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The Maſqueraders; or, Fatal Curioſity. Being a ſecret Hiſtory of a late Amour. The 3d Edition. Price 1 s.
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All Printed for J. Roberts, in Warwick-Lane.
Friend in London
Printed for J. Roberts, near the Oxford-
Arms, in Warwick-Lane. 17251725.
Among the many Friends you have at the Bath, I am ſurpriz’d you ſhould make choice of me for an Intelligence, who you know have neither Wit enough to ſet up for an Author, nor Ill-nature for a Satyriſt; but as you have thought me worthy of this great work, I will endeavour to go through it to the beſt of my power.
I do not doubt but that in enquiring into the Behaviour of the Ladies here in general, the greateſt part of the Satiſfaction you propoſe by it, is the Repetition of what your adorable Cloe ſays and does. To oblige you then, I ſhall B begin 2 B1v 2 begin with her――ſhe is lodged in a Houſe where there are ſome of the beſt, tho’ not greateſt Quality in the Place— ſhe carries herſelf amongſt them not overgay, or grave――ſhe receives all Company in Publick, but admits of none in Private――is a partaker of every Diverſion, yet ſeems moſt fond of Solitude――dreſſes leſs fine than thoſe of an inferior Rank, yet with a Genteelneſs that diſtinguiſhes her above her Superiors —ſhe ſees herſelf particulariz’d by every body, yet particularizes no body――is pleaſed with the deference that’s paid her, without growing proud on it―― in short, her Behaviour is ſuch, as you would wiſh to juſtify your Choice; ſhe is in every thing all you can deſire, and much more than, without ſeeing, you can comprehend.
I am ſorry to ſay, that your Brother’s Widow is the very reverſe of all this; what has been long believ’d, is now confirm’d: the mask of Prudery is pull’d off, and the intriguing Dame muſt henceforth act bare-faced: Long might ſhe have worn it――long might thoſe Inclinations been concealed from the World’s Eye, as tho’, indeed, as ſhe pretended, buried in the Tomb of her dead Husband――’till Age might ſhe have enjoy’d the Pleaſures of Youth, unknown to 3 B2r 3 to any but the happy He who ſhar’d ’em, had not the Jealouſy and prying Curioſity of a Rival ſearch’d into the Secret. She had ſome time ago, as Fame reports, happened by accident into the Company of Doddonus; he whoſe Heart, like Tinder, the leaſt ſpark of Beauty ſets on fire, became immediately charm’d with your fair Siſter, and accordingly made uſe of all the Wit and Addreſs he is maſter of, to let her know the Paſſion ſhe had inſpired him with—ſhe was not long inſenſible; and being, as you know, a great Politician herſelf, thought it would be doing an Injuſtice to the State, to ſuffer so conſiderable a Pillar of it to ſink by her diſdain; and therefore, as the Sequel has diſcover’d, in a very ſhort time return’d him Love for Love. In the height of the Affair, either an ill Health, or rather the Impoſſibility it was for any motive to induce her to abſcond from a place which ſhe knew afforded ſo many Opportunities of being admir’d, brought her this Seaſon to the Bath. He promis’d to follow in a ſhort time, being, as he ſaid, prevented from coming when ſhe did, by ſome Buſineſs of the utmoſt importance to the Nation. They agreed, however, to write to each other; but unfortunately for the Lady’s Reputation, Flavia, who it ſeems has long held a B2 Cor- 4 B2v 4 Correſpondence with him, of the ſame nature, happened to ſend her Servant to the Poſt-Houſe at the ſame moment the other was putting in a Letter there. The extraordinary care ſhe took in concealing this Affair, was the only thing that reveal’d it; had ſhe truſted any other Perſon with the Carriage, ’tis probable Flavia’s Servant had not regarded to whom it was directed; but being herſelf the Bearer, and giving a charge to have it taken a particular care of, excited the Fellow’s Curioſity to glance at the Superſcription; which he no ſooner had diſcovered, than gueſſing at the Engagement his Lady had with him, he haſten’d home with the News. The Fury and Spirit of Revenge, incident to Jealouſy, immediately ſiez’d her; and agitated by every Emotion at enmity with Goodnature, preſently contriv’d the means both to ſatisfy herſelf how far the Amour between them had been carried, and alſo to expoſe it――ſhe writ the ſame Evening to a Confidant in London, to watch the coming in of the Poſt, and enquire for a Letter directed to Doddonus; for her Emiſſary had told her, it was ordered to be left at the Office till call’d for. Her Stratagem ſucceeded ſo well, that the next Return ſhe was in poſſeſſion of her Rival’s Letter, enclos’d in one from 5 B3r 5 from the Friend ſhe had employ’d to intercept it: You may believe that it was neither to tear, nor burn, ſhe took ſo much pains to get it into her poſſeſſion—the dear Miſchief ſhe propos’d by it, was too precious to be loſt—ſhe ſhow’d it in all Companies, and to heighten the Contents, (which were, indeed, as amorous as Mrs. O—f—d’s Eyes, or the Writings of the Author of Love in Exceſs) ſhe added a thouſand Circumſtances which ’twas impoſſible ſhe cou’d ever come to the knowledge of.—The Hand was perfectly well known, and no body makes a doubt but that it was really wrote by the Lady whoſe Name is to it; but the means by which Flavia came to be Miſtreſs of ſuch a Secret, is as yet but whiſper’d. The Scene, however, affords no ſmall matter of Diverſion to thoſe who are diſintereſted in it: the Widow, either becauſe ſome unlucky Creature has put it into her head, or becauſe ſhe can think of no other way by which her Letter ſhould be expos’d, verily believes Doddonus has been faithleſs enough to ſacrifice her to Flavia; and in return, repeats, and invents a thouſand things to the prejudice of her Rival.— There is not the leaſt falſe Step in either of their Lives, but by each other’s Malice is made publick: both have drawn numbers to their Parties; ſome few, perhaps, in- 6 B3v 6 inſtigated by Friendſhip; but many more, who by fomenting this Quarrel, do it only with a View of having a farther Subject to exerciſe their belov’d Talent of Ridicule.――My Lord Wordy, indeed, very zealouſly declares himſelf on your Siſter’s ſide, but the Reaſon of it is plain; every body knows he had once a Deſign on Flavia, made her ſeveral fine Preſents, and loſt abundance of time, in ſoliciting her for a Favour, he has ſince heard Doddonus obtain’d with no more expence than a Copy of Verſes, and thoſe too not of his own compoſing; but wrote at his requeſt by a Poet, more eminent by his Paſſion for the Laſs with the Golden Hair, than any other Incident of Life. Revenge, therefore, engages the Peer to eſpouſe the Widow’s Cauſe againſt Flavia, as it does Captain Love-penny to take the contrary ſide. The War between theſe fair Antagoniſts every day grows fiercer, but to which the Victory will fall, is uncertain, till the arrival of Doddonus, who is now expected with great Impatience.— ’Tis in your power, by communicating this Affair to ſome who may deliver it to Strawberia, to create no leſs Diverſion in Town than we have had at Bath; but I ſhou’d not have put it into your head, leſt you really ſhould be fond enough of Miſchief to do it, and by that means, he ſhould be pre- 7 B4r 7 prevented from coming here this Seaſon; for I am told, that Lady has ſo great an aſcendant over him, that in ſpite of the mutability of his Temper, he durſt no more diſoblige her, than ſhe his Footman.――But that as you pleaſe――I neither excite nor diſſuade, the Satisfaction of my Friends being always more preferable to me than my own.
But I muſt not forget to acquaint you, that while my Lord Wordy is ſo buſy in expoſing the Frailties of poor Flavia, he does not eſcape being made the Jeſt of all the Company himſelf.—You know he was ever addicted to boaſt of Ladies Favours— ſome waggiſh Gentlemen here contriv’d to ſend him a Letter as from a Woman of Quality, but left him to gueſs at the Name, ſigning no other than Incognita; this was an Aſſignation to meet in a Field about a Mile diſtant from the Bath—the day they choſe, happen’d to be the moſt rainy we have had this year; the meeting was to be ſo private, that he was charg’d to leave his Coach a good diſtance from the Place, and while he went, KnightErrant like, defying Wind and Weather, walking for a good ſpace of time expecting his Dulcinea, thoſe who had ſent him on the Adventure, order’d their Servants to go diſguis’d, and cut all the Harneſſes of the Horſes; and at his return, he 8 B4v 8 he found himſelf oblig’d to walk to his Lodgings in the moſt miry and piteous Condition that ever diſappointed Lover was in. But I ſhould have inform’d you, that having communicated the Invitation he receiv’d from this imaginary fine Lady, to thoſe very Gentlemen who had laid the Plot, and promis’d to acquaint them with his Succeſs; in ſpite of the Fatigue he had endur’d, he now dreſs’d him, and went to the Tavern where they had appointed to meet; and on their asking him if he had been happy, O! beyond Imagination, (cryd he) the lovelieſt, moſt enchanting of her Sex――one you little think on;—the kind Creature was there before me, and after ſhe had diſcover’d to me who ſhe was, conſented to go with me to a place which I always make uſe of when my Amour is with Women of Condition:—But what do you think! (continu’d he) while I was talking with her, ſome Villains took the opportunity of my Raſcal’s abſence, who, it ſeems, was gone to regale himſelf at an adjacent Alehouſe, and cut the Harneſſes of my Coach: ’twas a damn’d diſappointment, becauſe I ſhould elſe have had the pleaſure of her Company all night; and you know, Gentlemen, I could not ask a Woman of Quality to walk with me to Town, it would certainly have expos’d her in ſo cenſorious a Place as 9 C1r 9 as this. Well, but, ſaid one of the Perſons he had ſpoke this to, How did the Lady get to the Fields, for I think there has not been a fair Moment this Afternoon?――O’ (reply’d my Lord) let a Woman alone for Contrivance, when ſhe is to meet the Man ſhe loves;――ſhe came in her own Chariot to the Houſe of a Lady, who lives juſt by the Place I met her in, and telling her that ſhe heard her Husband had made an aſſignation with a Woman in that Field, ſhe was come with a deſign to obſerve them:――the Excuſe paſs’d current, and ſhe met her Lover under the cover of watching her Husband. ’Twas lucky indeed on her ſide, (reſum’d the Gentleman) who had put him to the trouble of this invention; but I hope, ſaid he, your Lordſhip made ſure of her, notwithſtanding the diſappointment the Rogues gave you in demoliſhing your Harneſs. Aye, aye, (reply’d my Lord) you need not doubt that――as the Poet ſays, Many a Nymph has on the Graſs been ſpread,And much good Love without a Feather-bed. The Weather, however, would not admit of that, but you know my Coach was there, and tho’ it was diſabled from travelling,C ling, 10 C1v 10 ling, it ſerv’d us on this occaſion.―― Theſe Words were accompanied with a loud Laugh, which was immediately ecchoed by the whole Company, tho’ not as he imagin’d, but at the improbable Fiction he had invented, to conceal his Diſappointment.
But this was but the beginning of the Diverſion, that has been made of his Vanity: they continued to proſecute what they had begun, and the next day ſent him another Letter as from the ſame enamour’d Lady, deſiring he would excuſe her failing in the former Aſſignation, and that he would meet her at another place; where, when he went, expecting to be amply recompenſed for the fatigue he had endur’d on her account, inſtead of an amorous obliging Miſtreſs, he found only a Letter which had been left for him; the Contents of it would have been a ſufficient Mortification to any Man but himſelf. Never was there a more ſevere or juſt piece of Raillery both on his Perſon and Underſtanding; but the Diſeaſe is incurable, ’tis not in the power of Wit to work a Reformation in the Manners of this incorrigible Coxcomb; he will believe himſelf the moſt agreeable Perſon on Earth, in ſpite of his Taylor and Looking-Glaſs: and tho’ his Study extends no farther than an 11 C2r 11 an Engliſh Novel or a Song, thinks thoſe People are of wretched Capacities, who have recourſe to the Claſſick Authors for Improvement.
But I will trouble you no farther on ſo worthleſs a Subject: I happened myſelf on a diſcovery laſt Night, which I think more ſurprizing than any thing I ever met with in my whole Life: you are acquainted with my Lady Bellair, and doubtleſs have been one to whom ſhe has declared the prodigious Paſſion ſhe has for my Lord her Husband, and lamented the little Return he makes, and the number of her Rivals. This I am certain you cannot but know, ſince her Love and Jealouſy are the only Topicks with which ſhe entertains all thoſe with whom ſhe has an Intimacy: neither are you ignorant that he has long been in Love with Miſs Forward; how far ſhe has been influenced by his Addreſſes, I will not pretend to ſay; but ’tis paſt a queſtion, that ſhe has receiv’d Preſents from him to a conſiderable Value――But that is not the Buſineſs; what has engroſs’d the Wonder of every body here, is, that my Lady, who would not be ſeen in her Company in London, rail’d at her whereever ſhe came, and accuſed her of a too great Intimacy with her Husband, with an Aſſurance as tho’ ſhe had had the moſt C2 evident 12 C2v 12 evident Demonſtrations of it; now courts and careſſes her, as the deareſt of her Friends, ſeems never ſo well, as when ſhe is with her, confeſſes her Suſpicions of her Virtue were injurious; and, to convince the World how ſenſible ſhe is of the Error ſhe has been guilty of, goes abroad whole Afternoons together, and leaves her with my Lord at Picquet. Various have been the Conjectures on this Proceeding; but the moſt general Opinion is, that my Lady has only acted the politick part, and by giving them thoſe Opportunities, hopes to have ſurer Proofs of the Levity of that young Girl, and the Falſhood of her Husband, than ſhe could have while her Jealouſy kept them on their guard. There was, indeed, nothing improbable, in this Suggeſtion, and I was one of thoſe who believ’d this really was the motive which had induced her to behave in ſo different a manner from what ſhe had been acuſtom’d; nor would it have been a very eaſy matter to have inſpir’d me with any other Sentiments, had any but my own Eyes and Ears attempted to undeceive me.
