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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 sideglance, 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 con
sidering 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.
Trial of False Affronts.
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 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. The 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 play-house 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