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in articles of luxury, and presents to her admirers, and men of power, to secure their interest. And all this was for Miss's sake. Receipts were given in her name, and a grand economy kept up for Miss, who lived at a distance, in a poor neglected condition, and abhorred from her soul the practices of nurse and all her associates. Miss, in short, received not a penny of her own fortune, but was supported by the voluntary contributions of a few poor people, who, after being forced by his lordship to pay in Miss's rents to her nurse, were so good as to relieve Miss's necessities out of their own pockets, for which they thought themselves nobly paid by her company and conversation.
Nurse, in the mean time, went on heaping up riches, endowing her relations with great estates, wallowing in luxury, and aping the magnificence and grandeur of a princess. She exchanged her levee of beggars for one of beaux; and took more pleasure in the compliments and addresses of the latter, than in the blessings of the former. Her intrigues with his lordship, which were of more kinds than one, became notorious and scandalous. However, as is usual in correspondences of that nature, they led but an uneasy life together. Each would needs have lived at the other's expense; and besides, there was no end of their jealousies. His lordship would sometimes caress, and at other times kick her; and yet she had so far gained ground, that he was often forced to atone for his insults with very slavish submissions. Nay, she had so established herself with his domestics, that they lent her a hand, on one or two occasions, to turn him out of his own house; and if he attempted to re-enter by force, she armed herself, and heading her own partisans, fought him with amazing virulence and fury. If in any of these rencounters she happened to be worsted, she then made grievous complaints to the neighbours, and asked them how they could patiently stand by, and see so good a woman, who was nurse and guardian to Miss Veridet, so barbarously treated. Help! help! she would cry, it is for Miss Veridet I suffer; help me against this tyrant, who persecutes me for my fidelity to her. Although some were carried away with this impudent pretence, yet people generally saw through it, and knew very well it was not about Miss herself, but about
her fortune, that all these bickerings arose. It was a common observation, that when Mrs. Le Clerk had the better of his lordship, she styled herself princess, empress, and what not; but whenever she came by the worse, then she was only nurse to Miss Veridet.
At length, what through idleness and luxury, and continual stuffing (for she had a great appetite), nurse became excessively fat, and her hysterical disorder degenerated into a kind of lethargy. During the continuance of this distemper, she was insensible of every thing. She not only forgot Miss, but herself too ; insomuch that she, and every thing about her, were continually bedaubed with huge involuntary discharges of filth, which smelled so strong, that few people could endure to go nigh her. There arose also a huge bile on her head, which seemed to threaten a mortification. Miss Veridet, who had great pity for her, made her a visit, while she was in this condition; and observing that her bile was ripe, and that she had no chirurgeon to attend her, took a lancet, and ventured to dilate the tumour, but had like to have paid dearly for her good-nature. Such a torrent of fetid corruption issued from the orifice, as had infallibly suffocated her, had she not been armed with a very powerful aromatic antidote; and nurse, roused by the pain, fell on her in a fit of distraction and fury, as if she would have torn her to pieces. Her habit of body was so bad, and the humours so very ill disposed, that her bile turned to a foul and obstinate ulcer. Her lethargic disorder still continued, without any visible abatement; certain quacks, who had formerly prescribed to her, and who were famous for anodyne nostrums, the only medicines used in those days, were called in and consulted with. After a long debate concerning particles, effluviums, animal spirits, sympathies, antipathies, prognostics, diagnostics, occult qualities, and a huge jargon of other mysterious terms, they agreed to ply her with fomentations and opiates; but with so ill success were these prescriptions administered, that her disorder was greatly increased, and she seemed to be little better than dead. Miss, who still gratefully remembered her former services, did not desert her in this extremity. She sent for three or four very able physicians, who, observing that her disorder was chiefly owing to a plethory and a cacochymy, gave her strong purgatives, by the use of which, and of alexipharmic volatiles, the symptoms of putrefaction began to abate, and her stupor gave way much faster than the physicians expected ; which indicated a very strong texture of the solids, and an excellent natural constitution. However, the utmost they could do, by persevering in this only possible method of cure, was to rouse her into a most violent hysteric fit, in which she raved, foamed at the mouth, and laid about her so outrageously, both with hands and feet, that those who held her, being well boxed and scratched for their pains, were obliged to use some violence with her. Miss, who was very assiduous on this occasion, suffered most, and had like to have lost one of her eyes in the scuffle. The quacks, in the mean time, railed at what was a doing, in the bitterest terms, and publicly insisted on it, that the patient, by the immoderate application of volatiles, was thrown into a frenzy; although it was well enough known, that she had, of a long time, been greatly afflicted with hysterics; and that her present fit proceeded entirely from her habit of body, and by no means from the medicines. The physicians were very well pleased with having thrown off that load of corrupted humours, which of late had so oppressed the nervous system, that not having strength enough to work itself up to a fit, it had sunk into a stupid and profound lethargy. This, they said, was gaining a very considerable point, and promised fair for a recovery. Miss Veridet, not at all discouraged by the rough treatment she had received, so plied her poor nurse with anti-hysterics, and, as her understanding began to return, with mild, and yet powerful reasonings, that she at length prevailed, in a good measure, over the present tumult of her spirits. Her understanding, however, appeared to be somewhatimpaired, and the torpor of her disorder seemed to lag behind in her left side, and shew itself in the shape of a palsy, which, as it was not attended with a total deprivation of sense and motion, the physicians had some hopes of removing. For that purpose they recommended to her the strict observation of a regimen, which consisted in nothing more than a thin diet, great regularity in her manner of living, and the constant use of a few alteratives.
Veridet interposed a little reasonable advice. You see, dear nurse,' said she, 'what an idle and luxurious life hath cost you ; your health is in a great measure destroyed, and the preservation of your very life is next to a miracle. All this had been prevented had you continued in that plain industrious way of living, which at your first being employed about me, brought you so much real honour and health; and all your present maladies and miseries may be removed by a return to the same wise and happy manner of spending your days. You heard, and I hope will consider, what the physicians said to you. But surely nothing can be more wild, than to think of following rules, and living on a thin diet, in such a family as this: besides, his lordship hates you from his very soul, and me too. Nay, he gave me the lie this very morning, and swore the world would be well rid of you if you were dead, merely because I said your life was still worth the preserving. He and all his fashionable visiters entertain themselves with dirty stories of accidents that happened to you in your late insensible condition. Your assuming the titles and airs of a princess affords them matter of infinite merriment. They call you the hoyden princess, and nurse's highness, and queen Goody, with a thousand other honorary appellations of the like nature. They talk also of seizing on all your money and furniture, and his lordship hath already secured your jewels, for your use, as he says, but others say, for his own. Would you rather live here, insulted, plundered, ridiculed, than with me in peace, cheerfulness, and real honour? Recollect the pleasures of a natural, innocent, and active life. Be impartial; did you ever, since you entered into this riotous way of life, taste such transports of joy as formerly, when the relief of some very miserable object, or a high act of devotion, called up the angel within you? How I have seen the tears run down those cheeks on such occasions? How have I seen a rapture of that kind rising within you, and rendering your body perfectly insensible to the red-hot pincers, that were tearing your flesh from your bones, while you stood up like a strong tower in my defence! Yes, dear nurse, I have a lively memory of your goodness; I wish you could as well remember your own happiness; you would then renounce this false sort of grandeur, and go with me to be truly great and happy. Tell me not of the services done by, or expected from, the great. When they were all against us, the justice of my cause, and your unconquerable virtue, gave us a complete victory. Since you began to employ other measures, since you courted the persons, and flattered the vices of men in power, with what contempt and detestation have you been looked upon by the thinking part of the world! As for my sufferings, I should here make a lively representation of them, did I not too plainly perceive such a settled alienation of your heart from me, as precludes all hopes of moving you on that topic. Represent therefore your own sufferings to yourself, and let a lively sense of them awaken you to a prudent concern for your own real interest.'
Nurse, although she was most bitterly railed at behind her back, yet had not of a long time, been treated with so much freedom to her face. To expostulate with so great and wise a person as her, was a downright insult. Yet, notwithstanding that she resented the greater part of Miss Veridet's discourse, she had still some respect for her, and felt the force of her reasonings as sensibly as a mind so enfeebled could be well expected to do.
What you have put me in mind of,' said she to Miss, 'is mostly true. I was happier with you in a neat little convenient dwelling than in this palace. Honest men, I find, are better friends and neighbours than great men. As for my disorders, there must be some care taken of them, but I neither think them at all so grievous or dangerous as the physical gentlemen were pleased to intimate, nor am I by any means convinced, that dieting myself on drugs will much conduce to my greater health. As to the article of my quitting this house, and retiring with you, excuse me, dear Miss, I can never think of it. I am no longer capable of those pleasures I formerly found in being caterer and apothecary for the poor. If, for your credit, it is necessary that such menial offices should be performed by some body, we will hire a few servants, who shall attend on that very business. My taste and notions of things are now a little too refined for these pious antiquated sort of practices. I cannot go abroad without a coach, and there is no visiting beggars and lazars in a coach you know. At first it is true,