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.
T H E
Miss HARRIOT MONTAGUE.
I AM the daughter of a noble Venetian, my brother is a knight of Malta, my name is Mariana. I was placed in a monastery as a pensioner, being but twelve years old; there a young gentleman courted me secretly, the younger son of a noble family, who was a captain in the service of the state, and had no other fortune but his commission, which indeed was sufficient to support him nobly, but was not considerable enough to answer that great fortune my father design’d me, or to answer his and my brother’s ambitious expectations, I being an only daughter. This gentleman’s person and sense gain’d my affection, so that I prefer’d him in my heart before all others, gave him my hand and promise to be his; but it was not long e’er it was discover’d that some conversation had pass’d between us, and I was sent for home and question’d, but confess’d nothing. This distracted my lover, and he was impatient at my being kept from him: so that at last he made use of a stratagem to get me, which he thus effected: He sent me a letter by a servant to my father’s, which he doubted not would be intercepted; in which he acquainted me, after abundance of passionate assurances, that he would ever love me; that fearing I suffer’d much constraint and uneasiness on his account, he was resolv’d to sell his post, and go for Spain, having some great relations there by his mother’s side, who was a Spanish lady, by whose interest he doubted not to get a better post; and this was the most generous proof he could give me of his affections, being resolv’d to make himself miserable to render me happy. My father, who broke open this letter, was very glad, and had me narrowly watch’d, till he saw that he did what he pretended, which he quickly did; for he sold his post, and took leave of his friends, and went aboard a ship for Spain, as he pretended. Then I was sent back to the monastery, where I soon receiv’d a letter from him by means of another pensioner who was our confident; in which he inform’d me, that he lay conceal’d at a village hard by, and that he conjur’d me to get away with the first opportunity, and come to him. This I did the next evening at the close of the day, and got safe to his friend’s house where he was conceal’d. Here he receiv’d me with open arms, and his friend’s chaplain married us that night. We went away thence before day the next morning, in his coach, which carry’d us to the port where the ship’s boat lay ready to receive us, he having hir’d the vessel on purpose. We went aboard, weigh’d anchor, and set sail for Barcelona; but before we could reach that port, we were unfortunately taken by an Algerine pirate, and brought to this dismal place, where I was parted from him, and sold to this vile infidel, to whose curs’d bed I have been forc’d, and have had the misfortune to be lik’d. He has been absent these four months, being gone to his country-seat to pass the summer-season, where he has other wretched women to divert him; he is to return hither in three days, and then you must be a victim to his lust no question.
Here she let fall a flood of tears, and Clementina bore her company. ‘You have, said she, told me a story more unhappy than my own, since I have still preserv’d my virtue, and am now resolved rather to die than yield, since providence grants me three days for my escape. I’ll use that time, and bravely venture to get hence, or die in the attempt; if you will venture with me, speak, I’ll lead the way, death is preferable to such a life as this.’ “You say you are a christian, heroick maid, said Mariana, would you commit self-murder? Is no other way left to free us, or must we kill each other?” ‘Far be that dreadful thought, said Clementina, from my soul; no, I have thought of other means in the short time I have been here. I have observ’d a Moorish slave whom I saw enter the gardens with a key at a door that leads to the sea, as near as I can guess; that key I am resolved to purchase by his death. Do you contrive some strange disguise to cover us, and pack your jewels up, or what you have of value else, ready to carry out with us, and I will meet him at the gate when he enters at the break of day, as I suppose his custom is, and stab him with a penknife I have hid about me. Could we get the habit of an eunuch for each of us, it would be the safest disguise we could put on; the Bey being absent, few of his servants left here, and those left on their guard, and more negligent than when he is present, it will not be so difficult to get away as at another time.’ “I can procure such habits, said Mariana, and doubt not though our apartment is lock’d up every night, yet the windows are not so high, but we may easily venture down, tying the sheets of our beds together, by which we may slip down into the garden, where in a chamber on one side the Seraglio door, two white eunuchs lie to guard it; next this chamber is the wardrobe: if one of us can but get in at the window of this place, and they not hear us, we may have clothes of any kind, and jewels too.” ‘I will attempt it, said Clementina, and would prefer all dangers, and even death, to infamy and slavery.’ And so will I, said Mariana. Being thus resolv’d, they waited till night came on, when hearing all things still, Clementina crept to her friend’s chamber, who had bundled up her jewels and some linen: they got down from the window, and then went to the wardrobe, the moon shining very bright, and were some time before they could get in at the window, it being very high; but at last Clementina’s wit, which exceeded her sex (tho’ women ever were esteem’d more quick and subtile than mankind at cunning plots and quick contrivances) soon found the way to enter; she got on Mariana’s shoulders, and went in there trembling; she got two rich vests, two turbants, two pair of Turkish boots, and a box, whose rich outside and weight, though small, made her believe it worth the carrying away; these she bundled up, and threw out of the window to her friend: but then she was at a mighty loss how to get out again, which she in vain attempted, it being impossible for her to get up to the window from whence she had dropt down into the room: no way was left but to pass through the eunuchs chamber, and this necessity prevail’d with her to do. She took down two rich scymiters that hung up in fine embroider’d belts, and having drawn one, pass’d through the chamber where the eunuchs lay fast asleep, resolving if they stirr’d, to kill them, or to die by their hands. Upon the table there stood a silver bowl half full of wine, of which no doubt they had took their fill, although their prophet does forbid it them; for few Musselmen refuse to drink it in private: this bowl she took, with a bunch of keys which lay by it; and going to the door found the key in it, so she gently unlock’d it, and putting it to after her, went out safely to her friend, who stood trembling and almost dead with fear. Clementina shew’d her the keys, one of which she fancy’d would open the garden-gate, to which they hasted, and to their great satisfaction found it so: being got out of the gate, which they lock’d after them, they stood to consider which way to go, and resolv’d to get away from the town to the next wood or ruin’d building they could meet with; they had not gone above two miles, when they enter’d a grove, at the farther end of which they found an old ruin’d mosque, which they went into with great fear, lest some old Turkish Brahmen or Saintoin should live there; but hearing no creature stir but bats and screech-owls, and such vermin as live in unfrequented places, they took courage, and the day beginning to break, they laid down their bundles, and changing their clothes, put on their Turkish habits, which instead of being mean, such as slaves wear, belong’d to the Bey himself, being both cloth of gold, the buttons of the one was rubies, and the other emeralds; the turbants were suitably rich, and full of diamonds, pearls, and other jewels; so that they had an immense treasure, had they known how to dispose of it. But at this time they would willingly have parted with it all for some poor habit to conceal them, fearing they should be pursu’d and taken, not knowing where to hide themselves: They were weary, faint, and had no food, and search’d every corner of this ruinous place to hide themselves; at last they found a door which seem’d to lead down some stairs into a vault, where they suppos’d the dead were bury’d, and that they should meet with nothing there but skulls and bones and noisom vapours; yet had they had a light, they would gladly have gone into it to hide themselves, nay liv’d, and chose to sleep and eat amongst the dead, rather than to live luxuriously with infidels. They sat down upon the stairs however to rest their tir’d limbs; so that if any should pass by, they might shut the door upon them. As they sat thus consulting what to do, they heard a noise, and saw a man enter the mosque with a dark lanthorn in his hand and a loaf under his arm, with some scraps of meat, and fish in a little basket; he had a long coarse frize garment on, his face and hands were tawny, he had only sandals on his feet, and a strange fashion’d straw-hat upon his head; he sat down his basket and bread, and opening his lanthorn, turning the light side towards them, came to the door, and was going down stairs, when Mariana giving a great shriek, fell into a swoon upon Clementina, and had like to have beat her down the stairs. It is impossible to express her thoughts at this instant; for though she was a woman of great courage, and had a dauntless soul, yet she was shock’d at the instant, as was also the stranger. He look’d upon them with amazement; the beauty of their faces, the splendor of their habits, and the strange place he found them in, astonish’d him. Clementina at last recovering herself, view’d him attentively, and reason’d with herself that he was but a man unarm’d, and in all probability as much in distress as themselves; mean time he concluded they were women disguis’d, and doubtless fled thither for shelter; that they must be Europeans, and persons of birth by their beauty, delicate hands, shape and complexions. He said thus in French to Clementina, ‘In the name of God what are you, and from whence came you? Speak, if you understand me, tell me if you are in distress, that I may help you.’ “We are by birth Europeans, and profess the christian faith, said she, as I doubt not you do, since you speak my native language; we are fled from ruin, infamy and slavery, and got into this dismal place to screen ourselves from the fury of the Infidels whom we this morning fled from. Assist us to escape their hands, and find us means to get hence, and all the riches we have about us shall be yours.” At these words the man shedding some tears, took her by the hand with an air that spoke him a gentleman. ‘Fair creature, said he, I will assist and defend you, and that lovely friend that you support, with my life; fear not to descend with me into the vault, where I have lived above three tedious years, and where we may without fear of discovery talk our misfortunes over.’ He took the loaf and Mariana being now something recover’d from her swoon, made way for him to go down before them with the light; at the bottom of the stairs they found a room all of stone, clean though dismal, in which were three doors which open’d into three other rooms like that; in one of these lay a great quantity of bones and skulls, which this poor hermit had clear’d the other rooms of; in that he liv’d in, was a bed made of straw and rushes, into which he used to creep, covering himself with nothing else but an old mantle, in which he used to wrap himself in winter: near this his miserable bed, there lay two square stones, one about a foot higher than the other; the highest was his table to eat upon, the other his seat to sit upon; this with a poor lamp was all his furniture, except two earthen dishes, and a stone bottle that us’d to keep water for him to drink. And now desiring his guests to sit down, lighting his lamp, he pull’d a small bottle of arrack out of his pocket, desiring them to drink, which they did. The lamp burning clear they could with great satisfaction view each other, the hermit view’d Mariana more attentively, he leap’d up and catched her in his arms with such transports, that Clementina was amazed and terrify’d, fearing he had some ill design upon them; but she was quickly undeceived, for he cry’d out, ‘my Mariana! my angel! have I liv’d to embrace you again? is it possible? and do I hold in my arms my wife? It is too much: such joy is insupportable.’ At these words being extreme weak, he fainted, for he was even starved with this poor way of life, and grown a perfect skeleton. Mariana was so surpriz’d, she could not utter one word; but Clementina pour’d some of the arrack into his mouth, which soon revived him; the most passionate discourse passed between him and Mariana that can be imagined: for what joy could exceed hers to meet her dear husband again? she beg’d to know how he came to live in that place; and all that had passed since they were parted, which he related in these words, kissing her hands, and gazing upon her all the while, as if his glad soul, which seemed to sparkle in his eager eyes, would feast itself on that delightful object.
My life, said he, the fatal day that we were parted, and you were sold to the cursed Bey of Tunis, who has no doubt enjoy’d that lovely person (then he sigh’d deeply, and she wept) I was disposed of for a slave to an old Jew, who drove me home into the country before him, with my arms pinion’d. Being come to his house, he put me into the garden to work, there I was made draw water, dig, and labour hard all day, at night chained like a dog in a hole under his summer-house on straw; my food and labour were so hard, that in a few days I fell sick of an ague and fever; so that fearing I should die, he took me into the house, making me wait at table, whet the knives, go on errands, and such trivial things; but my weakness encreasing, I was at last confin’d to my bed. This frightened him so, that he told me, (finding I was a gentleman, and unfit for service) if I would write to my friends, and procure a tolerable ransom, he would let me go. Then I told him that there was a young gentlewoman who was taken with me in the same ship, and that if he could get me intelligence where she was, and find on what terms she might be freed, then I would send to Spain to my friends for a ransom for both, though they were but in mean circumstances; for I dar’d say no other, because the villain would have been extravagant in his demands; and I told him unless he could do this, I did not think it worth my while to write, or care what became of me. This vex’d him horribly. In short, I lay ill so long, that had not his daughter, a handsome Jewish maid, privately supply’d me with some rich wines and good food, I had surely dy’d; for though a kind of a doctor he employed, gave me some medicines that conquer’d my disease, yet I had never recovered strength enough to get away without her help; but being able to walk about, and little notice being taken of me by the servants, I left the house one evening, and resolved to get back near Tunis, where I hop’d to get some news of you. This Jew’s country-house was fifteen miles off it, and I was two days and nights a crawling to this ruinous place, into which I entered, to rest myself, being quite spent. I had a bottle of wine, and some bread and meat ty’d up in a cloth in this little basket, in which I us’d to gather fruit for the table. After I had eat and slept here, I began to consider what to do; if I enter’d the city, I should run the risk of being taken up perhaps and examined, and so be sent to prison for a runaway, or sent back to my master, which was almost as bad: so a thought came into my head, that if I could find means to subsist and live concealed in this place, I might have some fortunate opportunity of finding where you were. Then I began to view the place more narrowly, and found this door: I descended into the vault, but it was so dark I could not discern what was in it, but groping about, I thought I heard a groan, and turning my head, discern’d the glimmering of a lamp in one of the inner rooms: I entered it, though in some disorder, and there I saw one of the most dismal objects that ever eyes beheld, it was an aged man dressed in this coarse coat that I have on, his beard reached to his waste, his bones appeared ready to start through his parched shriveled skin, his eyes were sunk, his voice failed, and he seemed to be in the last agonies of death, as indeed he was. I could hardly recollect my spirits, I was so moved at this dreadful sight. He fixed his eyes upon me, and seemed desirous to speak to me. In the name of Jesus, said I, what are you that are thus come to dwell amongst the dead? That name, said he, is sweet indeed; speak it again, dear christian, and comfort my departing soul. At these words charity made me haste to give him some of my wine, of which he swallowed but a little with much difficulty; yet that a little revived him, and I begged of him to get down some more. In fine, he was so refreshed, that I hop’d I should have saved his life, but was deceived.
