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Madam de Beaumont by Penelope Aubin


THE LIFE OF Madam de Beaumount, A French LADY.

THE PREFACE TO THE READER.

The Air has infected some of the neighbouring Nations with the Plague, and swept away the astonished Inhabitants by thousands; but in our Nation it has had a different Effect, it has certainly infected our Understandings: A Madness has for some Time possessed the English, and we are turned Projectors, exceeding the French in extravagant Whimsies, and parted with our Money as easily as if we had forgot that we were to live a Day longer: We are grown false as Jews in Trading; Turks and Italians in Lust; Libertines in Principle, and have more Religions amongst us, and less Sincerity, than the Dutch. The Knavish Part of us are employed at present in getting Money; and the Thoughtless, which are the major Part, in searching for something new to divert their Spleen: The Tales of Fairies and Elves take with them, and the most improbable Things please best.

The Story I here present the Publick withal is very extraordinary, but not quite so incredible as these. This is an Age of Wonders, and certainly we can doubt of nothing, after what we have seen in our Days: Yet there is one Thing in the Story of Madam de Beaumount very strange; which is, that she, and her Daughter, are very religious, and very virtuous, and that there were two honest Clergymen living at one Time. In the Lord de Beaumount's Story there is yet something more surprising; which is, that he loved an absent Wife so well, that he obstinately refused a pretty Lady a Favour.

These Circumstances will, I suppose, make the Truth of this Story doubted; but since Men are grown very doubtful, even in those Things that concern them most, I'll not give my self much Trouble to clear their Doubts-about this. Wales being a Place not extremely populous in many Parts, is certainly more rich in Virtue than England, which is now improved in Vice only, and rich in Foreigners, who often bring more Vices than ready Money along with them. He that would keep his Integrity, must dwell in a Cell; and Belinda had never been so virtuous had she not been bred in a Cave, and never seen a Court.

Wales has produced many brave Men, and been famed for the unshaken Loyalty of its People to their Princes, and Bravery in Fight, scorning to bow their Necks to Slavery, or be conquered; why may it not produce a Woman virtuous and wise, as the Men are couragious?

In this Story I have aimed at pleasing, and at the same Time encouraging Virtue in my Readers. I wish Men would, like Belinda, confide in Providence, and look on Death with the same Indifference that she did. But I forget that this Book is to be published in London, where Abundance of People live, whose Actions must persuade us, that they are so far from fearing to die that they certainly fear nothing that is to come after dying: Some of these, not speaking good English, will not, perhaps, read this; I shall therefore refer them to their own Countries for virtuous Examples, and present this Story to the true born English, and Antient Britons, to whom I wish Increase of Sense and Virtue, Plenty of Money, good Governors, and endless Prosperity.

Penelope Aubin.

THE LIFE OF Madam de Beaumount .

CHAP. I.

Not far from Swansey, a Sea-Port in Wales, in Glamorganshire, there dwelt a Gentleman whose Name was Mr. Lluelling: He was descended of a good Family, and had a handsom Estate of about 500l. per Annum, all lying together in that Place, on which he lived comfortably and nobly, doing much Good: A Man whose generous Temper, and good Sense, made him beloved by all that knew him: He had been once a Member of Parliament, travelled in his Youth, bred at the University; and, in fine, was a most accomplished Gentleman. It is not therefore to be doubted but that he had many Opportunities of marrying, but he always declined it, and seemed, though ever gallant and complaisant, yet indifferent to the Fair Sex: He was thirty-six Years of Age, and wisely preferred a Country Retirement before noisy Courts and Business: His Person was very handsom, and his Conversation and Mein perfectly genteel and agreeable. This Gentleman, in the Year 1717, one Evening, in the Month of May, was walking alone by the Sea-Side to take the Air, and passing over some little Hills, came at last to the Top of one much higher than the Rest, where standing still to view the lovely Prospect of the neighbouring Fields and Valleys, which were now all in their greatest Pride, adorned with lovely Flowers and various Greens, he saw just opposite another Hill, and in the Side of it a Door open, before which there stood a Maid of such exquisite Beauty and Shape, and in a Habit so odd and uncommon, that he was both extremely surprized and charmed: He stood still, not daring to approach her, lest he should surprize and make her fly from him. She seemed very thoughtful, but at length looking up she saw him, and immediately retired, shutting the Door after her. He continued musing for some Time, and having well observed the Place, returned home, resolving to go back thither early the next Morning: He passed that Night without once closing his Eyes, such strong Impressions had her Beauty made in his Soul that he thought of nothing but the bright Vision. At Break of Day he rose, forbidding his Servants to attend him, and hastened to the Hill, from whence he descended into the Valley, where he sought for a convenient Place to conceal himself, at some little Distance from the Cave, resolving to watch the Opening of the Door, and observe what past there. Having found a low Tree he climbed up into it, and did not wait long before he saw a proper Lad come forth with a Basket on his Arm; he went towards the Town, as if he were going to fetch Provisions: Soon after a Maid Servant came out with a Broom, and swept before the Door of the Cave, dressed in a red Petticoat, a French Jacket and Coif; and in some Time after she went in he saw a Lady, in a rich Night-Gown and Night-Clothes, something in Years, but very beautiful, attended by the young Virgin he had seen the Day before, who was drest in a cherry-colour Silk Petticoat, flowered with Silver, a white Sattin Waistcoat, tied down the Breast with red and Silver Ribbons, her Neck was bare, and her Hair was carelessly braided, and tied up in green Sattin Ribbon: Upon her Head she wore a fine Straw Hat, lined with green and Gold, and a Habit suiting: She appeared to be about fourteen, was fair as Diana; her Eyes were black, her Face oval, her Shape incomparable; she wore a Sweetness and Modesty in her Look, that would have charmed the coldest Breast, and checked the boldest Lover from proceeding farther than he ought. Their Habits, Speech, and Mein, spoke them Persons of Quality and Foreigners.

'Come, my dear Child, said the Lady, let us take a Walk over the Hills this sweet Morning, it is all the Diversion our sad Circumstance permits us to take.' 'Why, Madam,' answered the fair Belinda, for so was the young Lady called, 'Can there be any Pleasures in the World, exceeding those this sweet Retirement gives us? How often have you recounted to me the Miseries and Dangers that attend a Life led in crowded Cities and noisy Courts: Had you never left the quiet Convent for the World, or changed your Virgin-State, how happy had you been? Our homely Cell, indeed, is nothing like the splendid Places I have heard you talk of; but then we are not half so much exposed to those Temptations you have warned me of: Nothing I dread but only this; should Providence take you from me, I should be so sad and lonely, that I fear my Heart would break.' 'My Child,' the Lady answered, 'Our Lives are in the Almighty's Hands, and we must still submit; you cannot be wretched whilst you are innocent, and I still hope your Father lives, that we shall meet again; that we shall leave this dismal Place, return to France, and live to see you happily disposed of in the World. It is now fourteen Years and six Months since we have lived securely in this lonely Mansion, a tedious Task to me; you know I dare not return to France a second Time, having been once betrayed, and with much Difficulty escaped from my Enemies Hands: I want only some faithful Friend that could go thither for me.' By this Time they were past on so far that Mr. Lluelling could hear no more: He came down from the Tree, and followed gently after, soon overtook, and thus addressed himself to them. 'Ladies, said he, be not surprized, I am a Gentleman of this Place, one who am able to serve you, my Estate and Heart are at your Command; sure I have been very unfortunate in being so long ignorant of my being near you. I have overheard your Discourse, and am come to offer myself and Fortune to you.' Here he threw himself at Belinda's Feet. 'To this fair Creature, said he, I dedicate the Remainder of my Life; I and all that is mine shall be devoted to her Service. Speak, lovely Maid, said he, whose Eyes have robbed me of a Heart, may I presume to hope?' Belinda, much confused, looked first on him, then on her Mother, remaining silent, seized with a Passion she had been a Stranger to till that Moment. The Lady well perceiving it, answered thus, 'Rise, Sir, since Heaven, who has till now preserved us from all Discovery, has permitted you to see us, and, as I conjecture, more than this Time, so that it would be invain to forbid your coming where we are: I consent to accept the Friendship which you offer, not doubting but you are what you appear, a Person of Birth and Fortune.' He bowed, and taking Belinda by the Hand, said, 'Madam, you shall find me all you can wish; let me now have the Honour to wait of you home to your Cell, and there we may be more at liberty to talk.' The Ladies consenting, they went back together to the Cave, the Inside of which was most surprizing to Mr. Lluelling: There he found five Rooms so contrived, and so richly furnished, that he stood amazed. 'In the Name of Wonder, said he, Ladies, by what Inchantment or Art was this Place contrived; from whence is this Light conveyed that illuminates it, which seems without all covered over with Earth, and is within so light and agreeable?' The Lady answered, 'When you have heard our Story you will be satisfied in all. At our landing on this Place, we found a Cave, or little Cell, but not like what it now is; the Seamen belonging to the Ship, that brought us here, contrived and made it what you see; the Damask Beds, Scrutores, and all the Furniture you find here, I brought with me from France. The Light is from a Sky-Light on the Top of the Hill, covered with a Shutter and Grate, when we think fit to shut Day out: A Pair of Stairs leads to it in the Midst of the Rooms which you see lye in a Kind of Round. The Building is contrived an Oval, part lined with some Boards, to defend the Damps from us; but yet in Winter it is no pleasant Dwelling.' "Madam, said he, I have a Seat, and more convenient House that shall be proud to receive you, and I shall not cease to importune you till you grace it with your Presence; I shall therefore deny my self the Pleasure of staying with you longer, and fetch my Coach to bear you thither." At these Words he took leave.

When he was gone, the old Lady, looking on her Daughter, spake thus to her, 'Now, my dear Child, what do you think, Providence provides us here at last a Friend; and, if I am not deceived, a Husband for you: What think you of this Gentleman?' "Alas! Madam, she replied, "I know not what to think, I wish I had not seen him; for if he proves deceitful, as Men, you say, often do, sure I should be unhappy." They continued this Discourse, breakfasted, and before Noon saw Mr. Lluelling return with a Coach, and Servants, to fetch them to his House to Dinner; he wisely left his Coach on the farther Hill, and came alone to them: His Importunities were so great they could not refuse him; so, staying only to dress, they went with him. The Ladies Habits, though not made after the English Mode, were rich, and such as were hardly ever seen in that Part of Wales, being what the Lady brought from France with her. When arrived at his House, they were entertained in a Manner suiting the noble Nature and Hospitality of the antient Britons; nothing was wanting to shew the Master's Respect. How much the young Lady was surprized it is almost impossible to imagine, since she had never been abroad before, or conversed with any Stranger. After Dinner Mr. Lluelling carried the Ladies into a Drawing-Room, where the Pictures hung of his Ancestors: Stately, and so furnished was the Place, it might have taken up some Hours to have viewed it with Delight: Here Wines, Sweetmeats, and Tea, were placed, and the Servants withdrawing, he seated the Ladies and himself, and then said, 'Now, Madam, addressing himself to the Mother, 'may I, without offending, beg to know your Quality, the Adventures of your Life, and the true Cause of your dwelling in the obscure Place I found you.' "Yes, answered she, your Curiosity is just, and I readily agree to all you ask." Then she began the Narrative of her Life in this Manner.

CHAP. II.

I was born in Normandy; my Father being a French Nobleman, his Name was the Count de Rochefoucault: My Mother was an English Lady, who came over with the unfortunate Queen of England, Wife to King James II. to whom my Mother's Father was a loyal and faithful Servant, though a Protestant: He was a Lord, but could give no Fortune with my Mother but her Beauty and Virtue. My Father being at Court at Paris, and visiting at St. Germains, there saw, and fell in Love with her, in the End married, and brought her to his Seat in Normandy. I was born the first Year of their Marriage, and by my Mother secretly bred up a Protestant; we talking together in English, which she taught me; for which Reason I was not much esteemed by my Father's Family, when it came to be known.

