Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/287

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the house depends upon her. Being called in to dinner I found a piece of meat standing on the side table and that was the whole preparation. There was neither cloth, plates, knives, vegetables, nor anything else; the men thought they had enough to do in taking their own dinner. I sent to-day for the native woman who had been stealing here, and gave her back her bags and cloaks. She looked very penitent. Several strangers appeared to-day who all took the precaution of asking if I was angry now. Off to Perth to-morrow morning.

Monday 22nd.—I only returned here yesterday and found the house beset with natives. It is a most provoking thing that in my absence they are encouraged by the men to come about here, and liberally entertained at my expense. One woman told me to-day that I was very bad, I only gave her a little wheat though she carried wood, but that — gave plenty without asking them to do anything. That is a pleasant hearing. A ship, the Caledonia, has arrived from Van Diemen's Land; another soon expected thence also. There has fallen a great quantity of rain during the last three days; the ground is only now sufficiently softened for all purposes. The season is rather backward, but I think a great struggle will be made this year to raise sufficient grain to support the colony; flour, however, will be dear here for a long time, for it costs us as much nearly to get wheat ground as the price of wheat in other places. The millers have got a trick here of not grinding for any persons but themselves. They offer to buy the wheat at a long credit, then grind and sell it out at a great price. It has been 6d. a pound till the arrival of this vessel, yet the millers were only offering 13s. a bushel for the wheat, which is not much more than 2½d. a pound. I bought a cwt. of potatoes to plant now, for I fear the frost will cut off all the crops, which is only just above ground, though planted more than two months ago. The flock which I bought lately is just now beginning to lamb; if they pro-