|THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS||143|
I made another adventure after this, of a nature different from all I had been concerned in yet, and this was at a gaming-house near Covent Garden.
I saw several people go in and out; and I stood in the passage a good while with another woman with me, and seeing a gentleman go up that seemed to be of more than ordinary fashion, I said to him, 'Sir, pray don't they give women leave to go up?' 'Yes, madam', says he, 'and to play too, if they please.' 'I mean so, sir', said I. And with that he said he would introduce me if I had a mind; so I followed him to the door, and he looking in, 'There, madam', says he, 'are the gamesters, if you have a mind to venture.' I looked in, and said to my comrade aloud, 'Here's nothing but men; I won't venture.' At which one of the gentlemen cried out, 'You need not be afraid, madam, here's none but fair gamesters; you are very welcome to come and set what you please.' So I went a little nearer and looked on, and some of them brought me a chair, and I sat down and saw the box and dice go round apace; then I said to my comrade, 'The gentlemen play too high for us; come, let us go.'
The people were all very civil, and one gentleman encouraged me, and said, 'Come, madam, if you please to venture, if you dare trust me, I'll answer for it you shall have nothing put upon you here.' 'No, sir', said I, smiling; 'I hope the gentlemen would not cheat a woman.' But still I declined venturing, though I pulled out a purse with money in it, that they might see I did not want money.
After I had sat awhile, one gentleman said to me, jeering, 'Come, madam, I see you are afraid to venture for yourself; I always had good luck with the ladies, you shall set for me, if you won't set for yourself.' I told him, 'Sir, I should be very loth to lose your money', though I added, 'I am pretty lucky too; but the gentlemen play so high, that I dare not venture my own.'
'Well, well', says he, 'there's ten guineas, madam; set them for me'; so I took the money and set, himself looking on. I run out the guineas by one and two at a time, and then the box coming to the next man to me, my gentleman gave me ten guineas more, and made me set five of them at once, and the gentleman who had the box threw out, so there was five guineas of his money again. He was encouraged at this, and made me take the box, which was a bold venture: however, I held the box so long that I gained him his whole money, and had a handful of guineas in my lap; and, which was the better luck, when I threw out, I threw but at one or two of those that had set me, and so went off easy.
When I was come this length, I offered the gentleman all the gold, for it was his own; and so would have had him play for himself, pretending that I did not understand the game well enough. He laughed, and said if I had but good luck, it was no matter whether I understood the game or no; but I should not leave off. However, he took out the fifteen guineas that he had put in first, and bade me play with the rest. I would have him to have seen how much I had got, but he said, 'No, no, don't tell them, I believe you are very honest, and 'tis bad luck to tell them'; so I played on.
I understood the game well enough, though I pretended I did not, and played cautiously, which was to keep a good stock in my lap, out of which I every now and then conveyed some into my pocket, but in such a manner as I was sure he could not see it.
I played a great while, and had very good luck for him; but the last