|"Sweet Birds that love the noise of Folly,|
Most musical, most melancholy"
MORNINGS AT BOW STREET:
OF THE MOST HUMOROUS AND ENTERTAINING REPORTS WHICH
HAVE APPEARED IN THE "MORNING HERALD."
BY J. WIGHT,
BOW-STREET REPORTER TO THE "MORNING HERALD."
WITH TWENTY-ONE ILLUSTRATIONS
BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
"They did gather humours of men dayly wherever they came."
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET.
BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.
This volume consists of certain of those Bow Street Reports which have appeared from time to time, during the last three years, in the columns of the Morning Herald. The very favourable notice which they then met with from the public, has induced the author to select some of the most descriptive and amusing of them, and to present them here again, with some necessary enlargements and corrections, and in a somewhat more finished state than the rapid demands of a daily paper allowed.
In their present form, therefore, they assume the more permanent character which they have been thought to deserve; the convenience of the reader is consulted, and his imagination very effectively aided, by the Designs of Mr. George Cruikshank, whose rare comic pencil has been most successfully employed in illustrating them.
The chief quality of these little narratives is certainly "pour faire rire" in common with all other books of facetiæ; but in some important respects they differ from books of that class, which for the most part consist of fancied and fictitious scenes and characters; and of humour concocted in the brain of the writer: for in the work now presented, the dramatis personæ are actual existences, and the scenes real occurrences; affording specimens of our national humour which is perhaps to be found genuine only among the uncultivated classes of society. In copying these, the author's chief aim has been to preserve the character and spirit of his originals.
The reader is placed, without personal sacrifice, amidst the various and somewhat repulsive groups of a police office, and made acquainted with the states and conditions of human nature, with which, from the sympathy due to the more unfortunate part of the species, he should not be entirely ignorant; it is by such means alone that the prosperous and orderly portion of society can know what passes among the destitute and disorderly portion of it; that they can rightly appreciate the advantages they enjoy, and the value and importance of these particular institutions of their country.
It has been objected to this publication, that it perpetuates the ridicule and disgrace to which individuals have, in an unlucky moment, exposed themselves: to obviate this, great care has been taken that names, which are here unimportant, should be either totally omitted, or so altered as to prevent the possibility of discovery; personal satire being in no degree the object of this work;—the persons concerned have then only to keep their own counsel, to be perfectly unexposed to having their wounds opened afresh by means of this inoffensive, and, it is hoped, diverting volume.
|A COOL CONTRIVANCE||1|
|A COSTERMONGER'S QUERY||3|
|A TEA PARTY||3|
|PAT LANGHAM'S LOGIC||7|
|MANGLING AND MATRIMONY||9|
|BATTLE IN THE BOXES||13|
|A SPOILED QUADRILLE||17|
|A WATCHMAN'S WALTZ||22|
|A LITTLE BIT OF A CAUTION||24|
|THE LOVES OF M'GILLIES AND JULIA COB||35|
|AN EVENING'S PLEASURE||42|
|A LAMPLIGHTER'S FUNERAL||47|
|LATE HOURS AND OYSTERS||49|
|A GREAT MAN IN DISTRESS||57|
|MRS. WILLIAMS'S PETTICOAT||61|
|"INCHING IT BACKERT"||63|
|MR. HUMPHREY BRUMMEL AND TERENCE O'CONNOR||65|
|CUPID IN CHAMBERS||67|
|A DEBT OF HONOUR||79|
|THE GENTLEMAN AND HIS BOOTS||87|
|BEAUTY AND THE BROOMSTICK||92|
|THE COCKNEY AND THE CAPTAIN||96|
|ONE OF THE FANCY||105|
|A SUNDAY'S RIDE||108|
|TOM CRIB AND THE COPPERSMITHS||115|
|SOLOMON AND DESDEMONA||118|
|A COACHMAN'S CONSCIENCE||121|
|THE WEDDING RING||129|
|FLAGELLATION versus PHYSIC||133|
|THE DUST WHOPPER AND THE WATERMAN||141|
|A GROWN GENTLEMAN||144|
|DRURY LANE MISSES||147|
|A SMALL TASTE OF JIMAKEY||149|
|A WHITE SERGEANT, OR PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT||153|
|THE COOK AND THE TAILOR||158|
|THE TWO AUTHORS||164|
|A BOLD STROKE FOR A SUPPER||167|
|LOVE IN CHANCERY||173|
|FRENCH AND ENGLISH MIXTURE||184|
|A DUN AT SUPPER TIME||191|
|THE CANTAB AND THE TURKS||195|
|JOHN SAUNDERS ON HORSEBACK: A NARRATIVE||203|
|'PON MY HONOUR IT'S TRUE||209|
|A WEARY BENEDICT||224|
|THE GOLDSMITH AND THE TAILOR||227|
|THE RAPE OF THE WIG||230|
|A BRUMMYJUM OUTRIDER||232|
|PAT CRAWLEY'S MULE||235|
|THE TEMPLAR AND THE COOK||238|
|A HAGGLING CUSTOMER||243|
|A DISTRESSED FATHER||246|
|SORROWS OF THE SULLIVANS||253|
|"WHERE SHALL I SLEEP?"||258|
|JEMMY LENNAM AND THE JEW||266|
|WOLF versus WELLDONE||268|
|MR. O'FLINN AND HIS FRIEND'S MISTRESS||273|
|MISS HANNAH MARIA JULIANA SHUM AND HER BEAU||282|
|ROEBUCK versus CLANCEY||286|
|AN IRISH TAILOR||294|
DESIGNED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
|A COOL CONTRIVANCE||J. Thompson||1|
|VIGNETTE TO DITTO||Ditto||2|
|MR. ROBERT M'GILLIES||H. White||38|
|VIGNETTE TO DITTO||R. Branston||41|
|BUNDLING UP||W. Hughes||55|
|CHEAP DINING||R. Branston||84|
|TOM CRIB AND THE COPPERSMITH||R. Branston||116|
|VIGNETTE TO DITTO||Ditto||117|
|PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT||W. Hughes||155|
|A DUN AT SUPPER TIME||R. Branston||193|
|MOLLY LOWE||J. Thompson||220|
|VIGNETTE TO DITTO||Ditto||224|
|DISTRESSED FATHER||R. Branston||247|
|JONAS TUNKS||W. Hughes||280|
|PIG WIT||J. Thompson||292|
|VIGNETTE TO DITTO||W. Hughes||294|
A COOL CONTRIVANCE.
One fine summer's morning, a short, dumpy, sunburnt, orange and purple-faced old man—topped with a clean white night-cap, was brought before the magistrate by an officer, who had just found him trudging through the Mall in St. James's Park, with his breeches on a stick over his shoulder, instead of in their natural and proper place. "This comical fad of his, please your worship," said the officer, "frightened the ladies out of their wits, and made such a hubbub among the young blackguards, that I thought it my duty to take him into custody; but he kicked and sprunted at such a rate, that it was as much as two or three of us could do to get his breeches on again."
"Why do you walk without your breeches, my honest friend?" said the magistrate, in a tone of kind expostulation. "Because I was so hot that I was determined not to be bothered with breeches any longer!" replied the queer old man—twinkling his little deep-set French-grey eyes, and sending forth a long-drawn sultry sigh.
The magistrate asked him something of his history; to which he replied, that he was born at Great Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, where his father was a small farmer. "There was a rare lot of us young ones," said he, "running about the lanes, and paddling in the cool green ponds, like so many goslings. For myself, I was made a shoemaker of, by a gentleman who thought me too pretty for a plough-boy: and so I've been making shoes in London these last forty years; but latterly I'm always so hot and dry, that I can make no more shoes, not I, and I'll take to the fields again."
His worship was of opinion that the poor fellow's wits were wandering, and ordered that he should be taken care of in Tothill-field's Bridewell, until his parish could be ascertained.
A person, who called himself a "master costermonger," having, with some difficulty, obtained access to the table, made his best bow to the magistrate, and said, "Please your vurship, vaut am I to do about my bitch?"
"About what?" said his worship.
"About my bitch, vaut I lost four months ago, your vurship. I lost her in pup, and I knows the man vaut's fun her, and now she's pupp'd six pups, and says he to me, says he, 'You shall either have the bitch vithout the pups, or the pups vithout the bitch; an if so be as you don't like that, you shan't have neither of 'em'—and so vaut am I to do, your vurship?"
"Why go along and mind your business," replied his worship—and the master costermonger retired from court without having taken anything by his motion.
Joseph Arnold, Esq., of Duck-lane, Westminster, a retired hackney-coachman, better known by the title of "the Rough Diamond," and as the intimate friend of Bill Gibbons, Esq. P.C. Com. Gen. was brought before the sitting magistrate under the following awkward circumstances:—
Mr. Peter Guy, who is a tailor (by trade), and Mrs. Peter Guy, were invited to tea by the accomplished hostess of the Russian Hotel in Bow-street. Mr. Joseph Arnold, Mr. Joseph Arnold's housekeeper, and several other ladies and gentlemen, were of the party. There was toast and prime Dorset, and muffins and crumpets, with Gunpowder and Bohea for the ladies; and pig's-face, red-herrings, and hot coffee for the gentlemen; in short, there was everything quite genteel and comfortable. Now it so happened that Mr. Peter Guy wore a white-poodle upper benjamin, of his own make, on the occasion, and this unfortunate dress upset the comfort of the whole party. Mr. Joseph Arnold first observed, that Mr. Peter Guy's poodle-benjamin was as pretty a bit of toggery as ever he seed. All the company agreed to this, except one lady (Mrs. Jonathan Guy), who remarked that it looked rather too warm-like and smothery for fireside wear. Mr. Joseph Arnold observed it warn't a morsel too warm for those as had any gumption in 'em; and he offered to bet a shilling that he could get it on, if so be as Mr. Peter Guy would be kind enough to peel. There was not a lady in company who did not laugh out-right at this proposition, because Mr. Joseph Arnold is a large round man, upwards of six feet high, and Mr. Peter Guy, as one of the ladies very justly observed, is a little hop-o'-my-thumb chap, not much above half as big. Mr. J. Arnold, however, swore by goles (a favourite oath of his) that he would not flinch from his bet; and at length Mr. Peter Guy took him at his word, the stakes were deposited, and Mr. Peter Guy having slipped out of his benjamin, Mr. Joseph Arnold squeezed himself into it, without a vast deal of trouble; though, when it was on, the sleeves did not reach much below his elbows. Mr. Peter Guy readily admitted that he was done, and requested his benjamin again; but Mr. Joseph Arnold refused to restore it, observing, that it was a prime fit, and he would give it a turn among the swells in Duck-lane. The ladies remonstrated, the gentlemen laughed, the noise ran high; the tea tables were hurried away, and the crumpets were upset among the ashes. But it was all of no use; Mr. Joseph Arnold swore the toggery was too good for a tailor, and he would keep it for himself; and so saying, he sallied forth and strutted up and down Bow-street for nearly two hours, till at length the patience of Mr. Peter Guy became exhausted, and he gave him in charge to an officer, who carried him before the magistrate.
His worship having first ordered Mr. Joseph Arnold to be placed at the bar, asked him what he had to say for himself?
He replied that he did not feel himself a bit disgraced by being placed in that 'ere bar, being as how he was well known to Mr. White and Mr. Markland, the magistrates at Queen-square, and to all the inhabitants of Duck-lane, as an honest man, and one that was as well-to-do in the world, as any man who was no better off than himself. And as to the benjamin there was such a bother about, he had got it on by the free consent of the owner, and he would keep it on long enough, unless the owner stood a drop of summut short.
"If that's the case, Sir," observed the magistrate, "I shall instantly commit you for the robbery."
This seemed to have a considerable effect upon Mr. Joseph Arnold, for he instantly, though slowly, began to peel: and having so done, he handed the benjamin over the bar, sulkily observing, "This comes of keeping company with tailors, your worship, and I can't say but it sarves me right. Howsomever, he mought have had it before, if he had not been so d——d tall and consequential about it."
Mr. Peter Guy thanked the magistrate for his kind interposition, and the parties withdrew.
Mr. Patrick Langham was charged with having assaulted Mrs. Bridget Finnagen, by spitting in her face.
His worship told him he was a dirty fellow, and asked him what he could say in excuse for such an unmanly and disgusting trick.
"Well, your honour," replied Patrick, "I should not have done it by no manes, but she put her nose in the mouth of me."
"Nonsense, man! How could she put her nose in your mouth?"
"Well, your honour, she did that same, any how; an I can bring a witness to the fore that'll testify to your honour."
The magistrate told him he did not believe him. Mrs. Bridget Finnagen said it was a grate lie invented by Patrick to bring shame upon her—the mother-in-law to the brother of him, and oun mother to four children—barrin one that's dead.
Patrick persisted in his nose story, and being desired to show the manner of it, he placed himself in the attitude of a scolding woman—with chin poked out, and arms a-kimbo.
"Why, you foolish fellow," observed the magistrate, "you mean that she put her nose in your face—not mouth."
"Your honour'll call it what ye plase," replied Patrick, "but me mouth's in me face any how; and so me face and me mouth's all one, your honour, in that shape."
His worship could not but smile at this explanation of the matter, and told Mrs. Bridget Finnagen that he thought Patrick was a harmless fellow, who would conduct himself better in future if she would forgive him his past offences.
Mrs. Bridget Finnagen, however, refused to be pacified; she implored his worship "to bind him down to the law," and declared that upon one occasion lately, he told her if it was not for the law, he would put all the teeth in her head into her stomach; but as Patrick declared he had no ill-blood to the cratur, and promised never to molest her again, the magistrate dismissed the complaint.
Mr. Thomas Turner was brought before the magistrate on a peace warrant, issued at the suit of his wife, Mrs. Eleanor Turner. There was a world of arguments pro. and con.; but we must content ourselves with a simple narrative of the principal facts.
Mr. and Mrs. Turner were married in September last, at which time he was not much more than seventy-three years old; and she was only fifty-six, the very day they went to church; consequently their experience was not so great as it might have been, had they been older. Nevertheless, they managed to get over the first six weeks, as Mr. Turner said, "pretty tightish." But after that time, his business began to fall off; and then Mrs. Turner, who was by profession a mangler, insisted on his turning the wheel of her mangle for her. Well, he did turn it; and turn it, and turn it, again and again, from six o'clock in the morning till nine at night; and if he did not turn it fast enough, Mrs. Turner boxed his ears; and often, when she had boxed his ears till fire flashed from his eyes, as it were, she would tell him, "though he was a turner by name, he was a poor turner by nature." On the other hand, Mrs. Turner alleged that he had "married her out of a kitchen, what she had lived in eleven long years;" that she had brought him as excellent a character as any man could desire; that she thought she could have done as well with him as she could with a man of twenty or twenty-five years old, but that she was sadly disappointed: for though she found him good for nothing in the world but to turn her mangle, he refused even to do that; or, if he did do it, he did it clumsily, and with grumbling; and he often left off doing it to beat her. Moreover, he had latterly threatened to sell her mangling apparatus; and, because she begged of him not to sell it—as his doing so would be their ruin—he "kicked her shins till they were all manner of colours."
The magistrate asked Mr. Turner what he had to say to this last part of the business.
He said, with his worship's permission, he would tell him.—"He had often promised Mrs. Turner, that he would make her a handsome present at Whitsuntide, if she would only keep her fingers to herself; and as Whitsuntide was now fast approaching, he went out one Monday evening and spouted his watch, to raise funds for that purpose. With the funds so raised, he purchased a spick-and-span new straw bonnet, with ribbons all up a-top of it, quite beautiful to see—so beautiful, indeed, that the ribbons alone cost him a clear five shillings. And with this bonnet, so beautiful, he went home, rejoicing in his heart to think how pleased Mrs. Turner would be, and how happy they should live—for a fortnight at the very least. But he was mistaken. When he got home, he uncovered the bonnet, and, placing it on his hand, he held it up before her, nothing doubting but that she would be delighted at the sight of it; and he had no sooner done this, than she snatched it from his hand, and threw it on the ground, trampled its beautiful ribbons under her angry feet; and, seizing him by the scuff of his neck she bent him down towards the floor, whilst she pummelled him about the head and shoulders, till his very ears sung again. In this dilemma, he had nothing left for it but to kick backwards—donkey-fashion as he called it; and it was by the kicks so given in his own defence, that Mrs. Turner's legs were discoloured."
When Mr. Turner came to this part of his description, in order to show his worship more particularly the manner of his kicking, he kicked out behind with all his might, and in so doing he kicked an officer on the leg with such violence, that the poor fellow was obliged to go limping to a seat, and sit rubbing his shin for half an hour after.
Mrs. Turner strenuously denied having pummelled her husband in the way stated, or in any other way; and eventually he was ordered to find sureties to keep the peace towards her and all the king's subjects.
Among the watch-house detenus brought before the magistrates one morning, to answer for misdoings on the preceding night, there was a little, fat, round, well-dressed, comfortable-looking personage, named ——; but his name can be of no interest to the public, as the offence laid to his charge amounted only to an assault and battery, caused by the boiling over of his anger at a supposed invasion of his right and title to a particular seat in one of the boxes at the English opera—he having set his heart upon that identical seat from the very beginning of the evening.
His opponent was a young gentleman named Dakins—a thin, genteel youth, solemn and sententious in delivery, far above his years, and backed by a host of friends. There was a world of oratory displayed on both sides; but we have no room to report it: all we can do is, to give a bare narrative of the facts.
Young Mr. Dakins occupied a front seat in one of the boxes till the conclusion of the first piece. Then, having nothing else to do, he looked round the house. Suddenly he espied a party of his friends, male and female, in the very next box. They occupied the front seat and part of the second; and he, perceiving that there was a vacant space on the second seat, went and took possession of it forthwith, and was highly delighted at the luckiness of the circumstance. In a few minutes in comes the little round man—"Hallo!" says he, "you've got my seat, young man." "Your seat, Sir?" said the young man, with some surprise. "Yes, my seat, Sir," replied the round one. "Well, Sir," rejoined the young one, "you need not be so hot upon't—there is a very nice seat, which I have just left, in the front row of the adjoining box—will you have the goodness to take that, as I wish to remain here with my friends?" "No, Sir," replied the round one, very waspishly—"no, Sir, I shall not! This is my seat—I have satten upon it all the evening, and I'll have no other; and let me tell you, Sir, that I think your conduct in taking it, Sir, very ungentlemanly, Sir!" The young man's friends now interfered, but in vain; and at length they told him to let the little fat man have his seat, and they would make room for him in the front row. So there they sat, enduring all the moist miseries of four in a row, till the end of the second piece; when the young man, turning round his head, perceived the little round man's seat empty again; and, after waiting a few minutes, and finding he did not return, he again took possession of it, to the great relief of the poor ladies in the front row. But he had scarcely seated himself when in pops the little round man again, and without saying more than "I see this is done on purpose to insult me!" he seized the young man by the collar of the coat behind, lifted him from the seat, and very dexterously slid himself into it. In an instant all was uproar:—"Turn him out!"—"Throw him over!"—The little fat man lost his balance, fell backwards, and in that position he let fly "an immense volley of kicks," which the young man received on his stomach. The ladies shrieked, the gentlemen tried to hold his legs down, the house cried "Shame!"—and at length, after kickings and cuffings, and pullings and haulings, quite distressing to detail, the little round man was delivered over to the peace officers, and conveyed to the watch-house, panting like a porpoise, and perspiring at every pore.
Thus far is partly from the evidence for the prosecution. For the defence, it was contended that it was excessively ungentlemanly to deprive any gentleman of the seat such gentleman might have occupied at the commencement of the performance; and furthermore, that the little round man was so roughly handled, that it was absolutely necessary for him to kick in his own defence; for, having once lost his perpendicular position, his rotundity of form made it extremely probable that he would roll over the front of the boxes into the pit! Indeed it was asserted that his enemies endeavoured to bring about that shocking catastrophe, and that, had not a gentleman in the adjoining box held him back by the coat, they certainly would have accomplished it.
The magistrate said there were faults on both sides. In the first place, the defendant should not have quitted his seat without saying to his neighbour that he intended to return; secondly, common courtesy ought to have induced the complainant to have relinquished it when demanded; and, thirdly, that the defendant should have demanded it civilly. Upon the whole, it was a very silly piece of business, and he would recommend them to retire, and make an end of it by mutual explanation, or apology.
This pacific advice, however, was rejected by both parties, and so the little round man was held to bail.
One Solomon Dobbs, an operative tailor, "all fudge and fooster," like a superannuated goose, was charged by a very spruce young gentleman with raising a false alarm against him, whereby he, the young gentleman, was in imminent danger of being treated as a pickpocket, or something of that sort.
The young gentleman, whose name we understood to be Henry Augustus Jinks, was proceeding to his studies in quadrilling at the dancing academy, in Pickett-place, Temple Bar, about nine o'clock in the evening; and being thinly clad, in silken hose, and all that, he was hurrying along to keep himself warm and in proper quadrilling condition. Whilst he was so hurrying along, with his head full of fiddles and new figures, he heard somebody behind him cry "Stop!" and looking back, he saw Mr. Solomon Dobbs waddling after him. Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks had no idea that the cry of such a queer-looking man could be addressed to him, and so he continued to run on; but Mr. Solomon Dobbs still waddled after him, exclaiming "Stop him! stop that thief!" &c. though in such a thick husky voice that nobody noticed him. Neither did Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks notice him, but ran on, and on, till he arrived at the assembly-room; and the first quadrille—which had been only waiting for him—was just about to be led off, when in waddled Mr. Solomon Dobbs, and seizes Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks by his quite clean, fresh-starched cravattery! to the great terror of the ladies, the indignation of the gentlemen, the silencing of the fiddlers, and total disarrangement of the quadrille! This was shocking enough in all conscience; but how was the terror and indignation increased when Mr. Solomon Dobbs, still holding the astonished Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks by his clean cravat, told him in plain terms that he was a pickpocket, and had robbed him of his watch! It was too much. The ladies squealed, the gentlemen stormed, the fiddlers bagged their cremonas, and Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks threatened an action of slander; but the master of the ceremonies, more judiciously, ran for a watchman, and Mr. Solomon Dobbs was carried off to the watch-house as a dangerous and evil-minded disorderly.
The magistrate called upon Mr. Solomon Dobbs for an explanation of his strange conduct.
"——And please your worship, I was not so sober as I might have been," solemnly replied Mr. Solomon Dobbs, with an owl-like twinkle of his gin-quenched eyes.
"Had you any ground for the charge you made against this young gentleman?" asked the magistrates.
"Your worship, I had not; and I really have no recollection of having done what is laid to my charge," replied Mr. Solomon Dobbs, in deep despondency.
"Then, by your own confession you are a drunken fool," responded his worship.
Mr. Solomon Dobbs bowed assent.—Mr. Henry Augustus Jinks said he was satisfied, and the matter was dismissed.
A law student was brought up from St. Clement's watch-house, to which place he had been consigned between eleven and twelve on the preceding night, at the suit of an ancient oyster-woman of that parish.
The venerable fishmongeress deposed, that the Law Student was in the practice of occasionally taking oysters at her shop; and in general he conducted himself like a very nice sort of gentleman—so much so, that she had more pleasure in opening oysters for him than for any other gentleman of her acquaintance; but on this unfortunate night he came in very tipsy, and devoured so many oysters that she was quite alarmed at him. She opened, and opened, and opened, till her hands and arms ached ready to drop off, and still he kept craving for more; and he would have them, in spite of her remonstrating that he would certainly burst himself. At last he took it in his head to go out to look at the weather, and she took that opportunity of locking him out; thinking he would be satisfied with what he had had, and would go quietly home; but instead of this, he commenced an assault and battery on her door, and before she could unlock it, he had not only forced it off the hinges, but had shivered one of the panels to pieces with his foot. She was now more alarmed than ever, and fearing he might even attempt to serve her as he had served the oysters, she "skreeked for the watch," and he was taken to the round-house.
The Law Student, who seemed to be still under the influence of the Tuscan grape, heard all this with a quiet, comfortable simper; and then, with a low lounging sort of bow to the lady, he said in a voice that seemed to make its way with difficulty through a mass of oysters, "Suppose, Mrs. Jinkins, I reinstate your door—you will be satisfied?"
"Sir," interrupted the magistrate, "you must satisfy me, as well as Mrs. Jinkins; you have broken the public peace; let me know what you have to say to that?"
"Your worship," replied the Law Student, with an oyster-oppressed sigh, "your worship, I have nothing to say, save and except that I was rather—"
"Drunk, you mean to say," observed his worship.
"Your worship, I am sorry to say, conjectures rightly," replied the Law Student, with another very graceful bow, and another sigh from the very bottom of his oyster-bed.
"Then, Sir," rejoined the magistrate, "pay the woman for the damage you have done her door—pay one shilling for your discharge fee, and five shillings for being drunk; and then go about your business, and keep yourself sober in future."
The Law Student bowed again, and beckoned to a young man at the farther end of the office, who instantly stepped forward and paid the money; and then the Law Student, making two distinct bows—one to the magistrate, and the other to his oyster-woman, slided genteelly out of the office.
Two young men—the one a deputy drover, and the other an operative boot-maker—were charged by a watchman with having "bother'd him on his bate," and refused to "go along off of it when he tould 'em."
He was asked to describe the nature of the bother; and he replied, that they came rambling up to him intosticatedly, and ax'd him—"Charley, where am the waits?" "I don't know," says I—"get along out of it; and don't be after axing about such nonsense," says I. "We won't," says they—"we'll wait for the waits and have a dance, for we've nothing better to do—without we go and break open a house!" says they to me. "Fait," says I, "but ye'd better be off to the beds of ye, out of the kould," says I; "and with that they got hould of me, and twirled me about and about for a bit of a waultz, as they called it. So then I twirled my rattle, and they twirled me, and more watchmen came twirling into it—that's the waltz: and we twirled and twirled, all in a bunch together, till at last we managed to twirl them into the door of the watch-house; and here they are, your honour, to answer for that same."
The defendants were asked what they had to say for themselves, and the drover undertook to be spokesman:—
"Your worships, last night I lost two fat ship (sheep), and I goz me over the water to see for 'em, and couldn't find 'em, not nowhere, your worships. 'Dang the ship,' says I, 'vauts the use of vaulking my legs off arter 'em, I'll get a drop o' summat vaum and comfortable; so I goz me into a public-house, and calls for a pint o' beer with the chill off; and the beer, and the wexing about the ship, made me desperate hungry; and so I vaulks myself to a slap-bang shop, for half-a-pound of beef; and just as I'd got it up, to pop in the first bit, a woman, vaut I nows nothin' on, comes behind me, and vips it off the fork.—'Hallo! missis,' says I, 'don't you come that 'ere agen.'"—
Here his narrative was broken off by the magistrate desiring him to come to the watchman's charge at once; and he cut short his story by showing his wrist, marked with five little wounds, all a-row; which wounds, he said, were inflicted by the teeth of the lady who wanted his beef, and that he "got vell vhopp'd into the bargain by some of her chaps." Then the loss of his sheep, the bite of the lady, and "the vhopping of the chaps," made him "desperate out of humour," and meeting with his old friend the boot-closer, they went and got tipsy together, and, in that state, they thought to have a bit of fun with the watchman; but he was "sich a sulky chap," that he shut them up for it.
The magistrate told them to pay their fees, and go home, and mix a little wisdom with their merriment in future.
Patrick Saul, a good-humoured looking Irishman, was charged with maliciously throwing a boy into a deep well, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm.
Robert Hemmet, the boy alluded to, was crossing a field at Walham-green, when he met the prisoner, who asked him to fetch him half-a-pint of porter, and, before he could reply, took him up in his arms, and threw him into a well, in which there was seven feet depth of water. Having thrown him in, he walked leisurely away, and had he not been fortunate enough at his first rising to catch hold of the curb of the well, he must certainly have been drowned.
Honest Patrick said he had no intention of injuring the boy; and he denied that he walked away from the well after having thrown him into it. "I only wanted to give him a dip, your honour, by way of a little bit of a caution; bekase he is always tazing me about my country and my languages, bekase I happens to be an Irishman, your honour; and, plase your honour, I never meets him not at no time, which is every hour in the days of every week almost, but he comes after me with a 'Hurrah, Pat! which way does the bull run now?' saving your honour's presence; and I can't get any pace for him at all, your honour."
The lad denied having insulted him in any way; but the magistrate did not seem to give much credit to this denial. He, however, asked the prisoner how he could think of adopting such a strangely violent mode of punishing the boy, as throwing him into the water. "Why, plase your honour, I larned a little bit of the law in my own country," replied honest Patrick, "and I understand thereby that I'd no right to take the law into my own hands, by bating him with a stick, so I dipp'd him in the water instead."
The magistrate laughed at this curious distinction in Patrick Saul's Irish law; and, after some further investigation, he was ordered to find bail for the assault only.
The magistrate observed this was a very serious charge, and told the prisoner he ought to be very thankful he was not standing at that bar on a charge of murder.
Mr. Thomas Kingston, a military officer on the half-pay list, appeared in custody to answer the complaint of Mrs. Bridget Bull.
Mrs. Bridget Bull was an old lady of respectable appearance, very gentle in manners, and rather infirm. She deposed that the defendant, Mr. Kingston, was indebted to her husband the sum of four pounds six shillings and ninepence halfpenny, for goods sold and delivered; which debt he neglected to discharge, and thereby caused her husband and herself much trouble and inconvenience. That on Wednesday last, she, by desire of her husband, waited upon defendant with an earnest request that he would settle the account forthwith. Defendant said it was not convenient for him so to do, and she therefore took upon herself to remonstrate with him on the impossibility of their waiting any longer; whereupon he pushed her out of his room with such violence, that she fell down and bruised her arms and back shockingly.—In proof of the violence, she exhibited her arms to the magistrate, and doubtless they were bruised shockingly enough.
Mr. Kingston, "a goodly portly man, of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage—and, as we think, his age some fifty—or, by'r Lady, inclining to three-score," entered upon his defence with an impassioned eloquence that would have done credit even to a Phillips. He spoke of the nature of his income making it impossible for him to pay but at stated periods; and of the remorseless rapacity of tradesmen. He disclaimed all intention of hurting Mrs. Bull, expressed his pity for her bruises, and contended that what he had done he did in his own personal defence. After having expatiated on all these matters for some time, he, at the earnest request of the magistrate, descended to a particular answer to the charge at issue. In the first place, he said Mr. Bull came, in the morning, urging payment in no very gentle terms. He promised him payment as soon as he should receive money, and with that promise he departed apparently satisfied. In less than an hour, however, just as he had dressed, and was leaving home in search of money, Mrs. Bull, with bill in hand, presented herself before the door of the house, and positively forbade his egress. He requested her to get out of his way, and let him pass about his lawful business; but the more he requested, the more she refused. She declared she would never lose sight of him till he paid her the money, and she dared him to send for a constable to remove her. Then he told her he should retire to his own private apartment: and he warned her of the impropriety and unconstitutionality of following him thither, as he should consider it as his "castle," agreeably to the good old English adage, for such cases made and provided. She vowed she would follow him whithersoever he went, let the consequences be what they might. Nevertheless, he did not believe she would dare to put this threat in execution, and therefore he commenced a retreat towards his own private apartment; and, to his great astonishment, she followed him step by step, continually vociferating—"Pay me my bill! Pay me my bill!" Having reached the first landing of the stairs, he attempted a parley, in the hope of convincing her of the impossibility of his paying, without money to pay with; but to all he said, she only answered—"Pay me my bill!" He retreated farther up the stairs, remonstrating as he went, and she still following with the hateful cry of "Pay me my bill!" even into the sacred retreat of his own private apartment. What was to be done? Money he had none, at that moment—he was not ashamed to confess it. He called a council of war in his own mind, determined upon a system of operation, and quietly, but firmly, addressing Mrs. Bull, he said, "Mrs. Bull—you come here to seek money; I have none to give you—This room is my castle, and if you do not depart instanter, I shall be under the unpleasant necessity of compelling you." Having so said he advanced towards her, for the purpose of gently ejecting her from the apartment, but she was too quick for him; she eluded his grasp, and seizing him by the under-lip, led him by it in triumph round the room! What could be more annoying than this? To be led about by a violent old woman, holding by his stretched-out and bleeding under-lip!
The magistrate admitted that it was a very awkward situation.
Mr. Kingston continued.—Under the circumstances, he called out, as well as he could, for help; she cried out also—but it was the old inveterate cry of "Pay me my bill!" At this moment a noise of people approaching was heard, and she relinquished her hold upon his lip. He went to the door, and saw it was Mr. Bull, and a whole posse of his servants and neighbours, coming to the assistance of the lady; and seeing this, he resolutely seized her by the shoulders, put her out of the room, and locked the door before the great body of the enemy could reach it. This was the whole head and front of his offending. If the lady fell and hurt herself in consequence of his ejecting her, he was sorry for it; but she had brought it upon herself by her own misconduct. Finally, he submitted to the magistrate that he was justified in what he had done, inasmuch as the lady was a trespasser on his premises, and he had taken the only means in his power of removing the nuisance.
The magistrate held that the means he had used were improper. If, when she insisted upon remaining in his house, he had sent for a constable to remove her, he would have done right. On the contrary, he had taken the law into his own hands, and must therefore find bail to answer the assault at the Quarter Sessions.
This was a proceeding by warrant upon a matter of assault and battery, alleged to have been perpetrated upon the person of a very nice young attorney, Mr. William Henry Squibb, by John Bloomer, a youthful and golden-haired grower of cauliflowers and capsicums, in a pleasant village on the banks of the Thames.
Mr. William Henry Squibb deposed, that on the 22nd of March, between the hours of eight and nine o'clock in the evening, he, the said William Henry, was passing through Leicester-square, in the parish of St. Anne, Soho, and in the county of Middlesex, in perfect good-humour with all men. That as he (the said William Henry) was so walking, in manner aforesaid, and having a new brown silk umbrella on his shoulder, firelockwise, he was aware of the defendant John Bloomer coming, in an opposite direction, in company with two feminine persons, commonly called, "ladies of easy virtue" by the polite—"blowens" by the vulgar—and "courtesans" by the classically fastidious—he, the said John, having one of the said courtesans on either arm, and thereby monopolising at least two-thirds of the pavement. That he, the said William Henry, without having any or the slightest intention of offending the said John, regarded the aforesaid ladies of easy virtue with a kind of smile; whereupon the said John, being of irascible and pugnacious temperament, did then and there tell the said William Henry that he resembled an index post, with his umbrella over his shoulder, and that if he did not get out of his way, he would twist him up into a figure of 8! That the said William Henry, though he had no objection to be denominated an index, simply, yet he could not bear to have the appellation post applied to him; especially when coupled with the threat of distorting his person so shockingly as to produce the figure of 8; and considering the aforesaid appellation and threat as calculated and intended to excite a breach of the peace, he did forthwith lay hands on the coat collar of the said John and call loudly for the watch, in order that the said John might be conveyed to durance as a daringly dangerously disorderly sort of personage; but that the said John, without waiting the arrival of the watchmen, did instantaneously let fly a right-handed, point-blank belly-go-fister into the bread-basket of the said William Henry—thereby depriving him of his wind, and convincing him that he had formed a right opinion of the dangerous qualities of the said John.
