Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Part 6 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

just behind the coachman; but to my great satisfaction, in less
than a minute the coach began to move, that is to say, as soon
as the coachman had got up and spoken to his horses; so he
drove away without any interruption, and I brought off my
purchase, which was work near #20.

The next day I dressed up again, but in quite different clothes,
and walked the same way again, but nothing offered till I
came into St. James's Park, where I saw abundance of fine
ladies in the Park, walking in the Mall, and among the rest
there was a little miss, a young lady of about twelve or thirteen
years old, and she had a sister, as I suppose it was, with her,
that might be about nine years old. I observed the biggest
had a fine gold watch on, and a good necklace of pearl, and
they had a footman in livery with them; but as it is not usual
for the footman to go behind the ladies in the Mall, so I
observed the footman stopped at their going into the Mall,
and the biggest of the sisters spoke to him, which I perceived
was to bid him be just there when they came back.

When I heard her dismiss the footman, I stepped up to him
and asked him, what little lady that was? and held a little chat
with him about what a pretty child it was with her, and how
genteel and well-carriaged the lady, the eldest, would be: how
womanish, and how grave; and the fool of a fellow told me
presently who she was; that she was Sir Thomas ----'s eldest
daughter, of Essex, and that she was a great fortune; that her
mother was not come to town yet; but she was with Sir
William ----'s lady, of Suffolk, at her lodging in Suffolk
Street, and a great deal more; that they had a maid and a
woman to wait on them, besides Sir Thomas's coach, the
coachman, and himself; and that young lady was governess
to the whole family, as well here as at home too; and, in short,
told me abundance of things enough for my business.

I was very well dressed, and had my gold watch as well as
she; so I left the footman, and I puts myself in a rank with
this young lady, having stayed till she had taken one double
turn in the Mall, and was going forward again; by and by I
saluted her by her name, with the title of Lady Betty. I asked
her when she heard from her father; when my lady her mother
would be in town, and how she did.

I talked so familiarly to her of her whole family that she could
not suspect but that I knew them all intimately. I asked her
why she would come abroad without Mrs. Chime with her
(that was the name of her woman) to take of Mrs. Judith, that
was her sister. Then I entered into a long chat with her about
her sister, what a fine little lady she was, and asked her if she
had learned French, and a thousand such little things to entertain
her, when on a sudden we saw the guards come, and the crowd
ran to see the king go by to the Parliament House.

The ladies ran all to the side of the Mall, and I helped my
lady to stand upon the edge of the boards on the side of the
Mall, that she might be high enough to see; and took the little
one and lifted her quite up; during which, I took care to convey
the gold watch so clean away from the Lady Betty, that she
never felt it, nor missed it, till all the crowd was gone, and she
was gotten into the middle of the Mall among the other ladies.

I took my leave of her in the very crowd, and said to her, as
if in haste, 'Dear Lady Betty, take care of your little sister.'
And so the crowd did as it were thrust me away from her, and
that I was obliged unwillingly to take my leave.

The hurry in such cases is immediately over, and the place
clear as soon as the king is gone by; but as there is always a
great running and clutter just as the king passes, so having
dropped the two little ladies, and done my business with them
without any miscarriage, I kept hurrying on among the crowd,
as if I ran to see the king, and so I got before the crowd and
kept so till I came to the end of the Mall, when the king going
on towards the Horse Guards, I went forward to the passage,
which went then through against the lower end of the Haymarket,
and there I bestowed a coach upon myself, and made off, and I
confess I have not yet been so good as my word, viz. to go and
visit my Lady Betty.

I was once of the mind to venture staying with Lady Betty till
she missed the watch, and so have made a great outcry about
it with her, and have got her into the coach, and put myself in
the coach with her, and have gone home with her; for she
appeared so fond of me, and so perfectly deceived by my so
readily talking to her of all her relations and family, that I
thought it was very easy to push the thing farther, and to have
got at least the necklace of pearl; but when I considered that
though the child would not perhaps have suspected me, other
people might, and that if I was searched I should be discovered,
I thought it was best to go off with what I had got, and be

I came accidentally afterwards to hear, that when the young
lady missed her watch, she made a great outcry in the Park,
and sent her footman up and down to see if he could find me
out, she having described me so perfectly that he knew presently
that it was the same person that had stood and talked so long
with him, and asked him so many questions about them; but I
gone far enough out of their reach before she could come at
her footman to tell him the story.

I made another adventure after this, of a nature different from
all I had been concerned in yet, and this was at a gaming-house
near Covent Garden.

I saw several people go in and out; and I stood in the passage
a good while with another woman with me, and seeing a
gentleman go up that seemed to be of more than ordinary
fashion, I said to him, 'Sir, pray don't they give women leave
to go up?' 'Yes, madam,' says he, 'and to play too, if they
please.' 'I mean so, sir,' said I. And with that he said he
would introduce me if I had a mind; so I followed him to the
door, and he looking in, 'There, madam,' says he, 'are the
gamesters, if you have a mind to venture.' I looked in and
said to my comrade aloud, 'Here's nothing but men; I won't
venture among them.' At which one of the gentlemen cried
out, 'You need not be afraid, madam, here's none but fair
gamesters; you are very welcome to come and set what you
please.' so I went a little nearer and looked on, and some of
them brought me a chair, and I sat down and saw the box and
dice go round apace; then I said to my comrade, 'The gentlemen
play too high for us; come, let us go.'

The people were all very civil, and one gentleman in particular
encouraged me, and said, 'Come, madam, if you please to
venture, if you dare trust me, I'll answer for it you shall have
nothing put upon you here.' 'No, sir,' said I, smiling, 'I hope
the gentlemen would not cheat a woman.' But still I declined
venturing, though I pulled out a purse with money in it, that
they might see I did not want money.

After I had sat a while, one gentleman said to me, jeering,
'Come, madam, I see you are afraid to venture for yourself;
I always had good luck with the ladies, you shall set for me,
if you won't set for yourself.' I told him, 'sir, I should be very
loth to lose your money,' though I added, 'I am pretty lucky
too; but the gentlemen play so high, that I dare not indeed
venture my own.'

'Well, well,' says he, 'there's ten guineas, madam; set them
for me.' so I took his money and set, himself looking on. I
ran out nine of the guineas by one and two at a time, and then
the box coming to the next man to me, my gentleman gave
me ten guineas more, and made me set five of them at once,
and the gentleman who had the box threw out, so there was
five guineas of his money again. He was encouraged at this,
and made me take the box, which was a bold venture. However,
I held the box so long that I had gained him his whole money,
and had a good handful of guineas in my lap, and which was
the better luck, when I threw out, I threw but at one or two of
those that had set me, and so went off easy.

When I was come this length, I offered the gentleman all the
gold, for it was his own; and so would have had him play for
himself, pretending I did not understand the game well enough.
He laughed, and said if I had but good luck, it was no matter
whether I understood the game or no; but I should not leave
off. However, he took out the fifteen guineas that he had put
in at first, and bade me play with the rest. I would have told
them to see how much I had got, but he said, 'No, no, don't
tell them, I believe you are very honest, and 'tis bad luck to
tell them'; so I played on.

I understood the game well enough, though I pretended I did
not, and played cautiously. It was to keep a good stock in my
lap, out of which I every now and then conveyed some into
my pocket, but in such a manner, and at such convenient times,
as I was sure he could not see it.

I played a great while, and had very good luck for him; but
the last time I held the box, they set me high, and I threw
boldly at all; I held the box till I gained near fourscore guineas,
but lost above half of it back in the last throw; so I got up, for
I was afraid I should lose it all back again, and said to him,
'Pray come, sir, now, and take it and play for yourself; I think
I have done pretty well for you.' He would have had me play
on, but it grew late, and I desired to be excused. When I gave
it up to him, I told him I hoped he would give me leave to tell
it now, that I might see what I had gained, and how lucky I
had been for him; when I told them, there were threescore
and three guineas. 'Ay,' says I, 'if it had not been for that
unlucky throw, I had got you a hundred guineas.' So I gave
him all the money, but he would not take it till I had put my
hand into it, and taken some for myself, and bid me please
myself. I refused it, and was positive I would not take it
myself; if he had a mind to anything of that kind, it should
be all his own doings.

The rest of the gentlemen seeing us striving cried, 'Give it
her all'; but I absolutely refused that. Then one of them said,
'D----n ye, jack, halve it with her; don't you know you should
be always upon even terms with the ladies.' So, in short, he
divided it with me, and I brought away thirty guineas, besides
about forty-three which I had stole privately, which I was
sorry for afterward, because he was so generous.

Thus I brought home seventy-three guineas, and let my old
governess see what good luck I had at play. However, it was
her advice that I should not venture again, and I took her
counsel, for I never went there any more; for I knew as well
as she, if the itch of play came in, I might soon lose that, and
all the rest of what I had got.

Fortune had smiled upon me to that degree, and I had thriven
so much, and my governess too, for she always had a share
with me, that really the old gentlewoman began to talk of
leaving off while we were well, and being satisfied with what
we had got; but, I know not what fate guided me, I was as
backward to it now as she was when I proposed it to her
before, and so in an ill hour we gave over the thoughts of it
for the present, and, in a word, I grew more hardened and
audacious than ever, and the success I had made my name as
famous as any thief of my sort ever had been at Newgate, and
in the Old Bailey.

I had sometime taken the liberty to play the same game over
again, which is not according to practice, which however
succeeded not amiss; but generally I took up new figures, and
contrived to appear in new shapes every time I went abroad.

It was not a rumbling time of the year, and the gentlemen
being most of them gone out of town, Tunbridge, and Epsom,
and such places were full of people. But the city was thin,
and I thought our trade felt it a little, as well as other; so that
at the latter end of the year I joined myself with a gang who
usually go every year to Stourbridge Fair, and from thence to
Bury Fair, in Suffolk. We promised ourselves great things
there, but when I came to see how things were, I was weary
of it presently; for except mere picking of pockets, there was
little worth meddling with; neither, if a booty had been made,
was it so easy carrying it off, nor was there such a variety of
occasion for business in our way, as in London; all that I made
of the whole journey was a gold watch at Bury Fair, and a
small parcel of linen at Cambridge, which gave me an occasion
to take leave of the place. It was on old bite, and I thought
might do with a country shopkeeper, though in London it
would not.

I bought at a linen-draper's shop, not in the fair, but in the
town of Cambridge, as much fine holland and other things as
came to about seven pounds; when I had done, I bade them
be sent to such an inn, where I had purposely taken up my
being the same morning, as if I was to lodge there that night.

