Front Page Titles (by Subject) Royal Gallantry: or, the Amours of a certain K--g of a certain Country, who kept his C--rt at a certain Place, much in the same Latitude with that of W-st-m-nst-r, related in the unhappy Adventures of Palmiris and Lindamira; in which the Characters - A Collection of Tracts, vol. 2
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Royal Gallantry: or, the Amours of a certain K—g of a certain Country, who kept his C—rt at a certain Place, much in the same Latitude with that of W-st-m-nst-r, related in the unhappy Adventures of Palmiris and Lindamira; in which the Characters - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. 2 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; Vol. II. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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Royal Gallantry: or, the Amours of a certain K--g of a certain Country, who kept his C--rt at a certain Place, much in the same Latitude with that of W-st-m-nst-r, related in the unhappy Adventures of Palmiris and Lindamira; in which the Characters of Tersander and Cæsarina are vindicated from the Aspersions that have been, or may be, cast upon them; and the unfortunate Death of the former set in a true Light. Done from the French, byCato.
Ego intus & in cute novi.
IT is a standing Maxim with a great Number of People, that the evil Actions of K--gs ought never to be exposed; but the Justice of such a Notion I shall leave to the Determination of every impartial Reader: For once, however, I shall beg leave to transgress their Rule, that I may faithfully relate an Adventure, in which, should I offer to draw a Veil over the Actions of a certain M-n-rch, I must, in every Circumstance, depart from the Truth.
Palmiris, a Gentleman of an ancient English Family, losing his Father and Mother very young, found himself, when he came to Age, Master of an affluent Fortune. A Desire of travelling, natural to one of his Years, soon made him quit his native Shore, and the Kingdom of France was the first his Curiosity led him to, whose Scepter was then swayed by St. Louis. It was much about the Time this pious Monarch was preparing for an Expedition to the Holy Land, with a Design to assist all the Eastern Christians, and Palmiris determined to accompany him thither, not so much out of Piety, for he was too young for any serious Thought of that Nature, but out of a Desire of signalizing himself by some glorious Action.
To this End he appeared at the Court of France with an Equipage becoming his Quality and Fortune, and was extremely well received by the King and both the Queens; nor was it long before he found himself in the good Graces of the Ladies, and indeed how could he miss of being a Favourite amongst them! He was complaisant, generous and gallant, and equally indebted to Nature for the Beauties of his Body and the Endowments of his Mind. Several of them formed Designs upon his Heart; and as he was far from being of a savage Temper, as many as would fall in with him his own Way, had no Reason to complain of him. But Death and Love are two fatal Deities, whose Power every one must sooner or later feel. Palmiris had not long enjoyed the Pleasure of intriguing with the French Ladies, before he saw the beauteous Lindamira; he saw and loved her, but loved her to Madness, even to Marriage-Madness. On the other hand, Lindamira looked upon him as an agreeable Lover, as well as a Man who was able to raise her to that Fortune she so justly deserved; for her Friends, though Persons of Quality, had lived in a very extravagant Manner, and found themselves utterly unable to give her a Fortune.
Often would she think of the Advances made her by Palmiris, and one while fancy they were only the Effect of an habitual Gallantry; and at another time, that his Designs perhaps were not honourable, Then would she consider, if she did marry him, she must resolve to abandon her native Country, but this she found would be no great Difficulty to her, and she wished that there was no other Obstacle to prevent it: On the other hand, Palmiris felt as many Disquiets; he feared that Lindamira would never love him well enough to forsake her Friends, her Country, and her Relations, to follow him; another time he dreaded, that if she should abandon all for him, not Love, but Interest, might be the Motive of her doing it; and that it was not his Person but his Estate that she liked.
Our Lover resolved to come to an Eclaircissement with her, and frankly told her his Mind; she answered him in so very ingenuous a Manner, that he was both satisfied and inflamed, and he pressed her that Moment to compleat his Happiness, by letting the Priest join them: She consented, their Majesties approved the Match, the Nuptials were celebrated with a great deal of Pomp and Magnificence, and their Majesties honoured them with their Presence.
Our Lovers now thought themselves completely happy; but alas! how short is the Date of human Happiness? The King was not to embark for this Expedition of three Months, and in that Time Palmiris determined to return to Eng—d, and put his Lindamira in Possession of his Estate, that if any Accident should befal him in the Holy War, no body might dispute her Title to it. Full of this Resolution they took their Leaves of the King, Queens, and all their Friends; and leaving the Court of France they landed in Eng—nd, just that Day Month after the Consummation of their Marriage.
At his Arrival, Palmiris waited upon the K--g of Eng—d, and presented Lindamira to him. I shall slightly pass over this Source of their reciprocal Misfortunes, and barely say that the M-n--ch thought her too beautiful, for the first time he saw her he admired her, nor was he satisfied in doing it himself, but every body round him must admire her too; he was lavish in her Praise, and the Courtiers who knew his amorous Disposition, were soon convinced that Lindamira was far from being indifferent to him.
The next Morning he sent to know whether a Visit from him would not be troublesome: Lindamira little suspected the Motive of his acting thus, but thought that it was all Complaisance to the Wife of the noble Palmiris, and one who was a Stranger in that Kingdom, She therefore returned a very respectful Answer, and held herself in a Readiness to receive him, though she made no Preparations for his Reception; she did not deck herself to look lovely in his Eye, her whole Aim and Ambition being only to please her dear Palmiris.
Satisfied with her Answer, the M-n--ch flew to her House with all the eager Haste of an impatient Lover (for such he was already and though naturally very bold, yet when he came in her Presence, her Beauty and his own Love intirely dashed him, and he was not able to utter one Word of what he had just before resolved to say; all he could do was to praise the Choice of Palmiris, and tell her that he himself would take such Care to make his Court and Country agreeable to her, that he hoped she would never entertain the least Thought of leaving them; and to all his Compliments and Promises, she answered with so much Wit and Modesty, that it still further inflamed the M-n--ch’s Heart.
The next Day he sent to invite her to a Ball, given by the Princess Cæsarina his Sister; and at the same time a very fine Set of Rubies and Diamonds in his Sister’s Name, who invited her, in the most obliging Manner she could, to come that Evening to the Ball she gave, and to come dressed in those Jewels she sent her. Lindamira was not accustomed to Adventures of this Kind, and was at a Loss how to behave herself; but at length reflecting that this might be wholly an Action of the Princess, she accepted the Present, and appeared in it that very Night.
It was no Wonder that a Person made as Lindamira was, should be adored by all that saw her. Her Face was truly oval; her Eyes were large, black, and sparkling, full of Life and Fire; her Hair too was black, and fell in large Ringlets on her snowy Neck; her Nose was beautifully turned; in her Cheeks were the Roses and Lillies blended; her Chest was full, and might for Colour vie with the driven Snow; her Shape was one of the finest and easiest that ever was seen, and her Gait at once majestic and genteel. Such was the beauteous Lindamira, and such she appeared at Court. Cæsarina perceived her Brother’s good Will towards her (for such only at that time she took it to be) and to make her Court, she scarce ever passed an Evening without sending for Lindamira: The K--g never failed being at his Sister’s Apartment, where he saw his fair Charmer, but he never offered to talk to her of Love, and she alas! little mistrusted his Thoughts or Design.
Things were upon this Foot when Palmiris received an Express from the King of France, to acquaint him that he was just preparing to embark. This News extremely afflicted Lindamira, and grieved Palmiris too, who could not unconcerned behold the Sorrow of one who was so dear to him; one by whom he was so dearly loved; the Thoughts of parting with her was almost Death to him, and yet he was obliged to do it; his Honour was engaged to follow Louis to the Holy Land.
What passed between this loving Couple at their Parting, would be something foreign to my Purpose. Suffice it that nothing could comfort Lindamira for the Absence of her dear Palmiris. Cæsarina went to see her, but even Cæsarina’s coming did but increase her Sorrow. As for the K--g’s Part, nothing could exceed his Joy at the setting out of a Man whom he looked upon as his happy Rival; the oftener he reflected on his Merit, the more he hated him: However, to dissemble a little longer, he went to see Lindamira, and pretended that he was extremely grieved at the going of her Husband.
Lindamira was breeding when Palmira went, and even sicker than Women generally are at such a Time: This, joined to the Grief of parting with her Husband, threw her into a violent Fever; her Royal Lover sent all his Physicians to her, and was himself going every Hour of the Day to enquire how she did; in short, such Care was taken of her, that the K--g soon had the Satisfaction of hearing by the Physicians that she was intirely out of Danger; but though her Sickness wore off, yet did the Cause of it, her Grief, remain; every Method that could be thought of was used to divert her, but she refused being present at any of the prepared Diversions.
Things did not long continue in this State. The K--g’s Love daily increased, and he no longer was obliged to lay himself under any Constraint on account of Palmiris, who was already at a sufficient Distance. Upon this he resolved to make the Fair-one acquainted with his Sentiments, and thinking that Lindamira would be with Cæsarina, he went and found her there: ‘How long, Madam, said he, shall we see that Melancholly in your Looks; and how little does he deserve it who is the Cause of it! Had I the Happiness of being thus loved, I should not have thought of quitting———.’ Hold, my Liege interrupted Lindamira, you injure Palmiris now; and could he break his Promise, and forfeit his Honour; a Promise given, an Honour engaged too before he was mine, I should think him unworthy of my Love. ‘Consider what you say, Madam, replied the K--g, Should you think that Man unworthy of your Love, who doated on you to such a Degree, that for your Company he could forget all Ties, all Obligations, and make it his whole Happiness to spend his Time at your Feet.’ I have already told you my Thoughts on this Matter, replied Lindamira, I am heartily grieved that Palmiris ever engaged himself to accompany King Louis in his Expedition; but after such an Engagement, I should have been more grieved had he staid with me. But let us drop a Discourse which can by no means be agreeable to me. As she said this she left him, and went close up to Cæsarina’s Bed, and notwithstanding that he followed her, yet could he not all that Evening, nor for several Days after, find an Opportunity of speaking to her in private, for Lindamira began to be too sensible of his Design, and her whole Study was how to avoid him.
This Method succeeded but a very little while, the M-n--ch, who was naturally very hasty, could not brook the frequent Disappointments he met with, and finding that Lindamira, whenever she saw him, mixed with Company, he came up to her, and made Signs for every body else to retire, and he soon convinced the Fair-one, that if good Words would not prevail, he would make use of violent Means. The two first Times, indeed, he spoke to her of Love, he pleaded his Cause like a Lover, but the third Time he put on the Master, and let her see he would be hearkened to. You would have me bestow my Heart upon you, said she one Day to him that he had been threatening, but it is not in my Power to give it you, I have already bestowed it on my Palmiris, and for him will I ever reserve it. As for my Life, it is in your Power, you may dispose of it just as you please, my Heart is my own; you see, Sir, I Speak my Mind boldly, nor need I fear violating my Duty in so doing, I am not born your Subject. ‘But you are become my Subject, replied the King hastily, by marrying a Subject of mine, and one on whom I will revenge your Cruelty.’ He is at such a Distance, replied Lindamira, that I need not much fear your Threats; and, as for my Part, I believe I might spend my Time, during his Absence much more agreeably in France than I possibly can in Eng—d. ‘I am glad I know your Intent, replied the K--g, I shall find Means of disappointing it;’ and calling Tersander, one of the Captains of his Guards, he ordered him, on pain of his Life, strictly to watch Lindamira.
