Unidentified Woman

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
19 April 1826

A female was brought up on the suit of an invisible old man. This old man might in reality be said to have been invisible, if being shut up from all mortal ken, constitute invisibility. He did not appear in person at the office, age and consequent debility had united to unman his frame and to confine him within the bounds of his chamber; but his hands were not yet so palsied, nor had time so reduced him to “second childishness and mere oblivion,” as to hinder him from proclaiming his grievances, through the medium of a pen, ink, and paper—”useful trifles,” which were accordingly put in requisition, and in the form of a letter of instructions forwarded to the superintendent of police. This letter contained an exposé of the old man’s circumstances.

He had now arrived at that age, as some old poet sings “when there is no dallying with life.” With one foot in the grave, and the other not very far distant, it was to be expected that some female relative—”some sweet soother of his cares,” would be a very desirable piece of furniture, but it was the old man’s fate never to have fitted himself with a wife, but to have lived on in a state of “single blessedness,” dependant on the interested officiousness of a mercenary nurse. Such was the female in question represented to be. In consideration of his requiring a proper help-mate, the old man had been allowed a female servant from the factory, for some years past, and she was the chosen one. Between five and six years did she minister to his wants, to do her justice, with much and constant assiduity, but “who can tell the bent of a woman’s fantasy?” on the night of Sunday, that hallowed night, she chose to blast the fruits which a close attendance of between five and six summers had nearly ripened into Hymeneal maturity, by eloping from her suitor and hiding her “withered charms” within the doors of perchance, an ale house. This could not but cause a vacuum in the old man’s breast, and almost tempt him to exclaim—

“‘Tis sweet to hear the watch-dogs’ honest bark

Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;

‘Tis sweet to think, there is an eye will mark

Our coming, and look brighter when we come.

Or some such stave—it matters little; the bird had flown, and constables were put upon the scent, who, after a fruitless search of some days, at length succeeded in restoring the runaway to her despairing protegé, who reconsigned his “beautiful maid” to the constables’ care, duly provided with the before alluded to letter of recommendation, which was duly received and read. Instructions were finally given for her reception within the Parramatta factory, notwithstanding an evident unwillingness on the maid’s part to be so received, as well as a very long residence in the Colony, without ever eloping from her service, save once.


Female Factory Online, (femalefactoryonline.org), “Law Report of UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN,” https://femalefactoryonline.org/law-reports/p18260419/, accessed [insert current date].

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© Copyright Michaela Ann Cameron 2015