|THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS||129|
me; adding that if he would please to come to her house in the evening, she would endeavour it, upon his repeated assurances of forgetting what was past.
Accordingly she came to me, and told me all the discourse; in short, she soon biassed me to consent, in a case which I had some regret in my mind for declining before; so I prepared to see him. I dressed me to all the advantage possible, I assure you, and for the first time used a little art; I say for the first time, for I had never yielded to the baseness of paint before, having always had vanity enough to believe I had no need of it.
At the hour appointed he came; and as she observed before, so it was plain still, that he had been drinking, though very far from what we call being in drink. He appeared exceeding pleased to see me, and entered into a long discourse with me upon the whole affair. I begged his pardon very often for my share of it, protested I had not any such design when first I met him, that I had not gone out with him but that I took him for a very civil gentleman, and that he made me so many promises of offering no incivility to me.
He alleged the wine he drank, and that he scarce knew what he did, and that if it had not been so, he should never have taken the freedom with me he had done. He protested to me that he never touched any woman but me since he was married to his wife, and it was a surprise upon him; complimented me upon being so particularly agreeable to him, and the like; and talked so much of that kind, till I found he had talked himself almost into a temper to do the thing again. But I took him up short. I protested I had never suffered any man to touch me since my husband died, which was near eight years. He said he believed it; and added that madam had intimated as much to him, and that it was his opinion of that part which made him desire to see me again; and, since he had once broken in upon his virtue with me and found no ill consequences, he could be safe in venturing again; and so, in short, he went on to what I expected, and to what will not bear relating.
My old governess had foreseen it, as well as I, and therefore led him into a room which had not a bed in it, and yet had a chamber within it which had a bed, whither we withdrew for the rest of the night; and, in short, after some time being together, he went to bed, and lay there all night. I withdrew, but came again undressed before it was day, and lay with him the rest of the time.
Thus, you see, having committed a crime once is a sad handle to the committing of it again; all the reflections wear off when the temptation renews itself. Had I not yielded to see him again, the corrupt desire in him had worn off, and 'tis very probable he had never fallen into it with anybody else, as I really believe he had not done before.
When he went away, I told him I hoped he was satisfied he had not been robbed again. He told me he was fully satisfied in that point, and putting his hand in his pocket, gave me five guineas, which was the first money I had gained that way for many years.
I had several visits of the like kind from him, but he never came into a settled way of maintenance, which was what I would have been best pleased with. Once, indeed, he asked me how I did to live, I answered him pretty quick, that I assured him I had never taken that course that I took with him, but that indeed I worked at my needle, and could just