Life and Adventures
Of the Celebrated
The Lady of the Gold Watch.
An old Proverb.
Printed for T. Taylor, near the Corner of Friday-
Price One Shilling.
the Fortunate Transport, &c.
It’s a common Saying, that Hanging goes by Deſtiny, and that he that is born to be hang’d will never be drown’d; and ſo many odd Accidents generally concur, to fix the Fate of particular Perſons, whether good or bad, that no Wonder the Groſs of Mankind ſhould fall in with that prevailing Opinion, That Fate, Deſtiny, Stars, or Planets, over-rule all the Actions of the Sons of Men, in ſuch manner as to make Cauſes ſeemingly the moſt contradictory, ſerve to promote their deſtinated Happineſs or Miſery, in ſpight of all their boaſted Free-will, and moſt provident Foreſight.
We Chriſtians, it’s true, have pretty much exploded the old Doctrine of the Influence of the Stars and Planets, ſo much in vogue among the Heathen Philoſophers; and B our 4 B1v 4 our reformed Church is not willing to eſpouſe all the Abſurdities of Fate, Deſtiny, and Predeſtination; but we generally make uſe of Terms which imply all of them, ſuch as Fortunate and Unfortunate, Lucky and Unlucky; which Words (if they mean any thing) denote a Perſon happy or miſerable, by a Chain of Cauſes and Effects in no meaſure dependant on his Will or Prudence. Of this Claſs of Mortals we may reckon our fortunate Tranſport, who has arrived at the higheſt Pitch of Pomp, Grandeur, and human Felicity, by a Train of Events, which, according to all rational Probability, muſt have ended in the moſt deplorable Miſery; but ſhe was born under a lucky Planet, and muſt be great, rich, and happy, (here at leaſt) in ſpight of herſelf, only to add to the innumerable Inſtances of the wild Caprice of Fortune. She was begot by Chance, came into the World with Life in ſpight of her Mother, nurſed by Charity, brought up among Pickpockets, tranſported for Felony, and in ſpite of all that, now rolls in Eaſe, Splendor, and Luxury; and laughs at dull Moraliſts, who would perſuade Mankind that the Way to be happy is to be good; and the Way to be great, to be wiſe and prudent. Since ſhe is happy by being wicked, and great by giving way to Vice and Folly. But to proceed to Particulars:About 5 B2r 5
About Fifty Years ago, in the Month of June or July, a Gentleman happened to be walking towards Hampſtead, a-croſs the Fields, when paſſing by a Parcel of Hayricks, he eſpied a young Woman lying aſleep near the Foot of one of them; a Woman alone was a ſufficient Motive, to a Town- Rake, to draw a little nearer; but an agreeable Face, a genteel Dreſs, different from the taudry Appearance of the Hedge-walkers, and the inviting Attitude in which the Fair- one lay, would have tempted the moſt rigid Hermit to have ſtole a Look at the Terra Incognita, juſt peeping into View, from under a clean Holland Smock, the Whiteneſs of which was rival’d only by Her well-turn’d Limbs and due proportion’d Thighs,Which pleaſe by Degrees, and with new Beauties riſe.
He ſtole ſoftly round the Rick, and gaz’d for ſome Moments on the pleaſant Landskip; but leſt he might never have ſuch an Opportunity again, he reſolved to make a Draught on the Spot; and for that Purpoſe put himſelf in a proper Poſture, took out his Pencil, and was in the Middle of the principal Figure of the Piece before the Nymph awakened;ed; 6 B2v 6 ed; and then it was too late to prevent his proceeding in his Drawing. Having made the firſt rough Draught, he and the Lady entered into Converſation; and ſhe told him ſhe was Daughter to a Gentleman who had taken Lodgings at Hampſtead for the Benefit of the Air; that ſhe had ſtroll’d out that Morning by herſelf, and had fallen aſleep under the Shade of the Haycock, but did not fancy that ſo much Danger was nigh her: She ſaid, ſhe always had an Averſion to ſleeping in the Fields for fear of Snakes or venomous Creatures; but now found to her woeful Experience, that there were Creatures with Stings beſides thoſe in the Graſs; and hoped, as he had done her the Injury, he would at leaſt inform her of the Name of her Raviſher; for ſhe could ſcarce look upon him in any other Light.
All this ſhe ſpoke with an Air of Pleaſantry, rather than Spleen; ſo that the Gentleman, finding her in ſo good a Humour, was in no Diſpoſition to diſcover his real Name, but to put her off with a fictitious Story of that and his Quality; with which ſhe appeared ſatisfied; and told him, That he was in ſome meaſure beholden to herſelf for the eaſy Conqueſt he had made Be not ſurpriſed, ſaid ſhe, nor allow your Fancy to ſup- 7 B3r 7 ſuppoſe, that I only feigned a Sleep to give you that Opportunity; for I aſſure you I never ſlept ſo ſound in my Life. At all other Times the leaſt Noiſe wakens me, even when at Home and out of all Apprehenſions of Danger; but at that Juncture, tho’ my Senſes were aſleep, yet all my Faculties were employ’d in ſuch manner as to contribute to the Safety of your Approach; for I was then in the pleaſanteſt Dream I ever had, where, in Imagination, I knew more of your Sex than ever I did till this happy or unhappy Hour.
