“Why, I wasn’t there harf an hour wen she had to strip off her clean duds an’ go an’ milk. I don’t think much of any of the men around here. They let the women work too hard. I never see such a tired wore-out set of women. It puts me in mind ev the time wen the black fellers made the gins do all the work. Why, on Bruggabrong the women never had to do no outside work, only on a great pinch wen all the men were away at a fire or a muster. Down here they do everything. They do all the milkin’, and pig-feedin’, and poddy-rarin’. It makes me feel fit to retch. I don’t know whether it’s because the men is crawlers or whether it’s dairyin’. I don’t think much of dairyin’. It’s slavin’, an’ delvin’, an’ scrapin’ yer eyeballs out from mornin’ to night, and nothink to show for your pains; and now you’ll oblige me, Mr Blackshaw, if youll lollop somewhere else for a minute or two. I want to sweep under that sofer.”
This had the effect of making him depart. He said good morning and went off, not sure whether he was most amused or insulted.
A Career Which Soon Careered To An End
While mother, Jane Haizelip, and I found the days long and life slow, father was enjoying himself immensely.
He had embarked upon a lively career—that gambling trade known as dealing in stock.
When he was not away in Riverina inspecting a flock of sheep, he was attending the Homebush Fat Stock Sales, rushing away out to Bourke, or tearing off down the Shoalhaven to buy some dairy heifers.
He was a familiar figure at the Goulburn sale-yards every Wednesday, always going into town the day before and not returning till a day, and often two days, afterwards.
He was in great demand among drovers and auctioneers; and in the stock news his name was always mentioned in connection with all the principal sales in the colony.
It takes an astute, clear-headed man to keep himself off shore in stock dealing. I never yet heard of a dealer who occasionally did not temporarily, if not totally, go to the wall.
He need not necessarily be downright unscrupulous, but if he wishes to profit he must not be overburdened with niceties in the point of honour. That is where Richard Melvyn fell through. He was crippled with too many Utopian ideas of honesty, and was too soft ever to come off anything but second-best in a deal. He might as well have attempted to make his fortune by scraping a fiddle up and down Auburn Street, Goulburn. His dealing career was short and merry. His vanity to be considered a socialistic fellow, who was as ready to take a glass with a swaggie as a swell, and the lavish shouting which this principle incurred, made great inroads on his means. Losing money every time he sold a beast, wasting stamps galore on letters to endless auctioneers, frequently remaining in town half a week at a stretch, and being hail-fellow to all the spongers to be found on the trail of such as he, quickly left him on the verge of bankruptcy. Some of his contemporaries say it was grog that did it all.