I ordered the draper to send them home to me, about such an
hour, to the inn where I lay, and I would pay him his money.
At the time appointed the draper sends the goods, and I placed
one of our gang at the chamber door, and when the innkeeper's
maid brought the messenger to the door, who was a young
fellow, an apprentice, almost a man, she tells him her mistress
was asleep, but if he would leave the things and call in about
an hour, I should be awake, and he might have the money. He
left the parcel very readily, and goes his way, and in about
half an hour my maid and I walked off, and that very evening
I hired a horse, and a man to ride before me, and went to
Newmarket, and from thence got my passage in a coach that
was not quite full to St. Edmund's Bury, where, as I told you,
I could make but little of my trade, only at a little country
opera-house made a shift to carry off a gold watch from a
lady's side, who was not only intolerably merry, but, as I
thought, a little fuddled, which made my work much easier.

I made off with this little booty to Ipswich, and from thence
to Harwich, where I went into an inn, as if I had newly arrived
from Holland, not doubting but I should make some purchase
among the foreigners that came on shore there; but I found
them generally empty of things of value, except what was in
their portmanteaux and Dutch hampers, which were generally
guarded by footmen; however, I fairly got one of their
portmanteaux one evening out of the chamber where the
gentleman lay, the footman being fast asleep on the bed, and
I suppose very drunk.

The room in which I lodged lay next to the Dutchman's, and
having dragged the heavy thing with much ado out of the
chamber into mine, I went out into the street, to see if I could
find any possibility of carrying it off. I walked about a great
while, but could see no probability either of getting out the
thing, or of conveying away the goods that were in it if I had
opened it, the town being so small, and I a perfect stranger in
it; so I was returning with a resolution to carry it back again,
and leave it where I found it. Just in that very moment I heard
a man make a noise to some people to make haste, for the boat
was going to put off, and the tide would be spent. I called to
the fellow, 'What boat is it, friend,' says I, 'that you belong to?'
'The Ipswich wherry, madam,' says he. 'When do you go off?'
says I. 'This moment, madam,' says he; 'do you want to go
thither?' 'Yes,' said I, 'if you can stay till I fetch my things.'
'Where are your things, madam?' says he. 'At such an inn,'
said I. 'Well, I'll go with you, madam,' says he, very civilly,
'and bring them for you.' 'Come away, then,' says I, and takes
him with me.

The people of the inn were in a great hurry, the packet-boat
from Holland being just come in, and two coaches just come
also with passengers from London, for another packet-boat
that was going off for Holland, which coaches were to go back
next day with the passengers that were just landed. In this
hurry it was not much minded that I came to the bar and paid
my reckoning, telling my landlady I had gotten my passage by
sea in a wherry.

These wherries are large vessels, with good accommodation
for carrying passengers from Harwich to London; and though
they are called wherries, which is a word used in the Thames
for a small boat rowed with one or two men, yet these are
vessels able to carry twenty passengers, and ten or fifteen tons
of goods, and fitted to bear the sea. All this I had found out
by inquiring the night before into the several ways of going
to London.

My landlady was very courteous, took my money for my
reckoning, but was called away, all the house being in a hurry.
So I left her, took the fellow up to my chamber, gave him the
trunk, or portmanteau, for it was like a trunk, and wrapped it
about with an old apron, and he went directly to his boat with
it, and I after him, nobody asking us the least question about
it; as for the drunken Dutch footman he was still asleep, and
his master with other foreign gentlemen at supper, and very
merry below, so I went clean off with it to Ipswich; and going
in the night, the people of the house knew nothing but that I
was gone to London by the Harwich wherry, as I had told my

I was plagued at Ipswich with the custom-house officers, who
stopped my trunk, as I called it, and would open and search it.
I was willing, I told them, they should search it, but husband
had the key, and he was not yet come from Harwich; this I
said, that if upon searching it they should find all the things
be such as properly belonged to a man rather than a woman,
it should not seem strange to them. However, they being
positive to open the trunk I consented to have it be broken
open, that is to say, to have the lock taken off, which was not

They found nothing for their turn, for the trunk had been
searched before, but they discovered several things very much
to my satisfaction, as particularly a parcel of money in French
pistols, and some Dutch ducatoons or rix-dollars, and the rest
was chiefly two periwigs, wearing-linen, and razors, wash-balls,
perfumes, and other useful things necessary for a gentleman,
which all passed for my husband's, and so I was quit to them.

It was now very early in the morning, and not light, and I
knew not well what course to take; for I made no doubt but I
should be pursued in the morning, and perhaps be taken with
the things about me; so I resolved upon taking new measures.
I went publicly to an inn in the town with my trunk, as I called
it, and having taken the substance out, I did not think the
lumber of it worth my concern; however, I gave it the landlady
of the house with a charge to take great care of it, and lay it
up safe till I should come again, and away I walked in to the

When I was got into the town a great way from the inn, I met
with an ancient woman who had just opened her door, and I
fell into chat with her, and asked her a great many wild
questions of things all remote to my purpose and design; but
in my discourse I found by her how the town was situated,
that I was in a street that went out towards Hadley, but that
such a street went towards the water-side, such a street towards
Colchester, and so the London road lay there.

I had soon my ends of this old woman, for I only wanted to
know which was the London road, and away I walked as fast
as I could; not that I intended to go on foot, either to London
or to Colchester, but I wanted to get quietly away from Ipswich.

I walked about two or three miles, and then I met a plain
countryman, who was busy about some husbandry work, I did
not know what, and I asked him a great many questions first,
not much to the purpose, but at last told him I was going for
London, and the coach was full, and I could not get a passage,
and asked him if he could tell me where to hire a horse that
would carry double, and an honest man to ride before me to
Colchester, that so I might get a place there in the coaches.
The honest clown looked earnestly at me, and said nothing
for above half a minute, when, scratching his poll, 'A horse,
say you and to Colchester, to carry double? why yes, mistress,
alack-a-day, you may have horses enough for money.' 'Well,
friend,' says I, 'that I take for granted; I don't expect it without
money.' 'Why, but, mistress,' says he, 'how much are you
willing to give?' 'Nay,' says I again, 'friend, I don't know
what your rates are in the country here, for I am a stranger;
but if you can get one for me, get it as cheap as you can, and
I'll give you somewhat for your pains.'

'Why, that's honestly said too,' says the countryman. 'Not
so honest, neither,' said I to myself, 'if thou knewest all.'
'Why, mistress,' says he, 'I have a horse that will carry double,
and I don't much care if I go myself with you,' and the like.
'Will you?' says I; 'well, I believe you are an honest man; if
you will, I shall be glad of it; I'll pay you in reason.' 'Why,
look ye, mistress,' says he, 'I won't be out of reason with you,
then; if I carry you to Colchester, it will be worth five shillings
for myself and my horse, for I shall hardly come back to-night.'

In short, I hired the honest man and his horse; but when we
came to a town upon the road (I do not remember the name
of it, but it stands upon a river), I pretended myself very ill,
and I could go no farther that night but if he would stay there
with me, because I was a stranger, I would pay him for himself
and his horse with all my heart.

This I did because I knew the Dutch gentlemen and their
servants would be upon the road that day, either in the
stagecoaches or riding post, and I did not know but the drunken
fellow, or somebody else that might have seen me at Harwich,
might see me again, and so I thought that in one day's stop
they would be all gone by.

We lay all that night there, and the next morning it was not
very early when I set out, so that it was near ten o'clock by
the time I got to Colchester. It was no little pleasure that I
saw the town where I had so many pleasant days, and I made
many inquiries after the good old friends I had once had there,
but could make little out; they were all dead or removed. The
young ladies had been all married or gone to London; the old
gentleman and the old lady that had been my early benefactress
all dead; and which troubled me most, the young gentleman
my first lover, and afterwards my brother-in-law, was dead;
but two sons, men grown, were left of him, but they too were
transplanted to London.

I dismissed my old man here, and stayed incognito for three
or four days in Colchester, and then took a passage in a waggon,
because I would not venture being seen in the Harwich coaches.
But I needed not have used so much caution, for there was
nobody in Harwich but the woman of the house could have
known me; nor was it rational to think that she, considering
the hurry she was in, and that she never saw me but once, and
that by candlelight, should have ever discovered me.

I was now returned to London, and though by the accident of
the last adventure I got something considerable, yet I was not
fond of any more country rambles, nor should I have ventured
abroad again if I had carried the trade on to the end of my
days. I gave my governess a history of my travels; she liked
the Harwich journey well enough, and in discoursing of these
things between ourselves she observed, that a thief being a
creature that watches the advantages of other people's mistakes,
'tis impossible but that to one that is vigilant and industrious
many opportunities must happen, and therefore she thought
that one so exquisitely keen in the trade as I was, would scarce
fail of something extraordinary wherever I went.

On the other hand, every branch of my story, if duly considered,
may be useful to honest people, and afford a due caution to
people of some sort or other to guard against the like surprises,
and to have their eyes about them when they have to do with
strangers of any kind, for 'tis very seldom that some snare or
other is not in their way. The moral, indeed, of all my history
is left to be gathered by the senses and judgment of the reader;
I am not qualified to preach to them. Let the experience of
one creature completely wicked, and completely miserable,
be a storehouse of useful warning to those that read.

I am drawing now towards a new variety of the scenes of life.
Upon my return, being hardened by along race of crime, and
success unparalleled, at least in the reach of my own knowledge,
I had, as I have said, no thoughts of laying down a trade which,
if I was to judge by the example of other, must, however, end
at last in misery and sorrow.

It was on the Christmas day following, in the evening, that,
to finish a long train of wickedness, I went abroad to see what
might offer in my way; when going by a working silversmith's
in Foster Lane, I saw a tempting bait indeed, and not be
resisted by one of my occupation, for the shop had nobody in
it, as I could see, and a great deal of loose plate lay in the
window, and at the seat of the man, who usually, as I suppose,
worked at one side of the shop.

I went boldly in, and was just going to lay my hand upon a
piece of plate, and might have done it, and carried it clear off,
for any care that the men who belonged to the shop had taken
of it; but an officious fellow in a house, not a shop, on the
other side of the way, seeing me go in, and observing that
there was nobody in the shop, comes running over the street,
and into the shop, and without asking me what I was, or who,
seizes upon me, an cries out for the people of the house.

I had not, as I said above, touched anything in the shop, and
seeing a glimpse of somebody running over to the shop, I had
so much presence of mind as to knock very hard with my
foot on the floor of the house, and was just calling out too,
when the fellow laid hands on me.

