Charlotta Du Pont,
An English LADY;
Taken from her own MEMOIRS.
Giving an Account how she was trepan’d by her Stepmother to Virginia, how the Ship was taken by some Madagascar Pirates, and retaken by a Spanish Man of War. Of her Marriage in the Spanish West-Indies, and Adventures whilst she resided there, with her return to England. And the History of several Gentlemen and Ladys whom she met withal in her Travels; some of whom had been Slaves in Barbary, and others cast on Shore by Shipwreck on the barbarous Coasts up the great River Oroonoko: with their Escape thence, and safe Return to France and Spain.
A History that contains the greatest Variety of Events that ever was publish’d.
By Mrs. AUBIN.
Printed for A. Bettesworth at the Red Lion in Pater-
My much honoured Friend
I HAVE long waited an Opportunity to give some publick Testimony of the Esteem and Respect I have for you. The Friendship you and Mr. Rowe have shewn to me and my dead Friend, have laid me under the greatest Obligations to love and value you; but your particular Merit has doubly ingaged me to honour you. In you I have found all that is valuable in our Sex; and without Flattery, you are the best Wife, the best Friend, the most prudent, most humble, and most accomplish’d Woman I ever met withal. I am charm’d with your Conversation, and extremely proud of your Friendship. The World has often condemn’d me for being too curious, and, as they term it, partial in my Friendships; but I am of Horace’s Mind, and take no Pleasure in Variety of Acquaintance and Conversation: Two or three Persons of Worth and Integrity are enough to make Life pleasant. I confess I have little to recommend me to such, except the grateful Sense I have of the Honour they do me, and the Love I bear their Virtues; and I account it my good Fortune to have found such Friends, amongst whom I esteem you in the first Rank. I need say nothing of Mr. Rowe, but that he has such Excellencys as prevail’d with you, who are an admirable Judge, and endow’d with as much Sense and Virtue as any Woman living, to prefer him before all the rest of Mankind: and your Choice is sufficient to speak his Merit. May Heaven prolong your Lives, and continue your Felicity, that your Friends may long enjoy you, and the World be better’d by your Examples. You act as your learned* Father taught, and are in all kinds an Honour to the antient noble Familys from whence you are descended. Forgive this Rapture, my Zeal transports me when you are the Subject of my Thoughts; and I had almost forgot to entreat the Favour of you to accept the little Present I here make of the Adventures of a Lady, whose Life was full of the most extraordinary Incidents. I hope it will agreeably entertain you at a leisure Hour, and I assure you I dedicate it to you with the utmost Respect and Affection, and am, Madam,
Your most sincere Friend,
and devoted humble Servant,
Gentlemen and Ladys,
THE Court being removed to the other Side of the Water, and beyond Sea, to take the Pleasures this Town and our dull Island cannot afford; the greater part of our Nobility and Members of Parliament retired to Hannover or their Country-Seats, where they may supinely sit, and with Pleasure reflect on the great Things they have done for the publick Good, and the mighty Toils they have sustained from sultry Days and sleepless Nights, unravelling the horrid Plot: whilst these our great Patriots enjoy the repose of their own Consciences, and reap the fruits of their Labours, and enlarged Prisoners freed from Stone·Walls, and Jailors taste the Sweets of Liberty; I believed something new and diverting would be welcome to the Town, and that the Adventures of a young Lady, whose Life contains the most extraordinary Events that I ever heard or read of, might agreeably entertain you at a time when our News-Papers furnish nothing of moment. The Story of Madam Charlotta du Pont, I had from the Mouth of a Gentleman of Integrity, who related it as from his own Knowledge. I have join’d some other Historys to hers, to imbellish, and render it more entertaining and useful, to incourage Virtue, and excite us to heroick Actions, which is my principal Aim in all I write; and this I hope you will rather applaud than condemn me for. The kind reception you have already given the Trifles I have published, lay me under an Obligation to do something more to merit your Favour. Besides, as I am neither a Statesman, Courtier, or modern great Man or Lady, I cannot break my Word without blushing, having ever kept it as a thing that is sacred: and I remember I promis’d in my Preface to the Count de Vineville, to continue writing if you dealt favourably with me. My Booksellers say, my Novels sell tolerably well. I had design’d to employ my Pen on something more serious and learned; but they tell me, I shall meet with no Incouragement, and advise me to write rather more modishly, that is, less like a Christian, and in a Style careless and loose, as the Custom of the present Age is to live. But I leave that to the other female Authors my Contemporaries, whose Lives and Writings have, I fear, too great a resemblance. My Design in writing, is to employ my leisure Hours to some Advantage to my self and others; and I shall forbear publishing any work of greater Price and Value than these, till times mend, and Money again is plenty in England. Necessity may make Wits, but Authors will be at a loss for Patrons and Subscribers whilst the Nation is poor. I do not write for Bread, nor am I vain or fond of Applause; but I am very ambitious to gain the Esteem of those who honour Virtue, and shall ever be
Their devoted humble Servant,
Charlotta Du Pont.
TOWARDS the end of King Charles the Second’s Reign, when a long continuance of Peace, and his merciful Government, had made our Nation the most rich and happy Country in the World; a French Gentleman, whose Name was Monsieur du Pont, being a Protestant, left France, and came and settled near Bristol with his Wife. He had been Master of a Vessel; with which making many prosperous Voyage to the West-Indies, and other places, he had gain’d a competent Estate; and was now resolv’d to sit down in quiet, and pass the remainder of his Life at ease, in a Country where he might enjoy his Religion without molestation. Having dispos’d of all he had in France, and remitted the Money by Bills into England, to some Merchants his Correspondents here, he chose to settle near this Sea-Port, where he had some acquaintance with the most considerable Merchants, with whom he had traded; having been several times in England before, and perfectly skill’d in our Language. He put part of his Money into the publick Funds, and with the rest purchas’d a House and some Land, on which he liv’d with his Wife, and some Servants, as happily as any Man on Earth could do; and nothing was wanting but Children to make him completely blest. He had been marry’d eight Years, and had no Child; but he had not liv’d in this healthful Country above two Years, when his Lady with much Joy told him, she was with Child; at which News he return’d thanks to Heaven with transport, and she was at the expiration of her time happily deliver’d of a Daughter, whose Life is the subject of this History, being full of such strange Misfortunes, and wonderful Adventures, that it well deserves to be publish’d. They gave her the Name of her fond Mother, Charlotta; and the Child was so beautiful, that every body that saw her, admir’d her.
’Tis needless to tell you, that Monsieur du Pont and his Lady bred her up with all the Care and Tenderness imaginable: But it pleas’d God to deprive this little Creature of her dear Mother, before she was five Years old; for Madam du Pont fell sick of a Fever, and dy’d. And now Charlotta was left to her Father’s Care, who, deeply concern’d for his Lady’s Death, look’d on her as the dear Pledge which was left him, of their mutual Affection; and was so doatingly fond of her, that he resolv’d never to marry again, but to make it the business of his Life to educate and provide for her, in the most advantageous manner he was able.
The Child was beautiful and ingenious, and shew’d so great a Capacity, and so quick an Apprehension in all she went about, that he had reason to hope great things from her. Nor were his Expectations frustrated; for before she was ten Years old, she cou’d play upon the Lute and Harpsichord, danc’d finely, spoke French and Latin perfectly, sung ravishingly, writ delicately, and us’d her Needle with as much Art and Skill, as if Pallas had been her Mistress. Mons. du Pont blest Heaven hourly for her, and delighted in her more than he indeed ought to have done, fancying he could not out-live the loss of her. She was so obedient to his Will, that his Commands were always obey’d, and she never once offended him. But Man is a frail Creature, and there are unlucky Hours in Life, which, if not carefully arm’d against, give us opportunitys of being undone. A Merchant of London, in whose Hands Monsieur du Pont had a great Sum of Money, dy’d, and he was oblig’d to make a Journey to Town, to look after it, and get it out of the Executrix’s Hands, who was look’d upon to be no very honest Woman. He would not venture to take Charlotta with him, for fear she should be disorder’d with the Journey, or get the Small-pox, which she had not as yet had; so he left her with a discreet Gentlewoman, whom he had taken into his House after his Wife’s death, to manage his Servants, and breed her up. And being come to London, to a Friend’s House, where he lay, in the City, and was joyfully receiv’d by him, he did not only take care of his Money-Affair; but was also resolv’d to take a little diversion during his stay in London, where he had not been for many Years; and accordingly he went to Court, and to the Play-houses. His Friend and he being together one Evening at a Play, two very handsom well-drest Gentlewomen came into the Pit, and sat down before them: one of these Ladys was very beautiful and genteel, the other seem’d to be her Companion. Monsieur du Pont felt a strange Alteration in himself at the sight of this Woman: he soon got into discourse with her, presented some Oranges and Sweet-meats to them, and found her Conversation as bewitching as her Face and Mien. His Friend kindly caution’d him, but in vain. In fine, the Play being done, he prevail’d with these Ladys to see ’em home, and ask’d his Friend to go along with him, which he unwillingly consented to: so they usher’d the Ladys to a Coach, into which being enter’d, the Ladys bid the Coachman drive to a Street in Westminster; where, being come, they alighted; and the Gentlemen being invited in, came into a very handsom House, genteely furnish’d. Here they staid Supper, which was serv’d up by two Maid-Servants, being cold Meat, Tarts, and Wine. And now entering into a more free Conversation, the Lady who appear’d to be the Mistress of the House, being her who was the youngest and most beautiful, told them she was a Widow, having bury’d her Husband about two Years before, who was a Country Gentleman, and had left her a moderate Fortune, and no Child: That finding the Country too melancholly for her, she had come to London with this Lady, her Aunt, who was a Widow also; but having had an ill Husband, was not so well provided for, as her Birth and Fortune deserv’d: That they had taken a House in this part of the Town, as most airy and retired, and had but few Visiters: and then excus’d her self with a charming air of Modesty, for having admitted these Strangers to this freedom, to which indeed Monsieur du Pont had introduc’d himself with much importunity. In fine, they past Supper in a very agreeable Conversation, and then respectfully took leave, after having obtain’d the two Ladys permission to repeat their Visits, and continue the acquaintance Chance had so happily begun. One of the Maids having call’d a Coach, Monsieur du Pont gave her half a Crown, and enter’d into it with his Friend, who pleasantly ridicul’d him all the way home, telling him, these Ladys were, doubtless, kept Women and Jilts: but Monsieur du Pont was so inflam’d with Love for the young Widow, that he was deaf to all he said, yet seem’d to hearken to him, and turn the Adventure into a Jest, saying, he did not design to visit them any more.
Being come home, and gone to bed, the tormenting
Passion depriv’d him of Rest, and he lay awake all night, thinking on nothing
but this charming Woman. In short, he visited her the next Evening, was
entertain’d with so much Modesty and Wit, that he lost all Consideration, and
resolv’d, if possible, to gain her for his Wife. And now ’
’tis fit that we
should know who she was; and that we relate this fair one’s Life and
Adventures, whom we shall call Dorinda, in respect to her Family.
SHE was the younger Daughter of a Country Gentleman, of a good Family and Estate, and tho well educated, and very witty and accomplish’d, yet being wantonly inclin’d, she at the Age of thirteen, fell in love with a young Officer of the Guards, who came to the Town her Father liv’d in, to visit some Relations. This gay young Rake, who had a Wife and two Children in London, made Love secretly to this lovely unexperienc’d Girl; and having prevail’d with her Maid to let him meet her in a Grove behind her Father’s House, there he pretended honourable Love to her, and promis’d to marry her. In fine, having gain’d her Affections and ruin’d her, and fearing her Father wou’d revenge the Injury he had done him, if he came to the knowledge of it; he one Evening took leave of her to go for London, pretending that so soon as he was arriv’d there, he would employ some of his Friends to get him a better Post, for he was at that time but an Ensign; and then he would write down to his Relations to move his Suit to her Father, and get his consent to marry her. But alas! the deluded Dorinda, young as she was, too well discern’d her Lover’s base design, and was distracted with Shame, Love, and Revenge. She reproach’d him, letting fall a shower of Tears, in Words so tender and so moving, that had he not been a harden’d Wretch, and one of those heroick Rakes that have been vers’d in every Vice this famous City can instruct our Youth in, he would have relented; but he was a complete Gentleman, had the eloquent Tongue of a Lawyer, was deceitful as a Courtier, had no more Religion than Honesty, was handsom, leud, and inconstant; yet he pretended to be much concern’d at leaving her, and made a thousand Protestations of his Fidelity to her. In short, he set out for London the next Morning before Day, and left the poor undone Dorinda in the utmost despair; yet she did not dare to disclose her Grief to any but her treacherous Maid, who had been the Confident of their Amour.
Some Months past without one Line from him, by which time she had convincing Proofs of her being more unfortunate than she at first imagin’d, for she found she was with Child: this put a thousand dreadful designs into her Head, sometimes she resolv’d to put an end to her wretched Life, and prevent her Shame; but then reflecting on the miserable state her Soul must be in for ever, she desisted from her dismal purpose; and at length, finding it impossible to conceal her Misfortune much longer, she resolv’d to go for London, in search of the base Author of her Miserys. In order to this, she got what Money she could together, and one Evening, having before acquainted her Maid with her design, she pack’d up their Clothes, and what Rings and other things she had of value; and when all the Family were in bed, the Maid got two of the Men-servants Habits, which they put on, and so disguis’d, each carrying a Bundle, they went away from her Father’s House by break of day; the Maid having order’d her Brother, to whom she had told their Design, to meet them a little way from the House with Horses, on which they mounted, and he being their Guide, went with them five and twenty Miles, which was near half of the way to London. There they parted from him, paying him well for his trouble, and he took the Horses back. Nor did they fear that he would make any discovery, because of being so much concern’d in assisting them in their flight.
They lay at the Inn that Night which he had carry’d them to, from whence a Stage-Coach went every other day to London, and was to set out thence the next Morning. In this Coach they went, and having chang’d their Clothes at a By-Alehouse before they came to this Inn, and given the Mens Habits to the Fellow with their Horses, they appear’d to be what they really were; and Dorinda’s Beauty made a Conquest of an old Colonel, who, with his Son, a Youth, was in the Coach, and soon enter’d into discourse with her. She wanted not Wit; and her Youth, and the fine Habit she had on, inform’d him she was a Person of Birth. He ask’d her many Questions, and made her large Offers of his Service. At last, having been nobly treated by him at Dinner, and being now within five Miles of London, the unfortunate Dorinda, who knew not where to look for a Lodging, nor how to find out the cruel Leander, for so we will call the Officer that had undone her, ventur’d to tell the Colonel, that she was a Stranger to the Town, and should be oblig’d to him very highly, if he could help her to two things, a Lodging in some private House of good Reputation, and a sight of Leander, whom she suppos’d he might have some knowledge of, being an Officer. The old Gentleman was indeed no stranger to him, nor his Vices, and immediately guess’d the blushing Dorinda’s unhappy Condition; he joyfully told her, he was his intimate Friend and in his own Regiment; that he would carry her to a Lady’s House who was his Relation, and should serve her in all things she could desire. Dorinda look’d on this as a Providence: But, alas, it was a Prelude to greater Misfortunes and her entire Ruin. For this Colonel, now believing her already ruin’d, had his own Satisfaction in view, and pitying her Condition, knowing his Friend was already marry’d, thought it would be a Deed of Charity in him to take care of and keep her himself. In order to which, so soon as the Coach came to the Inn in Holborn, he had a Hackney call’d, into which he sent his Son and a Servant that he had with him, who rid up one of his Horses, home to his own House, and went with the Lady and her Maid to a House at Westminster, where a useful Lady liv’d, that is in plain English a private Quality-Bawd, who used to lodge a Mistress for him at any time; a Woman who was well bred, and a very Saint in appearance, and liv’d so privately that her Neighbours knew nothing of her Profession; she pass’d for a Widow-Gentlewoman who let Lodgings to People of Fashion; she kept a Maid-servant, and had always one handsome young Woman or other a Boarder with her, who she pretended were her Kinswomen out of the Country, being call’d Aunt by one, and Cousin by another, as she directed the poor Creatures to stile her. The House was neatly furnish’d, and had no Person in it at that time but the ruin’d Miranda, who afterwards went with Dorinda, and was with her at the Play, when Monsieur du Pont met with them. The Colonel presented Dorinda to this good Lady, giving her a great Charge to be careful of and kind to her: And indeed the Procuress, Mrs. — seeing her so young and handsome, and so well rigg’d, was mighty glad of her Company, and resolv’d to use all her devilish Arts to gain her Esteem and Friendship, in hopes to make a good Penny of her. Some Wine and a Supper were soon got, and the Colonel pressing Dorinda to know who she was and her Circumstances, got her to own to him that his Friend had promis’d her Marriage, and ruin’d her; but she would not tell him her true Name, nor from whence she came, but with Tears besought him to bring Leander to her, which he promis’d to do the next Morning: so took leave, much charm’d with Dorinda, and in his own thoughts condemning his Friend’s baseness.
He went to his own home to his Wife and Family, and the poor distracted Dorinda was conducted with her Maid to a handsome Chamber; where, the Door being lock’d, and she and her Servant being laid in bed, she began to reflect on her own Condition and Actions. It is impossible to describe in words what she felt when she consider’d, that she had left her tender Parents, blasted the reputable Family she belong’d to, since none but must guess the Cause of her sudden Flight; that she was now in a strange place, and in the Hands of those she knew nothing of; that in case Leander, from whom she had little Cause to expect any good, refus’d to marry and take care of her, she was ruin’d to all intents and purposes; could no more return to her home and family, nor had with her half enough to provide long for her and the helpless Infant she was likely to bring into the World. She shed a flood of Tears, and wish’d for Death a thousand times, and pass’d the Night without closing her Eyes. Thus by one imprudent Action we often ruin the Peace and Quiet of our lives for ever, and by one false step undo our selves. I wish Mankind would but reflect how barbarous a deed it is, how much below a Man, nay how like the Devil ’tis, to debauch a young unexperienc’d Virgin, and expose to Ruin and an endless train of Miseries, the Person whom his Persuasions hath drawn to gratify his Desire, and to oblige him at the expence of her own Peace and Honour. And surely if our Laws be just, that punish that Man with death who kills another, he certainly merits that or something worse, that is, eternal Infamy, who betrays the foolish Maid that credits his Oaths and Vows, and abandons her to Shame and Misery. And if Women were not infatuated, doubtless every Maid would look on the Man that proposes such a Question to her, as her mortal Enemy, and from that Moment banish him from her Heart and Company. Forgive this Digression. Dorinda’s Condition and Wrongs must inspire every generous Mind with some concern and resentment against Mankind.
The Colonel, who dream’d of her all Night, and was on fire to possess her, sent for his Friend Leander in the Morning to a Tavern, told him of his Adventure, and ask’d him what he meant to do with her, and who she was: But to this last Question he was dumb, well knowing that the wretched Dorinda was the Colonel’s own Niece, being his Sister’s Daughter. He said she was a Country ’Squire’s Daughter in another Town, and that he could do nothing for her, but give her a piece of Money, and remove her to a cheap Lodging, and send her back to her Father’s when she was up again. But the Colonel reprov’d him, and said he would himself pay her Lodging, and contribute something towards providing for her: nay, in short, that if he would quit her Company, he would keep her. But Leander was startled at this proposal, fearing he would discover who she was, and that it would be a Quarrel betwixt them, and his Ruin. He desir’d some time to consider of that; and concluded to go immediately with him to see her. They found her up, her Eyes swoln with weeping: At the moment Leander enter’d the Chamber, she swooned; his Love reviv’d, he catch’d her in his Arms; and the Colonel, disorder’d with this sight, went down Stairs, and left them alone with none but the Maid, who shutting the Door, left them together. ’Tis needless to relate what passionate Expressions pass’d on her side, and Excuses on his. In fine, he told her she was in an ill House, that the Colonel had bad designs upon her, and that he would that Evening fetch her away and take care of her; that she should not discover who she was, as she valu’d her own Peace and his Life. In fine, poor Dorinda, born to be deceiv’d, gave credit to all he said, and follow’d his Directions. The Colonel and he went away together; and in the Evening Leander, having gone to an obscure Midwife’s at St. Giles’s, and took a Lodging for her, fetch’d her away and carried her thither, pretending great Fondness. Here she continu’d some time, never stirring out of doors. He continually visited her, and told the Colonel he had sent her into the Country. At last she was deliver’d of a dead Child, and lay long ill of a Fever. And now Leander being quite tir’d with the Expence, propos’d to her to return home. She urg’d his Promises and Vows to marry her, till he was oblig’d to disclose the fatal Secret to her, that he was marry’d already. But what Words can express her Resentments and Disorder at that instant? In short, he left her in this Distraction, and that Evening sent her a Letter to call him in a Coach alone at a Tavern he appointed, saying he had thought of a means to make her easy. She imprudently went, and there he had hir’d two Bailiffs to arrest her with a fob Action. She was by them carry’d to a Spunging-House, and there kept whilst he sold his Post, and with his Family went into the Country; having the Night he trepan’d her, took away from the Midwife’s her Clothes, Money and Jewels, and discharged the Maid; who not daring to return to her Friends or Mistress’s Father’s, went down to an Aunt she had in another Shire: And when Leander had dispatch’d his Business and was gone, the Officers told her he had releas’d her, and she might go where she pleas’d. She was so weak she could scarce walk, nor knew one step of the way, or the name of the place she was in. One of these Fellows was so moved with her Complaints, that he led her to the Midwife’s House as she directed, having learned the name of the Street during her abode with her. The Midwife, who knew nothing of what she had suffer’d, receiv’d her with amazement, and soon gave her an Account how Leander had taken away all her Clothes, and sent away her Maid, which so afflicted Dorinda that she went half dead to bed; and in the Morning, not knowing what other Course to take, having neither Clothes nor Money, and the Midwife being poor, giving her to understand she could not long entertain her, she resolv’d to seek out the generous Colonel. In order to which she desir’d the Midwife to go with her in a Coach to the Lady’s House at Westminster, to which he had at first carry’d her: They went, found the House, and were receiv’d by Mrs. — with much Civility and Kindness; the Colonel was sent for, and came before Dinner: he took her in his Arms with transport, protested never to part with, but take care of her to death. She related to him Leander’s base usage of her. He told her he had sold his Post, and left the Town: And in short, the Midwife being treated and rewarded for bringing her thither, took leave. The best Rooms in the House were order’d for Dorinda, and the Colonel did that Night sleep in her Arms: Thus her first Misfortune involv’d her in a worse. Some Months she liv’d in this manner, being richly cloth’d and bravely maintain’d by her old Gallant, who doted upon her. In this time she contracted a great Friendship with a young Woman in the House, Miranda, who was very handsome, good-natur’d, and about the Age of Twenty: They were continually together, and lay in one bed when the Colonel did not come to lie there. By this means they became so intimate, that Miranda gave her an Account who she was, and how she came there.
SHE told her she was the Daughter of an eminent Divine, who had seven Children, and very good Preferments in the Country; but living very high, and breeding his Children up at a great rate, provided no Fortunes for them, so that dying before they were placed out in the World, they were left to shift, and she being one of the youngest, being then about thirteen, was taken by a Lady to wait on a little Daughter she had about seven Years old, and with the Family brought up to Town; that in a Year’s time her Master, who was a young Gentleman, ruined her; and fearing her Lady should discover the Intrigue, persuaded her to quit her Service, pretending Sickness, and that London did not agree with her; and take leave of her Lady to return to her Mother, who kept a Boarding-School in the Country to maintain her self and the Children, two of the Boys being yet at School, and two Girls at home. But she went not to her Mother as she pretended, but into a Lodging her Master had provided for her. In this House, he for two Years maintain’d and kept her Company; but at last growing weary, gave her a small Allowance, so that by the Bawd’s persuasions, she admitted others to her embraces, and was at this time maintain’d by a Merchant in the City, and concluded her Story with many Tears; saying, she did not like this Course of Life, and wish’d she could find a way to leave it; but that the Bawd always kept her bare of Money by borrowing and wheedling it out of her, and that they were always poor and wanting Money, living, as she saw, very high in Diet; that she had had several Children, but had but one alive, and that was at Nurse at Chelsey, being a little Girl, about three Years old, which she had by a young Lord, who took care of it. Dorinda promised to serve her in all she was able.
And now a strange Turn happen’d in her Affairs: for the Colonel’s Brother-in-law, Dorinda’s Father, having made all the Inquiry after his Daughter that was possible in the Country, and offer’d a Reward to any that should inform him what was become of her, was at last acquainted with the manner of her going to London by the Maid’s Brother who had procured the Horses for them; on which news he came away for London in search of her; he arrived at his Brother, the Colonel’s House, tells him his business, and begs his Assistance to find her out, knowing nothing who had debauch’d her at first, nor why she fled; tho he too rightly guess’d that must be the occasion of her withdrawing her self. The Colonel, who had never seen his Niece Dorinda in the Country, having not been at his Brother’s House for many Years past, was a little surprized at the Circumstances of Time and Place where he met with this young Woman, and long’d to get to her to question her about it. It was Night when his Brother arrived, so he was obliged to delay satisfying his Curiosity till the Morning; then he went to Dorinda, and telling her the reason of his coming, and that her Father was come, she swooned, and by that too well convinc’d him, that he had lain with his own Niece, and not only committed a great Sin, but dishonoured his Family. He at this moment felt the stings of Guilt, and bitter Repentance; he resolved never more to commit the like: And now of an amorous Lover, who used to teach her Vice, he became a wise Monitor, and preached up Virtue and Repentance; and told her, he would that Day remove her from that ill House, and place her in the Country, give her a Maintenance to live honestly, and, if possible, dispose of her to advantage; that he would endeavour to reconcile her to her Father, provided she would never disclose what had pass’d between them. She gladly agreed to all: And here Providence was so merciful as to give her an opportunity of being happy again; but, alas, Youth once vitiated is rarely reform’d, and Woman, who whilst virtuous is an Angel, ruin’d and abandon’d by the Man she loves, becomes a Devil. The Bawd had prevented all these good Designs from coming to effect, by introducing a young Nobleman into her Company, the most gay agreeable Man in the World, who was very liberal to the Procuress, and made Dorinda such large Presents, and used such Rhetorick, that she could not resist his Sollicitations, but yielded to his Desires. She was for this Cause deaf to Reason, and acquainted Miranda and Mrs. — what had pass’d between her Uncle and her: So it was agreed that she should go where her Uncle desir’d, get what she could, and return to them. In the Evening the Colonel came and took her, and her Clothes away, and carry’d her to Chelsey to a Widow Gentlewoman’s House that was his Friend. The next Morning he return’d with her Father, having told him, that Leander had ruin’d her; and that having fled to London, she had found a Lady of his Acquaintance out, where she had been taken care of for four Days past, having been abandon’d and ill used by Leander: That he had heard of it from this Lady but the Day before his arrival, and counsell’d him to forgive her, and take her home again, or continue her with this good Lady to live privately, and allow her something. This was what the Colonel had contriv’d, and taught Dorinda to say. The Father heard this with great Grief, and swore to take Revenge upon Leander; but that Heaven prevented, for they had news of his Death soon after, being thrown from off his Horse as he was hunting, and kill’d on the spot, in which Heaven’s Justice was sadly manifested.
Now doting upon the unfortunate Dorinda, he consented to see and provide for her, but not to carry her home to his Wife and other Daughters, lest it should publish his Misfortune more: but resolved to allow her a convenient Maintenance to live with this Gentlewoman, and at his return to say, that she was run away with, and married to a Person much below what he expected, belonging to the Sea; and that he had done what he thought fit for her, and left her in Town. This, he thought, would silence his Neighbours and afflicted Wife, who had been long indisposed with the Grief she had fallen into on her account.
’Tis needless to relate what pass’d between the Father and Daughter at their first meeting; the disorder both were in was extraordinary: but having promised to allow her thirty Pounds a Year, on condition she lived soberly and retir’d in this Gentlewoman’s House, and dispatch’d some other Affairs that he had to do in Town, he return’d home; and she remain’d some Days in this place, her Uncle visiting, and frequently admonishing her to live well and repent of her Follies. But she could not bear this Confinement, but long’d to see her young Lover and Friend Miranda again: In short, she watch’d her opportunity one Morning, when the Gentlewoman went out to a Friend that lay sick, who had sent for her; and pack’d up her Clothes, call’d a Boat, and left a Letter on the Table for her Uncle, to tell him, she was gone to Town to live, to the House where he had placed her in before, where she should be glad to see him; and so went away to Mrs. — where she was joyfully receiv’d. The Colonel soon receiv’d the news of her Flight, and the Letter, and went to her, and used all Arguments to persuade her thence, but to no purpose; so she continued there, and had variety of Lovers; learning all the base Arts of that vile Profession: till at last, having been so cunning as to have laid up a thousand Pounds, besides a great Stock of rich Clothes, a Watch, Necklace, Rings, and some Plate, having liv’d in several Lodgings, and been kept by several Men of Fashion, she took Miranda, and furnish’d a House, kept two Maid-servants, and Miranda’s pretty Girl, and liv’d genteely, being visited by none but such Lovers as could pay well for their Entertainment. These were Dorinda’s Adventures past, and the Circumstance in which Monsieur du Pont found her; he visited her every Day, and could not think of leaving London without Dorinda. She wisely considering with her self how precarious the way of Life she followed was, resolved to marry him, but cunningly delay’d it in order to encrease his Passion; pretending that she could not marry so soon after the death of her first Husband, being but two Years a Widow. Monsieur du Pont confess’d his design of marrying her to his Friend; and tho he was much averse to it, yet having no particular knowledge of her, he could not alledge any thing to deter him from it but his own Conjectures. In fine, Monsieur du Pont in two Months time got her consent, and taking his Friend along with him, one fatal Morning went to her House, from whence she, accompanied with her Friend and Confidant Miranda, went with them to St. Martin’s Church, where the Knot was ty’d, and the unfortunate du Pont seal’d his ruin. They return’d to her House, where they din’d merrily, and Monsieur du Pont lay that Night. In a few Days after their Marriage, he importuned her to go home with him into the Country, which she was no ways averse to, because she fear’d the Visits of her Customers, some of whom could not be well deny’d admittance by reason of their Quality, and Power over her; which would discover all to him. He was much pleas’d at her appearing so ready to comply with his desires; and now they prepared for going. At her request, he consented to give Miranda the best part of the Furniture in the House, which she design’d to continue in, and follow the unhappy Trade she had so long been versed in, tho in reality she was much averse to it, and wish’d from the bottom of her Soul, that she could meet with some honest Man that would marry her, to whom she would be true and virtuous, being no ways addicted to Vice, but reduced to it by Misfortune and Necessity.
