Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/352

This page has been validated.

We lived here very easy and quiet, and yet I cannot say I was so in my mind; I was like a fish out of water. I was as gay and as young in my disposition as I was at five-and-twenty; and, as I had always been courted, flattered, and used to love it, so I missed it in my conversation; and this put me many times upon looking back upon things past.

I had very few moments in my life which, in their reflection, afforded me anything but regret: but of all the foolish actions I had to look back upon in my life, none looked so preposterous and so like distraction, nor left so much melancholy on my mind, as my parting with my friend, the merchant of Paris, and the refusing him upon such honourable and just conditions as he had offered; and though on his just (which I called unkind) rejecting my invitation to come to him again, I had looked on him with some disgust, yet now my mind run upon him continually, and the ridiculous conduct of my refusing him, and I could never be satisfied about him. I flattered myself that if I could but see him I could yet master him, and that he would presently forget all that had passed that might be thought unkind; but, as there was no room to imagine anything like that to be possible, I threw those thoughts off again as much as I could.

However, they continually returned, and I had no rest night or day for thinking of him, who I had forgot above eleven years. I told Amy of it, and we talked it over sometimes in bed, almost whole nights together. At last Amy started a thing of her own head, which put it in a way of management, though a wild one too. 'You are so uneasy, madam', says she, 'about this Mr ——, the merchant at Paris; come', says she, 'if you'll give me leave, I'll go over and see what's become of him.' 'Not for ten thousand pounds', said I; 'no, nor if you met him in the street, not to offer to speak to him on my account.' 'No', says Amy, 'I would not speak to him at all; or if I did, I warrant you it shall not look to be upon your account. I'll only inquire after him, and if he is in being, you shall hear of him.; if not, you shall hear of him still, and that may be enough.'

'Why', says I, 'if you will promise me not to enter into anything relating to me with him, nor to begin any discourse at all unless he begins it with you, I could almost be persuaded to let you go and try.'

Amy promised me all that I desired; and, in a word, to cut the story short, I let her go, but tied her up to so many particulars that it was almost impossible her going could signify anything; and, had she intended to observe them, she might as well have stayed at home as have gone, for I charged her, if she came to see him, she should not so much as take notice that she knew him again; and if he spoke to her, she should tell him she was come away from me a great many years ago, and knew nothing what was become of me; that she had been come over to France six years ago, and was married there, and lived at Calais; or to that purpose.

Amy promised me nothing, indeed; for, as she said, it was impossible for her to resolve what would be fit to do, or not to do, till she was there upon the spot, and had found out the gentleman, or heard of him; but that then, if I would trust her, as I had always done, she would answer for it that she would do nothing but what should be for my interest, and what she would hope I should be very well pleased with.

With this general commission, Amy, notwithstanding she had been so frighted at the sea, ventured her carcass once more by water, and away