Nowhere Could You Turn Your
Eye Without Meeting "30,000 Oz.
Wanted immediately; highest price
given;" "10,000 oz.
Want to consign per - - ; extra price given to
immediate sellers," &c. Outwardly it seemed a city of gold, yet
hundreds were half perishing for want of food, with no place of shelter
beneath which to lay their heads. Many families of freshly-arrived
emigrants - wife, children, and all - slept out in the open air; infants
were born upon the wharves with no helping hand near to support the
wretched mother in her misery.
How greatly the last few weeks had enlarged Melbourne. Cities of tents
encompassed it on all sides; though, as I said before, the trifling
comfort of a canvas roof above them, was denied to the poorest
of the poor, unless a weekly tax were paid!
But I must return to ourselves. Our first business the next morning was
to find for our little Jessie some permanent home; for all our
movements were so uncertain - I myself, thinking of a return to the old
country - that it was considered advisable to obtain for her some better
friends than a set of volatile, though good-hearted young fellows - not
the most suitable protection for a young girl, even in so lax a place
as the colonies. We never thought of letting her return to England, for
there the life of a female, who has her own livelihood to earn, is one
of badly-paid labour, entailing constant privation, and often great
misery - if not worse.
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