The Fortunate Mistress (Parts 1 and 2)
by Daniel Defoe
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After we had seen the king, who did not stay long in the gardens, we walked up the broad terrace, and crossing the hall towards the great staircase, I had a sight which confounded me at once, as I doubt not it would have done to any woman in the world. The horse guards, or what they call there the gens d'armes, had, upon some occasion, been either upon duty or been reviewed, or something (I did not understand that part) was the matter that occasioned their being there, I know not what; but, walking in the guard-chamber, and with his jack-boots on, and the whole habit of the troop, as it is worn when our horse guards are upon duty, as they call it, at St. James's Park; I say, there, to my inexpressible confusion, I saw Mr. ——, my first husband, the brewer.

I could not be deceived; I passed so near him that I almost brushed him with my clothes, and looked him full in the face, but having my fan before my face, so that he could not know me. However, I knew him perfectly well, and I heard him speak, which was a second way of knowing him. Besides being, you may be sure, astonished and surprised at such a sight, I turned about after I had passed him some steps, and pretending to ask the lady that was with me some questions, I stood as if I had viewed the great hall, the outer guard-chamber, and some things; but I did it to take a full view of his dress, that I might farther inform myself.

While I stood thus amusing the lady that was with me with questions, he walked, talking with another man of the same cloth, back again, just by me; and to my particular satisfaction, or dissatisfaction—take it which way you will—I heard him speak English, the other being, it seems, an Englishman.

I then asked the lady some other questions. "Pray, madam," says I, "what are these troopers here? Are they the king's guards?" "No," says she; "they are the gens d'armes; a small detachment of them, I suppose, attended the king to-day, but they are not his Majesty's ordinary guard." Another lady that was with her said, "No, madam, it seems that is not the case, for I heard them saying the gens d'armes were here to-day by special order, some of them being to march towards the Rhine, and these attend for orders; but they go back to-morrow to Orleans, where they are expected."

This satisfied me in part, but I found means after this to inquire whose particular troop it was that the gentlemen that were here belonged to; and with that I heard they would all be at Paris the week after.

Two days after this we returned for Paris, when I took occasion to speak to my lord, that I heard the gens d'armes were to be in the city the next week, and that I should be charmed with seeing them march if they came in a body. He was so obliging in such things that I need but just name a thing of that kind and it was done; so he ordered his gentleman (I should now call him Amy's gentleman) to get me a place in a certain house, where I might see them march.

As he did not appear with me on this occasion, so I had the liberty of taking my woman Amy with me, and stood where we were very well accommodated for the observation which I was to make. I told Amy what I had seen, and she was as forward to make the discovery as I was to have her, and almost as much surprised at the thing itself. In a word, the gens d'armes entered the city, as was expected, and made a most glorious show indeed, being new clothed and armed, and being to have their standards blessed by the Archbishop of Paris. On this occasion they indeed looked very gay; and as they marched very leisurely, I had time to take as critical a view and make as nice a search among them as I pleased. Here, in a particular rank, eminent for one monstrous-sized man on the right; here, I say, I saw my gentleman again, and a very handsome, jolly fellow he was, as any in the troop, though not so monstrous large as that great one I speak of, who, it seems, was, however, a gentleman of a good family in Gascony, and was called the giant of Gascony.

It was a kind of a good fortune to us, among the other circumstances of it, that something caused the troops to halt in their march a little before that particular rank came right against that window which I stood in, so that then we had occasion to take our full view of him at a small distance, and so as not to doubt of his being the same person.

Amy, who thought she might, on many accounts, venture with more safety to be particular than I could, asked her gentleman how a particular man, who she saw there among the gens d'armes, might be inquired after and found out; she having seen an Englishman riding there which was supposed to be dead in England for several years before she came out of London and that his wife had married again. It was a question the gentleman did not well understand how to answer; but another person that stood by told her, if she would tell him the gentleman's name, he would endeavour to find him out for her, and asked jestingly if he was her lover. Amy put that off with a laugh, but still continued her inquiry, and in such a manner as the gentleman easily perceived she was in earnest; so he left bantering, and asked her in what part of the troop he rode. She foolishly told him his name, which she should not have done; and pointing to the cornet that troop carried, which was not then quite out of sight, she let him easily know whereabouts he rode, only she could not name the captain. However, he gave her such directions afterwards that, in short, Amy, who was an indefatigable girl, found him out. It seems he had not changed his name, not supposing any inquiry would be made after him here; but, I say, Amy found him out, and went boldly to his quarters, asked for him, and he came out to her immediately.

I believe I was not more confounded at my first seeing him at Meudon than he was at seeing Amy. He started and turned pale as death. Amy believed if he had seen her at first, in any convenient place for so villainous a purpose, he would have murdered her.

But he started, as I say above, and asked in English, with an admiration, "What are you?" "Sir," says she, "don't you know me?" "Yes," says he, "I knew you when you were alive; but what are you now?—whether ghost or substance I know not." "Be not afraid, sir, of that," says Amy; "I am the same Amy that I was in your service, and do not speak to you now for any hurt, but that I saw you accidentally yesterday ride among the soldiers; I thought you might be glad to hear from your friends at London." "Well, Amy," says he then (having a little recovered himself), "how does everybody do? What! is your mistress here?" Thus they begun:—

Amy. My mistress, sir, alas! not the mistress you mean; poor gentlewoman, you left her in a sad condition.

Gent. Why, that's true, Amy; but it could not be helped; I was in a sad condition myself.

Amy. I believe so, indeed, sir, or else you had not gone away as you did; for it was a very terrible condition you left them all in, that I must say.

Gent. What did they do after I was gone?

Amy. Do, sir! Very miserably, you may be sure. How could it be otherwise?

Gent. Well, that's true indeed; but you may tell me, Amy, what became of them, if you please; for though I went so away, it was not because I did not love them all very well, but because I could not bear to see the poverty that was coming upon them, and which it was not in my power to help. What could I do?

Amy. Nay, I believe so indeed; and I have heard my mistress say many times she did not doubt but your affliction was as great as hers, almost, wherever you were.

Gent. Why, did she believe I was alive, then?

Amy. Yes, sir; she always said she believed you were alive, because she thought she should have heard something of you if you had been dead.

Gent. Ay, ay; my perplexity was very great indeed, or else I had never gone away.

Amy. It was very cruel, though, to the poor lady, sir, my mistress; she almost broke her heart for you at first, for fear of what might befall you, and at last because she could not hear from you.

Gent. Alas, Amy! what could I do? Things were driven to the last extremity before I went. I could have done nothing but help starve them all if I had stayed; and, besides, I could not bear to see it.

Amy. You know, sir, I can say little to what passed before, but I am a melancholy witness to the sad distresses of my poor mistress as long as I stayed with her, and which would grieve your heart to hear them.

[Here she tells my whole story to the time that the parish took off one of my children, and which she perceived very much affected him; and he shook his head, and said some things very bitter when he heard of the cruelty of his own relations to me.]

Gent. Well, Amy, I have heard enough so far. What did she do afterwards?

Amy. I can't give you any farther account, sir; my mistress would not let me stay with her any longer. She said she could neither pay me or subsist me. I told her I would serve her without any wages, but I could not live without victuals, you know; so I was forced to leave her, poor lady, sore against my will; and I heard afterwards that the landlord seized her goods, so she was, I suppose, turned out of doors; for as I went by the door, about a month after, I saw the house shut up; and, about a fortnight after that, I found there were workmen at work, fitting it up, as I suppose, for a new tenant. But none of the neighbours could tell me what was become of my poor mistress, only that they said she was so poor that it was next to begging; that some of the neighbouring gentlefolks had relieved her, or that else she must have starved.

Then she went on, and told him that after that they never heard any more of (me) her mistress, but that she had been seen once or twice in the city very shabby and poor in clothes, and it was thought she worked with her needle for her bread.

