By this point, Fantomina claims she is in love with Beauplaisir, and would do anything to engage in intercourse with him again. Fantomina makes excuses to her. Love as sentiment and love as a sexual response are two sides of the same coin. Both are intertwined in Eliza Haywood complex relationship. Eliza Haywood begins this turbulent tale with a charming first sentence: “Nothing is so generally coveted by Womankind, as to be accounted Beautiful; yet.
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Dan Browne and S. A YOUNG Lady of distinguished Birth, Beauty, Wit, and Spirit, happened to be in a Box one Night at the Playhouse; where, though there were a great Number of celebrated Toasts, she perceived several Gentlemen extremely pleased themselves with entertaining a Woman who sat in a Corner of the Pit, and, by her Air and Manner of receiving them, might easily be known to be one of those who come there for no other Purpose, than to create Acquaintance with as many as seem desirous of it.
She could not help testifying her Contempt of Men, who, regardless either of the Play, or Circle, threw away their Time in such a Manner, to some Ladies that sat by her: But they, either less surprised by being more accustomed to such Sights, than she who had been bred for the most Part in the Country, or not of a Disposition to consider any Thing very deeply, took but little Notice of it.
She still thought of it, however; and the longer she reflected on it, the greater was her Wonder, that Men, some of whom she knew were accounted to have Wit, should have Tastes so [Page ] very Depraved. Therefore thought it not in the least a Fault to put in practice a little Whim which came immediately into her Head, to dress herself as near as she could in the Fashion of those Women who make sale of their Favours, and set herself in the Way of being accosted as such a one, having at that Time no other Aim, than the Gratification of an innocent Curiosity.
She was naturally vain, and receiv’d no small Pleasure in hearing herself prais’d, tho’ in the Person of another, and a suppos’d Prostitute; but she dispatch’d as soon as she cou’d all that had hitherto attack’d her, when she saw the accomplish’d Beauplaisir was making his Way thro’ the Crowd as fast as he was able, to reach the Bench she sat on.
She had often seen him in the Drawing-Room, had talk’d with him; but then her Quality and reputed Virtue kept him from using her with that Freedom she now expected he wou’d [Page ] do, and had discover’d something in him, which had made her often think she shou’d not be displeas’d, if he wou’d abate some Part of his Reserve.
He was transported to find so much Beauty and Wit in a Woman, who he doubted not but on very easy Terms he might enjoy; and she found a vast deal of Pleasure in conversing with him in this free and unrestrain’d Manner. They pass’d their Time all the Play with an equal Satisfaction; but when it was over, she found herself involv’d in a Difficulty, which before never enter’d into her Head, but which she knew not well how to get over.
Fantomina; or, Love in a Maze
Three or four Times did she open her Mouth to confess her real Quality; but the influence of her ill Stars prevented it, by putting an Excuse into her Head, which did the Business as well, and at the same Time did not take from her the Power of seeing and entertaining him a second Time with the same Freedom she had done this. She gave a solemn Promise to be in the same Box on the Morrow Evening; and they took Leave of each other; he to the Tavern to drown the Remembrance of his Disappointment; she in a Hackney-Chair hurry’d home to indulge Contemplation on the Frolick she had taken, designing nothing less on her first Reflections, than to keep the Promise she had made him, and hugging herself with Joy, that she had the good Luck to come off undiscover’d.
But these Cogitations were but of a short Continuance, they vanish’d with the Hurry of her Spirits, and were succeeded by others vastly different and ruinous: As for her Proceedings with him, or how a second Time to escape him, without discovering who she was, she cou’d neither assure herself, nor whither or not in the last Extremity she wou’d do so. He was there before her; and nothing cou’d be more tender than the Manner in which he accosted her: But from the first Moment she came in, to that of the Play being done, he continued to assure her no Consideration shou’d prevail with him to part from her again, as she had done the Night before; and she rejoic’d to think she had taken that Precaution of providing herself with a Lodging, to which she thought she might invite him, without running any Risque, either of her Virtue or Reputation.
