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Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Part 5 out of 7

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her. Take this bundle of plate and carry it to her too. Oh, she
is a good woman. Oh Lord! we are utterly ruined, utterly
undone!' And away she runs from me out of her wits, and
the maids after her; and away comes I with the two children
and the bundle.

I was no sooner got into the street but I saw another woman
come to me. 'Oh!' says she, 'mistress,' in a piteous tone, 'you
will let fall the child. Come, this is a sad time; let me help you';
and immediately lays hold of my bundle to carry it for me.
'No,' says I; 'if you will help me, take the child by the hand,
and lead it for me but to the upper end of the street; I'll go
with you and satisfy you for your pains.'

She could not aviod going, after what I said; but the creature,
in short, was one of the same business with me, and wanted
nothing but the bundle; however, she went with me to the
door, for she could not help it. When we were come there I
whispered her, 'Go, child,' said I, 'I understand your trade;
you may meet with purchase enough.'

She understood me and walked off. I thundered at the door
with the children, and as the people were raised before by the
noise of the fire, I was soon let in, and I said, 'Is madam
awake? Pray tell her Mrs. ---- desires the favour of her to
take the two children in; poor lady, she will be undone, their
house is all of a flame,' They took the children in very civilly,
pitied the family in distress, and away came I with my bundle.
One of the maids asked me if I was not to leave the bundle
too. I said, 'No, sweetheart, 'tis to go to another place; it
does not belong to them.'

I was a great way out of the hurry now, and so I went on,
clear of anybody's inquiry, and brought the bundle of plate,
which was very considerable, straight home, and gave it to
my old governess. She told me she would not look into it,
but bade me go out again to look for more.

She gave me the like cue to the gentlewoman of the next house
to that which was on fire, and I did my endeavour to go, but
by this time the alarm of fire was so great, and so many
engines playing, and the street so thronged with people, that
I could not get near the house whatever I would do; so I came
back again to my governess's, and taking the bundle up into
my chamber, I began to examine it. It is with horror that I
tell what a treasure I found there; 'tis enough to say, that
besides most of the family plate, which was considerable, I
found a gold chain, an old-fashioned thing, the locket of which
was broken, so that I suppose it had not been used some years,
but the gold was not the worse for that; also a little box of
burying-rings, the lady's wedding-ring, and some broken bits
of old lockets of gold, a gold watch, and a purse with about
#24 value in old pieces of gold coin, and several other things
of value.

This was the greatest and the worst prize that ever I was
concerned in; for indeed, though, as I have said above, I was
hardened now beyond the power of all reflection in other cases,
yet it really touched me to the very soul when I looked into
this treasure, to think of the poor disconsolate gentlewoman
who had lost so much by the fire besides; and who would think,
to be sure, that she had saved her plate and best things; how
she would be surprised and afflicted when she should find that
she had been deceived, and should find that the person that
took her children and her goods, had not come, as was pretended,
from the gentlewoman in the next street, but that the children
had been put upon her without her own knowledge.

I say, I confess the inhumanity of this action moved me very
much, and made me relent exceedingly, and tears stood in my
eyes upon that subject; but with all my sense of its being cruel
and inhuman, I could never find in my heart to make any
restitution. The reflection wore off, and I began quickly to
forget the circumstances that attended the taking them.

Nor was this all; for though by this job I was become
considerably richer than before, yet the resolution I had
formerly taken, of leaving off this horrid trade when I had
gotten a little more, did not return, but I must still get farther,
and more; and the avarice joined so with the success, that I
had no more thought of coming to a timely alteration of life,
though without it I could expect no safety, no tranquillity in
the possession of what I had so wickedly gained; but a little
more, and a little more, was the case still.

At length, yielding to the importunities of my crime, I cast off
all remorse and repentance, and all the reflections on that head
turned to no more than this, that I might perhaps come to have
one booty more that might complete my desires; but though I
certainly had that one booty, yet every hit looked towards
another, and was so encouraging to me to go on with the trade,
that I had no gust to the thought of laying it down.

In this condition, hardened by success, and resolving to go on,
I fell into the snare in which I was appointed to meet with my
last reward for this kind of life. But even this was not yet, for
I met with several successful adventures more in this way of
being undone.

I remained still with my governess, who was for a while really
concerned for the misfortune of my comrade that had been
hanged, and who, it seems, knew enough of my governess to
have sent her the same way, and which made her very uneasy;
indeed, she was in a very great fright.

It is true that when she was gone, and had not opened mouth
to tell what she knew, my governess was easy as to that point,
and perhaps glad she was hanged, for it was in her power to
have obtained a pardon at the expense of her friends; but on
the other hand, the loss of her, and the sense of her kindness
in not making her market of what she knew, moved my
governess to mourn very sincerely for her. I comforted her
as well as I could, and she in return hardened me to merit
more completely the same fate.

However, as I have said, it made me the more wary, and
particularly I was very shy of shoplifting, especially among
the mercers and drapers, who are a set of fellows that have
their eyes very much about them. I made a venture or two
among the lace folks and the milliners, and particularly at one
shop where I got notice of two young women who were newly
set up, and had not been bred to the trade. There I think I
carried off a piece of bone-lace, worth six or seven pounds,
and a paper of thread. But this was but once; it was a trick
that would not serve again.

It was always reckoned a safe job when we heard of a new
shop, and especially when the people were such as were not
bred to shops. Such may depend upon it that they will be
visited once or twice at their beginning, and they must be very
sharp indeed if they can prevent it.

I made another adventure or two, but they were but trifles too,
though sufficient to live on. After this nothing considerable
offering for a good while, I began to think that I must give
over the trade in earnest; but my governess, who was not
willing to lose me, and expected great things of me, brought
me one day into company with a young woman and a fellow
that went for her husband, though as it appeared afterwards,
she was not his wife, but they were partners, it seems, in the
trade they carried on, and partners in something else. In short,
they robbed together, lay together, were taken together, and
at last were hanged together.

I came into a kind of league with these two by the help of my
governess, and they carried me out into three or four adventures,
where I rather saw them commit some coarse and unhandy
robberies, in which nothing but a great stock of impudence
on their side, and gross negligence on the people's side who
were robbed, could have made them successful. So I resolved
from that time forward to be very cautious how I adventured
upon anything with them; and indeed, when two or three
unlucky projects were proposed by them, I declined the offer,
and persuaded them against it. One time they particularly
proposed robbing a watchmaker of three gold watches, which
they had eyed in the daytime, and found the place where he
laid them. One of them had so many keys of all kinds, that he
made no question to open the place where the watchmaker
had laid them; and so we made a kind of an appointment; but
when I came to look narrowly into the thing, I found they
proposed breaking open the house, and this, as a thing out of
my way, I would not embark in, so they went without me.
They did get into the house by main force, and broke up the
locked place where the watches were, but found but one of
the gold watches, and a silver one, which they took, and got
out of the house again very clear. But the family, being alarmed,
cried out 'Thieves,' and the man was pursued and taken; the
young woman had got off too, but unhappily was stopped at
a distance, and the watches found upon her. And thus I had
a second escape, for they were convicted, and both hanged,
being old offenders, though but young people. As I said before
that they robbed together and lay together, so now they hanged
together, and there ended my new partnership.

I began now to be very wary, having so narrowly escaped a
scouring, and having such an example before me; but I had a
new tempter, who prompted me every day--I mean my governess;
and now a prize presented, which as it came by her management,
so she expected a good share of the booty. There was a good
quantity of Flanders lace lodged in a private house, where she
had gotten intelligence of it, and Flanders lace being prohibited,
it was a good booty to any custom-house officer that could
come at it. I had a full account from my governess, as well
of the quantity as of the very place where it was concealed,
and I went to a custom-house officer, and told him I had such
a discovery to make to him of such a quantity of lace, if he
would assure me that I should have my due share of the reward.
This was so just an offer, that nothing could be fairer; so he
agreed, and taking a constable and me with him, we beset the
house. As I told him I could go directly to the place, he left
it to me; and the hole being very dark, I squeezed myself into
it, with a candle in my hand, and so reached the pieces out to
him, taking care as I gave him some so to secure as much about
myself as I could conveniently dispose of. There was near
#300 worth of lace in the hole, and I secured about #50 worth
of it to myself. The people of the house were not owners of
the lace, but a merchant who had entrusted them with it; so
that they were not so surprised as I thought they would be.

I left the officer overjoyed with his prize, and fully satisfied
with what he had got, and appointed to meet him at a house
of his own directing, where I came after I had disposed of the
cargo I had about me, of which he had not the least suspicion.
When I came to him he began to capitulate with me, believing
I did not understand the right I had to a share in the prize, and
would fain have put me off with #20, but I let him know that I
was not so ignorant as he supposed I was; and yet I was glad,
too, that he offered to bring me to a certainty.

I asked #100, and he rose up to #30; I fell to #80, and he rose
again to #40; in a word, he offered #50, and I consented, only
demanding a piece of lace, which I though came to about #8
or #9, as if it had been for my own wear, and he agreed to it.
So I got #50 in money paid me that same night, and made an
end of the bargain; nor did he ever know who I was, or where
to inquire for me, so that if it had been discovered that part of
the goods were embezzled, he could have made no challenge
upon me for it.

I very punctually divided this spoil with my governess, and I
passed with her from this time for a very dexterous manager
in the nicest cases. I found that this last was the best and
easiest sort of work that was in my way, and I made it my
business to inquire out prohibited goods, and after buying
some, usually betrayed them, but none of these discoveries
amounted to anything considerable, not like that I related just
now; but I was willing to act safe, and was still cautious of
running the great risks which I found others did, and in which
they miscarried every day.

The next thing of moment was an attempt at a gentlewoman's
good watch. It happened in a crowd, at a meeting-house,
where I was in very great danger of being taken. I had full
hold of her watch, but giving a great jostle, as if somebody
had thrust me against her, and in the juncture giving the watch
a fair pull, I found it would not come, so I let it go that moment,
and cried out as if I had been killed, that somebody had trod
upon my foot, and that there were certainly pickpockets there,
for somebody or other had given a pull at my watch; for you
are to observe that on these adventures we always went very
well dressed, and I had very good clothes on, and a gold watch
by my side, as like a lady as other fold.

I had no sooner said so, but the other gentlewoman cried out
'A pickpocket' too, for somebody, she said, had tried to pull
her watch away.

When I touched her watch I was close to her, but when I cried
out I stopped as it were short, and the crowd bearing her
forward a little, she made a noise too, but it was at some distance
from me, so that she did not in the least suspect me; but when
she cried out 'A pickpocket,' somebody cried, 'Ay, and here
has been another! this gentlewoman has been attempted too.'

At that very instance, a little farther in the crowd, and very
luckily too, they cried out 'A pickpocket,' again, and really
seized a young fellow in the very act. This, though unhappy
for the wretch, was very opportunely for my case, though I
had carried it off handsomely enough before; but now it was
out of doubt, and all the loose part of the crowd ran that way,
and the poor boy was delivered up to the rage of the street,
which is a cruelty I need not describe, and which, however,
they are always glad of, rather than to be sent to Newgate,
where they lie often a long time, till they are almost perished,
and sometimes they are hanged, and the best they can look for,
if they are convicted, is to be transported.

This was a narrow escape to me, and I was so frighted that I
ventured no more at gold watches a great while. There was
indeed a great many concurring circumstances in this adventure
which assisted to my escape; but the chief was, that the woman
whose watch I had pulled at was a fool; that is to say, she was
ignorant of the nature of the attempt, which one would have
thought she should not have been, seeing she was wise enough
to fasten her watch so that it could not be slipped up. But she
was in such a fright that she had no thought about her proper
for the discovery; for she, when she felt the pull, screamed out,
and pushed herself forward, and put all the people about her into
disorder, but said not a word of her watch, or of a pickpocket,
for a least two minutes' time, which was time enough for me,
and to spare. For as I had cried out behind her, as I have said,
and bore myself back in the crowd as she bore forward, there
were several people, at least seven or eight, the throng being
still moving on, that were got between me and her in that time,
and then I crying out 'A pickpocket,' rather sooner than she,
or at least as soon, she might as well be the person suspected
as I, and the people were confused in their inquiry; whereas,
had she with a presence of mind needful on such an occasion,
as soon as she felt the pull, not screamed out as she did, but
turned immediately round and seized the next body that was
behind her, she had infallibly taken me.

This is a direction not of the kindest sort to the fraternity, but
'tis certainly a key to the clue of a pickpocket's motions, and
whoever can follow it will as certainly catch the thief as he
will be sure to miss if he does not.

I had another adventure, which puts this matter out of doubt,
and which may be an instruction for posterity in the case of a
pickpocket. My good old governess, to give a short touch at
her history, though she had left off the trade, was, as I may say,
born a pickpocket, and, as I understood afterwards, had run
through all the several degrees of that art, and yet had never
been taken but once, when she was so grossly detected, that
she was convicted and ordered to be transported; but being a
woman of a rare tongue, and withal having money in her pocket,
she found means, the ship putting into Ireland for provisions,
to get on shore there, where she lived and practised her old
trade for some years; when falling into another sort of bad
company, she turned midwife and procuress, and played a
hundred pranks there, which she gave me a little history of in
confidence between us as we grew more intimate; and it was
to this wicked creature that I owed all the art and dexterity I
arrived to, in which there were few that ever went beyond me,
or that practised so long without any misfortune.

It was after those adventures in Ireland, and when she was
pretty well known in that country, that she left Dublin and
came over to England, where, the time of her transportation
being not expired, she left her former trade, for fear of falling
into bad hands again, for then she was sure to have gone to
wreck. Here she set up the same trade she had followed in
Ireland, in which she soon, by her admirable management and
good tongue, arrived to the height which I have already
described, and indeed began to be rich, though her trade fell
off again afterwards, as I have hinted before.

I mentioned thus much of the history of this woman here, the
better to account for the concern she had in the wicked life I
was now leading, into all the particulars of which she led me,
as it were, by the hand, and gave me such directions, and I so
well followed them, that I grew the greatest artist of my time
and worked myself out of every danger with such dexterity,
that when several more of my comrades ran themselves into
Newgate presently, and by that time they had been half a year
at the trade, I had now practised upwards of five years, and
the people at Newgate did not so much as know me; they had
heard much of me indeed, and often expected me there, but I
always got off, though many times in the extremest danger.

One of the greatest dangers I was now in, was that I was too
well known among the trade, and some of them, whose hatred
was owing rather to envy than any injury I had done them,
began to be angry that I should always escape when they were
always catched and hurried to Newgate. These were they that
gave me the name of Moll Flanders; for it was no more of
affinity with my real name or with any of the name I had ever
gone by, than black is of kin to white, except that once, as
before, I called myself Mrs. Flanders; when I sheltered myself
in the Mint; but that these rogues never knew, nor could I ever
learn how they came to give me the name, or what the occasion
of it was.

I was soon informed that some of these who were gotten fast
into Newgate had vowed to impeach me; and as I knew that
two or three of them were but too able to do it, I was under
a great concern about it, and kept within doors for a good
while. But my governess--whom I always made partner in my
success, and who now played a sure game with me, for that
she had a share of the gain and no share in the hazard--I say,
my governess was something impatient of my leading such a
useless, unprofitable life, as she called it; and she laid a new
contrivance for my going abroad, and this was to dress me up
in men's clothes, and so put me into a new kind of practice.

I was tall and personable, but a little too smooth-faced for a
man; however, I seldom went abroad but in the night, it did
well enough; but it was a long time before I could behave in
my new clothes--I mean, as to my craft. It was impossible to
be so nimble, so ready, so dexterous at these things in a dress
so contrary to nature; and I did everything clumsily, so I had
neither the success nor the easiness of escape that I had before,
and I resolved to leave it off; but that resolution was confirmed
soon after by the following accident.

As my governess disguised me like a man, so she joined me
with a man, a young fellow that was nimble enough at his
business, and for about three weeks we did very well together.
Our principal trade was watching shopkeepers' counters, and
slipping off any kind of goods we could see carelessly laid
anywhere, and we made several good bargains, as we called
them, at this work. And as we kept always together, so we
grew very intimate, yet he never knew that I was not a man,
nay, though I several times went home with him to his lodgings,
according as our business directed, and four or five times lay
with him all night. But our design lay another way, and it was
absolutely necessary to me to conceal my sex from him, as
appeared afterwards. The circumstances of our living, coming
in late, and having such and such business to do as required
that nobody should be trusted with the coming into our lodgings,
were such as made it impossible to me to refuse lying with him,
unless I would have owned my sex; and as it was, I effectually
concealed myself. But his ill, and my good fortune, soon put
an end to this life, which I must own I was sick of too, on
several other accounts. We had made several prizes in this
new way of business, but the last would be extraordinary.
There was a shop in a certain street which had a warehouse
behind it that looked into another street, the house making the
corner of the turning.

Through the window of the warehouse we saw, lying on the
counter or showboard, which was just before it, five pieces of
silks, besides other stuffs, and though it was almost dark, yet
the people, being busy in the fore-shop with customers, had
not had time to shut up those windows, or else had forgot it.

This the young fellow was so overjoyed with, that he could
not restrain himself. It lay all within his reach he said, and he
swore violently to me that he would have it, if he broke down
the house for it. I dissuaded him a little, but saw there was no
remedy; so he ran rashly upon it, slipped out a square of the
sash window dexterously enough, and without noise, and got
out four pieces of the silks, and came with them towards me,
but was immediately pursued with a terrible clutter and noise.
We were standing together indeed, but I had not taken any of
the goods out of his hand, when I said to him hastily, 'You are
undone, fly, for God's sake!' He ran like lightning, and I too,
but the pursuit was hotter after him because he had the goods,
than after me. He dropped two of the pieces, which stopped
them a little, but the crowd increased and pursued us both.
They took him soon after with the other two pieces upon him,
and then the rest followed me. I ran for it and got into my
governess's house whither some quick-eyed people followed
me to warmly as to fix me there. They did not immediately
knock, at the door, by which I got time to throw off my disguise
and dress me in my own clothes; besides, when they came there,
my governess, who had her tale ready, kept her door shut, and
called out to them and told them there was no man come in
there. The people affirmed there did a man come in there, and
swore they would break open the door.

My governess, not at all surprised, spoke calmly to them, told
them they should very freely come and search her house, if
they should bring a constable, and let in none but such as the
constable would admit, for it was unreasonable to let in a whole
crowd. This they could not refuse, though they were a crowd.
So a constable was fetched immediately, and she very freely
opened the door; the constable kept the door, and the men he
appointed searched the house, my governess going with them
from room to room. When she came to my room she called
to me, and said aloud, 'Cousin, pray open the door; here's
some gentlemen that must come and look into your room.'

I had a little girl with me, which was my governess's grandchild,
as she called her; and I bade her open the door, and there sat
I at work with a great litter of things about me, as if I had been
at work all day, being myself quite undressed, with only
night-clothes on my head, and a loose morning-gown wrapped
about me. My governess made a kind of excuse for their
disturbing me, telling me partly the occasion of it, and that she
had no remedy but to open the doors to them, and let them
satisfy themselves, for all she could say to them would not
satisfy them. I sat still, and bid them search the room if they
pleased, for if there was anybody in the house, I was sure they
were not in my room; and as for the rest of the house, I had
nothing to say to that, I did not understand what they looked for.

Everything looked so innocent and to honest about me, that
they treated me civiller than I expected, but it was not till they
had searched the room to a nicety, even under the bed, in the
bed, and everywhere else where it was possible anything could
be hid. When they had done this, and could find nothing, they
asked my pardon for troubling me, and went down.

When they had thus searched the house from bottom to top,
and then top to bottom, and could find nothing, they
appeased the mob pretty well; but they carried my governess
before the justice. Two men swore that they saw the man
whom they pursued go into her house. My governess rattled
and made a great noise that her house should be insulted, and
that she should be used thus for nothing; that if a man did
come in, he might go out again presently for aught she knew,
for she was ready to make oath that no man had been within
her doors all that day as she knew of (and that was very true
indeed); that is might be indeed that as she was abovestairs,
any fellow in a fright might find the door open and run in for
shelter when he was pursued, but that she knew nothing of it;
and if it had been so, he certainly went out again, perhaps at
the other door, for she had another door into an alley, and so
had made his escape and cheated them all.

This was indeed probable enough, and the justice satisfied
himself with giving her an oath that she had not received or
admitted any man into her house to conceal him, or protect or
hide him from justice. This oath she might justly take, and
did so, and so she was dismissed.

It is easy to judge what a fright I was in upon this occasion,
and it was impossible for my governess ever to bring me to
dress in that disguise again; for, as I told her, I should certainly
betray myself.

My poor partner in this mischief was now in a bad case, for
he was carried away before my Lord Mayor, and by his worship
committed to Newgate, and the people that took him were so
willing, as well as able, to prosecute him, that they offered
themselves to enter into recognisances to appear at the sessions
and pursue the charge against him.

However, he got his indictment deferred, upon promise to
discover his accomplices, and particularly the man that was
concerned with him in his robbery; and he failed not to do his
endeavour, for he gave in my name, whom he called Gabriel
Spencer, which was the name I went by to him; and here
appeared the wisdom of my concealing my name and sex from
him, which, if he had ever known I had been undone.

