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Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Part 2 out of 7

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it explains itself; she won't have me, she says; is not that plain
enough? I think 'tis plain, and pretty rough too.' 'Well, but,'
says the mother, 'you talk of conditions that you cannot grant;
what does she want--a settlement? Her jointure ought to be
according to her portion; but what fortune does she bring you?'
'Nay, as to fortune,' says Robin, 'she is rich enough; I am
satisfied in that point; but 'tis I that am not able to come up
to her terms, and she is positive she will not have me without.'

Here the sisters put in. 'Madam,' says the second sister, ''tis
impossible to be serious with him; he will never give a direct
answer to anything; you had better let him alone, and talk no
more of it to him; you know how to dispose of her out of his
way if you thought there was anything in it.' Robin was a little
warmed with his sister's rudeness, but he was even with her,
and yet with good manners too. 'There are two sorts of people,
madam,' says he, turning to his mother, 'that there is no
contending with; that is, a wise body and a fool; 'tis a little
hard I should engage with both of them together.'

The younger sister then put in. 'We must be fools indeed,'
says she, 'in my brother's opinion, that he should think we can
believe he has seriously asked Mrs. Betty to marry him, and
that she has refused him.'

'Answer, and answer not, say Solomon,' replied her brother.
'When your brother had said to your mother that he had asked
her no less than five times, and that it was so, that she positively
denied him, methinks a younger sister need not question the
truth of it when her mother did not.' 'My mother, you see,
did not understand it,' says the second sister. 'There's some
difference,' says Robin, 'between desiring me to explain it,
and telling me she did not believe it.'

'Well, but, son,' says the old lady, 'if you are disposed to let
us into the mystery of it, what were these hard conditions?'
'Yes, madam,' says Robin, 'I had done it before now, if the
teasers here had not worried my by way of interruption. The
conditions are, that I bring my father and you to consent to it,
and without that she protests she will never see me more upon
that head; and to these conditions, as I said, I suppose I shall
never be able to grant. I hope my warm sisters will be
answered now, and blush a little; if not, I have no more to say
till I hear further.'

This answer was surprising to them all, though less to the
mother, because of what I had said to her. As to the daughters,
they stood mute a great while; but the mother said with some
passion, 'Well, I had heard this before, but I could not believe
it; but if it is so, they we have all done Betty wrong, and she
has behaved better than I ever expected.' 'Nay,' says the eldest
sister, 'if it be so, she has acted handsomely indeed.' 'I confess,'
says the mother, 'it was none of her fault, if he was fool enough
to take a fancy to her; but to give such an answer to him, shows
more respect to your father and me than I can tell how to
express; I shall value the girl the better for it as long as I know
her.' 'But I shall not,' says Robin, 'unless you will give your
consent.' 'I'll consider of that a while,' says the mother; 'I
assure you, if there were not some other objections in the way,
this conduct of hers would go a great way to bring me to
consent.' 'I wish it would go quite through it,' says Robin;
'if you had a much thought about making me easy as you have
about making me rich, you would soon consent to it.'

'Why, Robin,' says the mother again, 'are you really in earnest?
Would you so fain have her as you pretend?' "Really, madam,'
says Robin, 'I think 'tis hard you should question me upon
that head after all I have said. I won't say that I will have her;
how can I resolve that point, when you see I cannot have her
without your consent? Besides, I am not bound to marry at
all. But this I will say, I am in earnest in, that I will never have
anybody else if I can help it; so you may determine for me.
Betty or nobody is the word, and the question which of the
two shall be in your breast to decide, madam, provided only,
that my good-humoured sisters here may have no vote in it.'

All this was dreadful to me, for the mother began to yield,
and Robin pressed her home on it. On the other hand, she
advised with the eldest son, and he used all the arguments in
the world to persuade her to consent; alleging his brother's
passionate love for me, and my generous regard to the family,
in refusing my own advantages upon such a nice point of
honour, and a thousand such things. And as to the father, he
was a man in a hurry of public affairs and getting money,
seldom at home, thoughtful of the main chance, but left all
those things to his wife.

You may easily believe, that when the plot was thus, as they
thought, broke out, and that every one thought they knew how
things were carried, it was not so difficult or so dangerous for
the elder brother, whom nobody suspected of anything, to have
a freer access to me than before; nay, the mother, which was
just as he wished, proposed it to him to talk with Mrs. Betty.
'For it may be, son,' said she, 'you may see farther into the
thing than I, and see if you think she has been so positive as
Robin says she has been, or no.' This was as well as he could
wish, and he, as it were, yielding to talk with me at his mother's
request, she brought me to him into her own chamber, told me
her son had some business with me at her request, and desired
me to be very sincere with him, and then she left us together,
and he went and shut the door after her.

He came back to me and took me in his arms, and kissed me
very tenderly; but told me he had a long discourse to hold
with me, and it was not come to that crisis, that I should make
myself happy or miserable as long as I lived; that the thing
was now gone so far, that if I could not comply with his desire,
we would both be ruined. Then he told the whole story
between Robin, as he called him, and his mother and sisters
and himself, as it is above. 'And now, dear child,' says he,
'consider what it will be to marry a gentleman of a good family,
in good circumstances, and with the consent of the whole house,
and to enjoy all that he world can give you; and what, on the
other hand, to be sunk into the dark circumstances of a woman
that has lost her reputation; and that though I shall be a private
friend to you while I live, yet as I shall be suspected always,
so you will be afraid to see me, and I shall be afraid to own you.'

He gave me no time to reply, but went on with me thus: 'What
has happened between us, child, so long as we both agree to do
so, may be buried and forgotten. I shall always be your sincere
friend, without any inclination to nearer intimacy, when you
become my sister; and we shall have all the honest part of
conversation without any reproaches between us of having
done amiss. I beg of you to consider it, and to not stand in the
way of your own safety and prosperity; and to satisfy you that
I am sincere,' added he, 'I here offer you #500 in money, to
make you some amends for the freedoms I have taken with
you, which we shall look upon as some of the follies of our
lives, which 'tis hoped we may repent of.'

He spoke this in so much more moving terms than it is possible
for me to express, and with so much greater force of argument
than I can repeat, that I only recommend it to those who read
the story, to suppose, that as he held me above an hour and a
half in that discourse, so he answered all my objections, and
fortified his discourse with all the arguments that human wit
and art could devise.

I cannot say, however, that anything he said made impression
enough upon me so as to give me any thought of the matter,
till he told me at last very plainly, that if I refused, he was
sorry to add that he could never go on with me in that station
as we stood before; that though he loved me as well as ever,
and that I was as agreeable to him as ever, yet sense of virtue
had not so far forsaken him as to suffer him to lie with a
woman that his brother courted to make his wife; and if he
took his leave of me, with a denial in this affair, whatever he
might do for me in the point of support, grounded on his first
engagement of maintaining me, yet he would not have me be
surprised that he was obliged to tell me he could not allow
himself to see me any more; and that, indeed, I could not
expect it of him.

I received this last part with some token of surprise and
disorder, and had much ado to avoid sinking down, for indeed
I loved him to an extravagance not easy to imagine; but he
perceived my disorder. He entreated me to consider seriously
of it; assured me that it was the only way to preserve our
mutual affection; that in this station we might love as friends,
with the utmost passion, and with a love of relation untainted,
free from our just reproaches, and free from other people's
suspicions; that he should ever acknowledge his happiness
owing to me; that he would be debtor to me as long as he
lived, and would be paying that debt as long as he had breath.
Thus he wrought me up, in short, to a kind of hesitation in the
matter; having the dangers on one side represented in lively
figures, and indeed, heightened by my imagination of being
turned out to the wide world a mere cast-off whore, for it was
no less, and perhaps exposed as such, with little to provide for
myself, with no friend, no acquaintance in the whole world,
out of that town, and there I could not pretend to stay. All
this terrified me to the last degree, and he took care upon all
occasions to lay it home to me in the worst colours that it could
be possible to be drawn in. On the other hand, he failed not to
set forth the easy, prosperous life which I was going to live.

He answered all that I could object from affection, and from
former engagements, with telling me the necessity that was
before us of taking other measures now; and as to his promises
of marriage, the nature of things, he said, had put an end to
that, by the probability of my being his brother's wife, before
the time to which his promises all referred.

Thus, in a word, I may say, he reasoned me out of my reason;
he conquered all my arguments, and I began to see a danger
that I was in, which I had not considered of before, and that
was, of being dropped by both of them and left alone in the
world to shift for myself.

This, and his persuasion, at length prevailed with me to
consent, though with so much reluctance, that it was easy to
see I should go to church like a bear to the stake. I had some
little apprehensions about me, too, lest my new spouse, who,
by the way, I had not the least affection for, should be skillful
enough to challenge me on another account, upon our first
coming to bed together. But whether he did it with design or
not, I know not, but his elder brother took care to make him
very much fuddled before he went to bed, so that I had the
satisfaction of a drunken bedfellow the first night. How he
did it I know not, but I concluded that he certainly contrived
it, that his brother might be able to make no judgment of the
difference between a maid and a married woman; nor did he
ever entertain any notions of it, or disturb his thoughts about it.

I should go back a little here to where I left off. The elder
brother having thus managed me, his next business was to
manage his mother, and he never left till he had brought her
to acquiesce and be passive in the thing, even without
acquainting the father, other than by post letters; so that she
consented to our marrying privately, and leaving her to mange
the father afterwards.

Then he cajoled with his brother, and persuaded him what
service he had done him, and how he had brought his mother
to consent, which, though true, was not indeed done to serve
him, but to serve himself; but thus diligently did he cheat him,
and had the thanks of a faithful friend for shifting off his whore
into his brother's arms for a wife. So certainly does interest
banish all manner of affection, and so naturally do men give
up honour and justice, humanity, and even Christianity, to
secure themselves.

I must now come back to brother Robin, as we always called
him, who having got his mother's consent, as above, came
big with the news to me, and told me the whole story of it,
with a sincerity so visible, that I must confess it grieved me
that I must be the instrument to abuse so honest a gentleman.
But there was no remedy; he would have me, and I was not
obliged to tell him that I was his brother's whore, though I had
no other way to put him off; so I came gradually into it, to his
satisfaction, and behold we were married.

Modesty forbids me to reveal the secrets of the marriage-bed,
but nothing could have happened more suitable to my
circumstances than that, as above, my husband was so fuddled
when he came to bed, that he could not remember in the
morning whether he had had any conversation with me or no,
and I was obliged to tell him he had, though in reality he had
not, that I might be sure he could make to inquiry about
anything else.

