Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Miss Dickenson and Colonel Baker

Although business did not commence till 10.30, the doors were besieged for at least an hour and a half previously by a surging multitude, amongst whom were many well-dressed women, who stood the pressure with an endurance and a persistence which proves that they must have been not only strong-minded, but tolerably stout in heart and body. Two adventurous "ladies," taking advantage of the police being wholly occupied in protecting the doors, were lifted up to one of the windows, the sill of which is about seven feet from the ground, and were then pulled in by friends above, amidst the jeers and shouts of the mob. This irregular mode of ingress was then secured by the police, but many were afterwards admitted through the cells and the prisoner's dock. The scene outside, however, continued to present a most excited aspect, the street being so densely crowded as frequently to stop the traffic ...

Mr. Serjeant Parry, in opening the case for the prosecution, said -
Gentlemen of the jury, it would be idle for me to suppose that you have not heard of this case before ... [Colonel Baker] is a colonel in the Queen's Army, holds a staff appointment at Aldershot, is a married man, and is about 50 years of age. He stands before you now charged with a cowardly and unmanly attack upon a young lady in a railway train on the 17th June. There are three counts to the indictment, the first of which charges him with assaulting Miss Dickenson with intent to ravish, the second is a charge of indecent assault, and the third charges him with a common assault. Miss Rebecca Kate Dickenson is a young lady of 22 years of age, residing with her two unmarried sisters at Dumford, near Midhurst in Sussex .... she started from Petersfield station and took her seat in a first-class compartment alone. The next station was Liphook, and there the defendant Colonel Baker entered the carriage. Miss Dickenson sat with her face to the engine on the left-hand side of the carriage in the middle of the seat. He commenced a polite conversation with her by asking her whether she would like the window raised. She declined and said she rather liked it as it was. From Liphook, the train went on to Woking, and from Woking it would run on to Clapham or Vauxhall, a distance of twenty miles. Before the train arrived at Woking, Colonel Baker only entered into a general conversation on the most innocent topics, such as theatres, the Academy, the pictures and so on, in fact on such topics as a gentleman might address a lady about. Nothing of consequence took place until after the train left Woking, when it would have to run twenty miles. Just after that Colonel Baker's manner entirely changed, and he began asking her insinuating question. Miss Dickenson scarcely answered him, and repelled him in every possible way. After the train left Woking, Colonel Baker suddenly stood up, raised the window of the carriage and continued in fact his insulting conversation. He put his arm round her waist, and he kissed her forcibly and against her will. She begged and entreated him to leave her alone. She got up for a moment and went to the communicator, and it is very much to be regretted that there was no communicator. He said, "Don't ring," and then seized her forcibly around the wait and pressed her back into the seat with his whole weight. He kissed her repeatedly on the lips and tried to raise her clothes, and there could be no doubt what he was attempting to do at that moment. At this moment, by a supreme effort, the young lady disentangled herself from Colonel Baker and tried to break the window, but failed. She managed, however, to get it down and thrusting her body out as far as possible screamed loudly, and attracted the attention of several of the passengers. She also managed to open the door, and got one foot out upon the step and the other upon the foot-board, and in that position she continued from Waltham to Esher, in a state of the greatest alarm and peril, and it seems a providential thing that she did not lose her life. That was a distance of four or five miles, and the defendant no doubt by that time got alarmed. This young lady imperilled her life rather than submit to dishonour, and as she stated before the magistrates, had made up her mind that she would rather die than re-enter the carriage. The defendant then must have felt alarm, let one hope, for her as well as himself. He had hold of her right hand all this time, and entreated her to come back, but she said she would rather sacrifice her life. Just before they reached Esher, the driver saw her, stopped the train and took her down, and asked what was amiss. She replied, "He has insulted me; he will not leave me alone." These gentlemen are the material facts ...

