Extracts from a letter by Margaret M'Leod, writing from Melbourne to her brother and sister in Skye.
'Roderick is working in a smithy in town and getting £3, 6s a-week; and Donald is in a lemonade shop, and is getting £3 a-week; and Angus is working in a public-house and is getting £1, 5s a-week, along with rations. There is plenty of work here for every person that will work, and good wages for tradesmen (mechanics) and labourers . . .
I wish that you and Margaret would take the courage to come out here, for you would both do very well. Mother, Emily and I are all living together. Roderick and Donald are along with us. We have got two rooms and are paying £2 a-week for them. Rents are high here. Everything is dear in this place. Loaf bread 2s. per pound, eggs 5s the dozen. I would not get a pair of shoes for myself under £1 . . .
The Free Church is as near as twenty yards to our house, and there is service in it twice a day on Sabbath. There is a Gaelic sermon preached every Sabbath, so that the place is not so bad off as what we heard from the want of the means of grace. But this is a very wicked place, and people given greatly to drink here, especially women. I never saw a town yet where there is more women given to drink than this town is . . .
We had a very long passage, but very favourable. Our dear little boy suffered a great deal before he died. Poor John Mackinnon, that left Roag, lost all his family; the only one that was living after coming on shore died last week; but they are both quite well themselves . . .
My dear brother, I wish you and Margaret would take the courage of coming out here, for I know it would be better for you and for your family than staying there, for every person here has plenty to eat and drink, and could save a little money also, if they would be industrious . . .'
Read the text then answer the following questions.
- She says the passage by ship was 'favourable'. What suggests that it was far from 'favourable'?
- What is there in their new home to remind them of life in Skye?
- What has clearly shocked Margaret about life in Melbourne?
- In the last paragraph she writes "My dear brother, I wish you and Margaret would take the courage of coming out here, for I know it would be better for you and for your family than staying there" Where is 'there'?