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6 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

WALGETT.

POLICE COURT.

(Before Malcolm MacTaggart, Esq P M and E J Sparke,

Esq, J P )

Not the least pleasant result of the late genial rains is that they have made everything " with ver- dure clad," not omitting that usually dry emporium, the police pantheon. On Tuesday last, from " in- formation received" I stepped in to ascertain the state of the odds at this Temple of the Gods, and to see if any sport was going on worthy of being handed down to posterity in the universally admired and popular columns of the Mercury. Having exchanged nods with the P M and courteously acknowledged   a graceful bow from the preux chevalier Sergeant Meagher, I was just adopting the advice of Pickwick to the Widow Bardell and trying to compose myself   to the situation when the court opened like a chorus of policemen, " Fuller agin Young ." It was fortu- nate for History that fate had decreed my footsteps   to wander thither: it afforded me an opportunity of recordmg at least one charming peep behind the scenes ot fashionable life which occasionally illumine the path of tbe lonely wanderer through the ' Vale of Tears" and make for a brief time an elysium of earth. I can only epitomise the particulars from the voluminous evidence given on both sides, La belle Young, a dazzling creature of transcendant beauty, and crinoline à discretion, was indicted for having unlawfully absented herself from her hired service, to wit, the employment of Thomas Fuller,     of the Junction Inn, Walgett, and being called on to plead in the stern voice of the Lord Chief Baron, the fair creature drooped her head like a lily of the valley and silently trembled beneath the awe-inspiring frowns of the inflexible dispensers of   the blessings of Blackstone. Alas, for human frailty, particularly when crinolined in court, and undefended. How I longed to pour forth a torrent of eloquence in her behalf. At this moment, Baron Sparke, with a degree of feeling honourable to his nature, administered a soothing powder (sotto voce) to the defendant, when the timid Jeannie, evidently   regarding him as a rara avis in the shape of a friend, at once screwed her courage to the sticking point. Being asked if she had any reason for leaving, with the most charming naivete she answered the bench with drooping mein, that " she didn't like to say ,"   and mademoiselle could not be cajoled or com- manded to give the why or the wherefore. At this   crisis, Host Fuller was "boxed," and having shoved his nose into Jeremiah he explained that he had no fault to find with the "gal." She was a stunner and   no gammon. He liked her much. He had hired her in Sydney as cook at fourteen bob a week, and the "run   of her Dover," and she had pleased him mightily these four months, but the other evening she skedaddled, and left them potluck, and he didn't think that ac- cording to Cocker. She had ten pounds odd coming as wages. The fair accused heard the soft impeach- ment with the resignation of a stoic, and being re- quested to cross-examine the complainant, imme- diately executed a splendid vocal photograph of the gallant Boniface of the " Junction." The flood gates of her mind had evidently got unhinged, for their worships in vain exclaimed that she was ' barking up the wrong tree, " i. e., that it was "questions" and not "statements" that was trumps "Time" having been repeatedly called, the volubility so peculiarly the attribute of "lovely   woman" when she "stoops to folly" was checked, and mingled feelings of awe, agony, and admira- tion prevailed throughout the court. It was now evident that the Bench was coming to the "short strokes," as an interlocutory discussion on Jenny's debit and credit account followed, which was ad- journed to enable the complainant to make his finan- cial statement. The most profound interest was manifested in court during the progress of this cause   celebre the denouement being (I blush to record it) a triumph of Boniface over Beauty, the Bench re- ducing the exchequer of the weeping handmaid to the tune of five "quid," and the cost of her tra- velling expenses from Sydney, together with the cancellation of the agreement.

George Shipton, a thick set, honest specimen of a "Brummagem" mechanic, stout, forty five years old,   was then " docked," to answer the charge of unlaw- fully concealing and retaining the defendant in the last cose (Jane Young) knowing her to be the hired servant of Thomas Fuller "When asked to plead,     the defendant very emphatically replied "Not Guilty " Thomas Fullei, being introduced to the

truth-teller," deposed " I knew that Miss Young was at Skipton's place, and I sent him a note to say that my servant Jane had left my service without just cause, and requested that he would not encou-

rage her; he answered that she was getting no en-   couragement, she had only come on a visit to see his wife, that she has been there every day   since she absented herself from my service." (Cross-examination commences) -Skipton. Did I encourage her ? Fuller: She was there. Skipton:

Can you prove I encouraged her ? Fuller. Of course you encouraged her. (At this point the examination waxed exceedingly warm). Skip-   ton . What language did I use ? Fuller How do I

know ? The Bench : Go on with the examination in a proper manner. Skipton: Did you ask her to come back ? Fuller: What's that got to do with   you? (Cross-examination concluded.) The bench to defendant : Do you wish to be sworn? Defen-   dant. Yes. Having performed his devotions defen- dant stated : I am a blacksmith, with wife and family, living at Walgett. I never encouraged complainant's servant. She came to my house unsolicited to see my wife, and knowing she was homeless, friendless, and penniless, I gave her food at my own table. (The complainant, excitedly . That is encouraging her.) Defendant. I would encourage a Chinaman or a Blackfellow in the same way. If it's against the Masters and Servants Act, its the law of humanity. (Approbation in court.) By the bench: Did she ever sleep at your place ? (Confusion.) De- fendant (with high moral dignity) no, your wor- ship, decidedly not. At this stage of the case, the defendant called Jane Young, and Jeanny having been gracefully chaperoned into the witness-box by  

Sergeant Meagher, she blushingly withdrew ber faultlessly fitting kids, and pledged her "Davy" so earnestly that the whole court seemed electrified The spell was broken by the facinatmg Jeannie, who, after a little basliful reserve, informed the bench  

that she was the party that the defendant was charged with harbouring. By defen- dant. You never harboured me; you never  

advised me to leave Mr. Fuller's (question dis- allowed by the bench), you never encouiaged me  

in any way. To the Bench. "He said he had too

many of his own family." The PM : "Well, that's

not at all relevant to the case." Defendant to the   Police Magistrate. " Well, I put it to you as a ge-   tleman, could you, or would you, have turned the   woman away starving if she had come to your place hungry?" His Worship declined to answer the ques-  

tion , and the evidence having closed, the defendant   waa adjudged guilty of a breach of the Masters and Servants Act, and fined 5s., or twenty-four hours' imprisonment in default. The honest old fellows' heart rebelled at what he conceived to be the inhu- inanity of the law, and he resolutely refused to pay a farthing, but Mr. Sparke, J P., discharged the fine

Fuller versus Caroline Heath was the next case the defendant being charged with a similar breach of the Act, by allowing the complainant's servant to sleep on her premises but the police intimated that the case was withdrawn.

It may be interesting to add that " Pretty Jane' was wooed and won amidst her tribulation, and on the morning following that which had witnessed her debut she was married to one William Matthews, who is well known as a thrifty, hard-working man.  

Feb. 9.

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