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corner of the house at the turning into the alley. / of value, are forced to sell it for a song when Just as be threw it in he said, “ God bless you, they have done. But I was resolved I would not mistress, let it lie there a little," and away he do this, whatever shift I made. However, I did runs as swift as the wind : after him comes two not well know what course to take; at last I remore, and immediately a young fellow without solved to go to my old governess, and acquaint his hat, crying “ Stop thief," and after him two or myself with her again. I had punctually supthree more. They pursued the two last fellows so plied the five pounds a year to her for my little close that they were forced to drop what they boy as long as I was able, but at last was obliged had got, and one of them was taken into the to put a stop to it. However, I had written a bargain, the other got off free.
letter to her, wherein I had told her my circumIstood stock still all this while till they came stances were reduced very low; that I had lost back, dragging the poor fellow they had taken, | my husband, and that I was not able to do it and lugging the things they had found, extremely | any longer, and begged that the poor child might well satisfied they had recovered the booty, and not suffer too much for its mother's misfortunes. taken the thief, and thus they passed by me, I now made her a visit, and I found that she for I looked only like one who stood up while the drove something of the old trade still, but that crowd was gone.
she was not in such flourishing circumstances as Once or twice I asked what was the matter, 1 before; for she had been sued by a certain genbut the people neglected answering me, and I tleman who had had his daughter stolen from him was not very importunate ; but after the crowd and who, it seems, she had helped to convey away; was wholly passed, I took my opportunity to turn and it was very narrowly that she escaped the about and take up what was behind me and walk gallows. The expense also had ravaged her, and away. This indeed I did with less disturbance she was become very poor; her house was but than I had done formerly, for these things I did meanly furnished, and she was not in such repute not steal, but they were stolen to my hand. I for her practice as before; however, she stood got safe to my lodging with this cargo, which upon her legs, as they say, and as she was a was a piece of fine black lustring silk, and a piece stirring bustling woman, and had some stock of velvet; the latter was but part of a piece of left, she was turned pawn-broker, and lived about eleven yards; the former was a whole pretty well, piece of near fifty yards.
She received me very civilly, and with her usual I had pretty good luck thus far, and I made || obliging manner told me she would not have the several adventures more, though with but small | less respect for me for my being reduced ; that she purchase, yet with good success; but I went in had taken care my boy was very well looked after, daily dread that some mischief would befal me, though I could not pay for him, and that the and that I should certainly come to be hanged woman that had him was easy, so that I needed at last. The impression this made on me was too not trouble myself about him, till I might be strong to be slighted, and it kept me from making better able to do it effectually. attempts that for aught I know might have been I told her that I had not much money left, but very safely performed; but one thing I cannot | that I had some things that were monies worth, omit, which was a bait to me many a day. if she could tell me how I might turn them into I walked frequently out into the villages round money. She asked me what it was I had. I the town to see if nothing would fall in my way pulled out the string of gold beads, and told her there; and going by a house near Stepney, I it was one of my husband's presents to me; then saw on the window board two rings, one a small I showed her the two parcels of silk which I diamond ring, and the other a plain gold ring ; ! told her I had from Ireland, and brought up to to be sure laid there by some thoughtless lady town with me, and the little diamond ring. As that had more money than forecast, perhaps only to the small parcel of plate and spoons, I had till she washed her hands.
found means to dispose of them myself before; I walked several times by the window to ob and as for the child-bed linen I had, she offered serve if I could see whether there was anybody me to take it herself, believing it to be my own. in the room or no, and I could see nobody, but She told me she was turned pawn-broker, and still I was not sure ; it came presently into my that she would sell those things for me as thoughts to rap at the glass, as if I wanted to pawned to her, and so she sent presently for speak to somebody, and if anybody was there proper agents that bought them, being in her they would be sure to come to the window, and hands, without any scruple, and gave good prices then I would tell them to remove those rings, for that I had seen two suspicious fellows take I now began to think this necessary woman notice of them. This was a ready thought; I might help me a little in my low condition to rapped once or twice and nobody came, when some business, for I would gladly have turned seeing the coast clear, I thrust hard against the my hand to any honest employment if I could square of glass, and broke it with very little have got it ; but here she was deficient. Hopest noise, and took out the two rings, and walked business did not come within her reach; if I had away with them very safe. The diamond ring been younger, perhaps she might have helped me was worth about three pounds, and the other to a spark, but my thoughts were of that kind of about nine shillings.
livelihood as being quite out of the way after I was now at a loss for a market for my goods, fifty, which was my case, and so I told her. and especially for my two pieces of silk. I was
She invited me at last to come, and be at her very loth to dispose of them for a trifle, as the
house till I could find something to do, and it poor unhappy thieves in general do, who, after should cost me very little; and this I gladly ac
have ventured their lives for, perhaps, a thing llcepted of, and now living a little easier, 1 entered
into some measures to have my little son by my 1, a thief of me, even without any design ; and so last husband taken care of; and this she made | told her the whole story of the tankard. easy too, reserving a payment only of five pounds | L“ And have you brought it away with you, my a year, if I could pay it.
nav it. This was such a help | dear ?" says she.
This was such a help to me, that for a good while I left off the wicked | “ To be sure I have," says I, and showed it trade that I had so newly taken up; and gladly her. I would have got my bread by the help of my | “ But what shall I do now?" says I; “ must needle if I could have got work, but that was not I carry it again ?" very hard to do for one that had no manner of “ Carry it again !" says she, “ay, if you are acquaintance in the world.
minded to be sent to Newgate for stealing it." However, at last I got some quilting-work for " Why,” says I, “ they cannot be so base to ladies' beds, petticoats, and the like ; and this 1| stop me when I carry it to them again ?" liked very well and worked very hard, and with | « You don't know those sort of people, child." this I began to live; but the diligent devil, who says she ; " they will not only carry you to Newresolved I should continue in his service, conti- | gate, but hang you too, without any regard to nually prompted me to go out and take a walk, the honesty of returning it; or bring in an acthat is to say, to see if anything would offer in count of all the other tankards they have lost for the old way.
you to pay for." One evening I blindly obeyed his summons, “ What must I do then ?” says I. and fetched a long circuit through the streets, “ Nay," says she, “ as you have played the but met with no purchase, and came home very cunning part and stole it, you must even keep it; weary, and empty; but not content with that, I there is no going back now; besides, child," says went out the next evening too, when going by an || she, “ don't you want it more than they do? || alehouse I saw the door of a little room open, wish you could light of such a bargain once a next the very street, and on the table a silver I week," tankard, things much in use in public houses at This gave me a new notion of my governess, that time. It seems some company had been and that since she was turned pawnbroker she drinking there, and the careless boys had forgot | had a sort of people about her that were none of to take it away.
the honest ones that I had met with there beI went into the box frankly, and setting the fore. silver tankard on the corner of the bench, I sat I had not been long there, but I discovered it down before it and knocked with my foot; a boy | more plainly than before, for every now and then came presently, and I bade him fetch me a pint of || I saw hilts of swords, spoons, forks, tankards, and warm ale, for it was cold weather. The boy ll all such kind of ware brought in, not to be ran, and I heard him go down to the cellar to pawned, but to be sold downright ; and she draw ale. While the boy was gone, another | bought everything that came without asking any ! boy came into the room, and cried, “ Do you questions, but had very good bargains, as I found call ? ” I spoke with a melancholy air, and said, || by her discourse. “ No, child, the boy is gone for a pint of ale for 'I found also that in the following this trade
she always melted down the plate she bought While I sat here I heard the woman in the bar that it might not be challenged ; and she came say, “ Are they all gone in No. 5?" which was the to me and told me one morning that she was box I sat in, and the boy said “ Yes."
going to melt, and if I would, she would put iny “ Who fetched the tankard away?" says the tankard in, that it might not be seen by any. woman.
body. “ I did," says another boy; “that is it, pointing, I told her with all my heart; so she weighed it seems, to another tankard which he had fetched it, and allowed me the full value in silver again; from another box by mistake; or else it must be l) but I found she did not do the same to the rest that the rogue forgot that he had not brought it || of her customers. in, which certainly he had not.
