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importune me much about it; but I should be glad he would not do it at all, but leave me as I am.
As to that, madam, you may depend, says Amy, he expects to have you for his bedfellow to-night: I saw it plainly in his management all day, and at last he told you so too, as plain, I think, as he could. Well, well, Amy, said I, I don't know what to say; if he will he must, I think; I don't know how to resist such a man, that has done so much for me. I don't know how you should, says Amy.
Thus Amy and I canvassed the business between us ; the jade prompted the crime which I had but too much inclination to commit, that is to say, not as a crime, for I had nothing of the vice in my constitution; my spirits were far from being high, my blood had no fire in it to kindle the flame of desire; but the kindness and good humour of the man, and the dread of my own circumstances, concurred to bring me to the point, and I even resolved, before he asked, to give up my virtue to him whenever he should put it to the question.
In this I was a double offender, whatever he was, for I was Tesolved to commit the crime, knowing and owning it to be a crime; he, if it was true as he said, was fully persuaded it was lawful, and in that persuasion he took the measures, and used all the circumlocutions which I am going to speak of.
About two hours after he was gone, came a Leadenhall basket-woman, with a whole load of good things for the mouth (the particulars are not to the purpose), and brought orders to get supper by eight o'clock; however, I did not intend to begin to dress anything till I saw him; and he gave me time enough, for he came before seven, so that Amy, who had gotten one to help her, got everything ready in time. We sat down to supper about eight, and were indeed
very merry; Amy made us some sport, for she was a girl of spirit and wit, and with her talk she made us laugh very often, and yet the jade managed her wit with all the good manners imaginable.
But to shorten the story; after supper, he took me up into his chamber, where Amy had made a good fire, and there he pulled out a great many papers, and spread them upon a Gittle table, and then took me by the hand, and after kissing me very much, he entered into a discourse of his circumstances and of mine, how they agreed in several things
exactly; for example, that I was abandoned of a husband in the prime of my youth and vigour, and he of a wife in his middle age; how the end of marriage was destroyed by the treatment we had either of us received, and it would be very hard that we should be tied by the formality of the contract where the essence of it was destroyed. I interrupted him, and told him there was a vast difference between our circumstances, and that in the most essential part, namely, that he was rich, and I was poor ; that he was above the world, and I infinitely below it; that his circumstances were very easy, mine miserable, and this was an inequality the most essential that could be imagined. As to that, my dear, says he, I have taken such measures as shall make an equality still; and with that he showed me a contract in writing, wherein he engaged himself to me to cohabit constantly with me, to provide for me in all respects as a wife; and repeating in the preamble a long account of the nature and reason of our living together, and an obligation in the penalty of 7,0001. never to abandon me; and at last showed me a bond for 5001., to be paid to me, or to my assigns, within three months after his death.
He read over all these things to me, and then, in a most moving affectionate manner, and in words not to be answered, he said, Now, my dear, is this not sufficient ? can you object anything against it? if not, as I believe you will not, then let us debate this matter no longer. With that he pulled out a silk purse, which had three-score guineas in it, and threw them into my lap, and concluded all the rest of his discourse with kisses and protestations of his love, of which indeed I had abundant proof.
Pity human frailty, you that read of a woman reduced in her youth and prime to the utmost misery and distress, and raised again, as above, by the unexpected and surprising bounty of a stranger; I say, pity her if she was not able, after all these things, to make any more resistance.
However, I stood out a little longer still; I asked him how he could expect that I could come into a proposal of such consequence the
first time it was moved to me; and that I ought, if I consented to it, to capitulate with him, that he should never upbraid me with easiness, and consenting too soon. He said, No; but, on the contrary, he would take it as a mark of the greatest kindness I could
WE TAKE EACH OTHERS WORD AS MAN AND WIFE.
show him. Then he went on to give reasons why there was no occasion to use the ordinary ceremony of delay, or to wait a reasonable time of courtship, which was only to avoid scandal; but, as this was private, it had nothing of that nature in it; that he had been courting me some time by the best of courtship, viz., doing acts of kindness to me; and that he had given testimonies of his sincere affection to me by deeds, not by flattering trifles and the usual courtship of words, which were often found to have
little meaning; that he took me not as a mistress, but as his wife, and protested it was clear to him he might lawfully do it, and that I was perfectly at liberty, and assured me, by all that it was possible for an honest man to say, that he would treat me as his wife as long as he lived; in a word, he conquered all the little resistance I intended to make; he protested he loved me above all the world, and begged I would for once believe him ; that he had never deceived me, and never would, but would make it his study to make my life comfortable and happy, and to make me forget the misery I had gone through. I stood still awhile, and said nothing, but seeing him eager for my answer, I smiled, and looking up at him, And must I, then, says I, say yes at first asking ? must I depend upon your promise ? why, then, said I, upon the faith of that promise, and in the sense of that inexpressible kindness you have shown me, you shall be obliged, and I will be wholly yours to the end of my life; and with that I took his hand, which held me by the hand, and gave it a kiss.
