Amy, a resolute girl, knocked at the door, with very kind to me, and when I came to the door, I the children all with her, and bade the eldest, as i found all fast locked and bolted, and the house soon as the door was open, run in, and the rest looking as if nobody was at home. after her. She set them all down at the door. “I knocked at the door, but nobody came, till before she knocked, and when she knocked, she at last some of the neighbour's servants called to stayed till a maid servant came to the door; | me, and said, “There is nobody lives there, mis “ Sweetheart," said she, “ pray go in and tell your || tress ; what do you knock for?' I seemed surmistress here are her little cousins come to see prised at that, What! nobody live there !' said I; her from " namning the town where we lived, what do ye mean? does not Mrs live there?" at which the maid offered to go back. “ Here, The answer was, · No, she is gone;' at which I child,” said Amy, “take one of them in your parleyed with one of them, and asked her what hand, and I'll bring the rest ;" so she gives her was the matter. Matter l' says she, 'why, it is the least, and the wench goes in mighty innocent matter enough: the poor gentlewoman has lived ly, with the little one in her hand, upon which there all alone, and without anything to subsst Amy turns the rest in after her, shuts the door her a long time, and this morning the landlord softly, and marches off as fast as she could. turned her out of doors.'

Just in the interval of this, and even while the “ • Out of doors !' says I ; 'what ! with all her maid and her mistress were quarrelling--for the children ? poor lambs, what is become of them? mistress raved and scolded at her like a mad wo- | Why, truly, nothing worse,' said they, can man, and had ordered her to go and stop the come to them than staying here, for they were maid Amy, and turn all the children out of the almost starved with hunger; so the neighbours, doors again ; but she had been at the door, and seeing the poor lady in such distress, for she stood Amy was gone, and the wench was out of her crying and wringing her hands over her children wits, and the mistress too. I say just at this like one distracted, sent for the churchwardens juncture came the poor old woman, not the aunt, to take care of the children ; and they, when thor but the other of the two that had been with me, came, took the youngest, which was born in this and knocks at the door; the aunt did not go, parish, and have got it a very good nurse, and because she had pretended to advocate for me, taken care of it; but as for the other four, they and they would have suspected her of some con had them sent away to some of their father's trivance; but as for the other woman, they did relations, who were very substartial people, and not so much as know that she had kept up any who, besides that, lived in the parish where they correspondence with me.

were born.' Amy and she had concerted this between them, “ I was not so suprised at this as not presently and it was well enough contrived that they did | to foresee that this trouble would be brought so. When she came into the house, the mistress upon you, or upon Mr — ; so I came imme was fuming and raging like one distracted, and diately to bring you word of it, that you might !! calling the maid all the foolish jades and sluts be prepared for it, and might not be surprised, but that she could think of, and that she would take | I see they have been too nimble for me, so that the children and turn them all out into the streets. I know not what to advise. The poor woman, The good poor woman, seeing her in such a passion, it seems, is turned out of doors into the street;' turned about if she would be gone again, and said, and another of the neighbours there told me, “ Madam, I'll come again another time, I see you that when they took her children from her, she are engaged." No, no, Mrs - ," says the swooned away, and when they recovered her out mistress, “ I am not much engaged, sit down ; of that, she ran distracted, and is put into a this senseless creature here has brought in my | mad-house by the parish, for there is nobody else fool of a brother's whole house of children upon to take care of her." me, and tells me, that a wench brought them to This was all acted to the life by this gool, the door, and thrust them in, and bade her carry kind, poor creature; for though her design was them to me; but it shall be no disturbance to perfectly good and charitable, yet there was not me, for I have ordered them to be set in the one word of it true in fact: for I was not turned street without the door, and so let the church-| out of doors by my landlord, nor gone distracted wardens take care of them, or else make this dull|| | It was true, indeed, that at parting with my poor jade carry them back to - again, and let her children 1 fainted, and was like one mad wbca I that brought them into the world look after them came to myself and found they were gone; bat! if she will; what does she send her brats to | I remained in the house a good while after that, me for?”

