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You may please to remember, that when we left our Galecia, it was with the good Lady, to partake of the Autumn Diversions in the Country; as Horse−Races, Dancings, Assemblées, Plays, Rafflings, and other Entertainments.
These being over, some Business of consequence call'd her to London, whether Masquerading, or Tossing of Coffee−Grounds, I know not; but probably the latter; it being an Augury very much in vogue and as true, as any by which Sidrofel prognosticated, even when he too the Boy's Kite for a blazing Comet; and as useful too as Scates in Spain, or Fans in Moscovy; whatever was the Motive, our Galecia must needs ramble, like others, to take London−Air, when it is most substantially to be distinguished, in the midst of Winter.
Here it was I found her, and often had her Company, receiving from time to time an account of her Adventures; which I have kept together, in order to make a Lining for your Patch−work Screen. But these Pieces being much larger than the others, I think we must call it Pane−work; which, I hope, will be acceptable to your Ladyships, you having pleas'd your selves with this kind of Composure in your Petticoats; which, methinks, bears some resemblance to Old London, when the Buildings were of Wood and Plaister. I wish, Ladies, you don't condemn this my LINING to the same Fate.
Well, be it so; if it have but the honour to light your Lamps for your Tea−kettles, its Fate will be propitious enough; and if it be thus far useful, I hope, you will not think there is too much of it. For my own part, I fear'd there would hardly be enough to hold out measure with the SCREEN.
This made me once think to have enlarg'd it, by putting in some Pannels of Verse; but, that I heard say, Poetry is not much worn at Court; only some old Ends of Greek and Latin, wherewith they garnish their Dedications, as Cooks do their Dishes with Laurel or other Greens, which are commonly thrown by, as troublesome to the Carver, whatsoever Poetry may be by the Reader.
Wherefore, I hope, your Ladyships will easily excuse the want of this kind of Embellishment in my Dedication; remembring, that
One Tongue is enough for a Woman.
But perhaps, it may be said, that this is an old−fashion'd, out−of−the−way Proverb, used only when Ladies liv'd at their Country−Seats, and had no occasion for the Jargon of Babel; their Cooks, Gardiners, Butlers, Waiting−women, and other Servants all understood, and spoke the same Language, even old English: But now 'tis otherwise; and that which God sent for a Curse on those presumptuous Builders, is now become the distinguishing Mark of good Breeding.
How this Alteration came to pass, or when it began, I do not well know. But some say, it was in the Year when the first Colony of BUGGS planted themselves in England.
Others affirm, it was at the same time that JINN broke down the Banks of our Female Sobriety, and overflow'd the Heads of the whole Populace, so that they have been brain−sick ever since: But I am not Antiquarian enough to enter into this Dispute, much less to determine it; only thus far, if I may speak my simple Thoughts, I believe it was in Oliver's time, when the Saints and the Ungodly spoke a Dialect so different, that one might almost take it for two Languages.
But after all, Ladies, I should be very proud to find something amongst Authors, that might embelish my Dedication so as to make it suitable to your Merits, and my Book worthy your Acceptance.
I would most willingly, rifle Boileau, Racine, and hunt Scaron through all his Mazes, to find out something to deck this my Epistle, till I made it as fine as a May−day Milk−Pail, to divert you with a Dance at your Closet−doors, whilst my Crowdero −Pen, scrapes an old Tune, in fashion about threescore and six years ago; and thereby testifie that I am passionately desirous to oblige you.
Since you have been so kind to my Booksellers in favour of the SCREEN, I hope, this LINING will not meet with a less Favourable Reception from Your Fair Hands: Which will infinitely oblige
Your Devoted Servant,
Galecia one Evening setting alone in her Chamber by a clear Fire, and a clean Hearth, (two prime Ingredients towards composing the Happiness of a Winter−season) she reflected on the Providence of our All−wise and Gracious Creator, who has mercifully furnish'd every Season with its respective Comforts to sustain and delight us his poor Creatures: The Spring, for example, with its Sweets of Buds and Blossoms; the Musick of the singing Birds, which hold Concert with the whistling Plough man, committing his Seed to the Earth, in hopes of a plentiful Harvest: Next, the Summer−season, season, with its Fields cover'd over with shining Corn, and the Meadows with Hay−cocks; all inviting the industrious Farmer to come and receive the Fruits of his Annual Toil and Sollicitude. This happy Season being past, comes the Autumn, with its laden Branches, to fill the Vats with Wine and Cyder; as also the Hogsheads with well−brew'd October, to gladden the Feast when seated with Friends by good Fires, those benign Champions that defend us from the Inclemencies of Winter's Fury. Thus the Year is brought about; and tho' I have not the Society of Friends by my Fire−side (said she to her self) yet God has given me the Knowledge of Things, so far as to be able to entertain my Thoughts in this Solitude, without regret; when the Coldness of Friends, or rather the want of Riches, deprives me of their Company these long Winter−Evenings.
In these Cogitations, she cast her Eyes towards the Window, where she beheld the Full Moon, whose Brightness seemed a little to extend the extream Shortness of the Days, when Dusk calls for Candles to supply the Sun's Absence, This brought to her mind the Thoughts she had in her Childhood on this Subject: For then she had a Notion (whether taught by her Nurse, or otherwise) that the Old Moons were given to good Children to make them Silver Frocks to wear on Holidays.
As she reflected on this infant Conceit, she began to consider whether she had improv'd in her riper Years. Alas, said she to her self, what have I spoke or acted more consonant to good Morality, than this Conceit in the State of mine Innocence? For after we have pass'd this contemptible Stage of Weakness both of Mind and Body, we enter into a State of Danger and Temptation; and if by chance we escape the Snares laid to catch our heedless Youth, we then walk on in a rough Road of consuming Cares and Crosses, in which we often stumble or fall; and if we rise again, perhaps it is to meet with greater Dangers, in Sickness, Sorrows, or divers Temptations, to which we too often submit, thro' our Rashness or Inadvertency.
When the Blossom of Youth is shed, do we bring forth the Fruits of good Works? Do we relieve the Poor, any way within our Power? Do we instruct the Ignorant, comfort the Afflicted, strengthen the Doubtful, or assist the Feeble, with other Works of Mercy corporal and spiritual?
She was thus ruminating, when a Gentleman enter'd the Room, the Door being a jar. He was tall, and stood upright before her; but not speaking a word, though she look'd earnestly upon him, could not call to mind that she knew him, nor could well determine whether he was a Person or a Spectre. At last she ask'd him, who he was; but he gave her no answer. Pray, said she, tell me; if you are a Mortal, speak; still no Answer. At last, with an amazed Voice, she said, pray, tell me, who, or what you are. I am, said he, your old Friend Captain Manly: At which she was extreamly confused, to think that she had so weak an Idea of so good a Friend, as not to know him, he having been many Years absent not knowing whether it proceeded from a Change of his Person in that time, or Dimness of Sight, between Moon−shine and Fire−light. But calling for a Candle, she beg'd a thousand Pardons, engaged him to sit down, and let her know, what had so long conceal'd him from her Correspondence.
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:
In the time of the Holy War when Christians from all parts went into the Holy Land to oppose the Turks; Amongst these there was a certain English Knight, who had passed divers Campaigns, to the Advantage of the Christians; Detriment to the Turks, and Honour to himself; at last, being weary of the War, he return'd home, loaden with Services done his King, Country and Relations: He retired into his own Country, to his paternal Estate, and by way of Thanksgiving to Heaven, he erected a Religious House just by his own Habitation, that he might frequently join with them in their holy Offices: He married a fine young Lady, in order to establish his Family. Thus this pious good Knight liv'd in Tranquillity of Mind and Fortune till things took another turn.
There were two young Gentlemen, who out of a Design of Piety, and the Contempt of the World, placed themselves in this holy Retreat, in order to become Votaries in this Confraternity: But as Temptations pursue us in all Stations, so here it happened, that one of these Gentlemen, during the time of his Probation, cast an amorous Eye on this Lady, the good Knight's Spouse. How far he endeavour'd to overcome or indulge this guilty Flame, is unknown; but he grew daily more and more passionatly in love; which he durst not discover any way but by obsequious Bows when he happened in her Presence, or to pass by her, or the like; which the Lady return'd with a gracious Mien and Smiling Countenance, being in her nature courteous and affable. But as we are always ready to flatter our selves, so did our Lover, and took the Lady's Courtesie for Kindness, and her smiling Looks for interiour Affection. This he revolv'd in his Thoughts from time to time, and Fancy upon Fancy augmented his Passion. At last, he took the boldness to write her a very amorous Letter; at which the Lady was greatly astonish'd and provok'd, and in her Anger shew'd it to her Husband. The good Knight laughed at the Man's Folly, and advised his Lady to seem easie, and not discourage her Lover, till such time as he should contrive his Punishment.
The good Knight did not tell his Superiour his Fault, thinking that would be a continual Disgrace and Blot upon our young Probationer, and likewise a sort of Disgrace to himself and his Lady, that any one should dare to have a Thought so audacious, much more to have the Impudence to own it. Wherefore he resolved to mortifie our young Lover himself with a good dry Basting: so he consulted with his Lady, and engaged her to write a kind Letter to him, and invite him to come to her such a Night, forasmuch as the Knight her Husband would then be from home. This Letter greatly transported our Lover: He wash'd, bath'd, perfum'd himself, and got him fine Linen; and thus equipp'd, he came late in the Night, when all were in bed, and quiet, only one Servant to let him in; who conducted him into the Parlour to the Knight his Master, instead of the Lady's Bed−chamber. Here the Knight shew'd him his Crime, in that vile Letter he had written to his Wife, and forthwith began his Punishment with a good Cudgel, intending no farther Mischief: But how it hapned, is unknown; whether the Knight's Wrath rose to an Extremity, or an unlucky Chance−Blow; but so it was, the Lover was kill'd in the Rencounter.
This put the Knight into a great Consternation, not knowing what to do. The Knight's Servant, persuaded him to lend him his Help, to get the dead Body over the Wall of the Convent into their Garden, which joined to the Knight's House, supposing that when the Religious should come in the Morning, and find him there, they would conclude, some sudden Sickness had seized him in that place.
Now, there was one in the Confraternity, who was always at variance with this Robert, which was kill'd, (the other's Name was Richard.) It hapned, that Richard had occasion to rise in the Night, and come to the Little House, and there found Robert placed as aforesaid, Richard not thinking any thing, attended a while; then began to call, and bid him come away; but the dead Man not answering, the other thought he mock'd him: At last, being enrag'd at such behaviour, Richard took up a Stone, and threw at him, which hit him in such a manner, that he fell down off the Seat. Richard finding that he was really dead, believed that it was that Stone had done the Execution. This put him into a great Consternation, being assured that it would pass for Wilful Murther, by reason of that Variance in which they used to live. So casting in his mind what to do, he at length resolved to get the Body over the Wall into the Knight's Court, which accordingly he did, and went and placed it in the Porch of the Knight's House, where he left it.
Now, let us return to the Knight: He and his Man were extreamly uneasie at what had hapned, and by peep of Day open'd the Door, in order to go and listen at the Wall of the Convent, thinking to hear something of the dead Body; but, to their surprize, they found it sitting in their own Porch, at first not knowing what to think, whether it was the real Body, or a Spirit; but on Examination, they found it was the Body; and what to do with it they did not know: At last they thought on the following Expedient:
There was in the Stable, a Horse that had served his Master in the War: They saddled this Horse, with his war−like Accoutrements, and fastened the dead Body on him, with a Spear in his hand, and so turn'd the Horse out of the Stable, to run where he would.
Whilst this was in hand, Richard, who was in great perplexity what to do on this occasion, believing himself guilty of the Death of Robert, and so liable to the Punishment if discover'd resolv'd to get away; Thereupon he went to the Miller, that belong'd to the Convent, and told him in the Name of the Superiour, that he must let him have his Mare to go out this Morning on earnest Business for the Confraternity. Thus getting the Miller's Mare, away he rid; but was not got far e'er he came within view of the dead Robert, whose Horse ran neighing after the Mare Richard thinking this to be the Ghost of Robert, which pursued him for his Murder, cry'd out, O Robert,forgive me! I did not Murder you designedly; O forgive me, good Robert; But if nothing will appease thy Ghost but my Blood, I am ready to resign my Life to the Stroke of Justice.
By this time the Morning was come fully on, and People being up about their business, seeing this Confusion, seiz'd Richard, who stedfastly own'd the Murder of Robert, for which he was carried away to Prison; and would, no doubt, have been executed as the Murderer of Robert; But the good Knight hasted away to the King, and laid the whole Transaction before his Majesty. The King graciously pardoned the Knight; Richard was kindly receiv'd into his Convent, and all things went on in good order: But from hence came the Proverb,
We must not strike Robert for Richard./
By this time Galecia's Maid brought up her Supper; after which she cast her Eyes again on the foresaid little Book, where she found the following Story, which she read through before she went to bed.
King of Spain at his Death, committed the Government of his Kingdom to his Brother Don till his little Son should come of Age, to take the Government upon himself. But Don prov'd a Traytor to his Trust; and by many false Stories invented against the Queen and the Prince, so brought things about, as to make himself be acknowledg'd and Crown'd King of Spain. Hereupon the distress'd Queen made her Escape to the Moors,imploring that King's Protection; which he not only generously gave her, but also aided her with a formidable Army wherewith to invade Spain, in right of the young Prince.
The Usurper of Spain, in the mean time, made great Preparations to oppose his Enemy and secure his Kingdom. He had a Noble General, a Person truly worthy in all things, excepting his adhering to the Usurper, and sustaining his unjust Pretentions: This General he sent with a well−appointed Army, to oppose the Moors; where we will leave him for the present, and return to what passed at Court.
This General had a very beautiful Daughter, whom the King took into his Protection in a pecular manner, both for her Father's Sake, and her own, promising her Father to marry her to one of the chief Grandees of Spain, if not to a Prince of the Blood Royal; in order to which, he plac'd her in a noble Appartment in the Royal Palace, gave her Equipage and Attendance suitable to a young Princess, that her Beauty might appear with greater Lustre to draw the Eyes and Hearts of those of the highest Rank and Quality. But the Success prov'd otherwise; this over−doing undid all: For every body began to look upon her as one prepared to be the King's Mistress, not the Wife of any Subject. Her Jewels, Riches, and Grandeur were look'd upon as the Garlands to dress her up a Sacrifice to the King's Pleasure. Now whither these Whispers first put it into his thoughts, or that it was his Design all along, is unknown; but the event makes it look more like the latter: For he began to make his amorous Inclinations known to her, with the utmost Gallantry and Assiduity, which she rejected with true Vertue and Modesty, beseeching his Majesty to dismiss her the Court, and give her leave to retire into a Convent, or any distant Country−retreat, where her Vertue and Honour might be secure, and his Majesty released from the Sight of that Face which was a Snare to his Honour and Christian Profession, with divers Arguments from time to time to the same purpose. All which served to render her the more amiable, and the more inflam'd that wicked Passion; which already was become unextinguishable; insomuch that he resolv'd bon−gre mal−gre to enjoy her; and accordingly executed his wicked Resolution. It is not recorded whether he subborn'd her Slaves, or used open Force; but 'tis certain he had not her Consent; but on the contrary, she was so enraged in her mind, that she thought on nothing but revenge; in order to which she disguised herself in form of a Slave and so went directly to the Army, to her Father; where casting her self at his feet, she told him the whole Indignity: Whereupon the General summoned many of the principal Officers of the Army, to hear the Story of this young Lady his Daughter! who upon her Knees begg'd them, for the sake of their own Children, to repair the Dishonour done to her and her Family. This so touch'd the General, and those noble Officers about him, that with one accord they resolv'd on a Revolt, and to joyn with the Moors, to dethrone the Usurper, and establish their young lawful King. In this state we will leave the Army, and return to Court.
The King having news of this Revolt, was greatly embarrass'd, not knowing which way to turn himself: He endeavour'd to raise new Troops; but alas to little purpose; for the Hearts of the People were estranged, and the vile Act which caused the General, and other Persons of Honour to draw the Army into a Revolt, opened the Eyes of all, even his chief Adherents, both in Town, Country and Court, so that he was reduced to the utmost Distress, being contemned by his Servants, abhorr'd by his People, and the Army in open rebellion. In the midst of these Dilemma's, like King Saul of old, he betook himself to consult the Devil.
There was a Hill on which stood a strong−built Tower; But by whom, or when erected, or how it came there, no Record, or Tradition, gave account; only in general, 'twas called the Devil's Tower. The Entrance was so fast lock'd and barricaded, as render'd it very difficult to open, if attempted, which was never done, as being supposed a dangerous Enterprize. However, in this great Exigence to which this Usurper was reduced, he resolves to open this Place, be the event what it will; which was perform'd with great difficulty, and divers Persons entered, who were immediately suffocated, and fell down dead; which was surprizing at first; but on second thoughts, it was easily concluded to be the unwholsome Vapours, so long shut up from Air, which caus'd that sudden Stop of the vital Spirits.
Wherefore it was resolved to let it stand open a few Days, placing a Guard to prevent any body's Entrance. In the mean time, provision was made of many Flambeaux and Torches, not only for the Service of their Light, but to help extenuate those poysonous Particles there gather'd by means of the want of Air. Thus they entered the Habitation of the Devil, or the Devil's Tower, vulgarly so called.
They went but a little space till it seem'd to wind on both hands, but they struck towards the left; where they beheld with great Horror a vast Cauldron full of Blood, which kept continually boiling, but no Fire was to be perceived: At the same time they heard a strange Noise of a distinct Thump, perform'd in exact time and measure. Then going a little farther, they met two Monsters dragging one another, who were lash'd on by other Monsters behind them, making them cry and howl in a dismal manner: For they were both to be put into that Cauldron of boiling Blood. The Passengers stood aside to give them way, and then pass'd on, meeting divers frightful Figures, whether real Monsters grown out of the foul Particles of that odious Enclosure, or Phantoms, or Spectres, they could not tell: But, amongst the many Yellings and Cries which they heard; the continual Thump ceased not. Sometimes they heard a Noise like the Falling of Water; and going on they perceiv'd a Machine like a vast Mill which was a most horrible Sight; for the Grist that was here ground, seem'd to be Human Creatures. At another place was a vast fiery Furnace, wherein were many Monsters marching about, whether Salamanders, or what, they could not tell. There were many more strange and monstrous Appearances, not easily to be remember'd, much less to be describ'd; nor could any body conceive the true natural Cause of these Productions, whether a subterraneous Fire heated that Red Liquor, which appear'd like Blood, (which Liquor, perhaps, was only Water, so coloured by passing through Red Earth) no body could conclude; tho' every one made their several Conjectures thereon.
After many strange and astonishing Appearances, they came at last to a Gate, whereon were written in great Letters the following Lines:
Mortal, whoe'er thou art, beware,
Thou go not in this Place too far:
Yet bear this Warning in thy Mind,
Be sure thou dost not look behind.
When they had read these Verses, they were not only much frighted, but found the Words reduced them to great Difficulties, seeming to forbid them to go back: For they could not do that, without looking behind; and then again, importing Danger if they went forward. They weighed these Considerations a while, till the King's Inclinations, together with their own Curiosity, turned the Balance to a Resolution of entring in, and proceeding farther. They soon conquered the Difficulties of getting the Gate open; so on they went, and found themselves within the Body of a large round Room, which was the Tower that appeared above−ground, the rest being a subterraneous Circle round this Tower.