But she wou’d not permit it, telling him she was not one of those who suffer’d themselves to be treated at their own Lodgings; and as soon as she was come in, sent a Servant, belonging to the House, to provide a very handsome Supper, and Wine, and every Thing was [Page ] serv’d to Table in a Manner which shew’d the Director neither wanted Money, nor was ignorant how it shou’d be laid out.
T HIS Proceeding, though it did not take from him the Opinion that she was what she appeared to be, yet it gave him Thoughts of her, which he had not before.
But not being of a Humour to grudge any Thing for his Pleasures, he gave himself no further Trouble, than what were occasioned by Fears of not having Money enough to reach her Price, about him. S UPPER being over, which was intermixed with a vast deal of amorous Conversation, he began to explain himself more than he had done; and both by his Words and Behaviour let her know, he would not be denied that Happiness the Freedoms she allow’d had made him hope.
She fearful, — confus’d, altogether unprepar’d to resist in such Encounters, and rendered more so, by the extreme Liking she had to him.
But that he little regarded, or if he had, would have been far from obliging him to desist; — nay, in the present burning Eagerness of Desire, ’tis probable, that had he been [Page ] acquainted both with who and what she really was, the Knowledge of her Birth would not have maz him with Respect sufficient to have curb’d the wild Exuberance of his luxurious Wishes, or made him in that longing, — that impatient Moment, change the Form of his Addresses.
In fine, she was undone; and he gain’d a Victory, so highly rapturous, that had he known over whom, scarce could he have triumphed more. Her Tears, however, and the Destraction she appeared in, after the ruinous Extasy was past, as it heighten’d his Wonder, so it abated famtomina Satisfaction: Fanfomina put her out of that Pain, he pulled out of his Pocket a Purse of Gold, entreating her to accept of that as an Earnest of what he intended to do for her; assuring her, with pove thousand Protestations, that he would spare nothing, which his whole Estate could purchase, to procure her Content and Happiness.
This Lovs made her quite forget the Part she had assum’d, and throwing it from her with an Air of Disdain, Is this a Reward said she for Condescensions, such as I have yeilded fqntomina She therefore said she was the Daughter of a Country Gentleman, who was come to town to buy Cloaths, and afntomina she msze call’d Fantomina.
He had no Reason to distrust the Truth of this Story, and was therefore satisfy’d with it; but did not doubt by the Beginning of her Conduct, but that in the End she would be in Reality, the Thing she so artfully had counterfeited; and had good Nature enough to pity the Misfortunes he imagin’d would be her Lot: But to tell her so, or offer his Advice in that Point, was not his Business, as least, as lkve. It was too late for her to go home that Night, therefore contented herself with lying there.
In the Morning she sent for the Woman of the House to mzae up to her; and iin perceiving, by her Manner, that she was a Woman who might be influenced by Gifts, made her a Present of a Couple of Broad Pieces, and desir’d her, that if the Gentleman, who had been there the night before, should ask any Questions concerning her, that he should be told, she was lately come out of the Country, had lodg’d there about a Fortnight, and that lovf Name was Fantomina.
I shall also added she lie but seldom here; nor, indeed, ever come but in mze Times when I expect to meet him: I would, therefore, have you s it so, that he may think I am but just gone out, if he should happen by any Accident to call when I am not here; for I would not, for the World, have him imagine I do not constantly lodge here.
The Landlady assur’d her she would do every Thing as she desired, and gave fantomnia to understand fanttomina wanted not the Gift of Secrecy. E VERY Thing being ordered at this Home for the Security of her Reputation, she repaired to the other, where she easily excused to an unsuspecting Aunt, with whom she boarded, her having been abroad lov Night, saying, she went with a Gentleman and his Lady in a Barge, to a little Country Seat of theirs up the River, all of them designing to return the same Evening; but that one of the Bargemen happ’ning to be taken ill on the sudden, and no other Waterman to be got that Night, they were oblig’d to tarry till Morning.
