GEORGIAN TWEETS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN.

 

UNEXPECTED_2

Adult sketch circa 1820’s/30’s

I want to go exploring again, so rather than delve deeply into a single case of deadly deeds and doings, I began a ‘what if’ train of thought.
What if, texting and tweeting had been around in early nineteenth century England?

What eccentric, tricky, devious and humorous events might have been tweeted about? What would make a twitter moment?  What content would be in the WhatsApp world of that time? The illustration above is actually called ‘A Very Unexpected Appearance‘  and typical of adult sketch humour in early nineteenth century England – a great source of tweeting would surely have been built on this?

This ’embryo’ blog could go very wrong, because as I write this, I have no particular material to hand and literally want to pick one date at random to see if there were/are potential  ‘going viral’ events although of course most tweets we all wade through are uninspiring tosh (except our own!)

Okay, so given that I am writing this on Friday November 24th 2017, I’ll pick the same date and month and, also, given its sparkling new foundation in the year 1822, opt for the  Sunday Times of November 24th 1822At least this should give the roundup of news for the week but as I’ve never read it – who knows? So the only ‘cheat’ is I’m using a single dated newspaper but events will be reported from different dates that week. 

Also, as issue number one was only out on October 20th,1822, this has given the editor just over a month to settle in and create a style and, being a Sunday, hopefully we can look back at that November week one hundred and ninety-five years ago for some interesting glimpses of Georgian life that would have been fodder for the tweeters had they existed. It’s claimed that the first tweet was written by co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21st 2006, one hundred and eighty-four years after our random date, so let’s see what’s out there for our time-travel experiment.

I am now literally setting off into the virtual world to locate the Sunday Times for Sunday November 24th 1822 so I can have a detailed read and hope my ‘what if’  game yields some interesting tweeting fodder!

I know before I start that we are talking about a large black and white broadsheet (you are now thinking of that old verbal chestnut “what’s black and white and ‘read’ [red] all over?”- A  Newspaper – boom boom!) . It will carrying no illustrations, have a very small font and often smudged print. Lots of adverts, often tedious editorials, but can surprise with a lively, ironic and humorous style when confronting silliness and slyness in all its forms, and only around four pages of paper to wade through – see you shortly.SUNDAY_READING_4_resize

OKAY  I’m back with the paper,  my best zooming finger plus magnifying glass and wine glass! red wine (p.s. I don’t smoke – only my illustration does)

SUNDAY TIMES 24TH NOVEMBER 1822

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822  (4 pages) p.1

I cannot possibly leave you with no more  illustrations to savor, so my ground rules for this blog are to keep to the Sunday Times’s spellings and ironic journalistic style. For example streets are always written with hyphens and small ‘s‘ i.e. Oxford-street and Magistrates (capital ‘M‘) often made sarcastic comments when sentencing  – plus I’ll source lots of unusual and occasionally ‘rare’  illustrations depicting that precise period to liven up the presentation for our twenty-first century expectations – they couldn’t do it then, I can – so I will – especially given it’s a ‘what-if‘ exercise.

Before we get to the nub of the first tweet fodder for the 24th November 1822, we just need remind ourselves that page one of a newspaper then did not look like page one of a contemporary paper today, as you can see above.  Bold large type headlines are not yet invented and it tends to be a whole miscellaneous, often incoherent jumble of adverts, legal decrees and a chunk of  editorial bumph  – in this case one about George Canning which we’ll leave well alone with its introspection. First choice from page one reflects our contemporary  ‘Disgruntled from Tumbridge Wells’ category.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disgusted_of_Tunbridge_Wells
SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE ONE
SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small

SUNDAY TIMES_BARBER_1#BARBERS’ CLIENTS? EFFEMINATE APPELLATION GONE MAD!

