Joy and grief of the famous Moll Flanders.
In everyday life, this work is called Defoe shortly: “Moll Flanders”, and the title subtitle is even longer: “(…), who was twelve years old, five times married, twelve years old thief, eight years of exile in Virginia, but at the end of her life became rich. “
Based on the fact that the story of her life was “written” by the heroine in 1683 (as always, the story of Defoe is from the first person, and he himself is hiding behind the mask of the “publisher”) and that she herself should at that time be seventy or seventy one year, determine the date of her birth: about 1613 Moll was born in prison, in Nyoget; her pregnant thief achieved a softening of the verdict and, after the birth of her daughter, was exiled to the colony, and the six-month-old girl was placed in the care of a “relative”. What this oversight was, you can guess: already in three years she wanders “with the gypsies”, lagging behind them, and the city authorities of Colchester define her to a woman who once knew the best times. She teaches orphans reading and sewing, instilling in them good manners. An industrious and intelligent girl, early (eight years old), is conscious of the humiliation of the servants’ destiny prepared for her by strangers and announces her desire to become a “lady”. A clever child understands this: be yourself a mistress
The elderly teacher dies, the heiress-daughter exposes the girl to the street, pocketing her money (then she will return them), and the fourteen-year-old Moll takes to herself the “good real mistress” at whom she was staying. Here she lived until she was seventeen. The situation is not entirely clear, the responsibilities for the house are not defined – most likely, she is the girlfriend of daughters, the named sister, “pupil”. A capable, reticent girl soon does not concede to the young ladies in dancing and playing the clavichord and is asleep, speaks French fluently, and sings even better than them. Nature did not bypass it with her gifts – she is beautiful and well-built. The latter will play a fatal role in the life of “Miss Betty” (Elizabeth? – we still do not know her real name), as her name is in the house, because in the family, besides the girls, two sons grow up. Older, ” and the already experienced ladies’ man, immoderate praise of her beauty, turns her head to the girl, flatter her vanity, extolling her dignity before the sisters. The wounded “young ladies” are set against her, while the elder brother (he will remain anonymous) promises to marry and generous Of course, he promises to marry, “only will he take possession of his property,” and, perhaps, the heroine who truly loved him would long be satisfied with the expectation (although more these promises did not repeat), do not fall in love with her younger brother, Robin. This simple-minded and simple frightening mother and sisters, he does not hide his feelings, and the “Miss Betty” honestly asks for his hands and his heart – he does not mind that she is a non-dowry, Considering himself the wife of his elder brother, she refuses Robin and in despair (a lucky chance is missed) calls for a decisive explanation of her lover-husband. And that seems to be and does not abandon his promises, but, soberly assessing the reality (“my father is healthy and strong”), advises her to accept his brother’s offer, to bring peace to the family. Shocked by the treachery of a loved one, the girl falls ill with fever, with difficulty recovers and eventually agrees to a marriage with Robin. The elder brother, with a light heart condemning the “recklessness of youth,” pays off from his beloved five hundred pounds. Explicit features of the future psychological novel appear in the description of the circumstances of this marriage: lying with her husband, she always imagined herself in the embrace of his brother, meanwhile Robin is a nice man and did not deserve to die five years later at the will of the author; Alas,
Two children from this marriage, the newly-born widow leaves with her mother-in-law, lives comfortably, has admirers, but “cherishes” herself, setting the goal “only marriage, and moreover profitable.” She had time to assess what it means to be a “lady” in the conventional sense of the word, her claims increased: “if the merchant is, then let him be like a gentleman.” And such is. A loafer and a breeze, he lowers their insignificant state in less than a year, suffers bankruptcy and flees to France, leaving his wife to hide from creditors. The child born of them died. The straw widow moves to Mint (London quarter, where insolvent debtors sheltered from the police). She takes a different name and since that time is called “Mrs. Flanders”. Its situation is unenviable: without friends, without a single relative, with a small, rapidly melting state. However, she soon finds a friend, with a cunning intrigue, having helped one of the miserable wives to get to her husband too picky captain. The agile seller spreads rumors about a rich “cousin,” and soon Moll from a pile of run-in fans chooses a loved one. She honestly warns the competitor of her hand about her insignificant dowry; he, believing that the sincerity of his feelings is being tested, announces (in verse!) that “money is vanity.”
