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Is the mere fact of a story being old, any
reason why it should not be read (always
premising, of course, that no one has heard
it before)? As I am sitting alone, it is in
vain to look for a reply, and I proceed
accordingly to act upon my own suggestion, and
to rescue from oblivion, and the waste-paper
basket, a sketch written some time ago,
faithfully descriptive, so far as it goes,
of the effects produced in Tasmania, where I am a
settler's wife, by the golden revolution.

When the first news of the Australian
gold-finding was published, people were
naturally incredulous of the great fact; nor did
any considerable excitement prevail away in
our parts, until a few persons, more
enterprising, or with more leisure than their
neighbours,  had visited the land of gold,
and returned again, with tales of
wonder and of wealth. Then the disorder spread
very rapidly. People of the working-classes
left their vocations, their wages, and their
wives, with about as rational ideas of what
they went to seek, as our old friend
Whittington, when he expected to pick up gold in
London streets. In the morning, twenty
shearers might be seen busy in the
woolshed; before evening, ten of them would be
stepping along the mountain track towards
Launceston, driven out of their sober senses
by some wild story plentifully studded
with giant nuggets. Houses and vessels
were left unfinished; sheep unshorn; corn
unharvested. The baker's oven stood empty;
the blacksmith's forge grew cold. Shops
were shut up, and even cottages built of
wood, were pulled to pieces, that the
materials might be carried to Melbourne, and
sold. "Gone to the Diggings," was the
almost universal reply to all inquiries. Our
cook decamped; and, with him, the milkman.
Two or three of our shepherds, the groom
and the gardener, besides ploughmen and
farm-labourers, followed as fast as they
became free. Many of our neighbours and
persons of the middle class, also formed parties to
go; taking with them carts, horses, and oxen;
all such digging appendages rising rapidly in
price at the same time. One family might
be heard bewailing the departure of an
invaluable overseer: while another was left in
a state of anarchy by the flight of the tutor.
Our roads abounded with pedestrians
carrying heavy knapsacks, horsemen with stuffed
saddle-bags, and caravans of the most motley
kinds. Some, giving glimpses of future
domestic arrangements by a display of featherbeds,
frying-pans, and small children; others
consisting of a cartful of half-tipsy men, with
spades, pipes, and bottles of rum; but all
hastening northwards for embarkation at
Launceston. At one time few, besides women
and children, remained in the district. Then,
servants nearly all went. Happily for the
residents here, the idle, the dishonest, and
the dissipated, were among the first to join
so congenial a community as the diggings
presented. Vagabonds who had never been
known to gain a penny by honest industry,
but who had lived on as cattle and sheep-
stealers, kangarooers, sly grog-sellers, and
petty thieves, gladly hastened to the tempting
field for enterprise; and in this, the gold
did us incalculable service, purifying our
population to a prodigious extent. Great
numbers of convict women who had become
free, went over also. One, who had for a
short time been my servant, and who rejoiced
in the high-sounding appellation of Alexandrina,
was seen in Melbourne, most sumptuously
attired, with several splendid rings on
every finger. Originally she had come to me,
possessed but of one gown, and that a
forlorn and ragged balzarine, with four draggled,
torn flounces.

Convict women-servants never had decent
clothing when they first entered one's service;
at least the exceptions were very rare. If
they had had any before being returned to
the Factory, or Government, as they term it,
they brought none out from thence. It
appeared to be there subjected to a dissolving
process; for they commonly confess to having
drunk it. The first proceeding, therefore,
with a new female servant of this unhappy
class, was to furnish her with respectable attire,
and to bring her outward aspect at least, as
near the standard of English housemaid tidiness,
as adverse circumstances would permit.
How difficult a task this was, no one can
truly realise, who has not seen the normal
condition of the patient; the straggling,
dishevelled hair; the gown gaping behind,
with three hooks out of four disabled from