A1r

The
British Recluse.

A
Novel.

A1v A2r

The
British Recluse:

Or, the
Secret History
of
Cleomira,
Suppos’d Dead.

A Novel.

“Women are govern’d by a Stubborn Fate; Their Love’s Insuperable, as their Hate! No Merit their Aversion can remove, Nor ill Requital can efface their Love.” Waller.

By Mrs.Eliza Haywood,
Author of Love in Excess; or, the
Fatal Enquiry
.

London:
Printed for D. Brown, Jun., at the Black-Swan, without Temple-Bar;
W. Chetwood, and J. Woodman, in Russel-Street Covent-Garden;
and S. Chapman, in Palmall. 1722MDCCXXII.
Price 1s. 6d.

A2v B1r

The
British Recluse.

Of all the Foibles Youth
and Inexperience is liable
to fall into, there is none,
I think, of more dangerous
Consequence, than
too easily giving Credit
to what we hear; it is
always the Source of a
thousand Inadvertencies,
and often leads the way
to a numerous Train of destructive Passions. If
we cou’d bring our selves to depend on nothing
but what we had Proof for, what a world of
Discontent shou’d we avoid! Hope and Fear
wou’d then be buried in Certainty; and Love
and Resentment never be at Enmity with Reason.
Whereas, by relying on Appearances (and, perhaps,
such too, as are form’d only by our own
Wishes and Apprehensions) we, for a seeming
Good, embrace a real Evil, and run into Mistakes, Bwhich, B1v2
which, without the Interposition of a peculiar
Providence, must be fatal to our Interest and
Peace of Mind, in whatever Affair we suffer our
Belief to be impos’d on.

Love! as it is one of the first Passions for
which the Soul finds Room, so it is also the
most easily deceiv’d. The good Opinion, which
it naturally inspires, of the darling Object, makes
it almost an Impossibility to suspect his Honour
and Sincerity; and the Pleasure which arises
from a Self-assurance of the Truth of what we
so eagerly desire, is too great for a young Heart,
unaccustom’d to such Struggles, to repel.

But, the following little History (which I can
affirm for Truth, having it from the Mouths of
those chiefly concern’d in it) is a sad Example of
what Miseries may attend a Woman, who has
no other Foundation for Belief in what her
Lover says to her, than the good Opinion her
Passion has made her conceive of him.

Belinda, a young Lady of considerable
Fortune, in Warwickshire, being oblig’d by some
Business to come to London, which she had never
seen before, was recommended, by some of her
Country Acquaintance, to a House where she
might board. The Pleasantness of the Situation,
and the good Company she found in it, gave her
at once the Charms both of the Town and Country;
but being naturally of a reserv’d Temper,
and having something in her Mind which seem’d
to engross her Thoughts, she grew not presently
acquainted with any Body. And tho’ she
observ’d, that at every Meal, a Plate of whatever
came to Table was carry’d away, before any other
Person was help’d, yet she never had the Curiosity to B2r3
to ask to whom it was sent; till one Day, some
Gentlemen happening to dine there, who formerly
had been Boarders, they began to enquire,
of the Gentlewoman of the House, how the
Recluse did,――if she continued her Solitary
Course of Life,――and, if she had yet been
able to find out the Cause of her Retirement.
To which the Landlady reply’d, that she was
still in the same Mind, in which they left her—
and that to discover the Mystery of her concealing
herself, she believ’d an utter Impossibility.
“Indeed,” (said one of the Gentlemen) “to know the
Certainty of such an Affair, may be a little difficult,
but I think it no hard Matter to form a
very probable Conjecture. In my Opinion, no
Motive, but ill requited Love, cou’d induce a
Lady (so young and beautiful, as you describe
this to be) to such an obstinate and peevish
Resignation of all the Pleasures of Life.”
“I rather
think”
(answer’d a young Lady who
happen’d to be there) “’tis the Effects of Grief
for the Death of some near and dear Relation, a
Parent perhaps, or――”
“How Madam” (interrupted
the other Gentleman hastily) “produce me but
one Example, since the Fall of Adam, of such a
Constancy in Grief, and I shall willingly acquiesce
to the Sentiments of so fine a Lady; but as I
am positive you cannot, give me leave to say, it is
not only impracticable, but also unnatural. Nor
can I agree any more with my Friend’s Notion
of the Matter, than with your’s: All kinds of
Passion, every Body knows, wear off with Time;
and Love, of all others, as ’tis the gentlest, and
is subsisted only by Delight, of course must dye,
when Delight is at an End. How then, can it B2be B2v4
be possible that a Woman, who has for a whole
Twelvemonth liv’d in a Retirement, where she
neither has seen any Body, nor been seen, if it
were so that Love was the Occasion, shou’d
not by this be weary both of the Cause and the
Effect? No, no,”
(continu’d he laughing) “I rather
think, my Landlady, to divert her self, and
amuse us, has form’d this Story of a beautiful
young Creature, whom, if the Truth were
known, I dare swear is some wither’d Hag, past
the Use of Pleasures, and keeps her self in private,
lest her Countenance should terrify.”
“Very
well”
(answer’d the good old Gentlewoman)
“you may be as merry as you please with Age;
but, Sir, I fancy if you cou’d have persuaded me
to have contriv’d some means for you to have
come to the Sight of this Hag, as you call her,
she has Eyes, which wou’d have convinced you,
that there is a Power in Love, beyond what now
you seem to imagine of that Passion.”

All Dinner, and some time after, was past in
this sort of Conversation; which, tho’ Belinda
had but a small Share in, yet it fail’d not to excite
her Curiosity to a Desire of knowing as
much as she cou’d of this Adventure: And, as
soon as the Company were gone, and she had
an Opportunity of entertaining the Landlady alone,
she took an Occasion to enquire what sort
of Woman the Recluse, as they call’d her,
really was,――how long she had been there, and
by what manner introduc’d. “I shall make no
Scruple”
(said she) “of informing you as far as I
am able; but the Account I can give is so small,
that it will only serve to encrease your Desire of
knowing more: About a Year past, being told a Lady B3r5
Lady in a Chair ask’d to speak with me, I went
to the Door, but not knowing her, look’d a
little surpris’d, fancying she might be mistaken;
I believe she guess’d what my Thoughts were,
and before I had time to disclose ’em, ‘Madam!’
(said she) ‘I have something to communicate to
you, which I am not willing any Person shou’d
be witness to; and, if you are at Leisure, shou’d
take it as a Favour, if you wou’d give me an
Opportunity of discoursing you.’
I then immediately
desir’d her to come into the Parlor;
and the Door being shut, ‘I am,’ (resum’d she)
‘an utter Stranger to you, and indeed design to
continue so to all the World; it was but by an
Accident I heard of the Accommodation you
have for Boarders, and gladly wou’d become
one, if you approve of it on the Conditions I
shall propose.’
‘They must be very strange ones’
(answer’d I) ‘that cou’d make me refuse the Company
of a Lady such as you appear to be; there
are too many Charms in that Countenance, not
to give me an Ambition of a nearer Acquaintance.
I beg, therefore, that you will put me out of
the Pain of believing there is a possibility that
any thing cou’d oblige me to deny my self that
Honour.’
She return’d this little Compliment,
only with a Bow, but which had something in
it of more graceful and obliging than any Words
cou’d be; and, after a Pause, ‘the Conditions I
mean’
(said she) ‘are only these. First, That you
never will endeavour to know more of me, than
I am willing to reveal;――That you will suffer no
one to enter the Apartment order’d for me, but
the Servant who shall bring me in my Meat, (for
I will never dine at Table) and give that AttendanceB3dance B3v6
which is necessary. And Lastly, That you
will be satisfy’d to accept of a Quarter’s Payment,
of whatever we shall agree on, always beforehand,
for your Security in taking a Person so
altogether unknown to you into your House. I
will give you’
(continued she, perceiving I look’d
amazed) ‘time to consider on what I have said,
and in a Day or two will wait on you for an
Answer;’
as she spoke these Words, she went
hastily into her Chair, leaving me in as great a
Consternation at her Behaviour, as ever I remember
my self to have been in, at any thing in my
whole Life.”
Belinda cou’d not here forbear interrupting
her, by asking a thousand Questions
as to her Dress, her Beauty, and whether she
observ’d any thing of that Melancholly in her
Countenance the first time, which she had since
discover’d. To all which the Landlady reply’d,
that the Surprize she was in at that time, hinder’d
her from taking much Notice, either of her
Garb, or Person; but that, since her being in the
House, she was always dress’d rich, but extremely
careless, and wou’d often go with only her Hair
and a Nightgown for many days together. “But
in spite”
(said she) “of the little Care she seems to take
of her self, Heaven never form’d a Creature more
exactly lovely; nor do I think it possible for the
nicest Eye to discover the least Defect, either
in her Face or Shape.”
“What is she” (resum’d Belinda)
“as to her Wit and Conversation?” “I have already
told you”
(answer’d the other) “that she refuses to
let us know her Perfections that way, by never
stirring from her Apartment, nor permitting any
of us to come into it; but if we may form a
Judgment of her Genius, by the Entertainment which B4r7
which alone she seems to take Delight in, that of
reading the best Authors, we must believe it to
be very Elegant; she has an admirable Collection
of Books; and my Maid, who waits on her, tells
me she never goes in, without finding her engag’d
in some one of them.”
“Then you ventur’d”
(said Belinda) “to take her, without any further
Knowledge?”
“I consider’d” (reply’d she) “that
there cou’d be no great Hazard in it; and besides,
there was something so inexpressibly engaging
in her Mein and manner of Address, that
I believe it almost an Impossibility she should be
refus’d any thing.”
This Account gave Belinda
the greatest Desire imaginable to be acquainted
with her, and never left soliciting the Landlady
to use her Interest to procure it. The old Gentlewoman,
who was extreamly good-humor’d,
promis’d to do her Endeavour, but said withal,
that she was afraid it was a Work she should not
be able to accomplish. “You must tell her” (said
Belinda) “and perhaps with more Truth than you
imagine, that you have a Person in your House, who
justly may be term’d one of the most unfortunate
on Earth,――that I am charm’d with her manner
of Life――that I could like nothing so much
as to partake such a Retirement—and, that if
she wou’d permit me, sometimes, to mingle my
Tears with hers, I wou’d be satisfy’d with the
Opportunity of indulging my Grief, without any
farther Intrusion on her Secrets, than she shall
give leave.”
“This” (answer’d the Landlady) “if any
thing, will do――and as you have so ingeniously
contriv’d the Plot, it must be entirely owing to
my want of Ability in carrying it on, if it shou’d
miscarry; and”
(continu’d she) “I go about it with B4the B4v8
the more Courage, because that reserv’d, and indeed
too grave Look (for so young and fine a Lady)
which you always wear, will, if she consents to
see you, give some Credit to my Words.”
“You need
not indeed”
(resum’d Belinda with a deep Sigh) “be
under any Apprehensions, that my Behaviour
will be in the least contradictory to whatever
you shall tell her of my Disposition to indulge a
Melancholy, which I have but too much Reason
for.”
“You may talk after what manner you please”
(said the other) “but I am too well acquainted
with your Circumstances, not to know that you
can have no real Causes for that Pensiveness,
which, to deal freely with you, very much obscures
the Lustre of your Charms. I know not
indeed”
(continu’d she, with a Smile) “what Imaginary
ones your Fancy may suggest. Young People,
too often, take Pleasure, as it were, in findding
out something to afflict themselves with.――
I am afraid you have seen some Gentleman too
lovely for your Repose; and, perhaps, he may be
(for Love is a blind Deity) of a Quality above your
Hopes, or of a Degree below your Discretion to
make Choice of――or, ’tis possible, may have
prov’d ungrateful――or, may be already married――
or engag’d――or else――”
She wou’d, doubtless, have
run on with all the Circumstances that can make
a young Woman in Love unhappy, if Belinda
(a little too nearly touch’d, putting on a more
than ordinary Severity in her Countenance) had
not interrupted her by saying, “Madam! whatever
the Occasion of my Melancholly may be, I
am so much of the Recluse’s Mind, as to resolve
to keep it Secret.”
“Pardon me,” (resum’d
the Landlady, perceiving she was nettled) “my Words B5r9
Words were meant no otherwise than to divert;
and to make what Reparation I can for the Inadvertancy
of them, will confess, that if a Person
of your Age is too apt to seek occasions of
tormenting her self, one of mine is liable to as
great a Fault, that of talking too much of Affairs
which are not any way her Business.”
Some
Company happening to come in, broke off the
Conversation. Belinda retir’d to her Chamber,
and the Landlady remain’d with her Head full
of Contrivance, by what means she shou’d bring
about the Performance of her Promise.

The next Day an Opportunity offer’d very
lucky for her Purpose; the Recluse sent for
her to pay her some Mony; and as soon as that
Affair was dispatch’d, she began to labour the
Success of the other, and was so fortunate in her
Negotiation, that as much averse as she found
the Recluse at first, the Assurances she gave
her that Belinda’s Desire of her Society sprung
only from a belief that there was a Sympathy in
their Afflictions, at last prevail’d on her to receive
a Visit from her. Having obtain’d this Grant,
the good old Gentlewoman, eager to acquit her
self of the Promise she had made, entreated that
Belinda might have leave to wait on her that
Night, to which the Recluse, having permitted
her coming at all, easily consented.

The meeting of these two Ladies was something
particular for Persons of the same Sex;
each found, at first Sight, so much to admire in
the other, that it kept both from speaking for
some Moments. The Recluse consider’d
Belinda, as indeed she is, one of the most lovely
Persons on Earth; and Belinda found the Recluse so B5v10
so far beyond the Landlady’s Description, something
so Majestick, and withal so sweet and attractive
in her Air――such a Mixture of the most
forceful Fire, and most enchanting Softness in
her Eyes, that she became wholly lost in speechless
Wonder; till the Recluse (who, tho’ as young as Belinda, was Mistress of a much greater
Presence of Mind) broke Silence in these Words.

“If, Madam” (said she, with a Voice and Accent
no less charming than her Person) “you are enough
in Love with Misery, to wish to be Partaker of it
with me, I heartily bid you welcome to this
Scene of Woe: but if your Griefs are of a Nature
that will admit Relief, the Society of a
Wretch like me, will be far from adding to your
Consolation.”
“To forget the Misfortunes I lament”
(reply’d Belinda) “wou’d be, perhaps, a greater Ill
than any I yet have known――’tis my Desire always
to remember them, and nothing sure can so
well enable me to do it with Patience, as the
Knowledge that so many excellent Qualities, as
you appear to be Mistress of, cannot be exempted
from Calamities.”
“Alas!” (resum’d the Recluse,
bursting into Tears) “’tis the little Knowlege
you have of me inclines you to so favourable
an Opinion. Believe me Madam”
(continu’d
she, weeping still more) “were you acquainted
with the History of this Wretch you see before
you, you wou’d allow that as none like me has
ever suffer’d, so also none ever has like me deserv’d
to suffer.”
“I believe, Madam!” (answer’d
Belinda) “one of the greatest Impossibilities you
can attempt is, that of persuading me, or indeed
any body that sees you, to that Opinion.”

These little Civilities being over, they fell into a Con- B6r11
Conversation suitable to that Melancholly their
Misfortunes had involv’d them in; and they agreed
so perfectly in their Sentiments concerning
the Instability of all humane Happiness――
the little Confidence there was to be put in the
Protestations of Friendship――and that the only
way to attain true Content, was in an absolute Retirement
from the World, and a Disregard of every
thing in it; that when they parted (as Belinda
thought it improper, to make her first Visit very
long) it was with a mutual Satisfaction, and each
began to conceive for the other, a real Tenderness,
which has ever since remain’d unshaken.

The next Day, (being desir’d to do so by the
Recluse Belinda made her a second Visit, and,
after some Discourse like what had pass’d the Evening
before, the Conversation turn’d, perhaps
undesignedly by either of them, on Love; but
when once enter’d, neither seem’d to grow weary
of the Subject; and both spoke in so feeling a
manner, that if a third Person had been witness
of what they said, he need not have been very
quick of Apprehension to discover what was the
Source of both these Ladies Troubles. They sat
together till past Midnight; and when Belinda
took her Leave, it was not without making an
Appointment to pass the next Evening as they
had done this.

As soon as Belinda was alone, she began to run
over in her Mind, all the Particulars of the Conversation
she had with the Recluse, and was
now confirm’d in what she before imagin’d, that
Love had been the sole Cause of her Retirement:
She wou’d have given almost one of her Eyes,
to have been let into the Secret of the whole Affair, B6v12
Affair, but durst not attempt to ask it, for fear
of disobliging her; if the Recluse, who was
little behind her in Curiosity, had not, at the next
Visit, purposely given her an Opportunity.

“I know not, Madam!” (said she, soon after they
were together) “whether there be a possibility for
you to imagine from what Cause the Miseries you
see me in have proceeded, but I am half positive,
that I can more than guess the Origine of that
Melancholy which induces you to support the
Society of a Wretch like me!”
――“I cannot doubt,
Madam”
(reply’d Belinda, blushing, yet pleas’d
she had so favourable an Opportunity of speaking
her Mind without Offence) “your Penetration
in a much greater Matter, since I, who
have but little Discernment, and less Experience,
have been bold enough in my Imagination, to
assure my self that whatever the Effects may be,
the Cause of both our Sorrows is the same.”
“I
am so much of your Mind”
(resum’d the other)
“that I am willing to put it to the Tryal. Here”
(continued she, taking Pens and Paper) “do you
write, and I will do the same, and by reading
what each other have set down, both will avoid
the Confusion of speaking first.”
“Agreed!” (said
Belinda and immediately did as the Recluse
desir’d:) on Exchange of the Papers, Belinda
read in that which the Recluse had writ; “Undone
by Love, and the Ingratitude of faithless Man”
.
And the Recluse found in that which the other
had writ, these Words; “For ever lost to
Peace by Love, and my own fond Belief.”
“As I
expected!”
cry’d they out both together; and after
a little pause, “Not all the Ills” (rejoyn’d the Recluse)
“which Fortune watches to oppress us with, are B7r13
are half so ruinous, so destructive, as this one
Passion!”
“Nothing, indeed,” (reply’d Belinda
weeping) “is to our Sex so fatal. Oh Love!” (continued
she) “Thou gilded Poison, which kills by
slow Degrees, and makes each Moment of our
Life a Death! Why, Oh why do we suffer our
fond Hearts to harbour thee?”
――“Why are we
not like Man”
(resum’d the Recluse, bearing
her Company in Tears) “inconstant, changing,
and hunting after Pleasure in every Shape?――
Or, if our Sex, more pure, and more refin’d,
disdains a Happiness so gross, why have we not
Strength of Reason too, to enable us to scorn
what is no longer worthy our Esteem?”
In these,
and the like Exclamations, they past some Time;
and had, doubtless, given a greater Loose to the
overboiling Passions of their Souls, if their mutual
Curiosity to know each others Adventures, had
not oblig’d them to leave off.

The Recluse wou’d fain have perswaded Belinda
to relate her Story first; but that Lady excus’d
herself, in Terms so obliging, and full of
Respect, that the other cou’d not press her any
farther, and only said, “I shou’d hardly be prevail’d
on to a Recital of those Misfortunes which,
indeed, have fallen on me but too justly, till by
knowing yours I shou’d have hope to find Excuse:
But, as I am confident no Woes were ever
like mine, I have Good-nature enough to acquaint
you with ’em first, to the End that the
Knowledge of mine may make your own seem
less, and enable you with Ease to the Relation
of them.”
Belinda answer’d her only with a
Bow, and a little shaking of her Head, at once
to thank her for her Civility, and shew that she B7v14
she thought it impossible for any Affliction to exceed
that which she endur’d: And the Recluse,
after having paid a Tribute of Sighs, which the
Remembrance of her Misfortunes always exacted
from her, began to satisfy her Companion’s
Impatience in these Words.

The Story of Cleomira.

“To make you perfectly comprehend the
Truth of my Affairs”
(said she) “I must acquaint
you of what Condition my Parents were:
Though their Names I shall beg leave to conceal,
least by declaring to any one that so deservedly
unhappy a Creature is their Child, I shou’d
disturb the sacred Quiet of their Ashes.”
She
cou’d not speak this without bursting into a Torrent
of Tears, which, for some Moments, hindred
her from proceeding: But as soon as she had
had a little repell’d the Violence of her Grief,
“You must know” (continu’d she) “that my Father
was a younger Branch of a Family which boasts
a Place among the Prime of the Nobility; and,
my Mother was descended from Ancestors whose
noble Actions merited Titles, though they wore
none, but that of being the Best and most Ancient
of the Gentry. They had both been from
their Infancy accustom’d to a Court, and had Spirits
far above their Circumstances, which made
them unable to endure the Thoughts either of
a Retirement, or appearing in Publick with an
Equipage any way inferior to what those of the
same Rank maintain’d. Thus was I, who was
their only Child, bred up in all the Pomp and
Pride of Quality; and great Part of what shou’d have B8r15
have been reserv’d for my Fortune spent in my
Education, and lavish’d on those unnecessary Ornaments
and Expences, which all young Girls,
who are fond of making a Show, affect. I was
not much above thirteen when my Father died:
His Loss was so real a Grief to my Mother, that
for a long Time she remain’d inconsolable, nor
did her former Gaiety ever return. Instead of
entertaining any Thoughts of a second Marriage,
she transplanted all the Tenderness she had born
my Father on me; and the Consideration how
improbable it was for her to match me according
to my Birth, or the Expectations I had been
bred to, (my Father being able to leave me no
more than three thousand Pounds) every Day
encreas’d her Affliction: Nor were these Reflections
unaccompanied with Fears, that my
Youth, and some Attractions which her Love
made her fancy she saw about me, might draw
on Temptations to the Disadvantage of my Reputation;
she therefore resolv’d on the sudden
to quit the Court, as a Place too dangerous for
a young Woman to continue in, who had not
a Fortune sufficient to entitle her to the honourable
Affections of the Great, and too much Pride
to listen to the Solicitations of the inferior Sort
who frequented it. That that less Notice might
be taken of the Change of her Humour, she pretended
an Indisposition, and that the London Air
did not agree with her, and in a short Time
took a House about six Miles distant from it.
This was like present Death to me, but all I
cou’d say was of no Effect; the more pressing I
appear’d to stay, the more she thought it needful
I shou’d go; and the passionate Fondness I express’dpress’d B8v16
for the Town Diversions, and Disdain of
a Country Life, confirm’d her, that it was absolutely
necessary at once to prevent the Dangers
she imagin’d threatned me, and to repel the Growth
of that Ambition which she found had already
taken too deep a Root in my youthful Heart.
In fine, we went: and this so sudden and disagreeable
an Alteration in my Manner of Living,
gave me a Shock which I know not how to express.
My Mother, entirely throwing off the
fine Lady, began to practise the meer Country Gentlewoman,
and us’d her utmost Endeavour to
make me do so too. She was continually telling
me, that my Fortune, join’d with all she cou’d
be able to do for me, cou’d entitle me to no
greater Hopes.――That it was time for me to learn
to play the good Housewife, and forget that
there ever were such Things as Balls, Plays,
Masquerades, or Assemblies. All this, which
was really the Effect of her Prudence, I look’d
upon as Whimsy; and the Restraint she laid me under,
of not visiting or being visited by any Persons,
whom she cou’d have the least Apprehension
of, I consider’d as an Affront to my Understanding.
I am oblig’d”
(said she, “my dear Belinda)
to enter into these Particulars, because this
sudden Change from all the Liberties in the
World, to the most strict Confinement, is all
the Excuse I can make for my ill Conduct――
But why”
(continu’d she, after a Pause) shou’d
I alledge that for my Vindication, which Time,
perhaps, and Consideration, might have made
easy to me, if a more fatal Enemy to my Repose,
as well as my Interest, my Honour, and my Virtue,
had not made it more hateful to me.”
Here was C1r17
was her Speech, a second Time, interrupted by
her tempestuous Grief; and Belinda was forc’d
to make Use of all the Arguments she was Mistress
of, to perswade her to Moderation.

At last, getting leave to resume her Discourse,
“One Day” (said she) “one fatal Day――wou’d to
God it had been the last of my Life, as it was
of my Repose, two Ladies came to visit my Mother,
and speaking of a magnificent Ball that
Night at Court, told her they were come on
purpose to entreat her to permit me to accompany
them. By the Account I have given, you
may judge how little Probability there was she
shou’d consent; but whether she was really overcome
by their Reasons, or only yielded to
their Perswasions; being Persons she very much
esteem’d, I know not; but when I least expected
it, she order’d me to make my self ready to
wait on them. Never was any Prisoner, who
long had languish’d in a Dungeon, more rejoic’d
to see the open Air, than I to find my self once
more in Court, where every body welcom’d me,
every body caress’d me, and, indeed, I believe
some of them with a good deal of Sincerity:
For not being of a Quality great enough to create
Envy, nor so mean as to beget Contempt, and tolerably
well humour’d; I am sensible there were
many whose kind Wishes I heartily possest. I
had my Admirers too; at least, there were several
young Sparks, and those not of the lowest
Rank, who took Pleasure in making me believe
so. Not that my Heart was any way affected
with what they said, though I had Vanity enough
to encourage it: Love was a Passion I had
so little Notion of, that I consider’d it no moreCthan C1v18
than as a Fiction, and only dress’d up by the Poets
in such Variety of Shapes, to make the Amusement
more entertaining: But this, alas! was
the unlucky Hour in which I was to be convinc’d
of the real Being of that Power I so slightly
had regarded; and soon learn’d to pity, by my
own, those Pains which, with an unregarding
Ear, I often had heard others mourn.