I am a Prisoner then, cried the Fair-one? ‘No, Madam, said the M-n--ch, you may go wherever you please about this Court or City, only Tersander shall always accompany you with twenty Guards, but at such a Distance, that they shall rather seem meant for Honour than Confinement.’ This Proceeding very much surprised and grieved Lindamira; and Tersander, whose Quality and Merits were very great, was really afflicted at being employed on so ungrateful a Task, nor could he forbear letting Lindamira know with how much Reluctancy he obliged the King his Master.
Cæsarina being informed of what her Brother had done, was very much surprised at it; she was not unacquainted with his hasty Temper, but did not think that his Passion could have hurried him on to so extravagant an Action. She went to see Lindamira, who complained to her of the Violence used towards her, and the Princess promised that she would use her utmost Instances to the King her Brother to have her set at Liberty again.
Mean while the fair Captive was very strictly guarded, but, however, with so much Respect, that had she been a Queen, Tersander could not possibly have shewn her more; at first Compassion and Civility were the Motives of his behaving himself thus towards her, but it was not long before he found himself more nearly concerned for her. Lindamira was young, was beautiful, was unfortunate, this was enough to touch the Heart of the generous Tersander: However, his Passion did not in the Beginning alarm him, he was really ignorant of it, and for a long time believed his Concern the Effect of Pity; a Pity which Lindamira deserved, and which he therefore indulged, insomuch that he did not perceive his Love, till it was grown to such a Height, it was no longer in his Power to banish or suppress it. All that he could do was firmly to resolve to hide his Passion from the beauteous Lindamira for ever.
Whilst Tersander thus privately languished for the Fair-one, the King constantly visited her every Day, and sometimes made use of Intreaties, at other times of Threats; but they both produced the same Effect, and conspired to make him the more hated; and she had determined, in case any Violence should be offered her, to put an End to her miserable Life; nor did she scruple intrusting Tersander with her Design, whose Merit and Generosity she was not unacquainted with, and he, charmed with the Confidence she reposed in him, promised her that he would leave no Means untried to divert his Master from the Execution of his unjust Designs. Lindamira thanked him in so civil and so obliging a Manner, that it touched his Soul. ‘Fear nothing, Madam, said he, such Virtue will be the immediate Care of Heaven, who will never abandon you to the Fury of a—, and should your Life be in Danger, I shall know no Master.’
You are too generous, replied Lindamira, but it would be base in me to abuse so much good Nature, nor will I ever suffer you to expose your Life and Fortune for an unhappy Wretch; no, Tersander, you must live and be faithful to your Master, whilst I die innocent of the Ruin of so brave a Man. ‘I have already told you, Madam, replied Tersander, that I shall not think any Man my Master, who can be base enough to attempt any thing against the Life and Honour of so deserving a Lady, in whose Defence, had I a thousand Lives, I would sacrifice them all.’ He added several other Things to the same Purpose, and then informed her, That he was not born a Subject of the King of England’s, but was a Native of Scotland; he conjured her therefore not to disquiet herself with Fears of what might happen; for if there should be any Likelihood of the King’s using Violence, he would take care to favour her Escape, which he might easily do, since the Guards round her were all intirely devoted to him. Mean while he would go and make sure of a Vessel on board which they might fly. Lindamira thanked him as he deserved, and having accepted his Offer, she desired it might not be delayed, and left him to go to prepare every thing for her Flight,
Pursuant to her Promise, Cæsarina spoke to her Brother, and urged every thing that she could think of to make him behave himself in another manner towards Lindamira. She represented the Noise his Treatment would make in all Foreign Courts, especially in that of France; that she had been brought up near the Queen Dowager Blanche, at present Regent of that Kingdom, who esteemed her in the highest Degree imaginable: But all that Cæsarina could urge was in vain, and she was forced to rest satisfied with having fulfilled her Promise, though she found she could do nothing for the Service of her Fair Friend.
The French Ambassador at the Eng—sh Court happened to be pretty nearly related to Lindamira; upon which he went to the K—g, and desired to know the Reasons why the Fair-one was confined, and in what she had offended. This Pr—ce answered, That he was accountable to no one for his Actions. The Ambassador replied, That she was a Native of France, and that consequently the King his Master must interest himself in her Cause: She has lost that Quality, answered the M—n—rch, in marrying a Subject of mine, she is herself become mine, and if she offends, ’tis in my Power to punish her as I please; as he said this, he turned his Back upon the Ambassador, and left him extremely grieved, that it was not in his Power to serve his Fair Kinswoman.
Before the K—g came to the last Extremity with Lindamira, he sent for an Aunt of her Husband’s, by Name Circe; well knowing, that to debauch a Woman there was nothing like another Woman, and she was one of those who think that every thing ought to be sacrificed to one’s Fortune, and that a Cr—ned Lover ought never to sigh in vain. This was the Tool this Pr—nce made use of, and having given her Instructions, she flew to her Niece’s: Never, said she, was I more surprized, than at the News of your Disgrace. Is there any thing that I can do for your Service? I can assure you I shall think nothing a Trouble that will by any means conduce to your Quiet. I thank you, Madam, replied Lindamira; ’tis very good of you thus to visit the Distressed. I come not only to visit you, replied Circe, but to advise you too, your Misfortunes have troubled me; Heaven knows! I could not love you dearer were you my own Child.
Circe’s Protestations of Friendship drew the Tears into Lindamira’s Eyes, and the subtle Aunt seeing her moved; You are unhappy, Child, said she, but you yourself are the chief Cause of your Unhappiness; you have behaved yourself too haughtily towards the K—g, and in Prudence you ought to have kept upon better Terms with one who has an absolute Power in his Hands. The very Motive which induced you to it, ought to have made you behave yourself in a quite different Manner; ’twas because you love your Husband, and yet you ruin both his Fortune and your own. I know the Merits of being strictly faithful and virtuous; yet for the Sake of appearing so to the whole World, we ought not to ruin ourselves, we ought rather to behave ourselves with Prudence and Mildness; even Palmiris, your beloved Palmiris, for whose Sake you do all this, will not thank you for having made the King his Enemy; he has some private Reasons for desiring to keep a good Understanding with him, such as may not perhaps be fit to be told his Wife.
If they are not, replied Lindamira hastily, you would do better not to mention them at all; however, I must beg the Liberty, Madam, of saying, that you do not thoroughly know my Palmiris, he is a Man of Honour, he sincerely loves me; and therefore, I am sure he will be well satisfied with my Behaviour, and if not, I shall at least have Reason to be satisfied myself, in knowing that I have performed my Duty.
I see, replied Circe, that you are obstinately resolved to maintain the Justness of your Proceeding; but I have Charity enough at once to undeceive you, by letting you know, that when your Husband left Eng—nd, he was desperately in Love with the Princess Cæsarina, nor was his Love despised. No body, I am sure, can better be acquainted with the Truth of this Amour than myself, since I carried all the Letters that passed between them. I hope, interrupted Lindamira, her Cheeks glowing, that for the future they will employ some body whom they can better trust, and who will not make it their Business to reveal Secrets which are not so much as enquired after. Your Reproach seems very just, replied Circe; but I can assure you, my Dear, I would not discover them to any one else, nor even to you, had it not moved my Compassion to see you ruin yourself for an ungrateful Wretch, who does not deserve your Love. You call that Compassion, replied Lindamira, which in effect is the greatest Cruelty: No, had you had any Pity, you would have concealed a Thing from me, which whilst I was ignorant of, could never injure me; but the Knowledge of which must certainly make me miserable.
As she spoke these last Words, one of Cæsarina’s Servants came to tell her, that his Mistress was just coming to see her. This Name caused some Emotion in Lindamira, and filled Circe with Fear, lest her Niece should mention their Conversation to the Princess; upon this she resolved to retire, and recommending Secrecy to Lindamira, she told her, that the next time she came to see her, she would bring with her some of the Letters which passed between them, and as she said this, she left the Fair-one, who returned her no Answer, but threw herself upon the Bed, and a Moment after Cæsarina came up, and having caressed her, gave her an Account of what she had urged to her Brother in her Favour; Lindamira thanked her, but so very faintly, that the Princess found she must be ill, and rising, she drew near the Bed, and went to feel her Pulse, she found her without any Sign of Life; for it so struck Lindamira to the Heart, to think she had been obliged to thank her Rival, that through Grief she swooned away; the Princess called for Help, and upon the Application of proper Remedies, she was brought to herself again.
Nothing could exceed Cæsarina’s Concern, to see her fair Friend thus afflicted, and she accused her Brother’s Severity for what had happened; but was far from suspecting the real Cause of this immoderate Grief; little did she think that Lindamira looked upon her as a happy Rival, who had robbed her of a Heart, the Possession of which only could make her happy; the more the Princess endeavoured to serve and assist her, the greater was her Grief. Unhappy Effects of Jealousy, that the best and most friendly Actions should thus appear odious to the Eyes of the Jealous!
As Lindamira was very faint and weak, the Physicians who had been called in, acquainted the Princess, that a longer Visit would be of dangerous Consequence, and that if any thing, Repose must do her good. Upon this, she embraced the beauteous Distressed, conjuring her not to give such way to Grief, and assuring her, that she would leave no Means untried that might restore her Liberty; Lindamira, unable to answer, pressed her Hand, and the Princess left her. As soon as she was gone, she desired that every body else might leave her, which they did, no one staying with her but the faithful Belisinda, her Nurse’s Daughter, one whom from her Infancy she had retained in her Service, and who had always been the Confident of her most secret Affairs.
Lindamira now seeing herself at Liberty, began loudly to complain of her Misfortunes, which before scarce deserved that Name. Is it possible, Palmiris, said she, that thou should’st prove faithless to me? Could not all my Love preserve me your Heart? That Heart in which is centred all my Happiness! Is it no longer mine? No, ’tis another’s now. Heavens! Can I survive the Loss? What on Earth is now worthy staying for? Happy Cæsarina! Palmiris loves you. Her Words were accompanied with such Sighs and Tears, that had even Circe, the Contriver of all this Mischief, been there, she could not, unconcerned, have heard and seen them, but moved with Compassion, she must have confessed her Falshood, and set Lindamira’s Mind at ease.
Belisinda hearing the Complaints of her Mistress, and the fresh Cause of her Grief, drew nearer to the Bed: Have you seriously reflected on the Words you are now uttering, Madam, said she, and have you certain Proofs of your Husband’s Infidelity? Too certain, replied Lindamira, he loves the Princess, and is beloved again, and Circe has promised to shew me some of the Letters which he sent by her to the Princess. You must excuse me, Madam, said Belisinda, if I cannot have an implicit Faith in all she says; nor do I see the least Probability of Truth in her Story; for had Palmiris given her Letters for the Princess, would she have dared to have kept them? Would a Lover, who has free Access to his Mistress, and who is beloved by her again, never have complained of Letters he had sent her, and to which he had received no Answer? There is certainly some Design in this Story, which, I must confess, I do not comprehend, but which Time will certainly discover. Besides, Madam, till this very Day, Circe never gave you such Assurances of her Friendship, as to persuade you that she would sacrifice the Princess to it; I very much suspect the Advice she has given you. Reflect seriously, Madam, on all she has said, and you will soon see that you have been too hasty in believing her, to the Disadvantage of your Husband. They tell you that he loves the Princess: Had he, Madam, it would have been impossible that their Amours should be a Secret. Those whom their Births and Fortunes have set up to view, in so elevated a Rank, cannot conceal their Actions from the busy prying World. Nor is this all that I can urge, Cæsarina has always behaved herself in a manner suitable to her high Station, and her Virtues have been admired by the whole Court. How many Princes and foreign Potentates have sought her Love, but sought in vain; and yet you’ll believe that she has settled her Affections upon one who never made it his Study to win her Favour; a married Man, one newly married too, and that to a beautiful young Lady who dotes on him. These Things, Madam, seem contrary to Sense and Reason.