So we begin gently with a first page letter in our Sunday Times to the editor headed, Barber’s Clients sent by a writer calling themselves, POSTHUMUS CROCKERY.
This, in my humble opinion, is what I like to call a “Stephen Fry Letter”.
As one of the pioneers of the art of tweeting, Mr. Fry’s distinctive, cultured voice is reading this letter out to me. If you can, it’s well worth making that connection.

He’s possibly quipping with Alan Davis on the renown quiz show QI about ‘posthumus crockery’ said by some to be an old Saxon pottery urn with an everted neck and pedestal base? Or is it Roman or perhaps from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’s character  POSTHUMUS? Stephen would certainly know the answer or maybe it’s just a typo for posthumous? Anyway, I digress here’s the letter.

Stephen_Fry_cropped_B&W

Author Stephen Fry: Creative Commons Attribution

The letter begins:
“Mr. Editor – Musing on “the sorrows of the time,” as Mr. Wordsworth says, I observed yesterday in a barber’s shop in a great thoroughfare, an announcement of the occupier in which he describes a certain set of persons as, “his clients.”
As I have had the misfortune to be engaged for twenty-nine years in a Chancery suit and have heard the term client, applied to persons in my unhappy situation. I have had the curiosity to know whether in these horrible and revolutionary times any new class of miserables, as the French have it, have made their appearance under the name of “Barber’s Clients.”  I have indeed known the term “barber’s clerk” applied by the more emphatic part of society to persons engaged in any ill-defined or effeminate occupation, but of a barber’s client, in my younger days, I never heard.
Whether it be meant to insinuate that as lawyers ‘shave’ their clients, the customers of barbers, standing or sitting, also in the situation of “shavees” are entitled to the same name, I cannot determine and I should protest against a common appellation being applied to persons, who,though both suffering, are suffering under inflictions of very different intensity and duration. But in these unhappy times everything is changed even “those gorgeous pillars” of our Constitution, as the Courier some time ago called them, “the poor laws, the game laws and the criminal code,” are not secure from innovation
signed             POSTHUMUS CROCKERY.

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE ONE (cont…)
SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small
SUNDAY TIMES _WEDDING NIGHT#WEDDING NIGHT FANCY RAKING

Well, saucy is a good word for the next item that took my attention on the front page mainly because I’ve seen tweets today talking about Christmas adverts and whether people have seen the John Lewis one or the Sainsbury one etc and they are being critiqued like mini-movies might be.

Well, we are not talking Christmas here – the frenzy we see today did not happen back then, but a certain Mr. Robert Warren had a similar following for his innovative advertisements for ‘blacking’ – the liquid used for cleaning and shining up the many thousands of leather black boots walking and riding all over the Kingdom. He would certainly have merited a tweet or two and his use of cats would have certainly gone viral on youtube.  Here is a typical example:
SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_smallSUNDAY_BLACK_1

But, for the November advert contained on page one of our Sunday Times for the 24th of November 1822, he became very controversial in a sexually explicit way with an advert supposedly depicting an Irish Wedding. He ditched the cat and went for another limerick of a risque hue. It’s five verses long but I’m cutting to the chase and we’ll stick with the first three sung to the air called “Mrs. Flinn and the Bold Dragoon”  Take a careful look at verses two and three – apologies for print quality.SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small

Irish Wedding

Such a wonderful jet-black shiny surface as the cat found out is also – on the wedding night – able to reflect “Their glossy hue reflected true
Her form in each, her fancy raking.”
Well beats the stereotypical mirrored ceiling and as a bonus you have the Devil and his horns channeling ‘her fancy raking’. Not sure if this marketing ploy would pass advertising standards today, “Arrah, Lady, see his horns now that sprout in Warren’s Blacking.” Suffice it to say once word got on Facebook and WhatsApp about the power of Mr.Warren’s shiny blacking – well, the rest is history!

