The Works of Aphra Behn - LightNovelsOnl.com
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In Lies, I mean, on one Side or other; for he told me to my Teeth, at least, he said in my Hearing, on the Bowling-Green, but two Nights since, that he hop'd to see your Ladys.h.i.+p (for I suppose you are his Mistress) that Night e're 'twas dark: Upon which I gave him only a kind and fatherly Memorandum of his Duty, and he immediately left the Company and me, who have not set Eye on him, nor heard one Syllable of him since.--Now, judge you, Lady, if I have not Reason to conclude that he has been and is above still! No, (said the Aunt) you have no Reason to conclude so, when they both have told you solemnly the contrary; and when I can add, that I will take a formal Oath, if requir'd, that he has not been in this House since my Cousin _Lewis_ went to travel, nor before, to the best of my Memory; and I am confident, neither my Cousin _Diana_, nor the Lady your Daughter, have seen him since they left him with you, Sir--I wish, indeed, my dear Cousin _Lewis_ had not seen him since. How! What's that you say, good Lady? (ask'd the Knight) Is Mr.
_Lewis Constance_ then in _England_? And do you think that he has seen him so lately? for your Discourse seems to imply as much. Sir _Henry_, (reply'd the Aunt) you are very big with Questions, but I will endeavour to satisfy you in all of 'em.--My Cousin _Lewis Constance_ is in _England_; nay, more, he is now in his Chamber a-Bed, and dangerously, if not mortally, wounded, by 'Squire _Miles Hardyman_, your Son. Heaven forbid, (cry'd the Father) sure 'tis impossible. All Things are so to the Incredulous. Look you, Sir, (continu'd she, seeing _Lewis's_ Servant come in) do you remember his _French_ Servant _Albert_, whom he took some Months before he left _England_?--There he is. Humh! (said the old Sceptic) I think verily 'tis the same. Ay, Sir, (said the Servant) I am the same, at your Service. How does your Master? (ask'd Sir _Henry_) Almost as bad as when the 'Squire your Son left him, (reply'd _Albert_) only I have stopp'd the Bleeding, and he is now dozing a little; to say the Truth, I have only Hopes of his Life because I wish it. When was this done? (the Knight inquir'd) Not three Hours since, (return'd t'other.) What was the Occasion? (said Sir _Henry_) An ugly Mistake on both Sides; your Son, as I understand, not knowing my Master, took him for his Rival, and bad him quit his Pretensions to the fair Lady, for whom he had a Pa.s.sion: My Master thought he meant the Lady _Lucretia_, your Daughter, Sir, with whom I find he is pa.s.sionately in Love,--and--Very well--so--go on! (interrupted the Knight with a Sigh)--and was resolv'd to dispute his t.i.tle with him; which he did; but the 'Squire is as strong as the Horse he rides on!--And! 'tis a desperate Wound!--Which Way is he gone, canst thou tell? (ask'd the Father) Yes, I can; but I must not, 'tis as much as my Place is worth.
My Master would not have him taken for all the World; nay, I must needs own he is a very brave Person. But you may let me know; (said the Father) you may be confident I will not expose him to the Law: Besides, if it please Heaven that your Master recovers, there will be no Necessity of a Prosecution.--Prithee let me know! You'll pardon me, Sir, (said _Lewis's_ trusty Servant) my Master, perhaps, may give you that Satisfaction; and I'll give you Notice, Sir--when you may conveniently discourse him.--Your humble Servant, Sir, (he added, bowing, and went out.) The old Gentleman was strangely mortify'd at this News of his Son; and his Absence perplex'd him more than any thing besides in the Relation. He walk'd wildly up and down the Room, sighing, foaming, and rolling his Eyes in a dreadful Manner; and at the Noise of any Horse on the Road, out he would start as nimbly as if he were as youthful as his Son, whom he sought in vain among those Pa.s.sengers. Then returning, he cry'd out to her, O _Lucretia_! Your Brother! Where's your Brother?--O my Son! the Delight, Comfort, and Pride of my Old Age! Why dost thou fly me? Then answering as for young _Hardyman_, (said he) you struck me publickly before much Company, in the Face of my Companions.--Come, (reply'd he for himself) 'Twas Pa.s.sion, _Miles_, 'twas Pa.s.sion; Youth is guilty of many Errors, and shall not Age be allow'd their Infirmities?
_Miles_, thou know'st I love thee.--Love thee above Riches or long Life.--O! Come to my Arms, dear Fugitive, and make Haste to preserve his, who gave thee thy Life!--Thus he went raving about the Room, whilst the sorrowful, compa.s.sionate Ladies express'd their Grief in Tears.
After this loving Fit was over with him, he would start out in a contrary Madness, and threaten his Son with the greatest and the heaviest Punishment he could imagine; insomuch, that the young Ladies, who had Thoughts before of perswading _Lewis_ to inform Sir _Harry_ which Way his Son rode, were now afraid of proposing any such Thing to him. Dinner was at last serv'd in, to which _Diana_ with much Difficulty prevail'd with him to sit. Indeed, neither he, nor any there present, had any great Appet.i.te to eat; their Grief had more than satiated 'em.
