Dear Galecia, said he, though you partly know the loose, or rather lewd Life that I led in my Youth; yet I can't forbear relating part of it to you by way of Abhorrence.
Then it was I married a rich Widow−Lady, thereby to gratifie my Pride, Luxury and Ambition; for Love had no part in the Espousals. I knew, that her Fortune, Friends and Interest would soon place me in a Station to my Liking, where I might enjoy my Bottle and my Friend, and, when I pleas'd, a little Cocquet−Harlot. These things were the chief of my Ambition: For I did not aim at benefiting my King or Country by my Services, into what state soever I might be advanc'd; but to gratifie my Pride and Vanity in embroider'd Cloaths, long Wigs, fine Equipage, and the like: Which Vanity is excusable also, when the intention is to grace the Monarch we serve, or to honour the Family of which we are descended: But my Design was only to please the Eyes of the Fair, and make me the Subject of their Prattle, when Ombre−Table and Assemblées call them together; or to over hear them in the Mall, saying, Nobody had a better Fancy in Dress than Captain Manly.
When Days of Muster call'd us out to Review in the Park, then the shewing our fine Saddles, Holsters and Housing, were more my Concern, than teaching my self or my Soldiers their Duty. And when I returned, I fansied I had undergone a great Fatigue, and could go no further than Locket's or Paulet's, send my Horses home charge my Man to be sure to have my Chariot ready to carry me to the Play in the Evening. And alas! my Business there was not to admire the Wit of the Poet, or the Excellency of the Actors in their respective Parts; but to ogle the Ladies, and talk to the Masks; and when I found one witty or well−shap'd, take her with me to the next Tavern to Supper. Thus, at coming out, with my Strumpet in my hand assaulted and surrounded with a number of miserable Objects, I could step into my Chariot without relieving their Wants, or considering them as my Fellow−Creatures. Now, was not this valiantly done, to venture without any Weapon, but scornful Looks, to charge through a Set of miserable Creatures, for daring to ask Alms of so great a Beau? not reflecting, what great Lord had sent them, even the Lord of Heaven and Earth, whose Raggs were their Credentials, and their Sores the Badges of being his Messengers.
Thus far, Madam, I acted the Part of a Beau−Rake, till a Salivation and a Sweating Tub call'd upon me for a more regular way of Intriguing: And even in this I ran the risque of a Chance medly Venture, like those that hope to make their fortune by Lotteries.
One Evening at the Play I saw a pretty young Creature, very well dress'd, without Company or Attendants, and without a Mask (for she had not yet learn'd so much Impudence, as to put on that Mark of Demonstration.) This Fort I attack'd, and found it not impregnable. She consented to a Parley at the Tavern; but told me withal, that I was greatly mistaken if I took her for a lewd Person; for she was not so, but a vertuous Maiden Gentlewoman. The truth is, I knew not how to spell, or put together this seeming Contradiction: For to pretend to Vertue, and yet consent to go to a Tavern with a Man wholly a Stranger to her, I did not understand. In short, we supp'd at the Tavern; but whether she or the Drawer, by her Instigation, put any thing in my Liquor, I know not; but so it was, I went drunk to bed, and in the Morning had forgotten what had pass'd, and was greatly amazed to find a Woman in bed with me. We fell into Discourse; and she frankly told me her Name and Family, which greatly amaz'd me; and that she was a Virgin, which more and more confounded me; and then she told me the Cause of this Adventure: For, said she, I liv'd beyond my Fortune; and when that fail'd, I knew not what to do, for I could not work, and am asham'd to beg; nor, indeed, could I reasonably hope to be reliev'd, being in Youth and Health; for Charity is seldom extended to such Persons, be their Birth and Education what it will; Humility and Industry are the Lectures preach'd, and the Alms given on such Occasions: I will not argue (continu'd she) how far that way is right or wrong; but finding my self reduced to Distress, resolved to take hold on the first Opportunity that presented it self, either to marry, or live with any Gentleman that would like my Person so well as to take me either of these ways, into his Protection.
I extreamly lik'd the Frankness of the Girl, together with her Person, which was truly handsom; and after a little farther Discourse, I honestly told her, that I could not marry any body, having a Wife already; but the other way I was willing to take her, and therefore bid her look out for a House, and meet me again the next Night at the Play, and I would then take further measures: I offered her a Guinea; but she generously refus'd it, saying, It was not come to that yet, to accept a Guinea for a Night's Lodging, and so departed, promising to meet me at the Play.