This was the substance of the evidence; and it farther appeared, by the conversations which ensued, that Mr. William Henry Squibb not only lost his wind, but his umbrella also, by the violence of the stomachic concussion above mentioned; but that nevertheless a parley ensued, which ended in Mr. John Bloomer going voluntarily to the watch-house; there, the night constable refusing to interfere, cards of address were interchanged; that, on the following morning, and for several days thereafter, sundry Chalk Farm-ish messages passed and repassed between the parties: that their gunpowder propensities, however, gradually and mutually evaporated; and, in conclusion, Mr. William Henry Squibb "determined to apply to the laws of his country, for redress."
Mr. John Bloomer began his defence by informing the magistrate, that it was an understood thing—a sort of street etiquette observed by all well-bred people—that when one gentleman happened to be in company with ladies of a certain description, no other gentleman should at all interfere in the business; either by "casting tender regards" upon the said ladies, or otherwise. This general understanding the complainant had grossly violated, by looking very significantly towards the whole party; and he, therefore, very properly, as he thought, applied the term "index-post" to him and his shouldered umbrella; but complainant took the term so to heart that he seized him by the collar, and then he certainly did strike him something in the manner he had described; and he would do so again under similar circumstances, let the consequences be what they might. He would not be insulted, he said, by any man, or attorney either.
Mr. William Henry Squibb now drew forth a large bundle of letters (supposed to be the warlike epistles above-mentioned) and was preparing himself to go more fully into his case, when the magistrate desired him to reserve his documents for the sessions, for he really had no more time to waste upon the matter; and having so said, he ordered the defendant to find bail.
In less than ten minutes, however, the parties again presented themselves before the bench, and said they had agreed to shake hands and say no more about it; upon which his worship observed, that he wished with all his heart they had thought of that mode of settling the matter an hour sooner.
Mr. Robert M'Gillies was brought before the magistrates to answer the complaint of Miss Julia Cob. Mr. Robert M'Gillies was a tall, stout, portly, middle-aged, Scottish gentleman; and Miss Julia Cob, a diminutive Hibernian young lady, in a richly braided dark blue habit, smart riding hat, long black veil, and red morocco ridicule.
Miss Julia Cob made a multitude of complaints, by which it appeared that whilst she was living, a gay and happy spinster, with her friends in Dublin, she was courted by Mr. Robert M'Gillies, whose card bore the initials "M. P." after his name: and she, conceiving that M. P. meant "Member of Parliament," lent a willing ear to his honied words. That she afterwards discovered his profession was the taking of likenesses, and that the M. P. meant Miniature-Painter. That notwithstanding the disappointment of this discovery, she continued her affections towards him, and eventually consented to come with him to England—not as his wife, but as his friend pro tempore; for she could not think of taking up with a miniature-painter for life. That they did come to England accordingly, and took up their rest in London; but from that period Mr. Robert M'Gillies became an altered man; he relinquished his M. P. profession, and lived entirely upon her means, spending almost his whole time in smoking and drinking, lying in bed with his clothes on, and amusing himself between whiles with tearing his and her garments in shreds and tatters. That at length her affection for him began to evaporate, and, being much impoverished by these vagaries of his, she determined "To whistle him off, and let him down the wind to prey on fortune," as Othello talked of doing by the gentle Desdemona. That in consequence of this determination she "got herself acquainted" with another lover—not a Scottish and sottish soi-disant M. P., but a real, unadulterated, and genuine Irish Mem. Par.—one who had taken a house for her in Norfolk-street, Strand, furnished it fit for a princess to live in, and provided her with all things fitting for a lady in her situation. That Mr. Robert M'Gillies felt himself so dissatisfied at this new arrangement, that he forced his way into her new abode in Norfolk-street, turned her char-woman out of doors, broke her glasses, tore her clothes to ribbons, spat in her face seventeen times, and swore he loved her so that she should never live with any other jontleman till she was completely dead and done with.—Nay more—having done all this, he laid himself down on the best bed in the house, and, taking out his pipe, began smoking away as he used to do at home; though she told him her new lover "couldn't abide the smell of baccah."
MR. ROBERT M'GILLIES.
Under these circumstances, Miss Julia Cob begged the magistrates to interpose the strong arm of the law between her and Mr. Robert M'Gillies. He was a strong, powerful man, she said, and she verily believed he would never let her go to her grave alive—a figure of speech which she afterwards explained to mean—that she verily believed be intended to do her some grievous bodily harm—or, in other words, he intended to prevent her going to her grave in the natural way.
The officers who took Mr. Robert M'Gillies into custody, stated that they found him—though in the middle of the day—stretched out at full length in bed, with all his clothes on, except his coat, and smoking a long pipe; and on the chair by his bedside was a quantity of tobacco, and a large jorum of ale.
Mr. Robert M'Gillies, who had been with difficulty restrained while these statements were making, now entered upon his defence in form and manner following:—
"She is a villain, and will swear anything!" (Thumping the table and bursting into tears.) "But I don't blame her, I blame her evil advisers." (Another thump and more tears.) "She has been heard as a woman, and now let me be heard as a man!" (A louder voice, a heavier thump, and a greater flood of tears.) "I was a bright man before I knew her!—Her name is not Julia Cob. She has deceived many a man under the name of 'Julia Cob.' Her right name is Jane Spencer! and she knows it. I don't want to go near her, I tell you!" (A fresh supply of tears.) "I love her better than my own heart's blood; but I don't care—I won't be used in this manner—I'll be d——d if I will! Confound her and them altogether, I say! But I don't blame her—I blame the devils she has got about her. She said to me one day, says she, 'Come, M'Gillies,' says she, 'let you and I go down upon our bare knees and swear to be true to each other for ever and ever!' and now she uses me in this manner!—Oh! oh! oh!" (Lots of tears.) "What am I brought here for? What have I done? Answer me that!—Oh! oh! oh!" &c.
Mr. Robert M'Gillies filled up the pauses in this speech, by licking in with his tongue the tears, &c. which flowed plentifully through the stubble on his upper lip; and having made an end of speaking—
The magistrate told him he was a very foolish man, and Miss Julia Cob was not a bit better than she should be; nevertheless she must not be subjected to personal violence, and he therefore must put in bail to keep the peace towards her—himself in 50l. and two sureties in 25l. each.
It appeared, however, that his friends had previously been bound for him in a charge of assault upon the same lady, and the magistrate declaring their recognizances forfeited by this his subsequent violence, they declined coming forward again.
So Mr. Robert M'Gillies was consigned to his own lamentations in the dreary dungeons of Tothill-fields' Bridewell, and the false-hearted Julia Cob returned to her new lover in Norfolk-street.
Miss Julia Johnson was charged by a watchman with infesting his bate in a state of bastely drunkenness. "It was King-street, your honour, that same I'm now spaking about," thundered Phelim O'Donaghue, "and she wouldn't come out of it anyhow, becase the beer had got the best of her, an' she couldn't, your honour; an' so I gathered her up, with her silks an' satins, an' put 'em altogether in the watch-house, your honour."
"Did she abuse you?" asked his worship.
"Fait, an' she hadn't sense enough for that, your honour!" replied the strong-lunged Phelim.
Miss Julia's "silks and satins" gave manifest proof that she had not been able to keep her feet; and, as she had nothing but tears to offer in her defence, she was adjudged to be drunken and disorderly, and ordered to find sureties for her better behaviour in future.
A schoolmaster of Greenwich, an apothecary of Plymouth, and a London sheriff's-officer,—"three good fellows and true," were brought before the bench, charged with having "shown off" a little too much in the pit of the Olympic Theatre.
Their situation in the office, when the magistrate took his seat on the bench, was thus:—The sheriff's-officer dead drunk on the floor of the outer passage; the apothecary dead drunk on the benches within the office; and the schoolmaster very drunk, but very sprightly withal, upon his legs before the magisterial table. Then as to their personal condition:—the sheriff's-officer had only half a coat—the entire sinister side having been torn away vertically; and he was moreover so grievously bedaubed with blood about the face, that his features were indistinguishable. The apothecary had his garments entire, but the exterior case of his olfactory apparatus was marvellously swollen and distorted—more like the budding proboscis of an infant elephant, than the nose of a Christian compounder of medicine. The schoolmaster's countenance was like that of his friend, the sheriff's-officer, excessively bloody; and his left eye was closed by a large blue and green tumour—from an orifice in the centre of which the claret flowed continually towards the corner of his mouth, as if in mockery of the bumpers that had brought him before the bench.
As to their achievements, it appeared by the evidence of sundry theatrical prompters, scene-shifters, firemen, constables, and deputy-constables, that they entered the theatre arm in arm, with each a flaming cigar in his mouth. That they had no sooner got within the pit than they began to shout lustily for the music. That the music not answering to their shouts the schoolmaster rushed gallantly forward over the heads of the more un-Corinthian part of the audience—to the infinite detriment of sundry Leghorn and other bonnets—and clearing the barrier of the orchestra, at one audacious leap he dashed into the regions beneath the stage in search of the musicians. That he was thence expelled by the united efforts of supernumeraries attached to the concern; and that, as the said supernumeraries of the concern attempted to get him back over the barrier of the orchestra, the sheriff's-officer and the apothecary scrambled forward to his assistance, and prevented his being so put back with all their might. That a general fight ensued—that many people left the theatre in dismay—that others who were entering refused to complete their entrée—that at length the riotous trio were got over by dint of numbers—that they were carried to this office—and that the manager was positively determined to prosecute!
To all this the schoolmaster was the only one of the three who could say anything in reply; but then he was a host in himself. He, as in duty bound by the nature of his calling, was the "Logic" of the "spree;" but unfortunately his logical powers were mystified with old port and beating, and he could make little or nothing of it. He began his defence with three distinct emissions of the fumes of the old Port above-mentioned, and then told the magistrate how they were all three Devonshire men, and old friends, who had met for an evening's pleasure, after a long and tedious separation—how the apothecary had never been in London in all his life before, and had been let into a secret by that night's adventure—how he himself had taken his tea before he set out from Greenwich to meet the apothecary—how the apothecary dined, and how he did not—how they met with the sheriff's-officer—how they got drunk at the Shades at London Bridge, at the expense of the apothecary—how they got more drunk in Fleet-street, at the expense of himself (the schoolmaster)—and how they got drunk in the superlative degree, "somewhere hereabouts"—how somebody gave them orders for the Olympic—how they went there, and found the pit as silent as the grave—how they called for music, and no music came—how the schoolmaster dashed into the cellar in search of the fiddlers, but couldn't find any—how the folks felt themselves offended at his interference—how a devil of a row ensued—how he might have escaped, but scorned to do so—how they were finally captured—and how they were vastly sorry for all of it.
Lots of conversation ensued upon these premises, and the manager, after two or three private conferences, declared himself satisfied, but the magistrate said he was not. "If poor men," said his worship, "were brought before me, charged with such mischievous absurdities, they would be inevitably sent to prison, unless they could find bail; and I will not suffer others to escape, because they may have certain means of satisfying those they injure."
So the schoolmaster and the sheriff's-officer were held to bail for their appearance at the sessions; and the apothecary was suffered to return to his disconsolate family unscathed, because he had not been quite so obstreperous as his companions.
An elderly matron, one Mrs. Bridget Foggarty—the lady of an operative architect (vulgo a bricklayer) was charged with having wantonly assaulted a patrol, whilst in the execution of his duty.
It seems that a deceased lamplighter was interred, the evening before, in St. Pancras' burying ground, with much funeral pomp—there being more than two hundred of his brother illuminati present, each bearing a flaming torch in celebration of his obsequies. This, it was said, is the universal mode of lighting a lamplighter to "that bourne from whence no traveller returns," and, of course, the spectacle attracted crowds of people. Wherever crowds of people are collected, there the patrol very properly repair, to prevent disorder: and the officer in question was there for that meritorious purpose, when Mrs. Bridget Foggarty abruptly gave him a slap on the cheek with her own right hand—that hand being all begrimed with tar, in consequence of her having held one of the half-melted funeral torches while the bearer of it took a little of Deady's consolatory on his way back from the mournful ceremonies.
This was the assault complained of; but the officer said he did not wish to be hard with Mrs. Foggarty; neither would he have taken her into custody, had not the surrounding multitude echoed the blow with such a shout of exultation as gave the lady a very evident intention of repeating it.
Mrs. Bridget Foggarty, when asked by the magistrate what she had to say for herself, wept audibly, and assured his worship that she took the gentleman for a friend of her husband's, or she never should have taken such a liberty as that 'ere. She declared that it was not tar upon her hand, but soot—plain, ordinary soot, "off of a chimney-sweeper;" and, if his worship pleased, she would tell him all about it.
His worship did not object, and she proceeded to state that she had been to see her husband, then lying ill in the hospital; that on her return, she went to see the lamplighter's burying, and that the folks were all very merry, "and quite larkish in a manner;" that being curious to see what sort of a coffin it was, she skrouged herself through the mob till she reached the brink of the grave, and she had no sooner done so, than the mob pushed a chimney-sweeper into it, and pushed her atop of him; and that was the way her hands were blacked.
The magistrate told her he thought her visit to her sick husband should have disposed her more seriously, than to be mingling in such a disgraceful scene; and desired her to go home, and conduct herself more decently in future.
Mrs. Foggarty was very thankful for the lenity shown to her, and departed courtesying and drying her eyes.
Two gentlemen of pretty considerable respectability—one tall, and the other short—were charged with having assaulted the watch; and no fewer than five "ancient and quiet watchmen" appeared, to testify against them.
Dennis Mack was the first in order. He said he found the two gentlemen at the door of the oyster shop in New-street, Covent-garden, between one and two o'clock in the morning, kicking up a great row with a hackney-coach and two ladies. He told them to go home to bed, and not be making such a bother as all that, when the short one laid hold of his staff, and tried to twist it out of his hand, whereupon he sprung his rattle for assistance, &c.
Thomas Robinson was the next. He was a smart, upright, Corporal Trim-like sort of a watchman, and his discourse was somewhat "stuffed with epithets of war." He heard the rattle-call of his comrade, and advanced to his relief—he made his approaches with caution in order to reconnoitre the party—having so done, he challenged the offenders to surrender, and received the point-blank charge of a fist in his belly—saving his worship's presence.
"What are you?" asked the magistrate, struck by the novelty of his phraseology.
"I have been a soldier, your honour," he replied; "but since I was discharged from the army, I have endeavoured to fulfil the part of a cobbler."
Patrick Donaghue, a six-foot Emerald Islander, with an astonishing perpendicular expansion of countenance, was the third in order. He heard the hubbuboo as he was paceably walking his bate, and went, right on end, to larn the rights of it; and the biggest of the two—without saying "by yer lave,"—took him a mighty dacent stroke over the jaws.
Two other watchmen followed; but, as they said, they only came in at the tail of the row, and therefore they did not see the beginning of it. However, they bore testimony to the extreme repugnance of the gentlemen to go to the watch-house.
The gentlemen were now called upon for their defence, and the short one undertook the task of making it. It appeared that he and his tall friend were out so late because they were eating oysters, consequently the oysters were solely to blame, as far as late hours were concerned. Then, as they were coming out of the oyster-shop, they found two ladies, who also had been up stairs eating oysters, sitting in a hackney coach at the door. There was nothing extraordinary in this; but somehow or other the coachman had got it into his head that these two unlucky gentlemen had ordered the coach for the use of the ladies, then comfortably sitting therein, and of course he looked to them for the fare. The ladies themselves encouraged the coachman in this "iniquitous idea," and seemed to enjoy it very much; but our oyster-eaters were not to be had in this way. They re-sisted the "abominable demand," the coachman per-sisted, the ladies laughed, the watch came up, and the oyster eaters were hauled off to durance, most unjustly. As to the blow on the belly, the dacent stroke on the jaws, &c., they denied all that sort of thing in toto.
They were nevertheless held to bail for their appearance at the sessions; and, doubtless, should they ever be taken with an oyster fit again, they will try to get it over earlier.
Messrs. Theodore Planque (a very tall gentleman), Hugh Jackson (a very short one), and Robert Thomas Huff (neither tall nor short, but, as it were, between both), and a bamboo cane, almost as long and large as a little scaffold-pole, were brought before the magistrates from the subterraneous saloons of St. Martin's watch-house, charged with dreadful doings among the Charleys.
It appeared by the statements pro and con., that the prisoners are very respectable people, and that on Friday night they went to sup with an unquestionably highly respectable tradesman in Long-acre. This supper was given on the occasion of his brother, who is a captain in the navy, having returned from a long and perilous voyage; and, of course, on such an extraordinary occasion, they drank deeper than ordinary. It is really surprising what a quantity of thirsty sentiments an occasion of this kind gives rise to. At last the tall gentleman—or, as one of the watchmen called him, "the long one"—was found stretched out at his length on the pavement before the door, completely done up. It was a charley who found him, and a very honest charley too, as times go; but whilst he was endeavouring to gather him up, the short gentleman came behind and floored poor charley himself, with the great bamboo, above mentioned. He was soon up again, however—though, as he said, he never was floored by such a queer thing in his life before, nor half so clanely. Once on his legs again, round went his rattle, and in half-a-dozen seconds up came half-a-dozen of his brethren. The short gentleman with his bamboo, seeing this, laid about him lustily—ribs, canisters, or lanterns, it was all one to him. But "who can control his fate?" or what can one single arm do against a dozen? He was bundled up, or enveloped as it were, in a posse of charleys, all in full tog, enough to smother up a Hercules; and after some little ineffectual sprunting, he, and "the long one," and the "middle-sized one," and the great bamboo, were all safely lodged in the watch-house; where the long one, having shaken off his drunken slumbers, committed divers outrageous assaults upon the night constable and his men, as they were putting them down into the cellars.
In their defence before the magistrate, they admitted the drunkenness, but denied the violence; and begged his worship to believe that it was "entirely a case of simple intoxication."
The magistrate ordered the long one to find bail upon four distinct assaults; the short one to find bail upon two distinct assaults; and the middle-sized one was discharged on payment of his fees.
A personage, who described himself as "General Sarsfield Lucan, Viscount Kilmallock in Ireland, a peer of France, and a descendant of Charlemagne," presented himself before the magistrates to solicit a few shillings to enable him to proceed on important business to Wexford.
General Sarsfield Lucan wore an old brown surtout, with the collar turned up behind to keep his neck warm, and a scrap of dirty white ribbon fastened to one of the button-holes; a black velvet waistcoat, powdered with tarnished silver fleurs-de-lis, and an ancient well-worn chapeau bras, surmounted with a fringe of black feathers. He carried under his arm a large roll of writings, and all his pockets were stuffed with tin cases, pocket-books, and bundles of papers: his "fell of hair" was ruefully matted; an enormous tawny whisker covered either cheek and his upper lip and chin,—which, for want of shaving, "showed like a stubble-field at harvest home,"—was all begrimed with real Scotch.
He said he was a native of Wexford in Ireland, and had spent the last seven years in Paris, where his cousin, Louis XVIII., nominated him a peer, and gave him a decoration (the bit of white ribbon above mentioned); but his instalment had been postponed by the then recent change in the ministry; his cousin (Louis XVIII.) assuring him, that as soon as his present ministers were kicked out, he should come in. In the meantime his father had died, and willed him certain lands and houses in Wexford; whereupon he wrote to his sisters, who were resident there, to desire them to send him the proceeds of his estates forthwith; but instead of so doing, they had themselves administered to the will, and were dissipating his patrimony. Under these circumstances, his cousin, the king, advised him to set out immediately for Ireland, and seek redress in person. "Journeying with this intent," he landed at Dover a few days before, but on reaching London he found his finances exhausted, and he was now driven to the unpleasant necessity of applying to their worships for a few shillings, to enable him to proceed.
Sir R. Birnie said, he wondered his royal cousin had not furnished him with the means of prosecuting his journey.
"Sir! I scorned to trouble him at all on such a palthry subject as money," replied the general, with some warmth; and he then went on to state, that in order to satisfy his coach-hire from Dover to London, he had been necessitated to give up possession of his working tools.
"Your working tools!" said the magistrate; "and pray may I ask what trade your lordship follows?"
"No trade in the world at all," replied the general; "I am not the person to be after following trades.—The tools I am spaking about are what I used in some of the greatest inventions the world ever saw. I invented a happaratus for extracting stone and gravel from the blather, without any operation at all. I invented a machine for fishing up vessels foundered at sea, as aisy as fishing up an oyster; and I invented another machine for making accouchement the most aisy thing in existence—a mere fla-bite to the most tender lady imaginable! And it was partly these inventions, indeed, that brought me to this country now—because I did not choose to be giving foreigners the benefit of them."
"Pray, Sir," said Mr. Minshull, "will you give me leave to ask whether you were ever confined?"
The General—"Confined! for what would I be confined?"
Mr. Minshull—"If you do not understand the nature of my question, I am sorry I put it; but it certainly appeared to me possible that——"
The General—"Sir, you appear to me to be after taalking in a very queer kind of a way to a jontleman! You ought to know what is due to a respectable and graat man, even though he is in distress."
Mr. Minshull—"Well, Sir, I will speak as plainly to you as you do to me. It is my opinion, and the opinion, I believe, of every person present, that you are out of your mind; and that if you have never been confined, it is high time you were so."
The General angrily declared he was altogether mens sana in corpore sano; and professed himself astonished that any body should entertain a contrary opinion; then taking from his side-pocket a round tin case, nearly as large as a demi-culverin, he offered to produce from it documents to show that he was really the important personage he professed himself to be.
The magistrates, however, had no faith in the matter; they told him it might be all very true, but they had no funds to assist him with; and, as he appeared very incredulous on this subject, they at length ordered him to withdraw upon pain of being committed to prison under the Vagrant Act.
This was an awful alternative, which the gallant "General" did not think proper to risk; so gathering up his patents and papers, he put his feather-fringed chapeau upon his head, and taking an ample pinch of snuff—so ample, indeed, that it rushed through his olfactory labyrinth with the noise of a mighty cataract—he stalked majestically out of the office, muttering anathemas as he went.
This was a proceeding under the Pawnbrokers' Act, by which Mrs. Priscilla Williams sought to recover a compensation in damages for the loss of certain property pledged with a Mr. Simmons.
Mrs. Priscilla Williams is a bouncing buxom belle, of five-and-thirty or thereabouts, who, having occasion to raise the sum of eighteen-pence on some sudden emergency, was fain to carry her best black bombasine petticoat—or bum-be-seen petticoat, as she called it—to Mr. Simmons, of Seven Dials, a diminutive elder, who gathereth profit unto himself daily, by lending to the poor: in common parlance, a pawnbroker; or, poetically speaking, "My Uncle!" This Mr. Simmons received the petticoat; held it up to the light; observed that "it might well be called a bum-be-seen petticoat, for the moths had riddled it sadly;" and finally, he lent the money required; but when she applied to redeem the petticoat, he told her it was lost, and refused to make her any compensation for it.
Mr. Simmons, in his defence, admitted having received the petticoat, and also having lost it; but he declared Mrs. Priscilla Williams had deluged him with abominable abuse; and he humbly submitted that the said abuse ought to go as a set-off against the lost petticoat.
Mrs. Priscilla Williams protested against any such settlement as that. She readily admitted having "blown Mr. Simmons up a bit," and she thought he richly deserved it; for he d——d her and her petticoat too, in the most notoriousest way imaginable:—"I shouldn't have minded his d——g me," she added, "because it couldn't hurt me, but I thought it extremely ongenteel in him to d——n my petticoat."
The magistrate ordered that Mr. Simmons should pay the value of the petticoat, with full costs of suit.
Two apprentice boys in the service of a very respectable tradesman in Museum-street, together with a little night-walker were charged by an Irish watchman with kicking up a great big row and clatter, at Charing-cross, at half-past twelve o'clock in the morning; and, what was still worse, with laughing at, and using bad words to the said watchman, when he very civilly told them to "be off of his bate;" and "moreover and above, with inching it backert in the teeth of him."
"And pray what is 'inching it backert?'" asked his worship.
"Fait, your honour, an' this it is"—replied honest Mahoney, shuffling his feet backwards, inch by inch.
His worship observed, that he had never heard the verb "inching" used before, and therefore he had asked for an explanation. "I suppose you conjugate it 'I inch—thou inchest—he inches,' don't you, Mr. Mahoney?"
"Your honour knows the rights of every thing," replied Mr. Mahoney; and the case proceeded.
It appeared that the two lads had obtained leave of their master to go home for clean linen, and had taken that opportunity of taking a twelvepenny peep at the wonders of Astley's Amphitheatre; and that, in their return to their master's house, they were picked up by the little night-walker; that she, being known to Mr. Mahoney as "a noisy customer," he told her to go off and leave the lads alone; whereupon she trated Mr. Mahoney with some abuse, and the lads taking her part, they were all three carried to the watch-house.
The worthy magistrate read them an excellent lesson on the impropriety of their conduct, and prevailed upon their master to forgive them. This done, they were discharged; and the lady was sent to Bridewell—she being well known as most depraved and disorderly.
Mr. Humphrey Brummel, a tall, gaunt old gentleman, of pedagogue-ish exterior, with each particular hair standing on end, like quills upon the fretful porcupine, was charged by Mr. Terence O'Connor, a Covent-garden watchman, with having been extramely disorderly under the pehazies (piazzas) during the night.
The magistrate inquired as to the nature of his disorderliness, and Mr. Terence O'Connor explained it to be—"spaching to the lads, and frullishing his stick about like a merry Andrew." It also appeared that he continued these eccentricities from midnight till four in the morning, "clane contrary to all sorts of dacency;" and therefore Mr. Terence O'Connor lodged him in the watch-house.
Mr. Humphrey Brummel in his defence said, he took shelter under the Piazza from the inclemency of the weather: and it was very possible that, whilst there, he might have endeavoured to cheer the loneliness of the hour by an audible repetition of some appropriate passages from the poets. But he was totally unconscious of offence, and he solemnly declared that instead of "spaching to the lads," he stationed himself in a door-way far apart from every living soul; and had not Mr. Terence O'Connor been so over officious, he should have gone quietly to his bed, and his worship would not have been put to the pain of listening to such a frivolous charge.
"An' please your worship," exclaimed Mr. Terence O'Connor, "he says he's got a nact of Parlyment in his pocket, what'll lay me by the heels, an' I hope your worship will make him prove his words!"
"I will do my best," replied his worship, smiling, and at the same time asking Mr. Brummel what Act of Parliament he alluded to.
"Lord love you, sir," replied the tall old man, "I never alluded to any Act of Parliament; but I did threaten to report him to your worship for sleeping on his post."
"Is it true, O'Connor, that you really do sleep whilst on duty?" asked his worship.
"Ounly that time I got no sleep in the day," replied the night guardian, blushing as intensely as a fresh-washed Munster potato.
"You are both fool and knave, Mr. O'Connor," observed his worship—"a knave for sleeping when you are paid to keep awake, and a fool for wantonly bringing this complaint against yourself."
Mr. Humphrey Brummel was then discharged without a fee; and Mr. Terence O'Connor was dismissed with an assurance that his watching should be watched in future, and that he should be suspended if caught napping.
A pretty little aquiline-faced, "gazelle-eyed" damsel, was brought in by one of the St. Clement Danes' constables, charged with creating a riot in the chambers of Mr. Snuggs, of Clement's Inn.
Master Constable knew nothing of the alleged riot, save and except what Mr. Snuggs had told him; and so he was ordered to stand aside; but Mr. Snuggs himself told a long and lamentable story of the sufferings he had endured from the fair prisoner. He had originally engaged her as a servant to attend to the domestic department at his chambers; but she took advantage of his partiality for her services, and made the chambers too hot to hold him, as it were;—she disturbed his studies by her loquacity; she lived intemperately; she set him at defiance; she got her relations to help her to persecute him; and, if he only attempted to remonstrate with her, she raised the whole neighbourhood about his ears! He concluded by expressing a hope that his worship would put a stop to her doings.
The magistrate thought there must be something very strange in all this; for what man of any spirit would suffer the serenity of his chambers and his mind to be so disturbed by a little gipsy of an Abigail, "when he himself might his quietus make with a bare warning." He therefore put a question, or two, to Mr. Snuggs, touching the "partiality" he had spoken of.
Mr. Snuggs replied afar off—somewhat approaching to the obscure; but not so the fair troubler of his peace and his chambers. She gave his worship to understand, in good round terms, that she was the veritable mamma of sundry little Snuggses; and that Mr. Snuggs was neither more nor less than a gay deceiver. She denied that she had ever "kicked up a row" in his chambers—she had merely told him of his faults and his failings; and she hoped his worship would not think of separating her from her children.
The magistrate immediately dismissed the charge; the damsel smiled triumphantly; and Mr. Snuggs, like a tall elderly gentleman as he was, stalked out of the office, sighing—as who should say, "The Gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to scourge us!"
This was a proceeding wherein one Mrs. Florence O'Shaughnessy sought "purtection behint the law agen the thumpings of her oun lawful husband," Mr. Phelim O'Shaughnessy, of the parish of St. Giles, labourer.
Phelim O'Shaughnessy was a clean-made, curly-pated, good-tempered little fellow, in a new flannel jacket, white apron, and duck trousers. His wife, Florence, was about his own size, no whit behind him in cleanliness, very pretty, and she had a voice—plaintive as a turtledove's.
"—An' plase your honour," said she, "this is Phelim O'Shaughnessy, the husband to myself, that was when he married me; and is—barring the bating he gave me yesterday, just for nothing at all, your honour, that I knows of—ounly that he listens to bad folks, the neighbours of us; and bad folks they are sure enough, your honour, for that same; and your honour'll be plased just to do me the kindness to make them hould their pace and not be after taking away the senses of my oun husband from me, to make him look upon me like a stranger, your honour—for what would I be then?"
Poor Florence would have gone on murmuring forth her little griefs in this manner by the hour together, if his worship would have listened to her. But the office was crowded with business, and he reminded her that the warrant she had sued for, charged her husband with having beat her; and she must confine herself to making good that charge, if she wished to have him punished for so doing.
"Your honour," said Florence, with a low courtesy, "it isn't myself that would hurt a hair of the head of him; ounly that your honour would hear the rights of it, and tell Phelim he shouldn't be after bating me for the likes of them. And here he is to the fore, your honour, for that same."
The magistrate found it would be vain to think of hearing "the rights of it" from Florence; and therefore he asked Phelim what he had to say to it.
Now Phelim was a man of few words. He had listened calmly to all Florence had been saying, and it was not till the magistrate had twice put the question to him, that he left off smoothing his dusty hat, and then, looking steadfastly in his worship's face, he replied, "Och! it's all about the threepence ha'penny, your honour. It was Saturday night when I gave her every farthing of the wages I earned that week—and so I does every Saturday night, come when it may, your honour—and when I ax'd her on Monday morning to give me threepence ha'penny, to get me a pint of beer and the little loaf, bekase I was going to a long job in the city, and didn't know what time I'd be back to my oun place, she wouldn't give it me any how, your honour; and sure I did give her a clout or two."
"But you would not do so again, I am sure, Phelim," observed his worship. "You should remember that she is your wife, whom you have vowed to protect and cherish; and besides, you know it is disgraceful in any man to strike a woman—especially in an Irishman. You must give me your solemn promise, Phelim, that you will not strike her again."
"Sure I'd be a baste if I whopp'd her again, your honour," replied Phelim, "when I just thought of a skame to do without it.—It's ounly keeping the threepence ha'penny in my oun pocket, your honour, and I'll have no occasion to bate it out of her at all."
The bystanders laughed at this skame of Phelim's, and even the magistrate smiled, as he good-humouredly told Florence, that, though he believed her to be an excellent wife, he thought that she was a little too hard in refusing her husband such a trifle as threepence half-penny when he was going to work so far from home.
Florence smiled also; but there was a thoughtful sadness in her smile; and, when the laughter had subsided, she told his worship, that it was not the "coppers," nor the bit of a "bating" Phelim had given her, that she cared about. He had harkened to bad tales about her, she said, and had sworn never to be good to her till she said "two words" to him.
His worship asked her if her husband supposed she was untrue to him.
She replied that he did, and implored the magistrate to let her swear to her fidelity!
His worship told her he was sure there was no need of any such ceremony—"Phelim," said he, "has too much good sense to listen to any idle stories about you."
Still, however, poor Florence would not be pacified; and snatching the Gospels from the table, she pressed the sacred volume fervidly to her lips, and then raising her eyes, she exclaimed—"So help me God! that, barring Phelim and myself, I don't know man from woman."
All this while Phelim stood hanging down his head, and fumbling at the buckle of his hat in the simplest manner imaginable. "For shame, Phelim!" said the magistrate, as Florence made an end of her oath—"For shame, Phelim!—How can you stand there and see the distress of such a wife, without coming forward and assuring her of your confidence?—Give her your hand, man, and comfort her as she deserves."
Phelim stretched forth his hand—Florence grasped it almost convulsively, and raising it to her lips, all chapped and sun-burnt as it was, she kissed it—they looked each other in the face for a moment—burst into tears, and hastily left the office arm-in-arm.
Mr. Christopher Clutterbuck and Mr. Dionysius Dobbs were charged with having created a great uproar and disturbance in the lobbies of Drury-lane Theatre on the previous evening, and with having grievously assaulted certain peace-officers, who attempted to quell the said disturbance, by taking the said Christopher Clutterbuck and Dionysius Dobbs into custody. These gentlemen were Corinthians—that is to say, in the fashion of the time, gentlemen who were "up, down, and fly to every thing."
They were brought from Covent Garden watch-house, together with a gang of young thieves, disorderly cobblers, drunken prostitutes, houseless vagabonds, and other off-scourings of society; and a very respectable appearance they made.—Christopher Clutterbuck, a long, sturdy, burly-boned, short-visaged, curly-headed, whiskerless subject, with a hat of that cut called a kiddy shallow, and an enormous pair of bull's-eye spectacles; and Dionysius Dobbs, a lean, lack-beardical, long-faced, sunken-cheeked, hollow-eyed, cossack-waisted concern, with a very gentlemanly imperfection of vision, and a silver eye-glass to correspond. And there they were, for nearly an hour before the arrival of the magistrate, crammed among the tagrag-and-bobtail in the common waiting room, or sweating-room, as it is sometimes more properly called.—Mr. Kit Clutterbuck, strutting to and fro, with arms a-kimbo, as vigorous as a turkey-cock; and Dionysius Dobbs, lolling upon one of the forms, lifting his eye-glass from time to time, and gasping like an expiring magpie; whilst the torn and bemudded toggery of each of them, all tacked together with pins, gave ample proof of their love of "Life."
The magistrates having taken their seats, the demolished Corinthians were ushered into their presence, and a charge, of which the following is the substance, was exhibited against them.
