"Mrs Meagher is in a constant state of shame over the rags they wear and so desperate she goes down to the Dispensary for the public assistance."

Dispensary and hospital patients were subject to severe rules and expected to show due deference to those in authority.  Patients could be discharged from hospital for a long list of reasons: smoking, drinking, swearing, blasphemy, or disobedience to hospital personnel to name a few.