The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality thumbnail

The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality

“Startled at the proposal, this careful parent demonstrated the fatal consequence of such an unguarded step, reminded me of the difficulty with which he had prevailed upon my mother and uncle to forgive my former imprudence, observed that his intention was to carry me into the country next day, in order to effect a perfect reconciliation; but now I was on the brink of forfeiting all pretensions to their regard, by committing another fatal error, which could not possibly be retrieved; and that, for his part, whatever pangs it might cost him, he was resolved to banish me from his sight for ever.

“While he uttered this declaration, the tears trickled down his cheeks, and he seemed overwhelmed with the keenest sorrow and mortification; so it may be easily conceived what were the impressions of my grief, reinforced with the affliction of a father whom I dearly loved, and the consciousness of being the cause of all his disquiet! I was struck dumb with remorse and woe; and, when I recovered the use of speech, I told him how sensible I was of his great goodness and humanity, and owned how little I deserved his favour and affection; that the sense of my own unworthiness was one cause of my present distraction; for such was the condition of my fate, that I must either see S– or die. I said, though I could not expect his forgiveness, I was surely worthy of his compassion; that nothing but the most irresistible passion could have misled me at first from my duty, or tempted me to incur the least degree of his displeasure; that the same fatal influence still prevailed, and would, in all probability, continue to the grave, which was the only abode in which I hoped for peace.

“While I expressed myself in this manner, my dear good father wept with the most tender sympathy, and, saying I might do as I pleased, for he had done with me, quitted the room, leaving me to the cruel sensations of my own heart, which almost burst with anguish, upbraiding me with a fault which I could not help committing.

I immediately hired a chariot and six, and would have set out by myself, had not my father’s affection, which all my errors could not efface, provided an attendant. He saw me quite delirious and desperate; and therefore engaged a relation of my own to accompany and take care of me in this rash expedition.

“During this journey, which lasted two days, I felt no remission of grief and anxiety, but underwent the most intolerable sorrow and suspense. At last we arrived at a little house called the Hut, on Salisbury Plain, where, in the most frantic agitation, I wrote a letter to S–, describing the miserable condition to which I was reduced by his unkindness, and desiring to see him, with the most earnest solicitations. This billet I committed to the care of my attendant, and laid strong injunctions upon him to tell Mr. S–, my injuries were so great, and my despair so violent, that, if he did not favour me with a visit, I would go to him, though at his sister’s house, where he then was.

“He received my message with great coldness, and told my friend, that, if I would return to London without insisting upon the interview I demanded, he would, in a little time, follow me to town, and everything should be amicably adjusted; but when the messenger assured him, that I was too much transported with grief to hear of such a proposal, he consented to meet me in the middle of Salisbury Plain, that we might avoid all observation. And though I was little able to walk, I set out for the place of assignation, my companion following at a small distance.

“When I saw him leading his horse down the hill, I collected all my fortitude, and advanced to him with all the speed I could exert; but when I made an effort to speak, my tongue denied its office, and so lively was the expression of unutterable sorrow in my countenance, that his heart, hard as it was, melted at the sight of my sufferings, which he well knew proceeded from the sincerity of my love. At length I recovered the use of speech enough to tell him, that I was come to take my leave; and, when I would have proceeded, my voice failed me again. But, after a considerable pause, I found means, with great difficulty, to let him know how sensible I was of my own incapacity to retrieve his lost affections; but that I was willing, if possible, to retain his esteem, of which could I be assured, I would endeavour to compose myself; that I was determined to leave the kingdom, because I could not bear the sight of those places where we had been so happy in our mutual love; and that, till my departure, I hoped he would visit me sometimes, that I might, by degrees, wean myself from his company; for I should not be able to survive the shock of being deprived of him all at once.

