Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/105

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
91
A GOLDEN CITY.

the sound common sense, tact, and discrimination he had displayed under most trying and exceptional circumstances. "Bendigo Mac," as he was ever afterwards familiarly and affectionately called, presided as stipendiary magistrate over the Sandhurst court for the succeeding seventeen years, and when he retired into private life, all classes of citizens combined to present him with a large monetary testimonial.

People who have plenty of money are often said, by a figure of speech, to be "rolling in wealth," but the expression was literally true in the case of a certain eccentric Irishman in the early days of Sandhurst. His name was Flanagan, and, finding that he had dug £3,000 worth of gold out of the earth, some demon prompted him to run down to the metropolis and enjoy himself for a season. On arriving in Melbourne he engaged a room in a hotel, and then proceeded to the bank, where he presented his draft. Instead of taking his £3,000 in notes, he insisted on having 3,000 sovereigns, with which he filled a sack that he had brought with him for the purpose. Returning to his hotel, he went straight to his room, locked the door, and emptied the sack of sovereigns on the floor. He then stripped himself stark naked, and spent the remainder of the day in rolling himself over and over upon his golden heap. Next day he commenced to get rid of his golden store as fast as he could by senseless drinking, dissipation, and extravagance of all sorts; and, before the end of the month, the foolish fellow was trudging back to the diggings without a solitary shilling to bless himself with.

Though the tragic element necessarily predominated in those digger-hunting days, the comic was by no means wanting at times. Mr. Macartney relates one amusing incident that came under his personal observation. "Early in