Part 3 out of 7
that shall put an end to your difficulties, without your going to
England.' 'That would be strange,' said I, 'as all the rest.'
'No, no,' says he, 'I'll make it easy; there's nobody in the way
of it but myself.' He looked a little disordered when he said
this, but I did not apprehend anything from it at that time,
believing, as it used to be said, that they who do those things
never talk of them, or that they who talk of such things never
But things were not come to their height with him, and I
observed he became pensive and melancholy; and in a word,
as I thought, a little distempered in his head. I endeavoured
to talk him into temper, and to reason him into a kind of scheme
for our government in the affair, and sometimes he would be
well, and talk with some courage about it; but the weight of
it lay too heavy upon his thoughts, and, in short, it went so far
that he made attempts upon himself, and in one of them had
actually strangled himself and had not his mother come into
the room in the very moment, he had died; but with the help
of a Negro servant she cut him down and recovered him.
Things were now come to a lamentable height in the family.
My pity for him now began to revive that affection which at
first I really had for him, and I endeavoured sincerely, by all
the kind carriage I could, to make up the breach; but, in short,
it had gotten too great a head, it preyed upon his spirits, and
it threw him into a long, lingering consumption, though it
happened not to be mortal. In this distress I did not know
what to do, as his life was apparently declining, and I might
perhaps have married again there, very much to my advantage;
it had been certainly my business to have stayed in the country,
but my mind was restless too, and uneasy; I hankered after
coming to England, and nothing would satisfy me without it.
In short, by an unwearied importunity, my husband, who was
apparently decaying, as I observed, was at last prevailed with;
and so my own fate pushing me on, the way was made clear
for me, and my mother concurring, I obtained a very good
cargo for my coming to England.
When I parted with my brother (for such I am now to call
him), we agreed that after I arrived he should pretend to have
an account that I was dead in England, and so might marry
again when he would. He promised, and engaged to me to
correspond with me as a sister, and to assist and support me
as long as I lived; and that if he died before me, he would leave
sufficient to his mother to take care of me still, in the name of
a sister, and he was in some respects careful of me, when he
heard of me; but it was so oddly managed that I felt the
disappointments very sensibly afterwards, as you shall hear in
I came away for England in the month of August, after I had
been eight years in that country; and now a new scene of
misfortunes attended me, which perhaps few women have
gone through the life of.
We had an indifferent good voyage till we came just upon the
coast of England, and where we arrived in two-and-thirty days,
but were then ruffled with two or three storms, one of which
drove us away to the coast of Ireland, and we put in at Kinsdale.
We remained there about thirteen days, got some refreshment
on shore, and put to sea again, though we met with very bad
weather again, in which the ship sprung her mainmast, as they
called it, for I knew not what they meant. But we got at last
into Milford Haven, in Wales, where, though it was remote
from our port, yet having my foot safe upon the firm ground
of my native country, the isle of Britain, I resolved to venture
it no more upon the waters, which had been so terrible to me;
so getting my clothes and money on shore, with my bills of
loading and other papers, I resolved to come for London, and
leave the ship to get to her port as she could; the port whither
she was bound was to Bristol, where my brother's chief
I got to London in about three weeks, where I heard a little
while after that the ship was arrived in Bristol, but at the same
time had the misfortune to know that by the violent weather
she had been in, and the breaking of her mainmast, she had
great damage on board, and that a great part of her cargo was
I had now a new scene of life upon my hands, and a dreadful
appearance it had. I was come away with a kind of final
farewell. What I brought with me was indeed considerable,
had it come safe, and by the help of it, I might have married
again tolerably well; but as it was, I was reduced to between
two or three hundred pounds in the whole, and this without
any hope of recruit. I was entirely without friends, nay, even
so much as without acquaintance, for I found it was absolutely
necessary not to revive former acquaintances; and as for my
subtle friend that set me up formerly for a fortune, she was
dead, and her husband also; as I was informed, upon sending
a person unknown to inquire.
The looking after my cargo of goods soon after obliged me to
take a journey to Bristol, and during my attendance upon that
affair I took the diversion of going to the Bath, for as I was
still far from being old, so my humour, which was always gay,
continued so to an extreme; and being now, as it were, a
woman of fortune though I was a woman without a fortune,
I expected something or other might happen in my way that
might mend my circumstances, as had been my case before.
The Bath is a place of gallantry enough; expensive, and full
of snares. I went thither, indeed, in the view of taking anything
that might offer, but I must do myself justice, as to protest I
knew nothing amiss; I meant nothing but in an honest way, nor
had I any thoughts about me at first that looked the way which
afterwards I suffered them to be guided.
Here I stayed the whole latter season, as it is called there,
and contracted some unhappy acquaintances, which rather
prompted the follies I fell afterwards into than fortified me
against them. I lived pleasantly enough, kept good company,
that is to say, gay, fine company; but had the discouragement
to find this way of living sunk me exceedingly, and that as I
had no settled income, so spending upon the main stock was
but a certain kind of bleeding to death; and this gave me many
sad reflections in the interval of my other thoughts. However,
I shook them off, and still flattered myself that something or
other might offer for my advantage.
But I was in the wrong place for it. I was not now at Redriff,
where, if I had set myself tolerably up, some honest sea captain
or other might have talked with me upon the honourable terms
of matrimony; but I was at the Bath, where men find a mistress
sometimes, but very rarely look for a wife; and consequently
all the particular acquaintances a woman can expect to make
there must have some tendency that way.
I had spent the first season well enough; for though I had
contracted some acquaintance with a gentleman who came to
the Bath for his diversion, yet I had entered into no felonious
treaty, as it might be called. I had resisted some casual offers
of gallantry, and had managed that way well enough. I was
not wicked enough to come into the crime for the mere vice
of it, and I had no extraordinary offers made me that tempted
me with the main thing which I wanted.
However, I went this length the first season, viz. I contracted
an acquaintance with a woman in whose house I lodged, who,
though she did not keep an ill house, as we call it, yet had none
of the best principles in herself. I had on all occasions behaved
myself so well as not to get the least slur upon my reputation
on any account whatever, and all the men that I had conversed
with were of so good reputation that I had not given the least
reflection by conversing with them; nor did any of them seem
to think there was room for a wicked correspondence, if they
had any of them offered it; yet there was one gentleman, as
above, who always singled me out for the diversion of my
company, as he called it, which, as he was pleased to say, was
very agreeable to him, but at that time there was no more in it.
I had many melancholy hours at the Bath after the company
was gone; for though I went to Bristol sometime for the
disposing my effects, and for recruits of money, yet I chose to
come back to Bath for my residence, because being on good
terms with the woman in whose house I lodged in the summer,
I found that during the winter I lived rather cheaper there than
I could do anywhere else. Here, I say, I passed the winter as
heavily as I had passed the autumn cheerfully; but having
contracted a nearer intimacy with the said woman in whose
house I lodged, I could not avoid communicating to her
something of what lay hardest upon my mind and particularly
the narrowness of my circumstances, and the loss of my fortune
by the damage of my goods at sea. I told her also, that I had
a mother and a brother in Virginia in good circumstances; and
as I had really written back to my mother in particular to
represent my condition, and the great loss I had received,
which indeed came to almost #500, so I did not fail to let my
new friend know that I expected a supply from thence, and so
indeed I did; and as the ships went from Bristol to York River,
in Virginia, and back again generally in less time from London,
and that my brother corresponded chiefly at Bristol, I thought
it was much better for me to wait here for my returns than to
go to London, where also I had not the least acquaintance.
My new friend appeared sensibly affected with my condition,
and indeed was so very kind as to reduce the rate of my living
with her to so low a price during the winter, that she convinced
me she got nothing by me; and as for lodging, during the winter
I paid nothing at all.
When the spring season came on, she continued to be as kind
to me as she could, and I lodged with her for a time, till it was
found necessary to do otherwise. She had some persons of
character that frequently lodged in her house, and in particular
the gentleman who, as I said, singled me out for his companion
the winter before; and he came down again with another
gentleman in his company and two servants, and lodged in the
same house. I suspected that my landlady had invited him
thither, letting him know that I was still with her; but she denied
it, and protested to me that she did not, and he said the same.
In a word, this gentleman came down and continued to single
me out for his peculiar confidence as well as conversation.
He was a complete gentleman, that must be confessed, and
his company was very agreeable to me, as mine, if I might
believe him, was to him. He made no professions to be but
of an extraordinary respect, and he had such an opinion of my
virtue, that, as he often professed, he believed if he should offer
anything else, I should reject him with contempt. He soon
understood from me that I was a widow; that I had arrived at
Bristol from Virginia by the last ships; and that I waited at Bath
till the next Virginia fleet should arrive, by which I expected
considerable effects. I understood by him, and by others of
him, that he had a wife, but that the lady was distempered in
her head, and was under the conduct of her own relations,
which he consented to, to avoid any reflections that might (as
was not unusual in such cases) be cast on him for mismanaging
her cure; and in the meantime he came to the Bath to divert his
thoughts from the disturbance of such a melancholy circumstance
as that was.
My landlady, who of her own accord encouraged the
correspondence on all occasions, gave me an advantageous
character of him, as a man of honour and of virtue, as well
as of great estate. And indeed I had a great deal of reason to
say so of him too; for though we lodged both on a floor, and
he had frequently come into my chamber, even when I was in
bed, and I also into his when he was in bed, yet he never offered
anything to me further than a kiss, or so much as solicited me
to anything till long after, as you shall hear.
I frequently took notice to my landlady of his exceeding
modesty, and she again used to tell me, she believed it was so
from the beginning; however, she used to tell me that she
thought I ought to expect some gratification from him for my
company, for indeed he did, as it were, engross me, and I was
seldom from him. I told her I had not given him the least
occasion to think I wanted it, or that I would accept of it from
him. She told me she would take that part upon her, and she
did so, and managed it so dexterously, that the first time we
were together alone, after she had talked with him, he began
to inquire a little into my circumstances, as how I had subsisted
myself since I came on shore, and whether I did not want money.
I stood off very boldly. I told him that though my cargo of
tobacco was damaged, yet that it was not quite lost; that the
merchant I had been consigned to had so honestly managed
for me that I had not wanted, and that I hoped, with frugal
management, I should make it hold out till more would come,
which I expected by the next fleet; that in the meantime I had
retrenched my expenses, and whereas I kept a maid last season,
now I lived without; and whereas I had a chamber and a
dining-room then on the first floor, as he knew, I now had but
one room, two pair of stairs, and the like. 'But I live,' said I,
'as well satisfied now as I did then'; adding, that his company
had been a means to make me live much more cheerfully than
otherwise I should have done, for which I was much obliged
to him; and so I put off all room for any offer for the present.
