Summary and Analysis Chapter 6



Since Moll had learned from this match-making venture that a woman should put a value on herself, she determined to move to a place where no one knew that she was a widow without money. She confided in her friend, the captain's lady, disclosing her near-penniless condition. The captain's lady was as good a friend to Moll as Moll had been to her, and from time to time gave Moll money for her maintenance so she wouldn't have to spend her few remaining pounds. Furthermore, the captain's lady suggested that if Moll would put herself entirely in her hands, she would help her get a rich husband. This Moll did; through deceit and conniving, the captain's lady led her husband to believe that Moll had a fortune of at least £1500 and might inherit more. He, in turn, conveyed this information around the neighborhood. This plan worked and Moll was able to select her prospective husband from among many suitors. The man she chose she selected on the basis of his avowals of great love for her. Though Moll often accused him of wanting to marry her for her money, her admirer assured her that this was not true and laughed at her jokes about her poverty. By telling her admirer that she cared not to know about his fortune, she learned that he had three plantations in Virginia and a comfortable income as well. When Moll said she did not care to live in Virginia, he assured her that they would not go if she did not wish to do so.


Both Moll and the captain's lady proved increasingly adept at deceiving men. Since Moll had already been deceived by two men — the elder brother and the draper — perhaps she honestly felt that this was the only way for a woman to manage. It is important to note, however, that Moll truly liked and respected her suitor and thought "how doubly criminal it was to deceive such a man."

Moll's suitor's estate was valued at £1200 a year if he lived on it and £300 a year if he did not.