Between the third and fourth acts of the play—which happened very appropriately to be Wild Oats—they were swaggering about the lobbies, insulting every body that came in their way; the "big one"—that is to say, Mr. Kit Clutterbuck—offering to mill "any body in the world," and repeatedly exclaiming—"Oh! that a man of my own powers would come athwart me!" and the "thin one" (that's Mr. Dionysius Dobbs) lisping responsively—"That's your sort! Go it, Kitty my covy!" Nobody taking the challenge, Kitty my covy, in the overflowing of his Corinthianism, seized his friend, the delicate Mr. Dionysius Dobbs, and dashing him against the wall of the lobby, shattered one of the lamps with his empty knowledge-box. Dionysius Dobbs took the concussion in good part; but Mr. Spring, the box book-keeper, who happened to witness the feat, was not so well pleased, and sent for Bond, the officer, to remove them. Bond prevailed upon them to be a little more quiet; and the loss of the lamp was overlooked. But in a quarter of an hour after, he found them taking indelicate liberties with the wretched women in the saloons, sparring, bellowing, and capering, like a pair of drunken ourang-outangs, as he said, to the great danger of the mirrors, and the scandal of the saloon itself. He again attempted to remonstrate with them; but all he could get from them was a challenge to fight, from Kitty my covy; and therefore he called for the assistance of his brother officers, determined to remove them entirely from the theatre. A posse of other officers came to his assistance; and then began what the Corinthians called a prime spree—viz., Billingsgate bellowings, black eyes, broken coxcombs, and rending of garments; Kitty Clutterbuck swinging his arms about like the sails of a windmill; Dionysius Dobbs shrieking and clinging to the balustrades like a monkey in hysterics; and the officers dragging at their collars in front, and twisting at their tails behind; and in this fashion they were, by degrees, worked out of the theatre into the street. And then, as they had been so very obstreperous and Corinthianish, the officers determined to deposit them in the disorderly dépôt of the watch-house. In their way thither, Kitty Clutterbuck got hold of an officer's hand, and gave it such a twist that three of the fingers were dislocated, and the tendons of the wrist very seriously injured. When they got into the watch-house, Kitty conducted himself more like a mad bull than any thing else—butting and bellowing at every thing that came in his way. His honour, the nocturnal constable, therefore, ordered that he should be put down below—in the subterranean boudoir; but Mr. Christopher Clutterbuck blew up the boudoir, and his honour too, in good set terms, and threatened his honour, moreover, with the high displeasure of a certain noble marquis. "Tut! none of your gammon!" retorted his honour; and Mr. Christopher Clutterbuck was forthwith "quoited down stairs like a shove-groat shilling;" but not before he had grievously avenged himself on the persons of his quoiters. There were five of them engaged in the service, and every one of them came off halting.
These matters having been duly set forth in evidence before the magistrates, they called upon the conquered constable-quelled Corinthians for their defence. Whereupon Mr. Christopher Clutterbuck, with many propitiatory deviations from the perpendicular, delivered himself thus:—
"Your worships—that is to say, your worships, I—hem! I beg pardon, your worships, but I don't know. It is extremely awkward—all I can say is—that is, all I have to offer is, that I—belong to—to his Majesty's service, hem! But unfortunately—unfortunately, your worships, have not been in the habit of being much in town, and—the fact is, your worships, I really don't know exactly; but this gentleman (Mr. Dionysius Dobbs) is my friend—my particular friend, and a gentleman, as you perceive—that is, he is a gentleman, I assure you. I suppose your worships, we were not in our regular senses—certainly we could not be—we were not so sober as we might have been at sometimes, I suppose; but the fact is, no doubt, I imagine, we must make amends for any damage we have done, certainly."
Mr. Dionysius Dobbs said nothing. Once or twice he essayed to speak, but what he had to say stuck in his throat. So he gasped piteously; and looked unutterable things, with an aspect so droopingly lack-a-daisical, that the very officers seemed sorry for him.
Their worships, however, commented severely upon their misdeeds, and ordered that they should put in good and sufficient bail for their appearance at the Quarter Sessions, there to answer to five distinct indictments for assault. Mr. Christopher Clutterbuck in 100l., with two sureties in 50l. each; and Mr. Dionysius Dobbs in 80l., with two sureties in 40l. each.
They had no bail ready, and were locked up all day, among other unfortunates, in the iron room. In the evening they gave the required bail; and, meanwhile, the Grand Jury returned five true bills against them. But they were never brought to trial; for, before the next Sessions, they found means to make their peace with the injured officers, at an expense of some forty or fifty pounds. And this is worshipful Corinthianism.
This was a proceeding, by warrant, for an assault and battery, arising out of the non-settlement of a debt of honour.
Mr. Elias Simmons, the complainant, is of the children of Israel; a fat, round man, of a pleasant countenance, and addicted to luxuriating in brown stout and a pipe, in the little back parlour at the Cannon Tavern—a comfortable public-house, somewhere in Knightsbridge. The defendant, Mr. Jacques Breton, is a native of Switzerland; tall, gaunt, and elderly, with a nice sense of honour, "sudden and quick in quarrel," and, withal, in the practice of sometimes taking a half-gill of old sherry in a goblet of pure spring water, at the Cannon Tavern aforesaid. He appeared before the magistrate with a large black silk handkerchief bound round his head, so as to cover one of his eyes.
On the day named in the warrant, it being between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Elias Simmons was in the little back parlour at the tavern aforesaid, luxuriating as aforesaid, and several other gentlemen, then and there assembled, were luxuriating in like manner, when the door opened, and in stalked Mr. Jacques Breton; who, having seated himself, rang the bell and ordered his sherry and water as usual. Now it so happened that Mr. Jacques Breton was indebted to Mr. Elias Simmons in the sum of two shillings and sixpence; and, moreover, the said debt had been standing almost time immemorial, so that Mr. Elias Simmons was weary of waiting for it; and, as it was a "debt of honour," he began to entertain doubts that Mr. Jacques Breton meant to avail himself of that circumstance, and forget to pay it. He did not presume to say that such was the case, but he entertained that opinion; and the moment he saw Mr. Jacques Breton enter the room, he determined in his own mind to put it to the proof. Howbeit, knowing Mr. Jacques Breton's constitutional irascibility, and unwilling to wound his feelings before the English gentlemen present, he addressed him in French, viz., "Monsieur—voulez-vous—donner moi—mon leetel demiécu, monsieur?" To which civil interrogation—put with all the good humour in the world—Mr. Jacques Breton instantly replied, "Ahah! sacré! vat? you want to 'front me!"—and seizing a heavy cue from a bagatelle board on the table, he grasped it in both hands, and, before the company could interfere, he gave Mr. Elias Simmons a "thundering thwack" on the bare head, which shivered his tobacco-pipe into a thousand pieces, and laid him prostrate among the spittoons!
For this outrageous and totally unanticipated attack, Mr. Elias Simmons now sought redress from the laws of that country in which he has the honour of sojourning.
The magistrate having strictly inquired whether no other provocation had been given, and having been assured there had not, asked Mr. Jacques Breton what he had to say in excuse for such violence?
Mr. Jacques Breton prepared for his defence by throwing back his head and lifting up the black silk handkerchief before-mentioned; and having placed himself in this unpicturesque position, he began—"Ahah! monsieur—see—he broke my eye! Voilà, monsieur! see my eye! Voilà!"
It was very evident that beneath his black handkerchief he had a dreadful black eye, and the magistrate asked how he came by it?
The witnesses replied that it was done in disarming him of the cue, whilst complainant was still sprawling among the spittoons.
Mr. Jacques Breton proceeded with his defence. "I vas ver much vex at Monsieur Simmon," said he, "because I vood pay ven it satisfied myself. I vas so mush up—vat you call d—n angry, dat de taut come I vood punise him, ahah. But, monsieur, de strike vas not sufficient to murder von littel—von vara littel fly!"
Monsieur Jacques Breton had nothing better to offer in his defence, and after having repeated the same things half-a-dozen times over, he was delivered into the iron custody of the turnkey till he should find bail for his appearance at the Sessions.
A person of very respectable exterior was brought before the magistrate, charged with assaulting the waiter, and destroying the property, of an eating-house proprietor in the neighbourhood of Covent-garden. Eating-houses, properly so called, are, as is well known to the initiated, vulgarly denominated "slap-bang shops;" and certainly the affair of the defendant, in the present case, was a genuine slap-bang adventure.
The gentleman went into the house in question, and called for some roast beef, "under-done, and not too fat." The waiter instantly brought him what they call "a plate" of roast beef—several good jolly slapping slices, swimming in twelve-water gravy, and duly displayed upon an ordinary-sized dinner plate. "What the devil do you bring me such an infernal quantity for?" asked the gentleman. "Do you think I'm a coal porter, or a ploughman? Take it away, you vagabond! and bring me a more christian-like quantity—about half as much." "Master doesn't make half plates, sir," replied the waiter. "Then I shall have none!" rejoined the gentleman, and resuming his gloves, hat, and stick, he was about to make his exit in a rage; but the waiter, with plate of beef in hand, and napkin under arm, placed himself at the head of the stairs, seeking to cut off his retreat with a "Please to pay me for the beef, sir; it was cut by your orders, and you mustn't go till you have paid for it. It only comes to ninepence, sir, wedgittubles and all." "Stand out of my way, you scoundrel! or I'll knock you down!" said the gentleman. "I shan't, sir; you only wants to bilk master, and bolt," replied the waiter. This was enough. In the next instant, a kick from the enraged gentleman sent the plate of beef spinning up to the ceiling; the waiter seized the gentleman by the collar, the gentleman grasped the waiter by the throat, and they struggled together for a moment, and then, down stairs they trundled together, slap bang on to a table just covered with smoking hot dishes of roast and boiled: the table was upset with the concussion, and in the next moment, the half-strangled combatants lay sprawling upon the floor, in the midst of shoulders of mutton, pieces of beef, dabs of boiled cabbage, broken platters, capsized mustard-pots, and many other odd things too tedious to mention.
The master-cook stood aghast at the horrible clatter occasioned by this comical catastrophe, and the ruin which accompanied it; but he was soon sufficiently recovered from his astonishment to gather the gentleman up again; and then, having had him well wiped down, he gave him in charge to a constable. The constable carried him before the magistrate, as a matter of course, and the master-cook now sought compensation in damages for the injury done to his plates, dishes, and victuals, and the waiter sought a reparation for the bodily injury he had sustained.
The magistrate directed the gentleman to find bail to answer the complaint of the waiter at the Sessions; but he refused to make any order with respect to the damages upon the eatables; inasmuch as the waiter appeared to be as deeply implicated in that part of the business as the gentleman.
One morning in the dog-days, a gentleman presented himself before the magistrate to claim redress against a bootmaker, who, he said, had done him irreparable injury, and had wantonly inflicted upon him unheard-of torments—torments fit only for the howling inhabitants of Tartarus!—This unfortunate gentleman had walked or rather waddled into the office slip-shod, in green morocco slippers: whilst he spoke, he stood first upon one foot, and then upon the other; and there was such a manifestation of intense suffering in his voice, his countenance and his gesture, that every person present pitied him.
He said he had been miserable enough to have a dispute with his boot-maker, about a pair of boots which he had sent the rascal to repair; and in that dispute he expressed himself more warmly, perhaps, than the occasion warranted; but he little thought he was to suffer for it in the way he had done. Some days after the dispute above-mentioned, the boot-maker sent the boots home; and, on the next morning, he put them on, and walked out with the intention of calling upon several friends, with whom he had particular appointments. But he had not walked more than two or three hundred yards, when his feet began to feel "cursedly uncomfortable;" and the more he walked and tried not to notice them, the more uncomfortable they became. What the plague could be the matter with the boots, he could not imagine! They were quite large enough, and the leather seemed soft and pliable; and yet, had they been made of iron, and two sizes too small for him, he could not have felt more uncomfortable. Nevertheless—though with less and less of comfort, he still walked, and walked, until his walk became a downright ridiculous hobble; and at last, without having called upon a single friend, he returned home in as lamentable a condition as Peter Pindar's pea-perplexed Pilgrim—
"His eyes in tears, his cheeks and brows in sweat,
Deep sympathizing with his groaning feet!"
"Bring the boot jack, Molly!"—he exclaimed, in a paroxysm of perspiration. Molly brought it in a moment, and, with eager anticipation of ease, he stuck his heel into it; but, alas! he no sooner began to pull than his agonies were increased tenfold! and the boot-jack was kicked away in despair. In two minutes he tried it again—and again he suffered the most excruciating torment. Oh! miserable state!—Hercules himself could not have suffered more whilst writhing in the poisoned shirt; and had the unlucky boot-maker been there at that moment, it is a hundred to one but he would have undergone the fate of the hapless Lychas—at least he would have stood a good chance of being well pulled by the nose, and perhaps knocked down with the boot-jack. At last—for it is miserable to dwell upon such horrors—at last, the gentleman, sweating at every pore, and wound up almost to madness, thrust his heel once more into the yawning jack, and shutting his eyes, he pulled with such a desperate might, that his foot came forth indeed—but it came forth completely flayed. Not only the stocking, but the skin was left behind—and even his very corns were torn up by the roots! Can any one imagine a sharper operation than this must have been? And then to be obliged to undergo a similar operation on the other foot, too!—Really it makes one perspire only to think of it. However, it was inevitable—the other foot was torn away in the same miserable manner, and it came forth from the bottom of the confounded boot almost as skinless as an anatomical preparation!
"And now, Sir," said the gentleman, when he had told his story thus far—"and now, Sir, what do you suppose was the cause of all this misery?"
"Upon my word," replied the magistrate, "I cannot imagine—I never heard of such a case before."
"Why, Sir," continued the gentleman, "it was cobbler's wax!"
"Cobbler's wax!" echoed his worship.
"Cobbler's wax, Sir!" re-echoed the gentleman.—"The rascally boot-maker, in pure revenge for the scolding I gave him—had, with malice prepense, lined the foot of each boot with cobbler's wax! and I trust, Sir, you will punish him soundly for such unwarrantable wickedness."
The magistrate observed that it was altogether a new case; and, though it certainly was a most unpleasant one, he feared it could not be brought within his jurisdiction.
The gentleman suggested that, it would probably come under the Act for preventing the wanton destruction of property. His stockings were utterly destroyed; his boots were totally spoiled; and his feet were cruelly scarified! All this had been done wantonly and wilfully, he said; and in corroboration of the premises, he now produced from his pocket the dangling remains of the stockings he wore on the agonizing occasion.
The stockings were utterly spoiled; and after much urging on the part of the gentleman, his worship consented that a summons should be issued for the boot-maker's appearance. However, it came to nothing; for in half an hour after, the gentleman waddled back to the office, and said the boot-maker and he had come to an éclaircissement which would render his worship's interference unnecessary. What was the nature of that éclaircissement did not appear; but certainly the boot-maker who could have the heart to put a poor gentleman to so much misery ought no longer to call himself one of the "gentle craft."
Mrs. Mary Evans was brought before the magistrate on a warrant charging her with an assault on the person of Miss Jemima Jennings.
Mrs. Mary Evans was a tall thin matron, somewhat declining into the vale of years; but her countenance—especially the most prominent part of it, which was very prominent indeed—was still blooming with spirituous comforts. Miss Jemima Jennings was a very pretty mild-spoken young woman, with a countenance blooming with youth.
Miss Jemima deposed, that on a certain day named, she happened to be going along a certain street, and, as the weather was very hot, she happened to go into a certain public-house to take a glass of Henry Meux and Co.'s entire. She there happened to see a gentleman, who very politely asked her to take a glass of something short; telling her it would squench her thirst better than porter. She resisted his invitation for some time; but at length she consented to take a drop of something short—a cool dodger of cloves and brandy; and having drank it, she thanked the gentleman for his politeness, and went on her way—pretty considerably refreshed. Next day, she happened to go into the same public-house again—not with any expectation of meeting the same gentleman again, but with the sole intention of taking a dodger of cloves and brandy on her own account—she having derived great comfort from the one she took on the preceding day. It so happened that the gentleman was not there; at which she was very much pleased; for she could not "bear the highdear of being beholding to one gentleman two days together." Whilst she was taking her cloves and brandy, thinking of nothing at all but how very nice it was, who should come in but the defendant, Mrs. Evans, with an "I want to speak to you, young woman." Now she, Miss Jemima, thought this very comical, for the lady was a perfect stranger to her. However, she followed her, up one street, and down another, till at last Mrs. Evans opened the door of a house and said, "pray walk in, Mem;" and in she did walk, wondering what all this could mean. Mrs. Evans, having closed the door, made her a low courtesy, and said, "Have the kindness to walk this way, Mem;" and Miss Jemima followed her along the passage to an inner apartment, like a lamb to the slaughter-house, as she said; for they had no sooner entered the room, than Mrs. Evans seized a broomstick, and without uttering a single word, began to belabour her over the back and shoulders with all her might! Miss Jemima shrieked or squeeked, as she called it, for help; but not a soul came to her assistance; and she was obliged to defend herself as well as she could with her hands alone, till Mrs. Evans dropped her broomstick for lack of breath; and then she, Miss Jemima, made her way out of the house, covered with bruises and wonder.
This was the unprovoked assault complained of and for this Miss Jemima Jennings claimed redress at the hands of the magistrate.
Mrs. Evans made a very voluble defence. She was cursed with a husband, she said, who—though she had brought him twelve children—was continually hankering after other women. On Monday last he went out, taking with him six goolden sovereigns, which she had put by to pay her coal-merchant, and he did not come near home for three whole days thereafter. Some of her neighbours told her that he had been seen courting the complainant (Miss Jemima) with cloves and brandy; and she was so hasperated at hearing this, that she certainly did entice Miss Jemima to her house, and bansell her with the broomstick as she had described. In conclusion, she admitted that she was wrong in so doing, but her passion got the better of her judgment, and she hoped his worship would consider that as an excuse. It was very hard, she said, for a woman at her time of life to be neglected for such creatures.
The magistrate told her he thought she ought not to have proceeded to such a violent outrage upon the complainant, without better proof that she was the cause of her husband's faithlessness; but as jealousy was an ungovernable passion, and as she appeared to repent of her violence, he would order the warrant to be suspended for a day or two, in the hope that she would in that time make her peace with the complainant, and save herself further trouble and expense.
Captain J—— F——, a gallant officer, who had lost an eye in the service of his country, and was residing with his family in the pleasant village of Mortlake, was brought before the magistrate, on a warrant, charging him with having assaulted and beaten one Samuel Cooper, who called himself "a London shop-keeper, in a small way, residing in Vitechapple."
Samuel Cooper, it appears, went out to ruralise one fine sunny day, and having strolled as far as Mortlake, he called upon a friend of his, a little fat man in a brown bob wig, who keeps a little shop in the neighbourhood of that village. It is a sweet little cottage, with a little garden in front of it, well stored with potherbs, "gilli-flowers gentle and rosemarie;" and has a little wicket gate opening to the road. His bob-wigg'd friend was mighty glad to see him, and invited him to stay to dinner; an invitation which was gladly accepted, for Samuel Cooper was come out to make a day of it. They had a dish of very nice beans and bacon for dinner—broad Windsors, and a prime cut of gammon; and having chatted an hour or two, and finished a couple of pots of mild porter, Samuel Cooper walked out into the little garden in front of the cottage, and leaned over the little wicket-gate, enjoying the beauties of the prospect and a lovely evening, whilst his bob-wigg'd friend was busied with some little matters in his shop.
As Samuel Cooper was thus leaning over the gate—pondering, no doubt, on the possibility of getting back to Vitechapple, without paying coach-hire—he was aware of two ladies coming along the lane. One of these ladies was a considerable distance behind the other; and when the foremost of them came nearly opposite to the place where Samuel Cooper stood, she stooped—apparently without seeing him—and began rectifying the lace of one of her boots, which appeared to have got loose in walking. Now, whether Samuel Cooper is a man prone to gallantry, or whether the delightful evening, the beans and bacon, and the mild porter, opened his heart more than usual, we know not—but so it was, that when he saw the lady stoop, and begin doing something at her foot, he suddenly called to her, "Shall I tie up your boot-lace for you, Ma'am?" Unlucky Samuel Cooper! The words had scarcely passed his lips when the lady raised herself, looked round for a moment, gave a loud shriek, and ran off down the lane with the speed of an antelope—followed by the loitering lady whom Samuel had seen in the distance. Samuel Cooper looked after them as they ran, and smiled to think that women should be so "timmersome." But he soon had cause to smile on the other side of his mouth, as it were; for in the next moment Captain F—— rushed into the garden, exclaiming, "You rascal! how dare you insult a lady?" and before the astonished Samuel could reply, he received the gallant Captain's clenched fist full on the centre of his nose, and down he went—all amongst his bob-wigg'd friend's gilliflowers! The Captain then walked away; and the luckless Samuel gathered himself up, leaned his head over the wicket-gate, and there he stood bleeding for more than half an hour, bemoaned both by himself and his bob-wigg'd friend.
This was the violence he complained of. He assured his worship that he had not the most distant idea of insulting the lady, and he was utterly astonished at the consequences that ensued.
"Thou shalt be punished for thus frighting me,
A woman, naturally born to fears;
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
With my vex'd spirits I cannot make a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day,"—
said Lady Constance to William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, when he merely told her there was a wedding in hand; and what would she have said had the noble Earl startled her with such an offer as Samuel Cooper's? But, may be, honest Samuel has tied up the boot-laces of many a buxom lass at Vitechapple, and he thought he might do the same kind service for the ladies at Mortlake. Ah! simple Samuel Cooper!
The whole of his statement, as far as the Captain was concerned, was fully substantiated by his bob-wigg'd friend, whose garden had been watered, as it were, with Samuel's innocent blood; and then, Captain F—— was called upon for his defence.
The gallant Captain gave a rather different account of the affair: and took off something from Samuel's veracity. The Captain said his wife and sister had gone to visit a friend at some distance on the afternoon in question, and some time afterwards he set out with the intention of meeting and accompanying them home; but a sudden shower coming on, he took shelter in the house of a brother officer on the road. Whilst he remained there, he saw his wife and sister pass by, and he was just preparing to follow them when he heard his wife shriek. Rushing instantly from the house, he met both the ladies running back again with great trepidation and alarm. He hastily inquired what was the matter. They told him as hastily, that they had been grossly insulted by the complainant, Samuel, who still stood chuckling at the gate. He naturally felt very angry, and immediately went up to Samuel, and taking him gently by the lappel of his coat, he said to him, "Now my good fellow, unless you make an apology to the ladies, for your insult, I certainly will chastise you." "Boo!"—said the boorish Samuel—"I'll see 'em d—d first!" and as he said this he threw his arms up in such a manner that his elbow struck the Captain on the chin; whereupon the Captain knocked him down, as above stated; and he submitted that any other man would have done the same under the same circumstances.
The magistrate viewed the matter in the same light. He told Samuel, his conduct to the lady was extremely impertinent; and his manner, when remonstrated with, grossly insolent; and therefore he should discharge the warrant, leaving him to seek his remedy at the Quarter Sessions, if he thought proper.
Samuel stared, and appeared inclined to reply, but seeing it was useless, he left the office in silence, wondering more than ever; and his bob-wigg'd friend slowly followed him.
A jocund little Irishman, with dark sparkling eyes and black glossy well-curled poll, dressed in a carter's frock, and heavy travel-stained shoes, was brought in by some of the patrol, who had found him strolling about Long-acre, in the dusk of the evening, apparently without either aim or object, and laden with a large bundle tied up in a very handsome shawl. This bundle contained seven gowns, sundry shawls, handkerchiefs, hose, &c., and a smartly-trimmed straw-bonnet nearly new; and the patrol declared, that from the very unsatisfactory manner in which he accounted for his possession of these articles, they verily believed he had stolen them. They also pointed out to the magistrate a round hole, about the size of a shilling, in the side of his hat crown, which they strongly suspected had been made by a pistol-ball.
"What is your name, friend?" said his worship, to the brilliant-eyed, smiling prisoner.
"Jemmy Sullivan! your honour," was the instantaneous reply, in a rich Tipperary brogue, and a tone so loud, that all the office echoed, "Jemmy Sullivan!"
"And pray, where did you bring these clothes from, and to whom do they belong?"
"From Portsmouth, your honour—and they belongs to the wife o' me."
The magistrate doubted the correctness of this statement—it was not likely that the wife of such a man could have such a wardrobe.
"Sure enough it's the truth, every bit of it, your honour," replied Jemmy Sullivan.
"How came this hole in your hat?" asked his worship.
"Is it the hole your honour's axing about?—'Faith, then, the mice made it, to get at the bread and the cheese, your honour—bad luck to 'em!"
"What! do you carry your bread and cheese in your hat?"
"No, 'faith, your honour, not a bit of it any time, barrin that time the mice stole it all; and then, your honour, it was not in it, that's the hat, at that same time, but on the shelf, your honour, and I'd none of it left for me breakfast at all. Gad's blood, says I to meself, but ye shan't do that to me again, says I, for I'll put it under me hat all the night; and so I did, your honour; but bad luck to them, the craturs, they bored the hole clane through the side of it, which your honour's axing about."
"Are you sure it was not on your head when the ball was fired at it?" asked his worship, without seeming to have listened to his bread and cheese adventure.
"Was it on me head, your honour! Faith if it was, meself wouldn't be here spaking to you about the mice," replied Jemmy Sullivan.
The officers, in searching his pockets, had found a number of English and Irish pawnbrokers' duplicates; and the magistrate, selecting one of them, asked,—
"Where did you get this ticket for a pelisse?"
"Bought it, your honour, of Myke Dermot, in Donaghadee—He's a bagpipes, your honour."
"And pray what are you?"
"A tailor, your honour," was the reply. But one of the patrol, who is skilful in such matters, having examined his hands, declared, that if he was a tailor, he had not used the needle for twelve months at least.
"What have you to say to that, Mr. Sullivan?" asked his worship.
"Bad luck to the tailoring, your honour, it wouldn't agree with me at all, anyhow, and I discharged meself clane out of it, by the same token, Sir."
"And how have you got your living since?"
"I walks down be the water-side, your honour, an gets me little bits o' reeds an things, and ties 'em up like little bagpipes, and plays on 'em, your honour, Thady you Gander an Gramachree, and the likes of 'em; an the jontelmen plases to hear me, your honour; an some gives me a shilling, an some half-a-crown, may be, an some buys the little bagpipes for themselves, your honour."
Honest Jemmy endeavoured to make the nature of these "little bagpipes" very plain to his honour; but he did not seem to understand it exactly himself, and so he made nothing of it. Neither could he account for his bringing his wife's wardrobe up to London whilst she remained herself in Portsmouth; and eventually he was committed for further examination.
Even this order for his imprisonment he took in perfect good humour; and having carefully counted the ten or twelve shillings which the magistrate ordered to be returned to him, he replaced them at the very bottom of his pocket, and said, "I hopes your honour'll take care o' me things?" The magistrate assured him he would, and honest Jemmy Sullivan then followed the turnkey as blithely as if he had been going to Donnybrook Fair instead of to prison.
This poor fellow was kept in prison nearly a month, during which time his wife came to London, and not hearing anything of him at the place they had appointed for their meeting, she went over to Ireland in search of him. At length Jemmy was discharged because there was no evidence against him; but his clothes were not given up to him till long after.
A poor harmless translator of old shoes was placed at the bar by a city officer, upon a charge of having stolen, or otherwise improperly obtained, a cheque for 300l. from one Jonathan Freshfield, Esquire, "one of the Fancy."
This Jonathan Freshfield, Esq., was a diminutive, forked-radish sort of a young man, very fashionably attired, or, as he would say, kiddily togg'd; and, though it was scarcely noon, he was rather queer in the attic; that is to say, not exactly sober.
He stated his case in this manner:—"Here—I wish this fellow to say how he got hold o' my cheque for three hundred—that's all, you know; let him come that, and I shall be satisfied. Rum go—had it last night, missed it this morning—d——d rum go! Here—here it is, see; payable at Hankey's—all right—grabbed him myself. Went to Hankey's two hours 'fore Bank opened—waited two hours—sat upon little stool—wouldn't be done, you know. In he comes with it—grabs him! There he was—looked like a fool. 'Hallo!' says I, 'how did you come by it?' Mum. Hadn't a word, you know. Only let him come it now, all about it, and I'm satisfied. Don't like to be done—a rum go, but can't stand it—that's all."
The city officer said he had been sent for to Hankey's to take the prisoner into custody; and having done so he carried him before the Lord Mayor; but as it appeared the offence, if there was any, had been committed in the county, his Lordship had referred the matter to Bow-street.
The magistrate asked to see the cheque, as the Esquire called it. The officer produced it, and it proved not to be a cheque, but an acknowledgment from Messrs. Hankey and Co. that they had received 300l. from Jonathan Freshfield, Esq., for which they would account to him on demand.
"Pray, have you an account at Hankey's, Mr. Freshfield?" asked the magistrate.
Mr. Freshfield replied, "Who, I? not a bit of it. I'm from the country, you know. D—n town!—Had enough of it almost. Diddled in this manner!—it's a sick'ner. Got it again though—only want to know how that fellow, the long one there, came by it. Put the blunt at Hankey's, to be safe—'cause wouldn't be done, and then lost the cheque!—that's a rum go—isn't it, your worship?"
The magistrate asked the prisoner how he came by it.
He said he lodged at Mister Burn's, the fighting man's, in Windmill-street, and two gentlemen there, whom he did not know, gave him the cheque to get cashed.
His worship directed an officer to go to Burn's house and inquire about it.
In about half an hour he returned with Mister Burn in company.
"Burn, do you know anything of this business?" asked the magistrate.—"Who was it gave this paper to the man at the bar?"
"Who gave it to him, your worship?" said Mister Burn, "Why, I did." "You did!—and pray how did you come by it?"—"Why, I won it, your worship—won it by shaking in the hat;" replied Mister Burn, squeezing the sides of his hat together, and giving it a hearty shake to show his worship the trick of it.
The magistrate looked at Mr. Freshfield; Mr. Freshfield looked at Mister Burn; Mister Burn looked boldly round at everybody as if nothing was the matter, and at last, Mr. Freshfield ejaculated—"Well, that's a rum go, however! D—n me, never thought of that, you know. Don't believe it, though. Coming it strong, eh! Burn? May be, though—won't be sure."
After soliloquising some time in this style, he began a long history of his having gone from Spring's to Burn's, and Burn's to Spring's, and betting upon the "match for Monday;" and taking the long odds at one place and giving them at another, till the magistrate and everybody else was quite weary of it. So his worship discharged the prisoner; recommended Mister Burn not to addict himself to "shaking in the hat," directed the city officer to return Mr. Freshfield his 300l. "cheque," and advised Mr. Freshfield to put it into his pocket, and return to his native woods as soon as possible.
Mr. Lester, a respectable elderly man of considerable property, residing at Battersea-rise, applied to the magistrate for an assault warrant against a person whom he described as a high-flying linen-draper, carrying on business in Parliament-street. The warrant was granted upon his affidavit, and Mr. Highflyer was shortly after brought up in custody; but as the magistrate had been called from the bench for a few minutes, he seized that opportunity of making an atonement for his misconduct to the party complaining, and so escaped the Sessions, though the assault and outrage he had committed were certainly most sessionable.
It appeared that this Mr. Highflyer had determined on taking his spouse for a ride in a gig—we beg his pardon, in a tilbury,—one Sunday, and that they did take a ride in a tilbury accordingly. They trotted gaily along in connubial comfort till they had almost reached Battersea-rise; but there all the connubial comfort evaporated: for—whether it was that the motion of the tilbury swung away Mr. Highflyer's ordinary notions of connubial concord, or whether the expansion of prospect around him produced a corresponding expansion of the amatory principle within him, we know not—but so it was, that about a quarter of a mile on this side Battersea-rise, he bowed very gallantly to a pretty young woman who was passing; and she familiarly nodded in return. Now this might be all very innocent, but his wife thought otherwise; and she took so much umbrage at it, that high words ensued. In short the "green-eyed monster" took possession of all her perceptions; and Mr. Highflyer, in the buoyancy of his heart and tilbury, carried it with such a high hand—so cavalierly as it were, that his lady declared she would not ride another inch with such a faithless creature, and insisted upon his setting her down directly. And cruel Mr. Highflyer did set her down instanter;—instead of trying to pacify her, and convince her of her error, he coolly set her down and drove on without her. This was nearly opposite Mr. Lester's house on Battersea-rise; and as Mr. Lester looked through his window he saw the lady sitting on a low wall by the road-side, weeping and sobbing most piteously. Mr. Lester, though as sturdy a John Bull as ever thrust carver into smoking sirloin, has much of the spirit of chivalry in his composition, and seeing a lady in such a distressing situation, he sallied forth and offered her a temporary asylum in his hospitable little parlour. The weeping lady thankfully accepted his offer; but he had no sooner seated her carefully on his sofa than she fell into hysterics, and it required all the skill of his wife, his daughters, and his handmaidens, to bring her to her senses again. She did recover, however, but it was only to renew her sighs and tears; and neither Mr. Lester nor his wife knew what to make of it, when a thundering rap at the door nearly shook all the glass out of the windows, and in the next moment Mr. Highflyer stalked loftily into the parlour. At the sight of him Mrs. Highflyer went off into hysterics again, and Mr. Highflyer, in his endeavours to recover her from the fit, conducted himself so at-homeishly, that Mr. Lester did not half like it.—He called about him for all sorts of things, tore the sofa cover, threw the cushions about the room, upset the china tea things, and broke the pole of the fire screen! At length Mr. Lester's anger got the better of his hospitality, and he reminded Mr. Highflyer that he was not in his own house. "Damn the house!" exclaimed Mr. Highflyer, "what the devil do I care whose house it is? I am a gentleman and nothing else, and I shall do what I like—here or anywhere else!" "No, Sir!" said the astonished Mr. Lester, "No, Sir, you shall not, and no gentleman would have done as you have done already." I'faith this was enough—the words had scarcely passed Mr. Lester's teeth, when three of those teeth were loosened to their very foundation by a blow from the gentlemanly fist of Mr. Highflyer. "Take that, Sir!" said he, "and if you don't like it, I'll fight you with either sword or pistols!" The astonished Mr. Lester was still more astonished at this treatment; but being no match in thews and sinews for Mr. Highflyer, he flew to the poker, and had it not been for the interference of the ladies, Mr. Highflyer would doubtless have been laid low.
As it was, the affair went off in a clamorous palaver; after which Mr. and Mrs. Highflyer returned to town in the tilbury, highly dissatisfied with their day's pleasure; and Mr. Lester went to bed, wondering that there should be such queer people in the world.
It was reported among the officers that the peace-offering for all this was ten sovereigns; and if so, Mr. Highflyer got off cheaply.
Mr. Owen M'Carthy appeared in custody before the Bench, to answer the complaint of Mrs. Margaret Reading, spinster. Mr. Owen M'Carthy is five feet two without his shoes, and sixty-seven years old; but—as he himself observed—"sound as the big bell of St. Paul's, both in mind and body." The lady has seen sixty-five winters pass away; and in all that time she has so conducted herself that no living creature can say, "black is the white of her eye"—at least that is her opinion; and surely she ought to know.