And now Dorinda thought to go privately to her Uncle the Colonel, to acquaint him with her good fortune, in hopes he would now appear to credit her. She pretended to him great Repentance for her past Follies, and he gladly receiv’d her, visited her Husband, and own’d her for his Niece; sent down word to her Parents, who were over-joy’d to hear she was reclaim’d, and so well dispos’d of. Her Mother came to Town to see her long lost Child. And now, had she had the least spark of Virtue, she had been truly happy. Monsieur du Pont at last carry’d her home in the Stage-Coach, having sent her Clothes, Plate, and what else they thought fit by the Waggon, and return’d five hundred Pounds, which she had call’d in from the Goldsmith’s where she had plac’d it, by Bills to Bristol. They arriv’d safe, and she was welcom’d by all his Friends, and treated handsomely. She pretended to be charm’d with Charlotta his beautiful Daughter. And for some Months they liv’d very happily.
BUT, alas, a virtuous Life and the quiet Country were things that did not relish well with a Woman who had liv’d a Town-life. Dorinda wanted Pleasure, and soon fix’d her wanton Eyes upon a young Sea-Captain who used to visit at Monsieur du Pont’s. This young Gentleman had been exchanged with a Merchant’s Son in France who was related to Monsieur du Pont, and so became intimate with him, and many French Captains of Ships and Merchants. He was very handsome and lov’d his Pleasures, being a true Friend to a handsome Woman and a Bottle. Dorinda soon made her self understood by him, and he as soon answer’d her Desires, and made Monsieur du Pont the fashionable thing, a Cuckold. She grew big with Child, and was deliver’d of a Daughter, which Monsieur du Pont, who had discover’d something of her Intrigue with the young Captain, Mr. Furley, did not look on with the same tenderness as he did on Charlotta; for which reason she now beheld her with much Indignation and Dislike, tho she conceal’d her Malice and seem’d fond of her. Charlotta did all she was able to please her; but now having got a Child of her own, Dorinda wish’d her out of the World; and her little Darling Diana growing every day more lovely in her Eyes, and her Husband seeming more reserv’d to her, and to take little notice of the Child, so enrag’d her, that she resolv’d to get Charlotta out of her way if possible, that Diana might inherit all the Fortune. Captain Furley went a Voyage or two to France and Holland, and returning, when he came back to visit her, she made known her wicked design to him, and in fine, gain’d him to assist her in it. They contriv’d to send her beyond Sea by some Captain of his Acquaintance, and he pitch’d upon a French Master of a Ship, who was used to trade to Virginia and the Leeward-Islands, a Man who was of a cruel avaritious Disposition, and would do any thing for Money; his Name was Monsieur la Roque. Furley expected him hourly in that Port. Mrs. du Pont, and her Husband, and Charlotta had often gone together on board Ships to be treated by Merchants and Masters her Husband’s Acquaintance, and sometimes without her Husband with some other Friends, and particularly Furley. Captain la Roque being arriv’d at Bristol with his Ship, which was bound to Virginia, Furley acquainted him with their design on Charlotta, and offer’d him such a Bribe as easily prevail’d with the covetous Frenchman to undertake to effect it. So soon as he was ready to sail, he gave them notice; and now the fatal Day was come when the innocent lovely Virgin, who was in the thirteenth Year of her Age, was to be deprived of her dear Father and Friends, and exposed to all the Dangers of the Seas, and more cruel relentless Men. Monsieur du Pont going to take a Walk with a neighbouring Gentleman, Captain Furley came with the French Captain to invite Mrs. du Pont and Charlotta on board; she in obedience to her Mother-in-law’s Desires went with her in the Captain’s Boat, and being come on board they were highly treated, and something being put into some Wine that was given Charlotta, she was so bereft of her Senses, that they put her on the Captain’s Bed, and left her senseless, whilst they took leave of him and went on shore in a chance-Boat which they call’d passing by the Ship, which weigh’d Anchor and set sail immediately. And now Mrs. du Pont, as they had contriv’d, so soon as they were on shore, began to wring her Hands and cry like one distracted, pretending Charlotta was drown’d: She alarm’d all the People as she went along, saying, that she fell over the side of the Boat into the Sea, and no help being near, was drown’d: None could contradict her, because no body could tell what Boat they came in from the Ship, the Boat being gone off before she made the out-cry. Being come home, she threw her self upon her bed; and her Husband being inform’d of this sad News by the Laments of the Servants at his entring into his House, and going up to her, asking a hundred Questions of the manner of it; she so rarely acted her part, that he believed she was really griev’d, and Charlotta certainly drowned; which so struck him to the Heart, that he was seiz’d with a deep Melancholy, and spent most part of his Days in his Closet shut up from Company, and the Mornings and Evenings walking alone in some retir’d place, or by the Sea-shore; so that Dorinda flatter’d her self that she should soon be a Widow, and return to her dear London.
And here ’tis necessary that we leave them, to inquire after the innocent Charlotta, who waking about Midnight, was quite amaz’d to find her self on a Bed no bigger than a Couch, shut up in a Closet, and hearing the Seamens Voices, soon discover’d the fatal Secret, and knew that she was in the Ship: she knock’d loudly at the Cabin-door, upon which a young Gentleman open’d it, a Youth of excellent Shape and Features, in a fine Habit; he had a Candle in his Hand, and seem’d to view her with Admiration. ‘Lovely Maid, (said he) what would you please to have?’ ‘I beg to know, Sir, (said she) where my Mother and Captain Furley are, and why I am left here alone?’ He remain’d silent a Moment, and then bowing, answer’d, ‘Madam, I am sorry that I must be so unfortunate as to acquaint you with ill News the first time that I have the Honour to speak to you: They are gone ashore, and have sold you to the Captain. I am a Passenger in this Ship, and shall, I hope, be the Instrument of your Deliverance out of his cruel Hands. I was onshore when you were left here, but having seen you come on board, I made haste back, and finding the Ship just under sail, upon my entrance into it ask’d him where you was; on which he told me with joy, that he had you safe in his Cabin, having receiv’d a good Sum to carry you with us to Virginia. I love you, Charlotta, with the greatest Sincerity, and will lose my Life in your defence, both to secure your Virtue and your Liberty. This is not the first time I have seen you.’ At these words he sat down by her, press’d her Hand, and kiss’d her. But what Words can express her Confusion and Grief! She fetch’d a great Sigh and fainted, at which the young Gentleman ran and fetch’d some Cordial-Water from his Chest, and gave her; at which reviving, she fell into a Transport of Sorrow, calling on Heaven to help and deliver her. He waited till her Passion was a little mitigated, and then began to reason with and comfort her, telling her, she must submit to the Almighty’s Will, and that she should look upon his being in that Ship as an earnest of God’s Favour to and Care of her: That he was in Circumstances that render’d him capable of serving her; that his Name was Belanger, and that his Father and her’s had been intimate Friends, being a Merchant who lived at St. Malos, but was dead about seven Months before, having left him and one Daughter in Guardians Hands, he not being yet of Age: That these Guardians us’d him and his Sister ill, having put her into a Monastery against her Will, being ingaged to a young Gentleman whom they would not let her marry, pretending that he was not a suitable Match in Fortune, and that she was too young, being but fourteen, to dispose of her self; which they did with no other design, as he suppos’d, but to keep her Fortune in their Hands as long as they could, in hopes that both he and she might die single, and leave all in their Power, being his Uncles by his Father’s side, and Heirs to the Fortune which was very considerable, in case they dy’d without Issue. That old Monsieur Belanger having Effects to a great Value in Virginia in the hands of a Gentleman who was Brother to Madam Belanger his deceas’d Mother, he was going to this Uncle to get them, and to ask his Assistance to deal with his Guardians, whom he had left, because he had some reason to fear that they design’d to poison him; having been inform’d by a trusty Servant who had liv’d with his Father long, and was now left in his House at St. Malos, that he had over-heard them contriving his Death; that he had taken with him a good Sum of Money, and some Merchandize to trade with in Virginia. And thus Monsieur Belanger having acquainted Charlotta with his Circumstances, concluded with many promises to take care of her in the Voyage, get her out of the Captain’s hands, and marry her when he came to Virginia. She heard him attentively, and answer’d with great modesty, That if he did protect her from being injur’d by others, and acted in delivering her as he pretended, both she and her Father, if they liv’d to meet again, would endeavour to be grateful to him: That she had now resign’d her self to God, and was resolv’d to submit to what he pleas’d to permit her to suffer, and to prefer Death to Dishonour. He embrac’d her Knees, and vow’d to preserve her Virtue, and never suffer her to be wrong’d or taken from him whilst he had a Drop of Blood left in his Veins, but to merit her Favour by all that Man could do, which he as nobly perform’d as freely promis’d. And now poor Charlotta had none but him to comfort her; and tho she strove all she was able, yet Grief so weaken’d her, that in few Days she was confin’d to her Bed. ’Tis needless to relate all that the tender Lover did to render himself dear to the Mistress of his Heart; he tended and watch’d with her many Nights, sat on her Bed-side, and told the tedious Hours, alarm’d with every change of her Distemper, which was an intermitting Fever: he fee’d the Surgeon largely to save her, and at last had the Satisfaction to see her recovering; Youth and Medicines both uniting, restor’d the charming Maid to Health, and Belanger to his repose of Mind; who now seeing the Ship not many Leagues from the desired Port, flatter’d himself that she should be his. But, alas, Fate had otherwise determin’d; their Faith and Virtue was to meet with greater Trials yet, and the time was far off before they should be happy.
A Pirate-Ship came up with them in forty five Degrees of Latitude, bearing English Colours, which seem’d to be no Merchant-Ship, but a Frigate with thirty Guns, well mann’d, and they soon discover’d who they were by their firing at them and putting up a bloody Flag, bidding them surrender with their dreadful Cannon. The French Captain la Roque did on this occasion all that a brave Man could, nor did Monsieur Belanger fail to show his Courage, but fought both for his Mistress and Liberty till he was wounded in many places, and retiring into the Cabin to have his Wounds dress’d, found the affrighted Charlotta lying in a Swoon on the Floor: at this sight he forgot himself, and catching her up in his Arms fell back with her, and having lost much blood, fainted; mean time the Villain la Roque was kill’d on the Deck, and the Enemies entring the Ship, soon master’d the few that were left to oppose them, and coming into the Cabin, saw the fair Charlotta and her Lover holding her clasp’d in his Arms as if resolv’d in Death not to part with her. The Pirates, for such they were who had taken the Ship, being English, French and Irish Men belonging to the Crew at Madagascar, were moved at this sight; particularly a desperate young Man that commanded the Pirate-Ship, he was charm’d with the Face of the reviving Charlotta, who lifting up her bright Eyes ravish’d his Soul; he rais’d her up in his Arms, forcing Belanger’s Hands to let her go, he being still senseless: She look’d upon him with much amazement, but was silent with fear. The Pirate-Captain comforted her with tender Words, then she fell at his Feet, and intreated him to pity her Companion, that Gentleman. He presently order’d some Wine to be given him, had him laid on a bed, and his Wounds dress’d; then left her with him, whilst he gave orders how to dispose of the Goods and Men that were left alive in the Ship, commanding the richest Merchandize, some Provisions, and the Guns, and Pouder in it, to be carry’d aboard his own Ship, and the Men and Merchant-Ship to be dismiss’d with what he thought sufficient to support them till they reached Barbadoes or Virginia, excepting no Person but the fair Virgin and her Lover. Whilst he saw these things done, and search’d the Ship, Charlotta had time to bewail her sad state and her Lover’s, who was now so overwhelm’d with Grief and Pain that he could scarce utter his Thoughts in these moving Expressions: ‘My dear Charlotta, ’tis our hard Fate to be now left here alone in the Hands of Men whose obdurate Hearts are insensible to pity, from whom we can expect nothing but ill usage, did not your angelick Face too well convince me that they will spare your Life. Oh! could I find a way to secure your Virtue, tho with the loss of my Life, I should die with pleasure: but, alas, you must be sacrific’d, and I be left the most unhappy Wretch on Earth, if Providence does not prevent it by some Miracle or by Death. Say, my Angel, what can we do?’ Charlotta shedding a flood of Tears, reply’d, ‘My dear Preserver, my only hope on Earth, all a weak Virgin can do to preserve her Honour, I will do, and only Death shall part us; but let me caution you to say you are my Brother, for the Pirate Captain seems to look on me with some concern; I fear Affection: and if so, should he discover ours to one another, it might ruin us, and cause the Villain to destroy you to possess me, who being left in his Hands when you are gone, shall be forc’d to what my Soul abhors more than Death.’ Belanger pressing her Hand, reply’d, ‘Alas, there needed only that dreadful Thought to end me;’ and so fainted: her Shrieks brought the Pirate-Captain, who was an Irish Gentleman (whose Story we shall relate hereafter) down to the Cabin-door, who seeing her wringing her Hands over the pale young Man who lay senseless, began to suspect he was her Lover, and was fir’d with Jealousy: however he ran to her, and lifting her up in his Arms, ask’d her, who this Person was for whom she was so greatly concern’d? She answer’d, He was her Brother, that they were going from France to Virginia to a rich Uncle, having been cheated by their Guardians of their Fortune in France. And then she fell on her Knees, and besought him with Tears to land them on that Coast, or put them into the next Ship he met with bound to that place or near it. Appeas’d with hearing he was her Brother, tho doubtful of the Truth, he embrac’d her, and promis’d to do what she desir’d; commanding his Surgeon and Crew to do all that was necessary to save the young Man’s Life and recover him. Cordials being given him, and his Wounds carefully dress’d, he got Strength daily. Mean time the Captain had them carefully watch’d to discover whether he was her Brother or not, resolving to get rid of him if his Rival: but Charlotta being on her guard, so well behav’d her self, that he could get no Satisfaction for some time. He daily importun’d her with his Passion for her in Belanger’s Presence, on whom she was continually attending; and told her, If she would consent to marry him when they came a-shore at the Island of Providence, which was at that time the Pirates Place of Rendezvous, he would make her the richest Lady in Christendom, and give her Brother a Fortune, having such immense Treasures bury’d there in the Earth of Jewels and Gold, as would purchase them a Retreat, and all things else they could desire in this World. To all these offers she gave little answer, but modestly excus’d her self from making any Promises, saying she was too young to marry yet, and would consider farther of it when they came a-shore, yet thank’d him for his generous Treatment of them. These Delays still more enflam’d him; he grew every day more earnest and importunate, and often proceeded to kiss her in Belanger’s Presence, whose inward Grief can hardly be describ’d, which his Face often betray’d by turning pale, whilst his enrag’d Soul sparkled in his fiery Eyes when he saw his Mistress rudely folded in another’s Arms. One day Charlotta, willing to change the Discourse of Love, begg’d the Pirate-Captain to inform her who he was, and how he came to follow this unhappy Course of Life; perhaps, said she, being convinced you are well descended, as your Gentleman-like Treatment of us inclines me to believe, I shall esteem you more. Glad to oblige her, he began the Story of his Life in this manner.
I WAS born in Ireland, divine Charlotta, of a noble and loyal Family, who fighting for King James II. were undone: my Father fell with Honour in the Field, our Estate was afterwards confiscated, and my poor Mother, a Lord’s Daughter, left with three helpless Children, of whom I was the eldest, expos’d to want. I was then eighteen, and had a Soul that could not bear Misfortunes, or endure to see my Mother’s condition; so I took my young Sister, who was but ten Years old, and fair as an Angel, and leaving my Mother, and my Brother, but an Infant, at a Relation’s House, who charitably took them in, escaped from my ruin’d Country and Friends to France, hoping to get some honourable Post there, under that hospitable generous King who had receiv’d my Prince. When we arriv’d at St. Germains, having spent what little our kind Friends had given us at our first setting out from home, we were receiv’d but coldly. My Sister, indeed, was by a French Lady taken to be a Companion for her eldest Daughter, something so like a Servant, that my Soul burn’d with Indignation. I waited long to get Preferment, living on Charity, that is, eating at others Tables. At last I fell in company with some desperate young Gentlemen, who, like me, were tired with this uncertain course of life, some of whom had been bred to the Sea: we agreed to go separately to Brest, and seize in the night some small Vessel ready victual’d, and equip’d for a Voyage, some of us having first gone aboard as Passengers. This Design we executed with so good success, that finding a small Merchant-Ship bound for Martinico, we sent five of our Companions, being in all fourteen, as Passengers, on board with our Trunks of Clothes; and pretending to take leave of them, all follow’d, staying till Night drinking Healths with the French Captain, who suspected nothing, and had but eight Hands aboard of twenty six that belong’d to the Ship, which was design’d to weigh Anchor, and set sail the next day: we seiz’d upon him first, and then on his Men, singing so loud that they were not heard to dispute by the Ships who were lying near us in the Harbour: we bound and put them all under Hatches, and set sail immediately, resolving to make for the Island of Jamaica, where we hoped to sell the Merchandize we had in the Ship, which was laden with rich Goods; and having made our Fortunes there, to go for Holland, and settle our selves as Merchants, or look out for some other way to make our selves easy, and gain some Settlement in the World. When we were got to Sea, we fetch’d the Captain up, and told him partly our design: he beg’d to be set ashore with his Men, at some Port of France; pleading he had a Wife and seven Children, and was undone if we carry’d him thence in that manner. So we consented to his desire, and at break of day gave him one of the Boats, and six of the Men to carry him to Land, which I suppose he got safely to, having heard nothing more of him.
And now we put out all the Sail we could, and had a prosperous Voyage, till we came near Jamaica: there we met a Pirate-Sloop well-mann’d and arm’d, carrying French Colours: we were now most of us sick, and in great want of fresh Water and Provisions. They gave us a Signal to lie by, and we supposing them to be Friends, obey’d, joyful to meet a Ship to assist us: but they soon made us sensible of our mistake, sending their Boat’s Crew on board, who seiz’d us and our Ship, and carry’d us all fetter’d to the Island of Providence; where, in short, we grew intimate with these and other Pirates, and consented to pursue the same course of life. They did not trust us in one Ship together, but dividing us, took us out with them. Ten of us have already lost our Lives bravely; three are marry’d, and command Ships like me; we have vast Treasures, and live like Princes on the spoils of others. ’Tis true, ’tis no safe Employment, for we are continually in danger of death: hanging or drowning are what we are to expect; but we are so daring and harden’d by custom, that we regard it as nothing. For my own part, I am often stung with remorse, and on reflection wish to quit this course of life: I am asham’d to think of the brutish Actions I have done, and the innocent Blood I have spilt, makes me uneasy, and apprehensive of Death.
And now, sweet Charlotta, I have told you my unhappy Story, ’tis in your power to reclaim and make me happy: promise then to be mine, and I will marry you, and take all the Treasure I am Master of, and with your Brother sail for Virginia; from thence we’ll go for Ireland as Passengers. You shall acquaint your Uncle that we have been taken by Pirates, and left on that place; for my Ship shall in the night make off, and the Boat having landed us, shall return to it; so that we and our Wealth shall be left without fear of discovery. Then he address’d himself to Belanger, saying ‘Sir, I have treated you, for your Sister’s sake, kindly and generously; I expect you should lay your Commands upon her to consent to my request: I would not be obliged to use the Methods I can take to procure what I now sue for; but if I am constrain’d to use force, it will be your own Faults.’ At these Words he went out of the Cabin much disorder’d, and left them in great Perplexity; a death-like Paleness overspread their Faces, and they sat silent for some Moments: Then Belanger fetching a deep sigh, casting his Eyes up to Heaven, said, ‘Now, my God, manifest thy Goodness to us, and deliver us.’ Charlotta would have spoke, the Tears streaming down her pale Cheeks, but he stopp’d her from declaring her sad Thoughts, saying softly, ‘Hush my Angel, we are watched, betray not the fatal Secret that will bring Death to me, and ruin you.’ They compos’d their Looks as much as possible; and three Days pass’d, in which the Pirate-Captain grew so importunate with Charlotta, that she was forced to declare her self in some manner, and told him she was engag’d to a Gentleman in France. At last he grew enrag’d, and told her, he was too well acquainted with the reason of her coldness towards him; and since fair means would not do, he would try other methods. At these words he call’d for some of the Crew, who seizing on Belanger, put him in Irons, and carry’d him down into the Hold. Charlotta transported with grief at this dismal sight, threw her self at the Pirate’s feet, and told him, ‘’Tis in vain, cruel Man, that you endeavour to force me to consent to your desires, I have a Soul that scorns to yield to Threats; nay, Death shall not fright me into a compliance with your unjust Request: I have already given my Heart and Faith to another, and am now resolv’d never to eat or drink again, till you release my Husband, for such he is by plighted Vows and Promises, which I will never break: no, I will be equally deaf to Prayers and Threats; and if you use force, Death shall free me. This is my last resolve, do as you please.’ At these words she rose and left him, and sat down with a look so resolute and calm, that his Soul shook: he sat down by her, and reason’d with her: ‘Charlotta, said he, why do you force me to be cruel? I love you passionately, and cannot live without you: Heaven will absolve you from the Vows you have made, since you shall break them by necessity, not choice; that Sin I shall be answerable for: my Passion makes me as deaf to Reason, as you are to Pity: I beg you would consider e’er it is too late, and I am drove to use the last extremity to gain you. Your Lover’s life is in my power: be kind, and he may live, and be happy with some other Maid; if you refuse my Offers, he shall surely die; I give you to this night to resolve.’ At these words he left her, setting a Watch at the Cabin-door, and taking every thing from her that could harm her. Then he went to the Quarter-deck, and calling for Belanger, who was brought up to him loaded with Irons, he us’d Threats, Intreaties, and all he could think of, to make him consent to part with Charlotta, and assist him to gain her; all which he rejected with scorn and disdain. At last he was so enrag’d, that he caus’d Belanger to be stripp’d, and lash’d in a cruel manner, who bravely stifled his Groans, and would not once complain, lest Charlotta should hear him, and be driven to despair. But the Pirate’s Rage did not end here; he had him carry’d down and shewn to her, the Blood running down his tender Back and Arms, and gag’d, that he might not speak to her: but she, doubtless, inspir’d with Courage from above, supported this dreadful sight with great Constancy and Calmness: ‘’Tis the Will of Heaven, said she, my dear Belanger, that we should suffer thus: Be constant, as I will be, God will deliver us by Death or Miracle.’ The Pirate order’d him back to the Hold, some Brandy being given him to drink, which he refus’d. And now he resolv’d to gratify his Flame, by enjoying Charlotta at Midnight by force: in order to which he left her under a Guard, and return’d not to her till the dead of night, when, being laid on the Bed in her Cabin weeping and praying, almost spent with extream Grief and Abstinence, he stole gently to her, having put on Belanger’s Coat, in hopes to deceive her the more easily; then laying his Cheek to hers, he whisper’d, ‘Charming Charlotta, see your glad Lover loosen’d from his Chains, flies to your Arms.’ She, as one awaken’d from a horrid Dream, trembling, and in suspence, lift up her Eyes amazed, and thought him to be Belanger; when he, impatient to accomplish his base design, proceeding to further Freedoms beyond Modesty, discover’d to her the deceit, which she, inspir’d by her good Angel, seem’d not to know; but taking a sharp Bodkin out of her Hair, stab’d him in the Belly so dangerously, that he fell senseless on the Bed. At this instant a Sailor cry’d out, ‘A Sail, a Sail; where’s our Captain?’ This alarm’d all the Crew, and the Gunner running to the great Cabin-door, which the Captain had lock’d when he went in, knock’d and call’d; but only Charlotta answer’d, he was coming. Mean time the Ship they had seen coming up, gave them such a Broad-side, as made the whole Crew run to their Arms: a bloody fight ensu’d, and Charlotta consulting what to do, believing the Pirate-Captain dead, and being well assur’d the Ship that fought with that she was in, must be some Man of War or Frigate come in pursuit of the Pirates, because she first attack’d them, resolv’d to disguise her self, and go out of the Cabin to see the event, hoping the danger they were in would make them free Belanger. She catch’d up a Cloak that lay in the Cabin, and a Hat, and so disguis’d open’d the Door; but seeing a horrid fight between the Ship’s Crew and the Spaniards, who had now boarded her, (for it was a Spanish Man of War, who was sent out to scour the Pirates in those parts, and having met the French Ship out of which Charlotta had been taken, and by them got Intelligence of this Pirate-Ship, was come in pursuit of them) she did not dare to venture farther than the Door. Mean time the Pirate-Captain recovering from his swoon, got up, so wounded and faint with loss of Blood, that he could scarce craul to the Door, from which he push’d Charlotta, whom he did not at that instant know: he call’d for help, but seeing the Enemy driving his Men back upon him, Sword in hand, he endeavour’d to take down a Cutlass that was near him, and fell down. And now the Spaniards having master’d the Pirates, who were almost all kill’d or grievously wounded, gave over the slaughter; and having secured those that were alive, the Spanish Captain, who was not only a brave, but a most accomplish’d young Gentleman, with some of his Officers, enter’d the great Cabin, in which Charlotta and the half-dead Pirate were: she immediately cast off her disguise, and threw her self at his Feet, begging him in the French Tongue, to pity and protect her, and a young Gentleman whom the Pirate had put in Irons, in the Hold, whose life she valued above her own. He gaz’d upon her with admiration; her Beauty and Youth were such Advocates, as a gallant Spaniard could not refuse any thing to: he took her up in his Arms, promis’d her all she desired, and commanded the young Gentleman should be immediately look’d for, and, if living, set at liberty. Belanger had heard the Guns and Noise, and none but a brave Man can be sensible of what he felt whilst he lay bound in Chains, whilst his Mistress’s Distress and Liberty were disputed, he was even ready to tear his Limbs off to get free from his Fetters; but Heaven preserv’d his Life by keeping him thus confin’d, who else had been expos’d to all the dangers of the Fight. The Spaniards soon found and freed him, bringing him up to the Cabin, where Charlotta receiv’d him with transport; and Gonzalo the Spanish Captain, and his Friends, gave him joy of his Freedom. The Pirate-Captain, at her Intreaty, was taken care of by the Surgeon, his Wound dress’d, and he put to bed, being almost senseless, and in great danger of death. And now a sufficient number of Men, with a Lieutenant, being left on board the Pirate-Ship, Belanger and Charlotta having all that belong’d to them restor’d by the brave Spaniard, went on board his Ship, where they were highly treated, and might in safety bless God, and enjoy some repose.
The Spanish Ship was bound for the Island of St. Domingo, from whence our Lovers hoped to get passage to Virginia, little foreseeing what changes of Fortune they were to meet with in the Island they were going to. There was on board the Spanish Ship a young Gentleman named Don Antonio de Medenta, the Son of the Governor of St. Domingo, who went, attended by two Servants, as a Volunteer, to shew his Courage, and for Pleasure. He was very handsom, and of a daring and impatient Temper, ambitious and resolute, much respected by all that knew him, his Father’s Darling, and, in short, a Man who could bear no Contradiction. He was so charm’d with Charlotta, that he was uneasy out of her sight; and tho he at first check’d his Passion, as knowing she was promis’d to Belanger, yet it daily increasing, he began to hate him as his Rival, and meditate how to take her from him. It is the nature of the Spaniards, we all know, to be close and very subtle in their designs, very amorous, and very revengeful: this Cavalier wisely conceal’d his Passion from her, and contriv’d to get his Ends so well, that he effected it without appearing criminal. In their passage to St. Domingo, they met a small French Merchant-Ship bound to Virginia, whose Captain was acquainted with Gonzalo: They saluted, and the French Captain came on board; where seeing Monsieur Belanger, he appear’d very joyful. ‘Sir, said he, I have a Lady on board, who has left France to follow you, the charming Madamoiselle Genevive Santerell, your Guardian’s Daughter, who sensible of the Injurys her Father has done you, and constant in her affection to you, is a Passenger in my Ship: I will go fetch her.’ Belanger stood like one thunder-struck at this News, and Charlotta look’d upon him with Disdain and Shame; whilst Joy glow’d in Don Antonio de Medenta’s Face. And now ’tis fit that we should know the unfortunate Maid’s Story, who thus follow’d him that fled from her.
YOU have been already inform’d that this young Lady was Monsieur Belanger’s Guardian’s Daughter, and by consequence his first Cousin; they had been bred up together and design’d for one another: she was fair, wise and virtuous, but yet could not charm Belanger’s Heart tho he did hers; she lov’d him before she was sensible what Love was, and her Passion encreas’d with her Years: her Father did not fail to approve her Choice, because it secur’d the Estate to the Family, and Belanger treated her always with much Respect and Tenderness as his Kinswoman and a Lady of great Merit, but declin’d all Promises of Marriage; she was but little younger than himself, and had refus’d many advantageous Offers, declaring she was pre-ingag’d. She was much concern’d at her Father’s wicked Designs against him, and tho she too well perceiv’d he did not love her as a Lover ought, which indeed her Father hated him for, yet she so doted on him that she resolv’d to serve and follow him to death, flattering her self that since she could not discover he lov’d any other Person, Time and her Constancy would gain her his Affection. When he left France to go for Virginia, she resolv’d to follow him so soon as she could get an Opportunity, in order to which she got what Money she could together, and went disguised like a Man on board this French Ship, where she made her self known to the Captain, having left a Letter for her Father to acquaint him where she was gone. She soon came a-board the Spanish Ship, and seeing Belanger, who could not possibly receive her uncivilly, she ran to him with a Transport that too well manifested her Affection for him. Are we again met, said she, and has Heaven heard my Vows? Nothing but Death shall separate me from you any more. Madam, said he extremely disorder’d, I am sorry that you have risk’d your Life and Honour so greatly for a Person who is unable to make you the grateful Returns you merit; my Friendship shall ever speak my Gratitude: but here is a Lady to whom my Faith is engaged. Too constant Genevive, how is my Soul divided between Love and Gratitude! At these words Charlotta, who was inflam’d with Jealousy and Distrust, seeing how beautiful her Rival was, and reflecting that they had been long acquainted and bred up together, that it was his Interest to marry the French Lady, address’d her self to her in this manner, ‘Madam, your Plea and Title to his Heart is of much older Date than mine; ’tis just he should be yours: and that I may convince you that my Soul is generous and noble, I will save him the confusion of making Apologies to me, and resign my Right in him. Yes, base, ungenerous Belanger who have deceiv’d me, return to your Duty, I will no more listen to your Oaths and Vows, leave me to the Providence of God; I ask no other Favour of you and this Lady, but to assist me to get a Passage home to England.’ Belanger was so confounded, he knew not what to do; he strove all he could to convince Charlotta of his Sincerity, and at the same time not quite to drive a Lady to despair for whom he had a tender regard. Madam Santerell, too sensible that he did not love her, and distracted to see her Rival so ador’d, and her self so slighted and expos’d, did all she was able to augment her Rival’s uneasiness; and now Belanger was so watch’d and teiz’d by both, that he was at his wit’s end. He desir’d to go into the French Ship with the two Ladies to go for Virginia, but Don Medenta secretly oppos’d it, resolving to take Charlotta from him; in order to which he got the Spanish Captain to get Belanger to go on board the French Ship to be merry, which he suspecting nothing did, leaving the two Ladies sitting together in the great Cabin. In some time after the Spanish Captain stepping out of the room goes into his Boat, and returning to his own Ship, whispers Madam Santerell, whom Don Medenta and he had acquainted with their design, and who had willingly agreed to rid her self of her Rival, to go on board the French Ship immediately, which she did. In the mean time Belanger missing Gonzalo, ask’d for him, and was told he was gone to his own Ship, at which he was surpriz’d; but when he saw the Boat come back with one Woman only, his Colour chang’d, and knowing Madam Santerell when she came nearer, he began to suspect some Treachery; he gave her his Hand to come into the Ship, saying, Where is Charlotta that you are come alone? I have brought your Trunks and Things, said she, because she is coming on board when the Boat returns. Whilst they were talking the Boat made off, the Trunks being handed up. He storm’d like a Madman, calling for the French Captain’s Boat: mean time the Spanish Ship made off with all her Sails, being a Ship of War and a good Sailer, which the little Merchant-Ship, which was heavy loaden, could not pretend to overtake. Having thus lost the divine Charlotta, whom he lov’d as much as Man could love, he lost all patience, reproaching Madam Santerell in the most cruel terms, nay even cursing her as the Cause of his Ruin and Death; whilst she endeavour’d to appease him with all the tender soft Expressions imaginable, pretending that she was innocent and knew nothing of the Spaniard’s design. ‘Ah! cruel Belanger, (said she) do not repay my Affection with such unkind treatment: have I not follow’d you, and left my native Country, and all that was dear to me, exposing my self to all the Dangers of the Seas and various Sicknesses incident to change of Climates: In fine, what have I not done to merit your Esteem? And are these the Returns you make me? Must a Stranger rob me of your Heart? Consider what this usage may reduce me to do: If Fate to punish you, has taken her from you, must I bear the blame? ’Tis just Heaven, that in pity to my Sufferings decrees your Separation; and if you cannot love me, yet ’tis the least you can do to use me civilly and send me back to my home, that I may retire to some Convent, and spend my unhappy Life in Prayers for you, for I will pray for and love you to death.’ At these words she fainted and fell down at his Feet. Belanger touch’d with this moving sight, almost forgot his own Griefs, and laying her on his bed in his Cabin, reviv’d her with Wine and Cordials; and seeing her open her Eyes, he took her kindly by the Hand, saying, ‘Charming Genevive, forgive me the rash Expressions I have us’d: urg’d by my Despair I knew not what I did or said; I own the Obligation I have to you, and have all the grateful Sense of it that you can wish; you are dear to me as the Ties of Blood and Friendship can make you, and tho Fate has permitted me to give my Heart to another, yet you shall ever be the next to her in my Esteem.’ These tender Speeches, with many others of the same kind, in some sort comforted the afflicted Lady, who concluded in her self that she should in time, having got rid of her Rival, get his Affection; in order to which she behav’d her self so towards him, and treated him with such Respect and Tenderness, that he was oblig’d to conceal his Grief for Charlotta’s loss, and appear tolerably satisfy’d: yet he was almost distracted in reality, and determin’d to go in search of her so soon as he could get a-shore at Virginia, and find a Ship to carry him to the Island of St. Domingo, to which he knew the Spanish Ship was bound, designing to leave Madam Santerell with his Uncle. Thus resolv’d he seem’d pacify’d, and in a few Days they got into the desir’d Port, and were receiv’d by his Uncle with much Joy. He promis’d upon hearing his Nephew’s Story, to assist him in all he was able, to oblige his Guardians in France to do him and his Sister Justice.
And now Monsieur Belanger’s whole Business was, to get a Bark to carry him to the Island where he suppos’d his Mistress to be; but the inward Grief of his Mind, and the Constraint he had put upon himself, had so impair’d his Health, that he fell sick of a Fever, which brought him so low that he was ten Months before he was able to go out of his Chamber, his Illness being much increas’d by the Vexation of his Mind: all which time Madam de Santerell waited on and tended him with such extraordinary Care and Tenderness, that she much injured her own Constitution, and fell into a Consumption, at which Monsieur Belanger was much concern’d. In this time he contracted a great Friendship with a young Gentleman, his Uncle’s only Son, a young Man of extraordinary Parts and Goodness, handsome and ingenious; his Name was Lewis de Montandre, which was the Name of Monsieur de Belanger’s Mother’s Family: He was about twenty two Years old, and had travel’d most parts of Europe. To him Monsieur Belanger made known all his secret Thoughts, and Design of going to St. Domingo in search of Charlotta, and he offer’d to accompany him thither and to assist him in all he was able. And here we must leave Monsieur Belanger to recover his Health, and relate what befel Charlotta, who was left in Seignior de Medenta’s Hands and Power.
WHEN she found the Ship under sail, and discover’d that she was betray’d and robb’d of Belanger, she retir’d to her Cabin, cast her self on her bed, and abandon’d her self to Grief. ‘My God, said she lifting up her delicate Hands and watry Eyes, for what am I reserv’d? What farther Misfortunes must I suffer? No sooner did thy Providence provide me a Friend to comfort me in my Distress, and deliver’d me out of the merciless Hands of Pirates, but it has again expos’d me helpless and alone to Strangers, Men who are more violent and revengeful in their Natures than any I have yet met withal. Perhaps poor Belanger is already drown’d in the merciless Sea by the cruel Medenta, to whom, unless thy Goodness again delivers me, I must be a Sacrifice.’ Whilst she was thus expostulating with Heaven, the amorous Spaniard came to her Cabin-door, and gently opening it, sat down on the bed by her, and seeing her drown’d in Tears, was for some Moments silent: at last taking her Hand he kiss’d it passionately, and said, ‘Too charming lovely Maid, why do you thus abandon your self to Passion? Give me leave to convince you that you have no just cause of Grief, and that I have done nothing base or dishonourable; your Lover had ungratefully left a Lady to whom he had been engag’d from his Infancy, one who highly deserv’d his Esteem, and so lov’d him that you see she has ventur’d her Life and Fame to follow him: To you he was a Stranger, and being false to her he had known so long, you have all the reason in the World to doubt his Constancy to you. Your Rival had resolv’d to rid her self of you, and you were hourly in danger of Death whilst she was with you. Believe me, Charlotta, the fear of losing you whom my Soul adores, made me take such measures to secure your Life, and restore to the Lady her faithless Lover. I am disingag’d, and have a Fortune worthy your Acceptance. This Day, this Hour, if you’ll consent, I’ll marry you to secure you from all fears of being ruin’d or abandon’d by me; and till you permit me to be happy, I’ll guard and wait on you with such respect and assiduity, that you shall be at last constrain’d to own that I do merit to be lov’d, and with that lovely Mouth confirm me happy.’ She answer’d him with much reserve, wisely considering in her self, that if she treated him with too much rigor, he might be provok’d to use other means to gratify his Passion; that she was wholly in his Power, and unable to deliver her self out of his hands. In fine, some days past, in which she was so alter’d with Grief, that her Lover was under great concern, he treated her with all the Gallantry and tender Regard that a Man could use to gain a Lady’s Heart; he let nothing be wanting, but presented her with Wines, Sweetmeats, and every thing the Ship afforded, offering her Gold and Rings, and at length perceiv’d that she grew more chearful and obliging, at which he was even transported. The Weather had till now been very favourable; but as they were sailing near the Summer-Islands, a dreadful Storm or Hurricane arose, and drove them with such Fury for a Day and a Night, that the Ship at last struck against one of the smallest of them, and stuck so fast on the Shore that they could not get her off, which oblig’d them to get the Boats out, and lighten the Ship of the Guns and heaviest things, in doing which they discover’d that the Ship had sprung a Leak; this made them under a necessity of staying on this Island for some Days to repair the Damage. The Captain, Charlotta, Don Medenta, and all the Ship’s Crew went on shore; they found it was one of those Islands that was uninhabited, so that they resolv’d to go thence as soon as they could to Bermudas; but Providence had decreed their stay there for some time. The Night they landed about Midnight, the Sky darken’d extremely, and such a Storm of Lightning and Thunder follow’d, that the Ship took fire, and was consum’d with all that was left in it; the affrighted Charlotta, who had no other covering to defend her but the Tents they had made of the Tarpaulins and Sails, now thought her Misfortunes and Life were at an end; her Lover and all the rest recommended themselves to God, not expecting to survive that dreadful Night. Some of the Ship’s Crew venturing to look out after the Ship, were lost, being blown into the Sea, and the Morning shew’d the dismal Prospect of their flaming Ship, which lay burning on the Shore almost intirely consum’d. All the hope they now had left, was that some Boats or Barks would come to their Relief from the adjacent Islands. The Storm being over towards Evening, after having taken some Refreshment of what Provisions and Drink they had left which they had brought on Shore, they ventur’d to walk about the Island, on which was plenty of Fowl and Trees. Don Medenta leading Charlotta, they wander’d to a Place where they saw some Trees growing very close together, in the midst of which they perceiv’d a sort of Hut or Cottage made of a few Boards and Branches of Trees, and coming up to it saw a Door standing open made of a Hurdle of Canes; and concluding this Place was inhabited by somebody, curiosity induced them to look into it. There, stretch’d on an old Matrass, lay a Man who appear’d to be of a middle Age, pale as Death, and so meagre and motionless, that they doubted whether he was living or dead, his Habit was all torn and ragged, yet there appear’d something so lovely and majestick in his even dying look, that it nearly touch’d their Souls. Don Medenta going into this poor Hut, took him by the Hand, and finding he was not dead, spoke to him, asking if he could rise and eat, who he was, and other Questions, to all which he made no answer, but look’d earnestly upon him. Mean time Charlotta ran and fetch’d a Bottle of Rum, returning with such incredible speed that only that ardent Charity that inflam’d her generous Soul could have inabled her to do; Don Medenta pour’d some of this Rum into his Mouth, but it was some time before the poor Creature could swallow it; at last he seem’d a little reviv’d, and said in French, God preserve you who have reliev’d me; he could say no more, but fainted: Don Medenta repeating his charitable Office, gave him more Rum, whilst Charlotta fetch’d some Bread and Meat; he swallow’d a Mouthful or two, but could eat no more. By this time the Captain and other Officers came up, and were equally surpriz’d at so sad an Object; two of the Seamen were order’d to stay with him that Night, and the next Morning Charlotta and the rest return’d to visit him, impatient to know who he was, and how he came in that condition. He was come a little to himself, and receiv’d them in so courtly a manner, tho he was unable to rise up upon his Feet his Weakness was so great, that they concluded he was some Man of Quality; and after some Civilities had pass’d, Don Medenta beg’d to know who he was. I will, said he, if I am able, oblige you with the recital of a Story so full of Wonders, that it will merit a place in your Memories all the Days of your Lives; you seem to be Gentlemen, and that young Lady’s Curiosity shall be gratify’d. Don Medenta bowing, seated Charlotta and himself on the Ground by him, the Captain and the rest stood before the Cottage-door; and the Stranger having taken a Piece of Bisket and a Glass of Wine, being very faint, began the Narrative of his Life in the following manner.
‘I Was born in France at St. Malos, my Father was a rich Merchant in that Place, his Name was du Pont, I was the youngest of two Sons which he had, and being grown up to Man’s estate, my Father was mighty sollicitous to see me dispos’d of advantageously, hoping I should marry such a Fortune as might provide for me without lessening his own, so that my elder Brother might be advanced to a Title which he design’d to purchase for him, or some great Employ. This he was continually rounding in my Ears. But, alas, my Soul was averse to his Commands, for I had already engaged my Affections to a young Lady whom I had unfortunately seen when I was but fifteen, at a Monastery to which I had been sent by my Father, to see a Kinswoman who was a profess’d Nun there; visiting her, I saw this fair young Pensioner, who was then about fifteen Years old; she was beautiful as an Angel, and I found her Conversation as charming as her Face; her Name was Angelina: and the Monastery being at a Village not above ten Miles distant from St. Malos, I used secretly to visit her at least once or twice a Week, so that I got her promise to marry me so soon as I was settled in the World. She told me she was the only Daughter of an old Widow Lady who lived fifty Miles distant, was extreme rich, and had placed her there, because the Abbess was her Mother’s Sister; that her Fortune was left her at her Mother’s disposal. This was her Circumstance, which oblig’d me, being a younger Brother, to defer marrying her till I had got some way so provided for, that I might venture to take her without asking our Parents consent: and this delay was our undoing, for when I was twenty, an old Widow-Lady came to my Father’s on some Money-Affairs, and was lodg’d at our House, where she took such a fancy to me, that she boldly sollicited my Father to lay his Commands upon me to marry her, which offer he readily accepted; and having laid all the Advantages of this rich Match before me, concluded with injoining me with the strictest injunctions to marry her forthwith. I pleaded in vain that I was pre-ingag’d to another. He told me in a rage, I must take my Choice, either to consent or go out of his Doors immediately, protesting he would never give me a Groat, and disown me if I was disobedient to his Commands. But when I proceeded in the humblest manner to make known who the Person was to whom I was preingag’d, Good Heavens! how was I surpriz’d to find it was this Lady’s Daughter? And now the fatal secret being known, Angelina was in few days remov’d out of my sight and knowledge, being taken away from the Monastery, and sent I knew not whether. Some Months past in which I busied my self in making inquiry after her, but all in vain; at last, quite weary’d out with my Father’s Threats and the Widow’s Importunities, I consented to be wretched and marry’d her, whom in my Soul I loath’d and hated; nor had I done it, but in hopes to get to the knowledge of the place where my dear Angelina was conceal’d from me, resolving never to consummate my Marriage with her Mother; which way of proceeding so enrag’d her, that we liv’d at continual variance: yet shame withheld her from declaring this Secret to the World; together with spight, because she would continue to plague me by living with me. At last, by the means of one of the Servants, whom I brib’d, (having now all her Fortune at command, which I took care to manage so well, that I laid by a great Sum of Money to provide for me and Angelina, with whom I resolv’d to fly from France so soon as I could find her) I got knowledge that she was lock’d up in a Convent near Calais; on which I converted all my Money secretly into Gold and Bills of Exchange, resolving to set out for England with her so soon as we could get off, having there an Uncle at Bristol, my Father’s Brother.’ At these Words Charlotta look’d earnestly upon him, surpriz’d to find he was her Cousin-German. But he continu’d his Discourse thus: ‘But now I was in a great Dilemma how to get to the Speech of her to inform her of my Design, as likewise how to get away from my Wife, who was continually hanging upon me and following of me, fearing she should discover whither I was going, being certain she would remove Angelina from the Convent. I therefore pick’d a Quarrel one Evening with my Wife about a Trifle on purpose, and the next Morning took horse by break of day, attended with only one Servant in whom I could confide, and set out for St. Malos, where being arriv’d, I hir’d a Vessel to carry me to Calais, fearing to be follow’d if I had gone by land; the Wind was contrary for some days, so that my revengeful Wife had time to send for Angelina from the Convent. At my arrival there, I had the Mortification to find her gone, but none could, or indeed would, inform me whither she was carry’d: this so exasperated me against my Wife, that I resolv’d not to return home any more: So I went directly to my Father’s, and staid there a Month, pretending Business with some Masters of Ships that were expected to come into that Port. Mean time my Wife got intelligence where I was, and came to me: I receiv’d her civilly before my Father; but at Night, when we were in bed, we fell into a warm dispute, which ended in a Resolution on my side to leave her for ever, with which I acquainted her; but then she fell to Intreatys, and in the softest Terms laid before me my Ingratitude to her, and how wicked my design was upon her Daughter; pleading, that as she was my Wife, she had all the reason in the World to keep me from the Conversation of a Person whom I lov’d better than her self; that she had made me master of a plentiful Fortune, and conceal’d from the World the high Affront I had put upon her, in refusing to perform the Duties of a Husband to her. To all which I answer’d, That as for the Ceremony of our Marriage, I look’d upon it as nothing, since I was compel’d to it; that I had deny’d my self all converse with her as a Wife, because I would not commit a Sin, by breaking my solemn Vows and Engagements with her Daughter, whom I had made choice of before I saw her; and since there was no other way left to free me, I resolv’d to declare all to the World, and annul our Marriage, and restore what Money and Estate I had remaining in my hands to her. At these Words she flew into a violent Passion. Well then (said she) since you will thus expose me, I’ll do my self this Justice, to remove Angelina from your sight for ever; be assur’d you shall never see her more in this World. She that moment leap’d out of Bed, call’d for her Servant, and put on her Clothes; and tho I us’d many Intreaties to deter her, nay proceeded to Threats, yet she persisted in her Resolution, and going down to my Father, acquainted him with all that had pass’d between us, desiring him to prevent me from following her, which he, being highly incens’d against me, too well perform’d: for he came up to my Chamber, where I was dressing in order to follow her, but he kept me there in discourse whilst she took Coach and was gone I knew not whither, nor could I for some days hear any news of her. Mean time my Father and Brother continually persecuted me on her account, bidding me go home and live like a Christian; nay they employ’d several Priests and the Bishop of the place to talk to me, so that I was now look’d on with much dislike; and being weary of this schooling, I set out for home, where I found my Wife sick, which indeed so touch’d me, that I repented of having us’d her so unkindly, and resolv’d to treat her more respectfully for the time to come. A whole Year past, all which time she languish’d of a lingring Fever and inward Decay, Grief having doubtless seiz’d her Spirits. I us’d her with as much Tenderness as if I had been her Son; we never bedded together, but kept two Apartments. In fine, she dy’d, and on her Death-bed, some Hours before she expir’d, took me by the Hand as I sat on her bed-side, and said these Words to me, which are still fresh in my Memory, Du Pont, I am now going to leave you, and I hope to be at rest; I have lov’d you as tenderly and passionately as ever Wife did a Husband; and tho I committed a great Folly in marrying a Person who was so much younger than my self, and pre-ingag’d, yet no vitious Inclinations induc’d me to it, as my Behaviour to you since must convince you. I flatter’d my self, that Gratitude and my Behaviour towards you, would have gain’d your Love, but was deceiv’d. I have never been to blame in all my Conduct towards you, but to my Child I have been cruel and unkind; for fearing a criminal Conversation between you if you came together, I us’d all my endeavours to keep you asunder, and finding that even the Convents could not secure her, provok’d by your ill usage, at last I resolv’d to send her out of France, which I effected by means of a Captain of a Ship which was bound to Canada, who took her with him with a Sum of Money, promising to see her there dispos’d of in Marriage to some Merchant or Officer in those Parts, which we doubted not but she would readily consent to, finding her self among Strangers, and bereft of all hopes of seeing you any more. I have never heard of her since. This Action I heartily repent of, and to expiate my Fault, I shall leave you all my Fortune, with a strict Injunction, as you hope for everlasting Happiness hereafter, to go in search of her, and employ it in endeavouring to find her; and if she be marry’d, give her part to make her happy: and may that God, whose merciful Forgiveness and Pardon I now implore, direct and prosper you, and bring you safe together, if she be yet single. I can do no more, but ask you to accept of this my last Action as an atonement for all the Trouble I have occasion’d you, and not hate my Memory. I was so struck with hearing Angelina was sent so far off, and so disarm’d of my Resentments by the sight of my Wife’s Condition, who was now struggling with Death, that the Tears pour’d down my Face, and my Soul was so oppress’d, that I swooned; which so disturb’d her, that her Confessor, who was present at this Discourse, order’d me to be carry’d out of the Room.’ Here he seem’d faint, and Don Medenta gave him some Wine; after which he continu’d his Relation in this manner. ‘Recovering from my swoon, I soon discover’d by the Out-cries and Lamentations of the Servants that my Wife was dead. I behav’d my self with all the Decency and Prudence I was able on this occasion, and bury’d her suitable to her Birth and Fortune; after which I thought of nothing but my Voyage to Canada, having inform’d my self of the Ship and Captain’s Name, who carry’d away Angelina; which was not return’d, or expected back to France in three Years, being gone a trading Voyage for some Merchants at Diep. I left my Father to take care of the Estate, who sent my Brother to reside there; made my Will, and having provided my self with Money, Bills of Exchange, and all other Necessaries, I went a board a Merchant Ship call’d the Venturous, bound for those Parts to trade, not doubting but that we should meet with the Captain there who had convey’d Angelina thither, and then there was no question but I should make him confess where he had left her. We had a prosperous Voyage for some Weeks, but coming near Newfoundland, we unfortunately met a Pirate-Ship who boarded and took us after a fierce dispute which lasted three Hours, in which our Ship was so shatter’d, that she sunk as they were rifling of her; in which Accident several of the Pirates perish’d, and all the Passengers and Sailors belonging to our Ship, except my unfortunate self and Surgeon, who were taken up by Ropes into the Pirate-Ship, where we were put in Irons into the Hold, I suppose because they were in an ill Humour at the loss of their Companions and the Ship. Some days past before we had the Favour of being brought up upon the Deck, and our Irons taken off. We were both very sick; as for my part, I was so afflicted at being prevented from going my intended Voyage, that I was careless of what became of me. There was amongst the Pirates some that look’d like Gentlemen, but they all talk’d and behav’d themselves like desperate Villains, Oaths and Curses were as common as in a Gaming-House, they drank like Germans, and discours’d like Atheists and Libertines; they ask’d us many Questions, who and what we were, to all which we answer’d cautiously. I told them, if they would set me on any Shore thereabouts, from whence I might travel by Land, or get Shipping to Canada, I would promise if I liv’d to return to France, to remit a thousand Pistoles to any part of the World, or Person they should name; they took little notice of my offers, but let us have the liberty of walking in the day-time on the Decks, and at Night they put us under Hatches. At last we arriv’d at the Island of Providence, where they were receiv’d by their Companions with much Joy. We remain’d in this wretched Place ten whole Months, in which time they us’d us like Slaves, with many others whom they could not prevail with to take up their desperate manner of living. At last, wearied with this way of Life, we desir’d to go out in one of their Ships, desiring them to treat us as we should deserve by our Bravery and good Behaviour: They consented; and now all my hopes were that I should meet a welcome Death to free me from the Miseries of Life, or find some way to escape from them. There were beside my self and Friend, six Gentlemen, three of whom were Spaniards, and the other three English, who, like us, went with them thro necessity; the Ship was a Frigate of 30 Guns, and carry’d 140 Hands: they design’d to cruise near the Havana, in hopes to catch some of the Spanish Ships coming out thence: As we lay cruising at some distance, a dreadful Storm arose, which at last tore our Ship in pieces near this Island where we now are; every Man was oblig’d to shift for himself; I catch’d hold of a Plank, floating on which, it pleased Providence to cause the Winds and Waves to cast me on this Place much bruis’d; here I have been three Weeks. I made this Hut with some old Planks and what I found on the shore, to secure me from the Cold and Storms; this old Matrass and Coat I also found; all my Food has been the Eggs of Sea-Fowls and Birds, which I have daily gather’d up on the Sands and in Holes in the Rocks and hollow Trees; but the anguish of my Mind, with the Bruises I receiv’d in my Stomach in the Shipwreck, had at last reduced me to such Weakness, that I could no longer rise on my Feet to seek for Food; and when divine Providence brought you here to my Relief, I had been three whole Days without tasting any sustenance, and had by this been freed from my Miseries.’ Then he fetch’d a deep sigh, concluding his Story with these Words: ‘Yet I am in duty bound to thank God and you, and hope, since he has prolong’d my stay on Earth a little longer, that he will make Life supportable, by furnishing me with means to find her out, without whom I must be ever wretched.’
And now Charlotta acquainted him who she was, and in few Words of the manner of her coming to that Place; at which he was fill’d with Admiration: But he was so amaz’d when he heard that Monsieur Belanger and Madam de Santerel had left France in such a manner, that he could scarce credit it, they being his intimate Friends; yet she in the relation spar’d to mention Don Medenta’s Treachery, or Belanger’s Love to her, saying only he was gone to Virginia in a French Ship. And now the Conversation turning to be general, every Person spoke their Sentiments of Du Pont’s Adventures; some days pass’d with much anxiety, Provisions were husbanded, and their fears of wanting daily increas’d; yet du Pont mended, and Company render’d their solitary way of living in this desolate Place more supportable; they were hourly in expectation of seeing some Ship pass by to the adjacent Islands, having plac’d a white Cloth on the Top of a Stick on the most eminent part of the Island, to give notice of their Distress: thus they spent three whole Weeks, in which time most of the Victuals they had sav’d were spent, and the dreadful Apprehensions of Famine appear’d in every Face, and every one walk’d about looking what they could find to eat, in hopes to satisfy Nature without diminishing the small Stock of Provisions they had left. Don Medenta, who was one of the most vigilant in searching out something to give Charlotta fit for her to eat, went one Morning to the farthest part of the Island, which was about seven Miles over, and there ascending a high Rock, stood looking on the Sea, and saw a Boat fasten’d in a little Cliff of the Rock, out of which Cliff a Blackmoor Man came, and launching out the Boat, put off to Sea, making towards another Island. Don Medenta concluded this Person liv’d somewhere in this Rock, and resolv’d to search about it in hopes to discover some Persons there, by whom he might be assisted and his Friends, to get from this dismal Island, or at least to wait the Man’s return, or find out his abode, in order to return thither that Evening. He found it very dangerous to descend on that side of the Rock next the Sea, and was long e’er he could find the Place out of which he saw the Man come forth; but at last he perceiv’d a sort of a Door, which seem’d to shut in a Place that was the Entrance of a Cavern in the Rock: but it was fast lock’d, and he could not discern through the Keyhole any thing but a glimmering Light, yet he heard a human Voice like a Woman’s, talking to a Child, but he understood but little of it, because it was a Language he could not speak much of, being English; he waited some Hours, but finding the Man did not return, he went away, and hasten’d to Charlotta with the glad Tidings that he had found a Boat, and Persons on the Island. Both she and the whole Company were agreeably surpriz’d with this News; and the Captain, Monsieur du Pont, Don Medenta and Charlotta, all resolv’d to make their Evening’s Walk to this Place.
