When we parted from Galesia last, it was in St. Germain's Garden; and now we meet with her in England, travelling in a Stage-Coach from London Northward; where she had the Luck to meet with good Company, who entertained each other agreeably with Things indifferent, suitable to the Times; thereby beguiling the Tediousness of the Way, and the tiresome Rocking of the Vehicle they were in, 'till they came where the Road extended it-self between Two Woods, a Place well known for the many Robberies which had been there committed.
Here our Passengers began to fear it was now their Turn to be rifled of what they had, especially when they saw divers Horsemen, well mounted, crossing the Way backward and forward, in and out of the Woods, whooping and hollowing to one another; 'till the Sight of a Huntsman with his Horn, and a Pack of Hounds rushing out of the Wood, in Pursuit of a Hare which was gone a little while before, eas'd them of their Apprehensions, and convinc'd them, That the Horsemen they had seen, were only some of the Gentry of that Neighbourhood, diverting themselves with their Dogs. However, this Accident put them in Mind of many criminal Adventures and Robberies, which they related, one Story bringing on another, as is usual amongst Company; some of which, perhaps, will not be disagreeable to the Reader; and therefore I shall insert them here; beginning with the following, as related by one of the Gentlemen.
A certain Robber that lived in Wales, knowing the Day of Shrewsbury-Fair, came down from the Mountains in the Night, that he might be at the Town early enough to slip no Opportunity that might be to his Advantage; the Graziers-Fair beginning early in most Places, and it being the Business of Cheats and Robbers to watch who buys, and who sells, who receives Money, and where they carry or deposite it.
When he was got within Eight or Ten Miles of Shrewsbury, he saw grazing in a Farmer's Ground a Yoke or two of large Fat Oxen; these he thought would be ready Money at the Fair, and accordingly drove them away, 'till he came to a Publick House in the Road, near the Town, where he called to drink, and asked the Landlord, If he had any Pasturage, where he might graze his Oxen a while, to plump them so as to make them appear better at the Fair? Hereupon the Landlord put them in a very good Pasture just by his House; and then our Mountainier went into the Fair, amongst the Farmers and Graziers, and met with a Chapman, who was buying from one Farmer to another, in order to make up his Droves; so our Thief told him, That he had some very good Oxen feeding just without the Town-Gate, where he had left them to rest a while, they being heavy and weary. The Grazier went readily along with him, and, in few Words, bargained for the Beasts, paid down the Money, and, finding the Pasture good, desired the Landlord to let them rest there, and he would send more to them, 'till he had compleated his Drove: So both went their Way, one about his Honest Calling, the other to pursue his Wicked Projects.
What other Advantage this Thief made at the Fair, is not come to our Knowledge: But having taken Notice of a very pretty Mare that ran in the same Ground with the Oxen, he thought he would not miss that Booty, and went in the Evening to the same House, ordering a good Supper, and treated himself and his Landlord very well. In the Night he got up, and having remarked where a Bridle and Saddle hung, he went into the Ground, took the Mare, and away he rode, 'till he arrived pretty near the Place where he had taken the Oxen. He there met the Owner of them, who inquir'd of him concerning his Beasts, (as he had done all about those Parts, of every one he met) describing to him their Age, Shape, and Marks. To which our Thief reply'd, That in such a Ground, belonging to such a Man, near Shrewsbury, there were just such Oxen as he described. The Farmer, overjoy'd to hear of his Cattle, began to lament that his Horse was so ridden down, that he fear'd, he would not be able to carry him to Shrewsbury. Ah me! said he, if I had my good Horse I was bid Money for t'other Day, he would have done my Business. The Mountainier presently formed another Cheat in his Head, and seem'd to pity the good Man, telling him, He would lend him that Mare on which he rode, provided he would give him some Mark or Token, by which he might have the Horse he mentioned. The Farmer, much rejoyced hereat, told him, That he should go to his Wife, and give her that tired Horse, and bid her deliver the bald Horse which was in the Stable; by the same Token, That he was bid Ten Guineas for him such a Day, she being by, making up her Batter. By these punctual Tokens, the Thief got the good Horse, and away he rode to the Mountains with his Booty.
And now let us follow the Farmer; who soon arrived at the Place where his Oxen were grazing; and challenging them, the Landlord refus'd to deliver them, as not being put there by him; and, on the other Hand, seiz'd his Mare, and the Farmer for the Thief that stole her. This created a great deal of Trouble between the Landlord, the honest Farmer, and the Grazier who had bought the Beasts; and, one may suppose, took up much Time and Money before the Right could be understood. But, in Conclusion,
From whence, I suppose, said the Gentleman, arose that Proverb.
