THE LIFE AND DEATH OF Mrs. Mary Frith.
Commonly Called Mal Cutpurse.
Exactly Collected and now Published for the Delight and Recreation of all Merry disposed Persons.
Printed for W. Gilbertson at the Bible in Giltspur-street without Newgate, 1662.
Mal Cutpurse's Diary.
All people do justly owe to the world an account of their Lives passed; and therefore mine being a greater debt then any other, as I have drawn more observation by unknown practices upon me, I shall dispense with reputation and credit, and following the laudable example of others, who have in part preceded me as Seignior Gusman, and the Spanish Tribe of Cheaters, I will freely declare my self to all my loving Neighbours, and whomsoever this relation of mine shall happen to meet with, entreating them with all Fairness and Candor, and the pity of a Sessions House Jury, to hear me in this my Defense and Apology, which my faults do not exceed.
I beheld my self more Obnoxious to my Fate, and to have a greater quarrel with that, then the world can have against me; the Universe consists and is made up of Cheaters and Cheatees, says the Learned Albumazer, and there is no great difference below between them; To be excellent and happy in Villainy, hath been always reputed equal with a good Fame, whose wings being short, and reaching not beyond the memory of a person, can little prejudice the Fortunate Achievements of new undertakers. My Devices were all of my own spinning, nor was I beholding to any Stale-Artifice whatsoever of any Woman preceding me, which I have not bettered, and so far forth as became the principles of such mysteries, facilitated and accommodated to the more ingenious Moderns.
I will not therefore reckon my Childish ignorances, and those extravagant Sallies of an undisciplined Wench for any thing; for it is no matter to know how I grew up to this, since I have laid it as a Maxim, that 'twas my Fate not Me; I doe more wonder at my self then others can do, and dare assure them that Nature doth sometimes disport her self not only in the careless Nativities of Dwarfs, Changelings, and such Naturals, but also in her more considerate productions; for I am confident I can boast of as much humane policy, in acquisitions, revenges, dissemblings &c. as any of the Grandees of the world, if proportionally considered.
I was hardly twenty from whence I date my self; when viewing the Manners and Customs of the Age, I see my self so wholly distempered, and so estranged from them, as if I had been born and bred in the Antipodes; but yet such was the kindness of my Stars, that for all the noise of the New World, and the Plantations and incredibly Rich Mines of Gold and Silver said to be found there, which seemed to have been allotted for me, the discovery so aptly then happening, and my friends very willing to humour it so they might have been rid of me, yet nevertheless I escaped the Voyage, alike hating Virginia (the first Land possessed by the English in America) and my Virginity, the manner thus.
My Friends perceiving my untoward dispositions designed me [ Mal Cutpurse spirited for New England. ] thither, where there was no doubt of such manly work and sport I affected, and where the necessity of Women be they what they would, could not but commend me to some Jack as good as my self, whose Dominion over me might subdue that violence of my spirit, or else I should be so broke by hard labor, that I would of my own accord return to a womanly and civil
behaviour. There was then no noise or talk of Spirits, and I was so generally known that I thought there could be no such tricks showed me; but poor silly Wench as I was, being under pretence of a Fair, and some Matches at Gravesend trained down and invited thither by Water, I was carried aboard a New England man to drink strong Waters, which were nothing else but the distillation of mine eyes boiling with Fury and impatience; for in my grief there was nothing womanly.
I was left sitting upon a Chest under Decks blessing my self from the Company I see hulling and stowing their Goods, who (ever and anon would laugh at me) but no way dreaming, I was to be part of the venture or to be concerned in their voyage, till the Boatswain came to me; and half mild half sour, asked me what Provision I had aboard, and where I would bestow my self; I replied as roughly, I would give him no account, but straight with suspecting the manner of the question called for my Company; when the whole Crew of these Cannibals fell into such a passion of laughter, that I began to consult of an Escape but was presently prevented and put in the Hold, where I found some others in the like miserable Condition.
This sudden misfortune being the first check and controlment of all my proceedings, did not so much for the present stupefy me as it did soon after quicken me to the thoughts of my Deliverance, which having understood could not be effected without the Captain's privity or permission, (being sold to a private Merchant, the first beginner of this inhumane way of Merchandize, (whom I afterwards when he came to a miserable distress for requital helped unto a Beadle) I was forced to await his coming on board, when having the liberty of the Deck, I very observantly and with a submissive gesture presented my self before him, and with many a briny tear told him of this injury done me and my Friends (of whom God knows I had few who were not privy to the Design) which would not fail to be severely revenged on those Accomplices of this Treachery, and with such protestations of my Parentage and their certain lamentations over me, together with my own innocence and civil behaviour, I at last won upon this good natured Master, who was not yet hardened this way, to suffer my Escape, having promised Him very fair and largely when I should reencounter him at London.
Thither, by the help of the money I had otherwise intended, and which I now gave to the Cox, I hied, very exceedingly blithe that I thus got off, musing of nothing but revenge for this disgrace upon my Companions, but such occasion seldom proffers it self to forlorn people without great disadvantage, and I was not so well recovered of my former fright as to venture upon such desperate and dangerous Enemies, who might have other as subtle devices against me, being alone, and as I said friendless. Therefore abandoning those Hot-spur Meditations, to which I was very prone, I resolved to betake my self to some sanctuary from the like attempts, whose privileges might secure me, while I could better provide for my self.
I had but very little choice, so I listed my self of another Colony or Plantation (but who neither sow nor reap) of the Divers or File-clerks. A cunning Nation being a kind of Land Pirates, trading altogether in other men’s Bottoms, for no other Merchandizes then Bullion and ready Coin, and keep most of the great Fairs and Marts of the world. They are very expert Mathematicians, but excellently good at Dialing; as also they are rare Figure Flingers, and most dexterous at the Tactics; they had been long incorporated, and had their Governors and Assistants as other Worshipful Companies; and had a good stock for the maintenance of their Trade. At my admission among them, I was examined to several questions, relating to my fitness and capacity of being a Member; to which I gave such satisfactory answers, as rendered me very acceptable to be one of their Community. I remember they viewed my Hands, not only to see whither I had not been manumitted at Sessions, but if they were not naturally fitted and made convenient for the Exercise of the Trade, being indeed the neatest Manufacture of the world. The best Signs and Marks of a happy and industrious hand, is a long middle Finger, equally suited with that they call the fools or first Finger; nor can any Surgeon or Doctor of Physic read a learneder Anatomy Lecture of the Nerves, Fibre, and Arteries of the same; then these secant and cutting Empirics as justly challenging the name of surgery as they. Above all things they abhor a Clumsy Fat Finger, as apt to slip the Cole which they put for money, and not carry it cleverly; and they hate a Bungler as much as a Dunce. They have several Forms or sorts of Pick-pockets, they have one fellow always in company when they go about this Employment, whom they call a Bulk, that is, to make some quarrel in the streets, or else obstruct the passage while the Whipsters do the Feat; and then there is another ready whom they call the Rub, into whose Hands the prey is conveyed, and he clearly carries it away. But of these I shall speak more at large hereafter.
I had no great promising symptoms of a lucky Mercurial in my Fingers, for they had not been used to any slight and fine work; but I was judged by these Palmisters from the hardness and largeness of the Table of my Hand, to be very well qualified for a receiver and entertainer of their fortunate Achievements, and was thereupon with the usual Customs and Ceremonies admitted. Now I bethought my self how I should govern my self in this Condition of Life; I could not but foresee the danger, but was loath to relinquish the profit; every snip or share I got as accessory to the theft, was like green fruit to me, sour and sweet, nor did I ever digest it, but with a conceited sore throat; yet I could not forsake my Company though I was very wary how far I engaged, till a years impunity or more had so stocked me, that I resolved to run no longer the desperate hazard of these Courses (which I see so many of my Comrades monthly expiate with their Lives, &c. at least by whipping and the satisfaction of Bridewell Work-house) but to address my self to a very fair expedient, whereby I might live, if not Honestly, yet Safely; a mean betwixt the strokes of Justice, and the Torments of Poverty.
I was well known to all the Gang, and by my good dealing with them not a little in their favour; I never wrangled for a share, or when I had the dividend to make, did I ever with-hold any of their Dues; so that I was commonly an Umpire in their Quarrels, and thereby did save them from the malicious discovery of one another, which they were sensible of, and did therefore look upon me with more an ordinary respect. I would now and then too out of my own Pocket, lend some of the most desperate of them a Crown or two, to keep them from apparent hazards of doing such Robberies which fatal necessity prompted them to, whereby I saved them often out of the Hangman’s Clutches; so that among all the Thieveries they did, my name was never heard of; for they made it the chiefest of their Religion to Conceal me and to Conceal nothing of their designs from me; nor did I ever openly accompany with them, save at our own retreats and places of meeting, where we had all possible privacy and security.
I held very good Correspondence now also with those Grandees of this function of Thievery, the Blades and Hacks of the High-way; who having heard from their inferior Tribe this repute of my equitable dealing, did deposit in my hands some of their Coin against a Rainy day. Money was a portable and as partable a Commodity, but the luggage and lumber of goods purchased by Burglary, I was shy to deal withal; for they serve commonly as the traces and scents to the owners to recover them; and I thank my Fates, I had still the luck to avoid that inconvenience, though I have been enticed with Movables of good value, which I abandoned to other Receptories.
Nay, I never harbored any felon under my Roof, which from a private Chamber at first, was now converted into a public dwelling, well stored and well accommodated; the difficulty of entrance which was much scrupled at first by my Landlord, I removed with the all powerful charm of Silver; and there are few of those in City or Town, who for the like advantages will not admit of any Tenants, be they of what report or Trade they will; Houses were not built to stand empty, nor I Born to stand Idle. However I did no way abuse his House, but made it rather an Exchange and place of intercourse, then prostituted it by any unseemly or lewd action; by this means I kept my self free from all manner of suspicion, save that I was taken for a Woman of a single and strange Humour, and looked upon as one of the conceits of the Times which laboured under very new and Exotic Fashions.
Among the rest Tobacco was grown to be the great Mode, and much in use, and a sect of Swaggerers there were which from thence were denominated the Puffers and high Huffers; I was mightily taken with this vanity, because of its affected singularity; and no Woman before me ever smoked any, though I had a great many to follow my example, how commendably I know not. I had nothing or would have nothing to do, but what might better be left undone; all easy and proffering deceit was my business, and my recreations or pastime was suitable and like it; for I grew to be more reserved in my boisterous exercises of baiting, &c. and could content to be a spectator and a better only, where a Pipe of Tobacco did much accommodate me.
One time, an unlucky knave, at a Grocers shop where I used to sit and talk in the intervals of my Trade, which I could not patiently await at Home; at my demand of a Pipe of smoked, presented me with a Pipe full of Gunpowder, covered at Top with Tobacco; which little suspecting I took and suddenly it fired in my mouth with such a blast and stench, belching and throwing out the Ashes, that it was a little resemblance of mount Etna. I was all against at present, but perceiving it was a Boy’s Roguery, I restrained my passion further then flinging the pipe at his Head, but forsook the Shop, resolving of no less satisfaction then blowing up both of Master and Man by Engines and Devices in convenient time.
In my house I should have told you, I set up a kind of Brokery or a distinct factory for Jewels, Rings and Watches, which had been pinched or stolen any manner of way, at never so great distances from any person; I might properly enough call it the Insurance Office for such Merchandize, for the Losers were sure upon Composition to recover their Goods again, and the Pirates were as sure to have good ransom, and I so much in the Grosse for Brokage without any more danger; the Hue and Cry being always directed to me for the Discovery of the Goods not the Takers.
A Lawless Vocation yet bordering between illicit and convenient, more advantageous by far to the injured, then the Courts of Justice and benefits of the Law, and more equal to the wrong-doers, who by such an hazardous seizure have as themselves think, an equal propriety in their Spoil, by yielding and restoring it upon such indifferent Terms as my Markets and Prizes usually were.
Sometimes I met with obstinate Thieves, who would by no means part with their Purchases, but would stand to their Possession as stiffly as if it had by right accrued to them, yet such a hank I had upon them, by working with their Partakers, and using my Authority, that I always prevailed, and made them stand to my agreement and arbitration. Nor could ever your Thief-catchers do any good upon these sort of people. My House was the Algiers where they trafficked in safety without the Bribes to those Fellows, and publicly exposed what they had got without the danger of Inquisition or Examination or Fees of silence. I could have told in what quarter of the Town a Robbery was done the Evening before by very early day next morning, and had a perfect Inventory of what they had taken as soon as it came to the Dividend; Nor were ever the Custom-House Bills showing what Goods and from whence they are imported more duly published for the advantage of Trade, then was the Account of those Robberies entered with me for the satisfaction of the Owners.