He really loves her, and therefore easily suffers the collapse of his calculations. The newlyweds are sailing to America – the husband has plantations there, it’s time to get on the business masterfully. In the same place, his mother lives in Virginia. From conversations with her, Moll learns that she came to America not with her own will. At home, she fell into the “bad society”, and from her death sentence, she was saved by pregnancy: with the birth of a child, she was sentenced to punishment, sent to the colony. Here she repented, corrected herself, married a widower owner, gave birth to him a daughter and a son – the current husband Moll. Some details of her story, and most importantly – the name, as she was called in England, lead Moll to a terrible guess: her mother-in-law is not someone other than her own mother. Naturally, the relationship with her husband-brother is farther and farther away. They, by the way, have two children, and the third one is pregnant. Unable to conceal a terrible discovery, she tells her mother-in-law, and then her husband (brother) herself. She does not want to return to England, which he now can not prevent. The poor fellow is experiencing a difficult experience, is close to insanity, twice encroaches on suicide.
Moll returns to England (she spent eight years in America). The load of tobacco, on which she hoped to get on her feet and get married well, was lost on the way, she had not enough money, nevertheless she often comes to the resort Bath, she lives beyond her means in anticipation of a “happy event.” This is represented in the person of a “real gentleman”, coming here to relax from a difficult home environment: he has a mentally ill wife. A friendly relationship develops between the “Batskii mister” and Moll. The fever that happened to him, when Moll emerged from him, makes them even closer, although the relationship remains implacably chaste for two whole years. Then she will become his guardian, they will have three children (only the first boy will survive), they will move to London. Their established, essentially married, life lasted six years. A new illness of a roommate puts an end to this almost idyllic episode in the life of Moll. On the verge of death, “conscience began to speak in him,” he repented “in a windless and windy life,” and sent Moles a farewell letter with the edification of “correcting” also. Again she is a “free bird” (her own words), or rather, a game for a dowry hunter, since she does not prevent others from considering herself a wealthy woman, with the means. But life in the capital is expensive, and Moll is inclined to the entreaties of a neighbor, women “from the northern counties,” to live near Liverpool. Previously, she is trying to somehow protect the outgoing money, but the bank clerk, after wooing with the unfaithful wife, instead of business conversations gets matrimonial and already proposes to form a contract in all forms ” with the obligation to marry him as soon as he gets a divorce. “After laying aside this plot, Moll leaves for Lancashire. The companion acquaints her with her brother-the Irish lord, blinded by his noble manners and the” fabulous magnificence “of techniques, Moll falls in love and marries this is her fourth husband.) In a short time it turns out that the “Lancashire husband” cheater: the “sister” who was harnessing to him turned out to be his former mistress, for a decent bribe found a “rich” bride. The deceived, or rather deceived newlyweds, boil the noble indignant (if those words are relevant in this context), but things can not be corrected. The kindness of the soulful Moll even justifies an unfortunate spouse: “it was a gentleman (…) who knew the best times.” Having no means to arrange more or less with her tolerable life, all in debt, Jamie decides to leave Moll, but does not immediately leave: for the first time after a bitter love for the elder Colchester brother, with whom her misfortunes began, Moll loves selflessly. She touchingly tries to persuade her husband to go to Virginia, where, working honestly, you can live with little money. Part of her enthusiasm for her plans, Jamie (James) advises first to try his luck in Ireland (although he has neither a stake nor a court). Under this plausible pretext he still leaves. Jamie (James) advises first to try his luck in Ireland (although he has neither a stake nor a court). Under this plausible pretext he still leaves. Jamie (James) advises first to try his luck in Ireland (although he has neither a stake nor a court). Under this plausible pretext he still leaves.
Moll comes back to London, is sad for her husband, adores sweet memories, until she discovers that she is pregnant. Born in a boarding house “for single women”, the baby is already established in order to care for a peasant woman from Hartford – and inexpensive, which is not without pleasure notes the mother who has got rid of “hard work”.
