Sunday 4 December 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

This day, about noon, a labourer a short distance from us accidentally set fire to the grass while lighting his own fire. The flames approached us so rapidly that we were all employed with boughs and water to keep them off our tents, or they would certainly have been burnt down. A bush at the back of the largest, where a hen was sitting, actually caught fire, and the bird’s tail was singed. I saved her, however, by throwing a pail of water over her, and notwithstanding her drenching the hen remained quietly on her nest. The flames then ran along the grass to a neighbour’s hut, and all our united efforts were required to prevent it becoming a prey to the devouring element. This was really no joke, and a few days after a tent not far distant was accidentally burnt down, but, I believe, without the fire doing any material damage otherwise.

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