About the middle of the Ball, as I was dancing
with a young Nobleman, who had done me the
Honour to take me out, I saw, on a sudden, the
Eyes of the whole Company turn’d towards the
Door; but being too busily engag’d in what I
was about, had not Time to consider what the
meaning might be, till having ended my Dance, and
it being my Turn to take a Partner, a Lady of my
Acquaintance whisper’d me, and said, ‘There’s the
fine young Lord ―― (I will not call him by
other Name than that of Lysander.) He is lately’

(continued my Friend) ‘come from his Travels,
and but this Moment enter’d; it will be an envy’d
Gallantry if you lead him out.’
While she
was speaking, I directed my Eyes where I perceiv’d
she look’d, and saw a Form which appear’d
more than Man, and nothing inferior to
those Idea’s we conceive of Angels; his Air! his
Shape! his Face! were more than Humane――
Miriads of lightning Glories darted from his
Eyes as he cast them around the Room, yet temper’d
with such a streaming Sweetness! such a
descending Softness, as seem’d to entreat the Admiration
he commanded! A thousand Times have
I attempted since to speak what ’twas I felt at
this first fatal Interview, but Words cou’d never
do Justice to the Wonders of his Charms, or halfdescribe C2r19
describe the Effect they wrought on me: Oh!
had his Soul been worthy of that lovely, that
transporting Outside, I shou’d have been too blest,
been happy to as superlative a Degree, as now I
am curst and wretched. But not to tire you with
unavailing Wishes or as fruitless Exclamations, I
Lov’d――was plung’d in a wild Sea of Passion
before I had Time to know or stem the Danger.
I had so many disorder’d Motions in my Heart,
that I am amaz’d my Feet kept any just Measure
with the Musick; or, that so little us’d as I had
ever been to disguise my Thoughts, my Eyes
did not betray the Confusion of my Soul, and
make visible to the whole Company what I was
not yet acquainted with my self: But whether
the great Concourse of much finer Ladies who
were there, hindred me from being much regarded,
or those Changes which, I am very sure, appear’d
in my Countenance, were only taken for
the Effects of Bashfulness in dancing with a Person,
who was altogether a Stranger, I cannot
tell, but I scap’d that Raillery, which I must
have expected to have met with, if any Body
had been sensible of the true State of my Condition.
When I had done Dancing, I mingled with
those Ladies who came with me, and some others
of my Acquaintance: Lysander soon join’d
us, and enter’d into a Conversation which show’d
his Wit was, if possible, superior to his Beauty:
He was perfectly well bred, obliging and gallant,
and had something I know not what
peculiarly Graceful and Enchanting in his Voice
and Manner of Address; and what added to his
other Engagements, at least endear’d ’em to my
(already doating) Heart was that, though heC2said C2v20
said nothing in particular to me at that Time,
yet I cou’d easily discern he aim’d at pleasing
only me. But he behav’d himself not in so general
a Manner the whole Night. A little after,
perceiving I was separated a good Distance
from the Persons I had been with, he came up
to me, and making a low Bow, ‘Madam’ (said
he) ‘how fortunate am I, who after having been
in many Courts, where I have seen Ladies who
justly may be call’d Beautiful, and since my Return
Home have met with nothing that cou’d
bring me into good Humour with my Native
Country, have now the Blessing of beholding a
Face, which not only sums up all the different
Lovelinesses of other Charmers, but has also an
immensely Divine Treasure of its own!――Others
may move the Heart by slow Degrees, and with
some one Perfection captivate the Sense, but you
have Graces which strike the very Soul, and at
first Sight subdue each Faculty. Blush not, fair
Excellence!’
(continued he, finding I was silent,
as indeed I had no Power to speak) ‘I tell
you but the Sense of all Mankind――but what
Millions of Tongues are full of, and what your
happy Glass, as often as you look in it, informs
you.’
‘If, my Lord,’ (reply’d I, recollecting my
self as well as I was able) ‘there were a Possibility
of being unacquainted with my own Defects, so
good-natur’d a Compliment might give me
Graces which before I wanted: But as I have
the Misfortune of knowing my self but too well,
all the Advantage I can gain by it, is the Honour
of being in the Company of a Person whose
Wit can find something to praise in those the
least Praise-worthy.’
‘Oh most Angelic’ (resum’d he, C3r21
he, tenderly pressing my unresisting Hand) ‘most
adorable of your Sex! rob not the brightest
Temple of the Deity, your divine Self, of your
just Due.――If (but that’s impossible) you can
distrust the Force of your too potent Charms,
the Effects they have on me will quickly tell you
what they are――Cou’d those inspiring Eyes
but look into my Soul, they wou’d perceive their
Power――Pardon this Declaration: a vulgar Passion,
and for a vulgar Object, may wait on the
dull Formalities of Decorum, but what I feel for
you bursts out and blazes too fierce to be conceal’d’
――It is not to be express’d――it is not
to be imagin’d how he look’d while he was
speaking these Words, and much less in what
Manner I behav’d at hearing them: Surprize,
and Joy, and Hope, and Fear, and Shame, at
once assaulted me, and hurried my wild Spirits
with such Vehemence, that had I answer’d at all,
it must have been something strangely Incoherent;
but, happily for me, some Company came
that Instant to the Place where we were standing,
and deliver’d me from the greatest Perplexity I
cou’d be in. I did not, however, recover my self
the whole Time of my being there, yet so much
was I infatuated, so lost to all Thought of Reason
or Discretion, that whenever he approach’d me,
I had not Courage to avoid him, as I might easily
have done without being taken Notice of.
’Tis sure he took all Opportunities of Entertaining
me in the Manner he had begun, and without
doubt, as he has since own’d to me, he saw
enough in my Eyes to make him know the Pleasure
I took in hearing him speak, far exceeded
my Confusion at what he said.
C3 It C3v 22 It was almost Morning when the Ball broke
up; and there being no Possibility of my going
Home till next Day, I past that Time at the Ladies
House who brought me out: But though
the Fatigue and Hurry of the Night wou’d at
another Season have made me glad of Rest, I had
now enough to keep me waking. Lysander’s
Charms, his Beauty, his Wit, the Declaration
he had made me, and the Manner in which I
had receiv’d it, gave me sufficient Matter of Reflection:
I cou’d not think I had listned to any
Protestations of Love, from a Man I had never
seen before, without an inexpressible Shock to
my Modesty; but these Considerations soon gave
Place to others even more destructive to my
Peace: Lysander was too lovely, and appear’d
too deserving, for me to repent, for any long
Time, the Complaisance I had show’d him, and
my greatest Trouble was the Fear that I shou’d
never see him more. I resolv’d to say nothing
to my Mother of what had pass’d, believing,
with Reason enough, that she wou’d not only
condemn me for Mismanagement, but also take
such Measures as shou’d for ever deprive me of
the Sight of him: Love taught me a Cunning
which before I was a Stranger to; and though
I burn’d with Desire to be talking something of
my ador’d Lysander, and vent some Part of the
Overflowings of my ravish’d Soul, yet I so well
dissembled, that at my Return Home I never
mention’d the least Syllable which cou’d give
Suspicion; and contented my self, as well as I
was able, with the Belief that Lysander (who, I
found by his calling me by my Name, had enquired
who I was) wou’d find some means to send C4r23
send to me: Nor did that Hope deceive me. The
very next Day, happening to be at a Window, I
perceiv’d a Fellow walking backwards and forwards,
before our House; it presently came into my
Head, that there was a Probability he might be a
Messenger from Lysander. I observ’d his Motions
a good while, and finding he still lurk’d about,
with his Eyes continually fix’d on our Door,
I made a pretence to go down; and standing there
a little, the Man drew nearer, but with a Circumspection
which confirm’d me my Conjectures
were true: No body being within hearing, I
call’d to him, and ask’d him if he wanted any
thing. ‘Madam’ (answer’d he softly, and pulling
a Letter out of his Pocket) ‘by the Description
which was given me, I believe this is design’d
to you.’
‘It is, it is’ (cry’d I, as soon as I saw the
Superscription) and immediately ran in, too much
transported to say any more. I got into an Arbor
in the Garden, to peruse the dear Contents, which
I very well remember, and are too deeply engraven
in my Mind, ever to be forgotten.
‘To the Divine Cleomira. If the most adorable Cleomira wanted any Proof
of the Dominion of her Charms, besides the just
Title they have to reign over the Souls of all Mankind,
this had come to convince her of a Truth, which
Yesterday she seem’d so cruelly to doubt. But you are
too Divine to be ignorant of your Attributes; and,
if there is any thing in you, which is not of a Piece
with Heaven, it is that you are not sufficiently stor’d
with Mercy to look favourably on a Man who has no
other Merit than his Zeal. It is with an inconceivableC4ceivable C4v24
Terror I look back on that Declaration,
which the Force of the most violent Passion that ever
was, oblig’d me to make, in so unpolite and unprepar’d
a Manner; and tremble when I consider how much
Reason you have to condemn the Presumption of this.
But, if as many Years of humble faithful Services as
Fate has allotted for my Life, may purchase a Pardon
for the Sin of my Temerity, I devote them intirely
to you――Henceforward rule my every Word and
Action――I had almost said my every Wish, but Oh!
that is not in your Power, vast as it is! for shou’d
you command me to cease burning with impatient Desires
to obtain the Blessing of pleasing you, I freely
own, I cou’d not――nay, I wou’d not, in that, obey
you—in spite, even of your self I must for ever Love――
for ever Worship you!――Permit me then to owe to
your Bounty, what else my own Obstinacy will
give me, the Title of the

Most excellent Cleomira’s
truest, and everlasting Votary, Lysander.’

There was a Postscript” (continu’d the Recluse)
“in which he press’d very strenuously
for an Answer, the Words of which I do not
very well remember; and indeed ’twas needless
to have troubled you with this, or many others
of the like Nature; but as there are some of his
Letters, which in the Course of my Story I shall
be oblig’d to repeat, I thought it proper to let
you see the mighty Difference ’twixt Hopeing and
Possessing; to what an elevated Height the Wings
of Fancy soar, while in Pursuit; and how low, how C5r25
how faint, and how drooping is their Flight, when
there is nothing farther to be obtain’d. I will
not pretend to tell you what my Transports
were while I was reading; if, as you confess, you
really know the Power of Love, your own Heart
will make you comprehend what ’twas mine felt,
much more than any Words cou’d do. I was almost
distracted for fear the Messenger shou’d be gone,
and I have no Opportunity to send an Answer;
but he was better instructed by his Master; and
when I open’d the Door, he presently started
out from behind a great Tree that grew before
the House. I made a Sign to him that he shou’d
stay, and went to my Chamber to write: I durst
not allow time for Thought, lest any Interruption
shou’d happen, and only following the
Dictates of my inconsiderate, and transported
Passion, return’d an Answer in these Words.

‘To the Noble Lysander. If Cleomira were half so worthy Adoration as Lysander
truly is, she might, without any Difficulty,
be brought to believe all you say to her: but, as
I am sensible I have no other Graces than those your
Fancy is pleas’d to bestow on me, you cannot blame
me, if I am a little Diffident of the Continuance
of a Passion so weakly grounded――I shall not, however,
desire you to desist giving me any farther Testimonies
of it; because, as you say, while you are possess’d of it,
Entreaties of that kind wou’d be altogether unavailing.
I think my self extremely oblig’d to you for the
Caution with which your Letter was deliver’d, and
if you favour me with any more, hope you will makeUse C5v26
Use of the same, which will be of the greatest Consequence
to the Peace of
Cleomira.’
Notwithstanding the Violence of my Passion,
there were some Intervals in which I endur’d
severe Upbraidings from my Modesty, for engaging
thus precipitately in a Love-Affair; but they
lasted not long, and at every Return grew weaker
than before: Lysander’s Idea wou’d suffer nothing
but it self to have any Prevalence in my
Soul; and the Glory, methought, of appearing
amiable in his Eyes, was more Happiness than
all the World besides cou’d give.
The next Morning, almost the first Person I
saw, was the Messenger again, walking as he had
done the Day before; I made no doubt but he
had another Billet for me, and the first Moment
I had an Opportunity, went down to receive it:
I was not deceiv’d: for as soon as I had open’d
the Door, he slipt a Paper into my Hand, and
retir’d to his Covert quick as Lightning. The
Words of this were;
‘To my Ador’d Cleomira. How much was I mistaken while I believ’d it
impossible there was a Charm more touching
than your Wit and Beauty; your Goodness ravishes
beyond both!――the Brightness of your Eyes inflame the
Heart――the Harmony of your Voice enchants the Ear
――but this divine Sweetness of your Nature diffuses
Heaven, and gives Raptures which Angels only, and
the happier Man whom Cleomira favours, can be
bless’d with!――Say, with what Words, thou wondrousAbstract C6r27
Abstract of Perfection! Thou loveliest――wisest――
Best of all created Beings! shall I repay a Condescention
so unhop’d――unmerited? To be permitted to
adore you, is Ecstasy too great to bear in Silence!――
Oh give my impetuous Transports leave to vent themselves,
――let me beneath your Feet declare the mighty
Sense I have of so unvalued an Obligation――let, on
that happy Earth you tread on, my humble Body avow
the lower Prostration of my devoted Soul, and
never rise till by some Arguments forcible as my Passion,
I have convinc’d you with how much Truth,
Purity, and everlasting Zeal, I am your Slave. I
have not been so sparing of my Enquiries, as not to
know it will be almost impossible to obtain the Blessing
I entreat at your House; but if you can think of any
other where with Convenience I may be favour’d,
let the same unequal’d Excellence of Disposition, which
has already done such Miracles for me, incline you to
let me know it by the Bearer: As also if you will
feast my longing Eyes with a transient View from
your Window, as I pass by to-morrow Morning on
Horseback. Tho’ your Idea has never been absent
from my Soul, since the first Moment I beheld you,
yet my impatient Sense reproaches me that I have
liv’d these two long Days, without endeavouring at
least a greater Proportion of Felicity, and testifying by
all the ways I am able, how much I am the never-too-
much deify’d Cleomira’s
Eternally devoted and most
passionate Lysander.’
Any body but me, wou’d have been too much
alarm’d at the reading these Lines, to have return’d
any Answer, unless it were such a one as should C6v28
should have entirely taken away those Hopes my
former Complaisance had inspir’d. The Boldness
of desiring me to appoint a Meeting was so
great, as all the fine things he said to me cou’d
not attone for; and was sufficient to have taught
me, how dangerous it was to make any Condescentions
of this kind to a Man I had so little
Knowledge of. To another, I say, this might
have been a timely Warning; but alas! I was so
blinded with my Passion, that I cou’d think of
nothing but which way I should gratify it, and
without any Struggles from that Bashfulness
which till now had never forsook me, writ him
a Reply in this Manner.
‘To the Worthy Lysander. The Gratitude you express for that, perhaps,
too great Complaisance you have found in me, is
infinitely obliging: for I wou’d much rather you shou’d
impute it to any thing, than to that Vanity, which
too often, influences a Woman of my Age, to encourage
Addresses her Heart is no way affected with; and,
tho’ it may appear too free a Declaration, I am so
little acquainted with disguising the Truth, that I
cannot forbear telling you, it is to your Merits alone you
are indebted for the Liberty of a Correspondence,
which you are pleas’d to think agreeable. Your Information,
that it is impossible for me to receive the
Honour you wou’d do me at our House, has not deceiv’d
you, and I must also let you know I am too
strictly confin’d to promise it at any other. I must
therefore leave it entirely to Fortune, to procure me
any farther Pleasure in your Conversation than what
your Letters afford: but in the mean time shall not fail C7r29
fail being at the Window that overlooks the Road,
in the hope of seeing a Person, whose Regard shall
aglways be most valuable to
Cleomira.’
When I had sent this away, I feign’d my self
a little indispos’d, to avoid the necessity of Talking;
for Speech was now become a Pain, since I
durst not employ it in the Praise of my ador’d
Lysander. I pass’d the whole Day, and good
part of the Night, in contemplating the Happiness
I shou’d enjoy next Morning: and it cou’d
be call’d scarce Dawn when I got up, and took
my Post at the appointed Window, whence I
believe it wou’d have been impossible for any
thing to have remov’d me. My Mother was
no sooner out of Bed than she enquir’d after my
Health; her Tenderness making her doubt the
Disorder I complain’d of was encreas’d, because
I had not been in her Chamber, as it was my
Custom every Morning, to entreat my Blessing:
and being told where I was, came in to me, not
a little surpris’d to find me in a Room, which,
by reason of the great Dust of the Highway, was
very seldom made use of, and the least Pleasant
of any in the House. She did not fail to ask the
Cause of my being there; and I told her, that
not being very well, I hop’d some Benefit from
the Air, which I thought blew fresher on that
side of the House, than on the other. She cou’d
have no Suspicion of the Truth, and this Excuse
pass’d well enough. Breakfast being ready, she
sent a Servant to call me, but I not being prevail’d
on to come, she order’d it shou’d be
brought where I was. This vex’d me to the Heart, C7v30
Heart, for I was not willing that any body,
much less that she shou’d be a Witness of this
Interview, tho’ at such a Distance, with Lysander.
I knew she had discerning eyes, and fear’d
she might discover more than I wish’d she shou’d,
in one, or both of our Faces. I refus’d to drink
Tea, scarce spoke, or if I did, it was so peevishly
and unmannerly, that I am amaz’d she did
not leave me in a Rage to indulge my ill Humour;
but she taking my Behaviour for the Effect
of Vapours, continued to sooth me by a thousand
endearing Expressions, which were wholly
lost upon me: I had no Eyes, no Ears, no Heart
open for any thing but Lysander. At length he came,
and with a Mien, and Air, so soft, so sweet, so
graceful, that Painters might have copy’d an
Adonis from him, fit indeed to charm the Queen
of Beauty. He was dress’d in a strait Jocky-
Coat of green Velvet, richly embroider’d at the
Seams with Silver, the Buttons were Brillians,
neatly set in the Fashion of Roses; his Hair,
which is black as Jet, was ty’d with a green Ribond,
but not so straitly, but that a thousand
little Ringlets stray’d o’er his lovely Cheeks, and
wanton’d in the Air; a crimson Feather in his
Hat set off, to vast Advantage, the dazling Whiteness
of his Skin! In fine, he was all over Charms
――all over glorious, and I believe it impossible
for the most Insensible to have beheld him without
adoring him――what then became of me!――
Oh God! how fruitless wou’d any Endeavours
be to represent what ’twas I felt!――Transplanted
――Ravish’d――I wonder the violent
Emotions of my Soul did not bear my Body out
of the Window.――O wou’d it had been so, that Love C8r31
Love and Life might then have had an End, and
scap’d the Woes which both have since endur’d.
The great Trampling which the Horses made
(for he had four Servants in rich Liveries and
gallantly mounted attending him) oblig’d my
Mother to rise from her Chair, to see what it
was that occasion’d it. She came to the Window
the Moment that Lysander was making me
a profound Reverence: I know not how I return’d
it, but doubtless with a Confusion suitable
to what I felt within, and which was but too
visible to my Mother’s Observation; for after he
was pass’d by, and my Eyes were pursuing him
as far as I was able, she rous’d me from the enchanting
Dream I had been in, by pulling me by
the Sleeve from the Window, and looking earnestly
in my Face, as tho’ she wou’d penetrate
into my Soul, bad me tell her who that Gentleman
was. ‘I know not, Madam!’ (answer’d I,
with a Voice which sufficiently discover’d the
Insincerity of my Words.) ‘I am afraid,’ (said she,
changing her Countenance to more Severity than
ever I had seen her wear) ‘you know him but
too well: acquaint me therefore this Moment
with the Truth, where, when, and how often
you have seen him.’
I cou’d not immediately
gather Courage to make any Reply to this Command;
and, when I assur’d her, as I truly might,
that I had never seen him, but at the Ball; she
was so far from giving Credit to what I said,
that she flew into the greatest Passion I had ever
seen her in, and after she had a little vented it
in some Exclamations on the Follies of Love,
and Disobedience to Parents, left me alone to
meditate on her Words.
This C8v 32 This was a dreadful Alloy to the Pleasure I
had lately enjoy’d: I perceiv’d the Secret I had
taken so much Pains, and fancy’d my self so artful
in concealing, was by my own Inadvertency
discover’d.――I cou’d not reflect on the Indignation
of a Mother, who, bating the Restraint
she laid me under, I had reason to think a most
Affectionate one, without a Concern very near
Remorse, for doing any thing to occasion it; but
when I reflected on the Injustice she did me (for
so my Love taught me to consider it) in condemning
my Admiration of a Person so in every way
deserving as Lysander appear’d to be; I regretted
nothing but the Power she had over me, lest she
should exert it yet more, and deprive me of any
future means of seeing him. I had been happy
never to have been more deceiv’d than I was in
my Conjecture, that she wou’d take all possible
Precaution to prevent my having any Conversation
with a Person, whom she so justly believ’d
dangerous.
I had not past many Hours in contemplating
the Misfortunes I fancy’d my self in, before an
old Woman (formerly my Governess) and now a
sort of Overseer in the Family, came into the
Room, and took upon her to reprove me, in
Terms I cou’d not well support; on my giving
her some tart Replies, she told me, that she had
Orders from my Mother to confine me to my
Chamber, till I had learn’d the Lesson of Humiliation.
I was forc’d to obey, and indeed was
well enough contented to be any where, to avoid
the hearing of such Sermons. All that I thought
an Affliction was, that ’twou’d be impossible for
me to receive or answer any Letters from Lysander;der, D1r33
and it was only on this Account that I
pass’d three Days of my Confinement in mortal
Inquietudes: On the fourth, I saw the Mercury
to my Jove, mounted on a little Heap of Rubbish
that the Gardener had thrown out, and
peeping over the Wall: The poor Fellow, as I
since understood, had been every one of those
Days watching about the House, but not being
able to get a Sight of me, either at the
Door, or Windows, he at last came round that
way. The Appearance of this Man made me almost
mad, till casting in my Mind, if there were
not a Possibility of giving him Notice of my
Condition, Invention furnish’d me with this. I
open’d the Window, and thrusting my self out
as far I cou’d, made a Sign to him that he shou’d
tarry a little where he was; then taking a Piece
of Paper, writ in it these Words:
‘Iknow who you come from, and therefore guess
your Business.――Let your Lord know I am
in the strictest Confinement imaginable on his Account
――I fear it will be impossible for me to continue
the Happiness of a Correspondance with him――
It will be to no purpose for you to stay, or return any
more on the Design you are sent on; but if you are
taken Notice of, may occasion worse Usage, if possible,
than what I now endure.
Cleomira.’
I pull’d a Lead out of the Sleeve of my Gown,
and wrapping it up in this Paper, to give it
Weight, made a shift to hurl it to the Place
where he cou’d reach it. He took a Letter out
of his Pocket, and held up to show me, making Dseveral D1v34
several Motions, by which I understood he was
charg’d to give it me; but by shaking my Head,
and putting my Handkerchief to my Eyes, I testify’d
the Impossibility of his Attempt, and Part
of the Concern I was in: I say but Part; for after
he was gone, and I began to reflect that, indeed,
I never shou’d be able to see Lysander more,
no Tongue can express the Emotions of my Soul:
For many Days I did nothing but weep, and that
in so violent a manner, that the Servants whom
my Mother sent in to wait on me, apprehended
I shou’d fall into Fits. This, when it was told
her, gave so considerable an Alarm to her Tenderness,
that it half dissipated her Anger; and,
when I least expected it, she order’d I should come
down into the Parlour, and receiving me with
her usual Affability, ‘You have suffer’d enough,’
(said she) ‘for the Imprudence of contracting an
Acquaintance without my Approbation; but as
I shall forget it, at least so far as never to reproach
you with it, so I wou’d have you remember
it enough to make you avoid, for the
future, any Faults of the like Nature. And, to
convince me that there is nothing farther between
you and this Gentleman than what you
wou’d have me believe, you must resume that
Chearfulness which is becoming your Youth,
and the little Cause you yet have met with to be
otherwise.’
My Heart was too full to suffer me
to make any other Reply to these Words than a
low Curtsy; but when I had gather’d Courage
enough to speak, I endeavour’d to assure
her, that my Melancholy proceeded from no other
Cause, than being on a sudden depriv’d of
all those Diversions I had ever been accustom’d to: D2r35
to: But that, since it was her Pleasure, I wou’d
use my utmost Efforts to make it easy to me.
She seem’d satisfy’d with what I said; and, perhaps,
believing she had been a little too severe,
from that Time took me abroad with her whereever
she went; she carry’d me to visit several
Relations, and a great many Acquaintance whose
Society I formerly took Delight in: But, alas!
this now cou’d afford no Comfort to my bleeding
heart; it rather encreas’d than diminish’d the
Anguish of my secret Discontent; and since I
cou’d not see Lysander, I cou’d have been better
pleas’d to have seen no body. There was no
Possibility of conveying a Letter to him, I knew
not where to direct, or if I had, notwithstanding
the Privileges my Mother now allow’d me,
she scarce ever trusted me out of her Sight.
Thus for two Months did I languish out my
Nights in fruitless Wishes, and my Days in the
most tormenting (of all) Employments, that of
being oblig’d to wear a seeming Gaiety, when
all my Soul was full of Horror and Distraction.
In this Time a new Family came into the Neighbourhood,
they soon made an Acquaintance with
ours, and my Mother was so well pleas’d with
the good Breeding and Gravity of the Master
and Mistress of it, that she enter’d into an Intimacy
with them much sooner than was her Custom
to do with any body. They visited frequently
at our House, and my Mother always
made me accompany her to return them, though
much against my Inclination, for, as I have
already told you, my own Thoughts, unquiet
as they were, gave me more Satisfaction than
any Company’s but Lysander cou’d bestow. D2Both D2v36
Both the Man and the Woman seem’d wonderfully
charm’d with me, took all Occasions of
complimenting me, and Mrs. Marvir (for that
was the Name they were call’d by) wou’d often
endeavour to engage me in particular conversations,
which I, as carefully as I cou’d without being
rude, avoided: Till one Day, she began a
little kind of Raillery on my affecting a Demureness
in my Behaviour, which, she said, she was
sure was not in my Nature: My Mother, who
was willing to take all Opportunities of perswading
me to Chearfulness, join’d with her in this
Assertion, and between ’em both I was pretty
much put to it (so inwardly perplex’d as I was)
to make any Defence, which, by the Aukwardness
of it, wou’d not discover that I had, indeed,
something at my Heart which clouded the Gaiety
of my Looks. ‘I am afraid’ (said Mrs. Marvir
to my Mother) ‘that your Daughter is in Love:
I warrant if we shou’d search her Chamber, we
shou’d find a Number of amorous Books, and Epistles
of the same Nature.’
‘I never had that
Curiosity’
(reply’d my Mother) ‘but I hope she
would receive none of the latter without my
Knowledge, and I have taken Care to instill such
Principles in her Mind as will not let her be over
fond of the other.’
‘Will you give me leave
to hunt?’
(resum’d she laughing.) ‘Yes, with all my
Heart’
(answer’d I, glad to put an End to this
Discourse.) I waited on her up Stairs, where
after she had a little look’d about her, and prais’d
the Pleasantness of the Chamber, having a full
Prospect of the Garden, ‘I told you’ (said she)
‘that I would find something here more tender
than you would have the World be sensible of.’
I D3r37
‘I dare swear’ (continued she, taking a Letter
from my Toilet, and giving it to me) ‘the Contents
of this may justly be call’d Amorous.’
I
had no sooner cast my Eyes on the Direction,
than I knew the Hand to be Lysander’s: The
Consternation I was in may be more easily imagin’d
than express’d: I had not Power to break
the Seal, but continued looking sometimes on
her, sometimes on the Table, and sometimes on
the Letter, as wondring by what means it had
been convey’d there. ‘Cease your Surprize’ (resum’d
she) ‘It was no other who laid the Letter
on your Toilet than she who took it off, and
deliver’d it to your Hand, and she who you need
make no Scruple to confide in, since your Lysander,
your adoring, dying Lysander, has thought
me worthy of the Trust of bearing you his Soul,
his Vows, and everlasting Faith. I will make
some Excuse’
(continued she) ‘for leaving you above,
that you may have Time both to read this
and return an Answer, which I have engag’d to
bring him.’
I cou’d not get leave from my Astonishment
to make any Reply to what she said,
but when she was gone had my Senses enough
about me to lock the Door, and then fed my
impatient and transported Wishes with these
Lines.
‘To my Soul’s only Treasure, the adorable
Cleomira.
How easily might be spar’d the Stings――the
Scorpions――the never-dying Fires, and all the
fancy’d Tortures which Priests invent to ride the
frighted World, if any of those Soul-enslavers knew D3what D3v38
what it was to love like me! Absence from Cleomira
is a Hell which all their labour’d Policy wants
Skill to paint――Within my burning Breast ten thousand
real Furies rage, and tear me with Variety of Anguish
――Mad with Desire, and wing’d with daring
Hopes, sometimes I cou’d tear down the envious
Walls, and baffle all Impediments which hold you
from me――Sometimes, despairing, chill’d with deadly
Horror, I fancy you regardless of my Woe, and easy
under this Restraint――One Moment imagine I see
a favour’d Rival bask in your Smiles! gaze on your
Eyes in happy tranquil Transport! and kiss that
Hand, which but to touch I wou’d forego my Life――
The next, distracted, think I behold you dragg’d by a
cruel Mother to some detested Choice your Soul abhors;
then soften into more than Female Tenderness,
and weep for you and for my self.――Oh Cleomira!
All the Names of Misery! of Woe! of Anguish
insupportable, are poor to what, indeed, my
Soul endures for you――My Passion, and my Pains,
are, like your Charms, unutterable! and only can be
felt.――This Age of Absence has been spent in
nothing but Contrivances to shorten it, till these good
People, whose Fidelity you may rely on, were so fortunate
to get into your Acquaintance――O then,
thou dearest! brightest! loveliest of thy Sex! indulge
the fond Design, and let them not be less regarded
by you, now you know they are the Instruments by
which you must receive the Testimonies of a Passion
too sublime to be inspir’d by any but your divine Self,
and which can be felt, in so high a Degree, by none
but
Your eternally devoted Lysander.’
I need D4r 39 I need not tell you the Raptures of my overjoy’d
Soul at reading this Letter; my Answer to
it will sufficiently inform you, that I had no
Consideration but of the Ecstasy it produc’d.
‘To the most excellent Lysander. You paint the Woes of Love in so extravagant
a Manner, that one had need be more than ordinarily
sensible of that Passion, to be able to give
any Credit to a Description so far beyond what is
commonly conceiv’d of it. I am afraid Lysander is
too well acquainted with his Perfections not to know
the Effects they must produce, and but feigns to feel
what he alone is capable of inspiring: Were I really
possest of as many Charms as your all-powerful Wit
wou’d dress me up in, you have a thousand Opportunities
of diverting your Thoughts; Business――Variety
of Objects――and gay Conversation, make your
Hours slide away in vastly different Entertainments――
while I, of much the softer Sex, and consequently
susceptible of a deeper Impression, have nothing to do
but to indulge a Passion, which in the beginning seems
delectable――The Dawn, indeed, promises ten thousand
future Joys――what the Meridian will be,
is wholly in your Faith and Honour to be prov’d――
But, I have so implicite a Dependance on both, that
I will make no Scruple to confess the Transport of
hearing from you again, is more than Recompence for
all those Inquietudes you have so perfectly represented
in yours, and which I hope will be no more the Portion
of
Your Cleomira.’
D4 When D4v 40 When I had finish’d this I went down to the
Company, and soon found an Opportunity, unperceiv’d,
to slip it into Mrs. Marvir’s Hand.
Scarce a Day pass’d after this without my receiving
a Letter, either through hers or her Husband’s
means. I will not trouble you with the
Repetition of them, being of no great Consequence
to my Story, and wou’d draw it into a
Length too tedious for your Patience: By those
you have heard, you may guess the Purport of
the rest; so shall only tell you, that every one of
his grew more pressing for an Engagement of
my Affection, and mine still more complying.
I pass’d my Time contentedly enough, though not
so happily as I wish’d. The continual Assurances
he gave me of his Passion, and the Hopes that
through these Peoples means I shou’d soon enjoy
the Blessing of his Presence, were Cordials sufficient
to keep a Love less ardent than mine alive.
And, indeed, I had no great Exercise for my
Patience: Lysander was too eager, and his Agents
too industrious, to permit me to grow cool in my
Desires, or imagine him to be so.
One Evening, my Mother and I, being invited
to sup at Marvir’s House, while he engag’d
her in a serious Discourse, his Wife took me into
the Garden: The Transports of my beating
Heart inform’d me to what End I was brought
there, before she had Time to tell me that Lysander
waited my Approach in the Arbor. But,
when I came near enough to see him, no Confusion
sure was ever equal to mine!――The Reflection
that this was but the third Time I had
seen him――but the second in which I had an Opportunity
to speak to him――the Condescentions of my D5r41
my Letters――and that which I now gave of
meeting him, came all at once into my Head,
and I was ready to sink with Shame. But never
did any Votary approach the Image of the Saint
he worshipp’d with more Humility and aweful
Reverence than Lysander me! He fell at my
Feet,――embrac’d my Knees, and kiss’d my
Hands with such a tender Transport――such
an enchanting Mixture of Delight and Fear, as
one wou’d think no false Love cou’d feign, and
was impossible to behold unmov’d: My Spirits
were in too violent an Agitation to suffer me to
raise him from the Posture he was in, till gaining
Confidence to do it himself, and interpreting
my Disorders in his Favour, he took me in his
Arms, all blushing――trembling, and incapable
of Defence, and laying his Head upon my panting
Bosom, seem’d to breath out all his Soul in
fervent Tenderness. He held me thus some Moments
before I knew what I was doing; and
when, at last, I struggled to get free, it was so
faintly, that he might easily perceive the Liberties
he had taken were not unpardonable: I look’d
for Mrs. Marvir, designing to upbraid her for
the Boldness her Guest had been guilty of; but
she was gone, and the Reproaches I made him
were such as did not discourage him from a Repetition
of his Crime. In short, all the Time
of our being together (which I believe was above
an Hour) was past in nothing but offending
and forgiving: I found by my self that Love is
a Passion that disdains Restraint, and thought it
unjust to be angry at almost any thing the Force
of it might Influence him to commit. To go
about to tell you what he said――in what Mannerner D5v42
he look’d――and with what Graces every
thing he did, and spoke were accompanyed,
would be to wrong him; for no Words, no
Accents, no Motions but his own, can give you
any just Idea of his Perfections.――Never was
any so form’d to Charm, and to Betray――never
was such foul Deceit, Hypocrisy, and Villany,
couch’d in such seeming Sweetness, Softness, and
Sincerity.――Heaven! with what a counterfeited
Vehemence has he exclaim’d against the
Inconstancy of his Sex!――With what an appearance
of Sanctity and Truth, has he invok’d
the Saints and Angels to be a Witness of his
Vows! when, lavish of them, he has a thousand
――thousand times protested, that Cleomira
shou’d ever be more dear to him than Life! Oh
record ’em, all ye blessed Spirits! and in the last
great Day, when I alone can hope for Justice,
bring ’em in dreadful Testimony against him,
and force his black, his leprous Soul to own
Conviction!”

