The Duke Superseded By His Servant

From The Rambler’s Magazine of 1823, the story of a duchess who cheats on her husband with her footman and, eventually, settles down with him..


A celebrated duchess long renowned for her meanness at home, and her husband’s arrogance abroad, has at length reached the final point of female disgrace; she has “fallen from her estate,” and fallen “like Lucifer never to hope again.” We could have mentioned this in our last, but we are never first to condemn a woman, we never wish to lay a hand upon them but in kindness, and with our pen would rather extenuate their failings, than set down aught in malice. The husband of this “stricken deer,” holds a sinecure office in London of immense emolument, and he resides abroad as governor of a West Island, where he is famous for annual quarrels with the legislative assembly, he also makes up for the loss of his fair rib’s society by substituting black beauties in her place.

The lady retaliated, as she could not have the master, took the man, who no doubt felt it his duty to obey his mistress in every thing with spirit and alacrity. The lady was at one time so stingy in her nature, that she actually, when she returned from court, made her footmen pull off their silk stockings and send them up to her, when she carefully folded them in a drawer, and made them serve again without washing. She also kept the key of the pastry larder, lest they should use her flour for hair powder; it is presumed that he who had got a key to admit him into the secret recesses of her grace’s thoughts, was not locked out from such trifling luxuries. The man that is once locked in a woman’s arms, will find every bolt and bar fly open at his approach, as if by magic.

He that has got the key of her heart and conscience, will find it open, – her purse – her bed-chamber – her wine cellar – in fact every thing but her eyes, which it is to his interest to keep shut. […] Affection may subsist betwixt parties, though the Atlantic ocean divides their persons – a letter can

“Waft a sigh from indus, to the pole”

but practical proofs of love which either sex require, are rendered impossibilities. The duke heard, that his tired spouse had resorted to her servant for those duties, he had it not in his power to bestow, and he came home breathing out threatanings and slaughter; but the blood of the Gordons was up and ready to repel the heavy charge he had preferred. Her grace made no attempt at concealment […] Whilst she admitted having committed adultery with her husband’s servant, she taxed that husband with having committed incest with his wife’s sister; and he shrunk from the charge – simple fornication, or double adultery, was not to be compared to this revolting crime – a judge and a jury was not to be faced on the occasion, and a private arrangement was made between the guilty parties, in which the interest of the footman was well considered. In case of a separation by an Ecclesiastical court, the parties would have had to give bond for remaining in a stale of continence, which both would have been sure to break, and her graces’s open confession at first, was meant more for the good of her body than her soul, as her aim was to live incontinently with the object of her love.

Three thousand pounds per annum was settled upon her grace, and she has settled with her footman in an elegant cottage near London, where she has taken his name, and sunk the honors and title of a duchess in the humble name and brawny arms of her fortunate domestic. We are not of those who think real happiness consists in titles and honors, none can blame this lady severely, when we reflect, that for years she never saw her husband’s face, so that she was only nominally a wife. […] 

Further reading:
The Rambler’s magazine: or, Fashionable emporium of polite literature …, Volume 2

Anedoctes And Advice From The Rambler’s Magazine, Vol. 2, 1823

I was reading the 1823 issue of The Rambler’s Magazine, as you do (yes I’m weird but I can’t be the only one who enjoys old mags more than modern ones, or am I? Mmmm), and came across a couple of nice little pieces in the Anecdotes section that made me smile and decided to share them with you. I hope you enjoy them!


The plainest man, who pays attention to women, will sometimes succeed as well as the handsomest man who does not. Wilkes observed to Lord Townsend, “You, my Lord, are the handsomest man in the kingdom, and I the plainest; but I would give your Lordship half an hour’s start, and yet come up with you in the affections of any woman we both wished to win: because all those attentions which you would omit, on the score of your fine exterior, I should be obliged to pay, owing to the deficiencies of mine.”

Still, a very relevant piece of advice, don’t you think? A charming personality, a bright mind and treating women nicely can get you as far as a pretty face, if not further.



False rumps, false teeth, false hair, false faces,
Alas, poor man! how hard thy case is;
Instead of woman, heav’nly woman’s charms,

To clasp cork, gum, wool, varnish, in thy arms.

The more things change, the more they stay the same… makes you wonder what the author would think of so many women getting plastic surgery today…

Further reading:
The Rambler’s Magazine, Vol.2

The Devil Scares Thieves Away, And A Goat Sobers A Priest Up

No, I’m not going crazy. These two weird events really happened, in Berkishire and Wales respectively, in 1810. Here’s how La Belle Assemblée magazine reported them:

Some thieves lately entered the gardens of a gentleman near Windsor, and took down a most beautiful and valuable statue of Venus de Medicis, made of copper, which they carried, however, only as far as another place in the garden where stood the statue of the Devil, at which they were so much affrighted, that they dropped the Venus, and made away as fast as they could, without any plunder at all. Thus, for once, the Devil stood the friend of beauty, and rescued her, by a look, out of the hand of her ravishers.

The late Rev. Rice Pritcharch, was for some time after his admission into the church, awfully ensnared by the sin of drunkenness; he was at length recovered from it in the following singular way; – He had a tame goat which was wont to follow him to the alehouse which he frequented; and he one day, by way of frolic, gave the poor animal so much ale that it became intoxicated. What particularly struck Mr. P. was, from that time, though the creature would follow him to the door, he never could get it to enter the house. – Revolving on this circumstance, Mr. P. was led to see how much the sin by which he had been enslaved, had sunk him beneath a beast, and from that time, he not only became a sober man, but an exemplary Christian, and a very eminent minister of the gospel.

Reality really is weirder than fiction sometimes, don’t you think?

Further reading:
La Belle Assemblée, 1810

How To Fill Up A Column In A Newspaper

Freedom of the press is an important right in a democratic society. The public has a right to be informed on what’s going on in the world and the media the right to publish those information without fear of punishment. We all know, though, that we just can’t believe everything we read in the papers. Unfortunately, sometimes “journalists” will withhold, twist or exaggerate facts or even completely make stuff up in order to sell a few more copies without caring about who’s gonna get hurt by their lies. It is also sad to see that this is nothing new, as this anedocte which appeared in the Rambler’s Magazine of June 1823 demonstrates:

Not long ago we read a very laconic notice in the newspapers, that twentyfive men women and children were drowned near Leeds, by the ice giving way under them; upon enquiry, we found the whole to be a fiction. Such wanton lies merit severe reprehension; as many who have friends near the spot suffer great anxiety of mind, and the inventor enjoys a brutish satisfaction by raising a laugh at the expence of humanity. This reminds us of the editor of a Dublin Newspaper, when applied to for a few lines to fill up a column, exclaimed, “There is no public news of interest; so burn a child to death at Waterford, and if that is not enough, break the neck of a Welsh Justice over a cliff, in pursuit of smugglers, during the night.” We firmly believe that one half of the news with which our catch-penny newspapers are filled, have not such a good foundation as that of the Dublin editor to rest upon; his lies might have happened, whereas those we often read are beyond all probability.

Further reading:
The Rambler’s Magazine, June 1823 Edition