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  ― iii ―

Preface.

I HAVE to thank the following gentlemen for the prompt and hearty assistance which they have given me in books, maps, and personal information about West Australia and its Goldfields at the present hour. Having taken full advantage of such valuable information, I trust that the reader will find this romance correct in its local colouring and statistics. To Mr. Albert F. Calvert, M.E., F.R.G.S., &c., &c., Author of “The Exploration of Australia”; “Western Australia and its Goldfields”; Editor and Proprietor of The West Australian Review, for his magnificent and exhaustive works and maps. Also to those other friends, Messrs. Critchill; Ernest H. Gough; Graham Hill; Philip Mennell, F.R.G.S., &c., Author of “The Coming Colony,” “Dictionary of Australian Biography,” &c., &c., and Editor and Proprietor of The British Australasian; also to Mr. John Wilson, first Mayor of Kalgourlie. To all these gentlemen and others who have supplied me with information I beg to offer my most grateful thanks.

I must appeal to the good sense of my West Australian readers, and trust that they will not try to see real personages in my fictitious creations. Kalgourlie is as yet a small, if it is a rapidly-growing town, and each resident is known to his fellow-townsmen. The peculiarities of mankind are so mixed and generalized that it is not at all difficult for a reader to fix an original for my fancy study in any spot where men and women congregate. This habit, so unfair and crippling to an author's liberty of action, I must particularly warn you against indulging in. I built the “Chester Hotel” entirely at my own expense, and as my own speculation. The material was not Hessian, but a finer web of stuff which I spun from my own brain. Sarah Hall, Rosa Chester, Anthony Vandyke Jenkins, Bob Wallace, and my


  ― iv ―
other characters, all came from the same source, and are as Mercutio says: “The children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy.”

Therefore you must take them as such, and not localize or incarnate one of them. On this privileged ground I strictly take my stand.

Regarding any mild criticism that I may have written throughout these pages concerning the fair City of Sydney, I have no apology to make other than that perhaps my various visits may have been timed unfortunately when the inhabitants were suffering from some insensate epidemic. Perhaps they have lucid intervals between these public and social epidemics of folly and unreason, and that during these intervals they act like their neighbours, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia, but if so, I have not had the good fortune to land amongst them at such happy intervals; therefore I can only speak as I find people, and the natives of Sydney have not impressed me so favourably as their neighbour colonials of Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide have done, either for their probity, generosity, or common sense.

As for that worm “Puffadder,” with his blasphemous, brutal, and poisonous organ, I do not think any self-respecting colonial will care how much a reptile like this is criticised or censured. He may spit out his venom, but he would do that under any circumstances, particularly when his victim's back is turned upon him. His unsexed contributors may also snarl and yelp, while his senile admirers, who have debauched the little brains which originally they may have possessed, with his absinthe doses, doubtless will gnash their gums and cry for gore, but as “Walker, London,” remarks: “That is nothink.”

My story is before you, sympathetic or hostile readers, and I trust it may interest you with all its faults. The characters are purely imaginative, but some of the incidents are drawn from facts, and in the descriptions I have done my utmost to be exact and realistic.

   THE AUTHOR.

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