|Chapter Title||Flitting. An Honest Carman.-Young Australia and Young America.-Love Making, etc.|
|Newspaper Title||Queensland Figaro and Punch (Brisbane, Qld. : 1885 - 1889)|
|Trove Title||As others See Us. A Yankee Girl's Impressions of the Sunny South|
"As others See Us."
A STanjces Kiel's Impressions of the Sunny South.
Lktteb No. X.
Flitting.^ An Honest Carman.—Young Aus
tralia and Young America.—Love Making,
Brisbane, Queensland, October 8th, 1885.
My Deare&t Kitty,—My last letter was a whole chapter of accidents, and I didn't finish telling of them even th?n. I'm a sample of how blacky cane sticks to a woman's bustle, when she once gets astraddle—a living sample of the foolishness of bouncing the Mascotte. I guess my Mascotte was Uncle Sam, for, since I renegaded by getting marripd, my luck has been below zero.
But, to sequel the before-mentioned chapter, I must tell you how a carter euchred me, or, as the natives say; " had" me.
As soon as I settled my auctioneer, I trotted o£E to get a waggon, and soon found a, whole string of them. There's plenty of choice, I thought, and started to choose on the principle that competition
was the soul of trade.
There didn't seem to be an alarming amount of soul in the Brisbane carting trade.
One man wanted five shillings, another asked six, and another one shilling for each article carried. A fourth, who had a bald spot, and a horse with one
eye, told me confidentially that he'd charge me what was fair, I wasn't quite so green as that, and thought five shillings to cart a few things less than a mile was outrageous, so I kept on.
At last I came to the end of the line, and to the last man. He sat on the ground, leaning up against the fence* and chewed a straw. I was sure he was honest, for he looked it; besides, I meant him to have the job, even if he asked five shillings.
I asked him if he wanted a job, and what he would charge.
" Half-a-crown." he replied.
' 'He had watched me coming down the line, and knew he had to go slow to get me. There's nothing like competition, you know, to bring down prices.
''All right," I told him, and I gave him the receipt to get my " bargains" with; told him where to bring
them and set off home.
It was past two. Charley had been to dinner and gone. He'd only had bread and jam ; but a man can't expect luxuries while his wife is getting bar gains. I felt jubilant. ! made places for -the things, and was just tickled to death over the way I'd astonish Charley.
\ In half-an»hour, along came my man—my honest carter. He unloaded ; the sofa, the chairs, the carpet, the bedstead, the safe, everything. I felt sorry for the safe; it was hardly the sort that furniture men send to exhibitions; it looked quite
second-hand.. The other things were better, and looked nice. I felt pleased over them—so pleased, that I gave my honest carter an extra, sixpence.
" Here's sixpence for yourself," I said.
" Thank you kindly, m'ain," said he; and he turned to go with the half.cripwn and the sixpence.
Then he turned back.
" Haven't you made a mistake ?" he enquired, holding out his hand with the money in it.
" I guess not,"; I answered. That's half-a
" But we agreed for three half-crowns," declared my honest carter.
What did I do ? Well, what could I do? I gave him a piece of (my mind and paid. He held both bowers and an acie, for he knew I was all alone, and what can a woman do against a carter. He said he'd leave it to a policeman, but I told him they were a gang of rogues together, and I wasn't fool enough to have anything more to do with them. How sorry I was that I'd given him that extra sixpence.
Charley came home, and I showed him everything. He liked them, of course—how could he help it ? but he laughed when I called them bargains. I left the safe to speak for itself, when he went into the kitchen. / • ' : \
Nextmorning he got up to light the fire. Would you believe it, Kittie, these down-trodden English women do that when they rcan't afford to hire a girl j and I heard a great deal of breaking going on. He came ba#k radiant in a few minutes. Lighting fires is usually hard on the poor fellow, but that time everything had blazed right up.
"Luce," he said, "You're a brick. Where did you manage to pick up that kindling jyood ?"
Kindling wood ! Abraham Lincoln! Could it be possible, and the bare thought yanked me out of bed like a cyclone.
" What kindling wood ? I didn't get any," I screamed, glaring at him like the woman in white.
" Why, the old box, arrangement that was lying in the corner/' he answered, gazing blankly—not at my costume, he's got used to that sort of thing— but at my agonised face.
My meat safe ! I knew it. Seven-and-sixpence gone for kindling wood!
I whirled into the kitchen without waiting to put on my earrings. It was too true. That horrible carter*— my honest carter!—had dumped it in the corner, legs uppermost, and I hadn't taken time to set it up. It was disreputable looking, though that auctioneer said it was lovely, and I don't wonder
people stared when T bid for it, but still it was mean . of Charley to smash it up. I'm sure he did it on
One thing, I'm cured of "bargains." When I add up the .£6 Is. difference on solas, and 7s. 6d. for a meat safe and. 8s. for a carter, it doesn't seem to me as though l ean beso very much ahead.
