|Tom Getting the Best of a Charley|
A gentleman, summoned by a friend who got caught in a police raid on a gambling establishment, recounts his first experience there. I’ve excerpted only the account of the “young sparks” who decided to copy one famous scene from Life in London and ended up experiencing another—a visit to Bow Street.
LIFE AT A POLICE OFFICE.
I was awakened a short time back by a note being delivered to me from a young friend of mine, telling me that he was in trouble—i.e., in St. Martin's watch-house—and requesting me to come down to Bow-street to be his bail, if need were; and, at all events, to give him my advice and assistance to get out of the scrape. ...
This was the first time I had ever been at Bow-street, and the scene was sufficiently striking. The low ill-lighted room, with its dingy walls and barred windows, was a place well adapted to the figures of want, vice, and wretchedness with which it was filled. ...
After [a young forger] were brought up three young sparks for a street row. They had been enacting the parts of Tom, Jerry, and Logic, and the scene had ended, as usual, in the watchhouse. One of them exhibited the marks of the prowess of the "Charlies" in a eye portentously swollen and blackened. The two others seemed to have undergone complete immersion in the kennel; the mud of which, being now dried on their clothes, gave their evening finery a most dilapidated aspect. It appeared that these young men had been vastly taken with the refined humour, brilliant wit, and gentlemanly knowledge of the world in the production called " Life in London;" and that they had determined to emulate the deeds of its triumvirate of worthies as soon as opportunity served. In pursuance of this exalted ambition, they had sallied forth the night before with the determination of having " a spree." Accordingly, in the Strand, they had overtaken a watchman, a feeble old man, who was instantly, in the most manly manner, floored by a broad-shouldered young fellow of six feet high. The prostrate Charley, however, incontinently sprang his rattle, which brought to his assistance a sufficient number of his brethren to lodge, after a desperate resistance, the Corinthian and his friends in the watch-house. And here it appeared that their-behaviour was by no means peaceable and resigned; indeed, the constable averred, that be was finally necessitated to consign them to the strong room for safety.
Tom & Jerry In Trouble After a Spree
"At length the morn and cool reflection came,"
and found our heroes " fully sated" with their manly and gentlemanly exploit, and still more so with its consequences. These, however, terminated only at Bow-street; for, besides large pecuniary remuneration to make to the persons whom they had assaulted, they underwent a most severe and well-deserved rebuke from the magistrate for their folly, brutality, and blackguardism.—Gentleman’s Pocket Magazine 1828