Category Archives: Narrow Escapes

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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Filed under Displays of wit, Narrow Escapes, Violent Episodes

Ballooning can never be of practical utility

EXCITING BALLOON ADVENTURE

ANOTHER M.P. IN PERIL

An exciting narrative of ballooning exploit is communicated by Mr. Pendarves Vivian, member for West Cornwall, to the Western Morning News. With two skilled aeronauts he ascended from South-west London, the start being delayed by unfavourable weather until 10 p.m. They found themselves in a strong current, which in ten minutes had placed them over North London, the lights below presenting a fairy scene of indescribable beauty. Though over 1,000 feet high street cries were distinctly audible. Ascending rapidly to 8,000 feet in an hour they found themselves passing at a tremendous rate over a flat country suitable for descending, and they resolved to come down. Gas was let out and grappling irons dropped, when there was a sharp check and violent jerks, and suddenly they commenced soaring upwards at a frightful pace. The rope of the grappling irons had broken. The danger of so helpless a position, especially at night, was instantly apparent, and shortly afterwards a renewed descent was made hoping to run the balloon against some branches of trees.

When this was done one got out, and the two relieved of his weight were carried upwards with extreme velocity to a height of three miles. Half stunned by the shock, and deaf from the rarification of the air, some time elapsed before renewed descent was attempted, when, to their horror, they heard the roaring of the sea immediately below them. Fortunately they found themselves approaching the shore from the sea, over which they had unconsciously been sailing, but had in descending come into a landward current.

Arrived near the ground they struck not twenty yards from from the sea shore, and after dragging several hundred yards, receiving severe concussions from hedges, they simultaneously let go, and the balloon soared aloft leaving them in darkness in an unknown country, subsequently discovered to be ten miles from Lowestoft, having reached there in three hours from London. No permanent injuries were received by the party, but Mr. Vivian’s experience convinced him that ballooning can never be of practical utility as a means of travelling, and that to render ascents approximately safe duplicate grappling irons, with spring buffers and other appliances must be carried.

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 31 December 1881

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Filed under Aeronautical Adventures, Narrow Escapes

A Long and Desperate Eight Hours

EXCITING ADVENTURE ON THE MERSEY

Among the hitherto unrecorded incidents of the late storm is one in which a young gentleman hailing from New Brighton had a marvellous escape from death. The young gentleman in question was sleeping in a friend’s yacht which was anchored off New Brighton, and while in his cabin, his vessel received a sudden shock. Going on deck in his night clothing he found that a fishing boat had broke from her moorings, and being carried against his yacht, the two vessels were partially locked together. He promptly jumped on board the fishing vessel to release her from the yacht, but the next instant the storm and the sea had parted the craft, and he found himself drifting about the river in great peril. Realising his danger, and seeing that to control the fishing boat some sail must be hoisted, the young gentleman ran up a slight jib. The wind blowing from the Cheshire side soon carried the yacht into the middle of the river, and then appeared the fate which befel the schooner the same morning—viz. that of being dashed against the north wall and smashed to pieces. After a long and desperate eight hours the tiny craft was drifting safely into the Canada Basin, and the vessel and her solitary crew were saved. The young man, however, was so exhausted from his terrible labours and the exposure that he had to be placed in a hot bath by the dock master, who also supplied him with clothing.

 

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, Friday 28 December 1894

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They will never get him now

SINGULAR INCIDENT IN STRANGEWAYS.
A SMART POLICEMAN.

About noon on Friday a singular and exciting incident was witnessed in Strangeways. Two soldiers were seen running from new Bridge-street towards the Assize Courts, pausing now and again as if in doubt, and occasionally peering through the shop windows on either side of the way. It turned out that they had been escorting a prisoner who had contrived to make his escape. While the soldiers, who looked thoroughly scared, were meditating a descent into one of the shafts of the new sewer now in course of construction in Strangeways, a constable in the county force sat on the top of a tramcar going townwards and commented on their proceedings.

“They will never get him now,” said the policeman.

At that moment a man in plain clothes, having the appearance of a labourer, crossed from the footpath to the tramway, and without undue hurry got on to the car and took a place inside. The policeman promptly descended, and a minute later his fellow-passengers saw him rolling in the middle of the road under the railway viaduct with the man who, so to speak, had just stepped into his arms. The prisoner struggled desperately, but was at length overpowered and secured until the soldiers came panting up to resume possession.

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 12 August 1893

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Editor’s Note: I am greatly obliged to the inestimable Mr Amateur Casual at The Victorianist, who has considered this humble blog worthy of being “tagged” in a “meme”. I am to dredge from my archives – like so many crushed oyster-shells from the clinging mud of the Thames – seven posts worthy of renewed attention.

