tagHumor & SatireFive Letters & an Epilogue

Five Letters & an Epilogue


to Ensign William Newall

from Charles Newall

Marischal College, Aberdeen.

5th October 1760

". . . 'a night with a whore is cheaper than a night in an inn, besides being healthful exercise.' -- these were your words, William, your very words. Well they cost me dear, so it is to you that I now must look for support for I am here in Aberdeen without a boddle to my name and if my fees and keep for the Martinmas Term had not already been paid, I must needs beg my way back home to Kirkcudbright.

On your advice William, I got off the coach at Dundee last night and gave the potboy at the inn (a knowing rogue) a copper for directions to a cleanly Cyprian -- or as you soldiers would say, whore -- of the town. I was directed to a most respectable house in the Nethergate where I made a satisfactory bargain for a night's entertainment at bed and board with Betty, as handsome a bawd as you could wish. However, and to cut this wretched story short, we were scarce started on our 'healthful exercise' when there came a mighty thundering at the door, and in burst a Constable of the Watch, shouting about bye-laws and fornication and such like, and marches us off (me with my breeches flapping round my arse, and my cock standing up like a maypole) to the Town House where I was cuffed up the stairs and thrown into a filthy cell.

So there was I, who had expected to enjoy the comforts of Betty in the clean sheets and soft bed for which I had paid, left to the discomforts of a cell which I was to share with a drunken sailor. There was but a single mangy blanket, fairly jumping with fleas, but when I complained of the quarters, the Constable said I was lucky to be there, for in the old days prisoners were kept in the Tollbooth where one unlucky wretch was killed and eaten by the rats.

After I had been there for upwards of an hour, shivering with cold, for my snorting sailor had rolled himself in the blanket and had gone to sleep, I heard the Watch again and hollo'd until he came, damning me for a noisy rogue. I told him that I was heartily sorry for my wickedness, and in a desperate plight, for my coach would depart for Aberdeen in the morning, and how was I to get on it? He said I must be taken before the Magistrate to answer charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour offensive to the lieges, and I pleaded my youth and inexperience. In the end he took pity on me and for a fee he agreed to take me before a Bailie who might be persuaded to attend to my case early in the morning. And so it proved, for the Bailie grunting and slobbering over his porridge called me a desperate rogue, whoremaster etc., fined me heavily, and with severe warnings had me run through the streets and thrown on to my coach by the Constable. . .


to Charles Newall, Esq

from Ensign William Newall

83rd Regiment of Foot

Co. Monaghan, Ireland

9th October 1970

My poor simple brother, you have been plucked like a pigeon. Small wonder they say the fool of the family is sent into the ministry. Do you not see, man, that the Bailie, the Bulkie and Betty the whore -- aye, and the potboy too -- were leagued together to rob you? You should have paid off the constable and whore, cutting out the magistrate, who always takes the lion's share. Go back to Dundee and I'll warrant you will find your Betty still plying her trade in the Nethergate, when she should have been whipped from the town.

I would not advise you to go back to her, though, for you will surely be cozened again. If you must continue your education, seek out a sporting woman next time, and propose a game of Put-and-Take. This is where you put five shillings (as it might be) under her pillow for a start, then you put in another shilling each time that you spend, and take one out every time that she is fetched. Ply yourself manfully, and you may have cheap accommodation indeed! In any event, she will have no reason to call in her bully.

As to money, it happens I can make you a loan, for the cards fell my way last night -- though why I should pay for your failed lecheries I do not know. In return I would ask you to beg mother -- she has a soft spot for you -- to persuade father to buy me a lieutenancy. There is one to be had in Sebright's Regiment, and I can sell my Ensign's commission easily enough. When this war comes to an end I shall be on half-pay, and he knows well what that means.


to Ensign William Newall

from Charles Newall

Marischal College

Aberdeen, N.B.

8th January 1761

Well William,

Here I am back in the groves of academe, exhausted even before the Lammas term has started.

I resolved to attempt your famous game of Put-and-Take with one of Dundee's sporting women, though the stakes she proposed were a good deal higher than I had anticipated. I thought however that as a theology student I must have the advantage of her in our contest, for I reasoned that I could concentrate my mind on certain passages in Leviticus, and so outlast her and come off (so to say!) a winner. Sadly, I was undone by her most shameless and stimulating practices before I could bend my mind to matters theological. What was worse, when I thought that the natural exhaustion of my spirits would limit my expenses, she used her wanton meretricious wiles to rouse me to further expensive endeavours despite all my philosophy.

In sum, I was most effectually drained in both body and purse and by morning was so tired I could scarce climb up into the coach for Aberdeen.


to Charles Newall

from Ensign William Newall

83rd Regt. Of Foot

Co. Monaghan, Ireland

14th January 1761

Alas, Charles! Amorous subtleties are not for you. Confine yourself to simple swiving, I beg, and do not burden your body or your wits with any more. If you will not make do with an encounter in an alleyway -- which, as the old jest goes, is almost dancing, a thing not seemly in a future Minister of the Kirk -- then you must stay at the coaching inn and engage one of the serving maids to warm your bed.

So father has set his face against my lieutenancy? Then, I would have you make inquiries at home as to marriageable women in the district -- I mean any with a handsome dowry. There is talk of peace. Mr Gordon over at Earlston has a daughter, Margaret I think -- is she still unwed?


to Ensign William Newall

from Charles Newall

Marischal College


North Britain

1st April 1761

Aye, William, I write this on April First -- All Fools day, when we used to hunt the gowk. And Fool I have been to heed your advice to take a private room at the inn, hiring a maid to warm my bed. As you suggested there was no difficulty in finding a plump and agreeable Abigail, but by the time that I had supped and my bed was warm, she was fast asleep. I roused her to her duties, but she remained drowsy and murmured: 'If I am asleep before ye finish, Sir, would ye please to pull my shift down afterwards?' Indeed, the impudent creature was such a hearty sleeper that she began to snort and snore, even as I was tupping her.

Painful to my amour-propre as this was, a greater pain was yet to come, for I find I have the Canongate Breeks, a glengore which will cost me dear in doctor's bills. The physician said I should be glad it was but the clap, not the French pox, and that mercurial sweats will answer in a month or two, but I have resolved to turn my back on this whole filthy business and Dundee both. Indeed I am determined to write a monitory pamphlet, that for others at least some good may come from your bad advice and my worse experience. . . "

And so Charles Newall opened his journal at a clean page, dipped his freshly-sharpened quill into a new bottle of ink, and wrote in large letters the title of the pamphlet which was to make his name renowned among generations of future librarians and collectors:

-- -- -- Sundry Ejaculations

against the Whores of Dundee,

by a Student of Theology

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