Alice watched as her husband disappeared into the mist ahead of her with her three young daughters. Her steps as she finally stopped and lay down on the cold damp ground.
The excitement as they stepped aboard the ship was palpable. Here they were, newly married and immigrating to Australia. Months of planning had gone into this trip. They were the early ones to go. Once they were in Australia Thomas and Alice were going to work hard to bring Alice’s parents and brother over to Australia to live with them. It was going to be difficult, but they were excited and looking forward to a new country and opportunities that they could not have in Sussex.
Thomas was a skilled shoemaker and Alice had worked as a house servant before they were married. They planned to use these skills to find work and earn money in Australia. Plus there were children, they planned to have a family. The Whiteman’s had been a close-knit family over the years and they wanted to continue with children of their own.
But the children had not come, or at least not at first. They had tried but no children had arrived. They had worked hard, hard enough to bring Alice’s parents and brother to Australia. They had sent the money and Alice’s parents and brother packed their bags ready to travel. Then had come the news, Alice’s mother Ann had fallen sick and the whole family were going to remain in Sussex. Alice was never going to see her mother again. Alice hadn’t known it of course, but by the time she had received the letter that they were not going to join her in Australia, her mother was already dead.
That had started the loneliness. No children and a home in the middle of nowhere. A remote place that was days away from anywhere with few to see and only the house to maintain. Over time others had come along, a community of sorts had started to grow up and then finally children, three little girls. But by then it was too late. The loneliness had seeped into Alice’s being.
So there was Thomas marching off into the mist. Alice lay down on the cold hard ground. She was never going to get up again.