I know, said he, your curiosity is great to know who I am, and the strange adventures that have brought me to this dismal place and end; and I will endeavour to reward your kindness, if I am able, with the story of my life. I was the eldest son of a noble family in Spain, it was my fortune to fall in love with a young lady, the daughter of a Grandee; I got her father’s permission to court her, but was received but coldly; in fine, I found I had some rival who supplanted me in her affection, and made it my whole study to discover who he was; and it was not long e’er I was satisfy’d that a young Cavalier used to be admitted through the gardens frequently, in the dead time of the night, to her apartment. I passionately loved her, and this discovery so enraged me, that I resolved to kill him. In short, I lay in ambush with three of my servants, in a grove behind the gardens, and saw him enter, leaving his horse and one servant to wait his coming out, which was not till the break of day. I advanced at the head of my servants, and shot him dead, and made off immediately without discovery, being mask’d; my coach waited about two miles off the place; so I quitted my horse, and went into it, reaching my own home in the city before it was broad day: by noon the news was spread all over the city that Don Ferdinand de Juan my cousin-german was kill’d, but none could discover by whom. I concealed my thoughts, appearing much concerned for his death, and being unable to live at quiet without Ravina, I pressed for our marriage so earnestly, that her father consented, and we were joined by the sacred rites, not to be happy but wretched; for she was so sincere in her affection to her murder’d lover, that she could never be happy with another; and having too well convinced myself the first night, that my bride was no virgin, I grew furiously jealous and unkind to her. This usage put her upon measures to be revenged; and her charms soon procured me such a rival, that I knew not how to cope withal; a duke made me that modish thing a cuckold, and to prevent my having any opportunity of being revenged, not only came always well attended to my house, but procured me a great post in the army, which obliged me to be absent from home most part of the year; yet my wife lost no time but cursed me with a child every year, so that I began to look on her as a vile strumpet, and the children as vipers and serpents produced by her lust and my dishonour. At last I plotted the destruction of her and them, and having contrived this villainy to destroy them, and ruin my own peace and soul, laid all things ready to escape from justice, I came home, and at one fatal supper in my wife’s apartment, poisoned her and her three children. At midnight I took horse, and reached the next sea-port by day-break, where a bark lay which I had hired to carry me to England, having remitted a vast sum of money thither in order to provide for me there, knowing I must never return to Spain again. I went on board, met with a great storm which drove us towards the straits, where an Algerine pirate met with and took us; being brought to Tunis, I was sold for a slave to a Bassa, who kept me in extreme misery seven years; he being kill’d in the wars, I fell into the hands of his son, who was an officer of the guard to the King of Fez and Morocco; with him I travelled many thousand leagues, carrying burdens, and running by his horse’s side. All this I looked upon as a just punishment inflicted upon me by divine justice for my enormous sins, and must confess the horrors of that guilt that loads my soul, were always more grievous to me than the bodily pains I suffered, though they were almost insupportable. At last, quite wearied out and desperate, I fled over the mountains, and after wandering about in the disguise of a poor dervise, which is the habit I have on, by means of which I passed undiscovered to this place, in which I chose to reside, and have lived five whole years unmolested, I got my bread by begging in the adjacent city and suburbs, being held in great veneration by the common people, by reason of my dress, which made me pass for a religious mahometan. All this time I have been labouring to make my peace with God by prayers and tears, hoping to wash away my stains, and purify my conscience; this I hope, through the merits of my Saviour, I have done: It is about ten days since, coming to my dismal cell, I saw two persons struggling as if one was going to rob or kill the other, and stepping in between them, one of them, which I suppose to be the thief, stab’d me into the thigh with a poisoned knife, as I since conclude, and then fled; the person I had rescued, seemed very thankful, and desirous to know who I was, to reward me; but I was shy of that, so he gave me a purse of gold and left me. I hasted home to dress my wound with some salve I had by me, but the next morning I could not rise; I have lain here ever since in extream torment, have had no food these three days past, and believe my thigh is mortified. He related all this, often faltering in his speech, and groaning, nay fainting several times; but I spare to make particular mention of these things. He concluded thus: And now, said he, I shall die by a violent death as those I murdered did; may God accept of these my sufferings and Repentance here, in compensation of the ills I have done, and then I shall be happy. I kept him alive with the wine that night, but the mortification ended his unhappy life the next morning. I drag’d his body into the next room, and shut up the door as close as I could, to avoid the stench of it, and concluded to live here, putting on his old coat as a sure disguise: I took the purse of gold also, which was a great help to me, and having dy’d my face and hands with the juice of an herb to make me look thus tawny, have lived undiscovered all this time. I learned at my Jew-master’s to make straw-hats, and baskets for to gather fruit in; these I make here in the heat of the day and sell for bread and meat, which if I get none ready dress’d I broil upon some coals, making a fire of sticks in the mosque, in one corner of which I have made myself a kind of fire-place with stones; then I bring down some of the hot coals upon a tile into this place to warm and dry it, else I should die with the dampness of it. I am so well acquainted with the country now, that I am confident I could find out some more commodious place to live in: but fearing to go farther off the city, and be less likely to hear news of you, made me continue here; but since providence has been so merciful to bring you hither, you shall take up with this sad being some few days, till I can procure such a disguise for each of you as I have on, and colour your faces like mine, which will wash off again; and then I will provide some better place near the sea-side for us to dwell in, till God is pleased to send some ship to carry us off from this sad place. The rich vests and turbants you have on would surely betray us; we will take the jewels off, and hide them in the vault among the dead bones, where none will seek them, and to-morrow I will buy two coats, and boots, with flannel to make you long tunicks to your heels, to keep you warm, and hide your fine linen underneath; your heads shall be covered with flannel-hoods, like cowls, with straw-hats. This resolved on, they sat down, and eat thankfully of the scraps he had brought home. Thus with a good conscience, men may live contented, nay be even happy in the most miserable circumstances. A charnel-house now entertains these two ladies, who are better pleased to eat scraps, and lie on straw and the cold stones, than dwell in a fine palace, and sleep on beds of down with infamy. After this poor repast, they prayed, and laid them down to rest, Mariana’s husband having fastened the door of the vault within-side as he used to do, to prevent wild beasts from entring there. The next morning he went to the city, and bought what they wanted, yet not at one place, but at several, for fear of suspicion, and returned soon; then they sat down to work, and made the flannel tunicks and hoods, as he directed them; he had brought meat, and dressed it in the mosque above, whilst they worked in the vault below: by night they had finished their disguises; and he, impatient to remove them from that dismal place, went out after they had dined, and searching along the shore, found an old ruinous cottage on the side of a rock, so built in the cleft of the rock, that it was well screened from the bleak winds or parching sun, and so shadowed with trees that grew round about and over it, that it was not easily seen. No body lived in this place but an old fisherman and his wife. Don Alonzo told them he was a poor dervise whose cottage was tumbled down, and if they would quit this for him and two more hermits to live in, he would pay them to their content; the poor devout peasants, reverencing his sacred person and profession, gladly consented: so he paid them a small matter, though to them it was a great sum, and they quitted the place, retiring to another cottage at a little distance from it; these poor people he employed to buy two quilts, some coverlids, and what else was wanting, to make this place a convenient cell for him and his two friends; and in three days time, all being ready, they removed in the dusk of the evening from their dismal vault to this clean wholesome cottage, where they lived for some months very happily, hiding their rich jewels and clothes in a hole in the rock: the poor fisherman and his wife were very serviceable to them, fetching what they wanted, and supplying them with fish; and having a good strong boat, they hoped by his means to get to some ship, he having promised to go on board the first European ship he could get sight of at sea, for which service Don Alonzo assured him, he would give them ten pieces of gold. During the time of our female hermits abode in this place, they never went into the town; but Don Alonzo neglected not to go frequently to sell his straw baskets and hats, which the ladies learned to make with great dexterity; so that they made enough to supply them with bread and meat in way of exchange. And now he thought it would not be improper to convert some of the jewels into ready money, which might stand them in stead, in case they found cause to remove or means to get off. In order to this, he carry’d some of the jewels Clementina had brought away in the fine box she took out of the Bey’s wardrobe, which they had broke open, and found to be full of jewels and gold; a few of these he went with to a Jew-merchant in the city, whom he told that he had found a box with these jewels, and some other things of value in it, on the sands, as he was walking on the sea-shore, and supposed to be part of some shipwreck: the Jew did not much trouble him with questions, but finding he should have them a good pennyworth, cared not how he came by them, and bid him a thousand pieces of gold, but Don Alonzo insisted upon two thousand, to which the Jew at last agreed, and paid him down the money, the jewels being no doubt worth twice as much; but this sum was sufficient for our hermits. And now Don Alonzo could boldly go to him, and buy what they wanted, without fearing to give occasion of suspicion, since the Jew would not wonder how he came by money. All the diversion the hermits took, was to walk on the sea-shore in the evenings and early in the mornings, in hopes to discover some ship to get off. One morning, a dreadful storm having blown in the night, they went out to see what mischief was done; and Clementina being foremost, perceived something floating on the sea; she stood still to observe it, and soon saw it was a man, with his hands fast clenched on a chest, his habit was lac’d with silver: she cry’d out to Don Alonzo to come to help this poor wretch: he ran, and stepping up to his middle in the water, caught hold of the chest and drag’d it to shore. Then they took the man up, who appeared to be dead, but Don Alonzo holding him up by the heels, the water poured out of his mouth in great quantity, after which some signs of life appeared; they carried him home to their cottage, gave him rack, and put him into a warm bed, and so brought him to life; he was a very handsome gentleman, and his linen and clothes spoke him a man of no mean quality. Don Alonzo left him with the Ladies, whilst he called the fisherman to help bring the chest to the cottage, supposing it to contain something worth saving. The stranger viewed the ladies with wonder, their strange habits and tawny complexions ill agreeing with the sweetness of their features, and delicate hands and limbs: he thought he knew one of them, yet was in doubt. Mean time they were very busy in tending him, giving him burnt wine, and talking in French to one another, a language he was no stranger to, for he was a French gentleman by birth. At last he addressed himself to Clementina in this manner: ‘Madam, if my eyes do not deceive me I have the honour to know you, is not your name Clementina? the unfortunate daughter of a mother who barbarously sent you out of France. Speak, are you a stranger to Monsieur Le Montague?’ At this discourse she changed colour, and shedding some tears, reply’d, ‘I am indeed the unfortunate Clementina, and too well know that name, since I am never like to see, or if I did, can never possess what I so dearly loved.’ “Yes, said he, you will I doubt not do both, for he is safely arrived in France, and a widower, having sought for you all over Canada and the West-Indies; he came home a little before I left France.” Here he told her all the story of her mother’s death, and the manner of their living together; that he was now possessed of a vast estate, and retired from the world on her account. By this time Don Alonzo and the fisherman brought in the chest, and Clementina proceeded to ask the stranger who he was, not being still able to recollect. He told her immediately that his name was Montelion. Good heavens! said she, are you that charming gay young captain who used to visit and court my dear friend madam Cleora, when we were pensioners in the monastery together? Yes, said he, I am that unfortunate man, who have married and brought that lovely maid from France to lose her life I fear, and it had been well for me to have perished with her; if she is dead, life will be a hell to me. I beg you therefore to add to the charitable office you have done in saving me, by searching all the coast hereabouts carefully, for she was holding fast on the chest, when my senses forsook me, and then we were not far from the shore: I hope therefore that she may still be alive; if I do not find her, grief will perhaps finish that life that you have now restored me to. I saw a boat near us when I fainted, and conclude if she had been drowned, she would have kept her hold on the chest, as people generally do; for this reason I flatter myself the fisher-boat took her up, and neglected me, whom they might conclude dead, or that some wave might drive me out of their reach. Don Alonzo sent the old fisherman to make inquiry, who was acquainted with all the others on that coast, the stranger being so weak he could not rise. They intreated him to tell them his adventures, and the manner of his coming to that coast; which he related in these words.
After you fair Clementina left France, I contined my addresses to Cleora, whose brother Leander, soon after you were gone, went away for Virginia, being highly disgusted with his guardians, resolving to apply himself to an uncle he has there, who had considerable effects of his in his hands, he persuaded himself would assist him against his other uncles: Camilla followed him, no news of them has come to France since they left it. Cleora was soon removed from St. Malos to Calais, and I following, she was sent to the convent of Augustine nuns at Paris. Mean time my elder brother dying, I became master of a fortune sufficient to answer hers: so I applied myself not only to her obdurate uncles, but to the bishop and principal merchants who importuned them to consent to our marriage, but to no purpose, for they were resolved never to part with her and her fortune, tho’ I proceeded so far, that I offered to divide it with them, but this they rejected with a pretended scorn. In fine, I saw all I did was to no purpose, so I resolved to steal her away, and fly to Virginia to her brother, who being now come of age, might greatly assist me, as I will him. I set out for Paris with this design, but was strangely disappointed when I came there, for she was removed thence to a house of her guardians (an old stone building, strong as a little fort) in a village in Normandy. Here they placed her under a kind of guard, for they put an old hag in the chamber with her, who never let her stir out but on the leads (for it was the uppermost room in the house;) two stout surly fellows lived below, and took care of the gate. I took a private lodging in this village, disguised like a mean person, leaving my servants at a market town three miles off; and pretended to the old farmer where I lodged, that I had been sick, and was come to that place for my health, being a tradesman at Coutance; this passed very well with the country people. The house my dear Cleora was kept in, was moated round and had a draw-bridge, which was seldom let down but when any of the servants went out or in. I walked round it several days to consider what course to take, and there I had the pleasure or rather torment, of seeing my dear Cleora walking with the old hag upon the leads. I did not dare to make any sign to discover myself to her, and being convinced that it was impossible to get at her by fair means, I resolved to use force; in order to which, I sent the old farmer’s man to the market-town, with a letter to my valet-de-chambre, whom I had left with two footmen and four horses, to come to me next morning, which they accordingly did. I took them to a place in sight of the prison where my mistress was, and we staid concealed under the shelter of some trees, till we saw one of the men-servants come out, the bridge being let down: we rode up with pistols in our hands, seized on the bridge, which my two servants kept, whilst my valet-de-chambre and I forced the servants at the gate to give us entrance; for I caught him by the throat, and clapping my pistol to his breast, bid him bring me to his young mistress, or I would kill him. He begged for mercy, and I held him by the arm, and ascended the stairs with him to the room where she was. You may believe she was extremely surprized at seeing a man enter the room thus rudely, but she quickly recovered her fright at the sight of me. The old hag screamed and roared like one distracted, but that I little regarded; so I bid my mistress follow me, and we ran down stairs; I mounted her upon my horse behind me, on which I had purposely put a pillion, and my men breaking down the draw-bridge, threw it into the moat, and so prevented our being pursued for some hours; in which time we made off to a curate’s house cross the country, about twenty miles farther: Here we were married, and lay concealed for above a month, in which time the search made after us was over, and they concluded we were gome out of the kingdom. Then having disguised her in man’s clothes, and a ship and money, with bills of exchange, being got ready for us at Diepe, we set out from the curate’s, attended by two servants, and got safe off.
We then thought ourselves happy, and had a prosperous voyage, till we came through the Straits, when a dreadful storm arose, driving us on this coast; and our ship (which was but small) striking upon a rock, bulged; we had no way to save ourselves but by getting into the long-boat: my dear wife was my chief care, I got her one of the first in, and the captain and several sailors and passengers leaped after in such disorder (all being willing to save their lives) that they over-set the boat, and we were all thrown into the merciless sea. I catched hold of my dear wife, and seeing a chest floating, and that we were not far from the shore, I caught hold of it, bidding her throw herself upon it: Thus we remained, till my strength was so spent, that I could no longer sustain the waves beating against me, and fainted at the moment I saw a fishing-boat making towards us; and now all my hope is, that she was taken into it.
Soon after he had ended his relation, the old fisherman entered, with the good news, that a fisherman standing on the shore, saw the lady taken up by the boat, from whence they threw a rope, which she catched hold of; and that the man on the chest was carried off towards the shore by the waves. He said the woman rung her hands, and seemed to call after him: but that the boat made away out of his sight, from the shore. Montelion lifting up his hands, cry’d, ‘My God, I thank thee with my soul, that her life is preserved: Let thy angels keep her safe, and direct me to her: Strengthen my confidence in thee, that the improbability of our meeting again may not drive me to despair.’
The hermits did all they could to comfort him, and procured a habit like theirs for him: They resolved to be gone the first opportunity, but he could not be persuaded to leave the place without his lady; nay, his impatience was such, that he often ventured out in a morning early, and would go many miles along the seashore, making inquiry of the fishermen: but alas! he was deceived in looking for her there, for she was otherwise disposed of. Some months passed in this manner, so that he began to despair of finding her, or they of getting thence; but providence, whose ways are unsearchable, and always tend to our good, detained them there for the preservation of the virtuous Cleora.
Don Alonzo one morning going out very early alone to the city to sell his straw-ware, and buy provisions as usual, passing by a wood, heard the voice of a woman making great lamentations in the French tongue: he turned aside to see if he could discover where she was, and following the voice, entered a great way into the wood, in the thickest part of which he perceived a woman sitting on the ground; she had a Turkish habit on was very young and beautiful; she held her hands upon one of her legs, which was much swoln; her face was pale as death, her eyes sunk with weeping and famine; she looked upon him as a person resigned to death, and uttered not one word. He spoke to her in French, saying, ‘Madam, what ails you? how came you to this place? I am a christian, and can help you. Alas! (said she) I fear all help comes too late; I have been here three days with my leg broke, and have had neither food nor help, so am not able to move, or follow you; I fled from ruin and infamy, and have met death: I was saved from the merciless seas, to perish on the more inhospitable shore.’ ‘Is not your name Cleora? said he. Yes, said she, but ——.’ Here she swooned, he was troubled that he had nothing to give her, but was forced to run back to the fisherman’s cottage, which was half a mile, yet nearer than his own: here he got some brandy, and made him follow him with a blanket: they ran all the way, and found her lying as dead, with her teeth clinched; he had much ado to get some of the brandy down her throat, but at last she began to breathe and move: Then they put her into the blanket, and carried her betwixt them home to Don Alonzo, where the transporred Montelion was so divided betwixt grief and joy, that he scarce knew what he said or did. The ladies got her into bed, and gave her hot spoon-meat; but when they came to look upon her leg, they shrunk back amazed, for she had broke it short at the instep, the bone being split, came through; her leg and foot was so swelled, that had the best bone-setter in the world been there, he could not have set it at that instant. Clementina had some skill, she presently made a fomentation with herbs and wine, and applied stoups dipped therein to it, which gave the poor lady great relief in some hours: what to do they knew not; they did not dare to send for a Mahometan surgeon, there was no christians of that profession, and they all feared a mortification, Montelion was almost distracted. At last Don Alonzo went to the Jew, and told him he had occasion for a surgeon, and desired his assistance. He told him, a friend of his had bought a christian slave of that profession, who had been surgeon to a French ship; he would direct and recommend him to that friend. He went with a letter from this Jew to the other, who freely lent him his slave; and they went together, Don Alonzo talking with him by the way, found he was surgeon to the ship which brought Clementina from Canada. He acquainted him with her being in his house, and his own story, not fearing to be discovered by a christian, who he offered to redeem from slavery of the Jew; an offer the other gladly accepted of no question; for though we often live as ill as heathens, who profess ourselves christians, and whilst we live together are often at variance; yet none but such as have experienced it, can tell the joy and comfort poor christians find, in meeting and conversing together when in slavery amongst turks and heathens; then true charity glows in their breasts, and they gladly assist one another to the utmost of their power.
This surgeon was caressed by all, but especially by Clementina, who knew him to be a very honest gentleman. He dressed the poor lady, and miraculously restored her leg to such a state, that in six weeks she could walk with a crutch, though never able to go upright, but was ever lame, it being impossible to cure it otherwise, having lain so long without help. Clementina asked him what was become of the captain; he told her he was dead, he believed of the wounds he received in the fight; a just reward for his crimes in using her as he had done. Now Cleora being pretty well recovered, acquainted them how she came into this condition, and the occasion of her flying to the wood where Don Alonzo found her.
