T H E
O R T H E
Miss Harriot Montague.
I n T W O V O L U M E S.
L O N D O N:
Printed for J. ROSON, No. 54, St. Martin’s-
Le Grand, near Newgate-Street.
M DCC LXX.
Miss Harriot Montague.
IN that delightful season of the year, when nature throws forth all her hoard of charms, and puts to shame the weak efforts of art; when the groves were adorned with verdure, the meads and gardens enamelled with flowers, when the little warbling choristers of the woods begin to make their nests in the thick-set branches of the shady bowers. In the reign of our late sovereign George the Ist, there came to settle at a small village near Plymouth, a French gentleman and his lady, whose names were Le Montague, they left France, their native country, upon account of their religion. Monsieur Le Montague had been master of a vessel, with which, making many prosperous voyages, he had gained a pretty fortune; and was now resolved to pass the remainder of his days in a country of liberty, where he might enjoy his religion without molestation, having disposed of all his effects in France, and remitted the money by bills to England, into the hands of one of his correspondents at Plymouth, where he chose to settle; he having some acquaintance with the most considerable merchants, with whom he had traded. He had been in England several times before, and was perfectly skilled in our language; he put part of his money into the public funds, and with the rest purchased a house and some lands, on which he lived with his wife and a few servants, as happily as any man on earth could do; nothing was wanting but children to make him completely so. He had been married eight years, and no prospect of having any; however, he had not lived in this healthful country above 18 months, when his lady with much joy acquainted him she was with child, at which news he was much transported, and returned thanks to heaven. She was at the expiration of her time happily delivered of a child, which proved a girl, whose life in the subject of this history being full of such strange misfortunes and wonderful adventures, that it well deserves the notice of the public: they gave her the name of her fond mother, which was Harriot; the child was so beautiful, every body that saw her admired her.
It is needless to tell you that Monsieur Le Montague and his lady bred her up with all the care and tenderness imaginable; but it pleased heaven to deprive this little creature of her mother before she was three years old, for Madam Le Montague fell sick of a fever, and died, after lingering under that terrible disorder eight months: she was well respected by all her neighbours, which made her greatly lamented, especially by the poor, to them she was very kind. Poor Harriot was left to the care of her father, who was deeply concerned for the death of his loving wife, looking upon the child as the dear pledge of which was left him, of their mutual affection: he was so doatingly fond of her, that he was resolved never to marry again, but to make it the business of his life to instruct and provide for her on the most advantageous manner he was able.
Nor was his good intentions frustrated, for Harriot as she encreased in years shewed so great a capacity, and so quick an apprehension in all she went about, that he had reason to expect great things from her; nor were his expectations without foundation; for before she was twelve years old she could play on the lute and harpsichord, dance finely, speak French and Italian perfectly, sung delightfully, writ delicately, and used her needle with so much art and skill, as if Pallas had been her governess. Monsieur Le Montague offered praises to heaven hourly for her, and was more fond of her than he ought to have been, fancying he could not outlive the loss of her: she in return for his excessive fondness, was so obedient to his will, that his commands were always punctually obeyed; she never offended him. But man is a frail creature, and there are unlucky hours in life, which, if not carefully armed against, give us opportunities of being undone. A merchant of London, in whose hands Monsieur Le Montague had a great sum of money, died, and he was obliged to make a journey to town on purpose to look after it, and get it out of the executrix’s hands who was looked upon to be no very honest woman. He would not venture to take Harriot with him, for fear of the small-pox, which at that time was very outrageous in London: he left her with a gentlewoman, whom he had taken into his house since the death of his wife, as a housekeeper, to manage the servants and wait on his daughter: he set out for London as soon as he had provided every thing necessary for the journey, and took up his residence at a friend’s house in the city, where he was joyfully received. When he had transacted the business he came upon, he was resolved to stay a few days to enjoy the pleasures of the town, where he had not been for many years: he went to court and the play-houses. His friend and he being together one evening at the play, two very handsome well-dressed ladies came into the pit and sat down before them, one of these ladies was very beautiful and genteel, the other seemed to be her companion. Monsieur Le Montague felt a strange alteration in himself, at the sight of this woman; he fell into discourse with her, and presented some oranges and sweetmeats to her; he found her conversation as bewitching as her face and mein: his friend kindly cautioned him, but in vain. In fine, the play being done, he prevailed on the ladies to be admitted to see them home, and asked his friend to accompany him, which he, after great persuasions, unwillingly consented to: they ushered the ladies into a coach, the ladies bid the coachman drive to a street in Piccadilly, where being come they alighted, and the gentlemen were invited into a house furnished very genteely. They staid supper, which was served up by two maid servants, consisting of cold meat, tarts, and wine.
Supper being over, they entered into a free manner of conversation; the lady, who appeared to be the mistress of the house, was the youngest and handsomest, told them she was a widow, and had buried her husband about two years before, who was a country gentleman; he had left her a moderate fortune, and died without issue. She finding the country too melancholy for her, had come to London with this lady her aunt, who was a widow also; but having had an ill husband, was not so well provided for, as one of her birth and fortune deserved: they had taken a house in that part of the town, as most airy and retired, and had but few visitors: then she excused herself with a charming air of modesty, for having admitted these strangers to this freedom, which indeed Monsieur Le Montague had desired with great importunity. They spent the remainder of the evening in a very agreeable conversation, and then respectfully took leave, after having obtained of the two ladies permission to repeat their visits, and continue the acquaintance chance had so happily begun. The servant having called a coach, Monsieur Le Montague gave her half a crown, and entered into it with his friend, over head and ears in love with his charming widow; his friend pleasantly ridiculed him all the way home, telling him these ladies were doubtless kept-women or jilts, but Monsieur Le Montague was so inflamed with love for the young widow, that he was deaf to all he said, yet seemed to hearken to him, and turn the adventures into a jest, saying, he did not intend to visit them any more.
When he got home he was very desirous of going to bed, but the thoughts of his charming widow so deprived him of rest, that he lay awake all night, thinking on nothing but her. He visited her the next day, and was entertained with so much modesty and wit, that he lost all consideration, and resolved, if possible, to gain her for his wife. And now it is fit that we should know who she was, and that we relate this fair one’s life, whose true name is Melinda.
She was the younger daughter of a country gentleman, of a good family and estate, and though well educated, and very witty, and accomplished, yet being wantonly inclined, she at the age of fifteen fell in love with a young officer of the guards, who came to the town her father lived in to visit some relations. This gay young rake, who had a wife and two children in London, made love secretly to this young lovely unexperienced girl, and having prevailed on her maid to let him meet her in a grove behind her father’s house, where he pretended honourable love to her, and promised to marry her. In fine, having gained her affections and ruined her, fearing her father would revenge the injury he had done his daughter, if he came to the knowledge of it, he one evening took leave of her to go for London, pretending it was to desire his friends to get him a better post, as he was at that time but an ensign; then he would write to his relations to move his suit to her father. But alas! the deluded Malinda, young as she was, too well discerned her lover’s base design, and was distracted with shame, love, and revenge; she reproached him (letting fall a shower of tears) in words so tender and so moving, that had he not been a hardened wretch, and one of those heroick rakes that have been well versed in every vice, that this famous city can instruct youth in, he would have relented; but he was a complete gentleman, and had the tongue of a lawyer; was as deceitful as a courtier, had no more religion than honesty, was handsome, lewd, and inconstant; yet he pretended to be much concerned at leaving her, and made a thousand protestations of his fidelity to her. He set out for London the next morning before day, and left the poor undone Melinda in the utmost despair; she was afraid to disclose her grief to any but her treacherous maid, who had been the confident of their amour: some months past without one line from him, which convinced her of being more unfortunate than she at first imagined; she found herself with child, which put a thousand dreadful designs into her head, sometimes she was resolved to put an end to her wretched life, and prevent her shame, but then reflecting on the miserable state her soul must be in for ever, those thoughts made her desist from her dismal purpose; but finding it impossible to conceal her misfortune much longer, she was resolved to go to London in search of the wretch, the author of her miseries.
In order to this she got what money she could together, and one evening, having before acquainted her treacherous confident with her design, she packed up her cloaths and what rings and other things she had of value. At midnight the maid got two of the men servants habits, which they put on, and so disguised themselves, each carrying a bundle, they went away from her father’s house by break of day; the maid having ordered her brother, to whom she had told her design, to meet them a little way from the house with horses, on which they mounted; he being the guide, went with them twenty miles, which was near half way to London. There they parted with him, well rewarded him for his trouble, and he took the horses back, after bribing him well to be secret; but they did not fear he would make any discovery, he being so much concerned in assisting them in their flight.
They lay at the inn that night which he had carried them to, from whence a stage coach went every other day to London, and was to set out from thence the next morning, in which they went, having changed their cloaths at a bye ale-house on the road before they came to the inn, and gave their men’s habits to their conductor, they appeared to be really what they were; and Melinda’s beauty made a conquest of an old superannuated captain, who with his nephew, a youth about twelve years of age, was in the coach. He soon entered into discourse with her, she wanted not wit, her youth and fine habit she had on, informed him she was a person of no mean degree. He asked her many questions, and made her large offers of his service, and she was nobly treated by the old gentleman at dinner. They being now within a few miles of London, the unfortunate Melinda, who knew not where to look for a lodging, nor how to find out the base author of her miseries, ventured to tell the old gentleman that she was a stranger in town, and should be highly obliged to him if he could help her to a lodging in some private house of good reputation, and a sight of Frederick, whom she supposed he might have some knowledge of, being an officer. The old gentleman was indeed no stranger to him nor his vices, and immediately guessed the condition of the unhappy Melinda by her blushes: he joyfully told her, that he was well acquainted with him, and belonged to the same regiment, and that he would introduce her into the house of a lady who was his relation, who would study to make her as happy as she could desire. The unfortunate Melinda joyfully accepted his generous offer, looked on this as Providence, and him as her only friend. But alas, she was greatly deceived, for it was only a forerunner of greater misfortunes which proved her entire ruin; for the captain believing her now entirely ruined, had his own satisfaction in view, and pitying her condition, knowing the villainous Frederick was already married, thought it would be a deed of charity in him to keep her for himself. In order to which, as soon as the stage came to the inn, he hired a hackney coach, into which he put his nephew and a servant that he had with him, who rid up one of his horses; sent them home to his own house; and went with the lady and her maid to a house in Piccadilly, where dwelt a useful lady, in plain English, a private quality bawd, who used to lodge a mistress for him often. This private procuress was well bred, and a saint in appearance, she lived in so private a manner, that her neighbours was unacquainted with her profession. She passed for a married lady, and gave out that her husband was first lieutenant of a man of war, and that he was at the East Indies, where the ship was stationed, and that she let her lodgings to people of fashion; she kept a maid servant, and always had a handsome attendant or two which passed for relations, who came to visit her out of the country. She was called aunt by one, and cousin by another, as she directed the poor creatures to stile her. The house was neatly furnished, and there was no young creature in it at that time but our unfortunate traveller, and a lady whose name was Lucinda, a young girl about eighteen years of age, who had been trapanned there, and ruined by a nobleman at that time famous for such villainous actions; this was the person that was with her at the play, when Monsieur Le Montague saw them. The captain presented the unfortunate Melinda to this good lady, giving her particular charge to be careful and kind to her; but the old insinuating bawd had no occasion to be told of that, for seeing her so young, handsome, and so well dressed, was well pleased with her company, and was determined to practise all her arts to gain her esteem and friendship, hoping in time she would prove a good bargain to her. Supper was soon provided, and our unfortunate traveller eat very heartily. Being a little fatigued with her journey, she drank two or three glasses of wine, which made her for the present forget all her misfortunes. He pressed her to know her circumstances, she freely told him that the base Frederick had promised her marriage and ruined her, but she would not tell him her true name, nor from whence she came, but with tears intreated him to bring the base Frederick to her, which he promised to do the next morning. He then took his leave of her, much charmed with his valuable prize, hoping he should soon obtain his desires, but in his heart he could but condemn his friend’s villainy, as he knew that he was already married.
He went to his own home to his wife, for he had one, a very amiable good sort of a woman; he had likewise two children, but had never shewn a parental regard for neither, nor a sincere love for his wife, but used her very ill. The poor unfortunate Melinda was conducted with her maid to a handsome chamber, the maid undressed herself and was soon asleep, but the miserable Melinda could not close her eyes, she reflected on her own actions. It is impossible to describe the uneasiness, or more properly speaking, the agonies she underwent, when she considered that she had left her tender parents, blasted the reputable family she belonged to, since none could but help guessing the cause of her sudden flight; that she was now a stranger in the place, in the hands of those she knew nothing of; that in case Frederick, from whom she had little cause to expect any good, refused to marry and take care of her, she was ruined to all intents and purposes; was scarce sixteen years of age, in a strange place, and lay open to all the frauds that are practised in London, and amongst strangers that she was not the least acquainted with. She could not return to her friends, nor had with her but a small matter which could not long keep her from starving; and how was she to provide for the poor helpless infant she was then big with? This thought almost broke her heart; she shed a flood of tears, and thought death a great happiness if she could be blessed with it; thus she passed the night without closeing her eyes; thus by one imprudent action we then ruin the peace and quiet of our lives for ever, by one false and imprudent step undo ourselves. Would mankind but reflect how barbarous a deed it is, how much below a man, nay, how like the devil it is to debauch a young experienced virgin, and expose to ruin and an endless train of miseries the person whom his persuasions hath drawn to gratify his beastly lust, to oblige him at the expence of her own peace and honour to gratify his desire. It certain that if our laws be just that punish a man with death who kills another, he certainly merits that or something worse that ruins an innocent helpless virgin, unacquainted with the frauds of mankind. What an abominable detested villain is he who betrays a foolish maid, that credits his false oaths, vows, and cursed deceitful tongue, and at last abandons her to shame and misery? Is he not worse than a savage, nay, the savage has more humanity. And if women were not infatuated, doubtless every maid would look on the man that proposes such a question to her as her mortal enemy, and from that moment despise him. Forgive this digression, our unfortunate girls condition and wrongs must inspire every generous mind with some concern and resentment against the greatest part of mankind.
The captain, who dreamed of her all night, and was on fire to possess her, sent for his friend Frederick in the morning to a tavern, told him of his adventure, and asked him what he meant to do with her, and who she was: but to this last question he was dumb, well knowing that the wretched Melinda was the captain’s own niece, being his sister’s daughter. He said she was a country squire’s daughter in another town, that he could do nothing for her, but give her a purse of money, and remove her to a cheap lodging, and send her back to her father’s when she was up again. The captain reproved him, and said he would himself pay her lodging, and contribute something towards providing for her: nay, in short, that if he would quit her company he would keep her. But Frederick was startled at this proposal, fearing he would discover who she was, and that it would be a quarrel betwixt them, and his ruin. He desired some time to consider of that, and concluded to go immediately with him to her. They found her up, her eyes swoln with weeping: at the moment Frederick entered the chamber, she swooned; his love revived, he catched her in his arms; the captain, disordered with this sight, went down stairs, and left them alone with none but the maid, who shutting the door, left them together. ’Tis needless to relate what passionate expressions passed on her side, and excuses on his. In fine, he told her she was in an ill house, that the captain had bad designs upon her, and that he would that evening fetch her away and take care of her; that she should not discover who she was, as she valued her own peace and his life. In fine, poor Melinda, born to be deceived, gave credit to all he said, and followed his directions. The captain and he went away together; and in the evening Frederick, having gone to an obscure midwife’s near Chelsea, and took a lodging for her, fetched her away and carried her thither, pretending great fondness. Here she continued some time, never stirring out of doors. He continually visited her, and told the captain he had sent her into the country. At last she was delivered of a dead child, and lay long ill of a fever; and Frederick, being quite tired with the expence, proposed to her to return home. She urged his promises and vows to marry her, till he was obliged to disclose the fatal secret to her, that he was married already. What words can express her resentments and disorder at that instant? In short, he left her in this distraction, and that evening sent her a letter to call on him in a coach alone at a tavern he appointed, saying he had thought of a means to make her easy. She imprudently went, there he had hired two bailiffs to arrest her with a false action. She was by them carried to a spunging house, and there kept while he sold his post, and with his family went into the country; having the night he trepanned her took away from the midwife’s her cloaths, money, and jewels, and discharged the maid; who not daring to return to her friends or mistress’s father’s, went down to an aunt she had in another shire: when Frederick had dispatched his business and was gone, the officers told her he had released her, and she might go where she pleased. She was so weak she could scarce walk, nor knew one step of the way, or the name of the place she was in. One of these fellows was so moved with her complaints, that he led her to the midwife’s house as she directed, having learned the name of the street during her abode with her. The midwife, who knew nothing of what she had suffered, received her with amazement, and soon gave her an account how Frederick had taken away all her clothes, and sent away her maid, which so afflicted Melinda, that she went half dead to bed. In the morning, not knowing what other course to take, having neither clothes nor money, and the midwife being poor, giving her to understand she could not long entertain her, she resolved to seek out the generous captain. In order to which she desired the midwife to go with her in a coach to the lady’s house at Westminster, to which he had at first carried her: they went, found the house, and were received by Mrs._________ with much civility and kindness. The colonel was sent for, and came before dinner: he took her in his arms with transport, protested never to part, but take care of her till death. She related to him Frederick’s base usage of her. He told her he had sold his post, and left the town. And in short, the midwife, being treated and rewarded for bringing her thither, took leave. The best rooms in the house were ordered for Melinda, and the captain did that night sleep in her arms: thus her first misfortune involved her in a worse. Some months she lived in this manner, being richly clothed and bravely maintained by her gallant, who doated upon her. In this time she contracted a great friendship with a young woman in the house, Lucinda, who was very handsome, good-natured, and about the age of twenty: they were continually together, and lay in one bed when the captain did not come to lie there. By this means they became so intimate, that Lucinda gave her an account who she was, and how she came there.