However, it was not long before he attacked me again, and
told me he found that I was backward to trust him with the
secret of my circumstances, which he was sorry for; assuring
me that he inquired into it with no design to satisfy his own
curiosity, but merely to assist me, if there was any occasion;
but since I would not own myself to stand in need of any
assistance, he had but one thing more to desire of me, and that
was, that I would promise him that when I was any way straitened,
or like to be so, I would frankly tell him of it, and that I would
make use of him with the same freedom that he made the offer;
adding, that I should always find I had a true friend, though
perhaps I was afraid to trust him.
I omitted nothing that was fit to be said by one infinitely
obliged, to let him know that I had a due sense of his kindness;
and indeed from that time I did not appear so much reserved
to him as I had done before, though still within the bounds of
the strictest virtue on both sides; but how free soever our
conversation was, I could not arrive to that sort of freedom
which he desired, viz. to tell him I wanted money, though I
was secretly very glad of his offer.
Some weeks passed after this, and still I never asked him for
money; when my landlady, a cunning creature, who had often
pressed me to it, but found that I could not do it, makes a
story of her own inventing, and comes in bluntly to me when
we were together. 'Oh, widow!' says she, 'I have bad news
to tell you this morning.' 'What is that?' said I; 'are the
Virginia ships taken by the French?'--for that was my fear.
'No, no,' says she, 'but the man you sent to Bristol yesterday
for money is come back, and says he has brought none.'
Now I could by no means like her project; I though it looked
too much like prompting him, which indeed he did not want,
and I clearly saw that I should lose nothing by being backward to
ask, so I took her up short. 'I can't image why he should say
so to you,' said I, 'for I assure you he brought me all the
money I sent him for, and here it is,' said I (pulling out my
purse with about twelve guineas in it); and added, 'I intend
you shall have most of it by and by.'
He seemed distasted a little at her talking as she did at first,
as well as I, taking it, as I fancied he would, as something
forward of her; but when he saw me give such an answer, he
came immediately to himself again. The next morning we
talked of it again, when I found he was fully satisfied, and,
smiling, said he hoped I would not want money and not tell
him of it, and that I had promised him otherwise. I told him
I had been very much dissatisfied at my landlady's talking so
publicly the day before of what she had nothing to do with;
but I supposed she wanted what I owed her, which was about
eight guineas, which I had resolved to give her, and had
accordingly given it her the same night she talked so foolishly.
He was in a might good humour when he heard me say I had
paid her, and it went off into some other discourse at that time.
But the next morning, he having heard me up about my room
before him, he called to me, and I answering, he asked me to
come into his chamber. He was in bed when I came in, and
he made me come and sit down on his bedside, for he said he
had something to say to me which was of some moment.
After some very kind expressions, he asked me if I would be
very honest to him, and give a sincere answer to one thing he
would desire of me. After some little cavil at the word 'sincere,'
and asking him if I had ever given him any answers which were
not sincere, I promised him I would. Why, then, his request
was, he said, to let him see my purse. I immediately put my
hand into my pocket, and, laughing to him, pulled it out, and
there was in it three guineas and a half. Then he asked me if
there was all the money I had. I told him No, laughing again,
not by a great deal.
Well, then, he said, he would have me promise to go and
fetch him all the money I had, every farthing. I told him I
would, and I went into my chamber and fetched him a little
private drawer, where I had about six guineas more, and some
silver, and threw it all down upon the bed, and told him there
was all my wealth, honestly to a shilling. He looked a little
at it, but did not tell it, and huddled it all into the drawer again,
and then reaching his pocket, pulled out a key, and bade me
open a little walnut-tree box he had upon the table, and bring
him such a drawer, which I did. In which drawer there was a
great deal of money in gold, I believe near two hundred guineas,
but I knew not how much. He took the drawer, and taking my
hand, made me put it in and take a whole handful. I was
backward at that, but he held my hand hard in his hand, and
put it into the drawer, and made me take out as many guineas
almost as I could well take up at once.
When I had done so, he made me put them into my lap,
and took my little drawer, and poured out all my money among
his, and bade me get me gone, and carry it all home into my
I relate this story the more particularly because of the
good-humour there was in it, and to show the temper with
which we conversed. It was not long after this but he began
every day to find fault with my clothes, with my laces and
headdresses, and, in a word, pressed me to buy better; which,
by the way, I was willing enough to do, though I did not seem
to be so, for I loved nothing in the world better than fine clothes.
I told him I must housewife the money he had lent me, or else
I should not be able to pay him again. He then told me, in a
few words, that as he had a sincere respect for me, and knew
my circumstances, he had not lent me that money, but given
it me, and that he thought I had merited it from him by giving
him my company so entirely as I had done. After this he made
me take a maid, and keep house, and his friend that come with
him to Bath being gone, he obliged me to diet him, which I did
very willingly, believing, as it appeared, that I should lose
nothing by it, nor did the woman of the house fail to find her
account in it too.
We had lived thus near three months, when the company
beginning to wear away at the Bath, he talked of going away,
and fain he would have me to go to London with him. I was
not very easy in that proposal, not knowing what posture I
was to live in there, or how he might use me. But while this
was in debate he fell very sick; he had gone out to a place in
Somersetshire, called Shepton, where he had some business
and was there taken very ill, and so ill that he could not travel;
so he sent his man back to Bath, to beg me that I would hire
a coach and come over to him. Before he went, he had left
all his money and other things of value with me, and what to
do with them I did not know, but I secured them as well as I
could, and locked up the lodgings and went to him, where I
found him very ill indeed; however, I persuaded him to be
carried in a litter to the Bath, where there was more help and
better advice to be had.
He consented, and I brought him to the Bath, which was about
fifteen miles, as I remember. Here he continued very ill of a
fever, and kept his bed five weeks, all which time I nursed him
and tended him myself, as much and as carefully as if I had
been his wife; indeed, if I had been his wife I could not have
done more. I sat up with him so much and so often, that at
last, indeed, he would not let me sit up any longer, and then I
got a pallet-bed into his room, and lay in it just at his bed's
I was indeed sensibly affected with his condition, and with the
apprehension of losing such a friend as he was, and was like to
be to me, and I used to sit and cry by him many hours together.
However, at last he grew better, and gave hopes that he would
recover, as indeed he did, though very slowly.
Were it otherwise than what I am going to say, I should not
be backward to disclose it, as it is apparent I have done in
other cases in this account; but I affirm, that through all this
conversation, abating the freedom of coming into the chamber
when I or he was in bed, and abating the necessary offices of
attending him night and day when he was sick, there had not
passed the least immodest word or action between us. Oh
that it had been so to the last!
After some time he gathered strength and grew well apace,
and I would have removed my pallet-bed, but he would not
let me, till he was able to venture himself without anybody to
sit up with him, and then I removed to my own chamber.
He took many occasions to express his sense of my tenderness
and concern for him; and when he grew quite well, he made me
a present of fifty guineas for my care and, as he called it, for
hazarding my life to save his.
And now he made deep protestations of a sincere inviolable
affection for me, but all along attested it to be with the utmost
reserve for my virtue and his own. I told him I was fully
satisfied of it. He carried it that length that he protested to me,
that if he was naked in bed with me, he would as sacredly
preserve my virtue as he would defend it if I was assaulted by
a ravisher. I believed him, and told him I did so; but this did
not satisfy him, he would, he said, wait for some opportunity
to give me an undoubted testimony of it.
It was a great while after this that I had occasion, on my own
business, to go to Bristol, upon which he hired me a coach,
and would go with me, and did so; and now indeed our intimacy
increased. From Bristol he carried me to Gloucester, which
was merely a journey of pleasure, to take the air; and here it
was our hap to have no lodging in the inn but in one large
chamber with two beds in it. The master of the house going
up with us to show his rooms, and coming into that room,
said very frankly to him, 'Sir, it is none of my business to inquire
whether the lady be your spouse or no, but if not, you may lie
as honestly in these two beds as if you were in two chambers,'
and with that he pulls a great curtain which drew quite across
the room and effectually divided the beds. 'Well,' says my
friend, very readily, 'these beds will do, and as for the rest, we
are too near akin to lie together, though we may lodge near
one another'; and this put an honest face on the thing too.
When we came to go to bed, he decently went out of the room
till I was in bed, and then went to bed in the bed on his own
side of the room, but lay there talking to me a great while.
At last, repeating his usual saying, that he could lie naked in
the bed with me and not offer me the least injury, he starts out
of his bed. 'And now, my dear,' says he, 'you shall see how
just I will be to you, and that I can keep my word,' and away
he comes to my bed.
I resisted a little, but I must confess I should not have resisted
him much if he had not made those promises at all; so after a
little struggle, as I said, I lay still and let him come to bed.
When he was there he took me in his arms, and so I lay all
night with him, but he had no more to do with me, or offered
anything to me, other than embracing me, as I say, in his arms,
no, not the whole night, but rose up and dressed him in the
morning, and left me as innocent for him as I was the day I
This was a surprising thing to me, and perhaps may be so to
others, who know how the laws of nature work; for he was a
strong, vigorous, brisk person; nor did he act thus on a principle
of religion at all, but of mere affection; insisting on it, that
though I was to him to most agreeable woman in the world,
yet, because he loved me, he could not injure me.
I own it was a noble principle, but as it was what I never
understood before, so it was to me perfectly amazing. We
traveled the rest of the journey as we did before, and came
back to the Bath, where, as he had opportunity to come to
me when he would, he often repeated the moderation, and I
frequently lay with him, and he with me, and although all the
familiarities between man and wife were common to us, yet
he never once offered to go any farther, and he valued himself
much upon it. I do not say that I was so wholly pleased with
it as he thought I was, for I own much wickeder than he, as
you shall hear presently.
We lived thus near two years, only with this exception, that
he went three times to London in that time, and once he
continued there four months; but, to do him justice, he always
supplied me with money to subsist me very handsomely.
Had we continued thus, I confess we had had much to boast
of; but as wise men say, it is ill venturing too near the brink of
a command, so we found it; and here again I must do him the
justice to own that the first breach was not on his part. It was
one night that we were in bed together warm and merry, and
having drunk, I think, a little more wine that night, both of us,
than usual, although not in the least to disorder either of us,
when, after some other follies which I cannot name, and being
clasped close in his arms, I told him (I repeat it with shame
and horror of soul) that I could find in my heart to discharge
him of his engagement for one night and no more.
