Monday 30 November 2009

The biter bit

A great story of one nineteenth-century gentleman getting his well-deserved comeuppance - twice!
On Friday, Mrs. Mary Ash, the wife of a respectable tradesman at Deptford, was charged with having committed an assault on Major John Purdy, an officer in the army of the United States.

The complainant stated, that on the preceding evening, as he was walking along Deptford, he met the defendant, and merely said to her as he passed, in a low tone of voice, “Will you take me home with you, Miss?” when she, without further provocation, struck him a severe blow on the face with a large jug that she had in her hand at the time. [Magistrate] Mr. Chambers – “If that is the mode in which you address respectable women in your own country, Sir, I must tell you that it will not do in this. The familiarity of the expression was quite sufficient to arouse the feelings of any but an abandoned female.”

The defendant declared that she had been most grossly treated by the complainant, who had been sauntering up and down the street for a length of time, walked up, and pushing himself against her in a very rude manner, said, “Come along with me.” She paid no attention to the words he uttered, merely remarking to Mrs. Boyce that it was the conduct of any but a gentleman, and they still continued their conversation. The complainant, however, instead of proceeding forward, turned suddenly round, and again pushed up against her, and with an umbrella, which he carried, gave her a violent stroke with it on the lower part of the back. The moment she received the blow, having a jug in her hand, in which she was going to get some beer, she resented the conduct pursued towards her, and struck the assailant in the face with it. She had no sooner given the blow than the complainant called a police constable, and gave her into custody. Fortunately, however, she escaped being locked up all night, on procuring bail for her appearance.

The Major was then placed in the situation of defendant, and Mrs. Ash, having been sworn, detailed the foregoing statement, which was corroborated in every particular by Mrs. Boyce, who witnessed the conduct of the defendant. In addition, it was stated that the Major had insulted several decent married women in the street, and that he came from the west end of the town in order to carry on his tricks with impunity. – He was fined £5.

1 comment:

Minnie said...

The cad! And how times have changed ... ?