She told her she was the daughter of an eminent divine, who had seven children, and very good preferment in the country; but living very high, and breeding his children up at a great rate, provided no fortunes for them; so that dying before they were placed out in the world, they were left to shift; and she being one of the youngest, being then about thirteen, was taken by a lady to wait on a little daughter she had about seven years old, and with the family brought up to town; that in a year’s time her master, who was a young gentleman, ruined her; and fearing her lady should discover the intrigue, persuaded her to quit her service, pretending sickness, and that London did not agree with her; and take leave of her lady to return to her mother, who kept a boarding-school in the country to maintain herself and the children, two of the boys being yet at school, and two girls at home. But she went not to her mother as she pretended, but into a lodging her master had provided for her. In this house, he for two years maintained and kept her company; but at last growing weary, gave her a small allowance; so that by the bawd’s persuasions, she admitted others to her embraces, and was at this time maintained by a merchant in the city, and concluded her story with many tears; saying, she did not like this course of life, and wish’d she could find a way to leave it; but that the bawd always kept her bare of money by borrowing and wheedling it out of her, and that they were always poor and wanting money, living, as she saw, very high in diet; that she had had several children, but had but one alive, and that was at nurse at Chelsea, being a little girl, about three years old, which she had by a young lord, who took care of it. Melinda promised to serve her in all she was able.
Now a strange turn happened in her affairs: the captain’s brother-in-law, Melinda’s father, having made all the inquiry after his daughter that was possible in the country, and offered a reward to any that should inform him what was become of her, was at last acquainted with the manner of her going to London by the maid’s brother who had procured the horses for them. On which news he came away for London in search of her; he arrived at his brother’s, the captain’s house, tells him his business, and begs his assistance to find her out, knowing nothing who had debauched her at first, nor why she fled; tho’ he too rightly guessed that must be the occasion of her withdrawing herself. The captain, who had never seen his niece Melinda in the country, having not been at his brother’s house for many years past, was a little surprized at the circumstances of time and place where he met with this young woman, and longed to get to her to question her about it. It was night when his brother arriv’d, so he was oblig’d to delay satisfying his curiosity till the morning; then he went to Melinda, and telling her the reason of his coming, and that her father was come, she swooned, and by that too well convinc’d him, that he had lain with his own niece, and not only committed a great sin, but dishonoured his family. He at this moment felt the stings of guilt and bitter repentance; he resolv’d never more to commit the like: and now from an amorous lover, who used to teach her vice, he became a wise monitor, and preach’d up virtue and repentance; and told her, he would that day remove her from that ill house and place her in the country, give her a maintenance to live honestly, and if possible, dispose of her to advantage; that he would endeavour to reconcile her to her father, provided she would never disclose what had pass’d between them. She gladly agreed to all: and here providence was so merciful as to give her an opportunity to be happy again; but, alas, youth once vitiated is rarely reform’d; and woman, who whilst virtuous is an angel, ruin’d and abandon’d by the man she loves, becomes a devil. The bawd had prevented all these good designs from coming to effect, by introducing a young nobleman into her company, the most gay agreeable man in the world, who was very liberal to the procuress, and made Melinda such large presents, and used such rhetorick, that she could not resist his solicitations, but yeilded to his desires. She was for this cause deaf to reason, and acquainted Lucinda and Mrs._________ what had passed between her uncle and her: so it was agreed that she should go where her uncle desired; get what she could, and return to them. In the evening the captain came and took her and her clothes away, and carried her to Chelsea to a widow gentlewoman’s house that was his friend. The next morning he returned with her father, having told him, that Frederick had ruined her; and that having fled to London, she had found a lady of his acquaintance out, where she had been taken care of for four days past, having been abandoned and ill used by Frederick: that he had heard of it from this lady but the day before his arrival, and counselled him to forgive her, and take her home again, or continue her with this good lady to live privately, and allow her something. This was what the captain had contrived, and taught Melinda to say. The father heard this with great grief, and swore to take revenge upon Frederick; but that heaven prevented, for they had news of his death soon after; being thrown from off his horse as he was hunting, and killed on the spot, in which heaven’s justice was greatly manifested.
Now doating upon the unfortunate Melinda, he consented to see and provide for her, but not to carry her home to his wife and other daughters, lest it should publish his misfortune more; but resolved to allow her a convenient maintenance to live with this gentlewoman, and at his return to say, that she was run away with, and married to a person much below what he expected, belonging to the sea; and that he had done what he thought fit for her, and left her in town. This, he thought, would silence his neighbours and afflicted wife, who had been long indisposed with the grief she had fallen into on her account.
’Tis needless to relate what passed between the father and daughter at their first meeting; the disorder both were in was extraordinary: but having promised to allow her thirty pounds a year, on condition she lived soberly and retired in this gentlewoman’s house, and dispatched some other affairs that he had to do in town, he returned home; and she remained some days in this place, her uncle visiting, and frequently admonishing her to live well and repent of her follies. But she could not bear this confinement, but longed to see her young lover and friend Lucinda again: in short, she watched her opportunity one morning, when the gentlewoman went out to a friend that lay sick, who had sent for her; and packed up her clothes, called a boat, and left a letter on the table for her uncle, to tell him she was gone to town to live, at the house where he had placed her in before, where she should be glad to see him; and so went away to Mrs._________ where she was joyfully received. The captain soon received the news of her flight, and the letter; went to her, and used all arguments to persuade her thence, but to no purpose; so she continued there, and had variety of lovers; learning all the base arts of that vile profession: till at last, having been so cunning as to have laid up a thousand pounds, besides a great stock of rich clothes, a watch, necklace, rings, and some plate, having liv’d in several lodgings, and been kept by several men of fashion, she took Lucinda and furnished a house, kept two maid-servants, and Lucinda’s pretty girl, and liv’d genteelly, being visited by none but such lovers as could pay well for their entertainment. These were Melinda’s adventures past, and the circumstance in which Monsieur Le Montague found her; he visited her every day, and could not think of leaving London without Melinda. She wisely considering with herself how precarious the way of life she followed was, resolved to marry him, but cunningly delayed it in order to encrease his passion; pretending that she could not marry so soon after the death of her first husband, being but two years a widow. Monsieur Le Montague confessed his design of marrying her to his friend; and though he was much averse to it, yet having no particular knowledge of her, he could not alledge any thing to deter him from it, but his own conjectures. In fine, Monsieur Le Montague in two months time got her consent, and taking his friend along with him, one fatal morning went to her house, from whence she, accompanied with her friend and confident Lucinda, went with them to St. Martin’s church, where the knot was tied, and the unfortunate Le Montague sealed his ruin. They returned to her house, where they dined merrily, and Monsieur Le Montague lay that night. In a few days after their marriage, he importuned her to go home with him into the country, which she was no ways averse to; because she feared the visits of her customers, some of whom could not be well denied admittance by reason of their quality and power over her, would discover all to him. He was much pleased at her appearing so ready to comply with his desires; and now they prepared for going. At her request, he consented to give Lucinda the best part of the furniture in the house, which she designed to continue in, and follow the unhappy trade she had so long been versed in; though in reality she was much averse to it, and wished from the bottom of her soul, that she could meet with some honest man that would marry her; to whom she would be true and virtuous, being no ways addicted to vice, but reduced to it by misfortune and necessity.
And now Melinda thought to go privately to her uncle the captain, to acquaint him with her good fortune, in hopes he would now appear to credit her. She pretended to him great repentance for her past follies, and he gladly received her, visited her husband, and owned her for her niece; sent down word to her parents, who were over-joyed to hear she was reclaimed, and so well disposed of. Her mother came to town to see her long lost child. And now, had she had the least spark of virtue, she had been truly happy. Monsieur Le Montague at last carried her home in the stage-coach, having sent her cloaths, plate, and what else they thought fit by the waggon, and returned five hundred pounds, which she had called in from the goldsmith’s where she had placed it, by bills to Bristol. They arrived safe, and she was welcomed by all his friends, and treated handsomely. She pretended to be charmed with Harriot his beautiful daughter; and for some months they lived very happily.
You may naturally imagine that a virtuous life and the quiet country were things that did not relish well with a woman who had lived a town life, and enjoyed its pleasure in the highest luxury. Melinda wanted pleasure, and soon fixed her wanton eyes upon a young sea-captain who used to visit at Monsieur Le Montague’s. This young gentleman had been exchanged with a merchant’s son in France, who was related to Monsieur Le Montague, and so became intimate with him, and many French captains of ships and merchants. He was very handsome and loved his pleasures, a lover of a fine girl, and a true friend to a bottle; Melinda soon made herself understood by him, and he as soon fulfilled her desires, and made Monsieur Le Montague the fashionable thing, a cuckold. She grew big with child, and was delivered of a daughter, which Monsieur Le Montague, who had for some time past suspected something of her intrigue with the young captain, who we shall call Du Pre, did not look on this child with the same tenderness as he did on Harriot; for which reason she now beheld Harriot with much indignation and dislike: though she concealed her malice and seemed fond of her. Harriot did all she was able to please her; but now having got a child of her own, Melinda wished her out of the world; and her little darling Diana growing every day more lovely in her eyes, and her husband seeming more reserved to her, and to take little notice of the child, so enraged her, that she resolved to get Harriot out of her way if possible, that Diana might inherit all the fortune. Captain Du Pre went a voyage or two to France and Holland; and returning, when he came back to visit her, she made known her wicked design to him, and in fine, gained him to assist her in it. They contrived to send her beyond sea by some captain of his acquaintance, and he pitched upon a French Master of a ship, who was used to trade to Virginia and the Leward Islands. This captain was of a cruel and avaricious disposition, that he would do any thing for money; his name was Monsieur Le Merchant, Du Pre expected him hourly in that port. Mrs. Le Montague, and her husband, and Harriot, had often gone together on board ships to be treated by merchants and masters, her husband’s acquaintance, and sometimes without her husband, with some other friends, and particularly Du Pre. Captain Le Merchant being arrived at Bristol with his ship, which was bound to Virginia, Du Pre acquainted him with their design on Harriot, and offered him such a bribe as easily prevailed with the covetous Frenchman to undertake to effect it. It was agreed on betwixt them, so soon as he was ready to sail to give them notice; and now the fatal day was come when the innocent lovely virgin, who was in the thirteenth year of her age, was to be deprived of her dear father and friends, and exposed to all the dangers of the seas, and betrayed into the hands of cruel relentless men. Monsieur Le Montague, the evening that the ship was to sail, which was about two days after they had agreed with the captain in this barbarous and unnatural project, went to take a walk with a neighbouring gentleman. Captain Du Pre came with the French captain to invite Mrs. Le Montague and Harriot on board; she in obedience to her mother-in-law’s desires, went with her in the captain’s boat, little thinking that she should make so long a continuance; and being come on board they were highly treated, and something being put into some wine that was given to Harriot, she was so bereft of her senses, that they put her on the captain’s bed, and left her senseless, whilst they took leave of him and went on shore in a chance-boat, which they called passing by the ship, which weighed anchor and set sail immediately. And now Mrs. Le Montague, as they had contrived, so soon as they were on shore, began to wring her hands and cry like one distracted, pretending Harriot was drowned: she alarmed all the people as she went along, saying, that she fell over the side of the boat into the sea, and no help being near, was drowned: none could contradict her, because no body could tell what boat they came in from the ship: the boat being gone off before she made the out-cry. Being come aside, she threw herself upon her bed; and her husband being informed of this sad news by the laments of the servants at his entering into his house, and going up to her, asking a hundred questions of the manner of it; she so rarely acted her part, that he believed she was really grieved, and Harriot certainly drowned; which so struck him to the heart, that he was seized with a deep melancholy, and spent most part of his days in his closet shut up from company; and the mornings and evenings walking alone in some retired place, or by the seashore. Melinda, being highly pleased that she had acted her part so well in having got rid of the obstacle that gave her so much disgust, and that her husband took the loss of his Harriot so much at heart, flattered herself that she should soon be a widow, and return to her dear London, and enjoy the company of her dear Du Pre without molestation.
It is necessary that we leave them for the present to enquire after the innocent Harriot, who waking about midnight, was quite amazed to find herself on a bed no bigger than a couch. Shut up in a nasty filthy closet, and hearing the seamens voices, soon discovered the fatal secret, and knew that she was in the ship. She got up, knocked loudly at the cabin door, upon which a young gentleman opened it, a youth of excellent shape and features, in a fine habit; he had a candle in his hand, and seemed to view her with admiration. ‘Lovely maid, (said he) ‘what would you please to have, for I am bound to obey you, and would willingly lose my life in defence of yours?’ ‘I beg to know Sir, (said she) ‘where my mother and captain Du Pre are, and why I am left here alone?’ He remained silent a moment, and bowing, answered, ‘madam, I am sorry that I must be so unfortunate as to acquaint you with ill news the first time that I have the honour to speak to you: they are gone ashore, and by what I can learn of the matter sold you to the captain. I am a passenger in this ship, and shall, I hope, be the instrument of your deliverance out of his cruel hands, which I will do or lose my life; I was on shore when you were left here, but having seen you come on board, I made haste back, and finding the ship just under sail, upon my entrance into it asked where you was. On which he told me with joy, that he had you safe in his cabin, having received a good sum to carry you with us to Virginia. I love you, my dear Harriot (if I may be permitted to call you so) with the greatest sincerity, and will lose my life in your defence, both to secure your virtue and your liberty: is not the first time I have seen you.’ At these words he sat down by her, pressed her hand, and kissed her. But what words can express her confusion and grief when she found in what manner she was betrayed by her cruel mother-in-law; she fetched a great sigh and fainted: at which the young gentleman ran and fetched some cordial-water from his chest, and gave her; when reviving, she fell into a transport of sorrow, calling to heaven to help and deliver her. She desired to see the captain, and made use of all the intreaties she was mistress of, to return with her; telling him her father would give him treble the sum if he would restore her to him; but the hardened wretch said that he had receiv’d his orders, and was determined they should be punctually complied with; the poor undone Harriot, finding nothing would avail, gave way to her sorrow, and refused every thing they gave her. Leander, for that was the youth’s name, waited till her passion was a little mitigated, and then began to reason with and comfort her; telling her, she must submit to the Almighty’s will, and that she should look upon his being in that ship as an earnest of God’s favour to take care of her: that he was in circumstances that rendered him capable of serving her; that his name was Leander, and that his father and hers had been intimate friends, being a merchant who lived at Barbadoes, but had been dead about a twelvemonth, having left him and one daughter in guardians hands, he not being yet of age: that these guardians used him and his sister ill, having put her into a monastery against her will, she being engaged to a young gentleman whom they would not let her marry, pretending that he was not a suitable match in fortune, and that she was too young, being but fourteen, to dispose of herself; which they did with no other design, as he supposed, but to keep her fortune in their hands as long as they could, in hopes that both he and she might die single, and leave all in their power, being his uncle’s by his fathers side, and heirs to the fortune which was very considerable, in case they died without issue. That his father having effects to a great value in Virginia in the hands of a gentleman who was brother by his mother’s side, she was likewise dead, he was going to ask this uncle to take possession, and to ask his assistance to deal with his guardians, whom he had left, because he had some reason to fear that they designed to poison him; having been informed, by a trusty servant who had lived with his father long, and now left in his house at Barbadoes, that he had over-heard them contriving his death; that he had taken with him a good sum of money, and some merchandize to trade with in Virginia. And thus Leander having acquainted Harriot with his circumstances, concluded with many promises to take care of her in the voyage, get her out of the captain’s hands, and would make her his lawful wife when he came to Virginia. She heard him attentively, and answered with great modesty, that if he did protect her from being injured by others, and acted in delivering her as he pretended, both she and her father, if they lived to meet again, would endeavour to be grateful to him: that she had now resign’d herself to God, and was resolved to submit to what he pleased to permit her to suffer, and to prefer death to dishonour. He embraced her on his knees, and vowed to preserve her virtue, and never suffer her to be wronged or taken from him whilst he had a drop of blood left in his veins, but to merit her favour by all that man could do, which he as nobly performed as freely promised. And now poor Harriot had none but him to comfort her; and tho’ she strove all she was able, yet grief so weakened her, that in a few days she was confined to her bed. ’Tis needless to relate all that the tender lover did to render himself dear to the mistress of his heart; he tended and watched with her many nights, sat on her bed-side, and told the tedious hours, alarmed with every change of her distemper, which was an intermitting fever: he fee’d the surgeon largely to save her, and at last had the satisfaction to see her recovering; youth and medicines both uniting, restored the charming maid to health, and Leander to his repose of mind; who now seeing the ship not many leagues from the desired port, flattered himself that she should be his. But, alas, fate had otherwise determined; their faith and virtue was to meet with greater trials yet, and the time was far off before they should be happy.
