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SOLICITS MY HAND IN MARRIAGE.
was, that, seeing Providence had (as it were for that purpose) taken his wife from him, I would make up the loss to him; and with that he held me fast in his arms, and, kissing me, would not give me leave to say no, and hardly to breathe.
At length, having got room to speak, I told him, that as I had said before, I could deny him but one thing in the world, I was very sorry he should propose that thing only that I could not grant.
I could not but smile, however, to myself, that he should make so many circles and roundabout motions to come at a discourse which had no such rarity at the bottom of it, if he had known all. But there was another reason why I resolved not to have him, when, at the same time, if he had courted me in a manner less honest or virtuous, I believe I should not have denied him ; but I shall come to that part presently.
He was, as I have said, long a bringing it out, but when he had brought it out, he pursued it with such importunities as would admit of no denial, at least he intended they should not; but I resisted them obstinately, and yet with expressions of the utmost kindness and respect for him that could be imagined, often telling him there was nothing else in the world that I could deny him, and showing him all the respect, and
upon all occasions treating him with intimacy and freedom, as if he had been brother.
He tried all the ways imaginable to bring his design to pass, but I was inflexible; at last, he thought of a way, which, he flattered himself, would not fail ; nor would he have been mistaken perhaps, in any other woman in the world but me; this was, to try if he could take me at an advantage and get to bed to me, and then, as was most rational to think, I should willingly enough marry him afterwards.
We were so intimate together, that nothing but man and wife could, or at least ought, to be more; but still our freedoms kept within the bounds of modesty and decency. But one evening, above all the rest, we were very merry, and I fancied he pushed the mirth to watch for his advantage ; and I resolved that I would, at least, feign to be as merry as he; and that, in short, if he offered anything, he should have his will easily enough.
About one o'clock in the morning, for so long we sat up
together, I said, Come, 'tis one o'clock, I must go to bed. Well, says he, I'll go with you. No, no, says I, go to your own chamber. He said he would go to bed with me. Nay, says I, if you will, I don't know what to say; if I can't help it, you must. However, I got from him, left him, and went into my chamber, but did not shut the door, and, as he could easily see that I was undressing myself, he steps to his own room, which was but on the same floor, and in a few minutes undresses himself also, and returns to my door in his gown and slippers.
I thought he had been gone indeed, and so that he had been in jest ; and, by the way, thought either he had no mind to the thing, or that he never intended it; so I shut my door, that is, latched it, for I seldom locked or bolted it, and went to bed. I had not been in bed a minute, but he comes in his gown to the door, and opens it a little way,
but not enough to come in, or look in, and says softly, What, are you really gone to bed? Yes, yes, says I, get you gone. No, indeed, says he, I shall not be gone, you gave me leave before to come to bed, and you shan't say get you gone now. So he comes into my room, and then turns about, and fastens the door, and immediately comes to the bedside to me. I pretended to scold and struggle, and bid him begone, with more warmth than before; but it was all one; he had not a rag of clothes on but his gown and slippers and shirt, so he throws off his gown, and throws open the bed, and came in at once.
I made a seeming resistance, but it was no more indeed; for, as above, I resolved from the beginning he should lie with me if he would, and for the rest I left it to come after.
Well, he lay with me that night, and the two next, and very merry we were all the three days between; but the third night he began to be a little more grave.
Now, my dear, says he, though I have pushed this matter farther than ever I intended, or than I believe you expected from me, who never made any pretences to you but what were very honest; yet to heal it all up, and let you see how sincerely I meant at first, and how honest I will ever be to you, I am ready to marry you still, and desire you to let it be done tomorrow morning; and I will give you the same fair conditions of marriage as I would have done before.
This, it must be owned, was a testimony that he was very
SUSPICIOUS OF A DESIGN-REFUSE TO MARRY.
honest, and that he loved me sincerely; but I construed it quite another way, namely, that he aimed at the money. But how surprised did he look, and how was he confounded, when he found me receive his proposal with coldness and indifference, and still tell him that it was the only thing I could not grant.
He was astonished. What, not take me now! says he, when I have been a-bed with you! I answered coldly, though respectfully still, It is true, to my shame be it spoken, says I, that you have taken me by surprise, and have had your will of me; but I hope you will not take it ill that I cannot consent to marry, for all that. If I am with child, said I, care must be taken to manage that as you shall direct; I hope you won't expose me, for my having exposed myself to you, but I cannot go any farther. And at that point I stood, and would hear of no matrimony by any means.
