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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Condemn me not, Galesia, Fair unknown,
If I, to praise Thee, first my Error own;
A partial View and Prejudice of Fame
Slighted thy Pages for the Novel's Name:
Methought I scorn'd of Nymphs and Knights to dream,
And all the Trifles of a Love−Tale Scheme;
Poor dry Romances of a tortur'd Brain,
Where we see none but the Composer's Pain.
Thus I, by former Rules of Judgment led,
But soon my Fault recanted as I read.
So by false Seers misdoubting Men betray'd,
Are often of the real Guide afraid;
But when by Proof convinc'd they lend an Ear,
Their Truths Diviner from their Foils appear.
Who now can bear their stiff affected Vein,
Their Loves, their Cupids, and the idle Train,
Which Fools are pleas'd with, and which Mad−men feign?
When here he may with juster Wonder view
The Charms of Nature, and those painted true;
By what strange Springs our real Passions move,
How vain are all Disguises when we love;
What Wiles and Stratagems the Men secure,
And what the tortur'd Female Hearts endure;
Compell'd to stifle what they feign would tell,
While Truth commands, but Honour must rebel.
All this, so well, so naturally dress'd,
At once with Wit and Innocence express'd,
So true appears, so just, and yet so plain,
We mourn thy Sorrows, and we feel thy Pain.
None here is like thy false Dissembler found,
All pity Thee, but He who gave the Wound.
And yet the perjur'd Swain, Galesia, spare,
Nor urge on Vengeance with a hasty Pray'r;
Tho' much He merits it, since all agree,
Enough He's punish'd in his losing Thee.
It was in the Heat of Summer, when News is daily coming and hourly expected from the Campaigns; which, as it employs the Heads of the Politicians, and Arms of the Heroes, so it fills the Hearts of the Fair with a thousand Apprehensions, in Consideration of their respective Friends and Relations therein concern'd. This induc'd Galesia to an early Walk in St. Germains Garden, where meeting with her Friend Lucasia, they took a Turn or two by the little Wood, entertaining themselves on the Adventures of the present and foregoing War, and what they had to hope or fear from the Success or Overthrow of either or both Parties; their dearest and nearest Relations being equally engag'd on both Sides. King James's Affairs having so turn'd Things in Europe, that the War between France and the Allies was almost like a Civil War, Friend against Friend, Brother against Brother, Father against Son, and so on. After divers Disquisitions and Turns of Discourse on these Occurrences, Lucasia, being willing to quit this melancholy Theme, desir'd Galesia to recount to her the Adventures of her early Years, of which she had already heard some Part, and therefore believ'd the whole to be a diverting Novel. Wherefore seating themselves, Galesia related as follows.
My Father (said Galesia) and all his Family being of the Loyal Party, in the Time of King Charles the First, is a sufficient Demonstration of the Non−existence of Riches amongst them; for some were in Battel slain, and some in Prison dy'd; some ruin'd in their Estates, some in their Persons, and so (like most of the Adherents to the Royal Cause) were unhappy. My Father, in particular, lost a very honourable and profitable Place at Court; after which he retir'd into the Country, leading a very private, or rather obscure Life, just above the Contempt of Poverty, and below that Envy which attends Riches, of which he laid aside all Hopes, contenting himself to give his Children such Education as might fit them for a more plentiful Condition of Life, if Fortune shou'd ever make them her Favourites: Thus he made a Vertue of Necessity, and, as I have worded it in some Poem, elsewhere,
Where Fortune wou'd not with his Wish comply,
He made his Wish bear Fortune Company.
I was about ten or eleven Years old, when my Mother took me from Putney School, finding those Places the Academies of Vanity and Expence, no Way instructive in the Rudiments of a Country Gentlewoman's Life, for which, in all Probability, I was destin'd; therefore reasonably judg'd her own House a fitter Class to prepare me for that Station.
Here I had not been long, e'er there came to our House a young Gentleman of our Neighbourhood, one Mr. Brafort, a School−fellow and particular Companion of my Brother's. This Gentleman took such a liking to Miss, (for I was not yet past that Title) that he resolv'd to have no other Wife, tho' he was already a Man, and I but a Child; which he not only said but demonstrated, in refusing all Proposals of that Kind, always alledging, that he would stay for Galesia; and accordingly frequented our House, dispens'd with my Follies and Humours, making himself my Companion even in my childish Recreations.
I cannot but reflect on this Part of Life as the happiest Time we are born to know, when Youth and Innocence tune all Things, and render them harmonious; our Days in Play and Health, and our Nights in sound Sleep; our Pillows are not stuff'd with Cares, nor our waking Hours incumber'd with Passions: We reflect not on what is past, nor take a Prospect of what is to come: We toss our Shittlecock while weary, and at our Tutor's Beck we chearfully go to our Lectures. Thus we pass our happy Days, 'till Reason begins to bud in our Actions; then we no sooner know that we have a Being, and rejoice that we are the noblest Part of the Creation, but Passion takes Root in our Hearts, and very often out−grows and smothers our rational Faculties. This I experienc'd; for I was scarce arriv'd to those Years in which we begin to distinguish between Friendship and Affection, but I became sensible of the latter towards a Kinsman of ours, one Mr. Posvil who came to our House; and notwithstanding that I had arm'd my Thoughts with a thousand Resolutions against Love, yet the first Moment I saw this Man I lov'd him, tho' he had nothing extraordinary in Person or Parts to excite such an Affection; nevertheless, the Moment that his Eyes met mine, my Heart was sensible of an Emotion it had never felt before.
I was now about the Age of Fifteen, at which Time my Mother thought fit to send me to London, to remain under the Government of my Aunt, my Lady Martial, a vertuous Matron, under whose prudent Conduct I might learn a little of the Town Politeness, its Civilities without its Vanities, its Diversions without its Vices, &c. This Journey was extreamly pleasing to me, as is usual to any young Country Creature: London, the Idol of the World, might naturally create Longings in a young female Heart. It was also pleasing to Mr. Brafort, my reputed Lover; he supposing this Voyage would ripen my Understanding and Knowledge of the World, which was yet very green, wanting Experience and Conversation to bring to Maturity those Parts wherewith Nature had endued me. In the mean Time declaring to his Relations, that he intended to marry me at my Return; not doubting (I suppose) my Parents Consent whenever he shou'd ask it, his Estate rendering the Demand too advantageous to be refus'd: His Person not disagreeable; therefore concluded he had no Opposition to fear, having always found a kind Reception at our House, not only as a Neighbour, but my Brother's Friend and particular Acquaintance.
The Satisfaction I took, was not only that I should enjoy a little Ramble and Diversion of the Town, always agreeable to Youth, but knew I should there see my Cousin Bosvil, who was then a Student at the Inns of Court. But, alas! how was I non−plus'd, when at the first Visit he made me, he let me know, that he was inform'd that this my coming to London was to buy me Cloaths in order to be marry'd to Mr. Brafort. This he affirm'd with such an Air, as left no Room to suppose it Jest or Banter, withal letting me know his Author, which was Mr. Brafort'sMan; insomuch, that I really began to fear that it was so in the Bottom, and that such an Affair might have been transacted between him and my Parents: However, I assuring him that I knew nothing of any such Intention, he believ'd me with great Pleasure and Satisfaction; and from Time to Time made me understand, by his Looks and Gestures, that his Visits proceeded rather from Passion than Friendship, and that he was drawn to my Aunt's House by other Cords than those of Consanguinity or Respect to her Ladyship, which my vigilant Aunt soon perceiv'd; but (as the Proverb is) look'd thro' her Fingers, and under the Cloak of Kinsman, gave the Lover just so much Opportunity as serv'd to blow up his Flame, without too far engaging my young and unexperienc'd Heart; she knowing, that beside his Pretensions to the Law, his Estate render'd him an advantageous Party.
By this discreet Proceeding of my Aunt he had very little Opportunity to testify his Affection; nevertheless, he found some Moments to assure me of his everlasting Love, and to sue for the same of me. I, young and unexperienc'd as I was, had the Cunning to conceal my Passion, and to pretend not to believe his. The Truth is, I had heard so ill a Character of the Town Amours, as being all Libertinism, and more especially the Inns of Court, that I dreaded to launch on so dangerous a Sea; thinking each Sigh a Storm to overset ones Reputation, which too often proves true in Fact, especially if the Amour be secret, or without Parents Consent, that good Pilot which conducts young Lovers to the safe Harbour of Matrimony, without which we can hope for little but Shipwreck of our Fortunes and Quiet. This Consideration made me pretend to take all he said for Banter, or youthful Gallantry: In fine, I put him off with one little Shusfle or other, which he pretended to believe was only the Effect of Modesty, 'till such Time as we should come into the Country, and there be authoriz'd by our Parents to make him happy: In the interim, he resolv'd to demean himself so as to merit their Consent. All which pleas'd not only my amorous but my haughty Inclination; for I disdain'd to be courted thus in hugger−mugger. Thus Crimes and Folly mix themselves with our Vertues, Pride with Honour, Dissimulation with Modesty, &c. However, as the World now rolls, we are under a Kind of Constraint to follow its Byass.
Now as Pride agitated my Thoughts in regard of Bosvil, so did Revenge a little in regard of Brafort; for I pleas'd my self to think how he would be balk'd, who I thought had been very remiss in his Devoirs towards such a Goddess, as the World's Flatterers had made of me.
Seven or eight Months being pass'd in this Manner, my Mother sent for me into the Country; and my Brother, who was to be my Convoy, carry'd me by Oxford, to shew me the Glory of the University, at the Time of the Act, when it shines with greatest Splendor. The Complements and Civilities I there receiv'd from the Students of all Ranks, were so many, and so much above my Merit, that it would look like a Fiction for me to repeat: Therefore, with Friar Bacon's Speaking Head, I will only say, Time is past, and for ever keep Silence on that Subject; for the very naming those bright Encomiums, then given to my Youth, would now be like dressing up a Death's Head in Lace, Curls, and Ribands: However, all this Vanity did not sequester my Thoughts one Moment from my belov'd Bosvil; but I return'd Home into the Country, full of Longings for his Arrival.
In the mean Time our Neighbour, Mr. Brafort, had got some little Hints of this Amour, so resolv'd speedily to accomplish his intended Marriage with me: But Almighty Providence order'd it otherwise; for soon after my Arrival into the Country, he fell sick of a continu'd Fever, which in the space of ten Days carry'd him into his Grave, instead of his Nuptial Bed, to the great Grief of all his Relations. Thus we see that human Projects are meer Vapours, carry'd about with every Blast of cross Accidents; and the Projectors themselves, push'd by the Hand of Death, into the Abyss of Oblivion; or, according to the Proverb, Man purposes, God disposes.
This unlook'd for Death of Brafort was no Way afflicting to me, more than as a Friend or Neighbour; for all my tender Thoughts were bound up in Bosvil, whose Absence made my Life tedious, and every Minute seem'd a Year 'till his Arrival. But, ah my Lucasia! what are our Hopes when founded on any Thing but Heaven? My long'd for Bosvil came, and instead of bringing with him the Caresses of an overjoy'd Lover, or at least the Addresses of a fond Admirer, nothing accompany'd his Conversation, but a certain cold Respect, scarce surmounting common Civility. Instead of engaging my Parents to intercede on his Behalf with me their darling Child, he, in my Presence, consulted my Father about a certain neighbouring Gentlewoman, who was propos'd to him in Marriage. This Discourse I heard with seeming Tranquility, and prais'd the young I ady, wishing she might be so sensible of his Merit, as to make him speedily happy. Here, my Lucasia, Truth and Sincerity were supplanted by a Tincture of Modesty and Pride; for no Mouth spake more directly against the Sentiments of a Heart than mine did at that Time: But this is one of the finest−spun Snares wherewith the Devil intraps us, when he makes us abandon one Vertue to idolize another: As when the learned Casuists contend for the Faith to the Breach of Charity; and the Enthusiasticks, in their fantastick Raptures, neglect the common Duties of human Life. Thus I, silly Maid, set up a pretended Indifferency, to which false Idol I sacrific'd all my Satisfaction.
Now, tho' in Bosvil's Presence I made a shift to keep up this seeming Insensibility, yet interiorly I was tormented with a thousand Anxieties, which made me seek Solitude, where I might, without Witness or Controul, disburden my over−charg'd Heart of Sighs and Tears. This Solitude I sought was not hard to be found, our Habitation being situate in a remote Country Village where one has full Opportunity to sooth and cajole Melancholy, 'till it becomes rampant, and hardly to be restrain'd. Sometimes I endeavour'd to divert my Chagrin, by contemplating, in these shady Walks, the wonderful Works of the Creation. In the Spring methought the Earth was dress'd in new Apparel, the soft Meadow Grass was as a Robe of green Velvet imbroider'd with Pearls and Diamonds, compos'd of the Evening Dew, which the Sun's Morning Rays made bright and sparkling; all the Borders curiouslylac'd with chequer'd Work of Sun and Shade, caus'd by the Trees and Hedges. It was in one of these solitary Walks that my rolling Thoughts turn'd themselves into these Verses.
Methinks these Shades strange Thoughts suggest,
Which beat my Head, and cool my Breast,
And mind me of a Lawrel Crest.
Methinks I bear the Muses sing,
And see 'em all dance in a Ring,
And call npon me to take Wing.
We will (say they) assist thy Flight,
Till thou reach fair Orinda's Height,
If thou can'st this World's Folly slight.
We'll bring thee to our bright Abodes,
Amongst the Heroes and the Gods,
If thou and Wealth can be at Odds.
Then, gentle Maid, cast off thy Chain,
Which links thee to thy faithless Swain,
And vow a Virgin to remain.
Write, write thy Vow upon this Tree,
By us it shall recorded be,
And thou fam'd to Eternity.
Looking behind me, I saw a very smooth−bark'd Ash, under which I sate, and in the midst of melancholy Whimsies, I writ these Lines on the Body of the Tree, having commonly a little Pen and Ink in my Pocket. This Fancy, joyn'd with what I had lately read in a little Book of my Lord Bacon's, that a wise Man ought to have two Designs on Foot at a Time, or, according to the Proverb, two Strings to his Bow; so I, finding my self abandon'd by Bosvil, and thinking it impossible ever to love any Mortal more, resolv'd to espouse a Book, and spend my Days in Study. This Fancy having once taken Root, grew apace, and branch'd it self forth into a thousand vain Conceits. I imagin'd my self the Orinda or Sapho of my Time, and amongst my little Reading, the Character of the faithful Shepherdess in the Play pleas'd me extreamly. I resolv'd to imitate her, not only in perpetual Chastity, but in learning the Use of Simples, for the Good of my Country−Neighbours. Thus I thought to become Apollo'sdarling Daughter, and Maid of Honour to the Muses. In Order to this, I got my Brother, who was not yet return'd to Oxford, to set me in the Way to learn my Grammar, which he readily did, thinking it only a Vapour of Fancy, to be blown away with the first Puff of Vanity, or new Mode; or a Freak without Foundation, to be overthrown by the first Difficulty I shou'd meet with in the Syntax, knowing it to be less easy to make Substantive and Adjective agree, than to place a Patch, Curl, or any other additional Agreement, on a young Face, so as to render it (if not more charming) more gallant. He, not knowing the Foundation of my Enterprize, laugh'd at my Project, tho' he humour'd me out of Complaisance; for I had not let him know any thing of this Amour, supposing an Affront of this Kind might produce some fatal Accident; besides, my Pride would not permit me to let this Contempt of my Youth and Beauty be known to any. These Considerations made me keep this a Secret even from my Brother, tho' otherwise he was the Confident of all my poor Heart was able to conceive; for he was dear to me, not only as a Brother, but a Friend; fraternal Love and Friendship were united in him, and those Bonds drawn streight by Choice and Inclination, and all united by Reason; for never was Man fitter for an Election of this Kind, where Reason might have the casting Voice, which indeed ought to be in all our Actions. But to return where I digress'd.
I follow'd my Study close, betook my self to a plain Kind of Habit, quitted all Point−Lace, and Ribands, and fine Cloaths, partly (I suppofe) out of Melancholy, not caring to adorn that Person slighted by him I lov'd, and partly out of Pride, vainly imagining that the World applauded me, and admir'd that a Person in the Bloom of Youth should so perfectly abdicate the World, with all those Allurements which seldom fail to please our Sex, in all the Stations of our Life, but much more in the juvenile Part of our Time. But thus it was, I sought vain Glory through differing Paths, and seem'd to scorn what I really courted, popular Applause, and hid a proud Heart under an humble Habit. The Consideration of this makes me see how difficult it is to draw a Scheme of vertuous Politicks, whereby to govern this little Microcosin, but by that Model of all Perfection, Deny thy self, &c. and that not only in Deeds, but in the most secret Intentions; for while I strove to cast out the Devil of Love, I made Room for Pride, with all its vile Adherents.
However, I thought I had set my self in a good and convenient Road to pass my Life's Pilgrimage; but this my design'd Tranquility was disturb'd by the frequent Visits of Bosvil, who, as a Kinsman and a Friend, had free Access to our House; and tho' he made no formal or direct Address to me, yet his Eyes darted Love, his Lips smil'd Love, his Heart sigh'd Love, his Tongue was the only Part silent in the Declaration of a violent Passion; that between his cold Silence and his Sun−shine Looks, I was like the Traveller in the Fable; the warm Rays of his Eyes made me cast away that Garment of firm Resolution, which the Coldness of his Silence had made me to wrap close about my Heart.
Thus were my Resolutions cross'd,
'Twixt Hope, Despair and Love were toss'd;
His Looks were Sun−shine, Words were Frost.
But why, my Galesia, (said Lucasia) did you not consult your Parents, and in particular your Mother, whose Care and Prudence might have adjusted the Business to all your Satisfactions? I consider'd much on that Point, reply'd Galesia, but I concluded if I discover'd it to my Mother, she would discourse him about it, and he, perhaps, might put it off with a Laugh, and say he had only rally'd with his young Cousin, during her Residence in London, to try how her Heart was fortify'd against such like Assaults: So by this Means I should have pass'd for an ignorant Country Girl, not capable of distinguishing between Jest and Earnest, which would have grated hard upon my proud Humour: Wherefore I resolv'd (that as long as he remain'd silent towards my Parents) to take all he said or did for Banter, or little Efforts of Gallantry. Thus, Fool as I was, I conceal'd from my dear Mother the Thing in which I had greatest Need of her Counsel and Conduct; and as most young People have too great an Opinion of their own Wisdom, so I, no doubt, thought my self as capable to make or use a Conquest, as any Town−Lady, arm'd Cap−a−pee with all Sorts of Embellishments, who had serv'd divers Campaigns under the Banner of Venus; but too late I found my Folly and Weakness in this my opinionated Wisdom.
Bosvil frequently came to our House; where he made the outward Grimaces of a Lover with an indifferent Heart, while I bore up the Outside of Indifferency with a Heart full of Passion. Thus a Mask is put on sometimes to conceal an ill Face, and sometimes to conserve a good one; and the most Part of Mankind are in Reality different from what they seem: Youth affects to be thought older, and they of riper Years younger; the sober young Gentleman affects to talk like a Rake, and the Town Miss to pretend to Modesty; therefore I wonder not that I, silly Country Girl, assum'd to my self a Discretion which Time and want of Experience had deny'd me. But Things were on this Footing, when Mr. Brafort, Cousin to my dead Lover Brafort, cast his Eyes upon me with greater Esteem than I merited; and as if he had been destin'd to chuse the Devil for his Confessor, he chose my Cousin Bosvil for his Confident, desiring him to introduce him to me, and make his Proposals to my Parents. Brafort knowing nothing of Bosvil's pretended Inclinations for me, (though otherwise his trusty Confident) address'd to him as my near Relation and intimate Friend. To this Proposal Bosvil frankly reply'd, that he could not serve him, saying, that he design'd his Cousin Galesia for himself, and was so far from introducing any Body on that score, that on the contrary he should be careful to keep off all Pretenders. Hereupon Mr. Brafort remain'd satisfy'd, laying all Thoughts of me aside.
Now to what Meaning could this Falshood tend,
Thus to deceive his Mistress and his Friend.
This Transaction, tho' coming to me by a third Hand, gave me a strong Belief of Bosvil's Sincerity, and made me interpret every little dubious Word, which he sometimes mix'd with his fond Actions, to be Demonstrations of a real Passion; not doubting but a little Time would ripen the same into an open Declaration to my Parents, as well as formerly to me, and now lastly to young Brafort. In the mean Time attributing this Delay to his Prudence, in acquainting himself with my Humour and Inclinations, before he gave himself irrevocably to me, it oblig'd me to regulate my Behaviour with the discreetest Precautions my poor unexperienc'd Thoughts could dictate. My Grammar Rules now become harsh Impertinencies; for I thought I had learnt Amo and Amor by a shorter and surer Method; and the only Syntax I study'd, was how to make suitable Answers to my Father and him, when the long'd−for Question should be propos'd, that I might not betray my Weakness in too ready a Complyance, nor ruin my Satisfaction in too rigid an Opposition.
In the mean Time, a Friend of mine, that had marry'd a Sister of my dead Lover, Brafort, and for that Reason he and his Wife always call'd me Sister; this Gentleman, whether out of Kindness or Curiosity, (or because his Cousin the young Brafort had discover'd his Inclinations for me) I know not, but he had a great Desire to inform himself of the Secret between me and Bosvil; for he and his Wife being much in our Company, could not but remark something in his Carriage towards me; and being very intimate with Bosvil, told him, that he wonder'd that he, being an only Child, and Heir to a considerable Estate, besides his growing Practice in the Law, did not fix on a Wife, thereby to establish his Family, and make his aged Parents happy. That Affair is not undone, reply'd Bosvil, I am fix'd on my Neighbour Lowland's Daughter, and hope shortly to enjoy your good Company, with the rest of my Friends and Relations, at the Celebration of our Marriage. This Answer my Friend little expected to receive; however, believing it concern'd me nearly, took the first Opportunity to tell me, which he did in a frank jocose Manner, not seeming to suspect how great my Concern was, which indeed was the greatest in the World. The Notes of a stuttering Cuckcoo are not half so disagreeable, tho' they sing the Obsequies of the Spring, and proclaim Silence to the whole Quire of chirping Musicians. The Edifice I had so lately built on the Foundation of that Discourse between Bosvil and young Brafort, prov'd a meer airy nothing, serving only to make my Fall the greater, by how much I had rais'd my Hopes on its Battlements. I spent my Days in Sighs, and my Nights in Tears; my Sleep forsook me, and I relish'd not my Food; nor had I made any Friend or Confident, into whose Bosom I might discharge my Griefs, or receive Consolation. My dear Brother was then at Paris, to improve his Studies in that University; where, complaining of his Absence, I also hinted this other Original of my Sorrows.
Nothing at present wonted Pleasure yields,
The Birds, nor Bushes, nor the gaudy Fields;
Nor Oiser Holts, nor flow'ry Banks of Glenn,
For the soft Meadow Grass seem plush; as when
We used to walk together kindly here,
And think each Blade of Corn a Jem did bear:
Instead of this, and thy Philosophy,
Nought but my own false Latin now I see,
False Verse, or Lover falsest of the three.
Thus I walk'd on in Sorrow and Desolation, without reflecting that my Vanity deserv'd greater Punishments: For in our Youth we commonly dress our Thoughts in the Mirrour of Self−Flattery, and expect that Heaven, Fortune, and the World, should cajole our Follies, as we do our own, and lay all Faults on others, and all Praise on our selves. How far I was guilty of this I know not; but whatever I deserv'd from the Hand of Heaven, I am sure I deserv'd nothing but well from Bosvil, whose Scorn (the Cause of my Afflictions) I endeavour'd to conceal; yet, spite of all my Industry, this Melancholy, together with my plain Dress, was taken Notice of, and it was believ'd I mourn'd for Brafort. My Parents fearing this might prove a Hindrance to my Fortune, commanded me to quit that plain Dress, and endeavour to forget Brafort. This their Fancy of my Affection for Brafort I did not much contradict, it being a proper Cur−feu to that Flame I had for Bosvil. Thus we see how easily we are deceiv'd by outward Appearances, and what Care we ought to take of censuring, judging, or condemning Things or Persons, without knowing the true and genuine Cause of Contingencies, which are often very hard to be understood; for, according to the Fable, the Ass seems valiant in the Lions Skin, and the Crow glorious in her borrow'd Plumes. We often give undeserv'd Applause, where Fortune makes a Fool her Favourite; and on the other Side, as often condemn the wisest Designs when not attended with Success. We are Fortunes Machines, and the Alarum of popular Applause must run off, as she is pleas'd to turn the Key of our Affairs:
For very few will praise the good Intent,
But every one condemns the bad Event.
But Pardon (Madam) this Digression, and give me Leave to return.
After my aforesaid Discourse with my Friend, that he told me of Bosvil's intended Marriage with Mrs. Lowland,there pass'd many Weeks that I neither saw nor heard from him, he keeping close at his Father's House, (which was about twenty Miles from us) where I thought he pass'd his Time at the Feet of his Fair Mrs. Lowland, who liv'd in his Father's Neighbourhood: But the Truth prov'd, that he was detain'd by a light but lingring Sickness, in which Time I gain'd much upon my distemper'd Mind, and thought my self so perfectly cur'd, as never more to relapse by the Infection of any Lover, how contagious soever Youth, Gallantry, or Riches might render him: But, alas! I had not yet pass'd the Dog−days of Bosvil's hot Pursuits; but at his Return he treated me in another Manner than ever: If before he admir'd, honour'd, or esteem'd me, he now doted, ador'd, and dy'd for me; vow'd a thousand Times that he could not live without me; that his Passion had been the Cause of his late Indisposition, and wou'd be of his Death, if the salutary Remedy of Hymen's Rites were not speedily apply'd; in order to which he had brought a License with him, and therewith took it out of his Pocket, and shew'd it me: All which so astonish'd, pleas'd, and confounded me, that I knew not what to reply; but with Tears in my Eyes told him, that I was wholly non−plus'd, and knew not what Interpretation to make of all that had pass'd between him and me. 'Tis true, reply'd he, I have been extreamly remiss in my Devoirs towards you, for which I deserve the utmost Punishment your Scorn can inflict; nor should I dare to ask Pardon of a Goodness less perfect. Be not cruel then to your Penitent, but forgive him who now asks it with all Submission; him, who vows never to offend you; him, who swears to suffer any Thing, rather than deserve your Anger; him, who dedicates every Action of his Life to love, please, and serve you. Cease (said I) these Asseverations; I never pretended to be displeas'd with you; and as you have done nothing to offend me, so I have done nothing to deserve your Love, beyond that of a Kinswoman or a Friend, which I hope I shall never forfeit, but as such I shall for ever love you. If you love me as a Kinsman or a Friend, reply'd he, testify the same in saving my Life; which, as a wretched Criminal I beg, and as a faithful Lover hope to receive from your Goodness, in consenting to a speedy Marriage; for without that, you cannot pretend to either Friendship, Love, or Charity it self, my Life and Love being now inseparable. Sure, dear Cousin, said I, you forget in whose Company you are, and believe your self with fair Mrs. Lowland: If such an amorous Slumber has cast you into this Delirium, pray awake, and behold before you your Cousin Galesia. I need no Monitor (reply'd he) to tell me, that it is my Cousin Galesia with whom I converse at present: The reserv'd Behaviour with which she treats me, her faithful Lover, shews, that it is the prudent, vertuous, chast Galesia. It is this reserv'd Mein, Madam, which has often deter'd me, and commanded my Tongue to a respectful Silence; whilst my poor Heart, overcharg'd with Passion, only eas'd it self with Sighs, and my Looks were the only Language whereby to express my interior Thoughts. How far your Silence has been guilty of your Sufferings, (reply'd I) it is not easy for me to penetrate; but I believe the Insincerity of this Declaration might prove very obnoxious to my Quiet, if my pre−ingaged Resolution of a single Life did not secure me from those Dangers, to which my Youth and your Merit might betray me. Ah, Madam! reply'd he, and is it possible that you should doubt the Sincerity of what I now assert? The Great God of Heaven that created us knows what I say is true, when I say I love you above all Things in this World; that I will never marry any Woman but yourself; that I never did, can, or will, place any Beauty or Interest in Competition with you; that I have thought of nothing but you since I first beheld you; that I deny'd all the Diversions of the Town for your sake; and when I tugg'd the Oar of Cook upon Littleton, and other harsh Studies, it was to arrive safe to the Harbour of your Embrace. This Heaven knows to be true; and not Heaven only, but there is not a Person on Earth with whom I have convers'd, that has not been entertain'd with Galesia's Perfections and my Passion: There is not one of my Acquaintance but has heard that I love Galesia. Ah, Madam! this is true, Heaven that inspir'd me with this vertuous Affection, knows it to be true; Earth which adores you, knows it to be true, and you your self know it to be true: Look into your own Conscience, and it will bear Witness to this Truth, that I have lov'd you since the first Moment that I saw you. Remember (Madam) how after the first Salutations, I sate and gaz'd on you with such a deep Surprize, that there was little Difference between me and a Statue, except sometimes a stoln Sigh, which call'd the Blood into your Cheeks, and made me know, (that, young as you were) you understood that Language. Moreover, Madam, that when I sate at Table, I could not eat for looking on you; insomuch, that your charitable Mother thinking me indispos'd, sent to her Closet for a Cordial. Then it was I gaz'd away that Life you now refuse to save, and have ever since labour'd under deadly Pangs; and after thus suffering Martyrdom, to have the Truth of what I profess call'd in Question, is downright Tyranny. Those (reply'd I) who have once swerv'd from the Faith they profess, ought always to be suspected; you have offer'd your Vows to Mrs. Lowlandand so stopt with a stoln Sigh. With that, he call'd to Mind what he had said to my Friend, and told me, that all he had then said, was only to put a Stop to his Curiosity, not thinking it proper to name me as the Object of his design'd Espousals, without my Leave; and then again and again call'd Heaven to witness that he lov'd me above all terrestrial Beings: And if you believe me not, (continued he) I hope you will believe my Father, who intends to be here next Week, to bear witness of this Truth: He will tell you how often I have avow'd it to him, when he has propos'd Matches to me, telling him that nothing but my fair Cousin, the vertuous Galesia, could make me happy. My fond Mother also, when she hears me sigh, knows it is for you, and then blames your Cruelty. If you persist in this Rigour, you will not only cause my Death, but theirs also, whose Lives are bound up in mine. When my Father comes, I hope you will compassionate his Years, when he courts you for his only Child; think how much your tender Mother loves you, and then consider mine; and as your Tenderness extends to them, 'tis hoped you shall have little Beauties of your own to do the same, one Day, for you.
In this Kind of Discourse, my Lucasia, we pass'd some Hours; and it was with great Difficulty that I restrain'd my foolish Tongue from telling the Fondness of my Heart, but the Restraint was with such broken Words, stoln Sighs, suppress'd Tears, that the meerest Fresh−man in Love's Academy could not but read and understand that Language, much more he that had pass'd Graduate amongst the Town−Amours. What Interpretation he made I know not; but I thought myself safe landed on Love's Shore, where no cross Wind, or unseen Accident, could oppose my Passage at Hymen's Palace, or wreck me in this Harbour of true Satisfaction: For since he assur'd me of his Parents Consent, I knew his Fortune to be too advantageous to be refus'd by mine; that now my Thoughts swam in a Sea of Joy, which meeting with the Torrent of the aforesaid Vexations, made a Kind of a dangerous Eddy, ready to overset my Reason. I pass'd some Nights without Sleep, and Days without Food, by Reason of this secret Satisfaction; at last, being overcome with a little Drousiness, I fell asleep in a Corner of our Garden, and there dream'd that an angry Power on a sudden carry'd me away, and made me climb a high Mountain, where I met Bosvil, who endeavour'd to tumble me down; but I thought the aforesaid Power snatch'd me away, and brought me to that Shade, where I had writ those Verses heretosore on the Bark of an Ash, as I told you; in which Verses I had seem'd to prefer the Muses, and a studious Life, before that of Business and Marriage: Whereupon,
my uncouth Guardian said,
Since, since thou hast the Muses chose,
Hymen and Fortune are thy Foes;
Thou shalt have Cassandra's Fate,
In all thou say'st, unfortunate.
The God of Wit sent her that Curse,
And Fortune sends thee this, and worse:
In all thou dost, tho' ne'er so good,
By all the World misunder stood:
In best of Actions be despis'd,
And Fools and Knaves above thee priz'd:
Foes, like Serpents, hiss and bite thee,
All thy Friends agree to slight thee:
Love, and Lovers, give thee Pain,
For they, and thou, shalt love in vain.
Either Death shall from thee take 'em,
Or they thee, or thou forsake 'em:
Thy Youth and Fortune vainly spend,
And in thy Age have not a Friend:
Thy whole Life pass in Discontent,
In Want, and Woe, and Banishment:
Be broken under Fortune's Wheel,
Direct thy Actions ne'er so well.
A thousand other Ills beside,
Fortune does for them provide,
Who to the Muses are ally'd.
At this Harangue my Grief was so extream,
That I awak'd, and glad it prov'd a Dream.
But it has prov'd so true in the Event, that I think one can hardly call it so, but a real Vision, as will appear by the Sequel of my Story, to which I return.
Many Days and Weeks pass'd, and several Visits he made with repeated Assurances of his Passion, still expecting the Coming of his Father. How far my Looks or Gestures might betray my Thoughts I know not, but I kept my Words close Prisoners, till they should be set at Liberty by the Desire of his Father, or the Command of mine; or at least convey'd into the Mouth of my prudent Mother. Thus I thought I planted my Actions, in a good Soil, on the Ground of Vertue, and water'd them with the Stream of Discretion, but the Worm of Pride and Self esteem was at the Bottom, and gnaw'd the Root: I did not enough reflect on the Author of all Good, but thought perhaps I trod the Path of Vertue by the Clue of my own Wisdom, without due Reflection or Thanks to the Donor: Which is, as if one should wind up a Watch, and keep it clean, but never set it to the Hour; by which Means the little Machin is useless, tho' it goes never so well: So if we perform all moral Vertues, without directing them to Heaven, they prove very little available to our Happiness.
