Friday, October 23, 2009

Department of Quotation: The Worsley Scandal

Friday, October 23, 2009

Loretta reports:

“The court heard that while [Sir Richard] Worsley was quartered in the military camp at Cox’s Heath, Lady Worsley had often used the nearby bathhouse at Maidstone. On one occasion her husband had tapped on the bathhouse door, saying ‘[Captain] Bissett is going to get up to look at you.’ Hoist Bissett up to the window Worsley duly did, for him to gaze on her nakedness.”

Vic Gatrell, City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London.

You can read the court proceedings here.

And more about Lady Worsley here.

Here’s one of the satirical prints.


Vanessa Kelly said...

So the transcripts of the trial were so popular they went into seven printings in the first year of publication! Nothing like a little scandal to increase book sales.

Well, the transcripts are pretty fascinating - thanks, TNHG!

nightsmusic said...

Now that's a woman who should have never gotten married! From the transcripts, it sounds like she slept with almost every man she had contact with.

You two find the most interesting things to post about.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Loretta, have you read Hallie Rubenhold's book Lady Worsley's Whim? It is an excellent non-fiction book detailing the entire scandal.

Loretta Chase said...

Vanessa, I especially love that it isn't racy memoirs--but the transcript of a trial! But it does make fascinating reading, doesn't it? Nightmusic, the whole affair raises so many questions, especially about Worsley, e.g, What was he thinking? Elizabeth, I'd not heard of the book until I was looking up the links for the post. I was debating whether to get it, but you've sold me.

Loretta Chase said...

"many Ladies of Distinction in the Isle of Wight and elsewhere, had frequently remonstrated with Sir Richard on the subject [of Lady W's numerous amours], and told him, that, if he did not attempt to restrain her conduct, her character would be ruined and destroyed; that the answer Sir Richard made was, that Lady Worsley liked it, and he chose to do it to oblige her; upon which a very sensible Lady, who had frequently remonstrated with him on the subject, replied, "If this is the case, God help you! you are the most contented --- HUSBAND I ever knew."
This is one of my favorite bits of the transcript: W: But she likes to cuckold me, and I hate to disappoint her.

Heather Carroll said...

Thank you for the link and you just must read Hallie Rubenhold's biography, it is so well-written it reads like a novel!

Margaret Porter said...

I second--or third--the Rubenhold book. In the US it's published as The Lady in Red rather than the callback to the Gillray caricature in the UK title. And they should've used her ladyship's iconic portrait for the cover art.
Rubenhold did a great job of tweaking the scandal's timeline for maximum effect and suspense.

Loretta Chase said...

Heather, I love your site! Got lost there for a while studying the wonderful tarts. Margaret, thank you for letting me know about the title change: I was getting "not available" messages for the other one.

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