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2-288 (Raw)

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author,female,Brown, Eliza,34 addressee,male
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Hasluck, 1977
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2-288-raw.txt — 11 KB

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August 17 1844
Dearest Papa,
I am in possession of yours and Matilda's combined letter enclosed in a closely written envelope in which you acquaint Mr. Brown of the state of affairs at Summertown, and it bears the several dates of Feby. 15 - 19, March 1st and 6th. We received the letter on the evening of the 10th. I had most anxiously been on the look out for tidings as report had brought out the intelligence that poor Mama was no more. Some passengers by the Trusty of the laboring class about two months ago told the Viveash's they had heard of her decease just before leaving Oxfordshire, and Charlotte Smith also in writing her sister mentioned that there was such a report. It was so likely to have been founded on fact, considering her emaciated and melancholy state that I had no hope left that there would not be a confirmation of it.
You will have had several letters from me since that of Sept 8th 43 if they have safely reached their destination. I forget the dates of them but from this time think of taking an account of all letters sent as well as continuing to keep those we receive.
I regret not having sent you the address of Mr. Bland in case you might wish to write him. I know he intends paying you a visit but you might even then not know where to address him in case of wishing to do so (Mr. H. Bland Esqr. Powles & Co Austin Friars).
I have acknowledged in many instances receiving the case No. 4 changed to No. 1 and hope you have had the satisfaction of hearing it long ere this. I have parted with £60 worth of the things and shall if necessary dispose of more, indeed with all except presents and what we cannot possibly do without of plain wearing apparel that the packages contained. Mr. Brown intends reserving the child's carriage that has come in the case per Unicorn, but every thing else that is disposable will be converted into cash. Perhaps I may never see the contents for it is uncertain whether we shall have it brought over the Hills, this depends upon whether the contents will sell well in Perth. [48] I long to see the letters that are enclosed in the box but must wait patiently until Mr. Brown can afford me that pleasure. His engagements are so very pressing that he cannot go below just now.
We quitted Mr. Hardey on the 1st of April and are now on our own and proper side of the water. Hardey is finally settled with both for rent and compensation for our giving up the farm. I have told you what he asked for the latter, £210, the value of sheep at that time was £1 per head and we gave him 210 sheep for compensation.
Great progress has been made since we have been here in many things. Stock yards are put up in the same substantial manner as the garden fence I once described to you. Mr. Brown has done all the ploughing with his own hands and an additional quantity of land has been cleared, also a portion of the walls of the house put up, but this work is at a stand still at present, it being the season to plant, trench and manure the garden which is a matter of too great consequence to be neglected. A season passed of necessary work to be done there would put us back so much in one of the enjoyments of life, a well cultivated and fruit bearing garden. Besides we can have no wine until we produce it for ourselves, that article from necessity having long been done away with.
This is the first season of blossom, about 2 dozen of the peach trees are ornamented with bloom, these were of the first season's planting. Some of the almonds we expect will shoot forth next year and we look for a sufficiency of grapes for the table the coming season. The fruit time here is from January to March. I have met with one disappointment from Flora who will not foster the English seeds we had sown with great care in well prepared ground in April last, those you sent from Cuddesdon. I should have had great delight In seeing them flourish.
You perhaps wonder what we have done without a house the last five months, with a prospect of five months more passing away before we shall inhabit one. We live in one end of a thatched shed adjoining the stock yards where there is just room for a table, the sofa Mr. Brown made, our boxes (some of which serve for seats for the children) and two beds. Our goods are stowed away in a compartment in the middle of the shed, and the plough box, we have a nook behind these, detached, we have a temporary kitchen and dairy made of boughs and split wood with loose straw thrown over the top. The fire is out of doors and when it is very cold we have a pan of hot embers brought into the shed. It was severely cold for several weeks in June and July, we had ice 1/2 an inch thick (with occasionally a greater thickness) morning after morning in the water buckets. [49] Milk in the pans was frozen from beneath the cream to the bottom of the pans in numerous flakes. it would have been very possible to make ices in such weather which I should have done by mixing some cream with raspberry or strawberry jam and then congealing it with flakes of ice, but had not the preserve. The novelty of such a confection in this country would have been pleasing and formed no bad present to the Governor.
The children thrive in our gipsy mode of life as regards robustness of frame and activity of limbs, but the coming to this country has a great disadvantage for children in one respect, the dearth there is of good instruction. I had hoped and have endeavoured to teach my children until they might be put into abler hands, but the increase of family diminished my opportunities and energies for keeping up sufficient discipline to be enabled to do much if any good with the elder ones. I believe it is a generally received opinion that it is almost impossible for a mother to perform the office of governess to her own boys with any chance of a satisfactory result. I had hoped otherwise but experience tells in favor of that opinion. In any case I sometimes think I do more harm than good to them and that is by not possessing the necessary virtues for the vocation.
