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  • Victorian Urban Legend: The Gold Watch July 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    gold watch

    Crime is the most profitable part of Victorian Urban Legends. Enjoy, for instance, this one, it is an absolute peach:

    When the office of the City Recorder was filled by Mr. Silvester, it was on one particular occasion the recorder’s duty to try a prisoner for picking a man’s pocket of his purse. The prisoner stoutly protested his innocence, and the prosecutor, when questioned on the subject of being certain of having had the purse in his possession shortly before the discovery of the supposed theft, could only say that he was certain of having had the purse in his pocket when he left home in the morning. The recorder, in summing the case up, remarked to the jury that the prosecutor’s evidence was not strictly conclusive. ‘For’, said he, ‘I myself thought, when I left house in Russell-square, this morning, that I had my gold watch, as usual, with me in my fob. When I arrived here, my watch was missing, and I concluded I had been robbed. But, during the progress of this case, I have recollected some circumstances which convince me that I left my watch at home, hanging up, as usual, on the right hand side of my bed.’ The recorder paused for moment, there was stir and movement in the gallery, the usher cried ‘order,’ and the case proceeded.

    You probably see where this is going.

    A quarter of an hour subsequent to the above remarks being made, hackney coach drove up to the recorder’s house, in Russell-square; a well-dressed man got out, and gave an authoritative rat-tat-tat at the street door. The servant, appearing, was informed, the recorder wants his watch, ‘which he left hanging on the right hand side of his bed.’ The domestic obtained what the visitor asked for, gave it to him, and off went the coach again. Five minutes later, ‘rat-tat-tat’ went the knocker the visitor was attended to, and began, ‘The recorder wants his watch.’ ‘We’ve sent it, Sir, ’ replied the servant. ‘Confound it,’ muttered the new caller, who turned on his heel, and paying the coachman discharged him. The lapse of a similar interval of time brought a third coach, a third visitor, third application at the knocker, and for the recorder’s watch ‘which he had left,’ etc etc The watch had been sent; the third envoy cursed audibly, and ran off across the square pursued by the coachman, calling ‘stop thief.’ A fearful suspicion flashed across the servant’s mind. The truth was, that the learned recorder had unsuspectingly furnished a sort of directory for domestic plunder to the thieves who were sitting in the Old Bailey Court-house gallery, during his charge to the jury. It was then a mere race for the fastest hackney coach; the first comer was first served with the plunder, leaving the rest to curse their ill luck and their coachman.

    Any other Victorian Urban Legends: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Source: Anon, ‘A Good Story’, Belfast Mercury (9 Aug 1859), 4