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Moll Flanders

Chapter 9
Well, I pitied him, and wished him well rid of her, and still would have talked of my
business, but it would not do. At last he looks steadily at me. 'Look you, madam,' says
he, 'you came to ask advice of me, and I will serve you as faithfully as if you were my
own sister; but I must turn the tables, since you oblige me to do it, and are so friendly to
me, and I think I must ask advice of you. Tell me, what must a poor abused fellow do
with a whore? What can I do to do myself justice upon her?'
'Alas! sir,' says I, ''tis a case too nice for me to advise in, but it seems she has run away
from you, so you are rid of her fairly; what can you desire more?' 'Ay, she is gone
indeed,' said he, 'but I am not clear of her for all that.'
'That's true,' says I; 'she may indeed run you into debt, but the law has furnished you
with methods to prevent that also; you may cry her down, as they call it.'
'No, no,' says he, 'that is not the case neither; I have taken care of all that; 'tis not that
part that I speak of, but I would be rid of her so that I might marry again.'
'Well, sir,' says I, 'then you must divorce her. If you can prove what you say, you may
certainly get that done, and then, I suppose, you are free.'
'That's very tedious and expensive,' says he.
'Why,' says I, 'if you can get any woman you like to take your word, I suppose your wife
would not dispute the liberty with you that she takes herself.'
'Ay,' says he, 'but 'twould be hard to bring an honest woman to do that; and for the other
sort,' says he, 'I have had enough of her to meddle with any more whores.'
It occurred to me presently, 'I would have taken your word with all my heart, if you had
but asked me the question'; but that was to myself. To him I replied, 'Why, you shut the
door against any honest woman accepting you, for you condemn all that should venture
upon you at once, and conclude, that really a woman that takes you now can't be
honest.'
'Why,' says he, 'I wish you would satisfy me that an honest woman would take me; I'd
venture it'; and then turns short upon me, 'Will you take me, madam?'
'That's not a fair question,' says I, 'after what you have said; however, lest you should
think I wait only for a recantation of it, I shall answer you plainly, No, not I; my business
is of another kind with you, and I did not expect you would have turned my serious
application to you, in my own distracted case, into a comedy.'
 
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