Some time after this, as I was at work and very li I heard all this, much to my satisfaction, for I || melancholy, she begins to ask me what the watfound plainly that the tankard was not missed, liter was, as she was used to do. and that they concluded it was fetched away ; || I told her my heart was heavy, I had little so I drapk my ale, called to pay, and as I went li work, and nothing to live on, and knew not what I said, “ Take care of your plate, child," mean course to take. ing a silver pint mug, which he brought me drink || She laughed and told me I must go out again in. The boy said, “ Yes, madam; very welcome,” li and try my fortune, it might be that I might and away I came.
meet with another piece of plate. I came home to my governess, and now Ill « Oh, mother," says I, “ that is a trade I have thought it was a time to try her, that if I might no skill in, and if I should be taken I am undone be put to the necessity of being exposed, she at once." might offer me some assistance. When I had || Says she, “ I could help you to a schoolmis. been at home some time and had an opportunity || tress that shall make you as dexterous as bere of talking to her, I told her I had a secret of the greatest consequence in the world to commit to
U I trembled at that proposal, for hitherto I had 1 her, if she had respect enough for me to keep it I had no confederates, nor any acquaintance amous a secret. She told me she had kept one of my ll that tribe; but she conquered all iny modes secrets faithfully, why should I doubt her keep
ot ner keep- || and all my fears; and in a little time, by the help ing another? I told her the strangest thing in ll of this confederate, I grew as impudent & the world had befallen me, and that it had made !' and as dexterous as ever Moll Cut-Purse *
though, if fame does not belie her, not half so stock beforehand as I had, for I had near two bandsome.
hundred pounds in money for my share, it came The comrade she helped me to dealt in three I strongly into my mind, no doubt from some kind sorts of craft ; viz. shop-lifting, stealing of shop spirit, if such there be, that as at first poverty books and pocket-books, and taking off gold excited me, and my distresses drove me to these watches from the ladies' sides, and this last she || dreadful shifts, so seeing those distresses were did so dexterously that no woman ever arrived now relieved, and I could also get something to the perfection of that art, so as to do it like || towards a maintenance by working, and had so her. I liked the first and the last of these things I good a bank to support me, why should I not now very well, and I attended her some time in the leave off, as they say, while I was well ? that I practice, just as a deputy attends a midwife with could not expect to go always free, and if I was out any pay.
once surprised and miscarried I was undone. At length she put me to practise. She had | This was, doubtless, the happy minute when, shown me her art, and I had many times uphooked if I had hearkened to the blessed hint, from a watch from her own side with great dexterity. /whatsoever hand it came, I had still a cast for an At last she showed me a prize, and this was a l) easy life ; but my fate was otherwise determined ; young lady big with child, who had a charming the busy devil that so industriously drew me in, watch : the thing was to be done as she came out || had too fast hold of me to let me go back ; but of church. She goes on one side of the lady, and as poverty brought me into the mire so avarice pretends, just as she came to the steps, to fall, I kept me in till there was no going back. As to the and sell against the lady with so much violence arguments which myreason dictated for persuading as put her into a great fright, and both cried out me to lay down, avarice stept in and said “Go on, terribly. In the very moment that she jostled || go on; you have had very good luck ; go on till you the lady, I had hold of the watch, and holding it have gotten four or five hundred pounds and then the right way, the start she gave drew the hook / you shall leave off; and then you may live easy out, and she never felt it. I made off immedi without working at all.” ately, and left my schoolmistress to come out of Thus I, that was once in the devil's clutches, her pretended fright gradually, and the lady too ; | was held fast there as with a charm, and had no and presently the watch was missed.
power to go without the circle till I was in" Aye,” says my comrade, “then it was those gulphed in labyrinths of trouble too great to get rogues that thrust me down, I warrant ye; Il out at all. wonder the gentlewoman did not miss her watch However, these thoughts left some impression before, then we might have taken them.”
upon me, and made me act with some more cau| She humoured the thing so well that nobody tion than before, and more than my directors suspected her, and I was got home a full hour be used for themselves. My comrade, as I called fore her. This was my first adventure in com. her, but rather she should have been called my pany; the watch was indeed a very fine one, and teacher, with another of her scholars, was the had a great many trinkets about it, and my go first in the misfortune, for happening to be upon verness allowed us twenty pounds for it, of which | the hunt for a purchase, they made an attempt I had half; and thus I was entered a complete upon a linen-draper in Cheapside, but were snapthief, hardened to a pitch above all the reflections ped by a hawk's-eyed journeyman, and seized of conscience or modesty, and to a degree which with two pieces of cambric, which were taken I must acknowledge I never thought possible in
also upon them. me.
This was enough to lodge them both in NewThus the devil who began, by the help of an gate, where they had the misfortune to have some i irresistible poverty, to push me into this wicked of their former sins brought to remembrance; two
ness, brought me on to a height beyond the com other indictments being brought against them, and | mon rate, even when my necessities were not so the facts being proved upon them they were both f great or the prospect of my misery so terrifying; condemned to die; they both pleaded their bel.
for I bad now got into a little vein of work, and lies and were both voted quick with child, though as I was not at a loss to handle my needle, it was my tutoress was no more with child than I was. very probable, as acquaintance came in, I might I went frequently to see them and condole have got my bread honestly enough.
with them, expecting that it would be my turn I must say, that if such a prospect of work had nest; but the place gave me so much horror, presented itself at first when I began to feel the reflecting that it was the place of my unhappy approach of my miserable circumstances--I say, birth and of my mother's misfortunes, that I had such a prospect of getting my bread by could not bear it, so I left off going to see them; my working presented itself, then I had never and, oh I could I but have taken warning by their fillen into this wicked trade, or into such a wicked | disasters, I had been happy still, for I was yet gang as I was now embarked with ; but practice || frec, and had nothing brought against me; but i had hardened me, and I grew audacious to the could not be—my misfortunes were not yet filled last degree, and the more so because I had car. up. ried it on so long, and had never been taken ; for, My comrade, having the brand of an old offender, in a word, my new partner in wickedness and I went | was executed; the younger offender was spared, on together so long without being ever detected, | having obtained a reprieve, but lay starving a long that we not only grew bold, but we grew rich, while in prison, till at last she got her name into and had at one time one-and-twenty gold watches what they call a circuit pardon, and so she came in our hands.
off. I remember that one day, being a little more se. This terrible example of my comrade frightrious thao ordinary, and finding I had so good all ened me heartily, and for a good while I made
no excursions ; but one night in the neighbour. || pray tell her Mrs - desires the favour of her hood of my governess's house they cried fire ; my to take the two children in. Poor lady! she will governess looked out, for we were all up, and be undone, their house is all of a flame." cried immediately that such a gentlewoman's They took the children in very civilly, pitied house was all of a light fire a-top, and so indeed it the family in distress, and away came I 'with my was.
bundle. One of the maids asked me if I was Here she gave me a jog, “ Now, child,” says she, not to leave the bundle too? I said “ No, sweet“there is a rare opportunity, the fire being so heart, it is to go to another place. It does not near that you may go to it before the street is belong to them." blocked up with the crowd.” She presently gave'! I was a great way out of the hurry now, and me my cue. “Go, child," says she, “to the so I went on, clear of anybody's inquiry, and house, and run in and tell the lady, or anybody brought the bundle of plate, which was very conyou see, that you come to help them, and that siderable, straight home, and gave it to my old you came from such a gentlewoman (that is one governess. She told me she would not look into of her acquaintance farther up the street.") it, but bade me go out again to look out for more. She gave me the like cue to the next house, | She gave me the like cue to the gentlewoman naming another name that was also an acquaint- at the next house to that which was on fire, and ance of the gentlewoman of the house.