This generous Behaviour surpriz'd me; and if at first I lik'd her, I now esteemed her, and thought there was something extraordinary in the Creature, thus to refuse the Figure of the most amorous Monarch in the Universe, on a Piece of Gold, the Thing she so much wanted, as to sacrifice her Vertue and Honour for its sake. I began to make her an Heroine, or petty Goddess in my Thoughts; her Beauty stamping on her the Character of one, and her Generosity of the other. I pleased my self with the Thoughts of becoming a Beau of the First Rate, in having a handsome House and a genteel Mistress, with whom to pass away my idle Hours; or, properly speaking, to consume my time in wickedness. I often recounted to my self the Charms of her Conversation, as well as those of her personal Beauty; with a thousand other idle Ravings, which being pass'd, I would return to my self, saying, Fool that I am, thus to delude my Fancy with the hopes of Happiness in a Strumpet, a cunning Jilt, pretending to Vertue, the better to disguise her Vices; a Creature pickt up at a Play, as one does any common Stroler. However, I resolved to keep my Appointment, if it were but to divert my my self in bantering her pretended Vertue. When I came to the Play, I found my Mistress engaged with another Spark: Then I reflected what a Coxcomb I had been, but was glad things had gone no further. I should have hired a House, said I (in reproaching my self) to have been the Receptacle of her numerous Cullies, and furnish'd it for the service of her Lewdness. O, what ridiculous Creatures do we Cullies make of our selves, when we depend upon a Creature that has abandon'd Vertue and Honour, in once becoming a Prostitute! Ah, happy is the Man that has a vertuous and beautiful Wife: Justly might the wise Man say, Her Price is above Rubies. In which only Sentence he has proved himself a mighty Sage.
Thus a thousand Thoughts rambled in my Head, all the while keeping a spiteful Eye on my beautiful Deceiver. I watch'd her going out with him, and saw them take Coach together in a dirty Hack; which grated my Pride, to see the Jilt prefer that to my fine Equipage, and a plain Country−Gentleman (as he seemed to be) before a Spark of the Town. I was much out of humour all the Evening, nor was it in the power of Bottle or Friend to divert me: If Ben Johnson or Hudibras had been there, I must have remained dull and ill−humour'd. I am ashamed to tell you, the great Anxieties of Thought in which I past that Night; but Sleep, I am sure, had a very small share of that time allotted by Nature for our Refreshment. The Morning was not much better: I could scarce be commonly civil to those Friends that did me the honour to come to my Levée. When drest, I went to the Chocolate−House, in order to divert my self there amongst the Pops that frequent that Place; which, indeed, in some degree quell'd my disturbed Thoughts, to observe the different Follies of the Town−Fools; some taking out their Pocket−Glasses to see how to place a Patch right upon a Pimple, tho' there was none to be found on the Face; others talking of the Favours of their Phyllis's and Bellinda's; some cursing the Treachery of the Sex; others taking out their Billets to read over, for want of Conversation to entertain the Company; and if there was one more ugly than the rest, be−sure he pretended to more Letters and Billets than any body else, though, perhaps, written by himself, or some Friend for him; which way soever it was, it served to gratifie his Vanity. Here, perhaps, I met with some as idly dispos'd as my own good−for−nothing self, that when Dinner−time approached, were ready to go with me to Locket's; where, at a costly rate, we found Rarities enough to gratifie any luxurious Appetite.
Thus, I began by little and little to banish my false CHLORIS, who by this time had but little Interest left in my Thoughts so that I knew, a Game at Hazard would utterly supplant her: For whether I should win or lose, I knew, the Pleasure or the Chagrin would equally out−rival her Charm. It was my luck to win; but I was too vain to carry off the Money; but immediately sent for my Barber to bring me one of his best Wiggs, and to my Semstress for a Set of her finest Linen, whether Point or Lace.