And thus, in gratitude for the favours I received from a man, was all sense of religion and duty to God, all regard to virtue and honour, given up at once, and we were to call one another man and wife, who, in the sense of the laws, both of God and our country, were no more than two adulterers; in short, a whore and a rogue. Nor, as I have said above, was my conscience silent in it, though it seems his was; for I sinned with open eyes, and thereby had a double guilt upon me; as I always said, his notions were of another kind, and he either was before of the opinion, or argued himself into it now, that we were both free, and might lawfully marry
But I was quite of another side, nay, and my judgment was right, but my circumstances were my temptation; the terrors behind me looked blacker than the terrors before me;
and the dreadful argument of wanting bread, and being run into the horrible distresses I was in before, mastered all my resolution, and I gave myself up as above.
The rest of the evening we spent very agreeably to me; he was perfectly good humoured, and was at that time very merry; then he made Amy dance with him, and I told him I would put Amy to bed to him. Amy said, with all her heart, she never had been a bride in her life; in short, he made the girl so merry, that, had he not been to lie with me the same night, I believe he would have played the fool with Amy for half an hour, and the girl would no more have refused him than I intended to do; yet before, I had always found her a very modest wench as any I ever saw in all my life; but, in short, the mirth of that night, and a few more such afterwards, ruined the girl's modesty for ever, as shall appear by and by, in its place.
So far does fooling and toying sometimes go, that I know nothing a young woman has to be more cautious of; so far had this innocent girl gone in jesting between her and I, and in talking that she would let him lie with her, if he would but be kinder to me, that at last she let him lie with her in earnest; and so empty was I now of all principle, that I encouraged the doing it almost before my face.
I say but too justly, that I was empty of principle, because, as above, I had yielded to him, not as deluded to believe it lawful, but as overcome by his kindness, and terrified at the fear of my own misery if he should leave me. So, with my eyes open, and with my conscience, as I may say, awake, I sinned, knowing it to be a sin, but having no power to resist. When this had thus made a hole in my heart, and I was come to such a height as to transgress against the light of my own conscience, I was then fit for any wickedness, and conscience left off speaking where it found it could not be heard.
But to return to our story. Having consented, as above, to his proposal, we had not much more to do. He
gave me my writings, and the bond for my maintenance during his life, and for five hundred pounds after his death. And so far was he from abating his affection to me afterwards, that two years after we were thus, as he called it, married, he made his will, and gave me a thousand pounds more, and all my household-stuff, plate, &c which was considerable too.
NT MAID AMY GOES TO BED WITH MY GENTLEMAN.
Am put us to bed, and my new friend, I cannot call him husband, was so well pleased with Amy for her fidelity and
indness to me, that he paid her all the arrear of her wages that I owed her, and gave her five guineas over; and had it gone no farther, Amy had richly deserved what she had, for never was a maid so true to a mistress in such dreadful circumstances as I was in; nor was what followed more her own fault than mine, who led her almost into it at first, and quite into it at last; and this may be a farther testimony what a hardness of crime I was now arrived to, which was owing to the conviction, that was from the beginning upon me, that I was a whore, not a wife; nor could I ever frame my mouth to call him husband, or to say “my husband” when I was speaking of him.
We lived, surely, the most agreeable life, the grand exception only excepted, that ever two lived together. He was the most obliging, gentlemanly man, and the most tender of me, that ever woman gave herself up to: nor was there ever the least interruption to our mutual kindness, no, not to the last day of his life. But I must bring Amy's disaster in at once, that I may have done with her.
Amy was dressing me one morning, for now I had two maids, and Amy was my chambermaid. Dear madam, says Amy, what a'n't you with child yet? No, Amy, says I, nor
any sign of it.
Law, madam, says Amy, what have you been doing? why you have been married a year and a half: I warrant you, master would have got me with child twice in that time. It may be so, Amy, says I; let him try, can't you? No, says Amy, you'll forbid it now; before, I told you he should, with
heart ; but I won't now, now he's all your own. O, says I, Amy, I'll freely give you my consent; it will be nothing at all to me; nay, I'll put you to bed to him myselí one night or other, if you are willing. No, madam, no, says Amy, not now he's yours.
Why, you fool you, says I, don't I tell you I'll put you to bed to him myself. Nay, nay, says Amy, if you put me to bed to him, that's another case; I believe I shall not rise again very soon. I'll venture that, Amy, says I.
After supper that night, and before we were risen from table, I said to him, Amy being by, Hark ye, Mr. — , do you know that you are to lis with Amy to-night? No, not