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Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister by Aphra Behn

Part 5 out of 8

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disturbed with dreams more insupportable than my waking wishes; for
reason then suppresses rising thoughts, and the impossibility of
obtaining keeps the fond soul in order; but sleep----gives an
unguarded loose to soft desire, it brings the lovely phantom to my
view, and tempts me with a thousand charms to love; I see a face, a
mien, a shape, a look! Such as heaven never made, or any thing but
fond imagination! Oh, it was a wondrous vision!' 'For my part,'
replied the old one, 'I am such a heathen Christian, madam, as I do
not believe there are any such things as visions, or ghosts, or
phantoms: but your head runs of a young man, because you are married
to an old one; such an idea as you framed in your wishes possessed
your fancy, which was so strong (as indeed fancy will be sometimes)
that it persuaded you it was a very phantom or vision.' 'Let it be
fancy or vision, or whatever else you can give a name to,' replied
_Calista_, 'still it is that, that never ceased since to torture me
with a thousand pains; and prithee why, _Dormina_, is not fancy since
as powerful in me as it was before? Fancy has not been since so kind;
yet I have given it room for thought, which before I never did; I sat
whole hours and days, and fixed my soul upon the lovely figure; I know
its stature to an inch, tall and divinely made; I saw his hair, long,
black, and curling to his waist, all loose and flowing; I saw his
eyes, where all the _Cupids_ played, black, large, and sparkling,
piercing, loving, languishing; I saw his lips sweet, dimpled, red, and
soft; a youth complete in all, like early _May_, that looks, and
smells, and cheers above the rest: in fine, I saw him such as nothing
but the nicest fancy can imagine, and nothing can describe; I saw him
such as robs me of my rest, as gives me all the raging pains of love
(love I believe it is) without the joy of any single hope.' 'Oh,
madam,' said _Dormina_, 'that love will quickly die, which is not
nursed with hope, why that is its only food.' 'Pray heaven I find it
so,' replied _Calista_. At that she sighed as if her heart had broken,
and leaned her arm upon a rail of the end of the seat, and laid her
lovely cheek upon her hand, and so continued without speaking; while
I, who was not a little transported with what I heard, with infinite
pain with-held myself from kneeling at her feet, and prostrating
before her that happy phantom of which she had spoke so favourably;
but still I feared my fate, and to give any offence. While I was
amidst a thousand thoughts considering which to pursue, I could hear
_Dormina_ snoring as fast as could be, leaning at her ease on the
other end of the seat, supported by a wide marble rail; which
_Calista_ hearing also, turned and looked on her, then softly rose and
walked away to see how long she would sleep there, if not waked. Judge
now, my dear _Octavio_, whether love and fortune were not absolutely
subdued to my interest, and if all things did not favour my design:
the very thought of being alone with _Calista_, of making myself known
to her, of the opportunity she gave me by going from _Dormina_ into a
by-walk, the very joy of ten thousand hopes, that filled my soul in
that happy moment, which I fancied the most blessed of my life, made
me tremble all over; and with unassured steps I softly pursued the
object of my new desire: sometimes I even overtook her, and fearing to
fright her, and cause her to make some noise that might alarm the
sleeping _Dormina_, I slackened my pace, till in a walk, at the end of
which she was obliged to turn back, I remained, and suffered her to go
on; it was a walk of grass, broad, and at the end of it a little
arbour of greens, into which she went and sat down, looking towards
me; and methought she looked full at me; so that finding she made no
noise, I softly approached the door of the arbour at a convenient
distance; she then stood up in great amaze, as she after said; and I
kneeling down in an humble posture, cried--'Wonder not, oh sacred
charmer of my soul, to see me at your feet at this late hour, and in a
place so inaccessible; for what attempt is there so hazardous
despairing lovers dare not undertake, and what impossibility almost
can they not overcome? Remove your fears, oh conqueress of my soul;
for I am an humble mortal that adores you; I have a thousand wounds, a
thousand pains that prove me flesh and blood, if you would hear my
story: oh give me leave to approach you with that awe you do the
sacred altars; for my devotion is as pure as that which from your
charming lips ascends the heavens----' With such cant and stuff as
this, which lovers serve themselves with on occasion, I lessened the
terrors of the frighted beauty, and she soon saw, with joy in her
eyes, that I both was a mortal, and the same she had before seen in
the outward garden: I rose from my knees then, and with a joy that
wandered all over my body, trembling and panting I approached her, and
took her hand and kissed it with a transport that was almost ready to
lay me fainting at her feet, nor did she answer any thing to what I
had said, but with sighs suffered her hand to remain in mine; her eyes
she cast to earth, her breast heaved with nimble motions, and we both,
unable to support ourselves, sat down together on a green bank in the
arbour, where by the light we had, we gazed at each other, unable to
utter a syllable on either side. I confess, my dear _Octavio_, I have
felt love before, but do not know that ever I was possessed with such
pleasing pain, such agreeable languishment in all my life, as in those
happy moments with the fair _Calista_: and on the other, I dare answer
for the soft fair one; she felt a passion as tender as mine; which,
when she could recover her first transport, she expressed in such a
manner as has wholly charmed me: for with all the eloquence of young
angels, and all their innocence too, she said, she whispered, she
sighed the softest things that ever lover heard. I told you before she
had from her infancy been bred in a monastery, kept from the sight of
men, and knew no one art or subtlety of her sex; but in the very
purity of her innocence she appeared like the first-born maid in
Paradise, generously giving her soul away to the great lord of all,
the new-formed man, and nothing of her heart's dear thoughts she did
reserve, (but such as modest nature should conceal;) yet, if I touched
but on that tender part where honour dwelt, she had a sense too nice,
as it was a wonder to find so vast a store of that mixed with so soft
a passion. Oh what an excellent thing a perfect woman is, ere man has
taught her arts to keep her empire, by being himself inconstant! All I
could ask of love she freely gave, and told me every sentiment of her
heart, but it was in such a way, so innocently she confessed her
passion, that every word added new flames to mine, and made me raging
mad: at last, she suffered me to kiss with caution; but one begat
another,----that a number----and every one was an advance to
happiness; and I who knew my advantage, lost no time, but put each
minute to the properest use; now I embrace, clasp her fair lovely body
close to mine, which nothing parted but her shift and gown; my busy
hands find passage to her breasts, and give and take a thousand
nameless joys; all but the last I reaped; that heaven was still
denied; though she were fainting in my trembling arms, still she had
watching sense to guard that treasure: yet, in spite of all, a
thousand times I brought her to the very point of yielding; but oh she
begs and pleads with all the eloquence of love! tells me, that what
she had to give me she gave, but would not violate her marriage-vow;
no, not to save that life she found in danger with too much love, and
too extreme desire: she told me, that I had undone her quite; she
sighed, and wished that she had seen me sooner, ere fate had rendered
her a sacrifice to the embraces of old _Clarinau_; she wept with love,
and answered with a sob to every vow I made: thus by degrees she
wrought me to undoing, and made me mad in love. It was thus we passed
the night; we told the hasty hours, and cursed their coming: we told
from ten to three, and all that time seemed but a little minute: nor
would I let her go, who was as loath to part, till she had given me
leave to see her often there; I told her all my story of her conquest,
and how I came into the garden: she asked me pleasantly, if I were not
afraid of old _Clarinau_; I told her no, of nothing but of his being
happy with her, which thought I could not bear: she assured me I had
so little reason to envy him, that he rather deserved my compassion;
for that, her aversion was so extreme to him; his person, years, his
temper, and his diseases were so disagreeable to her, that she could
not dissemble her disgust, but gave him most evident proofs of it too
frequently ever since she had the misfortune of being his wife; but
that since she had seen the charming _Philander_, (for so we must let
her call him too) his company and conversation was wholly
insupportable to her; and but that he had ever used to let her have
four nights in the week her own, wherein he never disturbed her
repose, she should have been dead with his nasty entertainment: she
vowed she never knew a soft desire but for _Philander_, she never had
the least concern for any of his sex besides, and till she felt his
touches----took in his kisses, and suffered his dear embraces, she
never knew that woman was ordained for any joy with man, but fancied
it designed in its creation for a poor slave to be oppressed at
pleasure by the husband, dully to yield obedience and no more: but I
had taught her now, she said, to her eternal ruin, that there was more
in nature than she knew, or ever should, had she not seen _Philander_;
she knew not what dear name to call it by, but something in her blood,
something that panted in her heart, glowed in her cheeks, and
languished in her looks, told her she was not born for _Clarinau_, or
love would do her wrong: I soothed the thought, and urged the laws of
nature, the power of love, necessity of youth----and the wonder that
was yet behind, that ravishing something, which not love or kisses
could make her guess at; so beyond all soft imagination, that nothing
but a trial could convince her; but she resisted still, and still I
pleaded with all the subtlest arguments of love, words mixed with
kisses, sighing mixed with vows, but all in vain; religion was my foe,
and tyrant honour guarded all her charms: thus did we pass the night,
till the young morn advancing in the East forced us to bid adieu:
which oft we did, and oft we sighed and kissed, oft parted and
returned, and sighed again, and as she went away, she weeping,
cried,--wringing my hand in hers, 'Pray heaven, _Philander_, this dear
interview do not prove fatal to me; for oh, I find frail nature weak
about me, and one dear minute more would forfeit all my honour.' At
this she started from my trembling hand, and swept the walk like wind
so swift and sudden, and left me panting, sighing, wishing, dying,
with mighty love and hope: and after a little time I scaled my wall,
and returned unseen to my new lodging. It was four days after before I
could get any other happiness, but that of seeing her at her window,
which was just against mine, from which I never stirred, hardly to eat
or sleep, and that she saw with joy; for every morning I had a billet
from her, which we contrived that happy night should be conveyed me
thus--It was a by-street where I lodged, and the other side was only
the dead wall of her garden, where early in the morning she used to
walk; and having the billet ready, she put it with a stone into a
little leathern-purse, and tossed it over the wall, where either
myself from the window, or my young friend below waited for it, and
that way every morning and every evening she received one from me; but
'tis impossible to tell you the innocent passion she expressed in
them, innocent in that there was no art, no feigned nice folly to
express a virtue that was not in the soul; but all she spoke confessed
her heart's soft wishes. At last, (for I am tedious in a relation of
what gave me so much pleasure in the entertainment) at last, I say, I
received the happy invitation to come into the garden as before; and
night advancing for my purpose, I need not say that I delivered myself
upon the place appointed, which was by the fountain-side beneath her
chamber-window; towards which I cast, you may believe, many a longing
look: the clock struck ten, eleven, and then twelve, but no dear star
appeared to conduct me to my happiness; at last I heard the little
garden-door (against the fountain) open, and saw _Calista_ there
wrapped in her night-gown only: I ran like lightning to her arms, with
all the transports of an eager lover, and almost smothered myself in
her warm rising breast; for she taking me in her arms let go her gown,
which falling open, left nothing but her shift between me and all her
charming body. But she bid me hear what she had to say before I
proceeded farther; she told me she was forced to wait till _Dormina_
was asleep, who lay in her chamber, and then stealing the key, she
came softly down to let me in. 'But,' said she, 'since I am all
undressed, and cannot walk in the garden with you, will you promise
me, on love and honour, to be obedient to all my commands, if I carry
you to my chamber? for _Dormina_'s sleep is like death itself;
however, lest she chance to awake, and should take an occasion to
speak to me, it were absolutely necessary that I were there; for since
I served her such a trick the other night, and let her sleep so long,
she will not let me walk late.' A very little argument persuaded me to
yield to any thing to be with _Calista_ any where; so that both
returning softly to her chamber, she put herself into bed, and left me
kneeling on the carpet: but it was not long that I remained so; from
the dear touches of her hands and breast we came to kisses, and so
equally to a forgetfulness of all we had promised and agreed on
before, and broke all rules and articles that were not in the favour
of love; so that stripping myself by degrees, while she with an
unwilling force made some feeble resistance, I got into the arms of
the most charming woman that ever nature made; she was all over
perfection; I dare not tell you more; let it suffice she was all that
luxurious man could wish, and all that renders woman fine and
ravishing. About two hours thus was my soul in rapture, while
sometimes she reproached me, but so gently, that it was to bid me
still be false and perjured, if these were the effects of it; 'If
disobedience have such wondrous charms, may I,' said she, 'be still
commanding thee, and thou still disobeying.' While thus we lay with
equal ravishment, we heard a murmuring noise at a distance, which we
knew not what to make of, but it grew still louder and louder, but
still at a distance too; this first alarmed us, and I was no sooner
persuaded to rise, but I heard a door unlock at the side of the bed,
which was not that by which I entered; for that was at the other end
of the chamber towards the window. 'Oh heavens,' said the fair
frighted trembler, 'here is the Count of _Clarinau_.' For he always
came up that way, and those stairs by which I ascended were the
back-stairs; so that I had just time to grope my way towards the door,
without so much as taking my clothes with me; never was any amorous
adventurer in so lamentable a condition, I would fain have turned upon
him, and at once have hindered him from entering with my sword in my
hand, and secured him from ever disturbing my pleasure any more; but
she implored I would not, and in this minute's dispute he came so near
me, that he touched me as I glided from him; but not being acquainted
very well with the chamber, having never seen my way, I lighted in my
passage on _Dormina_'s pallet-bed, and threw myself quite over her to
the chamber-door, which made a damnable clattering, and awaking
_Dormina_ with my catastrophe, she set up such a bawl, as frighted and
alarmed the old Count, who was just taking in a candle from his
footman, who had lighted it at his flambeau: So that hearing the
noise, and knowing it must be some body in the chamber, he let fall
his candle in the fright, and called his footman in with the flambeau,
draws his Toledo, which he had in his hand, and wrapped in his
night-gown, with three or four woollen caps one upon the top of
another, tied under his tawny, leathern chops, he made a very pleasant
figure, and such a one as had like to have betrayed me by laughing at
it; he closely pursued me, though not so close as to see me before
him; yet so as not to give me time to ascend the wall, or to make my
escape up or down any walk, which were straight and long, and not able
to conceal any body from pursuers, approached so near as the Count was
to me: what should I do? I was naked, unarmed, and no defence against
his jealous rage; and now in danger of my life, I knew not what to
resolve on; yet I swear to you, _Octavio_, even in that minute (which
I thought my last) I had no repentance of the dear sin, or any other
fear, but that which possessed me for the fair _Calista_; and calling
upon _Venus_ and her son for my safety (for I had scarce a thought yet
of any other deity) the sea-born queen lent me immediate aid, and ere
I was aware of it, I touched the fountain, and in the same minute
threw myself into the water, which a mighty large basin or cistern of
white marble contained, of a compass that forty men might have hid
themselves in it; they had pursued me so hard, they fancied they heard
me press the gravel near the fountain, and with the torch they
searched round about it, and beat the fringing flowers that grew
pretty high about the bottom of it, while I sometimes dived, and
sometimes peeped up to take a view of my busy coxcomb, who had like to
have made me burst into laughter many times to see his figure; the
dashing of the stream, which continually fell from the little pipes
above in the basin, hindered him from hearing the noise I might
possibly have made by my swimming in it: after he had surveyed it
round without-side, he took the torch in his own hand, and surveyed
the water itself, while I dived, and so long forced to remain so, that
I believed I had escaped his sword to die that foolisher way; but just
as I was like to expire, he departed muttering, that he was sure some
body did go out before him; and now he searched every walk and arbour
of the garden, while like a fish I lay basking in element still, not
daring to adventure out, lest his hasty return should find me on the
wall, or in my passage over: I thanked my stars he had not found the
ladder, so that at last returning to _Calista_'s chamber, after
finding no body, he desired (as I heard the next morning) to know what
the matter was in her chamber: but _Calista_, who till now never knew
an art, had before he came laid her bed in order, and taken up my
clothes, and put them between her bed and quilt; not forgetting any
one thing that belonged to me, she was laid as fast asleep as
innocence itself; so that _Clarinau_ awaking her, she seemed as
surprised and ignorant of all, as if she had indeed been innocent; so
that _Dormina_ now remained the only suspected person; who being asked
what she could say concerning that uproar she made, she only said, as
she thought, that she dreamed His Honour fell out of the bed upon her,
and awaking in a fright she found it was but a dream, and so she fell
asleep again till he awaked her whom she wondered to see there at that
hour; he told them that while they were securely sleeping he was like
to have been burned in his bed, a piece of his apartment being burned
down, which caused him to come thither; but he made them both swear
that there was no body in the chamber of _Calista_, before he would be
undeceived; for he vowed he saw something in the garden, which, to his
thinking, was all white, and it vanished on the sudden behind the
fountain, and we could see no more of it. _Calista_ dissembled
abundance of fear, and said she would never walk after candlelight for
fear of that ghost; and so they passed the rest of the night, while I,
all wet and cold, got me to my lodging unperceived, for my young
friend had left the door open for me.