What is contrary to Sense and Reason, replied Lindamira hastily! To love Palmiris! Yes, Madam, replied Belisinda, for the Princess to love him. If she should, I am sure I should think her destitute of Sense and Reason; and that she is not, we all know. Believe me, Madam, this must be the Effect of Circe’s Malice, for some particular View, which will one Day or other be discovered, and then, Madam, you will repent your having unjustly suspected a Husband who passionately loves you, and a virtuous Princess who is so much your Friend.
Spite of her Jealousy Lindamira was satisfied that there was a great deal of Truth in what Belisinda urged; with Patience she listened to her whole Discourse, and hoped that it was true, so fond are we of believing every thing we wish: However, she persisted in her Resolution of seeing the Letters which Circe had promised to shew her. Belisinda well pleased with the Effect her Discourse had over the Mind of her Mistress, would not, by any Means, oppose her Desire of seeing those Letters, justly believing that Circe had none to produce; and this prudent Girl timed her Discourse with so much Discretion, that she took an Opportunity of speaking of Palmiris, and the Love he bore her: What extreme Sorrow there appeared in his Looks whenever he was out of her Sight after receiving the Express from France, though in her Presence he endeavoured to conceal his Grief, that she partly restored to her Mistress that Peace of Mind which Circe had robbed her of, and being very sensible that Repose was the Thing her Mistress wanted most, she conjured her to get herself to rest, urging, that if she had no Regard to her own Life, she ought to have some for the dear Babe she was now big with.
Lindamira would willingly have followed the Advice of this faithful Girl, but the present distracted State of her Mind would not let her enjoy the least Quiet, and she spent the greatest Part of the Night in reflecting on the Words of Circe. As soon as she saw Day-light she called for her Table-Book, that she might write to her, which she did in the following Manner:
LINDAMIRA to CIRCE.
I Write to you, Madam to remind you of your Promises; compleat the Work, I beseech you, which you have begun, and convince me of the Infidelity of Palmiris. The State of Uncertainty I now live in, is ten thousand times more cruel than Death itself; to alleviate my Misfortunes you must confirm them.
Lindamira having made an End of writing gave the Letter to Belisinda, and bid her haste to Circe, and desire her to send what she mentioned in it. The trusty Messenger flew to obey the Orders of her Mistress, tho’ it was not yet a fit Hour to wait on Ladies; but she knew how impatiently Lindamira would expect an Answer, and therefore she went that Moment. At Circe’s Door she was told that she had been out of Order, and had not slept all that Night, that her Woman was in her Chamber with her, and therefore it would be impossible to receive an Answer from her, or so much as to deliver the Letter. Grieved at the Disappointment, Belisinda hastened to her Mistress, and told her of it, adding, that she believed her Aunt feigned herself ill; nor was she in the least out in her Guess, for Circe was gone to give the King an Account of the preceding Day’s Conversation.
It was with a great deal of Concern that this Prince heard what she had to relate, but not with that Concern which might be expected from a Lover; he was not disquieted at the Thoughts of having given his Mistress any Uneasiness, but was enraged to think that she should so sincerely love the Man he hated, and he immediately formed the Resolution of having Palmiris put to Death. Circe heard him with a great deal of Patience, and gave way to the first Transports of his Anger, and then began to sooth him a little; she represented that this was not the way of gaining his End and enjoying his Mistress, that they must now think of the Means of satisfying the jealous Curiosity of Lindamira, who doubtless would be very pressing to see the Letters she had mentioned; that their Business now was to get some of Palmiris’s Letters, that she might counterfeit the Hand, and feign one from him to the Princess; that to come at such a Letter they must bribe one of Lindamira’s Maids, who could probably help them to one of them; that she had lately taken an English Girl into her Service, who might, she thought, be the more easily corrupted, she being, as it were, a mere Stranger to her Mistress, besides which she knew a Gentleman in whom she could confide, and who was acquainted with this very Maid, and by their Means she hoped to compass her Ends.
The King intirely approved of her Contrivance, and that she might the better execute it without Interruption, he advised her to feign herself sick, and to keep her Chamber, that she might not be obliged to intrust any of her Women with the Secret; she promised that she would, and hastening home she sent for the Gentleman whom she designed to employ, and who, as the Writers of that Age assure us, was very intimately acquainted with her, and giving him his Instructions, she bad him hasten about the Business with all possible Speed.
Nothing could be a greater Pleasure to Orontes (for so was the Gentleman called) than the Errand on which he was sent. Two Years had he been in Love with this Maid, and had the Satisfaction of not being ill received whenever he dared go near her, but that was very seldom, so much did he dread the Jealousy of this wicked Woman, on whom he had a great deal of Dependance; but as she now gave him an Opportunity herself, he flew with eager Haste towards Cleona, and what is very natural in a Lover, he fairly discovered the whole Intrigue to her, and let her know on what Business he was employed. Cleona seemed very well pleased that he dealt thus ingenuously with her, and could not forbear expressing her Satisfaction to her Lover; but as she hated Circe, whom she looked upon as a happy Rival, she could not think of doing any thing for her Service, and therefore told him she would never consent to, much less be instrumental, in doing any treacherous thing by her Mistress; her Opinion therefore was, that Lindamira should be let into the Secret, and that Circe’s Intent should be discovered to her, by which Means they would get the Letters of her, which would be of the same Service to him, being well assured that her Mistress would keep a Secret of such Importance to herself, and that if Circe had any Mind to do him a Piece of Service, she would now have a fair Opportunity of recommending him to the King.
Her Words put Orontes into a strange Confusion, being sensible that this was all the Effect of her Jealousy, and he urged every thing which he thought might divert her from her Resolution, but all in vain; and she at length desired him to leave her, being weary of seeing him so zealous in the Service of one who was really odious to her. This Command thunder-struck Orontes, and he heartily wished that he had never undertook this Business, in which he saw himself brought to a sad Dilemma; for he must either betray one who confided in him, and on whom his Fortune depended, or for ever disoblige and lose the Object of his Wishes; he therefore said all he could to move her, but she, instead of hearkening to him, in a very imperious Manner told him, that he must either that Moment give his free Consent to what she had proposed, or resolve never to see her Face more. Orontes was obliged to comply; not only Love persuaded him to it, but he was very sensible, that she was Mistress of his Secret, and could make what Use of it she would.
Cleona, pleased with the Thoughts of his sacrificing her Rival to her, promised she would take care that his Confidence in her should never hurt him, and they then began to consider of the future Methods they must take, and of the Answer which Orontes should return; and after a little Consultation, they concluded he should go back to Circe, and tell her that all his soft Speeches and Gallantry had not had the least Effect upon Cleona; but that he had observed she was of a mercenary Temper, and might, he believed, be won by rich Presents. I do not suppose this Pair of Turtles left one another without cooing of their Love a little; but that being a thing foreign to my Purpose, I shall wholly pass it over.
As soon as Orontes was gone, Cleona ran to her Mistress’s Apartment, and informed her of all that had passed. It is impossible to express the Joy and Surprize of Lindamira at what she heard; a thousand times she embraced her, assuring her she never should forget that to her she owed the whole Quiet of her Life; she then promised her, that she would give her some of Palmiris’s Letters, and hoped, with all her Heart, they would contribute to the making of her Fortune, but that if they did not, she should always share hers. Then reflecting how unjustly she had accused her Palmiris, she begged his Pardon a thousand and a thousand times, after which she sent for Belisinda, and told her all she had heard; but Belisinda was not in the least surprised at it, she had all along believed Palmiris innocent and Circe false.
It was not long before Tersander came into her Chamber, and informed her, that Orders were given not to suffer any Courier to pass without examining his Letters: ‘I believe, Madam, said he, that you have chiefly contributed towards this Order, for they are certainly unwilling here that the Court of France should know in what manner you are treated amongst us.’ As he spoke, he observed Lindamira, but was surprized to see that, instead of appearing concerned, Joy sparkled in her Eyes, a greater Joy than she had shewn ever since the going of Palmiris. ‘Ha, Madam, said he, what happy Change can occasion this unusual Gladness? Has the King given up his Pretensions to you, and will he torment you no more?’ You mistake the Cause of my Joy, replied Lindamira, the King is still the same; but if there appears any Satisfaction in my Looks, I have good Reason to be satisfied; and such is my Esteem for you, that I shall not make you a Stranger to the Cause of it. She then related to him all the Treachery of Circe, and the Discovery of it made to her by Cleona; Tersander was shocked at the Impudence of the former, and highly commended the Fidelity of the latter; then thanked Lindamira for her Esteem, and the Confidence she reposed in him.
Mean while Orontes returned to Circe, and gave her an Account of what had been done, at least of what Cleona and he had resolved to tell her had been done, and she was very well pleased with his Negociations, pleased that Cleona would not hearken to his Gallantry and soft Speeches; and she rather chose that it should cost the King some fine Present than cost her the Heart of her Lover; for had he found Encouragement, who knew how false he might prove; Cleona was young, was lovely; how easily might she rob an old Woman of a Gallant, who had no Charms but those of Interest to retain him. Pleased therefore with his Success better than if he had succeeded, she immediately wrote to the King, acquainting him with the Negociation of Orontes, and his Report, and he sent her for an Answer, that in less than an Hour he would come to see her, which he accordingly did, and brought a little Box set round with Diamonds, as a Present for Cleona; and at the same time he told Circe he had a Design to take Orontes into his Service, and to give him some military Post.
Nothing could delight Circe more than this Assurance that her Lover would be preferred; and she dwelt a considerable time in Praise of his Merit and Fidelity; that done, she dispatched him to Cleona with the Bribe; there they agreed, that he should return and inform his Principals, that as soon as ever Lindamira was asleep, she would steal some of her Letters out of her Cabinet; and to prevent any Suspicion of there being a right Understanding between Lindamira and Cleona, Belisinda was twice sent to Circe’s House, to ask for those Letters which she had promised to shew her. The first time she was told that Circe was so very ill she could not be seen, the second she was introduced to her, and this subtle Woman assured her, that as soon as ever her Health would permit her to stir out of Doors, she would wait upon her, and would bring the Letters with her.
Mean while Cleona having got the rich Present which Orontes had brought her, hastened up to her Mistress and shewed it her, who immediately gave her two of Palmiris’s Letters. Betimes next Morning Orontes came and received them of Cleona, and carried them to Circe. Nothing could exceed the Joy of this wicked Woman at the Sight of the Letters. She immediately got a Person who was pretty well versed in that kind of Business, and having prepared a Letter for him, he copied it; and in it counterfeited the Hand of Palmiris so very artfully, that had not Lindamira been beforehand acquainted with what they were doing, she herself must have been deceived by it.
