The proceedings of the Old Bailey are now searchable to 1913. Apart from anything else they are an interesting source of information re the misfortunes of London’s Spanish population, from the refugees from Fernando VII to the anarchist trials in the 1890s. The following testimony to the traditional linguistic handicap of the Iberian tribes was given by the witnesses for the defence at the trial of one “Frederick Ruvialle”, which turned in part on the ability of the accused to order a drink in English following an apparently extended spell in London:
FREDERICK BACON . My father keeps the French Hotel in St. Paul’s Church-yard. The prisoner was three weeks living at our hotel in the last year, and he has been there since—I saw him daily while he was there—he always spoke French or Spanish—he cannot speak English.
JURY. Q. Could he say “port” in English? A. No; he could say Yes,” but no other word.
JOHN MOREE . I am an importer of Swiss and French goods. I have seen the prisoner at Mr. Bacon’s house—I have dined with him—he always spoke Spanish—I never heard a word of English from him.
ANN CRESWICK . I am servant at Mr. Bacon’s. I have seen the prisoner there for five or six days together—he cannot speak English—we could hardly make him understand by signs—I never heard him speak a word of English.
I continue to find this great opening up of archives the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen, but perspective will no doubt return when my barrel organ is ready.
- The Sultan’s organ, and other stuff
There’s a good organ miscellania page here. The Sultan and I anecdote was one of the few useful pieces of information
- Candlesticks into trumpets
I once saw a pocket trumpet miraculously transformed by a car into something vaguely resembling a plate, but back in 1753
- The Sultan’s organ
Howard Goodall runs a good organ miscellania page here, of which the Sultan and Elizabeth I organ donation anecdote was one of
- The legal practicality of resurrection in Spain
People in Barcelona have started relating the apparently low mortality rate among Chinese residents to identity theft in the way they
- Potential accordion purchase
This is an option now the Casio kiddieboard is dead and there’s not enough time for the barrel organ.