Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/179

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165
THE VOYAGE OF THE "ERIN-GO-BRAGH."

"It is a fact which very few will dispute, that ninety-nine out of every hundred of the single females who emigrate to Australia, are more or less influenced by the hope of getting married as soon as possible after their arrival. I would by no means find fault with their motives, but I would warn them to be very cautious about the selection of a husband. It is on this point that girls should be particularly on their guard, as it is in this they generally make their first false step. They are too ready to accept the first proposal and to run off to get married to a man of whose religion, country, or character they know nothing. In the majority of such cases, the man perhaps has a wife in some other part of the world, or he is a drunkard, or a bad man, and will of course give his wife the worst of treatment as long as they live together, which is generally from six to twelve months, and then she is deserted or discarded, to pine away with a broken heart the remainder of her miserable existence."

Not a few Irish girls, unfortunately, have come to grief in the colonies from the over hasty desire to change their condition in life, and these warning words of a veteran Irish priest will continue to have their full force and application for many years to come. A generous, unthinking impulsiveness of thought and action may be one of the strongest and most characteristic points of the Irish character, but there are occasions when, if not checked in time, it becomes an element of weakness and disaster. It is a quality that has made Irishmen the very best of soldiers, and Irishwomen the most self-sacrificing of heroines, but, on the lower fields of life, and under less heroic conditions, its exercise is calculated to become a source of sorrow and ruin.

After his impressive admonition to young female immigrants, Father Dunne proceeds: