« VorigeDoorgaan »
sistance, and saw that he was sincere in his de- || vehemently, that I made no question but he
sign of serving me; that he had gone thus far to | intended to do everything else that Amy had 1:53
shew me that he was kind to me, but that now talked of.
is impossible, as well on your side as mine;" he
I am all in a sweat at him.”—“ Come to, madam," He said he could not stay there that night, says Amy, “ I see what it will come to, I must business required him in London, but added, put you to bed to-night together.” “Why you smiling, that he would come the next day and would not be so impudent, you jade you," says I, take a night's lodging with me. I pressed him “would you ?"_“Yes, I would,” says she, "with to stay that night, and told him I should be glad all my heart, and think you both as honest as ever a friend so valuable should be under the same you were in your lives." roof with me; and indeed I began at that time • What ails the slut to talk so ?” said I, "hon. not only to be much obliged to him, but to love est! how can it be honest ?"-" Why, I'll tell you, him too, and that in a manner that I had not madam,” says Amy, “ I founded it as soon as I been acquainted with myself.
heard him speak, and it is very true too ; he calls O let no woman cast a reflection, but consider you widow, and such indeed you are, for as my me generously delivered from trouble, and fur master has left you so many years, he is dead to nished with gratitude and just principles. This you; he is no husband ; your are and ought to gentleman had freely and voluntarily delivered be free to marry who you will ; and his wife being me from misery, from poverty, and rags; he had
gone from him, and refusing to lie with him, then made me what I was, and put me into a way to he is a single man again, as much as ever; and be even more than I ever was, namely, to live though you cannot bring the laws of the land to happy and pleased, and on his bounty I depended. join you together, yet one refusing to do the office What could I say to this gentleman when he
of a wife, and the other of a husband, you may pressed me to yield to him, and argued the law ll certainly take one another fairly." fulness of it? But of that in its place.
« Nay, Amy," says I, “ if I could take him pressed him again to stay that night, and told | fairly, you may be sure I would take him above him it was the first completely happy night that all the men in the world; it turned my very I had ever had in the house in my life, and I heart within me when I heard him say he loved shoul
ould be very sorry to have it without his com- | me; how could it do otherwise, when you know y, who was the cause and foundation of it all ; | what a condition I was in before, despised and at we would be innocently merry, but that it | trampled on by all the world I could have took would never be without him; and, in short, I him in my arms and kissed him as freely as he did courted him so, that he said he could not deny ll me, if it had not been for shame." me, but he would take his horse and go to Lon “Ay, and all the rest too,” says Amy, " at the
"do the business he had to do, which it seems first word; I do not see how you can think of was to pay a foreign bill that was due that night, denying him anything; has he not brought you and would else be protested, and that he would out of the devil's clutches, brought you out of come back in three hours at furthest and sup the blackest misery that ever poor lady was with me; but bade me get nothing there, for since reduced to ? Can a woman deny such a man was resolved to be merry, which was what he
anything?" desired above all thingy, he would send me some
« Nay, I do not know what to do, Amy," says thing from London, “and we will make it a wed || 1. “ I hope he wont desire anything of that kind
supper, my dear," says he; and with that of me, I hope he will not attempt it; if he does, I took me in his arins, and kissed me so II know not what to say to him."
“ Not ask you,” says Amy, “ depend upon itsions of its return; and I might appeal to any he will ask you, and you will grant it too; I am that has had any experience of the world, whether sure my mistress is no fool ; come, pray madam, | one so entirely destitute as I was of all manner of let me go air you a clean shift; do not let him find help, or friends, either to support me or to assist you in foul linen the wedding night."
me to support myself, could withstand the pro“ But that I know you to be a very honest posal, not that I plead this as a justification of girl, Amy," says I, “ you would make me abhormy conduct, but that it may move the pity even | you ; why, you argue for the devil, as if you of those that abhor the crime. were one of his privy counsellors."
