Wednesday 27 February 2013

In addition to being a strumpet

Yesterday a young woman named Crafter was charged with robbing William Buntline, a sailor, just come home from sea.

Buntline said that he was paid off a few days ago from a frigate which had been some years on the South American station. He knew the prisoner previously to going abroad and kept up a correspondence with her, intending to make her his wife when he came home. On landing, however, he heard some strnage reports about her, such as that she was a mother, and had got two "young uns" while he was away. He would not have minded this much, he said, had she promised for the future to men her course; but when he got into the neighbourhood where she lived, he there learned that in addition to being a strumpet she was also a drunkard. After deriving all the information he could on the subject, Bill Buntline said, that he was about to sheer off, when who should come up and grapple him but the very woman herself. Isntead of expressing any delight on seeing him after so long an absence, the first thing she said was, "Come, let's have a glass." Not wishing to be thought ill-natured, he consented, and they had a half pint of rum between them. He threw down a sovereign on the bar to pay for it, and the moment Moll Crafter got a sight of the gold, she snatched it up and putting it into her mouth, bolted it, as he supposed. She was to be off, but Buntline took her up in his arm, and carried her off to a chymist's shop, with the intention of having a dose administered to her. Her screams, and violent exertions to get free, caused a crowd, as it was suspected that she had been suddenly sezied with symptoms of the cholera; and the belief was increased upon seeing the sailor carry her into the apothecary's shop. The apothecary, on being made acquainted with what had happened, refused to administer medicine for the purpose the sailor required; but advised that the prisoner should be taken before a magistrate. This advice was accordingly adopted, and Buntline was compelled to carry her in his arms to this office, she having refused to walk.

Mr. Chambers inquired whether she had been searched for she might have slipped the sovereign into her pocket or perhaps had it still in her mouth. By direction of the magistrate, a search took place for the sovereign, and it was found, after much resistance on the "lady's" part, in her mouth, under her tongue.

Buntline was rejoiced to get his sovereign back; but said that he had no wish to prosecute her, for old acquaintance sake.

It having been proved that the prisoner was a disorderly prostitute, the magistrate committed her for one month to Brixton.

The Times, 17 February 1832

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