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me a plain coach, no gilding or painting, lined with a light grey cloth, and my coachman had a coat of the same, and no lace on his hat.
When all was ready, I dressed myself in the dress I bought of her, and said, Come, I'll be a Quaker to-day, and you and I'll go
abroad; which we did, and there was not a Quaker in the town looked less like a counterfeit than I did. But all this was my particular plot, to be the more completely concealed, and that I might depend upon being not known, and yet need not be confined like a prisoner, and be always in fear; so that all the rest was grimace.
We lived here very easy and quiet, and yet I cannot say I was so in my mind; I was like a fish out of water; I was as gay, and as young in my disposition, as I was at five-andtwenty; and as I had always been courted, flattered, and used to love it, so I missed it in my conversation ; and this put me many times upon looking back upon things past.
I had very few moments in my life which, in their reflection, afforded me anything but regret; but of all the foolish actions I had to look back upon in my life, none looked so preposterous and so like distraction, nor left so much melancholy on my mind, as my parting with my friend, the merchant of Paris, and the refusing him upon such honourable and just conditions as he had offered; and though on his just (which I called unkind) rejecting my invitation to come to him again, I had looked on him with some disgust, yet now my mind run upon him continually, and the ridiculous conduct of my refusing him, and I could never be satisfied about him; 1 flattered myself that if I could but see him, I could yet master him, and that he would presently forget all that had passed that might be thought unkind; but as there was no room to imagine anything like that to be possible, I threw those thoughts off again as much as I could.
However, they continually returned, and I had no rest night or day for thinking of him, who I had forgot above eleven years. I told Amy of it, and we talked it over sometimes in bed, almost whole nights together. At last, Amy started a thing of her own head, which put it in a way of management, though a wild one too. You are so uneasy, madam, says she, about this Mr.
the merchant af Paris; come, says she, if you'll give me leave, I'll go over and see what's become of him.
AMY ON A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
Not for ten thousand pounds, said I; no, nor if you met him in the street, not to offer to speak to him on my account. No, says Amy, I would not speak to him at all, or if I did, I warrant you it shall not look to be upon your account ; I'll only inquire after him, and if he is in being, you shall hear of him ; if not you shall hear of him still, and that may be enough.
Why, says I, if you will promise me not to enter into anything relating to me with him, nor to begin any discourse at all, unless he begins it with you, I could almost be persuaded to let you go and try.
Amy promised me all that I desired; and, in a word, to cut the story short, I let her go; but tied her up to so many particulars, that it was almost impossible her going could signify anything; and had she intended to observe them, she might as well have stayed at home as have gone; for I charged her, if she came to see him, she should not so much as take notice that she knew him again ; and if he spoke to her, she should tell him she was come away from me a great many years ago, and knew nothing what was become of me; that she had been come over to France six years ago, and was married there, and lived at Calais ; or to that purpose.
Amy promised me nothing, indeed, for, as she said it was impossible for her to resolve what would be fit to do, or not to do, till she was there upon the spot, and had found out the gentleman, or heard of him; but that then, if I would trust her, as I had always done, she would answer for it that she would do nothing but what should be for my interest, and what she would hope I should be very well pleased with.
With this general commission, Amy, notwithstanding she had been so frighted at the sea, ventured her carcass once more by water, and away she goes to France; she had four articles of confidence in charge to inquire after for me, and, as I found by her, she had one for herself; I say, four for me, because, though her first and principal errand was to inform herself of my Dutch merchant, yet I gave her in charge to inquire, second, after my husband, who I left a trooper in the gens d'armes; third, after that rogue of a Jew, whose very name I hated, and of whose face had such a frightful idea, that Satan himself could not counterfeit a worse ; and,
lastly, after my foreign prince. And she discharged herself very well of them all, though not so successful as I wished.
Amy had a very good passage over the sea, and I had a letter from her, from Calais, in three days after she went from London. When she came to Paris, she wrote me an account, that as to her first and most important inquiry, which was after the Dutch merchant, her account was, that he had returned to Paris, lived three years there, and, quitting that city, went to live at Rouen; so away goes Amy for Rouen.
But as she was going to bespeak a place in the coach to Rouen, she meets very accidentally in the street with her gentleman, as I called him; that is to say, the Prince de
's gentleman, who had been her favourite, as above. You may be sure there were several other kind things happened betwen Amy and him, as you shall hear afterwards; but the two main things were, first, that Amy inquired about his lord, and had a full account of him, of which presently; and, in the next place, telling him whither she was going, and for what, he bade her not go yet, for that he would have a particular account of it the next day from a merchant that knew him; and accordingly he brought her word the next day, that he had been for six years before that gone for Holland, and that he lived there still.