All this the jade said with so much cunning, and managed and humoured it so well, and wiped her eyes and cried so artificially, that he took it all as it was intended he should, and once or twice she saw tears in his eyes too. He told her it was a moving, melancholy story, and it had almost broke his heart at first, but that he was driven to the last extremity, and could do nothing but stay and see them all starve, which he could not bear the thoughts of, but should have pistolled himself if any such thing had happened while he was there; that he left (me) his wife all the money he had in the world but L25, which was as little as he could take with him to seek his fortune in the world. He could not doubt but that his relations, seeing they were all rich, would have taken the poor children off, and not let them come to the parish; and that his wife was young and handsome, and, he thought, might marry again, perhaps, to her advantage, and for that very reason he never wrote to her or let her know he was alive, that she might in a reasonable term of years marry, and perhaps mend her fortunes; that he resolved never to claim her, because he should rejoice to hear that she had settled to her mind; and that he wished there had been a law made to empower a woman to marry if her husband was not heard of in so long a time, which time, he thought, should not be above four years, which was long enough to send word in to a wife or family from any part of the world.

Amy said she could say nothing to that but this, that she was satisfied her mistress would marry nobody unless she had certain intelligence that he had been dead from somebody that saw him buried. "But, alas!" says Amy, "my mistress was reduced to such dismal circumstances that nobody would be so foolish to think of her, unless it had been somebody to go a-begging with her."

Amy then, seeing him so perfectly deluded, made a long and lamentable outcry how she had been deluded away to marry a poor footman. "For he is no worse or better," says she, "though he calls himself a lord's gentleman. And here," says Amy, "he has dragged me over into a strange country to make a beggar of me;" and then she falls a-howling again, and snivelling, which, by the way, was all hypocrisy, but acted so to the life as perfectly deceived him, and he gave entire credit to every word of it.

"Why, Amy," says he, "you are very well dressed; you don't look as if you were in danger of being a beggar." "Ay, hang 'em!" says Amy, "they love to have fine clothes here, if they have never a smock under them. But I love to have money in cash, rather than a chestful of fine clothes. Besides, sir," says she, "most of the clothes I have were given me in the last place I had, when I went away from my mistress."

Upon the whole of the discourse, Amy got out of him what condition he was in and how he lived, upon her promise to him that if ever she came to England, and should see her old mistress, she should not let her know that he was alive. "Alas, sir!" says Amy, "I may never come to see England again as long as I live; and if I should, it would be ten thousand to one whether I shall see my old mistress, for how should I know which way to look for her, or what part of England she may be in?—not I," says she. "I don't so much as know how to inquire for her; and if I should," says Amy, "ever be so happy as to see her, I would not do her so much mischief as to tell her where you were, sir, unless she was in a condition to help herself and you too." This farther deluded him, and made him entirely open in his conversing with her. As to his own circumstances, he told her she saw him in the highest preferment he had arrived to, or was ever like to arrive to; for, having no friends or acquaintance in France, and, which was worse, no money, he never expected to rise; that he could have been made a lieutenant to a troop of light horse but the week before, by the favour of an officer in the gens d'armes who was his friend, but that he must have found eight thousand livres to have paid for it to the gentleman who possessed it, and had leave given him to sell. "But where could I get eight thousand livres," says he, "that have never been master of five hundred livres ready money at a time since I came into France?"

"Oh dear, sir!" says Amy, "I am very sorry to hear you say so. I fancy if you once got up to some preferment, you would think of my old mistress again, and do something for her. Poor lady," says Amy, "she wants it, to be sure;" and then she falls a-crying again. "It is a sad thing indeed," says she, "that you should be so hard put to it for money, when you had got a friend to recommend you, and should lose it for want of money." "Ay, so it was, Amy, indeed," says he; "but what can a stranger do that has neither money or friends?" Here Amy puts in again on my account. "Well," says she, "my poor mistress has had the loss, though she knows nothing of it. Oh dear! how happy it would have been! To be sure, sir, you would have helped her all you could." "Ay," says he, "Amy, so I would with all my heart; and even as I am, I would send her some relief, if I thought she wanted it, only that then letting her know I was alive might do her some prejudice, in case of her settling, or marrying anybody."

"Alas," says Amy, "marry! Who will marry her in the poor condition she is in?" And so their discourse ended for that time.

All this was mere talk on both sides, and words of course; for on farther inquiry, Amy found that he had no such offer of a lieutenant's commission, or anything like it; and that he rambled in his discourse from one thing to another; but of that in its place.

You may be sure that this discourse, as Amy at first related it, was moving to the last degree upon me, and I was once going to have sent him the eight thousand livres to purchase the commission he had spoken of; but as I knew his character better than anybody, I was willing to search a little farther into it, and so I set Amy to inquire of some other of the troop, to see what character he had, and whether there was anything in the story of a lieutenant's commission or no.

But Amy soon came to a better understanding of him, for she presently learnt that he had a most scoundrel character; that there was nothing of weight in anything he said; but that he was, in short, a mere sharper, one that would stick at nothing to get money, and that there was no depending on anything he said; and that more especially about the lieutenant's commission, she understood that there was nothing at all in it, but they told her how he had often made use of that sham to borrow money, and move gentlemen to pity him and lend him money, in hopes to get him preferment; that he had reported that he had a wife and five children in England, who he maintained out of his pay, and by these shifts had run into debt in several places; and upon several complaints for such things, he had been threatened to be turned out of the gens d'armes; and that, in short, he was not to be believed in anything he said, or trusted on any account.

Upon this information, Amy began to cool in her farther meddling with him, and told me it was not safe for me to attempt doing him any good, unless I resolved to put him upon suspicions and inquiries which might be to my ruin, in the condition I was now in.

I was soon confirmed in this part of his character, for the next time that Amy came to talk with him, he discovered himself more effectually; for, while she had put him in hopes of procuring one to advance the money for the lieutenant's commission for him upon easy conditions, he by degrees dropped the discourse, then pretended it was too late, and that he could not get it, and then descended to ask poor Amy to lend him five hundred pistoles.

Amy pretended poverty, that her circumstances were but mean, and that she could not raise such a sum; and this she did to try him to the utmost. He descended to three hundred, then to one hundred, then to fifty, and then to a pistole, which she lent him, and he, never intending to pay it, played out of her sight as much as he could. And thus being satisfied that he was the same worthless thing he had ever been, I threw off all thoughts of him; whereas, had he been a man of any sense and of any principle of honour, I had it in my thoughts to retire to England again, send for him over, and have lived honestly with him. But as a fool is the worst of husbands to do a woman good, so a fool is the worst husband a woman can do good to. I would willingly have done him good, but he was not qualified to receive it or make the best use of it. Had I sent him ten thousand crowns instead of eight thousand livres, and sent it with express condition that he should immediately have bought himself the commission he talked of with part of the money, and have sent some of it to relieve the necessities of his poor miserable wife at London, and to prevent his children to be kept by the parish, it was evident he would have been still but a private trooper, and his wife and children should still have starved at London, or been kept of mere charity, as, for aught he knew, they then were.

Seeing, therefore, no remedy, I was obliged to withdraw my hand from him, that had been my first destroyer, and reserve the assistance that I intended to have given him for another more desirable opportunity. All that I had now to do was to keep myself out of his sight, which was not very difficult for me to do, considering in what station he lived.

Amy and I had several consultations then upon the main question, namely, how to be sure never to chop upon him again by chance, and to be surprised into a discovery, which would have been a fatal discovery indeed. Amy proposed that we should always take care to know where the gens d'armes were quartered, and thereby effectually avoid them; and this was one way.

But this was not so as to be fully to my satisfaction; no ordinary way of inquiring where the gens d'armes were quartered was sufficient to me; but I found out a fellow who was completely qualified for the work of a spy (for France has plenty of such people). This man I employed to be a constant and particular attendant upon his person and motions; and he was especially employed and ordered to haunt him as a ghost, that he should scarce let him be ever out of his sight. He performed this to a nicety, and failed not to give me a perfect journal of all his motions from day to day, and, whether for his pleasure or his business, was always at his heels.