About five a-Clock, _Albert_ signify'd to the Knight, that he might then most conveniently speak with his Master; but he begg'd that he would not disturb him beyond half a Quarter of an Hour: He went up therefore to him, follow'd by the young Lady and the Aunt: _Lewis_ was the first that spoke, who, putting his Hand a little out of the Bed, said with a Sigh, Sir _Henry_, I hope you will pity a great Misfortune, and endeavour to pardon me, who was the greatest Occasion of it; which has doubly punish'd me in these Wounds, and in the Loss of that Gentleman's Conversation, whose only Friends.h.i.+p I would have courted. Heaven pardon you both the Injuries done to one another; (return'd the Knight) I grieve to see you thus, and the more, when I remember my self that 'twas done by my Son's unlucky Hand. Would he were here.--So would not I (said _Lewis_) 'till I am a.s.sur'd my Wound is not mortal, which I have some Reasons to believe it is not. Let me beg one Favour of you, Sir, (said Sir _Henry_) I beseech you do not deny me. It must be a very difficult Matter that you, Sir, shall not command of me, (reply'd _Constance_.) It can't be difficult to you to tell me, or to command your Servant to let me know what Road my Son took. He may be at _Bristol_ long e're this, (return'd _Lewis_.) That was the Road they took (added the Servant.) I thank you, my worthy, my kind Friend! (said the afflicted Father) I will study to deserve this Kindness of you. How do you find your self now? that I may send him an Account by my Servant, if he is to be found in that City? Pretty hearty, (return'd _Lewis_) if the Wounds your adorable Daughter here has given me, do not prove more fatal than my Friend's your Son's. She blush'd, and he persu'd, My Servant has sent for the best Physician and Surgeon in all these Parts; I expect them every Minute, and then I shall be rightly inform'd in the State of my Body. I will defer my Messenger 'till then (said Sir _Henry_.) I will leave that to your Discretion, Sir, (return'd _Constance_.) As they were discoursing of 'em, in came the learned Sons of Art: The Surgeon prob'd his Wound afresh, which he found very large, but not mortal, his Loss of Blood being the most dangerous of all his Circ.u.mstances. The Country-_aesculapius_ approv'd of his first Intention, and of his Application; so dressing it once himself, he left the Cure of Health to the Physician, who prescrib'd some particular Remedy against Fevers, and a Cordial or two; took his Fee without any Scruples, as the Surgeon had done before, and then took both their Leaves. Sir _Henry_ was as joyful as _Lewis's_ Sister, or as his own Daughter _Lucretia_, who lov'd him perfectly, to hear the Wound was not mortal; and immediately dispatch'd a Man and Horse to _Bristol_, in Search of his Son: The Messenger return'd in a short Time with this Account only, that such a kind of a Gentleman and his Servant took s.h.i.+pping the Day before, as 'twas suppos'd, for _London_. This put the old Gentleman into a perfect Frenzy. He ask'd the Fellow, Why the Devil he did not give his Son the Letter he sent to him? Why he did not tell him, that his poor old forsaken Father would receive him with all the Tenderness of an indulgent Parent? And why he did not a.s.sure his Son, from him, that on his Return, he should be bless'd with the Lady _Diana_? And a thousand other extravagant Questions, which no body could reply to any better than the Messenger, who told him, trembling; First, That he could not deliver the Letter to his Son, because he could not find him: And Secondly and Lastly, being an Answer in full to all his Demands, That he could not, nor durst tell the young Gentleman any of those kind Things, since he had no Order to do so; nor could he enter into his Wors.h.i.+p's Heart, to know his Thoughts: Which Return, tho' it was reasonable enough, and might have been satisfactory to any other Man in better Circ.u.mstances of Mind; so enrag'd Sir _Henry_, that he had certainly kill'd the poor Slave, had not the Fellow sav'd his Life by jumping down almost half the Stairs, and continuing his Flight, Sir _Henry_ still persuing him, 'till he came to the Stables, where finding the Door open, Sir _Henry_ ran in and saddl'd his Horse his own self, without staying for any Attendant, or so much as taking his Leave of the Wounded Gentleman, or Ladies, or giving Orders to his Daughter when she should follow him Home, whither he was posting alone; but the Servant who came out with him, accidentally seeing him as he rode out at the farthest Gate, so timely persu'd him, that he overtook him about a Mile and half off the House. Home they got then in less than three Hours Time, without one Word or Syllable all the Way on either Side, unless now and then a hearty Sigh or Groan from the afflicted Father, whose Pa.s.sion was so violent, and had so disorder'd him, that he was constrain'd immediately to go to Bed, where he was seiz'd with a dangerous Fever, which was attended with a strange _Delirium_, or rather with an absolute Madness, of which the Lady _Lucretia_ had Advice that same Night, tho' very late.
This News so surpriz'd and afflicted her, as well for the Danger of her Lover as of her Father, that it threw her into a Swoon; out of which, when, with some Difficulty she was recover'd, with great Perplexity and Anguish of Mind she took a sad Farewel of the Lady _Diana_, but durst not be seen by her Brother on such an Occasion, as of taking Leave, lest it should r.e.t.a.r.d his Recovery: To her Father's then she was convey'd with all convenient Expedition: The old Gentleman was so a.s.siduously and lawfully attended by his fair affectionate Daughter, that in less than ten Days Time his Fever was much abated, and his _Delirium_ had quite left him, and he knew every Body about him perfectly; only the Thoughts of his Son, by Fits, would choak and discompose him: However, he was very sensible of his Daughter's Piety in her Care of him, which was no little Comfort to him: Nor, indeed, could he be otherwise than sensible of it by her Looks, which were then pale and thin, by over-watching; which occasion'd her Sickness, as it caus'd her Father's Health: For no sooner could Sir _Henry_ walk about the Room, than she was forc'd to keep her Bed; being afflicted with the same Distemper from which her Father was yet but hardly freed: Her Fever was high, but the _Delirium_ was not so great: In which, yet, she should often discover her Pa.s.sion for _Lewis Constance_, her wounded Lover; lamenting the great Danger his Life had been in, as if she had not receiv'd daily Letters of his Amendment. Then again, she would complain of her Brother's Absence, but more frequently of her Lover's; which her Father hearing, sent to invite him to come to her, with his Sister, as soon as young _Constance_ was able to undertake the Journey; which he did the very next Day; and he and _Diana_ gave the languis.h.i.+ng Lady a Visit in her Chamber, just in the happy Time of an Interval, which, 'tis suppos'd, was the sole Cause of her Recovery; for the Sight of her Lover and Friend was better than the richest Cordial in her Distemper. In a very short Time she left her Bed, when Sir _Henry_, to give her perfect Health, himself join'd the two Lovers Hands; and not many Weeks after, when her Beauty and Strength return'd in their wonted Vigour, he gave her 10000_l._ and his Blessing, which was a double Portion, on their Wedding-Day, which he celebrated with all the Cost and Mirth that his Estate and Sorrow would permit: Sorrow for the Loss of his Son, I mean, which still hung upon him, and still hover'd and croak'd over and about him, as Ravens, and other Birds of Prey, about Camps and dying People. His Melancholy, in few Months, increas'd to that Degree, that all Company and Conversation was odious to him, but that of Bats, Owls, Night-Ravens, _&c._ Nay, even his Daughter, his dear and only Child, as he imagin'd, was industriously avoided by him. In short, it got so intire a Mastery of him, that he would not nor did receive any Sustenance for many Days together; and at last it confin'd him to his Bed; where he lay wilfully speechless for two Days and Nights; his Son-in-Law, or his own Daughter, still attending a-Nights by Turns; when on the third Night, his _Lucretia_ sitting close by him in Tears, he fetch'd a deep Sigh, which ended in a pitious Groan, and call'd faintly, _Lucretia! Lucretia!_ The Lady being then almost as melancholy as her Father, did not hear him 'till the third Call; when falling on her Knees, and embracing his Hand, which he held out to her, she return'd with Tears then gus.h.i.+ng out, Yes, Sir, it is I, your _Lucretia_, your dutiful, obedient, and affectionate _Lucretia_, and most sorrowfully-afflicted Daughter. Bless her, Heaven!
(said the Father) I'm going now, (continu'd he weakly) O _Miles_! yet come and take thy last Farewel of thy dear Father! Art thou for ever gone from me? Wilt thou not come and take thy dying Father's Blessing?
Then I will send it after thee. Bless him! O Heaven! Bless him! Sweet Heaven bless my Son! My _Miles_! Here he began to faulter in his Speech, when the Lady gave a great Shriek, which wak'd and alarm'd her Husband, who ran down to 'em in his Night-Gown, and, kneeling by the Bed-side with his Lady, begg'd their departing Father's Blessing on them. The Shriek had (it seems) recall'd the dying Gentleman's fleeting Spirits, who moving his Hand as well as he could, with Eyes lifted up, as it were, whisper'd, Heaven bless you both! Bless me! Bless my--O _Miles_!
Then dy'd. His Death (no Doubt) was attended with the Sighs, Tears, and unfeign'd Lamentations of the Lady and her Husband; for, bating his sudden Pa.s.sion, he was certainly as good a Father, Friend, and Neighbour, as _England_ could boast. His Funeral was celebrated then with all the Ceremonies due to his Quality and Estate: And the young happy Couple felt their dying Parent's Blessing in their mutual Love and uninterrupted Tranquillity: Whilst (alas) it yet far'd otherwise with their Brother; of whose Fortune it is fit I should now give you an Account.
From _Bristol_ he arriv'd to _London_ with his Servant _Goodlad_; to whom he propos'd, either that he should return to Sir _Henry_, or share in his Fortunes Abroad: The faithful Servant told him, he would rather be unhappy in his Service, than quit it for a large Estate. To which his kind Master return'd, (embracing him) No more my Servant now, but my Friend! No more _Goodlad_, but _Truelove_! And I am--_Lostall_! 'Tis a very proper Name, suitable to my wretched Circ.u.mstances. So after some farther Discourse on their Design, they sold their Horses, took s.h.i.+pping, and went for _Germany_, where then was the Seat of War.
_Miles's_ Person and Address soon recommended him to the chief Officers in the Army; and his Friend _Truelove_ was very well accepted with 'em.
They both then mounted in the same Regiment and Company, as Volunteers; and in the first Battel behav'd themselves like brave _English_-men; especially _Miles_, whom now we must call Mr. _Lostall_, who signaliz'd himself that Day so much, that his Captain and Lieutenant being kill'd, he succeeded to the former in the Command of the Company, and _Truelove_ was made his Lieutenant. The next Field-Fight _Truelove_ was kill'd, and _Lostall_ much wounded, after he had sufficiently reveng'd his Friend's Death by the Slaughter of many of the Enemies. Here it was that his Bravery was so particular, that he was courted by the Lieutenant-General to accept of the Command of a Troop of Horse; which gave him fresh and continu'd Occasions of manifesting his Courage and Conduct. All this while he liv'd too generously for his Pay; so that in the three or four Years Time, the War ceasing, he was oblig'd to make use of what Jewels and Money he had left of his own, for his Pay was quite spent. But at last his whole Fund being exhausted to about fifty or threescore Pounds, he began to have Thoughts of returning to his native Country, _England_; which in a few Weeks he did, and appear'd at the _Tower_ to some of his Majesty's (King _Charles_ the Second's) Officers, in a very plain and coa.r.s.e, but clean and decent Habit: To one of these Officers he address'd himself, and desir'd to mount his Guards under his Command, and in his Company; who very readily receiv'd him into Pay. (The Royal Family had not then been restor'd much above a Twelve-Month.) In this Post, his Behaviour was such, that he was generally belov'd both by the Officers and private Soldiers, most punctually and exactly doing his Duty; and when he was off the Guard, he would employ himself in any laborious Way whatsoever to get a little Money. And it happen'd, that one Afternoon, as he was helping to clean the _Tower_ Ditch, (for he refus'd not to do the meanest Office, in Hopes to expiate his Crime by such voluntary Penances) a Gentleman, very richly dress'd, coming that Way, saw him at Work; and taking particular Notice of him, thought he should know that Face of his, though some of the Lines had been struck out by a Scar or two: And regarding him more earnestly, he was at last fully confirm'd, that he was the Man he thought him; which made him say to the Soldier, Prithee, Friend, What art thou doing there? The unhappy Gentleman return'd, in his Country Dialect, Why, Master, Cham helping to clear the _Tower_ Ditch, zure, an't please you. 'Tis very hot, (said t'other) Art thou not a dry? Could'st thou not drink? Ay, Master, reply'd the Soldier, with all my Heart. Well, (said the Gentleman) I'll give thee a Flaggon or two; Where is the best Drink? At yonder House, Master, (answer'd the Soldier) where you see yon Soldier at the Door, there be the best Drink and the best Measure, zure: Chil woit a top o your Wors.h.i.+p az Zoon as you be got thare. I'll take thy Word, said t'other, and went directly to the Place; where he had hardly sate down, and call'd for some Drink, e'er the Soldier came in, to whom the Gentleman gave one Pot, and drank to him out of another. _Lostall_, that was the Soldier, whipp'd off his Flaggon, and said, bowing, Well, Master, G.o.d bless your Wors.h.i.+p! Ich can but love and thank you, and was going; but the Gentleman, who had farther Business with him, with some Difficulty prevail'd on him to sit down, for a Minute or two, after the Soldier had urg'd that he must mind his Business, for he had yet half a Day's Work almost to complete, and he would not wrong any Body of a Quarter of an Hour's Labour for all the World. Th'art a very honest Fellow, I believe, said his Friend; but prithee what does thy whole Day's Work come to? Eighteen-pence, reply'd _Lostall_: Look, there 'tis for thee, said the Gentleman. Ay; but an't like your Wors.h.i.+p, who must make an End of my Day's Business? (the Soldier ask'd.) Get any Body else to do it for thee, and I'll pay him. Can'st prevail with one of thy Fellow-Soldiers to be so kind? Yes, Master, thank G.o.d, cham not so ill belov'd nother. Here's honest _Frank_ will do so much vor me, Zure: Wilt not, _Frank_? (withal my Heart, _Tom_, reply'd his Comrade.) Here, Friend, (said _Lostall's_ new Acquaintance) here's Eighteen-pence for thee too. I thank your Honour, return'd the Soldier, but should have but Nine-pence. No Matter what thou should'st have, I'll give thee no less, said the strange Gentleman. Heavens bless your Honour! (cry'd the Soldier) and after he had swigg'd off a Pot of good Drink, took _Lostall's_ Pick-ax and Spade, and went about his Business. Now (said the Stranger) let us go and take a Gla.s.s of Wine, if there be any that is good hereabouts, for I fancy thou'rt a mighty honest Fellow; and I like thy Company mainly. Cham very much bound to behold you, Master, (return'd _Lostall_) and chave a Fancy that you be and a _West_-Country-Man, zure; (added he) you do a take zo like en; vor _Mainly_ be our Country Word, zure. We'll talk more of that by and by, said t'other: Mean while I'll discharge the House, and walk whither thou wilt lead me. That shan't be var, zure; (return'd _Lostall_) vor the _Gun_ upon the Hill there, has the best Report for Wine and Zeck Ale hereabouts. There they arriv'd then in a little Time, got a Room to themselves, and had better Wine than the Gentleman expected. After a Gla.s.s or two a-piece, his unknown Friend ask'd _Lostall_ what Country-Man he was? To whom the Soldier reply'd, That he was a _Zomerzets.h.i.+re_ Man, zure. Did'st thou never hear then of one Sir _Henry Hardyman_? (the Stranger ask'd.) Hier of'n! (cry'd t'other) yes, zure; chave a zeen 'en often. Ah! Zure my Mother and I have had many a zwindging Pitcher of good Drink, and many a good Piece of Meat at his House. Humh! (cry'd the Gentleman) It seems your Mother and you knew him, then? Ay, zure, mainly well; ich mean, by zight, mainly well, by zight. They had a great deal of farther Discourse, which lasted near two Hours; in which Time the Gentleman had the Opportunity to be fully a.s.sur'd, that this was _Miles Hardyman_, for whom he took him at first.
