Dear friends, I bring you news of Colonel Charteris – whose tale I uncovered just the other day. Back in early eighteenth century London, said gentleman was notorious, and “house was no better than a brothel”:
He kept in pay some women of abandoned character, who, going to inns where the country waggons put up, used to prevail on harmless young girls to go to the colonel’s house as servants; the consequence of which was, that their ruin soon followed, and they were turned out of doors, exposed to all the miseries consequent on poverty and a loss of reputation. His agents did not confine their operations to inns, but, wherever they found a handsome girl, they endeavoured to decoy her to the colonel’s house; and, among the rest, Ann Bond fell a prey to his artifices.
The young woman in question had left her post in service as a result of illness and had taken lodgings in a private house. Once recovered, she was seen by a passer-by, who offered her employment in the family of a Colonel Harvey. Duly hired and taken to his home, her new master gave her money and clothes – and then:
offered her a purse of gold, an annuity for life, and a house, if she would lie with him; but the virtuous girl resisted the temptation; declared she would not be guilty of so base an act; that she would discharge her duty as a servant, and that her master might dismiss her if her conduct did not please him.
The following day, she overheard a visitor to the house ask for Colonel Charteris – and, recognising the notorious gentleman’s name, told the housekeeper that she was ill and must leave. She was duly taken before her master, who “ordered the servants to keep the door fast, to prevent her making her escape”, and then “suddenly seized and committed violence on her” before, when she threatened to report him, proceeding to “beat her with a horsewhip” and having her turned out of the house, complaining “that she had robbed him of thirty guineas”.
If ever there was an event waiting to be re-enacted…! “The name’s Bond. Ann Bond…”