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE TWO
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Scott_crop
#HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN SIR WALTER SCOTT’S NOVELS


I do not intend to dwell on page two given this is turning out to be a longer blog than anticipated given its organic agenda and I’ve spotted some amazing items on page four!
So what’s on page two that could interest us?  There is a rather tedious editorial on Spain and her Enemies, for the political tweeters, the other contents being Multiple Classified Advertising; Bankrupts (plenty of unsympathetic tweeting possibilities here); Price of Stocks;  ‘Abuse of Freedom of the Press’ (very tweetable but not very readable), so I opted for the fact they spent some considerable thought on the ‘Scottish Novels’ of Sir Walter Scott under a pleasing section headed Literature with a great debate on the competition between artists, engravers and publishers to bring Scott’s characters to life with their illustrations and portraitures. Does the above pencil drawing do Scott justice? You might have been tweeting on that had it been possible.

Here is their review of Archbishop Sharp’s illustrative appearance
from the novel Old Mortality.
I hunted high and low but cannot (as yet) locate the illustration referred to – so if you can please tweet it to me!

Scott_review

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 p.2

One hundred and ninety-five years later, this has encouraged me to finally read Old Mortality – just a second – this is live!
Okay –  just timed it, fifteen seconds on-line –  a few clicks and for a total cost (including delivery) I just paid £2.59  for : Title: Old Mortality Publisher: COLLINS CLEAR-TYPE PRESS Binding:  Hardcover Book Condition: Good : Delivery standard post.
(the digital age is incredible, but how much more exciting to have been able to visit a London bookshop in 1822?)
p.s. Just checked value of £2.59 (2017) compared with  (1822) on the Historical UK Inflation Calculator and I’ve just clicked away an 1820’s equivalent of £261.59. Wonder what I could have bought with sum then?

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE THREE
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BOXING_HEADING
MONDAY NOVEMBER 18TH  1822 : YANDALL .V. REED: PRIZE PURSE 20 SOVEREIGNS. STARTS 2PM ON WIMBLEDON COMMON (Couch is the Second for Reeves & Stockman ‘bottleholder‘ Perry is the Second for favourite Yandall. Weight ten stone eight pounds each man

#YANDALL’S NOB CHANCERYFIED WITH CHATTERING MUG HITS

Page three on November 24th, 1822 is an intriguing mix of theatre, poetry, sport and crime. As I’m looking at court and police reports on page four and we’ve already had some limericks and literary themes, let’s  look at sport  and boxing in particular.
The hashtag above is pretty much what spectators would have been discussing as the Sunday Times commentary of the match commented how “Yandall’s head was hideously disfigured” Most press references to boxers’ heads uses the term ‘nob‘ rather than head and chanceryfied is, in this case, “hideously disfigured”, but always means very badly beaten about.
The Sunday Times became very adept at providing a round-by-round commentary, that read almost as if they were meant as tweets:

SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small
Round 1: The attitude of both was good: A short rally took place without much  mischief……………
Round 2: Yandall made play again, but so fine was the stopping of Reeves, that  Yandall found he was opposed to as good a man as himself………….Reeves placed some chattering hits upon the mug of Yandall…………
Rounds 3/4/5/6:  Principally stopping and closing…………..
Round 7:  Yandall again made play, and succeeded in planting two good hits on his opponent which drew blood from the mouth and left ear of Reeves……………
Round 8: Some desperate fighting in this round. Reeves placed such a smashing hit on the nose of Yandall, that he was floored as if shot.
Round 9:  Randall’s nob was chancerfied and bled so profusely that it was evident that he had no chance of winning. Yandall was again knocked down.
Rounds 10/12/13/14/15:  and up to the 20th round – fighting on the defensive.
Rounds 21/22 : In these rounds, Yandall began to try his luck again. Yandall tried  dexterously to get into the wind market, but Reeves appeared not to relish it, most admirably stopped his attempts, and placed a dreadful crack over the left eye of Yandall, so blood poured down his whole frame.
Round 23 : Yandall’s head was seriously disfigured. Reeves planted two hits on his confused nob, and floored him.
Round 24 & last:  Reeves, quite gay, placed a lugger under the left ear of Yandall and he was deaf to time.

Summing up :  It was a fight of more than ordinary science.
Reeves was little hit. Yandall is a good fighter and a game man, but he was opposed to a better fighter and surer hitter. Reeves after dressing himself, crossed the water to Swan-stairs, where he was received with three cheers. The fight lasted one hour and four minutes.
Source: Sunday Times (London) Sunday November 24th 1822,  p.3

 SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE FOUR
SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small
SUNDAY TIMES_CHASED#UNNATURAL CRIME: EXTORTION

At a time when gay had absolutely no currency other than being happy or joyful and so being ‘outed’ as a homosexual, accused of engaging in the ‘cover all’ offence of Unnatural Crime, was more than likely to mean death by hanging – it was not surprising that blackmail and extortion were rife – its extent absolutely impossible to ever know.

Page four of our Sunday Times under the heading Police Reports: Bow Street, covered such a story of extortion that involved two young lads and a Member of Parliament from Wales up in London to take his seat in the House of Commons. This form of press coverage remains very familiar territory today except now it would also involve an abundance of tweeting from all directions about guilt, injustices, persecution or otherwise. Here is the Sunday Times story:

On Monday, November 18th, in the afternoon, just as the Chief Magistrate, Colonel Clitheroe was about to leave the Bench at Bow Street Police Court, there was a great bustle in the avenues and at the door of the office, and a young fellow completely soaked in thick slimy mud from head to foot, was lugged in by the collar by a waterman and one of the Thames Police, who were followed by a crowd of people. The young lad was put to the bar and gave his name as William Baker. He appeared to be about eighteen years of age.

Henry Goldsmid, Esq. of Crick Howell, Brecknockshire, stated that he had been in London from his seat in Wales, a few days only and was residing at present at No. 8 Norfolk -street in the Strand. That morning he had been out with two young ladies of his family, and on his return home, had scarcely entered the house when he was informed that he was wanted at the door.

He found a young man on the threshold who said, “Mr. Goldsmid, there is a young man around the corner, in Howard Street who wants to speak with you most particularly.” Mr. Goldsmid went into Howard Street, which was only a few yards off, and there saw the prisoner, who said upon seeing him, “Mr. Goldsmid, you must give money or I will charge you with an unnatural crime!”

“Me!” exclaimed Mr. Goldsmid in perfect amazement, “you filthy wretch, what do you mean?”

“Yes,” replied the prisoner, “you were in a coach with me on Wednesday night, and I must have money,”

The other fellow who came to the door said at the same moment, “if you don’t give him money, you will have plenty more of this sort.” This was all the work of a moment, and Goldsmid having recovered from his astonishment said, “By∗∗∗∗∗∗, you rascal, I’ll have you,” and made a rush at the prisoner, but he got away from him and ran away (as did his companion in a different direction) into Surrey-Street and down towards the Thames.

Mr. Goldsmid pursued calling “Stop thief!” but no-one seemed to regard him until he called out, “He has charged me with an infamous crime,” and then several joined in the pursuit and he was taken half-buried in the mud of the river.

George Heath, a waterman, said he heard the cry and saw the prisoner jump into the river from the Surrey-street steps and crawl under the archway of a gentleman’s house. He pursued and dragged him out. Several witnesses deposed that when the prisoner was asked if he had any charge of the nature mentioned to prefer against Mr. Goldsmid? said he had not and declared he had never made such a charge.

The prisoner, when questioned by Sir Richard Birnie,denied that he had attempted to charge Mr. Goldsmid with any crime and said he’d seen Mr.Goldsmid a few days before and asked him to procure a situation for him and he sent for him that morning only to know if he had done so?

Mr. Goldsmid denied the whole of this story. He remarked how strange it was that the prisoner and his companion should be so well acquainted with his name. Sir Richard Birnie said it was an easy matter to obtain the name of a gentleman.

Mr. Goldsmid said, that within that last few days he had been accosted by two or three different men in the street, one of whom said, “How do you do Mr. Goldsmid – how long have you been from the country?” He attributed this,at the time, to mere impertinence, but now he thought differently. The prisoner was fully committed to trial for the misdemeanor in attempting to extort money.

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822:PAGE 4

SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_small
SUNDAY_MAN SICK IN HAT_resize
#LIFE IS GIN AND MORE GIN

Also under the Police Reports: Bow Street, heading was a story that I found quite unexpected with its distinct Clockwork Orange* character and quite surreal literary connections.
*(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/what-to-watch/a-clockwork-orange-stanley-kubrick-controversy/)
It follows the Goldsmid story above under the sub- heading More “Life“,

SUNDAY TIMES_ NOV24TH_corinth

I need to add the crucial and amazingly influential literary connection at this point to explain what the paper means by reference to “rambles and sprees” and “the new system of Corinthianism,” or the rest of the report will not be so clear as it should be.

Two years earlier in September 1820, legendary cartoonists Robert and George Cruikshank, created a pictorial adventure series called “of Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis.”

Historian Roy Porter explains it very succinctly:

“Corinthian Tom, Jerry Hawthorn and Bob Logic, set out to ‘see life’, from Westminster to Wapping. They mingle with the swells at the  St. James’s clubs and rode in the ‘Show-stop of the Metropolis – HYDE PARK.’ But they also ogled the girls in Burlington Arcade, resorted to fisticuffs in a brawl and visited ‘All Max’ (Max, like ‘partiality’, ‘blue-ruin’, and ‘flashes of lightening’, was cant for gin) a Whitechapel backstreet gin shop where the ‘charleys’ (the watch) did not go.”
Source: Porter, R., London: A Social History, Penguin Books, 2000.

Also crucial for the strong Clockwork Orange link, was the same idea of creating new linguistic forms for their somewhat rampaging exploits – here is an extract from the original source (also cited by Roy Porter) and you’re on your own to make sense of it all:

Lascars, blacks,jack tars, coal-heavers, dustman, women of colour, old and young, and a sprinkling of the remnants of once fine girls, &c., were all jigging together, provided the teazer of the catgut was not bilked out of his duce. Gloves might have been laughed at, as dirty hands produced no squeamishness on the heroines in the dance, and the scene changed as often as the pantomime from the continual introduction of new characters. Heavy Wet was the cooling beverage, but frequently overtaken by flashes of lightening.  The covey was no scholar, as he asserted, and, therefore, he held the pot in one hand and took the blunt with the other, to prevent the trouble of chalking, or making mistakes.

On the sudden appearance of our ‘swell TRIO’, and the CORINTHIAN’ S friend, among these unsophisticated sons and daughters of Nature, their ogles were on the roll, under an apprehension that the beaks were out on the nose, but was soon made ‘all right’ , by one of the mollishers whispering lough enough to be heard by most of the party, that she understood as how the genmen had only dropped in for to have a bit of a spree,and there was no doubt they voud stand a drap of summut  to make them all comfurable,  and likewise prove good customers to the crib. On the office being given, the stand-still was instantly removed,; and the kidwys and kiddiesses were footing the double-shuffle against each other with as much gig  as the ‘We we-e-ps’ exert themselves on the first of May.  (quoted from the original by (Porter, R. ibid.)

All of the above had apparently been taken very seriously by Messrs. Whitby, Gee, Davis and Russell, who had treated the fictional risque adventures as more of a handbook to instruct their own version of how life should be lived when young.
I suspect they may have enjoyed seeing the controversial theatrical production at the Adelphi Theatre in London which was still running since its debut on November 26th 1821 and which seems to have been responsible for a number of such copy-cat”clubs” being created by enthusiastic, dedicated young gentlemen.TOM & JERRY_HEADINGThe police officers, Avis and Baker, stated to the Bench, that these young gentlemen, the eldest of who is not more than seventeen, belong to “the Tom, Jerry and Bob Club of young Corinthians. held regularly at the Cock and Magpie flash gin shop in Drury Lane and that every night, after the breaking up of the club, they and ten or twelve others of the same sort, amuse themselves by breaking the peace – strutting about in gangs with straw segars (cigars) in their mouths and their hats cocked aside, sweeping the pavement;* starring the glaze, and shifting fogies as time and chance may serve.
{Note: ‘starring the glaze‘ is breaking shop windows and shifting fogies is stealing handkerchiefs – see my early blog called “Spanking The Glaze.” https://wp.me/p8yqmi-1iP

