Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Snippets from A Country Parson: James Woodforde's Diary, 1759-1802, Intoxicate Pigs

April 15, 17778. “Brewed a vessel of strong Beer today. My two large Piggs (sic), by drinking some beer grounds taking out of one of my Barrels today, got so amazingly drunk by it, that they were not able to stand and appeared like dead things almost, and so remained all night from dinner time today. I never saw Piggs so drunk in my life, I slit their ears for them without feeling.”

 Which leads me to the question: Why did Parson Woodforde slit their ears. Tut tut, today, what would the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have to say about that?

 April 16, 1778 “My two Piggs (sic) are still unable to walk yet, but they are better than they were yesterday. They tumble about the yard and can by no means stand at all steady yet. In the afternoon my 2 Piggs (sic) were tolerably sober.”

 I wonder if the pigs also had hangovers.

 May 21, 1778. “I walked up to the White Hart with Mr Lewis and Bill to see a famous Woman in Men’s Cloathes (sic), by name Hannah Snell, who was 21 years as a common soldier in the Army, and not discovered by any as a woman. Cousin Lewis has mounted guard with her abroad. She went into the Army by the name of John Gray. She has a Pension from the Crown now of 18.5.0 per annum and the liberty of wearing Men’s Coathes and also a Cockade in her Hat, which she still wears. She has laid in a room with 70 soldiers and not discovered by any of them. The forefinger of her right hand was cut by a Sword at the taking of Pondicherry. She is now about 60 years of age and talks very sensible and well, and travels the country with a Basket at her back, selling Buttons, Garters, laces etc. I took 4 Pr of 4d Buttons and gave her 0.2.6.”

 What would the Ministry of Defence make of her today?

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