I fancied I was in the Iſland of Jamaica; by what Means I came there I know not; but I found myſelf the Miſtreſs of a very grand Houſe, Gardens, Parks, Plantations, and a prodigious Number of Slaves. I thought I was courted by all the young Gentlemen of the Country, and amongſt the reſt by the Deputy-Governor, a Gentleman who, tho’ not a Youth, yet had all the Airs and Humours of the gay World. I had, I thought, no Averſion to his Perſon, and a ſtrong Ambition to enjoy his Eſtate, which lay, as I imagined, contiguous to mine. He made love to me in the politeſt manner, and 8 B3v 8 and preſs’d my naming the happy Day of his Nuptials with great Ardour. I thought I conſented to be married on the next Day, and had prepared all my Equipage, and every thing elſe, for a grand Wedding. That we were married in a very grand Church, all illuminated with Wax-Lights, and a thouſand Decorations not commonly met with in European Churches. After the Wedding, methought we had a ſumptuous Entertainment, and were put to Bed in a kind of Alcove in the Garden. The Ground being ſpread with Roſes, and the Walls ſet round with Orange-Trees, Jeſſamine, and a Million of fragrant Flowers, and aromatick Shrubs. Methought I was undreſs’d, and my Bridegroom, I fancied, when he approached the Bed, look’d more charming than Adonis, and claſp’d me to his Arms with ſuch eager Warmth, that I awoke, not to be diſappointed in any thing but in this, that my Marriage is all a Dream, and my Deputy-Governor no more than a ―― You may judge, Sir, then, if I was not ſo well employed in my Sleep, that it was no wonder you ſurpriſed the Fort, ſince I was, in Imagination, raiſed to the higheſt Point of Expectation, and ready to yield it to an- 9 B4r 9 another, tho’ on different Terms, ſo that every previous Action of yours, inſtead of waking me, ſerved to ſtrengthen the Deluſion, till I was thoroughly undone. But, I think, Sir, I may venture to affirm, That I gave my Maidenhead to my Huſband, and did not yield till I was married.
It’s true, Madam, replied the Gentleman, but you married aſleep, and conſummated partly awake. Now I am for the waking Part of the Ceremony, and ſhall not grudge your Deputy-Governor his ſleeping Right to you; but would not have him encroach on my Province by any Means.
After paſſing about half an Hour in this kind of Chat, the Gentleman examined the rough Draught of his Landskip, and found it wanted ſome few Strokes to compleat the Picture; therefore, with the Lady’s Conſent, he run it over afreſh, till he had finiſhed it to the Satisfaction of both for the Time. He ſaw her part of the Way Home; appointed another Interview; took his leave, and never ſaw her more.The 10 B4v 10
The unhappy Fair retired to her Chamber as ſoon as ſhe got Home; where ſhe had Time to reflect upon the odd Circumſtances of this Adventure; the Conſequence of which, the Flurry of Spirits, her Dream, and the waking Scene, ſhe had been ſo cloſely engaged in, had not given her Time to think on. It now occurr’d to her that ſhe had loſt her Honour, to a Perſon of whom ſhe knew nothing at all about, whom ſhe might never afterwards ſee; and from whom ſhe could expect no Reparation. Shame and Remorſe took full Poſſeſſion of her Breaſt, and ſhe remained for ſome Weeks almoſt diſtracted, without any of her Family being able to gueſs at the real Cauſe of her Chagrin; and her Uneaſineſs was ſtill more encreaſed, as ſhe heard no Tidings of her Undoer. She durſt make no Perſon on Earth her Confidant in ſo nice an Affair; and found all her Endeavours to diſcover her Raviſher were in vain; for ſhe quickly learned that there was no ſuch Perſon in that Quarter of the Town where he ſaid he lived.
At laſt, finding herſelf with Child, ſhe gave herſelf to the blackeſt Deſpair, and could take no Comfort but in the Thought of 11 C1r 11 of procuring an Abortion; which ſhe reſolved, but was as much at Loſs how to come at the Means; ſhe was quite ignorant of any Noſtrum of her own to eaſe her of her Burthen, and reſolved rather to periſh than truſt her Secret to any of her own Sex.
She caſt about in her Mind how to break it to an Apothecary of her Acquaintance, but Shame debarred her. At laſt Chance threw one in her Way, on whom ſhe intended to practice ſome female Arts to induce him to fall in with her Meaſures. Viſiting one Day at the Houſe of her Acquaintance, the Apothecary, who was a married Man, and with whoſe Wife ſhe was intimate, a young Gentleman of the ſame Profeſſion happened to come in, and by his Behaviour expreſſed more than ordinary Satisfaction in Madam’s Company. She gave him ſome Encouragement, and an Intimacy ſoon enſued. His Intentions were honourable, but Miſs could not comply without her Father’s Conſent, which ſhe pretended it was impoſible to gain. aAnd, to do her Juſtice, ſhe had no Deſign to impoſe upon him; but threw herſelf in his Way ſo often, and gave him ſuch inviting Opportunities, that he was admitted to the laſt Favour without the Seal of Matrimony. This was the Point ſhe aimed at; C and 12 C1v 12 and in a convenient Time let the Apothecary know ſhe was certainly with Child by him, and deſired him by all Means to uſe his Endeavours to conceal her Diſgrace. The young Man propoſed to marry her, as the moſt rational Way of preventing Scandal; but this ſhe oppoſed; and he deſiſted from urging her; and, leaſt ſhe ſhould apply to another, gave her ſome Drugs, which he told her would have the Effect, but he knew himſelf would do her no Harm.
Finding they had not the deſired Succeſs, ſhe grew melancholy, and kept her Chamber, reſolving within herſelf to diſpatch the Innocent as ſoon as it came into the World; and for that Purpoſe concealed her big Belly by all the Arts ſhe could think of. She managed her Matters ſo, that none knew of her Misfortune but the young Apothecary, who fancied himſelf the Author of it, till ſome few Days before her Delivery, which happened by Accident.
Tho’ ſhe had no real Liking for the Apothecary, and only admitted him to her Embraces with a View to make him acceſſory to the Deſtruction of her Pregnacy, ſhe was obliged to continue the Familiarity when all Hopes of his Aſſiſtance were in vain, to oblige 13 C2r 13 oblige him to keep her Secret. And on this Account he was frequently admitted into her Chamber in the Night-time. She lay in a Back-Parlor which looked into the Fields, and was eaſily let in that Way when all the Family were in Bed. At one of theſe Interviews, her Mind was ſo oppreſs’d with the Thoughts of her approaching Danger and Diſgrace, (which the young Man had painted in ſuch very lively Colours, with the honeſt View of inducing her to conſent to marrying him, and by that Means ſilencing, in ſome meaſure, the Scandal of the Malicious,) that ſhe fell into Fits, which appeared ſo dangerous to him, that he was reſolved rather to expoſe himſelf to all the Rage of an incens’d Father, then neglect to call in the Aſſiſtance ſhe ſeemed to want. He briſkly rung a Bell which was in the Room, and which in a few Minutes alarmed the Houſe, and brought them all to the Chamber, where the Father came firſt, and found his Daughter naked upon the Bed, in the Arms of a Stranger, but in ſtrong convulſive Agonies.
