This page is a collection of the writings of Thomas Mosley Agg under the pseudonym of T.M.A. as found in the Australiasian Journal and other publications between 1854 and 1899.
Index of Stories and Poems and Letters to the Editor
1 Colonial Circumstances, or, Ups, Downs, and Ups T. M. A. , 1873-1874 novella
2 Obscure Handwriting T. M. A. , 1872 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , November vol. 8 no. 90 1872; (p. 137)
3 Faithful to the End : A Colonial Tale, in Three Books T. M. A. , 1872 novel
4 On Selfishness T. M. A. , 1872 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , May vol. 7 no. 84 1872; (p. 506)
5 Random Ruminations T. M. A. , 1872 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , April vol. 7 no. 83 1872; (p. 469-470)
6 The Art of Making Money T. M. A. , 1872 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , February vol. 7 no. 81 1872; (p. 347)
7 Australia Felix - Past, Present and Future T. M. A. , 1872 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , January vol. 7 no. 80 1872; (p. 253)
8 Vulgar Fractions T. M. A. , 1871 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , December vol. 7 no. 79 1871; (p. 193)
9 The Sniggles Family T. M. A. , 1871 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , December vol. 7 no. 79 1871; (p. 232)
10 Old Faces T. M. A. , 1871 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , October vol. 7 no. 77 1871; (p. 117)
11 Tea Versus Beer T. M. A. , 1871 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , January vol. 6 no. 68 1871; (p. 294)
12 The Poetical Affinities of Our Language T. M. A. , 1870 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , July vol. 5 no. 62 1870; (p. 664)
13 On Debts and Debtors T. M. A. , 1870 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , June vol. 5 no. 61 1870; (p. 589-590)
14 Talking Two at a Time T. M. A. , 1870 prose humour — Appears in: The Australian Journal , June vol. 5 no. 61 1870; (p. 586)
15 Passing by My Window T. M. A. , 1870 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , April vol. 5 no. 59 1870; (p. 488)
16 On Spiritism T. M. A. , 1870- prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , March vol. 5 no. 58 (p. 421)
17 Spite T. M. A. , 1870 prose humour — Appears in: The Australian Journal , January vol. 5 no. 56 1870; (p. 295-296)
18 Meeting Troubles Half Way T. M. A. , 1870 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , January vol. 5 no. 56 1870; (p. 292)
19 In a Smoking-Carriage T. M. A. , 1870 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , December vol. 6 no. 67 1870; (p. 196)
20 Well Matched T. M. A. , 1869 short story romance — Appears in: The Australian Journal , December vol. 5 no. 55 1869; (p. 246-248) 21 Everything is for the Best T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , October vol. 5 no. 53 1869; (p. 110)
22 William Brown's Courtship T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , March vol. 4 no. 46 1869; (p. 408)
23 A Chapter on Boys T. M. A. , 1869 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , April vol. 4 no. 47 1869; (p. 484)
24 How I Got to the Ball T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , April vol. 4 no. 47 1869; (p. 495)
25 Springing a Plant : A Tale of the Early Diggings T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , July vol. 4 no. 50 1869; (p. 691-692) 26 A Chapter on Women T. M. A. , 1869 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , July vol. 4 no. 50 1869; (p. 664)
27 The Pork Supper T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , June vol. 4 no. 49 1869; (p. 629)
28 Five Foot Ten T. M. A. , 1869 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , June vol. 4 no. 49 1869; (p. 607)
29 The Dreams of Hope T. M. A. , 1869 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , August vol. 4 no. 51 1869; (p. 764)
30 A Chapter on Men T. M. A. , 1869 prose — Appears in: The Australian Journal , August vol. 4 no. 51 1869; (p. 750-751) 31 The Fish Pond T. M. A. , 1868 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , 8 August vol. 3 no. 154 1868; (p. 794-796)
32 The Jibbing Horse T. M. A. , 1868 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , 25 July vol. 3 no. 152 1868; (p. 758-775)
33 The General-Useful T. M. A. , 1868 short story — Appears in: The Australian Journal , 10 October vol. 4 no. 163 1868; (p. 109-110)
A story that includes details taken from Thomas’s own life 
“Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), Saturday 24 April 1869, page 3
HOW I GOT TO THE BALL. By T. M. A.
Some people may wonder how it is done, but I can make an unsolemn declaration that much of my authorship is the emanation of a curious state of being. 'Ihe poetical element is usually deemed to revel in the shades of sweet willow walks, or cooling banks of glistening rivers, sequestered nooks in forests of stately eucalypti, and grassy swards of valleys made secret by frowning or glowing hill sides.