It is all the more relieved that correspondence with the bank clerk, which has not been interrupted all the time, brings good news: he obtained a divorce, the late wife who had a late life committed suicide. Having broken decent time (all the heroines of Defoe excellent performers), Moll is getting married for the fifth time. One incident in the provincial hotel, where this precautionary event occurred, frightens Moll “to death”: from the window she sees riders entering the courtyard, one of them undoubtedly Jemmy. Those soon leave, but rumors of robbers, who robbed two carriages on the same day, strengthen the Moll in suspicion of fishing, as its recent pious man does.
A happy marriage with the clerk lasted five years. The mole day and night blesses the heavens for the mercy sent down, lamenting the former unrighteous life, fearing retribution for it. And the payoff comes: the banker could not bear the loss of a large sum, “plunged into apathy and died.” In this marriage, two children were born – and a curious thing: not only is it difficult for the reader to count all her children, but Moll (or Defoe?) Herself is confused – then it turns out that she has one son from the “last husband” whom she, naturally, defines into the wrong hands. For Moll came hard times. She is already forty-eight, the beauty has faded, and, worst of all, for this active nature, who was able at a difficult moment to gather strength and show incredible vitality, she “lost all faith in herself.” More and more often visit her ghosts of hunger and poverty, until finally “
The second part of the book is a chronicle of the steady fall of the heroine, who became a successful, legendary thief. A “midwife” appears on the scene, eight years ago, successfully liberating her from her son, born in a legal (!) Marriage with Jemmy, and then appears to remain until the end as “pestuni”. (In brackets we note that the number eight plays an almost mystical role in this novel, marking the main frontiers in the life of the heroine.) When, after several thefts, Moll accumulates a “commodity” that she does not know how to sell, she remembers the smart midwife with the means and connections. She does not even imagine what a true decision this is: the receiver of undesirable children has now become a pennant, giving money for the pledging of things. Then it turns out that this is called differently: the gunner and the seller of stolen goods. A whole squad of unfortunate people works for her. One by one they get to Newgate, and there either to the gallows, or – if lucky – to the American exile. Moll is improbably long luck accompanies – mainly because she acts alone, relying only on herself, soberly calculating the measure of danger and risk. She is a talented fictional actress, she knows how to put people to her people, not averse to deceiving children’s trust. She changes appearance, adjusting to the environment, and some time “works” even in a man’s suit. As before, every penny was stipulated in the marriage contracts or in determining the content, so now Moll keeps the most detailed accounts of his unjust accumulations (earrings, watch, lace, silver spoons…). In criminal pursuits, she shows the quickly acquired grasp of a “business woman.” Her reproofs of conscience are worried less and less often, everything is more thoughtful, more sophisticated than her scam. Moll becomes a true professional in his business. She, for example, likes to show off “skill” when stealing a horse that is absolutely not necessary to her in the city. She already has a considerable fortune, and it is quite possible to quit a shameful craft, but this thought visits her only after the past danger. Then she will not remember this, but she will not forget to mention the penitent minute in the registry of the registry, everything that speaks for her.
As one might expect, luck once betrays her, and, to the spiteful joy of the merchants languishing in Newgate, she makes them company. Of course, she also repents bitterly at the fact that she once succumbed to the temptation of the “devil” and that she did not have the strength to overcome the glamor when she did not threaten starvation yet, but the thought that she “got caught” and therefore the sincerity and depth of her repentance are doubtful. But the priest trusts her, by the efforts of “pestunya” (“grief-stricken”, she even becomes ill on the ground of repentance), who applies for the death penalty. The judges satisfy her petition, the more so that Moll officially passes as the first convicted. In prison, she meets her “Lancashire husband” Jemmy, which is not very amazed, knowing his occupation.
In Virginia, Moll meets her already grown-up son Humphrey (the husband’s brother is blind, the son is in charge of all matters), is in possession of the state bequeathed by a long-dead mother. She intelligently leads a plantation farm, condescendingly tolerates “masculine” habits of her husband (he prefers hunting to work), and they get rich at the right time, they both return. to England “to spend the rest of our days in sincere repentance, lamenting about our bad life.”
The chronicle of life Moll Flanders ends with the words: “Written in 1683”. Surprisingly sometimes the dates converge: in the same year, 1683, as if to replace “Moll,” who descended from the stage, a ten-year-old Roxane was brought to England from France.