Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 11 May 2021), October 1781, trial of MARY SMITH , otherwise PLACK (t17811017-38).

MARY SMITH, Theft > grand larceny, 17th October 1781.

643. MARY SMITH , otherwise PLACK , was indicted for stealing a pair of cotton stockings, value 4 s. a muslin neckcloth, value 3 s. a cloth coat, value 10 s. a cotton waistcoat, value 4 s. a pair of leather breeches, value 5 s. a cotton handkerchief, value 1 s. 6 d. and 15 s. the property of William Hutchins , October the 15th .

WILLIAM HUTCHINS sworn.

I am a baker , at Folkstone, in Kent. Last Sunday, about eight at night, I was coming out of a cook's shop, and ran full-but against this woman. I was going towards the Borough. She said, Where are you going in such a hurry? I asked, What that was to her? or not quite so harsh. She asked me what countryman I was. I told her. She challenged me, and then I knew her. Said she, I have got a lodging by here, you may lie in the same room. Being up all night, and tired, I went to bed, and to sleep.

And in liquor too? - Not so much in liquor but I knew what I did.

Was you sober enough to know who was in the room with you when you went to bed? - Nobody but she: it was her room: she had the key in her pocket.

Did she go to bed too? - No. I fell asleep, I suppose, in a very short time. In the morning, I waked. I looked, and had lost my breeches, and all my clothes, except hat, shoes, and buckles. The prisoner was not there when I waked. She had left the key. As I went down, I found the stockings I had worn, bundled up. She had dropped them. I missed every thing but my hat, my buckles, my shoes, and shirt. The door was open. The stockings were tied up in a twist. In the morning, the woman of the house said, She dared say I might find her at a public-house in the Tower.

Who did you find in the house? - Nobody.

Is it a ground-floor? - A chamber: it went up a passage to the place. There was some mutton there.

Did she sup? - I took one potato out of the dish. We sent for a pot of beer. After she was gone, I took fast asleep; and when I waked, I missed all my things.

Do you know whether the door was locked when you went to sleep? - No. I found the prisoner along with this man she keeps, or he keeps her, in the Tower alehouse, the next day: they were in a settle together. When she came before the justice, she told him she pawned the stockings and neckcloth in the Strand. We went there. She only made game of us. But I am a little beforehand in my story. In the morning, I called a poor man, and told him I was naked there. Just as I was going to send the man for some clothes, an old woman brought my own coat, waistcoat, and breeches, which I had lost. She said she had been at the Tower, and the man said, D - n it, I don't mind robbing a man, but don't leave him stark naked. When the woman returned them, she said, You are not to hurt me, but to give me sixpence. Poor old woman! said I, I have not any: all my money is gone. I lost my clothes, and 15 s. in money. I took her to the justice. There was a pair of new cotton stockings I had with me, to put on, which she kept. The prisoner made several low courtesies to the justice, and always thanked him, and made a good deal of fun; and he told me he would be here.

Did you never find your neckcloth, your stockings, nor your money? - No; only what was brought back. If I could have got only the neckcloth and stockings, I would have let her off about her business: but the justice would not let me; he said he would come and seize 40 l. upon me, if I did not prosecute. The woman that brought the bundle, brought it in a confused manner, and may-be she might have dropped it out.

Was you sober enough to be quite sure that this was the woman you was in the room with? - Yes; but she looked better by candle-light than she does now by day-light.

Notwithstanding that small difference, are you sure it is the same woman? - Yes, I am positively sure of the woman; but then the old rag-woman might have had the money as well as her.

Then, if it was not for this 40 l. you are not very angry with this woman in your heart? - No.

Jury. She is your country woman? - Yes, I had known her before.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

Coming along St. George's fields, this gentleman overtook me: said he, I think I know something of you; where are you going? I said, over Westminster-bridge. He said he lodged in Westminster. He said, I have been having my supper, and had some pig; I should like you to have some. Said he, Did not you live at Maidstone? I said, No. I told him where I had lived. He said he knew me very well. He came with me. When I came over the bridge, I said, I wish you good-night. He said, Oh! I live a little farther. I said I did not know any thing of him. He still followed me home. When I came home, I went up stairs. He fell a-eating my victuals. I said, Instead of eating my victuals, I wish you would go about your business. He said he was tired: he pulled off his clothes, and flung them out of window; he hit me a slap on the face; and I went away much frightened. I never saw any of his clothes or money. I threw his clothes out of window, and told him, if I had strength, I would fling him out too. He said, Then I shall go about my business. The next day, he came to me, and said, Some old woman has brought the clothes; I don't know whether it is you or she. I will not tell lies; there was no woman in the room but me at that time.

GUILTY .

Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron EYRE .

[Whipping. See summary.]

[Imprisonment. See summary.]