It appeared by her evidence that Mr. Owen M'Carthy and she reside under the same roof, and have for many years been upon the most friendly terms; till, in evil hour, Mr. Owen M'Carthy, who was then a widower, took unto himself a second love—a second wife he called her; but Mrs. Margaret Reading declared it was no such thing. Well, this second wife, or mistress, be it which it will, according to Mrs. Margaret Reading's account, is "a born devil;" and takes every opportunity of treating Mrs. Margaret Reading in the most ridiculous manner—such as calling her a frumpish old fool, spitting at her as she goes up and downstairs, &c., and in all this Mr. Owen M'Carthy, forgetting the kindness that formerly existed between them, encourages her. One day Mrs. Margaret Reading went up to their apartment, determined to give them the telling of some of their faults; but she had scarcely opened her mouth, when Mr. Owen M'Carthy bounced up from his chair, and gave her such a push, that she tumbled down, rolled on to the landing-place, and it was God's mercy she did not trundle downstairs.
This was the assault complained of, and she called upon the magistrate to punish him sewerely.
Mr. Owen M'Carthy in his defence said, "May it plase your honour, when the wife that I had twenty-seven years died, this ould woman and another was living in the place, and they both made love to me extramely. But I thought to myself, thinks I, your honour, sure and what would I do with two ould women at one and the same time? Well, then, your wortchip, says I, in that case I'll ounly have one of 'em, and that will be Judy M'Craw; bekase, your wortchip, she was the comlier one of the two, and I larnt she'd the best carackter for peaceableness; and I married her; and, saving your wortchip's presence, she's my lawful wife at this same time, and like to be, sure enough, to the end of it. Well, your honour, bekase of this, Mrs. Reading bother'd me exsaadingly, and wouldn't be quiet for her jealousy, and was always making corruptions between me and Mrs. Owen M'Carthy that is; and so, when she comed up with her phillaloo botheration, about nothing in the world but I wouldn't have her, I put my hand out, and 'go along wid you, Misthress Margaret,' says I; and with that she laade herself clane down o' the floor, and rolled herself out of it just in no time, your honour, at all."
Mrs. Margaret had nothing to say against this, and she was non-suited.
The Champion of England—not he who, gallantly armed, rode proudly through ranks of assembled chivalry, and challenged the world in defence of his sovereign; but the champion of England's prouder pugilism—the belted hero of the prize ring—the man whose fist is fate—the—in a word, honest Tom Crib, entered the office covered with mud, and holding, in his giant grasp, a little, well-bemudded, wriggling coppersmith, named William Bull.—"And please your worships," said the Champion, "this here little rascal (shaking him) comes into my tap-room, with two or three dirty chaps of the same sort, and got so sweet upon themselves with drinking beer, that they must needs go into the parlour to drink grog amongst the gentlemen, your worships! and because I wouldn't stand that, this here little rascal (shaking him again) smashes two panes of glass to shivers, and then tried to bolt, but it wouldn't do."
The Champion was desired to loose his hold upon the coppersmith, which he did instantly; but he still regarded him with a look of angry indignation, whilst the saucy little coppersmith, adjusting his disordered jacket, exclaimed, "My eyes, Mister Tommy! let us ever catch you at Bristol again, and we'll zarve you out for this!"
Mr. Bull—Bill Bull, he called himself—was ordered to be quiet, on pain of being instantly locked up; and other witnesses of the affair were examined, by whose evidence the Champion's account of it was fully substantiated, with an additional circumstance or two, which he, with his usual modesty, had omitted to mention, viz. that he, with his own right arm, cleared his house of three coxcombical coppersmiths in a minute, and that when the fourth, Mr. Bill Bull, milled the glaze and bolted, the Champion himself pursued with the fleetness of a wild elephant, caught the scampering coppersmith by the "scuff of the neck," and falling with him to the earth, they rolled over and over in the mud, till the impetus of their fall was spent, and then they got up again; and this was the way in which they came to be so muddily encased.
The coppersmith had nothing to say for himself except that he thought himself "as good a man as Mister Tommy any day," and that he had as much right to drink grog in a parlour, as any other gentleman.
The magistrate commended the Champion's conduct; told him he should be protected from insult and outrage in his business; and ordered the pot-valiant coppersmith to be locked up until he should pay for the windows he had demolished.
An elderly man, brown as a fresh-roasted coffee-berry, a poll that bespoke him of the race of wandering gipsies, and "the darkness of whose Oriental eye accorded with his gipsy origin," advanced towards the table, bowing at every step, and said, "May it please your vorship's honour, I'm Mister Lovell, your vorship (another bow), knife-grinder and chair-bottomer, your vorship." Having so said, he smiled and bowed again; and then, shading the lower part of his brown shining visage with his rusty hat, he stood smiling and bowing, and bowing and smiling; but whatever else he had to say, refused to be said.
At length, seemingly to his great relief, the magistrate asked him what he wanted.
"Your vorship, I am Mister Lovell, the knife-grinder, your vorship, and I vantz you to give me a little bit of 'sistance to get me back my vife, vot I vere lawfully married to last Monday vere a veek, at Soreditch Church:—that's vot I vantz, your vorship."
"Yours is a very unusual application, indeed, friend," said the magistrate; "I am frequently requested to part man and wife, but I do not recollect that I was ever once asked to bring them together."
"Vell, your vorship," replied Mr. Lovell, "but mine's a werry hard case—a werry hard case, indeed! Here's the certifykit, your vorship."
His worship told Mr. Lovell he wanted no voucher in proof of what he said. He opened the certificate, however, and found it fairly set forth therein, that on a certain day specified, "Solomon Lovell, bachelor, and Desdemona Cocks, spinster," were duly married by banns in Shoreditch Church.
"And pray, what is become of the 'gentle Desdemona?'" asked his worship, as he returned the certificate to Mr. Lovell, who instantly crammed it back again into the sow-skin purse from which he had taken it; and then having deposited it safely in the very bottom of his left-hand breast-pocket, he proceeded to lay open his entire grievance. It was a lengthy, and rather unconnected narrative, but we gathered from it that Mr. Solomon Lovell absolutely loved the gentle Desdemona; and but for that, "he would not his unhoused free condition have put into circumscription and confine,"—"not on no account whatever." But the friends of Desdemona, who were in the costermongering line, thought the match too low for her; and they had not been united more than three happy days, when those friends cruelly contrived to inwiggle her away from his arms, and shut her up in a garret in Charles Street, Drury Lane, where they still continued to detain her, in spite of her unceasing tears, and his most earnest remonstrances.
"Of what age is the lady?" asked the magistrate.
"Your vorship, she'll be forty-three come a fortnight a'ter next Bart'lemy fair."
"Then she is no chicken! and she certainly could come to you, if she was inclined to do so."
"No, your vorship, she's no chicken, but she's desperate tender, though; and they'd kill and murder her, if she vasn't to keep herself quiet."
"Is she very disconsolate under her bereavement?"
"Anan, your vorship," said Solomon.
"Does she grieve much?"
"Oh! desperately, as your vorship may natt'rully suppose, when ve'd only come together three days."
"Is she very handsome?"
This was a question which seemed rather to bother the love-lorn Solomon. He simpered and sighed, and looked down and looked up, and nibbled the edge of his hat; and when the question had been repeated the third time, he replied, "I don't know 'xactly, your vorship—she's reckoned so. And I reckon—I reckon I vouldn't a married her if I didn't think so, your vorship!"
After some further question and reply, in which he earnestly entreated that an officer might be sent with him to enforce his claim, and get the gentle Desdemona out of the garret by force of arms, the magistrate told him he could do nothing for him; whereupon he gathered up his features into a frown, put the lid upon his knowledge-box, and stalked out of the office, exclaiming, "Then by goles, I'll go to Marlborough-street! for I vont be diddled out of my vife in this ere manner, howsomever."
A hackney coachman appeared before the Bench, upon a summons to answer the complaint of a gentleman from whom he had extorted seven shillings and sixpence for a four shilling fare!
"How could you think of attempting such an impudent extortion!" asked the magistrate.
"Why, your worship," replied honest Coachee, "I'll tell you how it was—I knows I'm guilty, but I'll tell you how it was, and I hopes you'll take it into your consideration, and not be too hard upon me. The gemman's sarvent what rode on the box wi' me, said to me, says he, as we were toddling a little ways down Oxford-street, your worship, says he to me, says he, 'Coachee,' says he, 'there's a weddun (wedding) in this job, so you needn't be afeard of laying it on pretty thick; and then, you know, you can tip me a bob for my own cheek.'"
"And pray what is a bob?" asked his worship.
"Why a shilling, your honour, all the world over! When he ax'd me to stand a bob, your worship, I thought he was a rummish sort of a customer, but howsomever I took the hint; and when I set the gemman down I ax'd seven-and-sixpence, instead of a four shillings, God forgive me! But I thought I couldn't in conscience ax less?"
"And pray," asked the magistrate, "did you give the servant the shilling you had promised him?"
"No, your worship, I wouldn't give him anything; 'cause I thought he didn't desarve it, after putting me up to diddle his own master in that manner!"
The gentleman said it was certainly true that on the day in question he had been present at a wedding; but he had received an excellent character with the servant, and as he had now lived with him several years, during which time his whole conduct had been unexceptionable, he would not believe him capable of making such an unprincipled proposition.
The magistrate said he had little doubt that it was a mere invention of the coachman's; and even admitting his story to be true, it would be no palliation of his offence.
Honest Coachee was then fined twenty shillings for the pliability of his conscience, and he left the office, observing, "I'll take 'nation good care how I gets into this here sort of a scrape again!"
Michael—or as he himself called it, "Mykle Donaghu," was brought up on a warrant for assaulting and beating James Davis.
Mr. Davis is a tall, gaunt, lank-haired, melancholy, middle-aged Englishman. Mykle, on the contrary, is a short, plump, curly-headed, bushy-whiskered, merry little Irishman. They both lodge in the same house—Mykle uppermost, and thence comes the grievance; for Mykle, when he is beery—and seldom's the time he is not—is given to dancing. Mr. Davis is a man of staid and serious habits, who goes to bed every night when the clock strikes ten, and every night—just as he gets into his first sleep—home comes sprightly Mykle, brimful of beer, and begins dancing his "Irish fandangoes" about the room overhead, till he shakes down great patches of the ceiling upon poor Mr. Davis below. Nay, it was stated by a credible witness, that he sometimes danced so vigorously as to shake down the ceilings in the adjoining house! Mr. Davis bore these irregularities as long as he could, but at last his patience, as he said, was quite entirely exhausted, and he ventured to tell Mykle that he would bear it no longer; when, what does Mykle do, but seize the poker, and threaten to "Kennedy him" if he dared to interfere with his private amusements. Mr. Davis, quiet as he is, had too much spirit to let any man swagger over him in this manner; and, whilst Mykle was "shelalegh-ing about" with his poker, he attempted to take it from him; and in the attempt he received sundry thumps on the head and shoulders, which made his eyes strike fire.
Thus far was Mr. Davis's statement; and now for Mykle Donaghu:—
"Plase your honour," said he, "is it bekase a man canna dance if he's merry?—and Misther Davis, says I, is it myself that isna' to dance the bit bekase the lazy likes of ye canna get yer sleep before sun down? I shall go to the bed in reasonable time, when I like me self, Misther Davis, says I. Come out o' that, ye Irish Grecian, says he—come out o' that, and I'll give it to ye! And he pulls the coat off him, and shakes his fist in the face of me; and come out o' that, says he, again, and I'll give it t' ye. Faith, Mr. Davis, says I, and if ye will give it to me, ye sha'n't give it me for nothin, for be th' powers I shall Kennedy ye, my jewel; and I took Kennedy to myself, and he had his fists in his own hands, y'r honour, and faith it wouldn't be aisy to say which of us had the best of it," &c.
Some witnesses brought by Mr. Davis, admitted that Mr. Davis had challenged Mykle to come out of his room, and that something like a regular fight had taken place between them; and, therefore, the magistrate dismissed the warrant.
"But, Michael," said his worship, "do not let me hear any more of your tricks; drink less beer in future."—"I sholl, Sir!" said Mykle. "And, Michael, let me advise you to go home in better time in future."—"I sholl, Sir!" "And, above all, Michael, get another lodging as soon as you can; and take care that your amusements do not disturb your neighbours." "I sholl, Sir!" reiterated honest Mykle, and making a bow—so low that the tattered hat he held in his own right hand almost touched the floor, whilst his left leg mounted into the air behind—he gave his worship St. Patrick's benison, and let the office a merrier man than he entered it.
Among the watch-house prisoners from St. Mary-le-Strand, was a young gentleman, who was charged with having beaten a lady.
He was a fine, blooming, well-grown, genteelly-clad young gentleman—a very Adonis of the woods; and his name was Smith—William Augustus Smith, as we understood.
His case had been thus registered in the charge-book, by his honour the Night Constable of St. Mary-le-Strand:—
"Mr. Smith charges Miss Charlotte Long with picking him up and striking him; and Miss Charlotte Long charges Mr. Smith with knocking her down."
Of course it was a "cross-charge;" and his honour the Night Constable of course detained both parties; and, moreover, was coarse enough "to shut them up down below." But that was no great matter; for Mr. Smith's bloom suffered no deterioration in consequence; and as for the lady, as his honour the Night Constable said, why she was "manured to the place."
It appeared that on Saturday night Mr. Smith went to one of the Theatres; and after the Theatre was closed, he went to the Rainbow to sup; and, after the supper was over, he returned through Temple-bar, towards his home in the West, arm in arm with a friend; and that friend was smoking a cigar. In this way they walked along very comfortably—"by none offended, and offending none"—quietly discussing the beauty of the night, and the merits of the players, and the supper, and the wine, and the waiters at the Rainbow, and every thing of that sort, until, just as they emerged from beneath the arch-way of Temple-bar, Miss Charlotte Long, in passing, squeezed the dexter hand of his smoking friend. Now, whether it was that his smoking friend had "a hydrophobia" of ladies in general, or whether he smoked Miss Charlotte Long's character in particular, Mr. Smith could not say; but so it was, that Miss Charlotte Long no sooner squeezed his smoking friend's hand, than his smoking friend smoked Miss Charlotte Long's countenance, by puffing a cloud from his cigar at it. Mr. Smith could not, in justice, be held responsible for his friend's want of gallantry; but nevertheless Miss Charlotte Long instantly gave Mr. Smith such a smack on his nice round blooming cheek, that all the avenues of the Temple echoed to the blow; and he, fearing the smack would be repeated pushed her from him, and she lost her balance. "And this is the whole truth of the matter," quoth Mr. Smith.
Miss Charlotte Long, on the other hand, declared that she never touched the filthy fist of the smoker—but that as she was quietly walking along, he rudely puffed the smoke in her face—a thing which she could not a-bear—and then Mr. Smith knocked her down as flat as possible—like a brute as he was.
The worthy magistrate having listened to these counter-statements with great patience, expressed a wish to see the smoker, and that gentleman immediately came forward; but unfortunately his recollection of the affair had entirely evaporated with the fumes of his own cigar; and eventually the double charge was dismissed, upon each party paying their own fees; the magistrate admonishing Mr. Smith to keep better hours in future, if he valued either his morals or his complexion.
Mrs. Catherine Casey was charged with having purloined Mrs. Judith O'Leary's wedding ring.
The ladies are both natives of "the Emerald gem of the western world"—the green land of shamrocks and shilelaghs. They came to this country together in the days of their youth; they toiled together year after year in the sunny harvest fields; they got comfortable husbands to them; they grew old together; they ate, they drank, they smoked together; they were gossips—"sworn gossips and friends." "But what is friendship but a name!" saith the poet.—Let Mrs. Judith O'Leary tell her own tale.
"Yer honour, this is Misthress Casey—the gossip she was to me many a long year in ould Ireland and since we comed to this; and much is it I made of her at all times, your honour—for we got our bits o' livings, and we ate, and slept, and we drink't together"—
"And got drunk together," said his worship.
"Faith did we, your honour—and wonst too often;" rejoined Mrs. Judith O'Leary, making an illigant curt'sy. "T'other day, your honour, we were taking the drops at the Blue Pig, and talking of the ould consarns, and the talk came up, and the drops went down softly and swately—that's the throats of us, your honour; and by-and-by, says Misthress Casey to me, says she—'Misthress O'Leary,' says she to me, 'let's be home to our own place.'—'And so I will, Misthress Casey,' says I—'ounly we'll have t'other drop with the three halfpence that's left in the bottom of it,'—that's the pocket your honour. 'Gad's blood, we'll have t'other drop, gossip,' says I to her. And sure we had, and it was a drop too much for the head of me—it went round like the hind wheel of an ackney—rowling and rowling, your honour, and I rowl'd home mighty queer that day; and I laid meself down on my own bed; and the child I had be my own lawful husband, Tom Leary, laid be the side of me fast asleep—ounly sober as a judge was the child at that same time—why shouldn't it? And when I waked up, says I to me—'how comed I here,' says I, 'in my own bed,' says I, 'before dark?' says I to myself; but I couldn't tell, for the life of me, your honour, in regard of the gin—that's the blue ruin, as Misther Jenkins the pratur marchant calls it, your honour. 'Well,' says I to meself, 'sure I'll get up,' says I, 'for what's the use of lying here like a baste,' says I, 'when Tom Leary isn't in it, and is coming to it may be?' And I got up and shook meself, and got the water to wash my hands, and I looked at 'em—that's the fingers, but d—l a ring was on 'em! 'Deevle burn ye, Kate Casey,' thinks I to myself, 'but ye've got the bit of gould from me at last!' and I went to her place—that's in Bainbridge-street, your honour; 'and Misthress Casey,' says I, 'where's me ring?' 'What ring?' says she.—'My wedding ring that I got with Tom Leary,' says I.—'Deevle a know I know!' says she.—'Don't be tellin the lie to the face of me,' says I, 'for sure there's them that seen ye slither it off the finger of me,' says I.—'Be the mother of Moses! it's a graat lie!' says she.—'Thank ye, Misthress Casey,' says I.—'Take that for yerself, Mrs. O'Leary,' says she"—
"And what was that?" asked his worship.
"Faith, a beautiful blow on the mouth of me!" your honour, replied Mrs. O'Leary—laying hold of her upper lip, and turning it inside out for his worship's inspection.
But his worship declined inspecting it; and Mrs. O'Leary, having let her lip down again, proceeded to state that, having got this beautiful thump on the mouth of her, she did not choose to have any more to say to Mrs. Casey, but forthwith handed her over to an officer.
The Officer in question said he had learned that Mrs. Casey pawned a wedding ring on the day of the row, but she redeemed it in a few hours afterwards, and that was all the pawnbroker knew about it.
Whilst Mrs. O'Leary was telling her story, Mrs. Casey could hardly be restrained from opening upon her at almost every sentence. She seemed to be bursting with words; and, no doubt, it was a great relief to her when his worship at length gave her leave to speak by asking, "Where is this poor woman's ring?"
"Honour bright! your worship," replied Mrs. Casey, in a voice as melodious as a cracked bagpipe—"Honour bright! your worship; deevle's the bit I knows about it at all! Och! Mrs. O'Leary, but yer a bad one after all of it," &c. "You knows you'll say any thing but your prayers, Mrs. O'Leary, and meself never to find it out till this present time!—Your worship, she gived the ring to a man she has!"
"Och! an is it the likes of me, with three childer and Tom Leary!" cried Mrs. O'Leary, lifting up her hands and eyes in astonishment at the scandal.
Mrs. Casey persisted in her story, and at last the charge was dismissed for want of evidence.—In ten minutes after, they were seen together at "The Grapes," in Bow-street, taking their drops, as good friends as ever they were.
W. C., Esq., a gentleman of family and fortune, was brought up in custody of an officer, charged with assaulting Mr. H., a highly respectable surgeon and apothecary, residing in the Strand.
Either party was attended by a solicitor, and the following is a "succinct synopsis" of the affair.
Mr. H. is an elderly personage, of very gentlemanly deportment, and Mr. C. is a tall, athletic gentleman, in the full bloom of five-and-twenty, or thereabout. Some three or four yeas ago, Mr. H. had the honour of curing Mr. C. of some indisposition—no matter what; but the honour was all he had for his services; for though he sent in his bill, amounting only to 7l. 3s., Mr. C. neglected to discharge it. He, however, made promises in plenty, time after time; and if Mr. H. could have fed upon this "cameleon's dish," it would have been all very well, and this assault would never have happened. But he could not—he had no relish for it—he knew that nobody could "fatten capons so;" and therefore he determined to have something more substantial. In consequence of this determination, he lost no opportunity of dunning Mr. C. for the money; but unfortunately the opportunities were very rare, as Mr. C. was fond of variety, and had a knack of frequently, very frequently, changing his residence; so that Mr. H. never knew "where to have him." At length, on Wednesday morning last, he heard he was in town, and he instantly sent one of his young men to his lodgings, with an earnest demand of payment. The young man returned, saying Mr. C. was not risen, nor would he be up till after eleven o'clock. At eleven o'clock Mr. H. himself went out, with the intention of repeating the demand in person; and, on his way, he met Mr. C. in the Strand, who, on perceiving Mr. H., immediately crossed over to the opposite side of the street. Mr. H. crossed also, or, rather, like-wise—and so they met full butt, as it were; whereupon Mr. H., after the usual salutation of well-bred people, requested instant payment of his account. Mr. C. said it was not convenient to him to pay it at that moment. "Will you give me your word of honour that you will pay it in a week?" demanded Mr. H. "I tell you, Sir, it shall be paid in a few days," replied Mr. C. "Well, Sir, I'll tell you what—if it is not paid in the course of a week, I will put it into the hands of my solicitor!" rejoined Mr. H. "Sir!" retorted Mr. C., "if you say that again I will flog you round the place—I will flog you every time I meet you; and if it was not for the disagreeableness of raising a crowd around us, I would flog you now, Sir!" And, so saying, he held his stick over the head of Mr. H. in token thereof.
This was the whole amount of the assault complained of—for it did not appear that he did flog, neither did it appear how Mr. H. "backed out of the concern."
Mr. C. began his defence by observing that the account had not been standing more than two years; whereas Mr. H. had called it three or four years. The account itself, he added, was a mere trumpery affair, not of the slightest consequence to him; in proof whereof he was ready to pay it that moment, before the magistrate—
"Oh! I shall take care to make you pay it!" exclaimed the agitated Mr. H.
Sir R. Birnie.—Had you not better receive the money now it is offered to you, Mr. H.?—You know the old adage says, "If you will not when you may," &c.
Mr. H. thanked his worship for his suggestion, and said—to be sure—that was another affair—and if Mr. C. were actually to tender him the money—he did not know that he should, altogether, refuse it.
Mr. C. instantly took out a handful of sovereigns, and tossed the amount of the claim down upon the table; and it as instantly slided into the right-hand breeches pocket of Mr. H.
This interesting ceremony ended, Mr. C. resumed his defence. He denied that he had menaced Mr. H. in the violent manner he had described. It was true he had raised his stick for a moment, but it was only in consequence of Mr. H. exclaiming, loud enough to be heard by many people passing, "Oh! Sir—everybody knows what you are!"
Sir R. Birnie said the affair hardly amounted to a breach of the peace, and unless Mr. H. could swear that he went in "bodily fear" of Mr. C., he certainly should not feel justified in holding the latter gentleman to bail.
"Bodily fear!" cried Mr. H.—and snatching up his hat he left the office, uttering something which to us sounded very much like "Fudge!"
Tom Sayers, a fellow of lofty dimensions was brought up on an assault warrant, charged with having broken the nose of one Mr. Bybie Garmondsway, against the peace, &c.
Tom Sayers is a man who, during the late Peninsular war, "sought the bubble reputation, e'en in the cannon's mouth," as a British grenadier. Whether he found it or not, we are unable to say; but certain it is that he now enjoys the reputation of being an admirable culinary bricklayer—a dexterous setter of kitchen ranges; and with this reputation he is fully satisfied—handling his trowel, and dandling his little ones, and cherishing his wife, and drinking his beer, in peace and thankfulness.
Mr. Bybie Garmondsway, notwithstanding his uncommon name, is as common a looking concern as possible—a dirty little land-lubber in a seaman's dress, with a queer nose, queerly decorated on this occasion with divers broad straps of sticking-plaister—à la Baron Munchausen.
"An please your worship," said Mr. Bybie Garmondsway, with his hat grasped in both hands, and giving the floor a long scrape with his off foot—"an please your worship, last Tuesday night, as ever was, I goz into the Crown, in Seven Diles, thinking of nothin at all."
"Very likely,"—said his worship.
"Thinking of nothin at all," continued Mr. Bybie Garmondsway, "an ax'd for a pint of porter; an there were this here gentleman, Mr. Sayers, singing a song; an, becoz I said the song was all gammon, he punch'd my head, as your worship may see by my nose, an the landlord chucked me out before I'd half drink'd my beer!—an that's the whole truth about it, as Mr. Sayers can't deny if he's a mind to speak."
"I shall speak when his honour gives me orders," said tall Tom Sayers—drawing up himself to his full height, squaring his shoulders, turning out his toes, and placing his thumbs exactly in line with the seams of his dusty trousers—"I shall speak when his honour gives me orders."
His honour told him he was ready to hear anything he might have to say.
"Thank your honour," said honest Tom Sayers—with a hand-over-brow salute, and without losing the twentieth part of an inch in his altitude—"thank your honour! Your honour sees that I had been setting a stove grate and oven, for the landlord of the Crown here; with which setting he was pleased to say he was very well satisfied: and he asked me to take a pint of beer in token of the same. Just then, in comes my wife, with my child in her arms, to see whether I had done my job, and to walk home with me. I was pleased to see her, your honour—God bless her!—and I was pleased to see my child, and I was pleased that the landlord was pleased with my work; and so I took the child on my knee, and my wife and I sat down, side by side on the settle, to drink the pint of beer the landlord had given me. There he is! If I tell a lie, let him say so."
His worship told him he believed every word he had said.
"Why, thank your honour again, and I'll not disgrace your belief," rejoined the veteran grenadier. "As I was saying, your honour, I and my wife sat down kindly to drink the pint of beer—the beer the landlord gave me, your honour, because I had done my duty by his oven; and the child sat laughing on my knee, and an old comrade came in, and we drank together in memory of old times abroad, and in the pride of my heart—God forgive me!—I sung the 'Battle of Barossa Plains.'—It was a battle I served in, your honour, to the best of my ability, and my comrade had served by the side of me; and we thought no harm or offence to anybody. But this thing here—half sailor and half scamp (meaning Mr. Bybie Garmondsway), he must begin mocking me whilst I was singing, and insulting all land battles whatever. I asked him to be quiet, and he wouldn't; and after a bit the landlord marched him out, and told him to go home to his own quarters. Three times the landlord turned the envious lubber out, but he was no sooner out than he was in again, challenging me to fight. At last, your honour, I put down the child, and made a charge upon him, thinking to put him out in the street—for as to fighting with such a thing! that's neither here nor there; but I no sooner got hold of him, than, like a false lubber as he is, he turned about and tried to—to do me a private injury, your honour!—and then, sure enough, I did let fly my fist at his face; and, I if have done wrong, I must answer for it."
The landlord substantiated every part of honest Tom's story, and the magistrate instantly dismissed the complaint; at the same time telling Mr. Bybie Garmondsway that a civil tongue was the best preventive of a bruised nose.
Mr. Daniel Butcher, "a jolly young waterman," was charged with assaulting Mr. Robert Wingrove, a carpet beater—commonly called "Bob Wingrove, the dust-whopper."
Mr. Bob Wingrove deposed thus:—"Your worship, I beats carpets and does portering, by which means I was looking out of my window yesterday afternoon, when I saw a servant gal go by, which belongs to a house what I beats for, by which means I runs down stairs to speak to her, and Dan Butcher, this here chap in the scarlet jacket, comes up to me, and without saying 'by your leave,' or 'with your leave,' he took me two smacks in the head, right and left."
"Why did he strike you?" asked the magistrate.
"Aye, that's what I wants to know, your worship!" replied Mr. Bob.
"Then suppose you ask him now," rejoined his worship; "ask him, why he gave you the two smacks, as you call them."
Mr. Bob, turned, and looked Mr. Dan in the face, as though about to put the question to him; but Mr. Dan smiled him out of countenance, and Mr. Bob, turning back to his worship, said—"It's no use axing him anything, your worship, for he's got a spite agen me ever since I was in prison for saying a few words to a servant gal what brought me here on a peace warrant, by which means he never sees me but he peeps through his fingers at me, as much as to say, 'who peep'd through the prison bars?'—He's a great blackguard, though he's a little chap, your worship; and he never meets my wife, Mrs. Wingrove, but he cries—'Here's a charming young broom!' when my wife is not a charming young broom—as all her neighbours can testify, but as honest a woman as ever broke bread—only that, like all other women, your worship, she likes a drop of something comfortable now and then."
Mr. Bob's landlady corroborated all his evidence general and particular, and her evidence closed the case for the prosecution.
Mr. Dan Butcher, in his defence, admitted that he took Mr. Bob Wingrove two smacks in the head, as that gentleman had deposed, but he assured his worship they were in return for a punch in the stomach which Mr. Bob Wingrove had lent him; and he called two witnesses to prove that Mr. Bob was the aggressor.
Both these witnesses declared that Dan Butcher was walking quietly under Mr. Bob's window, singing a song, and "giving no offence to nobody," when Mr. Bob ran down stairs, and struck him in the bowels "without any privy-cation whatsoever."
"And pray what song was he singing?" asked his worship; "I have no doubt it was a song intended to insult him."
"Your worship, I don't know what song it was," replied the first witness—"it was a funny sort of song enough, and there was a tithery um at the end of it."
The second witness, however, after much pressing, admitted that it was a song called "Bob's in the watch-house," and made by one of the Hungerford-stairs poets in commemoration of poor Mr. Bob's imprisonment.
Mr. Dan could not deny that he sung this song vexatiously, and he was ordered to find bail—So, then, it was Mr. Bob's turn to sing "Dan's in the watch-house."
A very precise, well-dressed young man presented himself before the magistrates, saying he had a very great desire to punish a Mr. Bradbury for extortion, abuse, and assault, and he would be particularly obliged to his worship if he would assist him in so doing.
His worship desired him to describe the nature of his complaint more minutely; whereupon the gentleman went into a long and rather melancholy story, from which it appeared—
Firstly, that Mr. Bradbury lives in the Strand, and is famous for teaching grown gentlemen to write a fine free hand in six lessons, for the trifling sum of one guinea, though they might previously be only capable of scrawling "pot-hooks and links."—Secondly, that the applicant being in this unfortunate predicament, applied to Mr. Bradbury for his assistance.—Thirdly, that Mr. Bradbury undertook to make him a ready writer for the sum of one guinea; and also to teach him how to make a pen, without any additional charge.—Fourthly, that he went through his six lessons in writing, when Mr. Bradbury demanded his guinea.—Fifthly, that he gave Mr. Bradbury a sovereign and a half-crown, desiring him to take his guinea therefrom.—Sixthly, that Mr. Bradbury, instead of returning him one shilling and sixpence, returned him a sixpence only, stating that he retained the extra shilling for stationery; this was the "extortion" he complained of.—Seventhly, that he remonstrated with Mr. Bradbury on this stationery charge; and moreover complained to him that he had not sufficiently instructed him in the art of making a good pen.—Eighthly, that Mr. Bradbury replied he should teach him no more, for he had not conducted himself like a gentleman.—Ninthly, that he told Mr. Bradbury he should summon him before the Lord Mayor.—Tenthly, that Mr. Bradbury replied, that he cared no more for the Lord Mayor or the Lord Horse either, than he did for him. This was the "abuse" he complained of.—Eleventhly, that, on his attempting to remonstrate farther, Mr. Bradbury got up from his desk, clenched his fist, and told him if he did not walk off quietly, he would "bundle him down stairs." This was the "assault" he complained of; and having stated all this, he respectfully submitted that he had made out his case.
"And pray, Sir," asked the magistrate, "did he, in effect, 'bundle' you down stairs?" "No, Sir," replied the gentleman, "but I think he would if I had not walked away very rapidly." "Then, Sir, I am sorry I cannot accommodate you by interfering," rejoined his worship;—"if you had undergone the bundling operation, something might have been done, perhaps; but as it is, I don't see that you have any redress for your manifold grievances, except you sue him in the Court of Conscience for the recovery of the shilling's-worth of stationery; and the issue of that measure would, in my opinion, be very doubtful."
The gentleman looked at his worship, then at his own hat, then at his worship again, and then he slowly withdrew; seemingly quite at a loss what to make of the matter.
Mrs. Margaret Bunce, a lean, dirty, slatternly matron, apparently between fifty and sixty years old, complained that she had been grossly assaulted by Miss Eliza Pritchard and Miss Hannah Maria Bagwell—a pair of little stunted damsels from the back settlements of Drury-lane; who, according to their own account, maintain themselves "very cumfuttably by going a charrin."
"Please your worship," said Mrs. Bunce, "I lives in Short's Gardens, and these ladies lives in Charles-street, and I can get no comfort for 'em night nor day. They'm always at me for everlasting, go out when I will; and yesterday arternoon they pounced upon me as I was standing in Doory-lane, and give me this here black eye; and my nose has been as yellow as a marygoold ever since, as your worship may see."
"Have you any witness?" asked the magistrate.
"Yes, your worship—I was standing talking to this 'ere lady at the very time," replied Mrs. Bunce, pointing to a meagre young woman in a ragged hurden apron, a worn-out man's coat, and an old muddy hat, something in the form of a barber's basin. "I was talking to this 'ere lady at the very time."
The lady came forward, dabbed a court'sy, and wiped her face with the corner of her apron.
"Oh! this lady," said his worship; "and what may your name be, Miss?"—"Julia Legge, your worship."—"And pray may I ask what occupation you follow—Miss Julia Legge?"
"I sells vauter creeses and sweeps crossings, your worship," replied the gentle Julia; and then she wiped her weather-beaten charms again, and substantiated every word Mrs. Margaret Bunce had uttered.
"Miss Eliza Pritchard and Miss Hannah Maria Bagwell, what have you to say for yourselves?" asked the magistrate.
They answered—"in a joint and corporate voice," "Vy, your Vorship, ve've this 'ere to say—as ve never did nuthin o' the sort; and that there lady (Miss Julia Legge) vasn't there at the time."
Mrs. Bunce and the gentle Julia hearing this, lifted up their eyes and hands in astonishment, and opened a fresh volley of evidence, which concluded with a declaration from Mrs. Bunce, that she never went to see her own mother that they did not lie in wait for and attack her.
"Your mother!" said the magistrate, "why how old are you?"
"Me, your worship—why I'm turned of forty."
"And pray how old may your mother be?"
"Why, your worship," replied Mrs. Bunce, doubtingly, "I reckon she must be fifty—or thereabouts!"
There was a general and very ungallant burst of laughter at the broad guess; and poor Mrs. Bunce seemed a good deal confused; but at length the gentle Julia took upon her fair self to say that Mrs. Bunce's mother was seventy-eight, to her own certain knowledge.
At last it was ordered that the young ladies, Miss Eliza Pritchard and Miss Hannah Maria Bagwell, should find bail to keep the peace towards Mrs. Margaret Bunce; and not being prepared with any, they followed the turnkey to his stronghold, weeping as they went.