| as you shall hear. « The last indeed had been the best of the While the poor woman was telling this diana) two,” says the poor woman, " if it had been to story, in came the gentlewoman's husband and be done, and that brings me to tell you my though her heart was hardened against all pity. errand, and the occasion of my coming, for I came who was really and nearly related to the chile on purpose about this very business, and to have dren, for they were the children of her own prevented this being put upon you, if I could, brother, yet the good man was quite softeneu but I see I am come too late."

with the dismal relation of the circumstances of " How do you mean too late?" says the mistress; \ the family, and when the poor woman had done, (; “what! have you been concerned in this affair| he said to his wife, “ This is a dismal case, ma then ? what! have you helped to bring this dear, indeed, and something must be done." His family slur upon us?"_" I hope you do not wife fell a-raving at him : What," sugge. think such a thing of me, madam," says the poor | “ do you want to have four children to keep woman. “but I went this morning to - to see || Have we not children of our own? Woudse my old mistress and benefactor, for she had been |have these brats come and cat up my children's

bread? No, no, let them go to the parish, and I grandfather, who lived and flourished in this let them take care of them; I'll take care of my parish so many years, and was so well beloved own."

among all people, and deserved it so well." “ Come, come, my dear," says the husband, || " I don't value that one farthing, not I," says “charity is a duty to the poor, and he that gives the wife; “ I'll keep none of them." to the poor lends to the Lord;' let us lend our | “ Well, my dear," says her husband, “but I heavenly Father a little of our children's bread, // value it, for I won't have such a blot lie upon the as you call it ; it will be a store well laid up for || family, and upon your children; he was a worthy, them, and will be the best security that our || ancient, and good man, and his name is respected children shall never come to want charity, ll among all his neighbours; it will be a reproach or be turned out of doors, as these poor innocent to you, that are his daughter, and to our children, creatures are.”-“ Don't tell me of security," who are his grand-children, that we should let says the wife, “ 'tis a good security for our chil your brother's children perish, or come to be a dren to keep what we have together, and provide charge to the public, in the very place where your for them, and then 'tis time enough to help to family once flourished. Come, say no more: I keep other people's children. Charity begins at || will see what can be done." home."

Upon this he sent and gathered all the relaWell, my dear,” says he again, “I only talk tions together at a tavern hard by, and likewise of putting out a little money to interest. Our sent for the four little children, that they might Maker is a good borrower. Never fear making see them; and they all, at first word, agreed to a bad debt there, child; I'll be bound for it.” have them taken care of; and, because his wife

“Don't banter me with your charity, and your was so furious, that she would not suffer one of allegories,” says the wife angrily; " I tell you they them to be kept at home, they agreed to keep are my relations, not yours, and they shall not them all together for awhile; accordingly they roost here; they shall go to the parish."

committed them to the poor woman that had * All your relations are my relations now," says managed the affair for them, and entered into the good gentleman very calmly, “ and I won't obligations to one another to supply the needful see your relations in distress, and not pity them, sums for their maintenance; and not to have one any more than I would my own; indeed, my dear, separated from the rest, they sent for the youngest they shan't go to the parish. I assure you, none from the parish where it was taken in, and had of my wife's relations shall come to the parish, if I || them all brought up together. can help it."

It would take up too long a part of this story “ What I will you take four children to keep?" || to give a particular account with what a charisays the wife.

table tenderness this good person, who was but “ No, no, my dear,” says he, “there's your an uncle-in-law to them, managed that affair ; sister , I'll go and talk with her; and your how careful he was of them; went constantly to uncle I'll send for him and the rest. I'll | see them, and to see that they were well provided Warrant you, when you are all together we will for, clothed, put to school, and at last put out in find ways and means to keep four poor little crea the world for their advantage ; but 'tis enough to tures from beggary and starving, or else it would say he acted more like a father to them than an be very hard; we are none of us in so bad cir uncle-in-law, though all along much against his cumstances but we are able to spare a mite |wife's consent, who was of a disposition not so for the fatherless. Don't shut up your bowels of tender and compassionate as her husband. compassion against your own flesh and blood. You may believe I heard this with the same Could you bear these poor innocent children cry || I pleasure which I now feel at the relating it again; at your door for hunger, and give them no for I was terribly affrighted at the apprehensions bread ?"