When I was ten Years of Age it pleased God to take away my dear Mother, whose Virtues had made her dear to all that knew her; but my Father's Grief was such, that it overcame his Reason, and in a short Time threw him into a deep Consumption, of which, to my unutterable Grief, he died, leaving me, his only Child, an Orphan of but twelve Years of Age. He left me a great Fortune in Lands and Money, in the Care of three Catholick Noblemen, his own Relations, whom he strictly enjoined to take Care of me, and never force my Inclinations in any Thing, or force me into a Convent; but no sooner was he laid in the Ground but they shut me up in a Monastery of poor Clares, as they pretended, to have me convinced of my Errors in Religion, but, in Truth, with Design to wrong me of my Fortune. Here I continued a Year, being very kindly treated by the Abbess and Society, who were most of them Ladies born of good Families, and perfectly well bred; amongst these was one whose Name was Katharine, Daughter to Monsieur de Maintenon, the Governor of Normandy. With this young Lady I contracted a strict Friendship; to her I opened all the Secrets of my Heart, and we loved so tenderly, that we were inseparable: we lay together, and she had told me all her Griefs, confessing she had and did still love a young Gentleman who was a Colonel and Relation of her Mother's; which coming to her Father's Knowledge, who was related to the King, and a Man very ambitious, had so offended him that he had sent him away to the Army, and forced her into this Convent. This Lady had an only Brother, who was called the Count de Beaumount, who was young, gay, handsom, witty; and, in fine, every Thing that is charming: His Soul was noble, and full of Truth and Honour. This young Lord came frequently to the Grates to visit his Sister, whom he tenderly loved: By this Means he saw and loved me; his Conversation charmed me, and I quickly found I more than liked him: In fine, he declared his Passion, and I at last yielded to fly with him and marry him, on Condition that his Sister should go with me. Nothing now was wanting but an Opportunity to effect our Design, which we did in a few Days, in the Manner following. The Count went to the Gardener who used to look after the Monastery Garden, and with Gold bribed him to get another Key made to the Garden Gate, with which my Lover entered when he pleased, concealing himself in one of the Arbours till my Companion and I came to walk. We soon agreed on the Day and Hour when we should escape. The Evening of the appointed Day he brought a Chaise, with six Horses, to a Village near the Convent, and in the Dusk came in it to the Garden Gate, which was the Hour we used to be at Vespers. I and Sister Katharine feigning ourselves not well all that Day, got leave to be absent from Prayers; this gave us an Opportunity of getting to the Count, who received us with Transport: He carried us in two Hours Time to the Chevalier de Alancon's House, which was twenty Miles off; there we alighted and were received gladly. This Gentleman was Father to the Colonel whom Lady Katharine loved, and therefore was glad of this Opportunity to oblige the Count de Beaumount, hoping it might be a Means to procure his Son's Happiness, who was his only Child, and whom he loved excessively. The Count, having also promised me to consent to his Sister's Marriage, had made Choice of this Gentleman as most proper to assist us in this Affair. Here having changed our Habits, and put on others, which the Count had provided for us, we were entertained with a splendid Supper; after which the Count pressed me in so passionate a Manner, to make him happy, by marrying him that Night, that I condescended to his Request, and the Chevalier's Chaplain made us one. The next Morning the Chevalier de Alancon sent away a Servant express to the Army, to give his Son Notice of Lady Katharine's Escape, and that he should come immediately home incognito to marry her. The Count de Beaumount that Evening returned home to see how our Flight was taken, and how his Father resented it, promising a speedy Return to us; which he soon did, for the next Morning he came back, and acquainted me with all that had passed. 'My Father, said he, no sooner saw me enter the Room, where he was sitting with some Noblemen at Ombre, but he rose, looking fiercely upon me, and addressing himself to them, said, Messieurs, I beg Leave to withdraw with my Son for a few Minutes. I followed him into his Closet, where we no sooner entered, but he shut the Door and said; Son, I am highly troubled to think that you have done a Deed so unadvised, so rash, and I fear ruinous to yourself, and disgustful to me: are you married without my Consent, and to a Heretick? what will the King say? Could you not find a Wife of your own Faith and Family, but you must rob a Convent for one? Where is your deluded Sister? Have you matched her too? Alas! alas! my Son, what Grief and Confusion will you bring upon us? My Surprize was so great to see my Father so calm, that I could scarce answer; but throwing myself at his Feet, embracing his Knees, I implored his Pardon, and his Blessing, saying, My honoured Lord and Father, the Lady I have married is our Equal both in Birth and Fortune; virtuous, young, and will, I doubt not, be every thing you can desire: let not her Religion, which is not a Fault in her, but the Misfortune of her Education, make you prejudiced against her, I shall soon prevail with her to be what I am; if not, our Children shall be bred as you desire: she was no Nun, but wrongfully detained there by her Guardians, who will no sooner hear who she belongs to, but they will resign her Fortune; and now, my Lord, complete my Happiness, permit me to bring my Bride to pay her Duty, and receive my Sister, who, both by Promise and Affection, is engaged to the brave Alancon, a young Gentleman whose Worth excels all Titles, who will be to you another Son, and make her happy. Rise Son, said my Father, I will endeavour to be easy. At these Words he took me up, and opening the Door, returned to the Company, I following; he said nothing of my Marriage to them: in the Morning I paid my Duty to him in his Chamber, and told him I was going to fetch you to him; he bid me go.' This News overjoyed us all, and the Chevalier, my Sister Katharine, the Count de Beaumount, and I, taking Coach, went to the Castle, where my Father-in-law received us with such Goodness, and with an Air so obliging, that I was amazed: an Apartment was immediately assigned me, the same my Mother-in-law had in her Lifetime. Our Wedding was kept as became our Quality, and in a few Days I had the Satisfaction to see my dear Sister, whom I tenderly loved, made happy as my self, being married to the Colonel, who being come Post to his Father's, was by him brought to us, and married in my Father's Presence with full Consent. And now we appeared to be the happiest Family in the World: my Guardians no sooner heard of my Marriage, but they waited on my Father and Husband, and in few Days delivered my Fortune into their Hands.

For some Months my Father treated me with all the Kindness imaginable; when it began to be whispered that I was with Child: then my Sister began to importune me, when we were alone, to change my Religion, which I evaded to answer to, as much as possible, beginning to suspect that she was put upon so doing, and this made me very thoughtful, and apprehensive of some Misfortune.

One Morning my Father-in-law entered my Chamber, and with a very serious Air began to talk to me in this Manner: 'Daughter, I have been very indulgent to you, and do now assure you that I love you extremely, of which I can give you no better Proof than what I am going to propose to you: You have been bred in an Error, and your Religion is false; I have provided those that shall instruct you in the Truth, and I expect that you hearken to them, and embrace it; and if you mean to live happy, and be dear to me, you must be a Roman Catholick, otherwise the King has commanded me to part my Son and you. I have said enough, I hope, to convince you that it is absolutely necessary that you comply with my Desires.' At these Words he went out of my Chamber, leaving me in great Confusion and Disorder. At this Instant my dear Lord came in from walking in the Park, and was much surprized to find me in Tears; he clasped me in his Arms, and pressed me earnestly to tell him what was the Cause of my Grief. Forbear, my dearest, said I, do not ask many Questions, we must be parted, and be wretched, the King will not permit you to caress a poor Orphan, and sleep in the Arms of a Heretick; I must change my Faith, or lose all that is dear to me upon the Earth: Hard Choice! He wiped away my Tears, kissed and comforted me all he was able, using all his Eloquence to persuade me to comply; and I must confess it was more difficult to me to refuse him, than all the World; not Racks, nor Flames, could move my Soul, so much as one of those tender Things he said to me: and now I was daily visited by learned Priests, and such who, as Relations or Friends, thought themselves obliged to assist in my Conversion; but having been educated in an intire Abhorrence of the Church of Rome, I gave little heed to their Arguments, and resolved to continue firm to the Opinion I had been bred in, which they soon discovered, and took my Silence for Obstinacy: with which acquainting my Father, they so wrought with him, that he grew to hate me, and believed nothing could be done with me whilst my Lord was present: he therefore resolved to part us, hoping by this means to shock my Resolution, and make me yield to his Desires. In order to this, he procures a Commission for a Regiment of Horse for the Count his Son, with a Letter from the King commanding him to repair to his Command immediately: this his Father delivered to him, telling him withal, that he had provided him an Equipage, and all things suiting his Quality, and that he must not fail to be ready by the next Morning to be gone.

This News was, as you may imagine, like a Sentence of Death to us both: As for my part, fearing to declare my Grief, lest it should encrease the Count's, I remained silent, and restrained all but my Tears, which flowed incessantly. This sight so moved my Lord, that at last he resolved to expose himself both to the King's and his Father's Displeasure, rather than leave me; but upon Reflection, I dreaded the Consequence so much of so rash an Action. that I proposed an Expedient: 'My dear Lord, said I, my Mother's Brother in England, the Lord—will no doubt gladly receive and take care of me; send me thither with part of our Fortune, there I shall enjoy my Religion without Molestation, and be safe from all my Enemies, till you return, which Heaven grant may be soon, and to both our Comforts.' This Proposal he with much Reluctance agreed to, and the next Morning told his Father that he could not consent to part thence under seven Days, in which time he would take care to remove me out of France, being fully determined not to leave me in my Enemies Power; which the old Lord was forced to yield to, finding it was in vain to oppose him, and being glad that we should be separated so far asunder. The Count de Beaumount was resolved to see France no more till his Father died, designing that I should go to meet him in Flanders, by the Way of Holland, so soon as I should have lain-in; he therefore call'd in all the ready Money he could raise, which he turned all into Gold, and borrowed some of his Friends, giving me Jewels and Money to the Value of fifty thousand Crowns: he hired a Vessel at St. Maloes, putting aboard of it all the rich Furniture of my Apartment, and all my Clothes and Linen; and at last my Sister and he brought me aboard, my Father-in-law having first took leave of me, and again made me large Offers, if I would turn Catholick, and stay in France, which I modestly rejected; and the Wind being fair, in this fatal Vessel my dear Lord and I took leave of each other. And first I embraced my dear Sister, who took our Separation so heavily, that I believe it hastened her Death, which happened not long after; and then my Lord, with Eyes full of Tears, took me in his Arms, where he held me some time before he was able to speak, then said, 'Farewel, my dear Belinda, may Guardian Angels guard you, and the dear Pledge you carry with you; may God defend you from the Danger of the Sea, and bring you safe to Land, and to my Arms again; judge by your self what Pangs I feel, and spare to torture me by saying more.' I could not answer him one Word, but fainted in his Arms: my Sister urged him to be gone, saying, it would be wiser to depart, than continue the tragick Scene; which he would not do till I revived, and then I faintly said, 'My Lord, farewel, remember we are Christians, born to part, let us as such support our Afflictions, and live in hope to meet again, if not here, yet in Heaven, Farewel.' He repeated his Embraces, and at length yielded to go. The Ship set sail for England, designing to reach the Port of London; but as we were at Sea, the Wind veered about, a dreadful Storm arose, and with much Difficulty the ninth Day of our being at Sea, we made this Point of Land, and in the Evening got ashore near the Cave where you found us: there we looked for some Place to secure our selves and Goods in, and found this Cave, which doubtless had been contrived by some Hermit in antient Times, and was the Work of past Ages; it was all ruinous, and covered over with Weeds, but the Seamen soon cleaned and fitted it up as you see; I liked the Place for its Privacy, and resolved to tarry here till I could write to London, to my Uncle, whom I very well knew and loved, he having been several times in France to visit my Mother. The Captain of the Ship went to Swansey, bought Provisions, sent away my Letters, and in some Days we received an Answer, little to our Satisfaction; I trembled when I opened the Seal, seeing the Direction in a strange Hand, and found it was writ by a Gentleman who was something related, as it appeared, to my Uncle; who receiving my Letter, answered it, informing me my Uncle was long since dead in Scotland, being forced to fly England, all his Estate being seized by the Government on account of his Loyalty to King James, and carrying on Designs for his Service; therefore he advised me to return to France, and not venture to come to London. Upon this News, I resolved to continue in the Cave, with my two Servants, my Maid, and a Boy, whom I had brought from France, Maria having been a Servant to my Mother, and a Native of England ; the Boy Philip was preferred by my Uncle to my Mother's Service, when he last visited her in France; for which reason I always took care of these Servants, and thought they would be most proper for my Service here, speaking the Language.

And now, in few Days, the Captain having bought what he wanted, and repaired his Vessel, set sail for France again, to give the Count de Beaumount an Account of all that had happened to us; but to my great Misfortune, the Ship (as I have been since informed) foundered at Sea, so that my Lord could never be informed what was become of me. Here I was brought to bed of this Daughter by a Country Midwife Philip fetched from a Village hard by; and having in two Years no News from France, I resolved to venture back thither my self: so I took the Boy with me, leaving Maria with the Child, and in a small Vessel, which I found at Swansey, and hired to carry me over to St. Maloes, I got Passage, leaving Philip at Swansey, to return back to the Cave, he being only fit to fetch Provisions, and what the Maid and Child wanted.

At my landing at St. Maloes I went to a Friend of my Husband's, whose House we were at, at my leaving France; there I got a Man's Habit, and so disguised took a Post Chaise for the Chevalier de Alancon's, where being safe arrived, I discovered my self, and was received with all Demonstrations of Friendship; and here I learned that my dear Sister was dead of a Fever the Year I left France; that the Count de Beaumount, having the News of the Ship's being lost, and hearing nothing from me, came back from the Army to his Father's, and concluding me dead, fell into a deep Melancholy; at last quarrelled with his Father, resigned his Commission, quitted the French Service, and was gone for Sweden, where he had obtained the Command of a Regiment under the King of Sweden, who was ingaged in a War with the Czar of Muscovy, and that no News had been heard of him since: 'This, says the Chevalier, has so incensed your Father-in-law against you, Madam, whom he looks upon as the principal Cause of this his great Misfortune, in losing the Comfort of his Son's Presence, that I would not for the World he should find you here, for I know not what his Passion would transport him to do; I therefore advise you to get back to St. Maloes as soon as possible, and return to England; I will do all that's possible to send Word to the Count of your Safety, and the Place of your Residence.' After Supper I went to Bed, much distracted in my Thoughts: the next Morning early I set out again for St. Maloes; but at Noon, entring into an Inn to refresh my self, I was seized for a Spy, carried before a Magistrate, who soon perceived I was a Woman, and, in fine, knew me, and immediately confined me in his House, till he sent to Monsieur de Maintenon, who by the next Morning arrived at St. Maloes, and coming into the Room where I was, accosted me in this manner: 'So, Madam, I think myself very happy in seeing you once again in France, you have made me one of the most unfortunate Fathers in the World; I have by your Means lost an only Son: you fled hence for Conscience, and I, to satisfy Justice, shall confine you here the rest of your Days.' He gave me no time to answer; for I was pinion'd, and put into his Coach, with four of his Servants to guard me: nor did they suffer me to rest, or eat, for twenty four Hours, in which time we stopt but twice to change Horses. At length they brought me to a ruinous old Castle, near the Sea-side, where they left me in the Hands of a Man, whose grim Aspect spoke him a Goaler; this Man, his Daughter, and Wife, were all that dwelt in this dismal Place; they drove me up into a Room that was in the Top of an old Tower, and there locked me in, like a wild Beast in a Den: and here I sat down and reflected on my Condition.

