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Moll Flanders

Chapter 17
Give the goldsmith his due, he told his story with a great deal of justice and moderation,
and the fellow that had come over, and seized upon me, told his with as much heat and
foolish passion, which did me good still, rather than harm. It came then to my turn to
speak, and I told his worship that I was a stranger in London, being newly come out of
the north; that I lodged in such a place, that I was passing this street, and went into the
goldsmith's shop to buy half a dozen of spoons. By great luck I had an old silver spoon
in my pocket, which I pulled out, and told him I had carried that spoon to match it with
half a dozen of new ones, that it might match some I had in the country.
That seeing nobody I the shop, I knocked with my foot very hard to make the people
hear, and had also called aloud with my voice; 'tis true, there was loose plate in the
shop, but that nobody could say I had touched any of it, or gone near it; that a fellow
came running into the shop out of the street, and laid hands on me in a furious manner,
in the very moments while I was calling for the people of the house; that if he had really
had a mind to have done his neighbour any service, he should have stood at a distance,
and silently watched to see whether I had touched anything or no, and then have
clapped in upon me, and taken me in the fact. 'That is very true,' says Mr. Alderman,
and turning to the fellow that stopped me, he asked him if it was true that I knocked with
my foot? He said, yes, I had knocked, but that might be because of his coming. 'Nay,'
says the alderman, taking him short, 'now you contradict yourself, for just now you said
she was in the shop with her back to you, and did not see you till you came upon her.'
Now it was true that my back was partly to the street, but yet as my business was of a
kind that required me to have my eyes every way, so I really had a glance of him
running over, as I said before, though he did not perceive it.
After a full hearing, the alderman gave it as his opinion that his neighbour was under a
mistake, and that I was innocent, and the goldsmith acquiesced in it too, and his wife,
and so I was dismissed; but as I was going to depart, Mr. Alderman said, 'But hold,
madam, if you were designing to buy spoons, I hope you will not let my friend here lose
his customer by the mistake.' I readily answered, 'No, sir, I'll buy the spoons still, if he
can match my odd spoon, which I brought for a pattern'; and the goldsmith showed me
some of the very same fashion. So he weighed the spoons, and they came to five-and-
thirty shillings, so I pulls out my purse to pay him, in which I had near twenty guineas,
for I never went without such a sum about me, whatever might happen, and I found it of
use at other times as well as now.
When Mr. Alderman saw my money, he said, 'Well, madam, now I am satisfied you
were wronged, and it was for this reason that I moved you should buy the spoons, and
stayed till you had bought them, for if you had not had money to pay for them, I should
have suspected that you did not come into the shop with an intent to buy, for indeed the
sort of people who come upon these designs that you have been charged with, are
seldom troubled with much gold in their pockets, as I see you are.'
 
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