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2-087 (Text)

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addressee,family author,female,Bussell, Frances Louisa,un
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Clarke, 1992
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2-087-plain.txt — 4 KB

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January 19th 1833
I have taken up my pen which I laid down in disgust to give you an idea of the penguins which have been our companions on board since we left St Paul's. They are I think a connecting link between a kangaroo and a flying fish and its wings are in reality fins and its legs placed so far back that it walks upright. They are when young of a bright purple with primrose coloured crests. They are awkward, stupid things, amusing from their very ugliness...
We are running on delightfully, 7 knots an hour, with a bright sky, smooth sea, and a delicious air. This they tell me is the Swan River climate. In four days we shall see land, the land which is to be henceforth the abode of all our interests, hopes and affections. Dear happy England already seems to us like the land of shadows, beautiful and beloved but abandoned for ever, and yet how many dear ones are left behind. It does not always do to think of this...
We are collecting our property, books, etc etc. Bessie and I have been very busy with Phoebe's gown, it looks so nicely, she will really be a princess in it. We shall put the finishing touches to it this morning. You would smile at the next employment which we propose to ourselves.
Monday 21st. January.
Almost a calm. I must describe the anxiety and trepidation which now accompanies every moment bringing us as it does nearer to our Augusta home. At times I am excited almost to pain when I anticipate the approaching meeting. I am writing now because I can settle to no other employment.
As we were sitting in the Cuddy this morning the alarm was given - "Two Swans! Black Swans in sight". I cannot say how it overcame me. 
They proved however to be albatrosses and were shot accordingly, two beautiful birds 10 feet in width, Capt Rolles has given me the foot.
I ought not to scribble so much, but where can I go if not to you my own Mamma when I feel as I do now. But I won't tease you any more with my egotism and so on. God grant that we may find the dear brothers, to whom we are going, well and happy, and that we may be the means of making them more so. I shall not now write more until our arrival. Every face has now the appearance of anxiety and watchfulness. We are 60 miles nearer to Augusta than Swan River, 300 miles from the latter.
1833 26th January.
Now, indeed, we are in sight of the Swan River. Some days later than I had expected when I closed this. Capt Toby was the first person on board this morning and from him we heard that our dear brothers were all when he saw them last, six weeks since, Vernon had accompanied him down to King George's Sound. The boys have a grant at Port Leschenault and at King George's Sound. He says they are grown such rough creatures. Vernon and Alfred are quite young men. Miss Turner is married to a Mr McDermot so there was no truth in the report of Ally's engagement.
The coast looks very flat, we can discover some houses, or rather wigwams, tho built of stone, as the habitations, it rather reminds me of Stonehenge. Two boats here, just appeared, containing Mr Luke Leake, that shocking affair Mr Philip Dodd, and others. Poor Mrs Leake what a meeting for her! They say she is sadly altered. We have felt much disappointment at not finding Capt. Stirling at home.
I broke off this morning because a boat was in sight and I was anxious to see a specimen of the creatures who are hereafter to be our compatriots. Quite a crowd of young men came on board, but I have not time to talk about them, as their images have been obliterated by the variety of characters which have since passed in review before us.
My first sensation was that of desolation. Capt. Stirling was absent, we knew no one in a strange land, we will not go on shore, we will stay in our own ship which has at least been hallowed by Mamma's presence. In the evening when we were alone, we sat down and tried to occupy ourselves. I attempted to dry the seaweed which you will find in this book, but Mr MacDermott soon put a stop to such domestic pursuits.
In this colony, "NO" is never an answer, and tho Bessie and I virtuously determined to abide by the ship we soon found he was determined not to go without us, so we set off with him and Mr Toby, and were greeted on the jetty at Fremantle by several gentlemen. 
Mr MacDermott's is a splendid house, a nice drawing room with every English comfort except a looking glass, a tea table with all "appliances and means to boot" seemed like home, but the Hindoo servants in attending partook more of the Oriental style. Mrs MacDermott is a nice little woman but as I have left a letter there to be forwarded by the Cornwallis I need not dwell upon this period of my narrative any farther.
On Monday 27th we had a terrible fright. Bessie had sent for her music and portfolio and in the evening we were expecting it when Lenox came in wet through. He had not he said, thought it safe to bring it in the dinghy with him, but had put