Here Mr. Lluelling interrupted the Lady, saying, 'Madam, thank Providence you are now here, and at Liberty; come, we will defer to some other Time, to finish this dismal Story: Supper is upon the Table, let us eat and forget all past Sorrows, to-morrow I will beg to hear the rest.' So presenting her his Hand, he led her to the Table. After Supper the Ladies would have taken leave, and returned to the Cave; but he so importunately desired their Stay there, that they at length consented, and were lodged in an Apartment altogether suitable to their Quality.

CHAP. III.

In the Morning the Ladies were waked by a Concert of Musick, playing under their Window; with which the young Lady was much delighted, having never heard any thing so charming, or of that Nature before. 'Madam, said she, what an agreeable part of the World are we come into? why did you not sooner bring me into Company? what a ravishing thing is Society? for Heaven's sake do not return to our unwholesom lonely Cave. We want not a Fortune to pay for all the Conveniences of Life, why should we fly Company? we are in a Nation where you have no Enemies to fear.' The old Lady smiled, saying, 'Alas! my Child, you little know what you have to fear, and what mighty Cares attend a married Life; tho' I hope God will, in pity to my Sufferings, make you happy, and grant you a long Series of Years free from Misfortunes.' At these Words a Maid Servant entered the Chamber with Maria, who was come to attend her Ladies, and to inform them that Mr. Lluelling begged the Honour of their Company to Breakfast: they dressed and went down into a Parlour they had not seen the Day before; and here the Lady Beaumount was surprized with the Sight of her Mother's Picture, amongst many others, which were all drawn by the Hands of celebrated Masters; 'My God, said she, how came this lovely Picture here? Alas! my dear Mother, little did I think ever to see that Face again!' Mr. Lluelling, interrupting her, said, 'Madam, that Lady was by my Father courted, and beloved so dearly, that when she left England, he seemed to have lost all he valued, fell sick, and soon after died; my Mother having left him a Widower, dying in Child-birth of me, whom he left an Orphan about three Years old. This melancholy Account I have had of his Death, but little thought I should have seen a Daughter of that Lady's, or shared my Father's Inclinations in loving one descended from her. Fair Belinda, said he, turning to the young Lady, do not by a cruel Absence from me kill me too.' Belinda blushed: 'Believe me, said her Mother, she is much inclined to stay with you; and if all your Actions correspond with what we have already seen, I shall never desire to take her from you.' At these Words he bowed, saying; 'May I be hated by Heaven and you, and may she scorn me, when I cease to love, to honour, and take care of you and her. Madam, till now, I never loved, my Heart has been indifferent to all the Sex; but from the Moment I first looked on that Angel's Face, where so much Innocence and Beauty shines, I have not asked a Blessing in which she was not comprehended; make her mine, and I have all I wish on Earth.' Here Tea, Chocolate, and Coffee, was brought in, so they turned their Discourse.

After Breakfast they walked into the Gardens, and being come to a lovely Banquetting-House, they went into it, and sat down. Here Mr. Lluelling importuned the Lady to finish the Story of her Misfortunes: 'Madam, said he, I left you in a dismal Place last Night, pray glad me with an Account of your Deliverance thence.' I will, said she; so continued her Relation in this manner.

CHAP. IV.

Being left, as I before told you, imprisoned, and all alone, faint, hungry, and bereft of all Comfort, I did, as most People do, when their own Prudence can help them no farther; looked up to God, whose Power can never be limited, and from whom only I could expect my Deliverance: lifting up my Hands, I cried, 'Now, my God, help me; I am perfectly resigned to thy Will, accept my Submission, encrease my Faith and Patience, in Proportion to the Evils thou hast decreed me to suffer; be to me Food, Liberty, and a Husband; and to my Child a Father and Mother.' Here a Flood of Tears interrupted, I could speak no more; after which I grew calm, found my Faith encrease, my Fears abate, and my Soul seemed armed for all Events. Thus, Sir, I experienced that great Truth, that we have nothing more to do, to be happy and secure from all the Miseries of Life, but to resign our Wills to the Divine Being; nor does Providence ever appear more conspicuously than on such Occasions. I fell soon into a sweet Slumber, which in few Hours so refreshed me, that I awoke a new Creature. About ten in the Evening, the Wife and Daughter of my Gaoler came into the Room, bringing me some sour Syder to drink, and a piece of Bread: a poor Repast, alas! after such a Fatigue as I had undergone; but I took it chearfully and thankfully. The Women seemed to compassionate me, and after an Hour's Discourse they both wept with me; they were Persons of mean Capacities and Education, but were not altogether void of Good-nature and Humanity. Here I remained for two long Years, and was delivered by a strange Accident: my Food being very mean, and my Grief great, I soon fell into a languishing Sickness; at length the good Woman informed her Husband, that she believed me near Death, and therefore thought it concerned their Consciences to fetch a Priest to me; which he consenting to, the Daughter was sent for a Frier, who was Curate of the Parish. The good Man, whose Outside was mean, as his Inside was rich, soon came; but believe me, Sir, his Understanding and Goodness was such, that it might justly have preferred him to a Mitre: his Name was Father Benedict; he was the Son of a Lord, and had refused all Dignities, purely out of his great Humility, for which reason he chose to live in this obscure Place. He approached me with such Compassion in his Looks, as encouraged me to hear him without Prejudice: I was then so weak I could not rise; he asked me many Questions, how I came there, why I was thus confined; and being truly informed of all, spoke of my Father-in-law with much Dislike: 'God forbid, said he, our Faith should be propagated by such detestable Means as these; Madam, I am sensible of your Wrongs, and will deliver you, or die in the Attempt.' He never urged me farther as to my Religion, but advising me to Secrecy, not thinking the Women proper to repose Confidence in; he came every Day to visit me, bringing in his Bosom Wine and Meat to comfort and strengthen me, which, with the reviving Hopes of Liberty, soon restored me to Health: and now he studied how to complete his good Work, by getting me thence, which he thus effected: He came to me one Afternoon, bringing another Brother of his Order with him, who had a double Habit on; in this religious Disguise I dressed myself, and Father Benedict going into the Room where the Gaoler's Wife and Daughter were sitting, who, at his coming as usual, left my Chamber; he held them in Discourse whilst Father Anthony and I went down, and past the Gate by my Gaoler, who civilly bid us Good Night. I was conducted by this good Father to a little Hermitage on the Top of a Hill near the Convent he belonged to: Father Benedict came soon after to us, and here we consulted what to do; they agreed that I should stay there for some Days concealed, that then Father Anthony should go with me to Grandvil, from whence he should send me to England, that being a Sea-Port less frequented, and consequently less dangerous for me, than St. Maloes. I staid in this Hermitage five Days, they bringing me Food: no Search was made after me, because the Goaler fearing to be ruined, when they mist me, went away to Monsieur de Maintenon, and told him I was dead of a spotted Fever, and they were forced to dig a Grave, and throw me into it the same Night for fear of Infection; of which News he was very glad, and Christian Burial being not allowed to Hereticks, he did not regret the manner of my Burial, but rewarded the Goaler, who returned joyful to his miserable Home. The good Father Anthony and I set out for Grandvill; my Cowle and Frock, with a long pair of Beads tied to my hempen Girdle, made me appear a perfect Capuchin: We arrived safe at a Convent, where being refreshed, we went to the Port; there we found a Guernsey Ship just ready to depart for Southampton ; and here the good Priest, to complete his Generosity, gave me a Purse of Gold to pay for my Passage, and assist me to get to my Home: he gave me many Blessings at parting, and I returned him innumerable Thanks, promising ever to pray for him and Father Benedict, which I am bound to do. I arrived in England on the 17th of March, 1707-8, and from Southampton hired Horses and a Guide to this Place: at the Post-House, I parted with and discharged the Man and Horses, and walked to my dear Cave, where my Child and Servants received me with such Transport, as if I had been risen from the Dead: and here I resolved to stay the Remainder of my Days, unless Providence, by some Miracle, restores my dear Lord to me, of whom I have never been able to get any Tidings, not daring to return to France again. 'Madam, answered Mr. Lluelling, I will be the Person who shal do you that Service, be pleased only to consent to remain in my House, where you are from this Day Mistress; send for your Furniture from the Cave, and make this, which is far more commodious, your Abode, and I will forthwith to France, to learn all that is possible of your Lord.' The Ladies accepted with Joy his Offer, and now he passed some Days agreeably with them, whilst all Things were getting ready for his Departure to France. In this time he studied both how to divert them, and secure the young Lady's Heart, with whom he longed to talk in private, hoping to be satisfied what Sentiments she had of him; to do which he sought a fit Opportunity.

CHAP. V.

The young Lady was now, by the little God Cupid, rendered more thoughtful than usual, and loved to retire from Company, often frequented the Grove and shady Walks. One Evening, while some Ladies, whom Mr. Lluelling had brought acquainted with his Guests, were playing at Cards with the Lady Beaumount, Belinda stole into the Garden to walk alone; her Lover, whose Eyes watched all her Steps, soon followed. 'Now, fair Belinda, said he, Fate has given me the happy Moment I have so long wished for; here we are alone, no Spies to overhear: Ah! tell me, charming Maid, what may I hope? Am I beloved again, or must I die unbless'd? Tho' I must be all my Days the most unhappy of Mankind, if you refuse me that fair Hand; yet believe me, lovely Virgin, I would not force your Inclination for an Empire, nor occasion you one Moment's Uneasiness, tho' to enjoy you, which would be to me the greatest Bliss my Soul could know: speak, and let that charming Mouth pronounce my Doom.' Belinda quite unpractised in the cunning Arts of her ingenious Sex, her Face overspread with Blushes, answered, 'Sir, the Passion of Love, I think, I am a Stranger to; but this I own, I have a grateful Sense of all the generous Treatment we have received from you: I don't dislike your Person, nor disapprove your Passion, if sincere, but do not think my self of Years to choose a Husband; my Mother must dispose of me, for she hath both Wisdom and Experience, 'tis her Commands must guide my Choice.' 'Ah! must I then, said he, owe that to her Commands, that I would only owe to you? Say, should she command you to receive another in your Arms, would you consent to see me wretched, cursing my Fate, and dying at your Feet, and make another happy with my Ruin?' 'Press me no more, she cried, you have urged me to a Point I cannot answer to.' At these Words she fainted in his Arms; Joy and Fear, at that Instant, did so divide his Soul, he knew not what he did: he took her in his Arms, and bore her to his own Chamber, laid her on his Bed, and there, in Transports, viewed her reviving Beauties, saw the Roses return to her pale Cheeks, and her Eyes open to behold the Man she loved; and here he gained a Promise from her to be his. Here they joined Lips and Hands, for Fate had joined their Hearts before, and bound themselves in sacred Vows to be for ever true to one another; then he, reflecting on his Indiscretion, led her to her Chamber, where repeating his Protestations and Embraces, he left her. Full of Joy he rejoined the Company, where he appeared so gay and chearful, that it was easy to imagine something more than usual had happened to him. In some time, the Company taking leave, the Lady Beaumount asked for her Daughter, and was told she was not well in her Chamber; thither the Lady went, and found Belinda so disordered, that she was much surprized, but could not guess the Reason, till Maria, who had seen from the Window Mr. Lluelling carry her in his Arms into the House from the Garden, whispered her Lady, which filled her with such Suspicions, that she was almost distracted; she desired Belinda to go down to Supper, and take the Air, thinking it wiser to conceal her Thoughts, than ask Questions, hoping to discover by their Behaviour what had passed. No sooner did Belinda enter the Parlour, where her Lover waited their coming to Supper, which was then upon the Table, but his Eyes sparkled, and her Colour changed, and both trembled; at Supper his Eyes were continually turned upon her, and her's cast down: he seemed more tender and officious than ever, she more shy. After Supper they walked into the Garden, and there Mr. Lluelling thus put an End to the old Lady's Pain: 'Madam, said he, you are, I am certain, too clear-sighted, not to have observed something in my Looks and Behaviour this Evening, that must inform you, that the charming Belinda and I have had an Interview alone, much to my Satisfaction, nor do I doubt but somebody has whispered it to you already; I saw at Table how you watched our Eyes and Looks, and to prevent all Suspicions that may ruin our Peace I tell you, she has this happy Day made herself mine, and to-morrow Morning, if you bless me with your Consent, we will be married; for I cannot leave Wales before I have secured my Charmer from the Temptations she might be exposed to in my Absence, which, when a Wife, she will be freed from.' The old Lady gladly consented, and the next Morning they went privately in the Coach to a Village, where the Ceremony was performed to the Satisfaction of all Parties. The next Day it was publick Talk, and Mr. Lluelling shewed his Joy, by treating all his Country Relations and Tenants for ten Days together; all which time he kept open House. In this Juncture there came down from London, to pay him a Visit, a young Gentleman who was his Cousin-German, and had long wished his Death, no doubt, because he was his Heir, if he died without Issue. This young Man Mr. Lluelling had always loved and bred up as his Son, having bought him Chambers in the Temple, where he, like most Gentlmen of this Age, had forgot the noble Principles, and virtuous Precepts, he brought to Town with him, and acquired all the fashionable Vices that give a Man the Title of a fine Gentleman: he was a Contemner of Marriage, could drink, dissemble and deceive to Perfection; had a very handsome Person, an excellent Wit, and was most happy in expressing his Thoughts elegantly: These Talents he always employed in seducing the Fair, or engaging the Affection of his Companions, who doated upon him because he was cunning and daring, could always lead them on to Pleasures, or bring them nicely off, if frustrated in any vicious Designs. His Name was Mr. Charles Owen Glandore: this Gentleman was received by his Kinsman with much Joy and Affection; he assured him he should not be slighted or forgotten, tho' he was married; he brought him to his Lady, recommending him to her Favour. And now the Time approached when Mr. Lluelling was to go for France, all Things being ready; he thought none more proper than his Kinsman (who had by this time gained the Ladies Esteem) to take Care of his Affairs in his Absence; he therefore desired him to stay till his Return with his Wife and Mother-in-law, who would by that Means be eased of some Care and Trouble; and so taking leave in the most tender manner of his charming Bride, he set sail for France, in a small Vessel which he hired on Purpose to go for St. Maloes, and wait his Return, proposing to be back in Wales in a Month or Six Weeks time.

