17. A Marriage Proposal in the Face of a Drawn Pistol
Laurens de Graaf drew his sword on Anne Dieu-le-Veut when she challenged him. However, when she pulled out a pistol, cocked it, and took aim, he had second thoughts, and remembered that chivalry forbids men from fighting women. He also proposed to her on the spot, supposedly because he admired the dangerous woman’s courage. That could well have been true. But it was also true that she had a cocked pistol aimed at his chest, and the quick thinking romantic gesture might have saved his life. Either way, Anne accepted. She accompanied him on his buccaneering, fought by his side, and shared his work and the command of his ship. Unlike other female pirates, Anne did not try to conceal her sex, but went about openly as a woman.
Despite the superstition that women aboard ship were bad luck, Anne was considered a kind of mascot and lucky charm by her ship’s crew. In 1693, she and her husband attacked the English in Jamaica, and in retaliation, the English in 1695 attacked Port-de-Paix in Haiti, where Anne dwelt when ashore. The English captured and sacked the town, and took Anne and her children prisoner. They were kept hostage for three years, before they were finally released in 1698. After her release from captivity, Anne Dieu-le-Veut disappeared from the historic record. Unconfirmed stories claim that she and Laurens de Graaf settled in Mississippi or Alabama, but the last reliable mention of her simply states that died in 1710.