Mistress Firby

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
16 December 1824

MONDAY.—Mister THOMAS FIRBY, some time proprietor and conductor of a certain classical seminary for young gentlemen, ycleped, “The Cottage Academy;” and no ambulatory dealer in threads, laces, and frippery, applied to the magistrates for a warrant to search the house of Mr. WELLS, a respectable publican in Pitt-street, for certain property belonging and appertaining specifically to him, to wit, his wife, who, as well as her husband, have been but lately imported—and still more recently married. The warrant applied for was refused; but an apprehending warrant was afterwards granted: and the lady was shortly after introduced, when the deserted swain made a formal charge against her for absconding from her home, and taking up her abode in the house of the said M. WELLS—thereby causing in the mind of her husband much uneasiness, many doubts and weighty fears, as to the fidelity of his spouse.

The lady, who was attired perfectly a la mode, upon being called on to answer the charge, with much sang froid, stated that she had in point of fact been bamboozled into matrimony by divers alluring representations made by Mister FIRBY; instilling into the unsophisticated mind, a belief, that she was to become a fashionable personage, for that he was engaged in extensive commercial dealings; which might return, perhaps, twenty pounds per diem; but alas these golden dreams were not realized. Mistress FIRBY was compelled, after a short lapse of time, to dispose of all those articles of finery on which her virgin heart had been set; and instead of twenty pounds, pence might with more propriety  be substituted. She, to speak classically, bolted, and took up her abode as aforesaid—determined to do the best she could for herself; but assured their worships she only rented a room in Mr. WELL’s house, as an ordinary lodger This Mister FIRBY was not to be persuaded into a belief of; he loudly protested he would not be “made a laughing stock of;” for in sooth he was daily in expectation of certain remittances from England, amounting to some few (about six) thousand pounds; and this certainly instilled much consequence into the breast of the ci devant pedagogue; and his dignity by such proceedings would be very likely to sustain material detoriation [sic].

Some circumstance in the conduct of the husband called for reprehension from the Magistrates; and Mistress FIRBY was ordered to be transmitted forthwith to the Factory— “far from the busy hum of men.”


Female Factory Online, (femalefactoryonline.org), “Law Report of MISTRESS FIRBY,” https://femalefactoryonline.org/law-reports/p18241216-2/, accessed [insert current date].

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