At soon as Circe was thus prepared, she went and paid Lindamira a Visit, and seeing her very much concerned, ‘I am heartily sorry, my Dear, said she, that I ever mentioned to you the Love your Husband bears the Princess; had I thought it would have given you so much Uneasiness, as I find it has since done, I am sure I never would have said a Word of it: However, I advise you to rest satisfied with what you do know; you may have the Satisfaction of sometimes thinking that I have deceived you; and of what Service would the Sight of one of his Letters be to you, unless to confirm his Falshood. Be advised, my Dear, and do not endeavour to make yourself more miserable.’ I know so much of the Matter already, replied Lindamira, that it is in vain to desire me not to enquire after more of it; do not fear therefore shewing me the Letter, which I can assureyou will not make me more miserable; I have already told you that there is nothing more cruel than a State of Uncertainty. ‘Since you will have it, answered Circe, I’ll satisfy you.’ As she said this, she gave her a Letter, in which she read the following Words:
Palmiris to the Princess Cæsarina.
HOW can you suspect, my charming Princess, that another shares my Heart with you? Alas! did you know my real Sentiments, you would not thus unjustly accuse me, nor doubt the Sincerity of so violent a Passion; what shall I do to satisfy you? Shall I send Lindamira back into France? Let my divine Princess but say this would be grateful to her, and if I don’t immediately offer her this Sacrifice, I am willing that you should for ever doubt of the Love of her
Though Lindamira knew the whole to be Invention, and a Contrivance of the wicked Circe’s, yet could she not forbear being immediately vexed at what she read; so very disagreeable is even the Mention of all Sacrifices of this Nature to Persons who really love; but recovering herself, and willing to carry on the Deceit, ‘I should, said she, have been very much obliged to the Princess, had she sent me back to France, at least, I should not have been, as at present I am, exposed to the Violence of a Prince whom I dread.’ Will you still fly into Passions, replied Circe, which are so very prejudicial to you? You not only afflict yourself, but all those about you who wish you well.
I am sorry, answered Lindamira, that I should make any one else uneasy; but to behave myself otherwise, I must be very insensible of my present Condition; I have lost my Liberty; would that were all; I have lost Palmiris too! And are those Losses to be tamely bore? No, surely I may have the Liberty of complaining, at least; nor need I care if my Complaints displease any one. I have nothing more but my Life to lose, which my Misfortunes have already made wretched, even odious to me. ‘That is your own Fault, replied Circe, and it is still in your Power to change your Misery into Happiness. You are gay, you are beautiful, you are served and adored by a potent M—n———ch: How many thousands would almost give their Lives to be in your Condition! And, who would not, like you, oppose their own Fortunes? A Time will come when you will plainly see your Fault; but perhaps that Time and Repentance will come too late. Think seriously of what I say, you know my Opinion of the Matter; I have given you the best Advice I could, and if you have any Sense, I am sure you will follow it.’ As she said this, she left her, not caring at that Time to stay for Lindamira’s Answer.
We may easily judge how Lindamira received this Advice, and what Resentment she shewed the next time Circe came to see her; but notwithstanding this, the wicked Woman would come to her House, and perpetually plague her with her pernicious Counsels, and when she found that they were far from producing the desired Effect, she went to the K—g, and told him he ought to send her to some adjacent Castle, where no body should be allowed to visit her, and where she should not so much as have any of her own Women, except Cleona, whose Fidelity she was well assured of, and by whom they might from time to time be let into her Mistress’s Sentiments; that perhaps the Desire of recovering her Liberty would make her comply; above all, the Princess, she said, must not be allowed to visit her, lest she should say any thing of the Letter to her; and that it was her Opinion, that her Guards ought to be changed, that in having all strange Faces about her, the Confinement might seem more intolerable.
I have already observed, that the K—g was of a pretty violent Temper, his frequent Disappointments had increased his Passion, and it was now inflamed by the hellish Advice of a wicked Woman; upon which he promised that he would send her to a Castle about ten Miles distant from thence, and that he would make Orontes Governor of it, where he should have an Officer and fifty Soldiers under him; that he would go and see her himself, but that he would have Circe frequently visit her, and endeavour to make her change her Sentiments. This wicked Woman promised him she would, adding, that he need not question her Service, since she had already sacrificed her own Nephew to him. The Pr—ce thanked her, and assured her, that she should not find him ungrateful.
As soon as she had left him, she sent for Orontes, and gave him an Account of his Commission, and he immediately waited upon and thanked the Giver, who ordered him to prepare every thing for his setting out in three Days time; when you are there, continued he, on pain of your Life, watch the Prisoner close, nor dare to stir out of the Castle till further Orders, and therefore ’tis I give you three Days, that you may get every thing ready which you shall have Occasion for. After this he bid him immediately hasten to Cleona, and know of her, whether as yet there was the least Alteration to be seen in her Mistress.
Orontes having received his Orders, hastened to Cleona, and told her what Measures had been taken to make her Mistress comply; upon which the frighted Maid flew up to Lindamira’s Apartment, where Tersander at that time was, and knowing how much she confided in that young Nobleman, she told her before him, what she had just heard from her Lover. Lindamira one would have thought might, by this time, be pretty well accustomed to ill Usage, nor were there any fresh Persecutions but she might have expected; but yet she was unable to bear the Shock of this, and the near Prospect she now had of her Misery, surprised and frighted her in the greatest Degree imaginable.
Tersander perceiving the Trouble of her Soul, ‘Why this Confusion, Madam, said he, ’tis no longer time to hesitate; you must resolve to fly whilst ’tis in your Power to do so, at the End of two Days more ’twould be fruitless to attempt an Escape’ Since I must, I will resolve to go, replied Lindamira, and though the Thoughts of such a precipitated Flight are very ungrateful to me, yet are they not so cutting as those of staying here in the Power of a wicked Woman, and a Man who may perhaps use me with Violence. But, alas! there is another Thought as cruel as either of them, Must you, generous Tersander, abandon every thing for the Sake of an unhappy Wretch, who will not have it in her Power to makeyou any Amends? Must you ruin yourself for me? Would that my Life only were in Danger, Heaven knows how joyfully I would lose it rather than——— ‘How joyfully you would lose it, Madam, interrupted Tersander, how cruelly you talk. Do you envy me the Happiness of serving you; or, do you think me unworthy of it?’
No, my Lord, replied Lindamira, I think you too worthy of it; and I must esteem you as much as I do, to be beholding to you for so important a Piece of Service, but how dear will that Service cost you, I shudder every time I think of it. ‘For Heaven’s Sake, dear Madam, answered Tersander, do not grieve thus, but be persuaded that nothing can be greater than the Satisfaction I shall feel in delivering you out of the Hands of your Enemies, and this will be more than Atonement for the little I can lose in doing it. I must beg your Pardon for a little while, I’ll hasten and prepare every thing necessary for our Flight, and in the Evening, Madam, I’ll return and give you an Account of what I have done.’
Tersander having left her, Lindamira remained in a Condition not to be expressed, nor easily to be imagined. She thought her Condition miserable indeed, to see herself under the Necessity of flying with a young Nobleman, and to leave her Enemies such a probable Story to blacken her Reputation, and destroy her Fame. This Apprehension touched her very Soul, Tersander left a fine Estate, and an honourable Post, and would a censorious World, who did not know her, think that this was only an Effect of Friendship! This was the Subject of that Evening’s Grief, but Belisinda, from whom she concealed nothing, comforted her a little; assuring her, that all Eng—nd knew what ill Usage she had met with, and therefore it would not be in the Power of her Enemies to injure her Fame. Every body knew she was confined, and what could be more natural, than an Endeavour to recover one’s Liberty; that her Reputation would be more endangered by staying with one in whose Power she was, whose Love and whose Violence were too well known, than it could be by flying with a Man, whose Virtue and Generosity few were unacquainted with.
There was so much Truth in what Belisinda said, that Lindamira could not possibly refute it; yet ’twas with Grief she found herself obliged to leave Eng—nd in that manner, and had there been any Possibility of avoiding it, without running a far greater Danger, she never would have done it, but a just Dread of what might happen, and Belisinda’s Persuasions, at length determined her to seek her Safety by Flight.
That Night Tersander returned to inform her, that by his Order the Vessel was sailed, and now lay concealed behind a Rock at some Distance from the Port, whilst the Long-boat, with six lusty Rowers, waited to carry them on board; he therefore desired her not to defer her going any longer than the next Night, and the better to conceal her Intent, he would have her feign herself very much out of Order, that no body might be surprized at her going to-bed sooner than usual. Lindamira returned him many Thanks for the Trouble he gave himself on her account, and promised that at the appointed Time she would be ready to go with him.
The Thought of leaving the Princess, who on all Occasions had been so kind, without seeing or thanking her, very much troubled Lindamira, at length she resolved to leave a Letter for her, which she immediately wrote in the following manner:
Lindamira to the Princess Cæsarina.
’TIS with the greatest Grief imaginable, Madam, I find myself obliged to fly this Country, without taking my Leave of you; I never could have done it, and would have trusted you with my Design, had I not feared that the K—g your Brother would have been incensed against you; I am fully persuaded that this great Pr—ce will again become good and just, as soon as the unfortunate Wretch, whose Miseries he has occasioned, is out of his sight; and who, notwithstanding what he has done, wishes him all Health and Prosperity. His Honour bids him forget me, mine orders me fly this dangerous Place, lest by a longer Stay, a Blemish might be cast upon it. Pity my Fate, illustrious Princess, which thus forces me from you; bestow a compassionate Sigh, and shed a friendly Tear when you reflect on the Misery of the unfortunate Lindamira.
Having finished this Letter, she sealed it up, and her Mind being a little more at ease, she looked for her Money and Jewels, and putting them up in a little strong Box, she gave it to Tersander, who carried it away with him. Pursuant to his Advice, she pretended to be much out of Order the next Day, and lay a-bed till Seven in the Evening; at which time Tersander came to her, and brought Man’s Apparel, both for her and Belisinda, which they put on, and tying up their Hair, they turned them, Cavalier-like, under their Hats.
Lindamira could not forbear sighing to see herself in this Condition; and sending for Cleona, she asked her whether she would accompany her in her Flight; but this prudent Maid answered, That if she appeared to be in the Secret, ’twould be plain that Orontes had betrayed his Trust, and that it would be much better for her to stay, and pretend to be very much surprized at her Flight.
Notwithstanding that Lindamira would have been glad to have carried so faithful a Servant with her, yet was there so much Truth in what she said, that she could not urge her any further; but giving her all her Cloaths and a fine Diamond Ring, she tenderly embraced her, assuring her, she never should forget the Service she had done her. Then laying the Letter which she had written to the Princess upon the Table, she bid Cleona go down and tell the Servants they should make no Noise, for their Mistress was gone to Bed, charging her not to take Notice of her Flight till the next Morning.
This poor Girl could not see her Mistress going, without shedding a Flood of Tears; and after the necessary Adieus, Tersander conducted her down a private Stairs through the Garden, the Back-Door of which went out into a little Street, where they found six Guards waiting with three spare Horses for Tersander and the two disguised Ladies, who mounting, they hastened to the Port where the Guards left them, and they soon reached their Vessel; that very Moment they hoisted Sail, and the Wind blowing fair, they were not long in crossing the Seas.
Lindamira’s Reckoning was now out, and she expected every Moment to fall in Labour; even on Shipboard she felt some Pains. This made her stay at Boulogne, where, in a Fortnight’s time she was brought to-bed of a fine Boy. Before her Lying-in, she writ a Letter to the Queen-Mother of France, which Tersander was to carry, that he might at length inform the virtuous Princess of all that had passed; but as he could not think of leaving her in that Condition, he determined to stay till the great Danger was over.
