An Autobiography HTML version

sorts. My charades were not so elegant as some arranged by Miss Clark, and not so easily
found out; and my double acrostics were not so subtle as those given in competition
nowadays, but they were in the eighties reckoned excellent. My fame had reached the
ears of Mrs. Alfred Watts (nee Giles), who spent her early colonial life on Kangaroo
Island, and she asked me to write some double acrostics for the poor incurables. I stared
at her in amazement. "We want to be quite well to tackle double acrostics and to have
access to books. Does not Punch speak of the titled lady, eager to win a guinea prize, who
gave seven volumes of Carlyle's works to seven upper servants, and asked each to search
one to find a certain quotation?" "Oh," said Mrs. Watts, "I don't mean for the incurables
to amuse themselves with. I mean for the benefit of the home."
In the end I prepared a book of charades and double acrostics, for the printing and
binding of which Mrs. Watts paid. It was entitled "Silver Wattle," and the proceeds from
the sale of this little book went to help the funds of the home. For a second volume issued
for the same purpose Mrs. Strawbridge wrote some poems, Mrs. H. M. Davidson a
translation of Victor Huge, Miss Clark her beautiful "Flowers of Greece," and her niece
some pretty verses, which, combined with the double acrostics, and acting charades
supplied by me, made an attractive volume. Mrs. Watts had something of a literary turn,
which found expression in "Memories of Early Days in South Australia," a book printed
for private circulation among her family and intimate friends. Dealing with the years
between 1837 and 1845 it was very interesting to old colonists, particularly when they
were able to identify the people mentioned, sometimes by initials and sometimes by
pseudonyms. The author was herself an incurable invalid from an accident shortly after
her marriage, and felt keenly for all the inmates of the Fullarton Home.
In 1877 my brother John--with whom I had never quarrelled in my life, and who helped
and encouraged me in everything that I did--retired from the English, Scottish, and
Australian Bank, and decided to contest a seat for the Legislative Council. It was the last
occasion on which the Council was elected with the State as one district. Although he
announced his candidature only the night before nomination day, and did not address a
single meeting, he was elected third on the poll. He afterwards became the Chief
Secretary, and later Commissioner of Public Works. He was an excellent worker on
committees, and was full of ideas and suggestions. Although not a good speaker, he
rejoiced in my standing on platform or in pulpit. He was nearly as democratic as I was;
and when he invented the phrase "effective voting" it was from the sense that true
democracy demanded not merely a chance, but a certainty, that the vote given at the poll
should be effective for some one. My brother David inherited all the Conservatism of the
Brodies for generations back. Greatly interested in all abtruse problems and abstract
questions he had various schemes for the regeneration of mankind. Two opposing
theories concerning the working of bi-cameral Legislatures supplied me with material for
a Review article. One theory was intensely Conservative, and emanated from my brother
David, who was a poor man. The other was held by the richest man of my acquaintance,
and was distinctly Liberal. My brother argued that the Upper House should have the
power to tax its own constituents, and was utterly opposed to any extension of the
franchise. My rich friend objected to the limited franchise, and desired to have the State
proclaimed one electorate with proportional representation as a safeguard against unwise