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I love this news story from 1807, which throws some surprising light on how a Georgian prostitute/pickpocket might have gone about her business in a London pub. I wonder how many saw fit to actually swallow their earnings in an attempt to avoid detection? It certainly wasn’t a particularly successful ruse for this woman…

13 oct 1807

“A prostitute was brought from St. Clement’s watch house, charged with robbing a gentleman on Sunday night in the Strand, the Prosecutor not appearing, she was discharged. She retired to the Green Man public house in Bow-street, with some friends, where a man respectably dressed was sitting in a box, adjoining that in which she sat down, and this person putting his hand upon the rail, she endeavoured to get a ring off his little finger; afterwards, when he was holding a guinea carelessly on his finger, she snatched it off, put it into a glass of gin and peppermint, put it to her mouth, and endeavoured to swallow it, but the guinea stuck in her throat, upon which she took up a pot of porter that was near, drank a draft, and swallowed the guinea, to the no small amusement of a room full of people. She was taken before Mr. Read again, who ordered her to remain in custody.”

Morning Chronicle, Tuesday 13th October 1807

tavern2

- Detail from a tavern scene, Rowlandson’s Dr Syntax series

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