So that I may be said to have made a perfect regulation of this thievish Mystery, and reduced it to certain rules and orders, which during my administration of the Mistresship and Government thereof, was far better managed then afterwards it was; nor were the Robberies so frequent nor so grievous then as when my Discipline was cast off, and this sort of Cattle left to themselves, when I became obnoxious to these reforming Times just before the more licentious and legaler way of stealing, called Plunder, who needed no body to sell their stolen Goods, having Authority (though little better then mine) to countenance them therein. For my part I profess I held it law-fuller to take a Pound by the Old then a Pin by the New way, and the guilty persons concerned therein to stand in need of a Pardon, and to make ample restitution, more then any Newgate-Bird.
Insomuch that I very well remember a Coiner that was hanged at Tyburn in the beginning of the War for Counterfeiting and Clipping of half Crowns, out of a just indignation of the partial Fates, who had singled him out of so many Offenders to be sacrificed to the Laws, then more impudently and publicly affronted in his last words, used this Expression, That he was adjudged to die but for Counterfeiting of a half Crown, but those that Usurped the whole Crown and stole away its Revenue, and had Counterfeited its Seal, were above justice and escaped unpunished.---I sympathized with the poor man; for I was well acquainted with him, and knew he did it out of Necessity, and that mistaken unhappy Maxim, That it was no deceit, to deceive the Deceivers, such were the Grandees of those wretched Times.
I had forgot to tell you the place of this my dwelling which slipped me the rather, because few men need to be told where the Exchange or Cheapside Standard stands, since my Habitation was little less Famous; but since that particular is very requirable, and to show you I was no Lady Errant or this Story a Romance, know ye that I lived within 2 doors of the Globe Tavern in Fleet Street over against the Conduit, where I dispensed justice likewise among the wrangling Tankard-bearers, exchanging often their burden of Water for their burden of Beer as far the lighter, though not so well portable; for which kindness I had the Command of those Waterworks, being Admirallesse of the Vessels that sail upon Folks backs (as they have Ships in China which sail over dry Land) and unlade themselves in Kitchens.
Being thus seated and looked upon by my Neighbours with a civil though wondering respect, I was no way difficult or curiously cautious in my Conversation, but with all freedom in a fair way (as they term it) allowed my self in my humours. In one of which coming home late through Ludgate, with a Lantern carried before me; a Shoemaker or (as his due) a Translator, being then Constable, very well known of me; was pleased for all my faire Words and Account to send me to the Counter for a Rat; I made many reluctances to the contrary, and when I see I must go, did seriously threaten him with being resolved of satisfaction from him; the Watch were very unwilling (for I had always some of them retained to my service) to carry me; but a Constable in his Watch is a Prince, and there was no dispute of his will. So away they carried me, and put me into the Hole, for I was determined to see the worst of that Prison, and to learn at this cheap experience (for I cared not a Fart Sir Reverence what this fellow could do) the tricks and devices of the place of which I have heard such strange Tales.
It was near One a Clock when I came in, but I found the Turnkey and the Prisoners in such a readiness to entertain me and other Comers, as industrious people are about Six in the morning to betake themselves
to their business. For in this little Round House, and Epitome of the world (which is but a large Prison) the Sun never sets, but twinkles and slumbers a while under some Cloud of drowsiness, and arises again out of the Ocean of Drink, just about the time as we fancy and calculate the morning. The first salute they gave me was their demand of Garnish, which I stubbornly refusing to pay, they called their Constable, the chief Officer in this Garrison of the Law, to make seizure of some thing equivalent to their due, which by inevitable Custom amounted to half a Crown. This Constable who had not seen other light, nor breathed other Air for Thirty years, and had renounced the world out of quarrel for it's neglect of him; having seconded the demand with an imperious look, which is the sad prognostic of a stripping; laid hold on my Clothes, and called to the Chamberlain, another of his Officers, to fetch in the drink, who recoiling from me, startled with the new guise of a Doublet and Petticoat, he began to conjure & ask who I was, being very willing to come to a composition, not knowing how to lumber or engage my Raiment which would fit no body else. I laughed at this puzzle, and drew forth a Crown and bid them drink on; in all which time I heard not a word of other concern, then the depth of the Can, and Two or Three hearty prayers for more of my Condition; to help out the tediousness of time, which lay upon their hands and could not be disposed of, but in the clack and din of the Pots, and rules of Tippling.
Next morning came the Constable and had me before my Lord Mayor, and there laid to my charge my unseasonable and suspicious walking; aggravating that offence
with the strange manner of my Life. I never wanted confidence so much as I did now to defend my self; but having excused the necessity of my being abroad so late, by a good Plea of a Woman’s labour, (at which indeed nor no other, I was ever present) I humbly prayed his Lordship to pass by those other accidents, and new matter to this offence, and remit me to my good behaviour, which at last he was contented to do; and upon a small fine discharged me of this Constable, but not the Constable of me.
I could never digest this disgrace, though I computed with my self that I was not born to live without them; but I heard it frequently reported, here; this Headborough vapoured what a trick he had served me, and it galled me to the very Heart to be abused and to be jeered of it; besides by such a Widgeon, who had nothing tolerable in him but his
wealth, which in truth made him the rather intolerable. I studied Twenty ways how to effect my revenge, which I would have to draw as little envy or trouble upon me as possible; nor would I gratify my spleen with any thing but what should tickle not vex it; at last this project came in my Head; I knew the fellow to be Vain-glorious, and altogether as covetous; having so understood from his Neighbours how he used to boast of his Friends in the Country, and his Wealth at Home; by some narrower inspection of my Emissaries, I found him to have some relations after his report about Ludlow, in the Confines of Hereford and Shropshire; whereupon I procured one of my Imps, of whom I was furnished with store and variety to put this trick upon my Gentleman.
In a Summer Evening something late, all Booted and Spurred with a Horse in his hand, and covered with Dust, my Mercury comes to the Old Bailey, and very solicitously and hastily enquires out Mr. Wall (so was this fellow called) and by the Neighbours was informed which was his House; The fellow follows their directions, yet like an ignorant Countryman that dared not to go one step without new directions in this wood of the City, kept the same gawping inquiry in his Country Tone, where Mr. Wall dwelt: The people thought the fellow mad, but it prepared Mr. Wall with very great solemnity to receive this importunate Visitant. Being come to his Door he with the same earnestness and elevation of voice demands which is his House, he gravely answers beyond the question, for want of a better, He was the Master of it; the fellow seeming not to understand that City phrase, interrogates again whether Mr. William Wall lives there or no; to which he replies in some doubt and softly, what would he have with him? The choice, to put him out of his dumps, tells him, that if he be the Gentleman, He hath some News out of the Country which most nearly concerned him to impart to him, having come a purpose to be the first Messenger of such glad tidings; pray Sir come in quoth Wall, you are very heartily welcome, pray how do all our Friends in the Country? very well quoth this Spirit except your Uncle that is Dead, but yet we hope he is best of all; a little before his Death he made his Will and Sir, hath made you his Heir, and left you all his personal Estate besides, save a few Legacies: As to day he is buried by some of his Kindred; but before I came away, knowing my Deceased Master your Uncles mind; I have inventoried all the Goods and locked up his Evidences and Bonds, and the Money and Plate
in one of the great Chests, and have brought the Key along with me, which I here present you.
To have seen the perplexed looks of this Cobbler, which he laboured to frame to a Countenance of grief, but could not for his more prevalent joys which appeared in the better half of hit Mouth, and made him to grin as if he were a Shitting; would have made a man to Spew. At length after a deep Sigh and Ejaculation of the certainty of Death; he unriddled his Face, and very heartily welcomed the Fellow; brought him into his Kitchen, sent for strong Beer and a Glass of Sack, and a hot Joint from Pie-Corner; commanded his Wife to make him what cheer she could: and since there was no recalling of the Dead, though he was a Dear Uncle of his, (Ah Wife quoth he, I have lost a Friend, and a Friend) to pluck up their hearts and be merry. During this preparation, the Fellow stands at some distance, plucks off his Hat and so keeps it, and much ado there was to persuade him to be covered; when he made bold, he sayd to desire his new Masters favour that he might continue the Bailiff and Steward of his Lands; to which Cob readily assented, fore-praising his Honesty and Faithfulness.
After Supper they resumed the discourse, with which Wall being as much delighted as assured; they began to consider of their journey, the expedition whereof this fellow very much urged, in regard of those poor Kindred of his Uncles, who no doubt would make Havoc of those household Goods which were left about the house, and perchance might venture on the Locks, and seize the rest; whereupon all hast was used to begin the Journey, but the Cobbler would not disgrace himself among his Kindred, and therefore would stay till he had provided himself and his Wife with new Mourning Clothes and things suitable to his new Fortunes, with a Black Cloak for the Man, who was to attend them down into the Country, and bring them to this Inheritance.
Accordingly they sate forward, (the Cobbler having discharged his Mans Horse-hire, and other expenses besides Diet and Lodging during his stay in London) and in his Inns on the way was very officiously waited on by this new Servant the 4 first days Journey; lodging the last night as this Impostor said, within Ten miles of the place whither they were to go: but early in the morning up gets my Youth, saddles his Horse with the Portmanteau and his Cloak in it, and away Gallops another Road, leaving his Master to find out the Utopia of his great Wind-fall; who arising and missing his Guide and Servant, that was lost beyond enquiry, began to suspect the Cheat; but covetousness prevailing against reason, he resolved to pursue the adventure: and having the Town in mind, which he was informed was no further then Ten Miles off; he rode thither where he could hear of no such man, nor no such matter.
Vexed and yet ashamed to enquire any further, or to make a discovery of his own folly; the old Sinkater and his Joan turned their Horse head and sorrowfully depart, cursing the hour they ever saw this Cheating Rogue; and to add to their misfortunes, their Money (expecting a full Treasure and Recruit out of the aforesaid Chest) was drawn very low, so that they were forced to make long Journeys and short Meals in their way homewards; and yet notwithstanding to keep themselves, were fain to part with their Horse at St. Albans, whom his hard Travel and harder Feeding had brought down to a third of the price he cost them in London; where on Foot wearied and wasted with vexation, they at last arrived, and in the Evening crept into their House to avoid the laughter of their Neighbours, among whom before their setting forth, they had noised their sudden Wealth; the defeat whereof at length coming to their knowledge, never was poor Old Cuckold so Flouted and Jeered at; but time and shame wear out all things.
Though I knew not of his Arrival, yet I had notice how far my project was prosecuted by my Sancho Panza, whom I ordered to spread the report thereof abroad; which being made public, I one day as I passed by his door on purpose, took occasion to congratulate him with his great good Fortune: and asked him how he liked the Air of his Lands, and whither his Manor House were conveniently seated; he replied little, but with some merriness retorted the Counter to my better remembrance; I have discharged my memory already said I, and have quit scores with you, be you now pleased to remember it, which I gave him constant occasion of till his dying day.
I now followed my Vocation, which in a full and silent stream flowed in upon me; the clack of my dealing bringing other Grist to my Mill then it was first erected for; so that my House was become the only Office of Address, whereunto all people resorted for all manner of business. The Astrologers Figure Flingers were not so universally practiced; nor had the Cunning man any open Trade since the Ominous end of Dr. Lamb stoned by the Apprentices in the streets; no curiosity of a Love-sick Maid invited her to the remedy of their helpless Art, In Revealing, a Person whose properties, qualities, and features they had hinted before to the wise Master whose skill like a true Looking-glass should represent the Idea of their Fancy. People were not so fond of the Stars and their cheating Secretaries, as to consult their advice to be solved of those Oracles which their Folly and Dotage had made, until the world was mad and the angry unsolicited Planets in their late miserable revolution set folks a gadding after the riddling Prognostics and hab-nab events of Lilly and his ignorant Gang. Nothing but Losses and the certainty of the recovery of them engaged them to my Office, where without the fallacy and pretended operations of a Scheme, or any Familiar save a constant Correspondence with my Imps, I always satisfied them.
Once a Gentleman that had lost his Watch out of his Pocket by the busy fingers of a Pick-pocket, came very anxiously to me, enquiring if I could help him to it again, I demanded of him the Marks and Signs with the time when and where he lost it, or by what Crowd or other accident; he replied, that coming through Shoe Lane, there was a quarrel betwixt two men, one of whom as he afterwards heard was a Grasier, whom they had set in Smithfield; having seen him receive the sum of 200 l. or thereabouts in Gold, and it being a hazardous and great purchase; the choice and most excellent of the Art were assembled to do this Master piece; there was one Bat Rud as He was since informed, who was the Bulk; who observing the man held his Hand in the Pocket where his Gold was, just in the middle of the Lane whitherto they dogged him, overthrew a Barrel trimming at an Alehouse door, while one behind the Grasier pushed him over, who withall throws down Bat who was ready for the fall; betwixt these two, in the ground arose a quarrel, the Pick-pocket demanding satisfaction, while his Comrades interposing (after two or three blows) in favour of the Country-man (who had drawn his hands out of his Fob to defend himself,) soon drew out his Treasure; and while he was looking, on the scuffle, some of them had lent him a hand too and Fingered out his Watch.
