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The Life and Adventures of the Lady Lucy by Penelope Aubin


TO THE Right Honourable THE Lord COLERAIN.

My Lord,
It has hitherto been my Study to endeavour to discourage Vice, and inculcate Virtue, in the Minds of those, who, either out of Curiosity, or good Nature, read my Novels, the Amusements of some melancholy Hours; and I always dedicate them to such Persons, as both by their Quality and Virtues are an Awe to the Vicious, and bright Examples for the Virtuous to imitate. For these Reasons, I first presumed to make Choice of my Lady to patronize my Noble Slaves, and now of your Lordship for the injured Lady Lucy; for you are not only descended of an antient and truly noble Family, but are in your Life and Manners just and sober, neither addicted to be a Votary to Venus or Bacchus. You wisely avoid all kinds of Folly and Excess, which undo the Mind and Body, and in a sweet Retirement pass those Hours in Conversation with the Learned Dead, which others pass in Folly and Debauchery. You are without Flattery, a just and impartial Magistrate, a kind Friend, and a sincere Christian: These Qualities have made you Providence's Care, during your Travels abroad, where you have viewed the glorious Remains of Antiquity; and all your Friends are pleased and joyed to see you safe returned to England. For my own Part, I could think of no better Way of manifesting my Satisfaction and Respect, than by offering this little Present to your Lordship: The Adventures of the unfortunate Lady which it contains, will move your Compassion; and her Deliverance from Death, and Reconciliation with her Husband, your Admiration, and I doubt not but you will be agreeably diverted for some Hours; and your Name being placed at the Entrance of the Book, will be a sufficient Recommendation of it to the good and virtuous Part of this Nation. I hope your Lordship will accept it kindly, and do me the Honour to believe, that the Friendship my Lady and You have been pleased to shew for my Husband and me, shall always be remembered with the most grateful Sense imaginable, by

Your Lordship's sincerest Friend,
and obliged humble Servant,

Penelope Aubin.

PREFACE.

This is the fifth Attempt that I have made of this Nature, to entertain the Publick, and not with ill Success; which has encouraged me to proceed. The Story I here present to the World is very extraordinary, and I fear my own Sex will now be displeased with me, for Henrietta's Story; but I was obliged to follow Truth, and I hope that one ill Woman, amongst a great many others of singular Virtue, will be no Injury to the good Opinion which I would fain persuade all my own Sex to deserve, and Mankind to have of us, who are the sole Authors of our being wicked, whenever we are so. But let me give this Word of Advice to the vicious Woman; let her Station be ever so great and high in the World, nay, let her Crimes be ever so well concealed from human Eyes; yet, like Henrietta, she will be unfortunate in the End, and her Death, like her's, will be accompanied with Terrors, and a bitter Repentance shall attend her to the Grave: Whilst the virtuous shall look Dangers in the Face unmoved, and putting their whole trust in the Divine Providence, shall be delivered, even by miraculous Means; or dying with Comfort, be freed from the Miseries of this Life, and go to taste eternal Repose.

I hope that my own Nation can furnish a great many Women of all Degrees, whose Characters and Virtues are unquestionable: And I intreat all married Men to consider, from Albertus's Story, the dangerous Effects of Jealousy, and not to give Credit to Appearances, but to examine well into the Truth of Things, before they treat a Wife unkindly, or abandon her; for we are very often deceived, and condemn the innocent, whilst we love and caress the guilty. Let us be always tender of other People's Characters, and not only slow to condemn, but apt to forgive Oversights in both Sexes, that we may both live and die like Christians; and let him who has done any thing revengeful like Albertus, like him repent and make Atonement for his Crimes, and not sleep supinely in a Mistress's Arms, and pass the Time in Luxury and Folly, till Death overtakes and snatches him away, to render an Account of his Deeds at the great Tribunal above, from whence no Appeal can be made. We English are neither revengeful nor cruel, and therefore need not fear such Treatment from our Husbands, as the poor Lady Lucy met withal from her's; yet we ought not to be less cautious than the Ladies of other Nations, of giving just Occasion of Jealousy, for fear of ruining our selves and Families; and it is a poor Excuse to say we have unkind Husbands, when we prove false our selves, though I own a Husband's Cruelty often occasions a Wife's Inconstancy. I wish both Sexes would amend their Lives, which would be the greatest Satisfaction of their devoted Servant,

Penelope Aubin.

THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF THE Lady LUCY.

CHAP. I.

In the Reign of King Charles II. there lived in the most fertile Kingdom of Hibernia, and in the Province of Ulster, a noble Lord, the last of a truly antient and illustrious Family. This Lord had only one fair darling Daughter by his Lady, who was a Woman endowed with every Virtue Man could wish for, but of a very tender Constitution, so that she seldom went from home; but there she managed all things with such Care and Discretion, as made her Family entirely happy. Her Friends were all received with such good Nature and Civility, were still so treated and caressed, that every Visit which they paid her and her Lord rendered them still more dear to them, and none went thence without admiring and loving them; nor were their Gates ever shut against the Poor, or Relief denied to the hungry Traveller. Their Vassals and Domesticks so loved and respected them, that they performed their Duties with Alacrity and Pleasure.

The little Lady Lucy was looked on by her fond Parents as their greatest Treasure, and so indeed she was; for she had both a Soul and Body formed to please. She was born in the Year 1670. and for her Education nothing was spared: At the Age of thirteen she could do every thing that became her Sex and Quality. She was tall, and exquisitely shaped; her Hair was black as Jet, and her sparkling Eyes were full of Fire and Majesty; her Skin was fair, and white as new fallen Snow; and every Feature of her fine oval Face was full of Sweetness: She was in fine a perfect Beauty. She spoke French, Latin, and her native Language perfectly; she danced and sung exceeding well, played on the Lute and Harpsicord, and used her Needle with as great Dexterity as if she had been Minerva's favourite Scholar. Virtue and Prudence governed all her Words and Actions; for she had solid Sense.

Thus her indulgent Parents thought themselves doubly blessed in such a Child, and hoped that she would make them truly happy: But alas! all earthly Blessings are deceitful, and true Happiness is never found but in the Grave. After the Revolution this peaceful Kingdom was turned to a bloody Theatre; a cruel War, and unexpected Change in Church and State, altered the Face of things; and this unhappy Lord, taking the late Monarch's Part, was killed, and the victorious Party entered his Castle, and there committed such Hostilities as are customary on the like Occasions. But it so happened, that the Party of Soldiers who performed this Deed were commanded by a German Captain, who was at that time in King William's Service, a very fine Gentleman, a Man nobly born, and a Roman Catholick, as the Lady Lucy and her Mother also were. The name of this fine Officer was Lewis Augustus Albertus; he was not quite thirty Years of Age, his Person was every way agreeable, his Face was handsome, and had an Air of Majesty; he wanted no Accomplishment to make him a complete Gentleman. He entered the Castle as the Head of his Company, and coming into the Chamber where the affrighted young Lady and her afflicted Mother were retired, he beheld them with much Surprize and Compassion; they both threw themselves at his Feet, and the old Lady, whose whole Concern was now for her Daughter, her Lord being killed, thus addressed herself to him: 'See here, brave Stranger, the most wretched Woman breathing, and a Virgin by my Side the most innocent and helpless of her Sex; Death would now be most welcome to us both, but we are forbid to seek it by unlawful Means. Oh! injure not her Virtue, nor suffer the outragious Soldiers to commit any Violences on our Persons; spare her tender Years, and pity my declining Age; you doubtless had a Mother, noble as myself, your Face, your Mein speak your Descent: If you are such as you appear to be, protect us from those Ills which we dread ten times more than Death; if we must be stripped of all that we possess, and turned out naked to the World, deprived of all the Necessaries of this Life, yet at least do not permit our Persons to be abused, and let not my darling Child be ruined; give me your Word to secure us from their brutal Lust and Fury, or generously plunge your Sword into our offered Bosoms, and put an end to all our Miseries.' Here a Flood of Tears put a Stop to her Discourse, and Excess of Grief bereft her of all Speech: And here the charming Lucy, seizing his Hand, made him turn his admiring Eyes upon her lovely Face, where Fear and Modesty seemed to dispute, where every Charm was found that could engage a Heart, a Face that was able to melt the most obdurate Tyrant into Mercy and Compassion; the Tears dropped from her shining Eyes, which had till then been bent upon the Floor, and with a trembling Voice she uttered these soft Words to him: 'Yes, noble Stranger, I am prepared to meet even Death itself, rather than yield to Infamy; but spare my noble virtuous Mother's Life, which doubtless Grief will soon put a Period to; and though we are a ruined Prince's Friends, and of a Religion different from yours, (as sure we are) since you are engaged in such a Cause, yet let our tender Sex, and deplorable Condition, move your Pity.' Our generous Soldier was so ravished with her Face and Tongue, he could scarce recollect himself enough to take her up from the Ground; Love seized his Soul, and he forgot how necessary his Presence was to put a Stop to the merciless Soldier's Fury: But, recovering himself, he took her in his Arms and bid her not fear, he would protect her with his Life and Fortune, and run all Hazards to secure her and her virtuous Mother. 'I am, said he, a Christian and a Gentleman, an Enemy to Violence and Cruelty, to which the inhuman Custom of War enures the hardened Soldier; I would conquer, but not destroy or abuse my Enemies; follow me and none shall harm you.' He took her by the Hand, her Mother following, and calling for his Lieutenant, gave Orders that the Soldiers should give over all Hostilities, and leave the Castle. But alas! they had already done all the Mischief that was possible, gutted the Apartments, beat the Servants, killed some and wounded others; so that nothing was left worth their carrying away, and none but an old Steward, who had lived above forty Years in the Family, and a Servant Maid, who waited on the young Lady, remained able to follow their poor Ladies to the Captain's Quarters; to which he brought them, with their Hoods pulled down over their Faces. He gave them his own Chamber, and left them for some Minutes to go and give Orders to his Company. In his Absence, the poor old Steward proposed to his Ladies his Son's House, in a Sea-Port some Miles distant, to retreat to, if the Officer would consent to it: He was a rich Farmer, and had married a Maid who had waited on the old Lady in her Childhood, a faithful Servant to the Family. Here they hoped they might be concealed for some time, till an Opportunity could be found for them to get off into France or Holland, where they might live with Security of their Lives and Liberties; and they had wisely secured such a Quantity of Plate, Jewels and Money, (which they had, by the Advice of their prudent Lord, buried in a Field near the Castle before he went out to the Army, to which none were privy but this old Steward and his Lady) as would provide sufficiently for them in any Country, in case they could find Means to carry it off; which they doubted not they should do, if they could be concealed till the Troubles were a little over.

The Ladies approved of the good old Man's Offer; and the Captain returning, they acquainted him with their Design; he readily agreed to it, and promised to assist them with Horses and a covered Waggon, to convey them thither, with whatever could be found remaining in the Castle for their Use: But they did not at this Time let him into the Secret of the Treasure that was hid. He gave them a handsom Supper; but alas, Grief had so seized their Spirits, that they could not eat; he did all he was able to comfort them, and failed not to make his Passion known to the young Lady, by a thousand amorous Sighs and tender Expressions, giving her to understand, that he was of the same Religion as herself, and could make her both great and happy, if she would yield to be his, and go with him into Germany. To all this the young Lady gave little Answer, yet shewed no Dislike; and the old Lady prudently received his Offers with much Civility; for alas! to Persons who were in such a Circumstance, it was the greatest good Fortune to meet with such a Man, and such an Offer; yet she doubted much of his Sincerity, considering he thought them ruined. Beds were provided for them and their two Servants by his Order. And now being retired, the old Lady and her Daughter passed the Night without Sleep, reflecting on their Misfortunes, and consulting together on what was next to be done.

At break of Day the brave Captain knocked at their Chamber Door, and desired they would make haste to rise, for he had provided all things proper for their Departure, and feared lest a Part of the Army should come up, and so render their going thence difficult and more dangerous: They immediately got their Clothes on, and opened the Door to him, returning him a thousand Thanks for his Care of them: He embraced and assured them nothing should be wanting on his Part, to shew the Love and Respect he had for them; and he promised that he would come to them as soon as ever he could get Leave from his Colonel to put his Company into Quarters, and leave them. He had early this Morning sent two of his Soldiers to the Castle, to bring thence whatever Clothes and Linen they could find remaining fit for their Use; and he had also received many Things of that Kind from some of his Company, who had plundered, and now brought them to him, for which he gratified them with some Money out of his own Pockets. All he had got together was put up into a Waggon he had provided: And now they were at a loss for nothing, but only how to get the Treasure out of the Field, and that they dared not to attempt whilst the Soldiers were ranging about the Place; so they took Leave with much Civility on both Sides, and set out for the good Farmer's House, at which they arrived the next Morning, having travelled all that Day and Night, being guarded by four Soldiers within five Miles of the Place, to whom the old Lady gave two Guineas, when she dismissed them. The good Farmer received them with such Respect, and in such a Manner, as spake his Honesty and Gratitude; he remembered that he had been brought up in that noble Lady's Family, that he owed all to his dead Lord's and her Bounty, had been educated and nourished by them, and that the Lands and House he now possessed, were gain'd in their Service: His honest Wife waited on and served them as became her: And here they remained for some Time in Quiet, and had Time to digest their Sorrows and Change of Fortune.

Three Nights after their Arrival there, the old Steward and his Son returned with a covered Waggon to the Castle, and brought thence some Furniture that was left there, and the rich Treasure, which they took up out of the Place in which it was buried in the dead of the Night, and placed in a Bag of Hay in the Waggon. They carried Letters of Thanks to the Captain from the Ladies, by whose Means they passed unmolested, and returned in Safety with his Answers in two Epistles, the most respectful and amorous that Man could write.

During the Ladies Abode in this Place, there happened some very extraordinary Accidents, which 'tis necessary we should relate, for the better understanding of the Sequel of this History.

The Farmer's House, which they were in, was near a Wood, and about two Miles distant from the Sea; along the Shore and in the Wood there were only a few Cottages, and no Inhabitants of Note; the House was very melancholy and lonely, as to its Situation; and the poor Ladies, who were not used to live in such a Place, nor with so few Attendants, startled at every Noise, and could not get one sound Sleep. One Evening, just at the close of the Day, a young Gentleman in a Peasant's Habit, booted and spurr'd, came into the Court-yard bleeding, and wounded in the Body and Arm in three Places; his Looks shewed that he had been extremely frighted, and that he was fled from some Place, where he had been so ill treated, with the utmost Speed, for the Sweat trickled down his Face: He met the good Farmer, who was passing the Yard, and catching him by the Arm, fainted before he could utter one Word; the good natured Man called to one of his Men, who helped to bring him into the House, where they placed him in a Chair, and brought him to himself with some Pains. Then they asked him who he was, and how he came in that Condition? He desired them to hasten to get a Surgeon for his Wounds, and be satisfied that he was a Gentleman able to reward them for their Trouble, and ask no farther as to his Name and Quality. They bowed, and one of the Farmer's Men immediately took a Horse and went for a Surgeon, who lived seven Miles off, there being none that lived nearer. Mean time the Farmer and his Wife put the Gentleman into a warm Bed, and did what they could to hinder his Wounds from bleeding; and the old Lady having some Skill, the Farmer's Wife ran to acquaint her with the Matter, and begged her Assistance; she readily went along with her to the Chamber, and was in the greatest Surprize imaginable to find that it was the young Lord—, her own Nephew, who was reported to have been killed at the fatal Battel of the Boyne: 'Good Heavens, said she, by what Miracle were you preserved alive, and how came you here, and in this Condition?' 'I am, said he, overjoyed, my dear Aunt, to see you, but am so faint I cannot satisfy your Desires at this Time.' The good Lady got what she could to dress his Wounds, and did it so well, that the Surgeon at his Arrival approved of what she had done; and on searching his Wounds thought them not dangerous. The next Morning both the Ladies came to breakfast with him in his Chamber, and then he related his Adventures in this Manner.

CHAP. II.