Three Days after her being brought to-bed, Tersander set out for the Court of France; where he waited on the Queen-Regent, delivered Lindamira’s Letter, and in order related every thing that happened to her since her leaving France. The good Queen, who sincerely loved her, was grieved at her Misfortunes, and commended Tersander for his generous Action in delivering her out of such a Danger; assuring him, that his Merit should go unrewarded: She further told him, that Lindamira should remain under her Protection, and that she would take care both of her and her Son; that she herself would write to her, and that as soon as she had recovered Strength enough to travel, Tersander should go down and fetch her up to Court with a suitable Equipage. This was as much as Lindamira could desire, and one would now have thought her Misfortunes at an End; but alas! they were to last as long as her Life. But to return to Eng—nd:
Cleona in every Particular observed her Mistress’s Directions, and took no Notice till the next Morning ten o’Clock, the usual Time of her going into her Chamber, and then she pretended to be very much surprized. The undissembled Tears which she shed for the Loss of her Mistress, confirmed People in the Opinion that she was intirely innocent of her Flight, and she acted her Part so very well, that she was never once mistrusted; and happy for her it was she could act it so! for had the K—g in his first Passion suspected her, he doubtless would have sacrificed her in his Rage.
’Tis impossible to express his Concern, his Behaviour, his Despair, when the News was brought him, and on this Occasion he did a thousand things unworthy of so great a P—nce. At first he would have followed Lindamira, had not Cæsarina represented to him that she was sailed the Night before with a brisk favourable Gale, and that before he could be well a-shipboard, she doubtless would have reached the Coast of France, that he might indeed send out some armed Vessels after her, but that his own Person was too precious to be exposed on so trifling an Occasion; that leaving his Kingdom might be of a dangerous Consequence, and produce evil Effects on the Minds of his Subjects, naturally too prone to revolt; that he ought to do nothing which might make People forget the Respect due to him, and that he would become the Laughing stock of all Europe, should he leave his Dominions to run after a Woman who did not love him.
This P—nce gave such Way to Grief and Despair, that he did not listen to what his Sister said, and heard only the five or six last Words, upon which interrupting her, he cried out, ‘True, she does not love; but, is she less amiable? She scorns me, and therefore I love her, for her Resistance displays her Virtues and the Beauties of her Soul: Alas! had she seen me before she had Palmiris, she might have loved me instead of him; she might have done and felt for me, what she now does and feels for him. Had Heaven bestowed my Cr———n upon Palmiris, and given me his Lindamira’s Heart, how happy should I have thought myself! But if I must be miserable I am resolved not to be miserable alone, Palmiris and Lindamira shall share the Misfortunes which they have heaped upon me.’ As he said this he left his Sister, and immediately sent for Circe.
It was not long before this wicked Woman came, and seeing how ill her Master brooked Lindamira’s Flight, she pretended to be full of Despair, and vowed that there was nothing but she would do to make Lindamira repent her Cruelty; that doubtless she must have been in Love with Tersander, else would she never have fled with him as she has done; that she would send her Husband Word of it; and in short, that she would reduce her to so very low a Condition, that she should come and humbly implore his Protection.
‘I could heartily wish, replied the M-n-rch, that she was under a Necessity of doing it; I am sure I would grant it her with all my Heart, but she’s too haughty, and hates me too much to be obliged to me for it, even though I should offer it her, let her Condition be never so bad.’ I cannot tell that, replied the fawning Wretch; however, I’ll promise to reduce her to such a Condition, that she shall stand in Need of it; I’ll immediately send Palmiris Word, that his Wife was desperately in Love with Tersander, that I suspected it, and did every thing I could to save the Honour of our Family, but in vain; for seeing that she could not indulge her Passion here, she had sled away with him by Night, and I think the best Way would be to dispatch an Express immediately with the Letter, lest they should be beforehand with us, and give him Notice of all that has passed. She said, and without waiting for an Answer, she set her down, and writ the following Epistle:
CIRCE to PALMIRIS.
IT is impossible to express the Grief I feel at being obliged to send you so ungrateful a Piece of News, but the Thing is already so very public, and so much talked of throughout the whole Kingdom, that it would be in vain to conceal it from you; I have done all that lay in my Power to divert the threatening Evil, but in vain, and find that the more Obstacles you lay in the Way of Lovers, the more ardently they love; we have seen a fatal Experiment of this Truth in our Family. Alas! How shall I tell you that Lindamira is run away with Tersander; when I perceived her growing Love, and found that all good Advice was thrown away upon her, I conjured the King our Master to command him never to see her more; he did so, but that in such a manner, that you never can enough express your Gratitude towards him; and I can assure you, that if she was in his Kingdom, he would leave no Means untried to get her out of his Hands again; but she is got safe with her Paramour into France. You are a prudent and discreet Man, and know better than I can tell you what is to be done in such a Case. Alas! I cannot serve you, I can only pity your Misfortunes, and mourn the Disgrace of our Family, which is become the Jest of all England, and at which no body can be more afflicted than the unhappy
Having sealed up this Letter, she sent for a Man in whom she could confide, one fit for her Purpose, and who was as wicked as herself; to him she delivered this Letter, ordering him to hasten with it to Palmiris, who was at that time with the King of France at the Siege of Damietta. She then gave him necessary Instructions how he should answer the several Questions which Palmiris might ask him concerning the Flight of Tersander and Lindamira, and what the World said of their Amours: This done he set out, and in a short time reached the Place he was sent to, and delivered his Letter.
I will not pretend to describe the Effect it produced on the Mind of Palmiris, and the various Tumults of his Soul whilst he read this; for he was a Man of strict Honour, and at the same time loved his Wife to Dotage. This may be sufficient to give the Reader an Idea of the Struggles he felt in his Breast whilst he was reading this fatal Letter, and having finished it, he very abruptly left the Messenger and went into his Chamber and pondered as well as he could upon it. At first he determined to engage in the thickest of the Battle, and to seek certain Death to ease his raging Pain; but his Despair soon gave way to Thoughts of Vengeance.
‘He shall die, cried Palmiris, this Spoiler of my Honour, this Tersander shall die; and can the ungrateful Lindamira, whom I have so dearly loved, and who has so basely deceived me, can she hope to escape my Vengeance? No, the false Woman too shall die, and bear her Minion Company to the infernal Shades. Alas! I rave, how is it she shall die? Can I imbrue my Hands in her Blood? Can I so much as resolve her Death? Base and ungrateful as she is, and the sole Cause of all my Misfortunes, yet cannot I be so unnaturally cruel. Let her live then, and let her Life be her Punishment, for she shall live to mourn the Loss of her beloved Tersander, she shall live to see him expire; for even in her Presence will I pierce his Heart. Thus shall her Grief be far worse than Death itself. For the Love I once bore her I will not offer any kind of Violence to her Person, but in another’s she shall doubly suffer: Ungrateful Woman! could’st thou but see what Heart thou hast betrayed, what Husband thou hast lost, one, who, spite of the many Injuries thou hast done him, cannot resolve to hurt thee; sure thou would’st repent thy base Perfidiousness.
He said a thousand other Things much to the same Purpose, and at last determined that very Night to set out for France, in quest of Tersander and Lindamira, and to this End he called his Squire, and bid him immediately go and prepare every thing for his Departure, adding, that he would have no body but himself and a Valet de Chambre follow him; as for the rest of his Equipage, they should wait till farther Orders.
This done he waited upon the King of France, and shewed him the Letter he had just received, at the same time giving him an Account of his setting out that Night, and the Reasons that induced him so to do. The good Prince read it, and heard him with a great deal of Surprize, then turning towards Palmiris, ‘It is impossible, said he, to answer for the Actions of others, but yet can I not believe what is said here of your Wife; she was brought up with Blanche my Mother, than whom a more virtuous and deserving Woman does not breathe, and Lindamira was very high in her Esteem; beware, lest you commit some rash Action, which you may vainly repent for ever after. Even suppose that Lindamira be guilty, yet ought you not to seek the Blood of her Lover; leave Vengeance to Heaven, who surely will repay it, but do you learn to forgive as you hope for Forgiveness. I would not hinder you from applying proper Remedies to the Dishonour of your House, but I would have you be beforehand assured, that they are proper ones; Corrosives have often been used without Success, where Lenitives would infallibly have done.’
These were the last Words which the good Monarch spoke to him, after which he ordered him the necessary Passes and Guards to the Port, where Palmiris embarked, and during his whole Journey and Voyage, not the least Accident happened to him. On another Occasion one might have said the Wind was favourable, but now it was far from being so, since it contributed towards, at least hastened, his Misfortunes.
But to return to Lindamira, whom we left at Boulogne, where she was delivered, and now impatiently expected the Return of Tersander with an Answer from the Queen-Mother. Scarce had she been brought to bed a Fortnight, before she fell into a violent Fever, in a Place where she knew no body, and had no one but Belisinda to assist and comfort her, who was now far from being capable of doing it, finding herself in the utmost Want of Comfort and Assistance. She saw a Mistress whom she dearly loved lying dangerously ill, and knew no body to apply to for Advice: Often would she bewail Tersander’s going, and think that he left Lindamira much sooner than he ought to have done; she wrote him a Letter, acquainting him with the present Condition of her Mistress, and how sensible they were of his Loss, conjuring him, by all that he held dear in the World, to return back to Boulogne.
We may easily suppose how afflicting this News was to Tersander, he recalled every Charm of Lindamira, all her Beauties and Virtues to mind, then reflected that these Charms, these Beauties, and these Virtues, would not, perhaps, much longer have a Being; and this Apprehension gave him all the Pain that a Love-sick Heart is capable of feeling at the Apprehensions of losing its adored Object; he then determined immediately to hasten to her, and therefore he went directly to wait upon the Queen, to whom he shewed Belisinda’s Letter, desiring, at the same time, leave to hasten back to Lindamira. The good Princess having perused the Letter, seemed extremely concerned at her Illness, and told Tersander, that far from delaying him, she conjured him to make all the Haste back he could, telling him, that whilst he prepared himself to get on Horseback, she would write to the Governor of Boulogne, to order him to take particular Care of Lindamira during her Illness, and not to let her want any kind of thing whatsoever.
The Moment Tersander had received his Dispatches he got on Horseback, nor would he have been long in his Journey, had not he met with an unfortunate Accident. Passing through a Forest he was set upon by four Highwaymen, who bid him deliver, but he, not daunted at their Odds, drew his Sword, and behaved himself with so much Bravery that he laid two of them breathless on the Ground, and the other two, dreading the Fate of their Companions, fled with all possible Speed. In the Engagement Tersander had received no other Hurt but a slight Wound in his Arm, which having bound up with his Handkerchief, he was about to continue his Journey; but on a sudden he heard a rustling amongst the Trees behind him, and ere he could turn about, an Arrow pierced his Body, insomuch that he did not ride above an hundred Paces before he fell.
This Wound he received from one of the Rogues, who had just fled from him, who not daring to encounter him again, yet willing to revenge the Death of his Companions, and his own Disgrace, fetched a Compass round, and came behind him whilst he was binding up his Wound, and shot an Arrow at him; but not knowing what Execution it had done, and seeing Tersander ride off, durst not follow him, but alighting from his Horse, he drew his Companions out of the Road into the thickest Part of the Forest, and then left it himself.
Mean while the brave Man was perishing for want of timely Assistance; and so great a Quantity of Blood did he lose, that he remained without any visible Sign of Life; when, as Heaven would have it, two Friars accidentally passed that Way, who at first believed him dead; but laying their Hands upon his Heart, and finding still some little Warmth there, they resolved not to despair; but one of them running hastily to a neighbouring Fountain brought some Water, and with it washed the Wound, and threw some in his Face; the excessive Cold of this Water made Tersander shew some Signs of Life, and the good Fathers thanked Heaven for sending them thus timely to his Assistance.
He who had run for Water to the Fountain had met a Shepherd there, whom he immediately dispatched to the next Hamlet for more Help; as these good Fathers were very much esteemed all over the Country, the Shepherds left their Flocks, and the Labourers their Cottages, to come to them, and they found the two good Men very busy about one, who by some short, but deep Sighs, shewed that he might still be reckoned in the Number of the Living. Upon this, some of them began to gather Herbs, whose Virtues were well known to them; and which, as soon as applied to the Wound stopped the Blood, whilst others cut down Boughs, and with them made a Hand-Litter to carry the Patient to the Convent, where, as soon as he was brought, his Wounds were regularly dressed; all the Fathers were very busy about him, but none more than those two who had found him, and who continued with him, not only the rest of that Day, but the whole Night too; during which time he never came to himself again, so as to have any Knowledge of Things, but was perpetually fainting away; so excessive a Quantity of Blood had he lost, and to so weak a Condition had that Loss reduced him.
Four and twenty Hours after the first Dressing of his Wound, his Apparel was taken off, at which time the Surgeon assured that the Wound, though large, was not mortal; and that if nothing extraordinary happened to him, he did not question but he would do well again. This News extremely rejoiced the Holy Fathers; but their Joy was short-liv’d, for the third Day he fell into a Fever, and was very light-headed, at which time he talked much of Lindamira; this first Fever continued thirty Hours upon him, at the End of which he recovered his Senses, and then it was that he first became sensible of his Condition, and thought on Lindamira’s; the Remembrance of her Danger drew Tears from his Eyes, and made him utter Complaints which would have touched the very hardest and most barbarous Hearts.
Would he cry, shall my Life, whose every Hour I devoted to the beauteous Lindamira, be of no Service to her then? Shall my cruel Fortune deprive me of the Means of assisting her, and of doing her those good Offices which a Stranger, with the common Sentiments of Humanity, would joyfully have done? Perhaps, alas! this Moment is her last, and she is now closing those lovely Eyes, in whose Looks were centered all my Happiness: Even now, perhaps, with her dying Words she accuses me of Delay, and cries, Is this Neglect the Mark of that respectful Passion which was once your Boast? Instead of hastening to my Assistance, dost thou, for the Sake of a few Wounds indulge thyself, and by thy over Care endeavour to survive me? And yet you think you love me? No, ungrateful Man, you are as unworthy of the Name of Love as you are of my Esteem, with which I had hitherto all along honoured you.
Here he paused a little while, and then resuming his Discourse; And can I bear these Reproaches? No, let me rather die a thousand thousand Deaths than live to deserve them; especially seeing that my Life can be of no Service to Lindamira. As he said this, he began to tear off the Rollers, and other Things with which his Wounds were bound; but one of the Fathers being in the Room with him, and seeing to what Extravagance his Passion hurried him, ran and laid hold of him, nor was it a very difficult Matter to prevent his executing what he had threatened, for he was so very weak, one might easily master him. The great Difficulty was to calm his Thoughts and make him wholly alter his Resolution. To this End he represented to him the Heinousness of the Crime he was about to commit, and with Arguments and Instructions, both Divine and Moral, he convinced him of the Unreasonableness of his Action; but still his Passion was so great, that it prevailed over Reason; however, the Father inquiring further into as many Particulars of the Story, as Tersander thought fit to tell him, represented that the Lady he spoke of might still be alive, and want his Assistance, that if nothing else could weigh with him, at least, for her Sake, he ought to take Care of his Health; at the same time he delivered him a Packet which had been found in his Pocket, and in which were inclosed the Queen’s Letters, with some Jewels and Money he had about him. Tersander then first began to think of his Business, and he conjured the Father to procure him some body to go with a Letter to Boulogne; the good Man told him he would, upon Condition that he should endeavour to compose himself to Rest: Tersander promised he would do any thing, and then dictating a Letter to Belisinda, the Father wrote it for him, and with this and the other he dispatched a Courier.
Mean while Lindamira continued very ill of a violent Fever, and Belisinda laboured under the greatest Afflictions imaginable, her Mistress was as bad, and much weaker than ever. Tersander might easily have returned by this time, but he not only was not come, but had not so much as writ to her. This very much surprized her, she knew not what to think of it, and Tersander had till now behaved himself in such a manner, as to make her believe him her Mistress’s sincere Friend.
Things were upon this Foot, when the Courier dispatched from the Monastery arrived, and delivered Tersander’s Letter to Belisinda. His Misfortune touched her to the Heart, and she related to Lindamira Part of what had happened; however, she concealed the Worst of the Story in not mentioning his Danger. She barely told her, that he had received a slight Wound, and that it was not safe for him to travel as yet. We may easily imagine how sensibly Lindamira was grieved, there being no Woman of a more grateful Temper, and Tersander having suffered this new Misfortune on her Account, and though it was dangerous for her to do it, yet could nothing dissuade her from returning an Answer to his Letter by the same Courier, and calling for a Table-book, she writ the following Words:
Lindamira to Tersander.
‘YOU pitied my Misfortunes, generous Tersander; but how dear has your Pity cost you! I leave you to judge the Greatness of my Trouble, when I reflect on the many and great Obligations I lay under to you, and that I can make no return, but with my Thanks and Tears; poor Amends, for the many Miseries brought on you by the unfortunate
Whilst Lindamira was writing, the Courier hastened to the Castle, and delivered the Queen’s Packet to the Governor, who received it with all the Respect and Deference due from a Subject to his Sovereign; and having inquired, and been informed where the Lady lived, who was by her Majesty recommended to his Care, he got into his Chariot, and hastened away to Lindamira’s Lodgings, which he entered the Moment she had done writing to Tersander.
As much as her Sickness had altered her, yet was Lindamira still beauteous to a Miracle, nor could the Governor forbear admiring her, but, his first Surprize over, he saluted her with a great deal of Respect, and told her what Orders he had just received from the Queen; he therefore desired that she would suffer herself to be carried to the Castle, where she might be taken much better Care of than in her Lodging. Lindamira thanked him for his courteous Offer, but told him she was not in a Condition to be removed; but Altamont (for so was the Governor called) being a Man of Sense, and thinking that the Lady had some stronger Objection to the Castle, than her present Condition, smiled upon her. I am so very much accustomed, Madam, said he, to receive Denials from the Fair Sex, that I really now expected it; however, I’ll hasten home, and send some body to you, who, if I may be allowed to say it, will deserve to be kindly received, and to have their Prayers granted, and I dare say, you will not be so cruel to them as you are to me. As he said this he left the Room, and without giving Lindamira Time to answer, he hastened to the Castle, to desire his two Sisters to wait upon Lindamira, who really were Ladies of infinite Merit.
The Eldest of them, named Erminia, was a regular Beauty, and there was something in her Gait so majestic, and at the same time so sprightly in her Face, that one could not look upon her without Admiration. Harriot was fair, and one of the most agreeable Women in Nature; her Features, indeed, if you took them to pieces, were not so regular as her Sister’s; but if, without entring into such a Particular, you looked upon them both at once, ’twas impossible to know where to give the Preference, nor did they rival one another less in Wit and good Sense than in Beauty.
As to oblige each other was the chief Study of the Brother and Sisters, they hastened to Lindamira, and kindly intreated her to accept of the Apartment which their Brother had offered. It was impossible to deny such fair Petitioners, Lindamira therefore consented, and they overjoyed at their Success, sent for their Chair, and had her carried to the Castle, where Altamont received her with all possible Deference and Respect. The two Sisters were perpetually with her, and unwilling to trust Servants, they themselves waited upon her, and gave her early Proofs of their growing Friendship. And, indeed, such was the Care they took of her, and such the Diligence and Skill of the Physicians, that within two or three Days after her being brought thither, her Fever was changed into an Intermitting one.
Altamont waited on Lindamira, as often as her Health and Decency would permit him, and he had the Satisfaction of seeing how careful his Sisters were of her. Harriot, who was naturally all Gaiety, endeavoured to chear Lindamira’s drooping Spirits; but, alas! she was a Stranger to Joy, every Day almost did she write to her dear Palmiris, but received no Answer from him.
Observing the Friendship and Tenderness with which the two Sisters received her, Lindamira out of Gratitude related her Adventures to them, and by that shewed them how great a Confidence she reposed in them. Her Story increased their Love and Admiration, and Erminia embracing her as soon as she had done, dear Lindamira, said she, your Misfortunes are drawing to an End, Heaven has made a Trial of your Virtue, and will now take it under its immediate Protection, and safely conduct home your illustrious Husband. I can assure you, continued Harriot, that his Presence would rejoice me almost as much as the beauteous Lindamira, and I am already promising myself, that at sight of him, that Melancholy will vanish, and Smiles adorn that lovely Face. I am much obliged to you, Ladies, replied Lindamira, and am sorry that I cannot wear that Chearfulness which I was once wont to do; but whether it proceeds from the Number of my past Miseries, or whether it be the Foreboding of some new and dreadful one, I cannot tell; but my Heart has intirely given itself up a Prey to Grief.
Mean while Tersander dispatched a Courier every Week, to inquire how Lindamira did; Belisinda wrote to him as often as she could; and when any thing hindered her, the beauteous Harriot, who greatly esteemed him for what he had done, took the Task upon her, and in this manner they spent five Months; at the End of which Tersander found himself able to get on Horseback: He therefore took his Leave of the charitable Monks, and made them a considerable Present, particularly thanked those who had given him timely Assistance, who blessed him; and then taking one of the Couriers, whom he had often sent to Boulogne for his Guide, he hastened thither with all the little Speed his late Indisposition would allow of, and in a few Days reached the Place.
’Tis impossible to express his Joy at the Sight of one so dear to him as Lindamira was, and whose imaginary Death had made him attempt against his own Life. Erminia was present at their first Interview, yet did not entertain the least Suspicion of his loving her, such a perfect Master was Tersander of his Passion, that not one Look, or one Action, exceeded the Bounds of sincere disinterested Friendship.
On the other hand Lindamira’s Joy, at seeing him again was exceeding great, and presenting him to the beauteous Erminia, Sister, said she (for so they called one another) this is the generous Tersander, to whom I am so infinitely obliged. Erminia, without giving him Time to answer, approached him in the most obliging manner imaginable: As I have an infinite Value for that Lady, said she, and every thing that concerns her, I cannot without the greatest Pleasure, see a Gentleman, whose Friendship and Generosity has been so very serviceable to her. The beauteous Lindamira, interrupted Tersander, (whose Modesty would not suffer him to hear a Discourse of this Nature) is pleased to extol some trifling Services which I have done her, and which the Honour of serving her has sufficiently over-paid.