He did all he could to discover this Gabriel Spencer; he
described me, he discovered the place where he said I lodged,
and, in a word, all the particulars that he could of my dwelling;
but having concealed the main circumstances of my sex from
him, I had a vast advantage, and he never could hear of me. He
brought two or three families into trouble by his endeavouring
to find me out, but they knew nothing of me, any more than
that I had a fellow with me that they had seen, but knew nothing
of. And as for my governess, though she was the means of his
coming to me, yet it was done at second-hand, and he knew
nothing of her.

This turned to his disadvantage; for having promised discoveries,
but not being able to make it good, it was looked upon as
trifling with the justice of the city, and he was the more fiercely
pursued by the shopkeepers who took him.

I was, however, terribly uneasy all this while, and that I might
be quite out of the way, I went away from my governess's
for a while; but not knowing wither to wander, I took a
maid-servant with me, and took the stage-coach to Dunstable,
to my old landlord and landlady, where I had lived so
handsomely with my Lancashire husband. Here I told her a
formal story, that I expected my husband every day from
Ireland, and that I had sent a letter to him that I would meet
him at Dunstable at her house, and that he would certainly
land, if the wind was fair, in a few days, so that I was come to
spend a few days with them till he should come, for he was
either come post, or in the West Chester coach, I knew not
which; but whichsoever it was, he would be sure to come to
that house to meet me.

My landlady was mighty glad to see me, and my landlord made
such a stir with me, that if I had been a princess I could not
have been better used, and here I might have been welcome
a month or two if I had thought fit.

But my business was of another nature. I was very uneasy
(though so well disguised that it was scarce possible to detect
me) lest this fellow should somehow or other find me out; and
though he could not charge me with this robbery, having
persuaded him not to venture, and having also done nothing
in it myself but run away, yet he might have charged me with
other things, and have bought his own life at the expense of

This filled me with horrible apprehensions. I had no recourse,
no friend, no confidante but my old governess, and I knew no
remedy but to put my life in her hands, and so I did, for I let
her know where to send to me, and had several letters from
her while I stayed here. Some of them almost scared me out
my wits but at last she sent me the joyful news that he was
hanged, which was the best news to me that I had heard a
great while.

I had stayed here five weeks, and lived very comfortably indeed
(the secret anxiety of my mind excepted); but when I received
this letter I looked pleasantly again, and told my landlady that
I had received a letter from my spouse in Ireland, that I had
the good news of his being very well, but had the bad news
that his business would not permit him to come away so soon
as he expected, and so I was like to go back again without him.

My landlady complimented me upon the good news however,
that I had heard he was well. 'For I have observed, madam,'
says she, 'you hadn't been so pleasant as you used to be; you
have been over head and ears in care for him, I dare say,' says
the good woman; ''tis easy to be seen there's an alteration in
you for the better,' says she. 'Well, I am sorry the esquire
can't come yet,' says my landlord; 'I should have been heartily
glad to have seen him. But I hope, when you have certain
news of his coming, you'll take a step hither again, madam,'
says he; 'you shall be very welcome whenever you please to

With all these fine compliments we parted, and I came merry
enough to London, and found my governess as well pleased
as I was. And now she told me she would never recommend
any partner to me again, for she always found, she said, that
I had the best luck when I ventured by myself. And so indeed
I had, for I was seldom in any danger when I was by myself,
or if I was, I got out of it with more dexterity than when I was
entangled with the dull measures of other people, who had
perhaps less forecast, and were more rash and impatient than
I; for though I had as much courage to venture as any of them,
yet I used more caution before I undertook a thing, and had
more presence of mind when I was to bring myself off.

I have often wondered even at my own hardiness another
way, that when all my companions were surprised and fell so
suddenly into the hand of justice, and that I so narrowly escaped,
yet I could not all this while enter into one serious resolution
to leave off this trade, and especially considering that I was
now very far from being poor; that the temptation of necessity,
which is generally the introduction of all such wickedness, was
now removed; for I had near #500 by me in ready money, on
which I might have lived very well, if I had thought fit to have
retired; but I say, I had not so much as the least inclination to
leave off; no, not so much as I had before when I had but #200
beforehand, and when I had no such frightful examples before
my eyes as these were. From hence 'tis evident to me, that
when once we are hardened in crime, no fear can affect us,
no example give us any warning.

I had indeed one comrade whose fate went very near me for
a good while, though I wore it off too in time. That case was
indeed very unhappy. I had made a prize of a piece of very
good damask in a mercer's shop, and went clear off myself,
but had conveyed the piece to this companion of mine when
we went out of the shop, and she went one way and I went
another. We had not been long out of the shop but the mercer
missed his piece of stuff, and sent his messengers, one one
way and one another, and they presently seized her that had
the piece, with the damask upon her. As for me, I had very
luckily stepped into a house where there was a lace chamber,
up one pair of stairs, and had the satisfaction, or the terror
indeed, of looking out of the window upon the noise they
made, and seeing the poor creature dragged away in triumph
to the justice, who immediately committed her to Newgate.

I was careful to attempt nothing in the lace chamber, but
tumbled their goods pretty much to spend time; then bought
a few yards of edging and paid for it, and came away very
sad-hearted indeed for the poor woman, who was in tribulation
for what I only had stolen.

Here again my old caution stood me in good stead; namely,
that though I often robbed with these people, yet I never let
them know who I was, or where I lodged, nor could they ever
find out my lodging, though they often endeavoured to watch
me to it. They all knew me by the name of Moll Flanders,
though even some of them rather believed I was she than knew
me to be so. My name was public among them indeed, but
how to find me out they knew not, nor so much as how to
guess at my quarters, whether they were at the east end of the
town or the west; and this wariness was my safety upon all
these occasions.

I kept close a great while upon the occasion of this woman's
disaster. I knew that if I should do anything that should
miscarry, and should be carried to prison, she would be there
and ready to witness against me, and perhaps save her life at
my expense. I considered that I began to be very well known
by name at the Old Bailey, though they did not know my face,
and that if I should fall into their hands, I should be treated as
an old offender; and for this reason I was resolved to see what
this poor creature's fate should be before I stirred abroad,
though several times in her distress I conveyed money to her
for her relief.

At length she came to her trial. She pleaded she did not steal
the thing, but that one Mrs. Flanders, as she heard her called
(for she did not know her), gave the bundle to her after they
came out of the shop, and bade her carry it home to her lodging.
They asked her where this Mrs. Flanders was, but she could
not produce her, neither could she give the least account of
me; and the mercer's men swearing positively that she was in
the shop when the goods were stolen, that they immediately
missed them, and pursued her, and found them upon her,
thereupon the jury brought her in guilty; but the Court,
considering that she was really not the person that stole the
goods, an inferior assistant, and that it was very possible she
could not find out this Mrs. Flanders, meaning me, though it
would save her life, which indeed was true--I say, considering
all this, they allowed her to be transported, which was the
utmost favour she could obtain, only that the Court told her
that if she could in the meantime produce the said Mrs. Flanders,
they would intercede for her pardon; that is to say, if she could
find me out, and hand me, she should not be transported. This
I took care to make impossible to her, and so she was shipped
off in pursuance of her sentence a little while after.

I must repeat it again, that the fate of this poor woman troubled
me exceedingly, and I began to be very pensive, knowing that
I was really the instrument of her disaster; but the preservation
of my own life, which was so evidently in danger, took off all
my tenderness; and seeing that she was not put to death, I was
very easy at her transportation, because she was then out of
the way of doing me any mischief, whatever should happen.

The disaster of this woman was some months before that of
the last-recited story, and was indeed partly occasion of my
governess proposing to dress me up in men's clothes, that I
might go about unobserved, as indeed I did; but I was soon
tired of that disguise, as I have said, for indeed it exposed me
to too many difficulties.

I was now easy as to all fear of witnesses against me, for all
those that had either been concerned with me, or that knew
me by the name of Moll Flanders, were either hanged or
transported; and if I should have had the misfortune to be
taken, I might call myself anything else, as well as Moll Flanders,
and no old sins could be placed into my account; so I began
to run a-tick again with the more freedom, and several
successful adventures I made, though not such as I had made

We had at that time another fire happened not a great way off
from the place where my governess lived, and I made an attempt
there, as before, but as I was not soon enough before the crowd
of people came in, and could not get to the house I aimed at,
instead of a prize, I got a mischief, which had almost put a period
to my life and all my wicked doings together; for the fire being
very furious, and the people in a great fright in removing their
goods, and throwing them out of window, a wench from out
of a window threw a feather-bed just upon me. It is true, the
bed being soft, it broke no bones; but as the weight was great,
and made greater by the fall, it beat me down, and laid me
dead for a while. Nor did the people concern themselves much
to deliver me from it, or to recover me at all; but I lay like one
dead and neglected a good while, till somebody going to
remove the bed out of the way, helped me up. It was indeed
a wonder the people in the house had not thrown other goods
out after it, and which might have fallen upon it, and then I
had been inevitably killed; but I was reserved for further

This accident, however, spoiled my market for that time, and
I came home to my governess very much hurt and bruised,
and frighted to the last degree, and it was a good while before
she could set me upon my feet again.

It was now a merry time of the year, and Bartholomew Fair
was begun. I had never made any walks that way, nor was
the common part of the fair of much advantage to me; but I
took a turn this year into the cloisters, and among the rest I
fell into one of the raffling shops. It was a thing of no great
consequence to me, nor did I expect to make much of it; but
there came a gentleman extremely well dressed and very rich,
and as 'tis frequent to talk to everybody in those shops, he
singled me out, and was very particular with me. First he told
me he would put in for me to raffle, and did so; and some
small matter coming to his lot, he presented it to me (I think
it was a feather muff); then he continued to keep talking to
me with a more than common appearance of respect, but still
very civil, and much like a gentleman.

He held me in talk so long, till at last he drew me out of the
raffling place to the shop-door, and then to a walk in the cloister,
still talking of a thousand things cursorily without anything to
the purpose. At last he told me that, without compliment, he
was charmed with my company, and asked me if I durst trust
myself in a coach with him; he told me he was a man of honour,
and would not offer anything to me unbecoming him as such.
I seemed to decline it a while, but suffered myself to be
importuned a little, and then yielded.

I was at a loss in my thoughts to conclude at first what this
gentleman designed; but I found afterwards he had had some
drink in his head, and that he was not very unwilling to have
some more. He carried me in the coach to the Spring Garden,
at Knightsbridge, where we walked in the gardens, and he
treated me very handsomely; but I found he drank very freely.
He pressed me also to drink, but I declined it.

Hitherto he kept his word with me, and offered me nothing
amiss. We came away in the coach again, and he brought me
into the streets, and by this time it was near ten o'clock at
night, and he stopped the coach at a house where, it seems,
he was acquainted, and where they made no scruple to show
us upstairs into a room with a bed in it. At first I seemed to
be unwilling to go up, but after a few words I yielded to that
too, being willing to see the end of it, and in hope to make
something of it at last. As for the bed, etc., I was not much
concerned about that part.