“This address may seem very humble to an unconcerned observer; but love will tame the proudest disposition, as plainly appeared in my case; for I had naturally as much spirit, or more, than the generality of people have. Mr. S– was so much confounded at the manner of my behaviour, that he scarce knew what answer to make; for, as he afterwards owned, he expected to hear himself upbraided; but he was not proof against my tenderness. After some hesitation, he said, he never meant to forsake me entirely. that his affection was still unimpaired, and that he would follow me directly to London. I imposed upon myself, and believed what he said, because I could not bear to think of parting with him for ever, and returned to town in a more tranquil state of mind than that in which I had left my father, though my heart was far from being at ease; my fears being ingenious enough to foresee, that I should never be able to overcome his indifference.

“I took lodgings in Mount-street, and my maid having disposed of herself in marriage, hired another, who supplied her place very much to my satisfaction. She was a good girl, had a particular attachment to me, and for many years, during which she lived in my service, was indefatigably assiduous in contributing to my ease, or rather in alleviating my affliction. For, though S– came up to town according to promise, and renewed a sort of correspondence with me for the space of five months, his complaisance would extend no farther; and he gave me to understand, that he had determined to go abroad with Mr. V–; whom he accordingly accompanied in his envoying to D–.

“I understood the real cause of this expedition, which, notwithstanding his oaths and protestations of unabated love and regard, I construed into a palpable mark of dislike and disrespect; nor could the repeated assurances I received from him in letters mitigate the anguish and mortification that preyed upon my heart. I therefore gave up all hopes of recovering the happiness I had lost. I told him on the eve of his departure, that he might exercise his gallantry a great while, before he would meet with my fellow, in point of sincerity and love; for I would rather have been a servant in his house, with the privilege of seeing him, than the queen of England debarred of that pleasure.

“When he took his leave, and went down-stairs, I shrunk at every step he made, as if a new wound had been inflicted upon me and when I heard the door shut behind him, my heart died within me. I had the satisfaction to hear afterwards, he lamented the loss of me prodigiously, and that he had never been so happy since. I sat down to write a letter, in which I forgave his indifference, because I knew the affections are altogether involuntary, and wished him all the happiness he deserved. I then walked up and down the room in the most restless anxiety, was put to bed by my maid, rose at six, mounted my horse and rode forty miles, in order to fatigue myself that I might next night enjoy some repose. This exercise I daily underwent for months together; and, when it did not answer my purpose, I used to walk round Hyde-park in the evening, when the place was quite solitary and unvisited by any other human creature.

“In the course of this melancholy perambulation, I was one day accosted by a very great man, who, after the first salutation, asked whether or not my intercourse with S– was at an end, and if I had any allowance from my husband. To the first of these questions I replied in the affirmative; and to the last answered, that my lord did not allow me a great deal; indeed, I might have truly said nothing at all; but I was too proud to own my indigence. He then expressed his wonder, how one like me, who had been used to splendour and affluence from my cradle, could make shift to live in my present narrow circumstances; and, when I told him that I could make a very good shift, so I had peace, he seemed to lament my situation, and very kindly invited me to sup with his wife at his house. I accepted the invitation, without any apprehension of the consequence; and, when I went to the place, was introduced into an apartment magnificently lighted up, I suppose, for my reception.

“After I had stayed alone for some time in this mysterious situation, without seeing a living soul, my inviter appeared, and said, he hoped I would not take it amiss that he and I were to sup by ourselves, as he had something to say, which could not be so properly communicated before company or servants. I then, for the first time, perceived his drift, to my no small surprise and indignation; and, with evident marks of displeasure, told him, I was sure he had nothing to propose that would be agreeable to my inclination, and that I would immediately leave the house. Upon which he gave me to understand, that I could not possibly retire, because he had sent away my chair, and all his servants were disposed to obey his orders.

“Incensed at this declaration, which I considered as an insult, I answered, with an air of resolution, it was very well; I despised his contrivance, and was afraid of nothing. Seeing me thus alarmed, he assured me I had no reason to be afraid; that he had loved me long, and could find no other opportunity of declaring his passion.

He said the Q– had told him that Lord — had renewed his addresses to me; and, as he understood from my own mouth, my correspondence with S– was absolutely broke off, he thought himself as well entitled as another to my regard. In conclusion, he told me that I might command his purse, and that he had power enough to bring me into the world again with eclat. To these advances I replied, that he was very much mistaken in his opinion of my character, if he imagined I was to be won by any temptations of fortune; and very frankly declared, that I would rather give myself to a footman, than sell myself to a prince.

“Supper being served, we sat down together; but I would neither eat nor drink anything, except a little bread and water; for I was an odd whimsical girl, and it came into my head, that he might perhaps have mixed something in the victuals or wine, which would alter my way of thinking. In short, finding himself baffled in all his endeavours, he permitted me about twelve o’clock to depart in peace, and gave up his suit as a desperate cause.

“This uncomfortable life did I lead for a whole twelvemonth, without feeling the least abatement of my melancholy. Finding myself worn to a skeleton, I resumed my former resolution of trying to profit by change of place, and actually went abroad, with no other attendant than my woman, and the utmost indifference for life. My intention was to have gone to the south of France, where I thought I could have subsisted on the little I had left, which amounted to five hundred pounds, until the issue of my law-suit, by which I hoped to obtain some provision from my lord; and, without all doubt, my expectation would have been answered, had I put this my plan in execution; but, being at Paris, from whence I proposed to set forward in a few days, I sent to M. K–, who had been formerly intimate with my father, and shown me many civilities during my first residence in France.

“This gentleman favoured me with a visit, and, when I made him acquainted with my scheme, dissuaded me from it, as an uncomfortable determination. He advised me to stay at Paris, where, with good economy, I could live as cheap as in any other place, and enjoy the conversation and countenance of my friends, among which number he declared himself one of the most faithful. He assured me, that I should be always welcome to his table, and want for nothing. He promised to recommend me as a lodger to a friend of his, with whom I would live in a frugal and decent manner; and observed, that, as the woman was well known and esteemed by all the English company in Paris, it would be the most reputable step I could take, considering my youth and situation, to lodge with a creditable person, who could answer for my conduct. Thus persuaded, I very simply followed his advice; I say simply, because, notwithstanding his representations, I soon found my money melt away, without any prospect of a fresh supply. In lieu of this, however, I passed my time very agreeably in several English and some French families, where, in a little time, I became quite intimate, saw a great deal of company, and was treated with the utmost politeness and regard; yet, in the midst of these pleasures, many a melancholy sigh would rise at the remembrance of my beloved S–, whom, for several years, I could not recollect without emotion; but time, company, amusements, and change of place, in a great measure dissipated these ideas, and enabled me to bear my fate with patience and resignation.

“On my last arrival at Paris, I was surrounded by a crowd of professed admirers, who sighed and flattered in the usual forms; but, besides that my heart was not in a condition to contract new engagements, I was prepossessed against them all, by supposing that they presumed upon the knowledge of my indiscretion with S–; and therefore rejected their addresses with detestation and disdain; for, as I have already observed, I was not to be won but by the appearance of esteem, and the most respectful carriage; and though, by a false step, I had, in my own opinion, forfeited my title to the one, I was resolved to discourage the advances of any man who seemed deficient in the other.

“In this manner my lovers were one by one repulsed, almost as soon as they presented themselves, and I preserved the independence of my heart, until I became acquainted with a certain peer, whom I often saw at the house of Mrs. P–, an English lady then resident at Paris. This young nobleman professed himself deeply enamoured of me, in a style so different from that of my other admirers, that I heard his protestations without disgust; and, though my inclinations were still free, could not find in my heart to discountenance his addresses, which were preferred with the most engaging modesty, disinterestedness, and respect.

“By these never-failing arts, he gradually conquered my indifference, and gained the preference in my esteem from Lord C– and the prince of C–, who were at that time his rivals. But what contributed more than any consideration to his success was his declaring openly, that he would marry me without hesitation, as soon as I could obtain a divorce from my present husband, which, in all probability, might have been easily procured; for, before I left England, Lord — had offered me five thousand pounds if I would consent to such a mutual release, that he might be at liberty to espouse one Miss W–, of Kent, to whom he then made love upon honourable terms; but I was fool enough to refuse his proposal, by the advice of S–. And whether or not his lordship, finding it impracticable to wed his new mistress, began to make love upon another footing, I know not; but, certain it is, the mother forbade him the house, a circumstance which he took so heinously ill, that he appealed to the world in a public advertisement, beginning with “Whereas, for some time, I have passionately loved Miss W–, and, upon my not complying with the mother’s proposals, they have turned me out of doors, this is to justify,” etc.

“This declaration, signed with his name, was actually printed in a number of detached advertisements, which he ordered to be distributed to the public; and afterwards, being convinced by some of his friends that he had done a very silly thing, he recalled them at half a guinea apiece. A copy of one of them was sent to me at Paris, and I believe my father has now one of the originals in his possession.

After this wise vindication of his conduct, he made an attempt to carry off the lady from church by force of arms; but she was rescued by the neighbours, headed by her brother, who, being an attorney, had like to have made his lordship smart severely for this exploit.

“Meanwhile my new admirer had made some progress in my heart; and, my finances being exhausted, I was reduced to the alternative of returning to Lord — again, or accepting Earl B–‘s love. When my affairs were brought to an issue, I made no hesitation in my choice, putting myself under the protection of a man of honour whom I esteemed, rather than suffer every sort of mortification from a person who was the object of my abhorrence and contempt. From a mistaken pride, I chose to live in Lord B–‘s house, rather than be maintained at his expense in another place. We spent several months agreeably in balls and other diversions, visited Lord B–, who lived at the distance of a few leagues from Paris, and stayed some days at his house, where the entertainment was, in all respects, delightful, elegant, and refined. Their habitation was the rendezvous of the best company in France; and Lady B– maintained the same superiority in her own sex, for which her lord is so justly distinguished among the men.

“About Christmas we set out for England, accompanied by a little North Briton, who lived with Lord B– as his companion, and did not at all approve of our correspondence; whether out of real friendship for his patron, or apprehension that in time I might supersede his own influence with my lord, I shall not pretend to determine. Be that as it will, the frost was so severe, that we were detained ten days at Calais before we could get out of the harbour; and, during that time, I reflected seriously on what my new lover proposed. As he was very young, and unacquainted with the world, I thought my story might have escaped him; and therefore determined to give him a faithful detail of the whole, that he might not have anything to reproach me with in the sequel; besides, I did not think it honest to engage him to do more for me than he might afterwards perhaps think I was worth. Accordingly, I communicated to him every particular of my life; and the narration, far from altering his sentiments, rather confirmed his good opinion, by exhibiting an undoubted proof of my frankness and sincerity. In short, he behaved with such generosity, as made an absolute conquest of my heart. But my love was of a different kind from that which had formerly reigned within my breast, being founded upon the warmest gratitude and esteem, exclusive of any other consideration, though his person was very agreeable, and his address engaging.

“When we arrived in England, I went directly to his country seat, about twelve miles from London, where he soon joined me, and we lived some time in perfect retirement. His relations being greatly alarmed with the apprehension that Lord — would bring an action against him, though he himself desired nothing more, and lived so easy under that expectation, that they soon laid aside their fears on his account.

“We were visited by Mr. H. B–, a relation of my lord, and one Mr.

R–, of the Guards, who, with the little Scotchman and my lover, made an agreeable set, among whom I enjoyed hunting, and all manner of country diversions. As to Mr. H. B–, if ever there was perfection in one man, it centred in him; or, at least, he, of all the men I ever knew, approached the nearest to that idea which I had conceived of a perfect character. He was both good and great, possessed an uncommon genius, and the best of hearts. Mr. R– was a very sociable man, had a good person, and cultivated understanding; and my lord was excessively good-humoured; so that, with such companions, no place could be dull or insipid. For my own part, I conducted the family; and, as I endeavoured to please and make everybody happy, I had the good fortune to succeed. Mr. B– told me, that before he saw me, he heard I was a fool; but finding, as he was pleased to say, that I had been egregiously misrepresented, he courted my friendship, and a correspondence commenced between us. Indeed, it was impossible for any person to know him, without entertaining the utmost esteem and veneration for his virtue.

“After I had lived some time in this agreeable retreat, my husband began to make a bustle. He sent a message, demanding me from Lord B–; then came in person, with his nightcap in his pocket, intending to have stayed all night, had he been asked, and attended by a relation, whom he assured that I was very fond of him, and detained by force from his arms. Finding himself disappointed in his expectations, he commenced a law-suit against Lord B–, though not for a divorce, as we desired, but with a view to reclaim me as his lawful wife.

His lawyers, however, attempted to prove criminal conversation, in hopes of extorting money from my lover. But their endeavours were altogether fruitless; for no servant of Lord B–‘s or mine could with justice say we were ever seen to trespass against modesty and decorum; so that the plaintiff was nonsuited. While this cause was depending, all my lover’s friends expressed fear and concern for the issue, while he himself behaved with the utmost resolution, and gave me such convincing proofs of a strong and steady affection, as augmented my gratitude, and riveted the ties of my love, which was unblemished, faithful, and sincere.

“Soon after this event, I was seized with a violent fit of illness, in which I was visited by my father, and attended by two physicians, one of whom despaired of my life, and took his leave accordingly; but Dr. S–, who was the other, persisted in his attendance, and, in all human appearance, saved my life; a circumstance by which he acquired a great share of reputation. Yet, notwithstanding all his assistance, I was confined to my bed for ten weeks; during which Lord B–‘s grief was immoderate, his care and generosity unlimited.

While I lay in this extremity, Mr. S–, penetrated by my melancholy condition, which revived his tenderness, begged leave to be admitted to my presence; and Lord B– would have complied with his request, had I not been judged too weak to bear the shock of such an interview.

My constitution, however, agreeably disappointed my fears; and the fever had no sooner left me, than I was removed to a hunting seat belonging to my lover, from whence, after I had recovered my strength, we went to B– castle, where we kept open house. And, while we remained at this place, Lord B– received a letter from Lord –, dated in November, challenging him to single combat in May, upon the frontiers of France and Flanders. This defiance was sent in consequence of what had passed between them long before my indisposition, at a meeting in a certain tavern, where they quarrelled, and in the fray, my lover threw his antagonist under the table. I counselled him to take no notice of this rhodomontade, which I knew was void of all intention of performance; and he was wise enough to follow my advice, resolved, however, should the message be repeated, to take the challenger at his word.

“Having resided some time at this place, we returned to the other country house which he had left, where Lord B– addicted himself so much to hunting, and other male diversions, that I began to think he neglected me, and apprised him of my suspicion, assuring him, at the same time, that I would leave him as soon as my opinion should be confirmed. This declaration had no effect upon his behaviour, which became so remarkably cold, that even Mr. R–, who lived with us, imagined that his affection was palpably diminished. When I went to town, I was usually attended by his cousin, or this gentleman, or both, but seldom favoured with his company; nay, when I repaired to Bath, for the re-establishment of my health, he permitted me to go alone; so that I was quite persuaded of his indifference; and yet I was mistaken in my opinion. But I had been spoiled by the behaviour of my first husband, and Mr. S–, who never quitted me for the sake of any amusement, and often resisted the calls of the most urgent business, rather than part from me, though but for a few hours. I thought every man who loved me truly would act in the same manner; and, whether I am right or wrong in my conjectures, I leave wiser casuists to judge. Certain it is, such sacrifice and devotion is the most pleasing proof of an admirer’s passion; and, Voyez-moi plus souvent, et ne me donnez rien, is one of my favourite maxims. A man may give money, because he is profuse; he may be violently fond, because he is of a sanguine constitution. But, if he gives me his time, he gives me an unquestionable proof of my being in full possession of his heart.

“My appearance at Bath, without the company of Lord B–, occasioned a general surprise, and encouraged the men to pester me with addresses, every new admirer endeavouring to advance his suit by demonstrating the unkind and disrespectful behaviour of his lordship.

Indeed, this was the most effectual string they could touch. My pride and resentment were alarmed, I was weak enough to listen to one man, who had like to have insinuated himself into my inclinations.

He was tall and large-boned, with white hair, inclining to what is called sandy, and had the reputation of being handsome, though I think he scarce deserved that epithet. He possessed a large fortune, loved mischief, and stuck at nothing for the accomplishment of his designs, one of his chief pleasures being that of setting any two lovers at variance. He employed his address upon me with great assiduity, and knew so well how to manage my resentment, that I was pleased with his manner, heard his vows without disgust, and, in a word, promised to deliberate with myself upon his proposals, and give him an account of my determination in writing.

“Thus resolved, I went to Lord B–, in Wiltshire, whither I was followed by this pretender to my heart, who visited us on the footing of an acquaintance; but when I reflected on what I had done, I condemned my own conduct as indiscreet, though nothing decisive had passed between us, and began to hate him in proportion to the self-conviction I felt, perceiving that I had involved myself in a difficulty from which I should not be easily disengaged. For the present, however, I found means to postpone my declaration. He admitted my excuse, and I returned to London with Lord B–, who was again summoned to the field by his former challenger.

“H–d–n, governor, counsellor, and steward to this little hero, came to Lord B– with a verbal message, importing that his lordship had changed his mind about going to Flanders, but expected to meet him, on such a day and hour, in the burying-ground near Red Lion-square. Lord B– accepted the challenge, and gave me an account of what had passed; but he had been anticipated by the messenger, who had already tried to alarm my fears from the consideration of the consequence, that I might take some measures to prevent their meeting. I perceived his drift, and told him plainly, that Lord –had no intention to risk his person, though he endeavoured with all his might to persuade me, that his principal was desperate and determined. I knew my little husband too well to think he would bring matters to any dangerous issue, and was apprehensive of nothing but foul play, from the villainy of H–d–n, with which I was equally well acquainted. Indeed, I signified my doubts on that score to Mr. B–, who would have attended his kinsman to the field, had he not thought he might be liable to censure, if anything should happen to Lord B–, because he himself was heir at law: for that reason he judiciously declined being personally concerned; and we pitched upon the earl of A–, his lordship’s uncle, who willingly undertook the office.

“At the appointed time they went to the house of rendezvous, where they had not waited long when the challenger appeared, in a new pink satin waistcoat, which he had put on for the occasion, with his sword under his arm. and his steward by him, leaving, in a hackney-coach at some distance, a surgeon whom he had provided for the care of his person. Thus equipped he advanced to his antagonist, and desired him to choose his ground; upon which Lord B– told him, that if he must fall, it was not material which grave he should tumble over.

“Our little hero, finding him so jocose and determined, turned to Lord A–, and desired to speak with him, that he might disburden his conscience before they should begin the work of death. They accordingly went aside; and he gave him to understand, that his motive for fighting, was Lord B–‘s detaining his wife from him by compulsion. The earl of A– assured him, he was egregiously mistaken in his conjecture; that his nephew used no force or undue influence to keep me in his house; but it could not be expected that he would turn me out of doors.

“This explanation was altogether satisfactory to Lord –, who said he was far from being so unreasonable as to expect Lord B– would commit such a breach of hospitality; and all he desired was, that his wife should be left to her own inclinations. Upon these articles, peace was concluded, and they parted without bloodshed. At least these are the particulars of the story, as they were related by Lord A–, with whom I laughed heartily at the adventure, for I never doubted that the challenger would find some expedient to prevent the duel, though I wondered how he mustered up resolution enough to carry it so far.

“That he might not, however, give us any more trouble, we resolved to go and enjoy ourselves in France. whither I went by myself, in hopes of being soon joined by my lover, who was obliged to stay some time longer in England, to settle his affairs. He was so much affected at our parting, though but for a few weeks, that he was almost distracted. And this affliction renewed my tenderness for him, because it was an undoubted proof of his love. I wrote to him every post from France; and, as I had no secrets, desired him to take care of all the letters that should come to his house, directed to me, after my departure from England.

