Green Coat and Brown Coat.

A Tale.


This little Tale was written at the close of the American
War, as may be collected from the subject of it.

From the facile naiveté of the narration, and the
commanding pen with which the story is worked up, it
might be supposed that the Author was practised in this
species of composition; it was however her only production
in mere prose.


Green Coat and Brown Coat.

“Lead them to Piccadilly Gate” said a young man
in Green to his servant, as he came out of a house
in Grosvenor Street. The servant was holding two
horses, and the Master was equipped for Hyde Park.
“Go to Piccadilly Gate, I shall be there in less than
an hour.”
The servant mounted his horse, and taking
the bridle of the other in his hand, led him off through
Bond Street.

His Master walked down Bond Street too. Stopped
at Gray’s, admired some Plate, said he would
consider about the watch for Harriet, and gave
twelve guineas for a pair of buckles. In St. James’s
he entered a fruit shop, eat half a dozen
peaches, yawned, complained that the Town was
empty, and the Street full of dust. Sat silent,
pinched a Kitten, said it squalled like Signora ****, Z7v 350
eat another peach, said “How do you do” seventeen
times to as many persons, in whose health he took
no interest, thought Lady G. looked better in white
than in pink, set his watch by St. James’s, and
then, after some Reflection, determined to see who
was at Brookes’s.

In the Club room he found only one member. The
Gentleman in Green was unlucky, played an hour
and lost fifty Guineas, threw dice for double or
quits, lost another fifty, gave a draft on Hammersley
for an hundred, and walked out with an air of composure.

At the door he seized the arm of a gentleman in
Brown—“Will you ride this morning?”“No, I
have an engagement”
said Brown. “An Assignation!”
retorted Green. “Yes,” replied the other,
“and with a sweet creature— will you go?”“Go!
what to your sweet creature!”
“Yes, to my sweet
creature.—Dont deliberate, but come along.”

He in Brown leant carelessly on the arm of him in
Green, and they walked off. At Charing-Cross
Brown-Coat stepped into a Coach, ordered where to
drive, and Green-Coat seated himself by his side.—
“An odd street you ordered the fellow to! but I Z8r 351
suppose you are able to prevail on your favorites to
live cheap.”
“Yes, faith I cannot complain; the
girl we are going to now has cost me but three guineas
a week.”
“You are a lucky fellow, said Green;
“I wonder where you find such moderate damsels.”
“Oh! they are to be found in every Parish—if you
will but open your eyes!”

The friends soon arrived at a low house, in a dirty
street. They ascended two pair of stairs; Brown-
tapt gently at a chamber door, and a little Girl
apparently five years old opened it. Her long ringlets
were flaxen, and her eyes were blue. A sensation
of delight, when she beheld the visitor, severed
her sweet lips, and revealed a Smile that was worthy
of them.—“Ah,” said she, “how happy my Mamma
will be that you are come!”
The Gentleman took her
hand in Silence, and, followed by the other, entered
the apartment.

A beautiful spectre sat in a chair opposite the
door, and endeavoured to rise as they approached.
The Gentleman immediately prevented her, by seating
himself with a respectful air at her side; whilst
his friend, looking all astonishment, was obliged to
find his seat at a distance. Z8v 352

“And how are you, Madam?”“Oh Sir—much
better! something has happened since yesterday that
will lengthen my life a week.”
“Many weeks, I
hope, replied the Gentleman, and months, and years;
but pray tell it.”