Thus, dear _Octavio_, I have sent you a novel, instead of a letter, of
my first most happy adventure, of which I must repeat thus much again,
that of all the enjoyments I ever had, I was never so perfectly well
entertained for two hours, and I am waiting with infinite patience for
a second encounter. I shall be extremely glad to hear what progress
you have made in your amour; for I have lost all for _Sylvia_, but the
affection of a brother, with that natural pity we have for those we
have undone; for my heart, my soul and body are all _Calista_'s, the
bright, the young, the witty, the gay, the fondly-loving _Calista_:
only some reserve I have in all for _Octavio_. Pardon this long
history, for it is a sort of acting all one's joys again, to be
telling them to a friend so dear, as is the gallant _Octavio_ to



_I should, for some reasons that concern my safety, have quitted Ms
town before, but I am chained to it, and no sense of danger while_
Calista _compels my stay._

If _Octavio_'s trouble was great before, from but his fear of
_Calista_'s yielding, what must it be now, when he found all his fears
confirmed? The pressures of his soul were too extreme before, and the
concern he had for _Sylvia_ had brought it to the highest tide of
grief; so that this addition overwhelmed it quite, and left him no
room for rage; no, it could not discharge itself so happily, but bowed
and yielded to all the extremes of love, grief, and sense of honour;
he threw himself upon his bed, and lay without sense or motion for a
whole hour, confused with thought, and divided in his concern, half
for a mistress false, and half for a sister loose and undone; by turns
the sister and the mistress torture; by turns they break his heart: he
had this comfort left before, that if _Calista_ were undone, her ruin
made way for his love and happiness with _Sylvia_, but now----he had
no prospect left that could afford any ease; he changes from one sad
object to another, from _Sylvia_ to _Calista_, then back to _Sylvia_;
but like to feverish men that toss about here and there, remove for
some relief, he shifts but to new pain, wherever he turns he finds the
madman still: in this distraction of thought he remained till a page
from _Sylvia_ brought him this letter, which in midst of all, he
started from his bed with excess of joy, and read.


_My Lord_,

After your last affront by your page, I believe it will surprise you
to receive any thing from _Sylvia_ but scorn and disdain: but, my
lord, the interest you have by a thousand ways been so long making in
my heart, cannot so soon be cancelled by a minute's offence; and every
action of your life has been too generous to make me think you writ
what I have received, at least you are not well in your senses: I have
committed a fault against your love, I must confess, and am not
ashamed of the little cheat I put upon you in bringing you to bed to
_Antonet_ instead of _Sylvia_: I was ashamed to be so easily won, and
took it ill your passion was so mercenary to ask so coarsely for the
possession of me; too great a pay I thought for so poor service, as
rendering up a letter which in honour you ought before to have shewed
me: I own I gave you hope, in that too I was criminal; but these are
faults that sure deserved a kinder punishment than what I last
received--a whore--, a common mistress! Death, you are a coward----and
even to a woman dare not say it, when she confronts the
scandaler,----Yet pardon me, I mean not to revile, but gently to
reproach; it was unkind----at least allow me that, and much unlike

I think I had not troubled you, my lord, with the least confession of
my resentment, but I could not leave the town, where for the honour of
your conversation and friendship alone I have remained so long,
without acquitting myself of those obligations I had to you; I send
you therefore the key of my closet and cabinet, where you shall find
not only your letters, but all those presents you have been pleased
once to think me worthy of: but having taken back your friendship, I
render you the less valuable trifles, and will retain no more of
_Octavio_, than the dear memory of that part of his life that was so
agreeable to the unfortunate


He reading this letter, finished with tears of tender love; but
considering it all over, he fancied she had put great constraint upon
her natural high spirit to write in this calm manner to him, and
through all he found dissembled rage, which yet was visible in that
one breaking out in the middle of the letter: he found she was not
able to contain at the word, common mistress. In fine, however calm it
was, and however designed, he found, and at least he thought he found
the charming jilt all over; he fancies from the hint she gave him of
the change of _Antonet_ for herself in bed, that it was some new cheat
that was to be put upon him, and to bring herself off with credit:
yet, in spite of all this appearing reason, he wishes, and has a
secret hope, that either she is not in fault, or that she will so
cozen him into a belief she is not, that it may serve as well to
soothe his willing heart; and now all he fears is, that she will not
put so neat a cheat upon him, but that he shall be able to see through
it, and still be obliged to retain his ill opinion of her: but love
returned, she had roused the flame anew, and softened all his rougher
thoughts with this dear letter; and now in haste he calls for his
clothes, and suffering himself to be dressed with all the advantage of
his sex, he throws himself into his coach, and goes to _Sylvia_, whom
he finds just dressed _en chevalier_, (and setting her head and
feather in good order before the glass) with a design to depart the
town, at least so far as should have raised a concern in _Octavio_, if
yet he had any for her, to have followed her; he ran up without asking
leave into her chamber; and ere she was aware of him he threw himself
at her feet, and clasping her knees, to which he fixed his mouth, he
remained there for a little space without life or motion, and pressed
her in his arms as fast as a dying man. She was not offended to see
him there, and he appeared more lovely than ever he yet had been. His
grief had added a languishment and paleness to his face, which
sufficiently told her he had not been at ease while absent from her;
and on the other side, _Sylvia_ appeared ten thousand times more
charming than ever, the dress of a boy adding extremely to her beauty:
'Oh you are a pretty lover,' said she, raising him from her knees to
her arms, 'to treat a mistress so for a little innocent
raillery.----Come, sit and tell me how you came to discover the
harmless cheat;' setting him down on the side of her bed. 'Oh name it
no more,' cried he, 'let that damned night be blotted from the year,
deceive me, flatter me, say you are innocent; tell me my senses rave,
my eyes were false, deceitful, and my ears were deaf: say any thing
that may convince my madness, and bring me back to tame adoring love.'
'What means _Octavio_,' replied _Sylvia_, 'sure he is not so nice and
squeamish a lover, but a fair young maid might have been welcome to
him coming so prepared for love; though it was not she whom he
expected, it might have served as well in the dark at least?' 'Well
said,' replied _Octavio_, forcing a smile '----advance, pursue the
dear design, and cheat me still, and to convince my soul, oh swear it
too, for women want no weapons of defence, oaths, vows, and tears,
sighs, imprecations, ravings, are all the tools to fashion mankind
coxcombs: I am an easy fellow, fit for use, and long to be initiated
fool; come, swear I was not here the other night.' 'It is granted,
sir, you were: why all this passion?' This _Sylvia_ spoke, and took
him by the hand, which burnt with raging fire; and though he spoke
with all the heat of love, his looks were soft the while as infant
_Cupids_: still he proceeded; 'Oh charming _Sylvia_, since you are so
unkind to tell me truth, cease, cease to speak at all, and let me only
gaze upon those eyes that can so well deceive: their looks are
innocent, at least they will flatter me, and tell mine they lost their
faculties that other night.' 'No,' replied _Sylvia_, 'I am convinced
they did not, you saw _Antonet_----' 'Conduct a happy man'
(interrupted he) 'to _Sylvia_'s bed. Oh, why by your confession must
my soul be tortured over anew!' At this he hung his head upon his
bosom, and sighed as if each breath would be his last. 'Heavens!'
cried _Sylvia_, 'what is it _Octavio_ says! Conduct a happy lover to
my bed! by all that is sacred I am abused, designed upon to be
betrayed and lost; what said you, sir, a lover to my bed!' When he
replied in a fainting tone, clasping her to his arms, 'Now, _Sylvia_,
you are kind, be perfect woman, and keep to cozening still----Now back
it with a very little oath, and I am as well as before I saw your
falsehood, and never will lose one thought upon it more.' 'Forbear,'
said she, 'you will make me angry. In short, what is it you would say?
Or swear, you rave, and then I will pity what I now despise, if you
can think me false.' He only answered with a sigh, and she pursued,
'Am I not worth an answer? Tell me your soul and thoughts, as ever you
hope for favour from my love, or to preserve my quiet.' 'If you will
promise me to say it is false,' replied he softly, 'I will confess the
errors of my senses. I came the other night at twelve, the door was
open.-----' 'It is true,' said _Sylvia_----'At the stairs-foot I found
a man, and saw him led to you into your chamber, sighing as he went,
and panting with impatience: now, _Sylvia_, if you value my repose, my
life, my reputation, or my services, turn it off handsomely, and I am
happy.' At that, being wholly amazed, she told him the whole story, as
you heard of her dressing _Antonet_, and bringing him to her; at which
he smiled, and begged her to go on----She fetched the pieces of
_Brilliard_'s counterfeit letters, and shewed him; this brought him a
little to his wits, and at first sight he was ready to fancy the
letters came indeed from him; he found the character his, but not his
business; and in great amaze replied, 'Ah, madam, did you know
_Octavio_'s soul so well, and could you imagine it capable of a
thought like this? A presumption so daring to the most awful of her
sex; this was unkind indeed: and did you answer them?' 'Yes,' replied
she, 'with all the kindness I could force my pen to express.' So that
after canvassing the matter, and relating the whole story again with
his being taken ill, they concluded from every circumstance
_Brilliard_ was the man; for _Antonet_ was called to council; who now
recollecting all things in her mind, and knowing _Brilliard_ but too
well, she confessed she verily believed it was he, especially when she
told how she stole a letter of _Octavio_'s for him that day, and how
he was ill of the same disease still. _Octavio_ then called his page,
and sent him home for the note _Brilliard_ had sent him, and all
appeared as clear as day: but _Antonet_ met with a great many
reproaches for shewing her lady's letters, which she excused as well
as she could: but never was man so ravished with joy as _Octavio_ was
at the knowledge of _Sylvia_'s innocence; a thousand times he kneeled
and begged her pardon; and her figure encouraging his caresses, a
thousand times he embraced her, he smiled, and blushed, and sighed
with love and joy, and knew not how to express it most effectually:
and _Sylvia_, who had other business than love in her heart and head,
suffered all the marks of his eager passion and transport out of
design, for she had a farther use to make of _Octavio_; though when
she surveyed his person handsome, young, and adorned with all the
graces and beauties of the sex, not at all inferior to _Philander_, if
not exceeding in every judgement but that of _Sylvia_; when she
considered his soul, where wit, love, and honour equally reigned, when
she consults the excellence of his nature, his generosity, courage,
friendship, and softness, she sighed and cried, it was pity to impose
upon him; and make his love for which she should esteem him, a
property to draw him to his ruin; for so she fancied it must be if
ever he encountered _Philander_; and though good nature was the least
ingredient that formed the soul of this fair charmer, yet now she
found she had a mixture of it, from her concern for _Octavio_; and
that generous lover made her so many soft vows, and tender
protestations of the respect and awfulness of his passion, that she
was wholly convinced he was her slave; nor could she see the constant
languisher pouring out his soul and fortune at her feet, without
suffering some warmth about her heart, which she had never felt but
for _Philander_; and this day she expressed herself more obligingly
than ever she had done, and allows him little freedoms of approaching
her with more softness than hitherto she had; and, absolutely charmed,
he promises, lavishly and without reserve, all she would ask of him;
and in requital she assured him all he could wish or hope, if he would
serve her in her revenge against _Philander_: she recounts to him at
large the story of her undoing, her quality, her fortune, her nice
education, the care and tenderness of her noble parents, and charges
all her fate to the evil conduct of her heedless youth: sometimes the
reflection on her ruin, she looking back upon her former innocence and
tranquillity, forces the tears to flow from her fair eyes, and makes
_Octavio_ sigh, and weep by sympathy: sometimes (arrived at the
amorous part of her relation) she would sigh and languish with the
remembrance of past joys in their beginning love; and sometimes smile
at the little unlucky adventures they met with, and their escapes; so
that different passions seized her soul while she spoke, while that of
all love filled _Octavio_'s: he dotes, he burns, and every word she
utters enflames him still the more; he fixes his very soul upon her
tongue, and darts his very eyes into her face, and every thing she
says raises his vast esteem and passion higher. In fine, having with
the eloquence of sacred wit, and all the charms of every differing
passion, finished her moving tale, they both declined their eyes,
whose falling showers kept equal time and pace, and for a little time
were still as thought: when _Octavio_, oppressed with mighty love,
broke the soft silence, and burst into extravagance of passion, says
all that men (grown mad with love and wishing) could utter to the idol
of his heart; and to oblige her more, recounts his life in short;
wherein, in spite of all his modesty, she found all that was great and
brave; all that was noble, fortunate and honest: and having now
confirmed her, he deserved her, kneeling implored she would accept of
him, not as a lover for a term of passion, for dates of months or
years, but for a long eternity; not as a rifler of her sacred honour,
but to defend it from the censuring world; he vowed he would forget
that ever any part of it was lost, nor by a look or action ever
upbraid her with a misfortune past, but still look forward on nobler
joys to come: and now implores that he may bring a priest to tie the
solemn knot. In spite of all her love for _Philander_, she could not
choose but take this offer kindly; and indeed, it made a very great
impression on her heart; she knew nothing but the height of love could
oblige a man of his quality and vast fortune, with all the advantages
of youth and beauty, to marry her in so ill circumstances; and paying
him first those acknowledgements that were due on so great an
occasion, with all the tenderness in her voice and eyes that she could
put on, she excused herself from receiving the favour, by telling him
she was so unfortunate as to be with child by the ungrateful man; and
falling at that thought into new tears, she moved him to infinite
love, and infinite compassion; insomuch that, wholly abandoning
himself to softness, he assured her, if she would secure him all his
happiness by marrying him now, that he would wait till she were
brought to bed, before he would demand the glorious recompense he
aspired to; so that _Sylvia_, being oppressed with obligation, finding
yet in her soul a violent passion for _Philander_, she knew not how to
take, or how to refuse the blessing offered, since _Octavio_ was a man
whom, in her height of innocence and youth, she might have been vain
and proud of engaging to this degree. He saw her pain and
irresolution, and being absolutely undone with love, delivers her
_Philander_'s last letter to him, with what he had sent her enclosed;
the sight of the very outside of it made her grow pale as death, and a
feebleness seized her all over, that made her unable for a moment to
open it; all which confusion _Octavio_ saw with pain, which she
perceiving recollected her thoughts as well as she could, and opened
it, and read it; that to _Octavio_ first, as being fondest of the
continuation of the history of his falsehood, she read, and often
paused to recover her spirits that were fainting at every period; and
having finished it, she fell down on the bed where they sat. _Octavio_
caught her in her fall in his arms, where she remained dead some
moments; whilst he, just on the point of being so himself, ravingly
called for help; and _Antonet_ being in the dressing-room ran to them,
and by degrees _Sylvia_ recovered, and asked _Octavio_ a thousand
pardons for exposing a weakness to him, which was but the effects of
the last blaze of love: and taking a cordial which _Antonet_ brought
her, she roused, resolved, and took _Octavio_ by the hand: 'Now,' said
she, 'shew yourself that generous lover you have professed, and give
me your vows of revenge on _Philander_; and after that, by all that is
holy,' kneeling as she spoke, and holding him fast, 'by all my injured
innocence, by all my noble father's wrongs, and my dear mother's
grief; by all my sister's sufferings, I swear, I will marry you, love
you, and give you all!' This she spoke without considering _Antonet_
was by, and spoke it with all the rage, and blushes in her face, that
injured love and revenge could inspire: and on the other side, the
sense of his sister's honour lost, and that of the tender passion he
had for _Sylvia_, made him swear by all that was sacred, and by all
the vows of eternal love and honour he had made to _Sylvia_, to go and
revenge himself and her on the false friend and lover, and confessed
the second motive, which was his sister's fame, 'For,' cried he,'that
foul adulteress, that false _Calista_, is so allied to me.' But still
he urged that would add to the justness of his cause, if he might
depart her husband as well as lover, and revenge an injured wife as
well as sister; and now he could ask nothing she did not easily grant;
and because it was late in the day, they concluded that the morning
shall consummate all his desires: and now she gives him her letter to
read; 'For,' said she, 'I shall esteem myself henceforth so absolutely
_Octavio_'s, that I will not so much as read a line from that perjured
ruiner of my honour;' he took the letter with smiles and bows of
gratitude, and read it.


