Moll Flanders HTML version

Chapter 16
Some time after this, they came again to know if he had talked with me. He told them he
had; that he found me not so averse to an accommodation as some of my friends were,
who resented the disgrace offered me, and set me on; that they blowed the coals in
secret, prompting me to revenge, or do myself justice, as they called it; so that he could
not tell what to say to it; he told them he would do his endeavour to persuade me, but
he ought to be able to tell me what proposal they made. They pretended they could not
make any proposal, because it might be made use of against them; and he told them,
that by the same rule he could not make any offers, for that might be pleaded in
abatement of what damages a jury might be inclined to give. However, after some
discourse and mutual promises that no advantage should be taken on either side, by
what was transacted then or at any other of those meetings, they came to a kind of a
treaty; but so remote, and so wide from one another, that nothing could be expected
from it; for my attorney demanded #500 and charges, and they offered #50 without
charges; so they broke off, and the mercer proposed to have a meeting with me myself;
and my attorney agreed to that very readily.
My attorney gave me notice to come to this meeting in good clothes, and with some
state, that the mercer might see I was something more than I seemed to be that time
they had me. Accordingly I came in a new suit of second mourning, according to what I
had said at the justice's. I set myself out, too, as well as a widow's dress in second
mourning would admit; my governess also furnished me with a good pearl necklace,
that shut in behind with a locket of diamonds, which she had in pawn; and I had a very
good figure; and as I stayed till I was sure they were come, I came in a coach to the
door, with my maid with me.
When I came into the room the mercer was surprised. He stood up and made his bow,
which I took a little notice of, and but a little, and went and sat down where my own
attorney had pointed to me to sit, for it was his house. After a little while the mercer said,
he did not know me again, and began to make some compliments his way. I told him, I
believed he did not know me at first, and that if he had, I believed he would not have
treated me as he did.
He told me he was very sorry for what had happened, and that it was to testify the
willingness he had to make all possible reparation that he had appointed this meeting;
that he hoped I would not carry things to extremity, which might be not only too great a
loss to him, but might be the ruin of his business and shop, in which case I might have
the satisfaction of repaying an injury with an injury ten times greater; but that I would
then get nothing, whereas he was willing to do me any justice that was in his power,
without putting himself or me to the trouble or charge of a suit at law.
I told him I was glad to hear him talk so much more like a man of sense than he did
before; that it was true, acknowledgment in most cases of affronts was counted