It concerns the story in hand very little to enter into the further
particulars of the family, or of myself, for the five years that I
lived with this husband, only to observe that I had two children
by him, and that at the end of five years he died. He had been
really a very good husband to me, and we lived very agreeably
together; but as he had not received much from them, and had
in the little time he lived acquired no great matters, so my
circumstances were not great, nor was I much mended by the
match. Indeed, I had preserved the elder brother's bonds to
me, to pay #500, which he offered me for my consent to marry
his brother; and this, with what I had saved of the money he
formerly gave me, about as much more by my husband, left me
a widow with about #1200 in my pocket.

My two children were, indeed, taken happily off my hands by
my husband's father and mother, and that, by the way, was all
they got by Mrs. Betty.

I confess I was not suitably affected with the loss of my husband,
nor indeed can I say that I ever loved him as I ought to have
done, or as was proportionable to the good usage I had from
him, for he was a tender, kind, good-humoured man as any
woman could desire; but his brother being so always in my
sight, at least while we were in the country, was a continual
snare to me, and I never was in bed with my husband but I
wished myself in the arms of his brother; and though his brother
never offered me the least kindness that way after our marriage,
but carried it just as a brother out to do, yet it was impossible
for me to do so to him; in short, I committed adultery and incest
with him every day in my desires, which, without doubt, was as
effectually criminal in the nature of the guilt as if I had actually
done it.

Before my husband died his elder brother was married, and
we, being then removed to London, were written to by the old
lady to come and be at the wedding. My husband went, but I
pretended indisposition, and that I could not possibly travel,
so I stayed behind; for, in short, I could not bear the sight of
his being given to another woman, though I knew I was never
to have him myself.

I was now, as above, left loose to the world, and being still
young and handsome, as everybody said of me, and I assure
you I thought myself so, and with a tolerable fortune in my
pocket, I put no small value upon myself. I was courted by
several very considerable tradesmen, and particularly very
warmly by one, a linen-draper, at whose house, after my
husband's death, I took a lodging, his sister being my acquaintance.
Here I had all the liberty and all the opportunity to be gay and
appear in company that I could desire, my landlord's sister
being one of the maddest, gayest things alive, and not so much
mistress of her virtue as I thought as first she had been. She
brought me into a world of wild company, and even brought
home several persons, such as she liked well enough to gratify,
to see her pretty widow, so she was pleased to call me, and
that name I got in a little time in public. Now, as fame and
fools make an assembly, I was here wonderfully caressed, had
abundance of admirers, and such as called themselves lovers;
but I found not one fair proposal among them all. As for their
common design, that I understood too well to be drawn into
any more snares of that kind. The case was altered with me:
I had money in my pocket, and had nothing to say to them. I
had been tricked once by that cheat called love, but the game
was over; I was resolved now to be married or nothing, and
to be well married or not at all.

I loved the company, indeed, of men of mirth and wit, men of
gallantry and figure, and was often entertained with such, as
I was also with others; but I found by just observation, that the
brightest men came upon the dullest errand--that is to say, the
dullest as to what I aimed at. On the other hand, those who
came with the best proposals were the dullest and most
disagreeable part of the world. I was not averse to a tradesman,
but then I would have a tradesman, forsooth, that was
something of a gentleman too; that when my husband had a
mind to carry me to the court, or to the play, he might become
a sword, and look as like a gentleman as another man; and not
be one that had the mark of his apron-strings upon his coat,
or the mark of his hat upon his periwig; that should look as if
he was set on to his sword, when his sword was put on to him,
and that carried his trade in his countenance.

Well, at last I found this amphibious creature, this land-water
thing called a gentleman-tradesman; and as a just plague upon
my folly, I was catched in the very snare which, as I might say,
I laid for myself. I said for myself, for I was not trepanned,
I confess, but I betrayed myself.

This was a draper, too, for though my comrade would have
brought me to a bargain with her brother, yet when it came to
the point, it was, it seems, for a mistress, not a wife; and I kept
true to this notion, that a woman should never be kept for a
mistress that had money to keep herself.

Thus my pride, not my principle, my money, not my virtue,
kept me honest; though, as it proved, I found I had much better
have been sold by my she-comrade to her brother, than have
sold myself as I did to a tradesman that was rake, gentleman,
shopkeeper, and beggar, all together.

But I was hurried on (by my fancy to a gentleman) to ruin
myself in the grossest manner that every woman did; for my
new husband coming to a lump of money at once, fell into
such a profusion of expense, that all I had, and all he had
before, if he had anything worth mentioning, would not have
held it out above one year.

He was very fond of me for about a quarter of a year, and
what I got by that was, that I had the pleasure of seeing a great
deal of my money spent upon myself, and, as I may say, had
some of the spending it too. 'Come, my dear,' says he to me
one day, 'shall we go and take a turn into the country for about
a week?' 'Ay, my dear,' says I, 'whither would you go?' 'I
care not whither,' says he, 'but I have a mind to look like
quality for a week. We'll go to Oxford,' says he. 'How,' says
I, 'shall we go? I am no horsewoman, and 'tis too far for a coach.'
'Too far!' says he; 'no place is too far for a coach-and-six. If
I carry you out, you shall travel like a duchess.' 'Hum,' says
I, 'my dear, 'tis a frolic; but if you have a mind to it, I don't
care.' Well, the time was appointed, we had a rich coach, very
good horses, a coachman, postillion, and two footmen in very
good liveries; a gentleman on horseback, and a page with a
feather in his hat upon another horse. The servants all called
him my lord, and the inn-keepers, you may be sure, did the like,
and I was her honour the Countess, and thus we traveled to
Oxford, and a very pleasant journey we had; for, give him his
due, not a beggar alive knew better how to be a lord than my
husband. We saw all the rarities at Oxford, talked with two or
three Fellows of colleges about putting out a young nephew,
that was left to his lordship's care, to the University, and of
their being his tutors. We diverted ourselves with bantering
several other poor scholars, with hopes of being at least his
lordship's chaplains and putting on a scarf; and thus having
lived like quality indeed, as to expense, we went away for
Northampton, and, in a word, in about twelve days' ramble
came home again, to the tune of about #93 expense.

Vanity is the perfection of a fop. My husband had this
excellence, that he valued nothing of expense; and as his
history, you may be sure, has very little weight in it, 'tis
enough to tell you that in about two years and a quarter he
broke, and was not so happy to get over into the Mint, but got
into a sponging-house, being arrested in an action too heavy
from him to give bail to, so he sent for me to come to him.

It was no surprise to me, for I had foreseen some time that
all was going to wreck, and had been taking care to reserve
something if I could, though it was not much, for myself. But
when he sent for me, he behaved much better than I expected,
and told me plainly he had played the fool, and suffered
himself to be surprised, which he might have prevented; that
now he foresaw he could not stand it, and therefore he would
have me go home, and in the night take away everything I had
in the house of any value, and secure it; and after that, he told
me that if I could get away one hundred or two hundred pounds
in goods out of the shop, I should do it; 'only,' says he, 'let me
know nothing of it, neither what you take nor whither you
carry it; for as for me,' says he, 'I am resolved to get out of
this house and be gone; and if you never hear of me more, my
dear,' says he, 'I wish you well; I am only sorry for the injury
I have done you.' He said some very handsome things to me
indeed at parting; for I told you he was a gentleman, and that
was all the benefit I had of his being so; that he used me very
handsomely and with good manners upon all occasions, even
to the last, only spent all I had, and left me to rob the creditors
for something to subsist on.

However, I did as he bade me, that you may be sure; and
having thus taken my leave of him, I never saw him more, for
he found means to break out of the bailiff's house that night
or the next, and go over into France, and for the rest of the
creditors scrambled for it as well as they could. How, I knew
not, for I could come at no knowledge of anything, more than
this, that he came home about three o'clock in the morning,
caused the rest of his goods to be removed into the Mint, and
the shop to be shut up; and having raised what money he could
get together, he got over, as I said, to France, from whence I
had one or two letters from him, and no more. I did not see him
when he came home, for he having given me such instructions
as above, and I having made the best of my time, I had no more
business back again at the house, not knowing but I might have
been stopped there by the creditors; for a commission of
bankrupt being soon after issued, they might have stopped me
by orders from the commissioners. But my husband, having
so dexterously got out of the bailiff's house by letting himself
down in a most desperate manner from almost the top of the
house to the top of another building, and leaping from thence,
which was almost two storeys, and which was enough indeed
to have broken his neck, he came home and got away his goods
before the creditors could come to seize; that is to say, before
they could get out the commission, and be ready to send their
officers to take possession.

My husband was so civil to me, for still I say he was much
of a gentleman, that in the first letter he wrote me from France,
he let me know where he had pawned twenty pieces of fine
holland for #30, which were really worth #90, and enclosed
me the token and an order for the taking them up, paying the
money, which I did, and made in time above #100 of them,
having leisure to cut them and sell them, some and some, to
private families, as opportunity offered.

However, with all this, and all that I had secured before, I
found, upon casting things up, my case was very much altered,
any my fortune much lessened; for, including the hollands and
a parcel of fine muslins, which I carried off before, and some
plate, and other things, I found I could hardly muster up #500;
and my condition was very odd, for though I had no child (I
had had one by my gentleman draper, but it was buried), yet I
was a widow bewitched; I had a husband and no husband, and
I could not pretend to marry again, though I knew well enough
my husband would never see England any more, if he lived fifty
years. Thus, I say, I was limited from marriage, what offer
might soever be made me; and I had not one friend to advise
with in the condition I was in, least not one I durst trust the
secret of my circumstances to, for if the commissioners were
to have been informed where I was, I should have been fetched
up and examined upon oath, and all I have saved be taken away
from me.

Upon these apprehensions, the first thing I did was to go quite
out of my knowledge, and go by another name. This I did
effectually, for I went into the Mint too, took lodgings in a
very private place, dressed up in the habit of a widow, and
called myself Mrs. Flanders.

Here, however, I concealed myself, and though my new
acquaintances knew nothing of me, yet I soon got a great
deal of company about me; and whether it be that women are
scarce among the sorts of people that generally are to be found
there, or that some consolations in the miseries of the place
are more requisite than on other occasions, I soon found an
agreeable woman was exceedingly valuable among the sons
of affliction there, and that those that wanted money to pay
half a crown on the pound to their creditors, and that run in debt
at the sign of the Bull for their dinners, would yet find money
for a supper, if they liked the woman.

