Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/283

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251
THE LIFE OF ROXANA

III bear the thoughts of; and, as he told me, I turned pale. 'What's the matter?' said he hastily. 'I have surprised you, indeed', and, stepping to the sideboard, fills a dram of cordial water, which was of his own bringing, and comes to me. 'Be not surprised', said he; 'I'll go nowhere without you'; adding several other things so kind as nothing could exceed it.

I might indeed turn pale, for I was very much surprised at first, believing that this was, as it often happens in such cases, only a project to drop me, and break off an amour which he had now carried on so long; and a thousand thoughts whirled about my head in the few moments while I was kept in suspense, for they were but a few. I say, I was indeed surprised, and might, perhaps, look pale, but I was not in any danger of fainting that I knew of.

However, it not a little pleased me to see him so concerned and anxious about me, but I stopped a little when he put the cordial to my mouth, and, taking the glass in my hand, I said, 'My lord, your words are infinitely more of a cordial to me than this citron; for, as nothing can be a greater affliction than to lose you, so nothing can be a greater satisfaction than the assurance that I shall not have that misfortune.'

He made me sit down, and sat down by me, and, after saying a thousand kind things to me, he turns upon me with a smile: 'Why, will you venture yourself to Italy with me? 'says he. I stopped a while, and then answered that I wondered he would ask me that question, for I would go anywhere in the world, or all over the world, wherever he should desire me, and give me the felicity of his company.

Then he entered into a long account of the occasion of his journey, and how the king had engaged him to go, and some other circumstances which are not proper to enter into here; it being by no means proper to say anything that might lead the reader into the least guess at the person.

But, to cut short this part of the story, and the history of our journey and stay abroad, which would almost fill up a volume of itself, I say we spent all that evening in cheerful consultations about the manner of our travelling, the equipage and figure he should go in, and in what manner I should go. Several ways were proposed, but none seemed feasible, till at last I told him, I thought it would be so troublesome, so expensive, and so public, that it would be many ways inconvenient to him; and though it was a kind of death to me to lose him, yet that, rather than so very much perplex his affairs, I would submit to anything.

At the next visit I filled his head with the same difficulties, and then at last came over him with a proposal that I would stay in Paris, or where else he should direct; and, when I heard of his safe arrival, would come away by myself, and place myself as near him as I could.

This gave him no satisfaction at all, nor would he hear any more of it; but if I durst venture myself, as he called it, such a journey, he would not lose the satisfaction of my company; and as for the expense, that was not to be named; neither, indeed, was there room to name it, for I found that he travelled at the king's expense, as well for himself as for all his equipage, being upon a piece of secret service of the last importance.

But after several debates between ourselves, he came to this resolution, viz., that he would travel incognito, and so he should avoid all public notice either of himself or of who went with him; and that then he should