“This was an unfortunate office for him, in the execution of which he chanced to open a letter from Sir T– A–, with whom, as I have already observed, I had some correspondence at Bath. I had according to my promise, given this gentleman a decisive answer, importing that I was determined to remain in my present situation; but as Lord B– was ignorant of my sentiments in that particular, and perceived from the letter that something extraordinary had passed between us, and that I was earnestly solicited to leave him, he was seized with the utmost consternation and concern; and, having previously obtained the king’s leave to go abroad, set out that very night for France, leaving his affairs in the greatest confusion.

“Sir T– A– hearing I was gone, without understanding the cause of my departure, took the same route, and both arrived at Dover next day. They heard of each other’s motions. Each bribed the master of a packet-boat to transport him with expedition; but that depending upon the wind, both reached Calais at the same time, though in different vessels. Sir T– sent his valet-de-chambre post, with a letter, entreating me to accompany him into Italy, where he would make me mistress of his whole fortune, and to set out directly for that country, that he might not lose me by the arrival of Lord B–, promising to join me on the road, if I would consent to make him happy. I sent his messenger back with an answer, wherein I expressed surprise at his proposals, after having signified my resolution to him before I left England. He was scarce dismissed, when I received another letter from Lord B–, beseeching me to meet him at Clermont, upon the road from Calais; and conjuring me to avoid the sight of his rival, should he get the start of him in travelling. This, however, was not likely to be the case, as Lord B– rode post, and the other was, by his corpulence, obliged to travel in a chaise; yet, that I might not increase his anxiety, I left Paris immediately on the receipt of his message, and met him at the appointed place, where he received me with all the agitation of joy and fear, and asked if I had ever encouraged Sir T– A– in his addresses. I very candidly told him the whole transaction, at which he was incensed; but his indignation was soon appeased, when I professed my penitence, and assured him that I had totally rejected his rival. Not that I approved of my behaviour to Sir T–, who, I own, was ill-used in this affair; but surely it was more excusable to halt here, than proceed farther in my indiscretion.

“My lover being satisfied with my declaration, we went together to Paris, being attended by the Scotchman, whom I have already mentioned, though I believe he was not over and above well pleased to see matters thus amicably compromised. The furious knight followed us to the capital; insisted on seeing me in person; told this North Briton, that I was actually engaged to him; wrote every hour, and railed at my perfidious conduct. I took no notice of these delirious transports, which were also disregarded by Lord B–, till, one night, he was exasperated by the insinuations of Mr. C–, who, I believe, inflamed his jealousy, by hinting a suspicion that I was really in love with his rival. What passed betwixt them I know not, but he sent for me from the opera, by a physician of Paris, who was a sort of go-between among us all, and who told me, that, if I did not come home in the instant, a duel would be fought on my account.

“I was very much shocked at this information; but, by being used to alarms from the behaviour of Lord –, I had acquired a pretty good share of resolution, and with great composure entered the room where Lord B– was, with his companion, whom I immediately ordered to withdraw. I then gave his lordship to understand, that I was informed of what had passed, and thought myself so much injured by the person who had just quitted the apartment, that I would no longer live under the same roof with him. Lord B– raved like a bedlamite, taxing me with want of candour and affection; but I easily justified my own integrity, and gave him such assurances of my love, that his jealousy subsided, and his spirits were recomposed. Nevertheless, I insisted upon his dismissing Mr. C–, on pain of my leaving the house, as I could not help thinking he had used his endeavours to prejudice me in the opinion of my lord.

If his conduct was the result of friendship for his patron, he certainly acted the part of an honest and trusty adherent. But I could not easily forgive him, because, a few weeks before, he had, by my interest, obtained a considerable addition to his allowance; and even after the steps he had taken to disoblige me, I was not so much his enemy but that I prevailed upon Lord B– to double his salary, that his leaving the family might be no detriment to his fortune. His lordship having complied with my demand, this gentleman, after having stayed three days in the house, to prepare for his departure, during which I would not suffer him to be admitted into my presence, made his retreat with a fine young girl, who was my companion; and I have never seen him since that time.

