« ElőzőTovább »
For natural Affection soon doth cease,
them both suppress,
So Love of Soul doth Love of Body pass,
Tuesday, September 23,
exercise my Mind with many Objects, and qualify my self for my daily Labours. After an Hour spent in this loitering Way of Reading, something will remain to be Food to the Imagination. The Writings that please me most on such Occasions are Stories, for the Truth of which there is good Authority. The Mind of a Man is naturally a Lover of Justice, and when we read a Story wherein a Criminal is overtaken, in whom there is no Quality which is the Object of Pity, the Soul enjoys a certain Revenge for the Offence done to its Nature in the wicked Actions committed in the preceding Part of the History. This will be better understood by the Reader from the following Narration it self, than from any Thing which I can say to introduce it
When Charles Duke of Burgundy, sirnamed The Bold, reigned over spacious Dominions now swallowed up by the Power of France, he heaped many Favours and Honours upon Claudius Rhynsault a German, who had served him in his Wars against the Insults of his Neighbours. A great Part of Zealand was at that Time in subjection to that Dukedom. The Prince himself was a Person of singular Humanity and Justice. Rhynsault
, with no other real Quality than Courage, had Dissimulation enough to pass upon his generous and unsuspicious Master for a Person of blunt Honesty and Fidelity, without any Vice that could bias him from the Execution of Justice. His High
No. 49L ness prepossessed to his Advantage, upon the Decease of Tuesday, the Governour of his chief Town of Zealand, gave Sept. 23, Rhynsault that Command. He was not long seated in 1712.
that Government, before he cast his Eyes upon Sapphira, a Woman of exquisite. Beauty, the wife of Paul Danvelt, a wealthy Merchant of the City under his Protection and Government. Rhynsault was a Man of a warm Constitution, and violent Inclination to Women, and not unskilled in the soft Arts which win their Favour. He knew what it was to enjoy the Satisfactions which are reaped from the Possession of Beauty, but was an utter Stranger to the Decencies, Honours, and Delicacies, that attend the Passion towards them in elegant Minds. However he had so much of the World, that he had a great Share of the Language which usually prevails upon the weaker Part of that Sex, and he could with his Tongue utter a Passion with which his Heart was wholly untouched. He was one of those brutal Minds which can be gratified with the Violation of Innocence and Beauty, without the least Pity, Passion, or Love to that with which they are so much delighted. Ingratitude is a Vice inseparable to a lustful Man; and the Possession of a Woman by him who has no Thought but allaying a Passion painful to himself, is necessarily followed by Distaste and Aversion. Rhynsault was resolved to accomplish his Will on the Wife of Danvelt, left no Arts untried to get into a Familiarity at her House ; but she knew his Character and Disposition too well, not to shun all Occasions that might ensnare her into his Conversation. The Governour despairing of Success by ordinary Means, apprehended and imprisoned her Husband, under Pretence of an Information that he was guilty of a Correspondence with the Enemies of the Duke, to betray the Town into their possession. This Design had its desired Effect; and the Wife of the unfortunate Danvelt
, the Day before that which was appointed for his Execution, presented her self in the Hall of the Governour's House, and as he passed through the Apartment, threw her self at his Feet, and holding his Knees, beseeched his Mercy. Rhynsault beheld her with a dissembled Satisfaction, and assuming an Air of Thought and Authority, he bid her arise, and told her she must
follow him to his Closet; and asking her whether she No. 491. knew the Hand of the Letter he pulled out of his Pocket, Tuesday, went from her, leaving this Admonition aloud, If you see would serve your Husband, you must give me an Account of all you know without Prevarication for every Body is satisfied he was too fond of you to be able to hide from you the Names of the Rest of the Con spirators, or any other Particulars whatsoever. He went to his Closet, and soon after the Lady was sent for to an Audience. The Servant knew his Distance when Matters of State were to be debated ; and the Governour, laying aside the Air with which he had appeared in Publick, began to be the Supplicant, to rally an Affliction, which it was in her Power easily to remove. She easily perceiv'd his Intention, and bathed in Tears, began to deprecate so wicked a Design, and relieve an innocent Man from his Imprisonment. Lust, like Ambition, takes in all the Faculties of the Mind and Body into its Service and Subjection. Her becoming Tears, her honest Anguish, the Wringing of her Hands, and the many Changes of her Posture and Figure in the Vehemence of Speaking, were but so many Attitudes in which he beheld her Beauty, and further Incentives of his Desire, A11 Humanity was lost in that one Appetite, and he signified to her in so many plain Terms, That he was unhappy 'till he had possess'd her, and Nothing less should be the Price of her Husband's Life; and she must, before the following Noon, pronounce the Death or Enlargement of Danvelt. After this Notification, when he saw Sapphira enough again distracted to make the Subject of their Discourse to common Eyes appear different from what it was, he called Servants to conduct her to the Gate. Loaded with insupportable Affliction, she immediately repairs to her Husband, and having signified to his Goalers, That she had a Proposal to make to her Husband from the Governour, she was left alone with him, reveal'd to him all that had pass'd, and represented the endless Conflict she was in between Love to his Person, and Fidelity to his Bed. It is easy to imagine the sharp Affliction this honest Pair was in upon such an Incident, in Lives not used to any but ordinary Occurrences. The Man was
No. 491. bridled by Shame from Speaking what his Fear prompted Tuesday,
upon so near an Approach of Death ; but let fall Words Sept. 23, that signify'd to her, He should not think her polluted
though she had not yet confess'd to him that the Governour had violated her Person, since he knew her Will had no Part in the Action. She parted from him with this oblique Permission to save a Life he had not Resolution enough to resign for the Safety of his Honour.
