1893: Valentine’s Day Prank

An Italian man is targeted by Valentine’s day pranksters in Edinburg as reported in the  Edinburgh Evening News.

St Valentine’s Day jokes have not yet wholly gone out of fashion, a young man in Edinburgh learned to his cost yesterday.

The victim was a foreigner, an Italian in appearance, and as a matter of fact on no one but a foreigner could the jest have been played with any possibility of success. It was in the Edinburgh Sheriff Small Debt Court yesterday.

Calling the roll actions is always a tedious process, which lasts not much short of an hour, and during all this time the young man in question waited patiently to hear what he supposed was his case called.

Not hearing his name mentioned, he found his way, armed with a blue official-looking document to the lobby below, where he confided his troubles to one of the attendants.

He wondered, he said, who could have served him with his summons.

The attendant, examining the letter, found it to bear a very close resemblance indeed to an English legal citation, of whose phraseology it was a clever parody, the words being printed in quite official style with the names and dates alone filled in ink. It bore to be a “Summons the Court of Wedlock in the Matter o’ Money” and cited the individual in question appear on the 14th day of February or any day thereafter to answer for having theftuously away taken and feloniously kept possession of the heart of one of her Majesty’s female lieges, and he having failed to indemnify her for the same, is called upon court and indemnify the pursuer in this action, and show cause why he should not satisfy her in full of all demands.

Opposite the Royal Arms as seal at the foot were subscribed the names of “Sarah Ann Catch-me-Alive and Betsy Jane Wedlock, Justices of the Peace.”

The bearer of this document could hardly be convinced that it was a joke, and it was not till he had had an interview with one of the officials in the Sheriff-Clerk’s office that he went away feeling that he had been “sold.”


Edinburgh Evening News – Thursday 16 February 1893

Edinburgh Evening News - Thursday 16 February 1893
Edinburgh Evening News – Thursday 16 February 1893

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