I may point out that the majority of my posts gained NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER ‘pon their first appearance, so I shall be only too glad to haul them into the roseate light of dawn and present them before my subscribers, (and may I address you directly, subscribers, and say that I am eternally grateful to both of you for your patronage of my work – perhaps one day we shall be the triumvirate of a new world order).

At the present time, however, I am happily (at least, as happily as one of my melancholic and poetic nature can expect) engaged in the only social habit that – in Mr Peacock’s words – the disappointed spirit never unlearns. Oh, Mr Co-operative’s cheapest bottle of Rioja, thou art the only styptic to a bleeding heart! Therefore I shall cogitate upon the meme for some time, and shall endeavour to complete it at some point in that abyss of potential (nay, inevitable) disappointment – THE FUTURE!

For now, my friends (though friendship is but a mayfly that began its day’s existence in innocence yet collided with a steam locomotive after no more than a minute) I shall…

I have forgotten my intention in starting the previous paragraph. Oh Morpheus, embrace me, for I am doomed to have no other bedfellow but thee.

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Filed under Criminal Capers, Narrow Escapes, The Editor Gets Drunk and Opines on Things

An Officer of the Guards Nearly Killed at the Royal Wedding

Just before the Royal couple on their journey Citywards were passing Marlborough House the Guards formed into troops across the road. The last troop to wheel into line was headed by the Marquis of Tullibardine, the heir to the Dukedom of Athole. Suddenly the young lieutenant’s horse reared with its forefeet striking the air. A moment more and it had fallen backwards, with its rider beneath. Those near seemed to be paralysed for a moment, and then they rushed forward, but before anybody could reach the unfortunate officer, who, after he fell, had managed to extricate himself from the stirrups, the horse had galloped wildly away, kicking his hind legs in the air. There was nothing, so far as one could tell, between it and the Royal carriage, just then entering the yard, except a stray policeman or two. A moment of breathless suspense, and a policeman rushed out into the roadway, and caught the horse by the bridle just in the nick of time, and Lord Tullibardine was carried across the road and laid on an ambulance couch as the Royal carriage came by. If, as is possible, the Duke and his Duchess thought their reception somewhat cold at this point, this is the explanation. The hinder squadron of Guards having passed, the attention of all present, momentarily abstracted, was turned to the gallant young Guardsman stretched under the arches of St James’s Palace, where the ambulance corps were doing their best to revive him. They were successful after a time, and the poor fellow with a faint smile was able to tell the surgeon when he arrived that he was “all right,” though his spine hurt him. Then he was tenderly lifted onto an ambulance and carried to Mr. Kingcote’s apartments in the palace, where the surgeon attended him. The man who stopped the horse in so gallant a manner was Walter Peacock, 39 B R.

The Illustrated Police News Saturday 15 July 1893

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Filed under Birds and Beasts, Narrow Escapes, Royal Goings-on

Precipitated into the Court Yard

FEARFUL SITUATION OF A
FEMALE SOMNAMBULIST

IN SOMERSETSHIRE

Miss Clara Dalrymple in a precarious situation

The large illustration in our front page is a correct representation of the perilous position of a young girl, as seen by two spectators, on Friday last. The circumstances are thus described in a local journal:—

“On Friday night, the 24th inst., a harrowing scene occurred at a small village near Glastonbury. It appears that a young girl, aged seventeen, named Clara Dalrymple—who has been in the habit of walking in her sleep on very many occasions—rose from her bed on the night in question and opened the window of her bedroom, which was on the fourth storey of the house, and stepped on to a plank that ran across from her father’s residence to one opposite. Some workmen had been repairing the latter, and—to facilitate these operations—had neglected to remove the plank which had been improvised as a communication between the two dwellings. Miss Dalrymple, to the horror of two persons who had witnessed her proceedings in the narrow passage below, stepped on this plank which gave way before she had reached its centre, and the unfortunate girl was precipitated into the court yard beneath—falling from a height of seventy feet. In her descent her dress caught the arm of a lamp-post in the passage, thus breaking her fall, and was the means of saving her life. A man, named James Grimsby, a servant of her father’s, and Mr. W. Styant, a tradesman in the village, were the sole witnesses of the accident. When the first shock was over they hastened to her assistance, being at the time under the full impression that she was dead. Such, however, proved not to be the case. Beyond a few bruises Miss Dalrymple was in no way injured; for, in less than half an hour after the accident, she was conversing with her parents upon her miraculous escape.”

The Illustrated Police News Saturday 1 June 1867

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