Of course, she was soon back. An extra button had been undone at both top and bottom of her dress, as she exposed almost a full thigh as she leaned in the doorway, looking right at me, smiling. There seemed to be no choice but to look right back, the problem was choosing which bit to look at. I could smell the wine from where she stood.
Then she did a remarkable thing. She advanced and knelt by my bed in exactly the pose of that mysterious fantasy woman of my dreams. Every part of me burned hot and seemed to want to burst. The dream continued its unnerving journey into fact as the dress slipped off her shoulder and slowly her breast crept into view. Only it was the right one—in the dream it was the left. That thought made me panic. All I had to do was reach and touch the fabric and it would easily slip the rest of the way. But I couldn’t. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t do anything. It was as if I was terrified, when I am sure that I was only amazed.
As it happened, I need not have worried, for she did the job for me, gently taking my own hand and raising it, used it to flick away the obscuring fabric and then laid my palm upon her breast. I was astonished that something so light and soft could weigh so heavily. Her hand abandoned mine to the task and returned to my bare chest, and began to tantalisingly walk her sharp fingernails down over my belly.
My true name is so well known in the records or registers at Newgate, and in the Old Bailey, and there are some things of such consequence still depending there, related to my particular conduct, that it is not to be expected I should set my name or account of my family to this work....
Daniel Defoe was famous for Robinson Crusoe, but in fact his works depicting the terrible conditions experienced by the poor, and in particular women, were the real basis of his importance and this was his best work. The full title tells everything you need to know: The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous MOLL FLANDERS Who was Born in Newgate and during a Life of continu’d Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her Brother) Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest and died a Penitent.
But knowing the whole story in advance does not diminish the joy of reading it.