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CANVASS TOWN.

I AM the youngest son of a landed
proprietor in Essex, and although I have done
nothing in Australia of which I need really
be ashamed, the conventional habits and old-
established feelings of the mother country are
still strong enough in me to cause me to give
a fictitious name with the following brief
narrative. I will, therefore, call myself
Westbrook. As I write in the midst of
dilemma and distress, what I have to say
must necessarily be fragmentary.

I had a University education, and was senior
optime; but before I had determined on my
future course in life, it was settled for me by
my falling desperately in love with the
youngest daughter of a baronet in our
neighbourhood. I married her. We ran away;
and, as she was the youngest daughter and
I the youngest son, our parents found our
conduct a good reason for cutting us both off
with the smallest possible pittance. But we
loved, and were happy, and spent nearly
every guinea of our meagre inheritance in a
prolonged wedding tour. After this I went
to work in earnest; and, in the course of a
few years I got the position of managing clerk
in a mercantile house in Liverpool, with
a salary of three hundred and fifty pounds
a year, and the promise of a rise of fifty
pounds every year during the next five years;
after which I should have been taken into the
firm as a junior partner.

You will easily believe what I am about to
say, simply because so many others have
committed precisely the same kind of folly, and
left a good reality for a chance; and, in a
lottery sixteen thousand miles off. The gold-
fever of Port Phillip broke out in Liverpool,
and I fell a victim to it. I resigned my post,
with all its prospectscertainties, I may say
and set sail for Australia Felix. What
felicity!—but I need not anticipate, as I shall
make a short cut to the consequences.

I invested one hundred pounds in a
speculation in hams; one hundred pounds in boots
and shoes; and two hundred pounds in
agricultural and mining tools, in which I felt I
could not be wrong. After paying all my
debts, with the passage-money, and outfit, &c.,
of myself, my wife, and our three children, as
cabin passengers, I found myself in possession
of three hundred and fifteen pounds, a sum
in addition to my ventures, which I believed
to be ample, and far more than necessary
for "a start" in the golden region of
Australia.

I pass over the voyage. A thousand things
should be said of the bad victualling,
ventilating, and general management of the ship,
but I must leave them to others. We arrived
in Hobson's Bay, Port Phillip, on a hot
summer's day, in November, 1852.

Hearing from the pilot that lodgings were
very difficult indeed to be procured in the
town, I resolved to be first of all our
passengers in the field; and accordingly took
my wife and children ashore in the first boat
that came alongside. The boatman charged
most extortionately, and then the rascal put
us all ashore at William's Town, which we
naturally supposed to be Melbourne. On
discovering our mistake, we had again to
induce another boatman to consent to rob us
by an exorbitant charge for putting us on
board the steam-boat for Melbourne.

After several arbitrary delays alongside
vessels, we reached Melbourne, were landed
on a wharf which was overwhelmed with a
confusion of men and things and carts and
horses, and began our wanderings over the
town in search of lodgings. All were crowded,
expensive, and the great majority filthy and
offensive to the last degree. I could have got
into one of the first-class boarding houses;
but they would not receive a lady, nor
children. We were nearly exhausted.
Luckily we had brought none of our things
ashore but two night-bags, or we must have
thrown them away.

The sun now sank, and I began to grow
uneasy, as I heard all sorts of accounts of the
state of the streets in Melbourne at night.
But, while I was trying to console myself
with the idea that we had at least a good
hour's more daylight before us, the sky rapidly
darkened, and in ten minutes more the evening
became night. Being now in despair we
entered a lodging-housethen another, then
another, and so on, offering at last to sleep
anywhere if they would take us in. At last
one of them consented. It was by no means
one of the lowest lodging-houses, as I afterwards
learnt, but it was bad enough for the
worst; excepting only that our throats were

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