The Poison of Polygamy originally appeared serially in Melbourne’s Chinese Times in 1909–10. Wong Shee Ping’s novella is a kind of Cantonese Rake’s Progress by way of Rider Haggard, relating the wanderings and misadventures of a man sojourning in Australia, and the yearnings of the wife he leaves behind at home. Subtitled as social fiction, its chief concern is not migration but the moral ills afflicting Chinese society. Accordingly, the opium-smoking rotter of a protagonist is finally punished for his lust, slovenliness, avarice, and addiction: throttled by his slatternly concubine, who has only just dispatched his wife and child in a bid to improve her social position. Along the way, thylacines attack, business partners are rescued from collapsed mines, and thinly veiled Christian moralism excoriates traditional medicine and religion.