Poor Hetty, her finery-flouncing superficiality has brought catastrophe upon her. The shame so swiftly advancing isn’t born of conscience, but of the social hell of disapproving discovery. It isn’t said, and for now it can’t be seen, but she is pregnant by one man while betrothed to another. In 1799 that was about as bad as it got, quite apart from the anguish it would spring upon the man who loved her.
It will be a long time, and things will get a great deal worse, before she is brought to something like shame in the penitential sense.
‘… not knowing where to turn for refuge from swift-advancing shame…’
Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 410