Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/41

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27
GREATER BRITAIN'S METROPOLIS.

duty incumbent upon her to send something regularly home to her aged parents, or to bring out a sister or a brother to the golden land. Not only that, but these hard-toiling girls were always amongst the first to subscribe to every national movement from the purest of patriotic impulses. They love to dress well in public, and this has given rise to a good deal of cheap wit at their expense, but what if they do indulge in a little harmless finery? It is but an innocent feminine weakness after all, and only deserving of censure when it passes into extravagance, which it certainly does not do in the case of the Irish girls of Melbourne.

"During my short colonial experience," remarks Mr. William Kelly, in his interesting "Life in Victoria," "I was much surprised at finding so large a proportion of the Irish leaven in the population, which, previous to the gold digging, I always understood was three-fourths Scotch with a good dash of English besides, in its lower and even secondary ranks. And the surprise was no more than natural, knowing as I did the alluring attractions held out by America to Irish emigrants—firstly in the extraordinary cheapness of the rate and the shortness of the passage; secondly, in the low price and easy acquirement of land, and thirdly, in the witching lures of consanguinity so inherent in Celtic bosoms. But notwithstanding these advantages and the discouragements of a voyage over five times as long and five times as costly, thousands of Irish poured in, independently of those who came out as free emigrants, all of whom were absorbed or found profitable occupations immediately after arrival; few, if any, contributing to swell the ranks of those discontented grumblers who were most eloquent when cursing the colony because they could not find gold on the surface, and who were always sure to be found sunning themselves lazily in the vicinity of the