Imágenes de páginas

kept no company, no servant, made no appearance, and buried myself in privacy, as if I was obliged to it by necessity.

I should have observed, that she was always made to believe, as everybody else was, that I was a great fortune, or at least that I had three or four thousand pounds, if not more, and all in my own hands; and she was mighty sweet upon me when she thought me inclined in the least to go into her country. She said she had a sister lived near Liverpool ; that her brother was a considerable gentleman there, and had a great estate also in Ireland ; that she would go down there in about two months, and if I would give her my company thither, I should be as welcome as herself for a month or more as I pleased, till I should see how I liked the country ; and if I thought fit to live there, she would undertake they would take care, though they did not entertain lodgers themselves, they would recommend me to some agreeable family, where I should be placed to

my content.

If this woman had known my real circumstances, she would never have laid so many snares, and taken so many weary steps, to catch a poor desolate creature that was good for little when it was caught; and indeed I, whose case was almost desperate, and thought I could not be much worse, was not very anxious about what might befall me, provided they

- 12 [ 177 ]


did me no personal injury; so I suffered myself, though not without a great deal of invitation, and great professions of sincere friendship and real kindness - I say, I suffered myself to be prevailed upon to go with her, and accordingly I put myself in a posture for a journey, though I did not absolutely know whither I was to go.

And now I found myself in great distress; what little I had in the world was all in money, except, as before, a little plate, some linen, and my clothes ; as for household stuff, I had little or none, for I had lived always in lodgings; but I had not one friend in the world with whom to trust that little I had, or to direct me how to dispose of it. I thought of the bank, and of the other companies in London, but I had no friend to commit the management of it to, and to keep and carry about me bank bills, tallies, orders, and such things, I looked upon as unsafe ; that if they were lost, my money was lost, and then I was undone ; and, on the other hand, I might be robbed, and perhaps murdered in a strange place for them ; and what to do I knew not.

It came into my thoughts one morning that I would go to the bank myself, where I had often been to receive the interest of some bills I had, and where I had found the clerk, to whom I applied myself, very honest to me, and particularly so fair one time, that when I had mistold my money, and taken less than my due, and was coming away, he set me to rights and gave me the rest, which he might have put into his own pocket.

I went to him and asked if he would trouble himself to be my adviser, who was a poor friendless widow, and knew not what to do. He told me, if I desired his opinion of anything within the reach of his business, he would do his endeavour that I should not be wronged, but that he would also help me to a good, sober person of his acquaintance, who was a clerk in such business too, though not in their house, whose judgment was good, and whose honesty I might depend upon ; " for," added he, “ I will answer for him, and for every step he takes ; if he wrongs you, madam, of one farthing, it shall lie at my door; and he delights to assist people in such cases — he does it as an act of charity.”

I was a little at a stand at this discourse ; but after some pause I told him I had rather have depended upon him, because I had found him honest, but if that could not be, I would take his recommendation sooner than any one's else. “I dare say, madam,” says he, “that you will be as well satisfied with my friend as with me, and he is thoroughly able to assist you, which I am not.” It seems he had his hands full of the business of the bank, and had engaged to meddle with no other business than that of his office: he added, that his friend should take nothing of me for his advice or assistance, and this indeed encouraged me.

He appointed the same evening, after the bank was shut, for me to meet him and his friend. As soon as I saw his friend, and he began but to talk of the affair, I was fully satisfied I had a very honest man to deal with ; his countenance spoke it; and his character, as I heard afterwards, was everywhere so good, that I had no room for any more doubts upon me.

After the first meeting, in which I only said what I had said before, he appointed me to come the next day, telling me I might in the meantime satisfy myself of him by inquiry, which, however, I knew not how to do, having no acquaintance myself.

Accordingly I met him the next day, when I entered more freely with him into my case. I told him my circumstances at large : that I was a widow come over from America, perfectly desolate and friendless; that I had a little money, and but a little, and was almost distracted for fear of losing it, having no friend in the world to trust with the management of it; that I was going into the north of England to live cheap, that my stock might not waste; that I would willingly lodge my money in the bank, but that I durst not carry the bills about me; and how to correspond about it, or with whom, I knew not.

He told me I might lodge the money in the bank as an account, and its being entered in the books would entitle me to the money at any time ; and if I was in the north I might draw bills on the cashier, and receive it when I would ; but that then it would be esteemed as running cash, and the bank would give no interest for it; that I might buy stock with it, and so it would lie in store for me, but that then if I wanted to dispose of it, I must come up to town to transfer it, and even it would be with some difficulty I should receive the half-yearly dividend, unless I was here in person, or had some friend I could trust with having the stock in his name to do it for me, and that would have the same difficulty in it as before, and with that he looked hard at me and smiled a little. At last says he, "Why do you not get a head-steward, madam, that


take your money together, and then you would have the trouble taken off of your hands ?"

Ay, sir, and the money too, it may be,” said I ; "for truly I find the hazard that way is as much as 't is t'other way," but I remember I said secretly to myself, “I wish you would ask me the question fairly ; I would consider very seriously on it before I said No."

He went on a good way with me, and I thought once or twice he was in earnest, but, to my

real affliction, I found at last he had a wife; but when he owned he had a wife he shook his head, and said

you and


« AnteriorContinuar »