Besides this, I was young, handsome, and, with " It is no matter for that,” says Amy," I say all the mortifications I had met with, was rain, nothing but what I think; you own you love this and that not a little; and, as it was a new thing, gentleman, and he has given you sufficient testi so it was a pleasant thing to be courted, caressed, mony of his affection to you ; your conditions are embraced, and high professions of affection made alike unhappy, and he is of opinion that he may to me, by a man so agreeable and so able to do take another woman, his first wife having broke me good. her honour, and living from him ; and that though Add to this, that if I had ventured to disoblige the laws of the land will not allow him to marry this gentleman, I had no friend in the world to formally, yet that he may take anothet woman have recourse to; I had no prospect, no, not of into his arms, provided he keeps true to the a bit of bread; I had nothing before me but to other woman as a wife; nay, he says it is usual fall back into the same misery that I had been , to do so, and allowed by the custom of the place, I in before. in several countries abroad; and, I must own, I am Amy had but too much rbetoric in this cause, of the same mind; else it is in the power of a she represented all those things in their proper whore, after she has jilted and abandoned her colours, she argued them all with her utmost husband, to confine him from the pleasure as well skill, and at last the merry jade, when she came as convenience of a woman all the days of his to dress me, said, “ Look you, madam, if you life, which would be very unreasonable, and, as will not consent, tell him you will do as Rachael things go, not tolerable to all people; and the did to Jacob, when she could have no children, like on your side, madam."
put her maid to bed to him; tell him you cannot Had I now had my senses about me, and had comply with him, but there is Amy, he may ask my reason not been overcome by the powerful her the question, she has promised me she will attraction of so kind, so beneficent a friend ; not deny you." had I consulted conscience and virtue, I should | “And would you have me say so, Amy?" said I. have repelled this Amy, however faithful and “ No, madam, but I would really have you do honest to me in other things, as a viper and so, besides, you are undone if you do not ; and engine to the devil; I ought to have remem- || if my doing it would save you from being unbered, that neither he or I, either by the laws of done, as I said before, he shall, if he will; if he God or man, could come together upon any asks me I will not deny him, hang me if I do,* ! other terms than that of notorious adultery. The says Amy. ignorant jade's argument, that he had brought ! « Well, I know not what to do," says I to Amy. me out of the hands of the devil, by which she“ Do!" says Amy; "your choice is fair and plain; meant the devil of poverty and distress, should here you may have a handsome, charming gentle. have been a powerful motive to me not to plunge man, be rich, live pleasantly, and in plenty, or myself into the jaws of hell, and into the power refuse him, and want a dinner, go in rags, live in of the real devil, in recompense for the deliver- tears, in short, beg and starve ; you know this is ance. I should have looked upon all the good the case, madam,” says Amy, “I wonder how this man had done for me to have been the par- | you can say you know not what to do. ticular work of the goodness of Heaven, and that “ Well, Amy,” says 1, "the case is as you say, goodness should have moved me to a return of and I think verily I must yield to him ; but then," duty and obedience; I should have received the said I, moved by conscience, “ do not talk any mercy thankfully, and applied it soberly to the more of your cant, of its being lawful that I ought, praise and honour of my Maker ; whereas, by || to marry again, and such stuff as that; it is all this wicked course, all the bounty and kindness nonsense,” says I, “ Amy, there is nothing in it, of this gentleman became a snare to me, was allet me hear no more of that, for if I yield, it is in ' mere bait to the devil's hook; I received his vain to mince the matter; I am a whore, Amy, kindness at the dear expense of body and soul, neither better nor worse, I assure you. mortgaging faith, religion, conscience, and mo- “ I do not think so, madam, by no means," desty, for (as I may call it) a morsel of bread; 1 says Amy, “ I wonder how you can talk so :* or if you will, ruined my soul from a principle of and she run on with her argument of the unreagratitude, and gave myself up to the devil, to sonableness that a woman should be obliged to shew myself grateful to my benefactor. I must live single, or a man to live single, in such cases do the gentleman that justice as to say, I verily as before. “ Well, Amy," said I, “ come let us believe that he did nothing but what he thought dispute no more, for the longer I enter into that lawful; and I must do that justice upon myself part, the greater my scruples will be ; but if I lt as to say, I did what my own conscience con- it alone, the necessity of my present circumstances vinced me, at the very time I did it, was horribly is such, that I believe I shall yield to him, is be unlawful, scandalous, and abominable.