Here the Remembrances of some Passages
made this unhappy Lady wholly unable to prosecute
her Discourse; and all that Belinda cou’d
say to mitigate the Rage of Temper she was
rais’d to, prov’d of no Effect, till a Shower of
new returning Tears in part allay’d the Tempest:
When she was a little come to her self, “After
this”
(resum’d she) “I had many Opportunities, by
Mrs. Marvir’s Contrivance, of indulging my fond
Wishes in Lysander’s Presence: and so zealous
was he in making me believe the Passion he pretended
was sincere, that in those Days, when
there was no other way to see me, he wou’d
come disguis’d, and walk before the House till I D6r43
I had taken Notice of him; then by some Motion
discover who he was, and tell me by his
Eyes, a thousand tender Things, nor stir from
the Place till by my withdrawing my self he
knew it was improper he shou’d stay any longer.
I cannot but say, fierce as my Passion was before,
this uncommon Assiduity of his made a vast Addition
to it, and I thought it the greatest Hardship
in the World, that I cou’d not have the Freedom
of conversing with him, without all this
Difficulty on both sides. Mrs. Marvir, who kept
continual Watch over my Humour, took this
Advantage of my Discontent, and whenever we
were alone endeavour’d to heighten it; She was
always representing the Injustice my Mother
did me, in debarring me from all those Liberties
young Ladies in this Kingdom are permitted
to enjoy; and made use of all her Cunning
to convince me, that those Restrictions were
laid upon me, only to wean me by degrees
from the Pleasures of the World; that I might
be the more willing to accept of a Husband,
who, she told me, my Mother had provided for
me. ‘By what I can guess from her Discourse’
(said she) ‘you are to be married to a Country
Gentleman, and that in so short time as will amaze
you.’
She spoke this in such a Manner, as
gave me no Suspicion of the Truth; and recollecting
how much my Mother had labour’d to
persuade me into a good Opinion of a Country
Life, was assur’d in my Mind that she had really
some body in View, to whom she design’d to
sacrifice me: and ’tis impossible to represent the
Perplexity this Belief involv’d me in. ‘If any such
thing happen, Madam’
(said I) ‘how shou’d I avoid it?’ I D6v44
‘I know not’ (answer’d this wicked Woman,
having brought me to the Point she aim’d at) ‘unless
by chusing a Guardian, you entirely divest
your Mother of the Power of disposing of you.’

She said no more at this time, because my Mother
her happen’d to come into the Room; but whenever
they had an Opportunity, it was with such
like Speeches both she and her Husband entertain’d
me; till at last, the Fears of what they
had infus’d into my Imagination――the Hopes of
enjoying my belov’d Liberty, and my infinitely
more belov’d Lysander’s Company uncontroll’d,
made me resolve to do as they advis’d. I cou’d
think of no Person so proper for me to make
Choice of for a Guardian as Marvir himself. It
was not very difficult to persuade him to it, (it
being the only thing he wanted) tho’ at first he
seem’d averse. Every thing being concluded
on, one Morning, before my Mother was out of
Bed, I left her House, and went to Marvir’s,
whence immediately I took Coach with him for
London; and by electing him according to Law,
put it out of her Power to oblige me to return.
Her Behaviour, on the first Knowledge of what
I had done, was all Distraction; she fell into Fits,
rav’d, came to Marvir’s House, and without any
Regard to that Decorum she was us’d so strictly
to observe, loudly exclaim’d against their Treachery,
and my Ingratitude and Disobedience: I
had not Assurance to appear before her, and they
(having gain’d their End) cou’d endure the
Brunt of her Upbraidings: In a few Days we remov’d
to London, and I was out of the Fear of meeting
her: But her Tenderness soon getting the
better of her Indignation, she sent a Letter to me, D7r45
me, full of Persuasions in the most endearing
Terms to return to her again. I had the Courage
to write to her, tho’ I had not to see her, and
return’d an Answer of Excuses for the Measures
I had taken; but told her it was wholly owing
to that unreasonable Restraint she had laid me
under――that I abandon’d her, only in Pursuit
of that innocent Liberty, which all Persons of
my Age were desirous of enjoying; and that I
never wou’d make Use of it to the Disadvantage of
my Reputation, or the Dishonour of my Family:
And that in all material Affairs of Life, tho’ I
had chose a Guardian, I would do nothing without
consulting Her. This was far from being any
Satisfaction to her; she writ me several Letters,
sometime entreating, sometimes commanding
and threatning, and engag’d all those Relations,
who were near enough to Interest themselves
in my Behaviour, to come and talk to me:
But the People I was with took care I should be
seen by none of them; alledging, as a proof of
their Love to me, that they would not have me
teaz’d with any Solicitations of that Nature. I
was very well satisfy’d with their Proceedings;
I saw Lysander every Day, and while I listen’d
to his Vows, shou’d not have been pleas’d with
an Interruption of any kind. That Ardent, yet
Respectful Passion which appear’d in all his
Words and Actions, was to me a Heaven, which
nothing else cou’d give. I had not, for some
time, any Reason to suspect he had the least dishonourable
Thought; for tho’ the little Power I
had of disguising my Sentiments, had made me
guilty of many imprudent Actions, and embolden’d
him to the taking greater Freedoms, than D7v46
than otherwise he wou’d have dar’d to have attempted,
yet he offer’d nothing which justly
cou’d be call’d offensive to Virtue; till one
Night――Oh ever be accurst that Night――that
Hour――that damn’d undoing Minute, when all
good Angels slept, and left to Feinds the Fate of
Cleomira! I had undress’d, and thrown my self
on the Bed, restless, and uneasy that Lysander
had not been to visit me that Day, for it was
now become an inconsolable Affliction to me to
pass four and twenty Hours without seeing him;
I was so bury’d in Thought, that I heard not
the Tread of any body coming into my Chamber,
’till I saw a Man stand close by me: It was
about ten a Clock, at that time of the Year when
there is scarce any Darkness, and, willing to indulge
Contemplation, I had not call’d for Candles,
and cou’d not presently discern who was
there; but not suspecting it any other than Mr.
Marvir
(who might be come to call me to Supper)
without removing from the Posture I was
in, ask’d carelesly what he wanted. ‘He must be
a very ill Judge of Happiness’
(answer’d he) ‘that
cou’d form a Wish beyond the Treasure which
this Bed contains.’
These Words, and the Accent
of his Voice, always dear and charming to
my Ears, soon told me it was Lysander, and oblig’d
me to endeavour to rise; but he had thrown
himself down by me while he was speaking, and
seizing both my Hands, and gently forcing them
to circle his Waste, join’d his Lips to mine with
too strenuous a Pressure, to suffer me to reproach
the Liberties he took――What cou’d I do, surpris’d
in this unguarded Moment?――full of Desires
and tender Languishments before, his glowinging D8r47
Touch now dissolv’d my very Soul, and
melted every Thought to soft Complyance――in
short, I suffer’d――or rather let me say I cou’d
not resist his proceeding from one Freedom to another,
till there was nothing left for him to ask,
or me to grant. The guilty Transport past, a
thousand Apprehensions all at once invaded me;
Remorse and Shame supply’d the Place of Ecstasy
――Tears fill’d my Eyes――cold Tremblings
seiz’d my Limbs――and my Breast heav’d no more
with Joy but with Horror.――Too sure Presages of that
future Woe, which this black Hour brought forth.
――It was not in the lovely Undoer’s Power, dear as
he was, to make me satisfied with what I had done,
and the whole time he stay’d with me, which
was best part of the Night, I utter’d nothing but
Reproaches: the next Day, and many following
ones, I entertain’d him in no other Manners; and it
was some Weeks before all his Wit, his Tenderness
and seeming Truth, cou’d make me hope
I had not done a Deed, I shou’d all my Life,
have Occasion to repent. But what is it a Woman
may not in time be persuaded to, by the
Man she loves! He behav’d himself in such a
Manner, so kind, so soft, so ravishingly tender,
respectful and engaging――made so many solemn
Protestations of eternal Faith, and imprecated
such unheard-of Curses on his Falsehood, if ever
he shou’d give me Cause to tax him with it, that
one wou’d think indeed the most harden’d Villain
cou’d not thus have dar’d to dress his Perjuries
in such a Form of Sanctity!――How cou’d
I then, who lov’d him, disbelieve him?――No,
it was not in Nature――it was not in Reason,
that, after what he had sworn, I cou’d be doubtfulful D8v48
of his Sincerity, or Honour; and I must have
consider’d him as monstrously unworthy of my
Love, before I cou’d think there was a Possibility
he shou’d ever cease to Love me. Thus,
was I, at last, rais’d to the highest Pinacle of
humane Felicity! an Assurance of the real and
everlasting Tenderness of the Man who took up
all my Wishes: But when I thought my self
most happy――most secure, I was on a sudden
thrown from all my Height of Transport, to
the lowest State of Misery and Despair. Ever
since my being at Marvir’s House, I had not
pass’d one Day without seeing Lysander; and the
first Absence, which was about a Week, fill’d
me with most terrible Suspicions: I did not fail
to acquaint him with ’em by Letters, which he answer’d
with the same Fondness he had accustom’d
me to, and made Excuses, for not visiting me in
that time, which seem’d plausible enough:
When next I saw him, nothing seem’d more endearing
――nothing more Ardent than he seem’d
to be, yet he pretended some Business, and stay’d
not with me so long as he was wont. After he
was gone, happening to cast my Eyes on the
Ground, I saw a Paper lying, which I, imagining it
might be dropt by him, hastily took up; part of it
had been torn off, and what remain’d was so
blotted that I could scarce read it; I discover’d,
however, that it was a most passionate Declaration
of Love to some Woman, but who, I was
altogether a Stranger, for there was no Name――
You may believe (my dear Belinda) this was enough
to give a Heart so truly tender as mine,
a most terrible Alarm! I laid it up carefully, designing
to shew it him when he shou’d come next E1r49
next Day, as he had promis’d he wou’d; but
alas! I expected him many succeeding ones, in
vain! ’till growing quite out of Patience, I writ to
him according to the Dictates of my Jealousy and
Discontent: This indeed engag’d a Visit from
him; and after he had again made some slight
Pretences for his Absence, began to railly me,
with so much Artifice, for the Imagination I had
form’d of his being in Love in another Place,
that I was weak enough, on his swearing it was
so, to believe the Letter I had found was only a
foul Copy of one he intended to send to me, in
that time when he had not an Opportunity of
seeing me; and was pretty well satisfy’d as to his
Constancy: But tho’ I assur’d him, my whole
Dependance on the Truth of what he said
hung on the proof of his visiting me as usual,
and he seem’d willing I shou’d judge his Truth
by that Testimony, yet I saw him not again in
another Week. Now the Mist my good Opinion
of him had cast before my Eyes began to
wear off, and Reason, unobscured by Passion,
shew’d me how truly wretched I had made my
self,――but what did it avail? My Fame, my
Virtue, and my Peace of Mind were lost, no
more to be retriev’d: Penetration was but the
Mirror which shew’d me my Deformity, but
cou’d direct me to no Means which cou’d restore
those Beauties, which Guilt and Shame had
utterly defac’d. From seeing me every Day, he
had already fallen to once a Week; soon he came
but once a Fortnight; afterwards a Month; and
that too was to be accounted a Favour.――Soft as I
am by Nature, and made more so by Love, this
Usage turn’d me all to Indignation: I rav’d upbraided,Ebraided E1v50
threaten’d, said I know not what, and
sometimes was resolv’d to revenge my Injuries
by his Death: but, alas! he grew not less lovely,
for his being less faithful; and whatever I determin’d
against him in his Absence, was in his Presence
all dissolv’d. ’Tis true, he never came without
renewing his former Protestations of eternal
Faith, and coin’d each Time some new-invented
Oath to assure me he was still the same. He
seem’d to mourn the Necessity of being so often
absent, with a Tenderness equal to that I truly
felt; but as perfect a Master as he was in the Art
of feigning, I was too well acquainted with the
Force of Love, not to know that where it is
sincere, no Obstacles wou’d be able to impede
the Gratification of it: and one Day, when he
had been telling me a tedious Tale of Business,
and Hurry of Affairs, and I know not what,
which had prevented his coming, I cou’d not
restrain the Violence of my just Resentment;
‘Ungrateful Man!’ (said I) ‘when watchful for my
Ruin, no Business had the Power to hold you;
all Day, and every Day, each flying Minute
was Witness of your Vows――but now,――
now, when I have given up all my Soul――am
lost to all the World but you; I may alone, unpity’d,
mourn my Fate, and curse the Fondness
that betray’d me to your Scorn.’
――He wou’d
not suffer me to go on long in this Strain, but
taking me in his Arms, and tenderly embracing
me, ‘Unjust and cruel Charmer!’ (interrupted he)
‘if I cou’d be capable of the Coldness, the Perfidy
you reproach me with, I cou’d not sure
have Courage to appear before you.――Nor
cou’d you, if you really believ’d me Guilty, with
that dear, that Angel Look behold me.――No,’tis E2r51
’tis the height of Passion only makes you talk
thus; as such I take it; and tho’ I grieve to
see you rend your gentle Breast with causeless
Agonies, yet I consider it with a kind of Transport,
since it assures me I am indeed more valuable
to you, than any Merit but my Truth can
give me Title to.’
Oh the Dissembler! with
what an Air of Tenderness did he utter these
and a thousand the like Expressions, and with
what inexpressible Endearments were they accompany’d?
――Enrag’d and Stormy as I was before,
my Soul, now all becalm’d again, Believ’d――and
was again Deceiv’d.――In this Manner did I continue
for a considerable Time, sometimes hopeing
――sometimes despairing――but never certain
or confirm’d of any thing――all Horror in
his Absence――all Ecstasy in his Presence――the
Business he pretended, which was Attendance at
Court, where he daily expected Preferment,
was feasible enough; but then I thought it impossible
that no Hour, no Moment in a Week,
or in so many Weeks, cou’d not be spar’d――in fine,
my Brain was in a perpetual Whirl――Reflection,
tost in wild Uncertainty, became disjoynted quite;
and tho’ I was always Musing, yet I was often
without the Power of Thinking――all my Days
were spent in doubtful Expectation, and my
Nights in Tears, and heart-rending Agonies too
terrible for Description――and if sometimes Nature
o’er-weary’d sunk into a Slumber, it cou’d
not be call’d Rest; for even then, my ever-
wakeful Fancy hurry’d my Spirits with confus’d
Idea’s in tormenting Dreams――Lysander’s Image
was never from my Sight, and always he appear’d
unkind, and far unlike the Dear――the Soul-enslavingE2slaving E2v52
Lover he had been, and still wou’d feign.
To add to my Affliction, I was with Child, and
every Motion of the unborn Innocent encreas’d
at once my Tenderness and Grief――’Tis not in
Thought to form any just Notion of what I
felt――All Passions but Hatred took their turn
to persecute me; and sure, had not Heaven reserv’d
me for an Example of its Power in lengthning
Woe to a degree beyond what cou’d be
imagin’d, I cou’d not have surviv’d the Torments
of an Hour. On his first declining to visit me,
I writ often to him; but of late had desisted from
giving him that Trouble, because he had told
me, his Father, whose Hands they might possibly
fall into, wou’d have Curiosity enough to open
them: Whether this was Reality, or whether
he said so only to spare himself the Pain of
Counterfeiting a Tenderness, any oftner than
he was oblig’d to, in my Presence, I know not,
but I had that implicite Obedience to his Will
in every thing, that I very seldom put it to the
Venture. But, one Day, after silently enduring
an Absence of five Weeks, I was no longer able
to restrain the impatient Struggles of my Soul,
and sent him these Lines.