At that first Conference, _Miles_ told him his Name was honest _Tom Lostall_; and that he had been a Souldier about five Years; having first obtain'd the Dignity of a Serjeant, and afterward had the Honour to be a Trooper, which was the greatest Post of Honour that he could boast of.
At last, his new Friend ask'd _Miles_, if he should see him there at Three in the Afternoon the next Day? _Miles_ return'd, That he should be at his Post upon Duty then; and that without Leave from his Lieutenant, who then would command the Guards at the _Tower_, he could not stir a Foot with him. His Friend return'd, That he would endeavour to get Leave for him for an Hour or two: After which they drank off their Wine; the Gentleman pay'd the Reckoning, and gave _Miles_ a Broad piece to drink more Wine 'till he came, if he pleas'd, and then parted 'till the next Day. When his Friend was gone, _Miles_ had the Opportunity of reflecting on that Day's Adventure. He thought he had seen the Gentleman's Face, and heard his Voice, but where, and upon what Occasion, he could not imagine; but he was in Hopes, that on a second Interview, he might recollect himself where it was he had seen him. 'Twas exactly Three a-Clock the next Afternoon, when his Friend came in his own Mourning-Coach, accompany'd by another, who look'd like a Gentleman, though he wore no Sword. His Friend was attended by two of his own Foot-men in black Liveries. _Miles_ was at his Post, when his Friend ask'd where the Officer of the Guard was? The Soldier reply'd, That he was at the _Gun_. The Gentleman went directly to the Lieutenant, and desir'd the Liberty of an Hour or two for _Miles_, then _Tom Lostall_, to take a Gla.s.s of Wine with him: The Lieutenant return'd, That he might keep him a Week or two, if he pleas'd, and he would excuse him; for (added he) there is not a more obedient nor better Soldier than _Tom_ was in the whole Regiment; and that he believ'd he was as brave as obedient. The Gentleman reply'd, That he was very happy to hear so good a Character of him; and having obtain'd Leave for his Friend, made his Compliment, and return'd, to take _Miles_ along with him: When he came to the trusty Centinel, he commanded the Boot to be let down, and desir'd _Miles_ to come into the Coach, telling him, That the Officer had given him Leave. Ah! Sir, (return'd _Miles_) altho' he has, I cannot, nor will quit my Post, 'till I am reliev'd by a Corporal; on which, without any more Words, the Gentleman once more went to the Lieutenant, and told him what the Soldier's Answer was. The Officer smil'd, and reply'd, That he had forgot to send a Corporal with him, e'er he was got out o' Sight, and begg'd the Gentleman's Pardon that he had given him a second Trouble. Then immediately calling for a Corporal, he dispatch'd him with the Gentleman to relieve _Miles_, who then, with some little Difficulty, was prevail'd on to step into the Coach, which carry'd 'em into some Tavern or other in _Leadenhall-street_; where, after a Bottle or two, his Friend told _Miles_, that the Gentleman who came with him in the Coach, had some Business with him in another Room.
_Miles_ was surpriz'd at that, and look'd earnestly on his Friend's Companion; and seeing he had no Sword, pull'd off his own, and walk'd with him into the next Room; where he ask'd the Stranger, What Business he had with him? To which the other reply'd, That he must take Measure of him. How! (cry'd _Miles_) take Measure of me? That need not be; for I can tell how tall I am. I am (continu'd he) six Foot and two Inches high. I believe as much (said t'other.) But, Sir, I am a Taylor, and must take Measure of you to make a Suit of Cloaths or two for you; or half a Dozen, if you please. Pray, good Mr. Taylor (said _Miles_) don't mock me; for tho' cham a poor Fellow, yet cham no Vool zure. I don't, indeed, Sir, reply'd t'other. Why, who shall pay for 'em? Your Friend, the Gentleman in the next Room: I'll take his Word for a thousand Pounds, and more; and he has already promis'd to be my Pay-Master for as many Suits as you shall bespeak, and of what Price you please. Ah! mary, (cry'd _Miles_) he is a Right Wors.h.i.+pful Gentleman; and ich caunt but love 'n and thank 'n. The Taylor then took Measure of him, and they return'd to the Gentleman; who, after a Bottle or two a-piece, ask'd _Miles_ when he should mount the Guard next? _Miles_ told him four Days thence, and he should be posted in the same Place, and that his Captain would then command the Guard, who was a very n.o.ble Captain, and a good Officer. His Friend, who then had no farther Business with _Miles_ at that Time, once more parted with him, 'till Three a-Clock the next Sat.u.r.day; when he return'd, and ask'd if the Captain were at the _Gun_, or no? _Miles_ a.s.sur'd him he was. His Friend then went down directly to the Tavern, where he found the Captain, the Lieutenant, and Ensign; upon his Address the Captain most readily gave his Consent that _Miles_ might stay with him a Month, if he would; and added many Things in Praise of his trusty and dutiful Soldier. The Gentleman then farther entreated, that he might have the Liberty to give him and the other Officers a Supper that Night; and that they would permit their poor Soldier, _Tom Lostall_, the Honour to eat with 'em there. To the first, the Captain and the rest seem'd something averse; but to the last they all readily agreed; and at length the Gentleman's Importunity prevail'd on 'em to accept his Kindness, he urging that it was in Acknowledgment of all those Favours they had plac'd on his Friend _Tom_. With his pleasing Success he came to _Miles_, not forgetting then to take a Corporal with him. At this second Invitation into the Coach, _Miles_ did not use much Ceremony, but stepp'd in, and would have sate over against the Gentleman, by the Gentleman-Taylor; but his Friend oblig'd him to sit on the same Seat with him. They came then again to their old Tavern in _Leadenhall-street_, and were shew'd into a large Room; where they had not been above six Minutes, e'er the Gentleman's Servants, and another, who belong'd to Monsieur Taylor, brought two or three large Bags; out of one they took s.h.i.