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2-290 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Lang, John Dunmore,46
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Clark, 1977
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2-290-raw.txt — 3 KB

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Captain Griffin's house was of the same primitive character as those of squatters generally, consisting of rough slabs fixed in sleepers below, and in a grooved wallplate above, and roofed with large sheets of bark, supported by rough saplings for rafters. Mahogany tables, chairs, sideboards, &c, and the other moveables of a respectable family in a town, appeared rather incongruous articles of furniture in such an extempore structure; but they gave promise at least of a better house, which I was told it was intended to erect as soon as the more important out-door operations of the establishment should afford the requisite leisure for the purpose, the present house being intended eventually for the barn. I was amused at the ingenious nautical expedient that had been had recourse to to form an additional apartment. The carpet which the family had had in use in their dining-room in Sydney was "triced up" to use the nautical phrase, during the day, to the wall-plate of the slab-house; but on the usual signal of "Let go the Haulyards," being given at the proper hour for retirement at night, the carpet descended like the curtain of a theatre, and not only formed a partition between the sitting-room and a commodious bed-room but stretching, as it did, along the whole extent of the slab-wall of the latter, served to exclude the cold night wind which would otherwise have found a thousand entrances by the interstices between the slabs. [277] These indeed were so numerous as to render the formality of a window quite unnecessary, and a work of supererogation. As being the greater stranger on the occasion, the use of this bed-room, in which I found a Colonial cedar post-bed, with the usual furniture of a respectable bed-room in a town, was, in the absence of the lady of the house, assigned to me; my fellow-traveller being accommodated with a stretcher in a detached building along with Captain G.'s sons. On the whole, I was much gratified with my visit to this recently formed Squatting-Station so far to the northward; as it showed how very comfortably a respectable family could be settled in the bush, with comparatively moderate means and exertion, in Australia, with all their flocks and herds around them, like the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of old. I question indeed whether any of these patriarchs was ever more comfortably lodged than Captain Griffin; for I should certainly prefer an Australian slab-house roofed with bark to a tent, however patriarchal. At all, events, although any one of these eminent patriarchs would doubtless have been most willing to have treated my fellow-traveller and myself to a kid of the goats, or a fatted-calf and a cake baked in the ashes - which in Australia is usually styled a damper - I am quite sure that not one of them could have added to the entertainment the never-failing and universally acceptable beverage of the bush in Australia - a comfortable cup of tea.