CHAP. VI.

Mr. Lluelling being now gone, Mr. Glandore, his young Kinsman, had the Pleasure of entertaining the Ladies, and frequent Opportunities of being alone with Belinda: his Kinsman's Fortune was all at his Command, and having unfortunately cast his Eyes on her, whom he no sooner saw but he loved, he strove to gain her Affection, and charm her Virtue asleep, by all the Arts imaginable: he dressed magnificently, gave them new Diversions every Day, was gay and entertaining, studied how to gratify all her Wishes; and in fine, was so assiduous and tender of both the Ladies, that had Belinda's Heart not been pre-ingaged, he would certainly have gained both that and her Mother's Consent. Being now grown intimate and familiar with both, Belinda did not scruple sometimes to walk with him in the Gardens, Grove, and Fields; and when her Mother was engaged with grave Company, courted these Opportunities of slipping out with him, whom she believed honourable and virtuous as herself, and loved as a Brother. He, being perfectly skilled in the Arts of his subtle Sex, resolved never to discover his base Design to her, till he was well assured she liked him, and a fit Opportunity offered in a Place where he might ruin her, without being prevented; for he was resolved to enjoy her, tho' by Force, and determined to run all Dangers rather than miss of what his headstrong Passion persuaded him he could not live without. He knew the time was but short before Mr. Lluelling would return, and therefore he must be quick in executing what he designed; he had a Servant whom he had left in town, who was a Pimp to all his Pleasures, a Fellow who was wicked, bold, and in fine such a one as was fit to carry on any vicious or base Design, secret and proper for his vile Purpose; him he sent for; he came down, and they contrived the poor Belinda's Undoing. At the bottom of the Grove, which was a quarter of a Mile distant from the House, was a fine Summer House; hither one Evening he led her, whilst her Mother was engaged at Cards with some Ladies who were come to visit her.

When Belinda and he came to the Grove, he persuaded her to go up into the Summer-House, into which they were no sooner entered, but he shut to the Door, saying, 'Madam, be not surprized, but hearken to what I am going to say, and answer me.' Here he threw himself upon his Knees; 'Charming Belinda, said he, I love you, I even die to possess you; oblige me not to use Force, where I would use only Prayers, make me this Moment the most transported, the most happy Man alive, or else I must convey you to a Place where I shall make you comply, and perhaps make us both wretched: here we can have Opportunities without being discovered, and may enjoy one another without publick Scandal and Noise; but if I take you hence, I must live with you in Obscurity and if we are discovered, kill your Husband in my own Defense and your's; or dying, leave you to his Reproaches and publick Disgrace. You are, I know, with Child, and therefore need fear no Discovery.' Here he drew forth a Pistol; 'Look not round about, said he, for Help, Death stands between this Door and him that dares to enter; I have those at Hand that make all safe for me to act.' Belinda, who had now no other Arms but Prayers and Tears to defend her Virtue withal, threw herself at his Feet, saying, 'Oh! cruel, faithless Man, what Joy can you receive in the Ruin of a Person who can never be lawfully yours? Consider the sad Consequence of such a Deed, which you will doubtless repent of: By Heaven I'll never give Consent, and if you force me like a Brute, what Satisfaction will you reap? I shall then hate and scorn you, loath your Embraces, and if I ever escape your Hands again, sure Vengeance will overtake you; nay, you shall drag me sooner to my Grave, than to your Bed; I will resist to Death, and curse you with my last Breath: But if you spare me, my Prayers and Blessings shall attend you, nay, I will pity and forgive you.' 'I am deaf to all that you can plead against my Love, he cried, yield, or I'll force you hence.' 'No, says she, I'll rather die; now, Villain, I will hate you: help and defend me, Heaven.'

Here he seized her Hands, his Man at the same Instant entering gagged and bound her; then they blindfolded her, and Mr. Glandore carried her down, putting her into a Coach, where, drawing up the Canvasses, he held her in his Lap, whilst his Man drove them over the Hills across the Country, with Design to reach a Village fifty Miles distant, where Mr. Glandore had procured a Place to receive them, being an old ruinous Castle, where none but an old Man and his Family resided, who spoke nothing but Welch, lived on what was produced about the Place, and never saw a Market-Town, so that he could keep her there without fear of Discovery. To be enabled for this, he had taken a considerable Sum of Money of his Kinsman's in the Coach, and had besides some Fortune of his own; they changed Horses on the Road twice, all things being before provided, and travelled all Night, he taking the impudent Liberty of kissing her as he pleased. About five in the Morning they were in sight of this dismal Place; here he stopt the Coach; she being swooned away in his Arms, he unbound and gave her some Wine; but before he could bring her to herself, he saw four Men in Vizards, well mounted, coming up to the Coach, which made him leap out, to be upon his Guard: his guilty Conscience made him tremble, for tho' he was brave on Occasions, yet now he was not so; Heaven that had permitted him to act this Villainy, still protects Innocence, and had prepared its Judgments to overtake him. These Men were Robbers, who lived concealed in these desolate Mountains; they went to seize him, he resisted, his Man, coming down to help his Master, was shot dead, and in the Dispute the unfortunate Glandore was killed.

During this Scuffle the unhappy Belinda revived; they dragged her out of the Coach, which whilst they were rifling, a Company of Clowns, who were going to a Fair about twenty Miles thence with Horses to sell, came up, at whose Approach the Thieves fled. By these honest Countrymen the Lady was relieved, but they could speak nothing but Welch, so that she could not make them understand one Word: one of them got up into the Coach-box, and drove the Lady to his Landlord's House, where he gave an Account of what had past: the Son of the Gentleman was at home, but his Father was elsewhere: he was a very accomplished young Gentleman, well bred, handsome, about twenty Years of Age: he and his Father, who had in this Place purchased a small Estate, lived very private, for Reasons that shall be hereafter declared: he was known by the Name of Mr. Hide. He received the young Lady in a manner so courtly, that it was easy to guess he had been educated in Palaces, and conversed with Princes; having treated her in the highest manner with Wine and Food, he begged to know who she was: she prudently concealed her Name, Family, and all the Transactions of her Life, telling him only that she was coming this way with her brother, who was the unfortunate Gentleman, whom the Thieves had killed, and came from Swansey, to which Place she begged he would send some of his Servants back with her, and it would be the greatest Favour he could do her. This he promised to do, but, alas! the blind God had already wounded his Breast; he gazed upon her with Transport, and resolved not to part with her on any Terms. The Coach being cleaned and put up by the Servants, they found the Sum of Gold Glandore had put up in the Seat, and honestly brought it to the Lady, who genteely gave them five Guineas to drink: this Largess, the Greatness of the Sum, which was fifteen hundred Pieces, and her Habit, made Mr. Hide conclude she was some Person of Distinction; which the more inflamed his Desires to know who she was. He entertained her magnificently, but put off from Day to Day her Departure, saying, she must stay till his Father came, and then he would wait on her home himself. She too well guessed the Reason of his prolonging her stay, and having so lately escaped from the Hands of a desperate Lover, was dreadfully alarmed at this new Misfortune: he behaved himself with such Modesty and Respect, that she could not complain, but still she feared it was like Glandore's Cunning, only to procure an Opportunity to undo her: she was wholly in his Power, having none but Servants in the House, who spoke nothing but Welch; this made her very reserved. At last he declared himself to her, as they were sitting together after Dinner, the Servants being all withdrawn: 'Madam, said he, Providence, that brought you hither, did it, I hope, for both our Happiness; I no sooner saw you, but my Soul adored you; I am by Birth much nobler than I appear to be, our Years are agreeable, I will omit nothing that can gain your Affection, nor think any Pains too much, or Time too long to obtain you. Charming Fair, why do you fear and avoid me? why treat me with such Coldness and Reserve? Am I disliked, and must I languish, sigh, and beg in vain? Never can I cease to love you, till I cease to live; permit me then to hope, if not, I am resolved to die a Victim to your Disdain; forbid me not to follow you, for I must disobey, I cannot bear your Absence, nor consent to live, and see a happy Rival possess you.' Here he seized her Hand, and in a great Disorder kissed it. 'Forbear Sir, said Belinda, I never can be yours, I am already married, and with Child.' Here she related to him how Glandore had stoln her away.

At these Words a death-like Paleness overspread his Face, a cold Sweat trickled down his Cheeks. 'My God, said he, it is enough; Madam, I will no more importune you, fear nothing from me, Virtue and Honour are as dear to me as you; since you cannot be mine, I ask no more, but that you'll stay and see me die, and not detest my Memory, since Vice has no share in my Soul.' Here he fainted, and was by the Servants carried to his Chamber: Belinda wept, her Heart was young and tender, and the Honour he had shewn, touched her Soul so nearly, that she much lamented his Misfortune, and could not consent with ease to let him die; therefore she strove with Reason to asswage his Grief, and cure his Passion: but in vain, he fell into an intermitting Fever, and grew so weak, that he could not rise without Help, yet would every Day be taken up, and brought into the Parlour where she sat. And here we must leave them, and return to enquire after the Lord Beaumount and Mr. Lluelling.

CHAP. VII.

Mr. Lluelling arrived safe at St. Maloes, July the 30th, 1717, and went, as the Lady Beaumount had directed, with a Letter to the Gentleman's House, where she had been received at her being in France, but he was dead; so that he was obliged to go thence without much Information of what he wanted. But it being now a Time when France and England were at Peace; he had nothing to fear; he went therefore directly to Coutance, and there lodged at the best Inn, where he enquired for the Governor Monsieur de Maintenon: they told him he was long since dead, but the young Marquis his Son, was still alive, but had quitted all his Employments, being retired into the Country. 'Is he a single Man? said Mr. Lluelling.' 'Yes, Sir, said the Inn-keeper, he is a Widower for the second time, having buried his second Lady about two Years ago; he has a Daughter of his Wife's by a first Husband, who is one of the beautifullest Children, and will be the greatest Fortune in this Province.'

Mr. Lluelling was impatient to see him, so stayed no longer there than that Night: the next Morning he set out with his two Servants which he took along with him from Wales, and arrived that Night at a Village which was about three Miles short of the Marquis's Seat: it being late, he stayed at the Village that Night, and the next Morning went to the Marquis's, whom it was no easy Matter to speak with, for he was denied to all Company, but some particular Friends. Mr. Lluelling sent him word, by his Gentleman who was called to him, that he came from Wales express, to bring him News of some Persons whom he would be much overjoyed to hear of.

The Marquis no sooner received this Message, but he came down and received him in much Disorder; he was dressed in Mourning, and looked like a Man half dead: 'My Lord, said he, I doubt not but I shall be welcome, since I come from your virtuous Lady Belinda; she lives, has a Daughter who is my Wife, to present to you; such a one, that you may glory to be the Father of.' Here he presented him a Letter from his Wife, at the Sight of which, the Tears ran down his Face, and he fainted away, Joy having so overpowered his Faculties, that they lost their Power to perform their Functions. Mr. Lluelling supported him till he recovered, and then he broke out into these passionate Expressions: 'My God, am I alive! do I wake! can this be true! Is my Belinda, my Joy, my All, still living? Is the precious Pledge of our mutual Affection born, and preserved to this Day? Oh! mitigate my Transport, or strengthen my Faculties! Do I here find a Son?' Here he embraced Mr. Lluelling. 'Oh! welcome, welcome, ten thousand times; I want Expressions to speak my Gratitude to my God and you.'

Here they sat down, the Marquis called for Wine, and now Mr. Lluelling related to him all the Adventures that had befallen his Lady since their parting: but when he related Monsieur de Maintenon's cruel Usage of her, the Marquis wept. 'And now, my Lord, said Mr. Lluelling, I should be glad to know your Story, but we will defer that to some other Time; 'tis Joy enough to me that I find you here alive.' The Marquis answered, 'That Story will serve to entertain us in our Journey to St. Maloes, and Voyage to Wales: I must now order my Affairs to go thither, for my Impatience to see my dear Belinda, and my Child, is such, that I can think of nothing else.' Mr. Lluelling was entertained here so magnificently, that he was even surprized. The young Lady, Daughter-in-law to the Marquis, whose Name was Isabella, was so beautiful and witty, that Mr. Lluelling thought her equal to his Wife: she was then thirteen, and the Marquis was very fond of her, she begged to accompany her Father, to see her new Mother and Sister, and at last prevailed to go with them. In few Days all Things were ready for their Departure, the Servants were ordered to repair to the Marquis's Seat at Coutance, to be ready to receive their Lady; the whole Country rang of this strange Adventure: the Marquis set out, attended by only two of his own Servants, and Mr. Lluelling's two, with the Lady Isabella, and her Woman: they arrived at St. Maloes, and the next Morning set sail with a fair Wind for Wales, in the Vessel that attended Mr. Lluelling.