However, as I had always most courage when I was in most
danger, so when the fellow laid hands on me, I stood very
high upon it, that I came in to buy half a dozen of silver spoons;
and to my good fortune, it was a silversmith's that sold plate,
as well as worked plate for other shops. The fellow laughed
at that part, and put such a value upon the service that he had
done his neighbour, that he would have it be that I came not
to buy, but to steal; and raising a great crowd. I said to the
master of the shop, who by this time was fetched home from
some neighbouring place, that it was in vain to make noise,
and enter into talk there of the case; the fellow had insisted
that I came to steal, and he must prove it, and I desired we
might go before a magistrate without any more words; for I
began to see I should be too hard for the man that had seized me.

The master and mistress of the shop were really not so violent
as the man from t'other side of the way; and the man said,
'Mistress, you might come into the shop with a good design
for aught I know, but it seemed a dangerous thing for you to
come into such a shop as mine is, when you see nobody there;
and I cannot do justice to my neighbour, who was so kind to
me, as not to acknowledge he had reason on his side; though,
upon the whole, I do not find you attempted to take anything,
and I really know not what to do in it.' I pressed him to go
before a magistrate with me, and if anything could be proved
on me that was like a design of robbery, I should willingly
submit, but if not, I expected reparation.

Just while we were in this debate, and a crowd of people
gathered about the door, came by Sir T. B., an alderman of
the city, and justice of the peace, and the goldsmith hearing
of it, goes out, and entreated his worship to come in and
decide the case.

Give the goldsmith his due, he told his story with a great deal
of justice and moderation, and the fellow that had come over,
and seized upon me, told his with as much heat and foolish
passion, which did me good still, rather than harm. It came
then to my turn to speak, and I told his worship that I was a
stranger in London, being newly come out of the north; that I
lodged in such a place, that I was passing this street, and went
into the goldsmith's shop to buy half a dozen of spoons. By
great luck I had an old silver spoon in my pocket, which I
pulled out, and told him I had carried that spoon to match it
with half a dozen of new ones, that it might match some I had
in the country.

That seeing nobody I the shop, I knocked with my foot very
hard to make the people hear, and had also called aloud with
my voice; 'tis true, there was loose plate in the shop, but that
nobody could say I had touched any of it, or gone near it; that
a fellow came running into the shop out of the street, and laid
hands on me in a furious manner, in the very moments while
I was calling for the people of the house; that if he had really
had a mind to have done his neighbour any service, he should
have stood at a distance, and silently watched to see whether
I had touched anything or no, and then have clapped in upon
me, and taken me in the fact. 'That is very true,' says Mr.
Alderman, and turning to the fellow that stopped me, he asked
him if it was true that I knocked with my foot? He said, yes,
I had knocked, but that might be because of his coming. 'Nay,'
says the alderman, taking him short, 'now you contradict
yourself, for just now you said she was in the shop with her
back to you, and did not see you till you came upon her.' Now
it was true that my back was partly to the street, but yet as my
business was of a kind that required me to have my eyes every
way, so I really had a glance of him running over, as I said
before, though he did not perceive it.

After a full hearing, the alderman gave it as his opinion that
his neighbour was under a mistake, and that I was innocent,
and the goldsmith acquiesced in it too, and his wife, and so
I was dismissed; but as I was going to depart, Mr. Alderman
said, 'But hold, madam, if you were designing to buy spoons,
I hope you will not let my friend here lose his customer by
the mistake.' I readily answered, 'No, sir, I'll buy the spoons
still, if he can match my odd spoon, which I brought for a
pattern'; and the goldsmith showed me some of the very same
fashion. So he weighed the spoons, and they came to five-and-thirty
shillings, so I pulls out my purse to pay him, in which I had
near twenty guineas, for I never went without such a sum
about me, whatever might happen, and I found it of use at
other times as well as now.

When Mr. Alderman saw my money, he said, 'Well, madam,
now I am satisfied you were wronged, and it was for this
reason that I moved you should buy the spoons, and stayed
till you had bought them, for if you had not had money to pay
for them, I should have suspected that you did not come into
the shop with an intent to buy, for indeed the sort of people
who come upon these designs that you have been charged
with, are seldom troubled with much gold in their pockets,
as I see you are.'

I smiled, and told his worship, that then I owed something of
his favour to my money, but I hoped he saw reason also in
the justice he had done me before. He said, yes, he had, but
this had confirmed his opinion, and he was fully satisfied now
of my having been injured. So I came off with flying colours,
though from an affair in which I was at the very brink of

It was but three days after this, that not at all made cautious
by my former danger, as I used to be, and still pursuing the
art which I had so long been employed in, I ventured into a
house where I saw the doors open, and furnished myself, as
I though verily without being perceived, with two pieces of
flowered silks, such as they call brocaded silk, very rich. It
was not a mercer's shop, nor a warehouse of a mercer, but
looked like a private dwelling-house, and was, it seems,
inhabited by a man that sold goods for the weavers to the
mercers, like a broker or factor.

That I may make short of this black part of this story, I was
attacked by two wenches that came open-mouthed at me just
as I was going out at the door, and one of them pulled me
back into the room, while the other shut the door upon me.
I would have given them good words, but there was no room
for it, two fiery dragons could not have been more furious
than they were; they tore my clothes, bullied and roared as if
they would have murdered me; the mistress of the house came
next, and then the master, and all outrageous, for a while especially.

I gave the master very good words, told him the door was
open, and things were a temptation to me, that I was poor and
distressed, and poverty was when many could not resist, and
begged him with tears to have pity on me. The mistress of
the house was moved with compassion, and inclined to have
let me go, and had almost persuaded her husband to it also,
but the saucy wenches were run, even before they were sent,
and had fetched a constable, and then the master said he could
not go back, I must go before a justice, and answered his wife
that he might come into trouble himself if he should let me go.

The sight of the constable, indeed, struck me with terror, and
I thought I should have sunk into the ground. I fell into
faintings, and indeed the people themselves thought I would
have died, when the woman argued again for me, and entreated
her husband, seeing they had lost nothing, to let me go. I
offered him to pay for the two pieces, whatever the value was,
though I had not got them, and argued that as he had his goods,
and had really lost nothing, it would be cruel to pursue me to
death, and have my blood for the bare attempt of taking them.
I put the constable in mind that I had broke no doors, nor
carried anything away; and when I came to the justice, and
pleaded there that I had neither broken anything to get in, nor
carried anything out, the justice was inclined to have released
me; but the first saucy jade that stopped me, affirming that I
was going out with the goods, but that she stopped me and
pulled me back as I was upon the threshold, the justice upon
that point committed me, and I was carried to Newgate. That
horrid place! my very blood chills at the mention of its name;
the place where so many of my comrades had been locked up,
and from whence they went to the fatal tree; the place where
my mother suffered so deeply, where I was brought into the
world, and from whence I expected no redemption but by an
infamous death: to conclude, the place that had so long
expected me, and which with so much art and success I had
so long avoided.

I was not fixed indeed; 'tis impossible to describe the terror
of my mind, when I was first brought in, and when I looked
around upon all the horrors of that dismal place. I looked on
myself as lost, and that I had nothing to think of but of going
out of the world, and that with the utmost infamy: the hellish
noise, the roaring, swearing, and clamour, the stench and
nastiness, and all the dreadful crowd of afflicting things that
I saw there, joined together to make the place seem an emblem
of hell itself, and a kind of an entrance into it.

Now I reproached myself with the many hints I had had, as I
have mentioned above, from my own reason, from the sense
of my good circumstances, and of the many dangers I had
escaped, to leave off while I was well, and how I had withstood
them all, and hardened my thoughts against all fear. It seemed
to me that I was hurried on by an inevitable and unseen fate
to this day of misery, and that now I was to expiate all my
offences at the gallows; that I was now to give satisfaction to
justice with my blood, and that I was come to the last hour of
my life and of my wickedness together. These things poured
themselves in upon my thoughts in a confused manner, and
left me overwhelmed with melancholy and despair.

Them I repented heartily of all my life past, but that repentance
yielded me no satisfaction, no peace, no, not in the least,
because, as I said to myself, it was repenting after the power
of further sinning was taken away. I seemed not to mourn that
I had committed such crimes, and for the fact as it was an
offence against God and my neighbour, but I mourned that I
was to be punished for it. I was a penitent, as I thought, not
that I had sinned, but that I was to suffer, and this took away
all the comfort, and even the hope of my repentance in my
own thoughts.

I got no sleep for several nights or days after I came into that
wretched place, and glad I would have been for some time to
have died there, though I did not consider dying as it ought to
be considered neither; indeed, nothing could be filled with
more horror to my imagination than the very place, nothing
was more odious to me than the company that was there. Oh!
if I had but been sent to any place in the world, and not to
Newgate, I should have thought myself happy.

In the next place, how did the hardened wretches that were
there before me triumph over me! What! Mrs. Flanders come
to Newgate at last? What! Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Molly, and after
that plain Moll Flanders? They thought the devil had helped
me, they said, that I had reigned so long; they expected me
there many years ago, and was I come at last? Then they
flouted me with my dejections, welcomed me to the place,
wished me joy, bid me have a good heart, not to be cast down,
things might not be so bad as I feared, and the like; then called
for brandy, and drank to me, but put it all up to my score, for
they told me I was but just come to the college, as they called
it, and sure I had money in my pocket, though they had none.

I asked one of this crew how long she had been there. She
said four months. I asked her how the place looked to her
when she first came into it. 'Just as it did now to you,' says
she, dreadful and frightful'; that she thought she was in hell;
'and I believe so still,' adds she, 'but it is natural to me now, I
don't disturb myself about it.' 'I suppose,' says I, 'you are in
no danger of what is to follow?' 'Nay,' says she, 'for you are
mistaken there, I assure you, for I am under sentence, only I
pleaded my belly, but I am no more with child than the judge
that tried me, and I expect to be called down next sessions.'
This 'calling down' is calling down to their former judgment,
when a woman has been respited for her belly, but proves not
to be with child, or if she has been with child, and has been
brought to bed. 'Well,' says I, 'are you thus easy?' 'Ay,' says
she, 'I can't help myself; what signifies being sad? If I am
hanged, there's an end of me,' says she; and away she turns
dancing, and sings as she goes the following piece of Newgate
wit ----

'If I swing by the string
I shall hear the bell ring
And then there's an end of poor Jenny.'

I mention this because it would be worth the observation of any
prisoner, who shall hereafter fall into the same misfortune, and
come to that dreadful place of Newgate, how time, necessity, and
conversing with the wretches that are there familiarizes the place
to them; how at last they become reconciled to that which at first
was the greatest dread upon their spirits in the world, and are as
impudently cheerful and merry in their misery as they were when
out of it.

I cannot say, as some do, this devil is not so black as he is
painted; for indeed no colours can represent the place to the
life, not any soul conceive aright of it but those who have
been suffers there. But how hell should become by degree so
natural, and not only tolerable, but even agreeable, is a thing
unintelligible but by those who have experienced it, as I have.