+rts, half s.h.i.+rts, Bands, and Stockings; out of another, a Mourning-Suit; out of a third, a Mourning Cloak, Hat, and a large Hatband, with black Cloth-Shoes; and one of the Gentleman's Servants laid down a Mourning Sword and Belt on the Table: _Miles_ was amaz'd at the Sight of all these Things, and kept his Eyes fix'd on 'em, 'till his Friend cry'd, Come, _Tom_! Put on your Linnen first! Here! (continu'd he to his Servant) Bid 'em light some f.a.ggots here! For, tho' 'tis Summer, the Linnen may want Airing, and there may be some ugly cold Vapours about the Room, which a good Fire will draw away. _Miles_ was still in a Maze! But the Fire being well kindled, the Gentleman himself took a s.h.i.+rt, and air'd it; commanding one of his Servants to help _Tom_ to undress. _Miles_ was strangely out o' Countenance at this, and told his Friend, that he was of Age and Ability to pull off his own Cloaths; that he never us'd to have any _Valets de Chambre_; (as they call'd 'em) and for his Part, he was asham'd, and sorry that so wors.h.i.+pful a Gentleman should take the Trouble to warm a s.h.i.+rt for him. Besides (added he) chave Heat enough (zure) to warm my s.h.i.+rt. In short, he put on his s.h.i.+rt, half s.h.i.+rt, his Cloaths and all Appurtenances, as modishly as the best _Valet de Chambre_ in _Paris_ could. When _Miles_ was dress'd, his Friend told him, That he believ'd he look'd then more like himself than ever he had done since his Return to _England_. Ah! n.o.ble Sir! said _Miles_. _Vine Feathers make vine Birds._ But pray, Sir, Why must I wear Mourning? Because there is a particular Friend of mine dead, for whose Loss I can never sufficiently mourn my self; and therefore I desire that all whom I love should mourn with me for him, return'd the Gentleman; not but that there are three other Suits in Hand for you at this Time.
_Miles_ began then to suspect something of his Father's Death, which had like to have made him betray his Grief at his Eyes; which his Friend perceiving, took him by the Hand, and said, Here, my dear Friend! To the Memory of my departed Friend! You are so very like what he was, considering your Difference in Years, that I can't choose but love you next to my Wife and my own Sister. Ah! Sir! (said he, and lapping his Handkerchief to his Eyes) How can I deserve this of you? I have told you (reply'd t'other.) But--Come! Take your Gla.s.s, and about with it! He did so; and they were indifferently pleasant, the Subject of Discourse being chang'd, 'till about a quarter after Five; when the Gentleman call'd to pay, and took Coach with _Miles_ only, for the _Gun-Tavern_; where he order'd a very n.o.ble Supper to be got ready with all Expedition; mean while they entertain'd one another, in a Room as distant from the Officers as the House would permit: _Miles_ relating to his new Friend all his Misfortunes Abroad, but still disguising the true Occasion of his leaving _England_. Something more than an Hour after, one of the Drawers came to let 'em know, that Supper was just going to be serv'd up. They went then directly to the Officers, whom they found all together, with two or three Gentlemen more of their Acquaintance: They all saluted the Gentleman who had invited 'em first, and then complimented _Miles_, whom they mistook for another Friend of the Gentleman's that gave 'em the Invitation; not in the least imagining that it was _Tom Lostall_. When they were all sat, the Captain ask'd, Where is our trusty and well-beloved Friend Mr. _Thomas Lostall_? Most honoured Captain! (reply'd _Miles_) I am here, most humbly at your Honour's Service, and all my other n.o.ble Officers. Ha! _Tom_! (cry'd the Lieutenant) I thought indeed when thou first cam'st in, that I should have seen that hardy Face of thine before. Face, Hands, Body, and Heart and all, are at your, all your Honours Service, as long as I live. We doubt it not, dear _Tom_! (return'd his Officers, unanimously.) Come, n.o.ble Gentlemen! (interrupted _Miles's_ Friend) Supper is here, let us fall to: I doubt not that after Supper I shall surprise you farther.
They then fell to eating heartily; and after the Table was clear'd they drank merrily: At last, after the King's, Queen's, Duke's, and all the Royal Family's, and the Officers Healths, his Friend begg'd that he might begin a Health to _Tom Lostall_; which was carry'd about very heartily; every one had a good Word for him, one commending his Bravery, another, his ready Obedience; and a third, his Knowledge in material Discipline, _&c._ 'till at length it grew late, their Stomachs grew heavy, and their Heads light; when the Gentleman, _Miles's_ Friend, calling for a Bill, he found it amounted to seven Pounds ten s.h.i.+llings, odd Pence, which he whisper'd _Tom Lostall_ to pay; who was in a Manner Thunder-struck at so strange a Sound; but, recollecting himself, he return'd, That if his Friend pleas'd, he would leave his Cloak, and any Thing else, 'till the House were farther satisfy'd: T'other said, He was sure _Miles_ had Money enough about him to discharge two such Bills: To which _Miles_ reply'd, That if he had any Money about him, 'twas none of his own, and that 'twas certainly conjur'd into his Pockets. No Matter how it came there (said t'other;) but you have above twenty Pounds about you of your own Money: Pray feel. _Miles_ then felt, and pull'd out as much Silver as he could grasp, and laid it down on the Table. Hang this white Pelf; (cry'd his Friend) pay it in Gold, like your self, Come, apply your Hand to another Pocket: He did so, and brought out as many Broad-Pieces as Hand could hold. Now (continu'd his Friend) give the Waiter eight of 'em, and let him take the Overplus for his Attendance.