I need not tell you, Madam, said he, who I am, since I have the Honour to be so nearly related to you; but as to what is of the greatest Concern to me, you are yet a Stranger; which is my Love to a young Lady to whom I have been engaged ever since I was a Student in the College at Dublin. Her Name you are well acquainted with, she was the Daughter of Sir William—; I used to visit at her Father's, and her Brother and I contracted so great a Friendship, that we were scarce ever asunder, till the fatal Day when we were parted in the Battle, where I saw him fall wounded from his Horse, and by a glorious Death crown the Actions of a well-spent Life, whose Loss I shall ever mourn. I courted the fair Henrietta by his Consent, and was so happy as to gain her Love: My elder Brother was then living, as you know; and her Father, who could give her a great Fortune, at that Time was kept a Stranger to our Love, for fear he should not approve of it. We had all the Opportunities of seeing each other that we could desire, by my generous Friend's Means; and at last made the most sacred Promises to be only one another's. But the dreadful Hour of our Separation was at hand, when we least expected it. I was sent to travel, and she was carried over to England, to see the Splendor of the English Court and Nation. She went thither before I went to France, but I want Words and Strength to express what we felt at parting, and in what a moving manner we took Leave of one another: We made a thousand Vows and Protestations to be constant. In less than two Years after I was recalled by the Death of my elder Brother; the Letters found me in Italy, where I had received several Letters from my dear Mistress, who was returned from England. I posted home, big with Expectation of possessing both her, and a great Estate: But alas! I came too late; the unfortunate Henrietta had broken all her Vows, and been prevailed on by her Father to marry an old wealthy Knight, who was turned of threescore: His vast Estate prevailed, and he consented to take her with half the Portion that her Father proposed to give her with another; so that her younger Sister obtained a more noble Match by this Augmentation of her Fortune. The jealous Knight soon left Dublin with this rich Prize, and carried her down to his Castle in this Province, where he kept her immured from almost all Company, suffering her to take no Diversions, but what his own Gardens, and his wretched self could afford her. They soon became very miserable, for she grew to hate and loath him, and beheld him rather as her Goaler than her Husband; and she treated him so coldly, that he became jealous of every Man that approached her, even of his own Domesticks; and grew so enraged, because she did not prove with Child, that he would not suffer her out of his Sight. Grief and Vexation threw her into a languishing Distemper, which made it feared that a Consumption would follow, and put an End to this Tragedy, As soon as I came ashore at Dublin, I asked after my dear Henrietta, and was informed of all these Particulars: I need not tell you each Word wounded my Soul, and was like a Poniard to my Heart. I could neither sleep by Night, or taste of any Pleasures by Day: Sometimes I detested her Falshood, and resolved to forget her; but alas! in vain I strove to conquer a Passion that had mingled with my Soul, and reigned in every Vein: I loved her as much as ever, and Pity blew the raging Flame: I could not live without a Sight of her, yet knew not how to get an Opportunity to send or speak to her. I dispatched my Affairs with all the Speed imaginable, and after having taken Possession of my Estate, I pretended to make a Voyage to England; and having taken Leave of my Friends, I left Dublin, and my Home, with only two Servants; and having sent Disguises for us to an Inn about twenty Miles onward of the Way towards my fair one's Castle, I mounted on Horseback with my Servants, and went to the Inn, where we lay that Night; and the next Morning, having put on our Disguises, which were the Habits of Peasants, we were so dressed, that no Person could have guessed us to be any other: Our clouted Shoes, coarse Coats, Leather Doublets and Breeches, old Hats, false Hair, and coarse Linen, made us look like the veriest Country Louts that ever Man beheld. Thus accoutred, having in the Portmanteaus behind my Servants put what Habits I should have Occasion for, and Money, being all well armed, we proceeded on our Journey, and reached Dundalk, without any Accident; there I left our Horses and Portmanteaus, and thence we went and lodged at a Village within a Mile of the Castle. It was dusk when we entered this Place, and I writ a Letter to this Effect to my dear Henrietta, and sent one of my Servants with it: I told her that I was come on purpose thither to seek an Opportunity to die at her Feet; that I forgave her Falshood, and loved her more than ever; and that I would run all Hazards to take her out of that Slavery to which her Father's Avarice, and her own Imprudence had subjected her, in case she was willing; that I could not live without a Sight of her; and in fine, that I conjured her by all our past Vows and mutual Endearments, to find some Means to let me see her; in order to which I informed her of the Place and Disguise I was in. I sent my Servant away with this Letter so soon as it was finished; he was acquainted with a Maid-Servant in the Family, and by that Means got Admittance into the Castle, where he lay all Night with one of the Men Servants, at the Maid's Desire; and by the Help of some Gold which I gave him for that Purpose, he so managed her, that she conveyed the Letter into her Lady's own Hand, as she waited on her at Supper in her Chamber, where she supped because she was indisposed, and the old Knight had the Gout, so that she could not leave him. She took an Opportunity to read it in her Closet, where, as she afterwards told me, she bathed it with her Tears: Her Conscience reproached her, and her Love revived, nay it was heightened by her Aversion to her Husband. She could not close her Eyes all Night, but passed the tedious Hours in debating with herself what to do; Love and Honour had a sharp Contest, but at last Love got the Victory, and she rose, and going to her Closet writ the following Lines, which I have ever since kept as a Treasure. Here he pulled the Letter out of his Bosom.

'I read your Letter with such a Concern as no Pen can express: Alas! why did you not let me die in Peace? Why have you awaked the wretched Henrietta from her Lethargy, and called to my Remembrance the pleasing Hours when we loved, and when my Virgin Soul was conscious of no Crime? I have wronged you, Lycidas, greatly wronged you, and undone myself: What can we hope for now? Nothing remains but to support our Sorrows as we ought. You ask to see me; I tremble at the Thought: The Consequence may prove fatal to us both. I know your Virtue, you know mine: I know you love, and I fear I still love you more than I ought, considering I am now another's. You say you cannot live if I refuse this last, this only Favour: Take care lest we are both made more wretched by this Interview: If it be discovered, I am lost for ever; yet I'll venture all rather than seem unkind. Come in the Dusk to-morrow Night in your Disguise; pretend to be the Maid's Brother, who is now our Confident, she shall conceal you where I'll endeavour to come to you: Take this as the last and only Proof that can with Honour be given you of the Affection the miserable Henrietta has still for you. Adieu.'

She gave this Letter to the Maid, when she came into her Chamber with her Chocolate, and she delivered it to my Servant, who made all the Haste imaginable to me with it; I opened it, and read the dear Lines with Transport: You may conclude I failed not to obey her Orders. I was at the Castle so soon as the Sun was set; my Servant introduced me to the Maid, who took an Opportunity to steal me into her own Chamber, which was next her Lady's, and there I laid down upon her Bed, and was covered over Head and Ears with the Quilt. I heard my Charmer's Voice with her old Tormentor: They did nothing but jar, and I remained till almost Midnight before the Maid entered the Room with a Candle, and told me the glad Tidings, that she was going to lye down in her Lady's Place, and send her to me: I gave her Gold for this good News, and my Soul leaped in my Breast for Joy. She went, and I soon heard the soft Tread of my trembling Charmer: She came in her Night-Gown, and Under-Petticoat; I clasped her in my Arms, we both wept; in fine, our Confusion was equal, and I believe our Love and Joy was also mutual. We passed one short Hour together, and no more, in which we whispered a thousand tender moving things, such as Lovers use on such Occasions; and I found her more charming than ever, and myself more amorous: At last the fatal Sound of the Bell alarmed us, and her cruel Husband, waked by his ill-natured Pains, forced her from my Arms. I parted with her with such Pangs and such Reluctancy as dying Misers feel, when they behold their shining Heaps of hoarded Gold dividing betwixt their greedy Heirs; nor could I let her go till she had sworn to repeat the Favour. I lay concealed a whole Week in this Chamber, the Maid keeping the Key in her Pocket, and bringing me Provisions from Time to Time; and had every Night the Pleasure of my dear Henrietta's Company, whilst her Argus slept. Her Virtue long opposed my rash Desires; but at last my Passion made me take the favourable Opportunity, and a gentle Force compelled her to grant my Desires, for she dared not make a Noise for fear of a Discovery: And now nothing was wanting to make me entirely happy, but her Consent to fly with me, and that I could not obtain. The old Dragon recovered, and I was obliged to decamp, for fear of being discovered; besides, he changed his Apartment, and took my Charmer to lye with him, on the other Side the Castle, next the Gardens. I could not support a long Absence from her, so I ventured to lye in the next Town in my Disguise, and every Night I went into the Gardens, by Means of one of the Gardiners, of whom I had procured a false Key; and so placing a Ladder he left on purpose against a Balcony that went into that Apartment, which she every Night left unlocked for me, I went into a Closet next the Bed-Chamber, and she stole out to me. At last the Troubles forced me to leave her, and her Brother and I (he knowing nothing of what had passed between his Sister and me) took Arms, and were both, as you know, in that fatal Battle, where he lost his Life, and I narrowly escaped: And now my old Disguise was more necessary than before. I had some Thoughts of flying to France, but could not go without my dear Henrietta; so I lay concealed till I got what Money and Bills I could secure, and then set out with one Servant, and that was he who was privy to my Secret, and went to the same Inn as before. I had received News from her that she was with Child, and that her Husband was very proud of it, but more jealous than ever: I soon gave her Notice of my Arrival, and the next Night had the Pleasure of her Company in the Closet as before; there I acquainted her with my Design of going for France, and she consented to go along with me. Accordingly I brought her a Suit of Man's Clothes some few Nights after, and she dressed, and went with me out of the Balcony, and through the Garden. I had placed the Horses for her and myself, about a Quarter of a Mile off, where my Man, who was also well mounted, took care of them. We mounted, and got by break of Day to a Village ten Miles off; but she being big with Child, and not well, we went no farther, but stopped there at an Inn, where we resolved to pass a Day or two, till the Search after us was over. We had no Reason to fear any thing, because we were all in Men's Habits, dressed like Country Fellows, and pretended to belong to an Officer of the King's Army, who had ordered us to stay there with the Horses till he came to us. We paid well for what we had, and the Country People were very kind to us: Besides, it being almost impossible that the old Knight, who was wholly ignorant of all that had passed, should devise where she was gone, or who had taken her away, I fancied myself safe and happy, and little dreamt of what was to follow. Having rested our selves four Days, we left this Place in our Disguises, and met nothing to molest us, till we were passing by the Wood on the other Side this House; just as we were entring it, the old Knight, at the Head of six Soldiers, all armed with Swords and Musquets, bolted out upon us: They did not fire upon us, but they seized on her, stopping her Horse; and I who had no Sword, but only Pistols and a Bayonet under my Coat, resisting, they unhorsed, and wounded me in three Places, as you see: My Servant was killed defending me, and I was left bleeding on the Ground. I saw my lovely Prize torn from me, and heard her cry for Help in vain. And now I wish to live only to be revenged; for if I recover I will go to the Castle, and drive him out with Fire and Sword, and release her, who is mine by a prior Right. This is my melancholy Story, my dear Aunt, said he, and though you may blame, yet, I am sure, you will at the same time pity us.

The old Lady answered him thus; How can I choose but condemn you, my dear Nephew, since your Imprudence has occasioned both your own and this poor Lady's Misfortunes? She was guilty of a Crime in breaking the Vows she had made you, and you have made her guilty of a much greater; and thus you had both like to have perished in your own Follies; but the Almighty has in his Mercy spared you to repent, and will I hope do the same by her; and spare the innocent Infant she goes withal. If you had waited patiently perhaps God might have taken away her unkind Husband, and then you might have been happy together, and had a Right to Heaven's Favour. He would have replied, but the Surgeon entring put an End to this good Lady's Exhortation; and the Ladies withdrew.

At Dinner a Valet of the brave Captain Albertus brought Letters from his Master to the Ladies, with a Present of some Wine and Money, which he had sent them, not knowing but they were in want of it: His Letters were full of Respect to the old Lady, and Passion for the young; he promised to visit them in few Days, and always to protect and assist them all the Days of his Life. They sent their Thanks and Acknowledgments in their Answers by the same Valet. And two Nights after, as they were both, and all the Family in Bed, they heard sad Groans near the Gate, as they imagined, which awoke them; and at last somebody knocked at it, and in a faint Voice begged to be let in: The good Farmer rose, and lighting a Candle, went to the Gate, and demanded who was there; the Person answered, a Wretch that has great Need of Comfort; hungry, cold, and sorely bruised; for God's sake give me Shelter: I am a Man of Birth, and much advanced in Years. The good Country Man opened the Gate, and was surprized to see a Man of a venerable Aspect, with a Beard down to his Waist, and a coarse gray Coat tied with a Cord about him; he had no Stockings on, his Face was meagre and pale, he was bloody, and seemed very faint: He brought him into the House, and gave him something to eat and drink, asking how he came in that Condition, and who he was? He answered, that he was born a Gentleman, and that he had lived the Life of a Hermit for forty Years past, in a Cottage in the adjacent Wood; that he had been sick of a Fever and Ague for three Months past; and for the last fourteen Days had been so weak, that he could not get to the next Town for Food; that certain Persons, disguised in Vizards and strange Habits, had that Night entered his Cottage, as he lay sleeping on some Straw, as was his Custom, and dragg'd him out thence by the Heels, giving him many Kicks and Blows, till they thought he was dead; so they drew him out of the Wood, and left him on that Side which was next this House: 'Recovering myself a little, (said he) and finding I must perish without Help, I presumed to knock at this Hospitable Gate, and have found what I wanted and desired: I hope Heaven will ever hear you in your Need, and reward all the charitable Deeds you do.' The Farmer gave him Water to wash his Face and Hands, and put him into a clean Bed, and leaving him a lighted Candle, and some Cordial by his Bed-side, at his Request went to his own Chamber: but the old Lady, who was rose out of Bed, and had got on her Clothes, stop'd him as he past by her Chamber-door, to know what had past; and he gave her an Account; so she returned to Bed, longing for the Morning, that she might know who this Stranger was. So soon as she was up she asked after him, and was by the Farmer's Wife conducted to his Chamber, with the young Lady Lucy : He was so ill he was not able to rise; and seemed as much surprized at the Sight of such Persons in such a Place, as they were to see him in so poor a Condition; for his Countenance spake a Man of Quality. After some Discourse between them they became acquainted, and he grew more free, and promised to declare some Part of his Life and Adventures, which were very extraordinary, to them; yet he still concealed his Name and Family, as also the Place of his Birth: The young Lord was also present. And after Dinner they again repaired to this Hermit's Chamber, as it had been agreed; and being all seated near his Bed-side, he related his Story in these Words.

CHAP. III.

I was born to a great Estate, and had all the Education bestowed upon me that is usual for young Gentlemen to have. When I was come of Age, I fell in Love with a young Widow Lady, who had a Fortune equal to my own: We married, but were never blest with a Child; we lived for some Years very happily; she had a Sister thirteen Years younger than herself, who had a considerable Fortune, and lived with us: I insensibly grew very fond of this Child; she was beautiful as an Angel, and for her Years as witty; she had a thousand infant Charms about her; I loved her like a fond Father: But when she was grown up to thirteen Years, I doated, and became, alas! a jealous raging Lover. I beheld every Man who approached her as a hated Rival: I watched all her Looks and Actions, could not support her Absence, forgive me, Heaven! and under the Pretence of a Brother and a Guardian, concealed my Crime, and was thanked by my Wife, and respected by her Family. And thus I found Means to break off every Match that was proposed to her; till at last, a young Gentleman of a Family superior to her's, and of an equal Fortune, every way accomplished, both as to his Person and Understanding, made his Addresses to her, and I too plainly saw that she was much inclined to grant his Suit. And now I was on the Rack, Reason and Religion pleaded in vain, my headstrong Passion overcame all Considerations, and I thought of nothing but how to gain her to my own wicked Desires, and to prevent her being another's; and I, who had all my Life long before lived a good and virtuous Life, and had the most awful Sense of God and Religion that a Christian ought to have, was in an Instant converted into one of the vilest Wretches on Earth, and grew capable of forming, and at length of acting, the most villainous Designs. Thus when we once suffer unlawful Desires and loose Thoughts to vitiate our Minds, and make one false Step contrary to our Duty, we insensibly fall into greater Crimes, and soon become Vassals to the Devil, and grow the most audacious of Sinners. Take Care, young Gentleman, (said he, addressing himself to the young Lord,) 'tis to you I chiefly direct this Discourse, swerve not from your Duty, nor suffer that unhappy Passion which has ruined my Peace for ever in this Life, to lead you into the like Crimes and Misfortunes, as it has done me. At these Words the young Lord changed Colour, and his Aunt looked seriously upon him, and the Hermit proceeded in this Discourse. But now, (said he,) I could neither sleep nor eat, my Countenance was changed, and my Wife, who dearly loved me, was very inquisitive to know what I ailed; I pretended that I was not well: But my Rival paid his Visits daily to Emilia, and I found it in vain to oppose the Marriage longer, there being no Pretence for it. This drove me to Despair, and put me upon making use of the most desperate Means to prevent it, and I resolved to ruin her, and get rid of him at any rate. I long deliberated which of those wicked Designs I should first put in Execution: I considered that if I should first debauch her, she might make it known to him, and that would be my utter Ruin, and might perhaps occasion the Death of him and me; but he being out of the way, I might, by Threats and Entreaties together, gain her to do whatever I would. This being at last resolved, I rode out one Morning to a Village twenty Miles off; and leaving my Servant at an Inn with the Horses, I walked out into the Town; there I found an Apothecary's Shop, and bought as much Opium as would do the fatal Deed, and went back to the Inn and dined, and so returned home well pleased with my Journey. I passed the Night with much Anxiety, my Conscience being greatly troubled; but having put the stupifying Drug into some Water to infuse over Night in my Closet, I put it into a Vial, and put it up in my Pocket the next Morning; and my Rival coming to Breakfast with us, I took an Opportunity to convey it into a Cup of Coffee, which I put into his Hand as he was fooling with Emilia; he drank it off, and suspected nothing. I invited him to stay Dinner, for I was always very civil to him, and he accepted the Offer; they walked out into the Gardens, where he began to feel a Dizziness in his Head, and before Noon the Poison so operated, that he went home in his Coach, hastened to bed, and never rose again: The Physician who was called (for there was but one near the Place) found him dead, and inquired no farther. My Sister-in-Law grieved extremely, but hid it as much as she could; I comforted and laughed her out of it as much as I was able, and did all that was possible to oblige her, and made her every Day little Presents. And in fine, about a Month after my Rival's Death, my Wife being sent for to a rich Uncle's, ten Miles off, who lay a dying; and being not to return that Night, or perhaps in two or three, I resolved to execute my wicked Design upon Emilia; it was Winter, the Winds blew, and the Stars gave no Light; it was a Night dark as the Deed I went to execute; all the Domesticks were gone to rest, and the lovely innocent Emilia lay locked in Slumbers, sweet as those of newborn Infants, and none but my wretched self, whom Lust and an unlawful Passion racked, was waking. I rose, and throwing only my Nightgown over me, with my Slippers on, and my drawn Sword in my Hand, and a Dark-lanthorn, I went softly to her Chamber, and entered it without any Noise: I approached the Bed with trembling Steps, and found her sleeping: I gazed upon her with the utmost Transport, and putting my Lanthorn into the Chimney, having locked the Door within side, I stole into Bed to her, having laid my Sword on the Bed; I clasped her so fast in my Arms that she could not stir, and stopping her Mouth with Kisses, prevented her making any Noise: She struggled in vain; I effected my Design, and betwixt Threats and Entreaties so governed her, that she permitted my Stay till almost Day-light, when I retired to my Chamber with the utmost Satisfaction; and now I thought of nothing but repeating my Joys. I had some Stings of Conscience, but I stifled them with a Bottle; and my Wife staying out three Nights, we passed them, as we thought, very agreeably: She returning home, brought the pleasing News that her Uncle was dead, and had left her three thousand Pounds. The criminal Converse betwixt Emilia and me continued for six Months, and I found frequent Opportunities of enjoying her; but at last we were alarmed with the fatal Signs of her being pregnant; I purchased and gave her such Drugs as could cause Abortion, but in vain, and she grew big: My Wife, who dearly loved her, was extremely concerned at her being indisposed. And now Emilia began to make me a thousand Reproaches, and grew to almost hate me. I several times resolved to poison her, and so prevent our mutual Infamy; but the Affection I still had for her made me desist from it. One Night, my Wife being gone from Home to a Lady's who was in Labour, I stole to Emilia's Bed, and as we slept in one another's Arms, she wakened me with her Shrieks; I asked her what ailed her, but in vain, the cold Sweat trickled down her Face, and she seemed quite bereft of her Senses; See there, there he stands, she cried, Villain, Monster, what Poison! did he give thee Poison? barbarous Wretch; and shall I fall a Victim to his Cruelty also. She continued to rave thus for some time; at last she fainted in my Arms, and then recovering, threw her Head into my Bosom, and let fall a Shower of Tears: I embraced her, and cried, my Dear, what ails you: Oh! says she, I have had a Dream that has filled my Soul with Horror, my Limbs shake, and Fear seizes every Joint; methought I saw the dead Leander standing by my Bed-side in his Shroud, his Face was pale as Death, he had a China Cup in his Hand, he looked stedfastly upon me, and then pointing to you, gave three such dismal Groans as would have each even pierced a stubborn Heart: Methought I saw his Bosom heave, labouring as if some dire Secret struggled in his Breast to be disclosed, then thrice he shook his Head and frowned on you, at last he spoke, and in a hollow Voice cried, There, there, in thy Arms, ruined Emilia, sleeps my cruel Murderer: Curst is thy Fate; thy harmless Infant shall not see the Light, nor e'er be freed from thy unhappy Womb. I would disclose something of mighty Consequence to thee, but han't Permission for to do it; prepare for Death; as I am now, so shall you shortly be, and let the Murderer beware; he poisoned me the fatal Morning we saw one another last; this fatal Cup of Coffee received the poisonous Dose, he put it in my Hand, farewel, remember Death; my Blood cries out for just Revenge, Revenge, Revenge. At these most direful Words he vanished, and I— O Heavens! he's here again, she cried, Oh hide me, hide me, or I die with Fear. She clung about me, and I was filled with so much Horror, that I fled the Chamber; my guilty Conscience stared me in the Face: She quickly followed to my Chamber, I took her into Bed, and did all I could to persuade her it was nothing but a Dream, but in vain: She asked me an hundred times over, if I knew nothing of Leander's Death. The Day-break forced her from my Chamber: In fine, she was nightly tormented with such Visions, and I began to be so distracted with the Terrors of my Conscience, and Fear of Discovery, and her approaching Lying-in, that I at length resolved to get rid of her the same Way as I had done of my Rival, and I gave her such another Dose; but my Wife sending for an able Physician, upon viewing her Body, and examining into the Circumstances of her Death, he discovered that she was both big with Child and poisoned; he used all Means to recover her, but in vain. And now pretending a mighty Concern for her's and our own Reputation, I advised my Wife to smother the Discourse as much as possible, and told her, doubtless she had been debauched by some of our own Domesticks, whose mean Birth made her ashamed to marry him; and so she had at last fallen into such Despair, reflecting on her own Folly, that she had poisoned herself. This passed current with my Wife, and every Body else; we interred her handsomely, as became her Quality and Fortune, which fell to my Wife. And thus I concealed my Crimes from the World, and got rid of my Fears; but the all-searching Eyes of the Almighty could not be blinded. I sought all Kinds of Diversion to prevent thinking; I went a hunting every Day, and drank my Bottle or two every Night, to get some Rest, and prevent Thought; and thus I was, I fancied, tolerably easy; yet I could not hear a Passing-Bell without trembling, and Death was never mentioned, or a Funeral passed in my Sight, but my Soul shivered. My Wife grew sickly, and I was forced at last to lye alone: This was insupportable, and I resolved to make a Journey to Dublin, with Hopes to find better Company, and to be diverted with seeing Plays frequently: In fine, I set out with no other Attendants but two Servants, with my Wife's Approbation, who was to follow me if she grew better. I went twenty Miles the first Day; and lay at a very good Inn at Night: I had a Candle left burning in my Chamber, as was my Custom, and being something tired I soon fell asleep; but, just Heavens! I was presently waked by a Person's opening the Door, who had the Form of a Woman; she was in an Undress, and her white Sarsnet Hood was pulled down over her Face: She took up the Candle, and came to my Bed-side. I was before surprized, but judge what I felt when I discovered the Face, and saw it was my dear murdered Emilia: Villain, said she, you think to fly the Place where you committed the black Deeds you have done, to get more Ease elsewhere; Remorse shall still pursue you. She struck me on the Face, and the Blood streaming from my Nose, she clapp'd a Handkerchief she had in her Hand to it, and cried, When you see me and this again, remember you are called to Judgment, and your Dissolution is at Hand. She vanished, and left me in an inexpressible Agony; all the Horror of my Guilt was now before my Eyes, and I began to have a true Sense of my Condition: I rose, and threw myself on my Knees, imploring the Almighty's Pardon as I ought. The next Day I reached Dublin, there I locked myself up in my Chamber, almost all Day, and led a Life of true Penance, to the Surprize of all that heard of my Arrival, and came to see me. I soon returned home, and found my Wife dying; she lived but a few Days after my Arrival: I buried her nobly, as she deserved, and now put in Execution what I had before designed. I sent for my younger Brother, and delivered into his Hands all my Estate, making him enter into Obligations with me in Writing, to give one third Part of the Revenues of it yearly to the Poor of the Parishes round about where my Estate lyes, and to give me two thousand Pounds in ready Money. After this I took Leave, and returned the Money by Bills to Armagh, and taking only one faithful Servant with me, whom I could trust, a Lad that had been born and bred up in my House, I set out for that Place. Being arrived there, I sought for a proper Place to retire to, resolving to live a Recluse the rest of my Life; and by the strictest Penance, and continual Prayer to endeavour to reconcile myself to the Almighty, and through my Saviour's Merits obtain Pardon of my great and heinous Sins. I found this neighbouring Wood very fit for my Design, and bought the poor mean Cottage I have ever since lived in, of a poor Peasant who dwelt there with his miserable Family: I gave him an hundred Pounds for it, to put them in the World, to them an immense Sum, and they left their Habitation to me, with a thousand Thanks and Blessings. I provided myself of such a poor Habit as you now see me in, and left my other Clothes with my Servant, whom I put into a Shop, to get his Living, at a Town hard by; he brings me a Loaf of Bread every three Days, with some Roots or such Herbs as I want, for I have eat nothing else these forty Years, except in Sickness. I go thrice a Year to do my Duty to God, by receiving the blessed Sacrament. And now the Son of my Servant comes to me, his Father being unable to come himself; though to my great Surprize he has neglected it for fifteen Days past, and I fear some Mischance has befel the poor Lad these troublesom Times. I have thus lived without conversing with any human Creature these forty Years; and in continual Expectation of seeing that dreadful Handkerchief that must warn me away hence, to appear at the great Tribunal above, where I must expect my final Doom. I know, said he, that these kind of Relations of Apparitions are looked upon by a great Part of the World as Fictions, and the Product of weak Brains; nor shall I pretend to determine whether they be the real Spirits of the Persons who appear, or their good Angels who assume their Shapes by the divine Permission, to discover the Murders of such Persons as were in their care, or to awaken the Consciences of such wretched hardened Sinners as I was to Repentance; or whether the Almighty causes such Forms to appear to the Imaginations of such Persons: This is a Search too curious for our finite Understandings; but this is most certain from the Testimony of all Ages, that such things have been frequent in all Times; and that even at Mid-Apparitions have been seen by Persons of the greatest Courage and Integrity; and that such Secrets have by this Means been discovered, as could never have come to the Knowledge of those to whom they appeared, any other Way. What I relate to you at this Time I know to be Truth, and will aver it with my last Breath; and let us not flatter our selves that our Crimes can be concealed, tho' acted with ever so much secresy, for the Almighty, who sees our Actions, can make Use even of the Tongues and Spirits of the Dead to reveal them, and melt the most obdurate Heart in a Moment into Repentance, even to confess and have a true Sense of his Faults. Here our Hermit grew very faint, and desired some Wine, which was given him. The rest of the Day was passed in pious Reflections, and good Discourse on this strange History. They concluded the disguised Persons, who had used the old Gentleman so inhumanly, must be Thieves who had fled to that Wood for Shelter. They left him at Night to his Repose.

At break of Day he called to the Farmer, and begged he would fetch a Priest, for he should die before Night; the Farmer was surprized, and left his good old Father to attend him whilst he went, there being none nearer than a Mile off, where a Catholick Gentleman kept a Chaplain. The Priest being come, the Hermit declared that he had that Night seen the Apparition, with the bloody Handkerchief; that she looked on him with a smiling Countenance, and said, 'Tis I, prepare for Death, your Prayers are heard, and so vanished; before Noon he fell into strong Convulsions, and felt the Approaches of Death: The Priest gave him the last Sacraments, and he expired before seven at Night, having ordered how the Money he had left at Armagh should be disposed of to such Uses as might benefit his Soul. He had discovered his Name and Quality to the Priest, who put his Body into a Herse, and went with it to his Estate, where he found the Deceased's Brother, who was much surprized, having never heard any News of him, since he went to Armagh: He buried him amongst his Ancestors, and on hearing the Particulars of his past Actions, was filled with Admiration, for his Brother had ever passed for a very good Man; he was sorry to hear that he had been guilty of such Crimes, but rejoiced that he had so greatly repented, and so well prepared himself for Death; concluding with himself how little we are able to make a true Judgment of Persons whilst they are living, and how incapable of distinguishing the good Christian from the Hypocrite. I need not tell you what an Impression this Hermit's Story and Death made upon the old Lady and her virtuous Daughter; but above all on the young Lord: He reflected seriously on the Crime he and Henrietta had committed, and quite changed his Resolutions of taking her from her Husband by Force, resolving if she ever came to him to carry her to Flanders, and there place her in a Convent, and to enter himself into some religious Society.

CHAP. IV.

Not many Days after the Death of the Hermit, the brave Captain Albertus arrived, to pay a Visit to the Ladies: He had quitted his Post, being a Man who had a good Fortune in Germany, and come to acquaint Lady Lucy, that if she was disposed to marry and go with him, he was ready to conduct her and her Mother to Germany, where she should find a plentiful Fortune, and noble Family to welcome her. He brought along with him a Youth, whom he met withal in the Way in the Manner following.

As he was riding by the adjacent Wood with three Servants, he saw this Youth come running towards him, quite out of Breath; he appeared as if he feared being pursued, and begg'd of him to let him attend him to the next Town, for he said that he had just escaped from the Hands of a Band of Robbers, with whom he had been kept fourteen Days a Prisoner: The Captain, taking Pity of his Youth, let him get up behind one of his Footmen, and so brought him hither, not knowing what or who he was. 'Tis needless to tell you how welcome the Captain was to the two Ladies: But the young Lord, who was in a sort of a profound Melancholy ever since the Death of the Hermit, was in an Extasy when he saw the Youth, who ran to him, and throwing his Arms about his Neck, cried out, Blest Heavens! my dear Lord, are you then alive? and do I hold you again in my Arms? praised be that God who has preserved us both to meet again. This was enough to discover to the Company that it was Henrietta in Man's Clothes. He received her with open Arms, and uttered so many passionate Expressions, that it was in vain for some time that the Ladies desired to know her Adventures: At last she told them, that as her Husband, the old Knight, was carrying her back to his Castle, attended only by two of the Soldiers, a Band of Thieves, well armed and well mounted, and Vizards on their Faces, met with them, and hearing my Lamentations, said she, cried, Stand, you old Villain; what are you going to do with that handsom Youth? He answering rudely, one of them discharged a Pistol in his Face, and killed him on the Spot: The two Soldiers ran away, and left me in their Hands, more than half dead with Grief and Fear: They plundered my Husband's Pockets, and took what Gold he had, as also his Watch and Rings, throwing his Papers about, which I gathered up; and there I found the fatal Letter you had sent to me, to acquaint me with your Return from the Army, mention was also made of my being big with Child: This Letter I had mist out of my Cabinet for some Time before, which doubtless he had a false Key to, by this Means he got Knowledge of our Intrigue, and so it was not hard for him to discover us; perhaps the Gardiner might also betray something to him of our Escape and your Habit: But now to return to my own Story, what Treatment the Thieves gave me; I begg'd to be let go, but in vain, doubtless they suspected that I was a Woman; and the Leader or Captain of them had taken a Liking to me, for he commanded them not to stand prating, but to tie my Hands behind me and make off; they did so, and mounted me before one of them, and so they rid towards the Wood as fast as their Horses Legs could carry them: Being come thither they entered a poor Cottage, where I found they made their Abode, and lodged the Booty they got: Here I found a poor Irish Woman and her Daughter, who spake nothing but their native Tongue, which, though we are all born in the same Kingdom, except the Captain, yet we are not able perfectly to understand. These two Creatures dressed their Victuals, and fetched Provisions, and whatever they wanted, from the neighbouring Villages, their poor Habits rendering them unsuspected. They had doubtless committed many Robberies that Day, for they pulled out a great many Watches, Rings, and abundance of Money: They shut all the Doors, and sent their Horses to a Farmer's on the other Side the Wood, where I find they are kept for them; here they were very merry, eating and drinking plentifully. They were mighty civil to me in their Way, and told me no Injury should be offered to me. Their Captain told me he was a better Man than perhaps I thought him, for he was the Son of as good a Family as any in the Kingdom, though a Cadet; and had more Money now at his Command, than many that were in great Posts in the Government, and robb'd the Publick: And then addressing himself to his Companions, My Fellow-Adventures, said he, this delicate choice Morsel I prefer to the rest of the Booty we have this Day gotten; divide the Money of this Day amongst you, I will take this pretty Boy. My Concern was at this Time so excessive, and my Fears, together with the Fright I had suffered before, that I felt the Pains of Labour coming on, I fainted in the Chair as I sat at Table; he rose to help me, and poured some Usquebaugh down my Throat; this recovered me, but hastened my Pains: I was obliged to make known my Condition, on which they had so much Humanity, as to let the Women help me to Bed; and there, without any other Aid, I was that Night delivered of my Child, who lived not an Hour, in which Time, weak as I was, I forgot not to baptize it by my own Name, it being a Daughter. This fortunate Accident, which I look on as a Providence, prevented a greater Misfortune, which must doubtless have otherwise befallen me. About Midnight I heard some body knock gently at the House-Door, and give a Whistle, on which it was opened, and I heard a Man's Voice, who said, Let the Gentlemen be ready on the Road to Armagh by four o'Clock, for there is a Booty will pass by. Soon after I heard the Horses come to the Door, and all the Thieves ride away. I was so weak, though I wanted for nothing to eat and drink, that I could not go cross the poor Room I lay in for ten Days; but getting a little Strength to stand at the Window and creep down Stairs, I meditated how to get away. The Captain made me two or three Visits, and seemed to rejoice that I mended: And I believe they are all Gentlemen, but such as are ruined either by their own Imprudence and Vices, or by the Change of Affairs in this Kingdom; but I trembled at his Compliments, and could not bear the hateful Thoughts of yielding to my Husband's Murderer, though he was so unkind to me; and much more of being made for ever unworthy of you, my dear Lord, who are, and ever was, the only Object of my Affection. No, my beloved Henrietta, (said he) I am indeed the Murderer of your Husband, I am the sole Cause of his Death, and we must both do what we can to expiate our Crime; but of that we will talk hereafter; proceed. She looked upon him with some Concern, and went on with her Relation: This Morning, said she, the old Woman being gone out for Provisions, and the young one employed in making my Bed, I found Means, weak as I am, to make my Escape, not knowing one Step of the Way, nor which Path to take; but I fancied if I was once got out of the Wood, I should not fail to meet with some honest Passengers, who would go with, or direct me to a Town, from whence I might get Means to go to my Father's, or my own Home, and get some News of you, for whom I was an hundred times more in Pain than for myself, resolving if you were dead to live a Widow all the rest of my Days, retired from the World. The Resolution was good, my dear Henrietta, said the young Lord, and I thank you; but remember you broke your first Vows. The Ladies welcomed her; and these serious Discourses were laid aside. The young Lady lent her a decent Habit, in which they could not but admire her Beauty and Shape. The Captain was very importunate with the young Lady Lucy to grant his Suit; and in few Days all Things were agreed, and a Priest was sent for, who joined their Hands, as Heaven had done their Hearts, and made, in all Appearance, one happy Pair. The young Lord consulted this good Father about Henrietta and himself, who enjoined them both a Year's Penance, and then gave Leave that they should marry, in Consideration of their being contracted together before her former Marriage. And now the Ladies informed the Captain of the Treasure they had saved; and all Things were got ready in Order for the Captain and his Mother-in-Law, with the old Steward, who begg'd to attend his dear Ladies, to embark with the first Opportunity of a Vessel for to go to Ostend, and so from thence by Land to Heidelberg, near which the Captain's Estate lay; and the young Lord and Henrietta, who did not think it safe to remain in Ireland, agreed to go with them; So he writ to a near Relation in Dublin, to secretly remit him Moneys to Armagh, where he had lodged a considerable Sum, which he had brought thither in Bills, and let him know where he was going to settle, and with whom. One of the Captain's Servants carried the Letter, and soon returned with a satisfactory Answer.

