|36||THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS|
there too were, according to the fate of the day, pretty willing to be asked, yet such was his ill luck, that his character followed him over the water; so that though he might have had wives enough, yet it did not happen among the women that had good fortunes, which was what he wanted.
But this was not all; she very ingeniously managed another thing herself, for she got a young gentleman, who was a relation, to come and visit her two or three times a week in a very fine chariot and good liveries, and her two agents, and I also, presently spread a report all over that this gentleman came to court her; that he was a gentleman of a thousand pounds a year, and that he was fallen in love with her, and that she was going to her aunt's in the city, because it was inconvenient for the gentleman to come to her with his coach to Rotherhithe, the streets being so narrow and difficult.
This took immediately. The captain was laughed at in all companies, and was ready to hang himself; he tried all the ways possible to come at her again, and wrote the most passionate letters to her in the world; and in short, by great application, obtained leave to wait on her again, as he said, only to clear his reputation.
At this meeting she had her full revenge of him; for she told him, she wondered what he took her to be, that she should admit any man to a treaty of so much consequence as that of marriage without inquiring into circumstances; that if he thought she was to be huffed into wedlock, and that she was in the same circumstances which her neighbours might be in, viz. to take up with the first good Christian that came, he was mistaken; that, in a word, his character was really bad, or he was very ill beholden to his neighbours; and that unless he could clear up some points, in which she had justly been prejudiced, she had no more to say to him, but give him the satisfaction of knowing that she was not afraid to say no, either to him, or any man else.
With that she told him what she had heard, or rather raised herself by my means, of his character; his not having paid for the part he pretended to own of the ship he commanded; of the resolution of his owners to put him out of the command, and to put his mate in his stead; and of the scandal raised on his morals; his having been reproached with such-and-such women, and his having a wife at Plymouth, and another in the West Indies, and she asked him whether she had not good reason, if things were not cleared up, to refuse him, and to insist upon having satisfation in points so significant as they were.
He was so confounded at her discourse that he could not answer a word, and she began to believe that all was true, by his disorder, though she knew that she had been the raiser of those reports herself.
After some time he recovered a little, and from that time was the most humble, modest, and importunate man alive in his courtship.
She asked him if he thought she was so at her last shift that she could or ought to bear such treatment, and if he did not see that she did not want those who thought it worth their while to come farther to her than he did; meaning the gentleman whom she had brought to visit her by way of sham.
She brought him by these tricks to submit to all possible measures to satisfy her, as well of his circumstances as of his behaviour. He brought her undeniable evidence of his having paid for his part of the ship; he brought her certificates from his owners, that the report of their intending to remove