“My husband’s relations,” replied the Invalid, “at
length relent; they think my sufferings have been
sufficient. They invite me to the Country to die with
them, and have promised to provide for my child.
Oh! my little Fanny!”
clasping her to her bosom,
“thou art preserved from ruin! when I have seen thee
in the arms of thy natural protectors, I shall breathe
my last sigh with Joy; but remember, ever, that it
was this Gentleman who preserved thee from the
grave when thy poor famished mother—”

The Gentleman stopped her, and made his congratulations
on the change in her Prospects! He enquired
when she intended to begin her Journey, and
how she wished to be accommodated. “Ah, Sir,”
she said, “your generous cares are concluded. See,”
presenting a Bank-note, “what they have sent me!
and besides this, the Rector of the parish is in town,
and will protect us on our journey: he calls on me AA1r 353
to morrow with a Post-chaise.—But oh, Sir! whilst I
have mind to form a Prayer, and strength to articulate
it, you will be its Object! My Gratitude”

“My dear Madam, I must stop you! your feelings
overvalue those acts of Duty which I have been fortunate
enough to find an opportunity of performing.
Believe me, I feel the obligation to be all on my
side, for, amongst my happiest hours, I shall always
account that which made me known to you.—You
have now some preparations to make for the morning,
I will therefore shorten my visit; but, I shall
wait on you before the hour of your departure, and
see you and your sweet daughter under the protection
of the Clergyman who is to escort you.”

He bowed to the Mother, and kissing Fanny, left
the apartment, followed by the wonder-struck Green-
, whose eyes were the only organs of expression
he had used since he entered it. They, indeed, had
very freely spoken curiosity, wonder, and a sort of
half-uneasiness, as though he felt himself taken in.
—The frolic was not of his sort!

After they had walked about ten yards, he exclaimed
“Why what the d—l is all this Harry?”
“Why, as the d—l would have it,” replied the other,
“the amiable creature you have seen made what is Vol. I. AA AA1v 354
called a Love-match—that is, tempted by the Romance
of the adventure, she left her Guardian’s
house one dark night, and went into a Post-chaise
with a cockaded young fellow, who had sworn she
was the prettiest girl he had seen since his early
youth, when he had been desperately in love with a
young lady, her very counterpart.

They returned, all Hope, from Gretna Green,
and in about seven months received her fortune, on
the day the law pronounced her to be discreet and
wise! The fortune was no more than five thousand,
and our married couple were people of Taste!
The Youth’s relations having provided for him an
old woman with twenty thousand, thought the election
he had made a very silly one; and, as they refused
to have any communication with him, the youth
began to take up the same opinion, and treated his
wife with neglect and brutality. He had at length
the kindness to relieve her from his persecutions
by quitting England; leaving her clear of the
world, with a fortune—of seven pounds and a few
The poor girl, then a Mother, applied to her relations;
they were at first kind, then civil, then cold,
then rude, and finally—hoped to be troubled with AA2r 355
her no more, and advised her to take in needlework.
She obeyed them; and by unremitting industry,
and the most exact frugality, supported herself
and infant for four years. But the constant
wearing of Grief at length subdued her Constitution,
and a rapid Decline ensued.
Her Landlady having observed that the sewing
business was at an end, and having received no money
for several weeks, thought such idle husseys a
Disgrace to her house, and ought to be made an
Example of. She accordingly sent for a Constable,
who, as he found his prisoner in bed, was so humane
as to retreat whilst she put on her clothes; then,
taking her arm, helped her down stairs, pale and
speechless, followed by the shrieking Fanny. At
this instant I happened to pass the door, it is not necessary
to add what ensued. As I found her too ill
to be removed, I was obliged to suffer her to return
to the Beldam’s Apartment.
Having in repeated visits satisfied myself of the
Truth of her story, and learned the name of her Husband’s
friends, I wrote to my Sister, whose house
is happily in their neighbourhood. She represented
the distresses and the merit of the amiable AA2 AA2v 356
sufferer, and being of Rank (for they have connected
meanness with riches) she prevailed upon them to receive
her as the Wife of their unworthy kinsman.
An Uncle said, if she was a sober body, she should
not want encouragement; and a maiden Aunt, that
Girls ought not to be countenanced who had run
away with young fellows, but that, if she was really
dying, she might come down, and, if she behaved
well, should be buried in the Family Vault.
She is not apprized that it is in consequence of
my application that these good people have sent for
her. I am persuaded that, when my Sister’s attentions
shall have secured their’s, and her mind is at
peace, she will have a chance of sending Aunt Grissel
to the Family-Vault before her.—You now know
all that I can tell you, in answer to your—‘What
the d—l.;;’”