The Gentleman having thus finish'd his Proverbial-Story, another of the Company was incited thereby to call to Mind a Proverbial-Story of later Date; but first asked the Company, If they knew how ill-dress'd Perukes came to be called Kaxtons? To whom all answering No; he began his Story as follows.
There is, said he, a good Farm-House just by the Road near Kaxton; the honest Master of which, having, at some Market or Fair, received Money for Goods he had sold, was telling it over on Saturday Night, and put up in a Bag as much as would pay his Half-Year's Rent, telling his Man, That on Monday he should carry it to his Landlord; and, at the same Time, ordered his Labourer, (who was then receiving his Wages) to be sure to come early on Monday-Morning to take Care of the Yard, while his Man was out.
Next Day, being Sunday, the Young Man went, in the Afternoon, to visit and divert himself amongst his Friends and Companions; and coming home a little late, he found the Gates shut fast, that he could not get in; and knowing that his Mistress Lay-in, he would not make a Noise by knocking, lest it should disturb or fright her, but went quietly away, and lay with some of his Companions.
Next Morning he came again, thinking to go about his Business, but found all fast shut still; and though he knock'd often and loud, could make No body hear: He saunter'd about 'till towards Noon, and still it was the same; no Noise was to be heard but the Herds lowing in the Yard for Fodder. Hereupon he went to the Town, and informed several People of the Matter, who all agreed to take a Constable and some of the best of the Parish, and if they could make No-body hear by knocking, e'en to break open the Gates and Doors, and see what should be the Matter; some conjecturing one thing, some another; but most concluding with the Servant, That the good Man was gone to carry his Rent, and the good Woman fallen into some grievous Fit, if not dead.
In short, They broke open the Gates, and while some went to force the House-Doors, others proceeded to the Barn for Straw to throw into the Cribs, and there they beheld the most amazing Sight imaginable; the Good Man and his Wife both murder'd on the Floor, and two Forks broken! Hereupon, they went towards the House, and passing cross the Yard, they saw the Child's Swath dropt, and when they came into the House, found the Babe in the Cradle, with its Neck wrung behind it. They proceeded then to search the House; The Goods all remain'd; but the Money, and divers Silver Things, as Spoons, Porringers, Cups, and the like, were gone.
Upon due Consideration, they suspected the Labourer, he being no where to be found; Hereupon Hue-and-Cries were sent forth, every way describing his Person, Age, and Cloaths: But all in vain; no News could be heard. The Manner of the Murder, they conjectur'd, was on this wise: That the Labourer was in the Barn, and when the good Man went to give his Beasts Fodder, the Villain fell upon him, and he resisting, caus'd the two Forks to be broke. The poor Woman sitting in the House with her Child on her Lap, hearing the Noise in the Barn, rose hastily, and clapping the Child in the Cradle, with its Clouts hanging loose about it, ran to the Barn, and dropt the Swath; which was found as aforesaid: And so met her poor Husband's Fate.
Thus Things pass'd without Discovery for Seven Years, all which Time the Villain liv'd beyond Sea. At the Seven Years End, thinking the Matter might be forgot, he came into England, and being a North-country Man, directed his Journey towards Kaxton; And calling at an Alehouse in a Village near that Town to drink and rest himself, it so happen'd, that the Master of the House was Constable at the Time he fled, when the Hue-and Cries were after him; and now, in Seven Years Time, the Office having been round the Village, was come to him again. By what Spirit or Genius this Constable was inspired, cannot be guess'd; but so it was, he thought this Man answer'd the Character of the Hue-and-Cry which came to his Hands Seven Years before, of which, perhaps, he had the Copy by him; Wherefore, by Virtue of his Office, he seiz'd him, and carry'd him before a Justice, who examin'd and committed him: But the Crime of which he was suspected being committed Southward, near Kaxton, he was conveyed thither to be Try'd; At what Time, there were many Witnesses appear'd to testify that he was the Labourer in that Farmyard, when this Murder was committed; all which he most stedfastly deny'd, protesting, that he never was there in his Life, nor knew the Place. At last, the Servant of that Farm, who knew him very well by his Face and Speech, added one Circumstantial more, saying, That the Man who then thrash'd in the Barn, had a Running-Sore on his Side; which, said he, I have divers times help'd him to dress; so that if the Sore should be heal'd, there must needs be a Scar. Hereupon the Part being search'd, and the Scar plainly appearing, he could no longer oppose or deny so manifest a Truth. He was hang'd in Chains by the Road-side near Kaxton; an Example of the most vile Cruelty that could be committed.
