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THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS 97

rest upon the road, and that was a very good sort of a house, though it was but a little town; so we would go no farther that night, whatever came of it.

I did not press him much, for since he had come so far to meet me, and put himself to so much expense, it was but reasonable I should oblige him a little too; so I was easy as to that point.

After dinner we walked to see the town, to see the church, and to view the fields and the country, as is usual for strangers to do; and our landlord was our guide in going to see the church. I observed my gentleman inquired pretty much about the parson, and I took the hint immediately, that he certainly would propose to be married; and it followed presently, that, in short, I would not refuse him; for, to be plain, with my circumstances I was in no condition now to say no; I had no reason now to run any more such hazards.

But while these thoughts ran round in my head, which was the work but of a few moments, I observed my landlord took him aside and whispered to him, though not very softly neither, for so much I overheard: 'Sir, if you shall have occasion——'the rest I could not hear, but it seems it was to this purpose: 'Sir, if you shall have occasion for a minister, I have a friend a little way off that will serve you, and be as private as you please.' My gentleman answered loud enough for me to hear, 'Very well, I believe I shall.'

I was no sooner come back to the inn, but he fell upon me with irresistible words, that since he had had the good fortune to meet me, and everything concurred, it would be hastening his felicity if I would put an end to the matter just there. 'What do you mean?' says I, colouring a little, 'What, in an inn, and on the road! Bless us all', said I, 'how can you talk so?' 'Oh, I can talk so very well', says he; 'I came on purpose to talk so, and I'll show you that I did'; and with that he pulls out a great bundle of papers. 'You fright me', said I, 'what are all these?' 'Don't be frighted, my dear', said he, and kissed me. This was the first time that he had been so free to call me my dear; then he repeated it, 'Don't be frighted; you shall see what it is all'; then he laid them all abroad. There was first the deed or sentence of divorce from his wife, and the full evidence of her playing the whore; then there was the certificates of the minister and churchwardens of the parish where she lived, proving that she was buried, and intimating the manner of her death; the copy of the coroner's warrant for a jury to sit upon her, and the verdict of the jury, who brought it in Non compos mentis. All this was to give me satisfaction, though, by the way, I was not so scrupulous, had he known all, but that I might have taken him without it; however, I looked them all over as well as I could, and told him that this was all very clear indeed, but that he need not have brought them out with him, for it was time enough. Well, he said, it might be time enough for me, but no time but the present time was time enough for him.

There were other papers rolled up, and I asked him what they were. Why, ay', says he, 'that's the question I wanted to have you ask me'; so he takes out a little shagreen case, and gives me out of it a very fine diamond ring. I could not refuse it, if I had a mind to do so, for he put it upon my finger; so I only made him a curtsey. Then he takes out another ring: 'And this', says he, 'is for another occasion', and puts that into his pocket. 'Well, but let me see it, though', says I, and smiled;