Volume two of the collected short novels of Mrs. Aubin
Mrs. Penelope Aubin, born in London around 1679, is something of a woman of mystery and in that lays much of her allure as a person and as an author. Certainly, Penelope Aubin was an author of note at a time when female authors were uncommon and in her day her work was regarded as highly as that of Haywood and Daniel Defoe, though of course her fame has not endured so well as that of the latter. Mrs. Aubin was well known for the writing of decidedly ‘racy’ fiction—in effect ‘bodice-rippers’ at a time when there were actually bodices to rip! In any event her seven short novels which are enacted on a global stage are full of adventure, lust, seduction, duelling, violence, young love—and sometimes all of these elements in the same tale. Aubin wrote prodigiously and was a poet as well as a translator of French prose . The complete collection of Mrs. Aubin’s classic novels of 17th century life and love have been gathered together in this special Leonaur two volume set for modern readers to own and enjoy.
In volume two readers will find The Life of Charlotta Du Pont, The Life and Adventures of the Lady Lucy and The Life and Adventures of the Young Count Albertus.
Originally presented in the style of the day, these texts have been carefully revised by Leonaur's editors to remove archaic ligatured characters, thereby making them more accessible to contemporary readers. Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
She was the younger daughter of a country gentleman, of a good family and estate, and though well educated, and very witty and accomplished, yet being wantonly inclined, she at the age of thirteen, fell in love with a young officer of the guards, who came to the town her father lived in, to visit some relations. This gay young rake, who had a wife and two children in London, made love secretly to this lovely unexperienced girl; and having prevailed with her maid to let him meet her in a grove behind her father’s house, there he pretended honourable love to her, and promised to marry her. In fine, having gained her affections and ruined her, and fearing her father vowed revenge the injury he had done him, if he came to the knowledge of it; he one evening took leave of her to go for London, pretending that so soon as he was arrived there, he would employ some of his friends to get him a better post, for he was at that time but an ensign; and then he would write down to his relations to move his suit to her father, and get his consent to marry her.<br>
But alas! the deluded Dorinda, young as she was, too well discerned her lover’s base design, and was distracted with shame, love, and revenge. She reproached him, letting fall a shower of tears, in words so tender and so moving, that had he not been a hardened wretch, and one of those heroic rakes that have been versed in every vice this famous city can instruct our youth in, he would have relented; but he was a complete gentleman, had the eloquent tongue of a lawyer, was deceitful as a courtier, had no more religion than honesty, was handsome, lewd, and inconstant; yet he pretended to be much concerned at leaving her, and made a thousand protestations of his fidelity to her. In short, he set out for London the next morning before day, and left the poor undone Dorinda in the utmost despair; yet she did not dare to disclose her grief to any but her treacherous maid, who had been the confident of their amour.<br>
Some months past without one line from him, by which time she had convincing proofs of her being more unfortunate than she at first imagined, for she found she was with child: this put a thousand dreadful designs into her head, sometimes she resolved to put an end to her wretched life, and prevent her shame; but then reflecting on the miserable state her soul must be in for ever, she desisted from her dismal purpose; and at length, finding it impossible to conceal her misfortune much longer, she resolved to go for London, in search of the base author of her miseries.<br>
In order to this, she got what money she could together, and one evening, having before acquainted her maid with her design, she packed up their clothes, and what rings and other things she had of value; and when all the family were in bed, the maid got two of the men-servants’ habits, which they put on, and so disguised, each carrying a bundle, they went away from her father’s house by break of day; the maid having ordered her brother, to whom she had told their design, to meet them a little way from the house with horses, on which they mounted, and he being their guide, went with them five and twenty miles, which was near half of the way to London. There they parted from him, paying him well for his trouble, and he took the horses back. Nor did they fear that he would make any discovery, because of being so much concerned in assisting them in their flight.<br>
They lay at the inn that night which he had carried them to, from whence a stage-coach went every other day to London, and was to set out thence the next morning. In this coach they went, and having changed their clothes at a by-alehouse before they came to this inn, and given the men’s habits to the fellow with their horses, they appeared to be what they really were; and Dorinda’s beauty made a conquest of an old colonel, who, with his son, a youth, was in the coach, and soon entered into discourse with her. She wanted not wit; and her youth, and the fine habit she had on, informed him she was a person of birth. He asked her many questions, and made her large offers of his service.<br>
At last, having been nobly treated by him at dinner, and being now within five miles of London, the unfortunate Dorinda, who knew not where to look for a lodging, nor how to find out the cruel Leander, for so we will call the officer that had undone her, ventured to tell the colonel, that she was a stranger to the town, and should be obliged to him very highly, if he could help her to two things, a lodging in some private house of good reputation, and a sight of Leander, whom she supposed he might have some knowledge of, being an officer. The old gentleman was indeed no stranger to him, nor his vices, and immediately guessed the blushing Dorinda’s unhappy condition; he joyfully told her, he was his intimate friend and in his own regiment; that he would carry her to a lady’s house who was his relation, and should serve her in all things she could desire.
Dorinda looked on this as a Providence: But, alas, it was a prelude to greater misfortunes and her entire ruin. For this colonel, now believing her already ruined, had his own satisfaction in view, and pitying her condition, knowing his friend was already married, thought it would be a deed of charity in him to take care of and keep her himself. In order to which, so soon as the coach came to the inn in Holborn, he had a hackney called, into which he sent his son and a servant that he had with him, who rid up one of his horses, home to his own house, and went with the lady and her maid to a house at Westminster, where a useful lady lived, that is in plain English a private quality-bawd, who used to lodge a mistress for him at any time; a woman who was well bred, and a very saint in appearance, and lived so privately that her neighbours knew nothing of her profession; she passed for a widow-gentlewoman who let lodgings to people of fashion; she kept a maid-servant, and had always one handsome young woman or other a boarder with her, who she pretended were her kinswomen out of the country, being called aunt by one, and cousin by another, as she directed the poor creatures to style her.