I could easily perceive from your looks, when I had the honour to converse with you at Hatfield, that my character is not unknown to you; and, I dare say, you won’t think it strange, that I should be glad to change my present way of life, for any other honest occupation, let it be ever so humble, that will afford me bread in moderation, and sleep in safety. Perhaps you may think I flatter, when I say, that from the moment I was witness to your generous concern in the cause of your servant, I conceived a particular esteem and veneration for your person; and yet what I say is true. I should think myself happy, if I could be admitted into your protection and service, as house-steward, clerk, butler, or bailiff, for either of which places I think myself tolerably well qualified; and, sure I am, I should not be found deficient in gratitude and fidelity. At the same time, I am very sensible how much you must deviate from the common maxims of discretion, even in putting my professions to the trial; but I don’t look upon you as a person that thinks in the ordinary style; and the delicacy of my situation, will, I know, justify this address to a heart warmed with beneficence and compassion. Understanding you are going pretty far north, I shall take an opportunity to throw myself in your way again, before you reach the borders of Scotland; and, I hope, by that time, you will have taken into consideration, the truly distressful case of,

Honoured sir,

Your very humble and devoted servant,


The ’squire, having perused this letter, put it into my hand, without saying a syllable; and when I had read it, we looked at each other in silence. From a certain sparkling in his eyes, I discovered there was more in his heart, than he cared to express with his tongue, in favour of poor Martin; and this was precisely my own feeling, which he did not fail to discern, by the same means of communication. ‘What shall we do (said he) to save this poor sinner from the gallows, and make him a useful member of the commonwealth? and yet the proverb says, Save a thief from the gallows, and he’ll cut your throat.’ I told him, I really

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