When he has information from his spies that I have had a visitor, he comes to me in a sedan- chair at night, and threatens to turn me out into the street if I do not give him all the money I have. He is a terrible rascal!"
I left the poor woman, after giving her my address, and telling her to come and dine with me whenever she liked. She had given me a lesson on the subject of visiting ladies. England has very good laws, but most of them are capable of abuse. The oath which jurymen have to take to execute them to the letter has caused several to be interpreted in a manner absolutely contrary to the intention of the legislators, thus placing the judges in a difficult predicament. Thus new laws have constantly to be made, and new glosses to explain the old ones.
My Lord Pembroke, seeing me at my window, came in, and after examining my house, including the kitchen, where the cook was at work, told me that there was not a nobleman in town who had such a well-furnished and comfortable house. He made a calculation, and told me that if I wanted to entertain my friends I should require three hundred pounds a month. "You can't live here," said he, "without a pretty girl, and those who know that you keep bachelor's hall are of opinion that you are very wise, and will save a great deal of useless expense."
"Do you keep a girl, my lord?"
"No, for I am unfortunate enough to be disgusted with a woman after I have had her for a day."
"Then you require a fresh one every day?"
"Yes, and without being as comfortable as you I spend four times as much. You must know that I live in London like a stranger. I never dine at my own house. I wonder at your dining alone."
"I can't speak English. I like soup and good wine, and that is enough to keep me from your taverns."
"I expect so, with your French tastes."
"You will confess that they are not bad tastes."
"You are right, for, good Englishman as I am, I get on very well in Paris."
He burst out laughing when I told him how I had dispatched a score of wenches at the "Staven Tavern," and that my disappointment was due to him.
"I did not tell you what names to send for, and I was wrong."
"Yes, you ought to have told me."
"But even if I did they wouldn't have come, for they are not at the orders of the procurers. If you will promise to pay them as I do, I will give you some tickets which will make them come."
"Can I have them here?"
"Just as you like."
"That will be most convenient for me. Write out the tickets and let them know French if you can."
"That's the difficulty; the prettiest only speak English."
"Never mind, we shall understand each other well enough for the purpose I dare say."
He wrote several tickets for four and six guineas each; but one was marked twelve guineas.
"She is doubly pretty, is she?" said I.
"Not exactly, but she has cuckolded a duke of Great Britain who keeps her, and only uses her once or twice a month."
"Would you do me the honour of testing the skill of my cook?"
"Certainly, but I can't make an appointment."
"And supposing I am out."
"I'll go to the tavern."
Having nothing better to do I sent Jarbe to one of the four-guinea wenches, telling him to advise her that she would dine with me. She came. She did not attract me sufficiently to make me attempt more than some slight toying. She went away well pleased with her four guineas, which she had done nothing to earn. Another wench, also at four guineas, supped with me the following evening. She had been very pretty, and, indeed, was so still, but she was too melancholy and quiet for my taste, and I could not makeup my mind to tell her to undress.
The third day, not feeling inclined to try another ticket, I went to Covent Garden, and on meeting an attractive young person I accosted her in French, and asked her if she would sup with me.
"How much will you give me at dessert?"
After the play I ordered a good supper for two, and she displayed an appetite after mine own heart.