A new-booted, yellow-vested, blue-coated, red-headed, rosy-faced, buckish young bricklayer, was brought up from the neighbourhood of Cranford-bridge, charged by one Tom Nagle with having robbed him, on the King's highway, of ten shillings in money, and one bottle of "the best Jimakey rum."
Tom Nagle is an honest, hard-faced, sandy-whiskered Emeralder, who takes out a drop of the rum or the whiskey, now and then, into the country, to make an honest penny of that same. "It so happened that, one Tuesday night, he went into the Queen's Head, at Cranford, with a bottle of the best Jimakey rum in his little basket. There was a lovely sweet fire in the chimney, and the buckish young bricklayer was there sitting before it, with a face like a full moon at the rising, and a yard-and-a-half backey-pipe sticking out of the middle of it. And there was the parish-clerk, and the blacksmith of Cranford, and many other jontlemen blowing their steamers, and taking their drops mighty convanient at that same time. So Tom Nagle sat down amongst them, and took his drops 'mighty convanient' too. He drained off one pot of heavy wet, and then another, and another, and he blew a bigger cloud than any of them; and at the last, he introduced his bottle of Jimakey, in the hope that some of the jontlemen would dale with him—but they wouldn't. They only bother'd him—bad luck to 'em, and wouldn't dale with him at all; so he put out his pipe, and departed. Then, as he was walking away from fore-anent the door of the place, the buckish young bricklayer comes out after him, and says he, 'Hallo! Tom Nagle,' says he, 'what shall I give you for the rum?'—that's the Jimakey he was axing about. 'Four and sixpence,' says Tom Nagle, says he, 'and ye shall have the corck and the bottle into it,' says he.—'No,' says the bricklayer 'I sha'n't give thee four and sixpence, but I'll give ye just a shilling for a small taaste of it.'—'No,' says Tom Nagle, 'get along wid ye,' says he—'fait ye sha'n't have any taaste of it at all,' says he. Then the buckish young bricklayer, bad luck to him! took the bottle from Tom Nagle by force, and took a taste of it, just in no time to spake of, and slithered his fist into Tom Nagle's breeches pocket, and pulled out ten shillings from the bottom of it; and split back again along the road—with the shillings in one hand, and the bottle of Jimakey in the other, and Tom Nagle went to look for a constable.
In reply to all this it was stated, by the buckish young bricklayer, and the parish clerk, and two other witnesses, that Tom Nagle was neither more nor less than a bit of a smuggler, and a great pest to all the country round about Cranford for many miles; that on the night in question he was very much the worse for the beer, and that the company at the Queen's Head did certainly joke him about his spirituous calling; that he was very angry in consequence; that he went out of the house in a passion; that the bricklayer followed him, and having given him a shilling for a taste of his rum, he took the bottle from him—telling him, "in a lark," that he would inform against him, for selling spirits without a license. It was further stated, that the bottle was carried back to the Queen's Head, and safely deposited with the landlord, to be re-delivered to Tom Nagle, when he should call for it; and as to the ten-shilling story, it was declared by everybody to be a great fib—a pure invention of Tom Nagle's, and intended by the said Tom as a set-off against the threat of information for selling contraband spirits.
The magistrate asked Tom Nagle—"Is it true that you were drunk at the time?"
"Yer honour," replied Tom Nagle, "I was hearty—but not drunk by no manes—bekase I'd only three pots of the beer, and a small drop of the gin."
"Could you walk steadily?" asked his worship.
"Is it that time, your honour?" said Tom Nagle: "Fait, then, I could walk as well as I can now—and better."
His worship observed that, however disreputable and illegal Tom Nagle's occupation might be, the bricklayer had done wrong in taking his property from him, and he should therefore take care that he was forthcoming at the Sessions, where Tom Nagle might indict him if he thought proper.
Tom Nagle thanked his worship, and the buckish young bricklayer was held to bail.
Among the "disorderlies" brought before the magistrate from St. Clement's watch-house, was a Mr. H., a very respectable law-stationer.
Robert Hunt, a watchman, deposed, that between twelve and one o'clock in the middle of the night, he heard a lady's voice crying "Watch! Watch!—Stop him, Watch!" whereupon he turned himself round about, and seeing the prisoner, Mr. H., running with all his might, he as in duty bound, stopped him full butt, and "civilly seizing him by the collar," told him he must wait a-bit, till "the lady what skreeked should come up." But Mr. H., instead of waiting quietly, as a gentleman ought to do, slipped himself out of his coat, "momently as it were," showed fight, and gave him two or three desperate "punches on the belly" before he knew where he was. This being the case, he "twirled his rackler," and other watchmen coming up, Mr. H. was conveyed to the watch-house.
Mr. H., in his defence, gave rather a different account of the matter. It appeared by his statement that, having occasion to call upon a friend late on Saturday night, he found that friend was gone to a neighbouring tavern, and, without thinking any harm, he followed him thither, and having found him, they sat down to take a friendly glass together; but they had scarcely got through the first glass of cold brandy-and-water, with-a-little-sugar-in-it, when, who should come in but his wife, Mrs. H——y! Now, such a visit, at such an hour, and in such a place, he humbly submitted to the magistrate, was confoundedly annoying. He told Mrs. H. that it was extremely indelicate, and desired that she would return home forthwith, and he would follow her in a few minutes. But no—before all the company she peremptorily refused to stir an inch without him! What was to be done? If he departed with her, every body would laugh at him; and if he remained, she would remain also; thereby making the thing still more ridiculous. In this dilemma he consulted with his friend; his friend advised him to go, his own feelings prompted him to stay; but, as matters were getting worse and worse every minute, he resolved to go—and go he did. In order, however, to show Mrs. H. that he would not quietly succumb to petticoat government, exercised in this vexatious manner, he no sooner got into the street, than he took to his heels and ran away—determined in his own mind not to go home for an hour or two. But here again Mrs. H. got the better of him; for he no sooner began to run, than she began to bawl "Stop him, watch! stop him!" and the watch did stop him—not as the said watch had deposed, by "civilly collaring him," but by grasping him by the cravat, and sticking his knuckles against his throat till he was nearly strangled; and he was verily of opinion that he should literally have died of the said strangulation if some persons had not providentially come to his assistance, and forced the watchman to take his hand from his throat. With respect to the "dreadful punches" complained of, he positively denied having inflicted them.
Mrs. H., and another lady or two, who, it seems, accompanied her in her tavern expedition, fully substantiated this statement in all its interesting particulars.
On the other hand, the watchman called four of his brethren, who all offered to swear that Mr. H. struck him repeatedly.
The magistrate was of opinion that the watchman had done his duty well, and called upon Mr. H. to find bail to answer for the assault at the Sessions, unless he could satisfy the watchman for his trouble.
Mr. H. said he had no money to bestow on any such purpose; and, feeling himself the aggrieved party, he had rather go before a jury; so he retired in the custody of the turnkey.
This was a matter of assault and battery, originating in roast lamb and cauliflower, carried on by means of a misfitting toilinet waistcoat, and ending in battle and bloodshed.
Mr. Ellerbach, the defendant, a tailor (by trade), small in person and fashionably attired, with his dexter arm gracefully suspended in a black silk sling, was brought up by the nocturnals of St. Martin's watch-house, and placed before the bench. Whereupon Mr. Arundel, the complainant, "a good portly man, and corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage," being first duly sworn, deposed, that he was the proprietor of an eating house (commonly called a slap-bang shop); and that the defendant, Mr. Ellerbach, being indebted to him for sundry plates of roast lamb and cauliflower, he, the complainant, expressed a strong desire to have the said plates of roast lamb and cauliflower paid for without delay; inasmuch as he was fully aware that when a good dinner had answered the purpose for which it was taken, it was speedily forgotten, especially when taken on tick. He, therefore, as aforesaid, expressed a strong desire to be paid; which so incensed Mr. Ellerbach, that he came into his shop, as he, the complainant, was standing in the midst of his men, and, after having kicked up a great dust, threatened to beat the whole lot. Complainant having no inclination to be beaten, ordered him to depart in peace, and pay for the lamb and cauliflower when convenient. But the defendant's voice was still for war; he d——d the lamb and cauliflower, "vain-gloriously;" and when one of complainant's cooks went towards him, with the kind intention of pursuading him to be quiet, he took up his fist and struck the unoffending cook right on the mouth. The blood gushed forth in a torrent; and, whilst poor cookey was looking for his teeth, complainant called in the watch, and defendant was conveyed to durance.
Mr. Ellerbach entered upon his reply in a mild tone of impassioned eloquence; he admitted having eaten the lamb and cauliflower, and also that he took it on tick—not because he lacked the means of paying for it, even to the uttermost farthing;—but because he had a counter-claim upon the complainant for making him a toilinet waistcoat, which he, the complainant, alleged was a misfit, and therefore disputed the payment. Things were in this state, when he, the defendant, sent to complainant's shop for some cold roast beef and pickled cabbage, intending to eat it for his supper, and, to his immense amazement, the messenger returned, stating that complainant not only refused to send it, but had actually threatened to make pickled cabbage of him (the defendant), unless he immediately paid for the lamb and cauliflower. This allusion to cabbage he very naturally took as a reflection—a vulgar reflection upon his profession as a tailor, and he, therefore, went to his shop in person, to know what he meant by pickling him. But he had scarcely entered the doors, when he found complainant and his surbordinate cooks all up in arms against him. Complainant called him a scoundrel, and ordered him to depart, without giving him time to demand the explanation he came for; and whilst he was endeavouring to obtain a hearing, one of the cooks made "a contemptuous and rather indecent sort of noise with his mouth;" which so exasperated him, that he certainly did strike the offending cook upon the offending organ; and in so doing he thought himself fully justified. In conclusion, he said, though the cook might have lost a little blood by the blow, and even, perhaps, an odd tooth or so, yet he, himself, at the same time knocked the skin off his own knuckles against cookey's teeth, and strained his thumb so, that he was obliged to carry it in a sling; and therefore he submitted that the assault account ought to be considered as balanced.
The magistrate, however, was of a different opinion, and ordered him to find bail for his appearance to answer it at the sessions.
Thus, though the cook failed to pickle the tailor, the tailor contrived to place himself in pickle—and in such a pickle as probably cured him of his pugnacious propensities.
A man of six feet in height, of seedy exterior, and most melancholious physiognomy—principal contributor of bawdry and balderdash to the "Rambler's Magazine;" sixpence-a-sheet translator of the "Adventures of Chevalier Faublas," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera—was brought up in custody, to show cause why he should not be prosecuted for obtaining money under false pretences from one Mr. Robert Wedderburn—tailor and breeches-maker, field-preacher, radical reformer, romance-writer, circulatory-librarian, and ambulatory dealer in drugs, deism, and demoralisation in general.
Mr. Robert Wedderburn—or Robertus Wedderburn, as he delighteth to designate himself, is a man of colour—something of the colour of a toad's back, plump and puffy as a porpoise, and the magnitude of his caput makes it manifest that nature cut him out for a counsellor, had not the destinies decreed that he should cut out cloth. He therefore became a tailor and flourished (his shears), but age and fatty infirmity at length unfitted him for the operative department of his profession; his back would no longer bend to the board; his legs refused to let him cross them as he was wont to do; his eyes declined seeing a needle unless it was close to his nose; and though he got spectacles of all sorts, and let go his braces to their utmost limits, he could not manage it any how; and so, since he could no longer sew, he joined the radicals of the day, and, from mending breeches, took to mending the state. His doings in this way made some noise in the world. He it was who had the honour of first inoculating the invincible Carlile with pure Deism; he it was who suffered pains, penalties, prosecutions, and imprisonments for his too liberal promulgation of too liberal politico-theological preachings; and he it will be that will have a place in the list of patriot martyrs of the nineteenth century—if a list of them should ever be published. Shelved, with the rest of the radicals, he turned his thoughts to literature; literature brought him acquainted with the prisoner; his acquaintance with the prisoner brought the prisoner to the bar of this office; and that brings us to the immediate matter at issue.
It appeared by the evidence, that Mr. Robertus Wedderburn—being a man, as he himself said, "fruitful in imagination, but no great scholar," was in the habit of cutting out pretty little sixpenny romances, and employing the prisoner to touch them up grammatically. This caused a kind of literary intercourse between them; and at one of their interviews lately—on the subject of a new romance, to be called "Beatrice, or the Bleeding Beauty," the prisoner tendered a pawnbroker's ticket to Mr. Robertus Wedderburn, requesting him to buy it. This ticket purported to be a pledging of thirteen volumes of new novels for the trifling sum of ten shillings, and Mr. Robertus Wedderburn willingly undertook to purchase it for three shillings—wisely considering that these thirteen volumes would be a handsome addition to his little circulating library, and that at a shilling a-piece they were certainly "dog cheap." He therefore paid the prisoner the three shillings; and as soon as he could raise the money, he went to the pawnbroker's to redeem the books; when, to his utter astonishment, he found instead of thirteen there were only three!—that the prisoner had taken the liberty of placing a 1 before the 3 on the ticket, thereby converting 3 into 13; that the three books were thus pledged for their full value; and that Mr. Robertus Wedderburn was of course bamboozled of his blunt—in the vulgar, "cheated of his money."
The magistrate, having listened with great patience to the premises, asked the prisoner what he had to say for himself; and, as he only played with his hat-band in reply, he was remanded until the evening, in order that the pawnbroker might attend.
In the evening he was again placed at the bar; but there was no pawnbroker in attendance; and Mr. Wedderburn begged leave to withdraw the prosecution—he having been satisfied by the bounty of the prisoner's patron.
The magistrate then commented severely on the conduct of all the parties, and reluctantly consented to the prisoner's discharge.
A pair of showy young men, exquisitely attired, with their exquisite attire cased in street mud, and their crops à-la-Titus filled with bits of straw, were brought up from one of the lower apartments (commonly called the Black "hole") in Covent-garden watch-house; where they had passed the night in doleful durance, merely because their appetites were in better order than their finances—or, in plain terms, because they had eaten more supper than they could pay for. They gave their names John Bright and Henry Walsh, gents.—the former of Queen's-square, and the latter of——"nowhere in particular." The following is the story of the little adventure which brought them under the surveillance of the police.
On Sunday night these gallants went into the Imperial Hotel, Piazza, Covent-garden, and asked if "Mr. Kecksy" was there. They were told that he was not; at which they expressed much surprise. They then ordered a "rite jollie supper;" and when it was ready they ate it up, washing it down with three bottles of prime old port. Nevertheless, they frequently cast an anxious eye towards the door, and talked from time to time of the unaccountable absence of "Mr. Kecksy." At length they became what is classically called "Bacchi plenus," and the landlord thought it was then time to send up the bill. He sent it up accordingly; but they tossed it in the waiter's face, and ordered him to send up the landlord, Mr. Joy. Mr. Joy obeyed their summons, and demanded to know their pleasure. "Joy, my hearty! you must put up this to Kecksy.—He invited us, and by G—d he shall pay," was the jovial reply. "Upon my word, gentlemen, this is too bad—Mr. Kecksy has not been here these many weeks; you are utter strangers to me, and I cannot think of letting you go without paying," replied Mr. Joy. "You can't!—then I'll tell you what, my old boy, we shall tip you the double and bolt, by all that's comical!" retorted one of the bucks. This kind of phraseology put their gentility quite out of the question with Mr. Joy, and without further ceremony he ordered one of his waiters to call in a watchman. This was a measure the supper-eaters had not calculated upon, and they became indignantly anxious to put their threat of "tipping him the double" into immediate practice; but Mr. Joy and his waiters opposed their retreat; upon which they threatened to kick Mr. Joy downstairs, and throw his waiters out of the window; and they had actually commenced proceedings in this way when the watchman made his appearance and took them in charge. They now moderated their choler a little, and proposed that somebody should accompany them home, where they would pay the bill. This was acceded to on the part of Mr. Joy, and an extra watchman agreed to accompany them, with one of the waiters, for that purpose. But they had scarcely left the hotel before they suddenly bolted in different directions, and would inevitably have tipped their pursuers the double at last, had it not been for the rattles of the watchmen. As it was, one of them was caught as he was scampering up Bow-street, and the other was found ingloriously concealed among the sheds in the market. Farther parley was not attempted on either side. They were forthwith conveyed to the watch-house, and there they conducted themselves so "obstropolously," that the constable of the night found it necessary to have them put down below, "instead of letting them sit by the fire like gentlemen."
This was the substance of the evidence for the prosecution, and the muddy watch-worn defendants were asked by the magistrates what they had to say to it.
They replied that they were actually invited to supper at that hotel, by their friend Mr. Kecksy, who was very well known to the landlord, and they fully expected he would have come in during the supper, or otherwise they would not have ordered the supper. They had, however, offered the landlord their address, and had assured him he should be paid in the morning.
"Then pay it now"—said the magistrate—"the morning is arrived!"
The defendants looked blank—and did not offer to pay.
Mr. Joy observed, that their story about Mr. Kecksy was a mere absurdity, as that gentleman was out of town.
"He is not out of town," said one of the supper-eaters, "for I saw him yesterday afternoon."
"The fact is, your worship, he is in the King's Bench prison," said Mr. Joy.
"That is false, Sir!—He is not," exclaimed the supper-eater.
"Where is he, then?" said his worship.
"Why, Sir, he is—in the Rules!" replied the supper eater.
Every soul in the office laughed at this nice distinction; and the magistrate cut the matter short by telling Mr. Joy he could not detain the gentlemen for the amount of their supper, as it was a simple contract debt; but he could hold them to bail for the assault.
They were accordingly ordered to find bail, and not being prepared with any, they were consigned to the attentions of the turnkey, without any order for their breakfast.
Mr. George Pendergast, the principal of a flue-feaking establishment—or, in ordinary phrase, a master chimney-sweeper appeared upon a peace warrant issued at the instance of Mr. Christopher Williamson, a painter—not of pictures, but posts and penthouses.
Mr. Christopher Williamson deposed, that on a certain day named, Mr. Pendergast came into his apartments while he and Mrs. Williamson were quietly taking their tea and crumpets, and without any notice whatever, knocked him off of his chair what he was sitting on; and upon his telling Mr. Pendergast he thought such conduct very ungenteel, Mr. Pendergast told him to make himself easy, for he would "come it again" as often as he thought proper; from all which, he verily believed that Mr. Pendergast intended to do him some grievous bodily harm, and therefore he prayed the interposition of the law.
Mr. Pendergast, who stood before the bench all soot without, and all gin and jollity within, very readily admitted the assault—adding, "I think, your worship, it was time to give him a bit of a floorer when I found my own wife in his cupboard!"
His worship said if that was the facts it certainly had a rather awkward appearance; but Mr. Williamson assured him Mrs. Pendergast only ran into the cupboard to avoid her husband's violence—"And upon my honour, your worship," said he, "there wasn't a morsel of Crim. Con., or anything of that 'ere sort, in the business at all."
Mr. Pendergast admitted that he was not much afraid of Mr. Williamson "in the Crim. Con. line;" and then went on to detail some other provocations he had received from him: particularly upon one occasion, when Mr. Williamson persuaded him to take a ride on the Thames with him, and because he refused to lend him 10l., chucked him overboard right into the river!
Mr. Williamson denied this, and said Mr. Pendergast went overboard by accident, being rather top-heavy-ish. Mr. Pendergast was bound, in his own recognizance of 20l., to keep the peace towards all the King's subjects generally, and particularly so towards Mr. Christopher Williamson.
About the middle of the year 1821, Horatio, a young apothecary, of a certain city in the West, fell desperately in love with Drusilla, a wealthy damsel of that city; and the damsel returned his passion, though her father forbade her so to do. Then her father, in his anger, had her made a ward in Chancery, and the Lord Chancellor issued an injunction prohibiting Horatio and Drusilla from becoming man and wife. Fathers, and Lord Chancellors, have cruel hearts! and these youthful lovers—instigated, no doubt, by that "giant dwarf, Dan Cupid," and, moreover, not having the fear of the Fleet before their eyes—eloped from their native city, with the intention of uniting themselves in defiance of the solemn injunction above-mentioned.
Now it appears that they contrived to elude the pursuit that was made after them by the father of Miss Drusilla; and also by the officers of the court, who were anxious to serve the enamoured Horatio with a copy of the Lord Chancellor's injunction. In this predicament application was made to Bishop—"Indefatigable Bishop," as he is sometimes called—one of the principal Bow-street officers, and he soon discovered their retreat. He found them, by some means or other best known to himself, in Myrtle-place, or Myrtle-grove, Hoxton. Perhaps it was the name of the place that led him thither; for where could a pair of lovers take refuge more appropriately than in a myrtle-grove?—
And "alas! that an officer's cruel eye
Should e'er go thither
Such sweets to wither!"
—But so it was, he did go, and of course he spoiled every thing—indeed, it would seem that he had no sooner made his appearance at the front door of the house, than "love flew out at the window"—the lady's love at least.
It was just about dusk, in the evening, when Bishop, armed with full powers for the capture of the lady's person, proceeded in a hackney-coach to the Myrtle Grove above mentioned, and alighting at a short distance from the house in which he believed the lovers were concealed, he left his coach in waiting, and walked in silence towards the house. Not the slightest sound was heard from within, but he had no sooner lifted the knocker, than the door was opened by a young lady fully equipped for travelling—it was the fair fugitive, Drusilla herself! She was surrounded by trunks and band-boxes, and bundles; and, as it afterwards appeared, she was at that very moment waiting the return of her beloved Horatio, who was gone to call a coach to convey them to some other place of refuge.
"Your name, I believe Miss, is Drusilla ——, and you are lately arrived from —— ?" said Bishop, with his accustomed courtesy.
"O dear, no, Sir!" exclaimed the lady. "I am Miss Jenkinsop, the daughter of the mistress of this house."
Bishop remarked that he had no doubt she was telling a fib, and desired her to introduce him forthwith to her alleged mama. No; she could not do this, as she was just going out; but if he would walk into the parlour, her mama would come to him presently. Bishop was not to be had in this way; and so, taking the young lady by the hand, he led her into the parlour, and, having rang the bell, the mistress of the house shortly appeared, who disclaimed all relationship to the young lady, and declared she knew no more of her than that she was the "strange young lady" who came to her house with a "strange young gentleman" a day or two ago, and hired her apartments for a week.
The cruel officer now told Drusilla his business, and she wept—for at least a minute and a half; but she no longer denied that she was the identical Drusilla who ran away from —— with Horatio; and wiping away her tears, she put her hankerchief in her reticule, declared she was glad she was caught, and should be very happy to return to her friends, if she was but "sure the Lord Chancellor would do nothing to her."
Bishop told her he had no doubt she would be very kindly received, both by the Lord Chancellor and her father; and offering her his hand, she tripped lightly to the coach he had there in waiting for her. The luggage was then put into the coach, and it was just about to drive off, when another coach drove up, and out jumped Horatio. "Oh! Sir," exclaimed the landlady, who was still standing at the door—"Oh! Sir, they have taken away the lady!" "Who!—who has taken her?" demanded the astonished lover. "Why I have," replied Bishop, ordering the coachman to drive on;—crack went the whip, and away went the horses with the coach behind them:—
"But who can paint Horatio as he stood,
Speechless and fix'd in all the death of woe!"
—He did not stand many seconds, however, but ran after the coach like a greyhound, jumped up behind it, and peeping in at the window called mournfully upon Drusilla. "Drusilla, my angel! where are you going?" His angel sat snugly in the corner of the carriage, and made no reply; but Bishop, looking out at the opposite window, said, "Come, come, young chap, don't be rude; or I shall be under the necessity of taking you somewhere—get down from the coach instantly, or I'll take you into custody." Horatio took the hint and jumped down; but, like a true knight, he continued to follow, even on foot, panting and puffing, till the coach stopped in Bow-street; and then his Drusilla having been deposited in a place of safety, without seeing him—for he could not, with all his fervour, keep up with the coach—he attempted a parley with Bishop, about his share of the luggage, which had been carried off with the lady. Bishop told him if he would call at the Public Office in Bow-street next morning, he should have "what belonged to him;" and with this promise he departed apparently pretty comfortable. Bishop is a shrewd sort of a subject—his object, in getting Horatio to call at the office, was to give the Chancery Solicitors an opportunity of serving him with a copy of the injunction; and he completely succeeded, for Horatio was punctual in calling for "his share of the luggage." He was shown into a private room; where, neither the copy of the injunction nor "his share of the luggage" being ready, he amused himself with a volume of "Coke upon Lyttleton"—instead of pacing the room with his arms folded across his breast to keep his heart down. Indeed it was very evident that he considered himself pretty comfortable under the circumstances. By-the-bye, notwithstanding the desperate adventure he had undertaken, he seemed of a very cool, phlegmatic temperament; and how Drusilla could have fallen so deeply in love with him we cannot imagine; for, though he was nearly six feet high, and had a pleasing obliquity of vision, his nose was embossed with very angry-looking pustules, and his person was spare and uncouth.—But—de gustibus non est disputandum.
A length, after he had pored over "Coke upon Lyttleton," and "the Statutes at Large," for about an hour and a half, the Chancery Solicitor arrived and served him with a copy of the injunction; and, had it been a tavern bill of fare, he could not have taken it more comfortably. He opened it; turned it about in different directions; looked at it both on the outside and the inside, played leisurely with the red tape that bound it, and then—thrust it into his coat pocket.
"I have sent for your proportion of the luggage, Sir, and it will be here directly," said Bishop. Horatio gave a nod, as much as to say "thank ye," and then he looked out at the weather. In a minute or two his share of the "luggage" arrived. It consisted of a little band-box, and some unwashed shirts and cravats tied up in an old silk handkerchief. Horatio opened the hand-box. There was a well-worn hat in it, two pairs of cotton stockings, and three pairs of gloves—that, somehow or other, had lost the ends of the fingers; and there was, moreover, a very nice pair of yellow morocco slippers, nearly new. Horatio turned over these things some time, seemingly in a sort of brown study; and at last, he remarked that there was a piece of Irish cloth which he did not see amongst them. Bishop said he understood the Irish cloth belonged to the lady. "No, Sir," said Horatio, "it belongs to me. It was to make me some shirts. But it is of no great consequence—let her keep it!" As he said this, he sighed a little; and Bishop—willing to console him for the loss of his love as much as possible—sent for the piece of Irish cloth and delivered it to him. Horatio tied it up in his bundle; put the bundle under his arm; and, balancing the band-box on the palm of his hand, he stalked forth into the street, with the Lord Chancellor's injunction sticking out of his hinder pocket like the handle of a stewpan. Unfortunately for the picturesque, however, as he was crossing the street, the wind, which was then rather high, blew the band-box from his hand. Horatio attempted to catch it before it fell to the ground; but, instead of doing so he struck it—up it went in the air, off flew the lid, and the old hat, the stockings, the fingerless gloves, and the yellow morocco slippers, were scattered on the muddy pavement. Horatio—the luckless Horatio—gathered them up as quickly as the wind, and the carts, and the coaches would permit; but, whilst he was busied in getting them together, the injunction dropped from his pocket. At last he managed to cram them, injunction and all, into the band-box; and, calling a coach, he set off for the White Horse Cellar, with the intention, no doubt, of returning to the culling of simples at home—for he was manifestly a young man who, like his namesake in the play, could take Fortune's buffets as thankfully as her rewards.
The lady, in the course of the day, was delivered to her friends in town; and thus ended the loves of Horatio and Drusilla.
There was a pretty, though homely Irish girl, named Kitty Kavanagh, brought before the magistrate on a charge of having stolen a small piece of coarse calico from a Mrs. Dermody.
Kitty Kavanagh is the daughter of a watchman; and she and her father lodge in the same house as Mrs. Dermody. The piece of calico formed "the canopy" of Mrs. Dermody's tester bed. One day lately, Mrs. Dermody missed the canopy—it was taken away even whilst Mr. Dermody was in the bed; and, in a day or two after, she found it on Kitty Kavanagh, in the shape of an apron! Mrs. Dermody displayed this apron before his worship, and told him she could swear to the hemming of it—"because it was very confident to be seen by any one."
Mr. Dermody offered his evidence; and, being sworn, he said, "Your wortchip, it's true, every word of it, what Mrs. Dermody was after telling you, for myself was fast asleep in the bed at that same time."
His worship now asked Kitty Kavanagh what she had to say to it; and she replied, in the richest brogue that ever rolled through the red lips of an Irishwoman—"It's herself and her husband comed home bastely drunk, your honour; and her husband bate her, and kilt her your honour; and your honour sees Mrs. Dermody could not get to the bed by herself any how, bekase of the liquor that night, your honour; and Mr. Dermody lay down in the bed by himself, your honour's honour, and Mrs. Dermody lay down in the coort."
"But what has all this to do with the stolen linen?" asked his worship; "what have you to say about the piece of linen?"
"Is it the bit o' linen your honour's spaking about?" asked Kitty, with infinite naïveté—"Och! I found that same at the stair-foot when all the bother was over!"
His worship shook his head, as much as to say he feared Kitty was adding falsehood to theft.
Her father, the watchman, presented himself; and having expatiated upon the excellent carackter himself and his daughter had hitherto borne in the world he next attacked the reputation of the Dermodys; which he said was all that was "bad and bastely;" and then he called two witnesses, who would tell his honour "all the rights of it."
His witnesses came forward; they were Patrick Doole and Michael Sullivan. But all that Misther Doole could prove was the drunkenness of the Dermodys on the day of the robbery; and Mr. Sullivan had nothing to say to it at all, only that Kitty Kavanagh was a nice young cratur, and her father was just like her for all the world.
This was of course all nothing in the face of the fact so distinctly sworn to, and the prisoner was committed for trial.—So the interesting Kitty Kavanagh was sent to gaol, and perhaps lost her character for ever, for a bit of old calico, not worth sixpence.
Mons. Gaspard Jacques Hercule Flament, a French gentleman with one eye—"dégraisseur extraordinaire to the British public;" was brought before the magistrate to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for neglecting to maintain his wife in that style of elegance and comfort to which she was entitled—or rather, for neglecting her maintenance altogether.
The lady, Mrs. Flament, was a pretty, little, black-eyed, sprightly Englishwoman; who, "by some odd whim or other," as she said, fell in love with, and married Mr. Flament, about six years ago. But they never could agree very well; and after five years of connubial misery, they determined to separate—Mr. Flament undertaking to allow her a separate maintenance of ten shillings a-week; with which she was very well content, as she had "a good comfortable mother to fly to." Mr. Flament, however, was not a man of his word; for, though he paid the ten shillings a-week pretty regularly at the outset of their separation, he afterwards reduced it to seven, and latterly to three. This, she humbly submitted to the magistrate, was an income upon which no lady could exist; and, as Mr. Flament was the very best scourer at that moment out of Paris, she did hope his worship would compel him to make her a more suitable allowance.
Mr. Flament could speak no English, and so he was attended by a "professor of languages" in a military cloak; and this professor took great pains to convince the magistrate that Mr. Flament was a very poor man, and that Mrs. Flament was a very naughty woman. "She has robbed her husband three times," said the professor,—"shut him up in de prisonne vonce, and made seex, seven hondred grands faux pas!—Monsieur Flament had better broke de best of his two leg, dan marry such hussey! hussey! as madame his vife!"
Mrs. Flament was about to recriminate, but the magistrate prevented her, by observing that, whatever faults she might have, she was the defendant's wife; and by the laws of this country, he was bound to support her. The only question, therefore, was, what sum should be fixed upon; and he thought seven shillings a-week would be an equitable allowance.
The professor said Mr. Flament would sooner quit the country than pay any such sum.
"Will he?" said the magistrate, "but I will take care he does not; for unless something is agreed upon before he leaves this office, I will commit him to prison; and then we shall see how he will manage to leave the country."
The professor asked ten thousand pardons for offending his worship; and begged to observe that madame could earn seventeen shillings a-week for herself, by her own hands.
Madame replied, that it was hat binding to which the professor alluded; but she was sorry to say, she was not so far accomplished in it at present, as to be able to earn half that money.
After some further conversation, it was agreed that six shillings a-week should be the stipulated allowance; but then the parish must be indemnified.
The professor said there was not the least danger that Mons. Flament would run away—
"Then why did you threaten that he would?" asked the magistrate.
"I did not mean, Sare, that he should leave the country—the England," replied the professor, "only this town, Sare—that he should go out—into—the country, is all what I mean."
The magistrate observed, that it was not the custom in this country to say one thing and mean another—
"Vera true—your worship," replied the smiling professor with a low bow—"but John Bull say many things he does not mean, for all that."
His worship smiled also, and did not take the trouble of refuting the slander; and the matter ended in the professor and another friend of Mons. Flament becoming sureties to the parish on his behalf.
Mr. Peter Twig—a venerable, rosy-gilled Greenwich pensioner, was charged with having created a great riot and disturbance in and about the attic residence of Mrs. Margaret Muggins; and with having threatened to beat the said Margaret Muggins to a mummy, under pretence of being in love with her.
It appeared that Mrs. Muggins—having lost her husband, and being short of money and one leg, was some time an inmate of the parish workhouse; and there she was first seen by Mr. Peter Twig, who no sooner saw her than he felt he was a lost old man, unless he could make Mrs. Muggins his own. He therefore determined to get himself admitted an inmate of the workhouse—for even the walls of a workhouse cannot hold love out; "and what love can do, that dare love attempt." He succeeded in getting into the house, and he succeeded in getting into the good graces of Mrs. Muggins. He told her of the battles in which he had fought—all on the roaring sea: he spoke to her of land perils, and water perils; of fire, and smoke, and grape-shot, and the miseries of six-water grog; and he expatiated on the splinter that knocked off a piece of his nose; and Mrs. Muggins was moved. "She loved him for the dangers he had seen, and he loved her"—because, as he said, he couldn't help it. So they eloped together from the workhouse, and took shelter in a three-pair back, and there they fostered their venerable loves with gin and jugg'd jemmies for three entire weeks. But, before the end of the fourth week, Peter's pension-money, and Mrs. Muggins's love, were all exhausted, and in spite of his tears and entreaties she left him, and went to reside with her married daughter. Poor Peter was inconsolable. He tried to drown his sorrows in max-upon-tick, but it would not do; for his credit was little, and his sorrows were large, and at length he resolved to move Mrs. Muggins to pity him by casting himself at her foot. But Mrs. Muggins had a heart as hard as any rock, and she would not see him; and he laid himself down at the threshold of her apartment, and wished the door at the devil! So he—
"Built him a willow cabin at her gate,
And called upon his love within the house—
Making the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out—Meg Muggins!"
And all this gave great offence, not only to Mrs. Muggins and her daughter, but to all the gossips of the neighbourhood; and they insisted upon his bundling himself off, and he would not. Then they attempted to bundle him off themselves, and then he flew into a great rage, and swore he would beat Mrs. Muggins to a mummy and mollify her heart with his fistes, since he could not soften it with sighs; and then they gave him into custody of a constable for fear he should do so.
These things having been detailed to the magistrate by the daughter and neighbours of Mrs. Muggins—for Mrs. Muggins herself was too much alarmed to appear—his worship asked the forlorn old swain what he had to say to it.