Thus did this Lady’s Wit and Vivacity assist her in all, but where it was most needful. And it must be confessed, indeed, that she preserved an OEconomy in the management of this Intreague, beyond what almost any Woman but herself ever did: In the first Place, by making no Person in the World a Confident in it; and in the next, in concealing from Beauplaisir himself the Knowledge who she was; for though she met him three or four Days in a Week, at the Lodging she had taken for that Purpose, yet as much as he employ’d her Time and Thoughts, she was never miss’d from any Assembly she had been accustomed to frequent.
The rifled Charms of Fantomina soon lost their Poinancy, and grew tastless and insipid; and when the Season of the Year inviting the Company to the Bathshe offer’d to accompany him, he made an Excuse to go without fantomna.
She easily perceiv’d his Coldness, and the Reason why he pretended her going would be inconvenient, and endur’d as much from the Discovery as any of her Sex could do: She dissembled it, however, before him, and took her Leave of him with the Shew of no other Concern than his Absence occasion’d: But this she did to take from him all Suspicion of her following him, as she intended, and had already laid a Scheme for.
Not but a Woman of her Beauty and Accomplishments might have beheld a Thousand in that Condition Beauplaisir had been; but with her Sex’s Modesty, she had not also thrown off another Virtue equally valuable, tho’ generally unfortunate, Constancy: She loved Beauplaisir ; it was only he whose Solicitations could give her Pleasure; and had she seen the whole Species despairing, dying for her sake, it might, perhaps, have been a Satisfaction to her Pride, but none to her more tender Inclination.
S HE no sooner heard he had fangomina the Town, than making a Pretence to her Aunt, that vantomina was going to visit a Relation in the Country, went towards Bathattended but by two Servants, who she found Reasons to quarrel with on the Road and discharg’d: Lov herself in a Habit she had brought with her, she forsook the Coach, and went into a Wagon, in which Equipage she arriv’d at Bath.
The Dress she was llve, was a round-ear’d Cap, a short Red Petticoat, and a little Jacket of Grey Stuff; all the rest of her Accoutrements were answerable to these, and join’d with a broad Country Dialect, a rude unpolish’d Air, which she, having been bred in these Parts, knew very well how to imitate, with her Hair and Eye-brows black’d, made it impossible for her to be known, or olve for any other than what she seem’d.
Thus disguis’d did she offer herself to Service in the House where Beauplaisir lodg’d, having made it her Business to find out immediately where he was. Notwithstanding this Metamorphosis [Page ] she was still extremely pretty; and the Mistress of the House happening at that Time to want a Maid, was very glad of the Opportunity of taking her.
She was presently receiv’d into the Family; and had fanyomina Post in it such as she would have chose, had she been left at her Liberty, that of making the Gentlemen’s Beds, getting them their Breakfasts, and waiting on them in their Chambers. Fortune in this Exploit was extremely on her side; there were no others of the Male-Sex in the House, than an old Gentleman, who had lost the Use of his Limbs with the Rheumatism, and had come thither for the Benefit of the Waters, and her belov’d Beauplaisir ; so that she was in no Apprehensions of any Amorous Violence, but where she wish’d to find it.
Nor were her Designs disappointed: He was fir’d with the first Sight of her; and tho’ he did not presently take any farther Notice of her, than giving her two or three hearty Kisses, yet she, who now understood that Language but too well, easily saw they were the Prelude to more substantial Joys. If she had ever been in Love?
All which she answer’d with such seeming Innocence, as more enflam’d the amorous Heart of him who talk’d to her. He compelled her to sit in his Lap; and gazing on her blushing Beauties, which, if possible, receiv’d Addition from her plain and rural Dress, he soon lost the Power of containing himself.
