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1-240 (Raw)

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addressee,family author,female,Blomfield, Christiana Jane,22
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Clarke, 1992
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1-240-raw.txt — 5 KB

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You will, I dare say, like to hear something of our farm, which is called Dagworth. It is a very pretty place. Our house stands on a hill from which we have a very extensive view. On one side we see through the trees part of Lake Lachland, and on all sides we see the mountains, which have a very wild and beautiful appearance. [98] I must now give you a description of the way in which our house is built. The foundations are large trees of a very hard wood, called ironbark, and the walls are of the same wood. The logs are cut into lengths of ten feet and are then split into slabs, which are forged into grooves in the foundation, as also into the wall plates at the top. Over this is nailed weatherboards, and the roof is shingled, which has the appearance of a slated roof. The doors and window frames are made of cedar, and to the windows are fastened Venetian blinds, painted green, as are the doors. The house is painted white. The length of the house is sixty feet, with a verandah all round eight feet wide, which is a very necessary part of a house in this warm climate. It is also a good walk in rainy weather, and a nice place for the children to play in out of the sun. Our rooms are all on the ground floor. We shall have a parlour 14 feet wide and 20 feet long, a bedroom the same size, another bedroom 12 feet wide and 20 feet long, a storeroom for provisions and farming tools, etc., the same size, a small store room joining our bedroom 10 feet square, and a bedroom for Thomas and Richard the same size opening out of our room on the opposite side of the verandah, which we shall make a dairy of at present. I do not know if, after all my description, you will be able to make out what sort of a place it will be, and I think I can fancy my little niece exclaim, "Well, that will be a queer house of Uncle Tom's," but it is the style of most country houses here. "But there is no kitchen!" Louisa will say. The kitchens, on account of the heat, are generally detached buildings, very different to the comfortable ones in England. Indeed, all the houses in this country must strike a stranger as being very meanly furnished. The walls are generally painted, sometimes only bare whitewashed, with very little other furniture than a table and chairs, a fireplace with no grate, but wood fires burning on the stone hearth or placed on iron dogs [sic]. Window curtains are seldom seen; indeed everything that adds to the heat is taken away in summer time, which is eight months of the year. Indian matting is used instead of carpet. It is made of bamboo, and is very white and cool looking, but I must say I like to see a carpet in the middle of the room in winter time, for although not much colder than your summer we feel very chilly and enjoy sitting round a cheerful wood fire of an evening.
Now I've told you what sort of a house we shall have when finished, I will tell you how we employ our time. In the summer time we rise early, but at this time of the year we get up about 7 o'clock. The children are awake at daylight and are soon dressed and running about. After we are dressed we have family prayers. Thomas reads them to myself, the children, and one or two female servants, and both Thomas and Richard kneel by their father and are quiet all the time. [99] After prayers we get our breakfast. Richard and Thomas sit up with us, Richard by me and Thomas by his papa, and when they have drank their tea and eaten their bread and butter they are in a hurry to get down, so after "Thank God for my good breakfast," away they skip to play with their wheelbarrows, which is their chief amusement. After breakfast Thomas's mare is saddled and he goes to the farm, where he remains until 4 o'clock. In the meantime I sleep my baby, see the house put to rights, give out what is wanted for dinner, teach little Tom to read, and Richard comes to say his lesson, which is generally P for papa and M for mama, and C for cow or Onginge, as he calls orange. Tom is much amused and says "Poor little thing, he don't know better; when he is as big as me he will say it right, won't he, ma?" We do not dine till five, as Thomas cannot leave the farm sooner, or there would be little work done. After dinner the children are washed, have their tea and go to bed, after which Thomas and I walk in the verandah until it is dark, and he tells me what he has been doing at the farm. We get our tea comfortably together and enjoy an hour or two in quiet. I generally work and he reads to me, or we talk of the improvements we intend making when we get to "Dagworth". At nine or ten o'clock we have evening prayers and go to bed, and, if the children will let us, sleep very soundly. As we are 20 miles from any church we read the church service on Sunday to our servants twice a day and Bland's sermons or some other religious book. I dare say it will not be very long before we have a church and clergyman in the neighbourhood, as it is becoming a very populous district, and as I have always been used to attend public worship regularly, I shall be very glad when I can do so again, and take my children. Poor little Tom is always asking questions. The other day I had been telling him that if he was good and said his prayers that God would love him and give him everything. He said directly, "What, lots of pancakes and sugar?" Poor little innocent fellow, that is his idea of everything that is good, but he will, I hope, soon know better.