Moll Flanders HTML version

Chapter 7
It was not long, you may be sure, before we had a second conference upon the same
subject; when, as if she had been willing to forget the story she had told me of herself,
or to suppose that I had forgot some of the particulars, she began to tell them with
alterations and omissions; but I refreshed her memory and set her to rights in many
things which I supposed she had forgot, and then came in so opportunely with the
whole history, that it was impossible for her to go from it; and then she fell into her
rhapsodies again, and exclamations at the severity of her misfortunes. When these
things were a little over with her, we fell into a close debate about what should be first
done before we gave an account of the matter to my husband. But to what purpose
could be all our consultations? We could neither of us see our way through it, nor see
how it could be safe to open such a scene to him. It was impossible to make any
judgment, or give any guess at what temper he would receive it in, or what measures he
would take upon it; and if he should have so little government of himself as to make it
public, we easily foresaw that it would be the ruin of the whole family, and expose my
mother and me to the last degree; and if at last he should take the advantage the law
would give him, he might put me away with disdain and leave me to sue for the little
portion that I had, and perhaps waste it all in the suit, and then be a beggar; the children
would be ruined too, having no legal claim to any of his effects; and thus I should see
him, perhaps, in the arms of another wife in a few months, and be myself the most
miserable creature alive.
My mother was as sensible of this as I; and, upon the whole, we knew not what to do.
After some time we came to more sober resolutions, but then it was with this misfortune
too, that my mother's opinion and mine were quite different from one another, and
indeed inconsistent with one another; for my mother's opinion was, that I should bury
the whole thing entirely, and continue to live with him as my husband till some other
event should make the discovery of it more convenient; and that in the meantime she
would endeavour to reconcile us together again, and restore our mutual comfort and
family peace; that we might lie as we used to do together, and so let the whole matter
remain a secret as close as death. 'For, child,' says she, 'we are both undone if it comes
To encourage me to this, she promised to make me easy in my circumstances, as far as
she was able, and to leave me what she could at her death, secured for me separately
from my husband; so that if it should come out afterwards, I should not be left destitute,
but be able to stand on my own feet and procure justice from him.
This proposal did not agree at all with my judgment of the thing, though it was very fair
and kind in my mother; but my thoughts ran quite another way.
As to keeping the thing in our own breasts, and letting it all remain as it was, I told her it
was impossible; and I asked her how she could think I could bear the thoughts of lying