Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Mountford, Timothy (fl. 1804-1810) to unknown re: humorous anecdote regarding servants' antics in Algiers

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
or
subscribe to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02794.175 Author/Creator: Mountford, Timothy (fl. 1804-1810) Place Written: [s.l.] Type: Letter Date: [1810 ca.] Pagination: 4 p. 20.4 x 12.2 cm

Full Transcript: As I never was of a disposition to keep all good things in this life to myself, I hereby record for the amusement of yourself & Mr. O'Brien, a circumstance that ...originated in the Consular house the 13. Feb. 1804.
Having left a closets unlocked, one of the Serv'ts stole a bottle of wine from me. I missed it immediately, because I went to drink, but was called away before I had accomplished my purpose. I [illegible] nothing, but produced another--shortly after going downstairs, I observed the bottle (for it was a remarkable one) hid in the basket that is the usual receptacle for Dirt-I snatched it up, & took it to my chamber, where I had several old charges of Jallop & Rhinebarb [illegible] --out with the cork--in with the physic--give it a good shake & quick as lightning, replaced it in the basket.--About 15 minutes passed, when I observed the Bottle empty & placed on the stand--About 1/2 an hour elapsed & the necessary could not receive its concourse of visitors,--It unnecessary to tell you how much I laughfed [sic]--I roared.--About 5 minutes more passed when Mary came in on full speed up the stairs--What's the matter Mary--Mary replied foaming with rage--"Matter--" God Damn them, they have got the Devil in their Guts--And in she pops into the up stairs necessary--here I tho't I should have bid adieu to things below--I have heard of people Dying with excess of mirth & grief--I could scarcely find vent for the former--and which has left me no small sample of the latter, to be cautious of how I indulge myself in folly again-my sides fairly pain me--I was far above laughter-at last, only convulsion like of my lungs.
They know nothing of the affair of my doing this intentionally--for when I found how the Cat jumped, I made a terrible rumpus among them who, had taken my bottle of Wine & bank, and now I can hear them cursing one another for vagabonds.
(A secret.) not to be told to domestics.)
It would take a Shakespeare to pen and a Hogarth to delineate their motely visages & actions at this time. Old Carson, looking thunder--& muttering to Old Jenevese, ah Carnolle [illegible] --Manuel tack & 1/2 tack, shivering between wind & water--Old Jenevese attempting to peal Onions but dropping & scudding in a nipping [illegible] position towards the ---sary, Mary has been mentioned before--
I belive Carbone had gone out & was not a partaker in this Cordial Balm of Gideon.
In fact, this scene beggars all description: nothing but seeing it, could afford an idea, even to the most prolific immigration.
See More

People:

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Barbary CoastAfricaServantGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyHumor and Satire

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources