Pigs might fly (or be re-animated)

BOILED PIG

At a certain feast lately, it was resolved to boil a pig whole. But some wicked wag, after the hair was taken off, seized an opportunity to smear it with Indian rubber. The consequence was, that after the pig had been in the cauldron six hours, the water had made no impression on it. When the carver stuck his knife into it, it started up and ran away. Yet it had certainly been killed before it was put into the pot, but it is conjectured that the hot water had such an effect on it as to renew the vital heat, so that it was alive. Such susceptibility of re-animation is not inherited by the pigs of any country but our own.—American Paper

The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Monday 29 January 1838

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Editor’s Note: I cannot help but entertain some doubts as to the veracity of this story.

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Sufficient to stuff a cushion

A MODERN ABSALOM

There resides in the neighbourhood of Lytham, the son of a respectable farmer, whose eccentricity is peculiarly singular as to his fine locks of matted hair, which he prides himself much upon, never allowing brush, comb, or scissors to come near it for years together. The operation of cutting has generally to be forced upon him, or (Sampson-like) performed by stratagem, which always forms one of the epochs of his life, being about seven years apart. One of these memorable events took place lately, when the combined wit of his friends, and the keen edge of the barber’s shears, were put to the test; and no sooner was the work completed than he appeared a completely metamorphosed man, many of his own friends not even recognising him. The cost of cutting his hair was 2s. 8d., and it is said the fleece is sufficient to stuff a cushion large enough to sleep on. – Preston Pilot

The Leicester Chronicle, Saturday 30 September 1837

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Note from the Editor: As one who was lately condemned by the editor of the Illustrated Police News as  a ‘dissolute long-haired poltroon,’ I have some sympathy with this harmless hippy.

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Fortunate or otherwise

The Editor wishes all his readers as tolerable a new year as might be expected, and ventures to share the following startling predictions, penned by an acquaintance who is more or less talented in the art of prophecy.

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PREDICTIONS FOR JANUARY

(Not by Murphy.)

  1. The first day of the new year. Good for marriages, if they turn out well.
  2. Secundus. If foggy, the sun will not be clear. Comfortable for those who get in their accounts from customers.
  3. An unlucky day for a third marriage, except under particularly advisable circumstances.
  4. The cardinal points agree with this number. The moon effulgent, if bright; but enveloped in an atmospheric duberosity, if opaque clouds appear overhead.
  5. The sun will be in his meridian at 12 o’ clock this day! More or less rain or fair weather.
  6. Twelfth day. The knights of the round-table will preside over it. The sun will revolve on his axis the whole of this day.
  7. Those who have their 14th child born this day may look forward to an increase of their expenses. Weather so-so.
  8. A queer day for insolvents.
  9. Very unlucky for shipwrecked seamen.
  10. Tally. Cheering prospects for those looking up in the world.
  11. Weather profusely wet, if very rainy.
  12. Frosty, if sufficiently cold.
  13. An ominous number! Be cautious not to sit down 13 to dinner, if there be any old lady present who would object to it.
  14. Sunny, if the bright luminary of the day throws out a sufficiency of his beams, and they reach the earth.
  15. Beware of doing anything this day which you may repent tomorrow.
  16. Both lucky and unlucky.
  17. Frosty, if a dry cold atmosphere.
  18. Weather warm, if the sun be powerful.
  19. Fortunate or otherwise.
  20. Talley the second. The moon in her due course.
  21. A new tally. Lucky for tradesmen with an increase of business coming in this day.
  22. Weather fair, if there be no drawback.
  23. Fair weather, if not showery or foggy.
  24. Cold or warm as it may be.
  25. Fortunate or otherwise.
  26. The sun’s perpendicular rays illumine many parts of the earth this day.
  27. Many deaths will occur.
  28. The moon in her due course. A fortunate day for many.
  29. Frost may still be expected.
  30. Fair weather, or as it may be.
  31. More or less rain or fair weather.

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The Essex Standard, and General Advertiser for the Eastern Counties, Friday 28 December 1838

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A Cornish scandal

ELOPEMENT OF A LADY WITH HER FATHER’S COACHMAN

Painful excitement has been caused by the disappearance of a young lady, whose father is a Cornish country magistrate, having a town house and also one at Devonport. Last Thursday the young lady, who was spending Christmas at Devonport, met by appointment at Plymouth railway station her father’s coachman, and they went off together. Their disappearance was not known till next day, and by that time they were on their way to the Cape in the mail steamer Pretoria. What makes the matter worse is that the man leaves behind him a wife and family.

The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, Wednesday 4 January 1882

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She exhibited a pair of pistols

ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE

This day fortnight an event took place in the shop of a respectable watchmaker in this town which had nearly been attended with a tragical result. The sister of a young lady who once made some stir in this town, respecting a certain hymeneal disappointment, had, it appears, for a long period received visits from the gentleman in question. She either had, or concluded she had reason for believing that the consummation would be matrimony. Suddenly, however, and, as the lady avers, without any reason assigned, the gentleman discontinued his visits. She repeatedly called at his shop and requested to see him, but either by accident or design her wishes in this respect were frustrated. If the shop-boy may be believed she more than once betrayed signs of violent agitation, and exhibited a pair of pistols.

Last Monday week she called at the shop, where she found the gentleman. She asked him if he intended to call at her house. He said no, he did not intend to call any more. At that moment she placed her hand in her pocket, and he heard the click of a pistol-lock. The sound was that of placing the weapon on full cock. She drew the pistol from her pocket, and he rushed towards her and seized it with the intention of disarming her. A struggle ensued, during which the pistol went off. The ball entered the young man’s leg just above the knee, and shattered the bone in a most dreadful manner. She immediately threw away another pistol and rushed from the shop.

The young man took up the pistol which she had thrown away, and, on examining it, found it to be loaded with ball. An application was made to the magistrates last week for a summons against the lady, and the case was heard on Friday. The young man is in a precarious state, and was so ill from the effects of his wound that it was found expedient to have the case heard in the office of the magistrates’ clerks. The above facts were stated, and the young woman was bound over to keep the peace for twelve months.—Liverpool Albion.

The Leicester Chronicle Saturday 30 September 1837

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Quite cherry-coloured with the cold

“GUY FAWKES,” THE BABY HIPPOPOTAMUS

The young hippopotamus, “Guy Fawkes,” completed its third week of existence. Mr. Bartlett, the superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, being of the opinion that it would be safe to admit visitors on Saturday, the hippopotamus house, which had been closed since the birth of the young one, was accordingly opened, and was thronged from twelve o’clock till four p.m. with visitors eager to catch a glimpse of the latest arrival in the gardens. A number of the Fellows and members of the Council of the Royal Zoological Society were present at about three o’clock, when the mother was fed. Mr. Bartlett had kept her a little short during the morning, in order that she might come out of the water when her food was at length brought. His expectations were verified, and for a short time the visitors had a good view of both animals.

The “baby” is now about 2ft. high by 4ft. long, and weighs probably 2cwt. He has taken nourishment from his mother in a most satisfactory manner during his seclusion, and is now beginning to pick up a little food for himself. He is slate-coloured on the back and legs, with a pinkish tinge under the belly.

On Sunday the appearance of such an unusual number of visitors attending the little one’s first levée appeared distasteful to both mother and baby, and they passed most of the day in the tepid bath, only coming up at intervals to breathe. Last week, during some alterations which were being made in the house, the mother got into the outside yard and took her bantling into the cold water. Some apprehension was felt with regard to the effect which the sudden change of temperature might have upon the little one, especially as he came out of the water quite cherry-coloured with the cold, but fortunately no evil consequences ensued.

The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Saturday 30 November 1872


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The writer escaped this time

PERILS OF A JOURNALIST.

A writer having attacked vehemently, in a New York journal, a place of dubious reputation in the town, he received in reply to his remarks an anonymous letter advising him to desist from those proceedings, but took no notice of the warning except to continue his literary crusade. A day or two afterwards, as he was sitting in the office of the newspaper, enter to him a ferocious-looking individual armed with a club, and demanding “Where is the editor?”

With considerable presence of mind the receiver of the visit concluded what was the object of his visitor, and asked him to sit down and read the papers while he went in search of the editor. Once out of the room he made for the street door; but here encountered another rough looking stranger also armed with a bludgeon, and demanding in still more furious tones “Where is the editor?” Here the native wit of the New Yorker had a real opportunity for showing itself, and he directed the second intruder to the room he had himself just left, telling him he would find the editor there reading the papers. The result was a tremendous conflict between the two visitors, each of whom was convinced he had to do with an unusually muscular and determined man of letters.

While the struggle was proceeding the intended victim of the agression was quietly bringing the police upon the scene, who, when they arrived, found the combatants quite sufficiently exhausted by their efforts to be easily captured and led off to prison. The incident exemplified once more the superiority of mind over matter and of wit over brute force. But though the writer escaped this time, the affair shows that writing for the Press has its perils in New York.