of my children being brought to misery and dis“ Prithee, what need they cry at our door ?" tress, as those must be who have no friends, but says she; " 'tis the business of the parish to pro- are left to parish benevolence. vide for them; they shan't cry at our door. If I was now, however, entering on a new scene they do, I'll give them nothing."-" Won't you?" || of life. I had a great house upon my hands, and

vs be: « but I will. Remember that Scripturell some furniture left in it, but I was no more able is directly against us, Prov. xxi, 13, • Whoso I to maintain myself and my maid Amy in it than stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also I was my five children ; nor had l anything to shall cry himself, but shall not be heard."" subsist with but what I might get by working,

“ Well, we ,” says she, “ you must do what you and that was not a town where much work was will, because you pretend to be master ; but if I || to be had. had my will, I would send them where they ought | My landlord had been very kind indeed, after to be sent. I would send them from whence || he came to know my circumstances, though, bethey came."

fore he was acquainted with that part, he had Then the poor woman put in, and said, “ But, gone so far as to seize my goods, and to carry madam, that is sending them to starve, indeed, ll some of them off too. for the parish has no obligation to take care of But I had lived three quarters of a year in his them, and so they will lie and perish in the || house after that, and had paid him no rent, and street."

which was worse, I was in no condition to pay “ Or be sent back again,” says the husband, him any. However, I observed he came oftener "to our parish in a cripple-cart, by a justice's.) to see me, looked kinder upon me, and spoke warrant, and so expose us and our relations to 1 more friendly to me than he used to do; parti. the last degree among our neighbours, and among || cularly the last two or three times he had been those who knew the good old gentleman their there, he observed; he said, how poorly I lived, how low I was reduced, and the like; told me Well, having said this, he sat down, made me sit it grieved him for my sake ; and the last time of down, and then drank to me, and made me drink all he was kinder still, told me he came to dine | two glasses of wine together; “For," says he, with me, and that I should give him leave to “you have need of it;" and so indeed I had. treat me: so he called my maid Amy, and sent When he had done so, “ Come, Amy," says he, her out to buy a joint of meat; he told her what “with your mistress's leave, you shall have a she should buy; but naming two or three things, glass too." So he made her drink two glasses either of which she might take, the maid, a cun- | also; and then rising up, “ And now, Amy," says ning wench, and faithful to me as the skin to my he, “go and get dinner; and you, madam," says | back, did not buy anything outright, but brought he to me, “go up and dress you, and come down ! the butcher along with her, with both the things and smile and be merry;" adding, “ I'll make you that she had chosen, for him to please himself. easy, if I can," and in the meantime, he said, he The one was a large, very good loin of veal; the | would walk in the garden. other a piece of the fore-ribs of roasting beef. | When he was gone, Amy changed her counHe looked at them, but bade me chaffer with the tenance, indeed, and looked as merry as ever she butcher for him, and I did so, and told him what did in her life. “ Dear madam,” says she, “what the butcher had demanded for either of them, does this gentleman mean?” “ Nay, Amy," said and what each of them came to. So he pulls I, “he means to do us good, you see, don't he? out eleven shillings and threepence, which they || I know no other meaning he can have, for he can came to together, and bade me take them both; / get nothing by me." "I warrant you, madami," the rest, he said, would serve another time. says she, “he'll ask of you a favour, by and br.* |

I was surprised, you may be sure, at the bounty | “No, no, you are mistaken, Amy, Idare suy," of a man that had but a little while ago been my said I; "you have heard what he said-didn't terror, and had torn the goods out of my house you?" “Ay," says Amy, “it's no matter for like a fury: but I considered that my distresses that, you shall see what he will do after dinner." had mollified his temper, and that he had after- “Well, well, Amy," says I, “you have bard wards been so compassionate as to give me leave thoughts of him; I cannot be of your opinion. I to live rent-free in the house a whole year. I don't sce anything in him yet that looks like it."

