Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/282

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was left at ——, where my last country seat then was, and I came to Paris at the prince's request. Thither he came to me as soon as I arrived, and told me he came to give me joy of my return, and to make his acknowledgments for that I had given him a son. I thought, indeed, he had been going to give me a present, and so he did the next day, but in what he said then, he only jested with me. He gave me his company all the evening, supped with me about midnight, and did me the honour, as I then called it, to lodge me in his arms all the night, telling me, in jest, that the best thanks for a son born was giving the pledge for another.

But, as I hinted, so it was; the next morning he laid me down on my toilet a purse with three hundred pistoles. I saw him lay it down, and understood what he meant, but I took no notice of it till I came to it, as it were, casually; then I gave a great cry out, and fell a-scolding in my way, for he gave me all possible freedom of speech on such occasions. 1 told him he was unkind, that he would never give me an opportunity to ask for anything, and that he forced me to blush by being too much obliged, and the like; all which, I knew, was very agreeable to him, for as he was bountiful beyond measure, so he was infinitely obliged by my being so backward to ask any favours; and I was even with him, for I never asked him for a farthing in my life.

Upon this rallying him, he told me I had either perfectly studied the art of humour, or else what was the greatest difficulty to others was natural to me, adding that nothing could be more obliging to a man of honour than not to be soliciting and craving.

I told him nothing could be craving upon him, that he left no room for it; that I hoped he did not give merely to avoid the trouble of being importuned. I told him he might depend upon it that I should be reduced very low indeed before I offered to disturb him that way.

He said a man of honour ought always to know what he ought to do; and, as he did nothing but what he knew was reasonable, he gave me leave to be free with him if I wanted anything; that he had too much value for me to deny me anything if I asked, but that it was infinitely agreeable to him to hear me say that what he did was to my satisfaction.

We strained compliments thus a great while, and, as he had me in his arms most part of the time, so upon all my expressions of his bounty to me he put a stop to me with his kisses, and would admit me to go on no farther.

I should in this place mention, that this prince was not a subject of France, though at that time he resided at Paris and was much at court, where, I suppose, he had, or expected, some considerable employment. But I mention it on this account, that a few days after this he came to me, and told me he was come to bring me not the most welcome news that ever I heard from him in his life. I looked at him a little surprised; but he returned, 'Do not be uneasy; it is as unpleasant to me as to you, but I come to consult with you about it, and see if it cannot be made a little easy to us both.'

I seemed still more concerned and surprised. At last he said it was that he believed he should be obliged to go into Italy, which, though otherwise it was very agreeable to him, yet his parting with me made it a very dull thing but to think of.

I sat mute, as one thunderstruck, for a good while; and it presently occurred to me that I was going to lose him, which, indeed, I could but