There happen'd to pass some Cambridge Scholars that Way to visit some Friends thereabouts; and the Weather being a little turbulent, the Wind and Wet so discompos'd their Wiggs, that when they came in, they fancy'd them to look like that on the Head of the Hang'd Man. This Fancy they carry'd back with them to Cambridge, and there broach'd it amongst the Youth of their Time; which, by Degrees, spread over the Nation. Afterwards, by reason of many of our young Gentlemen going into the Wars in divers and distant Countries, this Fancy was carried with them, so that in most Parts of Europe, to this Day, an ill-dress'd Wigg is call'd
According to the usual Proverb as aforesaid, One Story begets another, so it happen'd amongst this Company: The next Gentleman said, That forasmuch as the two former had embellish'd their Stories by Proverbs, he would not offer to the Company a Relation but what he knew to be Truth.
There was, said he, a certain Gentleman of Distinction, who at his Death, left three Daughters Coheiresses, under the Guardianship of their Uncle his Brother. The Gentleman being dead, the young Ladies, by Advice of their Uncle, broke up House, and sold their Goods, in order to put themselves into Places of polite Education, thereby to improve themselves before they entred into a Married State.
In order to which, their Family was retrench'd, Servants paid off, and Goods sold; And every Thing being thus dispos'd, and they ready to leave the House, there came one Evening, a Gentleman that had lost his Way, and, driven by ill Weather, begg'd Refuge at this House. The young Ladies were fearful to receive him, their Family being small, and the Situation distant from Neighbours: But Commiseration of the Gentleman's distrest Condition moving them, at last they entertain'd him very kindly, made a handsome Supper, and lodg'd him in a good Room; but withal, took Care to fasten his Door, and all Passages that led to it, in order to secure themselves from any wicked Intention he might possibly have to let in any Gang of Villains to destroy or disturb them: And, for their better Security, they resolv'd not to go to Bed that Night; but sate up, often descanting on their Folly, in having admitted this Stranger, which was the Cause of their Discomposure. Then would they reflect on his Horse, Pistols, and Accoutrements, all which, they fancy'd, had more the Air of an Highway-man, than a solitary unfortunate Traveller. Then again, they would reflect on the Genteelness of his Person and Behaviour; the Honesty and Integrity of his Countenance; the Agreeableness of his Discourse, all tending to Vertue and Honesty, and adorn'd with Wit and good Humour.
Thus, Pro and Con, they entertain'd and rejected their Fears, 'till after Midnight; and then their wavering Apprehensions were turn'd into a substantial thorow Fright; for they heard at the Drawing-room Door, which open'd into the Garden, a Noise of breaking open; which made them presently conclude it to be some of the Traveller's Companions, who, because he could not let 'em in, being fast lock'd up, had betaken themselves to this forcible Entry.
Thus being frighted, distressed, and distracted; they went to see what was become of the Traveller; but they peeping and listening at the Door, could perceive nothing, but that he was fast asleep; Whereupon they took Courage, enter'd his Chamber, awak'd him, and told him their Distress. He immediately got up, took his Sword and Pistols, went with them to the Drawing-Room, and found the Door almost ready to give the Villains Entrance: The Door and the Jaumb being shatter'd, the Gentleman had the better Opportunity to let fly at them; which he did, and with such Success, that one of them fell down dead, or sore wounded; and the others had enough to do to get him away, and themselves off clear.
We may imagine how they spent the rest of the Night; the least Part of which, we may suppose, pass'd in Sleep. Next Morning, they earnestly invited the Traveller to stay with them the coming Day, to prevent any farther Frights, though, we may reasonably suppose, they provided themselves of Assistance for the ensuing Night. The Gentleman was too Generous to refuse their Request, at least for a Day, hoping their Spirits, which were greatly disorder'd by the Night's Distractions, might be restored in that Time.
They had scarce din'd, when a Messenger came from their Uncle, who liv'd about Four Miles off, to invite them to his Son's Funeral the next Day. They were greatly surprized at this sudden and unexpected News; and divers Questions they ask'd the Messenger; testified much Grief for the Death of their dear Cousin; promis'd to go and pay that last Respect to his Memory; and with many dutiful and compassionate Services to their Uncle, dismiss'd the Messenger.
