Mary Peisley

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
22 February 1844



MONDAY, FEB. 19, 1844.—Present, GILBERT ELIOTT, Esq., P.M. and Dr. ANDERSON, J. P.

MARY PEISLEY (bond) was the next debutante who curtsied at the bar. This specimen of the fair, while natural gallantry prevents us saying aught derogatory of the sex, it must be admitted was not cast in the mould that formed the “Venus de Medici,” and was at an age when it is generally supposed that its wearer has ceased to cause direful ravage on the heart of weak susceptible man, or, as Hamlet affirms, “when the blood ought to grow cold.” But then the melancholy prince was a Dane—there is a wide difference between the sun of Denmark and that of New South Wales—and physiologists and physicians assert “climate to be everything.” Yet, nevertheless, such are the blind boy’s vagaries, he had been flinging his shafts, and MARY PEISLEY, as she stated to their Worships, had been placed in a harrowing situation.

Mr. JAMES HOWISON,* architect, of Macquarie-street, deposed, that PEISLEY was his assigned servant, and that on Wednesday night last, as Mrs. HOWISON was retiring to rest she heard an unaccustomed but stealthy tread on the stairs; on going to the landing place she saw a man making his way towards the upper-story; Mrs. HOWISON not recognising the individual as any of the male portion of the establishment, and not having engaged the services of any he-creature to sleep in the attics to guard the maids, was naturally thrown into a state of serious alarm, which was also shared by the gentleman himself, who, seeing her, made a rapid retreat, descending the stairs rather quicker than he ascended, by means of the banisters, which illustration of the sliding scale accomplished, he effected his escape from the premises, leaving a pair of boots and a bottle of wine, which he has not considered it prudent as yet to return and claim.

A servant in Mr. HOWISON’s employ stated that, on the evening alluded to, MARY PEISLY [sic] had informed her that a gentleman had proposed affording her and witness an elegant little supper, consisting of a few eggs, and other choice delicacies, such as sausages and cheese, with radishes and ignions, to which was to be superadded a bottle of wine, to crown the banquet. But as witness did not cordially concur in the entertainment, PEISLY [sic] did not press the proposed “petite souper,” and so the matter dropped.

MARY PEISLY [sic] stated that what the last witness had said was perfectly correct, but that she had refused with dignity becoming the employment she was in, and with a proper respect to herself, the entertainment that had certainly been offered to her by a man whom she did not know, but who had come into the yard at the rear of her master’s premises. She had refused also, because she felt perfectly convinced that where gentlemen, instead of making “cupboard love,” voluntarily proffer such, they unfortunately have intentions of a very villainous nature in view towards those they feast, and she was by no means a female of that sort. But as to Mrs. HOWISON seeing a man on the stair case, it must have been a perfect illusion on the part of that lady—such a thing could not have been.

The Bench, not going the full extent of belief laid down in Sir Walter Scott’s “Demonology and Witchcraft,” as to these extraordinary illusions of eyesight, sentenced PEISLEY to two months third class at the Female Factory, first and last week of such sentence to be passed in solitary confinement.


See Original: “COUNTRY NEWS. PARRAMATTA,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Thursday 22 February 1844, p.3