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make a beggar of me; and then she falls a howling again, and snivelling, which, by the way, was all hypocrisy, but acted so to the life as perfectly deceived him, and he gave entire credit to every word of it.
Why, Amy, says he, you are very well dressed, you don't look as if you were in danger of being a beggar. Ay, bang ’em, says Amy, they love to have fine clothes here, if they have never a sm-k under them ; but I love to have money in cash, rather than a chest full of fine clothes. Besides, sir, says she, most of the clothes I have were given me in the last place I had, when I went away
mistress. Upon the whole of the discourse, Amy got out of him what condition he was in, and how he lived, upon her promise to him that if ever she came to England, and should see her old mistress, she should not let her know that he was alive. Alas! sir, says Amy, I may never come to see England again as long as I live, and if I should, it would be ten thousand to one whether I shall see my old mistress, for how should I know which way to look for her, or what part of England she may be in, not I, says she; I don't so much as know how to inquire for her; and if I should, says Amy, ever be so happy as to see her, I would not do her so much mischief as to tell her where you were, sir, unless she was in a condition to help herself and you too. This farther deluded him, and made him entirely open in his conversing with her. As to his own circumstances, he told her she saw him in the highest preferment he had arrived to, or was ever like to arrive to; for having no friends or acquaintance in France, and which was worse, no money, he never expected to rise; that he could have been made a lieutenant to a troop of light horse but the week before, by the favour of an officer in the gens d'armes who was his friend ; but that he must have found eight thousand livres to have paid for it, to the gentleman who possessed it, and had leave given him to sell. But where could I get eight thousand livres, says he, that have never been master of five hundred livres ready money at a time, since I came into France. O dear! sir, says Amy, I am very sorry to hear you say
I fancy if you once got up to some preferment, you would think of my old mistress again, and do something for her; poor lady, says Amy, she wants it to be sure ; and then she falls a crying again; it is a sad thing indeed, says
INQUIRY INT) HER OLD MASTER'S CHARACTER.
should be so hard put to it for money, when you had got a friend to recommend you, and should lose it for want of money. Ay, so it was, Amy, indeed, says he; but what can a stranger do that has neither money or friends ? Here Amy puts in again on my account: Well, says she, my poor mistress has had the loss, though she
nows nothing of it. O dear, how happy it would have been; to be sure, sir, you would have helped her all you could. Ay, says he, Amy, so I would with all my heart; and even as I am, I would send her some relief, if I thought she wanted it; only that then letting her know I was alive might do her some prejudice, in case of her settling, or marrying anybody.
Alas, says Amy, marry! who will marry her in the poor condition she is in? And so their discourse ended for that time.
All this was mere talk on both sides, and words of course; for on farther inquiry, Amy found that he had no such offer of a lieutenant's commission, or anything like it; and that he rambled in his discourse from one thing to another; but of that in its place.
You may be sure that this discourse, as Amy at first related it, was moving to the last degree upon me; and I was once going to have sent him the eight thousand livres to purchase the commission he had spoken of; but as I knew his character better than anybody, I was willing to search a little farther into it; and so I set Amy to inquire of some other of the troop, to see what character he had, and whether there was anything in the story of a lieutenant's commission
But Amy soon came to a better understanding of him, for she presently learnt that he had a most scoundrel character; that there was nothing of weight in anything he said; but that he was in short a mere sharper, one that would stick at nothing to get money, and that there was no depending on anything he said; and that more especially about the lieutenant's commission, she understood that there was nothing at all in it, but they told her how he had often made use of that sham to borrow money, and move gentlemen to pity him and lend him money, in hopes to get him preferment; that he had reported that he had a wife and five children in England, who he maintained out of his pay,
and by these shifts had run into debt in several places, and upon several complaints for such things, he had been threatened to be turned out of the gens d'armes, and that in short he was not to be believed in anything he said, or trusted on any account.
Upon this information, Amy began to cool in her farther meddling with him, and told me it was not safe for me to attempt doing him any good,, unless I resolved to put him upon suspicions and inquiries which might be to my ruin, in the condition I was now in.
I was soon confirmed in this part of his character, for the next time that Amy came to talk with him, he discovered himself more effectually ; for while she had put him in hopes of procuring one to advance the money for the lieutenant's commission for him upon easy conditions, he by degrees dropped the discourse, then pretended it was too late, and that he could not get it, and then descended to ask poor Amy to lend him five hundred pistoles.