In the midst of this Place stood a great Image of Time, with a huge long Club in his Hand, which he raised and let fall in due measure; and this caused that astonishing Thump which they heard from the first Moment of their Entry. They kept in their mind, that they must not look behind them, so resolved to walk round the Place; where on the Walls they found divers Inscriptions, all importing Warnings, Menaces and Miseries to those that came there. In reading which, they sometimes stopt to consider the Purport and dubious Meanings of these uncouth Writings. At last being got round a good part of the Circle, they cast their Eyes on the Shoulders of the Image, and there found the following Words, which the King read with an audible Voice:
All Tribulation shall they find,
Who needs will look on me behind.
At the reading hereof they all fell into a great Consternation, especially the King. They now very well understood what was meant by those Words written on the Gate, Not look behind; which they had mistaken, thinking they were prohibited looking behind themselves, or turning back the same way. Thus, the Devil's Oracles are always double and delusive, and such are all his Temptations, as this wretched King and all his Adherents soon afterwards found.
They hasted out of the Tower as fast as they could, fastned and barricaded it up close, as they found it, and so left it. The King returned home greatly troubled, and more embarrass'd now than ever. The next Day the Tower was totally sunk into the Ground, and no sign left to demonstrate there had ever been such an Edifice. Thus the little Story ended, without telling what Misery befel the King and Kingdom, by the Moors, who over−ran the Country for many Years after. To which, we may well apply the Proverb,
Who drives the Devil's Stages,
Deserves the Devil's Wages.
The reading this Trifle of a Story detained Galecia from her Rest beyond her usual Hour; for she slept so sound the next Morning, that she did not rise, till a Lady's Footman came to tell her, that his Lady and another or two were coming to breakfast with her: Whereupon she hastned to get her self and her Tea−Table ready for her Reception.
It was not many Moments e'er they arriv'd, and the good friendly Lady presented one to Galecia, asking her if she remember'd this her old Friend, after so many Years Absence? Which at first a little surpriz'd her; but she soon call'd her to mind. Ah, said Philinda, (for that was her Name) I do not wonder you could not know me, my Afflictions having made me almost a Stranger to my self: To which the good Lady replied, That whilst the Tea−Kettle was on the Fire, she might tell Galecia her short Story e'er it boyl'd: But Philinda beg'd the Lady to pardon the Confusion which might occur in this Relation, and recount it to Galecia her self, her Ladyship knowing every the minutest Circumstance. To which the good Lady accorded. Philinda, in the mean time seeing the little Old Book lying on the Table, in which Galecia had been reading over Night, took the same, and went into the next Room, and left them to their Story, being willing to be out of the hearing of those Calamities, in which she had been so great a Sufferer.
This Gentlewoman (said my Lady) had out of her Frugality saved a little private purse to her self, unknown to her Husband; a way which many an excellent good Wife takes, whether to have something of their own fancied Property, and more directly at their Service, or only to have a little Cash to look on, matters not; but thus it happened: There was a Gentleman that wanted a little Sum of forty or fifty Pounds, wherewith to make up a Payment of Money unknown to his Wife. Philinda being this Gentleman's Friend, he applied himself to her to help him to this Sum; to which she accorded, and lent him the Money privately.
After a while she having occasion to dispose thereof advantageously, writ a Letter desiring him to meet her at the Abby, where she would be at Morning−prayers. His Wife hapned to receive the Note, and had the Curiosity to open it, and was seiz'd with a Jealousie, which destroy'd her Quiet. However, she made it up again, gave it her Husband without taking any notice he went to the Church as appointed, and there he met with this his Friend; she whispered to him, that she had now an Opportunity to dispose of her Money to advantage, and therefore desired him to help her to it if he could, without too great Inconveniency. He told her, that he had the Money ready at home, and would go and fetch it, and come back to her by such time as prayers were ended. So said, so done: He went home, and fetch'd it, and came back to her e'er the Congregation was dispers'd. They went into a publick House to pay and receive this Money: But as ill luck would have it, chop'd into a House of ill Repute, and so unlucky it was, that in that critical Juncture there came Constables and Officers of Justice to search for Lewd People; and finding him and her together by themselves, carried her before a Justice of Peace: Where, she not reflecting on the Consequence, told a wrong Name, being loth to be known, in that odd Circumstance; and happen'd on a Name that had lately been before the same Justice. Wherefore, without delay he sent her to Bridewell. Thus was this good Woman brought into Distress, Disgrace, Horror and the utmost Confusion, before she was aware; For at their being first seiz'd, she desir'd the Gentleman to slip away, and take no notice of her; but to leave her without concern, as if she had been a common Woman; thinking to deal well enough with the Constables: For all that she aim'd at was but to keep it from her Husband's Knowledge: But matters going on as I told you before, she was reduced to this Distress and shameful Condition, not knowing which way to turn her self, to whom to address, or what method to take for her Enlargement: She thought, if she told her true Name, and sent for her Husband, she could hope for nothing but to be abandon'd, if not prosecuted by him as an Adulteress. To remain there, and undergo the Rigour of the Law, allotted for such Offenders, was hard, or rather insupportable for an innocent Person: Besides, it could not be; for her Absence from her House would soon stir up her Husband's Enquiry to find her out.
Thus she weigh'd every thing, but could pitch upon nothing that had any Face of probability, to do her any Service; At last, she resolv'd on the plain Truth, that being generally the best Advocate for Innocence; and so sent for her Husband, and told him the true State of the Case: But alas, it was all Words to a Storm, or the North Wind. He resolv'd, and actually put in execution the utmost that Law could do in such a case; Not only being content to abandon her to the Disgrace which would naturally ensue; but persecuted her from Place to Place, from Prison to Prison; so that Poverty, Prosecution and Punishment of all sorts, was her lot; nay, even her own Friends and Relations were her Enemies, so grossly foul was the Appearance of this Transaction.
Thus this good Gentlewoman suffer'd with great patience, her manifold Afflictions, attended with the utmost soul Disgrace; But good Heaven at last made way for her Justification. The Gentleman that had borrow'd the money of her, had been hurried by his superiour Officer to his Post in Flanders. Which was the Cause he could not appear in her behalf, when things came to that great extremity. This Gentleman receiv'd a cruel Wound in some Skirmish, which happen'd there; so that the Surgeons despair'd of his Recovery. Hereupon he call'd some of his Friends, Gentlemen of undoubted Honour and Probity, and begg'd them to receive the Attestation of a dying Man; which was, that Philinda was a perfect vertuous Woman, to the utmost degree that he knew of her; and that for his own Part, he never had a thought towards her, other than towards a Mother or a Sister; And so he related to them the whole occasion and manner of that Transaction, which had made so much Noise in the World, calling the Gentleman to witness, to whom he had paid the Money he had thus borrow'd of Philinda, and had been present when she lent it to him; without which the said Gentleman could not have made his Campaign. This he charged them all on the Word of a dying Man, to report to Philida's Husband and Friends; which they did with the utmost Sincerity.
Now this News, with the great danger the Gentleman was in, rous'd his Wife out of her Jealousie or Delirium; she went to Philinda's Husband, beg'd pardon for all the trouble she had caused him and his Wife, declar'd how she had intercepted the Letter, made them be dog'd to that place where the Constable found them, and that she sent him there to seize them, and at the same time caused her Husband to be commanded into Flanders; For all which profess'd her self truly sorry: and earnestly beg'd, that as she had contriv'd their Separation, she might cause their Re−union: which she was willing to cement with her Tears and constant Vows offer'd to Heaven for their Happiness.
Thus was the married Couple happily reconcil'd, and have liv'd together ever since in great Tranquillity. The Gentleman recovered of his Dangerous Wound, came home to pertake of, and increase their Happiness by reiterated Attestations of the Innocence of all the proceeding. On the other side, his Wife promis'd never to intercept his or any body's Letters, perceiving now it was not only a great Indignity and Breach of good manners, but a Crime that deserves a Punishment, equal to that of picking Pockets, breaking a Lock, or the like.
Philinda and her Husband resolv'd to have no more separate Purses each from other, whereby to cause Contention. Thus were these two Families reunited, and the Cause of their Disturbance wholly remov'd; in which the Proverb was fulfill'd,
After a Storm comes a Calm.
Breakfast being ready the Company call'd Philinda from her old Book, in which she was much engag'd, in particular in one Story, which (said she) being extraordinary, I will repeat to the Company as soon as we have done our Tea, which accordingly she did, as follows:
At the time when the Moors invaded Spain, there were many Irregularities committed which are usual wherever the Seat of War is carried. By this means a beautiful young Nun, enter'd into an Intrigue with a Cavalier, of the Army, who found means, notwithstanding all the Care and Circumspection of those Places; I say, they found means to contract an Affection; nor did they stop there, but promis'd personal Enjoyment, and to live together as married People, if our Nun could find a way to get out of her Cloyster.
Now she that could suffer her self to consent to the Temptation of the Flesh, the Devil was at hand to help her through, and found a means for her Escape, to the utter breach of her Solemn Religious Vow of Chastity. Thus they went away together, were married, and liv'd in the midst of Plenty and conjugal Happiness, till her Husband's Devoirs called him to the Army.
At his going he left a Friend to consolate and assist her in his Absence; who truly perform'd the part of a good Man in all things within his power: The Army was encamp'd far off, and Correspondence difficult, which was a perpetual Affliction to her; many Battels and Skirmishes were fought, without any News from him: At last, some of his own Regiment, sent her word that he was kill'd. This was an inexpressible Grief to her: She lived many Days and Weeks in the utmost Disquietude, using all means possible to know the truth; but he was Universally believed to be dead, though his Body was never found amongst the Slain, nor yet heard of amongst the Prisoners. The Friend, that was left with her, was no less afflicted, and bore a true share of Grief with our disconsolate Relict: But Time, which devours all things, by degrees drank up the Tears of the Widow, and so far dissipated the Grief of the Friend, that he began to be sensible of her Charms, not only those of her Beauty, but was touch'd with that tender Affection which she daily express'd for the loss of his good Friend her Husband: This Esteem by degrees ripened into Affection, and from Affection to Passion, till he could no longer resist making his Addresses to her. How she received these Addresses at first, or by what degrees or steps he climbed into her Affection, is yet unknown; but so it was, in some time they were married together, and lived happy enough, till the suppos'd dead Husband return'd, which was after they had been married but a few Weeks. We will not descant either on the Cause of his Silence or Absence, whether dangerous Wounds, Imprisonment, or what else hapned; but he thought to bring her a pleasing Surprize in bringing himself into her Arms: But, alas! the Appearance of his Person was much more disagreeable, than if it had been his Ghost. However, she concealed her Sentiments, and receiv'd him kindly. After the first mutual Caresses were over, he said he was weary, having travelled far that Day; therefore would go lie down on a Couch, in the next Room, He being thus gone to Repose his poor weary Body, she in the midst of her Anxiety, took a wicked thought in her head, and resolved his death, before her other Husband should return; for he was gone abroad. This execrable Thought she indulg'd, till he being fast asleep, she put in Execution, and murdered this unfortunate Gentleman; even him, for whose sake she had broke through the Laws of God and her Country, dishonour'd her self and her Family; Him, for whom she had shed a Flood of Tears, utter'd millions of Sighs and Lamentations, and was for divers Months the most disconsolate Creature living; yet had the Cruelty now to shed his Blood, who had given her no provocation; but on the contrary, had fatigu'd himself to a great degree with travelling far that day, to arrive at her Embraces.
No doubt, but her thoughts were greatly perplex'd at what she had done, and what to do when the other Husband should come home; which we will leave to the Consideration of any that shall hear the Story.
When the Husband came, she receiv'd him with a frighted disconsolate Kindness; which he perceiving, press'd her to know the Cause. After some Sighs and Tears, she told him, that Excess of Love to him had made her act the most wicked and detestable of all Crimes, and thereupon opened the Door where the poor murder'd Body lay; which Sight fill'd him with the utmost Horror and Detestation. He look'd upon her as a bloody and a hateful Monster, never to be forgiven by God or Man; then again turning his Wrath upon himself, for having supplanted his Friend, before greater assurances of his death, he lamented him, reproach'd her, hated himself; she, on the other side, sigh'd, wept, tore her Hair, suffer'd convulsive Agonies, that between 'em, they acted a miserable Scene of Horror.
After the first Efforts of their Grief and Distraction were discharg'd, they began to consider what was to be done. The Gentleman thought it was cruel to expose her to the Hand of Justice, for a Crime she had committed for his sake, though in its self most enormous; beside, his Affection for her, joyn'd with Compassion, for the Foible of the Sex, he resolv'd on the following Measures: Which were, that in the dead of the Night, he himself would carry the murther'd Body to the River, which ran just by the Side of the Town, and cast it therein. This Resolution they put in practice; first drying up his bloody Wounds as well as they could, then wrapt him in a Sheet, and the Gentleman took him on his Back, and went softly down Stairs; but as she was following, she perceived a Foot hanging out, and immediately took a Needle and Thread, and sew'd it into the Sheet: But in her Fright, by mistake, took hold of the Gentleman's Coat, and so fastned that to the Sheet. He went on with his Load, got safe to the River, and with a hasty Cast, threw it off; but the Sheet being fastned to his Coat as before said, the Weight of the Dead Body in that sudden Motion, drew in the living Man also; where he was soon drowned, not being in the least able to help himself, by means of his being fastned to the dead Body.
Next day these two Bodies being found thus fastned together, were soon known, Officers of Justice came to search the House, examine, and apprehend the Family; But the miserable Lady, soon confess'd and told the Story, for which she received Punishment from the Hands of Justice, and in which she fulfilled the Proverb.
Marry in haste, and Repent at leisure.
The Ladies, having thus pass'd the greatest part of the Forenoon, resolv'd to go take a walk in the Park, to get them a good stomach to their Dinner. Here they found much Company, it being a very bright fine Winter's Day; and according to custom there were divers sorts of Dresses, Figures and Shapes of Persons, and as many different Discourses; Some admiring the Fineness of the Weather, others saying it was not natural at that time of Year; some praising this Lady for her excellent Fancy in her Dress, whilst others were blam'd for not suiting their Dress to their Complexion; one praised this Lady's Manteau−maker, another blam'd that Lady's Seamstress; some commended the Chocolate they had for breakfast, others complaining of the Oysters they had eat over Night; some talking of the Opera, some of the Play; how generous my Lord such an one was to his New Mistress; how glorious she appeared in the Box; some talking of what such a Lady won at Ombre, or lost at Basset; Who was kept by the one, and who was jilted by the other; Who had luck in the Lottery, and who lost in the South−Sea; Who had hang'd themselves for Love, and who drown'd themselves for Debt. Good Heavens! said our Ladies, who is there that talking of any good or moral Vertues? Who serves God or their Neighbour, who prays with Devotion, or relieves the Poor; who instructs the Ignorant, or comforts the Afflicted; who protects the Fatherless, or supports the oppressed Widow; who visits the Sick, buries the Dead, or covers the Naked with a Garment? Many more things of this kind they were repeating, till they perceiv'd a pretty elderly Gentlewoman following behind them, who for some time had over−heard their Discourse; for which she humbly beg'd their pardon, telling them it was not the effect of Curiosity, but that she had been a true Sharer in those Afflictions, caus'd by being abandon'd by Friends and persecuted by Enemies; But the Almighty had been her Assistance; that she might with great truth repeat those Words, When my Father and Mother forsook me, the Lord cared for me. The Ladies being a little weary of walking, and very curious to hear the Gentlewoman's Adventures, betook themselves to a Seat, desired her Company, and to relate her Story.
In the late Troubles of Ireland, said she, my Husband betaking himself to King James's Party, we were stript of all we had, our Estate was forfeited, our House plunder'd, even to our wearing Cloaths; so that we were reduced to the utmost Exigence. Being thus distressed, we came away for England; and I being of an English Family, came amongst my Friends, to consult and take measures with them, what course to take to help us in this our Extremity. But, alas, being reduced to a deplorable Condition, with two small Children, we found but cold Reception, there having been several Changes in our Family; some Friends being dead, others grown up and married, which caused new Methods, new Establishments, &c. However, by their help we came to London, thinking to get away to France; but when we came hither, we heard that the King had a greater Burthen of poor Followers than he knew well how to sustain. We staid here some time, considering what to do, or which way to direct our Course, endeavouring to get some Place or Business for my Husband, or my self, till we had spent all we had in the World, and all that we could borrow of any Friend or Acquaintance; insomuch that we were forced to go often supperless to Bed. In the Morning, when our poor Babes wak'd, one cry'd, Mamma, me want Breakfast, me is hungry; the other cry'd, Pappa, me want a Bit of Bread, me is hungry.
These poor Infants thus pealing in our Ears, my Husband one Morning leap'd out of Bed, saying, he had lived long enough, since he heard his Children cry for Bread, and he had none to give 'em. I seeing him in this desperate Condition, leap'd out also, put on my Cloaths, and pray'd him to look to the Children, whilst I went to seek out for something.
Thus, down stairs I went, not knowing whither, or what about. But as I pass'd in the Entry, my Landlady called to me, as she was in her Parlour, saying, Mistress, I believe you are going to the Baker's; pray do so much as bring me a Loaf with you. I went accordingly, and desir'd a Loaf for my Landlady, which the Baker's Wife delivered to me immediately. I stood a while looking on the Shop full of Bread; but had not Courage to beg, nor Money to buy. Whether the Mistress saw, I look'd with a longing Eye, and a needy Stomach, I know not; but she said, Mistress, I believe you want a Loaf for your self; To which I answer'd with flowing Tears, yes; but I have no Money to pay for one; then the good Woman replied, In the Name of God, take one, and pay for it when you can; and gave me a good large Loaf, so I came away joyfully. Of this, with a little Salt, my Husband, my self and Children made a comfortable Repast, washing it down with clear Element.
As soon as we had thus refresh'd our selves, the good Baker's Wife, who had taken notice of my dejected Behaviour, sent a Servant with some Flower to make us a Pudding, a Piece of Meat to make the Children some Broth, together with a Pound of Butter, in which was stuck an Half−Crown Piece, to buy us Drink. I was transported at the good Woman's Charity, got on the Pot with speed, and made us a sumptuous Meal, such a one as we had not tasted in many Days. When this our plentiful Dinner was over, I began to consider which way I might dispose of my Half−Crown to make us live for the time to come: Which, you will say, was a very small Sum wherewith to begin any Business, for a Livelihood.
After revolving divers things in my Mind, I at last took it in my thoughts to go buy a little Wheat, and boyl it, and try to sell Bowls of Wheat; which accordingly I did, and next Day when my Wheat was ready, I went with it, with a Basket on my Arm. I must confess, I had Confusion to knock at Doors, and ask if they wanted a Bowl of Wheat; and what was an additional Mortification, when I took off my Gloves to deliver my Merchandize, my Hands discover'd that I was not brought up to such Business; insomuch, that the Servants would sometimes take notice, and say, that these Hands look'd more like the Hands of one used to sit in a Drawing−Room and play with a Fan, than of one who sells things about the Streets. How far these kind of Complements might have given me Vanity at another time, I know not; but now they were a true Mortification; for nothing made this humble Task sit more easie, than the Belief, that no body knew me. However, I got as much by this Day's Industry, as bought us Food the next. Thus I went on, daily leaving my Husband to take care of the Children, and get the Wheat prepar'd for the ensuing Day. And thus did my Husband content himself in this poor Employment, for the sake of his dear Babes, who himself had been bred a Gentleman.
