Page images
PDF
EPUB

SAIL IN PACKET-BOAT TO ROTTERDAM.

118

r, in .

in the inn laughed at her, and jested with her, asked her if she had any sins to confess that she was ashamed should be heard of, and that she was troubled with an evil conscience; told her, if she came to sea, and to be in a storm, if she had lain with her master, she would certainly tell her mistress of it, and that it was a common thing for poor maids to confess all the young men they had lain with; that there was one poor girl that went over with her mistress, whose husband was a

, in the city of London, who confessed, in the terror of a storm, that she had lain with her master, and all the apprentices, so often, and in such and such places; and made the poor mistress, when she returned to London, fly at her husband and make such a stir as was indeed the ruin of the whole family. Amy could bear all that well enough, for though she had indeed lain with her master, it was with her mistress's knowledge and consent, and, which was worse, was her mistress's own doing. I record it to the reproach of my own vice, and to expose the excesses of such wickedness as they deserve to be exposed.

I thought Amy's fear would have been over by that time the ship would be gotten ready, but I found the girl was rather worse and worse; and when I came to the point, that we must go on board or lose the passage, Amy was so terrified that she fell into fits; so the ship went away without us.

But my going being absolutely necessary, as above, I was obliged to go in the packet-boat some time after, and leave Amy behind at Harwich, but with directions to go to London, and stay there to receive letters and orders from me what to do. Now I was become, from a lady of pleasure, a woman of business, and of great business too, I assure you.

I got me a servant at Harwich to go over with me, who had been at Rotterdam, knew the place, and spoke the language, which was a great help to me, and away I went. I had a very quick passage and pleasant weather, and, coming to Rotterdam, soon found out the merchant to whom I was recommended, who received me with extraordinary respect. And first he acknowledged the accepted bill for 4000 pistoles, which he afterwards paid punctually; other bills that I had also payable at Amsterdam he procured to be received for me; and whereas one of the bills for a thousand two hundred crowns was protested at Amsterdam, he paid it me

VOL. IV.

I

himself, for the honour of the indorser, as he called it, which was my friend the merchant at Paris.

There I entered into a negotiation by his means for my jewels, and he brought me several jewellers to look on them, and particularly one to value them, and to tell me what every particular was worth. This was a man who had great skill in jewels, but did not trade at that time, and he was desired by the gentlemen that I was with to see that I might not be imposed upon.

All this work took me up near half a year, and by managing my business thus myself, and having large sums to do with, I became as expert in it as any she-merchant of them all. I had credit in the bank for a large sum of money, and bills and notes for much more.

After I had been here about three months, my maid Amy writes me word that she had received a letter from her friend, as she called him; that, by the way, was the prince's gentleman, that had been Amy's extraordinary friend, indeed, for Amy owned to me he had lain with her a hundred times, that is to say, as often as he pleased, and perhaps in the eight years which that affair lasted, it might be a great deal oftener. This was what she called her friend, who she corresponded with upon this particular subject; and among other things, sent her this particular news, that my extraordinary friend, my real husband, who rode in the gens d'armes, was dead, that he was killed in a rencounter, as they call it, or accidental scuffle among the troopers; and so the jade congratulated me upon my being now a real free

And now, madam, says she, at the end of her letter, you have nothing to do but to come hither, and set up a coach and a good equipage, and if beauty and a good fortune won't make you a duchess, nothing will. But I had not fixed my measures yet. I had no inclination to be a wife again. I had had •such bad luck with my first husband, I hated the thoughts of it. I found that a wife is treated with indifference, a mistress with a strong passion ; a wife is looked upon as but an upper servant, à mistress is a sovereign ; a wife must give up all she has, have every reserve she makes for herself be thought hard of, and be upbraided with her very pin-money; whereas a mistress makes the saying true, that what the man has is hers, and what she has is her own; the wife bears a thousand insults, and is forced

woman.

[ocr errors]

CONTRAST BETWEEN A MISTRESS AND A WIFE.

115

to sit still and bear it, or part, and be undone ; a mistress insulted helps herself immediately, and takes another.

These were my wicked arguments for whoring, for I never set against them the difference another way;

I

may say, every other way; how that, first, a wife appears boldly and honourably with her husband, lives at home, and possesses his house, his servants, his equipages, and has a right to them all, and to call them her own; entertains his friends, owns his children, and has the return of duty and affection from them, as they are here her own, and claims upon his estate, by the custom of England, if he dies and leaves her a widow.