The same night that I was sent to Newgate, I sent the news of
it to my old governess, who was surprised at it, you may be
sure, and spent the night almost as ill out of Newgate, as I did
in it.

The next morning she came to see me; she did what she could
to comfort me, but she saw that was to no purpose; however,
as she said, to sink under the weight was but to increase the
weight; she immediately applied herself to all the proper
methods to prevent the effects of it, which we feared, and
first she found out the two fiery jades that had surprised me.
She tampered with them, offered them money, and, in a word,
tried all imaginable ways to prevent a prosecution; she offered
one of the wenches #100 to go away from her mistress, and
not to appear against me, but she was so resolute, that though
she was but a servant maid at #3 a year wages or thereabouts,
she refused it, and would have refused it, as my governess
said she believed, if she had offered her #500. Then she
attacked the other maid; she was not so hard-hearted in
appearance as the other, and sometimes seemed inclined to
be merciful; but the first wench kept her up, and changed her
mind, and would not so much as let my governess talk with
her, but threatened to have her up for tampering with the

Then she applied to the master, that is to say, the man whose
goods had been stolen, and particularly to his wife, who, as
I told you, was inclined at first to have some compassion for
me; she found the woman the same still, but the man alleged
he was bound by the justice that committed me, to prosecute,
and that he should forfeit his recognisance.

My governess offered to find friends that should get his
recognisances off of the file, as they call it, and that he
should not suffer; but it was not possible to convince him that
could be done, or that he could be safe any way in the world
but by appearing against me; so I was to have three witnesses
of fact against me, the master and his two maids; that is to say,
I was as certain to be cast for my life as I was certain that I
was alive, and I had nothing to do but to think of dying, and
prepare for it. I had but a sad foundation to build upon, as I
said before, for all my repentance appeared to me to be only
the effect of my fear of death, not a sincere regret for the
wicked life that I had lived, and which had brought this misery
upon me, for the offending my Creator, who was now suddenly
to be my judge.

I lived many days here under the utmost horror of soul; I had
death, as it were, in view, and thought of nothing night and
day, but of gibbets and halters, evil spirits and devils; it is not
to be expressed by words how I was harassed, between the
dreadful apprehensions of death and the terror of my conscience
reproaching me with my past horrible life.

The ordinary of Newgate came to me, and talked a little in
his way, but all his divinity ran upon confessing my crime, as
he called it (though he knew not what I was in for), making a
full discovery, and the like, without which he told me God
would never forgive me; and he said so little to the purpose,
that I had no manner of consolation from him; and then to
observe the poor creature preaching confession and repentance
to me in the morning, and find him drunk with brandy and
spirits by noon, this had something in it so shocking, that I
began to nauseate the man more than his work, and his work
too by degrees, for the sake of the man; so that I desired him
to trouble me no more.

I know not how it was, but by the indefatigable application
of my diligent governess I had no bill preferred against me
the first sessions, I mean to the grand jury, at Guildhall; so I
had another month or five weeks before me, and without doubt
this ought to have been accepted by me, as so much time given
me for reflection upon what was past, and preparation for what
was to come; or, in a word, I ought to have esteemed it as a
space given me for repentance, and have employed it as such,
but it was not in me. I was sorry (as before) for being in
Newgate, but had very few signs of repentance about me.

On the contrary, like the waters in the cavities and hollows
of mountains, which petrify and turn into stone whatever they
are suffered to drop on, so the continual conversing with such
a crew of hell-hounds as I was, had the same common operation
upon me as upon other people. I degenerated into stone; I
turned first stupid and senseless, then brutish and thoughtless,
and at last raving mad as any of them were; and, in short, I
became as naturally pleased and easy with the place, as if
indeed I had been born there.

It is scarce possible to imagine that our natures should be
capable of so much degeneracy, as to make that pleasant and
agreeable that in itself is the most complete misery. Here
was a circumstance that I think it is scarce possible to mention
a worse: I was as exquisitely miserable as, speaking of
common cases, it was possible for any one to be that had life
and health, and money to help them, as I had.

I had weight of guilt upon me enough to sink any creature
who had the least power of reflection left, and had any sense
upon them of the happiness of this life, of the misery of
another; then I had at first remorse indeed, but no repentance;
I had now neither remorse nor repentance. I had a crime
charged on me, the punishment of which was death by our
law; the proof so evident, that there was no room for me so
much as to plead not guilty. I had the name of an old offender,
so that I had nothing to expect but death in a few weeks' time,
neither had I myself any thoughts of escaping; and yet a certain
strange lethargy of soul possessed me. I had no trouble, no
apprehensions, no sorrow about me, the first surprise was
gone; I was, I may well say, I know not how; my senses, my
reason, nay, my conscience, were all asleep; my course of life
for forty years had been a horrid complication of wickedness,
whoredom, adultery, incest, lying, theft; and, in a word,
everything but murder and treason had been my practice from
the age of eighteen, or thereabouts, to three-score; and now I
was engulfed in the misery of punishment, and had an infamous
death just at the door, and yet I had no sense of my condition,
no thought of heaven or hell at least, that went any farther than
a bare flying touch, like the stitch or pain that gives a hint and
goes off. I neither had a heart to ask God's mercy, nor indeed
to think of it. And in this, I think, I have given a brief
description of the completest misery on earth.

All my terrifying thoughts were past, the horrors of the place
were become familiar, and I felt no more uneasiness at the
noise and clamours of the prison, than they did who made
that noise; in a word, I was become a mere Newgate-bird, as
wicked and as outrageous as any of them; nay, I scarce
retained the habit and custom of good breeding and manners,
which all along till now ran through my conversation; so
thorough a degeneracy had possessed me, that I was no more
the same thing that I had been, than if I had never been
otherwise than what I was now.

In the middle of this hardened part of my life I had another
sudden surprise, which called me back a little to that thing
called sorrow, which indeed I began to be past the sense of
before. They told me one night that there was brought into
the prison late the night before three highwaymen, who had
committed robbery somewhere on the road to Windsor,
Hounslow Heath, I think it was, and were pursued to Uxbridge
by the country, and were taken there after a gallant resistance,
in which I know not how many of the country people were
wounded, and some killed.

It is not to be wondered that we prisoners were all desirous
enough to see these brave, topping gentlemen, that were
talked up to be such as their fellows had not been known, and
especially because it was said they would in the morning be
removed into the press-yard, having given money to the head
master of the prison, to be allowed the liberty of that better
part of the prison. So we that were women placed ourselves
in the way, that we would be sure to see them; but nothing
could express the amazement and surprise I was in, when the
very first man that came out I knew to be my Lancashire husband,
the same who lived so well at Dunstable, and the same who I
afterwards saw at Brickhill, when I was married to my last
husband, as has been related.

I was struck dumb at the sight, and knew neither what to say
nor what to do; he did not know me, and that was all the
present relief I had. I quitted my company, and retired as
much as that dreadful place suffers anybody to retire, and I
cried vehemently for a great while. 'Dreadful creature that I
am,' said I, 'how may poor people have I made miserable?
How many desperate wretches have I sent to the devil?' He
had told me at Chester he was ruined by that match, and that
his fortunes were made desperate on my account; for that
thinking I had been a fortune, he was run into debt more than
he was able to pay, and that he knew not what course to take;
that he would go into the army and carry a musket, or buy a
horse and take a tour, as he called it; and though I never told
him that I was a fortune, and so did not actually deceive him
myself, yet I did encourage the having it thought that I was so,
and by that means I was the occasion originally of his mischief.

The surprise of the thing only struck deeper into my thoughts,
any gave me stronger reflections than all that had befallen me
before. I grieved day and night for him, and the more for that
they told me he was the captain of the gang, and that he had
committed so many robberies, that Hind, or Whitney, or the
Golden Farmer were fools to him; that he would surely be
hanged if there were no more men left in the country he was
born in; and that there would abundance of people come in
against him.

I was overwhelmed with grief for him; my own case gave me
no disturbance compared to this, and I loaded myself with
reproaches on his account. I bewailed his misfortunes, and
the ruin he was now come to, at such a rate, that I relished
nothing now as I did before, and the first reflections I made
upon the horrid, detestable life I had lived began to return upon
me, and as these things returned, my abhorrence of the place
I was in, and of the way of living in it, returned also; in a word,
I was perfectly changed, and become another body.

While I was under these influences of sorrow for him, came
notice to me that the next sessions approaching there would
be a bill preferred to the grand jury against me, and that I
should be certainly tried for my life at the Old Bailey. My
temper was touched before, the hardened, wretched boldness
of spirit which I had acquired abated, and conscious in the
prison, guilt began to flow in upon my mind. In short, I began
to think, and to think is one real advance from hell to heaven.
All that hellish, hardened state and temper of soul, which I
have said so much of before, is but a deprivation of thought;
he that is restored to his power of thinking, is restored to himself.

As soon as I began, I say, to think, the first think that occurred
to me broke out thus: 'Lord! what will become of me? I shall
certainly die! I shall be cast, to be sure, and there is nothing
beyond that but death! I have no friends; what shall I do? I
shall be certainly cast! Lord, have mercy upon me! What
will become of me?' This was a sad thought, you will say, to
be the first, after so long a time, that had started into my soul
of that kind, and yet even this was nothing but fright at what
was to come; there was not a word of sincere repentance in it
all. However, I was indeed dreadfully dejected, and disconsolate
to the last degree; and as I had no friend in the world to
communicate my distressed thoughts to, it lay so heavy upon
me, that it threw me into fits and swoonings several times a
day. I sent for my old governess, and she, give her her due,
acted the part of a true friend. She left no stone unturned to
prevent the grand jury finding the bill. She sought out one or
two of the jurymen, talked with them, and endeavoured to
possess them with favourable dispositions, on account that
nothing was taken away, and no house broken, etc.; but all
would not do, they were over-ruled by the rest; the two wenches
swore home to the fact, and the jury found the bill against me
for robbery and house-breaking, that is, for felony and burglary.

I sunk down when they brought me news of it, and after I came
to myself again, I thought I should have died with the weight
of it. My governess acted a true mother to me; she pitied me,
she cried with me, and for me, but she could not help me;
and to add to the terror of it, 'twas the discourse all over the
house that I should die for it. I could hear them talk it among
themselves very often, and see them shake their heads and say
they were sorry for it, and the like, as is usual in the place.
But still nobody came to tell me their thoughts, till at last one
of the keepers came to me privately, and said with a sigh,
'Well, Mrs. Flanders, you will be tried on Friday' (this was
but a Wednesday); 'what do you intend to do?' I turned as
white as a clout, and said, 'God knows what I shall do; for my
part, I know not what to do.' 'Why,' says he, 'I won't flatter
you, I would have you prepare for death, for I doubt you will
be cast; and as they say you are an old offender, I doubt you
will find but little mercy. They say,' added he, 'your case is
very plain, and that the witnesses swear so home against you,
there will be no standing it.'