Here their Conversation was interrupted by the coming in of Harriot, whom Tersander saluted with a great deal of Respect, and thanked for the Trouble she had taken in writing to him, and the Comfort she had thereby administered him, during the Time that he lay ill of his Wounds; but he had not Time for saying all that Gratitude could inspire, for Altamont being by Belisinda acquainted with Tersander’s Arrival, hastened up to Lindamira’s Chamber, and entered it with that Air of Gallantry which accompanied every Action of his Life.
This Interview had something very extraordinary in it; for this heroic Couple, who had never seen one another before, conceived as much Esteem for each other, as Sympathy can inspire in two noble Souls. Their mutual Surprize made them both continue silent for some little Time; at length they broke it, to express their Wonder and Admiration, and they protested to each other an eternal Friendship, and to give the first Proofs of it, Altamont obliged the other to accept of an Apartment in the Castle.
We may easily imagine Tersander’s Joy, to see himself lodged beneath the same Roof with Lindamira, when every Pleasure of his Life, every Hope was centered in the Satisfaction of seeing and conversing with her, nor was there any thing which hindered him from being compleatly happy, but seeing her perpetually uneasy.Be never sought an Opportunity of speaking to her in private, far from it, he always shunned such a one, and so disinterested was his Love, he would willingly have ventured his Life to have restored her to her dear Palmiris.
But whilst he thus privately sighed for Lindamira, he undesignedly made a glorious Conquest; for the gay Harriot, who had often derided the Power of Love, and unmoved, had beheld half the Nobles of France sighing at her Feet, could not with the same Insensibility behold Tersander. As soon as she perceived her growing Passion, she struggled with it, and did all she could to banish it from her Heart, but in vain; Tersander’s superior Merit triumphed over all the weak Arguments of Female Pride: Nor did his Words and Actions, though unknowingly, contribute a little to the Feeding of this Flame. Harriot’s Letters had often, during his Illness eased his Pain, Tersander was of a grateful Temper, and laid hold on all Occasions to express his Gratitude. Lovers are too apt to flatter themselves. She interpreted every thing he said or did to her Advantage, and by this Means she confirmed her Passion, yet so carefully concealed it, that had not cruel Fortune accidentally betrayed it, ’twould still have been a Secret to the World.
Lindamira finding herself a little better, Altamont did every thing he could to divert her, Feasts, Music, and all Kinds of sumptuous Entertainments were frequently prepared; but this was far from producing the desired Effect; Lindamira wanted Solitude, nor was she ever easy, but when she could freely indulge herself in thinking on her dear Palmiris; she therefore desired the Governor, that for change of Air she might retire to his Country Seat, which was five or six Miles out of the Town, and situated in the midst of a Forest; hither Erminia and her Sister, with Tersander, accompanied her, and Altamont visited them as often as his Business would permit him.
Such a rural Situation could not be more agreeable to Lindamira than it was to Harriot, there were very fine Walks in the Forest, and which she frequented more than any of the rest. Early as the Morning dawned, for her Eyes were become Strangers to Sleep, she rose, and followed by one Maid only, she would go and lose herself in the thickest of the Forest; one particular Place she most delighted in, which Nature had embellished more than Art could possibly have done; there the interwoven Branches of the tallest Trees almost denied a Passage to the Rays of the Sun; beneath a crystal Spring bubbled up, and rolled its Silver Waters through a natural Channel, on a fine yellow Sand: There the perpetual Working of the Water formed a Cavity, and shewed the wondering Eye a transparent Bason bordered with Moss. Here Harriot counterfeiting her Hand, lest it should be known, would wound the Bark to carve Tersander’s Name, and sometimes mingling her Cypher with his, would crown them with a Lover’s Knot.
One Morning having rose earlier than usual, she sought this Place, and amused herself in her wonted manner, sometimes reflecting on Tersander’s Merit, sometimes carving his Name on the Trees; when on a sudden she was interrupted by the Sound of Feet which moved that Way, and not questioning but that somebody was making up towards the Fountain, she with her Maid retired behind the Trees, but in her retiring opened such a Passage that she could easily see two Men coming thither. He who by his noble Mein, and the Deserence paid him appeared to be the Master, wore black Armour, and round the Extremity of it a little Ridge of Gold; on his Head-piece streamed a large Number of Feathers, partly Flame-coloured, partly black; on his Shield a Lioness was painted tearing a Heart to pieces, with this Motto:
How cruelly thou tearest the Heart I gave thee.
Laying himself down near the Fountain, the Stranger unlaced his Helmet, and Harriot was surprized at the Sight of so noble and so beautiful a Face; for tho’ it was pale, yet were the Features bold, just, and regular, and one might have sworn that the Paleness was occasioned by some corroding Grief. He did not long continue silent, but looking about him, then turning towards the other, ‘Are you very sure, said he, that you have described the Place in such a manner, that he may find it?’ You need not doubt it it, Sir, replied the other, he told me he knew it well, and received the Letter in such a manner, that I am too fully persuaded he will not foil the Appointment.
‘’Tis well, replied the former, I shall at least be revenged on him; but tell me sincerely what thou hast heard of my faithless Wretch. I am told, Sir, replied he, that she leads a very melancholy and solitary Life, and that she is seldom seen in public.’ Then her Conscience does upbraid her with her Crime, replied the Knight. Alas! if her Reason does but out-live her Passion, she will see the Heinousness of her Sin, and never forgive herself; and yet, to my Confusion be it spoken, I still love this wicked Woman. Here he stopped to wipe away the Tears, which spite of what he could do, began to flow, and then resuming his Discourse, ‘Fool that I am, cried he, to love one who has thus basely dishonoured me.’
He could not proceed, being interrupted by the Arrival of two Men; at the Approach of whom he hastily put on his Head-piece. Harriot was surprized to see that the foremost of these Men was Tersander, and so great was her Confusion, that she had not the Power to speak or move, neither was there much Time for her to consider what she ought to do; for Tersander approaching the other, ‘Whoever you are, said he, who with so much Animosity pursue my Life, I come to convince you, that whenever I shall think fit to defend it, it shall be no such easy Matter to deprive me of it.’
At this the Stranger looking scornfully on him, It will not, Traytor, cried he, be in thy Power to defend it. Justice and Honour fight my Cause; if your Courage be equal to your Insolence, follow me, and you shall know who it is you have injured. He said, and hastening to the Place where his Horse was tied, he mounted, and gallopped into a neighbouring Vale, Tersander did the same, and without Loss of Time, each took a Lance from his Squire, and poising them well, they were in the very first Course shivered to pieces; upon which they drew their Swords, and a dreadful Combat soon ensued; for on the one hand, Honour and Jealousy excited Palmiris, the unhappy deceived Palmiris! whilst on the other, Tersander was enraged to see a Stranger, one whom he was assured he had never injured, pursue his Life so eagerly.
I here want Colours to paint Harriot during this fatal Combat, and the Struggles of Love and Honour within her; the latter bid her still conceal herself, for what besides Love could have brought her thus early to that solitary Place, and should she now endeavour to part them, in her Hurry and Distraction some Fondness might betray her Heart: However, Love soon prevailed, and all these Considerations were at once forgot. Swiftly she ran to the Place where our two Combatants with equal Strength and equal Courage were with redoubled Blows seeking each other’s Life; she was resolved to fling herself betwixt them, and to share the Danger with her dear Tersander; but, alas! the Resolution was formed too late, and the very Moment she reached the Field of Battle, our two valiant Knights gave each other a mortal Wound, and both fell from their Horses.
Harriot immediately ran, and catching Tersander in her Arms, she pulled off his Head-piece; but, alas! she could find no Life in him, his Blood flowed swistly from his Wound, but his Eyes were closed. Unable to utter a Word, she washed his Wounds, and sprinkled his Face with her Tears, and this joined to the Freshness of the Air, made him come to himself again. The first Object he beheld, when he opened his Eyes, was the beauteous Harriot drowned in Tears, upon which, fixing his dying Looks upon her, he spoke to her, tho’ with a very faultring Voice, ‘I die, charming Harriot, but die transported at your Generosity. How glorious, how worthy of Envy is Death made by those precious Tears!’ Do not, Tersander, replied Harriot, attribute my Grief to my Generosity, whilst it proceeds from quite another Source: Alas! I rave, but you are dying, and must not die ignorant of my Passion.
She had not time to proceed, or Tersander to answer; for Palmiris’s Squire finding that his Master had some Life in him, and fearing that he might perish for want of timely Assistance, ran up and down the Forest calling for Help, when accidentally he met Altamont, followed by his Servants, who was coming to pay Lindamira and her Sisters a Visit; at sight of him, he threw himself at his Feet, ‘For Heaven’s Sake, Sir, said he, if generous Pity can move your Soul, shew it now, and haste to save the Life of the illustrious Palmiris.’ The illustrious Palmiris, cried Altamont, surprized and shocked at the Name, What Palmiris is that, sure not the Husband of Lindamira! ‘’Tis the same, replied the Squire, and that unhappy Marriage is the Source of his present Misfortunes.’
Grieved at what he heard, Altamont immediately dispatched some Servants to the next Town for a Surgeon and Litter, that they might carry Palmiris to his House, and then ordered the Squire to conduct him to the Place where Palmiris was; but Gods! who can describe his Grief and Surprize, when coming there, he saw his dear Brother, for so he called Tersander, dying in his Sister’s Arms. This Sight soon made him forget on what Occasion he came thither, and not once thinking on Palmiris, he ran and flung his Arms round his Brother’s Neck, but so lively was his Sorrow, that it choaked the Passage of his Words.
Tersander broke Silence first, ‘My dear Altamont, said he, Death is about to part us, that grim Tyrant of Nature will no longer let me enjoy your Company, but spight of his Efforts still let me live in my dear Brother’s Heart. Oh! Altamont, let the Remembrance of me be lasting as your Life.’ How dear, how precious, how painful will that Remembrance be, replied Altamont, and who could have thought that the long-wished-for Return of Palmiris would have proved so fatal to us, ‘Of Palmiris! cried Tersander.’ Are you then ignorant, answered Altamont, that ’twas with Palmiris you fought. ‘Immortal Gods! cried Tersander, as loud as his present Condition would permit him, Are you Just, and could you suffer the unfortunate Tersander to draw his Sword against Lindamira’s Husband. Oh! wretched Tersander! you will die hated by Lindamira, and thy Memory will for ever be odious to her.’
Here his Weakness disordered his proceeding; but having recovered Strength enough to speak again, ‘My dear Brother, said he, taking Altamont by the Hand, by our past Friendship, I conjure you fly to the Assistance of Palmiris, unless you would see Tersander die in despair.’ Altamont, to please him, went towards Palmiris, having first given Tersander a Table book, which he asked for, and on which, with a great deal of Pain and Difficulty, he wrote the following Words:
The dying Tersander to the virtuous Lindamira.