He took me at my word immediately, and after that there was
no resisting him; neither indeed had I any mind to resist him
any more, let what would come of it.
Thus the government of our virtue was broken, and I
exchanged the place of friend for that unmusical, harsh-sounding
title of whore. In the morning we were both at our penitentials;
I cried very heartily, he expressed himself very sorry; but that
was all either of us could do at that time, and the way being
thus cleared, and the bars of virtue and conscience thus removed,
we had the less difficult afterwards to struggle with.
It was but a dull kind of conversation that we had together
for all the rest of that week; I looked on him with blushes, and
every now and then started that melancholy objection, 'What
if I should be with child now? What will become of me then?'
He encouraged me by telling me, that as long as I was true to
him, he would be so to me; and since it was gone such a length
(which indeed he never intended), yet if I was with child, he
would take care of that, and of me too. This hardened us both.
I assured him if I was with child, I would die for want of a
midwife rather than name him as the father of it; and he assured
me I should never want if I should be with child. These mutual
assurances hardened us in the thing, and after this we repeated
the crime as often as we pleased, till at length, as I had feared,
so it came to pass, and I was indeed with child.
After I was sure it was so, and I had satisfied him of it too,
we began to think of taking measures for the managing it, and
I proposed trusting the secret to my landlady, and asking her
advice, which he agreed to. My landlady, a woman (as I found)
used to such things, made light of it; she said she knew it would
come to that at last, and made us very merry about it. As I said
above, we found her an experienced old lady at such work; she
undertook everything, engaged to procure a midwife and a nurse,
to satisfy all inquiries, and bring us off with reputation, and she
did so very dexterously indeed.
When I grew near my time she desired my gentleman to go
away to London, or make as if he did so. When he was gone,
she acquainted the parish officers that there was a lady ready
to lie in at her house, but that she knew her husband very well,
and gave them, as she pretended, an account of his name, which
she called Sir Walter Cleve; telling them he was a very worthy
gentleman, and that she would answer for all inquiries, and the
like. This satisfied the parish officers presently, and I lay in
with as much credit as I could have done if I had really been
my Lady Cleve, and was assisted in my travail by three or four
of the best citizens' wives of Bath who lived in the neighbourhood,
which, however, made me a little the more expensive to him.
I often expressed my concern to him about it, but he bid me not
be concerned at it.
As he had furnished me very sufficiently with money for the
extraordinary expenses of my lying in, I had everything very
handsome about me, but did not affect to be gay or extravagant
neither; besides, knowing my own circumstances, and knowing
the world as I had done, and that such kind of things do not
often last long, I took care to lay up as much money as I could
for a wet day, as I called it; making him believe it was all spent
upon the extraordinary appearance of things in my lying in.
By this means, and including what he had given me as above,
I had at the end of my lying in about two hundred guineas by
me, including also what was left of my own.
I was brought to bed of a fine boy indeed, and a charming
child it was; and when he heard of it he wrote me a very kind,
obliging letter about it, and then told me, he thought it would
look better for me to come away for London as soon as I was
up and well; that he had provided apartments for me at
Hammersmith, as if I came thither only from London; and that
after a little while I should go back to the Bath, and he would
go with me.
I liked this offer very well, and accordingly hired a coach on
purpose, and taking my child, and a wet-nurse to tend and
suckle it, and a maid-servant with me, away I went for London.
He met me at Reading in his own chariot, and taking me into
that, left the servant and the child in the hired coach, and so
he brought me to my new lodgings at Hammersmith; with
which I had abundance of reason to be very well pleased, for
they were very handsome rooms, and I was very well
And now I was indeed in the height of what I might call my
prosperity, and I wanted nothing but to be a wife, which,
however, could not be in this case, there was no room for it;
and therefore on all occasions I studied to save what I could,
as I have said above, against a time of scarcity, knowing well
enough that such things as these do not always continue; that
men that keep mistresses often change them, grow weary of
them, or jealous of them, or something or other happens to
make them withdraw their bounty; and sometimes the ladies
that are thus well used are not careful by a prudent conduct
to preserve the esteem of their persons, or the nice article of
their fidelity, and then they are justly cast off with contempt.
But I was secured in this point, for as I had no inclination
to change, so I had no manner of acquaintance in the whole
house, and so no temptation to look any farther. I kept no
company but in the family when I lodged, and with the
clergyman's lady at next door; so that when he was absent I
visited nobody, nor did he ever find me out of my chamber
or parlour whenever he came down; if I went anywhere to
take the air, it was always with him.
The living in this manner with him, and his with me, was
certainly the most undesigned thing in the world; he often
protested to me, that when he became first acquainted with
me, and even to the very night when we first broke in upon
our rules, he never had the least design of lying with me; that
he always had a sincere affection for me, but not the least real
inclination to do what he had done. I assured him I never
suspected him; that if I had I should not so easily have yielded
to the freedom which brought it on, but that it was all a surprise,
and was owing to the accident of our having yielded too far to
our mutual inclinations that night; and indeed I have often
observed since, and leave it as a caution to the readers of this
story, that we ought to be cautious of gratifying our inclinations
in loose and lewd freedoms, lest we find our resolutions of
virtue fail us in the junction when their assistance should be
It is true, and I have confessed it before, that from the first
hour I began to converse with him, I resolved to let him lie
with me, if he offered it; but it was because I wanted his help
and assistance, and I knew no other way of securing him than
that. But when were that night together, and, as I have said,
had gone such a length, I found my weakness; the inclination
was not to be resisted, but I was obliged to yield up all even
before he asked it.
However, he was so just to me that he never upbraided me
with that; nor did he ever express the least dislike of my
conduct on any other occasion, but always protested he was
as much delighted with my company as he was the first hour
we came together: I mean, came together as bedfellows.
It is true that he had no wife, that is to say, she was as no
wife to him, and so I was in no danger that way, but the just
reflections of conscience oftentimes snatch a man, especially
a man of sense, from the arms of a mistress, as it did him at
last, though on another occasion.
On the other hand, though I was not without secret reproaches
of my own conscience for the life I led, and that even in the
greatest height of the satisfaction I ever took, yet I had the
terrible prospect of poverty and starving, which lay on me as
a frightful spectre, so that there was no looking behind me.
But as poverty brought me into it, so fear of poverty kept me
in it, and I frequently resolved to leave it quite off, if I could
but come to lay up money enough to maintain me. But these
were thoughts of no weight, and whenever he came to me they
vanished; for his company was so delightful, that there was no
being melancholy when he was there; the reflections were all
the subject of those hours when I was alone.
I lived six years in this happy but unhappy condition, in which
time I brought him three children, but only the first of them
lived; and though I removed twice in those six years, yet I came
back the sixth year to my first lodgings at Hammersmith.
Here it was that I was one morning surprised with a kind but
melancholy letter from my gentleman, intimating that he was
very ill, and was afraid he should have another fit of sickness,
but that his wife's relations being in the house with him, it
would not be practicable to have me with him, which, however,
he expressed his great dissatisfaction in, and that he wished I
could be allowed to tend and nurse him as I did before.
I was very much concerned at this account, and was very
impatient to know how it was with him. I waited a fortnight
or thereabouts, and heard nothing, which surprised me, and I
began to be very uneasy indeed. I think, I may say, that for
the next fortnight I was near to distracted. It was my particular
difficulty that I did not know directly where he was; for I
understood at first he was in the lodgings of his wife's mother;
but having removed myself to London, I soon found, by the
help of the direction I had for writing my letters to him, how
to inquire after him, and there I found that he was at a house
in Bloomsbury, whither he had, a little before he fell sick,
removed his whole family; and that his wife and wife's mother
were in the same house, though the wife was not suffered to
know that she was in the same house with her husband.
Here I also soon understood that he was at the last extremity,
which made me almost at the last extremity too, to have a true
account. One night I had the curiosity to disguise myself like
a servant-maid, in a round cap and straw hat, and went to the
door, as sent by a lady of his neighbourhood, where he lived
before, and giving master and mistress's service, I said I was
sent to know how Mr. ---- did, and how he had rested that night.
In delivering this message I got the opportunity I desired; for,
speaking with one of the maids, I held a long gossip's tale with
her, and had all the particulars of his illness, which I found was
a pleurisy, attended with a cough and a fever. She told me also
who was in the house, and how his wife was, who, by her
relation, they were in some hopes might recover her understanding;
but as to the gentleman himself, in short she told me the doctors
said there was very little hopes of him, that in the morning
they thought he had been dying, and that he was but little better
then, for they did not expect that he could live over the next
This was heavy news for me, and I began now to see an end
of my prosperity, and to see also that it was very well I had
played to good housewife, and secured or saved something
while he was alive, for that now I had no view of my own
living before me.
It lay very heavy upon my mind, too, that I had a son, a fine
lovely boy, about five years old, and no provision made for it,
at least that I knew of. With these considerations, and a sad
heart, I went home that evening, and began to cast with myself
how I should live, and in what manner to bestow myself, for
the residue of my life.
You may be sure I could not rest without inquiring again very
quickly what was become of him; and not venturing to go
myself, I sent several sham messengers, till after a fortnight's
waiting longer, I found that there was hopes of his life, though
he was still very ill; then I abated my sending any more to the
house, and in some time after I learned in the neighbourhood
that he was about house, and then that he was abroad again.
I made no doubt then but that I should soon hear of him,
and began to comfort myself with my circumstances being, as
I thought, recovered. I waited a week, and two weeks, and
with much surprise and amazement I waited near two months
and heard nothing, but that, being recovered, he was gone into
the country for the air, and for the better recovery after his
distemper. After this it was yet two months more, and then I
understood he was come to his city house again, but still I
heard nothing from him.
I had written several letters for him, and directed them as
usual, and found two or three of them had been called for, but
not the rest. I wrote again in a more pressing manner than
ever, and in one of them let him know, that I must be forced
to wait on him myself, representing my circumstances, the rent
of lodgings to pay, and the provision for the child wanting, and
my own deplorable condition, destitute of subsistence for his
most solemn engagement to take care of and provide for me.
I took a copy of this letter, and finding it lay at the house near
a month and was not called for, I found means to have the copy
of it put into his own hands at a coffee-house, where I had by
inquiry found he used to go.
