Summary and Analysis Chapter 26



The story Moll told Jemmy varied somewhat from the truth. She told him they would have to move since she had discovered that, although her mother was dead, some of her relatives lived quite close to them and Moll did not feel it would be proper for these relatives to know the circumstances of her coming to America. Jemmy agreed with Moll.

How to collect her inheritance was still a problem which caused Moll many worried moments. Her worries in turn distressed and annoyed Jemmy for he felt Moll was not being completely truthful.

Moll expresses her realization of how heavy the weight of keeping a secret can be on anyone. She digresses in her story to tell the reader that neither man nor woman of high or low character or circumstance can bear alone the heavy weight of a secret.

She gives several examples to prove her point. For instance, while she was in Newgate Prison, Moll had met a man known as a night-flyer. This criminal would talk in his sleep and reveal his crimes to such an extent that he had to lock himself in at night or pay someone to lock him in. Moll felt that if he had been able to tell his secrets to anyone, he would have been able to sleep.

Moll returns to her own account by saying to the reader that the only relief she found was in telling her husband enough of her story to convince him of the necessity for leaving that part of the country.

The next problem was to decide on what part of the country to move to. Maryland, Pennsylvania, East and West Jersey, New York, and New England, which all lay north of Virginia, were out because Moll had an aversion to cold climates, particularly now that she was old. She decided to go to Carolina because it was the only southern colony which belonged to England. She realized also how easy it would be to return to Virginia as soon as she felt it was safe to collect her inheritance.


Moll's problems seem to be getting more complicated. If she stayed in Virginia, there was a danger of meeting her brother. If she left, she might not be able to claim her inheritance.

Notice that Moll missed having a confidant to tell her thoughts to. Her governess had filled this function for many years.