A Female Recruit

The Australian Saturday 7 August 1847 p.3
A FEMALE RECRUIT.—Last Saturday the East India Company's recruiting sergeant stationed in Glasgow, was applied to by a splendid-looking young fellow to be admitted as a recruit.

Congratulating himself on his good luck, the sergeant led the way to the rendezvous, where the recruit was found to be five feet five three-quarter inches in height. The chest and legs were examined as usual, though the worthy sergeant considered this proceeding quite unnecessary in this instance, and porformed this part of his duty very cursorily.

A bystander's eyes were, however, sharper than the deluded sergeant's ; for he saw, while the chest was being looked at, that the would-be recruit was a woman! She confessed her sex, while the disappointed sergeant stood by in gaping astonishment.

She said her name was Ann M'Lean, eighteen years of age : was a native of Ireland, though of Scotch parents, who were poor, and that after their death had found it difficult to obtain a livelihood. Being stout and hardy, she thought she might pass for a boy ; came to Cork, engaged as a sailor, and went two voyages to the West Indies. On her return in November last, got employment for three weeks in a factory in Glasgow, but did not like the confinement. Subsequently was employed about the Broomielaw as a coal-porter, and also at Pollokshaws in field labour.

Having a brother in the East India Company's service, thought she would go there also, and was much disappointed when discovered. She has cousins in Glasgow, and generally passed herself off as her younger brother, and was never even suspected before. She has altogether a manly look, and dressed out in corduroy jacket, moleskin trousers, blue bonnet, striped shirt, and hob-nailed shoes, the masculine gender could not be doubted. To avoid suspicion, she smokes, and takes her glass of whiskey or porter like her would-be fellows. Her voice is rather shrill, and is the only weak point in her assumed character.

She left the soldiers, saying she would endeavour to get work on the railway as a "navvie!"—Glasgow Reformer's Gazette.

No comments: