Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/319

This page has been validated.
287
THE LIFE OF ROXANA

he, 'do not bid me consider; 'tis for you to consider'; and with that he went out of the room, in a strange kind of confusion, as was easy to be seen in his countenance.

If I had not been one of the foolishest as well as wickedest creatures upon earth, I could never have acted thus. I had one of the honestest, completest gentlemen upon earth at my hand. He had in one sense saved my life, but he had saved that life from ruin in a most remarkable, manner. He loved me even to distraction, and had come from Paris to Rotterdam on purpose to seek me. He had offered me marriage even after I was with child by him, and had offered to quit all his pretensions to my estate, and give it up to my own management, having a plentiful estate of his own. Here I might have settled myself out of the reach even of disaster itself; his estate and mine would have purchased even then above two thousand pounds a year, and I might have lived like a queen—nay, far more happy than a queen; and, which was above all, I had now an opportunity to have quitted a life of crime and debauchery, which I had been given up to for several years, and to have sat down quiet in plenty and honour, and to have set myself apart to the great work which I have since seen so much necessity of and occasion for—I mean that of repentance.

But my measure of wickedness was not yet full. I continued obstinate against matrimony, and yet I could not bear the thoughts of his going away neither. As to the child, I was not very anxious about it. I told him I would promise him it should never come to him to upbraid him with its being illegitimate; that, if it was a boy, I would breed it up like the son of a gentleman, and use it well for his sake; and after a little more such talk as this, and seeing him resolved to go, I retired, but could not help letting him see the tears run down my cheeks. He came to me and kissed me, entreated me, conjured me by the kindness he had shown me in my distress, by the justice he had done me in my bills and money affairs, by the respect which made him refuse a thousand pistoles from me for his expenses with that traitor the Jew, by the pledge of our misfortunes (so he called it) which I carried with me, and by all that the sincerest affection could propose to do, that I would not drive him away.

But it would not do. I was stupid and senseless, deaf to all his importunities, and continued so to the last. So we parted, only desiring me to promise that I would write him word when I was delivered, and how he might give me an answer; and this I engaged my word I would do. And, upon his desiring to be informed which way I intended to dispose of myself, I told him I resolved to go directly to England, and to London, where I proposed to lie in; but, since he resolved to leave me, I told him I supposed it would be of no consequence to him what became of me.

He lay in his lodgings that night, but went away early in the morning, leaving me a letter in which he repeated all he had said, recommended the care of the child, and desired of me that, as he had remitted to me the offer of a thousand pistoles which I would have given him for the recompense of his charges and trouble with the Jew, and had given it me back, so he desired I would allow him to oblige me to set apart that thousand pistoles, with its improvement, for the child, and for its education; earnestly pressing me to secure that little portion for the abandoned orphan when I should think fit, as he was sure I would, to throw away the rest upon something as worthless as my sincere friend at Paris. He