This letter forced an answer from him, by which, though I
found I was to be abandoned, yet I found he had sent a letter
to me some time before, desiring me to go down to the Bath
again. Its contents I shall come to presently.
It is true that sick-beds are the time when such correspondences
as this are looked on with different countenances, and seen
with other eyes than we saw them with, or than they appeared
with before. My lover had been at the gates of death, and at
the very brink of eternity; and, it seems, had been struck with
a due remorse, and with sad reflections upon his past life of
gallantry and levity; and among the rest, criminal correspondence
with me, which was neither more nor less than a long-continued
life of adultery, and represented itself as it really was, not as
it had been formerly thought by him to be, and he looked upon
it now with a just and religious abhorrence.
I cannot but observe also, and leave it for the direction of my
sex in such cases of pleasure, that whenever sincere repentance
succeeds such a crime as this, there never fails to attend a
hatred of the object; and the more the affection might seem to
be before, the hatred will be the more in proportion. It will
always be so, indeed it can be no otherwise; for there cannot
be a true and sincere abhorrence of the offence, and the love
to the cause of it remain; there will, with an abhorrence of the
sin, be found a detestation of the fellow-sinner; you can expect
I found it so here, though good manners and justice in this
gentleman kept him from carrying it on to any extreme but the
short history of his part in this affair was thus: he perceived
by my last letter, and by all the rest, which he went for after,
that I was not gone to Bath, that his first letter had not come
to my hand; upon which he write me this following:--
'MADAM,--I am surprised that my letter, dated the 8th of last
month, did not come to your hand; I give you my word it was
delivered at your lodgings, and to the hands of your maid.
'I need not acquaint you with what has been my condition
for some time past; and how, having been at the edge of the
grave, I am, by the unexpected and undeserved mercy of
Heaven, restored again. In the condition I have been in, it
cannot be strange to you that our unhappy correspondence
had not been the least of the burthens which lay upon my
conscience. I need say no more; those things that must be
repented of, must be also reformed.
I wish you would think of going back to the Bath. I enclose
you here a bill for #50 for clearing yourself at your lodgings,
and carrying you down, and hope it will be no surprise to you
to add, that on this account only, and not for any offence given
me on your side, I can see you no more. I will take due care
of the child; leave him where he is, or take him with you, as
you please. I wish you the like reflections, and that they may
be to your advantage.--I am,' etc.
I was struck with this letter as with a thousand wounds, such
as I cannot describe; the reproaches of my own conscience were
such as I cannot express, for I was not blind to my own crime;
and I reflected that I might with less offence have continued
with my brother, and lived with him as a wife, since there was
no crime in our marriage on that score, neither of us knowing it.
But I never once reflected that I was all this while a married
woman, a wife to Mr. ---- the linen-draper, who, though he
had left me by the necessity of his circumstances, had no power
to discharge me from the marriage contract which was between
us, or to give me a legal liberty to marry again; so that I had
been no less than a whore and an adulteress all this while. I
then reproached myself with the liberties I had taken, and how
I had been a snare to this gentleman, and that indeed I was
principal in the crime; that now he was mercifully snatched out
of the gulf by a convincing work upon his mind, but that I was
left as if I was forsaken of God's grace, and abandoned by
Heaven to a continuing in my wickedness.
Under these reflections I continued very pensive and sad for
near month, and did not go down to the Bath, having no
inclination to be with the woman whom I was with before;
lest, as I thought, she should prompt me to some wicked
course of life again, as she had done; and besides, I was very
loth she should know I was cast off as above.
And now I was greatly perplexed about my little boy. It was
death to me to part with the child, and yet when I considered
the danger of being one time or other left with him to keep
without a maintenance to support him, I then resolved to leave
him where he was; but then I concluded also to be near him
myself too, that I then might have the satisfaction of seeing
him, without the care of providing for him.
I sent my gentleman a short letter, therefore, that I had obeyed
his orders in all things but that of going back to the Bath,
which I could not think of for many reasons; that however
parting from him was a wound to me that I could never recover,
yet that I was fully satisfied his reflections were just, and would
be very far from desiring to obstruct his reformation or repentance.
Then I represented my own circumstances to him in the most
moving terms that I was able. I told him that those unhappy
distresses which first moved him to a generous and an honest
friendship for me, would, I hope, move him to a little concern
for me now, though the criminal part of our correspondence,
which I believed neither of us intended to fall into at the time,
was broken off; that I desired to repent as sincerely as he had
done, but entreated him to put me in some condition that I
might not be exposed to the temptations which the devil never
fails to excite us to from the frightful prospect of poverty and
distress; and if he had the least apprehensions of my being
troublesome to him, I begged he would put me in a posture
to go back to my mother in Virginia, from when he knew I
came, and that would put an end to all his fears on that account.
I concluded, that if he would send me #50 more to facilitate
my going away, I would send him back a general release, and
would promise never to disturb him more with any importunities;
unless it was to hear of the well-doing of the child, whom, if
I found my mother living and my circumstances able, I would
send for to come over to me, and take him also effectually off
This was indeed all a cheat thus far, viz. that I had no intention
to go to Virginia, as the account of my former affairs there may
convince anybody of; but the business was to get this last #50
of him, if possible, knowing well enough it would be the last
penny I was ever to expect.
However, the argument I used, namely, of giving him a general
release, and never troubling him any more, prevailed effectually
with him, and he sent me a bill for the money by a person who
brought with him a general release for me to sign, and which
I frankly signed, and received the money; and thus, though full
sore against my will, a final end was put to this affair.
And here I cannot but reflect upon the unhappy consequence
of too great freedoms between persons stated as we were,
upon the pretence of innocent intentions, love of friendship,
and the like; for the flesh has generally so great a share in those
friendships, that is great odds but inclination prevails at last
over the most solemn resolutions; and that vice breaks in at
the breaches of decency, which really innocent friendship ought
to preserve with the greatest strictness. But I leave the readers
of these things to their own just reflections, which they will be
more able to make effectual than I, who so soon forgot myself,
and am therefore but a very indifferent monitor.
I was now a single person again, as I may call myself; I was
loosed from all the obligations either of wedlock or mistress-ship
in the world, except my husband the linen-draper, whom, I having
not now heard from in almost fifteen years, nobody could
blame me for thinking myself entirely freed from; seeing also he
had at his going away told me, that if I did not hear frequently
from him, I should conclude he was dead, and I might freely
marry again to whom I pleased.
I now began to cast up my accounts. I had by many letters
and much importunity, and with the intercession of my mother
too, had a second return of some goods from my brother (as I
now call him) in Virginia, to make up the damage of the cargo
I brought away with me, and this too was upon the condition
of my sealing a general release to him, and to send it him by
his correspondent at Bristol, which, though I thought hard of,
yet I was obliged to promise to do. However, I managed so
well in this case, that I got my goods away before the release
was signed, and then I always found something or other to say
to evade the thing, and to put off the signing it at all; till at
length I pretended I must write to my brother, and have his
answer, before I could do it.
Including this recruit, and before I got the last #50, I found
my strength to amount, put all together, to about #400, so
that with that I had about #450. I had saved above #100 more,
but I met with a disaster with that, which was this--that a
goldsmith in whose hands I had trusted it, broke, so I lost #70
of my money, the man's composition not making above #30
out of his #100. I had a little plate, but not much, and was
well enough stocked with clothes and linen.
With this stock I had the world to begin again; but you are to
consider that I was not now the same woman as when I lived
at Redriff; for, first of all, I was near twenty years older, and
did not look the better for my age, nor for my rambles to
Virginia and back again; and though I omitted nothing that
might set me out to advantage, except painting, for that I never
stooped to, and had pride enough to think I did not want it, yet
there would always be some difference seen between five-and-twenty
I cast about innumerable ways for my future state of life, and
began to consider very seriously what I should do, but nothing
offered. I took care to make the world take me for something
more than I was, and had it given out that I was a fortune, and
that my estate was in my own hands; the last of which was
very true, the first of it was as above. I had no acquaintance,
which was one of my worst misfortunes, and the consequence
of that was, I had no adviser, at least who could assist and
advise together; and above all, I had nobody to whom I could
in confidence commit the secret of my circumstances to, and
could depend upon for their secrecy and fidelity; and I found
by experience, that to be friendless in the worst condition,
next to being in want that a woman can be reduced to: I say
a woman, because 'tis evident men can be their own advisers,
and their own directors, and know how to work themselves
out of difficulties and into business better than women; but if
a woman has no friend to communicate her affairs to, and to
advise and assist her, 'tis ten to one but she is undone; nay,
and the more money she has, the more danger she is in of being
wronged and deceived; and this was my case in the affair of
the #100 which I left in the hands of the goldsmith, as above,
whose credit, it seems, was upon the ebb before, but I, that
had no knowledge of things and nobody to consult with, knew
nothing of it, and so lost my money.
In the next place, when a woman is thus left desolate and void
of counsel, she is just like a bag of money or a jewel dropped
on the highway, which is a prey to the next comer; if a man of
virtue and upright principles happens to find it, he will have it
cried, and the owner may come to hear of it again; but how
many times shall such a thing fall into hands that will make no
scruple of seizing it for their own, to once that it shall come
into good hands?
This was evidently my case, for I was now a loose, unguided
creature, and had no help, no assistance, no guide for my
conduct; I knew what I aimed at and what I wanted, but knew
nothing how to pursue the end by direct means. I wanted to
be placed in a settle state of living, and had I happened to meet
with a sober, good husband, I should have been as faithful and
true a wife to him as virtue itself could have formed. If I had
been otherwise, the vice came in always at the door of necessity,
not at the door of inclination; and I understood too well, by
the want of it, what the value of a settled life was, to do
anything to forfeit the felicity of it; nay, I should have made
the better wife for all the difficulties I had passed through, by
a great deal; nor did I in any of the time that I had been a wife
give my husbands the least uneasiness on account of my
But all this was nothing; I found no encouraging prospect. I
waited; I lived regularly, and with as much frugality as became
my circumstances, but nothing offered, nothing presented, and
the main stock wasted apace. What to do I knew not; the
terror of approaching poverty lay hard upon my spirits. I had
some money, but where to place it I knew not, nor would the
interest of it maintain me, at least not in London.