should importune me much about it, but I should But poverty was my share ; dreadful poverty!! be glad he would not do it at all, but leave me The misery I had been in was great, such as as I am." would make the heart tremble at the apprehen.'! “ As to that, madam, you may depeod," says
Amy," he expects to have you for his bed-fellow i! gether, and an obligation in the penalty of 7,0001.
not to be answered, he said, “ Now, my dear, is Thus Amy and I canvassed the business be- not this sufficient ? can you object anything tween us; the jade prompted the crime, which I against it? If not, as I believe you will not, then had but too much inclination to comont, that is let us debate this matter no longer.” With that to say, not as a crime, for I had nothing of the he pulled out a silk purse, which had threescore vice in my constitution ; my spirits were far from guineas in it, and threw it into my lap, and conbeing higb, my blood had no fire in it to kindle cluded all the rest of his discourse with kisses and the flame of desire; but the kindness and good protestations of his love, of which indeed I had humour of the man, and the dread of my own abundant proof. circumstances, concurred to bring me to the point, Pity human frailty, you that read of a woman and I even resolved, before he asked, to give up reduced in her youth and prime to the utmost my virtue to him, whenever he should put it to || misery and distress, and raised again as above, the question.
by the unexpected and surprising bounty of a In this I was a double offender, whatever he stranger; I say pity her if she was not able, after was, for I was resolved to commit the crime, || all these things, to make any more resistance. koowing and owning it to be a crime; he, if it || However, I stood out a little longer still ; I was true as he said, was fully persuaded it was asked him how he could, with any show of rea. lawful, and in that persuasion he took his mea son, expect that I should come into a proposal of sures, and used all the circumlocutions which I such consequence the very first time it was moved am going to speak of.
to me? and that I ought, if I consented to it, to About two hours after he was gone, came a || capitulate with him, that he should never up. Leadenhall basket woman, with a load of good | braid me with easiness, and consenting too soon. things for the mouth, the particulars are not to || He said, no; but on the contrary he would the purpose, and brought orders to get supper I take it as a mark of the greatest kindness I could by eight o'clock ; however, I did not intend to show him. Then he went on to give reasons why begin to dress anything till I saw him ; and he there was no occasion to use the ordinary cere. gave me time enough, for he came before seven, | mony of delay, or to wait a reasonable time of so that Amy, who had got one to help her, had courtship, which was only to avoid scandal ; but, everything ready in time.
| as this was private, it had nothing of that nature We sat down to supper about eight, and were in it; that he had been courting me some time, indced very merry; Amy made us some sport, || by the best of courtship, viz. doing acts of kindfor she was a girl of spirit and wit, and with herness to me ; and that he had given testimonies of talk she made us laugh very often, and yet the his sincere affection to me, by deeds, not by jado managed her wit with all the good manners flattering trifles, and the usual courtship of words, imaginable.
