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it. But such is the powe: of a vicious inclination. Whoring was, in a word, his darling crime, the worst excursion he made, for he was otherwise one of the most excellent persons in the world. No passions, no furious excursions, no ostentatious pride; the most humble, courteous, affable person in the world. Not an oath, not an indecent word, or the least blemish in behaviour, was to be seen in all his conversation, except as before excepted; and it has given me occasion for many dark reflections since, to look back and think that I should be the snare of such a person's life; that I should influence him to so much wickedness, and that I should be the instrument in the hand of the devil to do him so much prejudice.
We were near two years upon this grand tour, as it may be called, during most of which I resided at Rome or at Venice, having only been twice at Florence and once at Naples. I made some very diverting and useful observations in all these places, and particularly of the conduct of the ladies ; for had opportunity to converse very much among them, by the help of the old witch that travelled with us: she had been at Naples and at Venice, and had lived in the former several years, where, as I found, she had lived but a loose life, as indeed the women of Naples generally do; and, in short, I found she was fully acquainted with all the intriguing arts of that part of the world.
Here my lord bought me a little female Turkish slave, who, being taken at sea by a Maltese man-of-war, was brought in there, and of her I learnt the Turkish language, their way
of dressing and dancing, and some Turkish, or rather Moorish, songs, of which I made use to my advantage, on an extraordinary occasion some years after, as you shall hear in its place. I need not say, I learnt Italian too, for I got pretty well mistress of that before I had been there a year; and as I had leisure enough, and loved the language, I read all the Italian books I could come at.
I began to be so in love with Italy, especially with Naples and Venice, that I could have been very well satisfied to have sent for Amy, and have taken up my residence there for life.
As to Rome, I did not like it at all. The swarms of ecclesiastics of all kinds on one side, and the scoundrel rabbles of the common people on the other, make Rome the unpleasantest place in the world to live in; the innumerable
VISIT NAPLES AND VENICE.
number of valets, lackeys, and other servants is such, that they used to say that there are very few of the common people in Rome but what have been footmen or porters, or grooms to cardinals or foreign ambassadors. In a word, they have an air of sharping and cozening, quarrelling, and scolding, upon their general behaviour; and when I was there, the footmen made such a broil between two great families in Rome, about which of their coaches (the ladies being in the coaches on either side) should give way to the other, that there was about thirty people wounded on both sides, five or six killed outright, and both the ladies frighted almost to death.
But I have no mind to write the history of my travels on this side of the world, at least not now ; it would be too full of variety.
I must not, however, omit that the prince continued in all this journey the most kind, obliging person to me in he world, and so constant, that though we were in a country where it is well known all manner of liberties are taken, I am yet well assured he neither took the liberty he knew he might have, or so much as desired it.
I have often thought of this noble person on that account; had he been but half so true, so faithful and constant, to the best lady in the world, I mean his princess, how glorious a virtue had it been in him! and how free had he been from those just reflections which touched him in her behalf when it was too late! We had some very agreeable conversations
this subject, and once he told me, with a kind of more than ordinary concern upon his thoughts, that he was greatly beholden to me for taking this hazardous and difficult journey, for that I had kept him honest. I looked up in his face, and coloured as red as fire : Well, well, says he, do not let that surprise you ; I do say you have kept me honest. My lord, said I, 'tis not for me to explain your words, but I wish I could turn them my own way; I hope, says I, and believe we are both as honest as we can be in our circumstances. Ay, ay, says he, and honester than I doubt I should have been if you had not been with me. I cannot say but if you had not been here I should have wandered among the gay world here, in Naples, and in Venice too, for’tis not such a crime here as 'tis in other places; but I protest, says he, I have not touched a woman
what to say
in Italy but yourself; and more than that, I have not so much as had any desire to it; so that, I say, you have kept me honest.
I was silent, and was glad that he interrupted me, or kept me from speaking, with kissing me, for really I knew not
I was once going to say, that if his lady, the princess had been with him, she would doubtless have had the same influence upon his virtue, with infinitely more advantage to him; but I considered this might give him offence, and besides, such things might have been dangerous to the circumstance I stood in, so it passed off. But I must confess I saw that he was quite another man as to women, than I understood he had always been before ; and it was a particular satisfaction to me, that I was thereby convinced that what he said was true, and that he was, as I inay say, all my own.
I was with child again in this journey, and lay in at Venice, but was not so happy as before. I brought him another son, and a very fine boy it was, but it lived not above two months ; nor, after the first touches of affection (which are usual, I believe, to all mothers) were over, was I sorry the child did not live, the necessary difficulties attending it in our travelling being considered.
