Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Awful Visitation Of Four Dreadful Monsters To Four Young Women

by Stephen J. Gertz

The awful Visitation of 
Four Dreadful 
To four Young Women, at one of 
their Houses in this Town, where 
they had met for the Purpose of 
seeing their intended Husbands.

On the 21st ult. JANE SMITH, MARY STEWART, ANN THOMPSON, and MARY RELL, agreed to meet according to the old rule and custom, to see if possible they could make their sweethearts appear. They all accordingly assembled at one of their houses, each of them provided with a clean shift, likewise a plentiful supply of bread, cheese, and ale, in order if their sweethearts should arrive. At length the long wished for time drew near and on its striking twelve, they all began to repeat the following words:

May our sweethearts, if far or near,
At this moment before us appear,
And turn our shifts, if love they bear.

They had no sooner uttered the above words than four men entered their apartment with ghastly appearance, each of them having a lighted torch in their hands, and like Banquo's ghost unceremoniously seated themselves in the vacant chairs. Mirth, like a coward, vanished at their presence, and every smiling feature of the face was changed to an expression of consternation and horror. At length one bolder than the rest retreated, and she immediately followed by the whole females in the house; and the host remained as if riveted by some magic spell to his seat.

We shall leave him there to enjoy the company of his visitors, and return to those who fortunately found asylum in the house of a neighbor. After their alarm has a little subsided, and the power of utterance was restored, they began to conjecture who their visitors might be, and what the purport of their arrant? Unlike many momentous considerations, there was little diversity of opinion, for they unanimously agreed that it could be bno other than his satanic majesty and three of his imps which had fled with their bread, cheese, and ale.

Fordyce, Printer, 29, Sandhill.

The awful Visitation of Four Dreadful Monsters, to four Young Women, at one of their Houses in this Town, where they had met for the Purpose of seeing their intended Husbands [caption title]. Woodcut vignette of devil at top. Handbill, printed on one side only. 340x128 mm. [Newcastle upon Tyne]: Fordyce, Printer, 29, Sandhill, early 1800s.

Image courtesy of Swann Galleries, offering this handbill in its Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books sale, May 1, 2014, with our thanks.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful story. Fordyce was a printer on Sandhill around 1826, in which year he advertised he had "been engaged in His Majesty's Printing Office, London, and for some time in the employ of Monsieur Gagliani in Paris." So obviously he was a tramp printer and had doubtless worked on the editions of Byron and Shelley which Gagliani printed in Paris. He was the largest producer of chapbooks and slipsongs in Newcastle, after the Angus and Marshall businesses had wound up, yet he also wrote and published works of scholarship. (Hunt)


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