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2-319 (Text)

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author,male,McCrae, George Gordon,13 addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Webby, 1989
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2-319-plain.txt — 9 KB

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December 19th, 1846. Saturday
This morning was rather rainy; Mr Barker called on his way to town. He told us that there were some blacks at the foot of the fence. We accordingly went down and recognised several of our old friends and amongst them Ben-Benjie who readily agreed to shoot ducks for us. We gave the gun to him after he had breakfasted and he set out. After breakfast we went to school and went over all the French history and we came out. Mr McLure went to dig potatoes for dinner with Willie. After dinner Ben-Benjie returned without the ducks and gave me the charge, and three bommerings as he was to go away tomorrow.
December 21st. Monday
Sandy and I arose early. We walked up along the beach and gathered some currants for a tart. After we returned we bathed and walked up to breakfast. Having breakfasted we went to school. We learned part of our French history, read a chapter in the Bible. I learned a part of the AEneid, Willie and Sandy began a new book in Caesar's Commentaries and Perry learned a part of the English history. We all wrote part of our lists of plants and went out. Sandy went to the lower garden to cut some lettuces for dinner while I ran up and called Ellen from the wash-house. We soon went to school. Mr McLure asked us a few questions on the map of Scotland, but the bell soon rang and we ran to dinner. Lucy brought into the house a salmon-coloured Mantis having a claret tinge and striped with white.  Tom turned out "Duncan" this day. The school bell soon rang and we went to lessons. We read a part of Cornelius Nepos's life of Hannibal, a part of our Latin Delectus. We worked a few sums together tonight. Mr McLure and I went to Ellen's well and thinned the lettuces. Mamma gave me a book to sketch in but I have not as yet used it. Tom and the boys went to the beach and caught four small fishes resembling sprats and two or three flounders.
December 22nd, 1846. Tuesday
We rose rather late. Sandy and Perry and I walked to the beach where we stayed for some time. We walked up to breakfast. We had one hour of leisure after breakfast. We went to school: learned the reign of Charlemagne. I learned a part of Phaeton along with Willie and Sandy. We all wrote part of our lists of plants and after a time went out, it being very hot. After a time we came in again, were examined on the northern and middle countries, read a part of our Latin Delectus and came down to dinner. After dinner the wind suddenly changed to south having blown from north during the whole day. We went up to school. We all read a portion of Middleton's Life of Cicero, worked a few sums together, and went out. We went out in search of a kangaroo which Sancho had killed but could not find it. However we had a chase of three kangaroos. When we returned the wind was still blowing violently from the south. "Flora" was run down and terribly bitten by the other dogs. Paddy one of Mr Barker's men came here, he brought with him the two puppies that we had given to Mr Barker; they were so changed that I scarcely knew them. They were twice as large as our puppy.
December 23rd, 1846. Wednesday
We rose pretty early and walked down to the beach and bathed. I find swimming easier than it was at first. I walked in to the sea until the water touched my throat and threw myself forward, I then floated and striking out with my arms and legs I swam for a short space. After breakfast was over, we went to school, learned a part of the French history, read a part of a chapter in the Bible, and I, Willie, and Sandy, translated an account of the Battle of Phillipi from Velleius Paterculus, wrote a part of our lists of plants. We went out it being late and also near dinner-time. After dinner we had a long play but were interrupted by the lesson bell. So we went up. We took our slates and worked a few sums together in the rule of three. Willie called out that Papa was come and that somebody was with him. Mr McLure sent Perry to see who it was and to come back and tell. But Perry not returning he despatched Sandy and as he did not return he sent me. I went, came down, searched the house, but could not find him.  I went into the kitchen and enquired where he was; while I was asking, who walked in but Jamie, the shoemaker (whose horse Willie had mistaken for "Don") and Dunn from the Survey instead of Papa! Jamie informed me that Mr Campbell of the Scotch school was coming here but could not on account of the flooded state of the Mordiallock Creek. Mr McLure and I walked along Mr Smith's road where we found many native raspberries and currants of which we brought home some to Mamma. The boys brought home a blossom of the native convolvulus.
