Summary and Analysis
Chapter 9 - A Return to London
After a stormy journey, Moll finally arrived in London with a good part of her possessions spoiled and only about £300 with which to begin a new life. She was without friends, for she found it unwise to renew old acquaintances, and the captain and his lady who had helped Moll to get married were dead.
Moll went to Bristol to reclaim her lost cargo and from there to Bath, where she hoped that something would happen to improve her situation. There she met some bad acquaintances and some gay company but had to spend a good part of her money in the process of seeking another husband. She soon discovered that Bath was a place where men sought mistresses but not wives. While in Bath, though, she did become friendly with a woman of bad reputation, in whose house she lived. She remained for a year in Bath, for she discovered it was cheaper there than anywhere else. Sometimes, however, she felt sad and alone, especially during the winter.
When Moll revealed her circumstances — the loss of her possessions but the expectation of financial help from Virginia — to her landlady, she was very sympathetic. In the spring a gentleman who had earlier singled out Moll for his attentions came to lodge in the same house as Moll. He was a married man but his wife "was distempered in her head." The landlady encouraged Moll to take money for keeping him company, but Moll refused. The landlady then manipulated the situation so that the gentleman inquired into Moll's circumstances without any prompting from Moll. For several weeks Moll withstood his repeated suggestions that he help her financially. Then Moll's landlady took matters into her own hands and deceived the gentleman in Moll's presence by saying that the money Moll was supposed to receive from Virginia had not come. Although Moll rather angrily answered that she had all the money she needed, her admirer insisted that she show him just how much she had. Upon seeing her small store of coins, he thrust more money on her, saying it was a gift not a loan. In return for this kindness, Moll cooked and served his meals.
Bath is a fashionable spa in Somerset, England.
Notice that Moll makes a point of mentioning that she was still far from being old.