19th May 1861


Medical men declare crinoline is unhealthy, but the ladies are ready to offer up their health on the altar of taste. Grumbling, prudish people call crinoline indelicate, but the ladies do not believe that a prevailing taste can be indelicate.

Many, many deaths have occurred from wearing crinoline but for the sake of a prevailing taste ladies are ready to brave death. Perhaps some centuries hence, when Macaulay’s New Zealander prowls about deserted, ruined London, he may light upon a mildewed half worm-eaten book of fashions of the nineteenth century and may propound a theory that the ancients were accustomed to wear balloons for the sake of easy, ready locomotion. And such a theory may be accepted as the only possible solution of the strange enigma.


Two cases of robbing sailors of their watches came before Mr Woolrych. In the first, Mary Mahoney, a well-known and desperate thief, was charged with stealing a gold watch from the person of a sailor named Skeepie, the second mate of the ship Dorothea.

The complainant was decoyed into a house in the vicinity of that dirty, noisy and disorderly place, Rosemary-lane, and when he lay down on a bed he fastened his watch-guard round his finger, and the watch under his pillow.

Soon afterwards, a person came into the room and tried to take away his clothes, which he had placed on a chair. He jumped out of bed and fought in the dark with a man who had his clothes, and recovered them with the exception of his “pants”, which were taken away. He alleged that while he was struggling with the ruffian for the possession of his clothes, Mary Mahoney stole his watch and guard and left the room.

The sailor called aloud for help. His “pants” were returned to him and he got out of the horrible den as soon as possible. Mary Mahoney was shortly afterwards taken into custody.

Mr Woolrych said, “The case is full of suspicion against the prisoner but not sufficient to justify me in sending her before the jury. She is discharged.”

In the second case, a large and vulgar-looking woman named Simmons, of Phillip street, St George-in-the-East, was charged with stealing a silver watch from the person of William Owen, a sailmaker who has been recently paid off from his ship. The circumstances of this case were similar to those of the first.

Mr Woolrych said this case was also too doubtful a one to justify him sending the prisoner for trial. The sailor was very fortunate in recovering his watch. Seafaring men are generally stripped of everything when they are inveigled in the odious dens of the district. He discharged the prisoner.


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