[Editor: This is a chapter from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni. A glossary has been provided to explain various words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to modern readers.]
Suppose I give now the kind (!) answer from Police-inspector Henry Foster! it will give general satisfaction, I think:—
“Ballaarat, Nov. 2, 1854.
Sir, — In reply to your communication, dated 26th ultimo, on the subject of your having been deprived of your clothing during your arrest at this Camp, in December, 1855 [I think, Mr. Foster, it was in 1854] I have the honour to inform you, that to the best of my recollection, the clothing you wore when you were brought to the Camp consisted of a wide-awake hat, or cap, a red shirt, corduroy or moleskin trousers, and a pair of boots.
Of these articles, the cap, shirt, and boots were put amongst the surplus clothing taken from the other prisoners, and I am not aware how they were disposed of afterwards.
I must add, that the shirt alluded to was made of wool, under which you wore a cotton one, the latter of which you retained during your confinement.
“I have the honour to be, Sir,
“Your obedient servant,
“Inspector of Police.
“Signor Carboni Raffaello.
My money is not mentioned though! Very clever: and yet I know it was not Foster who did rob me.
However, good reader, if you believe that a Ballaarat miner, of sober habits and hard at work, has not got about his person, say a couple of £one rags, well . . . there let’s shut up the book at once, and here is the
P.S. If John Bull, cross-breed or pure blood, had been robbed in Italy, half less wantonly, and twice less cruelly, than myself, the whole British press and palaver in urbe or orbe terrarum would have rung the chimes against Popish gendarmes and the holy (!) inquisition of the scarlet city. So far so good.
A friendless Italian is ROBBED under arrest on British ground, close by the British flag, by British troopers and traps: oh! that alters the case.
What business have these foreign beggars to come and dig for gold on British Crown lands?
BASTA COSI; that is, Great works!
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 125
basta cosi = (Italian) “that’s enough” (or “that’s all”)
gendarmes = (French) police officers
in urbe or orbe terrarum = (Latin) “in the city or the world”; this relates to the phrase Carboni uses in chapter LXXXVIII (88) “urbis et orbis terrarium” (“the city and the world”), derived from “Fasti” (book II, line 684), by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC – 17 AD) “romanae spatium est urbis et orbis idem” (“the space of the city of Rome is the space of the world”, i.e. “the domains of Rome’s city and the world are one”)
“Learn Italian phrases: At the market”, The Guardian, Tuesday 14 July 2009 (accessed 18 January 2013)
“Basic Italian”, Wikinapoli (accessed 18 January 2013)
Mario Costantino. Italian at a Glance, Barron’s Educational Services, New York, 2003, page 300 (accessed 18 January 2013)
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