/ Quotation help, please

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Martin W on 01 Mar 2013
I'm trying to track down a quotation which I dimly remember hearing a number of years ago. The sense of it is roughly: "If someone tries to take my watch by force I will fight them with all my strength, but if they say they are going to take me to law to get it from me then I shall hand it to them without delay and consider myself lucky to have escaped so lightly."

My recollection is that the original was expressed in rather more archaic language. I think it might have been from someone like Dr Johnson, although I haven't found it in any lists of quotations attributed to him. The valuable item might have been a purse, or a wallet rather than a watch.

Does the above description strike a chord with anyone? I'd really like to be able to confirm the proper attribution for the sentiment.
Rob Exile Ward on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin W: Sounds like Mark Twain to me...
Steph-in-the-West on 02 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin W:
Try googling it......
Blue Straggler - on 02 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin W:

It rings a bell but I can't help you beyond just saying that it rings a bell!
Martin W on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:

> Try googling it......

Gosh, I never thought of that...

It's a bit difficult without knowing either who said/wrote it, or else a more precise form of the actual wording. Most of the Googles I've tried so far have returned numerous treatises on the pros and cons of carrying concealed firearms!
caravanshaker on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin W:

Google "my watch by force" (with quotes), first link up from the bottom...

'I think of myself as fit and healthy and were a man to approach me and attempt to take my watch by force I would give a good account of myself. However if a gentleman at law attempted to take my watch by way of a legal action, I would give it to him gladly and think myself well aquitted.'
psaunders - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin W: it is by Jerome K Jerome, source: http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/jerome/three-men-bummel/5/

"If a man stopped me in the street and demanded of me my watch, I
should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by
force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to
protect it. If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention
of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I
should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had
got off cheaply."
Martin W on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to psaunders: Many thanks, that is the one I was after.

I'm a trifle annoyed with myself for not remembering it properly because I have read Three Men on the Bummel. I clearly remember the episode concerning the confusion about the German for "cushion", and the one where they got left out in the pouring rain by the proprietor of a cosy but difficult-to-see tearoom in the Black Forest who imagined that, being English, they must be enjoying themselves. But the passage about the watch obviously didn't lodge itself quite firmly enough in my memory.
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Martin W on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to sharkdodge: Thanks for that. However, it is not the actual quote! If you read the whole of the posting (somewhat bizarrely, on a thread about the risk of being sued for clearing snow from your drive!) it says:

In Three Men on the Bummel, a statement goes something like this, from distant memory (my emphasis).

However, their reference to Jerome K Jerome is, it turns, out, correct.

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