Convict woman incarcerated in the Parramatta Female Factory.
“Arrah, y’r honor, it wasn’t meself got drunk, at all, but them as made me…”
A snub-nosed, cherry cheeked little damsel came up next. She had not been many days landed from the ship Lady Rowena and lodged in the Orphan School Asylum, before she had the luck to be called out from amongst five or six score of other ladies, and assigned to the service of the ci-devant Court of Requests’ Commissioner; but the luckless wight made her entrè into the house of her expecting master, quite “‘tossicated like;” and, as this could scarcely be considered a favourable specimen of her future services, the intended master refused to receive the unlucky “inebriant” within his doors, and sent her back, packing, by the same way she had come, under the guardianship of a constable, who took upon himself the burthen of escorting her now-become-sober ladyship to the Office, that she might know her ultimate fate. The Magistrate begged leave to know the lady’s name; to which, with a most tragi-comic countenance, and rich and unaffected brogue, she replied, “Och! sure, and me own name’s MARY MADDIN, y’r honor; but, that isn’t to say me mother’s name, that lives.” Poor MARY was about to enter into a dissertation on the different branches of her family, when she was cut short by being peremptorily asked to assign reasons for getting drunk, but she could give no better than, “Arrah, y’r honor, it wasn’t meself got drunk, at all, but them as made me,” pointing to the constable who escorted her to the Office; and, indeed, it came out that the woman had been allowed, during her journey from the Orphan Asylum in George-street, all the way to her intended master’s house, in Pitt-street, to quench her thirst in more than one, two, and three public-houses; but this, the constable affirmed was entirely owing to an “ould croney,” who kept close to her heels all the way from the Orphan School, and who could scarce pass a public-house without wetting her and her comrade’s “whistle;” or, in more simple phrase, taking a glass or two of rum, gin, or brandy, “neat;” and it was these frequent potations that set MARY’s wits a wandering, and, moreover, caused her to lose her place. As it appeared very evident that the woman had got her intoxicated, and in consequence was deprived of her intended service, the Magistrate saw no other course than to commit her to the Factory. An order was made out accordingly, and MARY retired from the Office, not knowing whether ’twere best to laugh or cry.
See Original: “POLICE INCIDENTS,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Saturday 3 June 1826, p.3