James Slaven, his better half Susan, and his would-be better half, Catherine Mc Williams, were arrested by the watch on Sunday night in Constance street, for disturbing the peace of that quiet and noiseless neighborhood.
James was a dumpy, good-natured looking little fellow with a "laughing devil" peeping out from the corner of his greyish eyes, and a face as wholesome and healthy looking as if he were destined to be an octogenarian. He wore a straw hat with a shattered brim, a blue round-about, that stood in need of brushing, a colored cotton shirt, that wanted an introduction to a mangle, cottonades that were not suspended though, like the money market, they were tight, owing to the pressure of a waist-belt immediately over Jemmy's hips. Susan stood in a chip bonnet, sans all kind of rigging in the shape of ribbands, and a tartan cloak, that would have made an ample scarf for Helen McGregor. She looked thin and careworn, whilst the third of the firm, Mrs. McWilliams, appeared "fat, fair, and about forty." Susan had long been of opinion that an intamacy existed between her "ould man" and Mrs. McWilliams, which the relative condition of the parties did not warrant, and which the conventional rules of society forbid.
"Trifles light as air, are to the guilty mind
Confirmation strong as proofs of holy writ."
And as Susan, on Sunday night, found Jemmy and Mrs. McWilliams touching glasses together, discussing the merits of a small bottle of fourth proof brandy brandy, and of matters and things in general at the same time, it was to her, "palpable to the vision," that her suspicions were not groundless nor unfounded. She listened, and thus ran their conversation.
"Take a little of that, Mrs. McWilliams; fair it does a body good some times-- drink it off before that ould woman of mine comes in, or she'll kick up a d--d of a muss entirely. Be gogsty, as she grows ould she grows peevish."
"Well, Jemmy," said Mrs. McWilliams, extending out her arm, glass in hand, and hobnobbing with Jemmy, "why then, in troth, Jemmy, it is yourself that's the good man-- it's you that's able to airn decent bread for any woman, and it was the sorry day for you, that you ever met with that gridiron-faced good-for-nothing thing Susan."
"O, the d--d a day's luck or grace I had since, Mrs. McWilliams-- sure it was that first made me take to the dhrinkin."
"And besides she was so ould," said Mrs. McWilliams.
"Aye, and between yourself and myself and the wall," said Jimmy, winking his dexter eye, "Mrs. McWilliams, she was so ugly-- I don't know how it was, she first put her comether on me, but I must be out of my sinses or struck by the good people, (fairies,) for 'pon my sowl, I always hated her as I do the timperance society or the Inglish governmint."
"Well Jimmy, aran," said Mrs. Mc, "we have all our troubles and our crassess, and that wife of yours, the lordy knows, is trouble enough to brake the heart of any one."
"Wouldn't it have been a happy day, Mrs. McWilliams, said Jimmy, casting a leer at her, which ment something, "if you and I met one another when we were young?-- It's we that would live quiet and comfortable together."
"Well, Jimmy, since there's no help for misfortune, as the girl said when her milk pitchers was broke, I believe there's a lot in marriages; sure if there wasn't, I'd never be tied to that three ha'pence worth of a man of mine. But here's may all our misfortune be behind us, Jimmy."
"The same to you, Mrs. Mack," says Jimmy; "finish that before Susan comes in, or be gor the house will be too small to hould her-- toss it off, its wake."
They were once more about touching glasses, when Susan rushed in with the impetuosity with which Damon returns to save the life of Pythius. The fourth proof brandy was made to flow on the flour; Mrs. McWilliams was made to fly out, and Jemmy was made to fly about, as nimbly as Bedouin Arab. He took shelter behind the door, but was driven from his position-- took refuge under a table, but was routed from there; made a temporary fortress of a pair of chairs, but they were razed to the ground! Mrs. Williams returned as an army of reserve, and they were all three engaged in one melee when a conservator of the peace, in the shape of a Charley, came up & formally proclaimed peace in the name of the people, and by virtue of the authority in him vested. Finding the belligerents so far unmindful of his official mandate, he resorted to the ultimum et unicum rimedium, for quieting obstrepeous characters, and took Jemmy Slaven, his lawful married wife, and his bottle companion, Mrs. McWilliams, to the calaboose. As they settled the quarrel amicably during the night and had no complaint to make on any side, they were discharged on paying jail fees-- Mrs. McWiliams furnishing the funds.
The recorder admonished Jemmy to avoid drinking brandy in future with Mrs. McWilliams; he advised Mrs. McWilliams to keep less suspicious society than Jemmy, and he cautioned Mrs. Slaven against kicking up shines and disturbing the peace.-- N.O. Picayune.
Pensacola (Florida) Gazette, October 26, 1839.