Harriot being now a little used to her new way of life, began to recover a little her drooping spirits, by being continually entertained with the company of Leander, for whom by this time she had no small esteem; they were continually together except when decency required them to be asunder. One evening as they were both walking the quarter deck with the captain, treating with him about her ransom, the weather being excessive clear, not a cloud to be seen, a man at the mast-head cried out a sail, which was bearing down to them with full speed, and in half an hour’s time they could perceive that she was a ship of force, which they feared, as it certainly was, a pirate. She came up with them in forty-five degrees of latitude, bearing English colours, she mounted thirty guns, well manned; and they soon discovered who they were by their firing at them and putting up a bloody flag, bidding them surrender, directly lay to, and poured in a broad-side. The French captain Du Pre, did on this occasion all that a brave man could, nor did Leander fail to shew his courage, but fought both for his mistress and liberty till he was wounded in many places, and retiring into the cabin to have his wounds dressed, there he found the affrighted Harriot lying in a swoon on the floor: at this sight he forgot himself, and catching her up in his arms, fell back with her, and having lost much blood, he fainted; mean time the villain Du Pre was killed on the deck, and the pirates gave a great shout as soon as they saw him fall, threw out their graplings, and entering the ship, soon mastered the few that were left to oppose them, and coming into the cabin, saw the fair Harriot and her lover holding her clapsed in his arms, as if resolved in death not to part with her. The pirates, who had taken the ship, being English, French, and Irishmen, belonging to the crew at Madagascar, were moved at this sight; particularly a desperate young man that commanded the pirate ship; he was charmed with the face of the reviving Harriot, who lifting up her bright eyes ravished his soul; he raised her up in his arms, forcing Leander’s hands to let her go, he being still senseless; she looked upon him with much amazement, but was silent with fear. The pirate-captain comforted her with tender words, then she fell at his feet, and entreated him to pity her companion, Leander. He presently ordered some wine to be given him, had him laid on the bed, and his wounds dressed; then left her with him, whilst he gave orders how to dispose of the goods and men that were left alive in the ship, commanding the richest merchandize, some provisions, and the guns and powder in it, to be carried aboard his own ship, and the men and merchant-ship to be dismissed with what he thought sufficient to support them till they reached Barbadoes or Virginia, excepting no person but the fair virgin and her lover. Whilst he saw these things done, and searched the ship, Harriot had time to bewail her sad state and her lovers, who was now so overwhelm’d with grief and pain, that he could scarce utter his thoughts in these moving expressions: ‘My dear Harriot, ’tis our hard fate to be now left here alone in the hands of men whose obdurate hearts are insensible to pity, from whom we can expect nothing but ill usage, did not your angelick face too well convince me that they will spare your life. Oh! could I find a way to secure your virtue, tho, with the loss of my life, I should die with pleasure: but, alas, you must be sacrificed, and I be left the most unhappy wretch on earth, if providence does not prevent it by some miracle or by death. Say, my angel, what can we do?’ Harriot, shedding a flood of tears, replied, ‘My dear preserver, my only hope on earth, all a weak virgin can do to preserve her honour, I will do, and only death shall part us; but let me caution you to say you are my brother, for the pirate captain seems to look on me with some concern; I fear affection: and if so, should he discover ours to one another, it might ruin us, and cause the villain to destroy you to possess me, who being left in his hands when you are gone, shall be forced to what my soul abhors more than death.’ What, do I say forced? no I never will be, for here is a friend which I will always carry about me (pulling out a dagger) that will defend me from the brutality of a villain that would do such an act of abhorrence. My dear Leander, I will die before I will yield up my virtue. Leander, pressing her hand, replied, ‘Alas, there needed only that dreadful thought to end me;’ and so fainted: her shrieks brought the pirate-captain, who was an Irish gentleman, (whose story we shall relate hereafter) down to the cabin-door, who seeing her wringing her hands over the pale young man who lay senseless, began to suspect he was her lover, and was fired with jealousy: however, he ran to her, and lifting her up in his arms, asked her, who this person was for whom she was so greatly concerned? she answered, he was her brother; that they were going from France to Virginia to a rich uncle, having been cheated by their guardians of their fortune in France. And then she fell on her knees, and besought him with tears to land them on that coast, or put them into the next ship he met with bound to that place or near it. Appeased with hearing he was her brother, tho’ doubtful of the truth, he embraced her, and promised to do what she desired; commanding his surgeon and crew to do all that was necessary to save the young man’s life and recover him. Cordials being given him, and his wounds carefully dressed, he got strength daily. Mean time the captain, who was deeply smitten with the lovely Harriot, entertained great suspicions of Leander, had them carefully watched to discover whether he was her brother or not, resolving to get rid of him if his rival: but Harriot being on her guard, so well behaved herself, that he could get no satisfaction for some time. He daily importuned her with his passion for her in Leander’s presence, on whom she was continually attending; and told her, If she would consent to marry him when they come ashore at the island of Providence, which was at that time the pirate’s place of rendezvous, he would make her the richest lady in christendom, and give her brother a fortune, having such immense treasures buryed there in the earth, of jewels and gold, as would purchase them a retreat, and all things else they could desire in this world. To all these offers she gave little answer, but modestly excused herself from making any promises, saying she was too young to marry yet, and would consider farther of it when they came ashore, yet thanked him for his generous treatment of them. These delays still more inflamed him; he grew every day more earnest and importunate, and often proceeded to kiss her in Leander’s presence, whose inward grief can hardly be described, which his face often betrayed by turning pale, whilst his enraged soul sparkled in his fiery eyes when he saw his mistress rudely folded in the arms of a villain, who was not worthy to wipe her shoes. One day Harriot, willing to change the discourse of love, begged the pirate-captain to inform her who he was, and how he came to follow this unhappy course of life; perhaps, said she, being convinced you are well descended, as your gentlemen-like treatment of us inclines me to believe, I shall esteem you more. Glad to oblige her, he began the story of his life in this manner.
I was born in Ireland, divine Harriot, of a noble and loyal family, who fighting for King James II. were undone: my father fell with honour in the field, our estate was afterwards confiscated, and my poor mother, a lord’s daughter, left with three helpless children, of whom I was the eldest, exposed to want. I was then eighteen, and had a soul that could not bear misfortunes, or endure to see my mother’s condition; so I took my young sister, who was then but ten years old, and fair as an angel, and leaving my mother, and my brother, but an infant, at a relation’s house, who charitably took them in, escaped from my ruined country and friends to France, hoping to get some honourable post there, under that hospitable generous king who had received my prince. When we arrived at St. Germains, having spent what little our kind friends had given us at our first setting out from home, we were received but coldly. My sister, indeed, was by a French lady taken to be a companion for her eldest daughter, something so like a servant, that my soul burned with indignation. I waited long to get preferment, living on charity, that is, eating at other tables. At last I fell in company with some desperate young gentlemen, who, like me, were tired with this uncertain course of life, some of whom had been bred to sea; we agreed to go separately to Brest, and sieze in the night some small vessel ready victualled and equipped for a voyage, some of us having first gone aboard as passengers. This design we executed with so good success, that finding a small merchant-ship bound for Martinico, we sent five of our companions, being in all fourteen, as passengers, on board with our trunks of clothes; and pretending to take leave of them, all followed, staying till night, drinking healths with the French captain, who suspected nothing, and had but eight hands aboard of twenty six that belonged to the ship, which was designed to weigh anchor, and set sail the next day: we seized upon him first, and then on his men, singing so loud that they were not heard to dispute by the ships, who were lying near us in the harbour: we bound and put them all under hatches, and set sail immediately, resolving to make for the island of Jamaica, where we hoped to sell the merchandize we had in the ship, which was laden with rich goods; and having made our fortunes there, to go for Holland, and settle ourselves as merchants, or look out for some other way to make ourselves easy, and gain some settlement in the world. When we were got to sea, we fetched the captain up, and told him partly our design: he begged to be set ashore with his men, at some port of France; pleading he had a wife and seven children, and was undone if we carried him thence in that manner. So we consented to his desire, and at break of day gave him one of the boats, and six of the men to carry him to land, which I suppose he got safely to, having heard nothing more of him.
And now we put out all the sail we could, and had a prosperous voyage, till we came near Jamaica: there we met a pirate sloop well-mann’d and armed, carrying French colours: we were now most of us sick, and in great want of fresh water and provisions. They gave us a signal to lie by, and we supposing them to be friends, obeyed, joyful to meet a ship to assist us: but they soon made us sensible of our mistake, sending their boat’s crew on board, who seized us and our ship, and carried us all fettered to the island of Providence; where, in short, we grew intimate with these and other pirates, and consented to pursue the same course of life. They did not trust us in one ship together, but dividing us, took us out with them. Ten of us have already lost our lives bravely; three are married, and command ships like me; we have vast treasures, and live like princes on the spoils of others. ’Tis true, ’tis no safe employment, for we are continually in danger of death: hanging or drowning are what we are to expect; but we are so daring and hardened by custom, that we regard it as nothing. For my own part, I am often stung with remorse, and on reflection wish to quit this course of life: I am ashamed to think of the brutish actions I have done, and the innocent blood I have spilt, makes me uneasy, and apprehensive of death.
And now, sweet Harriot, I have told you my unhappy story, ’tis in your power to reclaim and make me happy: promise then to be mine, and I will marry you, and take all the treasure I am master of, and with your brother sail for Virginia; from thence we’ll go to England as passengers. You shall acquaint your uncle that we have been taken by pirates, and left on that place; for my ship shall in the night make off, and the boat having landed us, shall return to it; so that we and our wealth shall be left without fear of discovery. Then he addressed himself to Leander, saying, ‘Sir, I have treated you, for your sister’s sake, kindly and generously; I expect you should lay your commands upon her to consent to my request: I would not be obliged to use the methods I can take to procure what I now sue for; but if I am constrained to use force, it will be your own faults.’ At these words he went out of the cabin much disordered, and left them in great perplexity; a death-like paleness overspread their faces, and they sat silent for some moments: Then Leander fetching a deep sigh, casting his eyes up to heaven, said, ‘Now, my God, manifest thy goodness to us, and deliver us from the hands of this abominable villain that would rob me of life, and my lively Harriot of her virtue.’ Harriot would have spoke, the tears streaming down her pale cheeks, but he stopped her from declaring her sad thoughts, saying, softly, ‘Hush, my angel, we are watched, betray not the fatal secret that will bring death to me, and ruin you.’ They composed their looks as much as possible; and three days passed, in which the pirate-captain grew so importunate with Harriot, that she was forced to declare herself in some manner, and told him she was engaged to a gentleman in France. Finding that his importunities were in vain, he grew enraged, and told her, he was too well acquainted with the reason of her coldness towards him; and since fair means would not do, he would try other methods. At these words Leander started up and seized him by the throat, cried villain it is out of thy power, for thou cannot nor shall not whilst I live; but though Leander was a great deal stronger than the pirate, it was a very imprudent thing, for he was soon overpowered, after having lain three dead at his feet they seized him, put him in irons, and carried him down into the hold. Harriot transported with grief at this dismal sight, threw herself at the pirate’s feet, and told him, ‘’Tis in vain, cruel man, that you endeavour to force me to consent to your desires, I have a soul that scorns to yield to threats; nay, death shall not fright me into a compliance with your unjust request: I have already given my heart and faith to another, and am now resolved never to eat or drink again, till you release my husband, for such he is by plighted vows and promises, which I will never break: no, I will be equally deaf to prayers and threats; and if you use force, death shall free me. This is my last resolve, do as you please.’ At these words she rose and left him, and sat down with a look so resolute and calm, that his soul shook: he sat down by her, and reasoned with her: ‘Lovely Harriot, said he, why do you force me to be cruel? I love you passionately, and cannot live without you, nothing should have forced me to this act of barbarity, but my passion for you. Heaven will absolve you from the vows you have made, since you shall break them by necessity, not choice; that sin I shall be answerable for: my passion makes me as deaf to reason, as you are to pity: I beg you would consider e’er it is too late, and I am drove to use the last extremity to gain you. Your lover’s life is in my power: be kind and he may live, and be happy with some other maid; if you refuse my offers, he shall surely die: I give you this night to resolve; therefore it is in your power to preserve his life or destroy it.’ At these words he left her, setting a watch at the cabin door, and taking every thing from her that could harm her. He went to the quarter-deck, and called for Leander, who was brought up to him loaded with irons, he used threats, intreaties, and all he could think of, to make him consent to part with Harriot, and assist him to gain her; all which he rejected with scorn and disdain. At last he was so enraged, that he caused Leander to be stripped, and lashed in a cruel manner, who bravely stifled his groans, and would not once complain, lest Harriot should hear him, and be driven to despair. But the pirate’s rage did not end here; he had him carried down and shewn to her, the blood running down his tender back and arms; he ordered him to be gaged, that he might not speak to her: but she, doubtless, inspired with courage from above; supported this dreadful sight with great constancy and calmness, spoke to Leander in these words: ‘’Tis the will of heaven, said she, my dear Leander that we should suffer thus: Be constant, as I will be, God will deliver us by death or miracle.’ The pirate ordered him back to the hold, some brandy being given him to drink, which he refused. And now he resolved to gratify his flame, by enjoying Harriot at midnight by force: in order to which he left her under a guard, and returned not to her till the dead of night, when, being lain on the bed in her cabin, weeping and praying, almost spent with extream grief and abstinence, he stole gently to her, having put on Leander’s coat, in hopes to deceive her the more easily; then laying his cheek to hers, he wispered, ‘Charming Harriot, see your glad lover loosened from his chains, flies to your arms.’ She, as one awakened from a horrid dream, trembling, and in suspence, lifted up her eyes amazed, and thought him to be Leander; when he, impatient to accomplish his base design, proceeding to further freedoms beyond modesty, discovered to her the deceit, which she, inspired by her good angel, seemed not to know: but taking the dagger from her bosom which she always kept there, unperceived by any, and stabbed him in the belly so dangerously, that he fell senseless on the bed. At this instant a sailor cryed out, ‘a sail, a sail; where’s our captain?’ This alarmed all the crew, and the gunner running to the great cabin-door, which the captain had locked when he went in, knocked and called; but only Harriot answered, he was coming. Mean time the ship they had seen coming up, gave them such a broad-side, as made the whole crew run to their arms: a bloody fight ensued, and Harriot consulting what to do, believing the pirate captain dead, and being well assured the ship that fought with that she was in, must be some man of war or frigate come in pursuit of the pirates, because she first attacked them, resolved to disguise herself, and go out of the cabin to see the event, hoping the danger they were in would make them free her dear Leander. She catched up a cloak that lay in the cabin, and a hat, and so disguised opened the door; but seeing a horrid fight between the ships crew and the Spaniards, who had now boarded her, (for it was a Spanish man of war, who was sent out to scour the pirates in those parts, and having met the French ship out of which Harriot had been taken, and by them got intelligence of this pirate ship, was come in pursuit of them) she did not dare to venture farther than the door. Mean time the pirate-captain recovering from his swoon, got up, so wounded and faint with loss of blood, that he could scarce crawl to the door, from which he pushed Harriot, whom he did not at that instant know: he called for help, but seeing the enemy driving his men back upon him, sword in hand, he endeavoured to take down a cutlass that was near him, and fell down. The pirates seeing their commander fall, were put in the greatest disorder; the Spaniards soon mastered them, having made a dreadful slaughter, putting all to the sword that came in their way, what few that escaped secured themselves in the hold, until such times their fury was abated; the Spanish captain, who was not only a brave, but a most accomplished young gentleman, with some of his officers, entered the great cabin, in which Harriot, and the half dead pirate were: she immediately cast off her disguise, and threw herself at his feet, begging him in the French tongue, to pity and protect her, and a young gentleman whom the pirate had bound in irons, under the hatches, whose life she valued above her own. He gazed upon her with admiration: her beauty and youth were such advocates, as a gallant Spaniard could not refuse any thing she asked: he took her up in his arms, promised her all she desired, and commanded the young gentleman should be immediately looked for, and, if living, set at liberty. Leander had heard the guns and noise, and none but a brave man can be sensible of what he felt, to behold himself lay bound hand and foot, whilst his mistress’s distress and liberty were disputed, he was ready to tear his limbs off to get free from his fetters; but heaven preserved his life by keeping him thus confined, who else had been exposed to all the dangers of the flight. The Spaniards soon found and freed him, bringing him up to the cabin, where Harriot received him with transport; and the Spanish captain, and his friends, gave him joy of his freedom. The pirate captain, at her intreaty, was taken care of by the surgeon, his wound dressed, and put to bed, being almost senseless, and in great danger of death. And now a sufficient number of men, with a lieutenant, being left on board the pirate ship, Leander and Harriot, having all that belonged to them restored by the brave Spaniard, went on board his ship, where they were highly treated, and might in safety bless God, and enjoy some repose.
Once more they were again agreeably entertained with each other’s company, when they little expected ever to enjoy that happiness again. The Spanish ship was bound for the island of St. Domingo, from whence our lovers hoped to get passage to Virginia, little expecting what changes of fortune they were to meet with in the island they were going to. There was on board the Spanish ship a young gentleman named Don Carlos, the son of the governor of St. Domingo, who went, attended by two servants, as a volunteer, to shew his courage, and for pleasure. He was very handsome, and of a daring and impatient temper, ambitious and resolute, tho’ respected by all that knew him, his father’s darling, and, in short, a man who could bear no contradiction. He was so charmed with Harriot, that he was uneasy when out of her sight: he mustered up all his resolution at first to check his passion, as knowing she was promised to Leander, yet, in spight of all his resolutions it daily increased; he began to hate him as his rival, and meditate how to take her from him. It is the nature of the Spaniards, we all know, to be close and very subtle in their designs, very amorous, and very revengeful: this Cavalier wisely concealed his passion from her, and contrived to get his ends so well, that he effected it without appearing criminal. In their passage to St. Domingo, they met a small French merchant-ship bound to Virginia, whose captain was acquainted with the affair: they saluted, and the French captain came on board; where, seeing Leander, he appeared very joyful. ‘Sir, said he, I have a lady on board, who has left France to follow you, the charming Madamoiselle Camilla, your guardian’s daughter, who, sensible of the injuries her father had done you, and constant in her affection to you, is a passenger in my ship: I will go fetch her.’ Leander stood like one thunder-struck at this news, and Harriot looked upon him with disdain and shame; whilst joy glowed in Don Carlos’s face. And now ’tis fit that we should know the unfortunate maid’s story, who thus followed him that fled from her.