I smiled at the adventure, and told him he should hear within a day or two at the furthest; to enhance my Market, perceiving the Gentleman very earnest to recover it: but I knew not by what ill fortune, the Gentleman perceiving amongst my Magazine of Watches, whereof I had always good store in my Window; his own as he confidently presumed, pretended to come to me again according to my appointment, but suddenly returned with a Constable, who bolted in upon me, and made seizure of the said Watch, and withal had me before a Justice.
This was the first Criminal Fact I ever was judicially taxed with, wherefore I requested two of my Neighbours, (for I bore much upon my Honesty and Innocence) to accompany me thither, where notwithstanding my protestations that I had had the Watch so many years, and that there might be such a similitude in the Watch as was not easily discernable, and that hitherto I had lived untainted; yet notwithstanding my Mittimus was made, yet by my Friends request, and upon their security I was bailed, to answer it the next Sessions, and the Constable commanded to keep the Watch in his Custody in the Interim, and to have it producible at my Trial: which being come, I was Arraigned and held up my hand at the Sessions House, the Court being full thronged to see and hear my Defense. I had before offered to take up the business, but they stood upon such unreasonable terms, thinking I would never hazard my life, or indeed my name at that Tribunal (where I could not but be suspected) that I resolved to stand the Issue, having concluded on an expedient to bring me off, if Fortune should favour the boldness of the attempt. When I had pleaded not Guilty, it came to this Issue, whether that Watch for which I was indicted, was the Gentleman’s Watch or no; whereupon the Constable was called, to deliver the Watch, that the Gentleman upon his Oath might declare the truth; when, as the Constable was crowding into the Court, one of my small Officers dived into his Pocket, and sought out the evidence against me and departed invisible.
My Lord Mayor was very much incensed at this affront, and concluded it was my design: but in spite of all their anger, the Jury could not but acquit me for the present; with the Courts terrible threatening of me, and Menaces to look to my future deportment, which I took very good heed of, resolving to come no more into their Clutches, and to be more reserved and wary in my way and practice.
But this did no way discourage my Continuance therein, I was grown of late acquainted with a new sort of Thieves called the Heavers, more fitly Plagiaries, whose Employment was stealing of Shop Books, the manner thus; They would cruse up and down a Stall when the Master was at Dinner or other way absent, about Drapers or Mercers especial, whose Books lie commonly near the Door upon a Desk; and upon the turning of the backs of the Servants, who are commonly walking to and fro, snatch it off and be gone, with an intent only of some redemptory Money upon its Delivery, for which they had the Convenience of my Mediation, which was ordinarily no less then three or four Pieces award, for the pains the Thief had taken, for I proceeded always by a quantum Meruit: the Apprentices willing to give any thing rather then their selves and their Parents should be liable to make satisfaction for so great a damage happened by their Carelessness.
I had another sort called the Kings Takers, these were men as much of their Heels as their Hands: in the dusk of the Evening or at high Noon when few people were ready for the race, they would run by a Shop and catch up any of the Wares or Goods lying upon a Stall and away with it; sometimes they got Prizes of good Value, and such as by no means might be lost, being either sold, or some remarkable Commodity or other, which the Losers were sure upon trucking with me to have back again.
While I thus reigned, free from the danger of the Common Law, some promoting operator set on by an adversary of mine, whom I could never punctually know, cited me to appear in the Court of the Arches, where was an Accusation exhibited against me for wearing indecent and manly apparel. I was advised by my Proctor to demur to the Jurisdiction of the Court, as for a Crime, if such, not cognizable there or elsewhere; but he did it to spin out my Cause, and get my Money; for in the conclusion, I was sentenced there to stand and do Penance in a White Sheet at Paul’s Cross during morning Sermon on a Sunday.
They might as soon have shamed a Black Dog as Me, with any kind of such punishment; for saving the reverence due to those who enjoined it, for a half-penny I would have Traveled to all the Market Towns in England with it, and been as proud of it as that Citizen who rode down to his Friends in his Livery-Gown and Hood: or that Parson who being enjoined to wear the Surplice contrary to his will, when he had once put it on, wore it constantly in his own and other Towns, while he was complained of, for his abusing that decent Ministerial Garment. I am sure there were some few who had no cause to be merry or sport themselves at the sight; for my Emissaries were very busy without any regard to the sacredness of the place, but in revenge of this disgrace intended me, spoiled a good many Clothes by cutting of part of their Cloaks and Gowns, and sending them home as naked behind as an Apes Tail; which espying, I remembered that story of another Crew of these Pick-pockets, who coming to a Market Town where there was next day a Fair to be kept; fearing to be discovered in that concourse of so many people, resolved to do their business that very evening, the people being very busy in fitting their stalls, and some little Trading stirring besides. Their first consultation was how to draw the Folks together to make one job of it, which was agreed on in this manner; one of them (the worst at the knife) pretending to be an ignorant Clown, got himself into the Pillory, at the bruit whereof the whole Town ran together to see the Spectacle, where those Cutters so plied their work, while they gazed, laughed and stared, that they left not any of them either Purse or Money; the very keeper of the Pillory who frolic at this curious fetch, being served in the same manner as he stood near the fellow: who seeing the work done and the sign given him that they were departed, having continued an hour in that Condition, and then at his desire released; told the Spectators that he hoped they could not lay any thing to his charge if they had suffered any loss, for he was in no capacity to do it: when clapping their hands to their Side, and then to their Heart, they cried out with one voice, their Purses were Cut, while in this Confusion he slunk away to his Companions, who were out of the reach of apprehension.
I did not say as much whatever I thought when my penance was over; but this dealing with me therefore was so far from reclaiming me to the sobriety of decent apparel, that I was [illeg.] offended with it, or others [illeg.] [illeg.]ex, could by no means endure at any time before the Finical and Modish Excesses of attire, into which Women were then, as in all Ages very curious, to the wasting and impoverishing their Husbands, beyond what they are able to afford towards such lavish and Prodigal Gallantry.
There was a pleasant story which I used to prate of, of a Neighbour of mine that was given this way, being on a time in her Bravery, her Husband liking and not liking the riches and Gaudery of her Clothes, by way of Droll accosted her in this manner; sweet-heart quoth he, you are very fine, but you never think of the charge, there is never a time I have any thing to do with you, but it stands me in a Crown towards this very superfluity. Husband replied the Dame, it is your own fault that you pay so dear: for if you would do it oftener, it would not be above a Groat a time: for I would rather take my Money in such Quids and Parcels, then in Sums and in Gross, provided the Coin be as Currant, neither clipped, washed, nor Counterfeit.
There was also a fellow a cotemporary of mine, as remarkable as my self, called Aniseed-water Robin: who was clothed very near my Antic Mode, being an Hermaphrodite, a person of both Sexes; him I could by no means endure, being the very derision of natures impotency, whose redundancy in making him Man and Woman, had in effect made him neither, having not the strength nor reason of the Male, nor the fineness nor subtlety of the Female: being but one step removed from a Natural Changeling, a kind of mockery (as I was upbraided) of me, who was then Counted for an Artificial one. And indeed I think nature owed me a spite in sending that thing into the world to Mate and Match me, that nothing might be without a peer; and the vacuum of Society be replenished, which is done by the likeness and similitude of manners: but contrariwise it begot in me a natural abhorrence of him with so strange an Antipathy, that what by threats and my private instigating of the Boys to fall upon, and throw Dirt at him, I made him quit my Walk and Habitation, that I might have no further scandal among my Neighbours, who used to say, here comes Malls Husband.
I shall never forget my fellow Humourist Banks the Vintner in Cheapside who taught his Horse to dance, and shooed him with Silver. Among other fantastic discourse, one day he would needs engage me in a frolic upon a wager of 20 l. which was that I should ride from Charing Cross to Shoreditch a straddle on Horseback in Breeches and Doublet, Boots and Spurs, all like a man cap a pe. I was all for such sudden whims (as old Noy said when the Shepherd laid him on his Head with a Crook, which he being surlily asked called a whim; who returning to his Company from whom just before he had in great hast parted; and being demanded by them the reason thereof, replied that a whim took him in his Head. Just so it took me, I accepted the Condition and prepared me with all the before named particulars against the day, and to doe something more then my Bargain; I got a Trumpet and Banner and threw it behind my back as Trumpeters use to wear it.
The day appointed being come I set forward, none suspecting me, yet every body gazing on me, because a Trumpeter in those days was as rare as a Swallow in Winter, every body wondering what it meant, and taking it for a Prodigy. I proceeded in this manner undiscovered till I came as far as Bishopsgate, where passing under the Gate a plaguey Orange Wench knew me, and no sooner let me pass her, but she cried out! Mal Cutpurse on Horseback, which set the people that were passing by, and the Folks in their Shops a hooting and hollowing as if they had been mad; winding their cries to this deep note, Come down thou shame of Women or we will pull thee down: I knew not well what to doe, but remembering a Friend I had, that kept a Victualling House a little further, I spurred my Horse on and recovered the place, but was hastily followed by the rabble, who never ceased cursing of me, the more soberer of them laughing and merrily chatting of the Adventure. In my own thoughts I was quite another thing: that I was Squiresse to Dulcinea of Tobosso, the most incomparably beloved Lady of Don Quixote, and was sent of a Message to him from my Mistress in the Formalities of Knight Errantry, that I might not offend against any punctilio thereof which he so strictly required; and also to be the more acceptable to my lovely Sancho Panza, that was trained up by this time in Chivalry, whom I would surprise in this disguise. These quirks and quillets at that instant possessed my fancy, but presently I had other representations. Me thought those about the door were the very people that gazed at Jane Shore in her scornful and unpitied misery when she laid her self down to die in one of the adjacent Ditches. The undeserved lamentable Fate of that noble Dame and the penance she had formerly underwent, wherein I was something like her, awakened me out of these imaginations which way I should be rid of the people; for I did not like that rudeness which manifested it self in their Speeches: when by chance came by a great Wedding on foot, at the instant that five or six Bailiffs had arrested a man, whom the multitude endeavoured to rescue; so while part was scuffling and part gazing at the Bride and Bridegroom, they had forgot me and gave me an opportunity of getting out the back way riding clear for Newington, where I rested my self in my Chamber not daring to come out till toward Evening, and so came late into Shoreditch, where I paced the same way back again to the winning of my Wager, and my great Content, to see my self thus out of danger, which I would never tempt again in that nature.
This was so famed and noised all about Town that I durst not appear for the Boys: I therefore betook myself to the instruction of my Parrots and tutoring my Dogs, whereof I had nine of a most lovely sort of Shocks, who were trimmed & looked to with the same Care as other folks did their Children. I always laid them in Trundle Beds, with Sheets and Blankets, and was as choice in their Diet, boiling as Gentlemen doe for their Hunting Dogs a Pot on purpose for them with Broth and meat) and they well showed their breeding and education, never bewraying the Chambers, nor any part of the House: In the exact and curious cleanness whereof I always much delighted, none of my Neighbours equaling me in the neatness thereof: which was the only part of womanhood I did.
Nor were the Ornaments of my house less curious & pleasing in Pictures, then in the delight of Looking Glasses, so that I could see my sweet self all over in any part of my rooms. This gave occasion to folks to say that I used Magical Glasses, wherein I could show the Querists (those that resorted to me for Information) those that stole their Goods in the resemblance of their proper persons; as likewise to others, curious to know the Features and shapes of their Husbands that should be, the very true and perfect Idea of them, as is very credibly and consistently enough reported of your African Sorcerers; and we have a Tradition of it in the Story of Jane Shores Husband, who by one of the like Glasses saw the unchaste embraces of his Wife and Edward the 4th. But this was a Fable as to mine, though I could have wished it had been true or have known which way to make it so; for I should have needed no other means to make me rich; seeing the very report of it did me some benefit by bringing folks thither upon that score, whom I could satisfy without the help of Old Nick; and my Cheats not so transparent.
There was a shameless Jade, as noted in this Town as my self at this time, but for far more enormous Actions; she was called Abigail, her way of living (she being a kind of Natural) was by ringing the Bells with her Coats for a Farthing, and coming behind any Gentleman for the same hire, and clapping him on the back as he turned his Head, to kiss him, to the enraging of some Gentlemen so far as to cause them to draw their Swords and threaten to kill her. This stinking Slut, who was never known to have done so to any woman; by some body's setting her on to affront me, served me in the same manner. I got hold of her and being near at home, dragged her to the Conduit, where I washed her polluted lips for her, and wrenched her lewd Petticoats to some purpose, tumbling her under a Cock, and letting the water run till she had not a dry thread about her, and had her soundly kicked to boot.
Give me leave to remember other my Cotemporaries very remarkable for their tricks, and my boon and pleasant companions, Mul-Sack the Chimney-Sweeper, and
Cottington the Cheat, who made up the Pack of our English Gypsies. Mul I think was Honest, but Cottington could cheat me, and I durst scarce venture my self in his company; for he pawned me once in a Tavern even to the shaming of me, though I think I was even with him at the long run: having light upon him drunk, and enticed him Home, I brought him to a Constable and charged him with him, who had him to a Justice, by whose Warrant he was set in the Stocks till he was sober. But he was grown confident in such wooden punishments, having stood in the Pillory at Charing-Crosse a little while before with a Tinker, whose Kettle he wore on his Head all the time: the Tinker was put in before him on his right Hand, which he Spaniard-like quarreled at, saying, he was a person of more reputation then the Tinker, and made the Officers remove him to make place for his worship. I visited my Gentleman in his Yoke, but I could not tell whether his Face or his Kettle were the better Brass.
I shall often mention my Bull dogs though I had almost forgot this pleasant Story; Among other of my Bull-dogs I kept, I had one whom I constantly fed my self, and by a trick I used (which was to offer him Meat in my left Hand, and if he snapped at it, to give him five or six Cuffs of the ear) I had learnt him to take no meat but out of my right Hand, which howsoever I stood, and whether he came to me behind or before at my feeding of him he exactly knew. There was a Wench a Servant to an Alehouse, I used to resort to, whom one time I overheard to call me Mal Cutpurse, which I could by no means endure, and resolved to revenge with this device upon her. I came thither one morning with some Company, and as my Custom was, I brought what cold Meat I had in the House for a Breakfast: we sate in the Kitchen and fell to, while the Maid was busy up and down, and my Dog lying in her way she took occasion to rate him and gave him a kick; I laid hold on the opportunity which would otherwise have put me to a shift to make one, and asked her the reason of her so doing; telling her withal that it may be she had a spite to the Dog for his good qualities; Marry Gup quoth she, to be scabby is one of them; yes said I, I will lay a Wager of ten shillings as much as your Quarters service comes to, the Dog shall discover whether you be a Maid or no; agreed quoth the Wench, with that I stepped to her and caught hold of her of her right Hand, as making sure the bargain, saying, Give him this bit of Meat that lies on my Trencher, and if he takes it from you and eat it, you are a perfect Maid; otherwise not:
she was very unwilling to make an essay or refer her virginity or rather impudicity to the Dog, but in a careless manner held the Morsel to him in her left Hand, which he refused, but instantly took it out of my right Hand which was free; she was all abashed (for she had seen the Dog roving up and down the House and gnawing of Bones, and it could not be imputed to his repletion) and would fain have slunk away, but I forced her, holding her hand still, to stay and make another Trial; the Dog continued in the same careless obstinacy which made the Wench stark mad: Well said I, before all the Company, it is apparent you have lost your Maidenhead, and if you will venture further, I'll tell you how often you have gone awry in your shoo; for here's twice already. Thereat she was so surprised, that she blushed exceedingly and had not the confidence to deny it, but sculled out of the Kitchen and came in no more to us; when her fellow servant coming in we told her the Story, and would likewise wager with her upon the same bargain: the Gypsy either knew her self tardy or else was a wag; for she merrily replied, Do you think me such a Fool to be tried by Dogs? I was fully satisfied from the other for the affront she did me; for she was forced to leave her place the boys made such a Town Talk of her. Other the like pranks I plaid with this Dog which made me very careful of him, because he yielded me sport and pastime every way, so that I never suffered him to be abused at the Bull; for I made nothing to crack any mans head with a good Baton I had always in my hand if they played foul play; which gives me occasion to add (that I may not miss any of my good qualities) that I could use a Backsword as well as the best of them. Once I challenged a fellow to fight with me in a School at that Weapon, whom I so soundly beat that he was forced to lay it down and confess me the Conqueror.
I will tell you also of a drunken encounter of mine as festivous and unhappy as any of my other, and something of kin to this. I had been quaffing one night late at the Devil Tavern, and had got my Load with some of my acquaintance, who being loath to stir I slunk away from them, and making hast out of doors, in the Dark reeled or stumbled at a great black Sow that was rousting of a Dunghill near the Kennel, where into I fell and most lamentably bemired my self with the dirt, and turning about to see who gave me this abuse, I perceived by its grunting 'twas a Swine; thought I to my self I can have no better satisfaction then by driving of it home, and the pounding of it, and so make the owner pay for the Trespass. I then fell a driving the Sow, for so she proved; but I know not whether I reeled or she wallowed the move; for she was full of Pigs. This pleased me so much the better, and invited me to that entertainment of her beyond the impulses of my present humour; I knocked at Door, and it being opened I put in my Lodger before me. My Maids began to scold and to tell me they had new washed the House, the fitter said I for my Guest; you do not know my meaning, get you to your Distaff and lend me a Candle. So I gently drove her up to my best Chamber, which was matted, and with a Mat made her a Bed; and a little after made her a Drench to hasten her farrowing. It pleased the Hogs next morning she brought me Eleven curious sandy Coloured Pigs spotted like the Guinea ones, very fat and tidy to my no little rejoicement.
I made a shift to eat them merrily inviting my Gossips and Compeers severally to them, till I had spent them all, and then I very fairly turned the Sow out of Doors, who presently repaired to her old Master a Bumkin that lived at Islington, who with wonderment received her again, and having given her some Grains turned her out of his Gates, watching what Course she would take, and intending to have satisfaction for his Pigs wheresoever he should find her to have laid them. The Sow naturally mindful of her squeaking brood, came directly to my Doors, and there kept a lamentable quarter to be admitted; this was Evidence enough for the Whoreson that there his Sow had laid her Belly; when with a clear Confidence he knocks at my door and demands to speak with me: I wondered what rustic Visitant I had got, and suspected him come out of Smithfield from a bad Market, among my Harvesters there; but it proved quite another Story. He tells me a Tale of a Sow and her Litter: I reply he is mad. He swears he knows his Sows meaning by her grunting, and that he would give me Sauce to my Pigs if I made no better answer. Goodman Coxcomb said I, come in and see if this House look like a Hog-sty (which though I say it, was kept as neat and clean as any Lords in London, my Lord Mayor not excepted) He came through the Parlor into my Kitchen and Yard: do you think said I she is here? thence up Stairs into my Bed-chambers and Dining Room, where he saw his own face in the boards, do you think she Pigged here? no quoth the Fellow: lastly I carried him into my Matted Room, What think you of this? Oh no, quoth the Hog herd, I wonder you think me to have so little manners! In faith said I, if she pigged not here she pigged no where in my House you may believe me. The Fellow was Convinced, beyond my pardon, for this trouble, and went home cursing his Sow.
About this time happened that memorable Story of the five Women-Shavers in Drury-lane, which I was very glad to hear; for it was a most impudent debauched piece of malice and lessened the envy of my Actions; these five Furies had got a poor Woman, (whom they suspected the principal Shaver’s Husband had to doe with) and having stripped her, whipped her with rods most terribly, and shaved off all the Hair about her, and then soused her in suds till they had almost killed the poor Wretch, whose tears, cries and protestations prevailed not a rush. They were afterward prosecuted for the riot, and condemned to the Pillory, which one or two of them suffered, and the rest fled to Barbados; but all of them ruined their poor Husbands.
I was now declining in my years, but my Trade as flourishing as ever, so that I lived in great plenty, and took the swing of my delights and pleasures, which way so ever they invited me. I was always a good Fellow, and loved good Liquor, especially good Wine, and growing into years such Cordials were not amiss: once sitting chirping a Glass or two in a Tavern at one of my Neighbours where I used to resort, (though the Globe was my principal Mansion, whence I issued out my Processes and Warrants to bring the Offenders and the Thieves before me and usually determined the wrong) my Company began to suspect, that the Vintner deceived us, and dashed our white Wine with Water: I had long before suspected him for the like sophistication, but he had always stoutly denied it, but this time I was resolved to make trial; I went home and got some Green Sedge, such as grows in your clearest Fountains, and returned presently again, and calling for a fresh Quart, I put some of it into the Pot, and then called for the Vintner, who all aghast and amazed at the surprise, had not the Confidence utterly to deny it, but runs out and pretends to examine his Boy in the Kitchen, beyond which I had planted one of our Company to hear the Result, which was no more then this: the Master fell a beating the Vinegar-drawer or Pot-boy for not looking to the clearness of the water that was set aside for this use of mixture, which I hearing run in on the Gods speed, and to part the Pray fell with the like fury upon the Master, for his cheating cozening practices upon his Neighbours; and thence forward utterly forsook the Fellow and his Drink. This was a small and inconsiderate passage, but it serves to usher in a more famous and notable One, on this very Subject, only turned and altered to the better.
After that unnatural and detestable Rebellion of the Scots in 1638, upon His Majesties return home to London, where preparation was made for his Magnificent Entry, I also resolved to show my Loyal and Dutiful Respects to the King in as ample manner as I could or might be permitted. It was usual with the Roman and modernly the Italian Courtesans to be very splendid in public Works, as erecting of Bridges or Aqueducts, Causeways making of Moles, or cutting Passages; and this they do either tributarily and by Order of the State, who set such an annual or other Rate upon them, or else Testamentarily, when at their Death they bequeath proportional Sums of Money, which they have got by their unlawful Trade, to such good and laudable uses.
And memorable is that Story of Phryne the great Harlot of Greece (as you must know I am well read in all such kind of Learning) who when the Walls of Thebes lay demolished, she being a Citizen thereof, offered to build them up and Rear them again, on Condition and Proviso, that on the Gates which were to be a Hundred, there should be engraved in Greek these words, Alexander overthrew them, and Phryne the Courtesan rebuilt them; which they disdainfully refusing, she to preserve the memory of her wealth (procured by the prostitution of her body) caused a Massie Image of Venus to be made all of Gold, which she Consecrated and gave to the Temple of Apollo, where it stood the wonder of succeeding Ages, till Sacrilege & Covetousness, & the ruin and destruction of the place reduced it to one and the same Nothing.
But to return from this not unpleasant digression, I was resolved in my own account to bear a part in the charge of this Solemnity; and therefore undertook to supply Fleet-street Conduit adjacent to my House with Wine, to run continually for that triumphal Day, which I performed with no less Expense then Credit and Delight, and the satisfaction of all Comers and Spectators. And as the King passed by me, I put out my Hand and caught Him by His, and grasped it very hard, saying, Welcome Home CHARLES! His Majesty smiled, and I believe took me for some Mad Bold Beatrice or other, while the people shouted and made a noise, in part at my Confidence and presumption, and in part for joy of the Kings Return. The rest of that Day I spent in jollity and carousing, and concluded the night with Fireworks and Drink.
This celebrated Action of mine it being the Town talk, made people look upon me at another rate then formerly. It was no more Mal Cutpurse but Mrs. Mary Thrift, my neighbours using me with new respect and civility. If I interposed in any Tumults, which happened frequently, and I would be sure to Concern my self; if the Constable were called he followed always my Direction; for I was looked upon as the only Umpire in such business! I had also a Custom which was duly observed to be charitable on Sundays to the Prisoners of Ludgate and Newgate, so that I grew well acquainted with the Keepers, and could Command any Favour from them that lay in their power, which most an end I used in procuring of Bail and getting them accepted for Felons, and those of my Tribe and Family, though I was never nice or weary of doing the like Courtesies for poor Debtors when they made their Addresses to me.
Among these Keepers I had Contracted a firm and close Friendship with Ralph Briscoe the Clerk of Newgate, a notable and famous Person, and the best and ablest to go through that place, they ever had or are like to have. He was right for my Tooth and made to my mind in every part of him; insomuch that had not the apathy and insensibleness of my carnal pleasure even to stupidity possessed me, I should have hired him to my Embraces. I had known him a Child, bred up most an end in the same Exercises of Bull-baiting, wherein I presided. I always praised his towardliness and believed he would come to preferment; For he was bred at Grays-Inn which made him to write and read so perfectly in his youth, & I knew also he had good Parents; yet I know not that ever I mist him at any Match in my life: Besides, ever since he came to know himself, he always deported himself to me with abundance of regard, calling me his Aunt; keeping close by me and engaging with me in the Broil. I once brought him off when his venturousness had like to have cost him his life, the Bull having made a heave at his breeches, which broke and gave way, and me the opportunity of pulling him back. Ever after we two were both one, he never failing of any duty, nor any service I required of him, which he was capable to do in that place and quality.
Having such sure Cards at every Sessions, and having recovered and gained such an estimation, I did constantly interpose my self at all the Gaol Deliveries in and about London, and having gotten the ears and favour of some great Lords of the Court, by what artifices I'll tell you presently, I made it no difficulty to Reprieve any one Felon that could either make most Money for me, or had deserved well, or was like by his dexterity to deserve well of me, so that in process of Time I had as many Tenants for Life belonging to me as any Nobleman whatsoever. These I had always ready at my Devotions and the power and willingness I showed to save some, brought other Thieves to my obedience, so that I was as good as Queen Regent of Misrule, being obeyed from the two great Principles of Subjection, Love and Fear, being alike able to preserve from, and to deliver to the Gallows, upon any the least spleen or conceived displeasure: the load whereof some intractable Rogues felt in their deceived hopes of a burnt Hand, when (like the Turkish Emperor of late, who gave a private Sign for the cutting off a Malefactors Head for Coining when the punishment of the Law was but the Loss of his Hand) I gave them over to themselves and the Law, and left their Heads in a Noose and their Lives in the Lurch.
But to abrupt a while the thread of this Thievish Discourses, I will tell you some other of my Pranks and devices, which were far more innocent and civil, being a fair Negotiation betwixt Man and Man, upon honest and equitable grounds. I had made many Friends, and some of them moneyed Men, with whom (having quickly got an inside into the Scriveners way of lending other Folks money,) I did now and then pleasure a Friend; among other of the courtesies, when Money was very scarce for a Courtier to find in the City without very good security, (though they have had the luck to bite them of their wares and goods to the disparagement of Inprimis and Items) I did upon the earnest entreaty of one of those gay Cavaliers endeavour to take up a 100 l. for him of one of my Dons, who was very rich; acquainting him with the quality and fortunes of my Brave, and that there could not possibly be any danger in crediting him with that sum; he smiled, and replied he knew the Gentleman very well, that his Uncle was yet living his very good Friend, and therefore should be loath to displease him, by supplying his Nephew in any extravagant courses; but yet if I thought there was no danger, or that the young man was civilized, he would venture such a sum if he would be bound. I undertook both these considerations, as sure of a good snip and share, when my youngster should have the Money, but the Old Rogue intended no such matter; for when my Friend came to receive the Money, he very punctually told it him out and suffered him to bag it up, when according to agreement he asked him to be Bound, with all my heart replied the other, when straight ways rush in a couple of Fellows with a double Cord, and make the Gallant fast to a great bed, and throwing him his Money at his Feet, leave him to consider of the disposal of it: in which consultation he was not long before he knocked very hard, desiring the Old Gentleman to come up and receive his Money again, but there was no body would hear, while he was even tired with whooping and the impatience of his restraint; at last up comes the Grave Seignior with his two security men, and release the Gentleman, making him count over the Money again, & pay it in due form of Law, and with some hints to him of his Uncle, and his own ill Husbandry, gave him leave to depart.
Immediately he repairs to me and tells me his disgrace: I furthered his passion by being as mad at it as himself, but how to help it I knew not; yet see the Invention of disappointed and frustrated expectation. I presently mustered my Wits and set him upon this project; go you, said I, to such another Veilliago, which I named to him, a great Friend and Familiar of the others, and tell him you come from me; and if I see him before, which I afterwards did, I will tell him as much, that you want a 100 l upon your own bond, and if he shall scruple it, tell him you were bound to such a Man and you paid him very honestly at the day; he knows your Family likewise, and no doubt the plot will take effect.
My advice was followed, the Usurer as I, supposed before, comes to be resolved of the other, whither what was told was true? he answered, yes, I had him bound and he paid me very honestly; whereupon the dotard no way doubting of just dealing, lent the 100 l. upon his bond, but to this day never saw a Farthing again; but came constantly to his dying day railing at me, though to the same purpose as pissing at the Conduit. He was a kind of a turned out Lawyer, who having got his Estate by broils, thought it requisite to spend the rest of his days in ease and plenty; I thought it contrariwise no way fit or just, that such Tormenters should have their Quietus est either in this Life or the next; for I always hated cruelty and oppression, but of all people I affected not a Lawyer.
I had tasted of their covetousness and dilatoriness so much, that I never advised any person upon any misusing whatsoever to have recourse to them for remedy or redress. I knew their quirks and quillets and how they could and did wrest the Law to any thing for their own advantage; and therefore I always by my self or Friends composed all differences that came to my cognizance. I was never better pleased with any thing justly done by them then I was with that story of Mr. Attorney Noy (which relating to my Trade, was of good use and direction to me in such like Causes) concerning the 200 l. left by two Cheaters in an Inn-keepers hand by them both, to be delivered to them both again; which the man forgetting, paid it to one of them, and the other brought his Action; when the Court and the Defendants Counsel were Nonplussed, Noy strikes in, and being Feed, acquaints the Judge if the person would come and receive it, the 200 l. was ready, and since they could not help it would pay it twice: but the Cheater durst not venture upon that score, and so the Court was satisfied of the Trick. In like manner, a Country Dealer had lost a 100 l. with Cloak-bag and all upon the Road, it having dropped
from him, and a good honest poor man had the Fortune to find it at the Town's End. The loser cries it, offering to give Twenty pound to any that should inform him of it; the Countryman hearing of my practice, comes to me and acquaints me with it; I expecting a little consideration also, gave the man notice, who came and told out the Money, and when he had told it, threw the poor man Twenty Shillings, saying, that indeed there was near 120 l. and that the founder had taken out the odd Money, and had more then satisfied himself; the Man denied it, the other persisted in it, why then said I, there is no other way of decision but by your Oaths; and if either of you dare forswear himself for the Money, at his peril be it. The Covetous Londoner accepts of the condition, the other desires his Purgation; so they made two Affidavits the loser swears he lost 120 l. the other swears there was all he ever found; so that upon reference of it to me, I ordered the Money to remain still with the honest finder, it appearing by both their Oaths that this was not the Money that was lost, but another sum, and might possibly by a favorable construction be another mans.
THE Seeds of that Unnatural War, which not long after grew up to be the Harvest of Death in the numerous Slaughter of many Brave and Gallant Persons, some of them of my acquaintance, began now to appear, when the popular Artifices and Cheats of some Grandees of those Times upon the multitude, by their specious pretences of Liberty and Religion, so far outdid all the ways and methods of my Imps, and their most Juggling impostures, and Hocus Pocusses, that I was at a loss and had nothing at all to do.
The public was all the Noise, and all the Trade and Resort was to Mr. Pym’s Chamber; poor City Gulls, that came thither to have their Pockets Picked, and to learn how to throw away their Money.
This new Invention I say, very much troubled me, for, besides that I had a tincture of Religion and good Nature, both which made me affectionately Loyal to my Prince, whose Honour and Safety was principally endangered; I plainly perceived that there would be no living for me in those precise times that I boded would ensue; which would endure none but holy Cheats and sanctified Delusions, where another guess spirit then of Mephistopheles was pretended in their Godly Legerdemain and most zealous operations.
But they soon resolved me, that it was indeed Old Nick who actuated them by his principles of Malice, Lying and Murder, (Vices and Impieties I can proudly say, thanked be my good innocent Stars, I never was the least tainted with; (for if I had any thing of the Devil within me, I had of the Merry one, not having through all my Life done any harm to the Life or Limb of any Person) when I perceived them engaged in that desperate Fatal conspiracy against that renowned States-man, the Earl of Strafford, Lord Deputy of Ireland.
That bloody Prosecution, most implacable revenge, and impotent rage of the Rabble, did very much move alike my indignation and compassion, which I was not afraid for all the mad Prentices ran down almost every day crying, Justice and Execution (and a casting glancing blow at me might have been feared) publicly to resent and declare my abhorrence.
Nay to make that Unfortunate Earls Enemies appear equally Cruel and Ridiculous to that sort of people I conversed with; I published a solemn Bull baiting, where in the hearing of them all, I named a generous and cunning Bull that threw off all the Dogs that made at him, Strafford; and my Dogs that played at him, I named Pym and St. John's and so forth; This is Pym cried I, he bawls and makes a noise but bites not: but this is St. John's, he fastens shrewdly, but yet he plays not any fair play, and so Allegorized the whole story.
There were some fanatics there who caught hold of my words, and began to question me; but oh my sides! I cannot but laugh to think I see those Rascals beaten. My Crew without any command of mine, fell upon them, calling them all the Saucy Rogues in the World, for daring to question me that was the uncontrollable Mistress of the Game, and at whose service they all were; and having kicked and banged them to some purpose, turned them out of the Bear-Garden to relate to their Accomplices how like a stage they had seen there to that at Westminster-hall, which they failed not to doe, with many Aggravations of my impudent (as they were pleased to call it) Behaviour and Language, to the Dishonour of the Parliament and those famous Patriots and Assertors of its Privileges and the Liberty of the Subject, when I could have said more truth in behalf of my Pick-pockets.
The Blows these Roundheaded sneak-noses had received, stuck so close to their skins, that they could not forget me the occasion thereof, which made them incessantly diligent in procuring an order of Commitment of me to the Sergeant at Arms attending the House of Commons. I had timely notice hereof and prepared to avoid the Storm, by running for shelter under the protection of a Nobleman my Neighbour, who interposed his Power and Authority, and superseded the Warrant for seizing me.
I know people will be inquisitive from whence and upon what occasion came this kindness, and therefore I will pass from this Noble occurrence to another lepid and pleasant Story forbearing only the Name and Place, because its yet recent in Memory. You must know therefore that among other my large acquaintance I had some familiarity with the mad Girls and the venerable Matrons of the kind Motion, among the rest, I was very intimate with the Abbess of the Holland Leaguer on the Bank side, and with Damaris Page, newly then from a whore Rampant separated to the Office of a Procurer or Provider, and some other notable and the ancientest Traders in that Profession. Now seeing how little hopes there were of my interloping in stolen Goods, I thought it the best Course to keep me in my old Age which grew apace upon me, to deal altogether in prohibited Wares, not doubting but that pleasure would invite as many Comers as Profit, there being always, which I considered both in War and Peace, good Vent of such Commodities. The voluptuous Bed is never the less frequented for those hard and painful Lodgings in the Camp.
I saw also, that the former Traffickers this way were very straight-laced and too narrow in their practice, as Confining their industry in this Negotiation to one Sex, like Women Tailors, that if they were to be hanged cannot make a Doublet for themselves. In this I was a little prosperous, though to make good the Simile, I could never fit my self. One time (you may spare me this digression; for since there was nothing serious in the whole course of my life, save the very anticnesse thereof which always kept the same tenor, it is no great matter how I place my words and matter) as I was going down Fleetbridge I espied one of my Neighbours Mr. Drake, a Taylor God bless him, and to my purpose, he was altogether for the women; quoth I in Droll, Mr. Drake when shall you and I make Ducklings? he quacked again, and told me, that I looked as if some Toad had ridden me and poisoned me into that shape, that he was altogether for a dainty Duck, that I was not like that Feather, and that my Eggs were addle. I contented my self with the repulse and walked quietly homeward.
To return, I had new and strange faces now frequenting and haunting my House quite contrary from those before, I began to think my self a Generalissima or some great Military Officer, such a Troop of Gallants and Soldier-like Men using to me for employment and preferment; Among the rest I was cruelly troubled with Frenchmen, who were very solicitous with me for Orders, with such confidence that I could not any way be rid of them; one of them whom I ventured upon a finical Madam, I saw afterwards in a splendid Condition, and generally all whom I set at work were ever afterwards very seldom idle or needed my assistance. I never well knew the knack of it (for they were very sordid and ungrateful, and courted not (when they were served) my acquaintance that advanced them) but if I did I should modestly forbear it; for I love it not my self; and therefore will restrain others so, through their forced ignorance thereof. But without great wrong to Civility it is imputable chiefly to the Mignardises, and more Effeminate Wantonness of the Monsieur; whose soft dalliances and Courtships, and impudent bold Flatteries are in that preferable, before the rude and downright attempts of the English; and I remember a lewd story of Vavasour Powell, inveighing in his Pulpit against the Cavaliers, and taxing the violence of their lust to this very purpose; but it is well known, and his Authority not worth a rush; and so I pass it least I foul my Paper.