There are a thousand reasons, dearest _Sylvia_, at this time that
prevent my writing to you, reasons that will be convincing enough to
oblige my pardon, and plead my cause with her that loves me: all which
I will lay before you when I have the happiness to see you; I have met
with some affairs since my arrival to this place, that wholly take up
my time; affairs of State, whose fatigues have put my heart extremely
out of tune, and if not carefully managed may turn to my perpetual
ruin, so that I have not an hour in a day to spare for _Sylvia_;
which, believe me, is the greatest affliction of my life; and I have
no prospect of ease in the endless toils of life, but that of reposing
in the arms of _Sylvia_: some short intervals: pardon my haste, for
you cannot guess the weighty business that at present robs you of


'You lie, false villain-----' replied _Sylvia_ in mighty rage, 'I can
guess your business, and can revenge it too; curse on thee, slave, to
think me grown as poor in sense as honour: to be cajoled with
this--stuff that would never sham a chambermaid: death! am I so
forlorn, so despicable, I am not worth the pains of being well
dissembled with? Confusion overtake him, misery seize him; may I
become his plague while life remains, or public tortures end him!'
This, with all the madness that ever inspired a lunatic, she uttered
with tears and violent actions: when _Octavio_ besought her not to
afflict herself, and almost wished he did not love a temper so
contrary to his own: he told her he was sorry, extremely sorry, to
find she still retained so violent a passion for a man unworthy of her
least concern; when she replied--'Do not mistake my soul, by heaven it
is pride, disdain, despite and hate--to think he should believe this
dull excuse could pass upon my judgement; had the false traitor told
me that he hated me, or that his faithless date of love was out, I had
been tame with all my injuries; but poorly thus to impose upon my
wit--By heaven he shall not bear the affront to hell in triumph! No
more--I have vowed he shall not--my soul has fixed, and now will be at
ease--Forgive me, oh _Octavio_;' and letting herself fall into his
arms, she soon obtained what she asked for; one touch of the fair
charmer could calm him into love and softness.

Thus, after a thousand transports of passion on his side, and all the
seeming tenderness on hers, the night being far advanced, and new
confirmations given and taken on either side of pursuing the happy
agreement in the morning, which they had again resolved, they
appointed that _Sylvia_ and _Antonet_ should go three miles out of
town to a little village, where there was a church, and that _Octavio_
should meet them there to be confirmed and secured of all the
happiness he proposed to himself in this world--_Sylvia_ being so
wholly bent upon revenge (for the accomplishment of which alone she
accepted of _Octavio_) that she had lost all remembrance of her former
marriage with _Brilliard_: or if it ever entered into her thought, it
was only considered as a sham, nothing designed but to secure her from
being taken from _Philander_ by her parents; and, without any respect
to the sacred tie, to be regarded no more; nor did she design this
with _Octavio_ from any respect she had to the holy state of
matrimony, but from a lust of vengeance which she would buy at any
price, and which she found no man so well able to satisfy as

But what wretched changes of fortune she met with after this, and what
miserable portion of fate was destined to this unhappy wanderer, the
last part of _Philander_'s life, and the third and last part of this
history, shall most faithfully relate.

_The End of the Second Part._

The Amours of Philander and Sylvia

Part III.

_Octavio_, the brave, the generous, and the amorous, having left
_Sylvia_ absolutely resolved to give herself to that doting fond
lover, or rather to sacrifice herself to her revenge, that
unconsidering unfortunate, whose passion had exposed him to all the
unreasonable effects of it, returned to his own house, wholly
transported with his happy success. He thinks on nothing but vast
coming joys: nor did one kind thought direct him back to the evil
consequences of what he so hastily pursued; he reflects not on her
circumstances but her charms, not on the infamy he should espouse with
_Sylvia_, but on those ravishing pleasures she was capable of giving
him: he regards not the reproaches of his friends; but wholly
abandoned to love and youthful imaginations, gives a loose to young
desire and fancy that deludes him with a thousand soft ideas: he
reflects not, that his gentle and easy temper was most unfit to join
with that of _Sylvia_, which was the most haughty and humorous in
nature; for though she had all the charms of youth and beauty that are
conquering in her sex, all the wit and insinuation that even surpasses
youth and beauty; yet to render her character impartially, she had
also abundance of disagreeing qualities mixed with her perfections.
She was imperious and proud even to insolence; vain and conceited even
to folly; she knew her virtues and her graces too well, and her vices
too little; she was very opinionated and obstinate, hard to be
convinced of the falsest argument, but very positive in her fancied
judgement: abounding in her own sense, and very critical on that of
others: censorious, and too apt to charge others with those crimes to
which she was herself addicted, or had been guilty of: amorously
inclined, and indiscreet in the management of her amours, and constant
rather from pride and shame than inclination; fond of catching at
every trifling conquest, and loving the triumph, though she hated the
slave. Yet she had virtues too that balanced her vices, among which we
must allow her to have loved _Philander_ with a passion, that nothing
but his ingratitude could have decayed in her heart, nor was it
lessened but by a force that gave her a thousand tortures, racks and
pangs, which had almost cost her her less valued life; for being of a
temper nice in love, and very fiery, apt to fly into rages at every
accident that did but touch that tenderest part, her heart, she
suffered a world of violence, and extremity of rage and grief by
turns, at this affront and inconstancy of _Philander_. Nevertheless
she was now so discreet, or rather cunning, to dissemble her
resentment the best she could to her generous lover, for whom she had
more inclination than she yet had leisure to perceive, and which she
now attributes wholly to her revenge; and considering _Octavio_ as the
most proper instrument for that, she fancies what was indeed a growing
tenderness from the sense of his merit, to be the effects of that
revenge she so much thirsted after; and though without she dissembled
a calm, within she was all fury and disorder, all storm and
distraction: she went to bed racked with a thousand thoughts of
despairing love: sometimes all the softness of _Philander_ in their
happy enjoyments came in view, and made her sometimes weep, and
sometimes faint with the dear loved remembrance; sometimes his late
enjoyments with _Calista_, and then she raved and burnt with frantic
rage: but oh! at last she found her hope was gone, and wisely fell to
argue with her soul. She knew love would not long subsist on the thin
diet of despair, and resolving he was never to be retrieved who once
had ceased to love, she strove to bend her soul to useful reason, and
thinks on all _Octavio_'s obligations, his vows, his assiduity, his
beauty, his youth, his fortune, and his generous offer, and with the
aid of pride resolves to unfix her heart, and give it better treatment
in his bosom: to cease at least to love the false _Philander_, if she
could never force her soul to hate him: and though this was not so
soon done as thought on, in a heart so prepossesed as that of
_Sylvia_'s, yet there is some hope of a recovery, when a woman in that
extremity will but think of listening to love from any new adorer, and
having once resolved to pursue the fugitive no more with the natural
artillery of their sighs and tears, reproaches and complaints, they
have recourse to every thing that may soonest chase from the heart
those thoughts that oppress it: for nature is not inclined to hurt
itself; and there are but very few who find it necessary to die of the
disease of love. Of this sort was our _Sylvia_, though to give her her
due, never any person who did not indeed die, ever languished under
the torments of love, as did that charming and afflicted maid.