This was a stab into the very vitals of one under such a burthen
as I was oppressed with before, and I could not speak to him a
word, good or bad, for a great while; but at last I burst out into
tears, and said to him, 'Lord! Mr. ----, what must I do?' 'Do!'
says he, 'send for the ordinary; send for a minister and talk
with him; for, indeed, Mrs. Flanders, unless you have very
good friends, you are no woman for this world.'

This was plain dealing indeed, but it was very harsh to me,
at least I thought it so. He left me in the greatest confusion
imaginable, and all that night I lay awake. And now I began
to say my prayers, which I had scarce done before since my
last husband's death, or from a little while after. And truly I
may well call it saying my prayers, for I was in such a confusion,
and had such horror upon my mind, that though I cried, and
repeated several times the ordinary expression of 'Lord, have
mercy upon me!' I never brought myself to any sense of my
being a miserable sinner, as indeed I was, and of confessing
my sins to God, and begging pardon for the sake of Jesus
Christ. I was overwhelmed with the sense of my condition,
being tried for my life, and being sure to be condemned, and
then I was as sure to be executed, and on this account I cried
out all night, 'Lord, what will become of me? Lord! what
shall I do? Lord! I shall be hanged! Lord, have mercy upon
me!' and the like.

My poor afflicted governess was now as much concerned as
I, and a great deal more truly penitent, though she had no
prospect of being brought to trial and sentence. Not but that
she deserved it as much as I, and so she said herself; but she
had not done anything herself for many years, other than
receiving what I and others stole, and encouraging us to steal
it. But she cried, and took on like a distracted body, wringing
her hands, and crying out that she was undone, that she
believed there was a curse from heaven upon her, that she
should be damned, that she had been the destruction of all her
friends, that she had brought such a one, and such a one, and
such a one to the gallows; and there she reckoned up ten or
eleven people, some of which I have given account of, that
came to untimely ends; and that now she was the occasion
of my ruin, for she had persuaded me to go on, when I would
have left off. I interrupted her there. 'No, mother, no,' said I,
'don't speak of that, for you would have had me left off when
I got the mercer's money again, and when I came home from
Harwich, and I would not hearken to you; therefore you have
not been to blame; it is I only have ruined myself, I have
brought myself to this misery'; and thus we spent many hours

Well, there was no remedy; the prosecution went on, and on
the Thursday I was carried down to the sessions-house, where
I was arraigned, as they called it, and the next day I was
appointed to be tried. At the arraignment I pleaded 'Not guilty,'
and well I might, for I was indicted for felony and burglary;
that is, for feloniously stealing two pieces of brocaded silk,
value #46, the goods of Anthony Johnson, and for breaking
open his doors; whereas I knew very well they could not
pretend to prove I had broken up the doors, or so much as
lifted up a latch.

On the Friday I was brought to my trial. I had exhausted my
spirits with crying for two or three days before, so that I slept
better the Thursday night than I expected, and had more courage
for my trial than indeed I thought possible for me to have.

When the trial began, the indictment was read, I would have
spoke, but they told me the witnesses must be heard first, and
then I should have time to be heard. The witnesses were the
two wenches, a couple of hard-mouthed jades indeed, for
though the thing was truth in the main, yet they aggravated it
to the utmost extremity, and swore I had the goods wholly in
my possession, that I had hid them among my clothes, that I
was going off with them, that I had one foot over the threshold
when they discovered themselves, and then I put t' other over,
so that I was quite out of the house in the street with the goods
before they took hold of me, and then they seized me, and
brought me back again, and they took the goods upon me. The
fact in general was all true, but I believe, and insisted upon it,
that they stopped me before I had set my foot clear of the
threshold of the house. But that did not argue much, for certain
it was that I had taken the goods, and I was bringing them away,
if I had not been taken.

But I pleaded that I had stole nothing, they had lost nothing,
that the door was open, and I went in, seeing the goods lie
there, and with design to buy. If, seeing nobody in the house, I
had taken any of them up in my hand it could not be concluded
that I intended to steal them, for that I never carried them
farther than the door to look on them with the better light.

The Court would not allow that by any means, and made a
kind of a jest of my intending to buy the goods, that being no
shop for the selling of anything, and as to carrying them to the
door to look at them, the maids made their impudent mocks
upon that, and spent their wit upon it very much; told the
Court I had looked at them sufficiently, and approved them
very well, for I had packed them up under my clothes, and
was a-going with them.

In short, I was found guilty of felony, but acquitted of the
burglary, which was but small comfort to me, the first bringing
me to a sentence of death, and the last would have done no
more. The next day I was carried down to receive the dreadful
sentence, and when they came to ask me what I had to say
why sentence should not pass, I stood mute a while, but
somebody that stood behind me prompted me aloud to speak
to the judges, for that they could represent things favourably
for me. This encouraged me to speak, and I told them I had
nothing to say to stop the sentence, but that I had much to say
to bespeak the mercy of the Court; that I hoped they would
allow something in such a case for the circumstances of it;
that I had broken no doors, had carried nothing off; that
nobody had lost anything; that the person whose goods they
were was pleased to say he desired mercy might be shown
(which indeed he very honestly did); that, at the worst, it was
the first offence, and that I had never been before any court
of justice before; and, in a word, I spoke with more courage
that I thought I could have done, and in such a moving tone,
and though with tears, yet not so many tears as to obstruct my
speech, that I could see it moved others to tears that heard me.

The judges sat grave and mute, gave me an easy hearing, and
time to say all that I would, but, saying neither Yes nor No to
it, pronounced the sentence of death upon me, a sentence that
was to me like death itself, which, after it was read, confounded
me. I had no more spirit left in me, I had no tongue to speak,
or eyes to look up either to God or man.

My poor governess was utterly disconsolate, and she that was
my comforter before, wanted comfort now herself; and sometimes
mourning, sometimes raging, was as much out of herself, as to
all outward appearance, as any mad woman in Bedlam. Nor
was she only disconsolate as to me, but she was struck with
horror at the sense of her own wicked life, and began to look
back upon it with a taste quite different from mine, for she
was penitent to the highest degree for her sins, as well as
sorrowful for the misfortune. She sent for a minister, too, a
serious, pious, good man, and applied herself with such
earnestness, by his assistance, to the work of a sincere repentance,
that I believe, and so did the minister too, that she was a true
penitent; and, which is still more, she was not only so for the
occasion, and at that juncture, but she continued so, as I was
informed, to the day of her death.

It is rather to be thought of than expressed what was now my
condition. I had nothing before me but present death; and as
I had no friends to assist me, or to stir for me, I expected
nothing but to find my name in the dead warrant, which was
to come down for the execution, the Friday afterwards, of five
more and myself.

In the meantime my poor distressed governess sent me a
minister, who at her request first, and at my own afterwards,
came to visit me. He exhorted me seriously to repent of all
my sins, and to dally no longer with my soul; not flattering
myself with hopes of life, which, he said, he was informed
there was no room to expect, but unfeignedly to look up to
God with my whole soul, and to cry for pardon in the name
of Jesus Christ. He backed his discourses with proper quotations
of Scripture, encouraging the greatest sinner to repent, and turn
from their evil way, and when he had done, he kneeled down
and prayed with me.

It was now that, for the first time, I felt any real signs of
repentance. I now began to look back upon my past life with
abhorrence, and having a kind of view into the other side of
time, and things of life, as I believe they do with everybody
at such a time, began to look with a different aspect, and quite
another shape, than they did before. The greatest and best
things, the views of felicity, the joy, the griefs of life, were
quite other things; and I had nothing in my thoughts but what
was so infinitely superior to what I had known in life, that it
appeared to me to be the greatest stupidity in nature to lay
any weight upon anything, though the most valuable in this

The word eternity represented itself with all its incomprehensible
additions, and I had such extended notions of it, that I know
not how to express them. Among the rest, how vile, how gross,
how absurd did every pleasant thing look!--I mean, that we
had counted pleasant before--especially when I reflected that
these sordid trifles were the things for which we forfeited
eternal felicity.

With these reflections came, of mere course, severe reproaches
of my own mind for my wretched behaviour in my past life;
that I had forfeited all hope of any happiness in the eternity
that I was just going to enter into, and on the contrary was
entitled to all that was miserable, or had been conceived of
misery; and all this with the frightful addition of its being
also eternal.

I am not capable of reading lectures of instruction to anybody,
but I relate this in the very manner in which things then
appeared to me, as far as I am able, but infinitely short of the
lively impressions which they made on my soul at that time;
indeed, those impressions are not to be explained by words,
or if they are, I am not mistress of words enough to express
them. It must be the work of every sober reader to make just
reflections on them, as their own circumstances may direct;
and, without question, this is what every one at some time or
other may feel something of; I mean, a clearer sight into things
to come than they had here, and a dark view of their own
concern in them.

But I go back to my own case. The minister pressed me to
tell him, as far as I though convenient, in what state I found
myself as to the sight I had of things beyond life. He told me
he did not come as ordinary of the place, whose business it
is to extort confessions from prisoners, for private ends, or
for the further detecting of other offenders; that his business
was to move me to such freedom of discourse as might serve
to disburthen my own mind, and furnish him to administer
comfort to me as far as was in his power; and assured me,
that whatever I said to him should remain with him, and be
as much a secret as if it was known only to God and myself;
and that he desired to know nothing of me, but as above to
qualify him to apply proper advice and assistance to me, and
to pray to God for me.

This honest, friendly way of treating me unlocked all the
sluices of my passions. He broke into my very soul by it; and
I unravelled all the wickedness of my life to him. In a word, I
gave him an abridgment of this whole history; I gave him a
picture of my conduct for fifty years in miniature.

I hid nothing from him, and he in return exhorted me to sincere
repentance, explained to me what he meant by repentance, and
then drew out such a scheme of infinite mercy, proclaimed
from heaven to sinners of the greatest magnitude, that he left
me nothing to say, that looked like despair, or doubting of
being accepted; and in this condition he left me the first night.