‘To my too dear Lysander. Pardon me, if, convuls’d and torn with Pangs too
dreadful for Expression, the Anguish of my Soul,
in spite of me, breaks forth into Complainings――Am
I for ever to live this Life of curst Uncertainty?――
Is there a Necessity your Actions must always contradict
your Words?――Oh! be once sincere, and tell
me which I must believe――There was a Time when
with a thousand Vows you swore, that Absence was the E3r53
the severest Tryal a Lover cou’d go through――yet
now you bear it――bear it with Ease――with Unconcern!
――and can I then still hope you Love?――O
Heav’n! it is not, cannot be――by your own Arguments
you stand convicted, and I endeavour to deceive
my self in vain――Heart-rending Thought!――
I long have held you True――believ’d your Oaths
with such a Faith as what we pay to the divine Mysteries
of Salvation; and ’tis difficult――’tis wondrous
to think you can be false!――What then
must be the Proof? Madness!――Confusion!――
Everlasting Woe!――Horror without a Name!――
Save――save me from it! Dissemble yet a little longer;
my Fears will quickly send me to my Grave, let
not Despair weigh down my sinking Soul as well as
Body――If I no longer have the Power to please
you, let the Remembrance of those happy Moments in
which I had, engage, at least, your Gratitude――
If not your Love, bless me with your Friendship――
Pity me; if, no more; for, my Lysander, sure I merit
that――The Thoughts of you anticipate my earliest
Prayers, and still continue for my Evening Theme――
How often, when all have slept, and nothing but the
Stars and silent Moon were conscious of my Watchings,
have I pour’d out the Anguish of my bleeding
Heart, and to those dumb and unavailing Witnesses
vented the wild Extravagance of my Passion, rather
than wound your Ears with the unwelcome Tale!
’Tis harder to accuse you than to die――Yet, while
I have Breath, ’twill all be spent in Wailings, if you
are still cruel enough to suffer me to linger in a Condition
which justly gives me the Title of

The most Injur’d,
and most Miserable,Cleomira.’
E3 At E3v 54 At the return of my Messenger, I receiv’d an
Answer which you will scarce believe cou’d be
writ by the same Hand, or dictated by the same
Heart from which those you have already heard
proceeded.
‘To the lovely Cleomira. Your Sexes Souls are of such narrow Space,
that the least Passion swells them even to bursting:
I wou’d have the Woman I admire endeavour
to enlarge her Genius, and find room for other Views
than Love――Not but I think my self infinitely oblig’d
to yours, and shall never cease the Professions of
mine.――I will see you in a few Days, and, if
possible, convince you that I am
Your most Faithful Lysander.’
One wou’d think I needed no other Proof than
the Stile and the Shortness of this Billet, to inform
me, that I was indeed as wretched as I
cou’d be; but spite of Reason, I must join in
his Barbarity, and be my own Tormentor――my
Soul, too curious, wou’d search deeper still, though
sure to find what wou’d but more distract me:
The Fellow whom I employ’d to carry my Letter,
told me, that not finding Lysander at home,
he was directed to the Place where he was, and
deliver’d it to him in the Presence of a young
Lady, whom he was leading to a Chariot; and
that as soon as he had writ the Answer they went
out together. This was enough to give my already
justly suspecting Heart a jealous Curiosity, and E4r55
and I immediately dispatch’d him again to find
out, if possible, who the Lady was. He was so
successful in his Enquiry, that he brought me
Word that her name was Melissa, and that Lysander
was frequently with her――That they
had been seen together at the Play, at the Ring,
in the Mall, and several other publick Places:
If I was before alarm’d, what now became of
me, at this Information? I had formerly had an
Acquaintance with this Woman, and knew her
Temper to be the most intreaguing upon Earth;
and though from a very mean Fortune, and worse
Character, a Gentleman of a good Estate had
rais’d her to an envy’d State of Grandeur, she had
neither Gratitude nor Conduct sufficient to prevent
her from coquetting with every Man that
thought her worth taking Notice of: Nay, she
was so notoriously Imprudent, I may say Shameless,
that she sought all Opportunities of dishonouring
her Husband, and cou’d not hear of a
Man fam’d for any Perfection, without desiring
to engage him; she wou’d write to the most
absolute Strangers, and her being often repuls’d
by those whose Discretion made them despise
her, did not discourage her from attempting others:
This is (Belinda) the true Character of
this vile Woman; and the Reflection, that a Creature
so every way undeserving shou’d rob me of
his Heart, rouz’d that little Pride, which all
Women have some share of, to a Disdain, which,
not able to overcome my more superior Softness,
gave me Disorders which cannot be express’d.
Since I am to be abandon’d (said I to my self)
I ought to be pleas’d that he has abandon’d me
for a Creature whom none will envy him the E4Pos- E4v56
Possession of――One, who is not of a Humour
to regard any one farther than the Reputation
of being admir’d by him――One, to whom all
Men are alike, and, as charming as he is, will
not fail to sacrifice him to the next that makes
his Addresses to her. And yet, who knows (cry’d
I again) but this unfaithful――this inconstant
Creature may engage him longer than I, with all
my Truth and Tenderness, cou’d do――She
has Arts to which my Innocence is a Stranger, and
will, no doubt, make use of them all to secure
a Conquest so much to the Advantage of her
Glory. In this manner did I torment my self;
and though I thought nothing cou’d add to what
I felt before, yet now I found that to be neglected
for another was a Sting more terrible than
the Neglect it self. Once I believ’d that the Death
of Lysander wou’d be the extreamest of all Woes,
but now I wish’d him dead rather than in the
Possession of a Rival.
When next I saw my Traitor, I utter’d all
that my Rage and Jealousy suggested; but, with
his usual Artifice, he appear’d unmov’d: And
when I upbraided him with the Leisure he had
to wait on others, when he had none for me, he
swore, that being an intimate Acquaintance of
her Husband’s, and meeting them by Accident,
at a Place where he had Business, was desir’d by
him to conduct her where she was going, which
Piece of Gallantry, he said, he cou’d not handsomely
refuse: To give the more Credit to this,
he seem’d to dislike her Person――ridicul’d her
Humour――and laugh’d so heartily at my being
capable of any Uneasiness on her Account, that
I was half perswaded to believe him. I had not, however, E5r57
however, so entire a Dependance on his Truth,
but that I employ’d (unknown to Marvir’s People,
who I found were his Creatures) the same
Man, who had brought me the first Intelligence,
to watch him wherever he went, resolving to be
satisfy’d one way or other. Alas! I fancy’d that if
I cou’d be once throughly assur’d of his Perfidiousness,
I shou’d be able to tear him from my Soul, at
least extirpate all the Tenderness I had for him;
but, how little did I know my self? When by
the Diligence of my Spy, I found out that he
visited her often――was with her even at those
very Times when he pretended the utmost Regret
that he cou’d not be with me――Nay, discover’d
that they had private Meetings, and by all
Circumstances was convinc’d, not only that she
was a Rival infinitely more belov’d than I, but
also that she was in Possession of all those Joys,
which to obtain, I had forfeited my Innocence,
my Honour, and my Peace of Mind for ever,――
in spite, I say, of all these Proofs――these stabbing
Proofs of his Ingratitude, I cou’d not――did not
love him less: I reproach’d him, indeed, and endeavour’d
to make him think my Resentment
had extinguish’d my Tenderness; but he still
deny’d each particular of my Accusation, and, at
last, seem’d angry that I distrusted his Sincerity:
Till I, mean-spirited Wretch! was forc’d to appear
satisfy’d with what he said, least by persisting
to alledge what, I found, he was determin’d
never to confess, I shou’d provoke him never to
see me more: And when I consulted my fond
doating Heart, found I cou’d better bear to share
him with another, than have no Interest in him
at all: But what I suffer’d in such a Submission may E5v 58
may perhaps be guess’d, but never describ’d. It
was now my Woes fell thick upon me, my Pregnancy
began now to discover it self to all who
saw me; and Marvir and his Wife, who had all
this Time counterfeited an Ignorance of what
had pass’d between me and Lysander, seem’d prodigiously
uneasy at it, pretended a Concern for
the Reputation of their House, us’d me in a
Manner which I little expected from them of all
the World, and told me plainly that I must not
continue with them any longer: But if I wou’d
go into the Country till I was deliver’d of my
Burthen, they wou’d enquire for a Place where
I might be in private. I complain’d to Lysander
of their Unkindness, but receiv’d very little Consolation
from him: He only told me he was sorry
they shou’d behave otherwise to me than I
had Reason to expect, but that he believ’d they
meant well, and that he cou’d not help joining
with them in the Opinion it was best for me to
go into the Country. My Concern for leaving
a Place which contain’d all I valu’d in the World,
and the cool Tranquility with which he advis’d
me to banish my self from him, were new Stabs
to my already bleeding Heart; but I had now
been a good while accustom’d to receive Wounds
of that nature, and my Spirits were too much
depress’d with a continual Weight of Sorrow,
to be able to exert themselves to resent almost
any Usage. Besides, what cou’d I do? helpless
as I was! I had no Friend to whom I durst make
Application, and must be oblig’d, in the Condition
I was, to do whatever those in whose Power
I had put my self wou’d have me. They were
so eager for my Departure, that a Place was soon found E6r59
found for me to go to: And in a few Days I
took Leave of that Town, and that Person, for
whose sake I had renounced every Thing that
ought to have been dear to me. Lysander had
indeed the Complaisance to accompany me a few
Miles on Horseback, and perceiving me ready to
die with Grief, made a thousand Promises of
coming down to visit me in a short Time; tho’
I had no Reason, from his late Behaviour, to hope
he wou’d do as he said, yet this seeming Kindness
a little reviv’d me, and I went through my
Journey with more Fortitude than I imagin’d I
cou’d. As soon as I arriv’d at the Place destin’d
for my Abode, I writ to him, reminding him of
the Promise he had made, and conjuring him, by
every tender Plea I cou’d invent, to make it
good; but I receiv’d no Answer. Always willing
to excuse him as far as I was able, I fancy’d my
Letter had by some Accident miscarry’d, and
sent another, but to as little Purpose as before――
Then I grew wild with Grief, and was ready in
some ungovernable Sallies of Passion to lay violent
Hands on my own Life――I resolv’d, at last,
if possible, to extort an Answer from him, and
prevail’d on a Countryman, for a good Gratification,
to ride to Town on purpose to deliver a
Letter into his own Hands, and charg’d him not
to return without some Token he had seen him.
The Contents of what I writ were these.
‘To my Inhumane and Unrelenting
Charmer.
Is it then possible that Lysander, the protesting
Lysander, can from all Angel change to a very
Fiend? For only they delight in the Perdition they occa- E6v60
occasion――Have you with your Love thrown off
all Pity too and Complaisance, that you vouchsafe
not to condole, at least, the Ruins you have made?――
Oh most Ingrateful! Cruel! Barbarous of all that
ever was call’d Man!――What have I done that can
deserve such Usage?――Is it because I have forsook
the Ties of Duty, Interest, Honour,――given up
my Innocence,――my Peace, and everlasting Hopes,
that you despise me?――Monster! For whom have
I done this?――Can you reflect it was for you, and
your whole Soul not melt in Tenderness, and soft
Compassion?――Yes, yes, you can!――Wretch
that I am!――I have cast away all that cou’d make
me truly Valuable, and now am justly subjected to
your Scorn――But though I live unworthy of your
Love, my Death must surely give you some Concern
――at least the Manner of it, when you shall
know it was for you I died――That my last Breath
form’d nothing but your Name,――and in the extreamest
Agonies of my departing Soul, lamented more
your Cruelty than all that dreadful Separation cou’d
inflict――Oh do not, therefore, trifle with a Passion,
which if the Strength of Reason in your Sex
keeps you from being too deeply touch’d with, is too
impetuous for the Weakness of mine to resist; and
who can tell how far the Torrent may transport me――
History is not without Millions of Examples of Women
who have dar’d to die, when Life became a Burthen;
and sure, if any e’er cou’d justify Self-murder,
the wretched Cleomira may――None ever lov’d――
none ever despair’d like me, or had so just a Cause
for both――The Means of Death are always easy to
be obtain’d, and I am this Moment hurried to that
Rage of Temper, that I know not how long I shall be
able to refrain the Use of it――O then be quick!
and save my Soul the Guilt of Murder, and yourown E7r61
own
the Pangs of never-ending Remorse, which,
when too late to remedy, you’ll feel――Yes, forgotten
and abandon’d as I am, when I am dead, my
Ghost will be before you ever, haunt all your
Dreams――poison your Pleasures, and distract Reflection
――Then, though I want a Voice, my Wrongs
will speak, and rouze your sleeping Conscience to Remembrance
of your Vows――Your broken damning
Vows!――Heaven! That Heaven whose Blessing
you have renounc’d, whose Curses you have imprecated,
if ever you prov’d false, will then exert the
Power of swiftest Vengeance, and Penitence be vain
to wash away your Guilt, or call me back to Life――
For me, I have nought to fear; I feel already all the
Pains of Hell, nor can another World torment me
worse than this has done――Horror and Madness overtake
me――I know not what I say, and to my
other Crimes am ready to add Blasphemy――cou’d
curse Heaven, and Earth, and Man――wish to behold
the World in Flames!――the Universe dissolv’d
――For all, all are Foes to wretched Cleomira!
――Oh ease me――pity me――write to me――
see me! If not for mine, yet for the Sake of the
Dear yet unborn――the tender Pledge of our once
mutual Love――Think how the frighted Innocent
starts at its Mother’s Anguish, and is a sad Partaker
of all the Sufferings you inflict on me――I will, if
possible, support the galling Load of Life till the return
of my Messenger, but in your Answer is the
Fate of
The undone Cleomira.’
All the Horror and Distraction which I endeavour’d
to represent in this Letter was infinitely short E7v62
short of what I truly felt. I had so little Hope
of Comfort from him it was sent to, that all the
Time of the Fellow’s being gone I had one
continu’d Agony, with the Apprehension that
at his Return I shou’d be the more ascertain’d of Lysander’s
Cruelty; and had his Stay been long, I
believe it wou’d have been impossible for me to
have supported it with Life: But the poor Man’s
Speed out-run my Expectations, eager as they
were, and though it was near fifty Miles to London,
he dispatch’d his Business, and came back
in two Days, as soon as he saw me, he put a
Testimony of his Success in the Business I employ’d
him in, and trembling between Hope
and Fear, I found in it these Words.
‘To the unkind Cleomira. The Discovery you make of your causeless Uneasiness
gives me an infinite Concern: I had
writ to you before, but that I waited to hear first
from you, which, by all that is sacred, I never have
done till now: And if you have sent, as your Messenger
informs me you have, your Letters have miscarry’d.
Be assur’d that I am still the same I ever
was, and if any Part of that Rapidity which in the
Days of Courtship I profess’d, be now abated, it is
sufficiently made up by an Encrease of Tenderness――
I beg, for the sake of that dear Infant you mention,
and for mine who suffer with you in the Knowledge
of your Griefs, that you will entirely banish them,
as Enemies as well to Reason as to Happiness. I
hope the hurry of my Affairs will shortly have an
End, and I shall enjoy the boundless Pleasure of
seeing you again, till when, I hope you will be satisfy’dfy’d E8r63
with this Assurance, join’d to the innumerable
others I have given you, that I am
Yours for ever, Lysander.’
You will certainly believe I was not in my
Senses, when I shall tell you, that these few,
and indeed but ill-dissembled Lines of Kindness,
drove from my Bosom all the Anxiety that had
possest it: I thought of nothing now but Joy
and Rapture; and in spite of all the Reasons
Lysander had given me, accus’d my self of Injustice
for writing to him in the manner I did;
and to make Reparation for the Reproaches of
my last, dictated another according to the Transport
I now was in――I ought to blush at the
Memory of so shameful a Weakness, but as I
have promis’d you a faithful Relation of my
Story, will omit nothing that may give you a
just Notion of my Folly, or his Perfidiousness
and Ingratitude. The Lines I writ were
these.
‘To my ador’d Lysander. To make you able to conceive the Ecstasy with
which I read your dear obliging Letter, I must
be able to inspire you with that Sublimity of Passion,
which Charms like your own have on the Power of
doing. But think! Lysander! think what a Soul
must feel, rais’d from the lowest Hell of Misery to
the highest Heaven of Felicity!――Oh! If I may
Credit those endearing Lines, I have all that Fate
can give――If, did I say? I must‐I will―― Ly- E8v64
Lysander is all Honour, and he a thousand Times
has sworn himself my everlasting Votary――How
have I wrong’d you then?――Divinest of your Sex!――
But you must pardon me――I love――am absent――
am unworthy――and in such a Circumstance, Patience
were a Virtue out of Season――O therefore, let it
not be too long before you bless me with your Presence,
lest I again relapse!――again be wretched――
Haste to my Arms, while Hopes are quick within
me,――while vigorous Transport sparkles in my Eyes,
and my Soul glows with pleasing Expectation――Let
not the Fervor of my Joy abate, till in your Arms I
have nothing left to wish, and, I indeed, can say thou
art all mine, as I am thine! My for ever dear Lysander!
Thine in the most passionate
and tender Manner, Cleomira.’
After this, I liv’d for some Time in more
Tranquility than I had known for many Months:
And, though it was past my doubt that he had
intreagued with Melissa, yet believing it but a
transient Amour, of which he was now grown
weary, found it no Difficulty to pardon him:
And this renewing of his Tenderness to me, made
me assure my self, it wou’d be in the Power of
no Woman, hereafter, to engage him so far as
to render him forgetful of what he owed to me:
But, alas! this Peace of Mind was not of any
long Continuance; eight or nine Days being elaps’d,
without my receiving any Letter from
him, I still thought he was on coming, and the
Hopes of seeing him made full amends for the not F1r65
not hearing from him; but after that, my Fears
again return’d, and I grew restless as before. I
constantly walked out every Evening into a Field
that overlook’d the Road, my Expectations of
meeting him not having quite forsook me. One
of the Times when I was thus employ’d, I encountred
a Person whose Sight gave me as much
Surprize, as the News she brought me did Affliction.
It was my Nurse, an honest faithful Creature,
who hearing I had left London, enquir’d at
Marvir’s House where I was gone; but receiving
no Satisfaction from them, by diligently asking
among the Neighbours, heard by one, who
by some Accident had learn’d it, that I was at
* * * *; and so, by describing me to the Stage-
Coachman, discover’d what Part of the County
I was carry’d to; and had travell’d down on purpose
to acquaint me, that my Mother lay at the
point of Death――That it was believ’d her Grief
for my Behaviour had been the Cause of her Illness
――That all she seem’d to lament was the
Misfortunes she fear’d wou’d fall upon me――
and wish’d for nothing but to see me before she
died. This sad Account, given me by the poor
Woman in the most moving Circumstances, struck
me to the very Soul――I now began to consider
whom it was I had abandon’d, and for whom!
And the more I reflected on Lysander’s Ingratitude,
the more Ingrateful did I appear my self!――
To be the Occasion of a Parent’s Death――a
Parent who had always most tenderly lov’d me,
and from whom I never had been absent (till the
Time of my utterly forsaking her) two Days together
in my Life, fill’d me with so just a Horror,
that I know not if it wou’d have been even Fin F1v66
in Lysander’s Power to have consol’d me. How
gladly wou’d I now have return’d to her, and
implor’d her Pardon for my Errors――endeavour’d
to give her Comfort, and never leave her
more; but, alas! the Condition I was in deterr’d
me from the Execution of these pious Wishes;
I cou’d entertain no Thoughts of appearing
before her till I was deliver’d of that Witness
of my Shame; nor cou’d the poor Woman
perswade me to it; she rightly judg’d, that to
see me, as I then was, wou’d rather be an Encrease
of her Affliction, than any Mitigation of it,
and told me she wou’d return without saying
she had seen me, since there was no Excuse to
be made for my not coming to London, but that
which had better remain untold. The Concern
which I perceiv’d in the Countenance of this
faithful Creature, and the mannerly Freedom
which she took in expressing her Grief for the
Misfortunes I had brought on my self and Family,
oblig’d me to give her the whole History
of my Affairs since the fatal Choice I made of
Marvir for my Guardian, and withal conjur’d
her to make all possible Enquiry into Lysander’s
Character and Behaviour, and to give me a faithful
Account of what she cou’d discover. But it
seems she had never learn’d to write, and I was
unwilling the Secret shou’d be trusted to any other
Hand, therefore desir’d she wou’d treasure
it up in her Memory till I came to Town, which
I resolv’d to do as soon as I was brought to Bed.
I did not think it proper to carry her to the
House where I was, but giving her something to
refresh herself in her Journey back, took my leave
of her, who parted from me with Tears in her Eyes, F2r67
Eyes, and all the Marks of an undissembled Grief;
The more I ruminated on the sad Relation she
had made me, the deeper Impression it made
in my Soul; and that, joyn’d to Lysander’s Unkindness,
who in spite of his Promise neither
came nor sent to me, threw me into a Condition
which is not to be conceiv’d. The Horrors of
my Mind had such an Influence over my Body,
that it was impossible I shou’d be able to bring a
living Child into the World; my Youth, however,
and the natural goodness of my Constitution,
brought me through that dangerous State
in which those who find most Ease, have little
reason to be assur’d of Life――I was safely deliver’d
of a Boy, but alas! the Grief-kill’d Infant
never saw the Light, and I knew nothing
what it was to be a Mother, but the Pains. It
was certainly only my Impatience to be gone
from a Place where I cou’d hear nothing of Lysander,
which made me willing to use any means
proper for the Recovery of my Strength: but
the Hopes of seeing him, and knowing from his
own Mouth my Doom, invigorated my drooping
Spirits, and enabled me to endure Life, rather
than dye in the terrible Uncertainty I then
was in. I found I was in a little more than a
Month’s time in a Condition to travel, and was
too eager to delay a Moment. I wou’d not go
to Marvir’s House; I was assur’d I shou’d hear
nothing there, but what they were order’d by
Lysander to tell me; and the late Unkindness they
had shew’d me, made me resolve never to live
with ’em again: but as soon as I got to London,
went directly to my Nurse’s; where I had the
mournful Account of my dear Mother’s Death, F2told F2v68
told in so tender and moving a Manner, that I
too was ready to expire at hearing it. When the
first hurry of my Grief, for so great and irretrievable
a Loss was over, I began to question
her about Lysander: She told me she had neglected
nothing that might be conducive to my
Peace, but that all she had been able to learn
concerning him, was that he had lately an Intrigue
with Melissa; that by their ill Conduct it
had been discover’d to her Husband, who, as a
just Reward for her Infidelity, entire cast her
off; that she was now reduc’d to the same
wretched Circumstances this injur’d Gentleman
had took her from; that Lysander had little Regard
to the Miseries he had contributed to bring
her to, and she was become one of the most expos’d
and unpitied Women in the World. I
confess, I was ungenerous enough to find some
little Consolation in the Knowledge of my Rival’s
Misfortunes; not but, as much Reason as I
had to hate her, for being the first Occasion of
estranging the Affection of Lysander from me,
I shou’d have highly discommended him for his
Neglect of her, in her Affliction, had it fallen
on her only through her Love to him; but as I
knew her Inclination to be so amorous (to give
it no worse a Name) that it had influenc’d her
to commit numerous Faults of the like Nature,
and even without the least Temptation, I look’d
on her as unworthy Commiseration.――But to leave
her to all the Miseries which attend a common
Prostitution, I resolv’d to know how I now
stood in Lysander’s Opinion; I writ to him, acquainting
him that I was come to Town, and
desiring to see him. When I had done that, I began F3r69
began to consider my Affairs as to my Money.
I thought it unsafe to be lodg’d any longer in
Marvir’s Hands, and employ’d one to bring him
to an Account; but that Villain had made such
Bills, and manag’d every thing so much to his
own Advantage, that of my three thousand
Pounds, I found I had not much more than fifteen
hundred remaining. The Person who I
had engag’d in this Business knew very well
what my Father left me, and persuaded me to
have recourse to Law. But the other knew himself
secure enough as to that Point; and when
it was hinted to him, he writ me a Letter to tell
me, that if I insisted to bring him to any publick
Account for the Mony he had laid out, he
cou’d easily prove it had been expended only for
my Use, and bid me consider that in the Condition
I had been, there was Occasion for more
than a trifling Sum, to bribe those to Secrecy,
who were oblig’d to be entrusted with the Knowledge
of it. This was enough to let me see, if I attempted
any thing against him, he wou’d expose
me in the most shameful Manner he cou’d;
I was glad, therefore, to accept what little I cou’d
get, without daring to molest him for the rest.
But I will not (my dear Belinda) detain your Attention
with any Particulars of this, which (in
Comparison with my others) I look’d on as a trifling
Vexation. Above a Week was past since
I sent to Lysander, and he had not yet answer’d
my Letter: I was very well assur’d he had receiv’d
it; and tho’ I had little Hopes of the
Continuance of his Affection, I expected from his
Complaisance some sort of an Excuse for the Inhumanity
he had been guilty of; my AmazementF3ment F3v70
at this unlook’d-for Slight was almost equal
to my Grief: I now indeed felt more Resentment
than I had ever been capable of before.
Never to come to me, nor write after so long
an Absence, and all I had suffer’d on his Account,
cou’d make me consider him no otherwise,
than as the vilest, and most justly to be abhorr’d
of all his Sex. And since I had no other
way to revenge, resolv’d to use my Pen to him
in such a Manner as shou’d let him know I was
no less insensible of his Indignities, than I had
been of his Love; but before I did so, an Accident
happen’d to give me a fresh Theme for my
Reproaches. Going thro’ the Strand one Day
in a Chair, it was suddenly stop’d by a Footman,
who told me his Lady desir’d to speak with me,
and entreated I wou’d come into her Chariot:
Neither the Livery nor the Wearer of it were
Strangers to me, and I knew he belong’d to a
Lady, who when I frequented the Court was
one of my greatest Intimates, and I immediately
discharg’d my Chair, and did as he desir’d. Nothing
cou’d receive me with greater Demonstrations
of Kindness than Semanthe, (for so I shall
call her) and after she had gently upbraided me
with breach of Friendship, for not letting her
know where I had been all the time of my absconding,
began to ask me a thousand Questions
about my Affairs: But mine was a Story very
improper to be related to her, who, tho’ I knew she
had a great deal of Good-nature, was not of a
Temper to have approv’d my Proceedings; and
therefore I turn’d the Discourse, as soon as I cou’d,
into an enquiry after her Affairs, which she very
ingenuously inform’d me of, little suspecting the Effect F4r71
Effect of what she told me. ‘I am’ (said she) ‘very
near changing my Condition; but the Person
who has prevail’d on me to do it is so truly deserving,
that without a Blush I may confess,
that the sooner I yield to his Desires, the sooner
I make my self the happiest of my Sex.’
‘Ah
Madam!’
(cry’d I, interrupting her) ‘take Care
how you depend on the Sincerity of Mankind;
it requires more Experience than you or I are
Mistresses of, to form any just Judgment of their
Deserts.’
‘It is no wonder that you talk so’ (reply’d
she) since I have not yet told you the Name
of my Charmer; but when I have, I doubt not
but you will acknowledge, as all the World who
know him do, that every Perfection that Heaven
can adorn a Mortal with, are center’d in my
Admir’d’
―― Oh God! who was it, but my Lysander
that she nam’d!――Lightning cou’d not
have blasted me more than this one Word, and
I believe the most artful of all my Sex, cou’d
not in such a Circumstance have dissembled her
Confusion; but the Shock was too mighty for
my Weakness to sustain, and wholly depriv’d of
Speech, I fell against the side of the Chariot,
senseless, and in all Appearance dead, and came
not to my self till I was brought to Semanthe’s
Lodgings: The first thing I saw when I open’d
my Eyes was her, busily employ’d in
helping her Maids to use Means for my Recovery.
The Sight of her, and the Remembrance
of what she had told me, threw me again
into Convulsions, which lasted for some Time;
and when, at last, I had gather’d Power to speak,
it was in such a fashion, so wild, and so confus’d,
that the Standers-by believ’d I was taken
with a sudden fit of Frenzy. I desir’d a Chair F4might F4v72
might be call’d to carry me Home; and making
some sort of an Apology, I know not what, for
the Trouble I had given, took leave of my happy
Rival. My poor Nurse (for I had been at
her House ever since I came to Town) was terribly
alarm’d at the Condition she beheld me in,
and, when I repeated the Occasion of it,
joyn’d with me in the most bitter Curses we cou’d
both invent on the Perfidiousness of Mankind:
I remain’d for some time in mortal Agonies, unable
to determine on any thing: Sometimes I
was for returning to Semanthe, to acquaint her
with Lysander’s Engagements to me, and implore
her to forbear any farther Invasion on a Right
I had so dearly purchas’d――Sometimes I was
for going to Lysander’s House, and by publickly reproaching
him with his Vows, deter him from
the Breach of them――but Modesty rejected both
these Resolutions as soon as form’d; and by my
Nurse’s Persuasion (who fear’d that proceeding
to any Violence would be altogether un-availing,
and only serve to expose me more) I contented
my self with uttering the Fury I was possess’d
of in a Letter; which tho’ incoherent and distracted
as my Mind, I believe you will not think
it too severe for the Occasion.
‘To the Inconstant, Ungenerous, and Perfidious
Lysander.
Ihave so long been accustom’d to Indignities from
you, that had I not in Possession your Letters,
those Witnesses of your well dissembled Tenderness, I
shou’d believe I had been enchanted with some delightful
Dream, and that there never was any such thing in F5r73
in Reality, as that Lysander cou’d take the Pains to
make me believe he lov’d me, since for no other Cause,
than returning the Passion he pretended, he now
can use me with a Brutality as unexampled as my own
Meanness of Spirit, which has hitherto suffer’d me to
sit down tamely with my Wrongs, and not endeavour,
at least, a suitable Revenge――Poysons and Daggers
are the Upbraidings you should receive from me.
――Yet I, fond Wretch! have still subjected my very
Will to yours, wrung my own Hands, while you
have wrung my Heart――And when a thousand
times, with more than Devil-like Cruelty, you’ve
conjur’d up all that was raging in me, with my own
Tears I have appeas’d that Tempest, which only
Blood――your dearest Blood shou’d have had Power
to quell.――Not one Particular of your Baseness is unknown
to me――Cold――cold Betrayer!――Dark
designing Villain! Your Neglect, your Absence, your
Silence all sprung from but one Cause, that cursed
Mutability of Temper, which damns half your Sex,
as fond Belief and Tenderness does ours――I was
not Ignorant of your Intrigue with Melissa, even from
the Beginning, to the guilty Rapture which concluded
it――Yet I was patient, and but to Heaven accus’d
you of Perfidiousness――Fool that I was, I hop’d my
Truth, my Constancy, and Softness, in Time, might
make a Convert of you――But now, now that I
find you are for ever lost; that Marriage is about
to give another that Title, which alone is due to me,
by your own Vows, and by all those Sufferings I have
bought it with――Now, I grow, indeed, like you,
a very Feind! and methinks cou’d smile at Mischief
――Yes, if you can――if your dare attempt to make
Semanthe yours; may the Priest, about to joyn you,
be struck Speechless――May Earthquakes shake the Ground F5v74
Ground――The Temple’s Roof unclose――Thunder
and darting Lightnings proclaim Heaven’s just Abhorrence
of your Mockery of the sacred Ceremony,
and mark the Bridegroom for a vile Prophaner!――
But, Oh! shou’d all the Curses which my Injuries
deserve, and jealous Fury can invent, fall on you――
shou’d Judgments terrifie, or even Pity for me, disswade
you from her Arms, what wou’d it avail?――
Cou’d it afford one grain of Comfort to my tormented
Soul?――No.――Since you’re mine no more, no matter
whose――Your Heart is lost, for ever lost to me;
and when compar’d with that, your Body is a Trifle.
――Go on then――pursue the Dictates of your changing
Nature, be proud of Perjury, and wanton in
Deceit. A Time will come, when Remorse will be
sufficiently my Avenger.――For me, I shall not long
endure the Pain of Thought; Madness, or Death, will
ease me of Reflection; but while I have Life or Sense
to know how very wretched you have made me, be kind
enough, at least, to feign Compassion for the Woes you
give: And lay the blame of your Inconstancy on
Fate――the unavoidable Impulse of your Nature――
or any thing which may make me think you pity me;
for since, in spite of all you have done, I still must
Love you; I wou’d fain imagine you possest of some
one good Quality, to justifie my Passion――Oh God!
I can no more――Farewel, dear, cruel Destroyer of
my Soul, and Ruin of the Everlasting Peace of
The most wretched Cleomira.’
In about four or five Days after I sent, I receiv’d
and Answer, which I think proper to repeat, that
you may see there is nothing of Rude or Base impossible F6r75
impossible for a Man to do, when once a Woman,
by forfeiting her Honour, has put it in his
Power to use her as he pleases.
‘To Cleomira. I Receiv’d your Letter with some Surprize, but with
none of that Tenderness you seem to aim at inspiring,
or what really has possess’d my Soul at reading
some of your former ones; nor can you blame my
Change of Humour, since your own Extravagance has
been the Cause: Believe me, Cleomira! whatever
in our Days of Courtship we profess, the Excess of
any Passion is ridiculous to a Man of Sense; and
Love, of all others, more excites our Mirth, than our
Pity――That foolish Fondness, with which your Sex
so much abounds, is before Enjoyment charming,
because it gives us an Assurance of obtaining all we
ask; but afterwards ’tis cloying, tiresome, and in
time grows odious――Had your Passion, at least
the Show of it, been less Violent, mine might have
had a longer Continuance; and as there is nothing
more unnatural, than that a Woman shou’d expect a
Man can be in Love with her always, the best way
to retain his Complaisance is, not to take notice of
his Alteration, or oblige him, by a troublesome Importunity,
to explain himself in the Manner I now
am forc’d to do to you: I confess indeed, that I am
going to be marry’d to a Lady, whose Discretion will,
I hope, prevent any of those Discontents and Jealousies,
which first made my Amour with you grow uneasie:
That I once lov’d you, I shall ever acknowledge,
and desire you wou’d be as just in assuring your
self, that your own Mismanagement was the Cause I
wou’d do so no longer. The little Storms of Fury which appearpear F6v76
in your Letter, are too frequently met with in
Stories, to be wonder’d at, and are of as little Consequence
to move me, to either Fear, or Pity, as your
proclaiming the Occasion wou’d be to the Disadvantage
of my Reputation; but if you can resolve to confine
your Passion within the Bounds of Prudence, tho’
you lose a Lover, you shall always find a Friend in
Lysander.’
I am very apt, indeed, to believe that Lysander
in this spoke the Sense of all his Sex; and
one wou’d think that such an Eclaircissement was
enough to have cur’d me of all Passions, but Disdain
and Hate――Nothing sure was ever so insulting,
so impudent, so barbarous; yet was my
Soul, and all its Faculties, so truly his, that tho’
at the first Reading I resolv’d not to think of
him but with Detestation, I relaps’d immediately,
and instead of wishing I had never seen him,
found a secret Pleasure, even in the midst of Agony,
in the Reflection that he had lov’d me
once: And, if at any time a start of just Resentment,
rouz’d it self within me, when I wou’d
give it vent in Curses, a Power superior to Rage
arrested the flying Breath, and chang’d it into
Blessings. I still lov’d him with such an Adoration,
that I cou’d not bring my self to think that any
thing he cou’d do was wrong, and began indeed
to lay the Blame of my Misfortune on my own
want of Merit to engage the Continuance of his
Affection, rather than on any Vice in him; and
it was with all the Difficulty in the World, I forbore
writing to him again, to tell him so.――Was
ever any Infatuation――was ever any Madness equal F7r77
equal to mine!――Oh God! the bare Remembrance
of it makes me contemn my self, and acknowledge,
that a Creature so meanly Soul’d deserv’d
no better Fate.”

