Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/346

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my steady and faithful counsellor, Sir Robert Clayton, that I made no scruple to pay £4000, which was £1000 more than he demanded, or rather proposed, that he might have encouragement to enter into the world better than he expected.

His master remitted the money very faithfully to him; and finding, by Sir Robert Clayton, that the young gentleman—for so he called him—was well supported, wrote such letters on his account as gave him a credit at Messina equal in value to the money itself.

I could not digest it very well that I should all this while conceal myself thus from my own child, and make all this favour due, in his opinion, to a stranger; and yet I could not find in my heart to let my son know what a mother he had, and what a life she lived; when, at the same time that he must think himself infinitely obliged to me, he must be obliged, if he was a man of virtue, to hate his mother, and abhor the way of living by which all the bounty he enjoyed was raised.

This is the reason of mentioning this part of my son's story, which is otherwise no ways concerned in my history, but, as it put me upon thinking how to put an end to that wicked course I was in, that my own child, when he should afterwards come to England in a good figure, and with the appearance of a merchant, should not be ashamed to own me.

But there was another difficulty, which lay heavier upon me a great deal, and that was my daughter, who, as before, I had relieved by the hands of another instrument, which Amy had procured. The girl, as I have mentioned, was directed to put herself into a good garb, take lodgings, and entertain a maid to wait upon her, and to give herself some breeding—that is to say, to learn to dance, and fit herself to appear as a gentlewoman; being made to hope that she should, some time or other, find that she should be put into a condition to support her character, and to make her self amends for all her former troubles. She was only charged not to be drawn into matrimony till she was secured of a fortune that might assist to dispose of herself, suitable not to what she then was, but what she was to be.

The girl was too sensible of her circumstances not to give all possible satisfaction of that kind, and indeed she was mistress of too much under standing not to see how much she should be obliged to that part for her own interest.

It was not long after this, but being well equipped, and in everything well set out, as she was directed, she came, as I have related above, and paid a visit to Mrs Amy, and to tell her of her good fortune. Amy pretended to be much surprised at the alteration, and overjoyed for her sake, and began to treat her very well, entertained her handsomely, and when she would have gone away, pretended to ask my leave, and sent my coach home with her; and, in short, learning from her where she lodged, which was in the city, Amy promised to return her visit, and did so; and, in a word, Amy and Susan (for she was my own name) began an intimate acquaintance together.

There was an inexpressible difficulty in the poor girl's way, or else I should not have been able to have forborne discovering myself to her, and this was, her having been a servant in my particular family; and I could by no means think of ever letting the children know what a kind of creature they owed their being to, or giving them an occasion to upbraid their mother with her scandalous life, much less to justify the like practice from my example.