Then they desir'd the Traveller to go along with them on the Morrow, that they might present him to their Uncle, as the Author of their Safety. He was not hard to be persuaded to defer his Journey, or suspend his Business; Beauty and Fortunes being always most powerful Rhetoricians.
In short, he went along with them; where, we will suppose, they found all the Desolation suitable to such an Occasion. The Ladies desired to see their Cousin, e'er he was interr'd; but he was fasten'd up before they came: This increas'd the Gentleman's Suspicion, who having laid many Ends together, began greatly to believe there was some foul Play. Wherefore, without saying a Word, he went to some Officers of Justice, which he brought along with him, and commanded the Coffin to be open'd, and the Corps search'd: In so doing, they found a Wound in the Body, which had been his Death; upon which surprizing Spectacle, the whole Family was seized; And now, being in the Hands of Justice, the old Man's Grief and Remorse would not permit him to conceal any-thing; but he freely and openly own'd, That he and his Son design'd to murder the young Ladies, and so become Lords of their Inheritance.
This free Confession soon put a Period to his Afflictions, by the Help of a Shameful Death; and the young Gentleman, who was a younger Brother, made his Fortune and himself Happy in the Marriage of one of the Ladies. And thus, according to the Proverb,
The Company having return'd the Gentleman Thanks, told Galesia, That they hop'd she had some Story or Adventure wherewith to oblige them. To which she reply'd, That, truly, she had pass'd so many Years out of England, that she should be obliged to conduct their Attention as far as Paris. And so proceeded.
I suppose, said she, you all know there is a great Fair, in the Fauxbourgh Saint Germains at Paris, kept at a certain Time of the Year; wherein there are, besides all sorts of Merchandize, Shews, Games, and Raffling, & c.
Hither it was that a Gentlewoman and I were going, a little to divert ourselves amongst other Holy-day Fools, and passing through Luxembourg-Garden, we sate down on a Bench, a-while to rest ourselves: Where, regarding the well-built House of Luxembourg, wherein lived the Princess Madamoiselle de Monpensier, we began to reflect on the Folly of that Lady, for adhering to the Rebels in the King's Minority, and how unfortunate she had made herself in having lost his Majesty's Favour for so doing. Whilst we were in this Discourse, a Gentleman of our own Country came to us, and asked, If we were design'd for the Fair? We told him Yes. There has been, said he, a great Bustle in the Fair to Day. Whereupon we desired him to sit down, and tell us what was the Occasion.
Last Night, said he, there were Gentlemen raffled in a Booth 'till it was pretty late. At last, the Losers having pretty well emptied their Pockets, departed. He that was the chief Winner, was also about to go; but the Master of the Booth dissuaded him, telling him, That there were many Spies about the Fair, taking Notice of those that were Winners; and when they went away, took Opportunity to rob, and sometimes murder them: And you, Sir, continued he, having won considerable, will be in Danger; wherefore, I beg you to remain here 'till Day-light. The Gentleman found the Advice very reasonable, and sate himself down in an Easy-Chair, and bid them make him a Pot of Chocolate, and he would there get a little Sleep.
So said, so done; but in the Chocolate, they put a good Dose of Opium; and when he was fallen into a sound Sleep, they murder'd him, cut him in Pieces, and carry'd him out to a Common Shore, into which they threw him.
In the Morning, a Foot of him was seen by Passengers, who calling Officers of Justice, got out the Body Piece-meal as it was, as also the Head; and amongst all this, a Plate, which was writ on, belonging to such a Cook.
The Cook and his Family were hereupon seiz'd and examined, who knew nothing of the Matter, but call'd to Mind to whom they had sent out Meat that Day, and who had, or had not return'd the Plates. At last the People of the foresaid Booth were seiz'd and examin'd: Conscience, which flew in their Faces, would not permit them to deny it much: The Maid own'd, that she carried the Head out upon a Plate, which Plate slipp'd out of her Hands when she threw the Head into the Common Shore.
Thus Four of our Passengers told their melancholy Stories, which the Danger of the Road had first brought into their Memories. There was a Fifth, a young Lady Daughter to one of the Gentlemen: so they ask'd, If she had not a Story wherewith to oblige the Company? To which she reply'd, That she had no Story of that kind; being but, lately come out of a Nunnery, (where her Father had plac'd her for a safe Education, Death having depriv'd her of her Mother); but she would relate a Transaction which happen'd in the said Convent.
