Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coventry Act

"May go to the devil for a self-conceited ass. One pleasure of this twist of intrigue is, to revenge me of that villain, who thought himself so essential, that, by Heaven! he forced himself on my privacy, and lectured me like a schoolboy. Hang the cold-blooded hypocritical vermin! If he mutters, I will have his nose slit as wide as Coventry's.[*]--Hark ye, is the Colonel come?"

"I expect him every moment, your Grace."

[*] The ill-usage of Sir John Coventry by some of the Life Guardsmen, in revenge of something said in Parliament concerning the King's theatrical amours, gave rise to what was called Coventry's Act, against cutting and maiming the person.

According to "The Book of Days", the slitting to the bone of Sir John Coventry's nose that Sir Walter Scott employs in the text of "Peveril of the Peak", occurred on December 21, 1669.  "Peveril of the Peak" is set in the Popish Plot of 1678.  The plot was entirely fictitious, and served anti-Catholic ends.

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