|| which were often found to have very little meanBut to shorten the story; after supper he took || ing; that he took me not as a mistress, but as a me up into his chamber, where Amy had made a wife, and protested it was clear to him he might good fire, and there pulled out a great many lawfully do it, and that I was perfectly at liberty; papers, and spread them upon a little table, and || and assured me, by all that was possible for an then took me by the hand, and after kissing me honest man to say, that he would treat me as a very much, he entered into a discourse of his wife as long as he lived; in a word, he conquered circumstances, and of mine, how they agreed in all the little resistance I intended to make; he some things exactly, for example, that I was Il protested he loved me above all the world, and abandoned by a husband in the prime of my || begged I would for once believe him ; that he youth and vigour, and he by a wise in his middle I had never deceived me, and never would, but 19e, how the end of marriage was destroyed by || would make it his study to make my life comfort. the treatment we had either of us received, and able and happy, and to make me forget the it would be very hard that we should be tied by misery I had gone through. I stood still awhile the formality of the contract, where the essence and said nothing, but seeing him eager for my of it was destroyed : I interrupted him, and told answer, I smiled, and looking up at him—“ And him there was a vast difference between our cir must I then," said I, " say yes, at first asking ? cumstances, and that in the most essential part, must I depend upon your promise ? why, then," namely, that he was rich and I was poor, that he says I, “ upon the faith of that promise, and in
above the world, and I infinitely below it; the sense of that inexpressible kindness you have
is circumstances were very easy, mine | shown to me, you shall be obliged, and I am miserable, and this was an inequality the most | wholly yours. O
| wholly yours to the end of my life; and with essential that could be imagined. “As to that, that I took his hand, which held me by the hand, my dear,” says he, “ I have taken such measures and gave it a kiss. as shall make an equality still," and with that he And thus, in gratitude for the favours I re. showed me a contract in writing, wherein he en || ceived from a man, was all sense of religion and muscu niraself to me to cohabit constantly with duty to God, all regard to virtue and honour,
to provide for me in all respects as a wife ; given up at once, and we were to call one another ind
izrepeating in the preamble a long account | man and wife, who, in the sense of the laws, both the nature and reason of our living toll of God and our country, were no more than two
adulterers,-in short, a whore and a rogue; nor, |gone no farther, Amy had richly deserved what as I have said above, was my conscience silent in she had; for never was a maid so true to a mistress it, though it seems his was ; for ( sinned with in such dreadful circumstances as I was in, nor open eyes, and thereby had a double guilt upon was what followed more her own fault than me; as I always said his notions were of another mine, who led her almost into it at first, and quite kind, and he either was before of the opinion, or into it at last; and this may be a farther testimony argued himself into it, now that we were both what a hardness of crime I was now arrived to free, and might lawfully marry.
which was owing to the conviction that was from But I was quite of another side, nay, and my the beginning upon me that I was a whore, not a judgment was right, but my circumstances were wife; nor could I ever frame my mouth to call my temptation ; the terrors behind me looked | him husband, or to say my husband when I was blacker than the terrors before me; and the speaking of him. dreadful argument of wanting bread, and being | We lived, surely, the most agreeable life, the run into the horrible distresses I was in before, grand exception only excepted, that ever two mastered all my resolution, and I gave myself up lived together. He was the most obliging ged. as above.
tlemanly man, and the most tender of me, that The rest of the evening was spent very agree ever woman gave herself up to: por was there ably to me; he was perfectly good humoured, ever the least interruption to our mutual kind. and was at that time merry; then he made Amy ness, no, not to the last day of his life. But dance with him, and I told him I would put Amy I must bring Amy's disaster in at once, that I to bed to him. Amy said, with all her heart, | may have done with her. she never had been a bride in her life ; in short, I Amy was dressing me one morning, for now ! he made the girl so merry that had he not been had two maids, and Amy was my chambermaid. to lie with me the same night I believe he would “ Dear madam,” says Amy, “what, ain't you with have played the fool with Amy for half an hour, || child yet ?"_“ No, Amy," says I, “nor any sign and the girl would no more have refused him l of it.” than I intended to do ; yet before I had always “ Law, madam,” says Amy, “what have you found her a very modest wench as any I ever saw | been doing? Why, you have been married a in all my life; but, in short, the mirth of that year and a half. I warrant you, master would night, and a few more such afterwards, ruined have got me with child twice in that time."_“It the girl's modesty for ever, as shall appear by and may be so, Amy," says I, “ let him try, can't by in its place.