This was somewhat expensive, and such a fellow merited to be well paid, but he did his business so exquisitely punctual that this poor man scarce went out of the house without my knowing the way he went, the company he kept, when he went abroad, and when he stayed at home.

By this extraordinary conduct I made myself safe, and so went out in public or stayed at home as I found he was or was not in a possibility of being at Paris, at Versailles, or any place I had occasion to be at. This, though it was very chargeable, yet as I found it absolutely necessary, so I took no thought about the expense of it, for I knew I could not purchase my safety too dear.

By this management I found an opportunity to see what a most insignificant, unthinking life the poor, indolent wretch, who, by his unactive temper, had at first been my ruin, now lived; how he only rose in the morning to go to bed at night; that, saving the necessary motion of the troops, which he was obliged to attend, he was a mere motionless animal, of no consequence in the world; that he seemed to be one who, though he was indeed alive, had no manner of business in life but to stay to be called out of it. He neither kept any company, minded any sport, played at any game, or indeed did anything of moment; but, in short, sauntered about like one that it was not two livres value whether he was dead or alive; that when he was gone, would leave no remembrance behind him that ever he was here; that if ever he did anything in the world to be talked of, it was only to get five beggars and starve his wife. The journal of his life, which I had constantly sent me every week, was the least significant of anything of its kind that was ever seen, as it had really nothing of earnest in it, so it would make no jest to relate it. It was not important enough so much as to make the reader merry withal, and for that reason I omit it.

Yet this nothing-doing wretch was I obliged to watch and guard against, as against the only thing that was capable of doing me hurt in the world. I was to shun him as we would shun a spectre, or even the devil, if he was actually in our way; and it cost me after the rate of a hundred and fifty livres a month, and very cheap too, to have this creature constantly kept in view. That is to say, my spy undertook never to let him be out of his sight an hour, but so as that he could give an account of him, which was much the easier for to be done considering his way of living; for he was sure that, for whole weeks together, he would be ten hours of the day half asleep on a bench at the tavern-door where he quartered, or drunk within the house. Though this wicked life he led sometimes moved me to pity him, and to wonder how so well-bred, gentlemanly a man as he once was could degenerate into such a useless thing as he now appeared, yet at the same time it gave me most contemptible thoughts of him, and made me often say I was a warning for all the ladies of Europe against marrying of fools. A man of sense falls in the world and gets up again, and a woman has some chance for herself; but with a fool, once fall, and ever undone; once in the ditch, and die in the ditch; once poor, and sure to starve.

But it is time to have done with him. Once I had nothing to hope for but to see him again; now my only felicity was, if possible, never to see him, and, above all, to keep him from seeing me, which, as above, I took effectual care of.

I was now returned to Paris. My little son of honour, as I called him, was left at ——, where my last country-seat then was, and I came to Paris at the prince's request. Thither he came to me as soon as I arrived, and told me he came to give me joy of my return, and to make his acknowledgments for that I had given him a son. I thought, indeed, he had been going to give me a present, and so he did the next day, but in what he said then he only jested with me. He gave me his company all the evening, supped with me about midnight, and did me the honour, as I then called it, to lodge me in his arms all the night, telling me, in jest, that the best thanks for a son born was giving the pledge for another.

But as I hinted, so it was; the next morning he laid me down on my toilet a purse with three hundred pistoles. I saw him lay it down, and understood what he meant, but I took no notice of it till I came to it, as it were, casually; then I gave a great cry out, and fell a-scolding in my way, for he gave me all possible freedom of speech on such occasions. I told him he was unkind, that he would never give me an opportunity to ask for anything, and that he forced me to blush by being too much obliged, and the like; all which I knew was very agreeable to him, for as he was bountiful beyond measure, so he was infinitely obliged by my being so backward to ask any favours; and I was even with him, for I never asked him for a farthing in my life.

Upon this rallying him, he told me I had either perfectly studied the art of humour, or else what was the greatest difficulty to others was natural to me, adding that nothing could be more obliging to a man of honour than not to be soliciting and craving.

I told him nothing could be craving upon him, that he left no room for it; that I hoped he did not give merely to avoid the trouble of being importuned. I told him he might depend upon it that I should be reduced very low indeed before I offered to disturb him that way.

He said a man of honour ought always to know what he ought to do; and as he did nothing but what he knew was reasonable, he gave me leave to be free with him if I wanted anything; that he had too much value for me to deny me anything if I asked, but that it was infinitely agreeable to him to hear me say that what he did was to my satisfaction.

We strained compliments thus a great while, and as he had me in his arms most part of the time, so upon all my expressions of his bounty to me he put a stop to me with his kisses, and would admit me to go on no farther.

I should in this place mention that this prince was not a subject of France, though at that time he resided at Paris and was much at court, where, I suppose, he had or expected some considerable employment. But I mention it on this account, that a few days after this he came to me and told me he was come to bring me not the most welcome news that ever I heard from him in his life. I looked at him a little surprised; but he returned, "Do not be uneasy; it is as unpleasant to me as to you, but I come to consult with you about it and see if it cannot be made a little easy to us both."

I seemed still more concerned and surprised. At last he said it was that he believed he should be obliged to go into Italy, which, though otherwise it was very agreeable to him, yet his parting with me made it a very dull thing but to think of.

I sat mute, as one thunderstruck, for a good while; and it presently occurred to me that I was going to lose him, which, indeed, I could but ill bear the thoughts of; and as he told me I turned pale. "What's the matter?" said he hastily. "I have surprised you indeed," and stepping to the sideboard fills a dram of cordial water, which was of his own bringing, and comes to me. "Be not surprised," said he; "I'll go nowhere without you;" adding several other things so kind as nothing could exceed it.

I might indeed turn pale, for I was very much surprised at first, believing that this was, as it often happens in such cases, only a project to drop me, and break off an amour which he had now carried on so long; and a thousand thoughts whirled about my head in the few moments while I was kept in suspense, for they were but a few. I say, I was indeed surprised, and might, perhaps, look pale, but I was not in any danger of fainting that I knew of.

However, it not a little pleased me to see him so concerned and anxious about me, but I stopped a little when he put the cordial to my mouth, and taking the glass in my hand, I said, "My lord, your words are infinitely more of a cordial to me than this citron; for as nothing can be a greater affliction than to lose you, so nothing can be a greater satisfaction than the assurance that I shall not have that misfortune."

He made me sit down, and sat down by me, and after saying a thousand kind things to me, he turns upon me with a smile: "Why, will you venture yourself to Italy with me?" says he. I stopped a while, and then answered that I wondered he would ask me that question, for I would go anywhere in the world, or all over the world, wherever he should desire me, and give me the felicity of his company.

Then he entered into a long account of the occasion of his journey, and how the king had engaged him to go, and some other circumstances which are not proper to enter into here; it being by no means proper to say anything that might lead the reader into the least guess at the person.

But to cut short this part of the story, and the history of our journey and stay abroad, which would almost fill up a volume of itself, I say we spent all that evening in cheerful consultations about the manner of our travelling, the equipage and figure he should go in, and in what manner I should go. Several ways were proposed, but none seemed feasible, till at last I told him I thought it would be so troublesome, so expensive, and so public that it would be many ways inconvenient to him; and though it was a kind of death to me to lose him, yet that, rather than so very much perplex his affairs, I would submit to anything.

At the next visit I filled his head with the same difficulties, and then at last came over him with a proposal that I would stay in Paris, or where else he should direct; and when I heard of his safe arrival, would come away by myself, and place myself as near him as I could.

This gave him no satisfaction at all, nor would he hear any more of it; but if I durst venture myself, as he called it, such a journey, he would not lose the satisfaction of my company; and as for the expense, that was not to be named; neither, indeed, was there room to name it, for I found that he travelled at the king's expense, as well for himself as for all his equipage, being upon a piece of secret service of the last importance.

But after several debates between ourselves, he came to this resolution, viz., that he would travel incognito, and so he should avoid all public notice either of himself or of who went with him; and that then he should not only carry me with him, but have a perfect leisure of enjoying my agreeable company (as he was pleased to call it) all the way.