Here he began to be a little freer with me than he had promised;
and I by little and little yielded to everything, so that, in a word,
he did what he pleased with me; I need say no more. All this
while he drank freely too, and about one in the morning we
went into the coach again. The air and the shaking of the
coach made the drink he had get more up in his head than it
was before, and he grew uneasy in the coach, and was for
acting over again what he had been doing before; but as I
thought my game now secure, I resisted him, and brought him
to be a little still, which had not lasted five minutes but he fell
fast asleep.

I took this opportunity to search him to a nicety. I took a
gold watch, with a silk purse of gold, his fine full-bottom
periwig and silver-fringed gloves, his sword and fine snuff-box,
and gently opening the coach door, stood ready to jump out
while the coach was going on; but the coach stopped in the
narrow street beyond Temple Bar to let another coach pass,
I got softly out, fastened the door again, and gave my gentleman
and the coach the slip both together, and never heard more
of them.

This was an adventure indeed unlooked for, and perfectly
undesigned by me; though I was not so past the merry part
of life, as to forget how to behave, when a fop so blinded by
his appetite should not know an old woman from a young. I
did not indeed look so old as I was by ten or twelve years; yet
I was not a young wench of seventeen, and it was easy enough
to be distinguished. There is nothing so absurd, so surfeiting,
so ridiculous, as a man heated by wine in his head, and wicked
gust in his inclination together; he is in the possession of two
devils at once, and can no more govern himself by his reason
than a mill can grind without water; his vice tramples upon all
that was in him that had any good in it, if any such thing there
was; nay, his very sense is blinded by its own rage, and he acts
absurdities even in his views; such a drinking more, when he
is drunk already; picking up a common woman, without regard
to what she is or who she is, whether sound or rotten, clean
or unclean, whether ugly or handsome, whether old or young,
and so blinded as not really to distinguish. Such a man is worse
than a lunatic; prompted by his vicious, corrupted head, he no
more knows what he is doing than this wretch of mine knew
when I picked his pocket of his watch and his purse of gold.

These are the men of whom Solomon says, 'They go like an
ox to the slaughter, till a dart strikes through their liver'; an
admirable description, by the way, of the foul disease, which
is a poisonous deadly contagion mingling with the blood,
whose centre or foundation is in the liver; from whence, by
the swift circulation of the whole mass, that dreadful nauseous
plague strikes immediately through his liver, and his spirits are
infected, his vitals stabbed through as with a dart.

It is true this poor unguarded wretch was in no danger from
me, though I was greatly apprehensive at first of what danger
I might be in from him; but he was really to be pitied in one
respect, that he seemed to be a good sort of man in himself;
a gentleman that had no harm in his design; a man of sense,
and of a fine behaviour, a comely handsome person, a sober
solid countenance, a charming beautiful face, and everything
that could be agreeable; only had unhappily had some drink
the night before, had not been in bed, as he told me when we
were together; was hot, and his blood fired with wine, and in
that condition his reason, as it were asleep, had given him up.

As for me, my business was his money, and what I could make
of him; and after that, if I could have found out any way to
have done it, I would have sent him safe home to his house
and to his family, for 'twas ten to one but he had an honest,
virtuous wife and innocent children, that were anxious for his
safety, and would have been glad to have gotten him home,
and have taken care of him till he was restored to himself.
And then with what shame and regret would he look back
upon himself! how would he reproach himself with associating
himself with a whore! picked up in the worst of all holes, the
cloister, among the dirt and filth of all the town! how would
he be trembling for fear he had got the pox, for fear a dart had
struck through his liver, and hate himself every time he looked
back upon the madness and brutality of his debauch! how
would he, if he had any principles of honour, as I verily believe
he had--I say, how would he abhor the thought of giving any
ill distemper, if he had it, as for aught he knew he might, to
his modest and virtuous wife, and thereby sowing the contagion
in the life-blood of his posterity.

Would such gentlemen but consider the contemptible thoughts
which the very women they are concerned with, in such cases
as these, have of them, it would be a surfeit to them. As I
said above, they value not the pleasure, they are raised by no
inclination to the man, the passive jade thinks of no pleasure
but the money; and when he is, as it were, drunk in the
ecstasies of his wicked pleasure, her hands are in his pockets
searching for what she can find there, and of which he can no
more be sensible in the moment of his folly that he can forethink
of it when he goes about it.

I knew a woman that was so dexterous with a fellow, who
indeed deserved no better usage, that while he was busy with
her another way, conveyed his purse with twenty guineas in
it out of his fob-pocket, where he had put it for fear of her,
and put another purse with gilded counters in it into the room
of it. After he had done, he says to her, 'Now han't you picked
my pocket?' She jested with him, and told him she supposed
he had not much to lose; he put his hand to his fob, and with
his fingers felt that his purse was there, which fully satisfied
him, and so she brought off his money. And this was a trade
with her; she kept a sham gold watch, that is, a watch of silver
gilt, and a purse of counters in her pocket to be ready on all
such occasions, and I doubt not practiced it with success.

I came home with this last booty to my governess, and really
when I told her the story, it so affected her that she was hardly
able to forbear tears, to know how such a gentleman ran a
daily risk of being undone every time a glass of wine got into
his head.

But as to the purchase I got, and how entirely I stripped him,
she told me it pleased her wonderfully. 'Nay child,' says she,
'the usage may, for aught I know, do more to reform him than
all the sermons that ever he will hear in his life.' And if the
remainder of the story be true, so it did.

I found the next day she was wonderful inquisitive about this
gentleman; the description I had given her of him, his dress,
his person, his face, everything concurred to make her think
of a gentleman whose character she knew, and family too.
She mused a while, and I going still on with the particulars,
she starts up; says she, 'I'll lay #100 I know the gentleman.'

'I am sorry you do,' says I, 'for I would not have him exposed
on any account in the world; he has had injury enough already
by me, and I would not be instrumental to do him any more.'
'No, no,' says she, 'I will do him no injury, I assure you, but
you may let me satisfy my curiosity a little, for if it is he, I
warrant you I find it out.' I was a little startled at that, and
told her, with an apparent concern in my face, that by the same
rule he might find me out, and then I was undone. She returned
warmly, 'Why, do you think I will betray you, child? No, no,'
says she, 'not for all he is worth in the world. I have kept your
counsel in worse things than these; sure you may trust me in
this.' So I said no more at that time.

She laid her scheme another way, and without acquainting me
of it, but she was resolved to find it out if possible. So she
goes to a certain friend of hers who was acquainted in the
family that she guessed at, and told her friend she had some
extraordinary business with such a gentleman (who, by the
way, was no less than a baronet, and of a very good family),
and that she knew not how to come at him without somebody
to introduce her. Her friend promised her very readily to do
it, and accordingly goes to the house to see if the gentleman
was in town.

The next day she come to my governess and tells her that
Sir ---- was at home, but that he had met with a disaster and
was very ill, and there was no speaking with him. 'What
disaster?' says my governess hastily, as if she was surprised
at it. 'Why,' says her friend, 'he had been at Hampstead to
visit a gentleman of his acquaintance, and as he came back
again he was set upon and robbed; and having got a little drink
too, as they suppose, the rogues abused him, and he is very ill.'
'Robbed!' says my governess, 'and what did they take from
him?' 'Why,' says her friend, 'they took his gold watch and
his gold snuff-box, his fine periwig, and what money he had
in his pocket, which was considerable, to be sure, for Sir ----
never goes without a purse of guineas about him.'

'Pshaw!' says my old governess, jeering, 'I warrant you he
has got drunk now and got a whore, and she has picked his
pocket, and so he comes home to his wife and tells her he has
been robbed. That's an old sham; a thousand such tricks are
put upon the poor women every day.'

'Fie!' says her friend, 'I find you don't know Sir ----; why he
is as civil a gentleman, there is not a finer man, nor a soberer,
graver, modester person in the whole city; he abhors such things;
there's nobody that knows him will think such a thing of him.'
'Well, well,' says my governess, 'that's none of my business;
if it was, I warrant I should find there was something of that
kind in it; your modest men in common opinion are sometimes
no better than other people, only they keep a better character,
or, if you please, are the better hypocrites.'

'No, no,' says her friend, 'I can assure you Sir ---- is no
hypocrite, he is really an honest, sober gentleman, and he has
certainly been robbed.' 'Nay,' says my governess, 'it may be
he has; it is no business of mine, I tell you; I only want to
speak with him; my business is of another nature.' 'But,' says
her friend, 'let your business be of what nature it will, you
cannot see him yet, for he is not fit to be seen, for he is very
ill, and bruised very much,' 'Ay,' says my governess, 'nay,
then he has fallen into bad hands, to be sure,' And then she
asked gravely, 'Pray, where is he bruised?' 'Why, in the head,'
says her friend, 'and one of his hands, and his face, for they
used him barbarously.' 'Poor gentleman,' says my governess,
'I must wait, then, till he recovers'; and adds, 'I hope it will
not be long, for I want very much to speak with him.'

Away she comes to me and tells me this story. 'I have found
out your fine gentleman, and a fine gentleman he was,' says
she; 'but, mercy on him, he is in a sad pickle now. I wonder
what the d--l you have done to him; why, you have almost
killed him.' I looked at her with disorder enough. 'I killed
him!' says I; 'you must mistake the person; I am sure I did
nothing to him; he was very well when I left him,' said I, 'only
drunk and fast asleep.' 'I know nothing of that,' says she,
'but he is in a sad pickle now'; and so she told me all that her
friend had said to her. 'Well, then,' says I, 'he fell into bad
hands after I left him, for I am sure I left him safe enough.'

About ten days after, or a little more, my governess goes again
to her friend, to introduce her to this gentleman; she had
inquired other ways in the meantime, and found that he was
about again, if not abroad again, so she got leave to speak
with him.

She was a woman of a admirable address, and wanted nobody
to introduce her; she told her tale much better than I shall be
able to tell it for her, for she was a mistress of her tongue, as
I have said already. She told him that she came, though a
stranger, with a single design of doing him a service and he
should find she had no other end in it; that as she came purely
on so friendly an account, she begged promise from him, that
if he did not accept what she should officiously propose he
would not take it ill that she meddled with what was not her
business. She assured him that as what she had to say was a
secret that belonged to him only, so whether he accepted her
offer or not, it should remain a secret to all the world, unless
he exposed it himself; nor should his refusing her service in it
make her so little show her respect as to do him the least injury,
so that he should be entirely at liberty to act as he thought fit.

