‘Of course not. It is a disorder of the feminine constitution.’‘Pifﬂe! It is an ailment created by physicians to keep us in ourplace.’Although Amy was inclined to berate Eliza for her use of a curseword, she really wanted to hear more. ‘
’ she enquired.‘Women. They tell us we’re weak and hysterical. Which iswhy we can’t be entrusted with the vote. But that’s utter
!The women of this colony are its unsung heroines, the silentsupporters in a world where men claim all the credit.’This time Amy couldn’t let the curse pass without a comment.‘Eliza! What if the children heard you speaking in such a manner?’‘They are playing in the cellar. And Joseph’s dead to the world.’
Her older brother, who had only just returned from mustering, wasslumped in an armchair, his yellow curls falling over his forehead.‘Well, thank goodness for that. I daresay he wouldn’t approve of anything you’ve said.’‘And what about you, Amy?’‘Sometimes I think you live in a different world from the restof us, Eliza. A strange land where things are upside down and backto front.’Eliza just smiled. ‘It never hurts to look at things from a differentperspective, you know. Some people around here are far too set in theirways.’ She shot a glance at the sleeping Joseph. Beside them a cardtable was piled neatly with Sydney newspapers. Eliza took the upper-most journal and glanced at the headline. ‘Do you think he’ll escape?’‘General Gordon? Of course I do. I pray for him every night.’‘It’s odd, isn’t it, how an Englishman, besieged in Africa, hasbecome the focus of attention around the world. Everyone is waitingwith bated breath for the latest news – even in little Millbrooke.’‘I don’t think it’s at all odd. General Gordon is the greatest heroof our time. The entire British Empire is following his story, from
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