While _Sylvia_ remained in these eternal inquietudes, _Antonet_,
having quitted her chamber, takes this opportunity to go to that of
_Brilliard_, whom she had not visited in two days before, being
extremely troubled at his design, which she now found he had on her
lady; she had a mind to vent her spleen, and as the proverb says,
'Call Whore first'. _Brilliard_ longed as much to see her to rail at
her for being privy to _Octavio_'s approach to _Sylvia_'s bed (as he
thought she imagined) and not giving him an account of it, as she used
to do of all the secrets of her lady. She finds him alone in her
chamber, recovered from all but the torments of his unhappy
disappointment. She approached him with all the anger her sort of
passion could inspire (for love in a mean unthinking soul, is not that
glorious thing it is in the brave;) however she had enough to serve
her pleasure; for _Brilliard_ was young and handsome, and both being
bent on railing without knowing each other's intentions, they both
equally flew into high words, he upbraiding her with her infidelity,
and she him with his. 'Are not you,' said he (growing more calm) 'the
falsest of your tribe, to keep a secret from me that so much concerned
me? Is it for this I have refused the addresses of burgomasters' wives
and daughters, where I could have made my fortune and my satisfaction,
to keep myself entirely for a thing that betrays me, and keeps every
secret of her heart from me? False and forsworn, I will be fool no
more.' 'It is well, sir,' (replied _Antonet_) 'that you having been
the most perfidious man alive, should accuse me who am innocent: come,
come sir, you have not carried matters so swimmingly, but I could
easily dive into the other night's intrigue and secret.' 'What secret
thou false one? Thou art all over secret; a very hopeful bawd at
eighteen----go, I hate ye----' At this she wept, and he pursued his
railing to out-noise her, 'You thought, because your deed were done in
darkness, they were concealed from a lover's eye; no, thou young
viper, I saw, I heard, and felt, and satisfied every sense of this thy
falsehood, when _Octavio_ was conducted to _Sylvia_'s bed by thee.'
'But what,' said she, 'if instead of _Octavio_ I conducted the
perfidious traitor to love, _Brilliard_? Who then was false and
perjured?' At this he blushed extremely, which was too visible on his
fair face. She being now confirmed she had the better of him,
continued--'Let thy confusion,' said she with scorn, 'witness the
truth of what I say, and I have been but too well acquainted with that
body of yours,' weeping as she spoke, 'to mistake it for that of
_Octavio_.' 'Softly, dear _Antonet_,' replied he----'nay, now your
tears have calmed me'; and taking her in his arms, sought to appease
her by all the arguments of seeming love and tenderness; while she,
yet wholly unsatisfied in that cheat of his of going to Sylvia's bed,
remained still pouting and very frumpish. But he that had but one
argument left, that on all occasions served to convince her, had at
last recourse to that, which put her in good humour, and hanging on
his neck, she kindly chid him for putting such a trick upon her lady.
He told her, and confirmed it with an oath, that he did it but to try
how far she was just to his friend and lord, and not any desire he had
for a beauty that was too much of his own complexion to charm him; it
was only the brunette and the black, such as herself, that could move
him to desire; thus he shams her into perfect peace. 'And why,' said
she, 'were you not satisfied that she was false, as well from the
assignation, as the trial?' 'Oh no,' said he, 'you women have a
thousand arts of gibing, and no man ought to believe you, but put you
to the trial.' 'Well,' said she, 'when I had brought you to the bed,
when you found her arms stretched out to receive you, why did you not
retire like an honest man, and leave her to herself?' 'Oh fie,' said
he, 'that had not been to have acted _Octavio_ to the life, but would
have made a discovery.' 'Ah,' said she, 'that was your aim to have
acted _Octavio_ to the life, I believe, and not to discover my lady's
constancy to your lord; but I suppose you have been sworn at the Butt
of _Heidleburgh_, never to kiss the maid, when you can kiss the
mistress.' But he renewing his caresses and asseverations of love to
her, she suffered herself to be convinced of all he had a mind to have
her believe. After this she could not contain any secret from him, but
told him she had something to say to him, which if he knew, would
convince him she had all the passion in the world for him: he presses
eagerly to know, and she pursues to tell him, it is as much as her
life is worth to discover it, and that she lies under the obligation
of an oath not to tell it; but kisses and rhetoric prevail, and she
cries--'What will you say now, if my lady may marry one of the
greatest and most considerable persons in all this country?' 'I should
not wonder at her conquest,' (replied _Brilliard_) 'but I should
wonder if she should marry.' 'Then cease your wonder,' replied she,
'for she is to-morrow to be married to Count _Octavio_, whom she is to
meet at nine in the morning to that end, at a little village a league
from this place.' She spoke, and he believes; and finds it true by the
raging of his blood, which he could not conceal from _Antonet_, and
for which he feigns a thousand excuses to the amorous maid, and
charges his concern on that for his lord: at last (after some more
discourse on that subject) he pretends to grow sleepy, and hastens her
to her chamber; and locking the door after her, he began to reflect on
what she had said, and grew to all the torment of rage and jealousy,
and all the despairs of a passionate lover: and though this hope was
not extreme before, yet as lovers do, he found, or fancied a
probability (from his lord's inconstancy, and his own right of
marriage) that the necessity she might chance to be in of his
friendship and assistance in a strange country, might some happy
moment or other render him the blessing he so long had waited for from
_Sylvia_; for he ever designed, when either his lord left her, grew
cold, or should happen to die, to put in his claim of husband. And the
soft familiar way, with which she eternally lived with him, encouraged
this hope and design; nay, she had often made him advances to that
happy expectation. But this fatal blow had driven him from all his
fancied joys, to the most wretched estate of a desperate lover. He
traverses his chamber, wounded with a thousand different thoughts,
mixed with those of preventing this union the next morning. Sometimes
he resolves to fight _Octavio_, for his birth might pretend to it, and
he wanted no courage; but he is afraid of being overcome by that
gallant man, and either losing his hopes with his life, or if he
killed _Octavio_, to be forced from his happiness, or die an
ignominious death: sometimes he resolves to own _Sylvia_ for his wife,
but then he fears the rage of that dear object of his soul, which he
dreads more than death itself: so that tossed from one extreme to
another, from one resolution to a hundred, he was not able to fix upon
any thing. In this perplexity he remained till day appeared, that day
must advance with his undoing, while _Sylvia_ and _Antonet_ were
preparing for the design concluded on the last night. This he heard,
and every minute that approached gave him new torments, so that now he
would have given himself to the Prince of Darkness for a kind
disappointment: he was often ready to go and throw himself at her
feet, and plead against her enterprise in hand, and to urge the
unlawfulness of a double marriage, ready to make vows for the fidelity
of _Philander_, though before so much against his own interest, and to
tell her all those letters from him were forged: he thought on all
things, but nothing remained with him, but despair of every thing. At
last the devil and his own subtlety put him upon a prevention, though
base, yet the most likely to succeed, in his opinion.

He knew there were many factions in _Holland_, and that the _States_
themselves were divided in their interests, and a thousand jealousies
and fears were eternally spread amongst the rabble; there were cabals
for every interest, that of the _French_ so prevailing, that of the
_English_, and that of the illustrious _Orange_, and others for the
_States_; so that it was not a difficulty to move any mischief, and
pass it off among the crowd for dangerous consequences. _Brilliard_
knew each division, and which way they were inclined; he knew
_Octavio_ was not so well with the _States_ as not to be easily
rendered worse; for he was so entirely a creature and favourite of the
Prince, that they conceived abundance of jealousies of him which they
durst not own. _Brilliard_ besides knew a great man, who having a
pique to _Octavio_, might the sooner be brought to receive any ill
character of him: to this sullen magistrate he applies himself, and
deluding the credulous busy old man with a thousand circumstantial
lies, he discovers to him, that _Octavio_ held a correspondence with
the _French_ King to betray the State; and that he caballed to that
end with some who were looked upon as _French_ rebels, but indeed were
no other than spies to _France_. This coming from a man of that party,
and whose lord was a _French_ rebel, gained a perfect credit with the
old Sir _Politic_; so that immediately hasting to the state-house, he
lays this weighty affair before them, who soon found it reasonable, if
not true, at least they feared, and sent out a warrant for the speedy
apprehending him; but coming to his house, though early, they found
him gone, and being informed which way he took, the messenger pursued
him, and found his coach at the door of a _cabaret_, too obscure for
his quality, which made them apprehend this was some place of
rendezvous where he possibly met with his traitorous associators: they
send in, and cunningly inquire who he waited for, or who was with him,
and they understood he stayed for some gentleman of the _French_
nation; for he had ordered _Sylvia_ to come in man's clothes that she
might not be known; and had given order below, that if two _French_
gentlemen came they should be brought to him. This information made
the scandal as clear as day, and the messenger no longer doubted of
the reasonableness of his warrant, though he was loath to serve it on
a person whose father he had served so many years. He waits at some
distance from the house unseen, though he could take a view of all; he
saw _Octavio_ come often out into the balcony, and look with longing
eyes towards the road that leads to the town; he saw him all rich and
gay as a young bridegroom, lovely and young as the morning that
flattered him with so fair and happy a day; at last he saw two
gentlemen alight at the door, and giving their horses to a page to
walk the while, they ran up into the chamber where _Octavio_ was
waiting, who had already sent his page to prepare the priest in the
village-church to marry them. You may imagine, with what love and joy
the ravished youth approached the idol of his soul, and she, who
beholds him in more beauty than ever yet she thought he had appeared,
pleased with all things he had on, with the gay morning, the flowery
field, the air, the little journey, and a thousand diverting things,
made no resistance to those fond embraces that pressed her a thousand
times with silent transport, and falling tears of eager love and
pleasure; but even in that moment of content, she forgot _Philander_,
and received all the satisfaction so soft a lover could dispense:
while they were mutually thus exchanging looks, and almost hearts, the
messenger came into the room, and as civilly as possible told
_Octavio_ he had a warrant for him, to secure him as a traitor to the
State, and a spy for _France_. You need not be told the surprise and
astonishment he was in; however he obeyed. The messenger turning to
_Sylvia_, cried, 'Sir, though I can hardly credit this crime that is
charged to my lord, yet the finding him here with two _French_
gentlemen, gives me some more fears that there may be something in it;
and it would do well if you would deliver yourselves into my hands for
the farther clearing this gentleman.' This foolish grave speech of the
messenger had like to have put _Octavio_ into a loud laughter, he
addressing himself to two women for two men: but _Sylvia_ replied,
'Sir, I hope you do not take us for so little friends to the gallant
_Octavio_, to abandon him in this misfortune; no, we will share it
with him, be it what it will.' To this the generous lover blushing
with kind surprise, bowed, and kissing her hand with transport, called
her his charming friend; and so all three being guarded back in
_Octavio_'s coach they return to the town, and to the house of the
messenger, which made a great noise all over, that _Octavio_ was taken
with two _French_ Jesuits plotting to fire _Amsterdam_, and a thousand
things equally ridiculous. They were all three lodged together in one
house, that of the messenger, which was very fine, and fit to
entertain any persons of quality; while _Brilliard_, who did not like
that part of the project, bethought him of a thousand ways how to free
her from thence; for he designed, as soon as _Octavio_ should be
taken, to have got her to have quitted the town under pretence of
being taken upon suspicion of holding correspondence with him, because
they were _French_; but her delivering herself up had not only undone
all his design, but had made it unsafe for him to stay. While he was
thus bethinking himself what he should do, _Octavio_'s uncle, who was
one of the _States_, extremely affronted at the indignity put upon his
nephew and his sole heir, the darling of his heart and eyes, commands
that this informer may be secured; and accordingly _Brilliard_ was
taken into custody, who giving himself over for a lost man, resolves
to put himself upon _Octavio_'s mercy, by telling him the motives that
induced him to this violent and ungenerous course. It was some days
before the Council thought fit to call for _Octavio_, to hear what he
had to say for himself; in the mean time, he having not had permission
yet to see _Sylvia_; and being extremely desirous of that happiness,
he bethought himself that the messenger, having been in his father's
service, might have so much respect for the son, as to allow him to
speak to that fair charmer, provided he might be a witness to what he
should say: he sends for him, and demanded of him where those two fair
prisoners were lodged who came with him in the morning; he told him,
in a very good apartment on the same floor, and that they were very
well accommodated, and seemed to have no other trouble but what they
suffered for him. 'I hope, my Lord,' added he--'your confinement will
not be long; for I hear there is a person taken up, who has confessed
he did it for a revenge on you.' At this _Octavio_ was very well
pleased, and asked him who it was? And he told him a _French_
gentleman belonging to the Count _Philander_, who about six months ago
was obliged to quit the town as an enemy to _France_. He soon knew it
to be _Brilliard_, and comparing this action with some others of his
lately committed, he no longer doubts it the effects of his jealousy.
He asked the messenger, if it were impossible to gain so much favour
of him, as to let him visit those two _French_ gentlemen, he being by
while he was with them: the keeper soon granted his request, and
replied--There was no hazard he would not run to serve him; and
immediately putting back the hangings, with one of those keys he had
in his hand, he opened a door in his chamber that led into a gallery
of fine pictures, and from thence they passed into the apartment of
_Sylvia_: as soon as he came in he threw himself at her feet, and she
received him, and took him up into her arms with all the transports of
joy a soul (more than ever possessed with love for him) could
conceive; and though they all appeared of the masculine sex, the
messenger soon perceived his error, and begged a thousand pardons.
_Octavio_ makes haste to tell her his opinion of the cause of all this
trouble to both; and she easily believed, when she heard _Brilliard_
was taken, that it was as he imagined; for he had been found too often
faulty not to be suspected now. This thought brought a great calm to
both their spirits, and almost reduced them to the first soft
tranquillity, with which they began the day: for he protested his
innocence a thousand times, which was wholly needless, for the
generous maid believed, before he spoke, he could not be guilty of the
sin of treachery. He renews his vows to her of eternal love, and that
he would perform what they were so unluckily prevented from doing this
morning; and that though possibly by this unhappy adventure, his
design might have taken air, and have arrived to the knowledge of his
uncle, yet in spite of all opposition of friends, or the malice of
_Brilliard_, he would pursue his glorious design of marrying her,
though he were forced for it to wander in the farthest parts of the
earth with his lovely prize. He begs she will not disesteem him for
this scandal on his fame; for he was all love, all soft desire, and
had no other design, than that of making himself master of that
greatest treasure in the world; that of the possessing, the most
charming, the all-ravishing _Sylvia_: in return, she paid him all the
vows that could secure an infidel in love, she made him all the
endearing advances a heart could wish, wholly given up to tender
passion, insomuch that he believes, and is the gayest man that ever
was blest by love. And the messenger, who was present all this while,
found that this caballing with the _French_ spies, was only an
innocent design to give himself away to a fine young lady: and
therefore gave them all the freedom they desired, and which they made
use of to the most advantage love could direct or youth inspire.