The Royal Cornwall Gazette Falmouth Packet, Cornish Weekly News, & General Advertiser Friday 2 August 1878

Note: ‘agression’ is shown as in the original


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There was an old woman named Vance, Who went on her way to Penzance…

A WOMAN OF EIGHTY WALKING FROM LONDON TO CORNWALL

On Monday week an old woman, named Vance, of Penzance, applied to the Mayor at the Guildhall, Exeter, for assistance. Mr. Superintendent Steel stated that she was eighty years old, and had lived for some time with her daughter, who had a large family in London, but as her daughter could not maintain her, the old lady resolved to revisit the home of her youth—Penzance, and set off on this long journey, on foot, in the second week of October. After fourteen days’ walk she arrived at Exeter, and now made her application to the Mayor for a trifle to help her on the road to Plymouth. She is short and stout, and bears her head bravely. In answer to the Mayor she said hat she was eighty on the 18th of last month. The Mayor exclaimed “Well done! you bear it nobly.” In reply to further questions she said that she had been a widow fifteen years. The Mayor directed that a half-crown should be given to this Cornish prodigy, and the old lady curtsied, saying that she had received “great friendship” in Exeter.

The Penny Illustrated Paper, Saturday 9 November 1861

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The imminent risk of losing an eye

GUY FAWKES and the METROPOLITAN POLICE

TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES

Sir,—During six years I have been a witness in the metropolis of a sight unparalleled for ruffianism, theft, and riotous conduct in any other civilised city.

Invariably, on the 5th of November, not less than 15,000 persons assemble on Tower-hill strictly for the purpose of robbery, brutal ruffianism, and to “let off fireworks.”

During my travels, several years, in many principal cities in the four corners of the globe, I never met with such a consolidated mass of villany; from all appearances every third person is a regular cadger or thief. The police confirm my opinion in this respect, and a walk through the mob will doubly qualify it.

From 6 o’clock in the evening till 11 at night Tower-hill and Trinity-square are perfectly impassable, business is all at stand; I am obliged to close my door, darken my windows, and desert the front part of my house entirely, and my premises are not approachable for five hours, yet I never escape without some serious injury.

Last night my child was saved, almost by a miracle, from having his brains dashed in by a large oyster shell being hurled with great violence by some miscreant in the crowd. My wife received the blow, which stunned her severely, as she sat, for a moment only, at my first floor window. I rushed out and found one solitary metropolitan policeman, 166H. He told me there were 30 policemen on the hill, “and about.” I struggled through the mob, at the imminent risk of losing an eye, and after 20 minutes found one more, No. 204. This man very reluctantly told me, after my urgent solicitations, that he would, “if he saw the sergeant of his force,” send him to my house. However, no policeman whatever, except the city force, came to my assistance, and two feet from my door they “cannot act.”

I was, consequently, handed over to the metropolitan force, who, in turn, referred me to the city force. The latter were most civil and obliging, and rendered every assistance possible; but, in the presence of not more than a couple of metropolitan policemen, a vagabond mob of 3,000 pelted, during two hours, the house of my neighbour, and smashed nearly the whole of his windows, while another neighbour on my left had his house set on fire, and two persons narrowly escaped with their lives; and I protest on oath that no attempt was made by the police to stop the scoundrels.

Will you give us a helping hand?—at least through you, there is a rescue from ruffianism and gross police mismanagement.

Nov 6.                                                                                                                         J.H.

The Times, Monday 7 November 1853

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The small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires

A VAMPIRE BAT.

The San Franscisco Alta says that while the steamship Nevada was about 80 miles off one of the minor isles of Micronesia, on its way up to Australia to San Francisco, at about six o’clock in the morning, a strange animal of a dark figure was observed to light on the highest peak of the forward mast. Attracted by its peculiar appearance, the officer of the deck, Mr. Burns, the second mate, offered one of the sailors a small bonus to secure it. The man clambered up the mast with a heavy cloth in his hand, and, after a slight struggle, in which he was severely bitten on the hand, it was secured.

Bringing it to the deck, on examination the beast proved to be a fine specimen of a species of the vampire tribe. This animal closely resembles the terrodactyl of the antediluvian ages. In appearance it is like a huge bat, on hasty examination. It is in the head of the animal, however, that the main distinction is found. That of the present one is a perfect counterpart of the black-and-tan terrier dog. Its teeth are over half an inch in length, and are called in constant requisition to discountenance all attempts at familiarity. When flying, the wings of this ill-omened beast stretch, from tip to tip, at least five times the diameter of its body. It is of a deep jet black colour, the body being covered with heavy fur. It is very savage, being constantly on the alert to attack any person approaching it.

Whether this animal is a full and perfect vampire, lulling man to sleep with the waving fan-motions of its wings while sucking in the victim’s very heartblood is yet a question, for as yet it has not been examined by any scientific man. Its appearance is, however, enough to suggest the truth of such a horrible surmise. Be it as it may, the little Micronesian island had always borne a weird and frightful reputation among the native inhabitants of the adjoining ones. Strange stories of cannibalism, tales of savage idolatrous practices, poison valleys, &c., are constantly connected in their minds with its name, and the small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires, in addition to all the other horrors, few of them would think extraordinary or the least doubtful.

The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, Thursday 10 April 1873

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