Thus equipt, I order'd my Equipage to attend me to Hide−Park, where in Fopp Ring I might ogle at my pleasure, and at the same time expected my Wigg and Line should draw the Eyes of others, especially those of the Fair. No Author at Will listned more attentively to what was said of his New Book or Play, than I look'd to see who ogled these my New Trappings or could have more Chagrin if neglected. But, I think, I was not mistaken; Beaus and Belles, Prudes and Coquets, all gave a Glance, at least I thought so; and that pleased my Vanity as well, as if really so: And now I began to wonder at my self for having had the least Disquiet for my Play−house Jilt. I began to be as impatient at my self, as ever I was at her, to think that such a worthless Thing should discompose the Thoughts of such a Hero, as I there counted my self: But behold what hapned in the midst of the high Conceits I had built on such a sandy Foundation. Here comes by my Miss, in a Coach, and the Spark I saw with her at the Play. Their Coach seem'd to be a Country−Gentleman's Vehicle; good Horses, but look'd as if us'd to a Plough and Cart more than a Coach. He, indeed, was handsome in Person, only wanted a little of the Air of our Town Gallants. And now, after all the Tranquillity in which I thought my self, the sight of this Slut discomposed me. I was enraged to think, that she should prefer his dirty Acres before all my shining Equipage, and costly Ornaments. I went out of the Park as sullen as a sick Monkey; I knew not whether to strole: The Play was my Aversion, fansying I should see my false CHLORIS there. Too soon to go to Will's or the Rose, I resolved to take a Turn in the Mall, tho' too soon for the Beau Monde, but good time for the City and Country−Ladies to gather the Dust, and spoil their fine Petticoats. Here I diverted my self as well as I could, to see the Intrigues, some beginning, some going on, though but an old sort of worn−out Diversion to me yet it serv'd to sooth my surly Humour at that time.
I betook my self to a Seat, and there began to look back upon the Follies of my Life, and of all such as liv'd in that way whose whole Business is Pride, Sloth and Luxury. We move in a constant course of Irregularity; I may say, as constant as the Sun, but with this distinction, his Motion is to do good, ours Mischief, to our selves, Neighbours and Families. Methought I wish'd my self in Shades amongst the Poets and Philosophers, where wholsome Air and Innocence procured us Health, that first step to Happiness: Nay, I thought, if I had a Wife that was good−humour'd, how many other Disagreements soever she had belonged to her, I could make my self easie, and live honest, without considering that my Misbehaviour was the Cause of her ill Humour. I was in these Cogitations, when one of my wild Companions came and set himself by me, and ask'd, what made me so out of humour. Didst thou drink ill Wine last Night, says he, and so art Maw−sick? Or has Miss jilted thee? Come, Man, let us go take a Bottle, wash down Sorrow, and talk of our Adventures over a brisk Glass of Champagne: For, to tell truth, Friend, I am almost resolved to marry, and so abandon this loose way of living. There's no way like it, replied I; and it is certainly in the Power of a sweet temper'd Woman to reclaim the worst of us; therefore be sure to secure that Point, whatever the rest may prove. That is a Quality I mightily esteem, replied my Friend, and I hope I have met with one to my purpose. Prithee where, or when, said I, tell me your Adventure; it is pleasant sitting here, and too soon for a Bottle, so tell me your Intrigue.
The other Night, said he, as I was walking here a little late, till the Mall began to empty: I took notice of two pretty young Creatures, very well dress'd in new Mourning, with Gold Watches and Tweezers. They seemed in a great Consternation, that their Man did not bring 'em word he had got 'em a Coach ready at the other side of the Horse−Guard, as they had appointed, and seemed very uneasie to go that way without Company or Attendance. I perceiving their Anxiety, offer'd to wait on them till they could get a Coach, which was readily enough to be had as soon as through the Guard. I put them in a Coach and begg'd leave to see them safe to the Lodgings, which was but in the Hay−Market we arriv'd at a handsome House, and a handsomly furnish'd, a spruce Footman waiting, whom they rebuked for neglecting his Attendance in the Park, so that they were forced to be obliged to this Gentleman (meaning me,) for which they made me many grateful Acknowledgments in the North−Country Dialect. They asked me to drink a Dish of Tea, it being just ready saying, they could not pretend to offer anything else, they being Strangers in Town: Lodgers, and not House keepers: They offered and excused every thing in such pretty Country Plainness as charmed me So being desirous to creep further into their Acquaintance, I refused Tea at that time begging leave to wait on them in the Morning, when a Dish of Tea would be very acceptable: I took my leave, but with a certain tender Reluctance, such as I have been never sensible of before.
