With stacks of love to all at home, and a whole dray-load for yourself, from your loving sister,
Remember me to Goulburn, drowsing lazily in its dreamy graceful hollow in the blue distance.
Caddagat, 29th Sept., 1896
Thank you very much for the magazines and “An Australian Bush Track”. I suppose you have quite forgotten us and Caddagat by this time. The sun has sunk behind the gum-trees, and the blue evening mists are hanging lazily in the hollows of the hills. I expect you are donning your “swallow-tail” preparatory to leading some be-satined “faire ladye” in to a gorgeous dinner, thence to the play, then to a dance probably. No doubt all around you is bustle, glare of lights, noise, and fun. It is such a different scene here. From down the road comes the tinkle of camp-bells and jingle of hobble-chains. From down in that sheltered angle where the creek meets the river comes the gleam of camp-fires through the gathering twilight, and I can see several tents rigged for the night, looking like white specks in the distance.
I long for the time to come when I shall get to Sydney. I’m going to lead you and aunt Helen a pretty dance. You’ll have to keep going night and day. It will be great. I must get up and dance a jig on the veranda when I think of it. You’ll have to show me everything—slums and all. I want to find out the truth of heaps of things for myself.
Save for the weird rush of the stream and the kookaburras’ goodnight, all is still, with a mighty far-reaching stillness which can be felt. Now the curlews are beginning their wild moaning cry. From the rifts in the dark lone ranges, far down the river, it comes like a hunted spirit until it makes me feel—
At this point I said, “Bah! I’m mad to write to Everard Grey like this. He would laugh and call me a poor little fool.” I tore the half-finished letter to shreds, and consigned it to the kitchen fire. I substituted a prim formal note, merely thanking him for the books and magazine he had sent me. To this I never received an answer. I heard through his letters to grannie that he was much occupied. Had been to Brisbane and Melbourne on important cases, so very likely had not time to be bothered with me; or, he might have been like the majority of his fellows who make a great parade of friendship while with one, then go away and forget one’s existence in an hour.
While at Caddagat there were a few duties allotted to me. One of these was to attend to the drawing-room; another was to find uncle Jay-Jay’s hat when he mislaid it—often ten times per day. I assisted my grandmother to make up her accounts and write business letters, and I attended to tramps. A man was never refused a bit to cat at Caddagat. This necessitated the purchase of an extra ton of flour per year, also nearly a ton of sugar, to say