Barney and the Secret of the French Spies

silk dress for Sundays and parties, and good pots for her kitchen, and even books, because Elsie was like me. We both liked reading books, seeing the world and ideas beyond the colony. All I had to do now was get her to marry me. Maybe I’ll ask her when she and the Johnsons come to visit the farm in a few weeks’ time, I thought. They could visit again when Mr Johnson came downriver to give the service at Parramatta. I opened my good solid wood door and poured out a mug of the sarsaparilla tea that was always warm on the stove. Proper tea was expensive for every day — though Elsie could have it if she wanted. I sat on my good solid chair — I’d made the chairs and table myself, just like Mr Johnson had shown me. Do you know what it’s like to sit in a chair that’s full of memories? The memory of the day Bill and I cut down the tree; that hot day we split the wood for timber; those days watching it dry out so the wood didn’t shrink and warp when I’d made my chair. Every inch of this house and of my farm had memories — and there were far more grand ones to be made. One day I might be rich in money, but I’d already learned that other riches matter far more than coin.


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