Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

rest

[ocr errors]

it.

importunities, that I might be prevailed with to it with presence of mind; for who could have bring out that which indeed it was like death to said more to prepare you for it than I have done? me to conceal; so I answered him plainly, that I However, I called a servant, and got him a small could not say I was glad not to be importuned, glass of rum, which is the usual dram of the though I could not tell how to comply ; “but country, for he was just fainting away. come, my dear,” said I, “what conditions will When he was a little recovered I said to him, you make with me upon the opening this affair “ This story you may be sure requires a long exto you?"-"Any conditions in the world," said planation, and therefore have patience and comhe, “that you can in reason desire of me.” | pose your mind to hear it out and I will make it “ Well," said I, “come, give it me under your as short as I can, and with this I told him what hand, that if you do not find I am in any fault, I thought was needful of the fact, and particu. or that I am willingly concerned in the causes of larly how my mother came to discover it to me the misfortune that is to follow, you will not as above; and now my dear," says I, “ you will blame me, use me the worse, do me any injury, see reason for my capitulations, and that I neither or make me the sufferer for that which is not my have been the cause of this matter nor could be so, fault."

and that I could know nothing of it before now." “ That,” says he, “is the most reasonable de “ I am fully satisfied of that,” says he, “but mand in the world : not to blame you for that it is a dreadful surprise to me. However, I know which is not your fault; "give me a pen and ink,” | a remedy that shall put an end to all your diffisays he; “so I ran and fetched a pen, ink, and culties without your going to England." paper, and he wrote the conditions down in the “That would be as strange," said I, as all the very words I had proposed it, and signed it with his name ; "well," says he," what is next, my “No, no," says he, “I will make it easy ; dear ?"

there is nobody in the way of it all but myself." “Why,” says I, “the next is, that you will not He looked a little disordered when be said this, blame me for not discovering the secret of it to but I did not apprehend anything from it at that you as soon as I knew it."

time, believing, as it used to be said, that they “ Very just again," says he, “with all my who do these things never talk of them ; or that heart." So he wrote down that also, and sigued || they who talk of such things never do them.

But things were not come to their height with “ Well, my dear,” says I, “then I have but || him, and I observed he became pensive and me. one condition more to make with you, and that || lancholy, and in a word, as I thought, a little is, that, as there is nobody concerned in it but | distempered in his head; I endeavoured to talk you and I, you shall not discover it to any person him into temper, and to reason him into a kind in the world except your own mother; and that of scheme for our government in the affair, and in all the measures you shall take upon the dis sometimes h 2 would be well, and talk with some covery, as I am equally concerned in it with you, courage about it; but the weight of it lay too though as innocent as yourself, you shall do heavy upon his thoughts, and in short, it went nothing in a passion, nothing to my prejudice, or so far that he made two attempts upon himself, to your mother's prejudice, without my know and in one of them had actually strangled himself, ledge and consent."

and had not his mother come into the room in This a little amazed him; and he wrote down the very moment, he had died; but with the the words distinctly, but read them over and help of a negro servant she cut him down and over before he signed them, hesitating at them recovered him. several times, and repeating them ; "my mother's Things were now come to a lamentable height prejudice! and your prejudice! what mysterious Il in the family. My pity for him now began to thing can this be ?” However, at last, he signed revive that affection which at first I really had it.

for him, and I endeavoured sincerely by all the “Well," says I, “my dear, I will ask no more kind carriage I could to make up the breach ; under your hand; but as you are to bear the but in short it had gotten too great a head, it most unexpected and surprising thing that per preyed upon his spirits and it throw him into a haps ever befel any family in the world, I beg | long lingering consumption, though it happened you to promise me you will receive it with com not to be mortal. In this distress I did not posure and a presence of mind suitable to a man know what to do as his life was apparently deof sense."

