They Hanged My Saintly Billy

By Robert Graves

Robert Graves recounts the lifetime of William Palmer: general practitioner, racehorse owner...a confessed forger who received ladies into hassle, doped horses, robbed a couple of people...but was once he a prisoner? in accordance with a precise trial that came about in 1856, this novel, like Graves' spouse to Mr. Milton and that i, Claudius, has the entire immediacy and spiciness of latest Victorian existence. it really is advised via interviews with Palmer's acquaintances and enemies. This booklet has humor, social importance and keenness, and makes soaking up and scintillating studying.

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The best way they now speak of him within the London papers, and in cities the place he was once slightly recognized, nigh makes me vomit! I reckon Littler has given you the details of his fake starts off in life—at Liverpool and at Haywood—and how he used to be two times deceived via that foxy-maned harlot, Jane Widnall. yet he by no means tells the total tale, as a result of loyalty to his supplier, Mrs Palmer Senior. in reality, that once the bad woman had buried Mr Joseph Palmer Senior less than a very good stone vault within the graveyard, she started to believe lonely and chilly at nights. She could have married back, being a full of life, good-looking sufficient woman—as 'tis stated coarsely during this city: 'Many's the great music performed on an outdated fiddle'—but that the deed drawn up by means of her eldest son Joseph forbade this. it is my suspicion that Mr Joseph Junior knew of a undeniable attachment she had shaped at the very day of the funeral, and didn't have fun with her beau as a stepfather; the fellow, Moody by way of identify, had as soon as been a collier, and was once now coping with the pit at Brereton for him. That threat handed, because Moody quickly after obtained knocked over through a railway educate while his horse bolted around the strains. yet i am convinced that, many years later, if Mrs Palmer have been unfastened to keep on with her tendencies, she could have married Cornelius Duffy, the linen-draper. i do not consider Littler acknowledged a lot approximately that company, did he? rather well, Sir: i'm going to inform you the tale simply because it occurred. Duffy was once a strapping fellow of 40 or so, a linen-draper from Belfast. although a guy of excellent appears, we reckoned him a stunning uninteresting chap in the home; he'd sit down nonetheless and drink, spirits more often than not, and browse the newspapers from again to entrance and back and forth, spelling out each be aware along with his lips. He got here to inn the following two times: the 1st time, whilst younger Mr William—now Dr Palmer —had simply been disregarded from his apprenticeship at Messrs Evans & Sons of Liverpool, yet no longer but long past to Dr Tylecote's at Haywood; the second one time, in advance of Mr William broke his apprenticeship with Dr Tylecote. I do not forget that, at the first party, Mr William paid the ranking Duffy had run up—it wasn't a wide one, yet Duffy were accommodation with me the higher a part of a month, and that i had no longer but visible the color of his cash. I wasn't sorry to work out his again. I puzzled why Mr William, who was once in simple terms seventeen years previous, and didn't seem rather pleasant disposed in the direction of Duffy, may still do that for him. Mr William looked as if it would bet what used to be in my brain, for he stated: 'Mr Duffy as soon as rescued my father from an overturned trainer at the Wednesbury highway; and we Palmers prefer to express our gratitude. ' but there has been little heat in Mr William's goodbye whilst Duffy went off, nor any gratitude in Duffy's. to inform the reality, it was once a so much unpleasant leave-taking. Then Duffy comes the following for the second one time, consuming and studying the newspapers slowly via as sooner than, and nonetheless turns out to shun corporation. i attempt to get him to discuss the trainer coincidence, yet he shuts up like an oyster. within the evenings, whilst this parlour and the tap-room allure the main custom—and we draw it from miles round due to our home-brewed, that's unrivaled during this county, notwithstanding i have never travelled greatly adequate to make any grander claim—Duffy regularly slips out for a rustic stroll, good muffled up, and do not come domestic till shut on hour of darkness.

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