Frequently inventories, particularly those of merchants, have lists of those owing money to the deceased. These are sometimes divided into ‘sperate’ and ‘desperate’ debts. Prior to transcribing these inventories I had never come across the word ‘sperate’, but once seen it is clearly the opposite of ‘desperate’, so I have a new word that means ‘hopeful’, which must be a welcome addition to a vocabulary.
But today I am transcribing an inventory, and had to smile, for in among the ‘Bad and Dubious Debts’ is one of 1 shilling and 8 pence owed to the grocer by
“Woman in a Green Gown”
I can see why the executors might conceive this to be a desperate bill. I wonder if the grocer himself extended this credit, or was it an underling, completely overcome by the elegance of the lady in the green gown, who later repented his action.