Amy pretended poverty; that her circumstances were but mean, and that she could not raise such a sum; and this she did, to try him to the utmost; he descended to three hundred, then to one hundred, then to fifty, and then to a pistole, which she lent 1.im, and he never intending to pay it, played out of her sight as much as he could. And thus being satisfied that he was the same worthless thing he had ever been, I threw off all thoughts of him; whereas, had he been a man of any sense, and of any principle of honour, I had it in my thoughts to retire to England again, send for him over, and have lived honestly with him. But as a fool is the worst of husbands to do a woman good, so a fool is the worst husband a woman can do good to. I would willingly have done him good, but he was not qualified to receive it or make the best use of it. Had I sent him ten thousand crowns instead of eight thousand livres, and sent it with express condition that he should immediately have bought himself the commission he talked of with part of the money, and have sent some of it to relieve the necessities of his poor miserable wife at London, and to prevent his children to be kept by the parish, it was evident he would have been still but a private trooper, and his wife and children should still have starved at London, or been kept of mere charity, as, for aught he knew, thev then
HIS DISREPUTABLE COURSE OF LIFE.
Seeing, therefore, no remedy, I was obliged to withdraw my hand from him, that had been my first destroyer, and reserve the assistance that I intended to have given him for another more desirable opportunity. All that I had now to do was to keep myself out of his sight, which was not very difficult for me to do, considering in what station he lived.
Amy and I had several consultations then upon the main question, namely, how to be sure never to chop upon him again by chance, and to be surprised into a discovery, which would have been a fatal discovery indeed. Amy proposed that we should always take care to know where the gens d'armes were quartered, and thereby effectually avoid them; and this was one way.
But this was not so as to be fully to my satisfaction; no ordinary way of inquiring where the gens d'armes were quartered was sufficient to me; but I found out a fellow who was completely qualified for the work of a spy (for rance has plenty of such people). This man I employed to be a constant and particular attendant upon
and motions; and he was especially employed and ordered to haunt him as a ghost; that he should scarce let him be ever out of his sight. He performed this to a nicety, and failed. not to give me a perfect journal of all his motions from day to day, and, whether for his pleasures or his business, was always at his heels.
This was somewhat expensive, and such a fellow merited to be well paid, but he did his business so exquisitely punctual, that this poor man scarce went out of the house without my knowing the way he went, the company he kept, when he went abroad, and when he stayed at home.
By this extraordinary conduct I made myself safe, and so went out in public or stayed at home, as I found he was or was not in a possibility of being at Paris, at Versailles, or any place I had occasion to be at. This, though it was very chargeable, yet as I found it absolutely necessary, so I took no thought about the expense of it, for I knew I could not purchase my safety too dear.
By this management I found an opportunity to see what a most insignificant, unthinking life the poor indolent wretch, who, by his unactive temper, had at first been my ruin, now lived; how he only rose in the morning to go to bed at night; that saving the necessary motion of the troops, which
he was obliged to attend, he was a mere motionless animal, of no consequence in the world; that he seemed to be one who, though he was indeed alive, had no manner of business in life, but to stay to be called out of it; he neither kept any company, minded any sport, played at any game, or indeed did anything of moment; but, in short, sauntered about like one that it was not two livres value, whether he was dead or alive; that when he was gone, would leave no remembrance behind him that ever he was here; that if ever he did anything in the world to be talked of, it was only to get five beggars and starve his wife. The journal of his life, which I had constantly sent me every week, was the least significant of anything of its kind that was ever seen ; as it had really nothing of earnest in it, so it would make no jest to relate it. It was not important enough so much as to make the reader merry withal, and for that reason I omit it.
Yet this nothing-doing wretch was I obliged to watch and guard against, as against the only thing that was capable of doing me hurt in the world. I was to shun him as we would shun a spectre, or even the devil, if he was actually in our way; and it cost me after the rate of a hundred and fifty livres a month, and very cheap too, to have this creature constantly kept in view ; that is to say, my spy undertook never to let him be out of his sight an hour, but so as that he could give an account of him, which was much the easier for to be. done, considering his way of living; for he was sure that, for whole weeks together, he would be ten hours of the day half asleep on a bench at the tavern door where he quartered, or drunk within the house. Though this wicked life he led sometimes moved me to pity him, and to wonder how so well-bred, gentlemanly a man as he once was could degenerate into such a useless thing as he now appeared, yet at the same time it gave me most contemptible thoughts of him, and made me ofter say I was a warning for all the ladies of Europe against marrying of fools: a man of sense falls in the world, and gets up again, and a woman has some chance for herself; but with a fool, onde fall, and ever undone ; once in the ditch and die in the ditch; once poor, and sure to starve.
But it is time to have done with him; once I had nothing to hope for but to see him again, now my only felicity was,