_Miles_ readily obey'd, and they were _Very Welcome, Gentlemen_.
Now, honoured Captain, (said his Friend) and you, Gentlemen, his other worthy Officers, be pleas'd to receive your Soldier, as Sir _Miles Hardyman_, Bar., Son to the late Sir _Henry Hardyman_ of _Somersets.h.i.+re_, my dear and honoured Brother-in-Law: Who is certainly--the most unhappy Wretch crawling on Earth! (interrupted _Miles_) O just Heaven! (persu'd he) How have I been rack'd in my Soul ever since the Impious Vow I made, that I never would see my dearest Father more! This is neither a Time nor Place to vent your Sorrows, my dearest Brother! (said his Friend, tenderly embracing him.) I have something now more material than your Expressions of Grief can be here, since your honoured Father has been dead these five Years almost:--Which is to let you know, that you are now Master of four thousand Pounds a Year; and if you will forgive me two Years Revenue, I will refund the rest, and put you into immediate and quiet Possession; which I promise before all this worthy and honourable Company. To which _Miles_ return'd, That he did not deserve to inherit one Foot of his Father's Lands, tho' they were entail'd on him, since he had been so strangely undutiful; and that he rather thought his Friend ought to enjoy it all in Right of his Sister, who never offended his Father in the whole Course of her Life:--But, I beseech you, Sir, (continu'd he to his Friend) how long is it since I have been so happy in so good and generous a Brother-in-Law? Some Months before Sir _Henry_ our Father dy'd, who gave us his latest Blessing, except that which his last Breath bequeath'd and sigh'd after you. O undutiful and ungrateful Villain that I am, to so kind, and so indulgent, and so merciful a Father: (cry'd _Miles_) But Heaven, I fear, has farther Punishments in Store for so profligate a Wretch and so disobedient a Son.--But your Name, Sir, if you please? (persu'd he to his Brother) I am _Lewis Constance_, whom once you unhappily mistook for your Rival. Unhappily, indeed: (return'd _Miles_) I thought I had seen you before. Ay, Sir, (return'd _Constance_) but you could never think to have seen me again, when you wounded and left me for dead, within a Mile of my House. O! thou art brave, (cry'd his Brother, embracing him affectionately) 'tis too much Happiness, for such a Reprobate to find so true a Friend and so just a Brother. This, this does in some Measure compensate for the Loss of so dear a Father.--Take, take all, my Brother! (persu'd he, kissing _Lewis's_ Cheek) Take all thou hast receiv'd of what is call'd mine, and share my whole Estate with me: But pardon me, I beseech you my most honour'd Officers, and all you Gentlemen here present, (continu'd he to the whole Company, who sate silent and gazing at one another, on the Occasion of so unusual an Adventure) pardon the Effects of Grief and Joy in a distracted Creature! O, Sir _Miles_, (cry'd his Captain) we grieve for your Misfortune, and rejoice at your Happiness in so n.o.ble a Friend and so just a Brother. _Miles_ then went on, and gave the Company a full but short Account of the Occasion of all his Troubles, and of all his Accidents he met with both Abroad and at Home, to the first Day that _Constance_ saw him digging in the _Tower_-Ditch. About one that Morning, which preceded that Afternoon (persu'd he) whereon I saw my dear Brother here, then a Stranger to me, I dream'd I saw my Father at a Distance, and heard him calling to me to quit my honourable Employment in his Majesty's Service: This (my Thought) he repeated seven or nine Times, I know not which; but I was so disturb'd at it, that I began to wake, and with my Eyes but half open was preparing to rise; when I fancy'd I felt a cold Hand take me by the Hand, and force me on my hard Bolster again, with these Words, take thy Rest, _Miles_! This I confess did somewhat surprize me; but I concluded, 'twas the Effect of my Melancholy, which, indeed, has held me ever since I last left _England_: I therefore resolutely started up, and jump'd out of Bed, designing to leave you, and sit up with my Fellow-Soldiers on the Guard; but just then I heard the Watchman cry, _Past one a Clock and a Star-light Morning_; when, considering that I was to be at Work in the Ditch by four a Clock, I went to Bed again, and slumber'd, doz'd, and dream'd, 'til Four; ever when I turn'd me, still hearing, as I foolishly imagin'd, my Father crying to me, _Miles_! Sleep, my _Miles_! Go not to that nasty Place, nor do such servile Offices! tho' thou dost, I'll have thee out this Day, nay, I will pull thee out: And then I foolishly imagin'd, that the same cold Hand pull'd me out of the Ditch; and being in less than a Minute's Time perfectly awake, I found my self on my Feet in the Middle of the Room; I soon put on my Cloaths then, and went to my Labour. Were you thus disturb'd when you were Abroad? (the Captain ask'd) O worse, Sir, (answer'd _Miles_) especially on a Tuesday Night, a little after One, being the Twelth of _November_, New Style, I was wak'd by a Voice, which (methought) cry'd, _Miles_, _Miles_, _Miles!_ Get hence, go Home, go to _England_! I was startled at it, but regarded it only as proceeding from my going to Sleep with a full Stomach, and so endeavour'd to sleep again, which I did, till a second Time it rouz'd me, with _Miles_ twice repeated,--hazard not thy Life here in a foreign Service! Home! to _England_! to _England_! to _England_! This disturb'd me much more than at first; but, after I had lay'n awake near half an Hour, and heard nothing of it all that Time, I a.s.sur'd my self 'twas nothing but a Dream, and so once more address'd my self to Sleep, which I enjoy'd without Interruption for above two Hours; when I was the third Time alarm'd, and that with a louder Voice, which cry'd, as twice before, _Miles!_ _Miles!_ _Miles!_ _Miles!_ Go Home! Go to _England_!
