Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/459

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THE LIFE OF ROXANA

they both sailed, though from different ports, and I depended on getting a good estate between them.

When I was about this last ship a letter came from the count, my son, full of tender expressions of his duty to me, in which I was informed that he was going again to the university at Paris, where he should remain four years; after that he intended to make the tour of Europe, and then come and settle at The Hague. I returned him thanks in a letter for his compliment, wished him all happiness, and a safe return to Holland, and desired that he would write to me from time to time that I might hear of his welfare, which was all I could now expect of him. But this was the last time I heard from him, or he from me.

In about a month's time the news came that the privateer (which sailed under British colours, and was divided into eight shares) had taken a ship, and was bringing it into the Texel, but that it accidentally foundered, and being chained to the privateer, had, in sinking, like to have lost that too. Two or three of the hands got on shore, and came to The Hague; but how terribly I was alarmed any one may judge, when I heard the ship the privateer had was the Newfoundland merchantman, as I had bought two shares in out of four. About two months after news was current about The Hague of a privateer or merchantman, one of them of the town, though not known which, having an engagement in the Mediterranean, in which action both the privateer and trader was lost. Soon after their names were publicly known, and, in the end, my partners heard that they were our ships, and unhappily sailing under false colours (a thing often practised in the time of war), and never having seen each other, had, at meeting, a very smart engagement, each fighting for life and honour, till two unfortunate shots; one of them, viz., the privateer, was sunk by a shot between wind and water, and the trader unhappily blown up by a ball falling in the powder-room. There were only two hands of the trader, and three of the privateer, that escaped, and they all fortunately met at one of the partners' houses, where they confirmed the truth of this melancholy story, and to me a fatal loss.

What was to be done now? I had no money, and but few clothes left; there was no hope of subsistence from my son or his guardians; they were tied down to be spectators of my misfortunes, without affording me any redress, even if they would.

Isabel, though I was now reduced to the last penny, would live with me still, and, as I observed before and may now repeat, I was in a pretty situation to begin the world—upwards of sixty years of age, friendless, scanty of clothes, and but very little money.

I proposed to Isabel to remove from lodgings and retire to Amsterdam, where I was not known, and might turn myself into some little way of business, and work for that bread now which had been too often squandered away upon very trifles. And, upon consideration, I found myself in a worse condition than I thought, for I had nothing to recommend me to Heaven, either in works or thoughts; had even banished from my mind all the cardinal and moral virtues, and had much more reason to hide myself from the sight of God, if possible, than I had to leave The Hague, that I might not be known of my fellow-creatures. And farther to hasten our removing to Amsterdam, I recollected I was involved in debt for money to purchase a share in the Newfoundland trader, which was lost, and my creditors daily threatened me with an arrest to make me pay them.