The boys would be quick enough and good enough if ably superintended, and our intention is (should not bad fortune baffle it) to have a youth in his first zeal from one of the Normal or Diocesan Schools either in England or Scotland to take the superintendance of the four boys both at their studies, at work in the vineyard and at play, with two other (the sons of gentlemen to be educated with them) which would defray the expense of salary. You do not know how my hopes rest on this. After two more years the promising Kenneth would be injured for want of mental culture, and in two years the others will be quite ready for a Master's firm hand. All four in fact might then be trained together and continue our delight and pride without bowing the spirit down in almost fruitless endeavours to teach them.
I am entirely out of brown holland and calico now for making up into garments for the children so they will be but poorly clad soon if I cannot avail myself of any thing that has come from England for their use. Shoes and boots they only wear on Sunday when they go to Church, and that is only the two eldest, the other two little wild colts never have been shod.
I shall leave a little room for Mr. Brown to say a little but must first tell you that my thoughts have entirely corresponded with yours as regards the little Eliza. I shall write dear Matilda when I have perused her other letter enclosed in the case, meantime my love to her, dear Mary (who I hope has written), Emma whom I have not heard of or from for a long time, and dear Aunt, also remembrance to Bussel, [50]
I remain
Dearest Papa
Your affectionate Daughter
E. Brown.
Mr. Brown declined to avail himself of the small space left to write in, having more to say than will fill it.
On the sixth of this month the rainy season set in. Previously to that the ground lacked moisture, failing crops were anticipated and much distress to cattle and sheep for lack of the green herb. Prayers were said in the churches for rain, now the windows of Heaven are opened, the bed of the Avon is filled, thereby not only connecting the pools but a flood overflows its banks. It is very difficult to keep up a fire out of doors in such weather, but of this Mr. Brown is the main prop now that he is about the dwelling. All outdoor occupations are at a standstill except the herdsman's and shepherd's, but the time is not lost, this opportunity being taken for repairing harness, mending sacks, making wool bags etc. A new saddle has been constructed for Vernon's nice pony (foal of Kenneth's pony), the saddle is of goat skin, and a good bridle also, and a saddle for the men's use or Natives when they ride abroad on any mission for us.
We have still the native boy Corell who is very useful, he generally herds the horses and in rainy weather brings the wood and water that we require. In fine weather this falls a good deal on Kenneth of course, it is a laborious occupation for such a young boy, but he performs it with great cheerfulness, contriving to bring up a short hill two buckets half filled at a time. He was seven years old on the 9th. of August, the day before I received your last letter.
This letter has not been written all at once. I have dated it for post day, indeed I write with difficulty and but a little at a time, having a very bad thumb caused by a trifling cut. It gathered and is very slow to heal, the general consequence of a cut at this season of the year in this country.
We have encountered some frowns from Fortune in our Colonial enterprise which in my hopefulness I was slow to recognize. Mr. Brown became the anxious man soon after we entered upon Hardey's farm, but continued perseveringly labouring from day to day, though without hope to cheer. He appears gradually to be losing the load of care now that incubus is done away with, as he now sees we shall prosper if supported by our English friends. After the house is finished our expenses will be very small, our settling them will be accomplished, and all its attendant inconveniences and expenses at an end. [51] We shall then employ but one man except the herdsman and shepherd. and do away with these even should it not be remunerative to retain them. All the substantial necessaries of life are produced from our own farm, bread, mutton, bacon, pork, butter, even candles made from sweet mutton suet, eggs, poultry etc. Tea and sugar which we have to purchase are only used now for the shepherd when he is stationed at the back of the grant, at home milk suffices except occasionally when a guest arrives or I who am privileged sometimes prefer a cup of tea or coffee generally indulged in through Mr. Brown's persuasion. Clothing for the family is nearly all we should find it necessary to purchase. £25 worth of goods sent from England yearly for sale in this Colony would put sufficient funds into our hands to meet passing wants and any more of our English income we do not intend to touch until our debts are paid in the Mother Country. Here we shall incur no further liabilities and become quite straight with the assistance from home that Mr. Brown is about to seek.
I am warned by him that a wrong impression is conveyed in my letter as regards Hardey being settled with, it is true we have settled with him but are still liable ourselves for some portion of funds furnished which was done by drawing a bill. This Mr. Brown would not have had recourse to could he have sold sheep, cattle, or horses, but these he could not dispose of at any price, and Hardey was threatening law proceedings on the second day after the rent became due. It is true sheep were nominally £1 per head but there were no buyers. 200 of our wether lambs went to Hardey in part payment for rent at 10/- each.
This letter is spun out to a trying length, but I trust you will have patience with me,
E. Brown