This report was found in the periodical "Note and Queries" June 5, 1869.
"A man named William Fitch, a provision dealer, was brought up at the Lambeth Police Court on Thursday charged with bigamy. It appeared upon examination that everybody had been married to everybody else, and nobody’s marriage was legal, so the accused was discharged, whereupon his first wife, who brought the action apparently because her alimony of five shillings a week was not paid, in a transport of wrath cried out "You are a very wicked man, and will die in your shoes". The notion that it is proper to die in bed – so proper that to die dressed is shocking – seems to be universal in England. The angry wife only said what we all say on Sunday, when we pray to be delivered from both murder, and sudden death. Is the wish merely the conventional one to die in the most respectable way, or is it a relic of the old notion that the Almighty cannot want a rule-of-three sum, that sudden death diminishes the spiritual chances a slow death would have allowed?" - Spectator, May 22, 1869
As murderers only are hung now (1869), and that only a few apparently chosen at random, jokes about hemp for knaves are ceasing, and children are not told that picking green gooseberry is theft and a step towards the gallows; but I am surprised that anyone old enough to write in a newspaper does not know that "to die with his shoes on" means to be hung. I have read accounts of executions, though I cannot now refer to them of criminals kicking off their shoes on the scaffold to falsify the prophecy that they would die with them. I do not comprehend the somewhat flippant mention of "the rule of three sum". Perhaps it may puzzle theologians in the year 2069.