"Your honour," replied Peter, "I have been desperately ill-used. She—she knows she has ill-used me: and yet I can't forget she, for the life of me! When a man's in love, your honour, it's of no use talking to him! They may punch me and knock me about, but they can't knock the love out of me; and your honour may send me to quod, but quod won't cure me. What is it I would not do for she?—(Mrs. Muggins, he would have said, but Mrs. Muggins stuck in his—gizzard). What is it I wouldn't do for she? And yet you see how she uses me. Your honour, I've served my king and country many a long year, and have seen hard service in all parts of the world, and have seen many places took by storm, and it's desperate hard to be used a thisns after all!"
His worship admitted that it was very hard; but as it was evident the lady was determined not to yield, it behoved him to raise the siege and go into quiet quarters, for he certainly would not be allowed to take her by storm.
Peter declared he had no intention of taking her by storm; and said if she would only write him an answer to the letter he had shoved under her door, he would try to be content.
His accusers undertook that the letter should be answered—if it could be found; and eventually Peter was discharged, with an admonition to cease from pestering Mrs. Muggins, on pain of imprisonment.
Mr. John Dunn appeared upon a warrant to answer the complaint of Mrs. Amelia Groutage.
Mrs. Amelia Groutage is an elderly lady of some sixteen stone or thereabout, and short in proportion—or, more properly speaking, out of proportion; for it is a doubt whether her breadth is not nearly equal to her height. We are thus particular in her admeasurement, because it materially influenced the decision on her complaint.
She deposed, that upon her going to Mr. Dunn's house to demand payment of some money he owed her, he took her round the waist with one arm, whilst he gave her a violent blow on her shoulder with the other, and then turned her out of door.
The magistrate expressed some doubt whether so small a man as Mr. Dunn could encircle her waist with one arm; but she assured him it was the fact; and so Mr. Dunn was called upon for his defence.
Mr. Dunn had such a multitude of words at his command, and used them so lavishly, that we cannot pretend to give his defence verbatim; but we gathered, that he and Mrs. Groutage lived within seven or eight doors of each other, and that the account between them is a disputed balance. Nevertheless, they had lived upon good neighbourly terms with each other up to last Tuesday night. On that night, Mr. Dunn had a little supper party at his house, to which Mrs. Groutage was invited, and she came among the rest. After supper, Mrs. Groutage "got very glumpish;" and nobody could imagine what ailed her, till at last she was rude enough to ask Mr. Dunn when he meant to pay her what he owed her; and threatened that if he did not pay her that very moment, she would summon him to Court next morning. The company were, of course, quite shocked at this sort of conversation; and Mr. Dunn, determined not to have the harmony of the evening destroyed in this manner, went quietly behind the angry and ill-bred Mrs. Groutage, threw both his arms round her waist, fairly carried her out of the house, and set her down at her own door! This was the only violence he offered to her; and any injury she had received was entirely owing to her own kicking and plunging, and clinging to the door-posts as he carried her along.
This statement was confirmed by a host of witnesses, and Mrs. Groutage was nonsuited.
A DUN AT SUPPER TIME.
A pair of venerably-bearded Turks, in the full costume of the East, appeared before the magistrate, attended by one of the porters belonging to the Home Secretary of State's Office, who informed his worship, that one of the under secretaries had desired they should be conducted before him; they having some complaint to make against a member of the University of Cambridge.
Neither of the Asiatics could speak a syllable of English, but they were accompanied by a man who offered himself as their interpreter, and who also called himself a Turk—though he was an exact personification of an English stage-coachman,—a sturdy, curly-headed, red-faced, knowing-looking fellow, in topp'd boots, bird's-eye fogle, and poodle benjamin.
To this man one of the strangers talked for nearly a quarter of an hour, with astonishing volubility, and most redundant gesticulation; and, having concluded, the man delivered the following narrative—partly in English, partly in French, partly in Arabic, and partly in a dialect of his own, composed of all the others:—
The Turks, in the course of their travels, had sojourned some days at Cambridge; and whilst there had sold about ten pounds worth of their merchandise to a "college-man"—a collegian, whose name and address they produced. The "college-man" did not pay them for the merchandise; but promised to be ready with the money on a future day. When the day arrived, however, he was "gone somewhere away," and they could not find him. Some days more elapsed before he made himself visible; and then another day of payment was appointed; but when that day came, he was gone away again. In short, as the interpreter said, he was "always far off, round about in the countries—sometimes here, and sometimes there, sometimes everywhere, and sometimes nowhere at all." In all these eccentricities the poor Turks endeavoured to keep up with him; and urged the chase so warmly, that it would appear he began at length to grow confoundedly tired of it; and, hopeless of exhausting their patience by this kind of wild-goose chase, he hit upon the following queer contrivance to rid himself of their troublesome presence:—Having apologized for the delay that had occurred, he appointed to meet them on the following morning at a certain public-house, about five miles from Cambridge, on the road to London. The Turks were exact in keeping their appointment, and they had not waited long before "the college-man" made his appearance. He was accompanied by a young woman; and he proposed to the Turks that they should escort this young woman to London and take great care of her, as she was very dear to him, and wait altogether at the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, till he joined them; that he would follow them in a day or two at farthest, and immediately on his arrival in town he would give them a cheque upon his banker for the original debt, and the travelling expenses altogether! This would have been a comical proposition to have made to an Englishman, but it answered very well with the poor Turks, and they readily agreed to it—not doubting but he would keep his word when they had a lady in pawn who was so very "dear" to him; and they took their departure for the metropolis by the first coach that passed; the "college-man" taking a tender farewell of the lady, and the simple Mussulmen escorting her along the road with as much care as though they had been conducting some fair Circassian to the Seraglio of the Grand Seignor! They arrived at the White Horse Cellar in due course, and waited day after day for the arrival of "the college-man;" but to their astonishment he never came, and their patience and faith evaporating together, they at length sought redress, by applying to the Secretary of State, as above stated.
The magistrate said, it appeared that the collegian, by this unprincipled trick, had "killed two birds with one stone,"—he had rid himself of his creditor and his mistress at once. The stratagem, he said, was the more unprincipled, inasmuch as it was played off upon foreigners, who were utterly ignorant of the customs of the country, but unfortunately it did not come within his jurisdiction, and therefore he could render no assistance. His worship then recommended them to apply to a solicitor; and the interpreter tried hard to make them understand the nature of a solicitor, but the strangers only shook their turban'd heads and shrugged their shoulders in reply; and, so doing, they walked out of the office.
One of the churchwardens of St. Anne's, Soho, appeared in custody before the magistrate, to answer the complaint of John Brown.
John Brown—or, more courteously speaking, Mr. John Brown—is landlord of a respectable inn, in Essex, and a jolly landlord he is—plump, unctuous, and rosy; and being at that time blessed with a fine pair of bloodshot eyes, his countenance looked as glowingly rubicund as a full-blown Patagonian peony.
John Brown, it appeared, had a correspondent in London, named B—, who some time before accepted a bill in his favour, and within a few days, John Brown had received a letter from a Mr. D., informing him that his friend Mr. B. would not be able to honour his acceptance, because Mrs. B. had eloped! This was sad news for John Brown. He felt for his friend who had lost his wife; he felt more for himself, who was likely to lose his money; and, what with the wife and the money, and the money and the wife, he was puzzled exceedingly. But he was not the man to sit idly twirling his thumbs and bothering his brains, when there was a chance of mending the matter by using his legs; and so, having set his affairs at home in order, he came bang up at once to London, determined (like King Lear) to do something—though what he knew not.
In the first place, he called upon Mr. D., for Mr. B. was from home—roving round the country in search of his faithless spouse, poor man! John Brown and Mr. D. laid their heads together; and, indeed, John Brown could not have come more opportunely, for Mr. D. had just got intelligence that the runagate Mrs. B., and her paramour, Lieutenant H., were concealed at No. 19, Carlisle-street, Soho. "Ho! ho!" thought John Brown to himself, "now I'll do the business genteelly—I'll get poor B. his wife again—I'll baste the blackguard that took her away, and I'll get my bill honoured, all quite regular." Full of this hope and expectation, he instantly sallied forth on his way to No. 19, Carlisle-street, Soho; but, unfortunately, John Brown's memory "lacked retention"—the number of the house imperceptibly evaporated as he went along—by the time he reached Carlisle-street, ten of the nineteen had completely vanished from his recollection, and so he boldly knocked at the door of No. 9. Now No. 9 was the residence of a most respectable maiden lady, the daughter of a late magistrate, and of very retired habits. But what was all that to John Brown? he had as little doubt of his having mistaken the house as he had of his own existence.
The door was opened by one of the maid-servants, and John Brown, with his fine flaming physiognomy, strode manfully into the hall. The girl, with the open door still in her hand, stared after him with surprise.—"Shut the door, young woman!" said the peremptory John Brown, "shut the door, young woman, and show me up to the missis." "My mistress, Sir!" said the astonished girl;—"it's impossible—she is not up." "Aye, that won't do for me," replied John Brown, "I must, and I will see her directly—so show me up stairs!" The girl became alarmed, and called her fellow-servant; whilst John Brown continued marching about the hall, wiping the dewy moisture from his blushing brows, and vociferating aloud, "You baggages! you know all about it! But I won't be gammoned!—you know the missis is in bed with Lieutenant H.! But I'll have him out in spite of you!"
At length the two girls together prevailed upon him to moderate his choler a little, and write a note to their mistress. They furnished him with pen, ink, and paper, and he set about it lustily; but he wrote and wrote, and could write nothing to his mind. He threw his coat off, and tried again; but still it would not do. Then he recollected that he had been bled the day before, and that the bandage might possibly impede the flow of his thoughts as well as the motion of his pen. Up goes his shirt sleeve in an instant; and stretching out his brawny arm, he ordered the girls to unloose the bandage; but by this time they had no doubt that honest John Brown was neither more nor less than a madman, and one of them slipped out of door and requested Mr. N., the churchwarden, who resided immediately opposite, to come to him. The churchwarden came, just as John Brown had managed to unroll the bandage from his arm himself, and was taking pen in hand to have another try at writing. He demanded John Brown's business there, and John Brown told him all about it without bating an inch. When he had done, the churchwarden told him he was either mad, or was labouring under some gross mistake. John Brown was doubly fired at this—his countenance, from a glowing red, became of a mahogany tint, and he manifested symptoms of kicking up a row. But the churchwarden was not to be frightened by "the blustering of a turkey-cock;" and so, quietly grasping John Brown by the arm, he "walked him out of the house;" and walked him, and walked him along the street, till he had walked him into the office of the lady's solicitor, in order that he might be dealt with according to law for his strange intrusion into her house. But the solicitor happened to be from home, and John Brown was suffered to go at large; whereupon he repaired to the nearest tavern, took a bumper of brandy and water to reconglomerate his faculties, and then applied at this office for a warrant against the churchwarden,—who, as he said, had dared to walk him out of one house into another.
The magistrate having heard the business from beginning to end, with great patience, dismissed the warrant, and told John Brown he might think himself well off that it was no worse.
This is the end of John Brown's adventures, as far as we are acquainted with them.
Showing how, like John Gilpin, he went further than he intended, and got safe home again.
Mr. John Saunders, a remarkably soft-spoken, mild young man, of demure carriage, slender proportions, and rather respectable appearance, was placed at the bar, under a (not very violent) suspicion of having stolen a horse; but it turned out that the suspicion was groundless, and that instead of John Saunders stealing the horse, the horse stole John Saunders!
It appeared that as Mr. Stephen Marchant, of Turnham-green, was riding quietly homewards from town, between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, his horse got a pebble in one of his feet, which made him go lame, and Mr. Marchant alighted to extract it. Whilst he was busied in this operation, who should come up offering assistance but John Saunders, with a large white band-box in one hand, and an umbrella in the other. Mr. Marchant accepted his help with many thanks; and John Saunders, setting down his band-box in the road, began grubbing away at the unlucky pebble with the spike of his umbrella, whilst Mr. Marchant held up the foot of the horse; and he grubbed and grubbed at it, so earnestly, that at last the spike of the umbrella "broke off as short as a carrot." Well, what was to be done now? Why Mr. Marchant, thinking he could knock out the pebble with a large stone, asked John Saunders to hold the horse whilst he looked for one; and John Saunders readily undertook to do so; but whilst Mr. Marchant was groping about, in the dark, for the stone, he saw, to his utter astonishment, John Saunders on the back of the horse, scampering away towards Kensington as if the deuce was in him—his umbrella tucked close under his arm, and his great white band-box banging about from side to side like mad, as he said.
Mr. Marchant stood aghast for a moment, and then followed, crying "Stop thief! Stop thief!" with all his might. Every horseman on the road, the horse-patrol and many foot passengers, hearing this cry, scampered after John Saunders with might and main, and the hue and cry sounded far and wide—
"Stop thief! stop thief!—a highwayman!"
Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that passed that way
Did join in the pursuit.
And still, as fast as he drew near,
'Twas wonderful to view
How in a trice the turnpike men
Their gates wide open threw.
—Tramp! tramp! away he went, through merry Kensington, down Phillimore Place, dashing by Holland House, and so away for Hammersmith, with a continually increasing rabble rout at his heels. But John Saunders gained upon them at every bound of his steed; he shot through Hammersmith-gate with the rapidity of lightning, and wheeling round to the left, down Fulham-lane, he got so far a-head of his pursuers, that they could see nothing but his great white band-box—as it went bobbing and swinging from side to side at his back. Down Fulham-lane, however, they followed him, slap bang!—and on they went, hallooing and hooting, through mud and through mire, through fog and moonshine, till at last he took a desperate leap over the fence of a ploughed field; and when the foremost of his pursuers came up to the gap, even the bobbing of his band-box was invisible!—In plain terms, he fairly "tipped 'em the double"—he was vanished; and Mr. Marchant having thus lost his horse, was under the annoying necessity of—getting home how he could.
On the following morning Mr. Marchant repaired to town on foot, to give notice of the robbery to the police; and almost the first object that caught his eye, on getting into Piccadilly, was John Saunders—still mounted on his Bucephalus, but without either band-box or umbrella. He stared at John Saunders—John Saunders stared at him; and they gradually drew near to each other without a word being uttered on either side. Having conglomerated, John Saunders offered him his horse again—telling him he had "mounted it by accident," and it ran away with him; that he wished it at the dooce, almost, for taking him so far from home; and that he was come to town for the sole purpose of advertising in the noosepapers for its owner. When he had told the astonished Mr. Marchant all this, he dismounted; gave the bridle rein into Mr. Merchant's hand, and then produced the manuscript of his intended advertisement. But Mr. Marchant having no idea of a man's "mounting a horse by accident," seized John Saunders by the collar, and gave him in charge to one of the passing patrol, who brought him to this office.
So far was Mr. Marchant's statement of the affair; and, he having concluded, John Saunders was called upon for his defence.
John Saunders, as we have already stated, was a remarkably mild, quiet young man; and he told a story—or rather a story was drawn out of him bit by bit, of which the following is the substance:—He resided with his mama at Clapham—was himself "brought up in the glass line," (and truly he seemed as transparent as glass,) but was then out of business. On the afternoon preceding the night on which he met with Mr. Marchant and his wicked horse, his mama sent him to her milliner's, at Kensington, to bring home a bonnet and feathers which she had sent there to be "done up." He went to Kensington—called upon a friend, who gave him some Scotch ale—went to the milliner, who put the bonnet and feathers in a large white band-box, and he was quietly returning home to Clapham with it, when he fell in with the gentleman, and his horse with a pebble in his foot: but he wished he never had fallen in with them; for he had been made very miserable by it. He offered his services to get the pebble out, and spoiled his umbrella; he undertook to hold the horse while the gentleman looked for a stone, and the Scotch ale, having got into his head, as he supposed, induced him to get on the horse's back—quite contrary to his intention. The horse ran away with him directly—directly contrary to the way he wished to go—he was hurried along, in a dreadful manner, he knew not whither, till the horse stopped at Brompton; and then he found that the large white band-box was worn almost to tatters by its excessive agitation on horseback, and that one of the feathers of his mother's bonnet was sadly broken. He then considered within himself that it would be impossible to find the gentleman to whom the horse belonged that night; and, having bought a new band-box for his mother's bonnet, he rode home to Clapham, put the horse in a butcher's stable, gave it some corn, had his own supper, and went to bed dreadfully tired. In the morning he got up early, wrote an advertisement about the horse, and was coming to town to put it in the papers, when he met the gentleman, who was very angry with him, and gave him into custody.
Mr. Marchant, in reply, said he was inclined to believe his story, but he thought it right he should be told authoritatively that he was not to play such pranks with impunity.
The magistrate, therefore, gave John Saunders a suitable admonition, and dismissed him.
A German mechanic having laid information at this office that a countryman of his, named Schultz, residing in Green Street, Leicester Square, was kept in a state of durance, in his own house, by an Englishwoman, who, he verily believed, had a design both upon his life and property, the magistrate sent some officers to bring the parties before him.
They accordingly proceeded to the house, but the English lady peremptorily refused them admission, and it was several hours before they were able to effect an entrance. At length, however, they brought the parties to the office in a hackney coach—for the lady was too magnificent to walk, and the poor old German was so afflicted with paralysis, that he was carried before the magistrate on the back of one of his countrymen.
He was indeed a miserable object—his limbs utterly useless—his eyes dull and unnaturally protruding—his beard unshaved—his hair matted with feathers—and his whole person disgustingly filthy.
The lady, on the contrary, was a fine bouncing woman, of rather handsome countenance, gaily dressed in a fashionable bonnet and plume, and her fat white fingers covered with glittering rings. Nevertheless she bodily professed that she loved the poor emaciated, dirty, paralytic old man; and she affirmed that all her attentions to him were purely disinterested. He was exactly in the same state, she said, when she first became acquainted with him, five years ago—not worth a single sixpence, over head and ears in debt, half crazy, of filthy habits, lame, old, and impotent—and yet she loved him—loved him for himself alone. ("Oh! who doth know the bent of woman's phantasy?" as Master Spenser saith.)
She delivered these fibs—for fibs they surely must be—in the short, quick, staccato manner, perfectly at her ease, and alternately munching an orange and blowing her nose between every word. She had a solicitor, too, in attendance upon her—a little wee man, inclining to threescore, who evidently spent more in hair-powder than in soap; and to him she appealed at the close of every sentence she uttered—"'Pon my honour it's true!—there's my solicitor, ask him;" and the solicitor as regularly bowed his powdered little head in assent.
The wretched old German stated, that this lady came as a lodger to his house in the first instance, and took every opportunity of attending to him in his illness; till at length, finding she had ingratiated herself with him, she proposed to him to make her his wife. This he very ungallantly declined; and she contented herself with only passing for his wife, and assuming more than the privileges of one. She turned out his lodgers, and got creatures of her own in lieu of them. She forbade his friends and countrymen from coming near him. She pretended they only wanted to rob him, and prevailed on him to make his will, leaving all his property to her; and having accomplished this, she confined him in a little room, fed him scantily, and beat him whenever he remonstrated with her on her altered conduct. In conclusion, he expressed his thankfulness that he had been rescued from her tyranny, and implored the magistrate to protect him from her in future.
The magistrate said he could easily afford protection to his person, but he wished to protect his property also.
The solicitor here informed his worship, that the complainant had no property to protect—inasmuch as he had given the lady a bill of sale of all he possessed, in consideration of a hundred pounds she had lent him at different times.
This, the wretched old foreigner denied. He declared that she had never lent him but 13l., and even that she forced upon him; that he knew nothing of any bill of sale, and that she had taken away the lease of his house, and hid it.
A long desultory altercation ensued, and eventually this disinterested lady was ordered to find bail for repeatedly assaulting the object of her love; and not being prepared with any, she was delivered into the custody of the gaoler, whilst the old man was carried out of the office again on the back of his countryman.
A poor hunchback'd little printer, whose dreary destinies have driven him to seek an asylum in St. Clement's workhouse, was brought before the magistrate, charged on suspicion of being a resurrection man.
His accusers, a couple of large-sized watchmen, told the following story; or rather, a story to the following effect:—In the dead of the night, "when churchyards yawn, and graves give up their dead," a man came to these watchmen and told them, he verily believed there were three resurrection men at work among the graves in the burial-ground adjoining St. Clement's workhouse—that identical burying-ground which contains all that is left in this world of the once merry Joe Miller. The watchmen, having received this intelligence, and trimmed their lanterns, went straightway to the burial-ground, and clambering over the iron railing, they searched the whole place, grave by grave, until at last they found—not three stout resurrection men, with pick-axes and spades; but one solitary being—the poor hunchbacked unfortunate little pauper printer above mentioned. He was sitting, all alone, on the top-mast round of a ladder; which ladder was reared against the window of a house bordering on the burial-ground; and in that window there was a dim glimmering light; and, therefore, the watchmen took the moping little man into custody, and had him away to the watch-house.—For they had heard that bodies had often been conveyed away from the burial-ground through the windows of that house, and so out at the front door in St. Clement's-lane, and away at once to the dissecting-rooms—Guy's Hospital, perchance, or the cadaverous halls of Blenheim-street. Bodies, now-a-days, as they said, fetched a big price, and who so likely to be tempted by a big price as a poor pennyless pauper; ergo, the little hunchback printer, being a poor pennyless pauper, and being at such a time of night in such a place, with a ladder reared against such a house, offering every facility for such a purpose, must, no doubt, be concerned in some such deadly doings. And, as a further proof, if any were wanting, one of the watchmen concluded his evidence in these remarkable words:—
"Your worships, I have no doubt in the world, that at some future time bodies have been taken through that very house!" Whereupon, Sir Richard observed, that the opinion would have had more weight, if the tenses had been less confused. It afterwards appeared, however, that future and former were synonymous terms in this watchman's vocabulary, and so his opinion became intelligible.
Mr. Minshull now asked the pauper printer what he was doing in the burial-ground at that time of night; adding, "I am afraid, my friend, you were there with the intention of stealing dead bodies."
"Not a bit of 'em, your worship—not a bit of 'em," replied the printer—"Lord bless you, Sir!—it was beer, and not bodies, that I was looking for!" He then told his story; from which it appeared that the master of the workhouse had treated him and the other paupers with a modicum of beer on the preceding evening in honour of the season, for it was Christmas-eve; and this small taste stimulating their stomachs for more, little hunchback undertook to forage for some, after the master should be gone to bed. Accordingly, when the master was fast asleep, little hunchback crept down stairs with a subscription of tenpence in one hand, and "the workhouse can" in the other; and with the assistance of the lamplighter's ladder he got out of the yard into the burial-ground. He then pulled the ladder after him, and reared it against a house in which he saw a light; and, tapping gently at the window, it was opened by a gentleman in a white nightcap, to whom little hunchback said, "Beg pardon, Sir! but would you be kind enough to get us half-a-gallon of mild beer, in this 'ere can?" "The gentleman said he would, and welcome," continued he; "and God knows, I was sitting on the top of the ladder, waiting for it, and thinking of nothing in the world but the beer, when the watchmen came and took me."
The magistrate sent for the master of the workhouse, and the several persons implicated, and they confirming the poor printer's story, he was discharged; but Mr. Minshull admonished the master not to let the lamplighter's ladder be used in the same way again, even though he should be obliged to carry it into his own bed-chamber.
The following very touching instance of the irresistible force of love was brought under the notice of the magistrate some time in the winter of the years 1823 and 1824.
There lives in the Strand—or there did live at the time above-mentioned—a very respectable young tradesman, whose name has nothing at all to do with this affair;—let it suffice, that he occupied a large and lofty house; and being a bachelor, he employed a housekeeper, whose name was Molly Lowe; and this Molly Lowe is the heroine of our story.
Molly Lowe, then, is a woman of staid and serious demeanour; plain in her person, neat in her dress, past forty, and a spinster. For these reasons, all and sundry, her young master placed implicit confidence in her, and gave up the entire management of his household affairs to her direction. In his opinion Molly Lowe was an immaculate matron, and full proof against every thing—except superfine souchong, with the least drop of brandy in the world in it. But this opinion of his was a very fallacious one,—neither man nor woman, be their age and uprightness what it may, can ever be proof against love. And so it turned out in this instance—
"For Love, the disturber of high and of low,
Who shoots at the peasant as well as the beau,"
—let fly a sharp arrow at Molly Lowe; and her forty years' frost melted before the youthful charms of James Wright—a drum-boy in the First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards, commanded by his Royal Highness the Duke of York!
The first notice her master received of this change in Molly Lowe's temperature he received in an anonymous letter, signed "Microscopicus;" which letter—after lamenting the multitude of sins that spring up everywhere like mushrooms—from the button to the broad black flap, informed him that Molly Lowe had fallen in love with the little drummer aforesaid, and earnestly recommended him to nip her iniquity in the bud. "And you need not take my ipse dixit in the matter at all," continued the letter of Mr. Microscopicus, "for if you will return home any evening unexpectedly, you will find Molly and her moppet junketing together on the contents of your larder."
The master had little faith in this epistle; for, as he said, the thing was so improbable; and he was half inclined to think that Mr. Microscopicus was either some meddling methodistical miscreant, or some discarded lover of Molly's youthful days. But well knowing that nothing is impossible, and that more unlikely matrons than Molly have been entangled in the toils of love, he put the epistle in his pocket, and determined to keep a sharp look-out on Molly's movements in future.
Several days passed without his discovering anything; and he was just beginning to feel satisfied that Mr. Microscopicus was what he had supposed him to be, when, one evening, his curiosity was strangely excited by Molly's absence from her ordinary occupations.—What could be the meaning of it? Every time she was called, she came down from her bed-room, instead of up from the kitchen; and every time, she seemed more and more cross at being "call'd about so." "What can you be doing up stairs so much, Molly?" said her master. "Nothing," replied Molly. "Then what makes you go there so often?—What—have—you—got in your head, Molly?" "Lord bless me, nothing!" was Molly's invariable reply; and at every succeeding question she grew more waspish than before. But her master was not satisfied with this simple nothing—he felt quite sure there must be something wrong. So, calling his shopmen together, he ascended with them to Molly Lowe's bed-room; and there, to Molly Lowe's confusion, he found the identical drummer stowed away like Falstaff, in a buck-basket! There he lay—sword, cap, and belt, complete, coil'd up hilt to point, head to heel, in the bottom of the buck-basket, and covered over with a mountain of foul clothes!—"It was a miracle he escaped suffocation!" The buck-basket stood in a little closet, and they drew him forth from his——but "comparisons are odorous,"—it is enough, that they pulled him out, set him up on end, and shook him well; and that the master, turning to Molly Lowe, said "Molly! Molly! I never could have expected this!" "Bless me!" replied Molly Lowe—suffused with deep mahogany blushes, and bristling about like an angry turkey-cock—"Bless me! what a fuss there is about a bit of a boy!—He's my sister in law's own cousin, and I sent him up stairs because there were some ladies coming to look at the first floor; and where was the mighty harm of that?—And I'd have you to know, Sir, that you use me very ill, Sir!—and I won't bear it any longer, Sir! and"——And here she took out her handkerchief, held it to her eyes, and rushed out of the room in hysterics.
The enamoured drummer seemed quite dumbfounded by the catastrophe; he attempted no defence; and, as Molly's master was by no means satisfied with her matronly account of the matter, the poor youth—all reeking from his hot bed, was handed over to a constable who shut him up for the night in the cold and comfortless watch-house. Oh! what a miserable Molly must Molly Lowe have been that night!
In the morning the drummer was brought before the magistrate, to whom all these matters were related; and the constable added, that the drummer had confessed to him that he had often been to drink tea and sup with Molly Lowe; that she was over head-and-ears in love with him; that she had bought him a watch, with gold chain and seals, and had given him more than three pounds in money; and that she had assured him she was indeed his own cousin, by her sister-in-law's side, only seven times removed; but of that he knew nothing, having never heard of her till she met him one Sunday evening and asked him to come to tea.
His worship observed, that this was a very ungallant confession—to say the least of it; and he then asked if Molly was in attendance.
Her master replied that she was not—as he meant to content himself with discharging her from his service. He was not aware that he had been actually robbed, either by her or her young admirer; but he had brought the youth before his worship, because he thought he deserved some punishment for his impudent intrusion.
The magistrate said, he thought Molly was the most deserving of punishment; but he asked the poor lad what he had to say to it.
He replied, that Mrs. Lowe asked him to come to see her, and he went; that she was very kind to him, and gave him tea and things up stairs; and that he was very glad when they came and pulled him out of the dirty clothes, for he had been under them more than two hours.
His worship ordered that notice of his situation should be sent to his regiment; and in the evening he was delivered into the custody of the drum-corporal, who attended to receive him. And thus ended the amour of Molly Lowe.
Of all the miseries, or vices, which are daily brought to this office for relief or correction, there are none that give the magistrates more trouble than the miseries of matrimony—and the trouble is the more painful, inasmuch as, in nine cases out of ten, it never leads to any satisfactory result. Scarcely a day passes without some connubial devilry, or other, being submitted to their judgment either by man or woman—members of the married public of this metropolis; and in almost every case their prayer is, total separation—a comfort which a magistrate has it not in his power to bestow. It is only your wealthy couples who can shake off their fetters—the needy ones must wear them for life.
A weary Benedict of this latter class—a large middle-aged man, of lachrymose physiognomy, respectful demeanour, and decent attire, presented himself before the magistrate, one gloomy December morning, to request some relief from his wedded woes. He had waited more than two hours among the crowd at the lower end of the office, whilst the ordinary business was going on without manifesting the slightest impatience; and when the hurry and bustle was over, he sedately approached the table, and told the magistrate, in a confidential under-tone, that he wished to consult him on a subject of the utmost importance—
"Speak out, Sir!" said the magistrate, "I am ready to hear you."
"Your worship, I am a married man," began the applicant—compressing his lips to keep down a rebellious sigh, which thereupon forced its way through his nostrils—rushing-ly indignant at his attempt to confine it—"I am a married man, your worship!"
"Well, Sir, and what of that?" said his worship.—"So much the better for you, if you have a good wife."
"Ah, Sir!" ejaculated the poor man, "I have been married eighteen years—and eighteen years of unmixed misery they have been to me! I thought to have lived in paradise, as it were; but I could not have been more miserable if I had lived in—the other place!"
He paused—sighed again—and then, taking out a ragged pocket handkerchief, he stood silently wiping his forehead until the magistrate roused him from his reverie by saying, "My good friend, I am very sorry for you, but what would you have me do?"
"I don't know, Sir," he replied, despondingly, "but I was told I could get some relief by applying here."
"If you wish to get divorced, I cannot do that for you," rejoined his worship:—"we should have little time for any thing else, I fear, if we could divorce all the unhappy couples who apply to us!"
"I have no doubt of it," said the man—"no doubt in the world of it! But, your worship, I don't wish to put my wife away so as to disgrace her. I would allow her a comfortable maintenance, if she would only leave me in peace."
"That you must agree upon between yourselves," observed the magistrate—"I cannot assist you in the negotiation, nor can I interfere at all between you, unless she has committed some breach of the peace—Has she struck you? or are you afraid she should attempt to take away your life?"
"I don't know whether she means to take away my life, or not," replied he, "but she is eternally beating me whenever she is tipsy; and that is almost every day!"
"Then why do you let her drink?"
"Ah! your worship, it's fine talking! I have long discontinued keeping anything drinkable in the house, except water and milk, and what is the consequence?—Why that my head is continually covered with bumps and bruises; and my chairs, tables, linen, and looking glasses, are daily converted into gin!"
"My good friend," said his worship, somewhat impatient of the subject—"my good friend, I really cannot do anything for you. You married her 'for better or for worse, to have and to hold until death shall you part,' and you must bear your misfortune as well as you can. I repeat, I—can—do—nothing for you."
"Then I am a very miserable man!" ejaculated the poor fellow, and turning from the table he heaved another sigh, so piteous and profound, that the discharge did seem to stretch his care-stuffed breast almost to bursting.
An elderly goldsmith of rather choleric temperament, though well to do in the world, was brought before the magistrate on a warrant, wherein he was charged with having perpetrated an assault and battery on the person of one Mr. John Carpue, a student in tailory, or "a tailor's apprentice," as the ancients used to say. And this was the manner of it:—
The goldsmith was indebted to a celebrated professor of tailory in the vicinity of Bond-street, for sundry exquisitely-cut garments, furnished to him as per order. This account had been kept open so long, that latterly, it had become "somewhat musty"—just as a jar of any other preserves would do if kept open too long; and therefore the professor sent one of his junior students to the goldsmith, requesting it might be closed—in plain terms, he wished to have the "tippery" for his "toggery." The goldsmith took the request angrily; and instead of sending the junior student back with the money in his pocket, he sent him back with "a flea in his ear." The professor thought this conduct extremely rude and ungoldsmithlike; and after two or three days' cogitation he sent his senior student, Mr. John Carpue, with a more peremptory message. The senior student went, saw the goldsmith, delivered the professor's message, and paused for a reply. The goldsmith lowered angrily upon him, as he had done upon the other, and ejaculated something about "confounded coxcombs." The tailor "saw his anger rise—his glowing cheeks and ardent eyes," but, instead of succumbing to his choler, he stood his ground firmly; and boldly repeated his message with a few aggravatory flourishes of his own; whereupon, the goldsmith, not having the fear of the Quarter Sessions before his eyes, seized the tailor-student by his cutting-arm, and ejected him from the room; at the same time endeavouring to shut the door upon him. "I ar'n't to be bundled off without the money in this manner," exclaimed the student. "If you don't go along, I'll break your neck downstairs!" exclaimed the goldsmith. The tailor contumaciously set his back against the door to prevent its closing; the goldsmith tried with all his might to close it; the tailor squeaked out his anger; the goldsmith grunted out his indignation; the door creaked and strained between them; and in all probability it would have been forced off its hinges, and, perhaps, totally spoiled for ever, if the goldsmith had not, with great presence of mind, popped his fist through the opening, right into the tailor's masticatory apparatus. The tailor fell; the door was closed; the goldsmith returned quietly to his seat; and then the tailor—having gathered himself up, and shrieked a parting malediction through the key-hole—went back to Bond-street, quite discomfited.
This was the assault and battery complained of; and the goldsmith, in his defence, said the tailor refused to leave his house when he told him, and upon his attempting to show him the door, the young buckramite rudely seized him by the collar; which rudeness he returned of course.
The magistrate held the assault justifiable under such circumstances, and so the poor "student in tailory" was non-suited.
One Bob Jenkinson, the son of an honest law-writer—
"A youth condemn'd his father's soul to cross,
Who picks a pocket when he should engross!"
—was charged with having taken unto himself property to which he had no right or title whatever—to wit, a barrister's wig.
