Have you ever read an historical romance where the heroine dresses as a boy - and were you dubious about whether she could ever have got away with it in real life?
Well, here's an example as reported in The Statesman Newspaper for August 1808 and what is incredible is that the woman in question managed it not just for a day or two but for long periods. Is it genuine or a Regency myth, a good story for the newspaper?
Watson visited the next summer, and the next - by which time there was growing disquiet about the amount he owed. Watson charmed the doubtors and was invited to a grand ball at Perth. But, "As Watson was walking the day after the ball with two gentlemen in the High-street, a physician of eminence, accompanied by another Gentleman, following at a little distance, said to his friend, 'that person,' pointing to Captain Watson, 'is not a man but a woman.' The hint took wing; and in less than an hour after no Captain Watson was to be seen.... Report adds that, after playing the same game in the county of Inverness next summer, under the name of Dodsworth, wth some little success, she was apprehended, tried and convicted...'
The article goes on to saythat she was sentenced to seven years transportation, but the sentence was never carried out. 'What is become of this wonderful character is unknown.'
What do you think? Fact or a newspaper 'silly season' story?