At length a new scene opened. There was in the house where
I lodged a north-country woman that went for a gentlewoman,
and nothing was more frequent in her discourse than her account
of the cheapness of provisions, and the easy way of living in
her country; how plentiful and how cheap everything was, what
good company they kept, and the like; till at last I told her she
almost tempted me to go and live in her country; for I that
was a widow, though I had sufficient to live on, yet had no
way of increasing it; and that I found I could not live here
under #100 a year, unless I kept no company, no servant, made
no appearance, and buried myself in privacy, as if I was obliged
to it by necessity.
I should have observed, that she was always made to believe,
as everybody else was, that I was a great fortune, or at least
that I had three or four thousand pounds, if not more, and all
in my own hands; and she was mighty sweet upon me when
she thought me inclined in the least to go into her country.
She said she had a sister lived near Liverpool, that her brother
was a considerable gentleman there, and had a great estate
also in Ireland; that she would go down there in about two
months, and if I would give her my company thither, I should
be as welcome as herself for a month or more as I pleased,
till I should see how I liked the country; and if I thought fit to
live there, she would undertake they would take care, though
they did not entertain lodgers themselves, they would recommend
me to some agreeable family, where I should be placed to my
If this woman had known my real circumstances, she would
never have laid so many snares, and taken so many weary steps
to catch a poor desolate creature that was good for little when
it was caught; and indeed I, whose case was almost desperate,
and thought I could not be much worse, was not very anxious
about what might befall me, provided they did me no personal
injury; so I suffered myself, though not without a great deal
of invitation and great professions of sincere friendship and
real kindness--I say, I suffered myself to be prevailed upon to
go with her, and accordingly I packed up my baggage, and put
myself in a posture for a journey, though I did not absolutely
know whither I was to go.
And now I found myself in great distress; what little I had
in the world was all in money, except as before, a little plate,
some linen, and my clothes; as for my household stuff, I had
little or none, for I had lived always in lodgings; but I had not
one friend in the world with whom to trust that little I had, or
to direct me how to dispose of it, and this perplexed me night
and day. I thought of the bank, and of the other companies in
London, but I had no friend to commit the management of it
to, and keep and carry about with me bank bills, tallies, orders,
and such things, I looked upon at as unsafe; that if they were
lost, my money was lost, and then I was undone; and, on the
other hand, I might be robbed and perhaps murdered in a strange
place for them. This perplexed me strangely, and what to do I
It came in my thoughts one morning that I would go to the
bank myself, where I had often been to receive the interest of
some bills I had, which had interest payable on them, and where
I had found a clerk, to whom I applied myself, very honest and
just to me, and particularly so fair one time that when I had
mistold my money, and taken less than my due, and was coming
away, he set me to rights and gave me the rest, which he might
have put into his own pocket.
I went to him and represented my case very plainly, and asked
if he would trouble himself to be my adviser, who was a poor
friendless widow, and knew not what to do. He told me, if
I desired his opinion of anything within the reach of his business,
he would do his endeavour that I should not be wronged, but
that he would also help me to a good sober person who was
a grave man of his acquaintance, who was a clerk in such
business too, though not in their house, whose judgment was
good, and whose honesty I might depend upon. 'For,' added
he, 'I will answer for him, and for every step he takes; if he
wrongs you, madam, of one farthing, it shall lie at my door, I
will make it good; and he delights to assist people in such
cases--he does it as an act of charity.'
I was a little at a stand in this discourse; but after some pause
I told him I had rather have depended upon him, because I had
found him honest, but if that could not be, I would take his
recommendation sooner than any one's else. 'I dare say,
madam,' says he, 'that you will be as well satisfied with my
friend as with me, and he is thoroughly able to assist you,
which I am not.' It seems he had his hands full of the business
of the bank, and had engaged to meddle with no other business
that that of his office, which I heard afterwards, but did not
understand then. He added, that his friend should take nothing
of me for his advice or assistance, and this indeed encouraged
me very much.
He appointed the same evening, after the bank was shut and
business over, for me to meet him and his friend. And indeed
as soon as I saw his friend, and he began but to talk of the
affair, I was fully satisfied that I had a very honest man to deal
with; his countenance spoke it, and his character, as I heard
afterwards, was everywhere so good, that I had no room for
any more doubts upon me.
After the first meeting, in which I only said what I had said
before, we parted, and he appointed me to come the next day
to him, telling me I might in the meantime satisfy myself of
him by inquiry, which, however, I knew not how well to do,
having no acquaintance myself.
Accordingly I met him the next day, when I entered more
freely with him into my case. I told him my circumstances at
large: that I was a widow come over from American, perfectly
desolate and friendless; that I had a little money, and but a
little, and was almost distracted for fear of losing it, having no
friend in the world to trust with the management of it; that I
was going into the north of England to live cheap, that my
stock might not waste; that I would willingly lodge my money
in the bank, but that I durst not carry the bills about me, and
the like, as above; and how to correspond about it, or with
whom, I knew not.
He told me I might lodge the money in the bank as an account,
and its being entered into the books would entitle me to the
money at any time, and if I was in the north I might draw bills
on the cashier and receive it when I would; but that then it
would be esteemed as running cash, and the bank would give
no interest for it; that I might buy stock with it, and so it would
lie in store for me, but that then if I wanted to dispose if it, I
must come up to town on purpose to transfer it, and even it
would be with some difficulty I should receive the half-yearly
dividend, unless I was here in person, or had some friend I
could trust with having the stock in his name to do it for me,
and that would have the same difficulty in it as before; and
with that he looked hard at me and smiled a little. At last, says
he, 'Why do you not get a head steward, madam, that may take
you and your money together into keeping, and then you would
have the trouble taken off your hands?' 'Ay, sir, and the money
too, it may be,' said I; 'for truly I find the hazard that way is as
much as 'tis t'other way'; but I remember I said secretly to myself,
'I wish you would ask me the question fairly, I would consider
very seriously on it before I said No.'
He went on a good way with me, and I thought once or twice
he was in earnest, but to my real affliction, I found at last he
had a wife; but when he owned he had a wife he shook his head,
and said with some concern, that indeed he had a wife, and no
wife. I began to think he had been in the condition of my late
lover, and that his wife had been distempered or lunatic, or
some such thing. However, we had not much more discourse
at that time, but he told me he was in too much hurry of
business then, but that if I would come home to his house after
their business was over, he would by that time consider what
might be done for me, to put my affairs in a posture of security.
I told him I would come, and desired to know where he lived.
He gave me a direction in writing, and when he gave it me he
read it to me, and said, 'There 'tis, madam, if you dare trust
yourself with me.' 'Yes, sir,' said I, 'I believe I may venture
to trust you with myself, for you have a wife, you say, and I
don't want a husband; besides, I dare trust you with my money,
which is all I have in the world, and if that were gone, I may
trust myself anywhere.'
He said some things in jest that were very handsome and
mannerly, and would have pleased me very well if they had
been in earnest; but that passed over, I took the directions,
and appointed to attend him at his house at seven o'clock the
When I came he made several proposals for my placing my
money in the bank, in order to my having interest for it; but
still some difficulty or other came in the way, which he objected
as not safe; and I found such a sincere disinterested honesty
in him, that I began to muse with myself, that I had certainly
found the honest man I wanted, and that I could never put
myself into better hands; so I told him with a great deal of
frankness that I had never met with a man or woman yet that
I could trust, or in whom I could think myself safe, but that I
saw he was so disinterestedly concerned for my safety, that I
said I would freely trust him with the management of that little
I had, if he would accept to be steward for a poor widow that
could give him no salary.
He smiled and, standing up, with great respect saluted me.
He told me he could not but take it very kindly that I had so
good an opinion of him; that he would not deceive me, that
he would do anything in his power to serve me, and expect
no salary; but that he could not by any means accept of a trust,
that it might bring him to be suspected of self-interest, and that
if I should die he might have disputes with my executors, which
he should be very loth to encumber himself with.
I told him if those were all his objections I would soon remove
them, and convince him that there was not the least room for
any difficulty; for that, first, as for suspecting him, if ever I
should do it, now is the time to suspect him, and not put the
trust into his hands, and whenever I did suspect him, he could
but throw it up then and refuse to go any further. Then, as to
executors, I assured him I had no heirs, nor any relations in
England, and I should alter my condition before I died, and
then his trust and trouble should cease together, which,
however, I had no prospect of yet; but I told him if I died as
I was, it should be all his own, and he would deserve it by
being so faithful to me as I was satisfied he would be.
He changed his countenance at this discourse, and asked me
how I came to have so much good-will for him; and, looking
very much pleased, said he might very lawfully wish he was
a single man for my sake. I smiled, and told him as he was
not, my offer could have no design upon him in it, and to wish,
as he did, was not to be allowed, 'twas criminal to his wife.
He told me I was wrong. 'For,' says he, 'madam, as I said
before, I have a wife and no wife, and 'twould be no sin to me
to wish her hanged, if that were all.' 'I know nothing of your
circumstances that way, sir,' said I; 'but it cannot be innocent
to wish your wife dead.' 'I tell you,' says he again, 'she is a
wife and no wife; you don't know what I am, or what she is.'
'That's true,' said I; 'sir, I do not know what you are, but I
believe you to be an honest man, and that's the cause of all
my confidence in you.'
'Well, well,' says he, 'and so I am, I hope, too. But I am
something else too, madam; for,' says he, 'to be plain with you,
I am a cuckold, and she is a whore.' He spoke it in a kind of
jest, but it was with such an awkward smile, that I perceived
it was what struck very close to him, and he looked dismally
when he said it.
'That alters the case indeed, sir,' said I, 'as to that part you
were speaking of; but a cuckold, you know, may be an honest
man; it does not alter that case at all. Besides, I think,' said
I, 'since your wife is so dishonest to you, you are too honest
to her to own her for your wife; but that,' said I, 'is what I
have nothing to do with.'
'Nay,' says he, 'I do not think to clear my hands of her; for,
to be plain with you, madam,' added he, 'I am no contended
cuckold neither: on the other hand, I assure you it provokes
me the highest degree, but I can't help myself; she that will
be a whore, will be a whore.'
I waived the discourse and began to talk of my business; but
I found he could not have done with it, so I let him alone, and
he went on to tell me all the circumstances of his case, too
long to relate here; particularly, that having been out of England
some time before he came to the post he was in, she had had
two children in the meantime by an officer of the army; and
that when he came to England and, upon her submission, took
her again, and maintained her very well, yet she ran away from
him with a linen-draper's apprentice, robbed him of what she
could come at, and continued to live from him still. 'So that,
madam,' says he, 'she is a whore not by necessity, which is
the common bait of your sex, but by inclination, and for the
sake of the vice.'
