Other men’s wives


The State of Westralia has been fairly rich in public men who devoted business hours to writing love letters to other men’s wives. Let’s see—there was H. W. Venn, who woke one fine morning to find himself nearly as famous as Abelard or Dean Swift. But that is old history. This is now.
This is the story of W. Bede Christie, a gentleman who occupied a responsible position in the Lands Department up till last year, when a discerning Labor Ministry selected him to go and lecture in New South Wales and try to attract cockies to this great country.
Step up, Mr Bede Christie. How many trustful women’s hearts have you broken, you sly dog? Step up, and you shall be the Paul of this Paul-Virginia idyll.

In 1906 William Bede Christie—surveyor, author, lecturer, business proprietor, land booster for the state, student of astronomy and authority on Egyptology—was 64 and married. Which is definitely time for a song:

He had been touring NSW to promote the quality of farmland here in WA and to attract farmers from over there to over here.

Accompanying him was Mrs Margaret Regan, a matronly woman who was separated from her husband. However, William and Margaret posed as husband and wife while on tour, and when the Wyalong Star reported that W. Bede Christie and his wife were in town, the news filtered back to Perth.

Christie was immediately recalled by the Government, but the most embarrassing aspect of the story—for him at least, and probably for Mrs Regan—was the publication of his letters to both his lover and her married daughter, Pearl Bould.

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