There was a beautiful young Lady said she, and a Gentleman, suitable in Years, Quality, and all other Accomplishments of Mind and Person, who contracted a mutual Affection for each other; but the Gifts of Fortune were not such as could probably make them happy; for which Reason, the Parents on both Sides oppos'd their Espousals.
The young Lady, finding that she could not give her Person to him to whom she had surrender'd her Affections, implored the Favour of her Parents, to let her enter into a Convent, where, amongst those holy Votaries, she might endeavour to overcome her Passion. Her Friends consented to the Proposal, concluding that Time and perpetual Absence might give her that Tranquility which could not be had otherwise.
Our young Lady being in the Convent, began to be charm'd with that devout and heavenly Way of Living: Such Regularity and Exactitude in their Religious Performances: Such Patience; such Obedience: Such Purity of Manners; by which those holy Souls climb to Heaven; that, considering the Difficulty, or rather, Impossibility of ever possessing her Cavalier, she resolved to bury all Thoughts of him, together with her own Beauty, under a holy Veil: To which her Friends giving Consent, though very unwillingly, she betook herself to a Religious Habit, in order to perform her Time of Probation. In the mean time, our Cavalier was ingaged in the Army far distant, both performing their Duties according to their Stations.
And now, behold the Vicissitude of Human Affairs: Our Cavalier, by his valiant and noble Atchievements, was advanc'd to great Honours in the Army, and at the same Time he had an Uncle dy'd, who left him an Estate that seem'd to put him above the Reach of adverse Fortune; and not knowing the Fate of his Beloved Mistress, he returned Home, not fearing any Obstacle in his Addresses, (after such Acquisitions of Glory and Fortune) either from the young Lady or her Parents.
But, alas! when he came and found his dear Mistress ingaged in a Religious Order, how great his Affliction was, is hard to describe. Ah! said he, had she been taken Prisoner by the Turk, one might hope, by Valour or Money, for her Inlargement: or had she been married to some old unworthy Rival, Time or Death might provide her a Release; or was she confin'd or forbidden by the Caprice of humoursome Parents, Respect, Duty, and Indearments to them, might gain not only their Consent, but their Affections. But, as it is, (O wretched as I am! unfortunate and miserable!) I am not only deprived of all Hopes of injoying her, but of ever seeing her; Nor can so much as the least Line from me reach her Hands; Nay, so unhappy I am, that it is said to be a Crime in me even to complain to my-self. Unhappy that I am! to have mov'd and acted in Showers of Bullets untouch'd, and now to sink under the most incurable of all Wounds! I coveted the Glory of Conquest, and the Riches of Reward, for no other End, but to render me more acceptable to her, and her Parents. I have no Taste of the Glory of Victory, or the Pleasure of Plenty, since she is not to be Copartner in my Glory or Abundance.
These and a thousand such Lamentations he utter'd when alone, or only in the hearing of a little pretty Hugonot-Page, which he had taken whilst in the Army, who hearing his Complaints, took the Liberty to speak to his Master, telling him, That he doubted not but by his Means he might find a way to correspond with this his Religious Mistress, and know, at least, whether she had thus sequester'd her self from him out of real Devotion, or the Persuasions of her Parents, or Despair of the Continuation of his Kindness; for the last of which he thought she had no Reason; for though he was long absent, and far distant, yet he had not fail'd to give her perpetual Assurances in Writing, not reflecting how difficult, if not impossible, it is in those Places for Letters to come to the Hands of the Beloved. But to return to our Page:
The Master and he agreed, that he should be dress'd like a Girl, and put into that Convent, to be educated in good Manners, and instructed in Religion. This they contriv'd with the utmost Dexterity, and executed with Success. And now behold our Page-Damsel is got into the Convent with full Instructions from his Master, to the young Nun, or rather Novice; for, as Luck was, she was not yet profess'd, though she had been there above a Year; the Order of that House requiring Two Years Probation.
And here the young Gentlewoman who related the Story, read to us the following Letter, which the Cavalier intrusted to the young Hugonot, which, she said, she had procured a Copy of.