In my going to good Houses to sell my Wheat, I got many a Piece of boyl'd, bak'd, and roast Meat, which I brought home to my hungry Children; nor did my Husband refuse his Share. By degrees frequenting those Houses, I got acquainted with the Maids, so that they trusted me to sell old things for them, paying me so much in the Shilling, as I could get for them. Thus I fell into a little way of Merchandize, selling at one House what I got at another. The Cook maid at one House wanted this thing, the House−maid that; the Chamber maid this thing to sell here, the Nurse had that thing to buy there; so that by degrees I sell into a pretty Trade of this kind of buying and selling old Cloaths, and grew so skill'd in it, that we took a Shop; and by such time as our Daughter was grown up, we had a Portion to dispose of her handsomely in the City. Our Son is our Assistant in this our Trade, and is our Book−keeper. Thus Ladies (said she) we have made out the Proverb,
Something doing, something coming.
They were all thankful to the Gentlewoman for her Relation; and the Lady invited her, with the others, to dinner; but she excus'd her self to her Ladyship, it being inconsistent with some Affairs she had at that time. The Lady and her Friends, together with Galecia, went with my Lady to dinner where we will suppose, they regaled themselves very well; together with my Lady's Husband, and his Friends till the coming of the Punch−Bowl, drove the Ladies into the Drawing−room, where the Tea−table attended their approach. They were scarcely seated when a Lady came to make my Lady Allgood a Visit; (for that was our Lady's Name) who receiv'd her with Transports of Kindness, after a very long Absence, she being just come out of France, where she had been many Years following the Fortune of King James. They made her many Congratulations for her safe Arrival, and divers Inquiries after the Health and Circumstances of their Friends and Acquaintance in those Parts, and the Condition of the Court of St. Germain's, since the Death of the King. To which she answer'd, that they all acted a melancholy Scene. However, they had this Advantage, the Change of Fortune brought every one to a right understanding of themselves, and a due Consideration of others. The Poor are become respectful, the Rich (if such there be) compassionate, Inferiours are humble, Superiours are affable, the Women vertuous, the Men valiant, the Matrons prudent, Daughters obedient, Fathers obliging, Sons observant, Patrons readily assisting, Supplicants gratefully accepting; whilst true Piety and Devotion are the Cement of all the other Vertues, to build up a holy Court, like those we read of in the time of Constantine or Theodosius. In short, there is a Pattern, by which every one may square their Lives, so as to make vertuous and honest Figures amongst Mankind, and in some degree honourable also, Vertue and Honour being inseparable Companions.
The Ladies proceeded to ask her, if she had had a happy Voyage by Sea and Land, without any dangerous Adventures? To which she replied, that all was very easie and happy; only in the Coach between Paris and Callisthere was a Lawyer, who told us a Story carrying something of Horror along with it; which being short, if your Ladyship please, I will relate it: It is something of the Porteugueze Nun, whose amorous Letters have been the Entertainment of all the World. Her Story must needs be acceptable, replied the Ladies, wherefore, pray proceed to oblige us with the relation of it.
This Young Lady was bred in a Convent, as are most in those Countries, the Convents being the general Places of Education for all Children of Distinction. When she came to Years of Maturity, her Parents took her home, in order to establish her in the World, by marrying her to some worthy Gentleman; of which there was one in the Neighbourhood, who greatly coveted this Espousal: But all the Persuasions of her Parents, joyn'd with the Gentleman's Courtship, availed nothing; she persisted in her Resolution of becoming a Religious Dame. Her Mother endeavour'd as much as possible, to extirpate these Thoughts, by carrying her into Company, buying her fine Cloaths, introduc'd her at Court, Comedies, Opera's, Balls, Masques, and all sorts of Diversion, which diverts the greatest Part of Human kind: But nothing moved this young Lady from her Religious Purpose. For all these kinds of Glories seemed to her as Folly and Vanity, a Dream without any solid Satisfaction: That in the end, her Parents consented to her Return into the Convent.
Here she performed all the Duties of her Novitiate with perfect Obedience, to the satisfaction of the Abbess and all the Religious, that she was receiv'd, and in due time, profess'd a Member of their Holy Society, with Joy and Content: In which she behaved her self with great Prudence, Vertue and Piety, for divers Years, till the great War between France and the Allies broke out. Then it was, that a certain military Officer came to visit a Relation of his in the Convent, and brought with him a French Chevalier, who was an Hugonot, and came out of curiosity with his Friend, to see the manner of making a Visit at the Grate. Now, as it is not permitted for any young Lady or Nun, to receive Visitors there, without some Companion, this our foresaid Nun was appointed to accompany the other. And, lo, this was the fatal Moment of our Nun's Ruin: For she no sooner saw the Beau Hugonot, but she felt an Emotion she had never been sensible of before.
When she came to know he was an Hugonot, she thought it was Compassion that had disturbed her Interiours, to think that so fine a Person should live in a wrong Religion. He, on the other side, was troubled, to see so beautiful a young Lady thus confined, out of a whimsical Conceit of devotion (as his Principles termed it.) Amongst these Thoughts, divers Glances shot each against other, and forbidden Sighs met in a sort of soft Union; whilst the other Couple of Friends talked of things indifferent, appertaining to the common Rode of Friendship. In this way they continued till the Bell called our Nuns to Choir and our Gentlemen to their respective Habitations.
We will not pretend to know or guess, by what steps of Fancy on Cogitation they climb'd up to an extream Passion, such as her printed Letters demonstrate, or how they first discover'd their amorous Sentiments each to other, things extreamly difficult in those Places: But so it was, that he desir'd to be inform'd of the Catholick Religion, pretending that no body gave him so rational an Account, and produced such cogent Arguments as this Lady. By this means he was permitted to have frequent access to the Grate, where she not only entertain'd him with many devout Discourses, and solid Arguments, but gave him Books to read, which he return'd in due time, giving an account of what he read, in those Books; what touch'd, and what displeas'd him. This manner of proceeding blinded the Understanding of those that accompanied her to the Grate and it is to be suppos'd, that by means of these Books lent and return'd, Letters were convey'd backward and forward to each other; not only those in Print, but divers others, by which means (no doubt) her Escape was contriv'd; which was accomplish'd in this odd manner: an Opportunity offering when one of those Religious Dames died and was interr'd, that Night, before the Vault was made up, she took the pains to lift out the Body and lay it in her own Bed, and then plac'd a Train of Fire, which she knew would catch and set fire of the Bed by such time as she could be got over the Wall, by Ladders of Ropes there provided by her Lover, (if one may so call the Devil's Engineer.) Thus she left the House to be burnt with all the holy Inhabitants, therein contain'd: But Providence so order'd it, that it was discover'd before 'twas too late, and extinguish'd before much hurt, only that Cell with its Moveables, was destroy'd, and the Body so disfigur'd, that it could not be known, but was much lamented by the good Dames, really supposing it to be this our Fugitive. They lamented their Loss in her as a Person of exemplary Prudence and Vertue, as one in whom shin'd Piety and Wisdom with their most refulgent Rays; a Person whose Aspect commanded the Youth, and her Actions taught obedience to all; In fine, much they lamented, much they regretted the Death of this Holy Associate. In the mean time, she got safe away with her Chevalier, he having provided for her all manner of rich Accoutrements, and took the first opportunity to get married. Thus she broke her solemn Religious Vow of Chastity, and the Laws of her Country, betray'd the Honour of her Family; and disgrac'd her Sex and Quality.
They liv'd together in this State, and had divers Children, till an unfortunate Shot in the Army finish'd his Days; but not on such a sudden, but that he had time to send word to her, by a particular Friend that he dy'd with great Remorse for what had pass'd between him and her; and griev'd to leave her and her Children in so distress'd and abandon'd a Condition. She receiv'd this Information with utmost Grief; she fell into Convulsions, which attended her Fit after Fit, all the Hours she liv'd, which were not many. But in one of her Intervals, she call'd some Friends about her, related to them all the Story of her criminal Marriage, greatly lamenting over her Children; for by this her Confession they must become miserable Vagabonds on the Face of the Earth, having no right to the Estate of their Father's Family, which is considerable in France, as is that of my Family (said she) here in Portugal: But I know, the Law in both Countries looks on them as Bastards, I being incapable of contracting Marriage, after a solemn Religious Vow. O wretch that I was, who with so much Importunity obtain'd of my Parents Leave to become a Religious; I, who lived Years in the same state, with satisfaction to my self, and the approbation of the whole Community. How was it posible, that for the Love of this one Man, a Stranger, of a different Country, a different Religion, different Language! How was it possible, I say, to break all Laws Divine and Human, and to become so great a Monster as to hazard the burning so stately an Edifice, and in so doing, murder so many excellent pious Persons! O miserable Wretch that I am, and so she fell into one of her Convulsions, of which she dyed. At the Conclusion of this Story, said the Gentlewoman, there was none in the Coach that did not shed Tears; some compassionating one part of the Story, some blaming another, every one pitying the Children, whose Cause was then depending in the Parliament of Paris (as the Lawyer in the Coach said) in which he was engaged; but feared he should be able to do no good on the Childrens behalf; for he was almost sure they would lose their Process; and withal lose that Charity they might hope for amongst their Friends, by humble Supplication; to which he said, he would advise 'em, that they might not fall under that unlucky Proverb,
All covet, all lose.
This sorrowful Story affected the Company with Compassion almost to Tears; which, to divert, my Lady Allgoodbegan to call for Cards; But Evening approaching, they were unwilling to stay, yet asked the Lady who had told the last melancholy Story, if she had not one that was less grievous, to entertain them a few Moments, till Night should call for their Departure. To which she replyed, that in the Coach between Dover and Home, there was an ancient Gentlewoman told 'em a kind of an odd Transaction, which hapned in the Neighbourhood where she liv'd heretofore; which is as follows.
In my younger days, said she, I liv'd in the West of England; for there I was born; in which Parts there happen'd this odd Project of a young Lady, the only Child of her Parents, who were Owners of a considerable Estate. As she grew in Stature, she improv'd in Beauty, which caus'd her Father to keep a strict hand over her; nevertheless she was not so ignorant of the World, but that she desir'd to know more: She saw and convers'd with many young Ladies of her Neighbourhood, who talked of the bright Diversions of the Town; this Play, that Ball, this Treat, that Musick meeting, this Walk, that Assemblée, the Diversions of the Park, Plays, Exchange, Spring garden, &c.These Discourses, set her on fire, to see such much talked of Places; and that she might thereby be able to entertain Company suitable to her Sex and Quality: Whereas she was now but a silent Auditor to others, whose Capacities, perhaps, were less susceptible than hers; only having been in those Places, and amongst such Company as had filled, nay, even overflowed them with Vanity, which discharged its Superplus amongst the young Country−Ladies, whose lot had lain at home.
This Constraint and Home−breeding began to be very tiresome to the young Lady; but no Persuasions could prevail with her Parents to relieve this her Country restraint, telling her, she must not think of going to London till she was married. How far she wish'd to be married for the sake of going to London, or for the sake of Marriage its self, is unknown; but perhaps neither: For she was no sooner arived to marriageable Years, but she was sought after by many; her young beautiful Person, with her Father's large Inheritance annexed to it, rendering her extreamly desirable. Amongst these, her Father pitched upon one whose Riches and Prudence recommended him to his approbation; but by no means to our young Lady's liking. He was perfectly Country bred like her self; He knew nothing of Publick Affairs, but what he learnt of the News papers: His chief Entertainment was of Dogs and Horses; whether Roan or Ball performed their Heats best in order to win the Plate at the next Horse−race. Beside, he was a Widower, though not old; nor had his Lady left him any Child. Nevertheless, she thought her Youth and Beauty deserved an Husband wholly new, and not a Man at second hand. In short, one reason or another presented themselves to her Fancy, that she grew obstinate to her Parents Proposal; they on the other hand, pressed as positively. This her Refusal made them fancy she had some other Object of her Affection; which Fancy so prevail'd with them, that they threatned to confine her to her Chamber, thereby to discover or prevent any such Intrigue. This was a grievous Surprize, and Fright; but instead of bending her thereby, Despair, or at least, Fear, not only made her grow Stubborn, and absolutely refused marrying this her home bred Lover, but also dread the positive Temper of her Parents.
As she was one day walking in the outward Court, ruminating on divers impending Occurrences, she saw some Gypsies enter the Gates, who presently approaching, addressed her with their gibble−gabble Cant after their accustomed manner; but she took one of them aside, as if to hear her Fortune; and ask'd her, if they would receive a distressed Person into their Clan; to which they readily accorded. She then asked them which way they were strolling? They said, towards London, to gather up some Rents for some Nurse−Children they had taken. This their going towards London pleased our young Lady extreamly, it being the Place she longed to see; so she promised to come to them that Night, where they lodged.
So said, so done; and (like an unthinking Wretch as she was) left her Father's House that Night, and so went to this Band of Strollers, carrying with her only what her Pockets would contain, as, Money, Rings, a Watch, &c.She travell'd with them several Days, her Person being disguised both in Habit and Complexion, (for that they took care to do the moment she came to them.) After a few Days Travel, she saw and felt her Folly, undergoing the Fatigue of Wind and Wet, Heat and Cold, bad Food, bad Lodging, and all things disagreeable to her Constitution and Education: She knew not what to do with herself; she durst not return to her Parents, nor inform any body of her Condition; her Money, and all that was valuable, they had gotten from her: So, what to do, she knew not. She had no prospect but of Misery and Disgrace: She pass'd her Nights in silent Tears, and her Days in Sighs and secret Lamentations: The wicked way in which these vile Wretches liv'd, cheating, stealing, lying, and all sorts of Roguery, was abominable to her vertuous Mind. Amongst these, there was one who seemed of a better mien than the rest, and was ready upon all occasions to befriend her in any thing within his power. He was something in Years, and not so well able to undergo the Fatigue as the others; nor could he ever compass the Art of cheating, canting and stealing, as the rest did: He was weary of these his wicked Companions; but knew not how to live without them: So one Day, he and she being tired with marching, and coming near a Village, set themselves down on a Bank by the Highway, whilst the Gang strolled about the Hedges and Out−places, to try what they could pilfer.
Sitting here, the old Man began to tell her how he came to be linked into this Band of Vagabonds; of which, he said he was very weary, but knew not how to extricate himself, they having gotten from him all the Money his evil Life had before procured; and he being now advanced in Years, was not able otherwise to get a Livelihood, but as they provided for him according to their Contract when they received his Money; to which Contract they were very just, added he, and in some degree kind, being considerate of my Years, and other Occurrences, as you will understand by my Story, which I will faithfully relate to you.
I took my Name, said he, from that renowned Garrison of Tangier; where I was a Soldier. When the good and gracious King Charles was driven to a necessity of demolishing that Fort, and dismantling the Garrison, which was much against his Inclination, it being a greater Loss to England than that of Dunkirk; though not so much taken notice of, as lying so much farther off. The parting with either was very grievous to the King: But the great Machine of State at that time between Court and Country partly moved in such manner, that his Majesty had not Money to support the said Garrisons, so that bon−gre, mal−gre he was forced to part with them. But to return to what appertains to my self, State−affairs being neither your, nor my province at this time.
I was born a Gentleman, and educated accordingly, but the Havock Cromwell's Party had made in my Father's Substance, forced me (as well as many other younger Brothers) to seek my Fortune; and so I went with a Friend of my Father's, (an Officer of Note) to Tangier, where, I doubt not, but he would have endeavour'd for my Preferment, in time.
But now, give me leave to go back a little; Before my going to Tangier, the Beauty of a young Lady had fir'd my Heart to that degree, that I knew not how to go, or stay. I shall not repeat to you the manner of our Courtship, the many Hopes, Tears, Joys and Fears, which agitated our Interiours. In short, the Lady was willing to promise me Marriage, and to stay for me till my Return, or till I should be in a condition to send for her; but that was not sufficient; nothing would serve my turn, but to espouse her e'er my Departure; and this with the utmost Sincerity. I had great Difficulty to gain her Consent to this; and many Arguments passed backward and forward on both sides; but at last her Affections were so prevalent, as to make her submit to my Importunities, and so married we were, very privately, about a Week before my Departure. I will not repeat to you what tenderness pass'd between us that Week; it breaks my aged Heart to think of it; nor is my faltring Tongue able to express the Sorrows of this our Separation.
I got well to Tangier, lived happy with my Friend, and made my self many more in the Garrison, &c. but it was not long e'er we were all sent for home, the Garrison being to be destroy'd as I before said. When I got to England, the first News I heard, was, that my Father was dead, and my elder Brother married to this my Wife. I cannot express how greatly I was afflicted and amazed, even to Distraction; I knew not which way to go, nor to address my self; Father I had none, Heaven and the Course of Nature had depriv'd me of that Happiness; my Father's House a Den of Incest; my Brother my Rival; my Wife an incestuous Prostitute. To go near, or reproach them, was to make them miserable, and my self not happy.
In the mean time, I wanted Bread: For the King, who was not able to maintain us in Garrison, when we did him and the Nation Service, was as little able, when we did him none. In such Afflictions, I joyned my self with some others of these my distressed Tangier−Companions, and so went to seek Adventures on the High−way. Sometimes we went in little Parties, sometimes single. It was my luck one time to attack a Coach, whilst another or two remain'd perdue at a distance: But how was I surpriz'd, when I found in this Coach my Brother and his Wife, or rather my Wife! Tho' I knew them, they knew not me: For the Weather had much alter'd me in travelling by Sea and Land, beside the little Disguise I wore. They readily gave me me what they had, which was considerable, and with which I departed, without demanding Watches, Rings, Necklace, or any thing else. But Hue and Cry was soon out after me; which pursued me so close every way, that I had no hopes of escaping. At this juncture 'twas I met with this Band of Strollers, and gave them all my Booty to receive me into their Gang; which they soon did, and as soon disguised me from being known by my most intimate Acquaintance: And thus I have lived amongst them ever since, till Old Age has put me on another Disguise more undiscoverable than the former.
He had scarce finish'd his Discourse, when a mourning Coach came driving on with a slow Pace, and in it an elderly Lady, with two young Ladies. The latter perceiving our two Gypsies, called out to stop the Coach, that they might divert themselves, by having their Fortune told. The old Gypsie approaching the Coach, saw his Wife in her Widow's Dress: He told them, that their Fortune was so extraordinary, that he desir'd a little longer time to consider of it, before he could inform them; so they let him know where they intended to lodge that Night, which was to be at the same great Town where our Gang of Strollers were going; then the Coach passed on, he promising to come to 'em.
Indeed, said the Old Gypsie, I shall tell them strange Fortune, when I let the Lady know, that I am her true and lawful Husband, and Father to that young Gentleman that rode by the Coach: For I have heard, that she was delivered of this her Son some Weeks too soon for her Credit; so that I doubt not but I left my Brother an Heir ready for his Estate, before I went to Tangier.
