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No 262. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1710.
izba rog æ sequeris, junctura callidus acri,
PERS. Sat. V. 14.
JOURNAL OF THE COURT OF HONOUR, &c. Timothy TREATALL, gentleman, was indicted by several ladies of his sister's acquaintance for a very rude attront offered to them at an entertainment, to which he had invited them on Tuesday the seventh of November last past, between the hours of eight and nine in the evening. The indictment set forth, " that the said Mr. Treatall, upon the serving up of the supper, desired the ladies to take their places according to their different age and seniority; for that it was the way always at his table to pay respect to years.” The indictment added, “ that this produced an unspeakable confusion in the company ; for that the ladies, who before had pressed together for a place at the upper end of the table, inmediately crowded with the same disorder towards the end that was quite opposite; that Mrs. Frontley had the insolerice to clap herself down at the very lowest place of the table; that the widow Partiet seated herself on the riglic-hand of Mrs. Fronty',
alleging for her excuse, that no ceremony was to be used at a round table; that Mrs. Fidget and Mrs. Fescue disputed above half-an-hour for the same chair, and that the latter would not give up the cause until it was decided by the parish register, which happened to be kept hard by." The indictment further saith, " that the rest of the company who sat down did it with a reserve to their righi, which they were at liberty to assert on another occasion; and that Mrs. Mary Pippe, an old maid, was placed by the unanimous vote of the whole company at the upper end of the table, from whence she had the confusion to behold several mothers of families among her inferiors.” The criminal alledged 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 until 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 Shapeley, did always wear a pair of steel boddice, 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
William Trippit, esquire, 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 the 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 same 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 expence of in her service.
The lady Townly brought an action of debt against Mrs. Flambeau, for that the said Mrs. Flambeau had not been to see the 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 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 twentyfourth day of March, just before her leaving the town, in the year seventeen hundred and nine-ten * for which she was still creditor to the said lady Townly. To this the plaintiff only replied, that she was now under covert, and not liable to any debts contracted when she was a single woman. Mr. Bickerstaff 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 until 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 the 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. Bickerstaff finding that the de.. fendant 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 Hay-market, between each act of the next opera, there to be exposed to public view as a false ogler."
* Not nineteen, but on the very last day of 1709-10. a nice point, for, according to the manner of reckoning at that time, the year 1710 began on the day following, that is, 00 the 25th of March.
Upon the rising of the court, Mr. Bickerstaff having taken one of these counterfeits in the very fact, as he was ogling a lady of the grand jury, or. dered 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 distint familiarities.