Edward McLarty and family, 1900
Edward McLarty and family at Edenvale, 1900

Are you ever too old to carry on with married women? This is the question we at Dodgy Perth will consider today.

In 1912, Reuben Green sued Edward McLarty for failing to make good on a £500 promissory note. So far, so straightforward.

Reuben was a labourer and mailman in Pinjarra, while Edward basically ruled the town like a medieval squire. He was JP and MLC, owned the biggest house (which you can still visit today), and was the father of a future Premier.

So perhaps it looks like Reuben was brave suing such a bigwig.

No, not brave. Stupid, as it turns out.

At this point, let us introduce Mrs Jessie Green, Reuben’s wife. Well, technically not wife, since Jessie wasn’t sure if her previous husband was alive or dead. But she called herself Mrs Green anyway.

Jessie was a middle aged, homely-looking matron, who was nearly as deaf as a post. But somehow she had caught the eye of the local squire, and whenever she beckoned Edward would rush to her bed.

Perhaps Edward wasn’t getting any at home from his missus, Mary Jane. Perhaps he just fancied bonking the local peasantry, like any good landholder. But since he was in his mid-sixties, he might have known better.

It should really have come as no surprise that one day Reuben should burst into the bedroom, and declare his outrage at finding the couple in flagrante delicto.

He levelled a rifle at Edward’s head, and demanded four promissory notes for £500 each or he would shoot.

Mr McLarty pleaded not to be blackmailed, but Reuben repeated his threat to fire. In the end, he received two such notes and allowed Edward to escape.

Now here comes the weird part.

Despite it being very clear that Mr and Mrs Green were in on this together, Edward kept coming round for nookie. And kept getting blackmailed.

In the end he had coughed up around £2,000 before he refused to honour one more note.

Then Reuben had the balls to sue in the Supreme Court to get a last five hundred out of his victim. Unbelievable.

The judge found for Edward, saying he had certainly been an old fool, but did not deserve to be blackmailed.

His Honour also said some very bad things about Reuben Green.

While it might have been good advice just to leave forbidden fruit alone, we at Dodgy Perth feel somewhat sorry for Edward McLarty. After all, that’s a hell of a lot of money for a little afternoon delight.