And now being aboard, he importuned the Marquis to relate his Adventures in Sweden, which he willingly condescended to, and began the Narrative of his Misfortunes in this Manner.

CHAP. VIII.

You have heard how, my Father and I quarrelling, I left France, supposing my dear Wife dead; and considering him as the principal Cause of her Death. I had continued with him about six Months before I resolved to be gone; I was fallen into so deep a Melancholy, that I was regardless of every Thing, but fearing my Death, he so importuned me to re-assume my usual Chearfulness and Gaiety, that at length he obliged me to discover my Resentments, declare the Reasons of my being uneasy in his Presence, and Resolution to continue no longer in France. I had writ several Letters to my Wife's Uncle, but receiving no Answer, I concluded him also dead, and therefore order'd all my Affairs to depart for Sweden, determining to seek a noble Death in the Field, under that glorious Monarch, the last King of Sweden. I took no more but three Servants to attend me, having remitted Money sufficient to purchase an Employment, and answer my Expences. I no sooner arrived at Stockholm, but I obtained the Command of a Regiment, and after having courted Death in many Skirmishes and bloody Battles, I was unfortunately, in the last that brave King fought with the Czar, taken Prisoner; my whole Regiment, and the greatest Part of the Army, being destroyed, I fell full of Wounds amongst the Slain; but, upon the Muscovites stripping the Dead, they found some Signs of Life in me, and judging by my Habit that I was some Person of Distinction, they carried me to a Tent near the General's, where they dressed my Wounds, and with Cordials brought me to the Use of my Reason again, to my great Grief. I continued so ill and weak, for three Months, that they had small Hopes of recovering me. In this Time I was removed to a Town called Toropierz, where the General had a Country-Seat. In this Place I was very civilly entertained, the General having taken a great Liking to me, and here he much persuaded me to enter into the Czar's Service, saying, that being a Native of France, and no Subject of Sweden, having paid for my Employment there, he thought I was under no Obligation to the King of Sweden, and that his Master should engage me to his Service, by giving me a Command under him. I answered, that having voluntarily drawn my Sword in the King of Sweden's Defence, Honour obliged me never to quit it; that I was highly obliged to him for his generous Offers, and should upon all Occasions return the Obligation. He smiled, seeming to applaud my Resolution, but told me he should, he believed, find an Advocate that should prevail with me, otherwise he should set a Ransom so great upon me, knowing my Worth, that he believed he should have the Pleasure of my Company long; and since he could not engage me to serve his Prince, he would, if possible, prevent my fighting against him.

At these Words he took me by the Hand, and led me to his Wife's Apartment, where were his two Sons and Wife, with his only Daughter, a Maid of fourteen Years of Age, beautiful as Nature ever formed: She was tall, slender, fair as Venus, her Eyes blue, bright, and languishing; her Hair was light brown, and every Feature of her Face had a Charm; but, Son, her Conversation was enchanting, as I afterwards experienced. The General presented me to his Sons, two lovely young Men, whose Looks and Habit spoke their Worth and Quality. 'Here Children, said he, is the bravest Enemy our Emperor has; a Man who is so dear to me, that if you can make him our Monarch's Friend you will oblige me in the most sensible Manner; use all your utmost Skill to gain him.' Then he took Zara, his fair Daughter by the Hand, presenting her to me, 'Here is the dearest Thing I have in the World, said he, I give you Leave to love her; nay, will bestow her upon you, to secure your Friendship: If her Eyes cannot prevail our Eloquence cannot succeed.' Here he left us, and from this Day I was caressed by all the Family; and Zara, the charmingest Advocate that ever sued to gain a Heart, tried all her Arts, she danced, sung, dressed, and trying to ensnare me, unfortunately lost herself; for, alas! she loved me, and had not my whole Soul been filled with the bright Idea of my Belinda, it would have been impossible for me to have resisted her Charms. At Length I generously told her, as we were sitting alone in a Drawing-Room, it being the cold Season of the Year, when we were obliged to sit in warm Rooms, 'Charming Zara, said I, it would be cruel and ungrateful in me, not to deal ingenuously with you: I own you are the most lovely, the most accomplished Maid my Eyes ever saw, there is nothing wanting in you to make a Man completely happy; you have Wisdom, Beauty, and Virtue, and God never made any Work more perfect: But, alas! fairest of your Sex, I am a Man unworthy of that Affection, which, given to another, would set him above Monarchs. My Choice was long since made, my Heart is a Captive to one like yourself, who was my Wife; one in whose Arms I slept more glorious and content, than Eastern Kings; a Lady who is no more, yet one whose Memory is so dear to me that I am grown insensible to all your Sex; her bright Idea fills my Mind; in Dreams I'm nightly happy, pursue her Shadow, and embrace her heavenly Form; and when awake, still long for Death, in Hopes to meet her in the glorious Regions where the happy Souls shall meet again: Look then no more upon a Wretch who can make no Returns to your invaluable Bounties.' Zara beheld me all this While as one amazed, the Roses forsook her Cheeks, and finding I had done, she thus began, 'Unfortunate Beaumount, are you enamoured of a Ghost? Must the Dead rise to rob the wretched Zara of your Heart? Why did you not forewarn me e'er I was undone? Ye Powers, why does my Vengeance stay to stab the Wretch that is a Witness to my Folly: I never loved before, she whom you love is buried in the Grave: Can you consent to sacrifice me to her Ghost? Can you enjoy a Shadow? Consider e'er you bid me die: I will not live and be despised.' "Forgive me Heaven, said I, may a Thought like that never enter your Soul; may Zara live and be most happy; gladly I'd die to save your Life, but cannot make a second Choice."

Here we were interrupted, and after this she shunned me, and for some Months kept much within her Chamber, grew sick and altered, which much alarmed the Family, and, I confess, my Thoughts were much confused; sometimes I thought to marry her, and run all Hazards to make her happy: But then Belinda might be still alive, and then I were undone, and my Peace lost for ever.

One Morning Barintha, Zara's Governess, came hastily into my Chamber. 'Sir, said she, if you will ever see my Lady more, come now, for she is expiring.' I followed her, and found Zara in the Agonies of Death; she fixed her dying Eyes upon me, grasped my Hand, and faintly cried, 'Farewel, cruel, but faithful Beaumount, adieu. I go to seek the Ghost of her that murders me: I loved you, could not live without you, and therefore drank a poisonous Draught last Night to free me. Forgive me Heaven, since Life was insupportable. Ah! pray for me, dear Cause of my sad Fate, I am going I know not where.' Here her Tongue faltered, her Agonies encreased, and in few Moments she expired. At this Instant my Grief was such, that, had I not been a Christian, I had surely ended my Life and Misfortunes together: I kissed her pale Face and Lips a hundred Times, wept over her, and then retreated to my Chamber, threw myself upon my Bed, refused to eat, and by next Morning was seized with a violent Fever, which robbed me of my Reason for some Days, at the End of which, my Disease being something abated, I saw Zara's two Brothers enter my Chamber with four Soldiers, the eldest loaded me with Reproaches for his Sister's Death, to which I was unable to reply through Weakness. At last they took me out of my Bed, pinioned me, and set me upon a Horse, the four Soldiers riding by me as a Guard: They went with me over dreadful Mountains and Hills, whose Tops were covered with Snow, and after three Days and two Nights travelling, in which Time they never entered any House or Inn, but laid me bound upon the Ground, whilst the Horses fed and rested, giving me Brandy, Bread, and Meat, out of their Snapsacks; we at last arrived at an old Tower on the Borders of Muscovy, where they delivered me into the Hands of a Goaler, who lodged me in a close damp Room, loading me with Irons. Here I remained ten Months sick, and had not God's Providence preserved me miraculously I had doubtless died.

Three Months after my Arrival a young Gentleman was brought Prisoner to this dismal Place, by Order of the Czar, who, having much Gold to fee the Goaler, had the Liberty of walking up and down the Prison; we conversed together, he much pitied my Misfortune and ill Treatment, and promised to procure my Enlargement, either by his Interest with the General or Force. His Friends, who solicited for him at Court, being unsuccessful, gave him Notice that his Case was desperate: Upon which we took a Resolution to kill our Goaler, and fight our Way out. Accordingly the next Morning we seized him as he entered my Chamber, and having knocked him down with the Bar of a Door that we found in my Room; we dispatched him, took the Keys, and rushed by the Centries who kept the Out-Gate; and not knowing where to go, we fled over the Mountains towards a Wood in Tartary, to which he guided me, where none but Robbers and Out-Laws lived. My Fetters much hindered my Speed, being extremely weak, but Fear gave me Strength, so that we reached the Wood before Night, believing it more safe for us to put our Lives into the Hands of Thieves than our merciless Enemies. Here we laid down under a Tree to rest, not being able to go farther, and slept some Hours, though in Danger of Death every Minute from the wild Beasts, who went howling about the Woods for Prey, or more barbarous Men: But God kept us; and awaking we thought we perceived, at some Distance, a Light. Necessity, being in great Want of Food, made us venture to the Place. We saw a little Cave, in which a venerable old Man sat reading by a Lamp; we entered, saluting him in the Muscovite Language with, 'God save you, Sir, take Pity of us who are fled from our Enemies out of a Prison, destitute of Food or Comfort, grant us a Retreat for a few Days, or at least a few Hours: We are Christians, Catholicks, and one of us a Native of France.' At these Words the old Man rose from his Seat, embraced us, and stirring up the Embers, made a Fire, and gave us Wine and Bread, telling us we were welcome. We informed him whence we came, the Causes of our Confinement. At last he turned towards me, 'Countryman, said he, tell me what Family you are descended from, what Province you were born in.' I informed him, then he caught me in his Arms, as a Man lost in Wonder. 'My Lord, said he, I have sought you long, and can disclose Wonders to you: My Name is Anthony, I am a Capuchin Frier, who saved your Lady's Life, and came to Muscovy on Purpose to seek you out.' Here he recounted to us how Belinda came to France in search of me; how my Father imprisoned her; but before he could finish his Story, a Band of Tartarian Robbers entered the Cell, seized us, and he, importuning them for us, was unfortunately shot by one of the barbarous Villains: They tied us Back to Back, and carried us some Miles farther into the Wood, where there were about an hundred of them encamped; and now we were again Prisoners: Here they lived with their Women all in common, lodging only in Tents, and chiefly supporting their Lives with robbing all Passengers that came near the Wood; yet tho' Barbarians we found some Humanity amongst them; they gave us Plenty of Food, took off my Fetters, and offered us our Freedom, if we would consent to live with them; which we accepted, and for some Days were obliged to ride out with them, at the Head of twenty or thirty Tartars, where we robbed, getting considerable Booty from some Persian Merchants, who were going to Muscovy with rich Merchandize. The Tartars were so well pleased with our Behaviour and Conduct, that they gave us what we pleased of the Plunder: By this Means we were trusted with good Horses, which, though small, yet were fleet as the Wind.

We did not design to stay here, but sought an Opportunity to escape, which Providence favoured us withal in this Manner. One Morning, at Break of Day, we went out with a Party in search of a Caravan that we had Information was to pass by that Road; it consisted of about fifty Merchants, Passengers, and Soldiers of several Nations, who were coming from Persia to Muscovy with Merchandize. We no sooner saw this Company coming up but the Tartars began to shrink: They saw their Enemies well armed and numerous, and did not think themselves strong enough to attack them. We set Spurs to our Horses, leaving them in this Consternation, and calling to the foremost of the Caravan, in a suppliant Manner throwing down our Arms, desired to be heard. Seeing us but two, they stopped, and upon our declaring ourselves Friends, received us. We then gave an Account of our Adventures with the Tartars, and enquired if any of them were going to Sweden or Germany. There were two Gentlemen and their Servants going to Hungary; these we went along with, leaving the Rest: And the young Muscovite Lord not knowing how to provide for himself, I offered to carry him with me to France, and there take Care of him, which he gladly consented to.

Being arrived in Hungary, having now but little Money left of what we brought with us of the Plunder we got amongst the Robbers, we were obliged to sell some rich Diamonds we had saved and hid in our Clothes, and with this Money we procured ourselves Horses, with a Couple of Servants to attend us, and so set out for France, whither I was now determined to return, being wearied with the many Misfortunes I had met with abroad; and at the End of six Weeks we arrived safely at Coutance, where I found my Father dead, and all my Relations and Friends overjoyed to see me. I was sorry my Father died before I had seen him, to have asked his Pardon for my Rashness in leaving him, tho' he was to blame; yet I believe God punished me for my Disobedience, and it is to that Cause that I attribute all my Misfortunes in Muscovy.

Being now settled in my Father's Estate, and Posts of Honour by the King, to whom I paid my Duty at my first Arrival in France; he received me with his accustomed Goodness, reproving me gently for leaving his Service, saying, 'My Lord, Love is an Excuse, I own, for doing many rash inconsiderate Things. I do not approve your Father's Proceedings with your Wife; but I and your Country had done you no Wrong. It is true your Father used my Name, which was not well done, but I protest I was ignorant of all, till since your Departure from France, and had you addressed yourself to me, be assured I would have made you easy and happy. I here give you all your Father's Posts of Honour, and doubt not but you will as bravely and faithfully discharge the Trust I repose in you as he did.' Here the King embraced me, and during his Life I was so happy to have his Favour. I now thought only of my Belinda, and examining all my Father's old Servants, discovered the Castle where she had been imprisoned. I went thither, found the Goaler dead; but his Wife and Daughter told me she died there of a Spotted Fever, fearing to confess the Truth that she had escaped from them. I writ to St. Maloes to my Friend at whose House she had been; he was dead, and I could learn no News of her there.

Thus I remained two whole Years in Suspense; at last, tired with the Importunities of my Friends, I resolved to marry again. It was now nine Years since I parted from Belinda, and I concluded it was impossible that she should be still alive, and I hear nothing from her; nor had I any Hopes till last Week, when a Frier came to me, who is just arrived from Muscovy, where he had seen Father Anthony before I met with him in Tartary, and he told me he related to him the Cause of his coming thither thus. That Father Benedict, soon after he returned from Granville, where he had sent my Wife away, falling sick, enjoined him to go to Sweden in search of me, in case he died, which he did soon after: And this was the Occasion of my meeting that good Father in the Wood, who learning in Sweden that I was in Muscovy a Prisoner, came thither, but could not discover where I was, so retired to this dismal Place where we found him; where he begged in the neighbouring Villages, his holy Habit securing him from Injuries. But I concluded, not being able then to get any Information of her, she was dead; and in Compliance with my Friends Importunities, married a Lady who was a young Widow, of a great Family and Fortune, having only this lovely Daughter: But, alas! I found myself so miserable now, that I cannot describe the Tortures of my Mind. I never entered my Bed with this Lady but I shivered; she loved me tenderly, but I fancied Belinda's Ghost pursued me; every Place where she had trod, each Room brought some new Thing to my Remembrance: I talked and started in my Sleep. In fine, though I did all that I was able to conceal my Distraction, all the World perceived it; and my Wife, who was a Lady of great Wisdom and Goodness, and most unfortunate in being mine, was so sensibly touched that she fell into a Consumption, and after having languished for two Years, all Means proving unsuccessful to preserve her, she died. In her last Agonies, as I was weeping by her, for indeed I highly respected, though I could not love her with Passion, and omitted nothing that could oblige or help her; she pulled me to her, fixed her Lips on mine, then sighed deeply, 'My dear Lord, said she, I thank you, you have done more for me than for your loved Belinda; the Constraint you have suffered upon my Account is the greatest Obligation: I am now going, I doubt not, to Rest, and hope to meet you again in Glory: Let my Child be your chief Care; and if the tender Affection I have borne you merits any Thing, shew your Esteem of me by your Love to her. I die, it is true, by having had too deep a Sense of your Misfortune in not loving me; but, my Lord, believe me, it is with Pleasure that I leave the World, since it will set you free: Could you have loved me, as you did Belinda, I should have been desirous to live long; but since you cannot, I wish to die.' Here she again embraced and kissed me, then turned to her Confessor, who stood on the other Side the Bed, 'Father, said she, I have now done with the World, and all its Weaknesses; I will grieve no more for mortal Things, but fix my Thoughts on Heaven.' We all withdrew but the good Father, and in about an Hour she departed, leaving me most disconsolate. For some Months I kept my Chamber, and then resolved to retire, and quit all publick Business: I went to the King, took my Leave of him, recommending the Muscovite Lord to him, to whom he gave a Company of Dragoons: Then I retired to my Country-Seat, where you found me.

Thus the Marquis finished his Relations. They past the Remainder of this Day and the next very agreeably. In the Evening of the fifth Day, the Sky began to darken, the Wind blew, and about Midnight a dreadful Storm arose: At Length the Pilot was obliged to quit the Government of the Ship, and let her drive before the Wind. At Break of Day they found themselves in the Irish Seas, and not far from Land; their Rigging was all torn, their Mast shattered, and it was in vain for them to attempt going for Wales before they had repaired their Vessel, and refreshed themselves; therefore they made in for Land, and cast Anchor at Wexford, in the the County of Rosse in Ireland. They went ashore with the Captain, and lodged at an Inn whilst the Sailors refitted the Ship.

CHAP. IX.

In the Time of their Stay at Wexford they were curious to see the Country, and the Marquis and Mr. Lluelling frequently rid out to view the adjacent Towns and Villages, leaving the young Lady Isabella with her Servants. One Evening they lost their Way returning home, and wandering about, found themselves near a Wood: It was almost dark, and they knew not whither to go; they therefore made a Stand, consulting what to do. At last they espied an old Man with a Candle and Lanthorn coming towards them, in very poor Habit, and a Beard down to his Breast. 'Honest Man, said Mr. Lluelling, can you direct us to some safe Place to lodge in to Night? Or put us in the Way to Wexford?' "To Wexford, Sir! said he, you cannot reach that to Night: In the Morning I'll put you in the Way; but for to Night, if you'll accept a Lodging in my poor Cottage hard by you are welcome." They gladly accepted his Offer, and followed him into the Wood, though something afraid lest he should betray them into the Hands of Robbers, of which there are many Times Gangs that retreat to such Places. At length they came to a poor Clay Cottage, where a Boy stood at the Door; the good Man led them alight, which they did, taking their Pistols in their Hands, the Boy taking their Horses: They found the Place neat, and not destitute of Necessaries; the Man entertained them handsomely, bringing out Venison-Pasty, Wine, and dried Tongues. 'Gentlemen, said he, eat heartily, and spare not; we'll drink the King's Health before we part.' The Marquis and Mr. Lluelling began to imagine there was some Mystery in this Man's living here, and were upon their guard; they appeared very merry, and guessed by their Host's Behaviour, that he was a Man of Quality. When they were well warmed with Wine, they all began to be free, the old Man toasted the King's Health, they pledged him. 'My Lord, said Mr. Luelling, methinks it is almost as good living here as in France or Wales; Faith, I cannot treat you better when you come to Swansey .' At these Words the Stranger looked upon them, saying, 'Gentlemen, are you Natives of these two Places? They are both well known to me.' Here they were interrupted by the Boy, who informed his Master some Friends were come; he presently stepped to the Door, where they heard the Sound of Horses Feet. After some Time he returned to them, saying, 'Gentlemen, I beg Pardon for leaving you; but it was to take Leave of some Friends who are going for France.' It was now Midnight, and he genteelly said, 'Gentlemen you are weary, will you be pleased to go to Bed?' They finished their Bottle, and were conducted up Stairs to a Room where they could but just stand upright for the Ceiling; but the Softness of the Bed, and Fineness of the Sheets, made amends; however they could not sleep, their Minds were so filled with Curiosity to know who this Man was. They talked all Night; the Marquis mentioned Belinda several Times, and Isabella, saying, 'My dear Child will repent her leaving France, and be much concerned for us this Night.' This their Discourse was overheard by the old Man, who lay in the next Room; they heard him up early, and rose: Coming down Stairs they sound Breakfast ready for them. 'Now Gentlemen, said their Host, I must be impertinent, and ask some Questions before we part: I last Night heard one of you name Belinda, and find you are lately come from France: I had a Sister of that Name, who dying, left a Daughter, of whom I would be glad to hear some Tidings: Come you from Normandy?' "By Heaven, said the Marquis, embracing the old Man, you are the Lord—, the Uncle of my dear Belinda, that charming Virgin Fate made me the happy Husband of." Here they sat down, recounting, in a pathetick Manner, all their Adventures. The Marquis concluding, said, 'And now, Sir, said he, I will: My Loyalty to my Prince brought me under some Misfortunes, at last I was forced with my only Son to fly to Scotland; there we lay concealed a While, till I had received a great Sum of Money, that I had taken Methods to have remitted to me. From thence we hired a small Vessel and sailed for Wales, where I thought I should be secure from all Discovery: There I changed my Name, purchased a small Estate, and have lived happily, tho' obscurely, ever since, making several Voyages to France, hither, and elsewhere, upon Business, to serve my Friends. I came to Ireland some Months ago, and chose this Place to reside in, my Habit and my Servants making us pass undiscovered: The Gentlemen you heard me speak to are gone to take Shipping, and I design to go for Wales with the first Opportunity.' "We will go together, said Mr. Lluelling, where we shall fill our expecting Wives Hearts with Joy." They parted; the Lord—not thinking it proper to go along with them by Day-Light, sending his Boy to guide them to Wexford, where they arrived to the great Joy of the Lady Isabella, who had been almost distracted for Fear her Father and Brother-in-law had been killed. In few Days after, the Ship being ready, the Marquis and all the Rest went aboard with the Lord, who came to them disguised; they set sail for Swansey, where they soon arrived in good Health.

CHAP. X.

Mr. Lluelling conducted the Marquis and the Lord—, with the young Lady and Servants, to his House; where being arrived, he saw the Servants look upon one another, and a general Sadness and Silence seemed to reign in every Face and Room. 'Where is your Lady, and her Mother?' he demanded. None answered. At length, 'Sir, said a Boy trembling, that had been bred in his House, 'my Lady is stoln away, as we suppose, by your Kinsman, Mr. Glandore; we have heard nothing of her this Month and more: The old Lady has taken it so to Heart that she has kept her Bed ever since, and is more likely to die than to live.' "Shew me to her, said Mr. Lluelling, and let us join with her in Sorrow." 'My God, continued he, 'where shall we find Faith in Man? Can neither the Ties of Blood, Friendship, Interest, nor Religion, bind Men to be just! But alas! he lived too long in that cursed Town where Vice takes Place of Virtue; where Men rise by Villainy and Fraud; where the lustful Appetite has all Opportunities of being gratified; where Oaths and Promises are only Jests, and all Religion but Pretence, and made a Skreen and Cloak for Knavery; a Place where Truth and Virtue cannot live. Oh! curse on my Credulity, to trust so rich a Treasure to a Wolf, a lustful Londoner.' He would have gone on if the Marquis had not interrupted him, begging him to be patient, and, at least, procure his Happiness by bringing him to Belinda. To her Chamber they went, where she was lying in her Bed, so weak that it was even dangerous to let her know her Happiness. The Marquis threw himself upon the Bed by her, weeping, and embracing her in his Arms, cried, 'My God, I thank thee, that my longing Arms again do hold my dear Belinda: Spare her, I beg thee, some few Years longer, to enjoy the mighty Blessings thou hast granted us: Look up, my Dear, and bless thy ravished Husband with a tender Look; let my Soul leap to hear thy well known Voice, and thy Tongue tell me I am welcome.' "Am I alive! and do I wake! she cried, do I behold my dear Lord again! It is impossible! Let me behold him till my Eye-Strings crack, and my Life ends in Rapture! What Thanks, what Returns can I make to Heaven? Let all my Faculties exert themselves, and all united praise my God." Here she fainted, Joy having overcome her wasted Spirits: Cordials were brought, and she was recovered from her Fit, and then she began to weep. 'Alas! my Lord, said she, were I able I would ask you a thousand Questions; but I hope now to live and enjoy your dear Company again; but we have lost our Child, dishonourably stoln. Ah! Son, said she, turning to Mr. Lluelling, you were deceived, and left a Villain to supply your Place.' At these Words she saw Isabella, 'What fair Virgin, said she, is that, my Lord? Have you more Daughters? and has some other Woman slept in your dear Arms?' "My Dear, said he, I have been married since we parted, believing you were dead; but the Lady was so happy as to die before I was blessed with the Knowledge of your Safety: This is a Daughter of hers by a former Husband; she is as dear to me as Belinda, and I brought her to present her to you, as the greatest Blessing Heaven can send you, next my Life and Belinda's Safety." Then he turned to Mr. Lluelling: 'Fear not, my Son, said he, 'I will find and fetch Belinda back, if yet alive, and use the Ravisher as he deserves.' Then the Servants were all called up, and examined; they informed them of Glandore's being seen with her in the Summer-House, and of some Places where they were seen together on the Road; so they concluded she was carried Northward, and the Lord—said, 'My Estate lyes that Way, Nephew, if you please to stay with my Niece, my Kinsman and I will go together; we know the Roads and Country, and shall soon trace the Robber to his Den, I doubt not.' The Servants said they had rid all about the Country, but could get no Intelligence where they were.

