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The Newgate Calendar - MOLL JONES


Who became a Shoplifter for Love of her Husband. Executed at Tyburn 18th of December, 1691

 MARY JONES was born in Chancery Lane, where her parents lived in a great deal of credit. She was brought up to the making of hoods and scarves at the New Exchange in the Strand. She married an apprentice, whom she loved extremely, and whose extravagances were thought to be the first occasion of her taking to a dishonest course of life; for as he was not in a capacity to get any money himself, she was willing to do anything in order to furnish him with whatever he wanted, being fond of having him always appear like a gentleman. The first species of thieving she took to was picking pockets.

 One day, meeting near Rosamond's Pond, in St James's Park, with one Mr Price, a milliner, keeping shop in the same Exchange in which she was bred, Moll pretended to ask him some questions about Mrs Zouch, a servant of his, who had murdered her bastard child; whereupon he pulled out a tin trumpet, which he usually carried in his pocket to hold to his ear, being so very deaf that he could not hear otherwise. Whilst he was earnestly hearkening to what Moll said to him through this vehicle, she picked a purse out of his breeches in which were fifteen guineas and a broad-piece. Mr Price never missed it till he came home, and then where to find her he could not tell.

 Shortly after this she was apprehended for picking the pocket of one Mr Jacob Delafay, a Jew, who was chocolate-maker to King James II. and King William III., and lived over against York Buildings in the Strand. For this fact she was committed to Newgate and burned in the hand; which punishment making her out of conceit with the trade of diving or filing, she turned shoplifter, in which she was very successful for three or four years; at the end of which, privately stealing half-a-dozen pairs of silk stockings from one Mr Wansel, a hosier in Exeter 'Change, she was detected actually committing the theft by one Smith, a victualler, at the Rose and Crown ale-house, over against the little Savoy Gate in the Strand, who was buying a pair of stockings there at the same time. This Smith, being a constable, seized her, and carrying her before Justice Brydal, he committed her to Newgate, after which she was burned in the hand again. Still following the art and mystery of shoplifting, she was apprehended for privately stealing a piece of satin out of a mercer's shop on Ludgate Hill, whither she went in a very splendid equipage and personated the late Duchess of Norfolk, to avoid suspicion of her dishonesty; but her graceless Grace being sent to Newgate, and condemned for her life at the Old Bailey, she was hanged at Tyburn in the twenty-fifth year of her age, on Friday, the 18th day of December, in the year 1691.

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