*****A short story *Immigration And The Promise* Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory – All Rights Reserved 17 January 2013*****
*****This page is copyright to author Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photographs can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.*****
…..But you should also be proud that your mothers and fathers came from a land upon which God laid his gracious hand and raised his messengers. – From a speech by Khalil Gibran I believe in you (1926)
The first two paragraphs of a short story Immigration and The Promise by Anne Frandi-Coory, published in
Jacob’s new business venture was all contained in the leather suitcase the Chinaman in Little Bourke Street had made for him. He said goodbye to Eva and set off down the stairs and out into a chilly winter morning. He planned to begin selling his wares to domestic households in and around the suburb of Fitzroy. All he had to say to customers in English was ‘Buy something lady?’ and ‘Thank you lady.’ All was going well until a policeman demanded to see his hawker’s licence. ‘Well, you must get a licence! A licence! No more knocking until you get a licence! Do you understand?’ Jacob just nodded and handed him the piece of paper Mr Kahlil had given him with his address on it and a rough map of city streets. Unbeknown to Jacob, the ‘White Australia Policy’ dictated that all non-Europeans were required to carry ‘Certificates of Exemption’ which enabled them to work temporarily as assistants to local merchants. In any event, Jacob continued with his door to door trade as the policeman walked away in the opposite direction. At dusk he decided to head back home, with his case almost half empty and a reasonable day’s earnings in his pockets. He then realised with alarm that he had given the street map to the policeman. He was so tired he lay down on a street sheltered by a building and took a little nap, resting his head on the suitcase. People had assured him, ‘There are no murderers or robbers here.’
Close to midnight Jacob became aware of a man approaching. He jumped up and opened his case for the stranger to see the display of shirts, socks, hats, silks, towels and small items of haberdashery. He felt no fear when the man looked him up and down and intimated with words and gestures, ‘Hang on, I’ll get my friend, he might buy something as well.’ Jacob waited with a leather belt around his neck attached to the open suitcase ready for the two men to view upon their return. However, four men came back, one with a knife who deftly cut the belt from around Jacob’s neck and after the other three kicked and punched him, all ran off. Jacob called out for police but when he did find one, neither could understand each other. At 1am all the street lights went out and the moonless night smothered any possibility of Jacob navigating his way home. When he found suitable shelter in a doorway, he once again made his aching body as comfortable as he could. For the first time since he had departed his home country, Jacob had plenty of time to reflect on how immensely his and Eva’s lives had changed in only two months…continued in Dragons, Deserts and Dreams.
…This was just the beginning of Jacob’s and Eva’s journey into the 20th Century….
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