However, I kept myself safe yet, though I began, like my Lord
Rochester's mistress, that loved his company, but would not
admit him farther, to have the scandal of a whore, without the
joy; and upon this score, tired with the place, and indeed
with the company too, I began to think of removing.

It was indeed a subject of strange reflection to me to see men
who were overwhelmed in perplexed circumstances, who
were reduced some degrees below being ruined, whose families
were objects of their own terror and other people's charity,
yet while a penny lasted, nay, even beyond it, endeavouring to
drown themselves, labouring to forget former things, which
now it was the proper time to remember, making more work for
repentance, and sinning on, as a remedy for sin past.

But it is none of my talent to preach; these men were too
wicked, even for me. There was something horrid and absurd
in their way of sinning, for it was all a force even upon
themselves; they did not only act against conscience, but
against nature; they put a rape upon their temper to drown the
reflections, which their circumstances continually gave them;
and nothing was more easy than to see how sighs would
interrupt their songs, and paleness and anguish sit upon their
brows, in spite of the forced smiles they put on; nay, sometimes
it would break out at their very mouths when they had parted
with their money for a lewd treat or a wicked embrace. I have
heard them, turning about, fetch a deep sigh, and cry, 'What a
dog am I! Well, Betty, my dear, I'll drink thy health, though';
meaning the honest wife, that perhaps had not a half-crown
for herself and three or four children. The next morning they
are at their penitentials again; and perhaps the poor weeping
wife comes over to him, either brings him some account of
what his creditors are doing, and how she and the children are
turned out of doors, or some other dreadful news; and this
adds to his self-reproaches; but when he has thought and pored
on it till he is almost mad, having no principles to support him,
nothing within him or above him to comfort him, but finding
it all darkness on every side, he flies to the same relief again,
viz. to drink it away, debauch it away, and falling into
company of men in just the same condition with himself, he
repeats the crime, and thus he goes every day one step
onward of his way to destruction.

I was not wicked enough for such fellows as these yet. On
the contrary, I began to consider here very seriously what I
had to do; how things stood with me, and what course I ought
to take. I knew I had no friends, no, not one friend or relation
in the world; and that little I had left apparently wasted, which
when it was gone, I saw nothing but misery and starving was
before me. Upon these considerations, I say, and filled with
horror at the place I was in, and the dreadful objects which I
had always before me, I resolved to be gone.

I had made an acquaintance with a very sober, good sort of a
woman, who was a widow too, like me, but in better circumstances.
Her husband had been a captain of a merchant ship, and having
had the misfortune to be cast away coming home on a voyage
from the West Indies, which would have been very profitable
if he had come safe, was so reduced by the loss, that though
he had saved his life then, it broke his heart, and killed him
afterwards; and his widow, being pursued by the creditors, was
forced to take shelter in the Mint. She soon made things up
with the help of friends, and was at liberty again; and finding
that I rather was there to be concealed, than by any particular
prosecutions and finding also that I agreed with her, or rather
she with me, in a just abhorrence of the place and of the
company, she invited to go home with her till I could put
myself in some posture of settling in the world to my mind;
withal telling me, that it was ten to one but some good captain
of a ship might take a fancy to me, and court me, in that part
of the town where she lived.

I accepted her offer, and was with her half a year, and should
have been longer, but in that interval what she proposed to me
happened to herself, and she married very much to her advantage.
But whose fortune soever was upon the increase, mine seemed
to be upon the wane, and I found nothing present, except two
or three boatswains, or such fellows, but as for the commanders,
they were generally of two sorts: 1. Such as, having good
business, that is to say, a good ship, resolved not to marry
but with advantage, that is, with a good fortune; 2. Such as,
being out of employ, wanted a wife to help them to a ship; I
mean (1) a wife who, having some money, could enable them
to hold, as they call it, a good part of a ship themselves, so to
encourage owners to come in; or (2) a wife who, if she had not
money, had friends who were concerned in shipping, and so
could help to put the young man into a good ship, which to
them is as good as a portion; and neither of these was my case,
so I looked like one that was to lie on hand.

This knowledge I soon learned by experience, viz. that the
state of things was altered as to matrimony, and that I was not
to expect at London what I had found in the country: that
marriages were here the consequences of politic schemes for
forming interests, and carrying on business, and that Love had
no share, or but very little, in the matter.

That as my sister-in-law at Colchester had said, beauty, wit,
manners, sense, good humour, good behaviour, education,
virtue, piety, or any other qualification, whether of body or
mind, had no power to recommend; that money only made a
woman agreeable; that men chose mistresses indeed by the
gust of their affection, and it was requisite to a whore to be
handsome, well-shaped, have a good mien and a graceful
behaviour; but that for a wife, no deformity would shock the
fancy, no ill qualities the judgment; the money was the thing;
the portion was neither crooked nor monstrous, but the money
was always agreeable, whatever the wife was.

On the other hand, as the market ran very unhappily on the
men's side, I found the women had lost the privilege of saying
No; that it was a favour now for a woman to have the Question
asked, and if any young lady had so much arrogance as to
counterfeit a negative, she never had the opportunity given
her of denying twice, much less of recovering that false step,
and accepting what she had but seemed to decline. The men
had such choice everywhere, that the case of the women was
very unhappy; for they seemed to ply at every door, and if the
man was by great chance refused at one house, he was sure to
be received at the next.

Besides this, I observed that the men made no scruple to set
themselves out, and to go a-fortunehunting, as they call it,
when they had really no fortune themselves to demand it, or
merit to deserve it; and that they carried it so high, that a woman
was scarce allowed to inquire after the character or estate of
the person that pretended to her. This I had an example of, in
a young lady in the next house to me, and with whom I had
contracted an intimacy; she was courted by a young captain,
and though she had near #2000 to her fortune, she did but
inquire of some of his neighbours about his character, his
morals, or substance, and he took occasion at the next visit to
let her know, truly, that he took it very ill, and that he should
not give her the trouble of his visits any more. I heard of it,
and I had begun my acquaintance with her, I went to see her
upon it. She entered into a close conversation with me about
it, and unbosomed herself very freely. I perceived presently
that though she thought herself very ill used, yet she had no
power to resent it, and was exceedingly piqued that she had
lost him, and particularly that another of less fortune had
gained him.

I fortified her mind against such a meanness, as I called it; I
told her, that as low as I was in the world, I would have
despised a man that should think I ought to take him upon his
own recommendation only, without having the liberty to
inform myself of his fortune and of his character; also I told
her, that as she had a good fortune, she had no need to stoop
to the disaster of the time; that it was enough that the men
could insult us that had but little money to recommend us, but
if she suffered such an affront to pass upon her without resenting
it, she would be rendered low-prized upon all occasions, and
would be the contempt of all the women in that part of the town;
that a woman can never want an opportunity to be revenged
of a man that has used her ill, and that there were ways enough
to humble such a fellow as that, or else certainly women were
the most unhappy creatures in the world.

I found she was very well pleased with the discourse, and she
told me seriously that she would be very glad to make him
sensible of her just resentment, and either to bring him on again,
or have the satisfaction of her revenge being as public as possible.

I told her, that if she would take my advice, I would tell her
how she should obtain her wishes in both those things, and
that I would engage I would bring the man to her door again,
and make him beg to be let in. She smiled at that, and soon
let me see, that if he came to her door, her resentment was
not so great as to give her leave to let him stand long there.

However, she listened very willingly to my offer of advice;
so I told her that the first thing she ought to do was a piece
of justice to herself, namely, that whereas she had been told
by several people that he had reported among the ladies that
he had left her, and pretended to give the advantage of the
negative to himself, she should take care to have it well spread
among the women--which she could not fail of an opportunity
to do in a neighbourhood so addicted to family news as that
she live in was--that she had inquired into his circumstances,
and found he was not the man as to estate he pretended to be.
'Let them be told, madam,' said I, 'that you had been well
informed that he was not the man that you expected, and that
you thought it was not safe to meddle with him; that you heard
he was of an ill temper, and that he boasted how he had used
the women ill upon many occasions, and that particularly he
was debauched in his morals', etc. The last of which, indeed,
had some truth in it; but at the same time I did not find that
she seemed to like him much the worse for that part.

As I had put this into her head, she came most readily into it.
Immediately she went to work to find instruments, and she
had very little difficulty in the search, for telling her story in
general to a couple of gossips in the neighbourhood, it was the
chat of the tea-table all over that part of the town, and I met
with it wherever I visited; also, as it was known that I was
acquainted with the young lady herself, my opinion was asked
very often, and I confirmed it with all the necessary aggravations,
and set out his character in the blackest colours; but then as a
piece of secret intelligence, I added, as what the other gossips
knew nothing of, viz. that I had heard he was in very bad
circumstances; that he was under a necessity of a fortune to
support his interest with the owners of the ship he commanded;
that his own part was not paid for, and if it was not paid quickly,
his owners would put him out of the ship, and his chief mate
was likely to command it, who offered to buy that part which
the captain had promised to take.

I added, for I confess I was heartily piqued at the rogue, as I
called him, that I had heard a rumour, too, that he had a wife
alive at Plymouth, and another in the West Indies, a thing which
they all knew was not very uncommon for such kind of gentlemen.

This worked as we both desire it, for presently the young lady
next door, who had a father and mother that governed both
her and her fortune, was shut up, and her father forbid him the
house. Also in one place more where he went, the woman had
the courage, however strange it was, to say No; and he could
try nowhere but he was reproached with his pride, and that he
pretended not to give the women leave to inquire into his
character, and the like.

Well, by this time he began to be sensible of his mistake; and
having alarmed all the women on that side of the water, he
went over to Ratcliff, and got access to some of the ladies
there; but though the young women there too were, according
to the fate of the day, pretty willing to be asked, yet such was
his ill-luck, that his character followed him over the water and
his good name was much the same there as it was on our side;
so that though he might have had wives enough, yet it did not
happen among the women that had good fortunes, which was
what he wanted.

But this was not all; she very ingeniously managed another
thing herself, for she got a young gentleman, who as a relation,
and was indeed a married man, to come and visit her two or
three times a week in a very fine chariot and good liveries, and
her two agents, and I also, presently spread a report all over,
that this gentleman came to court her; that he was a gentleman
of a #1000 a year, and that he was fallen in love with her, and
that she was going to her aunt's in the city, because it was
inconvenient for the gentleman to come to her with his coach
in Redriff, the streets being so narrow and difficult.

This took immediately. The captain was laughed at in all
companies, and was ready to hang himself. He tried all the
ways possible to come at her again, and wrote the most
passionate letters to her in the world, excusing his former
rashness; and in short, by great application, obtained leave to
wait on her again, as he said, to clear his reputation.

At this meeting she had her full revenge of him; for she told
him she wondered what he took her to be, that she should
admit any man to a treaty of so much consequence as that to
marriage, without inquiring very well into his circumstances;
that if he thought she was to be huffed into wedlock, and that
she was in the same circumstances which her neighbours might
be in, viz. to take up with the first good Christian that came,
he was mistaken; that, in a word, his character was really bad,
or he was very ill beholden to his neighbours; and that unless
he could clear up some points, in which she had justly been
prejudiced, she had no more to say to him, but to do herself
justice, and give him the satisfaction of knowing that she was
not afraid to say No, either to him or any man else.

With that she told him what she had heard, or rather raised
herself by my means, of his character; his not having paid for
the part he pretended to own of the ship he commanded; of
the resolution of his owners to put him out of the command,
and to put his mate in his stead; and of the scandal raised on
his morals; his having been reproached with such-and-such
women, and having a wife at Plymouth and in the West Indies,
and the like; and she asked him whether he could deny that she
had good reason, if these things were not cleared up, to refuse
him, and in the meantime to insist upon having satisfaction in
points to significant as they were.

He was so confounded at her discourse that he could not
answer a word, and she almost began to believe that all was
true, by his disorder, though at the same time she knew that
she had been the raiser of all those reports herself.

After some time he recovered himself a little, and from that
time became the most humble, the most modest, and most
importunate man alive in his courtship.

She carried her jest on a great way. She asked him, if he
thought she was so at her last shift that she could or ought to
bear such treatment, and if he did not see that she did not
want those who thought it worth their while to come farther
to her than he did; meaning the gentleman whom she had
brought to visit her by way of sham.

She brought him by these tricks to submit to all possible
measures to satisfy her, as well of his circumstances as of his
behaviour. He brought her undeniable evidence of his having
paid for his part of the ship; he brought her certificates from
his owners, that the report of their intending to remove him
from the command of the ship and put his chief mate in was
false and groundless; in short, he was quite the reverse of what
he was before.

Thus I convinced her, that if the men made their advantage
of our sex in the affair of marriage, upon the supposition of
there being such choice to be had, and of the women being
so easy, it was only owing to this, that the women wanted
courage to maintain their ground and to play their part; and
that, according to my Lord Rochester,

'A woman's ne'er so ruined but she can
Revenge herself on her undoer, Man.'

After these things this young lady played her part so well, that
though she resolved to have him, and that indeed having him
was the main bent of her design, yet she made his obtaining
her be to him the most difficult thing in the world; and this she
did, not by a haughty reserved carriage, but by a just policy,
turning the tables upon him, and playing back upon him his
own game; for as he pretended, by a kind of lofty carriage, to
place himself above the occasion of a character, and to make
inquiring into his character a kind of an affront to him, she
broke with him upon that subject, and at the same time that
she make him submit to all possible inquiry after his affairs,
she apparently shut the door against his looking into her own.

It was enough to him to obtain her for a wife. As to what
she had, she told him plainly, that as he knew her circumstances,
it was but just she should know his; and though at the same
time he had only known her circumstances by common fame,
yet he had made so many protestations of his passion for her,
that he could ask no more but her hand to his grand request,
and the like ramble according to the custom of lovers. In short,
he left himself no room to ask any more questions about her
estate, and she took the advantage of it like a prudent woman,
for she placed part of her fortune so in trustees, without letting
him know anything of it, that it was quite out of his reach, and
made him be very well content with the rest.

It is true she was pretty well besides, that is to say, she had
about #1400 in money, which she gave him; and the other,
after some time, she brought to light as a perquisite to herself,
which he was to accept as a mighty favour, seeing though it
was not to be his, it might ease him in the article of her particular
expenses; and I must add, that by this conduct the gentleman
himself became not only the more humble in his applications
to her to obtain her, but also was much the more an obliging
husband to her when he had her. I cannot but remind the ladies
here how much they place themselves below the common
station of a wife, which, if I may be allowed not to be partial,
is low enough already; I say, they place themselves below their
common station, and prepare their own mortifications, by their
submitting so to be insulted by the men beforehand, which I
confess I see no necessity of.

This relation may serve, therefore, to let the ladies see that
the advantage is not so much on the other side as the men
think it is; and though it may be true that the men have but too
much choice among us, and that some women may be found
who will dishonour themselves, be cheap, and easy to come
at, and will scarce wait to be asked, yet if they will have women,
as I may say, worth having, they may find them as uncomeatable
as ever and that those that are otherwise are a sort of people
that have such deficiencies, when had, as rather recommend
the ladies that are difficult than encourage the men to go on
with their easy courtship, and expect wives equally valuable
that will come at first call.

Nothing is more certain than that the ladies always gain of the
men by keeping their ground, and letting their pretended
lovers see they can resent being slighted, and that they are not
afraid of saying No. They, I observe, insult us mightily with
telling us of the number of women; that the wars, and the sea,
and trade, and other incidents have carried the men so much
away, that there is no proportion between the numbers of the
sexes, and therefore the women have the disadvantage; but I
am far from granting that the number of women is so great,
or the number of men so small; but if they will have me tell
the truth, the disadvantage of the women is a terrible scandal
upon the men, and it lies here, and here only; namely, that the
age is so wicked, and the sex so debauched, that, in short, the
number of such men as an honest woman ought to meddle
with is small indeed, and it is but here and there that a man is
to be found who is fit for a woman to venture upon.

But the consequence even of that too amounts to no more
than this, that women ought to be the more nice; for how do
we know the just character of the man that makes the offer?
To say that the woman should be the more easy on this
occasion, is to say we should be the forwarder to venture
because of the greatness of the danger, which, in my way of
reasoning, is very absurd.

On the contrary, the women have ten thousand times the more
reason to be wary and backward, by how much the hazard of
being betrayed is the greater; and would the ladies consider
this, and act the wary part, they would discover every cheat
that offered; for, in short, the lives of very few men nowadays
will bear a character; and if the ladies do but make a little
inquiry, they will soon be able to distinguish the men and
deliver themselves. As for women that do not think their own
safety worth their thought, that, impatient of their perfect state,
resolve, as they call it, to take the first good Christian that
comes, that run into matrimony as a horse rushes into the battle,
I can say nothing to them but this, that they are a sort of ladies
that are to be prayed for among the rest of distempered people,
and to me they look like people that venture their whole estates
in a lottery where there is a hundred thousand blanks to one prize.

No man of common-sense will value a woman the less for not
giving up herself at the first attack, or for accepting his proposal
without inquiring into his person or character; on the contrary,
he must think her the weakest of all creatures in the world, as
the rate of men now goes. In short, he must have a very
contemptible opinion of her capacities, nay, every of her
understanding, that, having but one case of her life, shall call
that life away at once, and make matrimony, like death, be a
leap in the dark.

I would fain have the conduct of my sex a little regulated in
this particular, which is the thing in which, of all the parts of
life, I think at this time we suffer most in; 'tis nothing but lack
of courage, the fear of not being married at all, and of that
frightful state of life called an old maid, of which I have a
story to tell by itself. This, I say, is the woman's snare; but
would the ladies once but get above that fear and manage
rightly, they would more certainly avoid it by standing their
ground, in a case so absolutely necessary to their felicity, that
by exposing themselves as they do; and if they did not marry
so soon as they may do otherwise, they would make themselves
amends by marrying safer. She is always married too soon who
gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late who gets
a good one; in a word, there is no woman, deformity or lost
reputation excepted, but if she manages well, may be married
safely one time or other; but if she precipitates herself, it is ten
thousand to one but she is undone.

But I come now to my own case, in which there was at this
time no little nicety. The circumstances I was in made the
offer of a good husband the most necessary thing in the world
to me, but I found soon that to be made cheap and easy was
not the way. It soon began to be found that the widow had
no fortune, and to say this was to say all that was ill of me,
for I began to be dropped in all the discourses of matrimony.
Being well-bred, handsome, witty, modest, and agreeable; all
which I had allowed to my character--whether justly or no is
not the purpose--I say, all these would not do without the
dross, which way now become more valuable than virtue itself.
In short, the widow, they said, had no money.

I resolved, therefore, as to the state of my present circumstances,
that it was absolutely necessary to change my station, and make
a new appearance in some other place where I was not known,
and even to pass by another name if I found occasion.

I communicated my thoughts to my intimate friend, the captain's
lady, whom I had so faithfully served in her case with the
captain, and who was as ready to serve me in the same kind
as I could desire. I made no scruple to lay my circumstances
open to her; my stock was but low, for I had made but about
#540 at the close of my last affair, and I had wasted some of
that; however, I had about #460 left, a great many very rich
clothes, a gold watch, and some jewels, though of no
extraordinary value, and about #30 or #40 left in linen not
disposed of.

My dear and faithful friend, the captain's wife, was so sensible
of the service I had done her in the affair above, that she was
not only a steady friend to me, but, knowing my circumstances,
she frequently made me presents as money came into her
hands, such as fully amounted to a maintenance, so that I spent
none of my own; and at last she made this unhappy proposal
to me, viz. that as we had observed, as above, how the men
made no scruple to set themselves out as persons meriting a
woman of fortune, when they had really no fortune of their
own, it was but just to deal with them in their own way and,
if it was possible, to deceive the deceiver.

The captain's lady, in short, put this project into my head, and
told me if I would be ruled by her I should certainly get a
husband of fortune, without leaving him any room to reproach
me with want of my own. I told her, as I had reason to do,
that I would give up myself wholly to her directions, and that
I would have neither tongue to speak nor feet to step in that
affair but as she should direct me, depending that she would
extricate me out of every difficulty she brought me into,
which she said she would answer for.

The first step she put me upon was to call her cousin, and to
to a relation's house of hers in the country, where she directed
me, and where she brought her husband to visit me; and calling
me cousin, she worked matters so about, that her husband
and she together invited me most passionately to come to town
and be with them, for they now live in a quite different place
from where they were before. In the next place, she tells her
husband that I had at least #1500 fortune, and that after some
of my relations I was like to have a great deal more.

