Friday, May 15, 2009
Tart of the Week: Margaret Caroline Rudd
Now when I write my weekly discourse on our lovable tarts, I try to take a neutral or even positive standpoint, unless they're Bess Foster. But this tart, well, she's just despicable. Her abilities at deception, bitchiness, and being a total slut go beyond the normal tartly powers.
Raised in suburban mediocrity in a town outside Belfast, Margaret Caroline Youngson was born around the year 1744. As with most young girls of suburbia she dreamed to get away and live in the big city. After all, she was meant for bigger things. Caroline also lived with the delusion that she was descended from Scottish gentry, her mother's maiden name being Stewart. Although this was highly unlikely, she managed to acquire some papers tracing her family back to the Stewarts and would constantly brag about her genes. She also managed to cause a stir wherever she went. While at school she caused so much trouble that the other students' parents threatened to remove their children if Caroline wasn't expelled. She continued to scandalize the people Lurgan by being quite popular with the young men of the town. Already as a teen Caroline was not being received in polite society because of her actions. Time to move on.
Caroline saw her opportunity to escape when a regiment of foot soldiers were stationed in her town. Ten days after meeting with the dashing lieutenant, Valentine Rudd, the two announced their engagement. The town of Lurgan rejoiced, they were finally rid of her! But alas, they didn't move immediately. This wasn't what Caroline had planned at all. What's the point of getting married if you can't get out of your po-dunc town? She continued to flirt with the other officers.
When the Rudds finally moved to London, Caroline let loose. She racked up debt and trouble immediately. Rudd found he had his hands full with his young wife. Then suddenly she was no longer there. She ran away with another man. You may think that this news would cause Rudd to put up his hands and say "forget that troubling wench." But oh, it wasn't that easy. To add to his already acquired debts, Caroline would just send her bills to her husband, forcing the poor guy to go on a wild goose chase to find his wife and her lover before she put him in debtor's prison. The authorities found Rudd before he could find his wife and that is exactly where he was put. She continued to bill him to ruin. After his release from prison Rudd was forced to flee the country in order to live out the rest of his life a free man. Caroline brought him to ruin...but there were more lives to destroy.
Enter the brothers Perreau. Identical twins who could not be more opposite in personality. Robert was an enterprising apothecary and businessman. He had a good marriage with his wife Henrietta and loving children. Daniel on the other hand was more rakish and would rather gamble than work. He was constantly running and the wrong crowd and in debt. So of course he met Caroline and the two began a relationship. Soon she had moved in, was calling herself Mrs. Perreau and pregnant with Daniel's child. All was fine until Caroline, always short of cash, decided to forge a bond and have the honorable Robert attempt to cash it in instead of her boyfriend, Daniel. It is highly illegal to write a document stating a rich guy will cover your expenses, when he has no idea who you even are.
For brevity's sake, this caused quite the problem. Questions were asked, investigations initiated and both Perreaus and Caroline were thrown in jail for forgery while the courts tried to figure out who was responsible for the forged bond. It was time for Caroline to use her cunning skills to save her own butt. Screw the man she lives and has a child with, and his innocent bystander brother who thought he was just doing a favor by delivering what he thought to be genuine bond. Operating from her office in JAIL Caroline manipulated both the press and the courts to be in her favor. After all, how could a mere woman be possible of this level of deception? The Perreaus' trial was first and they were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Caroline's trial consisted of her writing notes to her lawyer throughout and getting off scott-free. Despite people (including Daniel) publicly appealing to the King for Robert's release from the hangman's noose and even his wife beseeching the queen woman to woman, the two brothers were sent to the gallows. Caroline let the two brothers hang for her crime.
Caroline laid low for a while, but unwisely didn't disappear from public. She next preyed on James Boswell who gleefully dove into a full-fledged affair with the "diablo lady." It took him a while, but Boswell, along with the public began to realize that Caroline should be avoided at all costs. The only way to destroy her was cut her off from the attention she thrived on. Caroline made a few more attempts at schemes, but no one trusted or liked her anymore. After ruining the lives of many, she finally died in obscurity on 4 February 1797.