clining, and I might perhaps have married again “ I will do my utmost,” says he ; "upon con there very much to my advantage; it had been dition you will keep me no longer in suspense, certainly my business io have staid in the counfor you terrify me with all these prcliminaries." try; but my mind was restless too and uneasy;

“Well, then," says I, “it is this, as I told you I hankered after coming to England and nothing before in a heat, that I was not your lawful wife, I would satisfy me without it. and that our children were not legal children ; | In short, by an unwearied importunity my husso I must let you know now in calmness, and in band, who was apparently decaying, as I observed, kindness, but with affliction enough, that I am was at last prevailed with, and so my own fate your own sister, and you my own brother, and pushing me on, the way was made clear for me, that we are both the children of our mother now and my mother concurring, I obtained a very alive, and in the house, who is convinced of the good cargo for my coming to England. truth of it in a manner not to be denied or con | When I parted with my brother, for such tradicted."

am now to to call him, we agreed that after I saw himn turn pale, and look wild, and I said I arrived he should pretend to have an account -“Now, remember your promise, and receivell that I was dead in England, and so might matty

like of.

again when he would; he promised and engaged 11 The Bath is a place of gallantry enough; exto me to correspond with me as a sister, and to pensive and full of snares: I went thither inassist and support me as long as I lived ; and deed in the view of taking anything that might that if he died before me he would leave suffi- | offer; but I must do myself that justice as to cient to his mother to take care of me still in the protest I knew nothing amiss, I meant nothing name of a sister, and he was in some respect || but in an honest way; nor had I any thoughts careful of me when he heard of me; but it was about me at first that looked the way which so oddly managed that I felt the disappointments | afterwards I suffered them to be guided. very sensibly afterwards, as you shall hear in its Here I stayed the whole latter season, as it time.

| is called there, and contracted some unhappy I came away in the month of August, after 1 || acquaintance, which rather prompted the follies had been eight years in that country, and now a || I fell afterwards into than fortified me against new scene of misfortunes attended me, which them. I lived pleasantly enough, kept good perhaps few women have gone through the Il company, that is to say, gay, fine company ; but

had the discouragement to find this way of We had an indifferent good voyage till we || living sunk me exceedingly, and that as I had came just upon the coast of England, and where no settled income, so spending upon the main we arrived in two-and-thirty days, but were then | stock was but a certain kind of bleeding to ruffled with two or three storms, one of which | death, and this gave me many sad reflections in drove us away to the coast of Ireland, and we | the intervals of my other thoughts. However ! put in at Kinsale. We remained there about || shook them off, and still flattered myself that thirteen days, got some refreshment on shore something or other might offer for my advantage. and put to sea again, though we met with very | But I was in the wrong place for it; I was bad weather again, in which the ship sprung her not now at Redriff, where, if I had set myself mainmast, as they called it, for I knew not what | tolerably up, some honest sea-captain or other they meant. But we got at last into Milford might have talked with me upon honourable Haven, in Wales, where, though it was remote terms of matrimony. But I was at the Bath, from our port, yet, having my foot safe upon Il where men find a mistress sometimes, but very the firm ground of my native country, the Isle rarely look for a wife, and consequently all the of Britain, I resolved to venture it no more upon I particular acquaintance a woman can expect to the waters, which had been so terrible to me, so | make there must have some tendency that way. getting my clothes and money on shore, with ll I had spent the first season well enough, for my bills of lading and other papers, I resolved to though I had contracted some acquaintance come for London and leave the ship to get her with a gentleman who came to the Bath for his port as she could ; the port whither she was diversion, yet I had entered into no felonious bound was to Bristol, where my brother's chief treaty, as it might be called. I had resisted correspondent lived.

some casual offers of gallantry, and had managed I got to London in about three weeks, where that way well enough; I was not wicked enough I heard a little while after that the ship was ar to come into the crime for the mere vice of it, rived in Bristol, but at the same time had the and I had no extraordinary offers made me that misfortune to know that by the violent weather tempted me with the main thing which I she had been in, and the breaking of her main- I wanted. mast, she had great damage on board, and that i However, I went this length the first season, a great part of her cargo was spoiled.

