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among her inferiors. The criminal alleged in his defence, that what he had done was to raise mirth and avoid ceremony, and that the ladies did not complain of his rudeness till the next morning, having eaten up what he had provided for them with great readiness and alacrity. The Censor, frowning upon him, told him, that he ought not to discover so much levity in matters of a serious nature, and (upon the jury's bringing him in guilty) sentenced him to treat the whole assembly of ladies over again, and to take care that he did it with the decorum which was due to persons of their quality.
Rebecca Shapely, spinster, was indicted by Mrs. Sarah Smack, for speaking many words reflecting upon her reputation, and the heels of her silk slippers, which the prisoner had maliciously suggested to be two inches higher than they really were. The prosecutor urged, as an aggravation of her guilt, that the prisoner was herself guilty of the same kind of forgery which she had laid to the prosecutor's charge, for that she the said Rebecca Shapely did always wear a pair of steel bodice, and a false rump. The Censor ordered the slippers to be produced in open court, where the heels were adjudged to be of the statutable size. He then ordered the grand jury to search the criminal, who, after some time spent therein, acquitted her of the bodice, but found her guilty of the rump; upon which she received sentence as is usual in such cases.
William Trippitt, Esq., of the Middle Temple, brought his action against the Lady Elizabeth Prudely, for having refused him her hand as he offered to lead her to her coach from the opera. The plaintiff set forth, that he had entered himself into the list of those volunteers who officiate every night behind the boxes as gentlemen-ushers of the playhouse that he had been at a considerable charge in white gloves, periwigs, and snuff-boxes, in order to qualify himself for that employment, and in hopes of making his fortune by it. The counsel for the defendant replied, that the plaintiff had given out that he was within a month of wedding their client, and that she had refused her hand to him in ceremony lest he should interpret it as a promise that she would give it him in marriage. As soon as their pleadings on both sides were finished, the Censor ordered the plaintiff to be cashiered from his office of gentleman-usher to the play-house, since it was too plain that he had undertaken it with an ill design; and
at the time ordered the defendant either to marry the said plaintiff, or to pay him half-a-crown for the new pair of gloves and coach-hire that he was at the expense of in her service.
The Lady Townly brought an action of debt against Mrs. Flambeau, for that Mrs. Flambeau had not been to see the said Lady Townly, and wish her joy, since her marriage with Sir Ralph, notwithstanding she the said Lady Townly had paid Mrs. Flambeau a visit upon her first coming to town. It was urged in the behalf of the defendant, that the plaintiff had never given her any regular notice of her being in town; that the visit she alleged had been made on a Monday, which she knew was a day on which Mrs. Flambeau was always abroad, having set aside that only day in the week to mind the affairs of her family; that the servant who inquired whether she was at home, did not give the visiting knock; that it was not between the hours of five and eight in the evening; that there were no candles lighted up; that it was not on Mrs. Flambeau's day; and, in short, that there was not one of the essential points observed that constitute a visit. She further proved by her porter's book, which was produced in court, that she had paid the Lady Townly a visit on the twenty-fourth day of March, just before her leaving the town, in the year 1709-10, for which she was still creditor to the said Lady Townly. To this the plaintiff only replied, that she was now only under covert, and not liable to any debts contracted when she was a single woman. Mr. Bickerstaffe finding the cause to be very intricate, and that several points of honour were likely to arise in it, he deferred giving judgment upon it till the next session day, at which time he ordered the ladies on his left hand to present to the court a table of all the laws relating to visits.
Winifred Leer brought her action against Richard Sly, for having broken a marriage contract, and wedded another woman, after he had engaged himself to marry the said Winifred Leer. She alleged, that he had ogled her twice at an opera, thrice in St. James's church, and once at Powel's puppet-show, at which time he promised her marriage by a side-glance, as her friend could testify that sat by her. Mr. Bickerstaffe finding that the defendant had made no further overture of love or marriage, but by looks and ocular engagement; yet at the same time considering how very apt such impudent seducers are to lead the ladies' hearts astray,
ordered the criminal to stand upon the stage in the Haymarket, between each act of the next opera, there to be exposed to public view as a false ogler.
Upon the rising of the court, Mr. Bickerstaffe having taken one of these counterfeits in the very fact, as he was ogling a lady of the grand jury, ordered him to be seized, and prosecuted upon the statute of ogling. He likewise directed the clerk of the court to draw up an edict against these common cheats, that make women believe they are distracted for them by staring them out of countenance, and often blast a lady's reputation whom they never spoke to, by saucy looks and distant familiarities.
[Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper. T.]
No. 265. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1710.
Arbiter hic igitur factus de lite jocosâ. OVId, Met. Continuation of the Journal of the Court of Honour, &c. As soon as the court was sat, the ladies of the bench presented, according to order, a table of all the laws now in force, relating to visits and visiting days, methodically digested under their respective heads, which the Censor ordered to be laid upon the table, and afterwards proceeded upon the business of the day.