He visited me again the next morning, and went on with his
method of explaining the terms of divine mercy, which
according to him consisted of nothing more, or more difficult,
than that of being sincerely desirous of it, and willing to accept
it; only a sincere regret for, and hatred of, those things I had
done, which rendered me so just an object of divine vengeance.
I am not able to repeat the excellent discourses of this
extraordinary man; 'tis all that I am able to do, to say that he
revived my heart, and brought me into such a condition that
I never knew anything of in my life before. I was covered
with shame and tears for things past, and yet had at the same
time a secret surprising joy at the prospect of being a true
penitent, and obtaining the comfort of a penitent--I mean, the
hope of being forgiven; and so swift did thoughts circulate,
and so high did the impressions they had made upon me run,
that I thought I could freely have gone out that minute to
execution, without any uneasiness at all, casting my soul
entirely into the arms of infinite mercy as a penitent.

The good gentleman was so moved also in my behalf with a
view of the influence which he saw these things had on me,
that he blessed God he had come to visit me, and resolved not
to leave me till the last moment; that is, not to leave visiting me.

It was no less than twelve days after our receiving sentence
before any were ordered for execution, and then upon a
Wednesday the dead warrant, as they call it, came down, and
I found my name was among them. A terrible blow this was
to my new resolutions; indeed my heart sank within me, and
I swooned away twice, one after another, but spoke not a word.
The good minister was sorely afflicted for me, and did what he
could to comfort me with the same arguments, and the same
moving eloquence that he did before, and left me not that
evening so long as the prisonkeepers would suffer him to stay
in the prison, unless he would be locked up with me all night,
which he was not willing to be.

I wondered much that I did not see him all the next day, it
being the day before the time appointed for execution; and I
was greatly discouraged, and dejected in my mind, and indeed
almost sank for want of the comfort which he had so often,
and with such success, yielded me on his former visits. I
waited with great impatience, and under the greatest oppressions
of spirits imaginable, till about four o'clock he came to my
apartment; for I had obtained the favour, by the help of money,
nothing being to be done in that place without it, not to be
kept in the condemned hole, as they call it, among the rest of
the prisoners who were to die, but to have a little dirty
chamber to myself.

My heart leaped within me for joy when I heard his voice at
the door, even before I saw him; but let any one judge what
kind of motion I found in my soul, when after having made a
short excuse for his not coming, he showed me that his time
had been employed on my account; that he had obtained a
favourable report from the Recorder to the Secretary of State
in my particular case, and, in short, that he had brought me
a reprieve.

He used all the caution that he was able in letting me know
a thing which it would have been a double cruelty to have
concealed; and yet it was too much for me; for as grief had
overset me before, so did joy overset me now, and I fell into
a much more dangerous swooning than I did at first, and it
was not without a great difficulty that I was recovered at all.

The good man having made a very Christian exhortation to
me, not to let the joy of my reprieve put the remembrance of
my past sorrow out of my mind, and having told me that he
must leave me, to go and enter the reprieve in the books, and
show it to the sheriffs, stood up just before his going away,
and in a very earnest manner prayed to God for me, that my
repentance might be made unfeigned and sincere; and that
my coming back, as it were, into life again, might not be a
returning to the follies of life which I had made such solemn
resolutions to forsake, and to repent of them. I joined heartily
in the petition, and must needs say I had deeper impressions
upon my mind all that night, of the mercy of God in sparing
my life, and a greater detestation of my past sins, from a sense
of the goodness which I had tasted in this case, than I had in
all my sorrow before.

This may be thought inconsistent in itself, and wide from the
business of this book; particularly, I reflect that many of those
who may be pleased and diverted with the relation of the wild
and wicked part of my story may not relish this, which is
really the best part of my life, the most advantageous to myself,
and the most instructive to others. Such, however, will, I hope,
allow me the liberty to make my story complete. It would be
a severe satire on such to say they do not relish the repentance
as much as they do the crime; and that they had rather the
history were a complete tragedy, as it was very likely to have been.

But I go on with my relation. The next morning there was a
sad scene indeed in the prison. The first thing I was saluted
with in the morning was the tolling of the great bell at St.
Sepulchre's, as they call it, which ushered in the day. As soon
as it began to toll, a dismal groaning and crying was heard
from the condemned hole, where there lay six poor souls who
were to be executed that day, some from one crime, some for
another, and two of them for murder.

This was followed by a confused clamour in the house, among
the several sorts of prisoners, expressing their awkward sorrows
for the poor creatures that were to die, but in a manner extremely
differing one from another. Some cried for them; some huzzaed,
and wished them a good journey; some damned and cursed those
that had brought them to it--that is, meaning the evidence, or
prosecutors--many pitying them, and some few, but very few,
praying for them.

There was hardly room for so much composure of mind as
was required for me to bless the merciful Providence that had,
as it were, snatched me out of the jaws of this destruction. I
remained, as it were, dumb and silent, overcome with the
sense of it, and not able to express what I had in my heart; for
the passions on such occasions as these are certainly so agitated
as not to be able presently to regulate their own motions.

All the while the poor condemned creatures were preparing
to their death, and the ordinary, as they call him, was busy
with them, disposing them to submit to their sentence--I say,
all this while I was seized with a fit of trembling, as much as
I could have been if I had been in the same condition, as to be
sure the day before I expected to be; I was so violently agitated
by this surprising fit, that I shook as if it had been in the cold
fit of an ague, so that I could not speak or look but like one
distracted. As soon as they were all put into carts and gone,
which, however, I had not courage enough to see--I say, as
soon as they were gone, I fell into a fit of crying involuntarily,
and without design, but as a mere distemper, and yet so violent,
and it held me so long, that I knew not what course to take,
nor could I stop, or put a check to it, no, not with all the
strength and courage I had.

This fit of crying held me near two hours, and, as I believe,
held me till they were all out of the world, and then a most
humble, penitent, serious kind of joy succeeded; a real transport
it was, or passion of joy and thankfulness, but still unable to
give vent to it by words, and in this I continued most part of
the day.

In the evening the good minister visited me again, and then
fell to his usual good discourses. He congratulated my having
a space yet allowed me for repentance, whereas the state of
those six poor creatures was determined, and they were now
past the offers of salvation; he earnestly pressed me to retain
the same sentiments of the things of life that I had when I had
a view of eternity; and at the end of all told me I should not
conclude that all was over, that a reprieve was not a pardon,
that he could not yet answer for the effects of it; however, I
had this mercy, that I had more time given me, and that it was
my business to improve that time.

This discourse, though very seasonable, left a kind of sadness
on my heart, as if I might expect the affair would have a
tragical issue still, which, however, he had no certainty of;
and I did not indeed, at that time, question him about it, he
having said that he would do his utmost to bring it to a good
end, and that he hoped he might, but he would not have me
be secure; and the consequence proved that he had reason for
what he said.

It was about a fortnight after this that I had some just apprehensions
that I should be included in the next dead warrant at the ensuing
sessions; and it was not without great difficulty, and at last a
humble petition for transportation, that I avoided it, so ill was
I beholding to fame, and so prevailing was the fatal report of
being an old offender; though in that they did not do me strict
justice, for I was not in the sense of the law an old offender,
whatever I was in the eye of the judge, for I had never been
before them in a judicial way before; so the judges could not
charge me with being an old offender, but the Recorder was
pleased to represent my case as he thought fit.

I had now a certainty of life indeed, but with the hard conditions
of being ordered for transportation, which indeed was hard
condition in itself, but not when comparatively considered;
and therefore I shall make no comments upon the sentence,
nor upon the choice I was put to. We shall all choose anything
rather than death, especially when 'tis attended with an
uncomfortable prospect beyond it, which was my case.

The good minister, whose interest, though a stranger to me,
had obtained me the reprieve, mourned sincerely for this part.
He was in hopes, he said, that I should have ended my days
under the influence of good instruction, that I should not have
been turned loose again among such a wretched crew as they
generally are, who are thus sent abroad, where, as he said, I
must have more than ordinary secret assistance from the grace
of God, if I did not turn as wicked again as ever.

I have not for a good while mentioned my governess, who
had during most, if not all, of this part been dangerously sick,
and being in as near a view of death by her disease as I was
by my sentence, was a great penitent--I say, I have not mentioned
her, nor indeed did I see her in all this time; but being now
recovering, and just able to come abroad, she came to see me.

I told her my condition, and what a different flux and reflux
of tears and hopes I had been agitated with; I told her what I
had escaped, and upon what terms; and she was present when
the minister expressed his fears of my relapsing into wickedness
upon my falling into the wretched companies that are generally
transported. Indeed I had a melancholy reflection upon it in
my own mind, for I knew what a dreadful gang was always
sent away together, and I said to my governess that the good
minister's fears were not without cause. 'Well, well,' says she,
'but I hope you will not be tempted with such a horrid example
as that.' And as soon as the minister was gone, she told me she
would not have me discouraged, for perhaps ways and means
might be found out to dispose of me in a particular way, by
myself, of which she would talk further to me afterward.

I looked earnestly at her, and I thought she looked more cheerful
than she usually had done, and I entertained immediately a
thousand notions of being delivered, but could not for my life
image the methods, or think of one that was in the least feasible;
but I was too much concerned in it to let her go from me without
explaining herself, which, though she was very loth to do, yet
my importunity prevailed, and, while I was still pressing, she
answered me in a few words, thus: 'Why, you have money,
have you not? Did you ever know one in your life that was
transported and had a hundred pounds in his pocket, I'll warrant
you, child?' says she.

I understood her presently, but told her I would leave all that
to her, but I saw no room to hope for anything but a strict
execution of the order, and as it was a severity that was
esteemed a mercy, there was no doubt but it would be strictly
observed. She said no more but this: 'We will try what can
be done,' and so we parted for that night.

I lay in the prison near fifteen weeks after this order for
transportation was signed. What the reason of it was, I know
not, but at the end of this time I was put on board of a ship in
the Thames, and with me a gang of thirteen as hardened vile
creatures as ever Newgate produced in my time; and it would
really well take up a history longer than mine to describe the
degrees of impudence and audacious villainy that those thirteen
were arrived to, and the manner of their behaviour in the
voyage; of which I have a very diverting account by me, which
the captain of the ship who carried them over gave me the
minutes of, and which he caused his mate to write down at large.

It may perhaps be thought trifling to enter here into a relation
of all the little incidents which attended me in this interval of
my circumstances; I mean, between the final order of my
transportation and the time of my going on board the ship; and
I am too near the end of my story to allow room for it; but
something relating to me and my Lancashire husband I must
not omit.

He had, as I have observed already, been carried from the
master's side of the ordinary prison into the press-yard, with
three of his comrades, for they found another to add to them
after some time; here, for what reason I knew not, they were
kept in custody without being brought to trial almost three
months. It seems they found means to bribe or buy off some
of those who were expected to come in against them, and they
wanted evidence for some time to convict them. After some
puzzle on this account, at first they made a shift to get proof
enough against two of them to carry them off; but the other
two, of which my Lancashire husband was one, lay still in
suspense. They had, I think, one positive evidence against
each of them, but the law strictly obliging them to have two
witnesses, they could make nothing of it. Yet it seems they
were resolved not to part with the men neither, not doubting
but a further evidence would at last come in; and in order to
this, I think publication was made, that such prisoners being
taken, any one that had been robbed by them might come to
the prison and see them.