It appeared by the evidence, that Bob Jenkinson—hopeful Bob, his friends call him; was prowling about Temple Bar in the dead of the night, seeking something for his "pickers and stealers" to do. Presently he was aware of a solitary gentleman approaching the Bar from the city side; and instantly concealed himself in the shade of the archway, he determined to try his luck upon him. The gentleman, so approaching, was a barrister, residing in the Pump-court of the Temple; and he came slowly, and soberly on—wrapped (probably) in professional meditations, little thinking danger was so near him. As he passed through the archway, Bob Jenkinson popp'd from his hiding-place, crept softly after him on tip-toe, slided his hand smoothly into his right-hand coat-pocket, and drew forth—a wig! Like Filch in the opera—he dipp'd for a fogle and prigg'd a wig! It was not a forensic wig, but a scratch wig, à la Titus—one that any closely cropped gentleman might carry in his pocket to clap on occasionally, when sitting in a theatre, or any other place where currents of cold air prevail. Small as it was, however, the barrister felt it depart. He put his hand to his pocket and found it wigless; and there, close by his side, stood Bob Jenkinson with the wig in his hand—wig-struck, as it were; for had the prize been a bandana, or a snuff-box, or any ordinary pocket-property, Bob would have bolted with it instanter. "What do you mean by that—you scoundrel?" said the barrister. Bob dropped the wig; the barrister took it up; and having re-pocketed it he deliberately gave unlucky Bob in charge to the watch.
Robert had not a word to say in his defence, and the magistrate committed him for trial.
One Mr. Peter Muttlebury, a personage with the exterior of a hackney coachman, of the down-est cut, but who called himself "a Brummyjum out-rider," was brought before the magistrate one snowy morning, charged with having borrowed, with intent to steal, an eight guinea inlaid gold and silver snuff-box, with its contents, viz., almost half an ounce of high-dried Irish, from a Mr. William Wilkins—a very small gentleman in a very large cloak, worn military-wise—after the present highly picturesque fashion, which makes a man-milliner look as magnificent as a Field-Marshal.
It appears that Mr. William Wilkins, having been out on Friday night—spending his evening, as it is called—repaired at five o'clock in the morning to Rowbotham's "final finish," in James-street, Covent-garden, just by way of finishing himself. He found the saloons full of good company. There were assembled the Marquis of Paramatta, Viscount Toongab, the celebrated Lord Mops, from Cheapside, Sir Francis Fogleshifter, Sir Sidney Cove, Mr. Gluckman the bass singer, Mr. Phelim O'Toole the strong-backed Knight of the Knot, and Mrs. Judith M'Craw, Dunstable Charlotte, Peg Protheroe, Kitty Parenthesis, Sally Succinct, and many other fair nymphs of the piazza. There was singing and drinking galore—"We are the lads," and hot elder wine, and coffee of the best, went merrily round; Mr. Gluckman, and Dunstable Charlotte, and my Lord Mops, "roused the morning lark in a catch;" and old Father Time, with his companion old Winter, in the lily-white benjamin, were held in utter scorn by every body. Mr. William Wilkins enjoyed the fun vastly; in token whereof he handed round his high-dried Irish to the ladies and gentlemen liberally; and then sat himself down to half a pint of smoking hot elder-wine among a select company of ladies in one of the side saloons. Presently came the "Brummyjum outrider" to him, with a low bow, and a "Mr. Gluckman, will be obliged to you, Sir, for another pinch of your high-dried." "With infinite pleasure," replied Mr. William Wilkins, handing over his eight guinea snuff-box to the Brummyjum out-rider. Mr. William Wilkins then finished his smoking hot elder, and repaired to the general company again—not doubting but his snuff-box was safe with Mr. Gluckman; but, to his utter astonishment, neither Mr. Gluckman, nor my Lord Mops, nor the Marquis, nor the Viscount, nor any of the ladies, knew any thing about it. Mr. Gluckman declared he had never sent for it; nobody knew the "Brummyjum outrider," nor could he be found; Mr. William Wilkins said it was uncommon improper, and every body ought to be searched; my Lord Mops said "the highdear of such a thing was cursed low;" the ladies voted Mr. William Wilkins a bore; and Mr. William Wilkins walked away, cleaned out and completely finished. He wandered to this office, and communicated his woes to the patrol in waiting; and in two or three hours thereafter they succeeded in apprehending the "Brummyjum outrider," but no snuff-box could they find upon him.
The Brummyjum outrider, in his defence before the magistrate, persisted in saying that Mr. Gluckman asked him to borrow the box, and having borrowed it, he delivered it to Mr. Gluckman; and what became of it afterwards he knew not.
The magistrate said he had little doubt but he obtained possession of it with a felonious intent, and committed him for further examination, in order that Mr. Gluckman might come forward to explain, or deny, the part it was alleged he had taken in the transaction; but eventually the matter was arranged among themselves without any impeachment of Mr. Gluckman's character, and the "Brummyjum outrider" was discharged.
Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan appeared before the magistrate to show cause why he should not be charged with having stolen Mr. Pat Crawley's mule.
Mr. Pat Crawley, according to his own account, was "a Scotchman, born of Irish parents in the Saut-market o'Glasgow." They, dying, left him a pedlar's pack and a brown donkey; and, ever since, he has followed the profession of Autolycus—a frequenter of fairs, wakes, and wassellings, and a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. Latterly he has travelled in this manner from the Salt-market in Glasgow quite down to Penzance in Cornwall; gather gear as he went, and increasing his worldly goods at every village by the way. At Penzance he sold his donkey and bought a mule; and, travelling on towards London, he arrived at the house of Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan, in Buckeridge-street, St. Giles's. Now Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan being his seventh cousin by the mother's side, he thought he and his mule would be perfectly safe under his roof; and the more especially as Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan expressed great joy at the sight of him. So Mr. Pat Crawley put his mule in Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan's little stable at the back of his place—rubbed it down; supped it up; and then went out to enjoy himself with a mutchkin o' whiskey at the Change-house fornent the corner. At the Change-house he found the ingle bleezing finely, and the whiskey o' the best, and the gude wife unco sonsie, and so many of his mother's cousins came in to see him, that mutchkin followed after mutchkin till they reemed in his noddle a bit; and at the last o't he gang'd to his bed, at Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan's, with a black eye and an empty purse—having lost seven good gowden sovereigns he didna ken how! In the morning he got up at break o' day, thinking to saddle his mule and gang his ways fra the town; but the mule was gone, and no one ken'd where!
The magistrate condoled with him on his loss, and recommended him to be more careful of his property in future; and then asked Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan what had become of the mule?
"Yer honour's axing me about the mule," replied Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan, "an I knows nothing about her at all—barrin Pat Crawley put her in the stable himself along with the dunkies."
"The dunkies! what do you mean by dunkies?" asked his worship.
"Them are little bits o' things—little bits o' mules—dunkies, your honour, as carries the cabbages and purraters about; and I told him, says I, Pat Crawley, says I, de'il a bit of a lock there is to it—that's the door, your honour: an Pat, says I, buy your own lock, says I, or her'll be off may be; and he woudn't, your honour, and so she was—"
"Off, your honour, sure enough—that's the mule, your honour, bad luck to her!"
One of the patrole said he had been called in by Mr. Pat Crawley, upon the discovery of his loss, and he had examined Mr. O'Callaghan's premises in consequence; and as there was no other way from the stable but through Mr. O'Callaghan's house, he was of opinion that the mule could not have been taken away without Mr. O'Callaghan's connivance.
Mr. O'Callaghan declared he knew nothing whatever of it, and his worship might have a six months' carrakter of him any day in the week.
His worship, however, told Mr. O'Callaghan that he must either find the mule or remain in custody; and he left the office under the surveillance of the officer and Mr. Pat Crawley himself. They adjourned to a neighbouring public house, whence Mr. O'Callaghan despatched a messenger of his own to St. Giles's, and in two hours after the mule was brought down to the office and safely re-delivered to Mr. Pat Crawley—and thereupon Mr. Phelim O'Callaghan was discharged; upon which he exclaimed—"Bad luck to the mule for getting out of that! and long life to your honour for letting me out of this!"
This was a matter of assault, battery, riot, and false imprisonment, between Theodosius Todd, Esq. and Mr. John Cutmore. Mr. Theodosius Todd is a gentleman, it is said, of considerable property; rather diminutive in stature, and very fond of cold boiled ham. Mr. John Cutmore is a vender of cold boiled ham, and many other good things, at a large house near Temple Bar—a house well known to many a kitchenless bachelor. Mr. Theodosius Todd having complained to the magistrate that he had been violently assaulted by Mr. John Cutmore, the magistrate granted his warrant to bring Mr. Cutmore before him, when Mr. Cutmore pleaded justifiable collaring, and thereupon issue was joined.
It appeared by the evidence for the prosecution, that on a certain day named, Mr. Todd sent his servant boy, from his chambers in the Temple, to the shop of Mr. Cutmore, for a quarter of a pound of cold boiled ham—fully intending to take the said ham for a lunch in the form of a sandwich, between slices of bread, or bread and butter, as the case might be. He, moreover, instructed his servant boy to bring ham of the very best quality, and he made no stipulation whatever with regard to price. In due time the boy returned with a quarter of a pound of ham; but it was by no means of such quality, or complexion, as Mr. Todd had anticipated; and he therefore sent it back again, with a request, either that it should be exchanged for some of a better quality, or the money returned forthwith. In answer to this very reasonable request, Mr. Cutmore sent word that Mr. Todd did not know good ham when he saw it, and he should neither exchange it nor return the money. Mr. Todd sent the boy a second time, and a second time Mr. Cutmore returned the same contumacious answer. By this time the ham began to exude copiously through the smoky fly-spotted bit of paper in which it was wrapped, and Mr. Todd felt very much annoyed at the predicament in which he found himself—as any man naturally would do under the circumstances. There was lunch-time sliding rapidly away unsatisfied; and there was the ham melting away as rapidly; and there was the boy with his time wasted, and the yellow unctuous juices of the ham dripping from between his fingers; and there was money uselessly expended; and there was the unprovoked contumely of the ham-monger to be endured—forming altogether such a concatenation of provocatives as is rarely to be met with. And in this light Mr. Todd viewed the matter. So he wrapped up the greasy cause of all these miseries in a clean half-sheet of foolscap, and slipping it carefully into the breast pocket of his surtout, he set out for the ham-shop, determined to seek redress by stratagem, since it was not to be had otherwise, and at the same time procure something fit for a lunch, without incurring further expense. With this determination he went into the shop, where, it seems, he was quite unknown, and pointing to a beautiful and nicely-corned buttock of beef which stood on the counter, he quietly desired Mr. Cutmore to cut him a quarter of a pound of it in nice thin slices for a sandwich. Mr. Cutmore did as he was desired—he cut the beef in delicate slices, fit for the mouth of a princess, and wrapping them up in a clean piece of paper, he laid them down before Mr. Todd, rubbed his hands, and waited smilingly for the money.
"Thank you, Sir," said the wily Mr. Todd, coolly thrusting the packet of cold beef into his breast pocket, and at the same time throwing the sweating packet of ham upon the counter,—"thank you, Sir! and there is your nasty dab of ham in exchange for it!" And having so said, he stalked out of the shop, buttoning up his coat (to keep his beef safe), and exulting in the success of his stratagem. Mr. Cutmore stood aghast for a moment; and then, all hot as his own mustard, he sprung over the counter, rushed into the street—with the powder flying from his hair at every step, and his snow-white apron streaming in the wind—caught Mr. Todd just as he was popping through Temple-bar, seized him by the collar, and, without uttering a word, began dragging him back towards his shop, and at every step giving him a shake, just as a thorough-bred terrier shakes a half-expiring rat when it feebly resists his violence. The scuffle soon created a crowd, and some took one side, some the other; but the cook was too much for the Templar—he pulled him by main force into his shop, and kept him shut up in his larder till he paid the uttermost farthing!
This was the case for the prosecution.
Mr. Cutmore, in his defence, began by expatiating on the superior excellence of his ham in general, and on the slices sent to the complainant in particular. He had the honour, he said, of serving many gentlemen in the Temple exclusively with ham; and it was a well-known fact, that there were no better judges in existence. Mr. Todd's servant brought him word that the ham was mighty (mite-y), and he returned him for answer, that he did not know what he meant by the word. The fact was, that the ham was as good as ever was cut, and Mr. Todd knew nothing about the article. He was ready to admit that Mr. Todd's statement was generally correct, but he conceived he was justified in treating him as he had done, inasmuch as he had carried off his beef without paying for it; and as to the ham pretended to be given in exchange for it, whether the said ham was good or bad, there was nothing to prove to him that it was bought at his shop.
The magistrate thought Mr. Todd's ruse de bœuf a very derogatory proceeding for a Templar; but as Mr. Cutmore had perhaps used more violence than was absolutely necessary in seeking redress, he recommended them to retire, and compromise their differences without further expense and exposure.
Mr. Todd expressed his readiness to treat; but the angry cook refused his overtures with indignation, and the matter ended in his being bound in his own recognizance for his appearance at the Sessions, to answer any complaint that might be preferred against him.
A linen-draper was brought before the magistrate charged with having assaulted an Israelitish damsel—one Miss Rebecca Myers.
The fair Rebecca (fair for one of her nation, though evidently not much addicted to the use of soap) stated with many tears, and a faltering voice, that she went into the defendant's shop to purchase some trifling articles; and because she objected to the price of some of them, he knocked her down with a roll of calico! When she said "knocked her down," she meant he gave her such a blow as would have knocked her down if she had not stood firm; and not content with this, he jumped over the counter, and putting his great paws on her shoulders, he shook her till her head seemed ready to drop off at the top joint, and her brains were addled for an hour after.
The magistrate expressed his surprise that a linendraper should treat a lady so boisterously; and asked him what he had to say for himself.
The linendraper—who, by the bye, had nothing at all linen-draperish in his appearance, but on the contrary had an aspect remarkably stern and solemn—replied, by stating many little vexations which he had suffered from Miss Rebecca—such, for instance, as ordering him to cut off a quantity of calico, and then refusing to have it—"haggling" customers, of her sort, were more trouble than a little; and enough to ruffle any man's temper; but as to what she had said about the knocking her down, and all that, it was a mere tissue of falsehoods. The very head and front of his offending, was "frisking" the calico at her, and threatening to send for a constable when she became abusive—"for abusive she was"—said he—"very abusive, though she looks so demure now."
The magistrate said he did not understand the word frisking as applied in this case, and ordered the ungallant linendraper to find bail for his appearance at the sessions.
A sturdy, squalid little fellow, calling himself Timothy Blunt, was brought before the magistrate under the following circumstances:—
The landlord of a public-house in the neighbourhood of Temple Bar, deposed that the prisoner, Timothy Blunt, came into his house that morning, as he was busy serving his customers, and staring in his face for about a minute, addressed him with a—"I say, Mister!—I werrily believes as that ere's a counterband bandanny as you've got round your neck—and as I'm a necksizeman, I shall seize it!"—And he instantly did so—to the utter dismay of mine host. "Show me your authority!" cried the almost strangled landlord; but he cried in vain—Timothy Blunt scorned to parley; and tearing off the bandanna, he was walking away with it in triumph, when mine host bethought himself "that it was a rummish sort of a go;" and, by the assistance of his customers, gave Timothy Blunt in charge to a constable.
Timothy Blunt, in his defence, assured their worships that he was "a real bony fidy excise officer; and that things were gotten to sich a pitch throughout the nation in the smuggling of bandannies, that he and his brother off'sirs had strict orders to seize them wheresoever they lighted upon them—whether in pocket or on neck."
"Let me see your authority," said the magistrate.
"I knows of no law to obleege me to show it," said the sententious Timothy.—"I seizes the bandannies for the king and his revenny, and if I'm wrong, why let the king look to it. Besides, that ere authority cost me a matter of five pounds nineteen shillings; and I should be a fool to put it in jipperdy by showing it to every man what asks for it!"
The magistrate immediately committed him to take his trial for stealing the bandanna; but nevertheless he marched off to gaol upon excellent terms with himself.
Henry Newberry, a lad, only thirteen years old, and Edward Chidley, aged seventeen, were full committed for trial, charged with stealing a silver tea-pot from the house of a gentleman, in Grosvenor Place. There was nothing extraordinary in the circumstances of the robbery.—Young Newberry was observed to go down into the area of the house, whilst his companion kept watch, and they were caught endeavouring to conceal the tea-pot under some rubbish in the Five-fields, Chelsea; but the case was made peculiarly interesting by the unsophisticated distress of Newberry's father.
The poor old man, who it seems had been a soldier, and was at this time a journeyman paviour, refused at first to believe that his son had committed the crime imputed to him, and was very clamorous against the witnesses; but as their evidence proceeded, he himself appeared to become gradually convinced. He listened with intense anxiety to the various details; and when they were finished, he fixed his eyes in silence, for a second or two, upon his son, and turning to the magistrate, with his eyes swimming in tears, he exclaimed—
"I have carried him many a score miles on my knapsack, your honour!"
There was something so deeply pathetic in the tone with which this fond reminiscence was uttered by the old soldier, that every person present, even the very gaoler himself, was affected by it. "I have carried him many score miles on my knapsack, your honour," repeated the poor fellow, whilst he brushed away the tears from his cheek with his rough unwashed hand, "but it's all over now!—He has done—and—so have I!"
The magistrate asked him something of his story. He said he had formerly driven a stage-coach, in the north of Ireland, and had a small share in the proprietorship of the coach. In this time of his prosperity he married a young woman with a little property, but he failed in business, and, after enduring many troubles, he enlisted as a private soldier in the 18th, or Royal Irish Regiment of Foot, and went on foreign service, taking with him his wife and four children—Henry (the prisoner) being his second son, and his "darling pride." At the end of nine years he was discharged, in this country, without a pension, or a friend in the world; and coming to London, he, with some trouble, got employed as a paviour, by "the gentlemen who manage the streets at Mary-la-bonne." "Two years ago, your honour," he continued, "my poor wife was wearied out with the world, and she deceased from me, and I was left alone with the children; and every night after I had done work I washed their faces, and put them to bed, and washed their little bits o'things, and hanged them o' the line to dry, myself—for I'd no money, your honour, and so I could not have a housekeeper to do for them, you know. But, your honour, I was as happy as I well could be, considering my wife was deceased from me, till some bad people came to live at the back of us; and they were always striving to get Henry amongst them, and I was terribly afraid something bad would come of it, as it was but poorly I could do for him; and so I'd made up my mind to take all my children to Ireland.—If he had only held up another week, your honour, we should have gone, and he would have been saved. But now!——"
A DISTRESSED FATHER.
Here the poor man looked at his boy again, and wept; and when the magistrate endeavoured to console him by observing that his son would sail for Botany Bay, and probably do well there; he replied somewhat impatiently,—"Aye, it's fine talking, your worship; I pray to the great God he may never sail any where, unless he sails with me to Ireland?" and then, after a moment's thought, he asked, in the humblest tone imaginable, "Doesn't your honour think a little bit of a petition might help him?"
The magistrate replied, it possibly might; and added, "If you attend his trial at the Old Bailey, and plead for him as eloquently in word and action as you have done here, I think it would help him still more."
"Aye, but then you won't be there, I suppose, will you?" asked the poor fellow, with that familiarity which is in some degree sanctioned by extreme distress; and when his worship replied that he certainly should not be present, he immediately rejoined, "Then—what's the use of it! There will be nobody there who knows me; and what strangers will listen to a poor old broken-hearted fellow, who can't speak for crying?"
The prisoners were now removed from the bar to be conducted to prison, and his son, who had wept incessantly all the time, called wildly to him, "Father! Father!" as if he expected that his father could snatch him out of the iron grasp of the law. But the old man remained rivetted, as it were, to the spot on which he stood with his eyes fixed on the lad until the door had closed upon him; and then putting on his hat, unconscious where he was, and crushing it down over his brows, he began wandering round the room in a state of stupor. The officers in waiting reminded him that he should not wear his hat in the presence of the magistrate, and he instantly removed it; but he still seemed lost to every thing around him, and, though one or two gentlemen present put money into his bands, he heeded it not, but slowly sauntered out of the office, apparently reckless of every thing.
Mr. Daniel Sullivan, of Tottenham-court-road, green-grocer, fruiterer, coal and potato-merchant, salt fish and Irish pork-monger, was brought before the magistrate on a peace-warrant issued at the suit of his wife, Mrs. Mary Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan is an Englishwoman, who, according to her own account, married Mr. Sullivan for love, and has been "blessed with many children by him." But nevertheless, she appeared before the magistrate with her face all scratched and bruised, from the eyes downward to the very tip of her chin; all which scratches and bruises, she said, were the handiwork of her husband.
The unfortunate Mary, it appeared, married Mr. Sullivan about seven years ago; at which time he was as polite a young Irishman as ever handled a potato on this side Channel;—he had every thing snug and comfortable about him, and his purse and his person taken together were quite ondeniable. She, herself, was a young woman genteelly brought up—abounding in friends, and acquaintance, and silk gowns; with three good bonnets always in use, and black velvet shoes to correspond; welcome wherever she went, whether to dinner, tea, or supper, and made much of by everybody. St. Giles's bells rang merrily at their wedding; a fine fat leg of mutton and capers, plenty of pickled salmon, three ample dishes of salt fish and potatoes, with pies, pudding, and porter of the best, were set forth for the bridal supper; all the most considerablest families in Dyott-street and Church-lane were invited, and everything promised a world of happiness—and, for five whole years, they were happy. She loved—as Lord Byron would say, "She lov'd and was belov'd; she ador'd and she was worshipped;" but Mr. Sullivan was too much like the hero of his Lordship's tale—his affections could not "hold the bent;" and the sixth year had scarcely commenced when poor Mary discovered that she had "outlived his liking." From that time to the present he had treated her continually with the greatest cruelty; and, at last, when by this means he had reduced her from a comely young person to a mere handful of a poor creature, he beat her, and turned her out of doors!
This was Mrs. Sullivan's story; and she told it with such pathos, that all who heard it pitied her—except her husband.
It was now Mr. Sullivan's turn to speak. Whilst his wife was speaking, he had stood with his back towards her, his arms folded across his breast to keep down his choler, biting his lips, and staring at the blank wall; but, the moment she ceased, he abruptly turned round and, curiously enough, asked the magistrate whether Misthress Sullivan had done spaking?
"She has," replied his worship; "but suppose you ask her whether she has anything more to say."
"I sholl, Sir!" exclaimed the angry Mr. Sullivan.—"Misthress Sullivan, had you any more of it to say?"
Mrs. Sullivan raised her eyes to the ceiling, clasped her hands together, and was silent.
"Very well, then," continued he—"will I get lave to spake, your honour?"
His honour nodded permission, and Mr. Sullivan immediately began a defence, to which it is impossible to do justice; so exuberantly did he suit the action to the word, and the word to the action. "Och! your honour, there is something the matter with me!" he began; at the same time putting two of his fingers perpendicularly over his forehead to intimate that Mrs. Sullivan had played him false. He then went into a long story about a "Misther Burke" who lodged in his house, and had taken the liberty of assisting him in his conjugal duties, "without any lave from him at all." It was one night in partickler, he said, that he himself went to bed betimes in the little back parlour, quite entirely sick with the head-ache. Misther Burke was out from home; and when the shop was shut up, Mrs. Sullivan went out too: but he didn't much care for that, ounly he thought she might as well have staid at home, and so he couldn't go to sleep for thinking of it. "Well, at one o'clock in the morning," he continued, lowering his voice into a sort of loud whisper; "at one o'clock in the morning, Misther Burke lets himself in with the key that he had, and goes up to bed—and I thought nothing at all; but presently I hears something come, tap, tap, tap, at the street door. The minute after, down comes Misther Burke, and opens the door, and sure it was Mary—Misthress Sullivan that is, more's the pity—and devil a bit she came to see after me in the little back parlour at all, but upstairs she goes after Misther Burke.—'Och!' says I, 'but there's something the mather with me this night!'—and I got up with the night-cap o' th' head o' me, and went into the shop to see for a knife, but I couldn't get one by no manes. So I creeps upstairs, step by step, step by step, (here Mr. Sullivan walked on tip-toe all across the office, to show the magistrate how quietly he went up the stairs,) and when I gets to the top, I sees 'em—by the gash (gas) coming through the chink in the windy-curtains—I sees 'em; and 'Och! Misthress Sullivan!' says he; and 'Och! Misther Burke!' says she—and 'Och botheration!' says I to myself, 'and what will I do now?'" We cannot follow Mr. Sullivan any further in the detail of his melancholy affair; it is sufficient that he saw enough to convince him that he was dishonoured; that by some accident or other, he disturbed the guilty pair, whereupon Mrs. Sullivan crept under Mr. Burke's bed, to hide herself; that Mr. Sullivan rushed into the room and dragged her from under the bed, by her "wicked leg;" and that he felt about the round table in the corner, where Mr. Burke kept his bread and cheese, in the hope of finding a knife.
"And what would you have done with it if you had found it?" asked his worship.
"Is it what I would have done with it, your honour asks?" exclaimed Mr. Sullivan, almost choked with rage—"Is it what I would have done with it!—ounly that I'd have dagged it into the heart of 'em at that same time!" As he said this, he threw himself into an attitude of wild desperation, and made a tremendous lunge, as if in the very act of slaughter.
To make short of a long story, he did not find the knife, Mr. Burke barricadoed himself in his room, and Mr. Sullivan turned his wife out of doors.
The magistrate ordered him to find bail to keep the peace towards his wife and all the king's subjects, and told him if his wife was indeed what he had represented her to be, he must seek some less violent mode of separation than the knife.
Henry Walters, a tailor, was brought up from St. Martin's watch-house, to answer the complaint of Mr. Thomas Thompson, who is a tailor too—that is to say, they are two tailors; Mr. Thompson, the master, and Mr. Walters, the man—or, to speak more proverbially, the servant.
Mr. Walters lodges on Mr. Thomas Thompson's premises, near Leicester-square, and at two o'clock in the morning, Mr. Thomas Thompson, being then fast asleep in bed with his wife, was awoke by some person on his side of the bed, leaning over him, and saying—"Be quiet;—can't you?" At the same moment Mrs. Thompson screamed, and said, "Tom Thompson, there's a strange man in the room!"—"What the devil do you want here?" exclaimed Mr. Tom Thompson—valorously jumping out of bed, and seizing the strange man by the collar. To which the strange man replied, by giving Mr. Tom Thompson a thump on the eye, and unseaming his shirt from top to bottom! This was strange treatment in one's own bed-room! But Mr. Tom Thompson kept his hold, Mrs. Thompson alarmed the lodgers, the lodgers called the watch, the watch came (with as much speed as they could,) and when they held their lanterns to the strange man's face—who should it be but this identical Mr. Walters! He had not "a word to throw at a dog," as one of the witnesses shrewdly remarked; and therefore he was at once consigned to the care of the watchman, who bundled him away to the watch-house. Mr. Tom Thompson added, that his wife was so much alarmed at the circumstance, she was quite unable to attend this examination; but that she had told him she was awoke by some one squeezing her hand tenderly, and saying, as aforesaid, "Be quiet—can't you?"
Mr. Walters was now called upon for his defence. But first it may be as well to say something of his person. He was young—say five-and-twenty; short in stature; by no means fat; parenthesis-legged; brush-cropped; nutmeg complexion; unvaccinated; scarlet-trimmed eyes; an Ashantee nose; and a mouth capacious enough to admit the biggest Battersea cabbage that ever was boiled—
"A combination and a form indeed,
Where everything did seem to set its seal,
To give the world assurance of a tailor!"
We have been thus particular in describing the person of Mr. Walters, in order to show that he had no business whatever to be meddling with Mrs. Thompson, or with any other lady.
And now for his defence:—"Please your worship, Sir," said he, "I have lodged in Mr. Thomas Thompson's house just one month next Toosday week—I think it's Toosday; but howsomever, that's neither here nor there. I'm a young man from the country, your worship; a tailor by trade; and so is Mr. Thomas Thompson—only he's a master, and I'm a man! (His worship smiled.) Last night, your worship, Sir, I met a foo friends, and when I went home I had a great deal of trouble to open the street door—("No doubt of it," observed his worship)—and somehow or other, when I got in, instead of getting into my own room, I got into the yard: it's a sort of timber-yard: and there I was, poking about among the timber, please your worship—I'm sure for a good long hour, and I couldn't find my road out of it for the life of me!—and at last I found myself in Mr. Thomas Thompson's bed-room; but I'll be hanged if ever I touched his wife, or struck him; and I'll give you my honour that I did not go there intentionally."
His worship had no faith in the honour of Mr. Walters, and he was ordered to find bail for the assault, in default whereof he was handed over to the gaoler.
James Green, alias Jemmy Green, a short, squat, spherical-phizzed, poodle-pated, seedy subject—between a buck and a bumpkin, said to be the identical hero of the Moncriefian, Adelphian, Tom and Jerry-extinguishing, nondescript gallimaufry, yclep'd "Jemmy Green in France;" and Launcelot Snodgrass, were brought up from the almost bottomless pit of St. Clement's watch-house, charged with sundry midnight disorders in an alamode beef-house; and also with an outrageous assault upon Edmund Speering, Esq., of New Inn, and divers other persons—subjects of our Sovereign Lord the King.
It appeared by the evidence of the said Edmund Speering, Esq., that as he was passing through Clare-court, between one and two o'clock in the morning, he heard a great row and uproar in Thomas's alamode beef-shop—the shrill voices of women in distress, and the hoarse clamour of numerous throats masculine. Hearing this, he looked towards the said shop, and saw through the beef-besteamed windows and the salads three or four men, and as many women, in personal conflict with each other; and, like a true knight, he rushed into the midst of the affray, demanding of the distressed damsels whether or not they wished to be rid of their unmanly opponents? They answered in a joint and corporate voice—"Oh! yes, we do!" Whereupon the said Edmund seized one fellow by the nape of the neck, and another by the waistband of his breeches, and with pith and power propelled them from the premises. This accomplished, he turned to seize the others; when Jemmy Green, who appeared to be the most violent among them, seized the said Edmund by the collar, and strenuously endeavoured to floor him; but it would not do—Jemmy Green was out-done both in length and strength, and was compelled to give way before the superior pith of his adversary; and just as Jemmy was flung headlong from the door, Launcelot Gobbo—we beg his pardon, Launcelot Snodgrass, struck the conquering Edmund a blow on the back of his head with an umbrella, and laid him horizontally on the floor. But Edmund rebounded to the perpendicular in an instant, and was preparing to renew the combat, when the watch came up, and Jemmy and Launcelot were both carried off to the watch-house as contemners of the public peace.
The magistrate asked how this disgraceful uproar began.
The landlady, and her barmaid, and Nicholas the waiter, all gave evidence on that part of the subject; and it appeared, by their account, that Jemmy Green, Launcelot Snodgrass, and two other gentlemen, came in late, and full of gin, and ate alamode beef in such quantities, that at length the spicery of the beef, the gin, and the beer, concocting together, produced a fume which got the better of what little sense they carried about them, and made them all agog for what "the Fancy" calls a "spree." In this state they rushed into the privacy of the bar, upset the salads, insulted the mistress, milled the waiter, and demolished the barmaid's head gear. It was at this juncture the above-mentioned Edmund came to their relief; and the barmaid swore positively that Launcelot not only knocked down the said Edmund with his umbrella as aforesaid, but that he also "knocked her down up a-top of him," and how she got off again she did not know.
The accused were called upon for their defence; and Jemmy Green made the first essay; but, unfortunately for him, the fumes of the commingled gin and hot-spiced beef had not entirely evaporated—his brain seemed clogged with beefy vapour, notwithstanding the unctuous dews which distilled copiously from his forehead, and he found it impossible to make any defence at all. So he was ordered to find bail for his appearance at the Sessions, and he waddled out of the office under the superintendence of the turnkey.
Launcelot then addressed himself to speak; and to the astonishment of all the witnesses, he smilingly denied—firstly, that he had ever been in the house at all; and secondly, that he ever in the whole course of his life carried an umbrella—ergo, he could neither have been there, nor could he have knocked the said Edmund down with an umbrella, as falsely alleged by Mary Mulready, the barmaid. He admitted having witnessed the affair from the court; and that, though prudence "bade him budge, he budged not"—like his prototype, honest Gobbo, he scorned running with his heels, and so he remained looking on, till he was seized by a watchman and conveyed to durance.
In proof of this, he called a gentleman, his friend, who was present with him; and this gentleman said, "every word, what Mr. Launcelot Snodgrass speaks, is true as possible."
But this worthy witness, unluckily for Launcelot, admitted that he himself was very drunk at the time, and also that he had an umbrella in his hand; and the magistrate—being of opinion that Launcelot might have borrowed this umbrella for the purpose of knocking down the aforesaid Edmund Speering, believed all that the witnesses had said, and ordered Master Launcelot to find bail also. Whereupon he was handed over to the turnkey, who instantly locked him up with his friend Jemmy Green.
Mr. Nathan Nathan, a slender, shapely, shewily-clad Israelite—"a tall fellow of his hands," but having only "a younger brother's having in that ancient Jewish indispensable—a beard;" thereby seeming to signify that he was, as yet, scarcely arrived at years of discretion, was brought up among a squad of disorderly Christians from Covent-garden watch-house, and charged with having created a disturbance in Drury-lane theatre on the preceding night; and also with having assaulted Jemmy Lennam—time out of mind, Old Drury's little-wigg'd, big, old watchman.
It appeared by the testimony of the aforesaid Jemmy Lennam, that after the performances were over, "and the company had well nigh all departed dacently to their beds," this Mr. Nathan Nathan came into the hall, "brim-full of the cratur, and coming the gentleman over the folks, according to the present blackguard fashion;" that is to say, by manifesting a supreme contempt for the genteel, insulting the women and making as much noise as he could, just to show that he considered himself quite at home anywhere and everywhere. So much for generalities, as Jemmy Lennam said; and then for particularities, he pretended to be mighty swate upon every modest woman that came out, obstructed the free passage of the company, mocked the servants when they called the coaches, put the said servants upon a wrong scent, and out-roared the loudest link-boys in bellowing "coach on-hired!" Jemmy Lennam bore all this with a not-very-easily-suppressed indignation; and at last, when he could bear it no longer, he "just took a civil twist of the young gentleman's cravat," and handed him over to some of the patrol; but as he was doing this, he received "two hard strokes on the right cheek-bone from the fist of him."
This was the substance of Jemmy Lennam's charge, and the patrol bore him out in it as far as they were concerned in the matter.
Mr. Nathan Nathan, in his defence, declared upon his honour, that Jemmy Lennam was the first aggressor—by refusing to let him wait in the hall for "the party of ladies and gentlemen to whom he belonged!" and by calling him "a Jew pickpocket!" and he appealed to the "gentlemen of the patrol," whether he did not place himself under their protection from Jemmy Lennam's wiolence.
"The gentlemen of the patrol" said they heard a great noise in the hall, and going to see what it was about, they found Jemmy Lennam's fist locked in Mr. Nathan Nathan's collar, and Mr. Nathan Nathan's fist working away at Jemmy Lennam's face—and that was all they had to say in the business.
So Mr. Nathan Nathan was ordered to find bail, and a pair of Holywell-street vendors of seedy apparel became his sureties.
Mrs. Winifred Welldone, widow, of Monmouth-street, Seven Dials, was charged with having assaulted Mrs. Mary Wolf of the same place, spinster.