You have been already informed that this young lady was Leander’s guardian’s daughter, and by consequence his first cousin; they had been bred up together and designed for one another; she was fair, wise and virtuous, but yet could not charm Leander’s heart, though he did her’s; she loved him before she was sensible what love was, and her passion encreased with her years: her father, who had his own interest more in view than his daughter’s welfare, approved her choice, because it secured the estate to the family; and Leander treated her always with great respect and tenderness as his kinswoman and a lady of great merit, but never made any promises of marriage; she was but little younger than himself, and had refused many advantageous offers, declaring she was pre-ingaged. She was much concerned at her father’s wicked designs against him, and though she too well perceived he did not love her as a lover ought, which indeed her father hated him for, yet she so doted on him, that she resolved to serve and follow him to death, flattering herself, that since she could not discover he loved any other person, time and her constancy would gain her his affection. When he left France to go for Virginia, she resolved to follow him so soon as she could get an opportunity; in order to which she got what money she could together, and went disguised like a man on board this French ship, where she made herself known to the captain, having left a letter for her father to acquaint him where she was gone. She soon came a-board the Spanish ship, and seeing Leander, who could not possibly receive her uncivilly, she ran to him with a transport that too well manifested her affection for him. Are we again met, said she, and has Heaven heard my vows? Nothing but death shall separate me from you any more. Madam, said he, extremely disordered, I am sorry that you have risked your life and honour so greatly for a person who is unable to make you the grateful returns you merit; my friendship shall ever speak my gratitude; but here is a lady to whom my faith is engaged. Too constant Camilla, how is my soul divided between love and gratitude? At these words Harriot, who was inflamed with jealousy and distrust, seeing how beautiful her rival was, and reflecting that they had been long acquainted and bred up together, that it was his interest to marry the French lady, addressed herself to Camilla in this manner, ‘Madam, your plea and title to Leander’s heart is of much older date than mine; ’tis just he should be your’s; and that I may convince you that my soul is generous and noble, I will save him the confusion of making apologies to me, and resign my right in him.’ Leander would have spoken, but Harriot interrupted him with the following words, ‘Yes, base, ungenerous Leander, who have deceived me, return to your duty, I will no more listen to your oaths and vows, leave me to the providence of God; I ask no other favour of you and this lady, but to assist me to get a passage home to England.’ Leander was so confounded, he knew not what to do; he strove all he could to convince Harriot of his sincerity, and at the same time was found to speak in such a manner, not quite to drive a lady to despair for whom he had a tender regard. Camilla, too sensible that he did not love her, and distracted to see her rival so adored, and herself so slighted and exposed, did all she was able to augment her rival’s uneasiness; and now Leander was so watched and teized by both, that he was near distracted; he desired to go into the French ship with the two ladies to go for Virginia, but Don Carlos secretly opposed it, resolving to take Harriot from him; in order to which he got the Spanish captain to get Leander to go on board the French ship to be merry. Leander entertained not the least suspicion of its being a contrivance, readily went, leaving the two ladies setting together in the great cabin. Some time after, the Spanish captain, stepping out of the room, goes into his boat, and returning to his own ship, whispers Camllla, whom Don Carlos and he had acquainted with their design, who willingly agreed to rid herself of her rival, to go on board the French ship immediately, which she did. In the mean time Leander, missing the captain, asked for him, and was told he was gone to his own ship, at which he was surprized; but when he saw the boat come back with one woman only, his colour changed, and knowing Camilla when she came nearer, he began to suspect some treachery; he gave her his hand to come into the ship, saying, where is Harriot, why did you not bring her with you, what is the reason that you are come alone? I have brought your trunks and things, said she; she is coming on board when the boat returns. Whilst they were talking the boat made off, the trunks being handed up. He then too plainly discovered the stratagem, he stormed like a madman, calling for the French captain’s boat: mean time the Spanish ship made off with all her sails, being a ship of war and a good sailor; the little merchant ship, which was heavy loaden, could not pretend to overtake her. Having thus lost the divine Harriot, whom he loved as much as man could love, he lost all patience, reproaching Camilla in the most cruel terms, nay even cursing her as the cause of his ruin and death; she endeavoured to appease him with all the tender soft expressions imaginable, pretending that she was innocent and knew nothing of the Spaniard’s design; and in return vented her reproaches against him in the following words. ‘Ah! cruel Leander, (said she) do not repay my affection with such unkind treatment; have I not followed you, left my native country, and all that was dear to me, exposing myself to all the dangers of the seas and various sicknesses incident to change of climate: in fine, what I have left undone to merit your esteem? Are these the returns you make me? Must a stranger rob me of your heart? Consider what this usuage may reduce me to do: if fate to punish you, has taken her from you, must I bear the blame? ’Tis just heaven, that in pity to my sufferings decrees your separation; and if you cannot love me, yet ’tis the least you can do to use me civilly and send me back to my home, that I may retire to some convent, and spend my unhappy life in prayers for you, for I will pray for and love you to death.’ At these words she fainted, and fell down at his feet. Leander, touched with this moving sight, almost forgot his own griefs, and laying her on his bed in his cabin, revived her with wine and cordials; and seeing her open her eyes, he took her kindly by the hand, saying, ‘Charming Camilla, forgive me the rash expressions I have used: urged by my despair I knew not what I did or said; I own the obligation I have to you, and have all the grateful sense of it that you can wish; you are dear to me as the ties of blood and friendship can make you, and though fate has permitted me to give my heart to another, yet you shall ever be the next to her in my esteem.’ These tender speeches, with many others of the same kind, in some sort comforted the afflicted Camilla, who concluded in herself that she should in time, having got rid of her rival, get his affection; in order to which she behaved herself so towards him, and treated him with such respect and tenderness, that he was obliged to conceal his grief for Harriot’s loss, and appear tolerably satisfied: yet he was almost distracted in reality, and determined to go in search of her so soon as he could get ashore at Virginia, and find a ship to carry him to the island of St. Domingo, to which he knew the Spanish ship was bound, designing to leave Camilla with his uncle. Thus resolved he seemed pacified, and in a few days they got into the desired port, and were received by his uncle with much joy; who promised, upon hearing his nephew’s story, to assist him in all he was able, to oblige his guardians in France to do him and his sister justice.
And now Leander’s whole business was to get a bark to carry him to the island where he supposed his mistress to be; but the inward grief of his mind, and the constraint he had put upon himself, had so impaired his health, that he fell sick of a fever, which brought him so low that he was ten months before he was able to go out of his chamber, his illness being much increased by the vexation of his mind; all which time Camilla waited on and attended him with such extraordinary care and tenderness, that she much injured her own constitution, and fell into a consumption, at which Leander was much concerned. In this time he contracted a great friendship with a young gentleman, his uncle’s only son, a young man of extraordinary parts and goodness, handsome and ingenious; his name was Lewis Dumaresq, which was the name of Leander’s mother’s family: he was about twenty-two years old, and had travelled most parts of Europe. To him Leander made known all his secret thoughts, and design of going to St. Domingo in search of Harriot, offered to accompany him thither, and to assist him in all he was able. Here we must leave Leander to recover his health, and relate what befel Harriot, who was left in Don Carlos’s hands and power.
As soon as Harriot found the ship under sail, and discovered that she was betrayed and robbed of her dear Leander, she retired to her cabin, cast herself on her bed, and abandoned herself to grief. ‘My God, said she, lifting up her delicate hands and watry eyes, for what am I reserved? What farther misfortunes must I suffer? No sooner did thy Providence provide me a friend to comfort me in my distress, and delivered me out of the merciless hands of pirates, but it has again exposed me helpless and alone to strangers. Men who are more violent and revengeful in their nature, than any I have yet met withal. Perhaps poor Leander is already drowned in the merciless sea by the cruel Carlos, to whom, unless thy goodness again delivers me, I must be a sacrifice.’ Whilst she was thus expostulating with heaven, the amorous Spaniard came to her cabin-door, and gently opening it, sat down on the bed by her, and seeing her drowned in tears, was for some moments silent; at last, taking her hand he kissed it passionately, and said, ‘Too charming lovely maid, why do you thus abandon yourself to passion? Give me leave to convince you that you have no just cause of grief, and that I have done nothing base or dishonourable; your lover had ungratefully left a lady to whom he had been engaged from his infancy, one who highly deserved his esteem, and so loved him that you see she has ventered her life and fame to follow him: to you he was a stranger, and being false to her he had known so long, you have all the reason in the world to doubt his constancy to you. Your rival had resolved to rid herself of you, and you were hourly in danger of death whilst she was with you. Believe me, Harriot, the fear of losing you, whom my soul adores, made me take such measures to secure your life, and restore to the lady her faithless lover. I am disengaged, and have a fortune worthy your acceptance. This day, this hour, if you’ll consent, I’ll marry you to secure you from all fears of being ruined or abandoned by me; and till you permit me to be happy, I’ll guard and wait on you with such respect and assiduity, that you shall be at last constrained to own that I do merit to be loved, and with that lovely mouth confirm me happy.’ She answered him with much reserve, wisely considering in herself, that if she treated him with too much rigor, he might be provoked to use other means to gratify his passion; that she was wholly in his power, and unable to deliver herself out of his hands. In fine, some days passed, in which she was so altered with grief, that her lover was under great concern, he treated her with all the gallantry and tender regard that a man could use to gain a lady’s heart; he let nothing be wanting, but presented her with wines, sweetmeats, and every thing the ship afforded, offering her gold and rings, and at length perceived that she grew more chearful and obliging, at which he was even transported. The weather had till now been very favourable, but as they were sailing near the Summer-Islands, a dreadful storm or hurricane arose, and drove them with such fury for a day and a night, that the ship at last struck against one of the smallest of them, and stuck so fast on the shore that they could not get her off, which obliged them to get the boats out and lighten the ship of the guns and heaviest things, in doing which they discovered that the ship had sprung a leak; this made them under a necessity of staying on this island for some days to repair the damage. The captain, Harriot, Don Carlos, and all the ship’s crew went on shore; they found it was one of those islands that was uninhabited, so they resolved to go from thence as soon as they could to Bermudas; but Providence had decreed their stay there for some time. The time they landed was about midnight, the sky darkened extremely, and such a storm of lightning and thunder followed, that the ship took fire, and was consumed with all that was left in it; the affrighted Harriot, who had no other covering to defend her but the tents they had made of the tarpaulins and sails, now thought her misfortunes and life were at an end; her lover and all the rest recommended themselves to God, not expecting to survive that dreadful night. Some of the ship’s crew venturing to look out after the ship, were lost, being blown into the sea, and the morning shewed the dismal prospect of their flaming ship, which lay burning on the shore almost intirely consumed. All the hope they now had left, was, that some boats or barks would come to their relief from the adjacent islands. The storm being over towards evening, after having taken some refreshment of what provisions and drink they had left, which they had brought on shore, they ventured to walk about the island, on which was plenty of fowl and trees. Don Carlos leading Harriot, they wandered to a place where they saw some trees growing very close together, in the midst of which they perceived a sort of hut or cottage made of a few boards and branches of trees, and coming up to it saw a door standing open made of a hurdle of canes; and concluding this place was inhabited by somebody, curiosity induced them to look into it. There, stretched on an old mattress, lay a man who appeared to be of a middle age, pale as death, and so meagre and motionless, that they doubted whether he was living or dead, his habit was all torn and ragged, yet there appeared something so lovely and majestic in his even dying look, that it nearly touched their souls. Don Carlos going into this poor hut, took him by the hand, and finding he was not dead, spoke to him, asking if he could rise and eat, who he was, and other questions, to all which he made no answer, but looked earnestly upon him. Mean time Harriot ran and fetched a bottle of rum, returning with such incredible speed, that only that ardent charity that inflamed her generous soul could have enabled her to do; Don Carlos poured some of this rum into his mouth, but it was some time before the poor creature could swallow it; at last he seemed a little revived, and said in French, God preserve you who have relieved me; he could say no more, but fainted: Don Carlos, repeating his charitable office, gave him more rum, whilst Harriot fetched some bread and meat; he swallowed a mouthful or two, but could eat no more. By this time the captain and other officers came up, and were equally surprized at so sad an object; two of the seamen were ordered to stay with him that night; and the next morning Harriot and the rest returned to visit him, impatient to know who he was, and how he came in that condition. He was come a little to himself, and received them in so courtly a manner, though he was unable to rise up upon his feet, his weakness was so great, that they concluded he was some man of quality; and after some civilities had passed, Don Carlos begged to know who he was. I will, said he, if I am able, oblige you with the recital of a story so full of wonders, that it will merit a place in your memories all the days of your lives; you seem to be gentlemen, and that young lady’s curiosity shall be gratified. Don Carlos bowing, seated Harriot and himself on the ground by him, the captain and the rest stood before the cottage door, and the stranger having taken a piece of bisket and a glass of wine, being very faint, began the narrative of his life in the following manner.