During this Interval of Time, from the Captain's Arrival to their Departure, it was agreed that an Information should be given to one of the Magistrates of Armagh, to send some to apprehend the Nest of Highwaymen in the Wood; and the old Steward was accordingly sent, and returned with a sufficient Force to apprehend them, having a Troop of Horse; but too late, for they found none but the two Women; who on Examination confessed, that they were a Company of desperate Gentlemen, who were fled for Fear of Discovery; the Estates of three of them being lost, of which their Captain was one; the rest were younger Brothers: All had been enaged for their Master King James: That they had taken up this Way of Life out of Despair, and were now all fled out of the Kingdom, in a small Vessel which they had hired at the next Port, to carry them and their Booty either to France or Holland, they knew not which: That they were ignorant of all their Names, they having never made use but of those they were christened by, as Tom, Will, Harry, &c. and what they knew they had been informed of only by their Discourse to one another. This was all that could be discovered; however, the Magistrates caused the Cottage to be pulled down, and sent the two Women to the House of Correction; and examined the Farmer where Henrietta had heard their Horses stood; but that was no Proof since she only heard it, and did not appear; so the Farmer denied it, and was let go.

And now a Ship was hired to carry our Heroine and the rest to Ostend; and they all embarked with their Treasure, and had a safe Passage: And passing through many fine Towns and strong Cities, in their Way to Heidelberg, they viewed all that was curious both in the Churches and Palaces, with which the Ladies were well pleased, having never travelled in foreign Countries before. Being at last arrived at the Captain's Estate, his Relations, who were People of great Quality, received them with much Civility and Magnificence: And now the old Lady and her virtuous Daughter blessed God, and thought themselves completely happy, after their Misfortunes. It was impossible that a Man could be fonder of a Wife than the brave Albertus was of his; he doated upon her, and nothing was wanting to complete their Felicity: She brought him three fine Children in three Years Time; two of which, being Daughters, lived. Nor was the young Lord less pleased with the charming Henrietta, whom he had married the Day after their Year of Penance was expired. These accomplished Persons lived all together, and the ingenious Lady Lucy grew every Day not only more charming, but more improved in her Understanding, and her Conversation was admired and coveted by every Body, who had the Honour to once enjoy it. She was prudent without being reserved, and gay without Folly: And though she was not yet twenty, she was as good a Manager of her self and Family, as if she had been forty. Yet so precarious is the Prosperity of this World, that an unforeseen Misfortune ruined and made her become one of the most wretched Creatures breathing. Albertus had a Cousin who was a Colonel in the Emperor's Army; a Lord, younger and as handsom and accomplished as himself. This Gentleman came to Heidelberg, and went soon after his Arrival to pay a Visit to his Kinsman Albertus; there he saw the charming Lady Lucy, his new Relation, and fell so passionately in Love with her, that he forgot all Ties of Religion and Blood. He stay'd at his Kinsman's three or four Days, too long for his Repose, and this unhappy Lady's; his Visits were very frequent for two Months after, during which Time he kept the fatal Secret to himself. He gave the Ladies a hundred Diversions, took them and their Husbands a hunting, made Balls and Masquerades to divert and surprize them; in fine, he was magnificent in all Things, both as to Habit and Expences, which is the most ready Way to engage the fair Sex. Albertus began to discern his Passion for his Lady, and Jealousy, the worst of Frenzies, entered his Breast; after which, 'tis needless to tell you, that he misconstrued every Look and Gesture of his innocent Wife, and began to grow cool in his Behaviour to her: She too soon perceived this cruel Change, and strove by her excessive Tenderness of him to rekindle his Love, and discover the Occasion of this Alteration. This increased his Jealousy, and he imagined she did this to cloke her Falshood, and that it was all Dissimulation. She nightly pressed him to disclose to her the Reasons why he was sad and pensive; she wept upon his Bosom, but all in vain, he seemed not to regard her: In fine, he waited for an Opportunity to discover the Truth, resolving to have such a Revenge of both, as might satisfy his Rage, and recompense the Loss of his Honour.

The amorous Frederick was blind to all but his raging Passion; and now he could no longer keep the Secret, and fearing to trust a mean Person with a Message or Letter to her, not being able to get to the Speech of her alone, because she gave him no Opportunity, though not out of Design, but because it was not her Custom to be ever out of the Company of her Mother, Husband, or some other of her Family. She in Truth highly respected this young Lord, as being her Husband's Kinsman, and a Person who always strove to oblige both her and hers, but she never thought of Love. He at last pitched upon Henrietta, her dearest Friend, whom he perceived to be a Lady not altogether so reserved and prudent in her Conduct, as Lady Lucy was, for that Lady was freer, and less upon her Guard, and had indeed taken too great a Liking to him, for she secretly loved him. She was in her Nature more inconstant and less virtuous than the more perfect Lucy, as her former Conduct had shewn. After having engaged her to Secrecy, he gave her a Letter to deliver to her Cousin, making her swear the most sacred Oaths neither to open it, or deliver it into any other Hand: She received it with the utmost Perplexity, too well guessing the Contents; and retiring into her Chamber, viewed it for some Time with a Woman's Curiosity, long disputing whether she should break the solemn Promises she had made, and open it, or perform her Duty: But when the Passion of unlawful Love has once taken Possession of a Heart, no Promises can bind, and Religion itself is forgotten. She opened the fatal Billet-deux, and found these Words in it:

'Madam,
I own so much Virtue appears in all your Conduct, that I have not the least Occasion to hope for any Pity from Lucinda, the best, and most beautiful of her Sex: Your Soul and Body are altogether divine, but 'tis that Virtue, and that Beauty that have captivated my Reason; I die to possess you, cannot live without you, grant me one Moment of your Company alone, perhaps such Advice may flow from your rosy Lips, as may cure my Lunacy: Fear nothing from a Man who is intirely devoted to your Service, a Man who would sacrifice a thousand Lives to serve you, and rather die a thousand Deaths than offend you. I am so distractedly in Love, that I know neither what I say or do, except that I am the most passionate of all Mankind, and the most wretched, if you do not condescend to give me a favourable Hearing: There is no Crime in this, and I will never ask more than your Bounty will bestow on'

'The miserable Frederick.'

When Henrietta read this amorous Epistle, Rage and Jealousy burnt in her Breast, and she was all on Fire to be revenged, but reflecting a little, Woman's Wit, which is very happy always at Invention, opened her Eyes, and she found she had now the most favourable Opportunity in the World to enjoy the Man she loved, and throw the Infamy of the Deed upon another. Now she need only personate the innocent Lady Lucy, counterfeit her Hand, with which she was too well acquainted, and supply her Place. Transported with this Thought she writ the following Letter, and put it into the enamoured Frederick's Hand the next Day, as they were walking in the Gardens of the Castle after Dinner.

'I received your Letter from the Hands of my dearest Friend, in whose Breast I am sure all Secrets are safe: I have too well guessed that you had some such Inclination for me; I ought not, 'tis true, to have returned an Answer to such a Proposal. Alas! my Lord, you forget that I am married: You believe me virtuous, Why do you tempt me to run the Risque of being otherwise? You promise you will ask nothing but what I may with Honour grant; for so I would understand you: You beg a private Interview, because you hope for some salutary Advice from me to cure you, I pray Heaven, I may be able to do it. I would desire that we might contract such a Friendship, as may last as long as our Lives; but I tremble at the Thought of a criminal Affection: Yet I have so great Confidence in your Honour, that I will trust myself with you alone; come to my Closet next the Gardens at nine this Evening, and stay till I come to you, my Husband will then be engaged at Ombre, and I can steal away: Neither ask or hope any Thing, but what I may grant with Honour. Burn this Letter, and make a right Use of this Indulgence I shew for you.' Adieu. Lucy.'

Our impatient Lover broke open and read these counterfeit Lines with the greatest Transport, and never doubted but that they came from the Mistress of his Heart. Mean Time the innocent Lady thought nothing of the Ills that were preparing for her. At the Hour appointed the amorous Frederick failed not to take Leave of the Company, pretending a Visit to a neighbouring Gentleman, leaving Albertus at Cards with some Gentlemen, and flew to the Closet, where he threw himself upon a Couch, and lay for near half an Hour on the Rack of Expectation before the Lady came; during which Time Henrietta, whose Lord was also engaged at Play, went into the Lady Lucy's Apartment, who was gone to her Mother's Chamber, the old Lady being indisposed, and put on one of that unfortunate Lady's Night-gowns, and pulling her white Sarsnet Hood over her Face, stole to the Closet, where the Lover received her with open Arms. They were obliged to whisper, so that no Discovery could be made from her Voice: Many passionate Expressions passed on his Side, with a hundred Vows and Promises of eternal Love and Fidelity. She seemed altogether so disordered, that she scarce knew what she did or said; so that he taking Advantage of that too commodious Opportunity, with a little Force gained his Ends, for Love betrayed the Fort within, while he assailed without. Henrietta's Virtue was but frail, and could not stand the Test before; she had not the brave Lucy's Virtue, nor her Conduct. Thus they passed a fatal Hour together, and then parted with mutual Promises of Love, and Repetitions of their short-lived Pleasures. He stayed behind some Time in the Closet as she ordered him, and she took off her Disguise, and went down to the Company: Lord Frederick quitting the Closet went round by the Back Stairs, and so went to make his Visit, greatly delighted and surprized at his good Fortune, and the easy Conquest he had made, when he expected a long Resistance, which Lady Lucy's known Virtue might with just Reason make him apprehend: He returned to Supper, and at Table cast his Eyes an hundred times upon the innocent Lady, wondering in himself that she seemed no way to regard, or return his amorous Glances; whilst Henrietta reddened, and changed Colour often, being vexed that his Inclinations were directed to another, and conscious of her own Crime, yet so blinded with her wicked Passion, that she thought not of Repentance. After this they had frequent Meetings in the same Place to which Henrietta procured him a false Key; yet she found it often very difficult to find Opportunities in such a manner as to prevent all Discovery: But the old Lady continuing to keep her Chamber, and Lady Lucy being continually attending her, she took the Opportunity to personate her in the Closet, so that Lord Frederick smiled when he heard the Lady say to her Husband, I will go to my Mother, and soon took some Opportunity to withdraw: And the poor young Lord, Henrietta's Husband, had no Notion of his Lady's Falshood. And now both Ladies proved with Child, and Lord Frederick having had a Promise of a Visit from Henrietta in the Night, and both Ladies being out of order, and lying for that Reason alone, he writ the following Billet-doux, and put it into Henrietta's Hand after Dinner, before he went out a Hunting with Albertus, and some other Gentlemen.

'I will live in Hope, my charming Lucy, and feast my Imagination with the pleasing Thoughts of what I am to possess this blessed Night: All our Enjoyments hitherto cannot equal what I now promise myself. I wish the Sun may not rise to-morrow, but that Darkness and heavy Slumbers may reign over all this Quarter of the World, that you may sleep whole Hours in my longing Arms. Sure no Man ever loved so much before, or ever Woman was so charming and so kind. Oh! how I am ravished, when I behold the Alteration of your Shape, and feel the sweet Infant leaping at my Approach? When your fond blinded Husband tells the Company, with a secret Pleasure in his Face, you are with Child, how do I smile 'tis mine, and only mine? He must not have one Thought; think of me, my fairest, all the Day, and dream all Night, that we are sleeping on the happy Couch. So soon as all are gone to Bed, I'll fly to the Closet, there I shall count each tedious Hour till you come; haste to my Arms, or I shall die with Impatience. May everlasting Sleep seal up Albertus's Eyes, and give you all intirely to your

'Doating Lover, Frederick.'