It’s impoſſible to deſcribe his Surpriſe, or to determine whether Grief or Hope was predominant, but all together ſtruck him Speechleſs. The young Apothecary, with Tears running down his Face, addreſs’ddreſs’d 14 C2v 14 dreſs’d him in few Words, Sir, I partly gueſs at your Embarraſſment at my being here, but for God’s Sake, ſuſpend all Concern about that, at preſent, let your Daughter have the Aſſiſtance of the Women of the Houſe, and I promiſe to give you all the Satisfaction in my Power, about what may ſeem to afflict you moſt. By this Time the Women came in, and he yielded his Place to one of them, and with great Preſence of Mind, begg’d of the Father to retire to the next Room, as his Preſence, ſo unexpected, might endanger the Lady’s Life. The Father quite inſenſible of what he was about, allow’d himſelf to be led into the next Room; where after a few Moments recollection, he burſt out into the moſt violent Rage imaginable againſt the Apothecary, and aſk’d him a hundred Queſtions in a Breath, without giving him Time to anſwer one of them. He was allow’d to vent a little of that Paſſion without Interruption; but at laſt an Account being brought that Miſs was recover’d and put to Bed, the young Apothecary let the Father into the whole Affair, only concealing every Part of it that might reflect upon his Miſtreſs’s Conduct; he own’d he had ſeduced her, but had offer’d her Marriage, which ſhe always declin’d, and that it 15 C3r 15 it was preſſing that ſubject with ſuch Arguments as he thought of Weight, had (he believ’d) thrown her into that violent Agony. The Father, tho’ enrag’d at the Scandal, to which his Daughter was expos’d, yet could not help being charm’d with the virtuous Conſtancy of the young Gentleman, ſo uncommon with the Youth of the Age, and was no leſs ſurpriz’d at the Conduct of his Daughter in oppoſing a Step which was the only one could paliate her former Offence. He had the moſt tender Regard for her, and therefore would not, in her preſent Condition, endanger her Life, by expreſſing an ill-tim’d Reſentment, but after preparing her for the Viſit, went into her Chamber, and expoſtulated with her in the calmeſt Manner on the Abſurdity of her Conduct, adviſing her forthwith to marry the young Apothecary, but it was in vain to urge her to it; ſhe would not, neither would ſhe aſſign any Reaſon for her refuſal. Her Father picqu’d at her Conduct, left the Room, and never ſaw her more till he was ſent for to her, ſome Moments before ſhe expired.
This Diſcovery of her Pregnancy prevented the intended Murder of the Infant, which its plain ſhe intended by her making no 16 C3v 16 no Preparations for ſuch an Occaſion, tho’ ſo near at Hand. However, now all Things are got ready with as much Secrecy as poſſible, and in about eight Days after ſhe was brought to Bed of a Daughter, no other than our Fortunate Tranſport, and the ſubject of the following Sheets, but in a few Hours thereafter finding herſelf upon the verge of Life, ſhe begg’d her Father might ſee her before ſhe died. He came, and the Company being withdrawn, ſhe told him the whole Story of her Misfortune without ſo much as concealing the cruelty of her Intentions, but thank’d God ſhe had been prevented, and referred him to a Paper in her Eſcrutore for ſuch Particulars as ſhe could not then dwell on: She told him, that ſhe could now eaſily Account for her Behaviour to the Apothecary, ſince ſhe had commenced an Intrigue only with a View to procure an Abortion under the greater Secrecy, had really no liking to his Perſon, being too much prepoſſeſs’d in favour of her firſt Undoer, and then thought it would have been an Act of great Injuſtice to impoſe upon an honeſt Man in ſo tender a Point, and eſpecially as her Delivery would unravel the Cheat, and render her and his Life for ever afterwards unhappy. She begg’d of her Father to forgive her, and that he would permit 17 C4r 17 permit her to leave her Jewels and a ſmall Sum of Money ſhe had by her Aunt to the Apothecary as a Teſtimony of her Eſteem, and a Reward for his ill-placed Conſtancy. The Father approved that Part of her Conduct, gave her his Bleſſing, and ſhe expired in his Arms, deſiring him with her laſt Breath to diſpoſe of the Infant in ſuch manner as her Birth might not reflect on his Family, or propagate the Scandal of her Memory.
The Father had the Child baptiz’d privately by the Name of Mary; and, as privately, turn’d her over to the Pariſh, with ten Pounds, which is the common Price given for ſuch ſort of Children, and by the Church-Wardens ſhe was ſent to one of the Pariſh Nurſes.
It was given out among the deceaſed’s Relations, that ſhe died of a High Fever, and the real Cauſe and Circumſtance conceal’d as much as poſſible, but when ſo many Servants were Privy, it was impoſſible but it ſhould at laſt perſpire, as it did pretty publickly ſome Years after, but on Account of her Family I have avoided, giving the moſt diſtant Hint that might point them out, or caſt the ſmalleſt Reflection on the worthy Lady.The 18 C4v 18
The Father ſoon died of Grief for the Loſs of his Daughter, and never could think with any Patience on the Infant, ſo that ſhe continued to take her Chance with the reſt of the Pariſh Children till about eight or nine Years old, when another lucky Accident removed her from that Scene of Miſery, and gave her ſome Proſpect of at leaſt a comfortable Settlement in the World, if her own Folly had permitted her to attain it by honeſt and rational Means.―― It happened in this Manner.