I cannot tell whether Grief or Surprize have the greatest Share in my Breast, to find you ingaged in a State so absolutely destructive to my Happiness; but both exceed all Degrees of Comparison. Ah! my fair and dear Creature, how could you be so cruel to your self and me! For I flatter my-self, it was and is a Cruelty to You as well as to Me your fond Lover: I say, How could you abandon me to Despair? In which I would say (if I durst) that you are not only Unkind, but Criminal: For you ought not thus to have given yourself away without my Consent or Knowledge. Recollect, how often you have assured me of your Affections, and everlasting Love; and that the only Objection you or your Parents had against our Espousals, was Narrowness of Fortune. But that Objection being remov'd, you ought to be wholly Mine; You ought not to give away that which is not your own. Stollen Goods are an unworthy, nay, an impious Offering to Heaven. King Saul sav'd that which was none of his, to sacrifice to the Lord, and how unacceptable it was, I desire you to consider, and make the Application.
Think on these Things, my Bright, my Fair, my Dear Charmer: And think what Injustice you do me, every Moment you deprive me of your Person. And, believe it, you are but a Murderer, as long as you seclude yourself from me, who cannot live without you: Therefore, bethink yourself of the Injury you do me; and repair all, by the Surrender of your Person to me, who have the True and Real, though not the common Legal Right to alledge.
The young Lady that gives you this, will take Measures with you; Take Courage then, my dearest Life! to put in Practice what is so well contrived; and so make Happy the most Faithful of Lovers, even
Your Constant and Passionate,
This Letter our young Hugonot found an Opportunity, to deliver, though with great Difficulty; for in those Houses they correspond very little, but live in Solitude and Silence, nor ever go into each other's Cells, those Places being the Recesses for solitary Meditation: But more especially the Religious Dames converse not with the young Ladies who are there for Education, except those that are placed over them, as Teachers and Governesses. Nevertheless, our fair Messenger, found some lucky Moment to deliver the Letter, and recount to her the Griefs her Cavalier suffer'd for her sake, the many Sighs he breath'd, the many Tears he shed, and Groans he utter'd, with continual Languishing in Discontent and Despair; All which so touch'd our Novice, that she began to regret what she had done, and to wish she could find a Way, handsomely and without Contempt, to undo what she had done.
Millions of Things she revolved in her Mind, discuss'd the Matter between the poor State of a Religious Life, destitute of all Comforts, and those Pleasures which are to be found in a Plentiful Fortune, with a noble young Husband, honour'd with Wreaths of martial Glory; In all which she made her own Inclinations Arbitrator between Heaven and Earth, God and the World, & c. — After many Debates with herself, she wrote to her Cavalier as follows.
Your Letter has so ruffled my whole Interior, that I know not how to write common Sense: Therefore, if my Answer be unintelligible, blame me not, for I am utterly lost in an Abyss of Confusion: The Thoughts of breaking my holy Resolutions on one Hand, and the Sufferings which the keeping them, makes us both undergo, on the other, distracts me. My dear Chevalier! change your Reproaches into Pity: I will endeavour to repair my Faults: Faults! did I say? Ah me! it is a Crime, to call this my Religious Enterprize a Fault! My Thoughts, Words, Writings, on this Occasion, are Faults! The very Corresponding with the young Lady you placed here, is a Fault! Yet, a Fault so sweet, so delicious, that I cannot refrain, because she recounts a thousand tender Things of you; repeats your Sighs and Grief in such soft and melting Words and Accents, as would soften the most obdurate Heart.
Then, what Effect, think you, must it have on Mine, which is prepared to be set on Fire by the least Spark struck from your dear Assurances, which she most industriously blows into a Flame, not to be suppress'd by any devout Sighs, Tears, or other Religious Mortifications; by which I suffer a perpetual Martyrdom, and see no Way of Delivery, but by adhering to your Advice sent by her, and come to your Arms: Those dear glorious Arms! those Arms, that have honoured your Family, Friends, and Native Country! Those Arms, that have crown'd the Hero with Lawrels, and the Lover with Myrtles. Those Arms, that have greatly help'd to subdue the Enemies of France, and built Trophies in the Hearts of the Fair.
O! can I refuse my Hero? Can I refuse my Lover? Can I refuse my dear Chevalier? Indeed, I cannot! No, no, I cannot! I will not! The Temptation is too great to be resisted by frail Mortality.
Wherefore, my beloved Chevalier, I will comply with those Measures you and your young Hugonot have taken.
This Letter being writ, our Two young Ladies were greatly embarrass'd how to get it to the Cavalier's Hands: At last, they thought on the following Means. The Hugonot work'd a curious fine Purse, and begg'd Leave of the Abbess to present it to her Patron the Cavalier. So between the Lining and the Out-side they plac'd this Letter, writ on fine Paper and in a small Character, and so convey'd it to the Cavalier.
