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3-018 (Raw)

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author,female,Selby, Penelope,un addressee,female
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Frost, 1984
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3-018-raw.txt — 4 KB

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17th August 1851
My dear Mother, 
I know you will not mind my commencing this letter with self, and telling you that through God's blessing I am once more in a fair way of being strong again. You will certainly have received letters intimating that I was expecting to be confined about the end of last month, and also in consequence of my health being so much improved, my friends had great hopes that my baby would be born alive, and so it proved, but indeed only to make the disappointment greater, for my dear boy breathed a few hours, long enough to make my heart yearn towards him and to be deceived into hoping that he might be spared to us. I was not told at the time that although a remarkably fine grown child, he had an enlarged liver, so that it was better that he was taken soon than that he should have lived even a few months, for the Dr told me that it was a very uncommon thing for an infant ever to outgrow or recover. I did not think I should have felt so sorry, having become accustomed to the loss and not even this time allowing myself to be sanguine, but it makes a great difference when you have heard a feeble cry and have them with you in bed.
I am wearying terribly to see my dear Mary and her little Kate, and am trying to persuade myself and George that I shall be able to go up in a few days. He shakes his head, for it is a long way, and the roads here are such as you cannot imagine. However, when the will is strong it goes a great way. Mary was very anxious to come down but the journey would have been almost impossible for her with the baby so I promised I would see her almost before she could expect me. [185] [186]
This country is in a state of great excitement in consequence of the gold discovered. One person, a Dr Ken, got a lump the largest ever was found, weighing more than a hundred pounds. It is being discovered now close to Melbourne and within a few miles of our old station on the Yarra. I have not the least doubt it must have gold on it as it is precisely the same kind of country. Indeed there is no telling where the discoveries will end. Meanwhile, labour has risen enormously, and it is said this crop of wheat will rot in the ground for want of men to reap. Woe to the country if such prove the case, for it will take all their gold next year to get bread. At present it is very high with a prospect of being still higher, and we poor farmers are beginning to hold up our heads.
I thought of you this morning when I was on a little hill at the end of the farm and saw the wheat looking so green and beautiful in the clear sunshine and such a pretty view beyond. All this that a few years ago was thick timber. Indeed everything looks well to a person that has been almost chained to one spot for many months.
Another cause of excitement at present is the elections which are to take place next month. Our landlord, Mr Rutledge, is one of the candidates. George promised of course to vote for him and moreover he really believes he will make the best member for this district. He has so much interest in it. Henry [LeMann] votes for his opponent Mr Manifold, who is a Squatter, and these squatters wish to have all the country to do as they please with, but I think when it comes to be better known how few their numbers are they will not be able to carry things with quite so high a hand.
George and the boys are quite well, Prid growing very fast, almost as tall as his Father, and so like him. Willie is very little but I suppose will spring up in time. What should I have done if I had had my eight boys about me? The one girl would have had plenty of work shirt making. I should have been obliged to send them home in a body to seek wives. I must just hope the two I have combine the good qualities of all, for indeed they are good boys. I could hardly expect all would have become equally so, and I ought to be most thankful to the Almighty if he spares them to me.
You will have a mob of grandchildren soon. If my Prid had been a girl you would likely have had a great grandchild shortly. Many girls marry in this country between 15 and 16 and are broken, worn-out looking creatures at five-and-twenty. [187] 
Believe me, dearest Mother,
Your affectionate daughter,
Penelope Selby