1891: Oysters lead to teenage pregnancy, twins

In February 1891 a Mr Lee Viner of London sued Ernest Franks, a travelling salesman from Fulham, for the seduction of his daughter Maud. According to testimony given by Franks and others, Maud Franks had caught his eye at a metropolitan railway station. She was 18, Franks was 66 and married. He obtained Maud’s address and later sent her notes and presents, asking for a meeting. When she agreed, he took her to an oyster house off Oxford Street. The seduction occurred after Franks bought her oysters, champagne and brandy and soda. The end result of this liaison was that Maud Viner fell pregnant and delivered twins. According to one press report, the presiding judge said that:

“…the proceedings in this case were about the most foolish he had ever heard of. Nothing could be more ridiculous than for an old man like the defendant to go trotting about after a young girl like the plaintiff’s daughter. It had been stated in evidence that the defendant caught a cold while looking for the young girl at the Empire [Club]. It served him right. It would have been a good thing if he had caught a few more colds in such discreditable adventures.”

The jury found for the plaintiff, Mr Viner, who was awarded damages of 100 pounds. The fate of Maud Franks and her illegitimate twins is unknown.

Source: Various, inc. Liverpool Mercury, February 9th 1891. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.

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