‘I Die, Madam, and die the most unhappy, the most innocent of Men; I have shed that Blood which was dear to you, nor can I pretend to justify myself, by saying that I did not know Palmiris, for I ought to have known him. Accursed Hand! thus to deprive you of your dear Husband; how wretched am I to be the Cause of so much Grief in you! Alas! did not my Wounds, yet would my Sorrows, soon put an End to my Life;———My Strength fails me, and I cannot tell you all that I intended; but yet, divine Lindamira, even you yourself must own, that so much Love, so much Respect, deserved a better Fate. Pardon me, Madam, if sensible of my present Condition, I presume to reveal my Passion. Had I lived, you never should have known how dear you was to me, and I now talk of it at a Time when I can hope nothing, not even that you should bestow a Sigh upon my unhappy Destiny. I am too well acquainted with your Virtue to flatter myself with a Thought of this Nature; my only Comfort, after what I have done, is, that I am dying. Adieu, divine Lindamira. Alas! if it be possible, do not hate the Memory of the unhappy
As soon as he had done writing, he gave the Table-book to the afflicted Harriot, who, with her Maid, was endeavouring to stop the Blood which flowed very fast, and he desired her to deliver it to Lindamira. Scarce had he done speaking when the Surgeons arrived, and examining his Wounds, they told him that he had not an Hour to live, nor must they pretend to remove him from the Place where he lay, for if they did, he inevitably would die that very Moment. Tersander heard his Sentence with a great deal of Courage, and desired that a holy Father might be sent for, in whose Arms he shortly after breathed his last.
Mean while Altamont, who had drawn near Palmiris, found him in a Condition which very much surprized him; his half-opened Eyes were fixed upon no Object, but wandered up and down, as looking for something which was not before him. Disdain sat plainly confessed in his Face, but that Disdain did not seem directed to any one present, and it plainly appeared that his Imagination was hard at work. Altamont upon this took him by the Hand, and called him by his Name, but he returned no Answer, nor did he seem sensible of any one’s being present before him. Altamont seeing this, would have left him, and returned to his dear Tersander, but that Satisfaction was denied him; he was told that his Brother had but a few Moments more to live, and those were justly due to Heaven.
I will not undertake to describe the Grief, either of the Governor, or of his beauteous Sister, when by their Retinue they were in a manner forced out of the Forest, and led towards their Seat. The Horror which plainly sat confessed in their Faces, alarmed the Servants, and some of them ran up to Erminia’s Chamber, where Lindamira also was, and told them they feared some dreadful Accident had happened; for Altamont and Harriot were like People in despair; frightened at this News, they both ran to her Chamber, and found her on her Bed and Altamont near her. Harriot had no sooner fixed his Eyes upon the virtuous Matron, but she cried out, Lindamira! unhappy Lindamira! what will become of you; as she said this, she gave her the Table-book, in which Tersander had writ his Letter.
Thunder-struck at these Words, Lindamira had scarce Power to reach out her Hand to take the Letter; at length she did, and with much ado opened and read it; but, Gods! who can describe her in the midst of her Sorrow, Confusion, and Despair? It was too strong for Nature to support, and she fell down on Harriot’s Bed, deprived of Sense and Knowledge. For full two Hours Space was every Art, every Remedy that could be thought of to bring her to herself employed in vain. Cruel Art! killing Remedies! for Death was now to be preferred far beyond Life, and to restore her to Life was only to prolong those Miseries which Death alone could cure.
Whilst she lay in this Condition, the Surgeons dressed Palmiris’s Wounds; but as they declared they knew not what to think of them till they took off the first Apparel, they ordered him to be brought to Altamont’s House, and Erminia (though beyond all Measure afflicted at the Death of the generous Tersander, and to see three Persons thus dear to her, overwhelmed with Sorrows) yet being informed that he was brought in, went immediately to see Lindamira’s Husband. Fixing her Eyes upon him, she drew towards his Bed-side with that majestic Air, which at once commanded Love and Respect, ‘Alas, Sir, said she, on what slight Quarrel have you exposed a Life so dear, so precious to the beauteous Lindamira, for I cannot believe that your Encounter was premeditated, or that you knowingly attacked the brave, the generous Tersander, your Protector and Defender, ond one to whom you are so infinitely obliged.’ Sure you know me not, replied Palmiris, if you did you would not talk thus to me. Is my Life dear to one who has basely forsaken me? Or, am I obliged to the Man who has robbed me of my Honour? Believe me, Madam, I know my Misfortuues too well to be persuaded out of them.
‘You are mistaken, Palmiris, answered Erminia, costing an Eye of Pity on him, you do not know them yet, your Misfortunes are much greater than you imagine, look on yourself as unjust and ungrateful, reflect on every Crime those two Vices can have made you commit, and even then you will have but a faint Idea of them.’ Once more, Madam, replied Palmiris, I am but too sensible of my Miseries and Disgrace, and tho’ at such a Distance, I have had a faithful Account of all that passed; I know what Loose she gave to her blind foolish Passion, and her Amours and Flight with Tersander are become the Talk of a whole Kingdom.
‘Infatuated unhappy Man! cried Erminia, interrupting him, and have you then foully suspected the most generous of Men, and most virtuous of Women? I can no longer leave you in this Error, and though you are not in a Condition to hear a long Narration, yet is it of such Importance that you should be convinced of your Blindness, that I shall wave all other Considerations, and let you know what you are still ignorant of.’ She then related all that had happened to Lindamira since his leaving Eng———nd.
Whilst Erminia was speaking, Palmiris never interrupted her, but with deep-fetched Sighs, and as soon as she had finished, ‘Good Gods, cried he as loud as his little remaining Strength would permit him, what have I done to merit this dreadful Punishment! Alas, how justly did you say that I was still a Stranger to my Misfortunes. I thought myself innocent and just, and I prove the most guilty of Mankind; I have suspected even Virtue itself, and destroyed a Life in the Defence of which had I had a Thousand, I ought to have sacrificed them all. Alas! Madam, how shall I see my Lindamira again! how will she bear the Sight of such an ungrateful Wretch! Oh Tersander! generous Tersander! how have you been rewarded for preserving the Honour of Palmiris! My Death, Madam, will soon make some little Atonement for my Crime; but ere I breathe my last, let me once more see Lindamira; do not deny me this Favour; though my Crimes are great, yet are they not wholly my own; too much Credulity has occasioned them all. Cursed Circe! thou Author of all this Mischief, thou Horror of thy Sex, how wilt thou ever again dare lift up thy Eyes toward Heaven.’
Here he was interrupted by the Arrival of Lindamira, who, as soon as she recovered out of the Swoon, had, by Belisinda, been informed that her Palmiris was not dead, nor his Life yet despaired of, but that being dressed by the Surgeons, he had been brought into the House, upon which she hastily flew to his Chamber. Never was there a more moving Scene than this Meeting; they threw their Arms about each other’s Necks, unable to utter any thing more than my Palmiris! and my Lindamira! in this manner they continued some considerable time, till at length Palmiris broke Silence: ‘Lindamira, my dear Lindamira, said he, after my unjust Suspicions, and the fatal Effects of them, I must not think of Life. Your present Goodness does but make my Guilt the greater, and add to my Misfortunes; we must take from before your Eyes a Man who yet makes you prove ungrateful to the Memory of your brave Defender, to whom you are too much obliged to think of living with your Murderer; my Hands imbrued in his Blood, shall never be folded about your lovely Neck, and in me you would always behold the Object of your Love and Grief.’
Alas, my dear Husband, interrupted Lindamira, banish those cruel Thoughts, and live; I have already forgot your Crime, and my Love forgives all that you have thoughtor done. Should you any longer persist in the Resolution of dying, I shall believe that your once boasted Passion is at an End, or that you are not cured of your unjust Suspicions; or if this will not weigh with you, remember that the Threads of our Life are so interwoven, that there is no cutting the one without the other, and that one Fate attends us both. Alas! what need I talk of Fate and Death; let us live, and live happily, even the Ghost of the generous Tersander, if he can behold our Actions, will be well pleased that we should live to retain a grateful Sense of all his Kindnesses, for I believe you just enough to desire that the Services of this brave Man should still be fresh in my Memory. If you yet doubt any thing of what has been said to you, see what with his dying Hand he has wrote. As she said, she gave him the Letter; which Palmiris could not read without shedding a Flood of Tears.
The Surgeons hearing that Lindamira was the Wife of Palmiris, that they had some time been absent from each other, and that she was now in the Room with him, hastened thither, and found his Mind in a strange Agitation; they told him, that if she had any Value for her Husband, she ought to hinder him from speaking as much as possibly she could, for long Conversations were certain Death to him. Upon this Erminia thought fit to leave them, and hastening to her Sister’s Apartment, where she had left her Brother too, she told them all that had passed between Palmiris and Lindamira.
Altamont unmoved, heard her Tale, or rather did not hear it at all; he was wholly taken up with Reflections on his dear Brother’s Death. Not so with the beauteous Harriot, who starting from her Bed in the most violent Passion; Lindamira, ungrateful Lindamira, cried she, and canst thou caress the Murderer of that brave Man who sacrificed his Life and Fortune to thee? one who so tenderly, so sincerely loved thee? Oh Tersander! unhappy Tersander! on whom hadst thou bestowed thy Heart? on one who asks Leave of thy mortal Foe to remember thee. No, forget him in complaisance to thy Husband; unjust Lindamira, forget him, still shall he live, still shall his Memory flourish in my Heart, then shall he be disturbed by no Idea of his base Murderer whom I abbor and detest.
She said several other Things to the same Purpose, and having vented her Passion, and growing a little more cool, she desired that her Brother would give her Leave for a little while to retire into a Convent amongst some pious Maids, who devote their whole Time to the Service of Heaven. Altamont and Erminia did all they possibly could to divert her from this Resolution, but in vain; and she was fully determined not to sleep beneath the same Roof with the Murderer of Tersander. When they found all their Arguments and Persuasions fruitless, Erminia would have accompanied her thither, but Harriot refused the Offer, and conjured her to stay with their dear Brother. Followed therefore by the faithful Tarquinia only, she hastened to the Convent, there her first Care was to raise a Monument to the Memory of the brave Tersander, for which she composed an Epitaph herself; and every Morning, for there she spent the Remainder of her Days, her first Task was to go and wash this Monument with her Tears.
But to return to Lindamira, whom we left betwixt Hope and Fear, and who impatiently waited for the Time when the Surgeons would take off the Apparel, that she might know something more certain of her Fate; for still her Hopes prevailed. Alas! how vainly do we believe what we ardently wish? At length, the Time came, and upon searching his Wounds, the Surgeons pronounced them mortal; adding, that they did not believe he had three Hours more to live. Palmiris with undaunted Courage heard his Sentence, but not so the virtuous Lindamira, whose Despair it was impossible to express. His whole Care was to comfort her; to this End he represented how odious Life would be to him, and how just his Death and the Decrees of Heaven were; but finding that this would avail nothing with her, he called for his Son, and tenderly embracing him, he conjured her, if no other Consideration would weigh with her, at least for the dear Infant’s Sake, to spare her Life, that she might see him virtuously educated, and early taught to banish foolish Credulity from his Heart, that he might shun his Father’s Crimes and Misfortunes.
Here Lindamira struggled some time before she could speak; at length her Words finding a Passage, ‘You die, said she, and yet you would have me live; alas! did you love me with half the Sincerity and Fondness I love you, you would know what an Impossibility you require; our Lives are inseparable, and in Death we shall again be united. Heaven, who is all merciful, will not let me survive you, and by that Means plunge me into new and far greater Miseries than I have hitherto experienced, and the same all-gracious Heaven will be a Father to our innocent Babe.
Here Grief again stopped her Voice, and so lively were her Sorrows, that they deprived her of Knowledge, and she swooned away upon his Bed. Palmiris, whose Strength decayed apace, was unable to bear this violent Shock, but with a Groan breathed his last; and, as if their two Bodies had been but informed by one Soul, she that Moment expired in his Arms.