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3-153 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Calder, W.,un
Narrative Discourse
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Connell, 1980
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3-153.txt — 3 KB

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There are two daily papers in the Town, and Uncle had secured me a frame in either of them. I decided upon going to the Register and have had no reason to repent my choice. The work is very heavy. We go in during the day to distribute - generally between 12 and 2 - and commence to set at 4 o'clock, tea between 6 and 7, and finish between 1 and 3 o'clock. The rate per 1000 [words of setting] is 1 / 4. My first week's bill was £5-2-8; the second, £5-4. I was scarcely begun work when I was told that the men were anxious to drink my health. I asked the sum and was told 7 / 6. I at once paid it and was done with it. I was horrified at the quantity of drink consumed in the office. The least excuse is made for drinking, and they drink Port Wine, Sherry, Brandy, and all sorts of Ale. They nearly all smoke at their work, but as the office has a very high roof and well ventilated the annoyance is not very great. The overseer - George Watson - served his apprenticeship in the North British Advertiser, and there are one or two Edinburgh men in the office beside myself. I was astonished at the freeness with which the men spend their money. One of them will think nothing of sending out for 5 / - worth of drink, and some of them often take a dog cart to the Bay on a Saturday afternoon which costs £1. I was also astonished to hear of the freshness of their intelligence as to home matters. Not a man nor a movement could be mentioned but the minutest particular connected with it was known. ... . It is curious to observe the difference in dress of the men in the office. While some of them are both very dirty and poorly dressed others are at the opposite extreme, wearing white hats and rings and very few wear aprons, and it is not the sober ones who are the best dressed. The best dressed man in the office being very unsteady being both a gambler as well as a drinker. But we are all very agreeable with one another and things go on very smoothly and pleasantly although we have occasionally a smart discussion about temperance v. drinking in which it is contended on the one side that moderation is the greater virtue and that they are all moderates. [168] Mr. Hulls, the only other teetotaller in the office, shut them up the other day by saying that in looking round the room he saw several men who would have been independent today if it had not been for drink. This was too sharp firing, and irritated them not a little.
The greater proportion of the men in the office have been at the diggings, and little wonder may be felt at their loose morality. Most of them have been successful but alas it is now gone. One of them was at one time so far up the social scale that he kept a riding horse, but he is far enough down now. He has been a partner in all sorts of speculations - newspaper proprietor, baker, shoemaker, and cab-hirer. Another of the men got £800 as his share in the first hole he dug and on the first day. Drink, drink, what evil and misery thou hast caused.