Whether Bosvil know or was inform'd that his Father would not come, or was impatient of his Delay, I know not; but he dispos'd himself to go to his Father, who liv'd twenty Miles from us, (as before remark'd) tho' my Lover had establish'd himself in our Neigh bourhood, both for his Health (as being a more serene Air) and more convenient for his Practice nearer London. When he took his Leave of me, he begg'd me a thousand times to remember him when absent. How is it possible (said he) that I shall pass this tedious Time without you? Every Minute I am from you seems an Age Nothing is gratful, nothing satisfactory. When absent, my Senses take Pleasure in nothing but you; even Reason loses her Regency, and I rave on nothing but my absent Galesia. Ah! that I might call you truly mine: However, let me flatter my self that I am so far yours, that you will not quite forget me when absent, but pity my Banishment. Pity and promise to think on me; promise but that, and I shall consolate my self with that Thought. Our Souls have subtile Ways of corresponding, they converse when these terrestrial Organs know nothing of the Matter: Then breathe a Sigh, and bid it go to your Bosvil, it will meet with whole Legions of mine, which will surround it, and bring it safe to my Heart unmix'd with other Air; and when you are in your solitary Walks, whisper that you want your Bosvil's Company; and some little waiting Spirit, appointed by my good Genius to attend you, shall quickly bring it to his Master, and I shall in a Moment, by a secret Inspiration, know my Galesia's Desires, and so be happy at a Distance! Then promise me, my sweet, my fair, my bright Charmer, this small Consolation: This is the Way by which Souls converse, independant of these heavy Tenements in which they are imprison'd: Promise this, and your Bosvil shall not be quite unhappy in these three Weeks Absence; which otherwise would be a Tædium. In this manner he took his Leave of me, all which I answer'd with alternate Smiles, Sighs, and broken Words, scarce containing common Sense.
When he was gone I thought on him perpetually, I sigh'd every Moment, I counted the Hours of his Absence as no Part of my Life, wish'd these tedious three Weeks cut out of the Records of Time, often repeating to my self his Vows and Assurances of everlasting Love, resolving to be no longer cruel to my self and him, but let him know what mighty Sums of Love I had been hoarding up for him since the Moment of our first Interview. O my Bosvil,(said I to my self) I will let thee know how true a Master thou hast been of my Affections; I will beg thy Pardon for all the Pains I have made thee feel by my seeming indifference, and kindly reproach thee for thy feign'd Negligence; and then repair all with infinite Testimonies of everlasting Fidelity, tye my self to the nuptial Bands, and ratify all by a constant Obedience. Thus a thousand rambling Thoughts, a thousand fond Fancies, agitated my poor young Head and Heart. Sometimes I busied my self with thinking what I should say to his Father, whom I concluded he would bring along with him: I said and unsaid a thousand Things; this speech I fear'd betray'd too much Fondness, that, too little Kindness; this seem'd too submiffive to the Son, that not respectful enough to the Father; now I study'd what Excuse to make to my Mother, for having so long conceal'd from her a Matter of such Importance; then, what to say to my Father, for being so ready to leave him for an Husband: Thus I pass'd my Hours in perpetual Agitation of Mind, Part of which was, what Cloaths, what Friends, what Ceremonies should be at this my approaching Marriage.
The tedious three Weeks being elaps'd, Bosvil came, but not my Lover: He came with greater Coldness and Indifferency than ever! No Ray of Love darted from his Eyes, no Sigh from his Heart, no Smile towards me, nothing but a dusky cold Indifferency, as if Love had never shin'd in his Hemisphere. The Truth is, I took it for Disguise, but could not imagine what should make him put it on; I thought the Mumming went too far, when the Masqueraders murder'd those they pretended to divert: But to convince me that this was no feign'd Indifference, he stay'd several Days at our House, acting this Scene of Inconstancy to Perfection. Much I study'd, but could think of nothing that could have disoblig'd him; I examin'd my Words, to find if I had said anything that might have been affronting at his Arrival. I consulted my Glass, to see if my Person was chang'd in those fatal three Weeks; I reflected on all Things, from the Beginning to the End, but could find nothing whereof to accuse myself: Sometimes in my Thoughts I confronted his past Kindness with his present Coldness; his passionate Speeches, Looks, and Gestures, with his Neglect, Coldness, and Indifferency; one rais'd my Hopes above Ela, the other cast my Despair below Gamut. Thus I ran Divisions in my Fancy, which made but harsh Musick to my Interiour. Methought I resembled the Sisters in Hell, whom the Poets feign to catch Water in a Sieve.
Now, whether this Affliction was laid on me by the immediate Hand of Heaven, or that Fate, or my unhappy Constellations, produc'd it by secondary Causes, I knew not, but Innocence was my Consolation; for I had nothing wherewith to reproach myself; I had acted justly and honourably towards him: He could not upbraid me with Coyness nor Kindness; for tho' I had squar'd my Actions by the exact Rules of Vertue and Modesty, yet I did not exclude Civility and Good−nature; for I always stay'd in his Company, heard him, laugh'd, fool'd, and jested with him; yet not so freely as to transgress good Manners, or break Respect on either Side; all which might assure a Person, less judicious than himself, that neither his Person nor Proposals were disagreeable. All these Considerations serv'd to render his Coldness the more surprizing; but it pleas'd God to have it thus. Bosvil,perhaps, was my Idol, and rival'd Heaven in my Affections: That I might say to him as Cowley to his Mistress,
Thou ev'n my Prayers dost steal from me;
For I with wild Idolatry,
Begin to God, and end 'em all in thee.
This Vicissitude in my Affairs made me reflect on those Verses in my Dream, or rather Vision, which said, Hymen and Fortune are thy Foes: In which I endeavour'd to be resign'd, and bring my Thoughts and Inclinations to a true Submission to the Will of Heaven; tho' it is a Grief extreamly hard to bear, to find ones self thus abandon'd, in the Flower of Youth, and that by my own Relation, who ought to have sustain'd me against any false Pretender, according to the Song then in Vogue;
You, of all Men, bad least Reason,
Thus to abuse my poor Heart;
For if another had done it,
You ought to have taken my Part, &c.
But Things going thus, I endeavour'd to detach my Thoughts from him; or, if I must needs think on him, I resolv'd it should be on his Crimes, Falshood, and cruel Usage; which I put in Practice; so that by Degrees his Company began to grow troublesome, and his Presence ungrateful. Yet could I not avoid either; for I had no Reason to quarrel with him, unless for not courting me as formerly; and that was turning the Tables, and making myself the Lover, instead of the Belov'd; which was not only contradictory to my haughty Humour, but seem'd, in a Manner, to invert Nature. Nevertheless, I forc'd myself to bear it, with a seeming Equality of Mind, 'till a fit Occasion should offer for my Revenge; like the Quaker, that is smitten on the one Cheek, turns the other also; but after that having, as he thinks, fulfill'd the Law, can beat his Adversary as well as any carnal Man: So I waited but for a Left−cheek Blow, that might give (at least a seeming) just Cause to quarrel, so as to take Occasion to banish him, his Presence being almost as disagreeable to me as a Spectre; for 'tis natural enough, that the Cause of Grief should be the Object of Aversion.
I remain'd full of this Wish many Months; at last, Fortune was a little propitious to my Desire, at least, I wrested an Occasion to my Caprice, which was this:
Bosvil and another young Gentleman met my Father at a certain Place over a Bottle; here Bosvil propos'd his Friend to my Father as an Husband for me. All Conditions of Portion and Jointure were there propos'd and approv'd on both Sides, and the Day appointed on which the Gentleman should come to visit me, which was to be the Week following. This my Father told me with Satisfaction, also minding me how much I was oblig'd to my Cousin Bosvil. To which my Answers were few, dubious, and obscure; which pass'd with my Father for a little Virgin Surprize, which Discourses of this Kind raise in the Hearts of young Creatures. But, oh! my Lucasia, I cannot tell you what I suffer'd when I was alone; Rage and Madness seiz'd me, Revenge and Malice was all I thought upon; inspir'd by an evil Genius, I resolv'd his Death, and pleas'd myself in the Fancy of a barbarous Revenge, and delighted myself to think I saw his Blood pour out of his false Heart. In order to accomplish this detestable Freak, I snatch'd up a Steel Rapier, which stood in the Hall, and walk'd away towards the Place of his Abode, saying to myself, The false Bosvil shall disquiet me no more, nor any other of my Sex; in him I will end his Race; no more of them shall come to disturb or affront Womankind. This only Son shall die by the Hands of me an only Daughter; and however the World may call it Cruelty, or Barbarity, I am sure our Sex will have Reason to thank me, and keep an annual Festival, in which a Criminal so foul is taken out of their Way. The Example, perhaps, may deter others, and secure many from the Wrongs of such false Traytors, and I be magnify'd in future Times. For it was for ridding the World of Monsters that Hercules was made so great a Hero, and George a Saint; then sure I shall be rank'd in the Catalogue of Heroines, for such a Service done to my Sex; for certainly, the Deserts of Arabia never produc'd so formidable a Monster as this unaccountable Bosvil. Behold what Sophisms one can find to justify any Attempt, tho' never so mad or desperate; and even affront, if not quite reverse the Laws of Nature: That if the Feebleness of our Hands did not moderate the Fury of our Heads, Women sometimes would exceed the fiercest Savages, especially when affronted in their Amours; which brings into my Mind a Verse or two on such an Occasion.
