This boy has been separated from his mother and has no idea what will happen to him next.
Three-quarters of the children of convict mothers were left behind, and without a clearly articulated policy for deciding which children could sail, the selection process appears haphazard. Somehow, he got on board even if his brothers and sisters did not. His mother probably had no notion of what would happen to him if she brought him to the penal colony, no idea that the convict system spread out to include “children of the state” incarcerated in their own institution, the Orphan School. Until his mother received a ticket of leave, allowing her to work for wages, he was stuck. Or maybe in two or three years she would marry and her new husband could support them both. Or maybe she would marry and leave him in the Orphan School, unwelcome baggage from a former life. If so, he would remain institutionalised until he was between 12 and 14 and could be apprenticed. After that, he would have to make his own way. Meanwhile, he was eating regular meals, and at least learning to read and write and do basic arithmetic.