This was so obliging that nothing could be more so. Upon this foot he immediately set to work to prepare things for his journey, and, by his directions, so did I too. But now I had a terrible difficulty upon me, and which way to get over it I knew not; and that was, in what manner to take care of what I had to leave behind me. I was rich, as I have said, very rich, and what to do with it I knew not; nor who to leave in trust I knew not. I had nobody but Amy in the world, and to travel without Amy was very uncomfortable, or to leave all I had in the world with her, and, if she miscarried, be ruined at once, was still a frightful thought; for Amy might die, and whose hands things might fall into I knew not. This gave me great uneasiness, and I knew not what to do; for I could not mention it to the prince, lest he should see that I was richer than he thought I was.

But the prince made all this easy to me; for in concerting measures for our journey he started the thing himself, and asked me merrily one evening who I would trust with all my wealth in my absence.

"My wealth, my lord," said I, "except what I owe to your goodness is but small, but yet that little I have, I confess, causes some thoughtfulness, because I have no acquaintance in Paris that I dare trust with it, nor anybody but my woman to leave in the house; and how to do without her upon the road I do not well know."

"As to the road, be not concerned," says the prince; "I'll provide you servants to your mind; and as for your woman, if you can trust her, leave her here, and I'll put you in a way how to secure things as well as if you were at home." I bowed, and told him I could not be put into better hands than his own, and that, therefore, I would govern all my measures by his directions; so we talked no more of it that night.

The next day he sent me in a great iron chest, so large that it was as much as six lusty fellows could get up the steps into the house; and in this I put, indeed, all my wealth; and for my safety he ordered a good, honest, ancient man and his wife to be in the house with her, to keep her company, and a maid-servant and boy; so that there was a good family, and Amy was madam, the mistress of the house.

Things being thus secured, we set out incog., as he called it; but we had two coaches and six horses, two chaises, and about eight men-servants on horseback, all very well armed.

Never was woman better used in this world that went upon no other account than I did. I had three women-servants to wait on me, one whereof was an old Madame ——, who thoroughly understood her business, and managed everything as if she had been major-domo; so I had no trouble. They had one coach to themselves, and the prince and I in the other; only that sometimes, where he knew it necessary, I went into their coach, and one particular gentleman of the retinue rode with him.

I shall say no more of the journey than that when we came to those frightful mountains, the Alps, there was no travelling in our coaches, so he ordered a horse-litter, but carried by mules, to be provided for me, and himself went on horseback. The coaches went some other way back to Lyons. Then we had coaches hired at Turin, which met us at Suza; so that we were accommodated again, and went by easy journeys afterwards to Rome, where his business, whatever it was, called him to stay some time, and from thence to Venice.

He was as good as his word, indeed; for I had the pleasure of his company, and, in a word, engrossed his conversation almost all the way. He took delight in showing me everything that was to be seen, and particularly in telling me something of the history of everything he showed me.

What valuable pains were here thrown away upon one who he was sure, at last, to abandon with regret! How below himself did a man of quality and of a thousand accomplishments behave in all this! It is one of my reasons for entering into this part, which otherwise would not be worth relating. Had I been a daughter or a wife, of whom it might be said that he had a just concern in their instruction or improvement, it had been an admirable step; but all this to a whore; to one who he carried with him upon no account that could be rationally agreeable, and none but to gratify the meanest of human frailties—this was the wonder of it. But such is the power of a vicious inclination. Whoring was, in a word, his darling crime, the worst excursion he made, for he was otherwise one of the most excellent persons in the world. No passions, no furious excursions, no ostentatious pride; the most humble, courteous, affable person in the world. Not an oath, not an indecent word, or the least blemish in behaviour was to be seen in all his conversation, except as before excepted; and it has given me occasion for many dark reflections since, to look back and think that I should be the snare of such a person's life; that I should influence him to so much wickedness, and that I should be the instrument in the hand of the devil to do him so much prejudice.

We were near two years upon this grand tour, as it may be called, during most of which I resided at Rome or at Venice, having only been twice at Florence and once at Naples. I made some very diverting and useful observations in all these places, and particularly of the conduct of the ladies; for I had opportunity to converse very much among them, by the help of the old witch that travelled with us. She had been at Naples and at Venice, and had lived in the former several years, where, as I found, she had lived but a loose life, as indeed the women of Naples generally do; and, in short, I found she was fully acquainted with all the intriguing arts of that part of the world.

Here my lord bought me a little female Turkish slave, who, being taken at sea by a Maltese man-of-war, was brought in there, and of her I learnt the Turkish language, their way of dressing and dancing, and some Turkish, or rather Moorish, songs, of which I made use to my advantage on an extraordinary occasion some years after, as you shall hear in its place. I need not say I learnt Italian too, for I got pretty well mistress of that before I had been there a year; and as I had leisure enough and loved the language, I read all the Italian books I could come at.

I began to be so in love with Italy, especially with Naples and Venice, that I could have been very well satisfied to have sent for Amy and have taken up my residence there for life.

As to Rome, I did not like it at all. The swarms of ecclesiastics of all kinds on one side, and the scoundrel rabbles of the common people on the other, make Rome the unpleasantest place in the world to live in. The innumerable number of valets, lackeys, and other servants is such that they used to say that there are very few of the common people in Rome but what have been footmen, or porters, or grooms to cardinals or foreign ambassadors. In a word, they have an air of sharping and cozening, quarrelling and scolding, upon their general behaviour; and when I was there the footmen made such a broil between two great families in Rome, about which of their coaches (the ladies being in the coaches on either side) should give way to the other, that there was about thirty people wounded on both sides, five or six killed outside, and both the ladies frighted almost to death.

But I have no mind to write the history of my travels on this side of the world, at least not now; it would be too full of variety.

I must not, however, omit that the prince continued in all this journey the most kind, obliging person to me in the world, and so constant that, though we were in a country where it is well known all manner of liberties are taken, I am yet well assured he neither took the liberty he knew he might have, or so much as desired it.

I have often thought of this noble person on that account. Had he been but half so true, so faithful and constant, to the best lady in the world—I mean his princess—how glorious a virtue had it been in him! And how free had he been from those just reflections which touched him in her behalf when it was too late!

We had some very agreeable conversations upon this subject, and once he told me, with a kind of more than ordinary concern upon his thoughts, that he was greatly beholden to me for taking this hazardous and difficult journey, for that I had kept him honest. I looked up in his face, and coloured as red as fire. "Well, well," says he, "do not let that surprise you, I do say you have kept me honest." "My lord," said I, "'tis not for me to explain your words, but I wish I could turn them my own way. I hope," says I, "and believe we are both as honest as we can be in our circumstances." "Ay, ay," says he; "and honester than I doubt I should have been if you had not been with me. I cannot say but if you had not been here I should have wandered among the gay world here, in Naples, and in Venice too, for 'tis not such a crime here as 'tis in other places. But I protest," says he, "I have not touched a woman in Italy but yourself; and more than that, I have not so much as had any desire to it. So that, I say, you have kept me honest."

I was silent, and was glad that he interrupted me, or kept me from speaking, with kissing me, for really I knew not what to say. I was once going to say that if his lady, the princess, had been with him, she would doubtless have had the same influence upon his virtue, with infinitely more advantage to him; but I considered this might give him offence; and, besides, such things might have been dangerous to the circumstance I stood in, so it passed off. But I must confess I saw that he was quite another man as to women than I understood he had always been before, and it was a particular satisfaction to me that I was thereby convinced that what he said was true, and that he was, as I may say, all my own.

I was with child again in this journey, and lay in at Venice, but was not so happy as before. I brought him another son, and a very fine boy it was, but it lived not above two months; nor, after the first touches of affection (which are usual, I believe, to all mothers) were over, was I sorry the child did not live, the necessary difficulties attending it in our travelling being considered.