This suffering with _Octavio_ begot a pity and compassion in the heart
of _Sylvia_, and that grew up to love; for he had all the charms that
could inspire, and every hour was adding new fire to her heart, which
at last burnt into a flame; such power has mighty obligation on a
heart that has any grateful sentiments! and yet, when she was absent
a-nights from _Octavio_, and thought on _Philander_'s, passion for
_Calista_, she would rage and rave, and find the effects of wondrous
love, and wondrous pride, and be even ready to make vows against
_Octavio_: but those were fits that seldomer seized her now, and every
fit was like a departing ague, still weaker than the former, and at
the sight of _Octavio_ all would vanish, her blushes would rise and
discover the soft thoughts her heart conceived for the approaching
lover; and she soon found that vulgar error, of the impossibility of
loving more than once. It was four days they thus remained without
being called to the Council, and every day brought its new joys along
with it. They were never asunder, never interrupted with any visit,
but one for a few moments in a day by _Octavio_'s uncle, and then he
would go into his own apartment to receive him: he offered to bail him
out; but _Octavio_, who had found more real joy there, than in any
part of the earth besides, evaded the obligation, by telling his
uncle, he would be obliged to nothing but his innocence for his
liberty: so would get rid of the fond old gentleman, who never knew a
passion but for his darling nephew, and returned with as much joy to
the lodgings of _Sylvia_, as if he had been absent a week, which is an
age to a lover; there they sometimes would play at cards, where he
would lose considerable sums to her, or at hazard, or be studying what
they should do next to pass the hours most to her content; not but he
had rather have lain eternally at her feet, gazing, doting, and saying
a thousand fond things, which at every view he took were conceived in
his soul: and though but this last minute he had finished, saying all
that love could dictate, he found his heart oppressed with a vast
store of new softness, which he languished to unload in her ravishing
bosom. But she, who was not arrived to his pitch of loving, diverts
his softer hours with play sometimes, and otherwhile with making him
follow her into the gallery, which was adorned with pleasant pictures,
all of _Hempskerk_'s hand, which afforded great variety of objects
very droll and antique, _Octavio_ finding something to say of every
one that might be of advantage to his own heart; for whatever argument
was in dispute, he would be sure to bring it home to the passion he
had for _Sylvia_; it should end in love, however remotely begun: so
strange an art has love to turn all things to the advantage of a

It was thus they passed their time, and nothing was wanting that
lavish experience could procure, and every minute he advances to new
freedoms, and unspeakable delights, but still such as might hitherto
be allowed with honour; he sighs and wishes, he languishes and dies
for more, but dares not utter the meaning of one motion of breath; for
he loved so very much, that every look from those fair eyes charmed
him, awed him to a respect that robbed him of many happy moments, a
bolder lover would have turned to his advantage, and he treated her as
if she had been an unspotted maid; with caution of offending, he had
forgot that general rule, that where the sacred laws of honour are
once invaded, love makes the easier conquest.

All this while you may imagine _Brilliard_ endured no little torment;
he could not on the one side, determine what the _States_ would do
with him, when once they should find him a false accuser of so great a
man; and on the other side, he suffered a thousand pains and
jealousies from love; he knew too well the charms and power of
_Octavio_, and what effects importunity and opportunity have on the
temper of feeble woman: he found the _States_ did not make so
considerable a matter of his being impeached, as to confine him
strictly, and he dies with the fears of those happy moments he might
possibly enjoy with _Sylvia_, where there might be no spies about her
to give him any kind intelligence; and all that could afford him any
glimpse of consolation, was, that while they were thus confined, he
was out of fear of their being married. _Octavio_'s uncle this while
was not idle, but taking it for a high indignity his nephew should
remain so long without being heard, he moved it to the Council, and
accordingly they sent for him to the state-house the next morning,
where _Brilliard_ was brought to confront him; whom, as soon as
_Octavio_ saw, with a scornful smile, he cried,--'It is well,
_Brilliard_, that you, who durst not fight me fairly, should find out
this nobler way of ridding yourself of a rival: I am glad at least
that I have no more honourable a witness against me.' _Brilliard_, who
never before wanted assurance, at this reproach was wholly confounded;
for it was not from any villainy in his nature, but the absolute
effects of mad and desperate passion, which put him on the only remedy
that could relieve him; and looking on _Octavio_ with modest blushes,
that half pleaded for him, he cried--'Yes, my lord, I am your accuser,
and come to charge your innocence with the greatest of crimes, and you
ought to thank me for my accusation; when you shall know it is regard
to my own honour, violent love for _Sylvia_, and extreme respect to
your lordship, has made me thus saucy with your unspotted fame.'
'How,' replied _Octavio_, 'shall I thank you for accusing me with a
plot upon the State?' 'Yes, my lord,' replied _Brilliard_; 'and yet
you had a plot to betray the State, and by so new a way, as could be
found out by none but so great and brave a man'--'Heavens,' replied
_Octavio_, enraged, 'this is an impudence, that nothing but a traitor
to his own king, and one bred up in plots and mischiefs, could have
invented: I betray my own country?'--'Yes, my lord,' cried he (more
briskly than before, seeing _Octavio_ colour so at him) 'to all the
looseness of unthinking youth, to all the breach of laws both human
and divine; if all the youth should follow your example, you would
betray posterity itself, and only mad confusion would abound. In
short, my lord, that lady who was taken with you by the messenger, was
my wife.' And going towards _Sylvia_, who was struck as with a
thunder-bolt, he seized her hand, and cried,--while all stood gazing
on--This lady, sir, I mean----she is my wife, my lawful married wife.'
At this _Sylvia_ could no longer hold her patience within its bounds,
but with that other hand he had left her, she struck him a box on the
ear, that almost staggered him, coming unawares; and as she struck,
she cried aloud, 'Thou liest, base villain----and I will be revenged;'
and flinging herself out of his hand, she got on the other side of
_Octavio_, while the whole company remained confounded at what they
saw and heard. 'How,' cried out old _Sebastian_, uncle to _Octavio_,
'a woman, this? By my troth, sweet lady, (if you be one) methought you
were a very pretty fellow.' And turning to _Brilliard_, he
cried,--'Why, what sir, then it seems all this noise of betraying the
State was but a cuckold's dream. Hah! and this wonderful and dangerous
plot, was but one upon your wife, sir; hah,----was it so? Marry, sir,
at this rate, I rather think it is you have a design of betraying the
State----you cuckoldy knaves, that bring your handsome wives to seduce
our young senators from their sobriety and wits.' 'Are these the
recompenses,' replied _Brilliard_, 'you give the injured, and in lieu
of restoring me my right, am I reproached with the most scandalous
infamy that can befall a man?' 'Well, sir,' replied _Sebastian_, 'is
this all you have to charge this gentleman with?' At which he bowed,
and was silent----and _Sebastian_ continued--'If your wife, sir, have
a mind to my nephew, or he to her, it should have been your care to
have forbid it, or prevented it, by keeping her under lock and key, if
no other way to be secured; and, sir, we do not sit here to relieve
fools and cuckolds; if your lady will be civil to my nephew, what is
that to us: let her speak for herself: what say you, madam?'--'I say,'
replied _Sylvia_, 'that this fellow is mad and raves, that he is my
vassal, my servant, my slave; but, after this, unworthy of the meanest
of these titles.' This she spoke with a disdain that sufficiently
shewed the pride and anger of her soul----'La you, sir,' replied
_Sebastian_, 'you are discharged your lady's service; it is a plain
case she has more mind to the young Count than the husband, and we
cannot compel people to be honest against their inclinations.' And
coming down from the seat where he sat, he embraced _Octavio_ a
hundred times, and told the board, he was extremely glad they found
the mighty plot, but a vagary of youth, and the spleen of a jealous
husband or lover, or whatsoever other malicious thing; and desired the
angry man might be discharged, since he had so just a provocation as
the loss of a mistress. So all laughing at the jest, that had made so
great a noise among the grave and wise, they freed them all: and
_Sebastian_ advised his nephew, that the next cuckold he made, he
would make a friend of him first, that he might hear of no more
complaints against him. But _Octavio_ very gravely replied; 'Sir, you
have infinitely mistaken the character of this lady, she is a person
of too great quality for this raillery; at more leisure you shall have
her story.' While he was speaking this, and their discharges were
making, _Sylvia_ confounded with shame, indignation, and anger, goes
out, and taking _Octavio_'s coach that stood at the gate, went
directly to his house; for she resolved to go no more where
_Brilliard_ was. After this, _Sebastian_ fell seriously to good
advice, and earnestly besought his darling to leave off those wild
extravagancies that had so long made so great a discourse all the
province over, where nothing but his splendid amours, treats, balls,
and magnificences of love, was the business of the town, and that he
had forborne to tell him of it, and had hitherto justified his
actions, though they had not deserved it; and he doubted this was the
lady to whom for these six or eight months he heard he had so entirely
dedicated himself. He desires him to quit this lady, or if he will
pursue his love, to do it discreetly, to love some unmarried woman,
and not injure his neighbours; to all which he blushed and bowed, and
silently seemed to thank him for his grave counsel. And _Brilliard_
having received his discharge, and advice how he provoked the
displeasure of the _States_ any more, by accusing of great persons, he
was ordered to ask _Octavio_'s pardon; but, in lieu of that, he came
up to him, and challenged him to fight him for the injustice he had
done him, in taking from him his wife; for he was sure he was undone
in her favour, and that thought made him mad enough to put himself on
this second extravagancy: however, this was not so silently managed
but _Sebastian_ perceived it, and was so enraged at the young fellow
for his second insolence, that he was again confined, and sent back to
prison, where he swore he should suffer the utmost of the law; and the
Council breaking up, every one departed to his own home. But never was
man ravished with excess of joy as _Octavio_ was, to find _Sylvia_
meet him with extended arms on the stair-case, whom he did not imagine
to have found there, nor knew he how he stood in the heart of the
charmer of his own, since the affront she had received in the court
from those that however did not know her; for they did not imagine
this was that lady, sister to _Philander_, of whose beauty they had
heard so much, and her face being turned from the light, the old
gentleman did not so much consider or see it. _Sylvia_ came into his
house the back way, through the stables and garden, and had the good
fortune to be seen by none of his family but the coachman, who brought
her home, whom she conjured not to speak of it to the rest of his
servants: and unseen of any body she got into his apartment, for often
she had been there at treats and balls with _Philander_. She was
alone; for _Antonet_ stayed to see what became of her false lover,
and, after he was seized again, retired to her lodging the most
disconsolate woman in the world, for having lost her hopes of
_Brilliard_, to whom she had engaged all that honour she had. But when
she missed her lady there, she accused herself with all the falsehood
in the world, and fell to repent her treachery. She sends the page to
inquire at _Ocatvio_'s house, but no body there could give him any
intelligence; so that the poor amorous youth returning without hope,
endured all the pain of a hopeless lover; for _Octavio_ had anew
charmed his coachman: and calling up an ancient woman who was his
house-keeper, who had been his nurse, he acquainted her with the short
history of his passion for _Sylvia_, and ordered her to give her
attendance on the treasure of his life; he bid her prepare all things
as magnificent as she could in that apartment he designed her, which
was very rich and gay, and towards a fine garden. The hangings and
beds all glorious, and fitter for a monarch than a subject; the finest
pictures the world afforded, flowers in-laid with silver and ivory,
gilded roofs, carved wainscot, tables of plate, with all the rest of
the movables in the chambers of the same, all of great value, and all
was perfumed like an altar, or the marriage bed of some young king.
Here _Sylvia_ was designed to lodge, and hither _Octavio_ conducted
her; and setting her on a couch while the supper was getting ready, he
sits himself down by her, and his heart being ready to burst with
grief, at the thought of the claim which was laid to her by
_Brilliard_, he silently views her, while tears were ready to break
from his fixed eyes, and sighs stopped what he would fain have spoke;
while she (wholly confounded with shame, guilt, and disappointment,
for she could not imagine that _Brilliard_ could have had the
impudence to have claimed her for a wife) fixed her fair eyes to the
earth, and durst not behold the languishing _Octavio_. They remained
thus a long time silent, she not daring to defend herself from a
crime, of which she knew too well she was guilty, nor he daring to ask
her a question to which the answer might prove so fatal; he fears to
know what he dies to be satisfied in, and she fears to discover too
late a secret, which was the only one she had concealed from him.
_Octavio_ runs over in his mind a thousand thoughts that perplex him,
of the probability of her being married; he considers how often he had
found her with that happy young man, who more freely entertained her
than servants use to do. He now considers how he had seen them once on
a bed together, when _Sylvia_ was in the disorder of a yielding
mistress, and _Brilliard_ of a ravished lover; he considers how he has
found them alone at cards and dice, and often entertaining her with
freedoms of a husband, and how he wholly managed her affairs,
commanded her servants like their proper master, and was in full
authority of all. These, and a thousand more circumstances, confirm
_Octavio_ in all his fears: a thousand times she is about to speak,
but either fear to lose _Octavio_ by clear confession, or to run
herself into farther error by denying the matter of fact, stops her
words, and she only blushes and sighs at what she dares not tell; and
if by chance their speaking eyes meet, they would both decline them
hastily again, as afraid to find there what their language could not
confess. Sometimes he would press her hand and sigh.--'Ah, _Sylvia_,
you have undone my quiet'; to which she would return no answer, but
sigh, and now rising from the couch, she walked about the chamber as
sad and silent as death, attending when he should have advanced in
speaking to her, though she dreads the voice she wishes to hear, and
he waits for her reply, though the mouth that he adores should deliver
poison and daggers to his heart. While thus they remained in the most
silent and sad entertainment (that ever was between lovers that had so
much to say) the page, which _Octavio_ only trusts to wait, brought
him this letter.