Generally, I therefore chose the sprucest Fellows the Town afforded, for they did me reputation at home and service abroad; my Neighbours admiring what this retinue and attendance meant, nor would I now discover it but to unburden my conscience, and shame the private practices of some great Women; who to this very purpose keep Emissaries and Agents to procure Stallions to satiate their desires, as confidently as they entertain Grooms and Laundries. I will stir this Puddle no longer, nor dive into the depth of it any further, least I pollute and inquinate the Reader with the Filth hereof.
This was Fortunes right hand to me in this new undertaking, by which I got good store of Money, being paid on both sides: I had also a bountiful one of her left, in my trucking with the other Sex: I told you my acquaintance there, [among whom I ought to have reckoned Mrs. Pike, one of Mrs. Turners breeding up, and of the like fate with her, for they were both hanged at Tyburn: the latter for dealing unskillfully in my Vocation, having received stolen goods from the hands of one Crowder (a notable High Way Man who used to Rob people in the Habit of a Bishop, attended by Four or Five in the quality of his Servants, and was very famous for the great prizes he took) I did much regret the fortune of both these, having paralleled and compared them with my Condition, which as to the future resembled Mrs. Turners, whose unhappiness it was to have to do with great Personages; my present way, and as to my past Life, was near a piece with Mrs. Pikes as I was Receiver General of the Thieves Revenue. I did all I could to save her, but the Notoriety of her Crime prevailed against all endeavours that way; and so I resigned her to her cruel destiny.] Now I will tell you what good use I made of it; I had my Purveyors continually abroad, who had always the prime of the Market: whatever Maidens came to Town, there was none durst or might see them till my turn was served, my Sisters of the Tribe must wait for my leavings; very frequently I have had notice of some, even from those persons and places that retailed them
themselves, it being counted a peculiar fault to conceal any such thing from me, and which they were sure to satisfy me for by one revenge or another, which the proudest she of them all durst never think to retaliate upon me.
This was the Common road, but these were other private ways, which were chalked out to me by the particular Fancy of some great persons, whose eyes had lighted upon some difficult love, which lay not in their Knight Errantry to achieve. Herein my service was courted, who by reason of my general knowledge and the Confidence of address had access everywhere. I sometimes on such Errands delivered Letters, sometimes a Complement and a how do' ye and the proxy of a visit, when I would be sure to have the servants at my devotion: In these Affairs as in all other I was no less dexterous then lucky, which made me very acceptable to those who stood in need of such an Instrument.
So that my House was become a Double Temple of Priapus and Venus, frequented by Votaries of both sorts, to whose desires my answers (the Oracles of a Couch chair where I sate as chief Priestess) were always favourably accommodated; some of my Proselytes, for their good omen of their initiation by my predisposal of them (but to their thinking occasionally) reencountering one another at my threshold, to the ravishing wonder of those mutual desirers, who little expected such sudden Fruition, which always enhanced my price to the defraying of my liberal Expenses in wine and good Cheer.
With others I lingered, delaying their Impatience by laying before them the difficult but certain attainment of their wishes, which served as a Spur to the dullness of their Purses; for my Lady Pecunia and I kept the same pace; but still in the Conclusion I did the Feat. There was a noted Lass a married Wife of this time, whose Story shall serve to conclude all the amorous tricks and pranks that were wrought by me; for indeed it sums up all that belongs or attends to such doings, and the account I promised; want and shame never failing to bring up the rear of Lust and wantonness.
She was in her youth a very curious Piece indeed, but wanting a Fortune Competent and proportional to it, arrived no higher at her Marriage then an ordinary Citizen, yet of good Fame and Reputation. For a while in the beginning of this state she lived continently at home, but the Flies buzzing about her as they resort always to sweets, soon Corrupted and Tainted her: this was not unknown to me, and thereupon I resolved that she was as free for my turn as for any bodies, and forthwith I accosted her, using such Caresses, promises and invitations as I knew the Market would bear, so that I made her entirely mine, and gratified a friend with her first acquaintance, who in short, was that Noble Friend, that preserved me out of the hands of the People at Westminster who had resolved on my mind: He had not long after occasion to Leave London, and then I bestowed her on another, and so to a Third, Fourth and Fifth, &c. according to my best advantage, till such time she had Contracted those distempers, which not long after brought her to her Grave; her sickness having first buried those quick and lively Colors in her Face under the cold Earth of a dead and lurid paleness, that enviously triumph in the spoils of so proud a Beauty. Being in this plight, and judging her self both by the glass of her face and that unerring mirror of her Conscience unworthy to live, since the first told her she could be in no favour with Men, and the other more surely told her, she was out of favour with Heaven, she addressed her to Late but serious Repentance, beginning at the right place with Confession, unbosoming her self to her Husband, and craving first his pardon and forgiveness; which being granted, she desires him to call up all her Children, which were in number Twelve, that she might take her leave of them, and say something of them to him which concerned him.
When they were come, she begins, This Eldest Boy is truly yours, no Man ever having to doe with me until after his Birth; but this next to him is such a Knights Son, that such a merchants that such a Noble mans, that such a Doctors, and so forward (naming men all of good quality & Estate) till she came to the youngest, who was carelessly biting on a piece of Bread and Butter, when just as she was pronouncing his Parentage, the Boy broke out into this Language; hold Mother, pray bethink your Self; for Gods sake let me have a Father that's Rich and Gentile, as well as the rest of my Brothers and Sisters: which proving at his wish, the Boy was overjoyed; but the poor Cuckold dismayed; till after her Decease, (for I durst not come near her, as well loath to give her any occasion of regret and embitter her sad Condition as indeed ashamed of my self, being touched with the like, though not so through Convictions of the evil I had done) coming to condole with him for the loss of my Gossip: he roundly taxed me with inveigling his Wife into such lewd Courses, to his no less shame then Ruin, by such a numerous Train of Bastards. I bid him be quiet, and if he would follow my advice I would make him a gainer by his hard Fortunes; which I effected by procuring him round sums of Money from his respective Rivals, to the maintenance of their Illegitimate Issue, which they honestly paid; and all was hushed up in a contented secrecy, and he and I as good Friends and Companions as ever.
The sweets of this sin are not so luscious, but the sour of it is altogether as tart and piercing; and usually those pricks are applied to the Conscience, when there is no outward comfort left to intervene and rebate their Keenness, when Pleasures, Friends and Health have forsaken them, and exposed them in the Loathsome dress of their own impurities, to the contempt of the world, and the abhorrence of themselves.
For I do not know of those many I was acquainted with, that ever parted hence as others do: but either they died the pity and scorn of people, or else they ranted away their lives in a desperate and careless manner, to no less scandal and ignominy, then if they had perished through want and distress. I speak of Common and Continual Strumpets, who live by the Devil's pay, and are constantly in his Service; Yet is death in what shape so ever a Felicity, if it comes seasonably, and nicks them in the very critical time of their decay; but if they chance to survive that, who can reckon those numberless miseries that attend them? what old sinner is she who thinks not of Calamitous Shrove Tuesday, with Dread and Horror? who skips not out of her Bed if she have any, or else off a Dresser every night with Fear and Affrightment at the Apparition of a Beadle at a Whipping Post or Carts Tail? who Dreams not of that Terrible Tempest of Turnip Tops, Garbage, Dirt, and Brick-a-brack, and of a Hog in Armor to ride through it? who trembles not at those dire Execrations, and Curses of the Prentices, during that Martyrdom? Damming all Bauds to Hell, and the Sharpest inflictions of punishment there, yet the very day before smiling in her Face, calling her Mother, Aunt &c. and sending for Mull-Sack, or Strong-waters, to assist them in the prosecution of their Lusts, and to deal Honestly and civilly with them. Oh this Contradiction and Unagreableness between Twenty and Forty years! the longest distance betwixt the temperate and horrid Zone of Woman-hood; in which last Climes, what Fetid Exhalations, what Putrid Breaths, what Parched Skins, what Withered and Dried Faces are there? As for those real Fires hereafter, the terror of that were insupportable; but that they have a device to quench those Flames by continual pouring in strong liquor, which swims their brain into a Lethe of all future misery.
But I love not to dwell long on this subject, having other passages of my Life (which were down-right honest) to recount, that so my Reputation may be like my Habit and Mind, equally Good and Evil; a kind of indifference or neutrality, as to generals of either, but in particulars especially as to the Times I am now speaking of, I think I was the only declared person in our street against the Parliament; For I well remember when the King came to Branford, and the City was in a great Fright by his near advance, (which I wished were to my Doors, where I would have made his Majesty a great deal welcomer then at his return from the North) The whole force of Trained Bands and Auxiliaries marched out to oppose him, and Carts came door by door for Victuals to follow them to their Camp, which was thrown into baskets, which I having warning of, prepared two Ox Livers, which I just Parboiled, and wrapping it up with broken Brick-bats for Bread, threw into the Basket: it fell very heavy and plump in, which made the Virago that was set in the Cart to stow the Guttage, a zealous voluntary Wench, of which there were numbers, to intend an inquiry; but there were so many Disloyal Hands heaving in Provant, that she had not the present opportunity: but he whom I sent to Dog the Cart, for the pleasure of the discovery was all; told me, that about the Church she unpinned the Clout, and spying the Dainties, fell a rowing as if she had been inspired by Hugh Peters; wishing she knew the Cavalier Dog that did it; but I valued not such unskillful Conjurers, giving the Rebels Muskiditchee with my Currish Fair.
Of all the Zanies and Jack Puddings of this sad Reformation: I never abhorred any man more then that Hugh Peters and William Lilly, the very disgrace of our Art and Profession; who with their lying wonders and juggling deceits, and impudent falsehoods, did very much prejudice the King's Cause. I wondered to see fellows so expert in the Mystery, of whom I never had any intelligence before I see them at work; and therefore no doubt they were of Old Nick's own planting, who fitted them to that work in an instant, to which my Imps rose by degrees.
These Foreigners and Interlopers had all the Trade, while the Natives, those Burgesses of Turnmill-street had nothing to do: unless they would learn their hands to Fight in a fair Field, or against Walls and Bulwarks (to which they were highly urged, by their necessity; for as to the vehement preachments that way, they had the grace and happiness never to come within a Church, which is one of their principles) instead of cutting a Purse in a Crowd.
The Money was all got into Guild-Hall London, and a picaroon might have sooner robbed a Wench of her Maiden Head, then of her Bodkin and Thimble; for there were some hopes she might happily have preserved that, but the other were gone without Redemption.
Many an untoward look I gave to that Corban, that Treasury and Exchequer of the Cause, about which I would willingly have employed some of my Janissaries; but there were so many Thieves hankering over it, for the whole was but a great Robbery, that my puny ones could not tell where to creep in. And oh how I laughed, when I heard the Folks parted with their Gold and Silver, upon the warrant of the
Public Faith; to which my Trade was an Amsterdam Bank, and a safe sanctuary. Some jeered at the term and said it was the Punic Faith, infamous for all manner of Treachery and Perfidiousness; others that it was the Public prostituted Faith, all, that the Public was Mad; and would need double the sums to recover it. I lived to see all of it verified, when it became a by Word and a term of Art, used by my Mercurials, when they would signify the unlikely-hood of restoring their purchases.
Now they began to raise and List their Militia, and the division and ward of Fleet-street, making one entire Regiment; because of the vicinity and nearness to their Generals, the Earl of Essex his house; they were graced with his Colours, which were Orange or Tawny: whereupon I fell upon my former imitation, and instead of White, Green, Red, and Blew Colours used to be put into my Dogs' Heads, at Matches for distinction; I set on Orange and White; and with the usual stile given that Earle by the Cavaliers, I called the Bull his Oxcellency. This apposite pat words and whimsies could not escape notice, though they escaped punishment; my Neighbours hearing of the danger and interceding for me as one of cracked reason and judgment.
One time as they were drawing up in Fleet-street, on a General Training day, I could not forbear upbraiding them with their Fighting against the King; whereat one of the Officers a great Zealot, gave me a wrap on my back with a little Cain he had in his Hand; Sirrah said I, I’ll make you repent this blow you gave me; 'tis not your Turd Coloured Scarf shall excuse you. The fellow was very wroth, and cried out to seize me, and have me before his Colonel; but I withdrew through the press, and got to my House, meditating on revenge for this affront.
Now the Women and Maids of every Parishes, with Drums, Mattocks, Shovels and Baskets, went Rank and File to cast up the line, and make the Fortifications round the City; I was invited to be one of the number, and for Honour's sake should carry a Flag, as was then used, in the Head of a Company; as the custom is with the Fencers when they play their Prizes. I refused the motion, returning to them that Dichery, tuned to the beat of the Drum on those Occasions--- Round-Heads and Cuckolds go Dig, go Dig---your Wives Aprons, grow short and their bellies big; and that they need not send their Wives to make works, for they could make Horn-works enough at home; where the Embraces of their Gallants would serve for a better line of communication, without the help or direction of Captain Bulmer, or rather Bull-maker, the principal Engineer of the Parliament.