Being pulled into the boat (said she) by means of the rope they threw out to me, I expected them (having shewn so much charity to me) to have made after you (addressing herself to her husband) but they seemed deaf to my intreaties, neither did they understand me, I believe, because they were strangers to my language. They made away for Tunis, to which they were going, it being a fishing boat belonging to a Bashaw who lives there and sent them out the day before to get fish for his table, as his custom was. They certainly imagined they had got a prize in me, seeing me young and tolerably handsome. When they had brought me to shore, they led me directly to the Bashaw’s (their masters) house, where I was delivered to a black, who seemed mighty glad, and viewed me so curiously, that my face was overspread with blushes. By him I was led to a fine Apartment, where an old maid servant, who spoke French, came to me; the grief and surprize I was under made me glad to meet with somebody to inform me what I was to be done with: I asked her many questions, and was answered, that I was to be mistress to one of the handsomest and most powerful men in the place, that he was his princes chief favourite; in short, she praised him up to the skies. I told her I was already married, and would rather die, than admit of another’s embraces. She laughed at that, and taking off my wet clothes, brought me up a Turkish dress. Thus I remained many days confined in this place, being furnished with all necessaries of food, habit and lodging; in which time walking in the gardens, I saw and conversed with some of those unfortunate women who had been purchased for his pleasures, Europeans, now made slaves to the insolent Mahometan, who was at this time at a country-house about two miles distant from the wood in which Don Alonzo found me, so that it was some months before that I was exposed to the Infidel’s view. During my abode in this place I made some attempts to escape, but could never effect it, for the slaves so narrowly watched us, that there was no hopes of getting away. And now being quite overwhelmed with sorrow, I applied myself to God to deliver me. Indeed I wondered that I continued so long without seeing this tyrannical Algerine; but at last I learned the reason, he was sick of a tertian ague and fever all that time; as soon as he recovered he ordered me to be brought to him, to his country-house, having had such an advantagious character given him of me, that he was impatient to see me. I had contracted a kind of friendship with a young creature, who had been brought there at ten years old; her name was Emilia, an English gentleman’s daughter of great fortune; she was god-daughter to a lady, whose husband was a rich Merchant, and went to settle in the West-Indies with his family, she took this beautiful girl along with her, and the ship being unfortunately taken, and brought into Tunis, she was sold to this Bashaw, whose mistress she had been five years when I came to that unhappy place. She was fair as an angel, witty, and highly sensible of her misfortune. She had brought him a daughter, which was carried away from her soon after it was born. She pity’d me extremely, and assured me that it was almost impossible to escape thence. She seemed resigned to her misfortunes, and said, since God has been pleased to suffer her to be reduced to such a way of life, where she could have no opportunity of practising her religion, or avoiding the Infidel’s embraces, she hoped he would not lay any thing to her charge as a crime, since it was compulsion, not choice. But all her arguments seemed weak to me, and I resolved on death rather than to yield. At last, one morning the old French woman entered my chamber, and bid me prepare myself to go to the great man, whose favourite I was to be. She brought me a rich habit and linen, and dressed me to all the advantage such a pagan habit could be put on with, whilst I stood weeping, careless of what she did, and meditating what to do. At last she threw a vail over me, and led me through the garden to a kind of horse-litter, into which the black slave put me. I perceived that there were seven or eight ill-looking slaves to guard me, so that it was in vain to resist. I was about three hours upon the road, and had refused to eat any thing before I set out, that I was so faint when they came to take me out, that two of them were fain to lead me into the house, which was a kind of earthly paradise, adorned with fine paintings, and such furniture, that I was surprized. Being conducted to a delicate chamber, where there was a bed made after the European fashion, and velvet stools and chairs, things very uncommon in these parts of the world; they left me, and in a few moments after a gentleman, in a rich night-gown and turban, entered: he was tall, slender, and delicately shaped, his eyes were black and shining, his skin moderately fair, his air and mein so soft and engaging, that I stood confounded. At these words Montelion reddened; she perceiving it, with a smile said, my dear don’t be jealous, for his beauty and my persuasions did him no further service with me, but to raise my pity; for I soon perceived he was an European, and had bought his greatness here by renouncing his faith. He bowed, and stood looking upon me for some time without speaking; then, like a man awakened from a pleasant dream to substantial joy, he catched me in his arms, and said in French, ‘fame has done you wrong, sweet creature; you are fairer than fancy could conceive; take to your arms a man that adores you, and knows how to value such a treasure; no Barbarian or fierce Moor, but one who was born in the politest part of the world; I am an Italian, whom injuries drove hither; who being ruined by my fellow-christians, have fled for succour to barbarians, who have advanced and made me great enough to make you as happy as the world can make you.’ My soul was filled with horror at these words. ‘Have you renounced your Saviour, said I, and do you think a christian can look upon you without abhorrence? my religion and honour are so dear to me, that I will die for either; and though I am in your power (as you imagine) whilst I remain firm in this resolution I am safe, and your attempts are vain.’ He used all the persuasions possible to gain me, nay, stooped to beg and pray; but finding me inflexible, and growing faint, being still weak with his late illness, he called for wine, sherbet, and sweet-meats, courting me to eat and drink, but I refused. Then he asked me if I designed to be my own murderer, and damn myself? I answered no, but I did not think it safe to eat and drink with a person who had base designs upon my virtue, and might, perhaps, deprive me of my reason by some stupifying drug, and ruin me; therefore I would abstain from eating till providence supplyed me with some wholesome bread and water, or any thing that might satisfy hunger without danger. He seemed surprised at my being so resolute, and no doubt but his conscience pricked him when he saw me so well perform my duty, which he had by cowardice and ambition acted contrary to. At last he took leave, bidding me reflect, that no human power could free me from him; that I must at last yield to his desires; that he would much rather gain me by courtship, than force; but if I continued obstinate, he must be obliged to constrain me to be kind; then he left me, a slave keeping the door. This civility, I believe, was owing to his weakness; but being now left alone, I sat down in a chair, and fell into a serious consideration of my wretched condition: I had no weapon to defend myself, or harm him; the doors were guarded; then I viewed the windows, and they were so high, that a leap from thence seemed to threaten certain death: I disputed in my conscience the lawfulness of such an action. Thus I sat till evening, being often interrupted by his officious slaves, who brought me choice wines and presents from him, all which I refused; yet at last fearing want of sustenance would render me unable to resist him if he offered force, or faintness seize my spirits, and deprive me of my reason, I made the slave that brought in the wine, drink a glass of it before me, and then I took two glasses full myself, and eat some bread. When it grew dark they urged me to go to bed, but I refused. They brought in two wax lights, and retired, shutting the door; and now I trembled, fearing what followed. About midnight the apostate Bashaw entered the chamber, and fastening the door, came to me, using all the softest persuasions and intreaties: in short, finding me deaf to all his sollicitations, he proceeded to use force; but then some kind angel sure assisted me, for I grew strong, he soon tired, and renewed his intreaties. At last he swooned at my feet, and then being distracted with my fears, I resolved to use those happy moments; so without standing to deliberate, I catched the rich sash off that ty’d his night-gown, and fastening one end to one of the bars of the windows, slid down; but that not being above three yards long, I fell down from a great height, and lay for some time quite stun’d; but recovering, found I had not broke my bones, and rising on my feet, fled towards the next wood, it being a very moon-light night: I thought it not so far off as it proved, for it was near two miles, as I guess, and I had hardly strength left to reach it, but fear drove me on. When I entered the wood I was filled with more dreadful apprehensions, and fancied the wild beasts would devour me; to avoid which I got up into a tree, whose trunk being old and hollow, I easily climbed: There I seated myself and passed the remainder of the night till day-break but then I feared to descend, lest I should be pursued; nor did I know where to go. Whilst I was thus musing sleep prevailed over thought, and I fell into a slumber, and drop’d down from the tree, which fall broke my leg. What I endured for three days that I lay there, you may imagine: I expected nothing but death, as I had reason to do; but providence preserved and relieved me by your means, for which I will be thankful whilst I live.
All the company joined in praises to God, and were filled with admiration: they passed the time very agreeably, till the good old fisherman, whom they had converted to the christian faith, together with his wife, acquainted them, that he had that morning met at sea with a Spanish ship, had been aboard it, and informed the captain of their being there; that he had promised to send his long-boat that night to a creek behind the rock to fetch them. It is, said he, a ship of good force, and fears no pirate, being well arm’d and mann’d. Don Alonzo, on this news, went away to Tunis, and gave his friend the surgeon notice, who went back with him. The ladies in the mean time packed up their jewels, money, and some linen, and all being ready, they went away to the creek in the dusk, and waited the boat’s coming. They offered to take the fisherman and his wife along with them, but they chose to end their lives in their own country, pleading their age: so they left them all their furniture, and twenty pieces of gold, a sufficient provision for them. The ship’s boat came about eleven o’clock at night, and carried them off safely to the ship, Don Alonzo promising to assist Clementina and the surgeon to return to France by land, and he and Mariana doubted not of a good reception from his friends at Madrid. Besides, the two ladies had brought such a treasure in jewels from the Bey’s seraglio, that that being divided was sufficient to provide for them all. Montelion and his lady were presented with a part of them, and his chest having been saved, was a provision for them, they were prevailed upon to desist from their intended voyage to Virginia, Clementina promising, that Monsieur le Montague should stand by them against her unjust guardians, so they determined to go home to France with her. The Spanish captain received them with transport, and they had leisure to entertain him with an account of all their strange adventures.
They arrived at Barcelona in good health, sold part of their jewels there, highly rewarded the captain, and Don Alonzo’s friends provided nobly for him and Mariana, who writ to her parents at Venice an account of all her sufferings, and safe return to Europe. The French ladies and gentlemen stayed some days to recover themselves of the fatigue of their voyage, and then set out for France, promising never to forget the civilities they had received, and the friendship they had all contracted with one another in their misery. And now ’tis fit that we leave the barbarous Algerines, and return to Leander and his kinsman, whom we left travelling to Virginia through Carolina.
Leander and his generous kinsman with the hermit Monsieur de Lisle, came safe to Virginia, where they were gladly received by the old gentleman and his new wife. Leander was much pleased that she was now his aunt, and young Dumaresque liked her well enough for a mother in law; yet she could not look upon her nephew without blushes and some kind of disorder; this was observed by her husband, and he began to wish his kinsman thence. He well knew that she married him in a pique, not out of affection. In short, having been informed of all that had befallen him and his son in their voyage to the island of St. Domingo, he calmly advised him to return to France, having honourably accounted with him for all the monies and effects left in his hands, and made him a handsome present of sugars, tobacco, and other commodities which that country produces, to a great value; saying, ‘Nephew I always designed you something, and though I have now a prospect of more children, yet I will do what I intended; you are now of age, and your guardians can no longer detain you from your own, it is time you should settle in the world, and the young woman you liked being disposed of to another, you must use your reason; conquer that passion which is now unlawful and injurious to your repose, and look out for a wife in your own nation, to bring posterity to keep up your name, and be comforts to you in your declining years.’ Leander thank’d him for his good advice and present, but was determined not to follow his counsel, though Monsieur de Lisle pressed him extreamly to go with him to France, but Leander would not consent to leave Harriot behind. Young Dumaresque likewise spurred him on to let him go back to the island to inquire after her; but alas! he had another design than that only in view; he had seen the charming Lavinia, Don Carlos’s sister, and her bright image so filled his soul, that he could not rest. We easily consent to what we desire. Leander deals with the captain that carried them thither before, to go back again with his kinsman. Mean time he finding his uncle look cold upon him, invited Monsieur de Lisle, no ship being at that time ready to go for France, to go with him to see another plantation of his uncle’s and view the country. The ship goes off with Dumaresque, much against his father’s will; but he arrived safe at the island, and resolved to lie on board the ship every night, and not taking a lodging on shore, for fear of discovery; in the day he ventured to walk about the town, and went to the great church to mass on the next sunday after his arrival, there he saw the charming Harriot, with her little son and daughter standing by the governor her father-in-law, dressed in a widow’s dress, and Lavinia in deep mourning. This was a very agreeable sight no doubt to him; he did not dare to venture to speak to her, but was fain to wait for an opportunity some other time, which he supposed would not be extreme difficult, now Don Carlos was no more; but he was mistaken, for he had engaged his father on his death-bed to prevent, if possible, her ever seeing Leander again. ‘My dear lord and father, said he, he is the cause of my death, he ruined my repose, and if he returns, will rob my dear children of their mother; her affections are still inclined to him. I have brought her to the catholick faith, he is a Hugonot, and will seduce her from her religion and children; do not let my fortune serve to enrich my hated rival, nor my children be wronged.’ He likewise charged Harriot, as she valued his soul’s repose, not to marry him, or leave that island and his children. Thus the revengeful Spaniard, even in death, continued to hate his brave rival, who had a prior right to her heart, and endeavoured to prevent his happiness, even when he could no longer enjoy her himself. For these reasons the governor, who was inconsolable for the loss of his son, desired Harriot to live in the castle with him, where she was respected as a queen, and had all the reason in the world to be contented. Lavinia, who was courted by the greatest persons in the island, kept her company, and there was the greatest friendship imaginable between them. Lavinia had not as yet felt Cupid’s Tyranny; she seemed invincible to love. Young Dumaresque having waited some days in vain for an opportunity to speak to Harriot, grew weary, and resolved to give her a letter in publick. He thought in himself, she is now a widow, and free to choose whom she pleases; why should I fear to remind her of her vows and engagements with my friend? He dressed himself very fine the next festival-day, and went to mass earlier than before, and there waited till they all came; then he went boldly up to Harriot, and with a profound bow, presented the letter to her: this he did with such a grace and mein, that Lavinia looking upon him, was seized with such an unusual liking to him, and so disordered, that she could scarce conceal it; love at this fatal moment entered her breast. He withdrew to the other side of the altar so soon as he had delivered the letter, and there placed himself on his knees right against them, with design to observe Harriot’s countenance, by which he hoped to judge of her sentiments in relation to his friend, as likewise to have the pleasure of looking often upon the charming Lavinia, to whom his eager glances spoke his passion; whilst her unguarded looks and blushes assured him he was taken notice of. Mean while the governor observed him, and watched Harriot, who having looked on the superscription of the letter, guessed that it brought news of Leander, and remembered young Dumaresque’s face. This threw her into a mighty disorder; she put the letter into her pocket, not daring to peruse it in so publick a place: but the distraction of her mind caused her in a few minutes to faint. This confirmed the governor in his suspicions, and he whispered one of his gentlemen, whom he beckoned to him, to take care that gentleman was secured as he went out of the church, and kept under a guard till he examined him. Prayers being ended, he gave Harriot his hand to lead her to the coach, so that she had no opportunity to speak to young Dumaresque. A young Cavalier, who courted Lavinia, did the same by her, inflamed with jealousy at her behaviour towards the stranger, who imprudently followed them, in hopes to speak to one of the ladies; but he was seized at the church-door as they were going into the coach, he struggled, and demanded a reason of the soldiers and gentlemen that laid hands upon him, but could get no other answer but that it was the governor’s order: so he was carried to the room in the castle, and kept till the governor, having conducted the ladies to their chamber, came and examined him, asking him what the letter contained that he had given his daughter-in-law, whence he came, and who sent him: To all which he answered boldly, and told the truth, saying; ‘My lord, I do not think that I have done any thing but my duty. She is a widow, was promised to my kinsman before, and forced unjustly from him; he is her equal, and her first choice, and I cannot imagine why you should detain her from him.’ “Your friend replied the governor fiercely, by his imprudent coming hither ruined my son’s peace, and broke his heart; he begged me with his dying breath never to let him see her more, to rob his children of her presence, whom I will never let her carry hence; and he has bound her by the strictest Injunctions never to marry again; and to be brief with you, I am determined, if ever he sets foot on this island again, to take such measures to secure him, that it shall never be in his power to disturb her or me any more. As for you, I will try whether a prison can cannot hold you, and if you escape hence again it shall be my fault.” At these words he left the room, and young Dumaresque was hurried away that night under a guard to a strong prison into which they used to put criminals of state, ten miles from the town, where he was lodged in all appearance for life.
Harriot, so soon as her father-in-law left her with Lavinia, opened the letter and read it aloud to her; she could not conceal her joy to hear her dear Leander was alive and constant. ‘Ah! my dear sister, said she, throwing her arms about her neck, why did your revengeful brother lay me under such cruel obligations not to marry this dear man, to whom my faith and heart was given before? He forced me from him. Is it just, that having been a faithful wife to him, I should not be at liberty to dispose of myself to him to whom I do of right belong now he is dead? Your generous soul, though yet a stranger to love, is sensible of pity, and cannot but compassionate my distress, my soul being divided betwixt duty to my dead lord, and affection to my living.’ Lavinia embracing her with tears, replied, “alas! my sister, I participate of your griefs and fear that I am born to be unhappy too, I love his generous friend; his person, and noble friendship to Leander charms me; and if I am not deceived, I am not indifferent to him. I will do all that I am able to assist you, but I fear my father will undo us both; I saw his furious looks, and fear the effect of his resentments: just as we entered the coach, I saw the people gather in a croud, and fear some mischief.” As they were talking, Lavinia’s woman, Clara, entered as pale as death: madam, said she, there is a strange gentleman seized, and brought under a guard into the castle, I saw him carried along just now up the great square. This news extremely alarmed them, and confirmed their fears; they employed Clara, not daring to be too inquisitive themselves, to get intelligence, for she was mistress to Claudio the governor’s gentleman, who had the charge of young Dumaresque; but he setting out with him that night for the prison to see him secured there, she could get no account of him till the next morning, when she got the secret out of Claudio where he was. This news overwhelmed the ladies with grief, and Harriot grew so incensed, that she quarrelled with her father-in-law, complaining that she was not treated as she ought to be, and if the gentleman was not freed, she would complain to the King of Spain, that she had been taken away from Leander by fraud, and compelled to marry Don Carlos; that she was a subject of England, though his daughter-in-law; that he had no power to command or restrain her from going off the island, and marrying whom she pleased. This so enraged the governor, that he told her, since he found that she had so little sense of her honour, and respect for her husband’s memory and her children’s good, or his dying commands, he would take care to keep her to her duty, and prevent her disgrace; that Leander was of too mean a rank to be received in the place of that noble Spaniard his dear son, who was descended from an illustrious family, and had demeaned himself in marrying her; he had hitherto treated her for his sake with too much indulgence, which he perceived she had no grateful sense of; that young Dumaresque though a good friend to Leander, yet was a venturous fool to return thither on so vile an errand, as to bring love-letters to another man’s wife, that he began to doubt whether his son had died fairly, or not, and to suspect she had by some cursed slow poison destroyed him, else they could not have known the time when it was fit to come to her, and knew she was a widow: in short, he loaded her with bitter reproaches and taunts, and confined her to her apartment under a guard, suffering none to go near her but Lavinia and some few of her relations, who teazed her continually with the respect she owed her dead husband, and how she ought never to marry another inferior to him. The governor little suspected his daughter was any ways concerned in young Dumaresque’s welfare; but alas, she was as much afflicted as Harriot, and ventured to send Clara with a purse of gold to him. He would have sent a letter back but was denied pen, ink and paper. Clara lent him her table-book, in which he wrote a most passionate letter to Lavinia, declaring his love, and begging her to let the captain who brought him thither, be informed of what had happened to him, and sent back to Leander to warn him not to come thither. On the receipt of this letter, Lavinia dispatched Clara to the captain, who presently weighed anchor, and set sail for Virginia, to carry these joyful and sad tidings to Leander, first that Harriot was a widow, and next that his kinsman was in prison, and she under a guard on his account. Leander in a short time was informed of all, the ship coming safe to Virginia; and no persuasion of his uncle, aunt and friends could deter him from going over to the island, to demand his lady, and release his friend: but the captain of the ship refused to go back, saying he was sure he should be imprisoned and lose his ship. It was some months before he could get a vessel to carry him; during which the governor was informed by his spies of Clara’s visits to young Dumaresque in the prison. He caused him to be secretly removed to the old castle where he had been before a prisoner; there the commanding officer had such a strict charge given him to take care of him, that he was secured from any possibility of an escape, not being ever permitted to go on the battlements, but confined to a chamber with two centinels at the door night and day, being relieved every four hours. The haughty governor having thus secured him, laid wait to catch Leander, not doubting but he would soon follow his friend, when he heard the news from the Virginia captain, of whose departure out of the port he had had intelligence and would have stopped the ship, which he had a good pretence for, it being a time of war between the English, French and Spaniards; but only he concluded it best to let it go to fetch Leander.