After these several perambulations, my lord told me his business began to close, and we would think of returning to France, which I was very glad of, but principally on account of my treasure I had there, which, as you have heard, was very considerable. It is true I had letters very frequently from my maid Amy, with accounts that everything was very safe, and that was very much to my satisfaction. However, as the prince's negotiations were at an end, and he was obliged to return, I was very glad to go; so we returned from Venice to Turin, and in the way I saw the famous city of Milan. From Turin we went over the mountains again, as before, and our coaches met us at Pont a Voisin, between Chambery and Lyons; and so, by easy journeys, we arrived safely at Paris, having been absent two years, wanting about eleven days, as above.

I found the little family we left just as we left them, and Amy cried for joy when she saw me, and I almost did the same.

The prince took his leave of me the night before, for, as he told me, he knew he should be met upon the road by several persons of quality, and perhaps by the princess herself; so we lay at two different inns that night, lest some should come quite to the place, as indeed it happened.

After this I saw him not for above twenty days, being taken up in his family, and also with business; but he sent me his gentleman to tell me the reason of it, and bid me not be uneasy, and that satisfied me effectually.

In all this affluence of my good fortune I did not forget that I had been rich and poor once already alternately, and that I ought to know that the circumstances I was now in were not to be expected to last always; that I had one child, and expected another; and if I had bred often, it would something impair me in the great article that supported my interest—I mean, what he called beauty; that as that declined, I might expect the fire would abate, and the warmth with which I was now so caressed would cool, and in time, like the other mistresses of great men, I might be dropped again; and that therefore it was my business to take care that I should fall as softly as I could.

I say, I did not forget, therefore, to make as good provision for myself as if I had had nothing to have subsisted on but what I now gained; whereas I had not less than ten thousand pounds, as I said above, which I had amassed, or secured rather, out of the ruins of my faithful friend the jeweller, and which he, little thinking of what was so near him when he went out, told me, though in a kind of a jest, was all my own, if he was knocked on the head, and which, upon that title, I took care to preserve.

My greatest difficulty now was how to secure my wealth and to keep what I had got; for I had greatly added to this wealth by the generous bounty of the Prince ——, and the more by the private, retired mode of living, which he rather desired for privacy than parsimony; for he supplied me for a more magnificent way of life than I desired, if it had been proper.

I shall cut short the history of this prosperous wickedness with telling you I brought him a third son, within little more than eleven months after our return from Italy; that now I lived a little more openly, and went by a particular name which he gave me abroad, but which I must omit, viz., the Countess de ——; and had coaches and servants, suitable to the quality he had given me the appearance of; and, which is more than usually happens in such cases, this held eight years from the beginning, during which time, as I had been very faithful to him, so I must say, as above, that I believe he was so separated to me, that whereas he usually had two or three women, which he kept privately, he had not in all that time meddled with any of them, but that I had so perfectly engrossed him that he dropped them all. Not, perhaps, that he saved much by it, for I was a very chargeable mistress to him, that I must acknowledge, but it was all owing to his particular affection to me, not to my extravagance, for, as I said, he never gave me leave to ask him for anything, but poured in his favours and presents faster than I expected, and so fast as I could not have the assurance to make the least mention of desiring more. Nor do I speak this of my own guess, I mean about his constancy to me and his quitting all other women; but the old harridan, as I may call her, whom he made the guide of our travelling, and who was a strange old creature, told me a thousand stories of his gallantry, as she called it, and how, as he had no less than three mistresses at one time, and, as I found, all of her procuring, he had of a sudden dropped them all, and that he was entirely lost to both her and them; that they did believe he had fallen into some new hands, but she could never hear who, or where, till he sent for her to go this journey; and then the old hag complimented me upon his choice; that she did not wonder I had so engrossed him; so much beauty, &c.; and there she stopped.

Upon the whole, I found by her what was, you may be sure, to my particular satisfaction, viz., that, as above, I had him all my own. But the highest tide has its ebb; and in all things of this kind there is a reflux which sometimes, also, is more impetuously violent than the first aggression. My prince was a man of a vast fortune, though no sovereign, and therefore there was no probability that the expense of keeping a mistress could be injurious to him, as to his estate. He had also several employments, both out of France as well as in it; for, as above, I say he was not a subject of France, though he lived in that court. He had a princess, a wife with whom he had lived several years, and a woman (so the voice of fame reported) the most valuable of her sex, of birth equal to him, if not superior, and of fortune proportionable; but in beauty, wit, and a thousand good qualities superior, not to most women, but even to all her sex; and as to her virtue, the character which was justly her due was that of, not only the best of princesses, but even the best of women.

They lived in the utmost harmony, as with such a princess it was impossible to be otherwise. But yet the princess was not insensible that her lord had his foibles, that he did make some excursions, and particularly that he had one favourite mistress, which sometimes engrossed him more than she (the princess) could wish, or be easily satisfied with. However, she was so good, so generous, so truly kind a wife, that she never gave him any uneasiness on this account; except so much as must arise from his sense of her bearing the affront of it with such patience, and such a profound respect for him as was in itself enough to have reformed him, and did sometimes shock his generous mind, so as to keep him at home, as I may call it, a great while together. And it was not long before I not only perceived it by his absence, but really got a knowledge of the reason of it, and once or twice he even acknowledged it to me.

It was a point that lay not in me to manage. I made a kind of motion once or twice to him to leave me, and keep himself to her, as he ought by the laws and rites of matrimony to do, and argued the generosity of the princess to him, to persuade him; but I was a hypocrite, for had I prevailed with him really to be honest, I had lost him, which I could not bear the thoughts of; and he might easily see I was not in earnest. One time in particular, when I took upon me to talk at this rate, I found, when I argued so much for the virtue and honour, the birth, and, above all, the generous usage he found in the person of the princess with respect to his private amours, and how it should prevail upon him, &c., I found it began to affect him, and he returned, "And do you indeed," says he, "persuade me to leave you? Would you have me think you sincere?" I looked up in his face, smiling. "Not for any other favourite, my lord," says I; "that would break my heart; but for madam the princess!" said I; and then I could say no more. Tears followed, and I sat silent a while. "Well," said he, "if ever I do leave you, it shall be on the virtuous account; it shall be for the princess; I assure you it shall be for no other woman." "That's enough, my lord," said I; "there I ought to submit; and while I am assured it shall be for no other mistress, I promise your Highness I will not repine; or that, if I do, it shall be a silent grief; it shall not interrupt your felicity."

All this while I said I knew not what, and said what I was no more able to do than he was able to leave me; which, at that time, he owned he could not do—no, not for the princess herself.

But another turn of affairs determined this matter, for the princess was taken very ill, and, in the opinion of all her physicians, very dangerously so. In her sickness she desired to speak with her lord, and to take her leave of him. At this grievous parting she said so many passionate, kind things to him, lamented that she had left him no children (she had had three, but they were dead); hinted to him that it was one of the chief things which gave her satisfaction in death, as to this world, that she should leave him room to have heirs to his family, by some princess that should supply her place; with all humility, but with a Christian earnestness, recommended to him to do justice to such princess, whoever it should be, from whom, to be sure, he would expect justice; that is to say, to keep to her singly, according to the solemnest part of the marriage covenant; humbly asked his Highness's pardon if she had any way offended him; and appealing to Heaven, before whose tribunal she was to appear, that she had never violated her honour or her duty to him, and praying to Jesus and the blessed Virgin for his Highness; and thus, with the most moving and most passionate expressions of her affection to him, took her last leave of him, and died the next day.

This discourse, from a princess so valuable in herself and so dear to him, and the loss of her following so immediately after, made such deep impressions on him that he looked back with detestation upon the former part of his life, grew melancholy and reserved, changed his society and much of the general conduct of his life, resolved on a life regulated most strictly by the rules of virtue and piety, and, in a word, was quite another man.

The first part of his reformation was a storm upon me; for, about ten days after the princess's funeral, he sent a message to me by his gentleman, intimating, though in very civil terms, and with a short preamble or introduction, that he desired I would not take it ill that he was obliged to let me know that he could see me no more. His gentleman told me a long story of the new regulation of life his lord had taken up; and that he had been so afflicted for the loss of his princess that he thought it would either shorten his life or he would retire into some religious house, to end his days in solitude.

