I love old slang and this article is full of it! I was looking for an article containing the word bobbery (a noisy disturbance, a squabble, to raise a bobbery) and had to spend quite some time looking up the meanings of other words used in this very long article. It is a Friday, you have extra time over the weekend to squint at the tiny font (sorry!). Toggery was self-explanatory (clothing, put on your togs) and charley is often used to refer to police but James Carty’s ‘bird’s eye fogle, killingly twisted about his weasen’? What a wonderful string of words. But, what the?!
A bird’s eye fogle was, disappointingly, merely a silk handkerchief with eye like spots. Weason was much harder. There are references to it but not really a concrete definition (if you can find one please let me know!) I found ‘weasen faced’ and ‘ hideous little weasen face’ but I would say that they refer to the weasel-like countenance of the person being described and I don’t think his fogle was twisted about his head. I did find an ‘I’ll slit his weasen’ from 1910 so I would say that weasen would mean throat or neck. I thought it much more likely that ‘killingly twisted about his weasen’ meant his fogle was worn rakishly around his neck.
Gammon means nonsensical or misleading talk (also smoked ham, funnily enough) and a Virago is a mannish, bold or scolding woman. I think that Margaret DeCourey was probably a scary and grumpy woman when sober!
If only police reports were still published in the daily press. All we get now is sensationalistic news stories. These old police/court reports seem to be just an amusing account of actual events.