It was enough to tell her husband this; there needed nothing
on my side. I was but to sit still and wait the event, for it
presently went all over the neighbourhood that the young
widow at Captain ----'s was a fortune, that she had at least
#1500, and perhaps a great deal more, and that the captain
said so; and if the captain was asked at any time about me,
he made no scruple to affirm it, though he knew not one word
of the matter, other than that his wife had told him so; and in
this he thought no harm, for he really believed it to be so,
because he had it from his wife: so slender a foundation will
those fellows build upon, if they do but think there is a fortune
in the game. With the reputation of this fortune, I presently
found myself blessed with admirers enough, and that I had my
choice of men, as scarce as they said they were, which, by the
way, confirms what I was saying before. This being my case,
I, who had a subtle game to play, had nothing now to do but
to single out from them all the properest man that might be
for my purpose; that is to say, the man who was most likely
to depend upon the hearsay of a fortune, and not inquire too
far into the particulars; and unless I did this I did nothing, for
my case would not bear much inquiry.

I picked out my man without much difficulty, by the judgment
I made of his way of courting me. I had let him run on with
his protestations and oaths that he loved me above all the world;
that if I would make him happy, that was enough; all which I
knew was upon supposition, nay, it was upon a full satisfaction,
that I was very rich, though I never told him a word of it myself.

This was my man; but I was to try him to the bottom, and
indeed in that consisted my safety; for if he baulked, I knew I
was undone, as surely as he was undone if he took me; and
if I did not make some scruple about his fortune, it was the
way to lead him to raise some about mine; and first, therefore,
I pretended on all occasions to doubt his sincerity, and told
him, perhaps he only courted me for my fortune. He stopped
my mouth in that part with the thunder of his protestations,
as above, but still I pretended to doubt.

One morning he pulls off his diamond ring, and writes upon
the glass of the sash in my chamber this line--
'You I love, and you alone.'

I read it, and asked him to lend me his ring, with which I wrote
under it, thus--

'And so in love says every one.'

He takes his ring again, and writes another line thus--

'Virtue alone is an estate.'

I borrowed it again, and I wrote under it--

'But money's virtue, gold is fate.'

He coloured as red as fire to see me turn so quick upon him,
and in a kind of a rage told me he would conquer me, and
writes again thus--

'I scorn your gold, and yet I love.'

I ventured all upon the last cast of poetry, as you'll see, for I
wrote boldly under his last--

'I'm poor: let's see how kind you'll prove.'

This was a sad truth to me; whether he believed me or no, I
could not tell; I supposed then that he did not. However, he
flew to me, took me in his arms, and, kissing me very eagerly,
and with the greatest passion imaginable, he held me fast till
he called for a pen and ink, and then told me he could not wait
the tedious writing on the glass, but, pulling out a piece of
paper, he began and wrote again--

'Be mine, with all your poverty.'

I took his pen, and followed him immediately, thus--

'Yet secretly you hope I lie.'

He told me that was unkind, because it was not just, and that
I put him upon contradicting me, which did not consist with
good manners, any more than with his affection; and therefore,
since I had insensibly drawn him into this poetical scribble, he
begged I would not oblige him to break it off; so he writes

'Let love alone be our debate.'

I wrote again--

'She loves enough that does not hate.'

This he took for a favour, and so laid down the cudgels, that
is to say, the pen; I say, he took if for a favour, and a mighty
one it was, if he had known all. However, he took it as I meant
it, that is, to let him think I was inclined to go on with him, as
indeed I had all the reason in the world to do, for he was the
best-humoured, merry sort of a fellow that I ever met with,
and I often reflected on myself how doubly criminal it was to
deceive such a man; but that necessity, which pressed me to
a settlement suitable to my condition, was my authority for it;
and certainly his affection to me, and the goodness of his temper,
however they might argue against using him ill, yet they strongly
argued to me that he would better take the disappointment
than some fiery-tempered wretch, who might have nothing to
recommend him but those passions which would serve only to
make a woman miserable all her days.

Besides, though I jested with him (as he supposed it) so
often about my poverty, yet, when he found it to be true, he
had foreclosed all manner of objection, seeing, whether he
was in jest or in earnest, he had declared he took me without
any regard to my portion, and, whether I was in jest or in
earnest, I had declared myself to be very poor; so that, in a
word, I had him fast both ways; and though he might say
afterwards he was cheated, yet he could never say that I had
cheated him.

He pursued me close after this, and as I saw there was no need
to fear losing him, I played the indifferent part with him longer
than prudence might otherwise have dictated to me. But I
considered how much this caution and indifference would give
me the advantage over him, when I should come to be under
the necessity of owning my own circumstances to him; and I
managed it the more warily, because I found he inferred from
thence, as indeed he ought to do, that I either had the more
money or the more judgment, and would not venture at all.

I took the freedom one day, after we had talked pretty close
to the subject, to tell him that it was true I had received the
compliment of a lover from him, namely, that he would take
me without inquiring into my fortune, and I would make him
a suitable return in this, viz. that I would make as little inquiry
into his as consisted with reason, but I hoped he would allow
me to ask a few questions, which he would answer or not as
he thought fit; and that I would not be offended if he did not
answer me at all; one of these questions related to our manner
of living, and the place where, because I had heard he had a
great plantation in Virginia, and that he had talked of going
to live there, and I told him I did not care to be transported.

He began from this discourse to let me voluntarily into all
his affairs, and to tell me in a frank, open way all his
circumstances, by which I found he was very well to pass in
the world; but that great part of his estate consisted of three
plantations, which he had in Virginia, which brought him in a
very good income, generally speaking, to the tune of #300, a
year, but that if he was to live upon them, would bring him in
four times as much. 'Very well,' thought I; 'you shall carry
me thither as soon as you please, though I won't tell you so

I jested with him extremely about the figure he would make
in Virginia; but I found he would do anything I desired, though
he did not seem glad to have me undervalue his plantations,
so I turned my tale. I told him I had good reason not to go
there to live, because if his plantations were worth so much
there, I had not a fortune suitable to a gentleman of #1200 a
year, as he said his estate would be.

He replied generously, he did not ask what my fortune was;
he had told me from the beginning he would not, and he would
be as good as his word; but whatever it was, he assured me he
would never desire me to go to Virginia with him, or go thither
himself without me, unless I was perfectly willing, and made
it my choice.

All this, you may be sure, was as I wished, and indeed nothing
could have happened more perfectly agreeable. I carried it on
as far as this with a sort of indifferency that he often wondered
at, more than at first, but which was the only support of his
courtship; and I mention it the rather to intimate again to the
ladies that nothing but want of courage for such an indifferency
makes our sex so cheap, and prepares them to be ill-used as
they are; would they venture the loss of a pretending fop now
and then, who carries it high upon the point of his own merit,
they would certainly be less slighted, and courted more. Had
I discovered really and truly what my great fortune was, and
that in all I had not full #500 when he expected #1500, yet I
had hooked him so fast, and played him so long, that I was
satisfied he would have had me in my worst circumstances;
and indeed it was less a surprise to him when he learned the
truth than it would have been, because having not the least
blame to lay on me, who had carried it with an air of indifference
to the last, he would not say one word, except that indeed he
thought it had been more, but that if it had been less he did
not repent his bargain; only that he should not be able to
maintain me so well as he intended.

In short, we were married, and very happily married on my
side, I assure you, as to the man; for he was the best-humoured
man that every woman had, but his circumstances were not so
good as I imagined, as, on the other hand, he had not bettered
himself by marrying so much as he expected.

When we were married, I was shrewdly put to it to bring him
that little stock I had, and to let him see it was no more; but
there was a necessity for it, so I took my opportunity one day
when we were alone, to enter into a short dialogue with him
about it. 'My dear,' said I, 'we have been married a fortnight;
is it not time to let you know whether you have got a wife
with something or with nothing?' 'Your own time for that,
my dear,' says he; 'I am satisfied that I have got the wife I
love; I have not troubled you much,' says he, 'with my inquiry
after it.'

'That's true,' says I, 'but I have a great difficulty upon me
about it, which I scarce know how to manage.'

'What's that, m dear?' says he.

'Why,' says I, ''tis a little hard upon me, and 'tis harder upon
you. I am told that Captain ----' (meaning my friend's husband)
'has told you I had a great deal more money than I ever
pretended to have, and I am sure I never employed him to do so.'

'Well,' says he, 'Captain ---- may have told me so, but what
then? If you have not so much, that may lie at his door, but
you never told me what you had, so I have no reason to blame
you if you have nothing at all.'

'That's is so just,' said I, 'and so generous, that it makes my
having but a little a double affliction to me.'

'The less you have, my dear,' says he, 'the worse for us both;
but I hope your affliction you speak of is not caused for fear
I should be unkind to you, for want of a portion. No, no, if
you have nothing, tell me plainly, and at once; I may perhaps
tell the captain he has cheated me, but I can never say you
have cheated me, for did you not give it under your hand that
you were poor? and so I ought to expect you to be.'

'Well,' said I, 'my dear, I am glad I have not been concerned
in deceiving you before marriage. If I deceive you since, 'tis
ne'er the worse; that I am poor is too true, but not so poor as
to have nothing neither'; so I pulled out some bank bills, and
gave him about #160. 'There's something, my dear,' said I,
'and not quite all neither.'

I had brought him so near to expecting nothing, by what I had
said before, that the money, though the sum was small in itself,
was doubly welcome to him; he owned it was more than he
looked for, and that he did not question by my discourse to
him, but that my fine clothes, gold watch, and a diamond ring
or two, had been all my fortune.

I let him please himself with that #160 two or three days, and
then, having been abroad that day, and as if I had been to fetch
it, I brought him #100 more home in gold, and told him there
was a little more portion for him; and, in short, in about a week
more I brought him #180 more, and about #60 in linen, which
I made him believe I had been obliged to take with the #100
which I gave him in gold, as a composition for a debt of #600,
being little more than five shillings in the pound, and overvalued too.

'And now, my dear,' says I to him, 'I am very sorry to tell you,
that there is all, and that I have given you my whole fortune.'
I added, that if the person who had my #600 had not abused
me, I had been worth #1000 to him, but that as it was, I had
been faithful to him, and reserved nothing to myself, but if it
had been more he should have had it.

