September 02, 2007

2 September 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

February 15, when I last wrote in my diary, rained harder than we ever thought possible. To the west the ponds and creeks flowed together to the River, flooding the valley below us where we have 1,000 sheep! Oh, I remember that Day, that Week and it hasn't stopped since. John Hoare, a convict, escaped on our Ship to Tahiti, and we are forced to pay a fine of 900 pounds in sterling, against the Bond and the Governor has asked for the recall of the Corps and the removal of our grant away from Cow Pastures and that it, along with Mr. Davidson's grant, be disallowed: he behaves as a tyrant! Elizabeth has been unwell, now she's fine, we have heard from James at school in England that he is well, William has turned seven and is Edward's closest companion, so he thinks, while Edward is eighteen now and we mustn't forget it! He is a Volunteer, taken over the Command from Mr. Macarthur. Mr. Hawkins writes regularly to Miss Anna Maria King, daughter of our recently departed and so missed Governor King; I have had 2 letters from Mrs. King, from Norfolk Island where the Buffalo unexpectedly put in and the Kings' revisited their ancestral pile and another from Batavia, where they crossed a British Ship. Mr. Macarthur is fine, but could live without the contention with Bligh. That man is a Martinet: he swaggers around, won't acknowledge me, drives by in a chaise with dragoons - or they would be dragoons if they weren't convicts, and a nasty looking bunch that makes me think the Governor carries the pistols in his Carriage as protection against the guard!
Well, it rained that week until I was certain the Hawkesbury River would flood again and sweep away those struggling farmers' flocks. Our River rose to rooftops and several people where swept away along with some stock, but most got away safely. We lost the two corn fields, which went from green, to bare, when the water fell again. It rained and the water rose and Elizabeth's fevers became worse in the clouds of mosquitos, and I had the sheep to worry over also. Her fever became worse, then I remembered that Doctor Balmain, who's gone from the Colony, medicined Elizabeth by wrapping her with vinegar soaked in brown paper and I did the same and it cured her, thank God!
And thank God for the life inside of me.

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