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From entries in Comic, Curious and Quirky: News Stories from Centuries Past, by Rona Levin, a collection of British newspaper articles published this month by the British Library.

Burnley Express, October 3, 1892
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, after a few days’ illness, died at 1.30am on Thursday morning at Aldworth, near Haslemere. Sir Andrew Clarke, the famous physician, who was at the bedside of the distinguished poet, says: “Lord Tennyson has had a gloriously beautiful death. In all my experience I have never witnessed anything more glorious. There was no artificial light [in] the chamber, and all was darkness but for the silvery light of the moon at its full. The soft beams of light fell upon the bed and played upon the features of the dying poet like a halo of Rembrandt’s.”

Dundee Courier, October 22, 1844
The editor of a Newark paper recently published what he took for a very poetical effusion sent to him from some amateur poet. On looking at the matter, after it was printed in his paper with complimentary remarks, he discovered that it was an acrostic upon his own name, in which he was likened to a jackass.

Yorkshire Gazette, May 15, 1819
The late Rev. John Wesley, in a discourse he delivered in George Yard chapel, in Hull, asserted that six hours’ sleep was sufficient for a man, seven hours for a woman, eight hours for a child, and nine hours for a pig.

Liverpool Echo, July 8, 1893
A melancholy occurrence is reported from Hale, a little village near Farnham, during the festivities in celebration of the Royal Wedding. A young man named Windibank, who was playing kiss-in-the-ring, having run after and kissed a girl, fell down and died.

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, July 13, 1893
A young man and a young woman were contesting possession of a piece of property, the one claiming under an old lease, and the other claiming under an old will. “It strikes me,” said the justice, “that there is a pleasant and easy way to terminate this lawsuit. The plaintiff seems to be a very respectable young man, and this is a very nice young woman. They can get married and live upon the farm.” The lady blushed and the young man stammered that they “liked each other a little bit,” so a verdict was rendered for the plaintiff on the condition of his promise to marry the defendant within two months.

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, April 21, 1930
Easter Monday is the date of the annual outing of the Henpecked Husbands’ Club, which has its headquarters at Sowerby Bridge. This famous Yorkshire club, whose full title is Ancient and Honourable and International Order of Henpecked Husbands, is undoubtedly the most noted of all Britain’s queer societies. It is said that it never lacks candidates for membership, although they must prove they have been henpecked for at least two years, and must answer to what household tasks, such as washing-up and bed-making, they have been humiliated.

Hull Daily Mail, July 15, 1901
A man knocked a woman down in Matthias Road, Stoke Newington, on Saturday, and proceeded to jump on her. “It’s all right; she’s my wife,” he remarked to policemen.

Illustrated Police News, February 5, 1898
An extraordinary shooting affair took place the other night at Keystone, West Virginia. During a dance at a ball an awkward country youth accidentally trod on the foot of a girl of unusually good looks, and the acknowledged belle of the ball. She called upon him to apologise, but he declined, as he was unconscious of having touched her foot. She thereupon whipped a revolver out of her pocket and shot him dead. She was promptly arrested and placed in gaol, but says she is glad she shot him.

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October 2014

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