you?"_" No," says Amy, “ you'll forbid it now; So far does fooling and toying sometimes go, before I told you he should with all my heart ; that I know nothing a young woman has to be but I won't now, now he's all your own.' _* 0," more cautious of; so far had this innocent girl says I, “ Amy, I'll freely give you my consent. gone in jesting between her and I, and in talking It will be nothing at all to me. Nay, I will pot that she would let him lie with her, if he would you to bed to him myself one night or other, if you but be kinder to me, that at last she let him lic are willing."—“No, madam, no,” says Amy, “ not with her in carnest; and so empty was I now of now he's yours.” all principle, that I encouraged the doing it | “ Why, you fool you," says I, “ don't I tell almost before my face.
you I'll put you to bed to him myself.'-" Nay," I say but too justly that I was empty of prin nay," says Amy,“if you put me to bed to him, that! ciple, because as above I had yielded to him, not is another case. I believe I shall not rise again? as deluded to believe it lawful, but as overcome very soon."_“ I'll venture that, Amy," says I. by his kindness, and terrified at the fear of my Alter supper that night, and before we were own misery if he should leave me. So, with my risen from the table, I said to him, Amy being eyes open, and with my conscience, as I may say, by, “ Hark ye, Mr , do you know that you awake, I sinned, knowing it to be a sin, but are to lie with Amy to-night?"_“ No, not 1, having no power to resist. When this had thus says be ; but turns to Amy, “ Is it so, Amy?' made a hole in my heart, and I was come to such says he.—“ No, Sir," says she. “Nay, don't a height as to transgress against the light of my say no, you fool. Did not I promise to put you own conscience, I was then fit for any wicked. to bed to him ?" But the girl said " No," sul, ness, and conscience left off speaking when it and it passed off. found it could not be heard.
At night, when we came to go to bed, Amy But, to return to our story. Having consented came into the chamber to undress me, and her as above to his proposal, we had not much more master slipped into bed first; then I began, and to do. He gave me my writings, and the bond told him all that Amy had said about my not for my maintenance during his life, and for five being with child, and of her being with child bundred pounds after his death. And so far twice in that time. " Ay, Mrs Amy," says he, was he from abating his affection to me after “ I believe so too: come hither, and we will try." wards, that two years after we were thus, as But Amy did not go. “Go, you fool," sars I. he called it, married, he made his will, and “ can't you? I'll freely give you both leave." gave me a thousand pounds more, and all my But Amy would not go." Nay, you whore," household stuff, plate, &c., which was consider. says I, “but you said, if I would put you to bed, able too.
you would with all your heart." And with that, Amy put us to bed, and my new friend, I can í sat her down, pulled off her stockings and shoes not call him husband, was so well pleased with and all her clothes, piece by piece, and led her to Amy for her fidelity and kindness to me, that he the bed to him. “ Here," says I, “ try what you paid her all the arrears of her wages that I owed || can do with your maid Amy." She pulled back her, and gave her five guineas over; and had it ll a little, would not let me pull off her clothes el
first, but it was hot weather, and she had not || as the poor girl said, so it happened, and she was
children as her own. Do not be uneasy; I will I need say no more. This is enough to con- | take the child as my own. Had not I a hand in vince any body that I did not think him my the frolic of putting her to bed to you? It was my husband, and that I had cast off all principle, i fault as much as yours.” So I called Amy, and and all modesty, and had effectually stifled con encouraged her too, and told her that I would science.
take care of the child and her too, and added the Amy, I dare say, began now to repent, and same argument to her. “ For," says I, “ Amy, it would fain have got out of bed again; but he said was all my fault; did not I drag your clothes off to her, “ Nay, Amy, you see your mistress has your back, and put you to bed to him." Thus I put you to bed, 'tis all her doing, you must blame that had, indeed, been the cause of all the wickher. So he held her fast, and the wench being | edness between them, encouraged them both, naked in the bed with him, it was too late to look | when they had any remorse about it, and rather back, so she lay still and let him do what he would prompted them to go on with it, than to rewith her.
