Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/202

This page has been validated.
170 THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS

When I gave the boatswain the letter, I gave him a shilling with it, which I told him was for the charge of a porter, which I had entreated him to send with the letter as soon as he came on shore, that if possible I might have an answer brought back by the same hand, that I might know what was become of my things; 'For, sir', says I, 'if the ship should go away before I have them, I am undone.'

I took care, when I gave him the shilling, to let him see I had a little better furniture about me than the ordinary prisoners; that I had a purse, and in it a pretty deal of money; and I found that the very sight of it immediately furnished me with very different treatment from what I should otherwise have met with; for though he was courteous indeed before, in a kind of natural compassion to me, as a woman in distress, yet he was more than ordinarily so afterwards, and procured me to be better treated in the ship than, I say, I might otherwise have been; as shall appear in its place.

He very honestly delivered my letter to my governess's own hands, and brought me back her answer; and when he gave it me, gave me the shilling again. 'There', says he, 'there's your shilling again too, for I delivered the letter myself.' I could not tell what to say, I was surprised at the thing; but after some pause I said, 'Sir, you are too kind; it had been but reasonable that you had paid yourself coachhire then.'

'No, no', says he, 'I am overpaid. What is that gentlewoman? Is she your sister?'

'No, sir', said I, 'she is no relation to me, but she is a dear friend, and all the friends I have in the world.' 'Well', says he, 'there are few such friends. Why, she cries after you like a child.' 'Ay', says I again, 'she would give a hundred pounds, I believe, to deliver me from this dreadful condition.'

'Would she so?' says he. 'For half the money I believe I could put you in a way how to deliver yourself.' But this he spoke softly that nobody could hear.

'Alas! sir', said I, 'but then that must be such a deliverance as, if I should be taken again, would cost me my life.' 'Nay', said he, 'if you were once out of the ship, you must look to yourself afterwards; that I can say nothing to.' So we dropped the discourse for that time.

In the meantime, my governess, faithful to the last moment, conveyed my letter to the prison to my husband, and got an answer to it, and the next day came down herself, bringing me, in the first place, a sea-bed, as they call it, and all its ordinary furniture. She brought me also a sea-chest—that is, a chest, such as are made for seamen, with all the conveniences in it, and filled with everything almost that I could want; and in one of the corners of the chest, where there was a private drawer, was my bank of money—that is to say, so much of it as I had resolved to carry with me; for I ordered part of my stock to be left behind, to be sent afterwards in such goods as I should want when I came to settle; for money in that country is not of much use, where all things are bought for tobacco; much more is it a great loss to carry in from hence.

But my case was particular; it was by no means proper for me to go without money or goods, and for a poor convict that was to be sold as soon as I came on shore, to carry a cargo of goods would be to have notice taken of it, and perhaps to have them seized; so I took part of my stock with me thus, and left the rest with my governess.