The things we ardently wish for in this life, either never come to pass, or if they do it is too late. Hence, “better late than never.”
The whole of the morning passed off as quietly as any well wisher to our cause could desire. Towards twelve o’clock it was our decision that licence-hunting was over, for the day any how, since no digger recollected a search for licence taking place on a Saturday afternoon. Our talk was of the coming meeting of the reform league at two o’clock on Sunday, at the Adelphi, as announced at the monster meeting on Wednesday.
The impression was almost general, that “Charley” would soon dismiss the hated brood of our commissioners, and things would then be “all right.” “Off to get a bite,” was the pass-word.
I assert as a matter of fact, and a living eye-witness, that between one and two o’clock on Saturday, December 2nd, 1854, the Eureka stockade was comparatively deserted. Those who remained (some one hundred) were such, as either had a long distance to go to reach their tents, and the day was very hot, or such as had no tent or friend on Ballaarat. I took notice of this very circumstance from my tent, the second from the stockade, on the hill, west, whilst frying a bit of steak on the fire of my tent chimney, facing said stockade: Manning was peeling an onion. I transcribe the above from the identical note I had taken down on my diary, at the identical hour aforesaid, and can afford to challenge contradiction.
Raffaello Carboni. The Eureka Stockade: The Consequence of Some Pirates Wanting on Quarter-Deck a Rebellion, Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1962 [facsimile of the 1855 edition], page 61
Charley = Charles LaTrobe, superintendent (September 1839 to January 1851) of the Port Phillip District, then lieutenant-governor (January 1851 to May 1854) of Victoria (the Port Phillip District separated from New South Wales in July 1851 and became known as Victoria)