A fat lie

Posted on 17th June 2014 by simonbeattie

I am currently putting some things together for a new catalogue.  This will be included: a spurious will by which the testator, the ‘superabundant’ Mary Hughes, in 1758 distributed various parts of her body to, among others, a Bedfordshire clergyman, the King of Prussia, the Royal Society, and the Fellows and Scholars of Trinity College, Cambridge.  Some of the more risqué elements have been crossed out by hand: ‘I bequeath him my admirable Fur Pouch, for a Night-Cap’; ‘I give to the Change-Brokers, Stock-Jobbers, and Dealers in Lottery Tickets, all my Farts to be converted into Puffs’; ‘I give my substantial Legs and Thighs for Pillars, provided the Vicar and Reader every Sunday kiss the upper parts … and my soft and spacious Bum for a cushion’.

The printer Susan Bailey was at this Bishopsgate address 1799–1804.  The text itself comes from The Shandymonian …  A Higgledy-piggledy of Controversies and Opinions … (1779, pp. 145–151), the editor of which, ‘Thomas Medley’, is also mentioned in the will.

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