“It cost you a cool sum?” “A trifle—perhaps
Green Coat remained silent; began to consider
whether Hammersley was in Cash for his Draft
for a Hundred, to feel that there were other methods
besides Dice, of getting through a Morning by
getting rid of superfluous money, and that rides in
the Park might now and then be omitted, for the AA3r 357
pleasure of a walk to the distressed.—But, he began
soon to gape, and to think that all such melancholy
subjects ought to be avoided as hurtful to the Spirits.
—How could a man enjoy life, who was perpetually
groping into scenes of Distress!—and then,
really, one’s Health!—At that thought he turned
suddenly round, and with a — “Good Morning
was darting across the way—

“Hold!” said his friend, “here is
doors off, whom I cannot omit calling upon, and, as
you have begun the morning with me”
“My Horses
are waiting for me!”
said Green Coat. “So are
answered Brown; “and I dine to-day twenty
miles from Town, my visit therefore will not be a
long one.”
At this instant, he knocked at the door
of a house, of an appearance much like that they had

This is rather peremptory, thought Green Coat,
with an air of half-pet. He thought it however not
expedient to take to his heels, and there seemed no
other possible method of getting rid of his conductor.

When an Italian Countess, in the Court of Mary
de Medicis
, was tried for having bewitched her royal AA3v 358
mistress, she told her Judges that “she never had
employed any supernatural means to govern the mind
of the Queen; nor had ever possessed any ascendant
over it, except that which a strong mind must naturally
have over a weak one.”
—This sort of Witchcraft
Brown-Coat practised to such a degree, that
there were few of his intimate companions who were
ever hardy enough to maintain an opinion opposite to
his own. But, not only they did not maintain a contradictory
opinion, they insensibly changed their
own, their sentiments, and their Wishes; emulous
to be as nearly as possible what he was—whose Understanding
was of the first order, whose Heart was
pure, and who was so far from being puritanical, that
his Taste lent Grace to Fashion, and subjected him
to a passion for expense, which could only be corrected
by his still stronger passion for Independence.

Such was he, who now entered the confined unwholesome
chamber of an old man approaching fast
to dissolution. The curtains of the bed were open,
and disclosed the venerable object, supported by his
nurse. His sand was running low; the pallid hue
of Death had already taken possession of his cheek,
and the living lustre of the eye began to be dimmed AA4r 359
by the deep shade of its approaching night. His
Faculties seemed yet vivid, and the voice of his Benefactor
called up a faint flush, which struggled a
moment on his pale cheek, and then—subsided for

“Ah! Sir,” he said, “you whose soul is so full of Benevolence!
you to whom the tear that steals from the
eye in Pity, is dearer than that which gushes thence
in rapture—to You this moment will not be unwelcome!
—I speak not for myself, for the final hour is
arrived in which I shall cease to mourn; in which
this wearied heart will render forth its last sigh, in
Prayer to him whose will placed there a nerve to

Another child of sorrow will present herself to
you. During this long sad night, in which my Soul
has been departing to meet its God, the inhabitant
of the next chamber has delayed its flight;—her
voice has reached me midst the darkness of the night,
and, by some indescribable power! has stayed my
Spirit, and kept my languid pulse still beating.”

The person to whom this was addressed, turned
towards the Nurse for information. All he could
learn was, that by her Patient’s order she had been AA4v 360
several times into the adjacent room, to offer consolation
and assistance to a person who seemed resolved
to accept of neither. “But you, perhaps Sir,” added
she, “may be able to speak comfort to the poor thing.”

