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2-353 (Raw)

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author,female,Selby, Penelope,un addressee,female
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Frost, 1984
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2-353-raw.txt — 4 KB

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Newlands, Port Fairy
20th October 1849
My dear sisters, 
[Sister] Sarah has been most fortunate in her experience of governessing.
I suppose in another year her boys will be too big for her management and she will have to transfer it to a husband. You, Mary and Kate, do not seem likely to fix on one for your calves. By this time it will be decided whether either of you have been plucky enough to become Mrs LeMann, for I cannot think if you had the chance you would refuse him. I do not think there is any magnet at Bath except his family, and I know he much wanted a wife but would not have a fine lady one. He fortunately for himself - and his wife too - knows the Bush here too well to risk his happiness with one who would not be contented.
Mrs Dawson had a letter from him mentioning he had been to see you. He was quite astonished at my dear Mother's youthful appearance. I will not flatter you by repeating what he said of you. Mrs Dawson is in high spirits. She thinks already she has one of you for a neighbor. For myself I am not so sanguine. I have too long held the first rank in Mrs D's estimation to wish to be superseded by a younger sister. Still I am willing to waive all selfish considerations and would receive either with open arms, but it is nonsense this, for before this time the die will be cast, and though both George and I have occasionally built a few castles, we have not allowed them to be any more than air. When I think of the way you have to slave at school - and embroidery and old age will overtake us all - how much better you would be here with a good husband and home even though you do leave many near and dear to you behind.
Did I tell you I had taken a little girl six years old to live with me? She was motherless and I was to have thirty pounds a year. [179] She was just three months here and both George and I were becoming fond of her when she was attacked with water on the brain and died after a week's illness. I cannot tell you how I missed her, and I was going to do so many things with the money.
This has been a bad year for farmers. Wheat has been so low that we have been unable to have many comforts we intended. Still, George does not despair and we are creeping on, not racing. I hope it may not be a short race. I do not know what farmers would have done had emigration not commenced. As it is wages are still high in this part, the immigrants not liking to come so far from Melbourne.
Prideaux has left school and William taken his place. He is very thin and delicate. Unfortunately for himself he is too watery headed and lately teased so that the boys at school lead him rather a hard life. I cannot think who he takes his crying propensities from, but do you remember if I ever disliked teasing?
Our garden is looking well now. In another year we shall have plenty of fruit. I am trying to get a few flowers too. I have very little to write about. Year after year passes much in the same way here. I leave home but seldom, see very few strangers. This has been the wettest winter ever known, consequently the roads are quite impassable. They talk now of spending half the purchase money for land in making roads, and much needed, for you can have no idea of the difficulty of travelling in the bad weather. I went into Belfast about three months ago and about six miles of the way it was as much as my mare could do to get her feet out of the mud. It was above her knees, rather different from your railroads! Even now that summer has almost come, George has ten bullocks, and as much as they can do to drag a light load of wheat through part of our farm. Fortunately it is not so bad all the way to the mill.
We have nearly seventy acres cleared now and a most expensive job it has been, a great many of the farmers saying it cannot pay and there is such a demand for them you can always find parties to buy. Time will show if we do better than our neighbors. From my two years experience of the country, had I my choice it should be a good cattle station as the least risk and expense with the surest profit. Be assured my dear Mother brothers and sisters that - though we are far from you, we do not, forget you, but will love you as long as life is given us and though we may not meet here, may we hereafter is the sincere prayer of 
Your ever affectionate sister,
Penelope Selby [180]