I need not direct anybody to suppose how I received this news. I was indeed exceedingly surprised at it, and had much ado to support myself when the first part of it was delivered, though the gentleman delivered his errand with great respect, and with all the regard to me that he was able, and with a great deal of ceremony, also telling me how much he was concerned to bring me such a message.

But when I heard the particulars of the story at large, and especially that of the lady's discourse to the prince a little before her death, I was fully satisfied. I knew very well he had done nothing but what any man must do that had a true sense upon him of the justice of the princess's discourse to him, and of the necessity there was of his altering his course of life, if he intended to be either a Christian or an honest man. I say, when I heard this I was perfectly easy. I confess it was a circumstance that it might be reasonably expected should have wrought something also upon me; I that had so much to reflect upon more than the prince; that had now no more temptation of poverty, or of the powerful motive which Amy used with me—namely, comply and live, deny and starve; I say, I that had no poverty to introduce vice, but was grown not only well supplied, but rich; and not only rich, but was very rich; in a word, richer than I knew how to think of, for the truth of it was, that thinking of it sometimes almost distracted me, for want of knowing how to dispose of it, and for fear of losing it all again by some cheat or trick, not knowing anybody that I could commit the trust of it to.

Besides, I should add, at the close of this affair, that the prince did not, as I may say, turn me off rudely and with disgust, but with all the decency and goodness peculiar to himself, and that could consist with a man reformed and struck with the sense of his having abused so good a lady as his late princess had been. Nor did he send me away empty, but did everything like himself; and, in particular, ordered his gentleman to pay the rent of the house and all the expense of his two sons, and to tell me how they were taken care of, and where, and also that I might at all times inspect the usage they had, and if I disliked anything it should be rectified; and having thus finished everything, he retired into Lorraine, or somewhere that way, where he had an estate, and I never heard of him more—I mean, not as a mistress.

Now I was at liberty to go to any part of the world, and take care of my money myself. The first thing that I resolved to do was to go directly to England, for there, I thought, being among my country-folks—for I esteemed myself an Englishwoman, though I was born in France—there, I say, I thought I could better manage things than in France; at least, that I would be in less danger of being circumvented and deceived; but how to get away with such a treasure as I had with me was a difficult point, and what I was greatly at a loss about.

There was a Dutch merchant in Paris, that was a person of great reputation for a man of substance and of honesty, but I had no manner of acquaintance with him, nor did I know how to get acquainted with him, so as to discover my circumstances to him; but at last I employed my maid Amy (such I must be allowed to call her, notwithstanding what has been said of her, because she was in the place of a maid-servant); I say, I employed my maid Amy to go to him, and she got a recommendation to him from somebody else, I knew not who, so that she got access to him well enough.

But now was my case as bad as before, for when I came to him what could I do? I had money and jewels to a vast value, and I might leave all those with him; that I might indeed do; and so I might with several other merchants in Paris, who would give me bills for it, payable at London; but then I ran a hazard of my money, and I had nobody at London to send the bills to, and so to stay till I had an account that they were accepted; for I had not one friend in London that I could have recourse to, so that indeed I knew not what to do.

In this case I had no remedy but that I must trust somebody, so I sent Amy to this Dutch merchant, as I said above. He was a little surprised when Amy came to him and talked to him of remitting a sum of about twelve thousand pistoles to England, and began to think she came to put some cheat upon him; but when he found that Amy was but a servant, and that I came to him myself, the case was altered presently.

When I came to him myself, I presently saw such a plainness in his dealing and such honesty in his countenance that I made no scruple to tell him my whole story, viz., that I was a widow, that I had some jewels to dispose of, and also some money which I had a mind to send to England, and to follow there myself; but being but a woman, and having no correspondence in London, or anywhere else, I knew not what to do, or how to secure my effects.

He dealt very candidly with me, but advised me, when he knew my case so particularly, to take bills upon Amsterdam, and to go that way to England; for that I might lodge my treasure in the bank there, in the most secure manner in the world, and that there he could recommend me to a man who perfectly understood jewels, and would deal faithfully with me in the disposing them.

I thanked him, but scrupled very much the travelling so far in a strange country, and especially with such a treasure about me; that, whether known or concealed, I did not know how to venture with it. Then he told me he would try to dispose of them there, that is, at Paris, and convert them into money, and so get me bills for the whole; and in a few days he brought a Jew to me, who pretended to buy the jewels. As soon as the Jew saw the jewels I saw my folly, and it was ten thousand to one but I had been ruined, and perhaps put to death in as cruel a manner as possible; and I was put in such a fright by it that I was once upon the point of flying for my life, and leaving the jewels and money too in the hands of the Dutchman, without any bills or anything else. The case was thus:—

As soon as the Jew saw the jewels he falls a-jabbering, in Dutch or Portuguese, to the merchant; and I could presently perceive that they were in some great surprise, both of them. The Jew held up his hands, looked at me with some horror, then talked Dutch again, and put himself into a thousand shapes, twisting his body and wringing up his face this way and that way in his discourse, stamping with his feet, and throwing abroad his hands, as if he was not in a rage only, but in a mere fury. Then he would turn and give a look at me like the devil. I thought I never saw anything so frightful in my life.

At length I put in a word. "Sir," says I to the Dutch merchant, "what is all this discourse to my business? What is this gentleman in all these passions about? I wish, if he is to treat with me, he would speak that I may understand him; or if you have business of your own between you that is to be done first, let me withdraw, and I'll come again when you are at leisure."

"No, no, madam," says the Dutchman very kindly, "you must not go; all our discourse is about you and your jewels, and you shall hear it presently; it concerns you very much, I assure you." "Concern me!" says I. "What can it concern me so much as to put this gentleman into such agonies, and what makes him give me such devil's looks as he does? Why, he looks as if he would devour me."

The Jew understood me presently, continuing in a kind of rage, and spoke in French: "Yes, madam, it does concern you much, very much, very much," repeating the words, shaking his head; and then turning to the Dutchman, "Sir," says he, "pray tell her what is the case." "No," says the merchant, "not yet; let us talk a little farther of it by ourselves;" upon which they withdrew into another room, where still they talked very high, but in a language I did not understand. I began to be a little surprised at what the Jew had said, you may be sure, and eager to know what he meant, and was very impatient till the Dutch merchant came back, and that so impatient that I called one of his servants to let him know I desired to speak with him. When he came in I asked his pardon for being so impatient, but told him I could not be easy till he had told me what the meaning of all this was. "Why, madam," says the Dutch merchant, "in short, the meaning is what I am surprised at too. This man is a Jew, and understands jewels perfectly well, and that was the reason I sent for him, to dispose of them to him for you; but as soon as he saw them, he knew the jewels very distinctly, and flying out in a passion, as you see he did, told me, in short, that they were the very parcel of jewels which the English jeweller had about him who was robbed going to Versailles, about eight years ago, to show them the Prince de ——, and that it was for these very jewels that the poor gentleman was murdered; and he is in all this agony to make me ask you how you came by them; and he says you ought to be charged with the robbery and murder, and put to the question to discover who were the persons that did it, that they might be brought to justice." While he said this the Jew came impudently back into the room without calling, which a little surprised me again.

The Dutch merchant spoke pretty good English, and he knew that the Jew did not understand English at all, so he told me the latter part, when he came into the room, in English, at which I smiled, which put the Jew into his mad fit again, and shaking his head and making his devil's faces again, he seemed to threaten me for laughing, saying, in French, this was an affair I should have little reason to laugh at, and the like. At this I laughed again, and flouted him, letting him see that I scorned him, and turning to the Dutch merchant, "Sir," says I, "that those jewels were belonging to Mr. ——, the English jeweller" (naming his name readily), "in that," says I, "this person is right; but that I should be questioned how I came to have them is a token of his ignorance, which, however, he might have managed with a little more good manners, till I told him who I am, and both he and you too will be more easy in that part when I should tell you that I am the unhappy widow of that Mr. —— who was so barbarously murdered going to Versailles, and that he was not robbed of those jewels, but of others, Mr. —— having left those behind him with me, lest he should be robbed. Had I, sir, come otherwise by them, I should not have been weak enough to have exposed them to sale here, where the thing was done, but have carried them farther off."

