Moll Flanders HTML version

Chapter 18
The surprise of the thing only struck deeper into my thoughts, any gave me stronger
reflections than all that had befallen me before. I grieved day and night for him, and the
more for that they told me he was the captain of the gang, and that he had committed
so many robberies, that Hind, or Whitney, or the Golden Farmer were fools to him; that
he would surely be hanged if there were no more men left in the country he was born in;
and that there would abundance of people come in against him.
I was overwhelmed with grief for him; my own case gave me no disturbance compared
to this, and I loaded myself with reproaches on his account. I bewailed his misfortunes,
and the ruin he was now come to, at such a rate, that I relished nothing now as I did
before, and the first reflections I made upon the horrid, detestable life I had lived began
to return upon me, and as these things returned, my abhorrence of the place I was in,
and of the way of living in it, returned also; in a word, I was perfectly changed, and
become another body.
While I was under these influences of sorrow for him, came notice to me that the next
sessions approaching there would be a bill preferred to the grand jury against me, and
that I should be certainly tried for my life at the Old Bailey. My temper was touched
before, the hardened, wretched boldness of spirit which I had acquired abated, and
conscious in the prison, guilt began to flow in upon my mind. In short, I began to think,
and to think is one real advance from hell to heaven. All that hellish, hardened state and
temper of soul, which I have said so much of before, is but a deprivation of thought; he
that is restored to his power of thinking, is restored to himself.
As soon as I began, I say, to think, the first think that occurred to me broke out thus:
'Lord! what will become of me? I shall certainly die! I shall be cast, to be sure, and there
is nothing beyond that but death! I have no friends; what shall I do? I shall be certainly
cast! Lord, have mercy upon me! What will become of me?' This was a sad thought, you
will say, to be the first, after so long a time, that had started into my soul of that kind,
and yet even this was nothing but fright at what was to come; there was not a word of
sincere repentance in it all. However, I was indeed dreadfully dejected, and
disconsolate to the last degree; and as I had no friend in the world to communicate my
distressed thoughts to, it lay so heavy upon me, that it threw me into fits and swoonings
several times a day. I sent for my old governess, and she, give her her due, acted the
part of a true friend. She left no stone unturned to prevent the grand jury finding the bill.
She sought out one or two of the jurymen, talked with them, and endeavoured to
possess them with favourable dispositions, on account that nothing was taken away,
and no house broken, etc.; but all would not do, they were over-ruled by the rest; the
two wenches swore home to the fact, and the jury found the bill against me for robbery
and house-breaking, that is, for felony and burglary.