The poor Recluse for some Moments was
able to proceed no farther; a thousand mingled
Passions now struggled in her labouring Breast,
with too much Vehemence to be supprest; and
throwing her self down on the Couch she sat on,
began again to pour out the Anguish of her Soul,
in a Torrent of Tears. Tho’ Belinda cou’d not
forbear simpathizing with her, yet finding that
her Griefs were indeed past Remedy, thought
nothing she cou’d say wou’d any way avail to
her Consolation; and only bore her Company in
this Dumb Scene of Sorrow: But the Recluse
had too much Complaisance and Good-nature,
to be able to endure the Influence she perceiv’d
her Afflictions had over the tender Disposition
of the other, and composing her self as well as
she cou’d, continu’d her Discourse in this Maner.

“If” (said she) “I cou’d have found Words of
Force sufficient to have vented any of those various
Passions which tormented me, my afflicted
Soul, perhaps, might have receiv’d some little
Intervals of Ease; but there were none to express
a Condition such as mine!――To love to
the highest degree of Tenderness, what I ought
to have abhorr’d,――To adore what I knew deserv’d
my utmost Scorn,――To have bury’d Hope,
and wild Desire survive,――To have Shame, Remorse,
and all the Vultures of conscious Guilt,
gnaw on my aking Thought,――To wish for
Madness, and yet Sense remain, was Misery! was Horror, F7v78
Horror, sure, without a Name! A thousand
Times in a Day I was about to put an End to
Life and all its Weight of Anguish: Nor was it
Reason or Religion, but meerly the Consideration
that Death wou’d take from me all Power
of hearing what became of Lysander, that preserv’d
me.

Thus did I live, if such a State can be call’d
Life, till the Day of Lysdander’s Marriage; but
when I heard that, imagine you behold a Wretch
in the most raging Fit of Lunacy, and it may
give you some Idea, though but a faint one, of
what I then appear’d! I tore my Cloaths, my
Face, my Hair, threw my self on the Floor,
beat my Breast, made the House ring with ecchoing
Shrieks and Lamentations, and was scarce
restrain’d by my Nurse from running in this manner
to the Church where the Ceremony was perform’d;
and it was but when I had no longer
Strength to rage, that partly by Force, and partly
by Perswasion, she got me into Bed: The
Violence of my Agitations threw me into a Feaver;
but though I wou’d take nothing but what
I was compell’d to, and committed Extravagancies
in this Illness enough to have kill’d twenty
of much a stronger Constitution than my self,
yet I cou’d not die: In spite of the Malignity of
the Distemper, in spite even of my self, I recover’d.
But not all the bodily Indisposition I had
endur’d, had been able to weaken the Passions of
my Soul; I still lov’d, and still despair’d――My
Thoughts were always with Lysander, and pursu’d
him every where, even to the bridal Bed,
that Grave where all my Hopes were buried. My
Nurse’s House happening, unluckily, to stand in a Street F8r79
Streety pretty near that in which Lysander liv’d,
as soon as I had Strength to walk about my
Chamber, I had the Mortification from my Window
to behold him and Semanthe, now his Wife,
pass by in their Chariot, almost every Day: You
may believe this Sight gave no small Addition to
the Horrors of my Despair; but I will not pretend
to repeat what it was I felt, whenever these
grating Objects met my Eyes; it shall suffice to
say ’twas more than I cou’d bear, and I resolv’d
to rid my self of what I then endur’d, without
any Apprehensions of what Futurity might give.
Death was my determin’d Care, but in what
manner I shou’d apply it was now my only Study;
and, after a long Debate in my Mind, Poison
was the Means I fix’d on, as being not only
the most decent, but also the most private Way
I cou’d perform this Deed of Desperation; for I
was unwilling the World shou’d be sensible of
what I had done, and when I was no more, preserve
my Shame still flagrant with those scurril
Ditties, which Actions of the Kind I was about to
do, are always Themes for. I took Care to conceal
my Intentions from my Nurse; and that she might
be the less watchful over me, began to counterfeit
a Chearfulness, which Heaven knows was
far distant from my Heart. The poor Woman
was overjoy’d to find me, as she thought, so
much more easy than I had been, and I went out
one Day, unsuspected, to procure the fatal Drugs:
I had recourse to an Apothecary who had been
us’d to make up Medicines for our Family, and
because I knew how scrupulous People of that
Profession are oblig’d to be, I told him, I had a
little favourite Dog which by some Accidentwas F8v80
was run mad, and have made Use of a thousand
Experiments for a Cure for him in vain, and
not enduring to have him destroy’d any other
way, I wou’d have something to give him, to
put an End to his Misery in the most gentle
manner I cou’d; something of a sleeping Potion,
I said, which by degrees shou’d seize upon the
Seats of Life, and give a sure, but easy Death.
The Man look’d on me with a good deal of
Surprize, and, as I thought, more Penetration
than I desir’d he shou’d have; but, after a little
Pause, went about mixing the Composition: I
was very well pleas’d to think I had so artfully
deceiv’d him, and came home with the Physick,
which I design’d shou’d make a perfect Cure of
all my Miseries. As I was going to drink it, I
began to think I cou’d not leave the World in
Peace without a Farewel to my unjust, but still
too dear Lysander; and taking up some Paper,
writ to him these Lines.
‘To the dear Ruiner of my Soul and Body. As my Passion for you was built on a more lasting
Foundation than that of your’s to me, so
not all your Cruelty can have Power to shake it: I
must be yours, though you cease to desire I shou’d be
so; and since I cannot hope, nay, now you are anothers,
dare not wish any future Testimonies of my Affection
shou’d be pleasing, I take the only means to
rid you of the Trouble: A Draught of Poison stands
before me, and the Moment I conclude this Letter,
I take my Journey to that World from whence there is
no Return――What will be my Portion there I know
not; but am sure of this, that if departed Souls have any G1r81
any Intelligence of what’s acted here, your Pity for
my Fate will mitigate the sharpest Torments. A tender
Sigh sometimes, not even my Rival wou’d deny;
and perhaps, a Time may come, when you shall own
I merited much more: I do not, however, wish you
shou’d be touch’d too deeply with Remorse――You are
too dear to me, for me to desire to give you Pain――
Remember me, if you can, with some little Softness――
Make not my Sufferings the Subject of your Ridicule,
nor seem pleas’d if you hear others do so; and whenever
my want of Beauty, Wit, or any other Charm,
rises as an Evidence against me, let my exalted Tenderness
still ballance that Deficiency; and reflect, that
as I have liv’d, so now I die, my dear, dear Lysander!
Only your’s, Cleomira.’
I kept my Word, indeed; for as soon as I had
seal’d this up, I drank the Ingredients I had
brought home with me――I drank it without
the least Alarm, or any of those Apprehensions
which so terrify the Minds of most People at the
Approach of Death, so much had Despair hardned
my Heart, and stupify’d my Reason. In above
an Hour, either the Draught itself, or the
Force of my Imagination that it must be so, operated
so strongly through my Veins, that I grew
exceeding sick; and fearing the Effects wou’d
come before I had settled those Affairs I had in
my Head, I call’d hastily for my good old Nurse.
It was almost Midnight, and she was in Bed, and
believing I had been so too, was not a little
frighted when she came into my Chamber, and
found me dress’d as I had been all Day, and with Gsome G1v82
something in my Countenance, as she said, of a
Horror impossible to be express’d. ‘I sent for you’
(said I) ‘to take my everlasting Leave――to thank
you for the faithful Services I have receiv’d from
you, and to make what Recompence my lessen’d
Circumstances have left me Power to do.’
The
poor Creature star’d in my Face all the time I
was speaking, but the Astonishment she was in
made her either incapable of Understanding me,
or took away the Power of answering; ‘Be not
surpriz’d’
(resum’d I) ‘I tell you this Night――I
know not but this Hour, is the last of my Life――
Therefore, while I have Voice to utter the Meanings
of my Soul, I charge you be attentive, and
perform my last Requests.’
She certainly thought
my Griefs had turn’d my Brain, and hastily interrupting
me, as I spoke these Words, ‘For Heavens
sake, Madam,’
(said she) ‘give not way to
the Suggestions of your Melancholy; you are
now, God be prais’d, pretty well recover’d from
an Illness in which we had just Reason to despair
of you――You are now, as it were, risen from
the Grave, and the signal Deliverance shows that
you are destin’d for happier Days than those you
yet have seen――Ah! do not then’
(continued
she, with Tears in her Eyes) ‘endeavour to disappoint
the Designs of your all-wise Preserver,
by indulging Grief to prey upon your Senses for
the Loss of an unworthy Person, whom at your
return of Reason you must scorn.’
I cou’d not
suffer her to proceed in this Manner, but cutting
her off from what she was going to say, ‘No
more’
(cry’d I;) ‘if by an ill-timed and unmannerly
Zeal you wou’d not forfeit all that good Opinion
your Fidelity and Obedience has hithertoin- G2r83
inspir’d――once more I tell you, that I cannot――
will not live――Death is already busy at my Heart,
and, if I make not haste, may rob me of the only
Wish I now can form, and you of the Glory of
serving to the last a Mistress, who if she had the
Power wou’d more express her Gratitude――
Therefore, in few Words, by all that Truth and
Honesty which I believe you possess’d of, I conjure
you to deliver a Letter you will find on the Table
into Lysander’s Hands, the Moment I expire,――to
tell him that his Inconstancy was my Death, and
to relate the Manner of it in the most moving
Terms you can invent. This is all I have to ask,
or to command,――as to my Funeral order it as
you please, but let me not be laid too near my
Parents, lest my guilty Ashes shou’d disturb the
sacred Repose of theirs――All that remains of my
broken Fortune, after I am laid in Earth, is yours.’

Though I spoke this with all the Solemnity imaginable
it was to little Purpose, she still took it
for the Effects of my Melancholy, and began to
resume her Disswasions from letting such sad
Thoughts get the better of my Reason; and I
was forc’d to tell her what I had done, before I
cou’d make her believe I was in any Danger of
Death. But never did Amazement and real Grief
appear more lively than in the Face of this poor
Wretch, at what I told her: At first she was
entirely mute, and when she had Power to speak,
her Words were nothing but Exclamations:
Then, on a sudden, thinking they were fruitless,
was running for a Physician, for a Divine, and
raising the whole Town for my Preservation; nor
cou’d any thing I shou’d have said have prevented
her, if my Strength had not prevail’d to force G2her G2v84
her into a Chair, and holding her there, oblig’d
her to hear me tell her, that the Poison I had
taken was not of a Nature to be expell’d, or if
it were, had now lain too long in me to be depriv’d
of its Operation. ‘Nay’ (said I) ‘put the
Case that what I have done, shou’d, by any means
that I shou’d be compell’d to use, be rendred
fruitless――not all the World shou’d force me to
live another Day――If I cannot die the way I
chuse, still I will find some way――if not by Poison,
there are Knives or Cords――My Garters may
be my Executioners――Or if deny’d these Instruments,
you cannot hinder me from strangling
my self with my own Hands, or dashing
out my Brains against the Wall――To those resolv’d,
Death always is at Call.’
I spoke these
Words with a real Design to do as I said, and if
she had got Liberty to have brought any Persons
in to restrain me, I had certainly that Moment
taken some unfailing Method to prevent any thing
they cou’d have done to save me: But with these
and the like Speeches, at last I perswaded her to
content herself with lamenting my Desperation,
without endeavouring to do any thing to remove
it. And having convinc’d her of my Obstinacy
to die, to spare the Infamy of Self-murder, she
promis’d me to keep the Deed conceal’d, and
give out I died of an Apoplexy: But I thought
I shou’d never have prevail’d on her to carry the
Letter to Lysander, her Abhorrence to him as
the Author of all my Misfortunes, and now of
my Death, was so great, that she assur’d me the
Task of dying with me wou’d be far less severe
than the beholding such a Monster; but my
Tears and repeated Entreaties at last overcame all G3r85
all her Scruples, and I engag’d an Oath from her
(for I wou’d not in that Case trust her Promise)
that she wou’d in the Morning see him and say
all that I requir’d. In a very little Time after
I had brought her into the Disposition I desir’d,
I found a prodigious Heaviness, like that indeed
of Death, seize on my Spirits; and making no
doubt but that the fatal Moment was at hand,
with my Nurse’s Assistance (though, poor Soul,
she was in too great an Agony to be able to afford
me much) I got my self undress’d and put
to Bed, where I had not lain long before I lost
all Sense of every Thing――Lysander’s Charms――
his Cruelty――my Ruin and Despair, were now
no more remember’d――Oh! if one were sure to
enjoy that Tranquility in a real Death, that I
did in my imaginary one, none wou’d survive
their Happiness. At my return to Thought, that
is, when I was loos’d from the Bands of Sleep,
for it was no more which had bound down my
Senses, I was in a Consternation impossible to be
express’d――I look’d on my self, then round the
Room, and I believe ’twou’d have been pleasant
enough, if any body had been Witness of it, to
have observ’d the Oddness of my Behaviour at
my first waking: I remember’d very well what
had pass’d before I went to Bed, and cou’d not
reconcile so seeming a Contradiction as that I
shou’d be still in a World I believ’d I had taken
such effectual Measures to be freed from. As I
was in this Dilemma, my Nurse came into the
Chamber, not with her Eyes o’erflow’d with
Tears, and wringing her Hands, as she had done
the Night before, but with all the Marks of a
most perfect Satisfaction, and kneeling down by G3the G3v86
the Bedside, testify’d her Joy in most fervent
Thanksgivings to that Divine Power which had
so graciously been pleas’d to disappoint the unnatural
Purpose of my Heart. I cou’d not forbear
interrupting her Ejaculations by some wild
sort of Enquiries how I came to be still living,
which she presently satisfy’d in these Words. ‘When I had left you’ (said she) ‘in all Appearance
dead, I began to consider of the Promise you had
oblig’d me to make, and it being near Morning,
got my self ready to go with your Letter, resolving
to take no Notice of your Death to my Family
till my Return: After I had discharg’d that
unwelcome Errand, I found a Man waiting at
home to speak with me, and he told me, the chief
of it was to enquire if a Lady who lodg’d here
was well, and then nam’d you: I was too much
confounded at the Question to be able to answer
him without trembling and faultering in my
Speech, though, as well as I cou’d, I said I hoped
you were,――that I left you so last Night: “I
wish”
(resum’d he, taking me aside) she may continue
so.”
Then, Madam, he told me he was
the Apothecary from whom you had demanded
Poison, but suspecting you design’d it for some
other Use than what you pretended, and fearing
if he should deny, you might procure it from
some other, he had deceiv’d you with an Opiate,
which cou’d be no way prejudicial to the Health
of the Person that took it, though it wou’d hold
the Senses in a much deeper and longer Sleep
than what was Natural――He said also, that
he had caus’d you to be watch’d home, to the
End that he might relate the Truth to those about
you, if any thing of what he imagin’d shou’d G4r87
shou’d happen.’
I was so impatient to know what
Lysander had said, since I found she had been with
him, that I cou’d not give my self much Time to
reflect on what she told me concerning the Apothecary,
but I found her willing to evade repeating
the Manner of his Behaviour, and guess’d
by that he was inhumane to the last.――‘What,’
(said I) ‘was he not shock’d to hear I died for
him?――If I cou’d believe, that after so fatal
a Proof of Love he cou’d persist in his Barbarity,
I shou’d rejoice my Purpose was defeated, and
wou’d live to scorn him’
――‘If you are in earnest’
(interrupted she) ‘and can, indeed, continue
in a Resolution so truly Noble, I will inform you
of all.’
Which after my assuring her I wou’d do,
she went on in this manner. ‘I gave your Letter
to him’
(said she) ‘and after looking it carelesly
over――“Your Mistress sure is Mad” (cry’d he,
with an Air of Contempt) “I long have thought
her so, and the Romantic Stuff she has writ me
here, confirms it.”
Indeed, Madam,’
(continued
the good Creature) ‘I had scarce Power to refrain
flying in his Face; but though my Hands
forbore any Indignities, I gave my Tongue free
Scope; and when I had told him――nay swore,
as well I might, for firmly I believ’d it, that
you were really dead, I call’d him every Name
I cou’d invent, of Base, Perfidious and Deceitful;
but he seem’d as little to regard the Fury I was
in as the News I brought him, and only saying
――“If she be dead the Letter requires no Answer,
therefore be gone and cease your Clamour;”

but not finding I was very hasty to do as he bid
me, for, methought, it was some little Satisfaction
to upbraid this Monster, he call’d one of G4his G4v88
his Servants to turn me out of Doors, and walk’d
from me as unconcern’d as though I had brought
him an Account of the most indifferent Affair
that cou’d have happen’d.’
I was too well satisfy’d
in the Integrity of this good old Woman to
doubt the Truth of what she said, and it was
now that I began to feel that Resentment which
by a thousand Barbarities he had long before deserv’d.
And, after some little Struggles between
departing Tenderness and growing Hate――‘’Tis
done’
(said I) ‘Reason, at last, has gain’d a Conquest
over all that Softness which has hitherto betray’d
me to Contempt――Now I will live, and
Love alone shall die!’
――Nurse brought so many
and well-grounded Arguments to strengthen me
in this Resolution, and express’d her Meaning in
a Manner so much beyond what cou’d be expected
from her, that I have often thought she
was that Moment inspir’d by Heaven to assist
my Weakness. In short, I gave the Thoughts
of Death entirely over: I cou’d not endure, however,
to appear publickly in the World again,
and as Lysander believ’d me dead, I was willing
every Body else shou’d do so too; I order’d a
Will to be drawn according to Law, in which I
made Nurse my Heir and sole Executrix, and she
has perform’d every Thing I desir’d with such
Exactness and Fidelity, that not a Relation or
Acquaintance has the least Notion of my being
living; It was she who heard of the Convenience
of this House for boarding in, but I wou’d not
let her come to make any Agreement for me,
because she might chance to be known, and consequently
the Person she recommended guess’d
at. Since the Time of my being here she managesnages G5r89
my little Fortune, receives the Income of
it when due, and gives me an Account of it every
Quarter, which is all the Business I have to
do in this uneasy World. Thus, Madam, have
I given you a faithful Account of the Causes
which induc’d me to this Retirement; and I believe,
you will own that they are such as merit
no less than my whole Life’s Contrition. For,
as Mr. Waller very elegantly expresses it, ‘Our Passions gone, and Reason in her Throne,Amaz’d we see the Mischiefs we have done!’”