A slighted Woman, oft a Fury grows,
And, for Revenge, quits her baptismal Vows,
Becomes a Witch, and does a Fiend espouse.
In these wild Thoughts I wander'd, 'till Weariness made me know my own Weakness and Incapacity of performing what Fury had inspir'd, and forc'd me to seek Repose under the first convenient Shade; where my flowing Tears mitigated the Heat of my Rage, washing away those extravagant Thoughts, and made me turn my Anger against myself, my wretched self, that woful and unworthy Thing, the Scorn of my Kinsman, Lover, Friend; which Thoughts I branch'd into many Reflections against myself, and him, and hard Fortune, which at last turn'd to these kind of Words:
Why was I born, or why a Female born,
Or why not Piece−meal from my Mother torn;
Or did I not with Teeth, or Rickets die,
Or other Accidents of Infancy;
Or why not lame, bum−back'd, pock−broken Face,
Or else in Morals infamous and base,
Or ne'er had Being among human Race.
Had I been lewd, unfaithful, or unjust,
To Friend, or Lover, or betray'd my Trust,
I then might well expect the Lot I have,
But not for being vertuous, chaste, and grave.
With many Thiugs more I utter'd of this Kind, almost complaining of Providence; and wish'd some kind Serpent would creep out of its Hole, and sting me to Death; or Thunder descend, and strike me into the Ground, and at once perform my Death and Funeral. O! no, (said I) that will render Bosvil too happy: I will go Home, and write the whole Scene of this Treachery, and make myself the last Actor in the Tragedy. With these foolish Thoughts I return'd home very weary: I threw myself on my Bed, where, in a little Time, all my Resentments became a Prey to gentle Slumbers, which much refresh'd my weary Body and more weary Mind, rendering me a little capable of acting according to the Dictates of Reason, but not without a large Mixture of Passion. When I awak'd, I writ to him after this Manner:
Cousin, I Thought you had been so well acquainted with my Humour touching a marry'd Life, as to know it is my Aversion; therefore wonder you should make such a Proposal to my Father on your Friend's Behalf. Perhaps you will say it was but in Jest, and I believe it to be no more; but I beg you to make something else the Subject of your Raillery, and leave me out, 'till Misbehaviour renders me the proper Object of Ridicule, which it has not hitherto; for I have done nothing dishonourable to myself, nor disobliging to you; therefore ought rather to be the Subject of Civility than Banter, which, perhaps, Distance and Absence may accomplish; therefore, I beg you to see me no more, 'till Fortune commission you, by the Change of your Condition. In the mean Time, I remain, your Kinswoman and humble Servant,
In the Simplicity of these Words lay much Cunning, and under the Shadow of Frowardness much Kindness; which I knew he must discern, if he had any real Affection for me in his Heart: For Love is like Ghosts or Spirits, that will appear to those to whom they have a Mind to speak, and to others are quite invisible. I pleas'd myself that I had taken this Occasion, at once to command his Absence, and, in a covert Manner, testify my Affection; for I knew that was the natural Interpretation of these Words, See me no more; for nothing but a real Mistress could pretend to use them, and nothing but a fond Mistress could pretend to be displeas'd at the Presence of a Kinsman or a Friend, for having offer'd an advantageous Marriage in the Person of his Friend. Here was now no Medium, no Space left between open Lover and open Enemy; here was no more Love−Frolicks to be acted under the Disguise of a Friend or Kinsman; if he came to me after such a Prohibition, he must come upon the Pikes of my Anger, which he cou'd not pretend to appease by any other Atonement but that of his everlasting Love in holy Marriage−Vows. If he stay'd away, I had my Ends I had long sought, the being rid of one that gave me so much Disquiet. Thus I satisfy'd myself in Expectation of his Answer, which came next Day in these Words:
Madam, I Am extreamly astonish'd to find you so displeas'd at what pass'd the other Day, which was no Way meant to your Prejudice, but, on the contrary, much to your Advantage. However, Madam, I shall not justify what you are pleas'd to condemn; but add also the Testimony of my Obedience, in submitting to your Prohibition, and not presume to see you more, tho' in it I sequester myself from those Charms I have so long ador'd, and only at a Distance admire what your Rigour forbids me to approach, and so rest,
MADAM, Your Kinsman, and humble Servant, Bosvil.
This complying with See me no more, gave me the same Satisfaction that a Patient has when his Limbs are cutting off, the Remedy and the Disease being both grievous: However, I knew now what I had to trust to, and therefore study'd to make a Vertue of this Necessity, and consolate myself with patient suffering what I cou'd no ways avoid: I experienc'd amply the Words of the Sage, That all was Vanity and Vexation of Spirit, and every Act of our Lives Folly, except design'd and offer'd to the Glory of God. I reflected on my late extravagant Rage, when I design'd his Death, and knew I ought to cry most earnestly to be deliver'd from Blood guiltiness. I retir'd into myself, and return'd to my Studies; the Woods, Fields, and Pastures, had the most of my Time, by which Means I became ás perfect in rural Affairs as any Arcadian Shepherdess; insomuch, that my Father gave into my Power and Command all his Servants and Labourers; it was I that appointed them their Work, and paid them their Wages; I put in and put out who I pleas'd, and was as absolute over my Rusticks, as the Great Turk over his Subjects; and tho' this was a great Fatigue, yet it gratify'd my Vanity, that I was suppos'd able to perform Things above my Age and Sex, and tho' it was an Impediment to my Studies, yet it made Amends, it being itself a Study, and that a most useful one: The Rules to sow and reap in their Season; to know what Pasture is fit for Beeves, what for Sheep, what for Kine, with all their Branches, being a more useful Study than all the Grammar Rules, or Longitude or Latitude, Squaring the Circle, &c. The Former, according to the Utility of his Occupation, deserves to hold the first Rank amonst Mankind: That one may justly reflect with Veneration on those Times, when Kings and Princes thought it no Derogation to their Dignities. The Nobles, in ancient Times, did not leave their Country−Seats to become the Habitation of Jack−daws, and the Manufactory of Spiders, who, in Reproach to the Mistress, prepare Hangings, to supply those the Moth has devour'd, thro' her Negligence, or Absence. But to return from whence I degress'd. This rural Business was so full of Imployment, that its continual Fatigue contributed very much to the Ease of my Thoughts touching Bosvil, beyond all that Reason, Devotion, or Philosophy could procure. For the constant Incumbrance which attended this Station, left no Space for Love to agitate my Interiour: The Labour of the Day was recompens'd with sound Sleep at Night; those silent Hours being pass'd in Sleep's Restorative, the Day provided new Business for my waking Thoughts, whilst Health and wholsom Food repaid this my Industry. Thus, in a Country Life, we roll on in a Circle, like the heavenly Bodies, our Happiness being seldom eclips'd, unless by the Interposition of our own Passions or Follies: Now, finding myself daily to get Ground of my sickly Thoughts, I doubted not of a perfect Recovery, if I continu'd the constant Application of this wholsom Receipt of laborious Industry, which made me reflect on those Words of the Poet, as the Author of this incomparable Remedy,
Fac monitis fugias otia, &c.
Ovid Remed Amoris.
Fly Sloth if thou wilt Cupid overthrow,
Sloth points his Darts, but Business breaks his Bow,
Imployment to his Flame is Ice and Snow.
Cupid and Venus are to Sloth inclin'd,
From both, in Bus'ness, thou mayst Safety find;
For Love gives Place, where Business fills the Mind.
Moreover, that which contribued much to this Victory over myself, was the Return of my Brother from France; his dear Company, which I had long wanted, exterminated that Melancholy which had too long perplex'd me; the little Rarities he brought, adorn'd my Person, and garnish'd my Closet; he frequently entertain'd me with Descriptions of Places, and Customs of France, in particular, Convents, and their Way of Living, which I so admir'd, that I wish'd for such Places in England; which, if there had been, 'tis certain I had then become a Nun, and under a holy Veil bury'd all Thoughts of Bosvil: In this, my dear Brother's Company, I daily improv'd my Studies; so that I began a little to understand an Author, of which none pleas'd me more than those of Physick, in particular, Harvey, his Circulatio Sanguinis; all which serv'd to fill my Head with Notions, and, perhaps, my Heart with Pride, at best, but a mispending of Time, Learning being neither of Use nor Ornament to our Sex; but on the contrary, many count a studious Woman as ridiculous as an effeminate Man, and learned Books as unfit for our Apartment, as Paint, Washes, and Patches for his: In fine, the Men will not allow it to be our Sphere, so consequently we can never be suppos'd to move in it gracefully; but like the Toad in the Fable, that affected to swell itself as big as the Ox, and to burst in the Enterprize: But let the World confine or enlarge Learning as they please, I care not; I do not regret the Time I bestow'd in its Company, it having been my good Friend to bail me from Bosvil's Fetters, tho' I am not so generous, by Way of Return, to pass my Word for its good Behaviour in our Sex, always, and in all Persons; for sometimes it becomes a Rival to their Duty, deluding them from the Care of their Children and Families, the Business allotted them by the Hand of Heaven.
