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Memories of My Life From My Early Days in Scotland Till the Present Day in Adelaide

Memories of My Life
From My Early Days in Scotland Till the Present Day in Adelaide
Title: Memories of My Life From My Early Days in Scotland Till the Present Day in Adelaide
Release Date: 2018-11-05
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Memories of My Life, by Mrs. J. S. O. Allen

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Title: Memories of My Life

From My Early Days in Scotland Till the Present Day in Adelaide

Author: Mrs. J. S. O. Allen

Release Date: November 5, 2018 [eBook #58239]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Martin Pettit
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
the National Library of Australia


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-358993523/view?partId=nla.obj-358994667








By Mrs. J. S. O. ALLEN

King William Street




In a sense I am no stranger to you. It may be asked why I should bringthe names of people and the incidents of my life into book-form.Loneliness is the principal cause. What would become of me if I couldnot recall past years. I have written something of the history of what Ihave lived through. Many times over I have promised to write a cookerybook from my colonial experience—I am talking about cookery all day. Itry to live on recollection, although occasionally it hurts me. Manywill discern in these pages some of the observations they have listenedto while I have been giving lessons on cookery. It has been habitual tome to allude to by-gone days and customs.

Mrs. J. S. O. ALLEN.

77 Tynte Street,
 North Adelaide.


My First Place 1
Life's Battle Begins 3
I Return Home 7
On the Coal Mines 9
I go to Glasgow 13
I Change my Occupation 16
The Country of Burns 19
I go to a New Place 20
I Leave Ayrshire 25
Dr. Dykes, Dr. Guthrie, and Dr. MacLeod 27
Another New Place 32
Abraham Lincoln 34
The Isle of Arran 35
Back in Glasgow again 41
I Decide to come to Adelaide 44
On an Emigrant Ship 46
I Arrive in Adelaide 52
My Father and Brother Arrive 60
I go to the South-East 65
I Leave the Station and Return to Adelaide 72
I go back to Sunnyside 80
Prince Alfred in Adelaide 82
I Leave Government House 86
I Get Married 91
A Parting of Ways 95
I Return to Scotland 98
I Arrive in London 104
I Return to my Old Home 109
I Reach Adelaide again 112
Housekeeper at Government House 115
I Return to my Husband 116
Yet Another Parting 118

[Pg 1]

Memories of My Life



We did not talk of a "situation" in those days but of a place. Mysister, who was a few years older than I, was out at a place five milesfrom where we lived. She came home, as she had not been well, and myfather sent me to tell the people that Mary could not return for a fewdays. They asked me if I could stay in her stead till she was better. Iwas quite willing, provided that my father would allow me. They obtainedmy father's consent, as he said if I was any use they could keep me; soat the age of ten I began to be a house-servant.

We had no mother. She died when I was six years of age. The name of thetown was Denny, not far from Falkirk. The people with whom I went tolive were bakers and confectioners in a large way. With their sons andjourneymen and apprentices, in addition to the master, there were, alltold, 12 men living on the establishment, and the mistress, with onedaughter and myself, did all the work, except that a woman came to helpwith the washing. Some of the journeymen and two apprentices slept overthe granary or store where the flour and other materials were kept.Every night at 10 o'clock those men and boys had to be in their room;one of my duties was to see that the door was locked and to bring thekeys to the master. The mistress would bring them to me again in themorning at 4 o'clock, when I had to run up this long stone stair andopen the door and tell the men it was time to get up. I always went backto bed again till 6 o'clock.

It was a busy house. There was a large shop facing the front street,with two windows filled with beauteous cakes and confectionery. Therewere five carts to load up every morning,[Pg 2] for the establishment servedthe locality for miles round with bread.

Stirling town was not far off, and the neighborhood was full ofhistorical events. The battlefield of Bannockburn was close by, and alsoan old castle; I was told that once it was the stronghold of Bruce andWallace. I liked to wander through the old ruins on my way home fromSunday-school. I got to like the place, and they were kind to me. It wasnot displeasing to me when I learned that I could stop there for a timeand that my sister would live at home. I used to go home about once amonth. There were no tramcars or conveyance of any kind on that wildmoorland. Nothing but heather met the eye all the way from Denny toSlamannan, which was the name of the village I came from. The Edinburghand Glasgow railway ran through it, and we could see Stirling Castlefrom our door.

I did not have much wages, but the mistress saw to my clothes and madesome of them. I was taught to be careful and useful. One of the things Iliked was to go into the shop window to hand out all the nice cake andconfections. The work of bakers and confectioners has moved forward bygreat strides since then. For weeks and weeks the daughter of the houseand myself had to help in the work-shop while some of the men and one ofthe apprentices were away ill with measles.

I shall never forget the first morning I went to the bakehouse. Therewas a long trough, which stretched the full length of the bakehouse.Overhead there was a strong beam of timber, with ropes hanging down fora balance. In this big trough I saw six men with their trousers up tothe knees, and they were tramping in the dough to make the bread. I putup my hands and gave a scream, and someone threw a flour bag at my head.I felt as if I did not want to eat any more bread. I did not like theway that they made bread, but I soon got interested in other beautifulwork which was done, and I had to help. What I learned then I have neverforgotten.

The master told the mistress that she was not to give me any wages, as Iwas learning more than the apprentices. So he said I was to have nowages, but that I would have to pay him some "sil-ler" for what I waslearning. When he said "sil-ler" he meant money. I knew the apprenticeshad to pay when they were bound for so long a period. Time went on and Iwas happy.

There was one daughter who had a runaway marriage, sometime before Iwent there to live. The old folks had forgiven her and she and herhusband came on a visit. It was the first since the elopement, andeveryone seemed pleased to see her again. Even I, the little maid, wasallowed to enjoy the gay times. They came from Glasgow, and had seensome style in city life. The gentleman brought with him an apparatus[Pg 3]for taking photographs. It was the first ever seen in Denny. They fixedup a studio in the garden for him, but he did not take photographs tomake money, but only as a pastime. It made quite a stir in the place.Ministers and doctors and all kinds of people came to see this wonderfulthing. I will add here that this was 46 years ago. Things are differentnow. I had my photograph taken without my knowledge.

I was sent with a cup of coffee on a tray in the morning as so manypeople were round that the gentleman could not come to breakfast. Justas I got to the gate I was told to stand still and look straight at whatproved to be the camera. I was told to wait and get something to takeback to give to Miss Isabel, and to ask her to put it in the shopwindow. I carefully carried back the parcel, never thinking it was

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