ACcording to the Resolution taken in the Morning, Charlotta and the rest walk’d to the Rock in the Evening, and getting up to the top of it, saw from thence the black Man standing at the entrance of his Cave, with a white Woman who seem’d to be very young and very handsom; she had a Molotta Child in her Arms about a year old, her Gown and Petticoat was made of a fine Silk. Don Medenta call’d to them in French, at which the Man look’d up; and Charlotta spoke in English to the Woman, desiring her to come up and speak to her; on which the Blackamoor push’d the Woman in, and returning no answer, shut the door upon himself and her. Don Medenta and the rest concluded, that they fear’d being discover’d; so they all descended the Rock and went to the Door, resolving to force it open if they could not gain entrance otherwise, and remove their Fears by speaking gently to them, and acquainting them with their Distress. They knock’d and call’d at the Door for some time; but hearing a noise within, and no answer, they broke open the Door with much difficulty, and entring, went thro a narrow Passage in the Rock, so strait that but one Person could go a-breast; at the end of which they came into some strange Rooms fashion’d by Nature, tho cleans’d of Moss and loose Stones by labour: Into these Light enter’d by the Holes that were in some places open thro the top of the Rocks; but some part of the Caves, or Caverns (for they were scarce fit to be call’d Rooms) were very dark. In the biggest Room was a Lamp burning, and here they saw two Chests lock’d, and on a Shelf some Platters and Bowls made of Calibash-shells, with two or three wooden Spits; and some Sticks were burning in a corner of the Room, in a place made with Stones pil’d round, and opening in the front like a Furnace, on which stood a Pot, wherein something was boiling. There likewise hung up some Fishing-tackle and a Gun with a Powder-horn, as also a Bow with a Quiver of Arrows. In a place which was shut with a Door, like a Cupboard, stood Bread and Flower, and on the Table (for there was a very odd one, and Stools, which seem’d to be of the Negro’s own making) stood a Basket with some clean Linen for a Child, and some Canvas cut out for Slaves Jackets and Drawers. In another Room they saw a Quilt and Coverlids lying on some Rushes on the Floor; but they could find no living Creature, at which they were much amaz’d. They call’d, and spoke in the softest terms, desiring them to come forth, if hid there, promising to do them no harm; but in vain. At last they heard a Child cry, and following the sound of the Voice, went thro a narrow Turning on the right Hand, which brought them to a Place where a Door was shut, before which lay a terrible Bear: Don Medenta, who was the foremost, carrying the Lamp in one hand, and his Sword in the other, being presently more apprehensive of Charlotta’s danger than his own, she being next behind him, ran at the Bear, designing to kill it, if possible, before it could rise; but was stop’d by the sound of a human Voice which came from that Beast, saying, ‘For Heaven’s sake, spare my life, and I’ll do all you’ll have me.’ At these words the Negro came out of the Bear’s Skin, and threw himself at Medenta’s Feet, who took him up; and Charlotta bid him fear nothing, they being Persons in distress, that wanted his assistance, and would pay him nobly for serving them. Then he open’d the Door he had lain before in the Beast’s Skin, and brought forth the young Woman and Child, whom Charlotta embrac’d, whilst the poor Creature wept for joy to see a Christian white Woman. And now they were all chearful, and the Negro being told, that they wanted nothing but his assistance, to carry one of them to any of the adjacent Islands that was inhabited to get them some Provisions, and hire a Vessel to carry them to the Island of St. Domingo, he readily promis’d to do it: ‘My Boat, says he, will carry no great weight, being a small Canoe which I made my self; but it will carry me and one more, with some small quantity of Provisions.’ And now they were all impatient to know how this beautiful Woman and black Man came to this place; which they found she seem’d not willing to declare whilst the Negro was present: and therefore Charlotta beg’d that she might accompany her whilst he brought the Boat round to the other side of the Island, to take in one of the Sailors; not thinking it safe to trust Don Medenta, or one of the Gentlemen with him, in so slight a Vessel. This the Negro did not seem to be pleas’d withal, but yet dar’d not refuse it. He us’d to drag his Boat up out of the Water into a Cleft, where it was impossible to be seen. And now the transported Woman, with her tauny Child, accompany’d Charlotta to her Tent, and in the way recounted her sad Story in these Words.
MY Name is Isabinda: I am the Daughter of a Planter in Virginia, who has a great Plantation there, is extremely rich; and having no more Daughters than my self, bred me up in the best manner, sending me to England for Education, from whence I return’d at thirteen years old. I was courted by several, and by one in particular whom I liked, and my Father did not disapprove of; but it was my unhappy Fate to be miserably disappointed of all my hopes. Amongst a great many Negro-Slaves whom my Father had to work in our Plantation, he you saw was one, who appearing to be bred above the rest, and more capable of being serviceable in the House, was taken into it. He was about twenty Years old, handsom and witty, could read and write, having (as he pretends) been a Prince in his own Country, and taught several Languages and Arts by a Romish Priest, who was cast ashore at Angola, from whence he came. He behav’d himself so well, that he gain’d my Father’s Favour, and us’d often to wait on me when I walk’d out in an Evening, or rid out, running by my Horse’s side; in short, he was ever ready to do me Service. We had a Pleasure-boat, having a City-house at James-Town; and when I was there, I us’d often, with my Companions, to go on the Water in the Evenings for pleasure, and then he us’d to steer the Boat. He made himself the little Boat you saw here, on pretence to go out a fishing for me, which much pleas’d my Father, the fashion and usefulness of it being extraordinary; for it sails swift, and bears a rough Sea beyond any thing we had ever seen. He us’d to catch Fish very dexterously, as he did every thing he went about: He could paint, understood Navigation, the Mathematicks; and in short, was so beloved by my Father, that he would have freed him, had he not fear’d losing of him. And now Domingo, for that is his Name, became enamour’d with me, and lift up his aspiring Eyes to my unhappy Face: His Passion increas’d with time, and at last he resolv’d to possess me, or die in the attempt. Had he but once given me the least Intimation of his Passion, I should have acquainted my Father with his Insolence, and his Death would have prevented my Ruin: but this he knew, and therefore so well kept the Secret to himself, that no body suspected it. He had taken care to provide some Bread and Money, by selling some Tobacco, and little Mathematical Instruments and Pictures he had made, my Father having given him a little piece of Ground to plant, to buy him Linen, allowing him to go finer drest than other Slaves. He also permitted him, when we went to the Town, to sell Trifles that he made. In fine, he waited only an opportunity to get me into his little Boat, which he thus effected: One Evening, the Sea being very calm, he sat in the Boat a fishing, having hid the Bread and Money in it; I walking down with my Maid, to see what he had caught for my Supper, he persuaded me to step into the Boat, and sit down. ‘Now, Madam (said he) you shall see Sport.’ He was pulling in a little Net; I sat down, and the Maid stood on the Shore. He, in dragging the Net, loosed the Boat from the Shore, which beginning to drive out to Sea, surpriz’d me; but he bad me sit still, and fear nothing. I sat very patient for some time, till at last seeing him hoist the Sail, and go farther from Land, I began to be frighten’d; he pretended to be so too, and persuaded me he could not help it, that the Wind and Stream drove the Boat against his Will. He pull’d a little Compass out of his Pocket, by which he steer’d. We were two Nights and Days thus sailing, in which time we pass’d by some Islands, on which he pretended he could not land, because, as I since discover’d, he knew they were inhabited, and had before mark’d out this desolate Place to carry me to. At last he brought me hither half dead with the fright, and faint, having eat only a little of the Bread, and drank out of a Bottle of Wine which he had in the Boat, in which he had put his Tools for making Mathematical Instruments, and Colours for Painting. When we were landed, he seem’d mighty sollicitous where to find a Place for me to lie down, and Food for me; and brought me into the Cavern in the Rock: There being seated on his Jacket, on the Ground, we eat what Fish he had in the Boat, broil’d on a Fire he made with Sticks, having a Tinder-box in his Pocket. After we had eat he told me his Design. ‘My dear Lady, said he, I love you to madness, and was resolv’d to possess you or die: Tho my Out-side is black, and distasteful, I fear, to your Eyes, yet my Soul is as noble and lovely as your own. I was born a Prince, and free; and tho Chance made me a Slave, and the barbarous Christians bought and sold me, yet my Mind they never could subdue. I adore you, and have long design’d what I have now effected. No human Creature dwells here besides ourselves, and from this place you never must expect to return.’ Here he proceeded to kiss me, my Distraction was such, that I swooned; he took the advantage of those unhappy Minutes, when I was unable to resist, and, in fine, has kept me here two whole Years, maintaining me by carrying what he makes to the adjacent Islands; where he sells his ingenious Work to the Inhabitants, and brings back Provisions and Clothes for us: from thence he brought all you see in our miserable Habitation; and to employ me, he brings Work from these People. I make Clothes for the Slaves, and by this means, and his Fishing and Shooting, we have Food enough. I had a Pearl Necklace, and some Rings in my Ears and on my Fingers, of value, when he brought me here; which he sold, and traded with the Money. I have had but this Child by him, which he doats on. He is a Christian, and would gladly marry me. He is so jealous, that whenever he discovers any body landed on the Island, he always locks me up, if he goes out; and lives in continual fear, lest my Father should make any discovery where we are, and send some to take me from him; in case of which I believe he would certainly kill me. He told me of your being here some days since, and warn’d me not to venture forth; which indeed I long’d to do, in hopes to meet with somebody to converse withal, being weary of living such a solitary miserable Life. When he found you were resolv’d to enter our Being, which he thought secure, he put me into the Room you saw me in, and placed himself before it in the Bear’s Skin; a Stratagem he had invented long before, supposing no body would venture to search farther, when they saw so terrible a Creature in so dismal a Place. He had stuff’d the Legs, Feet and Head of the Beast; so that placing himself in the Belly of it, it appear’d alive, especially in so dark a Place. The two large Chests you saw, he found on the Shore some Months since, in which there are much rich Clothes, Linen and Treasure, the Spoils of some unhappy Ship that was doubtless shipwreck’d on this Coast.
‘And now I have acquainted you with all my unhappy Story, and must implore your Assistance to persuade Domingo to leave this Place, and take us with you, or else help me to escape from him; tho I would now willingly consent to be his Wife, having Treasure sufficient to purchase us a good Settlement in any Place. If he be ever found by any body from Virginia, my Father will surely put him to death, but Domingo will kill me first; and to live thus is worse than Death.’ Here she wept, and Charlotta embracing her, promis’d never to part with her. ‘No, my dear Isabinda, said she, we will part no more; Domingo shall be carry’d hence to the Place we are bound to, where he may safely and lawfully possess you; since you now love, as I perceive, and have forgiven him his Crime in getting you, we will assist him to be happy. The selling human Creatures, is a Crime my Soul abhors; and Wealth so got, ne’er thrives. Tho he is black, yet the Almighty made him as well as us, and Christianity ne’er taught us Cruelty: We ought to visit those Countrys to convert, not buy our Fellow-creatures, to enslave and use them as if we were Devils, or they not Men.’ Don Medenta join’d with her in opinion; and the Captain and all agreed to have them marry’d, and take them along with ’em. And now being come to their Tent, they sat down to eat, poor Isabinda being so transported with such charming Conversation, that Charlotta could not refrain praising God in her Heart, for sending her such a sweet Companion.
ABout the close of the Day Domingo return’d with the Sailor, with the joyful Tidings that there was a Spanish Ship at the Island they had been at, and that the Captain had promis’d to come the next Morning in his Long-boat to fetch them away, his Name being Don Manuel des Escalado, a particular Friend of Gonzalo’s and Don Medenta’s. This News reviv’d them all, and now Charlotta talk’d to Domingo, offering him to take him and Isabinda to St. Domingo, and see them marry’d in the Spanish Ship the next day: and Don Medenta promis’d that the Governor his Father should permit them to settle there; and then, said he, Isabinda may, if you think fit, write to her Father, and let him know where she is. Domingo gladly accepted of this Proposal, being so over-joy’d to hear that Isabinda consented to marry him, that he fell prostrate on the Ground, and return’d Thanks to God in so passionate a manner, that it mov’d all the Company. But Charlotta being still deeply concern’d for the loss of Belanger, seeing her self going to be carry’d to a place where she should be no longer able to resist Don Medenta’s desires, where his Father commanded every thing, and from whence there was no possibility to escape without his Knowledge; a Place where she must either yield to be Medenta’s Mistress, or Wife, and should be necessitated to break her Vows and Faith given to Belanger; resolv’d to try the force of her Eloquence and Power over Medenta, to prevail with him to land her at Virginia, or at least give her his faithful Promise to send her thither by the first Ship that went from St. Domingo. In order to this, she ask’d him to walk with her alone a little way that Evening, which he gladly did; and then she began to break her Mind to him in the most soft and moving Terms imaginable: ‘Tho we are not of one Religion (said she) yet we are both Christians; I have given my Faith to another, how can I be yours without a Crime? I have all the grateful Sense that I ought of your Civilities towards me, and wish my Heart had not been pre-ingag’d, that I might have been yours; but since I cannot break through my Engagements with him, permit me to be just, and be assur’d that I will ever love and esteem you next himself whilst I live. He will undoubtedly come to St. Domingo to look after me; and with what Confusion shall I see him, when marry’d to you? Besides, your Father and Family will abhor me as beneath you; it is altogether unfit for you to marry a poor English Maid, whose Family and Education you are a stranger to, and who has no Fortune to recommend her to the Honour of being your Wife; so that should I consent, we must be wretched.’ Don Medenta return’d this answer: ‘Lovely Charlotta, on whom I have plac’d all my Love, and in whom my whole Happiness in this Life consists, I can no more consent to part with you than with my Hopes of future Happiness, or my Faith. It is impossible for me to live without you; Belanger merits not your Love, he is false to another, and with him you must expect a Curse: besides, ’tis in vain to dispute, I am resolv’d never to part with you: I have a Father who is so tender of me, and so generous and good in his Nature, that he will be glad to see me happy, and be fond of you, because you are mine; my Family will follow his Example; I have a Sister fair and wise as your self, she loves me dearly, and shall be your Companion and Friend: Your Virtue is a Portion, and I have Wealth enough to make us happy; and, to remove all obstacles, you shall not set your Foot out of the Ship we are design’d to go on board of to-morrow Morning, till I have wedded and bedded you; which if you consent not to, I must first bed, and then marry you, for you are in my Power, must and shall be mine; and by this gentle Compulsion, I’ll remove your Scruples, and acquit you of your Promises to the treacherous Belanger, my now hated Rival.’ At these Words he let go her Hand in a kind of disorder, and walk’d hastily back towards the Tent. She follow’d, much distracted in her Thoughts; he stay’d till she overtook him, but went along with her home without speaking another Word. After Supper, Charlotta retiring to bed, could not close her Eyes all Night; and having in that time well weigh’d and consider’d all he said, resolv’d to consent to marry him, chusing rather to yield to be his with Honour, than reduce him to treat her in a manner she dreaded worse than Death. Madam de Santerel’s following Belanger, and his Negligence, as she constru’d it, in going into the French Ship, and leaving her behind, had a little piqu’d her; and her Circumstances, being in Medenta’s hands, oblig’d her to agree to be his; nor did she dislike him, he was beautiful, had a great Fortune, was nobly born, and finely bred. She rose, determin’d to compose her Thoughts, and, if possible, banish the Passion she had for Belanger out of her Soul; but that was impossible.
Don Medenta next Morning appear’d with an unusual Gravity in his looks; the Long-boat soon arriv’d with the Spanish Captain, and all the Gentlemen he had on board, and was receiv’d very joyfully; all things worth carrying away were already pack’d up by the diligent Sailors, and soon sent a-board; and then the Boat returning in the Evening, Don Medena, Charlotta, Isabinda, the Moor Domingo, Monsieur du Pont, Gonzalo, and all the rest went into it, bidding adieu to the desolate Island, and arrived safe to the Ship, where they were welcom’d with the Guns and good Wine: The next Morning they weigh’d Anchor, and the Ship set sail for the Island of St. Domingo; then Don Medenta earnestly sollicited Charlotta to marry him, and was seconded by Mons. du Pont, and the good Father who was Chaplain to the Ship, a Fryar whose Name was Ignatius, to whom he had declared his Reasons and Resolutions; at last she yielded, and was that day marry’d, as was also Isabinda to her amorous Moor, who on this occasion behav’d himself so handsomly, and express’d such satisfaction and transport, that every body was charm’d with him. In few Hours they reach’d the Island, and then Charlotta was conducted by Don Medenta to his Father’s Castle, where she was surpriz’d at the great Attendance and sumptuous Furniture; the Governor receiv’d his Son with great Joy and Affection, and when he presented Charlotta to him, begging his Blessing and Pardon for marrying without his consent, he took her up and embrac’d her, saying, ‘If she be as virtuous as fair, which I doubt not, since you have made her your Wife, and be a Catholick, I not only give you my Blessing, but will do all that is necessary to make you great and happy.’ Here Charlotta was surpriz’d, being a Protestant, was ready to sink; but Don Medenta, squeezing her by the Hand to give her a Hint to conceal her disorder, reply’d briskly, ‘Honour’d Sir, she is all you can desire, virtuous, wise, pious, and will I am certain be an Honour and Comfort to us both.’ Then Don Medenta’s Sister, the charming Teresa, a most accomplish’d young Lady, coming into the Presence-Chamber, welcom’d her Brother and new Sister, to whom she made a Present of some very rich Jewels she had on: And now all the Court (for so the Governor’s Palace was justly call’d, for he was there as great, and liv’d like a King) was soon crouded with all the principal Gentlemen and Merchants in the Town; a mighty Treat was got ready, the Bells were set a ringing, and after the Supper there was a great Ball; Charlotta was so complemented and caress’d, and her Friend Isabinda, who accompany’d her as a Companion or Attendant, her Circumstance not being mention’d, that she was astonish’d; and being so young, and unus’d to such Greatness, no doubt but she at this instant forgot Belanger, and was transported at her good Fortune in getting so noble a Husband as Don Medenta. The Ball ended, she was by her Husband conducted to a most splendid Apartment, attended by her Father-in-law, Sister, and all the Company. Here being again complemented, the Company took leave, and an old Lady with two waiting Women, waited on her and Isabinda into a Dressing-Room, into which none but Teresa enter’d with them; the old Lady undress’d her, the Servants put her on a rich lac’d suit of Night-clothes, a delicate fine Shift, Night-Gown and Petticoats; all which Teresa furnish’d for her new Sister, whose Beauty she much admir’d, and highly respected her Brother. Isabinda had a fine suit of Night-clothes, Night-Gown and Petticoats given her also, and a Chamber prepar’d next Charlotta’s to lie in. Charlotta was conducted by Teresa to a Bed-Chamber, where the Bed was a rich Brocade, the Hangings Arras, and every thing magnificent beyond any thing she had ever seen in her Life. So soon as she was in bed, Teresa and the rest took leave; then Don Medenta came in at another Door in his Night-Gown, and went to bed to her: mean time the Governor dismiss’d the Company, and retir’d to his Apartment.
Now it is fit that we inform our selves where Gonzalo and the rest of the Passengers were dispos’d of; he and Domingo and the Officers belonging to the Ship, stay’d on board to see the Ship clear’d and laid up in the Harbour, Don Medenta having not thought it proper the Moor should appear with Isabinda till he had acquainted his Father with their Story; and therefore it was resolv’d that he should come to the Governor’s the next Morning with the Captain, who was oblig’d to wait on him, and give an Account of his Voyage every time he return’d from Sea; Domingo’s two Chests, in which was all his Wealth, were to be likewise brought to the Castle: the Moor, who was much inclin’d to Jealousy, pass’d the Night very ill, and thought the time long till the rising Sun appear’d; he had his little Boy a-bed with him, whom he hugg’d and kiss’d all Night; and rising at Day-break, took a rich Habit out of one of his Chests, and dress’d himself like a Petty-Prince, as he really was by Birth in his own Country; he likewise put a rich Cloak on little Domingo, which Isabinda had made him with some scarlet Cloth and Silver-lace, the Moor had brought her for that purpose from the Islands he us’d to trade to. Thus he waited, ready to attend the Captain and Monsieur du Pont to the Castle, to which they went about ten a Clock, by which time Don Medenta was risen, and had acquainted his Father with Isabinda’s Story and du Pont’s; the Governor welcom’d them all, Domingo he embrac’d, and promis’d him his Protection and Favour. Don Medenta conducted him to Isabinda and Charlotta, who were together in their Apartment entertaining a great many Ladies, who were come to pay their Compliments and breakfast with them. And now nothing but feasting and joy were thought on by all but these two Ladies, who having been both bred Protestants, were in a great Consternation how they should behave themselves. Charlotta had reason’d that Morning with her Lord on this subject, and he had convinc’d her that she was under a necessity of dissembling her Religion; for if his Father and Family discover’d she was a Protestant, she must expect to be hated and slighted, nay that he should be ruin’d, and perhaps parted from her. These Thoughts almost distracted her, and she had communicated them secretly to Isabinda when she came into her Chamber in the Morning; they both wept, and found too late they must be of their Husbands Religion, or be wretched. Charlotta even repented her breach of Faith with Belanger, and began to apprehend the Misfortunes that the change which she had made would bring upon her; but she conceal’d her Thoughts, and they went to Mass every day, which made them highly caress’d by the whole Court, and much oblig’d their Husbands.
Domingo, who was impatient to retire with his Wife, being very uneasy at the liberties the Gentlemen took in looking on and talking to her, sollicited Don Medenta to procure him some little Seat in the Country, and had it forthwith granted; for the Governor sent him to a little Market-Town about twenty Miles from the City, to a House of Pleasure which he had there; and here he found a little Paradise, a House so neat and richly furnish’d, such lovely Gardens, Fish-Ponds, Fountains, Fields and Groves, that his Imagination could not have form’d a more beautiful Retreat. Having view’d it, and got all things ready, that is, two Servants, and the Rooms air’d, he came back to the Castle to fetch his Wife, and return Thanks for his fine Being. But when Isabinda took leave of Charlotta, they both wept, and Charlotta promis’d to go every Summer and pass her time there. Here Domingo and his little Family liv’d happily the remainder of their days, having many Children, and Isabinda by his persuasions became a true Roman Catholick. But Charlotta continu’d some time a Protestant in her Heart; yet at last she was truly happy in her own Thoughts, and pleas’d she was Don Medenta’s Wife; for she had all that Mortal could wish for, a noble Fortune, lovely Children, and a Husband who lov’d her beyond expression, and deny’d her nothing.
And now we must mention the Pirate-Captain, who was safely landed on this Island, and cured of his Wounds; the Pirate-Ship which Gonzalo had taken and sent away before, with the Pirates he had taken aboard of it, being arriv’d at St. Domingo before Gonzalo’s Ship: This Gentleman, who was kept a Prisoner in the Town, hearing of Don Medenta’s Marriage with Charlotta, sent her a Letter to ask her Pardon for what was past, protesting he was truly penitent, and that he honour’d her Virtue as much as he had lov’d her Person; and beg’d she would procure his Enlargement from that dismal Place. This Letter she shew’d not her Lord; but without relating what had pass’d between her and the Pirate, spoke in his behalf; and told him, that he was a Catholick, and a Man nobly born, and forced against his Will to become a Pirate, and that she beg’d the Favour of him to release him, and some way provide for him in the Fleet or Garison. This Don Medenta readily granted; and after speaking to his Father, went to the Prison and releas’d him and two other Gentlemen whom he pleaded for, saying they were his Countrymen and Friends, and not guilty of any Crimes but what they had been forc’d to. The common Sailors of the Pirates were order’d on board the Spanish Galleons, and these three Gentlemen follow’d their Benefactor to the Castle, to return their Thanks to the Governor, Don Medenta presenting them to his Wife and Father. Charlotta look’d on the Pirate-Captain with some disorder; but he address’d himself to her in these terms, making a profound bow, ‘Madam, I am doubly indebted to you both for my Liberty and Reformation; I am by your Reproofs and Generosity freed from both the Means and Inclinations to sin, and now resolve to live so, that my Actions may witness my Love to God, and Gratitude to you. I will henceforth endeavour to be an Honour to my Country and Religion.’ This Speech much pleas’d her, who perfectly understood his meaning: And in a short time after, the Governor gave him a Commission of a Captain who dy’d in the Garison, and he marry’d a Merchant’s Widow in the Town, who brought him a great Fortune. His two Companions, according to the Custom of the Irish, made their Fortunes there also, and settled in that Island.
And now we must return to the unfortunate Belanger, whom we left at Virginia much indispos’d, which prevented him from coming to the Island of St. Domingo for some time. Monsieur du Pont being highly caress’d by Don Medenta and all his Friends, as being Charlotta’s near Kinsman, soon obtain’d Money and a Ship to go to Canada in search of Angelina, promising to stop at that Island in his return, before he went home to France.
MOnsieur Belanger, after ten Months sickness, being recover’d, employ’d his Kinsman Lewis de Montandre to hire a Bark secretly to carry them to the Island of St. Domingo, fearing Madam de Santerell should get knowledge of his Design, and again follow him; beside, he knew her Passion would be so violent, that he should scarce be able to leave her. She was now in a deep Consumption, and had been so kind to him, that he was oblig’d to withdraw himself with great reluctance; and had he known Charlotta was dispos’d of, no doubt but he would have marry’d this unfortunate Lady, who now dearly paid for her parting him from her Rival; for she had like to have dy’d with Grief after he left her. His Kinsman got a Bark, and acquainted his Father with their Design; who, to forward it, having nothing to object against it, since Belanger and the Lady were contracted, as he assur’d him they were, took Madam de Santerell with him to a Lady’s who was related to him, and had a fine Plantation not far from his, persuading her it would be good for her Health to stay there a few days. Belanger promis’d to fetch her home soon, and taking leave of her, found himself in so great disorder, that he was like to swoon, conscious that he design’d to see her no more; and stung with a sense of his Ingratitude to her who so passionately lov’d him, he was in the utmost disorder. She likewise, as if apprehensive of her Misfortune, let fall a shower of Tears: thus parted, never to meet again, as he suppos’d. He went a board with his Kinsman, and set sail for the Island, where he was to meet with greater Misfortunes than he ever yet met with. So soon as the Ship was gone off the Coast, Monsieur de Montandre, Belanger’s Uncle, who was a Widower, and was fallen in love with Madam de Santerell, glad of this Opportunity (as he hop’d) to c re her of her Passion for his Nephew, rid over to his Kinswoman’s, where he had two days before left her, to acquaint her with his being gone, aggravating the Baseness of his leaving her thus treacherously, and vile Ingratitude to her: But she, as one thunder-struck, made little reply; but casting up her Eyes to Heaven, with a deep sigh cry’d, ’Tis just, my God, I am the Criminal, and he is Innocent; Affection cannot be forc’d: I vainly strove against thy Decrees, and ask no more but to be forgiven, and to die. She fainted away, and was carry’d to her Chamber, where the Lady of the House endeavour’d all she was able to comfort her: And to her she related all her Story, not concealing the subtile Stratagem she had made use of to get Belanger from her Rival, saying, ’Tis but just that I should suffer for my Crime and Folly in persevering to love him, who cannot return it as he ought. She so abandon’d her self to these sad Thoughts, that her Sickness daily increas’d, and they despair’d of her continuing long alive. She was very sensible of her own Condition, and seem’d much pleas’d with the thoughts of Death: for besides the loss of the Man she so excessively lov’d, the sense she had of her own Folly, and the desperateness of her Circumstances, being left in a Stranger’s care, (with whom indeed Belanger had left Money to provide for, and carry her home to France; but thither she was asham’d to return; besides, it might be long e’er her Health would permit her to take such a Voyage) All these sad Reflections overwhelm’d her, and had doubtless kill’d her, had not Providence mercifully prolong’d her Life to be happy. Monsieur Montandre shew’d the greatest Concern and Affection for her that a Man could possibly make appear; professing he desir’d no greater Happiness on Earth than the continuance of her Life, and would give all his Fortune to save her. All the Physicians of note in the Place were made use of, and at last, Art and Nature join’d together, rais’d her from her sick Bed; and then Reason took place over Fancy, and she hearken’d to Montandre’s Proposal, whose Generosity put in the Balance with Belanger’s Ingratitude, and the impossibility of her being his, prevail’d with her to accept of his offer. Thus she was happily provided for, and Belanger lost great part of his Uncle’s Fortune which he had design’d to give him, never designing to marry again, till he saw this young Lady, by whom he had many fine Children to inherit what he could settle on them (without injuring his eldest Son) which was very considerable.
In few days after his departure, Belanger arriv’d safely with his Kinsman at the Island of St. Domingo; and being a Stranger there, got the Captain of the Bark, who was us’d to trade there, to take them a Lodging, thinking it most prudent not to appear too openly in a Place where his Rival’s Father was Governor, till he had got information how Charlotta was dispos’d of; which he soon learn’d to his inexpressible Grief: for his Kinsman making inquiry after her of Gonzalo, the Captain of the Ship that brought her thither, whom he met with at a Coffee-House to which he was directed; he told him of her Marriage and good Fortune, as he term’d it. And indeed so it was, had her Lover never come to ruin her Peace. Belanger was quite distracted with this news; his Kinsman wisely advis’d him to return to Virginia, and never see her. She cannot be blam’d, said he, she was left in your Rival’s Power, and has wisely chose rather to marry, and be his Wife with honour, than to be his Mistress by compulsion, and be ruin’d; and now it would be cruel and ungenerous to revive her Grief by seeing her: Besides, should her Husband be inform’d of your speaking to her, it might make her miserable all the rest of her days; and this would be an ill Proof of your Love to her. This, and a thousand things more, he said to persuade him to be gone; but all to no purpose: he was deaf as the Winds, and behav’d himself like a Madman. At last he resolv’d to go to the Church she us’d on Festival days, disguis’d in a Spanish Habit, which the Captain of the Bark procur’d him, and have a sight of her, promising not to attempt to speak to her. It was the Cathedral-Church; and the Sunday following, Belanger, who had not stirr’d out of his Lodging from the day of his arrival, which was on the Wednesday before, went with his Kinsman to the High-Mass, where he saw the charming Charlotta, who was great with Child, standing by her Husband and Father-in-law next the Altar, and the lovely Teresa by her, four crimson Velvet Chairs being placed within the Rails on a rich Carpet for them. She was dress’d in a Spanish Dress, rich as Art could make it, and had store of Jewels in her Hair and on her Breast; thus adorn’d, he thought her more beautiful than ever, and felt such Tortures in his Soul, that he could not govern his Passion, but dropt down in a swoon, which occasion’d some disorder among the People; the Crowd was so great, that he could not be carry’d out, but was unfortunately brought near the Rails: Charlotta turning her Head, soon knew his Face, gave a great Shriek, and swooned, falling back into one of the Chairs. Don Medenta’s Jealousy was presently awaken’d, and he too truly guess’d who was in the Church; but Belanger’s Kinsman prudently fearing a discovery, got him carry’d out into the Air, and muffling his Face up in his Cloak, led him home to their Lodging, being come to himself so soon as he came into the open Air. Charlotta’s fainting was suppos’d to be occasion’d by her being surpriz’d at the Noise in the Church, or with Heat, being with Child; this past with all but her Lord, who upon her recovering, led her to his Coach, and went home with her, being impatient to question her what she saw that so much disorder’d her: She said she thought the Spaniard that fainted, was so like Belanger, that being surpriz’d, she could not but be so discompos’d. He desir’d her to go no more into publick Assemblies till she was up again; resolving in himself to set such Spies at work, that if Belanger was arriv’d there, he should soon be sent farther off, or dispatch’d. She promis’d to do whatever he would have her, and he seem’d contented. But his Soul was so inflam’d with Jealousy, that he could rest no more till he was satisfy’d of the truth, and had secur’d his Rival. It was not many Hours before those he set at work to discover who this Person was that had occasion’d this disorder in the Church, inform’d him, that two Gentlemen were arriv’d in a Ship from Virginia, and lodged privately in the Town; that one of them made inquiry after Charlotta, meeting Gonzalo at the Coffee-House. In fine, his suspicions were now confirm’d, and he persuaded Charlotta to go to Domingo’s in the Country, to pass a Month with Isabinda, saying it would be better for her to be in a place where she would be freed from receiving ceremonious Visits, and could better indulge her self in that sweet Retirement; and that she should continue there till she was near her time, if she pleas’d. She willingly consented, being now deeply melancholy, and glad of an opportunity to be alone with her dear Friend Isabinda, to whom she could unbosom her Thoughts. He carry’d her thither, and left her, pretending he had business that oblig’d him to return to his Father; concluding in his own Thoughts, that Belanger, who no doubt was impatient to speak with her, would soon learn where she was, follow her, and venture to pay her a Visit, he being absent. The old Lady or Governess, who attended her, was his Creature, and he left her a Spy on all her Actions. He took his leave as usual, with all the Tenderness and Concern imaginable; saying, he should think each Day a Year till he return’d to her. All things were transacted as he foresaw; Belanger learning he was absent, and Charlotta at the Country-House, went with his Friend disguis’d in their Spanish Dresses, to the Village where she was, and took a Lodging in a Peasant’s House, where they kept very private for two Days; then his Friend Montandre, who ventur’d abroad for Intelligence, being certain that he was not known by Don Medenta, having seen her walking in the Gardens with Isabinda, inform’d him of it; so they consulted what to do: And Belanger fearing to surprize her a second time, resolv’d to write a Letter to her, and send it by his Friend: The Contents of which were as follow.
Still charming tho perjur’d Charlotta,
AFter a tedious Sickness, occasion’d by my Grief for the Loss of you, which long confin’d me to my bed, and brought me almost to the Grave, I am come to this Island, where I have learn’d the cruel News that you are now another’s. I shall make you no reproaches, nor ask any thing but the Honour of one Hour’s Conversation with you, after which you shall never more be importun’d or disorder’d with the sight of me. I love you as passionately as ever, and only desire to prove it by dying at your Feet. Let it be soon, lest Grief deprive me of that Satisfaction; for my Soul is so transported with Despair, that only the hope of seeing you once more, keeps me alive. My Angel, name the Place and Time to my Friend, and for the last time oblige
Your constant undone
This Letter was deliver’d into Charlotta’s Hand by Montandre the next Morning: For he ventur’d to go into the Gardens before day over the Stone-Wall, and there hid himself in a Summer-House till Charlotta came into the Garden to walk with her Friend Isabinda alone. He took this, as he thought, lucky opportunity, and at their coming into the Summer-House to sit down, presented himself and the Letter to her. She was a little startled, but believing Belanger was not gone from the Island, she expected to hear from or see him, concluding he would by some means or other find a way to send or come to her; so she immediately guess’d who he came from. She read the moving Lines, and shedding a flood of Tears, said, ‘Sir, tell the unfortunate Belanger it was his Misfortune, not my Fault, that we are separated; his leaving me, put me under a fatal necessity of giving my self to him in whose Power I was left. I am now dispos’d of to a noble Husband, whom I am bound to love and honour. It is altogether improper for me to admit of a Visit from the Man whom I have lov’d, and still have too much Inclination for: Besides, it is inconsistent with my Honour, and may be both our Ruin. I make it my last Request to him therefore to leave this Island immediately, and conjure him, as he values his own Life, or my Peace, not to attempt seeing me, or to stay here a day longer. My Husband is already alarm’d, and has, I fear, brought me to this Place with design to betray him. For Heaven’s sake persuade him to fly hence, and not render me intirely miserable. Tell him, I beg him to remember me no more, but in his Prayers, and to submit with a Christian Resignation to the Will of Heaven. This is all I can say to him, and my final Answer.’
At these Words she rose, and went out of the Summer-House, leaving Isabinda to let him out at the back Gate with a Key which she always carry’d in her Pocket, to let them into a Grove which was behind the Garden. Isabinda hasten’d him away, intreating him never to return. Charlotta retir’d to her Closet, and there gave way to her Passion; her Love to Belanger was now reviv’d, and she had the most dreadful Apprehensions of his Danger that can be conceiv’d. She perus’d the dear Lines he had sent her a hundred times over, and wash’d them pale with her Tears. Whilst she was thus employ’d, Don Medenta, who had lain all the time in the Village, and had receiv’d information of the Strangers lodging at the Peasant’s, and of Montandre’s being in the Garden (Charlotta having been watch’d by the old Dovegna) knock’d at the Closet-door: She ask’d who was there; and hearing his Voice, clapt the Letter into her Bosom, and open’d the Door in such a disorder that her Lord would have been much surpriz’d at, if he had not known the Cause of it before. He took her in his Arms with a forc’d Air of Affection, but his Eyes flash’d with Rage; he trembled and spoke in so distracted a manner, that she too well perceiv’d he was inform’d of what had past, and was so overcome with Grief, that she fainted in his Arms: he laid her gently on the Couch, and took the Letter out of her Bosom, read it, and putting it there again, call’d the old Governess who waited without, and presently fetch’d Cordials to bring her to herself; but they try’d all means in vain so long, that he thought her dead, and indeed began to abandon himself to Passion. Isabinda, who had retir’d into her Chamber, seeing Don Medenta go into the Apartment as she was going to give Charlotta an account that the Gentleman was gone away in safety, hearing his Complaints, came in, and also thought her dead: The Physicians were call’d, and by their Aid she was brought to Life, but immediately fell in Labour, being seven Months gone with Child. This caus’d a great deal of Confusion in the Family, where nothing was prepar’d for her lying-in, it being design’d to be in the Castle with the utmost Magnificence. At three in the Afternoon she was deliver’d of a Son, who liv’d but a few Hours, and was therefore by the Physicians advice baptis’d so soon as it was born. Don Medenta was highly afflicted at his own Imprudence in surprizing her, and shew’d the utmost Tenderness and Concern for her, kneeling by her bed-side on the Floor, kissing her Hands, professing that he lov’d and valu’d her above all earthly things, and could not live without her; till at last the Physicians intreated him to quit the Room, and leave her to repose: So the Chamber being darken’d, and none but Nurses left to attend her, poor Charlotta was deliver’d up to her own sad Thoughts, which soon threw her into a Fever which had like to have ended her Life. And now Don Medenta was ten times more enrag’d against Belanger than before, looking upon him as the Cause of his Child’s death, and perhaps of his beloved Charlotta’s, for which he now resolv’d to be reveng’d of him. In order to do this, he immediately set four Bravoes, whom he had before hir’d, and plac’d ready to seize him, to watch his Lodgings: they were all disguis’d, and hid themselves in a Field behind the Peasant’s House; towards the dusk of the Evening they perceiv’d Belanger and his Friend go forth, and take the way to Domingo’s; they follow’d, and so soon as they saw them enter the Grove, seiz’d them. Montandre had dissuaded him from this Attempt all he was able, but he was determin’d to see Charlotta or die; and since his Friend had so easily got to the speech of her, flatter’d himself he should have the same good Fortune; but when he found himself seiz’d by Villains, gagg’d and bound, with his generous Friend, who was like to be made a Sacrifice for his Folly, he bitterly repented his Rashness. They were thrown a-cross a Horse like Calves, their Legs and Hands being fasten’d with a Cord under the Horse’s Belly, a Sumpter-horse-Cloth was thrown over them, and thus they were carry’d all Night, guarded by the four Bravoes, who were well arm’d, and had a Pass from the Governor’s Son, so that none offer’d to stop them. By break of day they arriv’d at an old Castle, well fortify’d, on the North-side of the Island, where an Officer and twelve Soldiers were in Garison, who had receiv’d orders before what to do with these unfortunate Gentlemen, whom he was to keep secure in the Castle-Dungeon, being Pirates, desperate Villains, and reserv’d to make Discoveries, by the Rack, if they would not do it voluntarily. Don Medenta confirm’d all this to the Officer by a Letter he sent him some days before: Into the Dungeon they were accordingly carry’d, put in Irons, and left to live upon the Allowance the Officer was order’d to give them, which was very sufficient: for Don Medenta was not willing to load his Conscience with the Guilt of murdering them, but only desir’d to secure his own Repose and his Wife’s Honour, and would willingly have sent them to any place, and set them at liberty, could he but have been secur’d from their ever returning to St. Domingo. To Belanger’s Friend he had no prejudice; nay he rather had an Esteem for him, for the generous Friendship he had shown in risking his Life for his Friend. These Gentlemen thus secur’d, the Bravoes went back to Don Medenta, who on this News was more at ease, and apply’d his whole Thoughts about Charlotta’s Indisposition. She was many days light-headed, calling often upon Belanger, which stab’d him to the Heart. It was more than six Months before she was able to go out of her Chamber. In this time she often ask’d Isabinda if she could tell any news of Belanger, and was much troubled that she could hear nothing of him. Sometimes she flatter’d her self that he had prudently took her Advice, and left the Island; yet inwardly reproach’d him with want of Affection: then reflecting on his daring Temper and Constancy, which his venturing thither after her did evidence, she concluded he had heard of her Illness, and lay still conceal’d there: Then she trembled with the thoughts of his being discover’d, or ruining himself and her by venturing to speak to her; another while she fear’d he was murder’d. So soon as she was able, Don Medenta carry’d her to the Castle, where his Father receiv’d her with much joy, and all the Ladys paid her Visits, congratulating her Recovery. The Ship that brought Belanger, set sail, having waited two Months, and return’d to Virginia, at which his Uncle and Madam de Santerell was much surpriz’d; but concluded that (mad with his Disappointment) he was gone home to France; and they were much concern’d at young Montandre’s not returning or writing; but were fain to rest satisfy’d, expecting to hear from them.
WHEN the wretched Belanger saw himself and his Friend in this dismal Place, no words can express the tortures of his Mind; and indeed it was a Providence he was at that time fetter’d, or else his despair might have drove him to destroy himself: He sigh’d deeply, and the big Drops ran scalding down his Cheeks; Grief had so benum’d his Facultys, that his Tongue could not utter one word; so that he remain’d silent, with his Eyes fix’d on his Friend, who bore his Afflictions calmly; for he had not Love and Despair to combat, had lost no Mistress, lov’d his Friend, and had a Soul so generous, that he was even glad, since it was his fate to be thus confin’d, that he was a Partner of his Fortune, and reserv’d to comfort him in that sad place. ‘Why (said he to the afflicted Belanger) ‘my dear Friend, do you thus abandon your self to Grief, and are so cast down at an accidental Misfortune? Could you expect less than this from an incens’d Husband? Is it not a Mercy you are still alive? When we went from our Lodgings, we were determin’d to run all risques, and are you shock’d at a thing you had before arm’d against? Your jealous Rival’s Rage will in time diminish; and when he comes to reflect on this Action, he will doubtless repent, and permit you to depart this Island: if he persists in his Revenge, Death is the utmost we can fear; and can there be a Place more fit to prepare for it in than this? Here we may live free from the Temptations of the World, and learn the state of our own Souls; nay, converse with our Maker by Contemplation, and enjoy that Peace of Mind, that we were Strangers to whilst we liv’d at large. Consider how many brave Men have perish’d for want abroad, and how many pious Persons have retreated to dismal Caves and Desarts, and left all the Delights of this Life, to enjoy that Quiet and Repose which we may here possess. Charlotta has already, doubtless, suffer’d for your Imprudence; and in pursuing her, you offended Heaven, who having thus punish’d you, on your Submission will (I doubt not) free you hence. As for my own part, I am so far from repenting I accompany’d you, that I rejoice that God has been pleas’d to preserve me, and bring me to this Place to comfort you; nor would I leave you, tho I were freed.’ Belanger having been very attentive to all he said, reply’d: ‘Was ever Generosity like this? What a miserable Wretch am I, that by my Follys have ruin’d the Peace of her I loved, and subjected my faithful generous Friend to Fetters and a Dungeon? I merit all that I can suffer; but your Presence puts me on the Rack, yet I will hope. My God, thy ways are marvellous; in thee I’ll trust, and strive to bring my stubborn Will to submit to thine.’ The first Transports of this Passion being thus conquer’d, he began to be resign’d: And now Food and Wine being brought to them, they eat thankfully what was provided, and for some Days convers’d and pray’d together, like Men prepar’d for all Events; but the damp unwholesom Vapours in the Dungeon threw ’em both into such an Illness, taking away the use of their Limbs, that the commanding Officer, who was a French Man, sent to Don Medenta, to know what he should do with them; assuring him they would die, if not soon removed: On which he sent Orders to him, to remove them to an Apartment on the top of the Castle, where they might walk on the Battlements and take the Air, have a Bed, and Chambers to walk about, and their Fetters taken off. His Conscience touch’d him, and he would willingly have freed Montandre, but that he fear’d he would make a Clamour about his Friend. These Orders were punctually obey’d by the Officer, and the Prisoners soon recover’d: And he sometimes paid them a Visit, and so became inform’d of the true cause of their being brought thither, and pity’d their Condition. At last he contracted so great a Friendship with them, that he said he would willingly free them, could he be assur’d he should not lose his Commission by it: But it would not be long, he suppos’d, before he should be reliev’d by another Officer and Band of Soldiers, it being customary for the Garison to be changed every six Months; and then he would furnish them with Ropes to let themselves down from the Battlements, on that side of the Castle next the Sea, which beat against the Walls; and that they need not fear drowning, the Water being shallow at Ebb. ‘Thence (says he) you may get to the Shore, and disguis’d in two Soldiers Coats, which I will give you; hide your selves in the adjacent Wood. This you must do in the Night, and get off the Island, if possible, as soon as Day breaks, for fear of being taken; for search will doubtless be made for you so soon as you are miss’d. You may effect this by seizing the first Fishing-boat you find on the Shore, of which there are many, plenty of Hutts being in these parts on the Coast, where the Fishermen dwell during this Summer-season; and you will find their Boats, which are every Night haul’d up on the Shore. This is all I dare do to serve you, and this perhaps will cost me my Life, if discover’d.’ They not only thank’d him in the most expressive terms, but promis’d if they ever liv’d to reach Virginia again, to shew their Gratitude: And he promis’d to give them intelligence of whatever befel Charlotta, by the Captain who brought them thither, whom they resolv’d to send to that Island yearly, he giving them a Direction where they should always inquire for him. This concluded on, Belanger and Montandre grew chearful.
At last Orders coming for the Officer to depart thence, he faithfully perform’d all he had promis’d, leaving them Ropes and red Coats; nay, when he took his leave, which he did with much Affection, he presented Belanger with a good Purse of Gold, which he had much ado to make him accept of. But indeed it was necessary they shou’d not want Money, of which they had no great store about them, having left all their Clothes and Money at the Lodging in which the Captain of the Ship had plac’d them at their landing in the Town; for they brought nothing to the Peasant’s House in the Village, but some Linen and about twenty Pistoles in Gold, and some Spanish Ducatoons in Silver, in their Pockets.
The very Night after the Captain was gone they made their Escape, Montandre venturing down first from the Battlements, having sworn his Friend should not venture till he had try’d the Danger; for it was a vast height from whence they descended, and had the Rope broke, he had run a great risque of losing his Life. They fasten’d two Ropes to the top of one of the Battlements, and putting their Gloves on, slid down one after the other into the Sea, which then was so high, it being young Flood, that it almost took them up to their Breasts, and the Waves beat so strong, that they had much ado to reach the Shore; from whence they fled to the Wood, and pass’d thro it to the other side: There shelter’d by the Trees from the view of the Garison, they stood a while to see what Boats lay on the Shore; and chusing such a one as they thought they were able to manage, and launch into the Sea without help, they drag’d it into the Water, and getting into it, hoisted Sail, and put off. But alas! their condition was worse than ever, they knew not well how to steer the Boat, and were so weak and tired before, that they could scarce row or guide it. They had no Provisions aboard but a little Bisket and salt Meat, that they found stow’d in the Fisherman’s Locker in his Cabin, with a Bottle of Rack, and a small Barrel of fresh Water. And now all their hopes were to reach some Island not belonging to the Spaniards; they steer’d for Jamaica, from whence they were certain they could get a Passage to Virginia, where Belanger resolv’d to remain with his Uncle and Friend till Charlotta was dead, or a Widow; and never return to France again without her, whilst she was living. They were in sight of Jamaica, when the Wind began to blow and the Waters foam: then a terrible Storm began, which drove them for four Nights and Days quite out of their knowledge; in which time their Provisions were spent, and their Strength so decay’d, that they were forc’d to lie down, and leave themselves to Providence. But nothing afflicted them so much as Thirst; all their fresh Water was gone, and drinking salt, so increas’d their drought, that they fear’d to repeat it. Thus they continued for three Days more drove by the Winds and Waves: In these three Days Hunger so prest them, that they ransack’d every corner of the Boat to find a Morsel to eat, and devour’d every bit of mouldy Bisket they could find: but alas! that was so little, it only tantaliz’d, not satisfy’d their craving Stomachs. And now they began to reflect, that it had been better for them to have continued Prisoners, than have expos’d themselves to such Miserys. Thus Experience tells us, that when we have obtain’d our own Wishes, not easy in the state Providence has plac’d us in, we are more unhappy than we were before. And now the generous Montandre beg’d his Kinsman to kill him, and preserve his own Life, by feeding on his warm Flesh, and sucking his Blood, saying, ‘We must now both inevitably perish, unless one supply the other’s Wants.’ Belanger was so shock’d at this Proposal, that his very Soul shiver’d. ‘No (says he) before I would destroy you, I would eat my own Flesh: No, we will live and die together: We have this Night pass’d over many Banks of Sand, and are doubtless near some Shore; now pluck up your Spirit, and let us redouble our Importunity to God to send us a Deliverance.’ Before the Words were out of his Mouth a Wave toss’d a large Dolphin into the Boat, which they kill’d with the Oars, and fell to eating, sucking the warm Blood and raw Flesh more greedily than ever they had done the most delicious Food prepar’d for them. This greatly refresh’d them, and towards Sun-setting the Wind abating, they laid by their Oars, and fell to eating more of the raw Fish, but sparingly, not knowing how long they had to live upon it. Whilst they were at this strange Supper they spy’d Land, on which they apply’d themselves afresh to their Oars, and about Midnight reach’d the Shore; but not knowing where they were, drag’d the Boat up on the Sand, and lay in it till Day-break, having been driven in by the Tide with such violence, that they could not stop her before she struck on the Sands. When Day appear’d they found they had enter’d into the Gulph of Mexico, between the Isles of Cuba and Jucatan, and were landed on that Coast where the Spaniards were Masters: They thought it best to pretend they were Frenchmen, who, being cast away in a Ship, had escap’d Death by getting into that Fishing-boat, which the Wind had (as they suppos’d) drove out to Sea from the Havana, near which they pretended the Ship they were in perish’d; for tho they had Soldiers Coats on, yet their Spanish Habits shew’d they were Gentlemen, and their Behaviour shew’d their Breeding. The Spaniards receiv’d them kindly, and a Merchant took them into his House, where he entertain’d them very generously, and invited them to continue there till they could find means to go to Virginia, telling them it was their best way to do so by some trading Vessel, which he suppos’d they must wait some time for. This Merchant had a Bark ready to sail with Goods for Carolina, from whence it would not be very difficult for them to go by Land to Virginia: He offer’d them a Passage in this Ship, which they gladly accepted of; and in few Days went aboard, and got safe to Carolina. They hired a Guide to conduct them thro the Country to Virginia; but passing by the Apalattean Mountains, a Party of Indians came down upon them, and carrying them away over the Mountains, plunder’d them of their Money and Clothes.
Amongst these Indians they continu’d four whole Years in the greatest Misery, being oblig’d to live after their barbarous fashion as Slaves; till going out with a Party to cut Fewel in the thick Woods, they took their opportunity to make their Escape, being desperate, and hid themselves in a Cave in the Night, chusing rather to venture being devour’d by wild Beasts, than spend their Lives in Slavery. They lay conceal’d in this place till the Indians were gone farther on; and then, destitute of Food, and in their Slaves Dress, they fled towards one of the Spanish Forts, which they could never have reach’d had they not met with an old Hermit, who liv’d in a poor Cottage near a Wood: He was standing at his door, and seeing two poor Slaves, who look’d like Death, come towards him, suppos’d they were in want and Christians, so invited them in, to their great Surprize, and gave them Bread and Drink, asking where they were going. They gave him this account, That they were cast away in a Ship, sav’d in a Fishing-boat near the Havana, driven on the Coast of Jucatan; from thence went in a Bark to Carolina, and going cross the Countrys for Virginia, were taken and made Slaves; and weary’d with the Miserys they endured, were now endeavouring to escape to Fort-Philip. He told them, he would conduct them thither in Safety the next Morning. They staid with him all night, lying on Straw (as he did) with warm Coverlids: And being very importunate to know the Reasons of his living this solitary Life, he told them his Story in these Words.
I AM, said he, by Birth a Frenchman; I was the younger Son of a Counsellor, who had a great Estate, and was put in a good Post under my Father so soon as I was able to understand Business, having a Clerk’s Place in the Salt-Office. Here being from under my Father’s Eye, I contracted an intimacy with a young Gentlewoman who liv’d with her Aunt, a Person who, tho well-born, was fall’n to decay, and they maintain’d themselves by their Needles, and some small income the Aunt had left, very genteely, but with much difficulty. It was my fortune to see this young Woman at Church, she was very beautiful and genteel. I follow’d her home, made love to her, and was well receiv’d. I pretended an honourable Affection; but, alas, had no other design in my wicked Heart but to debauch her. Their Circumstances made them willingly receive the Presents and Treats I gave them, not thinking it dishonourable, since I pretended Marriage; glad was the innocent Creature to be so provided for: Their Conversation was charming, and their Conduct so reserv’d and modest, that I was a great while before I could venture to make any attempt upon her Virtue; but then I was repuls’d with such Scorn and Reproofs, that I almost despair’d of effecting my base design; but knowing that it would be my Ruin if I marry’d her, and being now so much in love, that I knew not how to live without her, I still persisted in my Visits and Importunities, and tho refus’d the sight of her frequently, and always receiv’d with Reproaches, yet I could not desist; and finding all my Attempts were in vain, and that I could not seduce her to my Will, at last I consented to marry her privately, on condition that she should keep it a secret. This she gladly consented to, and so we were marry’d by a Cordelier who was her Confessor: and then I was made happy in the possession of my dear Louisa, who was the most virtuous and most charming Woman breathing. Here he shed some Tears, and could scarce go on; but recovering, he continu’d his Discourse thus: And now, Gentlemen, I am going to relate a part of my Life, that fills my Soul with horror, and will, I hope, deter all that hear it from committing such Crimes: We past some Months as happily as we could wish, and she grew great with Child; but my Expences increasing, and a prospect of more charges coming on, made me grow something uneasy; to add to which, my Father began to press me about a Marriage that was proposed to him much to my Advantage. This put anxious Thoughts into my Head, and made me reflect how imprudent I had been: My eager Desires were satisfy’d, my Love diminish’d, as my Ambition and Avarice were encreas’d; and in fine, I wish’d her dead, and meditated on nothing but how to get rid of her. Thus my disobedience in marrying without my Father’s knowledge and consent, drew down Heaven’s Anger upon me, and the Devil tempted me on to proceed to more flagrant Crimes. I did not visit my Wife so often as usual, but humour’d my Father in visiting the young Lady proposed to me, who was every way agreeable, and had the most prevailing Argument on her side to engage Man’s inconstant Heart, that is, a great Fortune: she was the only Daughter of a rich Banker, had taken a fancy to me, and her Parents doating on her, resolv’d not to cross her, for which reason they made the Proposal to my Father: Such Advances were made on their side, that I could find no pretence to delay the Marriage longer. And now I foresaw that I must either incur my Father’s hatred, and be ruin’d, (for he was a Man of an implacable Temper, and would, I knew, abandon me, if he discover’d my Marriage) or else that I must rid my self of Louisa forthwith, and then I might be great, and, as I vainly flatter’d my self, happy. This wicked thought I indulg’d, and long revolv’d in my Mind, till at last, I resolv’d to put it in execution; and tho I was grievously tormented in my Conscience, yet I persever’d in this wicked Design, and bought Poison, which I made an infusion of in Wine, and putting it into a Vial in my Pocket, I went to my virtuous Wife to lie all Night: She receiv’d me with open Arms; I appear’d more chearful and kind than usual; we sup’d, and after supper I pretended I was not well, and desir’d we might have some burnt Wine, which her Aunt presently got: I slily pour’d the Poison into the Cup, which I presented to my dear Wife, pretending she and her Aunt must drink with me; they readily comply’d, always studying to oblige me: But when I saw Louisa swallow it, my Soul shiver’d, my Conscience flew in my Face; and when she came and kiss’d me as I was going to bed, I felt Tortures not to be express’d, or indeed conceiv’d, but by such Wretches as my self. She had not lain long in my Arms, but Convulsions seiz’d her Nerves, and I call’d her Aunt and Servant up, shewing the greatest Concern; but neither of them suspected what was the matter, nor need I counterfeit, for at that instant I was fill’d with such Horrors, that I would have given the whole World to save her. From this Moment my Peace was broke, and I became the most miserable Man breathing. She expir’d in my Arms before day, with the dear murder’d Infant in her; saying the kindest things to me, and praying for me even in the last Agonies of Death. The innocent Louisa thus dispatch’d, I took leave, giving Money to her Aunt (who was almost distracted with Grief) to bury her. They had kept a Maid-servant ever since my Marriage, and I left them in the House, and excus’d my self from being present at her Burial, lest my Father should hear of it; promising the Aunt to be always kind to her. Having left these melancholy Objects, I went to the Tavern, drank a Quart of Wine to revive my Spirits, and then went home to my Father’s. And now my whole business was to divert my thoughts as much as possible; I went abroad every day, drank, danc’d, went to the Play, and so lull’d my self with variety of Pleasures, that the Terrors of my Conscience were something silenc’d. The sad Impressions of Louisa’s Murder wore off, and I was marry’d; but the Bridal-night I was no sooner in bed, and the Candles extinguish’d, than as I was going to take my Bride in my Arms, the Curtain at my Bed’s-head was drawn back, and turning my Head, I saw Louisa standing by my side, big with Child, and the fatal Vial in her Hand, which she seem’d to shake, and look’d upon me with a Look that struck quite thro my Soul; the cold Sweat trickled down my Face, and the Bed shook under me, every Nerve shiver’d, as if the Agonies of Death had seiz’d me. Thus I lay, with my Eyes shut, not daring to lift up my Eye-lids, till the Day-break had freed me from this dreadful Vision, which made such an impression on my Soul, that I fancy’d her ever in my sight, and could not relish nor take any Satisfaction in any thing I possess’d. I conceal’d this from the World, and did all that was possible to oblige my new Wife, who was dotingly fond of me, and had brought me so great a Fortune, that we wanted nothing that Wealth could purchase, to make us happy in a moderate way of Life. But Wealth could not cure my wounded Conscience; I had a load of Guilt upon my Soul, and was continually upon the rack; this soon destroy’d my Health, and so afflicted her, that she was almost as unhappy as my self. Being thro great Weakness, attended with an intermitting Fever, confin’d to my bed, I seriously prepar’d for Death, and confess’d my self to a Franciscan, a Man of great Wisdom and Piety, who so eloquently laid before me the Enormity of my Crime, the Terrors of eternal Punishment, and the infinite Mercies of God on a sincere Repentance, that I heartily lamented my Sins, and endeavour’d to reconcile my self to God; on which he was pleas’d to raise me up again, and prolong my Life. My Wife was now great with Child, and had never had the Small-Pox, which she unfortunately caught by going to an Opera, where she saw a Person newly recover’d, and at her coming home was taken ill, and dy’d of them. Being now left a Widower, the thoughts I had had in my late Sickness, came a-fresh into my Mind, and I resolv’d to retire from the World; but my Father and Friends much oppos’d it, being desirous I should marry again, because my elder Brother was consumptive, and tho marry’d seven Years, had no Child. The prospect of having all my Father’s Fortune prevail’d with me not to enter into the Church into any religious Community; but being still uneasy in my Mind, thinking I ought to do something to atone for my Sins, I resolv’d to retire to some remote part of the World to do Penance for them by Fasting, and Prayers, and Alms-deeds. I therefore put all my Estate into my Confessor’s hands, to distribute the income of it every Year to the Poor, and return me forty Pounds a Year to this Place by the hands of a Gentleman who is an Officer in Fort-Philip, to which you are design’d to go: with him I came to this part of the World, being my intimate Friend and near Relation. He receives my Income, and when I want Provisions or Money, I repair to him. My Poverty and manner of living, makes the Indians never molest me, nay they love me, and supply me with any thing I want: Besides I am a kind of Physician amongst them; for having took delight in studying Physick, I am arriv’d to some knowledge in it, and well acquainted with the Nature and Use of all the medicinal Herbs that grow in these Parts. I am also part of a Surgeon, and dress their Wounds and Sores, and by this means have many Opportunities of saving their Bodies and Souls, by instructing them in the Christian Faith. I speak their Languages, and often procure the Freedom of those Christians, who like you have unfortunately fallen into their hands. Thus I have liv’d for these eight Years, and am now so inur’d to this solitary way of living, and so satisfy’d with this poor retreat, that I do not think ever to return to France again, or venture into the World any more; and hoping I have made my Peace with God, I wait my death as a Man who places his hopes on an eternal State.
Thus he concluded his Story. Belanger, who during this Discourse was fill’d with admiration, yet never interrupted him, now broke silence: ‘Monsieur du Riviere, said he, what transport can equal mine to find you here? I have news to tell you will recall you soon to France. I shall tell you wonders.’ “Is not your Name Belanger (said the amaz’d Hermit) and have I the Happiness to meet with and entertain the Youth whom I so dearly lov’d?” ‘Yes, said Belanger, I am that Man whom you were pleas’d to honour with your Friendship in so peculiar a manner; and to convince you that the Almighty has accepted your Repentance and Alms-deeds, am doubtless sent to this Place to set your Mind at ease, and restore that Peace of Conscience that you have been so long a stranger to. Louisa is, I hope, still living; she was in perfect Health six Years agone when I left France.’ “Louisa living! (said the Hermit) amazing Wonder! my ravish’d Soul can scarce credit the strange Report, tho from my best lov’d Friend. Speak, tell me the manner how she was preserv’d from Death, whilst my list’ning wounded Soul is heal’d with the soft sound of your sweet Speech.” ‘I will make haste (said Belanger) to satisfy you. So soon as you had left the House, Louisa’s Aunt, who had been before inform’d of all your Actions, knew your Courtship to your new Mistress, and frequent Visits there, had mark’d your Coldness to and Neglect of Louisa, and made Observations on your Behaviour that fatal Night, and her sudden Illness and surprizing Death; the Minute you turn’d your Back, ran to the Convent, which you know was not a stone’s throw from the House, and call’d up the honest Cordelier, who had marry’d you, a Man who was a good Physician as well as a Divine, and told him with Tears the strange manner of Louisa’s Death, which he immediately suspected to be the effect of Poison; and taking some strong Emeticks with him, ran to the House as fast as his Legs could carry him, and finding her Body warm and pliant, pour’d enough down her Throat to effect his good design; for it so wrought, that it soon brought up the baneful Drug, and with more proper Applications, at last restor’d her opprest Facultys to their use, and her to Life and Health, with the innocent Child, so that both were preserv’d, and she perfectly recover’d in a few days; which they kept a secret by his Advice. Since your cruel Husband (said he) has this time fail’d of executing his wicked purpose, he will no doubt repeat the Attempt, and may at last succeed; to avoid which, you shall retire to a Convent of our Order, where my Sister is Abbess, there care shall be taken of you and the Child. Let him suffer by the Remorse of his own Conscience, and smart for his Sin, nor be freed from his torments by knowing you are sav’d. When he dies, I will do justice to the Child if it lives, and seize the Estate. Mean time you shall know how he fares with his new Choice, and be freed from those fears which his knowledge of your being alive will subject you to. She consented, and has continued in this Convent ever since, with her Son, who was born there. All this I was inform’d of by her Aunt, my near Kinswoman, who had made me privy to your Marriage, and ingag’d me not to disclose it; but now it ought to be no longer a Secret to you, since you are truly penitent.’ The Hermit fell on his Knees, and with a flood of Tears return’d Thanks to God, in such moving Expressions, as drew Tears from Belanger and Montandre’s Eyes. Then they related the Particulars of their Adventures; and rising as soon as day appear’d, set out together for Fort-Philip, resolving to go to Virginia by the first opportunity, from whence du Riviere might easily get Passage to France, being impatient to see and ask Pardon of his injur’d Louisa. Being arriv’d at Fort-Philip, they were kindly entertain’d by the Hermit’s Friend, who furnish’d them with Clothes, and a Guide, with some Soldiers to guard them to Virginia, and protect them from the Indians. This Officer being acquainted with his Friend’s Story and Belanger’s, gave them Money to defray their Charges on the way to Virginia, from whence Belanger promis’d to furnish du Riviere with all necessarys for his return to France.
And here we shall leave these Gentlemen to inquire what is become of Monsieur du Pont, Charlotta’s Kinsman, whom she met with in the Cottage on the desolate Island, and brought with her to the Island of St. Domingo, from whence he went in a Bark to Canada in search of Angelina. He arriv’d safe at Quebeck, where he was inform’d the French Captain had been to trade, but here he could get no news of her; he visited all the Coast in vain, till he came to find out a French Merchant, who assur’d him the Ship was gone to Newfoundland to trade; he immediately went aboard his Bark, and set sail for that Place: And here he got intelligence that Angelina had been seen there very much indispos’d, and that the Captain had carry’d her thence with design to return to France. Monsieur du Pont was overjoy’d at this news; and returning to the Island of St. Domingo with the Bark, acquainted Don Medenta and Charlotta with this good news, and resolv’d to go for France, hoping to find her there before him. An opportunity for this he quickly found, and got safe thither in a French Merchant-Ship. At his arrival he found his eldest Brother dead, and took possession of his Estate again, and would have sat down in repose, had Angelina been there. But no other news could be got of her, but that the Ship she was in was taken by the Algerine Pirates, and none return’d to France to give any account of what was become of her and the other Persons on board of it. He well knew it was in vain for him to attempt a farther search for her, and therefore retir’d to a little Seat in the Country, where he gave himself up to Contemplation, and liv’d the Life of a Man that had quitted the World; whilst poor Angelina being made a Slave, was sold by the Algerine Pirate to the Bey of Tunis, whose Steward, a Moor, that us’d to purchase the handsome European Virgins for his Master, bought her, and carry’d her home to his Seraglio. The French Captain had done all that he was able to debauch her himself, but in vain: he was so inamour’d, that he could not part with her, tho an old Man, and having carry’d her from place to place to no purpose, resolv’d at last to bring her back to France, and restore her to her Friends; condemning her Mother’s proceedings, and himself for being instrumental in so wicked a Design. But now he was also a Slave, and punish’d for his Crime. The virtuous Angelina thus lodg’d in the Seraglio, with others as unhappy as her self, being a Lady of an heroick Spirit and consummate Virtue, bravely resolv’d to die, rather than submit to a Mahometan; and thus determin’d, began to consider what to do to deliver her self; in order to which she thought it best to apply her self to one of those unfortunate Beautys, who seem’d well acquainted with that Place and Life, appearing to have some Command there. This proved to be a Venetian Lady, to whom she address’d her self with Tears, saying, ‘Madam, your Face speaks you a Christian as I am, I beg that you would inform me what I am to be done withal in this strange place.’ “Alas, sweet Creature, said she, you are destin’d to be ruin’d, and depriv’d of your Liberty during your Life. I have liv’d here these four Years, and never hope to see the outside of these Walls again.” Then she took her by the Hand, and led her into her Chamber, saying, We shall be observ’d, let us shut the Door and talk alone. Being seated in this Room, which was richly furnish’d, the Seraglio being the finest in the whole City, in which there was Apartments for twenty Women and their Attendants, with fine Gardens to walk in, inclos’d with Walls of a great Height; Angelina told her the whole Story of her Life and Misfortunes, which drew Tears from the lovely Catherina’s Eyes; for so the Venetian Lady was named. She related her Life in this manner.
I AM the Daughter of a noble Venetian, my Brother is a Knight of Malta, my Name is Catherina Belamanto de Farnaze. 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 Affection, 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 marry’d 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 Angelina 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 Catherina, 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 Angelina, 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 resolv’d 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 Pen-knife I have hid about me. Could we get the Habit of an Eunuch for each of us, it would be the saftest Disguise we could put on; the Bey being absent, and few of his Servants left here, and those less 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 Catherina, and doubt not, tho 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 Lunuchs 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 Angelina, and would prefer all Dangers, and even Death, to Infamy and Slavery.’ And so will I, said Catherina. Being thus resolv’d, they waited till Night came on, when hearing all things still, Angelina 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 contrive how to get in at the Window, it being very high; but at last Angelina’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 Catherina’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, tho 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 thro 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 thro 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, altho their Prophet does forbid it them; for few Mussulmen 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. Angelina 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 at 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, Pearl, 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 Catherina giving a great Shriek, fell into a Swoon upon Angelina, and had like to have beat her down the Stairs. It is impossible to express her Thoughts at this instant; for tho 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. Angelina at last recovering her self, view’d him attentively, and reason’d with her self 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 Angelina, ‘In the Name of God what are you, and from whence? 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 our selves 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 liv’d above three tedious Years, and where we may without fear of discovery talk our Misfortunes over.’ He took the Loaf, and Catherina 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, tho 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 us’d 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. Mean time viewing Catherina more attentively, he leap’d up and catch’d her in his Arms with such transport, that Angelina was amaz’d and terrify’d, fearing he had some ill design upon them; but she was quickly undeceiv’d, for he cry’d out, ‘My Catherina! my Angel! have I liv’d to embrace you again? Is it possible? And do I hold in my Arms my Wife? ’Tis too much: Such Joy is insupportable.’ At these Words, being extreme weak, he fainted, for he was even starv’d with this poor way of Life, and grown a perfect Skeleton. Catherina was so surpriz’d, she could not utter one Word; but Angelina pour’d some of the Arrack into his Mouth, and in some time he recover’d, and the most passionate Discourse pass’d between him and Catherina that can be imagin’d: 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 pass’d 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 seem’d to sparkle in his eager Eyes, would feast it self 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 dispos’d 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 chain’d 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 increasing, I was at last confin’d to my Bed. This frighten’d 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, tho 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 vext him horribly. In short, I lay ill so long, that had not his Daughter, a handsom Jewish Maid, privately supply’d me with some rich Wines and good Food, I had surely dy’d: for tho a kind of a Doctor he employ’d, gave me some Medicines that conquer’d my Disease, yet I had never recover’d 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 resolv’d 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 enter’d to rest my self, 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 examin’d, 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 conceal’d 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 enter’d it, tho in some disorder, and there I saw one of the most dismal Objects that ever Eyes beheld, it was an aged Man dress’d in this coarse Coat that I have on, his Beard reached to his Waste, his Bones appear’d ready to start thro his parched shrivel’d Skin, his Eyes were sunk, his Voice fail’d, and he seem’d to be in the last Agonies of Death, as indeed he was. I could hardly recollect my Spirits, I was so mov’d at this dreadful Sight. He fix’d his Eyes upon me, and seem’d 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 swallow’d but a little with much difficulty; yet that a little reviv’d him, and I beg’d him to get down some more. In fine, he was so refresh’d, that I hop’d I should have sav’d his Life, but was deceiv’d.
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 receiv’d 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 us’d to be admitted thro the Gardens frequently, in the dead-time of the Night, to her Apartment. I passionately lov’d her, and this discovery so enrag’d me, that I resolv’d 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 advanc’d 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 Emanuel de Cervantes my Cousin-german was kill’d, but none could discover by whom. I conceal’d my Thoughts, appearing much concern’d for his Death, and being unable to live at quiet without Belemante, I press’d for our Marriage so earnestly, that her Father consented, and we were join’d 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 convinc’d my self 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 reveng’d: and her Charms soon procur’d 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 reveng’d, not only came always well attended to my House, but procured me a great Post in the Army, which oblig’d me to be absent from home most part of the Year; yet my Wife lost no time, bur curs’d 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 contriv’d this Villany 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, poison’d her and her three Children. At Midnight I took Horse, and reach’d the next Sea-Port by Day-break, where a Bark lay which I had hir’d 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 at 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 travel’d many thousand Leagues, carrying Burdens, and running by his Horse’s side. All this I look’d 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 suffer’d, tho they were almost insupportable. At last, quite weary’d 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 pass’d undiscover’d to this Place, in which I chose to reside, and have liv’d 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 thro the Merits of my Saviour. I have done: It is about ten Days since, coming to my dismal Cell, I saw two Persons strugling 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 poison’d Knife, as I since conclude, and then fled; the Person I had rescu’d, seem’d 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 could not rise; I have lain here ever since in extreme Torment, have had no Food these three Days past, and believe my Thigh is mortify’d. 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 murder’d 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 tauny, have liv’d undiscover’d all this time. I learn’d 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 my self 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 so 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’ll provide some better place near the Sea-side for us to dwell in, till God is pleas’d 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 cover’d with Flannel-Hoods, like Cowls, with Straw-Hats. This resolv’d 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 pleas’d 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 pray’d, and laid them down to rest, Don Sancho de Avilla having fasten’d 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 return’d soon; then they sat down to work, and made the Flannel Tunicks and Hoods, as he directed them; he had brought Meat, and dress’d it in the Mosque above, whilst they work’d in the Vault below: by Night they had finish’d their Disguises; and he, impatient to remove them from that dismal Place, went out after they had din’d, and searching along the Shore, found an old ruinous Cottage on the side of a Rock, so built in a Cleft of the Rock, that it was well screen’d from the bleak Winds or parching Sun, and so shadow’d with Trees that grew round about and over it, that it was not easily seen. No body liv’d in this place but an old Fisherman and his Wife. Don Sancho 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, tho to them a great Sum, and they quitted the Place, retiring to another Cottage at a little distance from it; these poor People he employ’d 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 remov’d in the dusk of the Evening from their dismal Vault to this clean wholesom Cottage, where they liv’d for some Months very happily, hiding the rich Jewels and Clothes in a Hole in the Rock: the poor Fisher and his Wife were very serviceable to them, fetching what they wanted, and supplying them with Fish; and having a good strong Boat, they hop’d by his means to get to some Ship, he having promis’d to go on board the first European Ship he could get sight of at Sea, for which service Don Sancho assur’d 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 Sancho neglected not to go frequently to sell his Straw Baskets and Hats, which the Ladys learn’d to make with great dexterity; so that they made enow 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 Catherina 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 suppos’d to be part of some Shipwreck: the Jew did not much trouble him with questions, but finding he should have them a good pennyworth, car’d not how he came by them, and bid him a thousand Pieces of Gold, but Don Sancho 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 Sancho 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 Angelina being foremost, perceiv’d something floating on the Sea: she stood still to observe it, and soon saw it was a Man, with his Hands fast clench’d on a Chest, his Habit was lac’d with Silver; she cry’d out to Don Sancho 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 appear’d to be dead, but Don Sancho holding him up by the Heels, the Water pour’d out of his Mouth in great Quantity, after which some signs of Life appear’d; they carry’d 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 handsom Gentleman, and his Linen and Clothes spoke him a Man of no mean Quality. Don Sancho left him with the Ladys, whilst he call’d the Fisherman to help bring the Chest to the Cottage, supposing it to contain something worth saving. The Stranger view’d the Ladys with wonder, their strange Habit and tauny 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 address’d himself to Angelina in this manner: ‘Madam, if my Eyes do not deceive me, I have the honour to know you, your Name is Angelina, the unfortunate Daughter of a Mother who barbarously sent you out of France. Speak, are you a Stranger to Monsieur du Pont?’ At this Discourse she chang’d colour, and shedding some Tears, reply’d, ‘I am indeed the unfortunate Angelina, and too well know that name, since I am never like to see, or if I did, can ne’er possess what I so dearly lov’d.’ “Yes, said he, you will I doubt not do both, for he is safely arriv’d 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 possess’d of a vast Estate, and retir’d from the World on her account. By this time Don Sancho and the Fisherman brought in the Chest; and Angelina proceeded to ask the Stranger who he was, not being still able to recollect. He told her immediately that his Name was Abriseaux. Good Heavens! said she, are you that charming gay young Captain who us’d to visit and court my dear Friend Madam de Belanger, when we were Pensioners in the Monastery together? Yes, said he, I am that unfortunate Man, who have marry’d and brought that lovely Maid from France to lose her Life I fear, and then it had been well for me to have perish’d with her; for if she’s 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 restor’d 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 my self 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 Sancho 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. And now 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 Angelina, left France, I continu’d my Addresses to Madam Belanger, whose Brother, 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, and he persuaded himself would assist him against his other Uncles: Madam de Santerell follow’d him, and no News of them has come to France since they left it. Madam Belanger was soon remov’d 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 apply’d my self not only to her obdurate Uncles, but to the Bishop and principal Merchants, who importun’d them to consent to our Marriage, but to no purpose; for they were resolv’d never to part with her and her Fortune, tho I proceeded so far, that I offer’d 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 resolv’d 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 remov’d thence to a House of her Guardian’s (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 liv’d below, and took care of the Gate. I took a private Lodging in this Village, disguis’d like a mean Person, leaving my Servants and Horses at a Market-Town three Miles off; and pretended to the old Farmer where I lodg’d , that I had been sick, and was come to that Place for my Health, being a Tradesman at Coutance; this pass’d very well with the Country People. The House my dear Janetone 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 walk’d round it several Days, to consider what course to take, and there I had the Pleasure, or rather Torment, of seeing my dear Janetone walking with the old Hag upon the Leads. I did not dare to make any Sign to discover my self to her; and being convinc’d that it was impossible to get at her by fair means, I resolv’d 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 conceal’d under the shelter of some Trees, till we saw one of the Men-servants come out, the Bridge being let down: We rid up with Pistols in our Hands, seiz’d on the Bridge, which my two Servants kept, whilst my Valet-de-Chambre and I forc’d the Servant 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 Madam Belanger, or I would kill him. He beg’d 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 surpriz’d at seeing a Man enter the Room thus rudely, but she quickly recover’d her Fright at the sight of me. The old Hag scream’d and roar’d like one distracted, but that I little regarded; so I bid my Mistress follow me, and we ran downStairs; 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 pursu’d for some Hours; in which time we made off to a Curate’s House cross the Country, about twenty Miles farther: Here we were marry’d, and lay conceal’d for above a Month, in which time the Search made after us was over, and they concluded we were gone out of the Kingdom. Then having disguis’d 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.
Now we thought our selves happy, and had a prosperous Voyage, till we came thro the Straits; but then a dreadful Storm arose, driving us on this Coast; and our Ship (which was but small) striking upon a Rock, sprung a Leak, and we had no way to save our selves, 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 leap’d 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 catch’d 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 her self upon it: Thus we remain’d, 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 enter’d, 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 catch’d hold of; and that the Man on the Chest was carry’d off towards the Shore by the Waves. He said the Woman rung her Hands; and seem’d to call after him; but that the Boat made away out of his sight, from the Shore. Monsieur Abriseauz lifting up his Hands, cry’d, ‘My God, I thank thee with my Soul, that her Life is preserv’d: 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 resolv’d 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 ventur’d out in a Morning early, and would go many Miles along the Sea-shore, making Inquiry of the Fishermen: but alas! he was deceiv’d in looking for her there, for she was otherwise dispos’d of. Some Months pass’d 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, detain’d them there for the preservation of the virtuous Janetone.
Don Sancho one Morning going out very early alone, to go 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 turn’d aside to see if he could discover where she was, and following the Voice, enter’d a great way into the Wood, in the thickest part of which he perceiv’d 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 look’d upon him as a Person resign’d to Death, and utter’d 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 sav’d from the merciless Seas, to perish on the more inhospitable Shore.’ ‘Is not your Name Abriseaux? (said he.) Yes, (said she) but —.’ Here she swooned, he was troubled that he had nothing to give her, but was forc’d 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 clinch’d; 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 carry’d her betwixt them home to Don Sancho’s, where the transported Abriseaux was so divided betwixt Grief and Joy, that he scarce knew what he said or did. The Ladys got her into Bed, and gave her hot Spoon-meat; but when they came to look upon her Leg, they shrunk back amaz’d, for she had broke it short at the Instep, the Bone being split, came thro; her Leg and Foot was so swell’d, that had the best Bone-setter in the World been there, he could not have set it at that instant. Catherina had some Skill, she presently made a Fomentation with Herbs and Wine, and apply’d Stoups dip’d therein to it, which gave the poor Lady great Relief in some Hours: what to do more they knew not, for they did not dare to send for a Mahometan Surgeon, and there was no Christians of that Profession, and they all fear’d a Mortification, but Monsieur Abriseaux was almost distracted. At last Don Sancho 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. So they went together, and Don Sancho talking with him by the way, found he was Surgeon to the Ship which brought Angelina from Canada. He acquainted him with her being in his House, and his own Story, not fearing to be discover’d by a Christian, whom he offer’d to redeem from Slavery of the Jew; an Offer the other gladly accepted of, no question; for tho we often live as ill as Heathens, who profess our selves 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, and 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 caress’d by all, but especially by Angelina, who knew him to be a very honest Gentleman. He drest the poor Lady, and miraculously restor’d her Leg to such a state, that in six Weeks she could walk with a Crutch, tho never able to go upright, but was ever lame, it being impossible to cure it otherwise, having lain so long without help. Angelina asked him what was become of the Captain? He told her he was dead, he believ’d, of the Wounds he receiv’d in the Fight; a just Reward for his Crimes in using her as he had done. And now Madam Abriseaux being able, acquainted them how she came into this condition, and the occasion of her flying to the Wood where Don Sancho found her.
BEING pull’d 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 her self to her Husband;) but they seem’d deaf to my Intreatys; 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 imagin’d 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 Master’s) House, where I was deliver’d to a Black, who seem’d mighty glad, and view’d me so curiously, that my Face was over-spread 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 some body, to inform me what I was to be done with: I ask’d her many Questions, and was answer’d, that I was to be Mistress to one of the handsomest and most powerful Men in the Place, that he was his Prince’s chief Favourite: in short, she prais’d him up to the Skys. I told her I was already marry’d, and must rather die, than admit of another’s Embraces. She laugh’d at that, and taking off my wet Clothes, brought me up a Turkish Dress. Thus I remain’d many Days confin’d in this Place, being furnish’d with all Necessarys of Food, Habit, and Lodging; in which time walking in the Gardens, I saw and convers’d with some of those unfortunate Women who had been purchas’d 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 Sancho found me, so that it was some Months before I was expos’d 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 watch’d us, that there was no hopes of getting away. And now being almost overwhelm’d with Sorrow, I apply’d my self to God to deliver me. Indeed, I wonder’d that I continued so long without seeing this tyrannical Algerine; but at last I learn’d the Reason, he was sick of a tertian Ague and Fever all that time: at last being recover’d, he order’d 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 Henrietta Belhash, a French Peasant’s Daughter; who being 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 carry’d away from her soon after it was born. She pity’d me extremely, and assur’d me that it was almost impossible to escape thence. She seem’d resign’d to her Misfortunes, and said, since God had been pleas’d to suffer her to be reduc’d to such a way of life, where she could have no opportunity of practising her Religion, or avoiding the Infidel’s Embraces, she hop’d he would not lay any thing to her Charge as a Crime, since it was Compulsion, not Choice. But all her Arguments seem’d weak to me, and I resolv’d on Death, rather than to yield. At last, one Morning the old French Woman enter’d my Chamber, and bid me prepare my self to go to the great Man, whose Favourite I was to be. She brought me a rich Habit and Linen, and dress’d 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 thro the Garden to a kind of Horse-litter, into which the black Slave put me. I perceiv’d that there were seven or eight ill-look’d Slaves to guard me, so that it was in vain to resist. I was about three Hours upon the Road, and had refus’d to eat any thing before I set out; so 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, adorn’d with fine Paintings, and such Furniture, that I was surpriz’d. 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, enter’d: he was tall, slender, and delicately shap’d, his Eyes were black and shining, his Skin moderately fair, his Air and Mien so soft and engaging, that I stood confounded. At these Words Monsieur Abriseaux redden’d; she perceiving it, with a Smile said, My Dear, don’t be jealous, for his Beauty and Persuasions did him no further Service with me, but to raise my Pity; for I soon perceiv’d he was a European, and had bought his Greatness here by renouncing his Faith. He bow’d, and stood looking upon me for some time without speaking; then, like a Man waken’d from a pleasant Dream to substantial Joy, he catch’d 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 Injurys drove hither; who being ruin’d by my Fellow-Christians, have fled for Succour to Barbarians, who have advanc’d and made me great enough to make you as happy as the World can make you.’ My Soul was fill’d with Horror at these Words. ‘Have you renounc’d your Saviour (said I) and 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 tho I am in your Power (as you imagine) whilst I remain firm in this Resolution I am safe, and your Attempts are vain.’ He us’d all the Persuasions possible to gain me, nay, stoop’d to beg and pray; but finding me inflexible, and growing faint, being still weak with his late Illness, he call’d for Wine, Sherbet, and Sweetmeats, courting me to eat and drink; but I refus’d. Then he ask’d me if I design’d to be my own Murderer, and damn my self? I answer’d, No; but that 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 supply’d me with some wholesom Bread and Water, or any thing that might satisfy Hunger without danger. He seem’d surpriz’d at my being so resolute, and no doubt but his Conscience prick’d him when he saw me so well perform my Duty, which he had thro 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 oblig’d 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 my self, or harm him; the Doors were guarded; then I view’d the Windows, and they were so high, that a Leap from thence seem’d 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 refus’d; yet at last fearing want of Sustenance would render me unable to resist him if he offer’d 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 my self, and eat some Bread. When it grew dark they urg’d me to go to bed, but I refus’d. They brought in two Wax Lights, and retired, shutting the Door; and now I trembled, fearing what follow’d. About Midnight the Apostate Bashaw enter’d the Chamber, and fastening the Door, came to me, using all the softest Persuasions and Intreatys: 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, and he soon tired, renew’d his Intreatys. At last he swooned at my Feet, and then being distracted with my Fears, I resolv’d to use those happy Moments; so without standing to deliberate, I catch’d 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 being not 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 prov’d, 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 enter’d the Wood I was fill’d with more dreadful Apprehensions, and fancy’d the wild Beasts would devour me; to avoid which I got up into a Tree, whose Trunk, being old and hollow, I easily climb’d: There I seated my self, and pass’d the remainder of the Night till Day-break; but then I fear’d to descend, lest I should be pursu’d; nor did I know where to go. Whilst I was thus musing Sleep prevail’d over Thought, and I fell into a Slumber, and drop’d down from the Tree, which Fall broke my Leg. What I endur’d for three Days that I lay there, you may imagine: I expected nothing but Death, as I had reason to do; but Providence preserv’d and reliev’d me by your means, for which I will be thankful whilst I live.
All the Company join’d in Praises to God, and were fill’d with Admiration: They pass’d the time for some Weeks 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 inform’d the Captain of their being there: that he had promis’d to send his Long-boat that Night to a Creek behind the Rocks, to fetch them. It is, said he, a Ship of good force, and fears no Pirate, being well arm’d and mann’d. Don Sancho, on this News, went away to Tunis, and gave his Friend the Surgeon notice, who went back with him. The Ladys in the mean time pack’d 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 offer’d 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 of the Clock at Night, and carry’d them off safely to the Ship, Don Sancho promising to assist Angelina and the Surgeon to return to France by Land, and he and Catharina doubted not of a good Reception from his Friends at Madrid. Besides, the two Ladys had brought such a Treasure in Jewels from the Bey’s Seraglio, that (being divided) was sufficient to provide for them all. Monsieur Abriseaux and his Lady were presented with a part of them, and his Chest having been sav’d, was a Provision for them; and they were prevail’d upon to desist from their intended Voyage to Virginia, Angelina promising, that Monsieur du Pont should stand by them against her unjust Guardians; so they determin’d to go home to France with her. The Spanish Captain receiv’d them with transport, and now they had leisure to entertain him with an account of all their strange Adventures.
They arriv’d at Barcelona in good health, sold part of their Jewels there, highly rewarded the Captain, and Don Sancho’s Friends provided nobly for him and Catharina, who writ to her Parents at Venice an account of all her Sufferings, and safe return to Europe. The French Ladys and Gentlemen staid some days to recover themselves of the Fatigue of their Voyage, and then set out for France, promising never to forget the Civilitys they had receiv’d, 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 Charlotta, and the unhappy Belanger, whom we left travelling to Virginia thro Carolina.
MOnsieur Belanger and his generous Kinsman Montandre, with the Hermit Monsieur du Riviere, came safe to Virginia, where they were gladly receiv’d by the old Gentleman and his new Wife. Belanger was much pleas’d that she was now his Aunt, and Montandre lik’d 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 observ’d by her Husband, and he began to wish his Kinsman thence. He well knew that she marry’d him in a Pique, not out of Affection. In short, having been inform’d of all that had befall’n him and his Son in their Voyage to the Island of St. Domingo, he calmly advis’d him to return to France, having honourably accounted with him for all the Moneys and Effects left in his Hands, and made him a handsom Present of Sugars, Tobacco, and other Commodities which that Country produces, to a great Value; saying, ‘Nephew, I always design’d you something, and tho 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 lik’d being dispos’d 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.’ Belanger thank’d him for his good Advice and Present, but was determin’d not to follow his Counsel, tho Monsieur du Riviere press’d him extremely to go with him to France; but Belanger would not consent to leave Charlotta behind. Young Montandre did likewise spur 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 Teresa, Don Medenta’s Sister, and her bright Image so fill’d his Soul, that he could not rest. We easily consent to what we desire. Belanger deals with the Captain that carry’d them thither before, to go back again with Montandre. Mean time he finding his Uncle look cold upon him, invited Monsieur du Riviere, 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 Montandre, much against his Father’s Will; but he arriv’d safe at the Island, and resolv’d to lie on board the Ship every Night, and not take a Lodging on shore, for fear of discovery; in the Day he ventur’d 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 Charlotta, with her little Son and Daughter standing by the Governor her Father-in-law, dress’d in a Widow’s Dress, and Teresa 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 suppos’d would not be extreme difficult, now Don Medenta was gone; but he was mistaken, for he had engag’d his Father on his Death-bed to prevent, if possible, her ever seeing Belanger again. ‘My dear Lord and Father, said he, he is the Cause of my Death, he ruin’d my repose, and if he returns, will rob my dear Children of their Mother; her Affections are still inclin’d 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 wrong’d.’ He likewise charg’d Charlotta, as she valu’d his Soul’s repose, not to marry him, or leave that Island and his Children. Thus the revengeful Spaniard, even in Death, continu’d to hate his brave Rival, who had a prior Right to her Heart, and endeavour’d 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, desir’d Charlotta 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. Teresa, who was courted by the greatest Persons in the Island, kept her Company, and there was the greatest Friendship imaginable between them. Teresa had not as yet felt Cupid’s Tyranny; she seem’d invincible to Love. Montandre having waited some Days in vain for an Opportunity to speak to Charlotta, grew weary, and resolv’d to give her a Letter in publick. He thought in himself, she is now a Widow, and free to chuse whom she pleases: why should I fear to remind her of her Vows and Engagements with my Friend? He dress’d 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 Charlotta, and with a profound Bow, presented the Letter to her: this he did with such a grace and mein, that Teresa, looking upon him, was seiz’d with such an unusual liking to him, and so disorder’d, that she could scarce conceal it; and Love at this fatal Moment enter’d her Breast. He withdrew to the other side of the Altar so soon as he had deliver’d the Letter, and there plac’d himself on his Knees right against them, with design to observe Charlotta’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 Teresa, to whom his eager Glances spoke his Passion, whilst her unguarded Looks and Blushes assur’d him he was taken notice of. Mean while the Governor observ’d him, and watch’d Charlotta; who having look’d on the Superscription of the Letter, guess’d that it brought news of Belanger, and remember’d Montandre’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 caus’d her in a few Minutes to faint. This confirm’d the Governor in his suspicions, and he whisper’d one of his Gentlemen, whom he beckon’d to him, to take care that Gentleman was secur’d as he went out of the Church, and kept under a Guard till he examin’d him. Prayers being ended, he gave Charlotta his Hand to lead her to the Coach, so that she had no Opportunity to speak to Montandre. A young Cavalier, who courted Teresa, did the same by her, inflam’d with Jealousy at her Behaviour towards the Stranger, who imprudently follow’d them, in hopes to speak to one of the Ladys; but he was seiz’d 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 a Room in the Castle, and kept till the Governor, having conducted the Ladies to their Chamber, came and examin’d him, asking him what the Letter contain’d that he had given his Daughter-in-law, whence he came, and who sent him: To all which he answer’d boldly, and told the Truth, saying, ‘My Lord, I do not think I have done any thing but my Duty. She is a Widow, was promis’d 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, reply’d the Governor fiercely, by his imprudent coming hither, ruin’d my Son’s Peace, and broke his Heart; he beg’d 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 determin’d, 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’ll try whether a Prison cannot hold you, and if you escape hence again it shall be my fault.” At these Words he left the Room, and Montandre was hurry’d away that Night under a Guard to a strong Prison into which they us’d to put Criminals of State, ten Miles from the Town; here he was lodg’d in all Appearance for his Life.
Charlotta, so soon as her Father-in-law left her with Teresa, open’d the Letter and read it aloud to her; she could not conceal her Joy to hear Belanger 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 forc’d me from him. Is it just, that having been a faithful Wife to him, I should not be at liberty to dispose of my self to him to whom I do of right belong now he is dead? Your generous Soul, tho 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.’ Teresa embracing her with Tears, reply’d, “Alas, my Sister, I participate of your Griefs, and fear that I am born to be unhappy too, I love the generous Montandre; his Person, and noble Friendship to Belanger charms me; and if I am not deceiv’d, 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 enter’d the Coach, I saw the People gather in a Croud, and fear some Mischief.” As they were talking, Teresa’s Woman, Emilia, enter’d as pale as death: Madam, said she, there is a strange Gentleman seiz’d, and brought under a Guard into the Castle, I saw him carry’d along just now up the great Square. This News extremely alarm’d them, and confirm’d their Fears; they employ’d Emilia, not daring to be too inquisitive themselves, to get intelligence, for she was Mistress to Don Fernando the Governor’s Gentleman, who had the Charge of Montandre; but he setting out with him that Night for the Prison to see him secur’d there, she could get no account till the next Morning, when she got the Secret out of Fernando where he was. This news overwhelm’d the Ladies with Gtief, and Charlotta grew so incens’d, that she quarrell’d with her Father-in-law, complaining that she was not treated as she ought to be, and that if the Gentleman was not freed, she would complain to the King of Spain, that she had been taken away from Belanger by fraud, and compel’d to marry Don Medenta; that she was a Subject of England, and tho his Daughter-in-law, yet that he had no Power to command or restrain her from going off the Island, and marrying whom she pleas’d. This so inrag’d the Governor, that he told her, that since he found 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 Belanger was of too mean a Rank to be receiv’d in the place of that noble Spaniard his dear Son, who was descended from an illustrious Family, and had demean’d himself in marrying her; that he had hitherto treated her for his sake with too much indulgence, which he perceiv’d she had no grateful sense of; that Montandre, tho a good Friend to Belanger, 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 dy’d fairly, or not, and to suspect she had by some cursed slow Poison destroy’d 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 confin’d her to her Apartment under a Guard, suffering none to go near her but Teresa and some few of his Relations, who teaz’d her continually with the Respect she ow’d her dead Husband, and how she ought never to marry another inferior to him. The Governor little suspected his Daughter was any ways concern’d in Montandre’s Welfare; but, alas, she was as much afflicted as Charlotta, and ventur’d to send Emilia with a Purse of Gold to him. He would have sent a Letter back, but was deny’d Pen, Ink and Paper. Emilia lent him her Table-Book, in which he wrote a most passionate Letter to Teresa, declaring his Love, and begging her to let the Captain who brought him thither, be inform’d of what had happen’d to him, and sent back to Belanger to warn him not to come thither. On the receipt of this Letter, Teresa dispatch’d Emilia to the Captain, who presently weigh’d Anchor, and set sail for Virginia, to carry these joyful and sad Tidings to Belanger; first that Charlotta was a Widow, and next that Montandre was in Prison, and she under a Guard on his account. Belanger in a short time was inform’d 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 refus’d to go back, saying he was sure he should be imprison’d and lose his Ship. And now it was some Months before he could get a Vessel to carry him; during which the Governor was inform’d by his Spies of Emilia’s Visits to Montandre in the Prison, and caus’d him to be secretly remov’d 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 secur’d from any possibility of an Escape, not being ever permitted to go on the Battlements, but confin’d to a Chamber with two Centinels at the Door Night and Day, being relieved every four Hours. The haughty Governor having thus secur’d him, laid wait to catch Belanger, 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 stopt 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 Belanger.
Charlotta fell sick, and Teresa grew very melancholy and much alter’d; no news could be got of Montandre. At length she fell dangerously ill, insomuch that her Life was in danger, and being light-headed, call’d perpetually on Montandre. This open’d the Governor’s Eyes, who finding she lov’d 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 attach’d to a Man whose Father was only a Merchant, marry’d 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 lov’d. This expedient was death to him, yet he could not consent to lose his Darling, the lovely Teresa; at last he sent for Montandre, who was brought pinion’d 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 turn’d to a yellow Jaundice, so that he was so alter’d, that his Friends would scarce have known him. Being brought to the Castle, and carry’d up into a Room, the Governor came to him with Looks that express’d the inward distraction of his Mind. Stranger, said he, what would you do to gain your Freedom? Nothing, he reply’d fiercely, that should be injurious to my Honour or Conscience: I am now indifferent to Life, and would not thank that Man who, having injur’d me, should ask me Pardon and release me; you may use me as you please, you have treated me so ill already, that I expect neither Justice nor Favour from you. The Governor could not but admire Montandre’s Bravery in secret, but yet seem’d angry; and answer’d, Sir, do you consider whom you speak to, and that your Life’s at my disposal? Yes I do, Sir, said Montandre, and have spoke my Thoughts. Well Sir, said the Governor, I acknowledge I have us’d you somewhat roughly; but had you lost such a Son as I have, kill’d by your Friend’s rash attempt, which has broke my Son’s Heart and Charlotta’s Peace, you would doubtless have acted like me; but I have now but one Daughter (here he wip’d off the falling Tears) do you respect her? Montandre alarm’d at these Words, answer’d 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 her self. For her sake, answer’d 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 Teresa’s Chamber, who was so weak that she had been many days confin’d 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 disorder’d, being forc’d to stifle his Resentments and constrain his Pride, that he immediately withdrew. Teresa lifting up her Eyes, view’d Montandre with much concern, unable to speak, his alter’d Face too well inform’d her of the Treatment he had met withal; whilst he seeing her, whom he so dearly priz’d, in a Condition so unlikely to recover, fetch’d a deep Sigh, and falling on his Knees by the Bed, catch’d her Hand, and pressing 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 be a Cordial to restore me to Health again, it is the Sight of you, a Blessing I despair’d 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 entring, said a great many obliging things to him. In fine, Teresa in a short time recover’d, and was marry’d to Montandre, on his promising to reside there, and not return to Virginia to live. But poor Charlotta, tho glad of her Sister’s good Fortune, and pleased to converse with Montandre, of whom she learn’d all that had befallen the unfortunate Belanger, 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. Montandre could not as yet propose going to Virginia, but supposed his Friend would shortly arrive, and that Teresa’s Interest, and his, with his Father-in-law, was sufficient to procure his Consent to Belanger’s Marriage with Charlotta. Thus they flatter’d themselves: but a Spaniard’s Revenge must be gratify’d; and they never, or very rarely forgive an Injury. Belanger 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 Montandre’s Marriage. He no sooner set his foot upon the Shore, fill’d with Expectations of seeing his dear Charlotta, but he was seiz’d by Ruffians, bound hand and foot, and carry’d aboard another Ship, where he was put in Irons, and sail’d the next Morning, but he knew not whither. The same Night that he was seiz’d, the Captain of the Ship that brought him, receiv’d a Message from the Governor to depart the Island that moment, or expect to be treated as an Enemy, and his Ship to be seiz’d. He obey’d immediately, finding that neither Threats nor Intreatys could avail him. This News never reached Charlotta’s Ear; and poor Belanger, overwhelm’d with Despair, was carry’d up the great River Oroonoko, and set on shore amongst the Savages, being carry’d in a Boat up to the River Paria, where he expected nothing but to be murder’d, 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-whelm’d 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 Miserys of Life. Whilst he was thus employ’d, 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 Surprize, 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, and 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 urg’d them on, and they turn’d back and pursu’d their Enemies, who fled before them to the place where poor Belanger, rouz’d with the Noise of their Guns and Swords, was standing as a Man who was prepar’d for Death, and unconcern’d at whatever happen’d: but when they call’d 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 rouz’d 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 enter’d 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 expir’d; a sad Admonition to the rest, who were conscious they deserved no less. They were now sincerely penitent, and consulted with Belanger, whom they resolv’d to obey in all things, what was best to be done; they knew they could not live without Provisions, and tho they hop’d the Boat would return to fetch them, yet that being uncertain, they must find some way to subsist. At last they resolv’d 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 fail’d to return. They charg’d their Fire-Arms, and crept along the Shore till they came to a Hut, into which they enter’d, and found two Savages, a Woman, three Children, and an European Man, as his Complexion shew’d, asleep; they seiz’d 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 over-joy’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 of their coming thither, said they were come on Shore in their Boat in search of fresh 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 suppose frighted away by the Noise of their Guns. Then the old Man spoke to the Indians in their Tongue, and they immediately fell at the Spaniards Feet, kissing them, and bowing down their Heads in token of Obedience. The old Man told Belanger that he had liv’d 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 travel’d to this Place by land; that he had learn’d the Language of these Savages, and living amongst them, gain’d 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 govern’d that part of the Country, and us’d 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. Then he desir’d 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 Cartagena, from whence they might get Shipping to either Place. Belanger return’d him a thousand Acknowledgments, and in his Soul greatly admir’d the Providence of God, but wanted an Opportunity to inform him of the Spaniards Villany 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, tho his Countrymen; for tho they appear’d sincerely penitent, yet he fear’d 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 Charlotta’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 Montandre, 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 dress’d Fish before them, with some Meat and Broth which they had boil’d the Day before for the humble Priest and themselves; this they had warm’d 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 refresh’d them.
Belanger whisper’d the Monk that he wanted to speak with him alone; he took the Hint, and after eating, advis’d the Spaniards 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 us’d to lie upon; there, said he, you may repose your selves, whilst your Leader and I discourse. They readily comply’d, glad to take some Rest. So he and Belanger walk’d out over a Hill, then they descended into a fine Valley, at the bottom of which was a little kind of Copse or Thicket, compos’d of stately tall Trees and close quickset Hedges. By the way Belanger told him his Story; and the Monk detesting their Baseness, told him he should return no more to them, but abide with those that he had plac’d 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, thro 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, discern’d at some distance two Women, one richly dress’d, the other like her Servant, wringing their Hands, and lamenting over a Person who lay on the Sands, as I suppos’d, 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 surpriz’d; 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 dress’d 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 appear’d more like a Woman of Quality than the distress’d Elvira, for that is her Name: the Man that lay at her Feet as dead, appear’d her Equal in all kinds; he was young, handsom, richly dress’d, and seem’d just drown’d. I staid not to deliberate, but lifted him up, saying in Spanish, which I suppos’d 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 turn’d his Head downwards, and a great deal of Water pouring out of his Mouth, he shew’d some signs of Life. Having thus given his Stomach some relief by this Discharge of the Water, I set him upright on the Ground, chafed his Temples, and taking a little Bottle of Rack, which I always carry about me, pour’d 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 small Chamber or Dormitory behind it to repose in in the heat of the Day. Here I us’d 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 Manoa, 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 secur’d her here, where she has remain’d a whole Month conceal’d. Her Adventures, and the brave Gomez 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 devour’d you, so send them away by the first opportunity, and then I will disguise and conduct you, Elvira, her Husband and Servant, to Cartagena, 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 indur’d 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 so ending their Discourse, the Monk presented Belanger to Gomez and Elvira, who being acquainted with his Adventures, embrac’d and welcom’d him to their poor Habitation, over-joy’d that they should have such Company, and promis’d to go with him to Virginia, and procure him all the Satisfaction he could desire of the Governor of the Island of St. Domingo, Elvira being the Vice-Roy’s Daughter. But Words cannot express Belanger’s surprize at the first sight of these Strangers; he thought Elvira so beautiful, that she excel’d all her Sex; her Air, her Shape, Dress and Face, and the gloominess of the Place she was in, fill’d him with an unusual Veneration and Respect for her. Gomez was tall, finely shap’d, and had a majestick Sweetness in his Look that commanded the Respect and gain’d the Love of all that saw him. Their Servant was a young Indian Maid, who tho of an Olive-complexion, was very agreeable, well shap’d, and had Eyes so black and shining, that it was dangerous to look upon them. The Monk us’d to send them Provisions by this Girl, whose Name was Philinda, having been christen’d by Elvira, 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 us’d 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 introduc’d Belanger, and stay’d some time with them, took leave; and then Belanger being intreated, entertain’d them with a more particular Account of his Life and Adventures. After which Gomez return’d the Favour with the relation of his and Elvira’s, 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 near them milking two tame She-Goats which the Monk had sent thither, and which were of great use to them.
GOMEZ began his Relation in these Words: I should first relate my dear Elvira’s Birth, and speak of her Family. She was the only Daughter of the Marquis of Mirandola, who is descended of one of the noblest Familys in Italy, tho born a Spaniard: her Mother was Elvira Mariana Sabriente, Daughter of Don Lopez Lord of Langora, 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 Elvira was thirteen Years of Age. He arriv’d 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 Elvira’s Father; but there was a mortal Hatred between our two Familys, by reason of a fatal Accident that happen’d in my Infancy: my Father had a Sister, who was esteem’d one of the fairest and most accomplish’d young Ladys 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 Elvira’s Father, saw and fell in love with my Aunt, who was already promis’d 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 gain’d my Aunt’s Affection, at length obtain’d the last Favour. It was not long after this unhappy Converse had been between them, before the Lord to whom she was promis’d arriv’d, and she was constrain’d to marry him: He suspecting her Virtue, being sensible she was no Virgin, became furiously jealous; yet conceal’d his thoughts from her and all the World, resolving to stay till he had discover’d the happy Rival that had been before-hand with him, before he let his Resentments break forth: For these Reasons he gave her opportunitys 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 staid at Madrid with the King; the unfortunate Don Duante (her Lover) fail’d not to supply his Place in her Arms, going disguis’d to a Peasant’s House at a Village near, from whence (attended only by one Servant) he enter’d the Gardens, and went into her Apartment by a Ladder of Ropes, which she us’d to fasten for him on a Balcony that open’d into her Chamber. Her Lord (the incens’d Arragonian) soon discover’d all by means of a Page whom he had employ’d to watch; and one Night he conceal’d himself in a Summer-house in the Garden, having only this Page with him, both well arm’d, and the Moon shining very bright, saw Don Duante go into her Chamber by the Ladder, which he left hanging in order to his Retreat, as usual. He staid till he suppos’d he was undrest and gone to bed; then he mounted the Ladder, follow’d by his Page, and coming into the Chamber, where a Wax-light was burning on the Table, approach’d the Bed softly. Don Duante having heard some little noise, was started up, and sat upright in the Bed: This gave Alonzo a fair opportunity for his Revenge, and he stab’d 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 appear’d; she look’d like the wrong’d Lavinia, and the unfortunate Duante lay weltering in his Blood, expiring on the Floor.
Thus one imprudent sinful Action occasion’d the ruin of three noble accomplish’d Persons; nay, involv’d their Familys in the greatest Misfortunes, and have intail’d them upon their Posterity; the first Ground of which was the Lady’s Parents, who not consulting her Inclination, match’d her against her Will; want of a firm Virtue in her made her yield to another, when she was pre-ingag’d by them: and an unchristian Spirit of Revenge govern’d her Husband, and made him commit two dreadful Murders, and incur the Anger of Heaven, and the Justice of the Laws; which, tho he escap’d by Flight and his Prince’s Favour, yet it ruin’d 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 Alonzo having thus discharg’d his Fury, thought of his own Safety; and taking some Gold and his Wife’s Jewels out of a Cabinet in that Room, descended the Ladder, and attended by his Page, went out of another Gate than that by which his Rival had enter’d; and mounting his Horse, which he had left there with his Page, they rid away as swift as possible to a Place twenty Miles farther, where he took shelter in a Convent of Benedictine Monks. Don Duante’s Gentleman finding his Master staid longer than usual, grew uneasy, and quitting his Horse ventur’d up the Ladder, thinking he might be asleep; but entering the Room, he was fill’d with such Horror and Amazement, that he alarm’d all the Servants with the Out-crys 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 reveal’d them by his Lamentations over his dead Lord; but he conceal’d nothing in his Passion, but too well explain’d the Lady’s Crime and his Master’s.
Not to detain yet longer on so sad a Subject, a Surgeon being fetch’d, the poor Lady was put into bed, and her Face dress’d; 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 pray’d for her, and gave her all the spiritual Comfort he was able; and tho she could not speak, yet by Signs she testify’d her Repentance. He staid 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 Duante’s Gentleman to remove his Master’s Body into a Herse the Servants had brought to carry him to his own House at Madrid. Then he return’d to the Lady, to whom he administer’d the last Rites of the Church, and about four in the Morning she expired.
I need not tell you how enrag’d my Father, and all our Family, was against the cruel Alonzo, when this Story was known; nor were Don Duante’s Friends less afflicted: but Alonzo’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 exercis’d 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 Duante’s us’d all their Interest against him, and were so potent, that tho the King was inclin’d to forgive and only banish him, yet he defer’d 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 condemn’d, when he was got out of the reach of the Laws. My Grandmother broke her Heart for her unfortunate Daughter. Elvira’s Father and Family, and mine, tho they join’d in prosecuting Don Alonzo, yet conceiv’d 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 honour’d 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 happen’d; but Elvira and I growing older, my Soul was charm’d with her Beauty; and tho I could foresee 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 Elvira consulting Reason and Religion, saw the Folly and Injustice of that Procedure, and gave ear to my Persuasions: At last she generously confess’d a Passion for me, and promis’d to be mine provided I could gain her Father’s Consent. Then I apply’d to my Father, who acquainting the King with our mutual Affection, and pleading that this was the only way to reconcile the two Familys, and put an end to that fatal Strife that had been of such ill consequence to both, prevail’d with his Majesty to propose it to Elvira’s Father; but he delaying to give a positive Answer, having before obtain’d the Viceroyship, went off without it, and so oblig’d me to follow him. I obtain’d a Letter from the King, in which he even commanded him to give me Elvira, and let our Marriage be forthwith consummated: my Family and hers all join’d in this, and I departed Spain with a whole Packet full of Letters to this effect. I was certain of not being refus’d now, since he did not dare to disoblige or disobey the King. I arriv’d safely at Mexico, and was well receiv’d according to my expectation, and soon after marry’d to my dear Elvira: and now being completely happy, we study’d how to divert our selves, and take all the innocent Diversions the Land and Sea afforded; and being at a Pleasure-house of the Governor’s on the Lake, we went aboard a Yatch one Evening to take the Air on the Sea, it being fine weather, and resolv’d to spend the Night in Mirth and Pleasure. We had several Ladys and Gentlemen with us, with Musick. We supp’d, danc’d, and were very merry; but about Midnight a terrible Storm blew, and after having been toss’d 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, and then every one shifted for himself: Elvira and our Friends were got into the Boat, I plac’d my self next 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 happen’d, for it was soon swallow’d up in the Waves: I catch’d 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, pull’d me up and sav’d 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 sav’d; and the Wind blowing directly to the Shore, she was thrown upon the Sands before us, and seeing my Distress and Elvira’s, ran to her assistance, who had otherwise doubtless perish’d with me. They drag’d me on shore out of the reach of the Waves, which would have wash’d us away; and there the good Father came to our Relief. Thus the Divine Providence has preserv’d 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 Gomez de Mendoza
ended his Relation, and they pass’d a few Days as agreeably as the dismalness
of their Abode would permit, the Monk visiting them every Day, when the Savages
were gone a fishing. One Evening the Monk returning home, saw some white Men,
who appear’d 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; their Fire-Arms being Muskets, lay by
them. He saw that a Pinnace lay on the Shore; their Fire-Arms
being Muskets, lay by them. He saw that a Pinnace lay on the Shore, and
discern’d a Ship lying at Anchor about half a League off: he made Signs to them
to permit him to come near; they answer’d, 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 sav’d, and prevail’d with them
to take them on board their Ship; so he went and call’d them, and they were
overjoy’d to get thence, and meet with such a lucky opportunity; and the Monk
thank’d God that he was rid of them, being uneasy whilst they were on that
Shore, lest they should discover his conceal’d Friends whom he dearly esteem’d,
but these he abhor’d, as being Villains. They went away that Night, returning
many thanks to him, and seeming very sorry that Belanger was not still
alive to go with them; but hoping in themselves, as it afterwards prov’d, that
when they got to the Island of St. Domingo, the revengeful Governor
would reward them highly, designing to tell him that they had dispos’d of him
in the Woods, where he had been devour’d by the wild Beasts. The glad Monk
carry’d the good News of their departure to his Friends the next Morning. And
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
travel’d, and dreadful Mountains and Woods to pass thro; and no Boat of
strength sufficient to carry them and Provisions 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 resolv’d to
venture to cross the great River Oroonoko in the Savages Fishing-boat.
This being resolv’d, trusting on Providence, they prepar’d to go; but the Night
before they were to depart, they saw a Man running down the adjacent Hill,
pursu’d by a fierce Tyger: He had a drawn Sword in his Hand, and a
strange-fashion’d Coat made of Beasts Skins: he had no Shoes or Stockings, but
pieces of Bears Skins ty’d 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 climb’d up a Tree, and the Beast pursuing him to the Foot of it, Belanger,
who had fetch’d a Gun, shot it dead, having perceiv’d the Man was a White, and
his Countenance no Indian. No sooner was the Beast kill’d, but the Man leap’d
down from the Tree, and ran to embrace his Benefactor, whose Surprize 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 liv’d at Virginia, and had
carry’d him and his Friend Montandre to the Island of St. Domingo.
Elvira and the brave Gomez, 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 ask’d him to
eat, a Favour he gladly accepted of; Philena set what Provisions they
had before him, as cold Fowl, Goats Milk, Bread, dry’d Grapes, and Water, and
Wine made of their Juice; a noble Feast to a Man who had liv’d for above five
Weeks on Roots and Fruits, such as the Woods produced, and had not tasted any
dress’d Food, neither Bread, Meat nor Fish. Being much refresh’d, 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 dash’d 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 shatter’d Vessel, which was full of Water above the first Deck, and committed our selves 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 Skys one moment, and then opening, seem’d to sink her into the bottomless Deep, the Wreck being fill’d with Water by a great Sea that wash’d over her, sunk; and then we gave our selves over for lost, and were all separated, never to meet again in this World, I fear. Nature taught me, tho hopeless, to struggle for Life; and it being just break of Day, I discern’d the Shore, and made for it; the Wind sitting fair, help’d me greatly. At last I reach’d it half dead, and sitting down on the side of a Rock to recover my self, look’d round to see where I was, and soon found that I was cast on this inhospitable Shore, where I must expect to be devour’d either by Men or Beasts; this made me almost repent that I had escap’d 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 my self 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 awaken’d 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 Wastecoat, which they could not do without lifting me up, I awaked, 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 Wastecoat 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 my self, but amongst the Trees and Bushes. And now being ready to faint with Hunger, I search’d 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 escap’d like me to the Shore; and there, to my great surprize, 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 flow’d, and the Sea coming in, set her afloat; I ran down, and leaping into her, steer’d 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 Sail, yet I fear’d to lose her; and finding I could not venture out with her, I resolv’d, 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 cover’d 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 hal’d 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 cover’d, and I have lain aboard it every Night since: I have every Day rang’d about for Food, and liv’d chiefly on the Eggs of the Sea-Fowl and Turtles, which I found in the Rocks and on the Sands; nor did I dare to attempt to make a Fire to dress any thing, for fear of discovery; so I sustain’d Life by sucking them, and eating Turtle raw, laying the Flesh in the Sun till it was thorow 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 kill’d and flea’d them, hanging their Skins on the Hedges to dry; these I made into the strange fashion’d Coat I have on: I kill’d some young Goats also, and eating the Flesh, made me a Cap and Spatterdashes, as you see.