The Weather being more than ordinarily hot laſt Night, I went into the Garden, hoping to find that Refreſhment from the Air, which at that time neither Company nor Books could afford me— Being 13 C3r 13 Being got into a contemplative Humour, I ſat down in a little Arbour, indulging Thought; but my Cogitations receiv’d an immediate Interruption: I had ſcarce plac’d myſelf, before the murmuring of Voices, one of which I imagin’d not unknown to me, oblig’d me to delay Reflection, and obey the dictates of a preſent Curioſity.――I laid my Ear as cloſe as I could to the little Partition thro’ which I had diſcover’d the Sound to come, and preſently heard theſe Words:
Why, my Charmer! ſhould you raiſe theſe fruitleſs Objections againſt my Happineſs! is it not a juſtice you owe yourſelf?—does not your ungrateful Husband prefer a little taudery Flirt to the moſt lovely of her Sex? ――is it not plain to the whole World that you are ſlighted, wrong’d; your Goodneſs made a Property?――and can you ſtill perſiſt to love him?――No, (reply’d the other) it would be calling my Underſtanding in queſtion but to ſuſpect I ſtill can love him――but my Virtue muſt ever be dear to me―― Oh! do not, do not, therefore, tempt me farther. I needed no more than this, to convince me it was my Lady Bellair and a Gentleman of the long Robe, whoſe Pleadings were more ſucceſsful here, than ever he can hope they will be at the Bar. After 14 C3v 14 After a little more Diſcourſe, his Arguments growing more forcible, hers leſs reluctant, all Coherence in their Converſation was at an end; and all that I could hear for ſome time, were gentle Sighs and the Sound of ſome few Words, which tho’ too intelligible to be repeated, made me give an eaſy gueſs at the meaning, which a while after the Lady confirm’d by ſaying,―― Ah! my dear Counſellor! what would become of me, if you ſhould now be falſe?――If like my Husband you ſhould deſpiſe a known Felicity, and rove in ſearch of new untaſted Pleaſures?―― May I be that moment ſtricken blind, (anſwer’d he) whenever I ceaſe to adore theſe Charms, or make it not the chief Buſineſs of my Life to render myſelf worthy of the Joys I have poſſeſs’d.―― There paſs’d between them many more Proteſtations of the like nature, and which are too common in Affairs of this kind, to afford any thing novelle in the Repetition of――When I found they were about to leave the place they were in, I clamber’d up a little Tree, which overlook’d the Garden; and it not being very dark, ſaw them go into the Houſe, ſtopping every two or three Paces, to renew their Vows, and ſeal them with a Kiſs.――This Indiſcretion in a Woman of that Lady’s Character, ſurpriz’d me 15 C4r 15 me no leſs than her Fall from Virtue had done; becauſe as there were ſeveral Lodgers both in the Houſe I was in, and that ſhe went into, ſhe could not be certain, but that ſome one, agitated by the ſame Curioſity I was, might obſerve their Behaviour――But when that little Devil, Cupid, has once taken poſſeſſion of the Senſes, there is ſeldom any room for Prudence.
What will be the Conſequence of this Amour, as yet is uncertain; but ’tis highly probable, will not be long a Secret. The Counſellor has a Miſtreſs, who I believe, for all his Profeſſions to my Lady, he will not quit—the other will find it out, and the ſame Jealouſy which prevail’d on her to forego her Honour in revenge to her Husband, will carry her to a great length againſt her Lover; ſhe will doubtleſs endeavour to ruin his Fortune, if she cannot hold his Heart, and I propheſy a world of Confuſion in both theſe Families. If any thing happens of moment, while they ſtay at Bath, I will take care to acquaint you with it; as also all the freſh Intelligence that arrives: and I believe ſhall, by next Poſt, be maſter of a Secret worth the telling; ’till when, dear Will, Adieu, and believe me to be
I had like to have forgot acquainting you, that Mrs. Portly is gone away wvery ill; they ſay, in order to be cur’d of a natural Timpany, occaſioned by her drinking the Waters at Tunbridge.
I Find it is but giving a willing Ear to Scandal, and a thouſand Tongues are ready to oblige you, eſpecially in ſuch a place as this. If a Perſon has a mind to have his Character, Humour, Circumſtances, nay, thoſe of his great Grandfather, repeated, let him come to the Bath. They trace your Family to the very Origin, and can give you a better account why ſuch a one has a Field d’ Argent, or ſuch a one d’ Ore in his Eſcutcheon, than the Herald himſelf—For my part, I always took Dick Moody to be of a good Deſcent; his Anceſtors for ſome Generations have been in poſſeſſion of a fine Eſtate, bore handſome Arms, and never had their Gentility called in queſtion, till poor Dick unluckily falling in love with a Girl that ſells Fruit here, they tell me ’tis a Sympathy of nature; that the firſt of the Family was a Coſtermonger,monger, 17 D1r 17 monger, and bring Arguments from Philoſophy to prove that ſooner or later, every thing returns to its Original. But his Misfortune is but a trifling one in compariſon with that which a Friend of ours labours under; who happening to be of the ſame name with a very great Man, had perſuaded Lady Rampant to believe he was of that Family, and on the merit of that was very near ſucceeding in his Pretenſions to her. He is now diſcovered to be of a quite different Genealogy, and ſo far from being related, that they are of widely diſtant Counties. That Lady, who proteſts ſhe will never marry beneath her Rank, has diſcarded him on this Information; and he is grown ſo melancholy on the Occaſion, that it confirms what is ſaid of him, that he is indeed very meanly born, ſince no one who is really a Gentleman, could look on the loſs of an Eſtate, with ſuch a Woman tack’d to it, as a very great cauſe of Affliction.
But ſo much for Pedigree. Tho’ nothing is more talk’d of here, yet I know Intrigue is your darling Theme; you are not ſo induſtrious in diſcovering what People are, as what they do. To oblige you then, I ſhall make no ſcruple of letting you into the Faux-Paus of a Lady, whoſe Charms merit more Good D natur- 18 D1v 18 nature than ſhe has found. After having ſpoke of her with this Tenderneſs, I do not doubt but you will eaſily gueſs it is no other than the agreeable Amanda that I mean.――The long ſuffering Virtue of that beautiful Creature, I confeſs, has ingrafted in me ſo peculiar an Eſteem for her, that the Knowledge of her late Miſmanagement (which is now alas! too plain) cannot eraſe it: but the pityleſs World is not of my Opinion. Tho’ every body knows ſhe bore for ſeveral Years the worſt of Uſage from her ungenerous Husband, with the moſt exemplary Patience and Reſignation; yet then the Voice of Fame was ſilent, not a Mouth was open to proclaim her Virtues: but when urg’d by Provocations beyond what Humanity could ſuſtain, ſhe fell into Meaſures not altogether ſo blameleſs. How fond is every one of cenſuring and condemning her! which admirably well verifies what the late inimitable Doctor Garth ſays in his Diſpenſary on that Occaſion:On Eagles Wings immortal Scandals fly, While virtuous Actions are but born and die.
