Page:The Eureka Stockade.djvu/15

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5

traps are out" was annoying, but not exasperating. Not exasperating, because John Bull, ab initio et ante secula was born for law, order, and safe money-making on land and sea. They were annoying, because, said John, not that he likes his money more than his belly, but he hates the bayonet: I mean, of course, he does not want to be bullied with the bayonet. To this honest grumbling of John, the drunkard, that is the lazy, which make the incapables, joined their cant, and the Vandemonians pulled up with wonted audacity. In a word, the thirty shillings a month for the gold licence became a nuisance.

A public meeting was announced on Bakery-hill. It was in November, 1853. Four hundred diggers were present. I recollect I heard a "Doctor Carr" poking about among the heaps of empty bottles all round, the Camp, and asked who paid for the good stuff that was in them, and whither was it gone. Of course. Doctor Carr did not mention, that one of those bottles, corked and sealed with the "Crown," was forced open with Mr. Hetherington's corkscrew; and that said Dr. Carr had then to confess that the bottle aforesaid contained nobbler some £250 worth for himself. Great works already at Toorak. Tout cela soit dit en passant, Mr. Hethenhgton, then a storekeeper on the Ballaarat Flat, and now of the Clarendon Hotel, Ballaarat Township, is a living witness. For the fun of the thing, I spoke a few words which merited me a compliment from the practitioner, who also honoured me with a private precious piece of information— The specimen of man before me impressed me with such a decided opinion of his ability for destroying sugarsticks, that at once I gave him credit as the founder of a republic for babies to suck their thumbs.

In short, here dates the Victorian system of "memorialising." The diggers of Ballaarat sympathised with those of Bendigo in their common grievances, and prayed the governor that the gold licence be reduced to thirty shillings a month. There was further a great waste of yabber-yabber about the diggers not being represented in the Legislative Council, and a deal of fustian was spun against the squatters. I understood very little of those matters at the time: the shoe had not pinched. my toe yet.

Every one returned to his work; some perhaps not very peacefully, on account of a nobbier or two over the usual allowance.