In the Morning I went, and found a civic Reception, mix'd with much Modesty and in some turns of Discourse, I found that their coming to Town was to adjust some Law−intanglements, and that the Stay would not be long: They desired me to let them know the nearest Church, where they might go and offer themselves and their Affairs to the Protection of Heaven; so I gave them as good Directions as I could, withal promising to wait on them with my Chariot to Westminster and St. Paul's, and that it was at their service on all occasions, whenever they would honour me with their Acceptance. In short, they are so devout, sweet and innocent, that I have indulged my Fancy to that degree, so as to resolve to marry the Elder, who seems not averse to the Proposal; but will determine nothing till her Guardian comes to Town: But I hope to unrivet that Fancy; for you know that my loose way of living has made a great Hole in my little Estate, which her Guardian would soon find out, and perhaps I should be disappointed in the first Resolution I ever made of marrying.
He had scarce finish'd his Discourse, when two of the Marshal's Men brought these two Ladies by us to carry them to Bridewell, which we found, upon Enquiry, was for having pickt a Gentleman's Pocket of twenty Guineas, and withal giving him the Foul Disease.
This was a surprizing Revolution, and it was with difficulty that I hinder'd this my Friend from going to their Rescue. I alledged to him all the manner of their first acquaintance, together with its Progress, as not being consonant to true Vertue and Modesty; and wonder'd, that he who knew the Town so well, should be so easily bubled; but he had attributed all their Freedom and Easiness of Acquaintance to proceed from a Country Simplicity, and Ignorance of the World. After having a a little descanted on this Adventure, we resolved to go to the Rose, to wash down our Disappointments, and try to meet some of our Acquaintance as they came out of the Play, and hear what Transactions, what Intrigues, and other little trifling News the House afforded that Evening. In order to which, we posted our selves in a Room just at the Stairs−head, where we sat talking over our respective Affairs, as I have just now related.
And, behold, the first that mounted was my Mistress, conducted by her Country−Squire: He bad the Waiter tell his Master to make haste with Supper, for he did not intend to stay long. As soon as they were got into their Room, I asked the Waiter if he knew that Gentleman? Yes, Sir, said he, I was born in the same Town with him, my Father holds a good Farm under him. And do you know the Lady that is with him? Yes, said he, she is his Sister. Are you sure of it, said I? Yes, replied the Waiter, she and I are both of an Age; and I believe, said he, they both go out of Town to morrow early. This was such a double Surprize, as shock'd me beyond Expression: For 'tis certain, that, unknown to my self, I lov'd her as well as any Hero in a Romance; and had suffer'd as great Anxieties for the Falshood of which she seemed to have been guilty: And now, a little Spark of satisfaction, kindled by this Boy's Intelligence, was at the same moment extinguished, by the thoughts of her going out of Town, consequently out of my reach. Thus, we suffer our selves to be hurried by irregular Passions, throwing Reason out of her Regency, and permit our selves to be governed by a thousand Crimes, Follies and Impertinencies. In short, we sat down over our Bottle, to divert our Chagrin, and heighten our Satisfaction: For we had a mixture of both, his Mistress proving a vile Jilt; nevertheless, it being discovered in time, e're too late, was a Consolation; mine proving an honest Whore (if one may so word it:) But the Proof came too late to retrieve the Loss of her out of the Dominion of her Brother. In short, we pass'd our time as agreeably as our Circumstances would permit, till Sleep called us to our respective Lodgings, and mine that Night was at my own House: And, I believe, if my Wife could have received me with good Humour, I should then have become a tolerable good Husband: For I was so chagrin'd with this Adventure, that Lewdness became nauceous to me; and I believe, there are few Husbands so abandoned, but a sweet−tempered Woman might find an Interval to reclaim: But I was not so happy in this Juncture.