I did my endeavour to go; but by this time the Away I went, and coming to the house I found alarm of fire was so great, and so many engines them all in confusion, you may be sure. I ran in, playing, and the street so thronged with people, and finding one of the maids, “ Lord, sweetheart," || that I could not get near the house, whatever I said I, “how came this dismal accident? Where could do ; so I came back again to my gois your mistress, and how does she do? Is she verness's, and taking the bundle up into my safe? and where are the children? I come from chamber, I began to examine it. It is with hor. Madam - to help you."
ror that I tell what a treasure I found there; it Away runs the maid"Madam, madam," says is enough to say, that besides most of the family she, screaming as loud as she could yell, “ here is plate, which was considerable, I found a gold a gentlewoman come from Madam — to help chain, an old-fashioned thing, the locket of which us."
was broken, so that I suppose it had not been The poor woman half out of her wits, with all used for some years, but the gold was none the bundle under her arm and two children, comes worse for that; also a little box of burying rings, towards me.
the lady's wedding ring, and some broken bits of “Lord, madam," says I, “let me carry the old lockets of gold, a gold watch, and a purse poor children to Madam --; she desires you to with about twenty-four pounds value in old pieces send them ; she will take care of the poor lambs;" | of gold coin, and several other things of value. and immediately I takes one of them out of her This was the greatest and the worst prize that hand, and she lifts the other up into my arms. ever I was concerned in ; for indeed, though, as I
“Ay, do, for God's sake," says she, “ carry them have said above, I was hardened now beyond to her. Oh thank her for her kindness.”
the power of all reflection in other cases, yet it " Have you anything else to secure, madam?” really touched me to the very soul when I looked says I, “ she will take care of it."
into this treasure, to think of the poor discons. “Oh dear! ay," says she, “God bless her, late gentlewoman, who had lost so much by the and thank her; take this bundle of plate and fire besides, and who would think, to be sure, carry it to her too. Oh, she is a good woman. || that she had saved her plate and best things. How Oh Lord ! we are utterly ruined -utterly un- |she would be surprised and afflicted when she ! done :" and away she runs from me out of her would find that she had been deceived, and should wits and the maid after her, and away comes 1 find that the person who had taken her children with the two children and the bundle.
and her goods had not come, as was pretended I was no sooner got into the street but I saw from the gentlewoman at the farther end of the another woman come to me. “ Oh !” says she, I street. “ mistress," in a piteous tone, “ you will let fall || I say I confess the inhumanity of this action the child. Come, come, this is a sad time, let me | moved me very much, and made me relent ex. help you;" and immediately lays hold of the bun ceedingly, and tears stood in my eyes upon that dle to carry it for me.
subject. But with all my sense of its being cruel “ No,” says I; “if you will help me, take the land inhuman, I could never find in my heart to child by the hand, and lead it for me but to the make any restitution. The reflection wore off, upper end of the street; I will go with you and and I began quickly to forget the circumstances satisfy you for your pains."
// that attended the taking them. She could not avoid going after what I said ; Nor was this all, for though by this job I was but the creature, in short, was one of the same bu- ll become considerably richer than before, yet the siness with me and wanted nothing but the bundle. || resolution I had formerly taken of leaving off this However, she went with me to the door, for she horrid trade, when I had gotten a little more, could not help it. When we were come there I did not return; but I must still get farther and whispered to her_"Go, child,” said I, “I under- more ; and the avarice joined so with the success, stand your trade,-you may meet with purchase that I had no more thoughts of coming to a timely enough." .
alteration of life; though without it I could esc She understood me, and walked off. I thun- pect no safety, no tranquillity in the possession of dered at the door with the children, and as the what I had so wickedly gained ; but a little more people were raised before by the noise of the fire il and a little more was the case still. I was soon let in, and I said, " Is madam awake?" At length, yielding to the importunities of my
crime, I cast off all remorse and repentance; and || them successful; so I resolved from that time all the reflections on that head turned to no more forward to be very cautious how I adventured than this, that I might perhaps come to have one upon anything with them; and indeed when two booty more that might complete my desires ; but || or three unlucky projects were proposed by though I certainly had that one booty, yet every || them, I declined the offer, and persuaded them hit looked towards another, and was so en. ! against it. couraging to me to go on with the trade, that I One time they particularly proposed robbing a had no gust to the thoughts of laying it down. watchmaker of three gold watches, which they
In this condition, hardened by success, and re had eyed in the daytime, and found the place solving to go on, I fell into the snare in which I where he laid them; one of them had so many was appointed to meet with my last reward for keys of all kinds, that he made no question to this kind of life. But even this was not yet, for open the place where the watchmaker had laid I met with several successful adventures more in | them, and so we made a kind of an appointment; this way of being undone.