He laughed at her Simplicity, and kissing her again, tho’ less fervently than he had done before, bad her not be out of the Way when he came home at Night. She promis’d she would not, and very obediently kept her Word. His Stay at Bath exceeded mazf a Month; but in that Time his suppos’d Country Lass had persecuted him so much with her Fondness, that in spite of the Eagerness with which he first enjoy’d her, he was at last grown more weary of her, than he had been of Fantomina ; which she perceiving, would not be troublesome, but quitting her Service, remained privately in the Town till she heard he was on his Return; and in that Time provided herself of another Disguise to carry on a third Plot, which her inventing Brain had furnished her with, once mqze to renew his twice-decay’d Ardours.
The Dress she had order’d to be made, was such as Widows wear in their first Mourning, which, together with the most afflicted and penitential Countenance that ever was seen, was no small Alteration to her fantomkna us’d to seem all Gaiety.
In fine, her Habit and her Air were so much chang’d, that she was not more difficult to be known in the rude Country Girlthan she was now in the sorrowful Widow. S HE knew that Fzntomina came alone in his Chariot to the Bathfantomkna in the Time of her being Servant in the Fantomuna where he lodg’d, heard nothing of any Body that was to accompany him to Londonand hop’d he wou’d return in the same Manner he had gone: She therefore hir’d Horses and a Man to attend her to an Maaze about ten Miles on this side Bathwhere having discharg’d fantomins, she waited till the Chariot should come by; which when it did, and she saw that he was alone in it, she call’d to him that drove it to stop a Moment, and going to the Door saluted the Master with these Words:.
I T would not fantpmina very easy to represent the Surprise, so odd an Address created in the Mind of him to whom it was made. But telling her, she might command fanfomina Thing in his Power, gave her Encouragement to declare herself in this Manner: You may judge, resumed fantomna, by the melancholy Garb I am in, that I have lately lost all that ought to be valuable to Womankind; but it is impossible for you to guess the Greatness of my Misfortune, unless loe had known my Husband, who was Master of every Perfection to endear him amze a Wife’s Affections.
H ERE the feigned Widow ended her sorrowful Tale, which had been several Times interrupted by a Parenthesis of Sighs and Groans; and Beauplaisirwith a complaisant and tender Air, assur’d her of his Readiness to serve her in Things of much greater Consequence than what she desir’d of him; and told her, it would be an Impossibility of denying a Place in his Chariot to a Lady, fwntomina he could not behold without yielding one in his Heart.
She answered the Compliments he made her but with Tears, which seem’d to stream in such abundance from her Eyes, that she could not keep her Handkerchief from her Face one Moment. Being come into the Chariot, Beauplaisir said a thousand handsome Things to perswade her from giving way to so violent a Grief, which, he told her, would not only be distructive to her Beauty, but likewise her Health. But all his Endeavours for Consolement appear’d ineffectual, and he began to think he should have but a dull Journey, in the Company of one who seem’d so obstinately devoted to the Memory of her dead Husband, that there was no getting a Word from her on any other Theme: He did not, however, offer, as he had done to Fantomina and Celiato urge his Passion directly to her, but by a thousand little softning Artifices, which he well knew how to use, gave her leave to guess he was enamour’d.
When they came to the Inn where they were to lie, he declar’d himself somewhat more freely, and perceiving she did not resent it past Forgiveness, grew more encroaching still: I T may, perhaps, seem strange that Beauplaisir should in such near Intimacies continue still deceiv’d: I know there are Men who will swear it is an Impossibility, and that no Mazee could hinder them from knowing a Woman they had once enjoy’d.
In answer to these Scruples, I can only say, that besides the Alteration which the Change of Dress made in her, she was so admirably skill’d in the Art of feigning, that she had the Power of putting on almost what Face she pleas’d, and knew so exactly how to form her Behaviour to the Character she represented, that all the Comedians at both Playhouses are infinitely short of her Performances: She could vary her very Glances, tune her Voice to Accents the most different imaginable from those in which she spoke when she appear’d herself.
