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MARION (" BILL") EDWARDS.' There is some novel interest in life as it appears to Miss Marion (other wise Mr " Bill") Eldwards, the young female person whoi otanntreraded as a man so successfully, and for so long. Long ere she became " Bill" of Aus tralia. Marion was a wee Welsh girl. 1Her parents brought her into this country in 1885, when she was four years old. She spent her petticoated days attending a Geelong school. Her parents dying, she took refuge in odomestic service. She was only twelve years old when she lirat lrcame bond slave to the red arrued wife of a strag ling farmer. At sixteen she fell in love with the idea of masculinity, instead.of following custom and en amored of the nearest callow youth. She decided not to be Marion, but " Bill." As " Bill," she conjectured, she might cheat the Fate which oppresa see women of the poor. As " Bill" she hoped to enjoy the broad width of the world, instead of that narrow vista which stretloes before a woman's leyes. Marton acquired a horse for " Bill" to ride astride. She hid her girlhood and its limitations with her discarded skirts. Then "Bill mounted hie sorry steed and spurred after Fortune.. "Bill" Edwards (late Marion) found work,. for the first tome, as a roeseabout on a Riverina station, where he learnt much about men, sheep, and. horses. Then he worked through three States, gaining knowledge of many crafts. In turn he was a storeman, a French-polis lher, a horse-dealer and trainer, a house painter, and a barman. For a year he sorted wool on a station in the remote larts of Queensland, where awful soli tudes embraced each other, and lonely journeys through heated and dangerous deserts were the only links between shabby isolation. He drifted back to Melbourne in 1904, owned some racing ponies, and making money, played the agreeable r6le of "eporits". During this period he committed an iltdiecretion, which to the eyes ot local. policemen, looked like a puniahable offence. While on hall he vanished from Victoria, and was only recaptureod in Oetober.1906, when information was given to the Queensland police concerning his where. aboots. Arrest led to "Bill" being rehabilitated as Marion. • The trial re suited in a speedy acquittal. Then Marion turned to a speculation, in which lher masquerade as "Bill" was the chief capital. She figured as a sensational sale-male in a circus. Now Marion is approaching 27. On lher own ground she grows a clear, agile mind, weighted with a surprising, and somewhat pleasant, personality,- A pair of wide-setgrey eyes, touched with humor, and the musical voice and laughter of a boy, lend quaint interest to the admissions and assertions of Marion "Bill". She pleads for pity for the struggler who was born and lives a girl : "Anyhow, I don't think the world's much of a place for most women. They hare the same tiresome graft, day after day ; tihe same tucker(what the old man and the kids can't eatl); the same in terests (washing the baby often;. and getting the keep of six people out of the wages of one I) ; anti no amusements. That sort of thing would have killed me if I'd fallen into it. I've worked like a navvy or a nigger; but it didn't seem much hardship, when I remembered that I had freedom. Why, look here; if I'd stayed in slip-bodices, at bhost I might have become a clerk, working eight hours a day to earn £1 per week, and the privilege of soending my spare time in the back room of a cheap boarding house, Or I could have remained a servant-sweated and bullied day and night. Instead 've managed to make a decent living at men's work of one kind or another. I earned £2 10s a week as a F'renclhpolisher-and never a breath of scandal about ore I Which is a dashed sight better than what lots of decent, hard-working girls cao say for thems.lves. "I/ was a funny nipper when I lighted out. I-hadn't much cash ; and, al though I was cutting myself off from everyone who knew me, I wasn't a bit sorry or frightened. I said to myself, 'You keep your peeker up; don't mind hard work, don't talk about your own affairs, nor other people's. Never forget the yarns you'll have to spin now you're in trousers, and then go contradicting them with new tales. Just keep your eyes open, your head clear, and learn to use your hands, and you'll be safe enough.' I followed my own advice for ton years, and it never led me into trouble. "My first job, after I became a boy, was a pretty stiff