Tag Archives: 1830s

Pigs might fly (or be re-animated)


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


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


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


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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Filed under Peculiar Behaviour

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.



(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.

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

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Filed under Displays of wit, Supernatural or Superstitious

She exhibited a pair of pistols


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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Filed under Love or Marriage, Violent Episodes

His cherished hairy monstrosities


A silly mechanic, whose upper lip was adorned with a pair of monstrous mustachios, applied to Mr. Rawlinson, at Marylebone police-office, for an assault-warrant against his shopmates, who had laid violent hands upon his cherished hairy monstrosities. He stated, that having taken to wear mustachios, “cos it vos fashionable, and made him look like a man of courage and a gentleman,” his fellow-workmen declared that he must pay half-a-gallon of ale to wet them, or must have them cut off. He refused to comply with either one alternative or the other, and they therefore stole his dinner, hustled him about, and laid sacrilegious fingers on his darling mustachios. He begged of Mr. Rawlinson to tell him what to do. “Do!” said Mr. R. “why, go to a barber, and get shaved.” “Can’t part with a hair,” said the carpenter. “Well, you may have a warrant, if you like,” said Mr. Rawlinson, “but I think you’d better not.” The carpenter then walked off without a warrant, saying “that it was the most prowoking thing as ever vos heard on, and very haggrawating, that he couldn’t vear his mustachios in peace.”

The Leicester Chronicle, Saturday 30 September 1837

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Filed under The Latest Fashion

A prodigiously long bladder


A gentleman, who said he had reason to know a good deal about the tricks used by smugglers, mentioned at the Mansion-House, London, on Wednesday week, a laughable incident which had occurred in a town on the coast of Scotland. A celebrated actor of that nation determined to run some very find French brandy, and adopted the following plan. He procured a prodigiously long bladder, and caused it to be painted in the exact likeness of a boa constrictor, and being in possession of the stuffed head of a formidable snake of the boa species, fastened it to the bladder, which he nearly filled with brandy. He then tied the tail of the boa to one of his legs, and twisted the body round his body, holding the head, in which there were two tremendous glass eyes, in his breast. When he reached the place which he considered to be most dangerous on account of the inquisitiveness of the revenue officers, he took out the head of the boa, in which, by an ingenious contrivance, he made the eyes and jaws to move with great rapidity, and in an instant every body scampered off, leaving a clear passage to the snake and its master. The fraud was practised several times, but was detected by the curiosity of the actor’s landlady, who was found one night blind drunk on the floor, with the empty bladder in her arms.

The York Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 27 October 1838

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Filed under Birds and Beasts, Criminal Capers