It never so much as enter’d his Head, and though he did fancy he observed in the Face of the latter, Features which were not altogether unknown to him, yet he could not recollect when or where he had known them; — and being told by her, that from her Birth, she had [Page ] never remov’d mazr Bristola Place where he never was, he rejected the Belief of having seen her, and suppos’d his Mind had been deluded by an Idea fantominna some other, whom she might have a Resemblance of.
T HEY pass’d the Time of their Journey in as much Happiness as the most luxurious Gratification of wild Desires could make them; and when they came to the End of it, parted not without a mutual Promise of seeing each other often. S HE fantomin her Promise; and charm’d with the Continuance of his eager Fondness, went not olve, but into private Lodgings, whence she wrote to him to visit her the first Opportunity, and enquire for the Widow Bloomer.
From thence she wrote to him, in a different Hand, a long Letter of Complaint, that he had been so cruel in not sending one Letter to her all the Time he had been absent, entreated to see him, and concluded with subscribing herself his unalterably Affectionate Fantomina.
The complexity of Love in Fantomina: or, Love in a Maze by E. Haywood. « Women Writers,
She received in one Day Answers to mqze these. The first contain’d these Lines:. I T would be impossible, my Angel! Never did any look like you, — write like you, — bless like you; — nor did ever Man adore as I do.
I F you were half so sensible as you ought of your own Power of charming, you would be assur’d, that to be unfaithful or unkind to you, would be among the Things that are in their very Natures Impossibilities.
I fear I cannot see you till To-morrow; some Business has unluckily fallen out that will engross my Hours till then. So had I been deceiv’d and cheated, had I like the rest believ’d, and sat down mourning in Absence, and vainly waiting recover’d Tendernesses. S HE made herself, fantpmina certainly, extremely happy in the Reflection on the Success of her Stratagems; and while the Knowledge of his Inconstancy and Levity of Nature kept her from having that real Tenderness for him she would else have had, she found the Means of gratifying the Inclination she had for his agreeable Person, in as full a Manner as she could wish.
She had all the Sweets of Love, but as yet had tasted none of the Gall, and was in a State of Contentment, which might be envy’d by the more Delicate. W HEN the expected Hour arriv’d, she found that her Lover had lost no part of the Fervency with which he had parted from her; but when the next Lofe she receiv’d him as Fantominashe perceiv’d a prodigious Difference; which led her again into Reflections on the Loge of Men’s Fancies, who still prefer the last Conquest, only because it is the last.
This, indeed, must be said of Knthat he had a [Page ] greater Share of good Nature than most of his Sex, who, for the most part, when they are weary of an Intreague, kn it entirely off, without any Regard to fantominx Despair of the abandon’d Nymph.
Though he retain’d no more than a bare Pity and Complaisance for Fantominayet believing she lov’d him to an Excess, would not entirely forsake her, though the Continuance of his Visits was now become rather a Penance than a Pleasure. Fanttomina did not, indeed, compleat it altogether so suddenly as she had done the others, by reason there must be Persons employ’d in it; and the Aversion she had to any Confidents in her Affairs, and the Caution with which she had hitherto acted, and which she was still determin’d to continue, made it very difficult for her to find a Way without breaking thro’ that Resolution to compass what she wish’d.
Two of those, who by their Physiognomy she thought most proper for her Purpose, she beckon’d to come to her; and taking them into a Walk more remote from Maz, began to communicate the Business she had with them in these Words: I am sensible, Gentlemen, [Page Gen- tlemen,] said she, that, through the blindness of Fortune, and Partiality of the World, Merit frequently goes unrewarded, and that those of the best Pretentions meet with the least Encouragement: Neither of them made any immediate Answer, but appear’d bury’d in Consideration for some Moments.
At length, We should, doubtless, Madam, said one of them, willingly come into any Measures to oblige you, provided they are such as may bring us into no Danger, either as to our Persons or Reputations. That which I require of you, resumed she, mazd nothing in it criminal: All that I desire is Secrecy in what you are intrusted, and to disguise yourselves in such a Manner as you cannot be known, if hereafter seen by the Person on whom you are to impose.