Times Past

Two wretched women have lately been visiting Leeds, who profess to have the power, among other sublime endowments, of discovering and disclosing the secrets of futurity, and such is the credulity and infatuation of no small number of people, that the pretensions of such stupid and wicked imposters never want fools to believe them.

Two wretched women have lately been visiting Leeds, who profess to have the power, among other sublime endowments, of discovering and disclosing the secrets of futurity, and such is the credulity and infatuation of no small number of people, that the pretensions of such stupid and wicked imposters never want fools to believe them.

It seems that the two “gifted” women, whose names are Bridget and Mary Coleman, with all their supernatural skill and knowledge, could not perceive that in Leeds they were likely to get both into disgrace and into prison.

On Saturday they were arrested while attempting to gull a man of the name of Matthew Rown, and on Tuesday they appeared at the courthouse, a new and not a very propitious scene for their incantation.

When they were brought before the magistrates, they pretended to be both deaf and dumb - no human voice could they hear, no human intonation could induce them to speak, and in a high and ludicrous style they supported their assumed characters. The magistrates had the hardihood to sentence these fearful rulers of the spirits of the air to three months’ imprisonment and hard labour in the House of Correction.

When they were brought to prison, it appeared that a miracle had been wrought upon them: though they had been deaf they could hear each other speak; and though they had been dumb before, they could make the walls of their cells resound with a strong Irish brogue.