But to the purpoſe, the Hiſtory of this unfortunate Lady is this: Being married very young, and to a Man that had D taken 19 D2r 19 taken more pains to gain her Parents Conſent than her own, it could not be expected ſhe could have any great Paſſion for him――Duty, however, and Good-nature made up for that Deficiency, and never was there a better, or more endearing Wife.――For about a Month, indeed, he liv’d with her in a mutual Felicity; but the Corruption of the Times, ill Company, and his own Depravity of Taſte, ſoon made him grow careleſs of the Bleſſing he enjoy’d, and rove elſewhere in ſearch of Pleaſure――he found it to his coſt: he brought her home a Diſeaſe, under which they both languiſh’d for many Months――yet did not this fatal effect of Libertiniſm in the leaſt reclaim him. He was no ſooner cured than he repeated the ſame Crime, and had the ſame Puniſhment as before; he did not, indeed, this ſecond time communicate it to his Lady: but the Grief it was to her, to find ſo ill a Return for her foregiving Goodneſs, is not to be expreſs’d: ſhe behav’d herſelf to him, however, with an unparallel’d Sweetneſs of Humour; never upbraiding him with what was paſs’d, only conjuring him for the future to have more regard to himſelf and her: but all ſhe ſaid, was ineffectual to reclaim him――He rather grew worſe; and becauſe it was not in his nature to D2 uſe 20 D2v 20 uſe her as well as ſhe deſerv’d, he uſed her in the worſt manner it was poſſible for him to do, or her to bear. After a long Series of continued Barbarity, ſhe was at laſt perſuaded by ſome ſhe took to be her Friends, to try if Jealouſy would work any alteration in his Sentiments; being brought to believe, that the apprehenſion of having the Injuries he did her retaliated in kind, would make him ſee his Error, and deſiſt giving him any further Provocations to a Wife who when ſo young and lovely as Amanda, always has it in her power to be reveng’d―― This it was that was the Ruin of this unhappy Lady――accuſtoming herſelf to liſten to the fine things, that, on her giving Encouragement to ’em, were daily ſaid to her, made her in time grow pleas’d with hearing ’em; and when the witty, gay Cleanthus attack’d her, all the Reſolution which had defended her in other Encounters, now forſook her―― In fine, ſhe yielded, and had not long done ſo, before either thro’ their own Inadvertency, or the Malice of ſome inquiſitive People, the Affair was diſcover’d; and ſhe who never had, when the moſt free from Blame herſelf, the Ill-nature to exclaim againſt the moſt notorious Faults of others, is now condemn’d as the moſt criminal Woman on Earth; ſhe finds 21 D3r 21 finds none to excuſe or alleviate a Frailty ſhe was but betray’d into, and provok’d to, by all that can urge a Woman’s juſt Reſentment.
The Caſe of Berecillia cannot thus be pleaded: ſhe married my Lord Sparkiſh purely thro Inclination; he makes her a perfect complaiſant Husband, and loves her as well as it is the faſhion for Men to love their Wives; yet ſhe carries on an Intrigue here with Baſſet the Gameſter, in a manner ſo publick, that if my Lord had not an unvanquiſhable Averſion for a naked Sword, he would have tried the Metal of the other’s Blade: but being a Lover of Peace, he counterfeits a Blindneſs to their Behaviour, and is the only one who ſeems ignorant of his own Shame.
Celſus is as much in the Extremes the other way, he is jealous of every Man who looks on his Wife――Bellvile happen’d but to offer her a Pinch of Snuff the other day, and ſhe has not been ſeen on the Walks ſince: but while he takes this particular care of her abroad, ’tis rumour’d ſhe finds a way to make herſelf amends at home――they ſay his own Coachman is his Rival.――How true this Report is, I will not pretend to determine; but the Ground from which it was taken, was a fine Diamond Ring the Fellow 22 D3v 22 Fellow had on his Finger, pretending he had found it; and a few days after, a Jew, of whom it had been bought, came to demand the Money, which Bericillia paid. It was, indeed, eaſy for her to do it, for the doating Celſus denies her nothing but Liberty, and there is no Extravagance as to Dreſs or Entertainments, (provided they are made for only Female Friends) that he does not willingly permit.
Poor Camia, tho better deſerving, has not this good Fortune; ſhe is married to an old Man, who is not only exceſſively jealous, but covetous and ill-natur’d alſo; ſhe told me it was with the utmoſt Reluctance he conſented to her coming to the Bath, and ſhe believes had never been perſuaded to it, if the Phyſicians had not adviſed him to bring her, it being the only means they knew of, to remove Barrenneſs―― The hope of having an Heir, at laſt won him, and the Gentlemen here are not a little merry on the Occaſion; and ſome of them are reſolv’d to leave no Means unattempted to procure him his Deſire, by a Remedy, which, ’tis probable, may be more effectual than the Waters.―― How far the Stratagems that are laid will ſucceed, I cannot tell――the young Lady as yet has carry’d herſelf with an uncommon Prudence, conſidering her Circumſtances;ſtances; 23 D4r 23 ſtances; and I am apt to believe, her Inclinations are truly virtuous; how they may alter, ’tis Time alone muſt teſtify: tho whenever that happens, this I dare maintain, that it will be more owing to her Husband’s ill Treatment, than to any amorous Stars of her own. Lord Moody has already began to attack her, but I dare ſwear ’twill be without Succeſs; for ſhe has too good an Underſtanding, if ſhe does accept of a Gallant, not to make choice of one whoſe Temper is more different from her Husband’s.
Our old Acquaintance the Colonel and his Bride make a very great figure here— ſhe is a Woman generally liked, I know ſeveral that have Deſigns on her; but if ſhe does prove frail (as ’tis not impoſſible, conſidering her Husband’s Conſtitution, but ſhe may) I believe it will be in favour of Jack Townley――ſhe has not been acquainted with him above a Week, and is ſo free with him, that ſome who have been witneſs of her Behaviour, ſcruple not to give her to him for a Miſtreſs already; if ſo, it will be no ſmall Diſappointment to Venario, who is ſtark mad in love with her. This is a Gentleman, to whom, becauſe I believe you are a Stranger, I ſhall give you his Character: He is a younger Brother of a good Family, and having his Fortune to make in the 24 D4v 24 the World, very zealouſly apply’d himſelf to the Service of a Miniſter of State; he has found his account in it, and beſide a handſome Poſt at Court, has been a conſiderable Gainer in the South-Sea Scheme; inſomuch that when his elder Brother was oblig’d to ſell his Acres, he was able to become the Purchaſer of the greateſt part of them――But his Succeſs with the fair Sex has been vaſtly different: being of the moſt amorous Diſpoſition that ever was, in the height of his good Fortune, he courted on honourable Terms a Milliner’s Prentice, and was refuſed by her; the conſtant Swain fell ſick――his Life was deſpair’d of, yet all this mov’d not the relentleſs Fair.――When with much ado he was recover’d, he fell a ſecond time into Cupid’s Snare, but as unhappily as before it was with the Wife of a certain Tradeſman, by whom, after having made his Addreſſes, he was expoſed to her Husband; who, by a hearty Beating, let him know that all Citizens are not of a humour to barter their Wives Honeſty for the gaining a good Cuſtomer. He has had ſeveral other unlucky Adventures on the ſame ſcore, among which, I have a ſtrong Suſpicion his Deſign on the Colonel’s fair Wife will be number’d: tho if the Girl were acqainted with their Diſpoſitions, ſhe would, of the two, preferfer 25 E1r 25 fer him to Townley, who will not only ſlight her in a Week, but alſo ſacrifice her Reputation to the next new Face he ſees.
