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The Ducking-stool

The Ducking-stool.jpg The PilloryThumbnailsThe Drunkards CloakThe PilloryThumbnailsThe Drunkards CloakThe PilloryThumbnailsThe Drunkards Cloak

It was an engine of punishment specially assigned to scolding women; though sometimes kindred offenders, such as slanderers, “makebayts,” “chyderers,” brawlers, railers, and women of light carriage also suffered through it. Though gruff old Sam Johnson said to a gentle Quaker lady: “Madam, we have different modes of restraining evil—stocks for men, a ducking-stool for women, and a pound for beasts;” yet men as well as women-scolds were punished by being set in the ducking-stool, and quarrelsome married couples were ducked, tied back-to-back. The last person set in the Rugby ducking-stool was a brutal husband who had beaten his wife. Brewers of bad beer and bakers of bad bread were deemed of sufficiently degraded ethical standing to be ducked. Unruly paupers also were thus subdued.

Project Gutenberg's Curious Punishments of Bygone Days, by Alice Morse Earle Originally published 1896