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98 THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS

'I guess what it is; I think you are mad.' 'I should have been mad if I had done less', says he; and still he did not show it me, and I had a great mind to see it; so, says I, 'Well, but let me see it.' 'Hold', says he; 'first look here'; then he took up the roll again, and read it, and, behold! it was a licence for us to be married. 'Why', says I, 'are you distracted? You were fully satisfied, sure, that I would yield at first word, or resolved to take no denial.' 'The last is certainly the case', said he. 'But you may be mistaken', said I. 'No, no', says he; 'I must not be denied, I can't be denied'; and with that he fell to kissing me so violently I could not get rid of him.

There was a bed in the room, and we were walking to and again, eager in the discourse; at last, he takes me by surprise in his arms, and threw me on the bed, and himself with me, and holding me still fast in his arms, but without the least offer of any indecency, courted me to consent with such repeated entreaties and arguments, protesting his affection and vowing he would not let me go till I had promised him, that at last I said, 'Why, you resolve not to be denied indeed, I think.' 'No, no', says he, 'I must not be denied, I won't be denied, I can't be denied.' Well, well', said I, and, giving him a slight kiss, 'then you shan't be denied; let me get up.'

He was so transported with my consent, and the kind manner of it, that I began to think once he took it for a marriage, and would not stay for the form; but I wronged him, for he took me by the hand, pulled me up again, and then, giving me two or three kisses, thanked me for my kind yielding to him; and was so overcome with the satisfaction of it that I saw tears stand in his eyes.

I turned from him, for it filled my eyes with tears too, and asked him leave to retire a little to my chamber. If I had a grain of true repentance for an abominable life of twenty-four years past, it was then. 'Oh, what a felicity is it to mankind', said I to myself, 'that they cannot see into the hearts of one another! How happy had it been if I had been wife to a man of so much honesty and so much affection from the beginning!'

Then it occurred to me, 'What an abominable creature am I! And how is this innocent gentleman going to be abused by me! How little does he think, that having divorced a whore, he is throwing himself into the arms of another!—that he is going to marry one that has lain with two brothers, and has had three children by her own brother! one that was born in Newgate, whose mother was a whore, and is now a transported thief!—one that has lain with thirteen men, and has had a child since he saw me! Poor gentleman!', said I, 'what is he going to do?' After this reproaching myself was over, it followed thus: 'Well, if I must be his wife, if it please God to give me grace, I'll be a true wife to him, and love him suitably to the strange excess of his passion for me; I will make him amends, by what he shall see, for the abuses I put upon him, which he does not see.'

He was impatient for my coming out of my chamber, but, finding me long, he went downstairs and talked with my landlord about the parson.

My landlord, an officious though well-meaning fellow, had sent away for the clergyman, and when my gentleman began to speak to him of sending for him, 'Sir', says he to him, 'my friend is in the house'; so without any more words he brought them together. When he came to the minister, he asked him if he would venture to marry a couple of strangers