by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Morality and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
But that which was worth all the rest, she bred them up very religiously, being herself a very sober, pious woman, very house-wifely and clean, and very mannerly, and with good behaviour. So that in a word, expecting a plain diet, coarse lodging, and mean clothes, we were brought up as mannerly and as genteelly as if we had been at the dancing-school. (13)
Could this woman be any more moral? Seriously, this nurse is too good to be true. Moll practically falls over herself in explaining just how moral and "pious" her upbringing was, as if to free her nurse from any future blame for the criminal path Moll ends up taking. Nope, that was all Moll's doing.
[…] for though I had no great scruples of conscience, as I have said, to struggle with, yet I could not think of being a whore to one brother and a wife to the other. (104)
Even the unscrupulous have to draw the line somewhere, and even Moll has her limits, which include not having relationships with two brothers at once. Well, that's a start.
Then he cajoled with his brother, and persuaded him what service he had done him, and how he had brought his mother to consent, which, though true, was not indeed done to serve him, but to serve himself; but thus diligently did he cheat him, and had the thanks of a faithful friend for shifting off his whore into his brother's arms for a wife. So certainly does interest banish all manner of affection, and so naturally do men give up honour and justice, humanity, and even Christianity, to secure themselves. (221)
This older brother sounds like a class-A jerk. He puts his own desires and needs above all other things, including any love he might have felt for Moll. Of course our distaste for his behavior makes us question Moll's later treatment of men. Is she any better than this brother?