Now the Way, contriv'd to extricate the Fair Novice from the Convent, was thus; That the Cavalier should be present at the Altar, when she should come to take her Religious Vows; At what Time, she declar'd before the whole Congregation, That all the Vow she meant to take, should be in Holy Marriage to that Gentleman, taking him by the Hand. This surpriz'd the whole Congregation; in particular, her Parents, and the Quire of Nuns. Some blam'd the Boldness of that Proceeding, saying she might have gone out quietly and privately: Others prais'd the generous open Way she had taken. The Clergy, which were there assembled, all told her Parents, That they could not refuse their Consent, since she had demanded him at the Altar of God. All the Quality there (which were many, who came to assist and grace the Ceremony) said the same. The Parents were very well content, only wish'd she had proceeded otherwise, and not made herself the Publick Subject of a Nine Days Wonder.
In short, all were pleas'd, and the Marriage was accomplished to every Body's Satisfaction, except to that of the young Hugonot; Who came forth, and, on her Knees, begg'd Pardon for having deluded her Master; For, indeed, said she, I am not a Boy, as I pretended to be, but a foolish Girl, that took that Disguise upon me to be near your Person; that illustrious Person, which not only dazled the Eyes of me, an unthinking Maid, but which, joyn'd with your Noble Actions, made all Hearts rejoice. But when I came to be Witness of your Grief for this Lady, Pity and Generosity supplanted Affection, and made me undertake this Enterprize; for which, I humbly beg Pardon of all these holy Votaries; and that they will receive me a Member of their Pious Society; in which Station, I shall offer my daily Prayers for the Happiness and Prosperity of this Noble Couple.
This Discovery was a Surprize greater than the other; But there being many of the dignified Clergy as well as Quality, all interceded so, that, in short, the Nuns received the Hugonot; the Couple was married; and Things were brought to a happy Conclusion.
The Company return'd Thanks to the young Lady, for her diverting Story: And by this Time, the Coach was got to the Town, where the Company were all to alight, except Galesia, who was to go alone in the Coach to the End of the Stage. It happen'd, that there was another Stage-Coach stopp'd at the same Place, and set out at the same Time with hers; and whether the Bounty of the Passengers had over-filled the Heads of the Coachmen, or what other Freak, is unknown; but they drove the Two Coaches full Gallop, 'till they came to a Bridge, and there one Coach jostled the other so, that that in which was our Galesia, fell, together with its Horses, off the Bridge into the River.
By good Luck, this Bridge was at the Entry of a little Village, so that People hastened to their Assistance; some helping the Horses, some the Coach, and some with Difficulty getting out Galesia; Who however, when she was got out, found no Hurt, only was very wet: She was much pity'd by the good People; amongst whom there was a poor Woman took her under the Arm, and told her, she would conduct her to a House, where she might be accommodated with all Manner of Conveniences.
All wet and dropping, she got to this House, which was a poor Village-Ale-house; and a poor one indeed it was; It being Evening, the Woman of the House was gone out a Milking, so that the good Man could come at no Sheets, that she might have got rid of her wet Cloaths, by going to Bed; However, he laid on a large Country Faggot; so she sat and smoaked in her wet Cloaths, 'till the good Woman came; who hasten'd and got the Bed Sheeted, into which she gladly laid herself; but the poorest that her Bones ever felt, there being a few Flocks that stank; and so thin of the same, that she felt the Cords cut through. The Blankets were of Thread-bare Home-spun Stuff, which felt and smelt like a Pancake fry'd in Grease; There were Four Curtains at the Four Corners, from whence they could no more stir, than Curtains in a Picture; for there were neither Rods nor Ropes for them to run upon; no Testern, but the Thatch of the House; A Chair with a Piece of a Bottom, and a brown Chamberpot, furr'd as thick as a Crown Piece.
However, all this was a better Lodging than the Bottom of the River; and great and many Thanks were due to God for it. The good Woman was kind, and brought Galesia a good wooden Dish-full of boil'd Milk, well crumb'd with brown Barley-Bread; which she persuaded her to eat, to drive out the Cold. She took Care to get her Cloaths dry, and brought them to her, e'er she went a Milking. And notwithstanding all these Hardships, she got no Cold, Cough or Lameness; but arose well-refresh'd; took Leave of her Landlord and departed, directing her Steps and Intentions towards the Town were the Stage-Coach'd Inn'd.