Mrs. Wolf, as her name would seem to signify, is bony and gaunt, and grim—a lady of most voracious aspect, and much more like an assaulter than an assaultee. But the proverb saith—"judge not by outward appearances—they too often prove deceitful;" and they did so in this case; for Mrs. Welldone was so overdone with fat—so round, so soft, so puffy, and so short withal, that nobody would have supposed her capable of bruising even a pound of butter; and yet she contrived to give Mrs. Wolf a black eye! How she had reached so high as the eye of Mrs. Wolf, was matter of wonder to everybody; for she was by no means well made for jumping, and Mrs. Wolf was nearly double her height.
It appeared by the evidence adduced on both sides, that Mrs. Welldone occupies a house in Monmouth-street—that far-famed street which is sometimes, though maliciously, yclep'd "Rag-fair." Here she carries on a thriving trade in the "translating line,"—that is to say, she employs sundry ingenious craftsmen in translating old shoes into new ones—an art that will be dignified to all posterity, as being that art by which the patriot Preston procured bub and grub for his family. These shoes, thus translated, or "revivified," Mrs. Welldone sells at a small profit to those persons, and they are not a few, whose destinies forbid them to purchase their shoes of the shoe-maker. Beneath the shop, or parlour, in which she carries on this trade, she has two cellars—under-ground apartments she calls them, and perhaps it is the genteeler term; and it was these two cellars, or under-ground apartments, that brought her in contact with Mrs. Wolf. Mrs. Wolf is of a profession nearly allied to translating, only she operates upon gowns, and petticoats, and "chemises," instead of shoes.—As Robert Burns would say,
"——She—wi' her needle and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new."
Now it so happened that Mrs. Wolf was in want of a place in which to vend the garments she thus redeems from the jaws of the paper mill; and wandering along Monmouth-street, in search of some such place, she saw the under-ground apartments of Mrs. Welldone. They were to let, she liked them vastly, and she became Mrs. Welldone's tenant—with an express stipulation between them that Mrs. Welldone should stick to her shoes, and Mrs. Wolf to her shifts, &c.; so that neither of them might at all interfere with the trade of the other. Mrs. Wolf took possession of the under-ground apartments that same evening; but it would appear that she had more of the fox in her composition than the wolf, for she was no sooner safely housed, or cellar'd, than she broke the agreement, by making a grand display of translated shoes all around the sill of her cellar window. "Is this well done, Mrs. Wolf?" cried the astonished Mrs. Welldone—"if you don't take them away this moment, I'll kick them all down upon your false head!" Mrs. Wolf looked up from her subterranean abode, and grinned defiance—like the wolf that General Putnam pulled out of the cavern by his tail whilst the people pulled the General out by his hind leg. Mrs. Welldone repeated her threat of kicking down the shoes, and Mrs. Wolf grinned again, and told her she would ramshackle her if she did. Then Mrs. Welldone, not having the fear of ramshackleing before her eyes, swept the shoes into the cellar-hole upon the false head of Mrs. Wolf, and Mrs. Wolf emerged from her cavern amidst the cloud of flying shoes, "her soul in arms and eager for the 'fray." Mrs. Welldone gave back when she saw her, and it was well she did; for Mrs. Wolf came on like a tigress, as all the witnesses averred, and they thought it a miracle (à-la-Hohenlohe) that she was not torn to bits at the first rush. Mrs. Welldone, however, was not the woman to back out of anything—she concentrated her powers—her eyes flashed like diamonds in dough, Mrs. Wolf closed upon her, they wrestled together like Death and the Dumpling, and when they were dragged apart by the bystanders, Mrs. Wolf's right eye was in mourning.
This was all the witnesses could say about the matter, and the magistrate told Mrs. Welldone, she had done ill in committing the first assault.
"I admit it, your worship," said Mrs. Welldone, "but it was enough to make any woman mad to have the bread taken out of one's mouth by stratygim in that manner. Howsever, I don't know that I should have minded that so much if she had not undersold me."
"Sold under you, you mean," said his worship—"If you sold in the parlour, and she sold in the cellar, she sold under you, of course."
"Aye, coarse enough, your worship, and a coarse piece of goods she is—look at her which way you will," rejoined Mrs. Welldone. Well versed as Mrs. Welldone was in mending the understandings of others, she herself, had not understanding enough to take this pun.
His worship decided that they had both been much to blame; and he ordered the warrant to be suspended in terrorem over Mrs. Welldone, and recommended Mrs. Wolf to seek other cellars as soon as possible.
Miss Susanna Smith, a very pretty young woman, attired in the newest fashion, was brought before the magistrate, on an assault warrant issued at the suit of one Mr. O'Flinn, a tall, well-dressed, sprightly native of the Emerald Isle, who had complained to his worship that he had been grievously assaulted by the said Susanna.
Mr. William O'Flinn, it seems, had a friend, who is the especial protector of the fair defendant. He went the other night, to deliver a letter to this friend, at the house in which Susanna resides. His friend was not at home, but he saw Susanna, and she—totally laying aside the delicacy of her sex, "and all the rest of it"—gave him one of the most scurvy receptions imaginable; viz., he was standing in the hall, inquiring at the landlady for his friend, when suddenly the parlour door opened, and out rushed Susanna with the velocity of a nine-pounder—"And pray what would you be after wanting with that gentleman?"—she asked, at the same time attempting to snatch the letter from Mr. O'Flinn's hand. "It isn't yourself that the letter is for at all, my jewel," replied Mr. O'Flinn, slipping the letter into his pocket—"and as for what I want with that gentleman, you have no right to be asking me the question." "'Faith, we'll see that," said the lady, and instantly placed her fair back against the front door, evidently with the intention of cutting off Mr. O'Flinn's retreat. Well, what was to be done now? It was growing late, and as Mr. O'Flinn very justly observed, if he was detained there he could not go elsewhere. So, after trying what remonstrance would do, and finding it had no effect whatever, he took hold of the fair hand of the lady and endeavoured to remove her from the door by a little gentle force; but, to his utter astonishment, she instantly disengaged her hand, and in the twinkling of an eye, as it were, he received two or three sound boxes on either ear, and a kick on the abdomen, which for some moments materially interfered with his faculty of breathing. Astonished that a lady should kick, but nothing daunted, he again advanced to the attack, or, Corinthianly speaking, to the scratch, taking care, this time, to advance in an attitude of defence—à-la-Spring. His caution was useless, however, for the lady broke through his guard in an instant, boxed his ears again soundly, or rather soundingly, and planted another kick on his bowel-case, with her dexterous little foot, in the self-same spot as before! This was an extremely awkward bit of business, and Mr. O'Flinn felt it so. He could not, consistently with his character as a gentleman, and an Irish gentleman in particular, use greater violence to a lady; and he might have gone on, as before, till he had not an ear left for her to box, or a pair of trowsers for her to kick. He, therefore, declined coming to the scratch again; and contented himself with calling upon the comely landlady of the dwelling, who all this while had been quietly holding the candle for them. He peremptorily told her commodious landladyship, that unless he was instantly suffered to go about his business, he would consider himself as detained by her connivance, and have his action against her for false imprisonment accordingly. This produced the desired effect—the landlady interfered, a parley ensued, and at last Mr. O'Flinn was liberated.
In support of this statement Mr. O'Flinn called the landlady aforesaid.
The landlady (an immense personage) declared she saw neither kicks nor slaps. Miss Susanna certainly put her back against the door to prevent Mr. O'Flinn from going, until she knew what he wanted with her friend; and a sort of scuffle took place in consequence; and that was all she knew about it.
Here Mr. O'Flinn lifted up his bands and eyes in astonishment; for, as he said, the landlady held the candle to them all the while, and could not avoid seeing every bit of it.
The magistrate now asked Miss Susanna what she had to say to it?
The poor girl told a sad tale. She first burst into tears, and for some seconds was unable to speak. She then spoke of her former respectable and happy situation in life before she became what she now is—a kept-mistress. "But," said she, "Mr. —— has promised to marry me, and I trust in heaven he will!" Here she wept again, and was proceeding to make some further general remarks, when the magistrate desired her to confine herself to the charge of having assaulted Mr. O'Flinn.
She then admitted having prevented Mr. O'Flinn's departure from the house, and said she was induced to do so, because she verily believed he came with the intention of injuring her in the opinion of the only friend she had in the world—Mr. ——, her protector. As to the kicking, &c., she denied it; though not very positively.
She was ordered to find bail for her appearance at the Sessions, and Mr. O'Flinn said he should certainly prosecute her; but the magistrate told him he thought it would be better to let such an affair pass over without further notice.
Mr. Jonas Tunks, a young gentleman in a jacket of divers colours, well-patched canvas trowsers, no stockings, and shoes curiously contrived to let in the fresh air at the toes, was brought before the sitting magistrate, charged, under the Stat. 1 Geo. IV., with wilfully and maliciously damaging the property of Mrs. Deborah Clutterbuck—the comely landlady of a public-house in the purlieus of St. Giles's proper.
It appeared by the evidence of Mr. Jonathan Dobbs, an operative veterinarian (vulgo, a journeyman farrier), that Mr. Jonas Tunks, who is a wandering melodist (vulgo, a ballad-singer) by profession, went into the public-house in question, where Mr. Jonathan Dobbs, and several other gentlemen, were taking a déjeûner à-la-fourchette of sheep's-head and pickled cabbage. He entered the room singing, at the very top of his voice, the favourite aria, "Oh, Judy! my darling!" and one of the gentlemen politely desiring him to shut his potato-trap, and not make such a noise, he seized a pint of heavy and drank it off to the gentleman's better manners. The gentleman to whom the heavy belonged, now swore that Mr. Jonas Tunks should post the blunt for it—that is to say, he should pay for it. But Mr. Jonas Tunks would do no such thing—"Base is the slave that pays!" he exclaimed; and immediately called for "a quartern of gin of three outs," with which he offered to treat—or as a Corinthian would say,—to "sluice the ivories" of the gentlemen present. The gentlemen, however, would not accept his treat, and "Turn out the blackguard!" was the universal cry; but Mr. Jonas Tunks was awake to the "spree," and before his enemies could say "Jack Robinson," he capsized three pots of heavy, scattered the pickled cabbage upon the floor, and very nearly bolted with the better half of a sheep's face! But, unfortunately, just as he was clearing the threshold of the door, he received the well-shod foot of the veterinarian in the rear, about seven inches and a half below the waistband of his trowsers, and the concussion sent him half across the street, without once touching the pavement! The veterinarian and his friends, nothing doubting but Jonas was done with, laughed aloud, and returned into the house; but Jonas was not the man to walk off quietly under this dishonourable visitation of tanned calfskin, and before their shout of laughter was over, he had dashed six panes of glass to pieces in the front window of the house—or, to use a very expressive Eganism he had milled the glaze gloriously! He was immediately overpowered with numbers, and handed over to the strong grasp of the Police.
The magistrate having heard the complaint (for the valiant Jonas scorned to say a word in defence) immediately sentenced him, under the statute above-mentioned, to pay the value of the glass he had broken—viz. twenty-five shillings; and in default of so doing, he was consigned to three months' imprisonment in Bridewell.
Now really this was a very ill-natured prosecution against Mr. Jonas Tunks; for, after all, what was his offence but a trifling matter of "back slum" Corinthianism?—as the great chronicler of Life in London would phrase it—a mere trifling ebullition of vitality—a slight manifestation of those lively principles which constitute a true "Corinthian," whether in Dyott-street or Pall mall.
There was a damsel—one Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum, charged by the books of Covent Garden watch-house, with having robbed a young gentleman of a golden sovereign. The young gentleman made such a pathetic appeal against the publication of his name—being, as he said, "a young man just verging into the affairs of the world," that we shall content ourselves (and our readers also, we hope) with saying, he was simply a young gentleman of little person—and that little made the most of, secundum artem; that is to say, the boot-maker had lengthened him at one end, and the hair-dresser at the other; whilst his tailor had done all, that padding could do, to increase his bulk longitudinally.
The damsel—Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum, was not the purest damsel in existence perhaps—certainly not the purest in attire; and her face, pretty as it was, would have been all the prettier for a commodity of soap and water. But in describing the persons of this rather ill-matched pair, we shall forget their adventures. They were thus then:—
The young gentleman left his home on the preceding night with the intention of going to the play, but in his way thither he met Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum. And she looked at him from under her black arched eye-brow with such a look as he could in no wise resist. Now, since he could not resist, he should have turned his back and fled; but instead of flying he stood still, and asked her how she did. She replied, that she should be very well if she was not so very cold; and sighing deeply, she added, "Oh! what a delightful thing is a glass of nice hot brandy-and-water on such a piercing night as this!" Here was a direct appeal to the young gentleman's generosity, and gallantry, and all that sort of thing, and everything in the world almost; and he could no more resist the appeal than he could the sparkling of her jet-black eye. So he gave her his arm and his heart together, and looking round, he saw the words "Fine Cognac Brandy, neat as imported," staring him full in the face from the windows of a tavern, most opportunely opposite. What was to be said for it? Nothing at all. In his opinion the brandy-and-water was inevitable, and they went into the tavern and drank a glass; and so delightful did they find it, that they had another, and another, and another. But still, as Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum poetically remarked—
"The sweetness that pleasure has in it,
Is always so slow to come forth,"
—that they had another glass or two to help it to come forth faster, and it did—to such a degree, that the young gentleman took up the song and sang—
"As onward we journey, how pleasant,
To pause, and inhabit awhile
These few gassy spots, like the present,
That 'mid the dull wilderness smile!"
By-and-by two other ladies, friends of Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum's, dropped in, and the gentleman insisting upon it, they also had some glasses of hot brandy-and-water, which they also found very delightful. In short, they were all so jocund, that at length the gentleman made up his mind to make a night of it:—"But first," said he, "I should like just to step home and tell them not to sit up for me."—"Tell the devil!" exclaimed Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum—"that's all a hum; for if you goes away you'll not come back again." The gentleman was shocked; but his love was not shaken, and he pledged his honour that he would return. "Honour is all my eye," said the gentle Juliana Shum?"—pledge your honour indeed!—will you pledge a sovereign?"—"I will!" said the gentleman; and he did—for, as we have already stated, he was a young gentleman. The ladies waited his return because they were not remarkably well able to go, in consequence of the cogniac. How they amused themselves during his absence did not appear, but when the gentleman returned, he very naturally expected the return of his sovereign; and the ladies very naturally knew nothing about it; whereupon the young gentleman's love exploded, with a bounce; and his love being all gone, he was ungallant enough to send his once-loved Miss Hannah Maria Juliana Shum, all brandy-begone as she was, to the watch-house.
During the night, however, he repented himself of his cruelty; and he now told the magistrate that he did not wish to prosecute her. "I am a young man," said he, "just verging into the affairs of the world; and a business of this kind has such an ugly look with it, that I shall be much obliged to you, Sir, if you will let the lady go, and I am sure she is very welcome to keep my sovereign."
The gentle Juliana, seeing matters in this comfortable train, ventured to tender the gentleman his sovereign again, which he as tenderly refused; and then the magistrate dismissed them both with a rather untender admonition.
Mr. Timothy Clancey, landlord of the Robin Hood public-house in Holborn, appeared before Thomas Halls, Esq., to answer the complaint of Mrs. Penelope Roebuck; a fine, bouncing, well-dressed dame, fat, fair, and forty. She had her left eye in deep mourning; and he had as many black patches on his face as the renowned Munchausen.
"May it please your worship," said Mrs. Penelope Roebuck, wiping her comely cheeks and bruised eye with a lavender-scented cambric handkerchief—"May it please your worship, I am Mrs. Roebuck, the wife of Mr. Roebuck, of Somers Town; and yesterday I walked all the way from Chelsea, which very much fatigued me, as your worship may suppose; and being fatigued, I went into Mr. Clancey's, for I had always understood Mr. Clancey to be a mighty nice sort of a man. 'And pray, Mr. Clancey,' said I, 'would you have the goodness to make me sixpenn'orth of brandy and water, warm, with a little sugar in it?' 'No, mem,' said he, 'it is not in my power to make sixpenn'orth of brandy and water—the dooties are so high; but you may have eightpenn'orth. 'Very well,' says I, 'it's quite himmyterul; make me eightpenn'orth.' With that, your worship, he made me a very nice glass of brandy and water, and I sat myself down to take it by little and little; for I'm not a person what's given to take my liquor by lumps; but I had scarcely wetted my lips, when he took a very improper liberty—such a liberty, your worship, as I suffers no man to take with me, be he whomsoever he may; and, 'Mr. Clancey,' says I, 'I shouldn't have thought of it from such a fellur as you.' I might have said something else, your worship, but that's neither here nor there; Mr. Clancey, without saying another word, good, bad, nor indifferent, had the goodness to come out of his bar, and, turning my two hands behind my back, he conducted me out of the house, and had the goodness to fling me down on the hard pavement!—by which purlite behaviour my eye was blacked, as you see, and my dress, worth at least five pounds, completely remollished.
Mr. Timothy Clancey, mine host of the Robin Hood, in his defence, said, Mrs. Roebuck, whilst drinking her brandy and water, abused his wife so grossly, that he firmly, but civilly, desired her to leave the house; but he had no sooner done so, than she flung the goblet, she was drinking from, in his face. The goblet struck him full on the nose, by which it was shivered to pieces, and his nose and face sadly cut. In proof of these premises, he produced the broken goblet, and pointed to the black silk patches, which almost covered his countenance. "I then, and not till then," said he, "laid hands upon Mrs. Roebuck, and thrust her out of my house—and that, I assure your worship, was the only liberty I took with her."
Mrs. Roebuck did not attempt to rebut this statement, and the warrant was discharged.
This was a proceeding in limine, by which the plaintiff sought reparation for violence done to his religious scruples and bodily health, by the act of the defendant; inasmuch as he, the plaintiff, being a Jew, the defendant, on Wednesday, the twelfth of that present December, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, in the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden, did, with malice afore-thought, knock him down with a pig's head, contrary to the statute, and against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his crown and dignity.
Both plaintiff and defendant pleaded each for himself; no counsel being retained on either side.
Ephraim Ephraim deposed, that he was by profession an orange merchant, carrying on his business in Covent-garden Market; that the defendant, Richard Stewart, was a dealer in pork and poultry in the said Market; and that he, the said Richard Stewart, on the day and hour above stated, did thrust a "pig's face" against his cheek with such violence, as to throw him backwards into a chest of oranges, whereby he sustained great damage both in mind, body, and merchandise. Plaintiff stated, moreover, that he had previously, and on sundry occasions, forewarned the said Richard that it was contrary to the tenets of his religion to come in contact with pork; and yet, nevertheless, the said Richard did frequently, and from time to time, obtrude pork upon his attention, by holding it up aloft in the market, and calling to him—"Ephraim! will you have a mouthful?" All this, he humbly submitted, betokened great malice and wickedness in the said Richard, and he therefore besought the magistrate to interpose the protection of the law in his behalf.
The magistrate observed, that he was astonished a person of Mr. Stewart's appearance and respectability should be guilty of such conduct; and having explained to him that the law afforded equal protection to the professors of every religion, he called upon him for his defence.
"May it please your worship," said Mr. Richard Stewart—an elderly, well-fed man, of a jolly and pleasant countenance—"May it please your worship, I keeps a stand in Covent-garden Market, and have done so any time these ten years; and Mr. Ephraim's stand is next to mine. Now, your worship, on Wednesday morning I'd a hamper o' pork up out o' Hertfordshire; and so I opened the hamper; and, at the top on it, lay a nice head; off of as sweet a pig as ever suck'd; and I takes the head, and holds it up; and, says I, 'Here's a bootiful head!' says I. 'Did ever any body see such a handsome un?'—And sure enough, your worship, it was the most bootiful as ever was; and would have done anybody's heart good to see it—it was cut so clean off the quarter (drawing his finger slowly and scientifically across the brawn of his own neck,) and was so short i' the snout, and as white as a sheet it was, your worship; quite remarkable handsome. And so I said, says I, 'Look here! Did ever anybody see sich a picture?' holding it up just in this manner. With that, 'Ah!' says Mr. Ephraim, says he, 'now my dream's out—I dreamt last night that I saw two pigs' heads together, and there they are!'—meaning my head and the pig's head, your worship. Well, I took no notice o' that, but I goes me gently behind Mr. Ephraim, and slides the pig's head by the side of his head, claps my own o' the other side—all a-row—with the pig's i' the middle, your worship; and says I to the folks, says I, 'Now, who'll say which is the honestest face of the three?' With that, your worship, all the folks fell a laughing, and I goes myself quietly back again to my stall. But poor Ephraim fell in such a passion!—Lord! Lord! it were a moral to see what a pucker he were in!—he danced, and he capered, and he rubbed his whiskers—though I verily believe the pig's head never touched him—and he jumped and fidgeted about all as one as if he was mad, till at last he tumbled into the orange-chest, your worship, of his own accord, as it were; and that's the long and short of it, your worship, as my neighbours here can specify."
His worship having listened attentively to these conflicting statements, decided that the defendant had acted indecently in insulting the religious feelings of the plaintiff; though, at the same time, the affair was hardly worth carrying to the sessions, and therefore he would recommend the plaintiff to be satisfied with an apology.
The defendant expressed the greatest willingness to apologise—"For," says he, leaning over the table, and sinking his voice to a whisper, "I asked another Jew what could make Mr. Ephraim in such a passion, and he told me, your worship, that if you get a rale Jew and rub him with a bit o' pork, it's the greatest crime as ever was."
Plaintiff and defendant then retired, and the matter was compromised.
Edward Leonard was charged with having assaulted Mary, the wife of Thomas Reid.
This was a watch-house charge, and appeared to have originated thus:—Mr. Leonard lodges in the house of Mr. Reid, and like most of his countrymen of the like class, he is given to imbibing more beer than his brains will bear. This seems to have been the case with him on Saturday night, for he came home at a most unseasonable hour, and because Mr. Reid would not get up and light a candle for him, he most unconscionably threatened to fracture his skull, break his back, and put his nose out of joint. Now Mr. Reid is a quiet, harmless, little man, and, being at that time warm and comfortable in his bed, he thought it best to lie still and take no notice. But Mrs. Reid—knowing Ted Leonard's furious propensities, and fearing he would really attempt to do some one or other of those things he had mentioned—got up to remonstrate with him; and in so doing she was rudely pushed about by Ted Leonard, who talked of the liberties he ought to be allowed as a lodger. The d——l a bit he cared for the whole house put together, he said; and, if it was not for the trouble of it, he would make every man and woman in the place fly out of the top of the chimney! And still he kept calling upon poor Mr. Reid to get up and have his nose put out of joint; and he made such a tremendous hubbub, not only in the house, but in the whole neighbourhood, that at last, by common consent, he was sent off to the watch-house.
The poor woman was either so unwell, or so much agitated, whilst she was telling this story, that the magistrate ordered her a chair, and Mr. Reid himself was pale as death with fear! but nevertheless they both said they had no wish to proceed in the business—all they wanted was to be allowed to sleep more quietly in future.
As for Teddy Leonard himself, he seemed perfectly at his ease, though he was in wretched case for so high-spirited a person! His principal garment had doubtless done good service to at least a dozen proprietors in succession, his inexpressibles (drab slacks) were napless, grease-spotted, and ventilated at the knees; and he had only one shoe—but then he had plenty of black eyes, and his large small-pox-indented cheeks were very handsomely overlaid with a fret-work of scratches.
When Mr. and Mrs. Reid had said all that they had to say, he never attempted to reply; but stood lounging against the bar, sucking his teeth and twirling his hat, until the magistrate called upon him for his defence, and thereupon ensued the following colloquy:—
"What have you to say to all this, Mr. Leonard?"
"Humph, I don't know! they've served me pretty tidy going along, I think, punching at me with their shilaleghs as they would at a woolsack!"
"Perhaps you did not go along quietly?"
"No, 'faith, I wasn't likely, for I was thinking of going to bed at that time; and there's no fun in being pulled away to a watch-house when a man's thinking of going to bed."
"What are you? what is your trade?"
"My trade?—why I'm a tailor—the more's my luck!"
"Please your worship," said one of the watchmen—seemingly quite surprised at finding he had had so much trouble with a tailor—"please your worship, as we were taking him to the watch-house, he took up his fist and knocked me down like a bullock!"
"Are you the man that poked your stick in my eye?" said Teddy Leonard—turning very leisurely to the speaker—"When a watchman had hold of the two sides of me, each of 'em fast and sure; there was he jumping before me, and poking his stick at me like a cock sparrow. Och! but I wish I know'd you when I see'd you this morning!"
"Well, you know him now," said the magistrate.
"Know him!" replied Teddy Leonard—"not I faith, for it's a disgrace to be after knowing such a consarn; and by the same token, your worship, he, or some of the rest of 'em, pocketed my shoe that night—and I hav'n't got it since, but another."
"But how came you to alarm these honest people in the way you have done?" said the magistrate—"have you a wife of your own?"
"No, indeed—nor like to have; for I'm quite alone, and comfortable."
"Well, then," said his worship, "we must endeavour to make you let other folks be as comfortable as yourself, by calling upon you to find securities for your keeping the peace in future."
"Very good, your worship—that's all very right—and I dare say I'll keep the peace longer nor the peace keeps me," replied comfortable Teddy; and so saying he followed the jailer to his uncomfortable apartments.
Among the watch-house rubbish brought before the magistrate one morning, were three of that description of bipeds commonly called "Lobby Loungers," or "Box-Lobby-loungers," or "Half-and-half swells;" that is to say, half sharp and half flat—half a bottle and half price, half bully and half boor—in plain terms, idle young men, with empty heads and full stomachs; who, in all the magnificence of a full pint of cape, strut into a theatre at half price, and manifest their gentility by swaggering from box to box, pinching the strumpets, d——g the box-keepers, and annoying the sensible part of the audience as much as they dare.
Our three prisoners strutted into the box department at the English Opera-house, on the preceding night, at half price, and half seas over—whether with cape, black strap, or blue ruin, did not appear. Two of them were particularly half seas over, viz.—Mr. Bob Briggs, and Mr. Simeon Buck;—the other, Mr. Frederic William Diggles, was but so so. They first addressed themselves to the dress circle, when Mr. Bob Briggs, a slight-made, half-grown, flaxen-haired youth, instead of waiting for the box-keeper to open the door of the box in which he wished to make his début, set about kicking it with all his might. What gentleman of spirit would waste his breath in bawling for a box-keeper, when his own foot, well applied to the door, must inevitably compel the "spooneys" within to open it?—And so it turned out; some of the quiet ones within, hearing such a magnificent thundering, did open it; and Mr. Bob Briggs was just setting himself to make his entrée, room or no room, when one of the box-keepers came up and assured him the box was full, at the same time endeavouring to close the door again. "What d'ye mean by that, ye rascal!" cried Mr. Bob Briggs, "is that the way to treat a gentleman?" "Sir," said the box-keeper, "I mean no offence, and if you will walk this way I will endeavour to find you a seat upstairs." "Up stairs be d——d!" retorted Mr. Bob Briggs, "I shall go in here, come what come may, as old what's his name says; so come along, Sim Buck!—Hiccup." They instantly tried to force themselves into the box; the box-keeper and the company tried to keep them out; the constable was called; and, with some ado, he prevailed upon them to relinquish their attempt upon that particular box. But Mr. Constable had scarcely let them go, when the hubbub was renewed; and turning back, he found they had got the box-keeper up in a corner, and were trying, as he said, "to squeeze their money out of him;"—for they had made up their minds to stick to the dress circle, and since there was no room for them in the dress circle, they insisted upon having their half-crowns back again—"so fork out the blunt, you little rascal!" There was a great row; the entrance to the lobby was blocked up; the constable again interfered: Mr. Simeon Buck collared the constable; the constable collared Mr. Simeon Buck; Mr. Frederic W. Diggles caught hold of Mr. Simeon Buck's coat tail, and tried to pull him away from the constable; the constable only held him the faster, determined to send him to the watch-house; and there was poor Mr. Simeon Buck, see-sawing backwards and forwards, with the constable pulling away at his neck, and Mr. Frederic W. Diggles at his tail, for nearly ten minutes; whilst Mr. Bobby popped about the lobby like a pea upon a tobacco-pipe; squeaking for help, and wishing all contumacious constables, and "blackguard box-keepers," at the very diable! At length the constable prevailed, and Mr. Simeon Buck, half-strangled, and sadly damaged in his cravattery, was led away to the watch-house, followed by Mr. Bob Briggs, and Mr. Frederic W. Diggles; and there all three were safely stowed away for the night.
When brought before the magistrate, they defended themselves vigorously—alleging that there was plenty of room in the box they sought to enter, and that they had done nothing worthy of the misery that had been inflicted on them.
The magistrate told them he could see plainly how their case stood. They were young men of great respectability, he had no doubt; but on the night in question they had taken a little too much wine; and the wine had made them a little too presuming; and the presumption had excited them to disorderly conduct; a riot had ensued, assaults had been committed, and by a very natural consequence, they passed the remainder of the night in the watch-house.
Messrs. Simeon Buck and Bob Briggs were then ordered to find bail for the general riot; and Mr. Frederic W. Diggles, for assaulting the constable in the execution of his duty.
Mrs. O'Reilly, wife of Laurence O'Reilly, "coal and potaty merchant, handy by Clear market," charged Mr. Ralph Hogan, a comely young man, of five-and-twenty, with attempting to make her a false woman to her own lawful married husband!
"And please your magistrate," said Mrs. O'Reilly, "Misther Hogan is a lodger of ours, and a civilish sort of a jantleman in gineral, and turncock to the New River Company"—
"Faith that I am, Misthress O'Reilly," responded Mr. Hogan, "any time these three years—come a fortnight after last St. Patrick's-day!"
"Very good, Misther Hogan; and ye see I wouldn't be telling a lie for the matter—why should I?" rejoined Mrs. O'Reilly very complacently;—and then, turning to the magistrate, she proceeded—"And plase your magistrate, Misther Hogan is a nice civilish sort of a young jantleman as a body would wish to be spaking to—ounly that time he couldna withstand timptation; and that was last Sathurday, after tay, when my husband wasn't in the place, and the childer were abed, and I was ironing their best bits of frocks for the Sunday, plase your magistrate. And Misther Hogan sat down by the fire mighty quiet—'And what do I owe you, Misthress O'Reilly,' says he—'for the rint?' says he. 'Just one week of it, Misther Hogan,' say I, 'for you're a nice man, and always true for the rint, and I likes to have you for a lodger overmuch.' Och! bad luck to me for saying that! for Mr. Hogan couldna stand the kind word at all, but must be flinging out his coortships at me—against both the law and the gospel—saving your magistrate's presence. 'And what would ye be after, Misther Hogan?' says I—'Don't you know I'm the mother of my husband's childer any time these thirteen long years—and himself coming in every minute may be, Misther Hogan!' says I. 'Gad's blood! Misthress O'Reilly,' says he, 'to the devil I will pitch him, for myself can't do without ye any longer at all!' and down on his knees he went to me at that time, mighty queer; and up he gathers himself again, and comed at me; and I tried to smooth him down with the hot-iron, but he wouldn't be quiet by no manes for me; and a noise comed to the door, and I squaled, and the neighbours comed trembling into the place, and there was an end on't—plase your magistrate."
Whilst Mrs. O'Reilly was telling her story, Mr. Hogan stood carefully wiping his hat; and when she had done, the magistrate asked him what he had to say for himself; at the same time telling him he thought he had behaved very grossly.
"Devil burn me! your worchip," replied Mr. Hogan—"but I'm just fit to split for spaking! Och! woman, woman! what is there half?——but my honour's consarned, your worchip, and I won't—I won't say nothing, come what will!"
The gallant Turncock persisted in this generous forbearance, and he was held to bail to answer for the loving assault at the ensuing Sessions.
 This was before the passing of the New Vagrant Act—
"When free to follow nature was the mode,
And tyrant tread-mills had not shackled man."
 A tailor, when asked what he is, never replies simply, "I am a tailor;" but, "I am a tailor, by trade"—thereby seeming to signify that he is not a tailor by nature.
 An ultra-napped driving, or box coat.
 Toggery, from the Roman toga.
 Gumption, strength, either bodily or mental.
 Peel, to strip, to disrobe.
 Done, caught, beat.
 A dram, a drop of max.
 Spouted—Pawned. The business of the pawnbrokers has so much increased in London of late years, that they find it necessary to have extensive ware-rooms at the top of the house; and in order to save the trouble of running up and down stairs, they have invented a spout of communication between the ware-rooms and the shop. So that, whenever an unfortunate takes his unmentionables, or any other article to pledge, the pawnbroker places them at the bottom of the spout, and "by some cantrip slight" or other, up the spout they go slap into the ware-rooms in an instant, where they remain until the day of redemption, and then, up goes the duplicate ticket, and down comes the unmentionables again.
 The Waits—Those wandering minstrels, who, on the approach of Christmas, nightly serenade the sleeping public by license of the king's sergeant trumpeter.
 Bread-basket, dumpling depot, victualling office, &c., are terms given by the "Fancy" to the digestive organ.
 Gin.—Deady is, or was, a celebrated distiller of that lively liquid.
 Charley—Corinthianish for Watchman.
 Canisters—Corinthianish for Heads.
 Riddled it—made it full of holes, like a riddle.
 Bilk, from the Gothic Bilaican, to cheat, to defraud.
 What a pity it is that the poor gentleman never thought of cutting his boots away with a knife! But nemo mortalium, &c.
 Something which may be drank in a short time, and yet have a lengthy effect.
 A dodger is ginshop-ish for a dram.
 "This is a sessionable assault; that is to say, an assault worthy of trial at Quarter Sessions."—Country Justice.
 Kennedy—St. Giles's for the poker, from a man of that name being killed by a poker, or a man of that name killing another with that instrument.
 Query inured.
 Gal—cockney for girl.
 Heavy wet—Porter;—because, the more a man drinks of it, the heavier he becomes.
 A back room on the third floor.
 A jemmy is a sheep's head—a favourite dish with those who can get no other. For jugg'd, see Dr. Kitchiner on "jugg'd hare," &c.
 Max-upon-tick—pronounced, maxapóntic—a very gentleman-like term, invented by certain learned tailors, signifying scored gin—or gin upon credit—max being cockneyish for gin, and tick being synonymous with credit, all the world over.
"Bleak winter wears a coat of snow."
"A lily-white benjamin—is it not so?"
 These lads were tried at the Old Bailey, and being found guilty, they were sentenced to seven years' transportation,—which sentence was afterwards commuted to five years' imprisonment in the Millbank Penitentiary.
 Squad—diminutive of squadron; applied generally to little parties, of little sense—as, an awkward squad, a blackguard squad, a squandering squad, &c.
 Seedy—a highly fashionable term, applied chiefly to dress. Thus when a man's coat begins to manifest symptoms of worn-out-ishness, he is said to look seedy—run to seed, and ready for cutting; and whenever this is the case, all his acquaintance cut him as fast as they can, until he is quite cut down and done with. Holywell-street is a famous mart for these ripe garments.
 Bub and Grub—drink and victual—
—"And we'll broach a tub,
Of humming bub,
With lots of hot and chilly grub,
To welcome you home with a rub a dub dub."
 Ramshackle—corrupted from ramshatter, to shatter as with a battering ram.
 A resplendent gas-light was just then shedding its radiance over the happy pair.