London streets not safe for gently-bred young ladies!

While perambulating through an antique newspaper, I came upon this very poignant letter.

“To the printer. Sir, Monday, July 19th 5 o’clock in the evening. Yesterday evening a young lady, who is under my care, returning from a friend’s house, at the other end of the town, “disappointed of the coach” was accosted, in Fleet-Street, near Temple-Bar, by a brute in human form, well dressed in light-coloured cloathes and bag wig, to appearance about thirty years of age, with great familiarity.

angry man

She gave him to understand he was mistaken in the person, and civilly desired him to leave her, which he refused to do with several oaths and after much obscene language and indecent behaviour, which continued to she came to the top of Ludgate-Street, where then he seized her in his arms and swore he would carry her where all her coy airs would be of no use, naming a bagnio, d—–g her for a little obstrupulous b—h; with that she gave a sudden spring from him, and a coach that had just set down his fare luckily standing by she jumped into it and shut the door, which he endeavoured to open swearing she belonged to him. The humane coachman, however, moved with her tears, prevented him after much struggling, and brought her home, where she had not been five minutes before the violence of the fatigue and fright through her into the most excessive fits imaginable, in which she continued until 4 o’clock in the morning, when she slept a little; at nine they returned again with as much force as ever, and so continues to this moment.


At intervals she is sensible, though that seldom lasts more than six or eight minutes, during which I collected the circumstances as above, which, by inserting in your paper, it is probable, may come to his knowledge, and strike the fellow with remorse and horror at the consequences of his brutality, and deter him from such behaviour for the future.

P.S. The convulsion is so violent as to require five people to hold her down in the bed. I am, Sir, et cetera A.B.”

From the London Chronicle for 1762 from Tuesday, July 20 to Thursday, July 22

London chron header

I sincerely hope the victim recovered from her shock- convulsions were a major cause of mortality in London at this period.


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