Part of this letter was written in "cross writing", also called a "cross letter" or "cross hatching. It was a technique used in the early19th century to save on paper and cost of mailing. The first page of the letter was turned 90 degrees and the last page was written over the top of the first page.
by the Marco Polo
Melbourne July 19th. 1855
12 Temple Court
My dear Mother
I have only time to write you a few lines by the “Marco Polo” which sails tomorrow and is likely to be the only vessel for home for the next month or so. Your letter of the 3d of March enclosing one from Livy I have just received; it arrived some time ago but I was away at the time on a visit up at Hepburn’s from where I have only just returned.
Miss H sent me a very pressing invitation to go up and assist in the celebration of her birth day, 24th anniversary; it required not any great pressing to induce me to accept it. I accordingly went with the intention of remaining only a week, but having once got me there, I was not allowed to leave for a month – you see I am as great a favorite with them as ever, but, notwithstanding Livy’s insinuation, I am not going to be married just yet, tho’ I think Miss Hepburn is. The eldest boy Tom is expected out by Christmas next, and the old Lady intends going home in Jany taking all the family with her and remaining in England for two or three years to have the younger children educated.
I was glad to find you enjoyed such good health during the winter which I understand was about the most severe you have had in Ireland for some time. If it was much worse than the one I spent at home, it was certainly quite bad enough.
Father it seems did not fare as well as you, but I hope he is quite recovered by this time. I hope he will decide on taking the governorship of the School, it is just the thing for him; as to the labour he anticipates I am sure he undergoes far more in his present position; with Mr Beale’s assistance I think he might easily manage it. By the way I was sorry indeed to hear of poor Beale’s loss, an irreparable loss I am sure to him, she was such a nice, amiable creature – give him my kind regards.
William is a very lucky fellow certainly and I wish him joy of his good fortune which I think he deserves. He will be a big man some time or other and able to give me a lift when I am cast upon my beam ends, a good job for him he did not come out here as he had some idea of doing. Tell him I should like to see the style of his fist more frequently than he favours me with.
I had a letter from Charlotte about six weeks ago. In it she seems to express a wish on the subject of my advising her about coming out here. I have delayed answering it so far with the idea that I might perhaps be able to offer them some encouragement to come but from what I see & know of the country I really do not think that William would succeed here; farming would be the only thing he could turn his attention to and such occupation is more profitable at home now than it is here at present; land near town is not to be had, and farming in the interior might afford a livelihood but nothing more. Of course anything I could do to assist them I would gladly do. You mention that Stewart offered to buy Jackson’s place for them. I think it a very kind offer on his part, for I suspect that Stewart is not much better off than a good many of us here at present; it is a difficult matter to tell now who is solvent. I have not seen or heard from Stewart for a length of time. I wrote him immediately after my return, but had no reply. Of John I heard thro’ a friend of his about two months ago, he was then keeping a Store at the Bendigo diggings, and according to his own account in a letter to his friend which I saw, was doing very well. In the same letter he states that he had sent home £60 I think to his sister Mary and made several remittances at different times to his Father. Charlotte I think says in her last letter to me that they had not received any thing from him lately. In my last I told you of poor Charles Heney’s death, and now I must tell you that I fear poor McCamas is dying. The Doctor attending him says he cannot possibly last for more than a month. He had been very delicate for some time and would not have lived long under any circumstances, but the shock occasioned by poor Charles’ death I think has hastened his own; he is not quite confined to his bed yet, but altho’ he looks very well, it is evident he is sinking fast; he is remarkably cheerful tho’ perfectly aware of his situation, having made all the necessary arrangements with regard to his worldly affairs. Of late dropsy has set in & his legs are a good deal swollen. The business in Queen St. is being managed at present by his cousin Wesley McComas who was married lately to some lady from Dublin I think. When I wrote you last I told you what I was doing myself; my partner Kilgour & I have got a little house a few miles from Melbourne where we live very quietly together, he is a man of a studious turn & you know my propensity in that way, so that we agree very well. As an accountant Kilgour has plenty of business in winding up insolvent estates of which there is an abundant harvest here at present and likely to continue for some time. I assist in the office and take charge of the Sale of Properties put into our hands to be disposed of; tho’ I am sorry to say, from the scarcity of money, I have done very little in that way of late. My health is in general very good, and a trip up to Hepburn’s occasionally always gives me fresh vigour. I think I told you that Roycroft has still £1000 of mine for which I have a mortgage on his property in Town for a year from the 1st. of June last – his wife presented him with another son a few days ago. The weather has been beautifully fine here for some time, altho’ it is now mid winter the weather is like that in the month of July at home. And now my dear Mother I must bring this letter to a close to be in time for the post. Tell Livy with my love that were I not so hurried I would write her too in acknowledgment of her note for which I am much obliged & hope she will write me soon again. Love to all, Father, Charlotte, to whom I must write soon, Heney & her family and William. Kind regards to all friends, particularly Mrs Heney, the girls and Parnell. Hoping to hear from you soon,
I am my dear Mother
Your attached Son
P.S. Direct as above
12 Temple Court
Back.... John Gayer of Dublin and children