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The Merry-Thought: or the Glass-Window and Bog-House Miscellany. Part 1   By:

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[Transcriber's Note:

The texts cited use a variety of long and short dashes, generally with no relationship to the number of letters omitted. For this e text, short dashes are shown as separated hyphens, while longer dashes are shown as connected hyphens:

D n Molley H ns for her Pride.

Groups of three vertical braces } represent a single brace encompassing three rhymed line.]

The Augustan Reprint Society

THE MERRY THOUGHT:

or, the Glass Window and Bog House MISCELLANY.

Part I ( 1731 )

Introduction by GEORGE R. GUFFEY

Publication Number 216 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY University of California, Los Angeles 1982

GENERAL EDITOR

David Stuart Rodes, University of California, Los Angeles

EDITORS

Charles L. Batten, University of California, Los Angeles George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles Thomas Wright, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

ADVISORY EDITORS

Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia William E. Conway, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Earl Miner, Princeton University Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota James Sutherland, University College, London Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

Beverly J. Onley, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Frances M. Reed, University of California, Los Angeles

INTRODUCTION

For modern readers, one of the most intriguing scenes in Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders (1722) occurs during the courtship of Moll by the man who is to become her third husband. Aware that the eligible men of her day have little interest in prospective wives with small or nonexistent fortunes, Moll slyly devises a plan to keep her relative poverty a secret from the charming and (as she has every reason to believe) wealthy plantation owner who has fallen in love with her. To divert attention from her own financial condition, she repeatedly suggests that he has been courting her only for her money. Again and again he protests his love. Over and over she pretends to doubt his sincerity.

After a series of exhausting confrontations, Moll's lover begins what is to us a novel kind of dialogue:

One morning he pulls off his diamond ring and writes upon the glass of the sash in my chamber this line:

You I love and you alone.

I read it and asked him to lend me the ring, with which I wrote under it thus:

And so in love says every one.

He takes his ring again and writes another line thus:

Virtue alone is an estate.

I borrowed it again, and I wrote under it:

But money's virtue, gold is fate.[1]

After a number of additional thrusts and counterthrusts of this sort, Moll and her lover come to terms and are married.

[Footnote 1: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (New York: New American Library, 1964), pp. 71 72.]

The latter half of the twentieth century has seen a steady growth of serious scholarly interest in graffiti. Sociologists, psychologists, and historians have increasingly turned to the impromptu "scratchings" of both the educated and the uneducated as indicators of the general mental health and political stability of specific populations.[2] Although most of us are familiar with at least a few of these studies and all of us have observed numerous examples of this species of writing on the walls of our cities and the rocks of our national parks, we are not likely, before encountering this scene in Moll Flanders , to have ever before come into contact with graffiti produced with such an elegant writing implement... Continue reading book >>




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