Harriot fell sick, and Lavinia grew very melancholy and much altered; no news could be got of young Dumaresque. At length she fell dangerously ill, insomuch that her life was in danger, and being light-headed, called perpetually on her lover. This opened the governor’s eyes, who finding she loved this stranger, lost all patience. She was now his only child, and all his ambitious hopes were comprehended in her being nobly disposed of. The noblest and wealthiest gentlemen in the place made their addresses to her, and would have been proud of having her: but she was attached to a man whose father was only a merchant, married to a second wife, by whom he had younger children to lessen his fortune; besides he was a protestant, and that alone was enough to make him reject the match; in fine, he was at his wits end; the physicians told him medicines could do no good, he must resign her to death, or bring the person to her whom she loved. This expedient was death to him, yet he could not consent to lose his darling, the lovely Lavinia; at last he sent for young Dumaresque, who was brought pinioned under a guard like a criminal, and expected nothing but death; he had been sick a considerable time of an ague and fever, which was turned to a yellow jaundice, so that he was so altered, that his friends would scarce have known him. Being brought to the castle, and carried up into a room, the governor came to him with looks that expressed the inward distraction of his mind. Stranger, said he, what would you do to gain your freedom? nothing, he replyed fiercely, that should be injurious to my honour or conscience: I am now indifferent to life, and would not thank that man who, having injured me, should ask me pardon and release me; you may use me as you please, you have treated me so ill already, that I expected neither justice nor favour from you. The governor could not but admire young Dumaresque’s bravery in secret, but yet seemed angry; and answered, sir, do you consider whom you speak to, and that your life is at my disposal? yes I do, sir, said Dumaresque, and have spoke my thoughts. Well sir, said the governor, I acknowledge I have used you somewhat roughly; but had you lost such a son as I have, killed by your friend’s rash attempt, which has broke my son’s heart and Harriot’s peace, you would doubtless have acted like me; but I have now but one daughter (here he wiped off the falling tears) do you respect her? young Dumaresque alarmed at these words, answered hastily, yes, and honour her above the world, nay dare to tell you that I love her, and that it is my greatest ambition to die at her feet, if fate would permit me; nor is there a thing on earth for which I would wish to live beside herself. For her sake answered the governor, you shall not only live, but be freed. At these words he took him by the hand, and calling in a servant, who unbound him, he led him to Lavinia’s chamber, who was so weak that she had been many days confined to her bed. Here my dear child, said the governor, is the gentleman you so much respect; I shall leave you together. He was so disordered, being forced to stifle his resentments and constrain his pride, that he immediately withdrew. Lavinia lifting up her eyes, viewed young Dumaresque with much concern, unable to speak, his altered face too well informed her of the treatment he had met withal; whilst he seeing her, whom he so dearly prized, in a condition so unlikely to recover, fetched a deep sigh, and falling on his knees by the bed, catched her hand, and raising it to his lips, said with a low voice, ‘Must we then meet to part so soon again, and must death deprive us of that happiness we might now possess? Speak, divine creature, what hopes? “If, said she, there is a cordial to restore me to my health again, it is the sight of you, a blessing I despaired of. Say, does my cruel father relent, will he consent to make us happy? and has he granted you your liberty? If so, I will endeavour to live.” At these words, he fell into a great transport; and the governor entering, said a great many obliging things to him. In fine, Lavinia in a short time recovered, and was married to Dumaresque, on his promising to reside there, and not return to Virginia to live. But poor Harriot, tho glad of her sister’s good fortune, and pleased to converse with Dumaresque, of whom she learned all that had befallen the unfortunate Leander, yet could get no satisfaction, or find means to go to him, the governor having took such measures that no person could enter or go out of the sea-ports without his knowledge. Dumaresque could not as yet propose going to Virginia, but supposed his friend would shortly arrive, and that his dear Lavinia’s interest and his, with his father-in-law, was sufficient to procure his consent to the unfortunate Leander’s marriage with Harriot. Thus they flattered themselves; but a Spaniard’s revenge must be gratified; and they never, or very rarely forgive an injury. Leander having procured a vessel to carry him, and taking a considerable sum of money from his uncle, set sail from Virginia, and arrived at the island of St. Domingo about a month after his kinsman’s marriage. He no sooner set his foot upon the shore, filled with expectations of seeing his dear Harriot, but he was seized by ruffians, bound hand and foot, and carried aboard another ship, where he was put in irons, and sailed the next morning, he knew not whither. The same night that he was seized, the captain of the ship that brought him, received a message from the governor to depart the island that moment, or expect to be treated as an enemy, and his ship to be seized. He obeyed immediately, finding that neither threats nor intreaties could avail him. This news never reached Harriot’s ear; and poor Leander, overwhelmed with despair, was carried up the great river Oroonoko, and set on shore amongst the savages, being carried in a boat up to the river Paria, where he expected nothing but to be murdered, and eaten by the barbarous Indians, who dwelt in huts, and are under no civil government. They speak no language, but a jargon that no European understands. The cruel Spaniards unbound him, gave him a sword, a gun, and a horn of powder, with a pouch full of bullets and shot; telling him if he offered to make the least attempt to follow them, they would kill him on the spot. He little regarded what they said, being both weak and over-whelmed with the dreadful prospect he had before him of being left in a strange place, from whence there was no probability of escaping; a place which we Europeans are little acquainted withal amongst Savages, whose language and customs, he was an entire stranger to, that he sat down upon the ground, and casting his eyes round wept bitterly: then looking up to heaven, besought God to look upon him, and deliver him from the miseries of life. Whilst he was thus employed, the villains retreating to their boat were set upon by a party of savages, about a hundred in number, many of whom fell by the Spaniard’s shot, who discharged their guns and pistols at them, which obliged the Indians to give back. The Spaniards being but eight in number, and some of them wounded, retired towards the shore to get into their boat; but, to their great surprise, found it gone; for their companions that were left to take care of it, being shot at with arrows by the Savages, who from the rocks shot down upon them, concluded their companions dead, made off to their ship with all the speed they were able. The cruel Spaniards now too late repented the wicked deed they had done, and seeing death at hand, trembled at future punishments; despair urged them on, and they turned back and pursued their enemies, who fled before them to the place where poor Leander, roused with the noise of their guns and swords, was standing as a man who was prepared for death, and unconcerned at whatever happened: but when they called to him to help them, crying forgive and join with us; christianity, and the generosity of his great soul, made him forget the injuries they had done him; and like a lion roused from his den, fall on the Savages till they had all left the place. Then thinking it unsafe to pursue them further, he advised the Spaniards to retreat towards the river under the covert of some rock; they consented, and hasted thither, there they found a great cavern in the side of a rock, into which they entered with joy, and being quite spent, and three of them dangerously wounded, they sat down on the ground to rest, destitute of food or any necessaries. That night the three wounded men expired; a sad admonition to the rest, who were conscious they deserved no less. They were now sincerely penitent, and consulted with Leander, whom they resolved to obey in all things, what was best to be done; they knew they could not live without provision, and though they hoped the boat would return to fetch them, yet that being uncertain, they must find some means to subsist. At last they resolved to go out of this dismal place before it was broad day, and if possible seize upon one of the huts of the savages, and secure them, and so keep them as hostages, sending one at a time to fetch food for them, and by signs threaten to kill the rest if he failed to return. They charged their fire-arms, and crept along the shore till they came to a hut, into which they entered, and found two savages, a woman, three children, and an European man, as his complexion shewed, asleep; they seized the Savages, but for the white man, who appeared to be of a great age, he arose and embraced them, crossing himself; and lifting up his hands as a man overjoy’d, he spake to them in the Latin tongue, desiring to know who they were and whence they came. The Spaniards afraid to speak the true cause coming thither, said they were come on shore in their boat in search of water, and being set upon by the savages, had been detained there whilst the boat went off; those they left in it being as they supposed frighted away by the noise of their guns. The old man spoke to the Indians in their tongue, and they immediately fell at the Spaniard’s feet, kissing them, and bowing down their heads in token of obedience. The old man told Leander that he had lived twenty years in that country; that he was a Benedictine monk, born at Valladolid in Spain, and thence sent to Peru, from whence he had travelled to this place by land; that he had learned the language of these Savages, and living amongst them, gained their esteem, and converted many to christianity; that these poor Savages were some of them, with whom he chose to live, being very honest people; that he would undertake they should supply all their wants, and be very serviceable to them; that the Savages they had fought with were the enemies of the prince that governed that part of the country, and used frequently to invade him, and carry off some of his people, whom they eat, as his subjects did them; but that now he had persuaded a great many from doing it, and pretty well broke them of those barbarous customs. He then desired the Spaniards to sit down with him, and take some refreshment without fear. After which he said he would conduct them to a place where they might live securely, till he could find means to procure their return to the island of St. Domingo or Virginia, offering to be their guide to Carthagena, from whence they might get shipping to either place. Leander returned him a thousand acknowledgments, and in his soul greatly admired the providence of God, but wanted an opportunity to inform him of the Spanish villainy in bringing him thither, and to warn him not to be too free in discovering any secret retreat to them, which he was desirous to conceal, though his countrymen; for though they appeared sincerely penitent, yet he feared to trust himself with them to return to the island of St. Domingo, resolving to go to Virginia, and not venture to go there any more; concluding in himself, that if Harriot’s affection for him continued sincere, she would, now being a widow, find means to get away and come to him thither; and that if at his return to Virginia, he could hear nothing of her nor his dear friend, he would apply to the Spanish Vice-Roy at Mexico for justice; and being a native of France, he doubted not of obtaining it, since France and Spain were at peace. He and the rest sat down with the good monk; the poor Savages, who were by profession fishermen, set bread and cold dressed fish before them, with some meat and broth which they had boiled the day before for the humble priest and themselves; this they had warmed over a fire which they made in the hut with a few stones set in form of a hearth, with a hole made in the ground, setting the pot on the stones, and making a fire underneath: they gave them also drink and rum, which greatly refreshed them.
Leander whispered the monk that he wanted to speak with him alone; he took the hint, and after eating, advised the Spaniard’s to lie down on the clean straw which the poor Savages had laid for them in one corner of the hut, the only bed he and they had used to lie upon; there, said he, you may repose yourselves, whilst your leader and I discourse. They readily complied glad to take some rest. Whilst he and Leander walked over the hill, they descended into a fine valley, at the bottom of which was a little kind of copse or thicket, composed of stately tall trees and close quickset hedges. By the way Leander told him his story; the monk detesting their baseness, told him he should return no more to them, but abide with those that he had placed in that little cell to which he was going to carry him: there you will find, said he, a gentleman and lady whose conversation will make you think the time no way tedious whilst you stay here; it is a month since they were cast away upon this shore, and by my means, through the mercy of God, preserved as you have been. I heard a dreadful storm in the dead of the night, and walking out on the shore so soon as day-break to see what mischief that sad night had done, discerned at some distance two women, one richly dressed, the other like her servant, wringing their hands, and lamenting over a person who lay on the sands, as I supposed, dead; the lady expressed the most extravagant concern that ever I beheld. I made what haste I could to their assistance, and at my approaching her was extremely surprised; she was young and fair as an angel, her hair was hanging loose, and wet as was her habit, but she had a necklace and pendants of diamonds, with a stomacher that dazled my eyes; she was dressed in a Spanish dress, her vest was black velvet, her petticoat gold tissue, bracelets of pearl; and in fine, I never saw a person of greater beauty, or who appeared more like a woman of quality than the distressed Ravina, for that is her name; the man that lay at her feet as dead, appeared her equal in all kinds; he was young, handsome, richly dressed, and seemed just drowned. I staid not to deliberate, but lifted him up, saying in Spanish, which I supposed she spoke, God comfort and help you, sweet lady, has this gentleman been here in this condition any time? Oh no, said she, he is just cast upon the shore. Then said I, there is hopes; I immediately turned his head downwards, and a great deal of water poured out of his mouth, he shewed some signs of life. Having thus given his stomach some relief by this discharge of water, I set him upright on the ground, chafed his temples, and taking a little bottle of rack, which I always carried about me, poured some down his throat; in fine, I brought him to life, and she and the maid, her servant, assisting, we brought him into this little wood to which we are going, a place which I had chosen to make me a little oratory in, and had caused my converted Savages to build with some boards, making me a kind of little chappel with an altar, and a chamber or dormitory behind it to repose in, in the heat of the day. Here I used to perform the holy duties of my office, to baptize, and give the blessed eucharist, having under the altar a way into a little vault, where I keep poor vestments and what else belongs to the altar. I brought them to this place, fearing the jewels she had on, and her beauty, might tempt the Savages to some wickedness; for should the savage prince Manca, who governs this part of this barbarous country, hear of or get sight of this fair European, he would have her for his brutish pleasure in spite of all intreaties or resistance; therefore I secured her here, where she has remained a whole month concealed. Her adventures, and the brave Bellario her husband’s, you shall know from themselves: in this place and company I will leave you, and at my return to your companions, tell them a wild beast came out of a wood and devoured you, so send them away by the first opportunity, and I will disguise and conduct you, Ravinia, her husband and servant, to Carthagena, from whence we will go together for Europe, or where you please; for I am weary with living amongst Savages, and having but a little time more to live in the world, am desirous to spend it in my convent amongst my countrymen and friends, who may lay me to rest when dead amongst my ancestors. The hardships I have endured for twenty years in this place, have so broke my constitution, that I am not able to hold it much longer. By this time they were come to the wood, and ending their discourse, the monk presented Leander to the gentleman and his lady, who being acquainted with his adventures, embraced and welcomed him to their poor habitation, overjoyed that they should have such company, and promised to go with him to Virginia, and procure him all the satisfaction he could desire of the governor of the island of St. Domingo, Ravina being the Vice-Roy’s daughter. But words cannot express Leander’s surprise at the first sight of these strangers; he thought Ravina so beautiful, that she excelled all her sex; her air, her shape, dress and face, and the gloominess of the place she was in, filled him with an unusual veneration and respect for her. Bellario was tall, finely shaped, and had a majestick sweetness in his look that commanded the respect and gained the love of all that saw him. Their servant was a young Italian maid, who though of an olive complexion, was very agreeable, well shaped, and had eyes so black and shining, that it was dangerous to look upon them. The monk used to send them provisions by this girl, whose name was Philinda, having been christened by Ravina who took her when a child, and had brought her up. Philinda went every morning to the hut to fetch such poor food as the monk could procure for them; they drank water from an adjacent spring, had some poultry that they kept in the wood to supply them with flesh and eggs, there being plenty of fowl in those parts, as likewise roots: the country being not very well peopled, they lay on straw; and there growing very good grapes in the valleys, they had hung some up to dry in the sun upon the hedges, and squeezing the juice out of others, drank of it instead of wine. Thus these great people, who had been used to all the delicacies in nature, and had never slept but upon down, and used to have the finest clean linen every day, were now content to live in the poorest manner, and found that it was possible to live without all those things that a plentiful fortune furnishes. The monk having thus introduced Leander, and stayed some time with them, took leave; and then Leander being intreated, entertained them with a more particular account of his life and adventures. After which Bellario returned the favour with the relation of his and Ravina, being seated under a fine spreading tree near the door of their cottage, it being now the close of the day, and a fine evening, Philinda being very near them milking two tame she-goats which the monk had sent thither, and were of great service to them.
They being all seated commanding on the left side a fine view of the river Oroonoko, which discharged itself into the sea fronting them, and on the right, a fine range of cedar trees: in this delightful place Bellario began his relation in these words: I should first relate my dear Ravina’s birth, and speak of her family. She was the only daughter of the marquis of Castile, who is descended of one of noblest families in Italy, though born a Spaniard: her mother was daughter of Don Lorenzo, lord of Placentia, a Castilian lord of great merit and fortune. The marquis being a great favourite to the king of Spain, was appointed vice-roy of the Indies in the year 1692, at which time Ravina was thirteen years of age. He arrived safely at Mexico the same year with all his family, and has resided there ever since, which is now ten years. I am the son of Don Alvares de Mendoza, an Arragonian lord, a man of equal birth and fortune with Ravina’s father; but there was a mortal hatred between our two families, by reason of a fatal accident that happened in my infancy: my father had a sister, who was esteemed one of the fairest and most accomplished young ladies in Spain; she was but fifteen when my father brought her to court; there a young Castilian cavalier, who was a colonel of the guards, and nephew to Ravina’s father, saw and fell in love with my aunt, who was already promised to a lord of the first quality and fortune in Arragon: he courted her privately by means of a servant, who was in his interest; and having gained my aunt’s affection, at length obtained the last favour. It was not long after this unhappy converse had been between them, before the lord to whom she was promised arrived, and she was constrained to marry him: he suspecting her virtue, being sensible she was no virgin, became furiously jealous; yet concealed his thoughts from her and all the world, resolving to stay till he had discovered the happy rival that had been beforehand with him, before he let his resentments break forth: for these reasons he gave her opportunities of seeing her lover, carrying her down to a country-seat not far from Madrid, which he had bought since his marriage, under pretence of obliging her, but indeed with design to discover the fatal secret. Here he often left her for a night or two, whilst he went and stayed at Madrid with the king; the unfortunate Don Lorenzo (her lover) failed not to supply his place in her arms, going disguised to a peasant’s house at a village near, from whence (attended only by one servant) he entered the gardens, and went into her apartment by a ladder of ropes, which she used to fasten for him on a balcony that opened into her chamber. Her lord (the incensed Arragonian) soon discovered all by means of a page whom he had employed to watch; and one night he concealed himself in a summer-house in the garden, having only this page with him, both well armed; and the moon shining very bright, saw Don Lorenzo go into her chamber by the ladder, which he left hanging in order to his retreat, as usual. He stayed till he supposed he was undrest and gone to bed; then he mounted the ladder, followed by his page, and coming into the chamber, where a wax-light was burning on the table, approached the bed softly. Don Lorenzo having heard some little noise, was started up, and sat upright in the bed: This gave the enraged husband a fair opportunity for his revenge, he stabbed him to the heart with his dagger; the poor lady shrieking out, he tore her out of bed by the hair, cut out her tongue, and discharging one of his pistols in her face, which he had loaded with small bird-shot on purpose, left her on the bed blind, her eyes and face being in a most dreadful condition, all tore to pieces, and full of the shot. Never was a more tragick scene than this chamber appeared; she looked like the wronged Calista, and the unfortunate Lorenzo lay weltering in his blood, expiring on the floor.
Thus one imprudent sinful action occasioned the ruin of three noble accomplished persons; nay, involved their families in the greatest misfortunes, and have intailed them upon their posterity; the first ground of which was the ladies parents, who not consulting her inclination, matched her against her will; want of a firm virtue in her made her yield to another, when she was pre-ingaged by them: and an unchristian spirit of revenge governed her husband, and made him commit two dreadful murders, and incur the anger of heaven, and the justice of the laws: which though he escaped by flight and his prince’s favour, yet it ruined his peace and fortune. I hope it will be a warning to all who hear this dismal story, to avoid the like crimes. The distracted husband having thus discharged his fury, thought of his own safety; and taking some gold and his wife’s jewels out of a cabine, in that room, descended the ladder, and attended by his page, went out of another gate than that by which his rival had entered; and mounting his horse, which he had left there with his page, they rode away as swift as possible to a place twenty miles farther, where he took shelter in a convent of Benedictine monks. Don Lorenzo’s gentleman finding his master stayed longer than usual, grew uneasy, and quitting his horse ventured up the ladder, thinking he might be asleep; but entering the room, he was filled with such horror and amazement, that he alarmed all the servants with the outcries he made. The poor lady was not dead; she was such an object as would have excited compassion in the heart of a barbarian. It was easy to guess the cause of all these dreadful deeds, had the gentleman not revealed them by his lamentations over his dead lord; but he concealed nothing in his passion, but too well explained the ladies crime and his master’s.
Not to detain you longer on so sad a subject, a surgeon being fetched, the poor lady was put into bed, and her face dressed, but there being little appearance of her recovery, which indeed would have been a greater misfortune to her than death, her confessor was sent for, who prayed for her, and gave her all the spiritual comfort he was able; and though she could not speak, yet by signs she testified her repentance. He stayed with her many hours, till finding the anguish of her wounds and loss of blood took away her senses by a strong fever, he left her to the care of her servants, and assisted Don Lorenzo’s gentleman to remove his master’s body into a hearse the servants had brought to carry him to his own house at Madrid. Then he returned to the lady, to whom he administered the last rites of the church, and about four in the morning she expired.
I need not tell you how enraged my father, and all our family, was against the cruel Alvares, when this story was known; nor were Don Lorenzo’s friends less afflicted: but Alvares’s family did all that was possible to obtain his pardon of the king, pleading the enormity of her crime, and the justice of his procedure; and that he could do no less than sacrifice both her and her paramour to repair his honour; that the injury was unpardonable in both; that the cruelty he had exercised on his lady was excusable, considering the greatness of the provocation. In fine, they said all they could in his defence, whilst her family and Don Lorenzo’s used all their interest against him, and were so potent, that though the king was inclined to forgive and only banish him, yet he deferred to declare himself, and so gave him time to get off with much wealth, having sold off secretly and made conveyances of his estate, before a process could be got out against him: however, he was sued and condemned, when he was got out of the reach of the laws. My grandmother broke her heart for her unfortunate daughter. Ravina’s father and family, and mine, though they joined in prosecuting Don Alvarez, yet conceived a mortal aversion to one another, and much blood was spilt on both sides by duels and rencounters; so that some few years after the king honoured her father with this great post in the Indies, to prevent a farther effusion of blood and quarrels. I was too young at this fatal juncture, when these misfortunes happened; but Ravina and I growing older, my soul was charmed with her beauty; and though I could see no hopes of ever gaining her’s or her father’s consent, yet I could not forbear loving, or desist from pursuing her: my quality and fortune made way, and having nothing to urge against me but a family difference, the charming Ravina consulting reason and religion, saw the folly and injustice of that procedure, and gave ear to my persuasions: At last she generously confessed a passion for me, and promised to be mine provided I could gain her father’s consent. I then applied to my father, who acquainted the king with our mutual affection, and pleading that this was the only way to reconcile the two families, and put an end to that fatal strife that had been of such ill consequences to both, prevailed with his majesty to propose it to Elvira’s father; but he delaying to give a positive answer, having before obtained the viceroyship, went off without it, and so obliged me to follow him. I obtained a letter from the king, in which he even commanded him to give me Ravina, and let our marriage be forthwith consummated: my family and hers all joined in this, and I departed Spain with a whole packet full of letters to this effect. I was certain of not being refused now, since he did not dare to disoblige or disobey the king. I arrived safely at Mexico, and was well received according to my expectation, and soon after married to my dear Ravina: and now being completely happy, we studied how to divert ourselves, and take all the innocent diversions the land and sea afforded; being at a pleasure-house of the governor’s on the lake, we went aboard a yatch one evening to take the air upon the sea, it being fine weather, and resolved to spend the night in mirth and pleasure. We had several ladies and gentlemen with us, with musick. We supped, danced, and were very merry; but about midnight a terrible storm blew, after having been tossed about many days and nights, not knowing where we were, we were driven upon a bank of sand near this shore. Here we lay bulging till such time as the yatch was torn to pieces, then every one shifted for himself: Ravina and our friends were got into the boat, I placed myself near to her, resolving to bear her to shore, if possible, on my back, in case the boat should not hold out the storm to the shore, as it happened, for it was soon swallowed up in the waves: I catched fast hold of her, bidding her throw her arms about my neck; and it being now day, I made for the shore which I saw before me; but my strength being almost spent before I could reach it, just as I felt the land under my feet I fainted; she laying hold of me, pulled me up and saved me. Philena having got hold of a plank that was floating, being part of the ship, to which she clung very fast, was by the providence of God saved; and the wind blowing directly to the shore, she was thrown upon the sands before us, and seeing my distress and Ravina’s, ran to her assistance, who had otherwise perished with me. They dragged me on shore out of the reach of the waves, which would have washed us away; there the good father came to our relief. Thus the divine providence has preserved our lives and yours in a miraculous manner, and will, I hope, furnish us with means to return to our homes in health and safety.
Thus Don Bellario ended his relation, and they passed a few days as agreeably as the dismalness of their abode would permit, the monk visited them every day, when the Savages were gone a fishing. One evening the monk returning home, saw some white men, who appeared to be Europeans by their habit, sitting round a fire boiling a pot on the shore; their fire-arms being muskets, lay by them. He saw that a pinnace lay on the shore, and discerned the ship lying at anchor about half a league off: he made signs to them to permit him to come near; they answered, and he hasted to them, and found they were come from the island of St. Christopher’s, and bound to Spain: He told them of the Spaniards that he had saved, and prevailed with them to take them on board their ship; he went and called them, and they were overjoyed to get thence, and meet with such a lucky opportunity; and the monk thanked God that he was rid of them, being uneasy whilst they were on that shore, lest they should discover his concealed friends whom he dearly esteemed, but these he abhorred, as being villains. They went away that night, returning many thanks to him, and seeming very sorry that Leander was not still alive to go with them; but hoping in themselves, as it afterwards proved, that when they got to the island of St. Domingo, the revengeful governor would reward them highly, designing to tell him that they had disposed of him in the woods, where he had been devoured by the wild beasts. The glad monk carried the good news of their departure to his friends the next morning. Now they consulted about getting to Carthagena; by land it was very dangerous, and by sea very difficult; for they had the Savages to fear as they travelled, and dreadful mountains and woods to pass through; no boat of strength sufficient to carry them, and not provision enough for a voyage of so many days at sea; and what was worse, no pilot to guide the vessel, if they had had one. In fine, they knew not what course to take: at last they resolved to venture to cross the great river Oroonoko in the Savages fishing-boat. This being resolved, trusting to providence, they prepared to go; but the night before they were to depart, they saw a man running down the adjacent hill, pursued by a fierce tyger: he had a drawn sword in his hand, and a strange-fashioned coat made of beasts skins: he had no shoes or stockings, but pieces of bears skins tied about his legs with twigs; his head had a strange fur cap on; his face they could scarce distinguish, till coming into the wood, he climbed up a tree, and the beast pursuing him to the foot of it, Leander, who had fetched a gun, shot it dead, having perceived the man was a white, and his countenance no Indian. No sooner was the beast killed, but the man leaped down from the tree, and ran to embrace his benefactor, whose surprise cannot be exprest when he saw his face, and heard him call him by his name, and knew it was the honest captain of the ship who lived at Virginia, and had carried him and his friend Dumaresque to the island of St. Domingo. Elvira and her dear Bellario, who were retired at the stranger’s approach, hearing them talk, came forth, and invited him in, being together in the hermitage, for that was properly the name of their cell: they asked him to eat, a favour he gladly accepted of; Philena set what provisions they had before him, as cold fowl, goats milk, bread, dryed grapes, and water, and wine made of their juice; a noble feast to a man who had lived for above five weeks on roots and fruits, such as the woods produced, and had not tasted any drest food, neither bread, meat nor fish. Being much refreshed, he related to them the manner of his coming thither.
I was going on a voyage for some merchants, said he, to Barbadoes about six weeks ago, my ship being heavy laden with goods for that place, at which I was to unload, and take in others for other islands: I had a fair gale of wind and good voyage, till I came near the Summer-Islands; then a storm arose and drove the ship up this river, where it was dashed to pieces against some rocks, amongst some unknown, and I suppose uninhabited islands. I had but eight men and a boy aboard, two of whom were blown off the shrouds into the sea: those that were left got out the boat, and we quitted the shattered vessel, which was full of water above the first deck, and committed ourselves to the mercy of God. The night was dark as pitch, and we knew not which way to steer. At last the boat, unable to hold out against the dreadful waves that bore her up to the skies one moment, and then opening, seemed to sink her into the bottomless deep, the wreck being filled with water by a great sea that washed over her, sunk; and then we gave ourselves over for lost, and were all separated, never to meet again in this world, I fear. Nature taught me, though hopeless, to struggle for life; and it being just break of day, I discerned the shore, and made for it; the wind sitting fair, helped me greatly. At last I reached it half dead, and sitting down on the side of a rock to recover myself, looked round to see where I was, and soon found that I was cast on this inhospitable shore, where I must expect to be devoured either by men or beasts; this made me almost repent that I had escaped drowning. I had no arms nor food, and my soul being full of horrible apprehensions of the Cannibal-Savages, I sought for a place to hide myself in, and looking about, crept into a hole in a great rock, not far from that on which I sat down; and being quite spent with the fatigue of the past night, I fell into a profound sleep, out of which I was awakened some hours after by two Savages, who were stripping me, and had already got my shoes and stockings; but going to pull off my coat and waistcoat, which they could not do without lifting me up, I awakened, and looking up, caught one of them by the throat; and wrenching this sword out of his hand, he broke from me, carrying away my clothes, which he held so fast that he tore my coat and waistcoat off as he broke from me, and they both fled with incredible celerity. I was now left almost naked, and fearing they would return with more Savages, and fall upon me, I fled up into the woods, not knowing where else to hide myself, but amongst the trees and bushes. And now being ready to faint with hunger, I searched about for wild fruits and roots, and eat whatever I could find, which, alas! instead of satisfying my hungry stomach, made me sick. I sat in a tree all that night, and the next day so soon as it was light, crept down to the shore, to see if I could espy a boat, or any of my sailors who might have escaped like me to the shore; and there, to my great surprise, I saw my boat lying on the sands, and was transported to find her there, thinking I might get off with her the next tide, and reach some of our islands. So soon as the water flowed, and the sea coming in, set her afloat; I ran down, and leaping into her, steered her by the rudder along the shore, but found I was not able to govern her at sea: I wanted strength and more hands, had neither oars nor sails, yet I feared to lose her; and finding I could not venture out with her, I resolved, if possible, to secure her in some place where the Savages should not find her, in hopes that I might meet with some christians here whom chance had brought, like me, to this barbarous land, who would be glad to escape hence, and assist me to get away in her. I brought the boat accordingly along the shore, till I came to a kind of a creek, so covered with trees, that it was almost impossible to perceive any thing that lay there. I brought her into this creek, at the end of which was a very thick wood; and having halled her on shore, broke down a great many of the green branches of the trees, and made a kind of bower over it, so that it lies quite covered; I have lain aboard it every night since: I have every day ranged about for food, and lived chiefly on the eggs of the sea-fowl and turtles, which I found in the rocks and on the sands, nor did I dare attempt to make a fire to dress any thing, for fear of discovery, so I sustained life by sucking them, and eating turtles raw, laying the flesh in the sun till it was hot, and then I eat it as savorily as if it had been the greatest dainty in the world. I knew not what to do for clothes, but one day finding two bears cubs in a wood, I killed and flead them, hanging their skins on the hedges to dry, these I made into the strange fashioned coat I have on: I killed some young goats also, and eating the flesh, made me a cap and spatterdashes with the skins, as you see.
