Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A victualing-house or tavern where persons arrested for debt were kept by a bailiff for twenty-four hours before being lodged in prison, in order that their friends might have an opportunity of settling the debt. Sponging-houses were usually the private dwellings of bailiffs, and were so named from the extortionate charges made upon prisoners for their accommodation therein.
“He had made himself much liked in the sponging-house, and”
“I was not much shocked at this adventure, which, indeed, put an end to a state of horrible expectation: but I refused to go to a sponging-house, where I heard there was nothing but the most flagrant imposition: and, a coach being called, was carried to the Marshalsea, attended by a bailiff and his follower, who were very much disappointed and chagrined at my resolution.”
“And away the two walked together to a sponging-house in Cursitor”
“He was taken to the sponging-house, and it was there imparted to him that he had better send for two things — first of all for money, which was by far the more desirable of the two; and secondly, for bail, which even if forthcoming was represented as being at best but a dubious advantage.”
“This for no other reason than because folks go easier out of a church than out of a sponging-house, and because they could not have our company when they would.”
“We have besides in it many varieties of English life, -- lords, clergymen, officers; Vauxhall and the masquerade; the sponging-house and its inmates, debtors and criminals, -- all as Fielding saw and knew them.”
“When you extricated me from that cursed sponging-house.”
“He luxuriates in locking up the Frank in a sponging-house; he charges him for the "Semitic Element," and sticks it on to the chop an sherry.”
“Why, otherwise, had she come to the sponging-house?”
“She did not speak of Mr. Manners's conduct, or of my stay in the sponging-house.”
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