He looked very shy at first, and said he knew nothing that
related to him that required much secrecy; that he had never
done any man any wrong, and cared not what anybody might
say of him; that it was no part of his character to be unjust to
anybody, nor could he imagine in what any man could render
him any service; but that if it was so disinterested a service as
she said, he could not take it ill from any one that they should
endeavour to serve him; and so, as it were, left her a liberty
either to tell him or not to tell, as she thought fit.

She found him so perfectly indifferent, that she was almost
afraid to enter into the point with him; but, however, after
some other circumlocutions she told him that by a strange and
unaccountable accident she came to have a particular knowledge
of the late unhappy adventure he had fallen into, and that in such
a manner, that there was nobody in the world but herself and
him that were acquainted with it, no, not the very person that
was with him.

He looked a little angrily at first. 'What adventure?' said he.
'Why,' said she, 'of your being robbed coming from Knightbr----;
Hampstead, sir, I should say,' says she. 'Be not surprised, sir,'
says she, 'that I am able to tell you every step you took that
day from the cloister in Smithfield to the Spring Garden at
Knightsbridge, and thence to the ---- in the Strand, and how
you were left asleep in the coach afterwards. I say, let not
this surprise you, for, sir, I do not come to make a booty of
you, I ask nothing of you, and I assure you the woman that
was with you knows nothing who you are, and never shall;
and yet perhaps I may serve you further still, for I did not come
barely to let you know that I was informed of these things, as
if I wanted a bribe to conceal them; assure yourself, sir,' said
she, 'that whatever you think fit to do or say to me, it shall be
all a secret as it is, as much as if I were in my grave.'

He was astonished at her discourse, and said gravely to her,
'Madam, you are a stranger to me, but it is very unfortunate
that you should be let into the secret of the worst action of
my life, and a thing that I am so justly ashamed of, that the
only satisfaction of it to me was, that I thought it was known
only to God and my own conscience.' 'Pray, sir,' says she,
'do not reckon the discovery of it to me to be any part of your
misfortune. It was a thing, I believe, you were surprised into,
and perhaps the woman used some art to prompt you to it;
however, you will never find any just cause,' said she, 'to
repent that I came to hear of it; nor can your own mouth be
more silent in it that I have been, and ever shall be.'

'Well,' says he, 'but let me do some justice to the woman too;
whoever she is, I do assure you she prompted me to nothing,
she rather declined me. It was my own folly and madness that
brought me into it all, ay, and brought her into it too; I must
give her her due so far. As to what she took from me, I could
expect no less from her in the condition I was in, and to this
hour I know not whether she robbed me or the coachman; if
she did it, I forgive her, and I think all gentlemen that do so
should be used in the same manner; but I am more concerned
for some other things that I am for all that she took from me.'

My governess now began to come into the whole matter, and
he opened himself freely to her. First she said to him, in answer
to what he had said about me, 'I am glad, sir, you are so just
to the person that you were with; I assure you she is a
gentlewoman, and no woman of the town; and however you
prevailed with her so far as you did, I am sure 'tis not her
practice. You ran a great venture indeed, sir; but if that be
any part of your care, I am persuaded you may be perfectly
easy, for I dare assure you no man has touched her, before
you, since her husband, and he has been dead now almost
eight years.'

It appeared that this was his grievance, and that he was in a
very great fright about it; however, when my governess said
this to him, he appeared very well pleased, and said, 'Well,
madam, to be plain with you, if I was satisfied of that, I should
not so much value what I lost; for, as to that, the temptation
was great, and perhaps she was poor and wanted it.' 'If she
had not been poor, sir ----,' says my governess, 'I assure you
she would never have yielded to you; and as her poverty first
prevailed with her to let you do as you did, so the same poverty
prevailed with her to pay herself at last, when she saw you
were in such a condition, that if she had not done it, perhaps
the next coachman might have done it.'

'Well,' says he, 'much good may it do her. I say again, all the
gentlemen that do so ought to be used in the same manner,
and then they would be cautious of themselves. I have no
more concern about it, but on the score which you hinted at
before, madam.' Here he entered into some freedoms with
her on the subject of what passed between us, which are not
so proper for a woman to write, and the great terror that was
upon his mind with relation to his wife, for fear he should have
received any injury from me, and should communicate if farther;
and asked her at last if she could not procure him an opportunity
to speak with me. My governess gave him further assurances
of my being a woman clear from any such thing, and that he
was as entirely safe in that respect as he was with his own
lady; but as for seeing me, she said it might be of dangerous
consequence; but, however, that she would talk with me, and
let him know my answer, using at the same time some arguments
to persuade him not to desire it, and that it could be of no
service to him, seeing she hoped he had no desire to renew a
correspondence with me, and that on my account it was a kind
of putting my life in his hands.

He told her he had a great desire to see me, that he would
give her any assurances that were in his power, not to take
any advantages of me, and that in the first place he would give
me a general release from all demands of any kind. She insisted
how it might tend to a further divulging the secret, and might
in the end be injurious to him, entreating him not to press for
it; so at length he desisted.

They had some discourse upon the subject of the things he had
lost, and he seemed to be very desirous of his gold watch, and
told her if she could procure that for him, he would willingly
give as much for it as it was worth. She told him she would
endeavour to procure it for him, and leave the valuing it to

Accordingly the next day she carried the watch, and he gave
her thirty guineas for it, which was more than I should have
been able to make of it, though it seems it cost much more.
He spoke something of his periwig, which it seems cost him
threescore guineas, and his snuff-box, and in a few days more
she carried them too; which obliged him very much, and he
gave her thirty more. The next day I sent him his fine sword
and cane gratis, and demanded nothing of him, but I had no
mind to see him, unless it had been so that he might be satisfied
I knew who he was, which he was not willing to.

Then he entered into a long talk with her of the manner how
she came to know all this matter. She formed a long tale of
that part; how she had it from one that I had told the whole
story to, and that was to help me dispose of the goods; and
this confidante brought the things to her, she being by profession
a pawnbroker; and she hearing of his worship's disaster, guessed
at the thing in general; that having gotten the things into her
hands, she had resolved to come and try as she had done. She
then gave him repeated assurances that it should never go out
of her mouth, and though she knew the woman very well, yet
she had not let her know, meaning me, anything of it; that is
to say, who the person was, which, by the way, was false; but,
however, it was not to his damage, for I never opened my
mouth of it to anybody.

I had a great many thoughts in my head about my seeing him
again, and was often sorry that I had refused it. I was persuaded
that if I had seen him, and let him know that I knew him, I
should have made some advantage of him, and perhaps have
had some maintenance from him; and though it was a life
wicked enough, yet it was not so full of danger as this I was
engaged in. However, those thoughts wore off, and I declined
seeing him again, for that time; but my governess saw him
often, and he was very kind to her, giving her something almost
every time he saw her. One time in particular she found him
very merry, and as she thought he had some wine in his head,
and he pressed her again very earnestly to let him see that
woman that, as he said, had bewitched him so that night, my
governess, who was from the beginning for my seeing him,
told him he was so desirous of it that she could almost yield
of it, if she could prevail upon me; adding that if he would
please to come to her house in the evening, she would
endeavour it, upon his repeated assurances of forgetting what
was past.

Accordingly she came to me, and told me all the discourse;
in short, she soon biassed me to consent, in a case which I had
some regret in my mind for declining before; so I prepared to
see him. I dressed me to all the advantage possible, I assure
you, and for the first time used a little art; I say for the first
time, for I had never yielded to the baseness of paint before,
having always had vanity enough to believe I had no need of it.

At the hour appointed he came; and as she observed before,
so it was plain still, that he had been drinking, though very far
from what we call being in drink. He appeared exceeding
pleased to see me, and entered into a long discourse with me
upon the old affair. I begged his pardon very often for my
share of it, protested I had not any such design when first I
met him, that I had not gone out with him but that I took him
for a very civil gentleman, and that he made me so many
promises of offering no uncivility to me.

He alleged the wine he drank, and that he scarce knew what
he did, and that if it had not been so, I should never have let
him take the freedom with me that he had done. He protested
to me that he never touched any woman but me since he was
married to his wife, and it was a surprise upon him; complimented
me upon being so particularly agreeable to him, and the like;
and talked so much of that kind, till I found he had talked
himself almost into a temper to do the same thing over again.
But I took him up short. I protested I had never suffered any
man to touch me since my husband died, which was near eight
years. He said he believed it to be so truly; and added that
madam had intimated as much to him, and that it was his
opinion of that part which made his desire to see me again; and
that since he had once broke in upon his virtue with me, and
found no ill consequences, he could be safe in venturing there
again; and so, in short, it went on to what I expected, and to
what will not bear relating.

My old governess had foreseen it, as well as I, and therefore
led him into a room which had not a bed in it, and yet had a
chamber within it which had a bed, whither we withdrew for
the rest of the night; and, in short, after some time being
together, he went to bed, and lay there all night. I withdrew,
but came again undressed in the morning, before it was day,
and lay with him the rest of the time.

Thus, you see, having committed a crime once is a sad handle
to the committing of it again; whereas all the regret and
reflections wear off when the temptation renews itself. Had
I not yielded to see him again, the corrupt desire in him had
worn off, and 'tis very probable he had never fallen into it
with anybody else, as I really believe he had not done before.

When he went away, I told him I hoped he was satisfied he
had not been robbed again. He told me he was satisfied in
that point, and could trust me again, and putting his hand in
his pocket, gave me five guineas, which was the first money
I had gained that way for many years.

I had several visits of the like kind from him, but he never
came into a settled way of maintenance, which was what I
would have best pleased with. Once, indeed, he asked me
how I did to live. I answered him pretty quick, that I assured
him I had never taken that course that I took with him, but
that indeed I worked at my needle, and could just maintain
myself; that sometime it was as much as I was able to do, and
I shifted hard enough.

He seemed to reflect upon himself that he should be the first
person to lead me into that, which he assured me he never
intended to do himself; and it touched him a little, he said,
that he should be the cause of his own sin and mine too. He
would often make just reflections also upon the crime itself,
and upon the particular circumstances of it with respect to
himself; how wine introduced the inclinations how the devil
led him to the place, and found out an object to tempt him,
and he made the moral always himself.

When these thoughts were upon him he would go away, and
perhaps not come again in a month's time or longer; but then
as the serious part wore off, the lewd part would wear in, and
then he came prepared for the wicked part. Thus we lived for
some time; thought he did not keep, as they call it, yet he
never failed doing things that were handsome, and sufficient
to maintain me without working, and, which was better,
without following my old trade.

But this affair had its end too; for after about a year, I found
that he did not come so often as usual, and at last he left if
off altogether without any dislike to bidding adieu; and so
there was an end of that short scene of life, which added no
great store to me, only to make more work for repentance.

However, during this interval I confined myself pretty much
at home; at least, being thus provided for, I made no adventures,
no, not for a quarter of a year after he left me; but then finding
the fund fail, and being loth to spend upon the main stock, I
began to think of my old trade, and to look abroad into the
street again; and my first step was lucky enough.

I had dressed myself up in a very mean habit, for as I had
several shapes to appear in, I was now in an ordinary stuff-gown,
a blue apron, and a straw hat and I placed myself at the door
of the Three Cups Inn in St. John Street. There were several
carriers used the inn, and the stage-coaches for Barnet, for
Totteridge, and other towns that way stood always in the street
in the evening, when they prepared to set out, so that I was
ready for anything that offered, for either one or other. The
meaning was this; people come frequently with bundles and
small parcels to those inns, and call for such carriers or coaches
as they want, to carry them into the country; and there generally
attend women, porters' wives or daughters, ready to take in
such things for their respective people that employ them.

It happened very oddly that I was standing at the inn gate, and
a woman that had stood there before, and which was the
porter's wife belonging to the Barnet stage-coach, having
observed me, asked if I waited for any of the coaches. I told
her Yes, I waited for my mistress, that was coming to go to
Barnet. She asked me who was my mistress, and I told her
any madam's name that came next me; but as it seemed, I
happened upon a name, a family of which name lived at
Hadley, just beyond Barnet.

I said no more to her, or she to me, a good while; but by and
by, somebody calling her at a door a little way off, she desired
me that if anybody called for the Barnet coach, I would step
and call her at the house, which it seems was an alehouse. I
said Yes, very readily, and away she went.

She was no sooner gone but comes a wench and a child, puffing
and sweating, and asks for the Barnet coach. I answered
presently, 'Here.' 'Do you belong to the Barnet coach?' says
she. 'Yes, sweetheart,' said I; 'what do ye want?' 'I want
room for two passengers,' says she. 'Where are they, sweetheart?'
said I. 'Here's this girl, pray let her go into the coach,' says
she, 'and I'll go and fetch my mistress.' 'Make haste, then,
sweetheart,' says I, 'for we may be full else.' The maid had
a great bundle under her arm; so she put the child into the
coach, and I said, 'You had best put your bundle into the coach
too.' 'No,' says she, 'I am afraid somebody should slip it away
from the child.' 'Give to me, then,' said I, 'and I'll take care
of it.' 'Do, then,' says she, 'and be sure you take of it.' 'I'll
answer for it,' said I, 'if it were for #20 value.' 'There, take
it, then,' says she, and away she goes.

As soon as I had got the bundle, and the maid was out of sight,
I goes on towards the alehouse, where the porter's wife was,
so that if I had met her, I had then only been going to give her
the bundle, and to call her to her business, as if I was going
away, and could stay no longer; but as I did not meet her, I
walked away, and turning into Charterhouse Lane, then
crossed into Batholomew Close, so into Little Britain, and
through the Bluecoat Hospital, into Newgate Street.

To prevent my being known, I pulled off my blue apron, and
wrapped the bundle in it, which before was made up in a piece
of painted calico, and very remarkable; I also wrapped up my
straw hat in it, and so put the bundle upon my head; and it was
very well that I did thus, for coming through the Bluecoat
Hospital, who should I meet but the wench that had given me
the bundle to hold. It seems she was going with her mistress,
whom she had been gone to fetch, to the Barnet coaches.

I saw she was in haste, and I had no business to stop her; so
away she went, and I brought my bundle safe home to my
governess. There was no money, nor plate, or jewels in the
bundle, but a very good suit of Indian damask, a gown and a
petticoat, a laced-head and ruffles of very good Flanders lace,
and some linen and other things, such as I knew very well the
value of.

This was not indeed my own invention, but was given me by
one that had practised it with success, and my governess liked
it extremely; and indeed I tried it again several times, though
never twice near the same place; for the next time I tried it in
White Chapel, just by the corner of Petticoat Lane, where the
coaches stand that go out to Stratford and Bow, and that side
of the country, and another time at the Flying Horse, without
Bishopgate, where the Cheston coaches then lay; and I had
always the good luck to come off with some booty.

Another time I placed myself at a warehouse by the waterside,
where the coasting vessels from the north come, such as from
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sunderland, and other places. Here,
the warehouses being shut, comes a young fellow with a letter;
and he wanted a box and a hamper that was come from
Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I asked him if he had the marks of it;
so he shows me the letter, by virtue of which he was to ask
for it, and which gave an account of the contents, the box
being full of linen, and the hamper full of glass ware. I read
the letter, and took care to see the name, and the marks, the
name of the person that sent the goods, the name of the person
that they were sent to; then I bade the messenger come in the
morning, for that the warehouse-keeper would not be there
any more that night.

Away went I, and getting materials in a public house, I wrote
a letter from Mr. John Richardson of Newcastle to his dear
cousin Jemmy Cole, in London, with an account that he sent
by such a vessel (for I remembered all the particulars to a title),
so many pieces of huckaback linen, so many ells of Dutch
holland and the like, in a box, and a hamper of flint glasses
from Mr. Henzill's glasshouse; and that the box was marked
I. C. No. 1, and the hamper was directed by a label on the

About an hour after, I came to the warehouse, found the
warehouse-keeper, and had the goods delivered me without
any scruple; the value of the linen being about #22.

I could fill up this whole discourse with the variety of such
adventures, which daily invention directed to, and which I
managed with the utmost dexterity, and always with success.

At length--as when does the pitcher come safe home that goes
so very often to the well?--I fell into some small broils, which
though they could not affect me fatally, yet made me known,
which was the worst thing next to being found guilty that
could befall me.

I had taken up the disguise of a widow's dress; it was without
any real design in view, but only waiting for anything that
might offer, as I often did. It happened that while I was going
along the street in Covent Garden, there was a great cry of
'Stop thief! Stop thief!' some artists had, it seems, put a trick
upon a shopkeeper, and being pursued, some of them fled
one way, and some another; and one of them was, they said,
dressed up in widow's weeds, upon which the mob gathered
about me, and some said I was the person, others said no.
Immediately came the mercer's journeyman, and he swore
aloud I was the person, and so seized on me. However, when
I was brought back by the mob to the mercer's shop, the
master of the house said freely that I was not the woman that
was in his shop, and would have let me go immediately; but
another fellow said gravely, 'Pray stay till Mr. ----' (meaning
the journeyman) 'comes back, for he knows her.' So they
kept me by force near half an hour. They had called a constable,
and he stood in the shop as my jailer; and in talking with the
constable I inquired where he lived, and what trade he was;
the man not apprehending in the least what happened afterwards,
readily told me his name, and trade, and where he lived; and
told me as a jest, that I might be sure to hear of his name when
I came to the Old Bailey.

Some of the servants likewise used me saucily, and had much
ado to keep their hands off me; the master indeed was civiller
to me than they, but he would not yet let me go, though he
owned he could not say I was in his shop before.

I began to be a little surly with him, and told him I hoped he
would not take it ill if I made myself amends upon him in a
more legal way another time; and desired I might send for
friends to see me have right done me. No, he said, he could
give no such liberty; I might ask it when I came before the
justice of peace; and seeing I threatened him, he would take
care of me in the meantime, and would lodge me safe in
Newgate. I told him it was his time now, but it would be
mine by and by, and governed my passion as well as I was able.
However, I spoke to the constable to call me a porter, which
he did, and then I called for pen, ink, and paper, but they
would let me have none. I asked the porter his name, and
where he lived, and the poor man told it me very willingly.
I bade him observe and remember how I was treated there;
that he saw I was detained there by force. I told him I should
want his evidence in another place, and it should not be the
worse for him to speak. The porter said he would serve me
with all his heart. 'But, madam,' says he, 'let me hear them
refuse to let you go, then I may be able to speak the plainer.'

With that I spoke aloud to the master of the shop, and said,
'Sir, you know in your own conscience that I am not the
person you look for, and that I was not in your shop before,
therefore I demand that you detain me here no longer, or tell
me the reason of your stopping me.' The fellow grew surlier
upon this than before, and said he would do neither till he
thought fit. 'Very well,' said I to the constable and to the
porter; 'you will be pleased to remember this, gentlemen,
another time.' The porter said, 'Yes, madam'; and the
constable began not to like it, and would have persuaded the
mercer to dismiss him, and let me go, since, as he said, he
owned I was not the person. 'Good, sir,' says the mercer to
him tauntingly, 'are you a justice of peace or a constable? I
charged you with her; pray do you do your duty.' The constable
told him, a little moved, but very handsomely, 'I know my
duty, and what I am, sir; I doubt you hardly know what you
are doing.' They had some other hard words, and in the
meantime the journeyman, impudent and unmanly to the last
degree, used me barbarously, and one of them, the same that
first seized upon me, pretended he would search me, and began
to lay hands on me. I spit in his face, called out to the constable,
and bade him to take notice of my usage. 'And pray, Mr.
Constable,' said I, 'ask that villain's name,' pointing to the
man. The constable reproved him decently, told him that he
did not know what he did, for he knew that his master
acknowledged I was not the person that was in his shop; 'and,'
says the constable, 'I am afraid your master is bringing himself,
and me too, into trouble, if this gentlewoman comes to prove
who she is, and where she was, and it appears that she is not
the woman you pretend to.' 'Damn her,' says the fellow again,
with a impudent, hardened face, 'she is the lady, you may depend
upon it; I'll swear she is the same body that was in the shop,
and that I gave the pieces of satin that is lost into her own hand.
You shall hear more of it when Mr. William and Mr. Anthony
(those were other journeymen) come back; they will know her
again as well as I.'

Just as the insolent rogue was talking thus to the constable,
comes back Mr. William and Mr. Anthony, as he called them,
and a great rabble with them, bringing along with them the
true widow that I was pretended to be; and they came sweating
and blowing into the shop, and with a great deal of triumph,
dragging the poor creature in the most butcherly manner up
towards their master, who was in the back shop, and cried
out aloud, 'Here's the widow, sir; we have catcher her at last.'
'What do ye mean by that?' says the master. 'Why, we have
her already; there she sits,' says he, 'and Mr. ----,' says he,
'can swear this is she.' The other man, whom they called Mr.
Anthony, replied, 'Mr. ---- may say what he will, and swear
what he will, but this is the woman, and there's the remnant
of satin she stole; I took it out of her clothes with my own hand.'

I sat still now, and began to take a better heart, but smiled and
said nothing; the master looked pale; the constable turned
about and looked at me. 'Let 'em alone, Mr. Constable,' said
I; 'let 'em go on.' The case was plain and could not be denied,
so the constable was charged with the right thief, and the
mercer told me very civilly he was sorry for the mistake, and
hoped I would not take it ill; that they had so many things of
this nature put upon them every day, that they could not be
blamed for being very sharp in doing themselves justice. 'Not
take it ill, sir!' said I; 'how can I take it well! If you had
dismissed me when your insolent fellow seized on me it the
street, and brought me to you, and when you yourself
acknowledged I was not the person, I would have put it by,
and not taken it ill, because of the many ill things I believe
you have put upon you daily; but your treatment of me since
has been insufferable, and especially that of your servant; I
must and will have reparation for that.'