Henry Heedless, Esq. was indicted by Colonel Touchy, of her Majesty's trained bands, upon an action of assault and battery; for that he the said Mr. Heedless, having espied a feather upon the shoulder of the said colonel, struck it off gently with the end of a walking staff, value three-pence. It appeared, that the prosecutor did not think himself injured till a few days after the aforesaid blow was given him; but that having ruminated with himself for several days, and conferred upon it with other officers of the militia, he concluded, that he had in effect been cudgelled by Mr. Heedless, and that he ought to resent it accordingly. The counsel for the prosecutor alleged, that the shoulder was the tenderest part in a man of honour; that it had a natural antipathy to a stick, and that every touch of it, with anything made in the fashion of a cane, was to be interpreted as a wound in
that part, and a violation of the person's honour who received it. Mr. Heedless replied, that what he had done was out of kindness to the prosecutor, as not thinking it proper for him to appear at the head of the trained bands with a feather upon his shoulder; and further added, that the stick he had made use of on this occasion was so very small, that the prosecutor could not have felt it, had he broken it on his shoulders. The Censor hereupon directed the jury to examine into the nature of the staff, for that a great deal would depend upon that particular. Upon which he explained to them the different degrees of offence that might be given by the touch of crab-tree from that of cane, and by the touch of cane from that of a plain hazel stick. jury, after a short perusal of the staff, declared their opinion by the mouth of their foreman, that the substance of the staff was British oak. The Censor then observing that there was some dust on the skirts of the criminal's coat, ordered the prosecutor to beat it off with his aforesaid oaken plant; "And thus, (said the Censor,) I shall decide this cause by the law of retaliation: if Mr. Heedless did the colonel a good office, the colonel will, by this means, return it in kind; but if Mr. Heedless should at any time boast that he had cudgelled the colonel, or laid his staff over his shoulders, the colonel might boast in his turn, that he has brushed Mr. Heedless's jacket, or (to use the phrase of an ingenious author) that he has rubbed him down with an oaken towel.”
Benjamin Busy, of London, merchant, was indicted by Jasper Tattle, Esq., for having pulled out his watch, and looked upon it thrice, while the said Esquire Tattle was giving him an account of the funeral of the said Esquire Tattle's first wife. The prisoner alleged in his defence, that he was going to buy stocks at the time when he met the prosecutor; and that, during the story of the prosecutor, the said stocks rose above two per cent., to the great detriment of the prisoner. The prisoner further brought several witnesses, that the said Jasper Tattle, Esq. was a most notorious story-teller; that before he met the prisoner, he had hindered one of the prisoner's acquaintance from the pursuit of his lawful business, with the account of his second marriage; and that he had detained another by the button of his coat that very morning, till he had heard several witty sayings and contrivances of the prosecutor's eldest son, who was a
boy of about five years of age. Upon the whole matter, Mr. Bickerstaffe dismissed the accusation as frivolous, and sentenced the prosecutor to pay damages to the prisoner for what the prisoner had lost by giving him so long and patient an hearing. He further reprimanded the prosecutor very severely, and told him, that if he proceeded in his usual manner to interrupt the business of mankind, he would set
a fine upon him for every quarter of an hour's impertinence, and regulate the said fine according as the time of the person so injured should appear to be more or less precious.
Sir Paul Swash, Kt., was indicted by Peter Double, Gent., for not returning the bow which he received of the said Peter Double, on Wednesday the sixth instant, at the playhouse in the Haymarket. The prisoner denied the receipt of any such bow, and alleged in his defence, that the prosecutor would oftentimes look full in his face, but that when he bowed to the said prosecutor, he would take no notice of it, or bow to somebody else that sat quite on the other side of him. He likewise alleged, that several ladies had complained of the prosecutor, who, after ogling them a quarter of an hour, upon their making a curtsey to him, would not return the civility of a bow. The Censor observing several glances of the prosecutor's eye, and perceiving, that when he talked to the court he looked upon the jury, found reason to suspect that there was a wrong cast in his sight, which upon examination proved true. The Censor therefore ordered the prisoner (that he might not produce any more confusions in public assemblies) never to bow to anybody whom he did not at the same time call to by his name.
Oliver Bluff, and Benjamin Browbeat, were indicted for going to fight a duel since the erection of the Court of Honour. It appeared, that they were both taken up in the street as they passed by the court, in their way to the fields behind Montague House. The criminals would answer nothing for themselves, but that they were going to execute a challenge which had been made above a week before the Court of Honour was erected. The Censor finding some reasons to suspect, (by the sturdiness of their behaviour,) that they were not so very brave as they would have the court believe them, ordered them both to be searched by the grand jury, who found a breast-plate upon the one, and two quires of paper upon the other. The breast-plate was im