This fatal Letter Henrietta put into her Pocket, and sitting down to Cards with Lady Lucy, dropp'd out of it upon a Turkey work'd Carpet under the Table; and after Supper the Ladies retiring to their Apartments to go to Bed, Lord Frederick being withdrawn before, pretending he was much tired, and would go to rest, the brave unfortunate Albertus went into this Room to write some Letters, on the same Table the Ladies had played upon; and sealing of a Letter he let fall the Wax, on which calling his Valet de Chambre to take it up, he perceived the Letter, which was directed for the Lady Lucy: He snatched it up and soon read the dreadful Contents, but no Words can express what he felt at that Moment. He bad his Gentleman leave the Room, who retired immediately much surprized, perceiving by his Master's Face and Look, that dire Letter contained something of great Moment to him. Albertus, filled with Rage, snatched up a Dagger, and flew towards the Closet, and passing thro' a Gallery that led to it, he thought he perceived a Woman, by the Light of a Branch that hung in it, passing through a Room at the other End, which was the wretched Henrietta coming to her Gallant, and seeing him, retired: This he concluded was his Wife, and he stopped a Moment to debate with himself, whether he should not take his Revenge on her first; but then reflected that would expose his Misfortune, and ruin his and his innocent Children's Reputation: So he resolved to kill the Ravisher of his Honour first, and punish her in a more secret manner. Accordingly he stole to the Closet, and entering in the Dark, whispered, Where are you, my Love? Here, my Angel, cried the amorous Frederick, why have you stay'd so long? At these Words he leaped from the Couch to embrace his Mistress, and Albertus aimed his Poniard so well, that he stabbed him to the Heart, and he fell down dead, without saying one Word more, but only, O God, I am killed, have Mercy on my Soul. Albertus shut the Door, and went for a Candle out of the Branch, with which he returned, and shutting the Door, searched the dead Frederick's Pockets, and found there several Letters, which he believed to be his Wife's, so well had the wicked Henrietta counterfeited her Hand. He next considered what to do with the Body, and resolved to drag it to a Balcony that was in the Gallery, and from thence throw it down into the Garden, that it might be believed he was killed and thrown there by some Thieves or Assassins, who had watched his going into the Closet from the Garden. This he performed, and the guilty Henrietta, who too well guessed the Cause of all this Mischief, having missed her Letter, saw all this tragick Scene from the Chamber, in which she had all this Time hid herself. After this Albertus retired to his Apartment, and she to her's, but certainly full of the most dismal Thoughts, and bitterest Remorse of Conscience that ever Woman went to Bed withal. She had now received the just Reward such vile horrid Actions merit: And now she would, doubtless, have given Worlds, had she been Mistress of them, for one Moment's Peace of Mind. O if the vitious would but reflect one short Hour on the State of their own Souls, how much would they prefer that heavenly Peace of Mind which the virtuous enjoy, before all the lawless Pleasures of this Life. I beg you would all reflect, who shall read this melancholy History, on the Transactions of this dreadful Night: An innocent Lady and her unborn Infant ruined; a brave young Gentleman, who was dear to his Prince and Family, killed, and what is worse, without any Time for Repentance, snatched in a Moment, and sent unprepared to appear before the dreadful Tribunal, from whence none can pass to eternal Happiness without being pure and holy: And the truly wretched Henrietta dared not right her murdered Lover on the Murderer, for Fear all her vile Actions should be discovered. The enraged Albertus, far from repenting of the rash Deed he had done, passed the Night in meditating what he should do to his vertuous Wife, whom he had, indeed, too much Reason, as to all Appearance, to detest: But before he rose he had made up his Resolutions, so he appeared calm, and shewed no extraordinary Concern when the Servants alarmed the Family with the News of Lord Frederick's Body being found murdered in the Garden. The Lady Lucy, who was good and kind to every thing, and had really an honourable Affection and Respect for her Husband's Kinsman, who had indeed done all that was possible to gain her Esteem, and whose Love for her she never had any Knowledge of, was very much concerned, and shed Tears, lifting up her Hands, and begging of God that he would discover and bring his Murderers to Justice. This, doubtless, more enraged Albertus, who observed all her Actions; but he dissembled his Thoughts, and meditated on nothing but his Revenge on her, which in a short Time after he effected: For the brave Lord Frederick's Body, being attended by his Kinsman Albertus, was conveyed in a Hearse to his Father's, where he was nobly interred amongst his Ancestors; after which Albertus returning home, prepared to execute his cruel Design on his Lady, who was now near her Time. The old Lady her Mother was grown so weak with a Fever and Ague, that she could not walk about her Chamber, but as she was led; and Henrietta was so ill with the Fright she had suffered that fatal Night that had undone them all, that she was delivered of a dead Child, and kept her Bed: Thus all Things concurred to facilitate Albertus's Design. He pretended that he had made a Vow of Devotion to go to a Church twenty Miles distant, to visit the Shrine of a Saint, to procure the safe Delivery of his Lady, and the Life of the Child: He asked her to go along with him, to which she gladly consented, being overjoyed he would take her with him. And now he prepared for this Journey, a long one indeed, because they were neither of them to return home again for many Years. He had ordered all his Affairs secretly for his Flight into England, whither he designed to go, having remitted considerable Sums of Money thither; and the fatal Day of their Departure from home being come, he took Leave of his Mother-in-Law, and two lovely Children, the little Ladies Lucy and Henrietta, but with such inward Concern as may be imagined. He had made his Will, appointing his two Uncles, the Brothers of his own Mother, Guardians of his Children, two Noblemen of known Integrity, and unspotted Character, and having sealed it up in a Paper, he, at taking Leave, gave it to the old Lady, saying, Madam, if any Misfortune should befal us in the Way, I leave this in your Hands, and recommend the Care of my Children and Family to you. His Lady tenderly embraced her Mother and Children, and as she was turning about to leave them, her Nose gushed out a bleeding, at which she was a little surprized, and said, Pray, my Dear, don't let us go, my Heart forebodes some Ill will befal us. He seemed not to regard what she said, but led her to the Coach: They set out in the Morning, and arrived at the Village they designed that Night, where they lay, and very early the next Morning he waked her, and desired she would rise and go with him to Church, that they might pass the Day in Devotion, in order to return home the next. She readily obeyed, being ever fond of obliging him: Being dressed, he would have her go on foot, it being not a Mile thither, and without Attendants. They were to pass through a little Wood, beyond which the Chapel stood: They were no sooner entered it, but two Men in Vizards came behind and seized her; they clapped a Gag in her Mouth, blindfolded her Eyes, and carried her into a Coach, into which her cruel Husband also entered, and there being six Horses they drove swiftly, but whither, and with what Design, she knew not. But now Albertus began to reveal the fatal Secret, by the cruellest Reproaches, to all which she could give no Answer but her Tears; and after he had vented his Rage sufficiently, he freed her from the Gag in her Mouth, and unblinded her Eyes, and holding a Pistol charged in his Hand, told her, if she offered to make any Noise or Resistance he would kill her that Moment. And now it was that she began to vindicate her Innocence, in Terms so soft, so moving, as would have touched the most obdurate Soul, and gained Belief of any but a Man like Albertus: At last he shewed her the Letters which he had found in Frederick's Pocket, and the fatal one that he had taken up under the Table: At the Sight of these she was even Thunder-struck, which he imputed to her Guilt; but alas! who would not have been struck even dumb to see their Hand so counterfeited? Now what could she say or do, but cry for Help from Heaven, to prove and clear her Innocence? It was in vain that she made Vows and Protestations of it, he was deaf to all. They never stopp'd all Day to eat or rest, and travelled half the Night: And now it being Midnight, the Coach stopp'd; the fatal Moment was come when they were to part, for he dragg'd her out of the Coach, and having stabb'd her in three Places, and fired his Pistol at her Face, he left her for dead, and getting into the Coach, having stripped off her Gown and upper Petticoat, to prevent her being known when found, he made to the next Town, where the Coach inn'd, and set out early the next Day. He soon reached Ostend, and there leaving the Coach to be sent back to the Town where the Villains, who were two Soldiers he had procured for this execrable Deed, had hired it for him, he embarked with them, and arrived safely in England, where he dismiss'd his two Attendants with a good Sum of Money, with which they settled in the Sea-Port they landed at, which was Harwich, and never troubled themselves about him. He came strait to London, paid a Visit to Court, and got a new Commission from King William, with whom he went into Flanders the next Spring, but made use of another Name. And now it is fit we should return to the poor Lady, whom we left in so deplorable a Condition.

CHAP. V.

Who can destroy him whom the divine Providence thinks fit to spare? He who is in the Almighty's Favour needs not fear the sharpest Poniard, or the most potent Enemy; Virtue and Innocence are Armour sufficient to secure us from all Harms, even Death itself. Our chaste Heroine, who had never swerved from her Duty either to God or Man, though left full of Wounds, at Midnight, in a desolate Forest, and great with Child, is the Care of Providence. Not far from this Place there was a Convent of Franciscan Friers, amongst whom there was one whose Life was more exemplary than the rest, so that he was justly esteemed a very holy Person; his Fastings and Works of Charity were so frequent and extraordinary, excelling his Brethren, that they had a secret Veneration for him: The sick were often cured by his Prayers, and the perishing Prisoner freed at his Request; in short, he was an excellent Christian, and a Man much beloved of God. This pious Man, sleeping on his Mat, on the Pavement, in his Cloister, as was his Custom, locked up in sweet Slumbers, such as nothing but a good Conscience can procure, was doubtless visited by some good Angel, or divinely inspired, for he dreamed that a Voice called aloud, and repeated these Words three several Times, Father Joseph, arise, take a Light in your Hand, and haste to the neighbouring Forest, there near an Oak, rent by Lightning seven Years agone, and bowed down towards the North, you will find a Woman cruelly wounded, altogether innocent of the Crime for which she has been so inhumanly treated: Do your Endeavour to save her Life, and the Infant's with whom she is now pregnant, a Blessing shall attend your Endeavour, and the Child shall be a great Ornament to the Church; delay not one Moment to execute this Command. At the third Repetition of these Words he awoke, and without hesitating rose. Girding on his gray Frock and Sandals, he took a Candle and Lanthorn in one Hand, and his Staff in the other; he stay'd no longer than to put a Bottle of Cordial in his Pocket, and so set out, for he feared not the Darkness of the Night, nor the Fury of wild Beasts or Thieves, for he had nothing but his Life to lose, and that he was ready to lay down with Pleasure: And tho' he was not assured that it was more than a Dream, yet he rather chose to endure the Midnight Cold, it being now Winter, which in these Parts is pretty severe, and run the greatest Dangers, than omit his Duty, and lose an Opportunity of doing Good. O that such a Spirit of Goodness, such a Desire of good Works, reigned in the Hearts of all Mankind, what a Heaven would this Vale of Misery become! He hasted to the Place, with which he was well acquainted, for he had lopp'd many a Branch, and made and carried home to his Convent, upon his aged Back, many Loads of Faggots, out of this Forest; he soon reached the Oak, and found the poor Lady, whom Loss of Blood, and the Fright, had bereft of all Sense, so that at first he believed her quite dead; but lifting her up from the Ground, he poured some of the Cordial into her Mouth, and in a little Time perceived some Signs of Life in her; then tearing her Handkerchief to pieces, he bound up her right Arm which was wounded; for having no other Light but the Flambeau one of the Villains carried, Albertus had by the Providence of God, which doubtless interposed, given her no mortal Wound, but stabb'd her in the right Arm, the left Thigh, and a slight Wound in the left Side of her Neck, and his Pistol had missed her Face, only the Powder had flashed in her Eyes, he having held the Cock of his Pistol so near them, that she had at this Instant lost the Use of Sight. The good Father putting Confidence in the last Words of the Voice he had heard, more than in any Judgment he could make of her present Condition, used his utmost Endeavours to help her; reviving, she still imagined that she was in the Hands of the cruel Albertus, and said with a weak Voice, It is enough, my unkind Lord, I die innocent, and I pray God to forgive you: At these Words she fainted again, and the good Father repeated a Dose of the Cordial, and perceived that her Eye-lids had been scorched with Gunpowder, and were extremely swollen. When she again revived he spoke to her, and told her who he was, and that he would run and call for Help to bring her to his Convent; so he left her, and ran as fast as his aged Legs would bear him back to his Convent, where he called two of his Brethren, who took a Blanket, and went along with him with Lights. They found her lying at the Foot of the Tree, where he had left her. This was a most miraculous Deliverance, for the wild Beasts, of which the Woods and Forests in Germany are full, had not approached her, whom doubtless Angels guarded. She was again fallen into a Swoon; they put her gently into the Blanket, and so brought her safe to the Convent, where they carried her into their little Infirmary, put her into Bed, dressed her Wounds with a Balsam of great Excellency and Virtue, put Ointment upon her Eye-lids and Face, proper to take out the Fire and asswage her Pain, gave her Cordials and did all that was necessary to save her Life; and then leaving two to watch with her, all the rest of the Society, which were twelve in Number, went with their Superiors to their Chapel, and passed the Remainder of the Night in Prayer. So soon as it was Day, Father Joseph went to a Convent of Nuns, which was in a Village a Mile distant from the Friers, and acquainted the Abbess with the Story, desiring she would receive and take into her Care this injured Lady: She readily consented, it being altogether improper, and against the Rules of that Order, for her to remain in the other Convent, because of her Sex and Condition. So he returned, and they carried her to the Monastery, in the same Manner as they had brought her to their Convent the precedent Night. Here she was carefully tended, perfectly cured, and safely delivered of a Son in six Weeks after her Arrival there: She had related all her Story to the Abbess, and by her Advice resolved to continue here, because that good Lady, and Father Joseph, persuaded her not to expose her self any more to her enraged Husband's Fury, but to wait patiently the Events Time might produce; not doubting but God would discover the Person who had so greatly injured her, and been the Cause of all this Mischief, by counterfeiting her Hand, whom she could not guess at; for alas! she did not believe the guilty Henrietta capable of so vile an Action. The Abbess promised that she would get her some News from Time to Time of her Children and Family; and Father Joseph undertook to go to Heidelberg every six Months, with the Father-Guardian's Permission, who was willing to it: They urged that nothing but Time and Remorse of Conscience could bring her Husband to a true Sense of his Fault, for which it was necessary that her Innocence should be justified by the Mouth of the Person who had wronged her, whom God would doubtless force by some Judgment in his good Time to make a Confession of her Crime. These Arguments prevailed with her to stay with her Deliverers, and wait upon God: And now 'tis necessary we return to this Lady's Home.

No News arriving of Albertus nor his Lady to their Home, her Mother and all the Family, by whom she was infinitely beloved, except Henrietta, were in the utmost Concern. At last Albertus's Servants and Coach returned empty, and could give no Account, but that Orders were sent to them from their Master by a Peasant, who said he had seen him on the Road towards Ostend, that they should return home. This was all that could be learned; and though all possible Inquiry was made, yet all Things remained a Secret for some Years; during which Albertus served in Flanders under another Name; having pretended to King William, that he had unfortunately killed a Gentleman of Quality in a Duel, which had obliged him to fly his Country: And thus he strove to hide his Crime from the World, and to hush the Tortures of his troubled Mind with Company, Wine and Women; for now he had almost quite laid aside those good Principles, which he had always been governed by before. The Army besieging Namur, on the taking it, this Gentleman entered it with his Troop amongst the rest; and the Soldiers being eager on plundering, a beautiful young Lady came running and cast herself at his Feet, begging he would protect her from the Soldiers Insolence, who had just killed her Father and Brother, who were the richest Merchants in the Place, because they had resisted: She had very rich Jewels on, and much Treasure in her Lap; she was very young, not above fifteen; and so handsom, that she was a perfect Beauty. Albertus was a Man no ways Proof against such Charms; and though he had made a thousand Vows and Oaths never to marry again, yet he had made none against keeping a Mistress: He received her kindly, went with her to her Home, which was in the next Street, turned out the Soldiers, and set two of his own to stand Centinels at the Door; and there left her secured, whilst he pursued the Duties of his Command. And the Town being yielded, he went and took up his Quarters at the lovely Gertrude's, for that was this fair Creature's Name. And now he grew passionately fond of her; and though her Aunt, a Lady of great Virtue and Conduct, who had bred her up, and governed the Family ever since the Death of her Sister, Gertrude's Mother, who died when she was not three Years old, did all she was able to prevent it, and was as careful as was possible, yet he debauched her; and when his Company was ordered to march elsewhere, she went along with him, and took a great deal of Treasure with her. At the End of the Campaign she came with him into England. And thus they lived for five Years together; and she brought him three Children. It was his Nature to be jealous and revengeful, as his past Actions have convinced us. This poor Lady was much younger than himself, and exposed to a thousand Eyes, by travelling with him every Campaign into Flanders, for he never trusted her to stay behind. His Colonel, a young English Lord, cast his Eyes upon her; he was younger than Albertus, richer, and looked on this Foreigner as much below him: He treated Albertus very unkindly, sent him out upon the most dangerous Enterprizes, put him in the Places of most Danger in every Attack when they were before a Town, and made Presents to Gertrude wherever she came, visited her in every Town where she was lodged; and in fine did all he could to enrage and get rid of his Rival, who growing furiously jealous, and an Argus over his Mistress, made her very uneasy; and she began to press him to marry her, and pleaded how ungenerously he had ruined and brought her from her Home and Country, and now refused to make her his Wife, and legitimate her unfortunate Children, for whom she saw no Provision made: Thus they were continually cavilling. At last being sent out to command a Party for Forage, he was met by a Party of the Enemy, who beat his, and took him Prisoner, with several other Officers; he had fought bravely, and was wounded in three Places: He was carried to Lisle, and there put into the Hospital. Whilst he lay here under Cure, God awakened his Conscience, and he began to reflect on the three Wounds he had given his Lady, and how he had murdered her, as he thought, quite unprepared for Death: These Thoughts brought him to a sincere Repentance, and he made a Vow, that if he recovered he would quit his Post, or ask Leave to dispose of it, make a Provision for the ruined Gertrude and her Children, and return in Disguise to Heidelberg, to once more behold his Children, without discovering himself, and then retire from the World into the Forest where he had done the fatal Murder, cause a Hermitage to be erected on the bloody Spot of Ground, and lead a Hermit's Life the rest of his Days. He was rich, and therefore wanted not the Means to do this, or any thing else that he could in Reason desire: He had the Comfort of all the Assistance the Chaplains of the Hospital could afford him; one of them heard his Confession, and greatly approved his Design; for since he could not raise his murdered Lady to Life again, nor Kinsman, all he could do to procure Pardon of his heinous Crimes, and make his Peace with Heaven, was to repent sincerely of it, and by continual Prayer, Mortification, and Alms-deeds, endeavour to obtain the Almighty's Favour, and a happy Death: He at last recovered, was cured of his Wounds, and exchanged. At his Return to the Army he found his Mistress Gertrude had played him false with the Colonel; on which, having thrown up his Commission, and put all his Affairs in order, he paid one Visit to Gertrude to take Leave of her, and to demand his Children. He found her alone, it being after Dinner, and he thus addressed himself to her:

Gertrude, you see here before you a Man so changed from what he was when he left you, that you will scarce give Credit to him when he tells you how bitterly he has, and does repent of having ruined you: Yes, my unfortunate fair One, I have all the Sense of my Crime that is possible, and am come to make an Atonement for it, by providing for you. After the false Steps you have made in my Absence, you cannot expect that I should marry you; but for our dear innocent Children, 'tis just that I provide honourably for them, and I will do it. I am going now to quit the World, and take an eternal Leave of all its vicious Pleasures: I have lived too long in Folly, and am now going to prepare for Death, that I may be able to meet the dreadful Hour without Astonishment: Oh! my Gertrude, if you would but be prevailed upon to follow my Example, how thankful should I be to Heaven, how transported to quit your Conversation, in full Hopes of meeting you above, to be eternally happy together: Let me conduct you to a Monastery, where you may live secured from Temptations and new Misfortunes. You have now gotten a new Lover, but alas! when Age or Sickness shall bring him to a Sight of his Folly, how he will detest and perhaps reproach you; nay, in the End leave you, and more helpless Infants, to be exposed to Want, Scorn, and all kinds of Misery: Let me persuade you to prevent this, and your everlasting Ruin, by quitting this vile way of Life, and embracing a nobler; I cannot shew my Affection to you in any thing so much as this. All sensual Affection must now cease between us; and this is the last best Office I can ever do you; as for my three Sons, whom God has given me by you, their Sex exempts them from the Misfortunes your's is subject to; and I will take the best Care I can to breed them virtuously, and if possible to serve at the Altar, that their pious Prayers may avail us and others: Send for them and give them to me. I have put a Sum of Money, sufficient for your Support, into a Banker's Hands, who will take Care to pay you five and twenty Pounds every Quarter: Consider of the Offer I now make you of retiring, which will be the greatest Satisfaction I can receive in this Life.

The blooming Gertrude was so touched with this Discourse, that a Flood of Tears run down her lovely Face, and she fell at his Feet, begged pardon for her Fault, and yielded to go wherever he would lead her. He left her to give Orders for their Departure, with the Children that very Night; and accordingly returned at eight o'Clock, took her into a Berlin which he had hired, discharged the Servants and Lodgings, and set out for Heidelberg.

They met with no extraordinary Adventure on the Way, till they came within twenty Miles of that City, and then it being about eight o'Clock at Night, and very dark, being the last Day of September, just before they reached a Town where they designed to stay to repose themselves for some Days, till all things were managed for their Separation, from a Wood which they past by they were surprized with the Shrieks of a Woman, and the Noise of Swords clashing; Albertus called to the Coachman to stop, and having the Light of two Flambeaux, which were carried by too Peasants whom he had hired to light the Coach to the next Town, for he had brought no Servants along with him, and so disguised himself as not to fear being known, having put a great Patch upon one Eye, wore a black Wig, and had blacked his Eye-brows, being naturally a Man of a fair Complexion; he leaped out of the Coach, being armed with Pistols and his Sword, calling out aloud, Hola, where are you that cry for Help, here is some coming to your Aid? The Voice answered, Here, here; make Haste for God's sake. Gertrude cried out to him to stay, and not expose himself; the Children screamed, but in vain; he rushed into the Wood, with the two brave Peasants, and following the Voice came up to a Place, where he saw a Coach without Horses, the Harness being cut, and a fine Gentleman, with his Back against a Tree, defending himself against four Ruffians, who were all masked; not far from him stood a young Lady, with her Hair torn about her Ears, richly dressed, but in a most distracted Condition, wringing her Hands, and frighted almost to Death. Albertus placed himself immediately by the Gentleman, and cried, Villains, turn to me your Swords: At these Words he discharged one of his Pistols in the Face of him that was next him, and shot him dead; this redoubled the Courage of the poor Gentleman who was attacked, and he wounded another, on which the other two fled; and the Lady ran to Albertus and embraced him, as did also the Gentleman, who was wounded in two Places, and almost faint with loss of Blood. Albertus helped them into their Coach, and stay'd with them whilst one of the Peasants went for his Berlin, they being not able to walk to it; and the Horses belonging to their Coach running loose about the Wood; and if they had not, the Harness was so cut they could not have been fastened to the Coach to draw it. Albertus's Coach came up presently, and the obliging Gertrude made Room for the poor frighted Lady and Gentleman, and so they drove into the Road; then Albertus asked, whither they should go for Help, a Surgeon being wanting; and if they could possibly suffer the Length of the Way to the next Town, to which it was above a League? The Lady answered, No, their Abode was in the Way, not a Mile distant, where he and all his should now and ever after be welcome. The Offer was gladly accepted, and they soon arrived at a noble Seat like a Palace. Here they were highly entertained, the wounded Gentleman being the Lord of this Place, and a great Estate. His Wounds were drest by a Surgeon, one of his Domesticks, one of which was in his right Leg, the other in his left Arm; he was obliged to go to Bed, so they all supped in his Chamber; and the Lady entertained her Deliverers with the Story of that Day's Adventures, and gave them also an Account of her own and her Lord's Family, and the History of their Lives, and of some other particular Things belonging to this History.

CHAP. VI.

I was, said she, born in France; my Father had the Honour to command a Regiment of Horse in the Service of that illustrious Monarch, our great King Lewis XIV. being a younger Brother of one of the best Families in Britany, one of the Guemadeucs: My Mother was an Heiress of the noble Family of the Robians; and she brought my Father a great Fortune: She had no more Children by my Father but myself and a Son, who is now in a great Post in that Province. I was much beloved by my Mother, and greatly indulged: She died before I was fifteen, and with my Father's Consent, who doated upon her, and never denied her any thing, she put me in Possession of a Fortune; so that now I became Mistress and Manager of my Father's Family, and myself indeed, for I was now in a manner at my own Disposal. This occasioned a very great Misfortune to befal me, for a young Hugonot Gentleman, who wanted to make his Fortune, cast his Eyes upon me, and secretly made Love to me, well knowing my Father would never consent to his marrying of me, because of his Religion: My Father's Absence at the Army gave him all the Opportunities he could desire. I at last loved him, and it being impossible for us to be married in this Province, or any other Part of France, for no Priest or Bishop would venture to do it; besides he could not remain there secure from Persecutions from my Father, and the rest of my Family, and the Clergy; he at last prevailed with me to consent to fly with him to Holland: I got my Money out of the Gentleman's Hands where it was lodged; and by Means of a Hugonot Merchant, who was my Lover's Friend, got Bills upon a Correspondent of his at Amsterdam: He likewise procured us a Passage in a Vessel from St. Maloes to Holland. I left only a Letter full of Excuses for my dear Father, for Love had so bewitched me, that I left all without that Concern which I ought to have had, or the least Apprehensions of the Miseries I was going to expose myself to. We set sail with a fair Wind, and arrived safe; and going ashore, with all that belonged to us, went directly to the Merchant's, to whom my Bills were directed. I had brought along with me all my Clothes, Jewels, Plate, and every thing else of Value that belonged to me: He had done the same, though he had not any Fortune comparable to mine. And now I expected he would immediately marry me. I imprudently gave him my Bills: He was very fond of me; but I quickly found his base Design, which was to ruin me, and then I had Reason to believe he would abandon me, and go off with my Fortune; for if he were capable of so vile an Action, as to break all his Vows and sacred Promises with a Woman who had acted so generously as I had done with him, one who had abandoned her Family and Country, and brought him so great a Fortune, without all Question he would do every thing else that was vile and wicked. He took the Liberty of coming into my Chamber every Morning before I was up, and would sometimes send my Maid out of the Room on some frivolous Errand or other; and then he would sit on the Bed-side and kiss my Hands, and take great Liberties: In fine, I every Day perceived something or other that confirmed my Suspicions of him, and grew to love him less. And now I was almost driven to Despair what to do next; to return to my Father's was impossible, there I could expect no Pardon after what I had done; he had got my Fortune into his Hands, and I had only about two hundred Pistoles left in my Pocket, and my Clothes and Jewels, whilst he had received five thousand Pounds of mine. I strove by all the gentle Means in the World to gain him to his Duty, but in vain: He made an hundred fruitless Attempts to debauch me, but I was too well armed: At last he proposed to me to go to some other Place to be married, because we were now too well known to the Merchant, at whose House we lived, and so might in Time meet with some Trouble from my Father. This I knew was a very foolish Pretence; but because he swore he would marry me if I would go elsewhere, I consented: So we set out for the Low Countries, and arrived at last at Antwerp; and here he told me plainly that I must pass for his Wife, and that he had told the People of the House we were now come to lodge at, that I was so, and had taken no more Chambers but one for the Servant, and the other for himself and me, and if I would not consent to this, I must be looked on as his Mistress. 'Tis needless to relate the just Reproaches I made him: He did not relent. At last I told him plainly, that I would rather choose to die, than ever submit to what he proposed; that I now saw his villainous Designs, and was too late sensible of my Error and Folly; then I bid him restore a Part at least of my Fortune, and leave me. At this he laughed aloud, and turned his Back upon me: I saw him no more that Night; and the next Morning I found on Inquiry that he was gone, having sent for his Horses at five o'Clock, and his Footman, who went to an Inn with them, where the Porter who brought the Message to him for them directed him. I was so shocked at first with this News, that I was almost distracted; but on Reflection, by my poor Servant's Advice, whom I brought out of France along with me, I resolved the Villain should not go unpunished; so I rose, and went in a Chair to the Bishop, and acquainted him with the whole Story: After he had gently reprehended me, he sent a Gentleman along with me to the Governor, where I was received with great Generosity, and Orders were immediately given that my faithless Lover should be pursued, and arrested as a Cheat, who had defrauded me of my Fortune. I was invited to stay at the Governor's, and gladly accepted the Offer. In three Days Time my Villain was overtaken, and brought Prisoner to Antwerp, where my Servant and I confronted him: He confessed he had designed to poison me, and had got Poison for that Purpose, but that he could not find in his Heart to do it. In short, he restored three thousand Pounds of my five, and I obtained that he should be let go. He quickly left Antwerp, where the common People were even ready to stone him as he passed along the Streets, and went for Geneva, where many such Saints find Countenance and Shelter. And now it was my good Fortune that the Governor's Nephew, this my dear Husband, took a Fancy to me, and made me his Wife. We have been five Years married, and it is two since we came to this Place, by reason of an Uncle's Death, who has left my Husband this Castle, and all his Estate: We went out this unfortunate Morning to a Relation's Wedding fifteen Miles off, and returning, had the Coach stopped in the Road by the four Ruffians you saw in the Wood; they dragged the Horses into it, went to tear me out of the Coach, and had doubtless a Design to rob and murder us. Out of four Servants that were with us, none were bold enough to fight, for the Coachman being killed with a Pistol, by one of the Villains when they came up to the Coach, the Postillion and Valets, who were well mounted, fled for their Lives. We made a Visit by the Way, that doubtless caused it to be so very late, making a great Round; for we went first to take a last Adieu of a dying Friend, an Irish Lady, of whom I can tell you a Story more strange than my own. Here she related how the wicked Henrietta had confessed the Crime she had committed against the innocent Lady Lucy; and how that Lady's Mother had grieved so, that she had scarce ever stirred out of her Chamber since the Loss of her Daughter, of whom no News had ever been heard since her Husband and she went out together. Albertus changed Colour often, and was much perplexed at the hearing of this Story; but poor Gertrude was as ignorant of his being concerned in it as the Lady that related it. They all took leave of one another to go to Bed, it being late, and the wounded Lord wanting Rest. Albertus had made Gertrude pass for his Niece, and acknowledged the Children for his own, as being a Widower; so Beds were accordingly provided, and they all retired, but Albertus never closed his Eyes all Night. Oh! how did he now repent the having murdered his virtuous Lady; all that passionate Affection which he had formerly had for her revived, and he would have given Empires, had he been Monarch of them, to restore her to Life again. What Grief, what Stings of Conscience did he feel, when he reflected on the Barbarity of that Deed! He that had murdered his virtuous, innocent Wife, great with the tender Pledge of their mutual Affection, this was such a shocking Thought, that he could scarce bear it. Now he resolved to pay a Visit to his dear Mother-in-Law and Children, and then to leave the World for ever, but to go so disguised, that none might discover him. Thus he passed the tedious Hours till Day brake; the next Morning he breakfasted with the Lord and Lady, and the Lord's Wounds were pretty free from Pain, and in a fair Way of Recovery. And now he let them understand, that his Niece designed to go into a Monastery; and that being himself a Widower, having buried his Wife in England, he designed to retire also into the Country, and put his Sons to School. The Lady earnestly pressed him to leave Gertrude with her, saying it was pity so young and beautiful a Lady, with such a Share of Good Sense as she seemed to have, should be immured from the World, and intreated her to stay with her, saying she should be fond of such a Companion. Gertrude seeming very willing, he consented; and so leaving her Bills for to provide for her either in the World at large, or in a Convent, he took Leave the next Day of all the Family, and of his unhappy Mistress, who was indeed much concerned at parting with him and her Children, but was obliged to conceal her Grief from these noble Strangers Eyes. He took Leave of her alone, and said all that Piety could inspire to persuade her to live virtuously for the future, asked Pardon of her for having ruined her, and in fine, talked like a Man who had a true Notion of this Life, and was seriously resolved to prepare for a better. They tenderly embraced one another, but he would not declare to her what Place he was going to retire to; and all she could obtain of him was, that he would once in a Year let her by some Means or other hear from him whilst he lived; and if he died, he would take Care to let her have News of his Death, and a Direction where to find the Children. Thus he took an eternal Leave of her, and set out for Heidleberg, where being arrived, he went and lodged in an Inn, sent away the Berlin and Servants, and then with his Patch upon one Eye, black Wig, and Officer's Habit, which had been made in England, wrapped up in a Cloak, he ventured to his own House, where he desired to speak with the old Lady, to whom he was soon admitted, pretending he came from England, and had some News to tell her of her Son-in-Law Albertus: He told her that they had been Fellow-Officers and intimate Friends together for some Years past, and that he had heard him often speak with great Affection of a Lady and Children which he said he had left in this City. He some Time before he died (for he is dead, Madam, said he) told me that he had received News of her Death from a Convent in Flanders, where he had left her, by reason of an unhappy Difference that had happened between them, which he did not inform me of: He put on Mourning, and seemed much grieved; soon after he fell sick, and on his Death-Bed charged me, if ever I saw Heidleberg, to pay a Visit to you, Madam, and his Children; and to assure you, as he was a dying Man, that he believed your Daughter innocent of the Crime he suspected her of, and that he recommended his dear Children to your Care. At these Words the poor old Lady wept, and answered, my dear Lucy's Innocence is, I thank Heaven, cleared, though too late. I have already mourned her Loss more than Reason and Religion will allow, and you shall hear from the Mouth of her Accuser her Justification; for Heaven has doubtless preserved the Wretch still alive, though in the Agonies of Death, to see you, and with her own Mouth to vindicate and clear her Virtue. As for my dear Grandchildren I have done for them all that God and Man can require; and I bless Heaven, they have answered my Expectation. Here she sent for the lovely Lucy and Henrietta, who were grown up to be almost marriageable; but how did his Soul melt when he beheld them? the big Drops stole down his Cheeks, which he concealed with his Handkerchief: The eldest was her Mother's Picture, he saluted them both, and then pretending Haste, desired to see the dying Henrietta, to whom the old Lady (he leading her, by reason of her Weakness) conducted him. His Soul started with Aversion at the Sight, her Confessor was present, and with a dying Voice she recited the fatal Story, appearing truly penitent. What Effect this had upon his Mind may easily be imagined; the Sight of this dying Criminal, to a Man who knew himself equally culpable, must be very moving, to excite him to prepare for the like Hour. He hasted to take Leave, though he was much pressed to stay; and now he set out with his Children for the fatal Place where he had acted his Tragedy, and designed to pass the rest of his Life. He arrived in Safety at the Town where he and his Lady had gone to perform his pretended Vow of Devotion. Here he placed his Children at School at a Convent of the Jesuits; and then taking privately some Workmen with him to the Forest, shewed them where to build his little Cottage or Cell, which consisted of three small Rooms. This was soon finished, and meanly furnished, for he had a poor Bedstead, with a Mattress and coarse Covering, such as might only suffice to keep out the Cold; a Table, two Chairs and a Lamp, with some few other Necessaries, furnished his Bedchamber; his Kitchen was equally mean, and he made a little Oratory of the other Room, having a small Altar placed there, and here he kept his Books. All Things finished to his Mind, he retired thither, ordering a Lad who belonged to the Jesuits, to come twice in a Week to him for fear he should die of Want, in Case he should fall sick; and this Boy brought him Bread and Roots, such as he wanted, for he eat no Flesh, and drank only Water: And now it being much nearer for him to hear Mass, and do his Duty at the Franciscans Convent, than to go to the Town, he frequented that, letting his beard grow, and going dressed in coarse Frize, made after the Fashion of a Hermit, that is, in a Garment down to his Heels; he had a Hair Shirt, a Felt Hat, and ordinary Shoes; and in a short Time was so prodigiously altered, that it would have been impossible for his own Lady to have known him, but by talking with him; for to a Man that had always lived in the World and fared delicately, who was now in a declining age, and had suffered little or no Hardships, such a Change of Life must occasion a strange Alteration in a short Time; and he soon grew so weak,weak, that he was obliged to walk with a Staff to Church. But now we must leave him, to return to his Lady, whom we left in the Convent.

CHAP. VII.

She was now perfectly recovered, and nursed her Child, which being now five Years old, was put to the Franciscans Convent, and committed to the Care of the good Father Joseph, to be bred up in all Virtue and Learning, that he might be worthy the Estate he was born the Heir of; for Albertus having no other Son by her, he was the sole and true Heir of all his Estate, and the Proofs of his Birth were sufficient. This sweet Child, who was now seven Years old, and resembled both his Mother and Father, was the Darling of all the Convent; and by Means of the Lady Abbess, Lady Lucy had often News of her other Children and Family, but none of her Husband, from the fatal Night that he left her in the Forest for dead, till now, when the Abbess's Correspondent at Heidleberg sent the Abbess a Letter of Henrietta's Death, who died some few Days after she had seen Albertus, and was handsomely interred by the Lord her Husband, to whom she left only one Son: And this young Widower was so touched with the Manner of her Death, and her Crimes, that he took a Dislike to the World, and looked on the Misfortunes he had met withal by his Affection and Engagement with that unfortunate Lady, as the Work of Providence, in order to reduce him to embrace a religious Life, and quit the World. So that after her Burial, he settled his Affairs, putting his Son and Fortune into the old Lady his Aunt's Hands, to be, on her Death, taken Care of by the same Guardians into whose Hands her Grand-daughters were to be left; desiring that his Son, if they liked one another, should marry the young Lady Lucy when they were grown up; and so he went into a Convent of Benedictines, and became a Monk of that Order. In this Letter the Abbess's Correspondent also informed her of Albertus's Visit to his Family; that is, that an Officer from England had brought an Account of Albertus's Death. The Abbess shewed this Letter to Lady Lucy, who could not forbear shedding Tears, notwithstanding the cruel Treatment he had given hear; and she was extremely shocked at hearing what the treacherous Henrietta had declared on her Death-Bed. This made her ready even to pardon her dead Lord all he had done to her, considering the Reasons he had to condemn her; since Letters, which he supposed to be writ by her own Hand, were the most convincing Proofs he could have of her Guilt; and so he was to be pitied. These were the tender Sentiments that filled her generous Soul at the News of his Death; and she caused Masses to be said for his Soul's Repose, and mourned extremely for his Loss, and said to the Abbess: Alas, I still flattered myself, that God would at last bring him back to his Family, and clear my Innocence; so that I might reveal myself to him, and bring my dear Son to his Father, that he might have received his Blessing ere he died; and that I might have been once more blessed with a Sight of him, and set his Soul at Peace, by delivering him from the supposed Guilt, that had so long tortured his Mind; for though he was, as to his Intent, as criminal as if he had really killed me; yet since God had pleased to spare my Life, what Raptures would his Soul have been filled withal, what Gratitude to Heaven, at the Sight of me! Thus she was used to discourse the good Lady Abbess; and thus she shewed the Sentiments a good Wife's Soul ever retains for a Husband, let him be ever so unkind and cruel. And thus she truly mourned his Death, whilst the young Lewis Augustus, her darling Son, grew and daily improved in Beauty and Understanding, paying his Duty in frequent Visits to her, and he was all her Comfort. Mean Time Albertus, whom we must now call the Hermit, for such he truly was, coming frequently to the Franciscans little Chapel, often cast his Eyes on the Child, and felt a strange Emotion in his Soul at the Sight of him; and so taking much Notice of him, he became acquainted with the good Father Joseph, his Tutor; and the Child and he sometimes walked to the good Hermit's Cell, where they would sit and pass an Hour with him, in such Discourse as was advantageous for both their Souls, and very edifying for the Youth to hear. At last, the Priest asked him modestly the Reasons of his quitting the World; and he gave him no other Answer, but only that he was a Widower, and having enjoyed all the Pleasures of the World, and tasted the Sweets of Greatness, he thought it Time to leave all, and prepare for a better Life, fearing to be longer exposed to the Temptations of the World. These, and the like, were all the Reasons he gave. Then he asked the good Father about the Child, who he belonged to: To which he answered, he was an Orphan left to his Care, whose Name and Quality he had some Reasons to conceal. Thus seven Years more passed on, during which our Hermit gave Shelter to many weary Travellers, and had many strange Adventures, one of which is worth our Relation. There often resorted to this Forest in the Summer some Shepherds, with their Sheep and Goats to graze under the Covert of the Trees, in the Heat of the Day: Amongst these was a young Shepherdess, who frequently came with a small Flock, and used always to read in some Book or other. She was about two and twenty Years old, extremely beautiful, finely shaped; and though her Clothes were but very poor and mean, yet she had the Air and Look of a Person of Quality. She never seemed fond of shewing her Face, or conversing with any body but an old Shepherd and his Wife, as he supposed, to whom she belonged. She looked generally very pale and pensive, and would sigh deeply. She ever chose the most remote and thickest Part of the Forest, and would rise and lead her Flock elsewhere, if she heard Passengers coming, or that any other Shepherd brought his Flock near hers: She would often sit behind our Hermit's Cottage; and he sometimes would give her the Time of the Day, or say something to her. She seemed to pay a Veneration to his Age and Habit, and did not appear shy at his taking Notice of her. One Day it being exceeding hot, he pressed her to enter his Cell: She did so with great Modesty, and being seated on a Stool near the Door, before which her Sheep were feeding, he began to enquire of her where she was born, and many such like Questions; and perceived by her Answers, that she had had an Education far above what she appeared to be, and that she disguised her Birth, and did not really, as he supposed, belong to these Peasants with whom she lived: On which he thus discoursed her.

CHAP. IX.

Daughter, I perceive you are something more than you appear to be, and that you have doubtless retired from your Family to this lonely Place to hide yourself. A deep Melancholy is visible in your Face, and your frequent Sighs betray the inward Discontent of your Mind. Alas, this is no proper Place for so young, and so handsome a Maid as you are to resort to, nor the Cottage you live in to conceal such a Person. I have long observed you, and now I beg that you would be ingenuous, and declare the Truth of your Circumstances to me, that I may be able to assist you. Behold, I am a Man who have no longer any other Business with the World, but to do good; you have nothing to fear from a Man like me, your Secret will be safely lodged in my Breast, my Counsel must at least be beneficial to you, if I can help you no other way. If you have had any such Misfortune as makes you ashamed to shew your Face again in the World, if you have been betrayed by some ungrateful Villain, who has reduced you to Despair and Want, I will endeavour to get you into a Convent hard by, where you shall be more secure from Discovery, and less exposed. If you have a Family which the idle Passion Love has made you fly from, or some slight Disgust, I will endeavour to procure your Return, and make your Peace with them. During this Discourse, she often blushed, and sometimes looked upon him with some Surprize. At last she wiped the falling Tears from her Eyes, and answered him thus:

Sure, reverend Hermit, you have had some divine Revelation touching me, or else the Almighty has directed me to this Place, to find a Friend to whom I may disclose my Misfortunes. I am not indeed what I seem to be, for then I should be happy, not knowing a Life beyond this poor Way of living which I now follow. You no doubt have left the World by Choice, I by a fatal Necessity. I am the Daughter of a Lord, once great in our Elector's Court, I was his only Child, and 'tis needless to tell you I was much courted, and looked on as one of the best Fortunes in the Court. This raised my fond Hopes and Ambition, and I was vain enough to imagine that I should be great and happy; so that I lift up my aspiring Eyes to one even superior to my Father, he condescending to pay his Addresses to me; a Kinsman of our great Elector's, who possessed one of the first Places in his Affection and Dominions, young, beautiful, brave, and generous. In fine, Don Alonzo was all that Woman could wish or desire; we loved, and nothing seemed to oppose our Happiness, but a criminal Engagement which he had contracted a married Lady, and resolved to break off. Two Summers we enjoyed each other's Company, and at parting, when he went to the Army, where he had a considerable Command, we made a thousand sacred Vows and Promises of eternal Love and mutual Constancy; yet this did not content him, and we were secretly married, unknown to my Father and every body, but the Priest and two of Alonzo's Friends. But in his Absence a fatal Accident befel, which has been my entire Ruin; for another young Lord arriving from Vienna, with Dispatches from the Emperor to our Elector, cast his Eyes on my unlucky Face, and liked it, so that he became enamoured of me to Distraction: He was a Man of great Fortune, impatient of any Contradiction, intrepid in all he went about; brave, but inconsiderate, and so cholerick, that his Passion made him forget both Religion and Honour, as the Sequel proved; for he courted me assiduously, and gave me all the publick Marks of Love and Gallantry that a Man could do; gave me his Hand, and took me out to dance in all publick Assemblies. In fine, it was in vain that I pleaded my being pre-engaged with Alonzo. My Father, who in secret preferred this Nobleman, by reason of his great Fortune, and Interest with the Emperor, remained silent, and said he would leave all to my own Choice, being resolved not to constrain me to any thing. Thus he offended neither, yet the Elector was secretly displeased with both him and me, imagining that I slighted his Kinsman. This made way both for my Father's Ruin and mine; for as he, being in a high Post, and before this much in Favour with his Prince, had many Enemies who envied him, and sought his Ruin; so now they made use of this too favourable Opportunity to effect their Design, and obtain their Ends. My new Lover did all he was able to make the World believe that I liked him: He was very vain, and building upon his great Fortune and Quality, fancied no Lady could long resist his Solicitations. In short, seeing I still persisted in modestly refusing; (for I told him always that I thought myself greatly honoured in the Offer he made, and would have gladly accepted it, if I had not been so deeply engaged to Alonzo, that I could neither recall my Heart nor my Word) this at last so enraged him, that he resolved to effect, by any unheard of Villainy, that which he could not honourably obtain. He bribed my Waiting-Woman to let him be concealed behind the Arras Hangings in my Bed-chamber before I went to Bed, and to bear false Witness against me, to my utter undoing; for Heaven knows I was innocent of all, and thinking nothing, went late to my Apartment as usual, and was there undressed, and went to Bed; though just as I was entering that fatal Place (fatal to me indeed that dreadful Night) a cold Shivering seized me all over, and I felt an unusual Terror in my Soul, I knew not why; a Prelude to the Tragick Scene which followed. My Woman lay in the Chamber that led to mine, and when soft Slumbers had closed my Eyes, and all was hushed, the Villain slipping off his Clothes, stole softly into my Bed, but never laid his Hand upon me, so that I did not wake till some two Hours after. This he did, as he after told me, for fear I should scream out, and raise the Family; but then it being Day-break, he took me gently in his Arms, and said, Arminda, awake, and do not fear, Alonzo calls you. I started, and hearing that dear Name, though mightily surprized, I cried, O Heavens! what do you mean, how came you here? Why did you take this Liberty before our Marriage was made publick? My dear, said he, I arrived late, and got your Woman to let me into your Chamber; where seeing you asleep, and being greatly tired, I stole to Bed, and have passed two of the pleasingest Hours I ever knew in all my Life in watching your dear Slumbers, nor did I offer to lay one hand upon you, for fear of disturbing you. This happy Day I mean to let the World know that you are mine. At these Words, I thought 'twas not his Voice, and opening the Curtains, I perceived my Error. He held me fast, and cried be still, or you are undone for ever; the Secrets of this Night disclosed, you'll be the Mark of publick Infamy. I find you are married, and that I must be for ever wretched. Yes, said I, you have made me so indeed, how shall I ever look my injured Husband in the Face, or justify my Innocence again? Fly, Monster, fly my Sight for ever. At these Words, he let me go; and said, Arminda, had I known you were another's, I would not have done this Deed; but now it is too late to repent of it, grant me the Enjoyment of your Person, and the Secret shall be for ever locked up in my Breast; if not, I'll make my Rival wretched as myself, or more. I cannot live without possessing you, and if I cannot do it, he shall weep Blood for my Revenge; you have no other Choice to make. At these Words he seized me in his Arms, but I broke from him, and made such Resistance, that he did not succeed in his villainous Attempt; yet I did not cry out, because I feared to publish this Misfortune to the World, and could not believe he dared to do it himself. At last I got into my Woman's Chamber, where I found the wicked Wretch all pale and trembling. I had not Time or Breath left to reproach her, but I snatched her Night-gown up, and throwing it over me, I bid her convey the Villain out, whom she had let into my Chamber. She did not make one Word of Answer, but left me. I ran immediately to my Closet, and there put on some other Clothes, which I took up in my Dressing-room, as I passed through it, for it joined to my Woman's. And here I sat down upon a Couch, and ruminated what to do. I considered that it was not my hated Lover's Interest to divulge this fatal Secret, since that would only draw upon him the Hatred and Revenge of my Husband, Father, and all my Family; that he was ignorant of my Marriage, and therefore more excusable; and that by disclosing myself, I should engage my dear Alonzo in a Quarrel, which would in all Probability cost both their Lives; that a Woman's Reputation always suffers by such Discourse, tho' she be entirely virtuous and innocent; and therefore I thought it best to be silent, and withdraw myself from Court, to avoid seeing the hated Constantine any more. What embarrassed me most was, how to treat my treacherous Waiting-woman, the wicked Grizalinda, who had been the Cause of all this Mischief. I could not bear the Sight of her again, nor was it safe for me to keep her longer; yet if I immediately dismissed her, I did not know what Reports she might spread of me, by whispering this Story in the Ears of my Enemies; for I had one, who was both formidable and malicious to the last Degree, and that was a Dutchess, who was the Wife of an old Duke, to whom her Parents had married her at thirteen, because her Fortune was small, and his Quality and Wealth much superior to her's. This Lady, who was indeed to be pitied, had a secret Intrigue with my dear Alonzo for some Years past, and had bound him in the most sacred Promises never to marry any except herself (for the Breach of which I fear we both now suffer). This Lady had been jealous of him and me to Distraction, and our Marriage had not been kept so great a Secret but for this Reason, he having designed at his Return to break gently with her, and get her to release him of those Promises, and then to take me, and retire to a Country Seat my Father had twenty Miles distant; but Fate had otherwise decreed. My Traiteress staid not to provoke me, but having conducted the enraged Constantine down the Back-Stairs, at a little Distance from which his Chair waited, returned to her own Chamber, packed up her Clothes, and fled I knew not whither. I called for her, but had no other Answer, but that she was gone, to the Surprize of all the Family. I seemed not to wonder at it, but only said coolly, I was angry with her, but I did not bid her go; yet I was really much concerned, fearing she was gone to my enraged Rival, as she indeed was, as I afterwards discovered. At last I resolved to acquaint none but my Father with this Misfortune, and accordingly went to him; and after having prepared him for the News, and made him promise not to take any Notice of it, I told him all the Story, as also of my Marriage with Alonzo: He chid me severely, and was in so great a Passion, that I repented my having disclosed my Mind to him. He vowed that he would be revenged of the insolent Constantine; but I shewed him the fatal Consequences of such an Action; that it would ruin my Reputation, and that my Husband would perhaps not only fight, but also, if he outlived Constantine, be ruined, and forced to fly; and, it may be, take an Aversion to me, though I was innocent. At last I prevailed with him to continue silent, and the Coach being got ready, I went and paid my Duty to the Electress, took Leave of my Friends, under Pretence of being indisposed, and set out for my Father's Country Seat, in Company of a Lady, my Father's Sister, whose Character and Wisdom was known to be extraordinary. Here I remained, expecting my Lord's Return, from whom I continually received the most tender and passionate Letters that Man could write. Mean Time, the cruel Constantine could not be content to give over his wicked Design; for having dispatched his Affairs at Court, he prepared to return to Vienna. Mean Time my Father going seldomer than usual to Court, to avoid the Sight of him, this his Enemies made their Advantage of; and now Constantine took leave of the Elector, and set out for Vienna, but he stopped by the way at a Village a League from my Father's Country Seat; and there leaving his Coach and Servants, attended by none but his Gentleman, both dressed in plain riding Habits, they took Horse and came to the House of a Farmer, where they rested till Dusk, it being September; then they mounted their Horses again, and came to a Grove behind the Gardens, and there watched till they saw me from the Windows undress, and go to Bed. When all the Lights were out, they quitted their Horses, and fastened them to a Tree; then they entered the Garden, being provided with a Ladder of Ropes and dark Lanthorns, by which Lord Constantine mounted a Balcony that opened into a Gallery which led to my Chamber, into which he entered without any Noise; the Wind blew very hard, so that had I been waking, I should not have been apprehensive of any thing, or heard him. He had no sooner reached the Bed's Feet, but he shut his Lanthorn, so that no Light appeared: He clasped me in his Arms so fast that it was impossible for me to get loose; and said, Arminda make no Noise, for if you do, you surely die; it is Constantine that holds you in his Arm, the amorous Constantine, who cannot live without you; if you cry out, and any one of your Domesticks enters the Room, I will kill him in your Sight, and lay his dead Body by you; so that your Reputation shall be blackened, tho' you are innocent. Who can express the Distress that I was in, or conceive the Anguish of my Mind, just waked out of my Sleep, alone, and in the dead time of the Night; no help at Hand. I lift my Soul to Heaven, and not uttering one Word, I grasped the Pomel of his Sword, and with a sudden Struggle drew it forth, and stabbed him in the Thigh: He raged, and cursed my Virtue, vowing Revenge, and so left me, more than half dead with fear. He made a shift to regain the Balcony, and by the Assistance of his Gentleman reached his Horse, but died e're Morning at the Farmer's House. I thinking it best to hide this Adventure, so soon as I thought he was quite gone, I rung the Bell for my Woman, who arose, and came running to my Bed-Side; I bid her call up the other Servants; that a Man had entered my Chamber, I supposed a Thief, who came to my Bed-side with a Candle and Lanthorn; on which I had cried out, and he going to stop my Mouth, I had catched hold of his Sword, and wounded him. This passed current with my Aunt and all the Family, and the Blood in my Chamber, the Doors of the Balcony being left open, the Rope Ladder found, which was left hanging, all confirmed this Relation. The next Morning the Farmer's People told how two Men, like Gentlemen, had come thither over Night, how they returned at Midnight, and how one being wounded, the other had pretended that they had been attacked by Thieves, and that it was his Master that was hurt; how he had afterwards sent for a Horse, and carried away the Body of his dead Master. This made a great Noise about the Country, but no body imagined who this Person was. Some Time after, News came to Court that Lord Constantine was dead of an Apoplexy on the Road to Vienna, for so his Gentleman had ordered his Retinue to say; though he knew that he had received his Death's Wound in my Chamber, but by what Hand he knew not, for his Lord had not told him any thing of what passed between us; yet when he arrived at Vienna with the Body, he disclosed the Secret of all, as far as he knew, to his dead Lord's Father, and offered to swear to the Information. On this, secret Orders were sent to the Elector, that I should be taken into Custody, to give an Account of his Death; and the Dutchess, to whom my wicked Waiting-woman was fled, having maliciously whispered to some of her Intimates of the greatest Quality, that I had been doubtless false to Alonzo with Constantine; for my Woman had told her how he had lain a whole Night in my Chamber, and that she had let him down the Back-Stairs in the Morning; this agreed with some other Reports that had been spread by some of the common People, of this Lord's Chair having been observed to wait all Night near the back Stairs of my Apartment; and this jealous Lady had entertained and kept this wicked Servant of mine in the Country ever since, and now writ a Letter to my Lord, and sent a Messenger express to give into his own Hand, with an Account of all this, and the Death of Lord Constantine; concluding with the bitterest Reproaches and Reflections that Malice and Revenge could invent. My afflicted Father did all he could to justify me, but in vain. Alonzo no sooner received this fatal Letter, but he came Post from the Army, and instead of hearing my Justification, immediately paid a Visit to this Dutchess, and see my wicked Servant, who impudently persevered in her Story; so that he did not return home all that Night, and I too well guessed where he lay. The Elector quarrelled with my Father for taking my Part, said I was a false vicious Woman, who had been the Cause of a brave Man's Death, by some villainous Treachery, and the Ruin of his Kinsman, to whom, and to all the Family, I was a Disgrace and Infamy. In fine, my Father, unused to bear such Treatment, answered too rashly, and in Terms that so enraged our Elector, that he put him immediately under a Guard, seized on his Estate, and banished him his Dominions. These dismal Tidings had not reached my Ears half an Hour, when my Lord entered my Chamber, with a Look so full of Rage and Fury, that I could do no more, Grief had so overwhelmed me, but fall down at his Feet in a Swoon, as I was going to throw my Arms round his Neck, and could not utter one Word more, but only my dear Lord, I am innocent. He bid my Woman take Care of me, and turning out of the Room, met my dear afflicted Aunt, to whom he said, Madam, pray see that Wretch, that has undone us all, safe to a Convent, I am going to the Army, and shall leave her such a Part of my Fortune, as shall pay for her being there. When I came to myself, and found him gone, no Tongue can express my Despair. At last, by my Aunt's Advice, I took what Gold, Plate and Jewels I could get together, and fled; leaving only two Letters, one for my dear Father, and the other for my unkind Husband. In the first I advised my Father where to retire to, that he might hear from me; in the other I justified myself as much as I was able, calling Heaven and Earth to witness to the Truth of what I said; and so took a last Adieu in Terms so moving, that it must have melted the Heart, and gained Credit in the Mind of any other, but the inflexible Alonzo, who was spurred on by his revengeful Mistress and the Elector. My Father retired immediately to a Friend in Alsace, and, thank Providence, had wisely placed a great deal of Money in the Banks of Vienna and Holland. Here he staid till he heard from me, and I fearing lest a Convent would not secure me from the Elector's Hate, and that I should never find Means there to see my Father and Husband any more, having still Hopes that God would be pleased to do me right, I put on this Disguise; and leaving with my Aunt what Treasure I had saved, I fled secretly to a Farmer's near this Place, who had been Steward to my Grandfather. Here I staid whilst my Father came to me in the Habit of a Shepherd, as we had before agreed. Being met, we consulted how to live together, and resolved on the way of Life we now follow. We purchased a Cottage, and taking an old Servant Maid, and a young Man, who has been a faithful Servant to my Father, went there to live, not doubting but that we might continue here concealed as long as we think it necessary for our Safety. The old Farmer, our former Steward, receives the Interest-Money for us, as my Father has given Orders; and thus we possess the Necessaries of Life. But, alas! what Pleasure can we reap in this miserable Obscurity? Or how shall my dear Father hope to retrieve his Fortune and Honour, and I my dear Lord's Affection, and lost Reputation, in these Circumstances. I have sent several tender Letters to him during our Abode in this Place, which has been two whole Years, by my Aunt's Hands, to whom I send my Letters, but never received any Answer. No Person but that Lady does know the Secret of our Circumstances, and Manner of Life; and now it must be by some Miracle, that the Truth must be manifested of my Innocence. And if you, reverend Sir, can procure my Return to my Husband, and consequently my Father's to Court, I will believe you a Saint; and as such, respect and honour you. But, alas! (she continued) letting fall a Shower of Tears, I am not worthy so great a Blessing. Our Hermit answered, yes, Child, I think you may with Reason hope for it; for the Divine Being never permits Virtue and Innocence to be wronged, but with Design to justify and reward it in the End. I hope I shall be the happy, though unworthy Instrument, to do you right: Here he sigh'd. This Story touched him nearly, it so much resembled his own. He proceeded to offer her, that he would go to the Dutchess whom Alonzo had an Intrigue withal, and talk to her, as a Man to whom these Secrets had been revealed by divine Revelation; and by these Means bring her and the wicked Grizalinda to a Confession of their Crimes, and to Repentance, so that they might do her right. She returned him a thousand Thanks, praying for his good Success, and so departed. The next Morning he paid a Visit to the old Lord (though in Appearance a Shepherd) her Father; and they both accepting his Offer, he set out the next Morning at Break of Day, leaving his Cottage in their Care.

CHAP. X.

The disguised Hermit soon arrived at the Elector's Court, and went to the Dutchess's, to whom he easily got Admittance, for she was a great Devoteè in Appearance, and very liberal to Pilgrims, Hermits, and the religious Persons of all Orders, who came to share her Charity. This made her greatly respected, and was the best Cloke in the World to conceal her Vices under. She no sooner saw this venerable old Man enter, but she imagined that she knew his Business, and was putting her Hand to her Pocket to take out her Purse; but when he asked to speak with her alone, she was a little surprized, and bid her Waiting-woman, who had conducted him to her, retire: And now having looked fixedly on her a while, he brake out into these Words, Is it possible, great God, that such Vices can be lodged in so fair a Cabinet? and Lust, Revenge, Malice, and Falshood, wear so beautiful an Outside? Oh Madam, prepare to hear your Charge: I have been commanded by our great Creator, who sees and judges all our most secret Thoughts and Actions, to come from my Cell, where I have spent many long Years, enduring Cold and Hunger, parching Heat, and destitute of all Human Society, too small a Penance for the Sins and Oversights of my rash Youth, to admonish you, unhappy Lady, that you must change your Course of Life, or expect such Punishments as your Crimes do merit; think on your vicious Actions, think on Alonzo, think on his virtuous Wife, and her most noble Father; surrender up to Justice the wicked Grizalinda, who has basely wronged the innocent Arminda; yes, she is most innocent, and Heaven has heard her Prayers: Tell that Wretch, 'twas she that hid the wicked Constantine, whom the Divine Justice has already reached, in her Lady's Chamber, unknown to her; tell her that if she will avoid eternal Misery, she must immediately confess her Crime, and do her injured Lady right. For you, how can you sleep in Peace, or dare to tempt the Almighty's Justice by Delays? Where did the enraged Alonzo sleep the dreadful Night that he first left his injured Wife? The horrid Thought shocks me, and ought to make you shake and tremble: I could disclose each Secret of your past Life, for all's revealed to me in Vision; wrap'd in Prayer, I have been shewed all that you've done, and must no more return to warn you. If you repent not now, expect such Judgments as will humble you even to the Earth; your Secrets shall be all revealed, Alonzo shall both scorn and loath you; provoke not Heaven any farther: Farewel, remember the injured Arminda; my Soul shivers at the Thoughts of what's to come, if you do not repent; but I must not reveal the rest. Here he left her, she remained a while fixed in the Chair, she sat quite motionless; the Person of the Man, and the Manner in which he delivered his Message, made such an Impression on her Mind, that she was in an instant changed; to hear the Secrets of her Life related by a Man who had left the World perhaps ere she was born. This looked so much the Work of Heaven, that she could not resist the Motions of that Divine Power, which had found out this Means for her Conversion; she retired to her Closet, threw herself prostrate on her Knees, and casting her Eyes on the Picture of a Magdelene, like her, let fall a Shower of Tears; and having passed some Hours there, called for a Page, and bid him fetch her Confessor, who came immediately; she informed him of all, and he much rejoiced to see this Change, and made her promise to send for Grizalinda the next Morning, and make her draw up a Confession under her Hand, to justify Arminda; then he made her write a Letter to Alonzo, to the same Effect. Mean Time, our Hermit went to the Elector, and related to him, that he was come thither by Divine Command, to declare that Arminda was innocent of the Crimes laid to her Charge; the Elector heard him very attentively, paying much Respect to the Habit he had on, and venerating his Age and seeming Sanctity, promising to pardon her Father's Rashness, and restore him to his Honour and Estate, if yet alive, and to use his Authority with Alonzo to make him receive his virtuous Wife again, if she could be found. The Hermit told him, the Place of their Retreat had also been revealed to him; and that so soon as her Innocence was made appear, he would declare the Place of their Abode. The Prince offered him his Purse, but he refused all Presents, and took Leave, saying, that if no unforeseen Accident happen to prevent him, he would be back in twenty Days and see Alonzo; he made Haste to depart, for fear of being seen by some who might remember his Face, though so much altered that it could scarce be known by his nearest Relations, had they been all alive, and he had almost outlived the greater Part of them: But he made what Speed he could to his Cottage and Friends, to whom he recounted all that had past, at which they were much rejoiced, and returned God and him Thanks, hoping for a fortunate Issue. Alonzo no sooner received the Dutchess's Letter, which she sent by a special Messenger, but he made all the Speed imaginable to Court, where the Elector related to him what had past; thence he went to the Dutchess, who received him with a Flood of Tears, and all the Marks of a true Penitent, desiring him never to come any more where she was; the wicked Grizalinda confess'd the Truth: In fine, he was touched to the quick, and fully convinced of his Wife's Innocence; since it was now no wonder a Man, who was so wicked as Lord Constantine in this Action, should make a second Attempt; or that a Lady of such Virtue should, in such an Exigence, stab a Man out of whose Hands she could find no other Way to escape.

Soon after Alonzo's Arrival, the Hermit returned, and found him disposed as he desired and hoped; so he acquainted him where he should find his Father-in-Law, and Lady: They immediately took Coach together, and soon arrived at the Cottage, where the noble Shepherd and Shepherdess received them. But who can express the Transport of Arminda's Soul, to see her Virtue cleared, and her loved Lord restored to her? Oh, who would not tread in the most rigid Steps that lead to Virtue's Temple, to be so rewarded? This is the vast Difference betwixt doing well and ill; that in Vice the Pleasure is always momentary and of no Duration, and the Remorse for having done it, sure and lasting; but in doing virtuous Deeds, though we may suffer Loss and Pain for some short Time, yet we have always a secret Satisfaction within, that supports us under them, and the End brings us Honour and generally Reward, even in this World; but if we miss of it here, we are sure to have it in the other. And now the old Lord and Arminda returned, with the transported Alonzo, to Court, where she was welcomed and praised by all: Her Father was restored to his Estate and Employments, and the repenting Dutchess, neglected by every body, retired with her old Lord to his Country Seat, and died in two Years after of a Consumption. Our Hermit, extremely glad to have been successful in this good Work, remained in his Cell, where he continued for some Years after, never designing to change his Manner of living, nor expecting any Joy or Satisfaction in this Life, except in hearing of his Children's Welfare, having had News of poor Gertrude's Death, who died of a Fever at the Lord's where he left her. His two Daughters by Lady Lucy were nobly disposed of: One married the virtuous and accomplished Son of the wicked Henrietta, good and noble as his Father; the other espoused a Nobleman of Heidleberg, of great Fortune; his Sons by his Mistress Gertrude grew and improved; one died of the small Pox, one embraced a religious Life, and was, in fine, a Jesuit; the other took to the Sword, and he, by the Society's Means, was put into a good Post in the Army. And now growing very weak and infirm, our Hermit was often visited by the good Father Joseph; at last he fell dangerously sick, and was by him exhorted to make a general Confession, in order to fit himself the better for a Change. But good Heavens! how great was the pious Father's Surprize, when he discovered by the Circumstances he related, that our Hermit was Albertus, the Father of his Pupil, and Husband of her whom he had miraculously saved from Death. He was filled with Wonder, and could not enough praise and admire the Divine Providence, in bringing him to this Place; yet he discovered not his Thoughts, or informed him of any thing relating to this Matter, thinking it Prudence first to consult his Superiour and the Lady: He failed not to give him all the ghostly Advice that was proper; he had not the least Reason to doubt of his being a true Penitent, since his retiring from the World, and Manner of Life, had sufficiently shewed it: He returned to his Convent, acquainted the Father Guardian with this wonderful Story, and they went together to the Monastery, and told the glad Tidings to Lady Lucy, whose Joy was inexpressible. The Lady Abbess communicated it to the whole Society, and Thanks were returned to God; for like the Angels, they rejoiced at the Conversion, and miraculous Dispensations of the Divine Mercies to a repenting Sinner. And now it was debated in what Manner this happy Discovery should be made to the dying Albertus ; and this indeed needed some Precaution to be used in the doing of it, considering his weak Condition; yet it was absolutely necessary the Secret should be unfolded before his Death, in order to do right to his young Son, whose Birth might otherwise be perhaps disputed by the Heirs of Albertus's Family; at last it was concluded, that Father Joseph should return, and pass the Night with him, in Company of another Friend, whom he had left to attend him, and that he should gently break the Matter to him. He did so in this Manner: After he had sat some Hours by his Bed-side, and saw him pretty well composed, with having slept a little, he began to expatiate to him the great Providences that he had experienced from the Divine Bounty, the Dangers that he had escaped, the long Time that he had had to enjoy the Opportunities of reconciling himself to God, whom he had so greatly offended; at last he asked him if he could even wish for any thing more in this World: No, said he, nothing but to be dismist from the Miseries of this Life, when the Almighty shall think fit; I know he is all-powerful, and nothing is impossible for him to do, that is consistent with his Justice; and were I to live my Life over again, I could desire nothing more, except the Life of my dear Lucy, and to have never imbrued my Hands in her Blood: But I hope my Peace is now sealed, and that I shall go to that happy Place, where I doubt not to find her. Then the good Father took hold of this Opportunity, and bid him lift up his Soul and be thankful, for God had preserved her Life; and so related all the Story of her and the Child. This was a Cordial more effectual to revive Albertus, than all that Art and Nature could furnish; he could not doubt the Truth of any thing, considering the Integrity of the Persons who testified it; and his Acknowledgments to God were suitable to his Joy; for how much must that Soul be lighten'd and transported, which finds itself freed from the Guilt of so great a Crime, as shedding innocent Blood? He longed for the Morning's Approach, that he might once more have a Sight of his dear virtuous Wife, and embrace her and his new-found Son, for whom he had always a Father's Love, though a Stranger till now to the Reason of it. So soon as it was broad Day, the good Frier went for her, who seemed to fly to meet his Wishes, so much she had forgotten and laid aside all Resentments of his past cruel Treatment of her: She came trembling with Haste and Joy to his Bed-side, led by her lovely Son, who came with transport to demand a Blessing from his overjoy'd Father; who, weak as he was, started up in his Bed at the Sound of his dear Lucy's Voice, and catched her in his Arms. A Shower of Tears, the usual Effect of excessive Grief or Joy, did for some Moments interrupt all Speech; at last they both manifested their Satisfaction, in Terms suiting the extraordinary Occasion. It was eighteen long Years since they had been parted, eleven of which he had past in Retirement; he beg'd her Pardon for his Crime, which she sealed with her Lips and Soul: In fine, this sudden Change in his Mind, and excessive Joy, redoubled his Fever, and she and a Physician who was sent for to attend him, much feared his Life; but Heaven would not leave its Work imperfect, and separate them so soon; he at last recovered, and the News was soon spread over Heidleberg, by the Abbess's Means, who wrote an Account of all to her Friends there, thinking it proper that such a miraculous Event should be divulged, that God might be glorified, and the World improved in Virtue and Religion, by such rare Examples; so that this Letter of the Abbess's being shewn to the old Lady, Albertus's Mother-in-Law, both she and her two Grand-daughters, with their Husbands, came presently in a Coach to visit him and his Lady. In fine, so soon as Albertus was able to bear the Fatigue of the Journey, he and his Lady and Son went home to his Seat at Heidleberg, where they were received as Persons risen from the Dead. All the Nobility and Gentry, all their Friends and Relations, visited and congratulated them; amongst the rest, the noble Benedictine, Henrietta's Husband, their Kinsman, who was extremely glad of Lady Lucy's return to Life, and to the World: Nor need we mention the old Lady her Mother's Joy, who had truly mourned her Loss. They gave large Gifts to the Convent and Monastery, where Lady Lucy and her Son had been so generously preserved and entertained. They lived many Years after most happily together, admired for their Virtues, and beloved by all for their Bounty and Liberality to their Friends and the Poor. At last Albertus died, and his Lady retired again into the Monastery, her Mother being long before dead also, and her Son happily established in his Father's Fortune, and a noble Post in the Elector's Court, and married to a Sister of the noble Alonzo's. Here she spent six Years in Prayer and Devotion, and dying, was buried at Heidleberg with her noble Husband; and their Son made a handsom Monument for them.

And thus ends a History full of very extraordinary Events; and I hope it will be of Use to all who read it, and prevent Men from entertaining that dangerous Enemy to Man's Repose, Jealousy, and teach them to be very cautious in suspecting their Wives Virtue, or giving Credit to Appearances, which very often deceive the Wisest: And may the unhappy Henrietta's Crimes and Death make my own Sex take Care to avoid the like Fate, and strive to imitate the virtuous Lady Lucy, that like her they may die in Peace, and their Memories be ever dear to all that know them, and reverenced by all Posterity. But I forget the Age I live in, where such Things as Religion and Virtue are almost grown out of Fashion, and many of both Sexes live as if they had neither; when there is scarce any Truth, Honour, or Conscience amongst Men, or Modesty and Sobriety amongst Women. The few Good and Virtuous will, I am sure, read this with Pleasure; the Vicious I do not strive to please, but to reform; may they rather be touched to the inmost Recesses of their Soul, at the reading of this History, and amend, that they may have Pardon, and God be glorified.

 
 
 

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