Though Belinda had conceiv’d the highest
Esteem and Friendship imaginable for this fair
Unfortunate
, and was willing to offer every thing
in her Power for her Consolation, yet she cou’d
not disapprove the Justice of her Lamentations,
or the Resolution she had taken of concealing
herself. So much of the Night was taken up in
the Recluse’s History, that Belinda was oblig’d
to defer her’s till the next Day; but the other
engag’d her to come into her Chamber early in
the Morning, and as soon as Breakfast was over,
demanded the Performance of her Promise, which
she readily comply’d with, and struggling with
some Sighs, which her akeing Heart sent forth,
on recollecting the Passages she was about to utter,
began her Relation in this Manner.

The Story of Belinda.

“I cannot” (said she) “boast either of a Family or
any natural or acquir’d Endowments, which
cou’d entitle me to those Hopes the lovely and
accomplish’d Cleomira might reasonably depend on: G5v90
on: My Father was, indeed, a Gentleman, and
if his Estate was not the greatest, yet it was superior
to most Commons, who had taken no other
Measures to enlarge their Possessions than
what was consistent with Honesty and that tranquil
State of Life, which, I believe, he wou’d
not have forsook to have been Master of both
Indies: And though my Education was only such
as the Country affords, yet, had I follow’d those
Precepts which my Infancy was taught, it had
been sufficient to have restrain’d me from doing
any thing which cou’d draw on me the Contempt
of the World. I had the Misfortune to lose
both my Parents within a Year of one another;
but my Father (who was the longest Survivor)
had, a little before his Death, provided me a
Husband, a Gentleman who long had lov’d me,
and who was, indeed, deserving of a much better
Match: His Person was extreamly graceful
and well turn’d, his Behaviour affable to all,
and complaisant as far as Sincerity wou’d permit,
his Solidity of Judgment and sound Reasoning
surpriz’d those of twice his Years, and though
he had a peculiar Sweetness of Disposition which
made it impossible for him to be an Enemy to any
one, yet was it temper’d with a due Regard to
that Principle of Honour which forbids any
Friendship with the vicious Part of Mankind, or
for any private End or Interest to pretend it:
Virtue and Wit, though in Rags, never fail’d to
excite his highest Praises and most zealous Esteem,
and Folly and Baseness, though adorn’d
with Grandeur, his Contempt and open Detestation.
It was impossible for a Heart so entirely
unprepossess’d as mine then was, to make anyOb- G6r91
Objection to a Person such as I have describ’d,
especially when recommended by a Father, who
I knew tenderly lov’d me, and was most watchful
for my Happiness; but as I had no Repugnance,
so also I had no extraordinary Satisfaction in
the Thoughts of this Match: I felt no Hopes,
no Fears, no Wishes, no Impatience, nor knew
what ’twas to be uneasy or transported. When
I saw Worthly (for that was the Name of this
excellent Man) I was well enough pleas’d, indeed,
but when I saw him not I was the same;
in fine, every thing was indifferent to me, and
had this Insensibility continu’d I had liv’d one
of the most contented Women in the World.
Every Thing being concluded on, a Day was
fix’d for the Celebration of our Marriage; but
on the sudden Death of my Father, which happen’d
about a Week before, for Decency’s sake,
it was put off to a longer Time; nor cou’d
Worthly (ardent Lover as all his Actions spoke
him) say any Thing to the contrary. He constantly
visited me every Day, and I looking on
him as a Man ordain’d by Heaven, and him who
had the Disposal of me, for my Husband, allow’d
him all the Freedom of Conversation imaginable.
The Alteration which the Death of my Father
had made in our Family, gave him an Opportunity
of proving his Love and Generosity in a manner
which justly render’d him very dear to my
Esteem (oh wou’d to Heaven it had to my Affection
too) but I have since found there is an Infinity
of Distance between Love and Friendship. My
Father, little suspecting he was so near his End,
had made no Will, and being possess’d of scarce
any personal Estate, and the real descending tomy G6v92
my Brother, then a Student in the University,
it was generally fear’d among our Relations, that
my self and younger Sister wou’d be entirely
Portionless: This Discourse soon reach’d Worthly’s
Ears, and he came to me one Day with a
more than ordinary Satisfaction in his Countenance,
to tell me, that nothing cou’d have happen’d
more lucky for his Wishes, than this means
of testifying to me and the whole World, that
it was my Love alone he was ambitious of, and
that he was so far from desiring my Brother shou’d
make good any thing of what my Father had
promis’d, that he wou’d not be depriv’d of the
Glory of proving himself not altogether unworthy
of my Regard, by marrying me without a Fortune,
to receive with me the Treasure of an Empire.
I must have been void both of Gratitude
and common Sense, if I had not acknowledg’d
this Behaviour to have been generous above the
Rank of ordinary Lovers; especially, when I
consider’d it cou’d be none of those idle Compliments
which Men are often full of when they
think we have no Occasion to make Use of their
Service: I knew Worthly’s Temper too well to
suspect the Sincerity of what he said, and knew
also, that he was too well acquainted with my
Brother’s Character to expect any Thing from
him. He was when he left our House extreamly
Wild and Thoughtless, wholly addicted to his
Pleasures, and seem’d so little inclinable to any
solid Reflections for the good of his Family, or
himself, indeed, that it was the universal Discourse
of the Country, that he wou’d make but
an ill Use of his Patrimony: But he disappointed
the Belief of every Body; and when he camefrom G7r93
from the University, (as he did soon after my
Father’s Death, to take Possession, he being more
than of Age;) he made it appear that Learning is
the best Polisher of the Principles, as well as
Manners, of those who apply themselves seriously
to it. He settled the Affairs of the Family
in a fashion, beyond what cou’d have
been hop’d; and having heard of my intended
Marriage with Worthly, and what my Father
design’d to give me, said he wou’d be far from
contradicting the Will of so good a Parent, tho’
not compell’d to it by any form of Law; and
sending for a Scrivener, not only made me Mistress
of the Fortune which had been promis’d, but
bound himself to give my Sister the same, whenever
she shou’d Marry or come of Age; and
because there was no ready Mony left, he made
over the Estate to pay it, reserving only to himself
a Competency to maintain him at the University,
whither he soon went back, and designs
to continue some Years. My Brother’s Generosity
did not, however, lessen my Obligations
to Worthly; my Esteem for him encreas’d daily,
and he had, indeed, so many excellent Qualities,
that it was impossible, but the more one knew
him, the more one shou’d find to admire: In
fine, all that I knew of Love was his, nor had
I the least Notion, there was any thing farther
in that Passion, than what he had inspir’d me
with.――Happy had I been never to have been
undeceiv’d, but my ill Fate decreed it otherwise,
and sad Experience soon inform’d me
that the Effects of Love are not Tranquility and
Ease.

Not G7v 94

Not having been at any publick Place (except
Church) since the Death of my Father, Worthly
wou’d needs persuade me to go in his Coach to
see a famous Horse-race, which was to be run a
few Miles distant from the Place where we
liv’d: There was a prodigious Concourse of People,
and great part of them of the best Fashion
in the Country round about; the Sight gave us
a great deal of Diversion; and when it was over,
Worthly conducted my self and Sister (for I took
her with me) to a House, where there was a
noble Collation prepar’d for our Entertainment;
and in this, as in every thing else, he testify’d the
Pride he took in obliging me: As we were returning
Home, the Coachman having drank too
plentifully, drove in such a furious Manner (in
spite of his Master’s often calling to him to take
Care) that we were over-turn’d, none of us were
hurt, but this Accident was the occasion of a
Misfortune much worse than any thing that cou’d
have happen’d by the Fall. A Gentleman who
was riding the same Way, and saw all that pass’d,
came up to us, and alighting from his Horse,
made us several Compliments on the Occasion,
and, perceiving the Condition our Coachman
was in, entreated Worthly to accept of a Servant
he had with him, who he said had often drove
a Coach, and understood it very well: The
Fright that my Sister and I were in made
Worthly gladly accept of the Offer; and immediately
the young Man, by his Master’s Command,
chang’d Seats with the Coachman: All
the time of our little Journey, the obliging
Stranger rode by the Coach side, and entertain’d
us with a world of Gallantry; for, besides the Charms G8r95
Charms of his Person, which nothing sure cou’d
ever equalize, his manner of Address had something
in it so inexpressibly engaging, that had
Cleomira seen him, Lysander wou’d have appear’d
less lovely.”
The Recluse cou’d not forbear
shaking her Head, and sighing, at these Words;
as believing it impossible for any Man to be possest
of Graces, which cou’d obscure those of her
Lysander; but she wou’d not interrupt the other
by entring into an Argument, which ’twas probable
they shou’d not easily agree upon, and Belinda
went on thus. “Worthly” (continu’d she) “was infinitely
charm’d with his Conversation, and gave
me to understand, when we came near Home,
that I cou’d do no less, in return to the Civilities
he had shew’d us, than invite him in: My
Complaisance for him was sufficient to have
made me yield to his Desire, in a much greater
Matter; but, alas! I granted this with a Pleasure,
which at that Time I knew not the meaning
of, nor once imagin’d, that from the Wit
and Beauty of this lovely Unknown I had drawn
in an Infection at my Eyes and Ears, which mixing
with my whole Mass of Blood, was to poison
all the Quiet of my future Days: I cannot
tell you what ’twas I felt, while in his Presence;
but it was a Mixture of Delight and Pain, a
kind of racking Joy, and pleasing Anguish. He
stay’d not very long at our House, Worthly was
impatient to have him at his own, that he might,
in a Fashion which he wou’d not take the Freedom
to use in ours, requite the Civilities we had
receiv’d from him on the Road; and it was not
till I was left alone, and had Leisure for Reflection,
that I found my self unhappy enough to feelfor G8v96
for this Stranger, what Worthly’s constant Assiduity,
and my Knowledge of his many Virtues,
never cou’d inspire. I suffer’d many Conflicts
on the first Discovery that it really was Love,
which so suddenly, and without Reason, had taken
Possession of my Soul: My just Sense of the
Obligations I had to Worthly, and my Engagements
to him, (from which I cou’d not without
both Ingratitude and Dishonour recede) and my
wild Passion for a Man, who, perhaps, might
never regard me with any thing more than an
Indifference,――a Man who ’twas likely might
be already married, or prepossess’d with a more
deserving Object,――a Man whose Temper,
Principles, and Circumstances, were altogether
unknown to me, fill’d me at once with Shame,
Remorse, Confusion, and Despair. My Mind in
this Disorder, ’twou’d be needless to say it was
impossible for Sleep to enter my Eyes; I pass’d
the Night in a manner vastly different from all
I had ever known before; nor did the Day
bring any more Tranquility. In the Afternoon,
Worthly, according to Custom, came to visit
me; but, alas! his Presence was now no longer
welcome, nor cou’d all his good Qualities have
render’d him supportable, had not his whole Discourse
been of the too lovely Stranger. He told
me, that he had been inform’d by himself of all
his Circumstances; that he was a Baronet, his
Name Sir Thomas Courtal; that having made the
Tour of Europe, he thought his Travels wou’d
not be compleat, unless he cou’d be able to give
as good an Account of the Kingdom he was
born in, as of others; and to that End, was
proceeding in his Progress, thro’ every Countyin H1r97
in which there was any thing rare or valuable to
be seen. He added to this Relation, so many
Encomiums on the graces of his Person, the
charms of his Wit, and the seeming sweetness of
his Disposition, that had I not been already too
much prepossess’d in his Favour, what he said was
enough to have made me so. ‘Presuming on my
Interest with you,’
(said this unsuspecting Lover)
‘I have engag’d, that you shall give me leave to
bring him to wait on you sometimes, while this
part of the Country is happy in his Presence;
which I hope’
(continued he looking tenderly on
me) ‘will be long enough to see me blest in the
Title of your Husband.’
Oh God! with what
Emotions did my Bosom swell, when he pronounc’d
these Words! a thousand times I was about
to lay open all the weakness of my Soul,
and warn him of so dangerous a Guest; but
Shame as often depriv’d me of the Power.――
Yes, I protest, it gave me a Concern I cannot
well express, to see this generous, this undesigning
Man, thus lay a Snare for the Destruction of his
own Hopes: Yet, how cou’d I avoid it, without
making a Confession too shocking for my
Modesty or his Passion to be able to sustain? In
fine, I having said nothing to oppose it, he
brought him the next Day to visit me, and they
became so intimate in a little time, that he scarce
ever came without him. O what a Tryal was
this for a Heart so inexperienc’d as mine! How
did I struggle to repel my daily-encreasing Wishes?
and how strenuously did I endeavour to outballance
Courtal’s enchanting Graces, by the solid
Perfections of the other? But all in vain; the
towring Flame grew higher by my Attempts to Hquell H1v98
quell it, and a little time convinc’d me, that Almighty
Love despises all Controul. Worthly’s
continual Sollicitations for the Celebration of
our Marriage, render’d him more disagreeable,
and the Trouble he put me to in finding Excuses
to delay it, made the Sight of him intollerable:
He has too much Penetration, not to discover
there was an Alteration in my Behaviour;
but having never receiv’d Testimonies of any
thing more than my Esteem, imagin’d it proceeded
only from the little Inclination he had
always found in me to change my Condition, and
redoubled his Pressures in such a manner, as
made me stand in need of much more Artifice than
I was Mistress of, to put him off, without letting
him into the Secret of my Reason for it. To
heighten my Aversion, and strengthen my Obstinacy
in refusing him, I had of late observ’d in
the charming Courtal’s Eyes a certain Languishment
they were not us’d to wear; I often heard
him sigh, observ’d him to turn pale and tremble
when on any Occasion he touch’d my Hand; Symptoms
which I now began to know, were infallible
Tokens of a Tenderness, far beyond that which
springs from bare Esteem. And while I flatter’d
my fond Wishes with a Belief, that I was secretly
belov’d by him, I began insensibly to hate
the other, whom I look’d upon as the only Bar
’twixt me and all the Joys this World cou’d
give. Tho’ Worthly was one of the most obsequious
Lovers that ever was, yet he was too
eager to brook a Delay, for which he cou’d assign
no Reason; and finding me still more and
more averse to any Discourse of Marriage, he
sollicited all my Relations and Acquaintance to speak H2r99
speak to me, and learn the Cause, if possible,
why I shou’d now refuse, what (if my Father’s
Death had not deferr’d) had been granted with
my free Consent many Months before. I suffer’d
a vast deal of Persecution from all those People
he had engag’d in his Interest, and I know not
what the unanswerable Arguments they pleaded
in his Favour might not at last have persuaded me
to, if he had not (Oh ill-directed and unlucky
Choice) employ’d even his ador’d Rival too in
this Affair. I was one Day in my Chamber musing,
and full of unsettled Resolutions, when I
was told that Courtal was below; his very Name
alarm’d me; but when I came down, and found
he was alone, ’tis impossible to guess at my Surprize:
he easily perceiv’d it in my Countenance,
and approaching me with the most humble and
submissive Air, ‘A Guest, Madam!’ (said he) ‘of so
little Merit as the unhappy Courtal would have
small reason to hope a Welcome here, if his Presumption
were not authoriz’d by him, who,
blest with the Divine Belinda’s Love, knows
the way to obtain Pardon for himself and me:――
From Worthly, Madam!’
(continued he, perceiving
I was silent) ‘the fortunate Worthly, I am sent to
tell you how much he languishes under the Impossibility
of waiting on you this Evening, and
to assure you (if you can doubt it) that tho’ unlucky
Affairs detain him from your Presence,
his Soul and all his Wishes are with you.’
Tho’
I was prodigiously confounded to find that
Worthly had engag’d him to this Visit, yet I was
much more so at his manner of telling it me;
but after I had desir’d him to sit, ‘Any Friend of
Worthly’s’
(answer’d I) shall always find Welcome H2from H2v 100
from Belinda: But I think, so much is owing
to the vast Merits of Sir Thomas Courtal, that
there can be no need of any second Name to introduce
him any where.’
I design’d these Words
no other than a Compliment; but the Confusion
with which I spoke them, gave him too
much Reason to believe I had a farther Meaning;
and looking on me with Eyes which seem’d to
read my Soul,――‘Oh God!’ (said he) ‘what sweet
Enchantment do those Words contain! The
powerful Spells disclose an opening Heaven to
my ravish’d View! and wrapt with Joys immortal,
make me forget the Hell of Misery I am
doom’d to.――’
Then, after a little Pause, and
venting two or three Sighs, which seem’d so
vehement as tho’ at each his Heart were rent
in sunder; ‘Pardon, Madam’ (resum’d he) ‘the
Violence of a sudden Transport, which some
delusive Hopes that Moment fir’d me with, and
made me neglect the Business which alone has
given me the Boldness of waiting on you.’
I
felt, all the time he was speaking, Emotions,
which I know not how to account for; I have
already told you that I had discover’d, or fancy’d
that I had discover’d, by some Looks, and
Words, which seem’d to be unguarded, that he
lov’d me; and tho’ I desir’d nothing so passionately
as to be assur’d he did so, yet I dreaded
the Eclaircissement, and began to tremble with
Fear that he shou’d say something which I was
altogether unprepar’d to answer: I have often
reflected since, how silly my inward Perturbations
made me seem: Courtal must certainly guess
from what Sourse the Disorders he perceiv’d in
my Countenance proceeded, or believe me to be extremely H3r101
extremely wanting in Conversation; and I was so
ambitious of appearing amiable in his Eyes, that
I know not if I wou’d not have chose he shou’d
be sensible of the Truth, rather than impute my
Behaviour to any natural Defect: But whatever
his Thoughts were, he eas’d my Confusion, by
immediately falling into a Discourse of Worthly.
He gave him Praises which, tho’ not more than
he deserv’d, were more than I was willing to
hear, at least from the Mouth that spoke them;
and then began to tell me how ill the Impatience
of his Love made him brook my delaying to
give him a Happiness, which he had so much
Cause to hope wou’d long since have been compleated;
and that he beg’d I wou’d assign some
Period to his Sufferings, that he the better
might be enabled to endure them. If before I
was alarm’d at the Apprehension of Courtal’s entertaining
me in another Manner; I was now
ten times more so that he did not.――It stung
me to the Soul to find, that when he had so
favourable an Opportunity to discover his Sentiments,
he shou’d employ it in a Theme, which
(if he had those Inclinations that I had flatter’d
my self I had inspir’d) must be so disagreeable
to his own Desires! My Fears now turn’d
to Indignation! I rag’d to think my Wishes had
deceiv’d me! and half despis’d him for his Insensibility!
‘I wonder’ (said I, with an Air which
I believe had a good deal of Contempt in it) ‘that
Worthly shou’d take the Measures he does;――
does he think to teaze me into Compliance?――
and can he imagine, that any thing he can say,
or the Persons he employs, will influence so far,
as to make me grant what is not consistent with H3my H3v102
my Inclinations?――I am not dispos’d to Marry
――at least, as yet; and if I never shou’d be so,
he ought not to expect I shou’d do a Violence
to my own Humour, to pleasure His.’
These, and
the like ridiculous Expressions, which my Vanity,
or my Love, or both, drew from me, were
sufficient to let Courtal see how little real Tenderness
I had for his Rival; and doubtless encourag’d
him to make the Declaration he presently
did. ‘Ah Madam!’ (said he) ‘you are but
little sensible what the burning Impatience of a
Lover’s Wishes make him suffer,――what strong
Convulsions,――what Soul-rending Pangs invade
the Breast which throbs with doubtful Expectation!
――For my part――cou’d I, like Worthly,
Hope――as all, who know you, must like him
adore, I shou’d be less enduring far!――Those
lovely Eyes shou’d ne’er have leave to close, or
view another Object but my self,――nor Night,
nor Day wou’d I be absent.――I’d follow wheresoe’er
you went,――and with imploring, dying
Looks,――with softning Tears,――with Groans,
and all the natural Eloquence of moving Passion,
hang on your Feet, and grasp those happy Garments,
till Coldness, Coyness, and Reserve was
melted down,――and your whole Soul was
Tenderness and Pity.’
‘You might be mistaken’
(reply’d I, briskly) ‘for if I did not love, such a
Behaviour wou’d make me hate.’
‘True, Madam’
(resum’d he, holding down his Head, and sighing)
‘I know from the Unlov’d, all Proofs wou’d
be unwelcome, and ’tis that Knowledge has deterr’d
me from discovering what I feel;――Else
had my Eyes and Tongue, e’er now, disclos’d
my Soul, and told Belinda she engross’d it all.―― But H4r103
But, hopeless,――meritless――, I have in Secret
borne the festring Wound; nor durst implore
my fair Physician’s Aid, lest instead of Balm, she
shou’d apply a Corrosive.――Even this, perhaps’

(continu’d he, taking one of my Hands, and
eagerly kissing it) ‘you wou’d think too great a
Recompence for the eternal Loss of my Repose.’

Tho’ this Declaration wou’d have prodigiously
disorder’d me before, yet being made at a Time
when I had just given over, either the Hopes,
or the Fears of hearing any such thing, it confounded
me much more; I knew not what to
say, nor how to look; I cou’d not repel, and
was unwilling to encourage: But at last, thinking
it best to take the middle Course, I affected to
turn his Behaviour into Merriment, and with as
much Gaiety as I cou’d put on, ‘I dare swear’
(said I) ‘there is no Danger of your losing your
Repose for any Woman in the World.――You
have too much Wisdom to be much in Love, and
most of your Sex have too much Wit, and too
little Good-nature, not to despise the Effects of
that Passion, where-ever you perceive them.――’

‘How Madam,’ (interrupted he) such Words
coming from a Mouth, like yours, carry a Severity
in them more cruel than any thing I cou’d
apprehend from so angelic a Composition,――
while you tell me I have Wisdom, and that I
know not Love, you give the greatest Proof you
can, that you think me an Ideot; for to adore
Belinda is sure the highest Wisdom, and to be insensible
of her Charms, is the last degree of Folly
and Stupidity.――Ah wou’d to Heaven!’
(continued
he sighing) ‘it were as much in my Power
to influence you to Compassion for my Sufferings, H4as H4v 104
as it is to convince you of the Reality of them.’