‘I was born in France at St. Maloes, my father was a rich merchant in that place, his name was Le Montague, I was the youngest of two sons which he had, and being grown up to man’s estate, my father was mightly sollicitous to see me disposed of advantageously, hoping I should marry such a fortune as might provide for me without lessening his own, so that my elder brother might be advanced to a title which he designed to purchase for him, or some great employ. This he was continually sounding in my ears. But, alas, my soul was averse to his commands, for I had already engaged my affections to a young lady whom I had unfortunately seen when I was but fifteen, at a monastery to which I had been sent by my father, to see a kinswoman who was a professed nun there; visiting her, I saw this fair young pensioner, who was then about fifteen years old; she was beautiful as an angel, and I found her conversation as charming as her face; her name was Clementina; and the monastery being at a village not above ten miles distant from St. Maloes, I used secretly to visit her at least once or twice a week, so that I got her promise to marry me so soon as I was settled in the world. She told me she was the only daughter of an old widow lady who lived fifty miles distant, was extreme rich, and had placed her there, because the abbess was her mother’s sister; that her fortune was left her at her mother’s disposal. This was her circumstance, which obliged me, being a younger brother, to defer marrying her till I had got some way of providing for her, that I might venture to take her without asking our parents consent: this delay was our undoing; for when I was twenty, an old widow-lady came to my father’s on some money-affairs, and was lodged at our house, where she took such a fancy to me, that she boldly sollicited my father to lay his commands upon me to marry her, which offer he readily accepted; and having laid all the advantages of this rich match before me, concluded with injoining me with the strictest injunctions to marry her forthwith. I pleaded in vain that I was pre-ingaged to another. He told me in a rage, I must take my choice, either to consent or go out of his doors immediately, protesting he would never give me a groat, and disown me if I was disobedient to his commands. But when I proceeded in the humblest manner to make known who the person was to whom I was preingaged. Good heaven! how was I surprized to find it was this lady’s daughter? And now the fatal secret being known, Clementina was in a few days removed out of my sight and knowledge, being taken away from the monastery, and sent I know not whither. Some months past in which I busied myself in making inquiry after her, but all in vain; at last, quite wearied out with my father’s threats and the widow’s importunities, I consented to be wretched, and married her, whom in my soul I loathed and hated; nor had I done it, but in hopes to get to the knowledge of the place where my dear Clementina was concealed from me, resolving never to consummate my marriage with her mother: which way of proceeding so enraged her, that we lived at continual variance: yet shame withheld her from declaring this secret to the world; together with spite, because she would continue to plague me by living with me. At last, by the means of one of the servants, whom I bribed, (having now all her fortune at command, which I took care to manage so well, that I laid by a great sum of money to provide for me and Clementina, with whom I resolved to fly from France so soon as I could find her) I got knowledge that she was locked up in a convent near Calais; on which I converted all my money secretly into gold and bills of exchange, resolving to set out for England with her so soon as we could get off, having there an uncle at Bristol, my father’s brother.’ At these words Harriot looked earnestly upon him, surprized to find he was her cousin-german. But he continued his discourse thus: ‘But now I was in a great dilemma how to get to the speech of her to inform her of my design, as likewise how to get away from my wife, who was continually hanging upon me, and following of me, fearing she should discover whither I was going, being certain she would remove Clementina from the convent. I therefore picked a quarrel one evening with my wife about a trifle on purpose, and the next morning took horse by break of day, attended with only one servant in whom I could confide, and set out for St. Malos, were being arrived, I hired a vessel to carry me to Calais, fearing to be followed if I had gone by land; the wind was contrary for some days, so that my revengeful wife had time to send for Clementina from the convent. At my arrival there, I had the mortification to find her gone, but none could, or indeed would, inform me whither she was carried: this so exasperated me against my wife, that I resolved not to return home any more: so I went directly to my father’s, and staid there a month, pretending business with some masters of ships that were expected to come into that port. Mean time my wife got intelligence where I was, and came to me: I received her civily before my father; but at night, when we were in bed, we fell into a warm dispute, which ended in a resolution on my side to leave her for ever, with which I acquainted her; but then she fell to intreaties, and in the softest terms laid before me my ingratitude to her, and how wicked my design was upon her daughter; pleading, that as she was my wife, she had all the reason in the world to keep me from the conversation of a person whom I loved better than herself; that she had made me master of a plentiful fortune, and concealed from the world the high affront I had put upon her, in refusing to perform the duties of a husband to her. To all which I answered, That as for the ceremony of our marriage, I looked upon it as nothing, since I was compelled to it; that I had denied myself all converse with her as a wife, because I would not commit a sin, by breaking my solemn vows and engagements with her daughter, whom I had made choice of before I saw her; and since there was no other way left to free me, I resolved to declare all to the world, and annul our marriage, and restore what mouey and estate I had remaining in my hands to her. At these words she flew into a violent passion. Well then (said she) since you will thus expose me, I’ll do myself this justice, to remove Clementina from your sight for ever; be assured you shall never see her more in this world. She that moment leaped out of bed, called for her servant, and put on her clothes; and though I used many intreaties to deter her, nay proceeded to threats, yet she persisted in her resolution, and going down to my father, acquainted him with all that had passed between us, desiring him to prevent me from following her, which he, being highly incensed against me, too well performed: for he came up to my chamber, where I was dressing in order to follow her, but he kept me there in discourse whilst she took coach and was gone I knew not whither, nor could I for some days hear any news of her. Mean time my father and brother continually persecuted me on her account, bidding me go home and live like a Christian; nay they employed several priests and the bishop of the place to talk to me, so that I was now looked on with much dislike; and being weary of this schooling, I set out for home, where I found my wife sick, which indeed so touched me, that I repented of having used her so unkindly, and resolved to treat her more respectfully for the time to come. A whole year past, all which time she languished of a lingering fever and inward decay, grief having doubtless seized her spirits. I used her with as much tenderness as if I had been her son; we never bedded together, but kept two apartments. In fine, she died, and on her death-bed, some hours before she expired, took me by the hand as I sat on her bedside, and said these words to me, which are still fresh in my memory; Mr. Le Montague, I am now going to leave you, and I hope to be at rest; I have loved you as tenderly and passionately as ever wife did a husband; and though I committed a great folly in marrying a person who was so much younger than myself, and pre-ingaged, yet no vitious inclinations induced me to it, as my behaviour to you since must convince you. I flatter myself, that gratitude and my behaviour towards you, would have gained your love, but was deceived. I have never been to blame in all my conduct towards you, but to my child I have been cruel and unkind; for fearing a criminal conversation between you if you came together, I used all my endeavours to keep you asunder, and finding that even the convents could not secure her, provoked by your ill usage, at last I resolved to send her out of France, which I effected by means of a captain of a ship which was bound to Canada, who took her with him with a sum of money, promising to see her there disposed of in marriage to some merchant or officer in those parts, which we doubted not but she would readily consent to, finding herself among strangers, and bereft of all hopes of seeing you any more. I have never heard of her since. This action I heartily repent of, and to expiate my fault, I shall leave you all my fortune, with a strict injunction, as you hope for everlasting happiness hereafter, to go in search of her, and employ it in endeavouring to find her; and if she be married, give her part to make her happy: and may that God, whose merciful forgiveness and pardon I now implore, direct and prosper you, and bring you safe together, if she be yet single. I can do no more, but ask you to accept of this my last action as an atonement for all the trouble I have occasioned you, and not hate my memory. I was so struck with hearing Clementina was sent so far off, and so disarmed of my resentments by the sight of my wife’s condition, who was now struggling with death, that the tears poured down my face, and my soul was so oppressed, that I swooned; which so disturbed her, that her confessor, who was present at this discourse, ordered me to be carried out of the room.’ Here he seemed faint, and Don Carlos gave him some wine; after which he continued his relation in this manner. ‘Recovering from my swoon, I soon discovered by the outcries and lamentations of the servants that my wife was dead. I behaved myself with all the decency and prudence I was able on this occasion, and buried her suitable to her birth and fortune; after which I thought of nothing but my voyage to Canada, having informed myself of the ship and captain’s name, who carried away Clementina; which was not returned, or expected back to France in three years, being gone a trading voyage for some merchants at Dieppe. I left my father to take care of the estate, who sent my brother to reside there; made my will, and having provided myself with money, bills of exchange, and all other necessaries, I went aboard a merchantship called the Venturous, bound for those parts to trade, not doubting but that we should meet with the captain there who had conveyed Clementina thither, and then there was no question but I should make him confess where he had left her. We had a prosperous voyage for some weeks, but coming near Newfoundland, we unfortunately met a pirate ship, who boarded and took us after a fierce dispute which lasted three hours, in which our ship was so shattered, that she sunk as they were rifling her; in which accident several of the pirates perished, and all the passengers and sailors belonging to our ship, except my unfortunate self and surgeon, who were taken up by ropes into the pirate ship, where we were put in irons into the hold, I suppose because they were in an ill humour at the loss of their companions and the ship. Some days past before we had the favour of being brought up upon the deck, and our irons taken off. We were both very sick; as for my part, I was so afflicted at being prevented from going my intended voyage, that I was careless of what became of me. There was amongst the pirates some that looked like gentlemen, but they all talked and behaved themselves like desperate villains, oaths and curses were as common as in a gaming-house, they drank like Germans, and discoursed like atheists, and libertines; they asked us many questions, who and what we were, to all which we answered cautiously. I told them, if they would set me on any shore thereabouts, from whence I might travel by land, or get shipping to Canada, I would promise if I lived to return to France, to remit a thousand pistoles to any part of the world, or person they should name; they took little notice of my offers, but let us have the liberty of walking in the day-time on the decks, and at night they put us under hatches. At last we arrived at the island of Providence, where they were received by their companions with much joy. We remained in this wretched place ten whole months, in which time they used us like slaves, with many others whom they could not prevail with to take up their desperate manner of living. At last, wearied with this way of life, we desired to go out in one of their ships, desiring them to treat us as she should deserve by our bravery and good behaviour: they consented; and now all my hopes were that I should meet a welcome death to free me from the miseries of life, or find some way to escape from them. There were beside myself and friend, six gentlemen, three of whom were Spaniards, and the other three English, who, like us, went with them thro’ necessity; the ship was a frigate of 30 guns, and carried 140 hands: they designed to cruize near the Havanna, in hopes to catch some of the Spanish ships coming out thence: as we lay cruizing at some distance, a dreadful storm arose, which at last tore our ship in pieces near this island where we now are; every man was obliged to shift for himself; I catched hold of a plank, floating on which, it pleased Providence to cause the winds and waves to cast me on this place much bruised; here I have been three weeks. I made this hut with some old planks and what I found on the shore, to secure me from the cold and storms; this old mattrass and coat I also found; all my food has been the eggs of sea-fowls and birds, which I have daily gathered up on the sands and in holes in the rocks and hollow trees; but the anguish of my mind, with the bruises I received in my stomach in the ship-wreck, had at last reduced me to such weakness, that I could no longer rise on my feet to seek for food; and when divine Providence brought you here to my relief, I had been three whole days without tasting any sustenance, and had by this been freed from my miseries.’ Then he fetched a deep sigh, concluding his story with these words: ‘Yet I am in duty bound to thank God and you, and hope, since he has prolonged my stay on earth a little longer, that he will make life supportable, by furnishing me with means to find her out, without whom I must be ever wretched.’
As soon as the unfortunate Le Montague had made an end of his story, the compassionate Harriot, touched to the heart with the misfortunes of her cousin which so equalled her own, acquainted him who she was, and in few words of the manner of her coming to that place; at which he was filled with admiration: but he was so amazed when he heard that Leander and Camilla had left France in such a manner, that he could scarce credit it, they being his intimate friends; yet she in the relation made no mention of Don Carlos’s treachery or Leander’s love to her, saying only he was gone to Virginia in a French ship. The conversation now turning to be general, every person spoke their sentiments of Le Montague’s adventures; some days passed with much anxiety, provisions were husbanded, and their fears of wanting daily increased; Monsieur Le Montague soon mended, and company rendered their solitary way of living in this desolate place more supportable; they were hourly in expectation of seeing some ship pass by to the adjacent islands, having placed a white cloth on the top of a stick on the most eminent part of the island, to give notice of their distress: thus they spent three whole weeks, in which time most of the victuals they had saved were spent, the dreadful apprehensions of famine appeared in every face, and every one walked about looking what they could find to eat, in hopes to satisfy nature without diminishing the small stock of provisions they had left. Don Carlos, who was one of the most vigilant in searching out something to give Harriot fit for her to eat, went one morning to the farthest part of the island, which was about seven miles over, and there ascending a high rock, stood looking on the sea, and perceived a boat fastened in a little cliff of the rock, out of which cliff a black came, and launching out the boat, put off to sea, making towards another island. Don Carlos concluded this person lived somewhere in this rock, and resolved to search about it in hopes to discover some persons there, by whom he might be assisted and his friends, to get from this dismal island, or at least to wait the man’s return, or find out his abode, in order to return thither that evening. He found it very dangerous to descend on that side of the rock next the sea, and was long e’er he could find the place out of which he saw the man come forth; but at last he perceived a sort of a door, which seemed to shut in a place that was the entrance of a cavern in the rock: but it was fast locked, and he could not discern through the keyhole any thing but a glimmering light, yet he heard a human voice like a woman’s, talking to a child, but he understood but little of it, because it was a language he could not speak much of, being English; he waited some hours, and finding the man did not return, he went away, and hastened to Harriot with the glad tidings that he had found a boat, and persons on the island. Both she and the whole company were agreeably surprized with this news; and the captain, Monsieur Le Montague, Don Carlos, and Harriot, all resolved to make their evening’s walk to this place.
In the morning Harriot and the rest walked to the rock in the evening, and getting up to the top of it, saw from thence the black man standing at the entrance of his cave, with a white woman who seemed to be very young and very handsome; she had a Malotta child in her arms about a year old, her gown and petticoat was made of a fine silk. Don Carlos called to them in French, at which the man looked up; and Harriot spoke in English to the woman, desiring her to come up and speak to her; on which the blackamoor pushed the woman in, and returning no answer, shut the door upon himself and her. Don Carlos and the rest concluded that they feared being discovered; so they all descended the rock and went to the door, resolving to force it open if they could not gain entrance otherwise, and remove their fears by speaking gently to them, and acquainting them with their distress. They knocked and called at the door for some time; but hearing a noise within, and no answer, they broke open the door with much difficulty, and entering, went through a narrow passage in the rock, so strait that but one person could go a-breast; at the end of which they came into some strange rooms fashioned by nature, though cleansed of moss and loose stones by labour: into these, light entered by the holes that were in some places open through the top of the rocks; but some part of the caves, or caverns, for they were scarce fit to be called rooms, were very dark. In the biggest room was a lamp burning, and here they saw two chests locked, and on a shelf some platters and bowls made of calibash-shells, with two or three wooden spits; and some sticks were burning in a corner of the room, in a place made with stones piled round, and opening in the front like a furnace, on which stood a pot, wherein something was boiling. There likewise hung up some fishing-tackle and a gun with a powder-horn, as also a bow with a quiver of arrows. In a place which was shut with a door, like a cupboard, stood bread and flower, and on the table (for there was a very odd one, and stools, which which seemed to be of the negro’s making) stood a basket with some clean linen for a child, and some canvas cut out for slaves jackets and drawers. In another room they saw a quilt and coverlids lying on some rushes on the floor; but they could find no living creature, at which they were much amazed. They called, and spoke in the softest terms, desiring them to come forth, if hid there, promising to do them no harm; but in vain. At last they heard a child cry, and following the sound of the voice, went through a narrow turning on the right hand, which brought them to a place where a door was shut, before which lay a terrible bear: Don Carlos, who was the foremost, carrying the lamp in one hand, and his sword in the other, being presently more apprehensive of Harriot’s danger than his own; she being next behind him, ran at the bear, designing to kill it, if possible, before it could rise; but was stopped by the sound of a human voice which came from that beast, saying, ‘For heaven’s sake, spare my life, and I’ll do all you’ll have me.’ At these words the negro came out of the bear’s skin, and threw himself at Don Carlos’s feet, who took him up; and Harriot bid him fear nothing, they being persons in distress, that wanted his assistance, and would pay him nobly for serving them. Then he opened the door he had lain before in the beast’s skin, and brought forth the young woman and child, whom Harriot embraced, whilst the poor creature wept for joy to see a Christian white woman. Now they were all chearful, and the negro being told, that they wanted his assistance, to carry one of them to any of the adjacent islands that was inhabited to get them some provisions, and hire a vessel to carry them to the island of St. Domingo, he readily promised to do it: ‘My boat, says he, will carry no great weight, being a small canoe which I made myself; but it will carry me and one more, with some small quantity of provisions.’ They were all impatient to know how this beautiful woman and black man came to this place; which they found she seemed not willing to declare whilst the negro was present; and therefore Harriot begged that she might accompany her whilst he brought the boat round to the other side of the island, to take in one of the sailors; not thinking it safe to trust Don Carlos, or one of the gentlemen with him in so slight a vessel. This the negro did not seem to be pleased withal, but yet dared not refuse it. He used to drag his boat up out of the water into a cleft, where it was impossible to be seen. And now the transported woman, with her tauny child, accompanied Harriot to her tent, and in the way recounted her sad story in these words:
‘My name is Leonora: I am the daughter of a planter in Virginia, who has a great plantation there, is extremely rich; and having no more daughters than myself, bred me up in the best manner, sending me to England for education, from whence I returned at thirteen years old. I was courted by several, and by one in particular whom I liked, and my father did not disapprove of; but it was my unhappy fate to be miserably disappointed of all my hopes. Amongst a great many negro slaves whom my father had to work in our plantation, he you saw was one, who appearing to be bred above the rest, and more capable of being serviceable in the house, was taken into it. He was about twenty years old, handsome and witty, could read and write, having (as he pretends) been a prince in his own country and taught several languages and arts by a Romish priest, who was cast ashore at Angola, from whence he came. He behaved himself so well, that he gained my father’s favour, and used often to wait on me when I walked out in an evening or rid out, running by my horse’s side; in short, he was ever ready to do me service. We had a pleasure-boat, having a city house at James-Town; and when I was there, I used often, with my companions, to go on the water in the evenings for pleasure, and then he used to steer the boat. He made himself the little boat you saw here, on pretence to go out a fishing for me, which much pleased my father, the fashion and usefulness of it being extraordinary; for it sails swift, and bears a rough sea beyond any thing we had ever seen. He used to catch fish very dexterously, as he did every thing he went about: he could paint, understood navigation, the mathematics; and, in short, was so beloved by my father, that he would have freed him, had he not feared losing of him. And now Domingo, for that is his name, became enamoured with me, and lift up his aspiring eyes to my unhappy face: his passion increased with time, and at last he resolved to possess me, or die in the attempt. Had he but once given me the least intimation of his passion, I should have acquainted my father with his insolence, and his death would have prevented my ruin: but this he knew, and therefore so well kept the secret to himself, that no body suspected it. He had taken care to provide some bread and money, by selling some tobacco, and little mathematical instruments and pictures he had made; my father, having given him a little piece of ground to plant, to buy him linen, allowing him to go finer drest than other slaves. He permitted him, when we went to the town, to sell trifles that he made. In fine, he waited only an opportunity to get me into his little boat, which he thus effected: one evening, the sea being very calm, he sat in the boat a fishing, having hid the bread and money in it; I walking down with my maid, to see what he had caught for my supper, he persuaded me to step into the boat, and sit down. ‘Now, Madam (said he) you shall see sport.’ He was pulling in a little net; I sat down, and the maid stood on the shore. He, in dragging the net, loosed the boat from the shore, which beginning to drive out to sea, surpriz’d me; but he bad me sit still, and fear nothing. I sat very patient for some time, till at last seeing him hoist the sail, and go farther from land, I began to be frightened; he pretended to be so too, and persuaded me he could not help it, that the wind and stream drove the boat against his will. He pulled a little compass out of his pocket, by which he steer’d. We were two nights and days thus sailing, in which time we pass’d by some islands, on which he pretended he could not land, because, as I since discover’d, he knew they were inhabited, and had before mark’d out this desolate place to carry me to. At last he brought me hither half dead with the fright, and faint, having eat only a little of the bread, and drank out of the bottle of wine which he had in the boat, in which he had put his tools for making mathematical instruments, and colours for painting. When we were landed, he seemed mighty sollicitous where to find a place for me to lie down, and food for me; and brought me into the cavern in the rock: there being seated on his jacket, on the ground, we eat what fish he had in the boat, broiled on a fire he made with sticks, having a tinder-box in his pocket. After we had eat he told me his design. ‘My dear lady, said he, I love you to madness, and was resolved to possess you or die: though my out-side is black, and distasteful, I fear, to your eyes, yet my soul is as noble and lovely as your own. I was born a prince, and free; and tho’ chance made me a slave, and the barbarous Christians bought and sold me, yet my mind they never could subdue. I adore you, and have long designed what I have now effected. No human creature dwells here besides ourselves, and from this place you never must expect to return.’ Here he proceeded to kiss me, my distraction was such, that I swooned; he took the advantage of those unhappy minutes, when I was unable to resist; and, in fine, has kept me here two whole years, maintaining me by carrying what he makes to the adjacent islands; where he sells his ingenious work to the inhabitants, and brings back provisions and cloathes for us: from thence he brought all you see in our miserable habitation; and to employ me, he brings work from these people. I make clothes for the slaves, and by this means, and his fishing and shooting, we have food enough. I had a pearl necklace, and some rings in my ears, and on my fingers, of value, when he brought me here; which he sold, and traded with the money. I have had but this child by him, which he doats on. He is a Christian, and would gladly marry me. He is so jealous, that whenever he discovers any body landed on the island, he always locks me up, if he goes out; he lives in continual fear, lest my father should make any discovery where we are, and send some to take me from him; in case of which I believe he would certainly kill me. He told me of your being here some days since, and warned me not to venture forth; which indeed I longed to do, in hopes to meet with somebody to converse withal, being weary of living such a solitary miserable life. When he found you were resolved to enter our being, which he thought secure, he put me into the room you saw me in, and placed himself before it in the bear’s skin; a stratagem he had invented long before, supposing no body would venture to search farther, when they saw so terrible a creature in so dismal a place. He had stuffed the legs, feet and head of the beast; so that placing himself in the belly of it, it appeared alive, especially in so dark a place. The two large chests you saw, he found on the shore some months since, in which there are much rich clothes, linen and treasure, the spoils of some unhappy ship that was doutless shipwrecked on this coast.
