No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

"He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not."

How Marie Played a Romantic Trick on Her Lover and Brought Him to Time.
April 9, 2019
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Rbohwg lemhsh | Rip Roaring Fun.

"He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not."

How Marie Played a Romantic Trick on Her Lover and Brought Him to Time.

Here's a young girl of romantic temperament who yet would not sit like Patience on a monument smiling at grief or pine in a green and yellow melancholy until her lover made up his mind to declare his ear­nest Intentions. Oh, no; she was one of your right sort who didn't believe in picking a rose to pieces leaf by leaf in a garden while interrogating blind luck whether he loved her or loved her not. She was a New Orleans girl and her name was Marie Ravineau. He was a house painter and a good hearted fellow with everything admirable about him except that he would not talk right out. His name was Henry L. Jackson.

Well, On the 29th ult.. Henry was sitting on a swinging scaffold made by a horizontally placed ladder hung from the roof by ropes attached to either end. He was painting the front of a four story house. Marie went me up to that roof, swing herself down the rope to the ladder and with a knife began to hack at the ropes.

"Does he love me?" said she, "Oh, say you do."           

But Henry didn't cackle worth a cent. Then she cut a strand of the rope, saying, "He loves Me," then another strand, “He loves me not,” and thus alternating her assertions until there remained but one little strand. Then the painter eagerly protested his love and she fell in his arms. The last strand broke and the pair clutching the rounds of the now vertical ladder were suspended in mid-air ten minutes before they could be rescued.

The painter’s mind seems quite unbalanced by the shock but Marie vows they shall not commit him to the lunatic asylum until she is married. That’s what she started out to do and she’s going to accomplish it. That’s a woman that trifles will not throw off, you bet.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, June 10, 1882.