viz. I contracted an acquaintance with a woman I had now a new scene of life upon my hands, || in whose house I lodged, who, though she did not and a dreadful appearance it had. I was come keep an ill house, as we call it, yet had none of away with a kind of final farewell. What I the best principles in herself: I had on all occabrought with me was indeed considerable had it sions behaved myself so well as not to get the come safe, and by the help of it I might have least slur upon my reputation on any account married again tolerably well; but as it was I whatever, and all the men that I had conversed was reduced to between two or three hundred with were of so good reputation that I had not pounds in the whole, and this without any hope given the least reflection by conversing with of recruit. I was entirely without friends, nay, them; nor did any of them seem to think there even so much as without acquaintance, for I was room for a wicked correspondence, if they found it was absolutely necessary not to revive had any of them offered it; yet there was one former acquaintances; and as for my subtle gentleman, as above, who always singled me out friend that set me up formerly for a fortune, she for the diversion of my company, as he called it, was dead, and her husoand also, as I was in. which, as he was pleased to say, was very agreeformed upon sending a person,unknown, to inquire. able to him, but at that time there was no more

The looking after my cargo of goods soon after in it. obliged me to take a journey to Bristol, and I had many melancholy hours at the Bath during my attendance upon that affair I took the after all the company was gone, for though I diversion of going to the Bath, for as I was still went to Bristol sometimes for the disposing my far from being old, so my humour, which was effects, and for recruits of money, yet I chose to always gay, continued so to an extreme; and come back to Bath for my residence, because, being now as it were a woman of fortune, though being on good terms with the woman in whose I was a woman without a fortune, I expected || house I lodged in the summer, I found that something or other might happen in my way that ll during the winter I lived rather cheaper there might mend my circumstances, as had been my l) than I could do anywhere else; here, I say, I case before.

'I passed the winter as heavily as I had passed the

autumn cheerfully ; but having contracted ajj reason to say so of him too; for though we nearer intimacy with the said woman in whose lodged both on a floor, and he had frequently house I lodged, I could not avoid communicating come into my chamber, even when I was in bed, to her something of what lay hardest upon my and I also into his when he was in bed, yet he mind, and particularly the narrowness of my never offered anything to me farther than a kiss, circumstances, and the loss of my fortune by the or so much as solicited me to anything till long damage of my goods by sea : I told her also that after, as you shall hear. I had a good mother and a brother in Virginia I frequently took notice to my landlady of his in good circumstances, and as I had really || exceeding modesty, and she again used to tell written back to my mother in particular to reprc- me she believed it was so from the beginning. sent my condition, and the great loss I had re- || However, she used to tell me that she thought I ceived, which indeed came to almost 5001., sol ought to expect some gratification from him for did not fail to let my new friend know that I my company, for indeed he did, as it were, enexpected a supply from thence, and so indeed il gross me, and I was seldom from him. did; and as the ships went from Bristol to York | I told her I had not given him the least occariver in Virginia, and back again generally in sion to think I wanted it, or that I would accept less time than from London, and that my bro- of it from him; she told me she would take ther corresponded chietly at Bristol, I thought it that part upon her, and she did so, and managed was much better for me to wait here for my re- || it so dexterously, that the first time we were turns than to go London, where also I had not together alone, after she had talked with him, the least acquaintance.

he began to inquire a little into my circumMy new friend appeared sensibly affected with stances, as how I had subsisted myself since I my condition, and indeed was so very kind as came on shore ? and whether I did not want to reduce the rate of my living with her to so money? low a price during the winter, that she convinced I stood off very boldly; I told him that though me she got nothing by me; and as for lodging i my cargo of tobacco was damaged, yet that it during the winter, I paid nothing at all.

