- Published: 01 August 2016 01 August 2016
Matrimonial miseries - The Ipswich Journal, 3 September 1836:
Mary Bird, the woman who on Monday was charged with an assault upon her mother-in-law Mary Mann, attended to prefer a charge of assault against her husband, William Bird, a coal-porter, and in appearance, by no means "an Adonis." Defending, (entering the room, and placing his hand upon his forehead), She's split my head open! Mr. Lawrance: What yesterday: Defendant: No: two months ago, chopped on to me with a hatchet. She used me scandalous; though I brought her home 15s. a week, nothing could be kept in the house - all went elsewhere. I've had a knife run into my arm afore this; she'll hang me, I know she will. Mrs. Bird (in the mildest tone imaginable): William, you are false man. (To the magistrates) I was walking up Fore-street, St. Clement's, last night, at half-past six, - Mr. Lawrance (to defendant): Can't you pull your cap off? Defendant: I can't, because she's split my head with a poker, and I must keep it covered. Mrs. Bird (resuming her complaint): I met my husband, and I asked him to come home; his father-in-law, who was with him, said, "he shall not go home, with you, any more;" and, after some altercation, he aded, "don't stand any more of her nonsense, Bill, knock her down." My husband then struck me, and I fell; I got up, and caught him by the collar, and said, "where you go, I will follow." He then dragged me from the Neptune, to Baker's corner, struck me several times on the head, and gave me a black eye. (Her left eye was bandaged.) The "tender husband," on being cal'ed upon for his defence, denied the assault, and called Wm. Mann, his father-in-law, who deposed that Mrs. Bird seized her husband by the collar: but he saw no blows struck, and he walked away. Mrs. Bird: Did you not tell your son to throw me down? Mann: No. Mrs. Bird: You know how ill used I have been, and you've tried every thing in your power to part man and wife. Mann: Part man and wife! why I've lived 20 years with a woman, and paid rent in the bargain. Look how you've used my wife. You broke her breast bone, and last night she had to go to Dr. Pitcher's to have it set! James Armstrong and Charles Goodwin, coal porters, swore that Mrs. Bird struck the first blows. The magistrates, under these circumstances, reluctantly dismissed the complaint, and Dr. Clarke remarked, that the defendant's conduct had been of a very cowardly description. Defendant: I dare not strike her at all: she would get up a knife, poker, hatchet, or any thing she could lay her hands upon: and the other day she sent a mug at my head, and covered me with a pall of water! I can't live with her; she will murder me in the end, if I go home! - The complainant said she was enceinte! (pregnant - WN).