The History of Capt. Thomas Parismas, Containing a Particular Account of the Cruel and Barbarous Treatment of a Young Lady, Who was the Wife of Mr. James Negotio, An English Merchant, in the East Indies.
Mortuary cannibalism and, arguably, American horror fiction. A rare early American chapbook story of a woman held captive by her husband, an English merchant in Canton.
Accused by her husband of infidelity, her husband had murdered her purported lover, beat her, and then confined her in a dungeonous room with her lover’s corpse, with nothing to eat except his decomposing body for nineteen days:
“No sooner had she entered the room, but regardless both of her husband and Parismas, she ran with all the haste her enfeebled state of body would admit, to the place where lay the wasting corpse, which she fell to devouring with all the eagerness which hunger is capable of inspiring, tear∣ing the putrified flesh with her teeth from the bones. Negotio stood holding his watch in his hand for all of three minutes, when he stepped to her, took her by the hand, and forcibly dragged her to the door, and thrusting her again into the dismal abode abode, turned the key, and confined her” (p10)
The hapless woman is saved from her horrors by a sea captain, who descends into her jail cell by rope and smuggles her onto his ship. On the voyage back to England, she falls in love with her saviour, though a storm damages their ship. Coming upon an English privateer, they learn that there had been a battle the night before with a foreign ship and that the ship was sunk with only one badly injured survivor, an English merchant from Canton, none other than the woman’s husband, who begs for her forgiveness, and dies. First published in Medford by Nathaniel Coverly in 1798, this 1805 issue likely printed in New Hampshire.
Description: The History of Capt. Thomas Parismas, Containing a Particular Account of the Cruel and Barbarous Treatment of a Young Lady, Who was the Wife of Mr. James Negotio, An English Merchant, in the East Indies.
[United States]: 1805. 35, [1, blank]pp. Last leaf mounted to the inside rear wrapper. 12mo. Contemporary blue paper wrappers perished with minor text loss to final leaf, affecting some words, but not sense. 323159.
Shaw & Shoemaker 8615. OCLC, AAS only.