In the Morning, according to custom to the Chocolate House I went; here a Letter was brought me by an elderly Woman, who told me, she was ordered to deliver it into my own Hands; which was to this purpose, as near as I can remember:
SIR, You may very well reproach me, that you have not heard from me in so many Days, and for not having obey'd your Orders in seeking for a House: But when you know the Cause, I'm sure, you will readily forgive the Neglect. 'Tis this: My Brother having heard of my frequenting the Playhouse, and admitting the Courtship of several Lords and Gentlemen (tho' I can safely affirm, I never granted any Favours but to your self.) This brought him to Town, to persuade me to go with him into the Country, which is really my Aversion. Nevertheless, he treated me so kindly, entertaining me with all the Diversions of the Town, and us'd so many cogent Arguments, that I could scarce hold out against his kind Offers. How much I suffered in my Thoughts pro and con, is too tedious to repeat; laying before my self the poor Life I should lead under the Conduct of a Sister−in−law, wholly a Country−Gentlewoman, and a Prude into the bargain, and young Nieces growing up to despise, and perhaps grudge the Bread that I eat, and much more the Cloaths that I wear; and I knew I had not wherewith to bribe them to Respect by costly Presents. On the other hand, the Scandal of being a kept Miss, or Left−hand Wife, the Decay of Beauty, which necessarily entails the Contempt of a Gallant, &c. In short, my Brother took me to the Play last Night, and was so very obliging, that I had resolved to go next Morning with him into the Country. But, Ah! coming up the Stairs at the Tavern, I saw you, my dear Captain. This dash'd in pieces all my Intentions toward the Country: I could not leave my Manly, my beloved Captain: No, I resolved to be Concubine, Strumpet, or whatever the malicious World would call me, Terms invented by great Fortunes and ugly Faces, who would monopolize all the fine Gentlemen to themselves. I say, for your sake, I will undergo the worst of our Sex's Character. And now, that my Brother is gone out of Town, I shall have Opportunity to take measures with you; and will meet you at the Play house this Evening, who am, Sir,
Your Humble Servant, Chloris,
Thus was I again catch'd faster than ever: Her abandoning her self and her Family, drew fast that Snare, in which her Beauty had before intangled me. And sure, the most severe part of Mankind cannot wholly condemn me, though I greatly condemn my self, and humbly beg pardon of Heaven.
I met her according to Appointment; and not to clog your vertuous Ears with what amorous Nonsence pass'd, she told me, she had found a House for our purpose, in a Quarter of the Town where neither of us were known. I gave her a Purse of Gold wherewith to furnish an Appartment and other Necessaries; all which she perform'd with Expedition, and every thing was accomplish'd with Neatness and Conveniency; and thus, vile Adulterer as I was, I establish'd my self with my Harlot.
And now I liv'd in a regular way of Lewdness; I pass'd my Days in Jollity, and slept in the Bed of Adultery, till Heaven, all−just and good, awak'd me out of this my impious Delirium, by the Revolution which soon follow'd. I will not tell you what different Thoughts attack'd me on this occasion, lost in some things I shou'd give offence; but I assure you, I was greatly embarrass'd between Love, Religion and Loyalty; that if I was to write down the many Disputes I had with my self, it wou'd make a Book as big as Fox's Martyrology. Let it suffice to tell you, that my Wife perceiving that I had some inclination to close with the new Government, and my Miss, on the other hand, thinking I would go away, they both made their respective Interest according to their Fancies, my Wife to have me disobliged, that I might get me gone, and so rid her of the Company of an ill Husband; Cloris, that I might be prevented from going, that she might retain her beloved Gallant. But so it was, between these different Interests, I was clap'd into Prison even Newgate. Thus, we see how different Extreams produce the same Effect, as Glass is made by the Extreams of Heat and Cold: When the Government had got their Affairs in a pretty good posture in Ireland, that my Liberty could do the King no service, I was let out of Prison. However, the Confinement had so disobliged me that it answered my Wife's Intentions; and I went away to St. Germain's,leaving Cloris to shift for her self in finding a new Gallant.
