Moll Flanders HTML version

Chapter 11
'Then, madam,' says she, 'if the child should not live, or should be dead-born, as you
know sometimes happens, then there is the minister's article saved; and if you have no
friends to come to you, you may save the expense of a supper; so that take those
articles out, madam,' says she, 'your lying in will not cost you above #5, 3s. in all more
than your ordinary charge of living.'
This was the most reasonable thing that I ever heard of; so I smiled, and told her I
would come and be her customer; but I told her also, that as I had two months and more
to do, I might perhaps be obliged to stay longer with her than three months, and desired
to know if she would not be obliged to remove me before it was proper. No, she said;
her house was large, and besides, she never put anybody to remove, that had lain in, till
they were willing to go; and if she had more ladies offered, she was not so ill-beloved
among her neighbours but she could provide accommodations for twenty, if there was
I found she was an eminent lady in her way; and, in short, I agreed to put myself into
her hands, and promised her. She then talked of other things, looked about into my
accommodations where I was, found fault with my wanting attendance and
conveniences, and that I should not be used so at her house. I told her I was shy of
speaking, for the woman of the house looked stranger, or at least I thought so, since I
had been ill, because I was with child; and I was afraid she would put some affront or
other upon me, supposing that I had been able to give but a slight account of myself.
'Oh dear,' said she, 'her ladyship is no stranger to these things; she has tried to
entertain ladies in your condition several times, but she could not secure the parish; and
besides, she is not such a nice lady as you take her to be; however, since you are a-
going, you shall not meddle with her, but I'll see you are a little better looked after while
you are here than I think you are, and it shall not cost you the more neither.'
I did not understand her at all; however, I thanked her, and so we parted. The next
morning she sent me a chicken roasted and hot, and a pint bottle of sherry, and ordered
the maid to tell me that she was to wait on me every day as long as I stayed there.
This was surprisingly good and kind, and I accepted it very willingly. At night she sent to
me again, to know if I wanted anything, and how I did, and to order the maid to come to
her in the morning with my dinner. The maid had orders to make me some chocolate in
the morning before she came away, and did so, and at noon she brought me the
sweetbread of a breast of veal, whole, and a dish of soup for my dinner; and after this
manner she nursed me up at a distance, so that I was mightily well pleased, and quickly
well, for indeed my dejections before were the principal part of my illness.