But I must now acquaint you with the most surprising accident that ever befel any man living. One morning roaming about a wood, I met with a young woman fair as Venus, but pale as death; she was wrapped in a piece of sailcloth, having nothing under but a fine Holland shift, a white dimity petticoat and waistcoat, and no headclothes, but her hair, which was the finest light brown, hung in curls down to her waist; but all this was hid under her canvas wrapper; she seemed half famished, and was so surprised at the sight of me, supposing me a Savage, that she ran away from me as fast as she was able. I followed her till she ran into a cave, into which I entered, and getting hold of her, spoke in English, asking her who she was, and of what nation. She seemed surprised to the last degree, and said, pray do not kill or be rude with me; I am a poor unfortunate maid, said she, who by cruel guardians was trepann’d and sent away for Jamaica; but our ship being drove on this coast, was lost, and I with one young man, who was the captain’s kinsman, were saved on this unhappy coast: here we lived together for three days, but the fourth, going out of the cave as usual to seek for food, he never returned, and is I fear murdered. I have lived in this dismal place two months, all alone, under the most dreadful apprehensions imaginable, almost famished and pinched with cold and damps; not daring to go far from my cave for fear of meeting the savages. I was charmed with her tears, and pierced to the soul with her condition. I told her my story, and begg’d her to go along with me, and live in the boat, promising to protect her with my life, and provide her with such food as I could get; nay more, that I would offer no rudeness to her. She, with some difficulty, yielded to my request, so I conducted her to my bower, and we have liv’d together three weeks. I left her there about two hours since, when going out for food, I met with the ravenous beast you kill’d, and fear’d to retreat towards my boat least he should follow and fright her; or having got the scent of food, some bones and remains of turtle which we could not eat, being scatter’d up and down, surprize her in my absence; for these reasons I drove him over the hill, led by the providence of God doubtless to this place. And now with your leave, I will haste and fetch my dear Polly, whom I have promis’d to make my wife so soon as I reach a Christian shore: she is in pain for my return, I am certain. You shall make your promise good to her, said Leander, to-morrow morning; we have here a worthy Christian priest who shall marry you; and since you have a boat able to carry us all, he shall furnish us with provisions sufficient for a voyage to one of the Summer islands, from whence we may get a ship to carry us to Virginia, and thence to what other place we think fit. The captain hasted to fetch the lady, who in less than an hour reach’d the Hermitage, and was joyfully receiv’d by Bellario, Leander, and Ravina; who never saw such a figure as she appear’d, wrapp’d in her canvas shroud, for such it seem’d; a habit which very ill suited her beautiful face and charming mien. After eating together with thankful hearts, as much transported at this meeting as if they had forgot their misfortunes, they laid them down to sleep on straw, having recommended themselves to God; and rested sweetly, having no load of guilt upon their consciences, but minds resign’d to the Supreme Disposer of all things. Next morning the monk visited them, and was entertain’d with the history of these new guests, whom he immediately marry’d; saying, My children, it is not fit that you should live in sin; and since the necessity of your condition obliged you to live together, and a too near intimacy has I find ensu’d, it is fit that you should be join’d by the holy bonds of matrimony, that none amongst us may incur God’s anger, but that blessings may attend us. And now they thought of nothing but preparing for their departure from this place. The monk inform’d the honest savages, whom he offer’d to take along with them, and they executed his commands with such alacrity, that he was surpriz’d. In three days they got out the boat and victual’d her, carrying aboard boil’d fowls, salted fish, and store of bread, with fresh water in jars. The savage and his son made oars, well understanding the management of a boat, and fasten’d their own fisher-boat to her loaded with provisions; they were perfectly skill’d in all the turnings and rocks in this great river, knowing every island and bank of sand; but when out at sea, the Virginia captain must direct them. All things being ready, our joyful christians went on board, and the three women and children lay down in the boat, being cover’d over with some boughs of trees; the monk, Leander, the captain, and savages rowed and steered the boat, having made sails of what the poor savages procured. They passed safely out of the river; and being at sea, steered for Barbadoes, which they reached in a few days, having a fair wind and fine weather: they were well received by a merchant there, who was the captain’s friend, and soon got a passage to Virginia; Bellario, and Ravina, with their maid Philena, going with them, because they could get no ship to carry them to Mexico by reason of the war. When they arrived at Virginia, Leander had the agreeable news, that his kinsman had in his absence sent a bark with letters for him from himself and Harriot, to acquaint him that the Governor was dead, and that they designed to sell off all their effects in the island of St. Domingo, and come for Virginia, leaving only Harriot’s two children behind, whom her husband’s friends would not part with. He was so transported with this news that he could hardly be persuaded to wait her coming, but would fain have gone to fetch her; but four days after his arrival, she and Lavinia, with his faithful friend, arrived with an immense treasure. Never was a more moving sight than the meeting of these three persons; Leander, clasping his dear Harriot, in his arms, stood motionless, as if he meant to die in that posture, and that his ravished soul would make its way out of his panting bosom into hers. His eyes seemed fixed on her face, the big drops escaping them, whilst fiery love sparkled in his eye-balls, as if the raging flame within sent forth those chrystal drops: she hung upon his neck, and cry’d, ‘Do I live, and again see Leander! Blest God, it is enough.’ Mean time Dumaresque waked them from this blissful dream; saying, ‘My friend, my kinsman, have you forgot me? And must I not claim a second embrace after Harriot has received your first?’ At these words Leander, turned, and catched him in his arms; saying, ‘My dearest friend, next to my dear Harriot you are dear to me: the obligations I have to you are so great, that words cannot express the grateful sense I have of them, nor my whole life suffice to make returns to you and her, tho’ wholly employed in your service.’ Leander’s uncle and his lady interrupted them, or doubtless they had never known when to leave off this tender conversation. Leander was so impatient to secure his happiness that he never gave over importuning Harriot till she consented to marry him that very night; and the monk accordingly wedded them, and they were mutually pleased: for what greater satisfaction can mortals attain in this life, than to possess the person they ardently love, especially when they have so long languished for one another, and been so long separated? this is a pleasure none but lovers can have a true notion of. Eternal bliss is comprehended in this one thing, viz. to possess all we desire, or is worthy our affection; and whilst we are mortal, and on this side the grave, nothing can equal the pleasure of possessing the person we love. Bellario and Ravina were sharers of their friends good fortune, and were desirous to continue with them some months, with the monk, who resolved to go with Leander and his dear Harriot to France; they offering to provide for him so long as he pleased to stay there.
During their residence at Virginia, they past the time very agreeably together: Leander’s uncle and his lady, who still retained an affection for Leander, entertained them very nobly; and Harriot, who was now a sincere Roman Catholick, prevailed with the monk to be her chaplain, and to promise to continue with her the rest of his days: they took all the diversions the place afforded, walking, riding, dancing, and feasting. One evening Harriot intreated the monk to relate the adventures of his life: certainly, said she, they must be very extraordinary, since you have passed thro’ so many countries. He, smiling, answered, Yes, Madam, I have met with many strange accidents, and am ready to oblige you and the company with the relation of them; nay, I will own my weaknesses, and give you the story of my youthful follies. They all sat down under the shade of some trees on the banks of a little rivulet by which they were walking; and being all silent, he began his narrative thus.
I was born in Valladolid in Spain, my father was a grandee of a noble family, but having been refused a post at court, to which he believed himself to have a right, he too freely spoke his thoughts, and gave his enemies an opportunity to traduce him to the king, whose favour he lost, and so retired in discontent to his own seat at Valladolid. I was all the children he had, and designed to be the heir of his honours and fortune. I was a student at a college about sixteen, when it was my misfortune to see a farmer’s daughter, whose beauty made me her captive. I stole out alone into the fields behind her father’s house every evening for a month together before I spoke to her, and there saw her playing with the lambs, and feeding the young goats; her plain dress and innocent behaviour, made her look more charming in my eyes than gold and diamonds; her beauty and modesty were irresistible, and I loved her to distraction. In fine, I spoke to her, told her my passion, and found her wit and apprehension exceeded her face and years. I succeeded according to my wishes, gained her love, and resolved to marry her; but being not old enough to be master of myself, and having no fortune in my power, I was forced to defer doing it till I was of age, and had got some settlement in the world: for these reasons I pursued my studies with great application, resolving to be a physician or lawyer, that I might soon be able to provide for myself. In the mean time I promised my dear Alicia to maintain her as my wife, and accordingly paid her father the half of the pension, my father allowed me, for her board; bought her silk petticoats, ribbons and laces; so that I half starved myself, and grew very penurious in my own expences to provide for her; and she soon grew to be so fine, and so like a lady in her air and behaviour, that the farmers daughters, and other country maids envied her, talked loudly of this strange alteration; which, with my continual visits at her father’s, tho’ I thought none observed me, confirmed their suspicions of her being a mistress to me. This report soon reached the principal of the college’s ear, and he had me watched, and sent my father word, who immediately sent for me home, and scolded me sharply, commanding me to declare the truth; on which I ingenuously confessed my engagements with Alicia, and declared boldly, that I would marry her or die. This so enraged my father, to see his ambitious hopes thus crossed in me also, that he proceeded to threats: in short, he was very severe with me, put me into the hands of a rigid tutor, who kept me as a prisoner ever in his sight. I was now eighteen, and fancy’d myself a man sufficient to manage myself. Alicia’s father was threatened, and turned out of his farm and livelihood by my father’s instigation, who was a true Spaniard in his resentments. Poor Alicia, who was now looked on as the ruin of her family, was drove to despair; she sent many letters to me, but none came to my hands; my father intercepted them all. She and her poor father and mother were retired to a village twenty miles further, and had there got into a little farm where they could just get bread. I fell sick with the distraction of my mind, and was like to die; but youth and medicines recovered me, or rather the providence of God, which reserved me for other uses. So soon as I was able to creep abroad, I went into the fields with my cruel tutor, and resolved to try to make my escape, let the consequence be what it would; but knowing that without money I should be no ways helpful to Alicia, or be able to travel far without discovery, I consulted what course to take, and at last concluded to rob my cruel ambitious father, whose strong box was never without a good sum of gold in it, stood in a closet in his chamber, and it was impossible for me to get at it but by going in at the window from the garden. I revolved in my mind many days what to do, before I could find what course to take; at last I thought of an expedient, which was this: my tutor lay with me, I plyed him with wine at supper, so I rose in the night when he was fast asleep, clapped a gag in his mouth, tied his hands and feet with my garters, tho’ not without much struggling and some noise; for tho’ I had made all ready before I went to bed, and fastened his hands to the bed-post before he stirred, yet when I went to tie his feet, he waked, and opening his mouth to speak, I clapp’d the gag, which was a piece of hard wood, between his teeth, stretching his jaws sufficiently, yet he roared strangely, till I threatened to kill him with my pen-knife, which silenced him, for he was a great coward: then I got down from my chamber-window by a vine that grew against the wall; and finding a ladder which the gardener always left in a green house, the door of which I broke open, I set it against my father’s closet-window, and went in, taking the strong box, which was not above two foot and a half square, but very heavy. I hasted down with it, and set the ladder against the garden-wall, which I got over, and stood some minutes consulting which way to go; and considered that if I was taken, my father would not hurt me farther than to chide and lock me up: I was but weak, and could not go far, so I made towards a river, where there used to be a ferry-boat constantly, thinking to offer the old ferryman, who knew me, a piece of gold if he would carry me over, and convey my box for me to some town where I might get a disguise, and a horse to carry me to Alicia’s father’s, whose removal to the poor village I knew nothing of. It was about two o’clock in the morning when I left my father’s, nor was it above three miles to the ferry; but I was so weak, and the box so heavy, that I was three hours before I reached it. I found the old man just launching his boat; he lift up his hands at the sight of me, I knew it was in vain to dissemble with him, so told him my story: the good old man’s heart melted with my sad tale; he condemned my father, pityed me, and offered to serve me faithfully on my promise not to let my father ever know of it; and I have made it my observation, that there is more compassion and true friendship amongst the vulgar (said the good father) than amongst the great; for they are so engaged in their own private interests and designs, and so much at ease, and unacquainted with misfortunes, that they have very little sense of other people’s, and forget that they may at one time or other stand in need of a friend themselves; whereas the meaner people, who are sensible of the miseries of a low condition, and daily meet with disappointments, have a great deal of compassion, and readily assist others. This good old man wept at my story, carried me over, and leaving his boat in his son’s care, went with me to a fisherman’s cottage, where he dressed me in old boots, the man’s old coat, thrum cap and worsted mittins like a poor fisher-boy; then he engaged the man to go along with me wherever I pleased, fearing his going with me himself would discover me. Now I began to think of rewarding him, I knew not how to open the box, and had no money about me; besides, carrying the box was the ready ways to betray me: I therefore resolved to break it open, and empty it, and throw it into the river, which I accordingly did; and was greatly surprized to find two thousand pistoles, and many gold and silver pieces of foreign coin and medals in it, besides my dead mother’s jewels, with her picture set round with brilliant diamonds, and the chief deeds of my father’s estate; in fine, enough to make Alicia and me completely happy in an humble retreat. I paid my old ferry-man to his content, disposed of the money and other things about me, sewing the jewels and writings into my cloths, and posted away with my guide to the town where I had left Alicia; there I was informed of what had befallen her father, and where they were gone to live. I hasted thither, and discharged my guide before I went to the house, sending him back with the horses, he had hired to bring us; and then entered the poor cottage where she was, in so great a transport of joy, that running to her as she was sitting in a chair at work, I fell down in a swoon at her feet; she had not time to know me before I fell, but yet did not fly from me, but lifting up my head to help me, saw my face, and giving a great shriek, fainted. Her mother coming in at the door, saw us both lying on the floor, and crying out, waked me from my trance; I rose and embraced her and my reviving mistress; I told them in few words how I got from my father’s, and what I had brought; that my design was never to leave Alicia any more, but to live and die with her. The good man being called, we all rejoiced at our happy meeting, and consulted what was next to be done; it was altogether improper for me to stay there but a day, for there my father would be sure to look for me, and where else to go or how to part with Alicia on any account, I could not resolve; at last the good man proposed to me to go to a benedictine monk who was his confessor, and trust him with the whole affair, and ask his advice and assistance: he was a man of singular integrity and vast experience, a person of noble birth and great years. I consented to this proposal, we went to him, he received us kindly in his cell; and after giving me some gentle reprehensions for my undutifulness to my father, finding me resolute, and determined to marry Alicia; and fearing, I suppose, that if he refused to do that office for us, we might live together in a sinful state, he at last consented to my desires, and promised to serve us in all he was able. He sent me to a widow lady’s house five miles from thence near Soria, who was his aunt, and sent Alicia’s father to fetch her thither also. In the evening he came to us, and that night I was made possessor of that lovely virtuous maid, whom I at his request suffered to return home with her father the next morning, on condition that she should return to me at night: this we did with design that if my father sent, they should find her there, which would induce them to believe that I was not yet arrived, and would divert their pursuit of me for some days, and give us time to get over the Pyrenian mountains into France, whither we were resolved to retire. All things succeeded as we expected; about noon officers came to search my father-in-law’s house, examined him, Alicia, her mother, and their man and maid, who all pretended ignorance; and finding they could get no satisfaction or intelligence where I was, they went away: this Alicia gave me an account of at night. Father Dominic, the good benedictine, provided us horses and a guide for the next morning, and gave me letters of recommendation to several priests and persons of quality in Gascoigne, advising me to settle at or near Bearn. My dear Alicia and I, returning a thousand thanks to him and the lady, took leave; I presented the father with twenty pistoles as a present for his convent, gave three amongst the lady’s servants; and being both dressed in men’s clothes like servants in livery-coats, being some of the lady’s servants clothes, we departed. I had given Alicia’s father a hundred pistoles, and agreed that he and her mother should come to us so soon as Alicia and I had taken a house, and were settled; we had very fine weather and a safe journey, tho’ much fatigued in passing the Pyrenean mountains: and having presented my letters to the persons to whom they were directed, I was received by them with such civility, and so treated, that I was amazed, and no ways repented my leaving Spain: the gentry and clergy seemed to vie who should be kindest to us; the ladies courted and treated Alicia so highly, that she soon became as free and unaffected as they were, and so improved, that I thought her every day more charming. So soon as we arrived in France, I sent back my guide and horses, with letters to the good old father, the lady, and my father and mother-in-law. On the receipt of which, Father Dominic writ to my own father, acquainting him that I was married to Alicia, and gone out of the kingdom; that I was extremely sorry he had constrained me to leave him in such a manner, and was willing to return to him, if he would forgive me, and receive my wife into favour. In fine, he urged all he could think of to reconcile us, and received an answer, by which he found my father was implacable, and so incensed against me, that it was in vain to hope for any accommodation between us, at least for some time. My father and mother-in-law came to us, and having taken a pretty house and some lands, he managed our little estate, and my wife and I kept the best company in the province, and lived at ease; it did not please God to bless our marriage with any children, but every thing else prospered with us. I writ often to father Dominic, sending him presents of what I thought might be acceptable, particularly wine, of which I had enough, having now bought a little vineyard: he sent to my father to let him know that I was well, and longed to visit him, but for seven whole years could never perceive by his answers that his displeasure was abated. All this while he never acquainted him where I was; at last my father falling sick, relented, and sent to him to send for me, and that I should bring my wife along with me. I no sooner received this joyful news, but I made ready to go to him; and leaving all to the care of my honest father-in-law, my wife and I, attended by two servants, set out for Valadolid, where we soon arrived, and were received by my father with much tenderness. But alas, my oversight had drawn him into another; during my absence, he had taken a young handsome kinswoman into the house and debauched her; this was a secret could not be long hid from me; she was saucy and insolent to my wife, which I resented, and desired my father’s leave to return to France; he desired me not to leave him any more, and would know the cause of my disgust, and who had offended me: at last I modestly told him, our pert kinswoman took too much upon her; he coloured, and said it should be remedied; but, as I afterwards discovered, he had two sons by her, and knew not how to get rid of her; this made her insolent, and finding I had made my complaint to my father of her, she was fired with revenge, and resolved to destroy my wife, who was now to my inexpressible joy with child; she disguised her thoughts, seemed sorry for what she had done, and so behaved herself, that Alicia, who was all goodness, forgot what was past, and grew kind to her; but the viper ill returned it; for drinking chocolate one morning together, she put poison into my dear Alicia’s cup, of which she languished about a month, and then died; the physicians were of opinion that she was poisoned, and when she was dead, I had her opened, and was too well convinced of it: my affliction was so great, that I was inconsolable. I suspected my father, and could not believe his strumpet dared to have committed such a deed without his knowledge and consent. I seized her, and had her examined before a magistrate, but she denyed all, and I had no proof of the fact; so I took leave of my father, having had some sharp words with him, and returned to France the most disconsolate man living. Now I had time to reflect on all the actions of my past life, and too late became sensible that my disobedience to my father first drew God’s anger upon me, who had accordingly punished me in bereaving me of her who had been the occasion of my sin, and was in some kind culpable herself, tho’ more excusable than I, yet had paid her life for her fault; that my father, who had been too severe, and ought to have had more indulgence for my youth, and less ambition, was punished by the divine justice in being permitted to become a slave in his age to a vile passion, no ways just or honourable like mine, and blasted his fame. These considerations inclined me to quit the world, and dedicate the remainder of my life to God, being then but twenty nine years old. I accordingly settled my affairs in France, leaving my father and mother-in-law in possession of my estate there, taking only for my own support a thousand pistoles and my mother’s jewels, which I had still reserved, and ordered my estate to go to a convent in the town where it lay near, after their decease; and taking my mother’s picture, and the writings I took from my father, set out for the benedictine convent where father Dominic lived. I acquainted him with my design, he approved of it, and I waited on my father to obtain his leave and blessing. There I found my father’s mistress, had been her own executioner, having gone distracted with the remorse of her conscience, and so had cut her throat, having in her madness discovered all the circumstances of the murder she had committed on Alicia. My father was so struck with the manner of her death, and shame, his crime with her being now made public, that he seldom went out of his chamber. Our meeting was at this time very different from our parting; I fell at his feet with the greatest submission, and with tears begged pardon for the follies I had committed in my youth; he wept over me, and lifting me up, embraced me, unable to utter one word: then his countenance expressed the confusion of his thoughts; he blushed at his own weakness, and could not look me in the face: at last he said, my son, we have both offended God, but I more grievously; God pardon me, as I do you. A tender conversation ensued, and we passed some days together in pious discourses, I hope much to our advantage. I begged him to make some provision for the two unfortunate children he had had by this ill woman, and settle his affairs, as I had mine; he told me he would be wholly directed by me. In few days he fell sick, and continued ill for six months: having in that time settled his affairs, by my desire the estate was given to his nephew, a worthy young gentleman, with several legacies to his poor relations and the church; he expired in my arms with great piety and resignation; I bury’d him nobly, and retired into the convent, where I lived many years, being received into that fraternity: at forty years old I was chosen by our superior to be sent to Peru, and from thence went amongst the people, where you found me, amongst whom I indured great hardships, it being long before I could acquaint myself with their language and barbarous customs; yet the austere life, and good I did them in curing their sickness and wounds, with my discourses of God and Christ, so wrought upon these savages, that they listened to me and revered me. I was several times taken prisoner by different parties of these barbarians, who are ever at variance with one another; but they still spared me, having a notion that I was a holy person: those I converted to christianity were very hard of apprehension, and yet very devout when once instructed. I have lived seven years with the poor fisherman and his family, whom we have brought with us, and was doubtless preserved by providence to be the means of your deliverance: and now I hope to spend the remainder of my days in that pleasant country where I was once happy with my dear Alicia, whom I might still perhaps have enjoyed, had we never left it; but it was Heaven’s will that I should be what I am, and therefore won’t repine. Here he ended his relation with a deep sigh, all the company being much pleased with the manner of his relating it, and the strangeness of his adventures; admiring the wisdom of God which had preserved him amongst savages, and placed him where he was the means of their preservation.