Well, I pitied him, and wished him well rid of her, and still
would have talked of my business, but it would not do. At
last he looks steadily at me. 'Look you, madam,' says he,
'you came to ask advice of me, and I will serve you as faithfully
as if you were my own sister; but I must turn the tables, since
you oblige me to do it, and are so friendly to me, and I think
I must ask advice of you. Tell me, what must a poor abused
fellow do with a whore? What can I do to do myself justice
'Alas! sir,' says I, ''tis a case too nice for me to advise in, but
it seems she has run away from you, so you are rid of her
fairly; what can you desire more?' 'Ay, she is gone indeed,'
said he, 'but I am not clear of her for all that.'
'That's true,' says I; 'she may indeed run you into debt, but
the law has furnished you with methods to prevent that also;
you may cry her down, as they call it.'
'No, no,' says he, 'that is not the case neither; I have taken
care of all that; 'tis not that part that I speak of, but I would
be rid of her so that I might marry again.'
'Well, sir,' says I, 'then you must divorce her. If you can
prove what you say, you may certainly get that done, and then,
I suppose, you are free.'
'That's very tedious and expensive,' says he.
'Why,' says I, 'if you can get any woman you like to take your
word, I suppose your wife would not dispute the liberty with
you that she takes herself.'
'Ay,' says he, 'but 'twould be hard to bring an honest woman
to do that; and for the other sort,' says he, 'I have had enough
of her to meddle with any more whores.'
It occurred to me presently, 'I would have taken your word
with all my heart, if you had but asked me the question';
but that was to myself. To him I replied, 'Why, you shut the
door against any honest woman accepting you, for you condemn
all that should venture upon you at once, and conclude, that
really a woman that takes you now can't be honest.'
'Why,' says he, 'I wish you would satisfy me that an honest
woman would take me; I'd venture it'; and then turns short
upon me, 'Will you take me, madam?'
'That's not a fair question,' says I, 'after what you have said;
however, lest you should think I wait only for a recantation
of it, I shall answer you plainly, No, not I; my business is of
another kind with you, and I did not expect you would have
turned my serious application to you, in my own distracted
case, into a comedy.'
'Why, madam,' says he, 'my case is as distracted as yours can
be, and I stand in as much need of advice as you do, for I think
if I have not relief somewhere, I shall be made myself, and I
know not what course to take, I protest to you.'
'Why, sir,' says I, ''tis easy to give advice in your case, much
easier than it is in mine.' 'Speak then,' says he, 'I beg of you,
for now you encourage me.'
'Why,' says I, 'if your case is so plain as you say it is, you may
be legally divorced, and then you may find honest women
enough to ask the question of fairly; the sex is not so scarce
that you can want a wife.'
'Well, then,' said he, 'I am in earnest; I'll take your advice;
but shall I ask you one question seriously beforehand?'
'Any question,' said I, 'but that you did before.'
'No, that answer will not do,' said he, 'for, in short, that is the
question I shall ask.'
'You may ask what questions you please, but you have my
answer to that already,' said I. 'Besides, sir,' said I, 'can you
think so ill of me as that I would give any answer to such a
question beforehand? Can any woman alive believe you in
earnest, or think you design anything but to banter her?'
'Well, well,' says he, 'I do not banter you, I am in earnest;
consider of it.'
'But, sir,' says I, a little gravely, 'I came to you about my own
business; I beg of you to let me know, what you will advise me
'I will be prepared,' says he, 'against you come again.'
'Nay,' says I, 'you have forbid my coming any more.'
'Why so?' said he, and looked a little surprised.
'Because,' said I, 'you can't expect I should visit you on the
account you talk of.'
'Well,' says he, 'you shall promise me to come again, however,
and I will not say any more of it till I have gotten the divorce,
but I desire you will prepare to be better conditioned when
that's done, for you shall be the woman, or I will not be
divorced at all; why, I owe it to your unlooked-for kindness,
if it were to nothing else, but I have other reasons too.'
He could not have said anything in the world that pleased me
better; however, I knew that the way to secure him was to
stand off while the thing was so remote, as it appeared to be,
and that it was time enough to accept of it when he was able
to perform it; so I said very respectfully to him, it was time
enough to consider of these things when he was in a condition
to talk of them; in the meantime, I told him, I was going a
great way from him, and he would find objects enough to
please him better. We broke off here for the present, and he
made me promise him to come again the next day, for his
resolutions upon my own business, which after some pressing
I did; though had he seen farther into me, I wanted no pressing
on that account.
I came the next evening, accordingly, and brought my maid
with me, to let him see that I kept a maid, but I sent her away
as soon as I was gone in. He would have had me let the maid
have stayed, but I would not, but ordered her aloud to come
for me again about nine o'clock. But he forbade that, and told
me he would see me safe home, which, by the way, I was not
very well please with, supposing he might do that to know
where I lived and inquire into my character and circumstances.
However, I ventured that, for all that the people there or
thereabout knew of me, was to my advantage; and all the
character he had of me, after he had inquired, was that I was
a woman of fortune, and that I was a very modest, sober body;
which, whether true or not in the main, yet you may see how
necessary it is for all women who expect anything in the world,
to preserve the character of their virtue, even when perhaps
they may have sacrificed the thing itself.
I found, and was not a little please with it, that he had provided
a supper for me. I found also he lived very handsomely, and
had a house very handsomely furnished; all of which I was
rejoiced at indeed, for I looked upon it as all my own.
We had now a second conference upon the subject-matter of
the last conference. He laid his business very home indeed; he
protested his affection to me, and indeed I had no room to
doubt it; he declared that it began from the first moment I
talked with him, and long before I had mentioned leaving my
effects with him. ''Tis no matter when it began,' thought I;
'if it will but hold, 'twill be well enough.' He then told me
how much the offer I had made of trusting him with my effects,
and leaving them to him, had engaged him. 'So I intended it
should,' thought I, 'but then I thought you had been a single
man too.' After we had supped, I observed he pressed me
very hard to drink two or three glasses of wine, which, however,
I declined, but drank one glass or two. He then told me he
had a proposal to make to me, which I should promise him I
would not take ill if I should not grant it. I told him I hoped
he would make no dishonourable proposal to me, especially
in his own house, and that if it was such, I desired he would
not propose it, that I might not be obliged to offer any
resentment to him that did not become the respect I professed
for him, and the trust I had placed in him in coming to his house;
and begged of him he would give me leave to go away, and
accordingly began to put on my gloves and prepare to be gone,
though at the same time I no more intended it than he intended
to let me.
Well, he importuned me not to talk of going; he assured me
he had no dishonourable thing in his thoughts about me, and
was very far from offering anything to me that was dishonourable,
and if I thought so, he would choose to say no more of it.
That part I did not relish at all. I told him I was ready to hear
anything that he had to say, depending that he would say nothing
unworthy of himself, or unfit for me to hear. Upon this, he
told me his proposal was this: that I would marry him, though
he had not yet obtained the divorce from the whore his wife;
and to satisfy me that he meant honourably, he would promise
not to desire me to live with him, or go to bed with him till the
divorce was obtained. My heart said yes to this offer at first
word, but it was necessary to play the hypocrite a little more
with him; so I seemed to decline the motion with some warmth,
and besides a little condemning the thing as unfair, told him
that such a proposal could be of no signification, but to entangle
us both in great difficulties; for if he should not at last obtain
the divorce, yet we could not dissolve the marriage, neither
could we proceed in it; so that if he was disappointed in the
divorce, I left him to consider what a condition we should
both be in.
In short, I carried on the argument against this so far, that I
convinced him it was not a proposal that had any sense in it.
Well, then he went from it to another, and that was, that I
would sign and seal a contract with him, conditioning to marry
him as soon as the divorce was obtained, and to be void if he
could not obtain it.
I told him such a thing was more rational than the other; but
as this was the first time that ever I could imagine him weak
enough to be in earnest in this affair, I did not use to say Yes
at first asking; I would consider of it.
I played with this lover as an angler does with a trout. I found
I had him fast on the hook, so I jested with his new proposal,
and put him off. I told him he knew little of me, and bade him
inquire about me; I let him also go home with me to my lodging,
though I would not ask him to go in, for I told him it was not
In short, I ventured to avoid signing a contract of marriage,
and the reason why I did it was because the lady that had
invited me so earnestly to go with her into Lancashire insisted
so positively upon it, and promised me such great fortunes,
and such fine things there, that I was tempted to go and try.
'Perhaps,' said I, 'I may mend myself very much'; and then I
made no scruple in my thoughts of quitting my honest citizen,
whom I was not so much in love with as not to leave him for
In a word, I avoided a contract; but told him I would go into
the north, that he should know where to write to me by the
consequence of the business I had entrusted with him; that I
would give him a sufficient pledge of my respect for him, for
I would leave almost all I had in the world in his hands; and
I would thus far give him my word, that as soon as he had
sued out a divorce from his first wife, he would send me an
account of it, I would come up to London, and that then we
would talk seriously of the matter.
It was a base design I went with, that I must confess, though
I was invited thither with a design much worse than mine was,
as the sequel will discover. Well, I went with my friend, as I
called her, into Lancashire. All the way we went she caressed
me with the utmost appearance of a sincere, undissembled
affection; treated me, except my coach-hire, all the way; and
her brother brought a gentleman's coach to Warrington to
receive us, and we were carried from thence to Liverpool with
as much ceremony as I could desire. We were also entertained
at a merchant's house in Liverpool three or four days very
handsomely; I forbear to tell his name, because of what followed.
Then she told me she would carry me to an uncle's house of
hers, where we should be nobly entertained. She did so; her
uncle, as she called him, sent a coach and four horses for us,
and we were carried near forty miles I know not whither.
We came, however, to a gentleman's seat, where was a
numerous family, a large park, extraordinary company indeed,
and where she was called cousin. I told her if she had resolved
to bring me into such company as this, she should have let me
have prepared myself, and have furnished myself with better
clothes. The ladies took notice of that, and told me very
genteelly they did not value people in their country so much
by their clothes as they did in London; that their cousin had
fully informed them of my quality, and that I did not want
clothes to set me off; in short, they entertained me, not like
what I was, but like what they thought I had been, namely, a
widow lady of a great fortune.
