|76||THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS|
three old ladies that lay at me upon the subject of religion too. I was so complaisant that I made no scruple to be present at their mass, and to conform to all their gestures as they showed me the pattern, but I would not come too cheap; so that I only in the main encouraged them to expect that I would turn Roman Catholic if I was instructed in the Catholic doctrine, as they called it; and so the matter rested.
I stayed here about six weeks; and then my conductor led me back to a country village, about six miles from Liverpool, where her brother, as she called him, came to visit me in his own chariot, with two footmen in a good livery; and the next thing was to make love to me. As it happened to me, one would think I could not have been cheated, and indeed I thought so myself, having a safe card at home, which I resolved not to quit unless I could mend myself very much. However, in all appearance this brother was a match worth my listening to, and the least his estate was valued at was £1000 a year, but the sister said it was worth £1500 a year, and lay most of it in Ireland.
I that was a great fortune, and passed for such, was above being asked how much my estate was; and my false friend, taking it upon a foolish hearsay, had raised it from £500 to £5000, and by the time she came into the country she called it £15,000. The Irishman, for such I understood him to be, was stark mad at this bait; in short, he courted me, made me presents, and ran in debt like a madman for the expenses of his courtship. He had, to give him his due, the appearance of an extraordinary fine gentleman; he was tall, well-shaped, and had an extraordinary address; talked as naturally of his park and his stables, of his horses, his gamekeepers, his woods, his tenants, and his servants, as if he had been in a mansion-house, and I had seen them all about me.
He never so much as asked me about my fortune or estate, but assured me that when we came to Dublin he would jointure me in £600 a year in good land, and that he would enter into a deed of settlement, or contract, here for the performance of it.
This was such language indeed as I had not been used to, and I was here beaten out of all my measures; I had a she-devil in my bosom, every hour telling me how great her brother lived. One time she would come for my orders, how I would have my coach painted, and how lined; and another time, what clothes my page should wear: in short, my eyes were dazzled, I had now lost my power of saying no, and, to cut the story short, I consented to be married; but to be more private, we were carried farther into the country and married by a priest, which I was assured would marry us as effectually as a Church of England parson.
I cannot say but I had some reflections in this affair upon the dishonourable forsaking my faithful citizen, who loved me sincerely, and who was endeavouring to quit himself of a scandalous whore by whom he had been barbarously used, and promised himself infinite happiness in his new choice; which choice was now giving up herself to another in a manner almost as scandalous as hers could be.
But the glittering show of a great estate and of fine things which the deceived creature that was now my deceiver represented every hour to my imagination hurried me away, and gave me no time to think of London, or of anything there, much less of the obligation I had to a person of infinitely more real merit than what was now before me.
But the thing was done; I was now in the arms of my new spouse,