Now Bosvil having been sometime absent, our Family, Friends, and Neighbours, began to take Notice of it, and more especially at my Brother's Return, when every Body came to bid him Welcome, not only the Gentlemen, but even the Ladies; at least to congratulate my Mother on his safe Arrival.
Now it was that his pretended Mistress, the fair Mrs. Lowland was marry'd, which you will believe was a certain Satisfaction to me, as Mischies is to Witches, though they get nothing by it; much I long'd to banter and insult him on this Occasion, but his constant Absence depriv'd me of that Pleasure; however, I could not pass over such a Field of full ripe Content, without cropping some few Ears: Wherefore I writ him a Letter, in a counterfeit Character, and withal sent him a Willow Garland to crown the forsaken Lover, which, indeed, was so well made of Gum−work, that one might take it for a real Branch of that forsaken Tree. This, with divers other Emblems and Mottos, I sent him to London by the Carrier.
How he receiv'd this I know not, neither did I care; but I was told afterwards, That he laugh'd, and told his Companions what a pretty Present he had receiv'd from an unknown Hand, and withal, that he would secure himself from such Attacks by his speedy Marriage; and accordingly proceeded with a young Gentlewoman at London: And at his Return, acquainted his Friends, and in particular, a young Gentlewoman, one of our Relations, who, with many others, mistrusted him of an Amour with me; but I not having told her of it, who was in all Things else my Confidant, she laid aside that Thought, especially now since he declar'd to her his approaching Nuptials: However, she and every Body were amaz'd at his long Absence from our House, and ask'd him the Cause; to which he answer'd indirectly, and with divers Shuffles, but the vertuous Towrissa (our said Cousin) press'd him from Time to Time, till he, no longer able to resist her Importunities, told her that his Cousin Galesiahad forbid him; at which she was much surpriz'd, but said it should not rest so, for (said she) I will have you go to her this very Day along with me, that I may obtain the Blessing of a Peacemaker. He comply'd with her, and came to make me a Visit. Our Interview, after a whole Year's Absence, was surprizing to us both; for we trembled, blush'd, and faulter'd in our Words, that it was with the utmost Difficulty we perform'd the Civilities of the Occasion. After being seated, I remember he gaz'd with all the Eagerness, or rather Distraction, of youthful Eyes instigated by a tender Passion, which so dazled and confounded me, that I was every Moment afraid I should sink down in the midst of the Company, who sate talking of Things indifferent: Having, for some Time, thus planted the Batteries of our Eyes against each others Hearts, he gave the first Shot by a deep Sigh, saying, O cursed Love, that will never leave a Man! and rose from his Seat, as it were, to disperse those Vapours which seem'd to oppress him; to which I reply'd, (foolishly enough, with a feign'd Laugh, to stifle a real Sigh) that I hoped he had no Reason to complain of Love's Tyranny, Yes, yes, said our Cousin Towrissa, know you not that our Cousin Bosvilis shortly to be marry'd, so thinks every Moment a Martyrdom till the Day arrives? Therefore, dear Cousin (continu'd she) get your Dancingshoes if you mean to be a Bride−maid, ready. To which my Mother gravely answer'd, That it must needs be a Satisfaction to his Parents, to see their only Child well settled in the World.
What a Shock this Discourse gave me, I cannot describe, but 'tis certain I never felt any Thing like it: Behold now, my Lucasia, what was become of all my Resolutions and fancy'd Indifferency; see what all my Anger, Fury, Scorn, Revenge, prohibiting him to see me, the fancy'd Satisfaction I took in his Absence; behold, I say, what all this came to, even just as much as the Lord Rochester says of Court−Promises, and Whores Vows, which all end in Nothing; so these my Resolutions were all meer Fantomes, compos'd of Vapours, and carry'd about with Fancy, and next Day reduc'd to nothing; but thus it is in most Things of human Life, we know not ourselves and our own Incapacities; we think ourselves able to perform this or that, or to look even Death in the Face, and when we have most Need of our imaginary Fortitude, we find ourselves most destitute and feeble, as I experienc'd in this Rencounter; for I was ready to die in the Place, but durst not remove, fearing my Legs should fail me, which I perceiv'd all in Convulsions and Trembling: I was like a Horse in a Stable on Fire, burnt if he stays, yet dares not go out: At last, holding by the Tables and Chairs, with feign'd Smiles in my Face, and jocose Words in my Mouth, I made a Shift to pass the Gantlet, and got into my Chamber, where God only was Witness of my Complaints, and Succour in the Midst of my Sighs and Tears. I threw myself on the Bed, roll'd on the Floor, hoped that every Cramp I felt would be my Death's Convulsion, utter'd a Thousand Imprecations against him and my hard Fortune, and contrary to that Philosopher, who thank'd the Gods that made him a Man and not a Beast; I say, quite contrary to him, over and over, I thus expostulated,
O wherefore was I born of human Race,
If doom'd to labour under such Disgrace:
For what is more disgraceful to a Maid,
Than to be scorn'd like me, like me betray'd?
'Tis Heav'n alone my Innocence can know,
The World can ne'er believe that I am so;
But Heaven knows all, and knows my vertuous Soul
Does every vicious Act of Love controul;
Knows the just Schemes of my intended Life,
To be the chast, the chearful, faithful Wife:
A vertuous Matron to my Houshold good,
A helpful Neighbour in my Nighbourhood.
With hospitable Table, open Door,
One for my Friends, the other for the Poor.
To teach my Family to lead good Lives,
And chiefly teach my Maids to make good Wives:
In doing which, a gen'ral Good I do;
When Wives are good, they make good Husbands too,
That by Degrees, Mankind wou'd all be so.
But Hell, or Fate, sure, plot to undermine,
To baffle me in every just Design,
And mark me out the Jest of Human Kind.
Methinks I hear the People, pointing, say,
That that's the fond, but scorn'd, Galesia.
That's she whose Beauty lately made such Noise,
Amongst the Inns of Court and College Boys,
And made the Gallants their dear Town despise,
Behold her now, a poor Abject, Forlorn,
The Object of each Country Ploughman's Scorn.
To hear this said, what Flesh and Blood can bear?
O no, I will myself in Pieces tear,
And now begin with my disshevel'd Hair.
After this Hurricane, and divers Gusts of Sighs and Tears, I began to flatter my Fancy that all this might be a Composition like that of Lowland, who was now actually marry'd to another Man; and when by this Means the Torments of my distorted Mind were a little appeas'd, I endeavour'd to clear my Countenance, wash'd my Face, took the Air at the Window, and came down to the Company; some Time pass'd in Discourse of Things indifferent, and then Bosvil took Leave, and went that Evening to his Father's House.
Towrissa stay'd to bear me Company, and was my Bedfellow that Night, the greatest Part of which we pass'd in Discoursing of Bosvil; she relating to me how seriously he had told her and her Mother of his intended Marriage, together with all the Circumstances of Portion and Jointure, Description of the Lady's Person and Family, &c.That there was no Place left for Doubt, for any one but me, who had the Eyes of my Understanding shut and seal'd up by the former Farce he had acted about Mrs. Lowland; nevertheless, I suffer'd great Distractions in my Mind; and when Length of Prattle had lull'd Towrissa asleep, I refresh'd my weary Spirits with weeping.