I took this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity, pretending that
I had been robbed in the Dunstable coach, and that I would go
to see the two highwaymen. But when I came into the press-yard,
I so disguised myself, and muffled my face up so, that he could
see little of me, and consequently knew nothing of who I was;
and when I came back, I said publicly that I knew them very well.

Immediately it was rumoured all over the prison that Moll
Flanders would turn evidence against one of the highwaymen,
and that I was to come off by it from the sentence of transportation.

They heard of it, and immediately my husband desired to see
this Mrs. Flanders that knew him so well, and was to be an
evidence against him; and accordingly I had leave given to go
to him. I dressed myself up as well as the best clothes that I
suffered myself ever to appear in there would allow me, and
went to the press-yard, but had for some time a hood over my
face. He said little to me at first, but asked me if I knew him.
I told him, Yes, very well; but as I concealed my face, so I
counterfeited my voice, that he had not the least guess at who
I was. He asked me where I had seen him. I told him between
Dunstable and Brickhill; but turning to the keeper that stood
by, I asked if I might not be admitted to talk with him alone.
He said Yes, yes, as much as I pleased, and so very civilly

As soon as he was gone, I had shut the door, I threw off my
hood, and bursting out into tears, 'My dear,' says I, 'do you not
know me?' He turned pale, and stood speechless, like one
thunderstruck, and, not able to conquer the surprise, said no
more but this, 'Let me sit down'; and sitting down by a table,
he laid his elbow upon the table, and leaning his head on his
hand, fixed his eyes on the ground as one stupid. I cried so
vehemently, on the other hand, that it was a good while ere I
could speak any more; but after I had given some vent to my
passion by tears, I repeated the same words, 'My dear, do you
not know me?' At which he answered, Yes, and said no more
a good while.

After some time continuing in the surprise, as above, he cast
up his eyes towards me and said, 'How could you be so cruel?'
I did not readily understand what he meant; and I answered,
'How can you call me cruel? What have I been cruel to you in?'
'To come to me,' says he, 'in such a place as this, is it not to
insult me? I have not robbed you, at least not on the highway.'

I perceived by this that he knew nothing of the miserable
circumstances I was in, and thought that, having got some
intelligence of his being there, I had come to upbraid him
with his leaving me. But I had too much to say to him to be
affronted, and told him in few words, that I was far from
coming to insult him, but at best I came to condole mutually;
that he would be easily satisfied that I had no such view,
when I should tell him that my condition was worse than his,
and that many ways. He looked a little concerned at the
general expression of my condition being worse than his, but,
with a kind smile, looked a little wildly, and said, 'How can
that be? When you see me fettered, and in Newgate, and two
of my companions executed already, can you can your condition
is worse than mine?'

'Come, my dear,' says I, 'we have a long piece of work to do,
if I should be to relate, or you to hear, my unfortunate history;
but if you are disposed to hear it, you will soon conclude with
me that my condition is worse than yours.' 'How is that possible,'
says he again, 'when I expect to be cast for my life the very
next sessions?' 'Yes, says I, ''tis very possible, when I shall
tell you that I have been cast for my life three sessions ago,
and am under sentence of death; is not my case worse than yours?'

Then indeed, he stood silent again, like one struck dumb, and
after a while he starts up. 'Unhappy couple!' says he. 'How
can this be possible?' I took him by the hand. 'Come, my
dear,' said I, 'sit down, and let us compare our sorrows. I am
a prisoner in this very house, and in much worse circumstances
than you, and you will be satisfied I do not come to insult you,
when I tell you the particulars.' Any with this we sat down
together, and I told him so much of my story as I thought was
convenient, bringing it at last to my being reduced to great
poverty, and representing myself as fallen into some company
that led me to relieve my distresses by way that I had been
utterly unacquainted with, and that they making an attempt at
a tradesman's house, I was seized upon for having been but
just at the door, the maid-servant pulling me in; that I neither
had broke any lock nor taken anything away, and that
notwithstanding that, I was brought in guilty and sentenced
to die; but that the judges, having been made sensible of the
hardship of my circumstances, had obtained leave to remit the
sentence upon my consenting to be transported.

I told him I fared the worse for being taken in the prison for
one Moll Flanders, who was a famous successful thief, that
all of them had heard of, but none of them had ever seen; but
that, as he knew well, was none of my name. But I placed all
to the account of my ill fortune, and that under this name I
was dealt with as an old offender, though this was the first
thing they had ever known of me. I gave him a long particular
of things that had befallen me since I saw him, but I told him
if I had seen him since he might think I had, and then gave
him an account how I had seen him at Brickhill; how furiously
he was pursued, and how, by giving an account that I knew
him, and that he was a very honest gentleman, one Mr. ----,
the hue-and-cry was stopped, and the high constable went
back again.

He listened most attentively to all my story, and smiled at
most of the particulars, being all of them petty matters, and
infinitely below what he had been at the head of; but when I
came to the story of Brickhill, he was surprised. 'And was it
you, my dear,' said he, 'that gave the check to the mob that
was at our heels there, at Brickhill?' 'Yes,' said I, 'it was I
indeed.' And then I told him the particulars which I had
observed him there. 'Why, then,' said he, 'it was you that
saved my life at that time, and I am glad I owe my life to you,
for I will pay the debt to you now, and I'll deliver you from
the present condition you are in, or I will die in the attempt.'

I told him, by no means; it was a risk too great, not worth his
running the hazard of, and for a life not worth his saving.
'Twas no matter for that, he said, it was a life worth all the
world to him; a life that had given him a new life; 'for,' says
he, 'I was never in real danger of being taken, but that time,
till the last minute when I was taken.' Indeed, he told me his
danger then lay in his believing he had not been pursued that
way; for they had gone from Hockey quite another way, and
had come over the enclosed country into Brickhill, not by the
road, and were sure they had not been seen by anybody.

Here he gave me a long history of his life, which indeed would
make a very strange history, and be infinitely diverting. He
told me he took to the road about twelve years before he
married me; that the woman which called him brother was not
really his sister, or any kin to him, but one that belonged to
their gang, and who, keeping correspondence with him, lived
always in town, having good store of acquaintance; that she
gave them a perfect intelligence of persons going out of town,
and that they had made several good booties by her correspondence;
that she thought she had fixed a fortune for him when she brought
me to him, but happened to be disappointed, which he really
could not blame her for; that if it had been his good luck that
I had had the estate, which she was informed I had, he had
resolved to leave off the road and live a retired, sober live but
never to appear in public till some general pardon had been
passed, or till he could, for money, have got his name into
some particular pardon, that so he might have been perfectly
easy; but that, as it had proved otherwise, he was obliged to
put off his equipage and take up the old trade again.

He gave me a long account of some of his adventures, and
particularly one when he robbed the West Chester coaches
near Lichfield, when he got a very great booty; and after that,
how he robbed five graziers, in the west, going to Burford Fair
in Wiltshire to buy sheep. He told me he got so much money
on those two occasions, that if he had known where to have
found me, he would certainly have embraced my proposal of
going with me to Virginia, or to have settled in a plantation
on some other parts of the English colonies in America.

He told me he wrote two or three letters to me, directed
according to my order, but heard nothing from me. This I
indeed knew to be true, but the letters coming to my hand in
the time of my latter husband, I could do nothing in it, and
therefore chose to give no answer, that so he might rather
believe they had miscarried.

Being thus disappointed, he said, he carried on the old trade
ever since, though when he had gotten so much money, he
said, he did not run such desperate risks as he did before.
Then he gave me some account of several hard and desperate
encounters which he had with gentlemen on the road, who
parted too hardly with their money, and showed me some
wounds he had received; and he had one or two very terrible
wounds indeed, as particularly one by a pistol bullet, which
broke his arm, and another with a sword, which ran him quite
through the body, but that missing his vitals, he was cured
again; one of his comrades having kept with him so faithfully,
and so friendly, as that he assisted him in riding near eighty
miles before his arm was set, and then got a surgeon in a
considerable city, remote from that place where it was done,
pretending they were gentlemen travelling towards Carlisle
and that they had been attacked on the road by highwaymen,
and that one of them had shot him into the arm and broke
the bone.

This, he said, his friend managed so well, that they were not
suspected at all, but lay still till he was perfectly cured. He
gave me so many distinct accounts of his adventures, that it
is with great reluctance that I decline the relating them; but I
consider that this is my own story, not his.

I then inquired into the circumstances of his present case at
that time, and what it was he expected when he came to be
tried. He told me that they had no evidence against him, or
but very little; for that of three robberies, which they were all
charged with, it was his good fortune that he was but in one
of them, and that there was but one witness to be had for that
fact, which was not sufficient, but that it was expected some
others would come in against him; that he thought indeed,
when he first saw me, that I had been one that came of that
errand; but that if somebody came in against him, he hoped
he should be cleared; that he had had some intimation, that if
he would submit to transport himself, he might be admitted
to it without a trial, but that he could not think of it with any
temper, and thought he could much easier submit to be hanged.

I blamed him for that, and told him I blamed him on two
accounts; first, because if he was transported, there might be
a hundred ways for him that was a gentleman, and a bold
enterprising man, to find his way back again, and perhaps
some ways and means to come back before he went. He
smiled at that part, and said he should like the last the best of
the two, for he had a kind of horror upon his mind at his being
sent over to the plantations, as Romans sent condemned
slaves to work in the mines; that he thought the passage into
another state, let it be what it would, much more tolerable at
the gallows, and that this was the general notion of all the
gentlemen who were driven by the exigence of their fortunes
to take the road; that at the place of execution there was at
least an end of all the miseries of the present state, and as for
what was to follow, a man was, in his opinion, as likely to
repent sincerely in the last fortnight of his life, under the
pressures and agonies of a jail and the condemned hole, as he
would ever be in the woods and wilderness of America; that
servitude and hard labour were things gentlemen could never
stoop to; that it was but the way to force them to be their own
executioners afterwards, which was much worse; and that
therefore he could not have any patience when he did but
think of being transported.

I used the utmost of my endeavour to persuade him, and joined
that known woman's rhetoric to it--I mean, that of tears. I told
him the infamy of a public execution was certainly a greater
pressure upon the spirits of a gentleman than any of the
mortifications that he could meet with abroad could be; that
he had at least in the other a chance for his life, whereas here
he had none at all; that it was the easiest thing in the world
for him to manage the captain of a ship, who were, generally
speaking, men of good-humour and some gallantry; and a
small matter of conduct, especially if there was any money
to be had, would make way for him to buy himself off when
he came to Virginia.

