could not imagine. We had both of us used Amy with so much intimacy, and trusted her with everything, having such unexampled instances of her fidelity, that he made no scruple to kiss me and say all these things to me before her; nor had he cared one farthing, if I would have let him He with me, to have had Amy there too all night. When he was gone, 'Well, Amy', says I, 'what will all this come to now? I am all in a sweat at him.' 'Come to, madam?' says Amy. 'I see what it will come to; I must put you to bed to-night together.' 'Why, you would not be so impudent, you jade, you', says I, 'would you?' 'Yes, I would', says she, 'with all my heart, and think you both as honest as ever you were in your lives,'
'What ails the slut to talk so?' said I. 'Honest! How can it be honest?' 'Why, I'll tell you, madam', says Amy; 'I sounded it as soon as I heard him speak, and it is very true too; he calls you widow, and such indeed you are; for, as my master has left you so many years, he is dead, to be sure; at least he is dead to you; he is no husband. You are, and ought to be, free to marry who you will; and, his wife being gone from him, and refusing to lie with him, then he is a single man again as much as ever; and, though you cannot bring the laws of the land to join you together, yet, one refusing to do the office of a wife, and the other of a husband, you may certainly take one another fairly.'
'Nay, Amy', says I, 'if I could take him fairly, you may be sure I'd take him above all the men in the world; it turned the very heart within me when I heard him say he loved me. How could it be otherwise, when you know what a condition I was in before, despised and trampled on by all the world? I could have took him in my arms and kissed him as freely as he did me, if it had not been for shame.'
'Ay, and all the rest too', says Amy, 'at the first word. I don't see how you can think of denying him anything. Has he not brought you out of the devil's clutches, brought you out of the blackest misery that ever poor lady was reduced to? Can a woman deny such a man anything?'
'Nay, I don't know what to do, Amy', says I. 'I hope he won't desire anything of that kind of me; I hope he won't attempt it If he does, I know not what to say to him.'
'Not ask you!' says Amy. 'Depend upon it, he will ask you and you will grant it too. I am sure my mistress is no fool. Come, pray, madam, let me go air you a clean shift; don't let him find you in foul linen the wedding-night,'
But that I know you to be a very honest girl, Amy', says I, 'you would make me abhor you. Why, you argue for the devil, as if you were one of his privy councillors.'
'It's no matter for that, madam, I say nothing but what I think. You own you love this gentleman, and he has given you sufficient testimony of his affection to you; your conditions are alike unhappy, and he is of opinion that he may take another woman, his first wife having broke her honour, and living from him; and that, though the laws of the land will not allow him to marry formally, yet that he may take another woman into his arms, provided he keeps true to the other woman as a wife; nay, he says it is usual to do so, and allowed by the custom of the place in several countries abroad. And, I must own, I am of the same mind; else it is in the power of a whore, after she has jilted and abandoned her husband, to confine him from the pleasure as well as convenience of a woman all the