But I mingled my self among those Honest Matrons, that went down and Petitioned at Westminster for Peace, when we were bade to go home and to wash our Dishes; which answer so moved my patience, that I could not forbear to cry out aloud. Rather wash you your Mouths from such foul Language, and your hands from that blood is which already shed; which begat such a fuming in their Guards, who were commanded to fall on and drive us away, that some of the company for hast lost their Hats and Petticoats, beyond my Art of retrieving and recovering them; for I had no acquaintance, nor would I hold any correspondence with those Modern Thieves, who plundered every day one honest man or other without any control.
I never thereafter could abide the Earl of Essex, for that he, that was no Woman’s Man, and therefore very obnoxious to me, yet could adulterate the affections of the Kings Subjects; and out of a sort of revenge for the disgrace he received in being repudiated by his Wife, did divorce them from their Allegiance to their Prince, who had no way merited at his hands any such demeanor, which made me resolve never to Contribute a Farthing or pay any of the Assessments for the maintenance of the War, but what was levied by distress or composition made by my Neighbours, who preserved me from the violence of those miserable Times. I had a Finger likewise in the Commission of Array; that was set on foot in London, and had it proceeded, could have brought a hundred of as stout fellows to assist the Enterprise, as any were in the City; being my Companions at Bull-baiting who were ready to serve me or my designs in any thing.
But all things coming to confusion by the carrying on the Rebellion; I betook my self to a Contemplative Life, and retired my self at home despairing to see good day again: lamenting the sad and miserable distractions into which we were reduced. Let no person think I had no sense thereof, for though I say it my self, I had as much English Nature in me as any body, and suffered as much in my way as any one whatsoever. But that which more nearly grieved me, was the absence and loss also of many of my great Friends, who were of the other side. In this solitary Condition, to alleviate and lighten the tediousness thereof; I played with those my several sorts of Creatures of pleasure and imitation; such as my Baboons Apes, Squirrels, and Parrots, with them, and the Recreation of their Tricks to pass away the time, and supply the defect of better Converse.
I likewise got me three Maids, intending now at last to play the good House-wife, whom I set to Card, Reel and Spin, and other such Domestic employment; keeping them to their Task, and overseeing their work, and hearing them sing which I much delighted in: though my voice was the untuneablest thing that ever was heard, and as grateful to the Ears of people, as the squeaks of a Mandrake at it's Revulsion; with these Creatures and Wenches, and a Strange Cat I had which would follow me into the Streets, I passed the day, but the nights were long and irksome: whereupon I set my rooms out to Lodgers, such as I liked, and well understood. Among the rest of those that came to enquire for a Chamber of me, there came one bonny blade whom I well knew by his Name to be a Gentleman, and asked me the question, I told him I was well contented, but my price was Seven Shillings a Week; contented quoth he, I like my Lodging and my Land-lady so well, that I value not the Rent; Sir quoth I, I have another Article then to make with you, that you keep good hours (which I very constantly observed) for I shut my doors presently after Nine a Clock at Night; says he, I shall do well enough for that, you may shut your doors as you please; but where I use to lie, I never trouble the Doors, for I always come in at the Windows, or through the Wall, or down into the Cellar.
I looked upon the Gentleman very seriously, wondering how any of my Tribe, as I had cause to conceive of him by his discourse, durst use that boldness and quickness with me; but recollecting my self, I thought he might be a merry wag and ingenious, and therefore resolved to try him; he proved to be a person of good Worth and Estate, and of very great Civility: to whose courteous Friendship and good Company, I was for a long time after much beholden.
In this privacy I lived till the then War expired, whose event mightily discontented me: but was however a little Comforted at the sight and enjoyment of my Friend, the Old Cavy's, who survived those Extremities merely to be engaged in new ones; particularly that Noble Lord my Neighbour returned to his house, whose very sight did much solace me. His pleasures and my other Friends businesses invited me again into the public. I undertook their Compositions, and frequented their Committees of Sequestration Haberdashers-Hall and Goldsmiths- Hall, until the Hobgoblin Tyrants routed me away, charging their Ushers to keep me out; and to terrify me the more, to Shoot me if I presumed to Enter.
About this time, one Walker a notable Pick-pocket, had got a rich Gold Watch set with Diamonds from my Lady Fairfax, the Generals Wife; the manner thus. My Lady used to go a Lecture on a week day to Ludgate Church, called St. Martins, where one Mr. Jacomy Preached, being much followed by the precisians; Walker perceiving this, and that she constantly wore her Watch hanging by a Chain from her middle; against the next time she came thither, he dressed himself like a Commander in the Army, and having his Comrades attending him like Troopers, one of them takes off a Pin of a Coach Wheel that was going downwards through the Gate, by which means the passage was obstructed, so that my Lady could not alight at the Church door, but was forced to leave her Coach without; which Walker taking occasion of, readily presented him self to her; and taking her from her Gentleman Usher, who attended her alighting, led her by the Arm into the Church, and by the way with a pair of Keen Scissors for the purpose, cut the Chain in two, and got the Watch clear away: she not missing it till Sermon was done when she was going to see the time of the day. Presently I was sent to, and any thing I would ask offered me, if I would discover or recover the Watch. I never had any intention to do her that Courtesy for her Husbands Sake; but indeed then could not tell. For the Fellow and his Accomplices suspecting a strict Search, were presently fled, and I could not tell whither; at last Walker was taken for another Fact, in the same manner and Condemned; when to save his Neck, he presently sent to me, knowing he might safely trust me with a thing of that value, of Two Hundred Pounds; and desired me to go my Lady and offer her the Watch if she would get him a Reprieve, and some other small consideration. I effected my Reprieve, but he failed of continuing it; for he was the Prime of the Profession, the Master of them all: and therefore the Court would by no means spare him but the next Sessions delivered him to Gregory: who showed him a flight worth Twenty of his, and sent him swinging into the other world.
There were then the rarest pack of them, some whereof I left, who would lay a wager to pick a Mans Pocket, though he was warned of it but a Minute before, and knew his Company. It will be tedious to recite their Activities, how they jostled Men’s Hands out of their Pockets that were set there purposely as a Guard or Sentinel to secure their Money; how they would pretend to have a Letter read to them, or such like story, while standing behind you, they would Rub the Bung. The many Various neat Tricks they have played upon Ludgate-Hill, by making stops of Coaches and Carts; the Money that hath been lost, there being more then sufficient to build up the Houses, and make the way broader without the Aid of an Act of Parliament, which would be highly prejudicial to the Trade. Again, if at any time a Diver was taken in the Fact, and his hand seized; then they had Two or Three in readiness to Discountenance the Complainer, and to give out that he looks more like a Pick-pocket then their fellow Rogue; and so making a quarrel the Whipster Escapes.
There was a device used to catch some of those Ingeniosi at the sport, and to that purpose Men have had Fishing Hooks sowed in their Pockets, and some Gudgeons that ventured too deep and plunged into the bottom, have been caught and held fast: and angled up and down for five or six turns in a walk such as the great Hall at Westminster, with smart and cutting pains; but the smitten Fish will beware, to prevent that mischief they went afterwards more deliberately to work, and if they suspected any such story would make nothing to cut away the whole side of the Breeches with the Pockets in it; as many have been served in Play-Houses and great Crowds, and concourses of People.
Other times when they had not the opportune and full liberty of their Hands below, they would use them above board in the like press of the multitude; if they see any
Man have a good Beaver, or Silver or Gold Hatband, they would so nimbly and slightly change it, and clap on one of their Musty Felts in the room of it, that the loser could not discern the Conveyance of it; all these tricks brought Grist to my Mill, but not in the same abundance as formerly; for I did not solely and altogether intend that my former way of dealing, because I was pretty forward in the world, and was a little more serious.
About this time also a great Crony of mine, one Cheney a famous Wrestler (for the North, though I was for the West) which sport I mainly loved: was taken by the Troopers upon the High Way, who had allowance by the State for that very service. He defended himself stoutly, but was over-powered and desperately wounded, and brought to Newgate. He would fain have avoided his Trial by my Counsel of pleading his weakness and the soreness of his wounds, but that would not pass; they caused him to be brought down in a Chair, from which they drew him to a Cart, out of which he was cured of all his Diseases. I offered Fifty Pounds for his pardon because he was a stout fellow, and my old acquaintance; but the Roads were so pestered with frequent Robberies, that I received a rebuke for my pains, and he a worse check for his.
For Colonel Downes's Men, (so they called themselves) were abroad, who suffered no passengers to Travel their ways; among whom there was one Horne a Captain, and a sturdy Pewterer, and some other Trades-men whom I very well knew; but with the Pewterer I had good Correspondence, some of those Monies came to my hands, which I faithfully kept and delivered at their demand to supply their necessities and occasions of the Prison, where they lay some while before Judgment. They died bravely and gallantly, giving me good cause to speak well of them: for I had some Money of theirs in my hand, which by their silence and indisposal thereof, I reckoned my own, this was a good Wind-fall from Gregory’s Plum-tree; and I was so wise as not to speak a word of it to the Sheriff or any of his Officers.
But my constant intimacy was with Captain Hind, a daring adventurer (whose exploits are many of them public) yet considering all, there was no such hazard in his pranks, for most of the chief of them I set; both of us concurring to be revenged of Committee Men and Parliament People, by those private assaults, since public combating of them would not prevail. The first design was upon some of their Money that was going to pay their Soldiers at Oxford and Gloucester; I had employed my Scouts about the Treasury in Guild-Hall, who informed me of it, and I gave as speedy notice to Hind; withal acquainting him that the Money which was Two Thousand Pounds, was Guarded with a Convoy of Twenty Horse, and therefore to provide accordingly. This was a dangerous Attempt but the love of Money and the pleasure of the spite, excited him to the exploit. He gathers some Twelve of his confidentest associates and withal resolved Men, and waylays the Cash a little of this side Oxford; when just at the close of the day, as the Wagon was past Wheately, and at the Foot of Shotover Hill; he and his fellows rose from Ambuscado in the Twilight, and furiously fell upon the Troopers; who suspecting his number to be far greater then it was, fled away in confusion: while some of them followed the pursuit, and kept them from rallying or discovery what they were: while the other fell to ransack the Wagon, and remove the Goods that they might come to the Ferkion where the Money as I advised them was put up.
The Passengers were all in a heavy Fright fearing at the least the loss of all they had, but they rid and freed them of that perplexity and doubt, by telling them they came not to take away any Money, but what did as justly belong to them, as the persons that pretended to it; it being the Commonwealths Money which those great Thieves at Westminster had Fleeced out of the Public to pay their Janizaries, who maintained them in their Tyranny and Usurpation: while the Loyal and the Honest Subject was Ruined and Undone by their Taxes, Plunderies, twentieth part, and Sequestrations of their Estates.
Every one of them took his part of the Money; and having gratified the Waggoner with half a piece, made post hast to Bedford, and so came by the other end of the Town to London; where he acquainted me with the success of the business, and requited my discovery with some of the half Crowns designed for Red Coats, who were ready to Mutiny for want of their pay: and I overjoyed with the booty & the vexatious mischief it did to my Round headed Masters.
Many such like Feats was done by him, as the robbing the Committeeman, &c. But I will not trouble my Reader with what hath been related before as it came in and agreed with his own stories; though I was the Wire that moved that Engine in all his great prizes, as most of his were such; leaving him in his injurious Grave into which he fell a sacrifice to their revenge and spleen, more then to the Laws or anybody’s complaint: being betrayed by a Minister sent to prepare him, but indeed to dispatch him.
