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anybody, nor could he imagine in what any man could render
him any service; but that if it was so disinterested a service as
she said, he could not take it ill from any one that they should
endeavour to serve him; and so, as it were, left her a liberty
either to tell him or not to tell, as she thought fit.
She found him so perfectly indifferent, that she was almost
afraid to enter into the point with him; but, however, after
some other circumlocutions she told him that by a strange and
unaccountable accident she came to have a particular knowledge
of the late unhappy adventure he had fallen into, and that in such
a manner, that there was nobody in the world but herself and
him that were acquainted with it, no, not the very person that
was with him.
He looked a little angrily at first. 'What adventure?' said he.
'Why,' said she, 'of your being robbed coming from Knightbr----;
Hampstead, sir, I should say,' says she. 'Be not surprised, sir,'
says she, 'that I am able to tell you every step you took that
day from the cloister in Smithfield to the Spring Garden at
Knightsbridge, and thence to the ---- in the Strand, and how
you were left asleep in the coach afterwards. I say, let not
this surprise you, for, sir, I do not come to make a booty of
you, I ask nothing of you, and I assure you the woman that
was with you knows nothing who you are, and never shall;
and yet perhaps I may serve you further still, for I did not come
barely to let you know that I was informed of these things, as
if I wanted a bride to conceal them; assure yourself, sir,' said
she, 'that whatever you think fit to do or say to me, it shall be
all a secret as it is, as much as if I were in my grave.'
He was astonished at her discourse, and said gravely to her,
'Madam, you are a stranger to me, but it is very unfortunate
that you should be let into the secret of the worst action of
my life, and a thing that I am so justly ashamed of, that the
only satisfaction of it to me was, that I thought it was known
only to God any my own conscience.' 'Pray, sir,' says she,
'do not reckon the discovery of it to me to be any part of your
misfortune. It was a thing, I believe, you were surprised into,
and perhaps the woman used some art to prompt you to it;
however, you will never find any just cause,' said she, 'to
repent that I came to hear of it; nor can your own mouth be
more silent in it that I have been, and ever shall be.'
'Well,' says he, 'but let me do some justice to the woman too;