Bellario and Ravina with Philena their faithful slave, having hired the bark to stay, that brought Harriot and her dear friend, and sister, to Virginia, to carry them to the island of St. Domingo, and from thence to Mexico, having made Leander and Harriot presents of two rich jewels, part of those Dumaresque had on when he was cast on the barbarous shore, making great acknowledgments for all the favours received, took leave, promising to continue their friendship by a constant intercourse of letters; and if they ever returned to Spain, they would make a tour to France on purpose to see them: Harriot and Lavinia had contracted so great a friendship, that the latter had made her husband promise to go settle in France, his religion being no hindrance, because he was a subject of England, being born in Virginia, and therefore had nothing to fear. As for Leander, he was persuaded by his wife and the monk to be a Roman Catholic, which he had been bred at first. Bellario and Ravina returned thanks to Leander’s uncle, his lady, the captain, and Lucy, and all that had visited, and treated them, offering to serve them all in trade, or otherwise, whatever was in her father’s power, they departed with a fair wind, and arrived safe at Mexico, as they were afterwards informed by letters from them, and considerable presents which they received some months after, by the same bark that carried them. Now young Dumaresque, who had received a great fortune with Lavinia, agreed with his father, who had children by his young wife, to take a certain sum of money to be remitted in goods to France, as his fortune; they began to prepare for going thither, where Leander and Harriot longed to be. The poor savages were settled in old Dumaresque’s plantation, he having given them a little house and ground to live on, at his son’s and the good monk’s request. A ship being got ready, and loaded with their effects, Harriot and Lavinia with their husbands, went on board, where they took leave of the good old gentleman Leander’s uncle and his lady, with the honest captain, and Lucy, the fair maid, whom he had made his wife, and who hearing part of Harriot’s story, had concealed her thoughts to this moment; when going to take leave of Harriot, after a noble entertainment, which Leander and his kinsman had given them on board the ship, threw her arms about Harriot’s neck, saying, ‘I cannot part with you, madam, before I reveal a secret to you that nearly concerns you: are not you the daughter of Monsieur Le Montague who lived near Bristol, and married a second wife from London, by whom he had a Daughter named Diana? and were you not trepanned to Virginia by that mother-in-law?’ ‘Yes, answered Harriot much surprized, I am the daughter of that unfortunate gentleman, and was by that wicked woman betrayed and exposed to a thousand misfortunes. But who are you? for I am impatient to know.’ ‘I am said she, that daughter Lucretia, and your sister by the father’s side, by the justice of God for my mother’s sins, doubtless, exposed on the seas, and more barbarous lands; but by his mercy saved, and honestly disposed of to this generous man,’ turning towards the captain her husband. All the company, but especially Harriot, were impatient to learn her story; being all seated, she in few words related.
“My unjust mother, said she, having got rid of you, whom she made my father and the world believe were drown’d coming back from the ship with her and captain Du Pre, apply’d herself wholly to amass a sum of money to provide for me and herself, resolving to return to London, and pursue the same unhappy course of life she had before followed, which I am too much confused at the mentioning of to explain farther: for her shame is in some measure mine; tho’ I bless God I have never been guilty, but ever had an aversion to all wicked actions. In order to accomplish this design, she took up clothes and money of every body that would trust her; and in a short time my father was persecuted on every hand, and unable to raise money fast enough to answer his creditors demands. You may imagine that this caused a great many quarrels between my father and mother: but she minded nothing he said, continued her extravagancies so long, that at last he was arrested by captain Du Pre, who pretended that she owed him a hundred pounds by a note under her hand; and having before mortgaged his estate, it was not easy for him to get bail immediately. The night he was taken to the officer’s house in hold, my mother packed up the plate and linen, and all that was worth carrying away; and taking me, went aboard a hoy bound to London, which Du Pre had provided, and left him. What is become of my poor father since, I know not; but I fear he is (if alive) in very bad circumstances. At these words the tender Harriot wept; and her husband wiping away her tears, kissed her, and said, ‘Come, my dear, be chearful; you and I will fetch him from England, and take care of him. If he is dead, being a good man, doubtless he is happy, and does not need our help.’ Lucretia continued her discourse thus: Being arrived at London, my mother went directly to Westminster, to her friend Lucinda’s, but found her gone from the house, and well married to a sea captain, with whom she lived very happily and honestly at Portsmouth, as the old bawd informed her, to whom she went for information: she took a lodging in the bawd’s house, and soon got a rich gallant, an old merchant in the city: for though she was still very handsome, and had very rich clothes, yet she was now in years, and not of an age to attract the young fops and rakes. I was about eight years old when she went for London; and, doubtless, she designed to advance me to be some great person’s mistress, or some rich fool’s wife. She had robbed my father of near two thousand pounds; but Du Pre pealed her of a good deal of it. She kept me very fine, carried me to the parks, the plays, and had me taught to dance, sing, and play on the spinnet: in fine, she took pains to make me agreeable, but none to instruct me in virtue and goodness; yet God had given me the grace to abhor her way of living; and I often wept for her sins in secret, and wished myself in prison with my good father, or if he was poor and at liberty, that I might beg for him, rather than be a mistress: in short, in about two years time, my mother had broke two or three merchants and a linen-draper, she was struck with sickness, and the rheumatism took away the use of her limbs, so that she lay a long time unable to help herself; she broke out into boils all over: in short, she became full of ulcers, and died in a most miserable condition, to my great grief, I fear little sensible of her sins, and destitute of all spiritual helps, having only the vile old bawd about her, and the people in the house where we lodged. Being dead, every one plundered something; and my mother having made a will, tho’ no widow, which was left in a tally-man’s hand, who was her old acquaintance, and together with Du Pre, were her executors and my guardians; the tally-man came and buryed her privately, and indeed poorly, and carryed me home to his house, Du Pre being gone on a voyage to Ireland with his ship. I know not what my mother left me, but believe it was considerable, because she had often told me she could give me a handsome portion. I was but meanly treated at this vile tally-man’s; and being ready to break my heart, begged day and night to be sent down to Bristol to my father: but that was not his, nor Du Pre’s interest; for they well knew my father would call them to an account for my mother’s effects. Old Gripe told me, as soon as Du Pre arrived, they would consult what to do with me; accordingly they pretended to send me to my father, but putting me into a waggon, sent me to North Wales, to a place where I could hear nothing but Welsh, and lived four years miserably; all which time I could not tell how to escape to Bristol, having not a penny of money, nor any but poor ignorant people to talk too, who could not help me. At last being now fourteen, I applied myself to the minister of the parish, and told him my story. He was a very good man, and writ up to London to a friend, whom he ordered to find out the tally-man, and threaten him, and try to find what they designed to do with me, and what my mother had left me. This gentleman did so, and Gripe laid all the fault on Du Pre, and promised to send for me up to London; which he immediately did. At my arrival, he treated me kindly. Then Du Pre and he contrived to get rid of me for good and all; so they seemed mighty ready to send me to my father, in order to which they went with me on board a ship that lay in the river, bound, as they pretended, for Bristol, and ready to sail. They had bought me new clothes, and given me my mother’s watch: and being young and ignorant, I did not suspect their villany. Du Pre pretended he would go along with me, and the tally-man gave me a broad piece at parting, and went from us at Greenwich: but Du Pre went with me as far as Sheerness; but there pretending to go on shore about some business, left me, and I never saw him more. I knew it was a great way to Bristol by sea, yet was every hour asking when we should get thither, and how far we were got. A young man, who was the captain’s nephew, and a very honest youth, taking pity of me, told me, ‘that I was not going thither, but to Jamaica: that he heard his cruel uncle bargain with my cursed guardians to carry me thither: they have, said he, payed your passage, and he has promised not to sell you, but to get you a good service; but he will strip you of all your clothes so soon as he does reach Port-Royal, and sell you for a slave.’ I thought I should have died at this news, but the young man begged me to take no notice of his discovering this secret to me; ‘for if you do, said he, I am undone, my whole dependance being upon my uncle, and he will discard me.’ I told him that in return to the obligation he had laid upon me in trusting me, I would conceal it, and trust him. Then I told him all my story, and of the fortune I had, of which these villains wronged me, and that if he could find means to get me ashore any where in England, and would go with me to my father, I would give him part of my fortune he should desire in reason, when it was recovered, as it would soon be. He answered, that he had other terms to propose, which was, that I would promise to marry him in case he delivered me, and then he would free me out of his hands, tho’ I went to Jamaica, which he feared I must do now, because we were past the land, and out at sea: ‘for so soon as we land, said he, I will go to the governor, swear that you were trepaned thither, and tell him all the circumstance. I have an uncle there, who, I am sure, will take my part in such a case: besides, if you will marry me so soon as I can get you ashore, he cannot sell you.’ I readily consented to his proposals, thinking any honourable way to escape the miseries I was like to fall into ought to be accepted of: besides, I was very sensible, that if I refused this honest offer, I should certainly be ruined on the island by some villain, who would doubtless buy me for that vile use, and force me to comply with his wicked desires. After this Du Pre, for that was his name, studied how to oblige me, and took such care of me, that tho’ there were two wild young men, a merchant’s son and a mercer’s aboard the ship, sent by their fathers for no good, doubtless, yet he engaged a very honest gentlewoman, a passenger, to keep me always in her company; so that I went very safe: and being near Jamaica, our ship was drove up the river Oroonoko, and shipwrecked, as you have before heard related; there this unfortunate young man has, I fear, met with his death from the Barbarians hands, whose virtue and piety deserved a better fate; though as for my part, I have made a choice much more to my liking in my dear husband, turning herself to the captain.
Harriot ran and embraced her, saying, ‘Dear sister, our fates have so much resemblance, that I am astonished at the Almighty’s justice. Be assured if I live to see England again, I will see justice done both to you and our dear father.’ At these words the old captain bowed, and saluted Harriot and Leander, saying, ‘I think myself very happy to have such worthy relations, and doubt not but you will assist my wife in all things: her virtue I am convinced of; and as I took her without the prospect of a fortune, shall value her no less, though she never has any.’ They all persuaded him to take his wife, and go along with Harriot for France and England; but the good man being in years, and having a plentiful fortune in Virginia, did not care to run any more hazards; so they took leave, and went ashore with old Dumaresque, his lady, and the other friends who came with them on board, and the ship set sail the next morning; and in ten weeks safely arrived at St. Maloes, where Leander was agreeably surprized with the news of his guardian’s death, and also that Clementina and his sister, with her husband, were all safely arrived in France by the way of Spain; that Clementina was in health with Monsieur Le Montague; that De Lesle, who had long before left Virginia, was now living with his dear reconciled Flavia. Harriot’s arrival and his was soon spread abroad; and it was not many days before they and all their friends sent or came to congratulate them, and to invite them to their seats. In few days these now most happy relations and friends met all together at Leander’s house, who was now possess’d of his estate: his sister having receiv’d her’s before his arrival, entertain’d them nobly; and they entertained one another with an account of the strange adventures they had every one met withal. Monsieur Le Montague, who had retired to his country seat in despair of ever seeing his dear Clementina, recounted the manner of their meeting thus: ‘I was, said he, sitting by a fountain in my garden, when a servant came and told me, that there were two ladies and two gentlemen, who expressed their most eager desire of seeing me immediately: but, says he, upon my telling them, as you, sir, had ordered me, that you was engaged and could not be seen, one of the ladies swooned away; and, when she recovered, said she must see you though you were dying. As soon as I heard these last words, I hastened to see them, but figure to yourselves my great surprize when the first object I beheld, was my dear Clementina! I gazed on her with delight, and embraced her with the most ardent affection; while she, on her part, was utterly disabled from smothering the real sentiments of her heart. To compleat the scene, we were for some time lost in each other’s embraces, in dumb but expressive raptures, to the no small diversion of the company, who all laughed: but at last Clementina reminded me of our friends, and I welcomed them in few words; nay I was so distracted to know Clementina’s adventures, that I hindered her from sleeping by my impertinent questions half the night.’
Just as he spoke these words, Monsieur De Lesle and Flavia entered the room; Leander and Harriot saluted her: dear kinswoman, said he, I sent your wanderer home to bless you with his presence, and repair the injuries he did you. Indeed, said she, when he came to the grates of the convent to ask for me, I could scarcely credit my eyes, he was so changed: but I soon threw aside my veil, and fled to his arms with as much affection as at the first months of our marriage. You are, said he, in some confusion, all goodness, and I beg you would make no more mention of my crime, since I hope God and you have forgiven it. Where is your son? said Leander; at home, said Monsieur De Lesle, well, and such a one as merits a better father than I: he will be here by and by to wait on you. Many days past in visits and entertainments, too tedious to recite the particulars of; but after some months were past, Harriot being big with child, and Madam Dumaresque near her time, Harriot continually importuned her husband to go with her to England, it being the Year of the peace which was made with France; but he was afraid of venturing her upon the sea in that condition, and offered to go himself: Madam Dumaresque also would not part with her before she was brought to bed. My dear sister, said she, will you leave me in this condition? Have I come so far with you out of affection, and left my relations and country for you, and can you consent to go from me at this time? In short Lavinia was delivered of a daughter, and Harriot of a son two months afterward, and not able to go to sea for two months more; at last being recovered of her lying-in, she and Leander went over to England from Calais, and landed safely at Dover, from whence they hired horses at Bristol. There were few in the place who knew Harriot; but from them she learned the sad news that her ancient father was in prison, and had lain there five years; his wife’s debts, which she had wickedly contracted, having intirely ruined him; she would not stay a moment after this information, but flew to the prison winged with filial piety and tender affection: she asked for him so earnestly, that the goaler was startled; but clapping half a crown in his hand, he let her in; she quickly saw her dejected father, who was creeping along the place clothed in nothing but rags, his white beard was grown down to the leathern thong which girded his poor coat about him; he lifted up his eyes which were before fixed on the ground, at the sound of her voice, when she said, sir, let me speak with you; and seeing a fine lady and gentleman, put out his white withered hand, expecting alms, but had not the least remembrance of her face, or notion of her being alive, as indeed it was impossible he should. She was in so great disorder, that Leander fearing she would swoon, went to draw her aside. The tears streamed down her face, and her voice faltered, so that she could utter no more, but clasping her arms about the old man’s neck, said, My dear father, and fainted. These words caused such a tumult in his soul, that he seemed like a man waked from a frightful dream; he trembled, held her fast, and gazed upon her, without speaking one word. Leander was so moved with this sight, he could scarce restrain his tears; but he taking hold of him gently, said, sir, be not surprized, God can do wonders, there is a mystery in my wife’s words, which if you will recollect your spirits a little, we will inform you of. The old gentleman staring on him, cried out, It cannot be! ’tis all wonder, ’tis my child’s face, ’tis her voice, and yet——At these words he dropped down. Leander called for some help, two or three prisoners came, whose meagre faces and poor habit spoke their miseries; they assisted him to lift Monsieur Le Montague into a poor room, where his bed lay on the floor, and Leander carried Harriot in his arms, who by this time recovered; he called for wine, of which he gave some to the old gentleman; after which they talked and wept together: Harriot deferred to tell him the particulars of her adventures, till they were out of that sad place, sending the goaler to fetch his creditors; but that being a work of time, she deposited into a merchant’s hands the whole sum her father was charged withal, which was but three hundred pounds, he having paid as long as he had any thing left, and took him out with her, the merchant giving the goaler his bond to indemnify him: they went home with this merchant, where they refreshed, and new clothed and shaved the old gentleman, who still wept for joy, and praised God with his whole heart and tongue in such a manner, that every stander-by seemed to participate of his joy, and being warmed with his zeal, wept with him: nor could he be less moved, who had in one moment received such a miraculous deliverance from the miseries of a prison, the greatest trial this life can subject us to, and such a child, who was restored to him even from the grave. This to a man who had outlived hope, and had not the least prospect of any deliverance but by death, was enough to revive all his faculties, and fill his soul with the most exquisite transports of joy, and highest sense of gratitude to God. He entered a clean bed at night with more joy than he had ever done in his prosperity; the next morning he appeared so revived and altered for the better, that Harriot could do nothing but look upon him with the greatest pleasure. His creditors came, and pretended to be sorry for what they had done; but he and she treated them with such scorn and reproaches as their unchristian treatment of him deserved. And now all his old friends and acquaintance, who many of them had left him in his distress, came to visit and congratulate him, and see Harriot; she treated them all very civilly, but those who had relieved him in the prison, she caressed and entertained splendidly: lastly she sent to the goal, and freed those poor wretches who had been his companions and fellow-sufferers in that dreadful place, which were but five persons, people of mean condition, whose debts amounted to 120l a noble gift from her, by which she obtained their prayers and blessings, which were better worth than the money; and having furnished herself and father with whatever she wanted from England, she, he, and Leander returned in the same vessel that brought them to St. Maloes; the old gentleman being under no apprehensions of any troubles about his religion, being now so very ancient, and so long absent thence, that none but his friends and relations could remember him; but he resolved, if he was any ways molested, to remove to the island of Jersey or Guernsey, from whence he could pay or receive a visit from his daughter once or twice a-year. Clementina gave them an account of all the strange adventures she had met with in Barbary, which filled them with admiration.
