Barney and the Secret of the French Spies

as the convicts. Lots of the New South Wales Corps soldiers had been given the choice between prison for crimes they’d committed in the army or going to New South Wales. So there were plenty of ruffians about. And rum too. The New South Wales Corps soldiers had made it the colony’s ready money, rum instead of coins. Even wages were often paid in rum now. Drunk men didn’t work. Men addicted to rum steal or kill to get more alcohol. But there was no rum on my farm. After seeing what grog did to the colony once we grew enough wheat and potatoes to brew alcohol, I let all my men know I wasn’t having home-made rum turning them into lazy swine or drunkards bashing each other. I’d known just what I wanted when I started my farm, even though I was the youngest farmer in the colony. I wanted to grow things, see tiny carrot seeds turn into great big sweet roots, see baby lambs wriggle their white tails in the sunlight. I wanted a home, a safe place for me and Elsie, just like we’d dreamed of nine years back, when it had just been her and me, before the Johnsons rescued us, two starving orphans. I was going to give Elsie everything she wanted too. A house with more rooms added on every year, and a


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