That evening Ned and Dan Kelly sat at the dining table in the Kelly selection relaxing. Ned smoked a pipe, puffing merrily as Maggie Skillion, Kate and Grace showed off their new outfits, bought with money pilfered from the Bank of New South Wales in Jerilderie. Dan signalled for Kate to do a twirl, which she did excitedly. She was dressed in an elegant navy blue riding habit with black frills, and a tall hat decorated with crepe and a fly veil. Grace smoothed out a yellow dress covered in lace, the first new dress she had ever owned and she was overwhelmed by how crisp the fabric felt.
“Kids, come and show your big brothers your new rig outs,” Maggie called to her half-siblings. Maggie herself was decked out in a black silk dress with white lace frills and scarlet underskirt. Despite her more masculine behaviours, Maggie couldn’t help but take pleasure in the odd typically feminine interest, pretty dresses being a particular vice. Nellie entered from the sleeping quarters, veritably bouncing with glee. Jack followed, waddling uncomfortably and fidgeting in his handsome new clothes and boots. Jim and Ellen Skillion also toddled along looking adorable in new outfits.
“These boots is too big, Maggie,” said Jack.“That’s so you can grow into them. Shoes should last you a long time,” Maggie replied.
Nellie padded across the room to Dan and tugged on his coat, “I feel like a princess. Do I look like a princess, Danny?”
Dan smiled, “Oh, you don’t just look like a princess – you look like a queen!”
“No I don’t, queens are old and fat!”
“She’s got you there, Danny,” Ned chuckled.
Later, with the younger children put to bed, the older siblings began to discuss important matters.
“Any word on an appeal for Ma?” asked Dan.
“We asked Mr. Zincke about it and he said that he would feel bad taking our money because it was a lost cause,” replied Maggie. Ned began to fume.
“Lost cause? Lost cause? That bastard!”
“He’s right though, Ned. We tried to get a fair go and the jury sided with Fitzpatrick. Another appeal won’t change anything. They’ll always back a copper over one of us,” said Maggie.
“It’s not right!”
“Nobody said it was, Ned, but it’s the hand we were dealt.”
“Then we need to change that,” Ned grumbled.
“It’s all well and good to say, but how do you propose we do that?” interjected Dan.
“We need to do something that will make them sit up and take notice. To let them know we aren’t to be trifled with.”
Kate reached across and grasped her big brother’s hand, “Ned, can’t we just let the dust settle a little?”
“The moment we stop, they catch up to us. We have to keep upping the ante,” said Ned.
“Where does that end?” asked Kate. Ned had no response.