Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/297

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

merchant, by whom I was so faithfully served, and by whom, as far as relates to second causes, I was preserved from destruction.

I say, I had a grateful sense upon my mind of his kindness and faithfulness to me, and I resolved to show him some testimony of it as soon as I came to the end of my rambles, for I was yet but in a state of uncertainty, and sometimes that gave me a little uneasiness too. I had paper indeed for my money, and he had showed himself very good to me in conveying me away, as above; but I had not seen the end of things yet, for, unless the bills were paid, I might still be a great loser by my Dutchman, and he might, perhaps, have contrived all that affair of the Jew to put me into a fright and get me to run away,and that as if it were to save my life; that, if the bills should be refused, I was cheated with a witness, and the like. But these were but surmises, and, indeed, were perfectly without cause, for the honest man acted as honest men always do, with an upright and disinterested principle, and with a sincerity not often to be found in the world. What gain he made by the exchange was just, and was nothing but what was his due, and was in the way of his business; but otherwise he made no advantage of me at all.

When I passed in the ship between Dover and Calais, and saw beloved England once more under my view—England, which I counted my native country, being the place I was bred up in, though not born there—a strange kind of joy possessed my mind, and I had such a longing desire to be there that I would have given the master of the ship twenty pistoles to have stood over and set me on shore in the Downs; and when he told me he could not do it that is, that he durst not do it, if I would have given him a hundred pistoles—I secretly wished that a storm would rise that might drive the ship over to the coast of England, whether they would or not, that I might be set on shore anywhere upon English ground.

This wicked wish had not been out of my thoughts above two or three hours, but the master steering away to the north, as was his course to do, we lost sight of land on that side, and only had the Flemish shore in view on our right hand, or, as the seamen call it, the starboard side; and then, with the loss of the sight, the wish for landing in England abated and I considered how foolish it was to wish myself out of the way of my business; that if I had been on shore in England, I must go back to Holland on account of my bills, which were so considerable, and I having no correspondence there, that I could not have managed it without going myself. But we had not been out of sight of England many hours before the weather began to change; the winds whistled and made a noise, and the seamen said to one another that it would blowhard at night. It was then about two hours before sunset, and we were passed by Dunkirk, and I think they said we were in sight of Ostend; but then the wind grew high, and the sea swelled, and all things looked terrible, especially to us that understood nothing but just what we saw before us; in short, night came on, and very dark it was; the wind freshened and blew harder and harder, and about two hours within night it blew a terrible storm.

I was not quite a stranger to the sea, having come from Rochelle to England when I was a child, and gone from London, by the River Thames, to France afterward, as I have said. But I began to be alarmed a little with the terrible clamour of the men over my head, for I had never been in a storm, and so had never seen the like, or heard it; and once, offering to look out at the door of the steerage, as they called it, it struck me