The next Morning the unhappy Sapphira attended the Governour, and being led into a remote Apartment, submitted to his Desires. Rhynsault commended her Charms, claim'd a Familiarity after what pass'd between them, and with an Air of Gayety, in the Language of a Gallant, bid her return, and take her Husband out of Prison : But, continued he, my Fair One must not be offended that I have taken Care he should not be an Interruption to our future Assignations. These last Words foreboded what she found when she came to the Goal, her Husband executed by the Order of Rhynsault.
It was remarkable that the Woman, who was full of Tears and Lamentations during the whole Course of her Affliction, utter'd neither Sigh or Complaint, but stood fixed with Grief at this Consummation of her Misfortunes She betook her self to her Abode, and, after having in Solitude paid her Devotions to him who is the Avenger of Innocence, she repair'd privately to Court. Her Person, and a certain Grandeur of Sorrow negligent of Forms, gain'd her Passage into the Presence of the Duke her Sovereign, As soon as she came into the Presence, she broke forth into the following Words: Behold, O mighty Charles, a Wretch weary of Life, though it has always been spent with Innocence and Vírtue, It is not in your Power to redress my Injuries, but it is to avenge them. And if the Protection of the Distressed, the Punishment of Oppressors, is a Task worthy a Prince, I bring the Duke of Burgundy ample Matter for doing Honour to his own great Name, and wiping Infamy off of mine.
When she had spoke this, she deliver'd the Duke a Paper reciting her Story. He read it with all the
Emotions that Indignation and Pity could raise in a No. 491. Prince jealous of his Honour in the Behaviour of his Tuesday, Officers, and Prosperity of his Subjects.
1712. Upon an appointed Day Rhynsault was sent for to Court, and in the Presence of a few of the Council, confronted by Sapphira, the Prince asking, Do you know that Lady Rhynsault, as soon as he could recover his Surprize, told the Duke he would marry her, if His Highness would please to think that a Reparation. The Duke seem'd contented with this Answer, and stood by during the immediate Solemnization of the Ceremony. At the Conclusion of it he told Rhynsault, Thus far you have done as constrain'd by my Authority: I shall not be satisfy'd of your kind Usage of her, without you sign a Gift of your whole Estate to her after your Decease. To the Performance of this also the Duke was a Witness. When these two Acts were executed, the Duke turned to the Lady, and told her, It now remains for me to put you in quiet Possession of what your Husband has so bountifully bestowed on you, and ordered the immediate Execution of Rhynsault.
Wednesday, September 24.
Tunbridge, Sept. 18.
I do assure you, a Maid of unspotted Reputation, founded upon a very careful Carriage in all my Looks, Words and Actions. At the same Time I must own to you, that it is with much Constraint to Flesh and Blood that my Behaviour is so strictly irreproachable ; for I am naturally addicted to Mirth, to Gayety, to a free Air, to Motion and Gadding. Now what gives me a great Deal of Anxiety, and is some Discouragement in the Pursuit of Virtue, is, that the young Women who run into greater Freedoms with the Men are more taken Notice of than I am. The Men are such unthinking Sots, that they do not prefer her who restrains all her Passions and Affections, and