He was so obliged by the manner, and so pleased with the sum,
for he had been in a terrible fright lest it had been nothing at
all, that he accepted it very thankfully. And thus I got over
the fraud of passing for a fortune without money, and cheating
a man into marrying me on pretence of a fortune; which, by
the way, I take to be one of the most dangerous steps a woman
can take, and in which she runs the most hazard of being
ill-used afterwards.

My husband, to give him his due, was a man of infinite good
nature, but he was no fool; and finding his income not suited
to the manner of living which he had intended, if I had brought
him what he expected, and being under a disappointment in
his return of his plantations in Virginia, he discovered many
times his inclination of going over to Virginia, to live upon
his own; and often would be magnifying the way of living
there, how cheap, how plentiful, how pleasant, and the like.

I began presently to understand this meaning, and I took
him up very plainly one morning, and told him that I did so;
that I found his estate turned to no account at this distance,
compared to what it would do if he lived upon the spot, and
that I found he had a mind to go and live there; and I added,
that I was sensible he had been disappointed in a wife, and
that finding his expectations not answered that way, I could
do no less, to make him amends, than tell him that I was very
willing to go over to Virginia with him and live there.

He said a thousand kind things to me upon the subject of my
making such a proposal to him. He told me, that however
he was disappointed in his expectations of a fortune, he was
not disappointed in a wife, and that I was all to him that a
wife could be, and he was more than satisfied on the whole
when the particulars were put together, but that this offer was
so kind, that it was more than he could express.

To bring the story short, we agreed to go. He told me that he
had a very good house there, that it was well furnished, that
his mother was alive and lived in it, and one sister, which was
all the relations he had; that as soon as he came there, his
mother would remove to another house, which was her own
for life, and his after her decease; so that I should have all the
house to myself; and I found all this to be exactly as he had

To make this part of the story short, we put on board the ship
which we went in, a large quantity of good furniture for our
house, with stores of linen and other necessaries, and a good
cargo for sale, and away we went.

To give an account of the manner of our voyage, which was
long and full of dangers, is out of my way; I kept no journal,
neither did my husband. All that I can say is, that after a
terrible passage, frighted twice with dreadful storms, and once
with what was still more terrible, I mean a pirate who came
on board and took away almost all our provisions; and which
would have been beyond all to me, they had once taken my
husband to go along with them, but by entreaties were prevailed
with to leave him;--I say, after all these terrible things, we
arrived in York River in Virginia, and coming to our plantation,
we were received with all the demonstrations of tenderness
and affection, by my husband's mother, that were possible to
be expressed.

We lived here all together, my mother-in-law, at my entreaty,
continuing in the house, for she was too kind a mother to be
parted with; my husband likewise continued the same as at
first, and I thought myself the happiest creature alive, when
an odd and surprising event put an end to all that felicity in a
moment, and rendered my condition the most uncomfortable,
if not the most miserable, in the world.

My mother was a mighty cheerful, good-humoured old woman
--I may call her old woman, for her son was above thirty; I
say she was very pleasant, good company, and used to entertain
me, in particular, with abundance of stories to divert me, as
well of the country we were in as of the people.

Among the rest, she often told me how the greatest part of
the inhabitants of the colony came thither in very indifferent
circumstances from England; that, generally speaking, they
were of two sorts; either, first, such as were brought over by
masters of ships to be sold as servants. 'Such as we call them,
my dear,' says she, 'but they are more properly called slaves.'
Or, secondly, such as are transported from Newgate and other
prisons, after having been found guilty of felony and other
crimes punishable with death.

'When they come here,' says she, 'we make no difference; the
planters buy them, and they work together in the field till
their time is out. When 'tis expired,' said she, 'they have
encouragement given them to plant for themselves; for they
have a certain number of acres of land allotted them by the
country, and they go to work to clear and cure the land, and
then to plant it with tobacco and corn for their own use; and
as the tradesmen and merchants will trust them with tools and
clothes and other necessaries, upon the credit of their crop
before it is grown, so they again plant every year a little more
than the year before, and so buy whatever they want with the
crop that is before them.

'Hence, child,' says she, 'man a Newgate-bird becomes a great
man, and we have,' continued she, 'several justices of the peace,
officers of the trained bands, and magistrates of the towns they
live in, that have been burnt in the hand.'

She was going on with that part of the story, when her own
part in it interrupted her, and with a great deal of good-humoured
confidence she told me she was one of the second sort of
inhabitants herself; that she came away openly, having ventured
too far in a particular case, so that she was become a criminal.
'And here's the mark of it, child,' says she; and, pulling off her
glove, 'look ye here,' says she, turning up the palm of her
hand, and showed me a very fine white arm and hand, but
branded in the inside of the hand, as in such cases it must be.

This story was very moving to me, but my mother, smiling,
said, 'You need not think a thing strange, daughter, for as I
told you, some of the best men in this country are burnt in the
hand, and they are not ashamed to own it. There's Major ----,'
says she, 'he was an eminent pickpocket; there's Justice Ba----r,
was a shoplifter, and both of them were burnt in the hand; and
I could name you several such as they are.'

We had frequent discourses of this kind, and abundance of
instances she gave me of the like. After some time, as she was
telling some stories of one that was transported but a few
weeks ago, I began in an intimate kind of way to ask her to
tell me something of her own story, which she did with the
utmost plainness and sincerity; how she had fallen into very ill
company in London in her young days, occasioned by her
mother sending her frequently to carry victuals and other relief
to a kinswoman of hers who was a prisoner in Newgate, and
who lay in a miserable starving condition, was afterwards
condemned to be hanged, but having got respite by pleading
her belly, dies afterwards in the prison.

Here my mother-in-law ran out in a long account of the wicked
practices in that dreadful place, and how it ruined more young
people that all the town besides. 'And child,' says my mother,
'perhaps you may know little of it, or, it may be, have heard
nothing about it; but depend upon it,' says she, 'we all know
here that there are more thieves and rogues made by that one
prison of Newgate than by all the clubs and societies of villains
in the nation; 'tis that cursed place,' says my mother, 'that half
peopled this colony.'

Here she went on with her own story so long, and in so particular
a manner, that I began to be very uneasy; but coming to one
particular that required telling her name, I thought I should
have sunk down in the place. She perceived I was out of
order, and asked me if I was not well, and what ailed me. I
told her I was so affected with the melancholy story she had
told, and the terrible things she had gone through, that it had
overcome me, and I begged of her to talk no more of it. 'Why,
my dear,' says she very kindly, 'what need these things trouble
you? These passages were long before your time, and they
give me no trouble at all now; nay, I look back on them with
a particular satisfaction, as they have been a means to bring
me to this place.' Then she went on to tell me how she very
luckily fell into a good family, where, behaving herself well,
and her mistress dying, her master married her, by whom she
had my husband and his sister, and that by her diligence and
good management after her husband's death, she had improved
the plantations to such a degree as they then were, so that most
of the estate was of her getting, not her husband's, for she had
been a widow upwards of sixteen years.

I heard this part of they story with very little attention, because
I wanted much to retire and give vent to my passions, which
I did soon after; and let any one judge what must be the anguish
of my mind, when I came to reflect that this was certainly no
more or less than my own mother, and I had now had two
children, and was big with another by my own brother, and
lay with him still every night.

I was now the most unhappy of all women in the world. Oh!
had the story never been told me, all had been well; it had been
no crime to have lain with my husband, since as to his being
my relation I had known nothing of it.

I had now such a load on my mind that it kept me perpetually
waking; to reveal it, which would have been some ease to me,
I could not find would be to any purpose, and yet to conceal
it would be next to impossible; nay, I did not doubt but I should
talk of it in my sleep, and tell my husband of it whether I would
or no. If I discovered it, the least thing I could expect was to
lose my husband, for he was too nice and too honest a man
to have continued my husband after he had known I had been
his sister; so that I was perplexed to the last degree.

I leave it to any man to judge what difficulties presented to
my view. I was away from my native country, at a distance
prodigious, and the return to me unpassable. I lived very well,
but in a circumstance insufferable in itself. If I had discovered
myself to my mother, it might be difficult to convince her of
the particulars, and I had no way to prove them. On the other
hand, if she had questioned or doubted me, I had been undone,
for the bare suggestion would have immediately separated me
from my husband, without gaining my mother or him, who
would have been neither a husband nor a brother; so that
between the surprise on one hand, and the uncertainty on the
other, I had been sure to be undone.

In the meantime, as I was but too sure of the fact, I lived
therefore in open avowed incest and whoredom, and all under
the appearance of an honest wife; and though I was not much
touched with the crime of it, yet the action had something in
it shocking to nature, and made my husband, as he thought
himself, even nauseous to me.

However, upon the most sedate consideration, I resolved that
it was absolutely necessary to conceal it all and not make the
least discovery of it either to mother or husband; and thus I
lived with the greatest pressure imaginable for three years
more, but had no more children.

During this time my mother used to be frequently telling me
old stories of her former adventures, which, however, were
no ways pleasant to me; for by it, though she did not tell it me
in plain terms, yet I could easily understand, joined with what
I had heard myself, of my first tutors, that in her younger days
she had been both whore and thief; but I verily believed she
had lived to repent sincerely of both, and that she was then a
very pious, sober, and religious woman.

Well, let her life have been what it would then, it was certain
that my life was very uneasy to me; for I lived, as I have said,
but in the worst sort of whoredom, and as I could expect no
good of it, so really no good issue came of it, and all my
seeming prosperity wore off, and ended in misery and
destruction. It was some time, indeed, before it came to this,
for, but I know not by what ill fate guided, everything went
wrong with us afterwards, and that which was worse, my
husband grew strangely altered, forward, jealous, and unkind,
and I was as impatient of bearing his carriage, as the carriage
was unreasonable and unjust. These things proceeded so far,
that we came at last to be in such ill terms with one another,
that I claimed a promise of him, which he entered willingly
into with me when I consented to come from England with
him, viz. that if I found the country not to agree with me, or
that I did not like to live there, I should come away to England
again when I pleased, giving him a year's warning to settle
his affairs.

I say, I now claimed this promise of him, and I must confess
I did it not in the most obliging terms that could be in the
world neither; but I insisted that he treated me ill, that I was
remote from my friends, and could do myself no justice, and
that he was jealous without cause, my conversation having
been unblamable, and he having no pretense for it, and that to
remove to England would take away all occasion from him.

