« ПредишнаНапред »
This gentlewoman is a woman of great ceconomy, and was not afraid to go to the bottom of her affairs; and therefore ordered her apprentice to give her credit for my lady Easy's impertinent visits upon wrong days, and deduct only twelve per cent. He had orders also to subtract one and a half from the whole of such as she had denied herself to before she kept a day; and, after taking those proper articles of credit on her side, she was in arrear but five hundred. She ordered her husband to buy in a couple of fresh coach-horses ; and with no other loss than the death of two footmen, and a church-yard cough brought upon her coachman, she was clear in the world on the tenth of February last, and keeps so beforehand, that she pays every body their own, and yet makes daily new acquaintances.I know not whether this agreeable visitant was fired with the example of the lady I told her of, but she immediately vanished out of my sight, it being, it seems; as necessary a point of good breeding to go off as if you stole something out of the house, as it is to enter as if you came to fire it. I do not know one thing that contributes so much to the lessening the esteem men of sense have to the fair sex, as this article of visits.
TRIALS OF DEAD MEN. NO. 110.
As soon as I had placed myself in my chair of judicature, I ordered my clerk, Mr. Lillie, to read to the assembly, who were gathered together according to notice, a certain declaration, by way of charge, to open the purpose of my session, which tended only to this explanation, that as other courts were often called to
demand the execution of persons dead in law; so this was held to give the last orders relating to those who are dead in reason. The solicitor of the new company of upholders near the Haymarket appeared in behalf of that useful society, and brought in an accusation of a young woman, who herself stood at the bar before me. Mr. Lillie read her indictment, which was in substance, that whereas Mrs. Rebecca Pindust, of the parish of Saint Martin in the Fields, had, by the use of one instrument called a looking-glass, and by the further use of certain attire, made either of cambric, muslin, or other linen wares, upon her head, attained to such an evil art and magical force in the motion of her eyes and turn of her countenance, that she the said Rebecca had put to death several young men of the said parish ; and that the said young men had acknowledged in certain papers, commonly called loveletters, which were produced in court, gilded on the edges, and sealed with a particular wax, with certain amorous and enchanting words wrought upon the said seals, that they died for the said Rebecca : and whereas the said Rebecca persisted in the said evil practice; this way of life the said society construed to be, according to former edicts, a state of death, and demanded an order for the interment of the said Rebecca.
I looked upon the maid with great humanity, and desired her to make answer to what was said against her. She said it was indeed true, that she had practised all the arts and means she could to dispose of herself happily in marriage, but thought she did not come under the censure expressed in my writings for the same; and humbly hoped, I would not condemn her for the ignorance of her accusers, who, according to their own words, had rather represented her killing
than dead. She further alledged that the expressions mentioned in the papers written to her were become mere words, and that she had been always ready to marry any of those who said they died for her; but that they made their escape as soon as they found them
selves pitied or believed. She ended her discourse by desiring I would for the future settle the meaning of the words ' I die,' in letters of love.
Mrs. Pindust behaved berself with such an air of innocence, that she easily gained credit, and was acquitted. Upon which occasion I gave it as a standing rule, that any person, who in any letter, billet, or discourse, should tell a woman he died for her, should, if she pleased, be obliged to live with her, or be immediately interred upon such their own confession, without bail or mainprize.
It happened, that the very next who was brought before me was one of her admirers, who was indicted upon that very head. A letter which he acknowledged to be his own hand was read, in which were the following words, ' Cruel creature, 1 die for you.' It was obfervable that he took snuff all the time his accusation was reading. I asked him how he came to use these words, if he were not a dead man? He told me, he was in love with the lady, and did not know any other way of telling her so; and that all his acquaintance took the same method. Though I was moved with compassion towards him by reason of the weakness of his parts, yet for example-sake I was forced to answer, Your sentence shall be a warning to all the rest of your companions, not to tell lies for want of wit. Upon
this he began to beat his snuff-box with a very saucy air, and opening it again, 'Faith, Isaac, said he, thou art a very unaccountable old fellowPr'ythee, who gave thee power of life and death? What a-pox hast: thou to do with ladies and lovers? I suppose thou" wouldst have a man be in company with his mistress, and say nothing to her. Dost thou call breaking a jest, telling a lie? Ha! is that thy wisdom, : old stiffrump, ha? He was going on with this insipid common-place i mirth, sometimes opening his box, sometimes shutting it, then viewing the picture on the lid, and then the workmanship of the hinge, when in the midst of the eloquence I ordered his box to be taken from him;; upon which he was immediately struck speechless, and, carried off stone dead.
The next who appeared was a hale old fellow of sixty. He was brought in by his relations, who desired leave; to bury him. Upon requiring a distinct account of the prisoner, a credible witness deposed that he always rose at ten of the clock, played with his cat until t'velve, smoked tobacco until one, was at dinner until two then took another pipe, played at back-gammon until! six, talked of one madam Frances, an old mistress of his, until eight, repeated the same account at the tavern until ten, then returned home;: took the other pipe, and then to bed. I asked him, what he had to say for himself? As to what, said he, they mention concerning madam Francesco I did not care for hearing a Canterbury tale, and therefore, thought myself seasonably interrupted by a young gentleman, who appeared in the behalf of the old man; and prayed an arrest of judgment, for that he the said young manheld certain lands by his the said old man's life. Upon this, the solicitor of the upholders look an occasion to demand him also, and thereupon produced several evidences that witnessed to his life and.conversation. It appeared, that each of them divided their hours in
matters of equal moment and importance to themselves and to the public. They rose at the same hour ; while the old man was playing with his cat, the young one was looking cut of his window; while the old man was smoking his pipe, the young man was rubbing his teeth ; while one was at dinner, the other was dressing; while one was at back-gammon, the other was at dinner; while the old fellow was talking of madam Frances, the young one was either at play, or toasting women whom he never conversed with. The only difference was, that the young man had never been good for any thing; the old man, a man of worth before he knew madam Frances. Upon the whole, I ordered them to be both interred together, with inscriptions proper to their characters, signifying that the old man died in the year 1689, and was buried in the year 1709. And over the young one it was said, that he departed this world in the twenty-fifth year of his death.
The next class of criminals were authors in prose and verse. Those of them who had produced any stillborn work were immediately dismissed 10 their burial, and were followed by others, who, notwithstanding some sprightly issue in their life-time, had given proofs of their death by some posthumous children that bore no resemblance to their elder brethren. As for those who were the fathers of a mixed progeny, provided always they could prove the last to be a live child, they escaped with life, but not without loss of limbs; for in this case I was satisfied with amputation of the parts which were mortified.
These were followed by a great crowd of superannuated benchers of the inns of court, senior fellows of çolleges, and defunct statesmen; all whom I ordered