Thus, methinks, I see an End of this miserable Way of living, which always seemed odious to me; but the Shelter it gave me from the foremention'd Pursuit made me undergo it with Patience: For I am not vicious or unworthy in my Nature, having always had a constant Abhorrence of the other, as well as this vile Course; but a fatal Necessity compell'd me to it. I have often thought it a Defect in our Government, that there is not some method thought on or contriv'd for distressed young Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, to employ, and secure them from these or other wicked Actions, to which they are often exposed by hard fortune, or ill management, or the Cruelty or Caprice of Parents; the latter of which I take to be your case (continuing his speech to the young Lady Gypsie) But, he assur'd, when I get to my Estate, which I shall now soon do, my Brother being dead, (by making my Wife own this her Son to be my Son;) Be assured, I say, that I shall then take care of you, in my own House, and make your Beauty shine in the Eyes of this my Son (if he be not otherwise engaged) so as to make you become my Daughter: For which Kindness our Young Gypsie was very thankful: But Providence determined otherwise, as appears by the Sequel.
By this time our Strollers came to them, having pillaged the Hedges and Farmers Yards of what they could conveniently come at So one Party of them was to go with their Booty to the next Town, whilst the other went into this Village, to cant lye, tell fortunes, pick Pockets, &c. and so they were to meet all at their Rendezvous at the Place appointed.
Here they came to a Lady's House, where they began (as usual) to tell fortunes among the Servants, who listned to them as so many divine Oracles. In the mean time the Lady of the House came to chide them for hearkening to those deceitful Vagabonds. Now, so it hapned, that this Lady had sore Eyes; which our Gypsie remark'd; and having before learnt many fine Receits of her Mother, took notice to the Lady of the Indisposition of her Eyes, telling her that she could cure them. Alas, said the Lady, I have try'd almost all things, without Effect and therefore have little reason to put any confidence in what you offer. But our Young Gypsie press'd her with such agreeable Arguments, couch'd in modest respectful Terms, that the Lady was persuaded to make use of this poor Stroller's Receit. Now, the Preparation being to take some days time, the Lady received the Girl into her House, till the Medicine could be made. This was a great comfort to our Gypsie hoping, perhaps, to have an Opportunity of ingratiating her self with the Lady.
Things succeeded well; the Lady's Eyes were cured, and then her Ladyship asked the Maid, why such a young Girl as she, did not rather betake her self to Service, than lead such a vagrant scandalous Life, and offered her to remain amongst the Servants, till some Place might fall for her; in the mean time she was appointed to assist in the Kitchen.
Here she behaved her self with great Discretion, and was so ready at all Sauces and savory Meats, all manner of Pickling and Pastry, with whatsoever belong'd to a compleat Cook, that she amaz'd all who beheld the manner of her proceeding.
She had not been there many Weeks, e'er the Lady's House−keeper was married; after which the Lady prefer'd our Gypsie to her Place. Here she performed all to admiration, whether Sweetmeats, Distillations, Infusions, or whatever else belong'd to a Person in that Station: she was a Stranger to nothing, but ill−manners; all Curiosities of the House−keeper's Closet was familiar to her, that her Lady and every body were amaz'd not knowing what to conjecture.
By this time the false Complexion the Gypsies had put on her was worn off; and in this genteel Post she began to get Cloath suitable to her station; that now our Gypsie appear'd beautiful in her Person, as well as knowing in her Business, and prudent in her Actions. Now, as this Brightness of Person and Parts was visible to all, so in a peculiar manner it struck the eyes, of the young Gentleman her Lady's Son, who was lately come from Travel, he had seen the World, with its various sort of Beauties; but none had touch'd him like our Gypsie's. However, he thought of no other Favours, but what might be, purchased at the price of a Guinea, or so.
But, alas, when he came to make attacks, he quickly found his mistake; For our Gypsie, was so affronted, that she told her Lady, that she must take her leave of her Ladyship, and desired to be dismissed The Lady was surprized, and would not permit her to depart, till she asked her the reason of this her sudden Resolution; Much she press'd, and loath the Girl was to discover: But in the end, she told the real Truth. The Lady rebuked her Son for having such an unworthy thought towards the poor young Creature; and one that she loved and esteemed. The Gentleman promised that he would no more attack the Gypsie's Vertue; nevertheless, a while after, the Gypsie press'd for her Departure, which the young Gentleman oppos'd.
At last our Fair One told her Lady, that she could not stay in the House with the young Gentleman; so once more beg'd her Ladyship to dismiss her. The Lady importun'd her to let her know the reason, and whether her Son was troublesome to her or not: She said, no; but her own Weakness was so. Then casting her self at her Lady's feet; beg'd pardon for having dar'd to cast her Eyes, on her Ladyship's Son, a Person so much above her: But alas, continued she, I am but a poor helpless Maid, He a glorious Youth, whose Birth, Person, and Education, all combine to storm my Heart, guarded with nothing but Vertue and Innocence; wherefore, Madam, I beseech you to consent to my Departure, whilst I am innocent. The good Lady was greatly touch'd, and found a necessity to part with her; but withal resolv'd to provide for her, putting her into some way suitable to her Merits. This she revealed to her Son, which he absolutely oppos'd, telling his Mother, that he was so far from parting with his Gypsie, that he was resolv'd to unite himself to her in the holy Bonds of Matrimony. The Lady was struck with Horrour and Amazement at this her Son's Declaration, much reproaching him for the Meanness of his Thoughts, in divers sorts of Expressions suitable to the occasion. He, on the other side, defended himself with what Arguments he could, without breaking the bonds of Duty and Respect.
He alledged the Gypsie's Deserts both in Mind and Person, his own Affections, which he found impossible to conquer, or bring into any bounds of Reason; the Gypsie's vertuous and generous Deportment, in desiring to be dismissed, rather than blemish her Lady's Family with such an unworthy Alliance; With many other Arguments which he produced in favour of his beloved Gypsie; none of which his Mother could gainsay or disallow: But in fine, she was far unfit for his Quality or Fortune. Beside, said the Lady, your Father enjoyn'd me at his Death to promote a Marriage between you and Mr. Truman's Daughter, when you should return from your Travels. And now I have sent my Steward to make Proposals on that Subject, how can I absolve my self of my Promise made to your dear Father deceas'd? I wonder not at your loving the Gypsie; for 'tis certain, I love and esteem her in a great degree; nevertheless Reason must be my Guide, and ought to be yours: And though it be extreamly against my Inclination to part with her, yet now your Folly compels me, Duty to my honourable dead Husband's Memory commands me, Respect to your Family obliges me, and maternal Affection to you, finishes the Chain of all the indispensible Reasons. Then calling for the Gypsie, told her, she had at last resolv'd to comply with her Desires, of letting her go; therefore commanded her to dispose her self for her departure next Morning.
Hereupon our Gypsie cast her self at the Lady's Feet, assuring her Ladyship that she had no ways contributed to any of this Disorder, which had happened in her Family; Your Son, Madam, is here to testifie, that I never encourag'd his Passion, nor concealed any thing from you Ladyship; but behav'd my self openly and aboveboard in all things, except letting your Son know my Inclinations; but always refus'd his Proposals, though never so honourable, being without and against your Ladyship's Consent.
The young Gentleman was about to reply, by way of witness to her Assertion, when behold the Steward (which the Lady had sent to her Friend Mr. Truman) approached, and with him, Mr.Truman's Steward, bringing a Letter containing the following words:
Madam, Heaven has justly punish'd me in the Loss of my Daughter, for the breach of that Promise, I made to my worthy Friend your Husband in behalf of your Son: When Riches tempted me I had no power to refuse; for a certain rich neighbouring Gentleman gain'd so far upon me, that I lay'd my Commands upon her to dispose her Person and Affections for him; which she receiv'd with such Displeasure, that I have never seen her since, nor ever hope to see her more; That I am now, Madam, as afflicted as guilty; one, implores your Pity, the other, your Pardon, which I hope for from the abundance of that Goodness which made you at first comply with this propos'd Alliance with your unworthy Friend and most obedient Servant,
Whilst the Lady was perusing this Letter, Truman's Steward cast his Eyes on the Gypsie, and knew her to be his Master's Daughter, and with a suitable Obeisance, saluted her by her Name, withal reproaching her for the many and great Afflictions she had caused her Father by this her long Absence.
This Discovery was the most pleasing and agreeable Surprize that could happen to a Family. The Lady and her Son were delighted beyond expression; our young Lady Gypsie was lost in a pleasing Confusion; a Mixture of Shame and Satisfaction appear'd in her; one for having committed such a ridiculous piece of Extravagance in leaving her Father's House, the other, for being discover'd to her Lover, and her good, after such a long Concealment. The elder Lady put a period to all, by ordering her Equipage to be made ready to carry them all to her Friend Mr. Truman's; where they celebrated the Marriage, to the great Satisfaction of all Parties.
Thus was this young Lady deliver'd out of that Ocean of Disgrace, into which her Folly and Rashness had cast her; and for an Augmentation of Happiness. Mr. Tangerine and his Family came to make them a Visit, he being reconciled to his Wife, and lived with her as his Brother's Widow; it being convenient on all accounts to keep the rest secret. To these two Families one may very well apply the Proverb,
Give Folks Luck, and throw 'em into the Sea.
The Company were very much diverted at this Story, tho' they blamed the Young Lady for her strange unparallel'd Enterprize, saying, that surely she had been reading some ridiculous Romance, or Novel, that inspired her with such a vile Undertaking, from whence she could rationally expect nothing but Misery and Disgrace. But Heaven was gracious and merciful, in preserving her from sinking into the most odious Infamy.
Thus having pass'd the short Winter's Afternoon, in Tea and Chat, the approaching Evening called them to their respective Habitations.
Galesia was no sooner got to her Lodging, but a Gentleman, an Acquaintance she had at St. Germain's, came to make her a Visit; and being seated, she began to enquire what good fortune had attended him since she left him there, and since his Arrival in England. To which he answer'd, I have been too strict an Adherent to Honour and Honesty, to hope for good fortune on this side Heaven. However, since you enquire, I will tell you a Romantick Adventure which fell in my way a few Days ago.
You know,Madam, that our narrow Circumstances at St. Germain's taught us a regular Way of living; that our Evening Bottle did not prevent our Morning Breakfast, nor Cynthia encroach upon Phoebus; but an early Couchécaus'd an early Levé; that we had full time enough in the Morning to pay our Duty to God in his Church, and the King in his Chamber. After this, a Walk on the Terras got us a Friend and a Stomach, to repair to the Coffee−house, and over a Dish of Tea hear or make News. My Person and my Pocket being accustomed to this way of living, I lik'd it so well, that I believe, I shall never desire to change, tho' I am now in a Country where another method is practised.
Thus, being got up early one Morning I took a Walk in the Park near Rosamond Pond; after which, I sat down a while, ruminating on divers Occurrences in Europe, which will fill the History of future times with amazing Truths; and casting my Eyes towards the Pond, I saw a fine−shap'd Gentlewoman walking close by the Pond's side, very much dagled with the frosty Dew of the Morning. She seemed very melancholy, sometimes sighing, sometimes weeping, now lifting up her Hands and Eyes to Heaven, then casting them towards the Pond; at last, all on a sudden, she leaped into the Water, and had certainly perished, had not I been there: For depending upon mine ability in swimming, I leap'd in, and truly, not without difficulty and danger, got her out. I then called to some Soldiers I saw at a distance, and by their help brought her to a Seat, where she came to her self; but would not be persuaded to tell who she was, or where she lived, or whither she would go: So I got a Chair, and carried her to my Lodgings; where, with much ado, I prevailed with my Landlady to receive her. She put her into a warm Bed, got a Nurse to rub and chase, and a Surgeon to bleed her, and use all other Applications suitable to her Condition. When the Hurry was a little over, I went into her Room to comfort, and to get out of her the Cause of this desperate Transaction. She being thoroughly come to her self, washed and dressed in clear dry Head−cloaths, I thought I had seen her some where; and at last called to mind where; and asked her if her Name was not Dorinda? yes, yes, said she, it was by that sham Name you formerly picked me up at the Play; and tho' Time and Fatigue has altered you, yet I remember your Features perfectly well; It was such Romantick Whimsies that brought upon me the Ruin and Distress in which you behold me; I had read Plays, Novels, and Romances, till I began to think my self a Heroine of the first rate; and all Men that flatter'd, or ogled, me were Heroes; and that a pretty well−behaved Foot−man or Page must needs be the Son of some Lord or great Gentleman.
I affected to seek Adventures of divers sorts; amongst the rest, I went mask'd and unaccompanied to the Play−house; where you pick'd me up carried me to a Tavern gave me a handsome Treat; and I pleas'd my self to think how you would be baulk'd when you should pretend to any Favour out of the Road of common Honesty; as you know you were. After this I met you again in Convent−Garden Square; then on Tower−hill; And thus I rambled, hoping all the while you would court me for Marriage; which indeed, was great Folly in me to expect, in the midst of such Behaviour; But when it came out that you was a married Man, you may remember that I abandoned all Commerce with you; For amongst all my Freaks and romantick Frolicks, I preserved my self from the great Offence; But that is not enough; one must remember the common Saying,
Those that will no evil do,
Must do nothing tends thereto.
For such conduct as mine, was as dishonourable in the Eyes of the World, as if one was a downright Prostitute; and not only dishonourable, but ridiculous; for it is according to the saying of a Poet,
Dye with the Scandal of a Whore,
And never know the Joy.
Now, though I broke of your Company, yet I could not on a sudden detatch my Heart from the thoughts of you; but the Revolution came on, and your Devoirs calling you to follow the King, Time and Absence help'd me to overcome my Folly and I became more sedate, so as not to ramble alone to Plays, nor to be seen in Places unfit for a young Gentlewoman; nevertheless, a Romantick Humour hung long upon me, that if any worthy Country−Gentleman made his Addresses to me, I set him in the rank of Justice Clod−pate, or Justice Calf in those Comedies, and fancy'd their spruce young Footman some Prince or Hero in disguise, like Dorus in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia. But notwithstanding my having blotted my Reputation, and render'd my self ridiculous, by these foolish Whims; I say, notwithstanding all this, a neighbouring Gentleman of an Estate made his Addresses to me; to which I consented, and Writings were to be drawn. I told him, that such a Footman of mine must be provided for, by my Father's order at his Death; to which he readily consented, and said, he should be put to some honest Trade whereby to get his Living. But I told him no; for Trades might fail, and therefore I resolved to have an hundred Pounds a Year settled on him. The Gentleman was disgusted at this Proposal (as very well he might) and for the future visited me no more. After this, my Favourite Footman lighting me one Evening up Stairs, in a Freak caught him by the Arm, and said, Jack, I am in love with you; and in a gigling way, said, I will marry you, thinking Jack would have been out of countenance, scratched his Head, grin'd and looked like an Idiot; But truly, quite the contrary; He brisked up, and kissed me, saying, he liked me so well, that I should not need to ask twice. I was shock'd at this Boldness, though my self had been the Cause, and so went into my Dressing−room; a place that excludes all but my Maids, and some few Female Friends; but he had the boldness to follow me thither, and briskly sat him down by my Toilet. My Woman hearing me gone into my Dressing−room, came to me according to Custom, and seeing Jack sit there, began to chide him with rough Words, and bad him get him gone out of the Room, lest a Fire−shovel forc'd him out with Blood about his Ears. I, foolishly, was exasparated against her, as supposing (I believe) that she encroach'd on my Prerogative, in forbidding whom she thought fit; or what other Notion my ill Genius inspir'd, I know not; but so it was, that I espoused Jack's Cause, bidding her be patient, and she should know farther. In short, some Words of dispute passed; I still took Jack's part; at last, she said, if you have made Jack your Companion, or your Master, he shall never be mine; and so forthwith departed I must own, this gave me some Uneasiness, or rather Confusion, and out of which he endeavour'd to recover me, with many fair Words, mix'd with Sighs and Tears the Rhetorick the Sex has always ready wherewith to betray us; kneeling and kissing my Hands, begged me not to abate of that Goodness, which had inspir'd him with a Passion, on which his Life depended; for he having been bred up in my Father's Service, and reading many pretty Books, could speak well enough. However, I oblig'd him to depart for that time; and send my Chamber−maid to me. The poor Girl having been inform'd by my Woman, what had pass'd, entered in Tears, and found me in the same Condition. I bad her look in my Closet, and bring me some little Cordial, that was there, and put me to bed; which accordingly she did; but not to rest: For I slept not that Night; but tossed and touz'd, my thoughts being agitated with the utmost Vexation; not knowing how to undo what my Folly, or rather Whimsie had begun: For 'tis certain he was indifferent to me; but having thus far exposed my self to him, and my Servants, and in them to every body, I knew no what to do; I was like one on horse−back, plung'd in the midst of a violent deep Torrent, fearing to go forward, lest it shou'd be deeper; not daring to turn, lest that Motion should empower the rapid Stream to bear him down.
In this state were my Thoughts; I had no body to consult; shame forbidding me to tell my Story to any body wiser than my self: sometimes I pleas'd my thoughts, that if I married him, I should always be Mistress, and not be under the Government and Correction of an imperious and surly Master; not reflecting that the whole Sex, of what degree soever, will always exert the Authority that God gave their great Grandfather Adam. Then again, my romantick Brain would make me imagine, that he was of an Origin; (if known) above what he appeared: for he had been a Beggar−boy, taken up at my Father's Gate, and was bred up in our House, as I have told you, nor would he ever be persuaded to tell his Name, nor from whence he came.
Then again, I would draw that Curtain from before the Eyes of my Reason, and behold him as the poor Beggar−boy Jack, whose business it had been to clean the Dog−kennels, and at last, for a reward of his well−doing he was advanced to put on a Livery. This Reflection grated my proud Heart: Then it was I wish'd there had been Protestant Nunneries, where I might have shelter'd my Disgrace, under a holy Veil, or at least, a pretended, if not a real Devotion.
Then again my Thoughts would roll the other way, and consider Jack made a Gentleman by me; resolving that if I married him, to buy him a Commission, and let him try to make his Fortune in Flanders. Thus my poor Head turn'd from Thought to Thought, without any Sleep in my Eyes, or Repose in my Heart.
In the Morning I heard a Bustle at my Chamber−door, which prov'd to be between Jack and my Maid; for she coming then to wait on me, according to custom, he follow'd her, and would go in with her; which she refus'd; with that he strugled with her, and at last got the Key; then pushing her away, came in and lock'd the Door fast, and shut her out. I was frighten'd at this; but he approaching the Bed side, on his Knees begged Pardon for this Action, making a thousand Protestations of Duty and Respect; adding the Violence of his Passion, which my Goddness over night had kindled, in his Heart; at the same time he had the cunning to take hold on that Hand next my Bell, under a pretence of kissing it, launching out into many flattering Speeches not worth repeating; but the substance was, to press me to a Speedy Marriage, even that Morning. I suppose, he consider'd me as a kind of Romantick Humourist, (as I really was) and thought it best to make sure work, e'er I chang'd my mind.
Now I being thus shut up with him, knew that my Honour (as to outward appearance) was lost, and that I was more liable to Contempt than in being his Wife; so I e'en permitted him to go fetch a Parson; and was married that fatal Morning. At this the poor Creature (said the Gentleman) fell into a flood of Tears; but after a few Moments, drying her Eyes, she returned to her Story.
We passed this Day and the following Night in Jollity enough; but the next Morning my Steward came to Town, and was soon informed of this my Folly: When he approach'd my Presence, I was struck with Shame and Confusion, he being a Gentleman of a graceful Mien, and much respected in this Country. When he came in, my Husband, (for I must no longer call him Jack) kept his Seat, and without Ceremony call'd him by his Name, and bad him welcome. The good Gentleman, though he knew the Case, pretended Ignorance, and bad Jack get out of his Presence, to prevent a good Kicking. Then with Tears in my Eyes, I told him what was done. At which he seem'd much troubled for my sake; and withal told me, that since I had made my Footman my Master, I must not have him longer for my Servant; and bidding me provide some body to receive his Accounts, turn'd short, and departed.