When I came there, I found the Country in a melancholy way, things going but ill in Ireland, and long it was not e're the King came back to France. Here I found, I coud do his Majesty no Service, there being more Officers come out of Ireland than cou'd be imploy'd; so that many remain'd chargeable Pentioners; amongst these, his Majesty offer'd me Subsistence, which was a Favour I did not accept, they having born the Heat and Burden of the Day, lost their Estates and many of them advanced in Years, &c. So that I being young enough, resolved to try my fortune, as many others did, in a Privateer, the French being then very successful against the English and the Dutch: But it so hapned that the English took a Privateer bearing King James's Commission, and hanged 'em all as Rebels to their Country. This disappointed us all, in particular my self, who would not be a burden to the King in his narrow Circumstances: Wherefore I resolv'd to try my fortune in a Voyage to the Indies; accordingly I went aboard a French Vessel, resolving to try what Success I should have in Merchandize: I lay'd out all the Money I had, and what I cou'd get out of England: And thus set sail from Brest for Martinico, a Settlement in the North Indies belonging to the French. The Weather was good enough, nor did we meet with any Accident so considerable, as to be worth repeating, till we got off the Madera Islands; and then a vile Pyrate attack'd us: We made what resistance we could; but they soon became our Masters, carry'd us into Algier, and there sold us for Slaves. Judge, dear Galecia, what a poor Station this was to me, who had indulg'd my self in Delicacy and Luxury. However, of a bad station, it was not the worst; for the Person that bought me was a Widow, whose Husband dy'd a Christian, (as I learnt afterwards) which I suppose, made her more kind to Christian Slaves; for I was not employed in hard laborious work, but to feed the Hogs, fodder the Beasts, take care of the Poultry, &c.
We had another Christian Slave, who had been there some Years, and had by his just Dealings gain'd so far upon our Mistress, that she made him Ruler over the other Slaves; he govern'd and was obey'd as if he had been a circumcised Free−man or Native. By little and little this Man and I grew more acquainted; when I found he was a Roman Catholick Priest; and by degrees learn'd, that he had secretly converted and baptized our Mistress's Husband before he dy'd, who had recommended him to his Wife, to be good to him and as soon as she had settled her Affairs to give him his Liberty and wherewithal to convey him into his own Country, which was Italy.
This good Woman had a great Favour for the Christian Religion, but had not Courage to profess it. The truth is, the Severities against it are so great, that it is not to be done without Loss of all things and Hazard of Life, to those that are Natives; But for others, as Traders and Travellers, &c. they live there thoroughly at their ease, together with their Families; and walk their Processions even in the Streets of Constantinople.
The longer I lived here, the more I grew in favour with my Mistress; insomuch that I liv'd easie, and as happy as any of her Domesticks that were Free−men. She being thus good to us, we endeavour'd to compensate her Goodness, by giving her a thorough Understanding of our holy Religion. We got her the New Testament in the Turkish Language; the Story of which is so surprizing, and beyond all to which their Alcoran can pretend, that she was almost perswaded to be a Christian. What stuck with her some time, was, she could not tell how to conclude this History Authentick, much less sacred; But we made it plain to her, how it had pass'd through so many Ages, though oppos'd by the greatest of Human Powers, subtilest Knowledge, and its Professors persecuted to Death; yet they never endeavoured by Rebellious Armies to establish their Doctrine; but by patient and meek Suffering, became victorious, and that thus the Kingdom of the Holy Crucified Jesus was establish'd almost throughout the Universe. This we demonstrated to her; as also, how, lastly, the Ottoman Empire was set up, and how it began with Rebellion, was carry'd on with Injustice, War and Rapine, and established in a compound Religion, of Jew, Heretical Christian and Old Heathenism. These, and the like things the good Italian Priest made out to her so clear, that she no longer doubted the Truth of the Christian Religion; but durst not venture on it in that Country; but chose rather to make off, and convert her Estate into Money, and fly with us into Europe. But here started another Difficulty, that it wou'd look strange in the Eyes of the vertuous European Women, for her to come away and travel, by Sea and by Land with two Men, and neither of them her Husband, nor otherwise related to her. Hereupon she propos'd to make one of us Master of that considerable Fortune she possess'd, together with her Person, which, was truly agreeable; not, said she, that I have any affection for either of you, above that of Friendship: For, believe it, all amorous Inclinations, are gone into the Grave with my dear Husband; but for Security of my honour, I make one of you this Proposal. The good Priest answer'd her very respectfully, that He being an Italian Priest was vow'd to a single Life. Then she cast her Eyes on me, expecting my Answer; whereupon I threw my self at her Feet, saying, Madam, in this gracious Offer, you make me doubly your Slave therefore I should be the worst of Miscreants, should I abuse your Bounty, in concealing from you a material Truth, which prohibits me from accepting the Honour you offer. Be pleas'd to know, Madam, that I am a married Man, and have a Wife at London, so that according to our Christian Law I cannot be Husband to another, till well assured that she is no longer living: But as to that Scruple, you make of going along with us, I beg you to dismiss all apprehensions, and be assured that you shall be very safe under our Conduct: (For I, Madam) will defend your Vertue and Honour to the last drop of my Blood. She paus'd a while, and said, she was extreamly satisfied with our open Sincerity, and was resolv'd to commit her self and her Fortune to our care, and with us take a Voyage into Europe, for the sake of that Holy Religion we had taught her; and accordingly, took convenient measures to dispose and make off this her Country Estate, under pretence of retiring from the Fatigue of Rural Incumbrance.