was not quite lost; that the merchant I had When the spring season came on she conti been consigned to had so honestly managed for nued to be as kind to me as she could, and I me that I had not wanted ; and that I hoped, lodged with her for a time, till it was found ne with frugal management, I should make it hold cessary to do otherwise ; she had some persons out till more should come, which I expected by of character that frequently lodged in her house, the next feet. That in the meantime I had and in particular the gentleman who, as I said, retrenched my expenses, and whereas I kept a singled me out for his companion the winter maid last season, now I lived without; and before; and he came down again with another whereas I had a chamber and a dining-room then gentleman in his company and two servants, and on the first floor, as he knew, I now bad but one lodged in the same house : I suspected that niy|| room up two pair of stairs, and the like; but I landlady had invited him thither, letting him live, said I, as well satisfied now as I did then ; know that I was still with her, but she denied it, adding, that his company had been a means to and protested to me that she did not, and he make me live much more cheerfully than othersaid the same.

wise I should have done, for which I was much In a word, this gentleman came down and obliged to him ; and so I put off all room for any continued to single me out for his peculiar confi- || offer for the present. However, it was not long dence as well as conversation. He was a com- | before he attacked me again, and told me he plete gentleman, that must be confessed, and his I found that I was backward to trust him with the company was very agreeable to me, as mine, if | secret of my circumstances, which he was sorry! I might believe him, was to bim. He made no | for; assuring me that he inquired into it with profession to me but of an extraordinary respect, to design to satisfy his own curiosity, but merely and he had such an opinion of my virtue that, Il to assist me, if there was any occasion ; but as he often prosessed, he believed if he should offer since I would not own myself to stand in need of anything else I should reject him with contempt. any assistance, he had but one thing more to He soon understood from me that I was a widow desire of me, and that was, that I would promise that had arrived at Bristol from Virginia by the || him that when I was any way straightened, or last ships; and that I waited at Bath till the like to be so, I would frankly tell him of it, and next Virginia fleet should arrive, by which I ex that I would make use of him with the same pected considerable effects. I understood by freedom that he made the offer, adding, that I him, and by others of him, that he had a wife, should always find I had a true friend, though but that the lady was distempered in her head, perhaps I was afraid to trust him. and was under the conduct of her own relations, I omitted nothing that was fit to be said by which he consented to, to avoid any reflections one infinitely obliged, to let him know that I that might, as was not unusual in such cases, be bad a due sense of his kindness; and indeed, from cast on him for mismanaging her cure; and in that time, I did not appear so much reserved to the meantime he came to Bath to divert his him as I had done before, though still within the thoughts from the disturbance of such a melan- || bounds of the strictest virtue on both sides; but choly circumstance as that was.

how free soever our conversation was, I could My landlady, who of her own accord encou not arrive at that sort of freedom which he de. raged the correspondence on all occasions, gave sired, viz, to tell him I wanted money, though, me an advantageous character of him, as of al was secretly very glad of his offer. man of honour and of virtue, as well as of all Some weeks passed after this, and still I never great estate ; and indeed I had a great deal of I asked him for money; when my landlady, a cum

ning creature, who had often pressed me to it, reaching his pocket, pulled out a key, and bid but found that I could not do it, makes a story me then open a little walnut-tree box he had of her own inventing, and comes in bluntly to upon the table, and bring him such a drawer, me wben we were together.

which I did, in which drawer there was a great "O widow," said she, “ I have bad news to tell deal of money in gold, I believe near two hundred sou this morning."

guincas, but I knew not how much. He took the * « What is that,” said I, “are the Virginia drawer, and taking my hand, made me put it in, ships taken by the French ? " for that was my and take a whole handful; I was backward at sear.

that, but he held my hand hard in his hand, and | "No, no," says she, “but the man you sent to put it into the drawer, and made me take out as Bristol yesterday for money is come back, and many guineas almost as I could well take up at says he has brought you none."