This Transaction, as well as that of my Woman before, were both very grievous to me; and did, as it were, take me down in my Wedding−shoes; but soon after appear'd a business more mortifying; for my Chamber−maid was found with child and lay'd it to my Husband, and produced a Promise of Marriage.
He opened my Cabinet, and before my Face took out Handfuls of Gold and Jewels, and gave her, without counting, bad her look out a decent House, and therewithal furnish the same, make her self easie, for she should not be abandoned. He kept the Key of my Cabinet, and Scrutore; in short of every thing, that I had not a Pair of Gloves or a Row of Pins but what he gave me out. Imagine now, how I began to see and feel my Indiscretion; but this was nothing to what follows.
He said, he would have me dispose my self to go into the Country, where he had a House of his own, and told me his Name, and the place of his Birth; at which I was a little pleased, hoping my Romantick Notion was come true, and that I should find something a little tolerable and decent, Suitable to his Person, which was truly handsome. But, good Heavens! When we came to the Place, how was I amazed, to find my self brought to a poor thatch'd Cottage! To say the truth, he had taken care to have it made as well as it would bear, against my coming; and had put decent Furniture therein, telling me, he did not intend my Stay should be long there; only till he could get his business done amongst some Friends and Acquaintance he had in that Country; So away he went, leaving me and my Maid, and wherewithal to live in that mean way. But instead of travelling the Country as he pretended, he went directly to London, made off my House, and Goods, Plate, Linnen, and Jewels, &c. in short all. He gam'd, drank, whored, kept the Slut my Chamber−maid Lady−like Thus, he soon ran through my personal Estate I left behind me, though it was of considerable Value. He came to me again e'er I was delivered of my first Child, and did not let me know how near he had spent all; but brought with him a handsom Supply, to sustain the Charges of my approaching Child−bed.
Now it was that he propos'd to me the selling of a Lordship I had lying far distant, and to buy one nearer London,where Rents were better paid, and less Charge and Trouble, in gathering and receiving the said Rents; and withal propos'd to spare something over, (that he had in View being less in Extent than the other) wherewith to buy him a Place in the Army, Court, Custom−house, or the like; all which I approved and so consented to the selling my Lordship.
But alas, I had soon Cause to repent, when I found there was nothing done, no Lordship purchas'd, no Place nor Post bought; but the Money squandered away; I knew not how; but I suppose, in Riot, Gaming, and Lewdness. However, I wanted nothing in that little Station in which he had plac'd me; and I began to be very well pleas'd, being out of the Hurry and Reproaches of the great World, and my Friends in particular. He visited me sometimes; and always pretended great Business, Projects and Undertakings. I became with Child a second time; but it was about two Years after the first.
At this Juncture he pretended it was extreamly advisable to sell my other Lordship, to which at first I was very averse; but he alledging how great the Taxes on Land were, and like to continue, and that the Banks and Funds made a much better Return; which he pretended to know by Experience, as if he had put the Money of that other Lordship there; with another plausible Pretence he made, that in that Village where he had placed me, there was a good Farm or two to be sold with a handsom House on them, which he would buy, and fit up for my Habitation: All which look'd well; and made me hope, and flatter my self that thing were better than I imagined: Whereupon after many Difficulties and Disputes with my self, and him, I consented; thinking that his Pretences, of the Funds, and Bank might be in some degree true.
Moreover, I thought, that he, as we as others, lov'd to have things in their own Name. And thro' several other such Fancies, together with his Protestation I deluded my self thoroughly to my undoing.
However, he was so far just to his Word in buying the said Farms, made the House very handsome both within and without, and there plac'd me, brought me very handsome Chariot from London, and in it young Gentlewoman, for my Companion, and Waiting−woman; all this look kind, and the Child was pleas'd with its Bauble.
But alas, the Scale soon turn'd; and my waiting Gentlewoman became Mother of a brave Boy, which the false Wretch my Husband endeavour'd to shuffle off, telling me she was a Kinswoman of his unhappily married, and desired me to be kind to her; but she soon found the way to be kind to her self, and cruel to me; and as her Children grew up, (for she had more) she grew insolent to me and mine; and the Tables turn'd: For instead of her being my Waiting−woman, I was partly hers; for she ruled and governed my House and Servants; and I suppose, they had Orders under−hand to obey her rather than me; and my Husband when at home, abetted the same, shewing more respect to her than me; so that I plainly saw that all this House, handsome Furniture, and Chariot was all provided upon her account, not mine; and she commanded all as if really her own.
By this time my Son began to grow up fit for some sort of Education beyond that of a Country−School, and for which I press'd his Father to provide: At last he adher'd to my Importunities, and bought a little Horse on purpose to carry him to London with him: But I could never get him to tell me where, or about what Business he had placed him: For whenever I asked, I receiv'd nothing but a churlish Answer: And if I complain'd of the Insolence of his insulting Mistress he had placed with me, I had no Redress; but all her Words and Actions approv'd, and misdisdain'd.
This Usage at last tired me out, together with an Ardent Desire of seeing my Son, or endeavouring to find him out. I all this a good neighbouring Lady assisted me, and lent me Money to convey me to London, advising me to go to my Friends, and humble my self to them, and thus endeavour to extricate my self out of these Vexations. This good Lady took my Daughter into her care, which was my second Child; and thus to London I came, I address'd my self to my Friends, from whom I found few Comforts, but many Reproaches.
Thus, having neither Friends nor Money, nor being able to find out my Son or Husband, nor knowing how to get my Living in the midst of these Afflictions, I did that wicked Action, of throwing my self into the Pond, from which you have been my Deliverer, and are a Witness of this last Act of Despair, as you was of my first Act of Folly. And, I think, the whole Sequel of my Husband's Behaviour, does most exactly fulfil the Proverb,
Set a Beggar on Horse−back,
And he'll ride to the Devil.
Dorinda had just finish'd her Story (said the Gentleman) when my Foot−Boy came to know whether I would dine at the Tavern, or have my Dinner brought home; but hoping she might eat a Bit, I order'd it to be brought to my Lodging. The Landlady accommodated Dorinda with all Necessaries: For she had so well recover'd her self, that she came into the Dining−Room with a good Appetite: But whilst we sate attending the coming of Dinner, Dorinda fell a sighing, as if troubled with the Vapours, which I took to be the effect of her deep reflecting on things past, and in which I endeavour'd to consolate her, bidding her forget what was past, and hope for better to come. But she said, it was not Reflection that caus'd her Sighs, but the Sight of Boy put her in mind of that Child her Husband had carried away. At which the Boy fell a crying, and said, Mamma, Mamma, Indeed, you are my Mamma. This was a surprizing Discovery; wherefore we made the Boy tell us all he could remember since he left his Mother, which is as follows.
I was mightily pleas'd (said the Boy) to go along with my Father, on the little Horse he had bought for me, especially, being to go to London, a Place I so much longed to see, as most Boys do of my Age. We travell'd till I was very weary, and I was glad when we got to a Town, which we did a pretty while before Night. We came to an Inn, where there happened to be some Persons pretending to be Pressmasters raising Men to go to Sea. They scrap'd acquaintance with me, and I with them; they told me such fine Stories of the Sea, and of Foreign Countries, such strange things, that I wish'd to go along with them. I pass'd the Evening with them, they continuing to amuse me with their Stories, Flatteries and Cajoleries, till such time as Drowsiness call'd my Father and me to Bed, where my Day's Weariness caused me to sleep very sound, insomuch that in the Morning I never heard, or felt my Father when he rose: For he got up pretty early, and went away, leaving word with the Host, that I should come along with those Gentlemen, i.e. the pretended Press−Gang, and meet him at London, he pretending he had Business there which required Haste; so he left me to travel with those Gentlemen at leisure. I mistrusted nothing, but kept along with them very well satisfied.
When we came to London, and I did not see my Father, I began to cry; but they wheedled me, and told me, he was busie on Ship−board, so they would carry me to him, and there I should see the Sea, and Ships, the most wonderful things in the World. I then went with them in a Boat, where there were several Boys and Girls, and so came amongst many Ships; at last we got to one, into which we mounted: They shew'd me the Ropes, and Tackling of all sorts, amusing me, with telling the Use of them: At last, we were to go down to eat some Sweet meats, and drink some Punch; and very merry we all were.
Here I staid with my Companions, playing, and fooling with one another, till all on a sudden, we were lock'd down in this Place. Then our Mirth turned into Sighs and Tears, being doubly frighted, when we were told, we were sailing to the Indies. However, they wheedled us all, according to our respective Circumstances; in particular, they told me, I should meet my Father there, he being gone in another Ship, which they pretended was thro' Mistake: But I had now learn'd to believe nothing they said; but found we were, what they call'd kid−knap'd.
Thus, we all sate in Grief, till the Sea began to turn our Sorrow into Sickness; and a Storm arising, added Fright to the rest. The Cries amongst us were grievous; one crying, he should never again see his Father, and another, his Mother, this or that Play−fellow, and so on. But, amongst the rest, a Girl of about a dozen or fourteen Years old, with whom I had made a particular acquaintance, wept grievously, because she should never see Jackey Mechantany more. I wonder'd to hear her name my Name; so I ask'd her, who Jackey Mechant was? She said, he was a very pretty Boy, that lived next House to her Father and Mother, and was her Play−fellow, and used to lie with her till his Mother began to think her with Child; then it was that his Father and he together, brought her to this Captain; to whom they sold her, and Jackey was to have the mony for himself. He promised me, continued she, that he would be sure to come to me on board, and go along with me to the Indies; but he is not come according to his word.
While we were in this Discourse, the Captain came into the Hold, bringing with him another Passenger, which he had bought just before he set sail; and promis'd to keep him in his Cabbin, and teach him Navigation; but in the storm his Cries and Fears were troublesome to the Mariners, so he told that Boy, he being so Hen−hearted, must e'en go amongst the other Slaves; the Girl looking up, and wiping her blubbered Face, soon found our new Passenger to be Jackey Mechant; we asked him why he was put to Sea, he said, that his Father had sold him to that Captain, for Faults he was forbid to tell till he got into the Indies; but with much persuasion, he told us, that it was for calling his Mother, Whore; for, said he, one of my Play−fellows, call'd me Bastard and Son of a Whore,for which we quarrelled, and I got him down; and in my Fury hurt is Eye so, that he is like to lose it, and I had like to be hang'd for it, if taken; but one of them bigger and older than the rest, told me, that my Mother was not Squire Mechant's Wife; but one that had been his Wife's Chambermaid; and much more to this purpose.
Dorinda hearing all this, knew, that this Boy, her Son spake of, must needs have been her Husband's Bastard; she said, he was alike cruel to one as to the other; she then bid him go on, and tell how he got out of the Ship; the Storm was great (added he) and a cross Wind continued, which drove us on the Coast of Portugal, where the Captain cast Anchor for a little time; there he let us out of the Hold, to come on the Deck for Air, having been very Sick during the Storm. I seeing my self at liberty, and pretty near the Land, knowing I could swim very well, having practis'd the same among the Boys in the Country, I leaped into the Sea, and so got to Land; here I found some difficulty, having no Language but English.
At last I met with this English Gentleman who took me into his Service, and I attended him faithfully in divers places of his Travels, till I am arrived at the Feet of you, my dear Mother. She embraced him most tenderly; and many Tears were shed on both sides, till dinner came, which caus'd a Cessation of these Endearments; the poor Dorinda, not only din'd heartily, but the good Meal she made, was attended with great satisfaction, or rather Transport.
As we sat at Dinner, reflecting on divers of these. Occurrences, we heard a Hawker cry in the Streets, The Tryal, Condemnation, and Execution, of John Mechant at Tyburn, for having barbarously murdered a Woman by whom he had a Child; and because she ask'd him for Money to maintain it, he most inhumanly stab'd her.
We listened to the Repetition of the Cry, and Dorinda plainly found it was the Name of her Husband, as indeed, it prov'd to be the same Person.
You may imagine, that great was her Surprize, Horrour, and Amazement. She retired to her Chamber; and I went to and out the bottom, whether it was so; and what could be made out for her support, which I hope will be pretty well; there being something considerable in the State−funds, besides those Farms in the Country; try; in all which I will be as helpful to her as I can.
You will do extreamly well said Galecia; and since your Wife is dead, when you have brought things to a Period, e'en take the Widow for your pains. The whole Story has been a Romantick Chain, of very odd Contingencies; so make that the last Link. Very well contriv'd, said the Gentleman. I will go home and
Take Counsel of my Pillow.
The Gentleman being gone, Galecia reflected on his Discourse, as also on those other Stories she had heard amongst the Ladies: She began to think the World was made up with Extravagant Adventures. Amongst the Old Romances, said she to her self, we find strange and improbable Performances, very surprizing Turns and Rencounters; yet still all tended to vertuous Ends, and the Abhorrence of Vice; But here is the Quintessence of Wickedness design'd and practiced, in a special manner, in the story of Jack Mechant, who sold both his lawful and natural Son, and murdered his Concubine because she did not starve her Child.
Those honourable Romances of old Arcadia, Cleopatra, Cassandra, &c. discover a Genius of Vertue and Honour, which reign'd in the time of those Heroes, and Heroines, as well as in the Authors that report them; but the Stories of our Times are so black, that the Authors, can hardly escape being smutted, or defil'd in touching such Pitch.
As she was in these Reflections, she heard a Noise in the Street; and looking out, she saw every body gazing up at a strange Light in the Sky: Good God! said our Galecia sure the general Conflagation is begun, when the Almighty will purge the World from its Dross, by Fire as heretofore he did from its Filth by Water.
As Galecia was in these Thoughts, her Friend Miranda came up into her Appartment, being frighted with that Light. She said, she durst go no farther; but beg'd House−room that Night; I can sit in a Chair by the Fire, said she, and not trouble you with a Bed fellow: But Galecia readily offered her part of her Bed; telling her, they would take a Walk together in the Morning over the Park, to visit their old Friend Amarantha. They had some Confabulation together, Miranda telling Galecia, how ill her Husband us'd her, how he had left her with Child, and went away with a Mistress; I will not say a Whore, said she, because the Creature is a Gentlewoman; otherwise she deserves no other Name. What is become of him, I know not. When he was landed in Flanders, he writ to me to Inform me he was got safe over Sea, but was soon to remove from thence; so bid me not write to him till I heard from him again: For he said, he was going home into his own Country, he having quitted his Post in the Army; whether he took this Lady with him as a Wife; or what else was the Mystery, I know not; but I have never heard from him since.
My Child dyed in few Weeks after it was born; which was an Addition to my Grief; However, it is happy; for the Count, his Father left me in such narrow Circumstances, I should have had much difficulty to have supported my self and him.
The Men of all Qualities, Countries, and Stations, said Galecia, are alike; there is no such thing as Vertue and Honour left amongst 'em, at least, in regard of their Wives; from the Lady to the Porter's Wife; I hear, all Womankind complain of the Unkindness of their Husbands. All which, said Miranda, proceeds from the Multitude of lewd Strumpets; who reign amongst us with Impunity. You are happy Galecia, continu'd she, that amongst your many Tribulations, you have not had the Affliction of an ill Husband to torment you; nor a good one, said Galecia, to consolate and protect me; But all these things are in the hands of Providence; in whose Protection let us recommend our selves this dreadful Night; for behold, the Sky seems more and more inflam'd; that, God only knows who shall live to see the Morning−Sun; or, perhaps, his bright Lamp may be put out.
Thus, our two Friends retired to their Rest, as if they were to rise to Immortality: to which we may apply the Proverb,
A good Conscience, is a continual Feast.
Vertue and Innocence are always safeguards; and screen'd our two Friends from fear that dreadful Night, so that they slept sound, and wak'd in the morning in due time to take a walk over the Park, to breakfast with their Friend Amarantha, who received them with all the marks of sincere Kindness and Friendship, as far as her melancholy circumstance would permit; for she had buried her Husband, since she had seen them, and tho' she had been a Widow some Years, yet the sight of these old Friends renew'd her Grief, and, spight of all Endeavours, made her shed a flood of Tears.
They endeavour'd to consolate each other with what Arguments they could on such an occasion. Ah me, said she, I could not be just to his memory, if I should cease to lament him as long as I live, his Loss being irreparable: He was the best of Husbands, best of Friends, best of Masters, a true Lover of his King, and the Laws of his Country, facetious amongst Friends, grave amongst Strangers, pleasant amongst the Young, and a Pattern to his Elders. In fine, his Deportment was instructive, and agreeable to all; but above all, to me, whom he most tenderly lov'd, and accordingly, was in every thing entirely obliging. In all which, replied Galecia, he did but render Justice to your Merit. But there are so few Husbands who do so in these Days, that one ought to prize that Man very much, who treats his Wife with common Civility, and does not place his Prostitute in competition with, or rather above her, not only in Affection, but even in external Behaviour; of which, this our beautiful Friend Miranda is an Example. To which Miranda replied, That she was not worthy to be an Example in Discourse; so beg'd them to call another Cause: In particular, said she to Amarantha, tell us, if you can, what is become of our old Friend and Play−fellow Bellemien? Alas, said Amarantha, that poor Girl has been very unfortunate in her Marriage, as I shall relate to you, when Breakfast is over.
There was a Widow−Gentlewoman somewhat decayed in the World, who had but one only Child, a beautiful Daughter. This Gentlewoman apply'd her self, by Industry, to salve those Sores which hard Fortune had made in her Circumstances, thereby to enable her to educate this her Daughter a little suitable to her Birth, without being dependant on her Relations. This caused her to let her House to Lodgers, but chiefly to Men, as being supposed the least Trouble: She likewise took their Linen to mend and starch; or any sowing−work, whereby she could honestly get a Penny. Amongst these Gentlemen that lodged at, or frequented her House, there was one who became extreamly enamour'd with Favorella (for that is the Name of her beautiful Daughter;) which, as soon as the Mother perceiv'd, she took all possible care to prevent any dangerous Correspondence, and the Daughter was no less circumspect. All which so inflam'd the young Gentleman, that sometimes he resolved to marry her: For though Riches were wanting, (which in these days is counted the main Article) yet where Beauty, Vertue, and Prudence, are united there is reason to hope for a happy Espousal; those three ingredients being of force to draw in that other, to wit Riches. Nevertheless, though this Inclinations were strong, and the young Creature's Affections correspondent; yet they fear'd to marry, he having only a younger Brother's Fortune to depend upon, of which he should be depriv'd if he married without the Consent of his Mother, which he knew would be in vain to ask, when a suitable Fortune did not accompany this Request. Nevertheless, such were the Charms of the young Favorella, that maugre all the oppositions of Reason and Interest, he was forced to comply with this Passion, in the Espousing her. However, they were so discreet, as to take care to keep their Marriage absolutely a Secret, till time should help them through the Difficulty. But as these clandestine Marriages seldom prove happy, so this between Palemon and Favorella was wholly unfortunate.
