Memories of My Life. From My Early Days in Scotland till the Present Day in Adelaide
Adelaide, J.L. Bonython & Co., 'The Advertiser' Office, 1906.
Small octavo, [viii], 119 pages.
Salmon-pink wrappers slightly foxed and creased, and a little chipped on the spine; front inner hinge lightly reinforced; trifling signs of use; a very good copy.
The interesting autobiography of one very unhappy lady. Her final paragraph is 'We make environment and get blocked. Do not reproach me with ingratitude, but I am at war sometimes with my long life of toil now I am by myself alone. 'Words, words, words.' Some things are too hard to write about or to speak of'. However, much of her life was spent as a cook (including 14 years as cooking instructress for the SA School of Mines) and housekeeper (at one stage, for Government House). Her memoirs are very much of life downstairs: 'To me life's battles began at the age of 10 years', when she started work as a house-servant (around 1860, from internal evidence). Some of her comments in passing are a genuine pleasure to read, such as this snippet from her time at 'Sunnyside', the home of Sir William Milne. 'One Saturday afternoon I was in attendance, and I was told to bring in the decanter and cake to the library. There were two or three men there looking so weary and dusty. I learned while in the room that one of the men was John Macdouall [sic] Stuart, the explorer. I hardly knew then what exploring meant. At any rate those men looked broken down, but the master was so pleased to see them'.