|THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS||119|
Newgate, and the people that took him were so willing, as well as able, to prosecute him, that they offered themselves to enter into recognisances to appear at the sessions, and pursue the charge against him.
However, he got his indictment deferred, upon promise to discover his accomplices, and particularly the man that was concerned with him in this robbery; and he failed not to do his endeavour, for he gave in my name, whom he called Gabriel Spencer, which was the name I went by to him; and here appeared the wisdom of my concealing myself from him, without which I had been undone.
He did all he could to discover this Gabriel Spencer; he described me; he discovered the place where he said I lodged; and, in a word, all the particulars that he could of my dwelling; but having concealed the main circumstances of my sex from him, I had a vast advantage, and he could never hear of me. He brought two or three families into trouble by his endeavouring to find me out, but they knew nothing of me, any more than that he had a fellow with him that they had seen, but knew nothing of. And as to my governess, though she was the means of his coming to me, yet it was done at second-hand, and he knew nothing of her neither.
This turned to his disadvantage; for having promised discoveries, but not being able to make it good, it was looked upon as trifling, and he was the more fiercely pursued by the shopkeeper.
I was, however, terribly uneasy all this while, and that I might be quite out of the way, I went away from my governess for a while; but not knowing whither to wander, I took a maid-servant with me, and took the stage-coach to Dunstable, to my old landlord and landlady, where I lived so handsomely with my Lancashire husband. Here I told her a formal story, that I expected my husband every day from Ireland, and that I had sent a letter to him that I would meet him at Dunstable at her house, and that he would certainly land, if the wind was fair, in a few days; so that I was come to spend a few days with them till he could come, for he would either come post, or in the West Chester coach, I knew not which; but whichsoever it was, he would be sure to come to that house to meet me.
My landlady was mighty glad to see me, and my landlord made such a stir with me, that if I had been a princess I could not have been better used, and here I might have been welcome a month or two if I had thought fit.
But my business was of another nature. I was very uneasy (though so well disguised that it was scarce possible to detect me) lest this fellow should find me out; and though he could not charge me with the robbery, having persuaded him not to venture, and having done nothing of it myself, yet he might have charged me with other things, and have bought his own life at the expense of mine.
This filled me with horrible apprehensions. I had no resource, no friend, no confidant but my old governess, and I knew no remedy but to put my life into her hands; and so I did, for I let her know where to send to me, and had several letters from her while I stayed here. Some of them almost scared me out of my wits; but at last she sent me the joyful news that he was hanged, which was the best news to me that I had heard a great while.
I had stayed here five weeks, and lived very comfortably indeed, the secret anxiety of my mind excepted. But when I received this letter I