Philobiblon: A gift to an historical mystery writer

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A gift to an historical mystery writer

"Elizabeth Emma Thomas, buried 29th October 1808
The following extraordinary circumstance took place on interment of this person; viz:
On Saturday the 29th of October, the corpse was brought from a house in Charter-house-square, and buried in the Church-yard; on the following Monday A Head Stone was placed over her grave; with the following inscription:

In memory of
Mrs Elizabeth Emma Thomas,
who died the 28th October, 1808,
aged 23 years.
She had no fault, save what travellers give the moon:
The light was lovely, but she died too soon."

Commonplace enough. But then the locals of the parish of St Mary's Islington thought there was something odd about the way this had all happened so fast, so eventually - no doubt after much local excitement - an exhumation order was obtained. And when Mrs Thomas's body was examined, it was found there was a thin wire run through her ribs and into her heart.

Ahh, but then the explanation came. She had been buried fast and it all sorted out because the relatives were off to Paris. The wire had been inserted at their request, because they were worried about the possibility of her being buried alive ...

Mmmmmm ....

The History of Islington
, John Nelson, 1980, Philip Wilson, fascimile of the first edition of 1811, p. 364.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home