- Museum number
- Object: The night mare- or magistratical vigilance-
The interior of a thieves' kitchen or cellar into which a steep flight of steps (left) descends. All the inmates have seen Matthew Wood, the Mayor, followed by constables, coming quietly down the stairs except for a sleeping woman and a watchman seated with his back to the stairs and holding up a glass of gin. He says, with a grin, to a terrified woman who falls over backwards, kicking his hand: "You had like'd to have kick'd the Blue Ruin [gin, generally bad gin, from c. 1810; Partridge, 'Slang Dict'., 1938] out of my hand, come let's have our Old toast! Industrious Thieves, and Idle Magistrates." The woman screams: "Oh the Night Mare!! we're ruind by the Lord." A man wearing top-boots crouches behind her chair, trying to hide his plunder, a watch, seals, &c., under his hat. He says: "We are dish'd Bet by G— if I escape I'll live honestly as long as this chaps in Office —for he'l ruin the Consarn!" Two men and a woman try to escape through a door: she says: "D— his Eyes when does he sleep!!" The watchman wears a helmet-like hood, a long coat with his rattle thrust through the belt, his staff and (smoking) lantern lie on the floor. Wood is handsome and fashionably dressed in a long frogged overcoat. He says to the constables: "Here's a pretty fellow for a Guardian of the Night—Blue Ruin shall bring him to the Black hole!" After the title: '"Seest thou a Man diligent in his business? he shall stand before Kings. Prov. xxii. 29 If you enquire not attentively and diligently, you shall never be able to discern a member of mechanical motions—Bacon.'
Plate numbered 198.
- Production date
Height: 249 millimetres
Width: 352 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
For Wood as a magistrate see No. 12813, &c. For the pun on Mayor see No. 12817.
On the print, the letters 're' in 'mare' have been scored through and replaced with 'yor', to read 'mayor'.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number