put off servants, and coach and horses, and everything, leave off house keeping, and transform ourselves into a new shape all in a moment; servants must have warning, and the goods must be sold off, and a thousand things'; and this began to perplex us, and in particular took us up two or three days' consideration.
At last Amy, who was a clever manager in such cases, came to me with a scheme, as she called it. 'I have found it out, madam', says she, 'I have found a scheme how you shall, if you have a mind to it, begin and finish a perfect entire change of your figure and circumstances in one day, and shall be as much unknown, madam, in twenty-four hours as you would be in so many years.'
'Come, Amy', says I, 'let us hear of it, for you please me mightily with the thoughts of it.' 'Why, then', says Amy, 'let me go into the city this afternoon, and I'll inquire out some honest, plain, sober family, where I will take lodgings for you, as for a country gentlewoman that desires to be in London for about half a year, and to board yourself and a kinswoman—that is, half a servant, half a companion, meaning myself; and so agree with them by the month. To this lodging (if I hit upon one to your mind) you may go to-morrow morning in a hackney-coach, with nobody but me, and leave such clothes and linen as you think fit, but, to be sure, the plainest you have; and then you are removed at once; you never need set your foot in this house again (meaning where we then were) , or see anybody belonging to it. In the meantime, I'll let the servants know that you are going over to Holland upon extraordinary business, and will leave off your equipages, and so I'll give them warning, or, if they will accept of it, give them a month's wages. Then I'll sell off your furniture as well as I can. As to your coach, it is but having it new painted and the lining changed, and getting new harness and hammercloths, and you may keep it still, or dispose of it as you think fit. And only take care to let this lodging be in some remote part of the town, and you may be as perfectly unknown as if you had never been in England in your life.'
This was Amy's scheme, and it pleased me so well, that I resolved not only to let her go, but was resolved to go with her myself; but Amy put me off of that, because, she said, she should have occasion to hurry up and down so long that if I was with her it would rather hinder than further her, so I waived it.
In a word, Amy went, and was gone five long hours; but when she came back, I could see by her countenance that her success had been suitable to her pains, for she came laughing and gaping. 'O madam! 'says, she, 'I have pleased you to the life'; and with that she tells me how she had fixed upon a house in a court in the Minories; that she was directed to it merely by accident; that it was a female family, the master of the house being gone to New England, and that the woman had four children, kept two maids, and lived very handsomely, but wanted company to divert her; and that on that very account she had agreed to take boarders.
Amy agreed for a good, handsome price, because she was resolved I should be used well; so she bargained to give her £35 for the half-year, and £50 if we took a maid, leaving that to my choice; and that we might be satisfied we should meet with nothing very gay, the people were Quakers, and I liked them the better.