The Charity-Children of that Pariſh which was that of St. Martin’s in the Fields, happened to go their annual Proceſſion; an old Widow-Gentlewoman paſſing along, pleaſed with the Appearance they made, followed them into the Church, and fixed her Eyes in a particular manner upon Polly Haycock, (for that was the Name ſhe went by, alluding to the Story of her being begot under a Hay-cock) who, notwithſtanding her Education, had ſomething in Perſon and Look differing from the other Children with whom ſhe was claſs’d: She had a delicate Complection, fine Eyes, and all the Appearance of a fine Shape; and ſomething in her Mien peculiarly engaging, at leaſt the old Gentlewoman fancied that, and a great deal more; for 19 D1r 19 for ſhe imagined ſhe could diſcover the Features of a once dearly beloved Son in this young Mendicant: She was ſo much taken with the Reſemblance, that ſhe never loſt Sight of Polly till ſhe went to the Officers of the Pariſh, and deſired to eaſe them of that Burden. It was no difficult Matter to perſuade thoſe Gentlemen to comply with the old Lady’s charitable Inclination; and that very Night ſhe carried Polly home with her, having firſt taken all the Information ſhe could from the Pariſh-Officers and Nurſes, about the Means of finding out the Parents of her new Charge.
It was ſome time before ſhe could learn any thing; but at laſt the Mother was traced: But ſhe was ſtill in the dark as to her Father. However, Women have ſtrong Curioſity, and are indefatigable in gratifying that Foible; and by the Help of ſome Hints from the Servants who had lived in the Family when Polly was born, ſhe was directed to the ſo often mentioned Apothecary; and from him ſhe learn’d the whole Secret of Polly’s Birth; and by a Picture in the Top of a Snuff-box, found amongſt the Things left him by the unhappy Mother, the old Lady found out that her Son, whoſe Reſemblance ſhe found Polly had, was the real D Father; 20 D1v 20 Father; for I ſhould have mention’d before, that, at parting, he had made her a Preſent of a Tortoiſeſhell Snuff-box ſet in Gold, and his Picture in the Lid of it.
This Diſcovery pleaſed the old Gentlewoman, and obliged her to tranſfer all the Fondneſs ſhe had for the Father to his newly diſcover’d Offspring; for he himſelf died ſome Months before ſhe was born. In a few Days after the Interview of the Haycock, he fell ill of a malignant Fever, and died in leſs than a Month; which was probably the Cauſe the unhappy Lady had not heard of him, as ſhe expected.
Thus Polly, tho’ not publickly own’d, for the old Widow’s Grandchild, yet was treated with all the Fondneſs that could be expected from ſuch a Relation. She was ſent to a Boarding-ſchool, and every Part of Education given her ſuitable to a young Lady of midling Fortune. She was apt enough to learn what ſhe was taught, but withal betray’d an unlucky Diſpoſition, ill correſponding with her natural Talents, or the Rank of Life into which ſhe was raiſed. The little low Tricks of a Pariſh Girl were ever predominant, and no Admonition or Correction could wean her from them: Their 21 D2r 21 Their looſe Manner of Speech, their romping rude Behaviour, but eſpecially their filching Talents, had taken ſo deep Root in her, that nothing ſhe could lay her Hands on but ſtuck to her Fingers, tho’ of no manner of Uſe to her. For the firſt Year or two, her thieving Spirit was confined to the Childrens Toys, and Play-things; but as ſhe grew up, ſhe made free with Things of greater Value; for which ſeveral Servants belonging to the Boarding-School were turned away, and loſt their Reputation and Wages, tho’ innocent; for nobody could ſuſpect Miſs Polly. However, ſhe was diſcovered at laſt. She had been now about Three Years in the Boarding-School, and might be about Twelve Years old, and tall of her Age. There was another Miſs, the Daughter of a Perſon of Quality, in the ſame School, and much about her Age, who wore a Gold Watch and Equipage. Miſs Polly, who had as much Vanity as any one, grudged prodigiouſly that the young Lady ſhould have a Watch, and ſhe none: She had teazed her Grandmother for one, who was not quite ſuch a Fool as to be at the Expence; but Miſs was reſolved to have one at any Rate: So ſhe found Means to ſteal the Watch from t’ other Miſs, and hid it in her Box. The Watch was ſoon miſſed, and all the Houſe in an Uproar: D2 The 22 D2v 22 The Servants were all ſecured and examin’d before a Magiſtrate, but none could be perſuaded to own the Theft, nor could it be well fixed on any Particular, though the Strength of the Suſpicion lay upon the Chambermaid, as ſhe was laſt in the Room, from whence the Watch was taken: The Girl, who knew her own Innocence, complain’d that her Reputation ſhould be called in Queſtion, and ſaid ſhe was ſure ſome of the Boarders muſt have got it, ſince there was daily ſomething loſt, and many Servants turned away without any Proof of their Diſhoneſty, and bluntly propoſed that every Box and Trunk, &c. in the Houſe might be ſearched. The Motion was too reaſonable to be denied; accordingly the Miſtreſs of the School fell to Work; all the Miſſes gave up their Keys and Boxes freely; but Polly lagg’d behind, and ſhowed great Reluctancy to have her Box ſearch’d; but ſearch’d it was, and in it found the Gold Watch, with innumerable other Things, for which the Servants had been unjuſtly ſuſpected. The Widow was ſent for, and made acquainted with the Affair, and Miſs threatened to be carried before a Magiſtrate; but by a little Money, well apply’d, the Miſtreſs of the Boarding-School was appeaſed, and Miſs carried Home to the Widow’sdow’s 23 D3r 23 dow’s Houſe, who now began to repent of the Fondneſs ſhe had indulged for her, ſince ſhe began ſo early to betray Habits of ſo ſcandalous a Nature, and concluded that ſhe never would have any Credit of her, let her raiſe her to what Height of Grandeur ſhe could. She concluded it therefore beſt, to bind her ’Prentice to ſome Buſineſs, which might employ her Mind, and take it off from any idle Habit ſhe had contracted. She choſe for her that of a Milliner, and bound her to one of her Acquaintance, a Woman in Years, of good Buſineſs, and unblemiſhed Reputation; and promis’d Miſs, now turned of Thirteen, that if ſhe behaved well ſhe would ſet her up in a handſome Manner when out of her Time; and mean while to allow her every thing ſhe could want during her Apprenticeſhip.
For the firſt Three or Four Months ſhe behaved tolerably well, and her good Benefactreſs began to entertain ſome Hopes that ſhe might yet prove a Comfort to her old Age; but the good Woman did not live to ſee what followed, for a Fit of Sickneſs ſeizing her ſhe died, and left Miſs Five Hundred Pounds, to be paid when out of her Time; but to be forfeited in caſe ſhe broke her Indentures.The 24 D3v 24
The Reſtraint which the old Widow kept upon her being removed by her Death, Polly began to neglect her Buſineſs, idle her Time, and in a few Months was detected in making free with ſome of her Miſtreſs’s fine Laces. The firſt Fault was ſmothered, but for the ſecond ſhe was carried before a Magiſtrate, and would have been committed to Bridewell, but that the good-natured Apothecary, her Mother’s Acquaintance prevailed with her Miſtreſs to pardon her for that Time, and became bound for her Honeſty for the future.
She was now turned of Fourteen, and began to feel a Warmth in her Blood, which ſhe had hitherto been a Stranger to. She was tall of her Age, and fancied herſelf every way a Woman, at leaſt fit to be made one. As ſhe was known to have Five Hundred Pounds, ſome young Fellows in the Neighbourhood took it into their Heads to make Love to her. Among the reſt, a young Barber that lived in a Shop oppoſite, and ſhaved a Gentleman who lodged in the Milliner’s Houſe, declared himſelf her humble Servant. Miſs was mightily pleaſed with the Overture of Love, and gave him all the Encouragement he could expect; and in the End 25 D4r 25 End ſhe was perſuaded to rob her Miſtreſs a third Time, and to go off with her Spark. They were ſoon diſcover’d and part of the Goods found about them. The Apothecary was ſent for, who tho’ chagrined to find that ſhe had ruined herſelf, by running from her Indenture, and ſo forfeiting the Five Hundred Pounds ſhe was to have by the Widow her Benefactreſs; yet he had ſo much Compaſſion on her as not to ſuffer her to be proſecuted; but prevailed on the Executors to make good the Damage, and promiſe her a ſmall Allowance to help to ſupport her. Her Miſtreſs would by no Means take her again, nor could it be urged conſiſtent with Modeſty; and the young Fellow made his Eſcape as ſoon as he got out of the Conſtable’s Hands, not caring to be burthened with her, ſince her Proſpect of the Five Hundred Pounds was gone, that being the only Bait which induced him to have any thing to ſay to her.
Thus ſhe was thrown upon the wide World, with a loſt Reputation, very little Prudence, and few Principles of Honeſty. She lived ſome Time in Lodgings, and at laſt picked up Acquaintance with one of thoſe She-Devils called Bawds, with whom ſhe went to live, and commenced Whore. Her Youth and 26 D4v 26 and her Perſon, which were really agreeable, procured her Abundance of Employment that Way; but Madam the Procureſs, and her Crew, reaped all the Profit; for Miſs had not Senſe enough to value Money ſo much as to be ſaving of it, but ſpent it in all the Riot and Exceſs peculiar to thoſe Kind of Houſes.
One Seaſon, and an ugly Diſtemper, the Attendant of ſuch a Courſe of Life, took away from the Novelty of her Face, loſt her her Cuſtomers, and conſequently her Place in that virtuous Family. She was now obliged to walk the Streets, and frequent the loweſt Houſes of looſe Reſort, where ſhe got acquainted with all the Pickpockets and Sharpers about Town, and ſoon became a Proficient in that Calling, as that ſeemed to be her natural Talent.
She got in with a Gang of them of about a Dozen, Men and Women, who kept their Rendezvous at the Sign of the Horſeſhoe-and-Magpye, then a noted Night-Houſe in one of the Lanes going out of Drury- Lane, and was for her Standing the moſt expert of any in the Society, and contributed moſt to the common Stock, for ſhe ſometimes dreſſed in Boys Cloaths, and frequentedquented 27 E1r 27 quented the Play-Houſe Paſſages, and pick’d Pockets in Abundance; and in her own proper Shape endeavoured to allure as many as ſhe could into her Haunts, and never left them till ſhe had robb’d them of ſomething or other.
She went on with Impunity for about a Twelvemonth, but the Devil left her at laſt: Taking her Rounds one Night from Temple-Bar to Charing-Croſs, ſhe met in her Way a young Silverſmith, pretty much in Liquor. She attack’d him with the uſual Compliment, How do you do, my Precious? Will you give me a Pint of Wine this cold Night? The Citizen, tho’ no Novice in the Follies of the Town, yet was prevailed on to treat Polly with a Glaſs. He was for going to a Tavern, but Miſs wheedled him into a Houſe of her own chooſing, which he could not afterwards find out, where they drunk a Bottle of Wine, and finiſhed ſome other Matters, which gave Polly an Opportunity to pick his Pocket of his Watch.
The Citizen went off without miſſing it; and when he did, his Brain was ſo addled that he could not recollect the Houſe where he had loſt it, and without that had no Hopes of finding out the deluding Thief; E ſo 28 E1v 28 ſo that he ſat himſelf down contented with his Loſs. The Watch had to it a Cornelian Seal ſet in Gold, which Miſs Polly took into her Head to defraud her Aſſociates of; ſhe took it off from the Chain, and only brought the Watch into the common Stock. She concealed it for ſome Time, and at laſt wanting Money for ſome neceſſary Occaſions of her own, ſhe ventures to offer it to Sale. Had ſhe acquainted any of her old Companions with it, they would have found Ways and Means to diſpoſe of it without the Risk of a Diſcovery; but as they would claim a Share, ſhe would not mention it; but offered it to a Silverſmith in Cheapſide; it was a Servant ſhe ſpoke to, who immediately knew his Maſter’s Seal, for it happened to be the Owner’s Shop ſhe called at. The young Man deſired her very civilly to walk in, and he would ſhew it his Maſter. She was no ſooner got within the Door than poor Miſs was ſecured, and the Maſter called, who immediately knew his own Seal, and fancied he knew the Face of the Perſon who robb’d him of it: However, he immediately had her before a Magiſtrate, ſwore to his Property, and the Means of his looſing it. Miſs confeſs’d all, and was committed to Newgate, and the next Seſſions was 29 E2r 29 was tried at the Old-Bailey, and caſt for Tranſportation.