We concerted with her all due Measures for our Flight into Europe: Father Barnard (for that was the Name of the Priest) being better acquainted with the Turkish Ways and Language, undertook to get an European Vessel, which he soon did at the Port of Algier; thither we came to him, where we found he had got an Italian Ship ready to set sail: We had a fair Gale, a smooth Sea, and a pleasant Serene Air; all which Heaven blessed us with for the sake, perhaps, of this good Woman, who for the cause of Truth, forsook Friends, Kindred, and native Country. When we were got off the African Coasts, she press'd to be baptized, which was perform'd by Father Barnard, in the Presence of most of the Ship's Crew, who devoutly joyn'd in Prayers and Praises to God. Thus we had a very pleasant Voyage, without Danger or Difficulty. However, there is a little remarkable Story the Captain of the Vessel told us which I cannot omit relating.
The Captain had a very pretty Boy with him, to whom he shewed great Kindness or rather Fondness; which made us at first take him for his Son; but when he undeceiv'd us, we asked him what degree of relation he bore to him? He told us, none at all; but, said he, I will give you a particular Account of the Child.
I had been a Voyage in the Northern Seas, and return'd safe with a good Cargo when I came ashoar I met with some Merchants who bad me kindly welcome, and ask'd me if I had brought store of such and such Goods; I told them, yes. They desir'd me if it was possible, to help them to some Parcels of them, there being a great Fair or Mart to open at that Place the day following. Hereupon I call'd two or three Sailors, that were come ashoar with me, and told them these Merchants would reward them if they would go to the Ship and fetch those Parcels of Goods ashoar, which they readily undertook. In the mean time, I went with the Merchants to take a Glass of Wine, bidding the Fellows come to us at such an Hour.
There we stay'd many Hours; we drank, we supp'd, and fretted at our staying so long; we play'd, we slept, still no Return of our Sailors. Thus we passed the Night in Expectation, to no purpose, and in the Morning we departed about our Business. I enquired from place to place wherever I thought of any probability to find them, but could get no intelligence; I got a Boat to convey me to the Ship, not doubting but I should find them there; but the Ship's Crew had neither seen nor heard of them, which greatly amazed me. I then lookt out some Goods, and sent to the Merchants, regulated my Affairs in the Ship, and when it was Evening went to Bed, having wanted Rest the Night before: Where lying in my Cabbin between sleep and wake, I heard a Noise of Feet coming down the steps; but I kept my self quiet as if asleep, thereby to prevent any body speaking to me. But as I lay thus, one cry'd, Master,three or four times, before I would speak; then opening my Eyes, I saw the Three Sailors that had been sent the Day before to look the Merchants Goods; at which, my Anger excited me to use Seamens rough Language, in bidding them be gone, and leave me to my Repose. Patience, good Master, said they, and hear us; we are no longer living Mortals: For we, together with your Boat, were cast away Yesterday, and drowned. To which I replied with Scorn and Anger, that I doubted not but they had been drowned in good Ale or Brandy, by which their Senses were lost; therefore bid them be gone to sleep, and not stay there to disturb me who was sleepy, through their last Nights Negligence. Indeed, Master, said one of them, you judge amiss; for we are truly and really dead, and what you see, are only our Ghosts. Give me your hand, said I, that I may feel. Whereupon one of them held out his Hand, which I caught at, thinking to hold it fast, but I felt nothing; at which I was greatly amazed; nevertheless I did not lose the Power to speak to them; but ask'd them, why they came to trouble me, if they were dead. To which one of them replied, saying, Master, you know you owe me so many Months Pay; which Money I desire you to employ in paying my Debts. The next said, that the Money I ow'd him, he desired I would with it put his Boy to School, and when he was big enough, take him with me to Sea. I told him, I knew not how to promise him that, having Children of my own, in particular a Son, who would be of sir Age at the same time. To which he added to his Request, saying, Sir, if you should have a good Voyage next time you put to Sea, will you promise me then to take him? I told him I would: So this Boy to which you see me so kind, is he; for I had a very good Voyage, and failed not to perform my Promise. I ask'd the third Sailor what he wanted; but the other Two told me, that he was not permitted to speak. After this, they all three bow'd, and vanish'd, which greatly amazed me; for till then, I could not tell what to guess about their being cast away, they look'd so like true substantial Persons.