But among the prodigious number of Toaſts we have here, I know of none more devoutly celebrated than the beautiful Counteſs, that ſupp’d with us at Whitehall the Evening before I left London――whenever ſhe appears, ſhe ſweeps the Walks, and all the rival Charmers are left neglected to lament their own want of Power, and contrive which way to leſſen hers――ſome cry, ſhe is beholden more to Art than Nature for the Delicacy of her Complection――others ſay, ſhe wears falſe Hair――I heard the other day one of theſe fair Envyers proteſt her Teeth were not her own: No, no,added another, ſhe loſt them when ſhe was under Cure for a loathſome Diſeaſe, which ſhe pretends her Husband gave her; but I know who ſhe had an affair with at that time, and he died of it.――Well, well, cry’d another (affecting a little more Good-nature, but in reality as malicious as any of the reſt) take her all together, the Woman is very tolerable, but you muſt not examine her ――I do believe ſhe was a fine Creature ten Years ago――but if it was not for Art, the Decay would be prodigiouſly obſervable.E ſervable. 26 E1v 26 ſervable.――She has lived ſtrangely irregular,ſaid a fourth, ſhe drinks hard, and is as great a Debauchee in private, as ever a Fellow in Town is in publick.―― In this manner did they take the poor Lady to pieces, forgetting, all the while they were endeavouring to make her be thought leſs worthy of Eſteem, their own Charms loſt more by the viſible Malice that ſat upon their Features, than all they could ſay could caſt on hers――it would not be in the power of all her Enemies, were the Number of ’em greater than it is, to blacken a Beauty ſo reſplendent, did ſhe not contribute herſelf to her own Deſtruction, by making choice of Favourites ſo unworthy of her notice――her Correſpondence in London with the Hibernian Captain, and at Bath with an Enamorato of the ſame Nation, has done her more prejudice, than all the Suggeſtions Malice could invent.
Nor is her Intimate, Lady R――, more diſcreet; her Conduct excites the Wonder of every body here, nor will you be leſs aſtoniſh’d, when I ſhall tell you, that in ſpite of the Paſſion ſhe made ſuch profeſſions of to the Knight, ſhe has enter’d into an amorous League with a young Fop, who makes it his buſineſs to boaſt of the Favours he receives from her; a married Fellow too, and one whoſe Wife, think- 27 E2r 27 thinking her Prerogative infring’d, rails in a moſt ſcurrilous manner, ſo that between the Husband’s Vanity, and the Wife’s Jealouſy, nothing that paſſes between them is a Secret; I have ſeen him in publick Company, where I have been once, ſhow her Letters, he tore the Name indeed, but what of that, when the Particulars diſcover’d the Author too plainly, for any one to miſtake, and where they were wanting, either thro Deſign of Inadvertency he made it out: neither is this all which expoſes her, ſhe toys with him, is jealous of him, falls in Fits if ſhe ſees him but barely civil to any other Woman, and all this without regard who obſerves her Behaviour, or what may be conjectur’d by it.――The truth is, I believe, ſome Women glory in their Amours, and think it a greater Honour to be thought amiable than virtuous; if it were not so, we ſhould not have half the Subject for that juſt Satire which we now abound in. I could give you innumerable Proofs of this Lady’s Infatuation, for I can call it no other, if I were not afraid of making my Epiſtle too tedious, and know beſides you are impatient for a new Subject―― You expect, perhaps, I ſhould entertain you with ſome Amours of my own, but I can tell you, Example has no effect on me; and I can be told my Friends are E2 em- 28 E2v 28 employ’d in their ſeveral Intrigues, without envying their Happineſs, or wiſhing to partake it.――If ever I knew what an amorous Inclination was, ſince my coming to the Bath, it was for the Wife of a French Merchant, and I believe ſhould have made a tryal how far Fortune would have befriended me, if I had not diſcovered, an intimate Friend had been before-hand with me, and took off all the ſtock of Love that Lady had on her hands. ――I had a kind of an Overture made me by a Jeweſs; but I am too good a Chriſtian to deal with thoſe who believe in Circumciſion: I communicated the matter, however, to a Relation of mine, who improv’d the warmth of her Inclinations pretty much to his own advantage――he has little but his Wits to depend on, and ſhe finds ſomething in him deſerving of a great many conſiderable Preſents; therefore, if he can anſwer it to his Conſcience, I think he makes the beſt uſe of her Favours a Man can do of a Woman’s who is turn’d of Forty.
But to return to Informations more agreeable, there goes a pleaſant Story of the Peer, with a great Equipage, and no Eſtate: he was paſſionately in love with the Wife of a certain Citizen, ſollicited her a long time for the Favour. At length ſhe made him a kind of Promiſe, and 29 E3r 29 and appointed a day for his coming: he came according to Directions; but an impertinent Viſiter being in the way, for a pretence he ſat down to Picket—My Lord was the winner; and when they were left alone, ſeem’d to have forgot the Buſineſs he came upon, to proſecute his Play— The Lady reminded him of it; by ſaying ſhe was weary of the Cards; but all did not do, he could not bear to give over while Fortune was on his ſide; ’till ſhe pretending she was ſtript, threw the Cards and Counters on the Floor, and ſwore ſhe never had ſuch luck in her Life――Finding it impoſſible to prevail on her to play any more, he now bethought him that it was a different Entertainment ſhe had made him hope—he began to preſs her to make him happy, ſwore there was nothing on Earth he wiſh’d with half that Fervency, as the bleſſing of her Love, and uſed all thoſe means to prevail on her to grant his Deſire, which have been ſo ſucceſsful in his other Amours――but the Lady putting him off with an Air of Ridicule――No, no, my Lord! (ſaid ſhe) as great a Paſſion as you now would make me believe you have for my Perſon, you had a much greater a while ago for my Money: therefore to ſhow how willing I am to gratify you, when I am in Bank again, I will let you know.— She would 30 E3v 30 would not give him leave to make any Excuse for himſelf; but ringing her Bell, ordered her Coach to be got ready, and left the diſappointed Peer to repent of his Behaviour at leiſure.――It muſt be acknowledged, ſhe was extremely in the right; and if ſhe holds her Reſolution, ’twill be a greater Mortification than his Lordſhip’s Vanity ever yet met with— not that ſo general a Lover as he is can take it much to heart, for he has here variety of Affairs on his hands; but the Baulk of this being owing to himself, encreaſes the Vexation. Were I in his place, I confeſs I ſhould hate the ſight of a Card this Twelvemonth.
It was not thus an old Marquiſs behav’d himſelf; who happening to have an Opportunity with a young Lady, who perhaps had not granted it, if ſhe had not depended on his Age for a Protection—he no ſooner ſaw himſelf alone with her, than he threw her on a Couch, and had certainly raviſh’d her, if ſhe had not call’d for Aſſiſtance――but tho’ he miſs’d of his Intent, he has acquir’d no ſmall Reputation for his Vigour; and I know a Lady, a great pretender too to Virtue, that once could not endure the ſight of him, now cannot drink her Tea without him, and cries him up for the beſt-humour’d Man in the World――’tis true, ſhe does not ſeem 31 E4r 31 ſeem to believe the Story that is told of him, and condemns the young Lady for her Folly, in not knowing how to take a Jeſt.