What place hath it in the immediate vicinity of relentless duns, and ever unsatisfied business routine ? Yet these are chiefly what my poor imagination is forced to feed upon. I can cast a longing eye towards a visionary landscape, and hope some day to scribble a line or two under its genial influences, and at that moment comes a wrap at the door, with a pleading voice "If you please, sir, master said, would you settle this little bill?" Well, slam goes the door, and down I sit again. I am fairly aroused ; rattle, rattle, go the ideas through my poor factory of scraps, with the velocity of a sewing machine ; but, unlike that willing servant, the threads will not place themselves. They must be brought into proper control or the web will be rather an unshapely one. Are the bailiffs all out of sight ? Mind serene? Let's start then.
I must premise that I belong to a family of very rich people, and that I am poorer than Job was when the Sabeans had taken away his oxen. I must compare with Job in patience, also. It may be a wide resemblance, but if being kicked, when you are on the ground, for fifteen years, be not a trial of patience, I don't know how to spell it. However, I had been doing a little of something on the quiet, and which was known only to a few people. My rich friends knew that I had ten mouths to feed, and for eight or nine years had had, to them, no visible means of feeding these. The children seemed so jolly that they could not have lived upon air, and yet it was never guessed that the man who fed them was possessed of any particle of brain. So he was looked upon as a highly virtuous, contented, soft-minded man, who could live upon the pulses of society; for the children were fairer even than the king's children, Of course, I was never invited to the great houses, excepting when they were clear of visitors, and I was always received with the most patronising airs, and driven into the resolve that not one iota of sense should remain torpid while I listened to the august deliverances of superior standing to a poor relation. Now if there is one thing in this world that raises my choler, it is the patronage of fashion. I had rather be out of fashion for ever than be bound down to the attempts of patronage. But as I like a decent fashion as well as anyone, I never will hold any terms with patronage. If the greatest man in the land only carries the article in his eye, and turns that eye on me, he may as well walk on unheeding; but I would go to the ends of the earth to serve a true friend. who extended toward, me the hand of good will, or beamed upon me the eye of sympathy. Well, I found little of these, so I determined to leave Adelaide, and try for fairer scenes, and pleasanter thoughts, even among strangers. But I was bent upon having one frolic before I packed up my household goods.
My very near relative, Mr Quance, was about to give a ball, and, of course, I should not be invited. But Quance's courted friend, La Motte, knew me also, as we wrote for the same newspaper, and he had seen me many times in the office. In fact, La Motte told me that Quance's ball was coming off, and he was displeased that I had not been invited, as he knew my eligibility to any society; and La Motte said be would assist me in my scheme. I had been at the corporation fancy ball, all thanks to La Motte, who had backed up my "application for invitation," and got me a circular card. I went in the character of an Italian brigand; I confess as much for business purposes (to paint a ball) as any other. I had preserved my glossy black wig and beard, which alone had the virtue of transforming my carrots and sands into an impenetrable incognito. La Motte mentioned casually to Quance, that his friend from Italy, M. Burdini, was staying with him, and he could hardly leave him. "Bring him along, of course," said Quance, fired with the idea that the gentleman was a connection of the great opera singer of Covent Garden, for Quance was not a pink of independence in spirit. The time came round, and there was a gathering, indeed. It must have cost Quance some hundreds that night. I'll wager it would have set me up for life if I had only had the loan at a fair interest. Of course, Mrs. Quance was tete a tete with Mr La Motte, the silvery tones of madame blending harmoniously with the rich, deep notes of Monsieur. "Is John Quance here tonight ." inquired La Motte " Oh dear, no, Mr La Motte ; why, he could not afford it, and it does not do for people to look shabbily dressed." "Quite right," said l.a Motte. " Only I presume that people may talk of it." " Oh, no; he is not much known. Not of the slightest moment." "Probably so," murmured La Motte. " Besides, he is not much accustomed to society." "Do you think so ?" was the rejoinder. " Your friend Burdini is an elegant fellow," suggested Mrs. Quance, wishing to turn the tide of thought into a more agreeable channel. " Burdini? Ah, yes, he is a great favourite wherever he goes. Don’t you see it, Mrs. Quance !" " Certainly. One must be stupid not to observe it. He dances delightfully. Does he sing; Mr La Motte?" " Oh, dear, no. He is one of the most popular writers of the day. It is not known. Writers never are known.' " Does he write nicely ?" "Magnificently. I wonder you have not remarked his style":' " Oh, you know Mr Quance is always busy with his notes, or thinking about what he ought to have noted. He never brings me any nice books home since his business has so largely increased." "You lose a treat, Mrs. Quance, I assure you. Burdini will, some day, be sought after in the world of books." " Could you not induce him to draw this way a little. He seems almost to avoid us ," asked the lady. "I presume he is under the influence of some especial magnetism," answered the gentleman. "It would appear, Mr. La Motte, that there is something repellent in this quarter." Whichever way it was, Burdini was in the height of favour, administering timely comfort to the fainting fair ones ; settling weighty problems of fun in the most off-hand style ; smoking huge pipes full of exhaustless material in the intervals of retirement from the lady presence ; and coming up fuller of chat than ever for another dance. Quance was under immensities of obligation to La Motte for his genial introduction; and Mrs. Quance had already made up her mind that M. Burdini should form one of a New Year's party, at any cost. La Motte ventured to say one word to Quance, over the pipe, in the little back-room. " How is it, Quance, John is not here?” "Oh, La Motte; why, why, you know, we had a general presentation,, and we were afraid that boy going much into society, he and his wife would have walked around and shaken hands with the company." La Motte grinned, laughed immoderately, excessively, actually laughed until he said he must go away home. And Burdini left with him, amid a host of regrets, and kindly expressed hopes of future meetings.
Not very long after, La Motte. found upon his table a daintily dlirected envelope of very thick paper, addressed Mr. Burdlini, care of Martin La Motte, Esquire. And a couple of days afterwards, Mrs. Quance received a note, which she brought to La Motte’s lodgings, at Dr. Bere's, in great indignation. " How could you perpetrate such a fraud, Mr La Motte? If I were to tell it to Quance, he would call you out, or do something worse." "Why, look at this letter." " My DEAR MRS. QUANCE, Burdini has lost his wig and beard ; in fact, it's worn out; and he is sorry he can't appear in style ; so must decline the invitation. "Your loving brother-in-law, " JOHN QUANCE."
I thought, after this, it would be better to leave Adelaide; so I came to Melbourne.--Australian Journal. ”
Poetry "The Spirit of Christmas" (Note: Published after his death)Alexandra Times (Vic. : 1868 - 1877), Saturday 23 December 1876, page 1
POETRY. THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS.
An angel flew from the far, far sky,
And winged his way to an Austral land,
With a noiseless wing and a gentle eye; And a scroll of pure white in his hand,
And letters writ in type of gold,
To be read with awe by both young and old.
A maiden sate on a grassy slope
Of that favored land, and thus communed
With her aching heart, in a silent hope
That sprang from a soul by care attuned ;
And around the sadness a halo fair,
That a my tie Something had settled there.
"Tell me, Somethlng." the maid began. "
Where doth the Spirit of Christmas dwell
That taken in its every yearly span
More than the tongue of love can tell !
Cometh it from the bright blue sky,
Or doth it sprang from the fountain nigh? '
As the maiden spake the scroll came near,
And its folds were loosed, and the words were plain;
And the maiden read the letters dear,
And she read them thrice and then agaln,
While the bearer soon was veiled from sight
By the letters huge and their glowing light.
And these spake, " that Spirit shall ever be
Roaming the earth, yet from above ;
Loosed from its holy chalice, free,
Fitting to flow for the draught of love,
Of man, of woman, maid, youth, and child,
Comes the Spirit of Christmas, trothful, mild. '
It comes from that cover of blue above,
and sweeter than air of jessamine;
It offers its bouquet of fragrant love,
So that the happy may haste and win
So that the joyful may have more glee,
And that the good ones may better be. "
It comes on on the dove like wing of time,
And shadows awhile the sandglass grim,
Taking the form of a merry rhyme,
Where thoughts of the highs and joyous skim.
And who shall check it with adder's breath,
The blast of a sure and wioked death? "
It floats in the room where friends have met
After the tossing of many years,
And after the partings will linger yet,
Drying the fountains of cruel tears;
And the spirit will teach a better way.
From the dark, dull night to the dawning day. ' "
t wafts o'er the wide and briny sea
Remembrances of once much loved lays ;
And brings o'er acres of distant lea
Some of the joys of the former days.
What has been shall be preserved to tell,
For the Spirit of Christmas guards it well.
And it comes with a sweet smile from the grave,
Where the fondest hopes have been buried long,
Cheering the path of the world worn slave
With its patient Christmas spirit song
Then the Spirit of Christmas, an honoured prize,
Is a guide to its home in the hidden skies'
-T. M. A.
1. HOW I GOT TO THE BALL. (1869, April 24). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 28, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68579023
2. Christmas Number. (1876, December 23). Alexandra Times (Vic. : 1868 - 1877), p. 1 (Supplement to the Alexandra Times.). Retrieved August 28, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58217157