ono. I had to keep going from sunrise to sundown-some times later ; but if I wanted to go off by myself asterwards, I didn't have an angry woman spying on me, in case I should be looking at the stars, accom panied by her oldest son. I learnt to shoot pretty well at that place, and I won a couple of trophies at pigeon matches in the district. A chap taught melhow to fight, and gave me an idea of wrestling, too. Though I'm only lift 4in., those exercises brought me -up to 10st 4lb. Next thing I did was to join some fellows going up to a Queensland shearingoshed. We followed the track for most of our journey, and I thought it finer going to bed under the stars, with a log-fire crackling a lullaby, and get up to the shrieking of parrots next morning, than to have everything that's enjoyed by a rich man's daughter.' "When 1 got full up of the bosh, I've gone to different cities and found work. In Melbourne, I was training and riding my own ponies for a while, and did very well. I lied working amongst the nags and they liked me. Thie best thing about the ponies was, that I could in dulge in my favorite vice without much loss. I'm fond of gambling, y' know, \yhile I was was racing myself, I won money on my own gees, instead of losing it on other people's-which weas a change. I had a partner over the ponies, and though he was with me morning, noon and niglht, he nevoreuspected I was any less of a man than himself. I went to Brisbane after I left Melbourne. I did everything possible there to earn acrust. I was house-painting for a time. That was awful-straining, for hours to gether, undar a tropical sun played old Harry with me. After that I became a barman-.whlich is a better paid and better respected position than barmaid's. I stayed there till someone put me away about having been a girl, and all. It wasn't half a bad job. Lot's of time to read and think, and plenty of excite. ment. My word I some ol the boys I've put out of that pub mus thave been sur prised to hear that I am a man only on the outside. So will some -girls I've met I" (Continuale on pago 4.)
MARION (" BILL") EDWARDS. (Continued from page a.) This modern de Maupin takes breath a while. "I've always got on well 'with men perhaps because I've some womanly streak in me, and know how to manage them. And I'm a great favorite with women-perhaps because I know 'em thoroughly. When I was in Queensland, I was engaged to a girl. Her father Insisted on it ; and she was so pretty and bright that I didn't mind. I got clear of her afterwards without treating her badly. I used to take girls out of an evening. As long as they were food of me it kept them away from more dangerous chaps. Poor kids! their lives are often miserable enough without Laving some extra worry about a thing like love. Love, indeed ! I've never seen one solitary man I could stand for a husband, though I've had some splendid pals. A man is decent to a mnan-he most be, or he might get hurt. But with a woman a man seldom plays a fair deal. "I'm going to write a book myself, y' know. It ought to be very interesting, because I'm going to tell all my experi ences as a 'man-woman'-as they call me in the posters. When my book is published I may take a hotel-I'm not decided yet ; or I may just disappear. Bat whatever I do, I'll continue to dress in men's clothes. It's more comfortable than female dress; it's cheaper too." With which, Marion lifts her hat in the way that helped to make "Bill" so irresistible to the maids with whom be cnce philandered, and goes upon her way. One plain truth, Marion."Bill" has, so far, failed to realise. She isn't a mormal student of the human nature she talks about. Her sex has caused her few of its pangs-brought her none of its compensations. She entirely lacks the feminine desire to be ruled by a beloved one. She cannot imagine that a celestial choir may be heard through a little baby's cooing. She is a rebel, bitterly railing against the government of man as applied to woman ; because she cannot grasp that when a woman relinquishes her individuality, and sub mnerges herself in husband and child. lore, she has attained the beet happiness a daughter of Eve may hepe for. And sie can have no conception of a man's joy-fleeting and poignant-in winning the love of a girl. An abnormal Marion, she has had no illusions secretly dshrised. A sordid realist by education, she has acquired with her experiences a fraudulent philosophy-the philosophy at a bogus "Bill."-Lone Hand.