‘And now I have acquainted you with all my unhappy story, and must implore your assistance to persuade Domingo to leave this place, and take us with you, or else help me to escape from him; though I would now willingly consent to be his wife, having treasure sufficient to purchase us a good settlement in any place. If he be ever found by any body from Virginia, my father will surely put him to death, but Domingo will kill me first; and to live thus is worse than death.’ Here she wept, and Harriot embracing her, promised never to part with her. ‘No, my dear Leonora, said she, we will part no more; Domingo shall be carried hence to the place we are bound to, where he may safely and lawfully possess you; since you now love, as I perceive, and have forgiven him his crime in getting you, we will assist him to be happy. The selling human creatures is a crime my soul abhors; and wealth so got, never thrives. Though he is black, yet the Almighty made him as well as us, and Christianity never taught us cruelty: we ought to visit those countries to convert, not buy our fellow-creatures, nor to enslave and use them as if they were devils, or they not men.’ Don Carlos joined with her in opinion; and the captain and all agreed to have them married, and take them along with them. And now being come to their tent, they sat down to eat; poor Leonora being so transported with such charming conversation, that Harriot could not refrain praising God in her heart, for sending her such a sweet companion.
In the evening Domingo returned with the sailor, with the joyful tidings of there being a Spanish ship at the island they had been at, and the captain had promised to come the next morning in his long-boat to fetch them away, his name being Don Emanual, a particular friend of Don Carlos and our Spanish captain. This news revived them all, and now Harriot talked to Domingo, offering him to take him and Leonora to St. Domingo, and see them married in the Spanish ship the next day: and Don Carlos promised that the governor his father should permit them to settle there; and then, said he, Leonora may, if you think fit, write to her father, and let him know where she is. Domingo gladly accepted of this proposal, being so overjoyed to hear that Leonora consented to marry him, he fell prostrate on the ground, and returned thanks to God in so passionate a manner, that it moved all the company. But Harriot, being still deeply concerned for the loss of her dear Leander, seeing herself going to be carried to a place where she should be no longer able to resist Don Carlos’s desires, where his father commanded every thing, and from whence there was no pessibility to escape without his knowledge; a place where she must either yield to be Carlos’s mistress, or wife, and should be necessitated to break her vows and faith given to Leander; resolved to try the force of eloquence and power over Don Carlos, to prevail with him to land her at Virginia, or at least give her his faithful promise to send her thither by the first ship that went from St. Domingo. In order to this, she asked him to walk with her alone a little way that evening, which he gladly did; there she began to break her mind to him in the most soft and moving terms imaginable: ‘Though we are not of one religion, said she, yet we are both Christians; I have given my faith to another, how can I be yours without a crime? I have all the grateful sense that I ought of your civilities towards me, and wish my heart had not been pre-engaged, that I might have been yours; but since I cannot break through my engagements with him, permit me to be just, and be assured that I will ever love and esteem you next himself whilst I live. He will undoubtedly come to St. Domingo to look after me; and with what confusion shall I see him, when married to you? Besides, your father and family will abhor me as beneath you; it is altogether unfit for you to mary a poor English maid, whose family and education you are a stranger to, and who has no fortune to recommend her to the honour of being your wife; so that should I consent, we must be wretched.’ Don Carlos returned this answer: ‘Lovely Harriot, on whom I have placed all my love, and in whom my whole happiness in this life consists, I can no more consent to part with you than with my hopes of future happiness or my faith. It is impossible for me to live without you; Leander merits not your love, he is false to another, and with him you must expect a curse: besides, ’tis in vain to dispute, I am resolved never to part with you: I have a father who is so tender of me, and so generous and good in his nature, that he will be glad to see me happy, and be fond of you, because you are mine; my family will follow his example; I have a sister fair and wise as yourself, she loves me dearly, and shall be your companion and friend: your virtue is a portion, and I have wealth enough to make us happy; and, to remove all obstacles, you shall not set your foot out of the ship we are designed to go on board of to-morrow morning, till I have wedded and bedded you; which if you consent not to, I must first bed, and then marry you, for you are in my power, you must and shall be mine; and by this gentle compulsion, I’ll remove your scruples, and acquit you of your promises to the treacherous Leander, my now hated rival.’ At these words he let go her hand in a kind of disorder, and walked hastily back towards the tent. She followed, much distracted in her thoughts; he stayed till she overtook him, but went along with her home without speaking another word. After supper, Harriot retiring to bed, could not close her eyes all night; and having in that time well weighed and considered all he said, resolved to consent to marry him, chusing rather to yield to be his with honour, than reduce him to treat her in a manner she dreaded worse than death. Camilla’s following Leander, and his negligence, as she construed it, in going into the French ship, and leaving her behind, had a little piqu’d her; and her circumstances, being in Don Carlos’s hands, obliged her to agree to be his; nor did she dislike him, he was beautiful, had a great fortune, was nobly born, and finely bred. She rose, determined to compose her thoughts, and, if possible, banish the passion she had for Leander out of her soul; but that was impossible.
Don Carlos next morning appeared with an unusual gravity in his looks; the long-boat soon arrived with the Spanish captain, and all the gentlemen he had on board, and was received very joyfully; all things worth carrying away were already packed up by the diligent sailors, and soon sent a-board; and the boat returning in the evening, Don Carlos, Harriot, Leonora, Mons. Le Montague, Domingo, the Spanish Captain, and all the rest went into it, bidding adieu to the desolate island, and arrived safe to the ship, where they were welcomed with the guns and good wine. The next morning they weighed anchor, and the ship set sail for the island of St. Domingo; then Don Carlos earnestly sollicited Harriot to marry him, and was seconded by her cousin, and the good father who was chaplain to the ship, a friar whose name was Ignatius, to whom he had declared his reasons and resolutions; at last she yielded, and was that day married, as was also Leonora to her amorous Moor, who on this occasion behaved himself so handsomely, and expressed such satisfaction and transport, that every body was charmed with him. In a few hours they reached the island, and Harriot was conducted by Don Carlos, to his father’s castle, where she was surprized at the great attendance and sumptuous furniture; the governor received his son with great joy and affection, and when he presented Harriot to him, begging his blessing and pardon for marrying without his consent, he took her up and embraced her, saying, ‘If she be as virtuous as fair, which I doubt not, since you have made her your wife, and be a catholic, I not only give you my blessing, but will do all that is necessary to make you great and happy.’ Here Harriot was surprized, being a protestant, and was ready to sink; but Don Carlos, squeezing her by the hand to give her a hint to conceal her disorder, replied briskly, ‘Honoured sir, she is all you can desire, virtuous, wise, pious, and will I am certain be an honour and comfort to us both.’ Don Carlos’s sister, the charming Lavinia, a most accomplish’d young lady, coming into the presence-chamber, welcomed her brother and new sister, to whom she made a present of some very rich jewels she had on: and now all the court (for so the governor’s palace was justly called, for he was there as great, and lived like a king) was soon crouded with all the principal gentlemen and merchants in the town; a mighty treat was got ready, the bells were set a ringing, and after supper there was a great ball; Harriot was so complemented and caressed, and her friend Leonora, who accompanied her as a companion or attendant, her circumstance not being mentioned, that she was astonished; and being so young, and unused to such greatness, no doubt but she at this instant forgot Leander, and was transported at her good fortune in getting so noble a husband as Don Carlos.
The ball ended, she was by her husband conducted to a most splendid apartment, attended by her father-in-law, sister, and all the company. Here being again complemented, the company took leave, and an old lady with two waiting women, waited on her and Leonora into a dressing-room, into which none but Leonora entered with them; the old lady undressed her, the servants put her on a rich laced suit of night-cloaths, a delicate fine shift, night-gown and petticoats; all which Lavinia furnished for her new sister, whose beauty she much admired, and highly respected her brother. Leonora had a fine suit of night-clothes, night-gown and petticoats given her also, and a chamber prepared next Harriot’s to lie in. Harriot was conducted by Lavinia to a bed-chamber, where the bed was a rich brocade, the hangings arras, and every thing magnificent beyond any thing she had ever seen in her life. So soon as she was in bed, Lavinia and the rest took leave; then Don Carlos came in at another door in his night-gown, and went to bed to her: mean time the governor dismissed the company, and retired to his apartment.
Now it is fit that we inform ourselves where the Spanish captain and the rest of the passengers were disposed of; he, Domingo, and the officers belonging to the ship, stayed on board to see the ship cleared and lain up in the harbour. But Don Carlos having thought it proper the Moor should not appear with Leonora, till he had acquainted his father with their story; therefore it was resolved that he should come to the governor’s the next morning with the captain, who was obliged to wait on him, and give an account of his voyage every time he returned from sea; Domingo’s two chests, in which was all his wealth, were to be likewise brought to the castle: the Moor, who was much inclined to jealousy, passed the night very ill, and thought the time long till the rising sun appeared; he had his little boy in bed with him, whom he hugged and kissed all night; and rising at day break, took a rich habit out of one of his chests, and dressed himself like a petty-prince, as he really was by birth in his own country; he likewise put a rich cloak on little Domingo, which Leonora had made him with some scarlet Cloth and silver lace, the Moor had brought her for that purpose from the islands he used to trade to. Thus he waited, ready to attend the captain and Monsieur Le Montague to the castle, to which they went about ten o’clock, by which time Don Carlos was risen, and had acquainted his father with Leonora’s story and Monsieur Le Montague; the governor welcomed them all, Domingo he embraced, and promised him his protection and favour. Don Carlos conducted him to Leonora and Harriot, who were together in their apartment entertaining a great many ladies, who were come to pay their compliments and breakfast with them. And now nothing but feasting and joy were thought on by all but these two ladies, who having been both bred Protestants, were in a great consternation how they should behave themselves. Harriot had reasoned that morning with her Lord on this subject, and he had convinced her that she was under a necessity of dissembling her religion; for if his father and family discovered she was a Protestant, she must expect to be hated and slighted, nay, that he should be ruined, and perhaps parted from her. These thoughts almost distracted her, and she had communicated them secretly to Leonora, when she came into her chamber in the morning; they both wept, and found too late they must be of their husband’s religion, or be wretched. Harriot even repented her breach of faith with Leander, and began to apprehend the misfortunes that the change which she had made would bring upon her; but she concealed her thoughts, they went to mass every day, which made them highly caressed by the whole court, and much obliged their husbands.
Domingo, who was impatient to retire with his wife, being very uneasy at the liberties the gentlemen took in looking on and talking to her, sollicited Don Carlos to procure him some little seat in the country, and had it forthwith granted; for the governor sent him to a little market town about twenty miles from the city, to a house of pleasure which he had there; and here he found a little paradise, a house so neat and richly furnished, such lovely gardens, fish ponds, fountains, fields and groves, that his imagination could not have formed a more beautiful retreat. Having viewed it, and got all things ready, that is, two servants, and the room aired, he came back to the castle to fetch his wife, and return thanks for his fine being. But when Leonora took leave of Harriot, they both wept, and Harriot promised to go every summer and pass her time there. Here Domingo and his little family lived happily the remainder of their days, having many children, and Leonora by his persuasions, became a true Roman Catholic. But Harriot continued some time a Protestant in her heart; yet at last she was truly happy in her own thoughts, and pleased she was Don Carlos’s wife; for she had all that mortal could wish for, a noble fortune, lovely children, and a husband who loved her beyond expression, and denied her nothing.
And now to return to the pirate captain, who was safely landed on this island, and cured of his wounds; the pirate ship which the Spanish captain had taken and sent away before, with the pirates he had taken aboard of it, being arrived at St. Domingo before his own ship: this gentleman, who was kept a prisoner in the town, hearing of Don Carlos’s marriage with Harriot, sent her a letter to ask her pardon for what was past, protesting he was truly penitent, and that he honoured her virtue as much as he had loved her person; and begged she would procure his enlargement from that dismal place. This letter she shewed not her lord; but without relating what had passed between her and the pirate, spoke in his behalf; and told him he was a Catholic, and a man nobly born, and forced against his will to become a pirate, and that she begged the favour of him to release him, and some way provide for him in the Fleet prison. This Don Carlos readily granted, and after speaking to his father, went to the prison and released him and two other gentlemen whom he pleaded for, saying they were his countrymen and friends, and not guilty of any crimes but what they had been forced to. The common sailors of the pirates were ordered on board the Spanish galleons, and these three gentlemen followed their benefactor to the castle, to return their thanks to the governor. Don Carlos presenting them to his wife and father, Harriot looked on the pirate captain with some disorder; but he addressed himself to her in these words, making a profound bow, ‘Madam, I am doubly indebted to you both for my liberty and reformation; I am by your reproofs and generosity freed from both the means and inclinations to sin, and now resolve to live so, that my actions may witness my love to God, and gratitude to you. I will henceforth endeavour to be an honour to my country and religion.’ This speech much pleased her, who perfectly understood his meaning; and in a short time after, the governor gave him a commission of a captain who died in the garrison, and he married a merchant’s widow in the town, who brought him a great fortune. His two companions, according to the custom of the Irish, made their fortunes there also, and settled in that island.
Monsieur Le Montague being highly caressed by Don Carlos, and all his friends, as being Harriot’s near kinsman, soon obtained money and a ship to go to Canada in search of Clementina, promising to stop at that island in his return, before he went home to France.
But to return to the unfortunate Leander whom we left at Virginia, much indisposed, which prevented him from coming to St. Domingo for some time.
Leander, after ten month’s sickness, being recovered, employed his kinsman Lewis Dumaresque to hire a bark secretly to carry them to the island of St. Domingo, fearing Camilla should get knowledge of his design, and again follow him; besides, he knew her passion would be so violent, that he should scarce be able to leave her. She was now in a deep consumption, and had been so kind to him, that he was obliged to withdraw himself with great reluctance; and had he known Harriot was disposed of, no doubt but he would have married this unfortunate lady, who now dearly paid for her parting him from her rival; for she had like to have died with grief after he left her. His kinsman got a bark, and acquainted his father with their designs, who, to forward it, having nothing to object against it, since Leander and the lady were contracted, as he assured him they were, took Madam Camilla with him to a lady’s, who was related to him, and had a fine plantation not far from his, persuading her it would be good for her health to stay there a few days. Leander promised to fetch her home soon, and taking leave of her, found himself in so great disorder, that he was like to swoon, conscious that he designed to see her no more; and stung with a sense of his ingratitude to her who so passionately loved him, he was in the utmost disorder. She likewise, as if apprehensive of her misfortune, let fall a shower of tears: thus parted, never to meet again, as he supposed. He went aboard with his kinsman, and set sail for the island, where he was to meet with greater misfortunes than he ever yet met with. So soon as the ship was gone off the coast, Monsieur Dumaresque, Leander’s uncle, who was a widower, and was fallen in love with Camilla, glad of this opportunity (as he hoped) to cure her of her passion for his nephew, rid over to his kinswoman’s, where he had two days before left her, to acquaint her with his being gone, aggravating the baseness of his leaving her thus treacherously, and vile ingratitude to her: but she, as one thunderstruck, made little reply; but casting up her eyes to heaven, with a deep sigh cried, ’tis just, my God, I am the criminal, and he is innocent; affection cannot be forced: I vainly strove against thy decrees, and ask no more but to be forgiven, and to die. She fainted away, and was carried to her chamber, where the lady of the house endeavoured all she was able to comfort her: and to her she related all her story, not concealing the subtile stratagem she had made use of to get Leander from her rival, saying, ’tis but just that I should suffer for my crime and folly in persevering to love him, who cannot return it as he ought. She so abandoned herself to these sad thoughts, that her sickness daily increased, and they despaired of her continuing long alive. She was very sensible of her own condition, and seemed much pleased with the thoughts of death; for besides the loss of the man she so excessively loved, the sense she had of her own folly, and the desperateness of her circumstances, being left in a stranger’s care, with whom indeed Leander had left money to provide for, and carry her home to France; but thither she was ashamed to return; besides, it might be long e’er her health would permit her to take such a voyage. All these sad reflections overwhelmed her, and had doubtless killed her, had not Providence mercifully prolonged her life to be happy. Monsieur Dumaresque shewed the greatest concern and affection for her that a man could possibly make appear; professing he desired no greater happiness on earth than the continuance of her life, and would give all his fortune to save her. All the physicians of note in the place were made use of, and at last, art and nature joined together, raised her from her sick bed; and then reason took place over fancy, and she hearkened to Dumaresque’s proposal, whose generosity put in the balance with Leander’s ingratitude, and the impossibility of her being his, prevailed with her to accept of his offer. Thus she was happily provided for, and Leander lost great part of his uncle’s fortune which he had designed to give him, never designing to marry again, till he saw this young lady, by whom he had many fine children to inherit what he could settle on them, without injuring his eldest son, which was very considerable.