But I must now acquaint you with the most surprizing 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 wrap’d in a piece of Sailclot , 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 seem’d half famish’d, and was so surpriz’d at the Sight of me, supposing me a Savage, that she ran away from me as fast as she was able. I follow’d her till she ran into a Cave, into which I enter’d, and getting hold of her, spoke in English, asking her who she was, and of what Nation. She seem’d surpriz’d 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 trepan’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 sav’d on this unhappy Coast; here we liv’d together for three Days, but the fourth, going out of the Cave as usual to seek for Food, he never return’d, and is, I fear, murder’d. I have liv’d in this dismal Place two Months all alone under the most dreadful Apprehensions imaginable, almost famish’d, and pinch’d with Cold and Damps, not daring to go far from my Cave for fear of meeting the Savages. I was charm’d with her Face, and pierced to the Soul with her Condition. I told her my Story, and beg’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 lest 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 Lucy, 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 Belanger, 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 Belanger, Gomez, and Elvira, who never saw such a Figure as she appear’d wrap’d in her Canvas-shroud, for such it seem’d, a Habit which very ill suted 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 Bands 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, Belanger, the Captain, and Savages row’d and steer’d the Boat, having made Sails of what the poor Savages procured; they pass’d safely out of the River, and being at Sea, steer’d for Barbadoes, which they reach’d in few Days, having a fair Wind and fine Weather: they were well receiv’d by a Merchant there, who was the Captain’s Friend, and soon got a Passage to Virginia; Gomez and Elvira, 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 arriv’d at Virginia, Belanger had the agreeable News that Montander had in his absence sent a Bark with Letters for him from himself and Charlotta, to acquaint him that the Governor was dead, and that they design’d to sell off all their Effects in the Island of St. Domingo, and come for Virginia, leaving only Charlotta’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 Teresa, with his faithful Friend Montander, arriv’d with an immense Treasure. Never was a more moving sight than the meeting of these three Persons; Belanger, clasping Charlotta in his Arms, stood motionless, as if he meant to die in that Posture, and that his ravish’d Soul would make its way out of his panting Bosom into hers; his Eyes seem’d fix’d 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 Belanger! Blest God, it is enough.’ Mean time Montander wak’d them from this blissful Dream, saying, ‘My Friend, my Kinsman, have you forgot me? And must I not claim a second Embrace after Charlotta has receiv’d your first?’ At these Words Belanger turn’d, and catch’d him in his Arms, saying, ‘My dearest Friend, next Charlotta 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 employ’d in your Service.’ Old Montandre and his Lady interrupted them, or doubtless they had never known when to leave off this tender Conversation. Belanger was so impatient to secure his Happiness, that he never gave over importuning Charlotta till she consented to marry him that very Night; and the Monk accordingly wedded them, and they were mutually pleas’d: For what greater Satisfaction can Mortals attain in this Life, than to possess the Person they ardently love, especially when they have so long languish’d 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. Gomez and Elvira were sharers of their Friends good Fortune, and were desirous to continue with them some Months, with the Monk, who resolv’d to go with Belanger and Charlotta 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: old Montandre and his Lady, who still retain’d an Affection for Belanger, entertain’d them very nobly; and Charlotta, who was now a sincere Roman Catholick, prevail’d 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 Charlotta intreated the Monk to relate the Adventures of his Life: certainly, said she, they must be very extraordinary, since you have pass’d thro so many Countries. He smiling, answer’d, 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 refus’d a Post at Court, to which he believ’d 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 retir’d in discontent to his own Seat at Valladolid. I was all the Children he had, and design’d 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 lov’d 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, gain’d her Love, and resolv’d to marry her; but being not old enough to be master of my self, and having no Fortune in my own Power, I was forc’d to defer doing it till I was of Age, and had got some Settlement in the World: for these Reasons I pursu’d my Studies with great Application, resolving to be a Physician or Lawyer, that I might soon be able to provide for my self; in the mean time I promis’d my dear Leonora to maintain her as my Wife, and accordingly paid her Father the half of the Pension my Father allow’d me for her Board; bought her silk Petticoats, Ribbons and Laces; so that I half starv’d my self, 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, talk’d loudly of this strange Alteration; which, with my continual Visits at her Father’s, tho I thought none observ’d me, confirm’d their suspicions of her being a Mistress to me. This Report soon reach’d the Principal of the College’s Ear, and he had me watch’d, and sent my Father word, who immediately sent for me home, and school’d me sharply, commanding me to declare the Truth; on which I ingenuously confess’d my Ingagements with Leonora, and declar’d boldly, that I would marry her or die. This so inrag’d my Father, to see his ambitious hopes thus cross’d 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 my self a Man sufficient to manage my self. Leonora’s Father was threatned, and turn’d out of his Farm and Livelihood by my Father’s Instigation, who was a true Spaniard in his Resentments. Poor Leonora, who was now look’d 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 retir’d 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 recover’d me, or rather the Providence of God, which reserv’d me for other Uses. So soon as I was able to creep abroad, I went into the Fields with my cruel Tutor, and resolv’d 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 Leonora, 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; 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 revolv’d 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 ply’d him with Wine at Supper, so I rose in the Night when he was fast asleep, clap’d a Gag in his Mouth, ty’d 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 fastned his Hands to the Bedpost before he stir’d, yet when I went to tie his Feet, he wak’d, and opening his Mouth to speak, I clap’d the Gag, which was a piece of hard Wood, between his Teeth, stretching his Jaws sufficiently, yet he roar’d strangely, till I threaten’d to kill him with my Pen-knife, which silenc’d 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 Gardiner always left in a Greenhouse, 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 consider’d 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 us’d 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 Leonora’s Father’s, whose removal to the poor Village I knew nothing of. It was about two a Clock in the Morning when I left my Father’s, and a very light Moon-shine Night, 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 reach’d 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 condemn’d my Father, pity’d me, and offer’d 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 engag’d 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, carry’d me over, and leaving his Boat in his Son’s care, went with me to a Fisherman’s Cottage, where he dress’d me in old Boots, the Man’s old Coat, thrum Cap and worsted Mittins like a poor Fisher-boy; then he ingag’d the Man to go along with me wherever I pleas’d, fearing his going with me himself would discover me: and now being to pay him, I knew not how to open the Box, and had no Money about me; besides, carrying the Box was the ready way to betray me. I therefore resolv’d to break it open, and empty it, and throw it into the River, which I accordingly did, and was greatly surpriz’d to find two thousand Pistoles, and many gold and silver Pieces of foreign Coin and Medals in it, besides all 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 Leonora and me completely happy in an humble Retreat. I paid my old Ferry-man to his content, dispos’d of the Money and other things about me, sewing the Jewels and Writings into my Clothes, and posted away with my Guide to the Town where I had left Leonora; there I was inform’d of what had befall’n her Father, and where they were gone to live. I hasted thither, and discharg’d my Guide before I went to the House, sending him back with the Horses he had hir’d to bring us; and then enter’d 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, wak’d me from my Trance: I rose and embrac’d 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 Leonora any more, but to live and die with her. And now the good Man being call’d, we all rejoyc’d 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 Leonora 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 receiv’d us kindly in his Cell; and after giving me some gentle Reprehensions for my Undutifulness to my Father, finding me resolute, and determin’d to marry Leonora; and fearing, I suppose, that if he refus’d to do that Office for us, we might live together in a sinful State, he at last consented to my desires, and promis’d to serve us in all he was able. He sent me to a Widow-Lady’s House five Miles thence near Soria, who was his Aunt, and sent Leonora’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 suffer’d 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 arriv’d, and would divert their pursuit of me for some days, and give us time to get over the Pyrenean Mountains into France, whither we were resolv’d to retire. All things succeeded as we expected; about Noon Officers came to search my Father-in-law’s House, examin’d him and Leonora, 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 Leonora 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 Leonora 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 dress’d in Mens Clothes like Servants in Livery-Coats, being some of the Lady’s Servants Clothes, we departed. I had given Leonora’s Father a hundred Pistoles, and agreed that he and her Mother should come to us so soon as Leonora and I had taken a House, and were settled; we had very fine Weather and a safe Journey, tho much fatigu’d 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 amaz’d, and no ways repented my leaving Spain: The Gentry and Clergy seem’d to vie who should be kindest to us; the Ladys courted and treated Leonora so highly, that she soon became as free and unaffected as they were, and so improv’d, that I thought her every Day more charming. So soon as we arriv’d in France, I sent back our Guide and Horses, with Letters to the good old Father, the Lady, and my Father and Mother-in-law; on the receit of which, Father Dominic writ to my own Father, acquainting him that I was marry’d to Leonora, and gone out of the Kingdom, that I was extremely sorry he had constrain’d 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 urg’d all he could think of to reconcile us, and receiv’d an answer, by which he found my Father was implacable, and so incens’d 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 manag’d our little Estate, and my Wife and I kept the best Company in the Province, and liv’d at ease; it did not please God to bless our Marriage with any Children, but every thing else prosper’d 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 long’d 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 receiv’d 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 Valladolid, where we soon arriv’d, and were receiv’d 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 debauch’d her; this was a secret could not be long hid from me: she was saucy and insolent to my Wife, which I resented, and desir’d my Father’s leave to return to France; he desir’d 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 colour’d, and said it should be remedy’d; but, as I afterward discover’d, 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 fir’d with Revenge, and resolv’d to destroy my Wife, who was now to my inexpressible Joy with Child; she disguis’d her Thoughts, seem’d sorry for what she had done, and so behav’d her self, that Leonora, who was all Goodness, forgot what was past, and grew kind to her; but the Viper ill return’d it: for drinking Chocolate one Morning together, she put Poison into my dear Leonora’s Cup, of which she languish’d about a Month, and then dy’d; the Physicians were of opinion that she was poison’d, and when she was dead, I had her open’d, and was too well convinc’d of it: My Affliction was so great, that I was inconsolable. I suspected my Father, and could not believe his Strumpet dar’d to have committed such a Deed without his knowledge and consent. I seiz’d her, and had her examin’d before a Magistrate, but she deny’d all, and I had no proof of the Fact; so I took leave of my Father, having had some sharp words with him, and return’d to France the most disconsolate Man living. And 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 punish’d me in bereaving me of her who had been the occasion of my Sin, and was in some kind culpable her self, 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 punish’d 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 inclin’d 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 reserv’d, and order’d 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 approv’d of it, and then I waited on my Father to obtain his leave and blessing. There I found the wicked Isabella, my Father’s Mistress, had been her own Executioner, having gone distracted with the remorse of her Conscience, and so had cut her own Throat, having in her Madness discover’d all the Circumstances of the Murder she had committed on Leonora. My Father was so struck with the manner of her Death, and Shame, his Crime with her being now made publick, 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 beg’d 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 express’d the Confusion of his Thoughts; he blush’d 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 ensu’d, and we pass’d some Days together in pious Discourses, I hope much to our Advantage. I beg’d 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 continu’d 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 expir’d in my Arms with great Piety and Resignation; I bury’d him nobly, and then retir’d to the Convent, where I liv’d many Years, being receiv’d 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, among whom I indured great Hardships, it being long before I could acquaint my self with their Language and barbarous Customs; yet the austere Life, and good I did them in curing their Sicknesses and Wounds, with my Discourses of God and Christ, so wrought upon these Savages, that they listned to me and rever’d 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 had 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 Leonora, whom I might still perhaps have enjoy’d, 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.
GOMEZ and Elvira, with Philena their faithful Slave, having hired the Bark to stay that brought Charlotta and her dear Friend, and Sister, to Virginia, to carry them to the Island of St. Domingo, and from thence to Mexico, having made Charlotta and Teresa Presents of two rich Jewels, part of those Elvira had on when she 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 that if they ever return’d to Spain, they would make a Tour to France on purpose to see them: for Charlotta and Teresa 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 Belanger, he was persuaded by his Wife and the Monk to be a Roman·Catholick, which he had been bred at first. Gomez and Elvira returned Thanks to old Montandre, 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; and departed with a fair Wind, and arriv’d safe at Mexico, as they were afterwards inform’d by Letters from them, and considerable Presents which they received some Months after, by the same Bark that carry’d them. And now young Montandre, who had received a great Fortune with Teresa, 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; and began to prepare for going thither, where Belanger and Charlotta long’d to be. The poor Savages were settled in old Montandre’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, Charlotta and Teresa, with their Husbands, went on board, where they took leave of the good old Gentleman Montandre and his Lady, with the honest Captain, and Lucy the fair Maid, whom he had made his Wife, and who hearing part of Charlotta’s Story, had conceal’d her Thoughts to this moment; when going to take leave of Charlotta, after a noble Entertainment which Belanger and Montandre had given them on board the Ship, threw her Arms about Charlotta’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 Du Pont, who lived near Bristol, and marry’d a second Wife from London, by whom he had a Daughter named Diana? and were you not trepan’d to Virginia by that Mother-in-law?’ ‘Yes, answered Charlotta much surpriz’d, I am the Daughter of that unfortunate Gentleman, and was by that wicked Woman betray’d and expos’d to a thousand Misfortunes. But who are you? for I am impatient to know.’ ‘I am, said she, that Daughter Diana, 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 Charlotta, were impatient to learn her Story; which, 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 Furley, apply’d herself wholly to amass a Sum of Money to provide for me and her self, resolving to return to London, and pursue the same unhappy Course of Life she had before follow’d, which I am too much confus’d 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, but continued her Extravagancys so long, that at last he was arrested by Captain Furley, 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 Furley 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 Madam Belanger wept; and her Husband wiping away her Tears, kiss’d 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.] Diana continued her Discourse thus: Being arrived at London, my Mother went directly to Westminster, to her Friend Miranda’s, but found her gone from the House, and well marry’d to a Sea-Captain, with whom she lived very happily and honestly at Portsmouth, as the old Baud inform’d her, to whom she went for Information: so she took a Lodging in the Baud’s House, and soon got a rich Gallant, an old Merchant in the City: for tho 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 design’d to advance me to be some great Person’s Mistress, or some rich Fool’s Wife. She had robb’d my Father of near two thousand Pounds; but Furley pealed her of a good deal of it. She kept me very fine, carry’d 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 my self 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, in which we had chang’d our Lodging at least ten times, and 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 her self; then 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 Baud about her, and the People in the House where we lodged. Being dead, every one plunder’d 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 Captain Furley, were her Executors and my Guardians; the Tally-man came and bury’d her privately, and indeed poorly, and carry’d me home to his House, Furley 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 handsom Portion. I was but meanly treated at this vile Tally-man’s; and being ready to break my Heart, begg’d Day and Night to be sent down to Bristol to my Father: but that was not his, nor Furley’s Interest; for they well knew my Father would call them to an account for my Mother’s Effects. Old Gripe told me, so soon as Furley 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 Welch, 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 to, who could not help me. At last being now fourteen, I apply’d my self 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 order’d to find out the Tally-man, and threaten him, and try to find what they design’d to do with me, and what my Mother had left me. This Gentleman did so, and Gripe laid all the Fault on Furley, and promised to send for me up to London; which he immediately did. At my arrival, he treated me kindly. Then Furley and he contrived to get rid of me for good and all; so they seem’d 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. Furley 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 Furley 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. But 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, pay’d your Passage, and he has promised not to sell you, but to get you a good Service; but be assured 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 beg’d 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 wrong’d 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 what part of my Fortune he should desire in reason, when it was recover’d, as it would soon be. He answer’d, That he had other Terms to propose, which was, that I would promise to marry him in case he deliver’d me, and that then he would free me out of his hands, tho I went to Jamaica, which he fear’d 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 trepan’d 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 Miserys 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 Mr. Stephen, for that was his Name, study’d 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 shipwreck’d, as you have before heard related; and there this unfortunate young Man has, I fear, met with his Death from the Barbarians Hands, whose Virtue and Piety deserv’d a better Fate; tho as for my part, I have made a Choice much more to my liking in my dear Husband, turning her self to the Captain.
Charlotta 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 bow’d, and saluted Charlotta and Belanger, saying, ‘I think my self 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, tho she never has any.’ They all persuaded him to take his Wife, and go along with Charlotta 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 Belanger, 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 Belanger was agreeably surpriz’d with the News of his Guardian’s Death, and also that Angelina and his Sister, with her Husband Monsieur Abriseaux, were all safely arriv’d in France by the way of Spain; that Angelina was in Health with Monsieur Du Pont; that Du Riviere, who had long before left Virginia, was now living with his dear reconcil’d Louisa. Charlotta’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 Belanger’s House, who was now possess’d of his Estate: his Sister having received her’s before his Arrival, entertain’d them nobly; and they entertain’d one another with an account of the strange Adventures they had every one met withal. Monsieur Du Pont, who had retired to his Country Seat in despair of ever seeing his dear Angelina, 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 Ladys and two Gentlemen in a Coach said they must speak with me. They are utter Strangers, said he, Sir, and I deny’d them entrance as you have order’d me, saying you were busy and would not see Company; but they will not be refus’d, and one of the Ladys said she would see you tho you were dying. At these words I rose and flew to the Gate, where my Angelina was standing without; but no words can express the transport I was in at the sight of her. I catch’d her up in my Arms, and ran into a Parlor with her; there setting her down, I sometimes gaz’d upon her, and then kiss’d her, saying and doing I knew not what, nor did I remember my Kinswoman and Monsieur de Abriseaux were present, tho they stood by me, or Monsieur Morine the Surgeon, who all laugh’d: but at last Angelina reminded me of our Friends, and I welcom’d them in few words; nay I was so distracted to know Angelina’s Adventures, that I hindred her from sleeping by my impertinent Questions half the Night.’
Just as he spoke these Words, Monsieur Riviere and Louisa enter’d the Room, Belanger and Charlotta 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 scarce credit my Eyes, he was so chang’d; 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 Belanger; at home, said Monsieur du Riviere, 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, Charlotta being big with Child, and Madam Montandre near her time, Charlotta continually importun’d her Husband to go with her to England, it being the Year of the Peace which King William made with France; but he was afraid of venturing her upon the Sea in that Condition, and offer’d to go himself: Madam Montandre 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, Teresa was deliver’d of a Daughter, and Charlotta of a Son two Months afterward, and not able to go to Sea for two Months more; at last being recover’d of her Lying-in, she and Belanger went over to England from Calais, and landed safely at Dover, from whence they hir’d Horses to Bristol. There were few in the Place who knew Charlotta; but from them she learn’d the sad News that her antient Father was in Prison, and had lain there five Years, his Wife’s Debts which she had wickedly contracted having intirely ruin’d him; she would not stay a Moment after this Information, but flew to the Prison wing’d with filial Piety and tender Affection: she ask’d 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 fix’d 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 wither’d Hand, expecting an 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 Monsieur Belanger fearing she would swoon, went to draw her aside. The Tears stream’d down her Face, and her Voice falter’d, 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 caus’d such a Tumult in his Soul, that he seem’d like a Man wak’d from a frightful Dream; he trembled, held her fast, and gaz’d upon her, without speaking one Word. Belanger was so mov’d with this sight, he could scarce constrain his Tears; but he taking hold of him gently, said, Sir, be not surpriz’d, 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, cry’d out, It cannot be! ’tis all Wonder, ’tis my Child’s Face, ‘tis her Voice, and yet — At these Words he drop’d down. Belanger call’d for some help, two or three Prisoners came, whose meagre Faces and poor Habit spoke their Miseries; they assisted him to lift Monsieur du Pont into a poor Room, where his Bed lay on the Floor, and Belanger carry’d Charlotta in his Arms, who by this time recover’d; he call’d for Wine, of which he gave some to the old Gentleman; after which they talk’d and wept together: Charlotta defer’d 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 charg’d 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 refresh’d, and new clothed and shav’d 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 seem’d to participate of his Joy, and being warm’d with his Zeal, wept with him: nor could he be less mov’d, who had in one Moment receiv’d such a miraculous Deliverance from the Miserys of a Prison, the greatest Trial this Life can subject us to, and such a Child, who was restor’d to him even from the Grave. This to a Man who had outliv’d 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 enter’d a clean bed at Night with more Joy than he had ever done in his Prosperity; the next Morning he appear’d so reviv’d and alter’d for the better, that Charlotta 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 deserv’d. 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 Charlotta; she treated them all very civilly, but those who had reliev’d him in the Prison, she caress’d and entertain’d 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 120 l. a noble Gift from her, by which she obtain’d their Prayers and Blessings, which were better worth than the Money; and having furnish’d her self and Father with whatever she wanted from England, she, he, and Monsieur Belanger return’d in the same Vessel that brought them, to St. Malos; the old Gentleman being under no Apprehensions of any Troubles about his Religion, being now so very antient, and so long absent thence, that none but his Friends and Relations could remember him; but he resolv’d, 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. Angelina gave them an Account of all the strange Adventures she had met with in Barbary, which fill’d them with Admiration.
One Morning (a French Ship having come into the Port in the Night) an old Man in a very poor Habit came to young Monsieur du Pont’s House, and desired to be admitted to speak with Angelina. She was at Breakfast with her Husband, and bid the Servants admit him; but was extremely surpriz’d when she saw his Face, and knew that he was the old French Captain who had carry’d her to Canada. ‘Madam, said he, I am come to beg your Pardon before I die: God has been pleas’d 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 learn’d 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 escap’d 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 du Pont and Angelina told him, they were glad he had escap’d, and should be ready to assist the Strangers in any thing. Du Pont said, ‘I can hardly forgive you what you have done by 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 return’d 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 majestick, that he seem’d the Offspring of Mars and Venus. Their Dress was as mean as their Persons were noble, being such as Charity had furnish’d them withal. Angelina saluted and welcom’d her to France, not knowing whether she understood her or not. Monsieur du Pont answer’d the Gentleman’s Civility in the same manner, who thus address’d himself to Angelina. ‘Madam, you doubtless wonder why my Wife and I have presum’d to visit and apply our selves to you, before any other Person, at my Arrival in France: but when I tell you that her Name is Silvia de Mount-Espaigne, who was your Companion in the Convent, and was in a particular manner honour’d with your Friendship; you will not be surpriz’d that she comes to ask the Protection of her Friend.’ At these Words Angelina ran and embrac’d her, and Monsieur du Pont said, ‘Then you are my dear School-fellow Charles du Bois: My God! where have you been this Age, and what Providence has preserv’d you, whose death I have mourn’d 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.’ Angelina was the mean while weeping with Silvia, 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 deform’d as Esop, and as ill-natur’d 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 pleas’d to have such a fine young Husband. She took much upon her, and so tutor’d and school’d me upon every occasion, that my Aversion daily encreas’d towards her. I was fain to hand her about to every place she was pleas’d to gad to; and at last it was my fortune to go with her to a Chappel near the Monastery where you and my dear Silvia were Pensioners; there I saw you and her together: you I knew, because my Friend Monsieur du Pont had shew’d 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 charm’d with her, that had not my Fury been along with me, I had follow’d 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 gain’d 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 our 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 fancy’d 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 engag’d 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 little Chappel I had seen her at: I waited for her in a Coach near the Chappel, and coming out in the Croud, she slip’d 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 Fryar’s Cell, where we were marry’d. 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 engag’d 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 Silvia here some Months, tho a great Search was made after her, being very cautious in my Visits. She was in that time with Child, but miscarry’d. She never stir’d out of Doors without a Mask, or when I fetch’d her out in a Coach; but finding it was inconvenient to have her so far off, I remov’d 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 Silvia us’d to walk, and venture sometimes to look out of her Windows into it. A young Lord who often pass’d by that way, saw and fell in love with her: he soon inquired who kept the House, and learn’d that it was a Widow who had a young Gentlewoman and her Servant lodg’d with her. He, embolden’d by his Quality and Fortune, went to the House in a Chair, richly dress’d, and ask’d to see the Lady, the young Gentlewoman that lodg’d there: The Woman seeing his Attendance and Habit, was daunted. He ask’d no leave, but going by her, went up Stairs, and found Silvia sitting in her Chamber reading: She was doubtless surpriz’d, but he told her his Business was Love, and in fine would take no denial, or be gone. He suppos’d her a Mistress by the Place she resided in, being so mean and obscure, and resolv’d to possess her whatever it cost. She told him she was married, but he turn’d 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 ruin’d; 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 promis’d never to reveal who told him, and return’d him a thousand Thanks; so he came home and took no notice to me, but watched me the next time I went out, and dog’d me to Silvia, and at my return home, told me I must go travel, or marry his Daughter next Week. I was ready to go distracted before, but now I was quite overwhelm’d. I found I was watch’d, and dar’d not go to Silvia. The next Morning when I was in bed, he enter’d my Chamber, search’d my Pockets, took away all the Money I had left, with my Watch, and told me, Young Gentleman, I am inform’d you keep a Mistress, your Allowance shall be shortned; you are like to prove a good Man and an excellent Husband, that begin so well. I was so enrag’d, 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 a strict Account. I know not what I said, but we quarrel’d 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 Silvia, 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 a Clock the preceding Night, somebody knocking softly at the Door, they suppos’d it to be me; and the Maid rising, and going to it, ask’d, who was there? Somebody answer’d, It is I, du Bois; at these words she open’d the Door, and a Man in a Vizard caught hold of her, clapping a Pistol to her Breast, three more rush’d in all mask’d, and ran up Stairs, dragging Silvia 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 suppos’d, 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 happen’d. This was all I could learn, and enough to make me desperate. I return’d to my Guardian like an enraged Lion, demanded my Wife, declaring my Marriage: this made him as furious as I; he threatned to sue me for the Contract with his Daughter; I apply’d my self to several of my Relations and Friends to assist me against him, but no body car’d to meddle; for he was known to be a very rich and a very cunning Man; then I challeng’d the young Lord, charging him with stealing her, but he only laugh’d 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 Silvia, was willing to be rid of me, and readily agreed to my going to travel. I design’d 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 reveng’d 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 reconcil’d to me before the Day of Reckoning came. Attended by a Servant, I set out on my Journey, and reach’d Rome, having view’d all that was curious in my way thither thro Spain. I resolv’d to stay there some time, and took a Lodging for that purpose. One Morning my Servant wak’d me, saying there was a Youth, who said he was come post from France to me. I bad him call him up; when he enter’d my Chamber, he made a Sign with his Hand that I should send away the Servant; I did so, and then he ran to me and catch’d me in his Arms: But good Heavens! how was I at that Moment transported when I saw it was Silvia. 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 carry’d her away, came to take her out of the Chair, she seem’d half dead; they carry’d her up Stairs into a Chamber richly furnish’d, and laid her upon a Bed, and so left her; that the young Lord came into it immediately, and told her that she must now consent to his Desires, that he would never part from her again; that it was in vain to resist, or call out for help: in fine, nothing but the Condition she was in preserv’d 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 prevail’d with him to defer the execution of his brutish Design, and he call’d 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 learn’d, I having declared our Marriage, the young Lord refrain’d from visiting her some days.
One Afternoon he came, and being alone with her, he said thus to her, ‘Silvia, 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 believ’d you ruin’d by a Man who was pre-ingag’d to another, and was not half so well able to take care of you as my self: had you been a Virgin, I would have marry’d 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, Silvia, 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 utmost of my Power against Monsieur Dandin, who has been the Cause of all this Mischief.’ Here he discover’d to her what had past between him and Dandin, and how they had contriv’d together that he should steal her away, and carry her to this his Country-House, where the Servants were at his Devotion, who suppos’d she was some young Lady whom their Master had got with Child, nor dar’d inquire farther than by supposition: in fine, so soon as my Wife found her self able to sit a Horse, she by his Advice put on a Man’s Habit, and having receiv’d 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 prevent 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 remov’d to a Lodging some Miles from Rome, where Silvia, who pass’d for my Kinsman, liv’d with me; we pass’d the time very agreeably: At last we embark’d aboard a Vessel bound for Marseilles, 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 perish’d in the merciless Seas: but alas, it had been better for many of us that we had done so; for it prov’d to be a Corsair of Tunis belonging to a great Bassa there, and we were all put into Irons and carry’d thither. How inexpressible my Concern was for my dear Silvia, you may easily imagine. At our coming on Shore we were carry’d to this Bassa’s House, who viewing 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 answer’d 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 seem’d satisfy’d, and us’d us gently, making us write, or attend him into the Country, riding by the side of his Litter; but I soon perceiv’d he had a wicked Design on Silvia, whom he dress’d in a fine Turkish Dress, and treated with great Indulgence. I was seiz’d with such dreadful Apprehensions at this Proceedure, that I resolv’d 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 Muly Melee’s hands, who was a good natur’d Man; and finding him skill’d in Sea-Affairs, had made him Master of a very neat Pleasure-Boat he us’d to go out to Sea in for his Diversion; he likewise trusted him to go out in her with other Slaves, Natives of Tunis, to fish for him. The French Captain was generally thus employ’d in the Summer-Season, and was much in his favour. I was often sent aboard with him, but Silvia 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 liv’d; he directed me thither, and we agreed that Silvia 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, and 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 Infidels hands. There was a lovely Maid who had been sold to this Bassa some Months before, whose Name was Margaretta des Sanson; 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 Muly Melee’s Hands. With this Maid the Captain was fall’n in Love, so 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 arriv’d 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 unarm’d, so that we had not any thing to fear from them, being on our Guard. Here we were receiv’d as became Christians, and furnish’d with Clothes and Refreshments, having brought nothing but the Clothes on our Backs with us: from hence 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 must beg your Assistance to get Dandin to deliver up my Fortune. That, said Monsieur du Pont, is easy, for he is long since dead, and his Daugther is marry’d to a very honest Gentleman, Monsieur de Fontain, the Banker, who I dare promise will gladly restore to you all that is your due. Angelina entertain’d them nobly, and the French Captain having marry’d Margaretta, brought her to wait on her. In few Days Monsieur du Pont having manag’d the Affair, procur’d an Agreement between Monsieur du Bois and de Fontain, who honourably paid him what Moneys Dandin had in his hands of his; and Monsieur du Bois enter’d 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 heroick Christians, whom neither Slavery nor the fear of Death could prevail with to forsake their Faith, or distrust their God, they were all happily preserv’d and deliver’d out of their Troubles, and at last brought home to their own native Lands. Charlotta, 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; was blest with an excellent Husband, and many Children fair and virtuous as her self: nor was her Prosperity interrupted by any Misfortune. The virtuous Teresa and Angelina, and all the rest were blest with all earthly Happiness. These Examples should convince us, how possible it is for us to behave our selves as we ought in our Conditions, since Ladys, 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 try’d withal; yet we who never feel the Inclemency of foreign Climates, that never saw the Face of barbarous Pirates, or Savages, are impatient at a fit of Sickness, or a Disappointment, shake at a Storm, and are brave in nothing but in daring Heaven’s Judgments. Let us blush when we read such Historys as these, and imitating these great Examples, render our selves worthy to have our Names like theirs, recorded to Posterity.
* Dr. Barker, Dean of Exeter.