have carried the jest on before my face, as was once done in a like case; but his lordship was not so hot neither, but he would know whether Amy was Mr Amy or Mrs Amy, and so, I suppose, he did; and then, being satisfied in that doubtful case, he walked to the farther end of the room, and went into a little closet and sat down.
In the meantime Amy and I got up, and I bid her run and make the bed in another chamber for my lord, and I gave her sheets to put into it; which she did immediately, and I put my lord to bed there, and, when I had done, at his desire went to bed to him. I was backward at first to come to bed to him, and made my excuse because I had been in bed with Amy, and had not shifted me; but he was past those niceties at that time; and, as long as he was sure it was Mrs Amy and not Mr Amy, he was very well satisfied, and so the jest passed over. But Amy appeared no more all that night or the next day, and when she did, my lord was so merry with her upon his éclaircissement, as he called it, that Amy did not know what to do with herself.
Not that Amy was such a nice lady in the main, if she had been fairly dealt with, as has appeared in the former part of this work; but now she was surprised, and a little hurried, that she scarce knew where she was; and besides, she was, as to his lordship, as nice a lady as any in the world, and, for anything he knew of her, she appeared as such. The rest was to us only that knew of it.
I held this wicked scene of life out eight years, reckoning from my first coming to England; and, though my lord found no fault, yet I found, without much examining, that any one who looked in my face might see I was above twenty years old; and yet, without flattering myself, I carried my age which was above fifty, very well too.
I may venture to say that no woman ever lived a life like me, of six-and-twenty years of wickedness, without the least signals of remorse, without any signs of repentance, or without so much as a wish to put an end to it; I had so long habituated myself to a life of vice, that really it appeared to be no vice to me. I went on smooth and pleasant, I wallowed in wealth, and it flowed in upon me at such a rate, having taken the frugal measures that the good knight directed, so that I had, at the end of the eight years, two thousand eight hundred pounds coming yearly in, of which I did not spend one penny, being maintained by my allowance from my Lord ——, and more than maintained by above £200 per annum; for, though he did not contract for £500 a year, as I made dumb signs to have it be, yet he gave me money so often, and that in such large parcels, that I had seldom so little as seven to eight hundred pounds a year of him, one year with another.
I must go back here, after telling openly the wicked things I did, to mention something which, however, had the face of doing good. I remembered that when I went from England, which was fifteen years before, I had left five little children, turned out as it were to the wide world, and to the charity of their father's relations; the eldest was not six years old, for we had not been married full seven years when their father went away.
After my coming to England I was greatly desirous to hear how things stood with them, and whether they were all alive or not, and in what manner they had been maintained; and yet I resolved not to discover myself to them in the least, or to let any of the people that had the breeding of them up, know that there was such a body left in the world as their mother.