once. Now I could by no means like her project : When I had done so he made me put them l I thought it looked too much like prompting into my lap, and took my little drawer, and poured him, which indeed he did not want, and I saw out all my own money among his, and bad me clearly that I should lose nothing by being back get me gone, and carry it all home into my own ward to ask, so I took her up short ; " I can't ima- l chamber. gine why he should say so to you," said I, “ for I I relate this story the more particularly beassure you he brought me all the money I sent cause of the good humour there was in it, and to him for, and here it is,” said I, pulling out my show the temper with which we conversed. It purse with about twelve guineas in it, and added, was not long after this, but he began every day "I intend you shall have most of it by and by." to find fault with my clothes, with my laces, and

He seemed displeased a little at her talking as head-dresses; and, in a word, pressed me to buy she did at first, as well as I, taking it as I fancied | better, which by the way I was willing enough to

he would, as something forward of her; but when do, though I did not seem to be so, for I loved l' he saw me give such an answer, he came inme. nothing in the world better than fine clothes; I

diately to himself again. The next morning we told him I must housewife the money he had lent || talked of it again, when I found he was fully sa me, or else I should nut be able to pay him again.

tisfied; and smiling said, he hoped I would not || He then told me in a few words, that as he had a Want money and not tell him of it, and I had sincere respect for me, and knew my circumpromised him otherwise. I told him I had been stances, he had not lent me that money, but very much dissatisfied at my landlady's talking given it me, and that he thought I had merited it $0 publicly the day before of what she had from him, by giving him my company so entirely nothing to do with ; but I supposed she wanted as I had done. what I owed her, wbich was about eight guineas, After this he made me take a maid and keep which I had resolved to give her, and had ac. house and his friend that came with him to the cordingly given it her the same night she talked | Bath, being gone, he obliged me to diet him, so foolishly.

which I did very willingly, believing, as it apHe was in a mighty good humour when he peared, that I should lose nothing by it, nor did i heard me say I had paid her, and it went off the woman of the house fail to find her account

into some other discourse at that time; but the in it too. next morning having heard me up about my We had lived thus near three months when room before him, he called to me, and I answer- | the company beginning to wear away at the Bath, ing, he asked me to come into his chamber. He he talked of going away, and fain he would have was in bed when I came in, and he made me Il me to go to London with him. come and sit down on his bed-side, for he said he U I was not very easy in that proposal, not knowhad something to say to me which was of some ling what posture I was to live in there, or how moment. After some very kind expressions, he he might use me. But while this was in debate asked me if I would be very honest to him, and he fell very sick ; he had gone out to a place in give a sincere answer to one thing he would de- Somersetshire called Shepton, where he had some sire of me.

business, and was there taken very ill, and so ill After some little cavil with him at the word that he could not travel; so he sent his man sincere, and asking him if I had ever given him back to the Bath to beg me that I would hire any answers which were not sincere, I promised | a coach and come over to him. Before he went him I would; why then his request was, he said, he had left all his money and other things of vato let him see my purse; I immediately put my lue with me, and what to do with them I did not hand into my pocket, and laughing at him, pulled know, but I secured them as well as I could, and it out, and there was in it three guineas and a locked up the lodgings and went to him, where half ; then be asked me if there was all the money I found him very ill indeed. I persuaded him Thad? I told him no, laughing again, not by a to be carried in a litter to the Bath, where there great deal.