Thus I have told you all the Relation and Obligation I have to this Boy, excepting his own Obedience and Industry, which is very engaging.
This Relation was very amazing to us, especially being told by the Person who transacted it: For tho' we hear many Stories of Spirits and Apparitions, and greatly attested for Truth; yet we seldom meet with any body that can relate them of their own knowledge, as did this Captain.
Thus, in one Discourse or other, we entertained our selves, sailing with a prosperous Wind, till we arrived at Venice. Here our new−made Christian was greatly delighted with the Beauty of this City, and in particular, with the Glory of the Churches, and the Solemnity of the Christian Service, which Father Barnard took great pains to explain to her; all which she comprehended extreamly well. And now, being in a strange Country, without any Friend or Acquaintance, but us two that had been her Slaves, she was unwilling to travel any farther, but determined to fix there in some Religious House, and in a peculiar manner dedicate her self to the Service of the Almighty. Father Barnard soon found out a convenient Place for this her pious purpose. We went with her to the Abbess, who was reported to be (what she really is) a Person of great Prudence and Vertue. We told her Ladyship our Story in few words, and that of our New Convert; at which she seemed greatly pleased, giving Glory to God; adding, that it was her Luck to receive into her House Ladies of Foreign Countries: For, said she, I have a beautiful English Woman in my Convent, whom we beg'd leave to see, that we might introduce an early Acquaintance between these two Strangers of far different Countries. Hereupon my Lady call'd for the EnglishGentlewoman, who approached with great Respect and Modesty. But, good Heavens! How was I surprized, when I found it was my Chloris! The first View was surprizing to us both; which my Lady Abbess perceiving, ask'd if we were Relations, or old Acquaintance? At which, Chloris cast her self at her Feet, and with a Flood of Tears, in few Words related to her the guilty Acquaintance between us; and how the Distractions in England at the Revolution, caus'd her to look into her self, and behold with detestation her former Life, which she resolved to change, from Vice to Vertue, from Vanity to Piety, and imitate the holy Magdalen as near as she could. In order to which, said she, I resolved to seek a Convent wherein to pass my Days in Penance. But supposing you, (addressing her self to me) to be gone into France, after your Royal Master, I would not direct my Steps that way, but hither, where you now see me; where I have the Society of holy Virgins, and the Opportunity of pious Performances, which I would not change for all the Riches and Grandeur in the Universe.
I was greatly delighted with this her holy Enterprize and encouraged her in her pious Purposes, and assured her I would pray for her Perseverance; of which she had no need, for she was very firm.
I told her, I was going for England, with a resolution to live with my Wife justly, and faithfully, begged her Prayers for my Performance, and so took leave.
I saw her no more; but laid hold on the first Opportunity to come away for England, leaving Father Barnard to settle and establish his Convert, which I hear, he accomplish'd to all their Satisfactions.
Upon my Arrival in England, I found my Wife dead; and the good Woman, notwithstanding all the Wrongs I had done her, had not only forgiven me, but certified the same, by having made me a decent Settlement. And, what is particular, upon due Examination, I found, that this Settlement was made and signed, the very Day I had honestly own'd to the Turkish Lady, my having a Wife in England; that I cou'd not but count it proceeded from the Hand of Heaven, for my just Dealings towards that good Lady, at a time when Necessity urged me to transgress the Rules of Honesty and Honour.
This Settlement is now my support; without which I shou'd have been reduc'd to great Distress, for I had lost and spent all I had in the World; in which I verified the Old Proverb,
That a Rolling Stone never gathers Moss,
The Gentleman having finish'd his Story, Galecia waited on him to the Stairs head; and at her return, casting her Eyes on the Table, she saw lying there an old dirty rumpled Book, and found in it the following STORY:
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48