[Miss Dickenson's testimony]
After leaving Woking he said - "I suppose you don't often travel alone?" and I said "No." He then asked if I could fix a time when I should be on the line again, and I said "No." He said, "You won't?" and I said "No, thank you." He then said, "Will you give me your name?"
'What did you say?' - "I shan't." He then said, "Will you give me your name that I may know when I hear it?" I said, "I shan't."  He said, "Why not?" I said, "Because I don't choose; I don't see any reason why I should." He then got up and drew the window. He asked me also if I would give him my Christian name and to that I made no reply. After drawing up the window he sat by my side. There was no arm dividing the seats. When he first sat by my side he took told of my hands, and I said, "Get away, I won't have you so near." He then said, "You are cross; don't be cross," and put his arm around my waist. It was his left arm. He then kissed me on the cheek and said, "You must kiss me, darling." I pushed him off. His right arm was round my waist. I got up and tried to ring the bell to call the guard, but the glass was broken and it would not act. He said, "Don't ring; don't call the guard." He then pushed me back into the same corner where I had been sitting, pressing me back against the seat, and pressed himself against me. He kissed me many times. I was quite powerless. I did nothing. As soon as I could speak I said- "If I tell you my name will you get off?" I don't think he replied. He then sank down close in front of me, and I felt his hands under my dress on my stocking above my boot. ... I got up and pushed the window with my elbow to see if I could break the glass. I could not break it, so I got it down and put my head out and screamed.
Did you scream at all before you put your head out? - No, I did not. I propped myself outside the window with my elbows. He pushed me back and I felt quite strangled. I screamed once more, thinking it was the last I should be able to do. I then twisted the handle of the door and got our backward. With my left hand I held the handle of the door which opened towards the engine. My arm was not through the window of the door. With my right hand, I held on to his arm. I think he caught hold of mine. He said, "Get in, dear, get in, dear; you get in and I'll get out at the other door." I said - "If you leave go, I shall fall." I had seen the other door locked previously. Nothing more was said then, and I travelled outside the carriage for some distance. I spoke to two gentlemen. I said How long is it before the train stops? They said something in reply but I could not hear what they said. We travelled on in this way until the train stopped at Esher Station. My hat blew off as soon as I got out. When the train stopped he spoke to me. He said - "Don't say anything; you don't know what trouble you will get me into; say you were frightened. I will give you my name, or anything." I said nothing in reply. I was at this time nearly exhausted. When the train stopped I was helped down, and the defendant got out of the carriage directly. I was asked, "What is the matter?" and replied, "That man will not leave me alone." The defendant made no answer.

[Cross-examined by Mr. Hawkins]
Was anything said about mesmerism? - Yes.
What was that? He said to me, "Have you seen Maskelyne and Cooke." I said "Yes." He said, "You believe in Mesmerism?" I said. No, but I suppose there is something in it." He said he had had a friend who mesmerised and who could make young ladies who had never seen him before follow him about. I said I did not think it was very easy to believe that. He said, "I think you could be mesmerised." I said "Why?" and he said something I did not hear. I asked him to repeat it. He said, "I don't know, but you have a look about you."

[Henry Bailey, examined ... guard of the train] I asked the lady what was the matter and she said "the gentleman had insulted her and would not leave her alone." I asked the defendant what he had been doing to the lady. He said "Nothing". I asked him again and he said he knew the lady's brother at Aldershot. I placed him in the next compartment along with two other gentlemen. His dress was all unbuttoned. I first noticed that fact when he was standing on the gravel at Esher.

[Thomas Pike, merchant of Park Place, St. James's Street, passenger in adjoining carriage]
Colonel Baker had an overcoat over his arm. He sat down in a place on the opposite side of the carriage to where I sat. Colonel Baker remarked that it was most unfortunate that a lady and gentleman travelled in the same compartment, and that the lady was very much frightened and alarmed. Then I remarked (looking towards my fellow-passenger with a view of drawing his attention to it) "No wonder the lady was frightened, considering the state of your dress." (Sensation)
What was the state of his dress? - It was disarranged and partially unfastened.
Are you quite sure of that? -  Certainly; you could see a portion of white apparel through the aperture.
What did Colonel Baker do? - Re-adjusted his dress. We pursued the rest of our journey in silence. He made no remark.

