Well, I pitied him, and wished him well rid of her, and still would have talked of my business, but it would not do. At last he looks steadily at me. Look you, madam, says he, you came to ask advice of me, and I will serve you as faithfully as if you were my own sister; but I must turn the tables, since you oblige me to do it, and are so friendly to me, and I think I must ask advice of you. Tell me, what must a poor abused fellow do with a whore? What can I do to do myself justice upon her?
Alas! Sir, says I, tis a case too nice for me to advise in, but it seems she has run away from you, so you are rid of her fairly; what can you desire more? Ay, she is gone indeed, said he, but I am not clear of her for all that.
Thats true, says I; she may indeed run you into debt, but the law has furnished you with methods to prevent that also; you may cry her down, as they call it.
No, no, says he, that is not the case neither; I have taken care of all that; tis not that part that I speak of, but I would be rid of her so that I might marry again.
Well, sir, says I, then you must divorce her. If you can prove what you say, you may certainly get that done, and then, I suppose, you are free.
Thats very tedious and expensive, says he.
Why, says I, if you can get any woman you like to take your word, I suppose your wife would not dispute the liberty with you that she takes herself.
Ay, says he, but twould be hard to bring an honest woman to do that; and for the other sort, says he, I have had enough of her to meddle with any more whores.
It occurred to me presently, I would have taken your word with all my heart, if you had but asked me the question; but that was to myself. To him I replied, Why, you shut the door against any honest woman accepting you, for you condemn all that should venture upon you at once, and conclude, that really a woman that takes you now cant be honest.
Why, says he, I wish you would satisfy me that an honest woman would take me; Id venture it; and then turns short upon me, Will you take me, madam?
Thats not a fair question, says I, after what you have said; however, lest you should think I wait only for a recantation of it, I shall answer you plainly, No, not I; my business is of another kind with you, and I did not expect you would have turned my serious application to you, in my own distracted case, into a comedy.
Why, madam, says he, my case is as distracted as yours can be, and I stand in as much need of advice as you do, for I think if I have not relief somewhere, I shall be made myself, and I know not what course to take, I protest to you.
Why, sir, says I, tis easy to give advice in your case, much easier than it is in mine. Speak then, says he, I beg of you, for now you encourage me.
Why, says I, if your case is so plain as you say it is, you may be legally divorced, and then you may find honest women enough to ask the question of fairly; the sex is not so scarce that you can want a wife.
Well, then, said he, I am in earnest; Ill take your advice; but shall I ask you one question seriously beforehand?
Any question, said I, but that you did before.
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