Now because this may seem a little odd, I shall state the matter clearly; as I understood it myself. I knew that while I was a mistress, it is customary for the person kept to receive from them that keep; but if I should be a wife, all I had then was given up to the husband, and I was thenceforth to be under his authority only; and as I had money enough, and needed not fear being what they call a cast-off mistress, so I had no need to give him twenty thousand pounds to marry me, which had been buying my lodging too dear'a great deal.
Thus his project of coming to bed to me was a bite upon himself, while he intended it for a bite upon me; and he was no nearer his aim of marrying me than he was before. All his arguments he could urge upon the subject of matrimony were at an end, for I positively declined marrying him ; and as he had refused the thousand pistoles which I had offered him in compensation for his expenses and loss at Paris, with the Jew, and had done it upon the hopes he had of marrying me; so when he found his way difficult still, he was amazed, and I had some reason to believe, repented that he had refused the money.
But thus it is when men run into wicked measures to bring their designs about. I that was infinitely obliged to him before, began to talk to him as if I had balanced
accounts with him now, and that the favour of lying with a whore was
equal, not to the thousand pistoles only, but to all the debt I owed him, for saving my life and all my effects.
But he drew himself into it, and though it was a dear bargain, yet it was a bargain of his own making; he could not say
I had tricked him into it; but as he projected and drew me in to lie with him, depending that was a sure game in order to a marriage, so I granted him the favour, as he called it, to balance the account of favours received from him, and keep the thousand pistoles with a good grace.
He was extremely disappointed in this article, and knew not how to manage for a great while; and as I dare say, if he had not expected to have made it an earnest for marrying me, he would never have attempted me the other way; so, I believed, if it had not been for the money, which he knew I had, he would never have desired to marry me after he had lain with me. For, where is the man that cares to marry a whore, though of his own making? And as I knew him to be no fool, so I did him no wrong, when I supposed that, but for the money, he would not have had any thoughts of me that way, especially after my yielding as I had done ; in which it is to be remembered, that I made no capitulation for marrying him, when I yielded to him, but let him do just what he pleased, without any previous bargain.
Well, hitherto we went upon guesses at one another's designs; but as he continued to importune me to marry, though he had lain with me, and still did lie with me as often as he pleased, and I continued to refuse to marry him, though I let him lie with me whenever he desired it ; I say, as these two circumstances made up our conversation, it could not continue long thus, but we must come to an explanation.
One morning, in the middle of our unlawful freedoms, that is to say, when we were in bed together, he sighed, and told me he desired my leave to ask me one question, and that I would give him an answer to it, with the same ingenious freedom and honesty that I had used to treat him with. I told him I would. Why then his question was, why I would not marry him, seeing I allowed him all the freedom of a husband ? Or, says he, my dear, since you have been so kind as to take me to your bed, why will you not make me your own, and take me for good and all, that we may enjoy ourselves without any reproach to one another?
QUESTIONS THE REASON OF MY REFUSAL.
I told him, that as I confessed it was the only thing I could not comply with him in, so it was the only thing in all my actions that I could not give him a reason for. That it was true I had let him come to bed to me, which was supposed to be the greatest favour a woman could grant; but it was evident, and he might see it, that as I was sensible of the obligation I was under to him for saving me from the worst circumstance it was possible for me to be brought to, I could deny him nothing; and if I had had any greater favour to yield him, I should have done it, that of matrimony only excepted, and he could not but see that I loved him to an extraordinary degree, in every part of my behaviour to him ; but that as to marrying, which was giving up my liberty, it was what once he knew I had done, and he had seen how it had hurried me up and down in the world, and what it had exposed me to; that I had an aversion to it, and desired he would not insist upon it. He might easily see I had no aversion to him ; and that if I was with child by him, he should see a testimony of my kindness to the father, for that I would settle all I had in the world upon the child.
He was mute a good while ; at last, says he, Come, my dear, you are the first woman in the world that ever lay with a man and then refused to marry him, and therefore there must be some other reason for your refusal; and I have therefore one other request, and that is, if I guess at the true reason, and remove the objection, will you then yield to me? I told him if he removed the objection I must needs comply, for I should certainly do everything that I had no objection against.
Why then, my dear, it must be that either you are already engaged or married to some other man, or you are not willing to dispose of your money to me, and expect to advance yourself higher with your fortune. Now, if it be the first of these, my mouth will be stopped, and I have no more to say; but if it be the last, I am prepared effectually to remove the objection, and answer all you can say on that subject.
I took him up short at the first of these, telling him he must have base thoughts of me indeed, to think that I could yield to him in such a manner as I had done, and continue it with so much freedom, as he found I did, if I had a husband, or were engaged to any other man; and that he might