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2-240 (Text)

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addressee,female author,female,Selby, Penelope,un
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Frost, 1984
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2-240-plain.txt — 4 KB

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Station on the Yarra
5th July 1841 My dear Sisters, Since we last wrote we have begun to earn a little by our butter. We are making about 20 lbs a week which we send into Melbourne salted once a month, for which we get 2 shillings per pound for as much as we can send for a year. Thanks to Mrs Dawson I have become a first rate dairy woman and can cure meat, make butter, cheese, fatten calves or pigs equal to Aunt Goddard herself and when I tell you that we have had no man the last month and George has had to be away every alternate day with the cows, that I have all the baking, washing and in fact everything to do and that I am now within a month of my confinement you will allow that we have no time for dress or play. Indeed, could you see George when he comes in from milking in the stockyard these cold damp mornings covered with filth, I do not know whether you would laugh or cry.  A scavenger in the City of London after a heavy frost and a thaw is clean to him, but he puts up with it all and says he would not exchange his present dirty work for his old life of gentility at home.
You will know before this that you are to have a new nephew or niece about the beginning of next month. I was afraid I should be obliged to go to Melbourne upon the occasion but to my great joy I think I shall be able to manage here. A very respectable middle-aged woman who acted as servant to Mrs Howey is coming to stay with me the end of this week for as long as I like. She has had 5 children of her own and great experience that way. George asked her as a favour to come and expected she would and he was prepared to give a pound a week. To his surprise and satisfaction she said would he consider eight shillings too much, which is quite as little as I could hire a raw Irish girl for. Previous to this George has endeavoured to get a man and his wife but they all have infants or young children which they seem to expect should be paid for by an increase of wages, and when you do get a woman, not one out of twenty will be of service to you.
With respect to the gentleman who is to take my old friend Mr Wallace's place, nothing is settled. We are told that there are plenty about Melbourne not in practice who are glad for a moderate sum to go into the country a week or two upon such occasions - George has advertized in the Melbourne papers his want of such a person, and he goes to Melbourne the end of the week to see the result of his application and then I hope all will be settled and he will be able to get a man into the bargain. For myself I must tell you that I am not like the person I was at home on such occasions. I am quite well and though I must confess generally very tired when night comes, have scarcely an ache or pain. I have Mrs Dawson's authority, who knows everything, for telling you that it is sure to be a little girl, very good tempered and the image of my sister Mary. Time only can show and the ship that conveys this to you may likely also contain a letter to contradict it all.
Melbourne the place is so overloaded with goods of every description that they are dayly sold by auction for less than they cost at home. Merchants are constantly failing and you may get any interest for money. The worthy Melbournites are now feeling the effects of their speculations. Glad am I that we embarked on no business in that good town. Did George live there, I might buy goods of every description for what you may call 'an old song' by auction, but the retail shopkeepers keep up their prices just the same, so that persons in the country do not reap the advantage - as a specimen you cannot buy a raisin under 9d the pound at any grocer's. George got a box at an auction for 3d and hundreds were sold for 2d. Now, they could not have been bought for that and we shall ere long feel the effects in the high prices, for of course shippers will not send goods next year when they lost so much this. 
The boys are quite well. Our new neighbour, Mrs Gardiner, who only lives nine miles off has asked Prid to come and stay with her a few weeks. She was spending three days with Mrs Dawson when of course I saw a great deal of her. She is a very nice person, not young, has been married twenty years but has no family. They have a beautiful station with plenty of servants and a house and garden like a country cottage at home. Mrs Dawson rode on horseback to see them but I was obliged to decline. She was delighted with the place. They are most attentive and take to Melbourne and bring back all that we require by their drays.
Give my love to all,
Penelope Selby