A voice now issued from the apartment; for the
partition was so thin, and its apertures so frequent,
that every word was distinctly heard. “Whoever you
said the voice, “come and receive my sad tale,
whilst I have yet breath to utter it; in a few moments
my lips will close for ever!”
This was articulated in
a tone so faint, that there could be no doubt that the
person who uttered it was indeed expiring, and the
two friends in aweful Silence entered her Apartment.

A curtain prevented the gentle mourner’s seeing
them, which the gentleman in Brown gently touched,
to inform her that they were present, and it was immediately
opened. But the youth in Green, who
thought he had had quite enough of dying faces for
one morning, had turned from the bed, and endeavoured
to find more agreeable ones in the street, into
which the solitary window looked.

The young woman found herself addressed in the
softest accents, and every sentence of consolation administered
to her.—“Ah!” said she, “it is all, all too AA5r 361363
late! the only comfort I can now receive, is the certainty
that I cannot live, to profit by your goodness.
—But, charge your memory with my woes; that if,
in your progress through life, you should meet with
the Author of them, he may know—her heart was
broken who yielded it to him!

I am by birth an American; the only child of
parents far advanced in life, and consequently the
blessing of their existence. My Father was a planter,
respected for his riches, and beloved for his Goodness.
Ah, he was all Virtue!—and how unworthy
have I been of such a parent!—My youth was passed
beneath his eye, in which period I was instructed
in all the accomplishments which are supposed to
heighten the force of Beauty.

At the age of Eighteen my father gave me in
marriage to a young gentleman of amiable manners,
who loved me to excess.—I felt not a passion equal
to his; but I loved no other, and my innocence made
me believe that I felt for him all the tenderness a
heart was capable of feeling.—Oh! why was I ever
awakened from the happy error!

My father and my husband were both of the
Loyalist party, and consequently the British Officers AA5v 362
were in their houses treated with particular attention
and favor. A few months after our marriage,
towards the close of the war, a young Soldier, who
was said to be of fashion and of great fortune in England,
found admittance to our table. His Manners
were so engaging, that, after a few visits, my husband
requested him to reside with us entirely. The
invitation was gracefully accepted, and he became
one of our Family.

Oh, how did the hours glide in his society! Without,
all was Anarchy, Distress, and War, but, within
our walls, all was Elegance, and Taste, and Pleasure.
My husband never wearied of praising
his Guest; and my Heart fluttered, unconscious of
its error, with Delight, at hearing those praises.—
Alas, Sir! how shall I add the rest? By degrees that
heart became sensible to its situation, and knew it
loved—knew that it madly loved!

My husband was often absent; at those periods
our Guest never. It cannot be that I should relate
scenes of seduction and guilt—for seduction and
guilt did indeed follow! and I became abandoned to
my lover”—

Here tears and moans stopped the dying Penitent; AA6r 363
who at length, with many an interruption, continued.
“Think not that I became at once dead to honour
and every consideration of Duty!—though sure,
slow was my progress in the road of iniquity. Many
were my self-upbraidings, numberless my resolutions,
but at last, the voice of Duty died in my heart! and
Love reigned there a ruinating spoiler!

I had retired one afternoon to a summer house
in the farthest part of the garden. My Lover unexpectedly
appeared there—I say unexpectedly. The
suddenness of his approach, and the joy which accompanied
my surprise, made me forgetful of every
thing but him—and, whilst my arm familiarly reclined
on his shoulder, my injured husband entered
the apartment.

His cry of distraction was the first intimation we
received of his presence. He viewed us without
speaking, whilst we remained fixed like Statues
where he first beheld us. His first action was towards
his Sword; but, pausing, and viewing us awhile with
mingled rage and grief, he uttered a prayer for fortitude
to Heaven, and fled through the garden with
the most desperate velocity. This was the last moment
in which I ever saw him!

AA6v 364

We remained long in the fatal summer-house,
not knowing what conduct to pursue. The sense of
my Guilt overpowered me—I felt that happiness had
fled from me for ever! At length I ventured to return
to the house. With my eyes I sought what was
become of the Master, but, I dared not suffer my lips
to articulate his name! The servants did not seem
to be conscious that any extraordinary event had
happened, and all things appeared in their usual state
of composure. Thus the night passed, and three
succeeding days and nights, in all which time I heard
neither of my husband, nor of him who had caused
my Guilt. This frightful calm was at length

On the fourth morning, my father, my dear father!
entered my apartment with a countenance that
expressed the most dejected Sorrow. He took my
hand, however, with the utmost tenderness, and, by
the softness of his tones, removed the terror that had
seized me. He told me he had a deep Affliction to
prepare me for; and endeavoured to fortify my mind
with every argument of religion and submission before
he revealed it. In this dreadful suspense I uttered AA7r 365
not a word—my mind in fearful torturous expectation!

At length the impending ruin crushed me! He
informed me that, three days before, my husband had
joined the loyalist army, that an engagement had
taken place, and that he was amongst the first victims
of the battle! The effect this intelligence had
on me was scarcely less than frenzy. Instead of
weeping, I grew furious, calling myself my husband’s
Murderer, demanded Justice on myself, and talked
of circumstances which, though true, passed on those
about me as the effect of Delirium. These violent
perturbations ended in a Fever, from which—it was
my Punishment to recover.

With deepest Shame I acknowledge, that, as I
recovered, my passion revived. I now considered
myself at Liberty, and had no doubt that my tender
lover panted for the hour in which he could throw
himself at my feet, and recompense all my Sufferings
by uniting himself to me for ever!

The days and weeks wore on, and he appeared
not. At first I considered him as sacrificing to Decorum;
but, at the end of two months, I could no
longer resist enquiring of a lady when she had seen AA7v 366
the object of my thoughts. She answered, with great
unconcern, that he had hardly been seen at all for the
last month; for that he was so devoted to ******,
that he seldom spent an hour out of her presence;
that he spoke every where of his passion; and had
told his friends that he doated on her to such distraction,
that for her sake he had almost resolved to
give up his profession and his country, and settle in

How long my friend continued this fatal detail
I know not; my falling at length senseless at her feet
shocked her into silence. She in some degree suspected
the cause of so strong an emotion. Urged
therefore either by Prudence or Curiosity, she called
no assistance, but endeavoured to bring me to a recollection
of my miseries by the common methods.
On reviving from the fainting, I found my head reposed
upon her bosom, and her tears bedewing my
face. This tenderness unlocked my whole soul—
my woes were too poignant to admit of concealment,
and they were all unbosomed to her.”

“My failing spirits,” said the agitated narrator,
“will not permit me to continue in full detail. I
must pass over many Events, to tell you that this AA8r 367
friend prevailed on me to accompany her to England.
Her husband was a Loyalist, and had secured
himself; mine had been so, and the rebels made this
a pretext to rob me of all my possessions—too light
a punishment for crimes so deep!

I left America without daring to mention such a
design to my Father! I could not bear to rive his
heart with such intelligence from my lips; and I
could not exist on a spot—where every object kept
my sense of dishonour and wretchedness alive. I
wrote to him from the Port at which I landed, and
confessed all my Criminality, with a view to make his
mind yield to the propriety of my absence, and to
lessen his regrets in losing a child whom he could no
longer think worthy of his love!—Alas! I have since
learned that, for having been observant of his oath
of Allegiance to his King, he too has been doomed
to be deprived of his all.

On our arrival in England, my friends carried me
to a northern county, where I resided with them almost
two years, in tolerable tranquillity. My tears
frequently flowed before Heaven for my past offences,
tears that always left me more peaceful and
serene. This quiet state was at length interrupted, AA8v 368
by the passion of the man in whose family I resided.
My friend had, unwisely, informed her husband of
my former guilt, intelligence which he received with
malicious pleasure.

