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4-002 (Raw)

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author,female,Ollard, Ellen H.,un addressee,female
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Frost, 1984
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4-002-raw.txt — 8 KB

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Melbourne Home, Little Lonsdale Street
4th August 1876 -
Dear Mrs Sunter, I am sure you must think me very ungrateful for not having written to you 
before after all the trouble you took on my behalf, but to speak truly I have been ashamed to write as I have been so very unfortunate since I've been in the Colony; and I have been hoping against hope that I should be more successful by and by and be able to give a pretty good account of myself. I will commence at my arrival here and tell you what I have been doing as far as I can remember.
The voyage was a very pleasant one and I need hardly tell you that I was very sorry when it came to an end, and I found myself for the first time in my life at the mercy of strangers. [201] We anchored in the Bay on Saturday the first of November at about half past one in the afternoon and never while I live shall I forget the feeling of despair that took possession of me when I saw everyone on board talking to their friends who had come out in the Tug Steamer to meet them. Miss Davis (my cabin companion) came out to be married and her intended husband took her away in a little yacht and Mrs Thomas, the only remaining lady, went away in the Steamer with her husband and of course all the gentlemen got away as soon as they could, and I was left to indulge in my grief and to wonder what would become of me in this strange land.
On Monday morning one of the passengers who had been very kind to me during the voyage offered to go to the 'Home' with me and when I got there I found that my Father had not kept his promise of writing to me; and I had only a few shillings in my pocket, not sufficient to pay a week's board and lodging in advance (17 / -), which Mrs Roe told me was necessary. I had only one sovereign in my purse when I left England as my Father said he had not got it to give me, having had so many little things to pay for, but he promised to write to me and send me at least £20 so that I should have it on my arrival in Melbourne, and from the day I last saw him till the present time, which will be two years tomorrow, he has never taken the slightest notice of me. Now I consider this most cruel of him as he wished me to come, thinking that I should be sure to be successful, although if you remember when I came to make enquiries of you some twelve months before, he would not sanction it.
When I had been here but a short time I obtained a situation at a place called Boggy Creek near Kyneton, and there I took the measles from the children and the unfeeling woman sent me home when I had only been there five days and I had them very severely. My Cousin kindly had me at her house and nursed me herself. The doctor said that I might have lost my life. I had to have my hair cut short like a boy and it has not grown yet.
After I had got quite well I got another situation through an advertisement which was supposed to be as a companion to a young lady, but when I arrived there I found that there was no servant kept and the man was a travelling hawker and I was required to help his daughter make fancy articles for sale and do all the housework besides, so I did not stay there very long. [202]
After that I went to Wangaratta and when I had been there a little over two months they gave me notice to leave and I think they were in difficulties. After I left there I did not get employment for a very long time and what I should have done without my Cousin I really do not know, for I should have wanted for food and clothes too but for her.
Mrs Roe at the Melbourne Home is one of the most kind and motherly persons I have met, but she is quite powerless to assist anyone who cannot pay their way and the ladies of the Committee have passed a law that nobody shall stay there who cannot pay 17 / - weekly in advance, so that really I do not see what benefit is to be derived from being there excepting of course that if one stays there 'tis a guarantee (to the employers) as to their respectability.
From what you told me and judging from the report (the little book, I mean) I quite thought there would be someone to meet me at the vessel and also that some little interest would be taken in you by some of the members of the Committee, but I soon found that I was mistaken. Of course if any one comes to the Home requiring a Governess or Nursery Governess as the case may be, if you are suitable you have a chance of getting the situation; but if you are staying elsewhere and you see the Advertisement you stand just as good a chance of getting it, if you answer it in time.
Now I should very much like to know if you have received the £15. I think that was the sum borrowed. When I left England my Father told me not to trouble myself at all about it, as he intended paying it within a month or two, but as he has not sent me any money or even written to me, I much fear that he must have been in difficulties and I do not think my Uncle or Mr Dalton would be very pleased at having to pay it. I should indeed be very thankful if I had the means of sending it to you, but when I tell you that since I have been in the Colony I have only earned about thirteen pounds you will know that I have not got it to send especially when I had nothing to start with.
I never thought that I should live to be in the unhappy position that I am in now. The very first day that I went to the 'Home' I was told that I should never get on here without music, for the very commonest people have a piano and have their children taught to play it. There are very few respectable situations to be got where music is not required. I was in a nice family in St. Kilda for a time where I used to do all the needlework and attend to the younger children, but I was not very well while there and the lady told me she was sorry to part with me but she required some one who was very strong. [203] She had only been married a month, when I went there, to a widower with a family of five and as she was very delicate I had to leave, so it seems as if misfortune attends me wherever I go.
My Cousin (whom I had never seen till I arrived here) is very good indeed to me and never allows me to want for anything & always gives me a home when I'm out of a situation. Still I cannot help feeling that I've no right to be living upon her & her husband although they are both kind enough to tell me not to worry about it. I had no idea that Melbourne was such a large place as it is or I should never have come to it. The people here are very different to what they are in England. Gold is their God and it does not matter to them how ignorant a person is if they have money, but if they have not they are not considered worthy of notice. My Cousin lives a very quiet life and does not visit any one or receive any visitors so I do not see any chance of getting into society where I might be likely to meet with any nice situation, where I should be kindly treated.
Several people in England promised to give me letters of introduction to friends or acquaintances of theirs out here; but I had no time to go for them & my Father promised to send them & so I have not had them. I wish my Father had sent me to learn a business - millinery or something of the kind. He always used to tell me never to marry for a home & that at his death I was provided for, but now I find that I am entirely at the mercy of the world. Sometimes I think of working my way back to England, I mean with a family, but perhaps I should not find it any easier to get employment there. I know a lady much older than I am who is far worse off, for she has no relatives here and she is now giving her services for board & residence & she has not a penny in the world. 'Tis all very well for people to say 'Take a situation as a housemaid or nursemaid.' Employers require thorough hard working servants who fully understand their duties, & I am sure that I could not do the work they require.
I fear you will consider this a very miserable letter & I am almost ashamed to send one so badly written, for I have left it so many times, but I have not time to write it again as the 'Mail' goes tomorrow. If it is not asking too much of you I should be very glad, if you would kindly write and let me know about the loan.
With kind regards trusting that you are well,
Believe me Dear Mrs Sunter,
Yours very truly -
Ellen H. Ollard