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|Here it is!
Written by JulieW
(12/2/2006 2:30 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Actually, I do have, penned by JulieW
The diaries of Mrs Penelope Benwell,who was the eldest daughter of the scholar and traveller Jonh Loveday of Caversham, contain an interesting snippet of information or piece of speculation/gossip, (or waht -you-will) about Mrs Leigh-Perrot which seems to sugget that the notoriety which attracted itself to her because of the trial in 1800, did not ever satisfactorily go away or completly subside.
Mrs Benwell wrote the folllowing entry in her diary in 1804:
On Mrs Leigh Perrott(sic) of lace-stealing notoritety, having been detected lately in embezzling some green house plants from a gardener's at Bath, Dr Harrington of the place wrote these lines:
"Sub judice lis est
Dr Henry Harrington(1727-1816) who wrote the verse was a one time major of Bath and was also a magistrate in the city.
Some months later in the same year Mrs Benwell received further information about Mrs Leigh Perrot from her friend Mrs Matilda Rich of Sonning, Berkshire:
Miss Rich says that since Mrs Perrotts9sic) stealing the plants everybody has dropped her acquaintance,and she is universally shunned.
It seems she was cheapening plants at a gardener's and wanting to buy a small one then growing which he refused to sell at the price she proposed: on his back being turned a young lady in the garden saw her snooping down on the border and appearing very busy with her hands which was to loosen it from the ground, for on rising she dropped her pocket handkerchief on the spot and then stooped to pick up that and the plant together,and put both in her pocket.
The young lady told the gardner, who taxed her with it.
She poiistively denied the charge, but he insisted on searching her pcokets where it was found ; she then burst into tears,and intreated that it might not be put in the papers.
The man resolved on prosecuting her, but this was put a stop to from the father of the young lady by him precipitately taking her from Bath to prevent her appearing in a court of justice as a witness against this infatuated woman
There doesn't apppear ,as far as I am aware,to be evidence of Mrs Leigh Perrot being universally shunned, but this does raise a lot of questions,doesn't it? Especially as two different original sources refer to the indcident?
She was parially deaf and perhaps there was some misunderstanding? Did she take the plant on some mad impulse? Who could have released the information but the gardener or the father of the young lady witness?
I think all we can safely conclude about this is that after her trial in 1800 not a lot of people in the Bath area( including a magistrate note) were willing to give her the benefit of any doubt.
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