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42 THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS

found he would do anything I desired, so I turned my tale. I told him I had good reason not to desire to go there to live; because if his plantations were worth so much there, I had not a fortune suitable to a gentleman of £1200 a year, as he said his estate would be.

He replied, he did not ask what my fortune was; he had told me from the beginning he would not, and he would be as good as his word; but whatever it was, he assured me he would never desire me to go to Virginia with him, or go thither himself without me, unless I made it my choice. All this, you may be sure, was as I wished, and indeed nothing could have happened more perfectly agreeable. I carried it on as far as this with a sort of indifferency that he often wondered at, and I mention it the rather to intimate again to the ladies that nothing but want of courage for such an indifferency makes our sex so cheap, and prepares them to be ill used as they are; would they venture the loss of a pretending fop now and then, who carries it high upon the point of his own merit, they would certainly be slighted less and courted more. Had I discovered really what my great fortune was, and that in all I had not full £500 when he expected £1500, yet I hooked him so fast, and played him so long, that I was satisfied he would have had me in my worst circumstances; and indeed it was less a surprise to him when he learnt the truth than it would have been, because having not the least blame to lay on me, who had carried it with an air of indifference to the last, he could not say one word, except that indeed he thought it had been more, but that, if it had been less, he did not repent his bargain; only that he should not be able to maintain me so well as he intended.

In short, we were married, and very happily married on my side, I assure you, as to the man; for he was the best-humoured man that ever woman had, but his circumstances were not so good as I imagined, as, on the other hand, he had not bettered himself so much as he expected.

When we were married, I was shrewdly put to it to bring him that little stock I had, and to let him see it was no more; but there was a necessity for it, so I took my opportunity one day when we were alone, to enter into a short dialogue with him about it. 'My dear', said I, 'we have been married a fortnight; is it not time to let you know whether you have got a wife with something or with nothing?' 'Your own time for that, my dear', says he; 'I am satisfied I have got the wife I love; I have not troubled you much', says he, 'with my inquiry after it.'

'That's true', said I, 'but I have a great difficulty about it, which I scarce know how to manage.' 'What's that, my dear?' says he. 'Why', says I, '‘tis a little hard upon me, and ‘tis harder upon you; I am told that Captain' (meaning my friend's husband) 'has told you I had a great deal more than ever I pretended to have, and I am sure I never employed him so to do.'

'Well', says he, 'Captain may have told me so, but what then? If you have not so much, that may lie at his door, but you never told me what you had, so I have no reason to blame you if you have nothing at all.'

'That is so just', said I, 'and so generous that it makes my having but a little a double affliction to me.'

'The less you have, my dear', says he, 'the worse for us both; but I hope your affliction is not caused for fear I should be unkind to you for want of a portion. No, no, if you have nothing, tell me plainly; I may perhaps tell the captain he has cheated me, but I can never say you have,