After these several perambulations, my lord told me his business began to close, and we would think of returning to France, which I was very glad of, but principally on account of my treasure I had there, which, as you have heard, was very considerable. It is true, I had letters very frequently from my maid Amy, with accounts that everything was very safe, and that was very much to my.
satisfaction. However, as the prince's negotiations were at an end, and he was obliged to return, I was very glad to go; so we returned from Venice to Turin, and in the way I saw the famous city of Milan. From Turin we went over the mountains again, as before, and our coaches met us at Pont a Voisin, between Chamberry and Lyons; and so, by easy jcurneys, we arrived safely at Paris, having been absent two years, wanting about eleven days, as above.
I found the little family we left just as we left them, and Amy cried for joy when she saw me, and I almost did the
The prince took his leave of me the night before, for, as
RETURN AGAIN TO PARIS.
he told me, he knew he should be met upon the road by several persons of quality, and perhaps by the princess herself; so we lay at two different inns that night, lest some should come quite to the place, as indeed it happened.
After this I saw him not for above twenty days, being taken
up in his family, and also with business; but he sent me his gentleman to tell me the reason of it, and bid me not be uneasy, and that satisfied me effectually.
In all this affluence of iny good fortune, I did not forget that I had been rich and poor once already, alternately, and that I ought to know that the circumstances I was now in were not to be expected to last always; that I had one child, and expected another; and if I had bred often, it would something impair me in the great article that supported my interest, I mean, what he called beauty ; that as that declined, I might expect the fire would abate, and the warmth with which I was now so caressed, would cool, and in time, like the other mistresses of great men, I might be dropt again; and that therefore it was my business to take care that I should fall as softly as I could.
I say I did not forget, therefore, to make as good provision for myself as if I had had nothing to have subsisted on but what I now gained ; whereas I had not less than ten thousand pounds, as I said above, which I had amassed, or secured rather, out of the ruins of my faithful friend the jeweller, and which he, little thinking of what was so near him when he went out, told me, though in a kind of a jest, was all my own, if he was knocked on the head, and which, upon that title, I took care to preserve.
My greatest difficulty now was how to secure my wealth, and to keep what I had got; for I had greatly added to this wealth by the generous bounty of the Prince and the more by the private retired manner of living, which he rather desired for privacy than parsimony; for he supplied me for a more magnificent way of life than I desired, if it had been proper.
I shall cut short the history of this prosperous wickedness with telling you I brought him a third son, within little more than eleven months after our return from Italy; that now I lived a little more openly, and went by a particular name which he gave me abroad, but which I must omit, viz., the Countess de ; and had coaches and servants, suitable to
the quality he had given me the appearance of; and which is more than usually happens in such cases, this
held eight years from the beginning, during which time, as I had been very faithful to him, so I must say, as above, that I believe he was so separated to me, that whereas he usually had two or three women, which he kept privately, he had not in all that time meddled with any of them, but that I had so perfectly engrossed him that he dropped them all; not, perhaps, that he saved much by it, for I was a very chargeable mistress to him, that I must acknowledge, but it was all owing to his particular affection to me, not to my extravagance, for, as I said, he never gave me leave to ask him for anything, but poured in his favours and presents faster than I expected, and so fast as I could not have the assurance to make the least mention of desiring more. Nor do I speak this of my own guess, I mean about his constancy to me, and his quitting all other women; but the old harridan, as I may call her, whom he made the guide of our travelling, and who was a strange old creature, told me a thousand stories of his gallantry, as she called it, and how, as he had no less than three mistresses at one time, and as I found, all of her procuring, he had of a sudden dropped them all, and that he was entirely lost to both her and them; that they did believe he had fallen into some new hands, but she could never hear who, or where, till he sent for her to go this journey; and then the old hag complimented me upon his choice; that she did not wonder I had so engrossed him ; so much beauty, &c., and there she stopped.
Upon the whole, I found by her what was, you may be sure, to my particular satisfaction, viz., that, as above, I had him all my own. But the highest tide has its ebb; and in all things of this kind, there is a reflux which sometimes also is more impetuously violent than the first aggression. My prince was a man of a vast fortune, though no sovereign, and therefore there was no probability that the expense of keeping a mistress could be injurious to him, as to his estate. He had also several employments, both out of France as well as in it; for, as above, I say he was not a subject of France, though he lived in that court. He had a princess, a wife with whom he had lived several years, and a woman (so the voice of fame reported) the most valuable of her sex, of birth equal to him, if not superior, and of fortune proportionable ;