The first discovery I made here was, that the family were all
Roman Catholics, and the cousin too, whom I called my friend;
however, I must say that nobody in the world could behave
better to me, and I had all the civility shown me that I could
have had if I had been of their opinion. The truth is, I had not
so much principle of any kind as to be nice in point of religion,
and I presently learned to speak favourably of the Romish
Church; particularly, I told them I saw little but the prejudice
of education in all the difference that were among Christians
about religion, and if it had so happened that my father had
been a Roman Catholic, I doubted not but I should have been
as well pleased with their religion as my own.
This obliged them in the highest degree, and as I was besieged
day and night with good company and pleasant discourse, so
I had two or three old ladies that lay at me upon the subject
of religion too. I was so complaisant, that though I would not
completely engage, yet I made no scruple to be present at their
mass, and to conform to all their gestures as they showed me
the pattern, but I would not come too cheap; so that I only in
the main encouraged them to expect that I would turn Roman
Catholic, if I was instructed in the Catholic doctrine as they
called it, and so the matter rested.
I stayed here about six weeks; and then my conductor led me
back to a country village, about six miles from Liverpool,
where her brother (as she called him) came to visit me in his
own chariot, and in a very good figure, with two footmen in
a good livery; and the next thing was to make love to me. As
it had happened to me, one would think I could not have been
cheated, and indeed I thought so myself, having a safe card at
home, which I resolved not to quit unless I could mend myself
very much. However, in all appearance this brother was a
match worth my listening to, and the least his estate was valued
at was #1000 a year, but the sister said it was worth #1500 a
year, and lay most of it in Ireland.
I that was a great fortune, and passed for such, was above
being asked how much my estate was; and my false friend
taking it upon a foolish hearsay, had raised it from #500 to
#5000, and by the time she came into the country she called
it #15,000. The Irishman, for such I understood him to be,
was stark mad at this bait; in short, he courted me, made me
presents, and ran in debt like a madman for the expenses of
his equipage and of his courtship. He had, to give him his due,
the appearance of an extraordinary fine gentleman; he was tall,
well-shaped, and had an extraordinary address; talked as
naturally of his park and his stables, of his horses, his gamekeepers,
his woods, his tenants, and his servants, as if we had been in
the mansion-house, and I had seen them all about me.
He never so much as asked me about my fortune or estate, but
assured me that when we came to Dublin he would jointure
me in #600 a year good land; and that we could enter into a
deed of settlement or contract here for the performance of it.
This was such language indeed as I had not been used to, and
I was here beaten out of all my measures; I had a she-devil in
my bosom, every hour telling me how great her brother lived.
One time she would come for my orders, how I would have
my coaches painted, and how lined; and another time what
clothes my page should wear; in short, my eyes were dazzled.
I had now lost my power of saying No, and, to cut the story
short, I consented to be married; but to be the more private,
we were carried farther into the country, and married by a
Romish clergyman, who I was assured would marry us as
effectually as a Church of England parson.
I cannot say but I had some reflections in this affair upon the
dishonourable forsaking my faithful citizen, who loved me
sincerely, and who was endeavouring to quit himself of a
scandalous whore by whom he had been indeed barbarously
used, and promised himself infinite happiness in his new choice;
which choice was now giving up herself to another in a manner
almost as scandalous as hers could be.
But the glittering shoe of a great estate, and of fine things,
which the deceived creature that was now my deceiver
represented every hour to my imagination, hurried me away,
and gave me no time to think of London, or of anything there,
much less of the obligation I had to a person of infinitely more
real merit than what was now before me.
But the thing was done; I was now in the arms of my new
spouse, who appeared still the same as before; great even to
magnificence, and nothing less than #1000 a year could support
the ordinary equipage he appeared in.
After we had been married about a month, he began to talk
of my going to West Chester in order to embark for Ireland.
However, he did not hurry me, for we stayed near three weeks
longer, and then he sent to Chester for a coach to meet us at
the Black Rock, as they call it, over against Liverpool. Thither
we went in a fine boat they call a pinnace, with six oars; his
servants, and horses, and baggage going in the ferry-boat.
He made his excuse to me that he had no acquaintance in
Chester, but he would go before and get some handsome
apartment for me at a private house. I asked him how long
we should stay at Chester. He said, not at all, any longer than
one night or two, but he would immediately hire a coach to
go to Holyhead. Then I told him he should by no means give
himself the trouble to get private lodgings for one night or
two, for that Chester being a great place, I made no doubt but
there would be very good inns and accommodation enough;
so we lodged at an inn in the West Street, not far from the
Cathedral; I forget what sign it was at.
Here my spouse, talking of my going to Ireland, asked me if
I had no affairs to settle at London before we went off. I
told him No, not of any great consequence, but what might be
done as well by letter from Dublin. 'Madam,' says he, very
respectfully, 'I suppose the greatest part of your estate, which
my sister tells me is most of it in money in the Bank of England,
lies secure enough, but in case it required transferring, or any
way altering its property, it might be necessary to go up to
London and settle those things before we went over.'
I seemed to look strange at it, and told him I knew not what
he meant; that I had no effects in the Bank of England that I
knew of; and I hoped he could not say that I had ever told him
I had. No, he said, I had not told him so, but his sister had
said the greatest part of my estate lay there. 'And I only
mentioned it, me dear,' said he, 'that if there was any occasion
to settle it, or order anything about it, we might not be obliged
to the hazard and trouble of another voyage back again'; for
he added, that he did not care to venture me too much upon
I was surprised at this talk, and began to consider very seriously
what the meaning of it must be; and it presently occurred to me
that my friend, who called him brother, had represented me in
colours which were not my due; and I thought, since it was come
to that pitch, that I would know the bottom of it before I went
out of England, and before I should put myself into I knew not
whose hands in a strange country.
Upon this I called his sister into my chamber the next morning,
and letting her know the discourse her brother and I had
been upon the evening before, I conjured her to tell me what
she had said to him, and upon what foot it was that she had
made this marriage. She owned that she had told him that I
was a great fortune, and said that she was told so at London.
'Told so!' says I warmly; 'did I ever tell you so?' No, she
said, it was true I did not tell her so, but I had said several
times that what I had was in my own disposal. 'I did so,'
returned I very quickly and hastily, 'but I never told you I had
anything called a fortune; no, not that I had #100, or the value
of #100, in the world. Any how did it consist with my being
a fortune,' said I, 'that I should come here into the north of
England with you, only upon the account of living cheap?'
At these words, which I spoke warm and high, my husband,
her brother (as she called him), came into the room, and I
desired him to come and sit down, for I had something of
moment to say before them both, which it was absolutely
necessary he should hear.
He looked a little disturbed at the assurance with which I
seemed to speak it, and came and sat down by me, having first
shut the door; upon which I began, for I was very much provoked,
and turning myself to him, 'I am afraid,' says I, 'my dear' (for
I spoke with kindness on his side), 'that you have a very great
abuse put upon you, and an injury done you never to be
repaired in your marrying me, which, however, as I have had
no hand in it, I desire I may be fairly acquitted of it, and that
the blame may lie where it ought to lie, and nowhere else, for
I wash my hands of every part of it.'
'What injury can be done me, my dear,' says he, 'in marrying
you. I hope it is to my honour and advantage every way.' 'I
will soon explain it to you,' says I, 'and I fear you will have
no reason to think yourself well used; but I will convince you,
my dear,' says I again, 'that I have had no hand in it'; and there
I stopped a while.
He looked now scared and wild, and began, I believe, to
suspect what followed; however, looking towards me, and
saying only, 'Go on,' he sat silent, as if to hear what I had
more to say; so I went on. 'I asked you last night,' said I,
speaking to him, 'if ever I made any boast to you of my estate,
or ever told you I had any estate in the Bank of England or
anywhere else, and you owned I had not, as is most true; and
I desire you will tell me here, before your sister, if ever I gave
you any reason from me to think so, or that ever we had any
discourse about it'; and he owned again I had not, but said I
had appeared always as a woman of fortune, and he depended
on it that I was so, and hoped he was not deceived. 'I am not
inquiring yet whether you have been deceived or not,' said I;
'I fear you have, and I too; but I am clearing myself from the
unjust charge of being concerned in deceiving you.
'I have been now asking your sister if ever I told her of any
fortune or estate I had, or gave her any particulars of it; and
she owns I never did. Any pray, madam,' said I, turning myself
to her, 'be so just to me, before your brother, to charge me,
if you can, if ever I pretended to you that I had an estate; and
why, if I had, should I come down into this country with you
on purpose to spare that little I had, and live cheap?' She
could not deny one word, but said she had been told in London
that I had a very great fortune, and that it lay in the Bank of
'And now, dear sir,' said I, turning myself to my new spouse
again, 'be so just to me as to tell me who has abused both you
and me so much as to make you believe I was a fortune, and
prompt you to court me to this marriage?' He could not speak
a word, but pointed to her; and, after some more pause, flew
out in the most furious passion that ever I saw a man in my
life, cursing her, and calling her all the whores and hard names
he could think of; and that she had ruined him, declaring that
she had told him I had #15,000, and that she was to have #500
of him for procuring this match for him. He then added,
directing his speech to me, that she was none of his sister, but
had been his whore for two years before, that she had had #100
of him in part of this bargain, and that he was utterly undone
if things were as I said; and in his raving he swore he would
let her heart's blood out immediately, which frightened her
and me too. She cried, said she had been told so in the house
where I lodged. But this aggravated him more than before,
that she should put so far upon him, and run things such a
length upon no other authority than a hearsay; and then, turning
to me again, said very honestly, he was afraid we were both
undone. 'For, to be plain, my dear, I have no estate,' says he;
'what little I had, this devil has made me run out in waiting
on you and putting me into this equipage.' She took the
opportunity of his being earnest in talking with me, and got
out of the room, and I never saw her more.
I was confounded now as much as he, and knew not what to
say. I thought many ways that I had the worst of it, but his
saying he was undone, and that he had no estate neither, put
me into a mere distraction. 'Why,' says I to him, 'this has
been a hellish juggle, for we are married here upon the foot
of a double fraud; you are undone by the disappointment, it
seems; and if I had had a fortune I had been cheated too, for
you say you have nothing.'
'You would indeed have been cheated, my dear,' says he, 'but
you would not have been undone, for #15,000 would have
maintained us both very handsomely in this country; and I
assure you,' added he, 'I had resolved to have dedicated every
groat of it to you; I would not have wronged you of a shilling,
and the rest I would have made up in my affection to you, and
tenderness of you, as long as I lived.'