In few days after his departure, Leander arrived safely with his kinsman at the island of St. Domingo; and being a stranger there, got the captain of the bark, who was used to trade there, to take them a lodging, thinking it most prudent not to appear too openly in a place where his rival’s father was governor, till he had got information how Harriot was disposed of; which he soon learned to his inexpressible grief: for his kinsman making inquiry after her of the captain of the ship that brought her thither, whom he met with at a coffee-house to which he was directed, he told him of her marriage and good fortune, as he termed it. And, indeed, so it was, had her lover never come to ruin her peace. Leander was quite distracted with this news; his kinsman wisely advised him to return to Virginia, and never see her. She cannot be blamed, said he, she was left in your rival’s power, and has wisely chose rather to marry, and be his wife with honour, than to be his mistress by compulsion, and be ruined; and now it would be cruel and ungenerous to revive her grief by seeing her: besides, should her husband be informed of your speaking to her, it might make her miserable all the rest of her days; and this would be an ill proof of your love to her. This, and a thousand things more, he said to persuade him to be gone; but all to no purpose: he was deaf as the winds, and behaved himself like a madman. At last he resolved to go to the church she used on festival days, disguised in a Spanish habit, which the captain of the bark procured him, and have a sight of her, promising not to attempt to speak to her. It was the cathedral church; and the Sunday following, Leander, who had not stirred out of his lodging from the day of his arrival, which was on the Wednesday before, went with his kinsman to the high-mass, where he saw his lovely Harriot, who was great with child, standing by her husband and father-in-law near the altar, and the lovely Lavinia by her, four crimson velvet chairs being placed within the rails on a rich carpet for them. She was dressed in a Spanish dress, rich as art could make it, and had store of jewels in her hair and on her breast; thus adorned, he thought her more beautiful than ever, and felt such tortures in his soul, that he could not govern his passion, but dropt down in a swoon, which occasioned some disorder among the people; the crowd was so great, that he could not be carried out, but was unfortunately brought near the rails: Harriot turning her head, soon knew his face, gave a great shriek, and swooned, falling back into one of the chairs. Don Carlos’s jealousy was presently awakened, and he too truly guessed who was in the church; but Leander’s kinsman very prudently fearing a discovery, got him carried out into the air, and muffling his face up in his cloak, led him home to their lodging, being come to himself so soon as he came into the open air. Harriot fainting, was supposed to be occasioned by her being surprized at the noise in the church, or with heat, being with child; this past with all but her lord, who, upon her recovering, led her to his coach, and went home with her, being impatient to question her what she saw that so much disordered her; she said she thought the Spaniard that fainted, was so like Leander, that being surprized, she could not but be so discomposed. He desired her to go no more into public assemblies till she was up again; resolving in himself to set such spies at work, that if Leander was arrived there, he should soon be sent farther off, or dispatched. She promised to do whatever he would have her, and he seemed contented. But his soul was so inflamed with jealousy, that he could rest no more till he was satisfied of the truth, and had secured his rival. It was not many hours before those he set at work to discover who this person was that had occasioned this disorder in the church, informed him, that two gentlemen were arrived in a ship from Virginia, and lodged privately in the town; that one of them made inquiry after Harriot, meeting the Spanish captain at the coffee-house. In fine, his suspicions were now confirmed, and he persuaded Harriot to go to Domingo’s in the country, to pass a month with Leonora, saying, it would be better for her to be in a place where she would be freed from receiving ceremonious visits, and could better indulge herself in that sweet retirement; and that she should continue there till she was near her time, if she pleased. She willingly consented, being now deeply melancholy, and glad of an opportunity to be alone with her dear friend Leonora, to whom she could unbosom her thoughts. He carried her thither, and left her, pretending he had business that obliged him to return to his father; concluding in his own thoughts, that Leander, who no doubt was impatient to speak with her, would soon learn where she was, follow her, and venture to pay her a visit, he being absent. The old lady or governess, who attended her, was his creature, and he left her a spy on all her actions. He took his leave as usual, with all the tenderness and concern imaginable; saying, he should think each day a year till he returned to her. All things were transacted as he foresaw; Leander learning he was absent, and Harriot at the country-house, went with his friend disguised in their Spanish dresses, to the village where she was, and took a lodging in a peasant’s house, where they kept very private for two days; then his friend and kinsman, who ventured abroad for intelligence, being certain that he was not known by Don Carlos, having seen her walking in the garden with Leonora, informed him of it; so they consulted what to do: and Leander, fearing to surprize her a second time, resolved to write a letter to her, and sent it by his friend: the contents of which were as follow.
Sill charming tho’ perjur’d Harriot.
‘After a tedious sickness, occasioned by my grief for the loss of you, which long confined me to my bed, and brought me almost to the grave, I am come to this island, where I have learned the cruel news that you are now another’s. I shall make you no reproaches, nor ask any thing but the honour of one hour’s conversation with you, after which you shall never more be importuned or disordered with the sight of me. I love you as passionately as ever, and only desire to prove it by dying at your feet. Let it be soon, lest grief deprive me of that satisfaction; for my soul is so transported with despair, that only the hope of seeing you once more, keeps me alive. My angel, name the place and time to my friend, and for the last time oblige
This letter was delivered into Harriot’s hand by Dumaresque the next morning: for he ventured to go into the gardens before day over the stone-wall, and there hid himself in a summer-house till Harriot came into the garden to walk with her friend Leonora alone. He took this, as he thought, lucky opportunity, and at their coming into the summer-house to sit down, presented himself and the letter to her. She was a little startled, but believing Leander was not gone from the island, she expected to hear from or see him, concluding he would by some means or other find a way to send or come to her; so she immediately guessed who he came from. She read the moving lines, and shedding a flood of tears, said, ‘Sir, tell the unfortunate Leander it was his misfortune, not my fault, that we are separated; his leaving me, put me under a fatal necessity of giving myself to him in whose power I was left. I am now disposed of to a noble husband, whom I am bound to love and honour. It is altogether improper for me to admit of a visit from the man whom I have loved, and still have too much inclination for: besides, it is inconsistent with my honour, and may be both our ruin. I make it my last request to him therefore to leave this island immediately, and conjure him, as he values his own life, or my peace, not to attempt seeing me, or to stay here a day longer. My husband is already alarmed, and has, I fear, brought me to this place with design to betray him. For heaven’s sake persuade him to fly hence, and not render me intirely miserable. Tell him, I beg him to remember me no more, but in his prayers, and to submit with a Christian resignation to the will of heaven. This is all I can say to him, and my final answer.’
At these words she rose, and went out of the summer-house, leaving Leonora to let him out at the back gate with a key which she always carried in her pocket, to let them into a grove, which was behind the garden. Leonora hastened him away, intreating him never more to return. Harriot retired to her closet, and there gave way to her passion; her love to Leander was now revived, and she had the most dreadful apprehensions of his danger that can be conceived. She perused the dear lines he had sent her a hundred times over, and washed them pale with her tears. Whilst she was thus employed, Don Carlos, who had laid all the time in the village, and had received information of the stranger’s lodging at the peasant’s, and of Dumaresque’s being in the garden (Harriot having been watched by the old Dovegna) knocked at the closet-door: she asked who was there; and hearing his voice, clapt the letter into her bosom, and opened the door in such a disorder that her lord would have been much surprized at, if he had not known the cause of it before. He took her in his arms with a forced air of affection, but his eyes flashed with rage; he trembled, and spoke in so distracted a manner, that she too well perceived he was informed of what had past, and was so overcome with grief, that she fainted in his arms: he laid her gently on the couch, and took the letter out of her bosom, read it and putting it there again, called the old governess who waited without, and presently fetched cordials to bring her to herself; but they tried all means in vain so long, that he thought her dead, and indeed began to abandon himself to passion. Leonora, who had retired into her chamber, seeing Don Carlos go into the apartment as she was going to give Harriot an account that the gentleman was gone away in safety, hearing his complaints, came in, and also thought her dead: the physicians were called, and by their aid she was brought to life, but immediately fell in labour, being seven months gone with child. This caused a great deal of confusion in the family, where nothing was prepared for her lying-in, it being designed to be in the castle with the utmost magnificence. At three in the afternoon she was delivered of a son, who lived but a few hours, and was therefore by the physicians advice baptised so soon as it was born. Don Carlos was highly afflicted at his own imprudence in surprizing her, and shewed the utmost tenderness and concern for her, kneeling by her bed-side on the floor, kissing her hands, professing that he loved and valued her above all earthly things, and could not live without her; till at last the physicians intreated him to quit the room, and leave her to repose: so the chamber being darkened, and none but nurses left to attend her, poor Harriot was delivered up to her own sad thoughts, which soon threw her into a fever that had like to have ended her life. And now Don Carlos was ten times more enraged against Leander than before, looking upon him as the cause of his child’s death, and perhaps of his beloved Harriot, for which he now resolved to be revenged of him. In order to this, he immediately set four bravoes, whom he had before hired, and placed ready to seize him, to watch his lodgings: they were all disguised, and hid themselves in a field behind the peasant’s house; towards the dusk of the evening they perceived Leander and his friend go forth, and take the way to Domingo’s; they followed, and so soon as they saw them enter the grove, seized them. His kinsman had dissuaded him from this attempt all he was able, but he was determined to see Harriot or die; and since his friend had so easily got to the speech of her, flattered himself he should have the same good fortune: but when he found himself seized by villains, gagged and bound with his generous friend, who was like to be made a sacrifice by his folly, he bitterly repented his rashness. They were thrown a-cross a horse, like calves, their legs and hands being fastened with a cord under the horse’s belly, a sumpter-horse-cloth was thrown over them, and thus they were carried all night, guarded by the four bravoes, who were well armed, and had a pass from the governor’s son, so that none offered to stop them. By break of day they arrived at an old castle, well fortified, on the north-side of the island, where an officer and twelve soldiers were in garrison, who had received orders before what to do with these unfortunate gentlemen, whom he was to keep secure in the castle-dungeon, being pirates, desperate villains, and reserved to make discoveries by the rack, if they would not do it voluntarily. Don Carlos confirmed all this to the officer by a letter he sent him some days before: into the dungeon they were accordingly carried, put in irons, and left to live upon the allowance the officer was ordered to give them, which was very sufficient: for Don Carlos was not willing to load his conscience with the guilt of murdering them, but only desired to secure his own repose and his wife’s honour, and would willingly have sent them to any place, and set them at liberty, could he but have been secured from their ever returning to St. Domingo. To Leander’s friend he had no prejudice; nay, he rather had an esteem for him, for the generous friendship he had shewn in risking his life for his friend. These gentlemen thus secured, the bravoes went back to Don Carlos, who on this news was more at ease, and applied his whole thoughts about Harriot’s indisposition. She was many days light-headed, calling often upon Leander, which stabbed him to the heart. It was more than six months before she was able to go out of her chamber. In this time she often asked Leonora if she could hear nothing of him. Sometimes she flattered herself that he had prudently took her advice, and left the island; yet inwardly reproached him with want of affection: then reflecting on his daring temper and constancy, which his venturing thither after her did evidence, she concluded he had heard of her illness, and lay still concealed there: then she trembled with the thoughts of his being discovered, or ruining himself and her by venturing to speak to her; another while she feared he was murdered. So soon as she was able, Don Carlos carried her to the castle, where his father received her with much joy, and all the ladies paid her visits, congratulating her recovery. The ship that brought Leander, set sail, having waited two months, and returned to Virginia, at which his uncle and Camilla was much surprized; but concluded that (mad with his disappointment) he was gone home to France; and they were much concerned at young Dumaresque’s not returning or writing; but were fain to rest satisfied, expecting to hear from them.
When the wretched Leander saw himself and his friend in this dismal place, no words can express the tortures of his mind; and indeed it was a providence he was at that time fettered, or else his despair might have drove him to destroy himself; he sighed deeply, and the big drops ran scalding down his cheeks; grief had so benumbed his faculties, that his tongue could not utter one word; so that he remained silent, with his eyes fixed on his friend, who bore his afflictions calmly; for he had not love and despair to combat, had lost no mistress, loved his friend, and had a soul so generous, that he was even glad, since it was his fate to be thus confined, that he was a partner of his fortune, and reserved to comfort him in that sad place. Why, said he to the afflicted Leander, ‘My dear friend, do you thus abandon yourself to grief, and are so cast down at an accidental misfortune? Could you expect less than this from an incensed husband? Is it not a mercy you are still alive? When we went from our lodgings, we were determined to run all risques, and are you shocked at a thing you had before armed against? Your jealous rival’s rage will in time diminish; and when he comes to reflect on this action, he will dohbtless repent, and permit you to depart this island: if he persists in his revenge, death is the utmost we can fear; and can there be a place more fit to prepare for it in, than this? Here we may live free from the temptations of the world, and learn the state of our own souls; nay, converse with our Maker by contemplation, and enjoy that peace of mind, that we were strangers to whilst we lived at large. Consider how many brave men have perished for want abroad, and how many pious persons have retreated to dismal caves and desarts, and left all the delights of this life, to enjoy that quiet and repose which we may here possess. Harriot has already, doubtless, suffered for your imprudence; and in pursuing her, you offended heaven, who having thus punished you, on your submission will, I doubt not, free you hence. As for my own part, I am so far from repenting I accompanied you, that I rejoice that God has been pleased to preserve me, and bring me to this place to comfort you; nor would I leave you, though I were freed.’ Leander having been very attentive to all he said, replied, ‘Was ever generosity like this? What a miserable wretch am I, that by my follies have ruined the peace of her I loved, and subjected my faithful generous friend to fetters and a dungeon? I merit all that I can suffer; but your presence puts me on the rack, yet I will hope. My God, thy ways are marvellous; in thee I’ll trust, and strive to bring my stubborn will to submit to thine.’ The first transports of his passion being thus conquered, he began to be resigned; and now food and wine being brought to them, they eat thankfully what was provided, and for some days conversed and prayed together, like men prepared for all events; but the damp unwholsome vapours in the dungeon threw them both into such an illness, taking away the use of their limbs, that the commanding officer, who was a Frenchman, sent to Don Carlos, to know what he should do with them; assuring him they would die, if not soon removed: on which he sent orders to him, to remove them to an apartment on the top of the castle, where they might walk on the battlements and take the air, have a bed, and chambers to walk about, and their fetters taken off. His conscience touched him, and he would willingly have freed Leander’s kinsman, but that he feared he would make a clamour about his friend. These orders were punctually obeyed by the officer, and the prisoners soon recovered: and he sometimes paid them a visit, and so became informed of the true cause of their being brought thither, and pitied their condition. At last he contracted so great a friendship with them, that he said he would willingly free them, could he be assured he should not lose his commission by it: but it would not be long, he supposed, before he should be relieved by another officer and band of soldiers, it being customary for the garison to be changed every six months; and then he would furnish them with ropes to let themselves down from the battlements, on that side of the castle near the sea, which beat against the walls; and that they need not fear drowning, the water being shallow at ebb. ‘Thence, says he, you may get to the shore, and disguised in two soldier’s coats, which I will give you; hide yourselves in the adjacent wood. This you must do in the night, and get off the island, if possible, as soon as day breaks, for fear of being taken; for search will doubtless be made for you so soon as you are missed. You may effect this by seizing the first fishing-boat you find on the shore, of which there are many, plenty of huts being in these parts on the coast, where fishermen dwell during this summer-season; and you will find their boats, which are every night hauled up on the shore. This is all I dare do to serve you, and this perhaps will cost me my life, if discovered. They not only thanked him in the most expressive terms, but promised if they ever lived to reach Virginia again, to shew their gratitude: and he promised to give them intelligence of whatever befel Harriot, by the captain who brought them thither, whom they resolved to send to that island yearly, he giving them a direction where they should always inquire for him. This concluded on, Leander and his kinsman grew chearful.
At last orders coming for the officer to depart thence, he faithfully performed all he had promised, leaving them ropes and red coats; nay, when he took his leave, which he did with much affection, he presented Leander with a good purse of gold, which he had much ado to make him accept of. But indeed it was necessary they should not want money, of which they had no great store about them, having left all their clothes and money at the lodgings in which the captain of the ship had placed them at their landing in the town; for they brought nothing to the peasant’s house in the village, but some linen and about twenty pistoles in gold, and some Spanish ducatoons in silver, in their pockets.
