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THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS 9

I thought it was time for me to withdraw, and I did so, but not so far but that I heard all their discourse, in which I heard abundance of fine things said of myself, which prompted my vanity, but, as I soon found, was not the way to increase my interest in the family, for the sister and the younger brother fell grievously out about it; and as he said some very disobliging things to her, upon my account, so I could easily see that she resented them by her future conduct to me, which indeed was very unjust, for I had never had the least thought of what she suspected as to her younger brother; indeed, the elder brother, in his distant, remote way, had said a great many things as in jest, which I had the folly to believe were in earnest, or to flatter myself with the hopes of what I ought to have supposed he never intended.

It happened one day that he came running upstairs, towards the room where his sisters used to sit and work, as he often used to do; and calling to them before he came in, as was his way too, I being there alone, stepped to the door, and said 'Sir, the ladies are not here; they are walked down the garden.' As I stepped forward to say this, he was just got to the door, and, clasping me in his arms, as if it had been by chance, 'Oh, Mrs Betty', says he, 'are you here? That's better still; I want to speak with you more than I do with them'; and then, having me in his arms, he kissed me three or four times.

I struggled to get away, and yet did it but faintly neither, and he held me fast, and still kissed me, till he was out of breath, and, sitting down, says he, 'Dear Betty, I am in love with you.'

His words, I must confess, fired my blood; all my spirits flew about my heart, and put me into disorder enough. He repeated it afterwards several times, that he was in love with me, and my heart spoke as plain as a voice that I liked it; nay, whenever he said 'I am in love with you', my blushes plainly replied 'Would you were, sir.' However, nothing else passed at the time; it was but a surprise, and I soon recovered myself. He had stayed longer with me, but he happened to look out at the window and see his sisters coming up the garden, so he took his leave, kissed me again, told me he was very serious, and I should hear more of him very quickly, and away he went infinitely pleased; and had there not been one misfortune in it, I had been in the right, but the mistake lay here, that Mrs Betty was in earnest, and the gentleman was not.

From this time my head ran upon strange things, and I may truly say I was not myself, to have such a gentleman talk to me of being in love with me, and of my being such a charming creature, as he told me I was. These were things I knew not how to bear; my vanity was elevated to the last degree. It is true I had my head full of pride, but, knowing nothing of the wickedness of the times, I had not one thought of my virtue about me; and, had my young master offered it at first sight, he might have taken any liberty he thought fit with me; but he did not see his advantage, which was my happiness for that time.

It was not long but he found an opportunity to catch me again, and almost in the same posture; indeed, it had more of design in it on his part, though not on my part. It was thus: the young ladies were gone a-visiting with their mother; his brother was out of town; and, as for his father, he had been at London for a week before. He had so well watched me that he knew where I was, though I did not so much as know that he was in the house, and he briskly comes up the stairs, and seeing me