I insisted so peremptorily upon it, that he could not avoid
coming to a point, either to keep his word with me or to break
it; and this, notwithstanding he used all the skill he was master
of, and employed his mother and other agents to prevail with
me to alter my resolutions; indeed, the bottom of the thing lay
at my heart, and that made all his endeavours fruitless, for my
heart was alienated from him as a husband. I loathed the
thoughts of bedding with him, and used a thousand pretenses
of illness and humour to prevent his touching me, fearing
nothing more than to be with child by him, which to be sure
would have prevented, or at least delayed, my going over to

However, at last I put him so out of humour, that he took up
a rash and fatal resolution; in short, I should not go to England;
and though he had promised me, yet it was an unreasonable
thing for me to desire it; that it would be ruinous to his affairs,
would unhinge his whole family, and be next to an undoing
him in the world; that therefore I ought not to desire it of him,
and that no wife in the world that valued her family and her
husband's prosperity would insist upon such a thing.

This plunged me again, for when I considered the thing
calmly, and took my husband as he really was, a diligent,
careful man in the main work of laying up an estate for his
children, and that he knew nothing of the dreadful circumstances
that he was in, I could not but confess to myself that my
proposal was very unreasonable, and what no wife that had
the good of her family at heart would have desired.

But my discontents were of another nature; I looked upon him
no longer as a husband, but as a near relation, the son of my
own mother, and I resolved somehow or other to be clear of
him, but which way I did not know, nor did it seem possible.

It is said by the ill-natured world, of our sex, that if we are
set on a thing, it is impossible to turn us from our resolutions;
in short, I never ceased poring upon the means to bring to
pass my voyage, and came that length with my husband at last,
as to propose going without him. This provoked him to the
last degree, and he called me not only an unkind wife, but an
unnatural mother, and asked me how I could entertain such a
thought without horror, as that of leaving my two children
(for one was dead) without a mother, and to be brought up by
strangers, and never to see them more. It was true, had things
been right, I should not have done it, but now it was my real
desire never to see them, or him either, any more; and as to the
charge of unnatural, I could easily answer it to myself, while
I knew that the whole relation was unnatural in the highest
degree in the world.

However, it was plain there was no bringing my husband to
anything; he would neither go with me nor let me go without
him, and it was quite out of my power to stir without his
consent, as any one that knows the constitution of the country
I was in, knows very well.

We had many family quarrels about it, and they began in
time to grow up to a dangerous height; for as I was quite
estranged form my husband (as he was called) in affection, so
I took no heed to my words, but sometimes gave him language
that was provoking; and, in short, strove all I could to bring
him to a parting with me, which was what above all things in
the world I desired most.

He took my carriage very ill, and indeed he might well do so,
for at last I refused to bed with him, and carrying on the breach
upon all occasions to extremity, he told me once he thought I
was mad, and if I did not alter my conduct, he would put me
under cure; that is to say, into a madhouse. I told him he
should find I was far enough from mad, and that it was not in
his power, or any other villain's, to murder me. I confess at
the same time I was heartily frighted at his thoughts of putting
me into a madhouse, which would at once have destroyed all
the possibility of breaking the truth out, whatever the occasion
might be; for that then no one would have given credit to a
word of it.

This therefore brought me to a resolution, whatever came of
it, to lay open my whole case; but which way to do it, or to
whom, was an inextricable difficulty, and took me many months
to resolve. In the meantime, another quarrel with my husband
happened, which came up to such a mad extreme as almost
pushed me on to tell it him all to his face; but though I kept it
in so as not to come to the particulars, I spoke so much as put
him into the utmost confusion, and in the end brought out the
whole story.

He began with a calm expostulation upon my being so resolute
to go to England; I defended it, and one hard word bringing
on another, as is usual in all family strife, he told me I did not
treat him as if he was my husband, or talk of my children as if
I was a mother; and, in short, that I did not deserve to be used
as a wife; that he had used all the fair means possible with me;
that he had argued with all the kindness and calmness that a
husband or a Christian ought to do, and that I made him such
a vile return, that I treated him rather like a dog than a man,
and rather like the most contemptible stranger than a husband;
that he was very loth to use violence with me, but that, in short,
he saw a necessity of it now, and that for the future he should
be obliged to take such measures as should reduce me to my

My blood was now fired to the utmost, though I knew what
he had said was very true, and nothing could appear more
provoked. I told him, for his fair means and his foul, they
were equally contemned by me; that for my going to England,
I was resolved on it, come what would; and that as to treating
him not like a husband, and not showing myself a mother to
my children, there might be something more in it than he
understood at present; but, for his further consideration, I
thought fit to tell him thus much, that he neither was my lawful
husband, nor they lawful children, and that I had reason to
regard neither of them more than I did.

I confess I was moved to pity him when I spoke it, for he
turned pale as death, and stood mute as one thunderstruck,
and once or twice I thought he would have fainted; in short,
it put him in a fit something like an apoplex; he trembled, a
sweat or dew ran off his face, and yet he was cold as a clod,
so that I was forced to run and fetch something for him to
keep life in him. When he recovered of that, he grew sick and
vomited, and in a little after was put to bed, and the next
morning was, as he had been indeed all night, in a violent fever.

However, it went off again, and he recovered, though but
slowly, and when he came to be a little better, he told me I
had given him a mortal wound with my tongue, and he had
only one thing to ask before he desired an explanation. I
interrupted him, and told him I was sorry I had gone so far,
since I saw what disorder it put him into, but I desired him
not to talk to me of explanations, for that would but make
things worse.

This heightened his impatience, and, indeed, perplexed him
beyond all bearing; for now he began to suspect that there
was some mystery yet unfolded, but could not make the least
guess at the real particulars of it; all that ran in his brain was,
that I had another husband alive, which I could not say in fact
might not be true, but I assured him, however, there was not
the least of that in it; and indeed, as to my other husband, he
was effectually dead in law to me, and had told me I should
look on him as such, so I had not the least uneasiness on that

But now I found the thing too far gone to conceal it much
longer, and my husband himself gave me an opportunity to
ease myself of the secret, much to my satisfaction. He had
laboured with me three or four weeks, but to no purpose, only
to tell him whether I had spoken these words only as the effect
of my passion, to put him in a passion, or whether there was
anything of truth in the bottom of them. But I continued
inflexible, and would explain nothing, unless he would first
consent to my going to England, which he would never do,
he said, while he lived; on the other hand, I said it was in my
power to make him willing when I pleased--nay, to make him
entreat me to go; and this increased his curiosity, and made him
importunate to the highest degree, but it was all to no purpose.

At length he tells all this story to his mother, and sets her upon
me to get the main secret out of me, and she used her utmost
skill with me indeed; but I put her to a full stop at once by
telling her that the reason and mystery of the whole matter lay
in herself, and that it was my respect to her that had made me
conceal it; and that, in short, I could go no farther, and therefore
conjured her not to insist upon it.

She was struck dumb at this suggestion, and could not tell
what to say or to think; but, laying aside the supposition as a
policy of mine, continued her importunity on account of her
son, and, if possible, to make up the breach between us two.
As to that, I told her that it was indeed a good design in her,
but that it was impossible to be done; and that if I should reveal
to her the truth of what she desired, she would grant it to be
impossible, and cease to desire it. At last I seemed to be
prevailed on by her importunity, and told her I dared trust her
with a secret of the greatest importance, and she would soon
see that this was so, and that I would consent to lodge it in
her breast, if she would engage solemnly not to acquaint her
son with it without my consent.

She was long in promising this part, but rather than not come
at the main secret, she agreed to that too, and after a great
many other preliminaries, I began, and told her the whole story.
First I told her how much she was concerned in all the unhappy
breach which had happened between her son and me, by telling
me her own story and her London name; and that the surprise
she saw I was in was upon that occasion. The I told her my
own story, and my name, and assured her, by such other tokens
as she could not deny, that I was no other, nor more or less,
than her own child, her daughter, born of her body in Newgate;
the same that had saved her from the gallows by being in her
belly, and the same that she left in such-and-such hands when
she was transported.

It is impossible to express the astonishment she was in; she
was not inclined to believe the story, or to remember the
particulars, for she immediately foresaw the confusion that
must follow in the family upon it. But everything concurred
so exactly with the stories she had told me of herself, and which,
if she had not told me, she would perhaps have been content
to have denied, that she had stopped her own mouth, and she
had nothing to do but to take me about the neck and kiss me,
and cry most vehemently over me, without speaking one word
for a long time together. At last she broke out: 'Unhappy child!'
says she, 'what miserable chance could bring thee hither? and
in the arms of my own son, too! Dreadful girl,' says she, 'why,
we are all undone! Married to thy own brother! Three children,
and two alive, all of the same flesh and blood! My son and my
daughter lying together as husband and wife! All confusion
and distraction for ever! Miserable family! what will become
of us? What is to be said? What is to be done?' And thus she
ran on for a great while; nor had I any power to speak, or if
I had, did I know what to say, for every word wounded me to
the soul. With this kind of amazement on our thoughts we
parted for the first time, though my mother was more surprised
than I was, because it was more news to her than to me.
However, she promised again to me at parting, that she would
say nothing of it to her son, till we had talked of it again.

It was not long, you may be sure, before we had a second
conference upon the same subject; when, as if she had been
willing to forget the story she had told me of herself, or to
suppose that I had forgot some of the particulars, she began
to tell them with alterations and omissions; but I refreshed her
memory and set her to rights in many things which I supposed
she had forgot, and then came in so opportunely with the
whole history, that it was impossible for her to go from it; and
then she fell into her rhapsodies again, and exclamations at the
severity of her misfortunes. When these things were a little
over with her, we fell into a close debate about what should
be first done before we gave an account of the matter to my
husband. But to what purpose could be all our consultations?
We could neither of us see our way through it, nor see how it
could be safe to open such a scene to him. It was impossible
to make any judgment, or give any guess at what temper he
would receive it in, or what measures he would take upon it;
and if he should have so little government of himself as to make
it public, we easily foresaw that it would be the ruin of the
whole family, and expose my mother and me to the last degree;
and if at last he should take the advantage the law would give
him, he might put me away with disdain and leave me to sue
for the little portion that I had, and perhaps waste it all in the
suit, and then be a beggar; the children would be ruined too,
having no legal claim to any of his effects; and thus I should
see him, perhaps, in the arms of another wife in a few months,
and be myself the most miserable creature alive.

