Mrs Williams

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Mrs Williams (Christian name unknown) is a wealthy widow residing at Mapes Court in Hampshire, England. She has three daughters, Sophie, Frances and Cecilia, who are unmarried at the time of the family's first appearance in Post Captain, and when Jack Aubrey arrives as tenant of Melbury Lodge nearby, she immediately spreads her matchmaking nets for him on Sophie's behalf.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "Post Captain to The Hundred Days"  follow.

Mrs Williams is a devious, opinionated, manipulative and rapacious personage, and when Jack loses his fortune in prize-money through the treachery of an agent, she withdraws her countenance from him, while keeping Stephen (who is known to be the owner of a castle in Spain) within her webs - a situation which underlies much of the emotional turmoil of Post Captain. However, a genuine love has developed between Jack and Sophie, and in HMS Surprise Mrs Williams's objections are finally overcome, subject to Jack's clearing his debts and binding himself by a rigorous marriage settlement.

In The Mauritius Command Mrs Williams's contrivances have rebounded on her own head; she in turn has lost all her money (and much of Sophie's too) by putting too much faith in a man of business, and she is now living with Jack as a dependent, showing a glimmering of real affection for his children (this is her only redeeming feature) but still as prone to prejudice and mischief as ever. In later life her avarice proves too strong for her puritanism and she become involved in a shady bookmaking enterprise. Her appetite for intrigue is inexhaustible; in The Commodore she delights in spreading tales of Diana's irregularities, and in The Yellow Admiral her prying fingers uncover Amanda Smith's letters to Jack. The end of all her scheming is told, in retrospect, in The Hundred Days.

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