But it so happen'd, in this her Journey, that she lost her Way, and got, she knew not how, into a fine Park, amongst Trees, Firs, Thickets, Rabbet-burrows, and such like; nor knew she where she was, nor which Way to go; but standing still a little while to consider, she heard a Tomtit sing in a Tree, as her musing Fancy made her imagine,
Sit thee down, sit thee down, sit thee down, sit.
At the same time looking on one Side, she saw a handsome Seat at a very little Distance, to which she went, and obey'd the threefold Advice. As she sat there to rest herself, revolving divers Thoughts, a little Hedge-Sparrow in a Bush, sung, Chear-up, Chear-up; Ah! poor Bird! said she, thou givest me good Counsel; but that is all thou hast to give; and bare Words help little to a hungry Stomach, and I know not where to fill mine, unless I could eat Grass like the Four-footed Beasts.
As she was in these Thoughts, a Crow sitting in a Tree, with a hoarse Voice, seem'd to say Good-Luck, Good-Luck! If thou art a true Prophet, said Galesia, the Birds of thy Colour, shall no more be counted Birds of Ill Omen, but the Painters shall put a long Tail to you, and the Poets shall call you Birds of Paradise.
As she was thus musing on the Language of the Birds, she heard a Noise of Hunting in the Park, Horns winding, Men hollowing, and calling Ringwood, Rockwood, ho! Boman! Blossom, ho. She then began to reflect how necessary this Diversion was: Alas! said she, if it was not for this, we might all lodge as bad as I did last Night. We are beholden to Ringwood and Jowler, for many a Dainty Morsel which Reynard would deprive us of, if it were not for this Pack of Allies, who oppose his Tyranny; Who otherwise would not only over-run the Woods, and Farmers Yards, 'till there is neither Cocks nor Hens, but would also ravage the Fens and Islands, the Habitations of Ducks and Geese; Then long live Ringwood, Rockwood, Boman and Jowler, by whose Industry we eat good Bits, and lie on good Beds.
Whilst Galesia was in these Cogitations, the Dogs and Hunters came very near where she was sitting; amongst whom, was a Lady, mounted on a beautiful Steed, who beginning to grow weary of the Chace, order'd her Servants to stop, and help her off her Horse, resolving to walk home over the Park, it being a fine smooth Walk betwixt two Rows of Lime trees, planted and grown in exact Form, agreeable to the Eye, pleasing to the Smell, and making a most delightful Shade. The Lady directing her Eyes and Steps towards this Walk, she saw Galesia sitting in the disconsolate Posture aforesaid, and being not a little surpriz'd to see a Gentlewoman all alone in that desolate Place, could not avoid interrogating her thereupon.
Galesia, in few and respectful Words, inform'd the Lady of her Disaster of being overthrown into the River the Day before, and her bad Lodging at Night, and her losing her Way that Morning, all which made her betake herself to that Seat. The Lady most courteously and charitably took her along with her to her House, which was a Noble Structure, situate in the midst of that Park. Here she entertain'd her very kindly; assuring her of all Assistance to convey her to the Place to which she was design'd, when she had rested and recover'd her Fatigue. In the mean Time, she diverted her, by shewing Galesia her Gardens, House, and glorious Appartments, adorn'd with rich Furniture of all Sorts; some were the Work of hers and her Husband's Ancestors, who delighted to imploy poor Gentlewomen, thereby to keep them from Distress, and evil Company, 'till Time and Friends could dispose Things for their better Settlement.
At last, the Lady shew'd her an Appartment embellish'd with Furniture of her own making, which was Patch-Work, most curiously compos'd of rich Silks, and Silver and Gold Brocades: The whole Furniture was compleated excepting a Screen, which the Lady and her Maids were going about. Her Ladyship told Galesia, She would take it kindly if her Affairs would permit her to stay with her some time, and assist her in her Screen. Which Invitation Galesia most gladly accepted, begging the Lady to send to the next Stage of the Coach and Carrier, for her Trunks and Boxes, which contained her Wearing-Cloaths. The Lady forthwith sent for the Things, hoping that therein they might find some Bits of one thing or other, that might be useful to place in the Screen. But when the Trunks and Boxes came, and were opened, alas! they found nothing but Pieces of Romances, Poems, Love-Letters, and the like: At which the good Lady smil'd, saying, She would not have her Fancy balk'd, and therefore resolved to have these ranged and mixed in due Order, and thereof compose a SCREEN.
And thus it came to pass, that the following SCREEN was compos'd.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51