Moll Flanders, or to give it its full title, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders was published in 1722. It is written in the form of a fictional autobiography of the girl known as Moll whose mother was convicted of petty theft just before her birth and won a reprieve to be sent to the plantations in America. Moll, however, remains in England with some gypsies who leave her in Colchester. Parish officers in the Essex town put her in the care of a woman who has a small school. She tells her nurse that she wants to be a ‘gentlewoman’ or in other words that she wishes to support herself. She goes to live at the home of one of the town’s ladies so impressed with her attitude as companion to her daughters. Romantic confusion ensues as Moll and the lady’s elder son fall in love, only for this to be ruined by his younger brother Robin’s open offer of marriage. Robin and Moll marry but in five years the latter is left a poor widow with only £1,200 (her two children are taken off her hands by her parents-in-law). Further liaisons later Moll tricks a man into marrying her for money though she has none and they end up on his plantation in Virginia. Her happiness there is ruined by the realisation that her mother-in-law is in fact her own mother and that she has married her brother. After Moll leaves him she begins a life of very successful thievery though her later years are spent in penitence in Virginia. This conclusion is an example of Defoe’s crude morality and Puritanism.