In one moment of my breath I am extolling the arrival of yet another summer and seemingly in the next, I am discovering that the combine harvesters are tearing through the fields of ripe golden corn which surround my town and rushing the current crop off to market. Summer this year has been kind to the farmers and gardeners alike with plenty of rain to get things going, followed by more than our average allocation of warm and sunny days to ripen the crop. Everything is early once more, with reports of large amounts of fruit on the trees and the blackberry brambles growing wild and uncontrolled in the hedgerows are promising heavy stems to draw the blood from our fingers once more. The only thing around here which has not been producing, is my blog, but I always use the outside pleasures which summer usually provides as an excuse - or reason - to vacate my computer in the pecking order of domestic priorities. Anyway, let me get on with things.
Some time ago whilst trawling the archives of my local newspapers, I was surprised to come across an account of a serious incident which had touched upon a member of my wife's antecedent family in the small village of Somerby, some 4 or 5 miles to the south of Melton Mowbray. It seems that in the early months of 1883 a sad case of unrequited love was destined to suffer a violent denouement one Saturday morning, when the male of the species arrived in the village armed with a pistol and apparently intent on carrying out his earlier threats to take a particular young lady's life. The gun was indeed fired, a woman being hit and sharp knives were wielded in a dramatic fight at the local butcher's shop before the miscreant was overpowered and the local police arrived in good time to effect an arrest.
The young lady rejecting a prior promise of marriage - at great risk to her life seemingly - was local lass Elizabeth Freeman - a great-grandmother of my wife and grandmother of her mother. Born in 1915 - and died in 2015! I enquired of my mother-in-law as to what knowledge she had of the very public incident at Somerby in 1883 involving her grandmother, but she asserted that she had never been made aware of such an occurrence and that it was as much a surprise for her as it had been for me on its resurrection from an old newspaper all these 135 years later.
Entranced as I frequently am by those long forgotten reporters of Victorian times who wrote such wonderful copy for their editors and the general public, I can best present the story verbatim and as it appeared at the time in the Melton Mowbray Mercury.