Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 4-019 (Raw)

4-019 (Raw)

Item metadata
addressee author,male,Lloyd, Jessie Georgina,38
Newspaper Article
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Teale, 1982
Document metadata

4-019-raw.txt — 3 KB

File contents

Some of our best town housekeepers would find themselves sadly at fault if they should find themselves transplanted into the far bush, miles from shop, store, or the daily tradesman . . . The household on a station must be a miniature town in itself; it must have its store, and those who make up a list must be far-seeing not to find that something has been forgotten, or the consumption of some article miscalculated. Then the lady on a station is supposed to possess medical and surgical knowledge, from pulling a tooth to mending a broken leg. She must be a Lady Bountiful, too, and have the discernment to know when to give and when to withhold. At times her housekeeping capabilities are put to the utmost stretch when an inroad of visitors come . . . [W]ithout warning . . . eight or nine will . . . make their appearance about sundown of the same day, and the busy housekeeper will be hurrying from Mary Ann the cook to Betsy Jane the housemaid, 'on hospitable thoughts intent', for the comfort and welfare of her guests.
In the bush the servants' question is surrounded with difficulty: a mistress may be kind and considerate . . . and yet be unable to keep her servants. The young ones will get married . . . and the old ones get drunk; whilst, if deluded into engaging a married couple, she has made a rod for her own back . . . If one is good the other is invariably worthless, and though they quarrel with a perseverance worthy of a better cause, a word of rebuke said to either party causes the devoted couple to immediately unite into a defensive alliance against their common enemy - the mistress.
The bush-girl, out of a shepherd's or stockman's hut, is a creature too fearful almost to be believed in . . . Her capacity for breaking and destroying is marvellous. When waiting at table she joins in the conversation, and bursts into a hoarse laugh at anything that amuses her; she drops knives and forks like leaves in a storm; when spoken to answers 'Yes', 'Aye', or 'What do you say?' without prefix or affix, and is altogether such a rough, uncouth specimen that many a young inexperienced housekeeper has been reduced almost to despair at having to convert the raw material into the semblance of a civilized domestic. Accustomed as she has been in her father's household to well-trained servants, who perform their duties with deftness, silently and regularly, the introduction of a bush-hoyden, with a step like a troop of horse and a voice like a boatswain, is both trying to the patience and aggravating to the temper.
Many a tenderly reared lady has had to be her own servant, making bread, washing dishes, scrubbing and cleaning, with unaccustomed and weary fingers. She must know how to do many things that town housekeepers know nothing about; she must understand how to make bread, butter, candles, and brew beer and rear chickens, and make garments of every description, for there is no getting in a needlewoman for a day or two when the season changes.