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1866: Brighton runaway caught in Cuckfield

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Sussex Advertiser - Wednesday 25 July 1866


A Little Bit of Romance.

On Friday evening, about nine o'clock, a fly arrived at the White Hart Inn, from Brighton, containing two respectably dressed young women, the eldest apparently about 18 or 19, and the youngest some three or four years younger. They stated that they came on a visit to Mr. Caffyn of Court House, but it being late they should not call him until the morning, and required lodgings for the night. As they could not be accommodated, they sought further, and applied at some private houses, to which they were recommended, objecting to go to the Ship.

The eldest acted as mistress, and the youngest as lady's maid, but their dress and want of luggage did not warrant their pretensions, and being unable to obtain a bed in the town they betook themselves at length to the Ship, where they spent the night; the fly driver, who was very mysterious in his manner, returning to Brighton.

The Ship Inn at Whiteman's Green c1910 (photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum)

About four the morning another fly arrived, containing a party in search of the refugees, and in course of time they were traced, but the young ladies having a suspicion that they were caught, and very probably the eldest one having caught a glimpse of paterfamilias*, or heard his well known voice, turned out early, and took their course down to a cottage where the inmates were up, and to which they gained admittance, but the eldest girl being seized with compunction, and knowing that she had several pounds of P.'s money in her possession, slyly swallowed a quantity of laudanum she had in her pocket, and was soon seized with symptoms of poison, but Dr. Saunders being called in, administered a powerful emetic, the laudanum was ejected, and the wilful miss, who it appears had left her home on account of a family quarrel, was handed over to her parents, and after breakfast they all returned to Brighton in the fly.

The names of the party did not transpire, but their appearance was evidently that of persons of the middle class.

*the male head of a family or household.


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