Now thus it hapned, Palemon's elder Brother being married some time, and having no prospect of Children he began to joyn his Importunities with those of his Mother and other Friends, to make Palemon betake himself to a Wife, whereby to provide Heirs for the Family; and to further their Design, pitcht upon our Friend Bellemien,who, you know, is the only Child of her Mother, and has a Fortune suitable to his Family; and indeed, such was her Fortune, that her Mother would not have accepted a younger Brother, but that the way to the paternal Estate lay open, by the Defect of Heirs on the Elder Brother's side. At the same time, Palemon and Favorella, began to find their Circumstances too narrow for a decent Subsistance, which began to call loud on them to change the Measures of their living. His Friends knowing he had a sufficient Allowance from his Family, wonder'd that he could not live within compass; and thought he surely kept Company with lewd Women; therefore they pressed him the more to marry. The poor Favorella, told him, she was willing to ease him of the Burden of maintaining her, and so would go to Service, work to the Exchange, or any thing to make him easie.
At this time there was a Clerk just out of his time, who had a pretty paternal Estate, which he offered to settle upon her a Joynture, as not knowing of her prior Marriage.
Things being on this footing on both sides, truly, Palemon and Favorella agreed between themselves, that both of them should try to enlarge their Circumstances, by the way which seem'd chalk'd out by Fortune, and so each of them to marry the respective Persons thus provided; promising to continue a mutual Affection for each other, and if Fortune should ever turn things about, so as to have it proper for them to come together again, then to remember their first conjugal Vows, and live no longer asunder; in the mean time, endeavour to bear their Yoke in Patience in these their new Espousals, which courted their acceptance.
Thus the unhappy Couple dispensed each with other to an absolute Separation: He married our Friend Bellemien,and she married the young Lawyer, who honestly settled his Estate upon her: and they both lived in these their new Espousals well enough: Whether they held any secret correspondence, is unknown, we are bound to hope the best, and conclude they did not (if one may call that the best;) but it is a moot point, which is best, or rather, which is worst, every way in such a Station, being bad, even to a great Degree of Wickedness. In due time Palemon had a Child; by this his new Wife, and all things went on in pretty good Order and Harmony amongst them; the Relations on both sides were pleas'd to see an Heir to inherit the Riches of both Families.
This Tranquillity held till the Death of our young Lawyer, Favorella's Husband; for he lived but few Years with her, and then Palemon's Flame began to revive, and burn with Violence. Then he began to have Gripes in Conscience, or at least, his Passion was disguis'd in that dress; Favorella's Beaty dazled him, Favorella's Wrongs stung him; Favorella was his first Love, his first Wife, and ought to be the Object of his Affection; she ought to be righted, his Conscience quieted; But chiefly, (as one may suppose) his Inclinations gratified; which was no way to be done, but by quitting his latter Spouse, and cleaving to the former. We will suppose, that his Thoughts met with great Obstacles on the other side, to think how he should ruine a vertuous young Gentlewoman, expose the Child he had by her arm all her Relations with Revenge, and disoblige his own Family.
Thus was this unhappy Gentleman become miserable through his own Folly. His Days he pass'd in Anxiety, and his Nights in Despair; his Bed was no place of Rest, nor his Table of Refreshment; his House was a Den of Horror, and abroad a Wilderness of Woe; his Wife's Kindness was disagreeable, and her very Caresses nauceous. He betook himself to Devotion, and reading good Books; all which served but to augment his Grief, by setting his Crimes in a just light, before the Eyes of his Understanding. He had no third Person to whom he could or durst to communicate this his Affliction, thereby to receive Counsel or Consolation; but was forced to feed this gnawing Worm of an ill Conscience secretly, till it devoured his whole internal Quiet.
Thus, after many Debates with himself, he at last comply'd with Inclination, and resolv'd secretly to leave his House, Wife, and Family, and go live in private Lodgings with Favorella, whom he thought was his true and lawful Wife. This he put in Execution, and writ the following Billet to his latter Wise, our friend Bellemien:
Madam, I have taken a resolution to live from you; I desire you, as you favour your own Quiet, not to inquire after me; I have very good reason for what I do; be kind to the poor Babe you have by me, for its sake and your own; for, I confess there is nothing due to it for my sake, its wretched Father,
Having writ this Letter, he step'd into the Nursery, where the innocent Babe lay smiling in its cradle.
At his approach, it fliggar'd and stretch'd out his little Hands to catch hold of him, as if with dumb Shews, it would have said, Pappa, will you leave me to the risque of Fortune? Will you leave me, your only Child, whom God has given you to support your Name and Family, by whom your Race must be continued? Ah, unkind Pappa!And then its little face drew into a form of crying. He look'd on the innocent Babe with tenderness; and bowing down to kiss it, the poor innocent clasp'd its little Fingers in his Wig, as loth to part with its Father. This brought Tears from the Eyes of the unhappy Palemon. Oh, Wretch that I am, said he to himself, thus to leave this lovely Innocent, the Pledge of his Mother's tender Love! and thus to part from a faithful vertuous Woman; to leave her to the Censure of this World, as if guilty of some heinous Crime; or at least, as if she was of some ill Temper or froward Humour, unfit to cohabit withal! Whereas she is sweet, vertuous, and mild, as Summer−dew, or the Vernal Sun. Her Family and Fortune have enrich'd and honoured thee, brought thee to be esteem'd and respected, above thy Merit! Palemon, to what exigence have thy Crimes and Follies reduced thee!
Thus sighing, thus weeping, thus regarding the Child with Tenderness, he heard the Nurse coming up stairs; upon which he hastily step'd into his Closet, where he made up the foresaid Billet; and then left his House, never more to return.
When his Lady arose, and saw his Closet−door open, she thought to run to him with open Arms, and wonted kind Caresses; but instead of her dear Palemon, she found the said surprizing Letter. At which her Grief and Wonder was such, as I cannot describe; therefore leave you (good Ladies) to guess. Her Mother and all her Relations, soon became Co−partners of her Grief and Disgrace. Which way to turn themselves in it, they knew not; where to enquire, or what measures to take, they were wholly ignorant. But length of time and much Enquiry, brought them to the Knowledge of his Habitation, and how he lived with Favorella, as Man and Wife. But when they came to the Knowledge hereof, they were at a loss where to begin, or at which End of this ill−spun Thread to take hold; some advis'd 'em to the spiritual Court, there to prosecute him as an Adulterer; others, on the contrary, saying, that was playing the Game for them, just as they had dealt the Cards, and the way to bring on a Divorce; which was most useful to them of all things; Others advised differently, nobody knowing how the affair was, touching his former Marriage with Favorella. Amongst many Enquiries, and Consultations, Bellemien chanc'd to be at a Friend's House, where she was relating her Griefs, and telling the differing sorts of Advice given her by several Friends; some for the Spiritual Court, some for Common Law, others for bringing the Case into Parliament.
Amongst these Gentlewomen, there was one (an absolute Stranger) who told her that she believed she could give her better Counsel than any Lawyer in the three Inns of Court, if she would go privately with her into the next Room; which accordingly she did; and there she told Bellemien the whole Story of his first Marriage, the Cause and Manner of the Separation, all that had pass'd in his second Espousals; the manner of leaving his House, and the Grief he underwent in parting with his Child; insomuch that Bellemien was greatly surpriz'd, and thought this Gentleman at least, a Scotch−Seer, if not a She−Conjurer, or else that she had feign'd a Story.
Now, Madam, said the unknown Person, that you are inform'd of the true state of the Case, consider well how to act. Suppose you could get proof of this first Marriage, which will be difficult, what will it avail? 'Twill only make the Man you once lov'd affectionately, appear a great Villain, your self Mother of an illegitimate Child, and deprive it too of the Right of Inheritance, by proving it a Bastard; and his first Wife of a comfortable Subsistance, which she enjoys now in right of her second Husband, the young Lawyer, she married afterwards: For if a prior Marriage be proved, that Joynture reverts to his Family.
Now, Madam, though this Woman enjoys your Husband, she lies under the scandal of a kept−Mistress, a Prostitute, a Concubine, a Strumpit, &c. despised by all vertuous People; whilst you enjoy your Honour, your Reputation, the Compassion of all the World, who esteem you for your Patience, and your Child is Heir to its Family on both sides. Now, if you please, take the Counsel of the unhappy Favorella, your Rival: I say, take this Counsel from me, who am Palemon's first and lawful Wife; and remember, that, with the Proverb,
'Tis better, to sit still, than rise up, and fall.
At these Words, Bellemien swoon'd in her Chair, whilst Favorella fled out at a Back−door, resolving for the future eternally to avoid her Presence.
This Story being ended, Galecia and Miranda took their Leaves, in hopes to get to Prayers, in their Way home: But they came too late, for the People were just coming out of Church, as they got thither.
Returning back, they found a Mob gathering, which almost obstructed their Passage; one crying out, You Rogue, you detain my Wife from me; but I will make you produce her, or Newgate shall hold you. Then another cry'd aloud, Out upon thee, Villain, I am thy Wife. Our two Friends thought, this was a feign'd Noise, design'd only to gather a Crowd, for the conveniency of picking Pockets; so they hastned by as fast as they could, each to their respective Lodgings.
By such time as Galecia had rested and dined, there came a Gentleman to visit her, bringing with him a young Gentlewoman, whom he presented to Galecia, telling her, that he took the Liberty to bring this Stranger to her, that she might receive a little Consolation, by discoursing in a Language she understood; because English was utterly unknown to her: For though she was the King of England's Subject, yet being born at Paris, and always educated in a French Convent, she knew no other Language. Galecia received her with a civil Decency, bidding her welcome into England, and wishing her Happiness, in the Country which ought to have been the Place of her Nativity, as it is now (and I hope, said she will continue to be) the Place of your Abode.
No indeed, reply'd the Gentleman, such is her Misfortune, as deprives her of that Happiness, the Particulars of which I shall leave her to relate, and wait upon you again. O good Sir, said the young Stranger, do you inform this Gentlewoman of my unhappy Adventures; and do it in English, lest I sink with Confusion to hear my Follies related in a Language I understand. Hereupon the Gentleman began the story as follows.
This Gentlewoman, said he, had the misfortune to lose her Parents when very young, who left her to the Care of her Uncle, a worthy Gentleman; but his Duty calling him to the Army, she was educated in a Convent, according to the Custom of those Countries, where they grow to under a constant Instruction and Practice of Vertue and Piety, in which she made a Proficiency suitable to the Endeavours of those holy Votaries. Her Uncle being to go to the Army to make his Campagne, thought it convenient to remove her to a Convent of a less rigorous Order, where she might learn the more polite Parts of Education; as Dancing, Singing, Musick, and the like; get acquainted with young Ladies of Quality, and be permitted to dress, something more according to the Mode of the World, than than was us'd in the other.
This Removal he committed to the Care of one, whom her Mother had brought out of England with her at the Revolution, and had always attended this young Creature. He left with this young Niece her Mother's Rings, Watch, Necklace, and divers Suits of Apparel, with fine Linnen, rich Laces, and the like; and that she might want nothing for that Year, he left an hundred Louis' D'ors for her Pension and other necessary Occasions. Having thus disposs'd this Affair, he together with other Officers, went away to the Army.
Now it was, that this wicked Wretch the foresaid Attendant, had the Opportunity to betray the poor young Creature. When they were come out of the Convent, and in the Coach, in order to go to the other, together with their Trunks, and other Necessaries, her Attendant ask'd her, if she had not a Fancy to go to St. Germain's, which had been the Court of their English Sovereign; for, said she, now we are got in the Coach, we can go thither, and divert you for a Day or two, e'er you enter your Enclosure. The young Lady, who had never seen anything but her Cloyster, was eager to embrace this Proposal; so to St. Germain's they went; and stayed some days, viewing the Castle, and all the Appartments, where the King, Queen, and Prince kept their respective Courts, the Garden, Walks in the Wood and Park, the Churches of the Fryers, both in the Town and Forest.
Going to the Parish Church to Prayers they met a Gentleman that claim'd acquaintance with Mrs. Vileman (for that was the name of our Attendant.) He told her, that he was going directly to Paris, to enquire for her, to let her know that her Father in England was dead, and had left her very considerable Effects, and shew'd them a Letter which he pretended to have receiv'd to this Purpose. Mrs. Vileman seem'd struck with Affliction, Confusion and Hurry, in which the Gentleman pretended to comfort her; particularly in reference to the good Fortune left her, for which it was necessary to go to England, as soon as possible.
Then the Question arose, whether she should go by Callis or Diepe; but the Gentleman advis'd her, by Diepe; for being got so far towards Rohan, it was easie and cheap getting, to Diepe, and so cross over to Rye; But Mrs. Vileman reply'd, she could not go directly thence; because she must carry that young Gentlewoman to the Conventassign'd for her Reception. Ah me, said the young Lady, it breaks my heart to think of parting with you; Methinks, I wish I was to go along with you to England: For beside the Unwillingness of being separated from you, I long to see England, and in particular, London, with all its Pomp and Riches; they say, it is much beyond Paris.
Thus this poor young Thing nibbled at the Bait they had lay'd for her; and they reply'd in delusive Words very fit to excite and improve their Curiosity. At last, the Gentleman said, it would be but a Frolick suitable to her Youth, to make use of this Opportunity; and being with the Person into whose Hands she was committed, no body would have great reason to blame the Enterprize; but on the contrary, applaud her Endeavours to improve her Knowledge of the World, when she had so fair an Opportunity. In short, the poor young Creature fell into the Trap they had lay'd for her, and consented to go with them to England: so they made their Coach carry them to Poisey, where they took Water, and away they went to Rohan; the Gentleman making Love to our young Lady all the way. They stay'd at Rohan some time, under colour of buying Goods to freight the Ship; For he pretended to be a great London−Merchant, Son to a Country−Gentleman of an Estate, in which Vileman joyn'd her Attestation; whilst he assur'd her of his everlasting Love and earnestly press'd her to be married. The poor young Girl was soon catch'd in the Ambuscade of Cupid, this being the first Onset she ever made in the Field of Love. She consented to a Marriage, but he put it off with one Shuffle or another. However, having gained her Consent to Marry, the next thing was, to advise her to let him lay out her Money in Merchandize, which would be so advantageous to her, that one hundred Pistoles would be at least two hundred in England; to which she agreed, and accordingly parted with her Money, with satisfaction, to the Man she thought her Husband, or at least, to be such very soon; so next Morning they were to be married.
I need not tell you what Arguments he used to persuade her to be his Bedfellow that Night; we will suppose they were such as is common on those occasions; as, that their promise to each other was the true and substantial Marriage; that the Parson was only as a Witness to that Promise; that if she refus'd him, he had very little reason to depend upon her Affection, or else that she doubted of his, and took him to be the worst of Miscreants and a thousand such idle Stories, wherewith innocent Maids are betray'd to Ruin, as was this young Gentlewoman.
In short, she consented to lye with him upon promise of Marriage next Morning. But, behold, when Morning came, he had so lay'd the Business, that the Sailors came with Noise and Hurry, saying that the Wind serv'd, and they were ready to set sail, so they arose in great haste to get to the Ship, and so away they came for England; she all the while believing her self his Wife; and that she had a great Cargo of Merchandize in the Ship. They got safe to London, and plac'd themselves in a Lodging among their own Gang of Villains. Here he pretended to great Business at the Exchange, Custom−House, and Post−Office, always in a hurry, and full of Employment. At last, he told her, that he wanted Money to discharge the Duties of his Merchandize at the Custom−House; so begs her to lend him some of her Rings and Jewels to raise it for that use: She believing her self his Wife, parted with every thing he requir'd; and as soon as the Goods should be discharg'd, they were to make a glorious publick Wedding.
On the other hand, Mrs. Vileman was hurried in looking after the Effects of her dead Father; so she borrow'd the young Gentlewoman's Cloaths, thereby to appear genteel amongst her Relations, as she pretended, till she could get her self equip'd in Mourning; tho' in reality, she had no Relations, being only a Bastard of an Officer in the Army, who never own'd her by reason of her Mother's insatiable Lewdness.
Thus was this poor young Creature drip'd of all she had, by one Sham or another. Nevertheless, they liv'd very well, both in Meat, Drink, and Lodging.
When they had got all from her, (then, according as it was concerted amongst em) the Landlady arrested them for Board and Lodging; only by a Sham−Officer; and so pretended to carry Vileman and the Rogue to Prison; whereas it was only a Shuffle, to get them away, and drop, her, when they had got all: For she being the supposed Wife, was not to be taken to Prison with them.
This poor Creature being thus strip'd of all, debauch'd, disgrac'd, deluded, and abandon'd, helpless, friendless, pennyless, in a Country where she understood not a Word of the Language; she knew not what to do. In the midst of this her Distress, she bethought her self to go to the Chapel of an Embassador, where she hop'd to find some body that could speak French: She addressing her self to the Porter, he immediately call'd me to her, (said the Gentleman) and she soon made me understand her Business; so I recommended her to go into the Chapel, and there offer her self to God, at his holy Altar, and then I promis'd to come to her again; which accordingly I did, and took her into a little Room, where she repeated to me all this lamentable Story. After I had heard her out, I knew she was the Person on whose account I had receiv'd a letter from France; which, if you please to peruse, you are welcome.
SIR, I Am so well assured of your Readiness to do any good Office, that I address my self to you with the utmost Freedom, begging you, if possible, to find out a poor lost Sheep, my Niece, and to send her home to her Friends, particularly to me: For thus it is, Sir, The only Child of my dear deceas'd Sister, has been deluded away into England by a wicked Fellow, who has abandon'd his Wife here in Paris, a very honest industrious Woman; but he an idle Villain. My Enquiry reach'd after them to Rohan, where it is said, they lived together as Man and Wife; after which, they went for England. I hope, there is a Possibility of finding her, because she cannot speak one Word of English. She is young, and tolerably handsome. Sir, if you can find her, be pleased to send her to me: Assure her, that I will receive, and forgive her, even tho' she should be with Child by the Villain; and shall own my self extreamly oblig'd to you, who am, Sir,
Your Obedient Humble Servant, GOODMAN.
Having thus found her (continu'd the Gentleman) I was about to take her to a House, where I might give her something to eat (for she was faint,) when, just at the Chapel−Door, I met her pretended Husband; who immediately took hold of her, calling her Wife. Vile Wretch, said I, thou knowest, she is none of thy Wife; therefore touch her not. How! (reply'd he) will you dare to say, she is not my Wife? I have sought her three or four Days, and now I find who has debauch'd and detained her from me, for which I shall make you pay dearly, (He not dreaming I had any Letter from her Uncle;) and, I believe, he would have had the impudence to have enter'd a Process against me, in hopes to have squeez'd Money from me, supposing, no doubt, that I would give something to be quiet, and not be expos'd in the Face of the Church, and my Lord Embassador. This made him very clamorous, audacious and insolent; insomuch that a Mob gather'd about us, and there was no passing; he striving to get her from me, I holding her fast, and the People were clamorous, according to their several sentiments, so that I was going to call a Constable both for her security and my own.
But Providence sent us a better Officer of Justice, than any other in the King's Dominions: For at this juncture, his real Wife appear'd, crying out to him, Vile Wretch, how dar'st thou call any body Wife, but me. She had a Constable with her, who seiz'd him, in order to carry him before a Magistrate; for which reason the Mob dispers'd; so that we got out of the Crowd; and after I had refreshed her and my self at an Eating−House, I conducted her hither, and now beg you to entertain her in French, whilst I go seek a safe Lodging for her, till I can convey her to her Uncle.
The Gentleman being gone, Galecia amus'd the young Lady as well as she could, by giving her Consolation, and blaming the Wickedness of Vileman, her Governante, excusing her Folly, imputing it to her want of knowing the World; but chiefly applauding the extream Goodness of her Uncle, who verify'd our English Proverb,
A Friend in Need, is a Friend indeed.
Moreover, Galecia, the better to divert Malhurissa from the Thoughts of her Misfortunes, ask'd her, if she had no diverting Story or Rencounter that had hapned in her Convent amongst the Novices, or young Ladies the Pensioners. To which Malhurissa reply'd, No; saying, nothing remarkable had appeared there, but extraordinary. Vertue and Piety, the Religious performing their Devotions in exact Regularity, and the Seculars as perfect in their Respect and Obedience; so that all things went on in a constant Harmony, without the least Discord; which I am bound to acknowledge, though with Shame and Confusion of Face, for having so ill practis'd those excellent Precepts and Examples.
'Tis true, indeed, the wicked Vileman my Governante, for her abominable Behaviour, is extreamly blameable; but that would not excuse me, Madam, in the Thoughts of any less charitable Person than your self, who is pleased to disguise my Crimes in the Robes of Youth and Ignorance, and hide them under the Umbrage of unthinking Innocence: Yet they appear to me in too true a Light, for my inward Repose; which brings to my Thoughts a Story I heard at Rohan, of a Vile Governante, who is a kind of Parallel with my Wicked Vileman; only her Crime exceeds, if possible, that of Vileman's: And it is a dreadful Truth, being recorded in the Courts of Justice at Rohan; as hereafter related.
There was a rich Merchant at Rohan, who had but one Child, a Daughter; whose Mother being dead, the good Father endeavour'd to find out a fit Person to attend her in the Quality of a Governess. This Woman seem'd very prudent, vertuous and just in all her Actions, and educated the young Gentlewoman accordingly, that she appear'd a fine well behav'd Creature, dutiful to her Father, respectful to her Betters, obliging to her Equals, civil to her Inferiours, charitable and compassionate to the Poor: She was assiduous in her Devotions to Heaven, and regular in all her Actions; in particular, she had a great Tendency towards the Capuchins Order, and their extream Mortifications took with her; so that her Father's House being pretty near their Cloyster, she went thither daily to Prayers, and the Superiour, of the House was her Ghostly Father.
Thus had the Governante form'd this young Gentlewoman towards God and the World; by which she gain'd the Esteem and Commendations of every body: But now, behold, what a Snake lay hid in the Grass.
The Governante having one night got her Pupil to Bed, as usual; she did not immediately fall asleep; but lay quiet, and observed the Governante, who instead of undressing her self, in order to come to bed, seem'd to accommodate her Person, as if she was going a visiting; which the Girl wondered at, but said nothing: At length she saw her take something out of her Cabinet, and with it smear'd her self; and then immediately ran up the Chimney. The Girl was greatly amaz'd hereat, it being to her an unconceivable Mystery. However, between Thoughtfulness and Sleep, she pass'd the Night; and when she wak'd in the Morning found her Governante in Bed with her, according to Custom. She was amaz'd, remembring what she had seen over Night, and ask'd her, whether she went, and what made her go up the Chimney: She shuffled and fumbled at first, but her young Mistress pressing the thing home, she said, Hush, Miss; this is a Secret to Girls; but when you are a Woman I will let you know.
Miss was forced to be satisfied with this Answer for a while; but afterwards began to press her about this Secret; still she put her off from time to time with divers Evasions. At last, the Girl being impatient, told her Governantethat she should not pretend to keep her a Child always; therefore she would know this Secret. The Governante,perhaps, thinking that if she did not gratifie her, she would tell her Father, or ask some body else: Wherefore, she told her, if she wou'd promise to be very secret, she would let her know all, and she should go with her to a Place where she would meet with good Company, Mirth, Feasting, Musick, and Dancing, &c. So the Girl promis'd Secrecy, and the next Night agreed to go together; which accordingly they did; the Governante and she, anointing themselves, utter'd some Words, and so both went up the Chimney; but flying over the Capuchins Cloyster, the Clock struck Twelve; and then Miss, according to custom, made the sign of the Cross in the Name of the Trinity, and down she fell in the midst of the Cloyster. The Religious getting up at that Hour, going through the Cloyster to their Church, to chaunt Mattins, they found this young Gentlewoman sprawling in the midst of the Cloyster, almost dead with the Fall: They took her up, and put her into a warm Bed, let her blood, and apply'd all other Necessaries on such an occasion; so that she came to her self, though greatly bruised.
In the Morning the Superiour came to the Merchant's House, where he was kindly received by him; but the good Father told him, that he came that morning to visit Miss, his young Penitent. The Merchant knowing nothing of what had happened, told him merrily, that his Daughter was so ill an Huswise, that she was not up yet; so he sent to the Governante to tell his Daughter, that the Father Superiour was come to visit her this morning; the Governante sent word, that Miss had not rested well in the Night so was asleep this morning, and she was loth to awake her yet. In the mean time, the Wicked Succubella, the Governante, was preparing for her escape: But the Father Superiour hearing this Answer, ask'd the Merchant, if he was sure his Daughter was in his House that Night. Which put him to a stand; the good Father added, that he was sure she was not, and desired the Merchant to go up with him into his Daughter's Chamber and assure himself of the Truth he told him; for said he, your Daughter is in our Cloyster at this time: whereupon they both went up into the young Gentlewoman's Chamber; where missing her, they immediately seiz'd on Succubella, the wicked Governante, committed her into the Hands of Justice, upon which her Process was made, and she confess'd the whole Fact, succinctly, just as as the young Gentlewoman had told the Capuchins; so she had the Reward of her Sorcery, at a Stake where she was burnt alive; and is upon record, a miserable Example, of the extreamest Wickedness.
This Story, said Galecia, is very extraordinary, and seems, to oppose those who will not allow any possibility of Mortals having Commerce with Spirits, so as to give them power to move them at their pleasure; to make 'em run up a Chimney, fly into the Air, enabled to do mischief, and the like; the truth is, I am not Philosopher enough, to argue the point; I can only refer my opinion, to an old Proverb,
Needs must, when the Devil drives.
'Tis true, indeed, said Malhurissa, when I was at Rohan, there arose a Dispute amongst the Company, of the Impossibility of the Devil's having power to raise Spirits; and from one thing to another, the Case of the Witch of Endor was cited; which caused great Disputes to arise, which would, I think, have been almost endless, but that a Gentlewoman produc'd a few Verses of her own Composing, which the Company lik'd; and tho' I did not understand English, I beg'd a Copy, in hopes I should learn, being just coming for England: They are as follows.
In guilty Night, and hid in false Disguise,
Forsaken Saul to Endor comes, and cries,
Woman, arise, call pow'rful Arts together,
And raise the Soul that I shall name, up hither.
Witch. Whom shall I raise, or call? I'll make him hear.
Saul. Samuel alone, let him to me appear.
Methinks, thou'rt frighted: Tell, what dost thou fear?
Witch.Nothing I fear but thee
For thou art Saul, and hast beguiled me.
Saul. Peace, and go on; what thou seest let me know.
Witch. I see the Gods ascending from below.
Saul. Who's that, that comes?
Witch.An old Man mantled o'er.
Saul. O, that is he, let me his Ghost adore.
Samuel. Why hast thou rob'd me of my Rest, to see
That which I hate, this wicked World, and Thee?
Saul. O, I am much distrest, and vixed sore;
God hath me left, and answers me no more.
Opprest with War, and inward Terrors too,
For Pity sake, tell me what I shall do.
Samuel. Art thou forlorn of God, and com'st to me?
What can I show thee then, but Misery?
Thy Kingdom's gone into thy Neighbour's Race;
Thy Host shall fall by Sword before thy Face.
Farewel, and think upon these Words with sorrow:
Thou, and thy Sons shall be with me to Morrow.
They had just finish'd reading the Verses, when the Gentleman, Malhurissa's Friend, came to call her away to the Lodging he had hired for her. They had no sooner taken their leave, but Galecia casting her Eye on the Window, saw there a Book, which a little Miss of her acquaintance had left; and found it to be written by the ingenious Mr. Dyke: In it she read the following Considerations.
What is Man! Originally Dust, ingender'd in Sin, brought forth in Sorrow, helpless in his Infancy, giddy in his Youth, extravagant in his Manhood, and decrepit in his Age. His first Voice moves Pity, his last, Sorrow.
He is at his first coming into the World, the most helpless of all Creatures: For Nature cloaths the Beasts with Hair, the Birds with Feathers, the Fish with Scales: But Man is born naked; his Hands cannot handle, his Feet cannot walk, his Tongue cannot speak, his Eyes cannot see, nor his Ears hear, to any Use. The Beasts come into the World without Noise, and go to their Dug without help: Man, as soon as born, extends his little Voice, and crys for assistance; afterwards, he is simple in his Thoughts, vain in his Desires, and Toys are his Delight. He no sooner puts on his distinguishing Character Reason, but he burns it with the Wildfire of Passion, and disguises it with Pride, tears it with Revenge, sullies it with Avarice, and stains it with Debauchery.
His next Station, is a State of Misery; Fears torment him, Hopes distract him, Cares perplex him, Enemies assault him, Friends betray, Thieves rob, Wrongs oppress, Dangers way−lay him.
His last Scene deplorable; his Eyes dim, his Ears deaf, his Hands feeble, Feet lame, Sinews shrunk, Bones dry, his Days full of Sorrow, his Nights of Pain, his Life miserable, his Death terrible.
Man is a Tennis−Ball of Fortune, a Shuttle−cock of Folly, a Mark for Malice. If poor, despis'd; if rich, flatter'd; if prudent, not trusted; if simple, derided. He is born crying, lives laughing, dies groaning.
Ah me, said Galecia to her self, how many melancholy Truths, this Learned Man has set down; yet all but common to our Nature. How many more are there extraordinary, and particular to each Person, caus'd by their Passions, Follies, or Misfortune, such as would render Life insupportable, were it not for the Hopes of a Happy Futurity. Then, O gracious Heaven, let that Hope abide, support, and increase in me, till, Fruition crown this my Expectation: For here is no Happiness to be found; for whether we look behind or before us, on the right hand or on the left, or round about us, we find nothing but Distress, Distractions, Quarrels, Broils, Debts, Duels, Law−suits, Tricks, Cheats, Taxes, Tumults, Mobs, Riots, Mutinies, Rebellions, Battels, &c. where thousands are slain; nay, we make Slaughter a Study, and War an Art. Are we not then more irrational than Brutes, who endeavour to preserve their own kind, and protect their own Species? For that poor dirty Creature a Swine, a Beast which seems extreamly careless, with its Head always prone to the Earth; yet if any of its Kind cry, the whole Herd, run grunting to it, as if it were to assist the distressed, or at least, to compassionate their Fellow−Creature in its Sufferings. But, if two Boys quarrel, and fight, the Men will stand by and abett the Quarrel, till Blood and broken Bones succeed; and amongst the Gentry, Quarrels arise of much worse consequence.
In these Cogitations our Galecia sate, till Morpheus accosted her, and with his leaden Rod, stretch'd over her Temples, she leaned back in her Chair, and sleeping, had the following Dream.
She dream'd that she was walking somewhere, in a very rough bad Way, full of great Stones, and sharp Flints, which hurt, and cut her Feet, and almost threw her down; in some places Coaches and Carts overturn'd; in other places, Horse−men thrown, Limbs broken, Robbers rifling, Ladies affronted, Maids deluded by false Lovers, insolvent Debtors drag'd to Jayls by rude surly Bayliffs, Wives mis−used, Husbands abused, Whores slanting, honest Women despised, Girls trappan'd by Bawds, Boys mis−led by Drunkards, Jilts and Thieves; In short, she dream'd of nothing good or happy; which we will suppose, proceeded from her serious reflecting on Mr. Dyke'sConsiderations./
Then she thought her self on the Sea, amongst Fleets, in danger of being cast away; and sometimes of being seiz'd by Pyrates; a Noise of Wars, Towns bombarded, Cannonaded, taken and retaken; at which she very often started in her sleep.
After many of these frightful Visions were past, she imagin'd she came into a pleasant Valley, fertile of Corn, Fruits and Pasturage; pleasant Brooks, Rills and Springs, such as are rarely to be found; for they never froze in Winter, nor abated of their Water in Summer. Woods replete with singing Birds, Shoals of Pigeons in the Dove−House, which cooed about the Yard, in amorous Addresses to their innocent constant Mates. Sure, said Galecia to her self, this is the Eden of old, or at least, the Land of Promise, flowing with more delicious Streams than those of Milk and Honey. She was extreamly delighted with this Valley, thought it almost a terrestrial Paradice, excelling in fact, whatsoever the Fancies of Poets or Romances could represent: Here she thought she walk'd secure from Wolf, Bear, or wild Boar, to fright or molest her Walks by Day; or carking Cares to disturb her Sleep by Night; not being so divided from Neighbours, as to render it a Desart; nor so near, as to have their Houses intercept either the rising or the setting Sun.
Thus she thought herself very happy: But it fell out, as she was one day walking beyond her usual bounds, towards a little rising Hill, a strange and hideous Giant came out of his Den, where he liv'd upon Rapin, Malice and Mischief; he studied the Black Art, and with the Claws of his Hands, or rather his Fore−feet he wrote strange Figures and Cyphers, wherewith he conjur'd up Spirits, and inchanted People, and so got 'em into his Den: For he could not run fast enough to catch anybody, his Toes being rotted, or broken off, which was the reason he often miss'd of his Prey; and by this means Galecia escaped his Clutches. At the sight of him she ran down the Hill with the utmost speed; and at the bottom she met with a good Philosopher, who study'd the Stars, and had a place in Astrea's Court: He took her into his Cave, and so secured her from the Attempt of Omrison, for that was the Name of the Giant.
After this Fright, she thought, a pretty young Man took her by the hand, telling her, he was her good Genius, and would conduct her to some Diversion after her Surprize; so he led her up a Hill, which he told her, was Parnessus; and said he would introduce her, to see some of the Diversions of the Annual Coronation of Orinda †. They came somewhat late; so that the grand Ceremonies were over: But they were time enough for the Singing and the Dancing.
Thus, all things being placed in perfect Order, and Orinda seated on a Throne, as Queen of Female Writers, with a Golden Pen in her Hand for a Scepter, a Crown of Laurel on her Head; Galecia's Genius plac'd her in a Corner, where she might see and hear all that pass'd; when lo, a Band of Bards came, and cast themselves at Orinda'sFeet, and there offer'd their Crowns, Wreaths, and Branches of Laurel, every one making a Speech in Verse, in praise of her Wit and Vertue; which she most graciously accepted, and bid them rise; when ranging themselves on each side her Throne, one began to sing as follows.
We allow'd you Beauty, and we did submit
To all the Tyrannies of it.
Cruel Sex, will you depose us too in Wit?
Hereupon, there were a Choir of pretty Creatures in form of Grasshoppers, with Golden Wings, but as large as new−born Babes: And these answer'd the Bard in Chorus, twit, twit, twit, twit, twit, and this they repeated with an harmonious Melody, charming one's Senses into an absolute Transport. After this, the Bard proceeded; and when he came to these Words,
As in Angels, we
Do in thy Verses see,
Both improv'd Sexes eminently meet,
They are than Man more strong, and more than
A great Flock of Nightingales (glorious like Angels) joyn'd with the Grasshoppers, which again repeated their Chorus, as if Echoes to the Bard, whensoever his Cadence suited to their Voices; singing in an admirable Consort, with strange Turnings, Flights and Strains, Sweet, Sweet, Sweet, Sweet, Sweet, &c.
In this manner, the Bard, the Grasshoppers and the Nightingales finish'd their Song. Then another † Bard began his Song in praise of this Queen: To which the Choir of Nightingales sung the Chorus: But his Song not being in English, Galecia did not rightly understand it, so as here to repeat the Words; but the Musick was extreamly fine.
After this, there came in a Band of Fairies, following their Queen, dressed in her Royal Robes; with a Crown on her Head, singing an old Song, as follows.
Come, follow, follow me,
You Fairy Nymphs, with Glee,
Come, trip it on this Green,
And follow me, your Queen;
Hand in Hand we'll dance around,
In praise of Queen Orinda, crown'd:
Hither, ye chirping Crickets come,
And Beetles, with your drousie Hum;
And if with none of you we meet,
We'll dance to th' Echoes of our Feet.
Hereupon they struck up a Dance, whilst a Multitude of Crickets, and Beetles, sung the Measures, such as made incomparable Musick; quite otherwise than what they make in our Chimneys, or such as we hear the Beetles hum in a Summer−Evening.
Whilst they were thus Dancing, the Fairy Queen spy'd Galecia, as she was in a Corner: And whether she was angry to see a Mortal in that Assembly; or that she was excited by Charity, is unknown; but she took a Handful of Gold out of her Pocket, and gave to one of her Gentlemen−waiters, bidding him carry it to that Mortal, and command her away from thence.
Galecia was very attentive to the Musick and Dancing; when lo, an hasty Knocking at her Chamber−door awak'd her out of her pleasant Dream: The Person that knock'd, was a Gentleman, very well dress'd, who ask'd for Galecia, and she answered him respectfully, that she was the Person; He presented her with a Purse of Gold, and, instantly turning short, would not, by any means, be persuaded, either to stay, to tell his Name, or who sent him.
Galecia was greatly pleas'd with the Receit of this unexpected Treasure; and after having counted it over and over, she lay'd it by, and went to Bed; But, to shew that Money does not always make us happy she was very uneasie and restless all the Night, being disturb'd with the Thoughts how, or in what manner she should dispose of it to the best Advantage, whether in the Funds, Lotteries, in Building, Traffick, &c.
Thus she lay tumbling and tossing full of Inquietude; according to the following old Story of a Cobler, who sate daily in his Stall, working hard, and singing merrily, any thing that came in his head. Now, it hapned, that a rich Usurer, whose Lodging was just over this poor Man, wonder'd very much at his being continually so very merry, who had nothing to support him, or to depend upon, but this his daily Labour; whilst the Usurer underwent perpetual Thoughtfulness, sleepless Nights, and anxious Days, how to dispose of this Sum, how to recover that; how to enter this Process, and how to pursue that: His Head and Hands were incumber'd with Bills, Bonds, Mortgages, Buildings, Dilapidations, Forfeitures, and a thousand other the like Vexations. In the mean time the poor Cobler was always merry and unconcern'd: He resolv'd at last to try whether Money would discompose him; so watch'd an Opportunity when the Man was out of his Stall, and privately convey'd there a Bag of Money amongst the Rubbish: Which, as soon as the Cobler found, he was seiz'd with a great Consternation, not knowing how it should come there. Various Conjectures and Apprehensions appear'd to his View, not worth repeating; he was unwilling to discover, but afraid to conceal it, lest it should be found upon him, and by some Mark or other, on the Bag, or some of the Pieces therein, he might be seiz'd for a Felon; or, if none of these hapned, then, what he should do with it, either to secure, or turn it to Profit. In short, a thousand things revolv'd in his Thoughts, which disappointed him of his ordinary mirth; so that his wonted Chearfulness was turned into a dull pensive Melancholy, and his Singing quite ceas'd.