_My Lord_,

I am too sensible of my many high offences to your lordship, and have
as much penitence for my sin committed towards you as it is possible
to conceive; but when I implore a pardon from a lover, who by his own
passion may guess at the violent effects of my despairing flame, I am
yet so vain to hope it. _Antonet_ gave me the intelligence of your
design, and raised me up to a madness that hurried me to that
barbarity against your unspotted honour. I own the baseness of the
fact, but lovers are not, my lord, always guided by rules of justice
and reason; or, if I had, I should have killed the fair adulteress
that drew you to your undoing, and who merits more your hate than your
regard; and who having first violated her marriage-vow to me with
_Philander_, would sacrifice us both to you, and at the same time
betray you to a marriage that cannot but prove fatal to you, as it is
most unlawful in her; so that, my lord, if I have injured you, I have
at the same time saved you from a sin and ruin, and humbly implore
that you will suffer the good I have rendered you in the last, to
atone for the ill I did you in the first. If I have accused you of a
design against the State, it was to save you from that of the too
subtle and too charming _Sylvia_, which none but myself could have
snatched you from. It is true, I might have acted something more
worthy of my birth and education; but, my lord, I knew the power of
_Sylvia_; and if I should have sent you the knowledge of this, when I
sent the warrant for the security of your person, the haughty creature
would have prevailed above all my truths with the eloquence of love,
and you had yielded and been betrayed worse by her, than by the most
ungenerous measures I took to prevent it. Suffer this reason, my lord,
to plead for me in that heart where _Sylvia_ reigns, and shews how
powerful she is every where. Pardon all the faults of a most
unfortunate man undone by love, and by your own, guess what his
passion would put him on, who aims or wishes at least for the entire
possession of _Sylvia_, though it was never absolutely hoped by the
most unfortunate


At the beginning of this letter _Octavio_ hoped it contained the
confession of his fault in claiming _Sylvia_; he hoped he would have
owned it done in order to his service to his lord, or his love to
_Sylvia_, or any thing but what it really was; but when he read
on--and found that he yet confirmed his claim, he yielded to all the
grief that could sink a heart over-burdened with violent love; he
fell down on the couch where he was sat, and only calling _Sylvia_
with a dying groan, he held out his hand, in which the letter
remained, and looked on her with eyes that languished with death,
love, and despair; while she, who already feared from whom it came,
received it with disdain, shame, and confusion: and _Octavio_
recovering a little--cried in a faint voice--'See charming, cruel
fair--see how much my soul adores you, when even this--cannot
extinguish one spark of the flame you have kindled in my soul.' At
this she blushed, and bowed with a graceful modesty that was like to
have given the lie to all the accusations against her: she reads the
letter, while he greedily fixes his eyes upon her face as she reads,
observing with curious search every motion there, all killing and
adorable. He saw her blushes sometimes rise, then sink again to their
proper fountain, her heart; there swell and rise, and beat against her
breast that had no other covering than a thin shirt, for all her bosom
was open, and betrayed the nimble motion of her heart. Her eyes
sometimes would sparkle with disdain, and glow upon the fatal
tell-tale lines, and sometimes languish with excess of grief: but
having concluded the letter, she laid it on the table, and began again
to traverse the room, her head declined, and her arms a-cross her
bosom, _Octavio_ made too true an interpretation of this silence and
calm in _Sylvia_, and no longer doubted his fate. He fixes his eyes
eternally upon her, while she considers what she shall say to that
afflicted lover; she considers _Philander_ lost, or if he ever
returns, it is not to love; to that he was for ever gone; for too well
she knew no arts, obligations, or industry, could retrieve a flying
_Cupid_: she found, if even that could return, his whole fortune was
so exhausted he could not support her; and that she was of a nature so
haughty and impatient of injuries, that she could never forgive him
those affronts he had done her honour first, and now her love; she
resolves no law or force shall submit her to _Brilliard_; she finds
this fallacy she had put on _Octavio_, has ruined her credit in his
esteem, at least she justly fears it; so that believing herself
abandoned by all in a strange country, she fell to weeping her fate,
and the tears wet the floor as she walked: at which sight so melting
_Octavio_ starts from the couch, and catching her in his trembling
arms, he cried, 'Be false, be cruel, and deceitful; yet still I must,
I am compelled to adore you----' This being spoken in so hearty and
resolved a tone, from a man of whose heart she was so sure, and knew
to be generous, gave her a little courage--and like sinking men she
catches at all that presents her any hope of escaping. She resolves by
discovering the whole truth to save that last stake, his heart, though
she could pretend to no more; and taking the fainting lover by the
hand, she leads him to the couch: 'Well,' said she, '_Octavio_, you
are too generous to be imposed on in any thing, and therefore I will
tell you my heart without reserve as absolutely as to heaven itself,
if I were interceding my last peace there.' She begged a thousand
pardons of him for having concealed any part of her story from him,
but she could no longer be guilty of that crime, to a man for whom she
had so perfect a passion; and as she spoke she embraced him with an
irresistible softness that wholly charmed him: she reconciles him with
every touch, and sighs on his bosom a thousand grateful vows and
excuses for her fault, while he weeps his love, and almost expires in
her arms; she is not able to see his passion and his grief, and tells
him she will do all things for his repose. 'Ah, _Sylvia_' sighed
he,'talk not of my repose, when you confess yourself wife to one and
mistress to another, in either of which I have alas no part: ah, what
is reserved for the unfortunate _Octavio_, when two happy lovers
divide the treasure of his soul? Yet tell me truth, because it will
look like love; shew me that excellent virtue so rarely found in all
your fickle sex. O! tell me truth, and let me know how much my heart
can bear before it break with love; and yet, perhaps, to hear thee
speak to me, with that insinuating dear voice of thine, may save me
from the terror of thy words; and though each make a wound, their very
accents have a balm to heal! O quickly pour it then into my listening
soul, and I will be silent as over-ravished lovers, whom joys have
charmed to tender sighs and pantings.' At this, embracing her anew, he
let fall a shower of tears upon her bosom, and sighing, cried--'Now I
attend thy story': she then began anew the repetition of the loves
between herself and _Philander_, which she slightly ran over, because
he had already heard every circumstance of it, both from herself and
_Philander_; till she arrived to that part of it where she left
_Bellfont_, her father's house: 'Thus far,' said she, 'you have had a
faithful relation; and I was no sooner missed by my parents, but you
may imagine the diligent search that would be made, both by
_Foscario_, whom I was to have married the next day, and my tender
parents; but all search, all _hue-and-cries_ were vain; at last, they
put me into the weekly _Gazette_, describing me to the very features
of my face, my hair, my breast, my stature, youth, and beauty,
omitting nothing that might render me apparent to all that should see
me, offering vast sums to any that should give intelligence of such a
lost maid of quality. _Philander_, who understood too well the nature
of the common people, and that they would betray their very fathers
for such a proffered sum, durst trust me no longer to their mercy: his
affairs were so involved with those of _Cesario_, he could not leave
_Paris_; for they every moment expected the people should rise against
their king, and those glorious chiefs of the faction were obliged to
wait and watch the motions of the dirty crowd. Nor durst he trust me
in any place from him; for he could not live a day without me'; (at
that thought she sighed, and then went on); 'so that I was obliged to
remain obscurely lodged in _Paris_, where now I durst no longer trust
myself, though disguised in as many shapes as I was obliged to have
lodgings. At last we were betrayed, and had only the short notice
given us to yield, or secure ourselves from the hand of justice by the
next morning, when they designed to surprise us. To escape we found
almost impossible, and very hazardous to attempt it; so that
_Philander_, who was raving with fears, called myself and this young
gentleman, _Brilliard_ (then Master of his Horse) and one that had
served us faithfully through the whole course of our lives, to
council: many things were in vain debated, but at last this hard shift
was found out of marrying me to _Brilliard_, for to _Philander_ it was
impossible; so that no authority of a father could take me from the
husband. I was at first extremely unwilling, but when _Philander_ told
me it was to be only a mock-marriage, to secure me to himself, I was
reconciled to it, and more when I found the infinite submission of the
young man, who vowed he would never look up to me with the eyes of a
lover or husband, but in obedience to his lord did it to preserve me
entirely for him; nay farther, to secure my future fear, he confessed
to me he was already married to a gentlewoman by whom he had two
children.' 'Oh!----tell me true, my _Sylvia_, was he married to
another!' cried out the overjoyed lover. 'Yes, on my life,' replied
_Sylvia_; 'for when it was proved in court that I was married to
_Brilliard_ (as at last I was, and innocently bedded) this lady came
and brought her children to me, and falling at my feet, wept and
implored I would not own her husband, for only she had right to him;
we all were forced to discover to her the truth of the matter, and
that he had only married me to secure me from the rage of my parents,
that if he were her husband she was still as entirely possessed of him
as ever, and that he had advanced her fortune in what he had done, for
she should have him restored with those advantages that should make
her life, and that of her children more comfortable; and _Philander_
making both her and the children considerable presents, sent her away
very well satisfied. After this, before people, we used him to a
thousand freedoms, but when alone, he retained his respect entire;
however, this used him to something more familiarity than formerly,
and he grew to be more a companion than a servant, as indeed we
desired he should, and of late have found him more presumptuous than
usual. And thus much more, I must confess, I have reason to believe
him a most passionate lover, and have lately found he had designs upon
me, as you well know.

'Judge now, oh dear _Octavio_, how unfortunate I am; yet judge too,
whether I ought to esteem this a marriage, or him a husband?' 'No,'
replied _Octavio_, more briskly than before, 'nor can he by the laws
of God or man pretend to such a blessing, and you may be divorced.'
Pleased with this thought, he soon assumed his native temper of joy
and softness, and making a thousand new vows that he would perform all
he had sworn on his part, and imploring and pressing her to renew
those she had made to him, she obeys him; she makes a thousand
grateful returns, and they pass the evening the most happily that ever
lovers did. By this time supper was served up, noble and handsome, and
after supper, he led her to his closet, where he presented her with
jewels and other rarities of great value, and omitted nothing that
might oblige an avaricious designing woman, if _Sylvia_ had been such;
nor any thing that might beget love and gratitude in the most
insensible heart: and all he did, and all he gave, was with a peculiar
grace, in which there lies as great an obligation as in the gift
itself: the handsome way of giving being an art so rarely known, even
to the most generous. In these happy and glorious moments of love,
wherein the lover omitted nothing that could please, _Philander_ was
almost forgotten; for it is natural for love to beget love, and
inconstancy its likeness or disdain: and we must conclude _Sylvia_ a
maid wholly insensible, if she had not been touched with tenderness,
and even love itself, at all these extravagant marks of passion in
_Octavio_; and it must be confessed she was of a nature soft and apt
for impression; she was, in a word, a woman. She had her vanities and
her little foiblesses, and loved to see adorers at her feet,
especially those in whom all things, all graces, charms of youth, wit
and fortune agreed to form for love and conquest: she naturally loved
power and dominion, and it was her maxim, that never any woman was
displeased to find she could beget desire.

It was thus they lived with uninterrupted joys, no spies to pry upon
their actions, no false friends to censure their real pleasures, no
rivals to poison their true content, no parents to give bounds or
grave rules to the destruction of nobler lavish love; but all the day
was passed in new delights, and every day produced a thousand
pleasures; and even the thoughts of revenge were no more remembered on
either side; it lessened in _Sylvia_'s heart as love advanced there,
and her resentment against _Philander_ was lost in her growing passion
for _Octavio_: and sure if any woman had excuses for loving and
inconstancy, the most wise and prudent must allow them now to
_Sylvia_; and if she had reason for loving it was now, for what she
paid the most deserving of his sex, and whom she managed with that art
of loving (if there be art in love) that she gained every minute upon
his heart, and he became more and more her slave, the more he found he
was beloved: in spite of all _Brilliard_'s pretension he would have
married her, but durst not do it while he remained in _Holland_,
because of the noise _Brilliard_'s claim had made, and he feared the
displeasure of his uncle; but waited for a more happy time, when he
could settle his affairs so as to remove her into _Flanders_, though
he could not tell how to accomplish that without ruining his interest:
these thoughts alone took up his time whenever he was absent from
_Sylvia_, and would often give him abundance of trouble; for he was
given over to his wish of possessing of _Sylvia_, and could not live
without her; he loved too much, and thought and considered too little.
These were his eternal entertainments when from the lovely object of
his desire, which was as seldom as possible; for they were both
unwilling to part, though decency and rest required it, a thousand
soft things would hinder him, and make her willing to retain him, and
though they were to meet again next morning, they grudge themselves
the parting hours, and the repose of nature. He longs and languishes
for the blessed moment that shall give him to the arms of the
ravishing _Sylvia_, and she finds but too much yielding on her part in
some of those silent lone hours, when love was most prevailing, and
feeble mortals most apt to be overcome by that insinuating god; so
that though _Octavio_ could not ask what he sighed and died for,
though for the safety of his life, for any favours; and though, on the
other side, _Sylvia_ resolved she would not grant, no, though mutual
vows had passed, though love within pleaded, and almost irresistible
beauties and inducements without, though all the powers of love, of
silence, night and opportunity, though on the very point a thousand
times of yielding, she had resisted all: but oh! one night; let it not
rise up in judgement against her, ye bashful modest maids, who never
yet tried any powerful minute; nor ye chaste wives, who give no
opportunities; one night----they lost themselves in dalliance, forgot
how very near they were to yielding, and with imperfect transports
found themselves half dead with love, clasped in each other's arms,
betrayed by soft degrees of joy to all they wished. It would be too
amorous to tell you more; to tell you all that night, that happy night
produced; let it suffice that _Sylvia_ yielded all, and made _Octavio_
happier than a god. At first, he found her weeping in his arms, raving
on what she had inconsiderately done, and with her soft reproaches
chiding her ravished lover, who lay sighing by; unable to reply any
other way, he held her fast in those arms that trembled yet, with love
and new-past joy; he found a pleasure even in her railing, with a
tenderness that spoke more love than any other language love could
speak. Betwixt his sighs he pleads his right of love, and the
authority of his solemn vows; he tells her that the marriage-ceremony
was but contrived to satisfy the ignorant, and to proclaim his title
to the crowd, but vows and contracts were the same to heaven: he
speaks----and she believes; and well she might; for all he spoke was
honourable truth. He knew no guile, but uttered all his soul, and all
that soul was honest, just and brave; thus by degrees he brought her
to a calm.