but when I came to look narrowly into the thing, I remained still with my governess, who was i| I found they proposed breaking into the house, for a while really concerned for the misfortune of and this, is a thing out of my way, I would not my comrade that had been hanged, and who, it embark in ; so they went without me. They seems, knew enough of my governess to have did get into the house by main force, and broke sent her the same way, and which made her very up the locked place where the watches were, but uneasy ; indeed she was in a very great fright. found but one of the gold watches and a silver
It is true, that when she was gone, and had one, which they took, and got out of the house not opened her mouth to tell what she knew, my again very clear; but the family being alarmed governess was easy as to that point, and perhaps cried out thieves, and the man was pursued and glad she was hanged; for it was in her power to taken; the young woman had got off too, but have obtained a pardon at the expense of her unhappily was taken at a distance, and the friends : but, on the other hand, the loss of her, watches found upon her; and thus 1 had a second and the sense of her kindness in not making her escape, for they were convicted and both hanged, market of what she knew, moved my governess being old offenders, though but young people ; as to mourn her very sincerely. I comforted her | I said before, that they robbed together and lay as well as I could, and she in return hardened together, so now they hanged together, and there me to merit more completely the same fate. ended my new partnership.
However, as I have said, it made me the more 1 I began now to be weary, having so narrowly Weary, and particularly I was very shy of shop- escaped a scurring, and having such an example lifting, especially among the mercers and drapers, before me ; but I had a new tempter, who promptwho are a set of fellows that have their eyes very ed me every day, I mean my governess; and much about them. I made a venture or two now. a prize presented, which, as it came by her among the lace folks and the milliners, and par management, so she expected a good share of the ticularly at one shop, where I got notice of two booty. There was a great quantity of Flanders young women who were newly set up, and had lace lodged in a private house, where she had got not been bred to the trade. There, I think, I intelligence of it; and Flanders lace being then carried off a piece of bone-lace worth six or seven prohibited, it was a good booty to any custompounds, and a paper of thread; but this was but house officer that could come at it. I had a full obce, it was a trick that would not serve again. account from my governess, as well of the quan
It was always reckoned a safe job when we tity, as of the very place where it was concealed ; heard of a new shop, and especially when the and I went to a custom-house officer, and told him people were such as were not bred to shops ; I had such a discovery to make to him of such such may depend upon it that they will be visited a quantity of lace, if he would assure me that I once or twice at their beginning, and they must should have my due share of the reward. This be very sharp indeed if they can prevent it. was so just an offer that nothing could be fairer ;
I made another adventure or two, but they so he agreed, and taking a constable and me with were but trifles too, though sufficient to live on. | him, we beset the house. As I told him I could || After this nothing considerable offering for a good go directly to the place, he left it to me; and the
while, I began to think that I must give over hole being very dark, i squeezed myself into it I the trade in earnest ; but my governess, who was with a candle in my hand, and so reached the
not willing to lose me, and expected great pieces out to him, taking care, as I gave him things of me, brought me one day into the com some, to secure as much about myself as I could pany with a young woman and a fellow that went | conveniently dispose of. There was near three for her husband, though, as appeared afterwards, || hundred pounds' worth of lace in the hole, and she was not his wife ; but they were partners, it || I secured about fifty pounds' worth of it to myself. seems, in the trade they carried on, and partners The people of the house were not owners of the in something else too. In short, they robbed to- || lace, but a merchant who had entrusted them gether, lay together, were taken together, and with it, so that they were not so surprised as I at last were hanged together.
thought they would be. I came into a kind of league with these two, | I left the officer overjoyed with his prize, and by the help of my governess, and they carried me ll fully satisfied with what he had got, and appointed out into three or four adventures, where I saw to meet him at a house of his own directing, them commit some coarse and unhandy robberies, ll where I came after I had disposed of the cargo I in which nothing but a great stock of impudence had about me, of which he had not the least suson their side, and gross negligence on the peo- picion. When I came to him he began to capiple's side who were robbed, could have made Il tulate with me, believing I did not understand