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Norwich Courier, November 8, 1826. I love the white-gloved, pornography-for-Puritans delicacy of that two-sentence preamble. “We shall barely mention some particulars as we understood them” is also quite good.
Translation: The vile old soak came home wasted on Saturday night, woke up badly hungover Sunday, resumed boozing, verbally abused her or worse, and passed out. Then she picked up an ax and hacked him into drunk tartare.
“Delicate situation” = pregnancy of course, which is being read as an extenuating complication of her pre-existing “insanity.” Sounds like the poor woman had her plate full, for sure.
And having dined on scandal, we close with a dainty final passing of the white linen napkin over our lips. Nice. “Infatuated mortals” is weird. Dunno if infatuated used to signify “crazy” (in addition to the familiar meanings of “rendered foolish by affection,” “silly”) or if our refined reporter has stumbled in his quest for le mot juste. In a better world, I’d get up off the couch and consult the OED.


  1. Pedant that I am, I’m liking that she killed her husband with an axe WHILE lying on the bed asleep. I can’t help but picture a 1930s Tom and Jerry cartoon–she’s snoring away beside the old soak and her arm takes on a life of its own.

  2. I see a defense shaping up there too.

  3. How do you aim axe blows at someone’s head while you’re “lying partly on his face”? Also , my mom would appreciate the correct usage “lying”.

    • How do you aim axe blows at someone’s head while you’re “lying partly on his face”?

      Very carefully?

        • crowamonghens
        • Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:19 am
        • Permalink

        i took it to mean that he had been lying partly on his own face. almost face-down, but not quite.

  4. Entirely possible. Either way, we got pronoun trouble.

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