[Mr Serjeant Parry, addressing the jury]
As far as he could judge from the cross-examination, Mr. Hawkins would endeavour to induce them to say that the defendant was not guilty upon the first count, which charged him with committing an assault upon Miss Dickenson with intent to violate her person against her will. His learned friend had, in cross-examination, elicited the whole of the conversation that took place up to the time of the arrival of the train at Woking, and he presumed that the purpose was this, that although this young lady was perfectly innocent and artless in observation, yet that the artlessness and innocence of her answers induced a man of the world and an old officer of the army to believe that he might, in the journey from Woking to Vauxhall, debauch with safety the person of his young lady, and induce her to consent to his advances. If he did not mean to commit a rape, did he intend seduction? Did he kiss her with the idea of forcing from her a kind of consent? The defence of Colonel Baker would be that he did not, at all hazards, intend to violate the person of the young lady, but that he did intend, by a little coaxing and a little forcing, to complete his purpose; and there was not one person who now heard him but did believe the young lady would have been debauched had it not been for her bravery and her preference to suffer death rather than be debauched. (Applause, which was instantly suppressed). His learned friend might say the defendant determined only to seduce her, but that he had determined to stop short of ravishing at the same period of time; and if she resisted, he would not further press his advances. There was little doubt that if the defendant had continued riding with this young lady he would have, somehow or other completed the purpose on his mind. Looking at the facts - a railway carriage, with the train at a high speed, with the windows and door closed in fact, with the young lady a prisoner - he would ask the jury whether the intention of the defendant was seduction or rape. (Applause)

[Mr. Hawkins, addressing the jury]
He said that he knew no case in which to take part had given him greater pain, on the one side being the young lady, against whom he would not make the slightest reflection, on the other an officer, who had served his country gallantly and faithfully, and who was a credit to the army to which he belonged. He complained of the accusations which had been made against the defendant, and that they had raised a prejudice when it was no easy matter to overcome. An unfortunate circumstance for Colonel Baker was that he had no witness who was a witness to the alleged assault. He contented that with the evidence as it stood, it would be useless for him to say that an indecent assault had not been committed. No doubt there had been a gossiping conversation. There was no stoppage after leaving Woking, and there was no doubt that Colonel Baker took unwarrantable liberties with Miss Dickenson, but the question was did he make up his mind to obtain possession of the young lady at all hazards and against all resistance? The case of an attempt to ravish had not been made out, and as in all cases the benefit of a doubt was given to the accused, so in this case he asked for the benefit of the doubt to be given to the defendant. It was evident that until the young lady put her head out of the window, she had no idea that Colonel Baker had any intention to ravish her, for no screams were uttered. Then again, would not a young lady like the prosecutrix, be powerless in the hands of a powerful man like the defendant, and if his intention was, as suggested, would he rest contented with simply placing his hand on her stocking just above the boot? The dress of the young lady was in no way disturbed, with the exception of the loss of her hat ... Such reparation as Colonel Baker can make he makes with the deepest and most contrite heart. He expressed his deepest regret at this occurrence, and awaits with terrible anxiety your verdict upon the more serious charge, and he awaits it with a pain which I pray God it may never be the lot of any one of you to suffer. (Applause)

Colonel Baker was found only guilty of indecent assault; had character witnesses attest to his bravery and military record. He was fined £500 plus costs, and imprisoned for a year - albeit without the 'physical degradation' of hard labour.

