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Catherine Helen Spence
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bushrangers and convicts, and specially Australian features. While I was waiting to hear
the fate of my first book, I began to write a second, "Tender and True," of which Mr.
Williams thought better, and recommended it to Smith, Elder, and Co., who published it
in two volumes in 1856, and gave me 20 pounds for the copyright. This is the only one of
my books that went through more than one edition. There were two or three large editions
issued, but I never got a penny more. I was told that nothing could be made out of shilling
editions; but that book was well reviewed and now and then I have met elderly people
who read the cheap edition and liked it. The motif of the book was the jealousy which
husbands are apt to feel of their wives' relations. As if the most desirable wife was an
amiable orphan--if an heiress, so much the better. But the domestic virtues which make a
happy home for the husband are best fostered in a centre where brothers and sisters have
to give and take; and a good daughter and sister is likely to make a good wife and mother.
I have read quite recently that the jokes against the mother-in-law which are so many and
so bitter in English and American journalism are worn out, and have practically ceased;
but Dickens and Thackeray set the fashion, and it lasted a long time.
While "Clara Morison" was making her debut, I paid my first visit to Melbourne. I went
with Mr. and Mrs. Stirling in a French ship consigned to him, and we were 12 days on the
way, suffering from the limited ideas that the captain of a French merchantman had of the
appetites of Australians at sea. I intended to pay a six weeks' visit to my sister and her
family, but she was so unwell that I stayed for eight months. I found that Melbourne in
the beginning of 1854 was a very expensive place to live in, and consequently a very
inhospitable place. Mr. Murray's salary sounded a good one, 500 pounds a year, but it did
not get much comfort. His sister was housekeeper at Charles Williamson & Co.'s, and
that was the only place where I could take off my bonnet and have a meal. From the
windows I watched the procession that welcomed Sir Charles Hotham, the first Governor
of the separated colony of Victoria. He was received with rejoicing, but he utterly failed
to satisfy the people. He thought anything was good enough for them. One festivity I was
invited to--a ball given on the opening of the new offices of The Argus in Collins street--
and there I met Mr. Edward Wilson, a most interesting personality, the giver of the
entertainment. He was then vigorously championing the unlocking of the land and the
developing of other resources of Victoria than the gold. It had surprised him when he
travelled overland to Adelaide to see from Willunga 30 miles of enclosed and cultivated
farms, and it surprised me to see sheepruns close to Melbourne. With a better rainfall and
equally good soil, Victoria had neither the farms nor the vineyards nor the orchards nor
the gardens that had sprung up under the 80-acre section and immigration systems of
South Australia. It had been an outlying portion of New South Wales, neglected and
exploited for pastoral settlement only. The city, however, had been well planned, like that
of Adelaide, but the suburbs were allowed to grow anyhow. In Adelaide the belt of park
lands kept the city apart from all suburbs. Andrew Murray was as keen for the
development of Victoria agriculturally and industrially as Mr. Wilson, and they worked
together heartily. Owing to the state of my sister's health I was much occupied with her
and her children; but in August she was well, and I returned with Mr. Taylor and his
sister in the steamer Bosphorus, when it touched at Melbourne on the way home. He
brought me 30 pounds for my book, and the assurance that it would be out soon, and that
I should have six copies to give to my friends. Novel writing had not been to me a