Monday, July 23, 2012
A Full and True Account of a Terrible & Bloody Fight Between Tom. Brown, the Poet, and a Bookseller (via J. LattaPlus ca change, & etc.)

"On Tueſday laſt Tom Brown’s paſſive Valour being rais’d above its ordinary pitch by a large Doſs of Brandy, and meditating a dire and bloody Revenge againſt a Bookſellor that had ſpoke a few Words to his diſadvantage: In all haſt he runs to a Cane-ſhop for an Oakenplant, but for want of Two-pence to purchaſe that dead-doing Weapon, or ſo much Credit as to be truſted for it, for he was forced to leave it behind him. Non habit quo Reſtim emat ad Suſpendium. However this diſappointment of a Weapon was no abatement to his Fury. He immadiately marches to the Bookſeller’s Shop. Charges him with ſlandering and diſſhonouring a Perſon of his Quality, and Swagers about the Shop like a Bully in a Brandy-Cellar. The Bookſeller juſtifies himſelf; ſays, ’twas no Injury to call a Spade, a Spade, nor Tom. Brown a Rake-hell, that had Trickt him of Three Guineas, in palming a falſe Copy upon him for a true one. Theſe bitter Words put Brown, and the Bookſeller to Logger-heads helter-skelter. To Brown’s immortal praiſe be it ſpoken, he gave the firſt Blow, and ſtrated back with ſo much Celerity and Conduct, that the Bookſeller, who was immur’d behind the Counter, was not able to reach him a Rowland for his Oliver. Whilſt daring Tom. made uſe of this Stratagem, and fought at a diſtance, the Fate of War enclin’d to the Poet’s ſide; but at the beſt form’d Deſigns are liable to Accidents and Mutabilities, ſo the Bookſeller by ſurprize, catching hold on the Poet’s Sleeve with one hand, ſo Batter’d his Chops with the other, that quite turn’d the Scales, and ’twas Whether for a Groat which would have the Victory. A Gentleman in the Shop taking away the Poet’s Sword, gave the Bookſeller the advantage of leaping over the Counter; which amaz’d the Poet perceiving, he Scours off into the Back-ſhop, in hopes of a Reinforcement. The Enemy with all ſpeed purſues him, and renews the Engagement. Brown, like a Gib-Cat, fighting upon his back, and the Itch, or his Fears, rendring him unable to clinch his Fiſts, he faught open-handed, and claw’d and ſcratch’d the Bookſeller’s Face, till the Blood run down his Fingers, and forc’d our Poet to wink hard, or he had Sounded at the Fight thereof.

This, with the Loſs of a Old Cravat, was all the damage the Bookſeller ſuſtain’d in a bloody Rencounter, that laſted thirteen Minuits, and twenty Seconds. Tom. Brown, of the two, was the greater Sufferer; for wanting Eyes to ward off the Blows, the Bookſeller ſo unmercifully belabour’d the Poet’s Lockram Jaws, that put his Phiz quite out of Countenance, and his Face was ſo ſwell’d and begrim’d with a mixture of Blood, Sweat, Snot, and Tears, that wou’d have pierc’d a Heart of Stone, to ſee what a frightful Figure he troop’d off in.    

This is inſerted in Vindication of Tom. Brown’s Honour, and to prove, tho’ he is not fond of Fighting without great Advantage, he can Claw and Scratch like a Tyger upon occaſion; tho’ ſome have been ſo bold to affirm, he does neither."

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