The Marroon Magazine

The Marroon Magazine was no light undertaking - this issue was 159 pages long, with numerous contributions by M.M.P (Matilda) and her daughter Rosa, the future novelist. Some note of contents:

  • TLM-P had traditional views on women, but this issue reveals that, while the gender divisions are clear, his daughters were independently minded to an unusual degree. In one story the hero marries another; he is duly unhappy and his wife leaves him. Traditionally, the heroine dies of a broken heart or eventually marries her love, but not this one! Instead the hero dies leaving all he possesses to the heroine 'thus rendering me independent for life'! The sign-off is equally subversive: the writer hopes the reader has enjoyed the story although it has been written by “An Old Maid”.
  • Essays and poems about celebrated women and men such as Joan of Arc, Catherine de Medici and Cardinal Mazarin, many signed 'M.M.P.' That 'M.M.P.' was Matilda as is evident in one of the other poems signed 'M.M.P.' commending good behaviour by Lizzie and Redmond. The poem is entitled 'Lizzie's dolls' and not the most tactful how it ends.

Lizzie had four little dolls she loves so well
Edith and Amy, Jessie and Bell
They have four little servants their errands to go
Thomas and Matthew, William and Joe

A coach they have got with harness so neat
Fine horses and livery all complete
Saddles they have too, and habits so gay
No ladies in town so fine as they

She has made them gay dresses with trimmings of green
and bonnets and mantles fit for a queen
Such stylish young ladies you never would meet
As her four little dolls when drest for the street

A house they have got with mirrors so fine
And curtains and carpets quite divine
They've a tea service too, of crimson and white
And their friends to drink tea they often invite

She has a dear little brother who helps her to play
With her four little dolls on a rainy day
Some time he happens to pull out an eye
But he gives her his pence another to buy

Lizzie and Reddy are good children ever
Though not very bright, nor yet very clever
When Hervey and Hugh are making a noise
They quietly play with their dolls and their toys.

  • A light-hearted and clever take on a feature of the papers of the time is 'Fashionable Intelligence'. The item that His Holiness the Pope left Marroon for Brisbane maybe a teasing reference to T de M.M-P. There is also mention of visitors including the Bundocks (Mary Bundock would be the second wife of Thomas de M. M-P) and Richard Harpur. There is also a note that 'Miss Hollinsworth, known to readers as 'Aston Rose'(?) left Maroon 'to our regret'. The Hollinsworths came out on the same ship as Matilda and her family when emigrating to Australia.
  • Rosa demonstrated her literary talents with, among other contributions, Chapter 1 of a long story entitled Barbarian's Dream. Her preciosity is also seen in her poem the 'Roman Battle Song' with its note that it had been written by 9-year-old 'RMP' in 1860.
  • 'T. de M. M.P.' (Thomas de Montmorenci M-P) contributed an essay on steam navigation and possibly other items including a poem on the joys of riding:

You may take pleasure in sailing
A horse for me with a pace like the wind
That leaves all my rivals far behind …

This issue too is a lively and varied collection of the children's sketches and writing - particularly by Rosa - along with that of their mother. 'His Holiness the Pope' gets a further teasing reference to his return to Maroon, and his courting of a 'fair young mademoiselle' who lives at Kangaroo Point. If this was Florence Moor, the courtship had another 12 years to go before they married. This issue also noted a play the children performed to celebrate the 20th wedding anniversary of the 'Heads of this Family' - in this time of Victorian patriarchy, the plural ('Heads') is another indication that the family viewed women to be equal, at least within the family, to men.

One poem cannot be read without awareness that Matilda would die the following year:
friends are gone, and mother tho art gone with my sister and my brother 'And I am left alone to mourn\ That dearest, holiest(?) best, my mother'. C.R. The poignancy of that sentiment is enforced by a poem Matilda contributed, to her eldest daughter (Rosa) on her 16th birthday. It ended, 'But ne'er shall fonder heart caress thee/ Than hers who now bids God to bless thee.'1)

Source: Praed papers, JOLQ, … Box 3. Need to check as going on old notes.

Roderick, In Mortal Bondage, p.46.
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  • Last modified: 2022/06/12 21:26
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