The very night after the captain was gone they made their escape, young Dumaresque’s kinsman venturing down first from the battlements, having sworn his friend should not venture till he had tried the danger; for it was a vast height from whence they descended, and had the rope broke he had run a great risque of losing his life. They fastened two ropes to the top of one of the battlements, and putting their gloves on, slid down one after the other into the sea, which then was so high, it being young flood, that it almost took them up to their breasts, and the waves beat so strong, that they had much ado to reach the shore; from whence they fled to the wood, and passed through it to the other side: there sheltered by the trees from the view of the garrison, they stood a while to see what boats lay on the shore; and chusing such a one as they thought they were able to manage, and launch into the sea without help, they dragged it into it, hoisted sail, and put off. But alas! their condition was worse than ever, they knew not well how to steer the boat, and were so weak and tired before, that they could scarce row or guide it. They had no provision aboard but a little bisket and salt meat, that they found stowed in the fisherman’s locker in his cabin, with a bottle of rack, and a small barrel of fresh water. And all their hopes were to reach some island not belonging to the Spaniards; they steered for Jamaica, from whence they were certain they could get a passage to Virginia, where Leander resolved to remain with his uncle and friend till Harriot was dead, or a widow; and never to return to France again without her, whilst she was living. They were in sight of Jamaica, when the wind began to blow and the waters foam: then a terrible storm began, which drove them for four nights and days quite out of their knowledge; in which time their provisions were spent, and their strength so decayed, that they were forced to lie down, and leave themselves to Providence. But nothing afflicted them so much as thirst; all their fresh water was gone, and drinking salt, so increased their drought, that they feared to repent it. Thus they continued for three days more drove by the winds and waves: in these three days hunger so prest them, that they ransacked every corner of the boat to find a morsel to eat, and devoured every bit of mouldy bisket they could find: but, alas! that was so little, it only tantalized, not satisfied their craving stomachs. And now they began to reflect, that it had been better for them to have continued prisoners, than have exposed themselves to such miseries. Thus experience tells us, that when we have obtained our own wishes, not easy in the state Providence has placed us in, we are more unhappy than we were before. The generous Montandre begged his kinsman to kill him, and preserve his own life, by feeding on his warm flesh, and sucking his blood, saying, ‘We must now both inevitably perish, unless one supply the other’s wants.’ Leander was so shocked at this proposal, that his very soul shivered. ‘No, (says he) before I would destroy you, I would eat my own flesh: no, we will live and die together: we have this night passed over many banks of sand, and are doubtless near some shore; now pluck up your spirit, and let us redouble our importunity to God to send us a deliverance.’ Before the words were out of his mouth, a wave tossed a large dolphin into the boat, which they killed with the oars, and fell to eating, sucking the warm blood and raw flesh more greedily than ever they had done the most delicious food prepared for them. This greatly refreshed them, and towards sun-setting the wind abating, they laid by their oars, and fell to eating more of the raw fish, but sparingly, not knowing how long they had to live upon it. Whilst they were at this strange supper they spied land, on which they applied themselves afresh to their oars, and about midnight reached the shore; but not knowing where they were, dragged the boat up on the sand, and lay in it till day-break, having been driven in by the tide with such violence, that they could not stop her before she struck on the sands. When day appeared they found they had entered into the gulph of Mexico, between the isles of Cuba and Jucatan, and were landed on that coast where the Spaniards were masters: they thought it best to pretend they were Frenchmen, who, being cast away in a ship, had escaped death by getting into that fishing-boat, which the wind had (as they supposed) drove out to sea from the Havanna, near which they pretended the ship they were in perished; for though they had soldier’s coats on, yet their Spanish habits shewed they were gentlemen, and their behaviour shewed their breeding. The Spaniards received them kindly, and a merchant took them into his house, where he entertained them very generously, and invited them to continue there till they could find means to go to Virginia, telling them it was their best way to do so by some trading vessel, which he supposed they must wait some time for. This merchant had a bark ready to sail with goods for Carolina, from whence it would not be very difficult for them to go by land to Virginia: he offered them a passage in this ship, which they gladly accepted of; and in few days went aboard, and got safe to Carolina. They hired a guide to conduct them through the country to Virginia; but passing by the Apalatteau mountains, a party of Indians came down upon them, and carrying them away over the mountains, plundered them of their money and clothes.
Amongst these Indians they continued in the greatest misery, being obliged to live after their barbarous fashion as slaves; till going out with a party to cut fuel in the thick woods, they took their opportunity to make their escape, being desperate, and hid themselves in a cave in the night, chusing rather to venture being devoured by wild beasts, than spend their lives in slavery. They lay concealed in this place till the Indians were gone farther on; then, destitute of food, and in their slaves dress, they fled towards one of the Spanish forts, which they could never have reached, had they not met with an old hermit, who lived in a poor cottage near a wood: he was standing at his door, and seeing two poor slaves, who looked like death, come towards him, supposed they were in want and Christians, so invited them in, to their great surprize, and gave them bread and drink, asking where they were going. They gave him the account, that they were cast away in a ship, saved in a fishing-boat near the Havanna, driven on the coast of Jucattan; from thence went in a bark to Carolina, and going across the countries for Virginia, were taken and made slaves; and wearied with the miseries they endured, were now endeavouring to escape to Fort-Philip. He told them, he would conduct them thither in safety the next morning. They staid with him all night, lying on straw (as he did) with warm coverlids: and being very importunate to know the reasons of his living this solitary life, he told them his story in these words.
I am, said he, by birth a Frenchman; I was the younger son of a counsellor, who had a great estate, and was put in a good post under my father so soon as I was able to understand business, having a clerk’s place in the salt-office. Here being from under my father’s eye, I contracted an intimacy with a young gentlewoman who lived with her aunt, a person who, tho’ well-born, was fallen to decay, and they maintained themselves by their needles, and some small income the aunt had left, very genteely, but with much difficulty. It was my fortune to see this young woman at church, she was very beautiful and genteel. I followed her home, made love to her, and was well received. I pretended an honourable affection; but, alas, had no other design in my wicked heart but to debauch her. Their circumstances made them willingly receive the presents and treats I gave them, not thinking it dishonourable, since I pretended maariage; glad was the innocent creature to be provided for: their conversation was charming, and their conduct so reserved and modest, that I was a great while before I could venture to make any attempt upon her virtue; but then I was repulsed with such scorn and reproofs, that I almost despaired of effecting my base design; but knowing that it would be my ruin if I married her, and being now so much in love, that I knew not how to live without her, I still persisted in my visits and importunities, and though refused the sight of her frequently, and always received with reproaches, yet I could not desist; and finding all my attempts were in vain, and that I could not seduce her to my will, at last I consented to marry her privately, on condition that she should keep it a secret. This she gladly consented to, and so we were married by a Cordelier who was her confessor: and then I was made happy in the possession of my dear Flavia, who was the most virtuous and most charming woman breathing. He shed some tears, and could scarce go on; but recovering, he continued his discourse thus: and now, gentlemen, I am going to relate a part of my life, that fills my soul with horror, and will, I hope, deter all that hear it from committing such crimes: we past some months as happily as we could wish, and she grew great with child; but my expences increasing, and a prospect of more charges coming on, made me grow something uneasy; to add to which, my father began to press me about a marriage that was proposed to him much to my advantage. This put anxious thoughts into my head, and made me reflect how imprudent I had been: my eager desires were satisfied, my love diminished, as my ambition and avarice were encreased; and in fine, I wished her dead, and meditated on nothing but how to get rid of her. Thus my disobedience in marrying without my father’s knowledge and consent, drew down heaven’s anger upon me, and the devil tempted me on to proceed to more flagrant crimes. I did not visit my wife so often as usual, but humoured my father in visiting the young lady proposed to me, who was every way agreeable, and had the most prevailing argument on her side to engage man’s inconstant heart, that is, a great fortune: she was the only daughter of a rich banker, had taken a fancy to me, and her parents doating on her, resolved not to cross her, for which reason they made the proposal to my father: Such advances were made on their side, that I could find no pretence to delay the marriage longer. And now I foresaw that I must either incur my father’s hatred, and be ruined, (for he was a man of an implacable temper, and would, I knew, abandon me, if he discovered my marriage) or else that I must rid myself of Flavia forthwith, and then I might be great, and, as I vainly flattered myself, happy. This wicked thought I indulged, and long revolved in my mind, till at last I resolved to put it in execution; and though I was grievously tormented in my conscience, yet I persevered in this wicked design, and bought poison, which I made an infusion of in wine, and putting it into a vial in my pocket, I went to my virtuous wife to lie all night: she received me with open arms; I appeared more chearful and kind than usual; we supped, and after supper, I pretended I was not well, and desired we might have some burnt wine, which her aunt presently got: I slily poured the poison into the cup, which I presented to my dear wife, pretending she and her aunt must drink with me; they readily complied, always studying to oblige me: but when I saw Flavia swallow it, my soul shivered, my conscience flew in my face; and when she came and kissed me as I was going to bed, I felt tortures not to be expressed, or indeed conceived, but by such wretches as myself. She had not lain long in my arms, but convulsions seized her nerves, and I called her aunt and servant up, shewing the greatest concern; but neither of them suspected what was the matter, nor need I counterfeit, for at that instant I was filled with such horrors, that I would have given the whole world to save her. From this moment my peace was broke, and I became the most miserable man breathing. She expired in my arms before day, with the dear murdered infant in her; saying the kindest things to me, and praying for me even in the last agonies of death. The innocent Flavia thus dispatched, I took leave, giving money to her aunt (who was almost distracted with grief) to bury her. They had kept a maid-servant ever since my marriage, and I left them in the house, and excused myself from being present at her burial, lest my father should hear of it; promising the aunt to be always kind to her. Having left these melancholy objects, I went to the tavern, drank a quart of wine to revive my spirits, and then went home to my father’s. And now my whole business was to divert my thoughts as much as possible; I went abroad every day, drank, danced, went to the play, and so lulled myself with variety of pleasure, that the terrors of my conscience were something silenced. The sad impressions of Flavia’s murder wore off, and I was married; but the bridal night I was no sooner in bed, and the candles extinguished, than, as I was going to take my bride in my arms, the curtain at my bed’s-head was drawn back; and turning my head, I imagined I saw the fair Flavia standing by my side, big with child, and the fatal vial in her hand, which she seemed to shake, and looked upon me with a look that struck quite through my soul; the cold sweat trickled down my face, and the bed shook under me; every nerve shivered as if the agonies of death had seized me. Thus I lay with my eyes shut, not daring to lift up my eye-lids, till the day-break had freed me from this dreadful vision, which made such an impression on my soul, that I fancied her ever in my sight, and could not relish nor take any satisfaction in any thing I possessed. I concealed this from the world, and did all that was possible to oblige my new wife, who was doatingly fond of me, and had brought me so great a fortune, that we wanted nothing that wealth could purchase, to make us happy in a moderate way of life. But wealth could not cure my wounded conscience, I had a load of guilt upon my soul, and was continually upon the rack; this soon destroyed my health, and so afflicted her, that she was almost as unhappy as myself. Being through great weakness, attended with an intermitting fever, confined to my bed, I seriously prepared for death, and confessed myself to a Franciscan, a man of great wisdom and piety, who so eloquently laid before me the enormity of my crime, the terrors of eternal punishment, and the infinite mercies of God, on a sincere repentance, that I heartily lamented my sins, and endeavoured to reconcile myself to God; on which he was pleased to raise me up again, and prolong my life. My wife was now great with child, and had never had the small-pox, which she unfortunately caught by going to an opera, where she saw a person newly recovered; and at her coming home was taken ill, and died of them. Being now left a widower, the thoughts I had had in my late sickness, came a-fresh into my mind, and I resolved to retire from the world; but my father and friends much opposed it, being desirous I should marry again, because my elder brother was consumptive, and, though married seven years, had no child. The prospect of having all my father’s fortune prevailed with me not to enter into the church or any religious community; but being still uneasy in my mind, thinking I ought to do something to atone for my sins, I resolved to retire to some remote part of the world to do penance for them by fasting, and prayers, and alms-deeds. I therefore put all my estate into my confessor’s hands, to distribute the income of it every year to the poor, and return me forty pounds a year to this place by the hands of a gentleman who is an officer in Fort-Philip, to which you are designed to go; with him I came to this part of the world, being my intimate friend and near relation: he receives my income, and when I want provisions or money, I repair to him. My poverty and manner of living makes the Indians never molest me, nay, they love me, and supply me with any thing I want: besides I am a kind of physician amongst them; for having took delight in studying physic, I am arrived to some knowledge in it, and well acquainted with the nature and use of all the medicinal herbs that grow in these parts. I am also part of a surgeon, and dress their wounds and sores, and by this means have many opportunities of saving the bodies and souls, by instructing them in the Christian faith. I speak their languages, and often procure the freedom of those Christians who like you have unfortunately fallen into their hands. Thus I have lived for these eight years, and am now so inured to this solitary way of living, and so satisfied with this poor retreat, that I do not think ever to return to France again, or venture into the world any more; and hoping I have made my peace with God, I wait my death as a man who places his hopes on an eternal state.
Thus he concluded his story. Leander, who during this discourse was filled with admiration, yet never interrupted him, now broke silence: Monsieur De Lisle, said he, ‘What transport can equal mine to find you here? I have news to tell you will recall you soon to France. I shall tell you wonders.’ “Is not your name Leander, (said the amazed hermit) “and have I the happiness to meet with and entertain the youth whom I so dearly loved?” ‘Yes, said Leander, ‘I am that man whom you were pleased to honour with your friendship in so peculiar a manner; and to convince you that the Almighty has accepted your repentance and alms-deeds, am doubtless sent to this place to set your mind at ease, and restore that peace of conscience that you have been so long a stranger to. Flavia is, I hope, still living; she was in perfect health six years a-gone when I left France.’ “Flavia living! (said the hermit) amazing wonder! my ravish’d soul can scarce credit the strange report, though my best loved friend. Speak, tell me the manner how she was preserved from death, whilst my listening wounded soul is healed with the soft sound of your sweet speech.” ‘I will make haste (said Leander) to satisfy you. So soon as you had left the house, Flavia’s aunt, who had been before informed of all your actions, knew your courtship to your new mistress, and frequent visits there, had marked your coldness to and neglect of Flavia, and made observations on your behaviour that fatal night, her sudden illness and surprizing death; the minute you turned your back, ran to the convent, which you know was not a stone’s throw from the house; and called upon the honest cordelier, who had married you, a man who was a good physician as well as a divine, and told him with tears the strange manner of Flavia’s death, which he immediately suspected to be the effect of poison; and taking some strong emeticks with him, ran to the house as fast as his legs could carry him, and finding her body warm and pliant, poured enough down her throat to effect his good design; for it so wrought, that it soon brought up the baneful drug, and with more proper application, at last restored her opprest faculties to their use, and her to life and health; with the innocent child, so that both were preserved, and she perfectly recovered in a few days; which they kept a secret by his advice. Since your cruel husband (said he) has this time failed of executing his wicked purpose, he will no doubt repeat the attempt, and may at last succeed; to avoid which, you shall retire to a convent of our order, where my sister is abbess, there care shall be taken of you and the child. Let him suffer by the remorse of his own conscience, and smart for his sin, nor be freed from his torments by knowing you are saved. When he dies, I will do justice to the child if it lives, and seize the estate. Mean time you shall know how he fares with his new choice, and be freed from those fears which his knowledge of your being alive will subject you to. She consented, and has continued in this convent ever since, with her son, who was born there. All this I was informed of by her aunt, my near kinswoman, who had made me privy to your marriage, and engaged me not to disclose it; but now it ought to be no longer a secret to you, since you are truly penitent.’ The hermit fell on his knees, and with a flood of tears returned thanks to God, in such moving expressions, as drew tears from Leander and his kinsman’s eyes. Then they related the particulars of their adventures; and rising as soon as day appeared, set out together for Fort-Philip, resolving to go to Virginia by the first opportunity, whence De Lisle might easily get passage to France, being impatient to see and ask pardon of his injured Flavia. Being arrived at Fort-Philid, they were kindly entertained by the Hermit’s friend, furnished them with clothes, and a guide, with some soldiers to guard them to Virginia, and protect them from the Indians. This officer being acquainted with his friend’s story and Leander’s, gave them money to defray their charges on the way to Virginia, from whence Leander promised to furnish De Lisle with all necessaries for his return to France.
And here we shall leave these gentlemen to inquire what is become of Monsieur Le Montague Harriot’s kinsman, whom she met with in the cottage on the desolate island, and brought with her to the island of St. Domingo, from whence he went in a bark to Canada in search of Clementina. He arrived safe at Quebeck, where he was informed the French captain had been to trade, but here he could get no news of her: he visited all the coast in vain, till he came to find out a French merchant, who assured him the ship was gone to Newfoundland to trade; he immediately went aboard his bark, and set sail for that place, and here he got intelligence that Clementina had been seen there very much indisposed, and that the captain had carried her thence with design to return to France. Monsieur Le Montague was overjoyed at this news; and returning to the island of St. Domingo with the bark, acquainted Don Carlos and Harriot with this good news, and resolved to go for France, hoping to find her there before him. An opportunity for this he quickly found, and got safe thither in a French merchant-ship. At his arrival he found his eldest brother dead, and took possession of his estate again, and would have sat down in repose, had Clementina been there; but no other news could be got of her, but that the ship she was in was taken by the Algerine pirates, and none returned to France to give any account of what was become of her and the other persons on board of it. He well knew it was in vain for him to attempt a farther search for her, and therefore retired to a little seat in the country, where he gave himself up to contemplation, and lived the life of a man that had quitted the world; whilst poor Clementina being made a slave, was sold by the Algerine pirate to the bay of Tunis, whose steward, a Moor, that used to purchase the handsome European virgins for his master, bought her, and carried her home to his seraglio. The French captain had done all that he was able to debauch her himself, but in vain: he was so inamoured, that he could not part with her, though an old man, and having carried her from place to place to no purpose, resolved at last to bring her back to France, and restore her to her friends; condemning her mother’s proceedings and himself for being instrumental in so wicked a design. But now he was also a slave, and punished for his crime. The virtuous Clementina thus lodged in the seraglio, with others as unhappy as herself, being a lady of an heroic spirit and consummate virtue, bravely resolved to die, rather than submit to a Mahometan; and thus determined, began to consider what to do to deliver herself; in order to which she thought it best to apply herself to one of those unfortunate beauties, who seemed well acquainted with that place and life, appearing to have some command there. This proved to be a Venetian lady, to whom she addressed herself with tears, saying, ‘Madam, your face speaks you a Christian as I am, I beg that you would inform me what I am to be done withal, in this strange place.’ ‘Alas, sweet creature, said she, ‘you are destined to be ruined, and deprived of your liberty during your life. I have lived here these four years, and never hope to see the outside of these walls again.’ Then she took her by the hand, and led her into her chamber, saying, ‘We shall be observed, let us shut the door and talk alone.’ Being seated in this room, which was richly furnished, the seraglio being the finest in the whole city, in which there was apartments for twenty women and their attendants, with fine gardens to walk in, inclosed with walls of a great height, Clementina told her the whole story of her life and misfortunes, which drew tears from the lovely Mariana’s eyes; for so the Venetian lady was named. She related her life in this manner.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.