In this soft rencounter, he had discovered a thousand new charms in
_Sylvia_, and contrary to those men whose end of love is lust (which
extinguish together) _Octavio_ found increase of tenderness from every
bliss she gave; and grew at last so fond--so doting on the still more
charming maid, that he neglected all his interest, his business in the
State, and what he owed his uncle, and his friends, and became the
common theme over all the United Provinces, for his wantonness and
luxury, as they were pleased to call it, and living so contrary to the
humour of those more sordid and slovenly men of quality, which make up
the nobility of that parcel of the world. For while thus he lived
retired, scarce visiting any one, or permitting any one to visit him,
they charge him with a thousand crimes of having given himself over to
effeminacy; as indeed he grew too lazy in her arms; neglecting glory,
arms, and power, for the more real joys of life; while she even rifles
him with extravagancy; and grows so bold and hardy, that regarding not
the humours of the stingy censorious nation, his interest, or her own
fame, she is seen every day in his coaches, going to take the air out
of town; puts him upon balls, and vast expensive treats; devises new
projects and ways of diversion, till some of the more busy
impertinents of the town made a public complaint to his uncle, and the
rest of the _States_, urging he was a scandal to the reverend and
honourable society. On which it was decreed, that he should either
lose that honour, or take up, and live more according to the gravity
and authority of a senator: this incensed _Sebastian_, both against
the _States_ and his nephew; for though he had often reproved and
counselled him; yet he scorned his darling should be schooled by his
equals in power. So that resolving either to discard him, or draw him
from the love of this woman; he one morning goes to his nephew's
house, and sending him up word by his page he would speak to him, he
was conducted to his chamber, where he found him in his night-gown: he
began to upbraid him, first, with his want of respect and duty to him,
and next, of his affairs, neglecting to give his attendance on the
public: he tells him he is become a scandal to the commonwealth, and
that he lived a lewd life with another man's wife: he tells him he has
all her story, and she was not only a wife, but a scandalous mistress
too to _Philander_. 'She boasts,' says he, 'of honourable birth; but
what is that, when her conduct is infamous? In short, sir,' continued
he, 'your life is obnoxious to the whole province: why what,
sir----cannot honest men's daughters' (cried he more angrily) 'serve
your turn, but you must crack a Commandment? Why, this is flat
adultery: a little fornication in a civil way might have been allowed,
but this is stark naught. In fine, sir, quit me this woman, and quit
her presently; or, in the first place, I renounce thee, cast thee from
me as a stranger, and will leave thee to ruin, and the incensed
_States_. A little pleasure--a little recreation, I can allow: a layer
of love, and a layer of business--But to neglect the nation for a
wench, is flat treason against the State; and I wish there were a law
against all such unreasonable whore-masters--that are statesmen--for
the rest it is no great matter. Therefore, in a word, sir, leave me
off this mistress of yours, or we will secure her yet for a _French_
spy, that comes to debauch our commonwealth's men----The _States_ can
do it, sir, they can----' Hitherto _Octavio_ received all with a blush
and bow, in sign of obedience; but when his uncle told him the
_States_ would send away his mistress; no longer able to contain his
rage, he broke out into all the violence imaginable against them, and
swore he would not now forgo _Sylvia_ to be monarch over all the nasty
provinces, and it was a greater glory to be a slave at her feet. 'Go,
tell your _States_,' cried he,--'they are a company of cynical fops,
born to moil on in sordid business, who never were worthy to
understand so great a happiness of life as that of nobler love. Tell
them, I scorn the dull gravity of those asses of the commonwealth, fit
only to bear the dirty load of State-affairs, and die old busy fools.'
The uncle, who little expected such a return from him who used to be
all obedience, began more gently to persuade him with more solid
reason, but could get no other answer from him, than that what he
commanded he should find it difficult to disobey; and so for that time
they parted. Some days after (he never coming so much as near their
Councils) they sent for him to answer the contempt: he came, and
received abundance of hard reproaches, and finding they were resolved
to degrade him, he presently rallied them in answer to all they said;
nor could all the cautions of his friends persuade him to any
submission, after receiving so rough and ill-bred a treatment as they
gave him: and impatient to return to _Sylvia_, where all his joys were
centred, he was with much ado persuaded to stay and hear the
resolution of the Council, which was to take from him those honours he
held amongst them; at which he cocked and smiled, and told them he
received what he was much more proud of, than of those useless trifles
they called honours, and wishes they might treat all that served them
at that ungrateful rate: for he that had received a hundred wounds,
and lost a stream of blood for their security, shall, if he kiss their
wives against their wills, be banished like a coward: so hasting from
the Council, he got into his coach and went to _Sylvia_.

This incensed the old gentlemen to a high degree, and they carried it
against the younger party (because more in number) that this _French_
lady, who was for high-treason, as they called it, forced to fly
_France_, should be no longer protected in _Holland_. And in order to
her removal, or rather their revenge on _Octavio_, they sent out their
warrant to apprehend her; and either to send her as an enemy to
_France_, or force her to some other part of the world. For a day or
two _Sebastian_'s interest prevailed for the stopping the warrant,
believing he should be able to bring his nephew to some submission;
which when he found in vain, he betook himself to his chamber, and
refused any visits or diversions: by this time, _Octavio_'s rallying
the _States_ was become the jest of the town, and all the sparks
laughed at them as they passed, and lampooned them to damnable _Dutch_
tunes, which so highly incensed them, that they sent immediately, and
served the warrant on _Sylvia_, whom they surprised in _Octavio_'s
coach as she was coming from taking the air. You may imagine what an
agony of trouble and grief our generous and surprised lover was in: it
was in vain to make resistance, and he who before would not have
submitted to have saved his life, to the _States_, now for the
preservation of one moment's content to _Sylvia_, was ready to go and
fall at their feet, kiss their shoes, and implore their pity. He first
accompanies her to the house of the messenger, where he only is
permitted to behold her with eyes of dying love, and unable to say any
thing to her, left her with such gifts, and charge to the messenger's
care, as might oblige him to treat her well; while _Sylvia_ less
surprised, bid him, at going from her, not to afflict himself for any
thing she suffered; she found it was the malice of the peevish old
magistrates, and that the most they could do to her, was to send her
from him. This last she spoke with a sigh, that pierced his heart more
sensibly than ever any thing yet had done; and he only replied (with a
sigh) 'No, _Sylvia_, no rigid power on earth shall ever be able to
deprive you of my eternal adoration, or to separate me one moment from
_Sylvia_, after she is compelled to leave this ungrateful place; and
whose departure I will hasten all that I can, since the land is not
worthy of so great a blessing.' So leaving her for a little space, he
hasted to his uncle, whom he found very much discontented: he throws
himself at his feet, and assails him with all the moving eloquence of
sighs and tears; in vain was all, in vain alas he pleads. From this he
flies to rage--and says all a distracted lover could pour forth to
ease a tortured heart; what divinity did he not provoke? Wholly
regardless even of heaven and man, he made a public confession of his
passion, denied her being married to _Brilliard_, and weeps as he
protests her innocence: he kneels again, implores and begs anew, and
made the movingest moan that ever touched a heart, but could receive
no other return but threats and frowns: the old gentleman had never
been in love since he was born, no not enough to marry, but bore an
unaccountable hate to the whole sex, and therefore was pitiless to all
he could say on the score of love; though he endeavours to soften him
by a thousand things more dear to him. 'For my sake, sir,' said he,
'if ever my lost plea were grateful to you, when all your joy was in
the young _Octavio_; release, release the charming _Sylvia_; regard
her tender youth, her blooming beauty, her timorous helpless sex, her
noble quality, and save her from rude assaults of power----Oh save the
lovely maid!' Thus he uttered with interrupting sighs and tears, which
fell upon the floor as he pursued the obdurate on his knees: at last
pity touched his heart, and he said--'Spare, sir, the character of
your enchanting _Circe_; for I have heard too much of her, and what
mischief she has bred in _France_, abandoning her honour, betraying a
virtuous sister, defaming her noble parents, and ruining an
illustrious young nobleman, who was both her brother and her lover.
This, sir, in short, is the character of your beauteous innocent.'
'Alas, sir,' replied _Octavio_, 'you never saw this maid; or if you
had, you would not be so cruel.' 'Go to, sir,' replied the old
gentleman, 'I am not so soon softened at the sight of beauty.' 'But do
but see her, sir,' replied _Octavio_, 'and then perhaps you will be
charmed like me----' 'You are a fop, sir,' replied _Sebastian_, 'and
if you would have me allow any favour to your enchanting lady, you
must promise me first to abandon her, and marry the widow of Monsieur
---- who is vastly rich, and whom I have so often recommended to you;
she loves you too, and though she be not fair, she has the best
fortune of any lady in the _Netherlands_. On these terms, sir, I am
for a reconciliation with you, and will immediately go and deliver the
fair prisoner; and she shall have her liberty to go or stay, or do
what she please--and now, sir, you know my will and pleasure'--
_Octavio_ found it in vain to pursue him any farther with his
petitions; only replied, it was wondrous hard and cruel. To which
the old one replied; 'It is what must be done; I have resolved it, or
my estate, in value above two hundred thousand pounds, shall be
disposed of to your sister, the Countess of _Clarinau_:' and this he
ended with an execration on himself if he did not do; and he was a man
that always was just to his word.

Much more to this ungrateful effect he spoke, and _Octavio_ had
recourse to all the dissimulation his generous soul was capable of;
and it was the first base thing, and sure the last that ever he was
guilty of. He promises his uncle to obey all his commands and
injunctions, since he would have it so; and only begged he might be
permitted but one visit, to take his last leave of her. This was at
first refused, but at last, provided he might hear what he said to
her, he would suffer him to go: 'For,' said the crafty old man, (who
knew too well the cunning of youth,) 'I will have no tricks put upon
me; I will not be outwitted by a young knave:' this was the worst part
of all; he knew, if he alone could speak with her, they might have
contrived, by handsome agreeing flattery, to have accomplished their
design; which was, first, by the authority of the old gentleman to
have freed her from confinement; and next, to have settled his affairs
in the best posture he could, and without valuing his uncle's fortune,
his own being greater, he resolved to go with her into _Flanders_ or
_Italy_; but his going with him to visit her would prevent whatever
they might resolve: but since the liberty of _Sylvia_ was first to be
considered, he resolves, since it must be so and leaves the rest to
time and his good fortune. 'Well then, sir,' said _Octavio_, 'since
you have resolved yourself, to be a witness of those melancholy
things, I shall possibly say to her, let us haste to end the great
affair'--'Hang it,' cried _Sebastian_, 'if I go I shall abuse the
young hussy, or commit some indecency that will not be suitable to
good manners----' 'I hope you will, sir'----replied _Octavio_----'Whip
them, whip them,' replied the uncle, 'I hate the young cozening
baggages, that wander about the world undoing young and extravagant
coxcombs; gots so they are naught, stark naught----Be sure dispatch as
soon as you can; and--do you hear--let's have no whining.' _Octavio_,
overjoyed he should have her released to-night, promised lavishly all
he was urged to: and his coach being at the gate, they both went
immediately to the house of the messenger; all the way the old
gentleman did nothing but rail against the vices of the age, and the
sins of villainous youth; the snares of beauty, and the danger of
witty women; and of how ill consequences these were to a commonwealth.
He said, if he were to make laws he would confine all young women to
monasteries, where they should never see man till forty, and then come
out and marry for generation-sake, no more: for his part, he had never
seen the beauty that yet could inspire him with that silly thing
called love; and wondered what the devil ailed all the young fellows
of this age, that they talked of nothing else. At this rate they
discoursed till they arrived at the prison, and calling for the
messenger, he conducted them both to the chamber of the fair prisoner,
who was laid on a couch, near which stood a table with two candles,
which gave a great light to that part of the room, and made _Sylvia_
appear more fair than ever, if possible. She had not that day been
dressed but in a rich night-gown, and cornets of the most advantageous
fashion. At his approach she blushed (with a secret joy, which never
had possessed her soul for him before) and spread a thousand beauties
round her fair face. She was leaping with a transported pleasure to
his arms, when she perceived an old grave person follow him into the
room; at which she reassumed a strangeness, a melancholy languishment,
which charmed no less than her gaiety. She approaches them with a
modest grace in her beautiful eyes; and by the reception _Octavio_
gave her, she found that reverend person was his uncle, or at least
somebody of authority; and therefore assuming a gravity unusual, she
received them with all the ceremony due to their quality: and first,
she addressed herself to the old gentleman, who stood gazing at her,
without motion; at which she was a little out of countenance. When
_Octavio_ perceiving it, approached his uncle and cried, 'Sir, this is
the lady----' _Sebastian_, starting as from a dream, cried--'Pardon
me, madam, I am a fellow whom age hath rendered less ceremonious than
youth: I have never yet been so happy as to have been used to a fair
lady. Women never took up one minute of my more precious time, but I
have been a satyr upon the whole sex; and, if my treatment of you be
rougher than your birth and beauty merits, I beseech you----fair
creature, pardon it, since I come in order to do you service.' 'Sir,'
replied _Sylvia_, (blushing with anger at the presence of a man who
had contributed to the having brought her to that place) 'I cannot but
wonder at this sudden change of goodness, in a person to whom I am
indebted for part of my misfortune, and which I shall no longer esteem
as such, since it has occasioned me a happiness, and an honour, to
which I could no other way have arrived.' This last she spoke with her
usual insinuating charms; the little affectation of the voice
sweetened to all the tenderness it was possible to put on, and so easy
and natural to _Sylvia_: and if before the old gentleman were seized
with some unusual pleasure, which before he never felt about his icy
and insensible heart, and which now began to thaw at the fire of her
eyes----l say, if before he were surprised with looking, what was he
when she spoke--with a voice so soft, and an air so bewitching? He was
all eyes and ears, and had use of no other sense but what informed
those. He gazes upon her, as if he waited and listened what she would
farther say, and she stood waiting for his reply, till ashamed, she
turned her eyes into her bosom, and knew not how to proceed. _Octavio_
views both by turns, and knows not how to begin the discourse again,
it being his uncle's cue to speak: but finding him altogether mute--he
steps to him, and gently pulled him by the sleeve--but finds no motion
in him; he speaks to him, but in vain; for he could hear nothing but
_Sylvia_'s charming voice, nor saw nothing but her lovely face, nor
attended any thing but when she would speak again, and look that way.
At this _Octavio_ smiled, and taking his adorable by the hand, he led
her nearer her admiring adversary; whom she approached with modesty
and sweetness in her eyes, that the old fellow, having never before
beheld the like vision, was wholly vanquished, and his old heart burnt
in the socket, which being his last blaze made the greater fire. 'Fine
lady,' cried he--'or rather fine angel, how is it I shall expiate for
a barbarity that nothing could be guilty of but the brute, who had not
learned humanity from your eyes: what atonement can I make for my sin;
and how shall I be punished?' 'Sir,' replied _Sylvia_, 'if I can merit
your esteem and assistance, to deliver me from this cruel confinement,
I shall think of what is past as a joy, since it renders me worthy of
your pity and compassion.' 'To answer you, madam, were to hold you
under this unworthy roof too long; therefore let me convince you of my
service, by leading you to a place more fit for so fair a person.' And
calling for the messenger, he asked him if he would take his bail for
his fair prisoner? Who replied, 'Your lordship may command all
things:' so throwing him a little purse, about thirty pounds in gold,
he bid him drink the lady's health; and without more ceremony or talk,
led her to the coach; and never so much as asking her whether she
would go, insensibly carries her, where he had a mind to have her, to
his own house. This was a little affliction to _Octavio_, who
nevertheless durst not say any thing to his uncle, nor so much as ask
him the reason why: but being arrived all thither, he conducts her to
a very fair apartment, and bid her there command that world he could
command for her: he gave her there a very magnificent supper, and all
three supped together. _Octavio_ could not imagine that his uncle, who
was a single man, and a grave senator, one famed for a womanhater, a
great railer at the vices of young men, should keep a fair, young,
single woman in his house: but it growing late, and no preparation for
her departing, she took the courage to say--'Sir, I am so extremely
obliged to you, and have received so great a favour from you, that I
cannot flatter myself it is for any virtue in me, or merely out of
compassion to my sex, that you have done this; but for some body's
sake, to whom I am more engaged than I am aware of; and when you
passed your parole for my liberty, I am not so vain to think it was
for my sake; therefore pray inform me, sir, how I can pay this debt,
and to whom; and who it is you require should be bound for me, to save
you harmless.' 'Madam,' cried _Sebastian_, 'though there need no
greater security than your own innocence, yet lest that innocence
should not be sufficient to guard you from the outrage of a people
approaching to savages, I beg, for your own security, not mine, that
you will make this house your sanctuary; my power can save you from
impending harms; and all that I call mine, you shall command.' At this
she blushing bowed, but durst not make reply to contradict him: she
knew, at least, that there she was safe and well, from fear of the
tyranny of the rest, or any other apprehension. It is true, she found,
by the shyness of _Octavio_ towards her before his uncle, that she was
to manage her amour with him by stealth, till they could contrive
matters more to their advantage: she therefore finding she should want
nothing, but as much of _Octavio_'s conversation as she desired, she
begged he would give her leave to write a note to her page, who was a
faithful, sober youth, to bring her jewels and what things she had of
value to her, which he did, and received those and her servants
together; but _Antonet_ had like to have lost her place, but that
_Octavio_ pleaded for her, and she herself confessing it was love to
the false _Brilliard_ that made her do that foolish thing (in which
she vowed she thought no harm, though it was like to have cost her so
dear) she was again received into favour: so that for some days
_Sylvia_ found herself very much at her ease with the old gentleman,
and had no want of any thing but _Octavio_'s company: but she had the
pleasure to find, by his eyes and sighs, he wanted hers more: he died
every day, and his fair face faded like falling roses: still she was
gay; for if she had it not about her, she assumed it to keep him in
heart: she was not displeased to see the old man on fire too, and
fancied some diversion from the intrigue. But he concealed his passion
all he could, both to hide it from his nephew, and because he knew not
what he ailed. A strange change he found, a wondrous disorder in
nature, but could not give a name to it, nor sigh aloud for fear he
should be heard, and lose his reputation; especially for this woman,
on whom he had railed so lavishly. One day therefore, after a night of
torment, very incommode to his age, he takes _Octavio_ into the garden
alone, telling him he had a great secret to impart to him. _Octavio_
guessing what it might be, put his heart in as good order as he could
to receive it. He at least knew the worst was but for him at last to
steal _Sylvia_ from him, if he should be weak enough to dote on the
young charmer, and therefore resolved to hear with patience. But if he
were prepared to attend, the other was not prepared to begin, and so
both walked many silent turns about the garden. _Sebastian_ had a mind
to ask a thousand questions of his nephew, who he found, maugre all
his vows of deserting _Sylvia_, had no power of doing it: he had a
mind to urge him to marry the widow, but durst not now press it,
though he used to do so, lest he should take it for jealousy in him;
nor durst he now forbid him seeing her, lest he should betray the
secrets of his soul: he began every moment to love him less, as he
loved _Sylvia_ more, and beholds him as an enemy to his repose, nay
his very life. At last the old man (who thought if he brought his
nephew forth under pretence of a secret, and said nothing to him, it
would have looked ill) began to speak. '_Octavto_,' said he, 'I have
hitherto found you so just in all you have said, that it were a sin to
doubt you in what relates to _Sylvia_. You have told me she is nobly
born; and you have with infinite imprecations convinced me she is
virtuous; and lastly, you have sworn she was not married'----At this
he sighed and paused, and left _Octavio_ trembling with fear of the
result: a thousand times he was like to have denied all, but durst not
defame the most sacred idol of his soul: sometimes he thought his
uncle would be generous, and think it fit to give him _Sylvia_; but
that thought was too seraphic to remain a moment in his heart. 'Sir,'
replied _Octavio_, 'I own I said so of _Sylvia_, and hope no action
she has committed since she had a protection under your roof has
contradicted any thing I said. 'No,' said _Sebastian_, sighing--and
pausing, as loath to speak more: 'Sir,' said _Octavio_, 'I suppose
this is not the secret you had to impart to me, for which you separate
me to this lonely walk; fear not to trust me with it, whatever it be;
for I am so entirely your own, that I will grant, submit, prostrate
myself, and give up all my will, power, and faculties to your interest
or designs.' This encouraged the old lover, who replied--'Tell me one
truth, _Octavio_, which I require of you, and I will desire no
more----have not you had the possession of this fair maid? You
apprehend me.' Now it was that he feared what design the amorous old
gentleman had in his head and heart; and was at a loss what to say,
whether to give him some jealousy that he had known and possessed her,
and so prevent his designs on her; or by saying he had not, to leave
her defenceless to his love. But on second thoughts, he could not
resolve to say any thing to the disadvantage of _Sylvia_, though to
save his own life; and therefore assured his uncle, he never durst
assume the boldness to ask so rude a question of a woman of quality:
and much more he spoke to that purpose to convince him: that it is
true, he would have married her, if he could have gained his consent;
maugre all the scandal that the malicious world had thrown upon her.
But since he was positive in his command for the widow, he would bend
his mind to obedience. 'In that,' replied _Sebastian_, 'you are wise,
and I am glad all your youthful fires are blown over; and having once
fixed you in the world as I design, I have resolved on an affair----'
At this again he paused----'I am,' says he, 'in love--I think it is
love, or that which you call so: I cannot eat, nor sleep, nor even
pray, but this fair stranger interposes; or, if by chance I slumber,
all my dreams are of her, I see her, I touch her, I embrace her, and
find a pleasure, even then, that all my waking thoughts could never
procure me. If I go to the state-house, I mind nothing there, my
heart's at home with the young gentlewoman; or the change, or
wheresoever I go, my restless thoughts present her still before me:
and prithee tell me, is not this love, _Octavio_? 'It may arrive to
love,' replied the blushing youth, 'if you would fondly give way to
it: but you are wise and grave, should hate all women, sir, till about
forty, and then for generation only: you are above the follies of vain
youth. And let me tell you, sir, without offending, already you are
charged with a thousand little vanities, unsuitable to your years, and
the character you have had, and the figure you have made in the world.
I heard a lampoon on you the other day,--(Pardon my freedom, sir,) for
keeping a beauty in your house, who they are pleased to say was my
mistress before.' And pulling out a lampoon, which his page had before
given him, he gave it his uncle. But instead of making him resolve to
quit _Sylvia_, it only served to incense him against _Octavio_; he
railed at all wits, and swore there was not a more dangerous enemy to
a civil, sober commonwealth: that a poet was to be banished as a spy,
or hanged as a traitor: that it ought to be as much against the law to
let them live, as to shoot with white powder; and that to write
lampoons should be put into the statute against stabbing. And could he
find the rogue that had the wit to write that, he would make him a
warning to all the race of that damnable vermin; what! to abuse a
magistrate, one of the _States_, a very monarch of the commonwealth!--
It was abominable, and not to be borne,--and looking on his nephew--
and considering his face a while, he cried--'I fancy, sir, by your
physiognomy, that you yourself have a hand in this libel:' at which
Octavio blushed, which he taking for guilt, flew out into terrible
anger against him, not suffering him to speak for himself, or clear
his innocence. And as he was going in this rage from him, having
forbidden him ever to set his foot within his doors, he told him,--
'If,' said he, 'the scandalous town, from your instructions, have
such thoughts of me, I will convince it by marrying this fair
stranger the first thing I do: I cannot doubt but to find a welcome,
since she is a banished woman, without friends or protection; and
especially, when she shall see how civilly you have handled her
here, in your doggerel ballad: I will teach you to be a wit, sir; and
so your humble servant.'--And leaving him almost wild with his
fears, he went directly to _Sylvia_, where he told her his nephew was
going to make up the match between himself and madam the widow of ----
and that he had made a scandalous lampoon on her fair self. He forgot
nothing that might make her hate the amiable young nobleman, whom she
knew too well to believe that any thing of this was other than the
effects of his own growing passion for her. For though she saw
_Octavio_ every day, in this time she had remained at his uncle's, yet
the old lover so watched their very looks, that it was impossible
almost to tell one another's heart by the glance there. But _Octavio_
had once in this time conveyed a letter to her, which having
opportunity to do, he put it into her comb-box, when he was with his
uncle one day in her dressing-room; for she durst not trust her page,
and less _Antonet_, who had before betrayed them: and having for
_Sylvia_'s release so solemnly sworn to his uncle, (to which vows he
took religious care to keep him,) he had so perfect an awe upon his
spirits from every look and command of his uncle's, he took infinite
heed how he gave him any umbrage by any action of his; and the rather,
because he hoped when time should serve, to bring about his business
of stealing _Sylvia_ from him; for she was kept and guarded like a
mighty heiress; so that by this prudent management on both sides, they
heightened the growing love in every heart. In that billet, which he
dropped in her comb-box, he did not only make ten thousand vows of
eternal passion and faith, and beg the same assurance of her again;
but told her he was secured (so well he thought of her) from fears of
his uncle's addresses to her, and begged she would not let them
perplex her, but rather serve her for her diversion; that she should
from time to time write him all he said to her, and how he treated her
when alone; and that since the old lover was so watchful, she should
not trust her letters with any body; but as she walked into the
garden, she should in passing through the hall, put her letter in at
the broken glass of an old sedan that stood there, and had stood for
several years; and that his own page, whom he could trust, should,
when he came with him to his uncle's, take it from thence. Thus every
day they writ, and received the dearest returns in the world; where
all the satisfaction that vows oft repeated could give, was rendered
each other; with an account from _Sylvia_ that was very pleasant, of
all the passion of the doting old _Sebastian_, the presents he made
her, the fantastic youth he would assume, and unusual manner of his
love, which was a great diversion to both; and this difficulty of
speaking to _Sylvia_, and entertaining her with love, though it had
its pains, had its infinite pleasure too; it increased their love on

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