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REMARKABLE DISCOVERY AND IDENTITY.
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
place in a certain house, where I might see them march
I saw my
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 search
among them as I pleased. Here, in a particular rank, eminent for one monstrous-sized man on the right, here, I say, gentleman again, and a very handsome jolly tellow he was,
in the troop, though not so monstrous large as that great one I speak oi, who, it seems, was, however, a gentleman of a good family in Gascoigne, and was called the giant of Gascoigne.
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 satety 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 wite 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
AMY FINDS OUT HER OLD MASTER.
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 accidently 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 her's, 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 nor 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,
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.
RELATES THE DISTRESSES OF HER MISTRESS.
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 251., 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
year, 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