One morning (a French ship having come into the port in the night) an old man in very poor habit came to young Monsieur Le Montague’s house, and desired to be admitted to speak with Clementina. She was at breakfast with her husband, and bid the servants admit him; but was extremely surprized when she saw his face, and knew that he was the old French captain who had carried her to Canada. ‘Madam said he, I am come to beg your pardon before I die: God has been pleased by a severe slavery to punish my sin, of which I had before a true sense; and at last in his mercy has brought me back to my native country. But I could not live or die in peace till I knew what was become of you, which having learned last night when I landed, and went home to my house, I hasted to your presence to obtain your pardon, and beg your favour in the behalf of two Christian strangers, who escaped with me from Tunis; they are a gentleman and lady who have been slaves, and have nothing to support them when landed, or to carry them to their home.’ Monsieur Le Montague and Clementina told him, they were glad he had escaped, and should be ready to assist the strangers in any thing. Le Montague said, ‘I can hardly forgive you what you have done to my wife, but as a Christian I won’t resent it: bring the innocent strangers, and we will do something for them.’ The Captain took leave, and about an hour after returned with the gentleman and lady: she was very handsome, her shape, stature, and mien were delicate and engaging. The gentleman was tall, slender, and had a face so lovely and majestic, that he seemed the offspring of Mars and Venus. Their dress was as mean as their persons were noble, being such as charity had furnished them withal. Clementina saluted and welcomed her to France, not knowing whether she understood her or not. Monsieur Le Montague answered the gentleman’s civilities in the same manner, who thus addressed himself to Clementina. ‘Madam, you doubtless wonder why my wife and I have presumed to visit and apply ourselves to you, before any other person, at my arrival in France: but when I tell you that her name is Elvira De Spinosa, who was your companion in the convent, and was in a particular manner honoured with your friendship; you will not be surprized that she comes to ask the protection of her friend.’ At these words Clementina ran and embraced her; and Monsieur Le Montague said ‘Then you are my dear school-fellow Charles du Bois: My God! where have you been this age, and what providence has preserved you, whose death I have mourned for so passionately? Come, sit down, and tell us all your story, for we must not part again; my house is at your service, and my fortune. We shall be proud to procure your happiness in all things, to the utmost of our power.’ Clementina was the mean while weeping with Elvira, being both so transported with joy, that they knew not how to contain or utter their thoughts. At last Monsieur du Bois took upon him to relate their strange adventures.
You know, said he, that my father dying whilst we were school-fellows, I was left in the hands of the two rich east India merchants, Monsieur Dandin and Monsieur du Fresne: Dandin had but one daughter, who was as deformed as Esop, and as ill-natured as she was proud and ugly. My fortune was very considerable, and his whole aim was to match me to Magdelain, and so secure it to his posterity. I was but thirteen, and he wheedled me into signing a contract with her; and she being twenty, was not a little pleased to have such a fine young husband. She took much upon her, and so tutored and schooled me upon every occasion, that my aversion daily increased towards her. I was fain to hand her about to every place she was pleased to gad to; and at last it was my fortune to go with her to a Chapel near the monastery where you and my dear Elvira were pensioners; there I saw you and her together: you I knew, because my friend Monsieur le Montague had shewed you to me; for students always tell their amours to one another, and I am younger than he, so that he had a mistress before me. I was so charmed with her, that had not my fury been along with me, I had followed you to the convent: but I soon found an opportunity to go thither, and found you gone. I got to the speech of her, and in some time gained my charmer’s consent to marry me secretly. She, you know, was an orphan, who being related to the abbess your aunt, was bred there with design (having but a small fortune) to be made a nun. Being but a pensioner, it was no difficult thing for her to come to me; but my keeping my marriage a secret till I was of age, was a hard thing to be done. My guardians did not keep me short of money, so that I fancied I could easily maintain her if I could but get some faithful friend for her to live withal privately in the house with his wife and family, or else a private lodging. This last I thought most secure, and accordingly took a chamber in a widow woman’s house in a village. Having thus provided a retreat, and engaged my confessor to marry us, I gave her notice, and she got out the next morning with another pensioner, on pretence of going to church to the chapel I had seen her at: I waited for her in a coach near the chapel, and coming out in the croud, she slipped from her companion, and turning back into the church went out at another door, where I took her into the coach, and drove away with her to the fryars cell, where we were married. Thence we went away to the village, to our lodging, where I had provided a dinner and all things for our reception. The widow’s daughter, a very modest young maid I had hired to wait on her. Here I staid all night, having pretended to old Dandin, my guardian, that I was to go out of town with a young gentleman whom I kept company withal, and whom I had trusted with my secret, and engaged to ask me to go with him before my guardian and Magdelain, my crooked rib that was to be. In fine, I kept my dear Elvira here some months, tho’ a great search was made after her, being very cautious in my visits. She was that time with child, but miscarried. She never stirred out of doors without a mask, or when I fetched her out in a coach; but finding it was inconvenient to have her so far off, I removed her to St. Malo’s, and took a lodging for her at a widow’s house in a back street, in a very private place, with a garden, and back door into the fields. In this garden, Elvira used to walk, and venture sometimes to look out of her windows into it. A young lord who often passed by that way, saw and fell in love with her: he soon enquired who kept the house, and learned that it was a widow who had a young gentlewoman and her servant lodged with her. He, emboldened by his quality and fortune, went to the house in a chair, richly dressed, and asked to see the lady, the young gentlewoman that lodged there: the woman seeing his attendance and habit, was daunted. He asked no leave, but going by her, went up stairs, and found Elvira sitting in her chamber reading: she was doubtless surprized, but he told her his business was love, and in fine would take no denial, or be gone. He supposed her a mistress by the place she resided in, being so mean and obscure, and resolved to possess her whatever it cost. She told him she was married, but he turned that into ridicule: before he went he presented her with a fine diamond ring, which she refusing, he left it upon the table. He went not away till midnight; the next morning I found her in tears, she told me what a misfortune had befallen her. I was now but seventeen, and the expence of maintaining her and a servant, so sunk my allowance, that I had no money by me; and being something indebted to the widow, I knew not how at present to remove her. In fine, this young nobleman, who was mad in love with her, continued frequently to visit her, and set spys to discover who kept her, who quickly got knowledge of the secret. This young lord, who was one of the most powerful persons and had the greatest fortune of any nobleman in the place, knew my guardian, and sent privately for him, telling him, as out of friendship, the matter. Monsieur Dandin, says he, you have a young heir who is contracted to your daughter, who will be ruined; he keeps a mistress in such a place, ’tis your duty and interest to put an end to such an intrigue, and save the youth from being undone. My guardian promised never to reveal who told him, and returned him a thousand thanks; he came home and took no notice to me, but watched me the next time I went out, and dogged me to Elvira’s lodging, at my return home he told me I must make the tour of Europe, or marry his daughter next week. I was ready to go distracted before, but now I was quite overwhelmed. I found I was watched, and dared not go to Elvira. One morning when I was in bed, he entered my chamber, searched, my pockets, took away all the money I had left, with my watch, and addressed himself to me in the following manner, young gentleman, I am informed you keep a mistress, your allowance shall be shortned; you are like to prove a good man and an excellent husband, that begin so soon. I was so enraged, I lost all patience; I told him I would never marry his daughter, and that so soon as I was of age I would call him to an account. I know not what I said, but we quarrelled to that degree, that I rose and went out of the house, protesting that I would never set foot in it again. I went directly to Elvira, but cannot express the transport of sorrow I was in when I came there, and found the poor widow and the maid in tears, who told me, that at twelve o’clock the preceding night, somebody knocking softly at the door, they supposed it to be me; the maid rising, and going to it, asked, who was there? somebody answered, it is I, du Bois; at these words she opened the door, a man in a vizard caught hold of her, clapping a pistol to her breast, telling her if she made the least noise he would shoot her, three more rushed in, all masked, and ran up stairs, dragging Elvira out of bed; she saw them bring her mistress down bound hand and foot, and put her into a chair; one man staid till the chair was gone, as she supposed, a good way; then he bid her shut the door and make no noise, for if she did, he would come back and kill her. The poor creature was so frighted, she had not power to stir for some time; at last she went up to the widow, and acquainted her with what had happened. This was all I could learn, and enough to make me desperate. I returned to my guardian like an enraged lion, demanded my wife, declaring my marriage: this made him as furious as I; he threatened to sue me for the contract with his daughter; I applyed myself to several of my relations and friends to assist me against him, but nobody cared to meddle; for he was known to be very rich and a very cunning man; I then challenged the young lord, charging him with stealing her, but he only laughed at and ridiculed me. At last being unable to get any news of her, I resolved to travel, believing they had murdered her. I was deeply melancholy; and my guardian, who indeed knew not what was become of Elvira, was willing to be rid of me, and readily agreed to my going to travel. I designed to go first to Rome, and from thence to make the tour of Europe, and return to France so soon as I was of age, to be revenged of my guardian. He agreed to make me a handsome allowance, and gave me five hundred pistoles to defray my extraordinary expences, being willing to be reconciled to me before the day of reckoning came. Attended by a servant, I set out on my journey, and reached Rome, having viewed all that was curious in my way thither thro’ Spain. I resolved to stay there some time, and took a lodging for that purpose. One morning my servant waked me, saying there was a youth, who said he was come post from France to me. I bad him call him up; when he entered my chamber, he made a sign with his hand that I should send away the servant; I did so, he then ran to me and catched me in his arms: but good Heavens! how was I at that moment transported when I saw it was my dear Elvira. I shut the chamber door, and then she told me, that being (as I knew she was) pretty far gone with child, the fright had thrown her into such a condition, that when the villains, who had carried her away, came to take her out of the chair, she seemed half dead; they carried her up stairs into a chamber richly furnished, and laid her upon a bed, and so left her; the young lord came to her immediately, and told her that she must now consent to his desires, that he would never part from her again; it was in vain to resist, or call out for help: in fine, nothing but the condition she was in preserved her; for telling him she was in labour, and should die if he did not call somebody to her assistance, begging him with tears to pity her condition, she prevailed with him to defer the execution of his brutish design, and he called an old woman and her daughter to her. She had no other help but these women; and falling into a fever, lay sick in her bed three months, unable to rise; all which time the young lord continually visited her, bringing a physician several times: at last recovering so as to be able to walk about her chamber, she began to consider how to make her escape. By this time, as she afterwards learned, I having declared our marriage, the young lord refrained from visiting her some days.
One afternoon he came, and being alone with her, he said thus to her, ‘I am come to ask your pardon for the injuries I have done you; I thought you a mistress, not a wife, and my passion for you was so excessive, that it blinded my reason. I believed you ruin’d by a man who was pre-ingaged to another, and was not half so well able to take care of you as myself: had you been a virgin, I would have married you, but finding you are virtuous, and Monsieur du Bois’s wife, I am heartily sorry for what is past, and ready to restore you to him. He is gone to Rome in discontent. So soon as you are able to travel, I will furnish you with money, and a servant to wait on you thither. Believe me, Elvira, I love you no longer with an unlawful passion, but with a tender affection as a sister. I will, so soon as your husband is of age, assist him to the uttermost of my power against Monsieur Dandin, who has been the cause of all this mischief.’ Here he discovered to her what had past between him and Dandin, and how they had contrived together that he should steal her away, and carry her to this his country-house, where the servants were at their devotion, who supposed she was some young lady whom their master had got with child, none dared inquire farther than by supposition: in fine, so soon as my wife found herself able to sit a horse, she by his advice put on a man’s habit, and having received a thousand pistoles from him, set out for Rome, attended by one of his servants. Nothing could be more welcome than she was to me, and I concluded that the disguise she had on was the best in the world to conceal her till I was of age, and farther misfortunes, which her beauty in a female dress might again occasion. I now wanted but a year and half of being of age, and had no mind to return to France till that time was elaps’d; so we removed to a lodging some miles from Rome, where Elvira, who pass’d for my kinsman, lived with me; we passed the day very agreeably: at last we embarked aboard a vessel bound for Marsailles, and set sail with a fair wind; but in few hours a terrible storm drove us out to sea, and we were driven for eight and forty hours before the wind, in which time our ship was so disabled, that she sprung a leak, and had not a ship come up, we had all perished in the merciless seas: but alas, it had been better for many of us that we had done so; for it proved to be a corsair of Tunis belonging to a great Bassa there, we were all put into irons and carried thither. How inexpressible my concern was for my dear Elvira, you may easily imagine. At our coming on shore we were carried to this Bassa’s house, who reviewing the prisoners, made choice of her and me for slaves, supposing we were prisoners of birth, and that he should have a large ransom for us. He examin’d what nation we were of: I answered that we were natives of France, and brothers, that we had been at Rome, to which our father, a private gentleman, had sent us, and were returning home. He seemed satisfied, and used us gently, making us write, or attend him into the country, riding by the side of his litter; but I soon perceived he had a wicked design on Elvira, whom he dressed in a fine Turkish dress, and treated with great indulgence. I was seized with such dreadful apprehensions at this procedure, that I resolved to run all hazards to escape his hands. This put us on a project which we happily effected; the French captain, who brought us home, was at that time his slave, he had been so to his father, who was a general, and had treated him very cruelly: by his death he fell into this Barbarian’s hands, who was a good natured man; and finding him skilled in sea-affairs, had made him master of a very neat pleasure-boat he used to go out to sea in for his diversion; he likewise trusted us to go out in her with other slaves, natives of Tunis, to fish for him. The French captain was generally thus employed in the summer season, and was much in his favour; I was often sent aboard with him, but Elvira never. I contracted a friendship with him, and we contrived our escape thence in this manner; he had got knowledge of the christian fisherman and his wife, where you had lived; he directed me thither, and we agreed that Elvira and I should retire to that place, which was not very difficult for us to do, since we had the liberty of walking the town, that he should send some of the slaves on shore, and bring the pleasure boat about in the dusk of the evening, and take us in. All our hope was to get to Malta in this slight vessel, a very dangerous undertaking; but our condition made us resolve to trust to Providence, and venture all risques to get out of the infidel’s hands. There was a lovely maid who had been sold to this Bassa some months before, whose name was Rossetta; she was a farmer’s daughter at Poictou; who was in quality of a servant with a lady that was going with her family to her husband, a merchant, who was settled in the West Indies; and the ship being taken by a pirate of Tunis, she was made a slave, and so fell into this pirate’s hands. With this maid the captain was fallen in love, he sent her along with us to the fisherman’s. All things being ready, and the Bassa absent, being sent for to the court, we got away, as agreed, and the captain came according to appointment; and it pleased God that we arrived safely at Malta in four days time, the Algerine slaves not in the least suspecting our design till they saw the vessel enter the Port: they were but five in number, and unarmed, so that we had not any thing to fear from them, being on our guard. Hence we were received as became Christians, and furnished with clothes: we got a passage in a French ship that put in there. And now Providence having brought us back to our own native country, we beg your assistance to get Dandin to deliver up my fortune. That, said Monsieur, is easy, for he is long since dead, and his daughter is married to a very honest gentleman, who I dare promise will gladly restore to you all that is your due. Clementina entertained them nobly, and the French captain, having married Rossetta, brought her to wait on her. In a few days Monsieur Le Montague, having managed the affair, procured an agreement between Monsieur du Bois and Magdelain’s husband, who honourably paid him what money Dandin had in his hands of his; Monsieur du Bois entered into possession of all his fortune. Thus divine Providence having by various trials and strange vicissitudes of fortune, proved the faith and patience of these heroic Christians, whom neither slavery nor the fear of death could prevail with to forsake their faith, or distrust their God, they were all happily preserved and delivered out of their troubles, and at last brought home to their own native lands. Harriot, whose filial piety and extraordinary virtues make her justly claim the first place in our esteem, as well as in this history, had the satisfaction of seeing her dear father die in peace in a good old age; she was blest with an excellent husband, and many children fair and virtuous as herself: nor was her prosperity interrupted by any misfortune. The virtuous Lavinia and Clementina, and all the rest were blest with all earthly happiness. These examples should convince us, how possible it is for us to behave ourselves as we ought in our conditions, since ladies, whose sex and tender manner of breeding, render them much less able than men to support such hardships, bravely endured shipwrecks, want, cold, and slavery, and every ill that human nature could be tried withal; yet we, who never feel the inclemency of foreign climates, that never saw the face of barbarous pirates, or savages, are impatient even at a fit of sickness, or a disappointment, shake at a storm, and are brave in nothing but in daring Heaven’s judgements. Let us blush when we read such histories as these, and imitating these great examples, render ourselves worthy to have our names like theirs, recorded to posterity.
F I N I S.