He looked wistfully at me, and I thought I guessed at what he
meant, that is to say, that he had no money; but I was mistaken,
his meaning was another way. 'You hinted just now, my dear,'
said he, 'that there might be a way of coming back before I
went, by which I understood you that it might be possible to
buy it off here. I had rather give #200 to prevent going, than
#100 to be set at liberty when I came there.' 'That is, my dear,'
said I, 'because you do not know the place so well as I do.'
'That may be,' said he; 'and yet I believe, as well as you know
it, you would do the same, unless it is because, as you told
me, you have a mother there.'

I told him, as to my mother, it was next to impossible but
that she must be dead many years before; and as for any other
relations that I might have there, I knew them not now; that
since the misfortunes I had been under had reduced me to the
condition I had been in for some years, I had not kept up any
correspondence with them; and that he would easily believe,
I should find but a cold reception from them if I should be
put to make my first visit in the condition of a transported
felon; that therefore, if I went thither, I resolved not to see
them; but that I had many views in going there, if it should be
my fate, which took off all the uneasy part of it; and if he
found himself obliged to go also, I should easily instruct him
how to manage himself, so as never to go a servant at all,
especially since I found he was not destitute of money, which
was the only friend in such a condition.

He smiled, and said he did not tell me he had money. I took
him up short, and told him I hoped he did not understand by
my speaking, that I should expect any supply from him if he
had money; that, on the other hand, though I had not a great
deal, yet I did not want, and while I had any I would rather
add to him than weaken him in that article, seeing, whatever
he had, I knew in the case of transportation he would have
occasion of it all.

He expressed himself in a most tender manner upon that head.
He told me what money he had was not a great deal, but that
he would never hide any of it from me if I wanted it, and that
he assured me he did not speak with any such apprehensions;
that he was only intent upon what I had hinted to him before
he went; that here he knew what to do with himself, but that
there he should be the most ignorant, helpless wretch alive.

I told him he frighted and terrified himself with that which
had no terror in it; that if he had money, as I was glad to hear
he had, he might not only avoid the servitude supposed to be
the consequence of transportation, but begin the world upon
a new foundation, and that such a one as he could not fail of
success in, with the common application usual in such cases;
that he could not but call to mind that is was what I had
recommended to him many years before and had proposed it
for our mutual subsistence and restoring our fortunes in the
world; and I would tell him now, that to convince him both
of the certainty of it and of my being fully acquainted with the
method, and also fully satisfied in the probability of success,
he should first see me deliver myself from the necessity of
going over at all, and then that I would go with him freely,
and of my own choice, and perhaps carry enough with me to
satisfy him that I did not offer it for want of being able to live
without assistance from him, but that I thought our mutual
misfortunes had been such as were sufficient to reconcile us
both to quitting this part of the world, and living where
nobody could upbraid us with what was past, or we be in any
dread of a prison, and without agonies of a condemned hole
to drive us to it; this where we should look back on all our
past disasters with infinite satisfaction, when we should
consider that our enemies should entirely forget us, and that
we should live as new people in a new world, nobody having
anything to say to us, or we to them.

I pressed this home to him with so many arguments, and
answered all his own passionate objections so effectually that
he embraced me, and told me I treated him with such sincerity
and affection as overcame him; that he would take my advice,
and would strive to submit to his fate in hope of having the
comfort of my assistance, and of so faithful a counsellor and
such a companion in his misery. But still he put me in mind
of what I had mentioned before, namely, that there might be
some way to get off before he went, and that it might be
possible to avoid going at all, which he said would be much
better. I told him he should see, and be fully satisfied, that I
would do my utmost in that part too, and if it did not succeed,
yet that I would make good the rest.

We parted after this long conference with such testimonies of
kindness and affection as I thought were equal, if not superior,
to that at our parting at Dunstable; and now I saw more plainly
than before, the reason why he declined coming at that time
any farther with me toward London than Dunstable, and why,
when we parted there, he told me it was not convenient for
him to come part of the way to London to bring me going, as
he would otherwise have done. I have observed that the
account of his life would have made a much more pleasing
history than this of mine; and, indeed, nothing in it was more
strange than this part, viz. that he carried on that desperate
trade full five-and-twenty years and had never been taken,
the success he had met with had been so very uncommon, and
such that sometimes he had lived handsomely, and retired in
place for a year or two at a time, keeping himself and a
man-servant to wait on him, and had often sat in the
coffee-houses and heard the very people whom he had robbed
give accounts of their being robbed, and of the place and
circumstances, so that he could easily remember that it was
the same.

In this manner, it seems, he lived near Liverpool at the time
he unluckily married me for a fortune. Had I been the fortune
he expected, I verily believe, as he said, that he would have
taken up and lived honestly all his days.

He had with the rest of his misfortunes the good luck not to
be actually upon the spot when the robbery was done which
he was committed for, and so none of the persons robbed
could swear to him, or had anything to charge upon him. But
it seems as he was taken with the gang, one hard-mouthed
countryman swore home to him, and they were like to have
others come in according to the publication they had made;
so that they expected more evidence against him, and for that
reason he was kept in hold.

However, the offer which was made to him of admitting him to
transportation was made, as I understood, upon the intercession
of some great person who pressed him hard to accept of it before
a trial; and indeed, as he knew there were several that might
come in against him, I thought his friend was in the right, and
I lay at him night and day to delay it no longer.

At last, with much difficulty, he gave his consent; and as he
was not therefore admitted to transportation in court, and on
his petition, as I was, so he found himself under a difficulty
to avoid embarking himself as I had said he might have done;
his great friend, who was his intercessor for the favour of that
grant, having given security for him that he should transport
himself, and not return within the term.

This hardship broke all my measures, for the steps I took
afterwards for my own deliverance were hereby rendered
wholly ineffectual, unless I would abandon him, and leave
him to go to America by himself; than which he protested he
would much rather venture, although he were certain to go
directly to the gallows.

I must now return to my case. The time of my being transported
according to my sentence was near at hand; my governess, who
continued my fast friend, had tried to obtain a pardon, but it
could not be done unless with an expense too heavy for my
purse, considering that to be left naked and empty, unless I had
resolved to return to my old trade again, had been worse than
my transportation, because there I knew I could live, here I
could not. The good minister stood very hard on another
account to prevent my being transported also; but he was
answered, that indeed my life had been given me at his first
solicitations, and therefore he ought to ask no more. He was
sensibly grieved at my going, because, as he said, he feared I
should lose the good impressions which a prospect of death
had at first made on me, and which were since increased by
his instructions; and the pious gentleman was exceedingly
concerned about me on that account.

On the other hand, I really was not so solicitous about it as I
was before, but I industriously concealed my reasons for it
from the minister, and to the last he did not know but that I
went with the utmost reluctance and affliction.

It was in the month of February that I was, with seven other
convicts, as they called us, delivered to a merchant that traded
to Virginia, on board a ship, riding, as they called it, in
Deptford Reach. The officer of the prison delivered us on
board, and the master of the vessel gave a discharge for us.

We were for that night clapped under hatches, and kept so
close that I thought I should have been suffocated for want
of air; and the next morning the ship weighed, and fell down
the river to a place they call Bugby's Hole, which was done,
as they told us, by the agreement of the merchant, that all
opportunity of escape should be taken from us. However,
when the ship came thither and cast anchor, we were allowed
more liberty, and particularly were permitted to come up on
the deck, but not up on the quarter-deck, that being kept
particularly for the captain and for passengers.

When by the noise of the men over my head, and the motion
of the ship, I perceived that they were under sail, I was at first
greatly surprised, fearing we should go away directly, and that
our friends would not be admitted to see us any more; but I
was easy soon after, when I found they had come to an anchor
again, and soon after that we had notice given by some of the
men where we were, that the next morning we should have
the liberty to come up on deck, and to have our friends come
and see us if we had any.

All that night I lay upon the hard boards of the deck, as the
passengers did, but we had afterwards the liberty of little
cabins for such of us as had any bedding to lay in them, and
room to stow any box or trunk for clothes and linen, if we
had it (which might well be put in), for some of them had
neither shirt nor shift or a rag of linen or woollen, but what
was on their backs, or a farthing of money to help themselves;
and yet I did not find but they fared well enough in the ship,
especially the women, who got money from the seamen for
washing their clothes, sufficient to purchase any common
things that they wanted.

When the next morning we had the liberty to come up on the
deck, I asked one of the officers of the ship, whether I might
not have the liberty to send a letter on shore, to let my friends
know where the ship lay, and to get some necessary things
sent to me. This was, it seems, the boatswain, a very civil,
courteous sort of man, who told me I should have that, or any
other liberty that I desired, that he could allow me with safety.
I told him I desired no other; and he answered that the ship's
boat would go up to London the next tide, and he would order
my letter to be carried.

Accordingly, when the boat went off, the boatswain came to
me and told me the boat was going off, and that he went in it
himself, and asked me if my letter was ready he would take
care of it. I had prepared myself, you may be sure, pen, ink,
and paper beforehand, and I had gotten a letter ready directed
to my governess, and enclosed another for my fellow-prisoner,
which, however, I did not let her know was my husband, not
to the last. In that to my governess, I let her know where the
ship lay, and pressed her earnestly to send me what things I
knew she had got ready for me for my voyage.

When I gave the boatswain the letter, I gave him a shilling
with it, which I told him was for the charge of a messenger
or porter, which I entreated him to send with the letter as
soon as he came on shore, that if possible I might have an
answer brought back by the same hand, that I might know
what was become of my things; 'for sir,' says I, 'if the ship
should go away before I have them on board, I am undone.'

I took care, when I gave him the shilling, to let him see that
I had a little better furniture about me than the ordinary
prisoners, for he saw that I had a purse, and in it a pretty deal
of money; and I found that the very sight of it immediately
furnished me with very different treatment from what I should
otherwise have met with in the ship; for though he was very
courteous indeed before, in a kind of natural compassion to
me, as a woman in distress, yet he was more than ordinarily
so afterwards, and procured me to be better treated in the ship
than, I say, I might otherwise have been; as shall appear in
its place.

He very honestly had my letter delivered to my governess's
own hands, and brought me back an answer from her in writing;
and when he gave me the answer, gave me the shilling again.
'There,' says he, 'there's your shilling again too, for I delivered
the letter myself.' I could not tell what to say, I was so surprised
at the thing; but after some pause, I said, 'Sir, you are too kind;
it had been but reasonable that you had paid yourself coach-hire,

'No, no,' says he, 'I am overpaid. What is the gentlewoman?
Your sister.'

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest