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3-262 (Raw)

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author,female,Payne, Rosa,un addressee,female
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Frost, 1984
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Rich Avon, West Avon Plains by Glenorchy, Victoria 13th August 1869
My dear Miss Lewin,
My impressions of Melbourne & the Colony are thoroughly unfavourable. I was not one hour in it when I regretted deeply the step I had taken. Had I possessed the money I would returned in the next ship. I do not use too strong a language when I say no one with the tastes, habits, or feelings of a lady should ever come out to Australia. It may do for mediocre governesses who can put up with roughnesses, or I should rather say, vulgarity of mind & great want of intellect, but I never would advise a lady to try it.
I hate Australia and the Australians. I shall be with them but never of them. I would rather have £15 per annum in London than £50 here.
Australia is by no means the Eldorado it is supposed to be or perhaps once was. There is a vast amount of wretchedness & poverty in the Country & men of talent & ability find it most difficult to obtain employment. Even I, lately come to the Colony, know instances. How much more then for a Governess. [205]
As to the Town of Melbourne it is beyond anything abominable in every respect. I was more than thankful & glad to leave it. I was quite sorry to find by a letter I had lately from Mrs Roe, another lady Governess was coming out in the Highflyer. I think it is a great pity. There has not been one Governess to whom I have spoken on the subject, but has not told me they deeply regretted ever coming out, & who would return to England could they afford it & so very very many have gone back hating place & people. You have no idea of it.
I am quite satisfied with my present abode, I leave the word 'happiness' out of the question. I only feel as if all the brightness had gone out of my life. I am very sorry I did not think of India, or Rio, unprejudiced, & unbiassedly. With no feeling of actual home sickness do I write, only weary disappointment. Now that I am here I should be ashamed to return without feeling I had made some effort for good. On all sides do I hear sad tales of the struggle for our daily bread, the last few years & seasons have been so bad. There is of course much wealth, in some instances, but it is confined to the few. I would recommend no one, unless indeed servants, to emigrate to Australia.
The climate is trying also, so many sudden changes. This winter has been very severe. You will say perhaps I am writing very one sidedly. Not so, I am & have been most fortunate in getting my present situation, & have by no means seen or felt the worst side of the picture but I hear a great deal & cannot help judging accordingly. One thing I do know. I never never shall like or be happy in Australia, & would leave it tomorrow if I could.
I just try not to think, or else I would die, but there are times when I must think, & I am weary of life, & everything, & everyone. Mrs Scott, the lady in whose family I am, said to me on hearing I was writing Home 'Tell your friends Miss Payne we are both, Mr Scott & myself, much pleased with you, you are so attentive to the children, & so bright!' She does not know my heart is nearly breaking sometimes. I knew they were satisfied with me, & I am with them. Dear Miss Lewin this is a different letter perhaps from what you expected from me, but I cannot write otherwise, it would be untruthful. Will you write to me? How much I wish you would. It would give me such pleasure of happiness.
Yours very sincerely, -
Rosa Payne