During the Interval between her Sentence and her being ſhip’d off, which happened to be ſome Months, ſhe proved with Child by one of the Under-Turnkeys, who had contrived a Method for her Eſcape, but was diſcovered in the Execution; and he was turned out of his Place; and poor Polly was obliged, with about Fifty others, Men and Women, to ſet out from Newgate in the ordinary Manner, and was put on board a Lighter, and from thence on board a Tranſport-Ship bound for Virginia, call’d The M-ry G-ll-y, J--n M-ſt-n Commander. As ſhe was with Child, and ſomewhat ſickly on the Voyage, the Captain, out of regard to her Sex and Youth, treated her with more Tenderneſs than is commonly ſhewn to Creatures in theſe Circumſtances, but nothing particular happened in the Paſſage. They made the Capes of Virginia in about Six Weeks, and landed in JamesTown in about Two Months after their leaving England. The Captain diſpoſed of all his Slaves, except Polly, in a ſhort Time; but ſhe ſtuck upon his Hands, as ſhe ſeem’d but ſickly, and of a Make not cut out for hard Labour; and her preſent Condition E2 with 30 E2v 30 with the Fatigues of her Voyage and Impriſonment, had made ſuch an Impreſſion on her, that there was nothing engaging in her to tempt the Planters to purchaſe her for a Miſtreſs, as they ſometimes do. But at laſt an old Gentlewoman who had ſeen her Work, and handle her Needle with uncommon Dexterity, took a Liking to her, and purchaſed her of the Captain for a Trifle.
She was carried Home to the Plantation, and employed about the old Lady’s Perſon, and to look after the Linen of the Family. She behaved pretty decently till ſhe was delivered, which happened to be of a fine Boy, whom her Miſtreſs made her nurſe; and afterwards took Care of, and ſettled him in a ſmall Plantation, on which he now lives in a very proſperous Manner, though his Mother has never once thought of owning him, or giving him the leaſt Aſſiſtance out of the great Affluence of which ſhe has been, and is ſtill poſſeſſed.
After her Son was weaned, Polly recruited her Charms, and appeared a more than ordinary Beauty in that Country, where Women of any Sort are tolerably ſcarce, and was more ſenſible of that Advantage than ever ſhe 31 E3r 31 ſhe was in her Life, and laid a Plot whereby She might turn it to her Advantage.
Her Miſtreſs had a Grandſon juſt turn’d of Eighteen, Heir to a conſiderable Eſtate, and of no very promiſing Genius; at leaſt his Underſtanding was by no Means fit to cope with one who had ſeen ſo much of the World as Polly had, though their Years were not much different: And on this and the Force of her uncommon Charms, ſhe built the Foundation of her Hopes of wheedling him into Marriage.
As they lived in the ſame Houſe it was no difficult Matter to have Opportunities, and Polly took Care to improve them as much as poſſible, by ſome times appearing gay, at other Times giving Encouragement by innocent Freedoms, by which ſhe at laſt got the young Booby to nibble at the Bait; which ſhe played with ſo artfully, that ſhe had very nigh hook’d him; but the prying old Woman, who in her younger Years underſtood Trap as well as another, ſmelt a Rat, and ſpoiled this hopeful Project when juſt ready for Execution.
The young Planter was ſent over to England out of Harms Way; and Polly was 32 E3v 32 was turned over for the Remainder of her Time to a Planter, who employed her as a Cookmaid, a Place ſhe was by no Means cut out for: But ſhe muſt ſubmit, and do the beſt ſhe could, though ſhe was frequently obliged to undergo the Diſcipline pretty ſeverely for Faults ſhe committed, not wilfully, but purely out of Ignorance in the Branch her Tyrant employed her in. She tried all her female Arts to inflame her Maſter; but old Birds are not to be caught with Chaff: He was a meer Planter, conſequently, cruel, haughty, and mercenary, without any ſoft Sentiment of Humanity in his Breaſt; and his Years had laid the Fever in his Blood ſo much that he had no Thoughts but how to work the Value of his Money out of the Slaves, and make the moſt of them, without regard to their Happineſs or Miſery. In a Word, like moſt of the Tribe of Planters, he had no Appetite but for Money; nor Pleaſure in any Paſtime but torturing the unhappy Wretches in his Power.
It was here poor Polly had the firſt Remorſe for her paſt Folly, and the fatal Conduct which had put her in the Power of ſuch a Brute; for not a Day paſt but ſhe was railed at, with all the Curſes and Imprecationsprecations 33 E4r 33 precations that Hell could invent; and almoſt once in Two or Three Days was ſtript naked, tied to a Tree, and whipt till her Back was all over in a Gore of Blood. For her to attempt an eſcape was in vain, the Laws of the Country are ſo ſtrict againſt harbouring of runagade Servants; and as ſhe was a Woman, ſhe had ſtill leſs Opportunity of ſucceeding in ſuch an Attempt, without the Aſſiſtance of the Neighbours: But after ſhe had undergone this helliſh Life for near two Years, as in every other Circumſtance of her Story, her very Miſfortune contributed to her Relief.
