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wholly to abandon either the mother or the infant. To the mother, indeed, I had still some degree of inclination ; though I should have been heartily content never to have seen her again, if I could at once have been freed from
farther trouble about her ; but as something was to be done, I was willing to keep her within my reach, at least till she could be subservient to my pleasure no longer : the child, however, I would have sent away; but she intreated me to let her suckle it, with an importunity which I could not resist. After much thinking, I placed her in a little shop in the suburbs, which I furnished, at the expense of about twenty pounds, with chandlery ware, commodities of which she had some knowledge, as her father was a petty shopkeeper in the country: she reported that her husband had been killed in an engagement at sea, and that his pay, which she had been impowered to receive by his will, had purchased her stock. I now thought I had discharged every obligation, as I had enabled her to subsist, at least as well as she could have done by her labour in the station in which I found her; and as often as I had an inclination to see her, I sent for her to a bagnio.
But these interviews did not produce the pleasure which I expected: her affection for me was too tender and delicate; she often wept in spite of all her efforts against it; and could not forbear telling me stories of her little girl with the fond prolixity of a mother, when I wished to regard her only as a mistress. These incidents at once touched me with compunction, and quenched the appetite which I had intended to gratify; my visits, therefore, became less frequent: but she never sent after me when I was absent, nor reproached me, otherwise
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than by tears of tenderness, when she saw me again.
After the first year I wholly neglected her; and having heard nothing of her during the winter, I went to spend the summer in the country. When I returned, I was prompted rather by curiosity than desire to make some inquiry after her; and soon learnt that she had died some months before of the small pox, that the goods had been seized for rent, and the child taken by the parish. At this account, so sudden and unexpected, I was sensibly touched; and at first conceived a design to rescue the child from the hands of a parish nurse, and make some little provision for it when it should be grown up: but this was delayed from day to day, such was the supineness of my disposition, till the event was remembered with less and less sensibility; and at length I congratulated myself upon my deliverance from an engagement which I had always considered as resembling in some degree the shackles of matrimony. I resolved to incur the same embarrassment no more, and contented myself with strolling from one prostitute to another, of whom I had seen many generations perish; and the new faces which I once sought among the masks in the pit, I found with less trouble at Cuper's, Vauxhall, Ranelagh, and innumerable other places of public entertainment, which have appeared during the last twenty years of my life.
A few weeks ago I celebrated my sixtieth birthday with some friends at a tavern; and as I was returning to my lodgings, I saw a hackney-coach stop at the door of a house which I knew to be of ill repute, though it was private and of the first class. Just as I came up, a girl stepped out of it, who appeared, by the imperfect glimpse I caught of her as she passed, to be very young, and ex.
tremely beautiful. As I was warm with wine, I followed her in without hesitation, and was delighted to find her equally charming upon a nearer view. I detained the coach, and proposed that we should go to Haddock's: she hesitated with some appearance of unwillingness and confusion, but at length consented: she soon became more free, and I was not less pleased with her conversation than her person: I observed that she had a softness and modesty in her manner, which is quickly worn off by habitual prostitution.
We had drank a bottle of French wine, and were preparing to go to bed, when, to my unspeakable confusion and astonishment, I discovered a mark by which I knew her to be my child: for I remembered, that the poor girl, whom I so cruelly seduced and neglected, had once told me with tears in her eyes, that she had imprinted the two letters of my name under her little Nancy's left breast, which, perhaps, would be the only memorial she would ever have of a father. I was instantly struck with a sense of guilt with which I had not been familiar, and therefore felt all its force. wretch whom I was about to hire for the gratification of a brutal appetite, perceived my disorder with surprise and concern: she inquired with an officious solicitude, what sudden illness had seized me; she took my hand, pressed it, and looked eagerly in my face, still inquisitive what couid be done to relieve me. I remained some time torpid: but was soon roused by the reflection, that I was receiving the caresses of my child, whom I had abandoned to the lowest infamy, to be the slave of drunkenness and lust, and whom I had led to the brink of incest. I suddenly started up; first held her at a distance; then catching her in my arins, strove to speak, but burst into tears. I saw that she was confounded and terrified; and as soon as
I could recover my speech, I put an end to her doubts by revealing the secret.
It is impossible to express the effect it had upon her: she stood motionless a few minutes; then clasped her hands together, and looked up in an agony, which not to have seen is not to conceive. The tears at length started from her eyes;
she recollected herself, called me father, threw herself upon her knees, embracing mine, and plunging a new dagger in my heart, by asking my blessing.
We sat up together the remainder of the night, which I spent in listening to a story that I may perhaps hereafter communicate; and the next day I took lodgings for her about six miles from town. I visit her every day with emotions to which my heart has till now been a stranger, and which are every day more frequent and more strong. I proposed to retire with her into some remote part of the country, and to atone for the past by the future: but, alas ! of the future a few years only can remain ; and of the past not a moment can return. What atonement can I make to those, upon whose daughters I have contributed to perpetuate that calamity, from which by miracle I have rescued my own! How can I bear the reflection, that though for my own child I had hitherto expressed less kindness than brutes for their young; yet, perhaps, every other whom I either hired or seduced to prostitution, had been gazed at in the ardour of parental affection, till tears have started to the eye; had been catched to the bosom with transport, in the prattling simplicity of infancy; had been watched in sickness with anxiety that suspended sleep; had been fed by the toil of industrious poverty, and reared to maturity with hope and fear. What a monster is he, by whom these fears are verified, and this hope deceived! And yet, so dreadful is the force of habitual guilt, I sometimes regret the restraint which is come upon me;
I wish to sink again into the slumber from which I have been roused, and to repeat the crim-s which I abhor. My heart is this moment bursting for utterance: but I want words. Farewell.
No 87. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1753.
Iracundior est paulò; minùs apius acutis
There are many accomplishments, which though they are comparatively trivial, and may be acquired by small abilities, are yet of great importance in our common intercourse with men. Of this kind is that general courtesy, which is called Good Breeding; a name, by which, as an artificial excellence, it is at once characterised and recommended.
Good Breeding, as it is generally employed in the gratification of vanity, a passion almost universally predominant, is more highly prized by the majority