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1-017 (Raw)

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It is now so long since we have heard from home that our clothes are worn threadbare. We begin to think the mother country has entirely forsaken us. As for shoes, my stock has been exhausted these six months, and I have been obliged since that time to beg [and] borrow among the gentlemen, for no such article was to be bought. [51] In this deplorable situation famine is staring us in the face. Two ounces of pork is the allowance of animal food for four-and-twenty hours, and happy is the man that can kill a rat or crow to make him a dainty meal. We have raised some excellent vegetables, but such food, without the mixture of the animals, does not supply strength, but keeps us lax and weakly. I dined most heartily the other day on a fine dog, and I hope I shall soon again have an invitation to a similar repast. The animals that were meant to stock the country are almost all butchered. Hunger will be appeased while any eatable remains.
Several of the convicts have perished by the hands of the natives, by rambling too far into the woods. I accompanied two of our gentlemen on a shooting party. We penetrated near thirty miles in two days over a delightful country, free from underwood, when we arrived at a rapid river [the Nepean] that was not fordable. On the other side the country seemed to be in a state of romantic and uncultivated nature The landscape was finished by a range of hills that rise one above another, in a very grand style, to a considerable height.
The loss of the Sirius was the first cause of our being put to such short allowance, being obliged to supply the party a second time from the common stock. To prevent murmuring, officers and men share alike.
Our births have far exceeded our burials; and what is very remarkable, women who were supposed past child-bearing, and others who had not been pregnant for fifteen or sixteen years, have lately become mothers.