It happen’d one Day that Polly had over or under roaſted a Turkey that was for her Tyrant’s Dinner, for which high Crime and Miſdemeanor, Mrs. Cook was call’d up, ſtripp’d naked and tied up to a Poſt in the Court-Yard, and whipp’d during all the Time of Dinner, the Monſter boaſting that no Monarch upon Earth had ſo fine Muſick as he fancied her Cries. In the Interim a neighbouring Juſtice of the Peace alighted at the Gate. He was a Man about ſixty, but a healthy vigorous Conſtitution, and perhaps as much of the Man about him at ſome Times, as when he was forty; he was poſſeſs’d of a great deal of Humanity, and 34 E4v 34 and really had as little of the Planter in him as it is poſſible for any Man to have who had lived forty Years in that Country. The Sight of a fine Woman in that diſmal Figure, with an old Negro labouring her with an unmerciful Cat-and-nine-Tails, rais’d in the Juſtice all the Sentiments of Humanity, that good Nature could ſuggeſt on ſuch an Occaſion, he ſtepp’d haſtily up to the Slave, and ſnatch’d the Cat-and- nine-Tails out of his Hand and bid him untie the Woman, for which ſhe return’d him a thouſand Bleſſings on her Knees, and as many Imprecations on her Maſter. The Juſtice chid his Neighbour for uſing a white Servant in that cruel Manner, upon any Provocation. But when he underſtood her Crime, he told him, it was Pity but the Law provided againſt ſuch unnatural Cruelty, and ſaid he would not fail to repreſent it to the Governor and Council. The Planter knew he had all the Aſſembly of his Side, and did not mind the Juſtice much, but rally’d him for his Compaſſion, and told him he had a great Mind to make him a Preſent of that Bitch, for ſhe was good for nothing to him; but he might make ſomething of her, and would perhaps give her Strokes ſhe might like better than any he had afforded her 35 F1r 35 her in his Service. The Juſtice took him at his Word, had her made over to him for the remaining Part of her Time, and carried her Home with him that Night.
The Juſtice was a Widower had no Charge of Children, but ſuch as were already provided, and lived in a genteel and elegant Manner. At firſt Polly was made Houſekeeper, an Office ſhe could better perform than that of Cook, tho’ even of that ſhe had been whipt into a tolerable Notion; but after ſome Time, when good Uſage and good Living had recover’d her former Looks, the old Juſtice became ſo enamour’d with her, that he made her Partaker of his Bed; and behaved to her in every reſpect as his Wife, excepting the Punctilio of Precedency amongſt his Female Relations; who behaved to her very civily, for there a kept Miſtreſs is no ſuch ſcandalous Matter, as to give Umbrage to the married Part of the Sex.
Polly might have been happy here after all her Follies and Miſfortunes could ſhe have moderated her Ambition, or been guided by the Common Rules of Prudence, for the Juſtice told her, he would when her Time was out ſettle an Annuity on her for F Life, 36 F1v 36 Life, in caſe of his Death, and maintain her while he liv’d in the ſame eaſe and affluence ſhe now enjoy’d. She appear’d ſatisfied with this, but ſtill had it in her Head to wheedle him into a Marriage and a Settlement of his Eſtate upon the Children of the Marriage, which ſhe was reſolved in that Caſe ſhould not be wanting; but the old Gentleman was not ſo much in Love as that came to; all her Arts could not prevail, for which Reaſon, ſhe conceived a mortal Antipathy againſt him; which ſhe only ſmothered till the long wiſh’d for Expiration of her ſeven Years. It at laſt came, and the Juſtice preſented her the next Morning with a Certificate of her Service, executed in due form, and a Purſe of a hundred Guineas, which he ſaid he would renew on the Anniverſary of that Day as long as he lived.
This good Nature and Generoſity had no Effect upon Polly; ſhe was a Stranger to Gratitude, or to any virtuous Principle bordering upon it; if poſſible ſhe rather hated her Benefactor the more ſhe was indebted to his Bounty. She had for ten Months paſt deſign’d an Intrigue with the Maſter of a Sloop which traded between that Colony and Jamaica, and only kept Meaſures 37 F2r 37 Meaſures with the Juſtice to have an Opportunity of robbing him to enrich her Gallant.
After ſhe had got all out of him ſhe could by weedling, ſhe prepared for robbing him of as much more, and ſetting out with her ſaid Captain for Jamaica. In order to carry on this Deſign, ſhe made one Betty Mathews, a Wench much in her own Circumſtance, and who was like her, juſt free, privy to her Intention: This Mathews was Cook-Maid to the Juſtice, and had likewiſe her Paramour, a freed Fellon in the ſame Service. The Sloop lay at James-Town, about forty Miles from the Plantation they were at, which was the only Difficulty they had to encounter. As they intended to carry off a conſiderable Booty, they were afraid of being purſued, for had they gone off themſelves, no body could have hindered it. They had ſerved their Indentures out and procured each their Diſcharge; but Mrs. Cook’s Paramour undertook to lead them Bye-ways through the Woods till they got to the River. The Captain was acquainted with their Deſigns, and prepared with Signals to receive them. Accordingly on the Night prefix’d, which they choſe to be when the Juſtice was at the QuarterSeſſionsF2 Seſſions 38 F2v 38 Seſſions for the County, to lie out all Night. Polly pack’d up all the Plate, Linnen and other Things of Value ſhe could lay her Hands on, and broke open a ſtrong Box, where ſhe found about a hundred and fifty Guineas, which ſhe ſecreted for her own Uſe, and away they all three ſet out in the dead of Night: The Bye-way, they were obliged to take, and lying ſtill all Day, made their Journey longer than it might have been. However, the third Night after ſetting out, they arrived without any Diſaſter at the Place they had appointed the Sloop to meet them, made the proper Signals, and got ſafe on Board with all their ill-got Booty. The whole was equally divided, but the Captain purchaſed Mathew’s and her Sweetheart’s Part, with a trifle of ready Money, with which they were better contented. They ſet Sail with a fair Wind, and made Port-Royal in Jamaica in a reaſonable Time after. Polly was cunning enough to conceal all her ready Money from her Captain, which might amount to about three hundred Pounds, and this I think is the firſt prudent Step I find of her Conduct. They had not been long in Jamaica, when the Captain fell ill of the Diſeaſe of the Country, which carried him off in three Days. However, ſhe plaid her Cards 39 F3r 39 Cards ſo well in that ſhort Time, that ſhe prevailed on him to make his Will, by which he left her all he had, under the Name of his Wife, tho’ the Church had no Hand in the Match. However, this gave her ſome Character in the Iſland, ſhe paſs’d for Captain W-t-n’s Widow, and was ſuppoſed pretty well to paſs in the World. The Sloop he was in was entirely his own, he had Share in ſome other in the London Trade, and a ſmall Plantation upon Black River.
