MARY HARTI-AGEN, a daughter of Erin, was introduced to the magistrates’ notice last week under rather comical circumstances. Their honors the k-nights of the peace, vulgo night constables, in the course of their salutary perambulations the preceding evening, had the inexpressible felicity of meeting the aforesaid Miss MARY HARTI-AGEN, who seemed to “tower above her sex,” parading the streets in rather a hearty mood—dressed out, not in silks and satins, but in the good substantial brogues and corduroy inexpressibles, and what not—of an “auld croney,” one Mr. O’ROFFERTY—no, Mr. MONTGOMERY. This of course produced great diversion for “some quantity of barren spectators,” who were congregated together, all agog for mirth and jollity.
The guardians of “peace and harmony” having given in their account of the matter, Miss MARY was requested to state her inducements for assuming, what by the “common law” between the male and female parts of the creation did not exactly belong to her. Now, MARY, it would appear, never supposed her little “quips and cracks and wanton wiles” might have any mischievous consequences. She was in the service of a Mrs. H—, of George-street, engaged, no doubt, in performing sundry culinary operations, and other little domestic duties, and she saw no reason, when all the boys and girls were enjoying themselves, that she should remain moping at home, depriving the kettles and pots of certain incrustations which every prudent housewife must have frequently observed adhering to their sides—probably arising as much from fumigation as defect of attention to the scouring department. Well, feeling inclined for a “bit of a spree,” MARY, in an unlucky hour, took a fancy to “wear the breeches,” and appeared publicly in the way detailed by her guardians, nor would she, as she said, have done it so publicly bairin she “was proud to keep the ould game alive bekase Mr. what d’ye call um is an oun countryman of her’n, her mother, and her grandmother, and her aunt’s daughter, and all the family of the HARTIGAN’s, did the same before her, and where was the harm of that—it was the way of them all.
The magistrate did not exactly understand that this was a universal amusement in Ireland during the Christmas holidays, and wished to know what particular county she alluded to. “Is it the town your honor manes,” said MARY—”och, sure then, it’s the county o’ Limbrick, in Ireland, meself is out of.” The magistrate, as well as the lookers on, could not yet be convinced of the prevalence of this fashion, so “poor MARIA” was dismissed with a strong recommendation to the care of the lady of that delightful mansion, ycleped the “female factory.”
See Original: “No Title,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848) Thursday 5 January 1826, pp.3-4