‘I never doubted your Gallantry’ (answer’d I, scarce
able to retain any part of that Humour I had assum’d)
‘but if I had, you give me now a sufficient
Testimony of it, in so artfully turning the Discourse
we were upon, which indeed was too
serious to be pleasing, into a Raillery much more
entertaining.’
――He wou’d not suffer me to proceed,
but falling on his Knees before me, and
looking up in my Face with a Tenderness unutterable,
‘Oh hold’ (cry’d he) ‘lovely Insulter!
give not to the most Almighty Truth, a breaking
――bleeding Heart, e’er yet sent forth, so
injurious an Epithet.――By Heaven!――by all
that Man adores,――by all we are taught to
hope, to fear, or wish, you are dearer to my
Soul than Health, than Grandeur, Knowledge,
Light, Life, or my eternal Peace,――than every
thing that Language gives a Name to.――But
I may spare these Protestations’
(rejoyn’d he, after
a little Pause) ‘too well do those enchanting Eyes
trace their own Power――even now they penetrate,
they pierce my Breast, and read much
more, oh infinitely more, than I can say.’
――
He wou’d have gone on; but the Tread of somebody
coming down Stairs oblig’d him to break
off, and reliev’d me from a Perplexity I know
not how I shou’d have got through: It was my
Sister who came into the Room, just as he had
risen from the Posture he was in; but the Confusion
that she perceiv’d in both our Faces, made
her (as she since told me) guess what sort of Conversation
he had entertain’d me with; and, believing
it wou’d be little agreeable to me, that
he shou’d have an Opportunity to renew it, neverver H5r105
left us while he stay’d. He cou’d not, indeed,
after she came in, express his Sentiments
any farther by Words; but Looks, which I already
too well understood, explain’d his Meaning, and
certainly, tho’ at that time I knew it not, met
with a Return too kind from mine. Just as he
was taking his Leave, he got the Liberty to say
softly,――‘Oh Divine Belinda! remember me!
――Pardon, and Pity me.’
――Alas! ’twas I
had only need of Pity; for never did any Creature
pass a Night in greater Inquietudes than I
did the succeeding one.――My Engagements to
Worthly, and the Impossibility of breaking them
without rendring my self odious to all who knew
me,――my already furious Passion for Courtal,
and the little Assurance I had of the Sincerity of
his,――my Ingratitude for the one, and Weakness
for the other, shock’d all that was noble and generous
in me, and made me incapable of Ease: I
had all to fear, nothing to hope, nor cou’d I form
an Aim, which if obtain’d, cou’d give me perfect
Happiness. ‘If I shou’d marry Worthly’ (said
I to my self) ‘how wretched must I be! Condemn’d
to loath’d Embraces, and the detested
Task of forc’d Civility――by painful Duty restrain’d
from even the Wish of better Fortune;
yet Inclination still at War with Virtue, guilty
and innocent at once, and miserable in both――
or, shou’d I indulge my Passion in the too charming
Courtal’s dear Society, cou’d I expect Content!
even in his Arms, my breach of Promise,
and Ingratitude to Worthly, his Despair, and the
just Censures of the reproaching World, wou’d
embitter all my Pleasures, turn the dear purchas’d
Blessing to a Curse, and make my fancy’d Heavenven H5v106
a real Hell.’
In this manner wou’d the different
Agitations which tormented me, make
me argue with my self: Honour, Reputation,
Gratitude, were on Worthly’s Side; but what are
these when once oppos’d by Love! Courtal’s
bewitching Charms silenc’d, at last, all other
Considerations, and Passion had entire vanquish’d
Reason, if my Doubts of his Sincerity
had not interpos’d: I cou’d not be assur’d he
lov’d me, because he had told me so; or if he did,
how long his Passion might continue. I had
heard and read too much of Men’s Inconstancy,
their Flatteries, their thousand Arts, to lure
weak Woman to Belief and Ruin, not to tremble
when I thought there was a Possibility he
might not be exempted from those little Basenesses
of his Sex.――These Meditations were
the troublesome Companions of my Pillow; nor
cou’d my domestic Affairs, my Sister’s agreeable
Prattle, nor all the Amusements which the Day
brought with it, have power to drive them from
my Thoughts: My Body restless as my Mind,
displeas’d at every thing, uneasy every where, I
wander’d up and down from Room to Room,
till I heard Worthly was come to visit me. I was
little prepar’d, and less desirous to have seen him,
but in the hurry of Temper had forgot to give
Orders for my being deny’d. I receiv’d him in
such a manner, as let him plainly see he cou’d
not do me a greater Displeasure than in staying
with me; he cou’d not forbear taking notice
of the more than ordinary Coldness, and indeed
Peevishness of my Behaviour; and gave me some
Hints, tho’ with all the Respect in the World,
that a Passion so truly ardent and unblamable as his H6r107
his had ever been, might have expected a more
favourable Return. There was too much Justice
in his Complaints, for me to be able to answer
them, and therefore endeavour’d to quell them,
by telling him that, as there was no body to
whom I was oblig’d to be accountable for my
Actions, to find fault with what I did, was not
the way to engage me to a Change. ‘Madam!’
(said he) ‘I never yet have been presumptuous enough
to find fault with any thing you think
fit to do; but now begin to cease the Hope of
ever persuading you to any thing in my Favour.
――I well see that in losing your Father, I lost
my only Friend,――had he liv’d, your Obedience
to him wou’d have given me a Blessing, which
I now despair of obtaining from your Love.’
He
look’d full in my Face as he spoke these Words,
and offer’d to take me by the Hand, which I
drawing back with a Reserve which came pretty
near to Rudeness,――‘I find’ (resum’d he) ‘my Presence
is unwelcome,――I will therefore trouble
you no farther at this Time. May Heaven inspire
you with more grateful Sentiments, or give
me a Heart able to support your Cruelty.’
――
He had Power to utter no more, but turning
hastily away, went out of the Room in such
Disorder, that it a little mov’d me; but these
good-natur’d Emotions lasted not long, and
what entirely chas’d ’em from my Soul, was a
Letter I immediately after receiv’d from Courtal,
the Words of which were these.

‘If to adore without a possibility of Hope be a Sin,
it is a Sin only against our own Happiness, a Sin
which all Mankind, who see you, must be guilty of, and H6v108
and which Heaven who gave you such Resistless Beauties
must inspire you to forgive.――Yes, you are too
Angelic to condemn us for Faults, which are not in
our Power to avoid.――’Tis my presuming Tongue,
not Heart, that has offended; I need not entreat your
Pardon for loving you, but for declaring that I do
so, there is, I fear, a dreadful Cause,――I ought, indeed,
to have dy’d in Silence. I know not but your
Soul, in spite of Yesterday’s Efforts to conceal it,
is wholly taken up with a more deserving Object, and
the Impertinence of my ill-tim’d Passion may have
disturb’d those soft Idea’s which mutual Tenderness
affords.――Tell me, Divine Belinda! if I have
been so criminal, Death shall be at once the Punisher
of my Rashness, and Cure of my Misery; but if your
Breast has any room for Pity, Oh! give me leave to
try at least to inspire it: None ever had a Plea
more just, none wou’d be more truly grateful than
Your eternally devoted Courtal.’
You may judge with what Transports I read
this Letter, by those your self has felt at receiving
any thing of this kind from the charming
Lysander: And I thought I had a prodigious
Command of my Temper, that I forbore giving
any greater Demonstrations of my Joy, than
what the following Lines contain’d.
‘’Tis impossible either to read, or hear you without
allowing you to be the most accomplish’d, most
gallant, and witty of your Sex; but whether to be
able to retain those Graces, be consistent with a Love so H7r109
so ardent as you wou’d persuade me yours is, can only
be judg’d by those vers’d in the Town manner of addressing.
I have often heard say, by those more skill’d
than my self, that the greatest Symptoms of a true
Passion is to be depriv’d of Utterance, and Incoherence
in Expression; and as I have not Vanity enough
to imagine there is any thing in me capable of engaging
you to the Reality, am unwilling to be made the
Property of an Amusement only. However, with
that Sincerity, which we in the Country prefer to
all things, I assure you that my Heart is utterly unpreposs’d
with any Idea of Mr. Worthly, farther
than his good Qualities inspire in all who know him;
and all my softer Wishes are at Liberty to extend
themselves wherever they shall find an Object deserving,
by his Constancy, the Regard of
Belinda.’
I pass’d the ensuing Night in infinitely more
Tranquility than I had that before: Love banish’d
all the remains of Gratitude which had so
much disturb’d me. I gave a loose to all the
Tenderness it inspir’d, and in return, it flatter’d
my fond Wishes with a near Prospect of inexpressible
Delight: To heighten my Felicity,
early in the Morning the assiduous Courtal sent
me a second Billet, in which I found these
Lines.
‘With what Words, Oh most Divine Belinda!
shall I express the Rapture of my o’er-
joy’d Heart, at reading your dear, obliging Letter!
Even the Distrust you seem to have of my Sincerity,
is capable of giving me no Pain, while you vouchsafe to H7v110
to assure me there is no greater Impediment to my
Hopes: This my faithful Services will soon remove;
but had a Person of more Merit taken up your Soul,
I must for ever have despair’d.――Permit me then
to begin the pleasing Task of proving what I am, this
Afternoon, and by giving me an early leave to breath
out my Soul in Vows of everlasting Truth before you,
convince me (of what is indeed too vast a Blessing to be
easily believ’d) that you will not be displeas’d to find
the most tender, and most faithful, as well as the most
passionate of all Lovers is
Your adoring Courtal.’
The seeming Sincerity of these few Lines subdued
my easy Faith, and I resolv’d no longer to
distrust my Happiness. ‘Oh! he is all Angel’
(cry’d I in a Rapture) ‘divinely charming in Soul
as well as Body, I must――I will――believe
him!’
and in this hurry of unruly Joy, writ him
an Answer in these Words.
‘’Twou’d be an over-acted Modesty, and might
justly be taken for Stupidity, to feign an Insensibility
of your Attractions: the proudest of my Sex
wou’d glory in the Conquest of a Heart like yours, and
I confess without a Blush to find my self that happy
envy’d Woman wou’d gratifie an Ambition, which
unknowing you there cou’d not be a ground for. The
favour of your Visits however, I know not, as yet,
how to receive: Worthly, how small a part soever he
had in my Heart, has met with Encouragement from my
Father, and in obedience to his Commands, from me;
and Prudence forbids too sudden a turn in an Affair of H8r111
of so much Consequence; but if I find you in the little
Wood behind our House, about five this Evening, you
shall know more of the Sentiments of
Belinda.’

You will, doubtless, wonder, that a Maid so
little accustom’d to Conversation shou’d not start
at the very Thought of an Assignation such as
this; but whether it were that Inexperience
of the World and the Baseness of Mankind kept
me from imagining the Danger, or the Violence
of my Passion from regarding it, I must leave to
the Charity of your Opinion. But, I confess, I
felt not the least Regret for what I had writ,
and had no Uneasiness but what sprung from my
Impatience for the appointed Hour; at last it
came, and while I told the Clock, my Soul exulted
with a Pleasure which till then I never
knew. I believe I need not tell you I found
Courtal in the Wood ready to receive me; you
will easily imagine, that the most trifling Inclination
will, before Enjoyment, wing the Assiduity
of that ungovern’d and inconstant Sex; but I
wish there were a Possibility of informing you in
what manner he accosted me, for there was
something in it so much beyond Imagination
charming and engaging, that it in Part wou’d
justify my Behaviour toward him――All his Gestures
were so humble and beseeching, yet withal
so graceful――All his Looks were accompany’d
with such a piercing Softness――All his Words
express’d so real a Tenderness, so perfect a Sincerity,
and so pure a Zeal, that even you, too
sadly skill’d in the vile Arts of false deceiving
Man, must have believ’d and trusted him. I walk’d H8v112
walk’d with him, heedless of the swift passing
Hours, till Day was almost spent, and it was not
till the want of Light depriv’d me of the Pleasure
of gazing on him, that I consider’d how
long I had been with him; and that we were
wandred, insensibly, perhaps, to either of us, at
least to me I am sure it was so, a great Distance
from the House, and into the thickest and most
obscure Part of the Wood. But it was in vain
that I reminded him how convenient it was that
I shou’d return; he was too pressing, I too transported
to be able to refuse him so small a Favour
as my Company a few Moments longer.
Never was a Night more delectable, more aiding
to a Lover’s Wishes! The arching Trees
form’d a Canopy over our Heads, while through
the gently shaking Boughs soft Breezes play’d in
lulling Murmurings, and fann’d us with delicious
Gales; a thosand Nightingales sung amorous Ditties,
and the billing Doves coo’d out their tender
Transports――every Thing was soothing――every
Thing inspiring! the very Soul of Love seem’d
to inform the Place, and reign throughout the
whole. A little tir’d with walking, my too dear
Companion had prevail’d on me to rest my self
on a fine grassy Bank, which was at the Foot of
a great Tree: He took the licens’d Freedom to
place himself by me; and, methought, we sat
with all the Sweets of Nature blooming round
us, like the first happy Pair while blest with Innocence,
they knew not Shame, nor Fear. But
he, alas! had other Notions, and aiming only at
my Ruin, believ’d he cou’d not chuse a fitter
Season, and perhaps never shou’d have so favourable
an Opportunity as this: He now began to mingle I1r113
mingle Kisses and Embraces with his Vows; my
Hands were the first Victims of his fiery Pressures,
then my Lips, my Neck, my Breast; and
perceiving that, quite lost in Ecstasy, I but faintly
resisted what he did, far greater Boldnesses ensued
――My Soul dissolv’d, its Faculties o’erpower’d
――and Reason, Pride, and Shame, and
Fear, and every Foe to soft Desire, charm’d to
Forgetfulness, my trembling Limbs refus’d to oppose
the lovely Tyrant’s Will! And, if my faultering
Tongue entreated him to desist, or my
weak Hands attempted to repulse the encroaching
Liberty of his; it serv’d but, as he said, the
more to inflame his Wishes, and raise his Passion
to a higher Pitch of Fury. Oh! I had been
inevitably lost, had not Heaven sent me a Deliverance,
even in the Moment I was about to be
made the most wretched of its Creatures. Worthly,
born for my Preservation! Worthly, doom’d
to do me all manner of good Offices, though to
my own Destruction, had been to enquire for
me, and not finding me at home, happen’d to
come into the Wood, not mistrusting I was there,
but to indulge that Melancholy my late Carriage
had inspir’d; Chance had led him to that Part
where we were, and hearing my Voice, he kept
himself conceal’d, and was Witness to all the latter
Part of our Conversation: He heard enough,
Heaven knows, to make him scorn and hate me;
yet, generous to the last, when I was on the very
Brink of Ruin, he rush’d forth and sav’d me. ‘Rise, Villain!’ (said he) ‘and prepare for a different
Encounter――you shall not live to wrong another
in the Manner you have done me; nor shall
that Woman, ungrateful as she is, fall a SacrificeIfice I1v114
to your base Desires.’
The Surprize that
Courtal was in at these Words, and the Knowledge
who it was that spoke them, did not hinder
him from putting himself in a Posture to receive
him; he had his Sword out almost as soon
as the other. But what was my Confusion――
my Distraction, to find my self thus expos’d, and
to the Man from whom of all the World I most
desir’d my Weakness shou’d be conceal’d! I had
certainly run between their Swords and receiv’d
those Wounds each design’d for the other, but
Shame and Horror struck me motionless; and
without the Power even of endeavouring to prevent
it, must have been Witness to some fatal
Consequence of which my self was the Cause,
if my Sister, being told by some body that saw
me, where I was, and wondring at my Stay, had
not at that Instant come with some of the Servants
in search of me. The enrag’d Rivals, on
the first Appearance of the Lights she brought
with her, sheath’d their Swords, but she saw enough
in all our Faces to inform her, that something
extraordinary had happen’d: But it was in
vain for her to enquire, we all were speechless
with our several Agitations; till Worthly, turning
to Courtal, ‘We are prevented now’ (said he)
‘but I shall take a Time more proper to reward
your Villany’
: And giving him a furious Look,
flung hastily away without staying for his Answer.
Courtal was either less disturb’d, or had infinitely
more Command of his Temper than any of us
on this Occasion, and seeming to take no Notice
of his Rival’s Words, gave me his Hand in
order to conduct me home; but I cou’d not now
endure he shou’d look on me, or touch me; and leaning I2r115
leaning on my Sister with one Hand, and with
the other holding a Handkerchief before my Face,
to hide as much as possible my Disorders, made
what haste I cou’d from that unlucky Place. He
did not leave us, however, till we got quite to
our Door, and as we went, made Use of all his
Rhetorick to perswade me to think no otherwise
of what had happen’d, than as a Matter of no
Consequence. It was wholly improper I shou’d
answer him as I wou’d, therefore forbore answering
at all: Nor was it to any Purpose that my
Sister begg’d me to make her a Relation of this
Adventure, after we came home; and only telling
her, that I was not in a talking Humour,
and bidding her trouble me no farther, I shut
my self into my Chamber, and there gave a loose
to all the distracted Emotions of my Soul――
Oh! what did I not endure this cruel Night, and
what, indeed, must I for ever endure, in the Reflection
on the dreadful Consequence!”
Belinda
cou’d not come to this Part of her Story without
falling into Agonies, much like those which had
so often interrupted the Recluse in the Course
of her’s; and it was now that Lady’s turn to comfort,
which she did with such Success, that the
other was soon able to resume her Discourse in
this manner.

“The Shame and Confusion I was in” (said
she) “at what had happen’d, was not all that tormented
me; I had Fears, which were, if possible,
more alarming even than my Remorse: I
knew very well the Violence of Worthly’s Passion
for me――I saw the just Rage my Behaviour
had put him in, and remember’d what he said to
Courtal at parting, and cou’d not hope this AdventureI2venture I2v116
wou’d end without Blood: After a thousand
Inventions how to prevent the Mischief I
with so much Reason dreaded, I resolv’d, at
last, to try my Power once more with Worthly,
and compos’d my Thoughts as well as I cou’d to
form a Letter to him, in which I confess’d that
I had been ungrateful to his Affection, and by
my Folly and ill Conduct had now render’d my
self utterly unworthy the Continuance of it, but
conjur’d him by the Memory of that Tenderness
he once had for me, not to publish my Weakness
to the World, by making any Noise of this
Affair. I writ also to Courtal, and entreated him,
by all the Passion he profess’d for me, and by
those Assurances my late Condescentions had given
him of mine, to avoid all Occasions of meeting
Worthly, and if he shou’d receive any Letter
or Message, like what his last Words imported,
to lay aside his Honour, in favour of his Love,
and the Consideration of how much my Reputation
must suffer in a Quarrel of that Nature. I
express’d these Requests to both of them in the
most moving Terms I was capable of, and what
Effect I might have wrought I know not; for
though I went not to Bed all Night, it was so
late the next Day before I had finish’d, that just
as I was sealing up the last, I was interrupted by
my Sister’s knocking violently at my Chamber
Door, and calling to me to open it, in a Tone,
and with a Disorder, which told something more
than ordinary was the Cause, before I gave her
Entrance; but when I had――‘Oh Sister!’ (said
she) ‘Worthly is kill’d――murdered by Sir Thomas
Courtal
, and his Servants say it was on your Account
they fought.’
――Oh God! what chilling Horrors I3r117
Horrors seiz’d my whole Frame when she pronounc’d
these Words? If she spoke any thing
more, I was incapable of hearing it, for I fell immediately
into a Swoon, in which I lay so long, that,
as they since told me, neither she nor the Maids
that she call’d to my Assistance believ’d I shou’d
ever recover: But my Miseries were not to have
so short a Date, and I again return’d to Sense――
to all the Racks of Thought, and curst Remembrance.
As soon as my Agonies wou’d give me leave
to speak, and to enquire, I receiv’d the Confirmation
of the dismal Story: They told me, that the
Body of Worthly, cover’d with Wounds, and all
besmear’d with Blood, was just brought by our
House in order to be carry’d home, his Seat not
being above a Bow-shot distant from ours; and
that a Servant who was Witness to his dying
Words, and seem’d acquainted with the whole
Affair, waited to speak with me. As much as I
dreaded to hear what the Fellow had to say to
me, yet I order’d he shou’d come up; and when he
did, desir’d him to give me an Account of all he
knew concerning his unhappy Accident, which
he presently did in these Words. ‘Early this
Morning’
(said he) ‘my Master call’d me up, and
giving me a Letter, commanded me to carry it
to the Inn where Sir Thomas Courtal lay: I found
him in Bed, but he immediately rose, and gave
me an Answer in writing: At my Return my
Master was dress’d, and as soon as he had read
what I brought, prepar’d himself to go out, and
seeing me about to follow him, as was my Duty,
he forbid me, with a Peevishness which he
was not us’d to express himself with: This
Charge, and the Agitations I had observ’d both I3in I3v118
in his Countenance and that of Sir Thomas’s,
while he was reading the Letter, gave me some
Suspicion of the Truth: I acquainted one of my
Fellows with my Conjecture, and we both thought
it our Duty to seek him; but in resolving what
to do we had wasted so much Time, that at our
Entrance into a Field (not far from hence, and
which we thought, if any thing of what we
imagin’d were true, wou’d be as likely a Place
as any for the Scene of Action) we met Sir Thomas,
who seem’d to be in a prodigious Hurry:
I ask’d if he had seen my Master, and he answer’d
that he had not, but we did not put so much
Confidence in what he said, but that we went
on in the way we perceiv’d he came from, and
soon found my poor Master breathing out his
last. When we came near him, “Harry” (said he
to me, with a Voice scarce intelligible) “I am
kill’d――Tell Belinda that I die for her,――and
warn her to take Care of――”
He was able to
bring forth no more, for at that Instant Death
clos’d his Lips for ever.’
Here the poor Fellow
ended his sad Account, and was just going out
of the Room half blinded with his Tears, when
I call’d him back to ask what was become of
Courtal: ‘You may be sure, Madam,’ (answer’d
he) ‘that I wou’d leave nothing undone for the
Revenge of my dear Master’s Blood, and as soon
as the Body was carry’d home, took Persons with
me to search for him at the Inn; but he was too
speedy for my Diligence, and with both his Servants
had taken Horse, and, I fear, is gone beyond
the reach of those sent in Pursuit of him,
for we cou’d get no Intelligence which Road he
took.’
Though I had all the real Concern imaginableginable I4r119
and Grief for Worthly’s Death, and the
Cause of it, yet, I confess, I cou’d not hear that
Courtal was out of Danger, without a secret Joy,
which was but too guilty: I dissembled it, however,
and dismiss’d the Fellow with a Belief, that
all the Sorrow I had been in, sprung only from
the Loss of his Master; all our Family were of
that Opinion, and I had the Opportunity of vailing
my other Troubles under that Covert, which
was both just and laudable. I had, indeed, so
much Anxiety of Mind, with every thing together,
that I was not able to stay in a Place where
all I saw or heard wou’d but put me in Remembrance
of my Misfortunes; and I will not
tell you, but the Impossibility of ever seeing Courtal
there again, was the chief Reason of making
it odious to me. I therefore order’d the Coach
to be got ready, and the same Day went to a Relation’s
House about eight Miles farther in the
Country, desiring my Sister, if any Letter shou’d
come, to send it to me there, for I imagin’d
Courtal wou’d write to me as soon as he thought
himself out of Danger. I gave her so strict a
Charge to take Care of it, that join’d to some
other little Remarks she had made on my late
Carriage, made her not far from guessing the
Truth of my Sentiments, and she took the Liberty
of reproaching me with Ingratitude and Inconstancy:
I gave my self but little Concern to
perswade her, that I did not deserve to be tax’d
with those Vices; but redoubling my Desires
that she wou’d send any Letter that shou’d be directed
to me, took my Leave. What I did soon
after will convince you, that nothing, indeed,
was able to abate that wild Passion that Courtal I4had I4v120
had inspir’d me with: For having waited at my
Cousin’s House about nine or ten Days, and hearing
nothing from home, I grew so uneasy, that
I resolv’d to be gone from thence. I remember’d
to have heard Courtal say, he had Business in London,
which wou’d oblige him to defer the Progress
he intended to make through the Counties
till next Year, and fancy’d he might be gone directly
thither. I did not doubt, but if he were,
I shou’d be able to find him out; and when once
this Belief had settled itself in me, I delay’d not
a Moment, but borrowing Horses and a Servant
of my Cousin, went strait to Warwick, and from
thence took the Stage for London. It was that
Kinswoman who directed me to this House, having
formerly been a Boarder here herself; and
assuring me, that if any Packet came from our
House she wou’d send it immediately after me,
made me pretty well satisfy’d in my Mind, that
no Mistake wou’d prevent the Blessing of hearring
from him, and knowing where to find him,
in case I shou’d miss him in London.

