Does anyone really call it “cavorting” any more?

Writing for the Gray Lady, Tony Perrottet is shocked – shocked! – by Sydney’s bawdy history (emphasis added):

On Feb. 6, 1788, a fortnight after the male prisoners arrived, the first female convicts were delivered from their ship, triggering pandemonium. As the women — gussied up for the occasion — began mingling with the male convicts, they were joined by lonely British sailors who rowed ashore with their rum supplies.

While the military guards stayed nervously in their camps, the new settlement descended into an uninhibited pageant of “debauchery and riot,” in the words of a horrified ship’s surgeon, Arthur Bowes Smith. The frenzy only increased after dark, when the crowd was lashed by a tropical thunderstorm and convicts began cavorting in the bush. The wild scene “beggars every description,” railed Bowes Smith in his journal. “Some (were) swearing, others quarrelling, others singing …”.

Or, as we call it in Australia, an average Thursday night.

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