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protests, she pressed a $10 note into my hand.

      In death, she became my first constitutent matter when one of her friends asked me to attend her funeral in my new official capacity.   She had been a prominent citizen of Manly-Warringah and it was fitting that her local member should be present as a mark of respect.

        We assembled in a small chapel in the mock-Spanish mission style Crematorium complex.   Built during the twenties, it had then been considered a progressive piece of architecture and an enlightened method of dispatching loved ones from this earth.

        The surroundings were familiar to me as the venue for the funerals of my tory relations from the country.   Most of them were agnostics and yet the family always arranged a conventional religious rite.   An unknown clergyman would be engaged to deliver a homily about the dear departed, assuring us that eternal life had been earned.   Appearances were important.

        Now I was sitting in the same chapel with a group of committed atheists, who presumably also had to keep up appearances about life and death.   In place of the clergyman there was an elderly man in a grey suit, obviously an elder of the group, who stood at the front and spoke quietly but eloquently about the details of Elsie Wakefield's life:

        "As a young girl, Elsie had a harsh life.   Her father was a worker on the railways in Queensland .... Thus she knew the battle early and  

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