Life, Sufferings, and Death
Daughter of a respectable Farmer near Dunse who was seduced by a pro-
fligate young Nobleman - brought to Edinburgh, and kept in the great-
estep'cndour or some time and then cruelly deserted and thrown upon
the town?where, after passing through the num rous vicissitudes of a
wicked life she at last fell a victim to disease and died in a noted house
in James's Square. With a copy of an Interesting Letter she wrote to
her aged parentn, a few days before her death?an account of their Visit
to her miserable abode,?and a copy of Verses found under her pil ow
after her decease.
MISS JANET FLEMING was the elder daughter
of Mr Alexander Fleming, a respectable farmer
in the vicinity of Dunse. At the early age of seventeen,
Janet had the misfortune to attract the attention of a,
Profligate young nobleman who happened to be on a
fishing excursion in that neighbourhood Determined
to effect her ruin, he took every opportunity of putting
himself in her way; and, by making her numberless
little presents, and filling her head with notions of future
grandure, he prevailed upon the unsuspecting maid to
quit her parents' roof, and go with him to Edinburgh.
Upon her arrival in town, her noble seducer placed
her in stylish lodgings, where she was dressed in the most
fashionable manner, and had a maid to wait upon her.
He took her to all fa hionable places of amusements, and
never seemed happy but when in her company. In this
manner about twelve month passed away, in a continual
round of dissipation, when there appeared a visible change
in the conduct of her noble and vile seducer. His visits
became less frequent?he upbraided her with extrava.
gance?and she, in return, reproached him with seducing
her from her dear parents and peaceful home. Things
went on in this way for a few weeks, when the wretch
set off for the Continent, leaving her in possession of
only a few shillings, and heavily in arrears with her land-
lady. For some time she subsisted by pawning the trin-
kets and other valuables presented by her seducer, until
she attracted the notice of a young gentleman of fashion,
with whom she cohabited for nearly three months. Left
again to her own resources, and descending step by step,
she was at length reduced to obtain a livelihood by the
casual wages of' prostitution ; and ran from one scene of
dissipation to another, undergoing all the pains of loath
some disease, which persons seldom escape whose lives
are spent in acts of debauchery. At last, worn out by the
fatigues of a wicked and vicious life, she lay down on
that fatal bed from which she would never rise in life.?
and, conscious of her approaching dissolution, wrote the
following short epistle to her afflicted parents ;?
" Dear Father and Mother.?If you have not altogether discarded from
your m mory, as unworthy of even occupying a place in your thoughts, her
whom you once loved, and reared wich such parental fondness. but who so
vilely repaid your affection te attentions and slighted your friendly instruc-
tions, as to oppress with sorrow the hearts and cover with shame the heads
which she was bound to lighten and to honour, you will yet drop a tear of
pity on the receipt of this.
Deluded by the flattering promises of Lord .----? , I was prevailed on
to desert my peaceful home, and acconpany him to this town, where after
a few months of the most assiduous attention his conduct became more re-
served, and at length she artful seducer left me a prey to misery and ruin
I cannot paint to you my further degradasion?suffice it to tay, that, for the
last twelve months, I have frequenty been in a state of utter destitution :
and in mements of retrospective cogitation, have often been disposed to
add self-destruction to my catalogue of crimes But. God be praised,I
have been yet been prevented from rushing unbidden Into the presence of
my Almighty Maker, with all my sin unpardoned on my head. Stricken
now by disease, and stretched on a bod of siekness, I feel the cold hand of
death press heavy apon me, and, mourning for the enormity of my trans-
gressions, I am still afraid to meet his chill embrace. Ere this world closes
on her for ever, once more to behold her beloved parents, and receive their
kind forgivenes, would afford a last consolation to their unfortunate daugh-
ter, JANET FLEMING."
With the utmost alacrity her agonized parents prepar"
ed for to visit their wretched daughter, and the follow-
ing morning saw them set off on the coach for Edinburgh,
accompanied by their younger daughter It was evening
when they found themselves in the precints of James's
Square, when they soon found the residence which con-
tained the poor unfortunate. No words can paint their
feelings on beholding her once more?no longer the red
cheeked, sparkling eyed girl they were wont so fondly to
look upon, but now'a pale, emaciated victim of disease,
stretched upon the bed of death. For the two succeed-
ing days she was unremittingly attended by her parents,
for whose exertions, and the religious instructions of a
worthy divine whom they had called, she was extremely
grateful. On the third evening, she breathed her last,?
dying apparently a sincere penitent,?surrounded by her
weeping parents and friends Under her pillow was
found the following lines :?
A woman's honour is a woman's all
You're lost for ever if perchance you fall;
In this, wit, fortune, beauty, form, and mind,
You give like atoms to the whistling wind.
All worth, all pleasure, is with honour 1ost,
A truth which thousands witness to their cost;
The fate of women deeply we deplore.
They fall like stars that set to rise no more.
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Probable period of publication:
1830-1840 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(369a)
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