This, I say, was the first news from Amy for some time, I mean about my merchant. In the mean time, Amy, as I have said, inquired about the other persons she had in her instructions. As for the prince, the gentleman told her he was gone into Germany, where his estate lay, and that he lived there; that he had made great inquiry after me; that he (his gentleman) had made all the search he had been able for me, but that he could not hear of me; that he believed, if his lord had known I had been in England, he would have gone over to me; but that, after long inquiry, he was obliged to give it over ; but that he verily believed, if he could have found me, he would have married me; and that he was extremely concerned that he could hear nothing of me.
I was not at all satisfied with Amy's account, but ordered her to go to Rouen herself; which she did, and there with much difficulty (the person she was directed to being dead), I say, with much difficulty, she came to be informed that my merchant had lived there two years, or something more; but
STRANGE ADVENTURE-SEE MY DUTCH MERCHANT. 191
that having met with a very great misfortune, he had gone back to Holland, as the French merchant said, where he had stayed two years; but with this addition, viz., that he came back again to Rouen, and lived in good reputation there another year; and afterwards, he was gone to England, and that he lived in London. But Amy could by no means learn how to write to him there, till, by great accident, an old Dutch skipper, who had formerly served him, coming to Rouen, Amy was told of it; and he told her that he lodged in St. Laurence Pountney’s-lane, in London, but was to be seen every day upon the Exchange in the French walk.
This, Amy thought, it was time enough to tell me of when she came over; and besides, she did not find this Dutch skipper till she had spent four or five months, and been again at Paris, and then come back to Rouen for farther information. But in the mean time she wrote to me from Paris, that he was not to be found by any means; that he had been gone from Paris seven or eight years; that she was told he had lived at Rouen, and she was a going thither to inquire, but that she had heard afterwards that he was gone also from thence to Holland, so she did not go.
This, I say, was Amy's first account; and I, not satisfied with it, had sent her an order to go to Rouen, to inquire there also, as above.
While this was negociating, and I received these accounts from Amy at several times, a strange adventure happened to me, which I must mention just here; I had been abroad to take the air, as usual, with my Quaker, as far as Epping Forest, and we were driving back towards London, when on the road between Bow and Mile-End, two gentlemen on horseback came riding by, having overtaken the coach and passed it, and went forwards towards London.
They did not ride apace, though they passed the coach, for we went very softly, nor did they look into the coach at all, but rode side by side, earnestly talking to one another, and inclining their faces sideways a little towards one another, he that went nearest the coach, with his face from it, and he that was farthest the coach, with his face towards it, and passing in the very next tract to the coach, I could hear them talk Dutch very distinctly; but it is impossible to describe the confusion I was in, when I plainly saw that the
farthest of the two, him whose face looked towards the coach, was my friend, the Dutch merchant of Paris.
If it had been possible to conceal my disorder from my friend the Quaker, I would have done it, but I found she was too well acquainted with such things not to take the hint. Dost thou understand Dutch ? said she. Why? said I. Why, says she, it is easy to suppose that thou art a little concerned at somewhat those men say; I suppose they are talking of thee. Indeed, my good friend, said I, thou art mistaken this time, for I know very well what they are talking of, but 'tis all about ships and trading affairs. Well, says she, then one of them is a man friend of thine, or somewhat is the case ; for though thy tongue will not confess it, thy face does.
I was going to have told a bold lie, and said I knew nothing of them, but I found it was impossible to conceal it, so I said, Indeed, I think I know the farthest of them; but I have neither spoken to him, or so much as seen him, for above eleven years.
Well, then, says she, thou hast seen him with more than common eyes when thou didst see him, or else seeing him now would not be such a surprise to thee. Indeed, said I, it is true I am a little surprised at seeing him just now, for I thought he had been in quite another part of the world; and I can assure you I never saw him in England in my life. Well, then, it is the more likely he is come over now on purpose to seek thee. No, no, said I, knight-errantry is over, women are not so hard to come at, that men should not be able to please themselves without running from one kingdom to another. Well, well, says she, I would have him see thee for all that, as plainly as thou hast seen him.
No, but he sha’n’t, says I, for I am sure he don't know me in this dress, and I'll take care he sha'n't see my face, if I can help it; so I held up my fan before my face, and she saw me resolute in that, so she pressed me no farther.
We had several discourses upon the subject, but still I let her know I was resolved he should not know me; but, at last, I confessed so much, that though I would not let him know who I was, or where I lived, I did not care if I knew where he lived, and how I might inquire about him. She took the hint immediately, and her servant being behind the coach, she called him to the coach side, and bade him keep his eye