The Usurer took notice hereof, and ask'd him what was the reason he was not so jovial as heretofore? The poor Man frankly told him his Case, and the cause of his Inquietude. What succeeded between them, matters not; We are to apply the Story to our Galecia; who, as before said, had tost about all night, till weariness brought her into a gentle Sleep, which held her to her Pillow till the Morning was pretty far advanced, when she was waked, by the coming of a Sea−Captain from the Indies, who was her very good−Friend; and whose safe Arrival was great satisfaction to her.
After the usual Salutations, and Congratulations on such an occasion. She ask'd him what sorts of Goods he had brought from the Indies that Voyage? He told her, that the greatest of his Cargo was Female Vertues; which he hop'd would sell well in this Country, where there was so great a Scarcity. Of this Galecia, considered a little; and immediately resolv'd to lay out her Fairie −Treasure in this Merchandize and so engaged the Captain, her Friend to send her some Parcels of his Cargo. He perform'd with all convenient speed sending her the choicest, and nicest of the Female Vertues.
She thought it her Duty and Interest to send to the Court in the first place: Accordingly, she put up a large Quantity of Sincerity, and sent it thither; The Factor or Agent offer'd it to Sale, with good Grace and due Recommendation; insomuch that the Ladies all commended the Goods; saying they were curiously wrought, and safely brought over; but 'twas pity they did not come sooner; for now that kind of Merchandize, was quite out of fashion. Nevertheless, she went from Appartment to Appartment, from Lodging to Lodging, traced the Galleries over and over, every where offering her Traffick, till the Guards, Centinels, and Waiters almost took her for a Spectre; so she was forced to return without disposing of any.
The next Venture Galecia sent out, was a parcel of Chastity; which she sent into the Hundreds of Drury, not doubting but to make a good return from thence: Here it was greatly lik'd, and highly prais'd, and gladly they would have bought, but had not wherewith to purchase so rich an Imbellishment. The Factor offered to give them credit, if they had any Friend that would pass their word for payment; but that was not to be found: For their Friends were lost, and Credit broken to that degree, that they had not Cloaths to cover them (even upon occasion of Profit) but what they either hired or borrowed;
Amongst this Crew, there was one, that looking over the Parcels of divers of the Dealers, who had help'd to Stow the Ship; found thereon the Mark of two or three of her Acquaintance who had lived with her in the same Court, viz. Betty Bilk; Sarah Shuffle, Polly Picklock, &c. Ah, said she, is it possible that these Girls are grown such great Dealers in this kind of Ware? They were my intimate Friends; I narrowly escaped being carry'd with them to Newgate; and I wish I had gone, since they have had such luck by means of their Transportation: But alas, it is too late to repent now, not being able to do any thing; for I have been so far from gaining by my Profession here, that I have lost Health, Wealth, Credit, Friends, and am become a poor abandon'd rotten Skeleton which is not only my Fate; but the Fate of most of those who deal in this way of Trade.
The Factor could not forbear asking her how she came at first to be deluded? Alas, said she, it is a great difficulty to have so much Foresight to avoid all the Traps lay'd in this Town, to ensnare and catch our Innocence: But my Ruin was by a young Girl, my Play−fellow, whose Brother cast a wicked Eye on me; and under pretence of courting me for a Wife, deluded me into Wickedness: The Subtilties, and methods he used, are too tedious to tell you at this time; but whenever you are more at leisure, if you will take the trouble to come, I will give you such a Catalogue of the Mis−adventures, as would make the brightest Vertue burn blue and ready to go out, at such relations.
The Factor finding her time elasp'd, and that she was not like to sell any of her Parcel, told her, she would come another time, hear some of their Adventures; and bring with her some other sorts of Vertues, as that of Penance, Piety, or the like. So the poor Factor, was forced to return, with her Merchanize, but no Mony.
Having such bad luck at Court and Places adjacent, Galecia was resolv'd to try the City; which being accustom'd to Traffick, she hoped there for better Success: Wherefore she put up a good Parcel of Humility, and sent amongst those rich and haughty Dames: Knowing, this sort of Goods was scarce amongst them, she doubted not of of a good Market. But alas, it prov'd quite otherwise: for they would not so much as look on the Ware, nor permit the Factor to open her Parcel, telling her, they had greater store thereof in the City than they needed; which appears daily (said they) by giving your Ladies place every where, by following their Fashions at all times; Whereas our Riches give us a right to be fantastical, and setters−up of new Modes; But 'tis our Humility that pervails with us, and makes us their Apes, at the same time; many of them being but meanly descended, they often run in our Debt, for their gaudy Trappings; and their Husbands borrow of ours, to support their Equipage, on the credit of their Acres.
To which the Factor reply'd, that the Humility they boasted of was only Home−made, whereas, that she offered, was right Indian. Away, reply'd they, you know, Indian Goods are prohibited; had you brought some from France or Spain, from the Battel of Bleinheim, or from Madrid, when King Philip fled from thence; nay, if it had been but English Humility from Preston; it had been something like: But to come into the City with your prohibited Ware, is Insolence in a high degree; Therefore be gone, before my Lord Mayor's Officers catch you, and punish you according to your Deserts. Hereupon our poor Factor was forced to hasten away, and glad when she had got safe through Temple−Bar.
This was but a sorrowful Return to our Galecia, who had lay'd out her whole Fairy Present in these Indian Goods: She began to despair of making any Advantage: but her Factors, who had been up and down the Hundreds of Drury; beg'd her to try there once more, not with the Vertue of Chastity, for it was to no purpose; but they had great hopes that Repentance and Piety might take. So Galecia sent away a good Parcel of each of those Vertues.
The Agent, or Factor carry'd them to the same House, where she had before promised to come, viz. to one Mrs. Rottenbone's, who receiv'd, her kindly and look'd carefully into her Parcels; fitted her self with divers Suits, both of Piety and Repentance; and sent to several of her Neighbours to come and do the same.
The first who came, was one Mrs. Castoff, who took of each a pretty Quantity: After her, came three or four more; and when they had fitted themselves, Mrs. Rottenbones, desir'd Mrs. Castoff to tell our Agent how things happen'd, that she came to esteem these Vertues, so as to dress herself therein; which she related briefly, as follows.
I was Daughter of an honest Country−Gentleman tho' but of a small Estate, who had many Children. Now, there was a good Gentlewoman in our Neighbourhood, whose Husband died, leaving her no Child: She took me from my Mother, I suppose, to provide for me; which was esteemed a very great Kindness.
This Gentlewoman, some time after, mov'd from her Country−Residence, and took me with her to London, where we liv'd happily together, I being then about fourteen Years old: I waited on her in the nature of a Chamber−maid, thereby to initiate me into a religious and dutiful Behaviour: For she being a Widow, valued but little of Dress, except that of her Mind; her Devotions, Retirements and Instructions to me and her Servants, being the greatest part of her Employment; which, I doubt, was not so agreeable to my giddy Youth as it ought to have been; young People, too often having an Opinion of themselves, as if Instructions were needless, and themselves capable of being Teachers, instead of Learners.
How far this was my fault, I know not; but instead of keeping with her in her Chamber, I was perpetually making Errands, and pretences to be in the Shop where we lodged; and here my young Face call'd many young Fellows to cheapen Goods, and many to buy; For our Landlady kept a Millener's Shop. These would often address themselves to me with some Question or other, as is usual among Youth, which had no other consequence, than making me grow pert, and think too well of my self: But my Ruin proceeded from one of my own Sex.
There was a certain comely genteel Woman, who frequented that Shop, and by degrees made an acquaintance with me, asking me if I was a Servant to that Gentlewoman, or related to her? I told her that I was neither; but let her know how it was. Upon which, she told me she could help me to a very good Place, where I should have not only very good Wages, but other considerable Advantages, and be in a Way for Preferment; but advised me to say nothing to any one, especially the Gentlewoman I then liv'd with, till she had spoken with the Lady for whom she intended me.
This pass'd on a while, she still giving me Encouragement and Assurance of her Diligence in this Affair. At last, she bid me dress my self the next Sunday, as if I was going to Church, but come to her, and she would go with me to a Lady, who had spoken to her to get her a pretty Girl to wait in the Nursery; but that it was best not to acquaint any body with it, till she saw how the Lady lik'd me.
In this Prospect I greatly rejoyc'd; and accordingly dress'd my self as if going to Church, and so I went to this Woman's House; which prov'd to me the Den of Deceit, the Devil's Dungeon, which in some Degree I deserved for my Hypocrisie to Heaven, and my Ingratitude to the good Gentlewoman my Patroness, for thus forming an Intrigue of any kind without her Knowledge.
I got to my Deceiver in due time, who readily went with me to present me to the Lady. We came to a large magnificent House, and went up a Noble Stair−Case, into a stately Dining−Room, where, instead of a Lady, was a Gentleman, who immediately stood up; and speaking very friendly, told my Conducter, he suppos'd, that this Young Gentlewoman was the Person she brought to offer to his Wife; and then addressing himself to me, Come, pretty Maid, said he, I will direct you to her: So he took me by the hand, led me into a Back−Room, and lock'd the Door; in the mean time my Betrayer departed.
I will not trouble you with the Repetition of the fine Speeches he made to recover me from my Surprize, and suppress my Tears; for he was a Man of Wit, and an engaging Mien; he promis'd me a thousand Fineries, gave me an handful of Gold, told me I should have a fine House of my own, a Coach and Servants, with all manner of Imbellishments to grace and adorn my Beauty; which Beauty (continu'd he) has chain'd my Heart, ever since the moment I beheld it in the Milliner's Shop, where I was ( incog) buying some things, on purpose to see you; for you were recommended to me by Mrs. Wheedle, the Woman that brought you hither.
In short, my Eyes were not blind to his Noble Person, nor my Ears deaf to his alluring Speeches, nor was my Heart made of a Stick or a Stone; but young and tender, susceptible of the Impressions of Love: For I will do his Lordship that Justice, he used no manner of Violence against my Youth and Innocence: Butwith that she wept, which stopt her proceeding for a while, but she soon recover'd her self.
I was placed (continu'd she) in a sumptuous Lodging, with Servants, and Fineries of all sorts about me; my Lord frequently came, and entertain'd me with his Wit and Gallantry; he carry'd me abroad from time to time in his Coach to take the Air, and treated me at all Places of Diversion and Entertainment; in the Evenings we went to Plays, Balls and Opera's; I perk'd up in the Face of Quality, and was a Companion for my Betters: Thus I liv'd in Lewdness and Profaness.
By this barefac'd Wickedness, my good Patroness found me out: For she was in great Affliction in consideration of what became of me. As soon as she knew, she sent one to me to enquire into the matter; which shew'd it self so foul, that she proceeded no farther in her Enquiry; only sent me word she cast me off for ever; This Menace I very little valued, thinking my self much above her Favour.
At last, the News of my lewd Life came to the Ears of my Father and Mother in the Country; who, good People, were sorely griev'd; and sent to me, desiring I would abandon the way I was in, and resolve to live vertuously and modestly for the future, and their House should be open for my Reception, and their Arms for my Pardon: But, alas, these Offers were, I thought, much below my acceptance; I scorn'd an old−fashion'd Country Seat, with Bow−windows, low Roofs, long dark Passages, a slight Thread−Sattin Gown, Worsted−Stockins, plain Shoes, and such like Cloathing; or to have Swine and Poultry for my Companions; perhaps, on Sunday in the Afternoon some of the Farmers Wives: So I refus'd this offer'd Favour and Forgiveness.
Hereupon my good pious Parents sent me word, they cast me off for ever, bidding me think of them no more.
This, indeed, was some Grief at first; but the next Visit from my Lord with his courtly Behaviour soon asswaged it.
Thus I walk'd on in the open Path of Pleasure, and ascended the highest Pinacle of Pride; my Vanity being daily soothed with Praises of my Beauty; and the World solliciting me for Places and Preferments by my Lord's Interest. All which gratified my Vanity, and made me believe my self a great Lady; because I was Courted and Visited by my Superiours, and respected by my Equals.
Thus had the Devil raised me upon a high Pinacle, to make my Fall the greater; For all on a sudden, my Lord sent one of his Gentlemen, to bid me not dare to see his Face any more. I was earnest with the Gentleman to tell me the reason of this great Change; but, he could not, or would not; only he inform'd me, that my Lord was not very well. At the same time he told the People of the House, that they must look to me for payment of the Lodgings.
Thus was I cast off by my Keeper; and for an Addition to my Grief, they turn'd me out that very Day, and seiz'd all my Furniture, I not having Money at that time to discharge the Rent; my Profuseness, having always anticipated my Lord's Liberality.
In this Condition I went to Mrs. Wheedle, thinking to borrow a little of her, to release my things; and to have taken a Lodging with her, at least, that Night: But, alas, far from that, she not only refus'd me all Favour, but loaded me with Reproaches; and chiefly, for having so far abus'd my Lord's Bounty, and like an impudent Strumpet, I had depriv'd him of his Health.
Thus was she a perfect Devil, leading People into Damnation, and then becoming their Tormentors. I was amazed to find my self charg'd with being the Cause of my Lord's Illness; of which I knew myself truly innocent; but Words of Justification were to no more purpose, than to fight with the North−Wind. Thus was I Cast off, not only by my Lord, but by this vile Wretch my first Seducer.
In the midst of this great Distress I got into a private poor Lodging, not knowing what to do, nor to whom to address. I was reduced to great Misery, being helpless, friendless, destitute, and abandon'd; and, what was worst of all, I began to find a great Alteration in my Health. I had only one Ring on my Finger when I was driven out of my Lodging. This enhanced my present Necessity.
Sitting in this deplorable Condition, a Gentlewoman came up Stairs; and entring my Room, I soon discover'd she was Waiting Woman to my Lord's Lady; and was come from her to assist me in my Sufferings. She went with me to my former Lodging; from whence we recovered my things, sold 'em as well as we could, therewith paid all my Debts, and had Money left, for my Assistance. I thank'd, and on my Knees pray'd for this kind Lady, who is a Mirrour of Goodness; not only to forgive, but to seek me out, and relieve me.
Thus I pass'd on a while; But finding my Distemper increase, I was forced to put my self under Cure; which so far devour'd the little Substance I had, that by such time as I was thoroughly well, I was in a manner pennyless: However, I having recover'd my Health, and not quite exhausted my youth, (for I was still young) I knew, I was able to go to Service; but the difficulty was, I had led so evil a Life, it was impossible to hope for a Recommendation from any body: This came to the Ears of my Lord's good Lady, who again sent her Woman, to consult with me; who advised me from my Lady to put my self under a Manteau−maker; which I approv'd, and resolv'd to be vertuous and modest, and she promis'd to be at the Charge. This greatly rejoyced me; and accordingly I was placed with a Person of that Employment.
Here I went on very well, learnt my Business in perfection, and in due time set up for my self, and began to have good Encouragement. But my unhappy Beauty was again my Ruin.
There came a glorious young Gentleman of Quality to lodge in the same House where I liv'd; his unhappy Person and Mien were extreamly engaging, and his broken English, (for he was a Foreigner) was with such a pretty Accent, that his Conversation was Charming; at least, it was so to me; he would often condsecend to come and sit with me and my Workwomen, under pretence of improving himself in the English Language. Thus, Deceit on his side, and Weakness on mine, composed an Amour, to destroy my whole Life's Happiness.
I will not repeat to you, his Sighs, Tears, Vows, Presents, Treats, and divers sorts of Gallantries, and lastly, his Promise of Marriage, if I should be with Child; and this on his Knees he swore; in these very Words, If you prove with Child, I swear to marry you: But for my sake, may no young Woman take Mens Words, nor believe the Oaths till the Parson puts the Hoop on their Finger, that Circle which conjures the most notorious Rover into some decent Limits; if not of Constancy, at least, of Formality. I proving with Child, charged him with his Promise, which he answer'd in his broken English; Yes, Madam, Me will marry you to my Foot−man; if He be willing. But the Gentlemen in my Country do not marry vid de Whores; for dat is no good fashion; but go you gone Mistress; dere is Money for you; and so left me, and forthwith his Lodging likewise.
Thus was I cast off by this wicked Foreigner. But this was but one part of my Misfortune; for that most excelling of her Sex, my Lord's Lady, hearing of this my Misbehaviour, sent and took away those Cloaths I had of her's in making, and withal acquainted me, she cast me off for ever, and, by her Example, all other Ladies and Gentlewomen did the like. Thus I lost my Livelyhood; and with the Grief hereof, I had like to have miscarried; and having nothing, to do at my Manteau−making nor Strength, nor Credit to put my self into any other Business, I spent all I had, both Money and Cloaths; that when I was out of my Child−bed, I was like to starve; but the good Woman of the House, pittying me, and not knowing the whole of my Story (for I made her believe my Husband was an Officer, and gone into Flanders;) I say, this good Woman, got me to be a Wet−Nurse in a Lady's House. Here I was very happy for a while; but by some means or other my Lady heard of my Character, and so cast me off, getting another Nurse in my place.
Now was I reduced to greater Necessity than ever, having sold, pawn'd, and spent All, my Credit lost every where; and having my self and a Child to keep, Time and Poverty began to prey upon my Beauty; so that was not much to be depended upon; I had not Cloaths to grace me, nor Linen to keep me clean; that now I was forced to betake my self to the most scandalous and meanest sort of Lewdness, and became a Night−walker in Fleet−street. Should I tell you all the Affronts, and Indignities I suffer'd here, 'twould make your Ears glow, being often beat, and made to expose my self stark−naked, for the brutal Diversion of those who pick'd up such distressed Creatures. By this time my Daughter began to grow up, and was very beautiful; and likely enough to fall into the same wicked Way; but that a good Gentlewoman, a Lawyer's Wife, taking pity of her Youth, took her into her House, giving her a vertuous honest Education; but upon condition that I should never come near her, nor she me.
Thus was I a Cast off from my own dear and only Child, which was very grievous to me; but was forced to bear it for her good; and the better to secure, and accomplish this Prohibition, I resolv'd to remove my self to the Hundreds of Drury; for I began to be too well known, to be acceptable any where else.
Thither I came, and there I lived in great Misery and Contempt; such as I would not wish to the greatest Enemy that ever was. However, it has so far opened the Eyes of my Understanding, as to know that nothing but a sincere Repentance will attone for my Transgressions. Hereupon she lookt into the Factor's Box, and took a large Parcel of these Vertues, wherewith she adorn'd her self, and according to the proverb,
Cast off Vice, when Vice cast off her.
The rest of the Company ask'd our Factor, if she had no good Books to put them also into a State of Repentance; so she produced a Book call'd the Imitation of Christ, bidding them strictly peruse the Contents of that invaluable Treatise, and therein they would find Rest for their Souls.
The Factor, seeing she was like to dispose of no more of her Vertues at that time, put up her Goods, and went home.
Galecia perceiving, she made no better return of her Merchandize in London, resolved to try the Country, in hopes the Women of all Ranks and Stations would be better Customers. As she was busie in putting up her things for this Journey, she heard a Chariot stop at the Door, and a Gentlewoman come up her Stairs; at whose Appearance she was ravished with Joy, it proving to be the good Lady's Waiting−Woman; who by her Lady's Order, came to see if Galecia had done her business in Town; and if she was dispos'd to go into the Country: For, said she, my Lady very very earnestly desires your Company, now the Spring comes on. Therefore, dear Galecia,dispose your self to go with me.
This Invitation was an inexpressible Joy to our Galecia; so she hastned to put up every thing; the Gentlewoman lending her helping hand; soon finished and took her away in the Chariot to her Inn that night, in order to prosecute their Journey early the next Morning.
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