But now he put on the face, not of a man of “ As to that, madam," says Amy, "I don't see compassson only, but of a man of friendship and anything of it yet neither; but what should move i kindness, and this was so unexpected that it was a gentleman to take pity of us, as he does ?* surprising. We chatted together, and were, as I “Nay," says I, “that's a hard thing too, that we may call it, cheerful, which was more than I could should judge a man to be wicked because he's say I had been for three years before; he sent for charitable; and vicious because he's kind." "O wine and beer too, for I had none; poor Amy | madam,” says Amy, “there's abundance of chaand I had drank nothing but water for many rity begins in that vice; and he is not so unacweeks, and, indeed, I have often wondered at the quainted with things as not to know that porerty faithful temper of the poor girl, for which I but is the strongest incentive; a temptation aga nist ill requited her at last.

which no virtue is powerful enough to stand out; When Amy was come with the wine, he made he knows your condition as well as you do." her fill a glass to him, and with the glass in his “Well, and what then?” “Why then he knorsi hand, he came to me and kissed me, which I was, too that you are young and handsome, and he I confess, a little surprised at, but more at what has the surest bait in the world to take you followed; for he told me, that as the sad condition with.” which I was reduced to had made him pity me, so I “Well, Amy,” said I, “but he may find himself my conduct in it, and the courage I bore it with, | mistaken, too, in such a thing as that." "Why, had given him a more than ordinary respect for | madam,” says Amy, “I hope you won't deny him me, and made him very thoughtful for my good; | if he should offer it." that he was resolved for the present to do some- || “What d'ye mean by that, hussy?" said I ; thing to relieve me, and to employ his thoughts | “no, I'd starve first.” in the meantime to see if he could, for the future, “I hope not, madam, I hope you will be wiser; put me in a way to support myself.

I'm sure if he will set you up, as he talks of, you While he found me change colour, and look ought to deny him nothing; and you will starte surprised at his discourse, for I did to be sure, he || if you do not consent, that's certain." turns to my maid Amy, and looking at her, he « What, consent to lie with him for bread? — says to me," I say all this, madam, before your Amy," said I, “how can you talk so!" maid, because both she and you shall know that “Nay, madam," says Amy, “I don't think you I have no ill design, and that I have, in mere would for anything else; it would not be lawful kindness, resolved to do something for you, if 1 for anything else; but for bread, madam-rhy can: and as I have been a witness of the uncom- | nobody can starve-there's no bearing that, I'in mon honesty and fidelity of Mrs Amy here to sure." you in all your distresses, I know she may be “Ay," says I, “but if he would give me aa trusted with so honest a design as mine is; for I estate to live on, he should not lie with me, I assure you, I bear a proportioned regard to your assure you." maid too, for her affection to you."

“Why, look you, madam; if he would but give Amy made him a courtesy, and the poor girl | you enough to live easy upon, he should lie with looked so confounded with joy, that she could me for it with all my heart.” not speak, but her colour camc and went, and “That's a token, Amy, of inimitable kindness every now and then she blushed as red as scarlet, | to me," said I, "and I know how to value it: but and the next minute looked as pale as death. ll there's more friendship than honesty in it, Any."

"O madam," says Amy, “I'd do anything to sense that desolate word could be used in, “if get you out of this sad condition; as to honesty, you are beholden to me, you shall be beholden to I think honesty is out of the question when starv- nobody else. " ing is the case-are not we almost starved to By this time dinner was ready, and Amy came death?"

in to lay the cloth, and indeed it was happy there "I am indeed,” said I, “and thou art for my was none to dine but he and I, for I had but six sake; but to be a whore, Amy!_" and there 1 | plates left in the house, and but two dishes; stopped.

however, he knew how things were, and bid me "Dear madam," says Amy, “if I will starve make no scruple about bringing out what I had. for your sake, I will be a whore, or anything, for | He hoped to see me in a better plight. He your sake-why, I would die for you, if I were did not come, he said, to be entertained, but put to it.”

to entertain me, and comfort and encourage me. . “Why, that's an excess of affection, Amy,” || Thus he went on, speaking so cheerfully to me, said I, “I never met with before; I wish I may! and such cheerful things, that it was a cordial to be ever in a condition to make you some returns my very soul to hear him speak. suitable. But however, Amy, you shall not be a Well, we went to dinner: I am sure I had not whore to him, to oblige him to be kind to me;- eaten a good meal hardly in a twelvemonth, at no, Amy, nor I won't be a whore to him, if he least-not of such a joint of meat as the loin of would give me much more than he is able to give | veal was I ate, indeed, very heartily, and so me, or do for me."

