|130||THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS|
maintain myself; that sometimes it was as much as I was able to do, and I shifted hard enough.
He seemed to reflect upon himself that he should be the first person to lead me into that which he assured me he never intended to do himself; and it touched him a little, he said, that he should be the cause of his own sin and mine too. He would often make just reflections also upon the crime itself, and upon the particular circumstances of it, with respect to himself; how wine introduced the inclinations, how the devil led him to the place, and found out an object to tempt him, and he made the moral always himself.
When these thoughts were upon him he would go away, and perhaps not come again in a month's time or longer; but then, as the serious part wore off, the lewd part would wear in, and then he came prepared for the wicked part. Thus we lived for some time; though he did not keep, as they call it, yet he never failed doing things that were handsome, and sufficient to maintain me without working, and, which was better, without following my old trade.
But this affair had its end too; for after about a year, I found that he did not come so often as usual, and at last he left it off altogether without any dislike or bidding adieu; and so there was an end of that short scene of life, which added no great store to me, only to make more work for repentance.
During this interval I confined myself pretty much at home; at least, being thus provided for, I made no adventures, no, not for a quarter of a year after; but then finding the fund fail, and being loth to spend upon the main stock, I began to think of my old trade, and to look abroad into the street; and my first step was lucky enough.
I had dressed myself up in a very mean habit, for as I had several shapes to appear in, I was now in an ordinary stuff gown, a blue apron, and a straw hat; and I placed myself at the door of the Three Cups Inn in St John's Street. There were several carriers used the inn, and the stage-coaches for Earner, for Totteridge, and other towns that way stood always in the street in the evening, when they prepared to set out, so that I was ready for anything that offered. The meaning was this; people come frequently with bundles and small parcels to those inns, and call for such carriers or coaches as they want, to carry them into the country; and there generally attend women, porters' wives or daughters, ready to take in such things for the people that employ them.
It happened very oddly that I was standing at the inn-gate, and a woman that stood there before, and which was the porter's wife belonging to the Barnet stage-coach, having observed me, asked if I waited for any of the coaches. I told her, yes, I waited for my mistress, that was coming to go to Barnet. She asked me who was my mistress, and I told her any madam's name that came next me; but it seemed I happened upon a name, a family of which name lived at Hadley, near Barnet.
I said no more to her, or she to me, a good while; but by-and-by, somebody calling her at a door a little way off, she desired me that if anybody called for the Barnet coach, I would step and call her at the house, which it seems was an alehouse. I said 'Yes', very readily, and away she went.
She was no sooner gone but comes a wench and a child, puffing and sweating, and asks for the Barnet coach. I answered presently, 'Here.'