A few minutes after our son went into the chamber with me again, and received his father's last blessing. The chaplain now saw him departing, and was reading the prayer ordered by the Church for that occasion; and, while he was doing it, my lord laid his head gently on the pillow, and turning on his left side, departed this life with all the calmness of a composed mind, without so much as a groan, in the fifty-seventh year of his age.
As soon as he was dead an undertaker was sent for, by order of the executors, who met together immediately to open his will, and take care of all my son's effects. I was present when it was opened and read; but how terribly I was frightened at hearing the codicil repeated, any person may imagine by the substance of it, which was to this effect; that if I had given me any more after his decease than the £500 he had left me, the £500 left to his executors, and the £1000 of my son's estate (which was now a year's interest), was to be given to such poor families at The Hague as were judged to be in the greatest want of it; not to be divided into equal sums, but every family to have according to their merit and necessity. But this was not all. My son was tied down much harder; for if it was known that he gave me any relief, let my condition be ever so bad, either by himself, by his order, or in any manner of way, device, or contrivance that he could think of, one-half of his estate, which was particularly mentioned, was to devolve to the executors for ever; and if they granted me ever so small a favour, that sum was to be equally divided among the several parishes where they lived, for the benefit of the poor.
Any person would have been surprised to have seen how we all sat staring at each other; for, though it was signed by all the executors, yet they did not know the substance of it till it was publicly read, excepting the chaplain; and he, as I mentioned before, had told me the codicil had better never have been added.
I was now in a fine dilemma; had the title of a countess, with £500, and nothing else to subsist on but a very good wardrobe of clothes, which were not looked upon by my son and the executors to be my late lord's property, and which were worth, indeed, more than treble the sum I had left me.
I immediately removed from the lodgings, and left them to bury the body when they thought proper, and retired to a lodging at a private gentleman's house, about a mile from The Hague. I was now resolved to find out Amy, being, as it were, at liberty; and accordingly went to the house where she had lived, and, finding that empty, inquired for her among the neighbours, who gave various accounts of what had become of her; but one of them had a direction left at his house where she might be found. I went to the place and found the house shut up, and all the windows broken, the sign taken down, and the rails and benches pulled from before the door. I was quite ashamed to ask for her there, for it was a very scandalous neighbourhood, and I concluded that Amy had been brought to low circumstances, and had kept a house of ill-fame, and was either run away herself, or was forced to it by the officers of justice. However, as nobody knew me here, I went into a shop to buy some trifles, and asked who had lived in the opposite house (meaning Amy's). 'Really, madam', says the woman, 'I do not well know; but it was a woman who kept girls for gentlemen; she went on in that wickedness for some time, till a gentleman was robbed there of his watch and a diamond