December 24th, 1846. Thursday
After breakfast we went to lessons and as usual learned a part of the French history. We read a chapter in the Bible and a piece from Milton's Paradise Lost. I almost finished the third book of the AEneid. Willie and Sandy translated a part of Caesar's Commentaries and Perry read a part of his English history. We all wrote a part of our lists of plants with their botanical descriptions. We then went out. A black boy came here with a present of veal from Mr Smith shortly after we had come out. Papa returned riding on a mare which he had lately purchased. She had been lately imported from Van Diemen's Land and was very thin. We soon came into school again. We were again examined upon the map of Scotland, learned a part of the Latin Syntax and wrote more of our lists of plants. We then went to dinner. After dinner we went to lessons again. We worked a few sums in proportion and went out. I and the boys walked to the "Nose" and back before tea. I brought some wild clematis seed home as there is much of it ripe. Willie brought home a curious hollow stone from the "Nose". It might serve the purpose of an ink-bottle.
December 25th, 1846. Friday
Christmas! We all rose early and had a fine bathe.
After breakfast we had prayers and Papa read a sermon to us. We walked to the beach. I caught a fish which we supposed to be a young native salmon. Willie and Tom between them speared a dozen of toad fish. Papa and Mr McLure then came down and we walked to the Honeysuckles with them and collected some cockles. In the evening we managed to catch a sting ray (vulgarly termed stingaree) having speared two others without being able to hold them. That which we captured was young and like the rest armed with a barbed weapon on its tail.
December 26th, 1846. Saturday
We rose early and bathed. I stuck my spear into the back of a sting ray but he escaped. After breakfast Perry and I went to the beach in search of sting rays while Papa, Mr McLure, and Willie and Sandy went to the duck ponds to shoot ducks.  We saw no rays but an enormous shark which was prowling about so close to the shore that I almost struck him with my spear. Papa, Mr McLure and the boys had better success, for they brought home two ducks, one white and one black magpie. The black magpie is of a different shape from the white. It has a curved bill and bright orange eyes inclining to scarlet and feet like those of a crow with this difference that it is pied black and white. We had the sting ray cooked for dinner today. It was very good, Tom brought back "Maggie" and her foal from the Survey having taken the new mare there in the morning. Tom saw Ben-Benjie and Eliza on this side of Dunn's they will be here tomorrow. While walking in quest of raspberries near the beach I saw a black lump on some rushes which lump proved to be a very small swarm of bees. I broke the rushes and carried the bees on them carefully to the house. I placed them in a small basket turned upside down previously smeared with honey and they are adhering to it.
December 28th, 1846. Monday
We rose and bathed. Ben-Benjie went out with the gun in search of ducks. We went to the scrub to look for seeds of the leafless creeper with blue pea blossoms but could not find any. After dinner Ben-Benjie returned with the hind quarters of a kangaroo, an opossum and a duck. A man came here today with a horse which he said he was bringing to Dr Hobson whom he said he expected here at night. Ben-Benjie amused us much tonight by throwing his bommerings. We gave him some flour, tea and sugar. The man came here to reap the barley. He is to begin tomorrow morning.
December 29th, 1846. Tuesday
We rose early as Papa and Mamma are to breakfast early. Ben-Benjie went out with the gun at break of day and returned with two ducks, one of the common kind and another of a new sort. It had a dark brown head, a blackish beak, with a broad blue band across it. It had eyes white with black pupils. Papa and Mamma started this morning for Mr Balcolmb's. Ben-Benjie, with Sandy Perry and me went to the "Nose" and speared four leather-jackets and four sting rays. We brought the fishes to Eliza and went out a second time. We saw no leather-jackets; but, as we returned Ben-Benjie struck a large Tem-Tem and brought it ashore.
After tea, late in the evening, Ben-Benjie, hearing the porpoises coming to the shore ran down to the beach and speared six large fishes each about 15 inches in length. He gave us all of these with the exception of one which he reserved for himself and Eliza.