was more help and better advice to be had. Well then, he said, he would have me promise l! He consented, and I brought him to the Bath, to go and fetch him all the money I had, every il which was about fifteen miles, as I remember. farthing. I told him I would, and I went into Here he continued very ill of a fever, and kept my chamber, and fetched him a little private his bed five weeks, all which time I nursed him drawer, where I had abou: six guineas more, and and tended him myself, as much and as carefuily some silver, and threw it down upon the bed, and, as if I had been his wife. Indeed if had been told him there was all my wealth, honestly to a his wife I could not have done more; I sat up shilling. He looked a little at it, but did not tell with him so much and so often, that at last init, and huddled it all into the drawer again, and I deed he would not let me sit up any longer, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

autumn cheerfully ; but having contracted al reason to say so of him too; for
nearer intimacy with the said woman in whose lodged both on a floor, and he ha
house I lodged, I could not avoid communicating come into my chamber, even when
to her something of what lay hardest upon my and I also into his when he was

i
mind, and particularly the narrowness of my never offered anything to me fart!
circumstances, and the loss of my fortune by the | or so much as solicited me to an
damage of my goods by sea : I told her also that|| after, as you shall hear.
I had a good mother and a brother in Virginia| I frequently took notice to my
in good circumstances, and as I had really exceeding modesty, and she as
written back to my mother in particular to repre me she believed it was so frou:
sent my condition, and the great loss I had re-!| However, she used to tell me
ceived, which indeed came to almost 5001., soll ought to expect some gratifies
did not fail to let my new friend know that I my company, for indeed he d
expected a supply from thence, and so indeed 1 gross me, and I was seldom i
did ; and as the ships went from Bristol to York I told her I had not given
river in Virginia, and back again generally in sion to think I wanted it, or
less time than from London, and that my bro of it from him ; she told
ther corresponded chiefly at Bristol, I thought it that part upon her, and she
was much better for me to wait here for my re it so dexterously, that th
turns than to go London, where also I had not together alone, after she
the least acquaintance.

he began to inquire a My new friend appeared sensibly affected with stances, as how I had s my condition, and indeed was so very kind as came on shore ? and to reduce the rate of my living with her to sol money ? low a price during the winter, that she convinced I stood off very boldi, me she got nothing by me; and as for lodging i my cargo of tobacco during the winter, I paid nothing at all.

was not quite lost ; e When the spring season came on she conti been consigned to ha nued to be as kind to me as she could, and I me that I had not w: lodged with her for a time, till it was found ne with frugal managen cessary to do otherwise ; she had some persons out till more should of character that frequently lodged in her house, the next feet. Th and in particular the gentleman who, as I said, retrenched my expe singled me out for his companion the winter maid last season, before; and he came down again with another whereas I had a ch. gentleman in his company and two servants, and on the first floor, a lodged in the same house : I suspected that niy room up two pair landlady had invited him thither, letting him live, said I, as we know that I was still with her, but she denied it, adding, that his and protested to me that she did not, and he make me live mu said the same.

wise I should ha In a word, this gentleman came down and obliged to him ; continued to single me out for his peculiar confi offer for the pr dence as well as conversation. He was a com before he atta plete gentleman, that must be confessed, and his found that I w company was very agreeable to me, as mine, if secret of my I might believe him, was to him. He made no for; assuring profession to me but of an extraordinary respect, no design to and he had such an opinion of my virtue that, to assist me as he often professed, he believed if he should offer since I wou! anything else I should reject him with contempt. any assistan He soon understood from me that I was a widow desire of m that had arrived at Bristol from Virginia by the him that last ships; and that I waited at Bath till the like to be next Virginia fleet should arrive, by which I ex that I wo pected considerable effects. I understood by freedom him, and by others of him, that he had a wife, should al but that the lady was distempered in her head, perhaps and was under the conduct of her own relations, I om: which he consented to, to avoid any reflections one ini. that might, as was not unusual in such cases, be bad ac cast on him for mismanaging her cure; and in that ti the meantime he came to Bath to divert his him as thoughts from the disturbance of such a melan bound choly circumstance as that was.

how i My landlady, who of her own accord encou not a raged the correspondence on all occasions, gave | sired me an advantageous character of him, as of a was man of honour and of virtue, as well as of all S great estate; and indeed I had a great deal of ask

« VorigeDoorgaan »