Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/150

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

sex never allowed her girls out of sight, many a time sleeping out with them in the wild bush, or occupying the dreary floor of a barn when no other shelter for the night was available. Her contingents of girls varied from 15 to 60 in number, but on one occasion she started from Sydney with the little army of 147 under her command, for all of whom she found suitable places. On one occasion she received a batch of 64 girls from a newly-arrived vessel, and their aggregate wealth was found to be exactly fourteen shillings and three half-pence. And yet, through the instrumentality of Mrs. Chisholm, for every one of the girls who thus landed in such a miserable plight, was found a good place in the country, and the great majority of them married well. "I have been able," she says, "to learn the subsequent progress in life of many hundreds of these emigrants. Girls that I have taken up country in such a destitute state, that I have been obliged to get a decent dress to put upon them, have come to me again, having every comfort about them, and wanting servants for themselves. They are constantly writing home to get out their friends and relatives."

It will hardly be believed that Mrs. Chisholm experienced most trouble in getting places for those of her girls who were blessed with personal attractions, but that such was the case is evident from her own words: "Pretty girls, no matter what their qualifications or characters, were difficult to dispose of; they are not, it appears, liked as servants, though they are preferred as wives. Mrs. —— wanted a servant. I sent one—a good servant girl and a very beautiful girl, I must acknowledge. I thought the place would suit her; no son in the house; no nephews; the cook married; the groom married; in short, quite a safety. In less than an hour the girl returned with the following note: 'My