As I was on the Walks the other day, my Lord Grievous took up a Letter: I ſaw him colour at the reading it; and preſently after meeting my Lady, he paſs’d her without ſpeaking, and a world of diſcontent in his Countenance, and the next day I was told by one of the Family, that he quarrell’d with her violently about it――it ſeems it was one ſhe had written to a French Officer, not that the Contents ſo much alarm’d him, being long ſince convinced of her Ladyſhip’s Inclinations; but he was enrag’d to the laſt degree at her want of that Caution, which was neceſſary for his Honour―― ’Tis a ſtrange thing (he was over-heard to ſay) that Women cannot be diſcreet in the concealment of their little Foibles ――ſuppoſe any other had found this Letter――how ſhould we both have been ridicul’d! ’Tis thought that the natural Vanity of the French induc’d him to drop this Letter on purpoſe to let the Company know how happy he was―― I have ſince been in his Company, and took the liberty of raillying him about it; and, indeed, his Anſwers were ſuch as 32 E4v 32 as inclines me to believe he is not much troubled at the Accident.
Doddonus is not yet arriv’d, and the Rival Ladies continue their Animoſity, to the diverſion of the Company――I have not compleated the Intelligence I have for you; but am juſt now ſummon’d to a place where I expect to hear more; which, the next Poſt, ſhall be communicated to you: in the mean time, dear Will, excuſe,
If in return for my Scandal, you will ſend me what new Books are come out, I ſhall think myſelf over paid――Bleſs me, what had I like to have forgot!―― I was laſt night in company with Cloe ――I drank your Health, and ſhe ſeem’d to pledge me with pleaſure; as did Belinda. I wiſh that Lady has not a kindneſs for you, which is not in your power to return—ſhe ſigh’d when I raillied her fair Friend about you, and look’d, methought, with a Languiſhment in her Eyes, as if ſhe wiſh’d herſelf in Cloe’s place―― but I am ſent for again, and muſt add no more than Adieu.
I Believe my good Friend begins to think I grow ſlack in the Performance of the Task he ſet me; three times has the Poſt gone out ſince I writ, but I aſſure you the Omiſſion has neither been occaſion’d by Neglect, or want of Intelligence, but meerly thro a Debauch; which Sin, Heaven forgive you for, ſince you were the only Cauſe of my having fallen into it――Being invited by ſome Rakes of Quality to go with them to the Houſe of a certain great Lady not far from the Bath, I comply’d with their Requeſt for no other reaſon than the hope of hearing ſomething among them which might be worth communicating to you— they drank ſo exceſſive hard, that my Conſtitution would not bear it, and I have not, till this moment, been capable of putting Pen to Paper――What you reproach me with therefore in your laſt, is very unjuſt, that I have a mind to keep all the Secrets to myſelf, that I may have the pleaſure of telling them firſt; for I aſſure you, there is nothing affords me leſs F Satiſ- 34 F1v 34 Satisfaction, than the finding out Failings of this kind; and the expoſing them, is yet more ungrateful: I know no Perſon in the World but yourſelf, whom I would oblige this way at the expence of my Good-nature. But ſince I have promis’d it, and have already begun to execute your Commands, will not now pretend to make any Arguments how far it may or may not be agreeable to my own Inclinations; ’tis ſufficient I do you a pleaſure, which, my dear Will, you muſt give me leave to aſſure you, ſhall always be the firſt thing in view.
But ſetting aſide Preambles, the Succeſs of the Adventure in going to this Lady’s Houſe was as follows――I got, as I have already intimated, moſt inſufferably drunk――ſick to death, but retain’d my Senſes as well as ever: by this means I had the opportunity of obſerving every thing, without being ſuſpected to be capable of obſerving any thing―― There was but one among us that was ſober, and he kept himſelf ſo only for a reaſon, that you ſhall preſently be acquainted with――The Lady, who is no other than the Wife of a certain Friend of ours, who, for fear of my Letters being intercepted, I ſhall only call by the Name of the Knight of the ſorrowful Countenance, as appears by what I have to 35 F2r 35 to deliver, has an Intrigue with this Gentleman――her Husband is in London, and the Spark, pretending Ignorance that he was abſent, carry’d us all with him to viſit there. The Glaſs went briskly about, and when every body was, as I tell you, grown in all appearance Non Compos Mentis, they withdrew into a little Chamber within the Parlour, where they could immediately hear if any of the Servants came in, as I could, who ſat pretty near the Door, all that paſs’d between them— You know, dear Will, I am not very amorous, but the luſcious Converſation I liſten’d to, the Beauty of the Woman, who is certainly one of the fineſt Creatures in the World, and the great Quantity of Wine I had drank altogether inflamed my Blood, and I began to wiſh myſelf in my Friend’s place――that Diſorder which the Mixture of Liquors had occaſion’d in my Stomach, was by this time wore off, and I thought of nothing but the Means to make myſelf maſter of my Wiſhes in the Enjoyment of this lovely Creature――I had no ſooner form’d a little Scheme in my Head, than out they both came; and I never labour’d under more Uneaſineſs in my whole Life, than I did that moment between Envy of his Happineſs, and Deſire of ſucceeding him in it.――I ſaid nothing, pretending to F2 be 36 F2v 36 be aſleep, ’till I ſaw her go out of the Room, I ſuppoſe to give ſome Orders to the Servants about her Domeſtick Affairs: I followed her immediately, without being taken notice of by the Lover, who by this time was engag’d with the reſt of the Gentlemen that were ſtill drinking at the Table: ſhe went down a little pair of Back-Stairs, which led to the Kitchen; there I overtook her, and catching her in my Arms, frighted her at firſt, having neither ſeen nor heard me till ſhe felt me. ――But diſcovering who it was that held her, ſhe took it only as the effect of my Drunkenneſs, and endeavour’d to get from me without affecting any great Surprize. No, Madam, (ſaid I) I deſign not to part with you ſo eaſily, I but pretended to have loſt my Senſes, that I might entertain you with the leſs Suſpicion. She ſeem’d extremely angry at this Declaration; and putting on an Air of offended Virtue, bid me ceaſe my Rudeneſs, or ſhe would call not only her Servants, but the Gentlemen alſo to her Aſſiſtance. That would be cruel indeed, (added I) becauſe I know there is one among the number of thoſe you mentioned laſt, who would not forgive my offering to infringe his Prerogative.―― I then let her know I was ſenſible of every thing that had paſs’d between ’em, and 37 F3r 37 and gave her to underſtand, that nothing but allowing me the ſame Favour ſhe had done him, ſhould buy my Secrecy. This moſt terribly alarm’d her; and either thro’ Fear, or, as ſhe afterwards ſwore, a ſecret liking to my Perſon, induc’d her to yield, without giving me the trouble of any farther Arguments.— She led me into the Garden, and in a little Arbour compleated my Deſires in as riotous and full a manner as I could wiſh, and far beyond my hope.―― Thus ended my Affair at that time, but ſhe has promis’d by all that’s holy, to renew my Happineſs when we come to London.
I have ſince heard, that this is an amorous Family: this obliging Lady has a Siſter a very fine Girl; but has been had by three or four; and the Mother of them has ſtill a Colt’s Tooth!――Who can help the Fault of Nature; yet the cenſorious World makes no allowances for a warm Conſtitution, and the Prejudice of Education: Women muſt be virtuous, whether ’tis in their power, or not; and the cold and phlegmatick Prude wonders at the Fire ſhe feels not; and being free from any deſire herſelf, will have it a Sin in others. Mrs. Littleworth wonders at Brilliante’s Gaiety; and tho’ ſhe is guilty of a thouſand worſe 38 F3v 38 worſe Faults herſelf, takes upon her to condemn the Wildneſs, as ſhe calls it, of that young Lady’s Diſpoſition――but you know, and ſo does the whole Town, the different Foibles of theſe two Women. To return therefore to thoſe things which are new to you―― Captain Aimwell has cuckolded his Colonel, the Amour is made publick by the Treachery of her Maid; and the noble Colonel takes it ſo patiently, that ’tis thought the Buſineſs will be repreſented to his M――, and his tame enduring loſe him his Commiſſion; for nothing ſure but the moſt conſummate Coward would endure an Injury of that kind without Revenge, eſpecially when offer’d by an inferiour Officer――’Twould be pleaſant if the Captain ſhould ſucceed him in that too, as well as in his Wife’s Affections―― To tell the truth, he is much the moſt deſerving Fellow, and I believe there are very few who know ’em both, that do not heartily wiſh this Cataſtrophe.
Much leſs to be excus’d, is the Wife of Sir Thomas Worthy: He is every way a compleat Gentleman, and has made an excellent Husband to Belinda; yet the inconſtant Fair makes him only a property to conceal her looſe Deſires, which ſhe makes no ſcruple of indulging with the leaſt deſerving, and the moſt notorious,rious, 39 F4r 39 rious, who are call’d Rakes――her Behaviour is now ſo little cautious, that every body takes notice of it; and I believe Sir Thomas, in ſpite of the Love he has for her, will be obliged to ſue for a Separation next Seſſions.
Lady Playwell ſweeps all the Money here: if you remember, ſhe was one of thoſe who exclaim’d ſo violently againſt Gaming-Houſes; the Reaſon of it is plain, there was nothing ſo great an Enemy to private Play, as the Encouragement it met with in publick; ſhe therefore rail’d againſt it for the ſame Reaſon ſome Ladies do againſt Baudy-Houſes, becauſe there are Men, who when they can have a fine Woman for a Guinea, will not give themſelves the trouble of addreſſing where it muſt coſt Time and Proteſtations, and perhaps more Money too.――The Weather beginning now to grow leſs agreeable than it has been, Love and Gaming engroſs all the Company――I believe ’tis much the ſame in Town: therefore of that no more.
Fine Lady Leer preſerves her Prerogative of Charming in as full a meaſure as ever, and is as exquiſite in the Art of Jilting; her Eyes invite almoſt as many as look on her, her Tongue refuſes Encouragement to none: but I believe the Man is yet unborn, who can boaſt of any 40 F4v 40 any more than theſe Superficial Favours; ――yet ſhe has a way peculiar to herſelf, of keeping them all in hopes, and cheats them ſo handſomely, that when they find themſelves impoſ’d upon, they have not the power of complaining. The Song made on the once celebrated Mrs. Bracegirdle, may, I’m ſure, with much more juſtice, be apply’d to her.Always eaſy, never kind, When you think you have her ſure; Such a Temper you will find, Quick to wound, but ſlow to cure.
I have often wonder’d by what means ſhe has held, for many Months together, in her Chains, the moſt diſſolute Rovers: other Women in half the time would be obliged, either wholly to diſcard or grant ’em all they could demand. She is as particular in her Oeconomy this way, as ſhe is in retaining the Management of her Siſter’s Fortunes, who tho’ they have Husbands, ſtill permit her to be their Truſtee――ſhe has certainly an Underſtanding ſuperior to what moſt of her Sex can pretend to, or her Deſigns could never be carried on with that Smoothneſs and Succeſs.
Poor Mrs. Temptall in vain endeavours at an Imitation of her: ſhe engages, ’tis 41 G1r 41 ’tis true, a great number of Admirer, but has not the skill to maintain the Conqueſts ſhe gains――ſhe has not the Artifice of refuſing, yet encouraging; and has often the Misfortune of engaging herſelf ſo far, as not to be able to go back—ſhe gives herſelf to keep her Lovers, and for the moſt part loſes them by it―― and all ſhe gets, is Scandal and Vexation. ――So difficult is it to be an accompliſh’d Jilt, that a Woman who ſets up for it, had need of a more than common Capacity to carry her through it without reducing herſelf to the utmoſt Contempt.
Among the number of her Admirers, is Captain Strut: he has ſwore himſelf her everlaſting Slave, pretends to be jealous of her to the laſt degree, challenges every body that he knows will not fight, and ſays they are his Rivals, and that he ſaw them look on Mrs. Temptall with amorous Glances――ſo that betwixt her own ill Conduct, and this Coxcomb’s Levity, ſhe is grown a common TownTalk—tho’ I really believe ſhe is innocent enough from any Fact with him more than allowing Encouragement to his impertinent Viſits; yet ſhe ſuffers more in her Reputation, than can be imagined, on his account.G An 42 G1v 42
An Accident happen’d Yeſterday, which has occaſion’d no ſmall Diſcourſe here: a young Lady, who made a very handſome Figure, receiv’d publickly the Addreſſes of Beau Dreſſwell; we thought we ſhould have had a Wedding here— there were ſeveral who would have been glad to have rival’d him; but ſhe would not admit even of a Viſit from any Man without his Approbation――they were on the Walks together, when a ſurly old Man came up to ’em; and taking her roughly by the Arm, bid her come along with him――ſhe trembled, but durſt not refuſe—The poor Beau was ſtrangely confounded, but had not the Courage to demand the occaſion of ſo peremptory a Behaviour――he ſaw his Miſtreſs carried off, he knew not by whom, nor where, and was as full of trouble, as the pertneſs of his Humour would permit him to be for any thing in the World: there is not a Person here, but he has related his Misfortune to, and is, you may be ſure, ſufficiently laugh’d at about it. ――Early this Morning, the poor Girl was pack’d off with the ſtern Don; but nobody can give the leaſt account, either who he is who has taken her, or whither ſhe is removed――Enquiry has been made at the Houſe where ſhe lodged, but they ſeem as ignorant as any of us―― all 43 G2r 43 all they ſay, is, that the old Gentleman came on Horſeback to the Door, and asking for ſuch a Lady, was told by the Servant, that ſhe was on the Walks―― and that ſoon after he return’d with her all in Tears. The Landlady happening to ſee her come in, ask’d her what was the matter; and was bid by the Perſon who accompanied her, to trouble herſelf with her own Buſineſs――She added, that neither of them went to bed, but paſs’d the Night in high Words; and by break of Day, mounted her behind him on a Pillion he bought in Town.
There are various Conjectures on the meaning of this: ſome think the old Man is her Father; others, that he is her Husband; and ſome will have him a Gallant.――Be it how it will, the Beau is dreadfully diſappointed, and the Lady very much afflicted.――Time will, perhaps, unravel the Myſtery; but our People, who, as I told you before, are exquiſite in their Art of getting Intelligence, are uneaſy beyond Expreſſion, that they have it not in their power to give an Explanation of this Adventure.