The next Morning the Lord—, whom we must henceforward know to have gone by the Name of Mr. Hide, for he was Father to the young Gentleman who had Belinda in keeping, set out with Mr. Lluelling and three Servants, well armed, and went the Road to his House, which was in Merionethshire, near the River Wie; they got Information on the Road of the Coach, and so continued to go towards Mr. Hide's, where they found young Mr. Hide dangerously ill: He received his Father with all Joy and Affection, and after some Discourse, related to them the Adventure of the young Lady's being brought thither, with the Manner of her being rescued from Glandore, and his, and his Servants being killed by the Highwaymen. Then Mr. Lluelling, impatient to know where she was, interrupted him, asking to see her. 'Are you then, said Mr. Hide, the happy Man to whom Belinda is Wife? Why do you ask me for her? I sent her home to you three Days since, in your own Coach, guarded by three of my Servants, not being able to persuade her to stay here, till I was either dead or able to see her Home myself.' At these Words Mr. Lluelling was even Thunder struck; he looked on the Lord—, 'Am I then, said he, 'born to lose her? What can become of her now?' "Doubt not, said the young Gentleman, "Heaven will preserve her; such Perfection, such Virtue and Beauty, Angels attend upon: I am undone for ever by the Sight of her, before I knew she was another's I adored her, and now die a Victim to her Charms: Her Virtue I never attempted, but honoured and protected her; hoping to die respected of her: And though it was worse than Death to lose the Sight of her, yet I consented to our Separation, and sent her away; since which I find my Illness encreased, and hope my End is at hand." Mr. Lluelling looked upon him with Jealousy and Rage: 'Is Belinda, said he, so unfortunate to raise me a Rival in every Man of Worth that sees her: Why did she not rather die in the Retreat I found her? Let me but find her once again and she shall never quit my Sight; I'll guard and keep her with such Care, that all my lustful Sex shall never be able to seduce or steal her from me.' Here the old Lord interposed, 'My Friend and Kinsman, said he, you wrong your Lady and my Son; why do you rave? Has he not done nobly by you? If he loved her before he knew that she was pre-engaged, it was no Crime but his Misfortune; and his honourable Treatment of her since, renders him highly deserving your Compassion and Esteem. Come let us wisely search for her, and return to your Home, where she, by this Time, may be arrived. Come, my Son, vanquish the Frailty of your Mind, and then your Body will recover: Belinda has a Sister, fair as herself; a Horse Litter shall be provided to carry you with us to Swansey, there Company, and the lovely Isabella, will, I hope, complete your Cure, and make you happy.' All Things were strait got ready for their Return thither, where being arrived, there was no News of Belinda. And now we shall leave them to go in search of her, and give an Account of what had happened to her.

CHAP. XI.

Belinda being on the Road with her Attendants, about ten Miles from Mr. Hide's, the Coach going gently over a dangerous Mountain, was met, and set upon by a Band of ten Robbers, who stopped the Coach, and killed one of the Servants and two of the Horses; took the other two Servants, whom they bound Hand and Foot; then they pulled Belinda out of the Coach, and searching that, found the Sum of 1490l. in Gold, Belinda having used only ten Pounds of the Money Glandore had brought in the Coach, which ten Pounds she had given Mr. Hide's Servants, and the Clowns that rescued her. There was one amongst the Thieves that seemed to be much respected by, and commanded the rest. He put Belinda into the Coach again, and going into it himself, bid her be silent, and no Harm should come to her. One of the Thieves got up into the Coach-Box, and with the four remaining Horses drove the Coach down the Mountain, into a deep Valley; then he drove to a Wood, about two Miles from that Place, and being entered into the thickest Part of it, they stopped, took the Horses out, and left the Coach: The Captain leading Mrs. Lluelling, they came to an old ruined Stone Building, where an old Church was remaining, and part of the House.

Here these Robbers lived, it being a Place desolate of all Inhabitants, and long since abandoned: Here they locked the two Servants they had taken Prisoners into a Room, and then pulling off their Vizards they saluted Mrs. Lluelling, and told her she was welcome: But, good Heavens! what a Surprize was she under when she saw the Captain of the Robbers Face, and knew him to be a young Gentleman whom she had once seen at Mr. Hide's with Letters, and had been by him caressed in an extraordinary Manner; he soon perceived she knew him. 'Madam, said he, you will not be half so much surprized as you now seem to be, when I tell you that I no sooner saw you at Mr. Hide's, but I loved you; I am a Man nobly born, but unfortunate: We are all Gentlemen, most of us outlawed, except three really Thieves whom we are joined with. We have for our Royal Master's and Religion's Sake been ruined; our Estates, or our Fathers, which was our Birthright, confiscated. We have tried to get our Bread abroad; but, like the poor Cavaliers, were looked on as burthensome wherever we came. Thus made desperate, since Lewis the Fourteenth died, we returned to England; we had most of us a Being when first we came, but our Friends are since impoverished: Our Spirits are great, therefore we have chosen this desperate Way to maintain ourselves. At the harmless Country People's, where we lodge in Couples, we pass for Jacobites and honest Tories, great Men disguised, &c. And when we have got a good Booty, and are flush of Money, they imagine we have received Supplies from abroad. News we often do indeed receive from foreign Parts, but Money never. We would, if a Change came, venture into the World again, and live honestly. We never murder any Man, or rob a poor Traveller: We hold Correspondence with some Servant or other in every Gentleman's Family in the Country, and seldom miss of Intelligence where great Sums of Money are stirring. This Place is our Rendevouz, here we divide our Plunder, and then we separate. You see, Madam, the Confidence I repose in you: I believe you are a Lady of Quality: I admire your Person; I am not your inferior in Birth, and therefore, since I have purchased you with the Hazard of my Life, hope you will not grant me the Possession of your Person with Reluctance; I will maintain you nobly, and run all Dangers to preserve, provide for, and please you.'

Here one of his Companions entered, saying, 'Sir, Dinner is ready.' He took her by the Hand, she not daring to resist, and led her to a large Room, where was a Table spread, and great Store of cold Meats, with plenty of Wine: she was placed by the Captain at the upper End, and now he and his Companions gave a loose to Joy; Mirth and Good-humour reigned. Belinda could not eat, her Soul was filled with all the dreadful Imaginations of Ruin and Misery; but after they had eaten plentifully, they all withdrew to Sleep, and she and the Captain were left alone: he pressed her earnestly to yield to him, but she refused him with such soft Words and Resolution, that he forbore to treat her rudely, trying to win her to his Embraces gently; for tho' Necessity had made him a Robber, yet it could not make him a Brute; he had been well born and educated, and retained some Remnants of Honour. At Night he left her there, and went out with his Band, leaving with her two Women, who were in Appearance Servants to them: to these she addressed herself, saying, 'You are Women, your Hearts must be tender and pitiful! I am a Wife brought hither by Misfortune, torn from a fond Husband, and a doating Mother. Oh! help me in this great Distress, assist me to escape, and bring me to them, and you shall be rewarded to your Satisfaction.' The eldest of the two replied, 'Madam, we gladly would, but cannot serve you; we are Strangers in this Place like you; we were brought here by Force, blindfold, and taken far from hence: 'tis now eight Months since we were brought to this sad Place. Here we have been ruined, and are made subservient to the Lust and Humour of these desperate Men; we both were Gentlewomen born in France, tho' we speak English: this is my Niece, I was a single Woman, had no Relation whom I thought so well deserved my Love as she. I had a handsome Fortune, and we lived together; and having some Business to go for England, I took her with me: we took along with us our Necklaces, Rings, Clothes, and what we had most valuable to appear in, with Money to defray our Charges. The Vessel we came over in was bound to Southampton, but a Storm drove us upon this Coast: We got into Swansey, and from thence hired Horses to carry us cross the Countries thither, with a Guide. In the Way we were set upon by this Band of Robbers; they stopped us, took us off our Horses, carried us, our Boxes, and all off along with them, and brought us to this Place. Our Guide they bound, and left behind, and now threaten us with Death, if we attempt to leave them. Alas! we know not where to fly to, this Place is destitute of all Inhabitants; besides, some of our Band is always watching near this Wood: we are Strangers to this Country, have no Friends here to make Inquiry after us; we came only to trade, which I often did, and so learned English, and now despair of ever seeing our native Land and Friends again.'

This Story nearly touched Mrs. Lluelling's Heart. 'Find a Way for our Escape, said she, and I will procure your safe Return to France.' Here she related to them all her own Adventures, at which they seemed astonished; but when she named her Father and Mother, they fell a weeping and embracing her Knees, declared that they had been Servants to her Grandfather, the Governor of Normandy, the eldest having been many Years House-keeper to her Grand-mother, the Marchioness of Maintenon. 'My dear Lady, said she, what would I refuse to do to serve you? I will set you at Liberty, or die in the Attempt.' Here they consulted what to do, Mrs. Lluelling resolving not to stay there all that Night, fearing the Men's return. There was in the Chapel many Disguises, with which the Robbers used to conceal themselves; of these they chose three, which were old ragged Coats, Shoes, Hats, &c. being Beggars Habits; they took Soft and Grease, and made an odd Kind of Pomatum to rub their Faces and Hands; and thus accoutered, with long oaken Sticks in their Hands, they ventured into the Wood, leaving the dismal Dwelling, empty of Human Creatures. They went on, trembling at every Noise or Rustling of the Trees, seeking a Path, but could discover none: they still went forward, till they had passed through the Wood, and then they discovered the open Country, where they could discern nothing but dreadful high barren Mountains and lonely Valleys, dangerous to pass: they had no Food with them, nor any Money, for the Robbers never left that behind them in that Place.

Thus they wandered over the Mountains till Night approached, weary and faint for want of Food; and when it grew dark they could go no farther; back they neither dared, nor would return. Belinda had a Soul too noble to submit to gratify a Villain's Lust. 'Come my Companions, said she, let us lye down on the cold Earth, and trust that Providence that still preserves those that put their Confidence in it; 'tis better far to perish here, than live in Infamy and Misery: 'tis true, our Bodies are enfeebled by the Want of Sustenance, but Sleep will refresh our tired Spirits, and enable us to prosecute our Journey; recommend yourselves to God, his Power is All-sufficient, and when human Means are wanting, can supply our Wants by Miracle.' Here she fell upon her Knees, and cried, 'My God, encrease my Faith, pity our Distress, and send us Help: but if thou hast decreed us to die in this Place support us under the mighty Trial, and give us Grace to be entirely resigned to thy Will, and send thy Angels to receive our Souls.' Her Companions remained silent, admiring the Constancy of Belinda, who seemed then scarce fifteen; they laid down and slept profoundly, Weariness making them rest, tho' under the most racking Apprehensions of the greatest Dangers. At break of Day they arose, but knew not which way to go.

Thus they wandered three Days and Nights: the Evening of the third Day they discovered, at a considerable Distance, a small Town; but now, alas! they were no longer able to stand. 'My merciful God, cried the almost dying Belinda, must I perish now, when Help is so near? Why do my fainting Limbs refuse to bear me to that Place where Food is to be had, and Drink to quench my raging Thirst, which Water will no longer do? My craving Stomach sickens with the cold Draught, and casts it back again.' Here she fainted, Lisbia and Magdelaine, for those were the Women's Names that accompanied her, looked ghastly upon her, and fell down by her.

Thus the Almighty tried her Faith and Patience, but designed not she, who fled from Sin, should perish: a She-Goat, with a little Kid, at her recovering from her Trance, stood by her; she catched at it with her eager Hands, the Goat fled, but the Kid she laid hold of, calling to her Companions to assist her, and with a Knife she had in her Pocket, she stabbed it. They licked up the warm Blood, and eat the raw Flesh, more joyfully than they would Dainties at another time, so sharp is Hunger! Refreshed with this, they slept that Night much better, tho' it was now pinching Cold, it being the latter End of October. It snowed hard towards Morning, which so benumbed their Limbs, that they were not able to walk; and here they sat eating their strange Breakfast of raw Flesh, till it was almost Noon, making many vain Attempts to rise and walk: but then the Sun breaking out, they made a shift to creep along towards the Town. But alas! when they thought they were almost there, they met with the River Wie; they saw no Bridge or Boat, and it was impossible for them to get over it on Foot: they went as far as they were able by the River-side, ready to sink down at every Step; at length they sat down and wept sadly. Belinda believing herself near Death, her Constitution being more tender and delicate than the French Women's, with a weak Voice thus exhorted them: 'My Friends, says she, I need not tell you that we are all born to part, and die; I believe our Time is short, and that in few Hours we shall be released from the Miseries of this Life: how necessary is it for us then to improve those few Hours Providence gives us, to prepare for Eternity? My Life has, I thank God, been passed in Retirement; I have not been exposed to the Temptations of the World, yet have I not been free from Errors; you have lived long, I beg therefore that you would apply yourselves earnestly to him that must condemn, or save us, out of whose mighty Hand none can deliver us; and remember that now is the Moment, when eternal Happiness is to be obtained or lost.'

Here she could proceed no farther, but fell back in a Swoon. At this Instant a poor Fisherman brought his Nets down to dry them on the Shore; and seeing three poor Men together, two of them weeping over him that was lying down, he drew near, and overheard their Complaints. The Man spoke but bad English, but he understood it much better; he found the Person dying was a Woman disguised, because they wrung their Hands, and lamented her, crying, Our dear Lady is dead, what shall we do? The good Man looked about to see if his Boat was coming in, which he had left his Boy to bring thither, who at that Instant brought it to the Shore; the good man leaped into it, and took out a Bottle of Brandy, which he quickly brought, and poured some of it down Belinda's Throat, at which she recovered; the two Women drank likewise. He told them his House, tho' a poor one, was but a Mile farther, and invited them to it; but alas! they were not able to walk thither: he and his Boy were obliged to help them into his Boat, in which he carried them to his Cottage, where they were kindly received by his Wife, to whom the Fisherman told how he found them; the good Woman warmed a Bed, and got them into it, giving them good hot Broth. And now being much refreshed, Belinda told her who she was, and that she lived at Swansey. 'Alas! Madam, said the good Woman, you are a great Way from home, but I will send my Husband thither, to give your Friends Notice.' 'He shall be well rewarded, said Belinda .' The next Morning the Fisherman set out for Swansey, and Belinda fell very sick; Lisbia and Magdelaine recovered soon, but she remained so weak, that she could not walk. In five Days the Fisherman reached Mr. Lluelling's, whom we must now return to speak of.

CHAP. XII.

