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3-103 (Original)

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addressee,female author,male,Howitt, Alfred William,42
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Niall, 1998
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3-103.txt — 5 KB

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I wrote in great haste by the Boomerang the other day and I dare say you would be all no little surprised by it but I hope that now you do not think me quite unadaptable - I have very long considered the matter over and have spoken to one or two people about it all have come to the decision that it is the best thing I can do. It has been a very severe trial giving up all ideas of going home for at least several years but from what my sister says in her letter about things at home being so depressed by the [war?] and the very bad state of colonial commercial affairs I have thought it only right to stay and try to do something here and I think that with a little money to start up as a farmer in a humble way and not being afraid of work I might manage pretty well after a time. I am very sick of doing nothing and all this uncertainty often makes me very low spirited. I see people all about doing capitally but dont [sic] seem to see my own way clear - I dont [sic] want to spend my life with a lash as an overseer and yet without a foundation one wont [sic] build even the smallest house. However if you think that I had better return home I will do so directly I hear from you - till then I shall try and get something agricultural to do so that I may at all events learn something, but it is so difficult to find for a few months just what one wants how happy it would be if we were all quietly settled down on some pleasant place here - all of us I mean - I am sure my father and Charlton must often long for the splendid weather we have here. If it were not for you dear ones I could adopt Victoria for my home without a pang - the country is improving and people expect that all things will be in a more healthy state before long. Metalled roads have been made up to most of the diggings, bridges built and everywhere land is being enclosed, the stride made in this respect during the last twelve months has been immense, I think you must pretty well understand my [illegible] and that I am quite ready to do whatever you may in consideration think best. I have never heard a word from Austin which in itself would have prevented my going to Madras. If I returned home I do not see what I could do there and as for being any one's clerk I would a thousand times rather turn bullock driver and be my own master. However if nothing else could be done I should not mind taking any appointment in some part of the world - I should be quite indifferent Borneo or anywhere, but I would rather either return to stay in England - with those I love but in that being out of the question remain here and turn tiller of the soil -  [47] I was at Toorak the other evening at the birthday ball and a queer affair it was as you will see by the papers - colonial swipes in common earthenware jugs and small decanters of horrible stuff supposed to be wine on the supper-table, then with Eau sucret and such like constituted the drinkables - no not drinkables for no one was able to do more than taste them - parched with thirst I drank part of a glass of swipes and felt as if I had taken some indescribable physic - I never tasted such a flavour and the wine was excruciating - the covered approach to the hall door from which the carriages set people down was illuminated with tallow candles in tin lanthorns and two sentries kept watch over the haystack lest common men might appropriate the vice regal hay to plebeian horses, Having made my bow to their excellencies I joined some people I knew in watching the various modes of making bows and the whalebone inclinations of their excellencies. The queerest object there was Mrs Chisholm a perfect guy with her unfortunate miserable of a husband with her, Neither Sir Charles nor Lady Hotham danced with anyone and only the last dance with each other and behaved in such an extraordinary manner to their guests that everyone is disgusted. Sir Charles is more universally hated here than I really believe, any colonial governor that ever lived. However I had a very pleasant evening despite the supper as I knew a great many people there and had dancing to any amount. I went outside an omnibus taken by the officers - the only seat I could get up to the eleventh hour and a very messy and noisy omnibus full it was with a lot of little boys running after us hurahing at the redcoats and goldlace inside. I dare say you will see all about the ball from the papers which have been full of absurd things about - some of them tolerable clever - I have half an idea of collecting the Hotham Anecdotes for Joe with explanatory notes - they are endless and most ludicrous and many of them not all to their credit.
I should fancy that Sir Charles must feel 'considerable mean' now but he doesn't seem to be - though he was received with a shout of 'swipes' the other day. He says he does not care on his own account but that he is sorry for Lady Hotham who spent a fortnight in trying to please the Victorians. Murphy was so chaffed about his "Murphys entry" that he is said to have started for his station at Colbinabin the day after the party - I hope you admire the picture at the beginning I think it is very natural, I choose to believe it very early morning just before sunrise when one of the travellers has got up to see that all is right and make up the fire. The two others are curled up to get a little warm before they wake up and there is a hazy kind of look about the country that reminds me of an early morning before sunrise. Remember me very affectionately to Joe and tell Joe particularly that I shall write very soon to him but that I have not felt up to writing any more than I was absolutely obliged to - I shall write a good gossiping letter to all next time, With dearest love believe me dearest Annie