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JQA Diary, volume 29 16 March 1816
JQA Neal Millikan Court Life and Society (European)

16. VI: I finished the Letter to Mr Everett, which is long, and being obliged to go out early for my walk, wrote scarcely any thing else. George continues very unwell— I walked to Ealing and Acton, returning by the way of Gunnersbury— Met Mr Von Harten. Afterwards, as I passed by a small one Story House, between Acton and Gunnersbury I saw two women, one of them with a child in her arms, standing before a window of the house and looking in— My attention was caught by hearing the woman with the child say, “Yes there is, as there is a God in Heaven! . . . There is a man there with a hat on— She then shrieked; and the other woman screamed, and immediately two men, and two women ran out from the yard of a house opposite— The man in the house had perceived the woman as she first spoke; immediately jumped out of a back window, and ran off towards Acton— There was no enclosure round the house, and only a gate opening from the road to it— The two men from the opposite house ran after him, but he had too much the start of them— A woman from a chamber window of the opposite house said she had seen the man go into the house—that he was a genteel fellow and wore a blue Coat. The woman with the Child it appeared lived in the house, which is scarcely bigger than a Porter’s lodge; she had gone out leaving no person in the house, and this man was a thief, who thus at noon day went in to rob the house. The woman was ready to faint and they took her into the opposite house— She said it was the second time this had happened: The man would have escaped but just after he had got off, there came up a man in a light cart with a horse, who immediately turned round, and raced back by the road to catch him at Acton— I then proceeded on my walk home and after passing Gunnersbury the man in the Cart passed me, again, returning, and told me he had caught the thief, and that several things belonging to the house had been found upon him. As I pursued my way home I met a boy of 13 or 14. standing beside a shabby little horse, who begged me to give him a lift to help him up—he had an old bag with some copper pence and half-pence in it, instead of a saddle.— These incidents lengthened the time of my walk. We had company to dinner— Mr and Mrs Tarbell, and Messrs: Chad, Dr Francis, Ingraham, G. Joy, Oliver, and J. A. Smith— We had invited several others who sent excuses. Mr Chad has been Secretary to the British Legation in Holland, and France, and is now appointed to go out in the same capacity to the United States. He says Mr Croker has promised to let him have a passage in a frigate; but the Ministers are now so much occupied with the property tax that he knows not when they will despatch him. Mr Smith brought out a Notice, from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, that the Queen will hold a Drawing-Room, next Thursday, the 21st. at 2. O’Clock at Buckingham House; and also a Letter from the French Consul— Our Sons John and Charles were at home from School— We sat at table after dinner not so long as usual; and the company all went away soon after eleven O’Clock.