Mr. Lluelling, the Lord—, and his Son, being arrived at Swansey, and finding no News of Belinda, they took all the Methods possible to find her out, but in vain. Mr. Hide was so weak that he could not accompany his Father and Kinsman, who rid out every Day in search of Belinda; the Marquis, who could not part one Hour from his dear Lady, and the lovely Isabella, kept him Company: her Charms soon touched his Soul, and he at last began to imagine, that if Belinda was found again, and happy, he could be so with her Sister. Isabella grew insensibly to be fond of him, her Virgin Heart that never felt Love's Flame before, was warmed, and every Thing he did, was charming in her Eyes: he now was able to walk into the Garden, and tho' very weak, was well bred, obliging, gay, and entertaining. The Marquis was extreme fond of him, and was pleased to see the growing Affection betwixt Mr. Hide and Isabella; nothing was wanting but Belinda's Presence to make this Family completely happy: and now the fortunate Moment came, they so much wished for; the Fisherman arrived, and gave an Account of her being at his House with two Friends, with the Manner of their coming thither: but good Heavens! what Transports filled Mr. Lluelling's and her Mother's Soul? It was late at Night when this News was brought, and impossible to travel by reason of the Snow and Darkness, yet it was with Difficulty that the Marquis restrained his Son from venturing.

In the Morning they set out at the break of Day, the Marquis, Lord—, and Mr. Lluelling, in the Coach and Six, with five Servants, and the Fisherman well horsed: the old Lady would fain have gone, but her Weakness was such, that she, Mr. Hide, and Isabella, were constrained to stay at home. In three Days Mr. Lluelling and the rest arrived at the Cottage, where he was blessed with the Sight of his dear Belinda; she was in Bed, very weak, but when she heard his Voice, she started up, and when he came to the Bed-side, threw her Arms about his Neck, and both remained silent for some Moments, whilst Tears of Joy shewed their Affection: then he recovering, said a thousand tender Things, such as fully expressed his Fondness. Her Father next embraced her, saying, 'See here, Belinda, your transported Father, who never saw a Day like this! now my God has crowned my Age with Blessings, exceeding Expectation, and almost Belief. What Thanks are we obliged to render our Creator, for the mighty Blessings he has this Day bestowed upon us?' She bowed, but being faint, could scarce reply, when Mr. Lluelling, looking tenderly upon her, said, 'Alas! my Belinda, may I hope that I shall sleep again within those Arms? Has no vile Ravisher usurped my Right, and forced you to his hated Bed? Has not that lovely Body been polluted with his cursed Embraces? tho' I believe your Mind still pure, and that your Soul loathed and abhorred the damning Thought; yet forgive me, if I tremble at the dreadful Idea of so cursed an Act, and long to know the Truth.' Belinda lifting up her Eyes, looked on him with Disdain; 'Are you my Husband? she cried. Do you know me, and can you believe me capable of so vile, so base a Crime, as yielding up my Honour to a Ravisher? No; I would have preferred the cruellest Death to Infamy; or, if by Force compelled, would never have let the impious Villain live for to repeat his Crime; or I would have urged him to destroy me, pursued him with Reproaches, till with my Blood he should have bought his Peace, and washed away my Stain; believe me, I am innocent as when you took me first a Virgin to your Bed, and your Suspicions are unkind.' Here she fainted, he held her in his Arms, asked Pardon for his Rashness, and with fervent Kisses sealed his Peace upon her Lips and Hands. And now they thought of removing her to Swansey: this was a Place not fit for her to stay in, Physicians, and all Things wanting, could not here be had. He had forgot to bring Clothes and Linen thither, and till she was to rise, took no Notice of hers and her Companions Habits; but when he saw Lisbia bring her Beggar's Coat, and other Accoutrements, he, and the Marquis, and Lord —, were much surprized and diverted; and indeed it was a pleasant Sight to see her, and her Female Attendants, so dressed, enter the Coach.

And now nothing remained but to reward the honest Fisherman and his Wife; Mr. Lluelling gave them ten Pieces of Gold, a Sum they had never been Masters of before in their whole Lives; he told them if they would come to Swansey, he would give them a House to live in. They returned him Thanks, but said they had lived in that Cottage thirty odd Years, and had rather continue there; but if he would give their Boy Jack a new Fisher-boat against he was married, which was to be shortly, they should be bound to pray for him to their Lives End. He agreed to their Request, bidding the Fisherman come to Swansey, and choose such a one as he best liked, and he would pay for it: so they parted thence, and in three Days came in Safety to Swansey, where Belinda was received with excessive Joy by her Mother, and the rest. Isabella admired her Sister's Beauty, tho' somewhat changed by Sickness, when she saw her dressed in her own Clothes. Habits were given to the Women her Attendants, and none but Mr. Hide feared to look upon her; she turned towards him smiling, 'My generous Lover and Friend, said she, look not upon me with such Disorder; believe me, your Treatment of me was so generous and noble, that had I not been disposed of, nor known Mr. Lluelling before, I declare Mr. Hide should have had the first Place in my Esteem: but here is another to be disposed of, my charming Sister, who has, in my Eyes, superior Charms; give her that Heart which I must now refuse, and make her happy. Speak, my dear Sister, said she, shall he be heard? and do you not think him worthy your Love?' Isabella blushed, and the Marchioness answered, 'Her Father and I approving it, I dare answer for my dear Isabella, she will be guided by us.' Mr. Hide made a low Bow. 'My Lord, said he, may I presume to hope so great an Honour as seems here designed me?' 'You may, answered the Marquis, I shall be proud to call you Son.' From this Hour Mr. Hide paid his Addresses to Isabella, and content reigned in every Face, and now Belinda gave an Account of all that had happened to her, from her being taken by the Robbers, to her Arrival at the Fisherman's.

Two Days after her return home, the two poor Servants that were taken by the Thieves with her, and left locked up in a Room, when she fled from the ruinous House in the Wood, came to Swansey, and told, How having found themselves there alone, and hearing nobody stir, or come to relieve them for two Days and a Night, they resolved to force their Way out, at all Adventures; and searching about to find the best Place to make their Escape at, one of them pulled a great Stone out of the Wall, at which they both crept out; they saw nobody, and rambled all about the House, and ruined Church; there they found several Boxes and Trunks, but most of them empty: examining more curiously, they found a Trap-door in the Chancel, which, lifting up, they ventured to go into a Vault, where was much Treasure, as Plate, Jewels, Money, and Clothes; they took as much as they could well carry in their Pockets, and departed, going over the Mountains till they thought they were safe, and there they lay that Night. The next Day, knowing the Country, they went home to their Master, Mr. Hide's House, and from thence came to Swansey, to give him an Account of all.

Upon this Information, and Mrs. Lluelling's, Mr. Lluelling resolved to send to the High-Sheriff, and raise the Country, to apprehend this Gang of Thieves; but Belinda entreated him to spare the Captain of the Robbers.

According to his Desire, the Sheriff gave Orders, and Mr. Lluelling heading the Hue and Cry, Mr. Hide's Servants guiding them, they went directly to the Wood, where they apprehended two of the meanest of the Crew, that is, two real Thieves; who informed them, that the whole Band returning thither two Days after Belinda's Escape thence, and finding the two Women, and Mr. Hide's two Servants gone, they feared being discovered, and had therefore changed their Lodgings, and retired to a Place more secret, and almost impossible to be discovered, taking part of their Treasure with them, and were resolved to go off to Sea, if they were too closely pursued to live longer there; and had left them behind to give Intelligence. They said moreover, that they had looked narrowly upon most of the Mountains for Belinda and the Women, and missing them, hoped they had perished in some of the dismal Valleys, or tumbled down from some Precipice, and killed themselves. 'Our Captain, indeed, said one of them, is a brave Gentleman, and stormed dreadfully at us, saying, he would give his Life willingly to save the Lady, and that if we did not find, and bring her safe back, he would kill us: which we little regarded; for tho' we let him at present head us, and command, 'tis only because he is boldest, and will venture where we don't care to go: but should we be taken and imprisoned, we should not scruple to hang him, or any of his Friends, to save ourselves.' 'Villains that you are, cryed Mr. Lluelling, if possible, I will save him and hang you.' They were pinioned, and the House and Church searched narrowly, where some Plate and Clothes were found, and afterwards put into the Sheriff's Hands, to be restored to the Owners upon publick Notice given, and their appearing; and after much search, being able to discover no more of the Thieves, Mr. Lluelling dismissed the Assistants, and returned home, the two Thieves being first lodged in the Country Goal. Some Days after a Man brought a Letter, directed to the French Marquis, Monsieur de Maintenon; he gave it to one of the Servants, and departed: the Marquis opened it before the Family, and read the Contents, which were as follow.

My Lord,
It is with the utmost Confusion I inform your Lordship, that I am the unfortunate Sir C. O. known here only as Captain of a Band of Robbers, amongst whom are Mr. T. B. Sir A. D. the two A—rs, and two Gentlemen more, unknown to you. I am perfectly sensible of the Danger and Sinfulness of this wretched Course of Life I at present follow, and would gladly leave it for any honest Way of getting Bread. I throw my self at your Feet, to implore your Pity and Pardon for the Rudeness I offered Belinda, which I heartily repent of. I know your Generosity and Goodness, and resolve to put my Life into your Hands, by coming to you; and if you think me worthy to live, dispose of me as you please, I will follow you into France, and draw my Sword no more, but for yours, and my Master's Service: if you condemn me to Death, send me to a Prison, and you will take away a Life, that, whilst I continue in Sin, must be burdensome to

Your Devoted Friend,
and Old Acquaintance,
C. O.

CHAP. XIII.

The Marquis was much surprized at reading this Letter, knowing the Gentleman very well: he asked Mr. Lluelling, his Lady, and Lord—Advice; they all agreed, that they would, if possible, save him and the rest. The next Day the Captain of the Robbers came, and Mr. Hide embraced him, and so did the Marquis, Mr. Lluelling, and Lord—; they had the Diversion of his relating to them all his dangerous and bold Adventures: he lay there that Night, next Morning Mr. Lluelling went to the Port, and hired a Vessel to carry him and his Companions to Spain, the Marquis giving him Letters of Recommendation to some great Men there, who were his Friends. He made him deliver up all the Things of Value he had left in his Hands, of his Robberies, and part of Mr. Lluelling's Money, and gave him Bills for a handsome Sum of Money to support him and his Friends, till they could be provided for in the Army, which they desired to be received into: this the Marquis generously gave out of his own Pocket, with some Gold for their present Occasion, till they came to Barcelona, the Bill being drawn on a Merchant there, with whom he held a Correspondence.

The rest of the unfortunate Gentlemen, who, by their Captain's Advice, were all near at hand, went aboard the Vessel, to which the Marquis, Mr. Lluelling, Lord—, and Mr. Hide, went with the Captain, and there they supped merrily, and parted; the Marquis, and his Son, Lord—, and Mr. Hide, returning home. Next Morning the Ship sailed with a fair Wind, and Wales was delivered from a Band of Gentlemen Thieves, and the unfortunate Gentlemen from hanging.

And now nothing remained to complete this Family's Felicity, but Isabella's Marriage with Mr. Hide, which in some Days after was consummated; this Wedding was very splendid, all Sorts of innocent Diversion, as Dancing, Feasting, and musical Entertainments, completed the Festival. The Country People had their Share in it, and much pleased the Ladies with their odd Dancing and Songs: the Welch Harpers came from all parts of the Country, blind and Lame, and the Halls echo'd with the trembling Harps. The Marquis, who had heard the most harmonious Concerts of Musick in Rome and France, confessed he had heard nothing more diverting, or seen an Entertainment where there was less Expence, or more true Mirth; saying, 'Were the Welch Language as agreeable and musical as their Harps, I should love to hear them talk, and prefer it to French .' The Marquis and his Lady resolved to continue here till Mrs. Lluelling was brought to bed, which she was in the March following, on the seventeenth of which she was happily delivered of a Son. After she was up again, the Marquis thought of returning to France with his Lady, but desired he might have his little Grandson and his Nurse with him; the Lord— and Mr. Hide likewise resolving to go with him, and settle there, sold their Estates. Mr. Lluelling and Belinda offered to accompany their Father and Mother, and spend the Summer in Normandy. And now it being the Year 1718, on the second of May they went aboard a Ship they had hired to carry them, and arrived safe on the ninth in the Evening, at St. Maloes, from whence they set out for Coutance, and in few Days arrived at the Marquis's Seat, where they were entertained nobly. The two French Women, Lisbia and Magdelaine, went joyfully to their Home, returning many Thanks to the Marquis and Ladies. Mr. Lluelling and his Lady found France so charming that they continue there.

Thus Providence does, with unexpected Accidents, try Men's Faith, frustrate their Designs, and lead them through a Series of Misfortunes, to manifest its Power in their Deliverance; confounding the Atheist, and convincing the Libertine, that there is a just God, who rewards Virtue, and does punish Vice: So wonderful are the Ways of God, so boundless is his Power, that none ought to despair that believe in him. You see he can give Food upon the barren Mountain, and prevent the bold Ravisher from accomplishing his wicked Design: The virtuous Belinda was safe in the Hands of a Man who was desperately in love with her, and whose desperate Circumstance made him dare to do almost any Thing: But Virtue was her armour, and Providence her Defender. These Trials did but improve her Virtues, and encrease her Faith.

Such Histories as these ought to be published in this Age above all others, and if we would be like the worthy Persons whose Story we have here read, happy and blessed with all human Felicity; let us imitate their Virtues, since that is the only Way to make us dear to God and Man, and the most certain and noble Method to perpetuate our Names, and render our Memories immortal, and our Souls eternally happy.


FINIS.

 
 
 

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