Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/361

This page has been validated.

government, I would not be against it; and, to satisfy him that I would perform what I said, I would cause the child to be delivered to him, and the £5000 also for its support, depending upon it that he would show himself a father to it by what I saw of his affection to it now.

I had observed that he had hinted two or three times in his discourse, at his having had misfortunes in the world, and I was a little surprised at the expression, especially at the repeating it so often; but I took no notice of that part yet.

He thanked me for my kindness to the child with a tenderness which showed the sincerity of all he had said before, and which increased the regret with which, as I said, I looked back on the little affection I had showed to the poor child. He told me he did not desire to take him from me, but so as to introduce him into the world as his own, which he could still do, having lived absent from his other children (for he had two sons and a daughter which were brought up at Nimeguen, in Holland, with a sister of his) so long, that he might very well send another son of ten years old to be bred up with them, and suppose his mother to be dead or alive, as he found occasion; and that, as I had resolved to do so handsomely for the child, he would add to it something considerable, though, having had some great disappointments (repeating the words), he could not do for it as he would otherwise have done.

I then thought myself obliged to take notice of his having so often mentioned his having met with disappointments. I told him I was very sorry to hear he had met with anything afflicting to him in the world; that I would not have anything belonging to me add to his loss, or weaken him in what he might do for his other children; and that I would not agree to his having the child away, though the proposal was infinitely to the child's advantage, unless he would promise me that the whole expense should be mine, and that, if he did not think £5000 enough for the child, I would give it more.

We had so much discourse upon this and the old affairs that it took up all our time at his first visit. I was a little importunate with him to tell me how he came to find me out, but he put it off for that time, and only obtaining my leave to visit me again, he went away; and indeed my heart was so full with what he had said already that I was glad when he went away. Sometimes I was full of tenderness and affection for him, and especially when he expressed himself so earnestly and passionately about the child; other times I was crowded with doubts about his circumstances. Sometimes I was terrified with apprehensions lest, if I should come into a close correspondence with him, he should any way come to hear what kind of life I had led at Pall Mall and in other places, and it might make me miserable afterwards; from which last thought I concluded that I had better repulse him again than receive him. All these thoughts, and many more, crowded in so fast, I say, upon me, that I wanted to give vent to them and get rid of him, and was very glad when he was gone away.

We had several meetings after this, in which still we had so many preliminaries to go through that we scarce ever bordered upon the main subject. Once, indeed, he said something of it, and I put it off with a kind of a jest. 'Alas!' says I, 'those things are out of the question now; 'tis almost two ages since those things were talked between us' says I. 'You see I am grown an old woman since that.' Another time he gave