The Fatigue of my Journey did not hinder me
from sending, as soon as I came here; to all publick
Places to enquire for him, but no such Person
was to be found; and what amaz’d me most was,
that a Man of that Fashion, and so noted as I imagin’d
him to be, shou’d be utterly unknown to every
Body: I did not in the least doubt, but that if I
had not the good Fortune of meeting with him
here, I shou’d be able to get a perfect Account
of his Character and Circumstances; but, alas!
the Name of Courtal was as little known as the
Arabian Dialect, and I might have spent my whole
Life in a fruitless Inquisition, had I not believ’d my I5r121
my want of Intelligence was in great Measure
owing to the Carelesness of those I employ’d,
and resolv’d to be my own Spy in an Affair of so
much Consequence to my Peace: I had no sooner
determin’d on this, than an Opportunity offer’d
as lucky as I cou’d have wish’d. One of the
Boarders here happen’d to have a young Lady
a Relation of her’s come to visit her; there being
a very good Tragedy acted that Night, they agreed
to go to see it, and having talk’d of it before
me, ask’d if I wou’d accompany them thither:
Though I had very little Relish for that
or any other Diversion, as my Affairs were, yet I
was extreamly pleas’d with the Proposal, believing
no Place more probable to give me a Sight
of him, whose Presence was all my Wishes aim’d
at. Neither of them were dress’d for the Boxes,
and I had an inexpressible Satisfaction in my Mind,
to think that if I shou’d be so fortunate to meet
Courtal there, I shou’d have the Opportunity to
observe his Manner of Behaviour, unseen by him:
In short, we all went in a Dishabillee to the Gallery,
and chose to sit in the very Corner of it,
where without being much taken Notice of our
selves, we might see with Ease all the Persons
that came into the House. The Ladies that came
with me, knowing me to be a Stranger, were
so complaisant, as to give me an Account what
and who most of the Company of any Note
were, as they came into their Places; but I had
little Ears for their Discourse, my Soul was all
collected in my Eyes, and busily employ’d in search
of him, whom the hope of seeing only had engag’d
my being there: Lond I had look’d in
vain, till the House being pretty full, and I beginningginning I5v122
to despair of being so happy, at last I
saw him enter: His Charms were too peculiar,
and my Thoughts too full of them, not to make
me know him the Moment he set his Foot into
the Box――Good God! how lovely did he appear
that Night! how graceful! those Perfections
which in the Country, where a Bon Mein is a
Prodigy, one might think shown to Advantage,
were no less distinguishable among a Crowd of
Beaux! Surrounded by those, who by their very
Air one might perceive made it their Study to
attract, he shone with a superior Brightness, and
with an unaffected manly Majesty asserted the
Dignity of his Charms, and seem’d to scorn each
trifling Emulator. As I was contemplating on
his unmatch’d Beauties, I heard one of my Companions
say to the other, ‘Cousin! do you see who
is yonder?’
‘Yes,’ (reply’d she that was spoke to)
‘I find that Villain, to his other Vices, has that
of being asham’d of nothing.’
‘How unconcern’d
he looks’
(resum’d the former) ‘and yet, I believe,
this is the first Time of his appearing since
his last base Action.’
They had a good deal more
of this kind of Discourse between themselves,
which I but little regarded, not knowing of
whom they were talking, nor the least imagining
that any thing of what they said was any Concern
of mine, till some Ladies coming into the Box
over against us, I saw Courtal quit his own, and
stepping hastily into that in which they were,
seem’d to entertain them with a world of Gaiety,
and with a Familiarity which gave me a Taste
of what (by the little I felt) I believe to be the
most dreadful of all Passions, Jealousy! One of
them, though I hated her for the Freedom I saw she I6r123
she us’d him with, I cou’d not forbear thinking
perfectly agreeable; but she that sat by her, tho’
not the thousandth Part so engaging, appear’d
to have the greatest Share of Courtal’s Admiration:
I perceiv’d he look’d on her with a beseeching
Air, and a Tenderness in his Deportment,
which made me almost mad; while the other
often pull’d him by the Sleeve, patted his Hand,
whisper’d to him, and seem’d by a world of little
Fondnesses to endeavour to oblige him to a
more peculiar Regard. Judge what my Condition
was at a Sight so unexpected, so fatal to my
Hopes! I felt in one Moment all that Despair,
and Rage, and Jealousy cou’d inflict, and ’twas
as much as I cou’d do to restrain my self from
giving some Proof of it, which wou’d have made
me ridiculous to the whole Assembly. Not being
able to observe their Motions any longer with
Patience, I turn’d to her that sat next me, and
ask’d if she knew who those Ladies were. ‘One
of them’
(answer’d she) ‘is the Wife, the other
the Mistress of that Gentleman that just now
plac’d himself behind them’
――‘The Wife!’ (interrupted
I, in a much greater Surprize than can
be easily comprehended) ‘the Wife! did you say,
Madam?’
‘Yes,’ (resum’d she) ‘that Lady in the
Green and Silver Brocade is his Wife, but tho’
she is accounted one of the most celebrated Beauties
in Town, and is certainly a Woman of a very
excellent Temper, had a vast Fortune, and
has not been married much above a Year, yet
she possesses but a small Share in her unworthy
Husband’s Affection: I dare swear, she has this
Moment a Weight of Discontent upon her Heart,
though her Prudence enables her to conceal any Marks I6v124
Marks of it in her Countenance and Behaviour:
That Creature by her in the flower’d Damask,
who has neither Beauty, good Shape, or any
Thing to recommend her but a little flashy Wit,
and a vast deal of Assurance, she is oblig’d for
her Domestick Peace to be civil to, though every
Body knows her to be the most cruel Enemy
she has, and that her Husband passes most of his
Hours and great Part of his Substance with her.’

All the Time she was speaking, though I listen’d
attentively to what she utter’d, I had my Eyes
fix’d on Courtal; I lov’d with too much Passion,
not to be assur’d it was he I saw before me;――
I knew I cou’d not be mistaken, but I imagin’d
her to be infinitely so: What she told me
was so inconsistent with the Idea I had form’d
of his Humour, or the Character I had heard of
his Circumstances, that I cou’d not believe one
Tittle of what she said. ‘Madam, you are prodigiously
deceiv’d’
(cry’d I, in a kind of Disdain)
‘in the Persons you are talking of; that Gentleman
was my particular Acquaintance in the Country,
and I am confident has no Wife, or if
he had, is not of a Principle so vile to use her in
the manner you describe.’
‘I know not’ (said the
other Lady) ‘what he may have done to entitle
him to your good Opinion, but am very certain,
there are too many here who know him to be a
far worse Monster than my Cousin has represented
him.’
‘I shou’d be very much asham’d’ (rejoin’d I
more warmly than before) ‘to take the Part of a
Man, who really cou’d deserve those Severities
some Reports may have exacted from you: But
must ask your Pardon, if I tell you, that I cannot
receed from what I have said, because I am confident,fident, I7r125
if Sir Thomas Courtal were sensible of the
Accusations he lies under, he wou’d find it no
difficult Matter to clear himself’
――‘Sir Thomas
Courtal’
(cry’d they both out) ‘for Heavens sake
who are you talking of?’
‘The Man’ (answer’d I,
more amaz’d at that Question than at what they
had told me of him) ‘whose Character you have
been so free with’
――‘Bless me!’ (said one of
them) ‘I know him not’; ‘nor I’ (cry’d the other:)
‘I thought we had all this while been speaking of
my Lord――’”

Here Belinda made a full Stop, as considering
whether she shou’d name him; and after about a
Moment’s Reflection――“You will pardon me” (said
she to the Recluse) “if I conceal the real Name of
this ungrateful Man; for, I confess, in spite of
the Deceit he has us’d me with, and the Crimes
he has been guilty of, I have still a Tenderness
for him which makes me unwilling to expose
him.”
And the Recluse, assuring her she wou’d
be far from desiring to know any more than she
shou’d think fit to reveal, gave her leave to proceed
in her Discourse in this manner.

“If before,” (continu’d she) “I thought these Ladies
were mistaken, I was now confirm’d they
were so, when they nam’d a Person altogether
a Stranger to me. ‘I knew’ (said I) ‘you must at
last acknowledge your Error, that Gentleman to
whom you give the title of Lord is no more than
a Baronet, his Name Sir Thomas Courtal, and I
am sure, if he were sensible of it, wou’d be very
sorry to have any Resemblance of a Man so base.’

‘Good God!’ (said one of them) ‘you will not go
about to perswade us, that he in the White
trimm’d with Gold is any other than the Person we I7v126
we have nam’d.’
‘I am very certain it is not’ (answer’d
I.) As we were in this Dispute, a Woman
came to us to know if we wanted any Fruit,
‘Since’ (said the Lady) ‘we are not able to convince
you, let this Woman be the Judge; these sort
of People are acquainted with every Body, and
she can have no Interest in disguising the Truth.’

When she had spoke these Words she beckon’d
the Woman, and making a Pretence of buying
some Fruit, desir’d her to tell us who that Gentleman
was; she immediately confirm’d what my
Companions had said, and run on in a good deal
of impertinent Chat about him: ‘You see’ (resum’d
the Lady that boards here) ‘how much
your Eyes, or the great Likeness there may be
between two Persons, has deceiv’d you; but we
have sufficient Reasons to know what he is, which
when we come home I will acquaint you with.’

At that Instant the Curtain drew up, and the Attention
I found they were willing to give to the
Play, prevented any farther Discourse: But how
I pass’d the Time of the Performance cannot be
conceiv’d, without being possest with Agitations
such as mine. I had no Room to hope there was
a Probability of so many Persons being mistaken,
and his Behaviour to the Ladies that sat in the
Box with him, confirm’d the Character I heard
of him to be too true; but presently after I receiv’d
a Demonstration which took from me all
Possibility of doubting the Reality of my Misfortunes.
When the Play was done, having no Servant
there to provide a Coach, were were oblig’d
to wait at the Door for one to come to us,
which it cou’d not do immediately, being hinder’d
by a Chariot which stood ready for its Owner’s I8r127
Owner’s approach. I observ’d there were two or
three Footmen belonging to it, and one of them,
tho’ now in a different and much richer Dress, I
perfectly remember’d to be the Man that officiated
in the Place of poor Worthly’s Coachman,
that fatal Day in which I first beheld the perjur’d
Courtal, and since had been the Bearer of those
Billets I receiv’d from him; I pull’d my Hood as
forward as I cou’d to prevent his seeing my Face,
and changing my Voice, ask’d him to whom that
Chariot belong’d; and he had no sooner told me
(as I fear’d he wou’d) the Name which had given
me such Confusion, than I perceiv’d him
coming, the Lord, or Courtal, or both, for both
indeed were one: He conducted the Ladies he
had been with into the Chariot, and stepping hastily
into a Chair which stood there, depriv’d me
of the Opportunity of speaking and upbraiding
him, as else I shou’d have done in the distracted
Condition I then was, without any regard how
improper it was I shou’d do so in such a Place,
and before the Company I had with me: After
this we got into a Coach, and the Lady who
came to visit her that lodges here, sat us down,
it being in her way home. One wou’d imagine,
that to find my self thus cruelly deceiv’d, had
been sufficient to have made me forego all the
Tenderness which had led me into such Misfortunes;
and if I cou’d not think of him with Hatred,
to endeavour not to think of him at all:
But in spite of the just Rage I was in, the Impatience,
the jealous Curiosity of a Lover still remain’d.
I remember’d that one of the Ladies
told me, they had particular Reasons to know
who the Person was whom I affirm’d to be Sir Thomas I8v128
Thomas Courtal, and had hardly Patience to stay
till Supper was over for the Performance of the
Promise she made me to acquaint me with them.
I was beginning to stretch my Invention to form
a Story to make her believe, that it was wholly
on the Account of a Friend, and not of any farther
Consequence to me, which had made me
so Inquisitive; lest by giving her occasion to suspect
the Truth, I shou’d expose my self to the Ridicule
of the whole Family: but I might have
spar’d my self that Trouble. The Aversion she
had to him, kept her from regarding any thing
but the Pleasure it gave her to have an Opportunity
of telling a Story so much to his Disadvantage;
and I had little occasion for Entreaty to
engage her to satisfie my Curiosity, and make
me sensible that the Man I had consider’d as so
worthy Adoration, that all I cou’d do for him
was rather a Merit than a Fault, was indeed
the most vile, and most perfidious of his Sex.

She illustrated the History she gave me with
many Circumstances, which aggravated the foulness
of the Fact; but so much time has been
taken in the recounting of my own Affairs,
that I will not detain your Attention in relating
the Particulars of this, and shall only, by giving
you the Heads of what she told me, let you see
that I am not the only Woman whom his Artifices
have render’d miserable. The Sister of that
Lady who came to visit her that lodges here,
tho’ for a very different Reason, is as unhappy as
my self, and suffers as much in the not loving
him, as I do for loving him too well. She is,
it seems, one of the most agreeable Women in
Town, her Accomplishments are such as cannot fail K1r129
fail of attracting a great number of Admirers;
but among the rest, there was a young Man of
Quality, who profest the highest Esteem for her,
and she thought her self no less happy in his Addresses,
than he did in her Acceptance of them.
They long had lov’d each other with a most violent,
tho’ pure Affection, but either through
Disparity of Birth, or some other Reason, both
thought convenient to keep their Amour a Secret.
That Villain (for I shall henceforth call
him by no other Name) being an intimate
Friend of the Lovers, was the only trusted Person.
He convey’d Letters between them, and
through his means they had frequent Opportunities
of meeting. He continu’d faithful for some
time, but Miranda was it seems too charming, not
to be capable of making an Impression on any
Heart, much more on one so amorous as his; and
he is too Base not to make use of any means,
which might give him the gratification of his
Wishes, and too artful to be at a Loss to find
them: As by his Contrivance they had often
met, so by his Contrivance they were at last entirely
parted; both having a Confidence in his
Sincerity yielded an implicite Faith to what he
said, and he soon form’d a Stratagem to make
each appear to the other more worthy of Hate,
than Love; till, if they cou’d not entertain a
real Aversion, they feign’d at least to do so; and
keeping their Resentments still warm, by new Inventions,
prevented either from endeavouring an
Eclaircissement. The Lover, tho’ he imagin’d he
had bestow’d his Heart on a Person altogether
unworthy of the Present, was too truly touch’d
with the Passion he profess’d, to be able to Kwith- K1v130
withdraw it; and finding it impossible to continue
in the same Climate with her, without continuing
to adore her; and having too great a
Spirit to avow it, after what he suppos’d he knew
of her Ingratitude, resolv’d to put it out of his
Power to do any thing below the dignity of that
Reason, which all People ought to make use of in
an Affair of that kind, when they find themselves
ill treated, without a justifiable Cause, by
the Person who once has flatter’d them with a
show of Tenderness. In short, to the Amazement
of the whole Town, and the great Grief
of all his Friends and Acquaintance, (but he
whose Arts had occasion’d him to do it) he went
to travel; and the Lady, tho’ her very Soul went
with him, believing herself injur’d by his Ingratitude,
and the Insinuations of his faithless
Friend, scorn’d to make any tryal of her Power
to prevent him.
The belov’d Rival once remov’d, this common
Deceiver of them both――nay, of the whole
World, thought there was no Obstacle remaining
to his Wishes, and doubted not the influence
of his too often successful Charms. In a very
few Days he declar’d himself her Lover; and
made no scruple to let her know, he hop’d she
wou’d reward his Passion. But, this once, he
found his Designs frustrated; however she had
disguis’d it, she still retain’d too great a Tenderness
for her absent Lover, to entertain the
least Thought of putting any other in his Place;
and besides, was a Woman of too much Honour
and Discretion, not to look on all Attempts
made upon her Virtue with the utmost Contempt;
and that this was so, there was no roomto K2r131
to doubt, since she knew him to be married.
The Lady, who gave me this Account, told me,
that nothing cou’d be more enrag’d than she was
at the Declaration he made her; that she rejected
all his Offers, and forbad him ever to visit her any
more: But, as it is the Nature of that ingrateful
Sex still to pursue what flies them, he redoubled
his Efforts: deny’d the Liberty of speaking,
he writ to her in the most moving and
seeming sincere Strain that ever Heart dictated;
but after the receipt of the first Letter, the
known Character on the Superscription prevented
her from reading what the next contain’d,
and she immediately sent it back unopen’d. Yet
still, undaunted he went on, and to make her
sensible how capable he was to make even Contradictions
join, and by the Effects of his too
powerful Wit, dress the foulest Vice in all the
Beauties of the fairest Virtue, he sent long Epistles
to argue down her Honour, and to persuade
her to a Passion so sublime as his, to be cruel
only was a Crime. But whether it was owing to
her good Sense, or the Prepossession of another
Idea, which made her insensible of his (I must
say) unmatch’d Perfections, I know not; but as
excellent a Logician as he is, all his Sophistry
here prov’d Vain. And tho’ she cou’d not avoid
receiving some of his Letters, because he either
disguis’d his Hand, or got some other Person to
direct them, yet they had no other Effect on her,
than what was very different from his Expectations;
she hated him still more, shun’d him as a
Monster, and if, by chance, she saw him at any
publick Place, (as he took all Opportunities of being
where she was) her very Countenance discover’dK2cover’d K2v132
the secret Disdainings of her Soul; and
tho’ where-e’er she turn’d he follow’d her with
Eyes trembling with Tenderness! and all the
Languishments of despairing Love! (Looks, Heaven
knows, he is too well us’d to wear) a stern
Severity only shone in hers! And if, to avoid being
taken Notice of, she was oblig’d to answer the
Civilities he paid her, Scorn lighten’d in her Glances!
when-e’er she spoke, proud Indignation triumph’d
in her Accents! and haughty Detestation
sparkled in her Air! Such a Deportment,
had his Passion been of that kind, which is worthy
of the Name of Love, must have reduc’d
him to a Condition justly meriting Compassion;
but Love is a Flame too bright, too pure, to
blaze in a Heart so full of Fraud and vile Hypocrisy.
As Affairs were in this Posture between
them, there came an Account that the Ship in
which the poor, unfortunate, deluded Lover embark’d
was cast away, and all on Board it lost,
and at the very same time, his equally deceiv’d
Mistress receiv’d a Letter, which he had writ to
her from a Sea-port Town, where they happen’d
to put in. That unhappy Gentleman, tho’ he
had been made to believe her infinitely undeserving
of it, still retain’d the same Tenderness he
had ever profest, and had not the Power to forbear
letting her know it, tho’ he had the Power
to leave her: In this Testimony of his continu’d
Faith, there was some little Mixture of upbraidings,
which made her no Stranger to the Cause
of his Departure, and that it was not his
want of Love, and Truth, but the seeming
Reasons he had to doubt of her, which had
depriv’d her of her Lover. Had it been
possible to have recall’d him, with what a Transport K3r133
Transport must she have welcom’d such an Eclaircissement;
but, alas! he was now irrecoverably
lost. She found his Faith, his Constancy,
his Tenderness, but found at the same time she was
past the possibility of receiving any Benefit of
his Virtues; and if one rightly considers her
Condition, I know not if it were not less Misery
to have believ’d him false, than know him true,
and know him lost for ever. I will not go about
to make any Repetition of what I was told concerning
the Surprize, Despair and Rage, which
seiz’d the Heart of this unfortunate Lady, at so
unexpected a Catastrophe. ’Tis easy for you to
imagine she must be transported with an uncommon
Fury; but while she was venting the Anguish
of her Soul in Curses on the hated Author
of her Miseries, he was contriving means to
gratifie his Desires on her; and finding it in vain
to prosecute his lawless Suit, by those ways he
had began it in, he had the unbounded Impudence
to resolve on others, yet more impious!
and seek by Force, to obtain what, he was now
convinc’d, Entreaties wou’d for-ever fail to give
him. Opportunity was all he wanted to perpetrate
his Design, and none for a long time offering,
he grew desperate enough to despise all
Considerations; and knowing she very often
went to Evening-Prayers, he waited at the
Church Door with a Hackney-Coach, and was
about to seize and drag her violently into it. The
Action was so sudden, that tho’ there were many
People coming out at the same time, the Surprize
it gave ’em, wou’d have prevented her receiving
any Assistance, if two Gentlemen that were
passing by had not had presence enough of Mind K3to K3v134
to draw their Swords in her Defence, just as he
had so far compass’d his Intent, as to be getting
into the Coach himself, after having thrust her into
it. He want not Courage to engage with them
both; but a crowd of People immediately coming
about ’em, put a stop to any Mischief, either
to him or them. Had such a piece of Villany
been attempted by a meaner Man, he certainly
had been secur’d; but his Quality made every
body unwilling to create to themselves so powerful
an Enemy, and he had the Liberty of retreating,
venting ten thousand Curses on his ill
Fortune, and the Gentlemen who had frustrated
his Design; while Miranda, tho’ half dead with
the Fright, was safely conducted home by her Deliverers.
Such an Attempt on a Lady so much distinguished
as Miranda, and made by such a Person,
must certainly occasion a great deal of Discourse
in the World; and her Brother, who is a Colonel,
wou’d have been suspected to have but little
Regard to the Honour of his Family, if he
had not resented it in the manner he did. The
next Day he sent a Challenge to the intended
Ravisher; which being answer’d, as he expected
it wou’d, they met in that Field, behind Mountague-House,
so famous for Duels; but, in spite of
the Justness of his Cause, the Brother had the
worst of it; and the other, leaving him wounded,
and as he thought Dead, made his Escape;
nor durst appear in Town, till he heard, contrary
to every body’s Expectation, that his Antagonist
was out of Danger; and that Night which
shew’d him to me at the Play-house, was the first
of his being seen since the time he fought.”
Belinda K4r 135

Belinda had no sooner finish’d this little History,
than she observ’d an excessive Paleness in the
Face of the Recluse, and, before she cou’d have
time to ask if she were ill, saw her fall fainting
on the Couch: but there was no occasion to call
in any body to her Assistance, her Spirits were
not above a Moment absent; and at their return,
“Oh Madam!” said she, (looking on Belinda with
Eyes streaming with Tears) “how strangely has
Fortune brought together two Wretches, fit
only for the Society of each other! We are indeed
too nearly ally’d in our Misfortunes, and to one
fatal Source owe both our Woes! I might from
the very beginning of your Story imagin’d it
――might have known that such prodigious Charms,
and such prodigious Villany, were no where
blended but in my perfidious; but still dear Lysander!
――Your Courtal!――my Lysander, are the
same, and both are found only in the Person of
the too lovely, faithless, Bellamy.”
The Surprise
that Belinda was in at these Words, took from her
for some time the Power of answering, nor cou’d
she for a long while bring out any more than――
“Good God! it is possible?”――“Tho’ lost to all the
World,”
resum’d the Recluse, “and wholly regardless
of every thing that pass’d, this last
Action of the Inconstant Bellamy, in spite of me,
reach’d my Ear. And I suppose it was in the
time of his absconding that he went to Warwick,
and took on him that borrow’d name of Courtal,
to prevent his being apprehended, if any Account
of what he had done shou’d be brought down.”

“Yes,” said Belinda (now a little recover’d from
her Amazement) “that was certainly the Motive
which induc’d him both to take that Journey, K4and K4v136
and to disguise his true Quality. For by the Account
which the Lady gave me, I found it was
not many Days after the Accident, that we had
the ill Fortune to be overtaken by him on the
Road.”

These fair Companions in Affliction past some
time in bewailing their several Misfortunes, sometimes
exclaiming against the Vices, sometimes
praising the Beauties, of their common Betrayer;
till the Recluse, being desirous to know if there
was any thing more to be heard of her Lysander,
entreated Belinda to finish the remaining part of
her Story. “Alas, Madam!” reply’d that dejected
Lady, “I have nothing farther to relate, unless I
confess I am weak enough to retain still in my
Soul a secret Tenderness for this unworthy
Man; and that not the Knowledge of his unexampled
Perfidy and Inhumanity to you, his
base Design on Miranda, nor the Miseries he has
brought on my self, can bring me to consider him
as I ought. Tho’ I resolve never to see him
more, I neither can forget, nor remember him,
as a Woman govern’d by Reason wou’d do.”
“Has
he then not seen you since you came to Town?”

(interrupted the Recluse somewhat hastily.) “No,
on my Honour”
(answer’d the other) “he knows not
of my being here, nor I dare swear thinks my
Presence worth a Wish; but were I sure he did,
nay were I convinc’d, that, tho false to all my
Sex beside, to me he wou’d be true; nay did his
Life depend on my granting him one Interview,
I protest, by all that I adore, I never wou’d
consent. No, Madam,”
(continu’d she with the
most resolute Air) “I owe much more than such a
self-denial to the Memory of poor Worthly,―― to K5r137
to the Friendship I have already conceiv’d for
you,――and to the Justice of Revenging, as far as
is in my Power, the little Regard he has hitherto
paid our Sex.”
The Recluse seem’d perfectly
pleas’d with this Assurance, and omitted
nothing to strengthen her in this Resolution.

There grew so entire a Friendship between
these Ladies, that they were scarce a Moment
asunder. Belinda quitted her Chamber, being
desir’d by the Recluse to take part of her Bed.
Their common Misfortunes was a Theme not
to be exhausted, and they still found something
for which to condole each other. In this Melancholy
Entertainment did they pass some Days,
till Belinda receiv’d Letters from the Country,
which brought an Account that Worthly’s
Wounds having been search’d by an able Surgeon,
were found not Mortal; that his greatest
Danger had been loss of Blood; that he was now
perfectly recover’d, and with new Life, had entertain’d
new Wishes. Belinda’s Sister had exprest
so tender a Concern for his Misfortunes, and so
high an Esteem for his Virtues, that he found it
no Difficulty to transmit to her all the Affection
he had bore her Sister. The Wedding-day
was appointed, and soon after Belinda receiv’d an
Account, that it was solemnized, to the general
Satisfaction of all Friends on both sides, and the
lasting Happiness of the married Pair. Tho’ Belinda
was far from envying her Sister that good
Fortune, which she was incapable of possessing her
self, yet the Cause which render’d her so, made her
unwilling to behold it; and, in a short time,
both their Resolutions of abandoning the World
continuing, the Recluse and she took a House about K5v138
about seventy Miles distant from London, where
they still live in a perfect Tranquility, happy in
the real Friendship of each other, despising the uncertain
Pleasures, and free from all the Hurries and
Disquiets which attend the Gaieties of the Town.
And where a solitary Life is the effect of Choice,
it certainly yields more solid Comfort, than all
the publick Diversions which those who are the
greatest Pursuers of them can find.

Finis.

Small figure of a man seated on a canopied throne, facing the direction of the reader’s left. Two birds in flight occupy the left half of the image and are tethered by two lines held in the man’s extended right hand. The figure is in the rough shape of an inverted triangle with left and right borders composed of ornamented vegetation.
K6r