pent of it. Had I looked upon myself as a wife, you cannot
When Amy grew big, she went to a place I suppose I would have been willing to have let my
had provided for her, and the neighbours knew husband lie with my maid, much less before my
nothing but that Amy and I were parted. She face, for I stood by all the while ; but as I
had a fine child indeed, a daughter, and we had thought myself a whore, I cannot say but that it
it nursed, and Amy came again in about half a was something designed in my thoughts, that
year to live with her old mistress ; but neither my maid should be a whore too, and should not
my gentleman, or Amy either, cared for playing reproach me with it.
that game over again; for, as he said, the jade Amy, however, less vicious than I, was griev
might bring him a house full of children to
keep. ously out of sorts the next morning, and cried and took on most vehemently; that she was
We lived as merrily and as happily after this ruined and undone, and there was no pacifying
as could be expected, considering our circumher; she was a whore, a slut, and she was un
stances; I mean as to the pretended marriage, done! undone ! and cried almost all day. I did
&c.; and as to that my gentleman had not the all I could to pacify her. " A whore,” says I,
least concern about him for it. But as much as "well, and am not I a whore as well as you ?"
I was hardened, and that was as much as I be“ No, no," says Amy, “no, you are not, for you are
lieve ever any wicked creature was, yet I could married.”_"Not I, Amy," says I, “ I don't pretend
not help it, there was and would be hours of to it. He may marry you to-morrow, if he will,
intervals, and of dark reflections which came for anything I could do to hinder it. I am not
involuntarily in, and thrust in sighs into the married. Ï do not look upon it as anything."
middle of all my songs; and there would be Well, all did not pacify Amy, but she cried two
sometimes a heaviness of heart wbich interor three days about it ; but it wore off by de
mingled itself with all my joy, and which would grees.
often fetch a tear from my eye. And let others
pretend what they will, I believe it impossible to But the case differed between Amy and her
be otherwise with anybody. There can be no master exceedingly; for Amy retained the same
substantial satisfaction in a life of known wickkind temper she always had: but, on the con
edness; conscience will and does often break in trary, he was quite altered, for he hated her
upon them at particular times, let them do what heartily, and could, I believe, have killed her after it, and he told me so, for he thought this a
they will to prevent it. vile action; whereas what he and I had done he
But I am not to preach but to relate, and was perfectly easy in, thought it just, and es
whatever loose reflections were, and how often teemed me as much his wife as if we had been
soever those dark intervals came on, I did my married from our youth, and had neither of us
utmost to conceal them from him; ay, and to known any other ; nay, he loved me, I believe, as
suppress and smother them too in myself; and as entirely as if I had been the wife of his youth.
to outward appearance, we lived as cheerfully Nay, he told me it was true, in one sense,
and as agreeably as it was possible for any couple that he had two wives, but that I was the
in the world to live. wife of his affection, the other the wife of his After I had thus lived with him something aversion.
above two years, truly I found myself with child I was extremely concerned at the aversion he
too; my gentleman was mightily pleased at it, had taken to my maid Amy, and used my utmost
and nothing could be kinder than he was in the kill to get it altered; for though he had, indeed. Il preparations be made for me, and for my lying Hebauched the wench, I knew that I was the
| in, which was, however, very private, because I principal occasion of it; and as he was the best cared for as little company as possible ; nor had sumoured man in the world, I never gave it over
|| I kept up my neighbourly acquaintance, so that ill I prevailed with him to be easy with her, and || I had nobody to invite upon such an occasion. s I had now become the devil's agent, to make || I was brought to bed very well (of a daughter thers as wicked as myself, I brought him to lie too, as well as Amy), but the child died at six -ith her again several times after that, till at last, Il weeks old, so all that work was to do over again,