Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/104

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86

In removing some barrels from the house, I found them filled with white ants, which had reduced the bottom of the vessel (an American flour cask) to a substance of extreme tenuity, as thin as a card.

Have got a "whisper" that one of my servants means to make battle to get another half year taken from his indentures, but I shall kick most manfully against this.

Nov. 1st.—Killed a great number of white ants, which are extraordinary creatures, the most impotent looking things, and yet they perpetrate much mischief, carrying on their depredations in secret, and making their imperceptible approaches under the screen of a covered way. Opened my front window, which has a blackboy lattice, for the first time this day since the natives threw the spear; I am making a linen blind for it—very grand, all this!

I am at a sad loss for furniture, having scarcely a table, chair, press, or shelf, except what I brought with me, and I have no doors—mere contrivances in place of them. More of servants' whims! I have just heard of one who demands four glasses of rum per day! Really, there is no enduring the insolence of this class here; they soon find out their value, and act accordingly. Any one bringing out servants should accurately enumerate in their indentures every article, and how much of it each should get. Many, who on landing would have been startled at the idea of taking four glasses of spirits every day, soon reconcile themselves to this excess, if they be indulged by their masters: in laborious and warm work, however, such as mowing, a large allowance of grog is not unreasonable.

I exchanged two pair of small linen trousers (which had been made for the boy who came out with me) for a cock of hay, and have a grand project in my head of bartering some chickens (when hatched) for a kid which one of my neighbours expects soon to have born to him. * * *

4th.—I am helping Mackie to cut an avenue from his place