did he, and made me drink three or four glasses “Why, madam," says Amy, “I don't say I will of wine. In short, my spirits were lifted up to a go and ask him; but I say, if he should promise degree I had not been used to, and I was not only to do so and so for you, and the condition was I cheerful but merry, and so he pressed me to be. such that he would not serve you unless I would I told him I had a great deal of reason to be let him lie with me, he should lie with me as merry, seeing he had been so kind to me, and often as he would rather than you should not | had given me hopes of recovering me from the have his assistance. But this is but talk, madam; | worst circumstances that ever woman of any sort I don't see any need of such discourse, and you of fortune was sunk into; that he could not beare of opinion that there will be no need of it." | lieve but what he had said to me was like life

“ Indeed so I am, Amy; but," said I, “if there from the dead; that it was like recovering one were, I tell you again, i'd die before I would sick from the brink of the grave; how I should consent, or before you should consent for my ever make him a return in any way suitable, was sake."

what I had not yet had time to think of; I could Hitherto I had not only preserved the virtue only say that I should never forget it while I itself, but the virtuous inclination and resolution; had life, and should be always ready to acknowand had I kept myself there, I had been happy, ledge it. though I had perished of mere hunger; for with He said that was all he desired of me, that his out question, a woman ought rather to die than utmost reward would be the satisfaction of having to prostitute her virtue and honour, let the rescued me from misery; that he found he was temptation be what it will.

obliging one that knew what gratitude meant; But to return to my story: he walked about that he would make it his business to make me the garden, which was, indeed, all in disorder, completely easy, first or last, if it lay in his and overrun with weeds, because I had not been power; and in the meantime, he bid me consider able to hire a gardener to do anything to it, no of anything that I thought he might do for me, not so much as to dig up ground enough to sow for my advantage, and in order to make me pera few turnips and carrots for family use. After fectly easy. he had viewed it, he came in, and sent Amy to After we had talked thus, he bid me be cheer. fetch a poor man, a gardener, that used to help ful. “Come,” says he, “lay aside these melanour man-servant, and carried him into the garden, || choly things, and let us be merry." Amy waited and ordered him to do several things in it, to put at the table, and she smiled and laughed, and was it into a little order; and this took him up near | so merry she could hardly contain it, for the girl an hour.

loved me to an excess hardly to be described ; By this time I had dressed me as well as I and it was such an unexpected thing to hear any could, for though I had good linen left still, yet one talk to her mistress, that the wench was beI had but a poor head-dress, and no knots, but side herself almost, and as soon as dinner was old fragments; no necklace, no ear-rings; all over, Amy went up stairs, and put on her best those things were gone long ago for mere bread. clothes too, and came down dressed like a gen

However, I was tight and clean, and in better tlewoman. plight than he had seen me in a great while, and We sat together talking of a thousand things, he looked extremely pleased to see me so; for he| of what had been, and what was to be, all the said I looked so disconsolate and so afflicted be rest of the day, and in the evening he took his fore, that it grieved him to see me; and he bid leave of me, with a thousand expressions of kind. me pluck up a good heart, for he hoped to put ness and tenderness, and true affection to me, me in a condition to live in the world, and be be but offered not the least of what my maid Amy holden to nobody.

had suggested. I told him that was impossible, for I must be At his going away he took me in his arms, probeholden to him or it, for all the friends I had in ll testing an honest kindness to me ; said a thousand the world would not or could not do so much for kind things to me, which I cannot now recollect; me as that he spoke of. “Well, widow," says he, and after kissing me twenty times or thereabouts, so he called me, and so indeed I was, in the worst II put a guinea into my hand, which he said was for my present supply, and told me that he would || dined together again of his own providing; and see me again before it was out; he also gave when the upholsterer's man was gone, after dinAmy half-a-crown.

ner, took me by the hand ; " Come now, madam." When he was gone, “ Well, Amy,” said I, “are says he, "you must show me your house," (for you convinced now that he is an honest as well he had a mind to see everything over again). as a true friend, and that there has been nothing, “ No, sir,” said I, “but I'll go show you you not the least appearance of anything, of what house, if you please;" so we went up through all you imagined in his behaviour.”_" Yes," says the rooms, and in the room which was appointed Amy, “ I am, but I admire at it; he is such a for himself, Amy was doing something ; “Well, friend as the world sure has not abundance of to Amy,” says he, “ I intend to lie with you to show."

