There were jolly farmers and pale-visaged tradesmen from various parts of England, watermen from the Thames, fishermen from the seaports, artisans from town and country, agricultural labourers from everywhere, and ne'er-do-weels from nowhere in particular.
He said that no man could desire more jolly or entertaining companions over a glass of "summut;" but that upon the road it was anything but desirable to meet them; there they were terrible, cursing and swearing, and thrusting the muzzles of their pistols into people's mouths; and at this part of his locution the old man winked, and said, in a somewhat lower voice, that upon the whole they were right in doing so, and that when a person had once made up his mind to become a highwayman, his best policy was to go the whole hog, fearing nothing, but making everybody afraid of him; that people never thought of resisting a savage-faced, foul-mouthed highwayman, and if he were taken, were afraid to bear witness against him, lest he should get off and cut their throats some time or other upon the roads; whereas people would resist being robbed by a sneaking, pale-visaged rascal, and would swear bodily against him on the first opportunity, adding, that Abershaw and Ferguson, two most awful fellows, had enjoyed a long career, whereas two disbanded officers of the army, who wished to rob a coach like gentlemen, had begged the passengers' pardon, and talked of hard necessity, had been set upon by the passengers themselves, amongst whom were three women, pulled from their horses, conducted to Maidstone, and hanged with as little pity as such contemptible fellows deserved.
When I contrived at last to disengage myself, I saw Lafontaine; but so hollow-cheeked and pale-visaged, that I could scarcely recognize my showy friend in the skeleton knight who stood gesticulating his ultra-happiness before me. At length he drew, with a trembling touch and a glistening eye, from his bosom a letter, which he placed in my hand with a squeeze of eternal friendship.
"But my chief surprise is, to find in this prison more mutual kindness, and, in every sense, more generosity of sentiment, than one generally expects to meet in the world." "Helvetius would tell you that all this was self-interest," was my pale-visaged and contemplative friend's reply.