The whore skulks about in lodgings, is visited in the dark, disowned upon all occasions before God and man; is maintained, indeed, for a time, but is certainly condemned to be abandoned at last, and left to the miseries of fate and her own just disaster. If she has any children, her endeavour is to get rid of them, and not maintain them; and if she lives, she is certain to see them all hate her, and be ashamed of her; while the vice rages, and the man is in the devil's hand, she has him; and while she has him, she makes a prey of him ; but if he happens to fall sick, if any disaster befalls him, the cause of all lies upon her. He is sure to lay all his misfortunes at her door; and if once he comes to repentance, or makes but one step towards a reformation, he begins with her, leaves her, uses her as she deserves, hates her, abhors her, and sees her no more; and that with this never-failing addition, namely, that the more sincere and unfeigned his repentance is, the more earnestly he looks up, and the more effectually he looks in, the more his aversion to her increases, and he curses her from the bottom of his soul; nay, it must be from a kind of excess of charity, if he so much as wishes God may forgive her.

The opposite circumstances of a wife and whore are such and so many, and I have since seen the difference with such eyes, as I could dwell upon the subject a great while ; but my business is history. I had a long scene of folly yet to run over. Perhaps the moral of all my story may bring me back again to this part, and if it does, I shall speak of it fully.

While I continued in Holland, I received several letters from

my friend (so I had good reason to call him) the merchant in Paris, in which he gave me a farther account of the

1

conduct of that rogue the Jew, and how he acted after I was gone; how impatient he was while the said merchant kept him in suspense, expecting me to come again ; and how he raged when he found I came no more.

It seems, after he found I did not come, he found out, by his unwearied inquiry, where I had lived ; and that I had been kept as a mistress by some great person, but he could never learn by who, except that he learnt the colour of his livery. In pursuit of this inquiry he guessed at the right person, but could not make it out, or offer any positive proof of it, but he found out the prince's gentleman, and talked so saucily to him of it, that the gentleman treated him, as the French call it, a coup de baton; that is to say, caned him very severely, as he deserved; and that not satisfying him, or curing his insolence, he was met one night late upon the Pont Neuf, in Paris, by two men, who muffling him up in a great cloak, carried him into a more private place, and cut off both his ears, telling him it was for talking impudently of his superiors; adding, that he should take care to govern his tongue better, and behave with more manners, or the next time, they would cut his tongue out of his head.

This put a check to his sauciness that way; but he comes back to the merchant, and threatened to begin a process against him for corresponding with me, and being accessary to the murder of the jeweller, &c.

The merchant found by his discourse, that he supposed I was protected by the said Prince de — nay, the rogue said he was sure I was in his lodgings at Versailles ; for he never had so much as the least intimation of the way I was really gone; but that I was there he was certain, and certain that the merchant was privy to it. The merchant bade him defiance; however, he gave him a great deal of trouble, and put him to a great charge, and had like to have brought him in for a party to my escape, in which case he would have been obliged to have produced me, and that in the penalty of some capital sum of money. But the merchant was too many for him another way,

for he brought an information against him for a cheat; wherein, laying down the whole fact, how he intended falsely to accuse the widow of the jeweller for the supposed murder of her Lusband; that he did it purely to get the jewels from her; und that he offered to bring him (the merchant] in, to ba

YY PARIS MERCHANT MEETS ME AT ROTTERDAM.

117

confederate with him, and to share the jewels between them; proving also his design to get the jewels into his hands, and then to have dropped the prosecution, upon condition of my quitting the jewels to him. Upon this charge he got him laid by the heels, so he was sent to the Conciergerie, that is to say, to Bridewell, and the merchant cleared. He got out of jail in a little while, though not without the help of money, and continued teasing the merchant a long while, and at last threatening to assassinate and murder him; so the merchant, who, having buried his wife about two months before, was now a single man, and not knowing what such a villain might do, thought fit to quit Paris, and came away to Holland also.

It is most certain, that speaking of originals, I was the source and spring of all that trouble and vexation to this honest gentleman ; and as it was afterwards in my power to have made him full satisfaction, and did not, I cannot say but I added ingratitude to all the rest of my follies; but of that I shall give a fuller account presently.

I was surprised one morning, when being at the merchant's house who he had recommended me to in Rotterdam, and being busy in his counting-house, managing my bills, and preparing to write a letter to him to Paris, I heard a noise of horses at the door, which is not very common in a city where everybody passes by water; but he had, it seems, ferried over the Maze from Williamstadt, and so came to the very door, and I looking towards the door upon hearing the horses, saw a gentleman alight and come in at the gate. I knew nothing, and expected nothing to be sure, of the person; but, as I say, was surprised, and indeed more than ordinarily surprised, when coming nearer to me, I saw it was my merchant of Paris, my benefactor, and indeed my deliverer.

I confess it was an agreeable surprise to me, and I was exceeding glad to see him, who was so honourable and so kind to me, and who indeed had saved my life.

As soon as he saw me he run to me, took me in his arms, and kissed me with a freedom that he never offered to take with me before; Dear Madam

, says he, I am glad to see you safe in this country; if you had stayed two days longer in Paris you had been undone. I was so glad to see him that I could not speak a good while, and I burst out into tears without speaking a word for a minute, but I recovered that disorder, and said,

« PreviousContinue »