This was an agreeable surprise to the Dutch merchant, who, being an honest man himself, believed everything I said, which, indeed, being all really and literally true, except the deficiency of my marriage, I spoke with such an unconcerned easiness that it might plainly be seen that I had no guilt upon me, as the Jew suggested.

The Jew was confounded when he heard that I was the jeweller's wife. But as I had raised his passion with saying he looked at me with the devil's face, he studied mischief in his heart, and answered, that should not serve my turn; so called the Dutchman out again, when he told him that he resolved to prosecute this matter farther.

There was one kind chance in this affair, which, indeed, was my deliverance, and that was, that the fool could not restrain his passion, but must let it fly to the Dutch merchant, to whom, when they withdrew a second time, as above, he told that he would bring a process against me for the murder, and that it should cost me dear for using him at that rate; and away he went, desiring the Dutch merchant to tell him when I would be there again. Had he suspected that the Dutchman would have communicated the particulars to me, he would never have been so foolish as to have mentioned that part to him.

But the malice of his thoughts anticipated him, and the Dutch merchant was so good as to give me an account of his design, which, indeed, was wicked enough in its nature; but to me it would have been worse than otherwise it would to another, for, upon examination, I could not have proved myself to be the wife of the jeweller, so the suspicion might have been carried on with the better face; and then I should also have brought all his relations in England upon me, who, finding by the proceedings that I was not his wife, but a mistress, or, in English, a whore, would immediately have laid claim to the jewels, as I had owned them to be his.

This thought immediately rushed into my head as soon as the Dutch merchant had told me what wicked things were in the head of that cursed Jew; and the villain (for so I must call him) convinced the Dutch merchant that he was in earnest by an expression which showed the rest of his design, and that was, a plot to get the rest of the jewels into his hand.

When first he hinted to the Dutchman that the jewels were such a man's (meaning my husband's), he made wonderful exclamations on account of their having been concealed so long. Where must they have lain? And what was the woman that brought them? And that she (meaning me) ought to be immediately apprehended and put into the hands of justice. And this was the time that, as I said, he made such horrid gestures and looked at me so like a devil.

The merchant, hearing him talk at that rate, and seeing him in earnest, said to him, "Hold your tongue a little; this is a thing of consequence. If it be so, let you and I go into the next room and consider of it there;" and so they withdrew, and left me.

Here, as before, I was uneasy, and called him out, and, having heard how it was, gave him that answer, that I was his wife, or widow, which the malicious Jew said should not serve my turn. And then it was that the Dutchman called him out again; and in this time of his withdrawing, the merchant, finding, as above, that he was really in earnest, counterfeited a little to be of his mind, and entered into proposals with him for the thing itself.

In this they agreed to go to an advocate, or counsel, for directions how to proceed, and to meet again the next day, against which time the merchant was to appoint me to come again with the jewels, in order to sell them. "No," says the merchant, "I will go farther with her than so; I will desire her to leave the jewels with me, to show to another person, in order to get the better price for them." "That's right," says the Jew; "and I'll engage she shall never be mistress of them again; they shall either be seized by us," says he, "in the king's name, or she shall be glad to give them up to us to prevent her being put to the torture."

The merchant said "Yes" to everything he offered, and they agreed to meet the next morning about it, and I was to be persuaded to leave the jewels with him, and come to them the next day at four o'clock in order to make a good bargain for them; and on these conditions they parted. But the honest Dutchman, filled with indignation at the barbarous design, came directly to me and told me the whole story. "And now, madam," says he, "you are to consider immediately what you have to do."

I told him, if I was sure to have justice, I would not fear all that such a rogue could do to me; but how such things were carried on in France I knew not. I told him the greatest difficulty would be to prove our marriage, for that it was done in England, and in a remote part of England too; and, which was worse, it would be hard to produce authentic vouchers of it, because we were married in private. "But as to the death of your husband, madam, what can be said to that?" said he. "Nay," said I, "what can they say to it? In England," added I, "if they would offer such an injury to any one, they must prove the fact or give just reason for their suspicions. That my husband was murdered, that every one knows; but that he was robbed, or of what, or how much, that none knows—no, not myself; and why was I not questioned for it then? I have lived in Paris ever since, lived publicly, and no man had yet the impudence to suggest such a thing of me."

"I am fully satisfied of that," says the merchant; "but as this is a rogue who will stick at nothing, what can we say? And who knows what he may swear? Suppose he should swear that he knows your husband had those particular jewels with him the morning when he went out, and that he showed them to him to consider their value, and what price he should ask the Prince de —— for them?"

"Nay, by the same rule," said I, "he may swear that I murdered my husband, if he finds it for his turn." "That's true," said he; "and if he should, I do not see what could save you;" but added, "I have found out his more immediate design. His design is to have you carried to the Chatelet, that the suspicion may appear just, and then to get the jewels out of your hands if possible; then, at last, to drop the prosecution on your consenting to quit the jewels to him; and how you will do to avoid this is the question which I would have you consider of."

"My misfortune, sir," said I, "is that I have no time to consider, and I have no person to consider with or advise about it. I find that innocence may be oppressed by such an impudent fellow as this; he that does not value perjury has any man's life at his mercy. But, sir," said I, "is the justice such here that, while I may be in the hands of the public and under prosecution, he may get hold of my effects and get my jewels into his hands?"

"I don't know," says he, "what may be done in that case; but if not he, if the court of justice should get hold of them I do not know but you may find it as difficult to get them out of their hands again, and, at least, it may cost you half as much as they are worth; so I think it would be a much better way to prevent their coming at them at all."

"But what course can I take to do that," says I, "now they have got notice that I have them? If they get me into their hands they will oblige me to produce them, or perhaps sentence me to prison till I do."

"Nay," says he, "as this brute says, too, put you to the question—that is, to the torture, on pretence of making you confess who were the murderers of your husband."

"Confess!" said I. "How can I confess what I know nothing of?"

"If they come to have you to the rack," said he, "they will make you confess you did it yourself, whether you did it or no, and then you are cast."

The very word rack frighted me to death almost, and I had no spirit left in me. "Did it myself!" said I. "That's impossible!"

"No, madam," says he, "'tis far from impossible. The most innocent people in the world have been forced to confess themselves guilty of what they never heard of, much less had any hand in."

"What, then, must I do?" said I. "What would you advise me to?"

"Why," says he, "I would advise you to be gone. You intended to go away in four or five days, and you may as well go in two days; and if you can do so, I shall manage it so that he shall not suspect your being gone for several days after." Then he told me how the rogue would have me ordered to bring the jewels the next day for sale, and that then he would have me apprehended; how he had made the Jew believe he would join with him in his design, and that he (the merchant) would get the jewels into his hands. "Now," says the merchant, "I shall give you bills for the money you desired, immediately, and such as shall not fail of being paid. Take your jewels with you, and go this very evening to St. Germain-en-Laye; I'll send a man thither with you, and from thence he shall guide you to-morrow to Rouen, where there lies a ship of mine, just ready to sail for Rotterdam; you shall have your passage in that ship on my account, and I will send orders for him to sail as soon as you are on board, and a letter to my friend at Rotterdam to entertain and take care of you."

This was too kind an offer for me, as things stood, not to be accepted, and be thankful for; and as to going away, I had prepared everything for parting, so that I had little to do but to go back, take two or three boxes and bundles, and such things, and my maid Amy, and be gone.

Then the merchant told me the measures he had resolved to take to delude the Jew while I made my escape, which was very well contrived indeed. "First," said he, "when he comes to-morrow I shall tell him that I proposed to you to leave the jewels with me, as we agreed, but that you said you would come and bring them in the afternoon, so that we must stay for you till four o'clock; but then, at that time, I will show a letter from you, as if just come in, wherein you shall excuse your not coming, for that some company came to visit you, and prevented you; but that you desire me to take care that the gentleman be ready to buy your jewels, and that you will come to-morrow at the same hour, without fail.

"When to-morrow is come, we shall wait at the time, but you not appearing, I shall seem most dissatisfied, and wonder what can be the reason; and so we shall agree to go the next day to get out a process against you. But the next day, in the morning, I'll send to give him notice that you have been at my house, but he not being there, have made another appointment, and that I desire to speak with him. When he comes, I'll tell him you appear perfectly blind as to your danger, and that you appeared much disappointed that he did not come, though you could not meet the night before; and obliged me to have him here to-morrow at three o'clock. When to-morrow comes," says he, "you shall send word that you are taken so ill that you cannot come out for that day, but that you will not fail the next day; and the next day you shall neither come or send, nor let us ever hear any more of you; for by that time you shall be in Holland, if you please."

I could not but approve all his measures, seeing they were so well contrived, and in so friendly a manner, for my benefit; and as he seemed to be so very sincere, I resolved to put my life in his hands. Immediately I went to my lodgings, and sent away Amy with such bundles as I had prepared for my travelling. I also sent several parcels of my fine furniture to the merchant's house to be laid up for me, and bringing the key of the lodgings with me, I came back to his house. Here we finished our matters of money, and I delivered into his hands seven thousand eight hundred pistoles in bills and money, a copy of an assignment on the townhouse of Paris for four thousand pistoles, at three per cent. interest, attested, and a procuration for receiving the interest half-yearly; but the original I kept myself.

I could have trusted all I had with him, for he was perfectly honest, and had not the least view of doing me any wrong. Indeed, after it was so apparent that he had, as it were, saved my life, or at least saved me from being exposed and ruined—I say, after this, how could I doubt him in anything?

When I came to him, he had everything ready as I wanted, and as he had proposed. As to my money, he gave me first of all an accepted bill, payable at Rotterdam, for four thousand pistoles, and drawn from Genoa upon a merchant at Rotterdam, payable to a merchant at Paris, and endorsed by him to my merchant; this, he assured me, would be punctually paid; and so it was, to a day. The rest I had in other bills of exchange, drawn by himself upon other merchants in Holland. Having secured my jewels too, as well as I could, he sent me away the same evening in a friend's coach, which he had procured for me, to St. Germain, and the next morning to Rouen. He also sent a servant of his own on horseback with me, who provided everything for me, and who carried his orders to the captain of the ship, which lay about three miles below Rouen, in the river, and by his directions I went immediately on board. The third day after I was on board the ship went away, and we were out at sea the next day after that; and thus I took my leave of France, and got clear of an ugly business, which, had it gone on, might have ruined me, and sent me back as naked to England as I was a little before I left it.

And now Amy and I were at leisure to look upon the mischiefs that we had escaped; and had I had any religion or any sense of a Supreme Power, managing, directing, and governing in both causes and events in this world, such a case as this would have given anybody room to have been very thankful to the Power who had not only put such a treasure into my hand, but given me such an escape from the ruin that threatened me; but I had none of those things about me. I had, indeed, a grateful sense upon my mind of the generous friendship of my deliverer, the Dutch merchant, by whom I was so faithfully served, and by whom, as far as relates to second causes, I was preserved from destruction.

I say, I had a grateful sense upon my mind of his kindness and faithfulness to me, and I resolved to show him some testimony of it as soon as I came to the end of my rambles, for I was yet but in a state of uncertainty, and sometimes that gave me a little uneasiness too. I had paper indeed for my money, and he had showed himself very good to me in conveying me away, as above; but I had not seen the end of things yet, for unless the bills were paid, I might still be a great loser by my Dutchman, and he might, perhaps, have contrived all that affair of the Jew to put me into a fright and get me to run away, and that as if it were to save my life; that if the bills should be refused, I was cheated with a witness, and the like. But these were but surmises, and, indeed, were perfectly without cause, for the honest man acted as honest men always do, with an upright and disinterested principle, and with a sincerity not often to be found in the world. What gain he made by the exchange was just, and was nothing but what was his due, and was in the way of his business; but otherwise he made no advantage of me at all.

When I passed in the ship between Dover and Calais and saw beloved England once more under my view—England, which I counted my native country, being the place I was bred up in, though not born there—a strange kind of joy possessed my mind, and I had such a longing desire to be there that I would have given the master of the ship twenty pistoles to have stood over and set me on shore in the Downs; and when he told me he could not do it—that is, that he durst not do it if I would have given him a hundred pistoles—I secretly wished that a storm would rise that might drive the ship over to the coast of England, whether they would or not, that I might be set on shore anywhere upon English ground.

This wicked wish had not been out of my thoughts above two or three hours, but the master steering away to the north, as was his course to do, we lost sight of land on that side, and only had the Flemish shore in view on our right hand, or, as the seamen call it, the starboard side; and then, with the loss of the sight, the wish for landing in England abated, and I considered how foolish it was to wish myself out of the way of my business; that if I had been on shore in England, I must go back to Holland on account of my bills, which were so considerable, and I having no correspondence there, that I could not have managed it without going myself. But we had not been out of sight of England many hours before the weather began to change; the winds whistled and made a noise, and the seamen said to one another that it would blow hard at night. It was then about two hours before sunset, and we were passed by Dunkirk, and I think they said we were in sight of Ostend; but then the wind grew high and the sea swelled, and all things looked terrible, especially to us that understood nothing but just what we saw before us; in short, night came on, and very dark it was; the wind freshened and blew harder and harder, and about two hours within night it blew a terrible storm.

I was not quite a stranger to the sea, having come from Rochelle to England when I was a child, and gone from London, by the River Thames, to France afterward, as I have said. But I began to be alarmed a little with the terrible clamour of the men over my head, for I had never been in a storm, and so had never seen the like, or heard it; and once offering to look out at the door of the steerage, as they called it, it struck me with such horror (the darkness, the fierceness of the wind, the dreadful height of the waves, and the hurry the Dutch sailors were in, whose language I did not understand one word of, neither when they cursed or when they prayed); I say, all these things together filled me with terror, and, in short, I began to be very much frighted.

When I was come back into the great cabin, there sat Amy, who was very sea-sick, and I had a little before given her a sup of cordial waters to help her stomach. When Amy saw me come back and sit down without speaking, for so I did, she looked two or three times up at me; at last she came running to me. "Dear madam," says she, "what is the matter? What makes you look so pale? Why, you an't well; what is the matter?" I said nothing still, but held up my hands two or three times. Amy doubled her importunities; upon that I said no more but, "Step to the steerage-door, and look out, as I did;" so she went away immediately, and looked too, as I had bidden her; but the poor girl came back again in the greatest amazement and horror that ever I saw any poor creature in, wringing her hands and crying out she was undone! she was undone! she should be drowned! they were all lost! Thus she ran about the cabin like a mad thing, and as perfectly out of her senses as any one in such a case could be supposed to be. I was frighted myself, but when I saw the girl in such a terrible agony, it brought me a little to myself, and I began to talk to her and put her in a little hope. I told her there was many a ship in a storm that was not cast away, and I hoped we should not be drowned; that it was true the storm was very dreadful, but I did not see that the seamen were so much concerned as we were. And so I talked to her as well as I could, though my heart was full enough of it, as well as Amy's; and death began to stare in my face; ay, and something else too—that is to say, conscience, and my mind was very much disturbed; but I had nobody to comfort me.

But Amy being in so much worse a condition—that is to say, so much more terrified at the storm than I was—I had something to do to comfort her. She was, as I have said, like one distracted, and went raving about the cabin, crying out she was undone! undone! she should be drowned! and the like. And at last, the ship giving a jerk, by the force, I suppose, of some violent wave, it threw poor Amy quite down, for she was weak enough before with being sea-sick, and as it threw her forward, the poor girl struck her head against the bulk-head, as the seamen call it, of the cabin, and laid her as dead as a stone upon the floor or deck; that is to say, she was so to all appearance.

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