Page:Moll Flanders (1906 edition).djvu/187

This page has been validated.
THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS 155

he was run into debt more than he was able to pay; that he would go into the army, and carry a musket, or buy a horse and take a tour, as he called it; and though I never told him that I was a fortune, and so did not actually deceive him myself, yet I did encourage the having it thought so, and so I was the occasion originally of his mischief.

The surprise of this thing only struck deeper in my thoughts, and gave me stronger reflections than all that had befallen me before. I grieved day and night, 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; and that there would be 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 my 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 life I had lived began to return upon me; and as these things returned, my abhorrence of the place, 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 there would be a bill preferred to the grand jury against me, and that I should be tried for my life. My temper was touched before, the wretched boldness of spirit which I had acquired abated, and conscious guilt began to flow in my mind. In short, I began to think, and to think indeed is one real advance from hell to heaven. All that hardened state and temper of soul, which I said so much of before, is but a deprivation of thought; he that is restored to his thinking, is restored to himself.

As soon as I began, I say, to think, the first thing that occurred to me broke out thus: 'Lord! what will become of me? 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 time, that had started in 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 dreadfully dejected, and disconsolate to the last degree; and as I had no friend 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 went to several 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, &c.; but all would not do; the two wenches swore home to the fact, and the jury found the bill for robbery and housebreaking, that is, for felony and burglary.

I sank down when they brought the news of it, and after I came to myself I thought I should have died with the weight of it. My governess acted a true mother to me; she pitied me, she cried with me and for me, but she could not help me; and, to add to the terror of it, 'twas the discourse all over the house that I should die for it. I could hear them