Drunk with Byron

Here’s a reproduction of the Police Incidents report in the Sydney Herald 9 July 1832.  For your literary pleasure courtesy of the court reporter.

THURSDAY – John Jones with a killing tie to his neckcloth, and an astounding brush-up to his hair.  “In short, he was a very pretty fellow, Although the sun had turn’d him yellow,” was charged by his master with spending the whole of his time in adonising ; he had caught him the previous day parading up and down his room, occasionally peeping in a glass with much complacency , and smirkingly exclaiming, ” amiable and killingly genteel: egad, ‘ born to please the ladies.’  The Bench, to counteract the effects of self love, which was fully developed on his cranium, sent him to mill for seven days.

killing – irresistable, bewitching, so as to compel admiration and notice (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)

The reporter (mis)quotes Byron from Don Juan “in short he was a very pretty fellow although his woes had turned him rather yellow”.

George Grey and Maria Flaherty were charged with ruralising on the South Head road. They were discovered sitting very much at their ease, in a very picturesque spot, in the vicinity of Rose Bay ; an iron pot, with three legs, was singing merrily at one side, while in the fore ground a very comfortable repast was spread, consisting of viands, hot and cold, with quantum suff. of the krature. ” Maria, love,” said the amiable George, ” shall I assist you to a little foliage” at the same time offering a delicate slice from a smoaking hot cabbage. ” No, dear, I never heats cabbage,” said Maria, ” but will take a drop of Jackey ;” the Jackey was poured out and swallowed by Miss Maria with wonderful celerity. George drew forth from his pocket a flute, and just commenced the duet of All’s Well, when the constable, who had been en-joying the sport, stepped in, and informed them that he was ” the man wot spoiled sport ;” and notwithstanding the tears, blandishments, and at last, swooning of Maria, and the tip offered by George, he consigned them both for the night to the lockup. The Bench sent the male to Mr. Murray for ten days, and the female to 8 C. for a month.

ruralising – bringing country ways to the city was apparently a chargeable offence.

quantum suff. of the krature – now the reporter is showing off his knowledge of Latin.  Any guesses on krature?

celerity – she must have swallowed it very quickly

Mr Murray – the head gaoler of Sydney Gaol (Jail)

Ellen Jot was charged with flitting from Parramatta ; when found, she was the life and soul of a snug party that were just choosing partners for a country dance, to the whole of whom she was doing the amiable and acting as mistress of the ceremonies. Bench_ one month 3 C. Ellen_That won’t make me a jot the better.

Ellen was clearly used to punning about her name.

Friday.  Ann Cotterel was charged with getting so-so. In defence, Ann said her husband did not grub her as he ought.  The spouse stepped forward and thus saluted her:-

Spouse_Not grub you, madam, eh ! Do you mean that, madam, eh ! Didn’t I feed you on Field-lane Ducks, eh !

Bench_What are they ?

Spouse_What are they, eh ! Why, sheep’s heads, to be sure.

Ann_Like your own, John, with very little brains.

Spouse_Is it mine you mean, eh ! (tapping his forehead significantly), sound as a roach here, eh !

The Bench ordered Ann to pay five shillings for her soaking qualities.

Ann_Come, John, cash up.

Spouse_Cash up is it, eh ! eh ! eh ! it’s no go, madame, eh ! eh ! eh !

The unhappy Ann was therefore forced to put up with a seat in the stocks for two hours.

grub – food – term still in use today

field-lane ducks – more from BookRags

Elizabeth Cox, the very essence of sentiment, was charged with performing sundry evolutions in the streets, which on the first blush of the affair, the constable took to be the Phyrric (sic) dance, but on a closer enquiry into the matter, it was found to be the rum waltz, and in consequence, he took charge of her.

Bench_You must go to the stocks unless you can pay five shillings.

Elizabeth -I’d rather spring like Sappho from Lucadia’s rock, than submit to such an expose. ” Here, take the blunt.”

Pyrrhic dance – a war dance of the ancient Greeks – and just happens to be referenced in Don Juan.

Sappho – threw “herself into the sea from the Leucadian promontory in consequences of her advances having been rejected by the beautiful young Phaon”   (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable).  And another reference to Byron’s Don Juan.

Thomas Glegg, a bilious looking subject, who declined in the most polite manner all kind of work, and made a point of walking off to the romantic walks of the Domain, there to sigh forth his unrequited passion to the wind, was ordered seven days on the mill as an antidote. Oh! sighed forth Thomas, as he was removed from the bar

” Oh, Love ‘ thou art the very God of evil, For after all we cannot call thee devil.”

the Domaina still popular recreation area in the centre of Sydney

Oh, Love ‘ thou art etc  – Don Juan again

Were you drunk?

Sydney Gazette – 19 January 1837

Inebriation and debauchery on Sydney streets

Take care lest you should be found spinning in the streets like a Pathegorian (sic) Priestess as was Edward Kennedy or like James Hansard be caught under the influence of Lamb’s Wool.  Though the scanned text is a little difficult to read, it’s worth persisting with this Police Incidents excerpt for the language itself.

Sydney Herald – 27 December 1832

Bridget Leon – a girl with attitude – “tossing her head from right to left with majestic indifference”

Pat Riley – “a broth of a boy” (outstanding person) expressing disdain at his master laying a charge of stealing a chair when the master was enjoying himself at a cock and hen club.  British History Online – Bethnal Green: Social and Other Activities provides a concise description of such a club.  “Other alehouses which he wanted suppressed included the Sun in Sclater Street, where boys and girls at a ‘cock and hen club . . . get drunk and debauch each other’.”

You’ll find a recipe for Lamb’s wool (cider) here.

Re Pathagorean Princess – I think the derivation is Pythagorean.  Over to any historians of mathematics to explain the spinning reference please.