Babblery and prittle-prattle from Early Modern England
A sad account of the unhappy and deplorable torture, and terrible death of Mr. Parker a tobacconist at Shaklewel near Hackney; who was miserably torn and mangled by three dogs, his legs and arms being almost gnawed in pieces by them in such a dreadful and terrible manner, that he died in sad pain and torture on Monday morning last and was buried at Hackney on Wednesday, the 18th of September 1700.
Many and various are the sudden accidents, and deplorable misfortunes that all mortals here below are daily subject to; being one hour in health, and many times before the next snatched into eternity, and not always by natural sickness and sudden distempers of the body, but sometimes by dreadful, strange and uncommon accidents; for though the best of mankind has but one life to lose, yet there are a thousand ways whereby he may be deprived of it, and that too, when he the least expects it, as this unhappy instance following most sadly demonstrates.
Mr. Parker, an eminent tobacconist, for the convenience of the fresh air was taking a lodging at Shaklewel near Hackney at the house of one Mr. Clark where he had continued for some time. Being a single man, he only trafficked without keeping any shop, and so lived retired and privately at the place aforesaid. But on Friday the 6th of this instant, he was invited to the eating of a pig at Elford, where he went accordingly with some others, and was very merry till towards the evening, at which time several of the company (being Londoners) accompanied him to Kingsland, where they set up their horses after having drank together.
It growing towards ten of the clock, and being then very dark, they thought it advisable to walk over the field with him till he was out of the danger of foot pads, which accordingly they did, accompanying him till he was as far as the ponds in Shaklewel, where they took their leave of him, desiring him when he was over the Green to give them notice by a hallow or such like noise, assuring him they would stay till they heard him. So after he was about the middle, and thinking himself past all danger, he gave them the appointed signal, which his friends hearing bid him good night and departed to Kingsland and so for London. But the unfortunate Mr. Parker, though not far from his own Lodging, had with his loud speaking to his friends roused three great dogs belonging to a cowkeeper near the Green which came rushing out upon him with such sudden fury that he was not long able to defend himself from their unmerciful jaws, for he having but a small stick in his hand, and none coming to his assistance though he often cried out for help, they at length got him down, and all three tore his legs and arms in a sad and dreadful manner, especially the Bull Bitch who first seized upon his legs, the Mastiff and Spaniel tearing him by the shoulder and arms. During this time, though he was in great torture, he with much difficulty got his knife out of his pocket and would have killed the Bull Bitch with it had not the Spaniel unfortunately at the same instant gripped him by the wrist with such violence that he could hold his knife no longer, but let it fall out of his hand and thereupon was forced to submit to their ravenous and devouring fury for a time, but when he did not strive they were less enraged; insomuch that recovering some breath he got the great dog under him several times, but not finding his knife he was totally over-powered, and tortured again in a sad and dreadful manner.
But being not able to make any more resistance against them, the great dog beat the other off, and would not let them meddle with him, and at last went away himself, whereupon finding they were gone, though very much torn, he got on his legs and was going as well as he could toward his lodgings. But not being able to refrain from groaning and making moan, the same dogs returned again upon him a second time, and pulling him down they lay tearing and sucking his blood till 2 o’ clock the next morning, at which time Justice Tission’s Lady hearing his groan and make a noise awoke her husband who immediately called up his servant and ordered them to arm themselves and see what was the matter, supposing some robbery had been committed. But coming upon the Green, they found to their wonderful amazement the unfortunate Mr. Parker, whom they knew almost torn in pieces, the great Mastiff lying between his legs gnawing his flesh and sucking his blood, whereupon they carried him to his own lodging, it being very near, where notwithstanding all the care of several skilful surgeons, he continued in great pain and torture from Saturday the 7th of this instant till Monday morning last about 9 of the clock, at which time he expired to the great grief of all his sorrowful relations. It was observed that his left leg was almost gnawed quite in sunder, as also one of his arms, being sadly torn and mangled in several parts of his body.
The Coroner’s Inquest sat on him yesterday morning and brought it in ‘accidental misfortune’, and last night he was buried in Hackney Church yard.