* sweeping the pavement – see next item on ‘pavement rage’

SUNDAY_SPREE

Young Corinthians ‘Out on a Spree’: tipping over a watch-man’s hut

It further appeared that Master Russell whose daily occupation is hawking lemons about the streets, presides at The Tom Jerry and Bob Club aforesaid, and a number of invitation cards were found in his breeches pocket were produced before the Magistrate. The following is a copy of one of them.

# “TOM JERRY AND BOB LOGIC’S HARMONIC SOCIETY
SUNDAY_GENTLEMEN“Sir the favour of your company is requested on
Monday evening next, at Mr. Seager’s. The Cock
and Magpie, Drury Lane. “John Russell: President”
“John Ward: Vice-President”
“NB: The Chair to be taken at eight o’clock precisely.”

The Sunday Times continued:

“As to the others, Master Davis has several times “been in trouble” for transferring handkerchiefs. Master Gee has more than once been in trouble for “starring the glaze”, and Master Whitby, though a constant companion of thieves, has never,till now, been in trouble at all. Russell’s mother was in attendance and informed his Worship, that her son was, “As good a lad as ever lived till Tom, Jerry and Bobbing came up, and since then he has neglected his lemons, stayed out whole nights, robbed her and pawned her clothes for money to spend in coffee-shops and at the club and whenever she remonstrated with him told her that “Life” was all the go now-a-days, and he should do as others did.”SUNDAY TIMES_LEMONS_STEALING HANDKERCHIEF

The young gentlemen said nothing for themselves and the Magistrate ordered them a month’s amusement at the Corinthian Finish, alias the Treading-Mill in the House of Correction, with a hint that if this was not sufficient he would accommodate them with three months on the next occasion.

TREADMILL_BRIXTON

Tread-Mill at Brixton London (invented by Mr. Cubitt of Ipswich) Each man covers 731 yards per hour with 12 minutes rest every hour. Published on  Saturday  November  2nd 1822 by The Mirror of Literature, Amusement & Instruction

SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_smallSUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 1822 : PAGE FOURSUNDAY_GENTLEMEN_1#PAVEMENT RAGE, USELESS IDLERS

This particular dispute was announced in court as; Prosser . v. Dignam.
Mr. James Dignam had been kept in the watch-house overnight and was brought to court on Thursday, November 21st charged with having wantonly assaulted Mr. and Mrs. Prosser, of Number 42 Grosvenor-place. Here is the Sunday Times report:

“It appeared by the evidence of the complainant, that the prisoner and two other gentlemen were walking along Tavistock-street, on Wednesday evening, in a very gentlemanly manner  – that is to say – arm-in-arm, a-breast, so as to occupy the whole breadth of the pavement.
Mr. and Mrs. Prosser were behind them, and in order to pass, were under the necessity of turning out into the carriage-way, when, Mrs. Prosser in the act of stepping back on the pavement, received a violent kick on the heel from the prisoner. Feeling intense pain from the blow, she turned round to ask why it was inflicted, and the prisoner, instead of answering, seized her rudely by the arm and began pushing her about.

SUNDAY_COUPLE_ASKANCE

Mr. Prosser now interfered – observing that the lady was his wife -and desired the prisoner to loose his hold to which the gentlemanly prisoner replied by asking Mr. P. if he would swear whether she was his wife or his whore? at the same time giving him a severe blow on the side of the face.
By this time a crowd had collected, and the prisoner was conducted to the watch-house. In his defence, he denied having kicked the lady intentionally,and declared he only held her arm to prevent her from striking him, and moreover, that he did not inflict the blow on her husband until after that person had struck him repeatedly with his umbrella.
Sir Richard Birnie, severely censured the practice so common amongst a certain class of useless idlers of obstructing the pavement by sauntering about arm-in-am and held Mr. Dignam to bail on both assaults.

