by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Section 5 Summary
Marriage in Lancashire
- Moll heads to Lancashire, along with her dubiously motivated friend. The friend tells her whole family that Moll is rich, even though by this point Moll barely has any money to her name, and whatever money she does have, she has left with the banker.
- Everyone is super nice to her and treats her well, and sure enough, Moll starts to like them.
- After a month and a half the friend takes Moll to Liverpool and introduces her to her brother, who is pretty well off.
- Meanwhile, the friend keeps increasing the amount of money she thinks Moll has, and tells her brother it's an outrageous stash of cash.
- This prompts him to excitedly and enthusiastically pursue Moll, hoping to marry her so he can get his hands on her money. The more attention he pays, the more Moll likes it. His sister constantly encourages them, and he grows even more aggressive.
- Even though Moll has the banker waiting for her in London, the Lancashire man seems too good to pass up, so he and Moll get hitched. Husband #4, folks.
- Of course the ever-practical Moll regrets giving up the banker, but she just couldn't pass up such a good opportunity.
- After almost two months together, the newlyweds travel to another part of England called Chester. The husband wants to pause there before they head over to Ireland, where his estates are.
- Before they leave, he asks Moll if she wants to go to her bank in London and settle her accounts.
- She says she has no reason to, as she doesn't have very much money. So, the poor guy finally realizes that he's been tricked into marrying someone with very little to offer. Well, frankly, that serves him right for only being interested in her money.
- But wait a minute. Moll's confused. Why exactly did he think she flush with cash? Moll calls in the sister to help her straighten all this out. The sister says she heard Moll was very wealthy and Moll points out she never said that about herself.
- When the husband enters, Moll tells him what happened and says none of it is her own fault.
- She gets him to admit she never tricked him, but that he thought she was much richer because of his sister.
- Then, the husband and his sister have a knockdown drag-out fight. He says she's not his sister at all, but a former mistress he was paying to help him make a good match. That's the kind of thing we'd rather not know.
- Now comes the shocking news: the husband admits to Moll he actually doesn't have any money either. Great. They've all been tricked, and they've all tricked each other.
- As they're discovering this, the sister/friend/mistress slips out.
- Okay, so, Moll and her man are married, they have no money. They are, to say the least, between a rock and a hard place.
- Still, they managed to keep their chins up. They combine their small amount of money and tell each other how moral they are, almost as if they are trying to convince each other and themselves we can do this. But of course Moll doesn't come clean about just how much she has. She's always trying to protect herself.
- They sleep together, and Moll feels sorry for him, even though he had been trying to deceive her, too.
- He tells her he had never intended to go to Ireland, and that he would have told her the truth about himself as soon as he'd learned exactly how much money she had.
- They forgive each other and agree that they just don't know what to do.
- Well it turns out he knows exactly what he wants to do. When Moll is asleep that night, the husband takes all his stuff and leaves. Moll awakes to find a good-bye letter from him, which says that he's really sorry, he releases her from their marriage, and he's left her as much money as he can. He wishes her good luck, but that's about it.
- Moll is really sad about this, because she seems to have liked the guy a lot. He left her some money and jewels, but not very much. Distraught, she spends the whole day crying.
- But then, shockingly, he comes back that night. They have a joyful reunion and then he says he had to come back because he heard her voice calling for him. How romantic.
- They decide to go at least as far as London together, and then they'll see where life takes them from there. To save money, they get rid of their servants and head back to London.
- They stop at a place called Dunstable, where Moll's husband says he can't continue on to London. So Moll rents some hotel rooms for them and says they should keep living together in Dunstable until her money runs out. Some plan, Moll.
- Then, she tells him about her experiences in Virginia and suggests that they could make a life for themselves in America. She says they could go there, work hard, and become rich for real.
- But then he starts telling her the same thing about living in Ireland. He tells Moll he'll go to Ireland on his own and work hard for both of them. She can join him later if it goes well, and if it doesn't then he'll go with her to America.
- But first, they spend a great month together in Dunstable. They have a great time together for a month and she learns all about him, including why, exactly, her new hubby won't go to London. Despite their emotional connection, Moll doesn't tell him her actual name when they part.
- She heads to London, moves to a neighborhood called Clerkenwell, and realizes that she's pregnant again, and is less than thrilled. She's friendless, too, and seems not to have come all that far since the last time she was pregnant and alone. At least she's married this time.
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