A Mistake…

Stamford Mercury – Friday 20 June 1823

At an early hour on Friday morning, a man was observed walking along Piccadilly, carrying something on his shoulder, having the appearance of a dead body, wrapped in a sheet, and the circumstance attracted the curiosity of several individuals, who were led to suspect he was a resurrection man, and they followed him a considerable distance, until at length their suspicions were strengthened by something in the shape of a human arm protruding itself through the sheet.

 A great crowd soon assembled, and being convinced that some neighbouring church-yard had been plundered, they commenced a volley of invectives against the supposed body-snatcher, who seemed to endure it with the greatest patience. He was given in custody to the watchman, who conveyed him and his subject to St James’s watch-house, where an exposition of an extraordinary description took place; for on opening the sheet, it was found to contain a cork form, representing that of a human being dressed in female attire. 

The worthy constable of the night and the confounded Charleys all gazed at each other with astonishment, not knowing what to make of their prisoner.They detained the man until he brought forward somebody to prove how he came by it, and in the forenoon he was brought before Mr. Conant, the Magistrate, when a gentleman, an artist residing in Spring-gardens, attended, and stated to the magistrate that the cork lady was used to make lace dresses upon; and having explained to the satisfaction of the Magistrate that the prisoner was employed to carry her ladyship to a person from whom she was borrowed, he was discharged from the office.