August 07, 2007

21 January 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

Queen Charlotte

Monday last was the birthday of Queen Charlotte - I did not attend the celebrations in Sydney although I believe they were very fine. I've always had a soft spot for an engraving I own of the Queen early in her reign, with her children and dogs, that appears to combine regency and domesticity so nicely. Poor thing though, with her husband barking as madly as the dogs! That is a cruel fate for woman to face, that the struggles of coupledom should be faced for so long and then, when one hopes to profit from the long association and gain composure with one another with fewer toils, to lose one's partner to madness seems a great loss. How happy then to hear that the King's madness has passed again - and may it stay away!
I am preparing for the departure of our Kings, who even now are aboard the Buffalo in the Harbour - but then, where else could they go? I have offered them our house here, or the Sydney house, after they were so kind to me before Mr. Macarthur returned from England, putting me and the children up in Government House, sparing no comfort. However, they are on board, sans Mr. Marsden who will preach until he leaves, but accompanied by, I believe, two wombats, two kangaroos, more paroquetts than can be counted, several opossums, in all a veritable menagerie. I will miss them though - Mrs. Putland appears kindly enough, and very gentle to me at least, but I first met Anna Josepha more than 15 years ago and for some time we were the only two gentlewomen in this place and were thrown together of necessity, and while she did spend much time on Norfolk Island, whenever she were in Sydney she was here. Since Mr. King has been governor we've been especially close, even when John sent the Governor to Coventry, I remained in touch with Anna Josepha. Well, she will prosper in England and poor Philip is too unwell to remain - how the running of this place does take it out of men.
I heard today that Mr. Larra the auctioneer has over 200 Ewes to sell on Monday fortnight - I wonder if they are one-toothers that I might bid on them? Perhaps I should send Macallister, our best overseer in the ways of sheep, to have a glance at them. Not that we absolutely need more sheep, especially if John wants to turn them into mutton, but good Ewes wouldn't go astray. What about that wool for Mr. Marsden - perhaps I can look through the clips tomorrow.

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