My mother was as sensible of this as I; and, upon the whole,
we knew not what to do. After some time we came to more
sober resolutions, but then it was with this misfortune too, that
my mother's opinion and mine were quite different from one
another, and indeed inconsistent with one another; for my
mother's opinion was, that I should bury the whole thing
entirely, and continue to live with him as my husband till some
other event should make the discovery of it more convenient;
and that in the meantime she would endeavour to reconcile us
together again, and restore our mutual comfort and family
peace; that we might lie as we used to do together, and so let
the whole matter remain a secret as close as death. 'For, child,'
says she, 'we are both undone if it comes out.'

To encourage me to this, she promised to make me easy in my
circumstances, as far as she was able, and to leave me what
she could at her death, secured for me separately from my
husband; so that if it should come out afterwards, I should not
be left destitute, but be able to stand on my own feet and
procure justice from him.

This proposal did not agree at all with my judgment of the
thing, though it was very fair and kind in my mother; but my
thoughts ran quite another way.

As to keeping the thing in our own breasts, and letting it all
remain as it was, I told her it was impossible; and I asked her
how she could think I could bear the thoughts of lying with
my own brother. In the next place, I told her that her being
alive was the only support of the discovery, and that while she
owned me for her child, and saw reason to be satisfied that I
was so, nobody else would doubt it; but that if she should die
before the discovery, I should be taken for an impudent creature
that had forged such a thing to go away from my husband, or
should be counted crazed and distracted. Then I told her how
he had threatened already to put me into a madhouse, and what
concern I had been in about it, and how that was the thing that
drove me to the necessity of discovering it to her as I had done.

From all which I told her, that I had, on the most serious
reflections I was able to make in the case, come to this resolution,
which I hoped she would like, as a medium between both, viz.
that she should use her endeavours with her son to give me
leave to go to England, as I had desired, and to furnish me with
a sufficient sum of money, either in goods along with me, or
in bills for my support there, all along suggesting that he might
one time or other think it proper to come over to me.

That when I was gone, she should then, in cold blood, and
after first obliging him in the solemnest manner possible to
secrecy, discover the case to him, doing it gradually, and as
her own discretion should guide her, so that he might not be
surprised with it, and fly out into any passions and excesses
on my account, or on hers; and that she should concern herself
to prevent his slighting the children, or marrying again, unless
he had a certain account of my being dead.

This was my scheme, and my reasons were good; I was really
alienated from him in the consequences of these things; indeed,
I mortally hated him as a husband, and it was impossible to
remove that riveted aversion I had to him. At the same time,
it being an unlawful, incestuous living, added to that aversion,
and though I had no great concern about it in point of
conscience, yet everything added to make cohabiting with him
the most nauseous thing to me in the world; and I think verily
it was come to such a height, that I could almost as willingly
have embraced a dog as have let him offer anything of that
kind to me, for which reason I could not bear the thoughts of
coming between the sheets with him. I cannot say that I was
right in point of policy in carrying it such a length, while at the
same time I did not resolve to discover the thing to him; but I
am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought
not to be.

In their directly opposite opinion to one another my mother
and I continued a long time, and it was impossible to reconcile
our judgments; many disputes we had about it, but we could
never either of us yield our own, or bring over the other.

I insisted on my aversion to lying with my own brother, and
she insisted upon its being impossible to bring him to consent
to my going from him to England; and in this uncertainty we
continued, not differing so as to quarrel, or anything like it,
but so as not to be able to resolve what we should do to make
up that terrible breach that was before us.

At last I resolved on a desperate course, and told my mother
my resolution, viz. that, in short, I would tell him of it myself.
My mother was frighted to the last degree at the very thoughts
of it; but I bid her be easy, told her I would do it gradually
and softly, and with all the art and good-humour I was mistress
of, and time it also as well as I could, taking him in good-humour
too. I told her I did not question but, if I could be hypocrite
enough to feign more affection to him than I really had, I should
succeed in all my design, and we might part by consent, and
with a good agreement, for I might live him well enough for
a brother, though I could not for a husband.

All this while he lay at my mother to find out, if possible, what
was the meaning of that dreadful expression of mine, as he
called it, which I mentioned before: namely, that I was not his
lawful wife, nor my children his legal children. My mother put
him off, told him she could bring me to no explanations, but
found there was something that disturbed me very much, and
she hoped she should get it out of me in time, and in the
meantime recommended to him earnestly to use me more
tenderly, and win me with his usual good carriage; told him
of his terrifying and affrighting me with his threats of sending
me to a madhouse, and the like, and advised him not to make
a woman desperate on any account whatever.

He promised her to soften his behaviour, and bid her assure
me that he loved me as well as ever, and that he had so such
design as that of sending me to a madhouse, whatever he might
say in his passion; also he desired my mother to use the same
persuasions to me too, that our affections might be renewed,
and we might lie together in a good understanding as we used
to do.

I found the effects of this treaty presently. My husband's
conduct was immediately altered, and he was quite another
man to me; nothing could be kinder and more obliging than he
was to me upon all occasions; and I could do no less than
make some return to it, which I did as well as I could, but it
was but in an awkward manner at best, for nothing was more
frightful to me than his caresses, and the apprehensions of being
with child again by him was ready to throw me into fits; and
this made me see that there was an absolute necessity of breaking
the case to him without any more delay, which, however, I did
with all the caution and reserve imaginable.

He had continued his altered carriage to me near a month,
and we began to live a new kind of life with one another; and
could I have satisfied myself to have gone on with it, I believe
it might have continued as long as we had continued alive
together. One evening, as we were sitting and talking very
friendly together under a little awning, which served as an
arbour at the entrance from our house into the garden, he was
in a very pleasant, agreeable humour, and said abundance of
kind things to me relating to the pleasure of our present good
agreement, and the disorders of our past breach, and what a
satisfaction it was to him that we had room to hope we should
never have any more of it.

I fetched a deep sigh, and told him there was nobody in the
world could be more delighted than I was in the good agreement
we had always kept up, or more afflicted with the breach of it,
and should be so still; but I was sorry to tell him that there was
an unhappy circumstance in our case, which lay too close to
my heart, and which I knew not how to break to him, that
rendered my part of it very miserable, and took from me all the
comfort of the rest.

He importuned me to tell him what it was. I told him I could
not tell how to do it; that while it was concealed from him
I alone was unhappy, but if he knew it also, we should be both
so; and that, therefore, to keep him in the dark about it was
the kindest thing that I could do, and it was on that account
alone that I kept a secret from him, the very keeping of which,
I thought, would first or last be my destruction.

It is impossible to express his surprise at this relation, and the
double importunity which he used with me to discover it to him.
He told me I could not be called kind to him, nay, I could not
be faithful to him if I concealed it from him. I told him I thought
so too, and yet I could not do it. He went back to what I had
said before to him, and told me he hoped it did not relate to
what I had said in my passion, and that he had resolved to
forget all that as the effect of a rash, provoked spirit. I told
him I wished I could forget it all too, but that it was not to be
done, the impression was too deep, and I could not do it: it
was impossible.

He then told me he was resolved not to differ with me in
anything, and that therefore he would importune me no more
about it, resolving to acquiesce in whatever I did or said; only
begged I should then agree, that whatever it was, it should no
more interrupt our quiet and our mutual kindness.

This was the most provoking thing he could have said to me,
for I really wanted his further importunities, that I might be
prevailed with to bring out that which indeed it was like death
to me to conceal; so I answered him plainly that I could not
say I was glad not to be importuned, thought I could not tell
how to comply. 'But come, my dear,' said I, 'what conditions
will you make with me upon the opening this affair to you?'

'Any conditions in the world,' said he, 'that you can in reason
desire of me.' 'Well,' said I, 'come, give it me under your
hand, that if you do not find I am in any fault, or that I am
willingly concerned in the causes of the misfortune that is to
follow, you will not blame me, use me the worse, do my any
injury, or make me be the sufferer for that which is not my fault.'

'That,' says he, 'is the most reasonable demand in the world:
not to blame you for that which is not your fault. Give me a
pen and ink,' says he; so I ran in and fetched a pen, ink, and
paper, and he wrote the condition down in the very words I
had proposed it, and signed it with his name. "Well,' says he,
'what is next, my dear?'

'Why,' says I, 'the next is, that you will not blame me for not
discovering the secret of it to you before I knew it.'

'Very just again,' says he; 'with all my heart'; so he wrote
down that also, and signed it.

'Well, my dear,' says I, 'then I have but one condition more
to make with you, and that is, that as there is nobody concerned
in it but you and I, you shall not discover it to any person in
the world, except your own mother; and that in all the measures
you shall take upon the discovery, as I am equally concerned
in it with you, though as innocent as yourself, you shall do
nothing in a passion, nothing to my prejudice or to your
mother's prejudice, without my knowledge and consent.'

This a little amazed him, and he wrote down the words distinctly,
but read them over and over before he signed them,
hesitating at them several times, and repeating them: 'My
mother's prejudice! and your prejudice! What mysterious thing
can this be?' However, at last he signed it.

'Well, says I, 'my dear, I'll ask you no more under your hand;
but as you are to hear the most unexpected and surprising thing
that perhaps ever befell any family in the world, I beg you to
promise me you will receive it with composure and a presence
of mind suitable to a man of sense.'

'I'll do my utmost,' says he, 'upon condition you will keep me
no longer in suspense, for you terrify me with all these

'Well, then,' says I, 'it is this: as I told you before in a heat,
that I was not your lawful wife, and that our children were not
legal children, so I must let you know now in calmness and in
kindness, but with affliction enough, that I am your own sister,
and you my own brother, and that we are both the children of
our mother now alive, and in the house, who is convinced of
the truth of it, in a manner not to be denied or contradicted.'

I saw him turn pale and look wild; and I said, 'Now remember
your promise, and receive it with presence of mind; for who
could have said more to prepare you for it than I have done?'
However, I called a servant, and got him a little glass of rum
(which is the usual dram of that country), for he was just
fainting away. When he was a little recovered, I said to him,
'This story, you may be sure, requires a long explanation, and
therefore, have patience and compose your mind to hear it out,
and I'll make it as short as I can'; and with this, I told him
what I thought was needful of the fact, and particularly how
my mother came to discover it to me, as above. 'And now,
my dear,' says I, 'you will see reason for my capitulations,
and that I neither have been the cause of this matter, nor could
be so, and that I could know nothing of it before now.'

'I am fully satisfied of that,' says he, 'but 'tis a dreadful surprise
to me; however, I know a remedy for it all, and a remedy

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