Hazard not thy Soul here! At which I started up, and with a faultering Speech, and Eyes half sear'd together, I cry'd, In the Name of Heaven, who calls? Thy Father, _Miles_: Go Home! Go Home! Go Home! (it said.) O then I knew, I mean, I thought I knew it was my Father's Voice; and turning to the Bed-Side, from whence the Sound proceeded, I saw, these Eyes then open, these very Eyes, at least, my Soul saw my Father, my own dear Father, lifting up his joined Hands, as if he begg'd me to return to _England_. I saw him beg it of me.--O Heaven! The Father begs it of the Son! O obstinate, rebellious, cruel, unnatural, barbarous, inhuman Son! Why did not I go Home then! Why did I not from that Moment begin my Journey to _England_? But I hope, e'er long, I shall begin a better.
Here his o'ercharg'd Heart found some little Relief at his Eyes, and they confess'd his Mother: But he soon resum'd the Man, and then _Constance_ said, Did you ne'er dream of your Sister, Sir? Yes, often, Brother, (return'd _Miles_) but then most particularly, before e'er I heard the first Call of the Voice; when (my Thought) I saw her in Tears by my Bed Side, kneeling with a Gentleman, whom I thought I had once seen; but knew him not then, tho', now I recal my Dream, the Face was exactly yours. 'Twas I, indeed, Sir, (return'd _Lewis_) who bore her Company, with Tears, at your Father's Bed-Side; and at twelve a Clock at Night your Father dy'd. But come, Sir, (persu'd he) 'tis now near twelve a Clock, and there is Company waits for you at Home, at my House here in Town; I humbly beg the Captain's Leave, that I may rob 'em of so dutiful a Soldier for a Week or two. Sir, (return'd the Captain) Sir _Miles_ knows how to command himself, and may command us when he pleases.
Captain, Lieutenant, and Ensign, (reply'd Sir _Miles_) I am, and ever will continue, during Life, your most dutiful Soldier, and your most obedient and humble Servant. Thus they parted.
As soon as _Constance_ was got within Doors, his Lady and Sir _Miles's_ Sister, who both did expect him that Night, came running into the Hall to welcome him? his Sister embrac'd and kiss'd him twenty and twenty Times again, dropping Tears of Joy and Grief, whilst his Mistress stood a little Distance, weeping sincerely for Joy to see her Love return'd: But long he did not suffer her in that Posture; for, breaking from his Sister's tender Embraces, with a seasonable Compliment he ran to his Mistress, and kneeling, kiss'd her Hand, when she was going to kneel to him; which he perceiving, started up and took her in his Arms, and there, it may be presum'd, they kiss'd and talk'd prettily; 'till her Brother perswaded 'em to retire into the Parlour, where he propos'd to 'em that they should marry on the very next morning; and accordingly they were, after _Lewis_ had deliver'd all Sir _Henry's_ Estate to Sir _Miles_, and given him Bills on his Banker for the Payment of ten thousand Pounds, being the Moiety of Sir _Miles's_ Revenue for five Years. Before they went to Church, Sir _Miles_, who then had on a rich bridal Suit, borrow'd his Brother's best Coach, and both he and _Lewis_ went and fetch'd the Captain, Lieutenant, and Ensign, to be Witnesses of their Marriage. The Captain gave the Bride, and afterwards they feasted and laugh'd heartily, 'till Twelve at Night, when the Bride was put to Bed; and there was not a Officer of 'em all, who would not have been glad to have gone to Bed to her; but Sir _Miles_ better supply'd their Places.
NOTES: The Unhappy Mistake.
p. 477 _the Jack_. The small bowl placed as a mark for the players to aim at. cf. _Cymbeline_ II, i: 'Was there ever man had such luck! when I kissed the jack upon an up-cast to be hit away!'
p. 477 _the Block_. cf. Florio (1598). '_b.u.t.tino_, a maister or mistres of boules or coites whereat the plaiers cast or playe; some call it the blocke.'
p. 495 _vor Mainly be our Country Word, zure_. Wright, _English Dialect Dictionary_, gives apposite quotations for 'mainly' from Gloucester, Wilts and Devon. He also has two quotations, Somerset and West Somerset for 'main' used adverbially. But 'mainly' is also quite common in that county.
p. 495 _the Gun_. A well-known house of call. 2 June, 1668, Pepys 'stopped and drank at the Gun'.
p. 496 _a Broad piece_. This very common name was 'applied after the introduction of the guinea in 1663 to the "Unite" or 20 s.h.i.+lling pieces (Jacobus and Carolus) of the preceeding reigns, which were much broader and thinner than the new milled coinage.'