I give you thanks for the Books you were ſo kind as to ſend me; but cannot imagine for what purpoſe you gave yourſelf the trouble of mingling with them Mr. D――s’s Propoſals――a Fellow who G2 en- 44 G2v 44 encourages nobody, ought by nobody to be encouraged; and I muſt have more Money, or leſs Underſtanding, before I ſubſcribe to any thing he does――I beg you will tell the Lady, who was ſo good as to remember me, that I will not fail writing to her next Poſt: but if you have Honour, conceal the Adventure of the Garden; and in Return, I will ſpeak the kindeſt things of you to Cloe.
If any Intelligence, beſides what I have related occurs, you may depend on having it――in the mean time, believe me
I Thought to have been with you, dear Will, before now; but ſince I am diſappointed in my Intentions, ſend you this to acquaint you with the Occaſion, which I know not but may be diverting to you, tho it has been no ſmall Embaraſſment to me.――An intimate Friend of mine having made his Addreſſes to two Ladies with equal Application, obtain’d both their Conſents at the ſame time; both appointed to meet him at the ſame Hour, and almoſt at the ſame Place―― What to do, he knew not; he durſt not make any Excuſe to either of them, for fear ſhe ſhould think he had abated of his Ardour――After a thouſand confuſ’d Thoughts, at laſt he came to me, begg’d me to go to one of the Houſes of Aſſignation, which happen’d to be an Acquaintance of my own, and deliver a Letter 46 G3v 46 Letter from him to a Lady, whom I ſhould find waiting there, and, if occaſion were, ſecond the Contents of it; which, he ſhow’d, were to complain of the Severity of his Fate, in being oblig’d to deny himſelf the Pleaſure he propos’d in her Company: but that he had an Uncle, whoſe Favour was all his Dependance, who had oblig’d him to ſtay at home with him that Evening, to ſettle ſome Accounts of an extraordinary Conſequence――I aſſur’d him I would do in every thing as he deſir’d; nor was I worſe than my word, tho, I confeſs, the Sight of the Lady gave me ſome Emotions, which had like to have made me offer to make up the Diſappointment ſhe had receiv’d from him――but Honour got the better of Deſire――I perform’d my Injunction punctually, and left her perfectly ſatiſfy’d, that it was only Neceſſity had occaſion’d his Failing―― But, as the Devil would have it, as ſhe was going home, who did ſhe meet but the very Lover, and the Lady, for whoſe ſake ſhe had been diſappointed; ſhe ſaw them go into the Houſe they had agreed on for the compleating their Amour. He was too buſily employ’d in talking to the Woman he led, to obſerve who watch’d him――and never was any Rage exceedingceeding 47 G4r 47 ceeding that with which ſhe came to me next Morning; for on the account of his being married, ſhe could not go to his Lodgings, and vented the whole Stock of her Indignation on me, as a Perſon who had impos’d upon her, and ſeconded the Untruths he told.――As ſhe was railing, a Perſon came from him to let me know he deſir’d to ſpeak with me――I had, for above an Hour, been endeavouring to mollify the Lady’s Reſentment, but in vain; I therefore begg’d her pardon, and went to my Friend, who I found as much incens’d againſt me as ſhe had been――It ſeems he had ſent her another Letter of Excuſe that Morning, with an Intreaty of ſeeing her that Day; but ſhe had return’d it back unopen’d, and preſently after ſome body came in, and told him ſhe was ſeen to come in at my Lodgings――On this he infer’d, that I betray’d him to her, and reproach’d me in terms ſuitable to the Cauſe, if I had been guilty; but I was not, I knew not how to take it――Words grew very high――it ended in a downright Quarrel, and we agreed to decide the Buſineſs by Point of Sword.――The Hour, which was at Six next Morning, and Place for meeting, being fix’d, we parted; I as much enrag’d at his injuriousrious 48 G4v 48 rious Suſpicion, as he was at my ſuppos’d Infidelity—In fine, the appointed Time being arriv’d, we met, but had ſcarce time for one Paſs, before we were interrupted by the coming of ſome Gentlemen, who ſeparated us――Our Inclinations, however, were ſtill the ſame, and another Day, ’tis probable, had finiſh’d what we were prevented from on this; if an Accident, the moſt odd and unexpected that ever was, had not hinder’d it ――This fair Lady, either out of Revenge to him, or Inclination to me, took it into her Head to write me a very tender Letter, wherein ſhe begg’d my pardon for having wrongfully upbraided me, ſaid it was the height of Paſſion and Reſentment had made her act as ſhe did— that ſhe confeſs’d I could do no leſs in Honour, than preſerve the Secret of my Friend from her, who was not ſo much as of my Acquaintance; and that, on cooler Thoughts, ſhe valued me for that very Quality ſhe had at firſt been ſo much enraged at: That he who was ſo true a Friend, could not fail of making as ſincere a Lover; and that ſhe begg’d to ſee me at that very Houſe, where the other had ſo ungenerouſly diſappointed her. This Letter ſhe gave to a Porter, who was the ſame ſhe had been uſed to employploy 49 H1r 49 ploy to the former Pretender.――The Fellow, imagining he ſhould get ſome Reward for his Treachery, carries it immediately to him, which he opening, doubted not but he ſhould there find ſome farther Confirmation of my Guilt; was ſtrangely ſurprized, when he ſaw it contain’d ſo full a Declaration of my Innocence: he examin’d the Fellow over and over, and finding there was no Trick in it, was prodigiouſly troubled, that he had proceeded to ſuch Extremities with me; he came to me, expreſs’d the greateſt Concern imaginable for what he had done. ――In ſhort, we are now as great Friends as ever; but the Lady is doubly baulk’d, for I would not give him ſo great a Shock, as to accept of the Favour ſhe offer’d, tho I put a great Conſtraint on my own Inclinations in ſo doing.
This, dear Will, has been the Occaſion that I have neither come nor written――I have a Packet of News for you; but becauſe I hope to give it you by word of mouth, I may ſpare myſelf the trouble of writing it――Only one thing I muſt not omit, which is, that Clarinda is going to be married to the greateſt Fop in the Univerſe, an Iriſh man born, but bred in France――I H leave 50 H1v 50 leave you to judge his Character, and what ſort of a Husband this Lady has choſe, after all her exclaiming againſt Fidelia for marrying Amandus.――The little Doctor ſtruts as much as ever, and has his Recipe’s very much in vogue; tho’ here is a very handſome young Quack lately arrived, who is more in favour with the Ladies――they ſay, ſome feign themſelves ill, to have a Pretence to ſend for him to feel their Pulſes —You know him, he is lately married to a young Girl near St. James’s— —I aſſure you, he has had ſome FiveGuinea Fees from the Wife of an Eminent Merchant in the City, for a Preſcription for Sterility――But I have a Thouſand Things to acquaint you with, when I ſee you—till when, dear Will, Adieu.
P.S.Cloe muſt not be forgot—I ſaw her this Day――ſhe is well, and knowing I was about to write, deſir’d me to make her Compliment; I believe you will have the Satisfaction of ſeeing her ſoon: ſhe talks of leaving Bath next Week.