Then he began to parley with me, said he would make me any
reasonable satisfaction, and would fain have had me tell him
what it was I expected. I told him that I should not be my
own judge, the law should decide it for me; and as I was to be
carried before a magistrate, I should let him hear there what
I had to say. He told me there was no occasion to go before
the justice now, I was at liberty to go where I pleased; and so,
calling to the constable, told him he might let me go, for I
was discharged. The constable said calmly to him, 'sir, you
asked me just now if I knew whether I was a constable or
justice, and bade me do my duty, and charged me with this
gentlewoman as a prisoner. Now, sir, I find you do not
understand what is my duty, for you would make me a justice
indeed; but I must tell you it is not in my power. I may keep
a prisoner when I am charged with him, but 'tis the law and
the magistrate alone that can discharge that prisoner; therefore
'tis a mistake, sir; I must carry her before a justice now,
whether you think well of it or not.' The mercer was very
high with the constable at first; but the constable happening
to be not a hired officer, but a good, substantial kind of man
(I think he was a corn-handler), and a man of good sense,
stood to his business, would not discharge me without going
to a justice of the peace; and I insisted upon it too. When the
mercer saw that, 'Well,' says he to the constable, 'you may
carry her where you please; I have nothing to say to her.'
'But, sir,' says the constable, 'you will go with us, I hope, for
'tis you that charged me with her.' 'No, not I,' says the
mercer; 'I tell you I have nothing to say to her.' 'But pray, sir,
do,' says the constable; 'I desire it of you for your own sake,
for the justice can do nothing without you.' 'Prithee, fellow,'
says the mercer, 'go about your business; I tell you I have
nothing to say to the gentlewoman. I charge you in the king's
name to dismiss her.' 'Sir,' says the constable, 'I find you
don't know what it is to be constable; I beg of you don't oblige
me to be rude to you.' 'I think I need not; you are rude enough
already,' says the mercer. 'No, sir,' says the constable, 'I am
not rude; you have broken the peace in bringing an honest
woman out of the street, when she was about her lawful
occasion, confining her in your shop, and ill-using her here
by your servants; and now can you say I am rude to you? I
think I am civil to you in not commanding or charging you in
the king's name to go with me, and charging every man I see
that passes your door to aid and assist me in carrying you by
force; this you cannot but know I have power to do, and yet I
forbear it, and once more entreat you to go with me.' Well, he
would not for all this, and gave the constable ill language.
However, the constable kept his temper, and would not be
provoked; and then I put in and said, 'Come, Mr. Constable,
let him alone; I shall find ways enough to fetch him before a
magistrate, I don't fear that; but there's the fellow,' says I,
'he was the man that seized on me as I was innocently going
along the street, and you are a witness of the violence with
me since; give me leave to charge you with him, and carry
him before the justice.' 'Yes, madam,' says the constable;
and turning to the fellow 'Come, young gentleman,' says he
to the journeyman, 'you must go along with us; I hope you
are not above the constable's power, though your master is.'

The fellow looked like a condemned thief, and hung back,
then looked at his master, as if he could help him; and he, like
a fool, encourage the fellow to be rude, and he truly resisted
the constable, and pushed him back with a good force when
he went to lay hold on him, at which the constable knocked
him down, and called out for help; and immediately the shop
was filled with people, and the constable seized the master
and man, and all his servants.

This first ill consequence of this fray was, that the woman
they had taken, who was really the thief, made off, and got
clear away in the crowd; and two other that they had stopped
also; whether they were really guilty or not, that I can say
nothing to.

By this time some of his neighbours having come in, and,
upon inquiry, seeing how things went, had endeavoured to
bring the hot-brained mercer to his senses, and he began to
be convinced that he was in the wrong; and so at length we
went all very quietly before the justice, with a mob of about
five hundred people at our heels; and all the way I went I
could hear the people ask what was the matter, and other reply
and say, a mercer had stopped a gentlewoman instead of a
thief, and had afterwards taken the thief, and now the
gentlewoman had taken the mercer, and was carrying him
before the justice. This pleased the people strangely, and
made the crowd increase, and they cried out as they went,
'Which is the rogue? which is the mercer?' and especially
the women. Then when they saw him they cried out, 'That's
he, that's he'; and every now and then came a good dab of
dirt at him; and thus we marched a good while, till the mercer
thought fit to desire the constable to call a coach to protect
himself from the rabble; so we rode the rest of the way, the
constable and I, and the mercer and his man.

When we came to the justice, which was an ancient gentleman
in Bloomsbury, the constable giving first a summary account
of the matter, the justice bade me speak, and tell what I had
to say. And first he asked my name, which I was very loth to
give, but there was no remedy, so I told him my name was
Mary Flanders, that I was a widow, my husband being a sea
captain, died on a voyage to Virginia; and some other
circumstances I told which he could never contradict, and
that I lodged at present in town with such a person, naming
my governess; but that I was preparing to go over to America,
where my husband's effects lay, and that I was going that day
to buy some clothes to put myself into second mourning, but
had not yet been in any shop, when that fellow, pointing to
the mercer's journeyman, came rushing upon me with such
fury as very much frighted me, and carried me back to his
master's shop, where, though his master acknowledged I was
not the person, yet he would not dismiss me, but charged a
constable with me.

Then I proceeded to tell how the journeyman treated me; how
they would not suffer me to send for any of my friends; how
afterwards they found the real thief, and took the very goods
they had lost upon her, and all the particulars as before.

Then the constable related his case: his dialogue with the
mercer about discharging me, and at last his servant's refusing
to go with him, when he had charged him with him, and his
master encouraging him to do so, and at last his striking the
constable, and the like, all as I have told it already.

The justice then heard the mercer and his man. The mercer
indeed made a long harangue of the great loss they have daily
by lifters and thieves; that it was easy for them to mistake,
and that when he found it he would have dismissed me, etc.,
as above. As to the journeyman, he had very little to say, but
that he pretended other of the servants told him that I was
really the person.

Upon the whole, the justice first of all told me very courteously
I was discharged; that he was very sorry that the mercer's man
should in his eager pursuit have so little discretion as to take
up an innocent person for a guilty person; that if he had not
been so unjust as to detain me afterward, he believed I would
have forgiven the first affront; that, however, it was not in his
power to award me any reparation for anything, other than by
openly reproving them, which he should do; but he supposed
I would apply to such methods as the law directed; in the
meantime he would bind him over.

But as to the breach of the peace committed by the journeyman,
he told me he should give me some satisfaction for that, for he
should commit him to Newgate for assaulting the constable,
and for assaulting me also.

Accordingly he sent the fellow to Newgate for that assault,
and his master gave bail, and so we came away; but I had the
satisfaction of seeing the mob wait upon them both, as they
came out, hallooing and throwing stones and dirt at the coaches
they rode in; and so I came home to my governess.

After this hustle, coming home and telling my governess the
story, she falls a-laughing at me. 'Why are you merry?' says
I; 'the story has not so much laughing room in it as you imagine;
I am sure I have had a great deal of hurry and fright too, with
a pack of ugly rogues.' 'Laugh!' says my governess; 'I laugh,
child, to see what a lucky creature you are; why, this job will
be the best bargain to you that ever you made in your life, if
you manage it well. I warrant you,' says she, 'you shall make
the mercer pay you #500 for damages, besides what you shall
get out of the journeyman.'

I had other thoughts of the matter than she had; and especially,
because I had given in my name to the justice of peace; and
I knew that my name was so well known among the people
at Hick's Hall, the Old Bailey, and such places, that if this
cause came to be tried openly, and my name came to be inquired
into, no court would give much damages, for the reputation
of a person of such a character. However, I was obliged to
begin a prosecution in form, and accordingly my governess
found me out a very creditable sort of a man to manage it,
being an attorney of very good business, and of a good
reputation, and she was certainly in the right of this; for had
she employed a pettifogging hedge solicitor, or a man not
known, and not in good reputation, I should have brought it
to but little.

I met this attorney, and gave him all the particulars at large,
as they are recited above; and he assured me it was a case, as
he said, that would very well support itself, and that he did
not question but that a jury would give very considerable
damages on such an occasion; so taking his full instructions
he began the prosecution, and the mercer being arrested, gave
bail. A few days after his giving bail, he comes with his
attorney to my attorney, to let him know that he desired to
accommodate the matter; that it was all carried on in the heat
of an unhappy passion; that his client, meaning me, had a
sharp provoking tongue, that I used them ill, gibing at them,
and jeering them, even while they believed me to be the very
person, and that I had provoked them, and the like.

My attorney managed as well on my side; made them believe
I was a widow of fortune, that I was able to do myself justice,
and had great friends to stand by me too, who had all made me
promise to sue to the utmost, and that if it cost me a thousand
pounds I would be sure to have satisfaction, for that the affronts
I had received were insufferable.

However, they brought my attorney to this, that he promised
he would not blow the coals, that if I inclined to accommodation,
he would not hinder me, and that he would rather persuade
me to peace than to war; for which they told him he should
be no loser; all which he told me very honestly, and told me
that if they offered him any bribe, I should certainly know it;
but upon the whole he told me very honestly that if I would
take his opinion, he would advise me to make it up with them,
for that as they were in a great fright, and were desirous above
all things to make it up, and knew that, let it be what it would,
they would be allotted to bear all the costs of the suit; he believed
they would give me freely more than any jury or court of justice
would give upon a trial. I asked him what he thought they
would be brought to. He told me he could not tell as to that,
but he would tell me more when I saw him again. Some time
after this, they came again to know if he had talked with me.
He told them he had; that he found me not so averse to an
accommodation as some of my friends were, who resented the
disgrace offered me, and set me on; that they blowed the coals
in secret, prompting me to revenge, or do myself justice, as
they called it; so that he could not tell what to say to it; he told
them he would do his endeavour to persuade me, but he ought
to be able to tell me what proposal they made. They pretended
they could not make any proposal, because it might be made
use of against them; and he told them, that by the same rule
he could not make any offers, for that might be pleaded in
abatement of what damages a jury might be inclined to give.
However, after some discourse and mutual promises that no
advantage should be taken on either side, by what was
transacted then or at any other of those meetings, they came
to a kind of a treaty; but so remote, and so wide from one
another, that nothing could be expected from it; for my
attorney demanded #500 and charges, and they offered #50
without charges; so they broke off, and the mercer proposed
to have a meeting with me myself; and my attorney agreed to
that very readily.