“Sir T– still continued furious, and would not take a denial, except from my own mouth, upon which, with the approbation of Lord B–, I indulged him with an interview. He entered the apartment with a stern countenance, and told me I had used him ill. I pleaded guilty to the charge, and begged his pardon accordingly. I attempted to reason the case with him, but he would hear no arguments except his own, and even tried to intimidate me with threats; which provoked me to such a degree, that I defied his vengeance. I told him, that I feared nothing but the report of my own conscience; that, though I had acted a simple part, he durst not say there was anything criminal in my conduct, and that, from his present frantic and unjust behaviour, I thought myself happy in having escaped him. He swore I was the most inflexible of all creatures; asked if nothing would move me; and when I answered, “Nothing,” took his leave, and never after persecuted me with his addresses; though I have heard he was vain and false enough to boast of favours, which, upon my honour, he never received, as he himself, at one time, owned to Dr. Cantwell, at Paris.

“While he underwent all this frenzy and distraction upon my account, he was loved with the same violence of passion by a certain Scotch lady of quality, who, when he followed me to France, pursued him thither with the same eagerness and expedition. Far from being jealous of me as a rival, she used to come to my house, implore my good offices with the object of her love, and, laying herself on the floor at full length before the fire, weep and cry like a person bereft of her senses. She bitterly complained that he had never obliged her but once; and begged, with the most earnest supplications, that I would give her an opportunity of seeing him at my house.

But I thought proper to avoid her company, as soon as I perceived her intention.

“We continued at Paris for some time, during which I contracted an acquaintance with the sister of Madame de la T–. She was the supposed mistress of the prince of C–, endowed with a great share of understanding, and loved pleasure to excess, though she maintained her reputation on a respectable footing, by living with her husband and mother. This lady, perceiving that I had inspired her lover with a passion, which gave me uneasiness on her account, actually practised all her eloquence and art in persuading me to listen to his love; for it was a maxim with her to please him at any rate.

I was shocked at her indelicate complaisance, and rejected the proposal as repugnant to my present engagement, which I held as sacred as any nuptial tie, and much more binding than a forced or unnatural marriage.

“Upon our return to England, we lived in great harmony and peace, and nothing was wanting to my happiness, but the one thing to me the most needful; I mean the enchanting tenderness and delightful enthusiasm of love. Lord B–‘s heart, I believe, felt the soft impressions; and, for my own part, I loved him with the most faithful affection. It is not enough to say I wished him well; I had the most delicate, the most genuine esteem for his virtue; I had an intimate regard and anxiety for his interest; and felt for him as if he had been my own son. But still there was a vacancy in my heart; there was not that fervour, that transport, that ecstasy of passion which I had formerly known; my bosom was not filled with the little deity; I could not help recalling to my remembrance the fond, the ravishing moments I had passed with S–. Had I understood the conditions of life, those pleasures were happily exchanged for my present situation, because, if I was now deprived of those rapturous enjoyments, I was also exempted from the cares and anxiety that attended them; but I was generally extravagant in my notions of happiness, and therefore construed my present tranquility into an insipid languor and stagnation of life.

“While I remained in this inactivity of sentiment, Lord –, having received a very considerable addition to his fortune, sent a message to me, promising, that if I would leave Lord B–, he would make me a present of a house and furniture, where I should live at my case, without being exposed to his visits, except when I should be disposed to receive them. This proposal he made in consequence of what I had always declared, namely, that if he had not reduced me to the necessity of putting myself under the protection of some person or other, by depriving me of any other means of subsistence, I should never have given the world the least cause to scandalize my reputation; and that I would withdraw myself from my present dependence, as soon as he should enable me to live by myself. I was therefore resolved to be as good as my word, and accepted his offer, on condition that I should be wholly at my own disposal, and that he should never enter my door but as a visitant or common friend.

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