(press report from Glasgow Herald, 3 August 1875)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chimney Sweep Slang

Like the gipsies or Romanies, the chimney-sweeping fraternity in the old climbing days had a language of their own - a limited smattering, certainly, but nevertheless sufficient slang words to speak to each other without persons who were present being able to understand their meaning. And very useful it was in many instances for them in the course of their disagreeable business. If one sweep met another strange member of the trade, to detect whether he was a greenhorn, as a novice was termed, the first would say, "Can you patter cant? (speak slang)?"  and, if a veteran, the stranger would reply, "Oh, yes, I know; nix is nothing, and a penny roll is a win buster," and directly they were hail friends well met. Doubtless the slang helped them occasionally to cover mischievous designs, as their cant words of warning were given to the rogue in time to escape with stolen booty, ere the owner, who is termed the splorger, or the skuffer, a cant name for police, understood that was the man they should have arrested. In another case, where the master sweep had the boy up a chimney difficult to ascend, and the mistress had refused to give as much for the sweeping as he demanded, he would put his head under the cloth before the grate, and call out, "Now, boy, are you near the top?" when an indistinct reply descended, which indicated he was not getting on very well. "That's right, my lad, pike the lew," meaning burk the top; then the lad would cry, "All up," and come gently down, leaving the top part of the chimney full of sooty for some other better-paid sweep to clear away.  But the mistress was not always to be deceived like that; she would insist upon seeing the boy's head or scraper out at the top of the chimney, and slang words were of no avail at such times. Housekeepers, as a rule, had an unjust suspicion of chimney-sweeps' movements while on their premises, therefore how needful it was they could apprise each other of the keen observation. Who could blame them, if they pattered cant - this, talked slang - in order to avoid running any risks?

The food of poor sweep-boys mostly came from the larders of those for whom they swept chimneys; the oldest would tell the youngest which was the best to ask for, the right moment, and the right person. "Now, Jim, mang (beg) the splorger or the rum mort (mistress) for a cant (piece) of panam and spreadham (butter), panam and fe (meat), or cas (cheese)." Now if the mistress had heard the plain English she would have known the master had told the boy what to ask for, whereas she thought it came spontaneous from the boy, and her compassion was the more excited.  If there were no grub forthcoming, some coppers must be tried for - a meg, a halfpenny; a win, a penny; twopence, a thrum; threepence; a si, a sixpence; a jug, a shilling; a kewtar, a sovereign. If it happened there was  tender-hearted mistress, or rum mort in slang, the sweep-boy would be told in cant to mang for a pair of stamps (shoes), then stockings, or any old tuggery, versus clothes, to keep the poor bare feet warm, but with not the slightest chance of his ever wearing them. They would be sold at the first second-hand clothes shop, or the rag and snoatcher (bone) man would buy them.

Many other cant words there are relating to the trade. A chimney-sweep was a feiker, and, strange to say, the words feik and feikment stood for those things which had no cant name. The sooty cloth was a tuggy, the scraper a deacon, the brush a switch, the soot was called queer, the horse was a prod, the cart a drag, rain was parney, a field a puv, a fire a glim, a door a gigar; water, lag; potatoes, spuds; servant, a dolly, and deiking for looking . A stick was a cosh, a knife a chif, eyes were ogles, and the face a mug, a house a ken, a barn or hovel to sleep in a crib, a cap a cadie. Thus it may be gathered from this vocabulary that the poor sweep-boy was more or less an outlaw, certainly an outcast, whose desperate needs of food and shelter made him keen, and likely to employ the slang he was taught and the sharpest methods to preserve his existence. Here I relate a specimen:-

The master and boy had been sweeping the kitchen chimney at an old lady's house, and when they had finished the servant told them there were no broken victuals to be given them, whereat they were much disappointed and out of temper, so on leaving they purposely annoyed the great watch-dog, kept chained to his kennel, to such a degree that the old lady came to the front door to see what caused the uproar. Then the boy was directly put up to mang for panem and fe. "Oh, but," said the lady, "your master should provide you with food." "Yes, ma'am," said the boy, "but he's got none." The artful master, perceiving the lady obdurate, he, standing a few paces off, plied the lad with urgent slang. "Mang, kiddie, mang, come away from the good lady; mang, kiddie, mang, don't tease the good lady; mang, kiddy-ma, mang-mang-mang." And in the end the twain prevailed, and the lady ordered the servant to give them the tardy supply.

George Elson, Last of the Climbing Boys, 1900

Friday, 3 January 2014

Mary Moriarty - A Lovely Woman

MARLBOROUGH STREET - MARY MORIARTY, a young Irishwoman, of a more desperate character, was charged with cutting and maiming another female, named Catherine Denby. The outrage was committed in Dudley-court, St. Giles, where the prisoner was creating a disturbance, and she inflected several severe wounds upon the complainants face, upon the latter interfering to protect another woman whom the prisoner had attacked. The knife was produced with which the prisoner had perpetrated the outrage, and she was ordered to find bail. Upon hearing the Magistrate's decision, she saluted him with the most opprobious epithets and vowed vengeance on the complainant, who, she said, had bitten off two of her fingers. She was ordered to be locked up, and in going along the avenues of the office, she dashed four panes of glass to pieces. Having on previous occasions repeated the same outrage, Mr. Dyer undertook that the parish should prosecute her, observing that she was the most outrageous offender of her class in the Metropolis, and the whole parish of St. Giles did not equal her.

The Morning Chronicle, 23 April 1829

Mary Moriarty was convicted of two utterings and an attempt at uttering, all within the space of two hours, on the 5th of November. Her first visit was to Mr. Phillips at the George and Crown, Broad-street, Bloomsbury, where she had a glass of gin, and although the landlord detected the shilling to be base, knowing her to be a most abusive and violent woman, he preferred taking it to provoking her temper by a refusal. She then went to the Crown in Threadneedle-street, and got a quartern of gin, and change for a bad half-crown at a baker's in Broad-street. She was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, the first and last fortnight to be spent in solitude.

The Standard, 5 January 1833

HATTON GARDEN - LOVELY WOMAN - Mary Moriarty was brought before Messrs. Bennet and Halswell charged with being drunk and disorderly. The prisoner is one of the most extraordinary women in existence, and, for the last ten years, has been nine months out of every twelve in the House of Correction. Her prowess is astonishing, of which the following is a remarkable instance: A few years back one of Meux and Co.'s draymen, having given her offence, she watched him out with his dray, and seized from it a cask containing 36 gallons of ale, which she dashed upon the pavement and broke to pieces. She then attacked the drayman, who was five feet eleven inches high, and beat him so severely in a regular stand-up fight, that he was compelled to keep his bed several days. On Friday night she was very drunk, making a disturbance in Broad-street, Bloomsbury, and it was found necessary to send for a posse of constables to remove her to the station-house. Mr. Halswell, who is one of the visiting Magistrates, addressing the prisoner, said, "Well, Mary, I am surprised to see you here. Why it was only yesterday that you were discharged from prison." - Defendant: Yes, my dear, that's true enough. You see the moment I comes out, they put me in again. (Laughter). - Mr. Halswell: How long were you last in prison? - Defendant: Only six weeks, honey. (Bursts of laughter). - Mr. Halswell: What was that for, Mary? - Defendant: Only for whopping a policeman. (A laugh) Mr. Bennet: I remember it. You were sentenced by myself and Mr. Rogers. You are certainly a very bad woman. - Waddington, the officer, said that it was always necessary to confine the prisoner's hand when taken before a Magistrate. She once flung an ink-stand at Mr. Rogers, and her pattens at Mr. Laing. - Defendant: It's the cursed drink. The moment I comes out of prison I am surrounded by lots of friends, bad luck to 'em, and they make me taste the crature, which then sticks in my throat till I get back to my own quarters. - Mr. Halswell: How many times have you been in the House of Correction? - Defendant: Fifty, or more; and you know that I am the best and most hard-working woman in the gaol? - Mr. Halswell (to Mr. Bennett): That is a fact. She works liek a slave, and is as peacable as possible. - Mr. Bennet ordered her t pay 5s. for being intoxicated, and she was locked up in default.

John Bull, 11 March 1838

CANDIDATES FOR NEWGATE - Mary Moriarty, a profligate Irishwoman, was charged with having stolen a sovereign, the property of James Brown. The prosecutor entered a public house in St. Giles's. and asked for change of a sovereign, when the prisoner snatched it up and swallowed it. - Mr. Benett: I shall remand the prisoner - Prisoner: Good look to you for it; it will take a little of the gin out of me. (A laugh). - Mr. Benett: What have you to say to the charge? - Prisoner: The devil a word; you may settle it between yourselves. (Laughter). - Mr. Benett: You are remanded. - Prisoner: I'm glad of it; I wish you had transported me ten years ago, and then I would be a different character; you might set fire to me with a match. (Increased laughter.) - The prisoner has been repeatedly charged at the various police offices for disorderly conduct and theft, and for years past has scarcely been a week out of prison. Her sister was taken to Bow street on Saturday week for a robbery, and it was previously agreed between them that they should both be in Newgate togther.

The Examiner 31 March 1839

Mary Moriarty, alias "Polly" Moriarty, whose fame for breaking windows of licensed victuallers equals that of the late May Ann Pearce, alias Lady Barrymore, was brought before the New Prison for further examination, charged with having stolen a sovereign. The prisoner was in the Hare and Hounds in St. Giles's, when a man laid down a sovereign for change, when she snatched it up and swallowed it. Polly, who was formerly a fine robust-looking girl, now stood at the bar the mere shadow of what she was, with languid sunken eyes, and ghastly pale and wrinkled countenance, the effect of the ravages of gin and dissipation.
   Mr. BENNETT asked her whether she could give any honest excuse for having swallowed the sovereign.
   Polly. - To be sure I can. I have been here many a time for being drunk and breaking windows, but never in all my life before for any felony, and sure wasn't I thrunk when I done it?
    Mr. BENNETT - Was the prisoner drunk?
    Thornton, the constable, replied that she was sober.
    Mr. Banker, the landlord of the Hare and Hounds said that she was sober.
    Polly. - Oh! then it's many a bright sovereign I have spent at your house and I never stole any of them.
    Mr. BENNETT inquired whether she did it as such loose characters frequently did - by way of joke.
    Mr. Banker - She swallowed it to keep it. (A laugh)
    Mr. BENNETT - Is she known?
    Waddington - I don't know a worse character for getting drunk and breaking windows, but I never knew her here for felony before.
    Mr. Malett, the Clerk. - She was been here for bad money.
    Polly. - Oh, then I see you are all against me. I was never here for stealing; but you would be glad to hang me for a red herring. (Laughter)
    Here the prisoner's sister, Nelly, was brought into the office in a shocking state of intoxication, without a bonnet, and her clothes and hair hanging loosely about her.
    Polly (looking at her and bursting into a flood of tears) - Oh, then, do take her out and let her go; she was come here to injure me; take her out. She made a rush wildly from the bar, and seizing hold of her sister, forced her out of the office, and she was allowed to depart.
    It was stated that Nelly had been charged at Bow Street, on Saturday for "Sawning Hunting" and discharged; and on the explanation of the slang expression being solicited, it was given "Bacon Stealing." Nelly was charged with stealing a pound and a half of bacon from a cheesemonger's shop.
    Thornton then stated the prisoner confessed having swallowed the sovereign, but she had not seen it even since. (Increased laughter)
    Prisoner - And sure, that is thrue; how could I see it. (Laughter). But I dare say you'd be glad to see it. (Increased laughter)
    Mr. BENNETT said he would remand the prisoner until Monday, when Polly "heaved a sigh" and said she wished they'd settle at once, or else discharge her, and she left the bar condemning her sister.

The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser, 6 April 1839