morrow night." “ To-night, if you please, sir,“ “ I am sure," says I, “ he is such a friend as I says Amy, very innocently, “ your room is quite have long wanted, and as I have as much need of ready." “ Well, Amy,” says he, “ I am glad you as any creature in the world has, or ever had ;" are so willing." "No,” says Amy, " I mean your and, in short, I was so overcome with the com chamber is ready to-night," and away she run fort of it, that I sat down and cried for joy a good out of the room ashamed enough; for the girl while, as I had formerly cried for sorrow. Amy meant no harm, whatever she had said to me in and I went to bed that night (for Amy lay with private. me) pretty early, but lay chatting almost all However he said no more then; but when night about it, and the girl was so transported || Amy was gone he walked about the room and that she got up two or three times in the night looked at everything, and taking me by the hand and danced about the room in her shift ; in short, || he kissed me, and spoke a great many kind affec. the girl was half distracted with the joy of it; a tionate things to me indeed; as of his measures testimony still of her violent affection for her | for my advantage, and what he would do to raise mistress, in which no servant ever went beyond | me again in the world; told me that iny aftlicher.

tions, and the conduct I had shown in bearing We heard no more of him for two days, but the thom to such an extremity, had so engaged him third day he came again; then he told me, with to me, that he valued me infinitely above all the the same kindness, that he had ordered me a women in the world ; that though he was under supply of household goods for the furnishing the such engagements that he could not marry me house; that in particular he had sent me back || (his wife and he had been parted for some rea. all the goods that he had seized for rent, which sons, which make too long a story to intermix consisted, indeed, of the best of my former furni with mine), yet that he would be everything else ture; " and now," says he, “ I'll tell you what I that a woman could ask in a husband; and with have in my head for you for your present supply, that he kissed me again and took me in his arms, and that is," says he, “ that the house being well but offered not the least uncivil action to me, and furnished, you shall let it out to lodgings for the told me he hoped I would not deny him all the summer gentry, by which you will easily get a favours he should ask, because he resolved to ask good comfortable subsistence, especially seeing nothing of me but what was fit for a woman of you shall pay me no rent for two years, nor after virtue and modesty, for such he knew me to be, neither, unless you can afford it.”

to yield. This was the first view I had of living com i confess the terrible pressure of my former fortably indeed, and it was a very probable way, misery, the memory of which lay heavy upon my I must confess, seeing we had very good conve mind, and the surprising kindness with which he niences, six rooms on a floor, and three stories had delivered me, and withal, the expectations of high. While he was laying down the scheme of what he might still do for me, were powerful ! my management came a cart to the door with a things, and made me have scarce the power to load of goods, and an upholsterer's man to put deny him anything he would ask; however, I them up; they were chiefly the furniture of told him thus, with an air of tenderness too, that two rooms which he had carried away for his he had done so much for me, that I thought I two years' rent, with two fine cabinets, and some ought to deny him nothing; only I hoped and depier glasses out of the parlour, and several other || pended upon him, that he would not take the valuable things.

advantage of the infinite obligations I was under These were all restored to their places, and he |to him to desire anything of me, the yielding to told me he gave them me freely as a satisfaction which would lay me lower in his esteem than I for the cruelty he had used me with before; and desired to be ; that as I took him to be a man of the furniture of one room being furnished and set honour, so I knew he could not like me the better up; he told me he would furnish one chamber for doing anything that was below a woman or for himself, and would come and be one of my honesty and good manners to do. lodgers, if I would give him leave.

I He told me that he had done all this for me, I told him he ought not to ask my leave, who || without so much as telling me what kindness or had so much right to make himself welcome; so real affection he had for me, that I might not be the house began to look in some tolerable figure, under any necessity of yielding to him in anyand clean ; the garden also, in about a fortnight's thing for want of bread; and he would no more time, began to look something less like a wilder oppress my gratitude now than he would my beness than it used to do; and he ordered me to cessity before, nor ask anything, supposing he put up a bill for letting rooms, reserving one for would stop his favours or withdraw his kindness, himself, to come to as he saw occasion.

if he was denied ; it was true, he said, he might When all was done to his mind, as to placing tell me more freely his mind now than before, the goods, he seemed very well pleased, and well seeing I had let him sce that I accepted bis as

« VorigeDoorgaan »