Where do I begin?! This is the most amusingly written police report I have come across so far (The Sydney Herald 26th Dec 1831). The author of this article must have been in fine spirits that day. Forgive me for putting such a long one up, but once I started reading it I just had to share it. A long one also makes me feel better about missing putting a post up yesterday. We were driving all day on our way home from our Easter getaway, and by the time we got home and the kids sorted out, that day’s post would have almost have been late enough to be the one for the next day!
I was actually looking for an article containing the very amusing word bouncible (prone to boast, bumptious) but when I found this one all thoughts of a ‘buried word’ post flew from my head, although fortunately this article still contains that word.
If you were at the courthouse on that Monday in 1831, there would have been an amusing array of people before you for a few unexpected crimes.
Sarah Sutcliffe, described as ‘an ungrateful hussy, with the rotundity of a rum puncheon’ charged with ‘having an inveterate hankering after the male sex.
William Power enjoyed prison so much last time, he had no trouble getting a return trip.
Kate McDonald, whose crime I am unsure of. Flitting? ‘Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon’? Today she would probably be sent to rehab.
Ann Smith, for being a little too free with her affections for a singing sailor. Well, her affections were not exactly free …
Thomas McPhene for not being able to tell the difference between toast and flesh.
Samuel Cordwell for ‘keeping a house, the character of which had as many holes as a culander’.
The last is my favourite. Mary Evans charged with ‘having perpetual motion in her tongue and a gout for strong waters in which she had been overtaken the previous night and in consequence, handed out the rhino, and was discharged.’
Handed out the rhino. It sounds like a wonderful slang term for bad behaviour when drunk. I did a bit of looking around and, as rhino is an old slang term for money I think that it is really saying ‘she paid the fine’.
Pity, The thought of ‘I was so drunk on the weekend, I really handed out the rhino’ being used to describe the weekends frivolities really amuses me.