But out of his Ashes, as suddenly after his death arose as great a Taker as himself, one that stole as much Money as all the Thieves in England for his time; my singular Good Friend Richard Hannam, a Fellow that went always habited like, and was reputed, a Merchant. He constantly wore a Watchmakers and Jeweler's Shop in his Pocket, and could at any time command a Thousand Pounds. I put him upon the like employment of seizing Parliament Money on the General Receivers hard at Reading; having notice by my Spies that a Thousand Pounds was ready there, expecting an Ammunition Wayn and Convoy to carry it to London; but Hannam prevented that way of carriage, conveying it up himself on Horseback, having in the night time with his followers brought a Ladder into the Orchard the back way, and set it up just against the Closet Window, in the furthermost part of the House, and took away all the Money in bags, leaving some Thirty Pounds or thereabouts in odd and broken Groats and odd Money upon the Table; and leaving the Ladder standing against the Window where they entered, made hast through the Orchard to the Gravel pit where their Horses stood, and mounting them Rode speed for London. The notoriety of this Fact was so great, that by strict enquiry it was found that my Friend Richard was the principal Verb; whereupon he was waylaid and apprehended, and sent down Prisoner to Reading, and from thence at the Assizes carried to Abington; whither I procured Ralph Briscoe to go down and assist him in what he could; so he packed such a Jury by juggling with the Bailiffs that empanelled it; that though Judge Jermyn did what he could to Hang him, there being very good circumstantial proof, as that he was seen in the Town that very night; yet Richard so baulked and terrified the simple Jurors, and so affronted the Judge (by bidding him come off the Bench and Swear what he said as Judge, as a Witness &c. so he might perhaps Murder him by presumptions of Evidence as he termed it) that the Fellows brought him in Guiltless; though to procure his liberty of the Collector, he confessed he had the Money, but then there was no trying of him again for the same Fact. This was a cleaver come off, thank honest Ralph; the Collector saved himself by discovering the Thieves, and they saved themselves from Imprisonment by discovering their Theft; the honest Collector according to his word procuring their Release.
Many other pranks he did which I was acquainted with, but that Foreign Robbery of the King of his Plate at Cologne, which I understood the Villain was in then, so alienated me from him, that I could never after endure the sight of him; but was very glad when not long after for all his promises of giving Cromwell some of his Majesties Papers which he had taken away at the same time, that discovered the Kings correspondents here, he was taken and Hanged in Smithfield Rounds, having a little before broke out of Newgate Gaol by the consent of a Convict person, who suffered him to Escape, for which the Foolish Fellow was presently Hanged himself. This Hannam was yet fond of me to the last, and I fingered some Legacy Goods, a Watch and a Ring of his which he sent me from Newgate.
But to a more Jocular story: I should have told you that there was one Rainbeard a Grocer at Strandbridge and I, who took much pleasure in telling of any silly people we met with, that we were their Godfather and Godmother; and to that purpose if either of us had hit upon a Chouse, whom we had persuaded into that belief, we sent him to one another. He had picked up a Costermonger an Irish-Man, older then himself, of whom, having fetched out his Parents Name, and the place of his Nativity, he had so deceived him as to make him believe him to be his Godfather; he pretending great kindnesses to his Deceased Friends, and how dearly they Loved one another, insomuch that the Fellow was wrought upon to kneel down and ask him Blessing: and received in Lieu thereof a Brass half Crown but not discernable, and withal a direction to go to me at my House and do his duty there too, for I was his Godmother; with a Hundred
flams what we two would do for him by preferring him to the Court.
The Fellow glad of his good Fortune delayed not coming to me; but when I considered him, and understood his business, I could not forbear Laughing; but yet repressing the sudden violence thereof as well as I could, I bid him do his duty: 'twas just at my door, and some of the Tankard-bearers perceiving the accost, and knowing my Tricks, fell into such a Hooting at the poor Fellow, jeering him with his Folly and most Grosse ignorance, that the Fellow sensible of it, went with his basket of Pippins into the street against my Windows, and discharged a whole shower of them upon the Glass, (enough to have made me a Pie) before I could get up: when to give his anger freer passage, I threw off all the Casements which were to every Ly-band, and admitted his kindness, while the profuseness of it recalled my Godsons Fury, and set him to vent it another way in Cursing and Sweating.
I had not yet wreaked my spleen upon the Parliament who by undoing my Friends had undone me, being compelled by my good Nature to relieve and lend them Money in their Extremities. What mischief I had done them hitherto, was but a Flea biting, and showed only the impotence of my hatred; now it was my good Fortune to light upon a Fellow that could make them feel their Losses, and fret at the audaciousness of the Exploit, and yet have no remedy for it neither; with him I communicated my thoughts, and we concurred to Forge and Counterfeit their Commissioners and Treasurers Hands to the respective Receivers and Collectors, to pay the Sums of Money they had in their Hands without further delay, to such as he in his Counterfeits appointed; so that where so ever we had intelligence of any round Sum in the Country, we were sure to forestall the Market. This Cheat lasted for half a Year, till it was found out at Guild-hall, and such a Politic course taken that no Warrants would pass among themselves to avoid Cozenage.
When the Government was seized and usurped by Oliver, we began this Trade afresh, it being very facile to imitate his single sign Manual, as that ambitious Usurper would have it styled. My Man therefore, and as fitly too, since they would have it so had his sign Manual, by which he drew good Sums of Money out of the Customs and Excise; nay out of the Exchequer it self, till Oliver was forced to use a private mark to make his Credit Authentic among his own Rascals.
Now appeared that abominable Villainy, called Trepanning; the blot and blemish of all Bawdry; the lewd accomplices in that Monstrous baseness, being worse by ten degrees then wittals. It made me commend Harry Martius Exposition of the Rumps Law against Fornication; that is, provided that people who used that Trade should be sure to keep the doors Locked, and stop all Crannies and Crevices that no body should be able to espy any thing; for it was made to catch fools only, wise men would be sure to beware. This Roguery Reigned a long while before any Remedy could be found; for it was practiced upon none but Men of Fashion, Quiet and Fearful of their Reputation, which those Villains were confident they would preserve at any rate; which they hoisted up sometimes to Five or Six hundred Pounds, upon pretence of Stuprating a fellow’s Wife, that is a Common Whore, who was never worth a Farthing. This mischief fell frequently heavy upon Grave Citizens; till at last one that had been served so, and had entered into Four Hundred Pound Bonds, anxiously discovered his Case to his Friend, who prudently advised him to appoint the payment of it in London, and when these locusts came, to clap an Action of Two or Three Thousand Pounds upon their back, and lay them in the Counter. This was done with success, and the Gallop of this Evil stopped, which made the Trade a little freer then before: no man daring to trust himself in a Woman’s Company for fear of these Fellows.
My Trade I am sure was wholly at an end, and my Money gone, get what I would, the Cavaliers my Friends were so needy; so as I was glad to stay at home and play at tick tack for Drink with one of my Companions, and bemoan my decayed Fortunes.
Having run this race, and seeing all things grow every day worse and worse by the desperate evil of the Times; I became weary of them and my self together, so that I wholly relinquished all converse or commerce betaking my self to a sedentary life and to reading; wherein before as I was well versed in Tale-books and Romances, and the Histories of the Seven Champions, and the like Fopperies: so now I considered that I had an account of my time to make by spending it in more serious Writings and Contemplations.
He runs long we use to say that never Turns; it was therefore high time for me of thinking of the way by which I should turn, and that presently offered it self to me; for being grown crazy in my body, and discontented in my mind, I yielded to the next distemper that approached me: which by my bustling and active spirit I had kept off a good while from seizing me; it was a Dropsy, a Disease, whose cause you will easily guess from my passed life: but it had such strange and terrible Symptoms, that I thought I was possessed, and that the Devil was got within my Doublet.
For what all the Ecclesiastical quirks, with their Canons and injunctions could not do, this boisterous malady soon affected. I was forced to leave off that upper part of my Garment, and do penance again in a Blanket; a Habit distant from the Irish Rug, and the Scotch Plaid, their National Vests for Women of quality, whom my Scoffing Neighbours said I did very much resemble. As for my Belly, from a withered, dried and wrinkled piece of Skin, it was grown the tightest, roundest Globe of flesh that ever any beauteous young Lady strutted with, to the Ostentation of her Fertility, and the Generosity of her Nature. I must tell you I could not but proud my self in it; and thought nature had reserved that kindness for me at the last, insomuch that I could have almost been impregnated (as Spanish Jennets are said to be begotten by the Wind) with my own Fancy and Imagination my conceit proving the same with conception; and to please and maintain me in this delusion A Woman of my Age then living in London, was brought a bed of a Son, which was very certainly true; and an old Parson in the North, one Mr. Vivan, of near a Hundred years old, was juvenilized again, and his age renewed, as to all his senses he enjoyed before at Fifty. But these were signal Miracles and presages of a Revolution in the state (whose hopeful beginnings I lived to see in the Confusions and Distractions of the Rump revived, which I could have Eaten without Salt, as stinking as it was;) and this of mine, the certain forerunners of my dissolution: fore there was no blood that was generative in my belly, but only that destructive of the grape, which by my excesses was now turned into water, so that the Tympanied skin thereof sounded like a Conduit door.
I cannot further Anatomize my body, for I dared not to look on my Legs with the Swan, (though I had nothing in my whole any way amiable) they did so represent a Bull or Bears stake, and my Head so wrapped up with Clothes, that I looked like Mother Shipton; so that among all the Looking-glasses my House was furnished with for Ornaments, I had near a one big enough to see it altogether and at once. But my self was indeed the best mirror to my self; for every afflicted part and Member of me did represent and point out the wickedness, every one of them had been instrumental in, so that I could not but acknowledge the justice of my punishment. My Hands indeed escaped this Vengeance, and I think they were the most innocent; for I never Actually or Instrumentally cut any Mans Purse, though I have often restored it; but oh my Plodding, Match-making Head in those Sorceries of Lust I practiced! the Lewdness and Bastardies that ensued, and those frequent Trottings and Runnings up and down to facilitate and bring about those Debaucheries! These I cannot but acknowledge were intimated to me so plainly, that I was forced to take notice of them; and I hope with a real penitence and true grief to deplore my Condition and former course of Life, I had so profanely and wickedly led.
As an advantage thereto, this disease lingered with me a long time, which I had solitude enough to improve, all people, but some of my Old and nearest acquaintance forsaking me. I will not boast of my Conversion, least I encourage other vile people to persist in their sins to the last; but I dare assure the world, I never lived happy minute in it, till I was leaving of it, and so I bid it Adieu this Threescore and Fourteenth year of my Age.
It may be expected I should have made a Will, let the Reader therefore understand, that of Fifteen Hundred Pounds which I had of my own in good Gold, which some of my Neighbours can bear witness to have seen, out of my kind heartedness to my old Friends, the distressed Cavaliers, to help them in their compositions, and other relief they had formerly, I had not a 100 l. to command, which I thought too small a sum to give to Charitable uses, (as to build an Hospital, &c.) it being no way proportional to my unjust Gaines, as they were every where esteemed. And I was loath to raise Dust out of my Grave (with the Fly riding upon the Chariot Wheel) by such small Evidences of my Expiating Charity. I very well liked and approved of Allen's the Players pattern, in building those Alms Houses, and endowing of them accordingly, but I could not reach to the imitation. The Money that might have been designed that way, as it came from the Devil, returning to the Devil again, into the Rumps Exchequer and Treasury at Haberdashers and Goldsmiths Hall.
Yet to preserve something of my Memory, and not leave it to the courtesy of an Executor; I anticipated my Funeral Expenses, for it being the fashion of the Times to give Rings, to the undoing of the Confectioners, who Live altogether by the Dead and the New Born; I distributed some that I had by me (but of far greater value then your pitiful hollow ware of Six or Seven Shillings a piece, that a Juggler would scorn to show Tricks with) among my chief Companions and Friends.
These Rings (like Princes Jewels) were notable ones, and had their particular Names likewise; as the Bartholomew, the Ludgate, the Exchange, &c. deriving their appellation from the places they were taken in; they needed no admonition of a Deaths Head, for they were the wages and Monument of their Thieving Masters, who were Interred at Tyburn; and I trust my said Friends will wear them both for my sake and theirs.
In short, for my Breath fails me, I did make no Will at all, because I had had it so long before to no better purpose; and that if I had had my desert, I should have had an Executioner, instead of an Executor; it is very well I part so fairly, but remember me to Dun, and tell him, he will not need my Legacy; for my divining spirit tells me there's a Glut coming which will make him happy and rich, if he knows how to use it.
I have also already disposed of Thirty Pounds of One Hundred Pounds I have by me, to my Maids, and have charged them to occupy it the best way they can; that and some of my Arts which they have had time to be expert in, will be beyond the advantage of their Spinning and Reeling, and will be able to keep them in repair, and promote them to Weavers, Shoemakers, and Tailors.
The rest of my Estate in Money Movables and Household Goods, my Kinsman Frith, a Master of a Ship, dwelling at Redriffe, will lay claim to, as next of Kin; whom I advise not to make any adventures therewith, but stay at home and be Drunk, rather then to be Drowned with them.
Let me be lain in my Grave on my Belly, with my Breech upwards, as well for a Lucky Resurrection at Doomsday, as because I am unworthy to look upwards, and that as I have in my LIFE been preposterous, so I may be in my Death; I expect not, nor will I purchase a Funeral Commendation; but if H--- be Squeamish and will not Preach, let the Sexton mumble Two or Three Dusty Clayey words and put me in, and there's an END.