Works in the Herald 1934

Fourway Farm,
via Billibilli P.O.
August 2, 1934.

Dear Ab,

I am putting the full title and address of the old family seat at the top of this letter in case you might happen to forget it some time. I been told that people in the rush and bussel of city life is apt to be absent-minded in queer ways so this is just to remind you we are still at the same spot and more or less alive.

Be that as it may me and your ma was very glad to hear from you at last and to know that you are in fare health and still working at your job - or still at your job anyway.

Apart from these two facks there ain't much in said letter to stir up any speshial pride in our second oldest son or raise loud cheers.

Now Ab., my boy, I don't want to spend my declining years writing these sort of letters to you. I don't enjoy it. So you got to remember it's your old man has the trouble and pain of writing them. All you got to do is read them and heed them.

Well, Ab., you will probably be pained to know we ain't sending you no five pounds in this letter such as you asked for in such a reasonable manner. In fack all the nice feesable reasons you give remine me a good bit of what I once seen in a mining prospecktis. I mention that from first to last mine never paid no dividends.

Be that as it may, I was a bit disappointed you should of wrote home for money so soon after settling in the city. Of course, I guessed you would sooner or later, but I was hoping it would be later - a lot later.

But you better understand, Ab., right here at the beginning, that the old blue teapot on the parler mantilpiece at this farm ain't a bit like the purse of that anscient bloke they called Fortunis or somethin'. That teapot has got a bottom, and it don't sprout no new quids inside of it every time you take one out. Leastwise its pretty empty at present.

Well, Ab., seeing how things are I don't know as I can blame you for not taking to the land like your oldest brother Joe did. Farm life aint exackly attractive just now. When I named this place Fourway Farm years ago I done it because I reckoned I could see four ways of making a good living off it. And they was wheat sheep pigs and potaters. But the days is gone when a man could put potaters in the bank against an overdraft. And other things has slumped so as to make me think sometimes of changing the name to Noway Farm. But somewhere deep inside me I got a funny sort of faith that this bit of land will come back true to name before long.

Me and your ma been here now thirty year come next summer, and we aint blaming the land for one single thing. If human nacher and human aims was kind and genrous as the land is this world would be a pretty fine place.

Be that as it may, what I want to say is this. I got a sort of suspicion that betwixt the lines of your letter there is indicashions you are inclined to get a bit uppity and above yourself.

It is a frame of mind that often goes with white collars. I ain't blaming your ma one bit because she got ideas one of the family should have a bit of schooling and be able to wear a white collar without looking like he was being strangled by a yoke. But believe me you ain't doing my friend Mr Sprague no favor by working in his city office at three quid a week.

You might as well know first as last, Ab., that your boss Mr Sprague holds a second mortgage over the old family seat and I am finding it pretty hard to find the interest. Being a sensible man Mr Sprague seen as how I might be able to save more if I had one idle back less to clothe and one mouth less to feed that wasent so idle. So he kindly gave you a job in his office at three quid a week. And I think he'll be pretty satisfied if you manidge to earn thirty bob of it.

Well, Ab., I dont know if the sort of discontented note that runs through your letter is a sign of a great ambition or just ingrowing grouch. Time alone will tell. So that will be all just now.

Love from all at home.

Your aff. father.

P.S. - Your ma is also writing.

Herald, 4 August 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003