After two or three Days, the News came that Bosvil was sick of a violent Fever, even so bad that all despair'd of his Life. This was a new Stroke of Fortune, and she was arm'd with a Weapon against which I had never contended; I griev'd, and at the same Time was angry with myself for grieving: Ah, foolish Galesia, (said I to myself) Ah, silly Girl, to grieve for him who deserves thy Scorn and Hatred, for him that has robb'd thee of thy Quiet three whole Years, for him that swore to love thee, that languish'd and dy'd at thy Feet, expressly to make thee miserable; for him that obstructed the Amours of the first and second Brafort, that thy Ruin might be the more compleat; for him that was treated by thy hospitable Parents, more like their own Child than an adventitious Guest, by which Means the Traitor had Opportunity to steal away the Heart of their only Daughter! And is it possible that thou should'st grieve for such a Wretch as him? One that Heaven has now mark'd with its just Vengeance, and has sent this Sickness as a Scourge to his Falshood. But notwithstanding all this, I must grieve and pray for him: Which I am sure I did with more Earnestness than ever I did for my own Soul; in which I did but pay a Devotion which he had advanc'd; for he has often assur'd me, that he offer'd me daily in his Prayers; the Consideration of which holy Kindness made me redouble my Request to Heaven to spare his Life, tho', at the same Time, I had much rather he should have dy'd, than not live mine. However, I did not pretend to capitulate with the Almighty, but ask'd his Life in general Terms, without including or excluding his Person, which, by Intervals, I hop'd might yet one Day be mine; for I still sooth'd my Fancy that he lov'd me, and that the Sight of me, after so long an Absence, was the sole Cause of this his Illness; and then made wild Resolutions to visit him, fancy'd myself there, figur'd to myself the Transports of Joy he would be in to see me so kind, imagin'd his Father and Mother embracing me as their own Child; then immediately drawing the Curtain, beheld myself rejected by them, as the Plague of their Family, perhaps refus'd and slighted by him, rebuk'd and wonder'd at for my coming, scorn'd and laugh'd at by all the World, severely treated by my Parents, or perhaps put out of Hopes of ever seeing them again; for I very well believ'd there was no Medium after such an Exploit, between being receiv'd by his Parents, and abandon'd by my own: And for me to have propes'd this Visit to them, I knew was vain, having no Pretence to justify the Request; the whole Amour having been a continu'd Act of Folly on the one Side, and Treachery on the other; and the last Scene a Declaration of Scorn instead of Kindness, he having own'd in the Presence of my Mother and other Friends, his Design of marrying another; and then repeat in my Thoughts all his Crimes, and with my best Malice enlarge upon his Treachery, Falshood, and Cruelty; look upon him dead by the Hand of Heaven, just and good in taking him away from a Possibility of accomplishing his Perjury in this his pretended Marriage; then in an Instant turn over the Leaf, and read him dead; dead as my faithful Lover, recount all our tender Words and Actions that had pass'd in our three Years Conversation; blame all my feign'd Indifferency and forc'd Coldness towards him; fancy'd he thought on me in his Agony, and nam'd me with his dying Breath; believe I saw his much−griev'd Parents cursing me as the Author of their Affliction, and after a Thousand of these Tragical Notions, which presented themselves to my distracted Imagination, my Fancy wou'd open another Scene, and make me think I saw him alive, and happy in the Arms of his London Mistress, living in all the Felicity that a happy Espousal could procure. Thus my Thoughts play'd at Racket, and seldom minded the Line of Reason; my Mind labour'd under a perpetual shaking Palsy of Hope and Fear; my whole Interiour was nothing but Distraction and Uncertainty. At last I resolv'd to send a Messenger secretly, to know how he did; in which I did a great Penance for all the proud Actions of my Life, not only in shewing that kind Concern for him, but a greater Difficulty yet, which was, to be oblig'd to a Servant, in making him the Confidant of this Secret. However, this Occasion made me do Violence to my Nature, and engag'd one of my Father's Men to go secretly on this Errand: But first I order'd him to go to Bosvil's own Dwelling, which was near us, and there enquire after his Health; and if there he heard of his being better, then to go no farther, otherwise, to make the best of his Way to his Father's. The Man perform'd my Orders exactly, and hearing at this Place that he was something better, went no farther; with which I remain'd satisfy'd, 'till Time brought him to our House perfectly recover'd. But, ah, this Recovery was a Death to all my Hopes; for the first Use he made of his new−restor'd Health, was to go marry his Mistress at London; making our House in his Way, and me the Auditor of that horrid News; which at first shock'd me, but I had been so often put upon by false Alarms, that I was now grown like the Country−men to the Shepherds in the Fable, who, when the Wolf really came, stirr'd not, having been often deluded by the Shepherds, and call'd without Occasion; for I thought it impossible that he could come to tell me such News to my Face. But what is most astonishing, I have been told since, that in his Sickness he gave all he had to me, and recommended me to his Parents as their own Child, and they promis'd him to receive me as such. Now, after all this, to go, directly after his Sickness, and be marry'd to another, is a Transaction most unaccountable. But I knew nothing of this at that Time, for I was told it afterwards, and that he had been extreamly concern'd on my Account in this his Sickness. However, ignorant as I was of these Circumstances, I did not in the least believe that his going to London, when he pass'd by our House, was to be marry'd, but look'd upon it as a meer Jest or Banter, such as was that of Mrs. Lowland, and others; wherefore, I could not pass over this Subject of Frolick or Mirth, without adding to the Jest, and as I had sent him a Willow Garland, on the Marriage of Mrs. Lowland, so now I sent him a pretty Pair of Horns, neatly made of Bugles, by which I meant to joke and banter him on his pretended Marriage; but, alas, it prov'd more than a Pretence, and the Horns came to him just upon his Wedding−Day, in the Presence of his Bride and all the Company; as also several Emblems and Mottos on that Subject, the Horns being fasten'd on a Head−band, as a sovereign Remedy for the Head−ach, to which marry'd Men are often very subject, especially those who marry Town−Coquets; all which, I protest, was without any malicious Intent, not thinking in the least that he was really about Marriage, but only design'd to render Jest for Jest, believing his Discourse of Marriage had only been a Banter, such as that of Mrs. Lowland, and the rest beforemention'd.
Now tho' all this came from an unknown Hand, no Question but he believ'd it came from me; and by his Behaviour I concluded as much, for he always avoided my Presence, and shunn'd my Company as much as possible, almost to the Breach of common Civility, by which I fancy'd I was the Object of his Aversion; tho' a Confidant of his, assur'd me of the contrary, and that Bosvil had told him, That Love had taken such deep Root in his Soul, that in spight of all his Efforts, even Marriage it self, he could not eradicate it, and therefore avoided my Presence, because he cou'd not see me with Indifferency; moreover, he told him what Conflicts he underwent during his Sickness; but on his Recovery, finding that I had taken no Notice of him, he resolv'd to shake off those Fetters, and abandon one that had never shew'd any Kindness to him, but treated him always with such an Air of Indifference, as seem'd rather the Effect of Prudence than Affection; and that he had invented that Story of Mrs. Lowland to try if Jealousy would work upon me, but all my Conduct had been with Caution and Circumspection, quite different from Passion or Tenderness; that he thought, (with others) that all Amorous Inclinations were bury'd with Brafort, and that he cou'd never hope farther than for a second Place in my Affections. How far this was sincere or pretended, I know not, but I rather think he set it up as a Screen to his own Falshood; for the meerest Dunce in the School of Love could not but spell Affection in all these three Years Transactions, especially in this Age, where Men are apt to interpret Things in favour of themselves, and believe Women forwarder than they really are, taking Civilities for Affection, and Affection for Passion; but he thought sit to give an Overturn, perhaps to hide his Falshood from the Sight of my Friends, and the rest of the World, by laying the Blame on me; which Way he meant it I know not, but I may justly say with Mr. Cowley, to myself,
Three of thy loveliest Years
Were toss'd in Storms of Hopes and Fears.
But to return, he was marry'd at London, and brought Home his Bride. Now it was that I was forc'd to act the Part of patient Grizel, and go, with other Relations, to bid her Welcome, throw the Stocking, eat Sack−Posset, and perform all the Farce of a well pleas'd Kinswoman, invite her to our House, prepare Dinners and Treats for her, and in all Things seem easy and satisfy'd: All which I was constrain'd to do, or lay my Disgrace open to all the World.
Thus, my Lucasia, I have brought you to the Confines of this Part of my Story; how far I may stand justify'd or condemn'd in your Thoughts I know not, but I do remember nothing in which I can accuse myself, even now that I am free from Passion, and capable to make a serious Reflection.
The only Thing (reply'd Lucasia) that I blame you for, is, that you did not consult your Mother, whose Wisdom might have found out a Way to have accommodated Things to all your Satisfactions. Alas, answer'd Galesia, I often reflected on that, but thought it his Business, or his Parents, to discover it to mine, and always expected such an Address; for if I had told my Father or Mother, I shou'd but have embarrass'd them in a difficult Business, for it ill befitted them to profer their Daughter in Marriage, and disagreeable, to leave me to struggle with my own Passion, and his Pretences, without taking any Notice; these Considerations made me let it remain a Secret, in Expectation of their making the Discovery. Nevertheless, I now believe it to be the safest and most commendable Way in any the like Case; and if I was to act the Part over again, I shou'd certainly proceed on that Footing; for in so doing my Duty I hope for a good Event from the Hand of Providence, for I believe wiser Heads than mine wou'd have been puzled in so difficult a Case, and found enough to do to pass through such a Labyrinth as Bosvil's subtile Turnings had compos'd: But where we take Vertue for our Guide, God and our good Angels helps us thro'; and tho' we meet with many Rubs to make us stumble or reel, yet the good Hand of Providence is ready to lend Support, that we shall not fall into Ruin or Confusion.
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