|James & Adeline Pattle,their daughters.pattledomcreations.com|
|St. John's church, Kolkata. marble plaque,-James Pattle& |
James Pattle was a member of the Bengal Civil Service, based in Calcutta (Kolkata, west Bengal) in undivided Bengal during the British rule under the East India company and had been working there for some time. His brother Colonel William (known as 'Jemmy Blazes' was the leader of a famous charge against the Amirs of Sindh in 1843), it is believed, was also in the employ of EIC. James died in Calcutta on September 4, 1845 at the age of 69 and was buried in the graveyard of St John’s Church, Calcutta near Job Charnock’s (founder of Calcutta) mausoleum. James' wife Adeline died on November 11 in the same year under mysterious circumstances. She was just 52.
Can you imagine one of the famous English writer Virginia's wolf''s forefathers was James Pattle, who was a habitual, whooping liar. The story of James Pattle's mysterious corpse is bizarre and it is quite strange that it did not attract the attention of the then famous Hollywood director Albert Hitchcock of Psycho fame. James Pattle, Judge of the High Court and son of a director of the East India Company (1787-1795) - Thomas Pattle and his wife, Sarah Haslesby, was born on 31 December, 1775, at Beauleah, Bengal and died on September 4, 1845 on Chowringee Road, Calcutta. James married Adeline De L'Tang, a French girl, daughter of the Chevalier de L'Etang, one of Queen Marie Antoinette's pages in Calcutta. Starting his career in 1792 with the help of his father (on recommendation from Warren Hastings, Governor General), Pattle became a senior member in India of the Board of Revenue. Subsequently he became a judge of the Court of Appeal at Murshidabad. Having put in 53 years of service with the EIC, Pattle had the distinction being "one of the longest-serving employees of the British company. He seemed to have lived in the Garden Reach area overlooking the Hooghly river.
'Seven generations of my family were born in Calcutta, there are three Dalrymples sitting inside St John’s graveyard', according to Dalrymple (a British historian, and writer, art historian and curator, as well as a prominent broadcaster and critic) his great-great-grandfather’s plaque is on the St John’s Church wall, James Pattle.
By the bye what was James Pattle famous for? What kind of reputation did he have? Surprisingly, this man, coming from a good family and parentage did not enjoy a good name. He was quite extravagantly a wicked man, a notorious, habitual liar and drinker. Leading a riotous life far below the prestige of his family, he was frequently referred to "as the greatest liar in India" (in the words of Virginia Woolf, and James own great grandchild). After death he wanted his body to be buried in England by his wife (a condition mentioned in his will), who was the legal heir to his fortune.
So after death, Pattle was put in a cask with spirits to preserve him and embalmed. On the ship it was kept near the widow's room. In the dead of night the cask exploded, the corpse popped up, sitting up in the cask half out like jack-in-the-box right before the widow's eyes which gave her a heavy bolt. The sailors forced Mrs. Prattle to take the cask back to Calcutta. The charted ship carrying the cask was, on the way, caught in a heavy storm, broken apart and washed ashore. Days later surprisingly the cask was washed ashore near Mrs. Pattle's house. She took the cask home and kept it near her bed room. As usual in the midnight, there was an unexpected explosion and Mrs. Adeline Pattle, who had a horrible marital life with a drunk-husband, saw the corpse busting out and sitting in the cask. Mrs. Pattle was terribly frightened and she fell ill soon after this bizarre incident. The reason for the explosion was due to gas generated in the rum filled cask.
Virginia Woolf summed it all up by reporting "That Pattle had been such a scamp, the devil wouldn't let him go out of India." However, some of his great grand children do not believe that Pattle was a big liar
|Pinocchio, a symbol of untruthfulness. en.wikipedia.org|
There is a monument to him and his wife Adeline (daughter of Chevalier de L'etang) in St. John's Church and is being visited by his great grand children.
Perhaps, it was Prattle's way to scare his wife silly, as it is likely that he was ill-treated by this wife, far beyond his level of tolerance!! It was God's edit that he should die in India and take an eternal sleep within the compound walls of St. James church, Kolkata.