SUNDAY TIMES  (LONDON) SUNDAY NOVEMBESUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_smallR 24TH 1822 : PAGE FOURSUNDAY_PRETENTIOUS

# BIGAMY: SKEWERED SPATCHCOCK THREESOME & WANTON RINGLETS

At Marlborough-street Court there was a virtual soap-opera playing out.
Mrs. Sarah Otley had laid a charge of assault against her husband, Timothy. He was also accused of taking scissors and cutting up some of her clothes, in particular a red shawl for which she had paid “eighteen honest shillings.” However, Timothy then accused his wife of bigamy hence the assault on her was justified. Here is how the Sunday Times reported the case – it really is a lesson in a reporting style that was absolutely made for the twitter generation: I promise you all is reproduced as written by the Sunday Times’s  court reporter (unnamed)

“Sarah was arrayed in a blushing stuff gown, over her shoulders was thrown a kind of scarf, not unlike a decayed hearth-rug. Her bonnet was adorned with a profusion of pink ribbons, and so adjusted as to display a cluster of wanton ringlets which shaded a countenance by no means unattractive.
Sarah – like a device in heraldry – was supported by her husbands – one on each side of her. Timothy, her original husband (we say original, for the other seemed but a copy of one), acting in the double capacity of a gentleman’s groom and as a furbisher of quadrupeds” (I’ve added this definition i.e. an animal which has four feet, especially an ungulate mammal)

SUNDAY TIMES_BIGAMY

“Having a little money from his wages, and prerequisites, he resolved to enjoy the fruits of his industry in the happy state of marriage. After a long search he saw Sarah and was smitten. He loved and was beloved, he adored and was worshipped.

Sarah was coy, Tim was pressing and at length after a gentle resistance she yielded her charms to the enraptured groom. Two years had flown over their heads, winged with joy; and although their union was not blessed with a chubby-faced boy, yet did not Tim’s love for Sarah abate. Fate, envious of their joy had so adorned that Timothy should take a journey to the country. A few chaste kisses were exchanged and Timothy rode off.

Love will sometimes abate, even though a groom be its object. Sarah saw John Dooley, Minister of Bacchus in a certain comfortable inn in Clerkenwell. Now, though John Dooley was by no means as likely to gain a woman’s love as Tim Otley, yet Sarah felt her allegiance for her absent lord much decrease, whether from a love of certain cordials, we cannot say, and gave her hand to John.
Mr. Otley returned and, discovering Sarah’s perfidy, gave himself up a prey to jealously and revenge.

The Magistrate asked John Dooley (who remained in a kind of amazement with his arms pinioned to his sides like a skewered spatch cock) if he would prosecute Sarah to which he replied in the negative. The Magistrate then turned to Mr. Otley and said as Sarah was a widow when he married her he could not prosecute. At this, Tim’s choler (anger or irascibility) rose,

“What am I to do your Vorship’ this here voman is not my vife!”

“You can have your remedy at the Doctor’s Commons,(1) ” said the Magistrate.

“I know nothing of that there place,” said Tim, buttoning his coat with a hurried action,expressive of considerable irritation.

The Magistrate then told the parties to withdraw. Sarah led the way, according to his Worship’s advice who seemed apprehensive of a smashing match, and Tim followed.”

The End

SUNDAY TIMES_HASHTAG_smalldavid kidd-hewitt “GEORGIAN TWEETS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN”
What’s yours? @Writer.David1

Please let me know.

___________________________________________________________________________

(1) Doctors’ Commons, also called the College of Civilians, was a society of lawyers practising civil law in London

 

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