He considered that I had no right to defend myself
against his addresses on principles of Honour
having once outraged them, he daringly told me so.
On my continuing to express horror at his taking
upon himself the dreadful office of tempting me back
again to Sin, he had the brutality to add that my affected
niceness was an ungrateful return to his benevolence
in having so long supported me, and that if
I remained in so ungrateful a mood, it must be under
some other roof.

His roof I instantly quitted, though a stranger
in the kingdom, and known to no human being in
it, out of the little village in which we resided. But,
to remain there would have caused a hope that I did
not wish to avoid him; and I owed it to his Wife to
leave a situation in which I should be every hour
exposed to his injurious visits.

A Stage that passed at the instant of these reflections
suggested my relief. It was in winter, and
there was no fellow-traveller; which gloomy circumstance BB1r 369
was to me a desirable one, for it gave me leisure
to ponder over my sorrows, and to consider of
my future fate. The produce of the few valuables I
had been able to collect, from the wreck of my husband’s
property, were now nearly expended. The
torture of my reflections so overpowered me, that,
when the coach arrived in London, I was so ill as to
seem to the people of the Inn in a dying state—I am
thankful they were right!

The Coachman recommended me to this house,
kept by his relation as he informed me. I delivered
my purse to the Mistress of it, who, for a few weeks,
gave me some attendance; but, since that period
she has left me, no unwilling prey to the disorder
which will presently—”

“Unfeeling wretch!” exclaimed the youth, who had
till now seemed attentive to little but what
passed in the street; though the restlessness of his
motions, and now and then a heavy sigh, gave his
friend room to suspect him of more tenderness
and compassion than was thought to belong to his

The sudden force of this exclamation had a visible Vol. I. BB BB1v 370
effect on the dying Lady—but, neither she, nor the
gentleman who had been listening to her melancholy
tale, had time to notice it, for the door instantaneously
opened, and the venerable patient whom they
had first visited was seen approaching. The Nurse
tottered beneath his weight as with ghastly eyes
he surveyed the lovely creature—already on the
threshold of death. He stretched his arms towards
her, uttered a deep cry, and, reaching the bed, fell
on it, and expired!—

“My Father—my Father!”—exclaimed the Lady,
with a wild look, and bending over the corse—“but,
I’ll join thee—my woes end!’”
“Yes, thy woes are over,” said the youth, who
now turned from the window—“thy woes are over!
—But, oh! Caroline, when will end the anguish which
now seizes my soul! Behold the author of all thy
afflictions!—thy husband’s murderer, thy murderer,
and the murderer of thy Father!”

The Lady started from her father’s corse, and,
fixing her eyes on him for a moment with the most
dreadful expression, essayed to speak—but, Death
had already rendered rigid the organs of utterance— BB2r 371
his chill hand was on her Heart—she struggled a
moment—and then, without having uttered a sound,
sunk dead on her pillow.

Pause here, and behold the two Friends!—Both
young, both equally blessed with health and with fortune.
They had arisen in the morning for the occupations
of the day; it was before them—their actions
were to be chosen. One of them, passed its
opening hours in his usual routine of indolence, of
folly, of vapidity, and of expense—the hour of noon
beholds him a destroyer of lives, an accumulator of
crimes, a wretch crushed by a sense of his Iniquities!

The other, began the day like a favorite son of
Heaven, his heart was filled with Benevolence,
wherever he trod, his progress, like that of the Sun
with which he rose, gave life and joy.—Having
cheered his mind with acts of beneficence, he retired
from the woes he had contributed to lessen, to refine
the Pleasures that lay before him, and to taste
them with a Zest—of which the palled Libertine can
form no idea! He is, indeed, an Epicure—a Voluptuary
of the first order! Ye sons of Pleasure—be he
henceforth your Model!

The End.