|120||THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS|
looked pleasantly again, and told my landlady that I had received a letter from my spouse in Ireland, that I had the good news of his being very well, but had the bad news that his business would not permit him to come away so soon as he expected, and so I was like to go back again without him.
My landlady complimented me upon the good news, however, that I had heard he was well. 'For I have observed, madam', says she, 'you han't been so pleasant as you used to be; you have been over head and ears in care for him, I dare say', says the good woman; '’tis easy to be seen there's an alteration in you for the better' says she. 'Well, I am sorry the squire can't come yet' says my landlord; 'I should have been heartily glad to have seen him. When you have certain news of his coming, you'll take a step hither again, madam', says he; 'you shall be very welcome whenever you please to come.'
With all these fine compliments we parted, and I came merry enough to London, and found my governess as well pleased as I was. And now she told me she would never recommend any partner to me again, for she always found, she said, that I had the best luck when I ventured by myself. And so indeed I had, for I was seldom in any danger when I was by myself, or if I was, I got out of it with more dexterity than when I was entangled with the dull measures of other people, who had perhaps less forecast, and were more impatient than I; for though I had as much courage to venture as any of them, yet I used more caution before I undertook a thing, and had more presence of mind to bring myself off.
I have often wondered even at my own hardiness another way, that when all my companions were surprised, and fell so suddenly into the hand of justice, yet I could not all this while enter into one serious resolution to leave off this trade, and especially considering that I was now very far from being poor; that the temptation of necessity, which is the general introduction of all such wickedness, was now removed; that I had near £500 by me in ready money, on which I might have lived very well, if I had thought fit to have retired; but, I say, I had not so much as the least inclination to leave off; no, not so much as I had before, when I had but £200 beforehand, and when I had no such frightful examples before my eyes as these were. From hence 'tis evident, that when once we are hardened in crime, no fear can affect us, no example give us any warning.
I had indeed one comrade, whose fate went very near me for a good while, though I wore it off too in time. That case was indeed very unhappy. I had made a prize of a piece of very good damask in a mercer's shop, and went clear off myself, but had conveyed the piece to this companion of mine, when we went out of the shop, and she went one way, I went another. We had not been long out of the shop but the mercer missed the piece of stuff, and sent his messengers, one one way, and one another, and they presently seized her that had the piece, with the damask upon her; as for me, I had very luckily stepped into a house where there was a lace chamber, up one pair of stairs, and had the satisfaction, or the terror, indeed, of looking out of the window, and seeing the poor creature dragged away to the justice, who immediately committed her to Newgate.
I was careful to attempt nothing in the lace chamber, but tumbled their goods pretty much to spend time; then bought a few yards of edging,