"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

I have been given an alarming glimpse into my future, and it was published in the "Illustrated Police News" on October 1, 1870.

Yes, my friends, this will be me in fewer years than I care to think about.

A report has been forwarded to us from Newport, together with a sketch, from which the illustration in our front page has been engraved. The facts of the case are summarized as this: in a small dilapidated cottage on the outskirts of the above-named town, a Mrs. Joyton--an old lady of eccentric habits--has resided for the last four years, she herself being the only occupant of the tenement. She chose to lead a life of such strict seclusion, and was altogether so singular in her habits, that the neighbours very naturally came to the conclusion that she was a little deranged. Sometimes she would condescend to exchange a word or two with one or more of  those to whom she had become known, whilst at others she would pass them with an angry frown and a brusque manner; and when in this humour she would not vouchsafe a reply to any question.

To the surprise of everybody, for some reason or other, Mrs. Joyton was no longer to be seen in her accustomed haunts. Days paused over, and the general impression was that the poor old lady must be either dead or seriously ill. No answer had been returned to those who were bold enough to knock at the cottage door of the recluse. On Monday or last one neighbour more persistent than the rest gave a brief recital of the facts to the policeman on duty, who at once proceeded to the cottage and knocked most violently at the door. Its obstinate and eccentric occupant returned no answer; whereupon, his patience being exhausted, the policeman burst open the door.

Upon his entering the back room he discovered Mrs. Joyton in a bed, surrounded by a number of cats of every conceivable variety--black, white, brindled, tortoiseshell, and tabby were there assembled. The feline family seemed to be a very large one. One cat was on the bed with several kittens, others were on the shelf, the drawers, chairs, and ground. One pugnacious pussy flew at the policeman, who was a little disconcerted at the attack made by so strange an assailant. The old lady, who had been ill and kept her bed for some days, showered a torrent of abuse upon the head of the intruder, and commanded him to leave her apartment in a most imperious manner. He strove as best he could to pacify her by telling her that he had effected an entrance for the purpose of seeing if she needed advice or assistance, and wound up his discourse by offering to go for the parish doctor. This exasperated the invalid still more. She called the policeman an impudent fellow, and finished by throwing a basin at his head, whereupon the officer deemed it advisable to beat a retreat, and hastened at once to report proceedings at the station-house.

via British Newspaper Archive

We are glad to say, after much exhortation, the visiting clergyman of the district has succeeded in getting Mrs. Joyton in a better frame of mind. She has consented to see the doctor, and to have a nurse, if necessary; but will not brook any interference with her favourites. To be surrounded by her cats appears to be her greatest happiness.

Don't mess with us crazy cat ladies, buster. Unless you want a basin upside the head.

1 comment:

  1. Two lives illustrated: the stereotypical crazy cat-lady (who was, after all, evidently quite capable of taking care of herself, thank you very much) and the police constable, who gets knocked on the helmet by toilet requisites for trying to help. Just a day in their lives.

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