This was very honest indeed, and I really believe he spoke
as he intended, and that he was a man that was as well qualified
to make me happy, as to his temper and behaviour, as any
man ever was; but his having no estate, and being run into debt
on this ridiculous account in the country, made all the prospect
dismal and dreadful, and I knew not what to say, or what to
think of myself.
I told him it was very unhappy that so much love, and so much
good nature as I discovered in him, should be thus precipitated
into misery; that I saw nothing before us but ruin; for as to me,
it was my unhappiness that what little I had was not able to
relieve us week, and with that I pulled out a bank bill of #20
and eleven guineas, which I told him I had saved out of my
little income, and that by the account that creature had given
me of the way of living in that country, I expected it would
maintain me three or four years; that if it was taken from me,
I was left destitute, and he knew what the condition of a woman
among strangers must be, if she had no money in her pocket;
however, I told him, if he would take it, there it was.
He told me with a great concern, and I thought I saw tears
stand in his eyes, that he would not touch it; that he abhorred
the thoughts of stripping me and make me miserable; that, on
the contrary, he had fifty guineas left, which was all he had in
the world, and he pulled it out and threw it down on the table,
bidding me take it, though he were to starve for want of it.
I returned, with the same concern for him, that I could not
bear to hear him talk so; that, on the contrary, if he could
propose any probable method of living, I would do anything
that became me on my part, and that I would live as close
and as narrow as he could desire.
He begged of me to talk no more at that rate, for it would
make him distracted; he said he was bred a gentleman, though
he was reduced to a low fortune, and that there was but one
way left which he could think of, and that would not do,
unless I could answer him one question, which, however, he
said he would not press me to. I told him I would answer it
honestly; whether it would be to his satisfaction or not, that
I could not tell.
'Why, then, my dear, tell me plainly,' says he, 'will the little
you have keep us together in any figure, or in any station or
place, or will it not?'
It was my happiness hitherto that I had not discovered myself
or my circumstances at all--no, not so much as my name; and
seeing these was nothing to be expected from him, however
good-humoured and however honest he seemed to be, but to
live on what I knew would soon be wasted, I resolved to
conceal everything but the bank bill and the eleven guineas
which I had owned; and I would have been very glad to have
lost that and have been set down where he took me up. I had
indeed another bank bill about me of #30, which was the whole
of what I brought with me, as well to subsist on in the country,
as not knowing what might offer; because this creature, the
go-between that had thus betrayed us both, had made me
believe strange things of my marrying to my advantage in the
country, and I was not willing to be without money, whatever
might happen. This bill I concealed, and that made me the
freer of the rest, in consideration of his circumstances, for I
really pitied him heartily.
But to return to his question, I told him I never willingly
deceived him, and I never would. I was very sorry to tell him
that the little I had would not subsist us; that it was not
sufficient to subsist me alone in the south country, and that
this was the reason that made me put myself into the hands
of that woman who called him brother, she having assured
me that I might board very handsomely at a town called
Manchester, where I had not yet been, for about #6 a year;
and my whole income not being about #15 a year, I thought I
might live easy upon it, and wait for better things.
He shook his head and remained silent, and a very melancholy
evening we had; however, we supped together, and lay together
that night, and when we had almost supped he looked a little
better and more cheerful, and called for a bottle of wine. 'Come,
my dear,' says he, 'though the case is bad, it is to no purpose
to be dejected. Come, be as easy as you can; I will endeavour
to find out some way or other to live; if you can but subsist
yourself, that is better than nothing. I must try the world again;
a man ought to think like a man; to be discouraged is to yield
to the misfortune.' With this he filled a glass and drank to me,
holding my hand and pressing it hard in his hand all the while
the wine went down, and protesting afterwards his main
concern was for me.
It was really a true, gallant spirit he was of, and it was the
more grievous to me. 'Tis something of relief even to be
undone by a man of honour, rather than by a scoundrel; but
here the greatest disappointment was on his side, for he had
really spent a great deal of money, deluded by this madam the
procuress; and it was very remarkable on what poor terms he
proceeded. First the baseness of the creature herself is to be
observed, who, for the getting #100 herself, could be content
to let him spend three or four more, though perhaps it was all
he had in the world, and more than all; when she had not the
least ground, more than a little tea-table chat, to say that I had
any estate, or was a fortune, or the like. It is true the design
of deluding a woman of fortune, if I had been so, was base
enough; the putting the face of great things upon poor
circumstances was a fraud, and bad enough; but the case a
little differed too, and that in his favour, for he was not a rake
that made a trade to delude women, and, as some have done,
get six or seven fortunes after one another, and then rifle and
run away from them; but he was really a gentleman, unfortunate
and low, but had lived well; and though, if I had had a fortune,
I should have been enraged at the slut for betraying me, yet
really for the man, a fortune would not have been ill bestowed
on him, for he was a lovely person indeed, of generous principles,
good sense, and of abundance of good-humour.
We had a great deal of close conversation that night, for we
neither of us slept much; he was as penitent for having put all
those cheats upon me as if it had been felony, and that he was
going to execution; he offered me again every shilling of the
money he had about him, and said he would go into the army
and seek the world for more.
I asked him why he would be so unkind to carry me into
Ireland, when I might suppose he could not have subsisted me
there. He took me in his arms. 'My dear,' said he, 'depend
upon it, I never designed to go to Ireland at all, much less to
have carried you thither, but came hither to be out of the
observation of the people, who had heard what I pretended to,
and withal, that nobody might ask me for money before I was
furnished to supply them.'
'But where, then,' said I, 'were we to have gone next?'
'Why, my dear,' said he, 'I'll confess the whole scheme to you
as I had laid it; I purposed here to ask you something about
your estate, as you see I did, and when you, as I expected you
would, had entered into some account with me of the particulars,
I would have made an excuse to you to have put off our voyage
to Ireland for some time, and to have gone first towards London.
'Then, my dear,' said he, 'I resolved to have confessed all the
circumstances of my own affairs to you, and let you know I
had indeed made use of these artifices to obtain your consent
to marry me, but had now nothing to do but ask to your pardon,
and to tell you how abundantly, as I have said above, I would
endeavour to make you forget what was past, by the felicity
of the days to come.'
'Truly,' said I to him, 'I find you would soon have conquered
me; and it is my affliction now, that I am not in a condition to
let you see how easily I should have been reconciled to you,
and have passed by all the tricks you had put upon me, in
recompense of so much good-humour. But, my dear,' said I,
'what can we do now? We are both undone, and what better
are we for our being reconciled together, seeing we have
nothing to live on?'
We proposed a great many things, but nothing could offer
where there was nothing to begin with. He begged me at last
to talk no more of it, for, he said, I would break his heart; so
we talked of other things a little, till at last he took a husband's
leave of me, and so we went to sleep.
He rose before me in the morning; and indeed, having lain
awake almost all night, I was very sleepy, and lay till near
eleven o'clock. In this time he took his horses and three
servants, and all his linen and baggage, and away he went,
leaving a short but moving letter for me on the table, as
'MY DEAR--I am a dog; I have abused you; but I have been
drawn into do it by a base creature, contrary to my principle
and the general practice of my life. Forgive me, my dear! I
ask your pardon with the greatest sincerity; I am the most
miserable of men, in having deluded you. I have been so happy
to posses you, and now am so wretched as to be forced to fly
from you. Forgive me, my dear; once more I say, forgive me!
I am not able to see you ruined by me, and myself unable to
support you. Our marriage is nothing; I shall never be able to
see you again; I here discharge you from it; if you can marry
to your advantage, do not decline it on my account; I here
swear to you on my faith, and on the word of a man of honour,
I will never disturb your repose if I should know of it, which,
however, is not likely. On the other hand, if you should not
marry, and if good fortune should befall me, it shall be all yours,
wherever you are.
'I have put some of the stock of money I have left into your
pocket; take places for yourself and your maid in the stage-coach,
and go for London; I hope it will bear your charges thither,
without breaking into your own. Again I sincerely ask your
pardon, and will do so as often as I shall ever think of you.
Adieu, my dear, for ever!--I am, your most affectionately, J.E.'
Nothing that ever befell me in my life sank so deep into my
heart as this farewell. I reproached him a thousand times in
my thoughts for leaving me, for I would have gone with him
through the world, if I had begged my bread. I felt in my
pocket, and there found ten guineas, his gold watch, and two
little rings, one a small diamond ring worth only about #6, and
the other a plain gold ring.
I sat me down and looked upon these things two hours
together, and scarce spoke a word, till my maid interrupted
me by telling me my dinner was ready. I ate but little, and
after dinner I fell into a vehement fit of crying, every now and
then calling him by his name, which was James. 'O Jemmy!'
said I, 'come back, come back. I'll give you all I have; I'll
beg, I'll starve with you.' And thus I ran raving about the
room several times, and then sat down between whiles, and
then walking about again, called upon him to come back, and
then cried again; and thus I passed the afternoon, till about
seven o'clock, when it was near dusk, in the evening, being
August, when, to my unspeakable surprise, he comes back
into the inn, but without a servant, and comes directly up into
I was in the greatest confusion imaginable, and so was he too.
I could not imagine what should be the occasion of it, and
began to be at odds with myself whether to be glad or sorry;
but my affection biassed all the rest, and it was impossible to
conceal my joy, which was too great for smiles, for it burst
out into tears. He was no sooner entered the room but he ran
to me and took me in his arms, holding me fast, and almost
stopping my breath with his kisses, but spoke not a word.
At length I began. 'My dear,' said I, 'how could you go away
from me?' to which he gave no answer, for it was impossible
for him to speak.
When our ecstasies were a little over, he told me he was gone
about fifteen miles, but it was not in his power to go any farther
without coming back to see me again, and to take his leave of
me once more.
I told him how I had passed my time, and how loud I had
called him to come back again. He told me he heard me very
plain upon Delamere Forest, at a place about twelve miles off.
I smiled. 'Nay,' says he, 'do not think I am in jest, for if ever
I heard your voice in my life, I heard you call me aloud, and
sometimes I thought I saw you running after me.' 'Why,'
said I, 'what did I say?'--for I had not named the words to him.
'You called aloud,' says he, 'and said, O Jemmy! O Jemmy!
come back, come back.'
I laughed at him. 'My dear,' says he, 'do not laugh, for, depend
upon it, I heard your voice as plain as you hear mine now; if
you please, I'll go before a magistrate and make oath of it.' I