After the Funeral was over, ſhe and her Maid Betty Mathews ſet out for their Plantation, for Mathews had quitted her Paramour on ſome diſguſt, (who had gone to the Spaniſh Main a Buccaneering, from whence he has never been heard of) and now paſs’d for Widow W-t-n’s Maid.
The Plantation was but ſmall, and much out of Repair, but the Widow as I muſt now call her, built a new Houſe upon it, and purchaſed an adjacent Plantation, which made a pretty ſnugg Concern. She employ’d the old Servants to overlook her Slaves, and for a Year or two, behaved with great Decency, and gain’d the Eſteem of the Neigh- 40 F3v 40 Neighbouring Planters, from many of whom ſhe received Overtures of Marriage, but ſhe ſet a high Price upon herſelf, and was reſolved not to ſtoop to any Thing below thoſe of the firſt Rank in the Iſland, tho’ her Eſtate could give her no ſuch Pretenſions; yet the Notion ſhe had of her Perſon and Beauty, which was by no Means contemptible, made her hope for great Things. At laſt a Suitor appear’d equal to her Ambition. One Mr. F―― happening to have a ſmall Concern in that Part of the Iſland, and not many Miles diſtant from her, came down to look after it, and out of good Manners made a viſit to his Neighbour, who received him politely, and in a few Hours made an uncommon Progreſs in his Affections.
The firſt Viſit produced no Declaration, but the ſecond did, and the third concluded the Match. A Day was fix’d for the Nuptials, which were celebrated with great Splendor, and by Chance, the Marriage was conſummated in a Summer Houſe in the Garden, differing very little from the Alcove mentioned in her Mothers Dream at the critical Minute of her Conception; and her Huſband was in effect Deputy-Governor, for he was the firſt 41 F4r 41 firſt in Council, and officiated as Deputy in the Abſence of the Governor.
She removed in a few Weeks from her own Plantation to Mr. F――’s Houſe, who was poſſeſs’d of an Immenſe Eſtate, in well ſtock’d Plantations, and ready Money, which he annually placed in the Engliſh Funds, in order to purchaſe an Eſtate in his native Country, which he did in a few Years after, to the amount of five thouſand Pounds per Annum, which his eldeſt Son, a Gentleman of unblemiſh’d Reputation, enjoys at Preſent.
He lived after this Marriage but ſeven or eight Years, and left his eldeſt Son the Eſtate I have now mentioned, his ſecond Son three Thouſand a Year Jamaica Currency in Plantations in that Iſland, and his third Son about half as much, which Son was lately over here, and carried back with him one of the Ladies of the Town he had pick’d up in a Bagnio, and is ſince married to her. Mr. F―― left likewiſe either two or three Daughters, to whom he gave Fortunes ſuitable to his great Eſtate, and to his Widow he left three Thouſand a Year Jamaica Currency, to be paid in equal Proportions by the three Sons.She 42 F4v 42
She was now the greateſt Fortune, as well as the Lady of the firſt Rank in the Iſland; and ſcarce lived out her Year of Widowhood before ſhe was attack’d by Courtiers in Shoals; however, ſhe continued unmarried till her Sons were of age, and had got Poſſeſſion of their Eſtates, that they might not ſuffer by the Management of any After-choice. Then ſhe received the Addreſſes of Mr. B――, an elderly Man of good Character, and without Children. Tho’ his Fortune was not altogether equal to hers, yet, as he had no Charge, ſhe thought it more for the Intereſt of her Children that ſhe ſhould make this Match, than any other; which turn’d out accordingly: for they lived together ſome Years in great Peace and Satisfaction, and ſhe had the good Fortune to bury Mr. B――, by whom ſhe was left the Bulk of his Eſtate, which, with a vaſt Sum ſhe has ſaved, ſhe intends to divide among her Children; and has, ſome Years ſince, come over to England, with her Daughters, where ſhe lives in great Splendeur and Affluence; but unhappily for her, ſhe has brought Home with her too much of the Spirit of the Planter; that is, a Diſpoſition to uſe her Servants with great Severity, and ſcarce any Share of Humanity, tho’ ſhe felt the Miſery 43 G1r 43 Miſery of that inhumane Temper in her Servitude with the Virginian Savage, yet ſhe was by no Means famed for her Lenity to her own Slaves in Jamaica; and I am told now that ſhe is in England, ſhe has the ſame Opinion of thoſe who ſerve her as ſhe had of ſuch as ſhe employ’d amongſt us, and as far as the Law will permit, uſes them with the ſame Harſhneſs; by which Means none will ſtay with her but ſuch as can have neither Place nor Character any where elſe, and in ſome meaſure this embitters the Sweets of her preſent Grandeur. In this ſhe is not particular, for I have heard all Creolians complain of their Engliſh Servants with great Warmth, as if there were no ſuch Thing as good or honeſt Servants in the Iſland of Britain. But the Truth of the Matter is, they treat free-born Engliſhmen as they do Negroes and Felons in the Plantations, and expect the ſame Submiſſion from the one as the other; but they are miſtaken. An honeſt Servant will not put up with ſuch Uſage here, but a Knave will; and if they expect ſuch Treatment to be borne with, they muſt look for them amongſt that Claſs of People, and if they are ill ſerved, or find their Servants cheat them, they are to blame themſelves for their Choice and Conduct; for I G believe 44 G1v 44 believe if we behave with Candour and Humanity towards our Servants, which we are bound to do as Men and Chriſtians, we may expect as good, honeſt and faithful Servants in England, as in any Place on the Face of the Earth.