My attorney gave me notice to come to this meeting in good
clothes, and with some state, that the mercer might see I was
something more than I seemed to be that time they had me.
Accordingly I came in a new suit of second mourning, according
to what I had said at the justice's. I set myself out, too, as well
as a widow's dress in second mourning would admit; my
governess also furnished me with a good pearl necklace, that
shut in behind with a locket of diamonds, which she had in
pawn; and I had a very good figure; and as I stayed till I was
sure they were come, I came in a coach to the door, with my
maid with me.

When I came into the room the mercer was surprised. He
stood up and made his bow, which I took a little notice of,
and but a little, and went and sat down where my own attorney
had pointed to me to sit, for it was his house. After a little
while the mercer said, he did not know me again, and began
to make some compliments his way. I told him, I believed he
did not know me at first, and that if he had, I believed he
would not have treated me as he did.

He told me he was very sorry for what had happened, and that
it was to testify the willingness he had to make all possible
reparation that he had appointed this meeting; that he hoped
I would not carry things to extremity, which might be not only
too great a loss to him, but might be the ruin of his business
and shop, in which case I might have the satisfaction of
repaying an injury with an injury ten times greater; but that I
would then get nothing, whereas he was willing to do me any
justice that was in his power, without putting himself or me
to the trouble or charge of a suit at law.

I told him I was glad to hear him talk so much more like a man
of sense than he did before; that it was true, acknowledgment
in most cases of affronts was counted reparation sufficient;
but this had gone too far to be made up so; that I was not
revengeful, nor did I seek his ruin, or any man's else, but that
all my friends were unanimous not to let me so far neglect my
character as to adjust a thing of this kind without a sufficient
reparation of honour; that to be taken up for a thief was such
an indignity as could not be put up; that my character was
above being treated so by any that knew me, but because in
my condition of a widow I had been for some time careless
of myself, and negligent of myself, I might be taken for such
a creature, but that for the particular usage I had from him
afterwards, *--and then I repeated all as before; it was so
provoking I had scarce patience to repeat it.

Well, he acknowledged all, and was might humble indeed;
he made proposals very handsome; he came up to #100 and
to pay all the law charges, and added that he would make me
a present of a very good suit of clothes. I came down to #300,
and I demanded that I should publish an advertisement of the
particulars in the common newspapers.

This was a clause he never could comply with. However, at
last he came up, by good management of my attorney, to
#150 and a suit of black silk clothes; and there I agree, and as
it were, at my attorney's request, complied with it, he paying
my attorney's bill and charges, and gave us a good supper into
the bargain.

When I came to receive the money, I brought my governess
with me, dressed like an old duchess, and a gentleman very
well dressed, who we pretended courted me, but I called him
cousin, and the lawyer was only to hint privately to him that
his gentleman courted the widow.

He treated us handsomely indeed, and paid the money
cheerfully enough; so that it cost him #200 in all, or rather
more. At our last meeting, when all was agreed, the case of
the journeyman came up, and the mercer begged very hard
for him; told me he was a man that had kept a shop of his
own, and been in good business, had a wife, and several
children, and was very poor; that he had nothing to make
satisfaction with, but he should come to beg my pardon on
his knees, if I desired it, as openly as I pleased. I had no
spleen at the saucy rogue, nor were his submissions anything
to me, since there was nothing to be got by him, so I thought
it was as good to throw that in generously as not; so I told
him I did not desire the ruin of any man, and therefore at his
request I would forgive the wretch; it was below me to seek
any revenge.

When we were at supper he brought the poor fellow in to
make acknowledgment, which he would have done with as
much mean humility as his offence was with insulting
haughtiness and pride, in which he was an instance of a
complete baseness of spirit, impious, cruel, and relentless
when uppermost and in prosperity, abject and low-spirited
when down in affliction. However, I abated his cringes, told
him I forgave him, and desired he might withdraw, as if I did
not care for the sight of him, though I had forgiven him.

I was now in good circumstances indeed, if I could have
known my time for leaving off, and my governess often said
I was the richest of the trade in England; and so I believe I
was, for I had #700 by me in money, besides clothes, rings,
some plate, and two gold watches, and all of them stolen, for
I had innumerable jobs besides these I have mentioned. Oh!
had I even now had the grace of repentance, I had still leisure
to have looked back upon my follies, and have made some
reparation; but the satisfaction I was to make for the public
mischiefs I had done was yet left behind; and I could not forbear
going abroad again, as I called it now, than any more I could
when my extremity really drove me out for bread.

It was not long after the affair with the mercer was made up,
that I went out in an equipage quite different from any I had
ever appeared in before. I dressed myself like a beggar woman,
in the coarsest and most despicable rags I could get, and I
walked about peering and peeping into every door and window
I came near; and indeed I was in such a plight now that I knew
as ill how to behave in as ever I did in any. I naturally abhorred
dirt and rags; I had been bred up tight and cleanly, and could
be no other, whatever condition I was in; so that this was the
most uneasy disguise to me that ever I put on. I said presently
to myself that this would not do, for this was a dress that
everybody was shy and afraid of; and I thought everybody
looked at me, as if they were afraid I should come near them,
lest I should take something from them, or afraid to come near
me, lest they should get something from me. I wandered about
all the evening the first time I went out, and made nothing of
it, but came home again wet, draggled, and tired. However,
I went out again the next night, and then I met with a little
adventure, which had like to have cost me dear. As I was
standing near a tavern door, there comes a gentleman on
horseback, and lights at the door, and wanting to go into the
tavern, he calls one of the drawers to hold his horse. He stayed
pretty long in the tavern, and the drawer heard his master call,
and thought he would be angry with him. Seeing me stand by
him, he called to me, 'Here, woman,' says he, 'hold this horse
a while, till I go in; if the gentleman comes, he'll give you
something.' 'Yes,' says I, and takes the horse, and walks off
with him very soberly, and carried him to my governess.

This had been a booty to those that had understood it; but
never was poor thief more at a loss to know what to do with
anything that was stolen; for when I came home, my governess
was quite confounded, and what to do with the creature, we
neither of us knew. To send him to a stable was doing nothing,
for it was certain that public notice would be given in the
Gazette, and the horse described, so that we durst not go to
fetch it again.

All the remedy we had for this unlucky adventure was to go
and set up the horse at an inn, and send a note by a porter to
the tavern, that the gentleman's horse that was lost such a time
was left at such an inn, and that he might be had there; that
the poor woman that held him, having led him about the street,
not being able to lead him back again, had left him there. We
might have waited till the owner had published and offered a
reward, but we did not care to venture the receiving the reward.

So this was a robbery and no robbery, for little was lost by it,
and nothing was got by it, and I was quite sick of going out in
a beggar's dress; it did not answer at all, and besides, I thought
it was ominous and threatening.

While I was in this disguise, I fell in with a parcel of folks of
a worse kind than any I ever sorted with, and I saw a little into
their ways too. These were coiners of money, and they made
some very good offers to me, as to profit; but the part they
would have had me have embarked in was the most dangerous
part. I mean that of the very working the die, as they call it,
which, had I been taken, had been certain death, and that at a
stake--I say, to be burnt to death at a stake; so that though I
was to appearance but a beggar, and they promised mountains
of gold and silver to me to engage, yet it would not do. It is
true, if I had been really a beggar, or had been desperate as
when I began, I might perhaps have closed with it; for what
care they to die that can't tell how to live? But at present
this was not my condition, at least I was for no such terrible
risks as those; besides, the very thoughts of being burnt at a
stake struck terror into my very soul, chilled my blood, and
gave me the vapours to such a degree, as I could not think
of it without trembling.

This put an end to my disguise too, for as I did not like the
proposal, so I did not tell them so, but seemed to relish it, and
promised to meet again. But I durst see them no more; for if I
had seen them, and not complied, though I had declined it with
the greatest assurance of secrecy in the world, they would have
gone near to have murdered me, to make sure work, and make
themselves easy, as they call it. What kind of easiness that is,
they may best judge that understand how easy men are that
can murder people to prevent danger.

This and horse-stealing were things quite out of my way, and
I might easily resolve I would have to more to say to them; my
business seemed to lie another way, and though it had hazard
enough in it too, yet it was more suitable to me, and what had
more of art in it, and more room to escape, and more chances
for a-coming off if a surprise should happen.

I had several proposals made also to me about that time, to
come into a gang of house-breakers; but that was a thing I had
no mind to venture at neither, any more than I had at the
coining trade. I offered to go along with two men and a
woman, that made it their business to get into houses by
stratagem, and with them I was willing enough to venture.
But there were three of them already, and they did not care
to part, nor I to have too many in a gang, so I did not close
with them, but declined them, and they paid dear for their
next attempt.

But at length I met with a woman that had often told me what
adventures she had made, and with success, at the waterside,
and I closed with her, and we drove on our business pretty
well. One day we came among some Dutch people at St.
Catherine's, where we went on pretence to buy goods that
were privately got on shore. I was two or three times in a
house where we saw a good quantity of prohibited goods,
and my companion once brought away three pieces of Dutch
black silk that turned to good account, and I had my share of
it; but in all the journeys I made by myself, I could not get an
opportunity to do anything, so I laid it aside, for I had been so
often, that they began to suspect something, and were so shy,
that I saw nothing was to be done.

This baulked me a little, and I resolved to push at something
or other, for I was not used to come back so often without
purchase; so the next day I dressed myself up fine, and took
a walk to the other end of the town. I passed through the
Exchange in the Strand, but had no notion of finding anything
to do there, when on a sudden I saw a great cluttering in the
place, and all the people, shopkeepers as well as others,
standing up and staring; and what should it be but some great
duchess come into the Exchange, and they said the queen was
coming. I set myself close up to a shop-side with my back to
the counter, as if to let the crowd pass by, when keeping my
eye upon a parcel of lace which the shopkeeper was showing
to some ladies that stood by me, the shopkeeper and her maid
were so taken up with looking to see who was coming, and
what shop they would go to, that I found means to slip a paper
of lace into my pocket and come clear off with it; so the
lady-milliner paid dear enough for her gaping after the queen.

I went off from the shop, as if driven along by the throng, and
mingling myself with the crowd, went out at the other door
of the Exchange, and so got away before they missed their
lace; and because I would not be followed, I called a coach
and shut myself up in it. I had scarce shut the coach doors up,
but I saw the milliner's maid and five or six more come
running out into the street, and crying out as if they were
frightened. They did not cry 'Stop thief!' because nobody ran
away, but I could hear the word 'robbed,' and 'lace,' two or
three times, and saw the wench wringing her hands, and run
staring to and again, like one scared. The coachman that had
taken me up was getting up into the box, but was not quite up,
so that the horse had not begun to move; so that I was terrible
uneasy, and I took the packet of lace and laid it ready to have
dropped it out at the flap of the coach, which opens before,

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