You will have noticed that in a great many things Young- Australia differs numerously from Ycung America, but there is one thing that is just about the same wherever you are. That one thing—the one thing needful—is sweethearting, and I happen to be in a position to speak authoritatively on the subject.
I told you that we moved into the house before it was finished, before e.v«n it looked habitable. Neither the fence nor the verandah railing is up yet, and the timber lying round makes the place look, at night, like a house just building. To this fact, Charley and I owie an insight into the mysteries of Australian love-making.
We were in our beauty-sleep the other night,'when we heard voices in our porch, and as I'm always afraid of thieves being under the bed, I got up and peeked through the window. It was so interesting that I had to signal Charley to come too. He came, and we gazed together.
There they were, Young Australia and his best girl, going home from the theatre by the get up of them, and sat down on our verandah to talk about it. The window was a glass door with an open transom above. it, so we could hear every word.
"Are you sure you never loved anybody else ? " she was asking.
"Nobody but my mother," says the nibs, a dipper dapper little fellow, who, as near as I could make I out, looked like a "bank clerk, and then they kissed | with a noise that sounded for all the world like a
cow pulling her hoofs out of the mud. " Nor you either, darling ? " he went on.
"Me! How.can you ask me F How can you doubt me ? " and " darling " got her arms round him and did some more of the cow-heel business in a way that made me put her down as a past-mistress in the art. When they had worked off a liltle, they talked
; " What'll your pa say, darling ? " whispered his nibs; it was evidently new, " Do you think he'll cut up at all ? "
-Juliet thought he might at first. "He always dQesV> she said. "1 mean I always think he would/' she added, hastily. From what I could hear, she was
an old hand at it, though she seemed youngbut, bless you, girls are girls this side of the world just the same as everywhere else. Her Borneo was no new hand either, if the way he squoze and the regularity with which the flopping sound was to be heard counted for anything.
And so they kept on talking nonsense, and kissing, and hugging for half-an-hour. Then Romeo said it must be twelve o'clock, and she said ma.would be
awfully angry, and he consoled her. Then they J started to stroll away, his arm round her waist and !
his. hand in hers, when Charley, the mean fellow, j
" Gome again another night!" he sung out, opening one of the doors, and poking his head round it, for his was hardly the costume to receive visitors,
Borneo jumped about three yards, Juliet screamed ancfmn to cliltch him, Charley roared and I giggled. It Was too funny for anything. Bun! The way they raised the dust was a caution. I don't believe they stopped till they got to Indooropilly.
Charley and I laughed till we felt that the cholqra
had struck us. Then we went to bed and recalled the days when we were just as foolish, and not old married people as we ai*e" now. At least, we're married, anyway, and, between; you and me, Kittie, when one's married to a real, niceJFellow like Charley, it's not at all unpleasant to reinember the courting days and be glad that I wear a Hng. r, : v
It's a pity that one can't always take the good the gods provide, but it does alleviate the miseries of the wicked world to take a great big slicie of the good whenever you get a chance. I always like to wind up with philosophy, so with this,
I remain, as ever
Your loving friend,
J. W. Carroll, chronometer and watchmaker, of Townsville, has perfected a transit instrument he is possessed of, and is busily engaged in astronomical discoveries and calculations. He has rigged up an observatory at the rear of Shearer's tailor's shop, and has recently been occupied in watching the transits of Venus, Arcturus, and Centauri. To assist him in his calculations and studies, Carroll employs Latimer Clarke's Transit Tables, the Astronomical Ephemeris of 1885, and a chronometer, made by Messrs. M'Klean and Co., of London. Carroll has proved a fact that has, hitherto, been doubted, viz., that it is possible to obtain true local time in Towns ville. In making his calculations for transits of
fixed stars, Carroll adds lmin. 36secs. to the Green wich time, as a correction for longitude. Stars of the first magnitude are generally visible in Towns ville during daylight, though they are such minute specks of light that the unpractised eye is apt to
Lizzie Cheese, the erstwhile piquante barmaid at the ''Excelsior," Townsville, lately moved to the Towers, and was only a short time located there when she succeeded in captivating a certain inhabi tant of the Northern Eldorada, who forthwith made her an offer of his hand and fortune. Lizzie promptly accepted, and now " the holy bonds " unite the twain. It is confidently expected in Townsville that an exodus of barmaids will take place from there very soon, several young ladies being en couraged by Lizzie's success, to try their luck on the field. Townsville mashers are consumedly slow at "popping."