The Courtship of Elizabeth May – by Mulga Pete

Max Mannix Painting - Shes taking her time making up her mind

“She’s taking her time making up her mind”
Painting by Max Mannix

The Courtship of Elizabeth May
by Mulga Pete

Getting dressed in her finest frock.
Mum brushing her hair, it’s a big day for our Lizzy, Young Matty is going to pop the question. He came and asked Pa’s permission. Pa wasn’t too pleased, no ones good enough for our Lizzy. They have only been together for the last 12 months and there are not too many opportunities for a young bush girl to meet her man. Young Matty was a good worker, and his Dad, “Doser” was a good bloke.

Pa’s pacing the floor, his little girl and young Matty, Dosers Son “engaged”, he was saying under his breath.
He’s a good worker, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be good for my Lizzy May. She has dreams of the day she will be lifted away from the dirt and the bush, but young Matty still works with his dad, that’s not the life my Lizzy dreams of. She is always dreaming of the city and the shopping, that’s not going to happen with young Matty. It will be more of the same, hard work, hot and dry, little income and not many fancy things.

But we were doing OK. Maybe they will do OK too. We kept a roof over our heads. Three little ones are growing strong. Horses, dogs, chickens and cows, a few sheep. We don’t go hungry often and we will still be close if they need us.

He’s on one knee, “can you hear what he’s saying”? Pa said.
“Get your heads back in the door, and keep quiet,” said Mum.
He’s pulled out the ring, “What did he say” ? said Pa.
“Quiet, I’m trying to listen,” said Mum.
“She’s taking her time making up her mind,” said Pa.
“Has she answered him yet”?