was happier than I could be in being prisoner of state to a nobleman, for I took the ladies of that rank to be little better.
As I have mentioned Sir Robert Clayton, with whom I had the good fortune to become acquainted, on account of the mortgage which he helped me to, it is necessary to take notice that I had much advantage in my ordinary affairs by his advice, and therefore I called it my good fortune; for, as he paid me so considerable an annual income as £700 a year, so I am to acknowledge myself much a debtor, not only to the justice of his dealings with me, but to the prudence and conduct which he guided me to, by his advice, for the management of my estate. And, as he found I was not inclined to marry, he frequently took occasion to hint how soon I might raise my fortune to a prodigious height, if I would but order my family economy so far within my revenue as to lay up every year some thing to add to the capital.
I was convinced of the truth of what he said, and agreed to the advantages of it. You are to take it as you go, that Sir Robert supposed by my own discourse, and especially by my woman Amy, that I had £2000 a year income. He judged, as he said, by my way of living that I could not spend above one thousand, and so, he added, I might prudently lay by £1000 every year to add to the capital; and by adding every year the additional interest or income of the money to the capital, he proved to me that in ten years I should double the £1000 per annum that I laid by. And he drew me out a table, as he called it, of the increase, for me to judge by; and by which, he said, if the gentlemen of England would but act so, every family of them would increase their fortunes to a great degree, just as merchants do by trade; whereas now, says Sir Robert, by the humour of living up to the extent of their fortunes, and rather beyond, the gentlemen, says he, ay, and the nobility too, are almost all of them borrowers, and all in necessitous circumstances.
As Sir Robert frequently visited me, and was (if I may say so from his own mouth) very well pleased with my way of conversing with him, for he knew nothing, not so much as guessed at what I had been; I say, as he came often to see me, so he always entertained me with this scheme of frugality; and, one time, he brought another paper, wherein he showed me, much to the same purpose as the former, to what degree I should increase my estate, if I would come into his method of contracting my expenses; and by this scheme of his, it appeared that, laying up a thousand pounds a year, and every year adding the interest to it, I should in twelve years' time have in bank one-and-twenty thousand and fifty-eight pounds, after which I might lay up two thousand pounds a year.
I objected, that I was a young woman, that I had been used to live plentifully, and with a good appearance, and that I knew not how to be a miser.
He told me, that if I thought I had enough it was well, but that if I desired to have more, this was the way; that in another twelve years I should be too rich, so that I should not know what to do with it. 'Ay, sir', says I, 'you are contriving how to make me a rich old woman, but that won't answer my end; I had rather have £20,000 now than £60,000 when I am fifty years old.'
'Then, madam', says he, 'I suppose your honour has no children?'
'None, Sir Robert', said I, 'but what are provided for.' So I left him in the dark as much as I found him. However, I considered his scheme